Top Sounds - W

WARWOUND - A Huge Black Cloud: The Demos 1983 {Boss Tuneage} Three demos, 25 tracks and 15 songs of relentless D-Beat destruction. The band was from Birmingham, UK and included members who went onto notoriety in the likes of VARUKERS, SACRILEGE and more. Oddly, the demos are not in synch, so we start with the third, then the first and finish on the second! It’s notable that the DISCHARGE influence creeps in ever more with each recording. The first demo had me thinking more ENGLISH DOGS (check ‘Angel Of Death’ and ‘Falklands Fiasco’) while the second demo included a potent take of DISCHARGE’s own ‘Never Again’. The third demo is where maximum D-Beat is though, including the distorto bass annihilation. Plenty of highlights here if D-Beat is your beat but ‘Final Nightmare’ could be on ‘Here Nothing....’ while ‘Freedom Fighter’ (first demo version) has a chaotic ‘War’ vibe to it. Neat fold-out packaging (including minimalist lyrics) and a surprising clarity about the recordings make this a worthy revisit to one of the lesser known bands of the era. Apparently the band is back together and gigging again, so if ya wanna go back to ‘83 you know where to go. (08.01.16)

WESTERN ADDICTION - Tremulous {Fat Wreck} It’s been over a decade since this band, featuring various Fat Wreck staffers, released its debut. This picks up where the debut left off and features 11 tracks of finely honed, taut and impressive Hardcore. Think a fusion of GOOD RIDDANCE and PAINT IT BLACK with a splish of ‘Damaged’ era BLACK FLAG and you’re close. There is much more to this though, with some excellent discordant runs, a stunning vocal performance and structures that have genuine thought and invention put in behind the ‘core. There are plenty of highlights here, and it could be suggested that each track in its own right is a highlight, but the moments that stood out to me were ‘Masscult, Vulgarians And Entitlement’ that included a neat discordant breakdown and strong chorus; ‘Honeycreeper’ which morphed from a bilious punk track into something psychedelic, meandering and majestic; and the closing ‘Your Life Is Precious’ (a tribute to the late ENEMY YOU frontman) that starts sedate and loaded with gravitas before building the emotion and power dynamic to be a totally fitting track to close on. Impressive stuff - again. Don’t leave it another decade for a follow-up huh? (07.11.17)

WHATEVER BRAINS - s/t {Sorry State} Fourth album for this experimental freak-out Punk band outta Raleigh, North Carolina. This certainly seems to have a darker sound than the 2012 album (of the same name incidentally), with a heavier reliance of percussion - as ‘Surveillance Bucks Gone Bad’ proves. If you can imagine a fusion of SKINNY PUPPY and YOUNG GODS, playing in equal measure SWANS and CARDIACS, this might be your kind sonic excitement. Plenty of moments here to enjoy be it the bruising ‘Let’s Find A Cop’ and the disconcerting ‘Pluries’ and the closing hypnotic grace of the 8+ minute ‘Silt’ while ‘Coasting’ is probably the stand out, starting out all melodic drama before morphing into a pulsing slice of Industrial-Punk discordant brilliance. Have to say, the opener to the second side, ‘What Happened To All The Destructionaires’, I found to be a bit too much of a sludge-fest. That aside, this is pretty visionary stuff and without compare. Not a record I’ll be rushing back to on a daily basis, but when channelling the disgust of a mundane, modern society, this is the perfect piece of armoury. (06.08.16)

WHIPPING POST - Demo {Boss Tuneage Flexipunk} A new band from Leeds, UK that features ex-members of MOB RULES and PERSPEX FLESH get their 2016 four track demo reissued as a flexidisc (solid white flex this time!) and what’s apparent is a distinct BLACK FLAG intensity, particularly closer ‘Pull The Cord’ which lurches over four minutes and could easily fit on ‘My War’. The remaining three tracks are more up-tempo sonic blasts of FLAG-esque, damage inducing ‘core with a vague FUCKED UP hint in places too. Production is raw yet bristling with clarity and energy, the sleeve is a tasteful and minimal wraparound white number with a couple of pics and lyrics. While this most definitely has a FLAG influence, this is not no retrogressive, mindless copy without any ideas of their own. An album is imminent - if this is a taster the long-player could be a rager. (10.07.17)

WHITE MURDER - Form Early {Razorcake/ Recess} Second album from this LA quintet that features three lads on the instruments and two gals on the microphones. It’s raucous gear too, that fuses BIKINI KILL, Devoto-era BUZZCOCKS, BLOODY GEARS and a hint of RVIVR in parts. There are lots of highlights among the ten tracks here including the snappy, fuzzy Garage Punk of ‘Middle Class’, the belligerent ‘Roosevelt’ and the addictive stop-start riffage and bitter chorus of ‘Backbone’. Best track however is a dual between the slow-burn, intimidating lurch of ‘Place Your Bets’ and the bass-driven, tom-heavy ‘529’. The dual vocals have a great, sneering attitude about them while the lads delve deep into Garage Punk perfection to pump out beats and riffs that take equal parts from early DILS and prime-time GAUNT. Delightfully bruising - but not in a knuckle-dragging HC way. (19.05.16) 

WITS DEAD END - Not Concerned With What You Think {Never Surrender} Debut album from this one-man band outta Orange County. Can’t tell ya much more as the promo blurb said fuck all. It’s a varied, almost genre-blending sound, with its heart in anthemic but minimalist Punk played with a defiance and cynicism - think AGAINST ME meets MDC. Highlights for me certainly emphasised that vibe - ‘Thanks Again’, ‘This Town’ (that echoed SOCIAL DISTORTION), ‘The Follower’ and ‘Famous Last Words’ were all standouts. Elsewhere there’s some SLAYER-esque riffage on ‘All Aboard’, a BAD RELIGION vibe to ‘You’ (complete with ohhhs and ahhhs) while ‘Optimistic Attempt’ is another highlight with an AMEBIX-esque riff, big chorus and subtle piano lead outro. Have to say though, the lurching blues of ‘High And Dry’ and the substandard Metal/Funk of ‘Mindfuck’ should’ve been left on the studio floor. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes, there’s so much going on in the sound and when its nailed, it’s an impressive bluster. The filler though is distinctly obvious and decidedly detrimental. (13.09.15)

WONK UNIT - Feel The Wonkness {Boss Tuneage/ TNS/ Johanns Face/ Drunken Sailor/ Round Dog} Recorded over two sessions, this is a 13 track cracker that’s been hogging the House Of Scanner stereo for the last month or so. It’s a crazed yet quality mix of styles, humour, sarcasm, cynicism and top-fucking-draw Punk. If ya didn’t know, the band features the ex-FLYING MEDALLIONS vocalist and these tracks somehow fuse SNUFF adrenalin, sneering Mark Perry ALTERNATIVE TV-isms, quirky TELEVISION PERSONALITIES introspection, WIRE experimentalism and AGAINST ME!’s accessibility and directness and make it sound unique and totally convincing. Highlights are the surging, Punk of opener ‘Guts’, ‘Always The Same’ and ‘Lewisham’ while the ringing chords and sharp, sneering vocal of ‘Los Angeles’ could take the prize as disc highlight. Fact is, each track is its own individual little Punk opus and, given the variety here, you never know what’s gonna follow. What you DO know though, is it’s gonna hold the attention with the same ferocity of a bull with its knackers trapped in a vice. Bruising and euphoric, sneering and addictive, distinctly British but also of universal appeal - this could be your new favourite band. (22.02.16)

WORLD BE FREE - The Anti-Circle {Revelation} Starting off with a bass rumble not a million miles from a GORILLA BISCUITS classic, this lots self-titled song kicks off this 14 track album that features some familiar names. Who are they? Well, vocalist Scott Vogel (TERROR), guitarists Andrew Kline (STRIFE), John Garlipp (ENVY), bassist Arthur Smilios (GORILLA BISCUITS, CIV) and drummer Sammy Siegler (JUDGE, CIV, RIVAL SCHOOLS to name but three). That GB influence permeates the album in many ways (check ‘All These Colors’) if mixed with a large dose of AVAIL and ‘New Wind’era 7 SECONDS. It’s a much more melodic sound than many of the players’ other bands - Vogel in particular delivers a vocal distinctly less angry with his renowned vocal ferociousness being a bit tempered and better for it. Highlights are plenty be it ‘Sammy’s Mirror’ that highlights that 7 SECONDS vibe, ‘Promises Made’ that includes some great tribal drumming while Walter Schreifels (GORILLA BISCUITS, QUICKSAND - surely you know?!) guests on ‘I’m Done’. Given the quality of the players, it should be of no surprise to say that this is a good record. Fact is, it’s a pretty fucking great record, and the best on Rev for a few years at least. (31.07.16)

WORSE - Rubber Burner {Deranged} Nine track long-player from this unhinged bunch outta Brooklyn, NY. Never heard the band before and from the opener, ‘Come Together’ (and no, it’s nothing like the Beatles track of the same name!), it’s clear these guys like their guitars and bass distorted and fuse BLACK FLAG circa ‘My War’ sludge barbarity (particularly ‘This Void Has Resistance’) with the droning soundscape of KIM PHUC and a healthy dollop of COWS wigout, as ‘Fallen Caryatid’ demonstrates and is one of the album’s highlights. Other goodies include ‘Off’ that’s another sludger but erupts in a double bass burst as a finale, closer ‘Supper’ that’s a feedback symphony and discordant bruiser all in one while ‘A’ starts off with a riff that coulda been lifted from ‘Fun House’ before morphing into an unstoppable, circling almost psychedelic riff to claim album highlight. A lot of this reminded me of stuff that Amphetamine Reptile might’ve put out a few years ago as it’s feedback drenched, heavy on the riffs and uncompromising on the lacerated vocal attack. An interesting and convincing noise! (24.07.17)

WORTHY VICTIMS - A Bitter Future {DIY} Oh - this is pretty fucking good!! WORTHY VICTIMS is a four-piece outta Brighton, UK and this is the band’s second EP - and it’s quality Hardcore. There are no tough-guy Metal breakdowns, or cliched ‘gang’ vocals; instead this has shards of discordant guitar flying in all areas, some neat time signatures and a vocalist who can sing, scream, be decidedly snotty and bellow but never approaches garbled barking or macho bawling. There’s elements of FUGAZI here, especially with some of those guitar lines if mixed with the relentless drone of KIM PHUC (although not quite achieving the PHUC’s hypnotic greatness). Plenty of highlights here: opener ‘Performance’ starts like RITES OF SPRING and highlights noHan’s passionate yet slightly crazed vocal delivery while on ‘Parasite’ the snotty vocal even had me thinking of Johnny Rotten (and that’s a comparison I’ve never used), ‘Untouchables’ flows on a rampant guitar riff while ‘Breach Of Trust’ is probably disc highlight with droning KIM PHUC-esque guitars. What’s more, the other two tracks are crackers too (especially the closer)!! Definitely one to watch - and let’s hope they keep the discord close at hand and Metal breakdowns far away. (24.02.16)

WYCH ELM, The - Crashberry Waltzes {Troposphere} A five piece outta Des Moines, Iowa and a varied mix of tunes are on offer here, but somehow those tunes coalesce into a solid Indie Rock/ Art Punk disc. You get five songs pressed on a vivid pink 7" with the lead track, ‘Poison Control’ being a droning, atmospheric track that comes on like a fusion of ALL ABOUT EVE playing BOB MOULD with a fuzztone guitar; I like it. The flip features four songs with a distinct ARCHERS OF LOAF vibe running throughout. ‘Sorcerer’ takes a DINOSAUR JR slacker attack while closer ‘Ever Falls The Twilight’ sees a return to the atmosphere created in ‘Poison Control’. Of the remaining tracks, ‘Stop Expressing Yourself’ is urgent and unhinged while ‘Action Packed’ goes off in a myriad of directions. Have to say, I prefer the stuff that has Cheyenne singing; the dreamy, esoteric quality of her voice certainly lifts the tracks she sings on. If a bit of Indie Rock from a new band with a penchant for twists and turns is your thing, this could be your thang. (26.06.16) 

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