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)

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)

PAT TODD AND THE RANKOUTSIDERS - The Past Came Callin’ {Hound Gawd} 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)
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)
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)

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)
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