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Featured Release Roundup: May 10, 2018

Pro Patria Mori: Where Shadows Lie 12” (Demo Tapes) This vinyl version of Pro Patria Mori’s 1986 cassette is about as comprehensive and carefully produced as any punk reissue I’ve ever seen. Before we get to the packaging, though, let’s talk about the music. The years around 1986 seem like a very interesting time in the UK punk scene as the whole Crass / anarcho thing seems like it was very much on the wane and a new, more metal-influenced sound was on the ascent with bands like Sacrilege, Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower, and Axegrinder getting started and/or hitting their stride. Pro Patria Mori strike me as very much a product of that transition. Their incorporation of poetry into their music and their aesthetic feels very grounded in the bohemian world of Crass, as does their tendency to experiment with what sounds like tape loops (or at least very repetitive song structures and super open arrangements). However, Pro Patria Mori have no problem transitioning from this bohemian experimentation into some of the most brutal and primitive thrash-punk I’ve heard… one minute Where Shadows Lie might sound like Wire’s 154, and just a few minutes later you’re listening to something that sounds like Side A of Napalm Death’s Scum. Occasionally their punk can be a hair more tuneful—occasionally approaching something like early Upright Citizens or maybe Legion of Parasites—but the first two modes that I mentioned are the predominant ones. Yes, it’s kind of a jarring combination, but it’s an exhilarating one, and one that I can’t imagine really happening at any other time or place. Oh, and this isn’t some mega-raw demo-quality thing either… the sound on this reissue is full, clear, and powerful in a way that bands nowadays would kill to sound like. All of this adds up to something that is both a historical curiosity and a genuinely ripping punk record. Now that I’ve argued that the music is really interesting, I should note that this comes with one of the most extensive booklets I’ve ever seen in a punk record. It’s basically a full-size zine collecting what seems like every scrap of information relating to the band… you get everything from zine interviews, photos, and flyers to copies of the band’s correspondence with Peaceville Records (though, unfortunately a release on that label or any other never came to fruition). I love reading about this era of punk, but this booklet makes me realize that most of what I know comes from secondary sources and after-the-fact reflections, and the wealth of primary source material here is a real window into the time and place as well as the rich culture that operated with this music at the center. So, whether you just want to hear a criminally underrated slab or whether you’re an amateur scholar who loves learning as much as possible about a release’s context this reissue is totally essential.

Impalers: Beat Session Vol 5 cassette (Shout) The latest Beat Session cassette is from the almighty Impalers! As I’ve noted before, the Beat Sessions are kind of an updated, modern take on the Peel Session… quick and dirty, but still studio-quality recordings that balance the immediacy of a live performance with the fidelity of a well-done studio recording. Here, Impalers give us a blistering 6-song set that spans their entire catalog, from the latest LP all the way back to the first 7”. As with the Peel Session versions of your favorite classic tracks, it’s fun to play “spot the difference” and listen closely to how these songs might sound with a slightly different tempo or how a different instrument might pop out of the mix in a way you’re not used to, though there are also more substantive differences, like the much-abbreviated version of “Psychedelic Snutskallar,” which shaves the 10+ minutes of the original down to less than 3 and a half. The Impalers’ latest LP is one of the best hardcore records of the past several years, and if you like raw hardcore punk you owe it to yourself to hear it. Beat Session Vol 5, on the other hand, may not be the place to start with the band, but fans will eat it up, as once you’re turned on to the Impalers you’ll want to savor every moment of music that they release.

Riña: Aquî No Eres Nadie 7” (Thrilling Living) Proper debut EP from this Mexican band (their previous one on Cintas Pepe was their demo pressed to vinyl), and if you thought that they couldn’t keep up the blistering pace of that first recording you are dead wrong… Aquî No Eres Nadie is a perfectly scorching slice of hardcore punk. I often talk about bands who sound like they’re teetering on the brink of punk and hardcore… what I mean by that is that they retain the catchiness and the forward momentum of punk, but play it at the blistering tempos of hardcore. I’ve always been partial to bands like Teen Idles or the Middle Class who have the vibe, and Riña do as well. They also have one of the most perfect guitar sounds I’ve heard in a while, dense and heavy with more of a vintage fuzz sound than a full-on, blown-out overdrive/distortion type of sound… in other words, kind of like the first Minor Threat EP. This record is just a brilliant explosion of raw and passionate punk energy… forget the genre clones, this is the real shit. Highly recommended.

Destruct: Human Failure cassette (Agitate) Demo cassette from this new band out of Richmond featuring members of Firing Squad. However, there really isn’t much of a trace of Firing Squad’s USHC sound in Destruct, which is pure Scandinavian d-beat worship a la Anti-Cimex and Shitlickers. Of course there are a million bands going for some variation of that style, but for my money Destruct is one of the best I’ve heard. Seriously, this tape just absolutely rips for all 6 and a half minutes of its runtime. I’m not really sure what else to say about it as there’s not really anything terribly new about the Kawakami-esque vocals, Discharge-derived riffs, or blown-out (but still very dense and powerful) production, but every single last detail is executed absolutely perfectly. In that respect they remind me a lot of Impalers… while Destruct are a lot more straightforward in their approach, there’s a similar sense of every detail being labored over, but not so much that it sucks the life out of it. If you’re into what bands like Impalers, Sunshine Ward, and Fragment are doing I really wouldn’t hesitate to pick this up. It’s a real gem.

Brown Sugar: Long Strange Drip 12” (Feral Kid) Man, I was just searching the Sorry State site to see what I had written about Brown Sugar in the past, and I was surprised to find that there hasn’t been a single Brown Sugar release for sale on the current version of the Sorry State site. Has it really been six years since Brown Sugar broke up? I would have sworn it was only 2, maybe 3 years ago. Beyond just the whole “time flying” cliche, it’s particularly interesting that Brown Sugar’s heyday was nearly a decade ago, because that’s pretty much the deepest trough in the “pop culture life cycle.” In other words, shit that happened ten years ago is generally seen as super uncool (the 80s were super lame in the 90s, the 90s were super uncool in the 00s, and so on as long as there is a popular culture). However, Brown Sugar seem really, really cool in the year 2018, all the more so because they were doing something that was so cool and inventive back when most of us were at band practice trying and failing to rip off the Mecht Mensch EP. Brown Sugar had a little bit of that in their sound for sure, but they also had a lot of other stuff as well, and their musical eclecticism would foreshadow (or maybe even influence?) all of the weird, quirky punk of today, particularly stuff from the Coneheads / Liquids / Lumpy & the Dumpers universe of bands. This collection starts off with a cover of “Hey Joe,” one of the band’s earliest recordings, and it’s telling. For some reason I always thought of Brown Sugar as a hardcore band who got kind of weird toward the end, but the very fact that they did “Hey Joe” at the very beginning shows that they were looking at hardcore way, way differently than most bands were in the 2008 heyday of the No Way Records era. Over the course of this compilation (which encompasses just about everything the band did save the Sings of Birds and Racism LP) they get better at incorporating their unique stew of influences into their faster, more hardcore tracks, but it’s amazing how much of that was there right at the very beginning. Anyway, there’s so much here that it doesn’t really make sense to go through it all bit by bit (and the liner notes do a pretty killer job of that anyway, albeit through a similarly fractured lens as the music), but it all sounds really, really great today. This band was clearly way, way ahead of their time, and it’s awesome that they finally seem to be getting the recognition they deserve. Now, let’s see a repress of the LP!

Sorry, no streamig on this one!

Shatterbox: Strung Out on the Line 12” (Dig!) Official reissue of this private press power-pop obscurity from 1981 Seattle. Power-pop can mean a lot of different things to different people, and Shatterbox offer a particular take on it… rather than the polished pop of bands like the Cars or the Nerves, they’re more on the trashy, Stones / Dolls-influenced end of the spectrum, but with a pop sensibility that’s more early Lennon/McCartney than Jagger/Richards. I was listening to this in the store and Jeff noted that it reminded him a lot of the Exploding Hearts, which I can definitely hear on tracks like “Dance Tonight,” “Too Much Traffic,” and “Anytime” (which seems to borrow the main riff from the Beatles’ version of “The Hippy Hippy Shake”). For me, there are two dangers with this kind of power-pop: that it gets to sappy / syrupy or the band just doesn’t have the songwriting chops to deliver real hooks. Shatterbox have neither of these problems. Strung Out on the Line is exactly the type of raw, catchy, and aggressive music that you’re looking for when you head down the rabbit hole of private press late 70s / early 80s power-pop, and if you’re a fan of that style this is well worth checking out.

Daudyflin: Dauþiflin 7” (Iron Lung) I’ve been a fan of Iceland’s Daudyflin for a little while now, and this new EP continues to refine their manic, almost psychedelic hardcore. It’s funny, listening to this new EP I can’t get out of my head how much it sounds like Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers’ classic Furious Party EP—it has a really similar chorus-drenched sound and the singer is nearly as unhinged-sounding as the wild man who sang for CCM—but after going back and listening to Daudyflin’s previous records this doesn’t sound that much different. However, everything does seem to be pushed just a little bit harder here… it’s a little faster, the production is a little more in-the-red, and the whole thing just sounds a little bit rawer and wilder. It’s not every day that a record is able to capture that level of wild intensity, so if that’s the type of soundtrack you like to put on when you’re smashing everything in your house, taking too much bad acid and wandering around a post-apocalyptic urban hellscape, or standing in the middle of a demolition derby then I can’t think of a better way to spend $7.50 than making this record a permanent part of your life.

All New Arrivals

Ojo Por Ojo: S/T 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Chain Cult: S/T 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Pro Patria Mori: Where Shadows Lie 12" (Demo Tape Records)
Bad Breeding: Abandonment 12" (One Little Indian)
Neutron Rats: Primitive Past / Nuclear Future 12" (Loud Punk)
Wound Man: Prehistory 7" (Iron Lung)
Daudyflin: Dauþiflin 7" (Iron Lung)
Shatterbox: Strung Out on the Line 12" (Dig!)
Brown Sugar: Long Strange Drip 12" (Feral Kid)
Riña: Aquí Tu Eres Nadie 7" (Thrilling Living)
Liz Phair: Exile in Guyville (25th Anniversary Edition) 12" (Matador)
Iceage: Beyondless 12" (Matador)
Corrosion of Conformity: No Cross No Crown 12" (Nuclear Blast)
Accela: Demo cassette (Not Normal)
Gumming: Human Values cassette(Not Normal)
Attentat: Born to Be Malaj 7" (Ken Rock)
Punk Ekman: Costo 7" (Ken Rock)
Shaking Heads: S/T 12" (Ken Rock)
Strikt Stuktur: Det Stora Coctail Party Problemet 7" (Ken Rock)
Tjänstemännen: 60% 7" (Ken Rock)
TV Slime: Slime Demon 7" (Byaaaaaah! Records)
Spiritualized: Lazer Guided Melodies 12" (Plain Recordings)
Spacemen 3: Playing with Fire 12" (Superior Viaduct)
Spacemen 3: Recurring 12" (Superior Viaduct)
Black Moth Super Rainbow: Panic Blooms 12" (Bad Cult)
Holly Golightly: Clippety Clop 12" (Transdreamer)
Trampled by Turtles: Life Is Good on the Open Road 12" (Banjodad)
Lucifer: California Son 7" (Electric Assault)
The Attachments: II cassette (self-released)
Destruct: Human Failure cassette (Agitate)


The Replacements: Please to Meet Me 12" (Rhino)
Ramones: S/T 12" (Rhino)
The Pixies: Come on Pilgrim 12" (4AD)
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: F#A# 12" (Constellation)
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Lift Your Skinny Fists 12" (Constellation)
Green Day: Dookie 12" (Reprise)
Led Zeppelin: II 12" (Atlantic)
Pavement: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain 12" (Matador)
Beach House: Depression Cherry 12" (Sub Pop)
Nirvana: Bleach 12" (Sub Pop)
Tyler the Creator: Scum Fuck Flower Boy 12" (Columbia)
Angel Olsen: Phases 12" (Jagjaguwar)
Swans: The Great Annihilator 12" (Young God)
Miles Davis: Kind of Blue 12" (Columbia Legacy)
Death Grips: The Money Store 12" (Epic)
Childish Gambino: Camp 12" (Glassnote)
Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 12" (Nonesuch)
Amy Winehouse: Back to Black 12" (Island)
Dead Kennedys: In God We Trust, Inc. 12" (Manifesto)
Dr. Dre: The Chronic 12" (Death Row)
Misfits: Collection 2 12" (Caroline)
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon 12" (Sony)
Lithics: Borrowed Floors 12" (Water Wing)
NOFX: The Longest Line 12" (Fat Wreck Chords)
NOFX: The Decline 12" (Fat Wreck Chords)
Poison Idea: Darby Crash Rides Again 12" (TKO)
Poison Idea: War All the Time 12" (TKO)
Sheer Mag: Compilation 12" (Wilsuns Recording Company)
The Sound: Jeopardy 12" (1972)
The Mekons: Never Been in a Riot 7" (Record Store Day 2018)
The Mekons: Where Were You 7" (Record Store Day 2018)
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Nonagon Infinity 12" (ATO)
Geld: Perfect Texture 12" (Iron Lung)
Physique: Punk Life Is Shit 12" (Iron Lung)
Crisis: Kollectiv 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Rixe: Collection 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
The Nurse: Discography 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
S.B.S.M.: Leave Your Body 7" (Thrilling Living)
Tim & the Boys: Growing 12" (Meat Spin)

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