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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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So Dim: 7”
Guy-guitar girl-drums duo both singing dirty rad punk fucking rock. Real urgency inside the fuzz here. Back and forth singing works. Feedback with a good pounding speed. Brain F≠ (too sleepy right now to figure out the name) doesn’t invent anything, just rips. Two smoking songs here. They get in the office and get to business, then go home. –Speedway Randy (Grave Mistake, gravemistakerecords.blogspot.com)

Infinity in Its Infancy: LP
Boyish Charms is San Diegan Robbie Lawson (ex-Red Pony Clock) and Angeleno Cam Jones (ex-Finches). The two of them have built up a cult audience through the release of limited run cassettes and 7”s of bedroom recordings, with a sporadic show here and there over the last ten years or so. This new album is a bit of a departure and, perhaps, maturation of their sound. Where before I found the songs were a little too much guy-with-acoustic-guitar for me, they benefit from the assistance of playing with a full band, as well as the production of Roy Silverstein of Habitat Studios. The songs now show off with more vim and vigor than previous releases. They haven’t gone all Motörhead on us or anything, but they bring to mind quite nicely the catalog of grown-up punks cum indie rockers such as Pavement or Sebadoh. Naturally fluid vocals that show off wide range from both Robbie and Cam are excellent. There are also lots of buried layers. I recommend listening with headphones to pick up the flourishes of handclaps, cello, vibraphone, and other sonic surprises. This is a really great listen beginning to end. This comes with the highest recommendation. –Jeff Proctor (Talking Helps)

Split: 7”
In a split offering between two bands whose names were apparently chosen by picking a pair of random punk words out of a hat, Botox Rats make a fairly impressive showing by following a “Nervous Breakdown” riff with four measures of completely unexpected two-note saxophone, followed in turn by a song-long barrage of lunatic brain-damaged neo-Bob Stinson guitar lead wanking, because, you know, they feel things deeply and shit ((Bob Stinson continues to droolingly wail throughout the entirety of the song, which is good as far as communicating to the listener that WE ARE HERE TO ROCK AND SO ARE YOU, DAMMIT, although every so often you’d like to cuff him upside the head and make him cease for a tad)). While outright originality is perhaps not the band’s province, they do throw enough nifty bits in here, kitchen-sink style ((female backing vocals! Changing up the last note of the melody! Egads!)), that you gotta kinda admit it’s snottily impressive. Modern Action—presumably the sugar daddies behind this release—fare worse, with some kinda half-hearted anthem that doesn’t seem to know if it wants to titillate Earth’s latest soccer hooligan molecule or be a filler track on the Mr. Beautiful Presents ALL HARD compilation album. Packaged in a silkscreened brown paper bag for your protection. BEST SONG: Botox Rats, “Nasty Business” BEST SONG TITLE: Modern Action: “Drink To Win” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: This record comes on some kind of taffy colored vinyl but i am having a hard time isolating the flavor. –Rev. Norb (Modern Action)

Seriousness: CD
Stomping, bristling, bruising future primitivism with reverby, surfy, salty, windswept flourishes. They’re from the Midwest, so perhaps one of the first bands to meld surf sounds inside of hurricanes? The Blind Shake conjure up a future that’s failing, decaying, and breaking off in chunks: waves swelling with broken promises and chunks of TVs; cinematic rusty circuit boards of songs that are anxious, melodically abrasive, and lurking. The overall impression of Seriousness is a Brazil-style foreboding that all of these “technological advancements” are entrapments in alluring disguises and we’re listening to culture seriously rend itself apart. Great. If Servotron was that band that waged a war against humans, The Blind Shake are the shock troops. –Todd Taylor (Learning Curve)

Dark Energy: EP
Imagine bands like late-period Hüsker Dü, the Replacements, and early Soul Asylum mixed with the Plimsouls. “Pick at the Pieces” starts off the record with a decent rock vibe, then “Yr Light” changes the mood and flow from the previous song. The tempo is stop-go. The cover of Jethro Tull’s “Locomotive Breath” is filler. –Matt Average (Don Giovanni, dongiovannirecords.com)

DSR 126: 7” EP
This is a repress of this venerable DC band’s first single, originally released on Limp and reissued and expanded here. Side one features the original tracks, “Potential Suicide” and “Youth Crimes,” while side two boasts live versions of “America’s Youth” and “Killing Time.” Those not familiar with this band’s brand of mid-tempo punk/hardcore will find this serves as a nice taste tester, but be forewarned that it will result in your procuring and repeatedly playing their retrospective CD, Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda, until your pogo is pooped and your slam is, uh, slammed. These cats remain more than deserving of every accolade that’s been hurled in their direction, and then some. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dr. Strange)

The Minnesota: Mouth to Mouth: LP
Birthday Suits are a guitar and drums two-piece who do a lot with a little. The songs storm around from bratty shout-a-longs, to tongue-in-cheek rawkness, to the types of noodles that two friends come up with when screwing around in the garage. The whole record is super duper high energy and has that intangible quality where you can tell that they had a blast recording it. I’d love to see these guys live. Props for naming a song “Kinnickinnic.” I was just on that road in Milwaukee! Ex-members of Sweet JAP. –CT Terry (Learning Curve)

Skulls Rule – O.K?: CD
It seems somehow appropriate that I’m listening to Skulls Rule – O.K? and writing this review on May 21st, just before 6:00 pm—the day and time picked by God Expert Harry Camping for the Rapture to occur. Big Fuckin Skull is also is very concerned with apocalyptic visions, though their version of the End Time is very different from the Good Reverend’s. Instead of a peace-loving hippie coming down to Earth to move his dedicated flock to a dee-lux apartment in the sky, the eschatologists in BFS envision a homicidal snapping turtle of an enormous skull that comes to Earth to devour humans like so many Hot Pockets stuffed with blood and guts, stopping only briefly to pick the arms and legs out of its teeth. And as I sit here, so close to Judgement Day, I can’t help but wonder: What Would Jesus Do if he found me here at Rapture Time listening to Big Fuckin Skull? For one thing, Jesus might not care for the salty language used by lead vocalist Rafe Torso in every single line of every single song on this disc. Mr. Torso is without question the King of the F-Bomb, far surpassing even greats like Casey Kasem and ex-Vikings coach Jerry Burns. Musically, Big Fuckin Skull is not something that Rev. Camping is likely to cotton to either. It’s like the bastard spawn of Danzig and street punk, with compressed metal-sounding guitars, oddly happy-go-lucky melodies, Misfits-style “whoa-oh-oh” choruses and an unflagging, OCD-like obsession with blood-thirsty, rampaging winged skulls. After one listen you’ll wonder if there ever has been a band whose name so completely and utterly encapsulates not only the spirit of the band but their entire lyrical output as well. Possibly Jud-Jud. But is BFS’s menacing stance to be feared or laughed at? I think I know how my mom would answer that, but I think they tip their hand when they lyrically reference “Ernest” of Hey Vern, It’s Ernest fame. Plus, their skulls all have eyebrows and in the Skull World that’s akin to wearing those plastic penis-nose glasses. So how serious can they really be about trying to be scary? Some people might dismiss this band as sophomoric Misfits-aping, a mere attempt to out-Misfits the Misfits. And there is some undeniable truth to that. BFS is to the Misfits and Samhain what Guitar Wolf is to the Ramones. They both take the older bands’ already existing cartoonishness and turn it up so many more notches and in a manner so breathtakingly immature, it’s a thing of disgusting beauty. So if you decide to pick up a copy of Skulls Rule – O,K? just be aware that the chances are very good that your girlfriend is going to hate, hate, HATE this with all her American Idol-loving guts. And friends will probably think you’re a halfwit with questionable tastes for listening to it. Owning this CD, you’re likely to be regarded with the same dim view given to someone harboring fugitives—because you’ll swear this was done by a bunch of antisocial miscreants locked away in a juvie hall somewhere on grave robbing and necrophilia charges. But I’ll say this for Big Fuckin Skull: they are so unapologetically and unflinchingly tasteless and unconcerned with being perceived as “out of step” or “lowbrow” that it borders on genuine sociopathy. And I tip my devilock to them for that. If William Blake was right about the “road of excess leading to the palace of wisdom,” then there’s something very fucking wise happening here. And in our world currently weighted down with gigantic planet-engulfing turd-pies like Reverend Camping and Justin Bieber, it is wisdom badly fucking needed. –Aphid Peewit (bigfuckinskull.net)

Big Funk: 7”
Give me half an hour and I wouldn’t be anywhere close to telling you how fantastic the Big Boys were. Big Crux hold the Big Boys in the same high esteem. Funk punk is such a double diamond-dangerous slippery slope into a world where people wear Cat in the Hat hats and wiggle glow sticks above their heads. Big Crux have got the chops and the heart to make me fondly remember the Big Boys, much like Giant Haystacks did for the Minutemen. Not a rip. Not a photocopy. An homage, a new take, and songs that stand on their own if you’ve never hear of the Big Boys. Tim Kerr did the fantastic cover art. –Todd Taylor (Iron Lung, lifeironlungdeath.blogspot.com, bigcrux@gmail.com, ironlunrecords@hotmail.com)

Self-titled : 7” EP
Concept records, let alone concept bands, are hard to pull off without looking like a ninny or ending up with something, oh, less than stellar. That said, these guys manage to pull both off and come out the other end relatively unscathed. They’re essentially a hardcore band whose interests here are limited solely to the pursuits referenced in their name, and there is no shortage of discussion here of either. This could’ve been one big stupid mess, but they’re luckily blessed with solid tunes and they deliver ‘em with skill. Will this change the world and bring peace to all nations? Probably not, but I can totally get behind the sentiments expressed in “Some People Don’t Deserve Cable.” –Jimmy Alvarado (Beer & Cable, myspace.com/beerandcable)

Nailed Shut: EP
Ker-fuckin’-pow! This record is great! Bear Trap crank out some heavy and fast hardcore; hitting hard as hell on all fronts. Every single song is full-on. They have the right amount of low end to give the music a crushing weight and the singer sounds like he’s near rabid. The songs race by in a near blur, and they crack the odometer in the speed rating. Sixteen blasts of pure aggression. I wonder how these guys are live. Do they play with the same intensity, from song to song without a break? Bring the band to California please! –Matt Average (To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com)

Yeah Buddy! Split Series Volume 1: 7”
This is the first release from La Escalera Records, the new label formed by long-time friends of mine and veterans of the San Diego Music scene Will Castro (B Street Hill screen printing, the band Threefoot) and Ziggy Pelayo (about a thousand local bands and Another Zeke Productions). The two of them do a lot of good things for music in San Diego and are quite earnest and sincere in their desire to keep San Diego a healthy and vibrant community for music, so I wish them both the best with the label and hope this is the first of many releases for them. On to the music…Side A belongs to Bastards Of Young, a band that I had never really listened to before, but was familiar with since another friend, Christopher Mason, put out some of their records on his own label, SwaggerCity. What I hear here I like. It reminds me a fair amount of some of the early- to mid-’90s bands that straddled the punk and indie lines, like Samiam and Seaweed. A couple of nice tunes here. As far as Success! goes, I’m not sure this is what they’re going for, but to me the songs here remind me of the kind of band you’d see pop up in an old surf or skate video comp, right between tracks by Lagwagon and Unwritten Law. Not exactly my bag. If you’re looking for a double-sided slice of ‘90s nostalgia, this record will gladly satisfy your cravings. –Jeff Proctor (La Escalera)

Welcome to Earth: 7” EP
Ridiculously fast hardcore delivered with enough stops, tempo shifts, and surgical precision to keep you on your toes. Definitely not for the faint of heart. –Jimmy Alvarado (Speaks Volumes, speaksvolumesrecords.com)

Cry About It: 7”
No irony should be lost on the spirit duplicated (also known as dittoed) covers in all their mauveine beauty. The music is endearing and catchy, rollicking and inquisitive. Indie in that way that it’s comfortably soft and punk in that way that you know they aren’t fucking around. Features Katie and Allison from P.S. Eliot playing guitar and switching off on vocal duties. Highly advised. –Daryl Gussin (Puzzle Pieces)

Split: LP
Because so many of us here at Razorcake have already proclaimed our love for Assholeparade, I will only say that their side of this split won’t disappoint you one bit if you’re hip to their jazz. Sometimes, when all you know how to do is thrash, that’s exactly what you should keep doing. So let’s focus a bit more on Tokyo, Japan’s Slight Slappers. A band you might not be too familiar with since a large part of their catalog is available exclusively only in Japan. They’ve been together for about seventeen years and counting. Even more impressive is that they have kept the same lineup since their first record. Comparing them to any of the more influential Japanese hardcore bands would be underselling them a bit. Sure they draw from their forefathers like Gauze and Lip Cream. But then again, neither of those bands dared to put a dance/techno song at the end of any of their records or goofy vocals in any of their songs. Speed and noise are definitely part of the equation here. To the untrained ear, it may come across as a blur of indiscernible sounds and screaming. I would say it’s the psychedelic equivalent of a Crossed Out record. In fact, I’d speculate as far as to say that the boys in Slight Slappers might be using some conscious-enhancing drugs during their recording sessions, but it’s not doing any harm to the creative process. If you’re reading this in America, you’re so lucky No Idea is a reliable source for this record and others by Assholeparade. Good luck tracking down Slight Slappers releases, though. –Juan Espinosa (No Idea)

Sweet Blood Call: 7”

After the piles and piles of 7”s ANTiSEEN released over the years, do you really need one more in your collection? Yes, you do. Revitalized by a new bass player and drummer, Charlotte mainstays ANTiSEEN are better than ever with this new record. Yet another accomplishment in their unique repertoire. This fancily packaged 7” comes with a download card for the digital geek in the house and boasts two tracks, “Sweet Blood Call” and ANTiSEEN’s version of the classic “Black Eyed Susie.” The latter of the two tracks features Joe Buck, who adds to the stellar mix of ANTiSEEN’s rendition of the familiar old time song. Already a staple in their live sets, the recorded version of “Black Eyed Susie” does not disappoint. No one’s getting a black eye after gifting this record.

–Art Ettinger (Rusty Knuckles, rustyknucklesmusic.com)

Truncheons in the Manor: LP
Rapid punk with clean guitars, melodic vocals, and touches of new wave, indie pop, and post-hardcore. This owes a lot to Ted Leo. It sounds like a less-precious Chisel or a rawer Pharmacists, but is done with enough thought and spike to stand on its own. Vocalist/guitarist Mike McKee was in the political hardcore band Kill The Man Who Questions and his lyrics are still in the topical storytelling style of turn-of-the-millennium DIY hardcore. He takes out drunk yuppies and lousy jobs in a way that makes the gray area between personal and political grow romantic and accessible. You find yourself along for the ride, rolling along on a wave of catchiness. –CT Terry (Rorschach)

4-song: 7”EP
Singer, guitarist, and one of the main songwriters for the Hex Dispensers does some solo work. While the Hex Dispensers conjure banshees, Alex summons quieter, more conversational ghosts and languid spirits. The songs are reverby. There are trebly effects over his voice and he’s backed by electronic keyboards and/or drum machining. Alex is spooky in a haunted, thoughtful way, not a photocopied comic book rendering of the Danzig playbook. There are no skeleton gloves fingered into in the making of this record or “whoah ohs!” instead of choruses. It’s more like a broken-legs-barely-healed waltz. Smooth and animated and swaying at the same time. –Todd Taylor (Trouble In Mind, troubleinmindrecs@gmail.com)

At the Level of the Ear: 7”
Given the band name and picture of a kid bearing what looks like machete scars gracing the front cover, the go-to assumption was that this was gonna be a hardcore record. Instead, it’s thinkin’-man’s poppy punk, with catchy hooks, interesting arrangements and substantive lyrics, with the title track referencing the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Not coincidentally, a portion of the record’s proceeds benefit Partners In Health, which, this says, is helping Rwanda recover from that very dark period in its history. –Jimmy Alvarado (Abolitionist, abolitionist1859.com)

Self-titled: LP
Fun, thrashy hardcore from a band that ain’t afraid to temper pointed lyrics with humor. Songs like “Brain Crush,” “Nerd in the Pit,” and “Awkward Youth” ring with honesty and sincerity, and that’s more than I can say for a huge chunk of what I come across month after month. –Jimmy Alvarado (Strength In Numbers, strengthin123.com)

Cherry Bomb: 7” EP
Straightforward pop here, with clean channel guitars and a laid-back feel to the delivery. –Jimmy Alvarado (Kind Turkey, kindturkey.com)

Demo 2011: CD-R
Gravel in the pipes, some Motörhead strut in the guitars, a Coldbringer or Born Dead Icons sense of impending doom, and there you go. That’s Wells. Three songs, and on the last one, “Lizard Skin,” they take it down to a slow crawl and let things simmer a little bit. My shoes didn’t fly off or anything, but as far as demos go, this is reasonably solid work. –Keith Rosson (Wells)

Self-titled: 7” EP
Hardcore with yelly vocals and angry, thought-out lyrics. The tunes pretty much follow the same patter from one to the next, but they make things a bit more interesting by hardwiring a healthy chunk of melody the songs’ structures, with lots of dual-octave leads and such. –Jimmy Alvarado (Weak Teeth, weakteeth@gmail.com)

Rocket Surgery: CD
Simple, garagy, rhythmic stuff with guitars with little fuzz on ‘em. The singer sounds like he’s really going for that “odd” feel, but in the end it all sounds affected, not very unhinged, and not very genuine. –Jimmy Alvarado (Like A Shooting Star, no address)

I Don’t Want to be a Part of Your So Called Punk: CD
Twelve tracks of punk, ska and metal, courtesy of Fork, Freedumb, Vaya con Satan, and others. I know the bands themselves aren’t responsible for it, but the irony of this compilation’s title is that every one of the tracks here sounds like it’s trying very hard to fit within a given pigeonhole, with none really aiming to set a new bar or break out of the box, so you’re left with pretty much more of the same ol’ same ol’. –Jimmy Alvarado (Kraft Pest, kraftpest.com)

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