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Listed: Tony Molina

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Listed is Dusted Magazine’s series of music-related lists compiled by artists we admire. This week: Bay Area riff refinery Tony Molina.

Listed: Tony Molina

For much of the past decade, San Francisco’s Tony Molina has explored the boundaries of hyperbole in music. As an active member of the Bay Area punk scene, the 28-year-old has produced anything from thuggish, absurdly brief hardcore in Caged Animal, to Bach-inspired punk-pop in Ovens. On his recent solo LP, Dissed and Dismissed, Molina further focuses the work he did with Ovens, crafting minute-long indie pop gems that largely consist of the same two-part formula: one self-deprecating, idiomatic verse sung to a hook, followed by a huge, Thin Lizzy-style riff. It might be a kneejerk reaction in 2013 to dismiss this over-the-top approach as an aloof joke, but it’s apparent from years of material that his work isn’t an exercise in irony. As his Dusted list confirms, Tony sincerely believes in the power of the hook and the riff — from the ignorant to the epic.

1. Fastbacks - Zücker (Sub Pop, 1993)
A lot of people say my shit sounds like Weezer, but I rip off Kurt Bloch more than anyone. They were the main influence behind Ovens, and I learned how to write songs from listening to them and learning their songs on guitar. It’s hard to pick a favorite LP, but Zücker was my favorite when I was younger. Best melodies and riffs.

2. Dear Nora - Three States: Rarities ‘97-’07 (Magic Marker, 2008)
Katy Davidson is one of my favorite songwriters. So many ill tracks. Dear Nora is huge influence on my band Ovens and I still listen to them constantly. One time I played a show with them like 10 years ago and they busted out a rain stick during the set and it was weird.

3. Teenage Fanclub - Grand Prix (Creation, 1995)
There’s no way I can pick a favorite TFC album, but this one is up there. The opening riff and solo on “Don’t Look Back” is great, and so is the extended riff/solo on “Neil Jung.” The song “Tears” has really cool strings and shit on it. But my favorite song on this album is “Going Places.” That one Raymond song, “Verisimilitude” or whatever it’s called, sucks though.

4. E Town Concrete - Time 2 Shine (Back to Basics, 1997)
Possibly my favorite HC album ever. Ant $ is a great vocalist and lyricist and there is a lot of emotion on this album, as well as ILL-ass riffs. It also has the best/worst snare sound of all time depending on who you ask. People either love or hate this band, but I only respect the former.

5. Obituary - World Demise (Roadrunner, 1994)
The tones on this album are so sick. Also the video for “Don’t Care” is the best of all time. That uptempo riff into ignorant breakdown halfway into “World Demise” is out of control. Shouts out to Allan West for having the best guitar style and also John Tardy for rocking some ill sweatpants on stage at their last SF show.

6. Infest - Mankind 7” (Draw Blank, 1991)
Probably my most listened to 7” that I own. Everyone thinks Slave, or even that second LP is the best, which is crazy to me because Mankind has always been my favorite. The songs are short and perfect and I think this 7” is what gave me the idea to make really short songs. My favorite song is “Once Lost” and I ripped it off for a song on the Caged Animal 7”, but I feel like Infest might’ve copped it from the Youth Korps ’82 demo. Maybe not, though.

7. Thin Lizzy - Shades Of A Blue Orphanage (Decca, 1972)
This is my favorite Thin Lizzy album. There are some stinkers, like “I Don’t Want To Forget How To Jive,” but “Brought Down,” “Chatting Today,” “Buffalo Gal” and “Shades…” are the best. I listen to this band every day.

8. No Le$$ - Lessons ‘93-’98 (Push Down and Turn, 2004)
I feel like if you are from Berkeley or some shit, you grow up thinking bands like Crimpshrine are cool. I am from the West Bay though, so instead of liking bands like Blatz or whatever, I was jamming this West Bay Koalition stuff. No Le$$ “Boxed In” 7” is probably my favorite, although the Plutocracy “Progress” demo and the Immortal Fate LP are also very classic. Death metal riffs with weird ass chords, Man Is The Bastard meets Pink Floyd with Bay rap and Scorcese movie samples on top of blast beats. Ovens recorded almost everything we ever did with Bart Thurber at House Of Faith because it was the same studio that these guys made all their recordings. Totally legendary. RIP Stinkweed.

9. No Justice - Still Fighting 7” (Underestimated, 2000)
One of the first 7”s I bought. Everyone I have met from D.C. always talks about how crazy this band was live, which I’ve only seen on VHS tapes and YouTube. They played at the Bart Station in SF once with What Happens Next?, and my friend Negative Tom was filming it and got tackled by the singer Timmy. Crazy shows aside, the music on this record is perfect hardcore. Youth crew vibe but also very punk. The one breakdown that’s like “I’LL NEVER ... BE WHAT YOU WANT ME TO BE!!!!!” -- you’re moshing.

10. Big Star - 3rd (PVC, 1978)
This is my all-time favorite album and a lot of my friends’ as well. I don’t really think it has influenced my music that much, but it’s the most important record to me. I think Radio City is a totally flawless album from start to finish, but this one is full of flaws and that is what makes it so great. Hard to pick a favorite track, but I think “Take Care” might be the one.

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