Top Sounds - M

MAGNIFICENT, THE - Bad Lucky {JSNTGM} This, ladies and gents, could well be Album of the Year. If not, it’s clearly Top 5 material. Picking up where the band’s debut ‘Pay The Crimes’ left off, this features 10 scintillating tracks that fuse OFF WITH THEIR HEADS Punk, SNUFF circa ‘Reach’ and the song writing prowess of THE JAM. It’s a tad unfair saying the best tracks are opener ‘1981’ and closer ‘King Of The Denim Jackets’ as that’s really detrimental to the other eight tracks in between. If that was so, I wouldn’t be telling you about the excellent chorus in both ‘Hold My Drink Up High’ (featuring Jeff Pezzati and Jeff Dean of NAKED RAYGUN/ THE BOMB) and ‘Buy More Crap’. Nor would I be telling you about the groove and lyrical greatness of ‘1990’. Ultimately, I wouldn’t be telling you that on most other albums, any of those eight tracks would be an undisputed highlight. There is no filler here; just solid, well-constructed and intelligent Punk Rock. Only real negative (as with the debut album in fact), is the rather sparse packaging; while the vocals have a resoundingly clear delivery, a lyric sheet would be appreciated. Bar that - already a classic here in the House Of Scanner. (12.08.12)

MASKED INTRUDER - M.I {Fat Wreck} Really? Is this kinda slop really acceptable in today’s Punk Rock cosmos? Four dudes wearing ski masks playing songs with a production so slick that even a freshly fallen turd outta GG Allin’s stinky, decomposing arsehole wouldn’t be able to stick to. Songs about girls and loneliness and vocals soooo bland they could be some manufactured boy band shite. Anyway, second album from these pop star wannabes that sounds like very bad CHIXDIGGIT minus the edge and minus the songs with a wannabe-ALL sounding guitar. There’s even some kinda acappella thing that could be Take That for all I know - or care. Redeeming features?? The silent bits between the tracks and the end. Absolute bollocks. Music for 10 year olds made by minds with the same mental age. (06.09.14)

MEATMEN - Savage Sagas From The... {Self Destructo} Much as I appreciate what Tesco Vee did via Touch and Go zine and label, I’ve always found his actual ‘musical’ output to be shite. This, the MEATMEN’s first album of originals in 19 years (apparently) did nothing to change that opinion. Opener ‘Men O’ Meat’ came on like bad Oi, other parts were bad rock ‘n’ roll, bad hardcore, bad metal, worse Punk. I’m sure tracks like ‘I’m Gonna Fuck You Up’, ‘The Ballad Of Stinky Penis’, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Enema’ and ‘Big Bloody Booger On The Bathroom Wall’ will have fans rolling on the floor in fits of delirium or laughter - most likely both. They just had me cringing and reaching for the SB - Skip Button (or Sick Bucket). On the plus, this has got a pretty neat digipack sleeve, full lyrics and animations for each track. Sure sounds like the band can play a multiple of styles too - but unfortunately it all remains bad to my ears. Never been a fan, not likely to ever be a fan.  (24.08.14)

MEAT PUPPETS - Huevos {MVD} This reissue (one of a whole series) is of this Arizona band’s sixth album, originally released on SST back in 1987. It’s an accomplished and accessible album too - quite different from the psychedelia of the preceding ‘Mirage’ or the earlier, more abrasive albums. A lot of the songs come over as ‘Pleased To Meet Me’ era REPLACEMENTS given some wigged-out Country Rock guitar noodling - especially on closer ‘I Can’t Be Counted On’. Highlight would be ‘Look At The Rain’ that is probably the most energised track here. It’s said the album is greatly influenced by ZZ Top which is best emphasised by ‘Automatic Mojo’ that features a dirty, raunchy guitar line. If you can dig the PUPS in their Alt.Country/Rock mode, then it’s possible to say there isn’t a duffer here. This has also been remastered and includes five extra tracks which are demo versions or alternative takes on the album’s songs. Liners notes are provided by the band’s drummer, Derrick Bostrom, among others. Not the best PUPS album ever (that would have to be 'II'), but not the worst either. (28.07.13)

MENSHEVIK - Ceasefire {Dry Heave} Now, fellow Punks, this is interesting. This is a new British band but made up of familiar faces from the likes of CAPDOWN and VANILLA POD and they crank out some seriously intense and catchy Hardcore jams - think BATTERY and SPEAK 741 but given a British twist and you’re close. This is a six-track 7", etched on excellent red/white split vinyl and a wrap-around sleeve. Of the tracks, highlights have to be ‘Conditions’ that has an effective breakdown, the lead track that rages and ‘Security’ that tackles that age-old matter of capitalism. Lyrics are all of a socio-political nature delivered with a raw, bratty roar and coupled with some crew-stylee back ups. Have to say, I would’ve liked the guitar a bit louder in the mix but for a debut release, even from guys as experienced as these fellas, this is an impressive start. A release not to be missed - especially in the light of the band already having split up!! (24.10.14)

MIGHTY FINE, THE - In Revival {Solidarity} Second album from this Californian quartet and one that has been getting some serious airtime in the House Of Scanner. There’s a distinct HOT WATER MUSIC influence here; the rhythm section of Chris Scott and Mikey Castillo fuse together to create that broiling undercurrent that’s at the heart of HWM while the guitars of Brook Thompson and Christopher Lintner dual against each other adding more weight to the HWM comparison. It’s Thompson’s vocal where the difference occurs; his voice is much less gnarled and brings a BOUNCING SOULS clarity to proceedings. Highlights are plenty: ‘To Indiana’, ‘Flow’, the swelling ‘Ambassadors’ and the mass backing vocals of ‘Catching Up To Tired’ all stand out. I would like to see things a little more grizzled in parts (especially ‘Now You Know’ which could’ve been left off the album), but when this stuff hits, it hits in style. Nice digipack sleeve with stylish, understated graphics. A Mighty Fine record indeed. (21.04.12)

MIND SPIDERS - Meltdown {Dirtnap} Second album from MARKED MEN’s Mark Ryan and if you take a healthy dollop of 60s Garage Rock, a suitable portion of DEVO New Waveness, a sizeable lump of TOYS THAT KILL Punk and a small percentage of SCREAMERS electro-noise, you’ll be close to the sound these fellas crank out. While the opening three tracks (including the cracking ‘On The Radio’) are blasted out on that Punk Rock trajectory, many of the tracks that follow explore more of an electronic feel with ‘More Than You’ being a psychedelic crawl and ‘Skull Eyed’ (along with the title track) taking the SCREAMERS feel and running with it. The album highlight - ‘Wait For Us’ - fuses the electro with some pulsating Punk to stunning effect. Certainly a band that’s aligned more with SOMETHING FIERCE than the STEVE ADAMYK BAND when looking at the current Dirtnap roster and, while it isn’t my favourite release from the label, it fits in well with the label’s identity. (24.12.12)

MONKS OF SCIENCE/ DEFAULT - Inspirations And Escalations: Complete Recordings 1987 - 1992 {Boss Tuneage} Hailing from the wasteland that is Peterborough, England came DEFAULT which morphed into MONKS OF SCIENCE. This 75 minute, 28 track disc compiles all that both bands recorded. First off is the rather underrated and, in my opinion, minor-classic MONKS OF SCIENCE album, ‘I’m A Doctor Not An Escalator’, that was released back in 1990. It’s a truly accomplished slice of US-flavoured UKHC that fused melody with HC to great effect, recalling the likes of HDQ and DAG NASTY, as shown on disc highlight ‘Section One’. That’s followed by seven excellent, unreleased tracks from 1992 that take frantic early SNUFF-style pop songs and channel an ARTICLES OF FAITH intensity - check ‘Modern Man’. DEFAULT featured a different singer and only released one 7", ‘Inspiration’ in 1987. I have to confess, I never owned it and I don’t recall ever hearing it, especially in light of my affinity for that MOS album. Anyway, it’s raucous, frantic, 7 SECONDS influenced stuff with a hint of MINOR THREAT. It’s filled out with a live track and demo from 1987. As always, great packaging and a truly worthwhile collection from the BT stables. That DEFAULT 7" is apparently very collectible, but it’s the MONKS OF SCIENCE album that, for me, is essential. (31.01.14)

MORNING GLORY - War Psalms {Fat Wreck} First time I’ve come across this band that includes ex-LEFTOVER CRACK man Ezra Kire, even though this is the second album. It’s a mixed bag combining rapid riffing guitar, pianos and melodic vocals but not one single wiff of Ska! It works too - there’s not a duffer here. I heard a prime-time DOWN BY LAW vibe throughout but especially on ‘Standard Issue’ and ‘Know Your Wrongs’. Elsewhere you got brass and strings over an aggro staccato guitar riff on ‘I Am A Machine Gun’, a latter day KILLING JOKE growl on ‘War Dance’ that fused tribal beats, a lurching riff, samples, spoken word and a piano making it the album highlight while a rolling, muscular riff punctuated by sparse vocals fixed ‘I Want Control’. I constantly heard, in a more subtle way, JOE STRUMMER AND THE MESCALEROS - listen to closer ‘Home Free’ or ‘Karry On’ for obvious proof, but it’s an influence that sweeps through the album. Production is spot on - clear and spacious but not polished and packaging is a digipack with insert (but no lyrics). A pretty unique band for Fat Wreck and one that could prove to be the label’s best release of the year. (25.07.14)

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