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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Self-titled: CD
Dunno who Mr. Burns—well, at least the Mr. Burns in question here—is, but his forays into the fork in the road where rock, punk, and power pop diverge are about as good as it gets. He’s in possession of a voice reminiscent of Paul Mahern, and while the tunes don’t necessarily trample the same terra, the diversity of styles mined—predominantly straight-rhythm rock tempos with the occasional thrasher, slow-burner, and swaggerer tossed in to keep things—and the infusion of just the right amount of pop sense likewise brings to mind Mahern’s much adored band, the Zero Boys. A lofty comparison, yes, but there is no denying there is some rock-solid work put in here. –Jimmy Alvarado (Crustacean)

Self-titled: CD
There’s something casually belligerent about this CD. Even the packaging—with the black and white image of this guy just standing there, and you know he’s thinking, “You can listen to this, but I don’t really give a shit,” and the way that, instead of including lyrics, he’s included a photograph of all of his notepad-scribbled lyrics side by side, completely unreadable—is just a casual middle finger, maybe issued in jest, maybe not. Musically, it’s poppy garage rock, Wisconsin style, with a lot of nonverbal fuck yous and guitar solos that also really couldn’t give a shit. Proof that being belligerent is the grown-up version of being snotty. –MP Johnson (Crustacean)

Frustration: CD
Yay! Yet another band stirs up my Wisconsin pride! Great, fast, crazy lo-fi garage punk in the Rip Off Records style! So catchy! So good! If this were a cereal, it would be the kind of cereal you scream along to in the basement while dancing around like crazy! Sadly, the world has not yet seen a Wisconsin basement punk cereal. I recommend creating said cereal and naming it Favre-Ohs, because that’s how big of a dork I am! –Maddy (Mad Cook)

C-Store, Baby!: 7"
Man, Milwaukee has got some awesome shit going on right now. I dunno for sure if these guys are from Milwaukee, but it's on Dingus so I'm guessing they are. Six songs of driving, hyperactive punk that occasionally drifts into garageland. I get the feeling they're better live, but this record still seems to be a pretty good document for this band. I just wish they'da put more info in the record. –ben (Dingus)

Self-titled: 7”
I’m thankful that great rock’n’roll has nothing to do with quantum physics; that one doesn’t need any sort of degree to understand a sonic karate chop to the throat. I’m thankful that great rock’n’roll has more in common with Tic Tac Toe than chess; more to do with heart than head. I’m thankful that tubas and cellos are really difficult to fit into vans; it keeps the elements—guitar, bass, drum(s)—simple. And I’m thankful for Bob Burns And The Breakups for understanding that to rock, all you need is a wicked beat, something to slash, and the power and energy to stomp it all down. No-frills, back-to-breaking-bones-and-hearts rock’n’roll will always find a place in my collection. Go, Wisconsin. –Todd Taylor (Plastic Idol)

Terminal Breakdown: CD
I saw this band a few times and they kinda sorta reminded me of Teengenerate in the same way that Bum covering Teengenerate kinda sorta reminded me of Teengenerate, if Bum were a three-piece from Stevens Point, WI and the singer played a hollow-bodied guitar and wore glasses and stuff. I always thought they were pretty cool, but not necessarily “have an album on Gearhead” kinda good, since, in my eternal small-town hick-dom, Gearhead still seems kinda upscale to me. Whatever. In any event, i started listening to this CD at work, and, as expected, i didn’t really have any outright complaints with it, but i often found my mind wandering ((“wandering” in this case meaning “concentrating on my work”)), which i mistakenly thought was a sign that the album was failing to hold my attention ((above and beyond it registering that “Rip it up” exhibited the same general sonic heft of some of the less weighty numbers off of the first Saints album, maybe, and “Thunderbird” was pure Leg Hounds emulation, which i guess i have mixed feelings about)). As fate would have it, however, the course of my job duties required me to check the sound effects levels of the video game we are developing relative to a “custom soundtrack”—that is to say, today’s newfangled video game consoles allow the user to substitute their own music for the existing background music of the game, leaving the THUDs and WHACKs and AAAAAAAHHHHs intact, and i had to make sure that the sound levels of the THUDs and WHACKs and AAAAAAAHHHHs weren’t katywampus when the user substituted their own music for our music. Simply because it was the nearest CD to me, i ripped a few Bob Burns & The Breakups songs to my test kit and spent an entire afternoon serenading the office with “I Hate the City” and “Don’t Follow Me” ((along with miscellaneous THUDs and WHACKs and AAAAAAAHHHHs)), and, as the day wore on, i realized that these songs were a shit-ton better than i had originally given them credit for. “I Hate the City” evokes memories of the Kids at their best, maybe, and pretty much everyone who passed within earshot asked who the band was and remarked that they liked it, and, it should be pointed out, these are not people who would be inherently disposed to liking moderately trashed-out punk rock/roll. In any event, i can say without question that i have thrown more dynamite to this record than any other recording extant. Amen. BEST SONG: “I Hate the City” or “Don’t Follow Me” BEST SONG TITLE: “Rip it up” if you’re Little Richard. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The band press bio states that they’ve “played with everyone from The Riverboat Gamblers to The Leg Hounds.” Who’s left? –Rev. Norb (Gearhead)

Disco Still Sucks: CD
A retrospective of an obscure ‘60s garage band. Although they hailed from Pittsburgh, these boys were apparently more sonically aligned with northwestern bands like the Wailers and the Sonics, even covering two songs by the latter and giving them a run for the money when it comes to wild, over-the-top rawk. Rather than being content to be a one-trick pony, though, these guys often switched things up by cranking out some sweet beat versions of obscure Stones and Kinks tracks, not to mention a disarmingly pretty cover of the Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere.” Good tuneage to be found throughout, although it’s worth the price of admission for the pounding version of “Louie Louie” alone. –Jimmy Alvarado (Get Hip)

My Shit Is Perfect: CD
Kicking, stumbling, lumbering one-man band Bob Log III continues his race-winning tradition in unusual uno man-o blues trash, playing slide guitar, drums, cymbal, and drum machine singing through a motorcycle helmet built-in telephone microphone. Great shit; all the lovable messy bump and grind from his first few solo records after Doo Rag but with a little more production, like the recent vibe of his Log Bomb album. I think I can understand the words now. Not terribly important though, as with classic titles “Goddamn Sounds Good Pt. 2,” “Bang Your Thing at the Ball” and “You, or You and You, and Me.” The ultimate moustache soundtrack if they ever remake Burt Reynolds’ moonshine epic White Lightning. Only difference, Burt was completely serious in that. Bob is nothing but good humored fun and kicks. –Speedway Randy (Voodoo Rhythm, www.voodoorhythm.com)

Split: 7”
Jesus Chronky it’s a great fuckin record! Bob Log works his wiggly magic on “Wigglin Room” and then Zen G pulls some kind of jack-in-the-box number with the oddly weird “Pocketful of String,” a song that sounds like nothing else they’ve ever done (that I know of). I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a cover, but I don’t recognize it. If you like either of these folks, try very hard to get up on this. –Cuss Baxter (Fanboy)

Silver Age: CD/LP
Bob Mould’s latest solo album arrives twenty years after the release of Copper Blue, the much-heralded album from his power pop band, Sugar. Interestingly enough, despite being a “solo” album, Silver Age is quite reminiscent of Mould’s former act. These ten songs clocking in at thirty-eight minutes are power pop rock (and do I still hear a little bit of the Hüsker Dü angst in there, too?). Drummer Jon Wurster of Superchunk and bassist Jason Narducy of Telekinesis form a great backing band with energy and strength to match Mould’s. There is a confidence in the sound and Mould’s voice that emanate positivity and strength. Sure, this isn’t as good as some of Sugar’s best material (and it’s entirely different than Hüsker Dü, although it does retain some of the sincerity and vigor), but it’s a solid album that Mould should be proud of. “The Descent” is one of the most infectious rock songs I’ve heard in a while and the other material makes for good driving music. There’s a lot of positive vibes on here and, despite being in his fifties, Silver Age shows that Bob Mould is still writing some great material. Aging Hüsker Dü fans, check this one out. –Kurt Morris (Merge)

Beauty and Ruin: CD/LP
Bob Mould’s last album, Silver Age, was a surprising success. It showed a return to some great rock and roll, reminiscent of the high points from his days in Sugar. His latest, Beauty and Ruin, features two pictures of him on the cover; one from his Hüsker Dü days and one from the present day. While I’m not sure if it was intentional, it’s an interesting contrast because it seems as if Mould is still drawing from his days with Hüsker Dü and Sugar, bands that he played in back in the 1980s and ‘90s. The sound can be fast and aggressive (“Kid with Crooked Face”) or more introspective and somber (“Let the Beauty Be”), but it all works well. Mould has stated that the twelve songs are broken down into four sections of three songs each: loss, reflection, acceptance, and future. Each of these sections deals with the aftermath of losing his father in 2012. Once you know that was what Mould was attempting, it opens up the album to a different interpretation. There start to be themes between the songs and the lyrics speak to the listener in an additional manner. It’s not a concept album per se, but it is a look at the aftermath of loss. Mould still knows how to play fast, the backing band of Jon Wurster and Jason Narducy is tight as ever, and the songs have great pop hooks. I have a soft spot for Sugar’s File Under Easy Listening (I know—I’m the only one) and the Hüsker Dü material is legendary, but Bob Mould’s solo material is still much better than the vast majority of music I hear on a regular basis. Anyone who has ever liked a Bob Mould project should pick this up.  –Kurt Morris (Merge)

Split: 7"
Two Atlanta bands on this split single from the generally solid Rob’s House Records. Baby Dinosaurs have kind of a power poppy/girl group sound with a song called “Coke Dick.” Bobby And The Soft Spots are vaguely noisy and vaguely poppy with a lo-fi production. Fans of the majority of HoZac or Big Neck Records releases will wanna check this out. –Mike Frame (Rob’s House)

From the End of Your Leash: CD
Seems to me like an orchestral alt-country Flaming Lips. I probably got that wrong, but who cares? Bobby Bare Sr? Mister Peanut? Hotdog Teade? Hotdog Teade! –Cuss Baxter (Bloodshot)

A new release here from one of the Bay Area’s more notorious groups active during the ‘90s. What you get for your green are smart, topical tunes that fall well within the confines of “alternative rock,” but touch upon a number of stylistic genres—a little country here, a dash o’ punk, a dabble of ‘50s rock—outside that pigeonhole and aren’t afraid to punctuate their points with some humor, resulting in a more colorful and creative palette than one usually runs into. –Jimmy Alvarado (silversprocket.net)

Split:: 7”
Nice to finally hear these two bands, both of which I’d read about in fanzines (the latter in The Artist Formerly Known as Iggy’s Scam, and the former in Matt Thompson’s Fluke). I think the juxtaposition works well, as both of these bands are very much on their own trips. Kreamy ‘Lectric Santa’s side of the split features an electronic cover of what is apparently a Trash Monkeys song, as well as the real deal: wacko art splatter with dual fe/male vox and disorienting time and tempo changes. Think Tragic Mulatto and you’re on the right track. Bobby Joe Ebola And The Children MacNuggets rely on tongues planted firmly in cheeks, not entirely unlike Black Randy, as they attempt to bring their pointed political commentary to the norms with straight faces and straighter singing and instrumentation on their original “The Poor.” A cover of a Tom Lehrer song rounds things off. This split is awesome, in that it makes me wanna seek out additional stuff from both bands. Bravo! –Michael T. Fournier (Mayfield’s All Killer No Filler)

Kind of like a They Might Be Giants of Bay Area pop punk. At its core, two dudes who push themselves to crank out some great songs, with the help of an assortment of other local musicians. Musically speaking, it toes the line between folk and pop punk just enough to keep things interesting, but without making you say, “Ugh, what are they doing now?” Lyrically, there is a lot of “anti”—lots of snarky stuff that I tend to associate with the East Bay for whatever reason—and when you combine all of that together, it makes for a neat, unique record. –Joe Evans III –Joe Evans III (Silver Sprocket)

¡Carmelita Sings!: Visions of a Rock Apocalypse: CD
Well, it’s certainly wacky. I think I can say that right off the bat. John Geek of the Fleshies and other Geekfest-associatedBay Area musicians make up this band that also seems to be partly comedy troupe. There are elements that remind me of Jello Biafra and his various musical endeavors—flamboyant, theatrical vocals, extensive liner noting, and collage art. And like Dead Kennedys and Jello’s solo work, lyrics are humorous with political and social commentary. The main difference is that whereas Dead Kennedys were a band that wrote songs that were also funny, these songs seem like they were meant to be funny first and songs secondly. Personally, I think this makes both the humor and music suffer and what you wind up with is more of a punk rock Ray Stevens, as a lot of the jokes come across as strained and dated. This is probably a great musical artifact for the people who experienced this firsthand and got to be a part of the Geekfest scene but I can’t see myself reaching to put this one on again. –Jeff Proctor (Silver Sprocket)

BOBBY Trainwreck to Narnia: CD
By now you probably know if you like the comedy punk antics of Bobby Joe Ebola. As was the problem with much of Ebola’s prior work, the lyrics are hysterical, but the songs vary in catchiness. The Dead Milkmen and Hard Skin are examples of comedy punk that works both musically and on a comedic level. A lot of the time, Bobby Joe Ebola succeeds on both planes, too. Some of these songs are so laugh-out-loud funny that it’s hard to fault the corny back up music. “Cop Kisser,” a goofy take on the Body Count classic “Cop Killer,” is probably the best track. Lighten up and give this goofy shit a chance. –Art Ettinger (Rooftop Comedy, rooftopcomedy.com)

Trainwreck to Narnia: LP
I don’t like it. I feel as though this would have been right up my alley in the past. (Hell, I probably would have loved this record when I was twelve.) It’s not that the musical style, a strange folk/show tunes/rock combination, is too out of bounds for me, or the humor is too dirty for my taste, but I didn’t find it funny. Do I have a sense of humor? Evidence suggests that if one is there, it is minimal at best. The jokes just didn’t land for me, but I’m not a comedy reviewer, I’m a music reviewer. As such, based almost purely on the music, I don’t like it. The songs by themselves aren’t good enough to carry the humor of the lyrics. If these were just good songs, I don’t think I would ever care that being humorous is its first priority, but as it stands… well, I feel I’ve made my feelings pretty clear. –Bryan Static (Dirt Cult, dirtcultrecords.com)

Carmelita Sings!: Visions of a Rock Apocalypse: CD
This is a reissue with a few extra tracks from when the album came out from a few years ago. This is basically vaguely folky punk like the Dead Milkmen, but with some more theatrical vocals. This is actually pretty catchy, but in a way that I don’t really like. This album tends to bring to mind what would happen if one of those guys who writes silly songs to play at preschools and after school programs decided to put together a band and shoot for a more mature audience of thirteen- to seventeen-year-olds. Also, at thirty-two tracks this is just too long, because by track six or seven, the jokes just start wearing thin. I’m not down on goofy songs, because bands like the Dickies, The Hanson Brothers, and The Briefs can pull them off magnificently. –Adrian (Thrillhouse)

Double A-Side: CS
Six songs of mid-tempo punk with a nice garagey feel to it. The music and vocals are pretty together, but, overall, this kinda suffers from the lack of a) anything resembling a standout song, and b) any real differentiation between this and the last third of a century of our planet’s punkly output. The pink cassette housing is a nice touch. BEST SONG: “(Now I Wanna Be a) White Collar Criminal” BEST SONG TITLE: “Triple Six” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: My J-card has the number 48 on it, but the cassette itself says “32.” Multiples of sixteen represent!  –Rev. Norb (Self-released)

Scavenger of Death b/w Hate in the ‘80s: 7”
This is a “fanclub release” (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) of a super-obscuro, collectors-go-crazy-for ‘79 Dallas band. It’s wonderfully shitty. The production’s pretty much ass and the drum sounds just a little better than a sponge getting thwocked. Yet, despite the audial limitations, the band mined similar fields as the Necros at one-half speed (a little metally, a little gruff) while tweaking one of Devo’s nipples (creative repetition and drone), so it’s nice and deranged and completely out of left field – which I pretty much figure how they were regarded as, now as well as then: a small band of aliens in the middle of big, fucking prairie that most people would want to shoot and a small band of people who love the hell out of ‘em, just for trying and making their lives a wee more interesting. –Todd Taylor (www.stickmenwithrayguns.com)

Scavenger of Death b/w Hate in the : 7"
This is a “fanclub release” (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) of a super-obscuro, collectors-go-crazy-for ‘79 Dallas band. It’s wonderfully shitty. The production’s pretty much ass and the drum sounds just a little better than a sponge getting thwocked. Yet, despite the audial limitations, the band mined similar fields as the Necros at one-half speed (a little metally, a little gruff) while tweaking one of Devo’s nipples (creative repetition and drone), so it’s nice and deranged and completely out of left field – which I pretty much figure how they were regarded as, now as well as then: a small band of aliens in the middle of big, fucking prairie that most people would want to shoot and a small band of people who love the hell out of ‘em, just for trying and making their lives a wee more interesting. –Todd Taylor (www.stickmenwithrayguns.com)

Dirty Touchscreen: 7”
A side is a slice of Velvets-influenced skronk. Flip is a pretty, acoustic guitar-driven ballad.  –Jimmy Alvarado (bobbyvacantandtheworn.com)

Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’: CD
Boy, Maddy’s gonna be mad at me for not passing this CD along to her. It’s Lucky Charms, all the way. Female-fronted pop punk in the vein of Nikki and the Corvettes and, well, shit, all the bands that have tried to be the Bobbyteens. This is what the Donnas would sound like if they had any talent. This is what a generation of leather-jacketed tough punk rock girls have wanted to sound like, and with good reason. It’s definitely worth picking up.  –Guest Contributor (Estrus)

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