Staff Picks: April 9, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

When I moved into my current home about a year ago I didn’t have a suitable spot to set up all of my stereo gear, so just hooked up a receiver and turntable in the living room. My partner and I listened to vinyl pretty much exclusively for the first 8 months we lived here, then for Christmas some of my friends chipped in and got me a Sonos Connect, so for the past few months I've also had streaming audio. For all of this time my CD and tape decks sat in a closet and my tapes and CDs (nuts) sat unplayed. This week I got a little stereo cabinet to hold all of my components, so I’m back to playing all formats. The first order of business is to go through this massive CD collection that Sorry State bought last summer.

If you’ve been paying attention to our used stock for the past year, you’ve seen that we’ve had a ton of compilation LPs. These CDs come from the same collection and are similarly heavy on compilations and reissue collections. The boxes of CDs have been sitting sealed in storage, so opening each box is like waking up on Christmas morning and getting a couple hundred CDs as a present. There’s so much I want to listen to, but here are the first three things I played:

Various: Cold Waves + Minimal Electronics CD (Angular)

My partner has a weird hatred of CDs, so I knew that I had to come out with some fire if I would convince her it was cool for me to be playing CDs regularly. This compilation fit the bill as she’s a huge fan of vintage post-punk and minimal synth. I put it on, and she was dancing in the living room within minutes. I wasn’t familiar with much of anything on this compilation, but everything here rules and fits the bill as vintage cold wave and/or minimal synth. Plus, since it’s a CD, there’s over an hour of music to go through!

Various: Messthetics #101 CD (Hyped 2 Death)

I was super excited to see a few Hyped 2 Death CDs floating around in the collection, and the first one I threw on is this Messthetics compilation. If you aren’t familiar with Messthetics, it was one of the first compilation series that I was aware of devoted to the UKDIY scene. While the regular Messthetics volumes featured songs in alphabetical order by artist, the 100 series is sequenced like a “best of” type of thing, and it’s all hits. I was familiar with a few of these bands (Scissor Fits, Homosexuals, The Door and the Window), but this thing is packed with bands and tracks I know nothing about. Awesome!

Various: Murder Punk Volume 2 CD (Murder Punk Inc)

I remember downloading the two volumes of Murder Punk in the late 90s or early 2000s, and even though I have official reissues of almost all of these tracks, it’s great to revisit this one. This is total bootleg quality—many of the tracks have audible surface noise from the vinyl—but it doesn’t matter because the music is so jaw droppingly great. There’s a reason original copies of these records command four figures… they’re that good! The News, the Scientists, Fun Things, Victims, Thought Criminals… fuck, what a lineup! There isn't a single dud here. Here’s hoping I find Volume 1 in one of the other boxes.

Staff Picks: Jeff

What’s up Sorry Staters?

Hope you all are remaining safe at home and still being thoroughly entertained by listening to record after record on a daily basis. I must admit that I do find myself getting a little stir crazy here and there. And what keeps my brain occupied? Buying new records, of course! Recently I got an order in the mail with a few 7”s, mostly 80s singles that aren’t too crazy, but moderately priced. A couple of the records I got are by Japanese bands that I would describe as being right on the brink of no longer being hardcore and moving into full-on metal. I find it so interesting that bands from Japan that were active in the mid-to-late 80s seem to be unashamed of blending metal influences into their hardcore. I think most would agree that Death Side is decidedly claimed by the punk community and welcomely accepted, but musically is topped by Chelsea’s shredding, metal-esque guitar leads… Kinda weird.

But anyway, one of the singles I got is by a band called Front Guerilla. According to Discogs, this 7” is their only release. The vocals kind of remind me of Power Never Die-era Comes, but beyond that, everything about this record pretty much screams metal. In particular, the way the band looks on the front cover. We’re talking leather, lace and big hair! It’s four songs, which are all pretty melodic, I would say, but super cool. Lots of chugga-chugga riffs and double kick drum. Definitely would recommend checking it out.

The other single is by a band called Doom, not to be confused with the UK band. The 7’ I got is entitled Go Mad Yourself, which appears to be their first proper release from 1986. Doom apparently self-describes their band as “psycho metallic fusion”, so I feel like that’s a good jumping off point for describing their sound. I’ve heard their full-length that follows this EP from 1987, which is definitely much more a straight up metal record. “Go Mad Yourself” I would say still has a foot in hardcore punk though, almost kind of in the same way that crossover bands do. They also seem to use the same grim reaper image as Sacrilege on their record layout. There’s a detectable “evilness” in the sound, kind of almost Slayer-ish riffs. Visually, the band also would paint their faces stark white along with “blood” red make-up dripping from their eyes. Kinda like Mobs, but more fucked up. Maybe proto-Visual Kei? Honestly though, the record just fucking rips.

Staff Picks: Eric

Damn La Vida Es Un Mus really knocked it out of the park with these releases.

Fried E/M: Modern World LP: Upon first listen I didn't love this record, but then I revisited it a week or so later and I can't stop jamming it. First off, it's a perfect recording (love the way every instrument sounds). It's a little eggy, but more than anything it's just snotty, apathetic, and punk as fuck. No D-beats here, just great midwest hardcore punk.

Soakie: S/T LP: I'm loving this debut from this half NYC/half Aussie punk band. The descriptor that comes to mind when trying to describe this is bouncy, the same way I feel a band like Glue is bouncy. I can't stop shaking my head back in forth. But the word "bouncy" sounds too fun and innocent; this shit is abrasive and mean. Snarling vocals with powerful lyrics on top of urgent and catchy punk riffs.

FOC: La Fera Ferotge LP: Totally ripping hardcore punk based out of Barcelona and sung in Catalan. Sloppy and fast as fuck hardcore. The chord structures and riffs remind a lot of classic USHC, but the vocal phrasing and the way all the instruments blend together sounds totally inspired by Italian punk like Wretched or Indigesti. I would also go as far as to compare it some Scandinavian hardcore like Kaaos. A must listen for hardcore fans everywhere, I'd say.

Staff Picks: Dominic

Greetings everybody. I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and surviving?

Thanks to you, our loyal friends and customers, we are still selling records through our webstore and keeping the lights on at Sorry State. We appreciate you guys being as excited about music and records as we are. So, the way it has been working is that each day we gab a handful of records and go home and list them. As I have been taking photos and listing records I will stick one of them on and have a little listen as I work and so for this weeks’ picks I want to just high light some gems that I was digging.
In no particular order, we have two from Britain, two from the US and one from Holland. These are all groups and artists from the sixties, some you may know and others perhaps not but I promise you these records are all great.

First up from England we have The Sorrows and a reissue of their 1965 album called Take A Heart. Formed in Coventry in the Midlands, The Sorrows played what is now called Freakbeat or Mod Rock, a soulful and harder version of the Beat and R ‘n’ B that was ruling the country at the time. They had moderate success in England but were quite popular in Italy where they recorded Italian versions of their songs. This version of the album is padded out with some single cuts including the mighty You’ve Got What I Want which I have always liked.
Next up from Holland we have The Outsiders, the Dutch Pretty Things. Led by the enigmatic Wally Tax, these guys were right behind the UK acts and put out a slew of great Beat and R ‘n’ B tracks with interesting pop sensibilities. Their psych masterpiece being the album CQ, which should be in everyone’s collection if they are fans of great 60’s psychedelic music. We have for sale a Dutch best of and it is a good way to introduce yourself to the band. Highlights being the songs Touch, Bird In The Cage and Strange Things Are Happening. This copy has a little cover wear but the vinyl is clean and sounded great.
Over to the United States now. First up, the Spanish label Guerssen put together a nice collection of the garage band The Lemon Drops who are most famous for their awesome I Live In The Springtime single. This record even has the rare fuzz version of that single. Like most young teen bands recording back then not everything was gold but there are plenty of really good tracks on this record other than the aforementioned single. I liked It Happens Everyday, Crystal Pure, Death Calls and Talk To The Animals as they all feature some fuzz guitar and have more psychy leanings but some of the ballads were cool too. Definitely worth investigating.
Another American record next. We have a nice reissue of the Del Shannon 1968 psych pop record The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover. Originally released on Liberty, this version is courtesy of Trouble Mind and they have done a nice job on the packaging and quality. I really love this record. I was a Del Shannon fan from his 50’s hits and then discovered his mid-sixties 45’s that were decent and then finally this album. I found mine in an old record store on City Island in the Bronx back in my New York Days. That spot was a secret diggers gold mine. Anyway, the Del album is an interesting listen. It covers a lot of ground and almost has the feel of the type of records Scott Walker was making or those that Curt Boetcher was making with The Millennium. Tracks like Silver Birch have a real atmospheric quality with swirling horns and organ at the end that segue into one of the highlight tracks I Think I Love You which grooves along with strings propelling the rhythm. The record ends on New Orleans (Mardi Gras) which has a nice soul groove albeit with a dark edge, cut as it is with heavy guitar work and sound effects. Del Shannon was popular in England and France and he cut a nice pop record over at Immediate which sadly didn’t get a proper release and was put out piece meal later in the seventies. Again, highly recommended.
Finally, we return to the UK for a late sixties heavier rock sound and an LP by The Open Mind. Their self-titled album was recorded at the famed De Lane Lea studios in early ’69 and didn’t sell at all at the time despite having a pretty cool cover. Musically the sound is a little late for 1969 and is more 67/68 in my opinion and possibly might explain why the hip record buyer ignored it at the time. The track that modern listeners may know as it has become a DJ fave over the years (yours truly included) is Magic Potion. That track is much heavier and has a great driving sound more in line with early Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. It’s definitely the money track on the record. That being said, for fans of late sixties UK post summer of love sounds, there is still plenty to enjoy here. I liked the track Horses And Chariots and Before My Time which reminded me a little of The End and their Bill Wyman produced album Introspection, which is also highly recommended.
Alright, so there you have it. All these beauties are available to purchase at the time of writing on our webstore, so go check ‘em out. Before I sign off I do want to say how pleased I was to come by the store the other day and hear Jeff playing one of my favourite bands The Las. That was cool. Then today I was jamming a used copy of The Teardrop Explodes’ Kilimanjaro in the store and in comes Jeff and his ears pricked up to what was playing and I was able to turn him on to another one of my faves. Such a great record. We are going to turn Jeff into a Scouser before too long with all these Liverpool bands. Talking of Liverpool and in particular the football club, our fan anthem is You’ll Never Walk Alone, an old Rogers & Hammerstein song from Carrousel the musical made famous in the sixties by Gerry And The Pacemakers and sung at games ever since. In these scary times, it has taken on more significance than ever as people try to find sense in the current situation. You can YouTube countless different versions being sung at football matches by fans and more recently by people across Europe in unison. Here’s the 45 version. Perhaps it might inspire you if needed.

Staff Picks: Ava

Ritual Dictates: Give In To Despair (Artoffact Records)

Hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, Ritual Dictates has brought us a damn fine slab of death metal/classic rock/grindcore to wear out during quarantine. Containing ex members of 3 Inches of Blood (one of my favorite power metal bands!) and a current member of Revocation, Ash Pearson and Justin Hagberg are sure to confuse and entrance you with these supreme riffs. I absolutely LOVE the contrast of guttural and clean vocals. This is the first album to come out this year that has truly captivated me. It’s just one of those records that each song is so unique to itself AND well written that you find yourself excited to hear what comes next. 10/10 highly recommend for fans of anything at all heavy and melodic. Out NOW on Artoffact Records!

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