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SSR Picks: May 6 2021

Daniel

While I have a big record collection, I work diligently to keep it in order. I see a lot of collections as part of my job, and some of them come to resemble hoards more than collections. My attitude is that I try to be thoughtful about the analog media I bring into my life, but I give myself free rein to hoard digital photos, documents, and especially music. I have hard drives upon hard drives full of rips and downloads, more music than I could listen to in ten lifetimes.

While our buddy John handles it every other day of the week, on Fridays it’s my responsibility to take Sorry State’s mail to the post office and the DHL depot on the far edge of Raleigh. This means I spend a lot of time in the car, and since it’s Friday, I’m usually feeling ready for the weekend. Especially during springtime, I like to blast music with the windows down and enjoy some time when I’m not staring at a computer or stressing about some issue or another. With such a big digital music library, I like shuffle mode, but I prefer to shuffle full albums rather than individual tracks. While Apple removed the album shuffle function from their music app a long time ago, there’s an app called Smart Shuffle that restores that functionality.

Here are a few things that came up on album shuffle while I was driving around last week. Recurring feature? Maybe?

In School: Cement Fucker 7” (Thrilling Living, 2016)

What. A. Ripper. I loved this 7” when it came out, and five years later it sounds even better to my ears. In School’s music was so dense and complex that I think it went over many people’s heads at the time, but it’s so angry and raw. Nowadays I hear more bands taking influences from the quirkier end of the 80s hardcore spectrum, but In School was already nailing the tightly sprung rhythms and intricate guitar/bass dynamics of the early Die Kreuzen material. This is such a killer record.

D.L.I.M.C.: July Cassingle (self-released, 2015)

D.L.I.M.C.’s series of cassingles were blowing up on YouTube around five years ago as well, and this is another one that still sounds great to me. I don’t know much about D.L.I.M.C.; I believe it’s a solo project from Mark Winter of Coneheads / CCTV, but aside from Discogs, I don’t have any info to verify that. Anyway, what I like about D.L.I.M.C. is that it has a lighter, breezier tone than Coneheads or CCTV. The project reminds me of the Dead Milkmen, particularly the way the vocals and lyrics are the focal point, which contrasts a lot of the other music I listen to, where riffs are the focal point and vocals and lyrics can feel like an afterthought. Speaking of lyrics, “Fest Punk” is great, the kind of spot-on, sarcastic critique of the punk scene you don’t see enough of these days.

Heresy: 20 Reasons to End It All CD (Toy’s Factory, 1992)

20 Reasons to End It All compiles several vaguely non-canonical Heresy releases: the Whose Generation EP, 20 Reasons to End It All (which itself is a comp of two BBC sessions), and Live at Leeds. Napalm Death’s Peel Sessions LP was my last staff pick, and Heresy also benefitted from the BBC’s habit of bringing non-commercial music in for high-fidelity recordings. Some people prefer Heresy’s earlier material, but I’ve always loved the later stuff too. While the material isn’t as immediate (and is pretty all over the place stylistically), the dodgy recordings that plagued their earlier releases aren’t as much of an issue.

Jeff

What’s up Sorry Staters?

I’m gonna try to keep this one short and sweet, but y’all need to hear about this record!

Last week, we got in 2 new releases from Alonas Dream Records, a label that usually reissues a lot of punk and hardcore from the greater Chicago area. Initially, because the Assault & Battery LP was so mesmerizing, my tunnel vision diverted my attention away from the OTHER killer record that came in.

Evil I was a band from the Chicago suburb of Lombard, IL. It seems like their existence as a band was a short-lived, because as far as I can tell, not much is known about them. This LP that Alonas Dream just put out is a recording from 1983 that was originally only released on cassette. The tape seemed to have poor circulation, mainly distributed by the band at gigs. At first I wasn’t so sure about the bright orange cover art… I found it a bit off-putting, but I decided to give this record a listen anyway. And DAMN, the moment I dropped the needle on this platter I was blown away! This recording is one of those unsung hardcore gems that I imagine if it had been released on vinyl back in the 80s, it would probably fetch big bucks these days.

Charmingly and somewhat humorously titled Official Bootleg, this collection of tracks just has so many elements that I love in my hardcore. The vocalist Carol is amazing and a huge part of the band’s sound. Her vocal style kind of reminds me of Sin 34, but with so much more intensity that is sometimes tuneful and catchy, but still dripping with seething rage and character. That said, the music is amazing as well. The guitars are sonically dense and heavy, almost like SS Decontrol, but also the sound changes and morphs into a high-pitch, noisy tone that catches you off guard. Classic sounding riffs weave into noisy, chaotic moments that are certifiably Midwestern kinda like Mecht Mensch. Honestly though, these sections also bring to mind the most disgusting and dissonant moments of Black Flag. But don’t let that comparison deter you, because for the most part Evil I plays raging fast. The band is so tight and has so many cool songwriting ideas where a charging hardcore song will be broken up with complicated punches and rhythms. I wish I had the vocabulary to convey what a crime I feel like it is that no one really knew about this band until now!

If you’ve been sleeping on Evil I, then you’re missing out. Do yourself a favor and check out this LP.

That’s all from me. Thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff

Eric

Green Day: You Know Where We’ll Be Found 12”

Alright, this is a fun one for me. Yada yada yada I’m a big Green Day nerd yada yada yada who cares, but I think there are a couple of neat anecdotes about this unofficial live record from Mind Control Records. For starters, the first set on this record is an acoustic set, and after a bit of research I discovered that this performance was part of the Bridge School Benefit Concert that was put on by Neil and Pegi Young. But something didn’t add up for me: the jacket for this record says this concert was in 1996, but their setlist included lots of songs from their album Nimrod which wasn’t released until 1997, and even (what I believe was) the live debut of the song “Warning” which was released on the album Warning in 2000. It seemed strange that a 1996 set would have so many unreleased songs. So, after a bit more research I found out that Green Day did not play this benefit concert in 1996; this is totally their set from 1999 (which I think you can find footage of online). The jacket has a typo, a pretty obvious typo, which seems like a big thing to miss! Maybe it’s intentional in order to throw off anyone who would object to the release of these songs because it’s an “unofficial” release? I don’t know, man. It’s also easy to believe that someone just fucked up.

One more cool thing about this performance is that I believe it was Jason White’s (Pinhead Gunpowder, etc.) first show with Green Day. Billie Joe introduces him as a friend who is playing with them that night right before they play “Warning”, and he has been a part of their live show (for the most part) ever since.

The second set is a classic loud Green Day set (not acoustic) at King’s College in London. The jacket says this concert was in 1996 too… Once again, not true, this concert was in 2000. In some of Billie Joe’s stage banter he even makes a joke about Napster and Metallica (y’all remember that, right?). Once again, seems like a really big thing to miss when laying out the credits and details on the jacket, but whatever.

Overall, I don’t care for listening to live records except for Green Day and The Ramones. You can really hear the intensity of their live show, even on wax. And if anyone has ever seen Green Day (especially back then) they always had some sort of whacky stage banter or crowd interaction. This record ain’t for everyone, but as someone who collects any all Green Day, I dig it 100%.

Dominic

Greetings everyone in Sorry State land. Sorry we missed you last week, but we got buried in work and work for us means records and that means good news for you guys. Whether it be through our webstore or in person at the store, there is a ton of great shit available and in styles and price points to suit almost everyone. The racks are heaving.

These past few weeks have had me listening to a lot more Jazz than normal with April being Jazz Appreciation Month and this past Friday being International Jazz Day. Sorry State has always had a good jazz section and it is nice to see these records sharing breathing room with all the punk and metal that the store is known for. Doctor D has always been making good connections over the years, and a series of great collections has come through the store. Locals like myself were treated to seeing hen’s teeth rare slabs alongside good solid staples whenever we went in. This tradition has continued since I have started working there. We have had so many killer records pass through it really is awesome. In addition to the high-ticket items, there is a good middle ground selection and the bargain bins always reveal a nugget or two for those prepared to bend a knee. Definitely keep your eyes and ears open for news of a very deep and cool jazz and soul collection coming soon but, in the meantime, get yourself down to the store and have a rummage. We put out a good collection of soul, jazz and r & b titles that won’t break the bank with particular focus on late 70s and early 80s era releases.

That being said, my pick this week is not soul, jazz or even psych, but a good ol’ slab of ’77 punk. For the past few weeks, in between everything else, I have been giving a good rinse to a record that Jeff turned me on to one day in the store. It’s Raxola and their self-titled LP from 1978 on Philips. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard it before, as it is exactly the type of punk/rock ‘n roll record I love. Just another reason working at Sorry State is so damn cool.

All you seasoned punks out there are likely very aware of Raxola, but briefly, here are some details. I won’t try to come off as all knowledgeable on this one as I only just discovered them. Raxola, standing for Revolution Axis Open Lights Ahead, were from Brussels, Belgium and formed in 1977 by guitarist Yves “Eef” Kengen. He had previously been in proto-punk band Bastard alongside Brian James who by this time was off doing a similar thing with The Damned. Raxola’s sound is total 1977-1978 punk in all the best ways. They, along with The Kids and Hubble Bubble, were one of the first local Belgian bands on the punk scene to record an album. Not an opportunity so easy back then. If you dig The Kids (why wouldn’t you?) then there is plenty to love about the Raxola album. In fact, if you like pretty much any punk band active during that golden period, you will love this record. I hear the aforementioned The Damned, early Wire – especially vocally, The Undertones, The Saints, The Heartbreakers, the list goes on. Raxola sits comfortably with any of these guys, and I feel like a total newbie for only having just discovered this record. If you are like me, we can be slightly forgiven as originals of the album have been rare and pricey for a good while now and reissues didn’t appear until the late 00s. The version I grabbed was the 2017 pressing by Veals & Geeks on pink vinyl. Nice.

Most of the tracks stick to the classic two-minute pop format but there are a couple of longer cuts and in particular the song Thalidomide Child, which clocks in at over six minutes. This song is noticeably different and almost sounds like an American group from the Mid-West or something. Much darker and twisted. That song closes side one and when you flip over to side two and the song Anxious begins, you may again hear familiar reference points both contemporary and future. Second to last track, I Can’t Sleep, is the other tune to go over the three-minute mark and in the music, I hear a strong Wire type sound. Closer, Am I Guilty, wraps everything up superbly and again, could have been a song from the first Wire or Damned LPs. I don’t know, but this whole record sounds like the blueprint for so many bands that came after and I wonder whether it was influential or not. You always hear in interviews bands talking about seminal records that shaped them and informed them, so I am interested to know where copies of Raxola ended up in the years after its release.

The band reformed a couple of times over the years and released a second LP back in 2017. Visit Raxola.net for more information.

Anyway, I sure am grateful to Jeff for putting this on the turntable that day and I heartedly encourage you to seek out a copy for yourselves if you are like me and new to them and to take a listen on the old internet. Thanks for reading and happy listening.

-Dom

Usman

Yo what up,

Daniel decided not to do the Newsletter last week, which is cool with me cos I was so overwhelmed with all the Rudimentary Peni orders I woudnt’ve even known what to write about. I think Daniel was swamped with Rudi P too and that’s why he wanted to skip, rather than having a sub-par Newsletter. I’m not kidding, including wholesale I have shipped out around 1,000 copies. And that’s just me. Jeff and Daniel have shipped out a shit ton, too. Ahhh...

I got into punk like age 13, middle school. I’m pretty sure The Casualties were the very first “hardcore” band I ever heard. Being young and so new to punk, I didn’t understand the cliques in “the scene.” At that age my listening sessions would include my Circle Jerks, Minor Threat, Casualties, A Global Threat, Discharge, GBH, Antischism, Dead Kennedys, Rudimentary Peni and Crass CDs. It’s funny how some of that stuff I almost never listen to anymore and some of the stuff I still listen to on an almost weekly basis. I still have every one of those CDs. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of the booklets anymore. When I was about 15 my parents were completely fed up with my punk shit. My dad came into my room with trash bags, ripped all my posters off the walls and stuffed ‘em into the bags with all my clothing and CDs. He then took it all outside and lit that shit on fire. Haha that sounds kind of insane, like a movie. I hated them for a long time after that. I remember crying and yelling at him like, "You think this is gunna change who I am?!?!!" Look at me now...I was lucky that all my actual discs were in one of those CD binder things, so they were safe from the fire.

I’m pretty sure Antischism was my doorway into Rudimentary Peni, with their cover of Sacrifice. I do remember that the first Rudi P song I checked out was Cosmetic Plague. It’s insane that they can have a song that plays the same fucking riff the entire time and it still sends chills down my spine to this day. That is my favorite Rudimentary Peni song. In the lyrics, Nick Blinko addresses what the real, deep-rooted issue is with humanity. And then he even explains how to overcome this behavior. With what seems like simple wording, he delivers extremely complex concepts and understandings. It blows my fucking mind he would shout like a mad-man like that and still have the ability to play guitar.

I guess my Staff Pick isn’t actually directed at an album in specific this time, although I have a lot of anticipation for the Death Church reissue coming out next on Sealed Records. I originally picked up Death Church and Cacophony on CD at the same, with some of CDs I listed earlier. It was my first time at a record shop; unfortunately I can’t remember the name. And even more unfortunately, I bought the damn CD versions cos I didn’t start buying records for another handful of years. Ironically, my dad was cool enough to buy me those CDs that day (I don’t think I had a job quite yet, haha but my dad did demand I get a job at age 13 cos that was the earliest age you could legally work at in Indiana at the time.)

Cacophony fucked me up. It was like too “scary” for me, haha. It certainly grew over time, but I don’t throw it on as often as other records they did. Death Church instantly drew me in. While I have been a Rudi P fan for over 15 years, regrettably I don’t have a whole hell of a lot of their record pressings. Discharge was like that for me for a while. The records were so commonly found that I just kept putting off getting myself a copy. Luckily I do have all those now, but I only had both Rudi P EPs and a bootleg of Death Church (until the other day!). I was talking to Daniel sometime in the past year and discovered the first pressing of Death Church came in a fold-out sleeve. It killed me that I didn’t have this, and it killed me even more that even I didn’t know this already. Haha and I died again when I saw what price they go for now. If I would’ve just grabbed one ten years ago, or even just five years ago... I expected to wait a really long time, or end up having to pay out the ass to secure myself a copy. But I can’t even tell you how lucky I was to find this first pressing recently for about a 1/3 less than it goes for now, and it was already in the US.

Alright, I’m not really talking about much of any importance, so let me touch on these links below to wrap it up. Please click the first link and watch. I’ve watched so many times. It is so fucking funny. I love Nick Blinko, and seeing footage of him is rare enough as it is. The second link is really fucking cool, I’m sure a lot of people have heard it though. It’s an interview that took place just before Cacophony was released with a person from the US and Grant the bassist of Rudi P. You’ll hear some cool info about the band, as well as some “rumors” debunked (some of the rumors I had never even heard haha.) It was really fucking cool to hear they went to a Discharge gig and decided to start a band. Thanks for reading my friends, much love. ‘Til next time...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nexBhIsVfQ

Rachel

Patrick Magee: Selections from The Marquis De Sade

This, um, might be a weird one. I’ve been going a little Discogs crazy, and it led me to do something I’ve made fun of in the past: pick up a sealed record without the intention of opening it. I found this record with a selection of the Marquis De Sade’s writings and smashed that buy button way too fast; I couldn’t say no to a sealed copy! Let me explain myself, though, because I’m sure those of y’all that recognize his name are wondering why I’m writing about him.

(For those of you that don’t know him, the Marquis De Sade is the namesake of the word “sadism.” He was a French nobleman and writer in the 1700s who was known for his radical views on sex, violence, and religion. His writings are as bad as you’d expect; full of non consensual acts, degradation… ya know, the works. Maybe you were a weirdo in high school like me and sought out the most fucked up media you could consume and it led you to the Italian movie 120 Days of Sodom that’s based on, yep you guessed it, De Sade’s writing.)

Why would I bring this up? Why am I admitting to buying that record as soon as I saw it on Discogs? I mean, I’ve already admitted an undying love for My Chemical Romance and country music, why not keep it going? I watched the 1975 movie based on De Sade’s writing in high school and had to find out more about the mind that created it. I was interested in him in the same way John Wayne Gayce and Richard Ramirez interested me...how could someone that fucked up exist? Fast forward to junior year of college and studying abroad in a tiny, idyllic village in the south of France, one of only two abroad options my college offered, and finding out two weeks in that castle ruins at the top of the town housed none other than De Sade himself. I had no idea when I applied to the abroad program and only realized after teachers kept making jokes about his writing not being available in the school library.

Okay, anyways, I keep going on tangents. Back to what I was originally saying. I found this record from 1965 where the actor/director Patrick Magee reads some of Marquis De Sade’s work. I didn’t really think twice about purchasing a sealed record; it was the best price and grading combo. I’ve bought a ton of sealed records for the same reason and have had no qualms ripping open that shrink and putting the record on my player. But not this one. Do I really want to sit there and listen to Marquis De Sade’s writing? I’m not sure.

The back of this record touts De Sade as one of the greatest minds of all time, ignored because of the subject matter he wrote about. That... makes me want to listen to the record even less. I’m glad I own another weird facet of history, but I can’t say I condone De Sade as one of the greatest writers of all time and all that jazz. You can write as fancy as you want, but horrible things are still horrible things. And, holy shit, did he do some horrible things (pun not intended but, I’m definitely going to point out that it’s there).

Rich

I wonder how many times you’ve already read the words “Electric Chair” in this newsletter? Five? Ten? Twenty? (Note: how about zero? We ran out of stock on these so fast that I decided we’d wait until the repress arrives to heap on the much deserved praise. —Daniel) You’re probably all real smart cookies who skipped straight to MY section, so I’ll just assume this was the first.

Anyway, Electric Chair… the Olympia band… let’s talk about ‘em. The four-piece’s first EP, “Public Apology,” dropped via the Stucco label in 2018. The sleeve had a cute little drawing of a masked executioner pulling a power switch, and the record within boasted the most convincing take on early 1980s American hardcore we’d heard in a minute. Jerry’s Kids, Final Conflict (MN), Adolescents… it was all in there. The music was tough, but it was catchy as hell, and it was PUNK. Opener “Roll the Dice” may even be the best PUNK song released in the past decade. It still gets stuck in my head at least once a week. Great shit!

Then, in 2019, Electric Chair got picked up by vanguard monolith Iron Lung Records for its “Performative Justice” EP. The band went with a snazzy full-color sleeve this time (a real-life punk hand pulling a power switch) and upped the production a bit from “Public Apology”’s suitably rough basement-quality sound. The group got faster and snottier, too. Poison Idea became a much bigger point of reference, and so did The FU’s. Basically, it was REAL RAGIN’. I saw the Chair perform at the Bunker (RIP) here in Raleigh around this time, and boy howdy was it awesome. The band nestled in that sweet spot between slop and precision that made everyone in the room come ALIVE. Man, what I wouldn’t give to be back in that room right now.

So, now it’s time for Electric Chair’s much-anticipated third EP. It’s called “Social Capital” and was also released by Iron Lung. I have it on the desk in front of me, but I haven’t listened to it yet. It looks cool. It’s shiny. And, of course, there’s another power switch being pulled by a punk on it. Oh, and hey, there’s a fancy foldout lyric sheet, too. Check out that cool poster side with band pics! It’s a buncha street toughs poking holes through a pretty orange wall with their own body parts. OH MY!

I’ve purposefully avoided listening to this thing until I could get a hard copy on the turntable. The anticipation has grown too large. How can they possibly do it again? I’m dropping the needle now. BOOM. (my head exploded)


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