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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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BAD SKIN:
Self-titled: EP
Mid-tempo hardcore punk that reminds me of early ‘80s Boston bands like Negative FX. There’s the bellowing vocals, raw and jagged guitar sound, and no frills, but effective, percussion. Primal and direct in its delivery. Four short blasts, with “Flamejob” being a standout. I like how the guitar goes from distortion to a semi-clean distortion-free kind of feel, similar to what bands like Social Distortion (when they were good) used to do. There’s also no denying the cranking introduction of “Commute.” The guitar comes on with a distorted and creaky sound, charging you up, then the vocals come in barking some angsty shit. Pretty good stuff. –Matt Average (Bad Vibrations, badvibrationsrecords@gmail.com)


BACKSLIDER:
Consequences: 10”
Sick Eyehategod-style opening into crushing powerviolence with start, stops, sputters, and spurts. There is a lot going on in the rhythm of these songs and while the band can be described as “pummeling,” they pull it off with finesse. The riffs are good and pull influence from punk as well as sludge and death metal. The result is a layered and engaging listen. Everything is played well, but what I like most about this record is how each song is tied together and the whole record feels like one cohesive composition. Basic recommendations for fans of Weekend Nachos, Iron Lung, and Triac. A welcome addition to the modern powerviolence catalog. –Ian Wise (Six Weeks, sixweeksrecords@comcast.net)


BACKBURNERS, THE:
Self-titled: CD EP
These five gritty songs—dirt-filled rock’n’roll with a punkish edge—are short and to the point. This could almost fit into the lineup of the Supersuckers and Nashville Pussy live show. With tight playing and a “screw you attitude,” this is the kind of music that begs to be played at a high volume. Great stuff from these guys and I’m looking forward to hearing more in the future from them. –Rick Ecker (MegaPlatinum, megaplatinum.net)


AU PAIRS:
Playing with a Different Sex: LP
It’s funny reviewing a record that came out before I was born. But with that being said, this record still holds up and could probably be passed off as something new. Everyone playing the post-punk thing today seems to be compared to either Joy Division or Gang Of Four. Those bands were great, but those kinds of lazy comparisons leave out true gems like this one. Playing with a Different Sex has a very bass-heavy, dance, and punk feel. The bass on this record makes me think that Jane Munro (bassist/singer) is the fidgety type who can’t sit still and dances for an entire set. Just listen to, “It’s Obvious” and you’ll see what I mean. They do minimal in a clever sort of way that proves that less is more. There is a broad mix of themes in their songs that deal with gender, hostages, love, and promiscuity. The mix of subject matter, as well as male and female vocals, makes for a great record. The packaging is great too. It comes on 180 gram pink vinyl. The insert has lyrics on one side and a fertility chart on the other side. Drastic Plastic out of Omaha, NE has been reissuing a lot of classic records from this era. Check out more of their releases if you like eighties, new wave, and post-punk. –Ryan Nichols (Drastic Plastic)


ATOMIC BUDDHA, THE:
Blottered: CD
After listening to this CD four and half times, I think I’m ready to say it’s incredible. On Blottered, The Atomic Buddha go from fuzzy, spacey power pop to rock’n’roll maximum riffage, and never over-reach. They’re The Buzzcocks and then Bob Mould is playing and then they’re the Stooges for a few minutes, the vocals falling somewhere between Pete Shelley and Glenn Mercer. They sound like dorks who absorbed all the right records and cover the exact bases you want covered. Every song sounds like a demo version of a classic to-be. Some of the lyrics are a little rough, or kind of pedestrian/cheesy, like they’re trying to make too much sense. But they seem like a band that can do anything, and they’ll be even better when they figure out what not to do, or what doesn’t need to be done. –Matt Werts (75orless, 75orlessrecords.com)


ANTILLECTUAL:
Perspectives & Objectives: CD/LP
Dutch punk band Antillectual is back with a fourth album, albeit the first one I’ve heard so far (a situation that since writing this review has been remedied). I got hold of a copy of Perspectives & Objectives after recently seeing the band live and although the music is pretty good, it was more the message that hooked me in. In terms of the musical content, there is obviously a strong skate punk influence but that’s far from the be all and end all for Antillectual. Some of the tracks have a more pop/rock orientated sound, which offers up a slightly more relaxed feel to the record, allowing the messages to come through in a calm way. The lyrics deal with issues such as bullying, the lack of women at punk shows, and also the need to not settle for a life that doesn’t feature new experiences displaying a socially aware outlook. There are definitely some similarities to Bad Religion and Crazy Arm, both musically and lyrically, to be heard at times and neither of those are bad things in my book. –Guest Contributor (Lockjaw, rob@lockjawrecords.co.uk, lockjawrecords.co.uk)


ANTI-CIMEX:
Anarkist Attack: 7” EP, Raped Ass: 7” EP & Victims of a Bomb Raid: 7” EP
A reissue of the first three EPs by this venerable Swedish hardcore institution, courtesy of a Brazilian label. Their first salvo, 1981’s Anarkist Attack, is an amateurish, yet spirited mix of the obligatory Discharge influence and sloppy, thuddy hardcore. It probably wouldn’t be considered crucial to the casual listener, but is arguably ground zero for both the band and the whole fjordcore sound. Their follow-up, 1982’s Raped Ass, is an altogether different beast. Tempos, vocals, and the Discharge-derived musical attack are ratcheted up several notches, with screaming vocals and pummeled instruments giving clearer insight into why the band became so influential. They followed up the next year with the Victims of a Bomb Raid EP, which keeps the speed and Discharge influence at the fore and, while they back up a bit on the sonic flailing, they manage to do so without sacrificing any of the heft. All are faithfully reproduced and include inserts with cover variants from other reissues, as well as “liner notes” by one of the band members. It’s highly recommend these be sought out, and fast ‘cause I’m guessing there’s only a handful of ‘em floating around out there. –Jimmy Alvarado (Nada Nada, nadanadadiscos.com)


ANGERS CURSE:
Self-titled: CD/LP
Angers Curse is what happens when there’s a Swedish version of Earth Crisis that wants to be on a label like Bridge Nine, but they tell the band that they’re going to have to write shorter, faster songs to fit in (twelve songs, twenty minutes), and then the label doesn’t sign them anyway. –Kurt Morris (Monument / Gaphals / World Vs. Cometh / Defiant Hearts, angerscurse.bandcamp.com)


ABOLITIONIST:
The Growing Disconnect: LP
Dark, political punk from Oregon that recalls elements of early Anti-Flag, early Good Riddance, Avail, and Model American (remember them?), with a stylistic mix of ‘90s California and ‘80s Midwest punk. While the song structures and chord progressions are a little predictable at times, the music is a solid and effective backdrop for the lyrical narratives that the nine songs contain. Neither preachy nor simplistic, the songs are personal accounts of struggles, both internal and external, with the current state of national and international affairs. In other words, you can tell that they mean it. A solid record and a band that I’d like to see take that next step up. –Chad Williams (1859, 1859records.bandcamp.com / Tour Van, tourvanrecords.bandcamp.com / Different Kitchen, differentkitchenrecords.bandcamp.com / Lost Cat, lostcatrecords.org / Sex Sheet, sexsheetrecords.com / Hahaha Cool, hahahacool.com)


ABJECT OBJECT:
Romance: LP
French melodic punk. It’s artful, clean, highly constructed, tuneful, and intentionally pushing the listener to meet them half way. (The lyrics are printed on the inside of the record pocket, but they’re near the open edge, so it’s possible to read them. It’s not just horribly convenient. I appreciate and support such practices. Convenience is an addiction.) Romance engenders an intricate, precise geometric flatness and, for Abject Object, it’s a definite positive and makes me think of the sonic space between Bitpart and Xaxaxa. The hooks come out after multiple listens and when they do, the record locks solidly into place and makes sense as a pattern, as distinct song pieces, and as a cohesive whole. Enjoyable. –Todd Taylor (abject.object@gmail.com, abjectobject.bandcamp.com / Echo Canyon / Protagonist / Corn Dog / Flower Of Carnage)


A.K.A.:
Golden Chains: CD
Heavy nod to ‘80s punk with a vocalist who sounds, to put it bluntly, like she’s barfing nails and summoning a ghoul at the same time. Harsh, ugly, and wire-tight, with the occasional little Ginn-like freakout, such as the laddering guitar work in the title track. Eight songs with the brittle and consistent yowl of hardcore and just mean as shit, with lyrics that focus on labor, inequality, and the often soul-killing nature of work and profit. Go into Golden Chains expecting pop punk and you’re going to get your face sanded off. –Keith Rosson (A.K.A.)


VIBRATOR5, THE:
On the Guest List: CD
I don’t think it would be unduly untoward for me to state that the Vibrators haven’t felt like a vital, going concern to me since they left Epic Records in 1978 ((“Amphetamine Blue” and a few other standout tracks from the last thirty-four years or so notwithstanding)). Out of the twenty or so albums the band released since then, the only one i’ve actually purchased was Fucking Punk ‘77 a few years ago, which was basically them playing old punk covers ((including their own stuff)), seemingly underscoring my point. This time, they’ve recorded mainly new originals ((plus remakes of their own “Baby Baby,” “Whips and Furs,” and “Automatic Lover”—in case you didn’t catch the remakes a few years ago on Fucking Punk ‘77 i reckon)), with the twist being that they’ve enlisted a shit-ton of guest guitar players to do solos for them—Walter Lure, Wayne Kramer, Brian James, Ross the Boss, Stan Lee, Hugh Cornwell, Chris Spedding, Ty Segall. And, while i gotta admit that it’s kind of fun to see who’s playing on the song, then eagerly awaiting their guest solo, sitting around waiting for guitar solos isn’t really at the top of my list of things i wanna be doing when I’m listening to a punk album. I guess if you enjoyed Knox’s guest appearance on Die Toten Hosen’s cover of “Baby Baby” on 1991’s Learning English, Lesson One, you’ll surely thrill to the Die Toten Hosen guitarist’s guest solo on “Baby Baby” here. It’s worth a listen, but if you can sit all the way through it without the phrase “twenty-second album by a two-album band” periodically blinking into and out of your consciousness, you got way more Zen than i got. BEST SONG THAT HASN’T BEEN RECORDED FORTY-EIGHT TIMES BEFORE: “Rain to Town.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Birdland Is Closed.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Nigel Bennett uses PRS® guitars and Marshall™ amplification. Eddie uses Avedis Zildjian® cymbals and Eddie Ryan™ drums. Pete uses Genz Benz™ amplification and Epiphone® and Gibson™ basses. They didn’t list what Knox uses. –Rev. Norb (Cleopatra, cleopatrarecords.com)


WOLF FEET:
Self-titled: Cassette
Smiths-esque new wave recorded on a playschool cassette player (or least that’s what it sounds like). Personally, I’ve had it up to here with Morrissey impressions. They’re much like opinions and assholes—everybody has one. The songs themselves range from decent to decent, but weird. I like the weird ones better. –Bryan Static (Resurrection, getresurrected.com)


WHITE FANG / WAR TOY MACHINES:
Split: 7”
War Toy Machines: Fuzzed-out post-punk made of broken glass. Really fun if you like to hear loud, jagged music. White Fang: Straight forward garage rock with mildly interesting vocals and a sub-par chorus. Unremarkable. Grade: B-. –Bryan Static (Frantic City, franticcity.free.fr)


WATERTANK:
Sleepwalk: LP
Stoner rock for the beach, not the dark woods. Huge guitars with clean, alt-rock vocals and catchy songwriting. These French guys owe a thing or two to Torche, Master of Reality-era Sabbath and the Foo Fighters. It makes me wish I had a dune buggy. –Chris Terry (solarflarerds.blogspot.com)


WARSONG:
Restitution: 7”
Killer hardcore in that ‘80s SoCal kind of way. People always say that punk rockers don’t know how to play their instruments, but here’s a record that says “bullshit” to that. I’m not saying these guys are Yngwie Malmsteen (fuck that guy), but listen to that guitar on “Silent Misery” and tell me that isn’t fun to listen to. Funny, I’m pretty sure these guys have members of Insomnio, which I don’t remember liking that much. Maybe it’s time to go back and see if I missed anything. Good single. Recommended for fans of Neon Piss or Red Dons. Grade: A-. –Bryan Static (No Nostalgia, no address)


VULTURES UNITED:
Girls: Cassette
This is the easiest review I have ever written. Covers of songs written or performed by women, played in the most predictable “hardcore” fashion by men, who dedicate the album to women. I checked out their website and it appears covers and references are their schtick. I just don’t get what the point of it is. It’s a cover band that doesn’t really change anything about the structure of the songs, just the delivery, which is exactly the same on each track. I don’t understand where originality or creativity came into play. Listening to this makes me sad. Hardcore used to be about something. Nobody quite agrees what that something was, but we know it was real and not strictly for entertainment. This makes me respect every shitty hardcore band that at least tried to do its own thing. Singing along to “That’s Not My Name” means less than nothing to me. –Rene Navarro (Baldy Longhair, baldylonghair.com)


VARSITY CHEERLEADER:
Death to Denton: CD-R
On the lyrics sheet, I spotted three mistakes before the end of the first song. Quality control is not a concern to Varsity Cheerleader. The photocopied zine, pre-spell check era aesthetic applied to a gritty pop punk EP. A small personal statement in a media of impermanence, to be lost in the cracks of time in a matter of years. Yet, does the EP shudder or fear eternity? No, it blasts out a few quick punk jams in the vein of Shang-A-Lang or a straightforward Toys That Kill. Fun music, decent recording, awful spelling. Grade: B. –Bryan Static (Torn Shoe, no address listed)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Radio Ready – Texas Vol. One: LP
A collection of some choice power pop from the Lone Star state spanning the years 1978-’83. The tunes—courtesy of Pengwins, Bruce Moody, The Fad, The Haskells, Lawnmowers, Rattlecats, Jemmy Leggs, Amatones, The Spies, The Shades, The Take, True Hearts, and US Mods, respectively—cover all corners of the genre, from Ramonesy bubblegum to twangy Beatle-worship to tambourine-shimmying pop rock, with guitars both fuzzed and clean and enough saccharine-drenched hooks to make yer teeth ache. The verdict? Two words: kick ass. –Jimmy Alvarado (Cheap Rewards, cheaprewards.net)


VAARINKASITYS:
Päivän Tunnit: EP
One of my favorite releases that I was assigned for this issue. The sound is very basic Finnish hardcore punk that harkens back to the 1980s in spirit, more than style. Granted, they sound similar to the early 1980s punk from that region, but they’re not a nostalgia band. The songs are straight forward, switching back and forth from mid to fast tempos. The guitars have a nice thick sound, and the vocals are urgent in delivery. I was surprised to see this is three piece, as their sound is pretty full. “Määränpäänä Kuolema” is my favorite of the eight on here, and they’re all good. –Matt Average (Väärinkäsitys, vaarinkasitys@hotmail.fl)


UZBEKS:
Snaps: Cassette
Appropriating the use of a dead rock icon for their four-song EP, the Uzbeks deliver two songs that are okay, and two others that are really cool. Buddy Holly stares into your soul, asking you to question reality, existence, and if you’re ready to get down with the Great Imam of Surf. On the last one, I hope that answer is yes, because when the Uzbeks hit their stride they lay down a great Adolescents/Red Dons-sounding number. Average, but not a complete waste of time, as so many things are these days. (Life is pointless, guys.) Grade: B-. –Bryan Static (Self-released)


UNITED TEACHERS OF MUSIC:
Self-titled: CD
Well, musically, they are better than their band name. I don’t know if it is because the singer sounds vaguely like Larry May, but this feels like it wants to rock as hard at the Candy Snatchers and falls short (in reality, most bands fall short of the Candy Snatchers). Not a total washout, but not much to write home about. –Ty Stranglehold (facebook.com/unitedteachersofmusic)


UNION ELECTRIC:
Out in the Street: 7”
Another single from a St. Louis band that has a real Jay Farrar solo record feel to it. This band appears to have a few of the same people as May Day Orchestra and the vibe is pretty similar as well. –Mike Frame (RankOutsider, contact@rankoutsiderrecords.com)


TUKATUKAS:
Chaleur Tropicale: CD
Another single from a St. Louis band that has a real Jay Farrar solo record feel to it. This band appears to have a few of the same people as May Day Orchestra and the vibe is pretty similar as well. –Kurt Morris (Mass Productions, massprod.com)


TROPICAL DEPRESSION:
See You Next Year: Cassette
Muddy-sounding sloppy punk / no wave with shouted vocals that just kind of sits there and doesn’t do much to showcase the band. It sounds like they recorded this on a boom box and released it without much thought. –Rick Ecker (Self-released)


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