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SSR Picks: October 7 2021

This week I don’t have a staff pick for you as such, but I thought I’d still check in and let you know where my head is at. One reason I don’t have a staff pick is because I’ve been so busy with Sorry State stuff I have had little time to do anything but work. With the new Scalple, Lasso, and Cochonne releases keeping us busy, plenty of new distro stock coming in, and coordinating upcoming projects and the day to day work around here, I’ve been left with very little of what feels like my own time. While I feel overwhelmed, I’ve been working to keep myself from getting stressed out, spending a little time each morning prioritizing what I need to do each day and trying not to beat myself up if I don’t get to every single thing I planned to. That’s always a struggle as this type of self-imposed pressure is often the fuel that powers me to run that extra mile, but I think I’m doing OK.

One thing I made time for this week is getting outdoors. Here in North Carolina, the weather is unbearably hot between June and September, and everyone is too hot-natured to get outside much once the weather cools from November to March. That leaves a brief window in spring and fall when you try to get outdoors as much as possible. I can’t imagine living somewhere like Southern California or Italy where the weather is pleasant all year long… it seems like everyone would just waste the days away, confident there’s another one that’s just as good coming a few hours later.

I try to walk a few miles each day, usually on the trail by my house. I walk down the hill to the Neuse River, where the trail winds along the fast-moving river, crosses a bridge over Crabtree Creek, then empties into a park, Anderson Point, with a pleasant mix of manicured and wild spaces. I have a bunch of favorite spots along the trail. Of course, the bridge is a highlight. While the sight lines aren’t great (the thick steel railings are chin-high), if you stand on your toes or climb up a little, you can see a long stretch of river, and when the water is clear enough (maybe 50% of the time), you can see lots of fish. Sometimes I see a big creature—I think it’s a river gar—that’s 6 or 8 feet long. There’s also the beaver damn, which walls off an area that can be a large pond or bone dry depending on how much rain we’ve had, and the wildflower areas in the park, which attract an extraordinary number of butterflies, dragonflies, and other insects.

Usually I listen to music on large, over-the-ear headphones when I’m taking my walks, but lately I’ve been carrying the headphones more than wearing them. They’re hot, which inhibits my enjoyment of the weather. Sometimes I’ll go months without taking them off, and whenever I remove them for the first time in a while, I’m struck with how noisy and alive the area is. The sounds that stick out most are the birds calling to one another high in the trees. I think I heard something on the radio a while back about how the forest canopy is its own very unique ecosystem, which has prompted me to daydream about what it would be like to wander around up there.


What’s up Sorry Staters?

So this week, I’m tempted to go ahead and write about the new Quarantine LP, cuz for my money, it could easily end up being the best record of the year. I need to take a copy of the LP home and really dig into it to write something proper. I know my fellow Sorry State staff feels similarly, so I’m sure we’ll all gush about it next week.

Before I write about records or anything I’ve been listening to this week, I wanna acknowledge the gig coming up in Asheville this Saturday. If you’re in the greater NC area, I will obviously encourage you to try and make it if you can. The mighty Warthog are coming down from New York, and I’ll be pulling double duty on guitar in both Public Acid and Scarecrow. Even with my lingering anxieties about covid, Public Acid has already played some cool gigs this year – BUT this will be Scarecrow’s first gig in our home state in well over a year, so I’m stoked on that. It’s at a place called the Grey Eagle, which I know nothing about but I’ve heard is a cool ass venue. Hope to see some of y’all punks there.

Between getting ready for the upcoming gigs and all the energy that we’ve been putting into the hot new releases on Sorry State coming out for pre-order over the last week or so, I want to keep my blabbing to a minimum this week. I’m exhausted. But hey, what else is new? I really wanna talk about this Lasso record. I think Scalple and Cochonne both kick ass, but I already had some familiarity with those bands, both musically and also with the people involved. If I remember correctly, Lasso from Brazil reached out to Sorry State out of the blue to have us check out their new recordings. Daniel had me take a listen to see what I thought. I couldn’t have been more than a few songs deep, and I remember thinking, “Dude, we have to put this out!” I just remember being super impressed with the ferocity but also how tight and interesting the music sounded. The guitar stuff is right up my alley because it has that dissonant, leftfield melodic chording that always scratches my Die Kreuzen itch. It reminds me a lot of what I was (probably unsuccessfully) trying to nail in one of my previous bands Vittna. I wouldn’t exactly say Lasso has any gothy vibes, but their music does hit these moments of eerie, otherworldly discomfort that makes you grit your teeth. But for all their moments of abnormality, this record is 8 tracks of all-out aggression. The drums are absolutely pummeling, the vocals are throat callusing… And I’m not even saying you have to be an open-minded punker to appreciate Lasso. But for all you Sorry Staters out there who are hesitating, get with the program. Lasso rips.

This record is still available for pre-order, but the limited version is almost gone! Don’t worry, the whole pressing is on beautiful yellow vinyl:)

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

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


Good morning, good afternoon and good evening to you all wherever you are. I hope this past week has been a good one for you. I don’t really have a proper staff pick for you this week as per usual I haven’t managed to get my act together and write anything worth your reading time. Writing is not my strong suit. However, I would like to briefly mention one record that came into my hands this week and it certainly is worthy of being a “staff pick” and your investigation. The record is Mesh & Lace by Modern English.

Released in 1981 on 4AD in the UK and through Beggars Banquet in some countries, the copy I have now is one of those and was pressed in Canada. Modern English came from Colchester, Essex in Southern England, the same town that would birth Blur a decade later and are of course most known for their worldwide hit I Melt With You. That song came from their second LP called After The Snow from 1982. Mesh & Lace was their first album and follows on from their first few singles in being a darker affair than their later work. Those singles and the first album are much more in the post-punk camp than new-wave and Mesh & Lace has more in common with the type of stuff Joy Division were making. It makes sense that the 4AD label would sign them.

I am not trying to front and say that I am a big Modern English fan. Like most I thought they were a one hit wonder band and did not give them much thought until a friend turned me on to Mesh & Lace. I bought the CD and hoped to come across the vinyl one day. It took way longer than I thought to finally own a copy. Amazingly, in over twenty years of looking, I had never seen a copy in the wild. This past weekend I was given an incredible surprise when Daniel told me that the incoming mail had a package for me. I opened it and it was a copy of the album. Daniel had found someone with a copy and bought it for me. How kind, thoughtful and totally rad is that? Seriously. Working at Sorry State already rules but when your boss does things like that for you it almost brings a tear to your eye. Thank you Daniel, you are the best.

Playing back the album this week from vinyl felt good. I hadn’t listened to it in ages, and I think it has held up very well. The sound is almost hipper and more relevant now than it was then. I have a couple of those early singles but still need their debut Drowning Man from 1979. That song is killer. So is Gathering Dust. If you ever see those whilst record shopping grab them. I myself might even dig into the bands later discography as I know there are some gems on the second and third albums. Perhaps you’ll join me?

Anyway, here’s a link to one of my fave tunes on Mesh & Lace to get you started or to remind you of how good Modern English were. This song is called Move In Light and is quite good.

Thanks for reading. Thank you Lord Lupton and I’ll see you next time.

Peace & Love - Dom


Hello, and thank you for reading my brief Staff Pick,

I have been anticipating the QUARANTINE LP since I heard the tape earlier this year. I wrote about it when we got copies, if you read that. ‘Agony’ is fucking insane. I don’t care what kind of hardcore you like, this record is for you. Buy it now, seriously. This is the best record I have heard a long while, straight-up. It’s not trendy, it is straight up not-give-a-fuck hardcore. The songs are so fucking good, often times I feel like I am listening to cover songs. Does that make sense? The songs are so well written, they seem familiar and perfect in this way that it feels like listening to a favorite cover song. It’s weird, I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt that way about a record before... does that mean I am gay? Buy it now. Or tomorrow I mean if you're reading this Thursday; its release date is Friday 10/7/31 and we have two monstrous distro stockpiles. Thanks for reading, ‘til next time... Oh shit, I guess should maybe tell you I’ve been fan-boying the fuck out of the drummer for years now.. I was so lucky he sent me a test press of this shit. I’ve been playing it non-stop since I got it. I actually made Daniel a tape dub too cos I was so obsessed haha. Anyway, my frequent and punishing questions to Chris, the drummer, eventually turned into me interview the vocalist (and song-writer) of QUARANTINE, Jack. I should have helli copies printed by tonite, so you can expect to find copies of that in your SSR mail-order!! Alright, cheers.


It’s finally the best month of the year! Of course I spend my days off trekking to Spirit Halloweens and driving around neighborhoods looking at decorations. This is the first year I’ve lived somewhere where I’ll be able to participate in Trick R’ Treating and give kids candy and I want to make it awesome! A while ago, a customer told me about how his mom would play haunted house sound effect records on Halloween to spook anyone that came to their door. I immediately started scheming and figured out how to do the same thing. I don’t think the jangly chains and creaking door sounds will scare today’s kids as much, but hopefully I can put together some decorations to scare the shit out of children. Don’t worry, we’re going to be a full size candy bar house so it’ll be worth the scares for the kids. I’ve been rooting around my collection and listening to a bunch of the Halloween records and decided to share some of my favorites.

Alfred Hitchcock: Ghost Stories for Young People

I mean, it’s a record with the master of horror. If you don’t play it in October, why even own it? My favorite part of this record is the beginning where Hitchcock sets the mood and asks you to turn the lights off. Spoooooooky! The stories are short, cheesy, and GREAT.

Cherny Berg & Gabriel Dell: Famous Monsters Speak

This was the very first Halloween record I got and it’s been on rotation throughout the years because it’s so entertaining. One side is Frankenstein, the other is Dracula. I’m such a sucker for things that pretend to be real and this record starts off with an introduction by a scientist, talking about how these monsters are ‘actually real’.

Goblin: Suspiria score

This needs no introduction (hopefully). Hands down one of the best and most iconic scores, it HAS to be played at any Halloween gathering.

Tales from Beyond the Pale: The Grandfather

I wrote about other TFBTP records way back when I first started. My favorite release from that label is hands down this one, though. It is TRULY freaky and so well done. Narrated by The Tall Man from Phantasm, if you don’t get shivers up your spine from this one, check your fucking pulse.

Various: Great Ghost Stories

CLASSIC. I love this record so much. The cover is great, the stories are cheesy… this is a perfect Halloween record.

Ghostly Sounds

This is the newest buy in my Halloween section. Grabbed it from a box at work with way more Halloween records (maybe coming to our bins soon...shhhh) and it does not disappoint. I started collecting Halloween records because of the art on the covers, but I quickly figured out that the sounds in the grooves are just as good. This one has all the classic sounds and will hopefully bring a good spooky ambiance to our house when the Trick R Treaters come by.


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