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Razorcake #93
One Punks Guide to Pinball, by Kayla Greet
Razorcake #92
Spokenest, Gone, Gone, Gone LP
Pinned In Place, Ghostwritten By LP


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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BREAK ANCHOR:
In a Van Down by the River: LP/CD
I was looking forward to hearing this, purely based on the fact of Jay Navarro—also of Suicide Machines and Hellmouth—being the vocalist. However, apart from at best three tracks, the album failed to ignite any lasting interest from me. Whilst looking up information on the band, it seems that the aim was to create a sound with an East Bay/Lookout! vibe but nothing on the record really brings to mind anything remotely resembling something from that diverse scene. It’s not as if the constituent parts of the music are bad—the guitar sounds good throughout, the lyrical content is strong, and I still find Navarro’s vocals appealing—but after half a dozen plays, not enough is gelling for me to want to continue with the album.  –Rich Cocksedge (Paper + Plastic)


BRIEFS, THE:
Singles Only: 5 x 7”
If you’re a fan of their Boys-meets-Voidoids brand of catchy-yet-quirky punk, but are either a latecomer to the party or were too busy getting high first go-’round, here it is, your one-stop instant Briefs singles-and-ephemera collection: a box set with ten singles-worth of tunes crammed onto five 7-inchers, a six-song demo cassette, a download that includes even more tunes, a promo poster for their Hit After Hit debut album, a promo postcard, an exclusive button, and a booklet. As with most Modern Action releases, the pressing is quite limited and different packaging versions existed within said pressing, so you’d best act quick-like if you wanna keep from mortgaging your home for a copy.  –jimmy (Modern Action)


BROKEN PRAYER:
Misanthropocentric AKA Droid’s Blood: LP
Was fond of their debut and this just ups the ante. Essentially they’re a hardcore act, but they infuse all the thrashing with heavy dollops of buzzing synths and a lot of psychoses, which give the finished product a sweet, unhinged sheen that makes ‘em come off just as disturbed as angry. “Bad ass” is the verdict, and it is well earned.  –jimmy (Sorry State)


BROTTSVÂG:
Ingenting Är Som Det Ska: LP
Buoyant Swedish stuff that toes the line between punk and power pop. Like the Tranzmitors if it was unafraid to get a little operatic here and there—I mean, this guy sings,you know? A moving and fun record, even if I can’t read Swedish.  –keith (Luftslott)


BUNNYGRUNT:
Vol 4: CD
This is my first time hearing Bunnygrunt and I’m wondering where it’s been all my life. I need ‘90s indie pop, especially the effortless distorted sugar-rush of Bunnygrunt, a band that writes a sweet acoustic song called “Where Eagles Dare Pt 2” and a solid gold hit like “I Quit, Mr. White,” that’s smart enough to add strings to “Chunt Bump,” that chooses covers like Crime Squad’s “Young Abe Lincoln” and Warren Zevon’s “Carmelita.” I want a band that was included on theBad Santa soundtrack, a band that reminds me of staying at my sister’s apartment in DC in August of 1995 and raiding her roommate’s record collection and finding Tuscadero’s The Pink Album and Sonic Youth’s Experimental Jet Set, the beginning of a whole other world opening up (underground noise, Teen Beat pop, punk tangents). Rare is the band that can induce a kind of nostalgia without sounding stuck in the past, that can be jokey but also not a joke. Bunnygrunt has been around since 1993 and has a million releases out there and now I can add them to the list of things to obsess over for the summer.  –Matt Werts (HHBTM)


CAIDOS, LOS:
Historia Incompleta: CD
Looks like this is a CD version of a cassette released this year by Crapoulet. As the title implies, this is an “incomplete history” of this Argentine band’s oeuvre. Lotta bang packed into this—forty-seven tracks of hyper-thrash whizz by in just over a half hour, with most feeling like a perpetual onslaught of Benny Hill-like slaps to yer forehead, but every now and then they take a breather and slow things down a bit, and those tunes are easily the most memorable here. Like it short, fast ‘n’ furious? This’ll do ye just fine.  –jimmy (Los Caidos, losxcaidos.bandcamp.com)


CAIRO GANG, THE:
Live at Burger Records Vol Three: Cassette
Drenched in reverb, this lo-fi live trip has the feel of a bleary-eyed morning and a struggle to recall the events of the previous evening. Piecing together glimpses of faces and a scan of the vessel, searching for new bumps and abrasions in hopes of a clearer picture emerging, but it never does. At times, the feeling is urgent and purposeful, at others uncertain. Regardless, there is sense of optimism here. Not usually one for trippy, jammy outros, but I’m not mad at this.  –Jackie Rusted (Burger)


CANCEROUS GROWTH:
Late for the Grave: LP
This is a reissue of the debut of Boston’s often overlooked thrash units. Originally released on the respected Ax/ction records in 1985, arguably the tail-end of hardcore’s first “golden age,” it is comprised of fifteen tracks of high-speed thrash. The tunes are short on both frills and time, with the bass high up in the mix to add a bit of wiggly lines amidst the barrage of chords, jackhammer beats, and gruff vocals. Whether or not it is a “classic” is something that’ll no doubt be argued back and forth ad nauseum—no surprise there—but it most definitely is a nice example of what was making the rounds back then. On clear gold vinyl, has some nice flyer reproductions on the inner sleeve, and I believe this is a run of one thousand copies for Record Store Day 2015, so start scrambling.  –jimmy (Beer City)


CHELSEA:
Saturday Night Sunday Morning: CD
One of the originators of the late ‘70s punk sound is back with a brand new full length. Catchy choruses, spiky guitar riffs, and thunderous drums are the order of the day here. The lyrics still cry out to right the wrongs of human injustice. You’d be surprised how much this still happens around the world every day. It’s all here in these grooves; especially in songs like the title track and “We Don’t Believe You.” Now how about bringing this across the pond for the U.S. punters? It would be fun, I promise!  –koepenick (4WorldsMedia, chelseapunkband.com)


CHOP SUZY:
Devil Music: CD
Hard rock with a bit o’ boogie burrowed in its core. It ain’t of the horrid variety known to cause the skin to boil up and blacken as the sound waves crash over the unsuspecting, but I’d be lying though my chompers if I said it was in any way my “thing.”  –jimmy (Red Shirt)


CHRIS BROKAW:
The Periscope Twins: 2 x LP
First two sides, “The Periscope Kids Are out on the Skids, My Love,” is a droning tone that sounds like a sputtering mini bike, with the occasional blasts of cold white noise, twittering screeches, and other disruptions of sonic service. There’s something about this that hooks you in for the duration. No idea what it could be, but I enjoy the ride. Whether it’s how the drone changes pitch, or sometimes how it just hangs there for a few minutes creating tension as other sounds come in and hover around. The second half of this double set is sonically completely different. Instead of electronically generated drones, this is a series of long multi guitar-only tracks. I’m reminded of later Flying Saucer Attack when I listen to this. The ending to the final piece on here, “Do You Really Want to Know What That Means? Do You Really Want to Know What That Means?” is perfect. It’s the kind of music you put on and zone way out to, watching light and shadows move across your wall. A nice respite at the end of the day, and a good antidote against dumb music.  –Matt Average (12XU)


CHRIST KILLER:
Nailed It!: CD
One has to save a special spot in their heart for a band like this. In a time when christian zealotry is being stoked to a fever pitch by rich assholes looking to maximize profits by enslaving pretty much anyone that ain’t them, it takes a rare breed to step into that fray and lift high a middle finger. This thrash metal unit doles out eight tracks that repeatedly poke at the infamous, now-latent christian fear/prejudice about Jewish deicide as both band name and central conceit. Clearly they’re piss-taking on religion, but I can easily see ‘em ending up being prattled on about ad nauseum on those “christian” television programs as some sort of proof of a satanic conspiracy to destroy America’s woefully persecuted religious majority, as well as adding fuel to the burning ember that still resides in the deepest recesses of their bigoted, black hearts that the Jesus-killers really do run the world. Fuggin’ brilliant, ballsy, and hilarious on many different levels.  –jimmy (Cubo De Sangre)


CHUCKY WAGGS:
Low Road Ramble: LP
This record is a whole lot of banjo pickin’, acoustic guitar, and harmonica with the slightly used rough and tumble, honky tonk of Charles Wagner layered over top of it. Chucky Waggs is accompanied by three other musicians on a handful of tracks on this record, but the rest of it is Wagner displaying a wide berth of musical prowess. It’s really a bit too country/bluegrass for me, though Chucky and his Company of Raggs, as he calls them, pull off the sound they’re going for. I have to admit that I do enjoy the trumpet on track three, “Sticks and Stones,” which was both surprising and well executed. Low Road Ramble is a follow-up to the DIY Company of Raggscollection of songs. Though I haven’t heard anything else from the group, it sounds as if they’ve struck a cohesive balance between one man band and fill-in musicians, as the album has a mix of both. While the lyrics can be punk-leaning, I’m not sure this is their target audience. Good record for drinking lemonade or whiskey (or both!) on your porch during a hot summer night.  –Kayla Greet (Let’s Pretend)


CHUD:
Self-titled: 7”
Four solid blasts of feedback-drenched garage rock (and one weird outro) from Bloomington, recalling New Bomb Turks or a slower Zeke. The lead singer sounds snide and angry, with an underlying sexual and existential frustration. More evidence of this comes out in the lyrics of “Nice Guy” and “Kick Rocks,” though, I admit I can make very little out. They bring the rock in a major way; not much else to say. Wait, they’re better than the movie they stole their title from. Heresy it may be, yet, I can confidently say that.  –Craven Rock (Let’s Pretend)


CITIZEN FISH:
Dancing on Spikes: LP
Back in high school I used to be really, really into ska. I had a boyfriend at the time who hated it (probably still does) because it was “too happy and sounds like circus music.” To that I told him legend of bands like the Mephiskapheles, the satanic ska band, and it still wouldn’t sway him. For that, I wish I had known about Citizen Fish in my youth. With Dancing on Spikes, the band is up to its usual political calling out and taking a stance on issues. Though this record came out originally in 2011, this is the first time this album has been on vinyl. Themes include rejecting religion and 9/11, so it’s much heavier than the aforementioned then-boyfriend’s version of ska, though I have to say that the song, “Write It All Down” does sort of sound like a circus. My favorite lyrics are the chorus of “My god’s bigger than your god’s bigger than his god’s bigger than mine / Hands together, eyes close / Who do you believe in? Cus I don’t,” peppered throughout the song “Beyond Belief.” Dick and crew always bring through a quality project though, and I’m guessing if you’re a fan of Citizen Fish at all then you already have a copy, but this one is on vinyl!  –Kayla Greet (PHR)


CIVIL UNION:
Self-titled: Cassette
This music slips through your window at night and watches you sleep. It is malicious, but it does not employ brute force. It is not the type to crash through the front door. It slinks about and finds any opening it can sneak through. Its guitars are poison. Its bass is a garrote. Do not let its wispiness fool you. It is here to do you harm.  –mp (Self-released)


COLISEUM:
Anxiety’s Kiss: CD/LP
After starting out as a hardcore band whose releases include an album on the metal label Relapse, the past few albums have found the Louisville trio Coliseum rotating between post-punk and catchy, driving tunes. Songs like “Drums & Amplifiers” are great punk anthems while the following track, “Dark Light of Seduction,” the longest song on the album (clocking in at over six minutes), is a hypnotic number that gives the listener a breather without losing any muscle. The mix of the fast and heavy combined with the Killing Joke-influenced sound is sequenced so well, giving the listener a great emotional ride. J. Robbins produced this latest offering, just as he did with Coliseum’s last album, the excellent Sister Faith. As per usual with a Robbins-helmed album, it sounds great; clean without losing its edge, and every instrument is represented just right. What makes Coliseum most remarkable is that they really don’t give a fuck. They play the music they want—punk or post-punk or whatever you want to call it—and have no interest in creating that perfect single that might get them noticed. And what they do create are catchy, powerful, and emotionally resonating tunes. I only wish more acts could create as well-rounded an album as Anxiety’s Kiss.  –kurt (Deathwish)


COOL MUTANTS:
Surfin’ THC: Cassette
A solid stack of three-chord songs. There’s good distorted bass and the type of occasional guitar solos you don’t mind. The guitars get into twangy surf territory occasionally, sort of Radio Birdman style. “Be Dumb” is very catchy. The pace slows down a bit with “I’m Not Worried.” I don’t like that, but it’s just my taste. When it rocks, it rocks. Good tape.  –Billups Allen (Let’s Pretend)


COSMONAUTS:
Oh, You Know: Cassette
Cosmonauts plays moody, bass-driven garage with a ‘60s Euro-pop aesthetic. Sadly, the songs are overly long, unremarkable, and entirely drained of energy. The languid vibe can easily be mistaken for boredom. Listening to Cosmonauts for an extended period of time results in one drifting off into oblivion and asking life’s biggest questions: Why are we here? What is the point of all of this? Who am I? Why am I still listening to this tape? –Sean Arenas (Burger)


CRUNCH, THE:
Brand New Brand: CD
A band that features ex-members of The Clash, Sham 69, and Cockney Rejects should certainly get at least a passing glance by the great unwashed. But with this new record, the band stands on their own two feet and doesn’t try and ape their old band’s sounds. That’s two thumbs up in my book. The hooks are here. Think a power pop Stiff Little Fingers with female vocals and keyboards slipped in to create an intoxicating concoction. The back cover features the phrase, “segregation, aggravation, destination nowhere.” Keep fighting the good fight, “Twenty-five hours a day!”  –koepenick (Self-released)


CUPS, THE:
Children Unborn: CD-R
So the sleeve for the CD-R was the lyric sheet/liner notes folded up and wrapped in packing tape. What the hell? For the same cost as the packing tape a cheap plastic sleeve could have been used and I would be graced with some knowledge about the record (I’m still not sure if this is two songs or three) and it would have been much less labor-intensive on The Cups’ end of things. Griping aside, the three (two?) songs on this are pretty good: straightforward hardcore with an early-’90s sound, but the mix is very tinny. It kind of reminds me of a faster version of 8 Bark without their sense of humor. I liked it.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (No address listed)


CUT 45, THE:
Self-titled: 10”
Punk rock of an Amphetamine Reptile nature, with four-minute-long songs and that sort of tight, heavy, stern guitar churn. Reminds me a bit of Hammerhead, if I remember correctly. Decent if you’re into that sort of thing, or miss the early ‘90s before pop punk and garage came along and ruined the speculative value of your Sub Pop Single of the Month Club investment. BEST SONG: “House Flies” BEST SONG TITLE: “Plague of Information” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Back cover features the Hebrew National Frankfurter Queen of 1952.  –norb (Sex Sheet)


CYANIDE PILLS:
Government: 7”
The title track is a fuggin’ sweet bit of rock/punk, a pitch-perfect melding of Heartbreakers swagger and early Cheap Trick chutzpah. The band is just on-point from beginning to end, so much so that you could slip this puppy into your next Killed By Death DJ session and none would be the wiser. The flip is a blues-in-A guitar workout that ain’t anywhere near as crucial but does what it’s supposed to do, namely, get you back to flipping the record over and starting again.  –jimmy (Damaged Goods)


DANNY JAMES ETC.:
Pear: CD
It’s difficult to avoid drawing Beatles comparisons when listening to Pear. Seriously, this sounds like the goddamn Beatles—it’s ridiculous. Danny’s got a sugar-sweet voice, but with an Oakland tinge to it, rather than U.K. flare. It’s pretty true to a Rubber Soulsound, too; tons of piano and hooks galore, not to mention a bit of speed and old-fashioned psych to keep Lee and pals at Burger happy. Hats off to the pear-style sticker on the album cover, as well (not far removed from Mother’s Children’s “Lemon”). These hippies may have what you’re looking for.  –Steve Adamyk (Burger)


DARIUS KOSKI:
Sisu: CD
Alright, this is Darius, mighty stakeholder and humble leader of Swingin’ Utters and Filthy Thieving Bastards. Truth be told, this could have been a half-eaten, grilled cheese sandwich stuffed into a CD case and I still would have given it a chance. Koski’s musical abilities have always pushed the boundaries of his bands out of punk’s more recognizable formats, but this is a whole other planet of genre exploration and recording. As usual, the songwriting is tops, somehow full of angelic whimsy while remaining grounded like boots on the picket line. I would not call this a “country” album, but Darius explores some of that territory as he has in the past, without lazily sinking into the outplayed, cringe-worthy, all-too-familiar tale of punks gone hotrod rockabilly. Instead, Darius comes off more like some of the outlaw country bad asses who, in my opinion, have always been honorary punks. Names like Steve Earle, Gillian Welch, and Townes Van Zandt come to my mind. Darius does it, thankfully, without donning a brand new cowboy hat on the cover, and while still not giving in to the pressure to make an album that sounds just like anyone’s expectations, other than his own.  –John Mule (Fat)


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