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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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Spark: CD
It’s a shame that this influential 1980s Finnish hardcore band ended up making such a bland record. The taste buds didn’t make it with the band to the studio when this one was recorded. Endstand went on an unexpected hiatus early in 2008, canceling announced shows after an anticipated comeback. It’s no surprise the band was in flux because this album really doesn’t live up to their classic material. Spark has much more in common with boring fourth wave NYHC than it does with the dynamic sounds hailing from Finland in the ‘80s and ‘90s. –Art Ettinger (Combat Rock)

Reside: CD
Reunions—they’re a dangerous slope indeed. Some bands come back and tour year after year, but don’t put out any new music (Circle Jerks and Agent Orange—I’m looking at you!), while other bands release new material that actually surpasses their original run. In that file I would add The Effigies who rival Mission Of Burma for “king of the mountain” bragging rights. Fierce, unrelenting, but thoughtful punk music from this band. John Kezdy’s lyrics are extremely insightful on what seems to be a political bent. Steve Economou pounds the skins like nobody’s business. Paul Zamost provides inventive bass riff-olas. And “newcomer” Robert McNaughton ties it all together with his guitar chokeholds. “Cold Plate” and “The Guv’ner” are good for appetizers, but the whole record will be like a prime rib entree: red and juicy. –Sean Koepenick (Criminal I.Q.)

Self-Titled: CD
Neo-hardcore stuff rife with the requisite bludgeon-metal undertow that makes things sound more contrived than angry. Maybe it’s just the generation gap kicking in, but this kinda stuff does fuckall for me. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.myspace.com/sillygirlrecords)

Split: 7”
It’s always tough being a reviewer who goes out to shows and likes bands, not a disconnected critic searching for a “brilliant” stab at a band. It’s double-tough for bands that I’m ambivalent to. I think that Travis Duke is one of the nicest, more forthright people I’ve met. And it pains me that I’m not a huge fan of the Dukes. To me, something sounds buried underneath the burlap with their songs; like they’re covering up structures more interesting, more formed. There are traces of Tiltwheel-like expansion and glimpses of lyrical breakthroughs in their songs and I don’t find them onerous or anything. They’re just not my thing when they should be. I just don’t get that excited about their music and it pains me to say that. Damn. This sounds like an unrequited love letter or something. The Mercury League: I have to credit Daryl for the term “post-Epitaph hardcore.” Since melodicore isn’t filling stadiums, bands that would’ve fit that genre to a tee in the mid-’90s are looking for a slightly different way to go about things. They come across as a band suffering a post-Hot Water Music malaise propelled by latter-day Stung Out guitaring on top, and it’s just not grabbing me. I feel like a dick. –Todd Taylor (Accident Prone)

Brighter Than Creation’s Dark: CD
Shonna Tucker, where have you been? How could a songwriter and singer this great have taken this long to get some songs on a DBT record? Her songs on this record are simply phenomenal and add a strong new element to a band that is already an embarrassment of riches in the songwriting department. I have said for years that this is a band with three members who could easily lead their own amazing band and that continues to be the case, even with the departure of the incredible Jason Isbell. This band is such a great mix of the entire history of rock, country, roots and everything that is good about music. I want to address any concerns someone may have about this being a jam band. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have never heard a band that is as song-oriented as DBT. They are simply masters of the three-to-four minute song. This is their seventh full-length and any of you who are into the sounds of Lucero, Neko Case, Drag The River, or Whiskey & Co. will find a whole hell of a lot to like here. –Mike Frame (New West)

You Can’t Live This Way: CD
I’m not too well versed in the alt-country scene, but this seems to be a pretty solid release. I’ve tried a few times to develop a taste for this type of stuff, but it hasn’t happened enough to make me want to go out and purchase a bunch of records. Maybe this will be my gateway into it. Anyway, Drag The River hails from Colorado and plays country that reminds me of Lucero and Tim Barry’s solo work. The lineup includes Chad Price from ALL and JJ Nobody of the Nobodys and the Queers fame, as well as a revolving cast of characters with plenty of punk rock background. The last track on this record is the entire album repeated over again, apparently so fans can pay once and hear the entire album in case they find it on a jukebox in a bar. If this is your bag, then I recommend picking it up. I can see myself listening to this while driving down an empty highway on a sunny day. –Dave Dillon –Guest Contributor (Suburban Home)

You Can’t Live This Way: CD
Drag The River may or may not be breaking/broken up, and, either way, they’ve recorded their magnum opus. Admittedly, I’ve never totally got into one of their records before, but I can tell that if you’re looking for a place to start, this is it. The songs are generally melancholy, and, occasionally, chilling slices of small town life. It’s arranged really well; every song stands out. My only complaint on repeated listens is that they wait until the last couple songs to really turn up the rock, and I’m left wishing there was a bit more of that. But the slower stuff is done pretty well, making it a solid album. And as they do on all their records, the last track is reserved for a replay of the entire album, a trick so that the whole thing can be played on a jukebox for just one credit, which is pretty awesome. So, for the next time you’re at a bar with one of those digital jukeboxes, I give you my solemn word that it is worth a buck. –Nick Toerner –Guest Contributor (Suburban Home)

Rock Immortal: LP
The band was apparently a Mission staple in the early ‘90s (or at least that’s what the one sheet says.) Anyway, when I put Rock Immortal (featuring a future Future Virgin and recorded by Matty Luv) on the turntable, the last thing I was expecting was a filthy and horrendously catchy ‘50s rock record with the occasional nod to old (as in fifty years or so) country. I don’t know, consider Buddy Holly on crank with a gigantic, fake horse cock falling out of his pants and you’re on the right track. It’s tongue-in-cheek and almost offensively tuneful, but still, with songs like “I’m Too Young to Be a Pedophile,” “Sperm Comes out of My Eyes,” and “The Lord Said ‘Ejaculate,’” chances are good it’s probably not one you’re gonna want to play for your mom. Good record. –Keith Rosson (Thrillhouse)

Hopeless World: LP
First impression I got was this band could have and should have been around the early ‘90s in Long Beach playing with Know Records’ bands Das Klown and The Fixtures. Something inside me tells me that they would have been on many of the same shows. They seem to fit that sound and era for me: aggressive hardcore punk but with a SoCal punk sound. Their three chords of anger also reminded me of the band the Nihilistics. The recording is raw and live-sounding—giving it a genuine sound—with vocals that are yelled but understandable, so you can clearly make out the lyrics. So it kinda surprised me that this band hails from Portland, OR. Tragically, right before the release of this LP, the drummer died in a work accident. Not sure if the band is done. But if they continue on, I would like to see if the band can progress into more of their own. –Donofthedead (Deadend)

Live the Storm: CD
I was incredibly stoked when I found out that Swedish d-beat machines Disfear had recruited the insanely prolific Tomas Lindberg of At The Gates/Skitsystem/The Crown/The Great Deceiver as the vocalist for their 2003 Relapse Records debut Misanthropic Generation. Admittedly, I was somewhat let down by the direction the record took, abandoning the brutal crust assault of Disfear’s earlier output in favor of a decidedly Entombed-influenced “death & roll” offering. The band’s newest release, Live the Storm, featuring one of Converge mastermind Kurt Ballou’s best production jobs to date, reverts to the Scandinavian thrash sound of Disfear’s earlier material while taking cues from some of their more melodic crusty brethren in the process. The result is not only the band’s strongest record to date, but also one of Relapse Records most memorable releases of the past few years. Devastating. –Dave Williams –Guest Contributor (Relapse)

Split: 7” EP
It’s too bad, really: I generally love this label. Sure, not all of their bands are exactly espousing the most progressive, thought-provoking stuff, but you simply cannot beat No Front Teeth’s sheer sassitude and spot-on visual and sonic ‘77 punk aesthetic. That’s why this one was such a bummer. The day-glo snot and scabies and scent of unwashed pits just wasn’t there on this one. I’ve got an old split Kermit’s Finger did with Zippo Raid from years back; I remember being pretty meh towards them at the time, and it turns out that the years have not warmed me to them. Granted, at times they sound almost like the Motards, or a band trying to cover the Motards, but lackluster lyrics and songwriting that’s just a tad too generic doesn’t put ye up in the same league. In the meantime, Disco Lepers claim their stuff was “not mastered, not produced, not engineered.” However, it apparently was recorded down the hall from where they actually played the songs, because the sound is, uh, thin, to say the least. They have eight songs on their side of the split and no lyrics printed at all. Then again, with song titles like “Nazi Pop,” “Puke on the Youth,” and “Feces Party,” I’m probably much better off anyway. Good label, but I’m gonna have to pass on this record. –Keith Rosson (No Front Teeth)

Split: 7” EP
Disco Lepers: Sounds like it was mixed in a shoebox by someone with tinnitus, but their short, spazzy punk—which reminds me of a thrashy, inept version of the S’Nots—ain’t too painful. Kermit’s Finger: Jeez, haven’t heard from these guys in ages. Still peddlin’ the same snotty hardcore keen on pointing out life’s hypocrisies, I see, which is just fine by me. Best tune here, hands down, is “Take Your Shot,” which illustrates how much things have changed in the intervening years between Suicidal Tendencies’ “I Shot the Devil” and the post-9/11 world we find ourselves in by commenting in the second verse about what could be the government’s reaction to what they’re singing in the first verse. –Jimmy Alvarado (No Front Teeth)

A Realization of Hope: 7”
Man, reviews like this one are hard—where you can totally appreciate what the band’s doing, but their music fails to cause a reaction. The fact that this is a two-song 7” is offset by the fact that a) the packaging is really nice, b) the vinyl itself is a gorgeous purple with turquoise splatters, and c) there’s a fully packaged CD (not CD-R, so it might last more than eight seconds before getting scratched to shit) with the 7” songs and three more. Nice work there. And they’re totally on-point with their awesome, pro-DIY lyrics. But the music fell a bit flat for me, sounding somewhat like Davey Havok or a Misfits-era Danzig who croons and sometimes shrieks through some spastic screamo stuff. I appreciate their politics and the sentiments expressed, but the music itself just wasn’t my thing. –Keith Rosson (I Hate Punk Rock)

A Realization of Hope: 7”
Lyrically earnest, DIY-to-the-bone-proclaiming, basement-proud punk rock. I’m down with that. But, musically, the band owes a lot to Pennywise and other no-longer-in-the-basement bands like Dillinger Escape Plan, where I get the feeling that some of the dudes secretly want to just display their proficiency and let the vocalist say whatever he wants. (Could be wrong. Just a guess.) I’m glad there isn’t a list of their equipment manufacturers or sponsors, on the record. But here’s the thing that bugs me. They’re reacting and commenting on the binary. There’s no good reason to react to eyeliner in a song (even if it’s in defense of younger punks not knowing better). Dude, eyeliner’s a trend. You sing about reacting to that trend, which, in turn, limits the life of your song, and dates it in a bad way because fashion will be tutus or muumuus or whatever in a year or so. So, instead of a band making something of their own (memorable songs with a distinct personality that have a shelf life), it’s a reaction to something that’s best shrugged off. Seems like a quibble, but it illustrates a big difference in head space and approach. –Todd Taylor (I Hate Punk Rock)

No Escaping This: CD
The one sheet for this record indicates that the band includes current members of Frightener and likens their sound to that of No Warning, Breakdown, Cro-Mags, etc. This is a decent explanation of what’s going on herein. For me, that kind of sound always takes a bit of getting used to when the diamond-tipped laser first reads the disc since that initial punch in the gut is always painful and surprising, but I’m glad that I stuck around with this, as I usually am with such stuff. Dirty Money are heavy and crushing, but there is a good rock’n’roll groove running through much of this that kept me licking my chops, like my dog does for the scent of blood. The CD is comprised of their new four-song 7” and their 2006 demo of three tunes. If you like this type of sound, it’s worth it. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Dead And Gone)

Jesus Hates: 7” EP
With the lack of an address, the stenciled cover, the hand-markered labels, and the limited press (this one says 14/25), I thought for one hot minute this was some sorta Spontaneous Disgust side project; but judging solely by the sound, it ain’t. Simple punk rock, heavy on the rock here. That ain’t terrible, but I’m willing to bet it comes across much better live. –Jimmy Alvarado (no address)

Idjit Savant/ Dogs from the Hare That Bit Us: CD
This CD compiles the Dickies output that was originally released on Triple X Records. This mid-period Dickies has its moments, but never really compares with the manic fervor and joyousness of their early releases. Idjit Savant has a few standout tracks, including “Golden Boys,” “Pretty Ballerina,” and “I’m on Crack,” but nothing that really grabs one by the (metaphorical) balls and doesn’t let go. A few of the slower songs, like “House of Raoul” and “Song of the Dawn,” sound bizarrely out of place. On the cover album, Dogs…, the only songs that just didn’t buzz by me are “Solitary Confinement” and “Nobody but Me.” These are the only two covers that live up to the Dickies’ covers of old, with the rest of the songs not really standing out in any noticeable way. A good summation is this compilation is that it’s about 50 percent “this is pretty good/alright,” 45 percent  “meh,” and 5 percent  “what the hell is this?” –Adrian (Captain Oi)

Sachen Lassen Mit Fremden Machten: CD
Destructors are a U.K. band that has been around since the ‘80s, or at least their name has sans the 666. The bass player, being the only original member still in the group, has taken over the vocal duties. Back in the day, the original unit shared the stage with the likes of UK Subs and the Damned. The resurgent line up has released mass amounts of material as of late, and the subject matter seems to revolve around science fiction. They like space ships. So if you like mid tempo punk tunes about space ships, asteroids, ray guns, and the movie Plan 9, you’ve found your flagship. I am by no means cool, but I think I my personality would have to reflect that of Comic Book Guy to appreciate this CD. Worst space ship band ever! –Dave Disorder (Rowdy Farrago, myspace.com/thedestructorsuk)

One Punch: 7”
Hotlanta’s own Despised recorded a three-song souvenir of their last tour in the Land of the Rising Sun as well as including three new tracks on the flip of fiery hardcore bliss for even the most discriminating, looking-down-the-nose fuck. Judging from the gatefold on this single, it looks as though the Japanese have really seemed to take a shine to these guys, now only if they could only get a States/ West Coast tour happening (what the fuck, Shayne?). I’ve done nothing but give these Georgians major thumbs up since I’ve caught their first few singles some ten years ago, and I’ll continue to do nothing BUT. This isn’t that pull-up-your-goddamned-sagging-pants, nü-metal, craptacular OzFest “hardcore.” And it sure as shit ain’t that mesh-trucker-cap-pulled-to-the-side-of-your-head-with-an-H2O-hoodie-on-in-90-degree-heat “hardcore,” either. No, FUCK alla that. This is “get in, or get the fuck out” hardcore. The real deal. This is The Despised. –Designated Dale (VIP)

Birdbrain: CD
Frayed at the seams, this is some ‘80s hardcore worship that sounds like it’s just barely keeping itself from falling apart. There’s a strange vocal blend going on, too: I’m hearing both Martin from Career Suicide and Ryan from the Manholes, which is one fuck of a weird, snotty combo, I assure ye. There’s also a surprising amount of Greg Ginn channeling in the guitars, which offsets the fact that the songs themselves last just a tad longer than they need to. Not sure who the dude’s yelling at in the first song, “The Doombird Cometh,” when he screeches, “Wave your white flag, you pussies!” because virtually no information’s included, least of all lyrics. Still, one gets the feeling that these guys would tear up your basement like dervishes if you gave ‘em a shot at it. –Keith Rosson (Der Todesking)

Self-titled: 7”
If you’re hearing this music, you are one of three places: a fucked up junkie warehouse with a practice space, some shit hole where you can smell the urinal from your seat at the bar, or working next to this girl who I used to work with and her GG/Mentors tape has just finished and this is the next thing to come on. Super lo-fi, what I call “Three F’s” punk. The three F’s are of course “fucking,” “fighting,” and... um… “finding and then doing drugs.” Tolerable moments are the Fear and Supercharger covers. –Steveo (Die Slaughterhouse)

Thanatonic State: 7”
I am amazed that there are actually people who listen to grindcore. None of the songs are catchy, the lyrics aren’t coherent, and you can’t even sing along. What’s the appeal? If you’ve heard one grindcore band, you’ve heard them all. However, if you have never heard grindcore, this 7” might be mind blowing to you. –Bryan Static (Level Plane/Enucleation)

: CD
Cobain-esque grunge rock band. Could have easily been one of the many that moved to Seattle in the ‘90s looking for that golden ticket to over-indulgent rock stardom. Excellent use of the cow bell in track two. –Dave Disorder (Learning Curve)

Infected with Rage: CD
Some good ol’ meat‘n’potatoes hardcore steeped in influence from Negative Approach and the like. Lyrics and the vocals contain the requisite anger, the beats are consistently frantic, and what metal there is in them Marshall stacks is kept to a bare chugga minimum. –Jimmy Alvarado (Insurgence)

Feline 500: CD
The whole psychobilly thing is a bit of a mystery to me. I like the tunes for the most part, but hate all the trapping and attitudes that go along with it. Well, I’m not here to review an entire genre here, so let’s talk about the music. The Deadcats have been at it for years and I suppose that I might have a bit of a bias towards them since they do hail from my part of the world. The fact remains that they were out there doing this long before every Tom, Dick, and Douchebag had a pompadour and creepers. This record is right up there with the rest of their work. Catchy, creepy, and easy to move your feet to, they manage to refrain from the over the top howling of newer contemporaries such as Tiger Army or Nekromantix. Throwing in a cover of the Young Canadians’ legendary “Hawaii” can’t hurt either. –Ty Stranglehold (Flying Saucer)

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