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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BRAIN F:
Restraining Order: 7”
Debut EP from a dual vocal, both male and female, clean guitar, garage-style punk band from Charlotte, NC. They immediately bring to mind the musical stylings of both the Shitty Limits and perhaps even the less spastic moments of Career Suicide. The optimist in me is truly into this record and appreciates it at face value. The pessimist thinks they can do much better. A new EP on the great Grave Mistake label is in the works as I write this, so it’s possible I may soon get my wish. –Juan Espinosa (Static Shock)


BOBBY JO EBOLA AND THE CHILDREN MACNUGGITS:
F: CD
A new release here from one of the Bay Area’s more notorious groups active during the ‘90s. What you get for your green are smart, topical tunes that fall well within the confines of “alternative rock,” but touch upon a number of stylistic genres—a little country here, a dash o’ punk, a dabble of ‘50s rock—outside that pigeonhole and aren’t afraid to punctuate their points with some humor, resulting in a more colorful and creative palette than one usually runs into. –Jimmy Alvarado (silversprocket.net)


BLACK TRAITOR:
Self-titled: Cassette
You know that cassette that you found at the thrift store for a quarter? The one that made you think, “Aw, what the hell?” Then you put it in your car stereo and it was all fucked up. Well, imagine that instead of Prince or Tom Petty or a likely find such as those, it’s a hardcore band that reminds you of Born Against. Next, imagine the fucked-up screeching distortion to be intentional tape manipulation, because that’s precisely what they did. It was kind of interesting, but only a noiser would listen to it more than once. –Craven (Leatherbar, myspace.com/leatherbarrecords)


BLACK LUNGS:
Valley of the Dolls: 7”
Now I’m not sure how popular Alexisonfire was in the ol’ US of A, but man, north of the border, those dudes are/were massive, and AOF’s first offshoot City And Colour (a solo project of guitarist/vocalist Dallas Green) was equally, if not more successful. So it stands to reason that Black Lungs, the side project of AOF’s other guitarist/vocalist Wade McNeil, had a sizeable built-in following from the get-go. But as opposed to treading the same singer-songwriter path as AOF cohort Green, Black Lungs veer in a more traditional punk rock direction, taking cues mostly from late ‘70s U.K. and N.Y. groups (think early Clash and Blank Generation-era Voidoids) but on a slightly more aggressive gruff-punk tip. Good stuff. –Dave Williams (Deranged)


BLACK KITES:
Songs Written While Things Were Changing: LP
This is the sonic equivalent to getting your brains bashed in with a baseball bat. The songs are technical, with time changes throughout, some quiet pauses here and there, but for the most part it’s a lot of bashing back and forth. Black Kites remind me of bands like Acme, Judas Factor, and Overcast, though I think these guys have better results with their experimentation and bending of the rules in the hardcore genre. At times they get too bogged down in technical musicianship, such as on the song “Upsides”: too many time changes and the voiceover is a bit much. But when they let it rip on songs like “Masochist,” “And I Like It,” and “Futures” is when they’re at their best. The more focused songs are blistering. I heard there’s a member from Bloodtype in this band. –Matt Average (Protagonist Music, protagonistmusic.bigcartel.com)


BIRD STRIKE:
Demo ‘10: CD-R
Sloppy, blown-out, sad-fun, bilingual (English/Spanish) punk rock. What it lacks in fidelity (I mean, it is a legit demo, as advertised), it more than makes up for energy and nice little instrumental flourishes inside its crashing wave. It does what a demo should—makes me like the band while making me excited to hear these songs with a wee less spit and a wee more polish. (My only complaint is that “We Could Complain,” is mastered so loud compared to the rest of the CD, I almost blew out an eardrum and some speakers.) This is the exact type of band that should be playing a front room with a low-hanging plastic-molded-candles chandelier overhead. Classy, but 40oz classy, not conspicuous luxury classy. Includes the already-classic-around-these-parts jam “I’m a Punk.” –Todd Taylor (Bite The Cactus, bitethecactus@gmail.com)


BILLY RAYGUN:
Seasick: CDEP
Flailing, wild, adolescent punk. Rough around the edges in the best sort of way. The liner notes mention that this EP was written and recorded when the members were around fifteen years old. If these guys were your teenage brothers, you’d be the one offering to drive the battered van around just so they could get to shows. –Candice Tobin (Moonquake, no address listed)


BIG SODA:
Paper Route: 7”
It’s kind of funny; in the ‘90s my favorite band was the Ramones. These days, I’m on a steady diet of Superchunk, who I largely ignored in their heyday. The only logical conclusion I can draw from this is that I’m always a couple decades behind. Big Soda seems to share my problem. This Brooklyn-based punk band has a lot more in common with ‘90s college rock than the Sex Pistols, and that’s a-okay with me! Another solid release from a consistently solid label.  Chris Mason –Guest Contributor (Evil Weevil, evilweevilrecords.com)


BIG SODA:
Paper Route: 7”
It’s kind of funny; in the ‘90s my favorite band was the Ramones. These days, I’m on a steady diet of Superchunk, who I largely ignored in their heyday. The only logical conclusion I can draw from this is that I’m always a couple decades behind. Big Soda seems to share my problem. This Brooklyn-based punk band has a lot more in common with ‘90s college rock than the Sex Pistols, and that’s a-okay with me! Another solid release from a consistently solid label.  Chris Mason –Guest Contributor (Evil Weevil, evilweevilrecords.com)


BIG EYES:
Demo: 7”
Immortalized in vinyl, these songs were originally recorded for a demo (as the title suggests). What you get is four tracks of scuzzy, slowed-down, female-fronted, power pop influenced punk rock from the people who have done time in such bands as Cheeky, Seasick [NJ], and ANS. With a pedigree like that, you already know they can shred, but do they have the pop sensibility to arrange Joan Jett-esque pop thrillers? Of course. These songs are pure leather and chains. Each copy should come with a fog machine. –Daryl Gussin (Evil Weevil, evilweevilrecords@gmail.com)


BEYOND PINK:
The New Black: LP
I’ve been wanting to get this album for a few months now. But like a lot of people, money has been tight. I have one of their previous releases somewhere but never got around giving it a listen. Super stoked when I saw it at HQ in my box for review, and even more enthused when it hit my turntable. This five-piece, all-female band from Sweden gives me the same excitement that I had when I first heard the Polish band Eye For An Eye. It’s infectious hardcore with melodic undertones that is every bit as powerful or more so than other bands in the same genre. The vocals are delivered with fierce compassion that slices through the music. I really like that the production is top notch here. You can hear each instrument with clarity and it gives the band the power to keep my attention. From start to finish, this record has no filler. Now this gives me incentive to organize my music room so I can find their previous release. –Donofthedead (Emancypunx)


BERLIN BRATS:
Believe It or Rot (1973-1976): CD
The Berlin Brats, for those not in the know, were a notorious L.A. glam/proto-punk band fronted by Mr. Rick Wilder, who went on to greater infamy as the frontman for equally decadence-drenched punkers the Mau-Maus. Ever watch the “Battle of the Bands” segment of the Cheech and Chong flick Up in Smoke? If so, you’ve seen the Berlin Brats. Here, in all their Stones/Dolls-soaked glory are thirteen tracks culled from demo sessions, live tapes, and vinyl releases, plus a couple of bonus tracks that sound like session outtakes. Some of the tunes, like “Tropically Hot,” “Psychotic,” and “House of Pleasure,” joined Rick in the transition to the Mau-Maus, but I’d venture to say the bulk of material here has probably never been officially released anywhere else, or at least not so in three decades. When you’re talking about tapes that are, best case scenario, at least thirty-four years old, you gotta expect a little rough sailing on occasion, but, for the most part, things here are quite clear, coherent, and worthy of loud stereo rockin’. More importantly, another linchpin in L.A.’s underground history gets some propers, though I gotta say this release is woefully skint on accompanying text/photos to give the average listener/purchaser some context and history on the band. Still, this clearly demonstrates that few did that sleazy rock sound better than these guys. –Jimmy Alvarado (Ratchet Blade)


BENNY’S FORGOTTEN GARDEN:
Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out: CD-R
A deranged B-52’s? Red Hot Chili Peppers? Primus? At times, it almost sounds like the lead singer is rapping (badly) and the cover art looks like a screen capture of those silly Windows Media Player graphics. There are songs about weed, whores, and fat girls. And every time I put the CD into my computer it freezes. No matter how you slice it, this is just awful.  Chris Mason –Guest Contributor (Self-released)


BEACH PATROL:
Daytime Highs: CD
Some good, solid, garagey power pop from this Wisconsin band. I was really glad to see that Tim Schweiger from the Obsoletes makes a guest appearance: always a good sign. Really solid stuff here for fans of Goodnight Loving/The Figgs/Reigning Sound or other tuneful, gritty pop bands. –Mike Frame (Duck On Monkey, myspace.com/duckonmonkeyrecords)


BE MY DOPPELGANGER:
No Composure: CD
Some good ol’ Midwestern punk rock goodness here. There are so many flavors of influence here that every time it comes on, I have to stop and ask myself who this band is. Luckily, the influences in question are all top notch, so I really like this disc and it is starting to get an identity of its own. –Ty Stranglehold (It’s Alive)


BARAKA FACE JUNTA:
Self-titled: CD
This band from Poland did not appeal to me at first, but with multiple listens I started to appreciate the music. It’s a blend of what I would call post-punk and art punk with a trading of female and male vocals, depending on the song. The music either falls into a dirge territory or changes to a quirky and jerky vibe. At other times, they have moments where it can be noise-driven and eerily droning. A strange picture of Crass meets the Minutemen comes to mind. A definite love it or hate it band with no middle ground. –Donofthedead (Nikt Nic Nie Wie)


BAND NAME:
Breakfast: LP
This band has some decent mid-tempo punk rock’n’roll riffs, but the album never really takes off. All the members of this trio sing, but the vocals are not very dynamic. The first song on side two, “Another Life,” shows the most personality. The song has a blasé pace that reaches into the arena of second tier Television songs. The playing is competent; I could see the band slowing down and exploring that direction. The faster the album gets, the more generic it comes across. Female vocalist Cat Park’s performances add an occasional bit of urgency to the proceedings, but overall the album is very dull. –Billups Allen (Self-Aware)


BARREL RIDERS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
There sure are a lot of bands that put out four-to-five-song CDs these days. Here is another one from a Bay Area band that sounds a lot like early Hellacopters, only a little more raw. Perfectly competent riff-heavy rock with more of a reverb-type sound than the distortion and crunch found in most stoner rock. –Mike Frame (Self-released, myspace.com/thebarrelriders)


BAMBOO KIDS, THE:
The Way Things Are: EP
The Bamboo Kids have been at it for close to ten years now, and this new EP of theirs won’t disappoint in the least. Fans of The Lazy Cowgirls, Thunders, Dead Boys, and Dramarama alike will dig on this current release from the ‘Kids, as will those folks who get off on the Ziggy Stardust era of Bowie, and the Exile On Main St. era of the Stones. These may sound like some broad strokes I’m painting, yeah, but keep in mind that this trio is no stranger to laying down some of the catchiest, better East Coast rock’n’roll, as their first two full lengths, The Bamboo Kids and This Ain’t No Revolution have proven in the past. The Way Things Are hints at a bit more maturity this spin around, but in no way gets diluted along the way, or loses any of the bands’ substance, like so many other bands have in the past (and present, unfortunately). Most definitely recommended, and that goes for their entire catalog. –Designated Dale (drugfrontrecords.com)


BACKPOCKET:
What Am I Gonna Do with a Gun Rack?: CD
Featuring The Measure [SA] alums Tim Burke and J. Nixon, you might be inclined to see this as some sort of punk rock supergroup, which isn’t really the case. What you do get are five loosely-recorded tracks (four being actual songs) that are taut, angular, and sometimes jangly affairs of surprising complexity and density. Without using the “E” word, I have to say I haven’t heard and read such anguished lyrics like these in quite some time, if ever. I sure hope there was some catharsis in there somewhere when writing and recording this. –Garrett Barnwell (Moonquake)


ASSASSINATORS, THE:
I Disse Morke Tider: 7”
So happy that I got my order for this record just in time for review deadline. I have already digitized the music and it’s ready to go onto the iPod for high rotation listening. This female-led Danish band has not disappointed me yet. From their first two 7”s to their fantastic LP, followed with a split with Japan’s D.S.B., this band has been bringing the goods on a consistent basis. I think there is a LP in the works for the fall and I know for sure they are touring the West Coast this summer. I can never get enough of this band and am so excited to experience them in a live setting. So to tide me over until then, these four new songs are a treat. Their signature melody comes pouring out of the speakers like a close friend. I am easily pulled into familiar territory with their brand of mid-tempo punk that is equally powerful and yet balances the melody to make it a pleasurable listening experience. The consistency of their output makes it easy picking if you want to try out this band. Once you listen, I’m sure you will join the worldwide following. –Donofthedead (Halo Of Flies)


ASOUND, THE:
Self-titled: CDEP
Three tunes of sludgy stoner rock with a vocalist who prefers to sing rather than imitate a strangled badger. –Jimmy Alvarado (Tsuguri)


ARKHAMS, THE:
The Valley of…: CD
New York rockabilly (or possibly something like “psychobilly” or “punkabilly” that I don’t really know anything about, which I’ll get to in a second). It’s pretty easy to write stuff like this off, but at this point I’d rather just try to find the good instead of shitting on it, which is why I look at stuff like this as simple fun (admittedly in small doses). It sounds like pretty standard stuff for the genre, and I prefer a quick barrage of the faster numbers than the slowed down ones, so I don’t get bored. –Joe Evans III (myspace.com/thearkhams)


ANTIDOTUM:
Jedna Plaga Ludzka Plaga: CD
Rock solid Polish punk/hardcore with female vocals. Songs are tight, anthemic, and catchy without sounding too formulaic, preachy, or professional. Good stuff. –Jimmy Alvarado (nnnw.pl)


ANTI YOU:
Two Bit Schemes and Cold War Dreams: LP
Straight-up hardcore punk attack in sixteen movements. There’s a definite late ‘70s/early ‘80s SoCal punk influence. The choruses are direct and memorable, the vocals are more talked than yelled, and the guitar is more jangly than buzzing and distorted. The songs on the first side are more straightforward, whereas the songs on the second side have a little more going on. “Cop-Out” has a cool introduction that reminds me of the Adolescents with the lone guitar creating the mood of despair, then there’s songs like “Dead End World” and “Operation SS” that switch back and forth (“Operation SS” stays mostly mid tempo and is a definite stand out on here). At times, they sound like a rawer Smogtown “Fuhrers of the New Wave.” “No One Like Me” is definitely the best song on here, and kind of brings all the elements they mess with together in one great song. It’s catchy, it’s fast, and it captures the mood of the lyrics perfectly. –Matt Average (Six Weeks, sixweeksrecords.com)


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