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Featured Release Roundup: August 30, 2017

Well folks, another week has gone by, and now you're about to get marginally wiser about some of the physical products that have been recently foisted upon the punk scene. For whatever reason, I feel like the things that I wrote about this week skewed toward the artier end of the spectrum. That's certainly, at least in part, a function of what happened to come in to the store this week, but it's also where my head has been at lately. Last week a friend played me this Turkish rock LP and it really split my head open in the way that it combined eastern musical motifs with the rock format I grew up on, and I've been on a kick of actively searching out music that does that. One thing that's really caught my ear is this compilation of Islamic jazz that was released as part of the Rough Guide series. Of course I'm still listening to plenty of hardcore, punk, and metal, but I also notice that in the past week my musical world has gotten considerably wider.

Housewives: Ff061116 12” (Rocket) Housewives’ previous 12” was one of my big surprises of the past year or so; a gritty, heavy, yet still very accessible no wave-informed record that I’ve found myself returning to again and again despite its release date fading ever further into the past. So, I was excited to hear this new one, but it’s kind of a different beast than the last one. It’s always been clear that Housewives are artistes, but they really go out there on this one, as you might be able to infer based on the stark, gallery-worthy packaging design or the cryptic title. Musically, there are fewer rock-informed rhythms this time around… instead, this release seems to be exploring ideas in atmosphere and harmony rather than rhythm (at least for the most part… there are some tracks with drums). Acoustic and electronic elements weave in and out of one another, sort of like Merzbow jamming with a horn player with an expansive, panoramic sense of space a la Grachan Moncur III or someone like that. The early Sonic Youth / Swans thing comes back on the two side-ending tracks (and these will almost certainly be your favorite tracks if you just have to have drums), but honestly the whole thing strikes me as extremely worthwhile and interesting. This might be a tad out there for the typical Sorry State audience, but something about this band just does it for me.

Anti-Sex: Un Mejor Futuro 12” (Thrilling Living) Debut LP from this Mexican band, and it’s a co-release between Thrilling Living, Cintas Pepe, and World Gone Mad… I don’t think that I could create a more compelling trio of labels for a co-release if I tried. And, as expected, this LP is a real burner. When I think of recent Mexican punk my mind tends to go to bands like Sacrificio and Muerte who are raw, ugly, visceral, and just REAL in a way that very few other bands are. Anti-Sex definitely have that element to their sound, but it’s also not hard to see why they attracted the attention of two American labels, as there’s something a little more palatable about them than, say, the sheer ugliness of Inservibles. It’s not a million miles away from New York bands like La Misma or Exotica, but rawer, heavier, and nastier. Throw in some pretty darn exceptional cover artwork and you have a record worth buying. Get on it!

No Sister: S/T 12” (self-released) As was the case with the great Banshee LP from last month, the first I’d heard of Australia’s No Sister was an unsolicited email asking me if I would carry their record. We get a lot of those types of emails and working my way through them usually feels like panning for gold, but fortunately every so often something shiny lifts its way out of the mud. Case in point, No Sister, who aren’t really the type of band that I tend to listen to these days, but have really caught my ear nonetheless. I’ve been trying to turn people on to this record, and the way that I usually describe it as sounding like mid-period Sonic Youth (circa records like Bad Moon Rising and especially Daydream Nation) augmented with a little bit (and JUST a little bit) of the groove and dance-ability of something like Gang of Four or Liquid Liquid. I know that Sonic Youth experiment a lot with alternate (especially open) tunings, and I feel like No Sister must have discovered one of the key tunings that SY relied on during that period, because something about the texture of this LP is such a dead ringer for Sonic Youth that it’s almost uncanny. But at the same time it’s clear that No Sister aren’t trying to ape those records, because the compositions—the structures of the songs themselves—are so different, even if the wide-angle, sun-bleached vibe of the LP as a whole arrives in a quite similar place. This is quite a long record too, and I really enjoy the way that it seems to take me to a whole bunch of different places over it’s 40+ minute running time. It’s funny, even though the ease of distributing digital music has promoted physical product to a kind of privileged position, listening to this LP makes a lot of current releases feel like throwaways by comparison. If you’re looking for something with a real sense of gravity and ambition I really can’t recommend this highly enough.

Enamel: Complete the Lie cassette (self-released) 7-song cassette from this ripping hardcore band out of Philadelphia who you might remember from a pretty killer earlier demo. This time around they’ve recorded at the Braddock Hit Factory and the recording is appropriately beefy yet raw, with lots of clarity in the guitars in particular. I’m glad for that because (as was the case on the demo), the guitar-player is a real standout, cramming these short-and-fast hardcore tunes full of clever and memorable little touches that expand on the hardcore template without losing the concision or the aggression. The vocals are also really cool… not a lot of people these days sing in the kind of authoritative but not raspy hardcore shout—that’s particularly true when it comes to women who front bands—but Enamel’s singer nails it. This is clean and catchy enough that I could see Enamel being the rawest band on a youth crew-ish show, but it’s heavy, raw, and nasty enough that I wouldn’t be surprised to see them playing with heavier / crustier Philly bands like Dronez or the Brood either. They also remind me a little of No Statik or Look Back and Laugh in the particular stew of influences that seem to bubble to the surface. Definitely well worth checking out if the above references pique your fancy.

Napalm Raid: Wheel of War 12” (Rust and Machine) Latest full-length from these crusty Canadians who have been around for a few years now. I’m not sure if I’d forgotten exactly what they sound like or if Wheel of War represents a major shift in the band’s sound, but I’m really taken aback at how heavy and metallic this release is. That can be a bad thing for crust bands, but I think it’s working great for Napalm Raid. While this is definitely a crust record, it seems to border on death metal a la the Bolt Thrower demos or something like that… but of course without guitar solos and with more of an in-the-pocket, d-beat-type drumming style. While the production is clear and very heavy, it never sounds like modern metal—when a band does that they’ve almost certainly lost me—but instead the clarity of the recording reveals a lot of depth and texture in what, with inadequate production, could have been a record that ended up almost incoherently chaotic. While this is perhaps a hair more traditionally crusty than something like Pollen, ultimately it has a similar sensibility and if that’s in your wheelhouse this probably will be too.

Ond Tro: S/T 7” (Spaghetti Cassetti) Brand new 6-song 7” from this new Danish band that features former members of Under Al Kritik, a band that longtime followers of the Sorry State label might remember. While Ond Tro don’t sound too much like Under Al Kritik (aside from being a fast hardcore band), a similar balance of catchiness and intensity is apparent on this EP. While it’s a raw, fast, and straightforward hardcore record, there are slight melodic touches to the riffing that puts it in a category with other subtly melodic but still very intense bands like Headcleaners (particularly circa The Infection Grows), BGK, or something like that, with a couple of moments that are more straightforwardly melodic. In a lot of ways this a real throwback to the K-Town / Kick N Punch scene from a few years ago (particularly the more hardcore bands like Amde Petersens Arme), and this record sounds very fresh in the same way that those releases did at the time. Thanks to its import price and very small pressing run this will fly under most people’s radars, but if you’re into searching out these obscure little hardcore bands that fall between the cracks this is a real gem.

Olho Seco: Botas, Fuzis, Capacetes 7” (Nada Nada Discos) New pressing of this Brazilian hardcore monster on the great Nada Nada Discos label, who not only brought you a repress of this record a few years ago (well, 2010… time really flies!), but also those recent Anti-Cimex reissues that were done so well. That’s the case with this one as well, reproducing this gem with the respect and care it deserves. I’m not really sure what to say about this, except that if you haven’t heard it already you should rectify that post-haste. It’s one of the great 80s hardcore 7”s, particularly if you like it raw, primal and direct (i.e. if you like hardcore). It has the same raw, feral quality as records like the Negative FX LP or Agnostic Front’s United Blood, but with an added level of tightness that those bands were never able to lend to their hardcore-era material. A true collection staple for anyone who follows international hardcore.

All New Arrivals
Queens of the Stone Age: Villains 12" (Matador)
Queens of the Stone Age: Villains 12" (deluxe edition; Matador)
Turnover: Good Nature 12" (Run for Cover)
Iron & Wine: Beast Epic 12" (Sub Pop)
Liars: TCF 12" (Mute)
Superchunk: S/T 12" (Merge)
Mark Lanegan: I'll Take Care of You 12" (Sub Pop)
Mark Lanegan: Field Songs 12" (Sub Pop)
Firewalker: S/T 12" (Pop Wig)
The War on Drugs: A Deeper Understanding 12" (Atlantic)
No Sister: S/T 12" (self-released)
Ond Tro: S/T 7" (Spaghetti Cassette)
Anti-Sex: Un Mejor Futuro 12" (Thrilling Living)
Enamel: Complete the Lie cassette (self-released)
Abhorrent Decimation: The Pardoner 12" (Prosthetic)
Nunslaughter: The Devil's Congeries Vol 2 12" (Hell's Headbangers)
Marduk: Fuck Me Jesus 12" (Osmose)
Marduk: Opus Nocturne 12" (Osmose)
Marduk: Those of the Unlight 12" (Osmose)
Gogol Bordello: Seekers and Finders 12" (Cooking Vinyl)
Der Weg Einer Freiheit: Finisterre 12" (Season of Mist)
Livid: Beneath This Shroud, the Earth Erodes 12" (Prosthetic)
Dion: S/T 12" (Agitated)
Housewives: Ff061116 12" (Rocket Recordings)
Mind Spiders: S/T 12" (Dirtnap)
David Nance: Negative Boogie 12" (Ba Da Bing!)
Neurosis: The Word as Law 12" (Neurot)
Oh Sees: Orc 12" (Castle Face)
Patsy's Rats: Rounding Up 7" (Dirtnap)
The Rebel: Poems with Water Trilogy 12" (Monofonus)
Rubella Ballet: Ballet Bag 12" (Dark Entries)
The Side Eyes: So Sick 12" (In the Red)
Skip Church: Out of Tune, In Touch with... 12" (Randy)
The Fall: Perverted by Language 12" (Superior Viaduct)
Witch Vomit: Poisoned Blood 12" (20 Buck Spin)
Wolfsheim: The Sparrows and the Nightingales 12" (Dark Entries)
Mardou: Cold Grasp 12" (Moniker)
Secret Machines: Now Here Is Nowhere 12" (Run Out Groove)
Modern Baseball: Holy Ghost 12" (Run for Cover)
Death Worship: Extermination Mass 12" (Nuclear War Now!)

Restocks
The Sexual: Discography 12" (Euro Import)
Niku-Dan: Discography 12" (Euro Import)
Belgrado: Obraz 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Crisis: Hymns of Faith 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Crisis: Kollectiv 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Good Throb: S/T 7" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Kriegshog: S/T 7" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Nurse: Discography 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Alain Goraguer: La Planete Sauvage OST 12" (Superior Viaduct)
Hot Snakes: Audit in Progress 12" (Swami)
Hot Snakes: Automatic Midnight 12" (Swami)
Marked Men: Ghosts 12" (Dirtnap)
Marked Men: Fix My Brain 12" (Dirtnap)
Marked Men: On the Outside 12" (Dirtnap)
Charles Mingus: The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady 12" (Superior Viaduct)
Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation 12" (Goofin')
Subhumans: EPLP 12" (Bluurg)
The Fall: Dragnet 12" (Superior Viaduct)
The Fall: Slates 10" (Superior Viaduct)

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