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· 1:Punk Parenthood for the Sleep Deprived
· 2:#330 with Craven Rock
· 3:#329 with Daryl Gussin
· 4:One Punk’s Guide to Poetry
· 5:#331 with Mike Faloon and Todd Taylor

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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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The Brainless Sessions: CD
Some pretty damn decent punk rock and roll here. Most of the tracks are mid tempo numbers that have a slight pop aspect to them (think Angry Samoans) but with a lot of searing guitar and growling vocals. Speaking of vocals, the songs run the gamut. Booze, drugs, violence, murder… you know the deal. I could see these guys playing on a bill with The Demonics or someone like that. My only complaint is that I’d like it to be a little faster. –Ty Stranglehold (myspace.com/beaumontsrock)

Romance Conflict Adventure: CD
Female-fronted indie pop stuff of the kind very popular with college radio stations. I can totally see the kids over at KXLU putting this into heavy rotation (well, heavy rotation for them). –Jimmy Alvarado (befri4u@yahoo.com)

Between the Blue and Green: CD
Why me? If there is a god, is he/she/it punishing me for something I did or didn’t do? Was I supposed to kill George W. before he became president? Here’s some folky stuff with a guy singing falsetto, sort of like Tiny Tim (ask yer parents) with an assortment of folky backing instruments, including glockenspiel, as the press release proudly lists. They also say that Benji Costa is a “mad genius.” I usually think of a genius as someone who turns the status quo on its head and does something new and different. I guess it’s not too bad, sort of a third rate acoustic John Lennon, but definitely not genius. –Jason Donnerparty (Precedent Media Unlimited)

At the Mercy of Technology: CDEP-R
This somehow reminded me of both early Blood Brothers and Modest Mouse without sounding particularly like either. Dissonant, chaotic, and driving hardcore, this album falls somewhere between what I like and what I actively dislike. Not for me, but I’m not a big hardcore girl, so what do I know? –Guest Contributor (Self-released, www.myspace.com/batwingskillyou)

Sterile, Without, Devoid: CD-R
Five song demo from these Chicago anarchists. This outfit is pretty political, and the tempos never let up. We’ll see where this goes. If you liked Bikini Kill, you may like this band. They play their instruments a little bit better though. –Sean Koepenick (Demo-barrenband3@yahoo.com)

Self-titled: CDEP
Not too interesting, limey (well, judging from their accents [and, of course, they could be an affectation] they’re limeys) modern pop made interesting by the fact that it’s delivered by a band that sounds desperate and hungry. This should no doubt score them a record deal, but where they go from there depends on whether their songwriting becomes more interesting. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.thebadrobots.com)

Chasing Rainbows: CD
Baby Woodrose’s music licks from the same lysergic sugar cube as the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Guitar strings are bent into brilliant splashes of colorful sound, while the children of Aquarius stand swaying, entranced, palms turned upward, faces to the sky. Fans of druggy, retro pop will appreciate the atmosphere created on this album, whether it’s the arch, “White Rabbit” drone and hypnotic beat of “Renegade Soul” or the shimmering, enveloping fuzz of “Someone to Love.” –Josh Benke (Bad Afro)

The Missionary: CD
This is great disc, but a tad too short for my liking. The music seems to land somewhere in between gruff, yet earnest melodic punk coming out of the San Diego area and the pseudo political punk from the EastBay in the early ‘90s. Seven songs are just not enough for me. I’d really like to check out some more by these guys. –Ty Stranglehold (Bleeding Ear, no address)

One Last Drop: CD
An essential compendium of this venerable U.K. anarcho-punk band’s recorded output here, meaning that you can now listen to it in your car without worrying about the record skipping about every time you hit a pothole. Demos, singles, and compilation contributions of their “Crass on a more traditional punk bender” sound all make an appearance here, all of it serving as a nice reminder of why these guys were one of the better bands to come out of that scene. Add some stunning packaging and you’ve got yourself one great fuckin’ CD. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.anthraxukofficial.com)

Candy, Cigarettes, and Cap Guns: CD
Take the political, acoustic, folk punk of Defiance, Ohio and strip down the sound more, take out the female vocals, and really ratchet up the sarcasm. They also have a tendency in this release to sometimes make so-dumb-it-must-be-smart lyrical choices worthy of their folk punk predecessors in the Dead Milkmen. Also, they really hate the hipsters—as expressed in one of their untitled songs—a sentiment I can totally share after going to the Detour Fest in Downtown L.A. –Adrian (No address)

Back in the Sad Hole Again: CD-R
Alabaster Skeleton is Harvest Moon Society’s Nick Zigler performing a nine-track-long solo adventure into the wild, unpredictable world of blunt honesty. While the musical tone of these songs may somewhat vary, the earnest crooning of lost love and lost faith remain constant throughout the CD. The musical change ups are never desperate for a style to cling to; rather they demonstrate Zigler’s talent and versatility. Everything from the Troggs-meets-Sonic Youth whirlwind of guitar on “Ten Little Indians,” to the Postal Service-inspired adaptation of Harry Belafonte’s “Jamaica Farwell,” is consistently high quality and remains interesting. With fast tempo-ed rock tracks placed sporadically within the majority of folk-esque and indie rock, Back in the Sad HoleAgain is a romp of a good time for anyone who appreciates well written songs of overwhelming candor. –Daryl Gussin (Griznar, myspace.com/alabasterskeleton)

None Shall Pass: CD
Look, I totally understand that the current situation with people posting full albums for download on the internet is a problem, especially when said album hasn’t even been released yet. As a serious music fan, I totally agree it’s a fucked up situation, not only for the smaller indie labels but also for the artists creating the music in the first place (and for those who think that someone being paid for their work is somehow not “punk rock” or somehow synonymous with “selling out,” allow me to offer a sincere, heartfelt fuck you). Here’s the thing, however: when a label sends a copy of a release for review, the fuckin’ thing should at least be listenable. In this case, the copy of this disc that was sent carries with it a “conditions of use” sticker that says, “This promotional CD is unique and traceable. The copyright owner is able to monitor its use and identify the source of any unauthorized copies.” How, you ask, are they able to do this? Apparently by placing individualized spoken identifications (in the case of this copy “This disc belongs to Jimmy Alvarado”) through every track, sometimes smack-dab in the middle. While this may, indeed, deter the uploading assholes who score a copy from the label from posting the copies they receive, it also so distracting that it effectively renders the CD unlistenable for those who actually are trying to do a legitimate review and will ultimately not get played more than once. That said, anyone tuned into hip hop’s underground knows who Aesop Rock is, and this latest release stands toe-to-toe with the best of his preceding albums. He employs a rapid-fire vocal style to deliver dense rhymes sick with metaphors that appear wholly abstract until one digs a bit deeper. This is thinkin’ man’s hip hop, a continuation of a tradition of rap-as-art that is too often overshadowed by the mainstream’s insistence on throwing money at the bottom of the barrel. Aesop Rock deserves all the accolades he receives, and this album will easily secure a place within hip hop’s top five releases for the year, but this particular copy of the album is an embarrassment coming from a label with enough experience with the genre to know better. Ah, but then you all now know about the disc, the label has its review, and I’ve got a new beer coaster. –Jimmy Alvarado (Definitive Jux)

Into a Sound: CD
When I pressed play, I immediately thought to myself, “Wow, this is kind of where Tsunami Bomb would have evolved to had the keyboardist not bailed and had they moved from Kung Fu Records to a major instead of breaking up.” Then, lo and behold, the fancy one-sheet declares that this CD is for fans of Blondie and Bloc Party (I don’t hear either) and Tsunami Bomb! The band features Agent M from said band on vocals. Except now, imagine less just-starting-out-vinyl-pressing-pre-Warped-Tour Tsunami Bomb and more Kelly Clarkson. Gag. Gag. Spew. –Mr. Z (Pop Smear, popsmearrecords.com)

Self-titled: CD
This is heavy “nü-metal hardcore” (my own quotes). Some really shreddin’ guitar solos, doom/death minor scales, and a lot of screaming. Some of the titles are “Eons of Illusions,” “Clown Penis Fart,” and “Microchip Orgasm.” If yer into this, yer into this. –Jason Donnerparty (Follin Artist Management)

We’re the Youths: 7"
I hate lyrics on the back cover of a record, especially when the first word is misspelled. But, anyway, it’s catchy, lo-fi garage punk. They put their myspace address on the record, too, in case you’re too dumb to search for them. I wish I had more to say about this record, but they don’t give me much. Sorry. –ben (Criminal IQ)

Introducing the Yolks: 7” EP
You think that i cannot consummate the review of this record without lowering myself to making at least one completely telegraphed pun involving the band’s name, don’t you? Well, HA! In the immortal words of the Fastbacks, you are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. I am a LEGITIMATE ROCK CRITIC, dammit, and i will not pander to your cretinistic lowbrowisms by engaging in spurts of tawdry egg humor! A pox upon all your houses! In any event, i like this band! They seem like the kind of band that would not at all be ashamed to admit that the Fleshtones are like, one of the greatest live bands, like, EVER, even though Peter Zaremba hosted a show on MTV like twenty-five years ago or whatever. The Yolks’ modified tin can production ethos hearkens back to the glorious heyday of “lo-fi”—back before someone or another wrecked it ((i don’t remember who wrecked it. Probably those same jerks who trashed your tree fort?)), falling somewhere between the Estrus-ish stuff like the Invisible Men or Statics ((wait, there’s a difference?)) and the more brain-damaged-dance-party aesthetic of Radio X offerings like the Brentwoods or Bobbyteens, except that, at heart, these songs are a little more standardish ‘60s maraca-Pebble excursions, not involving Dancing the Bug or things of this nature ((although Dancing the Bug is, at root, quite a worthy endeavor)). Actually, while “I Found Love” sounds like the Earth-3 version of the Syndicate of Sound ((in this parallel world, the Syndicate of Sound are not super-villains, but actually rescue cats from trees and things of this nature)) and “My Baby Ain’t High Class” sounds more or less like a no-fi Cynics or something, i feel the true spirit of the band is tidily encapsulated in “I Do What I Do”—an almost Richman-like paean of Pop-Nerd Pride, or such are my perceptions. And if i’m wrong, well—yolk’s on me. Ooops. BEST SONG: “I Do What I Do” BEST SONG TITLE: “My Baby Ain’t High Class” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I drive a yellow Pontiac Sunfire and my license plate reads “BADYOLK.” –Rev. Norb (Yolks)

Addicted to Bad Ideas: CD
This is an idea that’s so cool, that it seems like it shouldn’t work: a cabaret style punk band presenting a concept album about the life of actor Peter Lorre. In case you don’t know, Peter Lorre is the actor who made it big in the ‘30s and ‘40s as the little hollow-eyed man, who always ended up playing some kinda shady figure, like a child murderer in M (whose poster the band borrowed for the album cover), fey underworld goon Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon, and uhm… the Japanese detective Mr. Moto, despite being a decidedly eastern European looking Jewish Hungarian who fled the Nazis in Germany. At any rate, the album is astoundingly unique and good. To set the proper mood and add the proper classy flavor to the affair, the album begins with a string ensemble playing “Peter Lorre’s Overture,” before the next ten songs tear it up with a unique mix of punk energy and guitars, some world class vocals from Jack Terricloth, some extremely great keyboard work on the organ and piano, and a nice selection of brass and woodwinds adding to everything. The rest of the album roughly follows along with the chronology of Peter Lorre’s life and ends up producing a surprisingly coherent whole that hits on moments of real insight at times. It really isn’t that hard to imagine this being played at a particularly boisterous old world family gathering taking place in a rented hall with a fine accompaniment of plentiful food, two or three languages being shouted interchangeably, and a complement of drunken uncles one hasn’t seen in years cutting it up on the dance floor. The World/Inferno F.S. is probably one of the best and most unique-sounding punk bands around right now, and definitely one of the only bands that sounds like they could pull off headlining both a street punk show and a world class dinner theatre (albeit one that’s also doing something shady like running coke out of the back storeroom) in the same week. –Adrian (Chunksaah)

Mental Notes: CD
Goofy in substance, techno/synth in style (they called it “industrial” music when I was in college, but I think the labels have changed—live, aggressive guitars, over-the-top keyboards, manic, programmed drums), Worm Quartet is a one-man band that straps spork references to drum machines. It’s either They Might Be Giants backed by Ministry or Weird Al recording for Wax Trax. With a Boris The Sprinkler cover (“Drugs and Masturbation”) to boot. The live track, “What Your Parents Think All Your Music Sounds Like,” shows that Tim “Shoebox” Crist is a funny guy who can work a crowd, but the balance of Mental Notes is more clever than enjoyable. –Mike Faloon (Worm Quartet)

Manual: CD
Great record. Witches With Dicks have a very familiar sound, but at no point do they sound stale. In fact, they take a familiar formula and transfer it into something out of this world, like somebody’s secret chili recipe that just knocks your socks off—all the usual components are there, but somehow Witches With Dicks’ stew achieves zesty magnificence where others taste like the same old shit. This is ten tracks of raw and inventive rock‘n’roll that never failed to nail me to the wall, and the vocal harmonies are the screaming end. And the drummer is not just a 4/4-time boom-tap-boom-tap drummer; like the great Ringo Starr, this guy plays the drums not only as a means of providing tempo, but as a means of accentuating the sound through counterpoint while filling out the job begun by the vocals and guitars. This is a full package: an inspired rhythm section, a rugged and desperate guitar sound, well-placed and well-laced organs, and vocal harmonies swirling like a barbed double helix of DNA. All I know is that Manual rocks and rocks and rocks and you’d be a fool not to try this chili, at the very least. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Kiss of Death)

Down for Life: CD
The press release threw some dubious factoids my way. First, the drummer is “professional skateboarding legend” Tom Knox. I only know of Tony Hawk, so I will have to take their word for it. Then, to describe the record, they throw in this choice nugget: “Imagine if Motörhead played with an upright bass. Yeah, it’s that gnarly!” Red flag! Lemmy may drive a white minivan, but he would never, ever play a stand-up bass. You can take that to the bank and cash it! Case closed. –Sean Koepenick (Fallen Angel)

Local Garbage: 7” EP
These Canadian ladies know exactly what they’re doing: taking all that great proto-wave, punk-before-mass-herding, punk-before-“disco ain’t so bad!”, before-the-fall tracks of Wire (Pink Flag), Gang Of Four (Entertainment!), and The Avengers (Self-titled), picked up a Kathleen Hannah cabinet and microphone along the way (circa Reject All American), leapt over the last decade while steering clear of any pop punk or rock’n’roll, and reconfigured the pieces to an old jigsaw with no missing pieces. That’s much harder than it sounds, and I’m enjoying this 7” quite a bit. Nice surprise. (And if you haven’t heard the albums in parenthesis in this review, all are highly recommended listening.) –Todd Taylor (Hockey Dad)

How America Motherfucking Works: 12"
Here’s what I don’t know: who the hell this band is. There’s the Watch It Burn that did a split with Altaira a few years back. They were from Portland and sounded like a rough-hewn Broadway Calls. Then wasn’t there a band on Chunksaah with the same name? Then there’s these guys—there’s virtually no information accompanying this record, except for the fact that the label’s from Wisconsin and the songs were recorded in October of 1998. Watch It Burn!: men of mystery. Here’s what I do know: they’re playing some mean and ugly hardcore laced with feedback and propped up by a ton of tempo changes in every song. They kind of sound like that Swedish band Last Match, and have the same propensity for dragging things out a tad longer than they need to. When they keep things fast and lock into a groove, it’s good stuff, but too much of is played sloooow, in an attempt to sound punishing (see “Ground Hemlock Lake,” which takes up the majority of the B side.) Instead, it just allows my mind to wander elsewhere. No lyrics whatsoever (though they do have a song called “Earthday Crisis”) and limited to 300. Lastly, the label must be giving the post office a spiritual hard-on with this one: the sleeve itself weighs more than most double LPs. –Keith Rosson (Finger On The Dutendoo)

We Are Nothing: CD
This band is the equivalent of someone you can’t win an argument with. They won’t let you talk and they’re being ten times louder than you can. During the whole debacle, you might be annoyed, but once it ends—it may be ten minutes or ten days later—but you eventually come to the realization that they were actually right. And you are totally dumb-shit wrong. Violent Minds plays Motörhead meets Negative Approach with a thirst for blood and drugs. This band is a black cloud spewing raining acid onto a Christian youth picnic; it’s so goddamn beautiful. Pummeling, distorted vocals, USHC. The CD contains songs from their We Are Nothing LP plus the four songs on the Just Kicked In 7”. –Daryl Gussin (Deranged)

Just Kicked In: 7"
This band is the equivalent of someone you can’t win an argument with. They won’t let you talk and they’re being ten times louder than you can. During the whole debacle, you might be annoyed, but once it ends—it may be ten minutes or ten days later—but you eventually come to the realization that they were actually right. And you are totally dumb-shit wrong. Violent Minds plays Motörhead meets Negative Approach with a thirst for blood and drugs. This band is a black cloud spewing raining acid onto a Christian youth picnic; it’s so goddamn beautiful. Pummeling, distorted vocals, USHC. The CD contains songs from their We Are Nothing LP plus the four songs on the Just Kicked In 7”. –Daryl Gussin (Deranged)

Guardia Svizzera Pontifica: CD
Those expecting some sorta continuation of the loud, trashy legacy of the Fingers, Rip Offs, Infections, et al., are going to be sorely disappointed, ‘cause, sonically, this is in a whole other ballpark. While still spare in instrumentation, and occasional flashes of that raucous legacy sometimes pop up, the bulk of this is geared solely toward the pop side of the fence, with clean channel guitars, mid-tempo rhythms and female vocals more Penelope Houston than Alice Bag. Those who appreciate substance over style, however, will find much to like here. The tunes are well crafted and very catchy, knowing yet tempered with a subtlety and grace not usually expected from a buncha punks. Looks like Shane finally hit on the right combination of collaborators to realize his dream of creating a pure pop band a la the Raspberries. Kudos to ye, mate, ‘cause it’s a fuggin’ great band. Considering I made my bones as a Pure Filth staffer, which means I learned to calls ‘em as I see ‘em without mincing words, lord knows I don’t throw praise around like that lightly, no matter who it is. –Jimmy Alvarado (Pure Filth)

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