Top Sounds - T

TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET - Vs Human Robots {Fat Wreck} Four track EP from this WEASEL-esque quartet and, just like most of their other stuff, it didn’t do much for me. Opener ‘Olivia Goes To Bolivia’ is actually pretty smart, tight riffing, good melody. From there... It just kinda went nowhere. ‘Everything To Me’ has an annoying wannabe-Joey-in-subtle-mode vocal, ‘Step On ‘Em All’ perked things up and features Olivia on vocals, a tonal riff and lots of sneering - and lasts 45 seconds! Possibly the best thing I have heard the band do! Olivia keeps hold of the microphone for closer ‘I Want To Hang Out With You’ which is slower, less sneering and almost like THE GO-GO’S.  Two outta four ain’t a bad score for a BOTTLEROCKET release in my opinion - but I still won’t be playing it much (at all). (06.05.20)
TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET - Stay Rad! {Fat Wreck} Eighth long player from these fellas and it’s another 14 tracks of their frivolous take on this Punk Rock thing. Starts with an ultra-RAMONES tribute in ‘You Don’t Get The Joke’. That could actually be directed to me, cuz I’ve never really ‘got’ TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET, or the joke it seems. The 13 tracks that follow include such stunning epithets as ‘I Wanna Be A Dog’, ‘Wild Hair (Across My Ass)’ and ‘Creature From The Black Metal Lagoon’. A few moments impressed, ‘Night Of The Knuckleheads’ had a neat SCREECHING WEASEL vibe about it and ‘The First Time I Did Acid Was The Last Time I Did Acid’ had more punch than any of the other melodic, Punk-lite tracks. As for the rest of it, much the same as their previous releases and, what’s more, any record titled ‘Stay Rad!’ (and yes, with an exclamation mark) must honk. (09.01.20)
THIS IS NOT A DRILL - Fight Like A Girl {TINAD} I can be a flake sometimes! The release below blew me away, and I didn’t review it until this 10 track album was nearly due for release. I’ve had this an age, been playing it on regular rotation but just realised I haven’t reviewed it. Apologies to the band, because this is even better than the release below. It kicks off with TRAGEDY-esque epicness with  ‘Intro’ - a spoken word piece over acoustic guitar regarding acceptance and tolerance - before a monster riff heralds ‘Victimised’ which continues in the ‘Dark Days Coming’-era TRAGEDY vibe before jettisoning into POISON IDEA ‘Feel The Darkness’ territory. From there, much of the comparisons on the album below are still in place but delivered with a new verve and intensity. Best bits include the frenzy of riffs and belligerent vocals of the title track, ‘This House Is In England’ that evokes the rage and contempt of CONFLICT (complete with a fantastic dub-breakdown!) and ‘Senseless’ that I’m amazed SNUFF haven’t tried to purchase, while highlight could be ‘Master Race’ that starts with a fantastically funny fuckhead talking about Mosques before riffs that could cut through stone kick in on another track CONFLICT would probably steal. Excellent, careering, angry and political Punk Rock. As before, the vocals are enraged but clearly delivered to get the point across. Possibly the best band in the UK at this kinda stuff. Totally fucking riotous!! (20.04.20)
THIS IS NOT A DRILL - Hysteria/Hypocrisy/Lies {DIY} PODCAST PLAYED Blazing eight track demo from this UK band that includes ex-members of CHEWED UP, TRIOXIN CHERRY, BRAINFREEZE and TRUTH DECAY and from the opening ‘Intro’, which spins Orwell’s 1984 around to suggest that thanks to social media, it is now the populace doing the watching in a bid to get more ‘likes’, it’s clear this is gonna be political, outspoken and raucous. Musically think BORN/DEAD Hardcore fused with SICK ON THE BUS surging Punk and you’re there. The guitars in particular cut through with some incisive riffs while the vocals may be bellowed but are legible with some smart en-masse backing vocals. Highlights? ‘Two Fingers Up’ hurtles along on a fantastic riff, the closing ‘The Day Punk Turned Ignorant’ had a vague early SNUFF vibe and the sub-60 seconds of ‘Slip The Leash’. Best track though is the stunning, sample-laden title track that flies on a riff that late-era CONFLICT would’ve probably paid money for. Excellent, damage-inducing political and raging UK Punk. (11.05.19)
THUNDERS, JOHNNY - Madrid Memory {Cleopatra/ MVD} Very snazzy CD/ DVD double set here from a television show recorded in Madrid on 14 June 1984. It’s notable as it sees our man THUNDERS reunited with his NEW YORK DOLLS gun-slinging partner, Sylvain Sylvain. Keeping the DOLLS vibe high is Jerry Nolan on the skins while Billy Rath brings up the bass. You get 17 songs, four of which are solo acoustic jobs with an unnamed Flamenco guitarist as accompaniment.  Have to say, it’s not the best live Thunders footage ever, but for the obsessive (like me) it’s pretty much damn essential. Thunders himself comes on in a tight, green and glitter matador style outfit and slips into ‘Pipeline’. Sound is passable, although some of the editing effects on the DVD annoy (and that’s a fault of the original TV show rather than any post-broadcast tinkering). Best bits include ‘Too Much Junkie Business’, ‘Alone In The Crowd’ and a closing double hit of ‘I Love You’ and ‘Born To Lose’. The four acoustic tracks see Thunders dressed in all black and kicking off with ‘Eve Of Destruction’ which the Flamenco guitarist fails on dismally - and Thunders does not hold back in showing his ire. Thunders doesn’t look at all comfortable, is virtually unintelligible on ‘Hurt Me’ and it’s not until the classic ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory’ that things on the acoustic side come together. Probably woulda been better had it been Thunders and Sylvain. Looking at the DVD, the crowd is very 80s and very stoic. You get a Spanish intro and then it’s up and running. The stage has a neat New York City skyline backdrop and the actual camera work is pretty sharp featuring individual close-ups plus wider, full band shots. It’s all packaged in a nice foldout digipack and includes an insert with pics and words from Dave Thompson. As said, not one for the novice or the curious, but for those who already know that Thunders was (and even in death, still is) the very epitome of Rock ‘n’ Roll, then you’ll already be buying this. Lovely, but kinda tragic, stuff. (26.11.19)
TITUS ANDRONICUS - An Obelisk {Merge} Produced by BOB MOULD and recorded at STEVE ALBINI’s Electrical Audio studio, this is TITUS ANDRONICUS’s sixth album and from my limited experience of the band’s output, it sounds way more rocking than I recall. Opener ‘Just Like A Ringing Bell’ sets the tone well, with some impassioned, gravel-voiced vocals, big guitars and plenty tempo. Of the remaining nine tracks you get ‘Troubleman Unlimited’ that has a vague Country twang while the electrics bring to mind GRANT LEE BUFFALO, ‘Hey Ma’ that rolls along on a smooth riff and ends with a virtual Irish jig, the pointed and roaring ‘On The Street’ and ‘The Lion Inside’ that features more of those gravel-voiced tones but drawled and fused with some sublime backing vocals while the highlight has to be the sneering, scorching charge of ‘(I Blame) Society’. Mould’s production keeps everything compact but clarity remains optimum. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did, but I can’t find a duffer on here. (13.09.19)
TOKYO LUNGS - s/t {Kibou} Debut release from this new project that features James Domestic (THE DOMESTICS, DISTANK) and Simon Battery (THE DOMESTICS, CASUAL NAUSEA). You get a nine track 7” (limited to just 300 too) that pummels by in under eight minutes. Given the band’s pedigree, it’s safe to say that this ain’t no GREEN DAY-aspiring Pop Punk - instead it’s raging UK Hardcore with a dollop of classic US Hardcore influence and James’s inimitable lacerating bellow keeping things relevant and ribald. Plenty of tracks to induce tinnitus be it the opening self-titled track, ‘Out Cold’ that wears its influence in its title and ‘Fake Death’ that’s kinda DISCHARGEian with its opening distorto bass, while highlight could be the slightly slower but incinerating ‘I’m Weak’ that had a vague DEAD ENDING vibe about it (only with rawer production). If Hardcore with enough venom to pulverise not just an elephant but a whole fucking herd and without any Metal breakdowns is your thing, well, stop reading and get buying this. (24.09.20)
TOMMY AND JUNE - s/t {Fat Wreck} If the myth is to be believed, Fat Mike put this duo together. Tommy is a Jew from Israel while June is from Columbia and, apparently, neither had met until Fat Mike stepped in to pair them up - Fat Mikcolm McLaren no less. The resulting 10 track album clocks in at about 20 minutes and opener ‘Lonely Train’ starts incredibly mellow with acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies - closer to SIMON AND GARFUNKEL with Dan Treacy singing than LAGWAGON in fact. Drums and a bit of electric guitar crop up on all songs, giving them a bit of a LEMONHEADS vibe. I like it - lots. Plenty of highlights including ‘Adulthood’ that tells the coming of age tale we all go through and the resistance to it, the 86 seconds of ‘Ghost Of Paris’ that burns with some Punk fire, the Americana folk vibe of ‘Monogamist’ and closer ‘Young Man Bones’ that is another tale of aging and supremely subtle, wonderfully clean and harmonically serene. I really enjoyed this - Punks doing acoustic music faithfully, intelligently and with style. Hopefully this is not just a one-off release. (28,06.20)
TOTAL DEFEAT - Demo {Is This My World} Seven track demo cassette from this new Hardcore band outta Perth, Australia which features former members of the likes of NERVOUS TREND, BIKINI COPS, SELF HARM and HEXX. The songs are short, sharp blasts of vintage (80s) Hardcore - no frills, no emulsifying, slick production - just noxious, raucous Hardcore a’la early POISON IDEA, bit of CAUSTIC CHRIST, splish of DEVOID OF FAITH and, needless to say, that unique thing known as Australianisms (and that’s a good thing!) - think EXTORTION. Of the seven tracks, closer ‘Living Dead’ probably stands out for me - seems to have a bit more a groove to it.  This is limited to just 150 too. Pick it up from the band’s bandcamp or, I think Sorry State Records have copies too.  Full lyric sleeve too; although the small font makes it a tad hard on the eyes for an oldie like me! Not too old to enjoy the blitzkrieg of tunes though. (30.09.19)
TOYS THAT KILL/ IRON CHIC - Split {Recess/ Dead Broke} Smart split from these two bands who you really should know. Before I start, have to say the packaging is shit!!  No insert, no download code - not even any mention of track titles - just a black and white sleeve - very odd (unless I got sold a duff copy?). Anyway - the music. TOYS THAT KILL is the main attraction for me and they kick off five songs with a track that has a hint of NEW BOMB TURKS about it, if fused with Todd’s other band, UNDERGROUND RAILROAD TO CANDYLAND. ‘Track Four’ returns to those careering Garage Punk chops that make TTK so thrilling. ‘Track Three’ sees Sean take over lead vocals and is probably the best track here; that’s not to knock the other three tracks - TTK remain one of the most exciting bands out there in my opinion. There’s an originality, a great pop dynamic cranked through some sneering Punk jams and they just deliver, with each release. IRON CHIC drop four songs with the lead track being rather BANNER PILOT-esque if jamming with OFF WITH THEIR HEADS.  As always with IC, I enjoy hearing them but they don’t really leave any impression of satisfy me like I always hope they should. I’m sure IC fans will like this but, once again, it’s TTK that wins out. (08.04.20)

TRANSISTORS, THE - Shortwave {DIY} Not strictly a re-release, more a rediscovery - this is the debut album from one of the best sneering Garage Punk bands New Zealand ever produced. It was released back in 2009 and a box of the CD version has been discovered. There’s 11 tracks that burn past in about 20 minutes and every one’s a winner. What made these fellas special was that they played that incinerating Garage Punk with a distinct Power Pop accessibility. Best tracks? ‘Two Shadows’ is kinda discordant, kinda sinuous, kinda raging, ‘Static Control’ pummels like early WIRE having a fight with NEW BOMB TURKS and the stuttering, jagged ‘Swings And Roundabouts’ while highlight has to be ‘What Can I Say?’ that best suggested how good the 2013 album, ‘Is This Anything?’ would be.  If ya wanna copy, and given there’s only a final box left, you should, hit the band up on Facebook. (06.11.20)

TRAVERSE - Traverse {Brassneck} Eleven track album from this four-piece outta Paris, France and, unfortunately, it didn’t do much for me. Think a mix of VANILLA POD, LAGWAGON and IRON CHIC and then throw in a really subtle, downbeat part to every song - which more often than not fractures the song and even borders on tired Math Rock in parts. Best tracks included the speedy ‘Asymptotes’, ‘Situations’ that has a lot of twists but which really work well together (especially the mass vocals), while disc highlight could be ‘We Sometimes Sleep But Never Dream’ which approaches GOOD RIDDANCE intensity but derails during the fucking quiet bits. One for Coldplay fans who fancy a bit of rough. (10.12.18)
TRITA - Tunguskan {DIY} Five track EP from this Post-Hardcore trio outta Minneapolis and it’s so far out of the stuff I usually listen to, or even consider reviewing, that I probably can’t do it justice. Opener ‘The Isolationist’ is quite an enchanting and hypnotic piece of sound that straddles the middle ground of TEXAS IS THE REASON and KINDLING - slowly building guitars, ethereal vocals and a down tuned undercurrent. The title track then kicks in with big, chunky riffs, bellowed vocals and some pretty adventurous arrangements. Highlight is ‘Color of Hope’ that has a decidedly meaty but fluid guitar riff, devolves into that mellow sound of the first track and then detonates on another different riff. Think maybe something like ISIS cranking it with GRADE and that Revelation sound of DROWNING MAN. Good production too. As said, not really my thing and something I normally wouldn’t even review but there’s something here that kept me listening - use that as your marker. (25.06.20)
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