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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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The Violent Years: 7”
Guttural, fierce hardcore always has its place, but doesn’t always leave its mark. The first three songs of this 7”, for example, are great hardcore songs, but don’t really have any chance of staying in rotation of my listening. That’s why it’s all about the transition from the third to fourth—and final—song of this record. Halfway through the B-side, the music does a 180 and turns from an all-out attack of fist-pumping punk to a genuine introspective of someone who suffers from social anxiety, while maintaining the energy and fury of the first three songs but raising the intensity to an almost frightening level. One of the top 5 B-sides of 2007, and definitely one of the most intense songs as well. If you were at the Fest this year, that dude who sang those SSD songs with Witches With Dicks is the lead singer of this band. –Daryl Gussin (Deranged)

Feel the Darkness: LP
This is a reissue of Poison Idea’s classic 1990 album. If you’re a fan of the band, you know you need this album. If you don’t know Poison Idea, Feel the Darkness is a good introduction. It shows the band at their best—blending straight ahead rock’n’roll elements (like being able to play their instruments amazingly well and texturing songs with guitar parts that flirt with the idea of a solo without once wanking off) and punk rock (in the gruff vocals and raw honesty of the lyrics). On a first listen, Feel the Darkness gives you a lucid insight into where bands like Turbonegro and the New Bomb Turks got so many good ideas. On repeated listens, you’ll just think, man, I need to own more stuff by Poison Idea. –Sean Carswell (Farewell)

Darby Crash Rides Again: 7"
I know I don’t have to review this, but what the hell. TKO released a repress of this rare gem for International Record Store Day and I’m sure happy to have snagged one. Poison Idea are one of the greatest bands to come out of the early American hardcore scene. The songs still rage after all these years! Nice pale blue clear vinyl is just the icing on the cake. Listen to me... record collectors are pretentious assholes! Haha. –Ty Stranglehold (TKO)

Pick Your King: 7” EP
TKO Records celebrates another record store day with another amazing Poison Idea reissue. This time we have the Pick Your King EP pressed on clear vinyl. Chances are that if you are reading this magazine, you know the importance of this band, this record in particular. It doesn’t get much better than this. Essential hardcore. I can’t wait until the next PI reissue! –Ty Stranglehold (TKO)

The Fatal Erection Years 1983-1986: LP
Early Poison Idea is pretty damn near unimpeachable in my book, so if you’re new to Portland negativity or don’t have five hundred or more bucks laying around to get the Pick Your King 7” or Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes EPs, TKO’s done a nice service for you. Sounds great, looks great. Live and comp. tracks are pulled in to fill out both sides of a long-player. There’s honor in keeping the legacy alive. What’s new and interesting are Jerry A.’s liner notes. They clear some things up. He admits to PI being a product of their environment, that they were drawn into the most negative aspects of L.A. punk—both the music and the people—and that they tried to outdo their contemporaries. Basically, outpunk the punks. It’s an honest reaction. It explains both what makes Poison Idea’s music so believable: their rage, their damage, their directness. They were fucked up kids who became fucked up adults playing ugly (a compliment) music. It also admits one of the great shames of the first wave of hardcore, where Jerry reconciles that “being creative, smart, and having any kind of sympathy toward your fellow man was not allowed.” –Todd Taylor (TKO)

The Fatal Erection Years: CD
The sideshow cavalcade of human oddities in punk rock has always featured an unsettling array of freaks of earnestness; some punks pickled in jars of their own self-righteous juices, others with rigid dogmas pounded into their heads like the nails hammered into the heads of sideshow blockheads and human pincushions. Take Ian MacKaye, for instance. MacKaye was not only very, very earnest, but he also seemed like a very somber chap. Like a very serious librarian or a Mennonite or Norman Mailer. But Poison Idea was every bit as earnest as Ian MacKaye. The main difference being that they did let a certain very dark nihilistic sense of humor shine through—the “Violence Is Funny” clips on their Mating Walruses DVD immediately spring to mind as a good example—but it never tempered their intensity or earnestness one iota. They were possessed of a rendering plant level of earnestness, which was fitting for a band that, if you were to put their carcasses through a giant meat grinder, would produce more pounds of ground beef than three normal bands. Not to mention that they would probably make a hamburger that you could get drunk off of. They were Rabelaisian giants and they were to hardcore what King Kong Bundy was to wrestling. Brutal, massive, stroke-inspiring. Looking at them, you’d think they’d be ponderous and elephantine like Crowbar, but they weren’t. With a Bobbitted Ibanez Iceman in his hands, Pig Champion’s ham hock arms moved as fast as Bruce Lee’s. Poison Idea combined heavy and fast like no other band dared. The Fatal Erection Years gives you a veritable feast of mid-’80s Poison Idea all on one CD, including Pick Your King, Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes, compilation tracks from the Drinking Is Great 7” and the Cleanse the Bacteria LP—PLUS previously unreleased live tracks from Portland in 1983. And if the release of this CD wasn’t in itself good news for modern man, word on the streets is that Southern Lord is going to be re-releasing several more Poison Idea classics on CD, including the long lost Ian MacKaye recordings. I just hope that these wonderful plans don’t go up in a cloud of bong smoke; I glanced over the Southern Lord website and they seem to be big purveyors of stoner metal and that does cause me some concern. Short-term memory lapse might be fairly commonplace at that particular office. The best laid plans sometimes just don’t happen, I’d wager. I also really, really hope that the brain trust at Southern Lord has the fog-free horse sense to re-release the Ian Mackaye recording using the original uncensored cover photo—which is a sort of Poison Idea’s hairy proctological valentine to the Messiah of Straightedge, Mr. Mackaye himself. Poison Idea were behemoth motherfuckers— to borrow an apt designation by Tad Doyle, himself a connoisseur of things large, loud, powerful, and dangerous. It’s doubtful we’ll ever see another band quite like them. –Aphid Peewit (Southern Lord, southernlord.com)

Darby Crash Rides Again: LP
In a scene already packed to its roof with pissed off, often dangerous people, Poison Idea stood out as one of them bands you just did not want to fuck with. It wasn’t just because they looked the sort that would use your entrails to decorate their Christmas tree if you so much as annoyed them, it was also because, as their myriad releases attest, they dealt in a brand of music that radiated a feral violence that exceeded many of their punk/hardcore peers—their tunes felt like an ass-whoopin’, but they also made you wanna bounce off the walls and do a little goin’ off yourself. Adding to an already stellar back catalog, TKO and Southern Lord dish up a couple of demos, including the legendary one from which this collection derives its name, a couple of outtakes from the Record Collectors are Pretentious Assholes EP, and a 1983 radio recording, all of it great, both in sound and performance quality. Bands like this are few and far between, and this is definitely one of those must-have items for even the passive punk aficionado. –Jimmy Alvarado (TKO)

Kings of Punk: 2x LP
What else can be said but “essential”? Poison Idea is an anomaly in the pantheon of American hardcore. They withstand the test of time. This beautifully reissued record is a testament to that. You should already know that the tunes here are amazing. The second record features live stuff from 1984-1986 that brings all the fury that is PI. I could only imagine what it was like to see them back then, and now I don’t have to wonder. There is also a poster, photos, artwork and Jerry A. telling the story of shooting the grotesque album cover. Keep the reissues coming TKO! –Ty Stranglehold (TKO)

Kings of Punk (Bloated Edition): CD
When you look at an album cover and see a bovine-like beer belly carved up with X-acto gashes that crudely spell out a band’s name, you can rest assured that, by buying this particular recording, you’re getting a genuine strain of hardcore nihilistic punk that will tear your nostrils open, separate the meat from your skull, and pin the ragged flaps of your face back against your ears. The photograph of Jerry A’s X-acto work in scarification “branding” on the Kings of Punk cover is like the Good Housekeeping seal for punk nihilism; it tells you in no uncertain terms: this is the most “rotten, dirty, damnable, filthy, putrid, filth” your money can buy—satisfaction guaranteed. Now of course, whether or not the malcontents in Poison Idea were really proper “nihilists” is debatable. They were most likely not nihilists in the sense that I don’t think any of them ever spent nights curled up on the couch with some Lorna Doone cookies and a good Max Stirner book. I seriously doubt they read much of anything outside of maybe a beer-stained Bukowski book or two. But if one is to believe the snuff-spittled rantings of the famous Hillbilly Hot Head, self-styled nihilist and all-around professional “Bad Man,” Jim Goad, both Pig Champion and Jerry A were drunken, thieving, drugged-up, hypocritical Man Mountains of amorality. Specifically, Goad claims that a certain Tom Roberts (aka Pig Champion) ratted him out to the fuzz, resulting in Goad landing in jail for an extra zealous bit of performance art wherein he beat up his girlfriend. Particularly bad form, says Jimbo, for the seemingly earnest composers of several brutal anti-cop/anti-snitch ditties like “The Badge” from the Feel the Darkness album. He also makes more broad claims that, while P.I. bassist Myrtle Tickner was merely a “sweet drunk,” Pig and Jerry were both luridly conniving smack addicts who would turn on anyone for a quick fix. Of course, I have no way to gauge the veracity of Goad’s accusations, but it seems at least plausible that his strident protestations are little more than the attention-getting “I’m-Badder-Than-You” bellowings of a person looking for a little more notoriety to heap on his already “dangerous” reputation. Don’t forget, Jim Goad was a reality TV type personality before reality TV even existed. And, seriously, can anyone with a straight face call Jerry A and Pig Champion gutless? But even if Goad is right in portraying them as dangerously obese back-stabbing junkies, they at least weren’t sickly, simpering little heroin-chic nihilists hunched and on the nod in some dark corner somewhere, watching their own grey drool accumulate in their navels; these were rotund, heavy-breathing brutes whose every blackened fat cell was bursting at the seams with utter nihilistic rage like Momma June—a Goadian Hillbilly heroine herself—bursting at the seams from a particularly gluttonous session of pork rind binge eating. And that comes through each and every song on Kings of Punk like a runaway herd of rutting bull elephants trampling Jeep-fulls of ivory poachers underfoot. What more can be said about this album that hasn’t already been said? Eleven sternum-cracking, just-don’t-give-a-fuck, meat-nado classics from the Billy and Benny McCrary (look ‘em up, you have a smart phone) of hardcore punk and a memorable album cover guaranteed to pop into your mind every time you take a sharp knife and cut up a nice plump hotdog. Plus, with this re-mastered re-release from Southern Lord/TKO, you get an additional all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of previously unreleased live recordings, circa 1984-1986. So with this double disc version of Kings of Punk you can listen to the very dark sounds of raging drunk-junkie nihilism until the cows come home. There are even freshly-penned liner notes from Mr. Jerry A, detailing the back story to the stomach-slicing photo shoot and including a proud profession that he has not mellowed with age and is, in fact, more pissed off than ever. I’ve watched enough classic WWF to know a thinly veiled challenge when I hear one. By the time this issue of Razorcake hits the streets, cocky rapper DMX should’ve already pounded celebrity killer George Zimmerman into Alpo at the Celebrity Boxing event. I say that next up, as a way of promoting their on-going series of “extra gravy” classic Poison Idea re-releases, Southern Lord should try to orchestrate a Celebrity Nihilist Death Match between Jim Goad and Jerry A. And let’s put in a stipulation allowing X-acto knives. Whaddya say guys? Do it for Pig.  –Aphid Peewit (Southern Lord)

Split: 7” EP
Poison Idea: The original tune here, “Something Better,” is a seething bit of virulence—slow, yet you can feel the power they’re known for coiled up and waiting to unload. Also included is a live recording of them running through the 13th Floor Elevators’ “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” Rösvett: Two thrashers that showcase the power they’re known for—fast, but weighted with more heft and rage than the usual lot who rely on speedy parlor tricks. The cover of P.I.’s “Die on Your Knees” is serviceable, if wholly unnecessary. Good split.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Just 4 Fun, j4f.dk)

Out for a Kill: CD
The fourth LP from this Swiss trio with an across-the-ages sound similar to the U.K.’s Four Letter Word, GBH, and Guitar Gangsters. Well-coordinated, bottom-heavy rhythm section, metal guitar, and raspy, shouted choral vocals move at a decent clip. Catchy and sing-along at times; repetitive at others. Early in their fifteen-plus year career, they oddly added a second V in ivy. –Jessica Thiringer (Colibri/Crazy Love, colibri-records.ch, crazyloverecords.de)

Oblivious: EP
So many reasons to like this record... Poison Planet crank out some blazing hardcore punk that has a rough and burly edge. Elements remind me of Negative FX, such as the vocals, and the straight-forward approach to the music. The guitar has a nice sound and the guy can actually play. I like how the bass is right up in the mix as well. More hardcore bands need to do this! There are some cool intros to the songs, and this stuff is as catchy as it is speedy. Then—something I unfortunately don’t come across too often in today’s punk scene—here’s a band that actually has something of worth to say. Not one song on here is about what the “scene” means to them, or about straight-edge. Instead, they bring up animal rights, staying true to your ideals (as they say, “This is about something much greater than breaking Edge, or ceasing to be vegan/vegetarian. This is about selling out your soul like a fucking coward”), religion, and apathy. Well worth your time and money. –Matt Average (ThirdXParty, thirdxparty.blogspot.com)

Undermine: 7”
I was expecting something a bit more raging, given the monochromatic riot scenes on the cover and the not three but four Xs that grace the cover. Unfortunately, that fourth X doesn’t signify how extra hard they are sonically but merely their commitment to the X. While the sound is palatable—rather straightforward old school hardcore—they are lyrically off-putting. I see nothing wrong with being edge or vegan as such, but purporting that social change starts with clean living and eating habits is a bit absurd to me. I’d think that it would start with not being a jack off. Whatever. Still better than some religious bullshit. –Vincent Battilana (Third Party, thirdxparty.blogspot.com)

Bleed for Me: 7” single
Apparently, this was pressed up for their recent European tour. I was hoping for some new material from these guys. Instead, we’re given a couple Dead Kennedys covers. They chose doing these to illustrate how relevant the lyrics are some thirty years later, and while I tend to agree, I think it would have been better to write a song or two of their own that would inspire today’s generation to think and question, much in the same way the DKs did for some of us thirty years ago. Performance-wise, Poison Planet does a decent job. It’s strange hearing these songs a bit heavier, faster, and thrashier. I’d say this is for completists, really. Limited to 250 copies (and on green vinyl). –Matt Average (Third Party, thirdxparty.blogspot)

Boycott Everything: LP
This previously came out on 7” in Europe, and the domestic version was cut onto a one-sided LP. From a sonic standpoint, this band almost seems to have skipped the last twenty-five years of hardcore. The band’s sound is culled from the whole gamut of ‘80s hardcore. The guitar frills on “Liquor Flesh Trade” are from Dead Kennedys, and the breakdown on “Tidal Leveling” is from Black Flag; but a ton of other influences come up, from Project X to Articles Of Faith. This is music by hardcore nerds, for hardcore nerds. The politics are the driving force behind the band, and the expanded format works better aesthetically for the visual aspect of the release. The cover art does look better on a larger format, and the reading materials are handy in the 12” spread. –Ian Wise (Not Normal, notnormaltapes.blogspot.com)

Government Poison: 7"
I have never heard of Government Flu, and that is a problem. This band completely shreds Agnostic Front-style hardcore with that mid-2000s chug vibe but they fucking kill it in a way I haven’t heard in a long time. Fans of the now-defunct Malfunction Records catalog (early Ceremony, Allegiance, Internal Affairs) should go nuts over this. Their side of the record is excellent and the vocals and lyrics are fantastic (especially considering this band is Polish and I believe English is their second language). The Poison Planet side was recorded, I guess, right around their breakup and really show a band pulling something off with a total sense of urgency. Right from the Black Flag rip-off intro the band feels rushed and chaotic, like they only had half an idea of what they were really doing. That being said, I will say one hundred percent without a doubt that this is the best thing Poison Planet has ever released. The lineup on the release (members of Raw Nerve and RazorXFade) probably had more influence than they thought; because the raw sensibilities of those bands translate in a way that Poison Planet didn’t before. –Ian Wise (Refuse, refuserecords.prv.pl)

Sometimes Things Just Disappear: CD
This record has a different kind of icing for everyone, but I can’t help feeling like they forgot the cake.Sometimes Things Just Disappear is gruff, yet brooding, atmospheric, yet aggressive, lyrically pointed, yet blurry, and that’s gonna work for some people. To me, it just feels safe. Drenched in the early twenties spirit of wanting the post and the punk, I don’t think they’ve mastered either. In the end, I’m really left wondering where the hooks are. Maybe they come out more with repeated listens, but it’s not gonna get that far. –Nick Toerner  –Guest Contributor (Red Leader)

Floral Phantasms: CD
I know that often when people don’t like the sound of something they liken that something to the torturing of a cat. But literally, literally people, the first track on this CD seems to be a recording of a cat being tortured. Or at least a cat being annoyed really, really badly. I may be, you know, unhip, but I don’t know why anyone would want to start their CD off that way. Is it like those college courses where the professor is a gigantic asshole for the first month of the course so that all of the weaker students drop out and let the proverbial cream rise to the top? Because it totally alienated me right from the start. The rest of the CD contains seven tracks of uninspired instrumental music. Kind of like the soundtrack to a movie that a pretentious ex-boyfriend of mine would have dragged me to. Yuck. –Jennifer Whiteford (Up)

Self-titled: CD
Some of that ol’ Confederacy of Scum-style Southern punk on a label outta Wyoming. Features ex-members of Hellstomper and the tunes are in the same vein. Cover art looks a whole lot like some of those Mans Ruin releases the COS bands had, particularly the Antiseen reissue. At this point, you know if this is your cuppa or whether you are walking on by. –Mike Frame (zodiackillerrecords.com)

As Above, So Below: CD EP
Boring, modern rock that didn’t even interest me enough to make want to listen to the whole thing twice. –Donofthedead (Doubleplusgood)

As Above, So Below: CDEP
Boring, modern rock that didn’t even interest me enough to make want to listen to the whole thing twice. –Donofthedead (Doubleplusgood)

Amor y Guerra: CD
Some D.C. residents vibe heavy on their Revolution Summer predecessors, right down to the Ian-esque vocals. Though not as sonically diverse as some of those mid-‘80s bands could be, the results here could easily be put in that space between, say, Second Wind and Embrace and no one would cry foul. –Jimmy Alvarado (Youngblood)

Attrition: Split: LP
Both bands are on the political thrash/crust tip, with lyrics about genetic engineering, religion, etc. War//Plague is the more metal influenced of the two, with chugga-chugga riffage, grandiose arrangements, and an apocalyptic bent to the whole proceedings, while Police Bastard are more straightforward, and even offer up Rudimentary Peni and Mob covers. –Jimmy Alvarado (Profane Existence)

Awesomer than the Devil: LP
One of the most interesting things about a piece of vinyl is how it forces you to consider the cover. A picture of a bobble Jesus, next to a bobble luchador, shot with the color palette of a Small Brown Bike record. It definitely gave me an impression right from the start (i.e.: this band is going to have some Fugazi influence). Though it turns out I was correct, these guys deliver more than enough interesting riffs to show that they can stand on their own two feet. While the songs can get a bit long at times (forgive me, I have a short attention span), this disc is pretty solid. B+. –Bryan Static (Latest Flame)

Under Custody: 7”
Police Truck play mid-tempo punk meets surf rock. While the shtick of the band members all being cops is silly, the music is quite good. What sells them for me is the sheer amount of guitar wankery in each song. The basic riffs are only mildly interesting, but the lead guitar parts are truly excellent. If you’re a fan of surf rock-fused punk, this just might be your new favorite thing. –Paul J. Comeau (Chubby Brats Eat Pizza)

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