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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DEAD MECHANICAL:
“Binghamton Calling” b/w “Leave It Alone”: 7”
Isolated from the rest of their catalog, slower Dead Mechanical songs like “Binghamton Calling” owe a lot to Jawbreaker: poetic, sweetly bleak, full of reflective depth. “Leave It Alone” has sixteen words (excluding who ohs), and comes out like the quick, bright bubbles of Superchunk. The funny thing is I’ve never thought of these two bands when listening to previous Dead Mechanical 7”s or their highly recommended full-length, Medium Noise. One of my favorite current bands. –Todd Taylor (Dead Mechanical)


DARK AGES:
Vicious Lie EP: 7”
Mosh pit mayhem! This band is a god damn circle pit and a half: raw, fast, momentous hardcore from Kansas City, Missouri. Someone told me that this band listens to a lot of experimental music. And that totally makes sense. It gives them that edge to take their brand of furious early hardcore to the next level. Keeping it angry, innovative, and explosive. “Freedom of choice is a compromise, just another vicious lie.” –Daryl Gussin (Cowabunga)


CUPS, THE:
BYO OB/GYN: CDEP
Sloppy, obnoxious, fucked-up hardcore from a group of curmudgeons who sound like they’ve got more than a few early Nihilistics records in their collection. Not a sound one comes across too often anymore, so it was kinda nice to hear. –Jimmy Alvarado (Top Tone)


CRIMINAL TRAP:
The Real Deal: Demo: Cassette

This thrashing hardcore demo sounds on target. It’s good stuff. It’s difficult to make out the dynamics of the band because of the lo-fi nature of this recording, which sounds like these guys used one microphone to record themselves live. Track three, “Fuck You,” sounds hard-hitting and catchy. It makes me want to hear what these guys could do if they got in the studio. The bonus tracks on this tape make it even more worth the listen with a strange cover of “California Dreaming” followed by some unrecognizable disco. Perhaps Criminal Trap was going eco friendly and recorded their demo on a recycled tape?

–N.L. Dewart (Isak, criminal-trap@hotmail.com)


CRAVING:
Good Cast Is Worth Repeating: CD
They sound like they’re trying really hard to tap into the groovier aspects of the AmRep noise rock pigeonhole, and they come pretty danged close on occasion. They ultimately fall just short, though, with the results sounding like slightly quirky rock stuff. My suggestion is to get ‘em cranked up on a potent cocktail of peyote, meth, coke, and Red Bull to bring them just shy of their hearts exploding, tell them their significant others were involved in a bizarre orgy tape involving porpoises dressed in Santa Claus suits, hand ‘em their instruments, crank all the console knobs to “vaporize,” and let ‘em record their next record. –Jimmy Alvarado (f-spin.de)


CRASH NORMAL:
Finger Shower: 10”
Eight songs of Parisian garage art. The sheer amount of treble is hypnotic, the shards of guitar bring Big Black to mind, the sullen, drawled vocals owe a thing or two to Mark E. Smith of The Fall, and it sounds like there’s a drum machine ticking away under all of the tinfoil-chewing white noise. I picture this band living in a warehouse, and if I went over there and said, “Hey guys, it’s a nice afternoon. Let’s go outside!” they’d all light smokes at the same time and go, “No. We’re nihilists,” then go back to throwing cinderblocks and skronking the day away. –CT Terry (Rijapov, myspace.com/rijapovrecords)


CONTROL:
Hooligan Rock’n’Roll: CD
When I put this on at work today, one of my co-workers instantly asked if it was Exploited. Before I could answer, he followed with, “No, these guys can actually play.” That more or less sums it up. Control play some rockin’, old-style British punk rock with good songs and quality production. Why reinvent the wheel if you can just make it roll smoother, right? I liked this. –Ty Stranglehold (Step 1)


COCK SAY COCK DUNG:
Kronik Kronism: CD
Malaysian punk rock from a band that comes off pretty much like one you’d come across in any backyard. I figure they sing most of the songs in English to reach the widest audience possible, but it probably would’ve been a good idea to stick to their primary language to make their points about the things that piss them off and then translate them later. Opting to sing in one’s native tongue often adds a little extra something to the delivery and avoids interesting song titles like “Drugs Are Suck.” –Jimmy Alvarado (nizangmosh@gmail.com)


COBRA SKULLS:
American Rubicon: CD
You know how Against Me!, despite all the hype, was really only ever capable of writing five to six good songs per record? The rest of their records would then be filler. The Cobra Skulls sound like a band based on all that filler material. The singer even occasionally sounds like Tom Gabel. I saw them on the Red Scare tour and spent most of the show trying to decide what this one song they played sounded like. I eventually realized it was a dead ringer for the song “Nutrition” by The Dead Milkmen. It had the same melody and everything. So, if poor Tom Gabel impressions mixed with bad Dead Milkmen near-covers are for you, hop on this fast! –Ryan Horky (Red Scare, Redscare.net)


COBRA SKULLS:
American Rubicon: CD
Oh man, someone at Razorcake HQ is stalking me. I’ve been complaining about this band for the last month or so. It’s not that they’re bad, it’s that every time I hear a song, I think “What Against Me! song is this?” However, when the singer sings in his native tongue, Spanish, it sounds amazing. I want a whole record of that. But no one ever does a whole record in non-English anymore. Lame. –Bryan Static (Red Scare)


CHROMOSOMES, THE / THE TARJAS:
Split : 7”
This is a pretty rockin’ little split on blue vinyl. The Tarjas sing all in Finnish, including a really cool Finnish cover of “The KKK Took My Baby Away.” I have no idea what they’re saying in the other songs, but they’re all pretty fun pop punk. The Chromosomes sing in English and it’s a slightly harder-edged pop punk, but I like them too. –Ryan Horky (Killer, myspace.com/kilrec)


CHRISTOPHER BELL:
I’ll Be Home: CD
Influential to Bell, Bob Dylan’s folky guitars and nasal twang are mimicked. Although, Dylan’s storytelling craft isn’t. Bell, a rambling musician, strums unimaginative songs about lost love and homesickness. This was a little too meek and mild for me, but might fetch regular rotation at Starbucks. –Kristen K (Silent Home, myspace.com/silenthomerecords)


CENTERHITS, THE:
City Girl Friend: 7” EP
Five rockin’ punk blasts with male and female vocals. The Centerhits, a Japanese three piece, don’t let up with their poppy rockers. At first, I was kinda thinkin’ that they sounded like early Donnas, but more rockin’, more punk, and actually good (and have a male singer, too). Then I realized that nothing could make the Donnas this good, so I abandoned that thought. Could they be the Japanese Soviettes if they got another member? Yes, possibly. Their lyrics are about, well, it’s not always clear. I’m not sure that I can get my head around what, e.g., “She won’t know her head is banbanbeef” is supposed to convey; but, I do know that “Make you disco!” is meant to be a threat (as well it should be). Despite the indecipherability of some of their lyrics, this 7” is pretty damn good. I’m beginning to think that Snuffy Smiles should consider offering 7” subscriptions. Just about everything that comes from ‘em is pretty rad. –Vincent Battilana (Snuffy Smiles)


CAVE WEDDINGS, THE:
Bring Your Love b/w Let’s Drive: 7”
I didn’t expect much out of this release. HoZac releases a lot of garagey stuff and that isn’t necessarily my bag. (I mean, sure, I own the Nuggets box sets and all, but I don’t really need to hear a million current bands regurgitating those sets back to me.) But man, this is a pretty good little 7”. The two songs don’t vary that much from each other; they just rock out and keep your toes tapping. I had them stuck in my head all day after listening to this. They’re not like a lot of catchy songs either, where they wear on you after repeated listens. Each spin brought a new facet to the songs. Very much worth checking out. –Ryan Horky (HoZac, HoZacrecords.com)


CAT PARTY:
Tar & Feathers: LP
Not the usual stuff from Flat Black. Cat Party have a definite early-to-mid-’80s U.K. post-punk sound. Sort of like early U2 (they used to be good!) mixed with a band like Chameleons UK. The music is cold and dark, yet driving. There’s a detachment in the vocals, and a sense of despair. What hooks me in with this is the guitar and bass. The bass is solid and pushes the songs forward, while the guitar creates the mood. “Dead Weight” is perhaps one of the mellower songs on this album, but maybe the best cut in an album with no filler tracks. The guitar is syrupy and lush, the vocals are haunting, and the bass and drums direct the experience without being overbearing. These guys pull the sound off quite well. Listening to this gives me the same charged feeling I experienced when I first heard bands like the Cure, Felt, even U2 some twenty-seven or more years ago. It sounds fresh and alive. –Matt Average (Flat Black, myspace.com/flatblackrecords)


CAT PARTY:
Self-titled: CD
Terrible band name, but a great record. This isn’t a happy album at all, but pure desperation rock. The whole recording has this big, empty feel to it with massively echoed, resigned vocals, drums that sound like they’re being played in a bottomless pit, and clean, reverbed out, surfy guitar and bass that could play at a beach party as imagined by Hieronymus Bosch. If the Wipers recorded Youth of America or Over the Edge today, this is what you would get. This is so awesomely good, but if you put Cat Party on when you feel depressed, you should probably kiss the will to get out of bed goodbye for the day. I mean, the lyric “What’s there to lose by giving in?” from the song “Dead Weight” pretty much sums up where this record’s coming from. This is an exciting band to discover, even if the band could probably get a tour sponsorship from Prozac. –Adrian (Flat Black)


CARRION CRAWLER:
Rot Crumble Collapse: CD
Okay, take the band name and album title, add a cover picture of what looks to be either cow or pig offal, and take a wild guess what they sound like. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rawker)


BUGS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
When I went to a Queers show recently, I saw this disc on their merch table. I wasn’t really paying much attention to it, but the fact that it was five bucks led me to flip it over and read the song titles. SOLD! With song titles like “Back on the Weed,” “I Wish I Was A Mexican,” and the deal-sealing “Dave Navarro’s Goatee Fucking Sucks,” I knew I had to have it. It turns out that current Queers’ bass player Dangerous Dave is the leader of these yahoos and you can hear the influences. Imagine most of the Queers’ “Beach Boys-iness” stripped away to reveal a scrappy, drug-fueled heart with feelings for lesbians and she-males and not working. I listened to this at maximum volume ten or twelve times in a row (I think some of my co-workers were starting to get upset) and couldn’t get enough. If you are like me and think that the world needs someone to take up the mantle of the Nobodys, then The Bugs are for you! –Ty Stranglehold (World)


BUCKFAST SUPERBEE:
Turn of the Radio Age: CD
Catchy, loud guitar alt-rock stuff. Can’t say it’s really my ball of twine, but they do what they do quite well. –Jimmy Alvarado (Walking)


BULEMICS:
Burn Baby Burn: 7”
Austin’s Bulemics are in their second decade of churning out sleazy, Dwarves-inspired punk. They may be trying to portray themselves as otherwise by donning Judas Priest and Slayer shit in the glossy band photo on the back cover sleeve, but this is straightforward, scum punk in the purest bar brawl tradition. No one will score higher on his or her SATs or GREs after spinning Bulemics, but education is overrated anyway. –Art Ettinger (Scarey)


BULLET TREATMENT:
Designated Vol.1: 7”
This is some serious hardcore punk rock here. I hate that I have to add the “punk rock” on the end of that statement, but these days if I just wrote “hardcore,” it would probably conjure up images of muscle jocks with full sleeve tattoos and basketball jerseys playing thinly veiled metal. Nope, this record isn’t that at all. This is anger and urgency. It’s aggression. It’s mind-blowingly good. The thing I find really interesting about this record is that each song is sung by a different vocalist, yet it doesn’t affect the overall sound of the band. I’m gonna have to search out some of their other releases, I think. –Ty Stranglehold (Fat)


BURNING FICTION:
Don’t Lose Touch: CD
Perth, Australia’s answer to Pennywise, Burning Fiction plays bland, but listenable melodic hardcore with a little less melody and a little more hardcore. This is an appropriately slick, but not overproduced album that couldn’t hurt a fly. Some of the songs have a few too many breakdowns to take seriously, but populist, earnest, accessible punk will always have its place in the hearts, minds, and high school lockers of youth worldwide. Plus they’re on Pee Records, a label name that I can’t say out loud without cracking up. –Art Ettinger (Pee)


BREWTAL THIRST:
Unquenchable: CD
I think every town has a band like these guys. Slightly older guys who enjoy Motörhead and drinking and have probably gone through a Gregg Allman-like amount of marriages. Dudes who sound like Fear and wear their own T-shirts, not in an exercise of self-promotion, but because that was what was within reach when they drunkenly stumbled out of bed that morning. It may sound like I’m not talking about the actual music in this review, but you’d be wrong. This CD is the aural equivalent of those things. I think the world needs those things. –Ryan Horky (Wet Brain)


BRENT WEINBACH:
The Night Shift: CD
It’s a change of pace to get a comedy CD. Although, the production quality seems professional in terms of the laugh tracks and getting an extremely eerie effect from the tone of his voice (it’s rather emotionless, like a serial killer on the phone). During the stand-up stuff, Weinbach has high energy and the crowd sounds receptive, but the material alone without us listeners seeing his facial expressions or mannerism falls flat. I just didn’t find myself laughing about how he wanted to be Chun-Li from Street Fighter II and how the six joystick buttons reminded him of his six testicles. So, perhaps Weinbach sums it up perfectly in his track “Making Sense” when he says, “It’s not supposed to make any sense.” –N.L. Dewart (Talent Moat)


BRAIN KILLER:
Demo: 7”
Just like their debut 7”, I can’t fucking tell what speed this record is intended to be played at. With their debut 7”, I finally resided with 33. But the interesting thing is the music doesn’t really change that much between the two. Either way, Brain Killer still plays noisy, feedback-infected hardcore punk. The demo 7” is cool to have, but for anyone interested in checking out this band, I definitely recommend picking up the debut on Deranged. –Daryl Gussin (Deranged/Vinyl Rites)


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