Top Sounds - R

RADON - More Of Their Lies {Dirt Cult/ Dead Broke} After a 12 year hiatus, these Gainesville legends are back with a new 13 tracker and, like you shouldn’t need to be told, it’s a bit of a cracker.  Any doubts are instantly dispelled with the stunning, raging and infectious opener ‘Better Than I Am’ that comes on like THE PARASITES had they wanted to be JAWBREAKER. As if more proof is required, the second song ‘Demon Lover’ has a huge chorus and rocks along on a RHYTHM COLLISION vibe (as did ‘Saint In A Bottle’). From there, there’s not really a duffer as all the tracks barrel along on a bed of raw, fuzzy guitars (think CRIMPSHRINE), solid beats and one great chorus following another. Best moments though include the aggression of ‘Wired’, the funky riffage and STOOGES-esque wild lead of ‘Painted Red’ and ‘UFdUp’ while ‘Go Forth And Hate One Another’ is more sedately with bass intro, great message and a soaring vocal and probably takes the album highlight. Pretty sure old fans will like this, it’s got a neat vintage sound without being dated and has enough chops to attract a whole new fan set too. Good stuff. (26.03.19)
RAMOMS - Problem Child {Pirates Press} Ha! This made me smile hugely. A neat little three track EP from these ladies outta Philadelphia  and it’s a total RAMONES homage/ rip. Opener ‘Gritty Is A Punk’ is a copy of ‘Judy...’ with updated lyrics and recorded in a parallel universe; ‘Boogie Not Snot’ is a reworking of ‘Blitzkrieg...’ while closer ‘Rockaway Beach’ is...well... If you need to be told you’re on the wrong website mofo. You may well ask (as I did), when we’ve already had the bruddas write and crank out these tunes to absolute perfection, why would we want copies and re-writings? A very valid question but there’s actually a lot of vitality and abandon about these versions; production is crisp as hell and the playing is fucking spot on. Have to say though, besides the odd curio listen, I doubt I’ll come back to this too often; it’s all a bit Punk Rock karaoke.  If I wanna hear ‘Rockaway Beach’, I’ll head straight to messrs Ramone, Ramone, Ramone and Ramone. Live though - I bet RAMOMS are blast!! (07.07.19)
RAMONE, CJ - The Holy Spell... {Fat Wreck} Fourth solo album from this ex-RAMONE and one that continues to provide evidence that it is CJ’s releases that are making the strongest body of solo RAMONE work.  Opener ‘One High One Low’ is swaggering Rock ‘n’ Roll that borders on Glam Rock even, with a more obvious presence of Dan Root’s lead guitar work. While there are plenty of RAMONEisms (check ‘This Town’), those traits remain in evidence on many of the succeeding 11 songs. Highlights include ‘Waitin’ On the Sun’, ‘Stand Up’ and ‘Postcard From Heaven’ that could be the album’s best while the biggest surprise of the album is the Americana vibe of ‘Hands Of Mine’ that evoked WILCO.  Includes a couple of covers too in GRAHAM PARKER’s ‘Crawling From The Wreckage’ (which is one of the album’s standouts) and ‘There Stands The Glass’, the Country standard made famous by Carl Smith with the closing ‘Rock On’ is a great tribute to the late, great Steve Soto. It’s clear CJ has pushed a few boundaries in terms of writing and delivery with this album and while not quite reaching the heady heights of the ‘Last Chance To Dance’ album, it certainly comes close; given its musical variation, could well be a more satisfying album long term. (16.11.19)
RAT PATROL - Doing Just Fine {Highly Obscure Records} Dutch quartet that have been around for something like 30 years crank out album #5. You get 16 tracks of blazing, incisive Hardcore Punk that fuse SPERMBIRDS with SLIME with a hint of CONFLICT and POISON IDEA for good measure. Plenty of highlights too, be it ‘Forever Makes Me Cry’ that pivots around a relatively mid-paced 77-esque riff before detonating into the band’s trademark Hardcore blitz, ‘Want to Sleep’ that’s got some great DC-inspired guitar parts and strong song structure, ‘I’m Doing Fine’ recalls ARTICLES OF FAITH fury and the pummeling ‘We Don’t Discriminate’, while the best track could be ‘More Guns (NRA Pt. II)’ that surges along on intense riffs, relentless drums, strident vocals and pointed lyrics (as is the case with most of the album). Production is crisp without being bland - in fact, given the rage that these guys play with, everything is incredibly well balanced. Available on vinyl or smart digipack CD. Good stuff - and raging!  (19.04.19)

RAVAGERS - Drowning In Blood {Spaghetty Town} PODCAST PLAYED Blazing outta Baltimore, Maryland come this four piece with a rather smart, cutting two track 7" slice of down, dirty and solid Garage Punk. There’s definitely a DEAD BOYS thing going on here, with the vocals of Hagen having a distinct Stiv-esque snarl about them - and they just get better with successive listens. Of the two tracks, the B-side ‘Suzi (Has An Uzi)’ is a bit more swaggering with a smoking guitar solo while the lead track pivots on a relentless riff - the kind that a band like ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN would probably sell a limb for. Production is bold and balanced but retaining a enough edge to cut through even the most jaded and heard-it-all-before garage rockers. Apparently this is the band’s first release in three years and is limited to a mere 400. So, if ya like high octane, high quality Garage Punk Rock ‘n’ Roll you’d better track this down. Let’s hope it’s not another three fucking years before the band’s next. (25.10.18)

REDD KROSS - Hot Issue {Merge} PODCAST PLAYED Re-issue of a compilation of outtakes and rarities, recorded between 1983 and 2007, from the legend that is REDD KROSS. This was originally released by the band a few years back and every darn track is a winner. Highlights would have to be opener ‘Insatiable Kind’ that could almost be SWEET in their 70s Glam Rock hey-day, a take on NEW YORK DOLLS’ ‘Puss ‘n’ Boots’, the BEATLES-esque groove of ‘Take It Home’, the dramatic swing and stellar chorus of the album’s best ‘Switchblade Sister’ and the swelling sedately closer ‘Born To Love You’ that starts like a ballad before rocking out in a piano-led climax. What’s not to like? From the band that wrote ‘Notes And Chords Mean Nothing To Me’ to comparisons with the BEATLES!! And you know what? They still sound fantastic. Again, I ask ya, what’s not to like? (29.04.19)
REDD KROSS - Teen Babes From Monsanto {Merge} Re-issue of the 1984  mini-album expanded from the original seven tracks to 12 - all of which are covers bar an updated take on the band’s own ‘Linda Blair’. Best bits from the original tracks include a blazing opening take on KISS’ - ‘Deuce’, ‘Citadel’ that sounds more like ALICE COOPER rather than the ROLLING STONES and a take on BOWIE’s ‘Saviour Machine’. And of course ‘Ann’ by THE STOOGES. Of the additional tracks, there’s a superb crack at BEATLES ‘It Won’t Be Long’, a droning, psychedelic burn through KINKS ‘Fancy’, a triumphant roll through ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’ and even THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY! Cover albums are, more often than not, predictable affairs but the tracks REDD KROSS have chosen here are a little less than obvious but are all intrinsically found in the cornucopia of great sounds the band has written and released over the years. Great stuff for RK addicts and newbies alike. (27.04.19)

REPLACEMENTS, THE - For Sale: Live At Maxwell’s 1986 {Rhino} So, you know how great THE ‘MATS are right? And you know I could wax lyrical about the band’s greatness for forever and a day, right? So, the release of this, the first ‘official’ live ‘MATS on vinyl literally had me weak-kneed but a mess on the ladder of success and afraid I'd take one step and miss the whole first rung. So - what d’ya get? There’s a total of 29 tracks spread over two vinyl discs recorded at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey on 4 February 1986. It was part of the dates promoting the ‘Tim’ album, with Bob Stinson still in the line-up, and tracks from that feature heavily. It sees THE ‘MATS in fine form and on good behaviour too with none of the infamous audience antagonism or multiple unrehearsed covers. Here they only do a half-hearted but entertainingly fantastic take on THE SWEET’s ‘Fox On The Run’ along with pretty serious takes of the BEATLES’ ‘Nowhere Man’ and T-REX’s ‘Baby Strange’ (plus ‘Black Diamond’), and Westerberg remains relatively mute towards the crowd. Elsewhere all previous releases are well represented, along with a few b-sides and even a burn-through the unreleased-at-the-time-of-recording ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’. Highlights? Too hard to state but ‘Johnny’s Gonna Die’ always registers highly for me, the reworking of ‘Answering Machine’, the fury of the ‘Fuck School’, ‘Take Me Down To The Hospital’ and ‘Takin’ A Ride’ triumvirate, ‘Bastards Of Young’ and ‘Color Me Impressed’... I could go on but I think you get the picture. Comes with a neat single sheet insert with pics from the gig, a smart Bob Mehr text and natty photo-heavy gatefold sleeve. And yep, of course it’s essential - even to those who may have the gig as a bootleg already. Now, what we need is an ‘official’ release of one of the band’s ‘pussy sets’ - preferably CBGB’s 9 December 1984. How about it Rhino? You up for the challenge? (04.06.18)

RESTORATIONS - LP5000 {Tiny Engines} This seven track album is the first thing I’ve heard from Philadelphia's RESTORATIONS since 2012’s ‘A/B’ 7”. Opener ‘St.’ is impressive too; somewhere between AGAINST ME! and the Revelation Records sound circa GAMEFACE, ELLIOTT etc. From there, the ELLIOTT reference continues throughout, with some subtle guitar play, some electronic atmospherics (see ‘Melt’) and the occasional psychedelic flourish. Highlight is probably ‘The Red Door’ which has a vague SAMIAM meets PYLON vibe, while closer ‘Eye’ is a sedate, piano led track with recurring digital noise as a rhythm that had me thinking CHAMBERLAIN before launching into something demonstrative and otherworldly. Production is stellar, with the bass being deep, propulsive and locking in with some inventive drumming, all allowing the guitars, keyboards and electronics go splinter in multiple directions. The sound really borders more toward Indie Rock than Punk, but it’s well done and quite captivating if the mood is right. (19.03.19)

REVENGE OF THE PSYCHOTRONIC MAN - That Was Just A Noise 2004 - 2018 {TNS} Ohhhh - there’s been many hours of fantastic, occasionally alcohol fuelled listening to the songs on this mega 26 song platter. Y’see, Manchester’s fastest Punks are splitting up after 14 years of playing Punk Rock so fast it could burn your nostril hair while downing enough alcohol to sink a small island. I’m not gonna mention individual tracks here as each and every one is a speedy Punk gem laden with opinion and humour. They run chronologically and include a few unreleased crackers - just for those (like me) who have all of their recorded output. As a band, they did it all right - totally DIY from a record label, gig promotion, festivals and fan-fucking-tastic records (admittedly, the last album ‘Colossal Velocity’ didn’t quite hit the spot, although successive plays over the last coupla years has proved it to be a grower). If ya never owned a single REVENGE... release and you like your Punk fast, snotty and uncompromising then you’ve really missed out. However, you can redeem your oversight and rectify a grievous wrong by purchasing this blue vinyl cracker. Download included. Already missing these guys... was a constant thrill every time a new REVENGE... release appeared. So, for one last time - pass the whiskey mofo, turn up the stereo and... "Get pissed, talk shit, dance like an idiot". (26.07.18)

REVEREND BEAT-MAN AND IZOBEL GARCIA - Baile Bruja Muerto {Voodoo Rhythm} Trashy, Garage Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues from this duo which features Voodoo Rhythm owner BEAT-MAN. Starts all very innocuously with ‘Pero Te Amo’ and some lovely Bluesy vocals before erupting into a Garage heaven chorus. From there it’s a fusion of FUZZTONES, stripped down DWARVES and NICK CAVE with the appearance of a femme fatale vocal. Highlights would be ‘I Never Told You’ is like JAY REATARD had he found a rich, sultry and mysterious lady to take lead vocals, covers of VENOM’s ‘Black Metal’ that’s played BIRTHDAY PARTY sylee and THE DOORS’ ‘Love Me Two Times’ that’s reduced to a haunting Blues shuffle with the Reverend invoking the spirit of the Lizard King rather well, and the swing of ‘Come Back Lord’. Have to say, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve heard from Voodoo Rhythm but this is probably the one that’s impressed least. Bit too stripped down, bit too Bluesy and a bit too experimental for me. (21.05.19) 

ROUND EYE - Monster Vision {Sudden Death} Truly eccentric, wigged out slice of Garage Freak Punk from this band outta Shanghai. Think something akin to F.Y.P. fused with JAY REATARD played via some destructo Sax and a hint of COWS doing Jazz freakouts with the help of ARTHUR BROWN and you might be in a similar cosmos as that inhabited by ROUND EYE. Yep, eclectic stuff which didn’t immediately work for me. Sure, there were highlights, like the propulsive ‘Billy’, the wig-out of ‘Tailspin’ and the hypnotic ‘Nest’ but generally I found it a little too disjointed to really hit home. Between the songs there is a DJ-style comedic commentary from Daily Show comedian, John Bloom and, of most significance, this is the last recording made by Steve Mackay, sax player with THE STOOGES - and a keeper for that reason alone. Interesting graphics too, featuring a caricature of Trump complete with SS badge! (24.03.18)

ROYAL BEGGARS, THE - Tales From Disgraceland {Low Medium High} This is so far outta the usual Scanner remit that I should have posted a warning before writing but fuck it, I really like this. It’s Rock as in SOUL ASYLUM ‘Grave Dancers Reunion’ era, little bit of GOO GOO DOLLS, a vocalist who comes on a bit like the fella in PEARL JAM (but better) and a guitarist who can play those twiddly solos I usually detest. But, from the opener ‘Midnight Romeo’ with its addictive lead riff and too-memorable-for-words chorus, I was hooked. It’s got a great relaxed, bar-room band feel - no rush to reach the end, just crack a beer, a JD chaser and crank some classic Americana Rock ‘n’ Roll. Five songs all told with each track worthy of a mention, but ‘Digging My Grave Once Again’ touches on REPLACEMENTS greatness and if closer ‘Rid Of You’ fails to get your foot-a-tappin', then there really is no hope and you had best wallow in those Crust albums that all sound the same. Me? I’m gonna play this again. (24.05.19) 
RUBELLA BALLET - Danger Of Death {Overground} PODCAST PLAYED Four years on from the ‘Planet Punk’ album and it’s clear that Sid in particular has been listening to a bit of MINISTRY; their influence is all over the opening title track with a Trump sample, mechanical drums and metallic riffs. Track two ‘Tower Block Terror’ plus ‘Death From Above’ and ‘Crash And Burn’ amp it even further with more samples, semi-distorted vocals, rapid-fire drums and ever more metallic riffage. Elsewhere ‘Gender Control’ lifts lines in tribute to Poly Styrene and Vi Subversa and includes orchestral samples, ‘Terminator Technology’ has a chorus with a melody straight outta Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (and it works a dream - even if the song is a bit long) while ‘Genocide Agenda’ is the  highlight with lyrics about Agenda 21, catchy chorus and the new musical muscle to the fore (and a CONFLICT sample?). Lyrical content is as always interesting with the NHS, digital tracking, fake news and governmental lies all featuring heavily. Available on both vinyl and CD, both are limited. If you are expecting ‘Ballet Bag’ or ‘Arctic Flowers’ type stuff, you’re in for something VERY different - but no less satisfying. (29.12.18)

RUNA - Rito Estacional {B-Core} PODCAST PLAYED Second album from this Barcelona trio, which includes former members of Surf band, LOS TIKI PHANTOMS. You get 12 tracks that combine to make a concept album that, apparently, explores the dimension of human conflict. It opens in dark, sombre tones with the ringing of bells (which reappear elsewhere throughout the album) before the band come in with a vaguely Post-Punk kinda sound - think ESTRANGED influenced by both JOY DIVISION and THE BOMB, with a bit of the eclectic experimentation of WIRE thrown in for good measure. Several tracks hold the attention be it the pounding ‘Llamas y Momentos’, ‘Rizoma De Culpa’ that highlighted the musicianship of all three members (the rhythm section impressed throughout) with its dramatic arrangement, or stand-out track ‘Espiritu Mesetario’. They incorporate some interesting instrumentation too, be it violins on the opening of ‘La Ofensiva’, cowbells on the title track or didgeridoos on the finale of ‘Nueva Realidad’. As a complete album, it didn’t hold the attention as much as expected; moments got a bit too meandering (‘La Zona Cero’ in particular), others a bit too introvert. (10.08.18)

RUN-UP, THE - s/t {Real Ghost} Debut album for this five-piece outta Bristol, England and there’s some clever stuff going on. Really brought to mind personal UK faves SCUTTLE if fused with MENZINGERS, a hint of LES SAVY FEV and wrapped up with the energy and instant like-ability of VANILLA POD. A good few highlights too, be it ‘Line ‘Em Up’ that includes some great en masse vocals and could be the best on the album, the swagger of ‘More Colours’, ‘Before’ that’s got a bit of bounce about it along with an anthemic vocal refrain while ‘Terrance’ features some pretty frantic guitar riffage. It’s actually the interaction between the two guitarists that’s particularly impressive with one doing inventive lead work throughout (not the widdly wank stuff - this actually enhances the songs) while the other locks down the riffs and provides the power. Enjoyable and clever stuff - will be interesting to see where this goes. (24.10.18)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2018 including:
RADIOACTIVITY, RADIO BIRDMAN, CJ RAMONE (3 reviews), REALLY RED, RED DONS, REGULATOR WATTS, REVENGE OF THE PSYCHOTRONIC MAN, RIKK AGNEW BAND, RIPCORD (2 reviews), ROUGH KIDS, ROUGHNECK RIOT, ROVSVETT, THE RUTS and RUTS DC (2 reviews)