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Featured Release Roundup: December 6, 2018

ROHT: ðnsamfélagið Og Framtíð Þess 12” (Iron Lung) After a handful of earlier records, Iron Lung brings us the debut 12” from Iceland’s ROHT. ROHT have a grinding, grimy sound like a violent collision of the industrial and digital ages. The mechanical clap of the drum machines and the bass’s heavy thud sound like they were recorded on a mid-century factor floor, but the screeches and squelches occupying the higher frequencies seem to come from an army of malfunctioning modems. If you like the maximalist bleakness of L.O.T.I.O.N. you’ll love ROHT; in fact, from a musical standpoint, ROHT’s heavier production and sludgy yet catchy riffs (somewhere between Hoax and Bleach-era Nirvana) are even more powerful. This is ugly, difficult music, but it’s packed with power and brimming with subtle and hypnotic textures. In other words if you like the progressive hardcore that Iron Lung specializes in you shouldn’t let this one slip by.

Gaizin: S/T 7” (General Speech) Compilation of rare recordings by this band from 1980s Sapporo, Japan. Situated on the northern island of Hokkaido, Sapporo has produced great punk bands over the years (including G-Gas and Slang), but their scene gets less attention than what happens in the larger cities. However, as with American bands from off-the-beaten path cities, there’s often something special about the music from these places. Gaizin have plenty to offer the Japanese hardcore fanatic: gutteral vocals, metallic riffing, and raw, in your face production. But they also sound out of step. Like the label’s description mentions, the thrashy quality of the riffing and the blistering tempos remind me of Heresy, as do the short songs and dramatic stops and starts. I’m not sure if it’s coincidence or influence, but it makes for one of the more unique-sounding 80s Japanese records you’ll hear. Oh, and these sold out from the label, so if you want a copy you’d best jump on it before it disappears.

Sorry, no streaming link for this one!

Boss: Steel Box 7” (Goner) Debut single from this new project. Boss includes Jonah from Fucked Up / Career Suicide / a million other things and Maxime from Rixe, and if I’m guessing correctly based on the first names on the back of the sleeve, the rest of the lineup is rounded out with a big chunk of Crown Court. That’s a lot of oi! connections, but Boss base their sound more in bootboy glam and pub rock… very early Cock Sparrer or Slaughter and the Dogs are reference points, but Slade and the Sweet seem like more pertinent influences. It’s tough to get away with a 2-track single in this day and age (especially when it retails for twelve bucks!), but both tracks are stone cold bangers. “Steel Box” is more melodic and glammy and “I’m the Dog (You’re the Ball)” is faster, edging into No Remorse-era Motorhead territory. I’m happy to have this scorcher of a single, but I’m even happier to see that Boss are playing a gig at Static Shock weekend in February, so hopefully that means these two tracks won’t be the last we hear of them.

Foward: Future Troops 12” (Todo Destruido) It surprised me to learn from the label’s description that Future Troops is only Forward’s 4th LP. I probably have a dozen Forward records in my collection, but I guess most of them are EPs rather than proper full-lengths. Their early discography is full of gems like Act Then Decide and While You Alive, but their past several records have been the real crushers. Future Troops continues that trend and it might be the best Forward record yet. If you saw Forward on this most recent tour, you know they’re a band at the top of their game. I’ve seen Forward eight or ten times in the past 15 years, and their set in North Carolina this November was the best of them all. They’ve always been great players, but nowadays they’re master craftsmen of hardcore punk. Watching them play or listening to Future Troops is like watching Michael Jordan play basketball in the early 90s or Picasso paint in the 30s. Not only is the skill level incomprehensibly high but also there’s the graceful confidence of someone who knows what they’re doing, how to do it, and why they’re doing it. Whether it’s ragers like “A.C.A.B.” and “Mother Fucker Japan,” the nimble rhythms of “In the Chaos,” the more melodic “True Freedom,” or the epic title track that closes the album, Forward execute every second of music on this LP perfectly. While everyone acknowledges that Forward is a great live band, their records often get short shrift. Don’t make that mistake because Future Troops is a bulldozer.

Sorry, no streaming link for this one!

Lockjaw: Demos 1982-1983 12” (Antitodo) The Spanish label Antitodo continues to raid the vaults of 80s Portland hardcore band Lockjaw, this time unearthing 8 demo tracks for this one-sided 12”. The packaging is thin on information, but I’m guessing the first six tracks come from an earlier demo as they sound like they’re more influenced by 70s punk, though the band’s trademark nihilism is already there. “Back Door” and “Devil” have a rock-and-roll tinge a la Black Market Baby, while the more straightforward “Dead Friends” has a Teen Idles vibe. Things speed up for the last two tracks, by which time the band has arrived at the blazing hardcore you know from their two 7”s. While a few tracks from the 7”s appear in different versions, there’s enough new-to-us material that Lockjaw fans will want to scoop this up, particularly given the great sound and attractive packaging.

Looks like it's the week of no streaming... vinyl rules, OK!

Lexicon: 5 Tracks Demo cassette (Iron Lung) Demo tape from this new band out of Seattle, and even though it’s billed as a demo this is already up to the high standard of quality we’ve come to expect from Iron Lung. I hear elements of d-beat, Blazing Eye-style fast pogo-punk, and more straightforward US hardcore (including some big mid-paced mosh parts), but Lexicon synthesize and streamline these influences into a cohesive and powerful sound. Highlights include the ripping, noisy guitar solo on “Rats,” the Minor Threat-ish “Nuclear Winter,” and the catchy chorus of the closing track “Isolation,” but there isn’t a wasted moment. A top-notch hardcore demo.

Dagger: Hexes cassette (Not Normal) After a standout previous 7” on Lengua Armada we get seven new tracks from this bruising hardcore band from Chicago. The sound is rawer than the 7”, but the songs are the same oi!-tinged hardcore concoction that caught everyone’s attention last year. Tracks like “Opportunity” get faster and more Negative FX-y, while “Dagger” has a Negative Approach stomp. Fans of Punch in the Face or Cardiac Arrest (and other bands whose vocalists sound like Choke) should also take note. Seven minutes of pure hardcore.

CT85: demo cassette (Not Normal) Nine-track demo from this new Chicago band, and they’re up there with Alienation and Suck Lords as one of the fastest pure hardcore bands around. While those bands are dark and gritty, CT85 is more punk. The Neos seem to be a big influence for CT85, particularly how they combine impossibly fast drumming with a punkier riffing style. CT85 also has an arty element unique among bands that play at tempos this fast. Ralph from Not Normal is in CT85, and like his previous group the Bug, the sound is loose, occasionally devolving into a wash of pure noise, like on the intro to “The One About Your Boss.” There’s also some dissonant, Die Kreuzen style riffing, most notably on “Punk Frat.” If you love the Neos, the first Meat Puppets 7”, or more recent stuff like the Bug and Das Drip you will know and like where CT85 is coming from.

Jeez Louise: Demonstration Recording cassette (Ketchup and Mustard Industries) Demo tape from this new Chicago band featuring Joe Sussman, whom you may remember from Nancy and Dangus Tarkus. We’re Sussman disciples here at Sorry State so I was excited to hear Jeez Louise, and this tape does not disappoint. If you like Sussman’s previous projects you’ll like Jeez Louise, but it is an evolution. There’s still plenty of the glam and Ramones-based power pop, but the Dickies, particularly Dawn of the Dickies, seems to be a big influence on this project (I swear “Motor Home Boys” even samples the car crash noise from “Manny, Moe, and Jack”). Dawn of the Dickies is one of my all-time favorite records, so I’m happy to hear Jeez Louise try their hand at that more ambitious songwriting style and hyper-fast tracks like “Motor Home Boys” and “Baby Mambo” that remind me of “I’m a Cholo” (these tracks also sound a lot like Bad Brains, who copped a lot of that song’s style on their seminal material). As with Nancy and Dangus Tarkus, you can hear some of the influences that shape Jeez Louise, but at the same it’s its own thing, and a weird and unique thing at that. Some people will find the high pitched vocals and goofy lyrics obnoxious, but I love this demo and will be playing it a lot.

Devil Master: Manifestations 12” (Relapse) Philadelphia’s Devil Master took the world by storm with a pair of highly collectible 7”s, and this 12” brings them together and puts them back in print. It’s easy to see why they’ve caught on, because Devil Master’s sound is a fresh and unique mixture of death rock (I hear a lot of Christian Death’s Only Theatre of Pain), black metal, and hardcore punk. Some people will respond to the spooky black metal vibe, some people will love the melodic lead guitar (the leads on the track “Devil Master” are so melodic they almost sound like a black metal-fied Screeching Weasel), while other people will love rampaging through the pit for pogo-punkers like “Failure to Die.” While the sound is gritty and gross (particularly the vocals, which are distorted and buried in the mix), the music has a pop structure that makes you want to listen to it over and over. Don’t be afraid, though, because they always bury the melodies under a ton of grime. Relapse says to expect a new album in early 2019, but in the meantime pick this up if you weren’t one of the lucky few to nab the 7”s.

All New Arrivals

Boss: Steel Box b/w I'm the Dog (You're the Ball) 7" (Goner)
100 Swindle: For Survival Punx 7" (General Speech)
ROHT: ðnsamfélagið Og Framtíð Þess 12" (Iron Lung)
Lexicon: 5 Tracks Demo cassette (Iron Lung)
Forward: Future Troops 12" (Todo Destruido)
Syringe: The Leash 7" flexi (Dark Raids)
Dagger: Hexes cassette (Not Normal)
CT85: S/T cassette (Not Normal)
Roy Kinsey: More Roy cassette (Not Normal)
Flesh Eaters: No Questions Asked 12" (Mono)
Marked Men: On the Other Side 12" (Dirtnap)
Devil Master: Manifestations 12" (Relapse)
High on Fire: Surrounded by Thieves 12" (Relapse)
High on Fire: Blessed Black Wings 12" (Relapse)
High on Fire: Death Is This Communion 12" (Relapse)
Laughing Hyenas: Hard Times + Crawl / Covers 12" (Third Man)
Laughing Hyenas: Life of Crime 12" (Third Man)
Liars: Titles with the Word Fountain 12" (Mute)
Jeff Tweedy: Warm 12" (dBpm)
Gary Numan: The Fallen 12" (BMG)
True Love: The Pact 12" (Triple-B)
Meshuggah: S/T 12" (Nuclear Blast)
Meshuggah: None 12" (Nuclear Blast)
Meshuggah: Chaosphere 12" (Nuclear Blast)
Meshuggah: Contradictions Collapse 12" (Nuclear Blast)
Meshuggah: Destroy Erase Improve 12" (Nuclear Blast)
Death from Above 1979: Heads Up Demos 7" (Third Man)
John Lee Hooker: Detroit Recordings Volume 1 12" (Third Man)
John Lee Hooker: Detroit Recordings Volume 2 12" (Third Man)
White Stripes: Icky Thump 12" (Third Man)
Vouna: S/T 12" (Artemisia)
The Fall: Totale's Turns 12" (Superior Viaduct)
Immortal: At the Heart of Winter 12" (Osmose Productions)
Lee Morgan: Indeed 12" (Doxy Music)
Obliteration: Cenotaph Obscure 12" (Indie Recordings)
Hippo Campus: Bambi 12" (Grand Jury Music)
Longmont Potion Castle: Where in the Hell Is the Lavender House? 12" (Burger)
Mutilation Rites: Chasm 12" (Argento)
El-P: Cancer for Cure 12" (Fat Possum)


Blood Pressure: Surrounded 12" (Beach Impediment)
Vanity: Evening Reception 12" (Beach Impediment)
Stigmatism: S/T 7" (Beach Impediment)
Warthog: S/T 7" (Beach Impediment)
Witchtrial: Demo 12" (Beach Impediment)
Concealed Blade: Demo 2016 7" (Beach Impediment)
Fetish: S/T 7" (Beach Impediment)
Katastrof: S/T 7" (Beach Impediment)
Omegas: Power to Exist 7" (Beach Impediment)
Vaaska: Futuro Primitivo 7" (Beach Impediment)
Fried Egg: Back and Forth 7" (Beach Impediment)
Various: Bloodstains Across Virginia 12" (Prompt Critic Productions)
Execute: Vol 1 12" (Doa Records Singapore)
Execute: Vol 2 12" (Doa Records Singapore)
The Clay / Antiseptic: Split 12" (Fan Club)
Ghoul: Night Out 12" (Ghoul)
Death: Spiritual Healing 12" (Relapse)
Yob: Clearing the Path to Ascend 12" (Relapse)
Yob: The Great Cessation 12" (Relapse)
Yob: Our Raw Heart 12" (Relapse)
Pig Destroyer: Head Cage 12" (Relapse)
Sleep: Leagues Beneath 12" (Third Man)
White Stripes: Get Behind Me Satan 12" (Third Man)
White Stripes: S/T 12" (Third Man)
Sleep: The Sciences 12" (Third Man)
Melvins: Stoner Witch 12" (Third Man)
Melvins: Houdini 12" (Third Man)
Carbonas: Your Moral Superiors 12" (Goner)
Cherubs: Short of Popular 12" (Sonic Surgery)
Crash Course in Science: Jump Over Barrels 12" (Dark Entries)
Crash Course in Science: Signals from Pier Thirteen 12" (Dark Entries)
Crucifix: S/T 12" (Kustomized)
Crucifix: Nineteen Eighty Four 7" (Kustomized)
Feederz: Ever Feel Like Killing Your Boss 12" (Broken)
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Eyes Like the Sky 12" (Flightless)
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Float Along / Fill Your 12" (Flightless)
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Murder of the Universe 12" (ATO)
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Willoughby's Beach 12" (ATO)
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Sketches of Brunswick 12" (ATO)
Neurosis: Pain of Mind 12" (Neurot)
Thee Oh Sees: The Master's Bedroom 12" (In The Red)
Pallbearer: Sorrow and Extinction 12" (20 Buck Spin)
Poison Idea: Darby Crash Rides Again 12" (TKO)
Sheer Mag: Need to Feel Your Love 12" (Wilsuns Recording Company)
Sleep: Volume One 12" (Tulepo)
Solid Space: Space Museum 12" (Dark Entries)
The Fall: Grotesque 12" (Superior Viaduct)
The Fall: Rough Trade Singles 12" (Superior Viaduct)
Urinals: Negative Capability 12" (In The Red)
Wire: 154 12" (12XU)
Wire: Chairs Missing 12" (12XU)
Wire: Pink Flag 12" (12XU)
A Tribe Called Quest: Low End Theory 12" (Jive)
Amy Winehouse: Back to Black 12" (Island)
Bathory: S/T 12" (Black Mark)
Beastie Boys: Licensed to Ill 12" (Def Jam)
John Coltrane: A Love Supreme 12" (Impulse)
Misfits: Earth AD 12" (Caroline)
Misfits: Static Age 12" (Caroline)
Bob Marley: Legend 12" (Island)
Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy 12" (Roc-A-Fella)
Death Grips: Bottomless Pit 12" (Third World)
Death Grips: Year of the Snitch 12" (Third World)
Death Grips: The Money Store 12" (Epic)
Pharrell: In My Mind 12" (Interscope)
Outkast: ATLiens 12" (LaFace)
Outkast: Aquemini 12" (LaFace)
Outkast: Stankonia 12" (LaFace)
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit: the Nashville Sound 12" (Southeastern)
Childish Gambino: Awaken My Love 12" (Glassnote)
Craft: Total Soul Rape 12" (Season of Mist)
Motley Crue: Shout at the Devil 12" (Motley)
Lauryn Hill: The Miseducation 12" (Columbia)
Beyonce: Lemonade 12" (Sony)
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon 12" (Sony)
Rage Against the Machine: Evil Empire 12" (Epic)
System of a Down: Toxicity 12" (American Recordings)
Weezer: Blue Album 12" (Geffen)
Weezer: Pinkerton 12" (Geffen)
Siouxsie & the Banshees: The Scream 12" (Polydor)
Siouxsie & the Banshees: Juju 12" (Polydor)
Primus: Pork Soda 12" (Interscope)
Various: The Harder They Come OST 12" (Island)
Ol Dirty Bastard: Return to the 36 Chambers 12" (Elektra)
Trampled by Turtles: Life on the Open Road 12" (Banjodad)
Lumineers: S/T 12" (Dualtone)
Wu-Tang: Enter the Wu-Tang 12" (RCA)
Tyler the Creator: Scum Fuck Flower Boy 12" (Columbia)

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