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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE:
We Are…The League…Uncut: CD
A new recording of this classic? Yep, it is true. It sounds good, but whether or not you need this next to the original is your call. Apparently, the original record was banned by the police because of the lyrics on “So What.” It’s unclear if the lyrics had to be cleaned up back then to get it back into circulation. But, according to the liner notes, this recording features the original lyrics. So if you are into doing A/B geek comparisons, feel free. I wonder if this will sell more than Fear’s re-recording. –Sean Koepenick (antinowhereleague.com)


AR-KAICS, THE:
Self-titled: LP
Do the math: LP=more of what you love. This is a full-length from a Richmond band whose singles have been full-on bankers for value if you’re into the ratchety end of the ‘60s punk revival bands. Solid rock’n’roll with overdriven guitars, snotty attitude, Bo Diddley beats, and choruses with excellent back ups. Too many bands nowadays seem to think this sort of thing is easy to do. Those Thee types only walking the walk will falter at some point. This band is the full package. Never has something so unoriginal sounded so fresh. –Billups Allen (Windian, windianrecords.com)


ARMADA, LA:
Crisis: 12”EP
Originally from the Dominican Republic, Chicago’s La Armada has been bringing the “Latino Hardcore Fury” to audiences for nearly ten years. Crisis is the follow-up to the band’s 2012 self-titled debut on label Fat Sandwich. That album was a milestone for La Armada as they transformed from the more straightforward hardcore punk sound of previous albums and drew in a wider array of influences spanning punk, hardcore, and metal. Crisis is a natural extension of that forward evolution. Combining such an array of influences can be difficult to pull off, but La Armada’s songwriting and their musicianship are more than up to the challenge. Few current bands can rival them in terms of technical skill, never mind having the chemistry these guys have after playing together for so long. Crisisincludes not only a number of ripping new songs, but also allows the band a moment to reflect on their roots. One track on side A of the record is them blasting through a medley of Bad Brains covers “Don’t Need It/Attitude/Shitfit,” as seamlessly as if they’d written the songs themselves. The record features creepy-looking apocalyptic cover art and comes with a lyric sheet that includes English translations of their lyrics, a fold out poster, and an “UnBaptismal certificate.” The certificate details crimes of the church and encourages listeners to renounce their Christian faith. It fits the anti-religious and radical political messages of the band.  –Paul J. Comeau (Fat Sandwich, armadahardcore@gmail.com)


ARNDALES:
Dog Hobbies USA: 12” EP
The Arndales are a thoroughly British post-punk group, featuring at least one member of the Country Teasers. I never got into the Country Teasers (everyone around me seemed to—hell, even JA released that The Rebel record), and that might have been my loss, as this EP is good. No doubt Arndales are familiar with Marc Riley, but there’s no nostalgia here. The production on this record is modern-sounding and the music is anything but by-the-numbers. You likely already know if this record is for you, as it surely has a limited audience (always a good thing) and I’m admittedly late to the party. –Ryan Leach (In The Red, intheredrecords.com)


ATTALLA:
Self-titled: CD
Attalla proudly wear their Black Sabbath influence on their collective sleeve. However, they have some work ahead of them if they want to be in the league with other stoney bands like Sabbath, Electric Wizard, or Weedeater. There’s a lethargy that hangs over these recordings that make listening to this a bit of slog. Maybe they smoked too much weed in the studio. But there this “just get it done and let’s go home” vibe to these songs. Things pick up with “Lust.” The bass could use a touch more distortion, but that just might be my preference. The tempo on this song is more up than the prior two, and there’s more going on in the overall structure to make it more of an interesting listen. The singer sounds a hell of a lot like Danzig, which I found more preferable than the “growly, shouty dude” style that seems to be in many of the contemporary stoner rock bands. The second half of “Thorn” is pretty good, recalling later period Ozzy-era Sabbath (these riffs sound familiar, as well as the change up). “Veil” may be the best of the bunch. It rocks more than the others, with the quick tempo, and the drums coming to the fore. More songs like this in the future, please! Plus the sinister guitar tone in the opening of “Doom” is nice, with its dark and dirty feel, as though evil lurks around the corner. Attalla aren’t terrible. They just have some more work to do on their sound. The elements are there. Lose the first couple songs from this disc and focus on creating more like what’s on the last half. –Matt Average (Attalla, attallabloodyattalla@gmail.com)


AUDACITY:
Juvajive: 10”
A younger, looser recording session with small hints of the summer punk hit machines that Audacity would become. More of a curiosity than anything else, but it was very interesting. A long lost record, with back story included in the liner notes, featuring their first drummer, described as a man that mimics The Minutemen’s George Hurley. The band as a whole resembles an ‘80s band on the edge of the hardcore punk scene. Too rough to be anything else but punk, but too experimental and wild to sound similar to other punk bands. Buy this if you want to hear yet another phase of a band that’s been constantly evolving for almost a decade. Grade: B.  –Bryan Static (Cut-Rate, cutraterecords.com / Burger, burgerrecords.org)


AUTONOMY / NO SIR I WON’T:
Split: LP
You would think a band would do a cursory Internet search before choosing their name. I’m sure I have more than one record by a band called Autonomy, and they are all “anarcho,” if that’s even a genre. Was totally expecting some Crass or D.I.R.T.-style U.K. black clad peace punk, and what I got was a band that sounded like Fugazi or some other revolution summer band from DC. No Sir I Won’t are definitely more expected, but much more hard-driving Conflict than off-kilter Crass vibes. The lyrics fall squarely into the long anarchist rant department, which is okay by me—shit still needs to be said right? Falling on deaf ears maybe, but better to say it than not. I dig both of these bands a lot.  –Tim Brooks (Dirt Cult, dirtcultrecords.com)


BAD DATES:
Self-titled: Cassette
Surf punk. Fucking rad. If P.I.L.-era Johnny Rotten sang over X’s Billy Zoom, and they had a steam engine for a rhythm section behind them, it might be good enough to compete with Bad Dates. This is the second review in this cycle that I have done for a release from Don’t Touch My Records and they have both been much-needed bright spots in an otherwise disappointing cycle of reviews. Do your ears a favor: check out Bad Dates and Don’t Touch My Records.  –John Mule (Don’t Touch My Records, donttouchmyrecords.bandcamp.com)


BAD DOCTORS, THE:
Burning City: LP
Over a series of previous EPs, The Bad Doctors formulated a collection of addicting new wave-influenced tunes with a heavy nod to Devo. The synth-driven sound that got me hooked on them is still present, but where records like the “Twilight of the Idols” b/w “Spit It Out” 7” had a manic exuberance to them, Burning City feels darker. The exuberance is still there hiding beneath the surface, but it is tempered by a sense of gravitas, as in songs like “Departure (Letter by Letter),” and the title track. Much of this gravitas is carried vocally, with Matt McDermott delivering his finest vocal performance of any Doctors recording to date. Musically, he and the rest of the band are equally on point. The trio, Mcdermott (vocals, guitar), Luke Nally (bass, synthesizers and electronics), and Dan Shields (drums), have increased the dosage of both songwriting and musicianship on this record. The result is not only some of the most nuanced tracks in the Doctors catalog, but a host of catchy earworms sure to infect your brain with contagious tunes. While three of the songs on Burning City appeared on the previous Re Animate EP, as a whole, this album feels like a new evolution for the Bad Doctors.  –Paul J. Comeau (FDH, thebaddoctors@gmail.com)


BAD IDEAS, THE / RED KATE:
Split: 7”
Right off the bat, The Bad Ideas’ frontwoman dominates the mix, wielding a reverb-drenched howl à la Siouxsie Sioux to great effect. The anarcho-leaning gothy sound is complemented by discordant riffs and blunt, driving drums. “I’m Stuck” mixes in some well-placed ranting, delivered in that perfect sarcastic riot grrrl sneer. Not usually my jam, but this band nails it (despite the mystifying refrain of, “Wussification of America!” which sounds like a misplaced Glenn Beck segment). Red Kate’s tracks on the flip side are less immediately arresting, but subdued might be what works best for them anyway. “On My Mind” has a plaintive ‘90s alt-rock feel that overshadows the more punk, less memorable follow-up track. All in all, a worthwhile slice of Midwestern punk rock. –Indiana Laub (Mills, millsrecordcompany@gmail.com, millsrecordcompany.com)


BARBATOS / RAPEGOAT:
Split: 7”
This split took quite a few spins;, it just wasn’t grabbing me. I sat down and gave it another shot toadytoday. Side A is two songs from the Japanese metal band Barbatos. I haven’t really listened to metal consistently since sometime around the late ‘90s. Today I can finally hear it. Barbatos is of the stuff that melts faces. They have screeched and squealed their way into my heart. I had no idea they’ve been putting out recordings since ‘98! Rapegoat opens with an original by the name of “Ass Blood.” It’s what you’d expect of a tune by that name. For their second ditty, they cover Celtic Frost’s “Into the Crypt of Rays.” They play it a little slower and a little simpler but a great cover choice for them. I don’t know how these two bands got hooked up, but it’s a cohesive little split. –Jackie Rusted (Mystery School Records, mysteryschoolrecords.com)


BASTARD CHILDREN:
To Kill in Cold Blood: LP
Bastard Children were an excellent 1990s political hardcore band that reminds me of The Pist. This LP contains two of their cassette-only releases from 1996 and 1998, as well as an unreleased demo. Members of Bastard Children went on to play in better remembered acts including Religious War, Wehrmacht, and Poison Idea. National Dust keeps putting out these amazing reissues of little known or forgotten bands. Anyone who ever played in an overlooked hardcore band should know that someone, somewhere might end up rediscovering them. Something as great as these Bastard Children tapes will never die, thanks to an uncommonly enthusiastic label. It’s not just sentimentality. This potent shit is legitimately worth archiving.  –Art Ettinger (National Dust)


BATON ROUGE:
Totem: LP
Artfully crafted, spacious, modern, wide-awake-dream-sequences with Slinty Jehu influences. These songs sound so meticulously assembled; it would only seem natural that members of this band were architects. Mapping out the album with AutoCAD-like precision. These are as much blueprints as songs. This is music that fuels your mind. Just throw it on and let the guitars sustain your brain.  –Daryl Gussin (Adagio 830 / Purepainsugar / Bakery Outlet)


BEACH SLANG:
Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?: 7”EP
My first blush, knee-jerk reaction to this was an admittedly obscure one—”Piles”-era Alter Boys as interpreted by the Psychedelic Furs. Several subsequent listens later, I stand by that assessment. What’s it mean? Four tunes comprised of mid-tempo rhythms, quasi-raspy vocals, and meaty, punky pop hooks buried under a gorgeous wash of ringing guitars. These cats would’ve been revered in the underground of the ‘80s and worshipped as indie-pop gods in the ‘90s, and they would’ve deserved every accolade laid at their feet. Given the roughly twenty-year “what’s old is new” nostalgia cycle, they could conceivably become the next big thing.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Dead Broke)


BEAR TRADE:
Blood and Sand: LP
Sunshine state melodic pop punk by way of merry ol’ England. I guess it was only a matter of time before someone not from Gainesville took a swing at this, but what a big swing it is. Dillinger Four / Tiltwheel style guitar attacks coupled with the heart-string pulling lyrics reminiscent of This Is My Fist! and the Arrivals all sung back with a charming British accent much like Alan McNaughton of Giant Haystacks / Airfix Kits or Frankie Stubbs of Leatherface. A full-length as a debut is quite the tall order but most of the necessary components for a pleasurable listen seem to be in place, and while it’s too soon to say for sure if they keep the momentum going Bear Trade could turn out to be something truly magical.  –Juan Espinosa (Everything Sucks / Dead Broke, everythingsucksmusic.com, beartrade.bandcamp.com)


BEDLAM:
Mr. Rejex: CD-R
Blistering hardcore punk that brings to mind flashes of early Dayglo Abortions. Works for me.  –Ty Stranglehold (facebook.com/Bedlamxcchcx)


BENEATH THE CELLAR:
Lesions: CD
So I guess these guys self-label themselves as “horror punk” but consider The Grateful Dead a major influence? Anyway, its thrashy guitar and Danzig type caterwauling. It’s serviceable enough, but nothing here knocked me out of my chair. If you are into graveyards and zombies, this may be a good addition to your collection.  –Sean Koepenick (nothingbutanightmare.com)


BENEDICKTUX:
Pravus Musica: CDEP
Finnish hardcore from a band that was apparently on a two-year break but is now back in action. There’s a helluva lot of metal infused into the tunes and their singer opts for a gruff growl here. Can’t say it blew my skirt up much, but on the whole I’ve definitely heard much, much worse. –Jimmy Alvarado (Benedicktux, facebook.com/benedicktux)


BILDERS:
2014: 7”
This 7” puts the “ear” in eerie. Bilders macabre, poetic vocals remind me of Vincent Price’s “Thriller” intro monologue, with what I thought was synth—turns out it’s e-violin? Neat. Since Halloween is coming up, I might just put the speakers in the front window, blaring this creepiness to keep the little shits who stole our kids’ Radio Flyer out of our yard. Enjoyable and practical.  –Jackie Rusted (SmartGuy, smartguyrecords.com)


BITTER FRUIT:
It Gets Worse: CD
Everything about this—from the artwork to their sound—screams psychedelic punk rock. The vocals and instruments sound drenched in effects. The vocals remind me of Nick Blinko (Rudimentary Peni) if he was singing over Christian Death songs. Rather than a bunch of carefully written, poetic lyrics, there’s a discomfort and angst here. It Gets Worse was recorded at the Ouija Cub in San Francisco. I’m picturing a lot of folks who look like rejects from a Tim Burton film in the audience. These guys sound really tight as a band, which makes for a good live record.  –Ryan Nichols (Vetoxa, vetoxarecords@gmail.com)


BLACK WINE:
Yell Boss: LP
Bands should take more risks. I understand that you’re good at one thing and you’ve spent your entire creative life revolving around this one thing, but human experience isn’t monochromatic. Fact: Pushing outside of your comfort zone makes more engaging art. Black Wine do just that. They bring a lot to the table, and what they bring to this potluck is nourishing. Each member gets behind the microphone, sharing songwriting duties. It’s energizing to hear three voices—each tuneful and distinguished—filtered through three distinct styles. On “No Reason,” Black Wine swirl like Hunchback, then rage like Hüsker Dü on “Magnet Time.” Closing the A Side, a solo Miranda Taylor mellows into a creeping melody on “Familiar,” then they shift up on “Piccoline” into a closing riff that would floor Tenement. Although the cover of The Guess Who’s “No Time” is solid, I just wish those vinyl grooves were saved for another original song. Fact: It’s satisfying to be treated to a potluck where all the guests didn’t opt for casserole and bean dip. Highly recommended.  –Sean Arenas (Don Giovanni, dongiovannirecords.com)


BLANK PAGES:
Self-titled: LP
Musically, this ain’t bad. It sounds like a European take on the Pacific Northwest’s downer punk. Unfortunately, despite the competent musicianship, the songs all seem to blend together, leaving me without a single track that popped out. Even worse are the lyrics. While I’m not thrilled with the human race and enjoy my share of bummer songs (hell, albums), I prefer my negative outlooks and despondency to be accompanied by a dose of catharsis. Here, however, the no-hope vibe seems like emo grade self-indulgent, focusing on the inability to form relationships with others because people are fake and shitty and you’re too depressed to move. There comes a point where it may be worthwhile to look at the problem inside of that. Mighta been able to roll with a 7” single’s worth of material, but an LP was too much.  –Vincent Battilana (Dirt Cult)


B-LINES:
Opening Band: LP
When I saw this in my review pile I got really excited. A few years ago I saw these guys play a house show in Seattle on the last night of their tour from Vancouver. They fucking rocked. I bought their self-titled record and never heard from them again till now. B-Lines are a snotty, trashy, lo-fi, power pop punk rock’n’roll mixture. Songs are fast and straight to the point with a ton of energy on every track. Lots of attitude and confidence in the vocals, especially in the title track of the record, dissing on opening bands that just don’t try. I really love the lyric: “cus being embarrassing is more appealing / than lying at home in bed and staring at my ceiling,” from the same track. The ending of the record is these four Canadians freaking out on each of their respective instruments. Great, spastic garage rock in the same vain as stuff found on Burger Records. Here’s hoping they get out on tour again soon!  –Kayla Greet (Hockey Dad / Nominal)


BLUNT FORCE:
2014 Demo: Cassette
The recording on this cassette. Cassettes bring a lot of nostalgia with them. We all remember the time that our friend brought of some demo or taped-over-a-thousand-times cassette cartridge and it became the ever-life-changing moment that we first heard oi or hardcore. Blunt Force took me back there. Thanks, dudes. –John Mule (Self-released)


BRICK MOWER:
Teenage Graceland: LP
I hear ‘90s melodic punk, like Jawbreaker or J Church, before “emo” became the mainstream modifier. I hear Acid Fast on the West Coast and labelmates Black Wine. I hear strained vocals and plodding, mid-tempo melodies that never pay off. What I don’t hear is Brick Mower, a fully actualized band whose sound gels the sum of their parts into something fresh. The earnestness kept me listening, but the all-too-familiarity left me wanting. –Sean Arenas (Don Giovanni, dongiovannirecords.com)


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