If you start looking into punk music, you're going to end up with someone recommending Television's Marquee Moon as one of the best, and first, punk albums of all time. However, it's not really punk. It's sometimes called "post-punk", which is impressive considering that in 1977 punk had barely begun existing. Some say "proto-punk", but others disagree because proto-punk can only be applied to bands pre-1977 that influenced the eventual emergence of punk. Sometimes it's qualified as "art-punk", but I think that is overly broad to the point of meaninglessness.
The main thing that seems to qualify Marquee Moon as "punk", at least musically, to some people, is the fact that vocalist Tom Verlaine sounds like shit. To my ear, which has grown up listening to Win Butler and Jeff Magnum, Verlaine sounds perfectly normal, but I'm assuming back in 1977 to have a vocalist who is so unapologetically warbly was probably pretty punk rock. The entire sound of this album is original, interesting, daring, different ... isn't that what punk is about?
That said, I don't think there is anything punk about this album. If this album came out today, it would just be called indie rock, and there wouldn't be any debate about it at all.
What I love the most about this album, aside from the fact that it is really, really great, is the fact that I can hear little bits of almost every band I love in it. The bands that stick out the most would be White Denim, who use virtuoso dueling guitars to similar effect, and Tulsa, who, for their brief existence, built an entire dreamy album around soloing progressions. You've got aforementioned Win Butler, warbling away...
As this writer points out it can be hard to nail down who influenced who, ultimately, because everyone's just a warped version of someone else. Is it fair to say anyone was influenced by Television, who doesn't specifcially cop to it? I love that writer's tear-down of emerging punk:
The Ramones were louder, the Pistols nastier, the Clash purer, Nick Lowe more clever, and Wire more violent, but Television was different. Television wasn't a band you could easily copy like the others. [...] What I'm saying is that Television was DIFFERENT than anything I had heard before. The Pistols were really just super-fast Mott The Hoople (great band), Ramones a raunchy surf band, the Clash a raw pop-reggae band, Nick a great popster, and Wire...well, another bunch geniuses who took Punk higher, but later than Television.
What is punk, really? That's the question. What's the answer? I'm still trying to figure that out, but at the moment my conclusion is that punk isn't really anything at all, at least not during the 70's and early 80's, just artists taking chances by meshing rock with other genres, trying new things, and doing it loudly and with much enthusiasm. It's toally understandable that people get the ideas of DIY and punk conflated.