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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SPORT:
Colors: LP
Pop punk outfit from Lyon, France will time warp you to a ‘90s sun-drenched summer despite its time skipping trajectory. Like a soundtrack to the Olympics, the track names read like a photo album for the international games vaulting from one location to the next with titles like “Barcelona, 1992,” “Lillehammer, 1994,” and “Sydney, 2000.” Like a snapshot of times past, the tracks are nostalgic, soaring from jugular, vein-popping vocals to the gradual build of drums and elongated guitar notes and back again. “Helsinki, 1952,” shows off nimble guitar work. Despite my effort, I was unable to determine whether there’s a tie between song and title. Released in 2012 in the same pipeline of Surfer Blood and Red House Painters, this is stuff meant for Sunday beer-fueled barbeques and down hilling on your bike. Recommended. –Kristen K. (Self-released)


SPACE RAFT:
Self-titled: CD/LP
This Wisconsin four-piece was started by Jordan Davis of Mystery Girls, a band that released a couple albums on In The Red Records. While Mystery Girls had more of a garage sound, Space Raft is rooted in power pop with psych rock flair and some classic rock riffs. I can hear some Matthew Sweet as well as some Badfinger. The nine songs clock in at forty minutes and they all have a more summery, blessed-out feel, which is appropriate given the style of music the band plays. This is one of those albums that I can say is recorded well and sounds good, but didn’t have anything strong enough to win me over to a sound of which I’m not a fan. Still, that’s much more positive than I can say about most of the stuff I review.  –Kurt Morris (Dusty Medical)


SOTAVAMMA:
Stressiyhteiskunta: 7” EP
When these guys are in their sweet spot—namely mid-gear thrash and slower—they handily deliver some snarling Finnish thrash that stands toe-to-toe with the “classic” fjordcore bands of yore this region’s produced. Things get a bit sloppy and less impressive the couple of times they set their sights on breaking the speed barrier. Given the number of tunes crammed in here, the final tally is three-quarters quality and one-quarter take or leave. Limited to 350. –Jimmy Alvarado (Svart)


SONIC AVENUES:
Mistakes: CD
The vocals sound like they are sung riding a sick wave. I immediately donned a pair of blue wayfarers and board shorts ready to soak up some rays. But I quickly realized after the drop in that every track has a repetitive guitar progression that is pleasantly familiar, making them accessible and catchy, yet not distinguished from every other garage punk band. It’s like bringing your board to the beach only to be greeted by some flat waves. This could have been bitchin’, bro. How are the waves in Montréal? –Ashley (Dirtnap)


SONGS FOR SNAKES:
Year of the Snake: LP
This San Francisco-based band’s record was heavily influenced by Hüsker Dü, Jawbreaker, undertones of Guided By Voices, and sprinkled with hints of Superchunk. They pull it off beautifully and have resurrected the sound of ‘90s Bay Area motherfucking magic in one gorgeously colored LP. I want everyone to fall in love with this band and go apeshit over them. Hell, I’m going apeshit over them. –Genevieve Armstrong (Timid Crusher)


SOME UNCOORDINATED BASTARDS:
Wourbon Bhiskey Demo: CD-R
Sloppy, drunk pop punk. Instantly, The Nobodys or Bickley come to mind (without the porn). This is a demo quality for sure. I imagine them setting up a mic in the middle of their practice space and going for it. Would love to hear them recorded a bit better. I like this. –Ty Stranglehold (subpunk.bandcamp.com)


SOME UNCOORDINATED BASTARDS:
Drive Slow: CD-R
Rudimentary punk (and one ska-influenced tune) with oom-pah oom-pah drumming aplenty. Purty picture on the CD of someone who either got beat the fuck up or was splattered with gobs of fake blood to look like that was the case. –Jimmy Alvarado (Some Uncoordinated Bastards)


SLICK 46:
No Apologies: 7”
The image on the cover of this EP is a graffiti skull wearing a rudeboy’s cap, with matching switchblades crossing behind it. The problem is that the image is slightly blurry, as any amateur with a spray can and homemade stencil might leave on the side of the dumpster. The real problem with this album is that everything I just said about the image could equally apply to the music. I like the image and I like this style of street punk, especially from a trio with a female member. However, it is all just a touch off. The recording levels don’t sound right. The harmonies aren’t really harmonies but sound like people drunkenly singing over one another, and not in a good sort of way. I give it a C for effort and I would not hesitate to give their next release a fair chance. –John Mule (Longshot / Contra / Pirates Press)


SKULL PRACTITIONERS:
Self-titled: Cassette
New York band playing heavy rock that splits the difference between those Dope, Guns and Fucking in the Streets comps and the Dazed and Confused soundtrack. There are guitar heroics, vocal harmonies, and bastardized butt-rock riffs, but it never comes off as slick or winking. As guitar music is ignored by the mainstream, it’s refreshing to hear these sounds being chewed up and spit onto the wall by the hungry underground. –Chris Terry (skullpractitioners.com)


SILVER SCREAMS:
Self-titled: CDEP
I had roommates in the ‘80s who’d keep me up by playing my records at all hours of the night, and one of the chief weapons with which they’d assail my sleep hygiene was that Rites Of Spring album (the DC band, not the Stravinsky ballet). Consequently, I tend to hear Rites Of Spring influences everywhere, kind of like a post-traumatic head disorder or something, and that band’s sound is lodged in my head so deeply that I can’t even break it down for analysis. Therefore, all I can really say when a band reminds me of Rites Of Spring is “this band reminds me of Rites Of Spring,” and then you gotta go figure out what that means for yourself. So, yes. This fine Massachusetts trio reminds me of Rites Of Spring, albeit a cleaner, sharper, less recorded-in-a-barn sounding Rites Of Spring, plus spring-wound percussive tension and Mission Of Burma-y guitar chords for levity. Also includes a cover of “Wash Away,” off of TSOL’s Beneath the Shadows album, which was—of course—another of my records with which i’d be harangued at 3 AM on a Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Now i probably won’t sleep tonight, thanks a lot, Sean! BEST SONG: “Infinite Mirror.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Climbing Mt.Rumpke.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Cover art by Chris Shary, who has done a bunch of rad stuff for the Descendents and All! –Rev. Norb (Self-released)


SHATTERHAND:
Chaos and the Art of Dissent: CD
Some brainy, more-sophisticated-than-the-average-band-of-louts lyrics set against fairly middling, gruff-vocal, poppy punk. While this ain’t the worst thing I’ve heard all year, in the end I found myself wanting to like it more than I do. –Jimmy Alvarado (Unsane Asylum)


SENIOR DISCOUNT:
This Is Not the End: CD-R + DVD
Lukewarm pop punk of the Riverfenix/MXPX variety. Apparently these doods do meathead pranks, Internet videos, and podcasts of which an included DVD contains. Sorry guys, I would have a hard time recommending this to anyone. In fact, I think I will leave my copy in someone’s car intentionally. –Garrett Barnwell (Self-released)


SEASONAL MEN’S WEAR:
Self-titled: CDEP-R
Ice Climbers was a taste, I asked for more, and I got it. I enjoy SMW maybe more than I should. The word “serviceable” was used in an older Razorcake review and I get that, but SMW is growing and maturing and it’s showing. Cabin-core straight outta Rolling Meadows, IL (see “My Life as a River Otter”)! More sloppy, swirling leads and Raygun meets Plan-It-X singalong lyrics. Growing up and friendship posi-topics are tackled and one might feel a little younger after listening. It’s cool to have a naïve sense of the world in your music. Hope is contagious. The songs need a few seconds of trimming, most push beyond the three minute mark, and the recording on Ice Climbers was a bit more full which sounds better for SMW. It’s time to quit screwing around with CD-Rs guys…put something on a 7”. You’ll sell at least one. –Matt Seward (Brown Bear)


SEASONAL MEN’S WEAR:
Self-titled: CDEP
I reviewed another Seasonal Men’s Wear release not too long ago and I was not exactly kind. To me they were jokey in a way that didn’t translate well, or their sincerity translated clumsily, or they were talking to their friends and I was just a bystander. On their newest EP, they’re still playing pop punk, and it’s still okay, and it’s still not meant for me. But there’s an underlying, almost Jonathan Richman-like sweetness to it that’s endearing. They sing about going fishing, hanging out with raccoons, smelling the pine trees, getting old and fat together. I won’t say they’re great, but I’d have to be a serious asshole to hate on them. –Matt Werts (Brown Bear)


SCHOOL SHOOTINGS:
Self-titled: LP
Chaotic, vicious hardcore with a Southeast Hardcore, Fuck Yeah!! feel. They do cool thrash stuff without sounding like they’re playing the riffs with scare quotes, and blow through fifteen songs in roughly as many minutes. –Chris Terry (casualpunks.bigcartel.com)


SCAREDYCAT:
Run: CD
Self-described spazz-core. I don’t say that because I don’t believe in the term spazz-core, but because I wouldn’t say this band fits the genre. Just because you have twelve songs in eight minutes doesn’t make you spazz-core. The vocals aren’t screamy and the music doesn’t have enough power and strength behind it. And, frankly, when I listen to most spazz-core I feel like slamming people in the pit, even though I’m in my mid-thirties. With Run, I just felt bored. I want this louder and heavier. It kind of reminds me of what my friends and I would’ve sounded like if we had tried to start a spazz-core band in high school. Instead, it just sounds like a fast punk band. And not that great of one at that.  –Kurt Morris (scaredycat.bandcamp.com)


SCARECROW:
Amores de Vampiros: 7”
These Helsinkians play “fucking raw horror punkrock shit,” to quote the insert, and, vocally, the singer’s scorched growl is pretty raw, closer kin to fellow Finland band Children Of Bodom than it is to horror punkers 45 Grave or Murderdolls—to cast a wide net—groups which can be gleefully upbeat and whoa-oh laden along the misery imagery, one of the appeals of the genre. The rhythm section on Amores de Vampiros’ A-Side is adrenaline rising, with “MetalScum,” a Scarecrow credo (“Metal scum always straight/street trash or family man”) and “Son of Satan,” bringing no-frills, fast-chugging hardcore, until the breakdown draws out some cool flails and fingertapped solos. The B-Side features “Jesus, Lucifer and Me” and “La Maritza,” with the prior as their chorus-pumping dungeon rocker about an unholy trinity and coming back from the dead (“maybe you – walk with me/maybe you—turn into a zombie”), which is initially fun, though it stumbles into a line about raping a woman with a crucifix, which is tacky misogynist bullshit posing as alternative bro artistic expression. To complete the aesthetic experience, Scarecrow’s Amores de Vampiros comes on “bone white” vinyl. –Jim Joyce (82/Horror Shop)


ROADSIDE BOMBS:
Bring ‘Em Home: 7”
Agreed: bring the soldiers back to the U.S. This music is fast and tough, well written, but it falls quickly into some oi clichés. That being said, I can still think of a handful of people I would recommend Bring ‘Em Home to. –John Mule (Chapter 11)


RILE 9 COLLECTIVE:
To Walk in Truth: 7”
Rile 9 Collective is an oi band from Los Angeles, my home. There are great guitar lines by Moises Cassillas and Sean Garcia, reminiscent of Cock Sparrer. The lyrics and vocals from drummer Frankie Loyal are tops. This band knows that, ultimately, oi is still rock and fucking roll, not meathead hardcore. My two favorite of the four tracks are the anthems on side two, “This City, Los Angeles…” and “My Father’s Son.” They break free of the tired stereotypes and cover universal themes that every punk, skinhead, wayward misfit, man, woman, and child can relate to. Great shit, R9C! I can’t wait to come see you live. –John Mule (Chapter 11)


REVOLT PLAN 8:
Tales from the Shed: CD-R
This is a rough recording with elements reminiscent of SST-era Sonic Youth and early Nirvana, but not in a clichéd way. This three piece definitely comes from a punk background, as can be seen by the brevity and simplicity of a lot of their songs. The dirty-sounding guitars were reminiscent of earlier Sonic Youth and one of the two vocalists bears a resemblance to Kurt Cobain. My suggestions for the band are to cut some songs, tighten up the material, and work on the recording quality. That’s not to say I want it to sound clean, but just to mix the levels well. If they did that, I’d be interested in hearing more. –Kurt Morris (Self-released)


RAPEGOAT:
Self-titled: CD
From its inception, punk has had a strain of bands running through it that have pissed off as many people as possible for the sheer hell of it as their primary raison d’être—Sniveling Shits, Nip Drivers, Fearless Iranians From Hell, The Bix Bigler Band, Mentors, you get the picture. Judging solely by the group’s name and song titles like “Brown Star,” and “Cunthair Mustache II,” one can easily drop ‘em into that pile as another band trying to push the “shock” envelope, and you’d be right. Thing is, like many of the aforementioned bands, the songs are pretty danged catchy—punk/hardcore delivered with a bit more precision than one would expect from a “joke” band and capped with a singer with a warble that comes off like a (slightly) less annoying version of the Crucifucks’ Doc Dart. I’m impressed, I gotta say. Worth it alone just for the chance to “accidentally” leave a copy laying around at mom’s house and watch the fun unfold when she picks it up and gets a gander at the cover. –Jimmy Alvarado (Mystery School)


PRIMITIVE PACT:
Self-titled: EP
UK82 worship from this New York outfit. The most interesting thing about this is the death rock guitar that makes its presence known at the beginning of the song before giving way to the formula of this style. If you’re looking for originality, you definitely won’t find it here. But the playing is intense and relentless. Check out the hammering “Soldiers for War” and “No Self Choice” (the thunderous opener is an attention grabber for sure). A little more of their own personality and not playing it so safe by sticking to the formula could do wonder for this band. They have the potential to be better than this. –Matt Average (Nightrider /Total Fucker)


PONY NAMED OLGA, A:
The Land of Milk and Pony: CD
German rock trio that have been at it since 2004. The songs feature a rockabilly feel, which may float your boat. There seems to be a strange fascination with horses on this album. I’m not sure if this has something to do with Catherine the Great, so maybe this will remain a mystery. If Dave Alvin fronting The Stray Cats sounds like something you would put on at your backyard BBQ, then grab this while you can. –Sean Koepenick (Saustex)


PONCHES, THE / RICCOBELLIS:
Split: EP
The Ponches have a bit of the “bro’ punk” vibe crossed with Weezer kind of sound. “Balls at Large” is catchy, and not a bad song, with the ending having a repetitive chorus that has a nice, slight punch. Riccobellis hearken back to that early U.K. punk sound that could almost pass as power pop, if it was just cleaner sounding and the singer had a “nice” voice. “Don’t Hesitate” is okay, but lacks that fire to send these over the edge and warrant further listening. Then “I Created a Monster” is pure cheese, and clichéd as hell with the, “Oh oh baby, I wanna listen to the Ramones with you” thing going on. Wretch... –Matt Average (One Chord Wonder)


POLYCHROME VIOLENCE:
Self-titled: 7”
These are simply recorded simple songs in the simplest of packaging. To put it simply: it works. It makes you wish more bands would just fucking make music and stop worrying about whatever else they spend their time doing as a collective unit. –John Mule (American Sedation)


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