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SSR Picks: August 5 2021

Pink Fairies: Never-Neverland 12” (1971)

This week we got in a brand new reissue of the Pink Fairies debut album, 1971’s Never-Neverland. Considering how much trouble I had tracking down a vinyl copy of this album when I decided I needed one, I thought I’d shed some light on this record for those of you who might not have checked it out.

The Pink Fairies were movers and shakers in the early 70s London underground scene, and they’re connected to scores of other bands you might have heard, including the Pretty Things, Hawkwind, Motorhead, the Deviants, Twink, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and doubtless many more. Unsurprisingly given all these connections, I came to Never-Neverland in a roundabout way. While I’ve known the Pink Fairies’ name for a long time—I’m pretty sure I bought their 1976 single on Stiff Records in the mid-90s—I hadn’t heard any music that grabbed me. I took another look at the Pink Fairies when I noticed three records I like—the Pretty Things’ S.F. Sorrow, Twink’s Think Pink, and the Rings’ 1977 Chiswick single—all shared a member, drummer / vocalist Twink. It still boggles my mind that one musician was present and engaged with so many of the great flowerings of the British musical underground, from the 60s R&B / mod scene to high psychedelia to the hippie free festival scene to pub rock and punk. What a life!

I’m no historian of the Pink Fairies, and it seems like you need to be one to understand the series of events that led up to Never-Neverland. The Pink Fairies was a name that floated around London’s underground scene, getting attached to various projects with a wide variety of lineups. Eventually, a band coalesced, led by drummer / vocalist Twink and augmented with 3 members from the Deviants, who had dissolved during a disastrous American tour. This new version of the band, based in the London hippie enclave Ladbroke Grove, eventually connected with Hawkwind and began playing the same circuit of free festivals and impromptu gigs, many of which ended with musicians from both bands taking the stage as Pinkwind for an epic jam session.

Polydor Records signed the band and released the scorching single “The Snake,” a blistering fast, hard-rocking song that reminds me of the MC5 at their most electric. “The Snake” was backed with “Do It,” an extended version of which appears as the first track on Never-Neverland. Maybe I’m crazy, but the lunging rhythm of “Do It” reminds me of Black Flag, and if you’re a punker coming to the Pink Fairies for the first time, it’s the perfect gateway drug for the band’s sound.

As for that sound, while it’s similar to Hawkwind, the Pink Fairies of Never-Neverland still had plenty of high-energy R&B in their sound, and they brought an amphetamine-fueled energy to their psychedelic rock. Unlike the Sabbath end of the hard psychedelia spectrum, there isn’t much blues influence on this album, instead cramming echo-drenched lead guitar excursions into the more compact R&B sound of the early Pretty Things, Rolling Stones, and Them.

After Never-Neverland, this lineup of the Pink Fairies dissolved. The band’s next iteration eventually fell under the control Larry Wallis, who left the band after 1973’s Kings of Oblivion to join Lemmy in the original lineup of Motorhead. The Pink Fairies have reformed countless times with a huge cast of characters, and dozens of archival releases have wheeled out studio and live material from all these different versions. Maybe one day I’ll find time to pull that thread.


What’s up Sorry Staters?

I’ve always found releases on the Discos Huayno Amargo label very alluring. I grabbed the Scythe 7” a few years back and not only is it musically cool, but particularly the packaging really grabbed my attention. Beautiful screenprinted sleeve that looks makeshift and DIY, but also special and unique. Sorry State recently stocked a few new titles on Huayno Amargo and the record that to me was most reminiscent of the label’s previous presentation is the Hwanza 7”.

Hwanza is a hardcore punk band based out of Seoul, South Korea. This 7” I’m writing about is actually a re-release of their 2019 demo tape. For me though, this recording is definitely deserving of the vinyl treatment. Maybe I was already in this frame of mind after listening to the Pesadilla flexi, but based on the packaging alone, you might expect Hwanza to sound like a noisy raw punk band. The mid-paced first track slithers with some chromatic riffs that sound kinda like more contemporary bands like Glue. I hesitate to make such a high caliber comparison, but the barking vocals almost remind me of John Brannon. The singer really brings some intensity and power to the band. And really, the sound of the songs isn’t too far off from Negative Approach either. I hear a lot of different influences going on. So, when you combine the raw 4-track style production, the gruffness of the vocals, the semi-clean and frantic riffs, and the hectic but also direct songwriting… Hwanza sounds like an early 80s US hardcore band to me. The playing is kinda loose, but absolutely ferocious. A riff will begin a song and it launches into a blast of fury, all toppled by totally reckless howling. This dude’s snarling. Kinda makes me think of YDI? I’m having a hard time putting my finger on it.

I just love hearing what is going on in hardcore in other places in the world. Not unlike Slant, it does seem like the Seoul hardcore scene has an inclination toward incorporating some parts that are mosh-worthy, meat and potatoes, and HARD. Still, it’s not as if I think Slant is slick by any means, but by comparison, Hwanza is a little rougher around the edges. Personally, I think that’s cool.

Not to sound like a broken record, but I really do find the packaging compelling. Once again, it’s an all screenprinted ordeal. The black and silver ink on red background looks so cool. It’s minimalist yet dynamic, raw yet beautifully designed, organic yet clearly hand-made… I dunno, I probably sound cheesy, but I think Discos Huayno Amargo’s sleeve designs are true works of art. Also, the lyric insert looks sharp and classic. The singer of this band reached out and sent Sorry State a link to English translations of the lyrics. That was rad.

Welp, I don’t think I have much else to say. Check this record out. It’s cool.

As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


Hey friends! Thanks for clicking on us again this week, we appreciate it. We know there are plenty of other internet diversions and things to read whilst sitting on the bog, so thank you.

Another full week here at Sorry State Towers, tons of dope records being added to our inventory, new and used, so come on in.

On the new tip I must mention the latest Durand Jones And The Indications album Private Space. Their third full length sees them taking off into space and adding more synths to the mix, giving the record a more modern edge to the retro soul-funk sound of the previous records. I love it and for me, these guys can do no wrong. Certainly, one of the best current soul groups playing today. My man, Kurtis Powers over at The Face Radio has been spinning them on his show from day one and it has been great to see their rise to success. We have copies in stock and have the beautiful “Red Nebula” version. Check it out here.

Personally, this week I have been rocking hip-hop. I typically always manage to play at least one rap record a week, often more. My tastes go back to the old school for the most part and anything released between 1985 and 1995 is the sweet spot. I can remember during the early 80s back in England becoming exposed to the new sounds coming from America. It was exciting, there was nothing like it. I still have a distinct memory of being in school one day and a friend handing me a cassette tape of this new style of music, which he had labelled “Scratching Music” on the tape. Mind blowing. By the time I had joined the ships and flown to Miami in late 1988, the Golden Era TM of Hip-Hop was just beginning. Each week when we came into port, I would rush to the music store and load up on CDs of the latest releases, aided by the newly started The Source magazine, which I subscribed to from its beginning. My cabin was the spot for hanging out and listening to music, even the ship’s DJ used to come down and get tips and borrow things from me. Over the years, I have parted company with most of my CDs and tapes, but do have one or two still. One tape that I played until it literally broke was a compilation of artists that recorded for the label Wild Pitch. It came out in 1994 was called simply Wild Pitch Classics and had so many of what had become and were becoming some of my favorite hip-hop tunes. Artists included Gang Starr, Main Source, Latee, Ultramagnetic MC’s and Lord Finesse. All kicking in with great cuts. Perhaps my fave, though, were the two songs from Staten Island’s UMC’s. I fell in love with their good times but conscious style of hip-hop and really can’t recommend their 1991 album Fruits Of Nature enough. It’s still a record I pull out and play and the cuts One To Grow On and Blue Cheese have been in my DJ cannon whenever a happy party vibe is required. In fact, I slipped one in on the latest episode of Worldy this past week. You can click the links to check ‘em out. Good times.

After my tape of Wild Pitch Classics broke, I found a CD version a few years later which is almost worn out too now and then only just this year whilst perusing a Discogs listing I found a promo vinyl version that a dealer had. I added that to my cart along with a Big Daddy Kane album and a couple of 12” singles he had. Great prices too. I was pumped, but then the curse of the postal service struck, and my package got lost. Oh well, too bad. Just about to give them up when three months later a miracle happened, and they showed up. Awesome. Over the years I probably have most of the tunes from that compilation either on album or 12” single but there is something about the running order and selection that still gets to me, and I am instantly taken back, and my mind becomes flooded with memories. Such is the power of music. Brilliant.

I’ll wrap it up there for this week. Thanks for reading. I hope you have some fun with your records this week and are making those connections. There’s nothing like it is there?

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


Hello, and thank you for reading. I’m still out of town, but heading home today. So here we go with more random shit... My good friend back home, Sali, loved Wolfpack. I never got into them back then. Although over the years I have accumulated their handful of EPs. As I got each one, I slowly started to dig the band more and more. The sound was originally too “polished” for me I think, and there are definitely some elements I really don’t like at all. Namely the breakdowns, hehe. But what really fucks me up is back in the day when I was hanging with Sali, I never knew Tomas Jonsson from Anti-Cimex was the original vocalist of the band. I’m pretty sure I didn’t discover that until I found this video. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about this footage but it appears to be filmed while they were gigging in Germany. The video is mostly them playing live, but the interview stuff and random bits between really makes it worth it. Jonsson seems like he’s wasted and the shit he says is hilarious. Regardless of the laughs, I love watching the live footage. The shit is mean. Even though some of the riffage gets a bit “epic” their songs maintain this constant pummeling edge. Jonsson has always been an insanely powerful vocalist. I assume most people have read this interview from 2013 with him, but if not here you go! I think this is like the last interview he did? I could be mistaken, and would love to know if there is more recent stuff. Now that I think of it, I’m not sure if I’ve ever read a proper interview with Jonsson. Alright that’s all. Thank you for the support. ‘Til next time...


Various: Bippp- French Synth-Wave 1979/85

This amazing compilation was in the new Forced Exposure order we got in recently and it unlocked some old memories I’d forgotten about until now. I want to take you back to the good ol’ days before MediaFire was ruined and Blogspot was THE place to get any type of internet entertainment. People used to make a living off of their Blogspot—wild. I can’t remember how, but I stumbled upon a blog called Cosmic Hearse and I ate up every single post. It really informed my taste, even more than I probably realize, because so much of the music I listened to has lodged itself in the recesses of my brain. I lost all the files I downloaded like five computers ago, but I seem to keep finding the records at Sorry State. Thanks, Daniel, for having impeccable taste, I guess. I think I briefly mentioned this blog when I wrote about the Scam 7” I got from Sorry State years ago. The first record I put on our staff pick bulletin board was Comus’ ‘First Utterance’ that I also found out about on Cosmic Hearse and later purchased at Sorry State. I can now add this to the list!

This record feels like a dark smokey room in an art school where everyone unironically wears all black and turtlenecks. Does that make sense? This is definitely the bleakest music to make me tap my foot, and it reminds me a lot of the weird keyboard artists I sat through at house shows in college. I haven’t listened to this since I lost the files on a computer in high school, so I haven’t been able to delve very deep into this genre in the past 24 hours. The description from the label says this comp features the ‘cream of the crop’ and without knowing much outside of it, I’m going to just go ahead and agree. I know a good amount about French art in this time period and this music is the exact sound I’d expect to be the backdrop. Experimental, dark, oddly beautiful, and absolutely revolutionary.

I’d write more but I have to delve face first in these memories and unlock other music I found on Cosmic Hearse. If you’re interested in finding some real gems, some well-known now, some still lost to the ether, Cosmic Hearse is still around although all the download links are dead and it hasn’t been updated since 2012. RIP

http://cosmichearse.blogspot.com/


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