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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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STEPHEN MALKMUS:
Face the Truth: CD
This album is, well, pretty goddamned average. There are the greats and the losers. The tracks most worth a listed are “Pencil Rot” and “Baby C’mon.” They really breathe a lot of life into this record and are perfectly amazing songs. Other than that, it sounds like a lot of catchy filler. The record reminds one of Weezer with less guitar. Lyrically it is very strong, but the sound is extremely commercial; real radio material. I’ve heard most of it before, not to say that it’s a bad album, just nothing new. –Guest Contributor (Matador)


STEPPIN’ RAZORS / DEADLY COMPANIONS:
Split: 7"
Two Texas bands, some ex-members of old favorite bands (The Fells, Cryin’ Out Louds), two songs I really like (one from each band) and other songs I forgot immediately. Expectations too high. Keeping the wheel turning here, but there’s worse out there. –Speedway Randy (Self-released)


STEPSISTER/STREETWALKING CHEETAHS:
Keep It in the Family: 7”
Cheetahs: “Mama Train” is a balls-out rocker that had my head bobbin’ nice, and the same goes for “Future Lost.” Stepsister: Same thing here. Both bands deliver some solid rock/punk that gets them toes a-tappin’. A keeper. –Jimmy Alvarado (Smog Veil)


STEPSISTER/STREETWALKING CHEETAHS:
Keep It in the Family: 7”
Cheetahs: “Mama Train” is a balls-out rocker that had my head bobbin’ nice, and the same goes for “Future Lost.” Stepsister: Same thing here. Both bands deliver some solid rock/punk that gets them toes a-tappin’. A keeper. –Jimmy Alvarado (Smog Veil)


STEREO STATE, THE:
Caffeine, Beer & Quoting Movies: 7” EP
Oddly enough, while I wouldn’t call bands like Hot Water Music or Kid Dynamite “beginner bands” (as in the kind of stuff someone gets into at a young age before finding the “really good stuff”), yet there’s practically a whole genre that focuses on that stuff as a prime influence. This falls under that territory (coarse vocals, with some “hardcore” moments despite being fairly melodic all around), and while, admittedly, I was ready to blow it off, I didn’t hate it by the end of the few songs here, thanks to some ‘ricks (what I’ve dubbed “guitar riff tricks”) that I tend to enjoy. –Joe Evans III (Neutral Territory)


STEREO TOTAL:
Musique Automatique: CD
If Plastic Bertrand had recently formed up a team with Taco to attempt to revive the New Romantic scene of the early 1980s to kick the hell out of the nine-assed nu-metal monkey demon, you might well wind up with this collection of lilting electronic pop songs about love, dancing, radio and fleeting infatuations. It’s catchy, vaguely silly, and alternately Teutonic and Gallic. It is wholly enjoyable and fun.  –Puckett (Kill Rock Stars)


STEREO, THE:
No Traffic: CD
Purveyors of what I guess could be called modern power pop. I would've preferred it if the recording wasn't so clean and the band itself had more of an edge, but their hooks are nice and they play them well. –Jimmy Alvarado (Fueled by Ramen, PO Box 12563, Gainesville, FL 32604; www.fueledbyramen.com)


STEREO, THE:
No Traffic: CD
Purveyors of what I guess could be called modern power pop. I would've preferred it if the recording wasn't so clean and the band itself had more of an edge, but their hooks are nice and they play them well. –Jimmy Alvarado (Fueled by Ramen)


STEREOPHONIC SPACE SOUND UNLIMITED:
The Spooky Sound Sessions: CD
I think i know what makes this stuff “stereophonic,” and i think i also know what makes it “sound,” but i’m not as sure as what makes it “space”—or, for that matter, “spooky.” Expertly executed, generally keyboard-driven instrumentals that seem to have one foot in Joe Meek-ism ((which i guess would be the “space” part, what with the “Telstar” connection and all)) and another in 70’s pre-disco soul-pop ((a la the theme from Shaft, “Brother Louie” by the Stories, and even Santana’s weird scrapey torpedo thing)). I guess i prefer the stuff that’s more of a flat-out Austin Powers deal ((“Do The Lurk Around”)), and i’d much rather listen to my instrumentals in compilation form ((more interesting somehow)), but, on the whole, i’m sure this is excellent background music for some manner of enriching activity—i’m just not so sure that activity involves bedding hot alien chicks togged out in silver mylar, and that’s a shame. BEST SONG: “Do The Lurk Around” BEST SONG TITLE: “Do The Lurk Around” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Ah. “Spooky Sound” is a record store in Switzerland. Now i get it. –Rev. Norb (Dionysus)


STEREOTYPERIDER:
Under the Influence: CD
Here is a release every musician has wanted to do at one point or another. Grab a bunch of songs that you have listened to while you were growing up and cover them like they were your own. Well, this band chooses songs by The Cure, Archers of Loaf, Fugazi, The Pixies, Seaweed, Descendents and Quicksand. I know I wouldn’t have personally covered these songs except for maybe the Descendents song. But these were their choices and not mine. I bet you it was fun for them to record this. –Donofthedead (Suburban Home)


STEREOTYPERIDER:
Songs in the Keys of F and U: CD
I like how the matchbook style packaging looks, even if it leaves lint all over the CD and is kind of a pain to use. As for the music on that CD, it’s just flaccid for the most part. It’s mostly upbeat indie rock (verging on old school emo/post-hardcore at times), but it lacks either the serious hooks or the kind of experimentalism that makes one really sit up and take notice. The song “Useless Point,” though, is pretty great and sounds like something Weezer would have come up with when they still wrote good songs. –Adrian (Suburban Home)


STEREOTYPERIDER:
Same Chords. Same Songs. Same Six Strings: CD
I’m in a state of personal disagreement. The music presented before me is a unique blend of melody, interesting chord progressions, and inter-personal lyrics. What I don’t feel is the energy. I can’t define the non-interest besides that. Oh well...
–Donofthedead (Suburban Home)


STERLING:
Cursed: CD
The CD starts off with a slow space-rocky metallic buildup, then goes…into more jamming. I was waiting for the hammer of Thor to come down on my head and bludgeon me, but it just turned into Pink Floyd. Two of the songs are at least thirteen minutes and the third is over nine minutes long. If you’re into this kind of wanking, you might like it. They sound like seasoned, well practiced musicians. For me it was a test of my patience to keep from turning it off after a minute. –Jason Donnerparty (File13)


STERLING:
self-titled: CD
I typically like File 13 releases, but this avant-garde instrumental work seems pointlessly experimental. In some ways, the jangly melodies can seem soothing, but in most it’s just noisy post-core musical meandering with little effect. I was looking forward to hearing this; now I’m looking forward to removing it from my CD player.  –Puckett (File 13)


STEVE ADAMYK:
Speed It Up: 7”
Real solid power pop from Canada (Steve is also in The Sedatives). Harmonic, peppy, cute, dots, stripes, lines, black and white, pogo vibes—your socks will stay on, but it’s a lot of fun and doesn’t wear out the welcome. –Speedway Randy (P Trash, ptrashrecords.com)


STEVE ADAMYK:
“Better Off” b/w “Satellite/Hit the Ground”: 7"
This is the kind of 7” that makes you want to just turn it over and play it again as soon as it’s done. On here are three delightfully messy pop punk songs that remind me why people must have been blown away when Phil Spector first started doing his Wall of Sound thing. My personal favorite is “Hit the Ground,” but all three songs are worth your attention. Nothing makes me want to dance more than repeated choruses, driving guitars, and sweet backup vocals. Three cheers for my hometown of Ottawa for producing such excellence. Go get it. –Jennifer Whiteford (Red Lounge)


STEVE ADAMYK:
Desecrate: 7”EP
Powerpop. The equation’s ass-simple. Be catchy as hell. Get every instrument bouncing and punchy. After the first listen, hum that shit in the shower. Hum that shit when eating your morning bowl of cereal. Hum that shit when your boss lashes your back. Hum that shit to the cashier at the supermarket. Go home, take your shoes off, and slide across your floor in your underpants humming that shit. It’s much easier to do poorly than pull off correctly. Think Tranzmitors. Think candy knife fights. Think style, but not slavery… to that style. Think Go! Ottawa! Go! Steve Adamyk! Nice. –Todd Taylor (Taken By Surprise)


STEVE ADAMYK BAND:
Forever Won’t Wait: LP
It’s not always a good thing to have your band compared to the Marked Men, because well…it’s the MARKED MEN! Side by side with the average punk band, you might as well be comparing stains in the carpet to holographic alien hieroglyphics. There’s a pretty high bar. But The Steve Adamyk Band aren’t an average punk band. Utilizing the same pent-up energy and harmonic elements, they follow a similar path giving equal credence to power pop, garage punk, and poppy punk rock. Once again, Ottawa attacks with a barrage of absolutely killer choruses, yet this time they send in the finisher disguised as a crucial Dickies’ cover. If you haven’t checked this band out due to the international shipping rates, here’s your chance; and it’s worth taking. –Daryl Gussin (Dirtnap)


STEVE ADAMYK BAND:
Self-titled: LP
Who the fuck? Oh wait… the Sedatives? Dug that band—this is sorta that band, I mean it isn’t obvious, but most of the folks in this were in that—so it makes sense that these heads have a handle of the make-up of a song. I don’t mean two minutes of noise… I mean a song... you know? Something that grabs you by the neck, not just grooves in black plastic. By no means am I calling these cats “old,” but I’m sure they’ve spent time with the Real Kids and the Shoes, and I’ll bet my last dollar they are familiar with the Tranzmitors and the Marked Men. This is reallllly well crafted pop punk. I’m not talking kids in the mall pop punk; I’m talking late ‘70s skinny tie shit. Really great guys… really great. –Tim Brooks (Dead Broke)


STEVE ADAMYK BAND:
Monterrey: 7”EP
Genres are musical stereotypes. Failure, from a band standpoint, comes from merely photocopying, sticking the “genre” face down on the platen, hitting the button, and making the mistake of being ignorant of the fact there are people with long memories looking over your shoulder, ready to call you out. (Power pop and pop punk bands are particularly egregious.) Genre failure, from a music critic standpoint, is an incipient laziness to interact with the music that’s actually being played. Case in point: Steve Adamyk Band, yeah, they’re poppy, they’re powerful, but there’s oh so much more at play than “skinny ties of the mind.” Because Steve Adamyk makes songs that may sound like glass—they sound so effortless, so easy, so transparent, falsely appearing to be brittle when punched—until you (if you’re a music reviewer or a deep listener) hear the wreckage from so many other bands still trying to pull this style of music off and shitting not only their pants, but into your ears. The Steve Adamyk Band plays diamond rock—it’s all cut, carats, and clarity. It’s the thing that does the smashing, not the smashed thing. That’s a world of difference. If John Peel were still alive, he may have thought twice about putting an Undertones song title on his headstone. (If punks can’t blaspheme, who can?) –Todd Taylor (Hosehead)


STEVE ADAMYK BAND:
High Above: 7”
I will be the first to admit that I spend a lot of time pontificating about the music of Canada, my homeland. While many of my friends south of the border will often yuk it up about Bieber, Nickelback, or Celine Dion, I will often retort with a laundry list of killer Canuck outfits that continually blow my mind. Last year I added Steve Adamyk Band to that list. Seriously catchy, well written tunes seem to be the hallmark of SAB, and this three song slab goes a long way to perpetuate the legend. Added bonus: A cover of my favorite Canadian pop punk band of all time (Bum’s “A Promise Is a Problem”). You need this record. Trust me, I’m Canadian.  –Ty Stranglehold (La Ti Da)


STEVE ADAMYK BAND, THE:
Forever Won’t Wait: CD
Second album from one of the best bands in the universe right now! So, so good! You know you’ve got a real situation on your hands when you have a legitimate competitor to temporarily knock Reigning Sound off your record player! Power pop, punk rock, short and fast, with an all over Marked Men influence and a Dickies cover (“Cross-Eyed Tammy”)! Dare I say that if this were a cereal, it might very well be Lucky Charms, the highest possible honor I can bestow? –Maddy (Dirtnap)


STEVE CABALLERO:
Bandology Vol. 1: CD
If you don’t recognize the name, you don’t skate. Long time pro skateboarder has played in some bands through the years. Featured here are four tracks each by The Faction, Odd Man Out, Shovelhead and Soda. The Faction, probably the most popular band he played with, have been part of the skate rock scene during the early-to-mid ‘80s. Odd Man Out, the next band he played in, were more progressive rock. Shovelhead play grunge that was prevalent during the time period. Soda play a Tilt-ish, female-led pop punk that makes me think that I might actually keep this disc. Also provided are two extra tracks that Mr. Caballero has recorded as projects. I don’t know if people will run out of the house in a manic frenzy to purchase this, but the Soda tracks are pretty damn good and are the highlight for me. –Donofthedead (Sessions)


STEVE CABALLERO:
Bandology Vol. 1: CD
If you don’t recognize the name, you don’t skate. Long time pro skateboarder has played in some bands through the years. Featured here are four tracks each by The Faction, Odd Man Out, Shovelhead and Soda. The Faction, probably the most popular band he played with, have been part of the skate rock scene during the early-to-mid ‘80s. Odd Man Out, the next band he played in, were more progressive rock. Shovelhead play grunge that was prevalent during the time period. Soda play a Tilt-ish, female-led pop punk that makes me think that I might actually keep this disc. Also provided are two extra tracks that Mr. Caballero has recorded as projects. I don’t know if people will run out of the house in a manic frenzy to purchase this, but the Soda tracks are pretty damn good and are the highlight for me. –Donofthedead (Sessions)


STEVE E. NIX & THE CUTE LEPERS:
Terminal Boredom: 7"
For those not in the know, Herr Nix was formerly a member of the Briefs. For those in the know, guess who this sounds like. Sheer brilliance. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.1234GOrecords.com)


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