Live Fast Jeff Young: Vol. 13 - Best of 2018!

What's up Sorry Staters?

Yet another year comes to its close, and here I find myself making silly lists about the records I most enjoyed within the last 12 months. And honestly, when I look back at 2018, I really just think of how busy everything felt! Somehow, I'm doing my year-end blog post as my 13th blog for Sorry State ever, and I think my year-end list for 2017 was only blog number 9... That's not to say this year was devoid of content -- quite the opposite! If anything, maybe that's why I haven't found myself plopped in front of a computer screen writing blogs!

So here's my final blog of the year, where I'll talk about some of the year's coolest records (well, at least ones that SSR didn't put out) and maybe toss in some bonus material at the end. Hope y'all dig reading my thoughts on these platters.

Here we go:

1. Idiota Civilizzato: S/T 12" - Easily a stand-out record of the year for me. While we're inclined to make these silly lists, if I were asked to throw out one record from 2018 that I thought was great, I'd probably say "Idiota Civilizzato." Though based out of Germany, the Italian influence is definitely heard. While this band has the raw, uncontrolled feel of say Wretched, the musicality is also very sophisticated, managing to have elements of melody and intelligent songwriting mixed in with the seemingly frenetic assault of noise. Such a good record, warranted many spins this year.

2. Public Acid: Easy Weapons 12" - Had to include at least one release from my homies this year. I'm happy and proud to see this record receiving praise from other sources outside of NC's little bubble. Public Acid's jaw-dropping emergence from their previous band was fun to witness. I remember their being a moment when I was discussing with Daniel and we were basically saying: "Damn, when did they turn from a good band into a great band?" This debut LP just captures a pure and joyous explosion of fury. While somewhat tied to the stylings of "raw punk/d-beat/whatever", this record just feels like a perfect little moment.

3. Extended Hell: S/T + Call Of The Void 7"s - Not unlike Urchin in 2017, Extended Hell delivered a crushing one-two punch with both of these EP's this year. For the style they go for, it really doesn't get much better than Extended Hell. They manage to be furious and powerful while still memorable and tasteful in their songwriting. Highly recommend blasting these slabs to keep the party from waning at 4am.

4. Blood Pressure: Surrounded 12" - I think I probably said this a few times this year, but it's true, I think Surrounded may be even better than the first Blood Pressure LP. As one of the commonly top-ranking mainstays in current hardcore, musically, Blood Pressure maintains the same mean-as-fuck/tough-as-nails USHC sensibility while squeezing in some love for other international hardcore. Where I think this new LP exceeds the former is that it comes across as much more focused, where each song is like a militaristic, thoughtfully structured blast of intensity.

5. The Dark: Demons 7" - I loved this band's previous 2 demo tapes released within the last few years, but was stoked to see they finally received the vinyl treatment. The Dark from Los Angeles most notably seem to take influence from early examples of Japanese hardcore mostly released on flexi, like The Execute or Deadless Muss. While the raw punk sound is there, they also incorporate glam-influenced, chugga chugga guitar stylings a la Randy Uchida. When making the leap to a proper vinyl release, I would say The Dark benefit from a clearer, punchier recording. Even so, they retain the ominous atmosphere that really made their demo tapes special.

6. Profoss: S/T 7" - I feel like a list of records that I loved over the course of any year wouldn't be complete without at least one crusher from Sweden. Profoss is a project fronted by the same vocalist from Infernöh. They synthesize the best aspects of legendary mängel style hardcore and unapologetically crank out tunes in the best of traditions. If "d-beat" is an oversaturated market, then Profoss is like the cream of the crop collected at the narrow end of the funnel. A perfect band to drunkenly and inconsiderately shake your fist at.

7. Scythe: S/T 7" - Yet another band from the West coast who lovingly adopt the sonic tendencies of early Japanese raw punk! This record totally blindsighted me so I had to give it some love on my list. Scythe really captures a spooky and mysterious quality that brings to mind something off of "Projection of Astral Body" by Mobs. Whereas comparable bands like Blazing Eye have a snarling, raw delivery, Scythe is all the more intense, like they've been hiding in a damp, creepy cave somewhere trying to create the most disgusting sounds possible. What really made this release (as well as other releases on Discos Huayno Amargo) stand out is the packaging! All beautifully screenprinted, making the record feel special and unique. Really cool record for me this year.

8. Geld: Perfect Texture 12" - I remember hearing that Geld had members of Krömosom, but with d-beat/raw punk as my sonic assumption, I had no idea that Geld would sound so out of left-field. I got this record when it came out in the early half of the year and gave it a couple listens and then kinda moved on to other things. Now returning to it in picking my top year-end choices, I guess I had forgotten how powerful and fucked up this band is. I don't know if artsy is the right descriptor, but the convergence of ugliness and melody is really striking on this record. I tend to like hardcore that is kinda weird, textured and chaotic, but not at the expense of being totally face-melting.

9.Hot Snakes: Jericho Sirens 12" - There is a self-conscious part of me that wants my list of favorite records to be musically "diverse." Welp, for 2018, it looks like Hot Snakes is as close as I can get to having a black sheep in the line up. I also thought about not including Hot Snakes in my roster, but being honest with myself, I did love this record. I feel like Jericho Sirens is a record that sounds simultaneously veteran and fresh. I hate to frame it in this way, but I was pleased to hear a band that's been around for a number of years delivering new songs and not feeling like the effort was phoned-in. Between Reis's sideways brand of weird, yet melodic guitar work and Froberg's signature hooky lyric writing, you know what you're in for, but for me it was still satisfying. This 12-year awaited LP found its way onto my turntable many times this year.

10. Devil Master: Inhabit The Corpse 7" - Devil Master got a bunch of buzz this year, whether it was them getting signed to Relapse or their 7"s immediately selling for like $40 on discogs. Sometimes the stars align for a band, where they seemingly uninentionally create a sense of mystery and unattainability. Beyond all that, Devil Master is really fucking good. Their blend of black metal and raw punk is just exciting and out of control, but also super catchy. I look forward to them putting out a proper LP on Relapse and it being the biggest thing ever next year.

Honorable mentions:

-Suck Lords: New Lords Music 7"
-U-Nix: Nuke Portland 12"
-Hologram: S/T 7‚ÄĚ
-Headsplitters: Tomorrow 7‚ÄĚ
-Warthog: 4th 7‚ÄĚ
-Sial: Binasa 7‚ÄĚ
-Cruelty Bomb: Atrocities Demo CS
-Hate Preachers: 5-Track Demo CS

And just like last year: let's face it, there's probably a lot more releases that I'm either forgetting or am too lazy to mention.

On the personal front, the label I started with my buddy Usman (plays in Scarecrow with me and Daniel) just put out our first vinyl release! It's the new 7" from my other band Vittna. We're really excited about it! Limited to 300 copies, each with sleeves screenprinted in various colors.

Vittna kinda sounds like if you put weirder US hardcore bands like Die Kreuzen or Mecht Mensch in a blender with Poison Idea, Nog Watt, death rock influences blah blah blah. At the time I'm posting this, Sorry State should already have copies of the Vittna 7" on the webstore. Also, if you haven't yet, please feel free to pay Bunker Punks a visit:

Bunker Punks Discs & Tapes

Speaking of Vittna, we're going on tour! We're stoked to be playing the Saturday night show at This Is Austin, Not That Great. On the way, we're playing a few shows across the south and then cutting back through the midwest. We'll of course have the new 7" with us if you'd rather grab one in person.

If we're passing through your city or you're gonna be at the fest in Austin, come say wassup!

Even though I won't be in NC, there are some hot gigs coming up. Hate that I'm missing these!
Check it out:

2/2/2019 - RashŇćmon / Asesinato @ The Bunker

2/13/2019 - Dark Thoughts / Smarthearts @ Nightlight

I think that'll do for this round. As always, thanks for reading!

'Til next time,
-Jef Lep

Live Fast Jeff Young: Vol. 12 - Get Out The Van (And Into The Tow Truck)

What's up Sorry Staters?

As things always seem to go with the crew here at Sorry State, we've kind of lost focus on producing regular blog content. We've had some serious changes at the store that have been taxing on our free time, including moving our entire warehouse into a new location. Not to mention, some of our bands have been out of town playing shows! Speaking of which, that's what we've decided to discuss this time around: touring.

In the few different groups I've been a part of over the years, a few of them have hopped in a van and hit the road, whether it be for over a month or just a weekend. I've never kept a genuine tour diary, and I don't intend to have this blog resemble a wax poetic a la Henry Rollins' "Get In The Van." Rather, I'm just going to give a couple brief tour stories. Firstly, I'll discuss my most recent tour experience, and then also an oldie for good measure. Both of these stories also happen to be van breakdown stories, which I'm sure many touring bands are familiar with. Here we go:

I'll start with a story that's not that crazy, but just a summary of what I've been up to lately. Most recently, my newest band Scarecrow, which the bossman Daniel also plays in, did a little trip to Philly, then Richmond, and then back home. This little weekend of shows revolved around the 10 Year Anniversary of Richmond's finest punk record shop, Vinyl Conflict. After a good amount of distance was covered traveling in the oven on wheels that is our drummer Usman's van, we broke down in Delaware 60 miles from our destination in Philly.

We ended up calling a tow truck that could fit all four of us and towed the van the rest of the way to Philly. The tow truck driver, who was from Pakistan, noticed our equipment in the van and asked us about music. He then proceeded to show us several videos of his brother, who plays in a fairly popular rock band in Pakistan. Honestly, the music wasn't that bad! We got the driver to drop our van off in front of the promoter's house we were staying at and then got an Uber to the house where the show was at. We unfortunately missed the first band Zorn, but got there right when Dark Thoughts started. It's kind of unbelievable that we made it!

The gig was a benefit for a Philly venue called Cousin Danny's. After we got done playing, the promoter Jake took us to Danny's to drop off his cut. Danny was very inviting and showed us around. He generously gave us a 30-pack of PBR. Scarecrow and company headed back to Jake's house where we just sat on the porch drinking beer and eating Chinese food at 3am. It was a good time.

The next day, we managed to get the van fixed by mid-afternoon and booked it to Richmond. We arrived right after Talk Me Off finished and loaded right onto the stage. It was a bit sweat-inducing to immediately play when we walked into Gallery 5, but the gig was packed out and super fun. It was also cool to hang with the Dark Thoughts people two days in a row, very nice folks! Big thanks to Bobby for having us on!

Now for an oldie: The first tour I ever embarked on was with my first "serious" band, Stripmines. We traveled in the infamous Sorry State tour van that several other bands like Double Negative also used, which they continually had breakdowns and issues with. Stripmines went on tour with a band called Raw Nerves from Portland, and we were lucky in that the van ran smoothly the entire tour -- until we got to Pittsburgh.

I'm not sure if it was the steep inclines of Pittsburgh's hilly highways, but as we were nearing the bottom of one street the van cut out and we careened the van to the side of the road. As we were stranded on the side of the road troubleshooting the issue with the van and concocting a plan of action, there was this guy that walked by. Now, you could say we were being mean-spirited if you want to, but when I say that this dude had whack style, it was like spotting a real-life character from the the Ali G Show. A unique specimen, he was a rather large fellow wearing what looked like JNCO shorts, a Hawaiian shirt with a wife beater underneath, and a black du-rag. He walked with elephant-like steps with a true sense of disregard. It was summer time, so I think he might've had an ice cream sandwich? Jury's out on that one. Needless to say, we laughed at his expense as he walked by.

If I remember correctly, I believe we saw a gas station down the street and decided to push the van in neutral a few blocks to reach the gas station. After reaching our destination, everyone went inside to get drinks and snacks. The recurring theme with Ira, who played drums in Stripmines, was that he was broke the entire tour. He gave us warning that he had no money, so he bought large bag of groceries which he promptly left in Richmond -- our first show of tour. Most of us were waiting outside when we see cop cars pull up and before we know it, Ira is walking out of the gas station with handcuffs on! Right behind him walks out Mr. Du Rag. It turns out that this dude we were giggling about was an undercover cop and busted Ira trying to steal a Clif Bar. Seriously, with the amount of cop cars that pulled up to this gas station, you would think that Ira held up the clerk at gun point. Thankfully, he got off with a ticket. Stripmines ended this tour playing our final show back home in Raleigh. At this show, Matt delivered the classic line: "So we were in Pittsburgh, and Ira bought a $200 Clif Bar."

Alright, now that tour's over, lets talk about music listening from the safety of our cozy indoor turntables. Honestly, it's been so long since my last blog that I could talk about tons of records, but I'll just stick with some recent hot slabs:

Permission: Drawing Breath Through a Hole in the Ground 12"- Check out my other "Record of the Week" review for this record here.

Extended Hell: Call Of The Void 7"- 2nd 7" from this NY-based hardcore/d-beat band. This thing is just brutal. Uncompromisingly aggressive from start to finish, Extended Hell clearly has no desire to allow the listener any relief from punishment. The riff-o-rama Totalitär-style influence is present here, but I also feel like this band never plays at rapid speeds. Instead, EH bludgeons you while sitting comfortably in the pocket. While this EP is a suitable length to not be totally exhausting, you'll still probably be dripping with sweat after listening.

Suck Lords: New Lords Music 7"- Check out my other "Record of the Week" review from a couple weeks back here.

Adderall: 20mg cassette- Had to give a little love to this new EP from Asheville, NC's Adderall. There are some bands that seem to be far-removed from the relevant punk stream for fear of getting wet, either that or they're unaware of their retro sensibilities. Adderall, however, are one of those bands who seem plugged in, where when you listen to them you think, "Now this sounds like punk in 2018." Musically, Adderall is like a rampage, launching into songs that are inviting while still chaotic and powerful. The snarling vocals really elevate the disorderly conduct of the band. It's easy to imagine this band being explosive live. If some current hardcore bands are dangerous enough to feel like a light buzz, Adderall are a black-out.

On the personal front, I have big announcement for this blog post: I'm starting a label! Usman, whom I play with in Skemäta and Scarecrow, and I are embarking on this venture together. We've been booking punk gigs at our little location The Bunker for a while now and have discussed doing releases together. We decided to stick with the familiar namesake and dub our label Bunker Punks Discs & Tapes. Sticking with the Scarecrow theme in this post, our first release under the Bunker Punks moniker is the Scarecrow demo tape. Grab that and some other distro records at our webstore link below:

Bunker Punks Discs & Tapes

Also, here's some hot upcoming NC gigs, at The Bunker or elsewhere:

8.2.2018 - Rata Negra (Spain) @ The Bunker

8.10.2018 - No Borders, No Masters: A Benefit for Separated Families @ Kings

8.16.2018 - Zorn (PHL) / Technomaya (NY) @ Nightlight

8.22.2018 - Impalers (TX) @ Nightlight

8.31.2018 - Sensual World @ The Bunker

9.2.2018 - Pious Faults (Aus) @ The Bunker

I think that'll do for this round. As always, thanks for reading!

'Til next time,
-Jef Lep

Live Fast Jeff Young: Vol. 11 - Presentation Isn't Everything

What's up Sorry Staters?

So this round we're talking about album artwork, and more specifically, records which we personally have a soft spot for, but which also happen to have terrible artwork. My gut reaction is to begin my thoughts on this topic by acknowledging my fellow Sorry State bloggers' choices for "bad artwork". When looking at some of the record covers that have been discussed, I thought some of the art my colleagues criticized wasn't all that bad! And sure, some choices were not the most exemplary, and at the end of the day your favor towards certain artwork is all a matter of taste. Still, I find myself approaching this topic wanting to talk about bands that I think musically are killer, but whose artwork not only misrepresents the sonic aesthetic of the band but also leaves me thinking: "What the hell were they thinking?"

When I think about record covers that I am artistically attracted to, I think typically I lean toward imagery that's more stark and austere. A lot of artwork I like also tends to be either be black and white or have a limited color palette. One of my favorite record covers is the first Killing Joke album. Fairly simple, I believe it's a photograph that's been tampered with to incorporate the band name. With the former criteria in mind, the contrary to this aesthetic usually involves bright colors, cartoony or graphic illustrations and busy, corny design ideas. Many of these elements at first glance are red flags, and can be turn-offs for me when judging artwork or the band adorning said artwork. As much as I like some metal, a lot of goofy lookin' thrash records (I won't name names) come to mind when describing the type of album artwork I think looks lame.

So what am I trying to get at here? Case and point: I really think Herätys really missed the mark on their artwork. Let me make myself clear, I think Herätys is a killer band. If you'll allow me to gush here a bit, I think that during the time they existed as a band from the late '00s until around 2013 or so, they reintroduced a style of Swedish hardcore that few who attempted to imitate did nearly as well. When looking at bands like Stress SS and also Institution and Katastrof (which feature Poffen from Totalitär), the former members of Herätys's current projects further illustrate their commitment to pumping out pure mängel fury.

I remember the first time I heard Herätys, I thought to myself that they would instantly become a contemporary favorite. But then I saw the artwork... I'm not sure who approved the idea to depict all the members of the band as zombies on the front cover, but I feel like the first LP's cover art is more reminiscent of a Misfits-inspired skate rock band than a ripping, classic Swedish sounding hardcore band. I guess the counter-argument against this stance is that at least the artwork isn't another overly contrasted photo of graphic war imagery with Crass font. I like Discharge as much as the next punk, but there was an era where the crust pool was way overflooded with this visual signature.

I remember being stoked for the long-awaited follow up to the debut 12", an EP titled Helvettiin Ja Takaisin. And one might think Herätys would remedy the artwork direction from the first record, and they did... well, sort of. Being the fan that I was at the time, I ordered the Euro press of the 7" direct from the label overseas. As you can see from the gif above, the limited version of the Euro press came with bonus artwork! The focal point of the more common cover art for Helvettiin Ja Takaisin depicts a figure walking through wilderness with a TV for a head (WHAT?). Now, one might be inclined to argue that at least they attempted something more abstract, but I think that would be giving them too much credit because this cover art is really just kinda puzzling and unmemorable. And while additional artwork did disguise the actual cover art, the bonus art took things in an even more silly and cartoony direction. The illustration depicts what looks like a giant drunk punk Satan standing over Hitler and some other weirdos in Hell while eating hotdogs. Don't know what happened there.

And then the cherry on top: rather than abstaining from the cartoony design of the bonus cover from the former release, Heräys's final 7" Näen Punaista totally indulges in the silly imagery and may be their worst record cover to date. Sticking with the dictator theme, this final cover depicts what looks like Stalin drunk in the snow, along with all of the animals of the Scandivanian Winter Wonderland and of course -- a guy with his dick out. If I didn't know anything about Herätys and saw this artwork, I would probably jump to the conclusion that they were a shitty grindcore band that sang about pizza.

So here's what I find so irritating: Because I have such a fondness for Herätys and I think of them as an important band, both to me personally and because of what they brought to the hardcore scene at the time, I wish they had artwork that reflected their integrity. I'm not saying the band should take themselves too seriously, but I would prefer if one of my favorite bands weren't artistically represented by such a cheesy visual legacy. But hey, I'll still throw these records on and think they rip, they totally hold up. I'll just begrudgingly shake my head at the covers until I remove the wax.

Alright, now let's talk about some other records that out since my last post. Some of these have pretty decent artwork:

The Dark: Demons 7" - Debut vinyl release from this LA-based punk band. If you read Daniel's excellent Record of the Week review of this EP, you'll understand the shop's fondness for The Dark's classy interpretation classic Japanese punk. I really liked The Dark's two previous cassettes and thought beyond their chugga-chugga riffs and snarling vocals, they also were good at creating a creepy atmosphere that matches their aesthetic. Don't sleep on this!

Fried Egg: Beat Session Vol. 4 CS - New batch of recordings from this VA punk band. I feel like all of these Beat Session recordings tend to bring out the best in the bands they put out releases by, and the same is true of Fried Egg. I'm not sure if they recorded this live, but this recording really does them justice with so much power and energy. Also, a sick Mecht Mensch cover to boot! Grab this hot reel.

Exploatör: S/T 12" - I feel like my roster of new releases wouldn't be complete without mentioning the latest from Poffen and company! Even after hearing Poffen's bands like Institution or Katastrof, Exploatör is sort of a return to form by reuniting most of the classic Totalitär line-up. The guitar sound and pulse of the drums is immediately recognizable and refreshing to hear. For real rage-a-holics only.

Hot Snakes: Jericho Sirens 12" - So most of the time, when I hear bands are getting back together to make a new record, I automatically expect it to be bad. And I'm not sure whether it's just the level of musicianship by the people involved or if Mr. Froberg's groups have such a signature style that making new music just comes naturally, but on Jericho Sirens, Hot Snakes do not sound like a band phoning it in. It's as if they never stopped! If anything, I think this new record is better than a couple of the others. While Vincent may not be a fan of the artwork, do yourself a favor and don't pass up on another killer Hot Snakes record.

Profoss: S/T 7" - Two D-beat bands in one blog post? Sure, why not! Debut vinyl release from Profoss, a Swedish band featuring members of Infernöh and, weirdly enough, Terrible Feelings. Profoss is another band that synthesize the best aspects of their predecessors and unapologetically crank out tunes in the best of Swedish punk traditions. Total fist-pumper all the way through. Get this before they're gone!

Here's some upcoming punk shows in NC, slightly updated from last time:

4.15.2018 - Davidians (last show) @ Wicked Witch

4.19.2018 - Cloud Gazer @ The Bunker

5.4.2018 - Iron Reagan, Left Cross, Skemäta @ Maywood

5.14.2018 - Penetrode @ The Bunker

5.15.2018 - Lace @ The Bunker

5.19.2018 - Cement Shoes @ The Bunker

5.25.2018 - Skeleton @ The Bunker

Once again, I'll try to re-update next blog!

I think that'll do for this round. As always, thanks for reading!

'Til next time,
-Jef Lep

Live Fast Jeff Young: Vol. 10 - Picking One Side Gives Me A SPLIT-ting Headache

What's up Sorry Staters?

So, this time around for our blog topics we are talking split records. Hopefully I don't give the impression that I'm reducing all readers to n00bs, as if they had no knowledge of this subject, but let's assume we're all unitiated: "Splits" are records in which at least 2 different artists release material shared on one record, usually each artist designating one side as their own.

For some reason, when we decided that splits would be our blog topic, I remember thinking that this is somewhat a divisive issue. I know for a fact that there are some people out there, even hardcore kids and punks, who think that splits are downright lame. I've had many a friendly debate about it, and usually the commonality that kills the argument is: "Well what about the Faith/Void split?" Generally, this record is agreed upon, where, for punk and hardcore at least, it's a legendary moment that set the standard for what a split record should be like. Still, I've honestly had people respond and ask: "Okay, well name one good split besides that one..." Personally, I think there are plenty!

So the question becomes: What makes for a good split? I think that beyond there being strong showings by either artist, it's important to factor in the concept that the two halves make a stronger whole. Some splits (particularly from the 90s) are plagued by a suspicious feeling that bands only released a split to save money... Some of these same releases are also guilty of having a joint-release between 5 different labels (not exaggerating). Needless to say, I would not qualify these as good examples. There are some splits in my collection where one side just kicks the other sides ass -- basically, the record never gets flipped over. As much as I like Chaos UK, not only are the Death Side tracks better on the Chaos UK/Death Side split, but it's my favorite Death Side material period. I also might throw in the No Side/Out Cold split in this example, because even with Out Cold being one of my personal favorites, the No Side tracks are just so killer! I guess I could have committed to the blog concept of "Japanese bands that are better than the band they share a split with" theme.

I think when I write these blogs, I sometimes have deepset self-conscious feeling about picking records that are too obvious for a point of discussion. But when I think of a split that features two bands that contribute two halves that make on powerful whole, I had to choose the Totalitär/Disclose split. I know, not a huge stretch for me, but how appropriate to choose a record on "Split Day" that features artwork depicting two halves of a yin-yang!?

Released in 2001, this split LP features material from each band that was recorded in 1998. When comparing these recordings against each band's individual releases from this time period, this when both Totalitär and Disclose were in their prime in terms of delivering intense material. Totalitär released the Vansinnets Historia EP that year and Disclose was hot on the heels of the Aspects of War 10" and would release Nightmare or Reality the following year.

What's interesting about these two bands sharing a record together is that each band stayed true to their sound throughout the course of their existence. While Totalitär began in the mid-80s, both them and Disclose were primarily active in the '90s. Each band synthesized their own brand of Discharge-influenced punk into a unique interpretation. As is apparent on their first track on their side, "Vi Brutaliseras" (link below), Totalitär is at their most vicious. Poffen's voice sounds particularly gnarly, and the recording only hilights the punchy, unrelenting drums and perfect, memorable riffs.

Disclose released a good majority of the tracks on this split previously on the Total Dis-Lickers demo, but thank the lort these tracks got a proper vinyl treatment! Perhaps with a reference to Shitlickers in the title of the demo version of this release, it was pure destiny that Disclose would re-release some of these songs with another Swedish band. The song "Endless War", one of the few tracks exclusive to the vinyl release of this Disclose material, is a definite hilight, a force of pure Dis-fury.

You could argue that with a limited variation across multiple releases that neither band deviates from their signature sound. Still, each band also delivers material that is emblematic and consistently as powerful as any of their other releases. I might even argue that this record has some of each band's best efforts in their entire catalogues and that each side of this slab of wax is just as powerful and raging as the other. Picking a favorite is nearly impossible, but also worth a headache over.

While this record is pretty hard to find these days on vinyl, a recent boot of the Totalitär/Disclose split has been released on cassette that sounds great! Do yourself a favor and grab a copy at one of these places:

Velted Regnub

Vinyl Conflict

Apt 512 Bootique

Runstate Tapes

Capitalist Crusty

Alright, now let's talk about some other records that have come out recently (or at least since my last blog). None of these are splits:

Padkarosda: Tetova Lelkek 12" - Definitely topping my list of favorite new releases this round is the new record from Budapest punk band Padkarosda. I was a big fan of some of their previous full-lengths released on cassette, and I believe this new LP is their first proper vinyl release. Granted, I don't know much about Hungarian punk, but to my ears, Padkarosda has such a fresh and unique sound. On the previous tapes, I remember thinking their sound had elements of hardcore, but with a dark sense of melody and atmosphere. This vibe has remained consistent on Tetova Lelkek, where moments almost bring Die Kreuzen to mind, but with a distinctly Eastern European flavor not unlike ToŇĺibabe or Siekiera. When listening to this new record, I think that there are fewer up-tempo tracks in exchange for the spooky, post-punk elements to become the primary focus. Great listen, highly recommended.

Ghoul: Night Out 12" - Compilation LP featuring a collection of tracks from this Japanese '80s punk band. While I had heard Carry Out Fucking, I wasn't super familiar with Ghoul or their association with other Japanese bands like GISM. I will say that for being an earlier Japanese hardcore band during the period where many noisier bands were releasing flexis, Ghoul stands out as being way heavier for the time. That said, the comp LP has a lot of material I'd never heard including a track released as a one-song flexi and some later era material where Ghoul became very thrash metal sounding. To me, this pressing sounds really great and is an interesting glimpse at an underrated Japanese punk band.

Beta Blockers: Stiff Prescription 12" - Debut release from this hardcore punk band out of Leeds, UK. If I remember correctly, this band shares members with The Flex and some others. Beta Blockers don't really have that primitive 80s hardcore vibe like the members' other bands though. Rather, almost more like DiE or No, this band is much noisier and abrasive in the production. Where the sonic landscape is almost harsh and claustrophobic at times, I like how they break their intense bursts with more subtle and dynamic interludes. But with a track like "Who", Beta Blockers manage to creep some melody and hooks into their brand of noisy weirdo hardcore. Killer first release.

The Cowboys: Live At Tony's Garage 7" - On paper, The Cowboys seem like a band that I would normally not really enjoy. The front cover of this new single on Feel It finally depicts the members' physical forms, whom I'd previously never really been able to visualize. Frankly, they look pretty normal. And when you listen closely to their music, they're not even really very punk. They're kinda more surf-country? Something about the singer's vaudevillian approach to singing makes the band seem tongue-in-cheek, maybe they're all just trolling us? I don't know. But still, I find myself thinking the songs are really good! This 7" is a live recording that features a few re-recordings of songs that appeared on previous albums. The energy of these performances is smile-inducing, I gotta say, and are genuinely well-performed. I guess I won't be able to help myself when I start finding the country twang of "Laugh Enough" stuck in my head later on. Oh well.

Army: S/T cassette - We got in a few tapes from this I Hate I Skate label out of Austin, TX. Between Enemy One, Skeleton, and other bands from this crew like Nosferatu, this Army tape might be my new favorite. This band is ferocious, kinda reminding me of Necros, particularly in the drums where it's not sloppy, but kinda manic and powerful simultaneously. Army has crushing mid-tempo sections but it's not overly tough and also pretty catchy. Also, for some reason the vocals kinda remind me of Zach from Socialcide. Live, I would wager that this band just goes berserk, impossible to contain. While not an actual live set, the video I posted of Army below is a public access show of sorts. I thought this video might give a more vivid impression of Army, more-so than the tape. Skip to 4 and a half minutes in to see the singer vomit. Rad.

Here's some upcoming punk shows in NC:

3/13/2018 - Radiation Risks @ Nightlight

3/17/2018 - Stiff Love @ Fantasy (GSO)

3/19/2018 - Bugg @ Fantasy (GSO)

3.28.2018 - Kaleidoscope @ Sabine (GSO)

4/1/2018 - The Flex & Arms Race @ Nightlight

4.3.2018 - Drool @ TBA

5.15.2018 - Lace @ The Bunker

5.19.2018 - Cement Shoes @ The Bunker

There might be some more coming up also that it's my fault for forgetting, I'll try to re-update next blog!

I think that'll do for this round. As always, thanks for reading!

'Til next time,
-Jef Lep

Live Fast Jeff Young: Vol. 9 - Best of 2017!

What's up Sorry Staters?

In review of the year 2017, I look back quite fondly to be honest. Many great things: I started some bands, toured with a band, NC had some of the best shows we've had in a while, made some new friends, got me a girlfriend, and so much more!

As yet another year comes to its close, we at Sorry State are scrambling to cram just 10 records which we deem as "the best" against all the stacks of records that came out this year. Needless to say, the will power one requires to narrow it down to such a small list is very taxing mentally, to say the least. 2017 saw the release of a lot of really great punk records. There's a part of me that desires to go out of my way to hilight more obscure records that would likely not be found on any year-end top 10 punk list. But being true to myself, there were some records that were binge-listen worthy this year that are surely no-brainer choices for many a punk listener out there. Hopefully my thoughts on these choices are fun to read.

Here we go (in no particular order):

1. Impalers: Cellar Dweller 12" - I'm sure this LP will creep its way onto many of the Sorry State staff's year-end lists, but I had to put it at the top of my list. From the day I heard this record earlier this year, I knew it would end up as a top contender for "Best of 2017". While Impalers were no slouches on their previous releases, consistently providing well-executed Motorhead/Scandinavian Jawbreaker-influenced madness, they somewhow reached a new plateau with Cellar Dweller. Monstrous psychedelic riffs/leads, intelligent songwriting, and nothing executed in bad taste. Dare I say, hardcore perfection?

2. Urchin: How To Make Napalm / Peace Sign 7"s - Urchin is a band that for me kind of surfaced over the course of 2017, managing to release 2 killer EPs in quick succession. While Urchin self-describe their band by throwing out references to early Discharge and Anti-Cimex, there is an underbelly of American hardcore fury that makes this band stand apart from your typical crust punk interpretation of this sound. Absolutely savage.

3. Institute: Subordination 12" - I'll admit that this was an LP that I wouldn't have expected to make it into my Top 10, but I found myself revisiting this record constantly this year. Institute really changed their sound sonically from previous releases, exchanging the clean, angular sound on Catharsis for a recording that's much grittier. The band also seemed unafraid to incorporate more rock influences than the post-punk bread and butter we're accustomed to this time around. Beyond that, I feel that the songwriting is really strong. I remember seeing Institute at Nightlight in Chapel Hill this summer and their performance felt so convincing and captivating. Great band.

4. Kaleidoscope: Volume 3 12" - I first became aware of Kaleidoscope's singer and axeman when he was playing in JJ Doll, and whatever psychedelic undertones were just beneath the surface in his previous band were fully realized on Volume 3. While this LP could easily be doob-smoke inducing, there is also an element of Kaleidoscope's sound that is eerie and cavernous, conjuring some bleak and meandering mental imagery. This LP has warranted many repeated listens, but I think more than anything, this record deserves a spot on my list because it's interesting and different -- punk-wise, nothing is really comparable. Respect to these psychedelic black sheep.

5. Pura Manía: Cerebros Punk 12" - Definitely a record that I almost had forgotten was released in 2017 because it was released so early in the year. But also, I feel like Pura Manía is such a favorite between all of us here at Sorry State and is so a part of the store's atmosphere that it feels as if this record has been around a lot longer. When looking for musical comparisons for Pura Manía, a reference we always throw out is New Age-era Blitz, but I think that is due in part to the band having an intangible and instantaneous "classicness" about them. In an era where melody and an air of genuineness are hard to come by, Cerebros Punk delivers something great and true.

6. Tarant√ľla: S/T 7" - While the post-C√ľlo band provides a similar cartoony, tongue-in-cheek aesthetic and sense of humor, Tarant√ľla I feel really made an effort to create a sound and personality to distinguish themselves from their previous band. They also recorded one hell of an EP. The tunefulness and hooks are pretty undeniable, but the chorusy guitars and mood give this record a unique character. Still manages to be fun though, which was a breath of fresh air for 2017.

7. Katastrof: S/T 7" - I honestly think I'd be disinginuous if I decided not to include the debut EP by Katastrof, which is fronted by the former vocalist of Totalitär, one my all-time favorites. While this style of Swedish hardcore/d-beat/whatever you wanna call it has been imitated time after time, there's something about these lifers delivering it the good old-fashioned way that's refreshing to me. This slab is a rager, hands down.

8. Nosferatu: Sounds of Hardcore 7" - There seemed to be an undercurrent in 2017 of younger bands discovering unhinged, fast-as-fuck 80s hardcore a la Koro, Deep Wound, and the like. Among a lot of bands being influenced by this sound that had releases this year, Austin, TX's Nosferatu was at the top of the heep in my book. All power, all speed, all fury. Watching this band play live was absolutely explosive. I can only hope to anticipate more blood curdling hardcore like this for 2018.

9. Nurse: S/T 7" - Atlanta's Nurse have been around for a few years now, and since the first time I heard them, they have undergone some changes in terms of the lineup and the sound of their music. This EP is their second proper vinyl release and a strong evolution where I think they really nailed it, like all their previous releases were steps that would culminate on this EP. Nurse perfectly blends rage and intensity with a haunting sense of dissonance and melody in the guitar work. The disparate elements of Nurse's sound are put together in a clever execution, but the weirder elements don't turn me off because the songs are still delivered with so much piss and vinegar. Great EP.

10. Obstruction: Demo 7" flexi - Kind of the sleeper hit amongst my picks, I think this Texan band deserves way more attention. Not unlike some of their motörcharged neighbors, Obstruction deliver blazing hardcore that is tight, powerful, and vicious. Somewhere between Scandinavia and late-80s Poison Idea, I think this ripper is one of the better all-out hardcore records of the year.

Honorable Mentions:

-Exit Order: Seed of Hysteria 12"
-Blank Spell: Miasma 12"
-ISS: Endless Pussyfooting 12"
-Paranoid: Praise No Deity 7"
-Innocent: Power Hungry and Mindless CS
-Aggression Pact: Instant Execution 7"
-Machine Gun: 10 Hardcore Tracks 7"
-D.O.G.: Declaration of Genocide 7"
-Rata Negra: Oído Absoluto 12"
-U-Nix: S/T 7"
-Criaturas: Ruido Antisocial 7"
-Wiccans: Sailing A Crazy Ship 12"
-Rashomon: Demo 7"
-Testa Dura: Lotta Continua 7"

And let's face it, there's probably a lot more releases that I'm either forgetting or am too lazy to mention.

Now that I've talked about some slabs that we've had all year to digest, let's check out some new records:

Sunshine Ward: Nuclear Ambitions 12" - After a blazing LP on Feral Ward in 2017, Sunshine Ward start off 2018 right with another blazing 10 tracks of Swedish style mayhem. This Boston band's previous record had a cleaner guitar sound which brought to mind Bloodkrow Butcher and other similar bands, and while you can expect the same raging style of hardcore, this time Sunshine Ward sound noisier, heavier, and more pissed. Highly recommended.

Solid Space: Space Museum 12" - I remember when I discovered this UK minimal synth band a number of years back. I remember thinking the songs were really good, but at the time I don't think I realized that this recording was considered legendary, especially for only originally being released in cassette format. I came to learn that many have bootlegged this landmark of synth poppy goodness, and that these bootlegs have gained a lot of controversy. But finally, an official vinyl release of this gem is finally available!

Impulso: S/T 7" - First vinyl release from this Italian raw punk band. Impulso are barreling within the first ten seconds, one minute it's a chaotic mess of cavernous noise, the next a pummeling assault. More-so than classic Italian punk, Impulso kind of reminds me of Spanish bands like Destino Final or Una Bestia: vocals with tons of delay, groovy pogo-beat song structures and a dense, powerful recording. This slab is a crusher.

Public Acid: 5 Songs Promo CS - Love when local people do cool stuff! Not sure if Chubb will even talk about his own band, but people should be aware that we have these tapes. This is the first proper release from NC hardcore punk band Public Acid. Featuring 5 tracks from an upcoming vinyl release some time later this year, this is some seriously crushing, noisy d-beat influenced rage. Listen below, it's not anywhere else online ;)

I've got a few things to plug on the personal front this time around. First of all, just wanna mention that a couple of my bands just got done recording new material. Scarecrow just got done recording a super raw 4-track recording that will hopefully be released as a proper demo tape some time soon. Vittna just recorded a bunch of new songs with Ian from Natural Causes, which will hopefully be for a 7" further in the future than I would prefer...

There's a few cool shows coming up in NC to check out:

2/2/2018 - J20 Benefit @ Nightlight

2/4/2018 - Mammoth Grinder @ Maywood

Also, Drugcharge is playing a WKNC (Raleigh's college radio station) benefit show, which I'm sure will be a hilarious scene. Also, coming up at The Bunker on Feb. 23rd, Witchtrial will be playing. A lot of familiar faces from the DC, NY and Boston areas. I'll link an event page in my next blog most likely. If you haven't heard them check 'em out below:

I think that'll do for this round. As always, thanks for reading!

'Til next time,
-Jef Lep

Live Fast Jeff Young: Vol. 8 - Naughty or Nice?

What's up Sorry Staters?

If you've been keeping up with our latest blogs, you'll know that each of us here at Sorry State are writing a "Dear Santa" letter of sorts, listing our most-wanted list of records for Christmas! What better time for me to provide this information than after New Year's right? Santa's already made his rounds, but it couldn't hurt to drool over records I haven't gotten my greasy fingers on yet. I know haven't been bad enough to deserve a lump of coal, but who knows if I've been nice enough to get any rare records. Not hugely shocking, but my personal list of most-desired records is made up entirely of rare hardcore 7"s. If you'll indulge me a bit, I am lucky in a sense because there are a few records that if I didn't have would absolutely make this list (ie Pick Your King, or Wind of Pain). I will say that my choices are not necessarily the craziest records in terms of value, I'm not asking for a red cover Minor Threat 7" or anything. Sure, some of these choices will set you back $100 or so, but my wants are formulated more-so on the idea of thinking to myself: "Damn, I wish I had that." Let's get into it:

1. Totalitär: '80s era 7"s - If you know me and my taste in punk, I have probably made it abundantly clear that I am a huge fan of Totalitär and Swedish hardcore in the like. And while I have all of the 12" releases and handful of 7"s, I have not made a huge effort to grab the first three releases from one of my favorite bands. It's not even that I think Totalitär's first three 7"s (Multinationella Mordäre, Vänd Dig Inte Om, and Luftslott) are their best material. That's not to say I don't love them, because I still find the idea of owning the early releases of this band to be quite alluring. It used to be that each of these would go for around $30, but thanks to us record nerds and the ever-expanding legendary status of this band, the records are only getting more expensive. There's just a part of me that doesn't want to take the plunge on discogs...

2. Mecht Mensch: Acceptance 7" - There's just something about 80s hardcore from the Midwest that speaks to me! I don't know if it's because of the vast plains of corn fields and boredom, but bands from this region always seem to be just a bit freakier. And while I love Die Kreuzen and Necros as much as the next guy, the Mecht Mensch 7" just has this mysterious, austere quality to it. I do have the Master Tape comp with Mecht Mensch on it (and No Labels, yess!!), but this band's lone record is what I truly would like to add to my collection. Maybe there's also something I find interesting about bands that only have one proper release -- it's like a perfect little moment. And of course, it does rip!

3. Ultra-Violent: Crime for Revenge 7" - Yet another band that only has one proper release, and only 3 songs! Luckily this 7" was reissued not too long ago, but according to Dr. Lupton, the repress just does not compare to the explosive sonic power of the original Riot City press. Three perfect tracks of UK82 fury! Also the way this recording sounds is so perfect, love the disgusting guitars. Hard to believe 6 minutes of music is worth so much these days :/

4. Juden Souchi: Dead Line 7" - My last pick for my Christmas list is more of a deep cut. I discovered Juden Souchi during a period of trying to learn as much as I could about early Japanese punk. I think my buddy Shane, who is quite the archivist, had this in giant folder of Japanese punk on an external hard drive. It remains one of my favorite Japanese punk records I've ever heard. I found everything about "Dead Line" captivating: catchy riffs, great vocals, really cool graphic design with the artwork -- just love it. I think this band had one other release, but not sure if members were in other bands. I'm pretty sure this was originally released on flexi, so who even knows if I could find one in good shape or if it would even sound good? Still, this record makes my mouth water and probably wouldn't pass up a good deal on a copy.

Alright, now I'll talk about some records in a more reasonable price range:

Haircut: Shutting Down 7": First vinyl release from this VA hardcore band. When I first heard Haircut's demo tape I remember them sounding more rocked out and catchy. But on this new 7" they've gone in a much more riffy hardcore direction, and I'm not complaining. Sonically, this thing is just pummeling, but the riffs and vocals are still pretty sassy.

Lux: S/T 12": Somewhat condensed from what I wrote on my Youtube channel: After a killer demo tape in 2016, Barcelona-based hardcore punk band Lux return with a proper full-length for 2017. Lux fuses UK82 style pogo punk with the interesting rhythms of anarcho punk. The catchy basslines are super loud in the mix and drenched in chorus, bringing a gothy sensibility as well. The vocals almost have a shrieking, banshee like quality at times, but what makes them distinct is the sense of melody and vocal hooks, which are truly rare in hardcore punk these days. Clocking in at 11 songs in just over 23 minutes, this record is a bit longer than your usual long-play from a punk band. It's a proper album, and I think Lux gets away with it by holding interest with memorable and dynamic songwriting.

Tarant√ľla: Weird Tales of Radiation and Hate 7": 2nd EP from this Chicago punk band. I loved their first 7", bringing a melodic sensibility to C√ľlo musicality. And if that were true of the first EP, this new outting pushes even more in that catchy direction. Maybe exchanging Ramones influence for a dash of New Age-era Blitz. Great stuff.

Sial: S/T 12": Absolutely vicious release from this Sinapore-based hardcore band. This recording is super gnarly and abrasive, but the drums are still pounding and heavy. Sial mixes the grating guitar sound of 90s Japanese punk and mixes it with a UK82 backbeat, and the result is primal and powerful. I bet this band is intense live.

There's not a lot to say on the personal front. A bunch of Raleigh rockers had a cool New Year's Eve party at The Bunker. It was also a costume party. Me and the rest of Scarecrow dressed as the crew from the Wizard of Oz. I know someone recorded us playing, so hopefully I'll be able to post that next time.

I mentioned this gig in my previous blog post, but the flyer below will be hot gig for NC! Every time Glue has played here it's been a good time.

I think that'll do for this round. Thanks for reading!

'Til next time,
-Jef Lep

Live Fast Jeff Young: Vol. 7 - PARTY TIME!

What's up Sorry Staters?

It's been a while since I've written one of these things! But starting now, #LiveFastJeffYoung is back in full effect baby! Did y'all miss me? It's hard to believe that around this time last time last month Skemata and Drugcharge were still on tour together. Overall, I would say that tour was a total success and a lot of fun! -- But after being in a new city every day for 30 days and spending a good portion of that time getting trashed, I can say that I am happy to finally be back in Raleigh and hanging at good ol' Sorry State.

Speaking of getting trashed, we've got a fun topic of discussion this round for our blogs! I am sorry to say that I missed a blog idea or two while I was gone, but at least this time we get to talk about something I can get down with... PARTYING. Here's the thing though, I've given this concept some thought, and I think there should be some restrictions: Our choices for songs to discuss can't just be music that is functional as it pertains to partying because, let's face it, music in almost any form can be deemed appropriate music for a party. It's a much more involved task to form a list of songs that are actually about partying. There is a part of me that is just itching to bombard you with cheesy 80s heavy metal songs about partying, but I'll admit it seems a little on the nose. I've decided that I'm strictly going to use examples of party songs that are more Sorry State's bread and butter, and when looking for party-themed tracks in the punk realm, there actually are quite a few worthy examples. I couldn't help myself though, if you've never seen the music video for "Party All Night" by Quiet Riot then you should definitely check it out. It's hilarious -- and there are punks in it!

When I first started to try and think of punk songs that fit our theme of discussion, I literally thought to myself, "Maybe I should try to think of songs that literally say 'party' in the lyrics." Paricularly around Halloween time, a go-to favorite would have been "Partytime" by 45 Grave, but I heard through the grapevine that one of my associates might already be discussing that tune in his blog post. So after abandoning that idea, it got me thinking... Party? Where can you party? You can party... ON THE SAND!

"Beach Blanket Bongout" is a standout track on the Blatant Localism EP by Phoenix, AZ's skate rock all stars, JFA. Lyrically, the song is pretty simple, but still helps you to envision the landscape for what the youthful activities of JFA might have looked like. In all honesty, the song is pretty comical, but the announcement of this self-proclaimed "punk outing" opens almost like an invitation. I'm talkin' suntans, babes, brews, and everything in between! I find myself enjoying the mental visual of a bunch of bleach-haired skate rats piling into a van and hittin' the Venice boardwalk! Within a few words, JFA also establishes conflict between their rowdy bunch of punks in tow and the hippies who are infringing on their turf. The lyrics set the stage and are rambled off in this slow, blasé fashion, but the stuttering, stilted rhythm of the verses emphasize the final punches and makes them all that more impactful. It seems crucial that the resolution at the end of each stanza is always "FUN." Sure, upon deep analysis one might dismiss this song for being pretty silly. But funny as it may be, it's still a party anthem amongst coastal punks. And party songs are supposed to be lighthearted, right? Maybe if you're a kook then you won't get it, but to clarify: surf punks we're not, but skateboard? Skateboard we do.

In my comprehensive list of party-themed punk songs, I had a few honorable mentions like "Drug Party in 526" by GBH or even "Color Me Impressed" by The Replacements ("everybody at your party, they all look depressed"), but I decided "Let Us Play Your Party" by The Spits would be more fun to talk about. I get a kick out of the general lack of concern and rudeness exuded by this band. This song opens with a little skit that is like an added bonus of slapstick comedy before a perfect dose of Ramones-fueled chanting: "LET US PLAY. YOUR PARTY." Who even knows if "Hellcore House" is a real place? But I feel certain The Spits' inspiration to include the idea of some random kids asking them to play their punk house stems from real experience. But you can bet that when these Michigan synth punks aren't pounding a six pack in the alley, all it takes is some free beer to get them to rock til the night is through. While JFA provides a lucid scene of the beach punk party, The Spits portray a risky undertaking that most of us are familiar with, which is of course a band playing a house party. What a joyous occasion, because who doesn't relate to the notion of unapologetically getting trashed while raging in a stranger's house? Some lyrical details are true to my personal experience because a party that gets out of hand is often accompanied by a nervous host for fear of consequences issued by the landlord or the police. And sure, maybe there will be some puke on the carpet or holes in the walls from punks playing with your dad's bowling ball, but that's the whole point! Throw caution to the wind and make the good times last before the cops show up!

Alright, now let's talk about some records! I have been away from the store for a good chunk of time, so there's a few things that came into Sorry State over a month ago that I missed the chance to talk about (ie the Haram LP!), but I'll try to limit my choices to records we've gotten into the store more recently. Here we go:

Machine Gun: S/T 7" - Debut vinyl release from Philly hardcore band Machine Gun. This band seems to be channeling a brand of 80s US hardcore that until recently had been lacking with newer bands. Machine Gun's sound and aesthetic are absent of any pose or fashionable identity, it's all power and urgency. They pack 10 songs onto one 7" and it's all fury. I'm also attracted to bands that just seem to not give a fuck -- middle fingers drawn. If the Poison Idea-mimicked layout is any indication of Machine Gun's sensibilities, then you know you're in for some blazing USHC done the right way.

45 Grave: Sleep In Safety 12" - How appropriate to discuss the reissue of this 45 Grave record on the party blog, right? What's funny though is I hadn't listened to this LP all the way through in years and had completely forgotten "Partytime" appeared on this record. Not only that, but I guess the song was repurposed for Return of the Living Dead, which is also known as the "Zombie Version", but had reworked lyrics. The lyrical themes on this album version are much darker and intense, much different vibe than the song I remember from the movie. Pretty interesting. Aside from that hot track though, Sleep In Safety, for being known as a classic of death rock, has some pretty diverse sounds going on. If "Partytime" is an example of the more rockin' tracks, a song like "Slice O' Life" is much moodier and even has beautiful melodic moments. I've enjoyed rediscovering this LP, I think 45 Grave had some visionary and stylistic musical ideas to offer.

The Uglies: Keeping Up With The Uglies 12" - Australia's The Uglies come out swinging with their debut LP. First things first, the recording on this LP is loud and powerful, but still raw and organic sounding. With an inclination toward snottiness, The Uglies don't sound too far removed from something out of the Lumpy catalog. If anything, The Uglies are way more aggressive, channeling some 80s CA hardcore vibes with catchy riffs and songwriting, but still sounding contemporary by hitting all the marks and launching into slithery dance parts at opportune moments. Contemporary as they may sound, with songs like "Make Punk Great Again," The Uglies also offer a critical and scathing commentary of their surroundings. Definitely blistering and full of attitude. Jam this.

Das Drip: Demo CS - I must say, I would be remiss if I didn't at least give a few thoughts on one of Raleigh's coolest and most interesting new bands. When I heard that Rich and Josh from Bodykit were returning to stringed instruments to form a hardcore band, I knew it would be anything but typical. Self-identifying as "mid-brow hardcore," Das Drip create an intense and chaotic, yet efficient barrage of noise. While not entirely tuneless, Das Drip have a claustrophobic sense of musicality that abandon "big riffs" for a more dissonant, herky-jerky formation of songs. The goal is to knock us over the head with short, exhilirating bursts that are played in such a way that I'm sure induce callouses for the players. The music is toppled by a vocalist who contributes a fittingly harsh diatribe of personal testimony. Check this shit.

U-Nix: S/T 7" - I remember when I first heard about a new Portland band's demo tape, I was blown away! But now with this new 7", U-Nix gives us more rage at higher fidelity. After that Nosferatu 7" earlier this year, Lumpy Records seems to be snatching up some rip-ass hardcore bands. U-Nix seems unafraid to play go-for-the-throat, blazing fast hardcore that is truly anxiety-inducing in its unpredictability. Skemata played with these dudes on tour and it was a jarring assault on the senses. Not unlike Machine Gun whom I mentioned earlier, U-Nix seems to adopt the same appreciation for being deliberate and immediate. Where Machine Gun execute hardcore more rigidly, U-Nix are much more manic, but explosive and energetic.

On the personal front, even though Skemata is taking a break after embarking on our full-US tour, I'm still excited to return to working on my other bands! Vittna has been working on new material and plans to record in early January. For a record maybe? Who knows! Also, I think I maybe briefly mentioned it, but I got a new project called Scarecrow along with Dr. Daniel himself of Sorry State rockin' the bass. Here's a video of us playing in Raleigh the other night:

Like I had done in my previous blog posts, I wish I had am extensive list of upcoming shows in the NC area, but unfortunately there's not a lot to discuss. Still though, we're bringing in the New Year hot with this one:


I think that'll do for this round. Thanks for reading!

'Til next time,
-Jef Lep

Live Fast Jeff Young: Vol. 6

What's up Sorry Staters?

If you've been keeping up with our recent posts here on the Sorry State page, you'll know that our new format for blog posts requires each member of the SSR team to individually respond to the same topic of discussion.  Time for topic #2!  This round, we're talking about records that were "game-changers" for us, or that broke our preconceived expectation of what a record might sound like.

I was racking my brain trying to figure out an album that would suit this prompt.  I feel like there have been several albums I've discovered along the way that were fresh and exciting, but not many that shattered the foundation of my musical palate.  For instance, everyone knows I hate the saxophone, and it's not as if hearing X-Ray Spex made me appreciate squanky sax -- it's still the worst instrument.  That said, when I think of a record that blew my mind and redefined what sounds I could expect out of a punk record, I can think of no better record to talk about than The Damned's Machine Gun Etiquette.

If you were to take a narrow glance at the era when The Damned emerged alongside their contemporaries (Sex Pistols, Ramones, etc.), a lot of these bands' records were reinterpretations of rudimentary rock'n'roll. They're great records, don't get me wrong!  I had already heard early material from The Damned like "New Rose" and even songs like "Problem Child" from the 2nd LP before I dove deeper.  And to me, even though Damned Damned Damned is groundbreaking in its own right, I sort of marginalized the album and lumped it in with milieu of classic "77 punk" or whatever.   Needless to say, I had no idea what I was in for when I finally gave the 3rd Damned record a listen.

 If I understand correctly, guitarist Brian James leaving the band is what allowed for the new direction on Machine Gun Etiquette.  This album captures a dynamic shift in the band's songwriting where it seems nothing was off the table in terms of experimentation.  When you look at photos of the band, the eccentricities of the individuals involved is fairly obvious.  Only two years after their debut, The Damned made a daring and adventurous record, exceeding many efforts by their contemporaries in terms of style and substance.  The broad incorporation of sounds and influences alludes to records from the psychedelic era, where Machine Gun Etiquette is almost like a punk Sgt. Peppers. The opening track "Love Song," as well as the title track, open the record at a blazing pace, which mind you, precedes hardcore considering this was 1979.  Even with Rat Scabies' manic drive on these first two songs, a sullen mood and atmosphere is just beneath the surface.  This vibe is set up perfectly by "I Just Can't Be Happy Today," which is a jarring left turn of a song, introducing organ as the primary instrument and some handclaps for good measure.  The sequence of the record is like a journey, ebbing and flowing, incorporating the use of acoustic piano, ancillary percussion and even bizarre, eerie carnival music on "These Hands."  All of these elements are still digestible because they are carried by such a strong sense of melody and structure.  Captain Sensible also has amazing lead guitar playing all over this record, but he seems choose his moments very tastefully.  Lyrically, Dave Vanian delivers lines that are witty and tongue-in-cheek at times, but also scathing at other moments.  Some songs like "Anti-Pope" or the spoken section in "I Just Can't Be Happy Today" are politically confrontational, taking on religion and also painting a picture of the social climate in England in the late 70s. I think this record is a masterpiece top to bottom and really opened my mind to punk's musical possibilities. 


Alright, now let's talk about some new rippers in the distro:

Urchin: Peace Sign 7" - 2nd release from this NY-based hardcore band that features ex-members of Razorheads and Bloodkrow Butcher.  Roach Leg's own personal description mentions Stoke-On-Trent and Gothenburg as origins from which Urchin draw their sound.  They also self-identify as "troglodyte hardcore" -- so while there are clear Cimex vibes going on, this band's delivery is authentically vicious and primal.  This is seriously some like froth-at-the-mouth hardcore.  Packaged in a b&w sleeve printed on normal printer paper with the lyrics and liner notes all kind of jumbled together, it's clear that these dudes just don't give a FUCK.  I'm all about it.

Permission: S/T 12" - Debut release from this UK hardcore band.  I'm not absolutely certain, but I'd wager that this is the new project from ex-members of DiE and No.  For one, the slightly out of tune guitar sound is unmistakable.  Also though, the aforementioned bands both just had this pounding, almost boneheadedly raw aggression.  Sonically, Permission is no different, and from the second this 8-song LP starts, the energy is palpable and explosive.

Rashomon: Demo 2017 7" - I feel certain that I had already written a description when we first carried the cassette of Rashomon's demo, but here we go again!  When hearing these songs refashioned for a 7" platter, more power and clarity are brought to what I thought was an already stellar first release.  I feel like even within the confines of the sound Rashomon is going for, there are some unique musical qualities at play.  There's some d-beat influences, sure, but the drums do a lot of things that are rhythmically interesting.  The slower number, "Corpse Syndrome," is carried by this intricate single-note guitar melody that really stands out.  Of course the major noteworthy aspect of Rashomon are Kohei's vocals, and I don't think the band would have the same ferocity if wasn't for his snarling in Japanese.  I think I remember hearing that this band broke up and only had this demo recorded.  It's a shame, would've loved to hear more from these guys. (edit: I confirmed that Rashomon has not broken up; maybe Jeff was thinking of Kombat? --Daniel)


So I think by the time everyone else is posting their next blog posts I'll be getting ready to hop in a van for a month.  At this moment, I still feel severely unprepared, but I'm excited!  If anyone who reads these comes to one of our shows, please come say hi!  Here's a not-so-great photo of our tour poster:

I think that'll do it for this round. Thanks for reading!

'Til next time! (it'll be a while!)

-Jef Lep

Live Fast Jeff Young: Vol. 5 - Time Flies When You Live Fast (My Turned Out a Punk Story)

What's up Sorry Staters?

So as you might have noticed, the concerted effort to deliver consistent blog posts has sort of faltered from most of us over here at Sorry State.  For me, this lack of blog content is due in part to it being such a busy summer, both at the store and in my personal life.  Also though, I feel like when I sit down to write these things that I want to have a theme or focused conversational piece in mind beyond just reviewing records.  At our last staff meeting, Daniel made the suggestion of providing "prompts" for each blog post, in which each of us write our own take on a topic.  I'll be honest, the suggestion of adding structure like that to my blog sort of makes me feel like I'm writing essays for college again and like I have an assignment to complete. But who knows? Maybe doing things this way will give me the kick in the ass I need to knock out these blog posts.

So what's our first prompt?  Perhaps you're familiar with Damian from Fucked Up's podcast Turned Out A Punk, in which Damian interviews different musicians and personalities about how they got into punk.  We figured everyone here at SSR could do the same, and we could each contribute our own little narrative about how punk music totally ruined us!  Totally kidding, but I'm not going to sit here and pretend my own story is nearly as interesting as Mackie from Blitz or Fat Mike or something... Still, I'll try to make my journey into punk not too long-winded and hopefully you'll get a kick out of it.  Here we go:

 I. Hair Metal Beginnings

My dad circa the early '80s.

When I think about the reason I got into punk, it's not as if one particular life event or epiphany occurred that left me forever changed.  I think it's been a gradual plunge deeper and deeper into understanding why adopting "punk" as an identity or cultural perspective has always been attractive to me.  Without sounding overly dramatic, I think punk resembling something socially subversive has always sort of vibed with my natural disposition.  But it wasn't always that way, and that's not to say I didn't have help from significant people in my life.  For starters, I always grew up around music.  My dad (Jeff Sr.) is also a guitar player, but his sensibilities sort of fall more under the umbrella of the era when 70s hard rock slowly started morphing into 80s heavy metal.  Ozzy's first couple solo records with Randy Rhoads were drilled into my brain as a major staple and mark of excellence as it related to progressing on guitar. Which is cool, don't get me wrong!  But I can clearly remember discovering some of the heavier CDs in my Dad's collection and gravitating toward them.  In my middle school years, I soon abandoned Motley Crue and Dokken and was much more into Metallica and Slayer.  

II. The Peak of Good Living

As much I'd like to say I grew up in Raleigh, I actually lived in Apex, NC, which is a suburb about 20 minutes away.  I remember attending Apex High School and realizing I'd already committed social suicide by not wearing boat shoes or a North Face jacket.  For whatever reason, the peer group I ended up identifying with were the future delinquents and burnouts of Apex High.  I think I fit in with some of these kids because I was into skateboarding, which I viewed as an even further extension of my social otherness.  At this point, I was about 14 and had become pretty familiar with a good portion of the Epitaph catalog, mainly through skate videos and because bands like The Offspring were still putting out new CDs.  I think myself and a lot of these freakier kids were bored in a town like Apex.  And while the town's motto is the "peak of good living," my adolescence in Apex is chock full of some juicy suburban legend.  Across Highway 64, within walking distance of my house, there was an abandoned, run-down Winn Dixie grocery store that remained vacant for years.  A lot of my "friends" that I previously mentioned broke into the building, designating it as a place to hang out.  Lots of these kids would skip school and go inside the abandoned building to go have sex or do drugs.  I still vividly remember walking inside for the first time and there being a dusty, old futon and used condoms littered on the concrete floor.  So what did my skater friends and I do?  We would hang out and skateboard there all the time.  A big pastime in this germ farm was to spray paint on the walls.  I still can visualize the image of a previous graffiti artist's adorning the wall with four huge black bars. My naive 14-year-old self would not learn that it was a Black Flag logo until some time later.

III. My Partner In Crime

Me at about 15. 

Sorry to give so much background, but here's where it all starts: one of my skate rat buddies in the group mentioned above was my best friend in high school.  Randy was the kind of friend who wouldn't ask if he could come over, he instead would just follow me inside my house after school -- no questions asked.  I don't think the conversation was as simple as, "Hey, wanna be punks, dude?", but I cite Randy's importance because we got into punk together.  I'm not sure if we discovered punk bands through Tony Hawk's Pro Skater or what, but it is funny revisiting now and realizing how crazy it is that "Lexicon Devil" by the Germs is in a fucking video game.  At the time bands like The Casualties and A Global Threat were still really popular and played locally fairly often.  The first time I went to a "street punk show," for lack of a better classification, Randy and I both still had shaggy hair and wore baggy skateboard shirts.  Not long after absorbing the atmosphere of people standing shoulder-to-shoulder uniformed with charged hair and studded-out clothing, Randy and I quickly got our hands on some secondhand leather jackets.  With our limited resources for discovering new music, Randy and I would kind of egg each other on with a fun competition of, "Dude, how have you not heard this band yet?"  I feel like some of my formative musical discoveries occurred just sitting around with Randy.  We would clumsily sew and stud our leathers and other clothing, alternating between punk bands we'd never heard, and then listening to The Specials and other selections from Randy's dad's reggae record collection.  My punk makeover was more or less fully realized over one summer. I showed up with my new look for the first day of sophomore year of high school and most of my delinquent friends would no longer talk to me. Posers!

IV. Some Old Punks Wear Sweaters

At about 15 years old, which was when my interest in punk and change of fashion sense became a worrisome discussion amongst my family members, is when my uncle (also named Jeff) confided in me that he was a punk rocker in the late 70s.  To which I of course responded, "Yeah right!"  Mind you, my Uncle Jeff is now a sweater-wearing state employee working with the NC art museum department.  But when he revealed to me that he still had a small chunk of his punk record collection hidden away somewhere, I was proven wrong.  Perhaps one of the more significant turning points in this story is that my Uncle Jeff proceeded to graciously give me his entire punk record collection.  It would take me a while to digest everything he gave me that day in the months to come.  While I personally think he looks back not so fondly on his punk days, I loved pretty much everything I heard from that stack of records.  Uncle Jeff lived in Ohio during his punker phase and was therefore a huge Dead Boys fan.  He had the first two Dead Boys records, a lot of staples like Sex Pistols and Clash records, but also had records that would take me time to understand like Wire's Pink Flag, which is now one my favorite records.  He also gave me the leather jacket I'm pictured wearing in the photo above (it was a plain black jacket when I got it.)

V. DIY Made Me Shave My Mohawk

 By about 2006, Randy and I would still frequent street punk shows.  Neither of us could drive at the time and most of these shows weren't nearby, sometimes happening at clubs in cities like Charlotte, which was 3 hours from us.  We also had no awareness that a DIY punk scene in Raleigh even existed at the time.  Randy and I were the only punks at Apex High who looked the way we did, but we did meet other kids at our high school that we later found out were part of a forum group called NC Punk Online.  A lot of these kids seemed more like general weirdos and hippie types than they were uniformly punk.  One of those kids later invited me to see this new movie American Hardcore that was playing at an indie theater in North Raleigh.  I had no idea what "hardcore" meant at the time, but needless to say, this movie opened a whole new world of interest for me.  I remember watching the documentary and finding the parts with SSD offputting and Jack Grisham talking about his grave-robbing being really scary, but I was totally transfixed.  After seeing that movie, I immediately ran out to Coconuts Music.  All on the same day I bought CD's of the Minor Threat discography, Black Flag Damaged, and the first Bad Brains and heard them all the way through for the first time.  That was a good day.

For a short period, I still made no real distinction between the street punk shows I went to and the hardcore punk I was becoming obsessed with.  I remember I still rocked my leather jacket, but it now had a Minor Threat back patch (which is still on there).  But this new group of freaks I had met would tease me about attending street punk shows relentlessly!  Eventually I was convinced to go to smaller shows in Raleigh.  I remember some of the first shows I went to were at a place called Sadlack's (RIP), where the bands would play outside beneath an awning and anyone off the street could just walk up and watch.  More than I remember the bands, I mainly recall being approached by an overwhelming group of new faces wanting to meet the "fresh meat," i.e. ME. A lot of the people who played in the bands and helped book the shows in Raleigh are still my close friends, and the idea that this small group of people was making these gatherings happen was a revelation to me.  Even though I liked the music, I realized that a lot of these "punk" shows that were in clubs I had been attending were really just like going to a hard rock show.  

Double Negative at some house show. Daniel and I are right next to each other but I don't think we had even met yet.

I had gone to a handful of shows in Raleigh, but some of the most memorable shows I went to that were proper hardcore shows were at this retro-fitted bike shop in Durham called Bull City Headquarters, or BCHQ.  Granted, I was late to the game. I didn't see Daniel's band Cross Laws for the first time until their last show, and I believe Wasted Time also played that show.  At my first few hardcore shows, I had no idea what band I would be watching at any given moment -- it was all an exhilarating blur, but I remember being blown away.  I probably stuck out like a sore thumb because I was still transitioning out of my decidedly-punk-looking phase.  One particular show at BCHQ that really stands out was in late 2007.  I rode in the back of some older street punk's car along with Randy and my friend Arwen in the back seat.  I was 16 and never met the dude driving before, and I remember feeling nervous when we stopped to get beer on the way.  The flyer for the show had only 4 bands listed, which were Born Bad, Socialcide (who had Brandon Ferrel on drums that night), Double Negative, and it was Devour's first proper show.  I don't know if it was just a killer show and the energy in the room inspired spontaneity, but other bands just randomly played, including Logic Problem and then Government Warning played a surprise set, who I had never heard before.  GW opened with "Arrested" and the crowd exploded. A minute in, I caught an elbow to the face and blood poured down my face.  I had an instinct to run back to the bathroom, but instead I got caught up in the mass of bodies and just raged with my bloody nose.  

Crowd photo at BCHQ.  I'm off to the left, try and spot me!

I decided not long after attending a few shows that this type of punk was what I was looking for, so I immediately retired my leather jacket and shaved my head.  I also wanted a piece of it. After I graduated high school in summer of 2009, I had a mission to start a hardcore band that was at least close to being on par with the great bands I'd witnessed.  Stripmines started playing shows a couple months later.  Pre-every killer hardcore record being on Youtube, meeting people in the scene after Stripmines started playing shows is how I was exposed to a lot of more obscure punk.  I remember Matt from Stripmines showing me Bastard for the first time and losing my mind.  And I would just be blown away by bands that my new friends would show me constantly!  It was exciting.  

Here's a video of Stripmines at our last show, still one of the funnest sets I've ever played.  Good view of my sober butt in shorts:


Welp, I guess it was kinda long-winded after all.  I don't have too much more to say.  I've continued to play in band after band since Stripmines, and the pattern continues!  I don't really know what else to do with myself!  


Alright, now let's talk about some records:ÔĽŅ

ISS: Endless Pussyfooting 12" - I'm not sure if I didn't properly digest this LP upon first listen or if shifting the medium from cassette to vinyl allowed me to listen more attentively, but I'm only now realizing how fantastic this record is.  What's funny is that I imagine if someone were to pitch to me the concept behind ISS to for the first time, which is a two-piece collaboration who makes new compositions out of punk drum samples, I would probably naturally respond with, "That sounds terrible!"  Well, lemme tell ya, this crow tastes pretty good.  I feel like listening to this Endless Pussyfooting from start to finish is an enveloping experience.  The sonic experimentation, use of sampling, dynamics, and especially the sequencing of tracks are all right on the nuggets.  Also, while I think the songwriting is catchy and top-notch, everything about ISS is genuinely pretty funny.  PS, correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure the pick slide in "Endless Drip" is from lifted from the beginning "Hit The Lights" by Metallica.


Suck Lords: Demo CS - Super raw, super fast, super pissed first release from this new Portland hardcore band.  This demo definitely falls under the category of my recently adopted motto of "I'm so glad bands are playing fast again."  This recording is honestly pretty sloppy, but I kinda like that.  It has urgency.  Somewhere between the speed of Deep Wound and the snottiness of JFA, I'm digging Suck Lords' vibe.

U-nix: Demo CS - What the fuck is up with Portland lately?  I used to mainly associate that region with crusty raw punk bands, but between this and Suck Lords it seems like there's a new crop of kids that just want to crank out classic, ripping USHC.  U-nix seems like maybe they've ingested some of the midwestern hardcore sensibilities, kind of reminding of bands like Ooze.  There are moments on this demo that get really noisy and chaotic that also kind of make me think of the Void demos.  Killer.

Silverhead: S/T 12" - Let's face it, sometimes you just need some old fashioned rock 'n' roll!  If any of you read one of my earlier blog posts, you'll know that I had been on a 70's glam rock kick as of late.  I think I find this era of rock so addictive in part because of the lush vocal hooks, and Silverhead is no exception.  I had never really heard of Silverhead until Daniel informed me that we would be getting the reissue of their first record in our next Forced Exposure shipment.  Since hearing it recently, I've been spinning to this LP constantly. It's funny because Silverhead was part of the whole UK glam scene, but more than some of their contemporaries, I detect a healthy dose of southern rock flavor.  Not unlike T. Rex, some of the slower songs straight up sound like they could be Skynyrd ballads -- choir-esque backup vocals and all.  Some serious hot tracks on this under-the-radar rock record.


Not much else to talk about.  Hopefully I'll get in another post or two before Skemäta sets off for tour.  While I'm here though, I have a new project called Scarecrow with Daniel and our first show is coming up.  Check it out:


That'll do it for this round.  Thanks for reading!

'Til next time,

-Jef Lep

Live Fast Jeff Young: Vol. 4 - July 29th, 2017

What's up Sorry Staters?

So I'll be straight up, I did not stay true to my word and missed my blog post last week.  I'm gonna try to get back on track with getting these written every other week, but it's just been busy with shows in Raleigh lately!  I mainly just want to talk about records because so much killer stuff has come into Sorry State since my last entry.  Here's a few things I wanna talk about on the personal front though: 

My new band Vittna put out our demo tape since last time I wrote for the blog.  I brought a few tapes to sell at the store and thanks to everyone who's picked one up!  We're sold out, but I'll bring some more in soon.  Daniel was nice enough to write a little blurb about it in his last blog post, but just in case, you can check it our here:

Another update: Skemäta and Drugcharge are going cross-country! We're doing a full-US tour starting mid-October.  We've already contacted a lot of people about booking shows for most of the dates.  We're still looking for someone who books shows in Albuquerque/Santa Fe and a couple other places.  I'll list the dates below, and please get in touch if you can help out!  Hit us up:

10/15 - Atlanta, GA

10/16 - Gainesville, FL

10/17 - Tallahassee, FL

10/18 - Birmingham, AL

10/19 - Hattiesburg, MS

10/20 - New Orleans, LA

10/21 - Houston, TX

10/22 - Austin, TX

10/23 - Denton, TX

10/24 - Oklahoma City, OK

10/25 - Albuquerque, NM

10/26 - Tempe, AZ

10/27 - Las Vegas, NV

10/28 - Los Angeles, CA

10/29 - Bakersfield, CA

10/30 - Oakland, CA

10/31 - San Francisco, CA

11/1 - Medford, OR

11/2 - Portland, OR

11/3 - Boise, ID

11/4 - Salt Lake City, UT

11/5 - Denver, CO

11/6 - Kansas City, MO

11/7 - St. Louis, MO

11/8 - Iowa City, IA

11/9 - Minneapolis, MS

11/10 - Chicago, IL

11/11 - Bloomington, IN

11/12 - Columbus, OH

11/13 - Cleveland, OH

11/14 - Pittsburgh, PA

11/15 - Charlottesville, VA


We don't have it at the store yet, but I also want to mention to check out the new LP from Bareclona's Lux!  I'll do a more refined description in a later blog post once we have the records for sale at SSR.  Listen here: 


 Alrighty, now let's talk about some records.  Lots of ragers this time:

Impalers: Cellar Dweller 12" - I'm sure for the majority of people who are keeping tabs on their new hardcore releases that this is a no-brainer.   Me and everyone at the shop have discussed that somehow after all of their releases, Impalers still manage to out-do themselves.  Especially because stylistically, in the motor-charged/d-beat/whatever field, Impalers still manage to stand out.  The songwriting this time around takes a lot interesting twists and turns, changing tempo and feel on a dime.  To me, the standout feature of this new record is Ulsh's vocal performance, weaving between throat-shredding growls and deranged, monotone spoken parts.  Also, the choice to make the third iteration of the title track just shred lead for the whole song is a bold, but solid choice.  I feel certain that with this new slab Impalers will make their way to a lot of people's best of 2017 lists. 

Katastrof: S/T  7"- Admittedly being the biggest Totalitär fan at Sorry State, it was pretty obvious I was going to love this record.  That said, even compared to Poffen's previous project with the same guitar player, Institution, the execution on this record is even more raw and savage.   If you want some real deal, undiluted Swedish hardcore punk, this record is a must.

Innocent: Power Hungry and Mindless CS - New project out of Boston featuring the mighty Ryan Abbott on drums.  The way this tape was hyped to me was that it sounded like early Sacrilege.  Honestly, I really don't think it sounds like that, but it is really great.  The reason I say this is really because the songwriting is much more punchy and rhythmically complex than it is Discharge sounding.  This is really just a super tight, riff-filled assault on the ears.  The high-pitched soaring vocals really make it too.  Killer stuff.

Criaturas:Ruido Antisocial  7"- Latest and greatest release from Austin staples Criaturas.  I would say that especially after not releasing anything for 4 years that this new EP sounds really fresh and may even be their best material.  Dru's vocals on previous Criaturas releases sort of weaved between melodic and harsh, but on this it's all aggressive all the time.  I also really like the sound of the recording, the drums are super punchy, the bass is grimey, and there's plenty of soaring rock leads.

Kombat: In Death We Are All The Same 7" - While I had heard their demo tape a while back, something about the songs on this 7" are next-level.  The drumming is raging fast and the chorus-drenched guitar work is shredding all over the place.  Kombat's style really seems like everything could fall apart at any minute, but never quite reaches the brink.  This comes across seeing them live too, because while this EP is killer, it's only a taste of how explosive they are in person.

Blank Spell: Miasma 12"- Debut full-length from this Philly punk band.  While it's got some UK82 style pogo beats going on, there is also a twinge of goth punk in Blank Spell's sound.  That said, I would still describe them as a hardcore band.  The wailing vocals really stand out and totally enhance the rhythmic complexity of the music.  It also is worth noting that this band sounds super powerful for a 3-piece.  

Also, might as well take this space to mention that Blank Spell is playing in Raleigh later in August.  Check it out here: BLANK SPELL/HALDOL/NURSE IN RALEIGH

Testa Dura:¬†Lotta Continua¬† 7"- New band featuring Sorry State family T√∂rs√ł's drummer on vocals. ¬†Giacomo, originally from Italy, sings over top music that really does bring to mind classic 80s Italian hardcore. ¬†The recording is lo-fi and organic sounding and only makes the raw, unhinged quality of the music more authentic sounding. ¬†Total ripper.


I think that'll do it for this time.  I'll put together a list of upcoming NC punk shows in my next post.  Thanks for reading!

-Jef Lep

Live Fast Jeff Young: Vol. 3 - July 1st, 2017

What's up Sorry Staters!?

Welcome to the third edition for my blog #LiveFastJeffYoung.  As promised, I'm going to try and get these put up every other Saturday from now on.  You may have noticed that Seth, rather than adding another entry for Outta Style, created a new blog entitled Strange Obsessions.  His first entry was all about punk compilation albums, and it's super cool!  If you haven't read it, then go check it out.  My own comment on Seth's blog: I love the PEACE/WAR comp as well, but my own honorable mention is the Master Tapes Vol. II comp.  Killer midwest bands on there, but I also gotta give some hometown love for No Labels!

I thought the whole concept for a "Strange Obsessions" blog was a great idea.  Still, rather than forming a plan of action for a well-thought-out blog post, I'll instead ask that you indulge me on some disorganized ramblings about some strange obsessions of my own:

If there's one thing about me and the way I listen to music, it's that I go through phases of obsessive listening to a particular era or genre.  I've discussed with Daniel about how we differ in our digestion of records.  Whereas he fears over-listening to something good and growing tired of it, if I gravitate toward a certain band that I think is particularly good, I will listen to them over and over and still love it!  Sometimes for me, I latch on to even a single track and commence over-consumption.  At the store, I've discussed with customers about tracks that stand out to me from classic records that I think are "hot tracks" and their reactions are often like, "Well duh, that's the hit off that album."  To which I respond, "I knew I liked it for a reason!"

Lately, I've been listening to a ton of melodic glam rock from the early-to-mid 1970s, particularly bands from the UK.  This of course includes David Bowie, T. Rex, and a lot of the staples, but I've also been listening to Brian Eno's first two albums a lot.  Like I was talking about above, one of those tracks I've began to frequently listen to is "The True Wheel."  It's interesting, because it's not really an A-B-A-B pop structure, but is still super hooky.  I'm honestly a n00b when it comes to Eno, so it might be that everyone thinks I'm an idiot and knows that this track is one of his best.  Still, maybe you all should over-fill those ear holes with this too:

Another band that has warranted frequent listens is Sweet, most importantly their album Desolation Boulevard. Obviously, everybody knows tracks like "Ballroom Blitz", and thanks to the film Guardians of the Galaxy, now "Fox On The Run" is back in the mainstream consciousness as well.  But seriously, this album from top to bottom is an amazing listen.  There are some tracks on this record that I would even describe as super heavy and ahead of their time.  This album came out in 1974 I believe, and a track like "Set Me Free" sounds like it should be on an Iron Maiden record.  Pretty fast, soaring vocals, harmony guitar leads, it blew my mind the first time I heard it.  On a weird note, Vince Neil of Motley Crue covered this song on his first solo record?  But then contextually, it makes total sense that Motley Crue was a fan of this band in the early 80s.  Sweet has the heavy edge when they need to, but also the glittery look and pop melodies that were accessible for radio.  The influence to me wouldn't have been quite as obvious without hearing the deeper, heavier cuts from this Sweet album.  Here's that Vince Neil version:

ÔĽŅAlso, a fun little side note, this Vince Neil album also has the track "You're Invited But Your Friend Can't Come", as you might remember from the Encino Man soundtrack.¬† This song sounds exactly like a transition from the 80s to the 90s.¬† Plus, Pauly Shore hams it up in the music video:

Also, if anyone has suggestions for some more obscure glam rock tunes I should start over-listening to, feel free to leave a comment letting me know.


Alright, now let's talk about some new records we've gotten in at Sorry State:

Celtic Frost: Morbid Tales 12" - So it appears that every blog post I'm just going to feel the need to talk about reissues first.  Maybe subconsciously it means they're the records I'm most excited about?  Regardless, Celtic Frost is an important point of discussion.  I will admit that I've never even held an original copy of this amazing debut album in my hands, let alone listened to it, but I will say after only hearing this album on mp3 that the sound of this reissue blew my mind.  Very punchy and huge sounding.  When discussing this band's importance and the impact they had on bands that followed, most of my metal friends talk about how important they were to early black metal. I understand this on an aesthetic level, but sonically I always thought Celtic Frost sounded more like a heavy punk band.  Firstly, a track like "Into Crypts of Rays" is the opening track by which all other first songs are measured, but to me it also just kinda sounds like Discharge.  And sure, maybe Celtic Frost is more aptly defined by their slower moments.  I remember listening to an interview with Shane Embury saying that Napalm Death's sound was basically them trying to play faster than anyone else, but with "Celtic Frost breakdowns."  Pretty interesting knowing Napalm Death's connection to 80s punk also.  Instead of just posting a track from the album, I decided to post this video which is a German television appearance.  I'm also not sure if its pantomimed? Check this out:


The Bug: ÔĽŅHumbug, or So Many Awful Things ÔĽŅ7" ÔĽŅ- New tracks from this hardcore punk band based out of Chicago (I'm pretty sure).¬† I remember seeing this band live 2 nights in a row and just being flabbergasted at the explosion of energy and noise being thrown at me.¬† Listening to this new record, that experience has sustained.¬† The tracks between the two sides of this record are divided up in an interesting way.¬† The A-side just barrels with some all out, raging fast songs that are border on being pure chaos and rarely breach a minute.¬† The B-side, while still explosive and noisey, has a few more mid-paced and brooding numbers with catchy, untiring basslines and dissonant, yet complimentary guitar work.¬† I don't know how this band writes songs, but they must be drenched in sweat and questioning the blandness of reality every time. Take a listen:


Various: ÔĽŅMy Meat's Your Poison ÔĽŅ12" ÔĽŅ- Yet another reissue to talk about? Here we go: Fanclub edition¬†of this late-80s hardcore punk/thrash compilation featuring a solid shortlist of bands from Japan. The era of punk in Japan where it moves away from the noisier, 4-track sound of bands like Zouo or Gai from the early 80s and morphs into huge production with metallic guitars played blazing speeds is really interesting. ¬†More notable bands like Lip Cream and SOB are on here, but this comp is worth it alone for the less well-known bands like Chiken Bowels and Outo. ¬†Check out the Outo stuff here:


Mark Cone: ÔĽŅNow Showing ÔĽŅ12" ÔĽŅ- Brand new full-length solo record from the Urochromes frontman. ¬†I'll preface my thoughts on this record by saying that the sheer lack of guitar is a rare characteristic of the music I typically listen to. ¬†While lo-fi, Casio keyboard-dominated synth punk usually wouldn't be my thing, I feel like this record is hard not to talk about. ¬†I think there's something about the way this LP is put together that is bold and infectious. ¬†While the Screamers would be a good reference point in terms of sonic influence, the punchy, in-your-face drum machine and unorthodox percussion reach almost hardcore punk speeds and bring to mind more current bands like Hank Wood. The organ-esque keyboard sounds also project a cavernous, spooky atmosphere, almost like they were recorded with the intention to suit a low-budget Dracula movie. ¬†Still, I don't know if I'm getting this impression from the sound of the vocals, but there is something very dramatic, and dare I say Vaudevillian, about the songwriting. This vibe comes across in particular on a track like "If The Cone Fits." How appropriate for a record entitled Now Showing¬†that comes with a poster adorning the performer's name on a theater marquee. ¬†


As part of my ongoing update about punk shows in Raleigh and the surrounding area, I've relisted all of the upcoming shows that I know about as of this blog's being posted.  Plan for this to be a regular thing!  Since my last blog post, I've added a couple shows to the list and updated info/links for some of the gigs that I mentioned last time.








- August 18th: NURSE (ATL) / BLANK SPELL (PA) / HALDOL (PA) - TBA

- August 24th: SHEER MAG / HARAM @ KINGS



That about wraps things up.  As always, thanks for reading!

'Til next time,

-Jef Lep

Live Fast Jeff Young: Vol. 2 - June 17, 2017

What's up Sorry Staters?

Welcome back for my second edition of #LiveFastJeffYoung.  I hope y'all enjoyed my last entry.  A little update: some of you may have noticed in my last blog I said that I would be regularly be posting my blog every other Friday, but then actually posted it publicly on Saturday.  Since we typically post a "Friday New Release" blog post on Fridays, we decided to move my day for posting a personal blog to Saturday.  Anyway, let's talk about some records:

Subhumans: From the Cradle to the Grave 12" - I started with my last post talking about Voivod reissues, so I thought I'd stick with the theme.  Recently, we got in a whole batch of the UK Subhumans records in stock.  I think these were originally reissued a few years back, but all of them sound great and come with some swanky packaging.  Hearing these records after not revisiting them for a while has really re-invigorated my interest in this band.  When I was a young teenager I loved all of the Subhumans' EPs and the first record The Day The Country Died.  I decided to talk about From the Cradle to the Grave because it's a record I wasn't as familiar with when I was younger.  A 16+ minute punk epic?  When I think about this band's contemporaries, it seems like a totally ambitious and insane idea.  That said, the way the arrangement is put together is like several small sections that flow seamlessly.  I think the "song," if you can call it that, is put together really tastefully and doesn't come across as corny.  The end product seems really honest and natural.  And while my younger self might have thought, "16 minute punk song? FUCK that," I'm finding myself totally captivated the entire time.  

Paranoid: Praise No Deity 7" - Latest 3-song slab from these Swedish punk-metal crushers.  When looking at the sonic umbrella that Paranoid seems to fall under when described as a "noisy" d-beat band, I definitely think compared to many other current bands that they are basically the elite example.  I also think that if their Cover of the Month record was any indication, they incorporate just as much Sepultura or Darkthrone as they do Disclose.  In referencing that covers record, it is interesting digesting the first batch of new material from this trio in a while.  The first thing that comes to mind when hearing the opening track is a total "motörcharged" influence, and really has more of a rocked out swagger than previous releases.  Also, the production on this new EP still has the noisy, trebly texture we've come to expect, but to me sounds way thicker and punchier.

Hyena:¬†ÔĽŅDemo 2017¬†ÔĽŅCS¬†ÔĽŅ- First release from this Atlanta band that features ex-members of Bukkake Boys and more recently Mercenary. ¬†As one might expect when mentioning the people involved's previous bands, this is some vicious and relentless hardcore punk. ¬†A lot of these songs are at a barreling pace, where the feel of the drums along with the heavy guitar sound totally brings to mind the heavier end of Japanese hardcore. ¬†Think Bastard, or to my ears, Hyena sounds a lot like Nightmare! ¬†But still, with Ruby's recognizable vocals, it still has the hardness and aggression of US hardcore. ¬†This is a total rager, looking forward to hearing more from this band.

Also, just because I brought them up and I haven't gone on as many tangents as my last blog post, here's some Nightmare:

Piss: II 7" - The first word that comes to mind when I think about Piss is disgusting (and not just because of the band name).  This German raw punk band does fittingly sound super raw, but still thick and punishing.  Hard to believe it's just 3 people.  Much like some of the other records I'm discussing in this blog post, this new EP also has visually pleasing, interesting packaging.  The logo for the band screenprinted in white on the plastic sleeve looks slick and really ties together the two-tone, red/white imagery.  I've said it once and I'll say it again: black and white with one spot color is the hottest look.  I unfortunately missed them when they played in NC, but much like the 4th track on this EP, I'm sure this band elicits behavior that is "Ignorant and Destructive." 

Tarant√ľla: S/T 7"¬†- ¬†First proper vinyl release from this Chicago-based band that I believe is made up of 3/4's of¬†C√ľlo. With the addition of a bass player (crazy, right?) and chorus-y guitars,¬†Tarant√ľla manages to carve out their own identity separate from their previous band. The main thing that stands out to me is the strong songwriting, chock full o' hooks!¬† The presentation on the record also is attention-grabbing. ¬†I love the bright pink cover with sick artwork, and the addition of the hype sticker is also a classy touch. ¬†Whereas I thought maybe C√ľlo should've had their own Saturday morning cartoon,¬†Tarant√ľla has really come of age with content for much more mature audiences, like pinup photos that provide each character with his own cool nickname.¬†Looking at the insert, the band has a twisted sense of humor lyrically -- Tarant√ľla wins the "funniest song titles in punk" award hands down. ¬†There‚Äôs just a sense of fun and levity that is refreshing with this band. ¬†Still, you'll be pumping your fist the whole time.¬†


As promised in my last blog post, I have a more comprehensive list of shows coming up in NC.  Some of these are featured on our BUNKER PUNKS page, but I've got some shows other friends are taking care of that are worth mentioning on here too.

Firstly, I started my list with some shows in early July, but my new band Vittna is playing with Worse from NYC at this gig:


This gig is a matinee, and there's a benefit show the same night. Hoping people will go to both!  Here's that benefit show along with a longer list of shows in NC:










- August 18th: NURSE (ATL) / BLANK SPELL (PA) / HALDOL (PA) - TBA

- August 24th: SHEER MAG / HARAM @ KINGS



A lot of these gigs are still being sorted out, but I'll have more updates in my next blog post.

I think that'll do for now.  Thanks for reading!

'Til next time,

-Jef Lep