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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Expect the Worst: CD
These dudes are like the Gallo wine of punk rock. With the passing of time, they just get better and better. Orson Welles would be stoked. Great songs, cool song titles, and hummable melodies stock this record up to the brim. “Public Domain” sports a great chorus while I’m hoping “Dick Simmons” is about a certain asshole bass player. But maybe not. There are two songs about dates, so you know these guys are pretty deep. And “3244” is the best number song since “2541.” So go out and buy this when you see them on tour, which I will be doing next week. –Sean Koepenick (Paper & Plastick)

Vices: CD
Man, so many people are loving this band. There’s no way you can please everybody, but here’s what I’m hearing personally: Vices has a more than passing similarity to Make Sound-era Copyrights, if ye ask me, if a bit brighter (they’ve one guitarist versus two), as well as being more nimble and a bit more frantic. (I know the bands have done a split together, and I’m sure they’re sick of the comparison. Sorry, guys.) Vices is also a clear continuation of their previous records. The songs are lean and wire-tight, the lyrics—a big plus in my book—are literate and whip-smart and snagged with more than a little doubt and self-loathing. Ten songs, with not of them one over the three-minute mark (and many of them closer to one). It’s a concise album, no fat on it, with just the right tinge of desperation that, if it’s not intentional, is a hell of a lucky mistake. Nice work. –Keith Rosson (It’s Alive)

Vices: CD
I’ve seen their name a billion times in the It’s Alive ads, but somehow have never actually knowingly heard these cats until now. It’s a shame, really, as these guys are top notch. What sticks out to me is the multidimensional nature of the band. Casual listening reveals a band very comfortable within the parameters they give themselves to work with—a poppy blend of Midwestern-styled, mid-tempo punk rock, but the subject matter takes a strong turn toward the deeply personal entries of a long-lost diary. Depression, alcohol, and broken love are all hauntingly touched upon in some of the happiest-sounding sad songs I have come across in recent memory. –Garrett Barnwell (It’s Alive, itsaliverecords.com)

Melodic hardcore founded on taut gang vocals and crackling percussion barrels forth from this foursome out of Philly. Slated to play at Philly Punx Picnic, the city’s annual DIY festival, Dopestroke is quickly gaining attention for their celebrated drug use and “fuck the police” ‘tude. No fluorescent energy drinks for these guys, cocaine and hallucinogens are their bread and butter. “We Get High” is my fave of the five tracks as they wax poetic on chemical enhancements with tight lyrics and guitar strokes to match. A force to be reckoned with. Recommended. –Kristen K (Eaglebauer Enterprises, mpurchla@yahoo.com)

Efil4zknup: CDEP
Did you ever see that movie Joysticks? If not, you really need to. It’s this amazingly bad, yet, fun T&A comedy from the eighties. The antagonist in this movie is King Vidiot, a wonderfully inept representation of punk who leads a gang of girl punk rockers around called the Vidiots. If King Vidiot knocked up all the Vidioites and they gave birth to little punklings trying to make their poppa proud, they would probably sound a lot like Dopestroke. –Craven (Eaglebauer Enterprises, no address)

Self-titled: 7"EP
Mid-gear thrash with happy-go-lucky titles like “Social Loathing,” “Wet Brain,” “Negative, Angry, and Depressed,” and so on. You know the drill. –Jimmy Alvarado –Jimmy Alvarado (Badmaster, badmasterrecords.com)

Rock Immortal: LP
The band was apparently a Mission staple in the early ‘90s (or at least that’s what the one sheet says.) Anyway, when I put Rock Immortal (featuring a future Future Virgin and recorded by Matty Luv) on the turntable, the last thing I was expecting was a filthy and horrendously catchy ‘50s rock record with the occasional nod to old (as in fifty years or so) country. I don’t know, consider Buddy Holly on crank with a gigantic, fake horse cock falling out of his pants and you’re on the right track. It’s tongue-in-cheek and almost offensively tuneful, but still, with songs like “I’m Too Young to Be a Pedophile,” “Sperm Comes out of My Eyes,” and “The Lord Said ‘Ejaculate,’” chances are good it’s probably not one you’re gonna want to play for your mom. Good record. –Keith Rosson (Thrillhouse)

Self-titled: 12” EP
These guys sound familiar, reminding me of Titwrench to a degree. Disjointed songs, huge drum machine sound, and atypical of what is going on these days. If they were to ditch the guitars and replace them with synthesizers, they could spearhead the Wax Trax revival (that has to be around the corner in this era of revivals). Then they have riffs that are similar to Black Flag. The sound is loud, all-pervasive, and has dark undercurrents. “Reasons to Kill” is the best of the eight.  –Matt Average (Going Underground)

Half-Remembered Dream: CD

Remember when bands like The Jam and The Buzzcocks could balance a punk edge with a pop sensibility like a juggler with fifty bowls on their head riding a unicycle? Well, Dot Dash does. The emphasis here is on songs, and the band delivers on their third album. Songs like “Bloom/Decay” and “Shopworn Excuse” feature soaring harmonies and chiming guitars. Don’t forget the rhythm section, which is nimble and authoritative, sometimes all in the same chorus! Don’t go underground without Dot Dash in your playlist.

–Sean Koepenick (Beautiful Music)

Winter Garden Light: CD
A hard one to nail down; imagine Bob Mould with what’s-his-name from the Cure on vocals? This is one of those rock’n’roll records that I keep in rotation as an antidote / change of pace to the frenzy that is my collection otherwise. In general, Dot Dash play a more subdued and tuneful form of rock that is potentially radio friendly, but ultimately isn’t because it’s just a wee bit weird in ways that the general public can’t quite figure out. Twenty-five or thirty years ago, this would be thrown into rotation on “college rock” playlists. I like it.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (Dot Dash / The Beautiful Music)

Ready! Get! Go!: CD
Dot Wiggin is hopefully a familiar name as the lead guitarist and front woman of The Shaggs. Ready! Get! Go! is Wiggin’s first new recordings in over forty years. For the uninitiated, The Shaggs’ (1968-1975) music was sonically more revolutionary than punk rock. The Shaggs were inimitable—true pioneers of outsider music in the rock era (although that was never the band’s intention—Wiggin and Co. were sincerely creating their own music from scratch). Unfortunately, they were too far out there to sell any records. (To get the band’s story, check the Internet or the outdated-but-great Songs in the Key of Z.) Ready! Get! Go! is a great album. Wiggin gets backing from people who can play. They support her well in most instances, only occasionally infringing/imposing on the uniqueness of Wiggin’s work. That being said, Ready! Get! Go! was tastefully done. If you’re a Shaggs fan, you probably already own this album. If you’re on the fence about picking it up, rest assured: this is another great album by Dot Wiggin that captures the uniqueness of her songwriting, done with great understanding and support by the band and the label. Wiggin’s imprint is still there and putting her in a more “musical” environment (the album includes a cover of “End of the World”) is rewarding. Way to go, Dot.  –Ryan Leach (Alternative Tentacles, altenativetentacles.com)

Button: CD
Four tracks of lo-fi garage pop from Galway, Ireland. This is the sound of a very young band quickly finding their feet. While not my particular cup of tea, even a curmudgeon like me found plenty to like about this disc. Dott displays a certain confidence in their songwriting and performance that is at once infectious and surprisingly muscular. This CD was the perfect antidote for the bleak, rainy days that engulfed the week in which I had it in my music rotation. –Garrett Barnwell (Girth)

Self-titled: CD
Double Dagger sure loves Pailhead, Drive Like Jehu, and polysyllable words… Effects on the bass guitar… emphasis on dynamics… odd time signatures. Sometimes complexity is really boring. After four songs, I had enough Double Dagger to last me a lifetime.  –Ryan Leach (Stationary Heart)

Self-titled: EP
Flehhhh... A few loose ideas. No strong focus. The title track is terrible lyrically and musically. Sounds like something from the ‘90s. The opening track is cynical “screamo.” “Catalogs” is a simulacrum of Fugazi, and the dance track, “Dancefloor,” is sort of like gabber but with far less interesting results. –Matt Average (Toxic Pop)

Sophisticated Urban Living: 7"
The cover has a picture of skyscrapers with clothes drying on clotheslines drawn in—very appropriate considering the title. On one side of the 7” is “Luxury Condos for the Poor.” The flip has two tracks: “No Allies” and “Art Machine.” The a-side and “No Allies” have a post-hardcore sound à la D.C. They also kind of have an At The Drive-In sound minus ATDI’s pop appeal. The lyrics are politically charged on the front and personal on the back. They have a sound that I don’t hear too often these days; though, I don’t seek it out, either. Nonetheless, it’s a sound that’s always kind of refreshing to hear. “Art Machine” is white noise. I’m going to give ‘em the benefit of the doubt and say that it’s a (much needed) critique of “bands” that pass off the bullshit noise they make as art. Thankfully, it only lasts for a few seconds. –Vincent Battilana (Terra Firma Limited)

More: CD
This band is just a drummer and a bassist or maybe a guitarist. I don’t know; it’s a two-piece of some sort, which I learned on the internet. My internet is down right now, so I can’t confirm this. It also has quite a big sound for a two-piece, which the internet also told me. This I agree with, yet it does not make me like it any better. They also tried to do some conceptual shit with design (?), similar to what Nation Of Ulysses did with rock and Situationism or whatever. They call themselves design-core or something. It’s similar to Revolution Summer-era Discord stuff, but without a lick of soul or heart. I didn’t need the internet to tell you that, yet that’s the most important thing that I feel I need to get across. I could somehow try to tie that in with the fact that they’re doing the whole design-core thing. But that would imply that I came to that impression after I looked them up on the internet, which was hardly the case. –Craven (Thrill Jockey, thrilljockey.com)

Dillybar: 7”
This rocks! Totally silly songs about fast food and grocery stores! And they wear fast food uniforms, too! If you like the Bobbyteens, the Flakes, and Candy Girl, you’ll love this. And if you don’t like those bands, then you’re lame! If this were a cereal, it’d be Quisp! Cartoonish greatness is go! –Maddy (www.myspace.com/theedoubleds)

The Wonderful and Frightening World of: LP
Holy sheeeeiiit. That’s pretty much sums up all my dropped jaw can muster. Why? These guys sound like all the best parts of early Hüsker Dü and Pick Your King-era Poison Idea without sounding like they’re trying to ape those bands, making for one really good reason to go out and buy a record player, if you don’t already have one. I give it four days before I completely wear the grooves out. –Jimmy Alvarado (No Way)

Raw Energy: 7"
Last year’s The Wonderful and Frightening World of Double Negative LP totally tore my head off, and I’ve been seriously anticipating some new material since shortly after its release. The Raw Energy 7” is said to more accurately recreate the band’s intense live spectacle, and it is indeed a raw, piercing, destructive six minutes of Void/early-C.O.C.-esque hardcore. Desperate, angry, and raging. –Dave Williams (Sorry State)

Raw Energy EP: 7"
On top of the pristine heavy-weight vinyl and intricate packaging, this 7” contains nothing but full-blown, teeth grinding hardcore punk. Like a lingering hangover, it makes you want to punch yourself in the face, if nothing else but for your own good. In times so contaminated with disgusting human traits, watching this clear vinyl spin around circles to the soundtrack of complete anger is pretty damn close to purity. 
–Daryl Gussin (Sorry State)

Daydreamnation: LP
A little put off by the Sonic Youth-copped album title and the Double Platinum-reminiscent cover? Remember this: WHOP. That’s the sound you will hear the instant before what’s coming out of the speakers smacks you square in the face and makes its way ‘round to doing permanent damage to your ear canals. One battering tune after the next, strip mining and milking every ounce they possibly can squeeze from all that was glorious about Poison Idea’s early years, including the sheer timelessness aspect of it all. Truly good tuneage doesn’t stagnate with age and there is no shortage of flat-out jaw dropping moments here. Still on the fence about this one? Trust me: WHOP. –Jimmy Alvarado (sorrystaterecords.com)

Hardcore Confusion Vol. 1 & 2: 7”
Apparently the opening two salvos of what is promised to be a four-release set, these guys know how keep the hardcore hordes drooling—one track on each side here. If you’ve somehow managed to miss out on them prior, Double Negative are one of those rare bands that can take the hackneyed hardcore template and make it sound fresh and interesting. Their sound has some serious heft to it—with the tempos ranging from four-alarm inferno to slow burners—all of it coming on like a juggernaut. One can hear echoes of the heavyweights of the genre—Poison Idea, Negative Approach, SS Decontrol—buried in the clamor, yet they maintain a sound and style all their own. Folks in the know will be talking about these guys with reverence long after they’ve gone. –Jimmy Alvarado (Sorry State)

Hits: 7” EP
Focusing less attention to the thrashy, “Poison Idea” side of their equation in favor of a more “Black Flag”-tinged approach, Double Negative dish up three tracks of churning, grating hardcore like only they can. According to SorryState’s site, this is the last recordings with vocalist KC and the first with new drummer Bobby. Should be interesting to hear where they go from here, ‘cause this is already pushing quite nicely against the boundaries they’ve already established for themselves. –Jimmy Alvarado (Sorry State)

Hardcore Confusion 3 & 4: 2 x 7” EP
SorryState rounds things out on this band’s multi-part series with the final two installments gatefolded in a two-for-one package. Things are maybe a little less experimental than on the previous two installments, but even at its most conventional, Double Negative’s brand of hardcore is still pretty friggin’ offbeat, and flat-out jaw-droppin’, compared to the rest of the pack—rhythm and tempo changes all over the place with odd bits of noise phasing in and out to add to the overall chaos. With this latest salvo they cement themselves as one of the more worthwhile bands making the rounds in the realm of hardcore, and this is another must-have release for a still-early 2013. –Jimmy Alvarado (Sorry State)

Got into a Fight in Special Ed: 7”
Smokin’, hyped-up punk rock‘n’roll from three geeky looking guys whose picture made me afraid I was in for some lame pop punk. The concept of the title song is a little dopey, but this is a damn good EP overall. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rapid Pulse)

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