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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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CONNECTIONS:
5 Imaginary Boys: 7” EP
Laidback indie rockage falling somewhere between the mid/late-‘80s and the early ‘90s in sound. Songs are relatively short ‘n’ tight arrangement-wise. Can almost hear any of the tunes here burning up the college airwaves.  –jimmy (HoZac, hozacrecords.com)


DAMN BROADS:
Guilty as Charged: CD
Up the fucking punx! This female three-piece from Torrington, CT brings it for sure. I read somewhere that these three got together with the aide of a Craigslist posting. Man, Damn Broads hit the jackpot when they found each other. The album art really hits the nail on the head as well, thanks to bass player, Michelle. Fast and precise, grab some B’s—braces, bullet belts, and brews—and hold on tight. These chicks totally rip. Rock hard, party harder, grab a pal under each arm, and get ready for the gang vocals. Oi!Oi!Oi!  –Jackie Rusted (Vicious Mistress, viciousmistressrecords.bandcamp.com)


DAVIDIANS:
Night Terrors: 7”
A heady mix of oddball hardcore—I’m hearing bits of Die Kreuzen and Saccharine Trust in there—and the fringier, noisier side of post-punk, resulting in two tunes that are alternately arty and aggressive. I know there are ties to Double Negative and Safe Words, and there are definitely traces of those bands in evidence here, but they keep the thrashin’ and the overt gloomin’ more or less at bay, opting instead for an off-kilter, restrained-yet-still-noisy assault likely to appeal to both camps. Good, good stuff.  –jimmy (Sorry State, sorrystaterecords.com))


DEAD GHOSTS / SKEPTICS:
Split: 7”
Here we have a split record with a full-on, ‘60s fuzzed-out garage rock feel. Both bands have got it down. Not my usual go-to genre but it made my ear holes feel good, and that’s good enough for me.  –ty (Frantic City, franticcity.free.fr)


DEZERTER:
Ile Procent Duszy?: LP
Originally released in 1994. I vaguely remember this coming out, as Dezerter were on my radar due to my association with Maximum Rocknroll, who released some Dezerter material stateside. Unlike a lot of stuff that was being passed off as punk from that time period, Dezerter were definitely punk, not emo, not “pop punk,” not crust, not jock metal. Punk. They didn’t sound like anyone else, either, in an era where bands were formed to sound as much like other bands as possible (think of all the Born Against, Nation Of Ulysses, NOFX, and Fugazi clone bands from the time; check your local cut out bin for proof). The songs are mainly mid-tempo, often catchy, and they experiment with reggae in the song “Ostatnia Dub.” They vary the tempos and moods, making for an interesting listen the whole way through. This was the work of a band that spent time thinking about their music and how they wanted to present it. My favorite track on here is “Dezerter.” The tempo is more aggressive, varied, and it’s a more powerful song as a result. Plus, it stands head and shoulder above the rest due to how much variation they have in the song. It’s more raw and primal. “Underz w Polityke (Strike the Politics)” is a tense cooker as well. The steady beat with the snarled vocals over the top is a winner.  –Matt Average (Pasazer, pasazer.pl)


DIET CIG:
Over Easy: EP
A pop rock band that sounds like strawberry Pop Rocks taste. The vocalist has the sweetest, saddest sound to all of her high and low pitches that it makes this EP insanely addictive. Every track is great and the lyrics are deep cut and meaningful. (“Let’s have a slumber party tonight in jail.”) It’s this type of slightly out-of-tune innocence that implants gray clouds with sunshine. I’ve been sick for two weeks and I’ve had this on repeat for so long that when it’s not on, I still hear it. –Monique Greig  –Guest Contributor (Father/Daughter, Daughter@fatherdaughterrecords.com)


DIVERS:
Hello Hello: CD
Ten tracks of Hold Steady meets Gaslight Anthem type of stuff from this Portland band. This style lives and dies in the songwriting and vocals, both of which are just okay here. I am not a big fan of most of the bands they seem to be copping from for the same reason. Things get vaguely goth/post-punk in places, which at least gives the band a little personality. Most of this just falls into the new style indie stuff which is neither good nor bad, just kinda there.  –frame (Party Damage, partydamagerecords.com)


DOGHOUSE SWINE:
Fearless: CD

Dirty, bluesy punk’n’roll. No bueno. Ridiculously cheesy songwriting with all of those old street punk hooks that got boring the second time you heard them. “Melody” that barely shifts notes: verse to chorus to verse then, inevitably, an incredibly predictable guitar solo. The musicianship isn’t bad, but I’m completely uninterested in listening to a weaker, less intense version of Zeke. Grade: D. 

–Bryan Static (Manta Ray)


DOMESTICS:
Routine and Ritual: CD
A doozy of a full length from the band that impressed with their G.D.P. EP a few issues back. Same drill here—well above-average U.K. hardcore with intelligent, topical lyrics delivered with righteous ferocity in lengths shorter than many other bands’ song intros. They get the blood pumping from go and don’t let up until they decide you’ve had enough, and by then all you wanna do is start the pummeling all over again, bleedin’ ears be damned.  –jimmy (TNS, tnsrecords.co.uk)


DRUNK-DIAL:
Self-titled: 7”
Oakland-based, Bay Area-sounding, pop punk that’s heavily influenced by American Steel and Jawbreaker. Like American Steel, they’re gritty enough so I can appreciate them for the rock they bring, in spite of my general hatred of pop punk. As someone who is experiencing depression more often than not, I’m critical of the self-pitying and defeatist lyrics in Drunk-Dial’s songs. It’s not to say I don’t, at times, relate or think an artist should repress how they feel. I just have more respect for fighting upstream against that flow of thought—even if it’s in your own head—rather than giving into it... to be an arrow and a longing for Superman. Whatever... this was a good record.  –Craven Rock (Fuck Your Life, fylrecords@yahoo.com)


DWARVES, THE:
Gentleman Blag: 7” EP
The Dwarves have supplied me with centuries of glee; their best seven-inchers, however, tend to be ASide showcases for Blag’s deceptively excellent pop chops—Anybody Out There and Everybodies Girl (sic) coming immediately to mind. This four-song EP ((two unreleased, two from The Dwarves Invented Rock & Roll)) lacks that sort of “hit single” mentality, and is just basically four ragers—all decent, nothing exceptional—and therefore tastes like a vaguely unsatisfying random slice of a Dwarves album. Aw, what the hell, we all know the “best seven-incher” is the thing between Blag’s legs on the back cover! BEST SONG: “Kings of the World” BEST SONG TITLE: “Gentleman Blag” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: No matter how you slice it, it comes up penis.  –norb (Fat, fatwreck.com)


DYING ELK HERD, THE:
For Real This Time: CD
Passable power pop with some lengthy, well-crafted lyrics. The problem rests mostly in how the saccharine vocals are so up front in the mix, and the guitars are just a little too clean; it just seems to rob the band of any power they may otherwise have had. It’s just all so cute. And while many of the lyrics do tackle overconsumption, dissatisfaction, and restlessness with some clarity, “Don’t Let the Riverbeast Get You” has to be one of the corniest songs I’ve ever heard. Maybe the Groovie Ghoulies or the Fiendz are a good starting point here, but, ultimately, these guys are just way too cute-sounding and lacking in venom to really make any kind of lasting impact.  –keith (Dying Elk Herd)


DYSTOPIAN SOCIETY:
Cages: 12”LP
A band aptly named for their dark post-punk, anarcho punk, death rock sound. They sound like a Euro New Flesh—and similar to labelmates Moral Hex and Vacui—so heads up. It’s lovely and incredibly dark with high-pitched, atonal vocals and songs ranging from minimal, almost primal, bass melodies to straight-up dance punk. Solid LP.  –Camylle Reynolds (Mass Media)


ED WARNER:
Apocalypse Buddies: 10”
Ed Warner offers up a raucous and unrestrained delivery that isn’t too far removed from that which SNFU has made a career out of. There’s nothing elaborate here, with the tracks being concise and benefitting from a production job that maintains a gritty urgency throughout. Without the aid of a lyric sheet the band could easily be singing in its native French tongue, but on perusing such an item it seems as if some of the songs might have been translated via some dodgy online application to allow them to be performed in English. Frequently lacking any sense of cohesion, nothing was more confusing than the line: “Your feet smelt bacon” in the track “From Here to Eternity.” A decent sounding record let down slightly by the lyrics.  –Rich Cocksedge (Crapoulet, cool@crapoulet.fr, crapoulet.fr)


ENGLAND’S GLORY:
City of Fun: 7”
Wanna have some fun? Invite that one friend of yours who likes to fancy themselves thee definitive Velvet Underground fan, offer them a seat near the stereo and a nice mildly intoxicating beverage, quietly put this on the hi-fi in the background, and watch as their eyes slowly saucer up with the realization that you have somehow gotten your hands on some Velvets obscurity that they have heretofore not heard. Let them stew in their obvious inferiority before gently breaking the news to them that what they’re hearing is, in fact, not an outtake by Mo and the boys, but rather a single culled from recordings made in 1971 by an obscure band that went nowhere and would likely have remained “lost” if not for the fact that some of its members went on to form the Only Ones and be responsible for a classic of the early punk/new wave era, “Another Girl, Another Planet.” Their initial shock is warranted, however, ‘cause the two tunes hear bear an uncanny resemblance to the Velvets’ later output, and feature a singer who’s a dead ringer for Lou Reed. The tunes are top-notch and hold up surprisingly well considering the forty-four years that have passed since they were recorded. Your pal might ask for your copy, but make them get their own. Better tell them to hurry, too, ‘cause there’re only six hundred of these puppies floating around out there.  –jimmy (HoZac, hozacrecords.com)


EX-BOYFRIENDS, THE:
Disease: LP
When I pulled this record out of my review stack, Iron Chic was the first thing I thought of, and with good reason. The album art was done by Jason Lubrano, vocalist of Iron Chic, and harkens back to the style of The Constant One. Cover art and pop punk are where the similarities between the two end, though. The Ex-Boyfriends are a hodge-podge mix of many different pop punk elements and the songs on this release all have their own character. There’s Screeching Weasel- style guitar solos, MXPX-style vocals, snare-heavy punk drums, and a gritty bass. Songs are not surprisingly about girls and relationships and drinking. Like if Dillinger Four started out on Tooth And Nail, without the churchy stuff. Or if NOFX tried to be on Mutant Pop Records. It’s got a lot of cool elements from some of the best bands in the pop punk genre, which, for most of the record works pretty well. There are a couple tracks I don’t enjoy, like “The Store,” which has some distracting keyboard parts and tends to drag on. But the very next song, “Are There Any Punks Out There,” is awesome. High tempo drums rush though melodic vocals; backed by all-out shouts and quick-fire, rumbly bass lines. I think this is pretty all right. Don’t know if this is the kind of record I’d buy for myself, but I think it’d make a great gift. Ex-Boyfriends, as much as they suck (like, the guys you used to date, not this band) are worth checking out.  –Kayla Greet (Rad Girlfriend, radgirlfriendrecords.com)


FASHIONISM:
Smash the State (With Your Face): 7” EP
The A side is a super-duper bubblegum glam hit that sounds like Chapman/Chinn crossed with U.K. power pop circa 1979, and is pretty clearly Jeff from the Tranzmitors singing. The flip is a less buzzworthy number plus a cover from ‘80s Rocky Horror Picture Show follow-up Shock Treatment, which I admit I had to google, despite once using the picture from the movie poster in a collage for my fanzine about thirty years ago. Obtain this item and keep yourself on the right side of the manifesto! BEST SONG: “Smash the State (With Your Face)” BEST SONG TITLE: Duh, same. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Observe closely and you will see that one of the black stripes on the image of the girl on the cover is reflex blue instead of black.  –norb (Hosehead, hoseheadrecords.ca)


FELLOW PROJECT:
Basic Axemanship: 10” EP
Fellow Project encapsulates everything I enjoy about post-hardcore (dark, brooding tones, complex arrangements, thumping bass, a balance between frenzy and calm). What’s pleasantly absent is overindulgence or meandering interludes. It’s easier to grasp these East Coast folks within binary oppositions: technical without devolving into incomprehensible mathematics, skillful but not flashy, and noisy without puncturing your eardrums. The frantic interplay in “Brutal Woods” pivots into a spacious melody reminiscent of Archers Of Loaf. “Sweet Release” opens with a serene Slint-like riff that skillfully escalates into a conclusion worthy of its name. In “Hidebound” and “Get Stormy,” the female singer is a respite from the gruff masculine angst and assists in crescendos and contributes harmonies throughout. Thankfully, there’s no screamo epicness à laPianos Become The Teeth or explicitly pining hearts, rather Fellow Project walks a razor-thin tightrope with impeccable balance, delivering six songs of heavy punk sans indigestion. Highly recommended.  –Sean Arenas (Dead Broke, deadbrokerecords.com)


FIRST BASE:
You’ve Got a Hold on Me: 7”
It’s always nice when you get something for review that you were planning on picking up anyway. I have been hearing rumblings about this power pop band from Toronto for a few years and have been meaning to pick up a record. Cover art on the single is clearly a reference to legendary Belfast band Rudi and that is as good a comparison as any. Towing that line between wimpy/power pop and tip toeing up to punk occasionally, First Base are simply a world class power pop band. Now, I gotta get that LP that came out a while back.  –frame (Hosehead, hoseheadrecords.bigcartel.com)


FISCAL SPLIFF:
Demo: CD
These boys from Russellville, Arkansas, sure as hell know how to write rock’n’roll songs. The six-song demo is full of catchy melodies, killer guitar solos, and lyrics about girls and partying. The whole thing has a ‘70s classic rock meets punk rock house parties feel to it. It’s too bad the recording sounds like a scratched record being played too loudly because I would be perfectly happy listening to it on repeat.  –Nicole Madden (Self-released)


FLAMINGO 50:
Tear It Up: LP
Flamingo 50 is one of those bands that I’ve heard about for years and it was something I always meant to check out but never did. Holy cow, this stuff is great! Strong female vocals from Louise Hanman, with a twinge of her Northern England accent. She busts out some fantastic power pop guitar melodies with the occasional sweet solo. The bass bubbles along with the roll of Hanman’s voice and keeps a dancey beat throughout the whole record. It’s prevalent in all the right ways. Drummer Morgan Brown kills it with the fills and knows just when to back off and showcase their introspective lyrics. There are backup vocals on a few tracks and they add so much volume to this band. One of the last tracks on this record is “Wrong Time Wrong Place” and it is a wonderfully powerful breakup song from the perspective of having to get out of a relationship for the betterment of yourself. The verses have such an undulating flow and never waver. I found myself shouting lines like, “I’ve tried so hard and got nowhere / Stuck in a rut but I could care / As long I keep close to me,” by the second spin. Tear It Up was originally released back in good ol’ 2006 but was only just pressed on vinyl in 2013. Limited to six hundred copies, it’s worth picking up, and quickly.  –Kayla Greet (Drunken Sailor, drunkensailorrecords.co.uk / Rad Girlfriend, radgirlfriendrecords.com)


FLESH LIGHTS:
Free Yourself: LP
Poppy punk with an emphasis on the (power) pop, which means the Ramones are more part of the flavoring than the main ingredient. Singer sometimes sounds like a cross between Jonathan Richman and Axxel G. Reese, which is also a nice change of pace. Not bad.  –jimmy (12XU)


FUTURE CRIMES:
Self-titled: 7”EP
“I’m about to make straight people really uncomfortable,” blares through my speakers before deep, gruff vocals and a fast-paced beat to follow kick in, this is highly recommended for fans of Reagan Youth, The Dicks, and Jerry’s Kids. Punk, queer, horny, and angry, North Carolina’s Future Crimes are taking it the fuck back. This EP is solid, steadily passionate, and true to not only to queercore, but to punk. This EP is dirty, rough, and tough, so drop your needle on the grooves, smash some bottles, and get fuckin’ nasty with it.  –Genevieve Armstrong (No Profit, noprofitrecords.com)


GENTLEMEN ROGUES:
A History So Repeating: CDEP
I thought to myself, “Eh, I’m not sure what to make of this menagerie of emo, power pop, and pop punk,” and then the fifth of this six-song EP came on and the singer tried to incorporate lyrics from The Shirelles’ tune, “Mamma Said,” into the song, and I rolled my eyes and literally gave this a thumbs down to my computer. –kurt (End Sounds)


GEOFF WESTEN:
I’m Not Crazy: CD
When I first pressed play, I immediately heard a modern day The Cure or Depeche Mode. Nothing about the low budget packaging screamed new wave, so it was a pleasant surprise. I quickly scanned through the first few seconds of each track and everything was great: a voice reminiscent of Mark Mothersbaugh and dance-worthy beats. Things got iffy once the album played in full. While it was off to a good start, the lack of variety within each song coupled with the unnecessary length of them steers I’m Not Crazy into a snooze fest. Cuts like “Work Work” are everything I’ve ever wanted in synth pop—”I work 6-5, my mind is not alive”—sang over layers and layers of keyboards. But the ultra-cheesy ballad “Love Has Let You Down” easily crosses into the trying-too-hard-to-be-Tears-for-Fears territory. I’m calling it a wash. There is one thing of which I’m certain: if it was 1985 and John Cusack’s latest movie needed a soundtrack, this would be a strong contender.  –Nicole Madden (Disturbing Music, disturbingmusic.com)


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