Top Sounds - J

JADED EYES - The Eternal Sea {Boss Tuneage} Second album from this band made up of a few local identities from Leeds, UK. The previous album, ‘Gods And Monsters’, has become something of a favourite here at the House Of Scanner, so expectations were high for this. Oddly, opener ‘Do You Remember?’ left me a bit ambivalent. Yeah, it’s an OK song - good song by most bands’ standards - but it fell short of expectation (although the 'New Day Rising' drum-beat opening was a neat link to the song's title). The remaining nine tracks however totally blew the fucking roof off. The Revolution Summer Dischord sound is still evident but mixed up with a few more dynamics, be it the moody and epic closer ‘Plan B’, the NOMEANSNO disjointed riffage of 'The Adverts’ or ‘Conservative’ that features a few T.S.O.L-esque guitar signatures. The guitarists in particular are doing some stunning work from the addicitive work on ‘I’m An Idiot’, ‘We Are Bleed’ which could be the most significant nod to the Revolution Summer sound here, or the album highlight ‘The Weight’ that sees the guitars countering lead lines and coming out of the M8 with a power that literally takes the breath away. Repeated plays still suggests that the opening two tracks are the weakest songs here, but that’s not to say they are weak songs per se; more a case of the others being superior. Brutal and beautiful stuff. (04.03.16)

JELLO BIAFRA AND THE NEW ORLEANS RAUNCH AND SOUL ALL-STARS - Walk On Jindal’s Splinters {Alternative Tentacles} Now, here’s something that could’ve been a catastrophe but instead is the best Rock ‘n’ Roll Hootenanny heard all year. The premise is simple: Jello fronts various members of DASH RIP ROCK, MOJO NIXON, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY and others as they crank out a live album of covers - ranging from Blues to general oddities - recorded in New Orleans. Somehow, thanks to a totally convincing band and Biafra’s hyper-active vocal style, the album is a blast. Highlights are plenty be it the quirk of ‘Don’t Mess With My Toot Toot’, a take on ALEX CHILTON’s ‘Bangkok’ that sees Biafra manage to incorporate a bit of ‘Chinese Rock’ into the lyrics while ‘Land Of 1,000 Dances’ and the Frat-Boy classic ‘Judy In Disguise’ have to be heard to be believed - and they’re grrrrreat!! CD includes a couple of bonus tracks, excellent fold out photo collage insert... If you ever wondered whether Biafra could cut it without politics, this is your proof. The famed ironic wit is still evident, it’s still cutting edge - and it’s probably the closest thing Biafra has ever made to a bona fide party record. Love it!! (19.07.16)

JILTED JOHN - Demos, Rehearsals & Gigs 1977-2008 {Boss Tuneage} Fucking hell, you’d have to be a hard-core JILTED JOHN fan (or a bitch, or a puff, or a slut, or think you're tough) to shell out ya hard-earned for this! What you got here are 24 unreleased gems from the JOHN archives that last the best part of 80 minutes. If ya didn’t know JILTED JOHN was the creation of Graham Fellows and had a huge hit in ‘78 with the song of the same name (and that’s on here four times) that had the immortal, unforgettable refrain of, "Gordon is a moron." Since then, he went onto release the ‘True Love Stories’ album, be the comic persona that is John Shuttleworth and got the band back together again for the Rebellion Festival 2016. Have to say, it’s a bit of endurance test to sit through all in one go. As expected, recording quality is pretty low-fi (especially the demo of ‘Jilted John’), but there are gems here like ‘Jilted John’ recorded for the What’s On TV programme in 1978. Extensive liner notes from Fellows himself and smart packaging make this a nice item to have, but one that won’t be played too often. (11.10.16)

JIM JONES AND THE RIGHTEOUS MIND - Super Natural {Hound Gawd} This is the fourth incarnation of howling Rock ‘n’ Roll from the irrepressible Jones, following THEE HYPNOTICS, BLACK MOSES and his own REVUE. You get ten tracks that lend themselves to a bit more experimentation than a lot of his previous work, getting soulful in parts, hinting at psychedlia in others but still, ultimately, rooted in the best of Garage Rock ‘n’ Roll tradition. Highlights include ‘Base Is Loaded’ that comes on like SUPERSUCKERS but is ten times better than anything they’ve done in years, ‘Something’s Gonna Get Its Hands On You’ rolls like prime-time STONES, and the brawling and almost tribal ‘Aldecide’. But it’s ‘Shallow Grave’ that takes the album highlight; it’s a haunting, intrusive track that commands attention in much the same way as NICK CAVE’s very best work. There is some great piano work throughout the album that really brings the songs to life with depth and energy. The experimentation has worked stunningly well here and while there is still enough damaged guitars and howling vocals, there is much, much more than hardened JONES fans may have heard before. (20.09.17)

JOHNNY MOPED - It’s A Real Cool Baby {Damaged Goods} Finally, after a mere 38 years, the world finally has the official follow-up to the 1978 debut, ‘Cycledelic’. Along with guitarist Slimy Toad and drummer Dave Berk, MOPED has recruited a couple of fresh faces and, somehow, made a totally credible album that’s both fun and well-played. You have spiritual (or is that spitual?) sequels to ‘Incendiary Device’ in the biting ‘Ain’t No Rock ‘n’ Roll Rookie’ while ‘Honey Bun’ is clearly in the ‘Darlin’, Let’s Have Another Baby’ mould. Other crackers include the scathing ‘Simon Can’t’, the joyous REVILLOS-esque Pop of ‘Super Woofa’ and the sedate closer ‘Something In My Head’ that evokes ‘Strawberries’-era DAMNED. Highlight of all is ‘I Believed Her Lies’ that’s laden with melodic, singalong qualities but retains a great ‘77 style spirit. There are a few fillers, most of all ‘Bert Bullethead’ that’s little more than pub rock and the rather obtuse ‘Paint My Aubergine’ (that kinda mirrors ‘3D Time’), but the 16 tracks here work amazingly well as a record. There’s even a ‘1-2 cut your hair’ reference in ‘Ain’t No Rock ‘n’ Roll Rookie’ - with that, how can ya go wrong? (12.06.16)

JONES, THE - Gravity Blues {Boss Tuneage} A timely re-issue of an album released back in 2000 and represented the first album in ten years by the reunited pairing of HDQ’s Dickie Hammond and David ‘Golly’ Golledge. Needless to say, an HDQ comparison is impossible to ignore, but there is more. ‘Black Hole’ is laden with taut, FUGAZI-esque riffs while ‘Huck’ is the kinda ear honey that HOT WATER MUSIC or GREAT ST LOUIS made their own. Highlight though has to be ‘Wilton Road’ that’s packed with surging guitars and a huge chorus. But that’s not all; to celebrate 25 years of Boss Tuneage output, BT has thrown in the FATTY JONES EP ‘Rats’ released in 1999 (and includes ‘Inbetween’ that’s like THE RUTS playing a SENSELESS THINGS song!) and STOKOE’s ‘Satellite’ 7" (that’s got a bit of a LEMONHEADS vibe) from 1998. Basically, this collects everything the maverick pair recorded together outside of HDQ. It’s been digitally remastered and sounds crisp, cutting and bold. Oh - limited edition coloured vinyl too! Pretty essential if you haven’t got the original releases and, even if you have, the remastering will invest new life into these songs. (29.07.15)

JONNY MANAK & THE DEPRESSIVES - Cold Pizza & Warm Beer {Self Destructo/ Reach Around} Picking up right where the previous ‘Primitive Sounds For A Modern World’ LP left off, this sees MANAK crank out another 17 jams of rip-roaring Garage Punk that are not only life-affirming but like an intravenous injection of distilled Garage Punk Rock ‘n’ Roll perfection. Think NEW BOMB TURKS pre-Epitaph, ‘Sorry Ma...’ era REPLACEMENTS and a big dollop of Motorcity Madness for good measure. There are so many winners here: ‘Choose My Fate’ rips the ‘Sonic Reducer’ riff and proceeds to see MANAK do a very passable facsimile of the late, great Stiv Bators, opener ‘Vegass’ rocks in a way I always wished SUPERSUCKERS would while both ‘Monsters’ and ‘Powder To Blow’ embody RAMONES brilliance without being crass. Then there’s ‘Mavericks’ that a sub-Surf instrumental that AGENT ORANGE woulda been proud of, ‘Money For Free’ that’s just searing, attitude-laced Punk, and then you get covers of RADIO BIRDMAN and GG AND THE JABBERS both of which rule. How can you not fucking like this if even a slight streak of Rock ‘n’ Roll blood flows through your veins is impossible to imagine!! Eye-watering dayglo cover too! Pass the beer, cut me a line and I’ll play this all day!! (06.10.15)

JOYCE MANOR/ TOYS THAT KILL - Split {Recess} A really well matched, rather delightful 7" here. Kicks off with JOYCE MANNER doing more of that insistent, pristine melodic Punk. Opener ‘Lame’ is an energised BUZZCOCKS-ish tune laden with poptones while the band’s second ‘Bride’ is a slower, more droning slice of drama, not a million miles away from some of J CHURCH’s latter day stuff. As for TOYS THAT KILL, well, in my opinion the band has never released a duff record and these two new tracks have me salivating for more newies. ‘Times We Can’t Let Go’ is rather restrained musically with the drums surging the track forward while the guitars have a vaguely surf-esque, jangle vibe. The band’s other track, ‘I Am Decided’, remains in a similar vain and sees Sean Cole taking over lead vocal from Todd’s unmistakable sneering, bratty vocal. The TTK tracks, while being great, certainly don’t possess that careering, soaring Punk attitude of the classic ‘Citizen’s Abortion’ album, but long-time followers of Todd Congelliere’s work (like me!) will lap this up. Definitely the sound of summer! (21.12.15)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2015 including:

Top Sounds - K

KINDLING - Everywhere Else {No Idea} Debut album and my predictions below were pretty correct - drawn out over 12 tracks, this didn’t really hold the attention. Opener ‘Coma’ set the tone well with super-blast sludge guitars under a soaring and tenuous lead guitar before those dreamy vocals kick in. Other goodies include ‘Blinding Wave’ from the EP below that brought to mind (as did much of the album) MY BLOODY VALENTINE, ‘Weightlessly’ that had additional power following the sub-metal sludge of the previous track, ‘Black Eye’ and the album’s best, ‘Galaxies’ that pushed those breathy vocals to the front with a much more powerful and rocking guitar underneath. Among the other tracks are two instrumentals and while ‘Coma’ was a good start, by the end of the album I felt like I was in one... A coma that is. Many of the songs sounded too similar with grungey distorted rhythm guitars, droning and soaring lead work and wispy vocals. Bit of a departure to the normal, ever reliable No Idea sound and while it’s not necessarily bad, I just found it rather monotonous. (09.06.17)

KINDLING - Galaxies {No Idea} Brand new band to me and, I have to say, that’s a rubbish name! Anyway, the band is from Easthampton, MA and this 4-track EP is their second EP. It’s an Indie-Rock kinda vibe, pretty much evoking that ‘Showgaze’ sound of the 90s. If you think of CURE songs but played with the distorto-guitar tones and depth-charge bass rumblings of SWERVEDRIVER you’re kinda close. There’s an ethereal feel about the vocals too, aided by the fact they are quite low in the mix. They do occasionally hint at something approaching THE PRIMITIVES, especially on opener ‘Blinding Wave’. Other highlight is the droning, hypnotic ‘Painkiller’, while the brief closer ’Coastal’ sees a bit of increase in pace. Not too sure if this would impress over the course of a full album; I imagine the attention would drift off far too easily and leave nothing but background music. As it is, interesting but it’s never gonna be a big player in the House Of Scanner. Includes members of AMPERE too! (10.03.16)

KOMPLIKATIONS - Humans {Rockstar} A wonderfully dark, semi-Industrial electro Punk album from this trio outta Belgium that comes on like ‘Twitch’era MINISTRY fused with THRILL KILL KULT and MIND SPIDERS, with a splish of NEW ORDER and BOWIE circa ‘Low’ with a cheeky and sneering cockney vocal. Each of the six tracks rolls around like a mini digital Punk opera but highlights would be opener ‘My Hood’, the French delivery of ‘N’ Importe Quel Soir’ and my personal favourite ‘Stress’ that’s fantastically wigged and could be a CRAVATS tune. I’m guessing this must be virtually all digitally generated as production sounds fantastic - crisp, clear and certainly demonstrative. One of the most refreshing records of the year and if fancy a change from raucous guitars and rampant drums, yet something that is still intrinsically Punk in sounds and attitude, give this electronic epiphany a go - you won’t regret it!! (27.11.17)

KOSKI, DARIUS - Sisu {Fat Wreck} A surprisingly effective and impressive debut solo album from the founder of SWINGIN’ UTTERS. It’s a very melodic style that KOSKI has developed, like a fusion of KINKS’ Ray Davies and BYRDS’ Roger McQuinn but played with the gritty Alt-Country style of Chuck Prophet. Somehow, I also heard a constant Roy Orbison vibe in there too!! Highlights are plenty: ‘Paper Tigers, Plastic Lions’ is a spooky and quirky romp bringing to mind WORLD/ INFERNO FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY while ‘Sidewalk Serenade’ is a lilting, meandering instrumental with ‘Howls From The Gale’ being powered along by a rampant acoustic guitar evoking THE STONES ‘Last Time’. Best moment though is a battle between ‘Empty Thing’ that’s a wonderful sedate ballad with a massive Spector-ish arrangement, and ‘Show Me The Way’ that has a whistled refrain and the vibrancy of a Johnny Cash rollercoaster. A really impressive solo stab that has Koski sounding assured and inventive and proving acoustic sounds can be a whole lot more Punk than some tired old paint if by numbers Crust band. (13.08.15)

KRIMEWATCH - Promo {Boss Tuneage Flexipunk} First in a new series from Boss Tuneage that sees the long-lost and much-lamented Flexi Disc make a reappearance. This is a one-side two track job (on yellow flex!) from this four-piece outta New York City. While it does feature some hefty breakdowns, this has much more in common with the original NYC HC sound rather than sub-Metal tough guy posturing. It’s without doubt vocalist Rhylli has a powerful voice as she belts out the tracks here - ‘Machismo’ and ‘ New York Nightmare’ - the former opening with a lurching bass and feedback before erupting in a volatile rager before sliding right into track two that’s a tad slower, a tad chunkier and probably the pick of the two tracks for me. This was originally recorded and released as a promo cassette in 2016 and it’s pleasing to see it given a more legitimate release. One to watch especially for those who like their ‘core raw, sincere and tough-guy-bullshit free. (22.06.17)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2015 including: