Best Punk: Jacques Le Coque
Jacques Le Coque are a punk band in the sense that punk actually predates its oft-cited 1977 watershed moment. They're punk in the sense that so many of those bashy, kinda-bratty trashola garage bands of the '60s were totally punk. Jacque Le Coque's music sounds loud at any volume, fuzzed-out and wild-eyed. They draw a line connecting the punk spirit through several decades of rock 'n' roll. "We've always considered ourselves more of a garage punk band," says guitarist/vocalist Pete Mazza. "Bands like the Stooges, the Rolling Stones, the Velvet Underground — they have this raw, unguarded sound." There's also a DIY punk spirit to the way Mazza and his bandmates conduct business: They speak glowingly of New Haven DIY space Popeye's Garage, they hosted shows at the house they used to rent in Norwalk, they continued playing shows when the band was down to just Mazza and drummer Jason Kyek. They're mixing an album now ("It's a real rock 'n' roll record, I think," says Mazza), and already, Mazza says, "we've kind of got enough material for a new album," material he called "not faster, but more raw." In the relatively recent past, they've opened for punk elder statesman Handsome Dick Manitoba, garage rock standby Mark Sultan and post-punk noisemakers the Coathangers. Not bad for guys who haven't even been at the game for terribly long. "I started playing guitar when I was 20," Mazza says. "It's just five or six years since we started playing music."