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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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HAMMERDOWN TURPENTINE:
Ain’t No Grave: CD
I really think the infamous Bradley Williams of this here mag would love this since I can’t do any justice to this band. I’m going to send it his way. My quick description would be a down and dirty swamp boogie experience with the cow punk twang.  –Donofthedead (Blue Bus)


HAIR BEARD COMBO:
Complete Discography (So Far…): CD
When I said that the new Leatherface was going to be the best album of the year, I may have spoke too soon. On the twenty-two songs on this retrospective, the Hair Beard Combo triumphantly prove time and again that they are leaps and bounds better than any other acoustic-based band out there, especially Even in Blackouts, who totally suck. And it’s not just some mellow Leonard Cohen rip that you’d only put on when you’re trying to get laid, they tackle subject matter more vital than anything else I can think of off the top of my head. Do you really want to get bogged down with left-wing rhetoric when you listen to music? Of course not. You want to listen to songs about stuff like grape jelly, monster trucks, and Magnum, PI, arguably the greatest Hawaii-based cop show ever. But for those of you who just HAVE to have politics invading every aspect of your life, they also address the current situation in the Middle East by saying, “I know we’re totally bombing you but it’s totally not my fault, ‘cause I totally voted for Dan Marino.” Really, who needs Discharge when you’ve got the Hair Beard Combo?  –Josh (Pro Dudes USA)


GUN CRAZY:
Dropping Like Flies: CD
Some rippin’ punk rock’n’roll from Austin, struttin’, swaggerin’ and slangin’ its charm like a high-end call girl in the midst of a ship full of horny sailors. I’ve been a bit burned out on this genre for a while now, but when something this cool comes along, you can’t help but pay attention, and this is worthy of frequent listens. –Jimmy Alvarado (Mortville)


GUADRON:
Raw Voltage: CD
After approximately ten full length listens to Raw Voltage, the debut album from Guadron (aka Detroit-based artist/musician Ron Zakin), this writer is still at a loss for a proper review. “Why?” you ask. Is it that awful? No, quite the contrary. For some reason, it seems to be far easier to write a five-page essay on the ghastly performances of American Idol wannabes than to write a few lines describing the electronic intricacies that keep this album on repeat. It becomes difficult to verbalize the hyper dance beats and the constantly fluctuating tempos that make my head spin and cause me to see, for some odd reason, looped car chases when I shut my eyes. The task becomes more arduous when, upon each consecutive listen, new sounds emerge – a snip of a tribal drum here, a lick of a guitar there and are those spoons clicking in the background or am I imagining things again? After awhile, the tracks begin to fade into each other. The starts and stops of specific pieces become irrelevant and it seems clear that Raw Voltage is not a work divided into eleven parts, but one full body of electronic madness that will keep this listener dancing in her bedroom for a long time. –Liz O. (Ersatz Audio)


GROVER KENT:
Me, Myself, & Your Mother: CD
Know that feeling when you don’t expect much of a band and then they blow you away? It kind of feels like you’ve got a special secret and you slip one of their songs on to every mix you make. This band did not give me anything close to that feeling. I expected little and they gave me less. –Megan Pants (Grover Kent)


GREEN DAY:
1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours: CD
I am a dork! I have always loved Green Day! Usually, being a dork also means that you are so musically and technically inept that you can’t tell the difference when a CD gets remastered. But, in this case, I could actually tell the difference – more clear and loud and all of that. Plus there’s some stupid bonus CD-rom crap. (End: “Technical” Part of Review.) But the important thing is, if for some reason, you’ve managed to go through your life without owning this, you, sir or ma’am, have some explaining to do. Some of the best pop songs ever. Yes, pop songs! Yes, love songs! If this were a cereal, it’d be Lucky Charms! One of my favorite albums! –Maddy (Lookout)


GOONS, THE:
Nation in Distress: CD
Wow, this was a surprise. Solid hardcore tunes here that don’t merely rely on speed to mask incompetence like so many others do. Hell, a couple of tunes are downright anthemic. The lyrics manage to be topical and political without sounding like a pamphlet and the singer has an atypical timbre to his vocals but still manages to elicit the requisite pissed-offness required for the genre. In short, some rockin’ stuff here. –Jimmy Alvarado (Reptilian)


GO BETTY GO:
Worst Enemy: CDEP
I was pretty excited when this came. Go Betty Go is a female quartet that was the staple Tuesday band at the only bar within walking distance a year ago. They alternate between English and Spanish lyrics and are on the aggressive side of pop-punk. But man, is this release slick. They thank their drum tech and name what equipment they use. It was mastered at Capitol Records. The worst is that it’s heavily produced and a lot of the edge is lost. The third of four tracks, “Son Mis Locuras,” is the best on here, but I doubt I’ll be heading out to the Warped Tour to see them these days. (Two weeks after writing this, I saw a deodorant ad with one of their songs playing in it – something smells like sell-out and it’s not my pits!)  –Megan Pants (Side One Dummy)


GIVE UPS/VM Collision:
Split: 7" EP
Give Ups: Straightforward thud punk that manages to hit that sweet spot not once but twice. Kinda like the Rip Offs with cleaner production and Marshall stacks. VM Collision: Not as interesting as the Give Ups even though they barrel along at twice the speed. I’m hearing some fairly stereotypical pop punk trappings buried underneath them loud guitars. –Jimmy Alvarado (Say Ten)


GIVE UPS/ RADIO BEATS:
Split: 7” EP
Give Ups: Some catchy stuff here if you like your punk with a Killed By Death slant. Radio Beats: Eight-bar blues-based rock/punk, not as immediately interesting as the Radio Beats stuff, but I ain’t exactly knockin’ it, either. In all, not a bad listen. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.thegiveups.com)


GIBBONS, THE:
Self-titled: 7"
Young kids from the east side of Detroit. Pop punk mixed with politics has seen a much worse fate, but this isn’t yet crucial listening. The nasal vocals and pretty standard beats remind me of a less compelling Powerbait-era Digger mixed with a less lyrically savvy Connie Dungs. Still, they give it a shot, don’t go for the cheapest of shots and riffs, and spark some promise to their next release. –Todd Taylor (Salinas / Neon Boombox)


GHETTO WAYS:
Self-titled: LP
My initial impulse was to dismiss this for the derivative slop it is, but the catchy ‘60s soul-encrusted Stoogeisms won me over in the end. I’ve just played it three times in a row, which can only mean that I like it more than I thought I did. –Jimmy Alvarado (Alien Snatch)


FUCKED UP:
Epics in Minutes: CD
For every punk rock ghetto that’s trapped some bright minds, there’s always a handful of bands that refuse to slip into the tattered musical uniforms and play like a house band of the defeated. There’s always some folks making a new form of dynamite to annihilate walls that seem, to the majority, impenetrable. Hardcore’s got some pretty strict constraints that are militantly guarded by its own believers, so it’s doubly impressive when a band not only harnesses the unqualified blastmastery of the genre, but they do something new. And I don’t mean post-hardcore bullfuck knitting-rock or adding a goddamn pan flute or anything annoying like that. I mean, over twenty years of bad times have passed since Middle Class recorded “Out of Vogue” and Bad Brains trammeled “Pay to Cum.” The stakes are higher now because the pioneers have rarely been challenged or topped, just constantly (and usually) poorly reproduced. Enter bands along the lines of From Ashes Rise, DS-13, Tragedy, Out Cold, Career Suicide, and Fucked Up. Nope, Jack, it all hasn’t been done, and better, and this CD – a collection of most (not all) of their recorded output to date lays a royal flush out on the table. Unmitigated anger. Pillaging guitars. Drumming that sounds like a thousand hooves rushing through your stereo. Melodies at full speed that mere consumers should be supplied a bite bar with so they don’t choke on their own tongues when it gets cranked up really high. That, and memorable songs that don’t all bleed into one long one. The showpieces are the first twelve songs. Then there’s a radio session and a demo that does a good job of showing you how much better they are now. If you like this CD and have never heard of ‘em before, I suggest backtracking and getting the original vinyl, too. –Todd Taylor (Deranged)


FREQUENCY, THE:
Self-titled: CD
This is a solo project from one of the guys in Trans Am, which explains right off the bat why the tracks are so eclectic in sound. The tunes alternate between digital new wave geekdom, space rock, techno noodling, and punk. As can be expected considering his band pedigree, the results are top notch. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.nfilabel.com)


FOXY AUTOPSY:
Biznatural: CD
A female rap duo who can bring da funk about as well as John Denver. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.foxyautopsy.com)


FOXX, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Lame name and a worse logo (think small market AM radio station ca. 1981) cannot hide the fact that, unlike the last nameless cretins posing as “glam” that i had the distinct misfortune of reviewing, these cretins actually know who they should be ripping off (at least some of the time): Chapman/Chinn-era Sweet (a la “Blockbuster”), Chapman/Chinn-era Mud (a la “Dynamite”), and if Chapman/Chinn wrote any songs for any band after Mud but before Racey, that band too (although i am not so sure having a girl in the band to do the high, gay background vocals instead of having a guy who sings like a girl doing the high, gay background vocals is not cheating). “Landslide” is (among several allowable Glam Options) exactly the type of thing i look for in a so-called “glam” offering: Vaguely sleazy enough that i feel comfortable dressing up in silver lamé and platform shoes and haltingly dancing around my bedroom to it; Bubblegummy enough that i can also rollerskate to it with a Sno-Cone™ in one hand, should such a need arise (though not really developed or honed enough that i can dress up in silver lamé and platform shoes and rollerskate to it in my bedroom with two Sno-Cones™ in each hand, but i’m taking what i can get at this point). They rifle through the whole glitter-caked junk drawer of 1973 AM UK Glam-Pop clichés: Simple, steady beat (but tell your drummer his clumsy drum fills totally fuck up the song and he should stop doing them), two rhythm guitars bouncing off of each other, lyrics about a mysterious little number who “scratches like a tiger and stings like a bumbledy-bee,” and even the occasional hot milky spurt of ultra-falsetto – delicious! (or, at the very least, merely licious, but worthy in its execution’s sheer clonal excellence, except for the drums, which won’t make anybody forget Mick Tucker, or even the studio guy who played Mick Tucker’s parts on “Little Willy,” whom, now that i think about it, is totally forgotten, so what the fuck do i know?) “Ready To Go,” sounds like a passable low-budget version of one of Sweet’s less-incendiary self-penned B-sides and “Bands (Don’t Want Me To Dance)” includes kinda neat lines like “I wanna kiss you in a teenage heat/I want my heart left at the scene of the beat” and somehow manages to remind me of “Chatterbox” by the New York Dolls, “Kiss Me Deadly” by Lita Ford, the last song on one side of the first Boomtown Rats album, and the purple-haired version of the Zeroes, often at the same time. Everything that follows earns something between a shrug and a grimace (the grimacing occurring on a few truly pointless duds sung by their female member, who appears to be hell-bent on invoking the dread spectre of Tammy Wynette or some god damn thing. MA’AM, under NO circumstances should you be opening your big American Chick Mouth unless you are CERTAIN that you can pass for a skinny British boy passing for a little British girl! Get it right, or i’ll have your band trade you to Tsar for some guitar picks and an 8x10!); as a 7-song CD, this would make a better 2-song 45 – but pull a bunch more hits like “Landslide” out of whatever genderless orifice you pulled it outta and i’m Riding my White Swan down to the record store. On rollerskates! In a buffalo herd, even! BEST SONG: “Landslide” BEST SONG TITLE: “Bands (Don’t Want Me To Dance)” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I can say with some assurance this is the first time i’ve seen a band member’s photo taken in a library. –Rev. Norb (The Foxx)


FOAMERS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
An English punk band with a lot of the requisite flourishes and trappings one hears from many modern punk bands, but they somehow manage to make them seem less annoying. Even their forays into the otherwise taboo terrain of ska punk don’t seem to elicit the usual gag reflex that occurs. I’m impressed. Can’t believe this is coming out of my, err, fingers, but this is recommended. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pop off to take a shower now, ‘cause I’m feelin’ a wee bit dirty. –Jimmy Alvarado (Household Name)


FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC:
Self-titled: CD
The equivalent of unleashing a belt sander on your eardrum, only without all the resulting blood on your favorite shirt. While their brand of noisy hardcore ain’t my cup o’ poison, I can’t help but a respect a band that can raise such an unholy racket. –Jimmy Alvarado (Reptilian)


FIFTH HOUR HERO:
You Have Hurt My Business and My Reputation Too: CD
I love this band! Quebeçois punk rock! Girl and boy vocals! (I wish we were at the point in punk rock where I didn’t have to point out when there are girl vocals, but, unfortunately, this is still mostly a boy band scene! Just look at the Backstreet Boys! NO girls at ALL!) Anyway, three songs of great melodic punk, plus one more folky number! Think Discount! If you haven’t already bought their LP, Scattered Sentences, what’s wrong with you? If this were a cereal, it’d be Marshmallow Alpha Bits! Could become Lucky Charms [my favorite!] quite soon! My only complaint? I’m assuming you speak French, so why no French songs? Je l’aimerais bien! –Maddy (No Idea)


FIFTH HOUR HERO / THE SAINTE CATHERINES:
Split: 7"
Fifth Hour Hero: I still can’t shake the Discount comparison. It’s especially evident on their second song, “A Map Within.” It’s strange, since Discount was from Florida and Fifth Hour Hero is Canadian; I thought accents would change the vocals up a bit more. That said, since Allison of Discount is now busy smoking cigarettes on stage in an effort to remain mysterious and changed her name to Building or Eraser or something (she’s in the Kills) and has slipped into designer jeans, Fifth Hour Hero is slowly getting more spins on my record player. Past loyalties die hard. I’m liking FHH more and more. The Sainte Catherines: take the first two Small Brown Bike albums, toss in Lemmy of Motorhead’s basic bass sensibilities, rough it up in a cement mixer for some extra dizziness, and there you have it. “The International Badminton Championship: La P’ Tite Grise Vs. Jef” is one of the best-executed songs about confused sexuality I’ve come across in a long time. Immaculate packaging, to boot. –Todd Taylor (1-2-3-4-Go!)


FIXED IDEA:
Traditions of My Addictions: CD
Pretty much pure ska here. In other words, extremely lame. They could easily be the house band in any cheesy bar along the beach in Florida. I’m sure they are a hit with the geriatric scene. –Toby Tober (Broken Bonez)


FLATLINERS, THE:
Safe Side Suicide: CD
Hard call, this one is. While their lyrics aren’t exactly poetry, they name check in their thank you list some of the biggest hacks in modern punk, and it sounds like they tried very hard to mimic the production values of the first Minor Threat EP, I’ll be damned if I don’t keep coming back to this. Despite the aforementioned drawbacks (or, as I think back on the days of yore, maybe because of them), they’ve got that ‘80s hardcore sound down pat, and the fact that the tunes themselves are catchy don’t hurt matters much. Jeez, I feel like I just stepped out of a time machine or something. Thanks for helping me to feel sixteen and mad at the world again. –Jimmy Alvarado (Slab-O-Wax)


FALL-OUTS, THE:
Summertime: CD
…while a zippy-but-uncute slammer like “All In My Mind” provides a swift and effective refresher course on why we all liked this band in the ‘90s, and “Shortcut” yields an at least marginally serviceable mutation of Donovan’s take on Al Kooper’s “Season of the Witch,” and the album’s entire peculiar Mod Meat Puppets vibe is, if nothing else, un-completely-played-out, i can’t help but live in mortal fear that some bastard rock critic somewhere is going to make the joke that this album really oughtta be called There We Go And Other Misses. Ooooooops. BEST SONG: “All In My Mind” BEST SONG TITLE: “One Thought Too Much” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: “Staring at the Sun” is not the Angry Samoans song (but i wouldn’t mind if it was).  –Rev. Norb (Estrus)


FASTIDOS, LOS:
Siempre Contra: CD
Italian skinheads playing punk with an occasional ska tune thrown in for good measure. Subjects addressed include resistance, revolution, animal rights, and such. While I can’t say this knocked my socks off, they were catchy enough and the songs weren’t about drinking and beating people up, and for that alone they get deserve nothing less than tons of respect. If it sounds like your bag, it’s recommended. –Jimmy Alvarado (KOB)


FALL OF THE BASTARDS:
Dusk of an Ancient Age: CD
By-the-numbers black metal, interesting at best and not very innovative. The band members’ names, particularly drummer Rudimentary Eli, cracked me up, though. –Jimmy Alvarado (Intolerant Messiah)


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