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Razorcake #84
Tim Version, Ordinary Life LP + bonus 7"
Radon, 28 LP
Zisk #25
Razorcake #83


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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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COLOSSUS:
And the Rift of the Pan-Dimensional Undergods: CD
As a dude who spent a lot of grade school days blasting Iron Maiden from a boombox in my driveway while playing basketball, I’m very skeptical about the resurgence of power metal. A lot of the bands I’ve heard have the sound, but they ain’t got the soul. I get the feeling they aren’t entirely serious about what they’re doing. I’m just waiting for them to lose their composure and say, “Just kidding, dude.” Well, fuck that. I don’t want to listen to joke power metal, no matter how good it is. I don’t want to listen to tongue-in-cheek songs about armored badger warriors, no matter how perfectly executed they are. –MP Johnson (Lucid)


COCONUT COOLOUTS:
Pizza Regret: 7”
A friend decided to steal a Pizza Hut delivery sign off a car in a small town. No big deal I thought, except I was driving the getaway car. And in a small town they really like their Pizza fucking Hut. We got stopped in about thirty seconds and the cop pulled his gun out at us. I wondered why the night was still funny as we walked backwards towards the cop with our hands clasped behind our necks. Found a soundtrack to this night on this 7”. Caught the Coolouts live and they were amazing, energetic, poppy, a nice mix of fun (a banana plays bass, two standing drummers, three or four guitarists, a couple of Charming Snakes) and actual good music you can jump up and down with a girl to. Their 7” is a little more contained but will still blow up the party with the lighter “Pizza Regret,” raging rocker “Weekend,” and the ridiculously memorable anthems “Spell It out Dummy” (p-i-z-z-a t-a-x-i) and “Head Full of Stones.” –Speedway Randy (Seeing Eye)


COCOCOMA:
Self-titled: CD
Goner Records has kickass taste. Rock and roll without caring if a radio station will ever “get” the music. Cococoma pounds away like some of the best bands on the label, catchy and rousing, clean sound, rough times. I was weirded out because Amoeba Records in L.A. had fifteen copies for sale, when it’s usually one-to-two of a cool record when it’s on an indie label. Cococoma must have that crossover between rock, punk, new wave, rockabilly, cavemen, skinny ties, blah blah blah. It kicks ass. –Speedway Randy (Goner)


COCOCOMA / HIPSHAKES, THE:
Split: 7” EP
Tour 7” that came out at the end of last year while these bands rocked the Midwest and East Coast. Cococoma start off with a ripping sonic explosion of punk mayhem, “Never Be True.” This song is such a perfect piece of garage rock insanity that I’m not sure I’m gonna get to the Hipshakes side! The shouted gang vocals of the chorus, “Never be true!/Never be true!/Never be true/What about you?” are impossible not to join. Cococoma’s second track, “Brain Numb” is an atmospheric, organ-driven cover of a Hipshakes tune that they’ve mutated to sound like ? and the Mysterians. Fucking christ, I wasn’t expecting the Cococoma side to be this good. The Hipshakes side kicks off with a bouncy punker called “Hurt My Pride” that is snotty and rude sounding. Ace. Their cover of Cococoma’s “All I Give” is pretty uninspired. –Josh Benke (Tic Tac Totally)


COCKSPARRER:
Here We Stand: CD
At this point in their career, one that spans four (!) decades, Cocksparrer could probably turn a jingle for roof tarps into an anthem for the ages. Their first studio album in quite a while is no less solid than those that precede it—up to the rafters in solid punk tuneage sick with hooks and delivered like only they know how, managing to sound both informed by years of slogging it out yet totally relevant and fully aware that “it’s much the same/a different generation with a brand new name.” Truly unprecedented it is that a band this long in the tooth has remained so consistently good and continued to write and release batch after batch of bonafide classics. Here’s hoping they carry on with the same quality and chutzpah well into the next decade. –Jimmy Alvarado (Captain Oi)


COATHANGERS, THE:
Self-titled: 7”EP
Somewhere in the trapezoid that the Sharp Ease, the Okmoniks, the Mummies, and Bikini Kill make, there’s an area somewhere near the middle that takes makes a show of simple, trashy rock, with a solitary keyboard playfully tinkling on the top and snaking down to your bottom. The Coathangers have nailed that grey spot perfectly and add a nice dollop of their own personality: danceable backbeats, fun/sexy playfulness, catchy choruses, and screamy fun. Makes me think of the unreleased GoGo’s demo; capturing their garagey goodness, without the glazed, cute pop sheen. –Todd Taylor (Die Slaughterhaus)


CLOSET FAIRIES:
Ghetto Girls: 7”
No, not the Closet Fatties as stated in a previous Razorcake review. Closet Fairies, who feature Jeff from Boston’s Witches With Dicks on bass, come from Salem, Massachusetts and play garagey pop punk in the vein of Scared Of Chaka and a little bit of the Dickies. This 7” is short and sweet with one song on the A side and a song titled “Union Suite” on the B side, followed by a rager of a hidden track called “Wooden Nickels.” –Dave Dillon –Guest Contributor (Spent Planet)


CHINESE TELEPHONES:
Self-titled: CD
I had heard about the Chinese Telephones around Razorcake Corporate Headquarters, but had never got to listen to them. I finally got a copy of this album and my first thought upon listening was along the lines of, “What’s the big deal? All the songs sound the same and it’s not that great, and everybody else at Razorcake is stupid except me…me, me, me. I rule!” But I found myself irresistibly drawn to the CD and kept throwing it on whenever I had the chance. Pretty soon I found that the melodies had snuck into my subconscious so that I craved listening to the songs like a heroin addict craves methadone. I have to concede that this is grade-A modern pop punk, like the Ergs! or the Lawrence Arms. I still can’t tell the songs apart, but in a good way somehow. The whole album feels like one big suite, where I recognize different movements. I don’t know if I could ever listen to this as different songs, because the album comes together as a whole so well. I love this record. It makes me want to go find a cute girl with lots of interesting buttons on her clothes and then hang out with her in a park in the middle of summer. I stand corrected on my initial doubts about my colleagues’ taste and mental abilities, but I still stand by the assertion that I rule. –Adrian (It’s Alive)


CHINESE TELEPHONES / DEAR LANDLORD:
Split: CD
Chinese Telephones are one of those melodic punk bands that can be easily dismissed at first as typical. When you first hear the songs, they seem basic and easily forgotten but the infectious melodies creep up on you without warning. Then you hear music in your sleep and realize, “This is that fucking Chinese Telephones’ song playing over and over in my head. Why?” It creeps up on your shit and soon after, you’re looking for more stuff by them to put in your collection. Dear Landlord: more straight forward in their approach and equally infectious, take the “we listened to a lot of Screeching Weasel records” approach to pop punk. Along with some of that Midwestern “let’s all play like Dillinger Four because they’re way better than we’ll ever be” rock. Sounds insulting, but in reality it’s a compliment and dudes pull through with a couple of songs that are catchy as hell. Solid split all the way around. –Dave Disorder (It’s Alive)


CHINA CREEPS:
Self-titled: 7”
Do you remember the Skate Rock compilations that Thrasher magazine put out in the ‘80s? Amazing collections of bands dedicated to their love of punk rock and skateboarding. Fast forward to today. There is a major skate rock resurgence happening in Western Canada. Bands like Calgary’s Sheglank’d Shoulders, Victoria’s Shivs and the Hoosegow, and now Vancouver’s China Creeps are bringing back the screaming wheels and barking trucks of days gone past. This slab is the Creeps first recorded offering and it is fast and furious hard driving thrash. Relentless odes to skating, skaters, and their beloved home bowl: China Creek. Look out, Thrasher; the Canadians are rolling your way. –Ty Stranglehold (China Creeps, myspace.com/chinacreeps)


CHILLERTON:
Self-titled: 7”EP
U.K. version of mid-period Hot Water Music, but with Alison of Discount in the band (on the occasional song). So it’s sorta like Fifth Hour Hero, but a little more clonky and mechanical. Feels like X amount of people are in the room, want to form a band, and they want to approach the songs a little differently. And that’s the not-so-good sort of tension, a band that sounds a little at odds with itself. The sweeping parts seem a little labored and workman instead of that juicy organic tension that HWM—in the best of times—would burst in a messy explosion, like a grapefruit under a speeding semi. Chillerton has potential, and I’m not ruling them out, but I don’t suspect this 7” will get many spins from me. Sorry. –Todd Taylor (Cat’n’Cake)


CHALLENGED, THE:
Relapse: CD
Most of this album is actually pretty tight, but, honestly, not incredibly original, which is mostly forgivable because the band is still fairly new. The music itself draws sound from Bouncing Souls, Pinhead Gunpowder, and Lifetime. What would really help is to tell whoever’s singing on track five to never sing again. It’s sound like he’s trying to imitate Erik Funk of Dillinger Four and ended up sounding like that pterodactyl from Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Their last track is another punk song about not caring what others think, and it’s now so cliché that the only people who still don’t find it ironic that bands with songs like this send out review copies are the people who still think the earth is flat. –Bryan Static (Cabana 1)


CASY AND BRIAN:
Catbees: CD
Casy and Brian are a drums-and-keyboards duo making atonal dance music about anthropomorphic animals. Now, there’s a sentence I never could have anticipated writing. It’s hard not to make a Mates Of State comparison when you know their set-up, but from just hearing them, it’d never cross your mind. Casy and Brian are loud, abrasive, and owe more to hardcore than traditional dance pop, with screeching vocals and staccato, jerky drumbeats. The duo is clearly set on hosting, via CD, a crazy, good-times dance party in your living room. I admire their pluck, even if I’m not particularly swayed to join in. –Sarah Shay –Guest Contributor (Pish Posh Of North America)


CARBONAS:
Self-titled: CD
When I was fifteen, I got busted for trying to steal cassette tapes. In the cop room, they made me take everything out of my pockets. The security guard inventoried it and said out loud as he wrote, “Had enough money to buy the tapes.” The photo they took of me looked like the guys on the Carbonas cover. Harshly lit black and white, desperate but fun. Their music is desperate fun, as if Cheap Trick threw out the cute guitars and arenas and finally got a sharp edge to go with the great power pop. No nonsense. If you liked any of their 7”s, this won’t disappoint. –Speedway Randy (Goner)


CAR BOMB DRIVER:
Evacuate: CD
Though the puerile, sex-obsessed lyrics too often strain to be offensive, and their occasional veering a wee bit too close into Queers clonedom are a little disconcerting, they aren’t without their charms. “Balls on the Outside” is good for a laugh, but the true gem here is “Short Bus Baby,” the subject matter of which is so over the top it ranks up with Kiss’ “Going Blind.” –Jimmy Alvarado (www.24HourServiceStation.com)


CAN KICKERS:
Dark Molly / Live at Lavazone: 7”EP / CD
My brother used to electrocute fish during the summers. Well, he’d shock them so they’d float to the surface. His boss and he would take samples and they’d make a report on how many got chewed up in the turbines of Hoover Dam. The guy he worked for was a DJ at the local community radio station who had a bluegrass program. Because he was a friend of my brother’s and a nice guy, I’d listen to the show, even though I considered myself a budding punk rocker. Like any sort of genre you listen to from the outside, in the beginning, it all sounded pretty much the same, like it was one band playing the variation of one song for a couple of hours. But I liked to listen to it every couple of months. Fast musical instruments—no matter what they are—tend to keep my interest. After a while, I developed a taste for my favorite types of songs and players, and the music opened up a bit. And so it follows with the Can Kickers. They’re not a band I’ll visit every day; however, a 7” is a perfect length for keeping my full attention—a CD only if I’m fully in the mood. Yet, they sure hit the spot when I want to listen to something where someone’s not yelling at me. Real pleasant, blazingly fast bluegrass and folk played razor-sharp in a way that’s both respectful to those who came before, but lively and full of vim to remind us that all forms of music regardless of how long they’ve been around, if played with heart, is reason enough to keep playing and listening to it. –Todd Taylor (Dark Molly, Arkam / Live at Lavazone, Fistolo)


CAN KICKERS, THE:
Dark Molly: 7”
The Can Kickers play loud, raucous, off-the-cuff old-time music, and I can hardly think of a better way to describe them than how they do on their website: “What would happen if Minor Threat and the Ramones picked up banjoes and fiddles and joined a New Orleans-style second line?” It’s all there—the “here goes nothing” attitude of early punk, dirt-folk rowdiness, and a certain Cajun flavor that makes the Can Kickers one of the most fun old-time bands I’ve ever heard. A lot of people playing old-time music are set on preserving the original style and attitude of the music, but The Can Kickers just do it, for the pure love of making noise. –Sarah Shay –Guest Contributor (Arkam)


CABRON:
Mexican Shoe Thief: CDEP
This one really snuck up on me. The CD comes in a sleeve that looks like a 7” that was “hand-printed with love” by guitarist Bob Rob. The songs are layered with big riffs, smart lyrics, and a hugely muscular rhythm section. Cabron has found a place on my permanent rotation and my only complaint is that it’s too short. Expect big things from this band from Chula Vista. –Jim Ruland (www.myspace.com/cabronsd)


BROKEN BOTTLES:
Hospital: CD
Broken Bottles is one o’ them bands that make cantankerous punkers of my generation sound like total fuckin’ ninnies when they start whinin’ that punk has consistently sucked since 1981 and that there are no good bands that “get” it anymore. Vocals that sound like Mike Ness coming off the tail end of a helium bender spewing deceptively butt-simple lyrics, tunes steeped with the perfect amount of “thud,” cranked up guitars informed by OC’s glory days, these guys have the sound down pat and manage to channel everything that Social Distortion has been lacking since 1983 and make the whole thing sound utterly contemporary. –Jimmy Alvarado (TKO)


BROKEN BOTTLES:
Harbor Lane Homes: 7”
Broken Bottles have me a little confounded. Half of their new crop of songs I think are brilliant. The other half seems a little too easy, a little too redundant, and too inside of what they’ve already made. The crib notes to Broken Bottles is take early Social Distortion, take out prison and rockabilly, replace with mental illness and skateboarding, and steep it in the veneered decay of Orange County. On this single, “Skateboarder” is a little weird in the fact that it’d be best as an “after-skate” cool down tune. It’s mid-paced and not something to get you pumped before or during a session. Even when Jess sings “skateboard and destroy,” it sounds less an anthem and more a lament. That said, “On the Couch,” captures what I love about these guys. You can hear the illness and defiance, the cracks in the façade, the mold in the ceiling all above them, and the pacing suits ‘em to a tee. –Todd Taylor (Bat Skates / No Front Teeth)


BROADWAY CALLS:
Self-titled: CD
Pop punk very influenced by late-period Green Day. I heard they’re signing to Adeline Records, so that makes sense. My research also revealed that they’re participants in possibly the most punk rock event of the year: Warped Tour. Yikes. With tons of other records to listen to, I doubt I’ll spend much of my life listening to this band, but I could imagine others might disagree. If this were a cereal, it’d be Alpha-Bits. Why eat it when you could eat Lucky Charms instead? –Maddy (State Of Mind)


BREAKUP SOCIETY, THE:
Nobody Likes a Winner: CD
This record is not completely repulsive to me, but it is permeated with a sort of synthetic ickiness that makes me imagine that it was the product of Gordon Gano’s not-quite-as-bright son leading a band who idolize the Figgs at their least exciting, promulgating a crop of tunes based off the unlikely blueprint of the final Mr. T Experience album—i.e., this is a record where the time between the appearance of Clever Bits is of an extended enough duration that not only do you cease caring about the upcoming Clever Bit, but you also begin to resent the previous Clever Bit for being so unfulfilling. Even the lyrical chirps about Camus sound more lame-o collegiate than they do legitimately pop cultural, so kindly reference that song by Jonathan Richman about the girl not laughing at his jokes to see an example of how a proper pop-Camus reference should be handled. I do not generally wear a wristwatch, but, during the course of this album, i found myself looking at the spot on my wrist where a wristwatch would most likely be located. Quite often. BEST SONG: “Nobody Likes a Winner” BEST SONG TITLE: “The Day Before the First Day of the Rest of My Life,” which should just underscore how subtly annoying this album is. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I was Employee of the Month once at Domino’s Pizza. –Rev. Norb (Get Hip)


BRAY:
Dracula: CD
This is one of a kind. The press release that came with the disc is worthy of its own review, particularly its picture of Bray looking like a 1986-era sitcom version of a rock star. You know, the episodes where the teenage girl puts on makeup, sneaks out to the city with her friends, and goes backstage at a concert, only to learn some valuable lesson? Bray looks like the fake rocker they meet backstage, except with slightly smaller hair. Not only that, but there’s a quote from him that says, “I prefer playing after hours. At night we become what we fantasize about.” Yeah, cheesy as fuck. Was that from Growing Pains or Who’s the Boss? I can’t recall. Just so you know, the music is right in line with the press release. It’s ridiculous. The lyrics are about Dracula and include clever bits like “You can run, but you can’t hide. If you scream, I will find you.” Also, “Can’t wait to sink my teeth into you.” All of these words are sung in a sort of breathy whisper and backed by Dr. Fink, who, according to the press release, played keyboard for Prince. Oh, just to make this more ridiculous, this is a CD single with only one song on it. –MP Johnson (Talking House)


BOULEVARD TRASH:
Demo: CD
Holy shit is this overdue. I got this when I met these kids in Milwaukee last winter, but through moves and messes, I didn’t find it again until just now. I really am wicked sorry about that (and I still have Dave’s bandana if he wants it back). They’ve got that Replacements-type pop down (think Bent Outta Shape or Ringers) with a pretty hefty shot of adrenaline and a little added snottiness. Good stuff. I’m hoping they’ve put more out by now. –Megan Pants (Self-released)


BORN BAD:
Moron Music: 7” EP
Nice bit of spastic, scrappy thrash here, with lyrics addressing blind faith, police brutality, snooty old punks, and stupid young punks. From the sound of ‘em, I’m betting these guys rip shit up live. –Jimmy Alvarado (Fashionable Idiots)


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