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Staff Picks: January 7, 2021

Staff Picks: Daniel

Mellakka: Ei 7” (1984, Ei Ei Levyt)

This week I spent a lot of time listening to this Mellakka EP. Thanks so much to my friend Lars to selling it to me… I have already gotten so much enjoyment out of it. Mellakka is great, but I don’t have much to say about them right now because I’m brain dead after a very busy work week in a world that has also given me way too much to think about outside of work. I wish Mellakka’s stuff was a little easier to find. Partners in Crime released a discography LP in the US back in 2005, but that is long out of print and now sells for collectible prices. In 2018, Mellakka released a box set of 3 7”s on Finland’s Svart Records, including reissues of their two original EPs and a 3rd 7” featuring demo recordings from 1986. Sorry State carried that when it came out, but it looks like that’s scarce now as well.

Staff Picks: Jeff

What’s up Sorry Staters?

I’ll keep it brief this week. One release I’ve listened to quite a few times this week is the new Blood Hunger tape by Kontaminate. We haven’t gotten physical copies at Sorry State yet, and I’ve heard that it’s already sold out from the label. Yikes! But maybe Daniel’s on top of it, not sure.

Chubb was telling me he knows the folks in this band and that they share a practice space. I don’t know if this will seem weird to everyone reading this, but it actually surprised me to hear that this band is from Richmond. I don’t mean this as a slight toward bands from Richmond or Kontaminate, but I’ve noticed that most bands from Richmond, even when playing hardcore, have a calculated and regimented, I would even say “professional,” approach toward their playing and songwriting. Trust me, most of the time I’m very impressed by their scene’s high standard for musicianship. That said, and I don’t intend this to sound band, but Kontaminate does not sound like this to me. Listening to this tape, I assess their demeanor as being much more raw, urgent and ugly. The vocals are gnarly and intense, almost demented. Plus, I think this band just nailed the recording, super unpolished and gritty, but not weak sounding. Musically, I hear nods to UK82 or even more contemporary stylings a la Bloodkrow Butcher, but with its own venomous and menacing attitude. Not really dbeat, I wouldn’t call it that, but definitely all the things I like in my raging hardcore. Plus, a well-executed Ultra-Violent cover to boot. I’ve heard other bands cover Ultra-Violent, and it ends up sounding too refined or slick. I think they do a faithful enough and equally mean interpretation. Cool new band, if you ask me.

That’s all I got. 2021 is already off to a disgraceful start, huh?

Thanks for reading,

-Jeff

Staff Picks: Usman

I was messaging a customer last week about an order, and as we ended our conversation, they let me know they were radio DJing their best of 2020 as we spoke. So I checked out Uneasy Listening for the first time. The playlist was all over the place (which isn’t a bad thing by any means) but they still played some of my favorite hardcore hits of 2020. As I packed orders I kinda tuned out, and then Elä Totuudesta came on. My ears perked up, and I stopped what I was doing to find out who I was listening to. It was Kohti Tuhoa. Despite having packed countless parcels that contained their records, I had never taken the time to check them out. Unfortunately, this happens a lot. Which is kinda strange cos I am surrounded by hundreds of records regularly, yet I don’t take the time to listen to everything I can. I think that’s called a paradox? It’s funny cos it was December 30th (over 7 months after its release) and I heard a record for the first time that became one of my favorites of the year. Luckily Sorry State still had some copies in stock so I could still get one without having to import a copy.

Kohti Tuhoa is from Helsinki. I don’t know many contemporary bands from Finland off the top of my head. I think Kylmä Sota was of my favorite Suomi HC bands from the past decade. And like Kylmä Sota, most bands who worship the classic shit have a more “raw” sound and straightforward approach to their songwriting. While Kohti Tuhoa has an easily defined sound reminiscent of Riistetyt or Pyhäkoulu, they have their own refreshing twist to things. Their EP Elä Totuudesta is so catchy, but still blazing hardcore; it sounds more “authentic” than anything I’ve heard this year. Saying authentic is silly though, cos they are actually from Finland, rather than the usual formula of an American band playing Suomi worship. Check out the EP and grab a copy if you dig it! ‘til next time...

https://lavidaesunmus.bandcamp.com/album/el-totuudesta


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