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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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CONFORMISTS, THE:
Three Hundred: CD
For once it seems as though all the “sounds like” listed in the biography are right on the nose: Don Caballero, Unsane, US Maple, Slint, and the Jesus Lizard. Yup, they’re all here. The Conformists are hardly what their name suggests, which is surely another shot of irony to the rock and roll world. There are lots of solid ideas here, many of which never seem to go anywhere. For example, once you can get past the stupid opening of the track “Black People”, the latter part of the song totally kicks ass. It’s got an intense forward march approach with the guitars, sounding like they came out of the Steve Albini school of rockin’ (hey, whaddya know! Albini recorded the album!) with vocals that bellow anger and chaos and the inability to break free. On “Meredith Knezvitch”, the opening line “You’re the big man now” had me waiting for one more word (dog) in the hopes that it was a tribute to one of Sean Connery’s finest works, “Finding Forester”. But alas, it never came. Instead, the band continued to pound out haphazard beats, wild vocals, subtle basslines and off the wall guitar chords. There’s something going on here; something I really like but there’s also something else keeping me from totally getting into this. I like me some math rock, but this is like drunk math rock on cocaine. Strangely enough, I think I mean that as a compliment. –Kurt Morris (54 40 or Fight!)


CHEAP TIME:
Spoiled Brat: 7" EP
These guys dole out some loose, trashy punk, sorta like Loli And The Chones sans the vitriol. Not bad, but no big whoop, either. –Jimmy Alvarado (Sweet Rot)


CANDY:
Self-Titled: CDEP
There was something missing here. This is one of those strange moments when a band has everything in place, and all of the appropriate elements are there, and sounds like nothing more than that. The best records are those in which five plus five adds up to twenty, the sum turning out much larger than what the various parts should add up to. On this record, five plus five equals ten. Reminds me of Anti-Flag, but not as good. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Vending Machine)


BRAIN FAILURE / BIG D AND THE KIDS TABLE:
Split: CD
Brain Failure: Rancid worship mixed with some Social Distortion from China. I remember liking their CD American Dreamer enough to keep it but haven’t listened to it in a long time. I would have been so into this 5—7 years ago. Big D: They seem to be one of the last few standing of the big ska punk wave of the late ‘90s. For me, I much rather see and hear ska live these days than have to hear a recording of it. It brings up images of boring adults thinking Sublime is still the shit. –Donofthedead (Bad News)


BORN LIARS:
Keep Smiling: CD
I totally expected to like these guys, so I was a bit dismayed when I wasn’t all that impressed. Playing it over, I realized it wasn’t the music that was turning me off but the singer, whose lack of enthusiasm and off-key vocals just zapped all the fun out. Can’t win ’em all, I guess. –Jimmy Alvarado (Mortville)


BLACK TIE REVUE:
Code Fun: CD
The press bio comparisons to The Raspberries, Yum Yums, Only Ones and Records are a bit of a stretch (“we sound like the Raspberries” can be faithfully translated to “we LISTEN to the Raspberries” in almost one hundred percent of known circumstances), but I guess I can’t fault the band for aiming high. They actually sound about fifty percent like one-time Gearhead label mates Red Planet, and the other fifty percent like the Minds playing Exploding Hearts songs. Rock and Pop played by Punks who own Power Pop records and a keyboard. Yeah. I don’t hear “THE HIT” here, but all ten songs are good. Have at it, and keep those cravats lean. BEST SONG: “Call Waiting” BEST SONG TITLE: “Absent Radio” FANASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: forty percent of this band has facial hair. What am I to make of this? –Rev. Norb (Gearhead)


BLACK AND WHITES, THE:
You're the Only Girl: 7"
Good, not essential, bubblegum pop. Not as peppy as the type of pop I thrive on, this is better than what you get from the radio but too controlled. –Speedway Randy (Douchemaster)


YOUNG KNIVES, THE:
Voices of Animals and Men: CD
This English band sounds like a less XTC-ed out version of the Robocop Kraus (whom I reference an awful lot for a band I didn’t even like the first time I heard them), with maybe one extra Jam record and three extra Syd Barrett records in their collections, though “She’s Attracted To” could pass for some sort of Billy Childish event, except for the fact that the character in the song is beating up his girlfriend’s dad, not his own. They appear to be angry about something. My guess is it’s the cut of their suits. BEST SONG: “She’s Attracted To” BEST SONG TITLE: “She’s Attracted To”… or “In the Pink Mystic Energy” if you’re feeling particularly pink and mystic. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Came with a bonus DVD, which I did not watch, but am trying to watch right now on my laptop, in the interests of Fair Play™, but is not working, because my laptop sucks. –Rev. Norb (Transgressive)


WOODEN DUBS:
WON LOVE: CD
Gotta say, I’m a little stumped for words, ’cause the band trumped me and offered up the best description of what’s on this disc with the band name. Best to be honest right up front, I guess. –Jimmy Alvarado (woodendubs@hotmail.com)


WHAT REMAINS:
Destroys All Monsters!: LP
Sounds like a bargain basement version of Dag Nasty. I like the bargain basement aspect of things, but, subtracting that, What Remains destroys any hopes of listening to this record a second time. BEST SONG: “Gone For Good,” as far as I could tell. BEST SONG TITLE: “My Favorite Vowels are E & I” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: That explains a lot, as those are my LEAST favorite vowels. –Rev. Norb (Enchantment Under The Stars)


WHAT REMAINS:
Destroys All Monsters!: CD
Poppy, emo and thoroughly painful to listen to for all the wrong reasons. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dave’s Bedroom)


VIOLENT ARREST:
Self-Titled: LP
Former members of Ripcord, Spite, Can’t Decide and Excrement of War dish up a monstrous heap o’ speedy crash-boom punk rock straddling the line between the UK thrash they pioneered and the Midwestern US hardcore that influenced them in the first place. The result, as can be expected, is an album that shames any collection that doesn’t include it in its ranks. Yeah, it’s that good. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.derangedrecords/com)


VICIOUS, THE:
Igen: 7"
Three songs in Swedish, one in English. It’s a “super”group (DS13, Regulations, and International Noise Conspiracy) that plucks elements from their previous bands, but is wise and creative enough to stand on their own merits. (Think Dangerhouse, in current day Umea, Sweden.) And although I’m a huge fan of the band—they came in off van trouble at the last minute of an all-ages show, then tore through their set without a complaint, while the crowd exploded—and I highly recommend their Alienated LP, this 7” isn’t essential. It’s a tad more languid, a bit less catchy. –Todd Taylor (Feral Ward)


VENUS:
We Are the Fury: CD
Although I harbor a secret defect whereby I embrace glam and quietly harbor the foolish belief that ROCK, as ROCK, does have some manner of punk-disregarded universal healing power (especially if you’re stoned or something I guess), and forty percent of the time I’ve spent listening to this record makes me want to give it a chance (“give it a chance” more or less means “just put it on while you’re sitting on the porch reading comic books and see if it sinks in or something”, the other sixty percent of this record makes me remember just how much I fucking HATED David Bowie when I was in college (the first time). Advantage: Hate. BEST SONG: “Now You Know” BEST SONG TITLE: “Hey Love” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: “Saturday Night” is not the Bay City Rollers song. Contrast to Siren’s review. –Rev. Norb (Unborn Media)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Whiskey Dancing, Twelve 80's Hits Revisited: CD
I’m a big fan of cover songs. But something new has to be brought to the table. This release reminds me of when I was probably around five years old and I went with my mom to Thrifty’s and asked her to buy me this record which I thought was a compilation of hit songs at the time. I figured I could talk her into it since it was real cheap. She agreed to buy it for me. When I get home, I rush to my record player to play the record. To my surprise I never noticed that there were no artists listed. It was a bad studio session band playing all the songs. This feels the same. There are twelve French bands that basically are playing the songs like the originals. Even worse, there are two U2 covers! Bleagh! On top of that blasphemy, they have the nerve to say that this should be filed under: punk rock / pop / hardcore. Pop, yes. Punk rock and hardcore, not even in my delusional LSD filled dreams. –Donofthedead (Slow Death)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Don't Fall Asleep: CD
If you like your punk rock to sound like the World Inferno Friendship Society or like the recent folk punk trend, then this is for you! However, much more importantly, this comp. includes one of the current top ten bands in America U.S.A.! If you like off-beat pop punk, silliness, tambourines, and slowed-down sincere covers of the Sex Pistols and the Misfits, Bla Bla Blacksheep is your band! Maybe I'm biased because the first time I saw one of the members play a show, he was joined by several stuffed animal friends, in one of the most remarkable displays of ridiculosity I had seen in some time! In other words, buy this comp and then start stalking the Blacksheep duo! If this were a cereal, it'd be one of those small twelve-pack comps, with Bla Bla Blacksheep as Rice Krispie Treats cereal! Taking the basics (Rice Krispies) and adding sugary ridiculousness (Treats!). I am a dork! –Maddy (Daybreak)


UP THE EMPIRE:
Light Rides the Super Major: CD
Up The Empire play modern power-pop that sounds like a lot of other stuff that seems popular on college radio nowadays.(Yerp, I guess I am an old fogey…) Some of it has that trendy retro ‘80s disco backbeat, and there are shades of indie rock about it. It’s not bad, but didn’t give me heart palpitations. –Jason Donnerparty (The Cougar Label)


UGLY BEATS, THE:
Take a Stand: CD
They’ve got this kind of modern take on the Mersey best, which isn’t usually my thing, but I like it here. Good music for dinner parties. –Megan Pants (Get Hip)


D.O.A.:
Punk Rock Singles 1978-99: CD
This release gathers thirteen singles (well, technically eleven singles and two EPs) totaling twenty-six tracks from Canada’s finest punk pioneers D.O.A. The CD progresses chronologically, from D.O.A.’s first release the Disco Sucks 7” from 1978 all the way up to a cover of Black Flag’s “Nervous Breakdown” from a 1999 split single. This is just as good a place to start as any when it comes to D.O.A., since it has most of their essential early classics on here like “The Enemy,” “The Prisoner” “World War III,” and “Fuck You” (which is actually a cover of fellow Vancouver band the Skulls). Many of the later songs (post 1983) are actually interesting enough too, if not quite as frantic and hook filled as the earlier releases. The only stumbling block is “Marijuana Motherfucker,” which sounds like an amped up filler track from a Cheech and Chong album. The fact that all the songs here are presented in remastered single versions makes this CD a worthy purchase for those without an obsessive vinyl collection of hard to get punk records, plus the liner notes about each release are really interesting. –Adrian (Sudden Death)


TULIPOMANIA:
Anamorphic: CD
Trippy-dippy stuff with a singer who manages to whisper and whine at the same time, which is quite an impressive feat. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.sursumcorda.com)


TOUCHERS, THE:
The Underwater Fascist: CD
Great song titles from this one band featuring Ben Spangler. “Not Right In The Head,” “Two Shit Icepack,” and “Do The New Plague, Babe.” One man band in that he is the only member who remains constant. Lot of distortion and some Frank Black influences as well. If you can get past the idea that the vocals sound a lot like Kurt Cobain, then this may get your juices flowin’. –Sean Koepenick (touchers@hotmail.com)


TOASTERS, THE:
One More Bullet: CD
Was a bit nervous about giving this a spin ’cause I haven’t heard these kids in nearly two decades and was afraid they’d opted to clutch at the same brass ring that led No Doubt astray. Luckily, they’re still firmly entrenched in the ska camp and, even more luckily, they remain on the more traditional tip than the ska-pop or ska-punk crap that’s resulted from the last wave that brought us Sublime and a billion lesser bands. Especially dug their take on Dave Clark Five’s “Bits and Pieces.” –Jimmy Alvarado (Stomp)


TEN VOLT SHOCK:
6NULL3: CD
Nice angular hardcore stuff here, kinda like a cross between early Wire and Jesus Lizard. Makes the ears hurt in all the right ways. –Jimmy Alvarado (Bakery Outlet)


TEENAGE ANGST / PIAZZA DROPOUT:
Split: 7" EP
Piazza Dropout: Eleven blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em thashers crammed onto their side of this, all of which go by in less time than it takes to form an opinion on them. Teenage Angst: They slow things down a teensy bit compared to their buddies on the other side of this, and take a little more time to get their point across, but they still serve up some strong hardcore. –Jimmy Alvarado (Grinse)


TAXPAYERS, THE:
Cats out of Pipe Cleaners: CD-ROM
Homemade hippy-sounding stuff. The kind of group that you’d see playing in a coffee house. Not bad, but certainly not remarkable. End of story. –The Lord Kveldulfr (www.myspace.com/thetaxpayers)


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