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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Self-titled: LP
Lyrically I’m totally onboard with this—barbs about the shittier aspects of the modern world, including enslavement via debt, the reinterpretation of the term “organic food,” the failure of capitalism, resisting the system, etc. Musically, however, I’ve just never been all that impressed with “hardcore” metal—as that term is used these days—and the genre really does zippo for me. Here’s hoping that the seeds buried in the lyrics take root in at least a couple o’ fans who do dig that sound, ‘cause, frankly, they sure as shit ain’t gonna hear about stuff like this in the mainstream media or on the current hit program on Telemundo or TV Azteca. –Jimmy Alvarado (Fat Sandwich)

Crisis: 12” EP
The intensity of a Costa Rican Bad Brains weaned on Dillinger Escape Plan but actually producing memorable hardcore, La Armada will burn your show space down with sheer power and technical virtuosity. Six tracks, including a Bad Brains medley, that swing from shred to breakdown while keeping the actual tunes fresh in your mind. The group is now based in Chicago, but with song titles like “Vincho Leonelista” and “Obsolescencia,” one is lead to believe La Armada is still writing lyrics with their distinct South American perspective, but lacking a lyric sheet, a listener has no way of verifying. However, pre-orders did come with a bonus Unbaptismal Certificate, solidifying their vocal distaste for organized Christian religion. Snatch this one up.  –Matt Seward (Fat Sandwich, fatsandwichrecords.com / Profane Existence, profaneexistence.com / Puercords)

Crisis: 12”EP
Originally from the Dominican Republic, Chicago’s La Armada has been bringing the “Latino Hardcore Fury” to audiences for nearly ten years. Crisis is the follow-up to the band’s 2012 self-titled debut on label Fat Sandwich. That album was a milestone for La Armada as they transformed from the more straightforward hardcore punk sound of previous albums and drew in a wider array of influences spanning punk, hardcore, and metal. Crisis is a natural extension of that forward evolution. Combining such an array of influences can be difficult to pull off, but La Armada’s songwriting and their musicianship are more than up to the challenge. Few current bands can rival them in terms of technical skill, never mind having the chemistry these guys have after playing together for so long. Crisisincludes not only a number of ripping new songs, but also allows the band a moment to reflect on their roots. One track on side A of the record is them blasting through a medley of Bad Brains covers “Don’t Need It/Attitude/Shitfit,” as seamlessly as if they’d written the songs themselves. The record features creepy-looking apocalyptic cover art and comes with a lyric sheet that includes English translations of their lyrics, a fold out poster, and an “UnBaptismal certificate.” The certificate details crimes of the church and encourages listeners to renounce their Christian faith. It fits the anti-religious and radical political messages of the band.  –Paul J. Comeau (Fat Sandwich, armadahardcore@gmail.com)

Dez Mil Anos De Terror: LP
Kick-ass crust from Italy, with touches of grind and d-beat and a black and white drawing of skeletons in business suits chaining a guy up. Nothing new, but it’s done with conviction, and I sure as hell air-guitared to it.  –Chris Terry (Insane Society))

This is a Philly super group of sorts with Dan Yemin (Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, Paint It Black), Atom Goren (from Atom & His Package), Mike McKee (Kill The Man Who Questions) and Jeff Ziga (Affirmative Action Jackson). Goren and McKee alternate handling vocal duties with Goren’s songs, not straying too far from the Atom & His Package template (i.e. that patented talking singing) while McKee comes across in a vein similar to Milemarker/Challenger’s Al Burian. Textbook post-hardcore for the punk crowd is what it is my friends. Enjoy. –greg (No Idea)

Self-titled: CD
I like comedians covering dog shows because they make jokes about pedigrees while the judges—in all seriousness and concentration—cup a dog’s balls or stick their fingers in its mouth to reveal scary fangs. I sometimes feel like that when describing a new band formed from older ones, it’s like I’m comparing their muscle and chops against their previous efforts and doing a mental tally against the genre (or breed, to keep stretching an analogy) as a whole. For example: Dan Yemin’s on bass. Dan’s been (and is once again in the reformed) Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, and Paint It Black. His string work is like a whip with a bit of candy at the end: a sweet, stinging, distinctive laceration. Atom Goren’s on guitar and singing. Atom’s probably most known for his one-man band, Atom and His Package, but he was also in a hardcore band, Fracture. Atom can make a song about his pancreas and turn it into an urgent singalong. Not easy. Mike McKee was the guy screamer (as opposed to the lady screamer) in Kill The Man Who Questions and he’s the yin to Atom’s yang; a bit more Philly steel and concrete, and that provides a nice balance. Jeff Ziga’s also in Affirmative Action Jackson and he continues to be both tasteful and bashing drummer. So, Armalite, a probably-won’t-tour, Sunday-practicing supergroup doesn’t equal a mutt, and comes out as a barking, lean, evenly balanced, nicely coated, precisely-what-they-wanted band that put out a really good album. –Todd Taylor (No Idea)

Humongous: 7”EP
If you’ve been into punk rock for more than a couple years, chances are you make rules for yourself. Here’s one of mine. The difference between a band and a “band” is that they have to write, play, and record at least one new song every ten years. X is a “band.” Descendents are a band. It takes a lot for me to ever go see a “band.” As we all know, nostalgia’s expensive and I’m not talking the price of admission. Armalite were coasting up to their ten-year mark since their one and only LP. Armalite features Atom (of …And His Package, chemistry and physics teacher), Dan Yemin (Ph.D., Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, Paint It Black), Jeff Ziga (tricycle operator/co-owner Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Affirmative Action Jackson), and Mike McKee (Kill the Man Who Questions, fan of Flag Of Democracy). There’s a light-handed clown/professor, Chuck D/Flavor Flav dynamic in Armalite that makes it all work. Atom sounds like puberty. Dan’s guitar sounds like it’s laying a trap made by a smart brain. So it’s Sid and Marty Krofft in one ear, Decontrol (not SSD; the Philly one, with the motorcycles) in the other, and they get a ten-year punch on their card, to continue being a band, not a “band.” A totally respectable and pleasing way to hear a band age. –Todd Taylor (No Idea, noidearecords.com)

God Made the Blues to Kill Me!: 10”
Ya know, I’ve heard of this guy ((and his band, which has apparently been around since 1963???)) for over thirty years, but I have never actually heard Armand Schaubroeck until just now. I always just bypassed his records when I was a kid, because, like Dead Fingers Talk or Can or The Residents, they just struck me as some kind of weird shit to which someone else who is not me would listen. Well, whatever. He seems to have gotten along fine without me. After listening to this record a few times—a thirteen-minute blues opera about a guy going to and returning from Vietnam that appears to be in 7/4 time, unless I just don’t understand how these things work—I have come to the conclusion that this is some genius, epic shit, and should likely be afforded a higher level of R-E-S-P-E-C-K from the rank ‘n’ file than it is probably destined to achieve. It’s sort of like if “The Devil Glitch,” by Chris Butler was a fifth as long and about the Vietnam war, or if Eugene Chadbourne could have a long, coherent, musical thought, or if the Last Poets were white or if Zoogz Rift got electroshock therapy or something. The ending finds the protagonist opting for “NeedlePark,” as opposed to the way of his other contemporaries, who “eat the shotgun.” I dunno if I described this very well, but it’s good. The b-side is a remix of the same song that is essentially undistinguishable from the a-side. BEST SONG: Hey, it’s a trick question! “God Made the Blues to Kill Me!” BEST SONG TITLE: Come on, this is stupid. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The image of Armand Schaubroeck and his companion are mirror-image reversed on the back cover, yet all the street signs in the background read correctly. Weird. –Rev. Norb (Mirror)

Texas Weed: CD
A solid stoner metal release by an Atlanta trio. Definitely sounds heavily influenced by the high desert rock sound pioneered by Kyuss, Fu Manchu, and early Queens Of The Stone Age, but also just the no-bullshit metallic rock’n’roll of Motörhead. It never gets too self-indulgent, dirgy, nor does it head into cheesy boogie rock territory, thereby avoiding the worst possible pitfalls of the genre. I would not recommend this to the average reader of Razorcake, but if you are like me and have some hesher sympathies mixed in with your love of punk rock, you may enjoy this record quite a bit. –Jake Shut –Guest Contributor (Self-released, no address)

Time Will Tell: CD
Blending hardcore and street punk with songs about the usual heartache of being a low-life. This isn’t horrible, but it doesn’t really have much originality and the drummer misses a beat here and there. They thank the punks and skins, which takes me back to my early punk rock days, except in those days, a lot of the skins were stupid Nazi fucks in Georgia. In this day and age of senseless war and consumer overdrive, these guys are still talking about the same unity. I agree, but the message comes off as defeatist and yesterday’s skins are today’s jarheads, which scares the shit out of me. P.S. Never write lyrics about Ben Sherman shirts and Fred Perry vests. It comes off like fashion punk bullshit. Read a book. –Buttertooth (Self-released)

For the Punks & Skins: Split: LP
Two of the East Coast’s longest-standing, most adored oi bands are celebrated here on a nifty, unexpected split 12”. Broken Heroes arose from the wonderful Headache Records scene and are known for mixing comedy with boot beats, whereas Armed Suspects play it straighter. Both bands prove here that they haven’t aged at all, and that’s a good thing. Some of the songs are new altogether, whereas others are re-recordings of classics those in the know already love. Oi! The Boat is a label that’s keeping the fire alive, and at domestic prices, too. For an added good time, check out the Armed Suspects music video that’s surfacing online. Maybe some of Broken Heroes’ sense of humor is wearing off on them. –Art Ettinger (Oi! The Boat)

Self-titled: 7" EP
Primitively delivered punk rock that vaguely reminds me of the old Minneapolis band Boy Elroy. Can’t say it made me all warm and fuzzy inside, but their hearts are clearly in the right place and sometimes, just sometimes, that can be enough to put them into the “cool” column. –Jimmy Alvarado (Wrinky Dink)

Self-titled: CD
It’s nice when you get something you just didn’t expect. Armedalite Rifles are punk rock with somewhat of a minimalist sound. Don’t confuse that with lo-fi; it’s not. It is just very stripped down and to the point. Said point is the current state of our society (corporations, Bush, and all the other crap ruining our lives). Lyrically, I’m reminded a bit of Stiff Little Fingers mixed with a touch of Fifteen. I was also pleasantly surprised to get a little Minutemen styling thrown into the mix, too. I’ll be watching for more from these guys. –Ty Stranglehold (no address)

Flux Idea for Cover: LP
Well, on this album, they still manage to recall Boy Elroy just like their seven-inch I reviewed earlier did, though their sound is expanded a bit on songs like “The Revolution....” which is a bit more brooding than yer average punk band delving in minimalist punk get, and has the intelligence to, at the very least, take its name from a Gil Scott-Heron song. –Jimmy Alvarado (The Armedalite Rifles)

Split : 7” EP
Armedalite Rifles: Three more minimalist, quirky punk tunes from these guys. “Beatnik Hum” includes a flute. The Reaction: More of the “rock” feel on two of their three tunes, with the middle track a bit of arty noodling. –Jimmy Alvarado (no address)

Smash the Cistern!: 7”
These guys have been around for ages, so you know what they sound like, right? Well, I sure didn’t. I’ve seen their singles, albums, and shows advertised and listed in punk magazines, big city weeklies, and on the interweb, but this is the first time I’ve actually heard their music. Boy, do I feel like a dolt for coming to the Armitage Shanks party so late. If this 7” is any indicator of the quality of all their releases, I’ll have a great time collecting their back catalogue. Four songs played at 33 1/3 rpm, the best of which is “Buzzcocks Mug,” a tongue-in-cheek piss-take that’ll have you rolling on the floor with laughter. “Me and Your Granny on Bongos” sounds kinda arty, but is equally hilarious. Great mid-tempo punk rock that ain’t afraid to have a sense of humor. Go get it. –Josh Benke (Cock Energy)

All Cisterns Go!: 7” EP
Even the most cursory listener could suss out the Childish connections, right down to the cover of Alternative TV’s “Action Time Vision.” That said, they handle themselves handily in their corner of the garage punk pool, with their three originals here showcasing a band that can punk it up with the best of them while still managing embed a potent hook or two in the sarcasm to go off when you least expect it. –Jimmy Alvarado (Braindart)

All Cisterns Go!: 7” EP
Penultimate Lairds o’ th’ Toe Rag Sound, the Armitage Shanks have put out a ton of records since the ‘90s, none of them flushable ((for the underinitiated, try to imagine what Thee Headcoats would sound like were they more given to bashing out old punk numbers than dissecting the complexities of Billy Childish’s familial relationships, and you’ve pretty much hit upon the critical nexus of the Shanks’ oeuvre)). Who doesn’t love old guys being simultaneously dapper and vile, especially when they do so whilst beating the hell out of their guitars, thus inflicting a choppy, noxious racket without the guitars ever actually sounding overdriven? I sure don’t not love them, that’s for sure. Anyway, speaking of the devil, “Did Punk Rock Make You a Millionaire?” sounds like one of those P.O.’ed rants Billy Childish would get off onto back in the ‘90s, as the band lyrically examines the relative financial states of various elderly punk figures, problem being that their accents make it difficult for me to figure out the names of half the old farts about whom they’re singing ((also, is Jimmy Pursey really living in a doorway? That sucks if it’s true. Especially if it’s my doorway)). “The Ballad of Unlucky Luke” is essentially a Snodlanded-up version of the Figgs’ “Bad Luck Sammy,” and “No Chance” is a classic hive of scum and villainy in the band’s gloriously bilious tradition. Things wrap up with a cover of “Action Time Vision,” a song at which the band is peculiarly adept. Buy this now, whilst the band is still flushed with their own success! BEST SONG: “No Chance” BEST SONG TITLE: “Did Punk Rock Make You a Millionaire?” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I’ve never really given the matter much thought prior to this moment, but i think this is the most toilets i’ve ever seen on a record cover. –Rev. Norb (Braindart)

What to Do When You Are Dead: CD
Back in high school, when I was but a wee maudlin pup who was tormented by unrequited love (love, lust—it was all the same munged-up hormonal nonsense at that point) and spent sleepless nights writing bad poetry, lines like “Thinking back I forgot to tell you this: I didn’t care that you left and abandoned me. What hurts more is I would still die for you” would have completely flipped my lid; sure, it’s treacly nonsense to me now, but back then—when I felt slighted by girls who didn’t call me back and wrote poetry so horrific that I might have been better off cutting myself—this might well have been my album of the year. Before you start hating on my youthful musical taste (or lack thereof), I was also listening to Zen Arcade and 7 Seconds; I was skating to The Misfits, Dead Kennedys, and Black Flag. I was also a sucker for overwrought, maudlin sentimentality and mawkish songs that described the tragedy of love… and honestly, even though I could care less about this concept album about someone who apparently killed himself but, like, totally misses his (ex?) girlfriend, I can at least understand why someone twenty or twenty-five years younger might. If you’re a fan of My Chemical Romance or Coheed and Cambria (and I can’t understand why a fan of those bands would be reading this magazine), you’ll probably shit yourself out of pure excitement over this one. –Puckett (Equal Vision)

What to Do When You Are Dead: CD
The art and layout on this CD rules. The little booklet that came with the CD (that sort of mimics little Bible-thumper pamphlets) explains the ever-so-witty guidelines on what to do when you are dead. A shame the music sucks. Or maybe to be fair, I should have said a shame this reviewer hates emo rock and the like. –Mr. Z (Equal Vision)

Comfort at Any Cost: CD
I can say with confidence that this six-song EP will make my Top 10 list for this year. The CD combines their self-titled 7” and their recent Kiss Of Death split 7” with Fake Boys, and it just so happens that this is some of the most assured, muscular, hook-filled, and smart music I’ve heard in a long time. Combine the fattened-guitar steamrolling that Rivethead dished out with that weird juxtaposition that the Lawrence Arms frequently manage, how they make solemnity and damage sound somehow redemptive. That’s pretty close to Comfort at Any Cost. Arms Aloft have crafted a handful of songs here that are wicked smart, ridiculously catchy, and wrenched from one of the most basic tenets of punk and, yeah, folk music: the idea of protest, of flying in the face of. And they do it beautifully and with just the right amount of swagger. I particularly love this type of stuff but, like sugary pop punk in the ‘90s, we’ve become inundated with bands like this. There’s a glut of groups doing this type of stuff. And yet I can think of less than half a dozen bands who are doing it as well—with the same amount of obvious passion and jagged-edge songwriting—as these guys are. I’m moving to their home state in about a month and plan on making it a mission to catch ‘em live as often as possible. Grab this one up. –Keith Rosson (Gilead Media)

Ruminari: CD
Odd mix of screamy metal/hardcore stuff and emo. Liked the cover art and precious little else. –Jimmy Alvarado (Phratry)

Beg, Borrow, Steal: CD
Keyboard-heavy pop punk that sounds like Reggie & the Full Effect on a really bad day. Honestly, this isn’t my cup of tea. They seem to have their songwriting down pat; I just can’t seem to get past those keyboards and singer. –Jason K –Guest Contributor (33rd Street)

Beg, Borrow, Steal: CD
Watch your steps, kiddos. Dance Dance Revolution looks like it’s got a new soundtrack band. –Megan Pants (33rd Street)

Book Bomb: EP
This was recorded at the same time as the other 7” (Prosperity Health Finance Wealth) but this one sounds a million times better, (note to bands: go ahead and drop the extra hundred bucks on mastering your record, it’s worth it!) much more in-your-face, meaner and uglier than the last one. They’re still pissed at cops and bosses and rich honkies, but they take it a step further by unleashing their hatred on monetary systems (but you still gotta pay for the record), the music industry (but they still got the records pressed at United), and Myspace (how’d you book the tour, guys? On the phone? It’s 2006.) While it’s essentially the same band as their other two records, this particular release comes across as too preachy and complain-y. I think Doug should start smoking weed again. –ben (Criminal IQ)

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