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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Self-titled: CD
Classic punk tunes from the likes of Adolescents, Angry Samoans, Ramones, Misfits, etc. are done up by some of Santa’s most disgruntled elves, protesting the horrid working conditions on the North Pole as a result of the jolly old slave driver’s increasingly demanding schedule as the heavily commercialized take on Christmas becomes a year-round endeavor. These elves just wanna cut loose and drink some ‘nog, but Santa’s always harshing their mellow. What a dick. There is something, however, that you can do, dear reader. And that is pick this up and listen and merry make so that you can help the elves restore some of their lost Yuletide cheer. –Jeff Proctor (myspace.com/angrysnowmans)

What We Do Is Festive: LP
I’m not really nuts about Christmas music in general, and I’m REALLY not nuts about Christmassed-up punk, or any Christmas-based rock ‘n’ roll for that matter. You can’t really punk out Christmas, and you can’t really Christmas-out punk—they just don’t go particularly well together ((although getting punk records for Christmas is certainly all reet)), and don’t really need to BE together, if’n you ask me. I’d just as soon listen to those songs from the Rankin-Bass Christmas specials of my youth than listen to punk songs re-done in an X-mas motif, really—but, that said, a lot of these songs really are pretty clever ((Black Flag’s “Jealous Again” as “Joyeux Again,” “Operation” by the Circle Jerks as “Decoration,” and “Wasted Life” by Stiff Little Fingers as the inarguably epic “Wasted Elf”)), so if you’re into this sort of thing, you can buy with confidence and not bother fucking with a gift receipt. First Toymaker to the King represent! BEST SONG: “Wasted Elf,” maybe “Decoration.” BEST SONG TITLE: “What We Do Is Festive” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Although the front cover is a Yuletide take-off on the Germs album cover, the insert provides a similarly brilliant spoof of “Back From Samoa.” –Rev. Norb (Stiff Hombre)

What We Do Is Festive: LP
This is a difficult gig: a punk rock Christmas / comedy album. For example: I already hated the much-compromised modern Vandals, so when they released Oi! to the World, I actively started hating their fans. It is against these overwhelming odds that the Angry Snowmans’ What We Do Is Festive melts my black coal of a heart and replaces it with a blinking red Rudolf nose. They invert both punk’s cynicism and Christmas’s consumerism. Punk joy? Wide-eyed, child-like wonderment of a fun time of year? That’s what this record is. Instead of crooning Bing Crosby and Burl Ives, it’s belligerent Bing and sauced-up Burl ripping the wrapping off the Germs, Fear, Black Flag, Zero Boys, X, Misfits, Fear, (“(I Love) Christmas in the City”), and many more. It’s done in a lovingly manner, extremely punk-knowledgeably, often hysterically. Overthrowing the oppressive North Pole regime never sounded so good. Play it from the day after Thanksgiving until January 1, and we’ve got no beef. Outside of that, the reindeer gets punched. Awesome –Todd Taylor (Stiff Hombre)

Split: Cassette
Animal Eye play some art punk that has some hyper near-thrash elements, with a synth to put a coldness in the room. The singer sounds detached and like he’s singing from across the street. Green Screen Door have a similar sound to Animal Eye, only with more urgency. Which is what’s needed. If it’s punk, it has to have urgency. They lose steam at the end with “Reckless Recluse.” –Matt Average (Midas, midasrecordings.wordpress.com)

Auz Poj/Image Is Nothing: Cassette
This is a cool psychedelic/droney jammer that brings to mind many different bands (that I could list), but at the same time sounds like none of them (so I won’t). It’s heavy at times with (for the lack of a better term) “pretty”-sounding guitar leads interwoven over an unmodulated backbone. I just wish there was more here, as it’s a quick listen. Good stuff.  –Mark Twistworthy (Bummer Tapes, bummertapes.bandcamp.com)

Unfinished Business: LP
Pretty solid gruff hardcore from this band from Switzerland. Sounds like a cross between Warzone and more recent European stuff like Dead Stop. There are gang chorus vocals for days and the tempo is pretty quick. There is a Killing Time cover on here, leading me to believe the NYHC influence is not accidental. –Mike Frame (Take It Back)

Self-titled: 7"
Noise rock from a band that knows how to lock into a groove and milk from it every ounce of chaos possible. While they don’t let up on the volume for one second, they do know how to manipulate the throttle to keep things interesting. –Jimmy Alvarado (Bumpkin Pie)

Run Amuck: CD
One thing is for sure. The Animalistics really, really like Dayglo Abortions. To the point that you might even be able to play this disc for a seasoned Dayglo fan (or a band member, perhaps?) and convince them that it is a lost recording from 1982 or so. In sound and content, these guys got it nailed. The good thing about it is that they emulate the band from the early days before the cheesy metal guitars and Dungeons & Dragons lyrics. The bad part is that it gets old a bit fast. I’d still go out of my way to see them play if they came to town, though. –Ty Stranglehold (theanimalistics@hotmail.com)

2000: The Year of the Future: CD
They sound like a weak Vapors cover band on a Devo kick. –Jimmy Alvarado (Morphius, PO Box 13474, Baltimore, MD 21203)

Self-titled: CDEP
College rock that kind of reminded me of Bob Mould or his band Sugar. –Donofthedead (www.anitamusic.com)

Three Chord Revolution: CD
Man, my wife is going to love this! One Man Army meets the Plimsouls. I need to give this to her now before she tells me that I never turn her on to new music again. –Donofthedead (Union)

The Other Side of the Coin: CD
After To All Our Fallen Heroes and New Union, Old Glory, I need another Ann Beretta record like I need a box set collecting the complete oeuvre of Jimmy Buffett with outtakes, especially when it’s acoustic versions of songs from the first record. I’ve had it. If we’re going to be honest, we need to acknowledge that Ann Beretta had one good album in them but kept tilling and seeding the same creative soil, never letting it lie fallow. And what it all boils down to is this – Bitter Tongues is a damn fine record. It is also the only Ann Beretta album you need. –Puckett (Thrown Brick)

New Union…Old Glory: CD
This doesn’t suck, but their attempts at sounding inspirational fall miserably flat. I found myself skipping from one song to the next after the third track. Jeez, if I’d wanted to listen to Rancid, I woulda put on a Clash record. –Jimmy Alvarado (Lookout)

Live at the Pickle Barrel: LP
Anna Banana From Indiana! is a lady who plays an acoustic guitar and sings. Her lyrics range from Burger King to crack to being depressed and self-medicating. As the title suggests, this is a live recording. Not bad, but I have a feeling that I would be trying to have a conversation while she played had I been in the audience—you know, if I didn’t just leave. –Vincent Battilana (Tame That Poodle)

This is an Exercise: CD
I’ve seen Anna Oxygen play live. And I liked her. Even though I usually actively dislike music that uses computers instead of instruments. The thing about Anna Oxygen is that she has an incredible singing voice. It supercedes the electronic music that she surrounds it with. That said, I find this album very hard to get into. The title track is fairly catchy and aptly named since it makes me feel like I should be in an aerobics class, but the hooks and melodies of most of the songs are obscured by all the electronic affects that Ms. Oxygen has decided to play with. And holy crap, there is one track called “Mechanical Fish” which scares the shit out of me every time it comes on. An unexpected man-voice pouring out of my speakers? Yikes. I think I will take this album down the street and give it to my neighbor, Jessica, who likes to jog and work out and dance in bars full of cute girls. If you like to do those things too, then perhaps this is the perfect album for you. –Jennifer Whiteford (Kill Rock Stars)

Now That We’re Alive: CD-R
Annabel is a three piece indie pop band from Ohio. They’ve got nice melodies and know how to put together a good song; that is for sure. Their sound is really pure and friendly. There’s not much on the five songs that would be off-putting. I should also mention they have nice DIY packaging with a piece of cardboard covered in flannel cloth with a little pocket for the CD and tray card to sit in. The songs seem nice to listen to on a sunny day with your window open, and yet, I can’t see myself really becoming super excited about a band like this. Then again, they are playing The Fest this year, so that’s got to count for something, right? –Kurt Morris (Self-released)

Here’s to Hope: CD
I could sit here all day and draw comparisons to Exeter, UK and Minneapolis, MN and bust out big names like Hüsker Dü and Dillinger Four mixed together, and point out how this band also runs the Cavern Club in their hometown of Exeter, much like D4 runs the Triple Rock. I could also waste your time talking about how they really sound like Samiam or pre-throat surgery Jawbreaker and even a little bit of Superchunk. And I suppose I could mention how much I like the lyrics and cover art and stuff, but instead of all that I’ll just say HOLY FUCK! This is amazing. I could listen to this over and over again all day. Oh wait, I already did. –ben (No Idea)

Versus Everything: CD
I know I kept their copy of the Fettered CDEP. I just couldn’t remember what they sounded like. Ready to dismiss them, I put the disc into my player to take on the agony. The music blares forth and puts me back into the right state of mind. Kind of has that D4 quality to it without sounding like D4 and a hint of Hot Water Music. The power is there and at the same time the songs are catchy and full of hooks. The music is tight and produced well without sounding like a well-polished table. Love the title of the track Too Much Music & Too Many Bands. So true. I can’t keep track of what music I have and my collection’s not up there in comparison to other people I know. –Donofthedead (Boss Tuneage)

Split: 7"
I’m at a bit of a loss here, so I’m going to flat-out steal Maddy’s compare-a-band-to-a-brand-of-breakfast-cereal reviewing technique: As cereal goes, this 7 incher is a five bean salad. Maybe fine when you’re at a post-bris party with a bunch of your elderly blue-haired relatives, but nothing you’d want to encounter when you’re sitting down to a big brimmin’ bowl of Capt Crunch with Crunch Berries. As is often times the case with this sensitive stuff, it’s not totally without merit. Overall it’s a bit like lukewarm Hot Water Music. Musically it moves around and has some energy to it. But it shoots itself in the foot over and over again with it’s irksome self-consciousness posturing. Gravel up your voice all you want boys, you’re not fooling anyone – not even your friends, who are too nice to tell you to quit writing songs to assuage your stupid girlfriends. Urgh. Oh, and this was two bands? I couldn’t really tell.  –aphid (No Idea)

Dream Punx: LP
Wow. This is not what I was expecting from a new A389 release. Shoegaze/dream pop drawing heavily on My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus And Mary Chain, churning out dark, woozy, lovely tracks that, regardless of their complete non-hardcoreness, fit quite cozily alongside A389’s decidedly heavier numbers. This is a collection of previous recordings sequenced into one full-length record, but the cohesion is seamless. And while the influence of the dreary popsters of yesteryear is undeniable, Anne still manages to sound current and relevant, creating an updated take on a sound that could easily come off as dated or campy/retro. A killer release that transcends genres and that I recommend very highly. –Dave Williams (A389)

Self-titled: 7” EP
Excellent European garage rock. It’s super noisy with tons of feedback, which is something you want with this kind of thing. There are influences that creep through, ranging from Teengenerate to early Black Flag, with a few moments of power pop as well (if power pop was super loud). Apparently, these are all guys who’ve been in numerous other bands. It doesn’t surprise me, because they know what they’re doing and they’re really good at it. Fantastic stuff. –Joe Evans III (Stardumb)

Cosmic Unconsciousness: 7"
Liked the first LP. Was okay with the second one. Live, they are freakin’ awesome. This 7”, in my opinion, blows away what I have heard previously of their recorded material. The full-on Black Flag / Blast worship meets dirty stoner rock with a love for the almighty Black Sabbath is fully achieved on the opening track “Reality?” That one is a five-plus minute concoction that doesn’t seem as long as it really is. Starts with a head banging intro that makes you want to smoke a joint and put your lighter in the air and I haven’t smoked pot in over twenty years. The song struts forward like a slap in the face with its Greg Ginn-like guitar assault. Then the songs go for the slow, sludgy breakdown in the middle so you can catch your breath or light up a new one. Before you can finish what you are doing, they go for one last hurrah to end the madness. I can’t wait to hear this song live. Two songs fill the backside that rock just as hard. If you can imagine the MC5 as a modern day punk band, then you can get a small idea of what they are like. If you are fortunate enough to see the band live and don’t feel moved by the music, you must be stoned. –Donofthedead (Tankcrimes)

III: Tales of the Ancient Age: CD
It only takes one listen to a band like Motörhead to know the idea of mixing ‘70s-tinged hard rock with punk ain’t a new one, but these guys are quite proficient at it. Melding a hardcore shouter to a band well verse in Richie Blackmore riffage and the occasional Iron Maiden lead, they kick up a nice ruckus. Considering they dip their toes in two of his favorite pools, Mike from Circle One would probably adore ’em if he gets wind of ’em. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.teepeerecords.com)

III: Tales of the Ancient Age: LP
Annihilation Time have evolved from a rather predictable, straight-up Black Flag/Bl’ast clone into a ripping amalgam of that early sound, Rock N Roll Nightmare-era RKL and a drug-addled Phil Lynott’s finest moments. This is yet another step forward in the progression heard on both the II LP and the Cosmic Unconsciousness 7”, and the band’s new home on smoke-enveloped Tee Pee Records seems an exquisitely perfect fit. This should delight clean cut hardcore kids, dirty old skids, crossover metal nerds, and everyone in between. Bonkers. –Dave Williams (Tee Pee)

Tales of the Ancient Times: CD
Take a little later era Black Flag, Poison Idea circa Feel the Darkness, a tiny bit of Zeke, mix it up, and you have Tales of the Ancient Times. I like it. This hits me as the aural equivalent to the weird brothers in my hometown who were all grade school drop-outs who worked together in their parents’ motorcycle repair/leather jacket shop. If they knew how to play instruments, this is the punk album they would put out (after a false start as a Steve Miller cover band). “Bald Headed Woman” really gets into some serious motorcycle rock territory like early Turbonegro. My personal favorite is “Coming to My Senses” whose descending riff makes it sound like the best track Black Flag left off of My War. This is a worthy skuzzy punk album, with just enough old school metal influence for those who like to sport denim vests. Put it on while riding dirt bikes through the neighbor’s yards. –Adrian (Tee Pee)

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