Top Sounds - T

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)
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)
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)
Click HERE for material reviewed prior to 2018 including:
TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET, TEMPER AND HOLD, TENEMENT, TERMINUS, THEATRE OF HATE, THIRTY SIX STRATEGIES, TORSO, TOTAL ABUSE, TOTALOVE, TOYS DOLLS (4 reviews), TOY GUITAR (2 reviews), TOYS THAT KILL, TRANSISTORS and TRIGGER EFFECT