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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Crack Rock City: CD
This is a compilation of Michigan punk bands. I have lived in Michigan for most of my life and have been very involved with live rock music for the last fifteen years or so. I have only ever heard of four (out of twenty!) of these artists. I’ve only seen two live. Either I’m blowing it or these guys are pretty obscure. Most of the stuff on here is pretty bad hardcore punk with no real tunes. It also includes my absolute least favorite band from our state, Ouch Me Arse. So, Todd, if you’re the one who sends me my review materials, you owe me for sending me a CD full of the worst bands my state has to offer. I wasted a whole afternoon listening to this garbage and writing this review, and our local record store won’t even buy it from me. (They laughed at me!) –Ryan Horky (Class Struggle, mmc-nhc.tk)

Self-titled: LP
What you get here is some speedy garage-y punk from this Seattle band that was around in the late ‘90s/turn of the century. The Vaccines had a track on a Junk Records compilation way back when and they fit right in with the aesthetic of that label. This LP is packaged beautifully, with a full-color eight page booklet and a huge poster to go alongside the colored vinyl. The whole thing appears to be a real labor of love for all involved. The band played all the local haunts and shared stages with everyone from Fear to Valentine Killers to The Bulemics. Fans of the Weaklings, Electric Frankenstein, Zeke, and the like would find a whole lot to like with the Vaccines. –Mike Frame (Wolf Dog)

Covered: 7” EP
I’m a fan. I’m a fan of contemporary, not-the-same bands sharing splits. I’m a fan of said bands covering one another’s songs. Bands are often the biggest fans of other bands. And what better way to show that appreciation than a cover and sharing intimate space on the surface of all holies, the 7”? Vacation Bible School: I’m almost willing to risk a free punch in a dark parking lot without retaliation that at least one of the following is true: one of the guys in the band owns a Rivethead record, one has seriously contemplated a Screeching Weasel tattoo, one has filled in for the Copyrights, or that they’ve hung out shirtless with the Sass Dragons. (All positives in my book.) The God Damn Doo Wop Band: Ladies, not since Grease has cute equaled tough so perfectly. Booted switchblades, crinoline, hand claps, and—what’s it called?—in-tune singing with lots of parts. Where are my pants? Oh, they’ve been charmed right off me again. Damn it. So good. –Todd Taylor (Traffic Street)

Butchers of Warfare: LP
Did not know that this band from Montreal existed back in the mid ‘80s. With only one 7” under their belt before their demise, it just didn’t cross my radar. Looking at the insert, they have a good amount of shows under their belt from that time period, playing with the likes of MDC, GBH, Discharge, and Dead Kennedys. Not sure what the 7” sounds like, but from what I hear on this LP, they sound like they held their own. Heavily influenced by the U.K. scene, I hear a strong influence of GBH meets the Varukers while adding their touch of metallic guitar into the mix. This resurrection features two original members with the assistance of members from the band Inepsy. A solid release that a newcomer like me would have never guessed was a reformation band. From what I have seen locally in reformations, I would have not given this a chance. –Donofthedead (Schizophrenic)

Cracked Love and Other Drugs + Self-titled: CD + EP
I’m probably gonna catch hell for saying so, but these kids sound to me like they’ve been dipping their toes into the same cesspools as Mudhoney back before the whole grunge shit blew up in everyone’s faces and the major labels started throwing money around like syphilis. Meld catchy hooks, occasionally sludgy tempos, howling guitars, and a sneaky pop sensibility that has hints of the ‘60s around the edges and you’ve got yourself a party. –Jimmy Alvarado (Hardly Art)

Demo: Cassette
Stumbled upon this tape, which is kind of thrashy, without really coming off as hardcore. Think like earlier/less technical I Farm, with a little San Pedro-esque weirdness substituted for math rock. Plus, there’s a hint of bands like God Hates Computers. Good stuff, and while I am a fan of books, I disagree with the old “kill your TV” sentiment, and instead suggest checking out something that’s actually well written (like Monk), instead of just watching something awful (like Jersey Shore) “ironically.” –Joe Evans III (Self Released)

Stop Wasting My Time: Split 7”
These two very Midwestern pop punk bands from Wisconsin both totally kick ass. Having lived there for three years, I can with confidence describe Wisconsin as one of the most fucked-up, white bread places in this already shady country. But being around such oppression means the kids into cool music are all the more excited, giving each town a feisty basement scene. Transgressions play very D4-influenced melodic punk with Side Project taking a more Ramones-ish approach. The Transgressions side of the split is slightly stronger, with dynamite production and searing vocals. I wish Transgressions were playing when I lived in Madison. The cover sleeve features a tattered Pizza Pit (a repugnant, yet lovable WI/IA chain) box, taking me back to the land of beer and cheese. I’m feeling it. –Art Ettinger (Traffic Street, trafficstreetrecords.com)

“Retiree” b/w “Meds II”: 7”
Eddy Current Suppression Ring is the sum of its parts. One of those parts is guitarist Mikey Young, who has a staggering comprehension of a wide spectrum of lesser-celebrated music. In Total Control, he pairs up with fellow Australian, DX (UV Race). Total Control presents itself as a stripped-down, dark-sounding synthesizer constricting robot-claustrophobic voice effects, powered along by a hard-working drum machine. It doesn’t sound like a dalliance but a collaboration well aware of the most biting and cynical early Devo tracks and the sonic plague that Suicide attempted to inject into every song. I have a feeling that if this wasn’t a 7”, these songs could have gone on for half an hour apiece. I’m glad it’s a 7”. –Todd Taylor (Iron Lung)

Cemetery Wolven Ritual: Split CD
What do you want to learn about when you listen to music? Do you want to learn about labor disputes that took place decades ago? Political struggles in countries you can’t even afford a plane ticket to? Hell no (actually, you probably do, and I do too, but just go along with me here, okay?), you want to learn about monsters! On this CD, Dawn Of Wolves teaches about the Rusalka (although they spell it Rasalka), gorgeous fish-women from Slavic mythology that lured men in with songs before drowning them (or tickling them to death, if you believe wikipedia, which you shouldn’t). Tombstalker’s death metal is a good match for DOW’s, but their educatin’ leaves something to be desired. –MP Johnson (Pragmatic)

I’m on a Hunt!: 7”
Dirty proto punk inspired racket from Timmy Vulgar and co-conspirators. The A side, and title track of this single, is a rough and filthy-sounding mid-tempo song. A smidge of the New York Dolls, a tad of the Heartbreakers, and topped off with some early Cleveland belligerence. It starts off with a lurching pace then transitions to a faster gait that raises the energy level. I really like the guitar sound here. Johnny Thunders meets Keith Richards—bluesy and cutting at the same time. The B side, “Don’t Forget You Pretty Stare,” slows things down and changes the tone to something slightly more reflective, and yet they throw in the line, “Don’t forget your underwear!” Two songs to give you a taste. I find I need a little more. How about an EP or even an LP next time? –Matt Average (Douchemaster, douchemasterrecords.blogspot.com)

Self-titled: 7”
Unabashed noise rock mongering here, with lotsa screamin’, sludgy beats, and thuddin’ guitars aplenty. If you’re lookin’ for something to whistle while you’re workin’, what you’re gonna get here is the aural equivalent of what you feel when the boss munches on your ass over dumb shit. –Jimmy Alvarado (Tigon)

Tegelsten för Tegelsten: 7” EP
Thrashy Swedish hardcore that eschews the expected Discharge template in favor of ringing chords, varied tempos, and a bit more texture to the tunes. Very nice work. –Jimmy Alvarado (Sorry State)

Self-titled: 12”
Sydney, Australia’s T.H.U.G. play hard oi, like something out of the early 1980s U.K. skin scene. Inspired more by bands like Combat 84 than the softer sounds that preceded them or the faster sounds that succeeded them, this is some seriously rough stuff. The violent lyrics are clearly tongue in check, making this almost seem like a parody record at times. But the music is so seriously kick-ass, that it doesn’t matter if they’re for real or not. Especially notable is the song “69,” preaching about how old skins should let the kids take over: “Don’t worry about 69 / kids now days they’re doing fine.” It’s hilarious, rocking records like this one that us fans of thuggy punk live for. –Art Ettinger (Rock ‘N’ Roll Disgrace, rnrdisgrace.com)

The Ocean in Black and White: LP
I really like the vocals on this album. It’s a perfect mix between the vocals of bands like City Of Caterpillar and Blood Brothers. This is intense and experimental hardcore which can go from full blast to a crawl without losing an ounce of intensity. This is some of the most intense stuff I’ve heard in a while, with some awesome blast beats. My only complaint would be the sound clips which start out cool but eventually get too prevalent and time consuming; also, loop tracks with annoying sounds are not cool. That being said, it’s always great to see this side of hardcore, as opposed to so much stereotypical chugga chugga cheesy jock crap. This rules! Check it out and pick it up. –Rene Navarro (End Theory, endtheoryrecords.com)

Self-titled: 7” EP
I watch a dog show, on average, once a year. There are “best of breed” selections, and then a “best of show.” It’s funny stuff: dressed-up grownups cupping dogs’ balls; over-groomed dogs that have been bred for generations to have the “best” characteristics of that dog’s “dogginess.” It’s like the Warped Tour for canines: lots of hair products, lots of strutting. It’s a world I’m alien to. That’s Incredible is nothing like any of those dogs on those fancy, well-lit stages. I’m so not saying That’s Incredible are mutts. I’m saying that That’s Incredible is the best possible scenario if elements and strains of the Soviettes, Toys That Kill, Dick Army, and Killer Dreamer got together and started bashing away: four songs of loveable, fiercely loyal, dedicated, scrappy, melodic DIY punk. They’re comforting echoes of their previous and still-running bands. It’s sorta expected, but in an impressive way, like catching a Frisbee way above your height over and over again like it’s no big thing, and then bringing it back all slobbery and partially chewed. –Todd Taylor (It’s Alive)

Losers of the 93/KHJ Battle of the Bands: 7”
The packaging for the split 7” purports itself to be losing entries from a radio station’s battle of the bands contest. Fitting the theme, both the Teutonics and The Jinxes flaunt their musical amateurism for two songs respectively, but also have some charm and melody backing up their crudely crafted sounds. The Teutonics sort of remind me of the Trashies sans the keyboard and are goofy as fuck mid-‘60s garage rock. The cheesy baseball organ intro on the Jinxes first song alienated me early on, but as soon as the guitars cranked into a gallop I grew fond of what they were doing. Both songs sound like they were recorded in a bathroom on a boombox, but it fits this vinyl celebration of primitive garage rock to a T. –Jake Shut (Boss Hoss)

A Rhythm in the Cages: CD
Folk punk has gotten out of hand lately. What once was a rare and unique thing has become the cringe-worthy genre that every band now feels obligated to go into at least once per record. Yes, it’s the ‘00s version of ska. So, yeah, The Taxpayers are a folk punk band, but they have an energy about them that makes them strange and that works for me. I say give this record a try. It’s free over at quoteunquoterecords.com. That’s the spirit. –Bryan Static (Useless State, useless-state.com)

Aggrophobia: LP
Reissue of the debut LP by this English band, limited to 500 copies. Apparently not released on vinyl before, fans of U.K. punk, pub rock, and oi will find a whole lot to like with Superyob. According to the band, this is the original mix of the album, rather than the one that was released previously. The band is fairly diverse as street punk goes, reminding me of everyone from Vanilla Muffins to Cock Sparrer. Melodic but tough street punk is the order of the day here and the band ably pulls it off. –Mike Frame (Rock N Roll Disgrace)

Same Thoughts, Different Day: 2 x 12”
A few years ago when Vancouver’s Subhumans came out of retirement with their amazing New Dark Age Parade record, the questions immediately arose about reissuing their back catalog. Last year, they released Death Was Too Kind, which was a compilation of their early singles. Great, for sure, but the real hunger remained for the band’s debut LP, Incorrect Thoughts. What was the hold up? Well, it seems that in the thirty-plus years since its release a now-defunct California record label (CD Presents) is claiming ownership of the record, even though the band has never dealt with the label and has never been paid by them. Surely the band could have taken the label to court, but why not spend their time and money re-recording the classic record and releasing that instead? Well, right off the bat, this kind of thing makes me nervous. That record captures a certain time and place, and I wasn’t sure that it could be recreated faithfully. I was wrong. The new recordings are amazing in how they bring through the energy of the originals. I guess it goes to prove the strength of the songs. I’ll admit there are slight differences that threw me off at first. A note here and there are changed, but it works. The production is great and from start to finish this record proves that these guys haven’t lost a bit of their edge or talent. Now the reason that it says “2 x 12” in the header is that this is a double record, but it’s not a double LP. The first disc is the re-recorded Incorrect Thoughts in its entirety and the second platter is a 12” single featuring a few songs from the same era as Incorrect Thoughts but were never recorded before. Also amazing, I might add. I know that I’m a bit of a fanboy when it comes to The Subhumans, but if you’re reading this you probably already know how important the original record is in Canadian (if not worldwide) punk rock history. I can tell you that the record is back, lyrically as relevant as ever, and sounds great! –Ty Stranglehold (Alternative Tentacles)

Split: 7”
What a friggin’ world. The guys from For Science and The Ergs! are playing hardcore and the guys in ANS and Seasick (New Jersey) are playing pop punk? And Dirtnap is releasing the hardcore and Cowabunga is releasing the pop punk? Funny times. Good thing it’s best just to not think so much about it and enjoy the quality tunes. The new Stymie songs sound like the EP that could have been released after the Rivethead 12”: melodic, multi-vocalists punk rock with rockin’ change-ups and plenty of girth. Definitely advised for people who are losing their shit over The Brokedowns. Kicking Spit is also running on similar fuel, but with much more of an East Bay sound and some straight-up Radon vocals. That and the wicked guitar solos make for this split coming to a neck and neck tie all around. Splits don’t get much more well-rounded than this. –Daryl Gussin (Cowabunga)

Speed It Up: 7”
Real solid power pop from Canada (Steve is also in The Sedatives). Harmonic, peppy, cute, dots, stripes, lines, black and white, pogo vibes—your socks will stay on, but it’s a lot of fun and doesn’t wear out the welcome. –Speedway Randy (P Trash, ptrashrecords.com)

New People Make Us Nervous: 8-song LP
This is a re-issue of the getting-hard-to-find debut LP by Canada’s Statues. It’s firecrackery power pop and I stand by my previous (hugely positive) assessment that they’re the best Dilbert punk band on the planet. But I’d like to augment that with two other reference points. William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and The Who’s Quadrophenia: two well-known works that are examinations on class and, ultimately, indictments of greed and avarice perpetuated by that class structure. Piggy gets murdered. Ace Face’s Vespa is ghost ridden into the sea. Right below the surface action is a structure that has been in England for centuries and adopted by Canada. (They do share the same Queen.) It’s the mundane stuff that all slowly adds up to a boil, and the Statues have got its pulse: Standing in lines, separating fences, processing orders, satellites monitoring movements, bosses monitoring mistakes, the inability of technology itself to make human connections, telemarketing prompts during dinner, being forced or coerced to rate your own productivity on a scale of one to ten, and middle management scapegoats. It’s the death by a million little bites of modern middle class life preoccupied by the illusion that the ladder to a more fulfilling life is through making more money. And like both Lord and Quadrophenia, in New People Make Us Nervous there’s this tension, this impending snap; for the storm, for rebellion, for revolution, for the return to a natural state that doesn’t involve corporations in collaboration with the state. And that’s what the Statues sing about, so bouncily that you might miss it if you’re pumping your fist and spilling your beer. And that’s part of what makes The Statues so fuckin’ great. –Todd Taylor (Deranged)

This Sheltering Night: CD
I want to take this opportunity to pledge my undying love to the Deathwish Inc camp. Those cats consistently put out the best hardcore releases of every given year, and it just so happens that this year’s menu includes a fucking new Integrity LP, a new full-length from Bitter End—one of the best new-ish hardcore bands going—and, on top of those and scores of other top-notch titles, a fresh offering from one of the greatest hardcore (sorta) bands to ever grace the planet: Starkweather. The influence of Starkweather’s debut LP Crossbearer is inestimable. Converge, Overcast, Coalesce, etc… hell, nearly all of the hardcore “greats” of the last two decades have expressed debt to Starkweather’s unique brand of progressive metal/hardcore. After a lengthy lack of recorded output (ending with 1995’s Into the Wire) Starkweather returned in 2006 with Croatoan, an absolutely amazing double LP showcasing a new lineup and a complexity and proficiency only hinted at on earlier releases. This Sheltering Night continues in a similar vein, yet expanding on every element: intricacy, melody, production, everything. Rennie Resmini has never sounded so venomous (which, for those familiar, is quite an impressive feat) and the playing on this record is completely astounding. I could go on at (even longer) length about this band and this record, but put simply, if you are a fan of heavy hardcore and/or progressive metal, I implore you to check out this record and everything Starkweather has done before it. Essential. –Dave Williams (Deathwish, deathwishinc.com)

Self-titled: Cassette
Apparently, this guy is famous because of a sort of half association with Guided By Voices. Aside from being their roadie for a while, and appearing on one of their bootlegs, he is also the lead singer of the first Guided By Voices cover band. Of course, we’re all thinking, does the album sound anything like Guided by Voices? Well, kind of. If Guided By Voices used a lot more acoustic guitar and was sung by a guy who sounds like he’s the lead singer of a Guided By Voices cover band. I’m assuming if you use over a decade of your life to dedicate yourself to one band, it’s likely that their influence is going to sink in, no matter what kind of musical project you do. I guess what I’m trying to say is that in this guy’s head he has a set of tastes, or voices, by which he is clearly being guided. –Bryan Static (Burger, burgerrecords.webs.com)

Split: 7”
Side one is some impeccable Canadian hardcore by the Spastic Panthers. I was on their side before putting the needle on the record due to their hilarious artwork aping Body Count’s debut album, however the music greatly exceeded my expectations. They fit four songs of speedy early ‘80s hardcore on the A side and made me a fan despite the last song on their side being a dud, relatively speaking. The second side is ragged, poppy garage rock with female vocals by The Throwaways, also from Canada. Like the Spastic Panthers, they deliver four songs on their side with no songs over two minutes. Their standout track is “Pterodactyl Clap” which pulses and rages with aerial reptilian fury. In the simplest of terms, I like what these Canadians are up to. –Jake Shut (Handsome)

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