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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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1-800-BAND / SNAKES:
Split: 7”
Two tracks on the 1-800-Band side, steeped in 1970s power pop sensibilities. “Tropical Meds,” the first song, is a catchy, sing-a-long number akin to Joe Jackson’s early releases, island inspired, and feet shufflin’ tunes. Second song, “Good Intentions,” is a little more straightforward pop gem with Wavering vocals over a bouncy organ-filled beat. Good stuff. Snakes provides one song, “Fakeyed Heartscrew,” another song that seems to take a cue from 1970s rock, though more from the Nazareth school of long hair and wizard bongs than the sharp dressed pop of Joe Jackson. –Jeff (Slow Gold Zebra)


ACTION DESIGN, THE:
Never Say: CD
A new transformation from former members of Tsunami Bomb. Straying away from their pop punk past, the band dives into indie territory. The band has dance energy that reminds me of the B-52’s minus Fred Schneider and the aural spirit of a band like the Cranberries. It’s a good blend of textured sounds and a sense of having fun. In the forefront of the music is Emily Whitehurst who sang under the moniker of Agent M in Tsunami Bomb. Her vocals are as stunning as ever and transitions well with the new music that this band is producing. The music definitely raised an eyebrow of interest and is very pleasing to these ears. –don (Popsmear, www.popsmearrecords.com)


SCARED OF CHAKA:
Live at Jays!: 7”EP
Man, I’d be hating a review of this 7” if I was reading it. Here’s a 7” of five live Scared Of Chaka songs recorded in Montana at a Jays Upstairs that served the quite excellently debilitating Moose Drool beer (and unfortunately closed in 2003). This record was made by the band as a single for one show in Chicago. The line to get the vinyl was longer than the amount of 7”s available. Some people went home vinyl-less. I got one and I wasn’t even within 1,500 miles in the vicinity of the show. (Thanks, Ms. Pants.) It’s awesome. If you already celebrate the entire SOC catalog—as I do—these songs aren’t anything new, but dammit, if they ain’t a party on a platter. It’s sort of like seeing chimpanzees in their native habitat; and they’ve figured out how to light fireworks and throw them right at you. –todd (Slovenly)


RYDELLS, THE:
Rock N Roll Is the Answer: CD
As an inveterate Ramones loyalist, I have to ask: What exactly is the point of the existence of “Ramonescore” and all of these lame bands/records this unfortunate genre has spawned? Seriously, Joey and co. were a fantastic band not just because they had some excellent melodies, but because what they did was exciting and vital at a time when nobody else had the same kind of vibe or energy. Shamelessly and painfully ripping off those ‘70s icons for more than a couple of songs leads to some incredibly unimaginative filler, especially when you find shameless rips like the wholesale lifting of the structure of “Carbona Not Glue” with an overlay of bad new lyrics. To quote the venerable Ergs!, “Xerox your genitals, not the Ramones.” –Reyan Ali (Cabana 1)


RUNNAMUCKS:
Untouchable: 7" single
Whoa! Great song! Runnamucks have put more rock into their sound with excellent results. Sort of reminds me of the Abandoned, though this stuff is far more potent. “Untouchable” (from their Inferno LP) is the sort of song that gets played over and over, and loud. Fast with some changes here and there, and never losing momentum. F’n love this stuff! The flip is a Roky Erickson cover, “White Faces.” –Matt Average (Cowabunga / Gnarly Slaughter)


RIOT BEFORE, THE:
Fists Buried in Pockets: CD
I like that, lyrically, they have more substance than one would expect just going by the music they’re peddling, which is middling at best, watered down modern punk that would get them on a Warped bill but wouldn’t distinguish them from any of the thousands of other bands that sound just like them. –jimmy (www.say-10.com)


RICHARD CRANIUM:
Self-titled: CDEP
Richard Cranium? Oh. Dickhead. I get it. Clever. Thankfully, the music is better than the name. Spacey, atmospheric indie rock by way of Indianapolis, IN. The six self-released tracks by the trio explore soundscapes with a bevy of effects and echoes, occasionally at risk of being drawn out and jammy. However, the songs are finely balanced with well-timed, precise, angular, discordant rhythms, creating the equivalent of aural architecture. Reminiscent of the great, screamy, and dancey Les Savy Fav, it is music that comes across as being sincere and without pretense, as well as being music you can groove to. I imagine the songs documented here are best experienced live in a room full of sweaty and flagellating devotees. A+. Will listen again.–Jeff –Guest Contributor (Self-released, www.myspace.com/officialrichardcranium)


RHYTHM SYNDROM:
Cobwebs from the Empty Skull: EP 7”
Snotty and recklessly thrashed-out hardcore soaking in Southern California bad moods and riff slaying. Hidden in all the San Francisquito Dam disaster images are seven songs of glorious, disgusting music along the lines of rudimentary F.O.D. and “No God, No War” D.O.A. I know Neswald hates band comparisons, but I don't care. –Daryl Gussin (Cowabunga)


SOLID DECLINE / RUIDOSA INMUNDICIA:
Split: LP
Solid Decline: If I needed an ass kickin’, this band came at the right time. Charging hardcore that brings thoughts of early Die Kreuzen, Negative Approach, and a little SSD. Thoughts of early U.S. hardcore comes to mind, but amazingly, the band hails from Germany. Manic and at times feeling like it’s ready to fall apart while staying in complete control. Songs come and go and before you know it, you have to put the needle back on for another listen. Ruidosa Inmundicia: This band reminds me a lot of a Polish band I discovered recently called Slowa We Krwi. Fierce and abrasive female vocals over a full-force thrash attack. A no-holds-barred feel is received when they blast through song after song, not resting on their heels with unnecessary fills or breakdowns. The combination of speed and the vocals leaves me breathless from the short, fast, and loud formula they expel. I read that this band has a 7" out there. It’s definitely on my want list. –don (Residue)


REVOLUTIONARY YOUTH:
Self-titled: CD
Sounds like the band members read a bunch of AK Press books, gulped down some energy drinks, and then ran to a recording studio to make this CD. The lyrics are all doom and gloom, but the music is full of energy. Fast! Instrumental! Breakdown! The vocals scream and yell without getting screechy, roar without sounding like grunting. This is a self-release, and the band members even spray painted the covers and packaged the CDs themselves, though I’m not a fan of the kind of goth/crust style artwork they used. –Lauren Trout –Guest Contributor (Self- released, myspace.com/revolutionaryyouthpunks)


REPTOIDS:
Slayed: CDEP
Question for you: What band in the year 2008 sounds like L7? Answer? The Reptoids! Okay, so they do have alternating boy and girl vocals, but otherwise that very L7-ish metal meets rock meets some sort of vaguely punkish sound is all there. Although L7 was actually the first CD I owned, as it was the first to arrive in the mail during my initial scamming of BMG at the tender age of fourteen, I never really got into ‘em. So, if you like L7, this’ll be like Christmas or even a holiday that doesn’t celebrate the Christ Child’s birth! If not, this’ll sound like abnormally sharp (metal!) granola! –Maddy (RRR)


REPTILIAN CIVILIAN:
Dog Factory: EP
Decent garage rock with the vocals real lo-fi, as though recorded through a paper towel tube. The two songs on the a-side, title track, and “Shoeshine Boy” are the choice cuts on this green record. Steady rhythm somewhere between laid back and rockin’ out. And if you want to get particular, “Shoeshine Boy” is thee cut of the entire record. Catchy chorus and pace that runs smooth and never looses momentum. On the flip, “60s Beat” and “247-6911” are more on the freak beat side. –Matt Average (Felony Fidelity)


REAL McKENZIES, THE:
Off the Leash: CD
This and the new Shot Baker are my favorite albums from this batch of reviews. Basically great skate punk that happens to have bagpipes, and unlike a lot of other “traditionally” influenced punk bands, this band never sounds like it’s lost in mindless Pogues regurgitation. The songs manage to flit effortlessly from up-tempo pop punk to slower ballads, like the mostly acoustic “Guy on Stage.” This is the first proper album I’ve got from the McKenzies, so I can’t say how it stacks up to the older albums specifically, but I’ll venture it safe to say that this stands well on its own. I do remember when I saw these guys live about five years ago. That was a great time, especially Paul McKenzie’s insistence on singing “Surfer Joe” between songs, since the show was across from the beach in Malibu. I also got more than an eye full when McKenzie flicked up his kilt and told President Bush to kiss his dong. Seriously though, there’s not a bad song on this disc, as many of them slip right into that sweet spot of being both fun and introspective. Some of my favorites are “The Lads Who Fought & Won,” “Old Becomes New,” “My Mangy Hound,” and the almost pretty “Drink Some More.” Excellent stuff. –Adrian (Fat Wreck)


REAL MCKENZIES, THE:
Off the Leash: CD
I respect the Real McKenzies. Most people compare them to the Dropkick Murphys because they both do punk with bagpipes (so, clearly, Minor Threat and The Marked Men are similar because they both do punk with guitars). The Real McKenzies have been around for, I think, fifteen years or so and this is their sixth studio album. They manage to incorporate the bagpipe into most of their songs. There’s a complication to this. You see, the bagpipe itself can only play in the key B flat and the Real McKenzies have written most of their musical career in that one key. They are the greatest example of variation on a theme that I have ever heard. Thumbs up times twenty. This is their second best behind 10,000 Shots. –Bryan Static (Fat Wreck)


RAW POWER:
Screams from the Gutter: LP
One of my all time favorite punk records of all time gets the vinyl reissue! This record brought Italian punk rock to the forefront to most Americans and around the world. As good as it sounded back then, it still stands the test of time as a powerful record. When punk and metal were melding together to create crossover, this band played it with originality and energy. I have seen the band live a few times in recent years, and when songs from this LP are played, people react with the most enthusiasm for these classics. It’s good to see that it comes back in its original format to be heard the way it was intended. –don (Toxic Shock)


RAMROD:
Joy of Elaborate Yawning: CD
Full-tilt hardcore from these young upstarts from Bowie, MD. (Old or New Bowie, boys?) I have seen them live twice and I think their drummer creates new electrons with each beat—he plays that fast. Without even hearing them, I predict if you like the following song titles, you will dig them—“Tuna in a Can,” “HamburgerCollege,” and “At War with the Deli Man.” But they also have some pretty intense instrumentals too. Good stuff. –koepenick (Cunt)


RAGING DICKBRAIN / PRUNALOGSUSAN PENTAGRAM:
Split: 7”
With a name like Raging Dickbrain who would have expected this record to be ridiculous, right? Apparently, the Raging Dickbrain side includes thirty-one separate tracks, though it mostly sounds like someone barking randomly over poorly played and recorded mashing of the Casio keyboard someone’s grandmother got them as a birthday present twenty years ago. Prunalogsusan Pentagram is essentially more of the same. Thirteen songs on this side, a briefly listenable doom foray quickly segues into odd blips and loops of screams and mumbled voices. Maybe best suited for fans of Jud Jud or other novelty noise and/or hardcore acts. –Jeff –Guest Contributor (Trigger on the Dutendoo, trigger.on.the.dutendoo@gmail.com)


PYLON:
Gyrate Plus: CD
Fantastic reissue of this Athens, GA, post punk outfit. If you liked anything about Gang Of Four, Mission Of Burma, etc., you will dig this. Or I will get your money back for you, no questions asked. They’re playing around the Southeast now. If you get a chance to see them live, do not hesitate. “We eat dub for breakfast!” –koepenick (DFA)


PUTRESCENCE / I DIE SCREAMING:
Split: 7” EP
Both bands are neck-deep into the whole gloomy Muppet-metal trip, with IDS more on the “punk” side of the genre and Putrescence covering the sludgy grind precincts. –jimmy (eschatonindustries@mac.com)


PURE COUNTRY GOLD:
P.C.G.E.P: 7” EP
Showdown! The Mojomatics vs. Pure Country Gold! Two badass two piecers that ramp, jamble, and pounce back to the beginning of rock’n’roll without the Fonzie farts or 2008 rockabilly by way of the stale “rebel sins” of Sha-na-na-isms. This is what I like about rock’n’roll: direct, fun, explosive. I know I’m going all over on this, but if Scared Of Chaka or the New Bomb Turks were a two piece. Or if Chuck Berry was a two piece. Or if fun was never outlawed in the lower forty-eight states. Or if Southern Culture On The Skids didn’t market themselves as the hick B-52’s. Let’s pretend that electronica and emo were never invented together, and with Pure Country Gold, that’s pretty damn easy. –todd (Green Noise, www.greennoiserecords.com)


PSYCHED TO DIE:
Demo: Cassette
New Jersey based super group, with members of bands you’ve most likely freaked out over before. Unlike the other efforts, this is more an early/straightforward SST and DC hardcore kind of band. I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of early, thrashy F.Y.P. at times as well, but I guess that’s a side of being used to most of the vocals belting out pop punk. Pretty solid for a demo, and looking forward to more. –joe (Self-released)


ORPHANS, THE:
Monster: CD
These guys specialize in the same sorta grindin’ (no, not “grind”), grease ’n’ piston-drivin’ rock/punk as L7 back when they were goin’ at it full throttle. No new ground being broken here, but they do what they do pretty goddamned well and it’s clear they’re sincere about it, too, which is almost as good.  –jimmy (no address)


OILTANKER:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Crusty stuff that does the Funky Chicken all over the fine line between hardcore and metal. The lyrics carry the requisite astuteness for the genre and the music churns and thrashes in all the right spots.  –jimmy (www.bspropaganda.com)


OFFRAMPS, THE:
Split the Difference: CD
Detroit’s The Offramps play rock’n’roll that draws influences from The Clash, the country side of The Replacements, and various classic power pop bands. That list of influences may lead one to expect more of the same, but Split the Difference avoids all of the clichés that come with many of the bands that boast Replacements and power pop influences. They wear their influences on their sleeves, but still keep it original and avoid all of the cheesy hazards a band like this can run into. This will more than likely be getting some repeat listens from me.  –Dave Dillon (Deluxe)


OFF WITH THEIR HEADS:
From the Bottom: CD
This one’s a bit hard to review ’cause when all’s said and done, I like it lots. It’s got some great lyrics that revel in the angst and frustrations that drive so many of us (some right into the ground) and the songs themselves are fine examples of anthemic modern punk rock when taken separately. My only gripe is that too often they cling to the same chord progression from one tune to the next. I don’t think I heard more than two songs here that didn’t include it. I know, I know, it’s punk rock, no big deal, right? Well, okay, but there’s two slight problems with that: 1.) Starting off with a whopper of a song like “I Am You” offers the promise of even better songs to follow; 2.) I’m the annoying sort that expects bands to push past whatever boundaries surround them. By my reckoning, all the remaining tracks are on an even keel with the aforementioned opener, and it feels by slipping in the same riff song after song, that the band is fudging and hedging a bit, happy to turn in a “jeez, this is pretty damned good” album instead of a “sweet minty Jesus, that blew my head right off my shoulders” album. When all’s said and done, this sits miles above nearly all the dreck claiming the same territory these days, but my personal hope is that next outing they opt to close their eyes and sail right off the cliff instead of just creeping up and peering over the edge.  –jimmy (No Idea)


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