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Razorcake #84
Tim Version, Ordinary Life LP + bonus 7"
Radon, 28 LP
Zisk #25
Razorcake #83


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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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MADISON BLOODBATH / SUNNYSIDE:
Split: 7"
Madison Bloodbath: Still life with an empty Jameson bottle. Lyrically, Madison Bloodbath has some self-esteem issues and they’re drowning in alcohol. And not “Yay! Partying! alcoholism,” but scars-across-the-liver alcoholism. And the music’s both celebratory and brooding. Shades of country music inserted firmly into the form of punk rock Hot Water Music explored, but it’s neither curdling like milk in whiskey nor hard to choke down. For reasons that aren’t so clear, even to myself, it’s been a slow, cautious grow with Madison Bloodbath, and I now consider myself a fan. Sunnyside: Jason, one of the vocalists could do stunt double work as a blown-out speaker, if that speaker sung about prescription drug abuse and shattered-glass nostalgia that can never be put back together right. The bands follows suit. It sounds like they’re battling psychosis on daily basis… all to a beat you can tap along to in a Fifteen-esque way. As an aside, the cover art’s the best Roadhouse-inspired illustrations, ever. Craig Horky’s a master. –Todd Taylor (ADD, addrecs.com)


KNUCKLEHEAD:
Hearts on Fire: CD
I’d ask how a killer band that’s been around for fifteen years could remain as underappreciated as Knucklehead, but that would be silly. Everyone knows that there are tons of amazing bands out there that are overlooked, right? In any event, Calgary’s Knucklehead is a rare pop punk band that’s been around since the mid-1990s pop punk heyday, yet survived through the passing of that one-time major jolt. There are a lot of other influences at play, too, but this is basically a throwback pop punk release, informed by a decade and a half of going at it. We’re not talking “la la” beach-y pop. Instead, Squirtgun-esque riffs prevail, with a hint of fashion/1990s spike punk. This thing is so retro, I got confused, turned on my TV, and tried to tune in to a new episode of Married… with Children. We can dream, right? –Art Ettinger (Stumble, stumblerecords.com)


KLASSE KRIMINALE:
The Rise and Fall of the Stylish Kids…: LP
Umpteenth release by this antifascist oi band that’s been putting out records for over twenty years. The band sings in Italian, but they’ve provided a lyric sheet with English translations and comics, ala Fly’s insert on the Pinhead Gunpowder side of their split with Dillinger Four. I have no idea how a band that’s been around since 1985 still manages to come across as excited about punk rock, but Klasse Kriminale does, and it’s pretty great. The music’s pretty standard streetpunk fare—but shit, are they really copying anything? Seems like a band that’s been around this long has probably helped define the genre rather than ape it. Translations are a little spotty here and there, but that only adds to the charm. Beautiful colored vinyl, extensive packaging, and armfuls of sincerity. Not something I ever would have picked up on my own, but the band’s enthusiasm carries them through here. Fans, take note. –Keith Rosson (Contra)


KITTY LITTLE / SCIENTIFIC MAPS:
Split: EP
Kitty Little remind me a little bit of Superchunk. Maybe it’s because both bands have a song that says “back of the bus”? They play guitar-driven indie pop that has a roughness, like they’re more influenced by punk than the Beatles. Listening to this, you would never suspect that Matto’s a raging hardcore punk guitar player (Resist Control, Give Up, JBA, etc.) Whereas, Scientific Maps sound like maybe they have been influenced by mid era Beatles—bouncy rhythms, a piano, some brass, jangly guitar... Only 300 pressed. –Matt Average (Peterwalkee)


KICKING SPIT:
Psychrockbullshit: Cassette
In the early ‘90s, I was too young to be too cool for grunge. Nirvana are still one of my favorites, so I like hearing current DIY bands that merge punk and hard rock. Enter Kicking Spit. They sound like the earliest Dinosaur Jr. records, when J Mascis was still getting the thrash riffs out of his system. The catch is that Kicking Spit’s guitar shredding is studied and precise, as opposed to the intuitive noodling that Mascis is known for, so the guitar leads on this tape sound like Steve Vai ripping a solo over “Little Fury Things.” The two don’t mesh. Then they mess with the time signature, and it sounds like the limp prog from the first All records. Kicking Spit’s off to a good start, but they need to have a band meeting and tell their guitarist to settle down. –CT Terry (tankcrimes.com)


KENTUCKY KNIFE FIGHT:
We’re All Nameless Here: CD
I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this band open up for a few dozen other bands. Not literally, but they just have that sound reminiscent of some band you have to sit through to get to see the indie rock or garage rock band you really came to the show to watch. It’s not that they’re not talented, but their Southern-influenced bar-brawlin’ sound is just something I’ve seen a number of times and I’m not real impressed. Maybe they put on a good live show? –Kurt Morris (kentuckyknifefight.com)


JULIUS C:
OK, OK: CD
If you like music with cheesy handclaps, goofy horns, and yawn-inducing keyboards, then this record is for you. I can see why NYC hipsters are all over this band like flies on cow dung. Bland, overdone funk workouts that even Weezer wouldn’t touch. Oh, and having all four band members sporting the same hairstyle and facial hair is beyond retarded. –Sean Koepenick (Self-released)


JOYCE MANOR / SUMMER VACATION:
Split: 7"
Joyce Manor: I’ve been told they’re a grower of a band. First listen: oi-folk with a Happy Days vibe and a lot of “I really mean it” sing-a-long parts. But not half as bad as that may sound. They still haven’t completely clicked with me, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they do in the future. There’s something very cool and just odd that some members of Summer Vacation were eight or nine years old when Razorcake started ten years ago. It’s cool because one of my main theories is being proven true: DIY punk is a force unto itself. It doesn’t need outside forces to drive it (like emo, ska punk, screamo) to keep it viable. It’s somewhat odd because I’m double these dudes’ age, they have to hide out if they stay at a bar show after they play, and yet they’re picking up on musical cues that’ve been relevant to me over time: J.Church, a little bit of Pretty Boy Thorson, Minor Threat sheep tattoos, some Defiance, Ohio and Billy Bragg, the straight-edge lifestyle, and an understated layering of instruments. They’re an excellent, local band and I’m looking forward to hearing more of them. –Todd Taylor (Muy Autentico)


KIDNAPPERS, THE:
Will Protect You: CD
It’s a wonder why these guys aren’t bigger than Christ at the moment. Super catchy power pop that’s as powerful as it is sugary and, well, poppy. A quick reference to throw out is The Boys, and more currently, The Impulse International. Definitely rooted in the ‘70s, with songs about girls, girls, and one about a prostitute (“Sally”). Strong riffs, infectious melodies, and it’s all fun, fun, fun. A good mix of cookers, like “Milkshake,” “She Won’t Come Home,” and my favorite of the album, “Nothing’s Gonna Change,” then there’s the slightly reserved type songs, “Heartbeat,” “Tomorrow you Feel Better,” and the like. Great album, without a doubt. –Matt Average (Alien Snatch!)


KIT:
Invocation: CD
At first, I rolled my eyes at the press release, but then I realized that there are actually “Accomplished Musicians” in this band, so it makes sense. I’ve just gotten used to seeing teenage garage bands pay a publicity rep to write up a glowing press release of their “revolutionary and awe- inspiring” (but actually mediocre) first release. This is a pretty legit indie band though. They’ve done splits with Thurston Moore/ Kim Gordon and Deerhoof. Oh, and it says that Mike Watt plays bass with the band sometimes. But more important than press release credentials, I’m really into the music on this album. It has a lot of distortion, but in a really pretty kind of Kill Rock Stars kind of way. There are vocals, but the band’s focus is definitely instrumental. It sounds Kit should have been around twenty years ago, but I like them now anyway. –Lauren Trout (Upset The Rhythm!, UpsetTheRhythm.co.uk)


JOSIE COTTON:
Pussycat Babylon: CD
I so wanted to like this. I still have a soft spot for new wave pop from my childhood. But it just didn’t capture the free spirit of the early ‘80s. A little over produced for my liking? Not sure, but the remake of “Johnny Are you Queer?” sure didn’t stand up to the original recording. –Donofthedead (Scruffy)


JESU:
Heart Ache and Dethroned: 2 x CD/ 2 x LP
It has been written (and this reviewer agrees) that the EP is the proper medium for Jesu (pronounced Yay-sue). So what might be better than what is essentially a double EP? The first disc, Heart Ache is only two songs, but combined they clock in at around forty minutes. Heart Ache is actually a re-release of Jesu’s first EP, released in 2004. Being that Justin Broadrick (who essentially is Jesu) had just broken up his industrial project, Godflesh, the similarities are much more evident than on Jesu’s most recent work. The electronic smash of the drums especially strikes one of the same pummeling that Broadrick’s industrial act offered. The two tracks aren’t entirely cutthroat, though. The second track, “Ruined,” starts with a five minute, minimalist piano taken straight from the M83 playbook. It’s quite pleasurable in its own right, but all that is taken away when the churning guitars kick in. The second EP, Dethroned, was originally started in 2004 but not completed until 2010. It’s interesting to note the range of Broadrick’s music on these four songs. While the Godflesh guitar aspects are occasionally there, there is also the shoegazing influence rearing its head throughout. Like much of Jesu’s previous releases, the sounds are always compatible and work well together. Furthermore, the emotional qualities of other Jesu works is still here: that of sadness, dreariness, and morose connection to one’s own psyche, while it holds hands with this little glimmer of something better. While I wasn’t sure about this double album at first, repeated listens have shown me that it’s an efficient medium for understanding the full range of Jesu’s sound. That being said, it might be a good place for a new listener to begin to check out the band. –Kurt Morris (Hydra Head))


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)


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