Top Sounds - X

X - Aspirations {Ugly Pop} By the time these Sydney-siders recorded their debut album in 1979, the band’s original guitarist had OD’d and vocalist Steve Lucas took up the guitar. Maybe it’s because this is an already familiar album to me, but I prefer it to the 4-piece line-up. This is more bass-driven with the guitar splintering in shards in many place making for a sound that’s nihilistic, antagonistic, brutal and damaged. This is laden with crackers, be it the opening throat-grabber, ‘Suck Suck’, an even-more-bruising blast through ‘Revolution’, the stop-start charm of ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Out’, the gravel-voiced sludge Punk of ‘Waiting’ or the arresting ‘Delinquent Cars’ - in fact there’s no a duffer here. Soundwise, think THE WIPERS fused with PLAY DEAD but played with the no-frills, fuck-you attitude of prime time Punk and the balls-out brashness of Australia. Definitely a Aussie Punk classic and, like the demo recordings below, includes an insert with track details and biography. This is pressed on heavy-duty vinyl too and, simply, sounds superb. If your knowledge of Aussie Punk goes no further than BIRDMAN, SAINTS and HARD-ONS, you really do need this. (23.05.15)

X - Spurts: The 1977 Recordings {Ugly Pop} Let’s make it clear, this is Sydney, not LA! What you have here is the band’s first recordings while still a 4-piece and, if there is any justice, X should surely take their place alongside THE SAINTS and RADIO BIRDMAN as one of the defining bands of the original Australian Punk scene. Less musically accomplished than BIRDMAN and brasher than THE SAINTS, the ten tracks here are a relentless barrage of great riffs and belligerent vocals. Originally recorded on a four-track, this is the first time these songs have ever been released on vinyl and if you just get a blast of ‘Slash Your Wrist’ (written about the band’s fans who would razor-cut X in their skin), ‘Infamy’ or the bruising ‘Revolution’ you’ll understand why this is such a vital release. What’s more, there is a 4-page insert featuring comments from the band’s vocalist, Steve Lucas and various others who were there in Sydney in ‘77 and witnessed the carnage of X live. I’m jealous! Wonderful stuff that’s distinctly ‘77 Punk, but also distinctly Aussie. (23.05.15)

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Top Sounds - Y

YARD APES - Night Of The Living Dead {Heart Of The Rat} Three track 7" on lovely clear and red splatter vinyl featuring this hot-rockin’ trio outta Ballarrat, Australia that consists of (I’m guessing) a front line of two brothers cranking out some seriously vibrant jams. Lead track is a nitrous-oxide laced Garage Punk burn out, laden in reverb and adrenalin, kinda like NEW BOMB TURKS playing Bryan Gregory-era CRAMPS fuzzed Rock ‘n’ Roll. The flip features a couple of lurking, grimey and potent slices of Rock ‘n’ Roll with the arrogant nihilism of ‘Don’t Give A Shit Anymore’ (complete with Lux-esque yelps!) and the RAMONES-flavoured ‘Get Out Of My Face’ rounding out a solid EP. Production is appropriately fuzzy but full of balls and grit. Includes a digital download and is limited to a mere 250 copies. Dig the CRAMPS? Check. Dig early MUDHONEY? Check. Dig fast and loose, sneering Garage Punk? Check. Then go get this before the last 249 copies vanish. (15.08.15)

YOUNG CONSERVATIVES - The End Of Socialism? {Obscene Baby Auction} Second release from this band outta Leeds, UK that’s made up of some pretty familiar faces (members include those who have been in bands like THE MAGNIFICENT, VOORHEES, THE HORROR) and it’s another cracking release of crunching and inventive Hardcore. I kept hearing a bit of a nod to ARTICLES OF FAITH, especially in the ballistic opener, ‘Hiding In Plain Sight’ and the fragmented time signatures of ‘In Another Life’. A latter-day FUCKED UP comparison is hard to avoid, be it via ‘For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky’ or, in particular, the disc highlight, ‘Steal The Fire’. The closing title track pivots around a hypnotic bass riff while the guitars ring and drone beneath a spoken word vocal. There’s a lot going on here, be it intense yet dramatic and wide musical panoramas or lyrical astuteness, but somehow the band pulls it together and makes a bloody convincing and rather addictive record. Britain has a lot of quality bands right now, and this six-piece is among the best. (26.02.16)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2015 including: