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Staff Picks: December 17, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

Sirkka: Kuluttava Kone cassette (self-released, 2020)

This week we’ve been starting to think about our Best of 2020 lists here at Sorry State, and I’ve been working on compiling a mix tape of my favorite songs of the year. That project has me revisiting some of my favorites that I haven’t reached for in a while and going back to some of these releases has made me remember just how great they are. In some cases (like the Ratcage LP) they’re hitting me even harder than they did the first time around.

This tape from Sirkka came out back in the pre-pandemic world of January 2020. I played it non-stop when it came out, but it had been a few months since I listened to it. I popped it in to choose a track for my mix and my jaw hit the floor… I knew that this was one of the best releases of the year, but I forgot just how great it is. It’s obviously indebted to the 80s Finnish hardcore greats, but like my favorite bands from that scene (Appendix, Lama, Riistetyt, Kaaos, etc.), the balance of blazing speed, raw ferocity, and catchiness couldn’t be more perfect. If you haven’t checked out this tape yet, I strongly encourage you to visit Sirkka’s bandcamp and give it a whirl.

Don’t get your hopes up about getting a physical copy of the tape, though, because this sold out instantly and I haven’t heard any rumblings about a repress. I would love to own this recording on vinyl and would happily fund such a project myself (in case someone in Sirkka happens to read this). I’m not even sure what the status of Sirkka is… I think it was a two-person recording project, as I never heard about any live gigs. If this tape ends up just being a brilliant little blip in hardcore’s timeline, then so be it, but I hope we hear from Sirkka again at some point in the future.

Staff Picks: Seth

Hi, I’m a person that still exists and is still lurking in the background (mostly just in the SSR work chats causing mass distraction).

Today I’m here to talk about NUTRITION. This EP rules. This record’s super unique and giving it an X meets Y description would be a disservice. I am a little out of practice writing about music though, so bear with me here. The vocals are a unique blend of a hardcore vocalist and some serious sassiness. The material is delivered with a high level of snideness and a feeling of sarcasm. The guitars give off a very Uranium Club vibe, but with more oomph behind them. While there are those noodly and sparse single note parts, there are also some straight up riffs. If you dig those hooky punk jangles but want a little more gruff added in, I highly recommend checking it out. I remember their demo being a thing but don’t think I ever got around to listening to it, so now I need to check it out. But yeah, this rules and I recommend picking it up. It pairs really well with that Straw Man Army LP if you dug that.

My wife yells at me for never endorsing or promoting things I do, so I’ll plug two things really quick. I made an ‘album’ of various beeps and boops written during my lunch breaks under the name Sean Mustache called album ii. You can check that out at seanmustache.bandcamp.com. I also made a silly web app to tell me what to listen to from my collection based off my mood. That’s called Wax And Wane. It’s definitely a work in progress and more so a tool for me to learn/practice coding, but is open for anyone to use. That can be found at waxandwane.xyz.

I’d like to say that I’ll try not to be as much of a ghost and contribute more here, but I don’t want to make promises I might not be able to keep. So until whenever next time will be, stay punk.

Staff Picks: Jeff

What’s up Sorry Staters?

This label Neon Taste out of Canada has put out a pretty cool string of records over the last several months. We got in this new EP by Nutrition and without knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I was into it. Interestingly enough, before I even thought to write about this EP for my staff pick, it seems to have become a big hit among our local in-store shoppers here in Raleigh. I’d say in general that there’s only a handful of people locally that walk in and totally devour all the new punk releases as they come out, so this record selling well simply by word of mouth is pretty rad!

I’m pretty sure this band is at least one of the dudes from Bootlicker, but Nutrition is decidedly less ripping fast hardcore. Initially, I threw this platter on the turntable and thought they were going for kind of a punked-out glam rock kinda vibe. My first impression was that Nutrition kinda sounded like Hank Wood, but harder, meaner and devoid of any artsy fartsy presentation. And sure, while the rocked out, clean guitar sound is totally there, I think saying Nutrition sounds “garagey” is selling them short. I dug deeper into the sound upon repeated listens and pretty much decided that Nutrition still comes off like a hardcore band to me. It’s not too far off from a band like Wiccans, who I always thought were super underrated, but who play that mostly mid-paced but tough, riffy style of hardcore. My favorite part of the band is definitely the vocals. The singer has this charismatic sass about them in their style and delivery. Like maybe not as obtuse and quirky as The Crucifucks, but they have some serious character. On a couple songs, the singer sounds like a dead ringer for the vocal stylings of Mark Hickey from Agression. Now that I’ve made that connection, I can’t unhear it. But really, I feel like if you played some of Nutrition’s more raging tracks as the background for a video of people skating and absolutely shredding a pool, then it would totally fit.

I think we still have a good amount of these Nutrition EP’s here at Sorry State. If my endorsement tickled your fancy in any way, then I definitely recommend you grip a copy. Here’s my favorite track: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jszj8onE8eo

Thanks for reading,

-Jeff

Staff Picks: Eric

What up you fuckin’ nerds?

Alright, so I dropped the ball on the heavy this week and didn’t set aside the time to sit down and think critically about my staff pick. BUT I wanted to take a second to say that last night I discovered Hostages Of Ayatollah, an 80s German punk band. While doom scrolling stupid Instagram, a friend posted a link to one of their music videos and I had to inquire and investigate further. Perfect hooky and catchy hardcore punk. I feel like someone should have shown me this band a long time ago. At times it sounds like a California band like the Adolescents or the Circle Jerks, but from Germany in the 80s. Ya know that feeling when you discover a band you fall in love with and wonder where they’ve been the whole time? I’m feeling that pretty hard right now.

Staff Picks: Dominic

Hello Sorry Staters. Please allow me to pass on my compliments of the season to you. Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, Happy Hanukah and Happy Festivus.

There is so much going on as we approach the end of the year. Everyone, including us, is getting their Best Of 2020 list together of releases that got us excited. As the resident old person here at Sorry State, my tastes definitely lean towards music made in the twentieth century but as a modernist at heart, I try to keep pace with new shit too.

This week though I will have to revert to type and talk about old stuff again albeit in a different format than is typical for me: a cassette. I’m mostly a vinyl guy, but did grow up during the cassette era and had my Walkman and a boom-box. Tapes were mostly used to record albums from friends and the library and to make mixtapes. In the days of playlists and streaming etc. the art of the mixtape has slipped from popular culture somewhat. Thankfully there are people out there who know how to make a good one and are keeping the tradition alive. One such person is our own Seth here at Sorry State. The other week he made personalized mixtapes for us all and I must say I love the one he made for me. Not only for the selection of tracks but also for the individual artwork he constructed for the case. It looks great.

The key to making a great tape for someone is personalizing it for them specifically. Not that you necessarily put tracks on there that you know they like but you create an atmosphere and mood that they will enjoy. That’s definitely the case with the tape Seth made for me. I was familiar with some of the tracks but not most. I’ll be on the hunt for a couple of things now. I have listened to it several times since he gave it to me and during one playback I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out health insurance for next year when one particular song came on called Don’t Try To Cure Yourself by They Must Be Russians. It made me laugh out loud. I’ve actually DJ’d that track out a couple of times to mixed reactions. It’s a post punk era song about home curing an STD. I know hilarious, right? You can check it out here:

I don’t want to reveal too many of the tracks as I kind of like the idea that the tape was bespoke selected for myself but I have to applaud the inclusion of the likes of Elton Motello and a personal fave, O-Level. Their tune, Pseudo Punk is priceless and to be filed next to Part Time Punks by Television Personalities. Ed Ball is the man. Any project he touched is gold. Check it out:

Thanks Seth for a great mixtape.

Before I go and as we are talking about tapes I have to give special mention to the new ISS cassette. Talk about going all the way with the packaging. Check it out. Not only an awesome presentation but good tunes too. We are very lucky to have such talented people connected with us here at SSR. I feel honoured every day to be working here.

Peace out everyone. Make someone a mixtape for Christmas.

-Dom

Staff Picks: Usman

This band is amazing. I think I already know this LP will be my favorite of 2021. I have the privilege of having the songs on my computer and I have played the hell out of them, like repeatedly, side after side. Making an LP thats stays compelling for the entire record is not easy in the punk world. 7"s are a different ball game. I think I have wayyy more 7"s than 12"s in my collection. Anyway, this tape hasn’t been officially released yet but it will be soon! It is 3 tracks from the upcoming 10-track LP on Sorry State. If you keep up with my staff picks, you probably know I am a sucker for “classic” sounding shit, or just shit that’s clearly Discharge worship (yeah I’m boring and closed-minded.) Golpe is not that; they sound modern as hell, but in the absolute best way. The slow parts are not tough, and the fast parts feel like I’m on a roller coaster clinging for my life. This band Golpe is actually just one person named Tadzio. He is a sweetheart. His previous band (it wasn’t a solo project, but his baby you could say) was called Komplott. I am obsessed with their record. It is similar to Golpe in a way, but it is much more straight-forward and “raw” sounding. I will include a link at the bottom. If you haven’t heard it, you should check it out. I don’t have much else to say except listen to this bandcamp link and keep yer eyes peeled for the promo cassette! It will be released soon with another Sorry State release from North Carolina’s Tetanus. If yer reading this, I hope yer doing well… and I hope this vaccine thing works out for us all. We can make up for all the bummer shit of 2020 soon. Keep yer bubble tight till then and stay safe ya’ll.

https://golpepunx.bandcamp.com/album/promo-2020

https://komplott.bandcamp.com/album/sei-vivo-sei-morto-a-nessuno-importa

Staff Picks: Rachel

Tales From Beyond the Pale: The Town That’s Not There & Simon is Hiding

Sort of going with a theme, I guess. I’m just a sucker for spooky stories! I talked about an old record with my last staff pick, so I felt it was fitting to write about a modern version of a scary story record.

Tales From Beyond the Pale is IT when it comes to this. I have two releases from them and both are just fucking perfection. I had a hard time deciding which one to write about today, but chose this 7” because I love Sam Heimer’s artwork and more than spooky shit, I love old read-a-long records. I can’t feel nostalgic for something I wasn’t alive for, but seeing a modernized version makes me so happy. This has all of the vibes of my favorite Scary Stories cassettes mixed with records similar to what I wrote about last week.

Somehow, TFBTP, amped it up from those references. The sound design is top notch and, even though you can’t see anything, the noises combined with the narrator is enough to make your spine tingle. It stands alone as a great piece of media without the little read along booklet. I first listened to it before cracking that open and after a few listens, seeing Sam Heimer’s art brings the stories alive and adds even more creepy.

I love both sides, but "Simon is Hiding" is probably my favorite. It plays on the trope of "someone is following me," enhanced by (of course) the sound design. They created a new cryptid with this poem. A pumpkin-headed creature that represents way more than just a scary story...you'll just have to listen to see what I mean.

I dug for a while and couldn’t find any recordings online so I guess you’ll just have to hope someone on Discogs is selling their copy (sorry not sorry, I can't part with either copy I have)! In the meantime, check out Sam Heimer and Tales From Beyond the Pale’s instagrams for top notch content. If you feel more at home in October than any other time of the year, this is the release for you.


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