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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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EASTERN YOUTH:
What Can You See From Your Place: CD
Edgy, angular, post-prefix-core from Japan (and sung in Japanese). It has an emo breakdown edge to it and would probably sound really pretty to people who like their emo to have a delicate feel about with something resembling singing, with appropriate cracking as the vocalist begins to strive for registers which are beyond his range. It’s an odd and interesting fusion – there’s a definite influence of Japanese pop and traditional music here, particularly in the vocal expression, but the music seems to stem pretty solidly from the DC scene in the middle of the 1990’s. Regardless, a few interesting stylistic deviances or variances from an already shitty genre norm aren’t enough to make a good album.  –Puckett (Five One, Inc.)


EAST BAY CHASERS:
It Came From the East Bay: 7”
Loud but pretty nondescript punk rock. Pretty much forgot what it sounded like as soon as it was over.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Five and Dime)


DRESDEN 45:
Paradise Lost (Expanded): CD
This band passed under the radar for me during the late ‘80s. It was a weird period for me in regards to punk. My alcohol intake was at an all-time high and I had stopped reading zines. I bought punk records randomly and at a high risk of buying something bad. I didn’t know who was important or not, but I was not completely out. The first thought I had when I saw this CD in the review bin? “German.” Wrong. I look on the back and see that this band was from Texas. What the heck, I’ll bring it home and check it out. What’s it going to hurt? The first thought I have when the CD starts is that these guys sound Nardcore meets East Coast hardcore. A mix between Ill Repute and RKL infused with the Crumbsuckers and Ludichrist. You can hear the crossover sound laced all over the songs, which was rampant at the time. Double bass drums and the guitar solos. As they progressed, the rock/metal element took hold more. There is even a song with some rap. This is exemplifies my memory of what punk became late in that decade. Sort of a confused patchwork of influences. I’m not trying to dismiss this at all, because I truly am enjoying listening to this. My band at the time went through the same progression and never really has focused on one sound. This hits close to home. I believe this a discography of sorts. It’s kind of cool that it gives me a second chance to hear a band I have never heard.  –Donofthedead (Arclight)


DOWN AND AWAY/ SMALLTOWN:
Split: 7"
For every fifteen bonehead/retread oi/streetpunk bands, there’s usually a couple that aren’t embarrassing to listen to in mixed company, who go beyond the “we’re from the streets and we like to drink” cul-de-sac of musical inspiration. The Brassknuckle Boys, The GC5, Wednesday Night Heroes, and The Boils come immediately to mind. I’m going to have to add Sweden’s Down and Away to that list. (Smalltown’s already on it.) As with hardcore, the challenge in oi isn’t in stretching its boundaries, but reinvesting in its authenticity, updating its membership, and playing songs that aren’t merely to be played over the gravesites of dead greats, but something that sounds like a buzzsaw cutting down the house of history. Down and Away’s songs are on par with the top terrace of bands currently playing this style. Smalltown could be poised for a breakout. It’s been ages since I thought that early Stiff Little Fingers could be toppled on its own terms and Smalltown’s creeping up to the greatness of “Alternative Ulster.” Their cut on this split, “Changes,” just puts one more poker chip on the top of the pile I’m hoarding to bet they’ll be a lot of people’s favorite band in the upcoming year. Flawless track.  –Todd Taylor (Broken Bones)


DEXATEENS:
self-titled: CD
Tim Kerr-produced trash rock. This is pretty strong musically, but the whiney, wimpy quality of the singer’s voice just left me limp.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Estrus)


DESPITE ALL THIS...:
Self-titled: CD
Black and white picture of a leafless tree on cover. That usually means one thing to me and Megan Pants agreed. Emo. Megan actually said that nine times out of ten, that’s usually the case. But what you get here is what I classify as a garage emo/punk band that should have waited another year to go into the studio because the music just doesn’t sound tight to me and the songs haven’t fully grown. The vocals need a harmonizer or some serious Pro Tools work on them. But hey, it’s self-released. So in their minds it’s probably justified that I have to listen to it.  –Donofthedead (Despite All This...)


DESCENDENTS:
‘Merican: CD-EP
Long has my love affair been with the rock that the Descendents bring, roughly since 1982 or so, when they were one of the staple bands on Rodney B’s radio show. I have personally turned hundreds of people, including my wife, onto their perfect blend of tough as nails hardcore and sappy, lovey dovey pop, a sound that has since been co-opted, corrupted and perverted by the corporate music conglomerates and can currently be heard being profaned by Blink 182, Bowling for Soup and hordes of other lesser bands. The efforts of these lesser bands have thoroughly soured me on a punk sub-niche I once held sacred, yet a new Descendents disc can still make me wanna bounce off the walls while singing mushy love shit at the top of my lungs. Hypocrisy, you say? P’shaw, says I. Aside from the fact that the Descendents virtually invented the pop-punk style currently polluting the airwaves (taking no so subtle cues from predecessors like the Buzzcocks and the Last), they have managed over the years to retain the one thing those that have followed lack: a feeling of honest sincerity. From the first note, you know they ain’t following some formula while trying to chase the fame train; this is the REAL THING. A lot of effort and work is put into what they do and it shows. Even through their weakest efforts (the All album they did right before Milo went back to college, for example, was spotty at best), one can sense the level of commitment they have to the music they play. The four listed tunes (and bonus tune tacked onto the last track) on ‘Merican bookend nicely with the tuneage found on the band’s previous effort, 1996’s Everything Sucks. The years of playing incessantly as All (sans Milo) has honed them into one mean machine, able to break your heart with the vocals, slice up the remains with the buzzsaw guitars, and pound whatever’s left into oblivion with a rock-solid backbeat. Best thing of all is that this is just a tease to get the kids lathered up in impatient anticipation for the upcoming full-length due out in a month or so. Although seven years is quite a long time for any junkie to get his fix (and please, guys, take pity on us poor saps and drop these bombs with a little more frequency), the wait was well worth it. Neither recommended nor considered mandatory listening, this is essential in ways only previously reserved for things like air and water.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Fat)


DESCENDENTS:
`Merican: CD-EP
I am not worthy! Here is a release that is as comforting as a familiar blanket, your favorite beer, or masturbating. It’s a four song EP that include two songs from the upcoming (or by the time you read this, the new) full length, Cool to Be You. These four songs are just not enough! I want more! Gimme, gimme, gimme! It’s good to see the band was able to pull Milo out of the lab where he was doing experiments on vegetables to grace us again with some fine tuneage. If you were to ask me about favorite bands, the Descendents are one of them. I’m pretty sure Milo Goes to College is one of the first ten punk records I ever bought when I was in junior high and that was a long time ago. They are also one of the few bands that I try to have a complete collection. There are only a few things missing that I am not willing to spend big bucks on. But I know I have every single full length. Now back to this here release. For a quick description of this EP, I would say that it is a combination of Enjoy! and the All LP. Also, I truly believe from this teaser that the songs are going to be even better than the songs from Everything Sucks. That’s saying a lot because I believe they haven’t put out a bad release to date. To show how much I like this and how much of a music junkie I am, I’m going out next week and shell out some bucks so I can get the vinyl copy. I’m such a geek!  –Donofthedead (Fat)


DESA:
Demonstrates Birth: CD-EP
Average pop punk band with emo overtones. I was more excited wiping my cat’s ass after a stinky shit in the litter box.  –Donofthedead (Substandard)


DECEASED:
Rotten to the Core: CD
At first I thought it was one of those wacky punk-o-rama CDs, with all the hullabaloo hits of my high school punk years highlighted. Instead, it’s a typical hardcore band doing lame versions of some of my – and everybody else’s, even the cheerleaders – favorites. Avoid.  –Speedway Randy (Malt Soda)


DEADSURE:
From Your Head to Your Sacrum: CD
This is one o’ them “tough call” discs for me. While the fact that it’s loud doesn’t hurt, and there’s no denying they’re proficient at what they do, the artiness of their sound veers a tad too close to emoland for me. Gonna hafta pass on this ‘un.  –Jimmy Alvarado (www.noidearecords.com)


DEAD ONES:
Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em: CD
This manages to remind me of all the good things about ‘80s punk rock without sounding like a rehash, which is always special. It also reminds me of another band that I can’t quite put my finger on. Vaguely Zero Boys, maybe? No matter. “3rd World USA” is a classic tune, though, no matter how you look at it.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Dead Ones)


DEAD KENNEDYS, THE:
Live at the Deaf Club: CD
I’m no one, but I’m still uneasy with the fact that the Dead Kennedys are touring without Jello Biafra. It’s not that I believe one side over the other, either. It’s just kinda ironic that accounting books split up a band that spent so much time rallying against capitalism and the machine. And I like bands playing under a moniker having as many original performers as possible. That’s just my bias. Anyhow, this is a cool, well-recorded artifact – a full set from 1979 in San Francisco, the Dead Kennedys playing their last night as a five-piece. Jello’s French frog falsetto leads the charge and one of the most respected (and rightfully so) hardcore bands of all time plows through an inventive set. As time goes on, it sort of amazes me that, at one time, this band was one of the fastest going. Now they’d be considered mid-paced. They seemed to blister my brain the first time I ever laid ears on them. Going back, I notice such a strong surf influence that, quizzically, seemed to have eluded me completely when I was younger. Now, I realize what accomplished musicians they were and how they worked as a cohesive whole (say what you will, I just didn’t hold on to my Klaus Fluoride solo albums). As a footnote, this includes a previously unreleased Dead Kennedy’s song, “Gaslight.” The song’s nothing to go ga-ga over and has the feel of an extra scene on a DVD that really doesn’t leave an impression. The disco version of “Kill the Poor” is pretty sweet, though. Overall, not bad at all, and if you have all their studio albums and are on the hunt for something new, this’ll fit the bill nicely.  –Todd Taylor (Manifesto)


DEAD HEROES:
I Hate This Life: 7"
This is a pretty good skinhead band without the sing-a-long anthems that can be very annoying. The vocalist sounds like they pulled him from the Confederacy of Scum (Jeff Clayton, Phil “Whiskey Rebel” Irwin, et al). This put a funny picture in my head of a redneck singing along with some skins. But when you think about it, they aren’t really too much different. The skins wear those plaid button-up shirts while the redneck wears plaid button-up flannel shirts. The skin also wears suspenders; the redneck, overalls. Of course, they both wear boots. The only difference is the hair. I enjoyed these three songs and felt all warm and fuzzy inside thinking of the harmony going on between two subcultures.  –Toby Tober (Headache)


DARYL:
Uneven Surfaces: CDEP
The “degrees” between Quicksand and Morrissey is – it makes me queasy to admit – fewer than the traditional six. That’s too close for comfort in my book. The number of degrees needed to get from Morrissey to Daryl is fractional. From Daryl to U2, probably less. And before I puke all over my computer keyboard – which I can’t afford to replace since I refuse to write and record ass-kissing college-radio-friendly pabulum like Daryl – I’ll mention that I have a personal bias involved here that has no justifiable reason being here. But the human mind is, if anything, leaky and prone to contamination. Whether you like it or not, I used to work for a fire-breathing wretch of a human-like greed robot who went by the name “Daryl.” I have never been exposed to such a vile soul-sucking vampire as that dreadful misfire of DNA, so the name Daryl just totally ruins an otherwise mediocre disc for me. Not horrible, just tepid. I think I’ve had girlfriends who would eat this shit up.  –aphid (Idol)


DARLINGTON:
All the Wrong Moves: CD
Some bands just shouldn’t put out records. These guys did anyway. But look! They’ve got tattoos! Lots of ‘em!  –Guest Contributor (Whoa Oh)


DAMAGE DEPOSIT:
Straight to the Bottom: 7"
Laced-up-tight pugilistic hardcore that covers lyrical topics like Lynyrd Skynyrd, ninjas, puppies, and testicle punches, all stewed in the rather serious gravy of socio-political consciousness. But in a good way; if Damage Deposit comes across as anything, it’s that they’re utterly sincere. These guys, unlike a band like For the Worse, are not likely to ever be caught singing hardcore odes to their toilet. I might be going out on a limb here, but I think they sound a little bit like Good Clean Fun at times – maybe a little faster and, of course, with frowny-face tattoos instead of smiley-face ones. Musically, it’s tight and confrontational traditional hardcore and, for me, with hardcore it’s not really who does something “new” with it (because that too often turns into emo or metal), it’s just who breaths fucking fire back through its veins and gets it stomping and raging again like the pissed-off brute that it is. Damage Deposit does that. If you’re at all familiar with Felix Havoc then this is probably exactly like the sort of band that you’d expect him to be in. Top notch.  –aphid (Havoc)


CULPER RING:
355: CD
Unusually gentle experimental music that I wouldn’t have expected from this label or members of and collaborators with Neurosis. This disc collects instrumental improvisations recorded on three separate days; these songs (if you choose to call them that) bubble and glide, sail and turn. Think of this as the musical equivalent of watching a leaf float on a slow-moving stream.  –Puckett (Neurot)


CRUMBS, THE:
Last Exit: CD
It’s not that I was disappointed with the last album by The Crumbs. I just wasn’t impressed. They’d always had a cool Eddie Cochran/The Saints rock’n’roll sound to them, and the last album had too many bar rock leanings for my taste. Last Exit fixes that problem. The rock’n’roll is cool again. There’s a lot of Johnny Thunders influence in this, sure, but there’s more. It’s like they picked up the last Beltones record and remembered the days when The Crumbs and the Beltones and Hudson were tearing a new asshole into Florida punk rock, and they revived some of that originality and excitement with this new album. I, for one, am happy to hear it.  –Guest Contributor (TKO)


CROSSTOPS:
Truck and Disorderly: CD
Being an ironic version of a crappy bar band still makes you a crappy bar band.  –Speedway Randy (Malt Soda)


COUNTLESS SHADOWS/UNTIL THE FALL:
split: CD
Countless Shadows: A heavy metal band fronted by a guy who likes to scream a lot. My, how original. Until the Fall: A little better, but the fact that they are reminiscent of Excel ain’t exactly a plus.  –Jimmy Alvarado (High Fidelity)


COUNTERATTACK:
Step Aside: CD
Stereotypical, uninspiring American oi stuff, meaning it pretty much blows. Included is their contribution to what is apparently becoming the mandatory post-9/11 pro-USA anthem genre, in this case a ditty called “Let’s Roll.” Thanks, but if I want mindless flag waving, I’ll turn on the evening news.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Reality Clash)


CONTROL, THE:
Glasseye: CD
It’s not bad, but it comes off as a second-rate Final Conflict.  –Donofthedead (Go Kart)


CONSAFOS:
Such is the Way of Things: CD-EP
So mellow and peaceful that I forgot I shit my pants.  –Donofthedead (Greyday)


COLBOM:
Famous Last Words: 7"
Decent enough mid-tempo punk with well-written lyrics. Nice of ‘em to include little explanations for each song, too.  –Jimmy Alvarado (No Idea)


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