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Razorcake #86
Wailing Of a Town, by Craig Ibarra
Razorcake #85
Pale Angels, Imaginary People LP
Toys That Kill / Joyce Manor, Split 7"


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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BOX ELDERS, THE:
Alice and Friends: LP
This is one of the best records I have heard that puts into operation ‘50s pop sensibilities using overdriven vocals. “PalisadesPark”-style keyboards and jangly, reverbed-out guitars make the songs lighthearted and jumpy. “Jackie Wood” opens the album and is a highlight of the mid-tempo songs. “Isabella” and “Cougars” appear later in the album and shift the sound into the pace of Teenage Shutdown-style ‘60s punk. The album is great, but I feel like they would be fun to see in a basement, particularly if it has a low ceiling and there was a danger of hitting your head on the ceiling. –Billups Allen (Goner)


BOMBER:
Mourning: 7” EP
My first impression was that they sound like a cleaned up Groinoids, but there seems to be a little more going on here. The tunes are decidedly in the hardcore vein, but don’t ever get ramped up more than mid-tempo, and the tunes have the same stream of consciousness feel of early Urinals but without the artsy-fartsy pretense, in that the tunes only last as long as the singer has lyrics to garble. I’m not sure how well they’d manage to pull off a full-length, but this was good enough that I’m definitely curious to find out. –Jimmy Alvarado (On-High, no address)


BOMB, THE:
Speed Is Everything: CD
How often does it happen that a band makes a great record and then follows it up with a record that literally blows shit out of the water? Put this up against any release of recent memory and this one rises above by a mile. There are cool lyrical references all over this one, from The New York Dolls to The Damned. But, musically, the songs are held together by guitarist Jeff Dean, whose sonic onslaught here is most impressive. Pete Mittler’s and Mike Soucy’s drums and bass lines offer him a fertile background to play with. They moonlight in another rocking combo called The Methadones. Finally, there is the voice. Yes, you have the “whoa-whoa” factor here. But that’s not all. Check out the emotional fragility of songs like “The Kids” and “Not Christmas Night.” If you haven’t guessed yet, it is Jeff Pezzati, also of Naked Raygun. But this is not All Rise II. These guys are their own separate deal without a doubt. Songs like “Spaceman” are going to put The Bomb into territory beyond the reach of mere mortals. Epic… and essential. –Sean Koepenick (No Idea)


BLOWTOPS:
64 Teeth: 7"
Imagine a schizophrenic, organ-infused musical jaunt that wails and wallows in nonsensical lyrical tantrums and you’d have what this two song 7” sounds like. It’s actually refreshing to step outside the power pop/ pop punk side of things where my ears spend most of their time. “64 Teeth” and “Megalomonkey” both have that post, post punk mad scientist weirdness vibe to them. If you’re into Erase Errata or perhaps BlackBlackOcean, then this 7” is definitely worth a spin. –N.L. Dewart (Certified PR, certifiedprrecords.com) Certified PR, certifiedprrecords.com) Certified PR, certifiedprrecords.com)


B-LINES:
Self-titled: EP
Snotty punk rock that references bands like Angry Samoans, but not as clever or rocking. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t horrible. More of a fun party punk type thing, really. Lyrics about being a social retard, the threat of dying in a dryer fire, and more. So you know you can put this on and not bum your friends out . –Matt Average (Nominal, recordsnominal.com)


BLACK RAINBOW / HIDDEN SPOTS:
Split: 7”
Hidden Spots: So fuckin’ posi that they make 7 Seconds sound like Earth Crisis. Lyrically, their two songs are like love letters to friends and family. It’s without guile. It’s straight-forward: “I want more birthday parties and weddings / ‘cause I’m tired of funerals.” With bear-voice-sounding Eric Nelson as the throat, Buddha on guitar, and a rhythm section that sounds like a train rumblin’ down the tracks, these Chattanoogans are adding to their already impressive recorded catalog of humility, celebrations, and friendship. Black Rainbow: I’m not saying that an opera house of punk is even a good idea, but, if there ever was one and it didn’t suck, I’d elect Ivy Jeanne to sing there first. Her voice is wonderfully full, desperate, tuneful, and compassionate all at the same time; something we don’t come across all that often in these circles. New millennium EastBay punk with pop sensibilities, played with hard-to-deny conviction. –Todd Taylor (Starcleaner)


BILLY WALLACE:
The Road Spit Me Out: CD
Acoustic music has to have all the right ingredients for me to work. I don’t mind not having pounding drums shelling my eardrums, as long as the songwriting is creative. Although the musicianship here is fine, I felt like I was listening to a Jayhawks outtakes record. And the cover version here just makes me think of that lame-ass ‘70’ singer. Check please. –Sean Koepenick (Uneasy, no address listed)


BATMAN AND ROBIN:
My Hero Power Is My Moustache: 7"
Batman And Robin know and represent what white blues rock truly is… a joke. George Carlin had long called out the faux blues cats for what they are, and on this 7” this comical duo puts it to music while Michael Hacker combines it with some righteous art. Here, you’ll find twelve-bar blues riffage accompanying lyrics sung about precarious situations that these comic heroes/musicians find themselves in on tracks such as “No Problem, I Have the Bat Belt” and “Unable to Speak after Drinking Whiskey.” If you’re into such novelties as limited pressings, a good laugh, and blues-based garage rock, then Batman And Robin can be your heroes. –Todd Taylor (Bachelor)


BARRAKUDA MCMURDER:
Slow Crawl: 7"
The lead singer of the Steinways recorded some stuff after the band parted ways. This 7” is the result. Simple, biting, and caustic tunes you’ve come to expect from Grath. Nothing under two minutes, either. How’s that for packing a punch on a 7”! And word has it his new band, House Boat, is going to have a full length soon. Oh boy! This 7” is great, but House Boat will be epic! –Mr. Z (It’s Alive)


BARE WIRES:
Let Down: 7"
Damn, this is a great single! These guys are power pop, garage, proto punk, and minimal; all mixed seamlessly into one package. Both songs on here, the title track, and the flip, “Looking for Some Action,” are unbelievably catchy and instantly memorable. “Let Down” moves at a decent pace and the beat is steady and repetitive, in a good way. It gets a little noisy and boisterous towards the end, and suddenly it’s all over. Whoa! Flipping this baby over, “Looking for Some Action,” brings the mood down a bit, but the energy is still there. It captures the mood of looking for some action; kind of hopeful, but knowing more than likely nothing is happening, for sure. They have a LP out now as well, and I gotta get it! –Matt Average (Milk n’ Herpes. myspace.com/milknherpes)


BARE WIRES:
Artificial Clouds: LP
Man! I thought when I heard the first song on this record that it wasn’t going to be just another hipper than hip hipster albums of typical throwback garage rock (despite the picture on the front pointing all signs in that direction.) The only female-fronted vocal and title track “Artificial Clouds” is this spaced-out rock number that really couldn’t be pegged to one band or stereotyped as typical to a genre. It’s definitely the highlight out of the twelve tracks. The music here is good with some pretty inventive rock riffs. I wouldn’t quite call the tunes psychedelic, but they’re definitely trippy. This is lo-fi scenester music with distortion on the vocals. Jay Reatard mastered this album, and if you’re a fan of his music, you’d like this record. –N.L. Dewart (Tic Tac Totally)


BANNER PILOT:
Collapser: LP
I can safely say that this is my absolute favorite record of 2009. I had incredibly high expectations for this LP after Resignation Day became a daily staple in my headphones, and Collapser completely surpassed any preconceived awesomeness I’d prepared myself for. The melodies are sweeter without venturing too far into “pop punk” territory, the production is slick-yet-vicious ala Off With Their Heads’ LP, the lyrics are personal and heart wrenching without even a hint of corniness. It’s pretty much everything I look for in a record of this genre. I honestly feel that Collapser is a benchmark in the post-Jawbreaker punk world. Banner Pilot have unquestionably set themselves apart from the gravelly voiced pop punk masses with what is, in my opinion, a near-perfect record. Unbelievable. –Dave Williams (Fat Wreck)


ASEETHE / SHORES OF THE TUNDRA:
Split: 12” EP
Aseethe is really good. From the very opening of “Black Heart” to the final sounds of “Fire to Flames” I’m hooked on these songs: ambient metal that has a drive and enough low end to earn its heaviness. The songs are somewhat hypnotic with the repeating riffs, then there are the sounds that come washing over the buzzing distortion, providing another layer. Good stuff for putting on late, late at night, and pondering the past, present, and future. I could definitely go for a full-on Aseethe LP. Shores Of The Tundra, for some reason, don’t do much for me. They’re not horrible; it’s just not “my thing.” They remind me of Godflesh, with the drum machines and other electronics. The songs pulse then explode with an almost epic feel, like something you would hear as the soundtrack for a movie set in a bleak future. Limited to 300 copies and packaged in a screen printed cover, so if this is your thing, get on it. –Matt Average (Scenester Credentials, scenecred.com)


ARMEDALITE RIFLES / THE REACTION:
Split : 7” EP
Armedalite Rifles: Three more minimalist, quirky punk tunes from these guys. “Beatnik Hum” includes a flute. The Reaction: More of the “rock” feel on two of their three tunes, with the middle track a bit of arty noodling. –Jimmy Alvarado (no address)


APESHIT:
Self-titled: EP and CD
Oh jesus, it’s like the late ‘90s have come back to haunt us already! C’mon, at least give us another ten years before recycling “screamo” hardcore. Seriously, that was, and obviously still is, one of the most horrible genres of the many splintered world of punk. In/humanity were good, but that’s all I can remember in a positive light. While Apeshit certainly live up to their name, with their fast and frantic songs, the overall effect is blehhh.... Each song is tuneless as hell, and the singer screams and rants in a near indecipherable manner. Pretentious lyrics that are unclear and so dull they don’t deserve pondering, beyond thinking, “What is this shit?!” Maybe they rip it up live, who knows? But this record is forgettable. –Matt Average (Mother Chorizo, myspace.com/motherchorizorecords)


ANTIBODIES:
Are Here: 7"
This is a tough-sounding single from a tough-looking band. The Antibodies play burly mid-tempo punk rock with gruff vocals; four songs that reminded me of a slightly slowed down Bugs with odes to substance abuse and the epically titled “Penis Intravenous.” I am somewhat of a connoisseur of the gross, funny, and juvenile, so I think this is great! –Ty Stranglehold (Patac)


ANS:
Pressure Cracks: CD
Speed metal stuff heavily influenced by the crop of mid-‘80s crossover bands that leaned more towards the hardcore punk side of the spectrum. They usually stick around the mid-tempo area, but occasionally kick things into overdrive. –Jimmy Alvarado (Tankcrimes)


ANGEL SLUTS, THE:
Designer Heat: CD
Amped-up, dirty, blazing garage punk is what this band plays. This is a band that would have been very much at home on Junk Records a decade ago and on stage opening for the Candy Snatchers or the Hookers. Fans of everything from Electric Frankenstein to Stiletto Boys to the Bodies and Stitches will find a whole lot to like on this disc. –Mike Frame (Wrecked ‘Em)


ANDREA DORIA, THE:
Champagne Dreams on a Beer Budget: CD
This was a bit of a rollercoaster ride. It looks like a cheesy emo rock, and At The Drive-In kind of thing in both album cover and band name. Wait a minute... There are some downright hilarious song titles here... “No You Shut the Fuck Up, Dad”? “This Company Has a Very Strict Bro’s Before Ho’s Policy”?... Could I be wrong? I got my hopes up as I popped the disc in my computer. It looks like I was right the first time... I guess humor is an emotion too, but it sure didn’t come across in anything but the song titles. –Ty Stranglehold (myspace.com/theandreadoriaband)


AMERICAN STEEL:
Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts: CD
“Emergency House Party” is an excellent, nearly perfect opening track. It really nails that enthusiastic “good stuff’s ahead” feel. The rest of the album is solid. Not quite as amazingly good as Destroy Their Future (One of my favorite albums of 2007), but really good nonetheless. To describe the sound, American Steel is like the East Bay Against Me! (and yes, I am fully aware that American Steel is the older band). Both bands ply their trade in clean and passionate vocals, distorted yet bright guitars, and great sing along choruses. First thing that stands out in this album, aside from the great opening track, is the prominent use of “ass” in two different choruses (the songs “Tear the Place Apart” and “Your Ass Ain’t Laughing Now”). It’s weird to hear that word sang with so much conviction, not just in one, but two, songs. Second is that the opening to “Finally Alone” sounds exactly like a song by some indie rock band I can’t remember at the moment. I want to say maybe the Arcade Fire. Overall, this is a pretty good CD, but it’s kind of like Leave Home or Give ‘Em Enough Rope in that it suffers from being not quite as mind blowing as the album that came before. I think, mostly, because the lyrics never quite click as well as in Destroy Their Futures. Still, this is a solid effort that’s better than most. –Adrian (Fat)


AMAZING TAILS:
Daydreams for Adults: CD
The Good: These two retrospective discs, covering what I’m guessing is this Finnish band’s recorded output of a couple of albums (one heretofore unreleased), assorted singles, and comp tracks, show a band with one helluva lot of talent both in songwriting and performance. The earliest stuff showcased here sounds like the output of some sort of Descendents/Hüsker Dü worshippers who have conned Slayer’s Dave Lombardo into bringing his double kick drums and need for speed along for the ride. As they go along the ride spread across both these discs, though, you can hear their sound morph until they end up sounding like Leatherface’s Finnish doppelganger, right down to the crazy/droney/ringing chords and obscene hooks. I’m not kidding, kids, some of the songs here are fuggin’ gorgeous. The Bad: Totally a preference call, but as much as I’m agog over the songs themselves, I’m not so keen on the lead vocals, which sound to these ears like a weird cross between the worst aspects of Circle One’s John Macias and Don from Plain Wrap. The Ugly: An unfortunate cover of Cheap Trick’s “He’s a Whore,” which is one of those tunes you just shouldn’t fuck with. A little digging on the internet revealed that they’ve apparently reformed after breaking up in 1994, and despite my misgivings about the vocals, I’d recommend giving them, and these discs, a shot. –Jimmy Alvarado (sp-records.com)


AMATEUR PARTY:
Public Utility Complaint: 7" EP
Meaty subject matter addressing local and national issues the Philadelphia Gas Works’ decision to turn off the heat on “deadbeat customers” in the middle of winter, gun violence, war—married to that kind of indie rock/punk hybrid that sounds angry and outraged enough yet retains enough melody to garner college radio play. –Jimmy Alvarado (Paramnesia)


ALTERNATE ACTION:
Thin Line: CD
It’s probably best that there isn’t a lyric sheet accompanying the otherwise above average oi-boy tuneage here, as nine times outta ten all lyrics in this subgenre manage to do is blight whatever work is put in musically. Based solely on the musical output here, these guys have put some obvious work in, with catchy hooks and odd little timing thingies to keep you on yer toes, scraggly sung/shouted vocals, and little guitar bits that occasionally recall the best musical bits of Skrewdriver without all that band’s bullshit baggage and moronic worldview in evidence, and enough zip in their delivery to come across like they at least mean what they’re on about. In all, not bad. –Jimmy Alvarado (Longshot)


ALTAR GOATS:
Self-titled: CD
Whacky hipster shit. Spastic, loud, and noisy, and it’s a vacuous affair the whole way through. I imagine this duo has listened quite a bit to bands like Men’s Recovery Project, Fast Forward, Arab On Radar, and Japanther and felt inspired. However, this shit is subpar and forgettable. –Matt Average (Altar Goats, altargoats@gmail.com)


ALL OR NOTHING H.C.:
All of These Are Days of the Dead: 7"
Fairly standard modern hardcore with a bit of crustiness around the edges and hints of the classic NYC hardcore sound—they sorta remind me of early Underdog. Not spectacular, but definitely solid and entertaining. It’s on cool red and black sunburst vinyl, too. I enjoyed it. –The Lord Kveldulfr (On The RAg)


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