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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Broken Bottles and the Way We Live: 7"
Great little record. For lack of a better analogy, I think of this record as skate punk that has grown up: age has put more meat on the bones—it’s not as gangly and sparse as in days of yore—and a bucket full of wisdom backs up the added weight. –The Lord Kveldulfr (A.D.D.)

Back to the Cruel World: LP
Am I fucking nuts or does this band have something to do with the criminally underrated band the Statues? I have no idea, but how many punk rock aliens live in SudburyOntario? I’ve always said the best music comes from places that are hostile and inaccessible; no peers to impress, no chicks to pick up on, allowing musical freaks to be free to go wild uninhibited. Case in point this band… or person, or group of extra terrestrials, this is mind-blowing freak punk. Taking the best aspects of hyper obscure Killed By Death punk from Canada like the Red Squares, Proles, Hot Nasties, and other no-marks who have had record tweakers freaking out for decades. This slab isn’t just some throwback; those names were just starting point. If you are new to the game, think Ty Segall or some hip shit mixed with the Angry Samoans or some other loose ne’rdo well punk band full of fuck ups. I’d love to be wide eyed and sixteen again thinking every cookie cutter piece of shit was the second coming, unfortunately a lot of new shit bores me to tears. This record blew my ears clean off my bald head. You need a blueprint or a fucking roadmap how to make dense, strange, interesting, elusive punk? Look no further. Top ten shit. Bet it’s sold out.  –Tim Brooks (FDH / Mammoth Cave Recording Co. / Resurrection)

Ennui Activation Dissolver: 7”
This record is weird. It is Midwestern-sounding noisy hardcore one minute, then it suddenly takes a turn towards the ‘80s with a thrash-influenced, riffy song. It continues to straddle this line throughout the seven songs on this record. It’s one of those records that is hard to talk about because while it may remind you of a bunch of different bands, the record doesn’t necessarily sound like any of those bands. Whatever this is, it’s cool.  –Mark Twistworthy (Dirty Hippy Barn)

Ennui Actuation Dissolver: 7”
Guitar-heavy hardcore punk out of Milwaukee. Has a tinge of ‘90s metal. Think a sludgier-punker Pantera. None of this is terrible nor is it compelling. It’s pretty generic. It’s missing something to set it aside from all the other bros dishing this shit out. Maybe this could happen for Strange Matter, just not on this 7”.  –Camylle Reynolds (Dirty Hippy Barn)

Waste of Flesh / Radio(in)active EP: Cassette
A ton of potential here, what with their tried and true Misfits / SoCal whoa-oh-oh melodic approach. But it feels to me like this is a young band who, over the course of the two EPs on this tape, are spending more time working on their individual parts than listening to each other: there’s often so much going on that the songs don’t have much space to breathe. The last song here, “Angel of Summer,” is the best and most spacious. It’s also the one which sounds the most unrepentantly like ol’ Glenn and co.  –Michael T. Fournier (Pleasant Screams)

Our Refining Days: CD
The latest from this quartet further solidifies their bluesy niche in L.A.’s indie circuit. SRF took the distinctly southern Americana formula of baritone vocals like Leonard Cohen, coupled them with female vocals, and added solid post-punk/blues guitar riffs. “Down in the Hole” and “Missing” veer toward a lighter, stripped-down sound more like Iron & Wine or The National. Meanwhile, “In the Blood” showcases their southern gothic roots, reminding me more of NickCave with a foreboding creep of guitars while the title is chanted repeatedly. They neglected to include a murder ballad, which would have sweetened the pot. If you dig the aforementioned, pick this up right quick. –Kristen K (Silenced, myspace.com/silencedrecords)

Through Dust & Ash to the Falling of the West: CD
This Americana quartet out of L.A. drops their second full length with baritone vocals mimicking NickCave’s later mellowed-out sound. These eighteen new tracks opens with crooners, “Face in the Crowd” and “Xs for Eyes,” while male and female vocal harmonization in “Careless Heart” lend another layer to a somewhat flavorless cake. Unfortunately, SRF checks off all the components of Southern Gothic (deep, male whispery vocals, sparse, jangly soundscapes, and songs of lost and disaffected girls) but fails to add another shade to the beleaguering landscape. The majority of these songs have the same structure and similar melody, some repeating chorus and verse well past what is necessary. “DVB” edges into six minutes long, breaking from the monotony of tortured ballads bringing a screeching guitar like early Bauhaus, while “War Machine” might just get people on their feet. Hopefully, SRF will tighten up their game and trim the fat on the next go round. –Kristen K. (Self-released)

I Love Cops: CDEP
Satire is a fine line to walk. On one side is the ridiculous; attempts that falter into caricature. On the other side is the poignant; utilizing the absurd in a context that exposes harsh realities. Few artists are successful. Most punk bands scream their politics in your face. Subtlety is left by the wayside. The Strange Times, like in “Stop! Let’s Get Frisky,” try to shed light on police exploitation of power but the message is lost in translation and ends up sounding silly. The vocals are snotty and over enunciated, but the songs are memorable. By trying to channel the exaggerated satire of the Dead Kennedys, they end up sounding like a parody instead. This is a case of catchy song writing derailing the message.  –Ashley (Self-released, thestrangetimes.bandcamp.com)

Wet: 7”
The intro riff on the “The Traitor” had me instantly buying in. Their music is the offspring of Sonic Youth’s “Silver Rocket,” Drive Like Jehu’s “Golden Brown,” and a dash of Bleach-era Nirvana for good measure. This is noisy punk for noisy’s sake. I’m not entirely sold on the moody vocals; the primal howls are a better fit. The intriguing musical fusion has me keeping tabs on this Olympia, Washington-based band.  –Sean Arenas (Inimical)

Woe Is You And Me b/w Baby Please Don’t Go: 7”
Kickin’ garage rock with a hint of blues and very strangely recorded vocals. Places to listen to this include: hole in the wall bar, 1940s deep south America, or the crossroads while waiting to sell your soul to Beelzebub. –Bryan Static (In The Red)

3 Song Demo: CD-R
Number one: If you’re gonna co-opt a grade school pic of Darby Crash, you better have some worthwhile tunes to back it up. Number two: You need to include them on the CD upon which you put the picture. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.myspace.com/strangerbsg)

Demo: CD-R
Stranger Kids is made up of three dudes from Inglewood. This demo was recorded two years ago, so I don’t know if it’s a proper reflection of their current output (if they’re still outputting). This is definitely a demo, but it ain’t too bad—especially if you can put the recording quality, or lack thereof, aside. It’s kind of Toys That Kill/F.Y.P. derivative in a melodic, less intense way. I’m interested in hearing what they’re doing now, but not enough to find out for myself. –Vincent Battilana (Self-released)

Self-Titled: CD
Chicago four piece channels the back-to-basics, no-frills, clean guitar work and straightforward vocals of genre forerunners like the Cadillac Tramps and Twistin’ Tarantulas, as well as the layered depth of contemporaries like Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers. Worthwhile, attainable goodness for regular folk. –Jessica Thiringer (Haunted Town)

Prison Called Life: 7”
Garage rockabilly that reminds me a lot of Custom Made Scare, The Neckbones, and, on “Missing Link,” a little like Deadbolt. The B Side is a slightly rough-edged version of NickCave’s “Thirsty Dog” that I’m sure if I saw them play live, I’d be into, but as a recording, I wouldn’t put it on again. Overall, I give this a rating of “Meh.” –Steveo (Haunted Town)

Prison Called Life: 7"
A serendipitous collage of rock, garage, rockabilly, blues, punk, and more influences that resonate with me. The hard-rockin Prison Called Life backed with the dirgeful Missing Link and a great mussed-up version of Nick Cave’s “Thirsty Dog.” Pick this up for “Thirsty Dog.” Then do yourself a favor and pick up their self-titled CD. The band’s influences are given their proper due, like New Bomb Turks, Rev. HH, Gun Club, Smiths, Amazing Crowns, Thin Lizzy, and Nick Cave, as well as classic R&Band country artists. Think SWiG, Black Keys, Girl Trouble, Gas Huffer, et al. It’ll make you shaky, achy, and fevered.  –Jessica Thiringer (Haunted Town)

Self-titled: 7”
Ahhhhhhh, I see what’s going on here. Well, no, I’m not affiliated with this band despite having the same name. It wouldn’t be a bad thing though because I like what’s going on here. Solid mid-tempo punk rock whose singer had an amazingly raspy voice. Does she gargle with razor blades and whiskey? The thing is she sounds great, as does the rest of the band. Three straight-up, catchy originals and a Stiff Little Fingers cover. Stranglehold approved! –Ty Stranglehold (Longshot)

Trouble: 7”
I suppose that I am destined to write reviews of this band because of our names. I’m okay with that because I really liked their last 7”. Stranglehold is back with another three-song blast of dirty street punk. Musically, Stranglehold reminds me of a mid-tempo Bodies but this time out the singer sounds like she had really upped her cigarette and whiskey intake. Seriously, she is heading into Frankie Stubbs and Lemmy territory. It makes for a tougher sounding record for sure, but I wish there was just a little less gravel in her voice. It’s still a solid record though.  –Ty Stranglehold (Pirates Press)

Jacking off with Jacko b/w Beat It: 7”
Ah, borderline weird masturbation jokes: so many people insist on trying them, yet so few can pull them off. Then again, I’m not sure if this is a joke, or just what it is. Overall, there’s not much info, just some weird artwork, no real liner notes, and just two tracks that leave this reminding me of some weird noise band from a far corner of the Alternative Tentacles catalog (like Pachinko or Ultra Bidé). I’m not completely won over just yet, but I will admit to being intrigued. –Joe Evans III (Apop)

Self titled: 7" EP

Primal punk rock dementia covering masturbating perverts, women with urinary problems, assholes and teenagers committing infanticide. Pure fucking genius. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rapid Pulse, PO Box 5075, Milfor, CT 06460)

Self-titled: 7"EP
Primal punk rock dementia covering masturbating perverts, women with urinary problems, assholes and teenagers committing infanticide. Pure fucking genius. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rapid Pulse)

Invisible Knife: 10”
This is truly a band of mystery. The only information I can find out there on The Strap Straps is from the No Front Teeth website and an incredibly sparse Myspace page... Nothing but “featuring members of the Briefs, Cute Lepers, and the Spits.” It was little to go on, but definitely enough for me to order it. I am glad that I did because this is one of the best things I’ve heard in a long time! Drums, guitar, two basses, vocals, and insanity. It’s very Spits-like but with no keyboards or voice modulation. Short blasts about cops and killing. Songs that will have you singing about “murdering love” in public. So, so good! I keep playing it over and over. You will too! –Ty Stranglehold (No Front Teeth)

$4 Whore: CD
Decent enough mid-tempo punk with some staggeringly stupid lyrics addressing asshole cops, being in love with bargain-basement prostitutes and the ineffectiveness of using a Glad baggy as a rubber. –Jimmy Alvarado (Naked Jain)

The Pimps R.I.P.: clear vinyl 7"
This is dirty, decadent, depraved porno-punk at its gruffest and most caustic! It's hard-edged, snotty, pugnacious, disobedient, and incendiary. It's a repulsively rambunctious lil' romp that drives deep and hard into the inner ear like a flamin' hot icepick. If you're aurally inclined towards The Minutemen, Doggy Style, El Diablo, Habitual Sex Offenders, and naughty masturbatory sleaze, then The Strap-Ons will make you orgasmically gush somethin' fierce. Aaaaahhh, this feels good. –Roger Moser Jr. (Rapid Pulse, PO Box 5075, Milford, CT 06460; The Strap-Ons, PO Box 8241, Norfolk, VA 23503; www.thestrap-ons.com)

The Punk Collection: CD
Captain Oi shines a spotlight on another band that has fallen through the cracks of time, this one featuring alumni from the class of ’78, a number of whom went on to bigger and better things in bands like Theatre of Hate and Sex Gang Children. A number of “guests” make appearances here, including the odd Damned and Subs member. Included here are the tracks from the band’s single and album, both of which are fine examples of UK punk at its best, alternating between thudding primitive tunes and proto-post punk experimentation. This ’un’s a keeper. –Jimmy Alvarado (Captain Oi)

Fight Back: CD
This album is extremely derivative of Rancid, right down to recording quality and structure of the album. I always felt the extended appeal of Rancid lay mostly in the quality of Tim Armstrong’s voice. The Strawberry Blondes don’t have that personality working for them. The music is competent in the overproduced punk-with-ska-riffs vein. I’m not trying to be a dick about it; if you told me there was a band derivative of The Devil Dogs, I would probably give it extra consideration. So if you are esoteric about Rancid, this might appeal to you. However, I will be a dick about this: their bio claims that their songs are “based on the rudiments thrown down by the classic first Clash album.” Couldn’t this be said about almost any punk album produced after 1977? Oh, how bands will try and try to noncommittally edge The Clash into their bios. Punk 101: Don’t compare yourself to the Clash. –Billups Allen (Wolverine)

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