Featured Release Roundup: December 24, 2020
Apsurd: Derealizacija/Svemu Će Doći Kraj 12” (Doom Town Records) Derealizacija/Svemu Će Doći Kraj collects two recordings from Belgrade’s Apsurd: one from 2017 that previously came out on cassette and a new recording. If you’re familiar with 80s Yugoslavian punk—in particular Tožibabe—Absurd should get you excited. The band records on an old 4 track and the sound and production are of a piece with the great Yugoslavian punk from the 80s, while the band’s style takes influences from those bands as well, particularly how Tožibabe combined fast hardcore punk with death rock and anarcho punk. Absurd isn’t just for scholars of some long-ago punk scene, though; they sound fresh and vital despite their clear nods to punk history. Another good reference point is the Soga tape that Iron Lung released on 12” in 2019. Like that release, Derealizacija/Svemu Će Doći Kraj is raw but infectious, capturing the energy and spirit of 80s punk without sounding like a copy or a rehash. I predict this is one of those records I’ll blowing people’s minds with in 5 or 10 years… I can picture myself saying, “oh you don’t know the Apsurd 12”?” and watching some young punk’s jaw hit the floor as they hear their new favorite band.
Various: Seaside Sickness 7” (Sewercide Records) I love regional punk compilations. It was one of my major life ambitions to release one, and I struck that off the bucket list in 2019, when Sorry State released the American Idylls compilation. Seaside Sickness is in that same mold, documenting the current hardcore punk scene from Canada’s remote eastern coast. Misanthropic Minds, Antibodies, Fragment, Dark Dial, Warsh, B.P.S., and Booji Boys each get one track, and I don’t think there’s a weak one in the bunch. In fact, as much as I love the Misanthropic Minds EP that just came out, their contribution to this comp (the title track, actually) is probably their best song… an out-of-control rage fest. Booji Boys, one of the most unique bands in current punk, also contribute a particularly wild and hot track. I know these compilations mean a lot when they serve as a kind of yearbook for the people involved in the scene they represent, but Seaside Sickness is a killer punk record that serves more than just a historical or anthropological purpose. If you love regional punk compilations as much as I do, I can’t recommend this one enough. It’s as well executed as they get.
Star Party: Demo 2020 cassette (Feel It) Star Party is a new group from Washington State featuring members of Gen Pop and Vexx, two bands I really like. I didn’t know that when I first checked out Star Party, and now that I know about the personnel involved, it makes sense why this would be so good. This 4-song tape contains two originals and covers of Cher and the Shop Assistants, the latter of which is a pretty bang-on comparison for Star Party’s sound. If you don’t know Shop Assistants (you should fix that!), imagine the noisy pop of the Jesus and Mary Chain with some Ramones-inspired punk energy. The songs are straightforward and vocal-oriented, but they’re kinda fast and bathed in sheets of fuzz. Honestly, I’m surprised they didn’t make this a 7”, because it’s way better and more fully realized than your typical demo tape. I’ve already played this a lot, and I see that trend continuing.
Razorblades & Aspirin #11 zine Latest issue of this beautiful full-color zine. In case you haven’t checked out Razorblades & Aspirin, it started out as a photo zine and gradually came to include more written content. While there is still a heavy emphasis on photography (and all the photos in the zine are beautifully reproduced), it now includes your typical music zine mix of interviews and reviews, though there’s a lot of attention given to projects that aren’t bands. At this point, Razorblades & Aspirin is pretty much the paper of record for the scene that Sorry State focuses on. In particular, I admire Mike’s focus on the culture around punk music. I think sometimes my focus is too narrowly on records, so I can tell you that Muro rips, but Razorblades & Aspirin is where you’ll learn about Casa Rat Trap, the 40-person artist and cultural collective of which Muro is a part. Essential and inspiring reading.
Undergang: Aldrig I Livet 12” (Me Saco Un Ojo Records) Fifth album from this Danish death metal band. We don’t typically talk about death metal bands’ fifth albums in the Sorry State newsletter, but I heard some good buzz about Undergang and I checked this record out and dug it. In case you are unaware, the metal scene is experiencing a revival of what the kids are calling OSDM, or Old School Death Metal. When people my age think of death metal, we think of Florida bands like Death and Morbid Angel, or maybe bands like Entombed or Carcass who did similar things in different parts of the world. While I’m sure these modern OSDM bands are familiar with those records, this wave of bands (in whom I’d also include Blood Incantation and Tomb Mold) seems like they take more influence from those bands’ demo eras, or from deeper cut groups like Master and Possessed, or maybe even raw Brazilian death metal. While it still has all the more mainstream death metal bands’ technical proficiency and heaviness, there’s a deliberate sense of ugliness and rawness that reminds me of the hardcore punk we love at Sorry State. If you’re looking to dip your toe in this new OSDM sound, Aldrig I Livet is a great entry point.