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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BRADDOCK:
All That Is Man: LP
At first listen, it’s understandable that someone might just hear another attempt at post-hardcore. With a little patience, however, it becomes obvious that these four dudes infuse their own voice as a band into the popular style that is home to Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike. Equal parts self-deprecation and “fuck you”s, the lyrics keep a fairly somber mood but there are plenty of breakdowns and catchy harmonies to keep everyone happy. The recording quality is just right, too—it’s crisp and clean but just raw enough to remind us that these guys really mean it. I recommend taking it for several spins.  –Nicole Madden (Encapsulated, encapsulatedrecords.limitedrun.com)


7YEARSBADLUCK:
Bridges: CD
Man, comparing Bridges to anything the Lawrence Arms has released might be a copout, but the similarities are a little too close to ignore. That doesn’t make this release bad by any means, just maybe a little redundant. The tunesmithery is pretty high and the energy in the performance is consistent, so it is kind of hard to dismiss this as mere pap, no matter whom I think they are aping. Given my caveat, this disc is quite listenable.  –Garrett Barnwell (Monster Zero, monsterzero.nl)


AGADOR SPARTACUS:
Agadorable: CDEP
Agador Spartacus, from Germany, describes itself as “Epic Destruction Rock.” I can only assume one of two things: 1) Their English isn’t great or 2) They’re joking. This is neither epic, nor destructive. I suppose it’s rock, but anymore, who can say? Is this style of generic emo pop rock the new “alternative”? What does “alternative” even mean anymore? It all sounds the same to me. I suppose there are nuances and unique angles Agador Spartacus is playing on these five songs, but I don’t really care enough to dissect them in depth. After a dozen listens, I will admit they’re catchy, but so are a lot of bands. Nothing new here. Next, please.  –Kurt Morris (Self-released)


AGATHOCLES / MPG:
...and the Loser Is…: Split: 7”
I had to laugh when I found I had an Agathocles record to review. After all, they are the grindcore—err, sorry, mincecore—band known for being astoundingly horrible, yet, confoundedly prolific. I’ve occasionally been the last one to move out of a punk house and ended up with a bunch of abandoned seven-inches. There was often an Agathocles in there. Each of those have about ten tracks on them. If you’ve done punk for long enough, you might find it hard not to have an Agathocles record in your record collection somewhere. Which is where I’m at right now. Well-played, Agathocles. Joke’s on me. MPG play grindcore (slower than mincecore), shrieking and growling and blast-beating their way through six indistinguishable songs starting with “Magic Johnson’s got the Good AIDS.”  –Craven Rock (Rigid)


ALI BARBARE AND THE GRINDS:
Scann: LP
For the sheer audacity of sounding like a mix of The Reds’ scrappy melodic drive, 30 Foot Fall’s pop punk sensibilities, and Minor Threat’s iconic intros, Ali Barbare And The Grinds should be lauded as visionaries—or madmen. I doubt if it was the clear intention of the band to come across in that way but the results of its labors are highly effective. The fourteen tracks hurtle along, hitting all of those references points on many occasions, and, to top it off, the vocals add a wonderful touch of deranged to proceedings. This record is outstanding.  –Rich Cocksedge (Crapoulet, cool@crapoulet.fr, crapoulet.fr)


ALUMINUM KNOT EYE:
Northern Secrets: CDEP
Boy, oh boy. Opening tune takes my hand and leads me to a slide show of the times I’ve fallen in love in my life and I slow dance with the memories. I can’t understand the lyrics, but I’m happy the name of the second jam is called “Mapping Her Contours,” and not “Homicidal Lubricant.” I say jam, and it’s jammy, but not lame. Upon further inquiry, it turns out they are MIDWESTERN! Specifically Haunchyville, WI, pronounced “Honkyville,” I’m sure. My first listen, I was in the garage, building shit, ripping and chopping, drilling and sanding. I listened to it five times in a row, appreciating it more with each spin. This is a perfect soundtrack for the creative process.  –Jackie Rusted (Self-released, aluminumknoteye.com)


APOCALYPSE MEOW / TODD CONGELLIERE:
Split: 7”
With Midwestern vibes and feel-bad hooks, Apocalypse Meow performs punk in the tradition of Environmental Youth Crunch, Sicko, and Carrie Nations. The songs are welcoming and familiar, like your cat or dog nipping at your toes. “Awkward Boy” is the highlight. Flip the record; Todd Congelliere is the ringleader behind Toys That Kill, F.Y.P, Underground Railroad To Candyland, and Recess Records, yet somehow, Todd finds time to put out solo releases regularly. His songs are stripped-down and homemade, with enough warm reverb to fill the space between your ears. “Dead ELian” thumps like an URTC B side, and “My Candidate” is gleeful and tongue-in-cheek carnival pop. Together, both songs are under four minutes, so be prepared to repeatedly restart your record player. This is the perfect 7” for those seeking to be musically covered by a dryer-fresh blanket—so cozy.  –Sean Arenas (Rad Girlfriend, radgirlfriendrecords.com)


AS FRIENDS RUST:
Greatest Hits?: CD
The promo sheet on these guys claims the influence of Dag Nasty and Avail, and I can definitely see that. This really is a tale of two sides—the first half of the record is screamier, musically a bit chunkier, and more in the vein of Avail, but the second half is more melodic and fluid as I would expect from a Dag Nasty influence. I was kind of put off by the first half, ‘cause I’m not huge on Avail, but the second half made up for it as the screamies got toned down and the melodies became sharper and more focused.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (Shield)


ATENCJA:
Romantic Punks: CD
Call me genius, but I think this Polish band’s name translates to “Deference” (thank you, Google Translate) but, I digress. This disc seems to be a collection of sorts, but as anyone who has ever tried to fumble through reading Polish can attest, nothing is certain. What is certain is that these guys mix pretty standard punk with some ska and reggae elements. That, my friends, is where Atencja starts to lose me. I can barely take bands who manage to do this well (think Choking Victim, R.I.P.), much less bands that can’t. Honestly, though, I think if you have an affinity for Eastern European punk rock and all the trappings that come with it, you will probably like this just fine.  –Garrett Barnwell (No Pasaran, nopasaran.pl)


AZOTOBACTER:
Self-titled: 7”
Incredibly heavy political punk from Vancouver Island. I don’t listen to a lot of this style (for lack of a better term “crusty”) punk, but I really get into this. I think it’s probably because it doesn’t stray too far into metal, and being from the same part of the world that I am, they are talking about issues that I understand and have to deal with. I can’t wait to see them play live again.  –Ty Stranglehold (Azotobacter, azotopunk@gmail.com)


BAD FUTURE:
Golden Age: LP
The fact is that we live in a time where pretty much any band in the world is listenable at the click of a button. The internet changed the way we discover music. Gone are the days of just stumbling on a band and being blown away. Almost. Bad Future is from Seattle. I had never heard of them until I found out they would be opening for the Hex Dispensers on their Washington stop. I hadn’t heard a single note of their music until they played, and when they did I was impressed enough to buy this record. Upon listening to it I was blown away. I haven’t stopped listening to it for weeks now. I remember this feeling from the pre-Bandcamp or Youtube days. No hype or anyone telling me I need to check this out, just hearing it and getting chills. The record has everything that clicks for me. Winding bass parts, quick drum fills thrown in everywhere, weird feedback squeals, simultaneous meticulous hooks and disjointed madness. I can’t get enough.  –Ty Stranglehold (Bad Future, ourbadfuture.com)


BAD FUTURE:
Nightchurch: Cassette
Just when I said I couldn’t get enough of Bad Future, they threw down another EP for me to greedily lap up. Four more slices of reckless abandon of the likes I haven’t heard in a long time. This band is hitting all the right marks for me. Pick up any and all Bad Future you can get your hands on.  –Ty Stranglehold (Dirt Cult)


BADLANDS:
Dark Dreams: 7”
Adrian Chi currently known as the drum basher in Spokenest, illustrator of Bite the Cactus,and formerly of L.A.’s beloved God Equals Genocide, has taken a moment to slow things down and project through music her more laid back/mellow nature in the form of Badlands. The amps have been turned down and the mood is much more somber than most of Adrian’s previous projects, but her gift of genius songwriting is stronger than ever. “Dark” is a folky punk number that perpetually builds momentum as the song progresses. “Dreams” is slightly more upbeat and integrates some nice arpeggio guitar strumming while Adrian’s voice echoes in the background like a ghost happily singing in a desert prairie. Lyrical themes include the day-to-day struggles of life but with an overall positive message encouraging us to not succumb to our own fears and hold those close to us even closer. Just like on previous Badlands recordings, Adrian is the sole songwriter and musical performer, but I’ve recently learned that she now has a full live backing band, including current members of Bird Strike and Wreck Of The Zephyr. Can’t recommend this record enough.  –Juan Espinosa (Porchcore, no address listed)


BAND IN HEAVEN, THE:
The Boys of Summer of Sam: 7”
Really liked their last HoZac single and this one is right along the same lines. The title track is the more driving of the two here, a heady mix of psychedelic flourishes, shoegaze howl, and straight rockin’. The flip, “I Know You Know,” is considerably more mellow, almost dreamy in its woozy delivery. Me like.  –Jimmy Alvarado (HoZac, hozacrecords.com)


BIG DICK:
Disappointment: LP
Taking a cue from Nomeansno—the band that appears to have inspired their namesake—Big Dick presents the bass guitar front and center, which only appears to be unconventional if you’re some sort of guitar gestapo. Big Dick also seems to share a trait with the also great and guitar-less Street Eaters; that is writing thoroughly enjoyable and anthemic punk songs with unpretentious complexity. You’ll marvel at the deft musicianship but will still feel inclined to happily jump up and down in a room full of sweaty, fun-loving punks. Don’t let the album title fool you: this album is anything but a disappointment.  –Juan Espinosa (Dirt Cult, dirtcultrecords.com)


BIG SUZE:
You Guys Suck and It’s Too Loud: Cassette
Hitting “play” on this cassette is like jumping into a pit of rabid wolverines that have been starved for weeks. Or fighting lions in the Roman coliseum with no weapons. Or entering a dark room full of ninjas who think you killed their family. Whatever the metaphor, I was not ready for this. It’s aggressive as fuck and dirty and angry and chaotic. But that kind of controlled chaos. There are a few sludgy breakdowns where you can catch your breath, and try to regroup for the fight, but you better do it fast. As soon as you think you might be ready, they take the same sludgy tempo and just start adding more beats and notes in there. Your heart never has a chance to slow down; they thrust right back into the high speed intensity just when you thought you could let your guard down. They don’t even let you relax in between songs. There’s not a break in sound until the end of the tape. Those short lulls I mentioned earlier are transitions into the next track and I wouldn’t be surprised if each side was recorded as one long continuous take. Lead by vocals that make you imagine burst blood vessels and strained cords, they are also backed up by a set of vocals that are slightly less intense. This band totally rules and should only be played as loud as possible.  –Kayla Greet (Drug Party, drugparty.storenvy.com)


BLACK VOLVO:
Once We All Were Wolves: CD
Debut album from this three piece of Amsterdammers. A rowdy crew, I’d imagine. Seventeen songs that have been lovingly polished to metallic punk shine. You want infectious call and responses, looking for some new battle cries? Currently, my battles consist of picking up kids from school and getting the motivation to mop the floor; no matter your personal struggle, these fellas have just the shot in the ass you need to divide and conquer! I have to mention the album art as well—crazy-looking, stylized animal characters throughout and a sneaky fox anus to boot—done by the band’s own bass player, Jaap Baard. Check out the animation he did for their video “Steady Face.” It’s rad!  –Jackie Rusted (Round Dog, rounddogrecords.com / TNS, tnsrecords.co.uk)


BLANK POSTCARDS, THE:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Debut release by The Blank Postcards, which came out back in 2012. It doesn’t appear the band has been terribly active since then, but difficult to tell merely via the internet. Two instrumental surf cuts that sandwich a garage stomper on each side. “I’m Covered in Mess” sounds strikingly similar to Tyvek. I’m into it. This band should do more, since they seemingly have some talent.  –Steve Adamyk (Laptop Smashing Party, no address listed)


BLOSSUM HILL:
Illustrate Your Grub: EP
What a trip; I put this record on in the house and the missus asked if this was Green Day. Not the “in the charts on major labels” Green Day, but the “1000 Hours, 39:Smooth Green Day,” the soundtrack to summer Green Day, the staying up all night in the attic with Jono drinking cheap cider Green Day, the stealing milk and doing LSD with the band Green Day. You want innovation? Get into experimental jazz. Reliving a sound or a feeling can be as vital as reinventing noise. This band from Finland brought back memories and feelings I thought long forgotten. It sounds exactly like the very best Green Day records. I’ve been known to be offhand and cynical, and so I should be, I’ve spent a ton of days on this earth ingesting shit. I love this. Unapologetic to all. Constant rotation; remembering being nineteen.  –Tim Brooks (Hold On, blossomhill.bandcamp.com)


BOATS!:
Black and White: LP
I can honestly say that Modern Action Records has never steered me wrong. I’ve bought records from many bands blindly just because MAR put them out. It always works out, and I am pleased to announce that the winning streak continues. Boats! are so good. The label has a signature sound and these guys fit right in. Upbeat pogo-rock songs that bring to mind many of the other bands on the label (Briefs and Sharp Objects come to mind first) but still managing to have their own thing going on. If you’re not down with the program, you better get there. Your ear holes with thank you.  –Ty Stranglehold (Modern Action)


BOMB, THE:
Axis of Awesome: 12”EP
A six-song, one-sided record from this Chicago outfit. All cylinders are locked and loaded here, with everyone involved playing/singing at the top of their game. I even like their version of a Dwarves song, which comes as a shock to my system! The vinyl sold out like a second round of flapjacks at a pancake breakfast. Hopefully, they will do a repress for those who are just getting the news. I wish that the band decides to play out for this one, bolstered by the positive response. Only the gods can help us with that honest plea now.  –Sean Koepenick (No Idea, noisebynumbers@hotmail.com)


BP FALLON:
Live in Texas: CD
BP Fallon is an Irish storyteller and author with a varied and expansive career behind him, having worked with many legends of the rock music industry in various difference capacities since the ‘70s. With this release, he leads a band, putting the focus on his rambling stories placed over the top of mostly acoustic guitar. It’s pleasant in the kind of way that I bet my parents would like it.  –Mark Twistworthy (Saustex, saustex.com)


BREAK ANCHOR / LAWSKOF:
169 Miles: Split: 7”
Apparently 169 miles is the distance between Detroit, MI and Cleveland, OH, but honestly, the distance could be a bike ride seeing how nice these bands go together on this split. Both bands serve up one original and one cover. Break Anchor produces a competent, mid-tempo sound that reminds me of Dave Smalley era Dag Nasty, which seems fitting as their cover is of Dag’s “Under Your Influence.” Lawskof seems to be still honing their sound—nothing too memorable, yet filled with enough promise that I will keep an open eye for future releases, for sure.  –Garrett Barnwell (Underground Communiqué, undergroundcomm.org)


BROKEN GOLD:
Residency at Hundo Beach: CDEP
Broken Gold features current and former members of The Riverboat Gamblers, however, the layered guitars and stacked pedals are the focal point; they swoop and shimmer then burn out into a wall of fuzz. Ian MacDougall’s voice is reserved and sometimes lost in the mix, which helps to pronounce the sedated melodies and rich textures. Imagine The Replacements and Hüsker Dü informed by post-hardcore. “Let Go” dabbles in Weakerthans moodiness, but with no lyrics included I’m unsure as to if MacDougall is writing poetry like John K. Samson. “Shoulder” is a smidge too sentimental and grandiose, but “Dirty Vodka” is proof that Broken Gold knows how to crush. Just listening to the guitars build a wall of sound brick by brick is enough.  –Sean Arenas (End Sounds, endsounds.com)


BRUISERS, THE:
Gates of Hell: 7”
Stale, bland, and boring sounds leave me expressionless and emotionless. I’d rather bang my head against a wall than listen to this. I want this record to stop so badly, I would chop off my own arm for it to end. Recycled garbage of “punk” and “oi” bands I’ve heard a thousand times, over and over, disguised under the name of The Bruisers, packaged and neatly pressed into grooves that play over nine minutes of absolute hell—and no, not the fun hell everyone dreams of with satan, fellow queers and weirds, with an endless flow booze we all like to imagine. After the first track, I become numb, and the feeling of extreme nihilism washes over me whilst trying to listen to this; believe in nothing, feel…nothing. Static in my brain, desperately searching for a channel to connect to, but, alas, only distain and disinterest.  –Genevieve Armstrong (Chapter 11, Chapterelevenrecords.com)


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