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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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CONDITION:
Self-titled: 7"
An aural assault of Discharge-damaged thrash delivered in such gloriously fucked up ways as to make bands like Chaos UK and Disorder giddy. Unrelenting from the first feedback screech to the last. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rust and Machine)


COMBOMATIX:
Self-titled: LP
The Combomatix record has a hint of Reatards in the production that serves the band’s frantic style of punk’n’roll. “I Have a Gun” is a full-on blaster that feels as if it could become unhinged. “Big Nose” is a jumpy standout as a three chord, back and forth rocker. Trashy guitars and overdriven vocals are prevalent. It’s an album by a band that plays at one speed but understands the pace. –Billups Allen (Frantic City; franticcity.free.fr)


COLISEUM:
Sister Faith: CD/LP
Do you ever wish Jawbox would reform? What if they replaced J. Robbins with the singer from Torche or Baroness? And what if they turned the guitars up, gave them some oomph and listened to Motörhead before recording an album? (What if I stopped asking “what if” questions and got on to the rest of the review?) It may be hard to believe, but that’s what Coliseum’s latest album, Sister Faith, sounds like. The Louisville three-piece has been around for approximately ten years, which is crazy because it seems like just yesterday Ryan Patterson, the singer and guitarist, was in The National Acrobat and Black Cross. And yet here they are, with a great thirteen-track rock record with a gritty feel and great production (thanks to the front man of the aforementioned Jawbox, J. Robbins). Some of the songs brim with fierceness, while others seem more laidback. They’re catchy in as much as that is possible with post-punk music, but I certainly found myself singing along after a while and having bits of lyrics running through my head throughout the day. But in the end, it really is amazing how much this reminds me of Jawbox. Listen to “Used Blood” and tell me the opening guitar riff, throbbing bass, and drums are something J. Robbins and company wouldn’t have come up with. It goes from that right into “Late Night Trains,” whose guitar opening sounds like another J. Robbins piece. Listen—there’s a fine line in the music world between being influenced by and copying another band. I don’t know what it is but I know the difference. In this case, Patterson’s vocals and lyrical content (approaching religion in a direct sense) are different enough to not be subject to cries of poser. Instead, the band has found a great flag to wave and a conglomeration of enough sounds to be impressive and not ridiculous. –Kurt Morris (Temporary Residence)


COLISEUM:
Sister Chance: 7"
Look, I like Coliseum, but even I got a little tired of their straight-forward rocking by the time No Salvation came out. It’s an album full of good single cuts but feels lazy and pieced together as a whole. When the band switched out drummers and Carter from the Ackleys/Legion (two very, very different bands from Coliseum), the shift in song structures was pretty much immediate and for the better. The recent switch for Kayhan (from Legion/Die Young and, incidentally, a band I used to be in) on bass has only helped that shift continue into something more interesting. I never would have thought Coliseum would have been able to churn out a 7” this down-tempo and with so much god damn swagger five years ago, but not only do they legitimately surprise me on their two cuts on the A side, they successfully crawl through Pere Ubu’s “Final Solution” on the B side in a fashion that both does the original justice and sounds new and fresh. Old dog, new tricks. –Ian Wise (No Idea)


COLDSIDE:
We’ve Had Enough: CD
Straight-up Madball worship from the wastes of Florida with members of Vietnom, who always had close ties with the New York DMS crew. Not surprisingly, this disc is on Roger Miret of Agnostic Front’s label Strength. Chugging down-tuned guitars topped by gruff thug vocals. I’m a sucker for this NYHC shit, especially if it’s done well and this band fucking nail it. The anthemic oi track “20 Years” is a jam, which shows another side to the band that I could totally get into. Dig out the basketball jerseys. –Tim Brooks (Strength, strength-records.com)


CHRIS HOUSTON AND THE EVELYN DICKS / DESADIST AU GOGO:
Split: EP
Peculiar record... Both bands have Mickey Desadist in common. Chris Houston And The Evelyn Dicks give us “Einstein’s Brain” about Einstein’s brain being in Hamilton. Who knew? I can’t help but think of early Mojo Nixon listening to this song. The Desadist Au GoGo song is from 1986, and is about how some woman has, as the song title suggests, “Shit for Brains.” Pretty much a novelty record. The Chris Houston track is the better of the two. –Matt Average (Schizophrenic, schizophrenicrex.com)


CHOOSERS, THE:
Hanging Up on You: 7"
Fine bit of power poppin’ from Japan. They work the traditional angles to great effect, with jangly guitars, multi-part harmonies, and a squeaky clean sound. –Jimmy Alvarado (Bachelor)


CERTAIN RATIO, A:
To Each…: LP
Formed in 1977, ACR, along with Joy Division, were the first bands signed to Tony Wilson’s Factory Records. Held as one of those seminal post-punk bands, ACR released their first single sans percussion, “All Night Party” with the b-side, “The Thin Boys” and later covered Banbarra’s anti-marriage anthem, “Shake Up.” Their archetypal debut, To Each… was released in 1981. Martin Hannett’s influence is evident in the jazz punk sound. He was Joy Division’s producer. Simon Topping’s disaffected vocals are much like Ian Curtis’s. While ACR’s lineup and repertoire would later veer into funk punk, sliding in record scratches and marimbas and drawing a Latin texture, here lays the nucleus of ACR. “Felch” and “My Spirit” use a funk slap bass percolating with trumpet notes, while “Forced Laugh” evokes Bauhaus with minimal vocals and screechy guitar chords stretched across a moody, expansive soundscape. Turning the page, “Choir” and “Oceans” could have easily been thrown onto Joy Division’s Closer and none would be the wiser, with its remote drive of a classic time signature and absence of horns. “Winter Hill” closes it out with a sturdy backbone of Latin percussion adorned with guitar drone and mercurial vox. Topping would shortly leave in 1983, following the release of Sextet and I’d Like to See You Again, leaving bassist Jeremy Kerr and guitarist Peter Terrell to fend for themselves. In 1986, ACR would leave Factory and label hop into the mid-’90s, releasing marginally received albums. In 2008, after a twelve-year hiatus, they released Mind Made Up, strutting a sleek, synthesized makeover with Denise Johnson, a previous contributor, on vocals. This limited reissue on red vinyl is a snapshot of a burgeoning ACR and that era when Gang of Four and Suicide were coming up, when genres were defied and redrawn. Recommended. –Kristen K (Drastic Plastic)


CATHOLIC DISCIPLINE:
Underground Babylon: LP
A vinyl reissue here of a 2004 CD collection from one of Los Angeles’s more mythical bands, a super-group featuring West Coast punk scribe Claude “Kickboy Face” Bessy backed by members of BPeople, Nervous Gender, The Zeros, and The Bags. Prior to its original release, the band’s only recorded evidence remotely available to anyone but the underground tape trader circuit was the one-and-a-half songs featured in Penelope Spheeris’s infamous flick, Decline of Western Civilization, a situation that left them without the level of popularity that X, Fear, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Germs, and The Bags have enjoyed in the years since its release. They apparently never entered a studio or thought to weasel a board recording from the night’s sound engineer, so what’s collected here are audience recordings from three different performances, all of which are varying shades of rough-but-listenable quality, and all showcasing how danged good and creative a unit they were despite being little more than an occasional side project for most involved. Included is a Xeroxed set of brief but meticulous historical notes with pictures and flyer reproductions. Considering the original CD is apparently long out of print and this run is comprised of a thousand copies, all on pink vinyl, it might be a good idea to start a-hunting for a copy. –Jimmy Alvarado (Artifix)


CAT PARTY:
A Thousand Shades of Grey: EP
This may be their best yet. Three songs. Very effective. The sound is darker, a touch bleaker, and the songs have a little more going on than before. I really like the dark, shimmering guitar and bridge in “Fatalesque” that brings to mind early 4AD recordings. Then there’s the sprawling “Loves Benign” that moves at a good clip, with the guitar floating like a cloud over the driving bass and drums. The title track opens with a morose bass setting the mood before everything else comes in. The tempo picks up a clip, and the song has a feeling of hurtling towards the end, but without being a thrashing affair. Excellent record, to say the very least. –Matt Average (Cat Party, catpartyca.com)


CASANOVAS IN HEAT:
Ruins: 7"
I don’t know shit about guitar, but I know what sounds awesome. I know that when I hear a combination of chords that makes fireworks go off under my skin, there’s something special going on, and there’s definitely something special going on here. You know everything that Epitaph did wrong in the ‘90s? The too-commercial production, the sneering and posturing, so on and so forth? It’s like Casanova In Heat does just the opposite, but holds onto the driving melodies, the pure jump-kicking energy. It’s inspiring, and I’m listening to it over and over. –MP Johnson (Deranged)


CAMPAIGN:
Black Album: 7" EP
It’s been a while since I heard their last release, but if memory serves, this is a decided step forward from its predecessor. While things are still very much in the modern raspy (in this case also off-key) indie pop punk vein that’s apparently all the rage, the gems can be found in the outside-the-box thinkin’ of the guys strumming and banging. Of particular note is the guitarist, who often sounds like he’s cribbing influences from Joy Division and other post-punk sources rather than the usual batch of string-slingin’ heroes. As a result, the vocals, which would normally be the kiss of death as-is, actually somehow work within the context of the songs. –Jimmy Alvarado (No Breaks)


CALAFIA PUTA:
Self-titled: Cassette
Gnarly-ass powerviolence from Tijuana, Baja California. What’s not to love? It’s a recycled tape, having been recorded over some cheesy early ‘90s hip-hop, one that isn’t even on their Bandcamp. I love these guys, admittedly because I know them, and they’re cool dudes who are always willing to play a show where only twelve people are going to show up. They’ll tear into it just as hard regardless. They truly don’t give a fuck who is watching, and it comes across in an infectious way. Their name is equivalent to “Fucking Bus!” and they have taken it upon themselves to scrawl it all over the place. I’ve seen it on a police car. I’ve seen it on the dust of a door inside a militarized border. What’s not to love? Calafia Puta! –Rene Navarro (Calafia Puta, calafiaputa.bandcamp.com)


CAIDOS, LOS:
Self-titled: LP
From what I’ve been able to glean from the web, this is a special release for a recent U.S. (?) tour, which would explain the varied production values across the tracks. For the casual listener, however, it serves as a quick (fifteen minute run time) overview of their recorded oeuvre, and a fine one it is. Track after track of Argentine punk plundering through the areas between hook-laden hardcore and full-bore hyper-thrash. The band’s tight and plenty pissed, flailing on their instruments across wild tempo changes in songs that zip right on by. Good stuff. –Jimmy Alvarado (Crapoulet, crapoulet.fr)


BUSINESS VENTURE:
Sleep When You’re Dead: Cassettet
How’s this for a pedigree: folks from Shang-A-Lang and the Thumbs, apparently. Four songs, and they’re all dense, mean little numbers that aren’t afraid to slow things down a little bit. The fact that they can use a freaking wah-wah pedal here and there and still sound tough as shit is entirely aces in my book. This is great stuff, firmly entrenched in that nefarious, half-lit land between garage and punk. I’ve received a fantastic batch of review material this time around, and Business Venture is keeping that hot streak going. –Keith Rosson (208)


BURNT THRONES CLUB / A VOLCANO: :
Split: 7" EP
Burnt Thrones Club: Nice bit of simple, sleazy lo-fi rockin’, not quite garage, not quite art punk, and yet somehow both.A Volcano: Veers a bit more on the skronkier side of the equation from their record-mates, but the song’s effective and not averse to making a racket. Good stuff by both bands. –Jimmy Alvarado (Hovercraft)


BURNT ONES:
You’ll Never Walk Alone: Cassette
Sunny, pseudo-psychedelic bedroom pop. It’s wonderful, really. I feel the sun radiating from my stereo, followed by a cool summer breeze. It’s a lovely day outside. Spacey and deliciously lo-fi with a great sense of melody. It’s yet more evidence that Burger Records is one of the best labels putting out music right now. –Bryan Static (Burger, burgerrecords.org)


BRISTLES, THE:
Bigger than Punk: EP
Had to do a little poking around about this one ‘cause there’ve been a few bands that have gone under the “Bristles” moniker over the decades, and it turns out that this is, in fact the latest from the legendary Swedish hardcore act best known for the inclusion of their tune “Don’t Give Up” on MRR’s also-legendary Welcome to 1984 comp. After a number of years on hiatus, they’ve apparently again been active with most of the lineup intact since 2009 and have released a few other things as well. Very fuggin’ cool. They’re still mining an oi-influenced hardcore sound, with songs both zippy and anthemic, and lyrics that still attack the shittier aspects of modern life with a pointed directness too few bands of more recent vintage are willing. Great to hear an old Swedish come back so up on their game, and it’s especially fun that the album title is an homage of sorts to political hip hop gadflies Dead Prez. –Jimmy Alvarado (Heptown)


BORN WRONG:
Self-titled: EP
This is a crusher! Heavy music and heavy vocals to match. It sounds like the singer is trying to be as loud as the amps. Fast and gnarled-out hardcore punk that hits like a truck. Also, despite all the bashing that is going on in the music, they throw in some catchy parts to keep you interested. As soon as the song “Torch the Place” starts, you are mowed over by their sonic attack. The playing is tight and urgent, and the vocalist has an axe to grind with the world. Not to mention there is a lock groove on here to piss you or the neighbors off. Excellent blast of the fast and heavy kind. –Matt Average (Schizophrenic, schizophrenicrex.com)


BLOCKO:
South London Vs the World: 2 x CD
There are bands that take up places in ones memory like the smell of the London Underground or pub carpets at opening time. They are of a place and a time and as soon as you hear them you are instantly taken back as if it were yesterday. No-one needs to hear about my past, but in 1999 I was living in London with my wife who was transplanted from the U.S.A after I was rudely deported and we were missing her home and wishing the U.K wasn’t so crap. During that period we listened to and loved our homegrown talent (however few and far between it was), bands like Southport, Leatherface, Hard Skin, and South London’s own Blocko. They took the very English sound of bands like Leatherface, Drive, and Broccoli and added just a dash of the Gainesville “emo,” if that’s the right word (think Hot Water Music). It’s hard for me to gauge this double disc with any kind of impartiality, just to say if you want to collect the LP, mini LP, and numerous split records of this London staple from 1999–2003 then it’s more than worth the admission price. Props to Aston at Boss Tuneage for continually archiving my memories. –Tim Brooks (Boss Tuneage, bosstuneage.com)


BLESSED STATE:
Self-titled: Cassette
Mid-paced revolution summer-style hardcore which makes use of the same effects pedal that Criminal Code had previously been the only ones to pull off correctly. Add a dash of Dag Nasty, a pinch of Swiz, stir over a high flame and watch the contents boil over: particularly on the final track, “E for Effort.” Goddamn, I say, goddamn! Fans of Give (raises hand!) ought to get in touch, post-haste. –Juan Espinosa (Blessed State self-released, blessedstate413@gmail.com, blessedstatema.bandcamp.com)


BLASTED:
Exposed/Time to Die: 7" EP
My first impression was that there was a lot of Midwestern hardcore influence here. After repeated listens, though, I’m leaning a bit more towards a mid-’80s Southern California foundation with a bit of that Midwestern brute force brought in through the windows. Gruff vocals, gallop tempos, muscley delivery, this’ll definitely rattle your cage –Jimmy Alvarado (Dry Heave, dryheaverecords.limitedrun.com)


BLACKBIRD RAUM:
False Weavers: LP
Before even throwing this platter on the turntable, I’m struck by the intricate pen drawings that span its cover. A giant wolf and Cthulhu tree people lay a city to waste as methane and smoke plume from crumbled buildings; a military troop struggle for ground. Like the musical accompaniment to a fantasy novel, a fold-out map duplicates the cover’s preternatural bent with a crisp, detailed topography. The map loosely corresponds to tracks listing an actual HakimBay and Kropotkingrad, as well as The River of Filth and Fukushima Hulk, depicting a depressing crater. Raum amplifies the theme of rebellious hobbits taking part in anarchic revolution with liner notes quoting pieces on the French Anarchist Revolution to Michael Moorcock. Like anything off Arkam records, this five-piece employs a menagerie of folk punk instrumentations with washtub bass, pump organ, washboard and saw, plus novelties like a pump action shot gun and bouzouki. Vacillating between male and female vocals, “False Weavers” pulls in Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman” with mandolin and female vocals in the spotlight, while “The Greymare parts 1, 2 & 3” are melodic, rapid-fire spoken word anthems, like a Henry Rollins record set on 45 RPM. Recommended. –Kristen K (Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club)


BILL BONDSMEN:
“Dead” / “Peasant under Glass”: 7"
Not to make this too Detroit-regional, but take the belt-whipping of Negative Approach (buckle at the biting end), expose your back under the dim, disorienting fluorescent light of Cleveland’s Homostupids, then feel the sting and the blood trickle down the back of your legs onto the plastic sheet. Bruised, pained music the color of dead fields, the sky before an earthquake, and wounds that never heal back to their original shape. Intense, splintering, exact, splattery, and penetrating. It’s hardcore. It’s progressive. Silk-screened cover. Released by the band. It’s highly recommended. –Todd Taylor (Self-released, billbondsmen.blogspot.com)


BAZOOKA:
Self-titled: CD
Like labelmates Acid Baby Jesus, Bazooka takes the garage punk thang and dunks it into a deep vat of LSD, combining the usual trappings—loud guitars, stomping drums—with a thick coating of reverb and a healthy reverence for early Pink Floyd. Diehards clutching their Supercharger 45s and lamenting the days before the Mummies “sold out” by releasing a CD might pooh-pooh ‘em, but the more rational will find Bazooka can make a fine racket with the best of ‘em. –Jimmy Alvarado (Slovenly)


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