Top Sounds - D

DAGGER MOUTH - Turf Wars {Little Rocket} A frantic 11 track second album rager from this five piece outta Vancouver, Canada that fuses the musicality of LAGWAGON, the intense melodic flurry of RED LIGHTS FLASH and the quality Hardcore of either BATTERY or SPEAK 714. These guys can really play too, this is complex but melodic stuff with thought in the arrangements (check the funky breakdown in opener ‘Abracadabra Holmes’) and an absolute killer drummer. Of the highlights ‘Glendale P.D Hates Daggermouth’ best epitomises the Revelation Recs comparison with some strident gang vocals and the fantastically titled ‘You Can’t Soar Like An Eagle, When You Hang Out With Turkeys’ while highlight could be ‘Hey Nelson, Go Jump In The Garbage’ that addresses the moaning and the faceless and includes a killer chorus and some deft guitar work. Production is crisp, clear and cutting without being too polished. Comes with a download code and a limited edition is on picture disc. If melodic but raging positive Hardcore is your thing, this is for you. (12.11.20)
DAMNED, THE - The Rockfield Files {Spinefarm} Well, I never thought I’d ever say this about a new DAMNED record again since the 80s, but this is hands down the best record of 2020 and the band’s best since at least ‘Phantasmagoria’ and maybe even ‘Strawberries’. You got four tracks over 12” of vinyl which represent the recording debut of the returning Paul Gray and it’s his bass that really propels this. ‘Keep ‘Em Alive’ is easily among the band’s best ever with the bass pushing everything forward, Sensible’s guitar laden with crashing chords, stunning lead work and that wonderful sense of psychedelia, Monty adds some great atmosphere with his keyboards and Pinch has never sounded as urgent as he does here with Gray. As for Mr Vanian - he sounds more at ease, more commanding and more impressive on this than he has done for so long.  ‘Manipulator’ is more of a straight forward rocker while ‘The Spider And The Fly’ just had me grinning at the drive of that bass and again Vanian’s total command. Closer ‘Black Is The Night’ was on the recent ‘Best Of...’ and is dramatic, convincing and simply soaring. Production is out of this world too - loud, crisp, clear, perfectly balanced... Seriously, I enjoyed the previous ‘Evil Spirits’ album a lot, still spin ‘So... Who’s Paranoid’ but in all honesty, I never thought I would hear THE DAMNED this fucking good again. It’s a little tragic really, as Pinch has now left the band and the original line-up is back together for a few money-grabbing shows.  I really hope that doesn’t put an end to Gray’s and Monty’s involvement with the band, or Vanian sounding so comfortable and impressive - it would be a fucking crime if so.  (14.12.20)
DAMNED, THE - Black Is The Night {BMG} I’ve got more records by THE DAMNED than any other band (that’s about 250 for the curious). So, I kinda debated whether I really needed this, did the fucking world need this even? I mean, there’s ‘Another Great Record...’, ‘Light At The End Of The Tunnel’ and countless other, lesser comps. So, is this one really that much better? Fuck yes!!  First off, it’s four albums pressed on gold (pah - beige!) vinyl. It’s been curated by the band themselves, is lavishly packaged in a gatefold sleeve plus inner sleeves for each record and a poster with the band’s family tree on its rear. Plus, and here’s the killer, a brand new track (which is rather smart in fact). Now - what about the content I hear you cry!! Well, all the obvious are here; any compilation this sprawling is gonna feature contestable tracks. Unfortunately both ‘Not Of This Earth’ and ‘So, Who’s Paranoid?’ are completely ignored (understandable with the former, disappointing with the latter). Then there are truly odd tracks - ‘Fun Factory’, ‘Rabid’ and ‘Suicide’ all appear but no ‘Sanity Clause’, ‘Nasty’, ‘Is It A Dream’ or the greatest over-looked song in the band’s whole arsenal ‘Thanks For The Night’... plus the take on ‘Shadow Of Love’ is an extended mix. Would’ve rather seen ‘Anything’ in place of ‘Alone Again Or’ too.  Whatever quibbles I may have, I am thrilled to see a compilation finally do THE DAMNED justice. Let’s face it, of the original ‘77 Punk bands THE DAMNED is the only one to have evolved, experimented and continually impressed and now their work has finally been given the attention it deserves. Not got any DAMNED (wha’ the fuck??!!)? Then you need this. It’s that simple. (10.07.20)
DANGER!MAN - Weapons Of Mass Distraction {Boss Tuneage} First release in three years for this Norwegian band whose pedigree you should know. The nine tracks here zip by in a little over 25 minutes. Opener ‘It’s Time To Put The Blame Back Where It Belongs’ rollicked along on relatively clean guitars bringing to mind MINUTEMEN in parts; quite a departure from how I remember the band’s sound. Throughout the guitars are never really set to stun level distortion and probably better for it, resulting in a fusion of OBSERVERS and YOUTH AVOIDERS with some inventive and attention grabbing intricate parts instead of a bar chord barrage. Plenty of highlights be it ‘Terminal’ that’s probably the best example of the smart male/female dual vocals, the barrage of the closing ‘Saa Trygg’ and the title track that’s akin to those early HOT WATER MUSIC records, while best track would be ‘The Rules Of Engagement’ that starts with an unaccompanied female vocal and then broils on a RUTS riff before the intro comes back to serve as the chorus; absolutely stunning. Vinyl only release and a really unique, inventive and addictive record. (23.12.19)
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)

DAVE SMALLEY AND THE BANDOLEROS - Join The Outsiders {Little Rocket} Debut album by this new(Ish) Dave Smalley project and actually pre-dates the EP below by about 18 months. You get 11 tracks slapped over a rather smart splatter blue on opaque vinyl and it kicks off with the splendid title track - very DOWN BY LAW but with some added dynamics and some quality backing vocals. Of the remainder, highlights include THE JAM-esque ‘Journey’ which includes some THIN LIZZY stylee guitars that work dazzlingly well, closer ‘Better Make It Count’ and the stuttering, staccato riffage of ‘Stand Or Kneel’ while best track could well be ‘Bandoleros’ that surges along on a killer riff for the chorus, gets sedate for the verse and slowly builds again; it’s possibly the best track I’ve heard from Smalley since 1997’s ‘Last Of The Sharpshooters’. The band recorded their tracks in Spain, with Smalley doing vocals in Virginia it seems. Dunno how that worked, but it worked pretty damn well as this is good stuff - the guitars in particular add a dynamic that echoes something more complex and solid than straight forward Punk Rock. As with all Little Rocket releases, this comes with a neat lyric insert, sticker and download code. If, like me, you thought Smalley’s best was long gone, you’d better think again. (28.11.20)

DAVE SMALLEY AND THE BANDOLEROS - Ignited {Little Rocket Records} PODCAST PLAYED Five track EP from this former DAG NASTY, DYS and DOWN BY LAW mainstay and opener ‘Punk Rock Battle Cry’ certainly hits home and is a good parallel piece to DBL ‘PunkRockAcademyFightSong’ with some big guitars and some subtlety to give it a touch of class. Of the remainder, the standout is certainly ‘Stabbed’ that’s raging but with a fantastically sinewy middle eight with closer ‘No X-Ray Vision’ having some urgency about it. The only track that didn’t really connect was the title track - mainly due to some pretty crass lyrics (“We are the boys, who make too much noise..” Jeez...). Have to say though, production is fantastic - clear, loud and rocking with just enough edge to keep it from being too mainstream. This is the first DAVE SMALLEY record I’ve heard in an age - so it’s quite a welcome return. Would like to see a bit more urgency to matters, and some of those backing vocals a little less smooth, but generally it gets the thumbs-up from me. Looking forward to the album! (31.07.20)
DAYS N DAZE - Show Me The Blueprints {Fat Wreck} Are we sure this isn’t Fat Mike and The Muppets? Acoustic hillbilly-esque hyper-energised Country/ Folk (with a rather smart trumpet blower I have to say), but it didn’t connect like the similar sounding stuff from OLD MAN MARKLEY. This all comes over as mono-paced (as in rapidly strummed), vocals that really did sound too much like Fossie Bear (the Muppet) mating with Stza Crack and truly annoyed (be it the guy or the gal) and songs that just didn’t strike me in any way... I’ll give a bit of credit to ‘Saboteurs’ that did initially change moods from manic-strumming but bar that, I can’t see any reason I would listen to this again when there are bands like WHISKEY AND CO, OMM and TIM BARRY that do this with way more style and so much better. Apparently, this is their eighth album... Have to admire and give kudos to the dedication but it still reeks.  (22.08.20)

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)

DECENT CRIMINAL - Bliss {Wiretap} Second album from this Californian four-piece that pivots around brothers Hunter and Tristan Martinez. Opener ‘Nowhere’ makes an interesting listen; kinda Power-Pop, kinda Punk. ‘Creep’ follows and amps the Punk a bit to come on like some of Dirtnap’s bands - think STEVE ADAMYK BAND and LOW CULTURE with a splash of BEACH SLANG thrown in. From there you get another nine tracks including ‘Loner’ that’s probably the most aggressive on the album, ‘Sigh’ has some good acoustic guitars about it and ‘Teeth’ that brings a bit of a NIRVANA growl into matters without losing any of those neat Power Pop strokes they do so well while highlight could well be ‘Nostalgia’ that pivots around a dreamy guitar line that the likes of OASIS would give a million for. Surprisingly melancholic in parts (check closer ‘Alone’) and full of lazy summer vibes. Not bad at all and probably better they don’t go for the flat-out sneering Punk approach. (04.05.20) 

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)

DEVIL’S ELBOW - ID {DIY} First new material from this New Zealand Alt-Rock, country-tinged band in about five years - and a band that has been one of the country’s most interesting and consistent in over the last ten years. You get four tracks, which still come on like some of PAUL WESTERBERG’s (better) solo material fused with a bit of WILCO. Opener ‘Name’ instantly appeals with a great chorus and big guitars. ‘Heaven Or Bust’ could well be the highlight, starting with an accordion before opening up and rolling along on a fantastic mandolin and reminiscent of STEVE WYNN at his very best. The remaining two tracks keep the quality and entertainment high with ‘Elastic Plane’ being a six minute meander with a LOU REED-esque guitar melody and closer ‘Kingsley Flats’ being sedate with a hint of GRANT LEE BUFFALO’s fragility. Excellent stuff as always; it always seems a tragedy to me that a talent like Alec Withers is not recognised in the same way many others are (listen to some of that acoustic crap Fat Wreck puts out for starters) who do this kinda sound but nowhere near as well. (13.06.20)
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)

DIRTY BURGER - Part Time Loser {Pure Lust} PODCAST PLAYED Debut album from this quartet outta Gothenburg, Sweden. You get ten tracks that fuse the psychedelic Garage sounds of NAZ NOMAD with the muscle of the STOOGES and a splash of both JAY REATARD and TOYS THAT KILL. Plenty of highlights be it ‘Video Violence’ that highlighted that REATARDS vibe (as did ‘Information Overload’ to even more apparent levels) but with a decidedly ADICTS-esque chorus, the BRIEFS-style Punk of ‘L.S.D.’, ‘Drained’ that had elements of VELVET UNDERGROUND and ‘Six Shooter’ that blasted like NEW BOMB TURKS but with added HAWKWIND freak-out tones while highlight could well be the pummelling, relentless drone of ‘New Dawn’. I’ve mentioned a lot of different bands here, but fact is, each and every track held the attention, didn’t get repetitive, had depth about the structure and worked really well as a complete album. Neat cover artwork too. Surprise release of the year!! (28.12.20)

D.O.A. - Treason {Sudden Death} By crickey - the Canuck legends deliver their 18th studio album and spew out eight tracks in a little under 20 minutes. Needless to say, given the cover and tracks like opener ‘All The President’s Men’, there is definitely a rage against the Trump administration (and all corrupt administrations too). Of the eight tracks, that opener is a cracker while elsewhere ‘Fucked Up Ronnie’ is updated to ‘Donald’, ‘It Was D.O.A.’ is a witty little Rock ‘n’ Roll romp about the band itself and the title track has a vicious bite while highlight could well be thud of ‘Just Got Back From The U.S.A.’ that could easily have fitted on ‘Hardcore 81’. There’s a cover of NEIL YOUNG’s ‘Hey, Hey, My, My’ too that’s pretty faithful but given a bit of added Punk thump. It’s a pretty fucking breathless album actually; there’s no pause or let up from Joey and co’s rage on this one and a parallel vibe with the classic ‘War On 45’ is evident. Only slight criticism is the packaging; just a CD digipack, no insert, no lyrics - but a fantastic cover. Bottom line though - it’s D.O.A. on fire and that’s one convincing sound. (24.08.20)
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)

DOLLYROTS, THE - Daydream Explosion {Wicked Cool} This is something like the eighth studio album for this husband/wife duo outta Florida and it’s 14 tracks laden with Punk-Pop JOAN JETT-isms if matched with something like THE BOMB POPS bubblegum Punk and the tough but melodic tones of THE MUFFS. Plenty of highlights too, be it ‘Everything’ that takes the melodic sus of THE GO-GO’S but cranks them to REDD KROSS proportions, ‘I Love You Instead’ that highlights THE MUFFS vibe and the sultry swing of ‘Flippy In My Red Dress’ while highlight could well be ‘In Your Face’ that has that bitter-sweet attitude of prime time JOAN. Have to say, a bit more grit would be nice as parts are too silky smooth. That said, this is probably the best summer sounding record I’ve heard in a long time. (10.04.20)
DOMESTICS/ PIZZA TRAMP - Split {Kibou/ TNS} Huge departure from the norm for both these bands as this is a 12” with each band doing one epic 11+ minute track. DOMESTICS track, ‘No Life’ starts slow, ominous, droning with a rather smart Arabic tone and feel before that recognisable DOMESTICS core kicks in along with a mid-paced chorus that brought to mind CONFLICT. And then... atmospheric keyboards (think ‘Curtain Call’ in particular) which mutates into a CRASS-esque section before closing on that trademark ‘core. Lyrically it’s a stunner and, as a whole, not only is it the most adventurous thing the band has done so far done, it’s the most impressive. There’s more texture to the sound, a use of bass chords that I don’t recall being so apparent, some great guitar lines and James’s vocal delivery is varied but always bruising. PIZZA TRAMP’s ‘This Is Your Life’ kicks off with a rather Metal-esque riff before opening up into a fusion of TRAGEDY style Hardcore but played with the Punk attack of ANTI-FLAG. It’s enraged, damning, cutting and as the song reaches its mid-point, the music slows to a grind and then we hear a voice... George W Bush. While DOMESTICS looked at the personal and class issues, PIZZA TRAMP take a prophetic look at a doomed global situation. The two bands compliment each other incredibly well without being straight forward sound-a-likes and both tracks have multiple signatures and merits. Great Blinko-esque artwork too. Awesome stuff that holds the attention, gets the grey matter working and, in general, blazes. The surprise release of 2020! (10.12.20)
DOTS - Dots {Dirt Cult} Eight track debut mini-album of ferocious, discordant, screeching reverb/delay vocal drenched, lo-fi femme-fronted Punk. Have to say, it didn’t do much for me at all and those delayed vocals got really fucking annoying after about three tracks. Of those eight tracks, the standout for me was probably ‘Blackness’ where those vocals seemed a little less effected and musically a tad more direct.  Longest of these tracks is closer ‘Judgement’ which clocks in at 2.20 and is the other highlight of the disc for me. Thankfully that means the rest of the songs are short but by no means any better. (24.12.19)

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)

DROOGETTES, THE - Clockwork Girls {Violated} Get a bit of a picture here? Droogs... Clockwork... Yep, bit of a Clockwork Orange homage going on with these four ladies outta Philadelphia. Thought we were in for a bit of a DISTILLERS deal with opener, ‘Verse And Chaos’ as the vocals were very Brody-esque. Instead, we get 16 tracks of pretty solid, singalong Oi!/Punk. Best bits included ‘Bitter Old Man’ that has a chorus deserving of THE BUSINESS, the surging ‘No Apologies’ that brought to mind JOAN JETT and ‘No Time’ that had a hint of RANCID while closer ‘You’re Doing Yourself No Good’ features one Johnny Takeaway from HARD SKIN! Have to say, a few tracks could’ve been left on the studio floor (‘Bovver Girl’ in particular) and had this been a 13 tracker, it would have been a stronger album. As it is, if the likes of OPPRESSED, COCK SPARRER, JOAN JETT and THE ADICTS are in your record collection (as they are mine), you’ll find something here to get your Kubricks off. (10.05.20)
DROWNS, THE - Under Tension {Pirates Press} Second album for this quartet outta Seattle and, while I like it a lot, something just didn’t totally connect. There are two singers, one who is gruff and bellows like the little brother of Damian from FUCKED UP and really wants to be his big brother, while the other is more melodic, kinda like the middle ground of AGAINST ME! and RVIVR, making for a (too?) big contrast. Anyway, you get 11 tracks that come on like SWINGIN’ UTTERS mashed up with THE STRIKE and a RANCID vibe underneath. It’s all very likeable with highlights being opener ‘Black Lung’ that emphasises that ...UTTERS vibe, the tonal riffage and mass vocals of ‘Hold Fast’ and ‘Cue The Violins’ while highlight could be the surging, exhilarating ‘Demons’. There’s an OK cover of ‘The Harder They Come’ while closer ‘The Unknown’ has greater dynamics and sees the gruff bellower take a more melodic approach and is better for it. If that vocal style had been used throughout the album, it would have made for a more cohesive match with the melodic guy. That said, I still like it.  (27.06.20)

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)

DZTN 1980 - War Of Good Intentions {DIY} Second solo album already from the former ABOLITIONIST frontman and, if you thought the guitar/vocal structure of the debut was a departure in style, then you ain’t heard anything yet!! This is eight tracks that fuse DEPECHE MODE’s dark, electronic Gothic-Pop sound, with the sparse Industrialisms of FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY. Of the eight tracks, opener ‘Catalyst’ would have actually worked superbly in the old band format, ‘Birth’ that crawls along on a dark, claustrophobic vibe that would have mirrored much of the original Goth sound while closer ‘Dreams’ has elements of both NEW ORDER and THRILL KILL KULT with some stunning soundscapes throughout. Have to say, the one slight distraction is the echo on the vocal on every track - I get the fact this is new territory for Dustin and it makes for continuity, but it made things a tad cluttered in parts. A very brave album, a very interesting album and one that leads to a bounty of possibilities. Good work. (18.06.20)

DZTN 1980 - Outside The City {DIY} This is the new project from Dustin Herron, the former mainstay of ABOLITIONIST. You get 13 tracks written and played by Herron in the style of early BILLY BRAGG (just voice and electric guitar) but played more like a fusing of Blake outta JAWBREAKER and Greg Sage outta THE WIPERS with a hint of PSYCHEDELIC FURS about it. All the tracks feature dual guitars using the other as a great counterpoint with Dustin’s vocal is incredibly impressive here - it has a clarity which ABOLITIONIST never quite gave him. Of the songs, opener ‘Face Of The Moon’ captivates instantly with a great melody and urgency, ‘They Deleted The Books’ mirrors my fear of an overly digital world and ‘Again’ that features some great delayed vocals creating a virtual chorus of harmonic voices while highlight would be the dramatic ‘He Watched Them Die’ that has a hint of LOU REED circa ‘New York’. I think this is a digital and cassette only release, which is a real shame as I imagine with the usual quality packaging we know from ABOLITIONIST, this would look awesome. A thought-provoking, well-crafted and brave debut. (18.06.20)

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