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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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FUGUE:
Self-titled: Cassette
Really well-done post-hardcore that owes far too much to Fugazi and Dischord Records. Worth a few spins for sure, but how much you’ll Fugue depends on your tolerance for mimicry. I gave it a good number of plays myself and appreciated it, but they owe everything to their influences, from the loud-quiet-loud riffs and vocals, to the dubby reverb on their guitars. –Craven Rock (Fine Print, fineprintrecords.com)


FREEDOM CLUB:
Demo: CDEP
They know how to rock up in Portland. Steady tempos with killer vocal deliveries that stand in line with greats like Adolescents and The Heartburns in that beautiful part of the Venn diagram where garage rock and hardcore punk intersect. Three songs without a moment wasted. Not bad for a band whose CD made me think I was going to listen to a bad Crass ripoff. –Bryan Static (Bulkhead, bulkheadrecords.com, no address)


FRANZ NICOLAY / MISCHIEF BREW:
Split: 7”
Franz Nicolay covers “Je Bois,” translated into “I Drink,” by Charles Aznavour on this two song split. In listening to Frank Nicolay’s version (and knowing his contributions to The World/Inferno Friendship Society) you’d imagine that his cover is significantly more whimsical, given that it utilizes clarinet, tuba, and an accordion. But Aznavour’s version, sung in French with swooning finesse, is unbeatable. Ultimately, it’s a decent cover and worth multiple listens if only to imagine yourself drinking a cup of coffee in Montpellier. Mischief Brew does an unremarkable and overly reverential cover of “The Mary Ellen Carter” by Stan Rogers. Erik Petersen’s major contribution is his unique snarl as opposed to Rogers’ baritone. The split makes you wonder what’s the point of recording a cover song 7” if only to record covers that sound practically identical to the original. Regardless, both songs are solid, but the split’s major selling point is the wonderful art by Mitch Clem. –Sean Arenas (Silver Sprocket, silversprocket.net)


FOUR-STROKE:
I Was a Teenage Suicide Bomber: CD
Haven’t heard of these Canadian cats before, but this is apparently a reissue of a 2006 album. Their brand of straight-ahead punk/hardcore harkens back to times past—hearing bits of early Dayglo Abortions and Subhumans in places—but they manage to keep things in the here and now, as evidenced by the album’s title. It probably ain’t hard to deduce, but they have a decidedly obnoxious streak running right down the middle of their tunes, scoring stinging points whilst still managing eyebrow-raising titles like “(I Wanna Be a) Suburban Jihadi,” “Blow Yourself Up,” and “Is That the Hand You Hit Her With?” If grampy starts to lament the days “when punk was punk,” slap this baby on and watch him dive from the top of his walker with rigid digits held aloft. –Jimmy Alvarado (Crusty)


FOUR-STROKE:
Work Today Pay Today Drunk Tonight: CD
Latest (as far as I know) release from this pack of Ottawa shit-stirrers. Thirteen tracks of (mostly) mid-tempo punk/hardcore with enough obnoxiousness to annoy some segment of the population, as it should be. –Jimmy Alvarado (Pesticide, no address listed)


FILTER KINGS:
Drink You Away: 7”
Sleeve looks like this is going to be some hot rod garage deluxe, like a million mid-’90s singles. Luckily, what comes out of the speakers is some good, solid alt country-sounding stuff that I can dig. Uncle Tupelo comparisons are unavoidable but the Filter Kings are heads and shoulders above most of the bands that work that angle. Not nearly to the level of say Drag The River, but I would be interested in hearing more from this Nebraska band. Strong songwriting and excellent vocals make this one a keeper, to be sure. Would like to hear a full length. –Mike Frame (Speed! Nebraska)


FALSE IDLE:
Threat: CD
An album of positive punk rock for all you Christians out there. The playing was good, the production was good, but I really can’t get into this kind of stuff. –Rick Ecker (Thumper Punk, thumperpunkrecords.com)


FAKE SURFERS:
Self-titled: Cassette
Two piece vocalist/guitar/drums combo from Detroit who play garage rock just how I like it—sloppy and catchy. Sloppy garage rock with a touch of an ‘80s Southern California-area punk influence recorded with all of the levels pushed in the red, making the recording totally distorted and blown out. I suspect they named their band after the Intelligence album of the same name, which actually makes much more sense after you hear this. –Mark Twistworthy (Flesh Wave, fleshwave.bandcamp.com)


EX-OPTIMISTS, THE:
Bee Corpse Collector: LP
Wow, this is great! At their most subdued moments, this sounds like a shoegaze record that should have come out in the early ‘90s. I hear similarities to bands like Ride, Slowdive, or Pale Saints. You know the sound: quiet yet tuneful pop songs often with layers of guitar effects and softly sung vocals. When the songs here venture out and get more aggressive, they almost veer into Superchunk-esque pop songs. Both options work great together and compliment each other, as the band keeps a single identity throughout the record rather than sounding like someone changing their style from song to song. Recommended. –Mark Twistworthy (Sinkhole Texas, sinkholetexas.com)


EMPTY PALACE:
Self-titled: 7”
Competent keyboard-driven pop/rock. Inherently I find this more charming than other bands that use a similar formula because of the vinyl warmth that carries through the music. Don’t be fooled, this is classic rock, full throttle. The Who, Jethro Tull, that sort of thing. Empty Palace echoes that better part of that genre, but whether that’s worth the effort is a matter of debate. Grade: B-. –Bryan Static (Snappy Little Numbers, snappylittlenumbers.blogspot.com)


ELSINORES:
Demo: Cassette
This is the third cassette I’ve heard by this ragtag group of Kentucky punks, and it’s just as good the third time around. Ramonesy, keyboard-driven pop songs with the charm of a dashing prince. Honestly, at this point, the only thing that’s left to wonder is where is that long-awaited LP? Here, I’ll go ahead and write a review for that while I’m here: Hey, this LP is really good. You guys should buy it. Grade: B+. –Bryan Static (Self-released, theelsinores.tumblr.com)


‪ELEPHANT RIFLE:
Party Child: LP‬
The latest full length by Elephant Rifle, Party Child is psychotic bliss. The album artwork alone should give you some insight to that. (The cover is black and white and has an illustration of a zombie couple giving birth to what looks like a dog on one side and another zombie regurgitating a similar animal.) If that doesn’t get you to pick it up, then check out the song titles, such as “Nurse Feratu,” “Rib-Eye for the Dead Guy,” and my favorite “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life, Part II.” These Reno boys blew me away the first time I saw them. They are the type of band that you may have never heard of, you see them play, and you’re instantly stoked and want to buy all their merch. Their live show often features the singer, Brad, shirtless, climbing around anything in sight, and exposing his lovely belly. This record is artistic, heavy, chaotic, and will make you wanna go do something creative or destructive when you hear it. Imagine The Birthday Party and Nirvana having a baby and then imagine that baby smoking drugs and then you have an idea of Elephant Rifle’s sound. If you missed it, to raise money for this record, the grand prize for the highest donation got you a sexy bikini car wash. It was geographically limited, but the winner truly scored on this LP. I highly recommend checking this band out.  –Ryan Nichols (Humanterrorist, humaniterrorist.tumblr.com)


EGO SUMMIT:
The Room Isn’t Big Enough: LP
Awkward one-off folk/punk project band from “five veteran Columbus, OH scenesters.” The music isn’t bad, but for some reason I expected something a little cleaner. The more I listen to this, the more it grows on me, but after a half a dozen spins it still feels like there’s a very inside joke here that I’m not hip to. The music runs a huge gamut, from folksy jams to goofy takes on early Leonard Cohen. The tracks that really pop (“Novacaine,” “Queen of the Underground,” and “Half Off”) are essentially deconstructions of pop songs, but I tend to like it more when they really digress with “American Dream,” an awkward bass-driven march that just keeps going until the lyrics literally run out. This record is punk in the sense that it’s certainly music for outsiders, but you need to understand this is more a creepy smile while drinking beer with your friends than it is a folk punk record of anthems about smashing the state. –Ian Wise (540, timmy@chaosintejas.com)


EASY ACTION / SNAKEWING :
Split: 7”
Easy Action are one of the best bands of the past decade or so, spewing their hard rock meets noisy hardcore attack with John Brannon of Negative Approach/Laughing Hyenas on the mic. The addition of Toni Romeo from the Trash Brats on bass is a nice addition to the mix and an inspired choice. The two tunes on this single are the most like the Laughing Hyenas that Easy Action have ever sounded, but there is still a good bit of rock in the tunes. Snakewing turn in two tunes of lo-fi guttural metal that doesn’t quite veer into thrash or quite into death metal. Fans of lo-fi sludge of the New Orleans persuasion will probably find a whole lot to like with Snakewing. –Mike Frame (Underground Communiqué, undergroundcommunique@gmail.com)


DURBAN POISON / HEADONS:
Split: 7”
Both songs on the Durban Poison side punk rock pretty hard. “Don’t Trust It” is the highlight with a jumpy drumbeat and stern, Bratmobile-sounding vocals. Creative rock’n’roll style riffage thrown in by the guitarist keep it from sounding too D.C. and serious. It’s catchy and classic sounding. The song even has a key change. The Headons have a sort of sing-songy, Social Distortion style that doesn’t appeal to me as much, but they do it well. –Billups Allen (Shake)


DUMB EASIES, THE:
Love Love Love: CD
I don’t know why they would have chosen the same title as the iconic Queers song—confusion and some disappointment are bound to spring up over this. Regardless, The Dumb Easies bear little resemblance to the aforementioned New England reprobates. The band has a rockin’ sound, but that sound is much more akin to the rock’n’roll of the mid-1960s than the buzzsaw expectations that may result from the title. It’s a good record, but I think to appreciate it truly one would need to have an affinity for the non-Beatles-influenced combos of forty years ago. I was guilty of punkier expectations going into this, so my early listens weren’t all that positive. As I got over my own unjustified expectations, however, I liked this more and more—it’s a classic sound done spot-on by contemporaries. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Cytoblast)


DUBOIS:
Hanging Out: 7”
There’s a ridiculous amount of Gainesville-worship going on with this records. These guys have a lot of spirit but lack musical ideas. Also, lyrics like, “everyone is searching for something/I’ll take mine/I’ll find the sunshine,” really need to be reeled in a bit, not just for Dubois, but in punk in general. Yeah, the struggle, I get it. But worse things have been said by better writers. Sometimes I think bands like Hot Water Music have caused irreparable damage to punk by putting far too emphasis on one’s own struggle and strengths. You’re doing what you want and you’re broke, I get that, too, but it’s starting to reek of self-obsessed individualism (or maybe it always has and I was just too young to notice it). –Craven Rock (Self-released, no address listed)


DOGJAW / AGATHA:
Split: LP
Both bands are part of Olympia’s sprawling punk scene that also includes RVIVR, Sharkpact, and Prank War. Dogjaw shouldn’t be confused with their more pop punk peers, as their songs are sludgy with grunge-esque riffs and delightfully raw production. Dogjaw’s half begins with “Dragon,” which features a brooding guitar melody and an ambling drumbeat. The dual female vocals softly chime in and steadily become more powerful until erupting into a faster beat. The lyrics are open to interpretation with lines like, “With every move the wave reaches out” and “Inside myself I see the tide.” The second track, “Cast Beyond,” is marred by the fact that its vocal melody is almost identical to the first track. That’s the overall issue with Dogjaw’s contribution—the music is varied but the vocals can become gratingly repetitive. The third track, “Tides,” is an overly long instrumental. Agatha’s songs rock. If I skated, I would blast these jams in my earbuds. The vocals are biting and maintain a level of intensity that is a punch to the gut while the pace remains blistering throughout. The lyrics are more overtly political with memorable lines like, “Kissing doesn’t kill and silence equals death. I’ll say it again because us queers forget.” The songs sometimes verge on “fuck the system” lyrical simplicity, but never go off the deep end into becoming cliché. Luckily, Agatha makes up for any setbacks by raging across all four tracks. –Sean Arenas (Rumbletowne, punks@rumbletown.com)


DIVER DRESS:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Heavy reverb trip-garage rock with the guitars nicely fuzzed and spacey. The songs themselves are more modern garage than, say, the Chocolate Watchband, but they do the trick just nicely. –Jimmy Alvarado (The Minneapolis Record Collective, minneapolisrecordco@hotmail.com)


DISSIPATED FACE WITH DANIEL CARTER:
Live at CBGB 1986: 7”
Four songs from back when punks were still doing some experimenting in their music, mostly trying to add jazz to the mix. It all comes off like subpar Black Flag with a whiny vocalist and adding the most boring of no wave. As a relic it’s interesting. As something to play more than once? Nope. –Rick Ecker (Roaratorio, roaratorio.com)


DIRTY FENCES:
Too High to Kross: CD
Poppy hard rock type stuff in the vein of bands like The Hellacopters, some early Strokes, mixed in with a little bit of Radio Birdman. The songs move at a mid-tempo pace and don’t give a care about anything else but the quest for a good time. The mood is light, as it should be when it comes to this sort of stuff. They don’t get bogged down in being technical or soloing into oblivion. Instead, they keep it to the point and focus more on moving the listener. The kind of music you would play down at the river getting lit with a bunch of friends in the summer. –Matt Average (Volcom, volcoment.com)


DIRECT HIT / BRAVER:
Split: 7”
I’ve listened to this record half a dozen times and still find I have nothing to say about it. Pop punk, pure and true, yet I yearn for something more. Elements from music I love distilled into ten minutes of bland. Generic punk product, 7” variety. –Bryan Static (Let’s Pretend, letspretendrecords.com / Lost Cat, lostcatrecords.org)


DIE EULE IM BART DES JUDAS:
Self-titled: 7”
Die Eule Im Bart Des Judas plays heavy hardcore punk with a couple decent mosh parts. I really dug how chunky the bass sounded at points on this recording. The tone of the guitars, however, didn’t really do much for me. At least one of the guitars was crazy with effects, sounding more like someone trying to play hardcore riffs on a xylophone while playing Space Invaders. There was also at least one intro riff that sounded way too much like it was trying to be a punk rock version of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” This had a little too much of a gimmicky joke band feel to it, but I wasn’t laughing. –Paul J. Comeau (Spastic Fantastic)


DHDFD’S:
French Fries: CD
“Mongo Van” is my favorite song on this record. It’s so good. It starts out as a garage rock song, turns into a ska song, becomes a hardcore song, then the chorus goes straight-up noise rock. This song perfectly illustrates the appeal and fun of this record. I have no idea what the dude is saying, but I want to scream “ITCHY NOMI” at the top of my lungs all the time. When they’re doing more straightforward stuff, they kind of remind me of Eddy Current Suppression Ring, but maybe that’s just the New Zealand accent leaking through the lyrics. Come to think of it, the dude sounds a little bit like the guy from Steriogram as well. Yeah, it must be the Kiwi accent. Recommended if you like to hear guitars go crazy. Grade: B+. –Bryan Static (Hell Is Now Love, hellisnowlove.tumblr.com / Bomb Shop, bombshop.org, no address)


DHARMA DOGS / INVISIBLE MANSION:
Split: Cassette
Each of the three songs on the Dharma Dogs side is a wall of fuzzy, aggressive, cerebral sound coming for you. Part garage, part art school, their 6:30-long song “Black Mayonnaise” was my favorite. Invisible Mansion’s side was more laid back; it sort of reminded me of the kind of atmospheric jams I’d hear at a FMLY show. This cassette is good to play in the car when you’re heading out at like four am to go camping. (Start with the Invisible Mansion side.) –Bianca (Kitschy Manitou, kitschymanitou.blogspot.com, kitchsymanitou@gmail.com / PVC H.Ex pvchex.com, contact@pvchex.com) )


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