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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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GUNMOLL:
Board of Rejection: CD
I love this album! Right away when I heard the first song, I knew this was gonna be amazing. I just keep listening to it over and over. You can make all the obvious comparisons – Hot Water Music, Leatherface, Pegboy, Jawbreaker, but somehow, this manages to still sound new. One of the best CDs I’ve heard this year. If you don’t pick this up, you’re seriously missing out. Especially if you need some great wallowing music. Just put it on your walkman, get on your bike, and ride around thinking about how sad you are. Do you think I’m joking? This is what emo SHOULD sound like! If this were a cereal, it’d be Lucky Charms! The highest honor! –Maddy (No Idea)


GOVERNMENT ISSUE:
G.I.’s First Demo: 7” EP
Another archival slice of precious vinyl, once in the sole realm of collectors, gets the official release treatment with the blessing of the band. Happy day. It’s a full-on 1980 harDCore sprint from a long-running band that’s been through a decathlon of styles. G.I. (the matrix etch claims it stands for “Genital Inspectors”) were kindred spirits to the Teen Idles, SOA, and the east coast Youth Brigade. It’s both nostalgic and fun stuff. Although fast, you can already here the fungus of melody creeping in that would later infect the band’s central nervous system and steer them into distant musical seas. After all this time, it’s funny and charming that the lead singer, John Stabb, can’t figure out the chorus to his song, “War Zone Casualty,” because it’s so fast and so slurred. John also mentions this in liner notes, but it’s worth repeating – G.I. has a lot in common from the often-overlooked first ever American hardcore band, Middle Class. This demo EP could have easily been the companion piece to Out of Vogue, and that’s a high compliment. Cool stuff. –Todd Taylor (Spontaneous Combustion; www.spontaneous.com)


GORCH FOCK:
Self-titled: CD
I don’t know if I can fully justify or clarify what I hear. Noisecore with two loud drummers, a trombone player, and some electronic white noise in the background. All that in the first song. Reminds me of going to a multimedia art event in the early ‘80s. An industrial band playing soundtrack to an artist’s expression of imagery. A mixture of later period Throbbing Gristle and Einsturzende Neubauten meets the early experimental period of the Butthole Surfers. Cool silkscreened chipboard cover. –Donofthedead (Perverted Son)


GO BETTY GO:
Worst Enemy: CD
For over a year, I have seen their name playing venues all over the city. I have also read much acclaim from the local critics. Since I don’t go out that much, I have never crossed paths. But I had a strong feeling that I would really like this band of four strong Latina women. I liked that they had the work ethic to continually gig. Having been in a band, that is a lot of time to spend together. Their hard work paid off and they had a spot on last year’s Warped Tour and got signed. I have heard from others that this is a bit over-produced compared to their live set. But for first listen, I’m not swayed by it. It possibly took away some of their raw edge, but the vocals are fantastic. I hate to use this as a comparison, but it has the magic of the Go-Go’s Beauty and the Beat LP. The vocal harmonies are dreamy and well-executed. The guitars could have been pushed up a bit but they play into the fun and sassiness of their cutting music. Five songs are a tease but I will admit that I will be among the first begging for a promo copy of their full length. –Donofthedead (Side One Dummy)


GIRLS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Ordinarily, i’d like nothing more than to come out here with my Slide Rule and Protractor of Rock & Roll and illustrate how the XTC corollary transects the A Frames molecule, thereby enabling the Diodes transmitter to bifurcate through the Epoxies prism and into the Mission of Burma gonad from the Brainiac central basin, and then a little shuck and jive about the record having that new car/new wave smell, but the band live just smelling like sweaty guys with funny colored hair just to ground it all in the Wreck modulator, but then i remembered that the Girls were the guys who held up the Boris/Girls split 45 (eventually unto death) so then, like, fuck it. Right? I am right! Oh, yeah, forgot the Saccharine Trust adapter. BEST SONG: “Derek I Can’t Go to the Beach” BEST SONG TITLE: “Making Plans for Derek” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Both this and the Wildhearts Riff After Riff album, reviewed elsewhere in the issue, contain unrelated songs entitled “Return to Zero.” “Return to Zero” – apart from being the name of an amazingly horrible post-Boston project ca. 1990 – is a control button on an analog tape deck that returns the tape to whatever spot you set your counter at. –Rev. Norb (Dirtnap)


GIANT HAYSTACKS:
We Are Being Observed: CD
Frankly, it’s amazing that the Minutemen template hadn’t been resurrected sooner, but it’s awesome to see it as a transparency carefully placed down over modern times. The frenetic shorthand guitar, the popping, looping, and lunging bass, the loud but spare and on-target drumming, the vocal bursts, and the cryptic, poignant, and witty lyrics are all there. The Giant Haystacks don’t sound like they’re hanging out by D.Boon’s (RIP) gravesite in San Pedro, but have further refined an alternate, updated universe that’s worthy of Double Nickels on the Dime’s legacy. I’m also selling them a little short with the Minutemen comparison. I also hear the raggedy edged, catchy pop of Gang of Four’s Entertainment and the confident flexing of three guys who’ve nailed smart, complex songs without wanking off. Excellent stuff and highly recommended. –Todd Taylor (Smartguy)


GHOST MICE:
The Debt of the Dead: CD
Ghost Mice is two people – Chris and Hannah – playing simple folk punk songs, with some harmonica, accordion, and even mandolin thrown into the mix. I’m so conflicted about this. Some of the songs are great – especially “Lightning Blot,” which is about how one of their fathers, who works at a Catholic cemetery, got a pay cut because of the church’s financial problems after the recent church sex scandals. But then there’s songs like “Up the Punks,” which, although it does come with a disclaimer (“this song is not meant to be taken too seriously”), sounds like a parody of the folk punk genre, with lyrics like, “Well, just take a look around and I’m sure that you’ll agree that we’ve done a lot of things to improve community/like organizing protests and serving food not bombs/ sending books to all the prisoners that have been locked up for so long.” Ack! I think the main problem with this is that there are some cheezy lyrics, and then there’s just way too many lyrics, period. A lot of the better songs, like “The Pines,” have less lines and more music. If I could take this CD and make it into a 7”, it would be Corn Pops. Right now, it’s Boo Berry. I just don’t know! –Maddy (Plan-it-X)


GET FUCKED:
Self-titled: CD
Monotonous bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap bap drums underpin nearly riffless treble guitar and screaming in what amounts to a non-black, non-metal black metal. Except sometimes it’s good a little bit. –Cuss Baxter (Level Plane)


GEISHA GIRLS:
Self-titled: 12” EP
There’s definitely a strong Gang of Four feel here, with Robert Smith-ish vocals, which may sound like charted territory in their own rights. Geisha Girls have created something that is interesting and inventive, without coming off as overly arty. The bass and drums seem to keep everything grounded as the guitar or vocals ventures, giving it a balanced and full sound. The bassist is also in the Checkers, and the drums are the sweet beats of none other than Sexual Chocolate of the Four Letter Words. The recording (by Lavin of Civic Minded Five and Dan of No Fraud) captures the rawness without sounding muted or hollow. Only 500 copies made (on three different colors of vinyl, no less) available directly through the band or Disgruntled mailorder. –Megan Pants (jsr, geishabooking@hotmail.com)


GARAGELAND:
Last Exit to Garageland: CD
Most of the Flying Nun records I’d heard before this were gentle and lilting pop. This sounds like Pavement trying to play punk rock while drunk as hell on some fucked up distillation of the Nuggets box set into moonshine. It veers from power-pop to noise-pop to shoegaze to garage rock and somehow manages to make the whole damned mess cohere into something that actually sounds like a consistent record. It isn’t brilliant, but it isn’t common (particularly not these days) and it’s well-done – sometimes, that’s more satisfying that a jaw-droppingly good album. –Puckett (Flying Nun)


G.D. LUXXE:
Between Zero & Eternity: CD
You are in your twenties now, slowly but surely pushing thirty. You grew up on punk, embraced the spirit of DIY, moshed when it was still called slam dancing. You developed a goth fetish, bought Sisters of Mercy albums, started dressing in black. You graduated high school, started hanging out at clubs, started listening to techno, started dreaming about Berlin. You got older and started to wonder what was next. You dabbled in seemingly every subculture when you were young and, now that you are an adult, can you find a place where the influences collide? Enter Between Zero and Eternity, the latest album from GD Luxxe (aka Gerhard Potuznik). Here, the dark, sparse electronics of the nuclear winter in your mind go head-to-head with a rock rhythm as frenzied as that pit where you once took a Doc Marten to the eye as the vocals exude the sort of intense heat that prompt bouts of teenage longing. Were you still sixteen, you would be sweating Kabuki make-up right about now. In your room, listening to this album, trying to decide whether or not, at your age, it is still appropriate to jump on the bed in time to the beat, you realize that G.D. Luxxe is the sound of the future. It is music without the now-requisite new wave nostalgia, without the more forward-retro-minded acid house nostalgia. It is the sound that may just carry you and your friends into the next phase of life. –Liz O. (Ersatz Audio)


FULL FRONTAL ASSAULT:
The Universal Struggle: CD

Iron Maiden delves into the world of speed metal with the Cookie Monster doing his best Bruce Dickenson impersonation.

–Jimmy Alvarado (www.newregardmedia.com)


FOUR LETTER WORD:
Crimewave!: 7” EP
There are a lot of settings on Four Letter Word’s amps. The title track carries through with a spy surf guitar that could have been lifted from JFA or Hawaii Five-O. “Turning the Screw” – clean, jumpy, and snotty – is reminiscent of late ‘90s pop punk along the lines of NRA. “Friends in High Places” is a straight-ahead hardcore scorcher that bares its teeth and looks at the Effigies right in the eyes. “Johnny Foreigner” has more than a couple intersecting points to a mid-tempo Anti-Flag song. It’s all held together by explicit left-wing politics and the artwork nods to other inspirations, like the Posh Boy-inspired crest of the record label. It’s listenable, enjoyable, and well crafted. –Todd Taylor (Newest Industry, $7 ppd./world)


FOUR EYES, THE:
Rock & Role Playing: CD
Super-nerd, super-pop from Sacramento’s The Four Eyes. Topics ranging from winning spelling bees and becoming king of the nerds to Deathrace 2000. It’s all in good fun, and pulled together really well – playing for eleven years will do that, I’ve heard. I’m getting the impression that they’re an acquired taste, but one I apparently have because I love it. –Megan Pants (Plastic Idol)


FLUX OF PINK INDIANS:
The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks/ Taking a Liberty: CD
Eighteen tracks from this legendary Crass-affiliated band. The TFCTULP LP and the Taking Liberty 7” were originally released in 1983 and 1984 on Spiderleg Records. Here you get both without acquiring a scratched up original for an exorbitant price, but you might have already guessed that obvious fact from the title. I don’t know if this is a defect or it was intended, but all the songs are on one track. That sure takes away the convenience of it being on CD. It’s like having a cassette. You have to fast forward but you cannot skip tracks. At least with vinyl, you can manually lift the needle and move it past songs you don’t want to listen to. I can’t say I’m the most knowledgeable fan. I do have the Strive to Survive... LP. Wasn’t too into the whole Crass thing. Liked the ideology, but could pass on the music. I still find it hard to listen to after twenty years. If you got the patch on your clothing and never listened to the band before, go get this. Someone will eventually call you on it. –Donofthedead (One Little Indian)


FLUX OF PINK INDIANS:
Strive to Survive/Neu Smell: CD
Strange what time can do to one’s listening tastes. Like Crass and most of the other English anarcho-punk bands of the late ‘70s/early ‘80s (except, I must point out, Rudimentary Peni, who maintain an almost religious respect from me to this day) I HATED this band with a passion. Their songs were the musical equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard or strangling a cat and resulted in many a fantasy of jamming ice picks into my ears. Some of the boys in the ‘hood swore by these guys, but I preferred bashing my head into a concrete wall to having to sit through their brand of noise. Twenty years on, however, I find a couple of Crass records in my collection and myself actually digging this reissue. Kinda unnerving. Next thing I know, I’m gonna find myself rocking out to Conflict or something. –Jimmy Alvarado (One Little Indian)


FLATUS:
Crashing Down: CD
Maybe I’m just not getting it, but this sounds to me like over-produced melodic punk with lots of breakdowns and, unfortunately, vocals that could best be described as “operatic.” Not awful, but nothing new, either. If this were a cereal, it’d be Total. In a pinch, it’ll do, but if you’ve got even a box of Honey Nut Cheerios handy, well, it’s all over. –Maddy (Black Pumpkin)


FLACCID TRIP/WILLIAM E. WHITMORE:
Split: 7”
Flaccid Trip: Moody instrumental track. Very college radio. Whitmore: two guys and a guitar dish up a country tune that sounds like something straight offa Andy Griffith’s front porch. –Jimmy Alvarado (Scenester Credentials)


FANG:
Live Cheap: CD
Although there is nothing in the packaging to verify it, what I am able to suss from listening to this is that you’ve got two or three live recordings here from this venerable Bay Area band, the first from one of their recent reunion shows and the others from back in the ‘80s. Great versions of classics like “The Money Will Roll Right In,” “Skinheads Smoke Dope,” “Landshark,” “They Sent Me to Hell COD,” and “Fun with Acid,” among others, can be found here, as well as some others I don’t recognize. Sound quality is pretty good throughout and the performances are pretty spirited, which is about the best one can expect from a live recording. All in all, a nice addition to your collection and guaranteed fun for the whole family. –Jimmy Alvarado (Malt Soda)


EZINA MOORE:
Power of a Woman: CD
Even if you ignore the trite “rockin’ sista from the ‘hood” description on the press sheet and the fact that Ms. Moore’s vocals are flat on a large percentage of the songs here, this has a lot going against it. The production has a flat, demo quality to it, the majority of the songs are unmemorable and there’s a sense of unwitting hypocrisy in singing songs ostensibly about female empowerment when you’re pictured on the cover naked save for some lace panties and a fur. The work here is strongest when she gives up any pretense of “rockin’” and settles into acoustic mode, where on songs like “Back in the Day” and “Same Ol’ Music” she opts for a delivery reminiscent of Tracy Chapman and Erykah Badu. With a much-needed arranger, better production and an image consultant, she just might have a shot. –Jimmy Alvarado (Soulful Warrior)


EXPLODING FUCK DOLLS:
Crack the Safe: CD
A collection of assorted tracks from a band that first made the rounds back in the early ‘90s and are now apparently out playing again. The early tracks with Duane Peters on vocals are not that far off from the noise his more recent bands have been making, but the later tracks with some guy named Kris could easily pass for Clash outtakes. Better than my drunken memories of seeing and/or sharing bills with them led me to believe. –Jimmy Alvarado (Disaster/Bomp)


EX-GIRL:
Endangered Species: CD
If you were ever looking for a reason to avoid a threesome of hot Asian chicks with funky colored hair and matching silvery outfits (apart from reasons of maintaining your own health and well-being, that is), this oughtta ‘bout do it. I mean, the CD cover and i have a hot date tonight, but the disc within somehow manages to crystallize and display the most opprobrious elements of Rush, Queen, Zappa, the Boredoms, the Flying Lizards, and maybe even Klaus Fucking Nomi, god forbid. I should begin to wonder if these ladies are perhaps being held against their will? BEST SONG: I think it would be the one that goes “KS coming down to earth with flash, shooting green and silver beams of gastric medicine at us.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Letter From Mr. Triscuits” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: 1) Hoppy Kamiyama makes a guest appearance on “Digital President,” “Ass Hole Box,” “Slide Geisha,” “Scum Tape-from the Garbage,” “Okama Belcanto,” and “Gram Pot”; 2) Were the guitarist “Zorek” and i to marry, her name would be “Zorek Rozek.” Presumably we would have sons named “Ozker” and “Kerzo.” –Rev. Norb (Alternative Tentacles)


ESOTERIC, THE:
1336: CD EP
It’s amazing how easily suckass jock metal passing itself off as hardcore can ruin one’s day. –Jimmy Alvarado (Black Noise)


ERGS, THE:
Dorkrockcorkrod: CD
There’s no delicate way to say this. I think The Ergs are geniuses. I adored their Ben Kweller EP, but missed something. I loved it as a simple pop album. On Dorkrockcorkrod (it’s a palindrome!) it’s easier to hear a lot of the complexities that are going on behind the guise of pop. It’s like Rivethead, where I just thought it was the hooks that had me listening to it all the time, but then I began to pay closer attention. They’re all proficient players, and when you listen to what’s going on in the background of the songs you hear some interesting things. I actually hear a strong jazz influence, but it never overrides the pop (which has a lot more power in the pop than the EP) and don’t worry, it never even steps close to fusion. Broken-hearted lyrics prevail from their Carpenter-style set-up (you know, the drummer sings). Incredibly infectious – I listened to it fourteen times yesterday. –Megan Pants (Whoa Oh)


EPIDEMIC, THE:
Self-titled: CD
The guys at Rodent Popsicle serve up a reissue of an album that apparently first saw the light of day in the very recent past. Some pretty rockin’ hardcore is dished up here, with a lyrical emphasis on war, which makes perfect sense considering what’s been going on in this country under Herr Bush’s regime, as well as a couple of ditties about police oppression and sadomasochism to break up the monotony. Some good work is put down here that should satisfy the jones of any thrash fiend. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rodent Popsicle)


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