Top Sounds - J

JADED EYES - Gods And Monsters {Boss Tuneage} A new British band here with its debut album released on the ever-dependable Boss Tuneage. You get nine tracks spread over 32 minutes and it’s musically adventurous ‘core mixing basic Punk and Rock riffs with disjointed, fragmented guitar blitzes and sinewy lead work. Vocals are bellowed but have a clarity about them many fail to match. References? Well, there’s the obvious that is the band that wrote the song that JADED EYES are named after (don’t know? Do some homework!) mixed with SQUIRREL BAIT and RITES OF SPRING but updated via HOT WATER MUSIC but given a bollock-kick of ‘Shock Gun’ era INSTIGATORS with a hint of JETS VS SHARKS. Highlights would have to be the pounding riffage of ‘Factotum’ and the convulsive shapes of ‘Divorce’ while ‘Thompson Park’ proves these guys can nail some bilious HC. This is an impressive debut with solid production that gives the five fellas who make up JADED EYES a sound that’s, somehow, abrasive and unrelenting yet accessible and addictive. (23.02.14)

JAH WOBBLE AND KEITH LEVENE - Yin And Yang {Cherry Red} Back in the studio for the first time together since playing on PiL’s classic ‘Metal Box’ - that’s over 30 years if you’re counting - bass master Wobble and discordant guitar anti-hero Levene deliver a 10 track album that’s a fascinating experiment into sound and space. In reality, there are only four songs complete with vocals including the curse-laden title track and the near 10 minute ‘Jags And Staffs’ that could be a 2012 take on a ‘Metal Box’ tune but with added electronica and Wobble’s roguishly thuggish vocal replacing Lydon’s dismissive sneer. Elsewhere, instruments rule the day with ‘Strut’ coming on like a groove-laden extra from ‘Sandinista’ and ‘Back On The Block’ emphasising the album’s trancey, psychedelic, dub vibe. While both Levene and Wobble collaborated on every song, this does seem to be a more Wobble-based album. Levene’s guitar, both electric and acoustic, is evident but it’s the bass lines that are ever present and dominant. Neat packaging and generally riveting, but had the Levene guitar been more amped, it could’ve been a cracker. (13.09.13)

JD & THE FDCS - Recognise {Delerict} Rocktastic debut album from Jamie Delerict and his arm-band wearing, black clad warriors. It’s a star-studded affair too with Dez Cadena, Johnny Bonnel, Jesse Luscious, Richard Bacchus and Carol Hodge among others all putting in an appearance. Highlights include the rather sneering ‘Anti-Destination League’, the understated but dismissive ‘This Town Of Infamy’, the closing ‘Come Dig Me Out’ that features Carol Hodge’s excellent voice, a raging take on D GENERATION’s ‘No Way Out’ and ‘Ujpest Adzsa’ (not sure that’s right but the song titles are in a terrible font) that takes the hooks of CHEAP TRICK and the muscle of SOCIAL DISTORTION. While the band does have an impressive Punk Rock pedigree, this is very much a Rock album with guitar solos throughout. Unfortunately, a couple of tracks (the title track and ‘Never Gonna Stop’) are a bit too close lyrically to ‘Lick It Up’ cheese-ball era KISS. Production is bright, clear and punchy and I guess that live this band is one raucous Punk-laced Rock ‘n’ Roll jamboree. (11.12.12) 

JD & THE FDCS - Burn This City Down {Delerict Records} Oh yes - it’s great to have you back, Mr. Delerict! This is (I think) the second release from the ex-PANIC frontman (and former Scanner columnist) Jamie Delerict’s latest project - and I’m pleased to say it more than lives up to his usual high standard. The three tracks here have been issued as a primer for the band’s forthcoming album, ‘Recognise’ with the lead track being the only song taken from it. It’s a bit of a cracker too - big, bold, melodic and could easily be considered a fusion of SOCIAL DISTORTION and BAD RELIGION but given a decidedly British feel. ‘Stupid Music Played By Idiots’ is similar in sound and its sense of cynicism to PANIC while closer ‘We Close Our Eyes’ is - yep - a cover of the Go West song but given a nice bit of bombast. Jamie’s had his own personal dilemmas over the years and it’s great to hear him having come through it all to front a clearly entertaining, formidable and already impressive Punk Rock band again. Roll on the album!! (24.01.12)

JELLO BIAFRA AND THE GUANTANAMO SCHOOL OF MEDICINE - White People And The Damage Done {Alternative Tentacles} I think it can be said, without question, that the work of Jello Biafra is almost faultless. While some of his post-DEAD KENNEDYS material has been better than others, each release has commanded the attention. Taking that into consideration, it makes this album even more incredible when I suggest this is the best thing he has done since ‘Plastic Surgery Disasters’ - failing that certainly since the album he recorded with D.O.A. The previous releases from this band have been excellent (including a phenomenal debut album), but this album seems to have more focus, more accessibility and, without a doubt, an impact beyond compare. Each song is a stunning slice of energetic, politicised Punk Rock, be it the superb opener ‘The Brown Lipstick Parade’, the full-throttle ‘Road Rage’ or the closing epic, album highlight ‘Shock-U-Py!’. The band locks in to create some stunningly tight Punk jams while Biafra is his antagonising, informative, scathing and witty self. Production is clear but not overtly clean; packaging is sumptuous (including download card with additional songs, lyric insert and colour inner sleeve); execution is as good as you’ll find anywhere. Put simply, already a classic. Definitely a lesson in how to make Punk Rock thrilling, original, political and clever. (31.12.13)

JFA - Speed Of Sound {DC-Jam} How many years has it been since a new studio album from these Skate-Punk legends? 12?? Well, on the evidence of this 16-tracker, it’s been just too damn long! This has got all the traits of a great JFA album, be it snarling HC skate thrashers like ‘You Can’t Surf’ and ‘Sponsored Guy’; a sprinkling of keyboards that make ‘Fortune Favours The Brave’ a haunting, DOORSian meander; some straight up defiant political Punk bombasts in ‘Nanny State’ and ‘Bow To No Man’ while both ‘Party Like The Amish’ and ‘Can’t Go Back’ employ some funky, jittery guitar duties. There’s even a choice WHO cover!! The whole band sounds in top form with production being solid but not too polished. A real neat touch is the absence of lyrics; in their place are some liner notes detailing song origins, inspiration and interesting asides. As said, I’m unsure how long it has been since the last JFA album - but please, Brian and co, don’t leave the follow-up as long! (13.02.12)

JONNY MANAK AND THE DEPRESSIVES - Primitive Sounds For A Modern World {Self-Destructo/ Reach Around} Sneering Garage Punk Rock done well is a wondrous thing, and MANAK and his band cut it with the best mofos around. Think THE GEARS Pogo Punk accessibility played with the arrogant grit of DEAD BOYS, the abandon of SUBURBAN STUDS and the pace of NEW BOMB TURKS. Correct: pretty fucking good! Side A is a studio deal with MANAK on drums and contains a heap of crackers, be it ‘Heart And Hands’ or ‘Ride The Barrel’ both of which steal some RAMONESisms or the brazen sneer of ‘Two Faced Loser’. Side B is a live radio broadcast featuring tracks from the band’s previous records, with highlights being ‘Acting Young’ and ‘Every Night’s A Friday’ that highlights the GEARS vibe, while closer ‘Choose My Fate’ is more addictive than a line of speed on a Friday night. Critics will say this is nothing new - and they’re correct. Fact is, very few do this Punk-Garage mash up as well as this. Production is also superb - raw, cutting and guitar-focused but the jeering attitude in MANAK’s vocals is ever-present. Every one’s a winner, baby! Includes download code. (27.10.14)

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Top Sounds - K

KEVLAR BIKINI - Explodisiac {DIY} This bizarrely named quartet comes from Zagreb, Croatia and this 10-track album is, I think, the band’s debut. It’s really not my kinda ear-honey either; I’m guessing these guys grew up on some serious Rock stuff as I kept hearing a distinct FAITH NO MORE vibe - be it the musicianship, the adventurous arrangements, vocal delivery or the bombastic production. Add on some HELLACOPTERS Garage Rock goo and a splash of CANCER BATS aggro Metal and you’re close. Highlights? Um... ‘Yikes Mama’ probably epitomises the FNM comparison, but the rest of it? Too much Rock and not enough Punk; too much muso workouts and not enough sneering attitude. If these dudes targeted the Kerrang! audience I am sure the response would be more favourable. As it is, I’d rather listen to PRONG and JANES ADDICITION (25.08.12).

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2012 including: