Top Sounds - R

RADIOACTIVITY - Silent Kill {Dirtnap} Follow-up to the 2013 debut of this project from the valorously prolific Jeff Burke (y’know - MARKED MEN and more). You get 12 tracks of brisk, catchy and up-beat Punk that evokes a fusion of THE DICKIES, THE WEIRDOS and JAY REATARD. Plenty of highlights too, be it opener ‘Battered’, the pounding ‘Not Here’ that manages to punch a hole in the wall with the guitars yet let the vocal meander around the riff creating what could be the album’s best track, ‘No Alarm’ that has a similar punch but with a more direct, semi-distorted vocal, ‘With You’ that could be a BUZZCOCKS single while ‘No Connection comes on like RED DONS filled out with a neat understated acoustic guitar. I kept hearing an ‘Eternally Yours’-era SAINTS vibe too, especially on the dramatic ‘Where I Came From’ that included a simple piano refrain that lifted the song to make it the other contender for the album’s best. Given the volume, and quality, of Burke’s output (and backed by fellow MARKED MENer Mark Ryan and various members of BAD SPORTS), it’s remarkable that his latest ‘new’ band can release a slab as confident, complete and totally enjoyable as this. Get it? I’m off to play this again.. And again. (12.08.16)

RADIO BIRDMAN - Box Set {Citadel} How I, or anyone else come to that, can possibly condense the sheer brilliance and necessity of this box-set to anyone who has the vaguest interest in, not just Antipodean Punk history, but Punk history in general is beyond me. What you get here is a whopping eight discs of the legend that was Sydney's RADIO BIRDMAN. The audio bounty includes both versions of the classic 'Radios Appear' album, the 'Living Eyes' album and an unreleased live recording from 1977. More than that though, each disc comes with a companion disc of unreleased or out of print rarities, while the live disc is befriended by a DVD. If you never heard BIRDMAN, think MC5 but played with the typical Aussie grit of early AC/DC or THE SAINTS. Just flat-out, classic Punk Rock 'n' Roll - some of the best ever made if I am gonna be honest. Highlights are numerous - if songs like 'Crying Sun', 'New Race', 'Smith And Wesson Blues' or 'What GIves' leave you nonplussed, then you better be checking your fucking pulse to see if you are alive!! What's more, the DVD includes an incendiary, relentless and jaw-dropping blaze through 'New Race' that leaves just about any other live footage seen on DVD as redundant. If there is a grizzle, it's the fact that this is just a CD-sized box with a booklet of about 40 pages. An album-sized box with a more expansive book would just about have made this perfection. As it is, listen to those tunes and revel in pure adrenalized Rock 'n' Roll majesty. (04.07.2015)

RAMONE, CJ - American Beauty {Fat Wreck} Latest solo album from CJ and while it’s not as instant as the previous ‘Last Chance To Dance’ album below, it does show more individual identity rather than just some (albeit stunning) RAMONES-esque songs. That said, opener ‘Let’s Go’ is classic Ramone-o-core, as is ‘Steady As She Goes’ and both tracks deal with life on the road. Elsewhere you get ‘Before The Lights Go Out’ that has a definite Country twang which would’ve been great to hear Joey sing, while ‘You’ll Never Make Me Believe’ is a highlight and evokes a ‘Road To Ruin’ feel. The most startling track is the sedate, sombre and self-explanatory ‘Tommy’s Gone’ that has a vague Evan Dando feel while ‘Moral To My Story’ is probably the standout being of similar substance as JIM CARROLL’s ‘People Who Died’ but played RAMONES style with a bit of John Cougar Mellancamp for good measure! ‘Without You’ features a good dual female vocal (who it is however, I don’t know as the promo I got doesn’t list her or any of the musicians), but ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’ sounds a bit incomplete. Already a big player here at the House Of Scanner, but one that’s not quite as enjoyable as the previous ‘Understand Me’ - even though this has more individual style. It gets better on successive plays, so very much a grower. (25.08.17)

RAMONE, CJ - Last Chance To Dance {Fat Wreck} I’m really not sure that CJ is supposed to make an album as good as this! Looking at all the other post-RAMONES solo albums, this is probably the pick of the bunch (although Joey’s debut could contest that). What’s even more odd, is that these songs are so strong that just about any of them would have enhanced any RAMONES album CJ appeared. It opens with the excellent ‘Understand Me’ single with its ‘Beat On The Brat’ riff while ‘One More Chance’ could be a lift off ‘Road To Ruin’, ‘’Til The End’ could be the greatest love song that never appeared on ‘End Of The Century’ while ‘Pit Stop’ lifts ‘Carbona Not Glue’s influence to write a classic. This ain’t all RAMONES rips though - ‘Carry Me Away’ could be the album’s best and is a slow-burn anthem. Musically, this is aided by ADOLESCENTS pair, Steve Soto and Dan Root on guitar while Tony Cadena offers vocals on ‘Long Way To Go’. If there’s a fault, it’s ‘Grunt’; a minor ham-fisted attempted at a Dee Dee-esque song. However, it’s probably better than most of Dee Dee’s solo work! Definitely a surprisingly excellent album and one that RAMONES fans should revel in. (11.08.15) 

RAMONE, CJ - Understand Me? {Fat Wreck} Ohh - this is a bit good!! The other former RAMONES bassist is back with a pretty smoking new band if the A-side of this two-track 7" is anything to go by. CJ has recruited the guitar slinging talents of ADOLESCENTS Steve Soto and Dan Root and released a track that, had it been on any of the last few RAMONES albums, would probably have been the best track on the album. Think mid-paced, ‘Road To Ruin’ style, not too dissimilar from ‘She’s The One’ or ‘She’s A Sensation’. CJ does a good job vocally too - close your eyes and you can literally imagine Joey making this incredibly special. Flip the beasty over and there’s a cover of ‘Rise Above’ - you should know that that’s a Pop-Punk song by Emo band BLACK FLAG. In a bit of a scoop, Dez Cadena is drafted into for guitar and vocal duties. I thought it was an odd choice initially but it’s actually a smoking take on one of the FLAG’s best. Neat sleeve too! A hugely pleasing release - hope the album is as impressive. (15.07.15)

REALLY RED - The Complete Collection 1979-1985 {Alternative Tentacles} Now, this is a reissue of necessity if there ever was one! REALLY RED was a band from Texas that didn’t achieve such infamy as fellow statesmen BIG BOYS, DICKS and MDC. Possibly the band’s most notable moment came with a track on the infamous ‘Let Them Eat Jellybeans’ comp. That’s a shame because the band’s 1981 debut album, ‘Teaching You The Fear’ was a wonderful mix of politics and edgy, arty Hardcore. This is a double CD set (or three separate vinyl albums if you prefer) that compiles that album, the follow-up, ‘Rest In Pain’ from 1983 and all the singles, compilation tracks and even some unreleased demos. It’s a bit of a lame comparison, but there is a distinct BIG BOYS vibe here, but the Funk is replaced with something approaching Jazz, a grating and relentless guitar and angst-laden, volatile vocals. Highlights? Well, there are 44 tracks here and, bar the closing track, all make for essential listening. Look out for ‘Starvation Dance’ though - my personal fave. Packing is great with an interview by David Ensminger with guitarist U-Ron, lyrics, flyers and photos. Highly recommended stuff, especially for those with an eye on quality Punk and Hardcore of yesteryear. (04.05.15)

RED DONS - The Dead Hand Of Tradition {Deranged} Third album from a band that could claim to be among the most exhilarating on the planet. It kicks of with cluttered confusion and noise before morphing into the already classic, ‘The Good Disciple’. From there we get another nine killers and, simply, no fillers. RED DONS, if ya didn’t know, is a band lead by former OBSERVER man, Douglas Burns and plays soaring, energetic and dramatic songs that could be labelled post-Punk. Other highlights here include ‘Amman (Before The Bomb)’ that has multiple vocalists and has a vague KILLING JOKE presence about it, the sparse and hypnotic ‘Remember’ that has verses that echo ‘Seventeen Seconds’era CURE, the pummeling title track, the meandering closer ‘Empires’ and the synthesizer-enhanced ‘Every Single Word’. Then there’s the twists, turns and musical funfair that is ‘Together Apart’. Production allows everything lots of space and clarity and, somehow, each instrument seems to soar out of the speakers without detracting from the song or over-riding the vocal. Album of the year? It’s a contender! (13.11.16)

REGULATOR WATTS - The Mercury {B-Core} Rather smart compilation of this short-lived band’s releases that pre-date the ‘Aesthetics of No-Drag’ album from 1997. If ya didn’t know, the band rose out of the ashes of HOOVER and played a spacious, taut Post-Punk sound akin to SHELLAC, BLUE TIP, SCRATCH ACID and a hint of PIXIES. So, you get 11 tracks taken primarily from ‘The Mercury’ EP, the ‘New Low Moline’ single, the split with Stinking Lizaveta and some previously unreleased goodies to boot. It all kicks off with the bass-heavy ‘48 Donut Queen’ that grooved like SLAB fused with the best of Revolution Summer sounds. Other highlights include the rolling, discord of ‘Winslow’, the cloying, ominous ‘New Low Moline’ and ‘Sick Little Twist’ that starts off with an understated and super-catchy guitar riff before blowing up like UNSANE. However, the instrumentals ‘The Final Lexicon II’ and ‘Clayton Clementine’ came over as self-indulgent and boring. There’s a lot going on here, including some pretty heavy Dub grooves on closer ‘Version Idols’, and the rhythm section surely knows how to lay down a groove of cavernous proportions. If you rate any band mentioned here, and this is a mystery, you kinda need to take a chance. (28.07.17)

REVENGE OF THE PSYCHOTRONIC MAN - Colossal Velocity {TNS} Fourth long player from Manchester’s fastest, and I have to say, what's happened? I’ve always championed the band but this just didn’t cut it when compared with the band’s previous stuff. Yep, it’s still faster than MOTORHEAD on 78rpm, but a lot of the songs sound either disjointed or unfinished. There’s a huge nod toward the sound THE DOMESTICS have made their own - and it’s one that doesn’t quite work here, particularly with some of the growled vocals. The guitars sound a bit subdued too. That’s not to say this is without stellar moments of PSYCHOTRONIC greatness - listen out for ‘Share If You Agree’, closer ‘Rrose Selvay’, ‘The Establishment’ and ‘I Wanna Be A Spaceman’ - all of which could hold their own on any REVENGE... album but the rest? Sorry guys, not your best work. I did play this often also. I also played the previous ‘Shattered Dreams Parkway’ album after writing this review, just to make sure I wasn’t underestimating the new album. Unfortunately, I wasn’t. Bit of a disappointment I’m sorry to say. (16.12.16)

RIKK AGNEW BAND - Learn {Frontier} 12 track album from the latest band lead by the former ADOLESCENTS/ D.I./ 45 GRAVE mainstay - and some 30 years since the man’s debut solo album. Have to say, it would’ve made a killer six track 10". As it is, there’s a bit of filler - ‘Punk Belly’ and ‘Kitten Robot Blues’ in particular are contenders for AGNEW’s worst ever in fact. Thankfully, we do get ‘I Can’t Change The World’ that comes on like THE CROWD with an added Soul choir. That choir reappears on the epic closer, ‘Deprogrammer’. Other goodies include the BRIEFS-esque ‘Nelson’s Blood’, the title track, the femme lead of ‘Cat Fight’ and the ADOLESCENTS surge of ‘Think Of The Children’. There are another couple of tracks that could fit on that 10" too, but some over-gruff vocals ruin ‘em. Production’s good - but then it’s handled by Paul Roessler (ex-SCREAMERS, 45 GRAVE etc) so that’s understandable. Worth checking out if you’re a fan, but also consider the fact that this is proof positive that an era legend can be incredibly sub-average in parts. (22.08.17)

RIPCORD - Defiance Of Power {Boss Tuneage} First of two gargantuan reissues of this legendary Weston-super-Mare HC band. This one chokes up 47 tracks and kicks off with the debut album, originally released back in 1987 on Manic Ears. It’s been remastered to add some crunch to the sound and if ya don’t know the band’s sound, it was at this time a fusion of DISCHARGE and CHAOS UK but faster and more concise than the latter. The 14 tracks rip and snarl and fly by in under 25 minutes with highlights being ‘Furder’, opener ‘Abuse’ and ‘Eternal Tomb’. The remainder of the disc is made up of a live 19 track gig recorded in the Netherlands in 1987 and a rehearsal tape from the same year. Both recordings are raw as fuck with the rehearsal tape (having been recorded on just a boom box) is fuzzy beyond words! Excellent booklet too, with flyers, photos, lyrics and history. While this was a blitz of a debut laden with gnarled Hardcore Punk, better things still laid ahead for the band. The vocalist on this, Buzby, left due to his increasing involvement with animal rights and was replaced on vocals by bassist Steve. Bass duties were taken over by former NAPALM DEATH man, Jimmy, and then... (06.04.17) 

RIPCORD - Poetic Justice {Boss Tuneage} Released just a year after the debut (and, if I recall, after the band had actually split up when vocalist Steve left) on the band’s own Raging Records, this is a pinnacle of UK Hardcore. The pace, intensity and precision has all been increased to produce a match for anything that came out of the US Hardcore scene in the early 80s (Boston included). As with the debut, this has been remastered with the original album containing 21 tracks. It’s a furious, ferocious sound that still sounds massive with snarled vocals and huge guitars. Each track demands the attention but personal highlights are ‘Resolute’, ‘Aim To Please’, ‘Out Of Reach’ and ‘Passive Memories’. This is filled out with a whopping 24-track live recording from Bristol in 1988 which, although sounding a bit bass-less in light of the studio album, is actually a quality recording (especially when compared with the extras on the debut). Again, flyers, photos, lyrics and interviews included. If you don’t know RIPCORD and only want to chance one of these, make it this one. Even nearly 30 years on since its release, it still cuts and bites and thrashes like little else from the UK and the remaster seems to add clarity and intensity. A stunner, no doubt about it. (06.04.17)

ROUGH KIDS - s/t {Sorry State} Second album by what has to be the best kept secret in Los Angeles. This took me a few additional plays to get into when compared with the classic debut, ‘The State I’m In’, but from about the third spin the sheer energy, spirit and quality of this collection of songs started to shine. After half-a-dozen plays, it’s totally addictive. The band has got more of its own sound here, although there is still a nod to the likes of OBSERVERS and DICKIES. Plenty of highlights too, be it the adrenaline rush of ‘Bet You Wanna Live’ and ‘We’re Multiplying’, THE SAINTS (‘Eternally Yours’era) vibe of both ‘Lights Out’ and ‘My Shell I Broken’, some sinewy lead guitar work on ‘Cutting The Red Wire’, the swagger of ‘Television’ or the album’s highlights of ‘Animaa City’ and ‘Why So Serious?’. One thing that is apparent, is the bass of Paul. Everyone pulls their own weight - punching above it in fact - but that bass really powers this along, much like Paddy’s did on the debut DILLINGER FOUR album. Download code included and, inventively, a genuine hidden track on vinyl! And it’s a fucking cracker!! How’s that work you ask? If genuine, snarling and melodic Punk Rock flows through your veins, then just go buy this and find out for yourself! Stunning stuff from a band that hasn’t yet put a foot wrong. Album of the year? More than possible! (06.12.16)

ROUGHNECK RIOT - Out Of Anger {TNS} Bloody hell - this is a bit good! Never heard this six-piece outta Warrington, UK before but they fuse solid, anthemic Punk with traditional style folk via accordion, mandolin and banjo. The results are vastly superior to shite like FLOGGING MOLLY too; this comes on like MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG coupled with the rough edges of NEW MODEL ARMY and the spirit of STIFF LITTLE FINGERS. You get a total of 14 tracks with the likes of ‘Too Late’ emphasising the SLF vibe while the disc highlight, ‘All The We Know’ was on a par with MTCH. Lyrically, the band focuses on freedom of the individual, having a voice that questions and the futility of violence, racism and greed. Vocalist Matty Humphries has a clear and rich voice, and one laden with plaintive expression on the likes of ‘The Other Side’ and ‘This Green, Unpleasant Land’. It’s a well balanced album too; the accordion fills things out nicely while the mandolin and banjo create some stunning tunes and reels. Possibly the best of the TNS releases of 2014 - and there’s been some good ones! (24.02.15)

RÖVSVETT - Ryssen Kommer {Just 4 Fun} Five new pummelling tracks from this Swedish Hardcore band, currently celebrating 33 years of turning up the amps and spitting out some noxious and blazing Eurocore. The lead track is, I assume, about Russian Premier Vladimir Putin. Can’t tell for sure as there are no lyrics/ translations but the cover art gives a good suggestion. Vocally this is bilious and sneering (in fact the whole 7" is vocally inflammable) and includes an inspired instrumental breakdown that’s something like a Russian march. Of the remaining four tracks, Lustig Liten Man’ is a frantic sub-minute blitz that cruised like OFFENDERS with the bile of RF7, ‘Darhus’ has a sludgey riff and brought to mind POISON IDEA in parts. Closer is what will probably become the anthem of the label, ‘Just 4 Fun’. This is pressed on succulent tangerine-orange vinyl and while raging, would’ve benefited massively with some kind of insert of lyrics and translation. (26.04.16)

RUTS, The - Babylon’s Burning {Westworld} A band that should really need no introduction gets the re-issue treatment here with the repacking of two previously released collections. The first is a 15-track live recording that was originally released as ‘Live And Loud’ back in 1987 on Link Records. As live albums go it’s OK, includes a cover of ‘Love Song’ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes’... What can ya say? It’s the RUTS, so quality is guaranteed. The remaining 16 tracks are from the more interesting ‘In A Can’ collection that was released in 2000 on Harry May Records. This features three demo sessions recorded prior to their deal with Virgin. Among the highlights is ‘Blackman’s Pinch’, a dub-heavy Reggae number that proves the band did the Punk-Reggae fusion better than any other, ‘Stepping Bondage’ (that’s better known as ‘Got A Little Number’) and a bruising ‘H-Eyes’ recorded on an 8-track. Pretty essential listening really as these versions are more stripped down and formative but still inflammatory stuff with that trademark stellar musicianship the band was so well known for. (22.07.16)

RUTS DC - Music Must Destroy {Westworld} Well, it was worth the wait!! 30 years on from the ‘Animal Now’ album and RUTS DC finally record its proper follow-up - and it’s a veritable cracker! You get 10 tracks kicking off with the recent and excellent ‘Psychic Attack’ single. The nine tracks that follow could all lay claim to being an album highlight be it the electronics of ‘Surprise’, the slow and brooding ‘Peace Bomb’, the fantastic off-centre rhythm of ‘Tears On Fire’, or the bruising rocking and rolling of ‘Kill The Pain’. The two pivotal tracks though are the title track that’s taut and tense and includes an appearance from Henry Rollins and the closing ‘Golden Boy’ that includes orchestration and comes on like DAVID BOWIE circa ‘Hunk Dory’. Besides Rollins, there are also guest appearances (although not stated where) by Captain Sensible, Jake Burns, Marco Pirroni and Kirk Brandon among others. If you think you’re gonna hear ‘The Crack’ but minus Malcolm Owen, then forget it. What you do hear are incredibly well crafted, textured songs played by musicians who know what they want and how effective it’s gonna be. It’s quite visionary stuff really, lyrically each song is interesting also and production is crisp, clear and spacious. If you only buy one album by an ‘old’ band, then there is no competition. (15.12.16)

RUTS DC - Psychic Attack {Westworld} The long-awaited new material from the legend that is (or should be) RUTS DC finally arrives in the shape of this three track EP. The lead track is a mid-paced, heads down rocker with a chugging riff (but not in a metal way) and includes some great lead guitar. Soundwise, think of THE BOYS but without the keyboards, a bit more muscle and trying to write something like ‘Demolition Dancing’. It’s a track that grows in appeal with every play. ‘Psychic Disturbance’ is a dubbish, drum-heavy remix of the main track and in many ways a bit more interesting. Closer ‘Vox Teardrop’ is an instrumental that has a similar pace and power to ‘West One (Shine On Me)’. Production is clear, bold and bruising without being bludgeoning - in fact that remix sounds fantastic with the bass and drums to the fore. Definitely an impressive taster for the imminent album and something that has been getting a lot of stereo time here at The House Of Scanner. (15.10.16)

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