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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Fired from the Circus: 2 x LP/CD
Once again Boss Tuneage delivers another crucial reissue from the vaults. As always, I wonder how many people give a fuck apart from the couple of hundred who were actually there. This is another record that came out when I was sixteen and completely immersed in the UKHC scene. The Crippens from up North hit a middle ground between the U.K. blurrcore bands and U.S.-influenced bands like the Stupids and Intense Degree. The most notable thing about the band was they used stage props and had an almost lightweight Gwar stage show. This disc has the debut LP that is an absolute stormer as well as their first Peel session, possibly the best thing they did (I think this only because I remember lying in bed listening to the actual session the night before school). As far as I am concerned, Boss Tuneage’s entire retro catalogue is mandatory for anyone with even the slightest interest in the late ‘80s U.K. hardcore scene. For me, it’s much more than a history lesson; it’s part of what made me who I am. Class. –Tim Brooks (Boss Tuneage, bosstuneage.com)

Singles Unreleased Live: CD
The title pretty much puts a bow on it—a collection of singles, live tracks, and unreleased demo recordings made between 1990-93. Though I was well aware of the name, I’d never actually heard much from these guys back when they were active, so this was a nice introduction. They take a hyper-thrash base and expand into all sorts of wild directions—sludgy Flipper-like dirges, zippy hardcore, Stoogey quasi-psychedelic workouts (compare “Fish” here to the Stooges’ “Penetration”) over thirty-two tracks. Also included are lyrics, liner notes contextualizing everything, and photos to keep you occupied while the disc spins.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Boss Tuneage)

Meet Dr. Bird: CD
Very nice handmade cover for a disc with music that sounds like a band some of your buddies in college always starts that isn’t all that great but affords them the opportunity to refer to “the band” later in life when they look fondly back on their wacky years as an undergrad and thought they could change the world with their hippie-dippy alt-rock tunes. –Jimmy Alvarado (no address)

The Bloated Vegas Years: LP/CD
Yet another quality reissue from Boss Tuneage and one which I am more than familiar with, having owned the original tracks since the mid 1990s—plus I have known half of the band for the best part of thirty years. Born out of the ashes of The Abs and H.D.Q., the criminally underrated Doctor Bison was responsible for some excellent anthemic, melodic punk rock, which, to this day, lifts my soul in ways that most other bands can’t compete with. The union of Dickie Hammond’s distinctive guitar and Baz Oldfield’s vocals has always been a joy to behold. However, the remastered version results in a cleaner and more powerful production, adding new vigor to the songs. I’m still slightly flummoxed how the digital wizardry works, but I don’t really care as a great record has been improved and it sounds, for all intents and purposes, like a brand new album from the present day.  –Rich Cocksedge (Boss Tuneage)

Dewhursts: The Musical/Bring It On: 2 x LP/CD
As the second of two Bison reissues, this is the one that really highlights the songwriting skills of Baz Oldfield. He has a great turn of phrase and, as serious as some of the themes might be, he does his level best to inject humor into his lyrics wherever possible. Add to that frequent references to his (and my) hometown of Newport, Wales, and listening to these songs guarantees a sense of belonging and a big grin across my face, with “Ringland Tuxedo” leading the way on both counts. Great melodic punk rock swathed in the meaty guitar sound of Dickie Hammond.  –Rich Cocksedge (Boss Tuneage, bosstuneage.com)

Blue in the Water: 7”
Side one: Mid-fi (as opposed to lo-fi) punk rock’n’roll with a fair amount of drive and a desire to kick some life into the standard 12-bar blues riff. Side two: yer standard mid-tempo garage rocker. –Jimmy Alvarado (Fanboy)

Seven Deadly Sins: 7”
So there are three different pressing of this. One in English, the other in Swedish and the final a combination of both as a 2 x 7”. Would like to get the Swedish version to hear the difference in how the songs sound in different languages. The combo I would like to get just to be a record nerd. This is a theme record featuring a song of each deadly sin. Not being religious, I didn’t know what that would be but I learn based by the song titles. I still don’t care about religion. I do care about music. Any fan that is a fan of d-beat or dis-core would love this. The band also adds slight tinges of metal to add a punch. Sweden produces a great deal of bands in this genre and this continues on the tradition. A multi-vocal attack with charged guitars and bass with the drum beat that are keys to this style. Absolutely pummeling as one song ends and another starts. –Donofthedead (Havoc)

Gladjedodaren: CD
Honestly, I’m not simply saying this because Dodsvarg is Scandinavian, but the singer’s screams are similar to that of Dennis Lyxzen’s. No shit. The tunes veer to the slower, doomier side of hardcore, with lots of operatic guitar leads, but the recording has enough grit to keep me interested.  –Steve Adamyk (dodsvarg.bandcamp.com)

Self-titled: 7”
Uppity activist rock that comes in a nice hand-sewn cloth cover that I’ll be able to use as a hot pad whenever I make my White Castle and Hot Dog casserole. Ah, just kidding. I’m sure these dumpster diving vegan kids are well meaning as all get up, but sometimes this ossified über-earnestness makes me want to shove a flute up my ass and fart out a Clay Aiken tune while I walk on my hands. Don’t get me wrong; these are serious subjects, to be sure, but I don’t necessarily want a hot coffee colonic each time I drop the needle down on a record. Bands like the Dead Kennedys and MDC proved long ago that it’s possible for a chippy punk band to tackle serious social issues without all that damn gravity. I was hoping that, with a name like “Dog Assassin” that this would be a lot funnier. Sorry, I guess I’m just not feeling all that serious this month. –aphid (Spacement)

Imperial States of America: 7”EP
Sweet zombie Jesus, I don’t know where this came from, but I’m glad it got here. Five songs of awesome thrash that could probably be looked at oin the same level as anything on Havoc. To sweeten the deal, this came with free stuff, and the vinyl looks great (half black, half red). But the kicker—the cover has Darth Vader on it! This is too good to be true. At first, I thought I may have to donate this to the Star Wars bathroom in Hotel Astoria, but screw that, I’m not giving this away so easily. –Joe Evans III (Spacement)

A Bullet for Every Lie: 12”
This band is too light for my taste in the genre these guys are going for. That genre, I can only assume is street punk, though I can’t picture these guys backing up what they sing. The vocals pack no punch, with a band that is the definition of generic—bad generic, the kind that doesn’t even hint at a different approach. If that wasn’t bad enough, the lyrics are moronic. These guys sing about being part of a secret society that can kill you at any time, about having artillery, and asking skinhead girls what their name is. Only six songs on a 12”, none of which are good, on patriotically-colored vinyl. –Rene Navarro (Contra)

Demo 2011: Cassette
The interesting thing about Dog Fight is that their lyrics actually sound less like lyrics and more like song titles for other, possibly more badass, records. Check out the lyrics to the first song, “Thought Control”: “Deaths [sic] Destruction / Violent Oppression / Thought Control / Suicide Escape Plan.” Now, come on, does that not sound like the song titles for a kickass EP or what? As far as their actual demo: it sounds like they like Infest. It sounds like this was recorded live, possibly in someone’s kitchen. It sounds like they turn the vocalist’s reverb way up on the fourth song, “I.D.C.,” which, surprisingly, works in their favor. Despite its limitations, this was actually a pretty cool release, and as a demo, it certainly gets the job done. –Keith Rosson (Dog Fight)

Barking of the Dogs of War: CD
Some Portland punks opt for the traditional English-influenced anarcho-hardcore route and wind up with so-so results. They’re pretty much on the mark with recreating the sound, but their reliance on the oomPAHoomPAHoomPAH beat causes the songs to blend together into an uninteresting mush. Maybe next time. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.hardcoreholocaust.com)

Get Out: 7” EP
Nice, hook-laden pop with nasal, amateurish vocals. Despite a singer who dances on the ugly side of a fine line between endearing and downright annoying, I found myself won over by the drony guitar lead in “Guest House.” I’ll grudgingly recommend it, but don’t come howlin’ to me if you decide it ain’t quite up to yer lofty standards. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dogbreth, dogbreth.bandcamp.com)

Pure Hate: 7”
Do you remember a time when thrash didn’t equal metal? I do, and I can guarantee that Dogends do, too. This E.P. dishes out the flipped hat skate thrash like it was 1985. I’d go out and bust a boneless one on the curb if my back didn’t spasm at the thought of it! Oh well, I’ll keep listening to this and dream about when I could still skate. Good job, boys! –Ty Stranglehold (Flat Black)

Sarcazo Politikal: CD
An entire album of this is just not acceptable! The main instrument? Harmonica. The singing style? More said than sung. The lyrics? Sorta political. Joke check? Not sure. But the last song, “Punk Rock Taught Me How to Sew,” is hilarious, and is definitely a joke. And it includes people shouting, “Cross-stitch! Needlepoint!” Punk rock! If this were a cereal, the last song would be Quisp. Silly! But the rest would be Urkel O’s—more annoying than funny. –Maddy (self-released?)

Diggin’ at the Doghouse: CD
The good: A few members of some better known groups (namely the Blasters and the Cramps) get together to mine some choice rootsy sounds that sound more informed by the dark, swamp-soaked bluesy glory of bands like early Gun Club and Poison 13 than their own back catalogues. The bad: The sequencing of the tracks is such that the lion’s share of the moodier pieces are within the first six tracks and the Texas-steeped floor scorchers are within the last six, making for a release that (dunno if it’s intentional or not) is more like two different releases than a cohesive whole. The relief: Hitting “random” on the CD player fixes up that last issue quite nicely. –Jimmy Alvarado (Ratchet Blade)

Faster Side of Normal: CD
You know sometimes when a CD is so bad that it’s good again? Well, unfortunately, this disc isn’t one of those. There aren’t really any redeeming qualities to this release. The cover and liner text are all so blurry they gave me a headache to look at them. The CD, though, has ten songs of plodding bar rock fodder with titles like “Bitch,” “Show Me How You Dance” and “Go to Hell.” To be fair, these guys look and sound like a bar band that might be playing in your local watering hole and they probably get the crowd tipping the bartender pretty good. That doesn’t much make for an interesting CD, though. –Garrett Barnwell (Banned, no address)

Fearless: CD

Dirty, bluesy punk’n’roll. No bueno. Ridiculously cheesy songwriting with all of those old street punk hooks that got boring the second time you heard them. “Melody” that barely shifts notes: verse to chorus to verse then, inevitably, an incredibly predictable guitar solo. The musicianship isn’t bad, but I’m completely uninterested in listening to a weaker, less intense version of Zeke. Grade: D. 

–Bryan Static (Manta Ray)

Slow to Build: LP
Three-piece from Olympia with two women up front, layering on perfect punk wails. Just the right fuzzy bass tone and dingy guitar, like wet leaves on the ground in the woods. And when it gears up, goddamn, it’s like taking off running, or feeling your hair blow backwards. To call this wild would make it sound feral and sloppy; to call it free would make it sound too airy. All I can say is that it has a certain intangible something that makes mixing late ‘80s Northwestern punk with early 2000s hippie crust sound new, exciting, and real –CT Terry (Rumbletowne, rumbletowne.com)

Split: LP
Both bands are part of Olympia’s sprawling punk scene that also includes RVIVR, Sharkpact, and Prank War. Dogjaw shouldn’t be confused with their more pop punk peers, as their songs are sludgy with grunge-esque riffs and delightfully raw production. Dogjaw’s half begins with “Dragon,” which features a brooding guitar melody and an ambling drumbeat. The dual female vocals softly chime in and steadily become more powerful until erupting into a faster beat. The lyrics are open to interpretation with lines like, “With every move the wave reaches out” and “Inside myself I see the tide.” The second track, “Cast Beyond,” is marred by the fact that its vocal melody is almost identical to the first track. That’s the overall issue with Dogjaw’s contribution—the music is varied but the vocals can become gratingly repetitive. The third track, “Tides,” is an overly long instrumental. Agatha’s songs rock. If I skated, I would blast these jams in my earbuds. The vocals are biting and maintain a level of intensity that is a punch to the gut while the pace remains blistering throughout. The lyrics are more overtly political with memorable lines like, “Kissing doesn’t kill and silence equals death. I’ll say it again because us queers forget.” The songs sometimes verge on “fuck the system” lyrical simplicity, but never go off the deep end into becoming cliché. Luckily, Agatha makes up for any setbacks by raging across all four tracks. –Sean Arenas (Rumbletowne, punks@rumbletown.com)

“Gimme the Shakes” b/w “20 Flight Rock”: 7”
Having not known a whole lot about the Dogmatics catalog, I was surprised to find this in the mail, considering this is a band that’s almost thirty years old now. Turns out it’s a re-release of a single originally put out in 1984. For the uninitiated, the Dogmatics were a seminal Boston punk rock/rock’n’roll band. Side A is a simple, straightforward toe-tappin’ rock’n’roll song with a heavy dose of harmonica. B side is a rockabilly jingle that sounds like the kind of number the young rooster would sing to woo the hens, much to the dismay of Foghorn Leghorn in Banty Raids. Even though these two songs are enjoyable, with being played at 45 speed and with the big hole in the middle, they come and go awfully fast. This was made to be played for a dime in the jukebox at Arnold’s. However, with the inflated price of vinyl today, I’m not sure this is an essential for anyone except the most dedicated Dogmatics devotees. –Jeff Proctor (Ramo)

Self-titled: 3-Song 7” EP
Wow, this is a lot more motivated than I thought it’d be. It’s a re-issue from 1978. “Slash Your Face” starts a little surfy, and then breaks into a groove which is often reminiscent of Hollywood’s The Cheifs. Hard-boiled, middle/fast tempo roiling bass. Siren to stagger to slash guitar. A drummer that pounds in a way that both controls the tempo and provides the spine. The vocals come by way of early Iggy; the voluptuary screams and spastic wiggles. The last song, when Mary sings backups, sounds like Nikki and the Corvettes, only if they’d ran into a brick wall. Super fine re-issue. Sounds fresh 20 years plus after the fact. –Todd Taylor (Dionysus)

Suburban Nightmare: CD
Everyone’s favorite LA-by-way-of-Detroit proto-punk band resurfaces with some top-notch rock’n’roll. It’s rare when a band manages to release an album of new material that can stand up to their “essential” efforts of the past, and this is such a case. The songs are strong, the band sounds like it hasn’t aged a day, and the whole thing manages not to sound dated in the least. Crank it up and prove to your mom that people her age can, indeed, bring the rock. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dionysus)

Fed Up: CD
Never knew much about this band prior to their post-KBD-appearance popularity and I still don’t know much. What I do know is that they kicked out some grade-A MC5/Stooges jams way back before it was the cool, hip thing to do and that these tracks blow damn near any modern band claiming that style outta the water. Most of the bands whose records fetch a pretty penny these days are undeserving. These guys are an exception. Great, rockin’ shit. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dionysus)

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