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Razorcake #84
Tim Version, Ordinary Life LP + bonus 7"
Radon, 28 LP
Zisk #25
Razorcake #83

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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Saludos al Tirano: CD
Kinda weird listen here: Mexican punk rock with shades of spaghetti western music that, for some bizarre reason, reminds me of the Pogues even though they sound nothing like them. Although it was a good listen, I’ve definitely got to get more sleep. –Jimmy Alvarado (Cochebomba)

Tropsicle: CD
While Tropsicle is a poor choice for a CD title, the music by Mermaids isn’t equally horrendous. Mermaids takes one back to a 1950s or ‘60s sound of garage-y rock with some nice oohs and ahhs wrapping the sound in a delicate yet catchy surf pop. I was reminded of Delta Haymax (anyone remember that Seattle band?) and the Beach Boys, but Mermaids retain enough indie sensibilities to not sound like a bad stereotype of the sound. This isn’t necessarily my cup of tea but it is pleasant enough to listen to and worth your time if you’re dialed into the world of Southern California blissed-out pop music. –Kurt Morris (Pretty Ambitious)

Revenge Served Cold: CD
An all-girl psychobilly band whose success is owed to novelty, not talent. –Jessica Thiringer (www.Merrywidowsmusic.com)

Self-titled: LP
Is it possible to understand and not understand at the same time? Merx is like a canvas that stars off black instead of white. They play highly constructed, aurally articulated, meticulous post punk. It’s dark, experimental, and filled with electronics. The vocalist is melodramatic, singing in a deep register, like Johnnie Jungleguts. My closest contemporary comparison would be as how Wounded Lion takes the Talking Heads and Star Wars references, Merx robes themselves in slow Joy Division and décollages; strips away, lacerates. This isn’t incidental music. I’m just not sure if the hands-on-everything super-self- and music- aware style of this record isn’t eclipsing my enjoyment of it. I’m probably just not the intended audience. Features members of The Pope, Bipolar Bear, and ex-Spits. –Todd Taylor (Permanent)

Child of Thunder: 7" single
The cover art looks sort of punk, sort of new wave. However, the music is seventies rock in the present day. Definite influences from Sabbath, Molly Hatchet, Zeppelin, Grand Funk Railroad, and Lynard Skynard. The title track is not bad. The guitar solo is decent. Sort of “cosmic.” Yet, the chorus is delivered in a sassy tone which kills the momentum. In order for this style of rock to work it has to be alpha-male driven, not sassy school yard preening. “In Cold Blood” is the better of the two. Not a mind blowing record, but not bad either.  –Matt Average (UFO Dictator, www.ufodictator.com)

I Choose Murder: CD
Ultra-fast drumming? Check. Growly burp vocals? Check. Metal guitar noodling? Check. Song title list that reads like a who’s who of serial killers? Check. It’s official: another grindcore album has hit the shelves. –Jimmy Alvarado (Crimes Against Humanity)

Split: 7"
Mesrine: Long-running Canadian grind that mixes it up with death metal. Guttural vocals mixed with high-yielded screams that reminds me of modern day Napalm Death. It’s brutal and bottom heavy which should satisfy the most fans of this genre. PLF: I choose this side as my favorite. There must be something about the heat in Texas that makes bands aggressive. I love the speed of the band and that the songs are short and to the point. Note to collector nerds: purple swirled vinyl!  –Donofthedead (To Live a Lie)

Split: 7” EP
Mesrine: Fairly stereotypical grind/metal stuff that vacillates between blastbeats and Discharge-inspired tempos. Sakatat: Pretty much along the same lines: full-on sonic spazz-out with considerably less metal in their delivery than their record-mates. –Jimmy Alvarado (To Live A Lie)

Something I Remember: 7”
Great single. I can always depend on HoZac to deliver great, trippy punk rock with their roster of The Functional Blackouts, Wizzard Sleeve, Woven Bones, Blank Dogs, et al. And, sure enough, Mess Folk fit right in, as they tightrope walk the fine line of weird punk, combining meandering drone-y vibes with really tight corners and sharp edges. They have a messy feel, like each member is working out their own take of the song with singing washing over it all, and it really works. Phillip Tarr is the mastermind of the band, starting it as a solo project that has morphed into this group. Mess Folk hails from Sydney, Nova Scotia, appropriately known for toxic waste dumping. Canada breeds some great punk, but Nova Scotia grows a special strain of noise. –Speedway Randy (HoZac)

This Is Mess Folk…and More: LP
From the info on the back cover, Mess Folk looks like the pet project of one guy who gets others to help him out from time to time. The songs were recorded over the course of two years, which, in combination with the variety of musicians, explains the inconsistency of this record. Side A is populated by eleven tracks, mostly no-fi garage that range from good to almost nauseating. The back side of the record plots eleven more points all over the map, going from later Big Boys type funk punk to experimental noise to straightforward Sonic Youth rock back to no-fi garage. A little quality control along with some discretion in sequencing could have made this a whole lot better, but I guess this is what you get from people who thank “drugs and insanity for their unwavering support” in their liner notes. –Vincent Battilana (Bachelor)

Indifference to Life: Cassette
I’m not going to pretend that I love this tape. I was going to make a comment about how if you go to shows and start nodding your head while the band is tuning, this would be good for you to check out. I’m sure as fuck not going to pretend that I had any idea who Mess Folk was before I listened to this scummy, raw, piece of garage filth. And that sucks. It’s festering and oozing and passionate and really fucking hard to like. It’s one of a shit ton of Mess Folk recordings out there, some of which are much better. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the last, because the man behind Mess Folk died last month. I get the sense that there were a lot more shitty tapes that he needed to record. –MP Johnson (Hamburger)

Could You Bet: LP
Italian street punk band that sounds very U.K. ‘82 to me. In fact, since the band sings in English, I would never guess that they were even Italian without looking at the liner notes. I would have guessed that they were from Britain. Had a hard time while listening to this genre after the ‘90s when this style was so prevalent and popular. Stepping away from it makes it more palatable. This three-piece of two males and one female play this type of music well. I’ve heard many a bad street punk band through the years and this one definitely stands out; kind of like listening to the Exploited meets A Global Threat, but with more melody and added moments of poppiness. If I could still fit my bondage pants, had hair to spike up, and could find my leather jacket in my garage, I would get geared up to check out this band live if they ever came close to the house. That would be a scary sight. –Donofthedead (No Flags)

Moments of Mayhem: Cassette
Goddamn! Fifteen songs of raw, furious anarcho punk in thirty-ish minutes, straight outta Flensburg, Germany. MESS//AGE mixes tempos throughout, playing variant after variant of their angry, heartfelt message without sacrificing an iota of urgency. No matter whether their subject matter is personal or political, it’s impassioned, with nary a stinker in the bunch. The hoarse, shouted vocals are reminiscent of Martin from Limp Wrist and/or the throat-shredding gentlemen from Assfactor 4. Great, great stuff I can’t recommend highly enough.  –Michael T. Fournier (message.bandcamp.com)

Self-titled: CD
Granted, it's solid and tuneful punk rock stuff, it's totally catchy, and the singer sounds like a dead ringer for Cinder from Tilt. Granted, the layout and production are really nice and they're probably a terrific live band. Granted, they seem sincere, and my foot's tapping. But this one just falls a bit short somehow, I can't help feeling a little ripped off—for one thing, while it is solid and tuneful, it's also comprised of songs that I feel like I've heard before. Half the time it seems like I'm listening to a cover from another band, like it was a song written from an entire other era of punk rock. You could call that a spirited homage or you could call it shameless regurgitation, I don't know. Then the rest of the time I'm just wishing they would speed it up a bit. Anyway, they've got the mohawks and the tats down, but they left the snot on the bus. The Messengers are really good at what they're doing, it's just that what they're doing rings a lot closer to early Discount, minus the lyrical quirks, or Tilt without the speed, than they do to Antiproduct or To What End. And, you know, I've already got all the Discount and Tilt records I need. –Keith Rosson (Punk Core)

Shake That Thing: CD
Croatian band listens to one too many Stones albums. Band puts out a record that starts off with their attempt at "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and includes covers of songs made popular by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker and others. A resounding "eh" can be heard from the masses. Should've figured when I saw they were covering Nugent's "Scream Dream" that the proceedings would be pretty painful. –Jimmy Alvarado (Slusaj Najglasnije)

Shake That Thing: CD
Croatian band listens to one too many Stones albums. Band puts out a record that starts off with their attempt at “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and includes covers of songs made popular by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker and others. A resounding “eh” can be heard from the masses. Should’ve figured when I saw they were covering Nugent’s “Scream Dream” that the proceedings would be pretty painful. –Jimmy Alvarado (Slusaj Najglasnije)

Demo: Cassette
The copy of the tape that I got would not play on three different tape players. I even resorted to a bit of tape surgery to get it playing to no avail. I went to their Bandcamp and got most of the songs that were on the demo and am really glad I did. If you were ever a Circus Lupus fan or a Chris Thompson fan in general, this is for you. Messrs are a bit heavier and dirtier than the previously mentioned projects but the sound is there, intentional or not. I’m going to throw in a Mayyors reference for good measure. The vocals have effects. There are bits of spacey, drawn-out parts, and the sound quality is a bit blown out, making for an ugly but tough sound. The cover art is a bit goofy with some melty happy faces. Aside from song titles, there is absolutely no more information on the packaging. Would have appreciated the info so I didn’t have to go on a hunt to actually listen to it.  –Adam Mullett (Self-released)

Socialize: CD
Mellow, dull as hell indie stuff. –Jimmy Alvarado (Suicide Squeeze)

Wild Eyes: 7"
Pretty good four songer from this Kalamazoo band. Anyone who is a fan of most of the Terminal Boredom type stuff like Human Eye, Intelligence, Terrible Twos, or Jay Reatard will find a whole lot to like here, which is to say there is sort of a root in garage punk, but there is a hell of a ruckus of noise built on top of that. The kids seem to be calling it weird punk and that is as good a description as any. This appears to be limited to 300 copies, so you best get on it. –Mike Frame (UFO Dictator)

Hit of the Week: LP
Metalleg occupies the bit of the Venn diagram where pop punk and power pop intersect. You know: sometimes there’s the chug of a Ramones song in the band’s guitars, and other times there’s catchy melody that might’ve come straight outta the Cheap Trick playbook.  –Michael T. Fournier (Trend Is Dead!)

Self-titled: 7”
Metamorphosis are a group of hardcore punks now out in Oakland by way of Peru. The Metamorphosis EP, released last December, features four tracks from these dudes, all but one sung in Spanish, and only the B-side features songs recently written. The A-side evokes Negative Approach and stripped-back hardcore, while verging a bit on the jogging positivity of 7 Seconds, as the group’s tone leans toward excitement over anger. On “Hombre Nuevo,” I can hear a gnarlier version of 88 Fingers Louie, like a hardcore band pushing for vocal melodies at the forefront; and in “Zombie People,” I catch the distorted shimmers of Canadian rockers, Grade. Meanwhile, the EP art features a couple sitting on a couch with their exploded heads oozing together like the blob monster in The Thing. Right now, that’s pretty much how I see these guys—kinda awesome, kinda gelatinous and jumpy, and still soaking in. You can catch them on their West Coast tour later this year. Metamorphosis is overall enjoyable, and worth hearing, if not only to hear and support some Peruvian hardcore.  –Jim Joyce (Skull Brigade)

These Evil Things: CD
I dunno if I’ve outgrown ’em, if they’ve lost their sheen, or if I’m just not in the mood, but these guys just ain’t movin’ me like they used to. The songs are all right as far as psychobilly goes, but they seem to be variants on the same theme and lacking in oomph. Found myself drawn more to the three instrumentals than the tracks with vocals. –Jimmy Alvarado (Headhunter)

Psychobilly: CD

Wow, I didn’t even know these guys were still around. As suggested by the title, they’re still doing the psychobilly thang, although they don’t sound anywhere near as frantic as I remember ‘em being back in the day. The mix here doesn’t help matters much, either, as it sounds like they recorded this in a big, empty hall. Lackluster and disappointing, to say the least

–Todd Taylor (I Used To Fuck People Like You In Prison)

I don’t really care for this band name, but found that, strangely, I like it a lot better when it’s written: “MethMtn.” Go figure. There is a black drawing of a wolf on the (white) cover of the CD. I actually love wolves but this drawing seems a little typical. I thought they were going to be a metal band. Some of the songs maybe start a bit metal, but then the rhythm and the way the guy sings, I feel, is more punk. Man, that singer is gravelly! Makes my throat hurt just listening, but I like it. They seem like they might be young. Sometimes they sound like kids just fucking around, but then they pull something out that’s a bit more mature. Kind of mid tempo, not too fast. One of the rhythms reminded me of the Sex Pistols. The singer’s voice sometimes reminded me of Born Against a little (although the music doesn’t sound like them). The third song I liked the most. They sound a little disgruntled, like they might be ready to kick your ass, but in a gritty, alley kind of way, not in a hardcore jock kinda way. On Self Aware records (which also puts out a zine, apparently); the name of which sounds to me like it might be a straight edge gig or something. Nothing that would seem to really blow me away and, yet, I have listened to it numerous times already. An unexpected surprise. –Jennifer Federico (SELF AWARE , MYSPACE.COM/SELFAWAREZINE)

Monotony: 7" EP
The problem with giving a song a title like “Monotony” is that one is gonna expect it to sound monotonous and, lo and behold, it does. “The Regulators” and “Vessels” much better, with ‘em dishing up more up-tempo, rock-tinged punk fodder with just enough personality and avoidance of standard punk/hardcore clichés to keep things interesting. The triangle-shaped lyric sheet was cool, too. –Jimmy Alvarado (lunchboxrecords.com)

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