Dominic's Staff Pick: October 20, 2022

Greetings Sorry Staters. Thanks for clicking on the ol’ newsletter. I hope things in your lives are good or as well as can be. Difficult times for a lot of us, I know. Hopefully little distractions like music, film, books, sport etc. can help you get through your day as they do me. Lots of great stuff in all those departments. I’ve got too much music to listen to, too many films and TV shows to watch, too many books and articles to read, football matches to watch, and the list goes on. I’m sure you know what I mean. The perils of modern living and consumer culture.

So, this week I am behind deadline for the newsletter and trying to write this in the store as quickly as I can, but believe it or not we don’t sit around here all day playing records and eating bon-bons and are typically busy most of the time. Therefore, this one is going to be a short and (hopefully) sweet one from me.

The record that I would encourage you all to buy this week if you haven’t done so already is the 7” vinyl pressing of the previously released cassette of Personal Damage’s Ambush. We have had their demo here at the store on cassette and then the flexi disc pressing of that tape. The Ambush tape followed, and now for all of those that missed out on that there is a vinyl release. Check out what we had to say about the band here.

I think Daniel pretty much nailed it with that description. An L.A. punk band with a more classic 70s and 80s sound. More melodic, still driving but with a slower pace and with vocals clearly in the mix. This is the type of punk that I am drawn to and when John Scott was giving the 45 a rinse here in the store, my ears pricked up immediately. I feel like an idiot for not paying close enough attention to the cassette when we first got it, but having a vinyl release was a good call and I made sure I grabbed myself a copy. I can’t tell you much about the band and who does what, but they make a good noise. The sort of timeless, almost classic punk sound that could have come out in any one of several decades. Extra points are awarded for their choice of a cover of Peter Tosh’s Steppin’ Razor, which they handle nicely and might not have fared so well in lesser hands. Who doesn’t love a punky reggae party?

I also like the gang like backing vocals from the rest of the band. They add that classic touch to proceedings I feel. Favorite track(s) other than the Tosh cover are Prison Box and Shut Your Mouth (Close Your Mind). Take a listen and grab yourself a copy.

Lastly, as we were talking about reggae music with the cover of Steppin’ Razor, we have been picking up some good bits and bobs reggae and ska wise here at the store. Some heat for sure but also lots of good but not expensive records. Whilst sorting through some boxes of stuff designated for the bargain bin, I spied a late 80s album by Jamaican singer Owen Grey. He has been making records since the early sixties and had hits in the R & B, Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae styles. His heyday was the early sixties, so this record called Let’s Make A Deal from 1988 certainly isn’t considered from his golden era and I wasn’t expecting it to be great, especially as the production was mostly digital. Not that I am opposed to the digital era in reggae music, far from it. I developed a taste for that period from when I worked on the cruise ships in the late 80s and early 90s and my Jamaican cabin mates would be playing a lot of it. Anyway, this record isn’t that great to be honest, although not faulting the vocal performances from Grey. He still had his great voice intact, but there is a reason why this record averages around $5 on Discogs. The first side isn’t that exciting, and most of the second isn’t either, but there are two songs that I kind of like and so make owning the record worthwhile. On the songs called Members Only and Tick Tock they lean into the digital production fully and on these two songs end up with something cool. At least I think so. I’d link you to the songs if they were available, but sadly not right now. Find yourself a copy or come round my gaff one day and I’ll spin them for you. Not sure what else to say other than it always pays to check the bargain bins and to always make sure you flip the record and check the other side, even if the first side didn’t grab you.

Okay, that’s me done. Check out Personal Damage and have fun listening to your records.

Cheers and catch you next time - Dom

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