Top Sounds - M

MAX MOTHERFUCKER - S/t {DIY} Lovely band name! This is a four piece that features Max on vocals - he used to be in CHRISTMAS and REAGAN YOUTH - and is a super-limited (like 100 copies in hand-sprayed sleeves) two track 7” and it’s instantly noticeable that rather than the arrogant, negative Punk of Max’s previous bands, this is more of a heavy duty Rock ‘n’ Roll blast. A-Side ‘Natural Things’ has TURBONEGRO written all over it - surging guitars, huge chorus and monster breakdown. All it needs is some keyboards a’la P Pot Pamparius and it’d be a deadringer without being a rip-off. Flip the disc and we get ‘Are We Alive’ that starts with a STIFF LITTLE FINGERS-esque guitar line before mutating into another dirty Rock ‘n’ Roll blast that brought to mind THE DRAGONS, this time with a slightly smoother, almost Power-Pop chorus. Good stuff with killer melodies - not what I was expecting at all. (10.08.21)

MOVING TARGETS - Humbucker {Boss Tuneage} Second album of new material from the reformed MOVING TARGETS and one that is instantly more restrained and reflective than the previous ‘Wires’. You get 15 songs, all stamped with that quality assurance mark that comes with any and everything that Ken Chambers is involved with. Plenty of highlights be it  ‘Matters To Me’ that comes on like a Grant Hart HUSKER DU song (in fact, I heard a lot of GRANT HART on this album), the sedately swagger of ‘Opposites’, the thrilling Power-Pop vibe of ‘On The Wall’, ‘Feed’ that displays the skills of the very able rhythm section at its best while highlight is a dual between another Hart-esque HUSKER tune in ‘Believer’ and ‘Think Line’ that has enough chops about it to have had a place on ‘Brave Noise’ (that was my first MT record by the way) and been a standout. Definitely an album that offers more with repeated plays; on first play it came over as a bit... lethargic. Fact is, there is a lot of depth to these songs, they are superbly written and performed and, given time, this might actually be viewed as one among the band’s very best - and that’s one impressive back catalogue. (27.03.21)

MOVING TARGETS/ THE SWIPES - World Gone Mad {Mad Butcher} Gorgeous white vinyl 10” featuring four songs from each band. Big draw for me was obviously Boston’s MOVING TARGETS. They kick things off with demo versions of ‘World Gone Mad’ and ‘Make It Right’ that both appeared on the recent ‘Humbucker’ album - and they sound better than 85% of ‘proper’ releases that come into the House Of Scanner. Then there’s a demo version of ‘Fear Of God’ that appeared on the awesome ‘Wires’ album before closing with an acoustic, decidedly BEATLES-esque ‘Waiting For You’ (that also appears in a different form on ‘Humbucker’). Just to tease us, the liner notes state TARGETS mainman Ken Chambers recorded a 12-track acoustic album in 2000 that this was taken from and that remains unreleased. Oh please, someone release it!! Those three demo tracks just blaze, the Chambers guitar work exemplary and the backing from Yves and Emilien is as good as it has ever been on a TARGETS record. Flip the disc and you get Germany’s THE SWIPES. They kick off with a very able take on MOVING TARGETS’ ‘Coming Home’. Of their other tracks, ‘Solidarity Land’ is from a 2019-released compilation for Project Shelter and is solid, pulsing Euro-Punk. The remaining tracks are Lockdown home recordings, both of which address the COVID pandemic with ‘Germicide Suicide’ sounding like latter-day ADOLESCENTS and closer ‘Isolation World’ bringing to mind, oddly, THE ADVERTS - possibly due to the vocal delivery. Real solid release with THE SWIPES surprisingly holding their own against the mercurial qualities of MOVING TARGETS. Includes CD with the vinyl. You know you want this. (16.02.21)

MUCH THE SAME - Quitters Never Win {Lockjaw} Chicago scenesters since 1999 with an album released on Nitro in 2006, this is a fully remastered reissue of the band’s debut album (and first time on vinyl) that was released in 2003 on AF Records. You get 12 tracks that feature that Fat Wreckish sound of late 90s but with something a tad more aggressive - think NO USE FOR A NAME fused with PENNYWISE and some GRADE-esque backing vocals. Highlights would be ‘Wish’ that could easily have been on a GOOD RIDDANCE album, the fluid riffing of ‘Masquerade’ and ‘Still Falling’ which again recalls GOOD RIDDANCE and could well be the album’s best with some heavy duty riffing and a great chorus. Competent stuff but kinda generic of that Fat/ Skate Punk sound of the era and sounding, well, pretty much the same... (12.02.21)

MUD CITY MANGLERS - Give Me The Hammer {Spaghetty Town} PODCAST PLAYED 20 years on from their debut, this quartet outta Pittsburgh, PA release its follow-up. You get 11 tracks as inflammable as nitro-glycerine that fuse ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN noxious Garage Rock ‘n’ Roll with the more potent intensity of TURBONEGRO while mainlining the first ROSE TATTOO album and it all kicks off with a chainsaw being revved up before the title track literally thunders in. Plenty of highlights from there too, be it the NEW BOMB TURKSisms of ‘The Way It’s Gonna Be’, the relentless barrage of riffage that is ‘One More Mile’, ‘Better Off Dead’ that has a vague DEAD BOYS swagger about it while highlight could be ‘Cheater Bar’ that blasts like MOTORHEAD. All those band references, along with the band’s self-professed claim as ‘Pittsburgh’s longest running sociopathic Punk Rock ‘n’ Roll band’ should tell ya this ain’t no floppy-fringed Emo screaming twaddle or political refencing rhetoric. What’s more, these mofos kill it. Crack a beer, do a line and let this rip. You won’t regret it. (18.04.21)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2021 including: