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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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TRAMP FOR THE LORD:
Self-titled: CD
Soporific, occasionally country-twinged (mostly) acoustic music from Doug Cox, bassist of ‘80s L.A. rockers The Hangmen. The minimal production/performance of the songs is oddly fitting as an ultimate delivery for the package, with the lion’s share of the tracks featuring only Cox’s sedate warble and his guitar both awash in reverb keeping things simple and the attention focused on the song instead of hiding ‘em under all sorts of digital doohickeys and tricks. Is any of this likely to burn up the charts? Highly doubt it, and to assume that’s the ultimate intent is to miss the point entirely.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Tramp For The Lord, trampforthelord@yahoo.com))


VAASKA / SKIZOPHRENIA:
Split: 7”
I got a lot of hardcore stuff in my review pile this time around. There isn’t a lot of information to go along with this one, but this split kicks off with Vaaska, who play it gruff and heavy with vocals in both Spanish and English. Good stuff for sure, but it was Skizophrenia on the flip side that really grabbed me. I think the vocals are in English (their lyrics are on the insert), but they sound so snotty that it’s honestly hard to tell. Can you imagine if The Stitches played crusty hardcore? I can, and it sounds a lot like Skizophrenia. Both bands play a very non-North American style of hardcore which I can appreciate. The less metal in there the better, I always say. Great packaging with screenprinted jackets (silver ink on black paper) featuring skulls and spiders and all that punk stuff!  –Ty Stranglehold (540)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Desert Rats with Baseball Bats: CD
This compilation brings together twenty-one bands from Las Vegas with the underlying approach being that of melodic punk. There are variations on that theme with some bands like Surrounded By Thieves and Guilty By Association adding a touch of hardcore energy to their songs, whilst the likes of The Dirty Panties and The Seriouslys hit a poppier tone with their tracks. However, melody seems to be the key ingredient. I usually get bored listening to comps but this one has piqued my interest in over half of the bands featured, so that’s quite a positive. A decent representation of what I imagine is one part of the whole Las Vegas scene.  –Rich Cocksedge (SquidHat)


WEEK OF WONDERS:
Piggybacks: 7”
Week Of Wonders play light, airy good times indie rock with that Caribbean feel that’s so popular with hipsters. There’s room in my sanction for wussy music. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t I like music equally as pretty and easy-listening. It would be absurd to say every band should be angry, challenging, or socially relevant though much Week Of Wonders makes me feel the same way I do when I hear that Beach Boys song, “Kokomo.” They sound far better, sure, but it has the same sort of feel.  –Craven Rock (HHBTM)


WIT’S END / TREMBLING HANDS:
Split: 7” EP
Wit’s End: Nice non-traditional guitar playing, maybe a wee bit DC-emo, at times indie punk, and annoying vocals. Trembling Hands: Sounds like a band normally known for playing dissonant thrash trying to tread the same terra as their record mates with lesser returns.  –Jimmy Alvarado (No address listed)


WRINGER:
Bullfighter: LP/CD
Wringer takes me back to the time when Green Day and Screeching Weasel were young pups, full of enthusiasm and great songs, paving the way for thousands of imitators. As debut albums go, Bullfighterstands out and announces itself with an equal amount of brio to that was initially displayed by those bands in their early days. There are moments when the vocals contain harmonies that clearly would not have been out of place on 39 Smooth as well as times when I hear a bit of Dillinger Four in the mix too, both positives to my ears. The guys in Wringer offer up an album which combines those influences with their own collective footprint and then runs smoothly with the resultant amalgam aided by a really strong and punchy delivery. Hands down, this is one of the best pop punk records I’ve had the pleasure of hearing in quite a while.  –Rich Cocksedge (Smellhound / Waterslide, smellhound@gmail.com / info@waterslide.com, waterslide.com)


WHITMAN:
Miasto Masa Marketing: CD
Political ‘80s-style punk from Poland with lots of gang choruses that could have a whole lot more energy. Maybe they could learn something from the spazzed-out holler-harmonizing of those wackjobs from Puerto Rico, Tropiezo. It was all I could do not to turn Miasto Masa Marketing off and play my Tropiezo CD. I think I’ll do that now. –Craven Rock (Pasazer)


WESTERN SETTINGS:
Western Settings: CDEP
A five-track release that is reminiscent of Arms Aloft—songs that make me want to raise a pint of Guinness and sing along in drunken unison. It’s unusual in that the quality of the songs increases from start to finish. “Mostly Dead All Day” shows the band off at its best and I’d imagine this track would have me precariously close to spilling my pint given how much it energizes me.  –Rich Cocksedge (La Escalera)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Lambination IV: 2 x CD
This double CD has forty-four bands on it. I started out taking notes for each band, but by the end I couldn’t differentiate between the majority of them. The first CD has mostly bands that could have fit on Fat or Epitaph in the 1990s and the second CD sounds a lot more like Cock Sparrer clones. I preferred the second CD to the first. The standouts on the first CD were the acts that leaned more towards traditional hardcore like Hostages For Smack, Snatcher, and Ziplock. Ziplock was my favorite of the entire compilation. The best tracks on the second CD were Night Of Treason and First Time Riot. There are a total of fourteen countries represented here and the award for best bands goes to the U.K. The problem with compilations like this is that there are way too many bands to really give it a positive or negative review. I’m gonna go NATO on this one and say it’s 50/50.  –Adam Mullett (Dead Lamb)


UPSET:
She’s Gone: LP
“Oh Queen Frosteen, oh what a dream with wavy locks of crystalline/When I see her face I beam. How beautiful is Queen Frosteen? She’s a frosty teen, she’s an ice queen. She’s super mean/ and all her friends are princesses and her boyfriend is the king,” sings Upset. Say what you will about Avril Lagvine, but, at least she was a teenager when she sang “Skater Boy.” What we have with Upset is a group of women in their mid-twenties and late-forties playing equally banal teeny-bopper, Top 40 pop songs and this is just kind of disturbing and creepy. She’s Gone is offensive to me on a social and artistic level, but if you’re a fan of stuff like Brittney Spears or the above-mentioned Avril Lagvine, you might get it.  –Craven Rock (Don Giovanni)


UPINATEM:
Same Songs Only Shittier: CD
Live CD from this long-running Utah-based outfit. I don’t think they have been able to tour very much, but this CD finds them bringing the rock in a live setting. Maybe a little too metal to be hardcore and a little too hardcore to be metal, these guys kind of remind me of Dead Lazlo’s Place in their prime, which isn’t a bad thing. All in all, a pretty enjoyable listen if you ask me.  –Garrett Barnwell (1332)


TYLER DANIEL BEAN:
Everything You Do Scares Me: 7”
Singer-songwriter Tyler Daniel Bean describes his music as “heavy indie.” After listening to the two tracks on Everything You Do Scares Me, I think concentrated melancholy might be even more apt. The songs are haunting and subdued, and coupled with Bean’s clear, though quiet vocals, push on a listener’s emotional pressure points enough to make even the toughest tear up a bit inside. “Year of the Snake,” was the most somber track. Bean’s musical way of dealing with the death of a friend captures—both in music and lyrics—the shock and trauma of such loss. The B-side track, “I Was Wrong,” is more upbeat musically, but retains a similar level of emotional gravitas. It’s rare when a songwriter can convey so much emotion in their music, and it’s something you have to experience for yourself.  –Paul J. Comeau (Tor Johnson)


TEENAGE LOVE GUNS / MISSRATA:
Split: 7”
Two German bands each deliver a pair of songs on this strong split 7”. Teenage Love Guns from Hanover play Face To Face-inspired pop punk and Missrata from Erfurt play tight, mid-tempo anthem punk easily comparable to Distillers, especially given the female vocals. There’s nothing wrong with mainline sounds, and the international appeal of said sounds helps to explain their organic popularity in the first place. Playful and full of life, both groups get kudos for unabashedly embracing their passions, rather than trying to conform to something more timely.  –Art Ettinger (Wanda)


SUSPICIOUS BEASTS:
Never Bloom: LP
Unusually mid-paced power pop from Tokyo, Japan. Whereas you have acts like Gentleman Jesse And His Men or the Reigning Sound mixing in bouncy numbers alongside their slower ballads, nearly all of eight songs on this platter stay on course with a slow and simple pace. The dreary vocals don’t do much to help get me psyched on this record, which is a pity because the moments that do rock are overshadowed by the laid back nature of the rest of the tracks: sort of like drinking a six pack of beer and only getting a buzz from two of them. And with that, I just realized how appropriate the title of this record is.  –Juan Espinosa (Alien Snatch)


STRANGE MATTER:
Ennui Actuation Dissolver: 7”
Guitar-heavy hardcore punk out of Milwaukee. Has a tinge of ‘90s metal. Think a sludgier-punker Pantera. None of this is terrible nor is it compelling. It’s pretty generic. It’s missing something to set it aside from all the other bros dishing this shit out. Maybe this could happen for Strange Matter, just not on this 7”.  –Camylle Reynolds (Dirty Hippy Barn)


STABLE BOYS:
Attitudes: 7”
Stable Boys feature members of some well-known bands from the Philadelphia area, notably Algernon Cadwallader and Glocca Morra. The music is a bit more straight forward and stripped down. I can’t help but make a Pteredon comparison—music that has a ton of emotion in it without coming across as forced and fake. This has lots of dudes screaming at the same time but it’s still harmonious with out being chaotic. The sleeve and insert are pretty awesome. I’m guessing the paper came from a print shop reject or something because it’s on the back side of a Meet Joe Young DVD sleeve. The insert has all the clarity and readability of an Indian Summer insert. Unintelligible words and photos, mostly torn up newsprint. This is a quality record and worth listening to again. –Adam Mullett (Evil Weevil)


SPIKNYKTER:
Self-titled: 7”
Super political, anarcho hardcore from The Netherlands. While I agree with much of what they are saying (and they are saying a lot on both the record and the inner sleeve/booklet), I find I only like a couple of the songs on the record. I bet they put on good shows.  –Ty Stranglehold (Commitment)


SPACE WOLVES:
III: Cassette
One part Morrissey crooning (including his penchant for sardonic witticisms about unrequited love), another part jangly leads lifted from the fingers of Johnny Marr (sans the aquatic warbles), and a big serving of syrupy pop hooks. Some tunes slip by—short, catchy, instantly to the point. While others, like “The Burn” and “The Interstate,” flaunt bouncy garage choruses and pleasant chiming percussions. Includes a cover of The Flesh Eaters’ “Pony Dress.” Overall, lighthearted and compact: the perfect short drive cassette.  –Sean Arenas (Ut, ut-records.com / Drug Party, drugparty.com)


SLUSHY:
“Candy” b/w “Pocket”: 7”
Both songs are lo-fi, two-man band inspired rock. Echo vocals and guitars. Just the right combination of “we’re not trying.” Both songs are catchy enough with a ‘60s/bubblegum influence.  –Billups Allen (Slushy.bandcamp.com)


SAVE ENDS:
Warm Hearts, Cold Hands: LP
How much better is emo when the singers can actually sing? There are even male-female harmonies. Luckily, this Boston band knows where to stop so that smooth doesn’t turn into slick. If endearingly sincere, tight, fast, poppy, late ‘90s-style emo rock is your poison, then you’re about to get dead. Sorry.  –Chris Terry (Tiny Engines)


RESERVES, THE:
Made in Tennessee: CDEP
If Pittsburgh’s the Heretics were still around and had morphed into a streetpunk band, they’d be sounding like the Reserves. Gravelly vocals, songs that tend to go on just a smidge too long, and a palpable undercurrent—maybe not all that strange, given the band’s professed love for their region—of southern rock. It’s kind of an unremarkable outing, given that their most memorable song is a cover of “Shenandoah,” but, to be fair, I’m also sure that if I was in a bar in Nashville and these dudes were playing, I’d be making a huge idiot out of myself a-hooting and hollering.  –Keith Rosson (Stik Man)


REACTA:
Refraction: CD
I’m expecting tracks from these Mexico-based alternative rockers’ debut album getting added to indie and college radio stations across the U.S. I would compare their efforts along the lines to a refreshing take on the Arctic Monkeys or The Killers. Plenty of ambient sounds to groove on while you wait for their next hook. They do find their way to majestic heaviness on a few of the tracks, such as during the mid-section of “Complication,” but, for the most part, you have a very well-written and modern synthpop album.  –Brent Nimz (Alaric)


POLYCHROME VIOLENCE:
Self-titled: 7” EP
So, I’m going to guess that these Michigan punksters are fairly new to the game? The songs are garage type punk rock with a lot of heart. In my opinion, they recorded too soon. The songs are definitely there to dig into but I think with a little more time to tighten things up, they would have ended up with a much better product to introduce themselves with.  –Brent Nimz (American Sedation)


PERSONAL BEST:
The Lovin’ EP: 12”EP
Personal Best is a project consisting of members of Caves, BedfordFalls and Attack! Vipers! and the obvious intent is to provide an outlet for a love of 1990s indie/alternative music. The blend of warm fuzzy melody and noise matched with Katie Gatt’s echoey vocals really works here and the end result is a highly enjoyable listen with “Conkers” being the ace in the pack as Gatt pulls out all the stops for a cracking romp.  –Rich Cocksedge (Specialist Subject)


PEPES, LOS:
No SOS: 7” EP
L.A. thug-pop meets New York swagger in London, of all places. Three tracks of purebred punk rock stompin’ sure to warm the cockles of anyone who thinks everything on Dirtnap and/or Modern Action is crucial listening.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Wanda)


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