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Top Sounds - P

PAGANS/ GUILLOTINES - Split {Just 4 Fun} Sometimes you hear flat out, filthy Garage Punk Rock ‘n’ Roll that, even though a million bands have cranked out similar jams, it just hits like a fucking hammer. That’s the case here on this orange 7". But then, ya gotta consider that the A-Side is the almighty PAGANS, one of the earliest of Cleveland’s Punk legends. The track here, ‘Hopped Up’ features original vocalist, Mike Hudson, Ben outta RICHIE RAMONE’s band and even Richie Duguay who played on a Guns ‘n’ Roses record! Thankfully, it’s a rip-snorting slice of Punk that can square up to the likes of ‘Not Now, No Way’ and ‘Street Where Nobody Lives’ and holds its own without sounding revisionist. Smoking stuff Mr. Hudson - new album please? Flip the 7" over and you get two tracks by Houston’s GUILLOTINES. Both are noxious blasts of pure Rock ‘n’ Roll Punk energy, both an ode to drinking and, if it’s possible, imagine a fusion of THUNDERS’ HEARTBREAKERS Punk and MOTORHEAD pace and aggression and you’re there. A great split EP and if the PAGANS mean nothing to you, you better get this and get fucking educated mofo! (31.05.16)

PANDEMIX - Scale Models Of Atrocities {Boss Tuneage} First full length album from this Boston outfit and already it’s moved on a million miles from the demo reviewed below. This is much more incisive, instant, tight and musically adventurous without losing any of the band’s brazen Punk charm. Like the demo (of which four tracks are re-recorded here), there are a myriad of sounds here but most apparent to me was a snappy HC vibe fused with OBSERVERS dynamics and the vocal bite of FEEDERZ. Of the ten tracks there isn’t a duffer but highlights would have to be the tribal beats of ‘Faultless’, the closing rage of ‘The Pornography Of Hope’ and the minimal atmospherics and great slightly discordant angular lead guitar of ‘A Wall’, while best track is a battle between the urgent opener ‘Exit Strategy’ and the sedate, bass lead of ‘Always Alone’ that’s also laden with great dramatic vocals. Lyrics are very much of the Anarcho vibe, tackling real issues with intelligence and insight; this is highlighted by the spoken word pieces at the start of each side and the general aesthetic nature of the release. The CD comes with two additional tracks - two fucking good extra tracks at that. Stunning stuff that’s original, thought provoking and rocks like the proverbial mutha!! A contender for album of the year!! (09.09.17)

PANDEMIX - Pathological Culture {Boss Tuneage Flexipunk} Mighty, brutal and instantly impressive 5-track flexi (clear flex this time!) from this new band outta Boston, MA. Don’t expect SSD or FU’s style ‘core - this is a different Hardcore altogether. PANDEMIX bring in a distinct Anarcho Punk vibe, particularly in some of the arrangements that evoke ‘From The Cradle..’ era SUBHUMANS, and fuse it with FEEDERZ sneering, jibing arrogance, a vague J CHURCH sensibility, NAUSEA ‘core and channel it all through BRAIN F#’s penchant for distortion. Of the five tracks, the standouts include ‘Faultless’, closer ‘Conceptual Fuck’ and disc highlight ‘Total Immersion’. There’s certainly a lot going on here from spoken word parts, excellent shifting rhythms, inventive guitar and thought provoking lyrics. For all the comparisons above, PANDEMIX have actually nailed a really original sound already, which alone is an achievement - when the sound is as good as this, it’s a fucking miracle!!. Only negative is the sleeve which flows all the lyrics together in one long lump of text. Minor quibble but when the words are as strong as they are, it’s a bit of a side track. (30.06.17)

PANSY DIVISION - Quite Contrary {Alternative Tentacles} Latest long-player from PANSY DIVISION and it’s another cracker fusing serious, socio-political issues with ribald humour and (obviously) gay-positive perspectives. Throughout the album, and especially on some of the more rocking numbers, I heard a distinct CHEAP TRICK feel but that’s coupled with a LONG RYDERS country vibe on tracks like ‘Kiss Me At Midnight (New Year’s Eve)’ and ‘(Is This What It’s Like) Getting Old’. Other highlights include an excellent take on Pet Shop Boys’ ‘It’s A Sin’, the menace of ‘Too Much To Ask’ and the effervescent opener ‘He’s Trouble’. It’s the single below however, ‘Blame It On The Bible’, that really stands out with its sharp lyrics delivered with wit but without softening or compromising the message behind the words. Have to mention the drumming of Luis Illades too; much like Clem Burke did in BLONDIE, his playing is understated, keeps the songs tight yet adds some spectacular fills. Another great record in the PANSY DIVISION arsenal and one that comes with a lyric sheet and download code. Don’t make it another seven years until the follow-up please fellas. (11.06.17)

PANSY DIVISION - Blame The Bible {Alternative Tentacles} Precursor to the new album and if this is a hint of how that will be, it’ll be a cracker!! This is a two track 7" that goes straight for the pious, religious jugular. The lead track is among the most scathing attacks on Christianity (and organised religion as a whole), but it’s written with flair and humour as opposed to the too-often-heard nihilistic rhetoric. The song’s declaration of the bible being a validation for hate and persecution is written with subtle but direct aplomb and has much more effect because of it. Flip the disc and you get ‘Neighbours Of The Beast’ which is a little more light hearted but still attacks those bible-wielding zealots. It rocks along on a CRAMPS-esque rockabilly groove with the last few lines being incredibly potent (stating they’re less afraid of Satan than fundamentalist Bible-thumping creeps). If the issue of the band’s sexuality is an issue, or their thoughts on religion, then can you please stop reading and never, ever hit this website again. If the band’s music is a little too light-weight, well, that’s your choice but the message here is as potent as any Anarcho band, only done with much more wit. Me? I agree 100% with PANSY DIVISION and have been saying similar things since I was a teen (and that’s 30 years ago!). Essential. (14.04.17)

PARANOID VISIONS - Cryptic Crosswords {Overground} The last few albums by this Dublin band have been contenders for Album of the Year and this is absolutely no different. Actually, this could be the best of them all. Offering us ten new tracks, this is the perfect example of how Punk Rock should be in the current age. It’s political, it’s intelligent, it’s well played, it’s inventive and it doesn’t pander to anyone. Opener is the haunting, atmospheric ‘The Angelus (At 6pm)’ that tells of the Catholic Church’s abuse of children from a first-hand perspective. From there each song deserves a mention but the lyrical wit of ‘Anagram Sam’ is a highlight with the epic closing acoustic track, 'Ba-Nama Republic’ sung by Aoife Destruction, detailing the fall of the Irish economy and the corruption behind it. Outright highlight though is ‘Murder Most Foul’ that’s a fusion of KILLING JOKE tribal power and THE MOB’s more delicate, melodic work. The lead guitar refrain is truly haunting. This album see Aoife taking a more prominent role in the vocals and frequently brought to mind Pauline Murray of PENETRATION. She certainly works well with Deko’s more gravel-voiced timbres! From the music, through to the intelligent lyrics (which manage to be resolutely Punk without resorting to using ‘Fuck’ even once - bonus points there!) through to the packaging, this is pretty much the perfect example of all that is great about Punk Rock in every way. Recommended beyond words. (11.09.15)

PARANOID VISIONS - Two Black Eyes {Overground} Dublin’s finest offer up a tantalizing prequel to the next album with this rather dramatic 7". The lead track, ‘(It’s A) Bloody Road To Freedom’ looks - if I read it correctly - at the fight of Ireland to escape both the clutches of Britain and of religion. Lyrically it could be among the best of the band’s work but somehow, the sound is a bit muddled, especially on the chorus. Repeated plays offer a bit of clarity. Flip it and you get ‘Tough Love’ that is a duet between gravel-voiced Deko Dachau and the more angelic sounding Aoife Destruction. Behind it’s foot-tapping, sugary-sweet exterior (so much so it could almost serve as a duet in Grease!) lies a track with a powerful message of domestic violence and deceit. This is all wrapped in a sleeve featuring two tearful, blackened eyes, one reflecting a tough guy bearing his fist, the other a blurring of the Union Jack and the Irish Tricolour. Everything about this lot I rate, from the politics to the sound, to the care taken in the packaging and the artwork. And if this is a taste for the album, bring it on!! (17.08.15)

PARASITES - Pair Of Sides {Violated} A fully remastered reissue of the band’s debut album, originally released back in 1990 on Shredder Records. They were often lumped with SCREECHING WEASEL, QUEERS et al, but these guys had a less snotty approach; think early SENSELESS THINGS fused with RHYTHM COLLISION. This is a 16 track album and, due to some odd production on a few tracks, has a vague compilation feel. There are some crackers here though: opener ‘Refuge’ has a Dirtnap Recs vibe about it, ‘My Demon Eyes’ rocks like THE SAINTS, ‘Wild Youth’ brings in a CHANNEL 3 burn while the SENSELESS THINGS feel is clear in ‘Good Grief’. Needlessly to say,THE RAMONES are evoked on a couple of the highlights - ‘I Wanna Be Like Dee Dee Ramone’ and ‘Where The Kids Are’. Closer ‘New Voice’ is another highlight with gnarlier production. Oddly, ‘It’s Getting Hard’ has a really massive and slightly odd reverb on the vocal. I was surprised at how fresh and vibrant this still sounds today - possibly even more so than it did back in the 90s when the band’s less-sneering attack got over-shadowed by Ben Weasel and Joe King among others. First time on CD too.  (04.06.17)

PAST LIFE - EP1 (Broken Circles} Seven track EP (well, six tracks plus a rather dull instrumental opener) from this four-piece outta Brooklyn, New York. Think 50% POSIES, 30% SWERVEDRIVER and 20% LEMONHEADS and you’re pretty close. Vocals are semi-distorted and don’t always convince because of it. There are two out-right highlights in ‘Jack Knife’ and ‘Split The Ground’ that emphasize that POSIES vibe while ‘Losing Every Word’ is probably the fastest track on here. OK stuff and if you groove on the Indie Rock, Shoegaze-ish type gear you’ll no doubt groove to this too. Me? Enjoyable enough but ultimately all a bit forgettable. (22.09.16)

PEARS - Green Star {Fat Wreck} Ka-Boom!! Yep, PEARS second album hits like a punch in a Superhero comic with multiple exclamation marks! This takes all of the traits of ‘Go To Prison’ and manages to take them further yet. It’s tougher, faster and darker yet more melodic. Lots of highlights here too, be it ‘Hinged By Spine’ and the title track that roar like PROPAGANDHI, while ‘Cumshots’ is deranged and crazed enough for a DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN album. Then you got ‘Partridge’ that’s all Pop-Punk with a brutal end, ‘Snowflake’ that retains the anthemic Punk Rock the band do so well, throws in a little GERMS rip and could be the album highlight, until you get to ‘Cloverleaf’ that starts like CHEAP TRICK before morphing into TRAGEDY! I found this to be quite a challenging album but with great rewards on repeated plays. No idea where the band can possibly go after this or how they could write something comparable, but I’m sure the end result will be a riveting listen. (27.12.16)

PEARS - Letters To Memaw {Fat Wreck} Two track 7" featuring a couple of tracks from the band’s imminent second album ‘Green Star’. The lead track, ‘Snowflake’, is a convulsive slice of melodic Hardcore fusing DILLINGER FOUR jams with a twisted, neo-NYHC breakdown. Flip the wax and you get ‘Anhedonia’ which is a more direct Hardcore thrasher with some wigged out time changes, bellicose vocals and another brutal breakdown. The sound has certainly progressed from the debut album; there are time changes, style changes and totally impressive arrangements to suggest the ‘Green Star’ album could be stunning. Not much in the way of packaging but the vinyl sounds clean, crisp and raging. (04.10.16)

PEARS - Go To Prison {Fat Wreck} Originally self-released back in 2014, Fat snapped up this New Orleans band and it’s easy to see why. This is a raging 10-track slice of Hardcore that fuses classic sounds but brings them bang-up to date. Think AVAIL (circa ‘One Wrench’) fused with GORILLA BISCUITS and then add the extremities of NEGATIVE APPROACH aggression and DESCENDENTS (there’s even a neat little ‘DENTS lift at the very end) melody and you’re close. Add a bit of discordant, jazz-core riffage and you’re closer still. Highlights are plenty but closer ‘Grime Spree’, ‘Terrible’ and the deranged opener ‘You’re Boring’ could all make a claim, but ‘Forever Sad’ takes the title with an anthemic, bouncy chorus and grizzled ‘core verses. There’s even a cover of RAMONES - ‘Judy Is A Punk’ that sounds a bit out of place amidst the blitz of sound, but somehow PEARS make it work for them. Angry and refreshing stuff, and quite unlike any other Fat band so far. (02.05.16)

PENNY COCKS - Fake Gold And Broken Teeth {B-Core} Second full album from this ‘77-inspired via 50s Rock ‘n’ Roll qaurtet outta Barcelona, Spain. Like the previous ‘Do It Cock’, it’s an infectious, rollicking and at times boisterous slab containing 14 tracks which are more turbo-charged than Pub Rock but not as amphetamine driven as some of the original Punk bands. Think a fusion of REZILLOS and STIFF LITTLE FINGERS with a large helping of UNDERTONES (check ‘You’ve Got My Baby’) and you’re close. Highlights are plenty be it the surging ‘I Need A Job’, a great cover of THE FIREBALLS ‘Bottle Of Wine’, the juvenile arrogance of ‘Too Cool For School’ and the get-off-ya-butt-and-bust-some-moves ‘Shake Ya’ while the jerky, singalong brashness of THE EQUALS’ ‘So Excited’ could claim to be the album’s best. There’s definitely a progression here from the band’s previous work; the songs are stronger and there’s more of a genuine identity about the sound. Easily the best export from Spain since Salvador Dali, Paella, red wine, Pablo Picasso, San Miguel and ESKORBUTO. (20.05.17)

PETER PAN SPEED ROCK - Buckle Up And Shove It {Self Destructo} First album I’ve heard from this seriously heavy rocking band of greasers since 'Spread Eagle'. That album, wasn’t really my kinda ear-honey and it’s a similar vibe here. If you take the attitude of DWARVES, play it via MOTORHEAD fighting with early SUPERSUCKERS and add an arrogant, bilious vocal, you’ll be close. Opener ‘Get You High’ sets the scene with a damage-inducing riff that could’ve been lifted off ‘Overkill’ while ‘Murdertruck’ slows things to a heavy duty swagger. As with 'Spread Eagle', this would’ve been more enjoyable if it hadn’t been for all the guitar soloing and noodling. Not saying the guy’s a bad guitarist - totally not the case - it’s just I’m not partial to guitar lead mania. Oddly, there’s a cover of the DAMNED classic, ‘New Rose’ and you know what? They fucking nail it!! Other highlights include the title track that grooves on an early AC/DC-esque riff and FACES chorus and ‘Note To Self’. Hard rocking gear and probably the best I’ve heard from the band. (09.05.15)

PHYLUMS - Phylum Phyloid {Dirtnap} From a basement in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, comes this new band that features members of GOODNIGHT LOVING, HEAD ON ELECTRIC and HOLY SHIT! You get a dozen tracks (recorded on 8-track in just one day apparently) of ‘Nuggets’-imbibed, Garage Rock if played with the reverb-drenched vehemence of ‘A Date With Elvis’ era CRAMPS and the Punk energy of SICKO. Lots of highlights too be it opener ‘Can’t Get Through’ that sets the tone perfectly telling the story of the band not being allowed entry to Canada and having to revert to Yank basements, ‘Stutter Bug’ that grooves on a surf guitar lead and incorporates some backing vocals from BEATLES ‘I Am The Walrus’, ‘Bottle Of Wine’ that starts all psychedelic and mutates into a tom-heavy ode to wine drinking and the frenetic ‘Time Capsule’. Thought the band’s working of ‘Route 66’ fell a little flat though, and some of the originals didn’t quite hit the heady heights of those songs mentioned. Could’ve been a killer eight song 10". (16.10.16)

POINTED STICKS - Northern Electric {Sudden Death} Latest release from this Canadian Power-Pop band that released the minor classic, ‘Perfect Youth’ album back in 1980. Three original members from that era remain and, while this is not quite the album ‘Perfect Youth’ is, it’s still an impressive slab of well-crafted tunes. Think TV SMITH’s solo work, a bit of BIG STAR, T.REX and Steve Wynn and the DREAM SYNDICATE and you’re pretty close. Highlights would be the rolling ‘Impatient’ and ‘You’re Not The One’ but the standout is ‘Tsune’s Song’ that’s got a soaring chorus, subtle but effective backing vocals and a great key-change at the end. Elsewhere ‘Tin Foil Hat’ is a neat, almost swing-style number and ‘Skerabap’ an inventive acoustic guitar instrumental. Personally, I would have liked to have heard the guitar more to the fore in the mix; a bit too often it seemed to take second place to keyboards or other instrumentation (including a rather good brass section, especially on ‘Yesterday’s Girl’). This definitely gets better with repeated plays and, here’s a hint - this might be one of the year’s most underrated gems. (26.11.15)

POISON IDEA - Confuse And Conquer {Southern Lord} Latest album from these Portland legends and it could be the band’s best since ‘Blank Blackout Vacant’ - yeah - it is THAT fucking good!! You can hear just about every era of PI here: opener ‘Bog’ could be from ‘Kings Of Punk’ while ‘Psychic Wedlock’ could be from ‘Feel The Darkness’ and the brutal pairing of ‘Cold Black Afternoon’ and ‘The Rhythms Of Insanity’ could be from ‘Record Collectors...’. But this has much more than just a re-hash of past glories. ‘I Don’t Know You’ sees Jerry A spitting and sneering like never before, ‘Hypnoptic’ pivots around a taut RUTS-esque groove and could claim to be the best track along with ‘Trip Wire’ that pulls out some stunning stops. Big surprise is the vague NICK CAVEish ‘Dead Cowboy’ that’s a spooky, western sounding track in which Jerry A states he won’t be drinking again. I’ve not mentioned ‘Me + JD’ which is vintage, mid-paced POISON IDEA Punk or ‘Beautiful Disaster’ that incinerates. Interesting to hear a good bit of piano on a lot of these songs (and it works!) and guitarist, Eric Olsen, can certainly shred a few breakneck lead lines. No band gets near POISON IDEA when they play like this and all those whippersnappers who throw in tough-guy metal breakdowns or grunt and growl unintelligibly should listen and learn. One of 2015’s best by far and right up there with the pick of PI. (18.03.16)

POISON IDEA/ RÖVSVETT - split {Just 4 Fun} Brutal pairing on this 5-track blue 7" and those Kings Of Punk, POISON IDEA, kick off with the grinding ‘Something Better’ that builds through some sludgy riffage and savage double bass drums into a belligerent swagger by its climax. Their second track is a raw, live rendition of 13th FLOOR ELEVATORS’ ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ that unfortunately fades out at the guitar solo point but offers enough of a taste to wanna hear the whole gig. Flip the beastie over and you get Sweden’s RÖVSVETT ripping it up with three tracks of their trademark fierceness, one of which is a cover of POISON IDEA’s very own ‘Die On Your Knees’. Of their own tracks, ‘Två Nyanser Av Grå’ is probably the pick. Includes a neat insert with lyrics for the RÖVSVETT tracks and a few photos. Definitely a good pairing of bands and pretty essential if raw, uncompromising Hardcore Punk is your thing - and if you are reading this, it bloody should be. (06.03.16)

PRONTO - When You’re Gone {Off The Hip} Oh, from the off you know where this Australian 5-piece is coming from: snappy Garage Punk with a serious dollop of Power Pop making this simultaneously sneeringly snotty and as catchy as a case of Leprosy at an orgy! If you can imagine a fusion of EXPLODING HEARTS, THE BRIEFS, JAY REATARD and ‘Eternally Yours’ era SAINTS, you’ll be close. Highlights are plenty: the stop-start sneer of ‘Kiss Riff’, the ‘77 implications of ‘Sick Of You’ and ‘Shut Up’, ‘Call You Up’ has serious butt-shaking danceability and closer ‘Broken Heart’ rolls along with a taunt and a smile! Playing is loose, fluid and continually startling, production clear and perfectly balanced but not polished, and aesthetically the garish pink-on-monochrome graphics indicates to all those ‘in the know’ that this is an album those with impeccable taste in Garage Punk needs to hear. I could easily imagine this on Dirtnap Records and being one of the label’s best. Superb stuff showing that us located down here in the South Pacific can match anything the north cares to offer. (03.05.15)

PURE HELL - Noise Addiction {Cherry Red} Some bruising, careering early New York Punk here from this Black quartet that blazed a trail of tubro-charged, nitro-glycerine laced guitar leads and riffs fused with snotty, sneering vocals. The band actually formed in Philadelphia before relocating to NYC in ‘74 and came on like a fusion of MC5 and DEAD BOYS. Although the band only released one single, this collects 15 songs recorded in 1978 in London and NYC and is of a surprisingly high audio quality. You get plenty of highlights, be it the opening title track that has vocalist, Kenny Gordon, sounding distinctly like Stiv Bators, the pounding riff-blitz of ‘Rot In The Doghouse’ (that could’ve been on ‘Raw Power’), the furious ‘No Rules’ that could’ve been a classic for any more-infamous 77 Punk band with some decidedly PISTOLian guitar riffing while ‘Spoiled Spot’ could be a pre-cursor of USHC. Not only do you get the main disc, but there is an additional live-in-the-studio DVD and an excellent 16-page booklet featuring photos and an in-depth telling of the band’s history. A criminally over-looked band as these tumultuous tracks prove. Had this been released in ‘78 or ‘79, the name PURE HELL would probably be as prominent in the annals of NYC Punk history as any of the CBGBs legends. Yep - that good. (08.07.16)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2015 including:
PARANOID VISIONS (2 reviews), PASCOW/ Spermbirds, PHOENIX FOUNDATION, PINK FITS, PINK LINCOLNS, PMT/ Destructors, POLITICAL ASYLUM (3 reviews), PREVENGE/ Dig It Up, PRIMA DONNA, PROPAGANDHI, PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED, MIKE PUKE, PUSRAD (2 reviews).