Top Sounds - P

P.A.I.N. - Oh My God! We’re Doing It {Iron Man} I never got the whole Crusty-Traveller-Hippie crossover shit of the early-late 90s. Too much hash, too little soap and nowhere near enough venom. This piece of dub-heavy, Punk-lite was originally released in ‘95. It bored me then and nothing has changed. Lyrically it’s spot-on, akin to CITIZEN FISH but with less energy and intelligence. Opener ‘Beltane’ promises much with decent lyrics and atmosphere, but from there it’s a one-way trip going ever down the road of an Anarchist’s Utopia. Maybe I need to go back to smoking dope? Nah... I’ll pass... As the BUZZCOCKS said, "Boredom, Boredom..."

PAINT IT BLACK - New Lexicon {Jade Tree} The third album from this Philadelphia quartet and it’s an unrelenting, unforgiving and innovative masterpiece. Most are probably familiar with PAINT IT BLACK’s brand of HC; it’s structured, vitriolic and experimental and rarely relies on flat-out thrash (although when the band does floor the accelerator, you better get outta the way!). It’s kinda like FUCKED UP meeting AVAIL with some pulverising distorted rhythms and electronic noise that only BIG BLACK has equalled (check out ‘We Will Not’ for evidence). Dan Yemin’s vocals are bitter; spat out with a disdain that evokes Vic Bondi at his most seething. The corrosive power of PAINT IT BLACK is captured perfectly in J. Robbins’ wall-of-sound production and the whole thing is wrapped in a tres artistic sleeve. Highlights? Get real - each and every track baby! BIG contender for the greatest slab of 2008.

PAINT THE TOWN RED - Pt.II: Home Is Where The Hate Is {Join The Team Player} This is, I think, the band’s second release after the impressive ‘Last Gang In Town’ 6-tracker. The band churns out an abrasive, broiling and malevolent brand of HC bringing to mind BANE having a fistfight with BOYSETSFIRE and lifting a few choice BATTERY riffs between punches. There is an infusion of Metal though, which detracts from the otherwise embittered, pissed-off HC. ‘Murder My Heart’ brings in some SNAPCASE dynamics while the title-track hurtles along at an infuriated, damning pace with album closer ‘The Fighting Years’ being a powersurge of a track with interwoven guitars bouncing outta the speakers at all angles. Lyrically the band is a volatile collective of angered souls screaming disgust at greedy, capitalist governments, warmongers and more. An impressive follow-up of 13 dense, caustic HC blasters to an EP that contained equally impressive and intense tunes.

THE PEERS - Rockit Repeat {Trash 2001} A band that seems to know all the chords and moves of the SUPERSUCKERS, but executes them with the monotonous lethargy of GUITAR GANGSTERS. You get a dismal rock ballad (‘Kisses Like A Hurricane’) with hints elsewhere of JIM CARROLL had he been German and less talented, PETER AND THE TEST-TUBE BABIES and even a splattering of NZ’s own TOY LOVE if mixed with early 70s Glam. It had odd moments of enjoyment, it’s well played and recorded but just all sounds a tad contrived and conservative. Rockit repeat? Nah... Stopit complete.

PERIFERIA S.A. - s/t {Red Star} Hell fire! This trio outta Brazil really kick up one almighty unsociable and frantic Punk Rock noise. The lyrics are all in Portuguese (I guess) and no press release came with the disc so I can give you very little info - I can't even work out the order of the songs. Sonically, the band combine early BROKEN BONES, latter POISON IDEA and a splash of STOOGES-style rock 'n' roll. It's as tight as a camel's arsehole in a sandstorm, incisive and convincing Punk that mixes tempos and moods while never sounding contrived or weak. This is the kinda cataclysmic Punk Rock RANCID could only dream of writing these days. Includes CHRON GEN, ZEROS and RATOS DE PORAO covers that are effective but not a patch on the band's sulphurous originals.

PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES - Pissed And Proud + Rarities {Anagram} It’s either a stunningly stupid or stunningly confident band that releases its debut album as a live disc. THE TEST TUBES are both! I’ve seen the band a few of times and if there is one arena in which THE TEST TUBES excel, it’s the live show and this remastered version, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of its release back in ‘82, demonstrates why. It’s chaotic, unpredictable, spontaneous and a lot of fun. Few front men have the brazen, offensive charm of Peter and that’s displayed to the full here. The second of this two disc, 31-track set features rarities like a ‘78 version of ‘Elvis Is Dead’, demos, radio sessions, the ‘Oi! The Album’ and ‘Carry On Oi!’ comp tracks and the first two No Future 7"s - the classic ‘Banned From The Pubs’ and ‘Run Like Hell’. As good as some of the TEST TUBES latter material is, this for me stands as their best release (at least bar the ‘Jinx’ 7"). Add on liner notes (from Ian Glasper and Peter himself) and full lyrics and you are looking at the definitive TEST TUBES release.

PHOENIX FOUNDATION - We Need To Make Some Changes {Newest Industry} What happened here? I recall this band's last release was a full-on 'New Day Rising' era HUSKER DU meets LEATHERFACE deal that didn't win me over at all. This is much more restrained and, oddly, I prefer it. It took about 4 plays to get into but after that I found it quite addictive. Think Rev. era GAMEFACE, second album MOVING TARGETS and 'Candy Apple Grey' HUSKER DU and you're close. In fact, the closing track here 'Long Time Ago', is totally 'Hardly Getting Over It' in style, mood and composition. Highlights include opener 'To A Lost Friend' (and don't we all know someone like that?!) and 'Rain'. I'm still not totally convinced by the six tracks presented here by this Finnish band, but it is a huge step in the right direction.

PILGER - Begging For A Silver Lining {Go Down Fighting} Debut long-player from the already defunct political HC machine that was the UK’s PILGER. You get 14 new slices of snarling, sub-two minute HC that mixes an obvious 7 SECONDS and MINOR THREAT vibe with hints of BATTERY and KID DYNAMITE (there’s actually a KD cover on here too). Lyrically, this was a very direct band and one that voiced its opinion. There’s a strong anti-war message, most apparent on the album’s highlight, ‘57 Years On’. Other high points include the sub-20 second thrash of ‘Chop Chop’ and the album closer ‘Union Song’. Another lyrical trait of the band is workers’ rights and the suggestion to at least think about working conditions and beyond the base wage. As well as the album, you get the 11-track 7", ‘These Times’ and the band’s four tracks from the split with BIFF TANNEN. Cracking intelligent HC that's raw and ribald.

PINK FITS - Don’t Ask Why {Outback RNR} A 7" of pummeling fuzzed Aussie Punk Rock that’s got more energy than a hyperactive 5-yr-old with an intravenous sugar fix. Think HUMPERS meets ‘Destroy-O-Boy’ era NEW BOMB TURKS and a hint of Mr. THUNDERS at his coolest. The lead track is lifted from the band’s ‘Fuzzyard Gravebox’ album with the b-side being an unreleased take on THE MUMMIES’ ‘Just One More Dance’. Great snotty vocals and raw without sounding a distortion fest. It’s limited to 300, the first 100 of which are on red vinyl - so be quick, or be a fuck-wit. Smokin’ sounds... If Outback RNR keep up this kinda quality, then I for one will be mighty happy!

PISTOL GRIP - Tear It All Down {BYO} The alleged ‘tricky’ third album from this LA quintet gets torn up and spat out with the same punishing Punk Rock intensity as is found on any of the band’s previous records, whilst upping the general quality. This is 11-tracks of pure Punk Rock that sound the way the DROPKICK MURPHYS would like to, with an added lump of SOCIAL DISTORTION’s bloody-minded conviction (especially the lead guitar work - check out ‘Never B Another’) and barbed melodic arrangements that recall second album STIFF LITTLE FINGERS. Production, handled by the great Jim Siegel, is crisp, clear and trenchant. Highlights have to be the scathing ‘Can’t Keep Us Silent’, the pogo-tastic ‘Rusted Lining’ and the bastardised Punk blues of ‘Stained And Destructed’. Given repeated listens, the guitars are so sharp they have a jugular-slicing ferocity while the fist-in-the-air vocal not only grabs the ear - it virtually tears them off. Good stuff that’s clearly sincere and played from the heart - with biting efficacy.

PITCH BLACK – This Is The Modern Sound {Revelation} Two years on from the excellent debut album, this Oakland quartet (featuring ex-members of SCREW 32 and NERVE AGENTS) deliver a follow-up of earth-shattering, cranium-crunching brilliance. The band’s sound is now a bastardised version of rock ‘n’ roll instead of the punk-laced sound of the debut. Imagine GUN CLUB mixing it in a vicious fistfight with CRIME and delivered with the sharp and snotty belligerence of early SAINTS and AFI. It’s unrelenting, pounding, blood, sweat and tears music that rips through to the very soul. There’s a sense of conviction, determination and a confidence bordering on arrogance about these songs. Vocally, if you can show me a more trenchant, convincing and passionate delivery I’ll be mightily surprised! Each and every tune deserves a special mention, but when placed together it makes for an incredible body of work with perfect continuity. All hail the Modern Sound; All hail PITCH BLACK.

PLOT TO BLOW UP THE EIFFEL TOWER – Love In The Fascist Brothel {Revelation} Four misguided dickweeds outta San Diego gives us album #2 of a project that, on the strength of this, has clearly lasted two albums too many. Take the tortured tuneage of JESUS LIZARD, throw in some RAPEMAN and combine with a total lack of direction and focus and you’ll be close to this cacophonous crapola. More confounding than the sounds is the message the band is attempting to convey. Song titles like ‘Rattus Uberalles’, ‘Lipstick SS’ and ‘Reichstag Rock’ are coupled with an apparent lyrical obsession with Germany, Nazis, Swastikas and sex. The artwork features lots of militia seig heiling and the band is happy to be drawn in black shirts and red armbands. Oddly though, where the swastika is usually positioned on said armbands, a mere white circle is visible. Shocking? Not in the slightest. Witty? Nah! Lacking conviction? Totally! Dumb? Certainly. Contrived? You fucking bet!

POINTED STICKS - Perfect Youth {Sudden Death} These fellas were one of Canada's earlier bands with future D.O.A. drummer Dimwit among their number. This reissue comprises of the band's 12-track album from 1980 + 4 rare bonus tracks. It's pretty light-weight stuff generally - but good also. There is an unavoidable comparison with THE DICKIES if jamming with THE PLIMSOULS while attempting the New Wave Pop of THE KNACK or THE VAPOURS. It's an interesting listen from a historical perspective - 'American Song', 'Part Of The Noise' and the opening pairing of 'Marching Song' and 'Perfect Youth' are all essential listening while 'The Witch' could be THE DICKIES themselves. It lacks the barbed attack that Dimwit went onto perform with D.O.A. but the music DOES possess a drive and energy that should see it appealing to most Punks who have one eye on the heritage of our musical preference.

POINTING FINGER - Best Bruises Collection {Goodwill} If Youth Crew Hardcore played at breakneck speed is your thing, then look no further than this 22-track compilation that flies by in a little over 42 minutes. POINTING FINGER is a 4-piece from Portugal and this comp collects the band’s four 7" releases. The sound is very reminiscent of the stuff Revelation Records made its reputation upon. Imagine YOUTH OF TODAY and CHAIN OF STRENGTH played with a Bostonian zeal and a splash of early 7 SECONDS and you’ll be close to the uproarious sound these fellas create. The singer in particular has an early Ray Cappo thing going on. To pick individual highlights among all these tracks is a tough task, but the anti-capitalism bellow of ‘Greed Behind’, ‘Transcend’ features some incredibly tight breakdowns and the album closer, which is a lightning paced take on GORILLA BISCUITS’ ‘High Hopes’ are all in contention. This is HC as it should be: Metal free, positive, free flowing, passionate, rapid-paced, taut and impenetrable.

IGGY POP - Live In San Fran 1981 {MVD} This 14-tracker features 12 live tracks. It's not a good IGGY performance. IGGY himself sounds tired and probably full of junk, the guitarist (who apparently went on to work with Bowie) sounds wasted to fuck... the two STOOGES covers are pitiful at best... 'Lust For Life' sounds comatose... thankfully Clem Burke’s drumming holds it together to retain some cohesion. The set reaches a peak, oddly, midway through with 'Dum Dum Boys' and a convincing take on 'I'm A Conservative'. The closing two tracks, ‘Fire Engine’ and the superior, semi-gothic ‘Warrior Tribe’, are unreleased studio tunes and provide obvious highlights. Both are electro-laced and, I’m guessing, outtakes from the ‘Party’ or ‘Zombie Birdhouse’ sessions. Packaging is shit - there are no details of the musicians, no date or time of recording, not even any photos. One for the diehards only I think.

PROPAGANDHI - Potemkin City Limits {Fat Wreck} Fourth long-player and four years on from the incendiary 'Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes' platter. Sure seems as if the band has musically mellowed a bit also. It took several spins to get into this as the initial plays seemed rather lacklustre. Even now, some of the first five tracks seem dismally pedestrian. Once 'Die Jugend Marschiert' hits, the album moves up a gear and slams home in the same way that the band's previous discs did. Highlights have to be the lyrically spot-on 'Rock For Sustainable Capitalism' and the closing 'Iteration'. Far from the band's best disc - in fact, it could be their most under whelming album to date - but even firing on ½ power, the PROP still make a mightily convincing noise.

PUKES/ MIKE PUKE - A Stab In The Ears For The Foolhardy! {Puke} A total multi-media presentation from the capitalist Puke Organisation of Dunedin! The first six tracks are devoted to THE PUKES which, here, sound better than ever. Opening with ‘Babies Are Horrible’, the band peaks with ‘Dresses For Inhumanity’ and the warped ‘This Is The Day’. The disc’s highlight is the solo MIKE PUKE stuff which is much more hard-hitting with ‘You’re Just Part Of The Fuckin’ Problem’ and ‘Eye In The Sky’ in particular being barbed, inventive and pointed. There’s also a cover of DEAD KENNEDYS’ ‘Nazi Punks Fuck Off’. Really cracking stuff that, for me, overshadowed the band’s material. If you want comparisons to either the band or Mike himself, think UK SUBS meets CONFLICT. Add to the audio 10 live video tracks and a massive amount of CD-ROM goodness and you have a really complete, sincere package. Totally DIY, totally Punk Rock and totally convincing. Mike has a massive back catalogue, but this really is the ideal place to get ‘Puked on’. Choice Bro...

PUKE - The Nightmayor Of Nelson {Mothertrucker} Possibly the first Kiwi Punk Rock concept album? PUKE is the solo project of Mike Puke of - unsurprisingly - THE PUKES. This sees Mike experimenting more than he does in the band situation with the use of keyboards, sound textures, drum machines and greater lead guitar work. Lyrically, this deals with the state of Nelson's (city on NZ's South Island) Mayors and highlights the injustices that 3 (I think) mayors have committed in the city. It's given a twist though, as Mike insinuates (dreams?) a violent and bloody death befalls each one. It's an interesting and frequently amusing set of lyrics that pack quite a punch - 'The Mathebeast Stalks This Town' in particular. Production is pretty sharp with clear vocals and some hard-hitting guitar. The drum machine sometimes makes it a little mechanical but, on the whole, this is a grizzled, barbed slab of pure Punk.

THE PUKES - Oh Shit! It's The Pukes Video CD {Mothertrucker} Rough-as-guts, warts 'n' all live recording of this well-known Dunedin band. Given the band sound like a cross between the cynical social commentary of THE SUBHUMANS (UK) and the all out attack of CHARGED GBH, the raw production some how lends a genuine sensibility to the whole package. Lyrically, the band mix twisted humour with pointed politics and seem to be more effective with the latter. Highlights include 'Citizen', 'Macho Man' and the scathing, careering 'Fascist Wanker'. The video side of the CD wouldn't play on the House Of Scanner computer, so I can't comment on that (due not to a fault of the CD but the rather fragile state of this PC!). If your idea of 'Punk' is polished JIMMY EATS WORLD mediocrity, you'd best avoid this.  If, on the other hand, you're up for raw, sincere and earnest Punk Fucking Rock, then check this out.

Top Sounds - Q

QUEERS - Live At CBGB: The Bowery Collection {MVD} I lost interest in THE QUEERS as a serious slice of snotty Punkage a while ago but, on the evidence of this live set recorded in 2003 at the infamous NYC venue, CBGB, the band still operates as a very proficient live act. Sure, a RAMONES rip is evident from the outset with a take on the classic ‘Rockaway Beach’. From there it’s a snappy if slightly sloppy slab of song followed by song and little bullshit in between. ‘Monster Zero’ into ‘This Place Sucks’, ‘Kicked Out Of The Webelos’ into ‘I Hate Everything’, ‘I Can’t Stop Farting’ into ‘Granola Head’... Add on bile-laced covers of ANGRY SAMOANS and MR T EXPERIENCE and you are looking at what has to be the funnest live bubblegum Punk disc since the early 90s. I imagined Joe Queer saying a whole lot more in between songs to pad the set out, but this is simply a rapid blast of three chord RAMONE-o-core followed by more of the unrelenting same taken straight from the soundboard to your speakers. This live bombast has totally rejuvenated my interest in the band and for the curious this runs ‘A Day Late And A Dollar Short’ as close second as the ideal introduction to this pivotal New Hampshire band.

QUOTES/ DOUG STANHOPE - split {Stardumb} Latest slab o’ wax from the ever reliable QUOTES. The band's solitary track is featured on the album below and rips and snorts in a WIRE fighting with MC5 vein. It’s a snappy song - no frills - just two minutes of sneering vocals and swollen overdriven guitars and they’re outta there leaving the speakers smoking in their wake. Perfect Rock ‘n’ Roll. DOUG STANHOPE is a stand-up comedian and does a slightly twisted but witty piece on suicide. I guess there are parallels with LENNY BRUCE. Worth getting - if only for the cracker by THE QUOTES.

THE QUOTES - s/t {My First Sonny Weissmuller Recordings} Debut long-player from this hot-rockin’, gum-chewin’, guitar-slingin’ 4-piece (which, since recording, has swelled to a 5-piece) outta the Netherlands. It follows a similar line as the single below (also featured on here) with big guitars and fuzzed melodies. That DINOSAUR vibe is still evident if mixed with a general LEMONHEADS cool. There’s a splash of Antipodean Punkage too as many of these tracks come over like New Zealand’s own D4 rockin’ out to BIRDMAN tuned up to 11! There are a heap of highlights but the blitz of garage fuzz that is ‘The Referee’, disc closer ‘Shut Me Down’, the subtle ‘Ultrahigh’ or the sublime ‘One Track Mind’ all deserve special mention. Throw in a couple of choice covers too in the form of THE LYRES and THE FUN THINGS and you’re looking at a debut disc full of bubblegum Punk-Garage-Pop-Core coolness. Neat packaging too!

THE QUOTES - Mass Produced {Stardumb} Fantastically frivolous little 7" featuring a couple of tracks of effervescent, up-tempo rockers that brought to mind early GOO GOO DOLLS but with a slightly tougher DINOSAUR JR edge. The a-side is an original that rocks with big guitars, killer melodies and a neat lyric. The b-side is a GUIDED BY VOICES cover. The band are a bit of a Rotterdam supergroup featuring various members of APERS, RAGIN’ HORMONES, OIL and Scanner faves, DAS OATH. Easily the best of the recent Stardumb 7"s and a band I wanna hear more of. Limited to 1,000 too, so be quick.