Jeff summed up the fact that things around the record store have changed lately and the blogs have kind of fallen to the side. Since the last blog the No Love's LP finally came out! It's a relief to finally have it done and I'm personally ready to record the next one. I have some other things in the works but they're probably a little premature to really talk about.
Anyways the theme for this round of blogs is touring. I'm reminded Rancid's album "Let's Leave", I'm always a fan of getting out of town and exploring new places. Tour just happens to be a good way to do that. I haven't done a lot of tours, but one happened to be a very lengthy one, including Europe, a week or so in England and a giant loop around the US. I wish I had a scanner to add some of my favorite flyers from it, maybe I'll figure out how to do that and add them later. Anyways here's a couple of stories from that time.
It was super hot and I remember we got into town fairly early. Our van had A/C but there were like eleven of us in there being gross and sweaty. We found out that there was a public pool near by and decided that was the best course of action. If I remember correctly we had a problem of not being able to go in wearing cut-off shorts and so we had to go find a thrift store for swim trunks.
We finally get in and have time to jump in once and then are immediately asked to get out because apparently a child had defecated in the pool. We sat and waited for them to clean it up and give us the ok to get back in. During this time another kid comes by and explains to us that this is like the 5th time that had happened that day. Public pools are gross and children are gross. It was so hot though that I overcame my distaste for both. Due to this I didn't get to actually check out Love Garden (I think I did some light browsing really quick). Very few things actually trump record shopping for me but swimming on a hot day after living in a van for a couple weeks probably will every time.
Devo: Are We Not Men?
How many times have you gone into your record collection only to see this face staring back? Something about him and his Sears catalog style just really puts me off. This is going to get a little crass compared to the usual comprehensive and intelligent critique you expect from Sorry State. This guy realy looks like he just ripped the worst fart though and is trying to pretend not to smell it. "Oh really it smells like someone farted? I don't smell anything." Something about his smarmy face just really puts me off. Sadly the rest of the design (minus the golf ball, well actually maybe I would enjoy that without the face) of the album is amazing and top notch. Also I've already gushed about how much I love the music on here. There are other records that fall into the same category of Faces Seth hates to constantly look at but the albums are nowhere near as strong musically, well let's face it few albums are.
Atleast their choreography and outfit game was strong.
The Adverts: Crossing The Red Sea With
I think I actually posted on Instagram recently about how this is one of my favorite albums ever. Every song on it is amazing. I don't think there's a snoozer on here. It is amazing. Sadly I don't think the artwork comes anywhere near the music. Really I think it's just the colors that really throw me off initially, it's a really bad combination with an even worse composition, all just kind of smeared together to frame a barely interesting picture. My amazing wife took me recently to a new art exhibit based around light and sound and it was amazing. Some of the pieces there might have been my favorite pieces I've seen in any gallery.... except for one. It was seriously a twig hanging in front of a screen casting a shadow. On the screen there was a 3D model of the tree it was taken from being shown. It wasn't visually appealing in any real way. I'm sure it had some deep meaning about nature and technology and whatever but I'm shallow and go to an art gallery to see things that are visually appealing to me and that I find pretty. I know that's not everyone's taste or choices on why and how they consume art but it's just me (I don't go to art related things often). ANYWAYS, this artwork might have a point and be saying something but really I just think it's ugly and it bums me out to see.
Here's the cooler version from the Fire Records reissue -
Really both of these albums are top tier and maybe I just wish for more from them. I'm still going to listen to them non-stop though even if I have to look at artwork I hate.
Mr. Green has never let me down with any release he's been involved with. I am probably officially on fanboy level by now. This is how to mix synths and punk correctly. Also mixing in some low level nerd nostalgia with the song Dungeon Level Four. I was increadibly excited today that there were not a lot of people hanging out at the store for extended periods today because it let me listen to this on repeat like 3 times. Maybe I'll have to do a "Cassette of the Week" post just so I can gush on this in long form.
If Hospice is a lesson on how to mix punk and synths than Riki is a lesson on how to write new-wavey post punk and not be as boring as a pet rock. Lots of great melodies and songs that seem to just go. Although Chubb probably wouldn't agree this definitely rides that "Slap Wave" (tm Sorry State Records 2018). Riki definitely feels like they're living in the 80s and not just wishing they were. Lots of very Depeche Mode feels and a heavy hand of early Madonna, maybe some Bananarama tossed in. It's super catchy though and totally worth checking out.
No matter what you want to call them it's evident that Uranium Club are a force. This serves up songs from their two lps with even more of a bite than on their studio recordings, along with some silly banter. I've talked about how I'm not super huge into live records but I've really been diggin this one. Maybe it's due to them never coming to NC and never having gotten the chance to see them. Anyways this is silly and great and I recommend it.
I couldn't tell you when I first became aware of this. I never know. I'm sure I came to it due to loving Dow Jones' Can't Stand The Midwest (from here on out refered to as CSTMW). The Dow Jones songs here are definitely more akin to the rocking weirdness of their song Indeterminism than the punky and super catchy CTSMW so I'm sure I was initially turned off by this, but have come to love it (along with the rest of their 7"). Songs like Set Yourself On Fire and Hold That Coed have become just as essential in my life as CSTMW. Even the goofy Rocking Farmers is still pretty awesome.I feel like Mr Science's synths seem to pop in a little more here also than on the 7". Here's a clip of DJ&TI playing Hold That Coed, this came on the bonus DVD with the Dow Jones Discography that came out a while back.
The Gizmos side doesn't slack. It is actually probably more so non-stop hits than the Dow Jones side. It definitely has an innocent teen feel to it. Especially on songs like Bible Belt Baby. Progressive Rock is silly as they come but still rocks and makes me laugh (and gets stuck in my head constantly). Pay is probably the hit though, it's one of those tunes that bops hard and makes it hard for you to not nod your head back and forth to the beat. It sounds like a Pointed Sticks outtake without any synth. All the songs feel like they could have been the A-side of some unknown 70s punk 7" that's worth hundreds of dollars now. Here's the Gizmos doing a silly lip synced version of Pay.
It's funny because really I couldn't think of many good punk splits. Hardcore has a plethora of them (most featuring Totalitar or Disclose) which I guess makes sense since if you have ten songs that don't add up to that many minutes it's hard to fill up a whole record. I'm sure if I dove into split 7"s I'd think of a ton but I was trying to stick to lps for some weird reason.
Anyways for my sake post your favorite punk/weird splits in the comments. I'm sure I'll feel like an idiot for ones I forgot.
1. Mizutama Shobodan - 1st 12"
I don't know how I found this band. I play them on the radio show a lot and just recently acquired their second LP which also rules. This record is from 1981 and Mizutama Shobodan (which translates to the Polka-dot Fire Brigade) is an all female five piece from Japan. This doesn't really fall into new wave, punk or post-punk easily. There's an aggressiveness to the songs that really catches me but it all just feels kind of bizarre. There are what feels to be endless vocals layered on top of each other that makes the whole thing kind of feel like it's spinning out of control. There's some synth I think, that or the bass tone is just super unique. Unique is definitely the best word to describe this because while it holds some similarities to Kleenex maybe (I think that's a stretch but if I had to say a band) this is really just something in a league of its own. I've been listening to their second record a lot and obsessing over this one too so here's one of my favorites
A constant on French punk comps for a good reason. This definitely has some of the pop aesthetic of Plastic Bertrand and other French Punk. There's a kind of disco bounce to it. Especially in the first song the rhythm section kind of holds it down while they seem to just add everything they've got laying around on top of it, some fuzzy guitar, sax (which is definitely more prominent in the b-side)and even a piano that seems to just do a slide down the keys and that's it. Really this record isn't super rare but I just always have a hard time pulling the trigger on international shipping. You'll notice that I'm not going to just post bonkers stuff that I know I'll never afford. I try to stay kind of grounded. Here's the A-side
I'm not big into collecting whole discographies but sometimes it just happens naturally. These are the last three Ramones albums I don't have. It's hard justifying Adios Amigos and really in the end I probably will never own it unless I find it on the super cheap since the price tag does not match the quality. Brain Drain has been difficult to track down a good copy of weirdly, not the worst Ramones album by far but not great, it has a couple hits (mostly Bonzo Goes to Bitburg) and I really like the cover of Palasade's Park. Acid Eaters is definitely the best out of the three just due to the cover of 7 and 7 Is. I've gotten every other Ramones record in the wild so I've been trying to do the same with these last few, but to be honest also not in much of a rush since I'm not dying to have these three since I am not a die hard completionist.Really it seems like I just might have convince myself these shouldn't be on my list.
Probably the most expensive record on my list. I am totally fine with reissues and bootlegs of which there are none of this record. I heard a while back that Frontier was in the works of reissuing this but for some reason that never came to be. This is definitely up there in my list of favorite USHC records though. Maybe something about it being pretty unavailable makes it seem cooler. This definitely has a Black Flag feel and sort of reminds me of Bl'ast in their choppy rhythms but feels a step above to me. Maybe it's the silly amount of guitar tremelo. Here's the whole album to enjoy since lord knows if this will ever get reissued.
Not insanely hard to find but this compiles Devo's first three singles. Also it's hard to resist an Obi-strip. Be Stiff and Social Fools are two of my favorite Devo songs, and while they are on a single together I just really love the cover art of this and having all of the singles together. If you ever see No Love or Crete you'll probably hear me warming up with Be Stiff.
I somehow missed the Mississippi Records repress of this so am now on the hunt for it. I'm probably not going to go for an original because paying $50 per song is not appealing to me. X Patriots is a meld of Devo and The Sex Pistols but the B-Side I'm A Mutant is the real highlight, super buzzy and obnoxious. Definitely have been working on this one for my solo sets because it's such a weird cool song.
Not a great album all the way through but man the couple of songs that are good are REALLY GOOD. Very reminiscent of the first few Ultravox records. Really there's two songs on here that I love which sadly aren't available as singles making it hard to justify the price of this one. A lot of the reason for my want list is finding something thats price does not seem to match it's quality for cheaper. But for real, the song Reproduced Funtional on this one has made me almost drop more money than I should on this because it's that good of a song.
First up is the song that inspired this blog prompt. I picked this 7" up randomly for like fifty cents and it i sone of the best purchases ever.
I mean I can't think of the last thing I bought for under a dollar that has brought me this much extended joy. This may be the coolest concept single ever. The A-side is an instrumental soul/funk song with the sounds of a house party going on over top. At the end of the song Ruby's neighbor yells for Ruby to shut up. Flip to side B and the song keeps on going along with the party. Now though you get to hear the shouting match between Ruby and her neighbor. Really just a silly fun time, which is right up my alley.
Really there's so much good soul music about partying. Also there are way too many weird song/video mashups on youtube. Another great party song with a weird clip of David Schwimmer from some movie being a little too lecherous.
While not party appropriate content wise I feel like it's hard to get a bunch of punks in a room drinking and not end up singing Cock Sparrer.
Anyways all praise to the God of party
This tape ruled! So glad it's now on a 7". Super catchy punk from people who are no strangers. Drenched in reverb and lots of crunch on the guitars yet still manages to be super melodic. This is more of a jump up and down kind of thing than a full on raging kind of thing. This crew is in a million other projects and bits and pieces show through but really their song writing abilities shine more.
Cool art punk from Portland. Shrill choppy guitars with bouncing bass lines and a snare that pops straight at you. This has a tendency to kind of hang on parts like the Modern Lovers but with a much more Television Personalities tempo and charm. Definitely digging hard on this one.
Bore Hole: Demo Cassette
Resource Group: Demo Cassette
Smooch: First Kiss Cassette
Cruz Somers: UV-B Cassette
I know that's probably a lie but man is this ridiculous.
So if you haven't figured it out yet, to kind of kickstart us writing more we've been doing prompts. This is just to kind of get the juice flowing and get us all in the habit of writing more (since we have been seriously behind lately). The kind of loose prompt we have is misconceptions about an album, genre, artist we had and what changed it. I've talked a little about my kind of never ending quest to try and be cool growing up (well I kind of skirted around it). Trying to find acceptance and trying to fit in where I just didn't kind of made me a little shit at points in my life and probably somewhat intolerable, constantly basing my opinions on what I thought others would approve of our shrink back at. I'm not proud of it. This lead to my definition of what's "punk" to be fairly small and close minded. Really when I look back now I basically lived in complete contrast to how I probably actually felt and to who I've grown into as a person. With my personality shrinking back in to pleasing myself and not others my music taste broadened and so did my definition of what is and isn't "punk".
I've never really been one for that "AH-HA!" lightbulb moment where everything suddenly clicks and the clouds part and the sun is shining and IT ALL MAKES SENSE SUDDENLY! I don't think that really happens, or at least it doesn't for me. Usually things take a lot more time and regular exposure. Usually there is some sort of catalyst that starts me down the path though. Here's two albums that helped me down the path of thinking about music differently and usually more critically.
Devo: Q: Are We Not Men A: We Are Devo
I have no clue when I first heard this or why. Ignorance is easy, especially when pertaining to an artist with a mainstream hit. For a long time to me, Devo was that band that did that obnoxious song Whip It, totally not punk. Devo may be the comparison to throw at any band that shows any quirkiness these days but for a long time I wasn't surrounded by the level of fandom that I am now. To be honest I don't remember anyone growing up that was super into Devo, or if they were they never brought it up when talking about music. This album kind of floored me though with how raw and aggressive it was under all that "weirdness". Of course the songs that appealed to me first were the faster songs like Uncontrollable Urge and Slap Your Mammy but eventually I started to find myself gravitating to the more airy songs like Space Junk. On top of making appreciate things that weren't just you know blazing fast power chords it helped me to start exploring into new wave a little more and finding the punk gems in there, stuff like the first B-52's album and Adam and the Ants' Kings of the Wild Frontier.
Kraftwerk: Die Mensch-Maschine/The Man Machine
I don't know if this is exactly what started my obsession with synths or not. Again it's always hard to pinpoint where certain obsessions start but this album definitely helped break me out of my idea of what a band could be. I know I listened to stuff that wasn't traditional rock band set ups but usually did a good job of sounding like it. Listening to the trends in mainstream music in the 90s it felt like the rock band was dying. The idea of having a drummer, a bass player, a guitar player, and someone doing vocals seemed to be fading away and I think this lead me to dislike a lot of electronic music. My sister was really into house music and other edm at the time and while I kind of found interest in it, straight out liking it would be betraying myself as a musician (or so I thought). These people are just pressing buttons and there is no real musicianship in it (I told you I was insufferable). I've realized that guitar music isn't going away anytime soon and that keyboards and laptops and everything else is not a threat and not the enemy. I feel like The Man Machine is definitely the most accessible Kraftwerk album without any background to krautrock and electronic music in general. It's more feels more constrained within the realms of the idea of a pop/rock "song". This falls a little into what Daniel mentioned when talking about Amon Duul II, while there are moments of less concrete music and more soundscape feelings, there are an awful lot of melodies to latch onto and beats to nod your head rhythmically to. The Model is still my favorite Kraftwerk song, the synth lines in it are all beautiful and constantly stuck in my head. A lot of the other Kratwerk albums definitely took me longer to wrap my head around and appreciate since there wasn't always a melody for my mind to latch on to. I do think it was this and Tubeway Army/ Gary Numan that really did start my interest into synthesizers and a lot more synth based music.
Anyways that's enough of the past, let's talk about the awesome records of the present!
Nachthexen – S/T 10”- A collection of their Other cassette and self titled 7”. A good way to get caught up with this band before their new 7” on Harbinger Sound. Nachthexen switch out a guitar player for a synth player who is pretty much playing leads the whole time. The drums propel everything with a super kick and snare heavy approach, super stompy yet upbeat and all around powerful. The bass rumbles on through filling in all the gaps and the singer gives a rather mordant delivery. Definitely killer stuff and highly recommended.
This is kind of the rough story of how I became a punk, or maybe I was always a punk at heart? Well this is how I became involved with punk which lead to me being involved with Sorry State, which then lead to me writing this. A warning, my memory is complete garbage and the fact that I was able to remember this much impressed me. I tried to fact check dates but yeah some stuff might actually be out of order. Also maybe this isn't exactly how things happened but it's what I remember.
The first real memories I have involving anything with "punk" go back to the early 90s. My family had huge parties every labor day that were just insanity. Hundreds of people at the tiny three room a-frame house in the middle of the woods that we were residing in at the time. Most of the time I was too young to really partake in a lot of the fun minus the pinewood derby racing tournament that happened every year. Somehow I remember meeting a kid who shared a name with a famous baseball player and we became friends. He lived like two towns over so we didn't hang out a lot, but every once and a while my parents would drop me off over there to hang out. I remember seeing MTV for the first time at his house (I'm pretty sure this must have been late 1993/early 1994 because this was the fist time I had heard Snoop Dogg's Who Am I). Anyways I remember him making me a mix tape that had a bunch of more alternative stuff on it, most of which I can't remember. I do remember that Green Day's pre-dookie material was on there (I think he had gotten it from his cousin or something, the specifics of how he got it are just all together not there). I think having access to MTV definitely kept him way more up to date than me and he was always showing me new music. The tape got a lot of rotations along with my other tapes I remember having (Tom Petty, Foreigner and a lot of other classic rock). The next year the greater Charlotte area got its first "alternative" radio station 106.5 The End WEND. This was a huge impact since all we had before hand was classic rock, I remember waiting for the day it actually went on air excited to hear something new and more current. The station also held its first end of year festival called The Weenie Roast that year. I didn't go to that one but did attend the next year which had Space Hog, Stabbing Westward, Luster the Verve Pipe and more. This might have been one of the first music related things I went to on my own volition and not just because my parents were going. Anyways this is diverging too much into how I got into bad alternative music in the 90s. I went to the Weenie Roast a couple more years and spent all my time obsessively recording songs off the radio onto cassettes since there wasn't really anywhere in town to buy CDs or tapes.
'98 was a big year for me. I had just started high school. High school was terrible for me. I grew up in a small southern town that was slowly being invaded by super rich families and really I just didn't fit in anywhere. My sister is two years older than me and due to my inability to talk to people I would kind of hang out with her friends, who were your typical late 90s alternative crowd, ranging from nu-metal to punk and even juggalos. I had been buying more punk stuff (real starter stuff and a lot of compilations) from the mall whenever I could, along with the typical mainstream stuff which seemed like real cutting edge underground compared to everyone at my school who listened to hip-hop or Dave Mathews. The biggest influence though was my sister dating this guy from Philadelphia (which at the time seemed like a whole different world). He explained a lot to me about music and I would wait till he forgot his cd book in my sisters car and steal it to rip it all to cassettes. This was how I first heard a lot of classics like Minor Threat and Black Flag. Black Flag was definitely one of the ones I remember playing a lot because it didn't make sense to me. It just kind of didn't sound like music in the way I knew, because at that point the most punk thing I owned was probably The Offspring (which I let someone borrow and they lost it and gave me a Skankin' Pickle CD in exchange which started my hatred of ska). Yeah so now I had a very shaky foundation in underground music but really nobody to share it with. There weren't any bands at our school, there was one punk guy, everyone else was just kind of weirdos but older and so I still didn't really fit in anywhere. Not until I oddly went to church. My family didn't ever go to church after we moved from Chicago in 1990 but my mom decided we should try this one church up the street. We didn't go for long but while there I met these two brothers Paul and Mark. They were more into punk and alternative stuff and I think I bragged about how I played drums to them at youth group (my dad had a drum set but I had no clue how to actually play it). A couple months later they called up my house telling me that were starting a band and needed a drummer. I panicked and said yes even though I had no clue how to play. So then we started our first band Stereotype. Influenced by everything terrible in the late 90s. The brothers parents were super Christian to the point of not believing in contraceptives of any sort (resulting in like 8 children) so we had to say I went to church and play more Christian oriented events which mostly meant at local Christian Youth centers which were abundant at the time in the area. The cover picture is from possibly our first show, putting me at 14 or 15 I think. The other big turning point of 1998 was going to my first punk show. I remember very little about it but I do remember the lineup being Snapcase, H2O and Boysetsfire. I knew all of them probably from a Victory Records sampler or something. I went with my sister and her boyfriend, I don't remember having any life awakening epiphany or anything like most people describe, I just left thinking it was cool. Well maybe it wasn't as big of a turning point as I thought? I do remember this is my first time experience "hardcore dancing" though. From there till college I drifted around a lot going and seeing really just anything I could. I'd go to any show that seemed underground and cool (even though most of it with my current wisdom I would have deemed bad). Once I got my license in 2000 I stopped spending as much time in my home town and more time down in Charlotte. One of the biggest things was Manifest Records where I spent lots of time buying CDs and then Records. It definitely wasn't the best store but always felt cool, with all of their weird little junk around and it was huge. Sometimes it seemed more like a Spencer's Gifts than a record store but it was home base for a good while (of course until FYE bought it out).
College was kind of a blur, mostly I have very few memories that stand out. I still played in bands a lot, usually falling a little more on the bro-mosh side of things. I would go see multiple shows every week, hang out with punks, skins, hardcore people, scenesters and whoever was around. I wasn't too happy in the scenes I hung around or the music I played. I had a roommate who felt the same way, we wanted something that didn't feel like such a shitty dude fest (even though I've come to realize most music scenes are this on some level) and more punk. This all changed when we got the first Government Warning ep in 2005. It was everything we wanted, super punk and fast and seemed seperated from all the bullshit we were getting tired of. We started coming up to Raleigh NC for house shows, buying all the No Way, Sorry State and Grave Mistake releases and worked on starting a band that we liked. Eventually in 2007 it was time for me to move so I picked up and moved to Durham (which is like 20 minutes away from Raleigh). This is where I feel like I finally was into punk; everything beforehand seemed like obstacles to get to that spot. I was finally happy with the people around me, the bands I was in, and finally felt like I was part of a group of people who I could identify with. I felt free to be the giant dork that I am instead of trying to be cool. Here's a picture of Logic Problem (my first band after moving to Durham) being a collective bunch of dorks in front of a castle in 2009.
Records Records Records
I probably care more about punk now than ever. Getting to hear so much awesome stuff on a daily basis is pretty amazing. So here are a few things I've been stoked on lately.
Natterers: Toxic Care Cassette- This reminds me a lot of Night Birds in a way. It has that good pop sensibility with a foundation in great punk. It manages to be ripping while still being super catchy. Their demo was great and this is a step forward even. If this band isn't on your radar then get with it so you can say you were there before they blow up.
ISS: Endless Pussyfooting 12" - I'm sure I've said enough about ISS by now. penISS Envy might be one of the best songs ever. Every time I listen to this I catch another lyric I hadn't heard yet and usually it ends up making me laugh. But yeah this is essential so don't be an idiot and miss out.
The cover art on this one fits super well. The music is dark and raw and a little on the weirdo punk side. Are these the reptilian overlords everyone keeps talking about? If so then sign me up for this new world order.
Raw power pop that still has a punk edge in a way most bands are never really capable of pulling off. Much like The Carbonas' second album which is a blown out mess but some of the catchiest songs written ever. Part of the song Sister reminds me of the intro to Sweet Rot by Hubble Bubble. This is a solid ep front to back with 5 hits and then an Undertones cover to top it all off.Here's a video for the song Peace Chuggin'
Chalk up another one for Connie Voltaire. This powerhouse of prolificness treats us with 3 new songs and a new recording of the great Puke Girl's Class. All the songs are super twitchy and blown out. It's a beautiful thing really. No Dancing is a frantic burst that makes me want to dance around like an idiot. It's hard to say if this is Neo Neos best stuff since they have so many great things but it's definitely up there.
Blah Blah Blah.. busy busy busy.. jokes that probably went rancid in the 90s. Y'all heard enough of that in the newsletter. Hopscotch is right around the corner so we've been restocking the store and moving things from one place to another place and what not and trying to get as much new stuff on the floor as possible. So there's that, if you're local come check it out. Also we have redone the counter and the front is now covered in show flyers and looks V PUNK (it is featured partially in the photo for this post). Come to the store and admire our work. Just another step into slowly making this place look more awesome.
I probably won't make it out to much Hopscotch fun this weekend (I do highly suggest seeing Das Drip play at Legends on Friday if you can) but on Sunday Sorry State is sponsoring this awesome show with some Sorry State bands and new band De( )t which features some people from some things but that doesn't matter much because they rule enough on their own merit.
If you aren't local don't fret, we haven't forgotten you. We obtained a bunch of stuff from another distro that they had laying about. There are a ton of amazing 90s-10s reissues, bootlegs and dead stock of some classic punk and hardcore. Lots of Japanese, Swedish, Finnish and other International Punk, Hardcore, Crust and the lot. It's like going through a distro at a show in the 00s and all pretty great. On top of great records there's a bunch of great books and other various things. A majority of it is up now but we'll be adding things throughout the week. That said here's a couple of my favorites I ran across.
Christ on Parade: Sounds of Nature 12"
An underrated rager, part anarcho/peace-punk part hardcore, holds a lot of similarity to Crucifix. Never understood why people don't talk about this band as much.
Here's a sick video of them playing live in '89
Gepøpel: Complete 1982-1985 12"
The first time I heard Gepøpel was when someone showed me the great Beware the Wolf In Sheep's Clothing Compilation. Killer fast 80s Dutch Hardcore. It has a very West Coast feeling to it because it's super fast but with the vocals more sung than shouted. Here's the song that first introduced me to them.
Various: Propaganda 1- Russia Bombs Finland 12" An all-star line up of Finnish hardcore. Really no way you could go wrong with this. Here's one of my favorites from Terveet Kadet. From the first two ep era where everything is just kind of an amazing mess with the distinctive snare drum 1-2-3-4 breaks. Attitude Adjustment: Dead Serious Demo 12" What a service it was when this came out. I had heard the Attitude Adjustment demo through some sort of blog in the 00s, I liked American Paranoia but really latched on to this demo because it sounded less like Anthrax and more like raw hardcore. Anyways yeah amazing USHC that has a lot of similarities to NYHC bands (especially similar to Urban Waste in it's speed and looseness).
Anyways ;TLDR Version- There's a bunch of cool stuff in the store. A small sampling is up above this. Go buy it because there's only one or two copies of most of it.
Being sick and hurting my back has put writing on the back burner a little lately. I’m thankfully going on vacation this weekend so hopefully I’ll be back re-energized and ready to knock some stuff out. Thanks everyone for the positive feedback and discussion on the other blog Strange Obsessions. It was fun to write and to read everyone’s response. The next one should be up sometime soon discussing the current state of compilations and some of the ones that have come out lately that I really dig. There’s been so much stuff coming out lately that I was pretty lost on where to start and know I forgot a million things I want to write about but here we go anyways.
Wiccans: Sailing A Crazy Ship 12” - I feel like it’s been a while since we last heard from Wiccans. Their new LP is definitely worth the wait. A blend of psych influenced soaring guitar leads with stompy hardcore that’s somewhere between NYHC and Negative Approach. Wiccans have always managed to stand out from the pack and this LP puts them ahead of it. Here’s a video from the great Will Mecca of their entire set at EINOK this year. It starts out with the great opening track from their new album.
Marc Cone: Now Showing 12” - Another home run from Urochromes frontman Jackie’s alter ego. Super tight drums with simple bass lines mixed with some very 16bit sounding synth. The vocals are definitely the key to how great these songs are though, full of sass and wit. Definitely a fun album all together. Here Is a sick video of Mark Cone playing on the awesome Highland Park TV.
Process of Elimination 7” - Industrial punk? Punk industrial? I’m not super big on industrial music myself, if it sounded like this though I think I would be a huge fan. This is dark and heavy with super raspy vocals that sound like they’re being sung from another room. The drums are a very 1-2 drum beat and everything feels pretty raw, not in a poor recording way or anything. Everything just feels dark and dirty. Definitely cool and unique.
The Bug: Humbug Or So Many Awful Things 7": A pure cacophony of aggression. Super chaotic and unhinged. Before you can wrap your head around what’s happening the song is over and the next one is halfway done. Residual Mope is definitely my jam on this one.
Various: Horrendous New Wave 12”: This is definitely a weird but cool idea for a comp. It’s a handful of musicians and bands playing under fake band names. A couple of the bands are obvious or didn’t change their name (the great Natural Man song Tie Me Up makes an appearance here) and then some are a complete mystery since the album contains no information. The songs range from new wave to minimal synth and some that could be released as KBD singles and nobody would bat an eye (well someone would since you know it’s the internet). Here’s one of the Western Civ song that sounds like some art school punk band from the 70s in a way that I dig.
SBF: Double Blind 7” – Yes! Two new SBF tracks. Two tracks that are both just straight fire. Lots of additional weird background noises are littered through out both tracks. The recording is definitely clearer than the first 7” and this feels more aggressive. The guitars definitely have a more chugging metal feeling to them. Lots of crazy solos going on sometimes simultaneously. Remember Highland Park TV which was mentioned earlier? Well they have a cool set of SBF playing which is pretty awesome and I think the debut of the title track.
Blank Spell: Miasma 12” – Ever since their promo tape for this album I have been anxiously waiting for this record. The wait is finally over and totally worth it. This LP is blazing. Some of the best dark punk going right now. The guitar is a shimmering light of treble coming over the bass which feels super dark and oppressive. The drums are super tight and keep the momentum of the songs at a constant fist pumping tempo. The vocals have an intensity that makes them seem more like commands being yelled at you in short controlled bursts. This is definitely going to be a constant on my turntable for a while. Here’s Vines which might be one of my favorites.
Modern Art: Oriental Towers 12” – A cool reissue of Modern Art’s second cassette. A cross between minimal synth and the poppier side of post-punk, there’s a lot of elements of the music world of the early 80s. The whole thing while being super upbeat and poppy has a gloom that seems to hang over it. It’s like walking through a dying industrial town on an overcast day. Here’s a music video for the very Echo & The Bunnymen esque title track
Ok so as you’ve seen we’re changing things up a little around SSR, especially on the internet end of things. We’re all super excited about it and hope you all are also. This one’s a little long because we’ve gotten a ton of cool stuff in and because I’ve been super behind, but as far as right now goes the plan is that I’ll be posting a more condensed version of the newsletter every other Monday under the name Outta Style. While there’s always a possibility of it not making it up every Monday (for example this is being posted on a Tuesday) I’m going to try my best to make it happen. So with that said the next post will be on June 12th. But yeah there’s tons of stuff to talk about and I know I didn’t even get to half of what I wanted to write about.
Skull Cult: Vol. 1 Cassette - This is six minutes of manic intensity. Lots of lo-fi KBD feels with a midwest flavor. Super treble soaked guitar, cheap casio sounding keys and probably the tightest drums and super locked in, solid as they come bass. The vocals have a very Liquids feel to them, I think it's all of the effects/fuzziness of them. This features member(s?) of the great Buttzz who's great Summer Luvin tape I loved. While Buttzz were very Ramones-esque pop weirdness Skull Cult are more like a hyper-active Nubs. But yeah get in on the ground level before the hype whisks this one away because this tape is HOT! Also go down to your local recruiting station and get yourself enlisted in the cult, I know I'm going to.
Skull Cult: Vol. 2 Cassette - The second helping of Skull Cult's brand of keyboard infused punk insanity. This one somehow seems crunchier yet poppier than the last tape. Maybe it's the addition of a second keyboard allowing for more complex melodies? The keys definitely have more of an Ausmuteants vibe on this one and feel a lot more up front while the vocals get pushed a little bit more to the back. Skull Cult definitely feel free to skip around between the super tight high-energy punk and poppier tunes more akin to related band Buttzz (what that relation is I'm still clueless on). If you liked their first tape then what is there to lose on getting this one? I mean it costs less than your fancy coffee and will probably get you more ready to face the day and in the end make you a better person. Also after some intense research I have found some documentation that makes me assume that Skull Cult is possibly one person and also has live drums.
Nurse: Discography 12” – Let’s be honest, I’m not raking in the money at SSR. I make an honest living doing this but you know am not about to drop $300 on two 7”s no matter how great they are. And let me tell you the two records that make up this discography are pretty great. The first flexi is super raw and once you get past the endless cheat beat you can tell it’s something special. This has a weird feel of American hardcore in the riffs, kind of Negative Approach like in their simplicity. While a majority of it is pretty straight forward and fast the last song sounds like Part 1 or something, it has that slow stomping funeral dirge feel to it. The second Ep definitely is a little clearer in the recording and features a more prominent bass sound to carry the songs. The songs definitely are slower and not the straight 1-2 beat. Everything just feels a million times more competent and clearer. It definitely has more of a Stalin vibe in it’s kind of more mid paced rock riffs with the flanged (I suck at picking out guitar effects) out guitar? Also there’s some sick guitar fuzzed out guitar solos on this one. This big change obviously comes from Tatsu from Gastunk taking over guitar duties. Definitely a cool piece of history, especially if you’re interested in Japanese Hardcore/Punk and don’t have a wad of cash laying around to get the originals. Here’s some cool live footage of Nurse (not the best quality but still cool)
ISS: (Endless Pussyfooting) Cassette – Another bout of acerbic genius from ISS. If you aren’t clear on what ISS is well, there are two guys, one from Whatever Brains and the other from Brain Flannel, pretty much they sample drums and other random things (such as some X-ray Spex sax) from punk songs and then use it as the foundation for writing their own originals. Super catchy and original, I really can think of little to compare this to. If you checked out their great Studs tape you’ll recognize some of the songs on here like the amazing penISS envy which is a song comprised totally of Crass song titles. I can only imagine how hard putting these vocals was. With lots of weird little skits and samples this plays like a bizarre mixtape, all the songs have a similar core feeling to them but are all vastly different. Even the instrumentation on them is pretty all over the place. A really brilliant release all the way through and highly recommended.
Komplications: Human 12” - Whoa this is like everything I want right now. Super fuzzy synths with bouncy drums and very uk anarcho feeling vocals (I know it’s mostly just the accent but the delivery reminds me of The Subhumans) that also kind of remind me of ISS. This feels super light hearted and fun, no gloom to be found here. Everything just feels perfect on this as far as mix goes. This is a joy to listen to on headphones due to some cool panning stuff with the two synths. Punks with synths is a trend I can always get behind.
Kurraka: Otra Dimension Cassette – Every time I talk with someone about Kurraka it’s really hard not to just yell it like at the beginning of their LP. I was actually working at a record fair the other week and saw a person across the room wearing a Kurraka shirt and had to fight everything in me to not just be a nerd and yell it at them. This tape is definitely a little darker and more spacey feeling than their LP, a lot more brooding than raging. Don’t get me wrong though, this thing still rages. It definitely has a lot of ties into the darker side of anarcho-punk, the dark thick fuzzy guitar and bass definitely hit those Rudimentary Peni feelings. The drums pound away while the vocals go screaming off into the void with tons of delay. This one is definitely to listen to in a dark room with some candles lit. This one is definitely going to be played a ton around the shop.
Ataxxia: S/T 7” – Definitely drenched in Scandinavian Hardcore worship, this has some members of other bands but who cares because this rules without having to be legitimized with a previous work history. This is definitely a banger, even the slow stompy parts have so much energy and power. I really love the bass sound on this, it really comes through on the song Anxiety.
Nag – Files 7” – More Nag! Hot off their Total Punk single, this one’s a little darker feeling than False Anxiety, the whole thing seems to focus more on the sonic aesthetics of the group rather than the vocals and chorus like their previous work. The vocals are still there and still super catchy but feel more spread out. But yeah definitely still Nag meaning there’s no reason to not get this. This one still leads to more questions though, like what is the art on the cover? Is it supposed to be a snake (a very similar one is on the Total Punk single). Also is it pronounced Nag or more like Nog? I’m sure we’ll never find out.
Dream Probe: Demo Cassette – On their bandcamp this is described as “Cool Ass Tape” and I definitely agree. New band from Illinois, this is wild and blown out, everything feels in the red on the recording. This reminds me of circle pits at a house show on a beer soaked floor. Definitely super cool and has been getting listens when I’m home alone so I can rage out while drinking my coffee.
Mutual Jerk – S/T 7” – A better recording helps flesh out what was happening on their demo. With very talking vocals that remind me somewhat of Uranium Club or something but with their tongue sticking out at you while flipping you off rather than planted deeply in their cheek. This definitely has a post-punk feel but without the edges sanded down. There’s still lots of splinters and jagged edges to it. This definitely feels more rooted in hardcore than something like Total Control (which the guitar at points reminds me of a little). Listen to while loathing society and other people.
Punk Ekman: S/T 7” – I’m assuming this is at least Joni Ekman from the great Achtungs. Considering that he was one of the main writers of Achtungs stuff this sounds pretty much up that alley but a little more jittery feeling.
Various: Domestic Sampler UNYU 12” – This flat out rules. Lots of weird minimal synth/post-punk from Barcelona. Definitely hits on some of the more avant-garde side of things at points but it’s definitely a cool mix of stuff. The El Grito Acusador song is probably my favorite though.
Erik Nervous – Ice Cream 7” – I’ve been waiting for this one for a while. Erik actually yells on this one but really the guitar stuff on this is a dream and makes the song. But yeah possibly two of the best songs in a very impressive discography. Erik Nervous gets totally punk on this one.