In the latest installment of Top Albums Released by [insert record label here], we are tackling the Bay Area’s Lookout Records. There was a time that Lookout was a force to be reckoned with in the independent record world. Since that time the label has lost many of its classic releases (due to issues with unpaid royalties).
This list includes records that were originally released on Lookout and their sister label/imprint Panic Button.
Steve at The Otter Limits put together his own Top 6 Albums from Lookout! Records list.
9. [Tie] Tlt and Play Cell by Tilt
Tilt’s self titled 7 inch and debut full-length were both brilliant examples of female fronted pop punk. Check out “Gun Play” and “Fool to Blame” (from Tilt) “Crying Jag” and “White Homes” (from Play Cell).
8. Kerplunk! by Green Day
Kerplunk! was Green Day’s last album for Lookout before heading off to the majors and superstardom. This record includes two of my all-time favorite Green Day songs and is probably the bands second or third best record. Check out “80” and “Christie Road.”
7. Love is Dead by The Mr. T Experience
The Mr. T Experience is one of the quirkiest, fun loving, and heartfelt pop punk bands of all time. MTX is also one of the few bands from Lookout’s glory days that hasn’t pulled its catalog. Check out “Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba” and “Thank You (For Not Being One of Them).”
6. Riverdales by Riverdales
After Screeching Weasel broke up (for the second time) Ben Weasel, Dan Vapid, and Dan Panic formed the Riverdales. What made the Riverdales different from SW is that Weasel and Vapid traded off on vocal duties. Check out “Hampton Beach” and “Plan 13” (Note: the only videos that I could find for any of these songs are live performances from the mid-‘90s.)
5. Sealed with a Kiss by The Eyeliners
Released in 2001, Sealed with a Kiss is nothing short of ‘50s fueled pop punk brilliance. This record was released through Lookout and their imprint Panic Button Records. Check out “It Could Have Been You” and “Sealed with a Kiss.”
4. Turn 21 by The Donnas
Turn 21 would be the last record The Donnas would release with Lookout and it just so happens to be their best. Imagine if The Runaways, the Ramones, RATT, and Judas Priest all blended their musical DNA together to for an all-girl band and you’d get The Donnas. Check out “40 Boys in 40 Nights” and “Drivin’ Thru My Heart” (I still say that with the right video, this song could have been HUGE).
3. My Brain Hurts by Screeching Weasel
My Brain Hurts is one of the greatest pop punk albums of all time. Lord only knows how many bands were launched after listening to this record. Checkout out “Guest List” and “The Science of Myth.”
2. Energy by Operation Ivy
Operation Ivy was one of the most influential punk bands of the late 1980s. In fact much of the ska explosion in the ‘90s can be traced back to Op Ivy (and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones). Aside from all of that, Energy was a stellar album with passionate and biting lyrics that made you think as much as dance. Check out “Knowledge” and “Unity.”
1. Over the James by Avail
When people think of the classic Lookout Records releases, Avail is probably not one that comes to mind and that is a shame. Avail brilliantly mixed elements of pop punk, southern rock, and melodic hardcore creating a sound that was unique and familiar all at the same time. Over the James would be the band’s last album on Lookout and much like The Donnas, it is probably their best. Check out “Deepwood,” “Lombardy St.,” and “Fifth Wheel.”