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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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NO ONE’S VICTIM:
Just Another Young Punk Band: 7"
I usually like to start on the second side of any release that has two sides. It gives me a good impression of what a band sounds like on the average. You figure that most bands will put their strongest song as the first track. My theory being that it is your only chance to catch the listener’s attention. These guys started off well with their cover of Infa Riot’s “Emergency.” It was true to the original and was not a disgrace. The second track on side two was a bit formulaic, new decade street punk with the over used “Oi, Oi...” Hearing Americans chant “Oi” has not grasped me as being genuine. It is a English working class anthem and slang that doesn’t belong being sung by Americans who don’t go through the same struggles because our culture is different. Also, it doesn’t sound right without the Cockney accent. Now off to side one. It’s time to talk a little shit. I am experienced at it since I shit everyday like clock work and have been doing it for more than 30 years. If I don’t take a shit at least once during the day, I know my body is fucked up. Based on the title and the title of the first track, there is a contradiction already in place. The title of the song is “77.” If they are truly just another young punk band or at least 24 years of age they were born around the year of the title. So how can they sing about it? Are they really old enough to have experienced it? Plagiarize what others have wrote? Second track, “Working Class Hero.” Based on their age, who are their heroes. Mom and Dad? Their relatives or friends’ parents? I don’t know if their intentions are right. It just doesn’t come off as original or sincere to me. I say go back to the garage and create something new that will excite the rest of us, but don’t come and try to recreate a sound that you really can’t understand because you haven’t lived it. To end this, they aren’t half bad. –Donofthedead (Radio)


NIKKI & THE CORVETTES:
Self-titled: CD
Nikki and her curvaceously spectacular Corvettes playfully (but passionately!) belt-out a dizzying dose of crunchy power-pop cheerfulness... it’s fun, frolicking, and full of youthful zeal for life! The giddy virginal schoolgirl vocals and shimmering upbeat instrumentation sound incredibly like The Shirelles, The Shangri-Las, the original animated Josie & The Pussycats, Blondie, and Fuzzbox all lightheartedly bashin’ skulls with The Beach Boys, Ramones, Buzzcocks, The Knack, and The Romantics... hell yeh, it’s joyously sweet summertime rock’n’roll exhilaration about boys, cars, cruisin’, and flirtatious puppylove crushes. Although all of these tunefully titillating tracks date from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, they’re as exuberantly relevant today as they were 20 years ago. This is the most fun my ears have ever had, by golly gosh! –Guest Contributor (Bomp!)


NEIGHBORS, THE:
Negative Reaction: CD
Gawd damn! The Neighbors kick up a bad ass racket that hits hard and heavy like Felix Trinidad! Lickety split tempos, heavy guitars, and ragin’ vocals combine like Wonder Twins to shape up a bulldozer with one ton pick axes attached for extra measure. These guys are pretty much godhead. –Matt Average (Six Weeks)


NEGATIVE STEP/REDRUM:
Split: 7"
Redrum: Remarkably strong hardcore here, despite the hackneyed band name. Five tracks of blistering power, completely devoid of any metal, from one kick-ass band. Negative Step: They sound like the missing link in Negative Approach’s career between their first EP and the Tied Down LP. The sound quality is a little muffled, but their songs are cool. –Jimmy Alvarado (Satan's Pimp)


NAILGUN:
Black Amphetamine Dissonance: CD
Low budget metallic hardcore that did zilch for me. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.angelfire.com/indie/nailgun)


MUTANTS:
Fun Terminal: CD
This is one o’ those bands that was pretty popular on the west coast back when they were active, but only seem to be remembered these days by collectors. They were from San Francisco, dressed really weird for their equally weird sets, trashed many a stage from the Gay Bay to Lost Angeles, were friends of the DKs and did not play hardcore. Au contraire, they sound poppy in a quirky, punky kinda way, somewhere between the B-52s and the Police’s edgier moments. I remember taping many of their songs off of long dead radio shows and I always liked that arty new wave sound they had. Presented here is their only album, an EP, a demo and live tracks from a couple o’ comps, including their tracks from “Live from the Deaf Club.” It’s kinda sad hearing this stuff after so many years because this style was a pretty damn good listen when played right and it’s rare that one hears it anymore. I imagine that most will say that this sounds dated, doesn’t hold up well, blah blah blah, but for me it brought back memories of days when one could see Black Flag, the Go Gos, the Suburban Lawns and Los Lobos on the same bill; a time when punk rock was still more a concept than a set of marginalized pigeonholes that one should force themselves into and never deviate. –Jimmy Alvarado (White Noise)


MURDER CITY DEVILS, THE:
Thelma: CDEP
I’m liking the MCDs better all the time. Early releases seemed really shouty and separated. Like there was music and then there was a guy shouting from the other side of the parking lot. It never quite meshed for me, but with this EP and In Name and Blood, I’ve become a fan. Although if I zone out to the instrumental parts, I’ve caught myself thinking, “I don’t own any Doors. How’d that get in there?,” those incidents are becoming less and less. So, if you’re down with the dirty, hurt seagull in barbed wire vibe they’ve flown into, this EP’s further exploration of the type of drowning, dark sea swell hinted at before. It’s most evident with the use of languid organ, but the whole band’s finding their own sound, infusing the best ether whippits of Bauhaus, early death rock, and The Waterboys, chaining it to the rusty barge of punk rock, and sailing uncharted, dark oceans. On a completely different tip, imagine my surprise when this comes with a full computer video of a songs that’s not on the audio CD (“Idle Hands”) and lyrics to all the songs (which I wish were all printed on the insert because a lot folks don’t have computers). Fancy. –Todd Taylor (Sub Pop)


Molehill:
Thousand Mile Regret: 12"EP
The Eyehategod influence is painfully obvious, which ain’t necessarily a bad thing. I imagine a double bill featuring the two of ‘em would lead to a sudden increase in the suicide rate, though. Screamy-guy sludge metal that is just as good as their last album and, seeing as I dig this shit, I’m stoked. Sabbath who? –Jimmy Alvarado (Satan's Pimp)


Misconduct:
One Last Try: CD
Continually improving with every album. They sound a little heavier and darker now, but that adds to the impact. Early ‘90s youth crew that brings to mind Mouthpiece, but more intense musically. Tempos range from mid to rapid fire, such as on the chorus of “I Believe.” As always, good stuff from these guys. –Matt Average (Bad Taste Records)


MICROPHONES, THE:
The Glow, pt. 2: CD
I thought I had never heard the Microphones before, but I’m sure they must have slipped into my ears through the college radio soundwaves. They are the mixture of Bright Eyes, Belle and Sebastian, a little bit of Radiohead, and a pinch of one of those bands you might have seen play at a coffee house in the early nineties (you know, the ones with all the feedback and acoustic guitar). Very poetic. Very sincere. Very intriguing. –Guest Contributor (K)


MENSEN:
Delusions of Grandeur: CD
I think “mensen” is the Norwegian word for “girls who rock.” At least it will be. Mensen dish out fast and fun rock’n’roll songs. The singer sounds a bit like Penelope from the Avengers, but the music behind her is trashy and tight, more like the Hives or the Burnouts or a lot of the punk rock coming out of Scandanavia these days. The lyrics are sung in English with a heavy accent and I can understand them about half of the time, but it doesn’t matter. I keep listening to this album and enjoying it. It puts me in a good mood. The only caveat is that they cover a Rolling Stones song, and that’s really, really annoying. Luckily, though, it’s the last song, so you can just stop the album when that song comes on. Other than that, it’s a really good CD. –Sean Carswell (Gearhead)


MANU CHAO:
…Proxima Estacion…Esperanza: CD
Manu Chao’s Clandestino was one of those totally unique, knock-you-out-of-your-seat albums that just blew me away – I’d never heard anything like it before, nor have I since – so I was very curious to see what he’d do for the followup: where would he develop the one-of-a-kind sound he established on his first solo album? Well, I have to admit to some disappointment with …Proxima EstacionEsperanza as a followup – the sound actually hasn’t developed much at all, because in a few cases it’s exactly the same music! That’s right, a few tracks from Clandestino have had new lyrics and vocals slapped on them, and the result is, well, still pretty good, honestly, but it’s still a letdown to me. Essentially rather than a totally new album I see this as Clandestino Vol. 2, which is still cool with me but not what I was hoping for at all. –Guest Contributor (Virgin)


MENACE:
Crisis: CD
The Menace were kind of a second tier oi band, never really getting as popular as Cocksparrer or the Business, but they did have a hit song in the mid-seventies with “GLC” (which is a killer song and I imagine it probably means more in England now, if I can trust the news I read about England and Tony Blair these days). Anyway, rather than falling into the metal trap that so many oi bands fell into in the eighties, Menace broke up and went back to work. With the renewed popularity of oi, Menace came back, re-releasing their big songs, “GLC” and “Society’s Insane,” and some new ones, like “Society’s Still Insane.” So they weren’t really growing and expanding musically, but it’s solid, sincere music. The songs are really cool working class anthems, smart and simple politics, and thick Cockney accented vocals. I’ve actually got a couple of these songs on seven inches from Europe, but most of these songs are new to me and would probably be new to you. And believe me when I say that this Menace album kicks ass all over the newest Business and Cocksparrer releases. –Sean Carswell (Captain Oi)


MANIFESTO JUKEBOX:
Desire: CD
I bought their first 7” I think a couple of years ago and was more into it. This band hails from Finland and has a mixed sound of Husker Du meets Leatherface. This record has a stronger emo feel to it and really grates on my hemorrhoids. It feels kind of whiney and turns me off for the moment. –Donofthedead (Nabate)


MANIC HISPANIC:
The Recline of Mexican Civilization: CD
Orale, these crazy vatos got some new shit out! This time they take rolas Los Descendents, Los Heartbreakers, Social Distortion, Rancid, Catholic Discipline and Offspring and “varrio-ize” them so that the boys in the ‘hood can pick up on the whole punk trip tambien. Those punker chicks are pretty fine, even if they are missing most of their hair and what’s left ain’t feathered. Que gacho. Sometimes they dance a fine line between parodying stereotypes and reinforcing them, but fuck it, I got a sense of humor, homes. Besides, these balazos will sound firme blasting out of the system in my dropped orange ranfla as I cruise through the dangerous streets of Monterey Park (hey, anybody who’s ever had to be behind the wheel while on them streets ain’t gonna argue with me). And if the chota don’t like the shit I’m booming, lo chingare, ese. There’s at least one happy vato in the varrio tonight. –Jimmy Alvarado (BYO)


MAN OR ASTROMAN?:
Beyond the Black Hole: CD
All but three of the songs on this album were released on What Remains Inside a Black Hole, a now out-of-print Man or Astroman? album. All of the songs were recorded between ’93 and ’96. It’s more heavily surf rock oriented than their newer stuff and not quite as tight musically, which isn’t a criticism. It’s just an acknowledgement of how tight they’ve become musically. I’m a nut for everything Man or Astroman? releases. They take instrumental rock’n’roll to a whole new level and are really amazing musicians and anything more that I could tell you about them would just be me gushing about one of my all-time favorite bands. –Sean Carswell (Estrus)


LOW/DIRTY THREE:
Split: CDEP
The latest addition to the excellent Fishtank series. Low and Dirty Three team up to create some fine desolate country folk that floats like a dream. Quiet and somber, with lilting sounds and vocals almost inaudible at times. The soundtrack of a drive through the desert. The cover of Neil Young’s “Down By The River” is nice. –Matt Average (Konkurrent Onathankelijk Muzienbedrif)


LOU REED:
Metal Machine Music: CD
Chances are that there’s less than .001 of you out there that are going to give a flying fuck about this release, but I’m gonna give it a shot anyway. This is a 25th anniversary reissue of the most hated/misunderstood/unlistenable (take your pick) album ever put out on a major label. Contains no hooks, no beat, no vocals, and no songs. Just sixty-plus minutes of layer upon layer of pure feedback mayhem creating an apocalyptic industrial roar. A seminal release that inspired such stalwarts as SPK, Throbbing Gristle, and damn near every artist in the Industrial Culture Handbook. An essential album that’s not for the faint-hearted. –tim (Buddha/BMG)


LOS CRUDOS:
Discography: CD
Finally this fucking thing came out! I’ve heard rumors that people out there were going to do a bootleg version, so Martin and crew rushed this out. This is vital in the sense that it is a history piece from a band that affected many without trying. They crossed language and race lines while continuing in their formula of addressing their views using Spanish lyrics over hardcore. They were trying to reach only their local community of Chicago but others around the world took notice. The rage was genuine. People all around the world sang along with them even though it was not in their native tongues. I respect that and that is why I tried to get all I could by this band in the past. I wasn’t successful but I bought what I could get without paying some collector scum a high price for something that all should hear. Many already know about this, but others should look for this because they were a great band for their time period. They are now etched in the punk history books as a band that mattered. The CD includes four 7”‘s, the songs from the split with Spitboy, Canciones Para Liberar Nuestras Fronteras LP, comp tracks, alternative version of certain songs and a live studio session. Act fast because I think only 1000 - 2000 were only made. Now I have to go to the record store to get the Limp Wrist 7”. –Donofthedead (Lengua Armada)


LIMECELL:
To Evil!: CD
A live set from a band associated somehow with the Confederacy of Scum. What you get is a live set and an old demo from, in my personal opinion, one of the best punk bands I’ve heard lately. A sound loud and hard in a mid-tempo Poison Idea kind of way is to be had here. This one’s gonna remain in repeat mode for a good while. –Jimmy Alvarado (Steel Cage)


LIMECELL:
If We Can: CD
Okay, see, this one has a lyric sheet, so now I know what they’re singing about, and... I still think they blow a good portion of so-called punk bands outta the water. There’s more than a few songs here with lyrics that’re gonna piss off more than a few people (cf. “Get the Bitch to Do It”), but fuck ‘em. This here is some prime punk rock, kiddies. The real shit, mind you, and not that crap that’s been all prettied up and made palatable for the masses of spiky-headed numbnuts whose sole interest in punk rock is “the girls.” This is loud and ugly and rude and crude and flat out killer. You wanna separate the men from the boys, the punks from the poseurs? Slap this puppy on the player and see who’s left in the room when it ends. –Jimmy Alvarado (Steel Cage)


LIFES HALT / WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?:
Start Something: LP
The happening album of the now. North and South California meet to release punk as it is today. Los Angeles darlings, Lifes Halt, start off with a mixture of punk rock that is not only fast and to the point but interlaced with their Latin heritages. Some of the songs on their side are sung in Spanish. I may not understand, but the message they are trying to convey is truly felt. I may not always be in the know but they are amazing. I had the impression that they were power-violence kids, but they carried more of a ‘84 vibe in their music. Fast and faster but not too fast. I guess I need to get out more. San Francisco’s What Happens Next? have revived a whole genre in a matter of a couple of years. Renaming it Bandana-Core, they strive to thrash a new following while not making it too noisy for others to follow. I was part of the original scene and glad it’s coming back. Slamming (or for new kids, moshing) in a leather or choosing flannel with some bandanas is an easy choice. The look was created in Southern California and it’s more practical and more affordable. I sound like an adult talking about money, don’t I? This all-star bay area band have put out a good amount of releases lately and this follows in their quality. Absolutely raging, fast punk rock with thought-provoking lyrics. Can’t have enough thought-provoking lyrics. Hope more is to come from both these bands. I feel like a little kid getting the toy they dreamed for at Christmas. Aggression, rage, intelligence and some speed is all I’m asking for. –Donofthedead (Young Blood)


LEMMINGS:
Follow: CD
The Lemmings flawlessly construct an intricately flowing swirl of pristine powerpop atmospherics that’s altogether dazzling, mesmerizing, and illustriously intoxicating. It brightly resonates with celestial stratospheric guitar emissions (the leads are extraordinarily out of this world!) and angelic choirboy vocals that soothingly caress the innermost sanctums of the human ear... the bass rhythmically frolicks, flutters, and plunges headfirst into otherworldly divinity... the drums powerfully plod along as if guided by the multi-armed fury of Shiva. Indeed, this is shimmering sparkle-shine sonic majesty at its most fluid, cohesive, and wondrously well-structured (grandiosely possessing certain aurally stimulating elements of Cell, Smashing Pumpkins, Cheap Trick, Swervedriver, Goo Goo Dolls, and even a bit of “Murmur”-era R.E.M.)... it’s riveting alternative rock revivification that captivates the senses, stirs an entire range of emotions, and hypnotically liberates the soul along the way. Damn, I’m hooked! –Guest Contributor (ParkBench)


LEFTOVER CRACK:
Mediocre Generica: CD
Liked the first and 11th songs, but hated everything between and after. The ska crap was especially annoying. –Jimmy Alvarado (Hellcat)


KUNG FU MONKEYS, THE:
School’s Out, Surf’s Up, Let’s Fall in Love!: CD
Not the local band of the same name, these guys play happy pop punk (heavy on the pop) that makes me long for the days of bands with more edge, like, oh, Sweet Baby. The songs are pleasant enough, but the happy-go-lucky vibe of the whole thing gave me the creeps, much like the movie Pleasantville did. –Jimmy Alvarado (Mutant Pop)


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