Top Sounds - L

LAST GANG, THE - Keep Them Counting {Fat Wreck} PODCAST PLAYED Following on from the single below comes this, the band’s ten track debut album for Fat. It kicks off with that rather awesome ‘Sing For Your Supper’ too - a track which is among the best here. Other highlights include ‘Blood Drunk’ that comes on like DISTILLERS meets SWINGIN’ UTTERS, the surprise sound of ‘Salvation For Wolves’ that brought in some bright and breezy DANCE HALL CRASHERS poptones, ‘Identity’ that’s got a MUFFS groove and the closing, acoustic ‘Secret Sounds’ that really highlights the quality of Brenna’s vocal. Album highlight however is ‘Affairs To Remember’ that pivots on haunting melody, great swinging chorus and yet more of those bold vocals. This is a very accomplished album in fact, lyrically interesting, musically exciting and never predictable (I forgot to mention the WIRE-esque riff of ‘Strange Fruit’). I didn’t hear too much of the Exene comparison I heard on the single below, but the influence of Brody along with Kim Shattuck certainly comes through in the vocal. One of the best new bands Fat has signed I reckon and certainly a record that could be Top Ten of 2018 material. (09.10.18)

LAST GANG, THE - Sing For Your Supper {Fat Wreck} Two track 7" that acts as a precursor for this three-piece, Orange Country band’s debut album for Fat Wreck. Apparently the band has two other albums out, but this is the first time I’ve come across them. The lead track’s a bit of a stunner actually; think the power of old label-mates TILT, some good arrangement to the song and a bellicose chorus and you’re there. The flip, ‘Turn The Record Over’ is a bit more generic - especially lyrically but reminded me in parts of X at their most rocking fused with a bit of RANCID (circa ‘Let’s Go’). It’s without a doubt that vocalist, Brenna Red, has a great voice fusing the dynamics of Exene Cervenka with the power of Brody Dalle. Being a three piece, the lack of a backing vocalist is noticeable, as Brenna appears to do the backing/ harmonies on her own. Works well in the studio - wonder how they cut it live though? Comes with a download card too. Interesting stuff from Fat’s latest and there’s certainly enough here to have my interest more than piqued for the new album. (06.07.18)

LAWRENCE ARMS, THE - We Are The Champions Of The World {Fat Wreck} PODCAST PLAYED THE LAWRENCE ARMS are a bit of an anomaly for me. Y’see, I like everything I’ve heard by the Chicagoans and always really enjoy each and every track when I hear one randomly (on the old Ipod shuffle) but, for some reason, they were never a ‘go-to’ band. So, this whopping 29-track compilation of the band’s best bits made interesting and genuinely enjoyable listening. The tracks aren’t chronological, so they’re kinda out of context, and possibly have more effect for it. All the band’s albums are represented, and the real attraction for hardened fans is the five unreleased tracks at the end. Neat booklet too with commentary from Brendan Kelly and Chris McCaughan replacing lyrics. Obviously plenty of highlights with ‘Beautiful Things’ being an instant standout for me. Other goodies include ‘Great Lakes/ Great Escapes’, ‘Slowest Drink’, the decidedly JAWBREAKEResque ‘Seventeener’ and, of course, ‘Like A Record Player’. If JAWBREAKER hanging with BANNER PILOT playing some Lance Hahn songs appeals, this is for you. Ideal place for the curious and with those bonus tracks - all of which are well worth attention - it’s a must for the diehards too.  (22.09.18)

LILLINGTONS, THE - Stella Sapiente {Fat Wreck} PODCAST PLAYED First album in 11 years for this four-piece and it kicks off with moody, dark bass-driven Punk atmospherics. Indeed, it’s a fairly dark album in general recalling the sounds of THE ESTRANGED and WIPERS if mixed with DEAD TO ME and a hint of DESCENDENTS, but it’s also a totally stunning album - and quite unique in the Fat roster. Highlights could actually be any of the 12 tracks, but the pick were ‘Night Visions’ and ‘Cult Of Dagon’ both of which recall SPECTRES style dramatics, ‘Zodiac’ that’s up-tempo emphasising the excellent guitar interplay and dynamics, ‘They Live’ that’s the fastest track but still laden with stellar songwriting skills while best track is a battle between ‘Pursuit Of Pleasure’ with its killer chorus and driven, energetic arrangement and closer ‘Drawing Down The Stars’ that’s simply stately in arrangement and features a guitar lead that’s simple yet addictive and effective. The whole album is pretty much a master class in how to write a strong album that’s distinctly Punk yet progressive, atmospheric and totally captivating. (07.07.18)

LOST TAPES - Lost Tapes {Rockstar} There’s a lot of bands doing this kinda Post-Punk stuff at the moment and while Germany’s LOST TAPES certainly hold the attention, they don’t reach the standard set by of the likes of SPECTRES or ESTRANGED. The main fault is in the guitar sound - it’s like the fucking Edge outta U2... So much so I kept expecting to hear a cover of ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’. Positive points though are some good moments of drama and a vocalist that has a decent range and variation about his voice, being equally effective with dour introspection and a soaring sneer (check ‘Out Of Sync’). Highlights among the eight tracks are ‘Gross National Product’ that saw less of that U2-esque guitar, a disjointed but effective rhythm (almost FUGAZIish in parts) and great double tracked vocal, the JOY DIVISION-esque ‘Bomb Drop’ and ‘Touch The Void’ that’s driven along by a powerful bass line and sees the guitars going off a’la John McGeoch (SIOUXSIE, ‘Album’ era PiL). Lyrically interesting too, just wish the guitar sound that dominates a lot of the album could have been a little more... bruised. (20.01.18)

LOUDMOUTH - Easy Tiger {Boss Tuneage} PODCAST PLAYED First time I’ve come across this band outta Sunderland, UK comprised of some scene veterans from bands like HDQ, RED ALERT and ANGELIC UPSTARTS. Of those, it’s most definitely HDQ where the sound of LOUDMOUTH has most similarities. Add on some LEATHERFACE, a bit of ‘77 vintage a’la THE CLASH and you’re there. You get 12 tracks that have enough class about them not to bludgeon but all of which remain resolutely Punk Rock. Highlights are plenty be it ‘Groundhog Day’ that has a SOCIAL DISTORTION vibe, ‘Thick And Thin’ that’s powered along on a neat Rockabilly beat and Swamp Rock guitar lead, both ‘Square One’ and ‘All We’ve Ever Known’ feature absolute killer choruses while ‘Never Say Never’ starts with effective dub-Reggae before throwing in a little bit of Ska and some anthemic Punk Rock. Disc highlight though is a battle between ‘The Last Farewell’ that’s BAD RELIGION-esque, and ‘To The Grave’ that’s gritty, thought provoking and a tad Strummer-esque. Closer is a STOKOE cover in memory of the late, great Dickie Hammond too. Solid stuff, well constructed and produced with aplomb. (28.03.18)

LURKERS, THE - Electrical Guitar {Damaged Goods} PODCAST PLAYED Perennial UK Punks (some may say Second Division - I know better) return with a rather blazing two-track 7” which, like the band’s best, has big guitars, sing-a-long choruses and a rather deft ability to write a rather smart little Punk ditty. This is the first stuff I’ve heard by them with a female co-vocalist (Dani Centric of THE FEATHERZ) and she’s shown to the max on the single’s flip, ‘That Was Julia’. Great voice too, a bit like Poly Styrene but with the Rock ‘n’ Roll cool of Ingi outta GEE-STRINGS. The lead track is typical LURKERS and an obvious choice for the lead track. The band still includes Pete Stride and on the evidence of this, has plenty of life left in them. This is limited to 750, so get in quick. New album per chance? (17.03.19)
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