Top Sounds - T

TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET - Stealing The Covers {Fat Wreck} There have been numerous cover albums over the years, but this one has a bit of a unique spin on things. Y’see, rather than TBR cranking out tracks by well-known bands, the 14 tracks here are by smaller bands that TBR have either toured with in the past, or are cult favourites of the band. It’s apparent by track five, that TBR have stamped their identity all over the individual tracks as there is little variation between them and most come over as that patented RAMONE-o-core sound. Highlights include takes on SPROCKET NOVA’s ‘Robocop Is A Halfbreed Sellout’, JUKE’s ‘College Town’ (which appeared on a Lookout! Records comp), THE BLENDOURS’ ‘It Came From The Radio’, the New Wave jangle of ONION FLAVORED RINGS’ ‘I Kill Butterflies’ and the rather raucous take on HEAD’s ‘No Hugging, No Learning’. Not great stuff, but certainly not crap either - just an album that straddles the middle ground a few steps above mediocrity. Would’ve made a much more impressive EP. (05.11.17)

TEMPER AND HOLD - The Speed Of Travel {Grafton} A nine track album from this trio outta Portland, Oregon that is totally new to me. This is quite artful, well crafted stuff bringing to mind the slightly disjointed sound of BLUE TIP if fused with Q AND NOT U and an occasional hint of 10,000 MANIACS and a big splosh of old Art Monk band SAMUEL. Highlights include ‘Fully Killed’ that’s got lots of twists and turns and swells to a fitting climax, the ethereal, atmosphere laden ‘Angels’ and the propulsive rhythms of ‘Science’. Have to say, I found the over-long ‘Some Will Say’ seemed to go nowhere slowly. That said, guitarist Jacob Depolitte does some incredible stuff throughout the whole album, be it staccato riffing, soaring leads or sending splintered shards of sound flying from the speakers. That’s backed by some interesting rhythms and the all-encompassing vocal range of Andi Camp. If latter day Dischord Records are your thing, along with BURNING AIRLINES and some of the soundscapes of SWERVEDRIVER, this could be for you. Download code included too! (11.12.16)

TENEMENT - Tenement {Deranged} Album number four from this trio outta Appleton, Wisconsin and, if you know the sounds Deranged Recs usually release, be prepared for something a bit different but still decidedly excellent. Y’see TENEMENT fuse the breezy Indie Pop/Rock of TEENAGE FANCLUB and latter day LEMONHEADS, with the raw Rock ‘n’ Roll swagger of ‘Beggar’s Banquet’ era ROLLING STONES and a hint of OBSERVERS Punk under it all. Opener ‘Everyone To Love You’ is the most discordant, raging track here opening with feedback before taking that OBSERVERS vibe and fusing it with the lo-fi aggro of SHITTY LIMITS. The six tracks that follow while being different sonically are equally impressive be it ‘Underwater Hotel’ and ‘The Strangest Couple In Love’ that take the FANCLUB vibe while closer ‘Roads Of Home’ is the standout taking the ROLLING STONES lead and producing a track of exceptional Rock ‘n’ Roll cool, as does ‘Witches In A Ritual’. Elsewhere there is subtle acoustic moments, warm vocals and the general feel of a cracking lazy-daze Summer album. I know it’s gonna be the soundtrack to a few summer BBQs and brews here at the House Of Scanner. (25.05.17)

TERMINUS - Back Among The Blind {Boss Tuneage} Second album and the final of three excellent reissues of this late 80s UK band. I’ve written before I have a lot of time for this band and this album is probably the most adventurous work of the band. You have turbo charged Punk songs like ‘Reach Out And Take It’, ‘Words Of Warning’ and ‘Getting Closer’ coupled with a guitar-solo-laden Rock song in the epic ‘Ground Zero’ and a wonderful acoustic ballad in ‘The Wheel Turns’ that would be more appropriate to a folk club than the HC Punk gigs TERMINUS played to. As with the previous album, this was actually remastered from vinyl as the master tapes are missing and, with a bit of volume, it sounds great! Also includes one of my favourites in opener ‘Annihilation Time’. What set the band apart was, to a degree, vocalist Mark Richardson, who actually sang as opposed to shout and scream and growl as was much of the UKHC scene of the era. That’s a bonus when you listen to the highly politicised and intelligent lyrics. A band that was a bit out of its time but one that sounds timeless. (21.07.15)

THEATRE OF HATE - Westworld {Cherry Red} Another of Cherry Red’s excellent repackaging of vintage sounds in a smart box-set format. This time, from the early 80s we get London’s THEATRE OF HATE expanded to a three disc format. The first CD collects the ‘Westworld’ album released back in 11 along with a few singles and remixes. The second disc is where the highlights for the fan are with a collection of John Peel sessions, the band’s sole Top Of The Pops appearance and some alternative mixes. The third CD is a previously unreleased live recording of a gig in Vienna from 1982. Includes a 16 page booklet laden with photos and a write up from Mojo scribe Pat Gilbert. Musically, the band played a similar sound as SOUTHERN DEATH CULT fused with early ADAM AND THE ANTS with vocalist Kirk Brandon going onto front SPEAR OF DESTINY. I was never the band’s biggest fan; it was all a bit too melodramatic New Wave (even New Romantic) for my liking - although those vocals do soar to stunning heights at times - but it’s interesting hearing these songs some 35 years after they were recorded and discovering they have stood the test of time rather well. (15.04.17)

THIRTY SIX STRATEGIES - Strategy Three {Boss Tuneage} Debut, full length album from this UK band that has released two stunning records prior. This features new singer Marie and a new, slightly more muscular sound. In fact, that sound didn’t work at all for me initially. The DC Revolution Summer sound seems to have been replaced by something more akin to Revelation Records’ melodic Hardcore bands, like MOVIELIFE and, more specifically, SHADES APART. Successive plays have proven this to be a grower though with the sheer musical muscle of ‘(We) Disconnect’ (which even evoked KILLING JOKE in parts), the epic ‘(Never) A Good Day To Die’, the dramatic opener ‘Black Flies’ and the acoustic ‘In Pursuit Of Pleasure’ all standing out. Production is clear but denser than previous records, which accentuates that Rev Records vibe. This includes a couple of bonus tracks, one of which is a cover of THE PARTISANS ‘I Never Needed You’ and, although it runs contrary to the band’s sound, actually works well. Interesting to read that guitarist, Neil Cox, is no longer in the band and has been replaced by two others. His guitar work has always been one of the defining factors of the band; hopefully that sound will not leave with his departure. (13.10.15)

TØRSÖ - Sono Pronta A Morire {Sorry State} Brutal, blistering Hardcore Punk here from this four-piece outta California. You get 11 tracks that play at 45rpm that come on with the attack of BORN/DEAD, the pace of LOS CRUDOS and the bile of CRISPUS ATTUCKS. The vocal performance from Ethan is an uncompromising, throat-lacerating scream which, when layered over the brutal, unrelenting sound of the band, makes for a caustic, barbed and blazingly bilious Hardcore D-beat clarion call. Highlights are plenty: ‘Pigeonholed’ includes a monster breakdown just before its finale; ‘Will You Float?’ grooves along on a distorto-bass of damage-inducing depths before detonating into a rage; the bludgeon of closer ‘Solutions According To The Opulent’ while standout has to be ‘Eating Scraps’ that’s got a brutal riff, tight stops, a fantastic mid-paced closing and a rabid performance from drummer Giacomo. Excellent cover artwork from Jim Kettner and a download code is included. If you like you Hardcore raw, brutal and belligerent without any fucking Metal breakdowns, look no further. (25.10.16)

TOTAL ABUSE - Excluded {Deranged} Fourth album in for this Austin, Texas 5-piece and it’s a brutal and punishing ten track slab of bilious Hardcore. Think a more damaged ‘Damaged’ era BLACK FLAG fused with DOUBLE NEGATIVE and a splash of both UNSANE insanity and DISORDER disorder and you’re kinda close. Highlight has to be the unhinged ‘The New Man’ that claims, "sex is worse than death" and pivots around a furious bass, disjointed rhythms and shards of guitar flying out in all directions. Elsewhere you get the rolling riff of ‘Watching The Paint Dry’, the blitz of the title track and the lurching, relentless disdain of the closing ‘Scabs’. Vocalist Rusty Kelley is in belligerent, sneering form switching his delivery from indignant bellow, snide speaking and a virtual Darby Crash growl. Not for the faint hearted, nor those with delicate ears. If, however, ya like ya Hardcore to take a few unexpected twists, to kick like an enraged mule yet doesn’t mutate into yawn-inducing Metal breakdowns of tough guy retrogression, this could be for you. (30.05.17)

TOTALOVE - Demo {Boss Tuneage Flexipunk} A seven-track demo now released on flexidisc (orange flex this time!) of angry, female 80s style Punk outta Yucatan, Mexico. It’s all sung in the band’s native language with lyrics reproduced. It didn’t really do much for me - it was very much stuff I had heard done before. Sure, the passion was there, the right gnarly production (with the drums in particular sounding fantastic, especially on the tom-tom heavy parts of opener ‘Amor Total’) but combined it failed to move me the way it should. ‘Prision’ was probably the pick of the tracks for me but generally, an EP that went in one ear and out of the other. (10.07.17)

TOY DOLLS - Wakey Wakey/ Fat Bob’s Feet/ Absurd-Ditties {Westworld} Trio of individual TOY DOLLS reissues, kicking off with 'Wakey Wakey' the fifth full album from these scallywags from Sunderland that was originally released back in 1989. It was also the first that showed a bit of lack of material. Sure there are crackers here like ‘Lester Fiddled The Tax Man’ (an ode to former jockey Lester Piggott), ‘One Night In Moscow (And We’ll Be Russian Home)’, ‘Poverty Pleadin’ Peter’ and one of the band’s best, ‘Cloughy Is A Bootboy’, but there is also a lot of filler. Of the 14 tracks we get two intros, an outro and ‘Sabre Dance’ that are all instrumentals, along with ‘Goodnight Irene’ that’s 30 seconds of fuck all. There’s also a throwaway version of ‘No Particular Place To Go’. It’s interesting to hear ‘There’s A Trollop Up Elmwood Street’ too; I imagine in 2017’s sanitised days of political correctness this could be viewed as something approaching sexism. If this had been issued as an eight track 10", you could be looking at one of the band’s best as the guitar work shreds, Olga’s in good form and production is pretty ballsy. The six tracks of filler though really do the whole album some damage. 
'Fat Bob's Feet', o
riginally released back in 1991, was probably the least impressive DOLLS album up to that point. The joke had certainly started to wear a bit thin (much like Olga’s voice in fact) and in the wake of albums like ‘A Far Out Disc’ and ‘Idle Gossip’, it was very much more of the same, but not as impressive. That said, this does have its standout moments. ‘The Sphinx Stinks’ is loaded with Olga’s wild guitar, off-kilter vocal and singalong backing vocals. Elsewhere ‘Rodney’s Memory’ pilfers ‘Johnny Remember Me’, ‘Kids In Tyne And Wear’ is another highlight lifting from ‘Kids In America’ with style, ‘Back In ‘79’ and the continuing run of Coronation Street themed ditties in ‘The Coppers Copt Ken’s Cash’. This includes a couple of extra tunes (in the form of 'Turtle Crazy' and its sing-a-long counterpart) that the original vinyl didn’t have. OK stuff but the weakest of the recent DOLLS studio reissues.
After the mediocre release above, 1993 saw the release of 'Absurd-Ditties' the band’s seventh and an album that ranks up there with their very best. Everything is improved here, the guitar sounds great, Olga’s voice isn’t as reedy (in fact it’s about the punchiest it has ever been) and the songs are DOLLS classics: ‘Ernie Had A Hernia’, ‘I’m A Telly Addict’, ‘Melancholy Margaret’, ‘Dez The Demon Decorator’, ‘Alecs Gone’ continuing the Coronation Street link and possibly the best of the bunch, while ‘When You’re Jimmy Saville’ is a bit off the mark given revelations since the album was recorded; every track stands up in fact (although ‘Drooling Banjos’ does go on a bit). No extra tracks when compared with the original Receiver Records release but with an album as strong as this, none are needed. Without doubt the last great TOY DOLLS album, and one that stands in the band’s Top Three greatest. If you’re only gonna get one of these reissues, it has to be this one. And oh - guitarists check out ‘Toccata In Dm’. Listen and weep Metal-heads!! (26.05.17)

TOY DOLLS - Twenty Tunes Live From Tokyo {Westworld} Have to say, I’m a bit of a TOY DOLLS fan. I’ve got most of the albums on vinyl, including this, which was originally released back in 1990 on Receiver Records. Live albums are always hit and miss, and this has no hope of joining the premier league of ’It’s Alive’ and ‘No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith’, but as an introduction to the band, it’s a great starting place and sits amicably with ‘Crash Course’ and ‘Hanx’. Lots of classic DOLLS songs are here: ‘Spiders In The Dressing Room’, ‘Deidre’s A Slag’ (that includes some singalongaOlga), ‘Glenda And The Test Tube Baby’, ‘Ashbrooke Launderette’, the cheesy but oh-so-fun ‘Nellie The Elephant’ and my own personal TOY DOLLS favourite ‘She Goes To Finos’. Production is a bit bland with what appears to be exaggerated crowd noise, and the drum solo of ‘Popeye Medley’ is just boring. Should be noted this reissue includes two extra tracks the original lacked in ‘Sabre Dance’ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes’. Far from my most played DOLLS record, but one that has all the far out hits. (12.12.16)

TOY GUITAR - Move Like A Ghost {Fat Wreck} Six track mini-album from this Jack Dalrymple-led project and it’s noticeably less urgent than the previous release below. But you know what? It’s still a fucking great record! Opener ‘Peach Fuzz’ is total Garage Punk distortion a’la NEW BOMB TURKS, however the rest of the album is much more sedate coming on like a 60s Power-Pop/ Garage project. This is highlighted in both ‘Turn It Around’ that could be a decent TEENAGE FANCLUB song while disc highlight, ‘Stoned Under A New Moon’ is a track that could easily have fitted on any BIG STAR album and stood its ground. Elsewhere the title track and ‘Swan’ both bring a vague Rock ‘n’ Roll vibe to matters, in keeping with the Dirtnap vibe of before. As said, this is distinctly different from the previous album but no less enjoyable - although it does take a few additional plays to get the most out of its looser grooves. Jack’s vocals are somewhat more laid back, with moments bringing to mind RED DONS also. Nice other-worldly packaging too, giving the whole thing a vague Gothic/ Post-Punk vibe. Recommended and ideal for those hazy, slightly drunken, summers!! (13.11.17)

TOY GUITAR - In This Mess {Fat Wreck} Debut album from this (terribly named) new project to feature the SWINGIN UTTERS and former ONE MAN ARMY man, Jack Dalrymple. It’s immediate that this is quite unlike anything else that has been released before on Fat, evoking more of a Dirtnap Records sound. Think SOMETHING FIERCE snappy Punk fused with SONIC AVENUES garage vibe and then over run by EDDY CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING and you’re close. You get a dozen tracks in 28 minutes with the opener ‘Human Hyenas’ and 'Let’s Talk In The Shower’ emphasising that Power Pop/Punk vibe while ‘(I’m) In My Head’, ‘Static Attraction’ and ‘Sliver Of Sun’ pivot around the hypnotic sonic allure of EDDY CURRENT. Elsewhere, ‘Is It True?’ and ‘Rollercoasters’ are more sedate but totally addictive while closer ‘Loose In A Room’ is superb distorto-power Pop perfection. Something that really stands out is the bass playing that carries a lot of the melodies - ‘When It Was Over’ in particular was almost REVILLOS-esque. In fact, the only downer is the title track that just seems a bit out of place. A surprisingly effective and quite unique album for a Fat release. Recommended! (20.08.15)

TOYS THAT KILL - Sentimental Ward {Recess} It’s always a good day when a new record appears by San Pedro’s finest, and this, the band’s fifth album, is joyous! It’s got all the ingredients that make TOYS THAT KILL one of the best bands around: Todd’s soaring and sneering vocal, slightly deranged pop sensibilities, guitars that are sonically dangerous and, quite simply, fucking great and clever songs. One thing I did notice on this is a distinct WIRE influence - check ‘New Recruits’ and ‘Soap’. Elsewhere there is the raucous ‘The Safe Song’, the droning title track, several excellent Sean Cole tracks (the best of which is ‘Form Your Fiend’) to change the mood from Todd’s eclectic nature and what is probably the highlight, ‘War On Words’. It’s a bit unfair highlighting one song however as this really works as a full body of 16 songs without a duffer in them. A few tracks do veer toward UNDERGROUND RAILROAD TO CANDYLAND (see ‘Four Strong’ and ‘Times We Can’t Let Go’) territory, but played with a snarl, a defiant fuck-you attitude and humour. Foldout lyric sheet and download code included too. Sure, it’s not as visceral as that classic debut, but there isn’t a weak track here and it could rank among the band’s best. Album of the year?? I think it’d have my money were I betting man... (29.12.16)

TRANSISTORS - Cuppa Jarra Brossa {MIC} New Zealand’s best kept secret follow-up the classic ‘Is This Anything?’ album with this five track 10". While this retrains some of the garage fuzz and youthful zeal, there is a distinct development to the sound. Opener ‘Confidence Man’ is swaggering with a great vocal performance that’s ragged, loose, sublimely arrogant and completely convincing. Next up is ‘On Cashel St’ which could be the EP’s best. Imagine a fusion of SUPERGRASS and TV PERSONALITIES and you’re there. Flip the beast over and you get ‘Riding The Wave’ that’s got a 12-string guitar solo that THE BYRDS would’ve stolen if they had the chance, while closers ‘I’ve Been Stupid’ and ‘Soap Suds’ could’ve been on the aforementioned album. Somehow these fellas from Christchurch have made two of the most instantly likeable, energised and captivating New Zealand Punk/ Garage records in years. What’s more, there’s enough depth about them both to be constant players long-term on the House Of Scanner stereo. Have to say, a lyric insert would’ve been neat, but it does come with a download code. Choice bro..... (20.12.16)

TRIGGER EFFECT - What’s Left To Eliminate? {Dry Heave} I put off playing this for a while due to the rather odd and kinda ‘Emo’ cover but, on first playing, I immediately played it again. This Canadian band has dropped a record that is both vicious and accessible, thoughtful and bludgeoning, dramatic and direct and, whatever adjective you wanna consider, fact is it’s fucking stunningly intense. You get 11 tracks on a 45rpm 12" (and beautiful clear-marble-splatter vinyl too!!) that come on like AVAIL circa ‘4am Friday’ fused with DILLINGER FOUR at its most Hardcore with the power and sound of FUCKED UP making some new dimension. Highlights are plenty, be it the epic ‘Everything He Once Loved And Held Dear’ that emphasizes the FUCKED UP soundscapes, both ‘Voracity Just Can’t Be Beat’ and ‘He Knows Now’ hurtle by in a furious blur while ‘Til It’s Dead’ has distinct sing-along potential. Absolutely blazing Hardcore that’s expertly executed, produced to sound like the apocalypse and has more thought and intensity than a million down-tuned Metal bands that think they have some affiliation with Punk or Hardcore. They don’t. TRIGGER EFFECT however, does. Raging. (19.05.15)

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