News

Danny's Staff Pick: June 3, 2024

Welcome Sorry Staters! With Memorial day behind us, we are now in the heat of NC summer, and I can't help but find myself spending more time outside. This past weekend was spent at the farmers market with my wife Molly and my pug pup Prudence roaming the various plant stalls. We fixed up our back patio to enjoy with friends, planted some veggies, hung string lights and got the solo stove ready for a fire. Sunday night was spent with good friends around a fire pit with marshmallows and music blasting from our portable speaker. Summer nights are one of my favorite times to listen to ambient music such as Richard D. James' Aphex Twin. I get a little melancholy listening to the song Avril 14th from the 2001 album Drukqs. Sitting outside, the summer breeze, fire going and laughter with good friends, always reminds me of when I was growing up and spending summers skateboarding in the cul-de-sac with my neighborhood friends. That's the perfect combo for a great beginning to the summer. Now lets get into this weeks pick.

Last week I mentioned how much I loved Convulse Records. Well this week is another Convulse Records pick! As I wait for the new Pardoner 7” to arrive to chat about in another week’s pick, I will talk about how much I love the new Gumm album, Slogan Machine. I heard about Gumm through one of my other favorite bands, Soft Kill. Soft Kill recently took Gumm out on tour with them throughout the midwest as support. Slogan machine is mean as hell but melodic and very uptempo. Right out of the gate on the track “No Frontier” the guitar is heavy but melodic and the drums are pounding at full force. This is the main driving force behind this whole album. It’s danceable, it’s tough and it’s everything you ever wanted from a hardcore record. I’ll leave this blurb with one of the lyrics that stood out to me:

“I want to feel like this world is world worth saving”

John Scott's Staff Pick: June 3, 2024

What’s up Sorry State readers, I hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend and got to relax a lil bit. I was able to go to the beach with some friends and hang out there for Sunday and Monday which was nice. It feels like summer is in full swing now and what better way to celebrate than listening to some dumb novelty music? I picked up The Big Itch Vol. 3 a couple months ago when I was in Oxford, Mississippi at End Of All Music, which is a really great spot to check out if you ever find yourself down that way. While I was flipping through records there, this one jumped out at me for two reasons:

1. The cool wrestling pictures on the cover

2. I thought it was called The Big Bitch Vol. 3 until after I bought it and was laughing about it and my girlfriend pointed out that it actually said Itch.

It was $10 so I figured why not? It was worth it for the cover alone. With songs like Wombat Twist, Cave Man Hop, Discombobulated, I was bound to get some enjoyment out of it. It’s a fun record to just throw on every now and then whenever you wanna hear some stuff that sounds like twice rejected Cramps songs. Move over Monster Mash and make room for the new king of Halloween bangers, The Graveyard Cha Cha.

Angela's Staff Pick: June 3, 2024

Hi Sorry State fam! Hope everyone is having a good start to the summer! I don’t have much in the way of chit-chat so let’s dive right in, shall we?

Today’s pick comes from the archives of my collection. It’s The Fluid/Nirvana split released on Sub Pop in 1991. The songs are live versions of Candy and Molly’s Lips, respectively.

Nirvana was no stranger to Sub Pop, but Fluid, hailing from Denver, was the first band outside of the PNW to sign with the label. I can’t say that much about Fluid, but their song Candy became their best selling single, as Nirvana helped open them up to a wider audience. But I can go on and on about Nirvana records. I will never complete my Nirvana collection because of the insane prices on a few of the rare ones, but I haven’t stopped trying.

I love Nirvana 45’s and splits with other bands. But truthfully, I hardly listen to the other band on the record. I love that the very first Sub Pop singles were part of the Sub Pop singles club, which is still going strong after a few decades! I wish I could say I have been subscribed the whole time, but I did start subscribing about five years ago. And let me tell ya, it’s worth it.

So the early singles came with a fold out order form for the singles club, which makes these copies so cool. If you see an order form on any Sub Pop single, you likely have an original pressing. There are now six pressings of the Nirvana Sliver/Dive single in various colors and jacket styles, and order forms came with the first pressings.

As for this one, they made approx 7500, and 4000 are marbled green (this one) and the rest on black. However they made a small undisclosed amount of vinyl on solid green. And what a beautiful green it is. The thing about a lot of early Nirvana singles that came on different colors, is that there isn’t a definitive number for each color. But I know there are very few of the solid green Fluid/Nirvava split because 69 people have it catalogued in Discogs. Not that everyone uses Discogs, but it’s still a good measure.

Anyway, Nirvana really slayed cover songs and they knew how to pick em.’ They had an affinity for the Vaselines and would end up covering a couple Vaselines tracks, including Molly’s Lips. They took these simple catchy songs and roughed them up, while maintaining the same flow. However, Kurt didn’t want to release it because he just didn’t think it was strong enough. But, this release was supposed to be their last release because they had been bought out of their Sub Pop contract. in the etching of the record is the word “Later.” A rather ominous word, as a lot would change after 1991. But the Sub Pop years were exciting, and this is one of the records that marks that time.

Thanks for reading! Until next time!

-Angela

Usman's Staff Pick: June 3, 2024

Hi and thanks for reading! Last week I totally forgot that we'd be squeezing in one more newsletter before leave for tour and I am not ready at all, whoops. While I am writing this on Friday, you will likely be reading this while we are flying over the Atlantic Ocean. Or maybe we will be in Stockholm already? Who knows. Hopefully all goes smooth, I have so much anxiety when it comes to flying. My friend Michael did give me some sound advice in the event of a plane crash. He informed me that sharks only attack white people, so I should go against my instincts and swim away from my friends if the plane were to go down. I didn't realize sharks only attack white people, but it makes perfect sense. I remember learning that sharks like light, reflective surfaces—like that of pasty white ass passengers heading to Sweden—that I will now be swimming away from. Thanks Michael.

Since I am ill-prepared, I am going to take this time and space to promote some of my own shit. In preparation for tour, SCARECROW recorded a handful of new songs and put them on a tape. This tape isn't available via mailorder yet, but you can listen to most of it here. I say most of it cos the B side is all cover songs, and you can't stream those online. I am super happy to say we bust out a fuckin HERATŸS cover. Jeff and I have obsessed over this band just as hard as TOTALITÄR. Red translated the verses to English but left the chorus and breakdown in Finnish. We also recorded a BROKEN BONES and an AGENT ORANGE cover—which the jcard obviously directly ripped off. On the A side are three totally new songs that have been written alongside like ten others. We need to write a few more and then the plan is to record for an LP. We recorded all this stuff pretty quickly in our rehearsal space. We typically record in our rehearsal space, but with much more proper equipment. This recording was done with one of those Zoom recorders. There was one mic on each cab, one mic on the kick, and only one overhead mic above the drums. Oh yes, and of course the handheld device has two mics built into it to pick up the sound of the room. Given how little Jeff had to work with on the inputs, man he really killed it with the mix. I'm really happy with the sound, it sounds good enough for a record to me, haha. Jeff rules.

When we get back from tour, we are gunna have those tapes available for mailorder alongside a brand-new release on BPDT from GEFYR and RAT CAGE! There will a Swedish pressing available at the same time from Flyktsoda. They also released the Swedish pressing of the SLAN 7" that Jeff and I previously released on BPDT. Just like SLAN, GEFYR is also from Sweden and absolutely fucking rips. Maybe they are not on anyone's radar really? But we did stock their debut LP not too long ago. It actually looks like we have a few in stock right now. This record is way too fucking good. My homie Alex Reed showed it to me, and it blew me away right out the gate. I wrote about the LP previously, but you can jam it here if you aren't familiar. These guys are from the same town where NO SECURITY was from, which is the same place where TOTALITÄR originated as well. GEFYR's origin is evident as soon as you crank this bad boy, cos all I hear is pure NO SECURITY. There is more at play of course, but they have such a thrashy, pummeling sound. I really can't get enough of GEFYR, and this LP has stayed close to my turntable since it was released. And of course, Bry of RAT CAGE was already tuned right into GEFYR, and this beautiful split is happening as a result. I don't think RAT CAGE needs an any introduction whatsoever. After countless bangers, I think RAT CAGE is known a bit across all continents. I unfortunately have yet to catch them live, but I have consistently heard they are unbelievably amazing. I am happy to say that we will have a chance to catch both GEFYR and SLAN on tour! Alright, thanks all for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks so much for everyone's support!

Dominic's Staff Pick: June 3, 2024

Hey there everyone. I hope everyone is doing okay. Enjoying your post-verdict weekend, I hope. I haven’t been around these pages for a couple of weeks for which I apologize. Life has been kicking me in the nuts of late and when the darkness takes over it is very difficult for me to function fully and alas getting a staff pick together before deadline didn’t happen. Without turning this into a Dear Diary entry or a therapy session all I will say is that I lost a very close friend last week and that along with another friend of the local scene here passing and another friend having a health scare had me questioning my own mortality and grieving over the loss. Then if I start looking at the state of the country and the world I really fall into a downward spiral of despair. Tough times for poor, marginalized and sensitive people out there.

Anyway, meanwhile back in the world of music and records here at Sorry State, there is always something cool and fun to take your mind off your troubles. Thank the heavens for music. I don’t know where to begin as so much has come in recently to check out. I’m digging the Neutrals album New Town Dream a lot. If you have been following these guys, you’ll know all about their updated take on UK post-punk and DIY aesthetics but for anyone new to them, this second LP is a great place to jump in.

Not new but newish is the return of Britpop group Kula Shaker with their new album Natural Magick. I always had a soft spot for these guys back in the day and liked their 60s Hammond organ groovy sound and mix of Indian flavors. A little bit hippy perhaps and probably way too poppy for most of you punks, but this new album sees the original lineup back and sounding great with some decent tunes on the record.

Another Britpop era artist that hasn’t stopped making new music is Blur’s Graham Coxon, and last year he made a record with Rose Elinor Dougall who was in girl group The Pipettes, under the name of The Waeve. The sound is a blend of 70s inspired folk and prog with some Krautrock moments in a sort of cinematic pop fashion. I’m still getting caught up on the record as we just got it in, but can recommend you investigate.

Here at Sorry State, we are always working hard to make sure we have one of the best selections of used records for shoppers to browse through at our store. Each week our used new arrivals drop is met with great anticipation by our loyal local friends and those of you out on the socials. One of the ways that we get good records is from you are friends and customers. Y’all have good taste, but sometimes need to downsize or trade in for something new and we always welcome helping in that regard. This past week one of our regulars and longtime supporter of us and the local scene brought in a few records to trade, and I later went through them after Jeff had processed them. There was one by the group Servotron which I had to snag. I’ve had this record in my Discogs cart for a while now, but hadn’t pulled the trigger as the price was a tad high once tax and shipping had been factored in, and I generally always try and see whether I find things in local stores or indeed when they come to us. So, thanks David for saving me a few bucks and getting this record onto my turntable.

Servotron were a band active in the mid to late 90s and were based in Athens, GA. They released a string of singles, an E.P. and two full length albums. Their sound was a science fiction inspired blend of new wave, synth-punk and garage, all based around the concept of them being robots. Each group member assumed the identity of a different robotic lifeform and collectively they used the form of music to disseminate their ideas. Live performances and interviews had them stick rigidly to this mock ideology. They preached robot domination and machines revolting against human oppression and encouraged humans to replace their weak bodily flesh with cybernetic enhancements. They dubbed this ideology the SRA (Servotron Robot Allegiance). Cool. I’ve wanted to replace parts of my broken body with bionic robot parts for years. I mean it worked for Steve Austin.

Servotron weren’t the first band to use this type of schtick as their gimmick. The obvious comparisons are to Devo and Kraftwerk and to the lesser known Zolar X. That last band were a cool L.A. band from the 70s who dressed like aliens and spoke in their own alien language and played a Glam Rock sound. Servotron owe a little to all of these forbearers and to the local scene that they came from. You can hear some B-52’s in their sound. For lovers of quirky pop that’s a good thing, right? Dotted across single B-sides are some choice covers including Genetic Engineering by X-Ray Spex and Electric Avenue by Eddie Grant. I haven’t got any of these 7” s yet, nor the 10” E.P. Spare Parts, but will be keeping a look out.

My introduction was through first album No Room For Humans which came out in 1996 that I picked up last year sometime, and now I have the second album from 1998 titled Entertainment Program For Humans (Second Variety). Having listened to the first album more times it is at the moment my preferred of the two, but I’m sure I’ll be digging the second just as much.

With all the recent talk about AI, now seems a perfect time to get into a band that was all about this type of stuff, albeit from a 90s viewpoint when the internet was still a toddler. Also, as I mentioned the idea of replacing decaying body parts with robot parts doesn’t sound so bad to me. With all due respect to anyone who has lost limbs in accidents or in war. I certainly am not making light of their experience. I’ve just always been a sci-fi guy and did love the Six Million Dollar Man as a kid.

There is a live performance on YouTube which I’ll leave a link to here. Check it out to see the robots in action and to catch some of the banter between them and the crowd. It’s quite funny.

No time for a deeper dive as I have to catch the deadline, not that I know too much more about the band other than two of the members were in Man Or Astro-man?, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with things very much. Also of note is that the band did record a session for John Peel, which was broadcast on the 21st of May 1997, and features a typical great introduction from John. Check it out here.

Okay friends, all the best. We’ll see you back here when Scarecrow return from their European adventure. Godspeed to them and thanks to you all for your support and for loving music as much as we all do.

Cheers- Dom

R.I.P. Kevin and Christopher.

Jeff's Staff Pick: June 3, 2024

What’s up Sorry Staters?

Another week, another newsletter, amirite? Only this time, a few of us are certainly trying to squeeze this thing in real quick before leaving the country. By the time this newsletter is available for your viewing pleasure, I’ll be in Sweden along with Daniel and Usman. Crazy talk. I can’t wait for Scarecrow to embark on our journey along with our friends in Vidro. Seeing the beautiful Scandinavian countryside once again. I’ll also be going to Finland for the first time!! So stoked. K-Town is gonna be sick. And my homies in Invertebrates will be there too? LFG.

Speaking of Invertebrates… I know their LP was “Record of the Week” last week. I know Usman wrote about the record in his staff pick as well. But I think it would be a glaring misstep—a DAMN shame I say!—if I didn’t take the opportunity to also share some love for the new Invertebrates record. Considering my last staff pick was all about how I was feeling ill, SICK to Survive would have been a perfect theme for last week. Yet another missed opportunity. Oh well.

Let me start by saying that Invertebrates made the hardcore record that I feel like I’ve been waiting to hear, but that no other band was making. I think it’s one of the best executed hardcore punk records I’ve heard in years. 10 songs in under 14 minutes and a crushing blow. I remember hearing the Invertebrates demo tape a few years back. Particularly the first track “Down Under,” to me it sounded like the songwriting was leaning toward other contemporary bands not unlike Bootlicker: that kind of restrained, bouncy fast-paced UK82 style a la The Partisans. I think Sick To Survive is a different beast altogether. To the point where people who loved the demo might be taken aback. In a good way. Sure, I have an inherent bias because I’m also in a band with 3 out of 5 active members in Invertebrates. Call it nepotism. Whatever, sue me. I love watching my friends do cool shit. Now by comparison, Public Acid likes the heavy stuff. I feel like we incorporate some metal influences. But to me, Invertebrates is devoid of any of the trappings I find with modern hardcore, whether bands are d-beat/crust/grind… whatever. Invertebrates got no crust. They got no metal. They got no spines? Haha.

I remember Will (who plays guitar in Invertebrates) telling me that he was listening to a ton of Career Suicide when writing the songs he contributed to this record. I can totally hear that. Especially just the urgency with which a song like “Lost Illusion” starts with. Immediately ripping. I’m just like: “YES!!! HARDCORE!!!” But I think the grander idea of what I’m getting at, and what this LP really electrifies in my brain synapses is the same feeling I got when I would listen to bands that I associate with the initial 80s hardcore punk revival of the early 2000’s. A special time, if you ask me. And I gotta say, as much as I love watching my boi Chubb play that Discharge beat style, I just love his drumming on this LP. The stylistic approach just seems right up his alley. My man is on FIRE. The speed and ferocity is outta control, but dialed and focused simultaneously. In the pocket. And this record is FAST. The band is hitting some really intricate rhythms that most degenerate punks I’m sure would find difficulty playing. Just listen to the intro of the title track “Sick To Survive,” with its blistering snare rolls back to back, but then everyone drops out into this quick hiccup-like pause that makes your heart feel like it skips a beat. Clean guitars are played fast furious, no “buh-nah-nuh” bullshit. If you know what I mean, then you know. Real deal non-stop right hand exercise. But also some left field, spaced out psychedelic sounding leads on a song like “Bated Breath.” The band also launch into some unexpected, quirky chromatic parts like the intro to “Shit Pit”. Super cool. As much as this record is dead serious in its commitment to total rippage, there are moments of levity. Straight rage and super fun. What a concept.

I don’t know man, there’s something special about this record. And it seems like the punk community at large agrees with me, because it’s already selling really well. At risk of sounding cheesy, I think this record embodies a spirit. Invertebrates is the truth. From the heart, pure and genuine HARDCORE. Now, as I mentioned, I play in a band with 3 of the people in Invertebrates and consider them close friends. Merm, who absolutely tears it up on the bass, is also an old friend seeing as I’ve known him since his North Carolina days. Max the singer I’ve only gotten to know in the last several years. He’s even travelled with Public Acid overseas. Max is a talented artist, a good friend to most everyone who knows him, and a fixture of the Richmond punk scene. One of the few mofos I know who is actually FROM Richmond. The kinda dude who you think to yourself, “You know what? Max should really sing for a band.” Might as well be the best band. Man, okay, so a song like “Humid Crypt” on this record has this long, building crescendo that breaks into this crushing mid-tempo part that ends the song. Dare I say “breakdown?” It’s one of my favorite riffs and moments on the entire record. And there’s something about it where, sure, it is no doubt mosh-inducing. But the thing is, it doesn’t come across like bone-headed dumb tough guy hardcore. It really reminds me of authentic Richmond area hardcore, that blend of ripping fast with hardass dance parts that still feels totally punk. I hear a little Direct Control, even a little Wasted Time maybe? But even more than that, I hear like Unseen Force. So, watching a bunch of Richmond local punks tear it up at the gig, dancing hard as fuck when that riff in “Humid Crypt” drops, all while Max is beckoning the crowd while wearing a Direct Control shirt? That’s what I’m fucking talking ‘bout. Real HCPMF shit.

Anyway, I’ll quit gushing like a dork. Buy this record. I’m sure you probably have already.

‘Til I’m not sure when?

-Jeff

Daniel's Staff Pick: June 3, 2024

Scream: Still Screaming 12” (Dischord, 1983)

This week I’ve been jamming Scream’s 1983 debut album, Still Screaming. The ninth release on Dischord Records, Still Screaming was the first full-length by a single group on Dischord (the compilation Flex Your Head and the Faith / Void split had both come out a year earlier in 1982). It makes sense that this distinction would go to Scream, as they had a somewhat more diverse sound than most of their label-mates at the time. Even Minor Threat’s Out of Step was only a 12” EP, and I can see how the label might have been trepidatious about how a straightforward hardcore band would execute a full-length. Punctuating their hardcore with segues into reggae, though, along with their knack for crafting big singalong choruses, made Scream a good candidate to test whether a 15+ song hardcore punk album should be a thing or not.

Still Screaming bursts out of the gate with two of its best songs, “Came Without a Warning” and “Bedlam.” “Came Without a Warning” might be Scream’s best-known track, and it’s certainly a punk classic. My old band Logic Problem used to play this song… we liked to learn covers for specific shows, and since we went up to DC for gigs often, we ended up learning a handful of songs by DC bands. “Came Without a Warning,” while undeniably memorable, is a pretty simple song, but I think “Bedlam” really shows off what makes Scream so special. In particular, the chorus melody is more complex than on the first track, and Pete Stahl sells the fuck out of it too, filling his vocal line with so much expression and passion. I’m sure the song would have been strong if it had been stripped down to a barking UK82 style, but Pete just makes it come alive.

Revisiting Still Screaming for the first time in many years this week, I was also struck by how much of it is just straight-up blistering hardcore. I guess moments like the reggae and funk tinges from “American Justice” and “Hygiene” just loom large in my memory, because most of this record blazes. Maybe the melody in tracks like “Killer” and “Cry Wolf” gets obscured by the speed, but I’m glad these tracks are there. I may not be able to remember the song titles as well as the hits, but these songs keep the energy level high, and tracks like “Fight” meld strong melodies to pretty straightforward hardcore songwriting. Like I said, the more diverse tracks tend to loom large in my memory, making me think Still Screaming is more diverse than it is, but it’s a hardcore album through and through.

Still Screaming does, though, hint at how the hardcore sound was already expanding and evolving by 1983. “Solidarity” sounds to me like the blueprint for early Avail and Trial-era Verbal Assault, whereas the jangly, REM-ish guitars in “Laissez-Faire” presage the Revolution Summer that would happen two years later in DC in 1985. Scream was particularly ahead of the game when it came to vocal performance and arrangement, with Pete Stahl’s big melodies carrying so much of the record and lots of background and gang vocals (most of them featuring a clearly audible Ian Mackaye, who also produced the record) giving these songs more push and pull than your typical sparsely produced hardcore punk fare.

So yeah, that’s what I’ve been listening to… I don’t have anything earth-shattering to say about Still Screaming, but maybe my ramblings will prompt you to pull this classic off the shelf. Oh, and I should also note that I was lucky to see the original lineup play many of these songs when the band did some reunion shows back in 2011. The show they played here in North Carolina was pretty notorious. This was when the Animosity lineup of Corrosion of Conformity got back together and played some shows. They had already played several times by the time they played with Scream at the Cat’s Cradle, but at this gig Eric Eycke (CoC’s singer on Eye for an Eye) jumped on stage unannounced, and Mike Dean from CoC started fighting him in the middle of their set. My old band Devour opened that gig and it ended up being the last time we ever played. Weird energy in the air that night, but I’m glad I got to see Scream crush it.

Record of the Week: Fuera de Sektor: Juegos Prohibidos LP

Fuera de Sektor: Juegos Prohibidos 12” (La Vida Es Un Mus) We carried the demo cassette from this Barcelona band a couple years back, and now they’re back with their first vinyl release. I really liked Fuera de Sektor’s first tape, El Mundo Sigue… it’s one of those releases I return to often, throwing it on whenever I come across it because the songs are so fun and memorable. Fuera de Sektor has re-recorded all four tracks from the tape for Juegos Prohibidos, and I’m glad they did because they get a massive sonic upgrade here. In fact, that’s the first thing that struck me about Juegos Prohibidos: it’s a great-sounding album. It reminds me of a big-budget 90s rock record with its huge-sounding, beautifully textured tones that each occupy their own space in the mix. It’s a totally different style than the typical punk mix where everything bleeds together into a uniform roar, but it works beautifully here because there’s so much to hear in Fuera de Sektor’s music. In particular, Juegos Prohibidos puts the spotlight on Fuera de Sektor’s guitarist, who is an incredible talent. Their style reminds me of James Williamson via Johnny Marr, but playing through Steve Stevens’ equipment, alternating between chunky power chords and nimble arpeggio runs through subtle chords that sparkle with melody. While the rhythm section is taught and muscular a la Joy Division or the Smiths, the guitarist’s style is looser and more alive, their baroque riffing abandoning the grid for livelier, more intuitive rhythms. While the guitar hooks provide the most exciting moments on the record for me—see “Necesito Combustible,” “Solo Ves Lo Peor,” and “Mi Amiga Murió”—the vocals are distinctive and powerful too, and when both elements land with strong hooks—like on the track “En La Oscuridad”—Fuera de Sektor is unstoppable. I also dig the sequencing on Juegos Prohibidos, which puts the shortest, snappiest songs on side B, picking up the energy in the spot where similar releases can start to drag. Arriving just at the start of summer, Juegos Prohibidos is going to sound great blasting out of your car as you heard toward the beach with the windows down and the stereo cranked.

Danny's Staff Pick: May 28, 2024

Hello Fellow Sorry Staters! This week has been another whirlwind of ups and downs, but here I am on the up and up! I haven’t really had time to listen to new stuff, but one record that has been on my radar is American Culture’s Hey Brother, It’s Been Awhile. Before I get into my review of their record I just want to point out how on point Convulse Records has been. They definitely have an ear for some really great music, from Militarie Gun, MsPaint and Gel. Honestly, I could list their whole roster and every band would rip for sure. I will always blind buy a Convulse Records release and will always be happy with it. Now on to my thoughts about the new American Culture record!

The write up on the Convulse records site describes this record as punk psychedelia and I could not agree more. The album is oozing with influences from The Stone Roses and Oasis, while adding this twist of sonically inducing soundscapes in the background and it’s just a perfect record. I like to think of times or places to listen to a record when I am going through my first listen. Do you have a long road trip to go on? Are you walking alone in an empty airport on a layover at 3am? Are you laying in a field with your significant other or a group of friends smoking a joint? This is how I envision listening to this album.

Lyrically this album was written as a true story of the loss of a friend and wondering how they are and what they are doing. In the song “Two Coyotes” Chris Adolf writes, “Hey man, where are you sleeping tonight? Hang man, what you keeping inside?” You can tell that he is worried about his friend and how he is doing while Michael Stein, who went homeless and missing for 3 months, writes in the song “Survive,” “My friends aren’t angry—I just think they got tired—They talk about me in the past tense, but I don’t mind.” In the actual record, there is a full story about what happened and the struggles both faced.

In the end, lyrically this album is heavy and sonically beautiful. You will not regret listening to this record. Pull out the lyric sheet and read along to two friends’ story of homelessness, addiction and missing your friend.

John Scott's Staff Pick: May 28, 2024

What’s up Sorry State readers? I hope everyone has had a nice week. To everyone’s dismay, today I’ll be writing about the good ol Grateful Dead. This cool looking bootleg titled Cowboy’s Dead! came into the store and I had to check it out cause I had never seen it before. I’ve always been a fan and really respected the art of bootlegging, whether it be media, clothing or any medium, especially when it’s a real fan of the source material putting a lot of love into it. It’s cool to see people be such a fan of something that they take it upon themselves to get it out to the public. In true bootleg fashion, this record includes some minor errors such as incorrect tracks listed, like Deep River Blues being listed instead of Deep Elem Blues (a pretty honest mistake to be fair) and incorrect lyrics printed on the back, but I feel stuff like that only adds more character and charm. This recording comes to us from a show at Harpur College on 5/2/70, one of my favorite eras for the band. The first side features the aforementioned Deep Elem Blues, followed by Candyman which leads right into a very nice version of Cumberland Blues and ends with Cosmic Charlie. The second side is really what sells me on this record, with a ripping That’s It For The Other One that’s sure to melt the faces of any fans of 60s Dead, clocking in around 25 minutes. I’m just happy the universe dropped this one right in front of me cause if it wasn’t for that, I would have no idea this release existed.

Angela's Staff Pick: May 28, 2024

Hi Sorry State fam! As always, I hope everyone is doing well and feeling good. Sorry State has unfortunately been hit upside the head a few times with some shit this week. Sickness, soreness, and a car accident. Not my story to tell, and so glad she is ok, but that is a traumatic event. So, much love and hope for a speedy recovery to Daniel’s wife, Jet.

And Jeff was/is still sick! Not sure yet if he’s doing better. But glad to hear he partied his ass off and had a lot of fun on tour beforehand. I feel like I shouldn’t even complain. But I will. So I dropped an 8 lb. dumbbell on my foot Wednesday. It was “only” a two foot drop or so, but I collapsed in total shock by this unfamiliar type of pain. I was certain it was broken or fractured, but it wasn’t. The pain went away kinda fast and even after standing on it at work all day, it was fine. I wasn’t prepared to be fine, because I’ve heard you can break or fracture your foot if you drop a roll of toilet paper on it, let alone a weight. Ok moving on. Too much talk about feet can invite some weirdness, haha.

Changing gears. So, I was instantly hooked on the Remote Control S/T EP released by Under Heat Records and Under the Gun Records. You guessed it, another Melbourne gem. Perhaps you’ve heard of Ishka Edmeades? A Sydney artist known for his many projects, including Set-Top Box, Satanic Togas, G.T.R.R.C, Gee Tee, and Research Reactor Corp. He also recorded the smash hit, The Worst of… Itchy and the Nits LP. I ate that shit up and so did many of you. Come to find out he’s added Remote Control S/T to the resume.

Four songs in five minutes. A whirlwind of fast, noisy, gritty, manic, bold, and abrasive garage punk, but without burying the melody and catchy beats. A gritty blast of frenzied maniacal hardcore is unleashed immediately before you can catch your breath and untangle it, let alone explain it. Riffs from the left, riffs from the right. Everywhere a riff riff. They come at you like swords, and almost as sharp!

The vocals are garage in style, but snarling and relentless, which is how every instrument is approached. It’s a funnel cloud of cutting riffs, spacey and abrasive synth, with lots of electronic experimentation. The EP is fast-tempo start to finish with no real shifts aside from fast to faster to fast to faster. I lied. There is a slower track called Everyone Sucks??? That’s not a question, but the name of the song. And there’s a weird closing track I can’t really explain. We’ll call it experimental, when in doubt. My favorite is the second track, Everyone is the Same. It totally knocks my socks off. And the catchy riffs and straightforward beat on The Stain is something I typically gravitate toward. Such a good one.

Grab this one if you like your chaos, catchy! Thanks for reading and have a great long weekend! Until next time.

-Angela

Usman's Staff Pick: May 28, 2024

Hello and thanks for reading. There are a ton of great records in stock at Sorry State this week and it’s hard to keep up! We’ve restocked that masterpiece debut LP from KRIEGSHOG, and we’ve actually got a small amount of limited color available as well!! Recently we stocked this Svart reissue of NAUSEA’s 1991 and 1992 7”s. I didn’t realize these records were getting hard to find, but I think NAUSEA deserves the Svart treatment regardless. While I strongly prefer the band’s earlier material, I still enjoy the line-up and material that most know NAUSEA for. I haven’t had any time to check one of these out yet, but I plan to. Knowing Svart, they have done these NYC crust legends justice with a deluxe booklet with trivia, photos, and flyers; but I did just check, and the shrink-wrapped jacket doesn’t feel so bulky. I will report back once I’ve cracked one open. I also wanted to mention Mono Records has just reissued this amazing 12" from L.A.’s LEGAL WEAPON. I learned about LEGAL WEAPON sometime after the pandemic, and I think No Sorrow specifically is just too damn good. This reissue is really well done. The jackets are printed really nice. They kinda have the feel of an older record, but they’ve added some subtle changes to the layout. Shit, the center labels even look super classic with their paper choice, haha. They’ve also added in a booklet with tons of photos and flyers. They also added on two unreleased tracks that were recorded live. This record has never been reissued, and I think these well sell super fast - don’t sleep!

This week the almighty Beach Impediment just dropped three new releases! One of them is a 7" from Stockholm’s VIDRO. There was a European press that was released a short while ago, and I have been jamming this EP since. The sound leans way more into their groovy side. There are four tracks, and I think they do a great job at capturing what VIDRO is like live. They groove super hard, like they truly make you want to dance. VIDRO also has this almost like trancey or hypnotic aspect. The drums will groove endlessly while the guitar riffs, but there are subtle changes in the riffs that introduce another element of percussion. Sometimes Vendela really lays into a phrase, and she repeats it a lot. This also adds another layer of percussion to their sound. I think the combination of all of this is why it’s easy to get lost and just groove with VIDRO. I love it. These four dynamic songs are over before I know it. We will tour around Ktown with VIDRO soon and I look forward to it. They are a lot of fun to hang out with and I think they are absolutely excellent live.

Another band who is also playing Ktown who has also just dropped a record on Beach Impediment is Richmond’s INVERTEBRATES. It’s hard to know where to start with this record, cos I have a lot to say about it. I think this 12" is a chart-topper. It’s just so damn good. It seems to be on a ton of people’s radar cos we’ve been selling a ton of copies at Sorry State, and I’ve seen a lot of good things about it online. I thought it was funny INVERTEBRATES was announced for Ktown, cos at that time they only had a demo cassette released, haha. Well actually they had an additional promo cassette as well... Anyway, I know some of the Ktown crew had caught INVERTEBRATES live before, so they knew INVERTEBRATES are certified rippers. Aside from their debut record being all killer riffs and absolutely no filler, I think the packaging is so damn sick. The vocalist, Max, did all the artwork. There is a touch of red on the jacket and the center labels, and it really sets it off. Besides an insert, there is also a huge newsprint poster. The layout is so sick for both the jacket and poster. It appears the layout of the jacket is paying a heavy homage to BROKEN BONES with their Trader In Death 12". That record fucking rules. If you didn’t know, it originally had two different types of jackets: a standard one, and one of those pocket-sleeve jackets without a spine. The ones that are essentially an over-sized 7" sleeve, haha. I’m not sure what those are actually called? Funny enough, INVERTEBRATES also did a limited version of the pressing in these same spine-less jackets. There’s a lot of layers going on here, seeing that invertebrates don’t have spines either...

INVERTEBRATES originally started as a Covid project, with bassist Merm and drummer Chubb (PUBLIC ACID). Merm wrote some songs, but Chubb wrote the majority. Marty (PUBLIC ACID) recorded their demo cassette, with Chubb doing guitar and drums. (Fun fact, Marty also recorded SCARECROW’s demo.) Like I said, this was like a Covid project, so at one point Merm started to write lyrics with the intention of laying down some vocals. But sometime after, Will was recruited on guitar. Will is also in PUBLIC ACID, but on bass. I think Will laid down his guitar track next to Chubbs, and then Max joined after. Maybe I’m wrong about the exact timing, but I know Max joined after Will, and then the band was fuckin’ set. They released that demo at the very end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022. It ended up coming out before their first gig, cos the gig they were supposed to play in conjunction with their demo release was cancelled. In summer 2022, they released another cassette recorded by Marty. This one was a promo for their debut LP, Sick To Survive. By this point in the band, I think Will was contributing pretty heavily to the songwriting, cos he wrote a good number on the 12". I can’t find my copy of the promo tape, but if I remember right one side had a handful of new songs, and the backside had their demo tracks again. (All the songs newer songs plus one demo song were recorded again for this LP.) I think soon after that tape came out, Kai joined the band on guitar. She was a monstrous addition to the mix, and yet another member of PUBLIC ACID to join, haha. Originally, she actually was just intended to tour with the band to Skullfest on second guitar, but in time she evolved into a permanent member.

Alright, that history of the band was probably totally unnecessary, but I find things like this super interesting, especially when it’s my friends’ bands. Maybe you appreciated the bit of history… if not I am sorry for wasting your time, haha. Like, maybe some people would be interested to know that we literally tried out several vocalists for SCARECROW before we were lucky enough to land on Red? We jammed for like two years before we became a real band or released anything. We actually have an unreleased version of the demo somewhere as well. It’s an earlier recording than the one we released, and it’s got Jeff on vocals!(!!!) Anyway, thanks for reading everyone. I think when I write again, we will have just gotten back from our Swedish/Finnish tour. I am so excited. Cheers.