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· 1:Off With Their Heads Top Shelf Interview Podcast
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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DUCHESS & THE DUKE, THE:
Sunset/Sunrise: CD
This full-length album on Hardly Art (a Sub-Pop related label) seems to find The Duchess & The Duke fitting fairly well with their label peers: emotionally vulnerable, personal songs with qualities more akin to some Americana than anything alternative. Male and female vocals work together to complement the music that ranges from orchestral to Southern-influenced ditties. It’s a pleasant listen created by obviously talented musicians who…ah fuck it—let’s just put it this way: they’ve toured with the Fleet Foxes. I don’t mean that as a positive or negative, but that put this band’s sound into perspective as they are very reminiscent of said bearded fivesome. –Kurt Morris (Hardly Art)


DRELLAS, THE:
Violence Is Art: 7”
Two tracks of vaguely post-punky sound with wah-wah guitar from this ragtag bunch. Each member looks like they would be in a different band: one rap metal looking member, one goth looking member, etc. Covering all of their bases, I guess, for any melodramatic fanbase looking for songs like “Violence Is Art” and the flip side, “Orchestra of Tears.” –Mike Frame (Antipop)


DOGMATICS, THE:
“Gimme the Shakes” b/w “20 Flight Rock”: 7”
Having not known a whole lot about the Dogmatics catalog, I was surprised to find this in the mail, considering this is a band that’s almost thirty years old now. Turns out it’s a re-release of a single originally put out in 1984. For the uninitiated, the Dogmatics were a seminal Boston punk rock/rock’n’roll band. Side A is a simple, straightforward toe-tappin’ rock’n’roll song with a heavy dose of harmonica. B side is a rockabilly jingle that sounds like the kind of number the young rooster would sing to woo the hens, much to the dismay of Foghorn Leghorn in Banty Raids. Even though these two songs are enjoyable, with being played at 45 speed and with the big hole in the middle, they come and go awfully fast. This was made to be played for a dime in the jukebox at Arnold’s. However, with the inflated price of vinyl today, I’m not sure this is an essential for anyone except the most dedicated Dogmatics devotees. –Jeff Proctor (Ramo)


DIRTY FILTHY MUGS:
“Another Round” b/w “Stop Thinking and Drink”: 7”
Well, this is awkward. I reviewed the Mugs’ Half Pin” EP a while back and, well, blasted it. It was bad enough to get referenced in a subsequent review and the band itself quoted me in the ad for this very release that I’m reviewing now. I’d like to think that them doing that was a case of them having a great sense of humor, but more likely they think I’m an asshole. At any rate, I think the A-side here (“Another Round”) is a good song. The flip side is from the EP I reviewed before, and I stand by what I said before. Not my thing. –Ty Stranglehold (DC Jam)


DESERT VEST, THE:
You Can’t Push a Ghost: CD-R
Nearly every song starts off with great ideas and mounds of dissonant creativity in evidence. Then the singer inevitably kicks in and it ends up sounding like bad alt-rock. –Jimmy Alvarado (myspace.com/thedesertvest)


DEAD PAWNS, THE:
Self-titled: CD-R
Some sonic diversity here—a little punk here, a little country there—and that’s always nice. A sense of humor is also in evidence, but ultimately nothing quite manages to stick into the noggin. –Jimmy Alvarado (myspace.com/thedeadpawns)


DEAD PAWNS, THE:
Self-titled: CD-R
Boy, reading a lot of reviews out there, you’d get the feeling that everything a reviewer is sent is either spectacularly, mind-bendingly, worthy of “best of the year list” status good, or just plain unlistenable crap. This is not the case. We get a lot of stuff like the Dead Pawns. This CD-R isn’t awful, but it’s a far sight from something I’d want to toss in and listen to after this review is over. The Dead Pawns play punk music that’s sometimes country-ish (there’s a banjo occasionally) and they don’t think much of women, or one particular woman, at least. They also spelled the word “blasphemer” wrong on the back of the CD. That alone will get you a poor review in my book. –Ryan Horky (Self-released, myspace.com/thedeadpawns)


DEAD CLASS, THE:
Self-titled: 7”
A two-song 7” by a four piece punk band from Liverpool. The A side was good, not great, reminding me most vividly of The Dead Kennedys, due to the vocals being mildly Jello-esque and the guitar work reminding me of East Bay Ray’s off-kilter surf rock. The B side slows things down a bit and goes for a somewhat less ambitious ‘70s garage punk sound. Overall a decent single, but nothing to write home to Mom about. –Jake Shut (Antipop, antipoprecords.co.uk)


DE RELLAS, THE:
Hollywood Monsters: CD
In the time it took for me to eject this from my stereo and carry it into work, I’ve completely forgotten what it sounds like. Think that pretty much says all that needs to be said, considering we’re talking a time lapse of, oh, four minutes. –Jimmy Alvarado (myspace.com/crushworldrecords)


DAYLIGHT:
Sinking: CDEP
Gruff and sincere punk rock wearing its influences plainly on their sleeve, those patches most clearly being Hot Water Music and Lawrence Arms. This five-song EP by a four piece punk band from Pennsylvania seems sort of paint-by-numbers and forgettable at the end of the day, yet nothing on it sucks. They just kind of ride a familiar genre and do a competent to mediocre job of it. –Jake Shut (Get This Right, myspace.com/gtrrecords)


DANGER DEATH RAY:
For Peaceful Purposes Only: CD
These guys make Jimmy Eat World and the Get-Up Kids sound like a bunch of bad asses. It starts off sounding like vaguely emotive mid-’90s melodic punk. Think Pulley or Face To Face. Quickly degenerates into overly compressed faux sensitive mainstream emo. These guys probably play all-ages shows and then talk about how mature the teenage girls in the audience are to justify their predation. –Jeff Proctor (dangerdeathray.com)


DAMAGE DONE, THE:
Scream All of Our Clichés: CD
Sometimes you go out of your way to find some new types of food to eat. And other times you make another peanut butter and jelly sandwich, only to realize that you’re out of peanut butter. So you go to the store and find that they are out of the brand you usually buy, so you grab the off-brand that you’ve never tried before. You make your sandwich and it tastes like you expected, except one little tinge of flavor that’s different. You end up with something you enjoy, it’s not new or different, but because of how familiar it is, you appreciate at least partially trying something unusual. The Damage Done are much like that peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You hear the sounds of Jawbreaker and Lifetime like you have before, with a voice that’s a bit off, but still good. Recommended. –Bryan Static (Better Half, no address listed)


DALI’S LLAMA:
Raw Is Real: CD
Eighth record by this desert based outfit whose music will soon be in a movie with Paul Rodriguez! I hear “stoner rock” bandied about in various descriptions, but who knows if these dudes even partake? Produced by Scott Reeder (The Obsessed), this is dark and heavy from the first note. “Theocracy” and “Slug Man” burn my eardrums the most on this one. “Fluids” is super creepy, too, so don’t put this on late at night unless you leave the light on! –Sean Koepenick (Dali’s Llama)


CYANIDE DESTRUCT:
Self-titled: CD
Cyanide Destruct sure does love their acronyms. With such hits at “I.E.D.,” “T.V.,” and “W.M.D.,” there’s obviously a theme going on. Even their music sounds abbreviated! Either this is the most meta concept album I’ve ever stumbled upon, or else this is just another mediocre thrash record. –Bryan Static (Pyrate Punx/Rodent Popsicle)


CUTE LEPERS:
“You Don’t Have to Belong to the Religious Right” b/w “Any Danger Love”: 45
I think that the fact that this record sleeve has “CUTE” in green letters and “LEPERS” in pink letters traveling down adjoining sides of the front is probably reason enough to dash out and obtain it, if only because the words are running across the top and right sides, making it a titillatingly innovative new variant on the “Elvis Presley” / “London Calling” theme, which always used the left and the bottom. As far as the actual music goes, “You Don’t Have To Belong To The Religious Right” sounds like the kind of song idea where somebody was bound and determined to write a song called “You Don’t Have To Belong To The Religious Right” for some reason other than actually having some legitimately inspired song called “You Don’t Have To Belong To The Religious Right” burning a hole in their metaphorical pocket. Clocking in at a padded and unsatisfying 4:17, this song is weak enough that it could become their “Bonzo Goes To Bitburg,” although i guess that song aged fairly well, so go figure. The real treat is the b-side, a cover of the Starjets immortal ((or, at minimum, barely mortal)) late ‘70s Irish power-pop gem “Any Danger Love.” Over the course of the last coupla decades, it seems like “Schooldays” has kinda been retrofitted as THEE Starjets song—and, no question, “Schooldays” is certainly a fine song—but as you, me and the Cute Lepers know, “Any Danger Love” trumps “Schooldays,” hands down. Still, i’m thinking they’re not quite doing the little echoey ((proto-pre-U2?)) lead quite correctly…they’re going “Any Danger Love ((Deedle-ee-dee-dee!))” when i think it’s actually “Any Danger Love ((Deedee-deedee-dee)).” Actually, i just dug the song up and the lead doesn’t really do either of those two things, but it’s closer to my thing than their thing, so ha! Cool cover on the outside, cool cover on the b-side, not much for an a-side. So it goes. Whoops, wrong power pop reference. BEST SONG: “Any Danger Love” BEST SONG TITLE: “Any Danger Love” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I can actually tell you the day i listened to the Starjets album all the way through for the first time: December 3rd, 1982. I was in high school and i went over to my friend Kirk’s house at lunch because my band was playing in Madison that night and we were skipping our after-lunch classes that day, but i had lunch 4th period and all the other guys had lunch 5th period, so i was at Kirk’s house an hour early, and his mom was there, but he had this big mean dog that wanted to kill everyone, so his mom told me to lock myself in Kirk’s room for an hour and listen to records, because otherwise the dog would go nuts and attack me, so i sat in Kirk’s room for an hour and played his Starjets album. Not a bad lunch, really. –Rev. Norb (1-2-3-4 Go!)


CUTE LEPERS:
Smart Accessories: CD
Just in case you missed the first few episodes, the Cute Lepers are a band populated by former members of the apparently deceased Briefs. While the Lepers add a bit more pop to their palette, they still mine essentially the same late ‘70s West Coast punk sound their predecessors did, with equal, occasionally superior, results. This latest release includes thirteen more tracks of pogo-tested greatness, though it was a bit of a bummer that “Berlin Girls” wasn’t a Smogtown cover. –Jimmy Alvarado (1234gorecords.com)


CREDENTIALS, THE:
Consolation Prizes: 7"
The best music comes in the form of a bitch slap. You check out a band expecting nothing—maybe a decent track or two—and you come back discovering that this was the best new band you’ve heard in the last few months. Yes, The Credentials, I am talking about you. With sounds in the vein of Cleveland Bound Death Sentence and Rivethead, you can expect a rollicking good time. It’s not perfect, but with just a bit more under their belt, these guys have potential of being a top tier band. –Bryan Static (Self-released)


CHIN UP, MERIWETHER!:
Fruition: LP
Well, I do like the cover art. A nice four-color print (if you count the white paper it’s printed on—which I do), with some two-legged creature standing on the back of a four-legged creature that has alligators for toes. The music is a whole other affair though. Poppy punky confection with some emo (not the mainstream version, but the real stuff like Still Life, Indian Sumer, etc) that was bubbling throughout the ‘90s, and this is just too precious. Akin to drinking a soda and eating a couple donuts for breakfast. Might sound like a grand idea, but then you get sick like a motherfucker from the massive amounts of sugar in your guts. It has some fleeting moments, but the nasally vocals ruin it, and the lyrics at times are, again, too precious, such as: “... With you as the North Star, you’ll never forget where you are.” Blehhh.... –Matt Average (Rumbletowne)


CHEECH / MILO’S SYNDICATE:
Split: 7"
A couple of tough guy hardcore bands that didn’t really hold my interest. Poop brown vinyl. –Ty Stranglehold (United Riot)


CATERPILLAR TRACKS / ARMS EXPLODING:
Split: 7"
A few years ago, I called for a moratorium on bands aping the Jesus Lizard. Those lurching, tense rhythms just lend themselves to lackluster imitation. It’s too easy to phone in. I’m glad that Arms Exploding never got my memo. They play with balls-out rawk energy, use the Jesus Lizard’s primal beats as a base, and throw some progressive post hardcore a la At The Drive-In or Refused on top. Caterpillar Tracks, on the other hand, are your generic Touch & Go offenders: a limp combination of Shellac and Jesus Lizard. Aiming for a groove, but just sounding monotonous. Don’t be mad, UPS is hiring. –CT Terry (Phratry)


BREWTAL THIRST:
Hard Work: CD
Five more slices of meat’n’potatoes punk from these guys. While lesser bands plying the booze’n’punk formula often end up sounding like a one-trick pony, these guys have enough catchiness in the backbone of their sound to keep ‘em interesting, at least over the course of the five songs here. They ain’t gonna beat Beyonce outta an Album of the Year Grammy or anything, but they do what they do quite effectively. –Jimmy Alvarado (Wet Brain)


BLUE RIBBON BOYS:
Suicidal Heart: CDEP
I’m not a cop, but I’m willing to bet if you want to get a woman into bed, your line wouldn’t be, “I’m going to cover you in roses and razorblades.” We’ll that’s just the type of creepy lyrics you’ll find on this album. If you don’t find that disturbing, then check out the lyrics to “Spoiled Ass Sweet Talk”: “You’re gonna call me your king. Blood stains all across your panties.” The scary thing is I can’t tell if they’re trying to be funny or not. I don’t recommend this CD. –N.L. Dewart (Rockin' Stan)


BLOOD STAIONED REALITY:
Fuck You Go Die: 7"
Here’s a funny story: When I was still in L.A., I brought this 7” home from Razorcake HQ to check out. I ended up bringing it back. That was back in July ‘09. Typically, one brings shit back to HQ when one can’t think of shit to say about a band, being rather indifferent to it. To those living outside of the area, review materials are sent out on a bi-monthly basis. I recently moved away from L.A. This came to me on the most recent mail out of review material. This seems to indicate that somebody else took it home for a period of time (no more than one issue’s worth of time) and then brought it back. So I’m taking it that I am not alone in my assessment. Anyway, this is kinda whatever hardcore. Shit is played hard—and seemingly with conviction—but nothing too remarkable. –Vincent Battilana (EZM, myspace.com/escozoomusic)


BLANKET OF M:
Self-titled: CD-R

Generic punk that doesn’t even bother to label their CD-R. I take them even less seriously than they take themselves

–Craven (no info)


BITCH N BROWN:
Self-titled: CD
This isn’t quite as bad as I feared it might be, but the band name is atrocious. This is country music with some punk influence (i.e. some of the songs are fast) that reminds me of something from an alternate universe where Hank III was a woman, played his songs with less intensity, and was about half as good as he is now. –Kurt Morris (myspace.com/bitchandbrown)


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