Top Sounds - D

DARTS, THE - I Like You But Not Like That {Alternative Tentacles} Second album (first for AT) from these psyche Garage Rockin’ ladies and the swirling, careering opener ‘Breakup Makeup’ kicks off in relentless style, picking up where EP below left off. From there you get another 11 crackers with highlights being the fantastic circular lead riff of ‘My Way’, the booming bass lead of ‘Phantom’ along with its pounding, demonstrative chorus, and the GO-GO’S-esque 60s Pop of ‘Thin Line’ while the pulsing, seductive ‘Don’t Hold My Hand’ could well be the album’s standout. All of the influences mentioned on the EP below still stand, but there is something a little darker, a little more sinister here both musically and lyrically (see the moody ‘Love U 2 Death’) that’s coupled with a nod to early PANDORAS on some of the more rocking tracks. Production is perfect, slightly fuzzed and imposing with the seductive, velvet vocals ringing out clearly. Recommended if you loved, CRAMPS, 60s girl bands and THE DAMNED as NAZ NOMAD - and let’s face it, we all should love those bands! (22.07.19)
DARTS, THE - Subsonic Dream {Alternative Tentacles} PODCAST PLAYED Two track 7” of bruising, confronting all-girl psych-Garage Rock. Lead track ‘Subsonic Dream’ lurches along on a dense, distorted bass and echo-laden vocals. It’s given a real lift by some Farfisa Organ, vocal harmonies that evoke those classic girl-groups of the 60s and wig-out guitar work. Think FUZZTONES with attitude. The flip features ‘Bullet’ that pushes the Farfisa ever more the front while the vocal is more attitude laden and to the fore. Pretty thrilling stuff that’s power-packed but never loses sight of harmony and pulsing arrangements. The four ladies who make up THE DARTS have been in a number of notable bands - LOVE ME NOTS, DOLLYROTS, ZERO ZERO and BRAINSPOON among others, and they’ve already released a number of releases - which kinda explains why the couple of slabs here sound so assured and confident. One to watch! (27.11.18)

DEAD ENDING - Shoot The Messenger {Alternative Tentacles}  PODCAST PLAYED After a series of stunning EPs, this Vic Bondi-fronted project fimally delivers its debut album. Boasting 14 tracks, there are certainly more textures here than the bluster-filled EPs. Opener ‘The Long Decline’ could have even been on a REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY album. The same could be said about several tracks, in particular ‘Fate’ which could be the album’s best. From there, highlights include ‘Class War’ that rips along on an embittered riff with enraged Bondi vocals, ‘Make My Own Way’ which is given extra depth by some very NAKED RAYGUNish backing vocals from Jeff Dean, the title track that has some expansive, almost Revolution Summer-esque guitar tones under a highly political lyric, the politics are even more pronounced in ‘The Boss Wants My Vote’ while both ‘Drones V2’ and ‘Manic In Detroit’ keep the Hardcore barrage in check with short, snappy enraged attacks. The other potential best track could be ‘Burn This Day’. Have to say, the band’s previous releases have all been big spinners here but  this, given its variety in tone, pace and dynamics, has usurped all of those to be able to claim the best release in a very impressive catalogue. All killer, no filler - a cliche but true in the case of this rancorous, political slice of inventive, no bullshit Hardcore. (12.02.18)

DEALING WITH DAMAGE - Don’t Give Into Fear {Boss Tuneage} PODCAST  PLAYED Latest project from the maverick talent that is former STUPIDS, SINK, BIG RAY, CHOCOLATE, K-LINE and BAD DRESS SENSE man Ed Wenn. You get four tracks on this spiffy 7" EP, with the lead track, ‘Speeding Up’ opening with a vaguely BYRDSian guitar passage before developing into a Revolution Summer cracker, while ‘Lost Soul’ starts off with a CRASS-esque chant before revisiting the sound of CHOCOLATE. Flip the disc and ‘Hate Can Set You Free’ comes on like K-LINE doing a SINK outtake (and very good it is) before the relatively epic closer, ‘January’ kicks in all brooding and pivoting around Paul’s dominant bass - and then igniting with some trademark Wenn Hardcore guitars. Four tracks, four stunners and yet another impressive record from Ed Wenn. Negatives? Not fucking many but maybe the production could’ve been a tad thicker? Comes with download, sticker and lyric sheet. First release of a musical journey I hope will continue. Most definitely one to watch! (30.04.18)

DELINQUENTS - About Last Night {Violated} PODCAST  PLAYED With a name like that, I was expecting some tenth rate RANCID copyist. Fact is, this is fucking fantastic spiky, melodic ‘77-esque Punk that brought to mind STIFF LITTLE FINGERS, MEGA CITY FOUR, CYANIDE PILLS and ALBERTO Y LOS TRIOS PARANOIAS! Amidst all the strong Punk Rock is the jangling, dramatic Post-Punk of ‘Keep On Chokin’’ which is preceded by the 46-second, 7 SECONDSish ‘Not Your Problem’ and followed by the acoustic ‘The Fuck You Song’. Other moments of delectable delinquency is the excellent and witty ‘Valentines Day’, the mid-paced ‘Waste Of Time’ that has tones of second album PARTISANS and the perfect tone-setter of album opener ‘Ctrl Alt Defeat’. Absolutely excellent stuff! It’s true that there’s little that can be done within Punk Rock that is genuinely new and groundbreaking today, but it’s also true that when Punk Rock is played this fucking well and with this amount of style and swagger, then it still comes on like a breath of fresh air laced with some of the best Speed around. A total winner. (12.03.18)

DEPARTMENT S - 45 Revolutions: Singles 1980 - 2017 {Westworld} If ya didn’t know, these guys had a minor hit with the moody ‘Is Vic There?’ which was more New Wave than Punk or even post-Punk. And that pretty much follows the trait of this 15 track compilation (of which three are different takes of ‘Is Vic There?’). Musically, think DAVID BOWIE, THEATRE OF HATE, a bit of STRANGLERS and a bit of JOY DIVISION and you’re kinda there. Other highlights include the jagged ‘On My Own Again’, a great take on ALVIN STARDUST’s ‘My Coo Ca Choo’, the spritely ‘When All Is Said And All Is Do’ and the dour sobriety of ‘God Squad Saviour’. Not quite sure why they thought it wise to re-record ‘Is Vic There?’ as it’s no improvement on the original. Often viewed as a one-hit wonder (which, in terms of ‘hits’, is true), DEPARTMENT S definitely had several other quality tracks - and this is the ideal place to discover them for the curious. (19.02.18)

DIRECT HIT - Crown Of Nothing {Fat Wreck} After the drug-tinged ‘Wasted Minds’, DIRECT HIT take another new turn with their fifth album. Opener ‘Different Universe’ is akin to the musical experimentation on the new FUCKED UP album with keyboards, tom-heavy beats and a decidedly Gothic introduction that combine to make a truly unique DIRECT HIT listening experience. And that trait continues with ‘The Problem’ being a sedate, pulsing electronic tune with plaintive vocal and the likes of ‘Welcome To Heaven’, ‘Losing Faith’ and ‘You And I’ (being one of the album’s best) having a vague GREEN DAY circa ‘American Idiot’ confidence while continuing the experimentation. ‘Perfect Black’ and ‘Bless Addiction’ see a PEARS influence come in while ‘Bad Answer’ could be the highlight, fusing classic DIRECT HIT Punk structures with piano, tubular bells (maybe?), sax and a killer melodic refrain. A much more satisfying album than ‘Wasted Minds’ with stronger songs, depth to production and a boldness in sound that mirrors the progress of the latest ‘Dose Your Dreams’ era FUCKED UP. (20.04.19)
D.O.A. - 1978: Unreleased Tracks/ Singles {Sudden Death} OK, pretty fucking simple - if this doesn’t appear in the Top Ten lists of every Punk on the planet then some re-evaluation is needed. D.O.A. at their formative, ferocious best. The tracks actually span the years 1978 - 1982 and of the 21 tracks, 11 are demo recordings, one is from the rare (and fantastic) ‘Vancouver Complication’ comp with the remaining nine being those classic singles. So, highlights? Well, the demo stuff is mandatory listening. Opener ‘The Enemy’ shreds in this 1979 demo form while a demo of ‘Bored And Suicidal’ from 1981 is the band at their belligerent best with Chuck Biscuits playing those drums like there’s no tomorrow. Other demo tracks that are decidedly Tracks Of Necessity include ‘Smash The State’ (from 1981), ‘I Hate You’ (from ‘82 and the only track not to feature Biscuits’ monstrous drumming), ‘America The Beautiful’ and ‘Liar For Hire (both from another 1982 demo). The singles (‘Fucked Up Ronnie’, ‘World War 3’, ‘The Prisoner’ - need I go on?) are total Punk classics and should need no introduction but possibly sound even more iconic when placed among the demos here. The only thing that let’s it down a tad is the packaging. Yep, musicians get credit, all the songs dated, but there’s only four photos of the era - all of which are stunners - especially the back cover! Minor criticism, but a few more pics and maybe an essay from Joey woulda just given this a bit of additional value from an historical and fans’ perspective. Sonically though, this is everything that should remind the listen of just why they got into Punk in the first place. Indisputably classic stuff.(28.06.19)

D.O.A - Fight Back {Sudden Death} PODCAST PLAYED Studio album number 17 (I think) from these Canadian legends and the follow-up to last year’s stunning ‘Hard Rain Falling’; it’s also the band’s 40th anniversary release. You get 13 tracks of that patented D.O.A. rage combining the politics of the ‘Time To Fight Back’, ‘State Control’ and ‘The Cops Are Comin’’ with the beer drinking anthems of ‘The Last Beer’ and ‘We Won’t Drink This Piss’. Plenty of highlights be it the blunt and singalong opener ‘You Need An Ass Kickin’ Right Now’, the swagger of ‘Time To Fight Back’, the pogo riffage of ‘Just Got Back From The USA’ and ‘World’s Been Turned Upside Down’ that’s a bit more textured than the rest of the album while ‘Gonna Set You Straight’ could be the album’s best evoking prime-time ‘Bloodied But Unbowed’ quality. Among the guest vocalists is former BLACK FLAG frontman Ron Reyes, there’s a smart SOCIAL DISTORTION-esque cover of BOB DYLAN’s ‘Wanted Man’ and while it’s not quite as effective as the previous album, it still packs a mighty punch in a way that only D.O.A seem to be able to crank out. Slightly disappointing packaging though, with lyrics available only via the Sudden Death website. (08.08.18)

DOWN AND OUTS - Double Negative {DIY} PODCAST PLAYED Album #5 cranked out from this Liverpool trio and it continues the same traits of 2013’s excellent ‘Lifeline’ which is to say quality songs laden with Punk bite and a splash of melancholy. I can still hear a TRAVIS CUT vibe, if mixed with a hint of STILL LITTLE FINGERS and the considered bluster of LEATHERFACE. Best tracks include ‘Basingstoke’ that pivots around a great guitar lead and simplistic but addictive chorus, the disillusionment of the piano lead ‘You Can Have Your Country Back’, ‘You’re Still Here’ that emphasises the SLF vibe, while disc highlight has to be ‘All In This Together’ that again has that SLF vibe along with a killer chorus. The piano features on at least three tracks here, with ‘I Think I’m Falling Apart’ having a similar fragility to BIG STAR’s ‘Third’ album. Solid stuff that’s high on songwriting with a lot of songs having pointed, political lyrics. Totally self-released too, so highly recommended if you rate the mentioned band’s, or DOWN AND OUTS previous releases. Genuine contended for Top 10 album of the year. (20.09.18)

DR. BOOGIE - She’s So Tuff {Spaghetty Town} First off, that band name is fucking dire!! Conjures up the worst image of Status Quo and Lynyrd Skynyrd worship. However, the sleeve of this two track 7" has enough high-contrast and decadence to suggest the sounds could be gutter level Rock ‘n’ Roll. Lead track is a scintillating FACES-esque rocker with a singer who does a great Rod Stewart (at his early best - no fucking sailing here) impression - all raspy, whiskey-laced and attitude ridden. Great brass section too that gives the song a SAINTS swing about it too. Flip it over and you have another appalling use of words in the title of ‘Peanut Butter Blues’. Really?? This echoes FACES even more, with some added ROLLING STONES circa ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ for extra Rock ‘n’ Roll points. The quartet is outta Los Angeles and if they could stop being so fucking corny with band names and song titles, we could be looking at something as enjoyable as THE DRAGONS and early HANGMEN were. (23.03.18)

DUSK - 7" {Dirtnap} Fantastic two track 7" from this five-piece outta Appleton, Wisconsin. Lead track, ‘The Pain Of Loneliness’ is a stellar slice of FACES-esque Rock ‘n’ Roll complete with keyboards (even evoking THE BAND in places) and a slide guitar solo. Flip it, and there’s the sedate, dreamy ‘Go Easy’ that could’ve easily fitted on the debut BIG STAR album, as it’s laden with laid back chords, strong vocal harmonies and sublime songwriting skills. This is already one of my favourite records of 2018 - and that’s based on only two tracks! Sure, it’s far from Punk Rock if your ideal is shite like ANWL, but those who appreciate well-crafted songs of the vibe created by the band’s mentioned here, then this could be your new favourite band - it is mine!! (21.06.18)

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