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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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LIVIDS:
Adrenalized Hearts: 7”
Yet another single in the blitzkrieg that The Livids have unleashed in the last several months. By my count, this is one of four singles this band has released since the beginning of the year. This is just absolutely smokin’, high energy garage punk featuring Eric of New Bomb Turks on vocals. Turks comparisons are inevitable given the vocal style, but that could never be considered a bad thing coming from me. The band also features Jami Wolf of Zodiac Killers and Glamour Pussies on guitar so all you Rip Off Records fans will wanna be all over this. This is just a goddamned great single. This band is maybe the best I have heard playing this style of punk in a decade. Here’s hoping there’s a plan to head out West sometime for some gigs. –Mike Frame (Oops Baby, oopsbabyrecords.com)


LIVIDS:
: 7”s
Three 7”s released simultaneously-ish (I think there’s a fourth, but can’t find it) heralding Eric Davidson’s (of New Bomb Turks) return to wax. Apparently, the band has been around since late 2011 but I’ve only heard of them when these records dropped. Also featuring Jami Wolf (Zodiac Killers, Shop Fronts—a New York garage-punk band from the middle of the decade. Saw ‘em a few times and liked ‘em. Don’t know if they ever released anything. Now it makes sense why Zodiac Killers played their last show in New York!) Davidson’s vocals are strong as ever but the mix is pretty even so he doesn’t drown out the band. Fans of New Bomb Turks won’t be disappointed. “(Some of Us Have) Adrenalized Hearts” feels very ‘90s garage punk, in structure and song title. Much like the Turks’ recordings, these are good songs but the band is probably best experienced live. I hope to do that soon. –Sal Lucci (Oops Baby, oopsbabyrecords.com / Slovenly / Twistworthy)


LES THUGS:
Come On, People!: LP
By now you should know if you like France’s brilliant, classic Les Thugs. One of the best known, if not the best known French punk band of all time, Les Thugs played typical anthems, but with their own atypical, almost Euro-pop spin. Their only live album to date, this record was recorded during their brief 2008 reformation. An extended version is also due out as a double DVD/CD package with even more Thugs hits as performed at the 2008 reunion shows. Foreshadowing the sound that Jawbreaker would bring to the States years later, there’s a “can’t put a finger on it” quality to Les Thugs that makes them such a unique entity in music history. Live albums can be a real drag, but not this one. Acutely well recorded, Come On, People! captures the energy that Les Thugs still had, even in their all too brief reunion. Merci beaucoup, Thugs! –Art Ettinger (Slow Death, slow-death.org)


LENGUAS LARGAS:
Ese Culito: 1-sided 12”
I’m not a fan of the Beach Boys. Vocal harmonizing, doo wop, and wood-paneled pop doesn’t do much for me and not sure why aficionados get all teary over the drugged-out, fall-apart vocal layering of Pet Sounds. However… I love the first Los Lobos LP and all the visions it stirs (backyard parties, day drunk, sunshine, and a feeling of wonder, of everything being just a little out of place but oh-so-right). Lenguas Largas falls somewhere into those visions, perfect for a Sunday morning sunshine mimosa porch sit or pre-gaming your Friday night show-going adventure. Multi-layered desert psych that will expand your mind, spinning it alone or perfect backyard fiesta platter… dying to see this troupe live. –Matt Seward (Volar)


LA LUZ:
Damp Face EP: Cassette
Somber, surf-influenced garage rock. Santo And Johnny guitar reverb and some Seeds keyboard work streaked across a lovelorn, starry-eyed teenage girl’s bedroom floor lined with all her ‘60s Girls in the Garage comps. I gifted a digital copy to my girlfriend who completely fell in love with these songs. That’s right. I paid for something I initially got for free: it’s just that good. –Juan Espinosa (Burger)


KNIFVEN:
“Av!” b/w “Den Sista Javeln”: 7”
“Av!” stomps along at a more straightforward punker manner, muscular without being meathead. “Den Sista Javeln,” though, is the pick here, with slower tempos and dual-octave guitar chordage adding considerably more brooding to the pot while sacrificing none of the heft. –Jimmy Alvarado (Gaphals, gaphals.se)


KNIFE THE SYMPHONY / SWEAR JAR:
Split: LP

Knife The Symphony: Noisy, angular tunes that allude to the influence of emo before backpacks and whining became the order of the day. Swear Jar: Oddball, freakout jams that kinda makes one wish they’d secure a kickass slot on every punk festival out there and totally flummox the sensibilities of those paying outrageous sums to hear the same bands eke out the “hits” over and over and over.

–Jimmy Alvarado (Phratry)


KILL, THE:
Make Em Suffer: LP
Holy Mother of Christ, this is the record to make your parents shit their pants or wake the undead. Long-time Aussies return after what seems like forever with a record that sounds like a blowtorch to the face. Unrelenting, punishing grindcore, like Slayer on speed (they mangle a Slayer cover mid-stride). Think a punker Napalm Death or Pig Destroyer. Blast beats to your face, bitch. Sickness. –Tim Brooks (To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com)


KICKER:
Not You: CD
Hot on the heels of their Broke 7” comes this full-length chock full o’ punker ditties from members of Neurosis, Dystopia, and fronted by Pete the Roadie. The tunes are heavy with the UK82 vibe, but in a way that sounds more, oh, “real” than that “streetpunk” swill the average parrot-punk outfit is shilling, and also included is a choice cover of the Fuck Ups’ “I Think You’re Shit.” –Jimmy Alvarado (Tankcrimes)


KAM KAMA:
“Passer-By” b/w “Joseph Stride”: 7”
There are no surprises here, but I didn’t want any. They’re keeping up with their peculiar brand of ambient, open-spaced sound which I really enjoyed on their recent full length, The Tiled House. I usually don’t like bands that sound so similar to my post-punk idols, but somehow this band just rubs me the right way. The pace seems to have gone up a notch on the first track “Passer-By,” which may be due to the new drummer. Whether you like that or not is up to you. I personally think it adds a little sizzle to the steak, and I say that as a man who hasn’t had a steak in a really long time. The second track is twice as long, and just as good, with a heavy, bass-driven vibe. I hope their next release is a full length. I need a larger dose. –Rene Navarro (Sister Cylinder, sistercylinder.bigcartel.com)


JUICE FALCON:
Night Wind and Animal Tantrums: LP
Remind me to knock the long-suffering record assigners upside the head for this piece of work. Tense, lurching, jazz-infused hardcore. Taking the very worst parts of later Black Flag, B’last, and Whipping Boy with a singer trying to hit every octave possible. One of the worst records I’ve ever heard. –Tim Brooks (Snakebrain)


JUGGLING JUGULARS:
Asylum: EP
It’s been a long time since I’ve heard new material from this band. Glad to finally catch up again! This is definitely my favorite record from them. They’re still as tuneful as ever, and the songs have always been fast and catchy, but there’s a certain fire on this that burns out of control. “Earth, Hell, Death” rages with the driving bass and drums laying it down quick and forceful. I’m guessing the song is about factory farming, with the end verse of, “What is the reason for their existence?/Subdued in total isolation / We suppress their true nature.” The title track is about autonomous zones, and the line “A little hope for this ugly town (I want something beautiful)” sums is up perfectly. Each verse of “How Long Should We Be Laughing?” is like a powerful punch. The words are spit out with a vengeance against the racists affecting the world at large through social media and other dubious outlets. Excellent record from a great band. Love this record. It’s a great jolt of energy and cleans the cobwebs out of my mind. Thanks! –Matt Average (Juggling Jugulars, petteri.mikkila@gmail.com)


JOYRIDE!:
Self-titled: LP
Heavily pop-influenced punk with sincerely delivered female vocals. Beautiful songs about shitheads and old friends. The vocals can ruin this genre for people, but on this record they’re always strong and engaging. The lack of a lyric sheet creates a foggy mysteriousness to the stories. I saw a flyer for a recent East Coast tour they embarked on with Sourpatch and I can’t imagine a better companion-band. Rhythm sections that are familiar with blast beats and breakdowns will always bring out the best in pop music. –Daryl Gussin (Lauren, Lauren-records.com)


JOHNNY MURDER AND THE 25 TO LIFE:
E.S.P.: CD
I sometimes cringe when I get psychobilly stuff to review. Despite all the pompous pompadour posturing, much of it is painfully unoriginal. So I was pleased to hear Johnny Murder and crew violating clichés at every turn on this disc. This doesn’t even really look like a psychobilly CD. There are no pictures of the band members preening, no zombie or hotrod artwork, nothing like that. The music starts slow and swinging, ripping through different textures aside from the standard upright-bass-riddled buzz, culminating in the title tune, in which the singer takes the rockabilly vocal style to an absurd place, to the extent that it sounds like he was possessed by demonic hiccups when he had to hit the studio. These guys know the genre, and they know how to play around with it and have fun with it, rather than doing it paint-by-numbers style. –MP Johnson (Sexy Baby)


JOHNNY MANAK AND THE DEPRESSIVES:
I am Not a Bum, I’m a Jerk: LP
Johnny Manak And The Depressives is the latest project from Johnny Manak, who has played in tons of bands including The Cliftons, Fang, and Resistoleros. A hearty mix of garage, surf, and 1977 punk, this profoundly ridiculous record is a blast from start to finish. If unflinchingly dopey bar punk is your cup of tea, then the Depressives are for you. If not, then go listen to a more adult work, like Rimsky- Korsakov’s “Russian Easter Overture” or something. –Art Ettinger (Reach Around, reacharound.co)


JOHN WESLEY COLEMAN:
Trans Am Summer Blues: LP

I think comparing John Wesley Coleman’s two newest releases (at least I think they’re the newest. The man is prolific in a Billy Childish kinda way) is the best way to see what makes the artist inside the man tick. Trans Am Summer Blues is a full band, mania-tinged party record. The album feels like a fairly fleshed-out collection of songs (much like his two Goner albums.) The 7” is the flip side of that (well, the proper flip side of mania is depression, and this isn’t it… let’s say for lack of better words). Two no-fi recordings, one in someone’s kitchen, the other in someone’s studio. The 7” feels more instant, like Coleman had a good tune or two rolling around inside his afro-noggin’ and had to put something on tape. An eventual box set collection of his work should be called The Many Moods of John Wesley Coleman. (spacecaserecords.com)

 

 

–Sal Lucci (Tic Tac Totally / Spacecase)


INTEGRITY:
Suicide Black Snake: LP
It’d be nothing new for me to gush over another Integrity release (or an A389 Records one, for that matter), so I’ll try to keep the fawning to a minimum. Suicide Black Snake is somewhat monumental in the rather vast Integrity catalog in that it’s the first full-length release to feature mastermind Dwid Hellion’s main collaborator and shred machine Robert Orr. Featuring a few re-recorded tracks from last year’s Detonate VVorlds Plague 12”, Suicide Black Snake is classic Integrity with Orr’s Melnickian-yet-unique twist (and a few curveballs—a harmonica solo, for instance—thrown in the mix). Now, as one whose coming-of-age was undeniably molded by Fear Tomorrow through Seasons-era Integrity, it’s simply impossible for me to put any newer output on that same level. That said, as with 2010’s The Blackest Curse and the slew of EPs in the last many years, there are definitely songs on Suicide Black Snake that are on par with that heyday, and the rest of the tracks are still brilliant, bleak, and unquestionably Integrity. If you already celebrate the band’s more recent work, then, no doubt, you’re in for a treat. And if you’re like many others who haven’t paid much attention since those “classic” records, spend some time with this one. I imagine you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Fuck yes. –Dave Williams (A389)


INFECTED:
It's Been a Long Way Down...: CD
Lexington’s Infected returns with another solid collection of its odd brand of metal-infused pop punk. Sounding like what Face To Face would have sounded like if that band didn’t abandon its metal roots, Infected is delightfully catchy. The metal lead guitar riffs are off putting, but somehow end up not being as obnoxious as they could be, given the context. Very 1990s in feel, tone, and even lyrical subject matter, this album sounds like a lot of bigger label punk records did twenty years ago. That era was a shitload of fun, as is this release. Some of the tempo changes and breakdowns don’t quite mesh, but overall, this is too well put together to knock. –Art Ettinger (ADD)


HUSSY, THE:
Way with Words: 7"
As easy as this record is to enjoy at surface level, with its catchy “whoa-oh-oh”s and cacophonous choruses, part of me feels like I need to play it a hundred times just to sort out what I’m hearing. There’s only two people in the band, so the music can’t be that complex, but at the same time I feel like there’s always something going on under the surface that I need to puzzle out, because it might be the secret ingredient that is making me jump off my couch over and over like this. –MP Johnson (Slovenly)


HUFF!:
AGORhuffOBIA: CDEP
Are people still playing ska punk in a non-ironic way? It may only be five songs but it’s five songs too many. High school is over. –Kurt Morris (Johann's Face)


HOUSE OF LOVE:
She Paints Words in Red: CD
Latest from a reformed U.K. alt-rock band originally making the rounds 1986-1993. They kick down with some fairly laid back pop-mongering tinged with no shortage of psychedelic sensibilities to give things a nice off-kilter vibe. –Jimmy Alvarado (Cherry Red)


HOUNDS AND HARLOTS:
The Good Fight: CD
Having personally tired of the whole street punk and American oi genres years ago, I was not particularly looking forward to listening to this. To be fair, a weird, five color cover and a back cover shot of the lads walking down some railroad tracks was not exactly setting my expectations very high. Imagine my joy then, when I popped this disc and it immediately began to kick my ass! What sets this CD apart from most efforts of this type is clearly the level of songwriting that these guys bring to the table. They do such a good job avoiding most of the clichéd subjects that most bands of this ilk tackle, I wonder why they choose to identify with the above-mentioned genres in the first place (and I mean that as a compliment). Most of the songs are pretty hooky and memorable and the band’s performance is energetic and believable. Perhaps with a bit of a drier mix and less reliance on the background gang vocals, this CD would have been pretty much perfect. –Garrett Barnwell (Skinflint, skinflintmusic.com)


HOSPITAL GARDEN:
Mover: CD
Another round of prime indie-rock riffage here. As with their last release, they mine the best parts of the genre’s golden age and dish up some tasty, loud guitar pop that doesn’t sound dusty, dated, or deleteriously derivative. –Jimmy Alvarado (Forge Again, forgeagainrecords.com)


HEWHOCANNOTBENAMED:
Love/Hate: CD
The infamous guitarist of the equally infamous Dwarves offers up a collection of tunes culled from his two solo albums (plus three previously unreleased tracks) for your listening (dis)pleasure. As can be expected, the tunes are largely in the same pop punk/rock mold married to often deviant lyrical themes that more recent Dwarves fare has manifested itself. The songs are well-written, catchy, and should please fans of the man and his longtime band. –Jimmy Alvarado (Music Cannot Be Named, musiccannotbenamed.yokaboo.com)


HEAVY TIMES:
“I’m Single” “Unsolved Mysteries” b/w “Bath Salts”: 7"
“I’m Single”’s the jam. It’s got that gauzy vibe of driving through a dark city on a summer night, teetering between dangerous consequence and substance-induced not giving a fuck. Over the course of the other two songs, the sun slowly rises over the horizon. The city slowly wakes up. It ultimately finds the band in a weed haze, arriving home, into the bedroom, first surf-licking The Jesus And Mary Chain then woo-ooohing at the end, almost sounding like a derelict, morning-after Beach Boys for several measures. I like these guys. –Todd Taylor (HoZac)


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