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SSR Picks: June 3 2021

This week rather than a standard staff pick I’m going to go per-zine on you. For the past few days I haven’t felt like listening to music. In retrospect, I realize I’ve had a lot going on inside my head and I haven’t given myself time to process it. I guess writing this piece is partly an attempt to make sense of it.

I don’t know if you can tell, but Sorry State has been busy. I try to talk to my mom on the phone at least once a week, and between phone calls she checks out Sorry State’s social media accounts to keep tabs on me. This week she told me she read between the lines of our posts that I was frazzled and had a lot going on. Maybe she’s sensitive to that because she’s my mom, but I wonder if anyone else gets that impression too. Sometimes I’m not even aware of how hard I’m working, but after several months of 60-70 hour work weeks I’m fatigued and stressed. Between the Rudimentary Peni LP, the Miss Veola collection, the whole saga with the Golpe and Zorn records, and everything else that happens here daily, I’ve been going pretty much non-stop.

Road trips have always been one of my favorite ways to clear my head, and last Friday I drove to our pressing plant in northwestern Virginia and back, spending over 9 hours alone in the car blasting music and listening to podcasts. I also stopped in Richmond and spent a little (too little) time with some friends like the Vinyl Conflict folks and Sam at Feel It. It was nice to have some solitary time and to listen to music on the drive, but it was such a long and busy day that I didn’t come home feeling refreshed.

The next morning I woke up and drove to Wilmington, North Carolina (about two-and-a-half hours from Raleigh) for an impromptu memorial for my friend Osamu. I wrote about Osamu’s passing last November, and aside from a Zoom memorial service, the people who loved him haven’t been able to get together and mourn his passing. Last Wednesday was his birthday, so most of No Love met in a park in Wilmington where there is a tree planted in his memory. Osamu’s parents joined us and invited us to eat Japanese food at their house afterward. We sat around, traded stories about Osamu, and felt his absence. Like the road trip, it was something that I needed to do, but it left me feeling drained rather than restored.

This week is also the anniversary of the protests that happened all over the country—including Raleigh—in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. There’s a locally famous photo of cops in riot gear lined up in front of a giant, colorful mural that says “Welcome to Raleigh,” and many people shared it on social media this week. I know my experience pales compared to the trauma experienced by people of color in our country, but in retrospect those protests fucked me up. I’ve always considered myself a leftist and a radical. I believe in equality and peace. However, before the protests those were abstractions to me… they were things to talk about in graduate seminars or over beers outside a show rather than anything born of personal experience. I realize now that my privilege allowed these concepts to be abstractions to me; as a straight, white, middle class man, the system was (ostensibly, at least) working in my interests, shielding me from the uncomfortable zones where my privilege rubs against someone else’s needs, wants, and rights.

As I wrote about a year ago, I was standing on the edge of a tense but peaceful protest when a line of cops in riot gear raced into the crowd with batons drawn and started beating people indiscriminately. A line of horse-mounted police joined them from another direction. Cans of teargas whistled by and then hissed acrid, blinding smoke. The scene was violent chaos, but it wasn’t a spontaneous eruption. It was a coordinated attack by the police on unarmed, peaceful citizens. Before that moment, “State Violence, State Control” was just a catchy chorus, but it rings differently to me now, particularly when I reflect on that fact that what was, for me, a unique experience, is a condition of everyday life for people who weren’t born into my social conditions.

After overdosing on music and media on Friday and having an emotionally tiring weekend, I entered a busy week feeling drained. Eventually I realized that what I needed was space. This statement is an uncomfortable fit for a newsletter whose existence is largely based on selling you products, but I didn’t need to find the right music or the right pill or the right anything to make me feel better. I needed stillness. I needed to sit with myself, my humanity, silently, letting these thoughts and emotions swirl around until they ran out of momentum. That process is far from complete, but I’m working on it. I’m sorry that it means you have less hyperbolic jibber jabber about punk rock to read this week, but hopefully it means I can find my way back to that more pleasurable headspace in time for next week’s newsletter.


What’s up Sorry Staters?

This week I’m gonna write about a record that literally just arrived in the mail at the store the same day this newsletter is going out. Later on, Daniel will probably put together a much more eloquent description for this record. But for now, hopefully I can throw out some one-syllable adjectives that will make you all wanna check out the new LP from Detestados!

Detestados are a punk band based out of Austin, TX. I heard this LP on bandcamp a few months back and was excited for the vinyl to be released! Looking at some of their previous recordings, it looks like Detestados has been an active band for several years, their first release being a cassette on the fantastic Todo Destruido label. This eponymous debut LP is the band’s first release on vinyl, and I’m pretty sure the record was self-released by the band.

The first song is a mid-paced, kinda classic pseudo-melodic punk stomper, almost like a clunky, obscure tune off of an old KBD comp. But this first impression is quite misleading, because by the time you get a few moments into the second track, you realize you’re in store for some ripping hardcore punk! The drums kinda play at an extra fast pogo-beat type style. I feel like I can definitely hear some influence from early Mexican hardcore bands like Xenofobia or Atoxxxico. But unlike the rawness of those bands, the guitars are actually pretty clean, but played with unrelenting ferocity. A smattering of tasteful, classic sounding earworm riffs come at you like repeated blows to the head. Weirdly though, there is something uniquely Texan about the guitars too where even with all their shredding, they are also kind of bluesy? Jangly open chords, some ZZ Top-esque slide guitar… you name it. The singer’s voice has kind of a weird effect, almost like a tight echo that makes their voice sound kinda distant. The vocals are snotty and raspy and sound super cool. And to top it off, they do a super accurate interpretation of “Corona” by the Minutemen, all sang in Spanish of course. But like, they totally nail it. It’s killer.

A big thing that stands out about this record is how raw the production is. Yes, raw, but not in a like treble-cranked-on-full-blast noise punk kinda way. It definitely sounds old. I would not be surprised if the band recorded this on a 4-track tape machine. It’s not shitty sounding though, it’s got a total vibe. Honestly, I think it’s like super punk haha. Everything about the presentation of the LP: the photo of this old man with busted teeth singing karaoke or something? Blank center labels. Single-sided insert. No frills, just raw fucking hardcore punk. I’m all about it. Do yourself a favor and jam this badass LP!

That’s all I’ve got I think. Thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


Hey there, everyone in Sorry State Land. I hope you all had a decent week. Cool.

This week my piece in the newsletter is going to be sloppier than usual. My computer wasn’t cooperating with me yesterday so I am starting this today, Thursday morning, a lot earlier than I am usually reasonably functional. Thank goodness Daniel keeps us in coffee here at Sorry State.

Rachel mentioned the other week how she keeps finding gems deep in the bins here at SSR and last week was no exception for me. I went thumbing through the compilation section (I love a good comp) and pulled my pick for this week out of there. It had been here for over six months, giving folks plenty of opportunity to snag and so I didn’t feel too bad about buying it.

It’s from 1980 on Optional Music and called Can You Hear Me?

For those of you that do not have this killer record in your collection already, please allow me to give you the run down. Basically, a live document of San Francisco punk bands recorded at the Deaf Club during 1979 featuring Dead Kennedys, Offs, Mutants, Tuxedo Moon, K.G.B. and Pink Section. Initial reaction? Wow! What a fantastic document of a nascent local scene. The sound quality is awesome too, a rarity in cases like these and it comes with a great insert telling the story. I’ll basically crib from that as they pretty much said everything that needs to be said.

The San Francisco Club For The Deaf was located in the Mission District and at the time used to rent out their space to interested parties for $50 a night. Offs manager Robert Hanrahan happened across the place and went up the stairs to investigate. Fast forward a few weeks and on Saturday night, December 9th, 1978, the first party took place with Offs, Mutants and On The Rag playing. Admission was $2. Throughout the rest of 1979, a series of events and gigs were held. The list of bands that played there is like a who's who of punk and underground groups from the time and is too long to list here. Because the shows were essentially unadvertised other than posters and flyers distributed locally and amongst the scene, the Club remained underground and as the liner notes state, the weekend punk imitators didn’t get the chance to take over. Apparently, though, the main problem was from the locals who were not impressed by the punk invasion of their territory. Trouble came from neighborhood tough guys trying to start fights and other locals calling the cops and making noise complaints. This did cause the odd temporary closure and the eventual end of the club for good towards the end of that first year. Short-lived but to anyone that attended any of the nights the place remains almost mythical. To quote Jello Biafra, “The magic of The Deaf Club was its intimate sweaty atmosphere, kind of like a great big house party. The club remained raw to the very end…”

I think any of us who has spent time going to underground shows and events knows exactly what he means. You can’t beat the vibe of house party gigs and the like. Am I right Bunker Punks? Back when I was in England in the late 90s, my friends and I hosted several parties in off the path venues and the like. We found social clubs that had rooms to rent and hopefully had a license to sell booze. We hosted in a Rowing Club and ended up getting banned from there and a couple of other places when the parties got too popular and loud. Ha ha. Good times.

You should be able to find a copy of this document easily as a quick glance at Discogs saw several copies for sale and not too expensive either. You should snag one for under $20. Try to get one with the insert though as it does have some good photos and other quotes and information, including the full list of all the bands that played there.

Listening again, I like all the contributions from the bands included. Everyone brings it. Dead Kennedys and Tuxedo Moon were the two main names I knew but I am happy to get some material from the others also. In particular Offs, whose 7” single covering The Slickers’ Johnny Too Bad, which has been on my want list for a while. That 45 is a cool double sider with the song 624803 on the flip if you ever see it. Unfortunately, these two songs are not on the Deaf Club LP but there is footage of them playing the club which I’ll leave a link to here. It’s worth watching to get an idea of the place and see the faces in the crowd. There are one or two that you may recognize.

Another interesting note for me was hearing the voice of the DJ who introduces the bands. Its Johnnie Walker, spelled Johnny on the record. He was an English radio DJ who began his career on pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline in the 60s before joining the BBC and Radio One. He fell out with the BBC after calling the Bay City Rollers “garbage” on air and moved to the US for a few years, ending up in San Francisco on local station KSAN. Kudos to him for ingratiating himself into the local underground scene. He did eventually return to the UK and back to Radio One, rejoining in 1987.

Okay, that’s all from me for this week. Thanks for reading. Go listen to this comp and find yourself a copy. You know it makes sense. Here’s a clip of the Kennedys doing Police Truck to whet your appetites. Dig in.

https://youtu.be/Cn8gJgft8

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


This write-up will be brief, as I’m sure you don’t need to read here to know about this killer 12” Sorry State has just released by Golpe!!! There has been some serious delays in the pressing, but alas they have arrived... and they look and sound amazing! This band is amazing. I’ve been anticipating the release since late last year. If you keep up with my staff picks, you probably know I am a sucker for “classic” sounding shit, or bands that play with an obvious homage to Discharge. Golpe is not that; they sound modern as hell, but in the absolute best way. The slow parts are not tough, and the fast parts feel like I’m on a roller coaster clinging for my life. Golpe is actually just one person named Tadzio, from Italy. I was obsessed with a previous project he had called Komplott. It is similar to Golpe in a way, but it is much more straight-forward and raw. Definitely worth checking out if you dunno it! Alright that’s all for now, back to mailorder.


The Guild Of Funerary Violinists: The Art Of Funerary Violin

I’m having a hard time figuring out what to write about. Most of my recent acquisitions have been $1 and based on cover art alone and I feel like I’ve talked about the bargain bins enough. Y’all know I spend a lot of time there. I went digging through my own shelves... they’re getting a lot of neglect because I’m still buying way too many records now that I work at a record store. I pulled out one of my favorite things I’ve gotten this year to jog my writer’s block. Maybe it’ll help.

We had a copy of this in the back of the classical section and I didn’t find it until we sold it on Discogs and pulled it for some other lucky asshole. I added it to my Discogs want list, posted it on Instagram, ya know #sadgirlshit. That’s how I found out my old boss, now a friend, owner of Holy Mountain Printing hand screen printed the sleeves for the first pressing of this release, like the one I just packed up for someone. Like, he himself probably pulled the ink on the copy we had in store. If you know anything about Holy Mountain now, you know Danny is way too busy running his cool ass empire to be near ink so it was cool to see something in the wild from the old days.

I attribute this to my now borderline obsession to dig through all the odds and ends at the store when I can. This record remained ‘the one that got away’ for so long. Lo and behold Danny is the perfect gift giver and gifted me the copy from his personal collection for my birthday this year. I’ll admit I didn’t listen to the record in the store before I shipped it and I didn’t search for a recording online... honestly I didn’t care; I knew I’d love it and I needed it. When I put on the copy I got, I think I listened to it at least three times in a row.

I love instrumental music and I love creepy shit and the violin pieces on this record are haunting and mesmerizing. It also unlocked a memory I forgot from high school: an instrumental, string heavy album I downloaded from some blog and listened to until I lost the files. I’d forgotten about it and how much I loved it until this record reminded me of it. Disemballerina’s self-titled album is a fucking masterpiece and I’m so glad I found it again.

Here’s a link to my favorite track on The Art of Funerary Violin and the one that reminded me of what I mentioned above.

And here’s Disemballerina’s 2010 album that was in the recesses of my mind and now hasn’t left my speakers in a long time...

 


American primitive guitar, field recordings of frogs and some coolass organ drones… this new Daniel Bachman double LP is CHILL AS FUCK. I feel like I just woke up in a crystal store after mismanaging my microdoses. I mean, look at that cover! If it doesn’t scream “HOMEMADE SOAP” I don’t know what does. An A+ Appalachian “Pure Moods” zoner for sure. It also serves as a neat soundtrack for the new Legend of Kansai Hardcore book from the folks over at F.O.A.D. Boy, they sure did wrangle up some cool interviews and pictures for this thing. Did you know Cherry from Zouo was once roommates with Glenn Danzig? As my teenage nieces would say: NO CAP! I don’t think SSR is stocking this record OR book, but you should write ‘em nasty messages on social media until they come around. Peace, friends!


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