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Featured Release Roundup: April 16, 2017

Wondering what's new this week? Here's the rundown of everything that's gone live on the site in the past week or so along with Daniel's thoughts on some of the key releases. 

 

Video Filth / Mutant Itch: Split 7" (Dark Raids)
Split 7” from these two bands, comprising two of the last standing in the noise-punk game. Boston’s Video Filth turn in three tracks here that do just what I want this genre to do, that is push toward the avant-garde. I’m not sure if this is still the case, but I know that Video Filth used to contain members of Sadist, and I think there’s a very similar sensibility at play here in the way that the noise textures wash over top of the solid hardcore foundation. The drum sound on here is also weirdly industrial… it almost sounds like the drummer is using an electronic kit, or maybe they’re just close-mic’d in such a way that it sounds like the drums are beating from inside your skull. Either way it’s pretty cool. As for Mutant Itch, their take on the genre is a little more right-down-the-middle, what with their manic pogo beats and gargled vocals… however, they do the genre justice, and the howling, shrieking backing vocals are welcome and unexpected touch. I’m not sure how many of you out there are still flying the noise not music flag, but if you are this split will scratch your (Mutant) itch just fine.
Buy from Sorry State

Syndrome 81 / Urban Savage: Split 7" (Offside)
Split 7” from these two European oi! bands. Urban Savage are from Malmo, Sweden, and while I’m not really familiar with any sort of indigenous Swedish oi! scene, to my ears they have a very American sound, both in the way that they put together their melodies and in the fact that there’s a good deal of American hardcore influence that seeps into their two tracks. As for France’s Syndrome 81, they’re coming from a country with a much richer history of oi! and they pretty much nail the nimble rhythms and terrace chant melodies that make early French oi! so great. While both of these bands play straight up oi! music, I like that the presentation of this record isn’t super heavy on the skinhead vibe… it looks like a DIY hardcore 7”, and I’d imagine that’s the scene where a lot of these bands’ members are coming from. Four solid oi! tracks for a couple of bucks… how can you go wrong?
Buy from Sorry State

Bolt Thrower: Realm of Chaos 12" (Earache)
Bolt Thrower’s second album is back in print, and boy am I a happy camper to have this one back in stock. I’m not a scholar of death metal, nor am I particularly knowledgeable about Bolt Thrower in particular, but in my unschooled opinion Realm of Chaos kicks ass. To me, Bolt Thrower is death metal stripped of its technicality and reduced to sheer brutality. Sure, there are riffs galore on Realm of Chaos and there are even a handful of guitar solos, but nothing on this album feels flashy in the way that Death or Morbid Angel were wont to, particularly later in those bands’ careers as different influences started to creep into the mix. No, Bolt Thrower is just uncompromising death metal, recorded beautifully and delivered in as pure a form as you will ever find. If you only own five death metal albums, I dare say that this should be one of them. Mandatory.
Buy from Sorry State

Beatniks: S/T 7" (Neck Chop)
So, the main conclusion that I’m drawing from listening to this Beatniks 7” on the great Neck Chop label is that there is a time machine hidden somewhere in Fullerton, California. There is simply no other explanation for how the Beatniks are able to make proto-punk music that is this authentic. Seriously, these tracks could be dropped into the middle of one of those Rocket from the Tombs collection CDs and I doubt that anyone would notice. Basically, Beatniks sound like punk before it was called punk… this is rock and roll, but it doesn’t sound like it was particularly influenced punk at all, but rather it’s just rock and roll delivered with maximum energy and rawness. You could compare them to any number of bands… Rocket from the Tombs, the Electric Eels, Crime, the Pagans… raw and visceral rock and roll like this will never go out of style, and it’s because bands like the Beatniks still sound as fresh as the day the genre was born. Highly recommended.
Buy from Sorry State

Macho Boys: S/T 12" (Neck Chop)
Debut vinyl from this band out of Portland, and man is it a ripper. I feel like if No Way Records was still around that Brandon and Lauren would have been jumping at the chance to release material by this band, as it’s very much in the spirit of early 80s USHC revival that that label kicked off… I mean, Macho Boys even cover “Slam” by Decadence, the most mysterious band on the This Is Boston Not LA comp! Given that this kind of stripped-down early 80s hardcore has a pretty well-established formula, the key questions are 1. whether the band gets the formula right (they do!) and 2. whether the production and performance capture the band’s energy effectively (it does!). So many releases these days try so hard to be a particular thing, and often in a band’s quest to sound exactly like Swedish hardcore circa 1983 or early French oi! or whatever they forget to just be punk… Macho Boys didn’t forget. They are punk as fuck, and you’ll feel punk as fuck when you listen to it. If you still follow this style (i.e. if you bought the new Career Suicide album) you should really check this out… it’s truly something special. Highly recommended.
Buy from Sorry State

C.H.E.W.: Demo 7" (Neck Chop)
Demo-on-vinyl from this KILLER Chicago band. Here’s what we had to say about the tape version, and it still very much applies: “Demo cassette from this new Chicago band, and it's definitely one of the standout demos we've received this month, if not the best one hands-down. Unlike a lot of the more visible bands coming out of the midwest lately, Chew aren't overtly poppy. They're very much hardcore, but they're hardcore that is almost impossibly catchy. Even though it doesn't really sound like them all that much, I'm reminded a lot of Rudimentary Peni's first two 7"s and LP... like those records (which are among my favorites of all time), Chew have this way of crafting riffs that are deceptively simple and elegant, and are heavy and mean while at the same time being so catchy that they stick to your ribs way harder than a zillion bands who actually try to write pop songs. If you're into the rash of great bands coming out of Philadelphia lately (Blank Spell, Enamel, et al), this is a must-hear as it has a similar vibe and is just as great as those bands... but really this band is a lot better than your typical genre exercise and I really hope I hear more from them sooner rather than later.”
Buy from Sorry State

Race Car: Go Build Your Own Go-Kart 7" (Neck Chop)
Tape-on-vinyl from these California favorites. Here’s what we had to say about the tape version, and I have to say that now that this is on wax I think I like it even more: “Under the radar ripper alert right here! If you're into the recent spate of catchy, novelty-infused punk on labels like Lumpy and Total Punk and coming out of places like Northwest Indiana, then Race Car should definitely be on your radar. With their drum machine-fueled rhythms and catchy songwriting they remind me a bit of Lumpy's Muff Divers, though not nearly as silly and over the top. The pumping drum machine also recalls bands like Urochromes, but after a little while you don't really even think about the fact that these songs are made with a drum machine because they're so damn well-crafted and catchy. Seriously, these are absolutely brilliant songs, and if one of the hip labels mentioned above doesn't put out a record by them sooner rather than later I would be quite surprised. Highly recommended!”
Buy from Sorry State

86 Gemini: S/T 7" (High Fashion Industries)
Debut 7” from this Chicago band who describe themselves as “transcendental d-beat.” I’m really not sure what to make of that tag… not only am I not really making much sense of the “transcendental” part, but I honestly don’t hear a ton of d-beat on this record either. Instead, 86 Gemini sound like a nasty, ugly, fast hardcore band with a slight black metal undercurrent (due mostly to the weird guitar sound)… it’s not terribly dissimilar to a lot of what you’ve heard on Youth Attack Records over the past several years, or to a few other Chicago bands like Raw Nerve, Divine Right, or Rash. Once I get over my head-scratching about the description (which carries over a bit into the record’s new age-y visual aesthetic), there’s a lot to like here, and if you like the aforementioned bands and/or ambitious, artsy hardcore in general this is well worth checking out.
Buy from Sorry State

Warm Bodies: My Burning Love 7" (Thrilling Living)
Are Warm Bodies my favorite current hardcore punk band? If they don’t hold the title outright they are very near the top of the heap. Something about what they do just appeals perfectly to my sensibilities. They are undeniably a hardcore band, but when you look in their music for all of the things that hardcore bands typically do you’ll find very, very few of those things. In that respect, Warm Bodies recall a subspecies of “weird hardcore” that doesn’t get much attention these days. I’m thinking of spastic, borderline funky bands like Th’Inbred, the early Meat Puppets, and (to a lesser extent) Rhythm Pigs and NoMeansNo. By and large, the aforementioned bands’ records haven’t aged particularly well, and I’d honestly be surprised if anyone in Warm Bodies had even heard of those bands (much less tried to emulate them), but at the same time Warm Bodies seem to be tapping into this tradition of musically ambitious freak punk that I never even really put together as a genre in my head before. Listening to My Burning Love over and over again (as I have been doing for the past few weeks), I’ve also come to the conclusion that Warm Bodies also have a lot in common with Sorry State’s own Davidians. While Davidians aren’t nearly as fast and manic and their vibe is much artier and more serious, there’s a lot of similarities in the style of riffing, the herky-jerky rhythms, and the guitar-and-bass interplay, as well as how the vocals punctuate the whole thing. I don’t even know why I’m talking about these things because these are comparisons that probably only I will agree with or appreciate, but fuck… I’ve gotta talk about something right? I can’t just emulate Tim Yohannan’s review of the first Die Kreuzen LP where he just writes “This is fucking great!” over and over again, even if that would probably be the most appropriate response to this little bottle of lightning. So just ignore whatever I just wrote and buy this thing. Highest possible recommendation.
Buy from Sorry State

Trummerfrauen: S/T 12" (Danger)
Discography release from this early 80s German post-punk quartet, and while it’s probably amateur hour to compare a band that sounds like this to Kleenex, it’s the best I can give you right now. I mean, it’s not like Trummerfrauen sound exactly like Kleenex, but when you’ve got this kind of rickety post-punk sound with standard rock band instrumentation (there is a synth, but it doesn’t play a huge role on most tracks) and it’s fronted by one or more women yelling at you with a thick German accent it’s really hard to get away from that Kleenex comparison. Trummerfrauen are definitely a bit rawer and louder, though, lacking many of the more overt pop elements of Kleenex and LiLiPUT… in other words, there aren’t a lot of tracks here that you’ll be humming later in the day. That’s not to say that this isn’t a great listen, it’s just that—like a lot of post-punk music—the emphasis seems to be more on densely interwoven rhythms than on conventional pop melody. And the lyrics—which are split roughly 50/50 between German and English—are really cool and obviously well thought-out as well, providing an interesting window into a very late 70s / early 80s take on feminism. It’s obvious that the members of Trummerfrauen were plugged into a lot of interesting things happening during their time, and their way of enthusiastically cramming them together in the band’s music and presentation is infectious.
Buy from Sorry State

Exit Order: Seeds of Hysteria 12" (Side Two)
Exit Order’s debut 7” caused quite a stir, and now they’re back with the debut full-length as their follow-up. While Exit Order are largely the same band, a few things have changed. The thing that jumps out at me most is that while the 7” had the drums right up front in the mix in a way that emphasized the almost manic rhythms, Seeds of Hysteria puts the guitar at the front of the mix in a way that emphasizes the riffs more than the rhythms that give them shape. It’s a subtle change that shouldn’t be that big of a difference, but I think it totally changes the vibe. It’s still good, but I’m sure that debate will rage for some time about whether the 7” or the 12” is better. Aside from that, Exit Order still plies the catchy, lightning-fast hardcore that you already know them for, though there are a few more mid-tempo moments here (as you might expect when a band makes the jump from 7” to 12”) as well as the closing track, “Clear the Dust,” which has a kind of apocalyptic peace punk feel with the vocals alternating between speaking parts and parts that are gently sung. If you’re expecting more of the same from the 7” you might be a little disappointed, but if you are open to Exit Order growing and changing a little this is a must-hear.
Buy from Sorry State

Protester: Hide from Reality 12" (Trash King)
After a whole slew of releases, here’s the proper debut full-length from DC’s Protester. Unless I’m mistaken, this is the first time that they’ve recorded with the full band rather than having Connor play all of the instruments, and between that and the natural stretching-out that tends to happen when a band attempts to write a full-length this actually sounds quite a bit different than the earlier Protester releases. While the foundation is still in early 80s-style Boston hardcore, there’s a distinct metallic element here that I don’t remember being so prominent before. Instead of sounding like straight SSD / Abused worship, on Hide from Reality Protester remind me of a mix of Negative FX, LP-era Judge and early-ish Integrity. There are also some unexpected twists and turns, like the total Jon Christ riff that starts off the b-side of the record. It’s not easy to write a hardcore LP, and while this one does spin at 45RPM it definitely feels like a more ambitious and fully realized statement than anything Protester has done so far. Easily their best release and strongly recommended if you like this early 80s-leaning style of straight edge hardcore.
Buy from Sorry State

P22: Beat Session Vol 3 cassette (Shout!)
Third volume of Shout’s Beat Sessions series—which aims to be a kind of updated, DIY take on the Peel Session—and while the first two volumes focused on established band this one introduces us to one most of us hadn’t heard of. I don’t really know anything about P22, but if I had to take my best guess, I’d say that they sound like a hardcore band trying to be a peace punk band, falling somewhat short of the mark, but ending up somewhere more interesting than if they had actually fully achieved their goal. At the end of the day, P22 don’t really sound like Crass or Conflict of any of that ilk, but they do take a lot of the tropes of that genre—tom-heavy beats, a kind of spoken word poetry feel to the lyrics and vocals, and a bubbly bass sound—and apply them to what is pretty much the standard USHC template. What you end up with is this hybrid entity that sounds like hardcore fleshed out and given additional depth, which is something that it often needs. If you like the neo-peace punk of bands like Permaculture, Vivid Sekt, or Rubble this is a slightly more hardcore-oriented take on that sound that you’ll almost certainly like.
Buy from Sorry State

Anarquia Vertical: Sistema Total De Liberación 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
The La Vida Es un Mus label is pretty much an embarrassment of riches, whether you’re talking about the pop hooks of Rata Negra or Primetime, the catchy oi! of Rixe, the bludgeoning hardcore of Kriegshog or S.H.I.T., or the punked-out sounds of Exotica or La Misma. However, whenever LVEUM releases one of their left-of-center hardcore bands I always take notice. Like Iron Lung Records (with whom LVEUM have a lot of overlap in terms of roster), Paco at LVEUM has a real ear for this kind of avant-hardcore, and Anarquia Vertical certainly fit that mold, insofar as there is a mold for this kind of sound at all. While most people not actively involved in the scene write off modern hardcore as a retread of a retread, there are tons of bands out there trying to make hardcore that you’ve never heard before, and this is one of the bands that is really succeeding. I’d say that the foundation of Anarquia Vertical’s sound is in the loose and while expressionist hardcore of Wretched, though they’re not really as noisy or as crusty. However, there’s the same sense of wild abandon and nearly-falling-apart-ness in their music that makes me love Wretched to the core of my very soul. Though, really, I suppose you could substitute any number of loose and wild hardcore bands into the comparison above—Void, Genetic Control, early Tar Babies—and it would have pretty much the same point. And then there’s the b-side of the record, which consists of remixes of the a-side tracks wherein they are deconstructed and twisted inside out into seething, gurgling power electronics tracks. Sistema Total De Liberación isn’t going to make the kids mosh or point their fingers at the lead singer, but it also deserves a place in your collection because there isn’t anything else out there that sounds precisely like it.
Buy from Sorry State

 

Riña: Demo 7" (Cintas Pepe)
Debut 7” from this Mexico City band on the great Cintas Pepe label. I’m not sure how Riña relates to the numerous other bands that have come out of this region in the past several years, but I do know that this might eclipse the Tercer Mundo LP as my favorite Mexican punk record of the past several years. While a lot of the recent bands from this area sound like they’re becoming a bit more ambitious and trying to infuse a goth-punk atmosphere into the sound, Riña are pure hardcore. It’s simple, raw, and in your face in a way that records rarely sound like nowadays. The only modern record I can think that comes close to this level of primitive ferocity is the first Otan EP; if you want a similarly accurate comparison you need to go further back to bands like Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers or the Neos. An absolute scorcher. I can’t recommend this one highly enough.
Buy from Sorry State

Elix-R: 6hrs cassette (self-released)
Second cassette release by this Denton, Texas punk band. I remember everyone came home from the first Everything’s Not OK festival raving about this band, so it’s great to see them continuing to move forward and release new stuff. I do think that Elix-r are kind of uncomfortable fit with the modern freak punk (for lack of a better term) scene because there’s so much rock and roll in their sound. There’s something very 90s about their sound to me… the riffs are very simple and punk in a Bikini Kill kind of way, and the noisy production also recalls moments of Sonic Youth or even Pussy Galore. That’s a wide range of comparisons, I realize, but what unites those bands is a sense of unforced coolness that Elix-r absolutely share. My only complaint here is that the vocals are totally buried in the mix… it seems like there’s a lot going on there, so I’d like to hear it a little better. But in the meantime the raw, in-the-red quality of 6hrs certainly serves the band well.
Buy from Sorry State

The Roobydocks: Reliant Robin 7" (My Mind’s Eye)
Debut single from this new Cleveland band that features members of Bulsch and, I believe, by extension also come from the same scene as Perverts Again and Cruelster. Roobydocks are a little different than any of those bands, though, playing a style of music that sits right on the line between early UK82 punk and early 80s USHC. In particular, they sound like the early American hardcore bands who were clearly listening to all of the No Future records singles as they came out… bands like Negative Approach, SOA, and the Necros. In particular, the Roobydocks sound to me like a perfect mix of early Red Alert and Sex Drive-era Necros. It’s pure midwestern punk/hardcore, done without an ounce of fat or bullshit. Highly recommended for the purists out there.
Buy from Sorry State

Natural Causes / Spongebath: Split 7” (Acid Etch)
There’s this pattern I’ve noticed where a lot of times my favorite song by a particular Sorry State band won’t actually appear on a Sorry State release. I remember Rough Kids had this song called “Into the 00s” that I really loved—that song is one of the main reasons I wanted to work with them—and despite the fact that they re-recorded a couple of older tunes for their debut LP that wasn’t one of them. My favorite track from the sessions for Skemäta’s first album ended up on the Sanctioned Genocide 7” on Solar Funeral. And now you can add Natural Causes to the list of bands who have dangled their very best track in front of me like a carrot, only to snatch it away at the last second. “Deidre” comes from the same sessions as Natural Causes’ great new LP on Sorry State, but it’s better than any of the songs on that record. It’s just one of those perfect songs… the triumphant main riff reminds me of a bigger-than-life punk song like “Autonomy” by the Buzzcocks or “Soldier’s Requiem” by Naked Raygun even if it doesn’t sound like either of those at all. And then there’s the little middle Eastern-sounding guitar part that I tease the band members by calling “the Offspring part,” and while it has evoked some gentle teasing it’s one of the most memorable riffs the band has come up with. Man, what a track! On the flip side you get a remix of “Fashion Device” from the Sorry State album done by North Carolina noise / dance freaks Spongebath, and it certainly takes that track to a very different place than Natural Causes’ version. This split strikes me as a rather low-key affair, but the brilliance of the content totally belies the understated presentation.
Buy from Sorry State

Other New Arrivals
Schizos: *Fuck Iggy Pop* 7" (Neck Chop)
Mayhem: *Pure Fucking Armageddon 1986 Demos* 12" (Euro Import)
Brian Eno: *Taking Tiger Mountain* 12" (Euro Import)
Brian Eno: *Here Come the Warm Jets* 12" (Euro Import)
Diablesse Grupp 6: S/T 7" (Reken)
Urgente: S/T 7" (Pakistan Rocknroll Crusade)
Antisocial: *Made in England* 7" (Evil)
O.X. Pow / Derribos Arias: Split 7" (euro Import)
Attentat: *Ge Fan I Mej / Dod Bland Doda* 7" (Reken)
Terrorizer: *Before the Downfall* 12" (FOAD)
Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers: *The Furious Era 1979 to 1987* 12" (Area Pirata)
Alternative TV: *The Image Has Cracked* 12" (Radiation)
Fastbacks: *Now Is the Time* 12" (No Threes)
Corpse / Two Fingered Approach: Split 12" (Inflammable Material)
Nightwatchers: *Good Kids Obey* 12" (Endless Daze)
STRFKR: *Vault Vol. 1* 12" (Polyvinyl)
X-Ray Spex: *Germfree Adolescents* 12" (Rhino)
Angel Witch: S/T 12" (Real Gone)
Woods of Ypres: *Woods 5: Grey Skies and Electric Light* 12" (Earache)
White Reaper: *The World's Best American Band* 12" (Polyvinyl)
Flatliners: *Inviting Light* 12" (Rise)
Father John Misty: *Pure Comedy* 12" (Sub Pop)
Future Islands: *The Far Field* 12" (4AD)
Sun Ra: *Thunder of the Gods *12" (Modern Harmonic)
W.A.S.P.: *The Crimson Idol* 12" (Madfish)
Lace: *My Mask Is Off* demo cassette (self-released)
Various: *Subnormal Girls Volume 2* 12" (Waiting Room)

Restocks 
R.I.P.: *No Te Muevas* 12" (Brixton)
Samhain: *Unholy Passion* 12" (Euro Import)
Screaming Dead: *Western Front *7" (Puke N Vomit)
Death: *Demos* 12" (Euro Import)
Death Piggy: *Studio Session 84/85* 12" (Vomitopunkrock)
Even Worse; We Suck: *The Lost Album* 12" (Radiation)
Raw Power: *You Are the Victim + God's Course* 12" (FOAD)
Faze: *Faze 2016* cassette (Runstate Tapes)
Barcelona: *Extremo Nihilismo* 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Exotica: S/T 7" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Good Throb: S/T 7" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Rixe: *Bapteme du Feu* 7" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Rixe: *Les Nerfs a Vif* 7" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Paranoid: *Cover of the Month* 12" (Svart)


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