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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Back in Salem: 7”
Two great slices of moody, guitar-driven punk-wave stuff that deftly balances on the fine line between art and punch. There’s a definite dark quality to the tunes, but they thankfully refrain from slathering on layer after layer of “Ooooh, we’re spooky” and instead go for a sophisticated whop upside the noggin. –Jimmy Alvarado (lacordsf@gmail.com)

My Baby's Like a Rocketship: CD
Bass-slappin' drag racer Jose Espinosa decided to pull up his Cordwood, California roots and relocate to England with two buddies who shared his passion for traditional rockabilly. It wasn't a bad move considering British rockers are only slightly less fanatical than the Japanese when it comes to straw cowboy hats, ten-inch pompadours and classic, pre-rock rockabilly. Vocalist Mick Cocksedge has his hiccup vocals down to a science and guitarist Big Ed Potter sounds like he was playing sockhops in 1954. There's nothing terribly innovative about the Draggers and their lyrics are rather pedestrian but their delivery is exceptionally professional and for some people, that's more than sufficient. Good stuff to swing to, but this album is strictly for the initiated. –eric (El Toro)

Self-titled: CD
Catchy gallop-velocity hardcore from Poland, well executed with tight execution and lotsa interesting chord changes to keep ye on your toes. While the likely inclusion of songs in English to reach a wider audience is understandable, my personal preference veers towards the tunes they sing in Polish, which are delivered with a bit more conviction and bite to ‘em and are not hampered by the distracting malapropisms. That said, they do what they do quite well and I bet they can get a live crowd good and worked up. –Jimmy Alvarado (Pasazer, pasazer.pl)

Scream and Shout: CD
The only thing more pretentious than naming the band after Martin Luther King’s wife is the alt-pop music for which said band is responsible, which has all the snotty-yet-safe vocals and emo-boy band fashion sense one would expect and zero substance. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rise)

Halloween Record w/ Sound Effects: LP
The package was so remarkable that I was hoping for something that was not to be. Wacky throwback ‘60s cover art? Realistic magazine-styled advertisements for the insert? In the Red Recordings? Is this one of the newest of the current crop of rock’n’roll purists like Hunx And His Punx and Shannon And The Clams to explore the territory of musical ages long since passed? Well, yes and no. It’s a throwback record all right, but it’s more interested in Dick Dale than the Kinks. I’ll be the first to admit that an instrumental album doesn’t sound appealing most of the time. (Or ever, really. I don’t like them at all.) And I’ll also be the first to admit that I think anything can be done well. As an album of atmosphere, this is really good. I can’t help but be amazed at the album as a whole. There’s a part of me deep down that really loves concept albums and this one works so fluidly between sound effects and songs that I was surprised to find myself feeling uncomfortable during a few points in the record. All signs point to this album being high art. A concept followed to the final step made with love and passion for an unsung hero of media. –Bryan Static (In The Red, intheredrecords.com)

Halloween Record with Sound Effects: LP
The first time I listened to this album, I loved it. Horror-themed instrumentals with surf and R&B elements. It made me think of early Man… Or Astroman? and Impala. The packaging is sweet—heavy cardboard stock and a special slip cover. Subsequent listenings, however, are making me hate it. The low end is practically non-existent and when you can hear the bass and drums, it sounds too trebly. I had to check the sleeve to make sure Kevin Army wasn’t involved (he recorded a lot of late 1980s/early 1990s EastBay bands, mostly for Lookout! Records. Most of his recordings sound like shit—too compressed and trebly.) I don’t know if it’s intentionally recorded in shit-fi but goddamnit, what idiot mixed these recordings? And the band approved this? I think The Mummies cared more about the sound of their records than Thee Cormans do. –Sal Lucci (In The Red)

Mingo: 7”
Played a show some years back with these cats and they were quite the bee’s knees, rockin’ wild surf tunes whilst decked out in monster masks. Sounds here like time has not softened them in the least. Both the title and the flip, “Tiger Lilly,” are fuzzed out ‘n’ fucked sounding bits of surf mania, delivered with verve amid much distortion. Mighty fine listenin’ if you don’t mind having yer ears ripped to shreds. –Jimmy Alvarado (Total Punk)

Split: 7”
Thee Cormans play a fuzzed-out surf tune that would make a good soundtrack for a minute-long movie about a killer shark growing feet and chasing bikini babes around on a beach. The Pacifics drop a revved-up rave up about the sad life of a lonely caveman. B movies for your ears. –MP Johnson (Bachelor)

The Hot for May Sound: Cassette
Burger Records is starting to reissue some wild stuff, like this release from Cornershop. I remember liking this band quite a bit at the time, but on this recording there are too many bleeps and bloops for my taste. If you have never heard Cornershop, they mix dance music, indie, and off-kilter melodies, a lot like what would have probably been called trip hop two decades ago. –Mike Frame (Burger)

Open Reduction: Cassette
Usually I don’t dig much on cassettes, however when they are done well it is hard not to love them. Corpse Donor play a style of hardcore akin to that of a majority of the Bridge 9 lineup. What is most enjoyable about these songs is that they are very straight forward; no solos, no breakdowns, no nonsense. Just straight-up hardcore. Another cool thing about this release is that it contains a download code so you can have these songs on your iPod, because there isn’t a cassette player everywhere you go anymore. –Noah W. K. –Guest Contributor (Self-released, www.myspace.com/xstonedx)

Fight against the Rules: CD
From what I can tell, this is a CD reissue of a tape-only release by this pissed-off Polish hardcore band that existed from 1985-1989, though a lot of the information in the liner notes is in Polish (the lyrics and an interview conducted in 2007 are thankfully translated into English), so don’t quote me on that. This isn’t normally my thing, but this band is definitely as good as, if not better than, a lot of the western crossover bands that existed at the time. Plus it’s always amazing to me that bands like this existed in the Soviet bloc. A really neat piece of history! –Chris Mason –Guest Contributor (Refuse, refuserecords.nfis.aplus.pl)

Fight against Rules: 12” LP

This rules. Hands down. Fight Against Rules is a collection of eleven songs of The Corpse’s work from ‘88-’89, remastered and re-released as a CD in 2010, and now in the form of an LP. Originally formed in 1985 in communist-ruled Poland, The Corpse has been described as “hard core/trash/ crossover,” listing Suicidal Tendencies, Napalm Death, Septic Death, Accused, and Lärm—among others—as influences. It’s really the best of both worlds between metal, thrash, and hardcore punk, relentlessly propelling, shredding, pounding the shit out of your eardrums. It just doesn’t let up! A bonus is a sixteen page booklet with a band bio, past reviews, an interview in English and Polish, and rad pictures of the crew to flip through, plus a print out of miscellaneous flyers from 1988-1994. Get it!

–Camylle Reynolds (Refuse, refuserecords.prv.pl)

Self-titled: 10”
I’m not exactly sure what genre I should determine this is. I’m guessing it’s a bit of doom, sludge, hardcore, and metal. One thing for sure is that the music is mean, dirty, and vile. Its mixture of tempo changes makes it feel like a combination of panic attacks and emotional depression. Dirty, bottom-heavy Sabbath riffs bring forth the sense of evil. Blasting fast parts charge at your face like a windstorm. Vocals are yelled and shrieked to emphasize the overall madness. I started out in a decent mood but soon got very agitated listening to this. Pretty good result, I say. –Donofthedead (Feral Kid)

Your Tomorrow: 7” EP
As a fan of the first two COC LPs, I was stoked to check out this 7” which featured a reunited Animosity-era lineup. This EP, essentially one extended song with a drum solo break in the middle, is a far cry from the crossover thrash of the first two LPs. This is mid-tempo radio metal at best. Only die-hard COC vinyl collectors should pick this one up. –Paul J. Comeau –Guest Contributor (Southern Lord)

Split 2012: CD-R
Corrupt Bastards and Calafia Puta both play powerviolence. Corrupt Bastards are from Houston. Calafia Puta are from Tijuana. Corrupt Bastards are screamier. Calafia Puta are more on the growling end of things. That’s about all they gave me to work with. –Craven Rock (Self-released)

The Atavistic Triad: CD
Big, blustery black metal that was interesting for approximately two and one‑half minutes of the first 15 minute track, then I found myself thinking about my new socks. They're very nice socks, by the way. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dark Symphonies)

Waiting on a Remedy: CD
Mostly acoustic tuneage here, more reminiscent of Jim Croce, early Dylan, and such than Jay Reatard, which is not said to malign what’s goin’ on here, ‘cause there is some seriously good writing in evidence. Pop this into the Wayback Machine, set the controls for 1972, and this vato is a millionaire. –Jimmy Alvarado (Deadbeat)

Self-titled and Down on the Farm: LP reissues
How can you not love a band that sings about the joys of eating sausage? The reason I’m not including Go the Hack here is because I already own the original, and it’s in good enough shape that I don’t need to replace it. Strictly budgetary reasons, you understand. Looking at the cover of the Go the Hack reissue, the only difference I notice is the color contrast seems sharper. Anyhoo, this is the kind of Aussie rock’n’roll I dig. Hard-driving, meat and potatoes type shit. And beer. On top of being able to finally own these early records, I got to see the Psychos at Gonerfest 10, as they toured in support of the Blokes You Can Trust documentary. Hadn’t seen them since 1998! The self-titled EP is not at all what I expected. The fuzz bass definitely drives the songs, as in many of their songs, but these tunes are more groove-oriented, some clocking in at six or seven minutes. Down on the Farm, however, cuts to the bone and gets me where I need to go! Thudding rock’n’roll punk. Working class music by actual members of the working class (singer/bassist Ross Knight still owns the farm). Goner truly scored with these records.  –Sal Lucci (Goner/Aarght!)

Self-titled: LP
Re-mastered version of this Australian band’s debut LP that originally came out in 1987. I’d never heard this band before, but after one listen I realized I’d obviously been listening to bands that have been influenced by them for years. It sounds like the missing like between The Saints and The Sultans. I also feel like there are exact riffs that Sex Vid would later play. Heavy, plodding punk that hits you like a punch to the gut, and then drinks all your beer. Solid, rockin’ tunes with sporadic, nasty guitar freak outs.  –Daryl Gussin (Goner / Aarght)

Go the Hack: LP
Blunt instruments with outrageous torque moving cubic yards of dirt. There’s nothing pretty about the Cosmic Psychos, nothing complicated (fight, fuck, work, drink, lift weights, repeat) and that’s their charm. (One song’s just called “Pub.”) Go the Hack was their second full length, originally released in 1989 in Australia, and if there was ever a missing link between Lemmy Mötorhead’s no-bullshiting thud, mid-period Sabbath’s sonic rake of blood and tension, and proto-grunge, this’d be it. My memory’s that the Cosmic Psychos (formed in ‘82) and Beasts Of Bourbon predated what would happen in the Pacific Northwest in the early ‘90s, but since they weren’t ever as popular as their American counterparts (Nirvana, Mudhoney, L7, Soundgarden), that bit of grunge history gets glossed over in “official” reconstructions for sake of convenience and self-service, as should be expected. No matter. This is a welcome and timely reissue. Ross, Cosmic Psychos lead singer, continues to run his farm.  –Todd Taylor (Aarght, aarghtrecords.com / Goner, goner-records.com)

Down on the Farm: 12” EP
Dunno how valid this statement is in this modern era of globalized everything, but it used to be, if given enough time, every scene eventually coagulated around a specific sound or thing that made what they did unique from what was coming from other areas—OC had the whole surfy thug-pop dual guitar thing down pat, Minneapolis planted the seeds that would sprout the “alternative nation,” Arizona and Texas both cornered the markets on both the furious and the weird, you get the idea. Australian bands have long been able to distill damned near any style of rock down to its most primal, gooey center and bend, smoosh, and twist it into some very interesting origami patterns—AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, Birthday Party, Scientists, Hard-Ons, and Radio Birdman all played in different ends of the sandbox, but if you listen with surprisingly little effort, you’ll find that the first half of this sentence applies to all of ‘em. As this reissue of their 1985 debut EP shows, Cosmic Psychos kept to tradition by boiling their tunes down to their bare essentials before adding heaps of sludgy tempos, hyper-fuzzed bass and guitars, and simple lyrics about workin’, dames, and such, the results of which are tunes by turns punky, hypnotic to the point of being almost psychedelic, and just all-around fuggin’ heavy. If that description reminds you of some of the output from a certain clutch of bands primarily based in the West Coast, especially the Pacific Northwest, a few years later, suffice to say one need do no more than listen to L7’s “Fuel My Fire” and then listen to the Cosmic Psychos’ “Lost Cause” off of their Go the Hack LP to hear how deep an influence the Psychos had on ‘em. Fine chance to revisit a fine debut, and the band’s apparently still goin’ strong and still strip-mining the same sludgy mountain, so you might wanna do some diggin’ around.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Goner)

Oh, You Know: Cassette
Cosmonauts plays moody, bass-driven garage with a ‘60s Euro-pop aesthetic. Sadly, the songs are overly long, unremarkable, and entirely drained of energy. The languid vibe can easily be mistaken for boredom. Listening to Cosmonauts for an extended period of time results in one drifting off into oblivion and asking life’s biggest questions: Why are we here? What is the point of all of this? Who am I? Why am I still listening to this tape? –Sean Arenas (Burger)

Self-titled/New Psychic Denim: Cassette
This is another Burger release of two albums on one cassette. It is really cool when a label uses a medium so well to spread the word about newer bands. And a load of The Cosmonauts is a great thing. Both albums are a combination of jumpy rock riffage soaked in reverb with longer, psych-inspired droning. Fans of Thee Oh Sees should take note. –Billups Allen (Burger)

Self-titled demo #1: CD-R
Hailing from the U.K., these guys play a hybrid between street punk and more melodic, punchy stuff. I appreciate the effort, but it’s not killing me. Not bad, just a bit un-stand-out-ish. The whole EP is only seven minutes long! I wish they would have stuck to the double time stuff more, but, fuck, then the EP would have been about four minutes long!  –Buttertooth (Self-released)

Self-titled: Cassette
In the first year after I discovered where DIY was in my town, I went to every show I heard about at the two local punk houses I knew. Whatever was on was what I got into—and, given the particular time and place, what was on was bleak, dirty, larynx-shredding hardcore, often with a gloomy inclination toward metal or chaotic screamo. Thus was laid the groundwork for my taste in punk. This demo could easily have been something I picked up for two bucks at some shadowy merch table in that formative year. The vocals are a harsh and indecipherable bark, less communicative than textural. The music is equally aggressive, but the band breaks up the onslaught with some scattered moments of moody guitar. Even the production is familiar in the best way. That tape warble, that silver-Sharpied title, the way the volume plummets three seconds into each song… man. Shit like this was everything back then. Thumbs up for keeping it going.  –Indiana Laub (Self-released, cotillionhc@gmail.com, cotillionhc.bandcamp.com)

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