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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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NATURE BOYS:
Self-titled: LP
This LP is a good mix of surf punk and mid 1980s California punk. Harmonized male and female vocals timed together. You can tell there was a lot of effort into hitting that perfectly. This is a very vocal-heavy release. Aside from some well-placed guitar solos, it doesn’t stray from a traditional or generic form of punk. However, there is a lot going on within that format. Rarely are the guitar and bass doing the same thing. I feel bad saying that nothing really stood out too much for me with this record. They seem to be great musicians—and the output of that talent is a really well-crafted record—but it lacked something to stand out and really grab my attention.  –Adam Mullett (San Huevos)


MOVING FINGER:
Self-titled: 7”
Pretty sure this has members of Ex-Cult in it somewhere. The music is a mix of post-punk and garage rock with chanting choruses and a slowed down but still powerful rhythm track. It’s okay. The vocals are mostly shouting and don’t do much in terms of melody. If you’re looking for some over-blown garage punk, this might be what you’re looking for. Grade: B.  –Bryan Static (Goner)


MONGERING COCKS:
Girth: Cassette
Dystopian singularity blues, if the singularity had been a buzzword in the late ‘90s: creepy synth bloop ‘n grind, computer generated metal-on-metal percussion, effected keys, and dire intonations of the end of the world. The lyrics and their dire prognostications are occasionally a little too silly to take seriously, and work best when they are mixed to sound like instruments rather than delivering messages. At its best, this has all of the animosity and effectiveness of the A-Frames, though with the trappings of KMFDM, Front 242, and any number of industrial bands.  –Michael T. Fournier (mongeringcocks.bandcamp.com)


MESSRS:
Demo: Cassette
The copy of the tape that I got would not play on three different tape players. I even resorted to a bit of tape surgery to get it playing to no avail. I went to their Bandcamp and got most of the songs that were on the demo and am really glad I did. If you were ever a Circus Lupus fan or a Chris Thompson fan in general, this is for you. Messrs are a bit heavier and dirtier than the previously mentioned projects but the sound is there, intentional or not. I’m going to throw in a Mayyors reference for good measure. The vocals have effects. There are bits of spacey, drawn-out parts, and the sound quality is a bit blown out, making for an ugly but tough sound. The cover art is a bit goofy with some melty happy faces. Aside from song titles, there is absolutely no more information on the packaging. Would have appreciated the info so I didn’t have to go on a hunt to actually listen to it.  –Adam Mullett (Self-released)


MEMORIES, THE:
American Summer: 7” EP
The Memories are definitely not my cup of tea. The six songs included on this release are nostalgic American pop rock tunes that remind me of an old cheesy movie soundtrack from the hippie ‘60s. Every song has soft, gentle instrumentation with dreamy, calming vocals. The title of the record sums up the material quite nicely. I just wish it was from a summer from my childhood, not my Dad’s. I guess I wasn’t invited in on the joke? –Brent Nimz (Randy)


MASSENGER:
Self-titled: LP
This is lo-fi, garagey, psychedelic rock’n’roll with heaps of reverb on top and even a bit surfy at times. Not a punk record really, but I suppose a solid listen for someone who enjoys the style and needs to add something more recent than 1969 to their collection. –Chad Williams (Rocketship)


MAD CHOICE:
Safety Net: CD
Three-piece punk trio from Israel that reminds me a little bit of Millencolin with a bit of Strung Out tossed into the mix for good measure. “Freak Out” and the title track have quite a bit of spring in their step, as they say in the old country. Could I see these dudes on Warped Tour? You betcha.  –Sean Koepenick (Stik Man)


LOW CHARGE:
Self-titled: EP
A lot of noise and bluster here. Distortion, anguished vocals, and dumb lyrics. Even though these guys have their instruments cranked, and the vocalist is delivering from the gut, this stuff has no power. It’s just bad. Something that should have been a demo, or put up on some music sharing site. Blehhh...  –Matt Average (Mandible)


KNOW SECRETS:
Self-titled: 12” EP
Know Secrets is a melodic punk trio from San Francisco. There is a lot of sound going on here for only three people. Maybe one of them has an extra arm or foot? Freaks! The male-female harmonies are tight. The rhythm section does not let up for a second. The guitar work is wonderfully simple and complex at the same time; it gets the job done while allowing for little surprises here and there. You can add Know Secrets to the long list of reasons why San Francisco is the coolest fucking city in the world.  –John Mule (301 Collective)


JAMES STEVENSON:
Everything’s Getting Closer to Being Over: CD
This is the first solo record from this guitarist who has played with Generation X, Chelsea, and The Alarm, to name a few. This record is completely different from any of those bands. The sound here is rich, multi-layered, and full of texture. It’s not punk, but the passion is there from end to end. It’s hard to classify this, but if you go in with an open mind, I think you will reap the benefits. Give this a handful of spins and I truly believe you will be hooked. Think outside the box, people!  –Sean Koepenick (Self-released)


HUNG UPS, THE:
Against The Wall: CD-R
The Hung Ups is hanging up its hat. After a fistful of primarily self-released albums this is the last dose of snotty pop-punk that the guys from Salt Lake City will grace us with. There is nothing remotely new here with cues, both musical and lyrical, being taken from many of the illustrious forefathers from that genre—Ramones, The Queers, Screeching Weasel etc.—but it’s done with an infectious enthusiasm that makes me happy and beyond that I don’t really care. There’s nothing glossy sounding about this album which is a plus point in an age when technology rules so I doff my cap to these youngsters for eschewing a crystal clear production in favor of something a bit more pleasing on the ear. Au revoir The Hung Ups, you did yourself proud.  –Rich Cocksedge (Self-released)


HEARTLESS FOLK:
Self-titled: CD
L.A. four piece on this slab, now down to a power trio, apparently. There’s a theme song here, in the grand tradition of The Clash and Living Colour. A Swingin’ Utters cover also makes an appearance. Fast and furious, with snotty vocals, is the soup du jour on this platter. I bet if I was in a seedy nightclub and was on my third PBR, I would really dig this.  –Sean Koepenick (Self-released)


GOUGE AWAY:
Demo: Cassette
Solid start for this two-piece D.C. band. The hometown influences are apparent alongside a vocal delivery and tone reminiscent of Modern Life Is War. With personal lyrics dripping of exasperation, this one’s a bleak but quality listen. Great recording for a demo too—everything is clearly heard amongst the gritty, wall-of-noise sound.  –Chad Williams (Self-released, gougeawaydc@gmail.com)


GLASS HITS:
Better Never Than Late: LP
Glass Hits sound like they have all the Drive Like Jehu and Hoover records and know how to use them. They do that kind of thick, discordant, driving, shouty thing (the singer has Rick Froberg’s twangy yell down almost perfectly)—post-hardcore from another time that has some texture; guitars that twist and turn and erupt. That’s not to say it’s a throwback rehash or anything. They do it better than most, and it never feels like a genre exercise. On first listen, it wasn’t good or bad, it was just sort of there. But hearing it again, the record opened up, seemed to grow. The songs don’t differentiate much, and it can feel a little one-note, but it’s not bad as far as notes go.  –Matt Werts (Snappy Little Numbers, snappylittlenumbers.blogspot.com)


EMPTY CONVERSATIONS / I. WITNESS:
Split: 7”
I had no idea this was a split until I opened up the jacket, then I was surprised again when all the lyrics looked to be in Russian. I. Witness is from Russia. They remind me of Poison The Well. They manage to squeeze three tracks on here; all are full of freezing cold angst. Empty Conversations are from Kazakhstan (biting my tongue not to make an outdated Borat joke here) and play hardcore with a little more of a pop feel. The guitars are really tight and have a melodic feel. I don’t listen to a lot of those types of bands, but I could see both these bands doing well on Warped Tour. I usually never know what hardcore bands are saying and this record took that even further.  –Ryan Nichols (emptyXconversations@gmail.com)


DRUNK AS SHIT:
Drunk Punk Thrash: CD
This is pretty capable drunken punk/hardcore/thrash whatever… until the screechy vocals kick in, that is. The mood doesn’t strike me often to listen to this subgenre much anymore, but when I do I’d rather stick with someone like Alcoholic White Trash or Dayglo Abortions. Less screechy = better in my book!  –Ty Stranglehold (Drunk As Shit, facebook.com/DASpunx/info)


DOKUMENTIA:
Kourallinen Lihakirveita: Cassette
In case you couldn’t tell from the title, this tape is fourteen tracks of Finnish hardcore/punk with lyrics all in Finnish. Some songs veer into parts that have a bit of a post-punk feel, but, for the most part, this is just solid, dark, Finnish hardcore. Fans of the style will wanna be all over this release by Dokumentia.  –Mike Frame (Paalaus)


DOGTOWN REBELS / DESTRUCTORS:
Terrosimso: CD
Six-song split with two U.K. bands. Both have a legit old school punk sound. Dogtown Rebels offer up three songs. It sounds like Clash and Ramones-style hooks sang with a bro-y Brit drawl. Destructors pick up the pace a bit with their three songs. Lots of 1-4-5 chord progressions, steady drums, and snotty lyrics to match. It’s not bad.  –Camylle Reynolds (Rowdy Farrago)


DIE LAST:
Medecine: LP
Polish emo-hardcore. As best I can tell, this is either a reissue or a collection of recordings made in 2003-2004. Screamed vocals and distorted guitars alternate with more melodic vocals, clean guitars, and piano. Though there’s no English translation of the Polish lyrics, the record label this is on indicates a strong anti-fascist, pro-worker, pro-vegan message. This is a pretty abrasive listen and not something I can get into, but there’s no doubting the emotion and sincerity that went into it.  –Chad Williams (83, uta83@02.pl, scianawschodniazine.pl)


CHUMPED:
Self-titled: 12” EP
Here you have six tracks from a female-fronted, New York-based indie/pop punk band that has clearly taken on board a healthy dose of influences from Lemuria, without coming across as a second rate version of that esteemed trio. All of the songs are well-written and eminently catchy, with “Eleanor” standing out as the cream of the crop and it regularly jumps into my head frequently as I go about my daily business. This is a highly impressive debut release.  –Rich Cocksedge (Anchorless)


CHEMICAL THREAT:
Vicious: CD-R
Another collection of mid-tempo, early ‘80s U.K.-influenced punk from these cats. Better production than the last thing I heard from ‘em, but they keep their packaging and their attitudes firmly in the DIY camp, with direct, no-frills punk married to pointed barbs about religion, media-needy celebs, and assholes of various stripes in positions of power. What they may lack in the “wildly original” department they make up for in sincerity, which ain’t hay.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Chemical Threat, pintsized@gmail.com)


CHEMICAL PEEL:
Bike Thief: 7”
There is a Native Nod influence that’s unavoidable to notice for me with Chemical Peel. That might come across as a slight to some people, but I think it’s a good thing here. It’s a very updated resemblance to Native Nod. There is a good mix of strained and spoken vocals, both male and female. Reverb-laden vocals and guitars. Barely any distortion on the guitar. The sound comes off as mature and confident. Four songs all kept short and not over indulgent where they could have been. My favorite track was the opener “Born to Kill.” It reminds me of a song that could be in an old Santa Cruz skate video.  –Adam Mullett (Ride The Snake)


BROADCASTER:
A Million Hours: CD
This is pretty good mid-tempo pop rock. Well written, performed, and produced. Nothing jaw dropping or anything, but a good listen nonetheless.  –Ty Stranglehold (Jump Start)


BRIMSTONE HOWL:
Magic Hour: LP
This here is some more kinda noisy, garage-y stuff from this fairly long running Nebraska band. Not as noisy as Lost Sounds or the Hunches and with a tuneful element that makes them stand out, Brimstone Howl really seem to have a lock on what they are doing. Anyone who picks up the majority of In The Red Records releases will probably love this band and this record.  –Mike Frame (Certified PR)


BLACK MAGIC SIX:
Halfway to Hell: CD
I’m not really a big fan of duo bands. I know these are all the rage with bands like The White Stripes and The Black Keys leading the movement. But as a bass player, I cry foul! But life goes on. These dudes are creepy and offer up fuzzed-up songs about death, murders, and murky swamps. If that’s your thing, then dive in.  –Sean Koepenick (Big Money)


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