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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SOAP OPERA, THE:
Self-titled: CS
Well-crafted and sun-soaked jangly kinda surf-y pop music from France.  –Michael T. Fournier (thesopaopera.bandcamp.com)


SOFT LIONS:
Spell Breaker: CDEP
This opens up with a kickin’ garage stomper tinged by a dark undertow and laid-back vocals. Things get a bit more subdued tempo-wise from there, but the darkness is laid on a bit thicker and by the end of the last tune they’ve slipped into Velvet Underground territory. Nice, diverse sound showcased over the four tracks.  –jimmy (Velvet Blue, velvetbluemusic.com)


SOFT SHOULDER:
“Stair”: 7”
The noisy, disjointed no-wave of Tempe, AZ’s Soft Shoulder is deceptively complex: simultaneously experimental and familiar. Side A could just be called “Stair,” but instead earns itself the moniker “Stair (YOBS) Junk Interlude (Repeat #2.5) Stair (Gilgongo HQ)” in an effort to differentiate each of its three-tracks-in-one based on where and when it was recorded and by whom. The sounds on display are lo-fi and crunchy as fuck, but production is clearly king for Soft Shoulder, and every discordant moment feels intentional. Side B shrugs off some of the pretense in favor of apparent sentiment. It features a version of the riffy, driving “Wyld Parrots,” a song originally written by the band’s Gilgongo labelmates Wounded Lion for a 2009 release that was bogged down by drama with their previous label. Soft Shoulder rounds out their Side B love letter with a silly, spacey birthday song for their friend Iggy—who was turning five at the time of recording—and it’s just as adorable as it sounds. What Stairlacks in cohesion, it more than compensates for with its undeniable depth of approach.  –Kelley O’Death (Gilgongo, jamesfella@hotmail.com, gilgongorecords.com)


SOFT SHOULDER:
Von Guts: 7”
Let’s start by saying Von Guts is a good name for anything. And that these two tracks from Tempe, AZ’s Soft Shoulder, both titled “Von Guts” have jolts, clanks, crunches, rips, splits, and clatters. They are like sounds arranged into song form, or unsongs. And here’s an easy in: the lyrics are “borrowed from the late Kurt Vonnegut.” But you can’t tell. It’s like they maybe locked Vonnegut in a kettle, put that over a high flame, and shook the pot when the water boiled, recorded that. Soft Shoulder has a half-dozen other 7”s, which boosts their weirdo points in my book. For fans of the older stuff, more great wildness is here; for the uninitiated—the shit is strange, but it feels right.  –Jim Joyce (Gilgongo, gilgongorecords.com)


SONNY VINCENT AND ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT:
Vintage Piss: LP
Back in 2003, Swami reissued a discography collection from The Testors, the great ‘70s power pop rock’n’roll band fronted by Sonny Vincent. To promote this release, Sonny and Rocket From The Crypt went on tour together, and three of the members of Rocket From The Crypt served as Sonny’s backup band during the tour. This record was recorded later that same year as a result of that tour. The material consisted of all new songs, largely made up in the studio, and it’s all fucking great, smokin’ rock’n’roll. At times this almost sounds like a high-octane version of Hot Snakes or Night Marchers (which is to be expected, based on the involvement of John Reis), except with a different vocalist. After the recording session, these master tapes sat unfinished and unmixed until Swami Records decided to get back in the ring and get this released. I’m very glad they did. There had previously been a version of this released in Europe with a different mix and two less songs (one of which Reis sings lead), technically making this a reissue. One would never know this was recorded over ten years ago, as the songs don’t come across as dated at all and, in fact, sound as fresh as ever. Recommended.  –Mark Twistworthy (Swami, swamirecords.com, info@swamirecords.com)


SONNY VINCENT AND ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT:
Vintage Piss: LP
Some of my favorite movies growing up were the Universal monster crossover flicks like Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man and House of Dracula. How could you not love Frankenstein’s monster and the Wolf Man duking it out in a dilapidated castle? Vintage Piss is similarly a match made in heaven—or possibly concocted by the seductive forces of hell. The merging of Sonny Vincent’s irrepressible swagger and John “Speedo” Reis’s blistering down-picked guitar chords is a guaranteed pleasure lobotomy. The LP is comprised of songs written and recorded in a flurry over a decade ago. Given the recent reunion of Rocket From The Crypt and the vampire-like immortality of Sonny Vincent, this record is right on time. Tunes like “Sharp Knife” and “Vintage Piss” are memorable contributions to the catalogs of both of these luminaries, ensuring that this an LP not just for diehard RFTC and Sonny Vincent fans, but for all lovers of attitude-drunk rock’n’roll punk.  –Sean Arenas (Swami, swamirecords.com)


SPACE IS HAUNTED:
Demo 2015: CS
Basically the same distorto riffs and bang-bang-bang drumbeat played over and over for five tracks. I can’t understand a word that’s being sung. Not because this is particularly fast, but because there’s a layer of gunk over everything that is nearly impenetrable. Either that, or the singer needs to work on her enunciation.  –mp (Bitch-Face, spaceishaunted.bandcamp.com)


SPECIAL DUTIES:
‘77 One More Time Volume One: LP
A collection of tracks from their first go-’round circa 1982, remastered and cut on wax. Fans of that period of British punk know full well what to expect here: oompah-oompah rhythms up the yin-yang, hollered vocals, diatribes on how fucked life on the island was then and, yes, their arguably best known track, “Bullshit Crass,” is included. Good, stompin’ Brit-punk as feral as it ever was.  –jimmy (Jailhouse, jailhouserecords.com)


SPENT FLESH:
Deviant Burial Customs: 7”
All over the place hardcore that moves at breakneck speed and thrashes and screams and melodically sings. Seriously, guys: there’s a blank panel on your psychedelically ugly Photoshop job of a record cover, and you can’t include lyrics so I know what “Cutest Death Ever” and “Final Swedish Step-Dad Rage” are about? Way to leave a brother hangin’.  –Chris Terry (ptrashrecords.com)


SPENT FLESH:
Deviant Burial Customs: 7”
This Philly threesome return with nine tracks of weirdo hardcore noise. Like a tow truck barreling down a windy mountain road— it’s clumsy, it’s reckless, and goddamn if it doesn’t feel like it’s going really fucking fast. But as proficient as Spent Flesh are at blastbeat hardcore they also slow it down, both with dirgey, culminating intros and cacophatastic interludes of sheer demented indulgence. Coming off like a garagier Guyana Punch Line or a druggier Combatwoundedveteran, Spent Flesh continue to make all the genre bands look like the total duds that they are.  –Daryl Gussin (Rockstar / P. Trash)


SPIT:
Poison in Your Head: LP
Listening to Tel Aviv’s Spit scream and rage their way through eighteen blistering tracks, undeniably influenced by the likes of Minor Threat and Circle Jerks, is a liberating experience. The album exudes boundless energy and makes me want to revisit my younger days when I could take my place in the sweating, heaving mass of a pit. This is simple, straightforward, and well-executed.  –Rich Cocksedge (Crapoulet, cool@crapoulet.fr, crapoulet.fr / Defiant Hearts, defianthearts@hotmail.de, defiant-hearts.com)


SPLITS, THE:
II: MLP
If Kim Shattuck of The Muffs sang for Mrs. Magician, then you’d have Helsinki’s The Splits. The songs are moody and somber and mostly forgettable with the exception of “Melody” and “Death Song.” Overall, the record is a nearly successful trepanning; the songs pierce my scalp and crack my skull, but they can’t find their way into my head.  –Sean Arenas (Dirtnap, dirtnaprecs.com)


SPOILERS:
Stay Afloat: LP
Since the early 1990s, when bearded Floridians and Californians co-opted the Leatherface sound and based an entire American punk genre on it, I’ve been waiting for the Brits to re-appropriate something from our shores and turn it around on us. Twenty-five years later and that time has come. Spoilers join the ranks of Bear Trade (who unsurprisingly make the Spoilers “Thank You” list) and the Murderburgers showing us Yanks how it’s done. If you’re digging on currents like Success! and Western Settings, but also have a huge affection for pints from the pub, soccer, and Snuff, the six songs on Stay Afloat will not be nearly enough. Wicked sea and foam (blue and white) splatter vinyl. Highly recommended.  –Matt Seward (Boss Tuneage, bosstuneage.com)


SPRAYNARD:
Cut and Paste: LP
“One more night to scream at the top of your lungs.” Spraynard’s out of print debut LP gets that one more chance via Dead Broke and Square Of Opposition in anticipation of their regrouping and a new LP. Three-piece bands that play this well and sound so emotionally bombastic make the heart swell. There’s less room for covering up mistakes as a three-piece and the players really have to be dialed in to each other, technically as well as instinctually. Cut and Paste is a great reminder why you loved Latterman and why Iron Chic feels so good to scream along to. Also, “poopy wieners.” Get this.  –Matt Seward (Dead Broke, deadbrokerecords.com / Square Of Opposition, squareofopposition.com)


SQUIRES, THE:
Going All the Way with The Squires: LP
Being inclined to like anything like this sometimes causes me to feel like I’ve run out of things to say about the endless parade of reissue albums that receive a blast of praise and then fade away. Not that I’m complaining. I could listen to ‘60s reissues for a living, like some sort of headphoned Jabba the Hutt absorbing twelve-string guitar licks and turning them into energy. That aside, this one is rock solid. There are extensive liner notes that I’m too stoned to read and regurgitate and pretend I knew that. They likely say something like: this band got big locally and faded because everyone can’t be The Rolling Stones. This is the album someone will snobbily inform you is better than The Rolling Fucking Stones. If you buy one album like this a year, this is a good candidate for 2015, especially if you liked the Chants R&B record, the one that’s better than The Rolling Fucking Stones –Billups Allen (Crypt)


ST. CHRISTOPHER:
Last Chance at Freedom: CD
Dunno a thing about the group, but they’re puttin’ down simple, straightforward punky rock tunes with the occasional country western twinge thrown in for seasoning. Singer is sometimes reminiscent of both Jimmy Dean and Freddie Blassie.  –jimmy (Sxratch Native, sxratchnative.com)


STEEL CHAINS:
Demo 2015: CS
Seriously catchy up-tempo punk brimming with Pacific Northwest darkness. This may be a demo but Steel Chains sound like a band with a few tours already under their belts. If you’re into Red Dons, Daylight Robbery, and Arctic Flowers then get ready to hear your new favorite band. I’m getting more and more impressed with every listen.  –Juan Espinosa (Self-released, no address listed)


STRAIGHT CRIMES:
Songs Don’t Cry: CS
A duo out of Oakland with members of Violence Creeps and Baus, Erin takes the helm with vocals and guitar, while Thomas provides a steady flow of straightforward drums. Song melodies seemingly sway back and forth, sometimes with ease and at other times with pure force. Their sound is a more simplistic, ruckusy, and rough-around-the-edges No Age. What really adds another dimension to what otherwise could sound monotonous is Erin’s uneasy falsetto vocals, which are at times shrill and add an overlying melody to each song. Screaming things like, “You look like a wet cigarette” conjures up all kinds of weirdness and I like it.  –Camylle Reynolds (Self-released, straightcrimes.bandcamp)


SUEVES, THE:
Liquid Hounds: 7”
Both sides sound like some long-lost gem of Midwestern punk one usually encounters on some Killed By Death comp or one of that series’ many knockoffs. Much primal stomp and smash going on, with high nasal vocals piercing through the carnage via some reverbed transistor radio. Thee birthday gift of the season for that record snob buddy of yours who says nothing interesting has come out of the underground since 1975.  –jimmy (HoZac, hozacrecords.com)


SWEAT SHOP BOYS:
Always Polite Never Happy: EP
Holy shit! A good chef knows how to add just the right ingredients to make a dish sing. One wrong move and the dish is too sweet, too sour, too bland. This band from Israel know how to blend the best parts of bands like the Red Dons, with the quirkiness of Toys That Kill and the pop smarts of any of the Dirtnap crew. Handclaps, organs, sing-a-long choruses? Where do I sign up? Fucking A+. I love this.  –Tim Brooks (Crapoulet, crapoulet.fr)


SWEET MADNESS:
Made in Spokane 1978-1981, Volume 2: LP
I can’t imagine what kind of musical wasteland Tacoma, Washington might have been in the early ‘80s, but there are little kernels of cultural influence that I’m picking up here, on Sweet Madness’s second collection of material: David Byrne/Talking Heads. Small town power pop. Wiry synth lines butting up against fever-bright guitars. A few melodies that strongly remind me of, if you can believe it or not, a precursor to Men Without Hats’ “Safety Dance.” It’s fascinating stuff, if at times somewhat aged. There’s a few missteps—”Flight Number 77,” with its veering, overwrought piano balladry, seems very much a melodramatic product of its time. But then “I’m Not Vicious” is a great, simmering piece of power pop ala Cheap Trick. Seriously might be the heaviest gatefold/vinyl combo I’ve ever seen; they did not skimp on the packaging here. Probably mostly for fans of the era and/or locale, but a cool listen regardless.  –keith (Light In The Attic)


SWIFTUMZ:
Everybody Loves Chris: LP

This Bay Area band seems most at home playing a mix of lush indie pop and the type of bouncy power pop that Mick Jokes was working into “London Calling.” It’s a surprise combination that totally works on the handful of songs where they make it, but the album features a lot of co-writers and isn’t cohesive.

–Chris Terry (meltersmusic.bandcamp.com)


SYMBOL SIX:
Dirtyland: CD
Sounds like Motörhead and looks like an Affliction T-shirt designed by Captain Spalding.  –Jackie Rusted (Jailhouse, jailhouserecords.com)


TAPE REC:
Death Friends: LP
I was hanging out with my buddy Dugg the other night and randomly decided to put this record on. Out of nowhere, Dugg said, “What the hell is this? Smashing Pumpkins early demos or something?” This is the perfect description for the first song on this LP, and largely representative of what’s to expect from the rest of it. Still listening with Dugg, we both agreed that the next song sounded like the Breeders. Multiple songs have Sonic Youth-esque “guitar freakout” feedback noise parts where sometimes the placement of these “guitar freakout” parts seem like a natural progression within the song, while other times it just seems forced, awkward, and out of place. Dugg and I discussed their overuse of the “guitar freakout” just as an especially awkward-sounding freakout came from the speakers. The ‘90s alternative rock influence prevails throughout, as these guys seem to really wear their influences on their sleeves. The distortion is super heavy on every song, and the songs are all quite poppy with simple single string guitar leads. It would be remiss of me if I did not mention that Tape Rec are from Brazil, so the songs are all sung in Portuguese. While I absolutely think this record is highly derivative and not very original, I’ve found myself listening to it over and over again, which I guess means that I begrudgingly like it.  –Mark Twistworthy (Transfusao Noise, transfusaonoiserecords.blogspot.com)


TEENGENERATE:
Live at the Shelter: LP
I’m not big on live albums, but if there’s a list of essential live albums, this album is solidly near the top. Teengenerate blow through a set of their classics along with a couple of rock’n’roll covers with the reckless abandon expected of them. Besides the rage factor, the recording quality is first-rate. It’s a particularly interesting recording with regard to the guitars. Some of the patented chainsaw fury Teengenerate is famous for is removed, but it only accentuates the guitar playing in a way that brings new light to the band via lowered distortion levels. It goes from chainsaw to lead pipe. It’s a full-on rage. Historically, academically, and thrashingly relevant. Essential? Yes! Do not sleep on this one.  –Billups Allen (Ugly Pop)


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