Top Sounds - M

MAHWRIN SKEL - Excession {Corndog} Those familiar with the music scene in Ipswich, Suffolk will most likely know the name ANDREW CULTURE. He was the bassist in 90s Punks JUNK CULTURE and has since gone onto be in ZEEB and THESE ARE END TIMES among others. This is his latest project and is about as far away from the Punk of JUNK CULTURE as can be. Opener ‘Wires Hest’ is one long drone of electronica with a few random thunder claps and dub-heavy beats. Oddness continues in ‘Onderneming’ where the dub-heavy beat continues and is accompanied by what sounds like Space Invaders. Of the nine tracks, it is only ‘Corfe’ that has any kind of vocal. I’m not sure what genre this could be - and I’m sure Andrew doesn’t give a flying fuck about that - but some kinda Trance.. Chill-out electronica maybe? Way out of my range of listening and not something that did much for me. Kinda like a full album of SONIC YOUTH’s ‘Providence’ with added electronic bass beats and a bit of flugelhorn. Completely bewildering. Comes with a patch and stickers! (23.07.19)

MANIAC - Dead Dance Club {Dirt Cult} PODCAST PLAYED Second album from this Los Angeles quartet that includes personnel who have strutted their stuff in the likes of CUTE LEPERS and CLOROX GIRLS. It’s good stuff too, fusing THE BOYS knack for a pulsating harmony-laced Punk gem with the slightly more angular abrasion of RED DONS. Plenty of highlights too, be it opener ‘City Lights’ and ‘Midnight Kino’ that display the RED DONS vibe, ‘Neutral Libido’ that includes a spoken word part and keyboard flurries evoking that Dirtnap sound of recent years, both ‘Modern Love’ and ‘Post Post World’ come on like THE BOYS having a ruck with THE VAPOURS while best track is a toss up between ‘Living In Stereo’ that’s loaded with high energy and the pounding beats and pogo drive of ‘Precision Accuracy’. Throw in the title track that starts with bass and a LOU REED-esque vocal before morphing into an adventurous and captivating closer. While both CUTE LEPERS and CLOROX GIRLS were pretty instant in their greatness, I had to work a little harder with this; it’s a bit darker, moodier and more involved, but three plays in the depth behind the songs starts to shine, and starts to soar. (14.06.18)

MARKED MEN - On The Other Side {Dirtnap} PODCAST PLAYED 16 track comp of all of this (should be) legendary band’s non-album tracks from 2003 through to 2010. You should know the band and its legacy as members have gone onto be in MIND SPIDERS, RADIOACTIVITY and HIGH TENSION WIRES among others. If not, they kinda define the ‘Dirtnap’ sound - snappy songs, hyper-active energy, choppy, snipping guitars, melodic but taut vocals and songs that straddle Garage Punk aggro with New Wave structures. It all creates one addictive, barrelling Punk sound that’s as essential to these ears as anything. Highlights are plenty be it the DICKIES-esque ‘On’, ‘The Other Side’ which slows the pace but not the energy, ‘Whip Myself’ that could’ve been an early BUZZCOCKS classic and the sneering double hit of ‘I Can’t Be Good’ and ‘That Kid’ while personal highlight has to be the effervescent abandon of ‘Lost It All’. And I’ve not even mentioned the killer opener, ‘She Won’t know’. Fact is, given these are all new to the LP format (with two tracks having never been released before) and recorded over a seven year period, they make a convincing body of work without a filler in sight. Recommended? You fucking betcha!! (28.05.19)

MEAN JEANS - Jingles Collection {Fat Wreck} What an oddity... 23 tracks in 20 minutes that are radio jingle type things done in MEAN JEANS’ very own style. So you get jingles for candy, alcohol, cigarettes... Some are fun, most are throwaway. There’s no track listing as such but a neat pastiche on the rear sleeve of a Crust Punk sleeveless and studded jacket that features some of the products - CapriSun, Camel, Kinkos, Coors Lite, Wendys, Taco Bell etc. Does it work? Not really. I can picture some of these as an OK set filler (opener about Coors Lite and the one about Totino’s in particular), but they don’t make me smile like SNUFF’s ads did - possibly because this is very American-centric so a lot of the ‘product’ goes over my head (as opposed to being tasty, tasty, very very tasty). The better ones are slightly longer, add a bit of a CHIXDIGGIT feel but honestly, I can’t imagine I’ll ever come back to this with the prospect of sitting down and listening intently. Would’ve been much better as a novelty 10 track 7" rather than a full-blown cheesy ‘album’. (06.09.18)

MEXICAN WOLFBOYS - Skatization Of The Christian West {Rockstar} Well, this is a slightly odd one. Given the album title and, rather excellent cover artwork, I expected a full on Skate Punk opus - JFA, COMMON ENEMY or even PENNYWISE style. In fact, this is mid-paced Punk Rock ‘n’ Roll with an anthemtic Street Punk vibe like a less complicated HOT WATER MUSIC meets ANTI-FLAG and HUDSON FALCONS with a big dollop of LEATHERFACE for good measure. Best tracks are certainly those that have the LEATHERFACE/ HWM-esque bombast - ‘Transition Bound’, ‘Shockwaves’, ‘Have Y’ever’ and album highlight, the epic and brooding ‘Past Forward’. The title track clocks in at just over 30 seconds and befits its title. Elsewhere ‘No Gods, No Masters’ is nothing to do with AMEBIX but instead is a energetic rocker pleading for freedom while closer ‘Start Today’ is a spirited and effective reworking of the GORILLA BISCUITS classic. Solid stuff from this five piece outta Aachen, Germany that, unfortunately, is done NO favours by the album’s title or Skate-Punk associations. (12.01.18)

MIND SPIDERS - Furies {Dirtnap} Album number five from these Electro-Punx and it’s another eight track slice of pulsating, insistent techno tunes laid over Punk-driven beats. After the joyous ‘Prosthesis’, this is a much darker album musically with more emphasis put on discord, noise, space and electronica. Lots of highlights though, be it the 90-second blitz of ‘Deserve’ that’s full of mutant beats, electro noise and Punk riffage, the title track that’s as dark and spacious as JOY DIVISION while ‘Never Like That’ could be a DEVO backing track with closer ‘August’ being an epic nine-minute instrumental that builds on barrelling beats before closing on a trance-like psychedelic chill out. Best track would be either ‘Ice Bear’ that perfectly fuses the digital noise with discordant guitar jams or ‘Shock And Repeat’ that’s the most guitar-driven track on the album. Definitely an album that takes a bit more work from a listener’s perspective than the previous, but one that could be omnipotent blasting in a small, claustrophobic strobe-lit room with volume set to max. (20.08.18)

MISGIVINGS - Hermitage {Lockjaw} PODCAST PLAYED After a couple of EPs, this four-piece outta Portsmouth, England deliver their debut eight-track long-player. I like it too, think some kinda fusion of FLATLINERS melodic structures, the distinct Britishness of DOWN AND OUTS, J CHURCH quality songwriting and the power of STAY CLEAN JOLENE and you’re there. Plenty of highlights here too, with ‘Shameless’ having some moments of soaring vocal interplay which even brought to mind DILLINGER FOUR at times, the slightly more sedate and discordant ‘The New Lows’ that rolls with confidence and power, and ‘The Last Word’ that’s simultaneously melodic and muscular while highlight has to be ‘The Artless Life’ which is just 2 mins 22 secs of close-to-perfection sound. There’s not a duffer here in fact; the songs are well arranged without being cluttered with unnecessary solos or slow bits - each part of every song adds something that sounds just right. Really strong vocals, great production and more than capable musicianship. Easily the best release I’ve heard on Lockjaw so far. (14.03.19)

MIXTAPES SAINTS - Everything We Used To Be {Real Ghost} First time I’ve come across this UK band and from the virtual Gospel tinged vocal opening of ‘Heavy Water’ it held my attention. That opening track, clocking in at over five minutes, is also the longest track here, bringing to mind BANNER PILOT and IRON CHIC but with something a bit more Roots/ Americana vibe - CHAMBERLAIN maybe. The remainder of the album, which is a compilation of the band’s releases thus far, is a mix of acoustic-based tracks like the other album highlight of ‘Spare Change’ and ‘No Regrets’, and a few electric tracks like ‘Sleep‘ and closer ‘Reckless’ (that’s got a huge and memorable chorus), while ‘Heartbreak Radio Cars And Rain’ gets a take in both styles. It makes an interesting mix but I do wonder whether the acoustic stuff will isolate those who prefer the electric tracks and vice versa. If you want sneering, arrogant Punk Rock look elsewhere, but for those who can appreciate well produced, heart-felt acoustic tunes with a bit of electricity, look no further. It’s certainly better than the risible GASLIGHT ANTHEM - but still a bit too smooth and glossy for me to go back to.  (14.07.18)

MORLOCKS, THE - Bring On The Mesmeric Condition {Hound Gawd} PODCAST PLAYED First album in eight years from these potent Garage rockers originally from San Diago, now relocated to Germany. This is low down, sleazy and effective Garage Rock ‘n’ Roll, shooting from the hip and rolling like THE STONES had they been on ‘Nuggets’. This new line-up includes members of FUZZTONES too, which should be another indicator of the coolness here. Of the ten scorchers, you get multiple Garage grinding highlights including opener ‘Bothering Me’, ‘Heart Of Darkness’ that meanders along on an acoustic rhythm guitar, NICK CAVE/JIM CARROLL-esque dual vocal and CRAZY HORSE arrangement making it one of two standouts, the butt-shaking groove of ‘High Tide Killer’ and ‘Time To Move’ that’s got guitars laden with attitude and sublime leads making it the other standout. There’s certainly something that sets this apart from most Garage Rock ‘n’ Roll bands, something that is distinctly genuine, rendering the sound veracious and thrilling. Slight touch of Mike Hudson on some of the vocals too - bonus points! (05.02.19)
MOTOSIERRA - S/t {Spaghetty Town} Roaring outta Montevideo, Uruguay, this quartet have been cranking out the jams since 1999 and this is their fourth album. If you take all the swagger of TURBONEGRO and couple it with the no class tumultuous blast of MOTORHEAD with a hint of RAW POWER on the fastest tracks you’ll be pretty close. Opener ‘Buzo Nuevo’ certainly sets a high-octane, noxious Punk Rock ‘n’ Roll pace and stands as one of the album’s best. Other goodies include the frantic ‘Lobo Del Aire’, the slower, slightly tribal ‘Sepuzombie’, the swinging Rock ‘n’ Roll cool of ‘El Socio’ and ‘O Pelukao’ starts on a doomy BLACK SABBATH riff before exploding into a flat out burn that POISON IDEA would’ve been proud of. Unlike previous releases this 12 track is all sung in Spanish which also lends a naturalistic quality about the vocals. Older fans maybe be interested to know that the band’s original guitarist, Luis Machado, also reappears on a couple of tracks here. Solid, heavy duty slash and burn Rock ‘n’ Roll. (26.06.19)
MOUNT WYCHEPROOF - Is Everybody Dead Yet? {DIY} This is the new project from former members of Brighton band WORTHY VICTIMS and, if you were expecting something similar to their Hardcore sound, you’re in for something distinctly different here. You get five tracks that are damaged - and damage inducing. Opening with the title track that starts like the DWARVES and then mutates into a disturbing BIRTHDAY PARTY breakdown before going full circle. Of the remaining four tracks, it’s ‘(In Defence Of) Bad Art’ that could be the highlight with its pulsating rhythm, fractured guitar and disquieting vocal. ‘Fugazi At Parties’ names a definite influence while ‘International Circles’ is a 7-minute slice of melodramatic electronic sound and guitar shards. Sound-a-likes? This is pretty much out there on its own but think BAUHAUS fused with FUGAZI with a bit of DEAD KENNEDYS with PLAY DEAD and a splish of SUICIDE - dark, post-Punk, semi-Industrial and inventive stuff which, back in the 80s, would probably have been lumped with the fledgling Goth scene. Personally, it’s among my favourite records of the year; the vocal is stunning - one minute soaring, the next searching, the next petrifying but always commanding. (30.08.19)

MOVING TARGETS - The Other Side: Demos And Sessions Expanded {Boss Tuneage} The guys at Boss Tuneage are a quality bunch! After releasing this in the highly limited ‘Made To Order’ series (review HERE), they have now re-issued it but bigger and better than ever - and just in time for the band’s first European tour in 25 years! So, why is this better? Well, you get a choice of double vinyl or gatefold CD both of which contain all of the ‘Made To Order’ version plus a 1987 live radio broadcast of ‘Faith’ and the remaining seven songs from the WMBR session of 2007. Needless to say, it’s a pretty much essential release for all fans of melodic US Punk - think HUSKER DU, LEMONHEADS, REPLACEMENTS etc. Everything I said in the initial review still stands and it’s great to hear that full 2007 session. If you have the original ‘Made To Order’ version there is the question of whether there are enough sufficient bonuses here to buy it again. I think so - especially given the quality of the 2007 session where the guitar of Ken Chambers and quality of the songs deftly display why the band is so revered. (27.10.18)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2018 including: