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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Unrealistic Tracks: EP
I wish I had seen these guys when they blew through town a while back. Seriously, one of the best bands going these days. At least that’s my opinion. Their songs are massive in sound, they lurch, shake, crunch—not to mention they’re noisy as hell—all delivered with unbelievable fuzzed-out style. A mix of garage, punk, blues, and whatever else they can fold into the din. Can’t get enough of this stuff! If Crash Normal were a drug, I’d be fucked. –Matt Average (Compost Modern Art, myspace.com/compostmodernart)

Self-titled: 7"
I’ve only heard the Intelligence a few times. What I remember is a surf rock influence that isn’t all that apparent on this split 7”. “Parades” sounds more like Throbbing Gristle than Dick Dale—with a modified Bo Diddley beat accompanied by an ominous guitar riff; both pounded relentlessly for a sublime minimalist result. Crash Normal: sing-speak vocals over swampy instrumentation. It’s the Intelligence side that has my interest. Good stuff, indeed. –Ryan Leach (Compost Modern Art Recordings, myspace.com/compostmodernart)

Self-titled: CD-R
Self indulgent, mind blowing-ly boring “punk-metal” on this CD-R which should more appropriately be used as a beer coaster. There’s so many fucking contacts listed all over this disc, not to mention a business card. Crashdollz, you obviously don’t read this fanzine so let me clue you in: we’re not an agency here so do us both a favor and stick with the one, sole, best way to get in touch with your band should anyone feel the need to. Me, I’m not going to hold my breath for that miracle. –Juan Espinosa (Self-released, crashdollz.com)

Pearls Before Swine: CD
Slightly above average modern oi fodder, not too terrible, not quite faboo. I often found the explanations for each song more interesting than the lyrics themselves, especially "Murder on Sunset Strip." Having spent my entire life living in Los Angeles, I can totally picture the scenario going down as described in that song, which is disturbing 'cause it made me realize just how desensitized I am to crazy shit like that happening. –Jimmy Alvarado (Captain Oi)

In Toytown: 2 x CD
Even on a label that released disparate oddities by the likes of Annie Anxiety, Captain Sensible, and Rudimentary Peni, Cravats were an anomaly. Equal parts Crass, Captain Beefheart, and what occasionally sounds like some coked-out funk band on a Black Randy bender, they delivered abrasive, dissonant, and oddly groovy tunes with humor, tautness, and a level of musical sophistication that stood well outside the comfort zones of the average punker. Here their four singles on the Small Wonder label are collected with the titular album on one disc, which itself is paired with a new remix of the entire album by none other than Penny Rimbaud, who produced some of those early releases. Crucial stuff here for those who like their punk a bit more esoteric and challenging than the requisite polka beats. –Jimmy Alvarado (Overground)

Good Cast Is Worth Repeating: CD
They sound like they’re trying really hard to tap into the groovier aspects of the AmRep noise rock pigeonhole, and they come pretty danged close on occasion. They ultimately fall just short, though, with the results sounding like slightly quirky rock stuff. My suggestion is to get ‘em cranked up on a potent cocktail of peyote, meth, coke, and Red Bull to bring them just shy of their hearts exploding, tell them their significant others were involved in a bizarre orgy tape involving porpoises dressed in Santa Claus suits, hand ‘em their instruments, crank all the console knobs to “vaporize,” and let ‘em record their next record. –Jimmy Alvarado (f-spin.de)

A Life Exceptional: CD
If you listen to bands like Creed, Three Doors Down, and Good Charlotte then this record of sonic wankery may be right up your alley. This was a true endurance test that I may never fully recover from in my lifetime. I craved the minute I hit “stop” on the player.  –Sean Koepenick (Horian, no address listed)

Figure 24I.—Single Abdominal Wound: CD-R
Musically, they fit firmly amongst the thrashy hardcore horde, with little in the way of metal influence in evidence. Lyrically, they lean towards the misanthropic/misogynistic side of things, with happy tunes about the human race being a disease, HPV, and fisting a girl after strangling her. –Jimmy Alvarado (Live Fast Die Drunk, no address)

All My Punk Rock Children E.P.: 7”
Adequate fast and funny punk rock from a band I’ve never heard of, but really feel like I should have. Songs written in simplistic couplets makin’ fun of losers, from punk rock posturers (“Used to Be”) and trendies (“Waste of Talent”) to cokehead eBay junkies (“Kicked Off eBay”); I think one of the songs might be a love song (“Promise Me”), but The Crawlers never go soft for a second, not even here. –Susan Chung (Blind Spot)

Self-titled: 12” EP
Straight-forward, amped-up hardcore punk—in the vein of Bad Reaction or Hollywood Hate—that comes across as earnest, yet is mostly predictable in sound, tempo, and how they approach topics (religion bad, scene has problems, politics are fucked). Check, check, and check. The two brightest spots are the last songs on each side. It’s always a little problematic that my favorite song on a new record is a cover (The Cure’s “Fire in Cairo”). Yet, “Village of the Damned” dilates the band’s scope up a little bit, gives the song varied tempo, some time to breathe, and develop its own voice. And that gives me hope that The Crawlers will expand a bit in the future because they feel like a tight dot right now; easy to overlook. –Todd Taylor (Blind Spot)

I Hate Michael Vick: 7"
Ah, fuck yea! The hidden gem of my bimonthly Razorcake package. This Portland, OR punk rock band serves up three fast songs that are clearly influenced by ‘80s hardcore, but rise above the gazillion bands aping Black Flag these days. To compare them to a band that‘s currently got a bit of a buzz around them, I’d say that The Crawlers have a Cloak/Dagger sound to them, a sound that’s rooted in classic hardcore but brings in elements of stuff like Toys That Kill. Ignore all of my name dropping nonsense if you want, but the point is that this is fast and catchy as shit. I’ll be picking up their full length ASAP.  –Dave Dillon (Blind Spot)

Level the Forest: LP
The Crawlers play old school-flavored hardcore punk infused with pop tinge and lyrics that are—or at least should be—tongue in cheek (see the album title). It’s pretty solid stuff. However, it seems as though they have, as what I will call, “opening band sound.” Opening band sound is not necessarily a bad thing, and not just opening bands fall under this categorization of sound. In fact, it can be rather cool under the right circumstances. Anyhow, opening band sound is a solid sound that can definitely keep you in the bar/basement/club if you are in the mood for a live band. The opening band sound is not a bad sound, but it isn’t what you came to see. It is what you have heard before by someone—someone that you probably can’t remember—but you don’t mind hearing again. The problem with opening band sound is that—though it is solid and reliable—after you hear the band that you came to see, nothing sticks out to you about the band. Though you might not remember anything extraordinary about the band, you’ll still be down to check them out again. –Vincent Battilana (Blind Spot)

Introducing the Craze: CD
If my parents (who are the antithesis of hip) suddenly decided to become “cool” and tried to influence me as to some “awesome” music, I’m pretty sure this would be their idea of what it should sound like. Let me put it this way: a good number of the songs have “woah” or “oh oh oh” or some combination or variation of them and yet none of the songs come anywhere close to sounding like a Fat Wreck band. Yes my friends, somewhere there is a “great” sports bar missing their weekend band. –Kurt Morris (Dynatone)

Let Me Go: CD
Dangerously catchy, Crazy & The Brains are reminiscent of Groovie Ghoulies, with the addition of xylophones, glockenspiel, and possibly hard drugs. A pleasant reminder that poppy punk didn’t die with the underground turning its back on pop punk; only a total snob wouldn’t get off on this joyful celebration of all things fun. Who thought that xylophones could work as a constant on an album? Apparently these guys did. Super silly and wacky, it’s hard not to let go while listening to Let Me Go. –Art Ettinger (Baldy Longhair)

Don’t Need No Snacks: Cassette
How much do you like the sound of a xylophone? Do you like it chiming again and again, crawling into your brain through your ear canals like some sort of mind slug? Do you like it wrapping its shiny essence around your thinking muscle, squeezing it until you go all zombie-eyed and start kicking your legs and clapping your hands? Do you like it layered under terrible lyrics about loving Lindsay Lohan and wanting to be on Saturday Night Live? Does anyone like xylophone that much? –MP Johnson (Baldy Longhair)

Born to Ruin: CD
I found myself wanting to like this diverse mid-tempo U.K. band, but every time a glimmer of inspiration creeps through, it falls flat and gets obnoxiously contrived. It’s all over the map, and the end result is a total mess. Influences include cock rock, emo, rockabilly, and 1977 punk. There are some interesting passages in a handful of the tracks, but it is drab and mope-y overall. While Born to Ruin might be an earnest attempt to blend various rock influences into a punk-minded framework, it ends up sounding bland, like some of the weaker third stage Warped Tour bands taking the stage this summer. Uncool, man. Uncool. –Art Ettinger (Gunner, gunnerrecords.com)

The Southern Wild: CD/LP

Crazy Arm has previously flirted with a folk- and roots-based sound within its more standard anger-fuelled punk rock delivery, so it was no surprise to hear that the band was going to release an album which would eschew that more direct approach in favor of an acoustic-led dynamic. The result is a joy to listen to with a more relaxed musical feel throughout, yet which lyrically retains the anti-war and “no god, no master” type sentiment that have permeated Darren Johns’s song writing for the band in the past but there is also a more personal edge within the songs as well. With a variety of tracks being served up, this never gets stale and it will take quite a stunning release to stop this being in my top five albums of 2013.

–Rich Cocksedge (Xtra Mile, xtramilerecrodings.com)

Fuck You: Cassette
Sixteen tracks of stellar, lo-fi, primal female-fronted postpunk with attitude to spare! This is great for raging or dancing or both! Beyond reproach! What else can I say? –Vincent Battilana (Burger)

Self-titled: 7”
Slinky punk rock’n’roll with an up-tempo original, “Gimme a Kiss,” and a rock-solid cover of the Cocksparrer/Little Roosters ditty “I Need a Witness.” This genre’s been a bit stale lately, so this was a nice bit of stomp to knock off some of the accumulating dust. –Jimmy Alvarado (No Front Teeth)

Self-titled: LP
This “super group” features The Stitches’ Johnny Witmer, Teenage Frames’ Frankie Delmane, Richmond Sluts’ Chris B., and Superbees’ Johnny Sleeper. Does it come off as a bunch of underground stars just fucking around, or does it work as a genuine, rocking effort? Fortunately for fans of their prior bands, it’s the latter. These guys deliver the goods, mixing in the best aspects of early glam punk, ‘77 styles, and tributes to the members’ own prior recorded efforts. The colored vinyl from Vinyl Dog looks as great as it sounds. I don’t know if it’s appropriate to call something this sleazy a “class act,” but that’s precisely what it is. –Art Ettinger (Vinyl Dog)

“Younger Girls” b/w “Terminal Love”: 7”
Not so much a bee-zerk version of Difford and Tilbrook as a Hollywood version of the Hollywood Brats, the Crazy Squeeze emit an A-side that sounds like a track off the third Boys album, and a B-side that actually IS a track off the third Boys album ((featuring Boy Honest John Plain on guitar, no less)). I initially thought “Terminal Love” sounded so indiscernible from the original as to not be worth bothering with, but then I noticed they updated the list of pseudo-solemnly intoned dead punker names in the break, which justifies this record’s existence entirely. Buy this and a cute hat!BEST SONG: “Terminal Love” BEST SONG TITLE: “Terminal Love”. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I have just now decided that no male is sexy who poses with a bottle of Stella Artois.  –Reyan Ali (Rapid Pulse / No Front Teeth)

Modern Day: 7” EP
Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s there existed an L.A. band called the Creamers who, along with the Lazy Cowgirls, were one of the two bands in town adhering to a more “traditional” punk sound. Over a ten-year period they put out a slew of albums and singles sick with Ramones/Dead Boys-styled ragers and buzzsaw-pop stompers that predated the wild popularity of both the Queers and Green Day. Their male/female band member ratio skewed toward the latter, which was quite uncommon at the time, and their shows were raucous, memorable affairs with bassist Lenny just bouncing off the walls and into the crowds. While they never achieved the level of fame as, well, the Queers and Green Day, they definitely made their mark, and word is they’ve actually come out of hibernation and are playing around town again. This release, however, is not a new release from the L.A. punk band, but rather a band from Texas that has appropriated the name to mete out sloppy, primitive punk that, while not bad, ain’t especially memorable either. –Jimmy Alvarado (Jolly Dream, jollydreamrecords@gmail.com)

Holy Wisdom: LP
It’s as though Joy Division mated with The Gun Club, and then their offspring had an affair with Mission Of Burma. Creationists are the result of all that. Post-punk, but not the dour kind—more into getting in your face than sulking in the dark. They do have the prerequisite dark side, but there’s also a good bit of rock and roll (“Tunnel Rat” for example) and the windswept, lonely sound from the driving and jangling guitar (this is where The Gun Club comparison comes in). For the most part, the songs move at a fast pace, with a ton of urgency. Even when they slow down a smidge, the urgency is still at a boil (“The Enlightenment”). The whole record is solid, but what really knocks me on my ass is their song “Saint Stephen.” This song is so damn good, especially how it follows three loud and in-your-face type songs. Nice switch of pace. You can hear the Joy Division influence loud and clear (the main riff reminds me of “Shadowplay”), and yet they throw in other influences to where it blends seamlessly in. The way the song changes towards the end is great. It goes from something slightly clangy to something more melodic and even more tuneful and introspective. –Matt Average (Super Secret, supersecretrecords.com)

Vesuvias: LP
Louder than hell metal from this outfit. They sound influenced more by bands like Converge, Integrity, and Sepultura than Maiden or Priest. The songs are relatively quick, rife with breakdowns, pummeling percussion, a few tech guitar bits here and there, and the vocals sound like they were recorded incredibly loud. The music is a dense wall of sound that is near impenetrable. My one real complaint with this record is the vocals tend to override everything and also cover a lot of the really powerful parts of the songs, instead of standing back for a moment and letting the music do its thing. I can imagine their live sets are pretty powerful. These guys definitely have the chops and they show it well. I must commend them for not getting all noodley or overly tech in their playing. The power is in the straight-forward delivery, and they know it and show it. Yup... –Matt Average (Twelve Gauge, tgrex.com)

Blood from a Stone: 7” EP
Sixties-inspired rock’n’roll that did zippo for me. –Jimmy Alvarado (Butterfly)

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