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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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1979 Studio Recordings: 7” EP
As has been noted in numerous books, periodicals, and other sources, the influx of kids from the suburbs and beaches of Southern California into the punk scene created a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, most of the new kids were considerably more aggressive and, in some cases, downright sociopathic compared to the more laidback, arty attitude of Hollywood’s punks. Thing is, along with all the aggro, the music these kids were dishing up in their bands gave the scene a much-needed shot of creativity and intensity, and soon the old guard was being overrun by bands like Black Flag, the Slashers, China White, The Blades, Non-Fascists, The Outsiders, the Screwz and others who laid the foundation, good or ill, for hardcore, modern pop punk, and the now stereotypical Southern California punk sound. Social Task was one of these early bands, comprised of former members of the Slashers, The Idols, Non-Fascists, and China White. The five tunes on the first side of this EP, recorded in 1979 and summarily forgotten about until a few years ago, deftly showcase all the hoopla surrounding those early beach bands. While spare on technical finesse and more straightforward than Hollywood’s artier punk bands, the tunes are chock full of interesting chord progressions and ramped up with the same level of intensity that made bands like the Bags and the Germs such a hoot. Side B here presents four more tunes from 2007 with most of the lineup remaining intact, and it appears that age has not mellowed them one whit. Last I checked, they’re still out and about, playing gigs all over Southern California, so definitely make a point to check ‘em out and, by all means, pick this up before you later end up kicking yourself repeatedly in the ass while paying outrageous amounts for it on Ebay. –Jimmy Alvarado (Artifix)

Self-titled: CD-R
This band is chunky metal/ hardcore from Huntsville, AL. Every song is about two minutes or less and they recorded the whole thing in five hours. You can tell that in the quality, too. The sound is kind of muffled, but if you dig ‘80s hardcore and think there needs to be more in 2007, never fear. Oh yeah, they released this on tape, too! If all these pissed-off kids could just get organized, maybe this country could have the revolution we all want. –Buttertooth (socialtreason@hotmail.com)

Self-titled: CD
Songs short and straight to the point. Using the formula of fast and slow, they mix metal riffs with mid tempo punk blasts. The punk parts remind me of bands that would have appeared on Mystic Records. The band Don’t No comes to mind. If you had told me this band and recording came from the mid ‘80s, I would totally believe you. –Donofthedead (Social Treason)

Songs for Sinners: EP
Don’t believe the sticker on the cover that claims this is their best material since Rat in a Maze. That’s a tall order, and though this record isn’t bad, it doesn’t come close to Rat in a Maze or any of the early, or later, SU material. Social Unrest are definitely one of my all-time favorite bands. I love everything from Making Room for Youth to Now and Forever, but I’m not blinded by fandom to let things get a pass. The material on here is good. “High Rollers” should have been put on the B-side, as it comes across as a throwaway, and the two songs on the B-side, “Get It Together” and “No One’s Tool” should have been the A-side. In fact, “No One’s Tool” is the best of the bunch, and recalls the early years of these guys the best. Parts of it remind me of “General Enemy” (from Rat in a Maze). One thing is for sure. Creetin K-Os still has a great voice. A good bellow, but the lyrics are intelligible. I hope these guys write more songs like this—fast, melodic, and tight—all the ingredients they used with great results in the past. –Matt Average (Dr. Strange, drstrange.com)

Narrow Minded Entertainment for a Close Minded America: CD
Female-fronted minimalist punk reminiscent of a less catchy Urinals. –Jimmy Alvarado (Stay Real)

Narrow Minded Entertainment for a Close Minded America: CD
Female-fronted minimalist punk reminiscent of a less catchy Urinals. –Jimmy Alvarado (Stay Real)

The Beast Bites: 7”
Excellent design on center label. All of the information is presented in a lovely fashion. In other news, the music sounds like X-Ray Spex. Fun and all, but left little impression on me, much like the original X-Ray Spex. If that’s your scene, hey man, go for it. Grade: B. –Bryan Static (Centsless, centslessprod.com)

The Beast Bites: 7”EP
Pretty cool debut release by female-fronted The Socials. Recorded and released by Andy Slob, who was affiliated with a lot of Junk Records bands I used to listen to growing up (Slobs, Dipshits, Candy Snatchers). So, obvious points scored for that. Ever-so-slightly new wave tinged ‘80s punk, not far removed from something similar to The Slits or Untamed Youth. Well, with a bit more fuzz, for sure. “Hot Tips” being the stand out on here, for sure. Decent first record, from a cool, new band. –Steve Adamyk (Centless Productions, centlessprod.com)

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli: CD
Punk rock out of upstate New York that has an early ‘80s punk sound. Reminds me of bands like Secret Hate or the Nip Drivers. Also taking sounds from bands like Screeching Weasel, H2O, or Bouncing Souls. Melodic, mid-tempo three fingers in the air punk rock with a feel of fun. –Donofthedead (Whiskey Shot)

Self-titled: CD
Some fifty-five tracks of spastic thrash that throws tempo changes around like spaghetti at a wall. Not bad at what they do, but after a while the tunes start to blend together into one big ball of noisy moosh. –Jimmy Alvarado (Insect)

Self-titled: CDEP
Heavy stoner rock that would benefit measurably (I’d reckon about eighteen to twenty percent) from Josh and Aaron keeping their fucking mouths shut (I guess growing up in Seattle might expose a rocker kid to a little too much Eddie Vedder?), and maybe too (here, I’d go around seven percent) from some cut-it-out on the guitar virtuoso finger doodling. In other words, why can’t everyone be Sleep? I will say, however, that about a hundred years ago, a sod hauler would have held a pretty good stature in places like Nebraska and North Dakota where pioneering Americans had little else from which to build their homes but sod, and you can imagine hauling blocks of dirt and turf even short distances would’ve been a tiring job. And after all that, snakes would live in their walls and go in and get on the bed. Go to sleep right there in front of the fire. –Cuss Baxter (Inimical)

Write Home: CD
Hot damn! This full length by these Portland kids is smokin! Killer poppy garage glam punk with a real Teenage Head vibe. Reminds me of my faves the Slash City Daggers in spots as well. Dig the piano as well as the doo-wop backing vocals. This band knows how to write songs! Any of you that dug that Time Flys LP will wanna be all over this; there is a real similar vibe. Also available on LP with different cover artwork. I can’t pick a fave tune here because they are all fantastic, the sequencing is great, and this really flows well as an album. This is gonna get TONS of spins this year! –Mike Frame (Full Breach Kicks)

Teen Bop Dream: CD
I confess: I’m prejudiced against dudes with long, layered haircuts. They probably want to look like Ron Wood or Mick Ronson or some other early ‘70s rock icon, but in choosing such a coif they remind me of Rod Stewart. That’s not good for the digestion. But holy hot damn, friends, Teen Bop Dream calls for us to rise above such thinking, clear away the cobwebs of narrow-mindedness. The Soda Pop Kids look like goofs but the first four cuts on Teen Bop Dream scorch along like those early Bobbyteens songs when Karen Supercharger was in the band: bubblegum garage punk with a kitschy, “let’s embrace and update the sounds of the ‘70s” attitude. (Speaking of mental outlook, the Soda Pop Kids radiate an irreverence that, in a perfect world, would lead to their own Saturday morning cartoon show.) There are also shades of the Exploding Hearts, Nice Boys, and Donny Denim. Then the band brings the room down, in terms of energy, not mood, with a couple of slow-burning ballads and, on the second-to-last cut, a country tune. I wanted more of the barnburning early songs, but the twists and turns provide unexpected contrasts and lead to a really good record. And if using hairspray helped the Soda Pop Kids in any way, I’ll reconsider my stance on aerosol styling products. –Mike Faloon (Full Breach)

Write Home: CD
The first song, “Put on Your Tight Pants,” is so catchy and perfect that the first time through the CD, I experienced a let down with each subsequent song. It took a few listens, but the rest of the tunes grew on me, too, and now I can’t get this gooey glob of glam punk outta my CD player. “Chained with Your Love” and “Memory Lane” have those ‘50s “ooo-wah-ooo” backing vocals that I’m an absolute sucker for. Listening to this CD is like shooting cotton candy intravenously, chugging Swizzle Stix, and chasing it down with root beer spiked with cocaine. Cheers to the sugar high. –Josh Benke (Full Breach Kicks)

Stomp and Shout!: 7"
The singer has that underground new wave high-pitched voice thing going for him on this two-track 7”. The B-side, “Santa Monica Pearls,” is definitely the more pulsing, fun pop song with clever harmonies and lyrics about men who look like ladies. The Soda Pop Kids’ sound reminds me of Nick Lowe. The band also lives up to their name by being uninhibited, cavity-forming, sweet pop music and 7” packaging that goes along with their vibe. The record itself has red, yellow, and blue color splattered on clear vinyl. –N.L. Dewart (No Front Teeth, Meaty Beaty, longshotmusic.com)

Pre Marital Predicament: CD
Boss Tuneage smooshed together What a Predicament and Pre-Marital Yodeling (1127 Walnut Ave), both from the late '80s/ealry '90s, and reissued them. I've heard their name mentioned, but had never actually picked anything up, so I was pretty interested when this came in. Unfortunately, no amount of reminding myself that, in the early years, it's Lainey from Leatherface on drums could get me past the Doors cover. And, it's not just any cover; it's the cover: "Break on Through." Good lord, no. –Megan Pants (Boss Tuneage)

Corporation America: CD
Pretty formulaic hardcore that’s like salad at a big holiday meal. It doesn’t bother you that it’s there, but you wouldn’t miss it if it was never put in front of you. –Megan Pants (sofakingdommusic.com)

Van Wars: 7”
The best thing about this is not the Iron Maiden cover, or any of the originals, but the writing on the inside of the sleeve. Someone wrote, “Chicken soup is for sissies,” and if that’s the best thing, that’s not so good. –Megan Pants (Stomping Ground)

Deathblast: Cassette
Pure chaos. Shattered chords choked out of guitars, giving friction-filled birth to solos that scrape and cut. Drums shoving everything forward. Bass crawling into your gut. Vocals like a desperate warning. Must play again. –MP Johnson (Soft Dov)

Self-titled: LP
Spaced-out guitar music that varies in tempo and mood. At times, I’m reminded of Earth, then they sometimes channel early Can. For the most part, these songs are slow and deliberate, at times bordering on sludge, but they don’t downtune and get heavy. Much like the aforementioned Earth, they play their heaviness out in more subtle ways. The songs breath, letting sound rise. The drum beats are deliberate, as though they’re contemplating every move. There are vocals, but they’re sort of in the background, giving added texture. There are a couple songs that want to soar, such as the opener, but they show restraint and keep everything cool and collected, building a tension that increases as the song plays out. This is good listening, but something that requires the right mood for putting on the turntable. –Matt Average (Humdinger, humdingerrecords.com)

We Hate You Soft Targets!: CD
Post-Hüsker / Replacements / Dinosaur Jr. tuneage that sounds true to the period when alt-rock was known as “college rock.” While the songs are well written for the most part, none really stand out, as in “holy crap, this is good,” and the bulk of album sounds so true to form and period that it feels more dated than it should, especially considering it was recorded almost a year ago. Still, I’d categorize it as a very near miss rather than a failure. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.roostercow.com)

Must Be Destroyed: CD
Fairly run-of-the-mill college rock stuff. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.roostercow.com)

Self-titled: 12” EP
…i’ve always viewed Metal as something akin to jenkem, minus the purported high. N.A. Jenkem, if you will. However, on certain rare occasions, the Gods Of Metal part the black clouds of the Inverted Hades Atmospheric System, and i—very briefly—get a whiff of something i would imagine is roughly akin to a jenkem buzz. I mean, it still smells like shit, but at least you’re feeling something, somewhere, you think. In any event, as this grooves-on-the-one-side-silkscreening-on-the-other platter began its initial revolutions, i thought perhaps such a time was upon me, as the intro guitars were grinding together in a mildly arresting manner, and i thought perhaps i heard the alluring whine of a distant drag race in the background. Unfortunately, it turned out to be just a bunch of weird moaning, with the singer, who probably has a half-decent voice under normal circumstances, straining his voice idiotically in some attempt to manufacture a functional screech. Bah. Death to false jenkem! BEST SONG: “Meutre a Lezoux” BEST SONG TITLE: The whippersnapper in me wants to say “Satan,” but my left brain tells me i must admit it’s “Need a Spank?” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Gatefold notes indicate that “THIS IS DIYED SOUND. BURN IT.” Don’t mind if i do. –Rev. Norb (Emergence)

5 Years of Freaks: CD
Screamo noise that isn’t quite black metal, nor doom, but with song titles like “Satan” and “Black Scars,” rest assured there’s enough juju here to shake a stick at. Spliced sound bites and the occasional drone add versatility to this quartet out of France’s first full length. This is an impressive range for a band that’s gone through numerous members and put out such little work. Keep yer eye on ‘em. Recommended. –Kristen K (IRAE)

Permission to Engage: 2 x LP
In the same realm as bands like Converge and Isis, this is post hardcore mixed with progressive metal. It’s the sort of music that takes repeated listens to even begin grasping where they’re coming from. The production is massive. Everything is loud as fuck. They switch from sludge to manic speeds, and there’s a definite urgency running through the entire double album. The one thing that kills this record is they get too bogged down in being technical. It’s hard to remember any song within seconds of it being over. “Dearth of It All” starts out decent, but eventually descends into many time changes, and just going on too long for its own good. After a point, I was bored. If they’d just let it rip here and there it would make a world of difference. The packaging for this album is pretty impressive. The artwork is primo (by Gérald Jay and Nicolas Deschamps), and the clear vinyl with splattered colors is a sight to behold. –Matt Average (Basement Apes Industries, basementapesind.com)

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