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Razorcake #84
Tim Version, Ordinary Life LP + bonus 7"
Radon, 28 LP
Zisk #25
Razorcake #83


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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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BOTTLENOSE KOFFINS:
Gayzilla: LP
I wanted to hate this. The band name is not clever enough to make sense, I find the artwork lacking, and I guess I’m just PC enough to find the title Gayzilladistasteful. And who wants to review a surf band? There is not much to write about a surf band other than, “they play surf.” However, Bottlenose Koffins (ugh) deliver a debut LP that is more than tolerable. Mix traditional surf rock, the punk stupidity of Masked Intruder, and lots of shout-along choruses (“Kristy Yamaguchi…I wanna go out and skate!”) and you’ve got a band that would probably be lots of fun for dancing on tables and smashing bottles in your local watering hole. You gotta spin it to win it, so that’ll teach me to judge a book by its cover.  –Matt Seward (Get Weird!)


BOMBSITE:
1994: CD
This limited edition CD was released in conjunction with the Extreme Noise Records Twentieth Anniversary show, which reunited many of the bands that were rocking the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul in the mid-’90s to celebrate the longevity of my favorite record store. Bombsite was one of those bands. Two things are important: First is how not-twenty-years-old this music sounds. Second is the way this band tapped into a style that has weaved its way through the Twin Cities punk scene since the beginning. You’ve probably heard it. It’s that torn jeans, calloused hands, playing our hearts out, hopeful for sunny days sound that continues to hold sway in this region to this day. This style feels right here, where winters are so dark and crushing. These sounds feel warm, and Bombsite made these sounds so well, adding their own unique touch. I love that I can now listen to this and think about how generation after generation, the kids in Minneapolis and St. Paul climb out of their homes and slide through January winters into cinder block basements, still wearing their jackets, just excited to jump around and raise fists and have fun and survive another year.  –MP Johnson (Self-released)


BOB MOULD:
Beauty and Ruin: CD/LP
Bob Mould’s last album, Silver Age, was a surprising success. It showed a return to some great rock and roll, reminiscent of the high points from his days in Sugar. His latest, Beauty and Ruin, features two pictures of him on the cover; one from his Hüsker Dü days and one from the present day. While I’m not sure if it was intentional, it’s an interesting contrast because it seems as if Mould is still drawing from his days with Hüsker Dü and Sugar, bands that he played in back in the 1980s and ‘90s. The sound can be fast and aggressive (“Kid with Crooked Face”) or more introspective and somber (“Let the Beauty Be”), but it all works well. Mould has stated that the twelve songs are broken down into four sections of three songs each: loss, reflection, acceptance, and future. Each of these sections deals with the aftermath of losing his father in 2012. Once you know that was what Mould was attempting, it opens up the album to a different interpretation. There start to be themes between the songs and the lyrics speak to the listener in an additional manner. It’s not a concept album per se, but it is a look at the aftermath of loss. Mould still knows how to play fast, the backing band of Jon Wurster and Jason Narducy is tight as ever, and the songs have great pop hooks. I have a soft spot for Sugar’s File Under Easy Listening (I know—I’m the only one) and the Hüsker Dü material is legendary, but Bob Mould’s solo material is still much better than the vast majority of music I hear on a regular basis. Anyone who has ever liked a Bob Mould project should pick this up.  –Kurt Morris (Merge)


BIG EYES:
Almost Famous: LP
This trio of Seattle-based badasses has released their second LP, Almost Famous, and I am more smitten than ever. Honest lyrics with obvious “fuck you” undertones, riffs that make you want to dance until you’re covered in your own vomit, and hooks that sink into your skin before pulling you into the deep, dark ocean of Big Eyes. Don’t resist, just let it take you.  –Genevieve Armstrong (Grave Mistake)


BIG BOYS:
No Matter How Long the Line at the Cafeteria, There’s Always a Seat: LP
For me, choosing a favorite Big Boys album would be like asking a parent to choose their favorite child. They all have different qualities that you admire but at the end of the day you love them all the same. This is the reissue of the Big Boys’ third and final album. It features two of my all-time favorite Big Boys songs (“Narrow View” and “Which Way to Go”), but let’s face it, they are all good songs. As usual, Light In The Attic has pulled out all the stops for their Big Boys discography reissues. A thick stock, gatefold cover with amazing photos, stickers, original liner notes, and, hell, the mail order edition even came with a T-shirt! I’ve said it before and I will say it again; if you don’t have this band in your life, you best remedy that. Life changing!  –Ty Stranglehold (Light In The Attic)


BIG BOYS:
Lullabies Help the Brain Grow: LP
It’s no secret how much Austin Texas’ Big Boys mean to me. I’ve shouted it from the rooftops and in these very pages, and if I keep getting the opportunity to write reviews of killer reissues of their albums, then damn it I’m going to! Lullabies is the Big Boys’ second album and it really built on the foundation that was created with their debut LP Industry Standard/Where’s My Towel. To my knowledge, there is no band that has ever been able to straddle so many separate styles with such amazing results. From the hardcore blasts of “Brickwall” and “Assault” to the funkiness of “Jump the Fence.” From the off-kilter menace of “Baby Let’s Play God” or “Manipulation” to the pure majesty of “Sound on Sound”… It doesn’t take a super fan to know that this is one of the most important bands in punk rock history… Scratch that. Music history. The reissue has been given the usual Light In The Attic treatment, which means it’s phenomenal! A gatefold cover with an amazing, never-before-published photo of the band sweating it out on stage. You must have this. If I had the money, I’d buy everyone copies of their entire discography.  –Ty Stranglehold (Light In The Attic)


BETRAYERS:
Let the Good Times Die: Cassette
This full album (thirteen songs and bonus fourteen on the digital download you get with the tape) of psychedelic music from a garage somewhere in Edmonton, Alberta wins the award for best tambourine use of 2014. Like many, I’m at the point where many new garage psych bands are all starting to melt into one and sound the same to me, but there’s something distinct about this tape. Maybe I’m just giving them points for incorporating a fuzzed-out harmonica and slide-guitar into the album. But you should get points for that.  –Bianca (Shake!)


BEASTMAN:
Self-titled: Cassette
Beastman are interstellar cavemen and Vikings and ravers, and it would be fair to say they’re the best hardcore band in the world. They’re Funkadelic and Sun Ra and Wrangler Brutes and Nation Of Ulysses and early Meat Puppets and DRI. Their only peers are legends and ghosts. They’re crawling around this planet, being dragged to the stage in chains, showing us their butts, not doing their laundry, losing their minds under bridges, electing rock’n’roll to the white house, and somehow somebody recorded them, and now it’s on a tape, and now you’re buying that tape.  –Matt Werts (Jelly Music)


BEARMACE:
Cold Ones: 7”
This band from Montreal offers 4 songs of tough metal influenced hardcore punk. A general lack of information included with this release doesn’t offer any clues to what these guys are all about, but most fans of gnarly ‘80s influenced hardcore should dig this.  –Mark Twistworthy (Zaxxon)


BANNER PILOT:
Souvenir: CD
You have to deal with the fact that the soles of your favorite low top Chucks will eventually blow out. Yes, they were your favorite, the most comfortable thing in your wardrobe, and made you feel like you were earning scads of punk points, but at some point you will have to purchase a new pair. Souveniris an amalgamation of forgettable Unfun-era Jawbreaker wannabe tunes anchored by that familiar Bauermeister bass tone (“Heat Rash,” “Shoreline”). The wind up octaves of the first bridge in “Colfax” are the first things that pique interest. It’s the ninth song. I like Banner Pilot. A lot. But when there are only three songs in slots nine, ten, and eleven of a twelve track album that actually sound on par with the band’s past work… sorry, guys. Pass.  –Matt Seward (Fat)


BABYSITTER / MONSTER TREASURE:
Split: Cassette
It’s always a little awkward when I get sent something from Razorcake that involves friends of mine. On one hand a bias exists, but on the other I want to share any awesomeness that is coming from my area of this small world of ours. Fuck it, here goes. Shake! is a cool label in Victoria that is working hard to put out vinyl and cassettes with all kinds of different, fun stuff. This is a split tape between Babysitter and Monster Treasure. My tape player sucks ass so I hope I am talking about the right bands. Babysitter is rocking some fuzzed-out garage-pop steeped heavily in early ‘90s alt rock. Monster Treasure could actually use the exact same description that I just used for Babysitter yet they sound completely different. That’s weird. I like both of these bands.  –Ty Stranglehold (Shake!)


AUTISTIC YOUTH:
Nonage: LP
At first blush, this sounds like yer average thud-punk stomper for which Dirtnap seems to have a soft spot, and there is definitely enough of that here to serve as a base. Pay attention, though, and you quickly find they’re hurling a ton of other influences at yer noggin—subtle drone leads, Spector-like bell accents, some metal-tinged guitar duo-leads, multi-part harmonies, and no small amount of dark pop hooks dipped in post-punk eccentricity—all the while keeping the rhythms insistent and pounding. Just when ye think a subgenre’s on the verge of finally burning out, someone adds a new wrinkle. Kudos for some fine work.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Dirtnap)


AUSMUTEANTS:
Amusements: LP
When I see a new Goner Records release, I think it will sound like one of two things: blown-out garage punk or quirky Aussie/New Zealand synth-y stuff. And I’ll probably just buy it because I know I’ll like it. Goner is one of the few labels throughout my entire record buying career that I’ll buy something just because they put it out. Ausmuteants falls into this second sound-type. Goner has been advertising this upcoming release for a while but I never got around to previewing them online. (Something I go back and forth in my mind as being totally against my record buying impulses and as wholly practical because I’m getting older, own a home, have bills, like to travel, blah, blah, blargh.) Mostly up-tempo numbers (“Kicked in the Head by a Horse” is best) and one moody, Clean-ish jam (“Hate This Town.”) My Aussie/NZ palette is limited, so other influences are likely going over my head. Oh well, better for the enjoyment of this record as it stands, then. Goner Records, just open an Australian branch already!  –Sal Lucci (Goner)


ATLANTIC THRILLS:
Self-titled: CD
It never ceases to amaze me how many new bands (re: ones that I actually enjoy) emerge from the East Coast on an almost daily basis. Atlantic Thrills are no exception to the rule. Solid, catchy ‘60s garage/psych. Not unlike The Black Lips, as much as it pains me to go there. Yet, they have their own thing going for them; far from a carbon copy. Well recorded and distanced from anything too psyched-out. The songs are straight forward, but far from boring. Definitely closer to ATL’s masters themselves, rather than Demon’s Claws or Dead Ghosts, for example. “Day at the Beach,” is a hell of a track. If you’re a fan of the genre, you’ve probably already acquired this sucker. If not, what’re you waiting for?  –Steve Adamyk (Almost Ready)


ARMADA, LA:
Crisis: 12” EP
The intensity of a Costa Rican Bad Brains weaned on Dillinger Escape Plan but actually producing memorable hardcore, La Armada will burn your show space down with sheer power and technical virtuosity. Six tracks, including a Bad Brains medley, that swing from shred to breakdown while keeping the actual tunes fresh in your mind. The group is now based in Chicago, but with song titles like “Vincho Leonelista” and “Obsolescencia,” one is lead to believe La Armada is still writing lyrics with their distinct South American perspective, but lacking a lyric sheet, a listener has no way of verifying. However, pre-orders did come with a bonus Unbaptismal Certificate, solidifying their vocal distaste for organized Christian religion. Snatch this one up.  –Matt Seward (Fat Sandwich, fatsandwichrecords.com / Profane Existence, profaneexistence.com / Puercords)


AR-KAICS, THE:
“Make It Mine” b/w “Movin’ On”: 7”
“Make It Mine” is a catchy cave stomper from this Richmond band putting out solid singles at a furious rate. “Movin’ On” follows suit. Beautifully overdriven guitars, thee party beat, and infectious choruses. They’re a band to watch out for if you’re a Back from the Grave fanatic.  –Billups Allen (Steady Sounds)


APOCALYPSE MEOW:
Bats!Bats!Bats!Bats!Bats!: 7”
This four-song release from Off With Their Heads drummer Justin Francis instantly takes me back to mid-’90s pop punk and emo. Bands like this hone the ability to write songs that truly rock and get you moving while they move you emotionally. It’s a talent I hold in high regard—to craft music that peppers nostalgia, hope, and fear through strong steady and fast rhythms. All the while, they layer beautifully melodic vocals over guitars that sing and wail. The lyrics are concise and are only slightly abstract, resulting in instant sparks of introspective feeling. Choruses of, “Spend our lives searching for the sunshine / tell me why I miss the rain,” seamlessly blend in with guitars that are a little rough around the edges. I don’t quite know what’s going on with the last song “We Are the Whale Watcher,” but it still fills me with motivation to stray from desolation. Perfect cuts for fans of bands like Leatherface, Jawbreaker, and Hot Water Music. It’s the kind of music that reminds me I’m still working a shitty job into my thirties, but sometimes you need the depressing crap in life to make the rad times shine brighter. This record is already on heavy rotation for me. Hats off, gents.  –Kayla Greet (A.D.D. / Rad Girlfriend)


ANTISEEN / MEATMEN:
The Tribute with Two Heads: Split 7”
Two squads of tenured fiends deliver high concept goon-rock by the pitchforkful, each contributing one song about permanently lapsed scum-rocker GG Allin, as well as a cover of one of the Sex Pistols’ viler numbers. Whilst I am inclined to give the nod to the hairy brutes of Antiseen for the better GG song, due to the sheer beller-along catchiness of “G.G. PHD,” ((though Tesco’s “rest in feces GG you smelly fuck!” quip closes out the Meatmen’s “Rock & Roll Enema,” with a classy flourish)), it’s the Meatmen’s cover of “Bodies,” that wins the day—a rib-splittin’ remake even fouler than the original, and actually the best cover of the song I’ve ever heard. YOU’LL DIAGRAM THAT LAST SENTENCE IN HELL, SATAN!!! BEST SONG: The Meatmen, “Bodies.” BEST SONG TITLE: Actually, “Belsen Was a Gas,” “G.G. PHD,” “Bodies,” and “Rock & Roll Enema,” are all good song titles. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Cover art is taken from the movie poster for 1973’s The Thing with Two Heads, where a racist white dude’s head is transplanted onto former NFL star Rosie Grier’s body.  –Rev. Norb (TKO)


AMA-DOTS:
Self-titled: LP
This was Milwaukee’s darker, funkier, heavier answer to Siouxsie & The Banshees back in the early ‘80s. While I had plenty of older, wiser friends who numbered themselves among this artsy, mixed gender ensemble’s supporters at the time, I never much cared for bands like this back in the day, and, to tell you the truth, I still don’t. It’s just so unsuitable for playing at barbecues! I tried to like it, but it just seems weird and tiring and i-don’t-know-what-they’re-trying-to-do-and-i-kind-of-don’t-care-either-ish. Sorry I’m so musically unadventurous. Now shut up and pass the Usinger’s®. BEST SONG: “Hit Girls.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Strange Brute.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: There are hardly any dots anywhere.  –Rev. Norb (Rerun)


ACOUSMA:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Above average hardcore keeps the listener engaged via song structures that incorporate lots of rhythmic changes and sophisticated chord patterns, while the singer attempts to obliterate any vestiges of his vocal chords. Seriously, homie must be rendered mute for several weeks after a given gig if he’s putting the same amount of oomph into their live sets. Four tunes, six minutes and change, and none of that time wasted.  –Jimmy Alvarado (High Fashion Industries)


ACHTUNGS:
Self-titled: 7”
Looks like this record is out just ahead of their upcoming Total Punk release. It’s the kind of record that makes you say, “How could there not be a band called Achtungs that sounds like this already?” I say that as a compliment, of course. Two, maybe three chords (you really don’t need more), some piss and vinegar, house that in a simple black and white paper sleeve, and you got yourself a good record. I’m even okay with the flange-y solo in “I’m Not the One.”  –Sal Lucci (Going Underground)


999999999:
White Devils: 7” EP
Trippy-dippy garage rock, slightly tinged with psychedelic flourishes to add some color. Tunes are primitive yet oddly catchy.  –Jimmy Alvarado (HoZac)


7 SECONDS:
Leave a Light On: LP/CD
It’s damn refreshing to know that some of punk rocks elder statesmen can still crank out an album of fist-pumping, singalong goodness, and that’s what 7 Seconds does here, a mere ten years after its last long player. Leave a Light On contains fourteen tracks that are more varied than those on that last album, throwing in some less frenetic, more harmonious songs to broaden the musical landscape without really altering the standard 7 Seconds blueprint. The underlying message remains one of positivity and it’s a great fillip on those darker days when one is feeling like no good can come from any interaction with the world. Does any band do hardcore with a poppy bent better than 7 Seconds? I think not.  –Rich Cocksedge (Rise)


1-800-BAND:
Diver Blue: 12”EP
I unabashedly love power pop and this record delivers, having all of the trappings of a solid power pop band straight out of the early ‘80s. Sounding not unlike early material from The Cars or maybe even something like The Plimsouls, this four song EP sounds and looks as authentic as they come, which is quite a feat for a current band playing this kind of stuff. Much like an early ‘80s teen movie, it’s all about being carefree, having fun, and getting the girl (or boy) in the end. That’s exactly where this record takes me, and it’s quite an enjoyable ride.  –Mark Twistworthy (Almost Ready)


DISMANTLE:
Complaints: 7”
Complaints is the Ohio hardcore group Dismantle’s latest. And they are pissed. Pissed about tough guys, pissed about people telling them it’s time to pray, about nationalist patriots, and about the ubiquitous man’s command that they get haircuts. Recording-wise, Complaints scores clarity but keeps the blown-out PA sound of a good basement show, my dream combo. At times, the “society vs. me” conflict of some songs is shrug worthy, but then they kill it with “Adapt” and “Selective Freedom,” personal stories sung in punk hardcore form, thrashed out with brutal sincerity. In this glass, I taste mineral and steely notes with hints of Boston Strangler and The Killing Tree, minus the latter’s tangy and mellow bridges—an earthy and sippable treat.  –Jim Joyce (Scumbros)


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