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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Future Hits: LP
Future Hitsopens up with a fiery little power pop number about smoking, drinking, cocaine, and cars and trucks. That is essentially the extent of Platinum Boys’ subject matter and interests, making for a rather redundant-sounding record. I do detect a Southern-fried influence in the guitar hooks and overall attitude (the words “punk sucks” printed on the album insert) which explains the disconnect I have with the record. I wish I could say that I relate to a rock’n’roll lifestyle of boozin’, cruisin’, and one night stands, but I have enough problems as it is. The truth is that while this brand of Southern-influenced power pop is lost on me, I do see these guys appealing to the Goner Fest type of crowd of handle bar mustachioed, tattooed, jean vest-wearing anti-punk rockers.  –Juan Espinosa (Dusty Medical)

Coextinction: CD
I think that when one picks up a CD by a group that calls themselves the Players Club, it’s perfectly valid to expect rap music and not post-Helmet/Unsane sludge metal. Shit, now I gotta put my Kangol and Adidas away, cuz these guys be bringin’ the wrong noise. –Jimmy Alvarado (Arclight)

Self-titled: 7”
Playoff Beard isn’t afraid to play pop punk despite the backlash mounted against pop punk since it gained commercial success in the 1990s. Comprised of members of legendary Pittsburgh-area bands including Tommy Gutless, Remainders, The Radio Beats, and The Shutouts, Playoff Beard borrows from other subgenres, including garage and streetpunk. They play earnest, heartfelt songs about growing up in subculture, doing the right thing, and finding balance in life. Decidedly non-trite, this isn’t “la la” pop punk, despite its catchiness. All five of the tracks on this fantastic 7” are instantly lovable and each deals with relatable themes. “First Day of Summer (Pt. 2),” for example, is about hanging out with friends and listening to Screeching Weasel. The vocals are expressive, with a slight, poignant gruffness, keeping the proceedings from becoming corny. The production perfectly captures how tremendous Playoff Beard sounds live, which isn’t an easy feat given how kick-ass their live shows are. A must-have 7” for anyone into melodic punk, Playoff Beard’s new release is easily one of 2015’s best records so far. Seek it out now!  –Art Ettinger (Between The Days)

Throw a Beat: CDEP
Arty skronk rock. Songs are short, vocals are screamed; you know the drill. –Jimmy Alvarado (Pluto)

Throw a Beat: CDEP
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I fucking get it already. You scream a lot, play angular guitar lines and throw in some choogling keyboard lines for good measure. Slow it down a little and it sounds like electro-clash to me—the Numbers, maybe? Erase Errata? I’m sure there must be some bastardized new wave of no-wave connection that I’m missing, but this just sounds like jumping on the bandwagon of a trend that’s already over and wasn’t hugely interesting to begin with. –Puckett (Pluto)

Here’s to the Life of the Party: CD
The singer of this band seems to have some sort of glandular dysfunction which causes his mouth to produce too much saliva, which in turn comes flying out of his mouth into the microphone as he screams his atonal lyrics. It’s kind of like that drunk guy you stood next to in that club the other day, who was trying to shout something in your ear, but all you got out of it was a wet ear. It’s too bad, ‘cause the rest of the band has got some really interesting stuff going on, including an occasional farfisa organ bleeding through the fuzzed-out guitars and the pounding drums and bass. I gotta think one of the other guys in this band could do the singing, they’d each get a larger cut, and they’d be a decent hardcore band. –brian (Pluto)

Self-titled: 12” EP
Pleasure Cross certainly appear to worship the early Earache catalog, as evidenced by a non-stop beat down of thrashing grindcore, demonic vocals, and some serious guitar tremolo bar bending. Imagine, if you will, Heresy’s Never Healed as interpreted by members of Napalm Death and Bolt Thrower. Seattle powerhouse Walls disbanded as a result of vocalist August Alston’s departure from the group to focus on Pleasure Cross. Shed a tear as you bang your head and pump your fist.  –Juan Espinosa (Iron Lung)

Alter: CD
If Tom Waits were thirty years younger and had a hard-on for college rock, I bet his band would sound just like this. –Jimmy Alvarado (Sub Pop)

Self-titled: CD
Pleasure Forever offer for their debut full length a first-hand listen to a world steeped in lives gone wrong and scenes of sinister occult. Like Nick Cave’s often violently demented lyrics, the songs on this record are equal parts urban tragedy and circus sideshow morality play. Instrumentally they offer a simple piano, guitar, and drum three piece, but with each player’s wide range of quietly atmospheric jazz to grinding rock, Pleasure Forever manages to defy categorization. I think within that quality lies their greatest power over the listener. Often on this record they musically turn on a dime. They hold the listener suspended over the railing with one thick forearm, only to pull them back onto solid footing with a smirk. I left this record feeling a fondness for their bitterly dark mood and the almost vaudevillian originality of their sound. –Guest Contributor (GSL)

Self-titled: CD
Andrew Rothbard. Josh Hughes. David Clifford. Two-thirds of this San Francisco-based trio initially impacted independent music as The VSS in 1995. With one full-length ("Nervous Circuits") and a handful of singles, split albums, etc., The VSS were part of an early wave of keyboard-heavy art rock. Theirs was music for kids who liked Joy Division and Gang of Four, but never really went goth. After an abrupt split in 1997, The VSS reformed as Slaves, an equally dark experience in rock music. Which bring us to Pleasure Forever, the trio's most recent moniker, and its self-titled, Sub Pop debut. From the heavy swirl of keyboards that mark "Goodnight," Pleasure Forever opens like some Baz Luhrmann fantasy of 1920's Berlin invaded by the Birthday Party with Ray Manzarak on keyboards. As the album progresses, Pleasure Forever's post-punk cabaret swells to fierce proportions, marked by the industrial-tinged chant of "rise, rise, rise" on "Meet Me in Eternity," before moving towards a more guitar-driven path. With the album's eight minute, forty-two second climax, "Magnus Opus," Pleasure Forever channels the spirits of rock music's darkest spirits from Black Sabbath to Bauhaus without ever really sounding like anyone other than Pleasure Forever. –Liz O. (Sub Pop)

Self-titled: 7”
I guess retro-power pop is the flavor du jour. These kids are quite proficient at it, which is a definite plus, with either tune here conceivably being a minor hit back when power pop wasn’t retro. –Jimmy Alvarado (Polypore)

Bring Me a Match: CD
This has a little more punk in the guitars than I remember the ones on their 7” having, but their new wave/power pop vibe is still more Madame Wong’s than the Hong Kong Café. –Jimmy Alvarado (Polypore, no address)

Self-titled: 12”EP
Driving, spacious post punk. Imagine Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures LP on, say, 38rpm with more guitar effects, and a singer that sounds like a Siouxsie Sioux 45 played at, say, 38rpm. Six quick songs that don’t hang around moping, but bring you to a couple of surfy places to prove that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Good live show, too. –CT Terry (Fan Death)

Self-titled: 7”
Spot-on post-punk here, with a pitch-perfect mix of brooding bass lines, clean channel guitars, and howling vocals. I could probably gripe about the mono mix of the tracks—that bass is screamin’ out for stereo, dammit!—but, to be honest, I’m so busy playing this bad boy over and over that ultimately it really doesn’t matter either way. Here’s hoping a full-length is on the way. –Jimmy Alvarado (Katorga Works)

Self-titled: 12” EP
Loved their single, and that sentiment is amplified threefold along with the three tracks that accompany the two from the single on this EP. More bass-heavy post-punk for your ear hole, with all-but-unintelligible wailing vocals, loping bass, and danceable-yet-not-dancey rhythms. The tunes are hypnotic and catchy, moody without being out ‘n’ out goth, redolent without being rote. Back slaps all around; they’ve got another winner here.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Deranged)

Hasta La Muerta: CD
La Plebe is a band I would normally fall over myself liking, but that just ain’t the case. While their lyrics aren’t too bad and touch upon things more relevant than “Beer beer I like beer,” and they’re quite good on their instruments, the post-Rancid feel of the tunes relegates their efforts back into the gray din of generic modern “street punk” bands, and the inclusion of horns gives it all a Voodoo Glow Skulls sheen that just ain’t helping matters much. Is subject matter more important than music? Dunno, but I do know that no matter what, I probably won’t remember this at all within three days, and that’s a real bummer. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.redscare.net)

Exploited People and Conquista 21: CDEP
Hardcore punk from la Misión, with a wholly unnecessary horn section. While I can totally relate to some of the sentiments expressed here (being a Chicano raised in abject poverty in East Los, I find myself nodding in agreement when they speak of barrio and lower class hardships), I have a hard time swallowing lines like “don’t call me addict ‘cause the drugs help me heal.” I’ve seen too many good people, including myself, fall for those lies and end up embodying the stereotypes that others have created to pigeonhole us (Chicanos and punks alike). Which is not to say that I’m some fuckin’ teetotaler who walks a straight line or anything, but there’s a fine line between having a beer or a toke with the boys and using alcohol and drugs to drown out life’s pain. My suggestion is to take a little time and read Rudolfo Acuña’s Occupied America and learn why you are in the position you’re in instead of focusing too much time on “healing.” –Jimmy Alvarado (www.laplebe.com)

Conquista 21: CD
Think Voodoo minus the ska and with a much better grasp of the Spanish language. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.laplebe.com)

Space Trap: 7”
RochesterNew York’s Pleistocene provides four dreamy, light, intriguing songs on this 7”. Not prototypical shoegaze, but definitely influenced by that movement, these tracks are best in the faster-paced sections. I appreciate the lo-fi recording, and they’d likely be a blast live. I think some of the weirder instrumentations are actually just synthesizer versions of other things, but the net effect is a practically orchestral experience at times. This unassuming little record works on all levels. Plus, there’s a goofy band photo on the back of the sleeve, with the members covered in foil and/or saran wrap. Oh, the antics.  –Art Ettinger (Cherish, pleistoceneband.bandcamp.com)

Timebox: 7”
Peppy, happy guy/girl vocals but not girly, not emo: pretty straight rockin’. It’s pop punk that’s radio friendly, and it feels fun, but this record is kind of reserved, no explosions. I like my pop faster and more harmonic, but really interested in what the band does next. –Speedway Randy (Full Breach Kicks)

Tides of Change: LP

Plexi 3 play garagey power pop with female vocals and some girl group dramatics. Power pop requires a fine balance of, well, power and pop. The main problem with this album is that it needs more of both. It’s just not quite catchy enough to make up for how little it rocks. I’d like to see this band live. I bet they’re more energetic on stage, and they probably play in places with shitty PAs that mute the grating vocals. This sounds like the work of a band that is not quite ready to do a full-length, so I’m giving Plexi 3 a vote of confidence. The songs that the drummer wrote are fucking catchy, and they covered the Everly Brothers. Let’s hope that they stick around long enough to capitalize on the potential shown.

–CT Terry (Bachelor)

Tides of Change : CD
This twelve-song album feels like a flailing morph between Matthew Sweet and the old Denver band Dressy Bessy. It sounds like the music lessons paid off and these guys and gal, as they figured out how to writes songs. But all the fuzzed guitar tones and psychedelic album art isn’t going to make the music any good. I’m assuming Plexi 3 is trying to ride the indie wave of The New Pornographers flag with co-ed vocals and layered instrumentation, but they fall short on delivering the punch. –N.L. Dewart (Certified PR)

Vohul To: CD
Pretty standard fair street punk, by way of the Czech Republic. Nothing particularly remarkable one way or another about this. Not bad by any means, but imagine in your head some folks from the patches and pins set, some Les Pauls and Marshalls, sing-a-long “anthems” with appropriate stops and starts in order to include the requisite number of finger-points, then you’ve got these guys.  –Jeff Proctor (PHR)

Pulverizing Lethal Force: CD
Re-press of their debut album from some time back. Listening to this, it’s easy to understand why people are stoked on this band. When it comes to grind, not many can touch the ferocity of PLF. They crank this stuff out with unrivaled power. It’s fast and precise with an avalanche of sound that crushes everything in its path. The dual vocal attack is both corrosive and abrasive, so you get it from all sides. They keep the energy constant, shifting tempos to keep it interesting, and it’s as fast as it is catchy, which is no easy task. Every song on here is a crusher, but the tracks that really stand out are “Black Robe,” Human Shield,” “Pinnacle of Weakness,” “Siege of the Headbanger,” “Fighting the Urge,” and the rest. –Matt Average (Haunted Hotel, hauntedhotelrecs.com / To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com)

00’s Nostalgia with the Plimptons: CD
I saw Madness’s “Our House” video for the first time in about twenty years the other day, and, stunningly, it actually made me feel kinda good inside—like angels were peeing pink sugar water into my lungs—for some unspecified reason ((as opposed to back in the day, when i’m sure i was lobbing sneakers and pull-tab beer cans at the TV in disgust every time it came on)). In retrospect—and, perhaps, ONLY in retrospect—that was a pretty good song, really. I have no idea what the fuck this has to do with the Plimptons, other than the fact that, if MTV still played music, i’d like to think the Plimptons would be in Madness-esque heavy rotation ((which brings up a chilling tangent: Is “these guys would be in heavy rotation if MTV still played music videos” this generation’s version of “in a perfect world, this song would be blasting out of every AM radio in America”??? Yikes!)). They’re poppy and ska-ey and clever and jumpy and sing with funny accents because they’re from Scotland ((good, i’m sick of Ireland anyway)), but they’re also punky because GOD DAMMIT WE HAVE RAISED A GENERATION OF CHAMPIONS. Who knows, for all i am aware, maybe this band is big and famous and continually overplayed at the corner bar ((and, hell, maybe MTV plays videos all the time again? How would i even know?)), but i’ve never heard of ‘em before and i’ll go so far as to say that their videos ((viewable on many popular social networking sites)) are mildly life-affirming necessities. HARK, THE HERALD ANGELS SING! BREATHE DEEPLY OF THEIR SUGARY TINKLE!!! BEST SONG: “I Don’t Wanna Be Dead” BEST SONG TITLE: “The Day My Baby Said She Hated Ska.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Nobody really knows what the last decade was called, and i don’t blame them. –Rev. Norb (16 Ohm)

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