Click here to read about the covid-19 policies for our Raleigh shop.

News

Jeff's SSR Pick: June 16, 2022

All I can think about as I’m getting ready to write this is that this might be my last “staff pick” that I’ll be writing for quite a while. This weekend, Scarecrow is playing the stacked lineup at SHOMO FEST 2022 in Philly! Then from there, the rest of Public Acid is picking me up in Philly, and then we’ll drive to New York and fly out on Monday to meet up with Warthog in Amsterdam. Warthog and Public Acid have a gig in Amsterdam, a couple dates in Germany and then we make our way to K-Town Hardcore Fest… So yeah, I’m losing my mind a little bit. But I’m diving into this trip with a positive attitude. I’m sure it will be a blast.

Anyway, enough about me. Let’s talk about records. Recently, I was obsessing over Sick Pleasure once again. Such a vicious and gnarly 7” that bridged the gap between early nihilistic punk and the blazing fast 80s hardcore to come. But Sick Pleasure isn’t what I wanna talk about. Listening to my copy of this 7” the other day had me looking back at other titles on the Subterranean Records catalog. While of course I love the San Francisco scene hardcore offerings like Sick Pleasure or Code Of Honor, there were also a lot of fringe and strange records released on this label. By weird coincidence, Sorry State recently purchased a collection from this dude that had a lot of old California punk and hardcore. While I was pricing this guy’s records, one of the titles that I stumbled on in one of these boxes was Music From Hell by Nervous Gender. I was relatively unfamiliar with this record, but it just happens to be on Subterranean Records. I was chatting with Daniel about it and he said, “Nervous Gender?? Oh, it’s great. I already have that record.” The record is predominantly a dark, synth-heavy and borderline-experimental record. Michael Fox from Sick Pleasure and Code Of Honor is credited as a producer, and also Don Bolles from the Germs seems to be involved with the production as well. I found myself intrigued. Now, upon first listen, I did find the record a bit challenging. It’s definitely a strange record. The layers of looping drum machine and synths patterns make me feel uncomfortable, but I also kinda feel drawn to it. It’s not unlike the Screamers or something, but the songs have even less traditional song structures, and the vibe is much stranger and avant-garde. Even a track like “Nothing To Hide” that has real drums and a more traditional, driving backbeat feels more like a stream of consciousness style rant than an actual song. I’ll be honest, I think I’m still grappling with whether or not I even like this record. I feel like I want to like it. It feels abrasive and confrontational in a way that tickles my interest. Like, maybe it’s supposed to freak you out? I could see how this record could be influential. And looking at the going rate for an original copy, it’s clearly a record that’s desirable and in-demand.

I’ll have to grapple with whether I need to take record this home. Maybe I’ll hide it before the synth/noise nerds have a chance to drool all over it at the store. I feel like I need a chance to throw this record on at home and listen to it super loud in the dark. Have a real weird time by myself. Maybe I’m enjoying a teeth-gritting, uncomfortable listen while I grapple with stress in preparation of international travel. I guess it’ll be a while before I have a chance to enjoy my records at home.

Anyway, if you wanna get have a real weird time this week, go ahead and give Nervous Gender a listen for me. That’s all I’ve got. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week (or probably not),

-Jeff

Jeff's SSR Pick: June 9, 2022

What’s up Sorry Staters?

I’m gonna jump right in: God-DEYUM this Ammo LP rips! I remember seeing this band’s demo floating around a couple years ago. The band was always being described to me as the band that PJ from Nightbirds was doing vocals for. Of course, I remember PJ’s vocal talents from back in the Wormeaters days. Now we have this new Ammo LP and it is GNARLY. Don’t underestimate New Jersey hardcore. The dudes in Ammo are cut from that Mutha cloth baby. Self-identifying as “Jersey Shore Hardcore,” this shit is probably too hard even for Snooki. From the moment I dropped the needle on this LP, the record just sounds immediately explosive. It’s like Ammo is trying to cram as many intense and burly elements from all corners of the “killer USHC encyclopedia” as possible. The band weaves between totally ripping classic hardcore speeds but then breaks into Negative FX or Death Wish-style double-time ripping tempos. This batch of songs just sound so mean, rough, dirty, and forceful all the way through. I’ll be honest, there’s a few moshy passages that are like a total ignorant, pit-clearing call to arms. Generally, I’m not into super tough mid-paced breakdowny stuff. I had to ask myself, “is this too tough for me?” But I do like it when it’s done right. A homie pointed out to me that the pit-inducing riffs almost kinda sound thrashy like Attitude Adjustment. After a chin scratch, I was like damn… you’re right. The vocals are also totally demented. When PJ in a totally shredded, frustrated fervor howls “You FUCK!” just before the breakdown kicks in… I’ll admit, I got chills. He sounds so pissed. The anger feels so real to me, it’s palpable. It’s almost like the band got all riled up and recorded all these songs in a fury without stopping. Then I was like, FUCK, this all killer.

Luckily, I’ll have the pleasure of seeing Ammo shred at Shomo Fest 2022. Just black out… Fists start swinging… Remember nothing… Just kidding haha.

Sorry State got a big ol’ stack of these LPs, and we’ve already sold a good amount of copies. But to me, this is the kind of hardcore record that should sell out instantly. If you’ve been sleeping on this ripper… just buy it, punk.

That’s all I’ve got for this week. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff

Jeff's SSR Pick: May 26, 2022

What’s up Sorry Staters?

Life’s been a whirlwind for me lately, so I might try to keep it brief this round. I did wanna draw all you readers’ attention to the fact that Sorry State is now stocking a lot of classic titles from Beer City Records. Most importantly, I wanna talk about The Faction. I don’t know a lot about Beer City as a label, but I know they also produce and sell skateboards. Which is sick! It’s kinda cool that a skateboard company is also focused on and does so well on getting permission to release classic punk and hardcore reissues. I think they also are the primary distributors for labels like Frontier. Pretty wild.

Anyways, back to my point: I love The Faction. I’m sure like many other people, my introduction to the band was “Skate and Destroy” playing during the opening of the Bones Brigade video. Even though Bones Brigade and all the Powell stuff was a bit before my time, I always found discovering classic skateboarding was slightly more accessible than discovering 80s punk and hardcore. Whether it was through friends’ older brothers or whatever, I somehow managed to see the Bones Bridage Video Show on VHS when I was a young teenager. I thought “Skate and Destroy” was such a ripping song and it blew my mind that a punk band was howling about skateboarding while paired with ripping footage of skating on screen. So perfect. Then when I found out that the Bones Brigade’s own pro skater Steve Caballero played in the band, my mind was blown even further. Young me was like, “I wanna rip it up skating and also have a rad hardcore band.” That was the full vision. The Faction’s first LP No Hidden Messages is great and still a favorite, but they have a lot of other great records in their discography. The early singles Yesterday Is Gone and Corpse In Disguise, as well as the later mini-LPs Dark Room and Epitaph, are all back in print thanks to Beer City. All on 12” format, and they’re pretty damn cheap. You definitely need tracks like “Tongue Like A Battering Ram” and the band’s re-working of “California Dreamin’“ in your life.

Maybe 12” reissues of 80s skate rock aren’t really on everyone’s radar. It’s just cool to me that the records are accessible. I love collecting og records, but the prices for originals are super frustrating sometimes. I think about the scenario like I was still a teenager. If I could’ve walked into a record store and bought a copy of any of the classic Faction records, then I would’ve been so STOKED. If you feel like it’s worth shelling out the $15 to hear some classic tunes, I’d strongly suggest it.

Anway, that’s all I’ve got. Skateboarding and 80s hardcore… you know, the usual haha. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff

Jeff's SSR Pick: May 19, 2022

What’s up Sorry Staters?

So I’m finally back to write for the newsletter after my trip to NYC, and STILL all I wanna talk about is Poison Idea…

But first, since I missed my opportunity last week, I have to write a little bit about the trip. Firstly, biggest appreciation to Jim and Amy in Philly (as always) and Mike H in NY for giving us Acid idiots a place to crash and putting up with our nonsense. It was truly humbling to watch some of the best bands in hardcore every night. All the bands ruled. Quarantine is insane, and I can’t wait for their new record. Impalers were a blast to see since it had been years. Public Acid played a spontaneous show at a small bar in Brooklyn and our homies in 80HD tore it the fuck up. And of course, Warthog’s 10-year anniversary performance was really special to see. If you haven’t seen footage yet, the dramatic opening of the curtain at the beginning of their set made my jaw drop. Public Acid’s own Eric Chubb kept drunkenly repeating, “That was coolest thing I’ve ever seen!”

Anyway, back to Poison Idea. TKO is truly doing the lord’s work with these series of reissues. Even though I already owned most of the recordings on these latest 2 offerings on other versions of these records, I still feel like a fool for not paying more attention when the limited versions dropped. Oh well, black vinyl will have to do! Goddamn, I really do feel like a pretentious asshole. The care that was put into the packaging on both of these reissues has great attention to detail and really feels like it was designed for someone who’s a big fan of Poison Idea. Get Loaded and Fuck, more infamously known as the Ian MacKaye 12”, compiles tracks from the Filthkick EP, Getting the Fear 12”, and an extra track. Only 6 songs, but daaaaamn such a killer under-the-radar batch of songs from the War All The Time-era line-up of the band. The attention-grabbing hype sticker even has little Easter eggs like a little headshot of Ian MacKaye. As for the other record… Of course, we are provided with the properly updated title for the reissue of Record Collectors Are STILL Pretentious Assholes. It doesn’t get much better than that. This classic EP also comes with a few bonus tracks including the band’s compilation cuts off of Drinking Is Great and Cleanse The Bacteria. Both LPs contain heavy duty inner sleeves with tons of cool photos both from the early period of the band and the latter period, along with setlists, flyers, etc. Both records come with funny and profane bumper stickers, both of which I want to paste onto my vehicle. But then obviously I’d have to get a 2nd copy of each record to have an unpeeled sticker (again, pretentious asshole over here.) Then, the most rad and legendary part of the packaging… Record Collectors includes a poster with a map key pointing out every single record included in the notorious cover photo… AMAZING. I hear that TKO has some more goodies in the pipeline with some other much pined-after bonus packaging ;)

Damn, I love hardcore. And records. I mean seriously, I think the cover of that record must be the model for me and a bunch of my dumbass friends’ obsession with all this mess. It occurred to me that all the stuff I just rambled about is probably information that is readily accessible from TKO before you buy either of these records. But who cares? I’m just reiterating because it RULES.

Forgive me for figuratively drooling all over you in this newsletter write-up. I’ll try to tone it down next week. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff

Jeff's SSR Pick: May 5, 2022

What’s up Sorry Staters?

As I’m sitting down to write for our newsletter on this beautiful Wednesday evening, my mind is also preoccupied with getting ready for my trip this weekend. Before I get into talking about my staff pick, I wanna give a little heads up to you readers about what I’m up to! I’m leaving tonight to head up to Richmond to meet up with the rest of Public Acid and we’ll be playing a few dates this weekend. We’ll be support for those UK lads in The Chisel for a couple of shows on their East Coast Tour. We’ll also be accompanied by our good homies in Dark Thoughts and Quarantine for both the gigs that we’re playing. So rad! Thursday night is the Richmond gig, which will be sick. Then on Friday we’re playing The Chisel’s gig in Philly, which Impalers are also playing. I’m very stoked about that. Then we’re heading up to New York to see Warthog shred. We’ll spending be spending a few more days in NY just to hang out or whatever, eat some pizza, maybe do some band business, who knows? ;)

But enough about me. Damn man, Radio Raheem might as well just take all my money at this point. Compilations have always been a killer vehicle for musical discovery, particularly when you’re talking 80s hardcore. The Master Tape (both volumes 1 &2) are among some of my favorite punk compilations to ever be released. And who were the first band I heard on side A of the first disc of the Master Tape: Volume 2? Violent Apathy. From Michigan, this band played pounding, primitive and serious as fuck hardcore. The track “Ignorance Is Bliss” being the faster track on the comp, I always had my fists clenched when that song was blasting. Violent Apathy’s songs just precede Malignant Growth, which is some of my favorite stuff on the whole comp, but that’s besides the point. Now Radio Raheem has reissued a session Violent Apathy recorded in 1981 prior to their first 7”. Short bursts of raw and killer hardcore, with songs so short that the label released all the songs repeated on both sides of the 7”. I love it. At least it’s not single-sided.

We’ve already sold a handful of these 7”s. If this write-up catches your attention, then definitely pick up a copy from us. A small and interesting part of the puzzle when taking a look at 80s Midwest hardcore. Hell yeah!

That’s all I’ve got. By this time next week, I’ll have just returned from Public Acid’s adventure. As always thanks for reading.

‘Til next week (we’ll see),

-Jeff

SSR Pick: Jeff: April 28, 2022

What’s up Sorry Staters?
 
I don’t know what’s going on with me lately… Sure, I wrote about some Mexican new wave last week, but beyond that, I do feel like I probably have sounded awfully sentimental for the last couple weeks. I hope all you reading this don’t mind me waxing nostalgic about hardcore. Is this what happens when you get to a certain age? I don’t think I’m unhappy with my current existence in the punk world, but whether it’s been talking about Big Boys or Career Suicide, I guess I have been reminiscing like a dum dum.
 
I’ve been listening to DRI a lot again recently. I know, big surprise, right? I’m pretty sure that about a year ago, I wrote about DRI in the newsletter when I finally scored an og copy of the Dirty Rotten EP. I’m worried that I’m just gonna regurgitate a bunch of the same shit I said in that newsletter from last year, so I’ll try to make this fresh. By pure coincidence, as I realized I might be repeating myself sitting down to gush about DRI, this young dude came into the store today with his dad. It was like the punk-metal universe was trying to tell me something! This dude must’ve been about 14 or 15, and he was wearing a vest just totally decked out in patches. And of course, right on the chest panel of his vest was a big DRI patch. I was like, “Hell yeah, kid.” I must’ve been about his age when I first became obsessed with DRI. While I was standing at the counter listening to this kid and his dad chat with Dom, it sounded like they go to gigs together… which is cool! I don’t recall ever going to see Circle Jerks and Negative Approach with my Pops haha, my dad is more into hard rock and metal. Then his dad bought a copy of Crossover, which admittedly is not my favorite DRI record. They’re not quite into the lyrical territory of “Don’t be tardy,” and shit like that yet, but even by this album, they’re already getting a little too thrashy for me. But THEN, the kid bought both Death Side CDs we had in stock. Didn’t matter that we didn’t have any copies on vinyl -- he was happy to buy them anyway. That got me stoked. He had never heard Wind of Pain by Bastard, so I told him to immediately go check that out.
 
Around the time I was first getting into DRI in high school, I was playing drums (badly, I might add) in my first real band called Feeble Minded. I recently stumbled across my old bass drumhead in my closet, which I’ve held onto after all these years. The drumhead had our band’s logo on it. I hand drew that skeleton design when I was around 16 or so. I also burned the screen and screen-printed the logo onto the drumhead myself. I was also skateboarding every single day around that time. Damn, I used to do so much cool shit… What the hell happened? Haha.
 
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to say this week. Go blast some Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, ya freaxxx. Speaking of which, a heads up for all you local punks: I’m putting out some DRI records this weekend for our used new arrivals. We’ve got an og 12” version of the Dirty Rotten LP going out. But if you crave that original format, I’ve also got a 7” version with all 22 tracks crammed onto a bite-size platter for ya (not an og, of course.) Plus, tons more killer used punk 7”s!
 
As always, thanks for reading.
 
‘Til next week,
 
-Jeff

SSR Pick: Jeff: April 21, 2022

What’s up Sorry Staters?

Every now and then, a record outside of my wheelhouse comes into the store and based purely on the title and how it looks I think to myself: “That’s gotta be good.” This was exactly the case with this comp we just got in stock called Back Up: Mexican Tecnopop 1980-1989. Dom and I decided to crack open the shrink on a copy here at the shop and as we were listening we just kinda realized… wow, every song has been really good so far. That label Dark Entries compiled and released this compilation, and they always seem to be thoughtful with their releases and often put out quality synth-drenched records. As certain songs would play that I particularly liked, I decided to look up whatever information I could on each band. It seems like a lot of these synth-pop/post-punk bands out of Mexico only released music on cassette, all of which I’d imagine are incredibly hard to find. To my surprise, many of the recordings sound like really high-quality studio recordings, but then of course, some of the recordings sounded like the bands made music using whatever tools they had at their disposal haha. Heavy use of corny Casio keyboard sounds. As we were listening, Dom and I would both shout out what artist each band was clearly ripping off. New Order, Depeche Mode, Siouxsie & The Banshees… you name it. The influence of every major new wave group is accounted for. My favorite track is the 2nd track on the record, which is “Cambios En El Tiempo” by a band called Vandana. It’s super melodic and catchy. Vandana is yet another band like I mentioned that only released one cassette in their existence. It has no sales history on discogs.

Short and sweet this week. But if you’re in need of a super well-compiled bunch of catchy new wave/post-punk/whatever songs that you’ve probably never heard before, then I highly recommend this record :)

That’s all I’ve got. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff

SSR Picks: Jeff - April 14 2022

What’s up Sorry Staters?

As more and more years go by, I realize that I still just like all the same stuff that I was into when I was a teenager. I go through phases of feeling like I need to expand my palette and broaden my horizons, but I think I’m just avoiding the inevitable. I always find myself coming back to hardcore and skateboarding. I don’t necessarily think the issue is that I have a serotonin response to what feels comfortable or familiar… I think the problem is more that I just need to admit to myself that I don’t need to abandon things from teenage years that bring me joy.

Now, my body probably isn’t prepared to be along for the ride, but lately I’ve just been transfixed on skateboarding all over again. Whether it’s binging episodes of Jeff Grosso’s Love Letters to Skateboarding or watching Jason Lee’s interview on the Nine Club podcast, I just eat it up. I even re-watched Thrashin’ the other night, and even with the corny moments, I loved every second of it. Monk from the Daggers’ Zany Guys t-shirt? So rad. And when it comes to records that inhabit this exuberant, skate-obsessed spirit, the Big Boys have really been scratching that itch for me lately. First of all, they’ve got the best logo. I think I’ve probably gushed about the Big Boys in the newsletter before, but hopefully not too recently. Anyway, here we go again!

This might be weird to say, but the Big Boys are the kind of hardcore band that really brings a smile to my face. Don’t get me wrong, I do sit and boil over with rage while absorbing the seedy, negative and pissed off vibes that I usually gather from my hardcore records. And as much as I identify with that, the sort of upbeat positivity that Big Boys bring to the table is welcomed at this particular moment. When you look at photos of Big Boys on their record layouts and inserts, you’ll see the guys jocking skateboard decks with Pushead’s Zorlac graphics. So sick. And while other 80s skate-centric punk bands doing surf covers is cool, I think the Big Boys’ funk tunes totally rule. But then, of course, the 40-second hardcore songs RIP. The band touches on some politics and worldview, but always with a sense of humor and cynicism. Like in “Apolitical” where Randy Biscuit belts “Leave me alone you pamphleteers, give it up and buy me beers!” Pretty rad. As iconic and classic as the Fun, Fun, Fun EP is for most punks, I often find that Lullabies Help the Brain Grow is my go-to record when I wanna listen to some Big Boys. Every song is good. The opening track “We Got Your Money” with its hooky, repetitive background vocals kicks the record off with a bang and sets the tone. Then vicious rippers like “I’m Sorry” or “Brick Wall” are sub-minute explosions of killer hardcore. Some of the songs are more brooding like “Sound On Sound” or “Manipulation”. Then of course funk bangers like “Jump The Fence” get you groovin’. I don’t know, I could probably write an essay about every song. The sounds from song to song are so diverse, but they flow so well. And all of them are charged with this infectious energy. One day, I’d love to get my hands on a copy of the Where’s My Towel LP and of course the legendary Frat Cars 7”, but I’ll probably need to go sell plasma a few times before that. One day…

For the most part, I would say Big Boys exude a more colorful, light-hearted perspective. I mean come on, “Fun, fun, fun, that’s what we say!” I think that underneath the surface, I do sense that the band captures a spirit I connect with. Big Boys fly the flag for the true freaks. Chunky, dirtbag, skate-obsessed, queer… true weirdos. Also, if I see one more new dumb crust band with a high-contrast black and white photo of dead people, I’m gonna lose it. I’m so sick of that shit. Fuck Discharge! (…I’m totally kidding, they’re like the best band in punk to ever exist.) I think that’s just where my head’s at right now. So sue me.

Maybe one day I’ll get back into skating for real. I miss it. I’m just worried I’ll wreck myself. I guess that’s part of it, right? Even if I don’t go hard, it feels like a part of my identity that’s missing. Like my Texan legends would say, “Skate for fun or don’t skate at all.”

Well damn, that was more than I was expecting to write today. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff

SSR Picks: Jeff - April 7 2022

What’s up Sorry Staters?

Recently, Sorry State purchased a handful of records from this dude’s collection. Flipping through his 7”s, it became immediately clear to me that this dude was buying records during what I affectionately refer to as the “No Way-era”. Basically, that period in the early-to-mid-2000’s when a flood of bands came out trying to emulate classic 80s hardcore. One of the bands heavily featured in the stack of records that this dude sold to us was Career Suicide. Bringing back memories, I decided to revisit and basically listen to all of Career Suicide’s records, which I thankfully still have at home. And DAMN, I gotta say these records still rip hard as fuck and hold up so well. The records maybe even make more of an impression on me now that I’m older, because over the years, I’ve heard so many bands trying to ape this style.

I was a little young to hear the first few records by Career Suicide when they first came out. By the time I was a teenager getting super into hardcore and discovering local shows, it was probably right before Attempted Suicide came out. Career Suicide is of course from Canada, but the band clearly was destined to link up with the Richmond (by way of NC) scene and the No Way Records crew. On Attempted Suicide, the band recruited Brandon from Direct Control to play drums on the record, and for my money, it remains one of the most mind-blowingly great drum performances on any punk record—like EVER. That said, all the early records are killer too and have some of my favorite songs. “Jonzo’s Leaking Radiation” from the first 7” still gives me goosebumps. Funny how their song “Quarantine” found new meaning in 2020 (yikes). It’s funny, I didn’t realize I had doubles of the Sars 7” and both the standard AND pic disc version of the Signals EP. I don’t have a few of the records from the later-00’s, like Cherry Beach. I also listened to Machine Response the other day and regret not grabbing a copy of that when we stocked it here at Sorry State. I’ve seen Career Suicide play shows a few times, but it was definitely after their heyday. I could talk about regrets all day, but I also somehow managed to never attend any of the No Ways Fests when they happened. I also was a dumb teenager with no car at the time… shrug emoji

But seriously, Career Suicide had so much special going for them. Martin’s higher pitch, snotty, sneering, throat-shredding vocals had so much personality. And for all the ripping riffs and intense fast drumming, the band had so many huge choruses and vocal hooks. And of course there are some Jonah riffs that sound like the gold standard for classic-sounding hardcore punk guitar playing. If you ask me, the first few releases by Career Suicide were super early to the game and pre-dated the surge of 80s hardcore obsession that would explode a few years later. The band had that perfect blend of song-oriented writing in the lyrics and vocals mixed with super intense and powerful playing. It’s like simultaneously loose and off the rails, but also military tight at the same time. The band seems kinda snarky, funny and unpretentious, but also dead serious. I dunno, maybe I’m having a nostalgic moment over here, but these records still sound incredible to my ears. But if you’re referencing the period when I got into all this punk madness, these records are stone-cold classics.

I’ll be putting out a bunch of used Career Suicide records from that dude’s collection in the bins at the shop this weekend. So if you’re local and you’re reading this and have slept on this band, do yourself a favor and add a few of these slabs to your collection. They’re also pretty inexpensive, but who knows? One day they might be hard to get.

That’s all I’ve got. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff

SSR Picks: Jeff - March 24 2022

What’s up Sorry Staters?

Welp, I’ve gotta talk to ya about the new White Stains 7”. I’ve been really into the last few releases on the Neon Taste label. Those Canadians have really carved out a decisive look and sound for the records they decide to put out. After hearing stuff like that Imploders 7”, I see how Pittsburgh’s White Stains could fit right in. It’s really cool this release is part of their catalog.

The dudes in White Stains have also played in a bunch of your other favorite hardcore bands. Their LP Make Me Sick felt really fresh to me when it came out because it wasn’t so focused on being the “most heavy” or even the fastest punk record ever made. White Stains leaned pretty heavy into a more “classic” side of hardcore punk, if that makes sense? Like you can’t imagine the dudes in the band caring about silly metal-punk shit like leather pants or eyeliner. The vibe is more like the dudes are probably all wearing shredded blue jeans that they were just skating in before they walked in to record this EP. And if the tuneful, (for lack of a better comparison) West-coast influenced sound was apparent on their first record, then Blood On The Beach dives deeper into this classic-sounding direction. While there are of course killer riffs, some of the tracks on this new 7” feel more decidedly song-based than just stringing a bunch of killer riffs together. The nasty, irreverent menace of bands like Sick Pleasure are coupled with the Agnew-style melodic riffage and hooky vocals of Adolescents. Particularly the song “2021” feels like the hit, like it should be the standout track on a Posh Boy single or something. Plus, the Vains tribute for the cover art is killer. “White Vains” ;)

I feel certain you didn’t need me to sit here and tell you to check this record out. But just in case you were on the fence, don’t sleep. Grab this ripper.

Short and sweet this week. Punk rules. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff

SSR Picks: Jeff - March 17 2022

What’s up Sorry Staters?

Sometimes, I’ll somewhat involuntarily step out my front door and take a walk around my neighborhood to clear my head. This usually takes place around midnight or so, the streets are always empty, and I often wonder if my neighbors notice me creeping alone down past their houses. Maybe I’ll get a t-shirt that says “Won’t rob you.” I tend to listen to music on headphones while I’m wandering around. I wish I could say that my listening habits on these walks were more adventurous. Maybe this is why, as the years continue to pass me by, my brain continues to devolve into mush from lack of stimulation. I usually throw on albums that capture a certain mood and that are more than anything… “comfortable” to listen to. Lately, I’ve been listening to It’s A Shame About Ray by The Lemonheads to the point of ad nauseam. Like… a lot. Funny enough, unbeknownst to me and by pure coincidence, It’s A Shame About Ray just got reissued for its 30th anniversary. There’s a “standard” version and a “deluxe” version, both of which are way too expensive.

The Lemonheads are an interesting band. It’s A Shame About Ray is clearly their standout commercial success, but I was surprised to discover that their earlier releases on Taang! Records sounded more like a New England take on Husker Du or something, especially with the alternating lead vocals between Ben Deily and Evan Dando. But for whatever reason, there’s something uniquely special about It’s A Shame About Ray. It’s a decidedly softer and more light-hearted record. There’s sense of ease and breeziness, but with just a hint of melancholy buried underneath the surface. No more Ben Deily on this record, but I also just find Evan Dando to be such a magnetic, enigmatic character. I’m really not sure… was he a sad person? I’m not sure I think he’s like a genius or anything. I almost kind of find him frustrating, but also sort of accessible? As opposed to the posturing of grunge icons of the era, he seems like a pretty cool and genuine guy. He seems like a dude you could know that lives just down the street. His songs to me have more in common with like a Neil Young than say Kurt Cobain. There’s something about the easy, breezy, laid back mood of this record that really captures a true slacker’s spirit. But while maybe the songs on this album are not so bombastically lush and impressive, I think Dando writes songs that are beautifully poignant and understated. But seriously, the dude is so goddamn handsome in the traditional sense that what does he have to be depressed about? Wish I could relate. Sometimes I wish I was more intense and viciously, unrelentingly passionate. Unfortunately, here I am wandering around at night feeling lost and unmotivated, which is maybe why I’m gravitating toward this record. Lately, feeling more and more uncomfortable with my disposition in this existence as I meander around my neighborhood in the dark, I guess I do kinda feel like a ship without a rudder. I know, pretty corny.

In 1992, this record felt unfairly overshadowed by The Lemonheads becoming quite well known for the band’s cover of “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon & Garfunkel, which was featured in the Wayne’s World soundtrack. The other night, the first notes of “Rockin’ Stroll” kicked off right as I stepped out my front door. Then when I returned, almost like the record was timed perfectly for my midnight stroll, the quiet acoustic notes of “Frank Mills” faded out right as I turned the key to unlock the door and I cut off the music just before “Mrs. Robinson” would’ve auto-played as a bonus track. Seemed fitting.

Anyway, hope I didn’t bore you with my musings of 90s-fueled nostalgic melancholia. That’s all I’ve got this week.

As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff

SSR Picks: Jeff - March 3 2022

What’s up Sorry Staters?

So funny story, my buddy Alex and I went to go see Jackass: Forever the other night. On the way there, Alex was just playing tunes off of his phone in the car. This one song came on that just RIPPED, and I asked Alex, I sez to him: “My dude, what is this badass ripping hardcore with lyrics I don’t understand?” He went on to tell me that it was a track from the Rapsodie En France compilation. Funny coincidence, this 1985 compilation cassette literally just got reissued on LP courtesy of World Gone Mad Records in conjunction with the original label Jungle Hop. And now Sorry State has copies. My lucky day!

I’ll admit, I’m not super well-versed on French hardcore. I’d heard a Heimat Los 7” at some point years ago and really dug that. I’d also heard Rapt before, always associating their gnarly, noisy, speedy hardcore with bands like Lärm from the Netherlands. Then Rapt also has that split 7” with Final Blast, which Chris and Michael Hardy from Velted Regnub introduced me to. Honestly, Final Blast might be my favorite band on this comp. The catchy tuneful riffs kinda remind me of Zmiv or something like that. Maybe there’s a correlation between French and Dutch hardcore that catches my ear? Who knows? Heimat Los even has a song called “Amsterdam” haha. But this compilation is chock full of killer bands that I’d never really heard before. The first band, Les Vandales, has 3 songs that just fuckin’ kill, and I’m pretty sure this is the band that Alex played for me in his car. The fidelity of the recordings from band to band really varies. The songs by Les Bloody Fuckers sound really blown out, but are totally killer. Anyway, I could talk about every band, but I won’t get into all that. To me, the fact that this compilation was previously never properly released on vinyl is almost criminal. This is a snapshot of a (maybe?) relatively under-the-radar, but killer 80s hardcore scene. Every band looks cool and sounds cool. The reissue LP comes with a thick booklet with photos, interviews, and loads more, which looks totally rad. A lot of it is in French, so degenerates like me don’t know how to read it, but the photos are fun to look at.

If you’re unfamiliar with 80s French punk and need a good jumpstart on finding out what it’s all about, then I highly recommend you check out Rapsodie En France.

Oh and also, that Tower 7 gig in Richmond this Saturday is gonna be insane. Hope to see all of you freaxxx there!

That’s all I’ve got for ya filthy animals. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff