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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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POISON IDEA:
Kings of Punk: 2x LP
What else can be said but “essential”? Poison Idea is an anomaly in the pantheon of American hardcore. They withstand the test of time. This beautifully reissued record is a testament to that. You should already know that the tunes here are amazing. The second record features live stuff from 1984-1986 that brings all the fury that is PI. I could only imagine what it was like to see them back then, and now I don’t have to wonder. There is also a poster, photos, artwork and Jerry A. telling the story of shooting the grotesque album cover. Keep the reissues coming TKO! –Ty Stranglehold (TKO)


GASMASK TERROR:
17101961: 7” EP

I imagine some will howl to the contrary, and there are definitely exceptions (Metal Urbain comes to mind), but by my recollections is that France has never much been a consistent hotbed of quality punk and especially hardcore. This definitely falls into the “exception” pile. You get four tracks of Discharge-inspired hardcore with a ferocity that is more akin to Scandinavian bands like Totalitär than the band upon which the template is built. In short, quite impressive.

–Jimmy Alvarado (Solar Funeral)


PIG WELT:
Root Porno: Cassette
One of the best listening experiences I’ve had in a long time was over the summer, driving with Zach Rooney to our friends’ house while he played rough demos of his new Pig Welt songs. It was a warm day and breezy, and here was Zach playing genius home-recorded desert rock by way of Unwound and Slint through his iPhone (might have been an iTouch). I think I briefly understood the universe, no joke. On Root Porno, he finds the common ground between Up on the Sun and David Grubbs, between a cluttered attic bedroom and the expanse of the Mojave and the cool, damp woods of the Northwest. It’s effortless, catchy head-space rock with bonus droning, for people who want to drive/float/smoke on a long, slow day. Get this immediately. –Matt Werts (Holy Page, holypage.org)


FULL SUN:
Stay Awake: 7”

Jeff Grant crafts catchy songs without big choruses, sneaking the hooks into guitar lines and the vocal melodies at the ends of verses. He honed that skill in his old band, Pink Razors, and is really killing it with his solo project, Full Sun. The pace on these three songs is a little slower than that on his first two releases, and the hooks have more room to breathe. It’s like a melodic punk scratch-off ticket, the record needle flaking away layers of fuzz and sound effects to reveal prize songs.

–Chris Terry (Let’s Pretend)


FULL SUN:
High Ceiling Bare Floor: Cassette

This compiles the first two tapes by Jeff Grant’s solo project, Full Sun. “High Ceiling” is a bit punkier, with the left field dubby elements in their own songs. “Bare Floor” begins to integrate the low-fi studio trickery into the indie-inflected punk. The end result is in the middle of a Marked Men, Lee Perry, Guided By Voices triangle. Fifteen songs total.

–Chris Terry (Houseplant)


PERKELE:
A Way Out: CD
This oi band from Sweden has been around since 1992 and has been consistently releasing quality music. This is another home run from them. These ten new songs of old school oi anthems that have a touch of Sham 69 mixed in are a powerful stampede of bootboy anger and passion that will have you singing along with them. This band has gone out of their way to create an album of hooks and tight playing with gruff vocals that give the songs a hard edge. It stands out from the generic stuff that passes off as punk rock a lot of the time, like the horrible Blink 182. These guys sound nothing like them and don’t pander to the masses to dilute the aggression and pure power of these intense oi songs. The songs are played with such feeling and commitment that you can hear the love and emotion that the band has put into this new album, so much so that it fills you with a sense of energy and excitement that makes you want to shout about them to all of your friends. If you don’t own any of their albums, go out and start with this one; if you’re already a fan, you need this one! –Rick Ecker (Spirit Of The Streets, oi-punk.com)


FOXFIRES:
The Golden Age: 7”

I’ve seen Foxfires live several times, but this was my first time experiencing them on recording. This 7” does an excellent job of capturing their live sound. This is a record sure to inspire as much moshing and sing-alongs at home as Foxfires inspire at their shows. What really makes Foxfires for me is not just that they rock musically, but lyrically. Vocalist Josh Lyford is a solid performer on the mic, and his almost stream-of-consciousness lyrics tackle themes that are deeply personal, expressed in poetic terms that gives Foxfires a gravitas the music alone can’t quite convey. I dug this record from the start, but I enjoyed it even more after repeated listens as I picked up on the lyrics.

–Paul J. Comeau (Escapist, escapist-records.com, foxfireshc@gmail.com)


PENETRATORS:
Kings of Basement Rock: LP
The second reissue for this early garage punk gem here, originally released in the ‘80s by Fred Records and reissued prior by Rave Up around the turn of the millennium. What you’re getting with your buy-in are twelve tunes steeped in ‘60s beat rock recorded 1976-84. The sound is quite clean, and this version has apparently been remastered from an original pressing of the album, so it sounds even more like they’re playing in your garage. –Jimmy Alvarado (Slovenly)


FORWARD:
War Nuke and Death Sentence: LP

Legendary Japanese band Forward return with their first release since 2004’s Burn Down the Corrupt Justice LP. Based in Tokyo, Forward have been mainstays for nearly twenty years, and show no sign of slowing down. War Nuke and Death Sentence introduces a new drummer to the fold, but maintains the furious sound that carved Forward’s place in hardcore punk. Their twin guitar attack allows for some catchy riffs and insane solos, which, when combined with the thundering low end rhythms of their bassist and drummer, creates the ideal backdrop for vocalist Ishiya’s gravel-throated growls. I’ve loved this band for a while, and this release is a great addition to their catalog.

–Paul J. Comeau (Prank, fw@forward1996.com)


FOOTBALL, ETC.:
Audible: CD

I guess if you really miss Rainer Maria and Caithlin DeMarris’s vocals, this eleven-song, thirty-minute album is your next logical step. Then again, sometimes I miss Rainer Maria (they always put on a good live show and I have some fond memories associated with their music), but even this was a bit too similar for me.

–Kurt Morris (Count Your Lucky Stars, cylsrecords.com)


PAMPERS:
Self-titled: LP
Pampers is a cool record that doesn’t fit easy categorization—hard-charging punk rock bordering on hardcore. Pampers also incorporate a mid-‘80s Casio sampler and guitar effects. Lyrics are largely indistinguishable and the music gets sludgy at times. Fans of Ryan Rousseau’s various projects (Tokyo Electron and Destruction Unit) will likely be into Pampers. Pampers is a solid debut worth picking up. Band is from Brooklyn. –Ryan Leach (In The Red)


FLATLINERS, THE:
Dead Language: CD

Melodic punk from Ontario, Canada with high production values as has become the standard with Fat releases. The first song sounds dead-on like a No Use For A Name song who at one point sounded just like NOFX (I’m starting to see a pattern here). The rest of the album just seems to follow along with passionate vocals, anthemic choruses, and the occasional uneventful breakdown. However, I tend to prefer the more human-sounding bands who allow themselves to fuck up a drum part or forget a bass note to the ones who streamline the quality of their music according to mainstream standards. Needless to say, this album just wasn’t meant for a jerk like me.

–Juan Espinosa (Fat, theflatliners.com, fatwreck.com)


ORIGIN OF M:
Struggle: LP
I was hooked on this from the opening riffs of the title track. Origin Of M’s distinct sound is a collision of the raw intensity of hardcore punk meeting the swagger of rock’n’roll. Featuring Mr. Guy, formerly of Gudon, on vocals and Maru, of Asphalt, on guitar, Origin Of M take catchy riffs, incorporate blazing solos into them, and add Mr. Guy’s howling voice to create a ten-track LP that you don’t just listen to, you experience it. The mixed Japanese/English lyrics have a decidedly political bent, and complement the music well. There are plenty of sing-along parts, and some heavy mosh parts that make you want to get low and dance, especially on the song “Suck Up!!” which was one of my favorites on this. I’m totally stoked on this record. –Paul J. Comeau (StraightUp, reallife@straightup-rec.com)


FLAG OF DEMOCRACY:
23: LP

Another immaculate, borne-from-love reissue of 1988’s “17 Punk Anthems from Flag of Democracy” from SRA (sticker, download code, color vinyl, and an alternative cardstock sleeve/poster). And that alternate cover got me thinking. The cover on the outside’s high contrast black and white. Live band mayhem—blurred and stark. The inner cover’s saturated in bright colors. The band’s posed and candid, happy, smiling, waving, and inviting. The drummer has the tips of his sticks up his nose. They look like goofs. When bands try to pull this off—the skeletal bleakness of bummer-based “reality” politics balanced with, “Hey, we’re humans who fart and go on vacations”—most fail. Only the really adept bands don’t get stuck in the cul-de-sac of too-specific politics where it’s almost impossible to not be dated. (My headspace for positive comparisons would be Hüsker Dü, Minutemen, and JFA [for the instrumental].) Don’t get me wrong, FOD rage. This isn’t the Dickies (who are awesome for completely different reasons). Anxiety and malice radiates stink lines when 23 spins. Twenty-five years later, it still makes squares and people who use irons on their clothes poop their pants from sheer force and the thousands upon thousands of notes played in a relatively short time. Blast this on the street and watch the SUVs and expensive cars scatter away, like cockroaches from cucumbers (the only thing cockroaches won’t eat). FOD’s a rare bird that can both be serious and wink-wink-y, fast yet intricate, all without being predictable or turning into a mushy blur. It’s punk. It’s as catchy as it’s fast, and I like it a whole bunch.

–Todd Taylor (SRA)


ONIONS, THE:
Self-titled: LP
These guys have been around for a while, pounding out their take on the beer-swilling, KBD-inspired garage punk’n’roll. If that’s your thing, this fourteen-song LP will not disappoint. Of the songs on here, two feature vocals by fellow Wisconsinite Rev. Nørb of Boris The Sprinkler. This is totally solid, no-frills Midwestern punk rock, completely and totally DIY, and limited to three hundred copies. –Mark Twistworthy (Brad X, bradxtapesondemand.webs.com)


FINAL CONFLICT:
Nineteen Eighty-Five: LP

Jeez, I must’ve seen these cats about a billion times back in the glory/gory days of Fender’s Ballroom in Long Beach. As I recall, they were one of a few bands that marked a line in the sand between some of the older punks who didn’t like the increasingly stratified—and increasingly metal, with all the stupid mentality in tow—direction punk/hardcore was going, and the younger crowd coming up who were often only interested in shit they could slamdance to. Like fellow locals Dissension, Final Conflict’s sound hinted at the thrash-influenced metal direction a lot of bands were veering towards back then, yet they managed to keep both feet and lyrical subject matter firmly planted in the anarcho-hardcore of bands like Crucifix and Discharge. Collected here is their first demo, recorded in the titular year employing the primitive ways and means that were the norm back then. The sound here’s only slightly muffled (we’re talking about recordings that date back some twenty-eight years, you know) but the tunes, some of which made it onto their ripping Ashes to Ashes LP are choice cuts of tight, breakneck-paced thrash and angry rants about war, the system, and other assorted subjects that remain too uncomfortably topical.

–Jimmy Alvarado (540, chaosintejas.com/540))


FERAL TRASH:
Dead Eyes: 7”

Canada is the place to be, it would seem, or at least it is if you like good music. So much of what I like these days seems to come from north of the U.S.A. border and Feral Trash is no exception. With a no-nonsense and edgy mid-tempo approach, this trio provides four bundles of warm fuzzy goodness, all of which give me the impression of a band midway between Low Culture and Royal Headache.

–Rich Cocksedge (Dirt Cult, dirtcultrecords@gmail.com, dirtcultrecords.com)


NOCIVOS:
Tiempo de Desastre: CD
Mid-tempo-to-gallop-speed Spanish punk rock. The recording’s clean, the performance spirited, the songs are catchy, and they definitely know how to wield a sing-along chorus. –Jimmy Alvarado (Nocivos, facebook.com/nocivos)


FAIRBANKS:
Eat This Record: CDEP

Fairbanks is a pop punk trio from Dallas, Texas, a city I would not normally associate with the genre. Eat This Record digs deep, mining the same vein which catapulted many ‘90s bands into the limelight and made pop punk an ever-so-brief part of mainstream culture. I don’t know if Fairbanks will have the same success of their forebears, but their influences are unmistakable.

–Paul J. Comeau (Urban Scandal)


NO///SÉ:
: 7"
It took less than ten seconds for “Beach Bathroom Bingo” to seduce me to the point that I was ready to go down on my knees and beg for more. The 2012 debut album by NO​/​/​/​sé (ex-Glass & Ashes, Young Livers) was very good, but a slight change in the recording / production on this single has resulted in the band sounding even better—none of the oomph has been lost but everything just seems more together without any frayed edges. These guys are setting the standard for quality melodic punk rock with a no-nonsense, rock’n’roll-influenced approach that delivers on all levels. Even the extra track which comes via the download code isn’t too shabby either. Easily one of the best singles of 2013. For those seeking this out, and you should be doing so, 1859 is in the U.S. and Different Kitchen is in the U.K –Rich Cocksedge (1859, 1859records.storenvy.com / Different Kitchen, differentkitchen.bigcartel.com)


EX-CULT:
Mr. Fantasy: 7”

Ex-Cult is Goner Records’ current hot band. I don’t know how to describe the themes of their songs—haunted, obsessive, paranoid? Let’s go with all three. I still don’t know how to genre type them or even what to call them. Post-punk? But if I don’t like post-punk, how can I like Ex-Cult? I’ve seen Ex-Cult twice, a year apart. Regular touring has made them much tighter, more propulsive, and wilder on stage. I think that is how Ex-Cult wants to be, but I’m having some trouble getting that feeling just from listening to their records. The mix on this 7” seems a little less muddy than last year’s full length. It seems like the singer’s voice has deepened a bit too. A little more low-end punch might be all they need. Goner is a good home for these Memphis cats, but I can totally see Total Punk putting out a future 7”.

–Sal Lucci (Goner)


DREAM DECAY:
NVNVNV: LP

Anyone familiar with Iron Lung Records will know their penchant for unpleasant, difficult noise, whether it’s the blazing thrash of No Statik or the fucked up blast weirdness of Iron Lung themselves. I love the label and respect how they push the boundaries, but just could not hang with this disc on any level. Discordant, fucked up noise sludge. Tricky time signatures, vocals buried under a seething mass of noise. This record made me seasick and nervous. It took four attempts to get through it. I understand noise as a feeling, but this is way out there for me. Fans of Iron Lung, Lightening Bolt, and weird fucking vibes take note.

–Tim Brooks (Iron Lung, ironlungrecords.bigcartel.com)


NO SIR I WON’T:
The Door: LP
There’s nothing like wearing your influences on your sleeve… or in your name. I guessed this was going to sound like Crass, and boy was I right. I mean that in the best possible, driving-anarcho punk way, not the annoying squawking lady or the shit hippy overtones. To be honest, while the Crass label is an easy one, I think they have more in common with Conflict who carried a similar message with a more straight ahead musical style. This is powerful anarcho punk with a message that I wholeheartedly subscribed to as a youth. I signed up to the anarcho punk dogma as a teen in the ‘80s and, to be honest, much of the overly simplistic, trite lyrics about the threat of war, the system being shit, and animals being good really shaped what I have become. This is Dan from Surrender’s new band, which makes total sense, as this is a harder and faster continuation of that band. Can’t say I wholly subscribe to the anarcho dogma anymore, but I can dig it. –Tim Brooks (Framework, frameworklabel.com)


DOT DASH:
Half-Remembered Dream: CD

Remember when bands like The Jam and The Buzzcocks could balance a punk edge with a pop sensibility like a juggler with fifty bowls on their head riding a unicycle? Well, Dot Dash does. The emphasis here is on songs, and the band delivers on their third album. Songs like “Bloom/Decay” and “Shopworn Excuse” feature soaring harmonies and chiming guitars. Don’t forget the rhythm section, which is nimble and authoritative, sometimes all in the same chorus! Don’t go underground without Dot Dash in your playlist.

–Sean Koepenick (Beautiful Music)


NO MISTAKE:
Connect the Dots…Complete the Puzzle: 7" EP
Ripping, nine-track NYHC-tinged hardcore EP, fronted by veteran Mike BS of SFA and Go! These dudes seem to be based in California, but you’d be easily fooled to think they’re an East Coast band. It’s a thick, spirited, old school-sounding debut. Tough, yet not overly metallic. I’d compare them to a faster Murphy’s Law, rather than, say, Agnostic Front. Mike’s voice is almost comparable to Jimmy Gestapo at times, if we’re going to talk about NYC. One of the better HC releases I’ve heard in a while. –Steve Adamyk (Guerilla Vinyl, limogespunx.com / Refuse, refuserecords.prv.pl / Suburban White Trash, suburbanwhitetrashrecords.com)


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