Top Sounds - L

LAVODRAMA - Zurich {B-Core} First off, LAVODRAMA is a really shite name for a band - sorry guys - but it sucks. Secondly, the Dischord post-Hardcore influence - and that of BLUE TIP specifically - cannot go unnoticed on this 5-track EP from this trio outta Zaragoza, Spain. Thankfully, there is enough individualism to make LAVODRAMA much more than mere JAWBOX copyists. Opener ‘Dear Friend’ literally leaps from the speakers with a resonating, cyclic riff over which is a vocal that has some real raspy grit about it. Just when you think it cannot get any better, the track closes with a killer refrain. Have to say, the rest of the EP fails to match the opener (with ‘Anger’ being just too disjointed), but both ‘The Basement Days’ and ‘Collectors’ offer plenty. There is a TEXAS IS THE REASON/ GAMEFACE warmth about a lot of this stuff - especially when you consider the layered guitars and rich melodies. More SAMIAM than SHAM 69, this is as good an introduction to the band as I could have wished for. (17.01.09)

LEIF ERICSSON/ SOUTHPORT - Split {Boss Tuneage} Two Brit bands that totally compliment each other here on this 7". LEIF ERICSSON kick proceedings off with a couple of tracks of up-tempo, impassioned melodic HC that feature hints of JAWBREAKER mixed with the distinctly British sound of ANNALISE but twist it all around to make it original and urgent - especially on ‘Fell The Gatsos’. The mercurial guitar tones of Simon Wells heralds SOUTHPORT on the flip. Oddly, these SOUTHPORT tracks were recorded back in 2001 and blaze with a natural freewheeling sound that appears effortless. Both tracks, but especially ‘A Bridge Too Far’, highlight the fact SNUFF never replaced Wells as a guitarist - the tone and power of his playing is virtually unparalleled in the UK. The other track, ‘Let It Go’ has a more complex arrangement but could just be the highlight of the whole EP. If your knowledge of these two bands is zero, then this should be at the top of you ‘must have’ list. You won’t find any better exposure to two of the UK’s best in one hit. (26.07.09)

L’ODI SOCIAL - Discografia Completa {B-Core} Stunning CD reissue of all of the material that this killer Spanish HC band released. L’ODI (which means The Social Hate) formed back in 1982 and did something that no Spanish Punk or HC band had done before: they sang in their native language of Catalan. "So what?", you may think. Well, at the time, Catalan was still something to fight for after years of oppression from the right-wing dictator Franco, when Catalan was even prohibited. Musically the band played a stunning thrash attack best demonstrated on the tracks ‘Autobus No.13’, ‘Es Lo Que Hay’ and, most impressively, ‘Jack Sobrevive’. Amidst the ‘Core there are hints of Ska and a few DAG NASTY stylings (check out ‘Maldita Heroina’). In all, this CD features 32 tracks dating back to debut 7" ‘Que Pagui Pujol’ and includes the killer album ‘Esvetats’ that featured a wider, punchier sound with more dynamics but thankfully didn’t resort to Metal or compromise any of the band’s incendiary attack. Dazzling Euro-core from this band that, unfortunately, split in ‘92. Blazing. (17.01.09)

LOS MUERTOS - s/t {Elevenfiftyseven} Powerful stuff from this 5-piece outta Auckland. The sound mixes Hardcore with a touch too much Metal, although the emphasis is on the former. In equal quantities I caught the influence of AFI, VOI VOD, BLACKLISTED, GRADE and most tellingly SINCE BY MAN. I personally could’ve done without some of the stop-start Metal riffing and vocal bellowing, but when you have tracks like ‘Depetition’ and ‘Spoon Fed’ on your debut disc, things can’t be too bad. Gotta say though, whoever designed the sleeve - and specifically the text font - really should seek a new hobby! I couldn’t make out the song titles - let alone the lyrics. I’d love to hear the band if they dropped some of the headbanging bullshit intricacies and just played flat-out snotty Hardcore; that could make for a VERY interesting proposition. As things stand, I’m sure the band would go down a storm on a Kerrang Showcase tour.  (02.02.09)

LOS SALVADORES - Attack Of The Clones {Corn Dog} These guys seem to be one of the UK ‘buzz’ bands of the moment and given their mix of impassioned Punk-Folk coupled with the popularity of AGAINST ME! and GOGOL BORDELLO, it’s no surprise. One noticeable thing is a distinct Englishness about the sound. While the bands above must be an influence, the sound comes over like a mix of LEVELLERS and TV SMITH’S EXPLORERS with splashes of latter BLAGGERS and even a bit of Blur’s experimentalism. When it works, as on ‘Southern Twist’, ‘The Wish’, ‘My Coloured Town’ and closer ‘Give In To The Clown’, it’s an invigorating and uplifting sound unlike any other band doing the rounds. The remainder isn’t bad, but it lacks the conviction and spirit of those aforementioned tracks. The vocals are a bit cluttered at times and that backing vocal of dire LEFTOVER CRACK gargling is annoying to say the least. I think the band has undergone a few line-up changes since the six-piece that recorded this. Packaging and graphics are top notch and it’s clear a lot of thought has gone into the lyrics. Good stuff - but the next release could be the interesting one! (21.12.09)

LOVED ONES - Distractions {Fat Wreck} Neat 6-track EP from the ever impressive LOVED ONES. You get three originals all of which are up-tempo and rocking (although last ‘Last Call’ is a bit mellower). Lead track ‘Distracted’ is a gem and when the whole band go for it here, they bring to mind DOWN BY LAW at its best but grooving in an early CHEAP TRICK kinda way. The covers consist of a whisky-laced Springsteen track recorded by main ONE Dave Hause during the ‘Keep Your Heart’ sessions; a full band workout of a Billy Bragg track recorded during the same sessions and culminating with an acoustic romp through JOE STRUMMER’s ‘Coma Girl’. Produced by the reliable Brian McTernan, this is a neat little curio that kinda suggests filler until the next album - but the strength of those originals make this worth picking up in its own right. (12.05.09)

LUCK, BABAR - Care In The Community {Rebel Music/ 10 Past 12} Dunno how this ended up in the review pile as it was released way back in 2006 by a fella I don’t have much time for. If you recall, BABAR LUCK was in that terminally dull Ska-Punk thing called KING PRAWN. This 12-track slab mixes Reggae-lite with Ska, a bit of rapping, some acoustic pop moments and very little in the way of rocking. Politically, this is spot on with ‘War Fever’ in particular being a highlight - although the religious connotations behind a number of the lyrics are dubious to say the least. Interestingly, I note Lu Edmonds is one of the instrumentalists on the album - I assume that’s the same Lu Edmonds who was in THE DAMNED. If anyone has seen the Woodstock film, this kinda reminded me of Richie Haven’s set but without being as frantic. All in all, pretty boring and weak - I can only assume LUCK uses a lot of starch in his shirts cuz with so little backbone he sure needs something to keep him upright. (27.08.10)

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