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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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LEER:
Spring Break No Parents: LP

Technical punk from fertile San Jose, CA without any bombast and posturing; Leer are a genre-bending powerhouse upheld by expertise and sincerity. The group is spry, warranting envy from older musicians. (For god’s sake, singer, Brandon Holder, is seventeen.) Yet, their youth doesn’t detract, but instead highlights their exceptional abilities. From the get-go, the guitars intermingle like the caduceus. Dan Vo and Drew Satterlund serenade with the skillfulness of musicians twice their age while Francisco Duarte maintains a thick, ambling bass style that gels the high-end together. Leer intertwines the exhausting, hard-hitting qualities of screamo with optimistic pop hooks that never stumble towards parody of genre tropes—they absorb their influences and craft a sound that is their own. The shifts in style are emphasized by Elijah Stoll’s dead-on percussive rhythms. For a first LP, the songs are tightly crafted, concise, and an assault with the precision of a heat-seeking missile.

–Sean Arenas (Phat ‘n’ Phunky, bob@phatnphunky.com / Lauren, laurenrecs@gmail.com / Texas Toast DIY, texastoastdiy@gmail.com, texastoastdiy.com)


KRAYOLA:
Don’t Chew on Me: CD-R

The music is happy go lucky pop punk, but there’s a scratch to the vocals and guitar, plus lyrics about “10,000 assholes inside of me.” They capture the feeling of walking into the dollar store, where everything’s bright and shiny and you can have what you want… but it’s all crap in the end. “It” being life, not the songs, which will thrill fans of The Bananas and the Chattanooga scene. Four songs. From Chicago.

–Chris Terry (krayolaband.bandcamp.com)


KENT STATE:
The Wrong Side of History: LP

KentState is fuzzed-out, noisy indie punk like a lukewarm version of Guided By Voices or Pavement. Hell, even the album cover reminds me of Pavement’s Slanted and Enchanted. Like most bands with this style, the guitars are pushed way upfront, the vocals are lost in the mix, and the cymbals cut like a hacksaw. I don’t mind the lo-fi pop sound, but when there’s little to no hooks or melodies, it becomes grating. The LP is redeemed by moments that conjure Hickey’s more grungy contributions. A bit more finesse—then this band may rule.

–Sean Arenas (Debt Offensive, debtoffensiverecs.blogspot.ca / Paranoid Futures, paranoidfutures666@gmail.com)


KEN SOUTH ROCK / GIANT BATTLE MONSTER:
Split: 7”

My kneejerk reaction on Ken South Rock is that they sound like a lo-fi cross between Gasoline, Guided By Voices, and In Utero era Nirvana, though rarely do they sound like more than two of those bands at the same time. I would do more research on the bands to which I have just compared them, but then I’d have to do more research on the bands to which I have just compared them. Giant Battle Monster sound like that, plus Void and the first Meat Puppets EP. I think it might be possible enough to get stoned enough to think Giant Battle Monster are the best band in the world, but not if you might need to take a drug test some time within the next forty years. BEST SONG: Giant Battle Monster, “Hippopotamus” BEST SONG TITLE: Also “Hippopotamus.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Run-off grooves on the KSR side say “Raw! Life! Rock!” whilst the dead wax on the GBM side says “Naw ‘tis Vhul Yaugh.” So. There’s that.

–Rev. Norb (Artificial Head, artinstitute.bandcamp.com)


JERKY BEATS, THE:
Play Songs for Lovers EP: Cassette

This couldn’t be any more British if the Thames theme (you know, the one right before each episode of the Benny Hill Show) came on at the start of this tape. These “lads” play a fun and goofy style of punk with only a vocalist shouting away to a drummer and one fuzzed-out bass guitar. Grabass in the great tradition of Sheep Squeeze and perhaps even the Shitty Limits if only for the “Brits get it” references (what the fuck is “Match of the Day”?) They obviously went through some lengths to carefully format their artwork on the xerox’d j-card so as to make sure it properly fits into a cassette case when folded. That’s cool and all, but then they went ahead and clearly stole cassettes from their parents and/or their local thrift store and dubbed their songs right over them, which I thought was a terribly stupid idea. That was until Cutting Crew’s “(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight” came on right after their last track on a tape labeled Pure Soft Metal. Touché, Jerky Beats. Touché.

–Juan Espinosa (Self-released, philchokeword@aol.com, thejerkybeats.bandcamp.com)


JERKWADZ:
Demo Years: 2010-2012: CD

This CD collects the Jerkwadz’s three demos onto one release. There are some repeats of tracks, but mostly each demo offers new songs, not simply re-recordings of old material with different production values, which is nice. While collections of past recordings which trace a band’s musical evolution can be interesting, they usually appeal most to existing fans of the given band. I was not previously a fan of the Jerkwadz, and these recordings did little to draw me into being one.

–Paul J. Comeau (1332)


ILL SPIRITS:
Not Ice Age: CDEP

This is an excellent EP of X-inspired hardcore with outstanding female vocals. I believe they’re from Sweden, but this is a fairly mysterious release. I look forward to hearing more from them soon, as all four of these songs kick ass. They’re only “ill” in the ill means sick means killer means great sense of the word.

–Art Ettinger (Self-released, illspirits.bandcamp.com)


IGAF SEQUIOA:
Stolen Property: CD

Not for your average Razorcake reader. Folk punk with a heavy emphasis on the folk part. Sing-song vocals with minor moments of heavier momentum. There are multiple singers, the main one being a female who reminds me of Annie Soviette. There’s a song where a guy who sounds like Isaac Brock does a duet with her and that’s kind of awesome. The moments when you can hear the punk influences are the best, but these moments are few. Grade: B+.

–Bryan Static (Self-released)


HOLOPAW:
Academy Songs, Volume 1: LP

Holopaw is a grandiose indie band from Gainesville, Florida. The music is airy and light as if recorded on a bed of clouds. Imagine Broken Social Scene or more recent Modest Mouse. (Trivia: singer of Modest Mouse, Issac Brock, wrote an album with Holopaw’s John Orth.) The album is derivative of genre expectations: the rough edges have all been neatly filed, the guitars sound like a wisp, the vocals rarely peak past a soft murmur, the drums pack no punch. It’s all pleasant and serene. The sort of songs that don’t demand attention, but instead linger in the background. Perfect for a spin while napping on a hammock with a cold glass of lemonade.

–Sean Arenas (Misra, info@misrarecords.com)


HOLOPAW / SLEEPING STATES:
Split: 12”

Sleeping States: Low-fi, clean guitar punk, croony/fey vocals, lots of “you” in the lyrics. I don’t have many reference points for this style, but like it and see it as a clear descendant of The Smiths and Wedding Present. Holopaw: A nine-minute remix of one of their albums. Isolates elements so that the music moves from a drum break to found sound to moaning over keyboards. I applaud them for taking dub to its logical conclusion, but constantly felt next door to the songs. Holopow and SleepingStates both have queer frontmen, and the proceeds from this awesome looking pink record benefit an LGBTQ student foundation.

–Chris Terry (Misra)


HIRS:
The First 100 Songs: LP

Just what the title says. One hundred songs of the short and fast variety. This hearkens back to the days of bands like Sore Throat, who put out a few albums of a hundred or so “songs” per record. I will say Hirs has more going for them than Sore Throat. These songs have more punch and weight to them, and are grindcore instead of stenchcore. So there’s that. These songs come in, make a lot of noise, then get out in time for the next blast. If you like grindcore, thrash, and have a short attention span, this record will keep you amused for a while. This pink record collects splits, EPs, and comp tracks. It also has the lyrics printed on the inner dust sleeve for you to grunt and growl along.

–Matt Average (SRA, srarecords.com / SRArecords@gmail.com)


HERO DISHONEST:
Alle Lujaa: LP

Finnish veterans Hero Dishonest crank out their sixth full length of frenzied, manic hardcore punk, evoking memories of the first time I saw them several years ago in Santa Ana, CA. The two vocalists calmly introduced themselves and the band in both English and Spanish before turning into psychotic moles and burrowing their way through a crowd of unsuspecting punks to a backdrop of spastic drum beats and shredding guitars. The vocal duties have since trimmed down to just one but the music is still as crazed as ever with the fast songs reminding me so much of the fifth Gauze LP or Poison Idea’s Kings of Punk. Two long, lurching songs close out the album on the second side, which are a bit of a let down with the entire first side being one rager after another. I’d have to be in the mood to flip the record over, but the effort to listen to this is well worth it for tracks one through eleven. Good shit.

–Juan Espinosa (Peterwalkee, peterwalkeerecords.com)


HERD OF WASTERS:
Just Three Dudes Havin’ a Real Good Time!: 2 x 7”

Self-described “party punks,” Herd Of Wasters deliver twelve tracks of their snotty, foul-mouthed brand of punk rock in a double-gatefold package, with printed inner sleeves featuring lyrics and cartoon images connected to each song. It’s nice to see a band invest that kind of attention into 7” packaging and not just photocopying a poorly hand-written sleeve, stuffing them in record bags, and calling it a day. Musically, Herd Of Wasters are fast and spastic, with some catchy riffs. The humor displayed in their lyrics, though, is the lowest of low-brow humor—dick and fart jokes making ample use of the word “fuck” does little for me. That said, the track “2, 4, 5, Trioxin” is kind of a fun one, crammed with references to the ‘80s horror flick Return of the Living Dead. If you like your jokes the way you like your beer, cheap, Herd Of Wasters could be your new favorite goofy punk band. If not, you can at least feast your eyes on the beautiful packaging job before you put it back in the record bin.

–Paul J. Comeau (Wasted Wax, wastedwax.ca)


H.D.Q.:
“Hand Me Downs” b/w “Toronto”: 7”

It’s been over twenty years since H.D.Q. released a record but the band is back with Dickie Hammond (Leatherface) once again showing why his guitar sound is revered (and frequently copied, yet not mastered) by so many. “Hand Me Downs” is taken from the new album Lost in Translation and delivers the goods in an archetypal H.D.Q. way—strong, guitar-driven melodic punk rock with a personal lyrical content conveyed by David Golledge, whose voice is as warm and effective as ever. The B-side, and non-LP track, “Toronto” continues in the same vein and is to be found on the CD version of the album. It’s great to have these guys back.

–Rich Cocksedge (Boss Tuneage, bosstuneage.com)


GUITAR WOLF:
Beast Vibrator: LP

Guitar Wolf are on a roll blazing into America the past three years, blowing away crowds and leaving hard-to-locate LPs available only through their own inaccessible record label. Their latest is no disappointment. Beast Vibrator forces rock’n’roll riffs through overdriven amps with reckless abandon. They still got it. Grab the album if you see it. Guitar Wolf are not going away.

–Billups Allen (Self-released)


GRAND COLLAPSE:
Self-titled: 7”

A relatively new band from Cardiff/Bristol (U.K.) that delivers three rather stonking tracks of a hardcore variety. The vocals of Calvin Sewell (son of Andrew “Stig” Sewell, formerly of Icons Of Filth) have a Crass/oi like quality to them as he barks out the lyrics, accompanied by a clamorous, yet melodic, din that shifts tempo and direction with ease. The title track, “Grand Collapse,” is a prime example of this and it really does highlight how good this band is. On this evidence, I’d say that Grand Collapse has a promising future and I’m hoping an album is in the pipeline.

–Rich Cocksedge (Pumpkin, matt@pumpkinrecords.co.uk, pumpkinrecords.co.uk)


GOVERNMENT FLU / POISON PLANET:
Split: 7”

Imagine two dogs, one either side of a fence; both animals are mightily pissed off as they’ve been left in the sun with no food or water and, as a result, they are making a hell of a racket. To add to this situation there’s bad blood between the beasts, which only adds an element of rage to the on-going furor. That is what this split release is like—on one side, Polish band Government Flu is snapping away at a fair pace with an obvious nod towards an ‘80s USHC sound, whilst on the other, the Americans, Poison Planet, add a bit more grit and sludge to the mix with hints of Black Flag infusing its four songs. This 7” is fast, furious, and should not be taken lightly.

–Rich Cocksedge (Refuse, refusexresist@go2.pl, refuserecords.prv.pl)


GOOD GRIEF / BUZZorHOWL:
Split: 7”

Two relatively new bands from Liverpool, both of which have some pedigree in terms of personnel—Good Grief includes former members of The 255s and Flamingo 50, whilst members of BUZZorHOWL have Drive and Jailcell Recipes on their CVs. Good Grief offer up a pair of catchy tunes including a J Church cover and a strong self-penned effort that clearly has some Samiam love going on. However, BUZZorHOWL are the stand out act with a Superchunk / Dinosaur Jr kind of sound that doesn’t come across as some nostalgic venture—”Fuel” is a belter of a song and “Pills & Work” isn’t too far behind either, ensuring they win a close run battle on this release.

–Rich Cocksedge (Drunken Sailor, drunkensailorrecs@gmail.com, drunkensailorrecords.co.uk / Boss Tuneage, bosstuneage.com)


GOLDEN PELICANS:
“The Earls” b/w “Chained to This Dumpster”: 7"

The records on this label always have such a mean sound. I guess they must all be pissed about having to use red ink and a rubber stamp on the covers. Nifty guitar and bass parts on two punk snarlers of indeterminate influences ((‘60s? ‘90s? Am I even close?)), with some bellicose nut yelling so loudly and out-of-tunely over the top as to be noteworthy in a field where yelling loudly and out-of-tunely is the longstanding norm. I wonder whom the guy thinks he’s singing like? David Johansen? I’m not seduced, but I am intrigued by their pelicanly charms. Quick, show us all how you suck blood from your own breast to feed your offspring!!! BEST SONG: “Chained to This Dumpster” BEST SONG TITLE: “Chained to This Dumpster.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: “Golden Pelicans” is the name of the rival gang in the Rats’ 1965 garage punk classic “The Rat’s Revenge.”

–Rev. Norb (Total Punk)


GARY WRONG GROUP:
Self-titled: LP

A droney mix of heavily overdriven noise framing echo-laden vocals and snotty attitude. A small dose of Devo, Butthole Surfers, and long, reverb-drenched riffs make the album fun for late night listening.

–Billups Allen (Total Punk, totalpunkrecords.tumblr.com)


FUNSUCK:
Demo: Cassette

Crushing, loud punk rock with thrash beats that rolls along with the force of an eighteen-wheeler. Lots of chords that follow the vocal line exactly, creating a straightforward unity in a lot of the songs. For every moment where the songsmithing seems to be building to a greater purpose, inevitably the musicianship becomes stale and predictably small scale. Fine, but lacking. Grade: B-.

–Bryan Static (Self-released)


FRUSTROS:
A L’Attaque Du Rien: 7”

This complex French band sings in French and seems to be singing at least in part about subjects borrowed from horror flicks. It’s all too easy to compare intricate bands to Mission Of Burma, but this really does have a Mission Of Burma vibe, from the production and vocals on down. A class act overall, this 7” is limited to just three hundred copies but can be downloaded online directly from Frustros. Very much recommended for fans of the trickier sides of punk and hardcore.

–Art Ettinger (Self-released, frustros.pimienta.org)


FAVL:
Il Prezzo Da Pagare: 7”

Italy has produced scores of great bootboy bands, from the infamous Nabat (though their later catalog sort of fizzled out), to the obscuriosities like Grey Shadow (whose lone recording, two tracks on the amazing Goot from the Boot compilation, set a sort of strange tone for oi/death rock) to more modern bands like Razzapparte. FAVL have more in common with the latter, but lack the positive melodies, instead going for a more malicious vibe. They still have that second guitar to throw melodic riffs, but they’re simple and menacing. As generic as my comparison may sound, they literally sound like a cross between Condemned 84 and early Nabat. This record is definitely not for people who aren’t already fans of the genre, and the pressing of 250 represents their forced exclusivity. For anyone who actually knows what the hell I’ve been saying for the last paragraph, this is for you and you won’t be disappointed.

–Ian Wise (Stratum, stratumrecords.nl)


EX-CULT:
Mister Fantasy: 7”

It’s the guitar in “Mister Fantasy” with its somewhat spooky sound that pulls me in, but it’s the tough delivery that keeps me sticking around. The vocals are delivered with force, almost like jabs. The flipside is a tad slower and has a somber feel about it as it slowly builds in tempo, outlining a bleak view of a world that is not what it once was. Maybe this song is about today? “You’re not free to resign, that was a different time...” The ending is kind of weird, as the song suddenly changes tempo and goes off into something a bit more fast and hammering. This single is their best record yet.

–Matt Average (goner-records.com)


ERRO:
Demo: CD-R

I’m told that this band has members from Zero Zero. Being that this is a live demo, the recording is pretty rough. I usually tend to not bother with live recordings, but I must admit, the rough quality actually works here since it definitely captures the energy of a live set. Erro are a mix of grindcore and thrash. There are some heavy and abrasive elements, and then they hit some fast speeds that lean more towards hardcore punk instead of metal.

–Matt Average (Self-released, bandaerro@gmail.com)


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