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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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JEFF ROWE:
Barstool Conversations: CD
I don’t know what genre this is. Folk? Singer-songwriter? Whoever will take him, maybe? If I had never heard, say, rock’n’roll, and someone told me that this dude was playing rock’n’roll, I’d be like, “Man, I hate rock’n’roll!” after listening to this CD. So that’s why I don’t want to label what kind of music this is; for fear of giving an entire genre a bad name. I’ll just say Jeff Rowe is a dude playing sparse guitar chords and singing completely out of tune with a disproportionate amount of emotion. Totally cliché lyrics too: “Pour me one more drink/ I’m sorry for the things I haven’t done.” No thanks! How about I buy you a drink when you put out a CD that isn’t so bland instead? –Lauren Trout (Anchorless, AnchorlessRecords.com)


JIMMY THE SQUIRREL:
Whatever the Weather: CD
Ska stuff with more in common with the Moon Ska stable of third wave bands than the wretched post-Operation Ivy batch of ska punks. While I can’t say I was blown away, topical and substantive lyrics and outside-the-box song structures make this one of the better recent outings I’ve heard from this pigeonhole. –Jimmy Alvarado (dothedog.com)


JOHN WESLEY COLEMAN:
Bad Lady Goes to Jail: CD
Mr. Coleman dances a fine line between sloppy ‘70s punk and trashier ‘60s fare (and when I say “trashy,” I don’t mean stereotypical and Farfisa-saturated, but rather in the more primitive and less polished sense), sometimes sounding like an odd mix between the Velvet Underground and, oh, the Zeros’ more up-tempo efforts. All told, this is some pretty good stuff. –Jimmy Alvarado (Goner)


JONESIN’:
The Dream Is Dead: 7"
I’ve heard a few different interpretations on whether Jonesin’ is breaking up or not. If we assume that it’s true, then this 7” was a cruel trick to play on me. I’m not saying that their past releases are bad in any way, but this 7” is the one that makes me want more. If this is the closest thing I get to Jonesin’ LP, I guess that’s okay. For those not in the know, Jonesin’ is ex-Down In The Dumps, gruff pop punk with EastBay influences. And if you weren’t in the know until right now, then you missed most of it. You still have a chance to buy this though, so I would do that if I were you. –Bryan Static (Muy Auténtico, myspace.com/totallyofficial / Dirt Cult, dirtcultrecords.com / Traffic Street, trafficstreetrecords.com / No Breaks, nobreaksrecords.com)


JONS, THE:
Walk towards the People” b/w “Grass on the Wicket': 7"
Awful, generic music. Both songs have that jumpy, “Lust for Life” pacing and sound like that band that did the dance on the treadmill. Car commercial punk. –Billups Allen (Pirate’s Press/ piratespressrecords.com)


JAY BANERJEE:
Ban-er-jee. Just Like It’s Spelled: CD
‘60s-style mod pop, replete with bowl haircut. So upbeat, sing-song and bubblegum, my eardrums are turning to sugar. –Jessica Thiringer (Self-released, jaybanerjee.net)


JAIL WEDDINGS:
Love Is Lawless: CD
I’ve seen this band three or four times live at this point, so it’s nice to finally have something to listen to outside of the confines of an eastside club. The band—with its ten or so members, the Three Penny Opera-tics of the lead singer with girl group-like backing vocals, and unrock-like instrumentation of saxophone, glockenspiel, violin—strikes me as the West Coast World/Inferno Society. There isn’t an exact one-to-one comparison between the two, as Jail Weddings tunes down the punk and cabaret influence of World Inferno and instead amps up the ‘60s soul and garage. Epic garage symphonies would actually be a very apt description of what’s going on here. When it takes off like on “One of These Days,” “What Did You Do With My Gun?,” and the charmingly rad duet “When We’re Together,” the album really hits some positive highs and more than justifies its existence. –Adrian (White Noise)


IRON CHIC:
Not Like This: CD
Not Like this comes with a large back patch that I errantly peeked at before listening to the disc, which gave me the impression that my first listen was going to be a crusty experience. Imagine then, my surprise to hear some seriously competent mid-tempo punk a la Hot Water Music blaring from my speakers instead. Ten songs delivered in about thirty minutes, the disc delivers nary a dud. Nicely mixed and not too derivative, this is totally worth checking out if you are into the No Idea type stuff. –Garrett Barnwell (86’d)


INTELLIGENCE, THE:
Males: CD
There are times where I enjoy listening to music that I don’t have a firm grasp on… as long as it doesn’t feel like it’s making fun or talking down to me. There’s an easy bubbling-along-to feel of The Intelligence, but it’s a weird bubbling, like bongs filled with cooking oil or vitamin powder fizzing in beer. You can see through it, but it’s still a little bit strange. It’s garage rock with some tasteful interior decorating, but nothing too precious. And that makes sense when the skirt’s lifted on Males. Take the public-access charm of Steaming Wolf Penis, the balance-and-compound-fracture crash into disintegrating triangles of musical notes of The A-Frames, and the Buzzcocks-references-worn-as-warm-sweaters of the FM Knives (no arbitrary references. The Intelligence were in all of those bands previously), and you get Males. The only asterisk, literally, is that the bleep out the word fuck in “White Corvette” and it’s spelled f*ck in the lyric sheet. No value assessment. Just thought it was strange and it brought attention to itself. Very fuckin’ likable. –Todd Taylor (In The Red)


INSUBORDINATES:
Self-titled: LP
About a quarter-century or so ago i heard a story from an incident on an Anti-Nowhere League/Damned tour where Rat Scabies of the Damned and Winston of the ANWL were backstage, and Rat bet Winston that Winston could not possibly gross Rat out, so, in answer, Winston grabbed a carrot off the Damned’s deli tray, slathered it in salad dressing, shoved it up his ass, then pulled it out and ate it, sending Rat ((and all others)) fleeing from the room in revulsion ((i don’t blame ‘em. I hate carrots)). Well, if said carrot would have been as large as the Fat Boy nuclear bomb, and had a plutonium center, and Winston would have shoved it up ((“Music For Pleasure” avant-saxist)) Lol Coxhill’s butt instead, until it came out his mouth, and went all thru his saxophone like a big orange Play-Doh® Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop™, and the biggest end would have come out the sax and gone up Rat’s butt too, then all the way up to his hair, then exploded, completely obliterating the dressing room in a hail of atomized saxophone tin, shredded bass strings, guitar necks, carrot pus, air-raid sirens and butt stuff, and somebody would have been recording this whole to-do from the soundboard, and the recording survived because the fat-ass soundman was standing in front of the soundboard polishing his Maglite® when the thermonuclear carrot went off, thus protecting the recording, then THAT recording might sound sort of like a demo version of “Nagasaki,” which starts this album. THE BEST ALBUM-STARTING INSTRUMENTAL SINCE “HEAT SEEKER” BY THE RIP OFFS, WHICH WAS ALSO PROBABLY ABOUT WINSTON’S SASSY CARROT!!! Most of the other songs have words, and sound, curiously, like The Freeze playing Die Kreuzen songs in some kinda highly theoretical garage/surf rock context. I suspect this may be The Real Deal™. Quick, Wilma, another deli tray! BEST SONG: “Nagasaki” BEST SONG TITLE: Perhaps “The Outer Limits,” because i was always scared of that one with Reese Fowler and his mutated eyeballs. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Ends with a cover of the Tempests’ “Rockin’ Rochester USA,” which i forgot to mention. –Rev. Norb (Cowabunga)


INSERVIBLES:
Self-titled: 7"
Blistering punk rock from Mexico City with tempos bouncing between mid-tempo and thrash, and vocals drowned in reverb. Three tunes, one side, and I’m guessing a very limited run by the look of it. –Jimmy Alvarado (Leather Bar, no address listed)


I OBJECT:
Save Yourself: 7"
Angry, female-fronted hardcore. A-side has two originals, one thrashy with personal lyrics, one more mid-tempo with lyrics addressing the societal taboo of “big women showing skin,” and the flip features a Screamers cover. Nice screened cover that looks like it was done with a shitload of paint and a roller. –Jimmy Alvarado (feralkidrecords.com)


HYGIENE:
Recruitment: 7"
Messthetics-styled DIY indie punk, with the guitars all thin and trebly, quasi-atonal vocals, and tunes (to pilfer fellow Razorcaker Juan Espinosa’s apt description) falling somewhere between The Fall and earlyish Wire. –Jimmy Alvarado (Going Underground, no address listed)


HUMMS, THE:
Lemonland: LP
This band is never bad, but are at their best when they’re straightforward on such tracks as “Fat Bat” and “Blood Sucking Vampire.” This definitely showcases the fact that this group of musicians have some cool influences and can play different stuff, but, as an album, I would say the A side lacks cohesion, with the B side picking up the pace but still not blowing your mind. At its best, this sounds like a good band to see opening for Black Lips, White Stripes, or No Bunny. At its worst, it sounds like a band trying to throw some noise together in a vain attempt to sound awesome like Sonic Youth, Jesus And Mary Chain, or Velvet Underground. –Rene Navarro (Bachelor)


HUMMS, THE:
Don’t Think About Death: 7"
‘60s-style garage rock with fluid guitars and a farfisa organ. They have a spooky, caught in the woods at night atmosphere and supremely catchy songwriting. Side A sounds like the 13th Floor Elevators covering “Secret AgentMan.” I played it three times in a row while getting dressed this morning. The first song on Side B is like a warped Everly Brothers, the second is more 13th Floor Elevators howling creepiness. All three tracks are on the band’s full length, which I will be checking out. –CT Terry (thehumms.bandcamp.com)


HOUSE BOAT:
Processing Complaints: CD EP
A five-song sliver from this band which features ex-Steinways and Ergs in their lineup. “Payment Plan” is a catchy ditty that may have you spilling your beer when it is all over. I don’t know if “Kids of the Black Sun” is a Copyrights or Soundgarden nod. Either way, it’s a cool song. “The Self-Aware Octopus” may be referring back to their debut—which I just got and that’s ass-backwards, I know! I will listen to it soon. –Sean Koepenick (Traffic Street)


HOT TODDIES, THE:
Get Your Heart On: CD
I don’t think that it is too much of a stretch to say that at least one member of the band listens to a little April March, if not even some early Françoise Hardy or Chantal Goya. This is a disc full of surfy yé-yé interpreted through modern American indie. I don’t know what surprised me more, whether something like this is out there or that it’s on Asian Man. Not bad, but nothing I’d have thought to seek out, partially due to the fact that I wouldn’t have imagined anyone doing anything like this. –Vincent Battilana (Asian Man)


HOORAY FOR EVERYTHING:
Self-titled: CD
Oakland area three-piece that plays punky lady-fronted ‘90s-era alternative rock. Think a fairly polished Discount or the crunchy, peppy numbers by That Dog. The songs are fun and sweet without being saccharine. They don’t spoil after multiple listens, which is nice. Commendable work on this one. –Jeff Proctor (myspace.com/hoorayforeverythingcalifornia)


HOMEOWNERS:
Light and Vision: 7"
Very catchy and well put together slices of fun. Three of them. My favorite track is “Ant Trails,” with its vague lyrics that somehow make perfect sense when read repetitively. I find myself listening to the B side over and over again and, somehow, the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome is worth it. There’s only one boy in this band. I just realized that. Can’t wait to see this band live. Definitely worth checking this out. –Rene Navarro (Margin Mouth)


HOSTAGE CALM:
Self-titled: CD
Melodic hardcore heroes Hostage Calm return with an album which fuses the band’s early sound, calling to mind Kid Dynamite or mid-late ‘80s era Dischord bands like Embrace and Dag Nasty, with some of their indie rock influences, namely The Smiths. The fusion of indie rock with hardcore roots on this record creates a sound that is simultaneously melodic and catchy while remaining as in your face and intense as previous efforts. Chris Martin transitions from the Kevin Seconds-sounding shouts of the previous Lens LP (2008), to a clean singing style that suits his voice well. The vocal harmonies present in several songs further enhance the overall vocal quality, and Martin’s intelligent lyrics make for songs worthy of epic sing-alongs at shows, in the car, or in your living room. The album opener “A Mistrust Earned,” immediately demonstrates Hostage Calm’s new sound. “Rebel Fatigues,” follows with prominent use of piano, and driving chorus parts that get the head bobbing. “Affidavit,” is a popular track the band play live frequently, and “Where the Waters Call Home,” a poetic argument towards ignoring the differences between people regardless of race, geographic location, or other difference, follows it. A few tracks later is “Young Professionals,” one of my favorite tracks on this album. It is a bit of an introspective song, as one of the title’s young professionals confronts and questions the values of the life he is living, at least for a brief moment. The rest of the album is as good, if not better, with live favorites “Jerry Rumspringer,” and “War on a Feeling,” closing out the album. These songs rank right up with “Young Professionals,” among my favorite tracks on the album, and best represent the new sound of Hostage Calm. While all fans of the band’s previous efforts might not appreciate this new direction, I’d encourage them to give this album a chance. Those new to the band should grab this album and not look back. They will not be disappointed. –Paul J. Comeau –Guest Contributor (Run For Cover)


HOLY SHIT!:
KBD OOP: CD
Fourteen blasts of Record Collectors…-era Poison Idea influenced hardcore punk that require an immediate sense of humor and short attention span to fully appreciate the jackassery that’s going on here. Songs about calling in to work because you got wasted, late ‘80s/early ‘90s video game nostalgia, and a make believe vegan girlfriend. Again: not to be taken seriously. Kinda like the Milwaukee Brewers. –Juan Espinosa (Criminal IQ, no address listed)


HOLY MOUNTAIN, THE:
Here Is No Exit: LP
Charging d-beats and gang vocals. Scandi hardcore by way of Florida. The A side is four new blunt, guttural rippers, while the B side is some tracks from various splits. Solid stuff all around. And for all the shit talking I’ve done on pic discs, this record almost makes me want to take it back. Bleak graphics that really fit the music and artistically are pretty breathtaking. Compared to other bands on No Idea, I never really gave The Holy Mountain much attention, but this record makes we want to dig a little deeper into their catalog. –Daryl Gussin (No Idea)


HIS ELECTRO BLUE VOICE:
Black Veils: 7"
Shit the bed, is this bad boy heavy. Both tunes here start off sort of quietly brooding, then work themselves into one helluva sonic lather that’s part hardcore, part post punk, and part on the same, “Let’s cram as much as we possibly can into all the sonic nooks and crannies and blow the whole thing out” head trip as Medicine or My Bloody Valentine, and finally let things slowly back off to the quiet fadeout. It’s pretty clear that English is not these Italian cats’ primary language, but while it probably would’ve been much better if they’d stuck to their native tongue, they manage to clearly make their point. –Jimmy Alvarado (batshit@live.com)


HELLTONS, THE:
Panic Attacks: CD
For the life of me, I can’t understand the reasoning behind fifty million bands actively trying to all sound alike. That said, here’s a French pop punk band singing primarily about the myriad hues of getting dumped, utilizing the same Ramones/Queers-inspired box chord patterns as the other 49,999,999 of their peers. Probably make for good “edgy” music to spin at your next Catholic school dance. –Jimmy Alvarado (Can I Say, no address listed)


HEAVY CREAM:
Danny: LP
The needle on my turntable had been broken for what seemed like forever and the record I missed listening to most was this. First thing I did when I finally got a new needle was throw Danny on and have a one man dance party in my living room. Twelve songs running the rock’n’roll gamut of partying too hard, Tina Turner admiration, and dancing. Heavy Cream’s sound is ‘70s rock and punk-influenced (but without the masturbatory soloing) and Runaways comparisons aren’t unwarranted. Three songs are repeated from their self-titled 7”, but I think the recordings used for the album are different and less muddy than the 7”. “Watusi” and “Lava Lamp” will be stuck in your head for days. Check ‘em out live. The drummer pounds like nobody’s business and the singer has the crazy eyes. Oh, and I forgot there was a download coupon with the record. I could have been listening to it all along! –Sal Lucci –Guest Contributor (Infinity Cat, infinitycat.com)


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