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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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RIGHT IDEA:
Our Way: CD
This discography CD brings the youth crew straightedge and brings it hard(core). The demo tracks which start off the disc could easily be mistaken for some lost Youth Of Today practice tapes if one didn’t know better. Once the recording quality picks up on the other sessions contained herein, Right Idea does distinguish itself a bit, though never straying far from the hardcore path their forefathers laid before them (the straight and narrow street). While taking in the whole twenty-something tracks at once can be a bit much, a nice bit of well-executed growly hardcore is always welcome. Favorite lyric: “Everyone’s turned their back on the edge! Everyone’s turned their back on the edge!” Only thing missing is subsequent stabbing of those backs (preferably in the streets) to make it the perfect HC lyric. –Adrian Salas (Refuse)


RESIGNATORS:
See You in Hell: CD
Holy shit, they still make ska bands! I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Some of the first shows I ever went to were ska shows. Nowadays, when I hear a ska band, I’m whisked back to the UW-Eau Claire Ska Fests. Those were some fun shows, with band after band of jazz class outcasts in pork pie hats just letting loose. That’s what ska is all about. Fun. It’s about skanking around your stereo while some goofball yells about chowing down at a taco stand over brass blasts. These guys work in some rawk riffing, keeping the whole affair very 1994. If you’re looking to do a bit of time travel, you might want to check this shit out. –MP Johnson (Stomp)


REAGANOMICS, THE:
Lower the Bar: CD
Catchy pop punk traveling more along the Dillinger Four side-street than the average car full o’ NOFX worshippers, with smart, snarky, sarcastic lyrics. –Jimmy Alvarado (Red Scare, redscare.net)


RATOS DE PORAO / LOOKING FOR AN ANSWER:
Split: 10” EP
Looking For An Answer: Spanish grind stuff with burp vocals and pointed lyrics attacking humanity, society, and scene politicians. Generally not my bag of worms, but they do it well. Ratos De Porao: One of the oldest bands still surviving that can inject metal into what they’re doing and still scare the shit out of the average clutch of jersey-wearing dickheads stomping around stages and bragging how tough they are, this legendary Brazilian hardcore band serves up five more blasts of pummeling hardcore decidedly not for the weak. Hard to believe that they’ve been around for nigh on three decades now, but they have and they can still fuck shit up quite handily. –Jimmy Alvarado (Six Weeks, sixweeksrecords.com)


RAS:
Vill Ha Mer: 7”
Did a little researching and found these cats count members of Manikins, Henry Fiat’s Open Sore, and Unabombers amongst their ranks. Both tracks here are effective thud-punk landmines, simple and effective, muscular and catchy. Haven’t the foggiest clue why, but it seems to me the Swedes have spent the better part of the past decade cranking out one kickass band after the next, and this is no exception. –Jimmy Alvarado (Push My Buttons, pushmybuttons.se)


RAMMA LAMMA:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Ding dong! Moo-pow-pow! As fun as Otis Day made the toga party in Animal House, Ramma Lamma takes ‘70s teen arena fun pop, unzips the listeners’ skull, scoops brains out like ice cream with sugary, sprinkles crunchy candy bits on top, and dances around like kids let of out of school for the summer. Think David Cassidymania dreaminess, prior to that London concert where a fourteen-year-old girl got stampeded to death at the gate; an event that haunted David until his death. No haunting here, just repeated listens! –Todd Taylor (Certified PR)


PSYCHO:
Self-titled: CD + DVD
Hot on the heels of Welfare Records’ discography a few issues back comes this next installment, which features the You Love Us...You Hate Us LP, the Riches and Fame LP, the Fuck Off Live 7” EP and their side of the split 7” EP with Out Cold, all recorded between 1988 and 1991. By this time the boys were well past their humble sloppy/poppy punk beginnings and were meting out blast after blast of hyper-speed hardcore. Forty-three tracks of noggin-pummeling thrash that’s sure to make the most avid powerviolence fan piss their panties, and you get it served up by one of the best—and most underrated—bands in the game, plus a DVD of them ripping shit up back in 1987 for those who prefer to see from which direction the sonic brick is flying towards them. –Jimmy Alvarado (Ax/ction)


PRETTY BOY THORSON & THE FALLING ANGELS / WORTHWHILE WAY:
Split: 7”
Pretty Boy and Worthwhile Way add to the fine tradition of coupling a rough, ragged, honest American DIY punk band that looks like it needs a hug, a razor, some alcohol counseling, and some second chances to a charming, way-proficient, earnest, probably very tidy, and talented Japanese DIY punk band. Scatter in seeds of old country and a love ballad apiece (Jesse’s is a song to a loved one; Worthwhile Way’s is a love song to life). It’s a tie for the best line on this one: “The mind is healed with my favorite tune and warm café au lait,” vs. “I got termites in the framework, so do you.” Excellent split. –Todd Taylor (Eager Beaver)


PRE MADONNA:
Self-titled: CD
The name of the band made me laugh because when I was little, I used to think that when people said “prima donna,” they were saying “pre-Madonna.” Anyway, I am into the sound that this band is working with. You can hear the guitars ringing over a sharp snare beat, and the vocals are way distorted and far-away sounding. They have a very anthemic, post-punk thing going. The vocals need some work, though. Some of the time, the vocalist is just talking deadpan into the loudspeaker. Needs a little more energy, for sure. It’s hard getting unique-sounding vocals through that much distortion, but it can be done and this band would really benefit from it. –Lauren Trout (Self-released, wearepremadonna@hotmail.com)


PORCELAIN BOYS:
Away Awhile: CD
This is up to its neck in All worship—noodley guitar playing, thumping bass, and hooks galore. While not quite as proficient or complex in delivery as All, or the Descendents, the band is catchy in its own right and the songs are well made and well played. If yer into the pop punk thang but prefer a bit more sophistication than the average Queers/NOFX Xerox clone is dishin’ out, this’ll definitely hit the spot. –Jimmy Alvarado (SP, sp-records.com)


PINK TURDS IN SPACE:
The Complete: CD
Honestly, I know fuckall about this band outside that they were from Belfast and they appear to have started out in the mid-’80s and managed to survive into the early ‘90s. What I do know is that they cranked out some serious thrash that seems to carry the DNA of both the U.K. anarcho-punk crowd and U.S. ‘80s hardcore, with a dash of metal guitar to add a little personality. The lyrics are angry yet laced with a bit of sarcasm around the edges; the tunes are fast ‘n’ furious and tight as hell. In addition to what I’m guessing from the title is their entire oeuvre presented on once CD, you get a thick booklet with lyrics, pictures, flyers, and interviews culled from various fanzines and other sources. –Jimmy Alvarado (Anti-Society, antisocietyrecords@yahoo.co.uk)


PHAROAH:
I, Murderer, I: 7”
Slow sludge howl-metal. –Jimmy Alvarado (A389, a389records.com)


PHANTOM LIMBS:
Self-titled: 12” EP
Indie punk with moaned vocals and an all-consuming fuzzy guitar tone. Sounds like an even sleepier version of early Dinosaur Jr. I’ve got mixed feelings about this. I am a huge fan of mid-’80s proto-alt rock and love hearing a resurgence of this style in current punk. If I had MP3s of this EP, “Drones” and “Enter the Bats” would make it onto quite a few playlists. But, I’m hesitant to tell people to go buy this when it’s not the least bit original. Two of the five songs are minute-long guitar noodlings, and this could have been a 7”. This band is from Maryland, but not the surf rock Phantom Limbs, who are also from Maryland, or the Oakland synthpunk band of the same name. Even their name is unoriginal. Still, I will listen to this a few more times, and that’s more than I can say about most records that I review. –CT Terry (Clown School)


PATRIARCHAL DEATH MACHINE:
Yes!: CD
Patriarchal Death Machine is from Adelaide, Australia and plays old fashioned New York hardcore with radical left political lyrics. The cover/album art is awesome and features a cop on fire, among other images of protest. Out of hand, gleefully overlong song titles include, “A Vulgar Display of Brute Force, Ignorance and Colonial Imperialism,” and “Yes, I Will Continue to Mask Myself and Indulge in Molotov Cocktails for as Long as I can See Clubs, Shields and Tear Gas.” It’s interesting to hear this type of hardcore played with such overt political lyrics, instead of the expected personal content. Strong vocals and a clean recording round out this recommended release. PDM is definitely the most in-your-face Australian artist since Olivia Newton John. –Art Ettinger (Pee, peerecords.com)


PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART, THE:
Belong: LP
Easily one of my favorite bands of the last few years, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s self-titled debut LP has been one of my go-to records, regardless of company, since it was released, and I assure you that Belong will be no different. Where the debut was noteworthy in its fuzzed-out twee/dream-pop imitative accuracy, Belong takes a much slicker, more determined approach. Initially, I was slightly thrown by the very high production values (care of Flood—responsible for the somewhat formative sounds present on many of New Order, Nine Inch Nails, JAMC, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, Erasure, Smashing Pumpkins, etc.’s hallmark records…), but it became apparent rather quickly that the sonic upgrade perfectly suited The Pains’ huge step forward in songwriting. Belong is a much grander work than the debut, without being overly ambitious by any means. The pop gems are still there, they’re just bigger, more refined, and better as a whole. Fucking awesome. –Dave Williams (Slumberland)


OVERNIGHT LOWS:
“Slit Wrist Rock’n’roll” b/w “I’ll Be Everything”: 7"
There’ll always be a place in music for stripped-down, sneering rock’n’roll that somehow—and thankfully—veers away from the depressing dungeon of bar rock and the artificial lip-pouting trappings of a band too obviously sucking up to the garage rock ring like a fussy child to its binky. I’m having a hard time explaining it further. Where so many other bands sound stupid or retreaded doing this style of music, The Overnight Lows are like the first day you discovered firecrackers; how they could blow your fingers off, but with just a little care, they snap, explode, sparkle, and make otherwise-dull nights pretty damn fun. Recommended. –Todd Taylor (Goner)


OLDE GHOST:
Use Your Illusion 3 ‘N’ 4: LP
Way above average post hardcore punk with an emphasis on the hardcore. This kind of feat is seldom achieved, but I can see this tickling the taste buds of folks who enjoy Born Against, Planes Mistaken For Stars, and Samiam alike. The Guns N’ Roses and Nirvana artwork parodies are fun, but if I were the kind of person who truly judges a book by its cover, then I may not have been quick to pick this gem up solely based on those qualities. –Juan Espinosa (Handstand)


OLD MAN MARKLEY:
Guts n’ Teeth: CD
This is a bit of an oddity. We have here a Fat Wreck release that could potentially be played on CMT or TNN, if it were still around. This isn’t punk with a distinct influence from some country music. This is a full-on modern bluegrass album that just happens to be played by a legion of punk rockers. Mainstream country is about as big a cesspool as Clear Channel-core rock, so it’s nice to hear some stuff with an Appalachian slant that doesn’t involve an excessive sheen of jingoism or enough mawkish sentimentality to make one want to join a Nordic black metal band. (Okay, “Song Songs” does get dangerously close to crossing the line on the sentimental thing though.) Simply put, this is a fun record. It’s the type of thing you could probably put on at a party with mixed company and not kill the buzz of people who are less accustomed to the noisier side of things. –Adrian Salas (Fat)


OBN IIIS, THE:
No Way to Rock and Roll: 7”
Two stellar songs with plenty of lo-fi rock and roll swagger. The title track brings to mind The Stooges while the B side is a bit slower and reminiscent of 13 Floor Elevators. Well worth seeking out if you dig this sort of stuff. –Chris Mason (Super Secret)


OBITS:
Moody, Standard and Poor: CD/LP
Since their debut (I Can’t Lose) in 2009, Obits have seemed like the next logical step from where vocalist/guitarist Rick Froberg’s previous act, Hot Snakes, left off. It’s a sound that is a little mellower with less fast songs and some surf and blues influence. It marks some progression away from Hot Snakes, but with Froberg’s recognizable vocals, it’s hard to escape a comparison to his last band. That’s why it’s nice to hear Sohrab Habibion, the other guitarist, sing two songs on this album, as he has a smoother voice that stands in contrast to Froberg and helps round out the sound of Obits. However, while the songs are still catchy, they seem to be formulaic with a format that was developed on many Hot Snakes tunes. It’s hard to describe, but listening to Moody, Standard and Poor I feel as though I’m listening to a lot of the same songs over and over again. And, overall, they comprise a weaker batch of songs than were on I Can’t Lose. Yes, the songs will still get stuck in your head on occasion, but they seem to lack any passion, direction, or newness that was present with the band’s first release or most Hot Snakes material. Perhaps I’m doomed to forever be disappointed to some degree since I find it hard to compare anything against Froberg’s mid-’90s band, Drive Like Jehu, but Moody, Standard and Poor is a disappointment from an artist whose work until now I have found to be inventive and fervent. –Kurt Morris (Sub Pop)


OAK:
II: LP
Oak are doom band that has more in common with Morton Feldman and Sunn O))) than Black Sabbath. Every note, every hit on the drums, is deliberate and surrounded by space. Even the vocals are a drawn-out, strangled growl from the pits. As the songs unwind and add to the minimal skeleton, a flow starts to reveal itself. A riff starts to develop, and, when it does, the payoff is worth it. The drums become more than just a hit punctuating space. In order to hear this, all you have to do is hone in on the music and nothing else. I appreciate how what was used as the lock groove on side one is incorporated into “Sorrow Is Dead” on the second side. This is the type of record you put on and crawl inside your mind for a while. Nice gatefold packaging as well. –Matt Average (A389, a389records.com)


NOBUNNY:
Live at Third Man: LP
Part of a series of live LPs at Jack White’s Nashville, TN studio. I don’t much like live albums, but I keep buying them. On first listen, I thought this was just another throwaway, something I bought more as a completist than an actual record with multiple listening value. The sound quality is good but there are too many flubs and false starts. The second time around, I liked it a little more. It probably won’t get too many spins on my turntable, but I don’t regret buying it. Sounds like it would have been a good show to see live. –Sal Lucci (Third Man))


NITAD:
Den Gudomliga Världen: 7” EP
Another doozy of a release from this monster of a band. Side one has two slices of brood ‘n’ menace. Side two thrashes things up with the short, vitriolic “Hänt Igen,” then closes out with the slower, hypnotic “Del Ett.” Someone tell me why these kids ain’t the darlings of the underground, ‘cause they’re more than fuggin’ worthy. –Jimmy Alvarado (De Nihil, myspace.com/denihilrecords))


NERVOUS IMPULSE :
Minimum Wage Demo: CD-R
Full frontal assault by a new band featuring ex-Porch Mob and Goons members. “Wasted Time” throws things into fourth gear from the start with a throbbing bass line. There’s a healthy tip of the cap to their harDCcore forefathers like Scream and Minor Threat, but it’s not derivative. “Back to the Swamp” is their tribute to DC’s real roots—when it was a muddy quagmire. But you won’t get bogged down with this EP if well-played punk is your bag. You need this pronto. –Sean Koepenick (Self-released)


MUSIC FROM THE FILM:
How the West Was Once: CD
I have problems judging things of this nature because I have nothing against experimental music, but I also don’t really understand a lot of it. This is a cacophony of slowed-down voices, arbitrary drum riffs, interspersed random instruments, and a heavy dose of Theremin. When listening to a project like this, I try to remember what I thought the first time I heard a Butthole Surfers record. Did I get that the first time I heard it? I don’t remember, but I sort of doubt that I did. What bothers me about this sort of thing is that it often doesn’t build to anything significant. I like The Thrones because there is something to latch onto in terms of songwriting. Still, I am okay with stretching the convention of structure. I like the soundtrack to Forbidden Planet. I could probably learn to like this as well. And by “like,” I mean listen to on drugs. –Billups Allen (myspace.com/musicfromthefilm)


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