Top Sounds - T

TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET - Freak Out! {Fat Wreck} Album number five from this Yank quartet that includes former LILLINGTONS guitarist, Kody Templeman. And what d’ya know?? It’s another flat-out, rockin’ and rollin’, rollickin’ and roarin’ slice of adrenalised, smoking Pop-Punk but played with a sneer and sarcastic wit. The biggest comparison has to be ‘Love Is Dead’era MR T EXPERIENCE as all the songs carry the same depth in quality and inspired lyrical wit delivered with exemplary phrasing - check ‘Headbanger’, ‘Punk House Of Horror’ and ‘In The Pit’. TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET has always been more than a mere ode to mid-90s quality Pop-Punk though; you can hear strains of a sneering DEVIL DOGS Rock ‘n’ Roll influence running throughout the album and, as ‘Who Killed Sensei?’ proves, the band can floor it with some fierce acceleration also. Production is crisp, uncomplicated and loud and, somehow, even after five albums, the band still makes this sound thrilling, exhilarating and balls-out Punk Rocking! (29.09.12)

TERMINUS - Going Nowhere Fast {Boss Tuneage} Another welcome reissue from this underrated British band from the late 80s/ early 90s. This was the band’s first album from 1990. Unfortunately, the master tapes are missing so it has been remastered from a vinyl copy of the album. It sounds a bit muddy, but given it’s ripped from the vinyl, it sounds pretty great. It’s always been one of my favourite albums of the era mixing excellent political observations with original songs delivered with clarity and melody. The acoustic guitar is used a lot, notably on the excellent title track and opener ‘Propaganda War’ while guitar solos are much more prevalent than for many other bands of the era. Highlights? A reworking of ‘Bring Out Your Dead’ is still classic, closer ‘Free To Be Slaves’ grinds along on a sub-KILLING JOKE riff while the up-tempo pogo Punk of ‘Hey Little Girl’ is coupled with some lyrics as incisive and startling as anything Dick from the SUBHUMANS penned and both ‘Body Count’ and ‘Terraces To The Trenches’ show a more aggressive sound. If you’re new to the band, I’d advise checking out the singles comp below - but for me this is still compelling listening over 20 years after its release. (29.08.14)

TERMINUS - Graveyard Of Dreams {Boss Tuneage} A very welcome reissue of a compilation BT released back in 2003, this time with new artwork. For those who don’t know, TERMINUS was a British band formed in 1983 and split around 1997. This 19-track compilation collects the band’s five singles, some compilation tracks and a couple of unreleased goodies. I always really liked the band, ever since the (in my opinion) classic ‘Fear, Despair and Hate EP’ from 1989. Its lead track, ‘Dance With The Dead’ remains a favourite song of the era today. TERMINUS were quite original, initially fusing a NEW MODEL ARMY meets ADVERTS vibe (both soundwise and lyrically) while constantly reminding me of Richard Butler of PSYCHEDELIC FURS in terms of vocals. As the band progressed, a CONFLICT/ KILLING JOKE aggression was brought in (check ‘Violent Resistance’). While the band could certainly play at pace (see both ‘Body Count 91’ and ‘Hunt The Hunt’), they seemed to favour mid-paced, almost ‘77 Punk but with intelligent, political lyrics. Highlight has to be ‘Dance With The Dead’, although the band’s swansong, ‘News From Nowhere’ was a fantastically crisp and pointed record. There’s an uncredited bonus track too - a stellar take on THE SPECIALS ‘Do Nothing’. Great stuff and an ideal way for the curious to check out this hugely underrated band before the reissue of their two albums, which BT has planned in the near future. (02.05.14)

THIRTY SIX STRATEGIES - Strategy Two {Boss Tuneage/ Surprise Attacks} Second release from this new British band, this time a three-track 7" pressed on sexy white wax. What’s more, this shows a slightly more aggressive, more confident but no less impressive side than the CDEP below. The lead track, ‘Swallowing Swords’ must stand as the band’s best so far coming on like SAMUEL (‘Lives Of Insects’ era) with some great vocals and ringing guitars. The flip sees Andy Cairns outta THERAPY? guest on guitar and vocals. You get two tracks, another cracking original and a cover of THE DAMNED’s ‘Ignite’. It’s a really good choice; one of the DAMNED’s lesser known songs (but a goodie) and reworked here to suit ...STRATEGIES style with some great vocal work between Kirsty’s lead and the fellas’ backing. The packaging for this is lovely too - lyric insert, download code and heavy-duty cardboard sleeve. Oh - limited to 500 too so you better be quick or miss out on having a complete strategy set. (07.11.14)

THIRTY SIX STRATEGIES - Strategy One {Boss Tuneage} This is the new band that includes Ian Glasper (ex-DECADENCE WITHIN, STAMPIN’ GROUND) and this debut EP contains six songs of melodic and dynamic Punk Rock. Vocalist Kirsty has a rich and clear voice - frequently recalling Natalie Merchant outta 10,000 MANIACS in fact. Musically, there’s a ‘Crash’ era GOVERNMENT ISSUE vibe, some TEXAS IS THE REASON dynamics and a hint of early JAWBOX for good measure. Without a doubt, this is an impressive debut release, well played with plenty of thought put into the songs while production is crisp and clear which helps emphasise those great vocals. Highlight would be ‘Won’t Roll Over (And Die)’ thought ‘Crossfire’ stands out too. There’s been some really strong records during 2013 and this is another that you need to add to the list to check out. It was a release that was originally intended as two 7"s; I personally think the continuity of a CDEP has probably benefited the strength of this release, allowing all the songs a level platform. (30.03.14)

THIS IS BRAINWASH - S/T {DIY} Debut release from a self-professed Anglo-Spanish Punk band that features a few ex- members of the likes of OLDER THAT DIRT, CEREBROS EXPIRIMIDOS, PARADE OF ENEMIES and DISEASE. You get 16 tracks that span a whole breadth of Punk Rock, but what is noticeable is that it is always impressive. There’s a lot of JELLO BIAFRA’s post-DEAD KENNEDYS influence here - be it ‘Sell Out’ or ‘Too Young’ that come on like the D.O.A. album or ‘Final Soluation’ that’s more like LARD. Elsewhere opener ‘Get Up And Go’ was akin to THE CROWD while ‘Riot Dog’ and closer ‘Youdidn’tjust...’ bring to mind prime, grizzled UKHC but done with a modern twist a’la GERIATRIC UNIT. Highlight was ‘Chemical Nights’ that pivoted around a monster riff, a sinewy lead line and a bellicose vocal while ‘Take You Down’ is simply a pulsating power-surge of a song! Production is bold with, seemingly, four layers of guitar or more! I believe this took about four years to record and includes four different vocalists - that explains the album’s variation but also hinders its continuity. (29.12.14)

TOPNOVIL - Same Old Story {DIY} After five EPs, this Wollongong (that’s in Australia for the geographically challenged) Street Punk quartet delivers an 18 track debut album of solid, tough, sing-a-long Punk anthems. Without a doubt, there’s an obvious comparison to RANCID (in particular Lars’ stuff) with a hint of DROPKICK MURPHYS and COCK SPARRER but given that cheeky, slightly arrogant Australian attitude. Highlights would have to be ‘All Over’ that has CLASH-esque cutting guitars, a massive chorus and a sneering vocal, ‘Never Trusted You’ that injects some pace and results in a barbed HC-tinged thrasher and the closing ‘Warfare’ that’s an acoustic track with a great story. Elsewhere there are hints of Ska in ‘Another Scenario’ and bagpipes in ‘The Fight’. There’s nothing really new here - and I guess the band ain’t aiming to do that - but what is here is convincing, anthemic Street Punk. My main criticism is the lyrics; sometimes they come on a bit cliched (see ‘The Crew’ and ‘Punk Rot’). Incidentally, the band’s name? Read it backwards!! (06.09.13)

TOUGHSKINS - Keep The Faith {Rebel Sound} Four tracks of (guess what?) Oi!-style Punk Rock. Have to say, these fellas have a bit more pace about them than the average Oi! band, occasionally evoking thoughts of YOUTH BRIGADE (especially on the title track). Opener ‘Too Young To Care’ is probably the pick of the tracks being fast and bouncy while that title track is equally impressive. Unfortunately, the flip resorts to a few too many typical Oi! lyrical cliches with ‘Black ‘n’ Blue’ being a macho boast about beating someone who crosses their path... While ‘Crack Some Skulls’ is pretty self-explanatory. There are some pretty slick guitar leads on here, bringing to mind something like SIXER, although there is a thinness to the sound when they cut in. If they could avoid those hackneyed Oi lyrics they could be a band to look out for as there is certainly enough pace and energy here to keep the interest. (23.09.14)

TOXIC LAB RATS - Pandemic Alert {Spectra} Second album from this Swedish Punk 5-piece and it picks up where the debut left off, mixing the attitude and attack of RANCID with some SOCIAL DISTORTION guitar and vocal hints and a COCK SPARRER anthemic sing-a-long chant. It’s high octane stuff but laden with solid melody with highlights being ‘Losing Your War’, ‘All Alone On A Sunday’, a rollicking cover of Merle Haggard’s ‘Mama Tried’ and, best of all, ‘Hittin’ The States’. The only negative is some of the lyrics that revolve a bit too much around being a pissed, fucked up, hard living Punk. Somehow though, the band don’t make the lyrics seem as crass as they actually are - even a track called ‘Punks ‘n’ Drunks’ is entertaining. Neat digipack sleeve, clear bright production and something that could easily be on TKO Records. The perfect accompaniment to spiking ya mohawk while slinging down shots of bourbon. (15.07.13)

TOY DOLLS - The Album After The Last One {Secret} Not heard anything from these scallywags since the disappointing ‘One More Megabyte’ album from 1997. Since then, infamous leader Olga has had a stint as bassist in the DICKIES, but is now back at the helm of his band - but a band that’s been rejuvenated by the inclusion of Tom Goober on bass and Duncan Redmonds on drums. While this is no ‘Dig That Groove Baby’ or ‘Idle Gossip’, it is a rip-roaring return to form. Olga’s lyrics are back to inciting laugh-out-loud hilarity - check the Coronation Street inspired ‘Molly Was Immoral’ or ‘Dirty Doreen’. Meanwhile, his virtuosity on the guitar is apparent but not out of control. Redmonds also contributes, including taking on lead vocals for ‘Don’t Drive Yer Car Up Draycott Avenue’ that delivers some much needed variation and goes down as another Redmonds classic. Other highlights? ‘Down At The Old 29’ is a history trip through TOY DOLLS characters of the past, ‘Gordon Brown Gets Me Down’ is about as close to politics are you’re gonna get with TOY DOLLS and there’s even a Christmas tune! Finally, there are three acoustic bonus tracks of old classics. A total chuckle-worthy charmer! (25.01.13)

TOYS THAT KILL - Fambly 42 {Recess} It’s been a long six years since the last album from the wonderful TOYS THAT KILL; a band that has been one of the most original and impressive Punk bands of the last ten years. This, the band’s fourth album continues that fine reputation. We get 15 songs that include typical TOYS THAT KILL-style bratty Punk Rock in ‘V-Chip’ and ‘I’ve Been Stabbed’. They get mixed up with more original classics from the pen of Todd Congelliere including ‘Abort Me Mother Earth’ that hints at early WIRE with its stop-start riff, the slow and sneering ‘Stye’ and disc highlight ‘Freddy And His Mother’. Of course, Sean Cole weighs in with three songs, including the title track and the raucous ‘Cold Boys’ which is among the best he has written. As with the previous ‘Shanked’, I had to play this 3-4 times before it really hit and, with successive spins, it became apparent this is a tad more Garage-based than previous albums. No matter - this is another great album by a truly great band. Only negative? Some slightly bizarre cover art. (04.01.13)

TRENCH FEVER - Saturday Night Trench Fever {Boss Tuneage} This is a band that promised a lot but never quite delivered. Formed as the 80s were in their death throes and releasing most of their gear in the early 90s, TRENCH FEVER featured two ex-members of BAD DRESS SENSE and the vocalist of the original (and superior) DESTRUCTORS. This 19 tracker takes their solo 7" from 1990, a track from the split flexi with BLAGGERS ITA from ‘91, the ‘Floor 81’ comp track and two demos - one from 1988 and the other from ‘92. It’s mid-paced, catchy US-tinged HC and suffers from the oft-heard fuzzy/ muffled production that many bands of the era endured. While this is an interesting snap shot of one piece of UKHC history, it’s also very much of its time. It’s a sound that’s been done by others and, I guess, if you were there at the time and got into that TRENCH FEVER fervour, this will appeal. If not, I doubt there will be many new converts. (25.05.13)

TV EYE - Mythoman {Spastic Fantastic/ Hoax} These Swedes have yet to put a foot wrong in creating near perfect slices of brisk hook-laden Punk Rock and this, the band’s second album changes nothing. You get 32 tracks pressed on heavy white vinyl with not one song breaking the two minute barrier. Highlights are plenty - ‘The Royal Family’, ‘Real Sick’, ‘Lunatic Fringe’ and ‘Mr Fuglesang’ could all lead the charge for best track but the fact is there isn’t a duffer here. Each slice of rapid fire Punk Rock fuses DICKIES, Devoto-era BUZZCOCKS and THE BRIEFS, but channel the results via the propulsive energy burst of first album ADOLESCENTS with the occasional nod to DEVO (check ‘I’m A Tool’). Lyrically, much of it is fun stuff as ‘Soap’, ‘TV’ and ‘My Home’ prove but there is social comment here, but done in a fun, frivolous way - see ‘Plastic Age’, ‘U.S.B’ and ‘Nuclear Family’. If you think the songs on ‘Leave Home’ are too long when compared with ‘The Ramones’, that THE BOYS should’ve been faster and that hardcore lacks tunes, then this is for you. Even if you disagree with those statements (as I do), then this still should be among your best albums of the year. (06.10.14)

TV EYE - Working Bee {Just4Fun} A truly wonderful 10-track 7" from these impossible-to-hate Swedes. Picking up where the excellent album, ‘Nice People’, left off, these tracks are short, frantic and as catchy as a skin disease in a leper colony. THE DICKIES influence is still impossible to ignore (check ‘Lie Detector’) but elsewhere there is a distinct turn towards something more gnarled as heard on ‘A Chorus Line’ and the title track, while ‘Television Generation’ contains the same sneering Punk drive of STEVE ADAMYK BAND. Add on the closer, ‘Notebook No 1’ that’s a perfect slice of room-trashing, lose-yr-mind furious Punk Fucking Rock and you are close to a flawless EP. Orange or black vinyl, raw but not crap production and buzz-saw guitars played through killer tunes that so many promise but very few deliver. If ya dig REZILLOS and CIRCLE JERKS in equal measures, then welcome TV EYE to ya turntable. They could very well be your new favourite band. (6.08.13)

TV SMITH - Dangerous Playground {Boss Tuneage} Neat 4-track EP from the genius that is the ex-ADVERTS frontman. All the tracks are quite understated revolving around TV’s voice and guitar while fleshing it out with accordion, double bass and percussion from Tim Cross. It starts in slightly odd fashion with ‘Der Stacheldrahtmann’ - a song all in German about a former East German border guard with a bad conscience. It’s a dark and claustrophobic song and quite unlike any other track in TV’s arsenal. ‘The Rock ‘n’ Roll’ is more of a traditional, up-tempo tune while the sedate but vocally impassioned ‘The Drink’ is the EP’s highlight containing a classic TV chorus and it’s a song I could also hear with a full band and being blazing. The closing, title track includes an orchestral backing and is full of light and shade. A neat little curio for those die-hard TV fans (like me) - and let’s face it, new TV songs are always welcome - but beyond that, I don’t see this appealing too far beyond those obsessive TV acolytes. (16.02.13) 

TV SMITH - Lucky Us: Unreleased Songs And Demos Vol.2: 1983-86 {Boss Tuneage} This second volume of TV rarities signalled a dark chapter in TV’s history. THE EXPLORERS had split-up, CHEAP was still in the future; he couldn’t land a record deal. Apparently, he was on the verge of giving up and getting a job. That’s hard to believe considering TV is one of the most consistently impressive songwriters of the ‘77 Punk era. It is a bit of a baffling collection; even in demo form, the songs sound incredibly smooth and commercial being layered in keyboards and the bass to the fore. In fact, a lot of the songs brought to mind something like a minimalist Level 42 (check out ‘Poison Mind’). It’s not without highlights though - ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ (written for and recorded by LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH) is an obvious highlight, as is the title track, ‘Spy On The Line’ and ‘Leisure Time’. Unfortunately, that hack Dave Thompson (who wrote the recent error-laden JOAN JETT biog) wrote the liner notes. Instead of reading about specific recording sessions and track details, we get him ego-tripping using the same fawning superlatives he used in the book. Certainly a disc that will appeal to TV obsessives (like myself), but the casual fan would be wise to check out any of TV’s solo albums Boss Tuneage has previously released - then progress to here if the desire is there. (06.11.12)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2012 including: