Top Sounds - Comps

1977: The Year Punk Broke {Cherry Red} PODCAST PLAYED Cherry Red is on a total roller-coaster ride with these box sets of late; it seems every month brings another one that is even more essential than the previous. This gem is a three CDer, containing 87 tracks from the year in question. Although this does include a few major labels tracks, there’s no PISTOLS, CLASH or SIOUXSIE here - but we do get THE DAMNED, GENERATION X, STRANGLERS, X-RAY SPEX, THE JAM, HEARTBREAKERS, BUZZCOCKS, BOOMTOWN RATS and a multitude of other, lesser known bands all of which are equally deserving of inclusion here. It doesn’t strictly go for the obvious tracks either, some are single mixes rather than album cuts and maybe the surprise inclusion of the package is MOTORHEAD! Like all these neat boxset sets, you get a booklet - well more of a 56-page book actually - crammed with facts and figures and images. It’s all crammed in a clam-pack box that’s designed to look like a tabloid newspaper (and specifically The Sun I think!). This has been a massive spinner here at the House Of Scanner; it’s like having a jukebox loaded with your faves and some unknown gems. Highly recommended for either the ‘77 aficionado (honest - you won’t have to play all those super rare 7”s anymore!!) or for those whose knowledge of ‘77 Punk extends only just beyond the ‘Big Three’ (or four..five...six). (13.11.19) 
4-WAY SPLIT {Pirates Press} 7” split single between four bands all offering new songs from a vague Oi!/ Street Punk perspective. First up is ANTAGONIZERS ATL with ‘Marching On’ that’s melodic and brought to mind something like RED LONDON with a touch of GUITAR GANGSTERS. Nothing new, nothing too memorable. Disc highlight, CRIM, follows. The band’s outta Spain and ‘Alerta, Alerta!’ just has more dynamics and balls about it - kinda like LEATHERFACE fused with NO CHOICE. Flip the wax and you have NO!SE with ‘Lies’ that hits like RANCID slugging it out with NAKED RAYGUN while closer ‘Never Forget’ is by RUDE PRIDE (who also provided the art work) which brings to mind early SWINGIN’ UTTERS and provides the other highlight of the disc. If you’re a fan of any one of these bands, I’m sure you’ll find something within the sounds of the other three to appeal. Be quick though, this is limited to 1,500 copies. (10.01.20)

BURNING BRITAIN {Cherry Red} PODCAST PLAYED Following on from the utterly essential ‘Action Time Vision’ 4-CD set of late 70s independent Punk singles comes this baby; another 4-CD set this time looking at the early 80s over a whopping 114 tracks! It would be easy to think that this focuses on the UK82/ Street Punk sound, but it goes much further, so incorprates the vital Anarcho bands of the era as well as some of the ‘77 vanguard like THE DAMNED and THE VIBRATORS. I could list a bunch of bands, but you’d get a better idea if I told you all your faves from the likes of Clay, Mortarhate, Riot City, Small Wonder, Spiderleg, No Future et al are featured. DISCHARGE and CONFLICT; SUBHUMANS and CHAOTIC DISCHORD; OMEGA TRIBE and TOY DOLLS; POISON GIRLS and THE ADICTS; THE MOB and THE EXPLOITED - get the idea? Not only do you get all those tracks, many of which appear for the first time on CD and include many lesser-known gems, you get a comprehensive 64 page booklet of band biographies written by Ian Glasper. Like ‘ATV’, it’s all wrapped in a hardcase and looks fantastic. Yes, most readers will have some of these tracks already, but I can guarantee you’ll find a total gem from an unknown band, or find a name band that had passed you by. Even if you don’t, the quality of the whole package is simply stunning. Both Cherry Red and Glasper should be commended as a lot of work, time, effort and sheer love has gone into this. If you have any association with Punk, consider yourself a Punk or adhere to the morals of Punk then this should be pretty much mandatory. (31.08.18)

DAMAGED GOODS 1988/2018 {Damaged Goods} PODCAST PLAYED 30 years for a label is pretty damn good, and over 500 releases is even more impressive. When that label has been run with a total DIY ethic and is genuinely reputable, it’s virtually miraculous. And so we have this 37 track double CD compilation of the very best of Damaged Goods Records. You all should know the name, you all should have some of their records. This mixes old greatness - SNIVELLING SHITS, REVILLOS, J CHURCH and even MANIC STREET PREACHERS with equally great newness of personal faves CYANIDE PILLS, CUTE LEPERS, DAGGER DEBS, JOHNNY MOPED and SENIOR SERVICE. Add on various incarnations of BILLY CHILDISH and HOLLY GOLIGHTLY, THEE HEADCOATS, WAT TYLER, HELEN LOVE... I could easily go on but with 500 records and 168 bands to choose from, I’ll wager that you’ll revel in some old favourites, find some new gems and yearn for a few omitted favourites (no TV PERSONALITIES?). It’s packaged in a smart three-way fold out sleeve, has a neat booklet with covers from the records the tracks are taken from and a list of all the bands that have appeared on the label. Lovely jubbly!! Looking forward to the 50th anniversary boxset - make all rare stuff please - that sound a plan, Ian? (31.12.18)
DOWN SOUTH SPAGHETTY ACCIDENT {Spaghetty Town} Rather smart 14 track compilation from this label that is rapidly building a roster of strong, genuine, in-yer-face and blazing Punk Rock ‘n’ Roll bands. A lot of the tracks here are new recordings too, including opener and among the best here, RMBLR with ‘Next Time’, that comes on like THE BOYS jamming with GEORGIA SATELLITES. The quality continues with DIRTY FENCES who have even more of a BOYS sound, BBQT’s flat-out femme-fronted Rock ‘n’ Roll cool, the fantastically named SICK BAGS which is also femme-fronted but with a vague early LA vibe going on, the DEAD BOYS-isms of FIXED FACES, the lo-fi snotcore of both CHEAP TISSUE and DINOS BOYS and the more sedately grooves of PINE AND TOLLIVER. Fact is, for the Rock ‘n’ Roll obsessed, there’s not a duffer here while containing a lot of garage rocking variation. Limited vinyl, so if this sounds like your kinda ear-honey, you better hit Ted and the Spaghetty grew ASAP.  (14.06.19)

FAT WRECK HOLIDAY 2017 {Fat Wreck} Splatter coloured 10" vinyl comp here mixing some of Fat’s older bands (GOOD RIDDANCE, CHIXDIGGIT!, SNUFF, FACE TO FACE) with some of the newer (BAD COP/ BAD COP, PEARS, GET DEAD, BOMBPOPS) with middlers TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET and REAL MCKENZIES to fill it out. Best bits by far include GOOD RIDDANCE with ‘Dry Season’, CHIXDIGGIT with a new song, FACE TO FACE sounding hugely convincing with ‘Middling Around’ and SNUFF with ‘From Underneath The Ice’. Other notables include an unreleased song from THE BOMBPOPS (which has since been on the ‘Dear Beer’ 7") and opener BAD COP/ BAD COP with ‘Retrograde’ which was also the opener to their ‘Warriors’ album. Bold cover artwork from Chris Shary and the 10" format always works best for these kinda things I reckon. More than a 7" to keep the interest yet not dragging on for too long to become boring or generic. Fun stuff for Fat heads. (15.08.18)

LUCKY 13: Concrete Jungle Records Sampler {Concrete Jungle} 21 track sampler of the bands on this German label. As with all samplers, it can be a patchy affair depending on taste, but this actually nails it pretty well with highlights being TURBO ACs, THE MOVEMENT, ADOLESCENTS (of course!), THE GENERATORS, AUTHORITY ZERO, GOODBYE FAIRGROUND, THE REVOLVERS, THE HOLLOWPOINTS and MODERN PETS. I think this comes free with any purchase direct from Concrete Jungle (while stocks last at least I guess) and maybe a free download from the label’s bandcamp page. One little criticism, and a suggestion for the next volume, please include a track listing on the sleeve - it’s pretty fucking annoying hearing a smart band in the middle of the disc only to have to stop it and find which band it is. (16.03.19)
MERGE RECORDS 2019 FALL SAMPLER {Merge} I really like the roster of bands that is on Merge, be it past or present. Among older bands were ARCHERS OF LOAF and VOLCANO SUNS and of the current bands you get FUCKED UP, BOB MOULD and REDD KROSS. Of the 19 tracks here, it is only REDD KROSS that appears from that list. Other highlights include the boisterous TITUS ANDRONICUS, the jagged, quirky post-Punk of GAUCHE, SUPERCHUNK (or course), the wistful acoustic Americana of Kiwi (ex-THE CLEAN) DAVID KILGOUR AND THE HEAVY EIGHTS, the ‘Space Oddity’-esque Indie Pop of THE MOUNTAIN GOATS, the pulsing electroisms of TOO MUCH and the heavy hitting SLEATER KINNEY-esque jams EX-HEX. Might not be enough to tempt the hardened leather, bristles, spikes and acne Punk crowd, but those who can appreciate a wider range of cultural ear honey could well find some new, quality tunesmiths here. I sure have. (07.12.19)
OPTIMISM / REJECT {Cherry Red} Bloody hell, Cherry Red is quickly becoming synonymous for not just quality (that’s always been the case) but particularly for quality boxsets. This is another four CD deal spanning 1977 - 1981, featuring 105 songs all of which are entrenched in the DIY aesthetic of Punk and, more specifically in this case, Post-Punk. The names we know are here: EATER, RUTS, DRONES, ATV, MEMBRANES, SKIDS to name but a few - many of which all appear on the first CD. As the set unfolds, you get a crop of New Wave, Post-Punk and almost New Romantic/ Futurist type stuff including SISTER OF MERCY, THOMPSON TWINS, ASSOCIATES and SCRITTI POLITTI. As always with a set of this magnitude, there’ll be a few tracks that don’t appeal but also, and much more importantly, a whole slew of bands that are new names and impress. This is also packaged in that fantastic box-style that Cherry Red has been employing, so you get an introductory essay from Mark Paytress and a write up of each song, many of which are accompanied by a photo of the band or the record sleeve. With the renewed popularity of vinyl, these sets could be spearheading the survival of the CD; high quality packaging, great sounding tracks and obsessively compiled while retailing at a relatively bargain price. What’s not to love? Awesome!! (15.06.20)
REBELLION: New Band (Introducing) Stage 2018 {JSNTGM} Gargantuan double CD compilation featuring 50 new(ish) bands all of which played Blackpool Rebellion 2018. Although it is predominantly UK based, there is plenty of international flavour here too with bands from Mexico, Australia, Columbia, USA, Sweden, Belgium, Italy and Brazil. Considering there are 50 bands, most of which will be new names, it’s tricky to pin-point favourites but among mine were DEALING WITH DAMAGE, BLIND MAN DEATH STARE, BURNT TAPES and MENSTRUAL CRAMPS. Gatefold digi pack CD which doesn’t offer much info about the bands, but that works as a benefit as the listener isn’t swayed by any blurb the band might have written. Here, the only influence is the sound the bands crank out. Fantastic that this has been released on a Blackpool label too. Wanna hear something new? With 50 bands to choose from, there has to be something for everyone.(18.06.19)
STAY HOME {Drunk Dial} Now, here is a bit of inspiration! Drunk Dial Records came up with the idea of, while being on lockdown due to COVID-19, they’d get a load of their friends to record a track from the classic RAMONES album, ‘Leave Home’ and release it as a download entitled ‘Stay Home’. So, 14 tracks in all with some bands being faithful to the bruddas - MEGA, MONOMANIACS (which is one of the highlights with ‘Oh Oh I Love Her So’ [and features Dave Williams of CRUSADES]), HAKAN (another highlight with my favourite song ever by RAMONES in ‘Swallow My Pride’), DARK THOUGHTS and BLACK LINING. Then you get those who try something a bit new in CHRISTIAN BLUNDA (of MEAN JEANS) doing a cool New Wave Power Pop take on ‘I Remember You’, YUVEES take on ‘California Sun’ that wouldn’t be outta place on a VELVET UNDERGROUND album and the Garage fuzz of MATT K with ‘You Should Never Have Opened That Door’. And then there are those that have taken the songs and literally re-worked them into something new, including HAYLEY AND THE CRUSHERS that bring in a smooth, HOLLY GOLIGHTLY-esque take of ‘Suzy If A Headbanger’, DRAKULAS slamming a distorto bass and semi-Industrial coolness to ‘Carbona Not Glue’, HOUND OF LOVE (featuring Andre from MEAN JEANS) doing ‘You’re Gonna Kill That Girl’ in a Folk-ish, sugar-sweet Pop way and scoring another album highlight while the most dramatic is HAYBABY’s take on ‘Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment’ which is drawn out to over five-minutes to a droning, slowed-down, bass lead crawl. This is my favourite RAMONES album and could easily have gone soooo wrong with simplistic, bone-head rehashes. Instead, this is triumphant, invigorating and a thoroughly enjoyable revelation. Would be fantastic to see this released as a limited 300 coloured vinyl run. Make me the first purchaser please!! (28.07.20)
Click HERE for material reviewed prior to 2018 including:
Action Time Vision: A Story of Independent UK Punk 1976-79, At The Heart Of What Is Wrong With The British Establishment, Consolidated Records Label Sampler 2015, Dope Guns And Fucking In The Streets Vol 1-11, Four Way Split, Fat Music Vol. 8:Going Nowhere Fat, Looking For Johnny: The Legend Of Johnny Thunders Original Soundtrack, Mild In The Streets, New Wave Of The Grave New Beat Vol. 2, Swanfest 2016 and Without Kibou The Is Nothing Vol. 4