Top Sounds - B

BAD COP/ BAD COP - The Ride {Fat Wreck} Album number three for this quartet of ladies outta California. You get 12 tracks, which could we be the most solid and entertaining set from the band yet; they’ve certainly got stuff to say be it ‘Breastless’ that faces up to breast cancer, both ‘Certain Kind Of Monster’ and album highlight ‘Pursuit Of Liberty’ that look at the refugee/ immigrant issue within America or the reflective but defiant ‘Simple Girl’, every song holds the attention lyrically. Musically there’s some good stuff going on too, with a definite BAD RELIGION feel about the backing vocal and musical chops, a splinter of FUGAZI in ‘Simple Girl’, some Kim Shattuck vocal dynamics and the power of TILT at their peak. Then you have opener ‘Originators’ that could easily be a track out of a musical and the closing ‘Sing With Me’ that’s acoustic with a pointed message.  A strong album indeed. (10.05.2021)

BITTER DEFEAT - Minor Victory {Gravel Streak} PODCAST PLAYED Alt. Indie Rock band from Hamilton, New Zealand - which is just up the highway from me. I like it too - a lot in fact! You get five tracks that fuse JOY DIVISION with a bit of WIRE and a hefty splash of FONTAINES DC - the latter is particularly evident on opener ‘Light That Shines’. I really like the vocals, the lead vocal has a clarity and charm about it along with a rather self-assured attitude, while the backing vocals don’t quite take the expected route and are way better for it. Of the remainder, it’s ‘Long Lash’ that fuses the drama of PIXIES with the groove of TEENAGE FANCLUB and the sauntering, swaggering ‘All The Things’ with its FANCLUB-esque guitar solo that stand out. Lots to like here; production is clear without losing any ragged glory the tracks contain. Let’s hope this isn’t another of the all-too-many, all-too-short-lived New Zealand bands - I sense there could be some genuinely interesting songs to come. (30.08.21)

BOBBY FUNK - Longing For The Bonging {TNS} PODCAST PLAYED Debut album from this quartet outta the UK’s West Country of Cornwall and it’s an eclectic but thrilling mix of STUPIDS Hardcore, SHITTY LIMITS abrasion, and something akin to the damaged sound of vintage UK label, Small Wonder (CRAVATS, MURDER THE DISTURBED etc), all of which takes the music in a continually unexpected direction. Nine tracks in all that fuse the absurd (‘I’m A Cat’) with some rather direct opinions. Lots of goodies be it ‘Povvo Goblin’ that has a hint of WORLD/ INFERNO FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY, ‘Breakfast Means Breakfast’ which revels in the joys of a full-English and opener ‘Dunch’ that has some truly inventive guitar lines. Best track however is closer ‘Gammon Club’ that brings in trumpets and has a distinct SNUFF vibe both musically and lyrically. Great snotty vocals too, that at times had me thinking of Dick Lucas in terms of delivery (‘Onion Eyes’ in particular). Bet these are a fucking riot live! Another winner from TNS! (20.05.21)
BORTS - EP1 {Lockjaw} Debut release from this trio outta the South West of England featuring members of both YOUR DEMISE and TIRELESS. You get four tracks, that kick off with ‘The Nurse’, which is all nicely strummed acoustics a’la BILLY BRAGG before bringing in a few understated drums, some subtle backing vocals and even what appear to be tubular bells and orchestral keyboards - and then it explodes into a massive anthem that’s so fucking catchy the thing should come with a public health warning! ‘Like, Music Again!’ is another huge anthem this time cranked and amped. It’s pretty hard to avoid an IRON CHIC comparison. The remaining tracks ‘Welcome Break’ is a bit throwaway while closer ‘Broke Alone’  has a vague latter-day BAD RELIGION structure about it. Really strong stuff, produced rather smoothly by Lewis Johns who did stuff for MUNCIE GIRLS and PALM READER to name two, and apparently an album is imminent. This has served as a tantalising taster! (18.06.21)
BRASSICK - 2.0 {TNS} Birmingham, UK four-piece are back with their second album of Hardcore that’s fused with some interesting, melodic almost post-Punk twists. There’s definitely a bit of PROPAGANDHI in the sound, fused with a vague GORILLA BISCUITS groove and some forceful, bilious vocals from Nicola that brought to mind a more intense Brody Dalle outta THE DISTILLERS. Highlights are certainly the tracks that infuse something different, more atmospheric tones to the ‘core. ‘A Half Life’ sees a pairing of Nicola’s vocal with a male vocal that carries more of a melody and throws in a dramatic finale of pummelling guitars and a most unexpected breakdown and ‘Anslinger’ that addresses addiction while highlight is ‘They Say’. Interesting and arresting stuff - have to say given that the band has a lot to say, the addition a of a lyric sheet would have been great. Includes guest appearances from Jock outta G.B.H and Chris from SICK PINS. (02.10.21)
BURNT TAPES - Grower {Lockjaw} This is quite original: a 4-track EP available alongside a Beech tree that can be planted, in efforts to help the local environment, to combat climate change and improve mental health. Very noble! That aside, this London band’s previous album, ‘Never Better’ impressed and these four tracks continue that trait of solid, anthemic stuff that still brings to mind BANNER PILOT, along with a helping of IRON CHIC on this release. Of the four tracks, ‘Getitgotitgood’ had a bit of a GOOD RIDDANCE vibe, if jamming with J CHURCH and closer ‘Yuzi Acoustic’ is a folksy campfire acoustic run through but it’s the lead track ‘Dynasty, Die With Me’ that takes the best track award with its propulsive energy and soaring vocal. Definitely something anyone who loved ‘The Fest’/ No Idea type sounds should be turning their ear to - not that it should be exclusive to those ears as this is passionate and energetic stuff. (22.05.21)

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