SSR Picks: August 19 2021

Essential Logic: Wake Up 12” (1979)

A few weeks ago I wrote about my history with Essential Logic (capsule version: I bought their double CD discography some 20 years ago, didn’t really like it, but I’ve since come around in a big way) so there’s no need to go into that here. Since I got so excited about Lora Logic’s solo album, though, I’ve had my eye out for the Essential Logic records I didn’t have. And whattayaknow, this four-song 12” walked into the store the other day! I scoop things from Sorry State’s used stock for myself all the time, but it’s rare a record pops up that is literally on my want list. I often feel inundated by music and sometimes I can get overwhelmed by checking out all the new releases for the newsletter, but this was a case where I couldn’t wait to get this record home and onto my turntable.

Unlike post-punk bands who trade in icy, minimalist cool, Essential Logic are true maximalists. The band itself is large: a six-piece with two guitars and two saxophones, with Lora switching between alto and tenor sax and vocals. So many people playing at full force can kick up quite a racket, and indeed Wake Up blares like few others in its class. However, the songs are maximalist not just in their performance, but in their construction too. These tracks are knotty beasts, jammed full of stops, starts, and quick changes in rhythm, all of which the band executes precisely. I’ve been spending a lot of time with the new Gauze album, and I see similarities with Essential Logic. Both bands throw ideas at you faster than you can process them, and while this can make for a disorienting first listen, I find myself rapt on subsequent spins as I untangle these compressed studies in rhythmic diversity.

While Wake Up shares this sense of density and complexity with the Lora Logic solo album that so engrossed me a while back, it has a different, grittier sound. While there is some overlap in personnel beyond Lora herself, from what I understand, the Red Crayola was more or less the backing band for Pedigree Charm, and their playing on that record has a studied approach. Wake Up, however, sounds like the band is hanging on four dear life, navigating these songs’ baroque arrangements like someone who is just learning the art of plate spinning. There’s something to be said for both approaches, but the four tracks on Wake Up sound like a bolt of raw energy.

What’s up Sorry Staters?

I still feel like I’m recovering from a couple gigs that Scarecrow played this past weekend. Currently, I’m only functioning because of the sheer amount of caffeine I’ve been ingesting over the last couple days. It’s all worth it though, I had a blast. Thanks again to Greenough in Norfolk and the legendary Pat Walsh in RVA. But just be warned, I’m writing this staff pick feeling even more drained than usual haha.

Muerte En Paraíso is the latest release by Mujeres Podridas from Austin, TX. When this newsletter first goes out on Thursday evening, these records will not be available on our webstore quite yet. I wanted to give all of our readers a heads up, because I think this record is KILLER. We’ll have our copies up for sale first thing when we open on Friday, August 20th (which is my birthday, woohoo!).

I was lucky enough to see Mujeres Podridas play live in their hometown when one of my bands was on the bill at This Is Austin, Not That Great fest. They totally blew me away. I felt like they totally just owned the room while they were playing. My ears were totally fresh. This was before I had heard any of their cassettes they had out at the time. As the band took the stage, I was surprised to learn that Mujeres is made up of a couple familiar faces from several other fantastic Austin punk groups like Criaturas, Kurraka, and Vaaska – among others. But unlike the Scandi-influenced riffing or dark, moody hardcore of their previous bands, the songwriting in Mujeres seems to recall an earlier moment in punk.

The front cover of the record is very striking and colorful. Almost kinda looks like Jonestown Aloha by BGK or something. But while I’m looking at the cover, I can’t help but think that the arid Austin climate isn’t exactly close to the ocean haha… But vibrant beach scene depicted in the cover art does seem appropriate once you drop the needle on this LP! On songs like “Al Revés”, the guitarist hits some surfy melodic leads that kinda remind of Agent Orange. In general, Mujeres Podridas’ sound is very reminiscent of late 70s/early 80s California punk. The songs are somewhat straight forward, but also refined and well-crafted that makes me feel like I’m listening to a classic punk record. The singer Dru, who’s done vocal duties in many of her previous bands, just has one of those unrivaled voices in punk that’s instantly recognizable. That said, Dru seems to have such an ability to be versatile and flexible that her approach to singing is totally distinct from band to band. As opposed to the gnarly and intense vocals in Criaturas, the vocals are much more restrained, almost intimately whispered. The tuneful, yet sinister singing in Spanish also hints at bands like Paralisis Permanente. So maybe imagine Paralisis Permanente thrown in a blender with a couple anthemic numbers from the Dangerhouse catalog, namely songs by The Bags or The Avengers. For me, Muerte En Paraíso is a record created by some seasoned punkers trying to make music that gets to the heart of the matter. Dying in paradise might not be so bad if this slab of wax were blasting in the background. Do yourself a favor and scoop this when it goes up for sale on Friday.

That’s all I’ve got. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,


Greetings one and all. Cheers to you all and thanks for clicking on us once more this week. With so much shit going on around us the whole world over hopefully we provide a much-needed distraction and break. Summer heat is melting our brains down here in North Carolina but thankfully not our records, of which we have tons. Our regular visitors know what I am talking about and if you follow our Friday New Used Arrivals Drops you will too. Last Friday they were busting down our doors and lined up a dozen strong waiting to get at those records as soon as we opened. It was cool and made me so glad to see all these folks excited about their music.

This week as the world continues saying their farewells to Hip-Hop Legend Biz Markie I would like to give my space in the newsletter to quickly mention something cool that he did that I have been enjoying. The other week whilst looking through the last of my stack of music magazines that I have held on to, I saw an issue of Grand Royal Magazine and remembered it had a free Biz Markie flexi disc with it. I flicked through the pages and thankfully it was still there. Awesome.

I used to be a rabid buyer of the music press, buying the weekly newspapers and monthly mags. I literally had tons. When I moved from England to New York my Dad decided to throw them all out as he was worried the weight would damage the attic floor. Pity, as there were old NME, Melody Maker, Sounds, Record Collector, Mojo and other papers and magazines going back to the late 1970s. When I moved to Raleigh from New York I was forced to leave a lot of newer ones behind also. Finally, a couple of years ago I let almost all the remainder go and hung on to some Wax Poetics, Shindigs and two Grand Royal editions. It’s good to purge and declutter but I do love a good music mag.

Grand Royal, as you know, was the name given to the Beastie Boys’ musical empire. Record label and, for a brief while, magazine along with their other adventures. The magazine only ran in physical format for four years and for more information I shall direct you to an article from Flood magazine that tells the story well. Read it here.

The issue with the Biz Markie flexi came in was number two and it’s a killer read, having a great piece on Lee Scratch Perry as the main feature. I learnt so much from that article and the color panel photo showing a lot of the records Perry made gave me a hunting list for years to come. I’m still crossing titles off the list and probably will never get them all. In addition to the Lee Perry story, there are articles from Thurston Moore and Ricky Powell, to name two contributors, and tons of great record reviews and period photos and advertisements. The inside back cover even sports an ad for the upcoming debut album by the Foo Fighters. I wondered at the time how this post Nirvana project would sound and certainly didn’t predict an album of Bee Gees covers twenty-five plus years later. Lol. Not hating, just funny.

The Biz flexi has the genius giving us his rendition of the Elton John classic Benny & The Jets along with some Biz bonus beats. I’m so glad that I had that still and playing it back made me smile. The track was performed in concert with the Beastie Boys and came out on the compilation The Sounds Of Science. It felt like a good way to honor Biz by mentioning it today and here is a link for you to check it out.

Coincidentally, as I was thinking about Biz Markie, I was playing a Big Daddy Kane CD in the car. He pays tribute to his friend Biz on the track Mr. Pitiful, and his words seem a good place to end my short tribute. Rest in peace Biz Markie and make everyone smile in heaven. With you behind the decks, there are going to be some great parties up there.

See you all next time friends. Peace and love – Dom

Hello readers, and thank you for reading.

Today I’m not writing about anything special really, cos everyone knows who Doom is. I heard Doom early in my punk years via the Police Bastard EP. What a fuckin’ great EP. While I enjoy it very much, I pretty much stop listening to anything by Doom after the mid-90’s. It gets a bit “tough” for my liking. In 1993 they released The Greatest Invention...which is one of my favorite ‘later’ 12"s. Sonarize announced they were releasing three Doom 12"s at once: Rush Hour of the Gods, Doomed From The Start, and their Peel Sessions. I was instantly most excited for the Peel Sessions re-issue. Ever since I first heard their Peel Sessions, I could not stop listening, and it quickly became my favorite of their releases. But isn’t that the case for like every band’s Peel Session? Doom’s line-up changed quite a bit over the years, but unfortunately I do not know the changes well at all. Did you know Doom shared members with Extreme Noise Terror? And both bands together had a side project called Excrement of War. I first heard Excrement of War on their split with Dischange. They have a full-length that came out in ‘94 only on CD, but it’s just been re-issued for the first time on vinyl. Sorry State has copies on the way! I had coincidentally been bumpin’ E.O.W. when I heard about this re-issue. I actually didn’t know until I was watching this cool video that all these bands shared members. Again though, Doom’s line-up changed over the years, so the diagram is not an accurate representation of their Peel Sessions line-up. Alright that’s all I got right now. If you don’t own Doom’s Peel Sessions, pick it up right now cos it belongs in every single record collection. ‘Til next time...

I’ve been traveling (and taking Covid tests) like a mofo lately, so I’ve had shockingly little time to sit down and jam records. Shit sucks! I mean, it rules seeing flesh’n’blood friends and family, but my vinyl and magnetic tape ride-or-dies have been horrifically neglected over the past few months. It’s time to change that mess! Here are six newish releases tickling m’fancy this week.

(Counterclockwise from top left)

  1. Cerebral Rot “Excretion of Mortality” - Vicious, viscous PNW death metal. #THICC
  2. Neos “Three Teens Hellbent on Speed” - Canada’s finest EVER export. The gold standard of blazing high school slop. If you don’t own the original EPs, you NEED this. If you do own the original EPs, you’re a nerd and you’re probably gonna get this anyway. Mad bonus tracks… massive booklet… a total no-brainer.
  3. SQK Fromme “S/T” - If you’re fucking with that Neos lp, you should probably be fucking with SQK Fromme (pron. “Squeaky Fromme”), too. Cats from Hologram, Kombat, Closet Christ, etc. bringing the real chaotic/Koro freak shit. I just saw these D.C. fools tear it up under the bridge in Richmond and was pretty floored. Do not miss. (Funny SPK nod, btw.)
  4. Scarecrow “Promo” - Speaking of tearing it up under the bridge in Richmond, I also just got done roaddawging for SSR homies Scarecrow. It fucking ruled. While I could take or leave the jabronis who make up the band (jk), these tunes are too sick to skip. Scandi assbeater central!
  5. Fatal “6 Songs” - A couple of the aforementioned jabronz plus the OG singer from Out Cold. (don’t forget the period) beating butts in a more Americanized Hardcore® kinda way. They even got Cousin Eric (White Stains, Loose Nukes, Direct Control, etc.) to pen a couple tunes. I like this A LOT.
  6. Liars “The Apple Drop” - Yo, there’s a new Liars record? Something about that font and cover photo is bumming me out, but I’m always gonna ride for Angus Andrews’ ostentatious nursery rhyme drone. Hot, cavernous stuff here. Another one!

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