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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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CAT PARTY:
Self-titled: LP
The first thing that I heard from Cat Party was their “Jigsaw Thoughts” single, which is backed with “Entitled.” The tunes on there were both pretty damn good post-punk, leaning more towards the minimalistic, goth side of post-punk (Joy Division/early Bauhaus) as opposed to the noisy, chaotic side (Fall/DNA). Both of those songs made it on to this LP, which sees Cat Party fine tuning just a bit. I find it amazing how this three-piece is able to put together an LP of bleak yet rather hypnotic and atmospheric songs. Listening to this is, at times, like going into a commuter coma on a scenic drive: I plan on going out to take in the beauty, but it seems so obvious that I sink into it and just forget what I am doing; then I look up and notice that my surroundings are truly superlative. If you’re going to brood, brood to this. –Vincent Battilana (Flat Black)


CARRIE NATIONS:
Self-titled: 7” EP
My memory’s shit. I just got my eighth concussion, followed two months later by a direct punch in the face that loosened some luggage upstairs. The upside to all this is that I’m virtually incapable of nostalgia because I have a hard time remembering in much of a linear fashion. I gotta really concentrate to separate what happened in 1998 from 2008. But, I did see Athens, Georgia’s Carrie Nations at a house show in Anaheim (the cops came that day) years ago, and I was blown away. They’ve got a sorta indie rock approach to songwriting, meaning there’s more attention to texture and dynamics, but it’s played in such a manner that the drummer’s glasses flew off his face from the combination of sweat and totally punishing the buckets. Be Still, their full length which I bought right after their set along with their split with This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, is a flawless record. Like roses cropping up from blood spilt in the cracks of a sidewalk, the a-side of this 7” are songs recorded in 2003 that had never before been released. That’s the time capsule magic. The b-side is the remastered songs off the TBIAPB split that’s long out of print. Love me some Carrie Nations. Relevant? More than ever. –Todd Taylor (Stankhouse)


BURNING ITCH:
Self-titled: 7"
Judging from the band name and the cover of two stoner-looking rockers with guitars and rifles against a white wall, I thought I was in for some craaaaaappy bar rock. Shit no, it’s actually pretty rad, weird rock. Angular guitars stabbing out some catchy music, real driving, basically pop punk, but with a more gravelly singer than a smooth snot punk. Think a poppier Mistreaters. And I know we can all get on that train. Maybe they just sell pot, not smoke it. Three solid songs, tight as shit. They would be too energetic for a biker bar. Don’t know how you can get this 7”. No label listed, no address on the back cover, just “mono.” The vinyl has no label either, just the inscriptions “Don’t touch my moustache” and “Continued use may cause birth defects.” Maybe you can find them on the MySpace. –Speedway Randy (Self-released)


BROKEN NEEDLE:
Self-titled: 7"
After a few delays, this finally sees the light of day. It’s a great follow-up to their debut LP on Lengua Armada. Heard they remixed and remastered those tracks for their discography CD, which I heard has these tracks also. I actually like the original mix of the LP. Oh well, have to see if I like the new mix too. This 7” is five songs of intense hardcore in the mid to late ‘80s vein that surely can peak the attention of the most jaded. A dual guitar attack punches though the mix to give it the power. Drums are banged with controlled madness and the bass gives it the punch needed to feel it in the ribs. Just the right backdrop for singer, Todd, to do his thing. Broken Needle on record is great, but seeing them live takes it up a few notches; at least what I have witnessed since they are a local band. “Energetic set” barely covers it. I usually get banged around good trying to take pictures either by the crowd or the band, but I know for sure that I’m going to enjoy every minute of it. –Donofthedead (Schizophrenic)


BROKEN BONES:
Death Walks the Streets: EP
The dangerous thing about old bands who put out some classic records recording new records today is, all too often, the results are less than stellar. The classic line up is long gone, inspiration isn’t what it was, and on and on. Broken Bones, sadly, are one of those bands who should have stayed in the past. On these three songs they sound like some local opening band wishing they were Broken Bones. Today’s imitators have more power and are more relevant, oddly enough. Another once great band with a tarnished record. –Matt Average (Dr. Strange)


BRIMSTONE HOWL:
Big Deal. What’s He Done Lately?: CD
Excellent third album from these wunderkind fuzz monsters. They give the blown-out, fuzz box treatment to a few different musical styles, including country and western on “Easter at the Lewises’” and ‘60s British Invasion on “Suicide Blues” and “Elation,” all to fine effect. There’s a longing that echoes in the singer’s cracking voice on “Final Dispatch” that lends the song emotional depth. The guitar interplay with the lead vocals works especially well throughout the record. The album is so good I can even forgive them for rhyming “cool shit” with “atavistic” on “End of the Summer.” –Josh Benke (Alive)


BREAKAWAYS, THE:
Walking Out on Love (The Lost Sessions): CD
Between the breakup of L.A. power pop legends The Nerves and the formation of their equally legendary bands The Beat (not to be confused with the English Beat) and the Plimsouls, Paul Collins and Peter Case had a band called the Breakaways. Although the group never really quite got off the ground, they did manage to record a few demos of some tunes from the Nerves’ set list and, in the case of the title track, some that would also feature in the Beat’s future set list. These tapes were apparently mislaid for many a moon, but have been rediscovered and released. The sound quality is great considering these are demos and they’re some thirty-odd years old, and the songs, well, we are talking about the dudes responsible for “Rock ’n’ Roll Girl” and “A Million Miles Away,” so of course the tunes are top notch. –Jimmy Alvarado (Alive)


BREAKAWAYS, THE:
Walking Out on Love (The Lost Sessions): CD
After the end of The Nerves, Paul Collins and Peter Case started a new outfit. Previously only two songs were ever made available to the masses via a Bomp compilation. Now from the archives comes this thirteen-song release. Only three songs look to repeat from the recent Nerves CD. This sounds like a band trying to find its sound, but it really does not matter since both Paul and Peter are such fantastic songwriters. A revolving door of almost members completes the lineup here. But as quickly as it started, it ended. Case went to start The Plimsouls and the Paul Collins Beat was born. If you like even one song from either outfit, then you need this too. –Sean Koepenick (Alive)


BORED STRAIGHT / NORDIC WASTE / HOLY SHIT!:
Split: 7"
Wisconsin seems to have an unusually good instinct to stacking bands up on top of each other. This 7” is the equivalent of a River West basement show, except there are only three bands and I have yet to bang my head on the house’s plumbing system. Musically, the trio at hand offers varying speeds and ideologies of harsh, wintered hardcore punk that range in the humor/seriousness department. While not cooking up something for “everyone,” it definitely packs a punch for those who are lookin’ for it. –Daryl Gussin (Holy Shit!)


BORED GAMES:
Party ‘Til You Puke: 10"
Power pop by way of smooth garage/girl groups, with a noticeable rock’n’roll influence—not in the Chuck Berry vein, so much as the kinds of bands like the Reigning Sound or Used Kids, and while, admittedly, I don’t know that kind of stuff that well compared to a lot of my friends, I do like this. I recognize Addie from Lefty Loosie (who did a good job singing before, but really sounds fantastic here), but not the other dude singing, who provides a good contrast, keeping things interesting. This is terrific! –Joe Evans III (Repulsion)


BOO FROG:
Self-titled: CD
Sounds like this emerged from the swamps of Baton Rouge, but this trio actually hails from Portland. Sparse, raw sound from this three-piece, since there is no bassist. But there’s still a decent depth here. I wouldn’t say The Cramps are my favorite band, but I bet these guys might. “Birthday Girl” actually reminds me of a Kinks song, so we are treading similar moving sidewalks at times. “Throw Me a Bone” sounds like a Velvet Underground outtake that John Cale forgot to bring his viola into the session. Intriguing material that I can see myself popping in again when the mood strikes me as I’m driving home late at night. –Sean Koepenick (Skullman)


BOLTH:
If You Want Peace, Prepare for Class War: CD
The title to this record made me think that it was gonna be run-of-the-mill anarcho punk tinged with metal. I guess I wasn’t far off, but this record really isn’t run-of-the-mill. Ya, the first seven tracks or so are fairly standard musical fare of this genre, but the last three or four set me on my ear; they had a bit more of a hardcore sound, were a bit more catchy, and didn’t have that feeling of trying to walk with eighty-pound weights tied around one’s neck. This is not to slight the first two-thirds of the record, but the last third was so rollicking and free compared to the rest; those songs dominate my attention. Good record overall. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Useless World, uselessworldrecords.com)


BLOWTOPS, THE:
64 Teeth: 7”
It took a few listens, but the Blowtops’ experimental keyboard weirdness and mentally ill sounding vocals grew on me in much the same way Lili Z’s last LP did. “64 Teeth” is a warped stream of consciousness rant that falls completely apart about half way through, the drums galloping into a mess of percussive confusion only to be brought back into some sort of song structure by an eerily held keyboard note. The flip side is more precise musically, but doesn’t shake off one bit of the lunatic vibe from side one. –Josh Benke (Certified PR, myspace.com/certifiedpr)


BLOCKED OUT:
Torn Throats: 7”
Shit yes. The list of bands Blocked Out is compared to did not prepare me for this record. When you’re expecting “Judge meets American Nightmare” and you get “Ringworm meets Ruination” you’re bound to be a little shaken up. Shaken up in a very good way, in my case. This rips hard. Just vicious, not unlike the recent Blind To Faith record, although without the “evil” imagery. An incredibly pleasant surprise. –Dave Williams (Television)


BLOCKED OUT:
Torn Throats: 7”
I saw this band a couple weeks before this record came in for review and these nine songs do an adequate job of representing their live show. Guttural, mid-tempo hardcore that chugs and bellows itself to point of exasperation, even if there are only a handful of people paying attention. Blocked Out take the middle ground between emotive let-it-all-out East Coast style and circle-pit-till-puke West Coast thrash. A decent expedition both live and on record. –Daryl Gussin (Television)


BLACK KNOTS:
Guitarmageddon: CD
Loud rock’n’roll stuff along the same lines that bands like Zeke have trod prior. They pump in enough energy to deliver one overcharged, hell raising salvo of guitar-driven noise and manage to make it sound fresh. Only gripe is “A Change Is Gonna Come” ain’t a Sam Cooke cover, which would’ve been truly impressive if they’d manage to pull that kind of an endeavor off. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dead Beat)


BLACK FORK:
The First Fork Years: LP
No idea how I missed these guys when they were around and I was living up there. There, being the Bay Area. Friends and acquaintances would talk Black Fork up, and make it sound like some huge event. They’d often ask me about why I wasn’t at the show, and I didn’t even know about the show until well after the fact. What’s a person to do? Well, it’s been a good, long time since those days. Longer than I sometimes realize. But life and time have that way of moving fast, and when you get hep to that, it goes even faster. S’anyways, Mess Me Up has taken it upon themselves to release all of Black Fork’s EPs, demo, comp, and split material onto one twelve inch piece of blue vinyl. A good twenty-three songs that embody the EastBay punk sound. Sort of sounds like the spawn from the union of Blatz and Filth on that split they did nearly twenty years ago on Lookout. Snotty, ugly, belligerent, discordant, and somehow catchy. One listen of the rager, “Don’t Talk to Me” will have you hooked. It has all the elements of a classic punk song. Catchier than the swine flu, and lots of pure ‘tude. –Matt Average (Mess Me Up)


BLACK 100S, THE:
Out with the Stars: CD
Singer/songwriter, Thomas Handschiegel, is armed with an acoustic guitar and the blues. He strums somber songs from a stark landscape. His vocals don’t have much range, like the monotone purr of Leonard Cohen or the dreamy sighing of Nick Drake. Unlike them, Thomas’s voice lacks richness and, at times, sounds deliberately restrained, while, mechanically, his melodies are hit and miss. The ending of “The Lost Song” is restless and tight like his earlier work on “Cocksucker Blues,” but Thomas stopped there. On the other tracks, it sounds like he’s strumming more out of habit than passion. –Kristen K (Self-released)


BEHIND THE WAGON:
11 Songs by…: CD
This record reminds me of Biosphere II: a sealed-off world, filled with experiment, but a crack in the foundation. Some of the experiments work. Some of them don’t. I have the feeling that there are multiple songwriters in this band and they’re all tugging in different directions. For example, a single song, it goes from Replacements (yay!) to Blues Traveler (please, no. It’s not just the harmonica, but how it’s played.). Several songs go from a promising pole to a suspicious one. Behind The Wagon’s mode is mainly in the vein of punks-going-country, (Billy from Altaira is in it) and at its tightest and most focused, I get the self-assured strains of Whiskey & Co. and Ninja Gun. I say follow that long, dusty trail for a bit longer, put in some more miles, let the dust settle, and play it as simply as possible. –Todd Taylor (myspace.com/behindthewagon)


BANNER PILOT:
Collapser: CD
This is album is in my top three of the year, for sure. Hell, it might be number one. I have the Pass the Poison EP, but somehow managed to miss Resignation Day. Collapser manages to feel comfortably familiar, yet still exciting and fresh. For the uninitiated, Banner Pilot is really gritty pop punk (think gravel vocals, heavy and really busy bass work that’s actually noticeable, tempos that never really dip below fast, and twin guitars that know how to play some excellent minor key stuff against power chords), with a low-key epic quality to it. It’s like every song is somehow the story of your life while it’s playing. Collapser sounds like the album I always hoped None More Black would make. The lyrics are really great too. They have a bit of the Weakerthans’ Great Plains desperation poetry mixed with Lifetime’s direct emotiveness. I would single out some tracks, but they’re all great. Get this, and if you don’t like it… well, much like the Grinch, your heart may be two sizes too small. –Adrian (Fat)


BANNER PILOT:
Collapser: CD
I think it’s safe to call this the “highly anticipated Fat Wreck” debut, right? While it’s not a drastic departure from anything they’ve done before (I hear the Jawbreaker and other influences still), there’s interesting little bits that throw you at first listen (“How’d they get the guitar to sound like that?” “This kind of reminds me of Superchunk”). Overall, it’s solid, though it has that weird “problem” where if I’m not careful, I’ll find myself listening to a few of my personal highlights over and over again (particularly “Central Standard,” “Pensacola,” and “Vacant Lot”) instead of just listening to the whole thing all the way through. I think this is their best sounding record yet. –Joe Evans III (Fat Wreck)


BALANCE AND COMPOSURE:
Only Boundaries: 12” EP
Four songs of beefy emo rock, like prime Cursive, or the stuff that Revelation was releasing fifteen years ago. The musicianship is tight and the recording packs a punch and a crunch. The problem is, that while the music takes its cues from the highpoints of this much-maligned genre, the vocals are lifted wholesale from the radio emo of the last five years. The lead singer is whiney, and some dipstick screams in the background every now and then. Making matters worse, the vocals are super loud in the mix. It’s a shame, because the music shows a lot of promise; it’s just sunk by what Mr. Burns on The Simpsons would describe as “off-key caterwauling.” –CT Terry (No Sleep, nosleeprecs.com)


BAD SPORTS:
Self-titled: LP
Bad Sports sound as if they’ve been having late night, after work meetings discussing the finer points of the Nerves and the Urinals over half a carton of smokes and a case of: insert the name of your favorite cheap domestic beer here. Early Ramones also isn’t merely a reference here. It’s a way of life. And the Sports clearly adhere to that motto. This record gets better with every listen. –Juan Espinosa (Douche Master)


BAD BLOOD REVIVAL:
Tongue Twisting Tunes for Tiny Tots: LP
This initially reminded me of Stupid Party, with their stoner and grungy inclinations, yet pretty different because of their seeming penchant for some of the noisier, more abrasive Touch & Go catalog titles (e.g., Jesus Lizard). Then I found out that they toured with Stupid Party recently. It made sense, for sure. Another thing that I think I read (maybe in an interview that Daryl sent me with somebody, maybe somewhere else) BBR was formerly just Bad Blood. I believe that they augmented their name after a line-up change; so if you’ve been keeping an eye out for the Bad Blood full-length, I do believe that this is what you are looking for. And I don’t blame you for keeping an eye out, as it is pretty heavy and intense. Dead Broke has done some decent stuff, but this is one of the more interesting releases I have seen from them, without a doubt. I’m liking it quite a bit. –Vincent Battilana (Dead Broke)


AUTONOMADIC:
Gift of the Sun: CD
A poppy punk band that appears to have more on its mind than girls, drinking, and farting, which immediately places them a cut above their peers. The singer sounds like he’s been listening to Rancid a wee bit too much, though. –Jimmy Alvarado (Bleeding Ear, no address)


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