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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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PRETTY BOY THORSON & THE FALLING ANGELS / 24 INCH PYTHONS:
Split : 7”
Everyone’s new darlings on one 7”. Pretty Boy Thorson daringly covers a Dwight Yoakam tune in their sloppy, poppy punk way, and 24 Inch Pythons throw three standard “fury + shout = punk” tracks in the ring. –Jessica Thiringer (No address provided)


PRETTY BOY THORSON & THE FALLING ANGELS / WORTHWHILE WAY:
Split: 7”
Finally, a way to trick my friends into liking the Mountain Goats! This fine record includes a cover of the Mountain Goats song “Fault Lines” by Minneapolis’ own Pretty Boy Thorson & the Falling Angels, with no apparent credit given to the Mountain Goats, which is all the better for my deceptive plan! Me: “You know that awesome Pretty Boy song?” You: “That song about the couple that wish they were dead? The one that goes, ‘And the fights, and the lies that we both love to tell fail to send our love to its reward down in hell?’” Me: “Yes, that one.” You: “What about it? That song rules.” Me: “You are correct, and you are a Mountain Goats fan.” Success! Plus, two songs by Worthwhile Way, a super poppy band with girl singers from Japan. Sample lyric, “I wish my family to be happy every day.” Punk rock! –Maddy (Eager Beaver)


PRETTY BOY THORSON / THE ANCHOR:
Split: 7"
Jesse Thorson has a beautiful singing voice. There. I said it. If John Cougar let a mean streak out in his music, was a DIY punk, and had a Civil War monkey farting as his insert’s illustration, he’d sound like Jesse. One original, one Cock Sparrer cover. I like the original better. The Anchor: Make me think of dueling throat polyps and barnacles. They didn’t make the boat they’re sailing on, but it sounds like they’ve been hanging on for a long time, underwater, and aren’t letting go any time soon. Kyle, you’re right. The blue/grey vinyl with the silver label looks snazzy. –Todd Taylor (Muy Autentico)


PRETTY BOY THORSON AND LIL HAPPINESS:
I Ain’t Gonna Beg: 7”
The world wants me to listen to Thin Lizzy. Listening to Thin Lizzy is my destiny. I am not going to resist anymore. There’s no point, because Thin Lizzy is there everywhere I turn. It’s on the T-shirt of the guy at the record store. It’s playing when I walk into the ice cream shop. My friend has even worked several Thin Lizzy-related jokes into her comedy routine. And now it’s on the B-side of this record, a cover of “Running Back,” channeled through Pretty Boy Thorson And Lil Happiness, forcing me to play it over and over again. Fine! I’m into Thin Lizzy now, okay! And I kind of like the Pretty Boy Thorson gang too. –MP Johnson (A.D.D.)


PRETTY BOY THORSON AND LIL’ HAPPINESS:
“You’re Gonna Miss Me” b/w “Way Out”: 7”
There is no insert with this, and there is no label on the vinyl (which is transparent gold). The song titles are etched into each side. That’s the only way to know which song you’re playing. That, or the fact that Jesse sings the one on Side A, and Annie (from The Soviettes) sings the one on Side B. Lots of detective work is necessary here. The cover photo would have you assume that there are five people in this outfit; Jesse, who is an asshole (or at least that’s what a shirt that I have says), Annie, who is cool, Paddy Costello, who is cool, and two other dudes who look familiar. Both songs are about people leaving each other. The band features a full, laid-back sound on these catchy tunes. The music definitely makes up for the lack of information here. –Nighthawk (Rad Girlfriend, radgirlfriendrecords.com)


PRETTY BOY THORSON AND THE FALLEN ANGELS / CORTEZ THE KILLER:
Split: 7” EP
Pretty Boy Thorson: They’re a sleeper. It took me awhile to get comfortable with the idea that a plugged-in band featured an acoustic guitar. But the earnest delivery, the self-effacement, and whiskey-true lyrics won me over. The band’s not flashy, but tenacious, like a weed growing through the seam between asphalt and the sidewalk, thriving on neglect, growing in a hostile place. I’ll say it again. If rockabilly didn’t off ramp into Fonzie-ville years back and empty out into a cul-de-sac of retro consumerism, these dudes would have been embraced far and wide by now. Cortez The Killer: A little bit of British Top of the Pops from the ‘60s, via cardboard and masking tape. The mastering’s a little rough, sounding like was recorded through massive fuzzy ear muffs (and with a more clean, pop-leaning band, it’s noticeable), but far from dismissible. With some more fidelity, they could be reminiscent of Bent Outta Shape. Nice split. Silk-screened covers. –Todd Taylor (ADD)


PRETTY BOY THORSON AND THE FALLING ANGELS:
Take It Easy: CD
What is so damn attractive about misery? It seems like the only things that end up mattering to me, whether music or books (or, shit, even people some days) are all pretty miserable and self-deprecating. PBT and the F’n As are no exception. I can’t help but group them in with Off With Their Heads, not necessarily in sound (though Ryan OWTH shows up here too), but definitely in feel. The lyrics come off like they’re meant to be listened to in a dark room somewhere with only a bottle of whiskey as your company. But, the way it all comes together musically, sounds more like you should be throwing your arms around your friends in a packed and sweaty basement than anything the lyrics would have you believe. Maybe surrounding myself with all this misery will be the death of me some day, but I can’t think of a much better soundtrack to go to than Pretty Boy Thorson. –Megan Pants (ADD)


PRETTY BOY THORSON AND THE FALLING ANGELS / CORTEZ THE KILLER:
Split: EP
Two contrasting bands on here. Pretty Boy Thorson are modern punk crossed with country. Sort of like something you’d hear on a jukebox at a punk bar in OrangeCounty. Sing-along sort of stuff, and I guess it’s drinking music. Cortez The Killer play sixties rock with a definite British influence. A bit on the freakbeat side of things. “Can’t Quit Me” is a cold song, and sounds like a lost gem of that era. –Matt Average (A.D.D.)


PRETTY BOY THORSON AND THE F’’N A’S:
Take It Easy: CD
You gotta hand it to any music that can comfort you in your sorrow and invigorate you in your merriment. Take It Easy is the ultimate fall back album for those diagnosed with manic depression. It’s also great for parties, alone time, and road trips. Not many albums can say that. –Daryl Gussin (ADD)


PRETTY BOY THORSON AND ‘LIL HAPPINESS:
“I Can’t Get High” b/w “Keep on Waiting”: 7”
Why do I keep flashing back to episodes of Simon and Simon? Is this 7” what’d be playing on the jukebox of a biker bar in my eight-year-old mind? Does it sound like a brown and orange Power Wagon slowly solving a mystery? Is this fair to Jesse and the dialed-in MPLS band he’s rodeo’d into this little spinner? “Really, dude, you’re comparing our band to a show that wasn’t as good as Hardcastle and McCormick or Cagney and Lacey? C’mon.” The B-side of my copy of this record is warped, but the A-side plays just fine. That doesn’t happen very often. There’s something heavy-work-pant, pretzels-make-beer fancy about Jesse Thorson-helmed bands that makes the songs both go down real easy and worth listening to repeatedly… on the jukebox… of an eight-year-old kid’s mind… Just put it on an MP3 player or something. –Todd Taylor (ADD, addrecs.com)


PRETTY BOY THORSTON AND THE FALLING ANGELS:
21 Songs, Rarities, Live Songs and Unreleased Tracks: CD
I might have squealed like a little girl when I received this to review. I’m not ashamed to admit it, and think any self-respecting PBT & FA fan would have done the same thing. Great covers and excellent live recordings that demand you sing along in your best whisky-soaked, cigarette-stained growl. Pick this up if you already know and love the band. It’s great to have on shuffle. It’s like you win with whatever song is chosen! Extra love for the picture of Jesse Thorston in the booklet wearing an “I’m Still Straight Edge” shirt. –Samantha Beerhouse (ADD)


PRETTY BULLSHIT / WARM NEEDLES:
The Same Shit Everyday: 7”
I’m not altogether sure this thing is actually titled The Same Shit Everyday. It’s what the TV on the cover of the record says. It might just be a self-titled split release, and the TV’s just making a depressing point to go with the drawing of the dude hangin’ himself. I dunno. Pretty Bullshit: They either misspell “pores” in the lyric sheet or they’re bartenders and are being really clever. Sound-wise they sound like a second orthird tier punk band from 1980. Could use more melody / rage / something, but you’ll forgive it because they’re from way back when and were influential and original. Except they aren’t. Probably good live but I don’t see their side getting repeat spins. Warm Needles: Stupid band name. Depressing lyrics that are at least somewhat about drugs. Kinda reminiscent of Tim Version or similarly gruff but melodic bands. Shit, this is pretty solidly catchy. Definitely wouldn’t mind hearing more from Warm Needles. –Ryan Horky (Dig My Grave, digmygraverecords.bandcamp.com)


PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES:
Elan Vital: CD
Simply put, this album is fucking incredible. Soaring, scorching, female vocals over layers of aggressive, intricate guitars and keyboards. These songs are experimental enough to fascinate, and yet there are also pop hooks so catchy I felt like I’d been hearing them for years. The vocals are truly the high point of the album as they waver between celebration and desperation. Rather than making an album where everything sounds the same, PGMG have created one where each song is distinctive and enthralling. This album avoids being derivative but it isn’t so bizarre as to be alienating either. I recommend listening to it on large headphones while you wander city streets and watch the seasons change. –Jennifer Whiteford (Matador)


PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES:
Good Health: CD
I like this. It’s got that frenetic, about-to-pop-but-don’t-worry-everything’s-under-control feel of At the Drive-In. It’s complex but not confusing. They don’t forget to always propel their songs forward to keep the ass a-wigglin’ and the heads a-bobbin’. It’s also good because they don’t shy away from the occasional tantrum and use a synthesizer in a way that doesn’t suck scrote. The guitars scream down from far away mountains and tackle each other, like head-butting rams. Solid, exciting, repeated thuds. All the songs topple and spin and shoot around constantly like a perfect play on a really good pinball game (like Monster Mash). The female-fronted vocals add to the texture, watershed the harmonies, and then sprays them back out so the album seems to be dripping all around you like a fine mist when it’s on the stereo, permeating everything it touches. Exciting stuff. For what it’s worth, the bassist used to be in the Murder City Devils. Sounds nothing like ‘em. –Todd Taylor (Lookout)


PRETTY GIRLS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
I thought I was going to hate this when I picked it up, I mean c’mon there’s guys smellin’ flowers on the back! I really like it in doses though. It’s pretty much straightforward Brit pop (even though they’re out of Sacramento.) Heavily reminiscent of Supergrass’ I Should Coco. Definitely worth a listen for fans of Pulp and Blur and such. –Megan Pants (Trap Door)


PRETTY GIRLS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
I thought I was going to hate this when I picked it up, I mean c’mon there’s guys smellin’ flowers on the back! I really like it in doses though. It’s pretty much straightforward Brit pop (even though they’re out of Sacramento.) Heavily reminiscent of Supergrass’ I Should Coco. Definitely worth a listen for fans of Pulp and Blur and such.
–Megan Pants (Trap Door)


PRETTY PRETTY:
Demo: Cassette

Pretty Pretty is a garage punk band with dual male/female vocals. There’s a very fuzzed-out vibe going on with this demo. At first I wanted the sound to be a bit crisper, but it grew on me. The jangly riffs they play are fun, having an almost relaxed and meandering quality to them, like going for a walk on a nice, sunny day. Toss this in your cassette player on the way to work, or while sitting around the house, and you’re sure to have a better day because of it.

–Paul J. Comeau (Let’s Pretend, prettyprettyrock@gmail.com)


PRETTY PRETTY:
Self-titled: Cassette
You must’ve heard the trash talk about cassette tapes and their mounting comeback. Detractors say that cassettes are a needless fad, retro for the sake of it, blah, blah, blah. To these naysayers, I offer exhibits A and B: my 1997 Honda Accord (Rhonda, if you’re nasty), and this self-titled demo by Pretty Pretty. This is a band that knows its demographic: cats who still have tape decks in their cars. Seriously, when was the last time you got a new cassette, slit the plastic wrap with a fingernail, and threw a fresh-smelling new tape directly into your car stereo? I’m guessing the last time for me was 1991, at the latest, before I started buying predominantly CDs. So, thanks to the band and their label for reminding me of being a teenager, both in terms of the cassette itself and the music on it: Pretty Pretty, a three-piece, bashes away with gleeful aplomb, stuffing hooks aplenty into their raw but inviting mostly gal-fronted garage pop bashers. The band doesn’t dwell too much on themselves, their gear, or their delivery. Instead, they bring home zee bacon without a care in the world save for the songs themselves, which has gotta be at least as retro—and as righteous—as a cassette, right?  –Michael T. Fournier (Let’s Pretend)


PRETTY VANILLA:
7 Inches Deep: 7”
I watched a video at Pretty Vanilla’s MySpace page, and while it was a shitty recording they sounded kind of loud and a little rough around the edges. And I could dig that even if I wasn’t totally down with their glam meets early hair metal look. But the music on the seven inch is so polished it’s boring. Some of the songs sound like they should have been featured on Happy Days. The vocals are high pitched and kind of reminded me of Superchunk in that sense that you might go a long time thinking that the vocalist is a woman only to find out sometime later that it’s actually a dude. Their song “Paper Tiger” had a nice, muddy-sounding guitar solo that started to show what I heard on the video. But that little part was the only sign of hope I heard on this otherwise poor 1960s throwback. My suggestion: look into recording more lo-fi or analog, get a little dirtier, fuzzier sound on the guitar and lose the cheesy backup vocals. If I want to listen to stuff like you’re playing, I’ll go rent a copy of Back to the Future. –Kurt Morris (prettyvanilla.com)


PRETTY WHORES:
Teens of USA: CD
Admittedly, upon looking at this and seeing the name, I assumed I’d hate it (judging from the name and packaging, figuring it was some Warped Tour “I hate my girlfriend, ergo all girls” emo/punk pop). But after listening to it, it kind of sounds like a pop punk band trying to sound like The Hives. It’s not bad, though if they tried to sound like Henry Fiat’s Open Sore, then they’d really be on to something. –Joe Evans III (Self-released, myspace.com/prettywhores)


PRETTY WHORES OF MANHATTAN:
Self-titled: CD
Off-kilter rock/punk colliding with a borderline arty aesthetic. Was much better than their name would suggest.  –Jimmy Alvarado (pretty.whores.of.manhattan@hotmail.com)


PRETTYBOY THORSON & THE FALLING ANGELS:
Ain't It Funny: CD
This is that drunken kind of pop punk that was made famous in the Bay Area. It’s all about breaking up with girls and drinking about it, along with a few references to punk activities like being broke and sleeping on couches. This is the kind of band that every town has one of and they always have a huge local following. They’re a good band. Hell, if I were to start my first band, it might sound like this and hopefully we’d be good too. But, for me personally, in this over-accelerated, over-stimulated culture, I don’t get into bands on the basis of them being good, but on whether they stand out or not. Unfortunately, this band doesn’t do that for me. –Craven (ADD)


PRETTYBOY THORSON AND THE FALLING ANGELS:
Ain’t It Funny: CD
My aversion to rockabilly has cemented over time. There seem to be two main categories that bands self-put themselves. 1.) Skinhead Retirement Program. Rebellion from a different era, endless shit to buy, and a “little lady by my side.” The music’s another accessory. 2.) Ookie-spooky graveyards and/or zombies and/or being crazy with standup bass and pomade. Sure, I’m over-generalizing, and Rock’n’Roll Purgatory’s got their finger on the pulse of great rockabilly currently being released if you’re interested in bands beyond the gloss, sheen, and surfing of stand up basses. Enter PTATFA. It was bound to happen—actually, it already did with The Staggers (well worth checking out) and the Beltones—DIY punk rockers bring in their self-loathing, funny song titles (“The Best Part About Getting Dumped Is You Get to Write a Power Ballad”), and gritty energy in and blow the barn doors off of the play-acting hootenanny. Their music’s clear, instantly hummable, and beefy; I’d love to see them on a bill with The Pine Hill Haints or Almighty Do Me A Favor. –Todd Taylor (ADD)


PRETTYBOY THORSON AND THE F’N A’S:
Take It Easy: CD
This CD has secret glue, and I don’t know what it is. First couple of listens, eh. Reminded me of The Staggers: a band that could easily switch from campfire to barroom without losing power, who (I’m totally guessing), respect the Misfits as much as Johnny Cash equally. But then I kept going back to the record. It tells stories. It has beats I tap along to. I saw them live a couple of times, and Dan, the lead singer, is a big dude who makes his acoustic guitar look like a ukulele and he sings his goddamn heart out. What more are we asking for in music? Nothing. Take It Easy is like a pair of work pants. At first, it seemed a little stiff and off-the-pile, yet gets smoothed out and more comfortable with more usage. Recommended. –Todd Taylor (ADD)


PREVAIL WITHIN:
The Architects of Broken Souls: CD
Self described as in “the same bloodline as Bad Religion, Propagandhi, and Rise Against.” Besides Bad Religion, that pretty much sums it up for me. Leaning more towards Rise Against than Propagandhi. –Donofthedead (Mightier Than Sword)


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