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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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CHIEF FUZZER:
Transcendental Road Blues: 7”
Three songs of heavy rock from this Texas band with a little stoner rock, a little blues, and some boogie rock in the mix. I like to call this kind of music “two beer buzz rock.” Pretty good when you’re out drinking and seeing bands, but not necessarily the most compelling sound on record. –Mike Frame (Saustex, saustexmedia.com)


CHEAP ART:
Cheap Art E.P.: Cassette
I love the resurgence of cassette releases, especially from new bands. Cheap Art is a powerviolence outfit from Atlanta that put out this incredible ten-song tape after a mere four months of existence. Listening to great newbies on cassette isn’t a novel concept to anyone who got into punk in the ‘80s or ‘90s, but the NYHC demos I picked up at shows as a kid almost always paled in comparison to tapes like this. Also available as a digital download, someday this will get pressed onto vinyl for the hoards of fans Cheap Art is soon to gain. This is ultra-inspired, leap-out-of-your-seat hardcore at its best. This reviewer named Art is dead serious about how fucking great Cheap Art is. –Art Ettinger (Cheap Art, cheapart.bandcamp.com)


CAUSE FOR ALARM:
Self-titled: 7”
Also referred to as the Anthology 7”, this is Cause For Alarm’s first release, repressed for Record Store Day on vinyl by Victory Records for the first time in years. Hardcore punk with fast and super catchy riffs, as well as great vocals by Keith Burkhardt (the only permanent member of the band through their tumultuous two-decade existence), this 7” has everything a fan of hardcore punk will love. If you’ve never heard this, get to your local record store and hope they still have a copy, or find it on CD. It’s required listening. –Paul J. Comeau (Victory)


CATHETER / MASSGRAVE:
Split: 10”
I’m confused about what this record actually is. It came with no info, but I’ve been told it was a repress. I’ve heard both of these bands, but was not aware of the existence of this split until it showed up on my front porch, so I don’t know if these are old recordings or new ones. I don’t remember Catheter sounding so much like a death metal band. The feel of the music is grind and there’s still a lot that reminds me of Neanderthal, but there are a lot of atonal, very death-inspired riffs that take over some of the songs. I’m not complaining, as everything is tight as hell and the production sounds huge. Massgrave have a lot more punk overtones and sound more like straight forward, old school grind. Their side of the split is also well produced; everything is leveled out well. Both bands hold their own and this is a fantastic grind record, I just wish there was any sort of information or liner notes to accompany this thing. –Ian Wise (To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com)


CARCINOGENZ:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Raw as fuck recording (sounds like it was recorded in a room covered in pie tins) of an equally raw hardcore band. They’ve been kind enough to include a little booklet so’s one can get the full measure of lyrics soaked in that special kind of vitriol that makes PC punkers go apeshit in MRR’s letters section. –Jimmy Alvarado (Going Underground)


CANADIAN RIFLE:
Untitled: Cassette
Three-song tour tape. “Withdraw” is the Rifle you know and love, melodic punk so scratchy, gruff and mud puddle moody it’ll blow your speakers. Then there’s a punked-up cover of Springsteen’s “I’m Goin’ Down” and an instrumental jam that sounds like the riff a band would play to get the audience’s attention before starting their set. Note: If Canadian Rifle comes to your town, call out some Springsteen songs. They did a whole set last Halloween. –Guest Contributor (Downward Spiral Series, comedyjoketime@gmail.com)


BURNING BRIDGES:
Self-titled: 7”
This band sounds like they should exclusively play basements. That’s a compliment. While the drums and bass keep you moving, the guitar plays some very melodic leads. The throaty lyrics are pretty serious, covering subjects such as genocide and animal liberation. A brief explanation of each song is included also, in case you can’t figure out what the lyrics mean. This band is very DIY and they make sure to let you know it. Just in case you forgot about that whole thing. They even have a song about one of their cats, Simba. Included in the lyric sheet are extensive lists of rape crisis hotlines and crisis and suicide prevention hotlines from around the world. Very informative. –Nighthawk (Solidarity Recordings, solidarityrecordings.com)


BUMS, THE:
Do It All Night: 7”
Expected DOA, got a one-drummer Dirtbombs plus a weird sax like on that second Damned album. Needless to say, my party snacks were completely out of date and no one appreciated the flannel on the dancing girls. I don’t own enough classic rock albums to tell you who the guitarist is playing like, but i’m certain that whomever he is, the fucker must be considered a soul-haver of some sort. Whatever genre this is, i’m pretty sure that the part where the singer starts laughing like the Joker redefines it. Word, surely. BEST SONG: “Do It All Night” BEST SONG TITLE: “Man Of This Town” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: “AARDMAN” is etched into the run-off grooves in very small letters. –Rev. Norb (Big Nose)


BLUES PATROL:
…but I Gotta: 7”
The title tune consists of a drum going thud-thud and a guy saying variants of the same sentence over and over while a sorta blues organ is buried in the background. The flip ditches the vocals altogether and opts instead for a thud-thud drum and organ playing the same simple riff over and over again. This is either a work of genius or one of those records that makes you think, “Fuck, it must be nice to have the kind of disposable income that allows to press up stuff like this on wax.” I ain’t quite decided yet, myself. –Jimmy Alvarado (Hot & Ready, hotandreadyrecords@gmail.com)


BLOODY GEARS:
Frozen Rain: 7”
Released two years after their first EP, Boston’s Bloody Gears finally returns with another record. I was hoping for a full-length, but this three-song single is another super cool release. Dark, brooding punk doesn’t always work, but Bloody Gears has a flavor all its own. There’s a pinch of 1980s Euro-pop-ness and even a little bit of Pegboy hidden under it all, making for an interesting, instantly grabbing sound. The vocals are probably not for everyone, but that’s true of a lot of great vocalists. It’s time for Bloody Gears to put out a damn LP already! –Art Ettinger (Grave Mistake, gravemistakerecords.com)


BLOCKSHOT:
Envision: CD
This foursome out of Bonn, Germany bring a new face to riot grrrl garage pop. Some might suspect their second full length to throw up shades of Sleater K, and Lesbians On Ecstasy, and while it does, Blockshot goes further. Blending pogo pop harmonization, women’s rights, and a knack for progressive song structures, “I Don’t Wanna Play” brought me back to early PJ Harvey, circa Rid of Me, with its minimalist, jangly guitar-to-fuzz transition while “A is for Anarchy” kicks off with a souped-up “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” melody. For those old school riot grrrls and those in training. Recommended. –Kristen K (F-Spin, contact@f-spin.de)


BLANK FIGHT, THE:
House Band Feud: LP
Blank Fight was a band that featured Aaron Cometbus and Rymodee (from TBIAPB fame). The only thing I had heard of this band was “This Bike + This Guitar” because of the CD version of the Down in Front comp. That number was a Cometbus-styled scrappy pop punk bit with something of proto-folk punk coloring it in. I recalled liking the song and wishing that I hadn’t missed out on this album when it was on CD at the time, but it has been a few years since I had heard it. I was expecting not to give two shits about it and want to take it off half way through the first side. Much to my surprise, I enjoyed the hell out of this. The whole LP strayed not far (if at all) from the sound of the song on the DiF comp but never got tiring. A definite surprise and another nice reissue from Silver Sprocket. –Vincent Battilana (Silver Sprocket)


BLACK GOD:
II: 7”
Growing up, I was never a huge fan of Rob Pennington’s voice. I always kinda lumped Endpoint and By The Grace Of God in with Brother’s Keeper, Absolution, and other “weird, high voice” hardcore bands that I pretty much wrote off as “not tough enough” and likely resumed listening to Crown Of Thornz or 25 Ta Life. However, when the first Black Cross record dropped, I was somewhat compelled to check it out, being a fan of Ryan Patterson’s “heavy Wipers” style, and I was sold right from the get go. Pennington’s voice seemed more at home to me in a more brooding, Sage-inspired setting. Black God certainly picks up where Black Cross left off, and it’s quite safe to say that if you dug the first incarnation, you’ll dig this one as well. With more of a nod to the Dischord bands of the ‘90s than Black Cross, Black God is elaborating on its predecessor’s sound in a great way, and II is an even better record than the terrific debut EP. Awesome. –Dave Williams (No Idea, noidearecords.com)


BITPART:
Where We Are: LP
Alternating between male and female vocals, Bitpart play matured, indie-inspired punk. Bass-heavy with deceptively intricate guitar riffs. Varying tempos and levels of aggression, mixed with consistently intriguing song structures and pure DIY righteousness. When not found in their native city of Paris, France, they can often be found in the Pacific Northwest. Particularly Seattle and Olympia, where this LP was recorded by Rumbletowne Records staple, Joey Seward. –Daryl Gussin (Corn Dog / Zone Onze / Et Mon Cul C’est du Tofu? / Weewee / Gâteau Blaster)


BIG HANDS:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Whoa, here’s a surprise. The lyrics seemed kinda dumb (“Zombie Jesus,” really?) at first glance, but I think these dudes don’t really speak English. Their label is Swedish, near as I can tell. (The website ain’t in English, anyhow.) So we’ll forgive some corny phrases here and there. This is pretty rippin’ d-beat/hardcore type stuff. Seems about as angry and pissed as you’d want music like this to be. –Ryan Horky (Gaphals, gaphals666.wordpress.com)


BIG EYES:
“Back from the Moon” b/w “I Don’t Care About Friday Night”: 7”
What’s not to like? Powerful vocals (some gravel, some honey, lots of heart), hooks aplenty, melodies locked tight. If this were the ‘60s, think Sugar Pie Desanto. If this were late ‘70s, think Joan Jett. If this were the ‘90s, think Muffs. If this were the 2010’s, think Full Of Fancy and you understand the socio-political ramifications of this evening’s entertainment. I also surmise that Big Eyes appreciate the scaffolding the Replacements made for future bands to play on top of. I understand the nature of a two-song single. Direct, best-foot-forward. I’m cool with that. The entire enterprise watersheds around Kate’s voice and lyrics. Part of me wishes it didn’t, that some free radicals were zinging around, that there was an added dimension, because I want Big Eyes to break an almost seamless mold, to free a monster I hear lurking underneath the surface. But that might just be me. –Todd Taylor (Grave Mistake, gravemistakerecords.com)


BEAVERS, THE:
Don’t Go Away: 7”
I get a new Beavers 45 every seven years or so, whether i need it or not. While these three songs are a much more sixties-ish squall than the garage punk’n’roll to which my Beaver-consuming palate has been accustomed, all Beavers is good Beavers, with the organ adding an air of chronological mystery to the proceedings, and the “just press record” production quality of it all maintaining a passable air of a great lost reel-to-reel tape recording of an out-of-season cyclone at whatever the Dutch equivalent of the Star Club would be, likely with a goat on the roof. “Baaa” it today. Wait, that’s a sheep sound, not a goat sound. Well, they make different noises in the Netherlands. BEST SONG: “Down And Out” BEST SONG TITLE: “Some Other Time” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The Dutch don’t capitalize the names of the months. –Rev. Norb (High School Refuse, rinsma.home.xs4all.nl/hsr)


BAND IN HEAVEN, THE:
Self-titled: 7”EP
Dreamy, lysergic-drenched drone rock. While minimalistic in structure, the four tracks here are remarkably diverse in approach, with one that sounds like someone’s jamming along on a sitar. –Jimmy Alvarado (Hozac, hozacrecords.com)


BALLANTYNES, THE:
“The Message” b/w “The Railtown Abbey”: 7”
This single seems to be going for a funkier, Northern Soul-type sound. There are male and female vocals that go well together. The performances are A-OK, but there is such a thick layer of reverb over the whole thing there is not much attack. Do I hear keyboard and xylophone? I like what I think is going on, but I can’t fully make it out. “The Railtown Abbey” comes across as having a lot of energy that just can’t seem to bust out of the mire of a murky recording. It’s a good song. I would take a guess that the band sounds better live. –Billups Allen (La-Ti-Da, latidarecords.com)


BAD ASSETS:
The Spirit of Detroit: CD
It’s not every day that a new band emerges with Oxblood as its main influence. But that’s easily the best comparison for this hard, super-catchy Detroit oi band. The vocals have that lovable, food-in-the-mouth quality to them that gets me every time. The lyrics take the traditional working class themes found on countless prior oi albums, but with a focus on current economic and social issues, adding genuineness not always found on oi or street punk releases. U.S. oi developed its own hardcore-influenced feel over the years, and Bad Assets borrows from that tradition. The production quality is especially studied, mixed with way less treble than albums from other punk subgenres. Anyone into skin sounds will get super excited by this totally kick ass new group. Bad Assets are anything but bad. –Art Ettinger (United Riot, angelfire.com/indie/unitedriotrecords)


BACKSLIDER:
Maladapted: 7”

Warning: If you eat a bunch of cupcakes and listen to this record, you better give yourself a lot of space or something is going to get smashed. For this reason only, it’s good that these six songs of powerviolence perfection clock in at only a couple minutes. You probably want to keep your walls.

–MP Johnson (Psychocontrol, psychocontrol.com / To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com)


AYBAT HALLAR:
Something Nice: CD
This is brilliant in that each song is incrementally worse than the one before. The first and best, “Half Alive,” is a rocking number about zombie sex featuring some bizarre demon-possessed vocals. The next couple can accurately be described as good. Then the tunes dip into acceptable range before plunging into cracking vocals, out-of-sync instruments, ballads about being a superhero and going back in time to win over an ex-lover, and choruses of “Fuck the people.” If you can make it to the last song, the inappropriately titled “Something Nice,” in which the band seems unaware of the difference between vampires and zombies and throws in a weird bouncy pseudo ska rhythm to accompany endless repetitions of the “You’re so young and fresh” chorus—and you’re not undead yourself; you have passed one hell of an endurance test. –MP Johnson (OSK, oskrecords.com / Rumble Fish, rumblefish.ru)


AVERKIOU:
The New Imperative: 7”
I have no idea what the name of this band means, but they are undeniably catchy. Averkiou play soft and fuzzy indie pop, with subdued vocals, including lots of layered backing vocals. Up-tempo drumming and riffs spiced up with lots of guitar and bass effects are what give Averkiou their sound, leaving plenty of room in all the layers of sound they create for strong hooks that keep your attention focused on the music. This is normally not my kind of music, but I found it enjoyable nonetheless. –Paul J. Comeau (Sound Study, averkiou@gmail.com)


AVENGERS:
Self-titled: 2 x CD
Double disc collection, both remastered and sounding crisp and punchy. Expanded liner notes and pictures make this upgrade totally worth it. I won’t give you a history lesson on the band here. If you don’t know who they are, I’m going to send Steve Jones over to your house to “kick down the doors!” Furthermore, if you don’t get a chill down your spine when you crank songs like “We Are the One” and “Cheap Tragedies” up to ten, then you should check your pulse. The band is still going strong today (with a modified lineup), so buy this directly off their site and you will be one happy camper. –Sean Koepenick (Water)


AMERICAN LIES:
Listen, That’s Disco!: 12” EP
This record has six songs on it and they’re all really good. The songs are also all on side one. Side two has no songs on it, but it does have a sweet image of two dudes who look like they’re out of Saturday Night Fever, disco dancing with Stormtrooper helmets on. The track listing is also there, on top of grooveless vinyl. Everyone in this band is talented as hell. The songs are all very catchy, and they pretty much draw you inside of them. Listening to this, I feel like I’m in the same room with the band. Honest and real lyrics are sung through strong vocals that make it easy to understand where the songwriter is coming from. Songs about questioning your existence and growing old, but not wanting to let go of your youth. Good stuff. –Nighthawk (Autentico Records, americanlies.bandcamp.com)


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