Our Raleigh shop is currently open by appointment only. Click here to book a time!

Staff Picks: March 19, 2020

Staff Picks: Jeff

Muro: Pacificar 12” (Beach Impediment) 

It’s kind of hard to believe that 3 years have already passed since Colombia’s Muro released their previous LP, Ataque Hardcore Punk. With this new full-length entitled Pacificar, Muro seems to be just as unstoppable as their previous record. Because the band has requested the record not be released in its entirety online (props for that), I feel like a lot of people haven’t even heard the whole record yet! Well let me tell ya, it smokes all the way through. Even though I personally don’t think Muro is totally unique musically, and that a lot of other bands may adopt a similar style of hardcore, Muro just feels more extreme and potent than other current bands. I think part of the reason I feel this way is the band’s presentation -- not only in that they come across very earnest and serious when listening to them, but also their dedication to a no-nonsense DIY aesthetic. While Mark at Beach Impediment pressed the record here in the US, the band handmade all of the packaging in Bogota, which is super cool. Muro manage to come across as both grass-roots/relatable AND powerfully meaningful.  

Muro was supposed to play here in NC, but ended up having to cancel a big chunk of their US tour. I’ve heard they’re an explosive and powerful live band, so I hate that a lot of us missed out on seeing them. Similarly, due to the crazy situation we’re all currently dealing with, I think Muro’s recent tour got cut short while they were in London. Bummer when a killer band gets the short end of the stick. Grab this LP to show your support!

Other stuff I’ve been listening to while getting down with the sickness:

As I’m sure many people who read this newsletter are also doing, I’ve been spending a lot of time alone cooped up in my house listening to records. Lately I feel like I’ve been listening to a lot of early punk bands, but intentionally revisiting the record that isn’t necessarily THE classic. I threw on We Have Come For Your Children by Dead Boys the other night, and I dunno if it’s just where I’m at in my life right now, but I swear I might like it more than Young Loud and Snotty. “Flame Thrower Love” has got to be one of their best songs. Maybe I like it because of the general disregard for longevity in the lyrics. Seems pretty applicable to our current situation. I also keep going back to Eternally Yours by The Saints. I’m not even really sure if I’m Stranded is their most well-known record, but in my mind Eternally Yours is their most classic. “New Centre of the Universe” is my top choice off that record. Man, even MC5… I honestly don’t know if I ever had even listened to High Time before, but it rules. The other day, I definitely listened to “Over and Over”, well uh… over and over!

Anyway, that’s all from me this week. Hope you all are stayin’ safe and jamming killer records. The only Corona germs I want on my Poison Idea records have a twist of lime.

‘Til next time!
-Jeff

Staff Picks: Eric

Laffing Gas: It's A Beautiful Day In The Gulch 12" (Beach Impediment) 

Laffing Gas has been around in Bloomington, IN for the better part of 5 years (if my memory serves me correctly). They have put out a slew of tapes and maybe a comp track or two, but this new LP has finally shined the spotlight on them that I believe they have deserved for a very long time. Everything sounds like it was recorded to tape; it is dry and crisp, similar to a lot of other classic midwest hardcore. What I like most about it is they aren't trying to reinvent the wheel or produce something super complex or modern. I first saw Laffing Gas when they played in my living room in Greensboro back in 2015, and since then I have gone on a couple different tours with them over the years. Maybe I'm biased; I do love these motherfuckers a lot. But if my opinion is worth anything: If you love US hardcore, you will love Laffing Gas.

Muro: Pacificar 12" (Beach Impediment)

It took me a couple listens of the first LP to truly appreciate Muro, but once I got it I fuckin' got it. This new LP is an excellent and even more powerful follow up to "Ataque Hardcore Punk". Listening to Muro feels like it is the epitome of how a hardcore record should make it feel. It is raw, powerful, urgent, and somehow feels bigger than you. I have heard tales of their live performances being absolutely bonkers. A friend who saw them described them as "life changing"... I know that sounds like some hippie bullshit but it got me feeling jealous. Maybe one day Muro will be able to grace us with a US tour, but until then throw this frisbee on yr turntable, turn that shit up, and fuckin' feel it.

Staff Picks: Dominic

As the world is undergoing a crisis the like of which we still have yet to fully comprehend, it is all we can do to carry on and celebrate that in life which we hold most dear. For myself, Sorry State and I am guessing you, the thing that will get us through this mess is music. So, to that end we are going to continue to do what we love and listen to records.
 
I wanted to pick some personal favorites of mine this week that have special meaning to me. Three records that are connected and now that we have time, could be listened to as a trio one after the other. You should be aware of two of the artists for sure, the third may be new to some of you. So specifically, we are talking about Love, The Byrds and Michael Head. The albums being Forever Changes, The Notorious Byrd Brothers and The Magical World Of The Strands respectively. Two from the sixties and the last from the nineties. What links them is the Michael Head record.

Mick Head is from Liverpool and his band Shack backed Arthur Lee in 1992 for a gig in Liverpool. A record of that show is in my collection. Michael Head and his brother John first gained attention as The Pale Fountains in the eighties and then formed Shack after the demise of the former. The story of their second record Water Pistol from 1991 is worth hearing. Basically, the masters were lost in a studio fire and the only surviving copy was a DAT that their producer accidentally lost in a hire car in the US. The tape was recovered eventually but the label had collapsed in the meantime. German label Marina released the album a few years later but the band had split by that point. Water Pistol is a masterpiece and I highly recommend you take a listen. The story of Shack did not end there as a brief reunion of sorts resulted in the album HMS Fable in 1999. That was tipped to be big also but failed to ignite the public imagination in the post Brit Pop come down but the band continued and released several more records over the next few years. Being a fan, I followed their career and have all the records and a high light was seeing them in a small NYC venue back in the 2000’s where they played my favorite song of theirs Al’s Vacation after I yelled it out as a request. Obliging chaps. Another NYC gig highlight was seeing Arthur Lee and the new Love when he played shows there. The Town Hall show was out of this world and I will never forget it.

Anyway, the record that Mick and John made as The Strands is truly magical in my opinion. It came out in early 1998 on a French Label and has been close to my heart ever since. It’s such a beautiful record that gets me every time. A lost classic of English folk psychedelic with echoes of Nick Drake but a strong West Coast sixties vibe also. Once you listen to Forever Changes and The Notorious Byrd Brothers and then The Magical World Of The Strands you will see what I mean. There are borrowed riffs and melodies a plenty but more in homage than plunder. The song And Luna being specifically about Arthur Lee. There are songs about despair, hope, joy and drug addiction among other themes and all wonderfully arranged and recorded. John Head’s guitar work is terrific and he totally nails the tone and mood of the Love and Byrds records.
 
As I said before, hopefully you are already aware of Love and The Byrds but if Shack and the Head Brothers are new to you then you are in for a treat I believe. Play these records in order starting with Forever Changes, then Notorious and end with Magical World Of. It will be two and a half hours well spent and it looks like we will all have time to fill with worthy pursuits over the next few weeks. Stay safe. Precautions over panic. Keep spinning vinyl.


Leave a comment