Top Sounds - R

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)

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)

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)

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)

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: