Featured Release Roundup: February 21, 2019

Headroom: New Heaven 12” (Ever/Never Records) After an earlier LP on Trouble in Mind, New Heaven is a new EP-length (about 20 minutes) release from Connecticut’s Headroom. I don’t know this scene well, but I love zoned out, Krautrock-influenced sounds and trust Ever/Never Records, whose endorsement is more than enough to get something on my radar. Indeed, New Heaven is already one of my favorite things that the label has released. Headroom reminds me of a lot of things I already like: their deep, dub-influenced basslines recall my favorite post-punk bands; the way they ride a spacey groove brings to mind Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis; the trance-like rhythms and slowly evolving compositions sound like Ash Ra Tempel or early Tangerine Dream; and the sparse, effects-drenched vocals pop up just often enough to keep you from drifting into a different realm. New Heaven serves well as late night, stoned-on-the-couch music or as the gentle throb of background noise you need to propel you into getting work done in the afternoon. I know neither of those things are "on brand" for Sorry State, but if you like to travel in those worlds, I recommend checking out New Heaven.

Geiger Counter / Zudas Krust: split cassette (Desolate) Split tape from these two metallic crust bands. Geiger Counter is from Minneapolis and you may remember them from their previous releases while Zudas Krust is a long-running Indonesian band I’m hearing for the first time. It’s a good pairing since both bands sound like they’re influenced by Japanese hardcore, but infuse the sound with a distinct death metal influence, particularly in the guttural vocal sound the two bands share. The first two tracks on Geiger Counter’s side have a Death Side gallop, an epic feel, and even a few melodic, Chelsea-esque lead guitar breaks, while the last track speeds things up to more of a Bastard tempo. As for Zudas Krust, their recording is rawer and their sound is even more metal. While some of it still sounds like Japanese hardcore, Axegrinder’s Rise of the Serpent Men would be a closer reference point. Good stuff for the dreadlocks and denim crowd.

Austerity: demo cassette (Clacker Recordings) I don’t know anything about Austerity, but I’ll assume they hail from somewhere near their label’s headquarters in Massachusetts. Musically, they do that SOA/Last Rights-type “hardcore with a touch of oi!” thing that was super popular a few years ago, but they sound more straightforward and punk rock than the pure hardcore bands who attempt the style. Tracks like “Modernity” and “Means Test” have the same catchy, Blitz-influenced riffing style as SOA, and the former even has a simple, melodic guitar solo. Sometimes hardcore’s shouts can sound perfunctory, but not here. The vocalist sounds like Choke and/or Steve from 86 Mentality, and like them Austerity’s vocalist has a lot of energy and charisma. The final track, “Modern Slavery,” mixes things up with more off-kilter riffs and rhythms, ending the demo on a high note. While the music is tough and aggressive, this has the same youthful, fun feel of Teen Idles or (for the old SSR heads) the Pure Scum demo tape.

Sap: I cassette (Clacker Recordings) Another Massachusetts punk demo from the new label Clacker Recordings. While their labelmates Austerity are a straightforward hardcore band, Sap have a more varied sound. They can lurch like Flipper, glide like Uranium Club, and rip like Career Suicide, all of which they do capably. The vocals are snotty and raw, reminding me of Chris Thomson of Skull Kontrol and the Monorchid… unfortunately my brain is not bringing a comparison to mind that someone under the age of 35 might understand. I like that Sap doesn’t stick to one particular style. They sound like people full of energy and open to the wide musical possibilities for DIY punk. If you like your punk loose, raw, and progressive this may well catch your ear.

All New Arrivals

Sporten Är Död: S/T 12" (Fördämning Arkiv)
Collate: Communication 7" (Market Square)
Headroom: New Heaven 12” (Ever/Never)
Alien Boys: Night Danger 12” (Desolate)
Geiger Counter / Zudas Crust: Split cassette (Desolate)
X: Los Angles 12” (Fat Possum)
Austerity: Demo cassette (Clacker)
Sap: I cassette (Clacker)
Megadeth: The World Needs a Hero 12" (Sanctuary)
Megadeth: The System Has Failed 12" (Sanctuary)
Millencolin: SOS 12" (Epitaph)
Hot Water Music: Caution 12" (Epitaph)
Hot Water Music: A Flight and a Crash 12" (Epitaph)


Fuerza Bruta: Somos El Mal 7" (Warthog Speak)
Butcher: Holding Back The Night 12" (Desolate)
Richard Papiercuts: Twisting the Night 12" (Ever/Never)
Patois Counselors: Proper Release 12" (Ever/Never)
Taking By Sunday: Twenty 12” (Craft)
Korn: Issues 12” (Epic)
Death Grips: Year of the Snitch 12” (Third Worlds)
Death Grips: No Love Deep Web 12” (self-released)
Death Grips: The Money Store 12” (Epic)
Death Grips: Bottomless Pit 12” (Third Worlds)
Beyonce: Lemonade 2x12” (Sony)
Kendrick Lamar: Damn 2x12” (Interscope)
Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp a Butterfly 2x12” (Top Dawg)
Coheed + Cambria: Good Apollo Burning Star IV Volume One 12” (Columbia)
Brand New: I Am a Nightmare 12” (Pmtraitors)
Brand New: The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me 12” (Interscope)
The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds 12” (Capitol)
The Clash: London Calling 2x12” (Columbia)
Geto Boys: We Cant Be Stopped 12” (Rap-A-Lot)
Nirvana: Nevermind 12” (DGC)
Lord Huron: Lonesome Dreams 12” (I Am Sound)
Ol Dirty Bastard: Return to the 36 Chambers 12” (Elektra)
Lana Del Rey: Born to Die 12” (Polydor)
Foo Fighters: The Colour and the Shape 12” (Roswell)
Foo Fighters: Concrete + Gold 12” (Roswell)
Dead Kennedys: Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death 12” (Manifesto)
Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables 12” (Manifesto)
Dead Kennedys: In God We Trust, Inc. 12” (Manifesto)
Deftones: White Pony 12” (Maverick)
Mumford+Sons: Sigh No More 12” (Island)
Mumford + Sons: Babel 12” (Glassnote)
John Mayer: Continuum 12” (Columbia)
Kanye West: College Dropout 2x12” (Roc-A-Fella)
Queens of the Stone Age: Rated R 12” (Interscope)
Tool: Opiate 12” (Volcano)
Tool: Undertow 12” (Volcano)
Tribe Called Quest: Midnight Marauders 12” (Jive)
Wu-Tang Clan: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) 12” (RCA)
Circle Jerks: Group Sex 12” (Frontier)
Adolescents: S/T 12” (Frontier)
Minutemen: What Makes a Man Want to Start Fires? 12” (SST)
Black Flag: Everything Went Black 2x12” (SST)
Minutemen: Double Nickels on the Dime 2x12” (SST)
Black Flag: Slip It In 12” (SST)
Black Flag: Six Pack 7” (SST)
Stray: S/T 12” (Music On Vinyl)
Eagles of Death Metal: Death by Sexy 12” (Downtown)
The Black Keys: El Camino 12” (Fat Possum)

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