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One Punks Guide to Pinball, by Kayla Greet
Razorcake #92
Spokenest, Gone, Gone, Gone LP
Pinned In Place, Ghostwritten By LP
Razorcake #91


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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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GLADIATORS EAT FIRE:
Self-titled: CD
Wow. The twelve songs that clock in at almost an hour on this debut full-length are quite diverse. Screamy hardcore one minute and then an atmospheric tune the next. The vocals are very reminiscent of Aaron Weiss from mewithoutYou while the music reminds me of older mewithoutYou as well as Envy, the Japanese screamo band. This was often the case when the vocals went into the screaming range and away from the singing. The band calls themselves experimental psychedelic hardcore, but I don’t really hear any experimental or psychedelic sound. As with most music that is quite varied, it would be nice to hear the band really hone down their sound and excel at something. If they continue to progress, I have no doubt one day Gladiators Eat Fire will look back at this album and say, “We had some good songs, but damn, we were all over the place!” –kurt (gladiatorseatfire.com)


FULL RAINBOW:
“Revolution Binge” b/w “Blackout Race”: 7”
A rollercoaster of thoughts more than anything. Like the Brokedowns but with less backup vocals and fewer singsong choruses. Like Government Warning but slowed down just a tad. Like Career Suicide but with more late Black Flag influence. Like a hot summer day if the heat waves were converted to musical notes. Fuck. One of those is bound to be close. You should check this out, even if the only thing that ends up impressing you is the super cool cover art. –Bryan Static (Self-released, fullrainbowband.blogspot.com)


FROZEN TEENS / STREET LEGAL:
Split: 7”
This is another one of those one-sided splits. The Frozen Teens play stripped-down punk rock you’ve heard a dozen times before by a dozen different bands— nothing to get excited about. Street Legal, on the other hand, is awesome hardcore punk with great hooks and powerful female vocals. The catchy riffs and epic amounts of guitar wankery crammed into each of the two songs here will not only get you rocking out but will give you a serious case of musical talent envy. The only disappointment with the Street Legal side of the split was how short it was. Two songs were not enough for me to enjoy the radness of this band. These ladies and gentlemen clearly know how to rock, and an EP (or LP) of them on their own can’t come soon enough. –Paul J. Comeau (Shut Up)


FRENCH EXIT:
Self-titled: CD
Huh. Not what I was expecting from the hand-made, spray painted Bud Light cardboard sleeve this CD came in. French Exit plays pretty decent pop punk. One of the vocalists sounds kinda like Dan Andriano and the music’s pretty tolerable. Not bad at all, really. The song “Backspace” even has a totally rockin’ wanky as all get-out guitar solo. There’s nothing mind-blowing here at all, but this is pretty solid. –Ryan Horky (Frenchexit.net)


FRENCH EXIT:
Demo: CD-R
Every time I think I’m sick of sing-a-long post-hardcore inspired pop punk, I hear a band that kicks me in the ass to keep me from falling asleep. This demo CD came in a sleeve made out of a recycled Bud Light case. The CD within the case sounds like a band that would send out demos in sleeves made out of recycled Bud Light cases. It’s a win-win situation! I would not be surprised if the beer that used to be in those cases was drunk during the recording sessions of this album. There is a definite demo quality to this recording, but if it’s any indication of what’s to come, then everything looks like smooth sailing here on out. –Bryan Static (Self-released, frenchexit.net)


FLOWERS OF FLESH AND BLOOD:
War Poetry: CD
Speedy U.K. anarcho-punk, more along the Legion Of Parasites than Crass DNA strain. –jimmy (self-released, myspace.com/flowersoffleshandblood)


FIRES OF WACO:
Old Ghosts Never Sleep: CD
Although the band name caught my eye and they have a song on here called “Damon Wayans,” it was all a cheap trick. This is nü-metal guitar with horrible, screaming vocals. “A Life of Low Expectations” is the last track here. This pretty much sums up this record. There’s nothing to see here. –koepenick (Poison City)


FAITH ADDICTION:
Self-titled: Cassette
Just about as ‘80s hardcore as the name implies them to be. –Bryan Static (No Reprieve, no address)


FACE THE RAIL:
Self-titled: Cassette
I’ve had this sitting here for the last two review cycles. I’m really sorry, guys! I had a hard time finding a tape player that worked in my house, then I would forget for a while... I’m really kinda mystified about this whole tape resurgence these days. I grew up in the cassette heyday, and I switched to CDs for quite sometime before skipping back to vinyl again. It’s kind of cool I guess... Anyways, back to the review. These guys tricked me. The cover has some crazy ‘60s “trippin’ at the Filmore” kind of typeface and a lot of ‘80s bright, glowing colors. The first song opened with a kind of late ‘80s/early ‘90s indie rock/jangly punk kind of thing happening. I was kind of liking it and before I knew what happen, it fell apart and exploded into some fierce hardcore punk rock. Fine skate rock that I’d play with my Gang Green, JFA, and Sheglank’d Shoulders on a skate session mix. Nice work, you rippers! –ty (Tankcrimes)


F BOMBERS:
Pledge Allegiance: LP
Did I just exit a time machine? This is a ‘90s Hellcat release, right? I’ll just take a look at the back sleeve and… huh, 2011. Now that my time travel hypothesis has been disproved, I’m forced to assume that these guys fucking love the street punk from that era. They play the style fairly confidently. If you need something reminiscent of early Tilt or the Distillers, this isn’t a bad choice. –Bryan Static (Sixty Nine Apple/Jailhouse, jailhouserecords.com)


ESTROGEN HIGHS:
Cycles: 12” EP
Indie pop that wears its lo-fi ‘60s influences on its sleeves. –jimmy (Safety Meeting, safetymeeting.net)


ENDPROGRAM:
Balatus: CD-R
Some pretty ferocious hardcore punctuated with (thankfully) few metal tinges here and there. The vocalist’s a little atonal but the lyrics are whip-crack smart and unafraid to tackle inherently political issues, going so far as to instigate a pretty incendiary topic within the words of the final song. The recording could have used some beefing up, but, for a demo, it’s pretty solid, and it’s apparent from their presentation (nice silkscreened sleeve, sticker, lyrics sheet, etc.) and extensive, thoughtful liner notes that these dudes are at the very least questioning themselves and the culture and system around them. Worth checking out. –keith (End Program)


END BEGINS:
One Step Forward, A Lifetime Back: CD
Totally faceless modern-day hardcore. I’m sure dudes karate kick the air or whatever while these guys play, but it’s hard to even get worked up enough to write a bad review for this. These guys are apparently Finnish, if that matters. To me, bad hardcore is bad hardcore, no matter where it comes from. –Ryan Horky (Full House, fullhouserecords.com)


ELSINORES, THE:
Demo: Cassette
There’s an awesome new wave of up-and-coming bands that are part of the punk scene, but are clearly more inspired by ‘80s alt and indie rock than anything else. I’m talking about stuff like Black Wine and Big Eyes or what Hunchback was doing years ago. It’s a trend I’m enjoying immensely. The Elsinores pull in with their brand of pop punk, complete with a keyboard in the rhythm section. It’s nice to hear a band that utilizes a keyboard without making it a lead instrument. Yeah, I know the Sedatives did that, but these guys do it in a completely different way. I’d be really happy if a full length ever came out of this. –Bryan Static (Self-released, theelsinores.blogspot.com)


ELECTRICUTIONS, THE:
Forgotten City: 7” single
What caught my eye, initially, is Kid Congo Powers produced this. Never known him to be connected to anything bad. So, I put this record on, and get hit with some really good punk that recalls the first wave, not to mention a little bit of power pop thrown in to give this a little more dimension. Lyrically, they lean on the political side, yet they’re not droll and sloganeering. The songs present a bleak view on the surface, but there’s defiance in the delivery, and also one of hope, as in the song “Days Like These”: “Now you got nothing to show for living on your knees / Stop / Get up / I ain’t dying but I’ve had enough.” Better believe it! –Matt Average (Windian, windianrecords.com)


DONOTS, THE:
The Long Way Home: CD
The Donots play polished and accomplished muscle pop, and through most of the record that works really well for me, but sometimes the sound borders on mall punk, but not quite. I like this record, even though a few tunes become kinda vanilla thanks to slick production. Lyrical content seems to center on the pros and cons of isolation (more pro than con) and the ridiculousness of living with regret; not bad as far as that goes, but the lyrics are a bit clichéd at times. All in all, I liked this record quite a bit, but it sometimes sounds like a mish-mash of stuff I have on a bunch of other records, and there really wasn’t much that struck me as truly distinctive. –The Lord Kveldulfr (OK Good / Solitary Man)


DISCO FOR FERNS, A:
What’s the Sound of Proper Flow?: Cassette
Not really sure what this band is trying to pull off here. They do a few rap rock numbers with lyrics like: “Gonna move to Austin…Gonna grow my beard, gonna do my part to keep this town weird.” I guess that’s the band trying to be ironic. However: Austin’s cool, and beards are cool. But starting a joke band and trying to rap? That’s lame. –Lauren Trout (OBZ Tapes)


DES ARK:
Don’t Rock the Boat, Sink the Fucker: CD
Oh wow, this lady has such a beautiful voice. The cymbals crashing like waves throughout the album make the tone really peaceful. The title of this CD is misleading though, because it is really just perfect music for chill time and daydreaming. –Lauren Trout (Lovitt)


DEMONI:
Surfin with Demoni: 7”
Is it a compliment to say that something is competent? Hmmm. Maybe not. In that case, this record contains two songs worth of ultra-competent surf. Put it this way: If you close your eyes and listen, you might not be able to picture a bunch of demons surfing the ocean triumphantly with the full moon at their back (if you open your eyes and look at the cover, you’re cheating), but you might get a glimmer of an image of a not-too-rotten zombie paddling his board lackadaisically across Lake Michigan or something. And that’s kind of okay too, right? –mp (demonipsycho.com)


DEATH TRAP:
No Hicks: 7” EP
A rudimentary howl from the bowels of King City, CA circa 1983. According to the liner notes, these guys lived the life of many folks stuck in small towns back in those days; namely they were part of a “scene” that consisted of maybe eight kids, tops, and the rest of town hating them merely for existing. Though they never managed a release back then, they did do some four-track recording—which is where the four tunes here come from—and managed to play some great shows in San Jose, Fresno, and other punk-friendlier Northern California spots with some of the heavy hitters of the day. This ain’t likely to get the average Social Distortion fan’s panties in a bunch, but it is a nice addition to the pantheon of platters voicing punker discontent in a time when it was a fuggin’ miracle one had access to equipment to make a racket to a crowd smaller than the average basketball team. Respect to ‘em. –jimmy (Feral Kid)


DEAR HEARTS:
Grab My Hand: CD
This Belgian band plays poppier punk in the vein of The Bomb or Face To Face but weaker and without much depth. While a few of the songs are catchy, they don’t elicit much excitement. The guitar and bass are played without any passion or effectiveness. The guitar, especially, is quite low in the mix. The drumming is good but the vocals are left to carry much of the sound and they’re not that outstanding. After dozens of listens this still doesn’t elicit much of anything in me, and I doubt it will for anyone else, either. –kurt (dearheartsmusic.com)


DEAD UNCLES / CREDENTIALS, THE:
Split single: 7”
One song each from these pop punkers. The Credentials sound like ‘90s pop punk prior to the pop punk explosion at the end of that decade, with yelled scream-singing vocals and some guitar wankery. While the band clearly shows talent, I just wasn’t into it. The stripped-down garage rock-esque pop punk sound of Dead Uncles, on the other hand, is not only catchy, but stands out from other bands of the genre. The Dead Uncles track alone wouldn’t necessarily make me buy this record. For my money, I’d wait for another dedicated release from them. –Paul J. Comeau (86’d)


COWARDS:
Solitude: CDEP
This is a posthumous review of the last EP by these Minneapolis punks. This prog style screamo trio, all named Kyle, put together these four tracks as their “goodbye” to their loyal fans last year. With throat searing-vocals, grindcore chords, and rapid-fire drums, Cowards merges an ominous bass line in “Solitude” for a decibel-shattering finale. But fear not, the Kyles will probably be back or absorbed by the surplus of punk bands in MN. –Kristen K (Automaton Records Media Conglomerate, myspace.com/thearmc)


COPSTABBER!:
Officer Down!: CD
Eighteen minutes of slash and burn from this DC hardcore outfit. They take the blueprint for fast and loud and pour an old Natty Bo all over the remains. “Broke” and “I Like Cocaine” blast on full throttle like a pig on speed. There’s a Meatmen cover here that also fits in nicely. If you like it hard and heavy, these guys will fit the bill. Entertaining and worth checking out. –koepenick (Zodiac Killer)


CONVOCATION, THE / CHRISSAKES:
Split: 12” EP
The Convocation: Big, loping, sludgy stoner rock sound mixed with an almost mid-’80s DC tinge to give it a bit more artsy heft than the average gaggle of nouveau hair farmers. Chrissakes: They riffin’ on the same influences as the cats on the other side, but their approach leans heavily towards the “hardcore” end of the sandbox. They still manage to throw in a Sabbath-type breakdown now and again, though. –jimmy (Trans Ruin, myspace.com/transruin)


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