Top Sounds - X

Top Sounds - Y

YOUR PEST BAND - Automatic Aspiration {Dirt Cult} Six track mini-album from this band outta Japan. It didn’t quite connect with me, and while there is a lot to like, something just seemed lacking. Soundwise think a fusion of SWINGIN’ UTTERS and HANOI ROCKS but with something almost psychedelic (listen to the finale of ‘Where’ for proof). Highlights included ‘Something Wrong’ that cruised along on a neat, laconic Rock ‘n’ Roll vibe bringing in a JOHNNY THUNDERS feel with a bit of LONG RYDERS cool (as did closer ‘Sailing Day’), ‘Waiting For’ that featured some neat STONES-esque choppy guitar interplay making it what could be the best track on the record and the opening, title track. Another release that highlights Dirt Cult’s varied catalogue of recent releases and one that is worthy to be on the label. That said, it’s the one that has least impressed me. (10.05.19)
YOUTH AVOIDERS - Relentless {Destructure/ Pissed Off} PODCAST PLAYED After a five year wait, this is the second long player from this stellar quartet outta Paris, France. There’s so much energy and passion on this record it’s unreal. Think a fusion of CAREER SUICIDE Hardcore and OBSERVERS dynamics and you’re close. Opener ‘On The Run’ emphasises the former while ‘Ghostland’, with its soaring chorus, highlights the latter and stands as one of the best tracks on the album. Elsewhere ‘Martial Society’ pivots around an addictive and inventive guitar lead, ‘Between Disparate Lines’ could be the other best track, with a relentless pace juxtaposed against shards of guitar flying in all directions and a blazing chorus, the whiplash riffery of ‘Steel Concrete’ and closer ‘Ohaguro’. In fact, amidst the 11 tracks, there’s not a duffer. Each track is a near perfect example of melodic Hardcore that doesn’t rely on substandard Metal guitars or tough guy bellowing. The guitars are surprisingly clean sounding but played frantically while vocalist Christopher is raging throughout but retains clarity in his delivery. Forward looking, thoughtful, clever and raging - everything a Punk should want in 2018. (07.03.19)

Top Sounds - Z

ZAC -  Zac {Damaged Goods} Debut 10 track album by this new project from Lorenzo outta Italy’s GIUDA. It’s a rather thrilling mish-mash of styles, creating Pop music for a distinctly unpopular crowd - better known as the discerning music lover. Think the melodic structure and grit of REDD KROSS, the Power Pop of SUPERGRASS, BIG STAR dynamics, a bit of ELTON JOHN and something akin to a Spector-ish wall of sound, and you’re kinda there. Highlights? The near pogo bounce of opener ‘Count On Me’, the orchestral base and fuzztone guitar of ‘What If You Don’t’, ‘Wild Love’ that evoked the best of THE WHO’s Mod era singles (as does closer ‘When You Got To Bed’) and the Spector-heavy ‘There She Goes Again’ (which is stunning in headphones) while the highlight would be ‘Stay Up All Night’ that sees pianos, xylophone (I think) and a great descending melody battle it out with amped guitars and raucous lyrics. Pretty awesome and fun stuff, pop-pickers!! (05.04.20)
ZIPHEADS, THE/ NOSEBLEED - Joe Strummer Foundation {Bomber/ JSF} Download only fundraiser for the Joe Strummer Foundation from these two British bands that deliver a cover each of THE CLASH. THE ZIPHEADS drop ‘Bankrobber’ that starts all WOODY GUTHRIE folk before exploding into fantastic Rock ‘n’ Roll (a’la 50s coolness) that I could never have comprehended! As bad as that might sound to CLASH purists, it’s fantastic - way better than another bunch of spikey-haired retrovisionists spewing out another lackluster cover. NOSEBLEED opt for ‘Train In Vain’, which is a personal favourite, and while not detracting too much from the original, manage to make it sound rather urgent, different and respectful. CLASH fans will love this, Punk fans should love this and a vinyl version would be awesome. Given the brevity of the songs, this would easily make a fantastic 7” vinyl version with another track from each band. Thoughts? Works for me!! (10.06.20)

ZOWISO - At A Jogtrot To Death; Sloop De Stopera; Beat Per Minute; The Lust {This Could Be Your Music Label} PODCAST PLAYED Four individual downloads from this label specialising in download-only re-issues.

For those who don’t know, ZOWISO was a band outta Wormer, Netherlands that existed in the early-mid 80s. The debut album, At A Jogtrot To Death was originally released back in 1982. You get 22 tracks here, most of which are under two minutes (in fact it’s only opener ‘Dioxine’ and closer ‘U.S. Freedom’ that go over the two minute barrier, with many less that one minute). There’s certainly links with fellow Dutchmen, THE EX with a bit of CRISIS, ZOUNDS and minimalist Post-Punk type gear in general. Highlights are plenty be it the faster Punk of ‘Run’ and ‘Home Kids’, ‘Eternal Sabotage’ that gives a nod to CRASS, ‘Profits Race’ that sees a saxophone employed to great effect, ‘K.K.K’ that pivots around an ominous bass riff and stark, bitter vocal and the scratchy, insistent ‘200 Years’. It’s all pretty downbeat stuff, discordant in parts, very much of its time and is rounded off by a couple of live tracks.

Next up was Sloop De Stopera, originally released in 1983 and a split with ZWEMBADEN (whose tracks are not included). Opening with the barbed ‘Welcome Back’ it picks up on the same vibe as the debut with its lyrics regarding the Falklands War victory parade in London. I kept hearing early INSTIGATORS here too, particularly in the vocal delivery. Four tracks follow, all of which are longer than those on the debut, with nothing under two minutes; closer ‘Testtube Treat’ even approached five minutes. These are all slower tracks too, darker, more abstract and experimental with ‘Stopera’ being the only track to up the pace to a level that could compare with some of the faster tracks on the debut. Highlight of the record is probably that opening track, although ‘Rape The Justice’ commands the listeners attention too.

Beat Per Minute was released as a 7" back in 1983. It’s adventurous if rather ominous stuff too, with the lead track ‘Blacks Prison’ held together with a probing, insistent bass line, fractured guitar a’la THE MOB and a demanding vocal. The remaining two tracks ‘F.A.O. Show’ and ‘Mailbox’ keep things downbeat with the latter having a vague Keith Levene (circa PUBLIC IMAGE LTD) feel about the guitars and the former keeping that MOB sound to the fore. Have to say, the vinyl that all these re-issues have been ripped from leaves a bit to be desired with crackles and clicks heard quite clearly.

Finally, The Lust was released in 1985 and it’s probably my favourite of them all. You get eight tracks, with opener, ‘The Gift’ instantly being brighter than anything on the previous two releases but without losing any of the barbed anger or sneering delivery. Elsewhere, ‘The Happy End’ starts all subtle with just piano and vocal before mutating into a dramatic, tom-tom heavy track that THEATRE OF HATE could have possibly written, ‘The Truth Lies Midway’ being insistent and ever more MOB-like while ‘New Present Day Offers’ could be the best track the band ever did. Each song works here, they seem more well-formed without compromising any of the ideals or attitudes of the previous releases and makes this, without a doubt, the place for the curious to start.

Would love to see these re-issued on vinyl, or a CD compilation; would make them much more credible than a ripped download.  (28.09.18)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2018 including: