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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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RIPE, THE:
Into Your Ears: CD
It’d be easy to just write these kids off for wearing their influences on their sleeves—things start off on a sixties fuzz vibe, then stretch out to include some unabashed Love worship, appropriated snatches of Abba choruses and whispers of Undertones anthems, bits of Beatles ‘n’ Monkees, power pop, Creedence riffing and spaghetti-western tinged indie rock mix-n-matched in gleeful abandon—but the resulting tunes somehow work so well on their own terms that they manage to make all the wanton plundering irrelevant. The vibe is fairly laid back throughout. They sound like they buy wholly into what they’re doing, and they do it all quite well. –Jimmy Alvarado (Get Hip)


RAD COMPANY / DISCRETIONS:
I Won’t Be Home for New Years: 7”
Rad Company: Rad Company plays that style of Screeching Weasel pop punk that everyone loves. Gritty, quick, but with those pop sensibilities that drive the kids wild. Hot off the heels of their split LP with Ex-Boyfriends, Rad Company are still churning out a consistent repertoire of dirty punk anthems. Discretions: Running the gambit from dirty pop punk to powerviolence to skate rock, Discretions are a bit less produced than their splitmates. Their songs can shift tempos at a drop of hat, resulting in songs that have qualities not unlike an opera. Unpredictable in a good way. –Bryan Static (Rad Girlfriend)


PREVENGE / DIG IT UP:
Split: 7”
Prevenge: Gruff, D4-ish punk from Canada. “Buried Alive” is the jam on this side. Ultimately, there’s nothing to really set these dudes apart from the legion of folks rockin’ this style but they’re totally solid in what they do. Dig It Up: Kinda more hardcorish, with guitar solos and pretty rad hollerin’ vocals. Bet they’d be fun live. My only complaint with them is the songs seem to drag on a little long. The cover art for this 7” looks great and the booklet is really well done, too. Apparently, there’s a limited amount on white vinyl, but folks’ve probably already snatched those bad boys up. –Ryan Horky (Pavones, pavonesrecords.bandcamp.com)


POW WOWS:
Nightmare Soda: CD
Sloppy, plodding garage rock with a bit of indie-tinge to make it a wee bit more annoying than the rest of the pack. –Jimmy Alvarado (Get Hip)


POPULATION:
Artifacts: 7” EP
Contrary to what is apparently popular belief, and all too often seems common practice in the modern era, punks in the earliest periods didn’t limit their exposure and efforts to these preconceived, rigid pigeonholes—and those who did usually moved on in short order to whatever next bullshit trend was just up the road. Doesn’t take much searchin’ to find flyers or adverts with what would today be inconceivable gig lineups: a Black Flag, Social Distortion, and Top Jimmy & The Rhythm Pigs bill was just as prone to occur as the bassist for über-thrashers Wasted Youth moonlighting with tribal desert-tinged artpunk merchants SavageRepublic. Those with any sense knew, and know, to expand their tastes, not be afraid to step outside of their comfort zones and strive to find new ways to raise a ruckus. What you have here is some Chicago hardcore cats doin’ just that, in this case tradin’ in 1-2-1-2 hyper-speed drum beats for loping bass lines and more atmospheric climes. Their influences are right up front—post-punk, early U.S. death rock, U.K. goth, Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division—but they deliver three solid tunes that stand on their own merits, retaining some punk edge amidst slower, dance-friendly beats that don’t rely on barre chord barrages. This is a great opening salvo as far as debut releases go, and here’s hoping a full-length isn’t too far off in the distance. –Jimmy Alvarado (BLVD)


POPPETS:
“1+1=2” b/w “Poolside Fun at Michaels”: 7”
One of my professors had a story he quoted a few times about a friend who told him “only trust rock’n’roll from Scandinavia.” I have no idea why this statement is so accurate, but it holds true under a variety of testing. Sweden’s Poppets hold up the tradition pretty well, I say. Within this debut single, we have poppy garage punk somewhere between the likes of King Tuff and Japanther. The same pop sensibilities that showed themselves in the solo Jay Reatard albums are also front and center, although their mechanical steadiness is made by an actual machine. A drum machine! How novel! For a debut single, this is incredibly promising. I have high hopes. –Bryan Static (Windian)


POLICE BASTARD / WAR//PLAGUE:
Attrition: Split: LP
Both bands are on the political thrash/crust tip, with lyrics about genetic engineering, religion, etc. War//Plague is the more metal influenced of the two, with chugga-chugga riffage, grandiose arrangements, and an apocalyptic bent to the whole proceedings, while Police Bastard are more straightforward, and even offer up Rudimentary Peni and Mob covers. –Jimmy Alvarado (Profane Existence)


POISON PLANET:
Boycott Everything: LP
This previously came out on 7” in Europe, and the domestic version was cut onto a one-sided LP. From a sonic standpoint, this band almost seems to have skipped the last twenty-five years of hardcore. The band’s sound is culled from the whole gamut of ‘80s hardcore. The guitar frills on “Liquor Flesh Trade” are from Dead Kennedys, and the breakdown on “Tidal Leveling” is from Black Flag; but a ton of other influences come up, from Project X to Articles Of Faith. This is music by hardcore nerds, for hardcore nerds. The politics are the driving force behind the band, and the expanded format works better aesthetically for the visual aspect of the release. The cover art does look better on a larger format, and the reading materials are handy in the 12” spread. –Ian Wise (Not Normal, notnormaltapes.blogspot.com)


POISON IDEA:
Pick Your King: 7” EP
TKO Records celebrates another record store day with another amazing Poison Idea reissue. This time we have the Pick Your King EP pressed on clear vinyl. Chances are that if you are reading this magazine, you know the importance of this band, this record in particular. It doesn’t get much better than this. Essential hardcore. I can’t wait until the next PI reissue! –Ty Stranglehold (TKO)


PINS OF LIGHT:
II: CD
Imagine Lemmy from Motörhead fronting a new band that was influenced by Motörhead and more recent bands like Comets On Fire, Fu Manchu, Hellacopters, and the sort. Guitar rock without the theatrics of the past. The music is hard-driving, propelled by a drummer that hits hard, fast, and precise. For the most part, the songs are straight to the point, but on “Sound & Pressure” they go off into a more prog psych realm- a long buildup from rumbling drums, the bass keeps the tension, and the guitar melts and reforms at varying intervals. The song ends up being more of a jam, and while I do like it, I was hoping they would go even further into the psych side of things. Overall, this album is pretty good, but I think they could do better by adding a little more distortion and putting some dirt in the sound. –Matt Average (Alternative Tentacles, alternativetentacles.com)


PICK YOUR SIDE:
Let Me Show You How Democracy Works: LP
As mentioned in my Countdown To Oblivion review, Left For Dead was pivotal in my hardcore youth, as was Hamilton, Ontario’s Chokehold, both of which featured known troublemaker Jeff Beckman on guitar. A few years back, Beckman became somewhat infamous in the underground hardcore scene fronting the band Haymaker, whose live antics were more-often-than-not described as violent, dangerous, and totally furious. Pick Your Side is Beckman’s new-ish project, and with his very distinct “high growl” vocal style and fast, simple, brutal hardcore base, Haymaker comparisons are both inevitable and accurate. But I’m not complaining. Vicious hardcore with venomous lyrics that still seem so right out of Hamilton to me. That city just breeds rage, no doubt. –Dave Williams (A389 Recordings, a389records.com)


PENNY WINBLOOD:
Self-titled: CD
Six years in the making, (recorded back in 2006!), Penny Winblood’s self-titled album was well worth the wait. This guitar/drummer duo churns out a storm of fuzzy, abrasive noise rock/post-hardcore that I was in love with from the first track. Sudden changes, from mellow riffs and soft fuzz to raging and blazing riffs, kept me rocking hard throughout. Dual female/male vocals, both alternating between singing and shouting, fit perfectly with the back and forth of the intensity present in the music. Highly recommended. –Paul J. Comeau (Forge)


PAT TODD & THE RANK OUTSIDERS:
Don’t Worry ‘bout Me Baby: 7”
As can be expected from the former lead singer of the late, great Lazy Cowgirls, this thing just oozes swagger. The title track is a thick slice of bluesy rock with enough swing in its giddyup to satisfy any fan of Thunders-derived rock/punk, while the flip, “Idle Time,” is a country-inflected acoustic ditty that showcases Mr. Todd’s rootsy foundation. Good stuff all the way ‘round. –Jimmy Alvarado (Cutthroat)


PARLOR:
Life Stays Great: 7”
Parlor are a paradox. Parlor play with spastic energy, but are stop-on-a-dime tight. Parlor incorporate the tropes of surf and ‘60s garage into their sound, but come off totally original. Parlor make technical parts sound simple. Parlor make weird song structures come off as pop hits. Parlor’s record turns itself over and when it starts again, the songs sound new. –CT Terry (Let’s Pretend/Houseplant, letspretendrecords.com)


PAPER BAGS:
II: 7”
Four great blasts of snotty punk rock. I’d expect nothing less from No Front Teeth. A ripping cover of The Tragics “Mommi I’m a Misfit” and a singalong reminiscent of something from Peter And The Test Tube Babies. I’m sold. Now I have to go back and find their first single. –Ty Stranglehold (No Front Teeth)


OSK:
Wretched Existence/Bleak Future 2007-2010: CD
My appreciation for the lion’s share of grindcore withered away relatively quickly, mainly due to the fact that so much of it was so poorly recorded and comprised of limited variations on the same template, resulting in entire slabs of wax with thirty-five tracks of the same cats playing as fast as possible while some other cat yowls in exactly the same fashion track after track. Very small doses and I’m down with it; any longer, it all becomes a faceless blur, and I want a bit more from any extended listening experience. Though much of what’s here falls well within the borders of “boogadaboogadaROOOAAARRRR” land, they have enough sense to change things up frequently enough so that individual songs and ideas can be discerned. The fact that it’s recorded cleanly enough to make out what the fuck’s going on just pushes it over into the “worth a listen” territory. –Jimmy Alvarado (To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com)


OFF!:
Self-titled: LP
Keith Morris is still an angry, angry man. OFF! return with a new LP worth of material that is here to remind us that there was a time when hardcore wasn’t synonymous with metal riffs and basketball jerseys. This band is the perfect storm to pull this off. Every note played somehow matches the anger and urgency in Morris’s voice. Sure, there will always be detractors saying that this is a rehash of the glory days, but to that I’ve got to say that of all the guys who can claim to be there in the beginning, none of them are doing anything as good as this. Keep getting it out Keith, keep spitting your venom in the world’s face. –Ty Stranglehold (Vice, vicerecords.com)


NORMALS, THE:
Vacation to Nowhere: CD
Vacation to Nowhere is one of those enigmatic lost albums by an unknown band that makes punk rock so much fun. During their short career, The Normals officially released one seven-inch. Both of the songs on the single made the cut on volumes ten and seventeen of the legendary Killed by Death series. An album’s worth of material was recorded in 1979 before the great crash when record executives realized there was no money in punk and the term power pop was being delegated to describing Rick Springfield’s output. The album has languished, released many years later in a limited pressing. It has likely been passed around more than that, but Last Laugh Records has pressed a definitive document of the band that includes the two songs from the single, the album that never was, and a DVD of a live performance from 1980 that shows a fresh-faced band playing to a hometown crowd pumped with the knowledge that they were destined to go on rocking forever. You probably already know if this is something that would interest you, but I will elaborate by saying that this CD contains a solid block of high-energy power pop with catchy choruses. The vocals are delivered with a bit of Joey Ramone-itis. I would say I could live without the DVD, but its inclusion does not seem to affect the price of the package and the CD cover claims the footage was recovered at a garage sale. So I say thumbs up; I love a good story. This isn’t one of those albums being released because we are running out of old. This is way essential. –Billups Allen (Last Laugh)


NOMAD:
Self-titled: 7” EP
No fibbin’, first words out of my mouth soon as this got goin’: “Holy shit.” From what I can gather, these kids hail from NY, but the song titles appear Japanese and they sound like Discharge as interpreted by Disorder, equaling one helluva glorious racket bein’ made here. Dunno if I’d be so quick to dump ‘em into the “dis-core” pile, but this is definitely prime fodder for permanently fucking up your hearing. –Jimmy Alvarado (Katorga Works)


NOISE BY NUMBERS / THE MAGNIFICENT:
Split: 7” EP
Noise by Numbers: Some wicked good pop punk here, all Hüsker sheen and Replacements hooks slathered over some well-structured and catchy-as-hell tunes. Truly surprised this band ain’t all over the radio. The Magnificent: I wouldn’t lay any money down, but I’m pretty sure these are different versions of a couple of songs that appeared on their most recent long player. No matter, as the tunes on their own are two more great examples of what these guys do best, namely crank out memorable, anthemic punk tunes that skirt the fine line between pop punk and more oi-influenced “street” fare. Kick ass split, this one. –Jimmy Alvarado (Solidarity, solidarityrecordings.com)


NOBUNNY:
The Maximum Rock’n’Roll EP: 7”
A record taking the piss out of Maximum Rock’n’Roll in 2012? Perhaps it would be timelier if this EP was poking fun at Terminal Boredom. Now those cats are some kind of uptight! Mr. Nobunny makes his punkest record yet, making me think of when The Queers took a break from their Ramones worship and re-visited their harsher roots. Then I think about a discussion I had with a friend who said Nobunny is the last of the Budget Rockers and I said Nobunny is actually pop punk. Discuss on, Termbo. –Sal Lucci (Goner)


NO POWER:
No Axis: EP
Super f’n blown-out stuff here. It’s as though they hit the studio and cranked everything up as loud as it could go. If you like White Guilt, Yodokai, and bands of that nature, then you’ll like No Power. Distortion forever. It sounds like the guitars are being played and flayed with jagged shards of metal, whereas the vocals are recorded in a large, empty warehouse (such as the song “Soundwave”), and the drums are akin to small explosions just powerful enough blow out chunks of wall and pavement. The sound is pushed into the red and hurled at a reckless speed that eventually collects and washes out into a void. Passive listens and all you’re going to hear is a wall of white noise. But if you take the time, you’ll hear the song underneath, revealing its changes along with the percussion and low end that give it all definition. Ears are ringing! –Matt Average (Self Aware, selfawarerecords.com, Inkblot, sam@inkblotrecords.net)


NO MORE ART:
“Peripeteia” b/w “Evil Eye": 7”
No More Art might be from Hamburg, Germany, but they sound like they’re from L.A. circa 1980. Very pretty female vocals are the driving force here, with a super punchy, almost tinny background behind it. This single is a total charmer. The vocals are going to lead to a lot of X comparisons, but it’s more like a female-fronted, European version of Adolescents. No More Art has this record and other recordings available free of charge on their site, but don’t be a dick. Buy the vinyl! –Art Ettinger (New Dark Age, newdarkagerecords.bigcartel.com)


NICE FACE:
Horizon Fire: CD
Synth-driven punk slotted somewhere between Devo and Fast Forward, with varying results. I have to confess, it took repeated listens to slightly warm to this album. The majority of the songs lean toward the poppier side, and then there’s a slow, dancey type song like “Asymptotes II” that brings to mind Beautiful Skin and !!!. Songs like “You’re So Dramatic” have a snotty and hyper energy that is parallel to what is traditionally referred to as “KBD” punk, and it’s nice to hear this style executed in a less traditional manner. I find myself preferring the darker side on here, with the instrumental “March of the Cosmic Men,” the aforementioned “Asymptotes II,” and “Shaman” with its shimmery guitar and lurking rhythm. The one thing this album has a problem with is establishing a mood and keeping it. One moment it’s dark and sort of creepy, then suddenly it’s bright, loud, and poppy. Paced properly, such a style can be successful. But when it’s as manic as this, it’s kind of hard to fully get into and enjoy any nuances in the music. –Matt Average (Hozac, hozacrecords.com)


NERVOUS CURTAINS:
Fake Infinity: LP
Horrible shit. Poppy synth that makes stuff like ColdCave sound edgy. This is rife with pretentious lyrics, dull songs, and the rest. Someone call the EPA and alert them that another waste of petroleum has been dumped into our environment. They can either stop it at the record label or head to any record shop dollar bin. –Matt Average (Latest Flame, latestflame.com)


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