Top Sounds - X


Top Sounds - Y

THE YELLOW BELTS – s/t {Eugene} This 5-piece may well be from Lexington, KY but they could so easily be from Cleveland as they rock with the same disregard for convention or the fickle finger of fashion as that city’s finest exports – THE DEAD BOYS and THE PAGANS. Add on the modern, 90s thrust of GAUNT and TURBONEGRO and you’ll have an idea of the corrosive Punk snot of YELLOW BELTS. In fact, the track ‘Time Killers’ could be the best track that the mighty ‘NEGRO never recorded; and that’s not even the best track on here – check out ‘Lift’ for one of the most bile-drenched slabs of Punkage you’ll hear all year. Like much of the stuff on Eugene Records, this is apolitical, noxious Punk ‘n’ Roll best experienced loud and with a big shot of whisky in hand. Excuse me now, I have this on repeat and need a refill…

YELLOWCAKE - Fasten Your Seatbelt {Trash 2001} First off fellas - change your fucking band name! YELLOWCAKE is terminally bad! It conjures up images of floppy-haired Emo boys at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Ditch it... As for the CD, it’s a really effective and incredibly well recorded slice of LAGWAGON Fat Wreck-ish Punk fused with the Pop sensibilities of SUPERGRASS (check out ‘Dream’) with a decidedly vintage sound - the STRANGLERS, oddly, kept coming to mind. The band does have a knack for writing some killer anthemic vocal lines that are not predictable but work oh-so well: ‘A Soldier’s Day’, opener ‘Nothing’ and ‘I Heard The Wind’ all vie for best track and ably display those vocal lines. The band hails from Germany and this is its second release. One to watch.

YOU ME AND THE ATOM BOMB - Shake Up {Household Name} Tight, well-played, fantastically produced 14-tracker that’s inventive and complex in parts but seems to lack that ‘x factor’ to set this apart from a slew of other bands and releases. All too often my attention wandered off ½ way through a song, even though it kept my foot tapping. It sounds like there is a big GOOD RIDDANCE influence (especially in the drumming} mixed with something like the traditional No Idea/ LEATHERFACE sound. The best tracks - ‘Nine To Five’, ‘Taste’, ‘Divided’ and ‘Proud To Say’ - would have made a stunning EP that would have left me gagging for more. Snag is, the other 9 tracks here left me nonplussed. Maybe a grower? Time will tell...

YOUTH OF STRENGTH - Shouting For A Better Tomorrow {X-Fist} Hahaha!! Awesome! This is a great piss-take of Boston/DC/NYC Straight Edge HC that was ‘allegedly’ recorded back in ‘85 in 4 hours. More like recorded 4 days ago in 85 mins!! You get ‘Boston Edge’, ‘X Marks The Spot’, ‘Break The Chain’... Titles sound a little bit familiar?? 10 tracks in all, each one a riot of cynicism and sarcasm. No ‘filler’ here but I was disappointed at the no-show of ‘True Til Deaf’. Hilarious packaging too - has Ted Shed seen his name check? A myth is born!!

Top Sounds - Z

ZATOPEKS - Damn Fool Music {Household Name} And there was me thinking ‘Pop-Punk’ was a dead void, reserved only for money-grabbing pop stars and empty headed RAMONES wannabes, and along come ZATOPEKS - partly from London, the other part from Berlin and deliver a slab of Pop-Punk that only previously resided in my dreams. Thinking DICKIES rocking out with DILLINGER FOUR. Think GREEN DAY (Kerplunk! era) infected with the anger and political acerbity of STRIKE ANYWHERE. Think Punk Rock first, intelligence second and Pop third! Tracks like ‘15 Ta Life’, ‘Culture Of Control’ and, especially, ‘Don’t Let The Night Get You Down’ literally bubble with melody but bite like a Rottweiler amped to the max on steroids. ‘Song For Nina Simone’ and ‘Picture Postcards’ swing with the tipsy coolness of ‘Don’t Tell A Soul’-era ‘MATS. Lyrically, this is way beyond the average subject matter as you get topics ranging from an anti-semitic, nationalist radio station in Poland, the Daily Mail, 18th Century French philosophy and, just to round it out, some good old (but intelligent) boy/girl romance. Some of the comments are pointed to, with this one really hitting home for me: "The saddest kind of outcome would be for folk like you and folk like me, to reduce this sense of anger to a uniform approach." Fucking right. Gotta say, the real downer is in the terrible cover artwork - it put me off playing the disc for weeks! Don’t let that put you off though otherwise you’ll miss out on one of the most joyous, intelligent, biting and FUN (anyone remember FUN in Punk Rock??) releases of recent years.

ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE/ SEND MORE PARAMEDICS - Tales Told By Dead Men {In At The Deep End} A couple of bands that make the MISFITS look like perfect, conservative Republicans. Thinking about it, that is maybe not too far from the truth! ZA is the side-project of the founding members of SHAI HULUD. It's not too dissimilar from the last HULUD album in fact, just a bit more Metal-laced with gorier lyrics. Theirs is a pretty monstrous, Christian-mauling sound. The final of the band's five tracks, 'Tales Told By A Dead Man' slows things down and incorporates textures that provide a neat contrast to the all-out Zombie-core. I really rated SMP's last album but here, they sound a bit restrained - possibly a result of following the blast of ZA. Still, they puke up a broiling, zombie-uniting, caustic and tight-as-fuck HC/Metal hybrid. Think SLAYER, COC… I'm sure you get the picture! A great match of bands, noticeably different from each other but bonded together to create a musical zombie holocaust.