Top Sounds - P

PAGANS/ HIP PRIESTS - Split {Just4Fun} Was interesting listening to this for the first time as I found out that PAGANS vocalist (and someone I was in semi-regular contact with) had passed away but a few weeks prior. Always loved the PAGANS and this new track, ‘Bad Bet’ is no exception. Hudson sounds in great form: raw, ragged, determined and, as always, a wild cannon. Guitarist Richard Duguay plays a strong lead - maybe over plays it in places - but the track is still distinctly PAGANS, if not exactly ‘Not Now No Way’ or ‘Dead End America’. Flip the bright pink 7" over and you get England’s HIP PRIESTS slamming ‘Scene Is A Crime’ that comes on like IGGY AND THE STOOGES over amped ‘Raw Power’ having a no-rules wrestling match with TURBONEGRO’s ‘Apocalypse Dudes’ while Lemmy dishes out advice. Raucous, Garage Punk Rock and Roll played with earnest, intense conviction - and those guitars.. Any sharper and I’d be sending you a medical bill cuz they’d be slitting my throat. A very complimentary pairing of bands; hopefully Mike Hudson recorded more tracks than just this so a posthumous PAGANS disc will be in the pipeline. If not, this is a fitting swansong. (07.05.18)

PALE ANGELS - Daydreaming Blues {Recess} Never heard this trio (based in both Swansea, Wales and New Jersey) before but apparently this is the band’s third album and you get 12 eclectic tracks that run from dreamy, country-tinged DINOSAUR Jr-esque tunes (see ‘Don’t Leave’ and ‘Another Lie’) through to New Wave Power Pop, a few flat-out MEAN JEANS-esque rockers and even the odd relentless HUSKER DU noise-guitar jam!! Mostly though, I heard an EDDY CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING vibe with a bit of ARCHERS OF LOAF thrown in. Highlights of this pot pourri of styles would be the morose, droning seven-plus minutes of ‘Funeral’, both ‘Secretly Insane’ and ‘Loveless’ that are cyclones of riffarama guitars and ribald vocals and opener ‘Aeroplane’. Out right best tracks are a battle between the spritely ringing guitars and tom-heavy beats of ‘Don’t Feel A Thing’ and the Power Pop urgency of ‘You Don’t Dance’ that’s mixed up with some depth-charge noise behind it. Recess continually put out interesting stuff and this little baby is right up there with the best. (27.03.18)

PANDEMIX - In Condemnation {Boss Tuneage/ Dirt Cult} Second album from this Boston, USA band and what hits immediately is the packaging: double sided poster, red vinyl, download code and a 24 page lyric book complete with graphics. Opener, ‘No Monuments’ sets the scene perfectly - mixing raging Hardcore with something darker and those great out-spoken lyrics that were so captivating on previous releases. Other goodies amidst the ten tracks include ‘A Pox’ that opens with a frantic bass riff before breaking out into something akin to CULT VALUES, ‘Through The Night’ that has a riff straight out of early SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES but played via OBSERVERS and ‘Patterns Repeat’ that’s musically darker and pivots around some taut guitar and bass work, while highlight could be the fantastic Punk stomp of ‘Downward Trend’ that also includes a stellar discordant breakdown or the album’s epic, pivotal track ‘Past Selves’. It’s clear here too that the sound, while still being complex, enraged and intense, is much less muddled than previous releases; everything here is concise, cutting and clear. Really impressive stuff; if you rated the band’s previous stuff (as I did) you may still be surprised at how gripping, tight and caustic yet accessible this slab is. (21.09.19)
PARANOID VISIONS - Adverse Reality {FOAD/ Louder Than War} These Punks outta Dublin town just continue to make great, vital, intelligent and totally current Punk Rock that doesn’t rely on warp-level distortion, hyper-speed or preposterous profanities to get its message across. This 10” mini-album contains seven songs, two of which are spoken word poems from vocalist Deko backed with sound while the other five tracks are among the very best PARANOID VISIONS has ever written. Opener ‘Beatless In Babylon (The Death Of London Town)’ surveys the decay of Dublin while the music captivates, the lyrics are heartfelt and laden with gravitas given it is the band’s home town. ‘The Other Half Lives’ is almost a New Wave song but with biting, socio-political lyrics. ‘Rough Justice (Killings Words)’ is probably the most aggressive track here and closes the record leaving the listener begging for more. Everything about this is absolutely stunning - and then there’s the packaging. Not only is this limited to 300 copies and pressed on electric blue vinyl, but it comes in a sturdy cardboard box complete with CD, lyric sheet, a graphic from Boz (who used to do the excellent Nosebleed zine) and has a book (yes, a fucking book!!) of Deko’s poetry. I’m guessing the CD will be available when the 300 has gone, cuz these songs really need to be heard and should remain in circulation somehow. Awesome stuff in every way. If you have but one drop of Punk in your blood, you should be seeking this record and this band out - always thrilling, always sincere and always bloody good. (17.02.20)

PARASITE - Zankyo Reverberation {Boss Tuneage/ Tadpole} I don’t really get this kinda stuff at all... Metal Punk crossover stuff that leans heavily on G.I.S.M but lacks the intensity and even includes those harmonised lead guitar lines a’la Iron Maiden. The band’s outta Japan, with previous releases on Tadpole Records having sold out. This, an eight track album sold out within two weeks on initial release. Must’ve had a good review in Kerrang! Anyway, this limited gatefold CD gives us that album plus three demo tracks recorded back in 2009. Some of the riffs here are pretty ploddy, chuggy affairs with the constant widdly Metal leads being quite annoying. Barked vocals, pedestrian beats... Best bits would have to be ‘Doomsday’ that’s got a rather cheesy but smart Rock riff and ‘Grave’ that ups the intensity levels rather well. Fact is, this’ll get put on the CD shelf to collect dust. If I wanna hear some Metal I’ll reach for my SLAYER records... If I wanna hear G.I.S.M I’ll reach for my G.I.S.M records. If I’m really honest, this bored me to tears. (07.09.18)

PARTISANS, THE - 1981-1984 {Cherry Red} PODCAST PLAYED I’ve always had a lot of time for these fellas from Bridgend, Wales. I could go as far as to say they are possibly the most underrated of all the UK82 wave of bands. This is a fantastic three CD boxset compiling just about everything the band recorded. CD1 features the frantic, 12 track debut album ‘The Partisans’ that was released back in February 1983 on No Future Records. Very much of its time - fast, angry but with some killer songs in ‘17 Years Of Hell’ and ‘Arms Race’ to name but two. CD2 is, for me, the band’s best, 1984’s ‘The Time Was Right’ originally on Cloak And Dagger. It saw the band mature into a much more impressive unit, still resolutely Punk but more adventurous, incisive and muscular. Songs like ‘I Never Needed You’, the title track, ‘Blind Ambition’ are just classics. You got half-a-dozen live tracks reworked from the debut album too. The final disc is the one of most interest - the rarities. This features two demos for No Future, the ‘Carry on Oi!’ Tracks, singles (including ‘Police Story’ which, if I recall correctly, was considered by some as ‘the fast song ever’ at the time) and finally some different mixes from the sessions for ‘The Time Was Right’. Includes a neat 16-page booklet with the band’s history and some killer photos and well, as I said, they remain a firm favourite of mine and whether you are new to the band or a die-hard fan, this could, and should, be your next essential purchase. (29.09.20)
PAT TODD AND THE RANKOUTSIDERS - The Past Came Callin’ {Hound Gawd} PODCAST PLAYED Fifth long-player from this ex-LAZY COWGIRLS man and you get 14 tracks of THUNDERS inspired Punk cool fused with a bit of GEORGIA SATELLTIES Rock ‘n’ Roll Americana. I like it lots too! Highlights include the ‘Start Me Up’-esque riffage of ‘Call You On Sunday Night’, opener ‘If Only I Could Fly Backwards In Time’ which has a lead guitar that evoked THUNDERS more in a few notes than many wannabes manage in a lifetime, the Country honk of both ‘Idle Time’ and ‘Down In Old Boerne’, ‘A New Pair Of Eye’s that could be the DEAD BOYS had they wanted to piss on SUPERSUCKERS and the hootenanny vibe of ‘Somewhere Down The Line’ while highlight would be dramatic ‘Run’ that just seems to soar on sublime guitars and a vocal of halcyon reflection that rolls from the speakers with gum-chewing cool. Totally enjoyable Rock ‘n’ Roll that will be the soundtrack to summer keg parties throughout the House Of Scanner. (10.08.19)
PEARS/ DIRECT HIT - Human Movement {Fat Wreck} Six tracks a piece on this split album and it kicks of with DIRECT HIT cranking out the bilious ‘You Got What You Asked For’ which comes on like, well, a more direct PEARS track in fact. Their other five includes a cover of PEARS’ ‘You’re Boring’ and three more melodic tracks that had me thinking of DILLINGER FOUR - especially ‘Shifting The Blame’ which is their strongest here. PEARS kick in with their typical, raging and slightly off-kilter Hardcore in the form of ‘Hey There, Begonia’. What follows is the best track on the whole album in ‘Mollusk’s Mouth’ that features multiple styles, time changes and even a SHUDDER TO THINK-esque vocal harmony... What’s more, PEARS simply slay it. Jaw-droppingly effective stuff. They cover DIRECT HIT’s ‘The World Is Ending (Sorta)’ and in ‘Arduous Angel’ deliver an effective, straight forward melodic Punk cracker. Fans of either band will find heaps here to salivate over, but PEARS just take the better band award. (28.12.18)
PERSECUTION - The Last War {Boss Tuneage} Second release of in-yr-face Hardcore Punk from this quartet outta the South West of England. If ya didn’t realise, the band is made up of people who had stints in RIPCORD, VIOLENT ARREST, VARUKERS and EXTINCTION OF MANKIND to name but four. With that pedigree, it should be no surprise that the eight tracks on ‘The Last War’ are direct, brutal and bellicose slices of Hardcore fusing elements of DISCHARGE and RAW POWER with the sound of the bands mentioned above. Best tracks include ‘No Voice No Choice’ that highlights the D-beat influence in its intro and the frantic HERESY-tinged ‘core of ‘I’m No Fool’ while the heavy-duty riffage of ‘Warmonger’ takes out best track. Many of the songs are about the state the UK is in at present and delivered with musical muscle and a bellowing, enraged vocal. If your kinda ear-honey is the ‘core mentioned here, you should be getting this ASAP. (31.01.20)
POPULATION CONTROL - Death Toll {Beer City} Gawd... Thrash Metal stuff that I am sooo unqualified to review it’s unreal. The guitars are pretty damn cutting I have to say, but those vocals are the growled, almost Death Metal style that I just find fucking awful. Maybe something like early CELTIC FROST or POSSESSED might be comparisons with the odd flurry into all out D.R.I Hardcore blur, but those vocals still sound like someone throwing up bile while pushing their Hemorrhoids in with a cactus. If Thrash Metal, and that of the Black kind (I guess) is your thing, you’ll no doubt love this. I found it pretty much unlistenable. Odd for a Beer City release too as they usually have impeccable taste. (07.05.20)
PRETTY FLOWERS, THE - Why Trains Crash {Dirt Cult} PODCAST PLAYED Bloody hell, Dirt Cult is releasing some consistently great and varied releases of late and this 12 tracker from this Los Angeles based band is no exception. Imagine POSIES Power-Pop melodies but played with the alt.rock Americana muscle of BUFFALO TOM, the gritty Punk of FORGETTERS and, most oddly, the intelligence and adventurousness of Brit-Poppers PULP and you’re there. There’s not a poor song on this, but the best bits would include ‘Chip My Paint’ that’s laden with big acoustic guitars, the bombastic ‘Filter The Grit’ that features a sublime lead melody and the swaggering ‘See How You’re Living’, while ‘Electrical’ could be the best track with its majestic chorus. There’s some really good PIXIES-esque guitar leads throughout too and to compound matters, it’s the band’s debut album! Totally enjoyable, highly melodic but not commercial stuff and one that could just be THE big hit during the House Of Scanner Summer Bar-Be-Que season!! (30.11.18)
PRIMITIVES, THE - Bloom! The Full Story 1985-1992 {Cherry Red} PODCAST PLAYED Oh my - this really does represent the mother-load of Post-Punk, Indie-Pop fuzztastic thrills!! We all love THE PRIMITIVES - even if you don’t realise it, right? The band burst out of Coventry in the early 80s and delivered some classic independent singles in the shape of ‘Thru The Flowers’, ‘Really Stupid’ and ‘Stop Killing Me’ before hitting pay-day with the more commercial and close-to-perfection single ‘Crash’ and its parent album ‘Lovely’ in 1988. The band returned to indie labels for 1989’s ‘Pure’ and the more disappointing ‘Galore’ from 1991 (although, check ‘Lead Me Astray’ for simply fantastic writing). Besides all that, this collects four Radio One sessions (two of which were on the John Peel show), live bits and bobs, compilation appearances and even some unreleased gems. “That’s a lot for two CDs,” you might be thinking - and you’d be right cuz these 119 tracks are spread out over FIVE discs and includes a fantastic 32 page booklet. Never heard them?? Think BUZZCOCKS Punk fused with 60s girl-group pop, some fuzzed guitars, enough energy to make a Red Bull addict breathless and tunes that deserve to be heard and known by most of the populace. Yep, that good and that essential. Superb and very timely reissue. (27.07.20)
PROLETARIAT, THE - Move {Boss Tuneage} This kinda came outta nowhere!! THE PROLETARIAT, if ya didn’t know, was a band from Boston, MA (appearing on ‘This Is Boston..’ comp) from the mid-80s. Rather than play the warp-speed HC of many of the city’s contemporaries, they brought in angular, jarring, post-Punk signatures, left-wing/ Anarcho politics and created something similar to what the likes of FUGAZI went onto do. Plenty of highlights here among the 13 tracks, be it the groove of ‘Soft Targets’, the DEAD KENNEDY-esque ‘Bomb Throwing Practice’ that has a fantastic, incessant and scratchy riff and the vaguely tribal beats of ‘Trophy Kills’ that meanders off into a melodic guitar workout before hitting back with the beats, while best track is either the fluid rhythms and damning lyrics of the title track or ‘Indian Removal Act’ that has a fantastic dub-ish breakdown. Fact is, there’s not a duffer here; all tracks are overtly political with targets firmly in sight and retaining the sharp, vintage sound of old without losing any of the unique attack the band always had. An awesome return in every way. (14.09.19)

PROUD PARENTS - Proud Parents {Dirtnap} PODCAST PLAYED 13 tracks of breezy, sparse melodic Power-Pop with Punk tinges. Think early AGAINST ME! and the kinda sound Plan-It-X bands put out - DEFIANCE, OHIO and maybe THIS BIKE IS A PIPEBOMB. Dual male/ female vocals with the male being slightly more snotty sounding. Highlights would be the self-titled opener (which is repeated as a ‘slow’ version to close the album), ‘Ducktales’ could be the album’s best track and sees the two vocalists interacting really well with some great backing parts and a snappy arrangement; the pace is kept up-tempo and brisk with ‘Flavourdust’ evoking early THE GO-GO’S in parts and ‘Dead Wrong’ that’s got a guitar riff that wouldn’t have been too outta place on the debut NEW YORK DOLLS album. Not my most favourite thing that Dirtnap has released of late; it’s a bit too laid-back and jangling for my ears. One thing I would put money on though, I bet they are regulars at The Fest. If breezy if angsty, minimalist Alt.Pop is your thang, check this out. (31.10.18)

PSYCHIC PIMPS - Agents Of Instant Karma {DIY} PODCAST PLAYED Four track digital EP from this new band outta the confines of Ipswich, UK that features a familiar face or two. Opener ‘Paradise’ is quite a cracker - big chorus, great riff, a sugar-mountain stack of energy and a sound not too dissimilar to FALLEN ANGELS. Of the remaining tracks, ‘All I Want’ evokes the slower, sauntering tracks of HANOI ROCKS (with another killer chorus) and is probably the stand out track on the whole EP. ‘Lost’ cranks out some heavy duty guitar riffage while closer ‘To The Bone’ is another high octane slab that carries some vague DEAD BOYS chops about it. Pretty darn impressive for a debut; very much the embodiment of Punk Rock ‘n’ Roll in that these are snappy songs, laden with smart melodies, some searing guitar work and draw influence from sounds pre the fabled ‘Year Zero’. What’s next I wonder?? (19.09.20)
PUKE, MIKE - The Sound Of Puke {DIY} MIKE PUKE has long been a staple of the New Zealand Punk Scene be it via bands DEAD CENTRE that formed back in 1988, DRATSABECILOPTIHS, BORIS and THE PUKES, or via his own solo releases. This is a whopping 70 minute, 25 track round up of the best tracks from those previously mentioned bands but re-recorded by Mike. If ya haven’t heard PUKE’s stuff before, think distinctly UK82 Punk; a fusion of G.B.H, UK SUBS and a splash of ANTISECT. Highlights include ‘I’m A Pig’, ‘Police Bastard’, ‘The Nightmayor Of Nelson’, ‘Big Fat Rats’ and personal standout, ‘Die Like Di’. There are a couple of new tracks too in the shape of ‘The Sound Of Puke’ that bastardizes various songs from The Sound Of Music into something decidedly puke covered and the closing ‘The Charming Month Of May’ that’s a musical reworking of a Robbie Burns poem and could actually be the best track here. Have to say, Mike’s lead guitar work has really improved; some of the solos here are really proficient. 30 years of churning out Punk Rock has to be commended and Mike should be proud of the body of work represented here. (09.03.19)

PUNCH DRUNK - Sassy {JSNTGM} Debut album from this trio outta Nottingham, UK which instantly won me over with the phrase ‘Endorse bad language and heavy drinking’ on the album’s inner sleeve. I think we’d get on well!! It’s enjoyable stuff too, kinda ‘Flip Your Wig’ era HUSKER DU played via STAY CLEAN JOLENE with a hint of SOUTHPORT soulfulness. Highlights include the catchy, insistent opener ‘Chump Change’, ‘Giddy’ that’s got an edgy, cutting feel and closer ‘Migraine’ that could be written by either Bob Mould or Grant Hart (and includes a fantastic finale) while highlight would be ‘Stumble’ that displays some great dynamics that border on FUGAZI inventiveness. There’s a lot to like here - seems there has been plenty of thought in the songwriting to ensure that each song has its own identity but together forming an impressive, cohesive piece of work. Would like hear drummer Colette take one some backing vocals though; a female harmony could just propel the sound to new heights. As is, really rather smart! (08.11.20)

Hit HERE for material review prior to 2018 including:

Top Sounds - Q

QUESTION THE MARK - Nightmare On Misery St. {Little Rocket} Three track 7” on coffee-coloured marbled vinyl from this quartet outta Cardiff, Wales - and the band’s first in five years apparently. The lead track, which has a nice label image of bloodied brains, has a distinctly VANILLA POD vibe - that’s to say melodic, well-constructed and with a killer guitar solo and a neat bass/drums breakdown. Flip the wax (to see a label image of coffee beans) and you get ‘Perk-U-Later’ (kinda see a coffee theme here) could well be the highlight of the disc bringing an early FACE TO FACE vibe while closer ‘Where There’s A Pill, There’s A Way’ is the speediest of the batch but the least impressive; it just sounds a tad hurried and half-baked compared with the other two tracks (but that’s not to say it’s shit - more a mark of the strength of the other songs). There’s some really good dynamics going on in the main two songs - but a lyric sheet would’ve been good as some of the vocals are a bit buried. (20.10.20)
Hit HERE for material review prior to 2018 including:
QUEERS, QUOTES (3 reviews)