Top Sounds - B

BAZOOKA FIST - Get Up Now! {DIY} PODCAST PLAYED After a very impressive demo release last year, Brisbane’s BAZOOKA FIST are back at it with this two track single. The lead track’s a vaguely menacing mid-paced rocker that’s just classic Aussie sounding Rock ‘n’ Roll, equal parts THE SAINTS, CELIBATE RIFLES and AC/DC with a neat bridge, sharp guitar solo and a hint of DEAD BOYS just for good measure. Second track, ‘War Crimes’, ups the pace somewhat, includes another sharp guitar solo and adds a vague DWARVES vibe but accompanied once again with that fantastic Aussie attitude and sound that’s near impossible to replicate - must be the climate! Production is super clear too; vocals are well up in the mix, drums are crisp and the songs just rocking and addictive. One negative though; it leaves me wanting to hear more. Two tracks just ain’t enough fellas. (05.06.18)

BEDFORD FALLS - Send More Bees {Boss Tuneage} Third album (and first in six years) from these Indie-Punks outta Cardiff, Wales and it’s certainly a more heavy-duty sound than I recall the previous albums being. The guitars sound much bigger, bordering on a CRAZY HORSE ragged glory in fact, while the songs are probably the band’s most effective take on that LEMONHEADS meets MOVING TARGETS sound so far. Plenty of highlights among the 12 tracks too with ‘Bring It’ in particular echoing ‘Zuma’ era NEIL YOUNG, the spritely ‘Moral Compass’, ‘The Fall Gurl’ that starts with a subtle acoustic strum and ends with some stunning backing vocals and closer ‘Everything Ends’ while the standout is the droning, bitter guitar assault of ‘Oathbreaker’ There is a weird cymbal distortion going on in places too (most notable on opener ‘Getting Up’ and ‘Defeat Artist’) that’s really distracting - not sure if it’s a CD thing or whether that appears on the vinyl but it does taint those songs in particular. Easily the best stuff I’ve heard by the band; those over-amped guitars and harmonic backing vocals have really added depth. This is also the first BEDFORD FALLS album I’ve come back to for several repeated listens - so use that as your marker. (03.05.18)

BLANKZ, THE - (It’s A) Breakdown {Slope} Single #4 already from this band outta Arizona that is rapidly making a name for itself by releasing these 7” slices of consistently high-quality Punk Rock/ Power Pop perfection. The lead track sees a fusion of STEVE ADAMYK BAND Punk with the electro drive of EPOXIES, while the flip, ‘You’re Not My Friend Anymore’ brings in a BUZZCOCKS feel. Great stuff and this is packaged fantastically in a full heavy duty 3-D sleeve, 3-D lyric inner sleeve, a scratch-resistant inner sleeve, plastic outer sleeve, download code and 3-D glasses!! Superb - everything that makes a record special (unlike a cold download). I always think the vocals are going to be more sneering when I play a BLANKZ record, but the attention to melody and clarity really make them something special. I think 7” #5 has already been released - question remains whether they are blowing their best tracks on these singles, or whether they have a banquet of them ready for a full album. No matter what - can’t wait to find out! (11.01.19)

BLANKZ, THE - White Baby {Slope} PODCAST PLAYED Debut 7" from this five-piece that includes Slope Records’ founder Thomas Lopez on vocals. From the off, there’s a big RAMONES influence here. Lead track, ‘White Baby’ kicks off with a ‘...Sedated’ style riff before some excellent keyboard parts kick in adding a whole new dimension to the sound. The flip, ‘Sissy Glue’ is a bit faster, a bit gnarlier but still includes some excellent keyboards pushed right to the fore, giving the sound an almost New Wave feel without any compromise on the Punk attack of the band - much like SMOGTOWN or THE BRIEFS in fact. While the RAMONES influence is there, this is much more than a simple rip of the bruddas - thanks to the keyboards and more snarling vocal. Trivia fans might be interested to know that this was produced (rather excellently I have to say also) by MEAT PUPPETS’ Cris Kirkwood. Really confident, strident debut release. (31.07.18)

BOMBPOPS, THE - Dear Beer {Fat Wreck} Four track 7" EP that follows on from the ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ album (that didn’t do much for me) and it kicks off with the title track that has a distinct LAGWAGON/ NOFX sounding bass line before opening up into a really rather impressive, highly melodic Pop Punk track that’s a marked notch up from the aforementioned album. Of the remaining three tracks, ‘I Call Bullshit’ almost reaches the kinda sound DEAD TO ME can crank out, ‘Turn Up The Thermostat’ was the weakest of the tracks here while ‘Polluted Skies’ continues the trait of the debut track but with some harmonies that had me thinking of the GO-GO’S had they signed to Fat Wreck and adopted the ‘Fat Sound’. Maybe the brevity of this four-song blast is they key to the band for me; an album of such highly saccharine-sweet melodic Punk as was ‘Fear...’ left me non-plussed, cold even. This was quite different; still rather sickly sweet but with enough substance to suggest more than mere candy floss. One for the summertime Bar-Be-Ques I reckon.  (08.06.18)

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