Top Sounds - Comps

1978: The Year The UK Turned Day-Glo {Cherry Red} PODCAST PLAYED Following on from the successful ‘1977’ box, Cherry Red moves forward a year. Same deal - three CDs featuring 79 songs from a range of bands and a fantastic booklet detailing every track. Whatcha get?? ‘Big’ names include STRANGLERS, SHAM 69, STIFF LITTLE FINGERS, THE CURE, THE JAM, MAGAZINE, PIL, BOOMTOWN RATS, LURKERS, JOHNNY THUNDERS and, of course, X-RAY SPEX with the title track. Other goodies include COVENTRY AUTOMATICS (before they became the legendary SPECIALS), THE QUESTIONS (which were younger than EATER who also appear) and a fantastic TUBEWAY ARMY track. As always with these things, there’s a few tracks that don’t resonate but they are down in single numbers while the stunners are multiple. Lots of names that only made on record and disappeared and lots I had never heard of before (like CYANIDE’s awesome WHO cover). Another essential set from Cherry Red both for the older heads who will remember these days, and the new set who want to look back and catch-up on a history lesson that’s way more interesting than how the fucking pyramids were built. Oh - and finally I have ‘Jilted John’ on CD! (03.05.21)
Fakes {Drunk Dial} I’m really starting to revel in the Drunk Dial world. Their 7” series is cool and fun and this 16 track digital comp is inspired, jolly and with proceeds going to worthy causes. So, all these songs feature real bands covering songs by fake bands (think Josie and the Pussycats) that only existed in TV shows or movies - including The Simpsons, This Is Spinal Tap and even Star Trek. And proceeds go to, among others, Colorado Puppy Rescue, Rainbow Railroad, Crisis Services and Don’t Shoot PDX. Of the tracks, it’s JIFFY MARX WITH KCAR and a minimalist take on ‘Sugar Sugar’, PAVID VERMIN with a snappy ‘Shout Your Lungs Out’, THORAZINES WITH HAYLEY CRUSHER with a MUFFS-esque take on ‘Spin Around’  and CAREFUL with ‘A Kiss At The End Of The Rainbow’ that impress most while highlight is probably the sneering POOL PARTY with ‘Gimme Some Money’ that comes on like RAMONES having a punch-up with THE CRAMPS. Of course, given the nature of comps, some tracks fail to hit the mark, but this definitely has more positives than negatives. (29.06.21)

Nice One - 4-Way Split {Brassneck/ Rad Girlfriend} Super limited 7” compilation EP kicking of with former BLITZ/ EPIC PROBLEM man, MACKIE. He’s probably the ‘big draw’ here as he does a version of the old BLITZ tune, ‘New Age’ - and absolutely fantastic it is, done more in the style of EPIC PROBLEM and sounding so fresh it’s hard to believe the original is now knocking on the door of being 40 years old! THE SLOW DEATH follow with ‘Young Trees’ that brings to mind something betwixt HOT WATER MUSIC and IRON CHIC. Flip the disc and you get San Diego’s TILTWHEEL with the fantastically titled ‘Ballad Of A Dry Brain’ that fuses that early Lookout! Sound with something approaching DILLINGER FOUR and could claim to be the best track on the EP. Closer it the UK’s very own SPOILERS with a new track in ‘There, Well Thereabouts’ which is another fine track of melodic but boisterous Punk. All these bands really compliment each other and, it’s gotta be said, there’s not a duffer here. Tremendous. (15.11.21)

No Heroes No Leaders No Artists No Gods: A Tribute to NEW BOMB TURKS {Spaghetty Town} I remember seeing the legend that was NEW BOMB TURKS play their snotty Garage Punk Rock jams so fucking hard they must have damaged the foundations of the Highbury Garage. We got stopped by the cops on the way there too due to some kinda terrorism issue - you can only imagine the dude’s face when we told him what band we were heading to see!! Raging night, raging band and one that fully deserves a tribute. You get 14 international bands here (although nine are from Sweden) with the big hitters being THE HELLACOPTERS swaggering through ‘Veronica Lake’, THE HIP PRIESTS blasting ‘Jukebox Lean’ with such abandon that you’d think they were Columbus, OH natives, THE CHUCK NORRIS EXPERIMENT slicing up ‘End Of The Great Credibility Race’ and THE DRIPPERS wah-wah laced slam through ‘Hammerless Nail’.  Great cover artwork from Timo Tiivas also. Can’t say I heard many variations on the originals - but why fuck with perfection? (04.03.21)

Shellshock Rock {Cherry Red} PODCAST PLAYED Cherry Red is really nailing the market for quality compilation packages and this could be the best of the bunch. This features three CDs containing 74 tracks by bands from Northern Ireland circa 1977-84. There are the obvious names - UNDERTONES, STIFF LITTLE FINGERS, RUDI, DEFECTS, PROTEX, RUEFREX, STARJETS, OUTCASTS and a veritable treasure chest of lesser known bands (check THE SINGLES! One record - fucking stunning). Besides that there is a DVD of the 1978 movie Shellschock Rock that features some of the above and runs for about 50 minutes. It’s a great snapshot of the era and adds massively to the whole package. Finally, this is all packed in a hardback book sized case and includes a 76-page book with details of all tracks, bands and a lot of press cuttings about the movie. The opening essay by Stuart Bailie is a real scene-setter and rams home that while some sang of a white riot, others of anarchy in the UK, these bands faced brutal times; a virtual civil war. This thrills on so many levels - a snapshot from a ravaged country, a musical revolution, an education lesson, a personal and political diary from multiple diarists and a constant source of inspiration. Stunning stuff - something that’s been impossible to put down at the House Of Scanner since it arrived. Essential? You fucking betcha! (09.08.21)

Source {Independent Project Records} If this isn’t the best looking promo CD I’ve ever seen, then set fire to my record collection and give me a steady diet of Justin Beiber. This beautiful item is housed in an over-sized sleeve, has a sumptuous, fact-filled insert, has a wraparound base and even the paper wallet that houses the CD is specifically printed. Wonderful. So, do the tunes live up to the pack? Oh yes! You get 19 tracks from the label’s roster to celebrate entering its fifth decade. Stacks of goodness here including opener HALF STRING that do a TELEVISION meets FONTAINES DC thang and throw in a dreamy, eloquent M8, BPEOPLE that churns like VOIDOIDS mashing it with FRANZ FERDINAND with added sax, FOR AGAINST which fuse ICICLE WORKS with early U2, JEFFREY CLARK AND THE RIVER’S EDGE QUINTET that’s a wonderfully sedate and regal bonding of JOY DIVISION and NICK CAVE, and TORN BOYS that do a lo-fi TALKING HEADS with drum machine jams. However, best bands for me were SHIVA BURLESQUE with a sublime fuzzed-up pulsing slice of Post-Punk that tips things on its head with a splash of psychedelic Americana, RED TEMPLE SPIRITS that do that tribal, tom-heavy sound that THEATRE OF HATE and DEATH CULT made their own and SPRINGHOUSE which is graceful, sumptuous acoustic bliss that brings to mind Chris Bell’s BIG STAR work with added Americana. Totally impressive stuff - not everything hit home but everything proved interesting. Highly recommended. (08.02.2022)
Sweet Time RNR Comp {Sweet Time} Ohh - nice!! There are stacks of goodies on this 26 track compilation. Names that instantly stand out include PERSONALITY CULT, SICK BAGS and THE AR-KAICS. But like the very best compilations, it’s not the stuff you already know about that make them special, it’s the bounty of tunesmithery that’s unknown - and this is loaded. Other notables that got the House Of Scanner moving include the thrilling Power Pop of FIXED FACES, the frantic lo-fi Punk of MONONEGATIVES, the bruising Garage Punk of ZODIAC PANTHERS, the laid-back Rock ‘n’ Roll cool of JEREMY AND THE CLONES and the surging, sneering Punk of NIGHT TALKERS. I could mention several others here - FRESH GRAVES, LIFTERS, DADDY SISTERS to name but another three - but ultimately if you like your Rock ‘n’ Roll nitro-laced, lo-fi and sneering yet melodic, then I’m sure you’ll find a bunch of new fave-raves on here. (04.01.21)
TNS Records Volume 4: Cheap Cans Broken Vans + Basement Bar Bands {TNS} I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - just in case you missed it: TNS Records do things just right - it operates exactly how a DIY label should. Quality product, great promotion, gig promoters, zinesters, musicians - I love everything about the label, even though some of the bands aren’t quite to my taste. Anyway, this is a 33-track compilation of a range of bands with several tracks previously unreleased or only released on a digital platform. Plenty of goodies too including THE DOMESTICS, GRAND COLLAPSE, KNIFE CLUB (with an unreleased song - and another banger!), YOUTH AVOIDERS, THE RESTARTS (another unreleased goodie), TIM LOUD and CASUAL NAUSEA. Neat gatefold digipack sleeve with a booklet showing every release’s cover. There is also a neat, glossy A5 zine that comes with this that details the history of TNS and if you need any proof of how genuine Andy and Bev are about what they do, then this is it. Inspirational people, great label, awesome comp. Nuff said.  100th release already? Looking forward to 200!! (26.03.21)
Click HERE for material reviewed prior to 2021 including:
1977: The Year Punk Broke, 4-Way Split, Burning Britain, Damaged Goods 1988-2018, Down Town Spaghetty Accident, Fat Wreck Holiday 2017, Lucky 13: Concrete Jungle Sampler, Merge Records 2019 Sampler, Optimism/ Reject, Rebellion: New Band Stage 2018 and Stay Home