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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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“I Play the Fool” b/w “Water Death": 7”
Incredible 7” from legendary Memphian Alicja Trout. Alicja-Pop is her power-pop outlet—sort of removed from her darker Lost Sounds/Black Sunday work. “I Play the Fool” has hints of the Rich Kids and The Breeders. B side, “Water Death,” is amazing. Alicja’s vocals and Ramones-inspired rhythm and lead guitar lines (Walter Lure) are supported by a great drum machine track and Theremin-sounding synth. Alicja continues to put out the greatest records with regularity. I’ve heard Billy Childish referred to as a “cultural treasure” of Great Britain. If that’s true, Alicja’s likely our best response. Recommended! –Ryan Leach (Certified PR, certifiedprrecords.com)

“I Play the Fool” b/w “Water Death”: 7”
The A-side is great, it sounds like what would happen if you took a Holly & The Nice Lions song, gave it to Jem & The Holograms, and told them to play it in a way that would make Muppets slam dance. The b-side, with its predominant cheap drum machine, sounds a little bit more like Helen Love’s depressed little sister. Altogether, i was always curious to know what would happen if the Thing’s blind girlfriend married Iggy, so this record does me right fine. BEST SONG: “I Play the Fool” BEST SONG TITLE: “Water Death” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Cover art depicts the most flowers, pineapples, and magic potions of any Certified PR release to date. –Rev. Norb (Certified PR)

“I Play the Fool” b/w “Water Death”: 7”
My exposure to Ms. Pop’s endeavors outside of her work with Lost Sounds is severely limited, so I can’t really speak to where this rests in her body of work. What I can say, though, is that both songs have a minimalist, almost demo-like quality, with what sounds like a drum machine and guitars that are sans big studio trickery. Of the two songs here, “I Play the Fool” is the most immediately catchy, with some nice drony guitar to anchor the tasty hooks that fly by. “Water Death” is a bit more sophisticated, deftly hiding its buried treasures for those willing to visit ‘n’ dig a bit more to find ‘em. –Jimmy Alvarado (Certified PR)

R.I.P.—A 12” Collection: 2 x CD
Alien Sex Fiend is one of those rare bands so unique that one has a helluva time trying to describe with words what they sound like. Death Rock? Punk? Rockabilly? Synthy art damage? Brooding psychoses set to a dance beat? You get all the above in spades, plus bizarre lyrics and a visual presentation that someone must’ve dreamed up while watching The Munsters with a head full of some kick-ass acid. As the title suggests, this is a collection of tracks culled from various 12” singles and EPs, but it would serve just as well as a “best of” initiation for anyone interested in dipping their toes in what the band has to offer. A good dose of their prime material—“Dead and Buried,” “Now I’m Feeling Zombified,” “I Walk the Line,” “Hurricane Fighter Plane,” “Inferno,” “Smells Like...” and a fistful of others—are here for the listening, so those interested in tuneage from a band that yowls with the best of ‘em yet refuses to be easily plopped into any one category would do well to pick this up. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.cherryred.co.uk)

Hell Yes b/w My Standard Break from Life: 7"
Against-my-better-judgement, catchy-as-hell songs that lick the razorblade separating pop and punk which bleeds in the same way as Green Day when they go to balladeer mode. Tight, well written, gettin’ girls wet while dudes can shake their fists along types of songs. If it helps, think of the Weakerthans with a couple of nuts and less wounded warrior poetry. –Todd Taylor (Lookout)

This Addiction: CD
Aw, man. Okay, I want to love this. I really do. This band has put out three of my favorite records, and, while it often raises an eyebrow, Crimson is easily my favorite of the lot, so I’m not exactly adverse to their “spookier” side or their more recent forays into melodic rock territory. When I got wind that this new record was going to be a return to their “punk” sound (rarely a successful initiative), I was very cautiously optimistic. After one listen, I wasn’t exactly floored. Song titles like “Dine, Dine My Darling” and “The American Scream” already had me cringing, and the rather uninspired, throwaway songs themselves certainly didn’t make up for it. There are some great tracks on here, for sure (sadly, one being “Draculina”), but I fear that these three incredibly talented young men have crossed one step too far into cartoon territory. It’s entirely possible that, in time, I will love this record (which happened with Agony and Irony), but my hopes ain’t high. Dang. –Dave Williams (Heart & Skull)

Split: CD
It’s an appropriate pairing in a yin yangy way. Alkaline Trio sound happy as shit, but the smiles are broken tooth lyrics sharpened to daggers, all dark undercurrent, all sugar-coated fuck you in the pop context. Hot Water Music sound pissed as all hell and as gruff as a kennel of kicked-in-the-head Dobermans, but their lyrics are overwhelmingly positive and hopeful. OK, these songs: Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba’s got it going on; breathless melody that’ll make ladies shed tops like they’re entering tanning salons instead of a rock show, the hummability that’ll place A3 on the loudspeaker as I pump gas, and I still can’t slag him. Skiba writes some fucking tight, snappy songs that look and smell like those little heart-shaped candies, but don’t easily dissolve from memory. They cover Hot Water Music’s “Rooftops,” and have provided two originals. HWM’s ability to soar and propel with post hardcore power, steering into brutal-tongued and burning acoustic-heavy songs takes me to places I never thought the band would go, but I’m stunned at how warm, meaningful, and heart-felt they still sound, even if they’re slower and more sparse arrangements. Great split. –Todd Taylor (Jade Tree)

Live + One: CD
This is apparently the “live” part of the title, ‘cause what I believe was the “+ One” part of the title (a live set from the Descendents) is not here. The sound quality here is a notch better than their last live album, Trailblazer, and the songs are a little tighter as well. Although Chad’s vocals are a little more limited in range than Scott’s or even Milo’s (especially obvious on his take of “She’s My Ex”), he does make a commendable effort to stay true to the oldies and succeeds for the most part. Live versions of the band’s newer songs are what the listener should take notice of, however. Here, this incarnation of the band gels most, proving both why they’ve been such an influential force in punk music and why they’ll never really fit in with the hordes they’ve spawned: they’re a truly original, great band. –Jimmy Alvarado (Epitaph)

Hate Rock USA: CD
In keeping the monster theme so prevalent here, I’d say if this were a B monster movie it would be billed as “The Ramones Meet Chuck Berry.” And I’m talking here about Chuck Berry the musician and not Chuck Berry the toilet bowl cinematographer, though the latter might make for a more interesting monster movie. Anyways, this is bouncy, good-time stuff, roughly similar to a band like the Groovie Ghoulies. And though it might pretend that it’s “hate rock,” it’s so damn affable it’s hard not to like it at least a little bit. –aphid (Eugene)

Paranoid Indigenous: LP
Heavier, more distorted versions of ‘00 hardcore guitar riffs woven into a more technical framework. The songs are trickier than typical ‘00 hardcore and the vocals are reminiscent of No Idea bands. I don’t have a large frame of reference for this sort of thing, but it is well played and well recorded. People into Florida would dig this. –Billups Allen (Self-released, myspace.com/alldinosaurs)

Self-titled: CD
Modern corporate alt-rock sound, along the lines of bands like Foo Fighters. They ain’t bad at it, but it really ain’t my box o’ jacks. –Jimmy Alvarado (Jump Start)

Self-titled: CD
This band is so cute. If you think by the sound of their name that they would be fun to play at a barbecue on the beach in July, you are right! Along the same vein as the Microphones and Tiger Trap (among many other girl bands with simple, catchy guitar songs that make you wanna jump up and get a lime flavored Popsicle from the freezer). I have a few favorite tracks from this CD. Track 2: “Canadian Boyfriend” (enough said), track 3: “Car Trouble,” “He broke my heart and my car won’t start”, and track 4: “Later Operator,” where every girl sings a verse about one of their boyfriends oddities (one is shy, one never bathes) but they love them anyways because they are “Damn good ...” – you fill in the blank! They even have their own theme song which could be the title track for the soundtrack to the B-movie beach movie which takes place in the sixties appropriately titled All Girl Summer Fun Band. Hmmm... if only... –Harmonee (K)

The Past: CD
Potent death metal/grind that is well executed, but ultimately sounds like any other band doing the same thing.
–Jimmy Alvarado (Crucial Blast)

Straight Blue Line: CD
The "Loveless" -era My Bloody Valentine influence is painfully obvious, yet this stands pretty well on its own. While not a sonically overwhelming or as densely lush as "Loveless," this group manages to effectively channel MBV's poppiness and wobbly, hypnotic repetitiveness through a sound not unlike Os Mutantes' psychedelic bossa nova experiments and come out sounding less like a rip off than extension of an idea. Shoegazers all over the world can rejoice. With this release, the total number of bands playing that style that are worth a piss has now been upped to five. –Jimmy Alvarado (Gern Blandsten, PO Box 356, River Edge, NJ 07661)

Straight Blue Line: CD
The "Loveless" ‑era My Bloody Valentine influence is painfully obvious, yet this stands pretty well on its own. While not a sonically overwhelming or as densely lush as "Loveless," this group manages to effectively channel MBV's poppiness and wobbly, hypnotic repetitiveness through a sound not unlike Os Mutantes' psychedelic bossa nova experiments and come out sounding less like a rip off than extension of an idea. Shoegazers all over the world can rejoice. With this release, the total number of bands playing that style that are worth a piss has now been upped to five. –Jimmy Alvarado (Gern Blandsten)

Self-titled: CD
Great title for an album, kinda hokey name for a band, especially considering that it doesn’t sound like these guys are on any cool kinds of mind-altering/expanding drugs. The tunes are mediocre power pop that fall short of memorable. It reminds me of something that I can’t quite put my finger on…mid-’90s “alternative” FM radio…that fuckin’ “Flagpole” band, Harvey Danger. There you go. Colonel Records put out the great King Tuff record recently, so grab that release rather than this one. Stick to the Pets or Gentleman Jesse if you’re looking for a power pop fix. –Josh Benke (The Colonel, www.myspace.com/thecolonelrecords)

Make It Right: LP
This record starts off in a mid-tempo fashion with lots of overtones of bouncy ‘77 punk and Brit pub rock. Clear influences from Stiff Little Fingers, Sham 69, and The Jam along with plenty of hooks and choruses that soar. By the time the fourth track hits, things slow down a bit and more Americana influences become prevalent, made even more pronounced by the presence of organ which continues to play a role in most of the other songs. The vocals by frontman Tom Cheshire are two parts Jon Langford of Mekons and Waco Brothers fame and one part Joe Strummer with a ragged working class timbre that fits the music appropriately. Sometimes it strays a bit too far from pub rock to heartland rock. On the balance, it made for more-than-tolerable listening experience as a reviewer, yet did not peak my interest enough to give me a desire to seek out any other releases by All Night Drug Prowling Wolves. –Jake Shut (The Gospel Of Rhythm)

What Doesn’t Kill You…: CD
Just in case you didn’t pick up what “h.c.” stood for at the end of this band name—this is a hardcore band. Fronted by lead singer Renae Byrant, this band makes Tsunami Bomb look like a bunch of pansies. Some of the feel-good topics brought up here include: dysfunctional families, oppression, fear, and violence. Not something to play at your next office party, but the band is competent and seems to be schooled in the classics. I can hear some Verbal Assault, some Gorilla Biscuits, even some Suicidal Tendencies (first album only, please). If you’re mad at the world and think the man is bringing you down, this may be the record for you. –Sean Koepenick (On The Rag/Rodent Popsicle)

What Doesn’t Kill You...: CD

I have read Renae Bryant’s columns in MRR for a number of years and she has mentioned her band many of times. I never actively went out to purchase her band’s music and never went to check out her shows. My loss. If this release is any indication, I have been missing out on a lot. The songs are mid-tempo to fast. It’s straight-up punk rock with raw production that keeps things aggressive. Her vocals are intense with anger and you truly believe her words because of how she delivers. I have read that she has had a lot of line-up changes throughout their history, but that does not hurt the music here. She seems to have built a sold backing here since there seems to be no weak link. The songs are strong and keep me attentive. Now I need to get off my ass and go see them live.



–Donofthedead (Rodent Popsicle)

All of These Are Days of the Dead: 7"
Fairly standard modern hardcore with a bit of crustiness around the edges and hints of the classic NYC hardcore sound—they sorta remind me of early Underdog. Not spectacular, but definitely solid and entertaining. It’s on cool red and black sunburst vinyl, too. I enjoyed it. –The Lord Kveldulfr (On The RAg)

All of These Are Days of the Dead: 7"
This 7” was released a couple of years ago. Not sure why it’s just getting in to us here for a review, but here it is. All Or Nothing H.C. Plays a style of hardcore that I just don’t dig. They’re the kind of band that is heavily influenced by classic hardcore without really adding anything new to the style or saying anything particularly interesting. The tunes are all well-played and the politics are dead-on, but what’s the point in one more group like this? If you are an absolute hardcore fanatic you might be into this. Those of us with more eclectic tastes won’t be able to separate it from the herd. –Ryan Horky (On The Rag, ontherag.net)

Search for the Strength: CD
Even if I didn’t know this was Renae Bryant’s band, I would’ve recognized her vocals instantly. Renae is an MRR columnist and she also used to be the singer in an little-known band called He’s Dead Jim. As far as I know, He’s Dead Jim only put out one seven-inch and had a few songs on a few obscure comps, but they were a really cool band, snotty and dripping with attitude and funny (though sometimes funny despite themselves). A friend of mine taped the seven inch for me, but I lost the cassette a long time ago. I miss that cassette. I was excited to see that she’s fronting a this new band. All or Nothing HC is definitely a departure for Renae musically. Her vocals are still dripping with attitude, but the snottiness has been replaced by a new toughness, and the band behind her traded in their melodies for a faster, meaner sound. This sounds more like a female-fronted Sick of it All. The songs are tight and the musicianship is solid. I think Renae’s become a better singer over the years, too. I’m kinda torn about this album. Part of me misses the old He’s Dead Jim sound; part of me is just happy to have this new album to listen to.
–Sean Carswell (On the Rag)

Truth in the Age of Lies: LP
A well-done reissue of a very important piece of metalcore history. This is from a time when there was no defined aesthetic for the genre; it was just something that happened when some punk kids from a few cities around the U.S. decided to try their hand at metal. The original run of this record came out over twenty years ago when these guys, along with bands like Integrity, helped set the scene for the Victory Records craze of the late ‘90s that turned into the awful Ferret Records bullshit that hit later and had less and less in common with the punk scene as it evolved into generic drop C riffs and karate moshing. This is a record by a group of five fuck-ups who had the same goals and intention of any other hardcore band at the time: put out a record, hang out with your friends, and maybe open for some good bands. How far have we fallen? There’s no point in talking about the way the band sounds, because I imagine that I won’t change anyone’s opinion by talking positively or negatively about them. I will only mention that this reissue sounds fucking fantastic. Organized Crime did a great service to the original design and sonic qualities of this record and it’s refreshing to see a reissue of a higher profile release that’s more than a shitty digital cut of the record thrown inside a flimsy cardboard sleeve for sixteen bucks. –Ian Wise (Organized Crime)

Formulate a Tragedy: CD
Sweet fucking Christ. I may have finally found something as horrifically bad as Into Another. There’s a hint of bad funk, a slew of boring rock riffs (throw the horns, motherfuckers!), and lyrics about working to make girls theirs, along with vaguely sexist songs about how to get money, girls, and drinking, and one track about homelessness which is so heavy-handed that the band should really consider giving up music and going into boxing, sooner rather than later. –Puckett (On the Rise)

Formulate a Tragedy: CD
You can smell it a mile away when a band has their hearts in the wrong place. This CD reeks of I want to make it! This band sounds like many other rock bands that you would catch on MTV or Fuse (MuchMusic for you Canadians). When this band is in pop mode, they sound way too much like Weezer. Like we need another Weezer clone band. The rock stuff is like Nickelback or Puddle of Mudd or any one of those boring rock bands. Generic. And they have that Oh god, not another band that sounds like (enter band name here). More power to these guys. I will make this go away and not have to listen to this again. In the trash you go. –Donofthedead (On the Rise)

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