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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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“Late Republic” b/w “Centre”: 7”
Well, last issue I went on some great lengths about how much I love this band. And these two songs do a plenty good job of supporting my case. They’re short, upbeat, unconventional, and catchier than they really should be, considering their length. It’s almost like they didn’t have to repeat the chorus, because even though the needle picks up: the song is still playing in your head. Track this down. And don’t be confused by the song titles. Neither of these songs was on the last LP.  –Daryl Gussin (Self-released)

Glass Boys: 2 x LP
Total immersion. As Fucked Up continues to progress, you kind of fall intothe records. Hardcore elites may have given up at some earlier point, but I await every Fucked Up release with bated breath, from the Tommy hardcore opera of David Comes to Life to the noise B-sides of the Year of the … series. The new LPslow burns in the realm of those 12” singles first, then moves to parallel the intensity of classics like “Two Snakes” and “Crooked Head” with Glass Boys’ “The Art of Patrons” and “Warm Change.” The inclusion of a second “slow” copy of the same album seems like a hokey vinyl collector move at first, however listening to the same album with a completely different drumming speed is actually an interesting “artistic” foray. It does pose an issue when trying to choose which LP to lay down if you have favorite versions of songs on both records. If you’re ready to lose yourself for an hour or two, Glass Boys comes highly recommended.  –Matt Seward (Matador)

Ascent from Hell: CD
This is a ten-song, seventy-minute concept album featuring members of Down Factor, Testament, Slayer, and more. According to the album’s liner notes, “The corpse of a psycho killer wakes up in hell and finds out he must go back to earth to find his soul that still lives on inside the body of a priest and drag it back into hell.” You know, a typical problem for most of us. There are six characters in this album including my favorite, Nun with a Gun. Vocalist George Anderson sings for all six parts, so it requires following along in the liner notes to fully understand what’s going on. I can understand the interest in the horror business, as it’s something that goes along well with the genre, but the cynical jerk in me thought, “Really? This whole concept seems clichéd,” while the diehard metal fan in me thought it worked well with the music. Musically speaking, there’s a good mix of different styles of metal on here—thrash and death, primarily. Anderson’s vocals range between death screams and melodic singing, which keeps the songs from becoming too redundant. With four of the songs coming in at over eight minutes each, some of this could certainly have been shortened while still getting across the theme. Nevertheless, it’s a strong release and fans of this type of epic metal will definitely dig Ascent from Hell.  –Kurt Morris (Scourge)

My Dad’s a Fuckin’ Alcoholic: CD
As many of the Killed by Death cabal of punk aficionados would be happy to attest, the title track to this retrospective honoring an obscure Colorado punk group is a superb slab of fucked-upness—sloppy playing, earworm-inducing riff, howling vocals, a mound of grime just falling off and stinkin’ up the entire place, and a chorus that just begs to be shouted full-lungs by everyone on the planet who’s pissed off at their perpetually inebriated parental figure. The rest of the disc is no less swell: making appearances are both of their über-rare EPs, a demo that sounds just as blissfully chaotic as their official releases, and an off-the-board live recording that starts off with a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive,” (real punks know the only true “punk” thing a band can do is bum other punks out by playing “hippie” proto-prog shit and this, with its free-form noise fest sandwiched between Barrett’s memorable descending scale riff, has long been a prime pick on the “songs with which to bait a punk crowd” list), then descends into several tunes that flail and wail their way into your hearts before the whole shindig draws to a close with a live version of the aforementioned titular track. Throw in some great pics and liner notes and you have yourself a party, kids.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Alternative Tentacles)

Looking for Answers: 7”
Fist-waving, angry melodic punk rock that hearkens the Todd-penned Propagandhi tracks, or maybe more accurately, I Spy’s melodic output, coupled with a Pegboy-esque groove and latter era Articles Of Faith. Dark, smart, passionate and well-delivered. Great stuff.  –Dave Williams (Anything But Radio / Unsane Asylum / Rubber Factory)

Self-titled: 7”EP
FranticCity tosses in two bonus tracks on Émile Sornin’s reissue of his first EP. The original 2012 7” of space rock voodoo out of Paris cut, “Le penitent le passé” and “Christophe Colombe”—long haired, guitar-heavy tracks dusted with Hindi vocals. A year later, “Palestine” and “Sable Mouvant” are tossed into the mix, spiraling Pavot into the realm of Tame Impala’s neo-psychedelic guitar buzz with vocals taking a back seat. One a ‘60s era hypnotic built to accompany a Mario Bava death scene, the other, a tidal wave of guitars like New Zealand’s Kraus laced with violin. Sornin has since laid more vocals on his work, so pick this up for atmospheric soundtracky stuff. Recommended.  –Kristen K. (Frantic City)

Bitter Boy: 7”
North Carolina three-piece delivering garaged-out spaz punk, reminiscent of The Oblivians. All three jams are up-tempo with spat, growled-and-grit vocals. Listening without track names, I thought that closer “Let Me Be Clear” was actually called “Let Them Eat Kale.” The cover art is just as good as the music—a skinny punk body with a horse head on top, amidst a sea of blood and chaos. Tight.  –Alanna Why (Merge)

Animal Needs: EP
Ex Friends are “punk” lite, and as dull as watching paint dry. I keep wondering when this kind of stuff will die out, and it doesn’t seem any time soon. Alas...  –Matt Average (Coolidge)

…Like Apple Pie…: LP
I hear all kinds of different influences when listening to this record, which is a definite plus in my book. Sometimes, the ‘77 punk influence is most prevalent, harkening back to the gruff vocaled approach of bands like Stiff Little Fingers. Other times, they sound very much like a warped modern take on the classic OrangeCounty sound, maybe like a fucked up version of the much-revered band Smogtown. Other times, a more traditional hardcore influence can be heard. Honestly, I don’t know what the hell is going on with this record, but I like it quite a bit.  –Mark Twistworthy (Collision Course)

Wrong Side of History: 7”
All bands should listen to this record. Here is an example of a group of people getting all their ducks in a row and the end result being faultless. Earth Girls feature current and ex-members of Boilerman, Libyans, Broken Prayer, and Daylight Robbery but the music here is more reminiscent of the Shop Assistants, with a light, power pop effervescence that is easy on the ear and uplifting to the soul. It’s been sometime since I’ve heard any band capture that whole C86 sound as well as Earth Girls do here. These four tracks deserve to be listened to on repeat under a warm sun whilst sipping on a couple of cold beers.  –Rich Cocksedge (Grave Mistake / Drunken Sailor)

Friday Night: VHS Single
Look here, Durban Poison: you have picked the single most impractical format for getting your music recognized, as most people in this day and age have long since chucked their VHS players into the garbage where they belong. However, lucky for you I still have mine and it wasn’t unreasonably hard to set up. That being said, the title track “Friday Night” is a rocking little sleaze punk number dripping with the same kind of in-your-face attitude of the Neighborhood Brats, although it is a pity that the music is simply playing over a still photograph of the band because the rest of their video is a collection of live performances, vintage TV commercials, movies, and offstage antics edited amazingly well for a VHS tape. A female-led Humpers following suit nicely in rock-ability and recklessness. Enough of this retro format silliness and let’s stick to the punkest of all formats: vinyl!  –Juan Espinosa (Shake!)

How to Become a Famous Recording Artist: LP
As much as i initially tried to make quick work of this record by dismissing it as trivial stoner fluff—the cover drawing is a monkey-headed, bong-holding, underwear-clad dude with bat wings standing under a rainbow and atop a gigantic cassette—I kept finding Shit of Value here and there, and getting frustratingly sucked back into it. I wanna say they sound a little likeWiggle-era Screeching Weasel without sounding one bit like The Ramones, but that might alienate any potential constituency they might hope to accrue, and is probably more by accident by design, anyway. So then I start thinking, okay, they kind of sound like a ‘90s pop punk band, back when ‘90s pop punk bands actually had something to them other than slavish devotion to formula, I got ‘em figured out…and then, out of left field, they chuck a brass section on the end of “Brainless,” and it’s fucking brilliant, so I’m thinking that if my listening experience is a chess game, they just yelled “checkmate” while I was counting my money while I was sitting at the table, even though there was time enough for counting when the dealing’s done. THIS ALBUM WILL CASTLE YOU ON THE QUEEN’S SIDE! It will also smoke your van’s quarterpanels. BEST SONG: “Brainless.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Sleep Is the Enemy.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: In lieu of liner notes, the record features an essay called “How to Become a Famous Recording Artist…For Dummies,” which is probably easily as funny as that book by the Phantom Surfers, Rock Stardom for Dumbshits.  –Rev. Norb (ADD)

D-Beat Machine: Cassette
I loved this, but the mix is kinda crummy. I’m hoping that’s merely a result of the cassette format and the included download code will yield a better-sounding version. Dis-Tank sound like a cross of the U.K. Subs and early Discharge—eminently satisfying hardcore that grabs you by the throat and squeezes, hard, but it’s got a few catchy hooks along the way. After each listen, I feel like I’ve been in a brutal fistfight during which I laughed the whole time I was getting my ass kicked. That’s the mark of quality hardcore! The artwork for the tape may be a bit clichéd in its photographs of WWII-era tanks, devastated cities, and heaps of bones, but I’ll let it go since I liked the music so much. Great work, guys!  –The Lord Kveldulfr (Kibou)

Self-titled: LP
There must be some kind of mistake here. The album cover says that the band here is Dissekerad but the songs sound strikingly similar to later period Totalitär. The singer for this band is even listed as Poffen. Is Poffen a common name in Sweden? Jokes aside, this really does sound an awful lot like Totalitär and the vocalist is in fact our old friend Poffen joined by fellow Swedish royalty (members of Makabert Fynd and Avskum, among others). So, as you may have already guessed, the sound is most certainly that of high octane Swedish crust / d-beat. I suppose you could say that the raspy vocal delivery is the distinguishing attribute between Poffen’s old and new bands, but that’s not to say Dissekerad doesn’t hold their own or kick some serious ass. This is still some timeless and classic d-beat flawlessly performed by godfathers of the scene. All hail Poffen and Dissekerad.  –Juan Espinosa (Man In Decline)

Three: LP
I know that I am a broken record when it comes to spouting off about the rich history of punk rock in Canada. I can’t help it. I obsess over it. From the well-known to the obscure, I love to learn about it all and records like this are a perfect way to fill my needs. The Dishrags were the first punk rock band from Victoria, BC (where I live). Three girls formed a band at the end of 1976, heard the Ramones, were changed forever, and by mid-1977 were in Vancouver to open for The Furies at that city’s very first punk show. By the end of 1979, the original group had disbanded with only their track on the Vancouver Complication compilation and a 7” single on Modern Records. They would continue as a quartet for one more 7”, but that is another story. Another original punk rock band lost to the sands of time… Almost. This record is made up of various unreleased studio recordings as well as some good quality live recordings (including their opening slot for The Clash in 1979). It’s raw, primal punk that sounds amazing! Often these “unearthed tracks” kind of records end up sounding exactly like that, but not this. So good! The record also comes with a nice booklet full of photos, gig posters, and quotes from The Dishrags and those close to them. There were two parts of this record that really made me smile. The first one is the live song intro “This song is called ‘Bullshit,’ and it’s dedicated to our hometown of Victoria.” Classic! The second, I have to ask: How tough do you have to be to finish your set with a ripping version of “London’s Burning” when you are opening for The Clash? Tougher than you and me!  –Ty Stranglehold (Supreme Echo)

Decomposition Fantasy: 12”
Grind/sludge/blast-beat wall of white noise tornado. Play it at 33 so your head doesn’t burst before the Wire cover.  –Chris Terry (Rorschach)

Self-titled: CD
Above-the-pack, anthemic punk straight outta Guadalajara. Lyrically they’re on the street punk tip, maybe a bit more politically astute than their average counterparts in the U.S., but musically they pack the tunes with simple leads that recall Peter And The Test Tube Babies more than The Virus or The Casualties. Was a bit surprised by what they delivered, which is never a bad thing, and the fact they do it well—not to mention they have the sense to make sure the two Caribbean-flavored tunes here didn’t fall into some simple ska punk pigeonhole—makes it all the better.  –Jimmy Alvarado (DDR Punx)

131313 – Malchance: CD
I swear this is like the tenth Destructors release I’ve reviewed and probably the best. The Destructors were a second tier studs and spikes band back in the early ‘80s and their meat and potatoes plod punk had a little charm, I must admit. This release doesn’t sound anything like the band of old, but does boast some of the original members. This is speedy generic “punk” made by a bunch of fat fifty year olds. In the day and age of visceral, exciting punk bands across the globe, this is pretty much the last thing I need to hear. Their mangled version of “Eleanor Rigby” almost made my ears bleed. I’m sure there’s an audience for this band at a prehistoric event like Rebellion Fest where they get to play alongside a bunch of other second rate bands from the early ‘80s. Me? I’ll be hitting repeat on the Warthog disc.  –Tim Brooks (Rowdy Farrago)

Electric Demon: CD
I usually expect the grimier side of the rock’n’roll spectrum from Zodiac Killer records. This is not grimy. The label must be trying to diversify. It works. This CD has all of the mandatory, rollicking rock energy. I don’t want to say it’s clean, because it’s not clean. Maybe it’s more focused. Maybe it’s more precise. The Deadvikings know exactly how to use their weapons. Not a single bass line meanders. The drums are going to beat on you so hard you’re not going to be able to stop nodding your head. You’re going to get slapped in the face with some rollicking guitar solos, and you’re going to beg for more. You’ll probably even try to sing along, and it will sound terrible. But you’ll keep doing it, because you love it and you can’t stop. –MP Johnson (Zodiac Killer)

Slave: 7”EP
Part of Profane Existence’s onslaught of limited edition singles, this trio out of Austin, TX smolders. With members of World Burns To Death, Scarred For Life, and Till Death, their slice of d-Beat is crust and shoulders over the rest. These three tracks of pissed-off fuck you vocals and chainsaw guitar dirge start in with “Suffer,” which ebbs right into “Sinister Minds,” a double kick drum affront to warmongers and national security. “Employment of Slaves,” adds to the anti-corp polemic on the problem of work, throwing in a sound bite of ‘80s guitar solo. Tight, melodic, and raging; they’re rallying for a hanging and waving the torches. Recommended.  –Kristen K. (Profane Existence)

Raging Beast: 7”EP
This EP from this three-piece out of Ohio manages to copy and paste jangly elements of ‘60s garage while weaving in a twenty-first century flavor. Garage pop with marching drum percussion, “Turning into a Man” brings up shades of The Stones’ Some Girls with scratchy male/female harmonization, while “Everybody Else” leans into an ‘80s power chord like Cheap Trick. “Zonin’ Out” is part Animals, part Kinks with sloppy vocals that veer off key but don’t feel contrived. “Virgin Desolation” slows it down a beat with a solid guitar hook that shimmies and sways to the finish line. An appetizer to their full length, Hell Is Real—this is Friday night dance party stuff. Recommended.  –Kristen K. (Self-released)

Prost!: 7”
This band should be huge. Huge.I feel like fans of labels as varied as the Dirtnap, In The Red, and Slovenly rosters (and, fuck it, all waypoints in between) should be eating this stuff for breakfast.And lunch and dinner. This band is excellent. Four songs of what could loosely be called garage rock, but tempered and restrained garage instead of unhinged and frenzied. And here’s the thing: with DWATS, that restraint pays off. It works. The end result is a group of mercilessly catchy, solid songs that still retain just enough grit as to not be cloying. It’s the little things that add facets of interest and allure here: the interlocking guitar lines in “Thirty,” that dumb-brilliant melody in “Hopelessbackandfourth,” the buried keyboard stuttering throughout all of songs. Four tracks to add to an already awesome and extensive catalog. Do yourself a favor.  –Keith Rosson (Gunner)

Now It Can Be Told: CD
Ostensibly an album bringing together thirteen tracks from a variety of 7” singles, this is DWATS first long player since the 2012 reissue of Oh Sure. The collection serves as notice of the band’s evolution from a 1990s college/indie rock quartet to something much more distinctive and less easy to classify (although still in an indie rock vein). There are a fistful of nuggets to be heard, including “On Fire,” the one track I can provide a comparison for—Buddy Holly meets The Clash—and it’s all done in a simple yet highly effective way. If you haven’t heard the singles, then this is well worth picking up. If you have heard the singles, then get them all together in one place! Great cover artwork from Shawn C Higgins, too.  –Rich Cocksedge (Self-Responsible)

Dudesblood: CD
Dan Sartain’s records are described as influenced by blues and rockabilly, and I can feel bits of that at points herein, but, for the most part, this record is a mixed bag of musical stylings that veer all over the ludic map (in a good way) and are sewn together through techno instrumentation. The record opens with the titular rave-up, making one think that we’re in for a real raucous affair, but then Sartain yanks the rug of expectation out from under us and sends us on a meandering walking tour of the musical landscape. This is good, mind you. Highlights include Anthony Perkins’ “Moonlight Swim” and the simplistically beautiful and almost childlike “Marfa Lights,” which has a resonant and haunting quality to it—that song has stuck in my head for days, and I’m not upset about that. There is no sure way to describe this record since it doesn’t fit neatly into any one style or genre (again, a good thing). About the closest I can get is to suggest that Sartain’s musical concerns channel the spirit of Tom Waits—especially Waits’s recent work—as a means of creating coherence through a variety of styles. Good stuff.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (One Little Indian)

No Corporate Pizza: Picture Disc 7”
I don’t eat corporate pizza. Sure, you can feed a family of four for little more than five bucks but is the intestinal distress and line to the bathroom really worth it? Dan Padilla firmly plant their feet down and declare no. Finally, a more accessible ideology; the people’s slogan. The unabashed display of beer bellies on the flipside of the 7” matches the gruff pop punk delivered on both songs. After multiple listens, I’m left indifferent, but the picture disk homage to Crass is nearly worth the purchase.  –Ashley (ADD)

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