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SSR Picks: September 2 2021

This week I don’t have a pick for you as such. Instead, I want to use this space to talk about what a great time I had tagging along for Public Acid’s New York and Philly shows last weekend. I think we all struggled with the idea of going on the trip given the covid situation in the US seems to be getting worse rather than better, but now that everyone is back home and has negative test results I can breathe a sigh of relief and reflect on what a great time I had.

The shows themselves were awesome. I’ve been going to shows long enough to recognize when I’m seeing something special, that (usually fleeting) moment when a band is at the height of their powers, and that’s the feeling I get when I see Public Acid in 2021. In terms of their performances, Public Acid is a total force, and their three post-lockdown sets give me that feeling of the stars aligning, of a band playing the music people want to hear at the moment they want to hear it. PA’s sets both nights crushed, and people went off. These were perfect punk rock moments.

The other bands were also awesome. I got to see bands I already love (like Dark Thoughts and No Fucker, who sounded even better than they did the first time around), new bands whose recordings had already gotten me excited (80HD), and even get blown away by a band I knew nothing about (ICD10). I spend so much time listening to new releases that it’s tempting to think I know about everything going on in the punk scene, but even all the stuff that comes through Sorry State only scratches the surface of what punk and hardcore have to offer right now. I hope that, as the world opens up, more of you can reconnect with your local and regional scenes. And when you do, tell me who the good bands are so we can stock their releases at Sorry State!

Even more important than the music was connecting and reconnecting with so many humans I hold dear. First and foremost, I’m so appreciative of the time I got to spend with the people in Public Acid. Even small tours like this one can be stressful and can bring out the worst in people, but our time together was totally chill. Beyond the fun we had from moment to moment, it was great to strengthen and deepen these relationships. I also got to reconnect with people I’ve known for 15+ years (like Jesse from No Fucker and Zach from ICD10), have great conversations with people whom I’d only met briefly or corresponded with, and meet a bunch of new people too. I’m astounded by the number of people who took me up on my invitation in the last newsletter to come up and say hi. It made me so feel so good to know that not only do people read this thing, but they appreciate and value it too. Thank you so much to everyone who paid me and the band any bit of kindness this weekend, particularly the very special people who booked the gigs, put us up, and ensured we had a great time. And I apologize if I was weird or awkward to anyone… my energy level waxed and waned over the weekend, but I didn’t meet or hang with a single person who wasn’t cool as fuck.

So many times my conversations (with both new friends and old ones) turned to how much we care about punk. A year and a half without shows, as hard as it was, reminded me how much fun all of this is and how important it is to me. And as I get older—I turn 42 in a couple of weeks—I realize the punks are my people, my family. The NC punks are like siblings, and going to these larger shows is like visiting extended family or a gathering of tribes. I’m sure plenty of people think I’m a fool for dedicating so much of my energy to punk, but immersing myself in the community this weekend made me feel great about the life I’ve carved out for myself.


What’s up Sorry Staters?

As some of you may know, this past weekend I hit the road with Public Acid to play in both NY and Philly. It was a blast. Met some cool people, caught up with some old friends, heard some rad bands and also picked up some records along the way. Thanks to all the other folks in Public Acid, the homies Merm and Daniel who were along for the ride, and all the people who helped with the gigs and put us up. After the whirlwind of this adventure, I think it’ll be nice to cool off on gigs for a while.

One person I ran into in NY was Jesse, who used to play in Extended Hell as well as many other killer punk groups over the years. He hooked us up with a few copies of the brand new 7” by his new band Suffocating Madness. I was itching to check this record out when I got back from the trip. No surprise, this thing rips.

While I’m sure the Swedish riff masters of yesteryear are owed a small debt, Suffocating Madness sounds even a bit more vintage hardcore than other bands I’ve listened to on the Roach Leg label. This EP sounds raw and dirty but still punchy and warm, not like a dumb noisy, tin can raw punk recording. I would not be surprised if the dude who’s been recording all the stuff for Active-8 recorded this session as well. There’s a specific analog sonic signature that I feel like I’ve noticed with recordings done at this studio. Everything sounds kinda pushed into the red, compressing beautifully with a warm, spongey, gritty texture. Sounds cool as hell. I don’t know if it’s due to the vocalist Pancho, but I can’t help thinking that Suffocating Madness kinda sounds like the early Varukers singles. In the midst of his barking, Pancho’s voice does hit some distinct pitches. It’s not like the vocals are sing-songy or “melodic” by any means, but I can’t help but think of the chanting of early UK hardcore. My favorite track on the EP is the last song “Disassociate”, which has some serious Motorhead riffage. Not sure if that’s what they’re going for, but some of the riffs in this song are pretty rockin’. The single-note, chugging riffs on this track hint at a minor key, which gives the song this moody, bleak feeling.

As I’m writing this, Sorry State does not have the Suffocating Madness 7”s available on our webstore. But the boxes of records have arrived at the store, and I plan on getting them up on the webstore by the time the newsletter goes out this week. Don’t sleep on this ripper!

That’ll do for now I think. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


Hi,

I’ve been fucking blasting music a lot the past 10 days or so. Maybe more? Maybe that seems silly to say cos this is something I used to do every single day but I have fallen out of the habit over the past year for a number of reasons... Anyway I think this means I’m in a good mood. Or maybe it means the opposite and I just don’t want to think about all the shit that stresses me out. My drive to work is about one hour, so I have plenty of time to think haha. I currently have only one CD in my van and it has been blasting on repeat. I been singing along too, even though I don’t really know any of the words. Oh side note if you care, I have been jammin’ with a band for sometime now. We have like five or six songs. I do vocals. It kinda sucks but the people are cool so whatever. Anyway, this compilation ‘I Thrash Therefore I Am’ introduced me to some of my favorite bands of today. I remember picking this up simply cos it had Anti-Cimex on it. This was enough incentive to buy an unfamiliar record cos they were a band I had instantly fell in-love with. Who didn’t right? But I had never heard Mob 47 or Moderat Likvidation before. Man was I in for a treat. Don’t even get me started on Enola Gay and Existenz... these are some of the best tracks on this motherfucker. It’s a real shame that my young dumbass ears did not appreciate these two bands when I first heard the LP. They took me some time to warm up to. I think cos they don’t wear their Discharge “influence” on their sleeve like most Swedish bands I am obsessed with. I’m assuming most readers know but if you don’t, this compilation is actually a 12" reissue of a tape that came out in the ‘80s. The LP version doesn’t have all the tracks, while the CD version I been jammin’ actually has more tracks than the original tape. The photo up there is the back of the CD booklet. It’s similar to the 12" cover and the original tape cover, but with a lot more “color” hahaha... This photo below is the cover of the CD version. Bless whoever’s heart made the artwork to this shit. While the sound was improved, I think it’s safe to say the artwork was not. Alright thanks for reading, peace!


I spent last week (safely) traveling through the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. I spent 98% of the week busting my ass hiking up mountains and biking like over 50 fucking miles but I still somehow was able to spend a good amount of time looking at and thinking about records. I was unexpectedly able to spend a little under 24 hours in Seattle with a friend from high school at the end of the trip, so I spent much of my nights last week looking up record stores to go to. I would’ve easily and happily spent my time trekking from one side of the city to the other but my wallet, legs, and friend said otherwise. We hit some cool spots and I wanted to share a couple of the things I brought home with me!

Various: Israel Song Festival 1971 12”

Honestly can’t remember if I’ve mentioned the section of Jewish and Israeli records in my collection, but it is quickly growing and is equally nostalgic for me as it is informative. I grew up going to temple pretty regularly and while I had (have) my gripes with what I experienced, I always gravitated towards the music. This is a recording of the competition that started in the early 60’s that was a pre-competition of sorts for the Eurovision competition. I just looked all this up, I’ll confess. I have been finding other festival recordings of various genres and have loved all of them so I was excited to find this!

Beekeeper: Seafarer 7”

My first stop in Seattle, I’m sure this won’t surprise a lot of West Coast readers, was Singles Going Steady. My friend lived right around the corner which gave me ample time to look at all the odds and ends in the store. I found a few holes in my collection and had a lot of fun picking out some random 7”s based on cover art. Something about the name Beekeeper combined with the old photo caught my eye. After seeing it was made in 1992, I thought I had a good chance at liking it. It’s in a similar vein as some of the old radio copies I wrote about a few weeks ago; grainy, feedback-laden grunge type stuff that was well worth the few bucks.

Instängd: Mitt Svar På Ingenting 7”

New thing that keeps happening: not thinking twice about picking up old Sorry State releases at other stores. I had some great stuff to pick from at Singles Going Steady but opted for this 7” from 2007. I thought it was cool that it predates the store! If any of y’all haven’t dug through the Sorry State bandcamp, you’re missing out on some serious heat like this one.

Fuck the Facts: Die Miserable 12”

This band has had a special place in my heart after I saw them live at the (now dead, RIP) Jinx in Savannah while I was in college. It was such a POWERFUL fucking show, I can’t even remember who Fuck the Facts played with. I don’t have any of their releases on vinyl and can’t remember a time where I came across them in a store so I snatched this out of the bins quick as hell.

Arch Oboler: Drop Dead! An Exercise in Horror! 12”

I mean this screams my collection, I had to buy it. If I hadn’t worked so hard on my horror records during most of last year, I would’ve tried to buy way more in Seattle. It’s really cool going to a different city on a different coast and seeing how different their bargain bins are. I spent most of my time shopping in the bargain sections of various stores (who is surprised?) and instead of Grandma’s Collection of Country and Classical, there was a wide variety of international music, radio plays, and all my favorite types of oddball records to look through. This record, though, is already one of my favorites in my collection and I’ve only listened to it once. Bite size stories from every facet of horror; it’s absolute perfection.

Zulu: My People...Hold On/Our Day Will Come 12”

I didn’t get this in Seattle but it came the night I left so I couldn’t listen to it until today. THE ZULU RELEASES ARE FINALLY ON VINYL AHHHHHHH!!! And the packaging is stunning, with an awesome screen printed b-side. As of writing this, Sorry State has already sold out of the few copies we got so good luck getting your hands on it somewhere else!


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