Top Sounds - B

BAD MOJOS - I Hope You OD {Voodoo Rhythm} PODCAST PLAYED Blasting outta Bern, Switzerland on a wave of RAMONE-o-core with distortion levels set to warp factor, comes this trio’s debut album. It’s snottier than The Roxy’s floor and catchier than herpes at a lepers’ orgy. You get ten tracks that fly by in 15 minutes bringing to mind early QUEERS and RIVERDALES with the attitude of RANDUMBS and BULEMICS and a hint of CRIME. Yep, I know, it’s a tried and tested RAMONES formula - but when it’s done well, as it is here, it’s pretty fucking enjoyable. Plenty of highlights with closer ‘Everybody Hates Me’, ‘Baby, I’m Doomed’ and ‘Out Of Control’ all being notable but it’s ‘Commit A Crime’ that stands out. Needless to say with those tracks and ‘Too Drunk’, ‘I Hate’, ‘I Wanna Be Dead’ and the title track, you’ll know this ain’t no politically correct snoozefest.  Totally trashy, lo-fi, raw snotty Punk Rock - and totally enjoyable stuff. (28.02.19)

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)

BITTER GROUNDS - Two Sides Of Hope {Bad Granola} PODCAST PLAYED Nine track album from this quartet outta Utrecht, Netherlands (their second) and it kicks of with ‘Lost’ that had me thinking of THE OFFSPRING without the track actually sounding too much like them - was more just a feel of the ‘Smash’ era I guess. The remaining eight tracks highlight the bands solid, catchy Punk sound fusing NO HOPE FOR THE KIDS, RANCID-stylee Ska-Punk (that’s really good) and the boots ‘n’ braces sound of LOWER CLASS BRATS. Highlights are plenty be it the surging, spirited ‘My Time’, the Ska-groove of both ‘Let Me See Now’ and ‘Bad Dreams’, while the highlight has to be a battle between the snarling ‘Let Them Talk’ and the bracing title track. Enjoyable stuff in general with some interesting lyrics throughout highlighting the band’s socio-political stance along with fear, angst and a vague hopelessness. What you may be pleased to read however, is THE OFFSPRING never crossed my mind again! (10.03.19)
BLANKZ, THE - Getting Over You {Slope} Another (the fifth!) exquisitely packaged 7” from Phoenix, Arizona’s THE BLANKZ. The lead track is a bit of a departure for the band, leaving much of the sneering Punk behind and bringing in something more akin to SWINGIN’ UTTERS gone New Wave, with the vocal in particular sounding reminiscent of Johnny Bonnel. Flip the wax for ‘Barfly’ that brings a bit of the sneer back and reminds me of ‘Welcome To Sanity’ era RAMONES with a splish of BAD RELIGION and added keyboards from BLONDIE! The whole thing is over in less than four-minutes - but the bonus of that is the fact that this is good enough to play again, and again. Dark navy vinyl, download card, full colour card sleeve, full colour inner sleeve with lyrics - as said - these records from THE BLANKZ and Slope Records look fucking great. Four more 7”s to go in the series before they all get compiled on one album; given the quality of the 7”s so far, that’s gonna make one fantastic album. Can’t wait! (24.04.19)
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)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2018 including:
BAD COP BAD COP (2 reviews), BAD CREDENTIALS, BAD DRESS SENSE, BAD SPORTS, BANDAGES, BASEMENT BENDERS, BAZOOKA FIST, BEACH SLANG, THE BEAT, BIB, PETER BLACK, BLACK PITTS, BLACK VOLVO, THE BOMB, BOMBPOPS, BOOTSCRAPER/ Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man split, THE BRIEFS and THE BRISTLES