Click here to read about the covid-19 policies for our Raleigh shop.

SSR Picks: November 18 2021

Kohu-63: Valtaa Ei Loistoa 12” (Poko Rekords, 1982)

Unfortunately, I don’t have much historical background information on Finland’s Kohu-63 to share with you. Their first 7” came out in 1981 on the legendary Finnish label Poko Rekords, who also released a subsequent 12” EP and LP from Kohu-63 in 1982. The only other info I have about the band (this is from the Svart Records website) is that in 1983, shortly after the release of their first LP, their vocalist Lättä went to prison for manslaughter, which forced the band into an extended hiatus. They came back in the later part of the 80s and have continued releasing music ever since.

I first heard Finland’s Kohu-63 in the mid-00s, around when Sorry State first started. I used to do a lot more trading with labels back then, and I remember doing a big trade with Germany’s Höhnie Records. Höhnie is still reissuing great hardcore, including lots of Finnish stuff from the 80s (and Sorry State still carries their releases!). They were already deep into that game by the time Sorry State started, and trading with them is where I got introduced to many classic Finnish hardcore bands. While Kaaos, Bastards, and Appendix caught my ear immediately, I didn’t latch onto Kohu-63 right away. I think that’s because of the format of Sotaa 81/82, which compiles the EP I’m writing about today along with the band’s first EP from 1981 and their first LP, which also came out in 1982. That’s a lot of hardcore for one sitting, and while it’s all great, it’s tough for the ear to parse, particularly when it’s arriving in a giant box from Germany that’s also packed with a bunch of other classic records.

Kohu-63 had been filed away in my brain as a second-tier band until I came across this copy of Valtaa Ei Loistoa. I had the opportunity to buy a small stack of Finnish originals from the early 80s, and I threw in Valtaa Ei Loistoa because it was priced attractively. However, since that package arrived, Valtaa Ei Loistoa is the record I’ve listened to the most.

The common link between so many of my Finnish favorites (like Lama and Appendix) is the way they inject a hint of melody into their hardcore. You can tell the bands have listened to a ton of Discharge, GBH, and Exploited and they’re determined to match those bands’ intensity, but rather than Discharge’s over-arching sense of dissonance and doom, the aforementioned Finnish bands’ songs coalesce around brighter-sounding major keys and subtly melodic vocal lines. I wonder if that’s something that comes from Finnish popular or traditional music, because it feels like a trait that’s unique to Finnish punk.

Of my most-loved Finnish groups, Valtaa Ei Loistoa reminds me the most of Lama. Like Lama, Kohu-63 has a firm command of their instruments and plays with a level of precision that matches just about anyone in the worldwide punk scene. Also like Lama, Kohu-63’s songs here feel fleshed-out, not just sequences of bad-ass riffs, but effective compositions that pull the listener through them and keep them interested the whole time. Besides those Finnish classics, Valtaa Ei Loistoa also makes me think of great California hardcore records like Legal Weapon’s Death of Innocence, Bad Religion’s How Could Hell Be Any Worse, or Circle One’s Patterns of Force. I fucking love inept teenage thrash more than most people, but Kohu-63 is something different, bringing that sense of abandon to music that’s more sophisticated and composed.

I’m gonna keep my eyes peeled for more of Kohu-63’s original releases, but I’m not holding my breath. Svart Records did nice repro editions of this and Kohu-63’s first LP, Lisää Verta Historiaan, and while they are tough to find from stateside sellers, they shouldn’t cost you too much if you come across them. The reissue of Lisää Verta Historiaan even comes with the rare stencil insert! Oh, and anyone know what’s up with the last track on the record, where the band chants “Hanoi Rocks Barmy Army” to the tune of “Exploited Barmy Army?” I’m curious whether it’s an homage or mockery. I have no idea how Finnish punks viewed Hanoi Rocks at the time.


What’s up Sorry Staters?

It seems like every week when I sit down to write one of these things, I’m always still recovering from the previous weekend. But hey, I ain’t complaining! Becoming more active with playing music, particularly killer outta town gigs, is totally worth being tired over. This past weekend, Scarecrow rolled up to Philly to play Quarantine’s record release gig. Funny enough, 3 out of 4 members of Scarecrow account for a big chunk of Sorry State’s staff, so thanks to Dom and Rachel for holding down the fort. The show in Philly was a fuckin’ blast. Quarantine absolutely destroyed. Was so rad to go rip it up and chill with friends up there. This weekend, NC is finally having a local punk gig at our favorite venue, the Nightlight. Scarecrow is playing along with 2 brand new bands, each playing their first show! Definitely come out if you’re in the area.

Just the other day, we stocked some new titles from Finland. There’s a part of me that just wants to gush about how fucking killer this Yleiset Syyt 7” is, but I’m sure the rest of the SSR crew will have that covered. Instead, I wanna talk about this Pyhat Nuket reissue! A few months back, I wrote about the Michael Monroe solo record. Monroe of course is the frontman for Finnish glam legends Hanoi Rocks. I think I briefly touched on this in that previous newsletter… I think because Hanoi Rocks became one of Finland’s most notable musical exports in the 80s, they had a huge impact on the Finnish punk scene. When the mid-80s came around, Finnish hardcore legends Riistetyt morphed into a decidedly different direction under the name Holy Dolls. Holy Dolls functioned as an alias for the band as they would transition into becoming Pyhat Nuket.

Hanoi Rocks at their core were a traditional rock’n’roll band with punk attitude, taking clear influence from Johnny Thunders and the like. And even though they made great records, I think the band’s outrageous image and sense of fashion made just as big of an impact as their music. Hanoi Rocks’ record covers always had group photos of the band dressed to the nines with huge hair, looking cool as fuck. I’d be lying if I said Michael Monroe’s teased frenzy of a mop didn’t affect the way I do my stupid hair. Well you know, I’m somewhere between him and GBH or something. All this to say that when you look at the cover of Holy Dolls or Pyhat Nuket records, it’s clear they probably took a few style cues from the Hanoi boiz. Svart just reissued Pyhat Nuket’s first full-length Kuoleman Sotatanssi. It had been a while since I’ve jammed this LP. What struck me immediately is how much death rock and post-punk influences are incorporated into the band’s sound. Spooky vibes and chorus guitar, baby. The vocal stylings are definitely familiar from all the great Riistetyt records. The singer really makes good use of his echoed-out chicken squawks and banshee calls. There are a few songs that sound like the glammy influence is creeping its way in, but with extra Velveeta cheese-drenched synthesizers. On their records following this debut, Pyhat Nuket leans even harder into 80s-era production with electronic drums and more bad reverb. And of course, always increasing the amount of blush, lipstick and leopard print clothing.

To me, it’s really cool to hear a band rooted in hardcore punk, but then thinking about their drive to totally reinvent themselves and play different music. As much as I love Riistetyt records like Skitsofrenia or Nightmare In Darkness, I’m sure becoming Pyhat Nuket felt like a fresh dose of energy introduced into the band. I really think Kuoleman Sotatanssi is a cool record with some great songwriting, and still holds up even with some admittedly dated production sounds. If you’re looking for the glammed-out, gothy contingent of Finnish punk, then definitely give Pyhat Nuket a listen.

That’s all I’ve got. I’ve gotta go do my hair. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


Hey there everybody in Sorry State Newsletter land. I hope you all had a great week and are doing well. Here at Sorry State towers, we are busy preparing for Black Friday and the holiday season by having as many killer records available as possible for you our good friends. We hinted at a couple of great collections that we bought, and we are still out there buying more. There really is a lot of brilliant music that will hit the floor over the upcoming weeks. We are also still working our way through the Veola McClean estate collection, so tons of great Jazz, Soul, Blues and other curios from that are making their way to the store each week. The huge Indie-Rock collection we hauled up from Florida still has plenty of gems in it. Besides all the top tier titles, each collection usually ends up giving us a lot of great cheap and cheerful records for our bargain bins. So make sure when visiting the shop in person to bend a knee and look down because there is gold in those bins that won’t set you back more than a few bucks. We try to only put decent clean copies of records in our bargain bin, so you don’t have to think too hard. Clean copy, only $3, done deal. Of course, sometimes we’ll put out records that in better shape would fetch more but are perhaps compromised and that is a good way for you to get an expensive record at a good price if you can live with a less than perfect copy. And what is perfect? Is life perfect? Is it free of dirt and wear? Like the late John Peel once said, “life is full of pops and crackles”. Learn to embrace them and you’ll probably live a happier life. Having grown up only knowing records to listen to music I have become accustomed to hearing some crackle and the occasional pop. It doesn’t bother me unless the record skips or sticks or the surface noise is above the actual music. There are limits, of course. But the quest for a perfect copy has not necessarily been one that I feel the need to go on for every record I own. It’s funny listening to the recent generation who are getting into records and hearing them bitch and moan about pressings and stuff, but it makes sense if all you have been exposed to up to this point are digital copies of music that are clean and perfect. Rachel made us laugh the other day by sharing some comments from T. Swift fans who bought her latest and didn’t realize the record was pressed at 45 RPM and were wondering why they were hearing a man’s voice sing. Lol. That is too funny, but they just have not grown up with records and don’t know about speeds, etc. Some modern record buyers are not even getting a record for the music but just to collect the object. Hence all the variety of fancy color pressings that come out these days to appeal to the stamp collectors and completists out there. For me, it has always been about the music first and foremost and I’ll put up with wear and patina because I just want to hear the music. My collection is well cared for, but I have a good number of used records that are not in mint condition.

As anyone out there knows who has worked in a good record store, escaping with your paycheck intact is a difficult task. Contrary to popular myth, all the good stuff does not go to the employees. Now naturally we get first dibs, but you got to have some perks, right? A huge part of the joy of working here at Sorry State is being surrounded by so many great records and getting to hear things without having to own them. Sometimes you can scratch an itch or satisfy your curiosity and save yourself a few bucks. I also love that on those days when you might feel low, and shit is getting you down, often a record will just appear in view and be the right choice in that moment and be able to lift you in a way not much else can do. Case in point, I came to work in a bad mood today with the weight of life on my shoulders and just hearing the first two tracks from The Impressions’ Keep On Pushing album of which we have a pristine 1964 stereo copy of, made me feel much better and readjusted my attitude to a much more positive one. Thank you Curtis, Sam and Fred.

Perhaps the best perk of all for me is curating the bargain bins here at Sorry State and helping to keep them as full as possible with good, interesting titles that won’t cost you a fortune. I’ll admit a big chunk of my spending here goes on the cheap stuff I snag. This week I found two records which are good examples of the type of stuff that hits our floor. In truth, one was a record and the other just a cover for a record I had, but with a badly damaged cover. The cover was for an album by The Mirettes called Whirlpool that came out on Uni in 1969. They were a female soul trio who were originally Ikettes with Ike & Tina Turner. This was their second LP, and it’s a great Sister Soul-Funk album. A nice mix of up-tempo numbers and slower ballads, including a cover of Stand By Your Man. Standout tracks are the title Whirlpool and the lead cut Sister Watch Yourself. I found a copy that had decent vinyl but a very badly damaged cover some years back. The album is well known and sought after, and a nice copy could set you back $40-$50. I found the cover whilst processing a box of Miss Veola McClean records. It had a beaten up B.B. King record inside. So that was cool to pair it up with my record and now have a nice copy.

The second record I pulled was a gently used copy of a Three Degrees self-titled LP on Philadelphia International from 1973. Another female soul trio and this album was their breakthrough containing the international hit When Will I See You Again. They had been putting out singles since the early 1960s and had a full length on Roulette called Maybe that is great. That album has them doing a great cover of the song Collage by Joe Walsh. It’s been a good DJ track for me for ages. On this self-titled LP, along with the big hit there are plenty of nice examples of the very much in-vogue Philly Soul Sound, recorded at the famous Sigma Sound Studio and produced by Gamble & Huff. It sports a great fold open gatefold cover that shows the girls in some awesome disco outfits on the inside. You’ll have to look out for a copy because we might not be able to show the photo here. My favorite track is A Woman Needs A Good Man. Worth paying $3 for this track and the cover art alone.

So, there you go. Not really a staff pick but a couple of good examples of female soul by trios that if you love this type of music, I would highly recommend you seeking out, especially the Mirettes LP. Thanks for reading and keep on digging and supporting your local record stores. We appreciate you. Peace and love - Dom


The end of the year is upon us. In the nerd world, I feel like this is the best time to release a record. Why? The release is fresh in the minds of ‘critics’ so it increases your chances of ending up on a Top 10 list for the year. I feel like it’s always hard to remember what releases came out during the first few months of a year, unless you literally take notes (or don’t smoke weed?). I am trying to remember my favorites of the year this week, and it’s hard… I’ll have to go back through my Staff Picks really, as I have done all the work already haha. Anyway, what I am getting at is that I think this record from YLEISET SYYT is one of the best records that has come out this year! Nicky Rat (What up!!!) wrote me some time ago to see if we would like a few copies of the EP. With what I heard on the first song, I knew we could move more than just a few copies. I passed it on to Daniel, and of course his conclusion was the same as mine! We ended up getting copies from the Finnish label Open Up and Bleed Records. Nicky Rat’s label did a smaller UK pressing as well. It is legit upsetting that I did not know this band sooner. Unfortunately, I did not know this band until Nicky Rat dropped me the link.

YLEISET SYYT is from Finland. 80s Finnish punk/HC is probably my favorite shit on this Earth. I didn’t realize this for a long time… then one day I realized most of my records are from Finnish bands, and most of my favorite Japanese bands are playing Finnish worship. Of course I love Swedish hardcore, while English punk/HC is the foundation of it all for me (aside from the few USHC bands I got into early on). Anyway, this EP fucking hits the spot cos it sounds classic as hell and it grooves hard as fuck with memorable riffs. After I heard this EP, I excitedly checked out their previous EP that was also on Open Up and Bleed Records. Oh my god. It is so good. The sound is excellent. The bass is growly, but not like the sound of an enormous door slamming in the depths of hell. The guitars are kinda twangy, with lots of overdrive. It doesn’t sound digital like most modern distortions. The the kick drum is super punchy; you feel it instead of hearing it. The snare is fucking perfect, seriously. The drumming so good too. It’s incredibly locked-in, while occasionally breaking it up with some accented bits. This is a great EP with great song writing. Comparing this previous EP to the new one, the new one almost comes off ‘metal’ at times. With the drums punching and pummeling behind the guitarist occasionally playing some metallic/melodic leads, it comes off with this metal edge. Haha, don’t get me wrong though, this is not a metal band or release by any means!

Continuing reverse chronologically in the bands discography, I was very pleased to find out they have a 2017 full-length release. Going backwards in a band’s discography is always interesting. (I recently did the same thing for another ripping Finnish band, KOHTI TUHOA.) Hearing this full-length release was fucking awesome. Every song is interesting, and every song is good. I go on and on about how I like recordings to sound classic and shit, but this recording is quite obvious that it’s a modern recording. But I don’t care, the band sounds great. Honestly, hearing it was kind of refreshing after hearing the more fuzzy recordings they did after. I could hear everything clearly on its own, but still locked-in with the rest of the instruments. The band is just so damn good, and riffs keep my attention constantly. The drumming is fucking non-stop with cool and clever punches and catches. It’s funny just last week Jeff mentioned RATSIA covering BUZZCOCKS, but in their native Finnish language. Well, YLEISET SYYT lays a fucking Finnish-sung ANTIDOTE cover onto us on their full-length!! Fucking sick.

Alright on another quick Finnish note, PYHÄT NUKET’s debut LP has been re-issued on Svart! I wish I was at home, so I could give you a good nerding on the members of this band. Personally, I would not pick up this LP if it weren’t for the relationship to RIISTETYT. You know the Raped Future LP? The one that says HOLY DOLLS on it underneath RIISTEYT? If you don’t already know, PYHÄT NUKET translates to HOLY DOLLS, and this LP is an extension of just that. I don’t know the details of this full blown incarnation of the band, but I know for sure it’s the vocalist of RIISTETYT. I think it might be the guitarist as well? The band is not hardcore, so I would definitely check it out before you grab it if you haven’t heard this band or that RIISTETYT LP. Alright, thanks for reading.

Also, oh my god did you hear this yet? https://d4mtlabsinc.bandcamp.com/album/peace-on-earth

‘Til next week, peace!


Leave a comment