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

News

SSR Picks: November 18 2021

Kohu-63: Valtaa Ei Loistoa 12” (Poko Rekords, 1982)

Unfortunately, I don’t have much historical background information on Finland’s Kohu-63 to share with you. Their first 7” came out in 1981 on the legendary Finnish label Poko Rekords, who also released a subsequent 12” EP and LP from Kohu-63 in 1982. The only other info I have about the band (this is from the Svart Records website) is that in 1983, shortly after the release of their first LP, their vocalist Lättä went to prison for manslaughter, which forced the band into an extended hiatus. They came back in the later part of the 80s and have continued releasing music ever since.

I first heard Finland’s Kohu-63 in the mid-00s, around when Sorry State first started. I used to do a lot more trading with labels back then, and I remember doing a big trade with Germany’s Höhnie Records. Höhnie is still reissuing great hardcore, including lots of Finnish stuff from the 80s (and Sorry State still carries their releases!). They were already deep into that game by the time Sorry State started, and trading with them is where I got introduced to many classic Finnish hardcore bands. While Kaaos, Bastards, and Appendix caught my ear immediately, I didn’t latch onto Kohu-63 right away. I think that’s because of the format of Sotaa 81/82, which compiles the EP I’m writing about today along with the band’s first EP from 1981 and their first LP, which also came out in 1982. That’s a lot of hardcore for one sitting, and while it’s all great, it’s tough for the ear to parse, particularly when it’s arriving in a giant box from Germany that’s also packed with a bunch of other classic records.

Kohu-63 had been filed away in my brain as a second-tier band until I came across this copy of Valtaa Ei Loistoa. I had the opportunity to buy a small stack of Finnish originals from the early 80s, and I threw in Valtaa Ei Loistoa because it was priced attractively. However, since that package arrived, Valtaa Ei Loistoa is the record I’ve listened to the most.

The common link between so many of my Finnish favorites (like Lama and Appendix) is the way they inject a hint of melody into their hardcore. You can tell the bands have listened to a ton of Discharge, GBH, and Exploited and they’re determined to match those bands’ intensity, but rather than Discharge’s over-arching sense of dissonance and doom, the aforementioned Finnish bands’ songs coalesce around brighter-sounding major keys and subtly melodic vocal lines. I wonder if that’s something that comes from Finnish popular or traditional music, because it feels like a trait that’s unique to Finnish punk.

Of my most-loved Finnish groups, Valtaa Ei Loistoa reminds me the most of Lama. Like Lama, Kohu-63 has a firm command of their instruments and plays with a level of precision that matches just about anyone in the worldwide punk scene. Also like Lama, Kohu-63’s songs here feel fleshed-out, not just sequences of bad-ass riffs, but effective compositions that pull the listener through them and keep them interested the whole time. Besides those Finnish classics, Valtaa Ei Loistoa also makes me think of great California hardcore records like Legal Weapon’s Death of Innocence, Bad Religion’s How Could Hell Be Any Worse, or Circle One’s Patterns of Force. I fucking love inept teenage thrash more than most people, but Kohu-63 is something different, bringing that sense of abandon to music that’s more sophisticated and composed.

I’m gonna keep my eyes peeled for more of Kohu-63’s original releases, but I’m not holding my breath. Svart Records did nice repro editions of this and Kohu-63’s first LP, Lisää Verta Historiaan, and while they are tough to find from stateside sellers, they shouldn’t cost you too much if you come across them. The reissue of Lisää Verta Historiaan even comes with the rare stencil insert! Oh, and anyone know what’s up with the last track on the record, where the band chants “Hanoi Rocks Barmy Army” to the tune of “Exploited Barmy Army?” I’m curious whether it’s an homage or mockery. I have no idea how Finnish punks viewed Hanoi Rocks at the time.


What’s up Sorry Staters?

It seems like every week when I sit down to write one of these things, I’m always still recovering from the previous weekend. But hey, I ain’t complaining! Becoming more active with playing music, particularly killer outta town gigs, is totally worth being tired over. This past weekend, Scarecrow rolled up to Philly to play Quarantine’s record release gig. Funny enough, 3 out of 4 members of Scarecrow account for a big chunk of Sorry State’s staff, so thanks to Dom and Rachel for holding down the fort. The show in Philly was a fuckin’ blast. Quarantine absolutely destroyed. Was so rad to go rip it up and chill with friends up there. This weekend, NC is finally having a local punk gig at our favorite venue, the Nightlight. Scarecrow is playing along with 2 brand new bands, each playing their first show! Definitely come out if you’re in the area.

Just the other day, we stocked some new titles from Finland. There’s a part of me that just wants to gush about how fucking killer this Yleiset Syyt 7” is, but I’m sure the rest of the SSR crew will have that covered. Instead, I wanna talk about this Pyhat Nuket reissue! A few months back, I wrote about the Michael Monroe solo record. Monroe of course is the frontman for Finnish glam legends Hanoi Rocks. I think I briefly touched on this in that previous newsletter… I think because Hanoi Rocks became one of Finland’s most notable musical exports in the 80s, they had a huge impact on the Finnish punk scene. When the mid-80s came around, Finnish hardcore legends Riistetyt morphed into a decidedly different direction under the name Holy Dolls. Holy Dolls functioned as an alias for the band as they would transition into becoming Pyhat Nuket.

Hanoi Rocks at their core were a traditional rock’n’roll band with punk attitude, taking clear influence from Johnny Thunders and the like. And even though they made great records, I think the band’s outrageous image and sense of fashion made just as big of an impact as their music. Hanoi Rocks’ record covers always had group photos of the band dressed to the nines with huge hair, looking cool as fuck. I’d be lying if I said Michael Monroe’s teased frenzy of a mop didn’t affect the way I do my stupid hair. Well you know, I’m somewhere between him and GBH or something. All this to say that when you look at the cover of Holy Dolls or Pyhat Nuket records, it’s clear they probably took a few style cues from the Hanoi boiz. Svart just reissued Pyhat Nuket’s first full-length Kuoleman Sotatanssi. It had been a while since I’ve jammed this LP. What struck me immediately is how much death rock and post-punk influences are incorporated into the band’s sound. Spooky vibes and chorus guitar, baby. The vocal stylings are definitely familiar from all the great Riistetyt records. The singer really makes good use of his echoed-out chicken squawks and banshee calls. There are a few songs that sound like the glammy influence is creeping its way in, but with extra Velveeta cheese-drenched synthesizers. On their records following this debut, Pyhat Nuket leans even harder into 80s-era production with electronic drums and more bad reverb. And of course, always increasing the amount of blush, lipstick and leopard print clothing.

To me, it’s really cool to hear a band rooted in hardcore punk, but then thinking about their drive to totally reinvent themselves and play different music. As much as I love Riistetyt records like Skitsofrenia or Nightmare In Darkness, I’m sure becoming Pyhat Nuket felt like a fresh dose of energy introduced into the band. I really think Kuoleman Sotatanssi is a cool record with some great songwriting, and still holds up even with some admittedly dated production sounds. If you’re looking for the glammed-out, gothy contingent of Finnish punk, then definitely give Pyhat Nuket a listen.

That’s all I’ve got. I’ve gotta go do my hair. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


Hey there everybody in Sorry State Newsletter land. I hope you all had a great week and are doing well. Here at Sorry State towers, we are busy preparing for Black Friday and the holiday season by having as many killer records available as possible for you our good friends. We hinted at a couple of great collections that we bought, and we are still out there buying more. There really is a lot of brilliant music that will hit the floor over the upcoming weeks. We are also still working our way through the Veola McClean estate collection, so tons of great Jazz, Soul, Blues and other curios from that are making their way to the store each week. The huge Indie-Rock collection we hauled up from Florida still has plenty of gems in it. Besides all the top tier titles, each collection usually ends up giving us a lot of great cheap and cheerful records for our bargain bins. So make sure when visiting the shop in person to bend a knee and look down because there is gold in those bins that won’t set you back more than a few bucks. We try to only put decent clean copies of records in our bargain bin, so you don’t have to think too hard. Clean copy, only $3, done deal. Of course, sometimes we’ll put out records that in better shape would fetch more but are perhaps compromised and that is a good way for you to get an expensive record at a good price if you can live with a less than perfect copy. And what is perfect? Is life perfect? Is it free of dirt and wear? Like the late John Peel once said, “life is full of pops and crackles”. Learn to embrace them and you’ll probably live a happier life. Having grown up only knowing records to listen to music I have become accustomed to hearing some crackle and the occasional pop. It doesn’t bother me unless the record skips or sticks or the surface noise is above the actual music. There are limits, of course. But the quest for a perfect copy has not necessarily been one that I feel the need to go on for every record I own. It’s funny listening to the recent generation who are getting into records and hearing them bitch and moan about pressings and stuff, but it makes sense if all you have been exposed to up to this point are digital copies of music that are clean and perfect. Rachel made us laugh the other day by sharing some comments from T. Swift fans who bought her latest and didn’t realize the record was pressed at 45 RPM and were wondering why they were hearing a man’s voice sing. Lol. That is too funny, but they just have not grown up with records and don’t know about speeds, etc. Some modern record buyers are not even getting a record for the music but just to collect the object. Hence all the variety of fancy color pressings that come out these days to appeal to the stamp collectors and completists out there. For me, it has always been about the music first and foremost and I’ll put up with wear and patina because I just want to hear the music. My collection is well cared for, but I have a good number of used records that are not in mint condition.

As anyone out there knows who has worked in a good record store, escaping with your paycheck intact is a difficult task. Contrary to popular myth, all the good stuff does not go to the employees. Now naturally we get first dibs, but you got to have some perks, right? A huge part of the joy of working here at Sorry State is being surrounded by so many great records and getting to hear things without having to own them. Sometimes you can scratch an itch or satisfy your curiosity and save yourself a few bucks. I also love that on those days when you might feel low, and shit is getting you down, often a record will just appear in view and be the right choice in that moment and be able to lift you in a way not much else can do. Case in point, I came to work in a bad mood today with the weight of life on my shoulders and just hearing the first two tracks from The Impressions’ Keep On Pushing album of which we have a pristine 1964 stereo copy of, made me feel much better and readjusted my attitude to a much more positive one. Thank you Curtis, Sam and Fred.

Perhaps the best perk of all for me is curating the bargain bins here at Sorry State and helping to keep them as full as possible with good, interesting titles that won’t cost you a fortune. I’ll admit a big chunk of my spending here goes on the cheap stuff I snag. This week I found two records which are good examples of the type of stuff that hits our floor. In truth, one was a record and the other just a cover for a record I had, but with a badly damaged cover. The cover was for an album by The Mirettes called Whirlpool that came out on Uni in 1969. They were a female soul trio who were originally Ikettes with Ike & Tina Turner. This was their second LP, and it’s a great Sister Soul-Funk album. A nice mix of up-tempo numbers and slower ballads, including a cover of Stand By Your Man. Standout tracks are the title Whirlpool and the lead cut Sister Watch Yourself. I found a copy that had decent vinyl but a very badly damaged cover some years back. The album is well known and sought after, and a nice copy could set you back $40-$50. I found the cover whilst processing a box of Miss Veola McClean records. It had a beaten up B.B. King record inside. So that was cool to pair it up with my record and now have a nice copy.

The second record I pulled was a gently used copy of a Three Degrees self-titled LP on Philadelphia International from 1973. Another female soul trio and this album was their breakthrough containing the international hit When Will I See You Again. They had been putting out singles since the early 1960s and had a full length on Roulette called Maybe that is great. That album has them doing a great cover of the song Collage by Joe Walsh. It’s been a good DJ track for me for ages. On this self-titled LP, along with the big hit there are plenty of nice examples of the very much in-vogue Philly Soul Sound, recorded at the famous Sigma Sound Studio and produced by Gamble & Huff. It sports a great fold open gatefold cover that shows the girls in some awesome disco outfits on the inside. You’ll have to look out for a copy because we might not be able to show the photo here. My favorite track is A Woman Needs A Good Man. Worth paying $3 for this track and the cover art alone.

So, there you go. Not really a staff pick but a couple of good examples of female soul by trios that if you love this type of music, I would highly recommend you seeking out, especially the Mirettes LP. Thanks for reading and keep on digging and supporting your local record stores. We appreciate you. Peace and love - Dom


The end of the year is upon us. In the nerd world, I feel like this is the best time to release a record. Why? The release is fresh in the minds of ‘critics’ so it increases your chances of ending up on a Top 10 list for the year. I feel like it’s always hard to remember what releases came out during the first few months of a year, unless you literally take notes (or don’t smoke weed?). I am trying to remember my favorites of the year this week, and it’s hard… I’ll have to go back through my Staff Picks really, as I have done all the work already haha. Anyway, what I am getting at is that I think this record from YLEISET SYYT is one of the best records that has come out this year! Nicky Rat (What up!!!) wrote me some time ago to see if we would like a few copies of the EP. With what I heard on the first song, I knew we could move more than just a few copies. I passed it on to Daniel, and of course his conclusion was the same as mine! We ended up getting copies from the Finnish label Open Up and Bleed Records. Nicky Rat’s label did a smaller UK pressing as well. It is legit upsetting that I did not know this band sooner. Unfortunately, I did not know this band until Nicky Rat dropped me the link.

YLEISET SYYT is from Finland. 80s Finnish punk/HC is probably my favorite shit on this Earth. I didn’t realize this for a long time… then one day I realized most of my records are from Finnish bands, and most of my favorite Japanese bands are playing Finnish worship. Of course I love Swedish hardcore, while English punk/HC is the foundation of it all for me (aside from the few USHC bands I got into early on). Anyway, this EP fucking hits the spot cos it sounds classic as hell and it grooves hard as fuck with memorable riffs. After I heard this EP, I excitedly checked out their previous EP that was also on Open Up and Bleed Records. Oh my god. It is so good. The sound is excellent. The bass is growly, but not like the sound of an enormous door slamming in the depths of hell. The guitars are kinda twangy, with lots of overdrive. It doesn’t sound digital like most modern distortions. The the kick drum is super punchy; you feel it instead of hearing it. The snare is fucking perfect, seriously. The drumming so good too. It’s incredibly locked-in, while occasionally breaking it up with some accented bits. This is a great EP with great song writing. Comparing this previous EP to the new one, the new one almost comes off ‘metal’ at times. With the drums punching and pummeling behind the guitarist occasionally playing some metallic/melodic leads, it comes off with this metal edge. Haha, don’t get me wrong though, this is not a metal band or release by any means!

Continuing reverse chronologically in the bands discography, I was very pleased to find out they have a 2017 full-length release. Going backwards in a band’s discography is always interesting. (I recently did the same thing for another ripping Finnish band, KOHTI TUHOA.) Hearing this full-length release was fucking awesome. Every song is interesting, and every song is good. I go on and on about how I like recordings to sound classic and shit, but this recording is quite obvious that it’s a modern recording. But I don’t care, the band sounds great. Honestly, hearing it was kind of refreshing after hearing the more fuzzy recordings they did after. I could hear everything clearly on its own, but still locked-in with the rest of the instruments. The band is just so damn good, and riffs keep my attention constantly. The drumming is fucking non-stop with cool and clever punches and catches. It’s funny just last week Jeff mentioned RATSIA covering BUZZCOCKS, but in their native Finnish language. Well, YLEISET SYYT lays a fucking Finnish-sung ANTIDOTE cover onto us on their full-length!! Fucking sick.

Alright on another quick Finnish note, PYHÄT NUKET’s debut LP has been re-issued on Svart! I wish I was at home, so I could give you a good nerding on the members of this band. Personally, I would not pick up this LP if it weren’t for the relationship to RIISTETYT. You know the Raped Future LP? The one that says HOLY DOLLS on it underneath RIISTEYT? If you don’t already know, PYHÄT NUKET translates to HOLY DOLLS, and this LP is an extension of just that. I don’t know the details of this full blown incarnation of the band, but I know for sure it’s the vocalist of RIISTETYT. I think it might be the guitarist as well? The band is not hardcore, so I would definitely check it out before you grab it if you haven’t heard this band or that RIISTETYT LP. Alright, thanks for reading.

Also, oh my god did you hear this yet? https://d4mtlabsinc.bandcamp.com/album/peace-on-earth

‘Til next week, peace!

SSR Picks: November 11 2021

Flux of Pink Indians: Strive to Survive Causing the Least Suffering Possible 12” (Spiderleg Records, 1982)

A few weeks ago, I noticed a gap in my Flux of Pink Indians collection. I’ve had Neu Smell and The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks for years, but I guess I’d never come across a copy of Strive to Survive in the wild, so I didn’t have it on vinyl. I knew the songs thanks to CD releases—Not So Brave (which compiled various demo recordings) and the disc that combined Strive to Survive and Neu Smell—but sitting with this LP as it was originally released has been enlightening.

Everyone knows “Tube Disasters,” a song beloved by algorithms across the world. (Seriously, Spotify and YouTube serve it up to me so constantly that I’ve gotten a little sick of it.) However, Strive to Survive reminds me that “Tube Disasters” wasn’t Flux’s only anthem. In particular, the one-two punch that begins side 2, “Progress” and “They Lie We Die,” is one for the ages… two songs exploding with energy that demand to be sang along with. The entire album is great though. While Flux had a similar manic, impassioned energy to Crass, their music is more straightforward and played tighter (maybe those two things are related?), giving Strive to Survive a propulsive forward motion that helps it stand toe to toe with the emerging US hardcore scene.

My copy doesn’t have any inserts, but the artwork is haunting and beautiful (and unique!). While I would like to read the other inserts, the inside of the gatefold tells the long story of the band creating the photographs for the record, and it’s an interesting read. Their idea was to photograph the backdrop banners from their stage shows at a nuclear site, which brings them into contact (and conflict) with the police and government.

Unfortunately, I can’t think of anything insightful to say about Strive to Survive. It’s a killer album, catching the band at the peak of their talent for writing anarcho punk anthems. By the time they released their next album, the sprawling double LP The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks, two years later, they were a much tougher listen. Still a great listen, but a more demanding one for sure.


What’s up Sorry Staters?

I had a great time with my homies in Public Acid this past weekend. I got back from my weekend outing and immediately got boosted. Not unlike the 2nd Moderna I got several months back, this shot knocked me the fuuuuck out. I’m feeling better now as I’m writing this, but I’m still a little exhausted. Gotta suck it up though, because this Friday Scarecrow is rolling up to Philly to rip it up with Quarantine for their record release. I will be functioning on pure stoke.

Now onto talking about records and nerd shit I guess. I’m not sure if I’m putting Daniel’s recent record haul on blast, but he recently acquired a bunch of killer Finnish punk records. At our warehouse location while we were both working yesterday, he was playing the Ratsia LP. On this LP, the band does a rendition of the Buzzcocks’ “What Do I Get?”, but translate all the lyrics into Finnish. It sounds killer reworked in their native language. As we kept listening, we were asking each other, “Are there more covers on this LP?” So many of the songs sounded familiar, but weren’t always instantly recognizable. I think it’s so cool when punk bands of yesteryear take early bangers of the era and translate them into a different language. One of my favorite examples of this is “Me Gusta Ser Una Zorra” by Vulpess, which is a cover of “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” This Basque Country/Spain-based all non-male punk band released this track as a single in 1983, and their version is KILLER. It’s funny, I’ve brought this track up to friends in the past and some of them had their mind blown learning that Vulpess’s big single is a cover. I even had to prove it to someone once by pointing out that one of the songwriting credits is “J. Osterberg,” which as we all know is the birth name of Iggy Pop ;) To be fair, Vulpess totally reinvents the song. Especially if you don’t speak Spanish, if you were to listen to this song and not focus on recognizing the chord changes or the arrangement, then it’s easy to see why the song would breeze past like an original. Compared to the Stooges’ version, Vulpess push the speed and morph it from a sludging, circular drone into a driving ripper of a track. Plus, the vocals are injected with so much venom and sassy, snotty attitude. The best part is that little turn around part, a section which has no vocals in the original, becomes this sick refrain where gang vocals sing “YA-YA-YA-YA-YA!” It’s so catchy. I haven’t translated all of the lyrics, but clearly some of them are reworked. The meaning of the hook seems to be changed purposefully. “Me Gusta Ser Una Zorra” basically translates to “I like being a bitch,” which flips the intention of the song and makes it mean as fuck. Vulpess were a bunch of badasses.

If you’ve never heard this track before, check it out. There’s even a cool live footage music video to go along with it.

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

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


Hello loyal Sorry State followers and thank you for clicking on our newsletter. We appreciate you spending time with us. This week we are publishing the newsletter on November 11th, which is of course Veterans Day here in America and Remembrance Day in the UK. Before I go any further, let’s honor and remember those that served, fought and died for their countries and our freedoms. No need to add any additional political opinion here although I am sure those veterans that fought against Imperial oppression and fascist ideology and died for it are spinning in their graves at the sight of our now domestic terrorists and the disgusting behavior of the right wing. And I said no politics. Damn. Oh well, still fuck you to all Trumpers, Republicans, crazy Christians and science deniers. You all shame the memory of our vets.

Okay, moving on. Shall we talk about music and records instead? This week I don’t have a “staff pick” per se but wanted to indulge myself to sing the praises of one of my all-time favorite singers and artists, the late, great Miss Sarah Vaughan. The divine one to her world of fans, “Sassy” to those that knew and played with her. Hopefully I don’t need to go into too much detail about her and her career, do I? You know who she is right? She’s a jazz legend whose career lasted close to fifty years, beginning when she won a talent contest in 1942 at the famed Apollo Theatre aged 18. On the back of that winning performance, she was invited back that same year to open for Ella Fitzgerald and never looked back. She worked with almost every notable jazz icon there was, putting her time in as a big band singer and playing all the jazz spots in New York and other major cities across the country. By the late 1940s and going into the 1950s, she was a bona fide star and scoring hit records. Her discography is huge. She recorded for over a dozen labels including Atlantic, Columbia, EmArcy, Mainstream, Mercury, Roulette and Pablo. Her repertoire ranged from swinging big band numbers to intimate jazz trio material. She sang with a full orchestra on some records and rock bands on others and tried her hand at many different styles but always keeping her identity and staying classy and sassy. You can hit this link here to visit her Wikipedia page for a fuller career run down.

There is a very good reason for me personally as to why I love her so much. You see, I was fortunate to have met her not long before her passing in 1991. I had just begun my years working on cruise ships. It was early 1989 and Miss Vaughan was taking a cruise on the ship I was working on. I was assigned to be her server for the week. She ate mostly alone, but was joined by her assistant occasionally. She wasn’t performing on the ship, although even then she was still performing. Sadly, however, at this time she was becoming sick and later that same year was diagnosed with lung cancer whilst working a series of dates at New York’s Blue Note Jazz Club. Those dates were to be her final performances.

At the time I was her server, I was just 20 years old and although I had heard her name, I admit to not knowing her music that well. My appreciation for jazz was already in place then, but I hadn’t got much into the vocalists at that point. Meeting her changed that. Whilst attending to her I didn’t get too many long conversations with her, but I did ask her some questions about music and her career. I think I asked her what her favorite album was, and she laughed and said there were too many to include, but I remember her saying that she liked the live ones the most and that performing before an audience was where the real magic happened. That next stop in port, I visited the music store and bought a bunch of her albums on CD. One was a live album recorded at Mr. Kelly’s, a jazz club in Chicago in 1957. That Japanese import CD has stayed with me ever since, although I own the vinyl record now. The CD includes twenty songs recorded over the three nights of recording in August 1957, whereas the LP came out with just nine songs. I must have listened to this album hundreds of times. It’s so good. Sarah Vaughan backed by a trio in an intimate club. The band consisted of Jimmy Jones on piano, Richard Davis on bass and Roy Haynes on drums. Those musicians and Sarah were in their absolute prime then, and the performance is sublime. The audience then and us after the fact are treated to pure class and even a little comedy as Sarah messes up the words to Willow Weep For Me and ad-libs the lyrics admitting her mistake. There is also a moment when a mic or music stand falls over. It all adds to the “live” aspect of the recording and only increases the charm and makes the listener feel they are right there in the club. She does a nice version of How High The Moon also with comedy ad-libs that I did dig and scats like Ella on it. That the original release was only nine tracks, I can’t help feeling the world was cheated somehow. It would have made an awesome double album. Thankfully all the performances are on the digital format.

After the news of her death in 1991, I felt especially privileged to have been in her presence and to have had those moments with her. As the years went on my love for her went from strength to strength as too did my appreciation for her jazz peers like Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Whenever I see one of her records I don’t have, I pick it up. Honestly, for years they weren’t hard to find or expensive although nowadays you may have to spend a bit more for nice original copies. Still, there are plenty out there and you should just dive in. Any opportunity to hear a real vocalist at work is never a lost one. Forget all the pop rubbish that passes for singing these days and check out the real deal. Amy Winehouse knew.

I like the albums she cut in the late sixties on Mainstream and Roulette too. There are some good funky moments on them. The ones she did on Pablo in the seventies are good also, again some funky and groovy moments on them and particularly a Brazilian influence. Just like lots of other singers, she was blessed to work with Quincy Jones and the combination of their two talents makes for some good listening on several albums they cut together.

One other album that I visit frequently by her is called, aptly, The Divine One that came out in 1961 on the Roulette label. That’s a great one and if you see it, pick it up. It’s a great example of her style and is arranged by Jimmy Jones who played piano on the Mr. Kelly’s recordings. The tune Trouble Is A Man from that set is a fine performance.

I could go on highlighting other great performances but should finish up here. Perhaps you have your own favorites, and if you are just discovering her, then I am sure you will find some. On Worldy this week Matt and I did an autumn show and kicked things off with Sarah Vaughan doing a song called Trees from a 1960 album called Dreamy, also on Roulette. It fitted the theme and vibe of the show so well and I was thrilled to play a tune of hers on the show. Hit the link for the full show if you are interested.

Alright, that’s my time. Thanks for reading. Go listen to music and we’ll see you next time.

Peace and love- Dom.


I wrote about NIGHTFEEDER when we got the demo tapes at Sorry State back in September of last year. I think the EP was supposed to be out a bit ago, but of course everything is delayed in vinyl production right now. The wait for this release has had my anticipation growing each week! If you missed out on the demo, you can give it a listen here. Good luck trying to find a physical copy though… the band sold so many copies that they repressed the cassette, and I can confidently say all those tapes have happy homes. The EP starts with the same track as the demo (but a different recording), Exploited Partisans. Is it cheesy to do that? I don’t care. The song is so good… the intro is like a fucking avalanche. After this track, the A-side finishes with a song called 1491. I am guessing this song is about the first colonizers who landed on what is now the United States. Some people write lyrics about how they hate their peers, ex-partner, or other dumb shit that I do not give a fuck about. I really appreciate this man’s ability to write lyrics about historical events that shaped the world as we know it today. It reminds you of the past, and not to forget it. Or, it brings events to one’s attention that may have been unknown prior. It is empowering. The B-side starts with a track called Havin’ A Hard Time. The feel to this song differs from the rest. It sticks out with its more ‘rocked out’ riffs. Hearing them cover MISSBRUKARNA on the demo tape, this song makes sense to me though. The songs sound nothing alike, but both songs stuck out from the rest on the releases they appear on. It’s a nice change-up from the ‘crust’ sound regardless. The EP ends with the title track from their demo, Rotten. This is a great song to end on. It brings everything back in, and the EP ends on a powerful note. I think this EP is killer, and you should check it out. However, I am writing a review more or less, so I need to provide you with my other feelings on the EP. I would have been more excited during my listen if I got to experience some new jams. I think the demo cassette sounded fucking excellent, so I am not sure why they choose to re-record two of the songs for the EP. I can understand wanting to have those songs pressed on vinyl though, cos they fucking rip. The other thing is, the artwork does not do it for me. I suck at art, so I will not criticize the artist’s ability haha. It’s not even that I think the art is bad. It’s just the feel of the cover I don’t like so much. It doesn’t represent the band’s vibe ‘accurately’ to me. But seriously, who the fuck cares anyway? Last time I wrote about NIGHTFEEDER I had mentioned (unrelated to the band) how it does not matter what your band name is or what the art looks like if your band is excellent. I can’t wait to hear what they do next. Maybe one day I can catch them live and get my fuckin mind blown. Thanks for reading, peace y’all.

SSR Picks: November 4 2021

Every week when it’s time to put together my staff pick, I think about what media I have consumed lately. This week, there’s no question about what dominated my listening: the Bandsplain podcast on Spotify. I’m reluctant to recommend something only available on Spotify, but that’s where this podcast lives, and I’m sure a ton of you are already on Spotify anyway, so I might as well go with it. Hopefully this isn’t a slippery slope, because I don’t want to be recommending fucking Mypillow or the new Subaru Outback in my staff pick. Thankfully, the other sections of the newsletter remain focused on underground punk and hardcore.

Back to Bandsplain. I was hanging out at a friend’s house the other weekend and when the subject of podcasts came up, Rich told me about this one. (Yes, the same Rich who isn’t actually on the SSR staff so we can’t fault him for not having written a staff pick in a long time, but we still wish he would.) Rich, characteristically, insisted that the podcast sucked but he listened to it anyway, so I made a note to check it out. Once I did, it took over my car stereo.

We’ve been talking about doing a Sorry State podcast for years, but aside from having no time to put together a podcast, I think everyone on the staff has a different vision for what an SSR podcast would be. I always said my vision for a great music podcast would be an approximate ratio of 75% talk to 25% percent music. The majority of the running time would be spent introducing, discussing, and contextualizing whatever music we’re discussion, then you would play a a full song (or maybe a few if they’re short) so the listener could make up their own mind, or just have a deeper and more engaged listening experience thanks to their newfound knowledge. This is Bandsplain’s formula to a T.

In each episode, host Yasi Salek invites an expert on a particular band to take a walk through that group’s history and discography. The focus is on artists with a cult following, with a mix of dyed-in-the-wool indie artists (like the Cocteau Twins and the Misfits) and more widely known artists who have dedicated, cult-like followings (like Steely Dan and Metallica). The guests are a mix of music journalists and the kinds of people who might appear as talking heads in a music doc, and on the episodes I’ve listened to so far, they’re well chosen. Riki Rachtman is the guest for the Guns N Roses episode, and while he pushes hard against the speculation and interpretation that is music journalists’ stock in trade, his close relationship with the band through their formative and peak periods makes him a perfect guest (even if he is, as he’s always been, kind of annoying). Salek herself is also great. I know nothing about her background, but she’s knowledgeable (it helps that she’s the same as me, so we have similar points of reference), has great rapport with the guests, and regularly drops hilarious zingers (my favorite is when she calls Elizabeth Fraser’s vocal approach for Cocteau Twins “ethereal scatting”).

The interview segments are as well-researched and informative as you would expect from a good music podcast, but the magic happens when they play the full songs. After hearing the background information and analysis, I’m primed to hear how that plays out in the actual music, and I find myself listening to the tracks with an open and curious ear. While I often listen to an artist’s work after listening to a podcast or reading a book about them, the seamlessness of the Bandsplain listening experience allows me to hold the episode’s conversational threads in my brain while I’m listening. And one full song is the perfect amount to hear at a time. While most of the artists they examine on Bandsplain are “album artists,” a song on an album is like a paragraph in a long text: one complete, fleshed-out thought. Then it’s on to the next interview segment, where the conversation moves forward, requiring another example track a few minutes later. Just like I imagined for my own unmade podcast, the proportions are perfect.

So far I’ve listened to the episodes on Guns N Roses, Steely Dan, the Lemonheads, and the first half of the two-episode series on Metallica (part one covered up through the black album, and I’m not sure I can take going any further than that). I’ve enjoyed every episode, and my only gripe with Bandsplain (and it’s a minor one) is that they’re a little too free with the value judgments. While it doesn’t grate against my ear when they’re praising things, they’re sometimes dismissive when they don’t like something. They pretty much write off the early Taang!-era Lemonheads material, and Ben Deily’s songs in particular. I always liked Deily’s songs, and I’ve always thought his songs are stronger than Evan Dando’s on those early records.

All in all, though, Bandsplain is one of the best music podcasts I’ve heard in a while. I’m looking forward to making my way through the other episodes and seeing what artists they cover next.


What’s up Sorry Staters?

It’s weird that Halloween is already behind us. Oh well, I guess time to stop watching horror movies every day. Back to hardcore it is.

The other night, my buddy and I were talking about Regulations and how that shit is still totally killer. He then asked me if I had ever heard the Neu Ronz EP, to which I responded, “Nah, what’s that?” He described it to me as “Otto singing in a band with dudes from Nitad and Raped Teenagers.” I thought to myself, “Well, fuck… what’s not to like?” I listened to it all the way through, my brain literally exploded, and I have not stopped listening to it since. This Neu Ronz 7” came out in 2015 on Adult Crash, and somehow, even with me working at Sorry State and us regularly stocking releases from Adult Crash, I never heard it. I could kick myself. I’m such an idiot. I always tend to embellish, but this is one of the most killer hardcore records I’ve heard in forever. A Swedish supergroup masterwork. Each song is about a minute flat. You can totally tell there’s Raped Teenagers folks involved because all the riffs have that catchy and kinda wonky quirkiness about ‘em. But when you take that wonky, turbulent rage and top it with Otto from Regulations’ hooky vocals that we all know and love, you get a perfect and potent combination. Each song is a hit. It’s like a totally weird and leftfield take on hardcore, but also approachable ear candy at the same time. I love it. Do yourself a favor and play this over and over ‘til you puke just like me.

Now I just need to lock down a physical copy of this EP. Anyone got one they wanna part with in USA? Preferably on red vinyl. nerd emoji

That’s all I wanna talk about this week. Short and sweet. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


Hey everyone, and thanks for clicking on our newsletter again this week. This week sees us stepping into the holiday season with Halloween in the books already. I hope you all had fun. For Worldy, the radio show I do on TheFaceRadio.com, we celebrated Dia De Los Muertos, the Mexican festival that celebrates those that have passed and also Diwali, the Indian festival of lights that actually begins this Thursday. If you enjoy Mexican garage and psych, sitar music and funky Bollywood soundtracks, head over to the archives and take a listen.

So, with Diwali in mind and talking of funky Bollywood soundtracks, I thought it very appropriate to mention a great one for my staff pick this week. I don’t have too many Indian records in my collection but I have some killer compilations and a fair few by Ravi and Ananda Shankar. However, this soundtrack is one of my favorites. It’s Shalimar by R.D. Burman and was originally released in 1978.

Rahul Dev Burman was arguably India’s top musical director and composed scores for over three hundred Bollywood movies during his thirty plus year career, beginning in the 1960s. The film centers around a jewel thief attempting to steal an expensive diamond known as Shalimar. Being a Bollywood film, it contains great music and the mandatory dance number. It’s also notable for featuring some non-Indian actors in their first and only Bollywood roles. Rex Harrison, Sylvia Miles and John Saxon being those names. It’s not an amazing film per se and didn’t do so well in the box office, but is now more remembered for the music.

For me, the money tracks are the title theme and a number called Baby Let’s Dance Together. Both have been good DJ tracks for me and other music evangelists and have appeared on several compilations. As original copies can be a little pricey and so too the reissues, grabbing a compilation such as Bollywood Funk is highly recommended and a cheaper way to get these cuts on vinyl. That collection is chock full of funky jams and not your typical album of sitar music that you’d hear at your local curry shop.

I just love the production on this record, and it reminds me in places of some of the great Italian heist caper movies from the 1970s. Buman is, in many ways, the Indian equivalent of Ennio Morricone. Elsewhere you have tracks like One Two Cha Cha Cha that mash up Indian sitar with a Latin rhythm over which vocalist Usha Uthup sings and raps in English and Hindi. It’s groovy baby. Burman really exercises his chops on this soundtrack. He was operating at the peak of his powers. There are lots of interesting musical moments and he employs all sorts of non-traditional Indian sounding instrumentation to great effect. There is an accordion on one track making it sound like a Columbian Cumbia. There’s some Tijuana horns to envy anything Herb Alpert was doing and being 1978, he had new keyboards available that give some moments a more modern sound. In addition to the great music and production, credit must be given to the vocalists used and the way that voices are employed. It’s the type of stuff that probably could only be heard on a Bollywood soundtrack. At one point in a song the vocal chorus sounds like a herd of horses whinnying. Honest. Great stuff.

I’ve thrown in some links there for you to check out and for lovers of Indian music and Bollywood film, I think you’ll find plenty to like here. Have a great Diwali if you are celebrating and I’ll see you all here next time.

Peace and love - Dom


Hello everyone, thank you for reading. I think today I will write about two bands. One release I have been anticipating a lot; the other one caught me by surprise. I first heard KOHTI TUHOA last year, six years after their initial release. Which sucks cos I could’ve been jamming this good ass shit years ago, but I am still happy to have it in my life now. The earlier releases I was not very familiar with, but today I have been spending time with their other records. Their debut EP is insane… it is much more on the raging side than the groovy side of things. With this band, they execute both elements with perfection and precision and I can’t choose which side of things I like more. We have the LVEUM pressing available on our webstore if you wanna grab it from us. LVEUM re-released this EP a bit after its initial release. Apparently, they remastered it and it has an extra track the OG does not. The shit rules so much, I love it. The production is excellent but still raw. Honestly, it reminds me of the way the first RIISTEYT 12” sounds, but the guitars don’t cut through quite as much as a nasty 80s recording. I’m not saying it’s bad; I think it’s excellent. I am just saying it’s almost impossible to emulate an 80s studio recording. Anyway, between this first EP and the one that was just released, they have four fucking records ahhh, too much for me to mention. And also I am not familiar with all their releases, unfortunately. I jamming their 2019 LP right now, Ihmisen Kasvot. The guitars are fucking blazing on this shit. We have a few copies available on our webstore still, I just picked one up for myself since my dumb ass slept on this one haha. Damn I also just scored copies of their other two records on Discogs for $5 each. I am set!!! Oh my fucking god I just heard a PAINAJAINEN song from one of the albums I just bought. I am obsessed with this band haha. So sick they cover this. I featured PAINAJAINEN somewhat recently on Hardcore Knockouts. Anyway, KOHTI TUHOA’s new EP Väkivaltaa is different from all the previous releases. The A-side has a drawn-out “atmospheric” vibe, while the B-side has hardcore tracks like I expected. While the A-side is a step in a new direction, I still enjoy it a lot. Going back through the band’s discography today, I realize they started out with much more raging songs with groovy elements peppered in, while the past few releases are definitely more heavy on the grooves. We got a stack of limited edition blue vinyl from LVEUM. Grab one while you can!!

I heard THE VARUKERS at a young age. They were painted on so many damn jackets. I remember wearing a VARUKERS t-shirt and my dad looked at me and said do you know what that is? I said uhh a band...? He then enlightened me with the definition of verrucas. They are warts on the bottom of your feet. Funny enough, I had verrucas for so many years in high school before I learned proper boot hygiene. My dad was always telling me shit I didn’t understand about the bands I was into, especially things that were specific to Great Britain; like what G.B.H. means, what bovver boys were, etc. Soon after I first heard VARUKERS, I picked up a 1980-2005 compilation CD. The thing about being young and checking out a CD like that is, I didn’t know what the fuck I was listening to. There are old tracks, new tracks, and re-recordings of old tracks. It’s a disaster... I don’t need to hear that shit. I just want the classic stuff. It’s funny to hear them re-record old songs too, cos they probably wanted to show how much better the songs sound now? I think they should’ve just left us with the ‘80s recordings, haha. Anyway, fast forward about ten years and my bandmate Alex (What up!) shows me this sick VARUKERS compilation from 1986, Prepare For The Attack. Now THIS is the kind of compilation I want to hear! They re-record songs and play ‘em with a different feel, and it is fucking killer. It also has some stuff that did not appear elsewhere, I believe. The sound quality is excellent, too. It’s a great record and has always been one of my favorites after I heard it. Last week, I saw we had copies of this compilation in stock at the shop! It had bad artwork, so I didn’t even notice it was a reissue of an old record at first haha. I just assumed it was some new VARUKERS shit with not very good art. I am a hater. Anyway, I checked it out, and it also has a fold-out poster of the bad artwork inside for you to hang on your wall. With the art being so bad I just assumed this was self-released by the band, but on closer inspection I don’t see band or label credits anywhere... and with another look at the disc I see the matrix is scrapped out haha, whoops I think this a bootleg. Regardless of the unofficial bad art, the sound is excellent. The original cover was really basic, and it didn’t come with an insert, so who cares about the re-worked cover. Check out the link I dropped above. If you dig the songs, I would pick up a copy and save yourself the money and hassle of getting an 80s import pressing. Alright that’s all for this week, thanks for reading everyone and thanks loads for the support!! Sorry State has been quite busy with mail order. ‘Til next time...


All the Streets are Silent

I had no idea what I was in for when my partner put on this documentary. While he had been anticipating the release for months, it fell off my radar almost as soon as we watched the trailer in June. When he put it on, we were both immediately captivated by the archival footage, the score, and the impressive list of interviewees; we were completely fixated on the TV during the entire run time. This is a raw and beautiful portrayal of skate and hip hop culture colliding in the late 80s through early 90s. At this point, so many of the things mentioned in All The Streets Are Silent are embedded in pop culture that I took their origins for granted and just saw things like Supreme as a cultural joke. Watching this collision happen on camera, through the lens of someone living it, was way more fascinating and inspiring than I ever thought it would be.

I’m not well versed in either of these worlds; skateboarding and hip hop were fleeting interests growing up. I still found this documentary relatable because, at its core, this is a story about a dedicated group of people making shit HAPPEN! The less relatable bit is, of course, shit blowing up to what it is today: billion dollar companies, name recognition all across the globe. I’m more used to things lurking in the underground, but respect where respect is due. I feel like in this day and age it’s really easy to take a small scene for granted. Subcultures are popping up and disappearing with micro trends, and it’s hard to see what is going to have a large cultural impact.

The real gem of this documentary is the camcorder footage. Most of it was taken by the film’s narrator, founder of Zoo York, Eli Gesner. I wasn’t even alive when most of it was filmed, but I feel like I could tell that it was an authentic portrayal of a time that’s long gone. The snippets of everyday life grounded these people that are now icons. The footage they got of so many iconic rappers hasn’t been seen before this documentary and I’m so glad it wasn’t lost to the ether of new technology. It’s the kind of stuff that the people filming it knew they were getting gold. The vibe was electric; you can feel it all these years later. I highly, highly recommend this doc if you even have the slightest interest in rap; the freestyle videos are worth the whole movie alone!

SSR Picks - October 28 2021

Akina Nakamori: 不思議 12” (Reprise Records, 1986)

A few weeks ago I was on my couch late at night, unable to sleep, reading about Japanese punk music. On this particular research binge, my focus wandered outside the noisy Japanese hardcore that occupies the bulk of my attention, and I got curious about non-hardcore punk and new wave in Japan in the 80s. Somewhere amidst reading about groups like Friction, Anarchy, and INU, I came across a brief mention of Akina Nakamori’s 1986 album. That description prompted me give the album a quick listen, and it caught my ear right away. 不思議 reminded of something that might have come out on 4AD Records with its lush instrumentation and dark pop style, but unlike Siouxsie and the Banshees or the Cocteau Twins (the album’s closest sonic points of reference), Akina Nakamori wasn’t a young musician whose talent was just coming into bloom. Rather, she was an established pop star throwing a mid-career curveball.

Akina Nakamori was a Japanese pop idol, beginning her career in 1981 by winning the singing competition show Star Tanjō!, or A Star Is Born. After establishing her name with the TV series, Nakamori started her recording career and released a long string of successful singles and albums, regularly topping the single and album charts in Japan, with some of her releases approaching one million copies sold. I’m no expert on this style of mainstream 80s Japanese pop, but what I’ve checked out is about as glossy and gentle as you would expect given the cover art for her second album, Variation:

Compared to other pop idols, Nakamori’s image was edgy, her slightly risque lyrics contrasting with her biggest rival, Seiko Matsuda, who projected a gentler, girl-next-door image. Nakamori also followed the lead of western pop stars like Madonna who changed up their image with each new single or album release, making her the more sophisticated choice among the competing pop idols.

不思議 (Fushigi) is Nakamori’s tenth album, originally released in 1986. 不思議 is the first album of original material Nakamori released after BEST, her first greatest hits collection. Perhaps looking backward for BEST prompted some creative restlessness, or maybe the timing is coincidental, but 不思議 represents a dramatic shift in style for Nakamori. This is obvious from the album’s cover artwork, which subverts the pop idol convention by obscuring the singer’s face and adopting an earthy color scheme rather than modern-looking graphics.

The music also subverts pop convention by putting Nakamori’s voice way back in the mix—which is dominated by a busy bass, huge-sounding drums, and ethereal strings—and drowning it in echo. The vocal approach brings to mind Cocteau Twins, while the dark vibe and knotty rhythms remind me of Siouxsie and the Banshees circa Tinderbox. The entire album is in this style and it’s a gripping listen all the way through. Everything I’ve read insists that the UK post-punk that 不思議 most closely resembles was not an influence, and that Nakamori arrived at her similar sound independently. This is particularly impressive given that 不思議 is the only album in her long career that Nakamori self-produced.

While 不思議 went to #1 in Japan, it only topped the charts for three weeks, a relative disappointment for a huge star like Nakamori. While the album seemed to confuse much of her audience, critics hailed it as a triumph and it remains well regarded to this day.

If you want to read more about 不思議, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky wrote a very detailed piece on the record (much better than this one) for the AV Club back in 2016: https://www.avclub.com/a-one-of-a-kind-album-tried-to-turn-80s-pop-on-its-ear-1798243749


What’s up Sorry Staters?

I don’t how many of you get as psyched as I do about this time of year, but I’m trying to dwell in it as much as possible. I’m bustin’ out the flannels, I’m drinkin’ the hot cider… shit, I might even carve a pumpkin! Hoping all you freaks out there are prepared for a killer spooky-ass weekend. I love Halloween. And while I’m sure there will be plenty of Misfits and Samhain on deck, I feel like most of my energy during this time of year is devoted to watching movies rather than listening to music.

I’m by no means a soundtrack buff, but one great thing that comes along with 80s horror classics is the score. For whatever reason, cold and sparse synthesizer soundscapes seem to fit perfectly. I’m sure most people are familiar with John Carpenter’s films. Amazing of a filmmaker as Carpenter is, I still find it so interesting that he also composed a memorable score for many of the movies his name is attached to. One of my particular favorites is the 3rd installment of the Halloween franchise, Season of the Witch. An interesting sequel for sure, considering it doesn’t even feature the iconic Michael Myers. However, I think the score by Carpenter, along with Alan Howarth, is maybe his best work. In contrast to the instantly recognizable, anxiety-inducing 5/4 theme from the original, the 3rd sequel is predominantly a series of droning atmospheric mood pieces. The synth sounds hit piercing dissonances and have these perfectly organic yet cold synth-pad tones before the over-digitized sounds that came later in the 80s. The major theme “Chariots of Pumpkins” stands out with a more beat-driven feel that was destined to become a remixed disco-fied banger played by DJs in the years to follow. If you’re looking for some eerie and spine-chilling ambiance for your Halloween weekend, I’d definitely recommend jamming this electronic masterpiece. Also, if Season of Witch weren’t lumped in with the Michael Myers series and was a stand-alone movie, then I think it would maybe be less maligned. I think the movie is definitely worth revisiting as well!

As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


Happy Halloween Dear Sorry Staters. What’s up? Before I scribble a few words for my staff pick this week, let us take a moment to acknowledge the fact that we now live in a world where Liverpool Football Club beat Manchester United five nil at Old Trafford. An absolute horror story for them and one of the greatest wins for us, and we have plenty of memorable victories to choose from. Non sport fans can shrug their shoulders in indifference and the rest of you I encourage to google the game and enjoy the multiple highlights and global reaction.

Okay, moving on. It is Halloween this week and although I am sure my other SSR colleagues are going to pick horror theme records (Rachel) I couldn’t resist jumping in with a selection myself.

I know I have talked about my love of soundtracks previously. I have quite a few, so this week’s pick is plucked from them. Let’s listen to The Vampires Of Dartmoore and their Dracula’s Music Cabinet LP from 1969.

This was a German released record made to cash in on the Horrotica craze of the late 1960s that continued into the early 70s. European cinema was awash with B-Movie titles featuring scantily clad women being pursued by vampires and monsters. Most of these films used stock music library compositions for their soundtracks, although many of the better ones had scores made especially. This record was made by music library session guys for a film that didn’t exist. They are cues and themes for an imagined film. Does it work and is it any good? Kind of. The critics are divided. Some people think the record is utter pants and others have discovered some charm to it and like it. I fall into the latter camp, obviously. So do the good folks at Finders Keepers who prepared this reissue, which I have. Original copies disappeared into the backs of dusty European record shops and the collections of vinyl hounds and are tough to score.

Musically, the record is a kitschy pastiche affair. A cross between a jazzy lounge record, sound effects LP and actual soundtrack. There are some psychedelic touches here and there, but it is far from a Krautrock album, although you can hear similar stuff going on in some of the early Irmin Schmidt soundtracks he did in his early pre-Can and Can days. Who played on the record is not completely certain, but we know the composers and main artistic inspiration came from two dudes, Horst Ackermann and Heribert Thusek, who were active in the German music scene at the time. Oh, and there is a drum break in there too.

The cover is pure horror theatre with white faced, vampire toothed characters and a child looking creepily at the camera. The rear has a vampire chick spreading her cloak wide and looking like a Kiss extra with bad teeth. Great stuff.

I listened to the record a few times this week, and I liked having it playing in the background whilst I worked. It is a quick affair, about thirty-five minutes, so doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. Like I said, not brilliant, not a lost John Carpenter or Morricone score, but fun and appropriate for the season. You can check it out yourself here.

Alright, that’s my lot for you this go around. Have a great Halloween weekend everyone. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be given some of that THC dosed candy that apparently people are giving out. According to Fox News. Not holding out much hope, as in all my years I rarely hear of people giving out free expensive drugs to strangers.

Peace- Dom


Hello again,

It has been a week already? Ahh... a lot of stuff happened in the past week. We got some killer new releases (per usual I guess haha). My birthday was over the weekend. This photo is Jeff, Kevin, and me getting wasted with the Hardy Boys. It was a great time. I was happy to spend it with my closest friends. Anyway, I was really excited for the parcel from D-Takt we just got in. I had been accumulating a stack of records over the course of a month or two from Jocke (D-Takt). So on top of the hot new releases, I was looking forward to all the shit I was getting from him, hehe. D-Takt just dropped four 12”s at once! Insane!! We did not stock the WARCHILD 12" cos there is a U.S. press coming from Black Water. I fucked up and never checked out WARCHILD til this release. Black Water has released three of their previous records. I mean shit, we have those records in stock at the store too. The new WARCHILD 12" is amazing, not that it matters, but I think it’s my favorite of the four titles D-Takt just released. I wish I could drop a link for you but I can’t find one. They are from Sweden, and it definitely sounds like it. The style is similar to other crushing Swedish bands like MEANWHILE or INFERNÖH. Top-notch… grab it when you see it available in the States!!!

I have been playing the Anti-Metafor 12" a lot. I think I have all their previous releases, but this one really shines in my opinion. On the back it says “100% DIY REHEARSAL RECORDED.” To me that sounds like it could be a put off… but then beneath that it says “SCANDINAVIAN HARDCORE” haha, which might draw you back in. Anyway, what I mean to say is the recording and production sounds fucking excellent. The drums are simultaneously pummeling and piercing. It sounds killer. I don’t think this record is for everyone, though. I’m not tryna be pretentious or anything, but I know a lot of people can’t hang with absolut blazing fast käng. They probably think it’s boring or some shit. A lot of elements of this band remind me of CIMEX. A lot actually, haha. The A-side is four pummeling songs in the vein of Raped Ass. The riffs are pretty straightforward with some guitar leads here and there. The final song on the A-side is a slow one. A lot times I fucking hate slow songs… but I like this one. Well done. For the B-side, it starts off pretty straight forward with some crying guitar leads like you would hear on the A-side, but the sound changes a bit after that. It honestly sounds like the songs that follow are more in the vein of Victims of a Bombraid, haha. It’s much heavier on the leads, and the riffs are a bit more complex. It still maintains the pummeling of the A-side, but some of the songs’ tempos are certainly pulled back. I love it… this is an excellent 12". You can check out a song here. Alright, thank you for reading and thanks to everyone for the support!!! ‘Til next time...


I can’t end October without another round o’ spooky records! As my reorganization continues and as my coworkers dig through collections, I’ve added more and more things to my Halloween vinyl playlist. Here are a few more creepy LPs from my collection…

Leinengen Vs. The Ants / Sorry, Wrong Number

I’m slowly trying to get these Radiola records because they never disappoint. Killer swarms of ants? Come on now, that’s so good. I will say, though, the B side’s story is much more compelling, and it caught my ear when I listened to it. “Sorry, Wrong Number” is a tense tale about 1940s technological troubles that had me stop what I was doing to listen to the conclusion. Stoked to find a rip on youtube. You should definitely give it a listen.

Even More Death and Horror

These BBC sound effects records are top notch. If you can suspend your critical thinking for a second, this record can get pretty gross. It’s pretty obvious someone is messing with food to make disgusting sounds, but as soon as I read track titles like “two throats cut” and “fingernails pulled out - assorted” I stopped hearing veggies being torn apart and started to hear the bodies.

Edward Scissorhands OST

This movie has been one of my favorites since I saw it when I was a child! Waxworks is one of my favorite movie soundtrack labels right now and I was kicking myself for missing this release. If you know anything about Waxworks, Mondo, etc, you know that the after market prices skyrocket when a pressing is sold out, so I thought it just wasn’t meant to be... until I found a new copy at All Day Records in Carrboro (holy shit you have to go there, it’s so good).

Basil Rathbone Reads Edgar Allan Poe Volumes 1 & 2

Caedmon is another label that I will almost always buy. The album art, the attention to detail in the recordings, I have loved every single release of theirs I’ve found. I picked up Vol. 2 of this FUCKING MASTERPIECE last year and was so so so excited to find volume one in a buy at the store the other week. Rathbone and Poe are a match made in spooky heaven and these records provide the perfect ambiance to the stories being told.

SSR Picks: October 21 2021

Death Side: Unreleased Tracks & Video Archives 7” / DVD (Break The Records, 2021)

You may have heard about the new release from Japanese legends Death Side on Break The Records. Sorry State got a very small handful of copies, and after everyone who works here got to take one for themselves, there were only a few left for the website. As expected, they sold out within minutes. I wish we could have gotten enough copies for everyone who wanted one, but it just wasn’t possible. I try to avoid hyping hard-to-get releases in the newsletter, but I enjoyed this release so much that I wanted to write about it for my staff pick.

The major attraction when I heard about this record was the 7” containing four unreleased tracks Death Side recorded during the sessions for the Game of Death compilation LP in 1989. While I missed out on the very limited official vinyl pressing of Death Side’s split with Chaos UK that Break The Records released in 2016, my collection of Death Side vinyl is otherwise complete (even including compilations!) and I wanted to keep it that way.

While I anticipated this release for the 7” EP, it’s probably the least compelling element of the package. Death Side had a habit of recording extra songs at their recording sessions, and members would take turns adding vocal tracks to these extra songs. That is what this EP compiles, with one song each sang by Death Side’s four members at the time of this recording. Main vocalist Ishiya sings the first track, with drummer Muka-Chin, bassist You, and guitarist Chelsea providing vocals for the subsequent tracks. Chelsea gets an assist from Tokurow of Bastard in his track, which is pretty cool to hear.

The tracks on the 7” are, surprisingly, really good. My expectations were low given these are outtakes from a recording session for a compilation, but fuck… Death Side was so good and so prolific they left tons of gold on the cutting room floor. While the recording quality is rough (more gritty than lo-fi), the songs have so much going on… it’s amazing how much music flowed through Chelsea. There are great riffs, several of Chelsea’s trademark melodic leads, and some unexpected moments like the creepy-sounding, melodic chorus to “Sunshine Blind.” I won’t overstate my case by insisting this material is essential or that it holds a candle to any of the original-era Death Side releases, but these tracks are cool and worth hearing if you are a fan.

The physical package includes liner notes by Zigyaku from Gudon, Bastard, and Judgement, who was a close confidant of the band when they recorded these tracks and present for the session. He describes being locked in the studio all night, the band completing these half-finished tracks by writing lyrics and vocals on the spot. Death Side always seemed like superheroes to me, but Zigyaku’s liner notes humanize them and provide much-needed insight as to how the band worked.

Now onto the DVD, which is my favorite part of the package. I hadn’t played a DVD in years, so I had to unpack my ancient Xbox, which was covered in dust, still sitting in a moving box I hadn’t opened since moving into my current house two and a half years ago. After finding all the cables and replacing the batteries in the remote, I was relieved when the DVD’s menu popped up on my screen.

Some of the material on the DVD I had seen before. The 1989 footage has circulated online for years, and contributed to Death Side’s mystique as I was learning about them in the early 2000s. This footage is pro-shot in a live house with multiple camera angles and good sound, and while the venue seems small, the stage lighting and the band’s incredible style give them a larger-than-life appearance. Ishiya entering the stage with his giant, 3-foot mohawk is one of the most magical moments of punk ever captured on video. I remember downloading low-res clips of this footage from Soulseek and torrent sites twenty years ago, and it’s just as captivating to me now. I also remember the first time I saw Forward in the early 00s, thinking to myself “holy shit, two of these guys were in Death Side, and that’s the one with the giant mohawk!” It is the stuff of legends, and if seeing this doesn’t hook you on Japanese hardcore, then nothing will.

My favorite part of the DVD, though, are the tracks from a 1993 gig that I’d never seen before. The footage from live house gigs is of a piece with other video footage of legendary Japanese bands from the 80s and 90s, much of which was released commercially on VHS tapes. While you can see the crowd is going off, the atmosphere seems sinister and charged; you can even see fights break out as the band plays. However, the 1993 footage is from a different sort of gig. The first song from this gig on the DVD, “Stick & Hole,” begins, and the crowd is just going the fuck OFF. There are a ton of people on the stage (it reminds me of a packed 90s / 00s gig at St Stephen’s in DC or the First Unitarian Church in Philly), and a bunch of freaks wearing nothing but speedos dance around, lighting fireworks. Ishiya looks punk as hell with his arm set in a cast, but Chelsea has transitioned toward his Paintbox-era fashion with his loud Hawaiian-style shirt and his hair in a stringy, bleached-out surfer style like something out of Lords of Dogtown. One camera angle focuses on him and he’s just shredding the living fuck out of his guitar. It looks like there are a few hundred people at the gig and everyone is dancing, thrashing around, and crowding around the microphones during the gigantic choruses. While the recording isn’t professional, the DVD cuts between multiple camera angles, which keeps the energy level from stagnating. This gig seems so fun, and I gobbled up this footage with saucer-wide eyes and a giant smile plastered across my face.

The DVD cuts between several different gigs, and between the songs, there are interview segments with Ishiya, You, and Muka-Chin. Like Zigyaku’s liner notes, these interview segments humanize this larger-than-life band as they reminisce about touring, having no money, and how close their friendship was during the band’s original era. I’m so pleased they provided English subtitles for the interview, and my buddy Jesse Conway’s translations do so much to bring into focus what was before only discernible through the (interestingly) cracked prism of awkward translations. I’ve always wondered what Japanese hardcore bands think of their American fans, and in the interview, the members talk about how they dreamed of touring overseas during the band’s original era ,and how much it meant to them for the reformed version of the band to get such an incredible response at their gigs outside Japan. Those words, along with the care they took to make this release accessible for western audiences, make me feel like some of the love we westerners have for Japanese hardcore is getting through to them.

The DVD’s climax is an explosive version of “The Will Never Die” at that 1993 gig. Everyone is singing along, the band and audience are losing their shit, and the energy, which video often doesn’t capture, is electric. I can barely imagine what it must have been like to be there in person, but I feel so lucky to watch it now.

Once again, I’m sorry to tease everyone by writing about a release that will be very difficult for you to acquire. There has long been an annoying snootiness and exclusivity among the people who follow Japanese punk in the west, with many fans protective about information and skeptical of people who are comparatively new to this stuff. I hope it’s clear I’m not trying to cool guy anyone or brag. I just love this band and this music, and this release prompted so many thoughts that I felt compelled to share. If you can find a copy for yourself, then cool (it’ll be difficult, but not impossible), but if not, try your best to make something just as awesome happen right now in your part of the world.


What’s up Sorry Staters?

Hope yall are all enjoying the spooky season! I’ve been trying to cram in watching as many horror movies as possible before Halloween. Inevitably, that means hearing some cheesy heavy metal in some of these 80s flicks. Pretty appropriate for what I’ve written below:

I had an idea for a staff pick a while back that I’m only now taking the time to fully wrap my head around. This idea was resparked in my brain when I found out that Daniel is currently working his way through listening to the entire Black Sabbath discography. When he told me this, I thought “Damn, that’s a cool idea.” But still, a dubious task to say the least when you consider the many changes Sabbath went through over their multiple-decade career. The other day, Daniel and I were both working at Sorry State’s warehouse location and he had just reached the Dio era of his listening journey. As we both experienced the lesser known tracks from Mob Rules, it reminded me of an idea I had to write for our newsletter a long time ago, but never got around to. This idea involved the 2 most iconic singers from Sabbath, and now I think it’s time I finally time I got to flesh this thing out. I’m not going to revisit the age-old debate of “who was better in Sabbath, Ozzy or Dio?” Instead, most of you rockers know that both Ozzy and Dio had very successful careers going solo post-Sabbath. Bear with me…

Many months ago now, I remember we had a copy of Ozzy Osbourne’s The Ultimate Sin sitting in the used bins here at the store. Between both Rachel and I specifically, I remember this record getting a lot of play while either of us would be working the counter at the store. An underrated Ozzy record, I would say. But around that same time, we also had a copy of Sacred Heart by Dio. Each of these solo records by the former Sabbath frontmen could be described as midpoints in each singer’s solo career. Sacred Heart was released in late summer of 1985 and The Ultimate Sin was released in early 1986. So really, the albums were released only about 4 months or so apart.

Now, each record had a major single with a music video: Ozzy had “A Shot In The Dark” and Dio had “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children.” I’m not sure for anyone reading this how long it has been since you’ve heard either of these songs, but around the time I was revisiting these records I couldn’t help but notice that they are EERILY similar. Even when you look at the picture sleeves for each single, both have orange backgrounds and feature an image of a dragon! Now “A Shot in the Dark” has Ozzy’s head anthropomorphized onto the dragon, but still! Haha. But there’s so much more going on here.

I’m not sure if each of the former Sabbath singers brought in a producer (maybe the same producer??) on these records to help with their slumps in the middle of their careers, but you do have to consider the time period. The landscape of heavy metal was changing a lot in the mid-80s, with bands like Dokken hitting the big time. The genre influence I hear really creeping its way into both of these tunes is what I’ve heard a lot of people refer to as “Night Metal.” Maybe some you will know what I mean by that haha. With hair metal being the dominant force at the time, both Ozzy and Dio have a bit more of a glittery, glammy soft edge on these songs. Both songs are midpaced at a similar tempo, each opening with a keyboard-laden, melancholic atmosphere that gives off a hint of mystery. Then finally, we have to talk about these riffs. When each of these songs break into their signature guitar riff, both chugging in the key of A or maybe A flat, you realize that for all intents and purposes – you’re listening to the same song. The opening lyrics and the phrasing is so similar as well, with Dio’s opening line “It was starting to rain on the night that they first decided.” and Ozzy singing “Out on the street, I’m stalking the night.” Play them back to back, it’s almost dead on. Even when you look at the music videos there are similarities! Both videos follow teenagers on their night out with a feeling of distress looming over them. Both videos incorporate supernatural elements and whisps of mystical happenings. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children” opens with a minute-long cut scene and definitely has more of a plot to the music video than Ozzy’s tune. Still, it’s strange how alike they are in terms of vibe, the overarching theme being feeling lost, but still having each other. These middle-aged Sabbath singers had to connect with the youth, man!

I wish I could sit here and write a super detailed essay about how crazy alike these songs are, but at some point, I need to go price some records for the store. I gotta say though, if I had to pick my preference for one of these numbers based purely on execution, I think “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children” takes the cake. I would say mainly because I like the video. It does kind of remind of a like PG-version of Nightmare Elm Street (See? It all comes back to Dokken). Both are cheesy as hell, but if Dio’s music video is like an expensive Gruyere, then Ozzy’s is probably more like Cheese Whiz.

That’s all I’ve got this week. As always, thanks for reading and nerding out with me.

‘Til next week,

-Jef Lep


Hey there Sorry State Gang. I hope you all have had a good week and are doing well? The world keeps spinning, and another week is in the books. Between navigating the endless pain and stress of life (slight joke) I have had my mood lifted by good football matches, great music, and good reads. The Mighty Reds secured a win in Madrid, Spain this week against Atletico in what was quite a game, with Mo Salah setting another club record of scoring in nine consecutive matches. Music wise, we are flooded as per usual with great records new and old at the store. I’ve been listening to my usual fix of Jazz, Soul and oldies at home and trying my best to do something that I rarely do these days and that is read a book. So, for my pick this week, I would like to tell you about a new one I’ve been flicking through that a lot of you might well be interested in.

The Best Of Jamming! Edited by Tony Fletcher

Jamming! was a British fanzine that existed between 1977 and 1986 with a thirty-six-issue run. It began as a school publication launched by a teenage Tony Fletcher in London, with the first issue being a six-page affair published in December 1977 and costing a whopping ten pence, eventually evolving into a nationally distributed monthly. Packed full of great reviews, interviews, and features on sport, politics, poetry, and whatever else was clever at the time, it became an essential read. Back in the day before the internet you had to get your knowledge from these types of publications, and I did my best to read as many independent zines as possible in addition to all the numerous weekly and monthly music papers and magazines. It took a bit of effort and after years of buying them, I literally had thousands. For many years whilst traveling at sea, I had them stored in my parent’s attic, but my Dad got worried about the weight and one day took them all to the dump. Ha. So many great issues of old NME, Melody Maker, Sounds etc. returned to the earth.

Tony Fletcher, originally from Yorkshire, now resides in upstate New York and has had quite a few great books published over the years. He has written biographies/books on Keith Moon, R.E.M. The Clash, Echo And The Bunnymen, The Smiths, Wilson Pickett, and Eddie Floyd in addition to a couple of novels. Jamming! his latest, is a coffee table sized book that collects the highlights from each issue of the zine. With a foreword by Billy Bragg and insightful comments and reflections by Tony on each issue, it is a fun and fascinating read. Like a lot of zines started by young enthusiastic music lovers, it managed to get closer to the artists it covered than the mainstream press did. Jamming! had a lot of exclusive interviews during its run and many are included in the book. In addition, there are personal letters from the likes of Paul Weller and Mark E. Smith and tons of great period photos and other memorabilia.

Later issues of Jamming! appeared in the US but chances are for most of us this will be the first time we are reading these pieces. Over here Stateside there were, of course, plenty of homegrown zines and mags to get your hands on. Jamming! kind of reminds me of the great Bomp! magazine that the late Greg Shaw was putting out around the same time. That terrific publication covered similar territory and there is also a nice compendium of issues that came out a few years ago that I would highly recommend you get your hands on.

This collection of Jamming! is officially out on November 25th and is published by Omnibus Press. If you click the link to Tony’s page on the net, you’ll find links to all the places that are carrying it. I was lucky to get an early look courtesy of my Face Radio partner Matt, who was given an advance copy from Tony himself when our show Worldy broadcasted a special Jamming! show from the Brooklyn studio last month. I couldn’t fly up and do the show with Matt and Tony, but they had a great time and played so many great tunes that captured the spirit of the zine and the music it covered. You can click here to listen to that show. It really is a fun listen and great to hear from Tony himself.

Thanks for reading and your time. Have a fab week and I’ll see you next time.

Cheers – Dom.


Hello and thank you for reading,

This pic is completely unrelated to everything, but it is a wholesome pic so I am sharing it. I have been chatting with one of the guitarists from MORNINGTON CRESCENT, and 3/4 of SCARECROW just got an original copy of their killer EP! The other 1/4 of SCARECROW took the pic, hehe. I keep forgetting my birthday is this month. As I get older, I care less and less about birthdays. I don’t stress much about getting gifts for friends, and I really don’t like it when people spend money on me. Except I love to make mixtapes, but lately I find myself a bit too busy to enjoy this... of course, the real exception to everything I’ve just said is Jeff, haha! We always get each other a cool ass record for each other’s birthday. He has given me so much cool shit, man. I am lucky. I cannot wait to see what he’s got locked in for me this time around. This year I gave him my copy of ENGLISH DOGS To The Ends of the Earth 12”. I tried to buy him his own copy so I wouldn’t have to give him my dead mint condition copy, but the copy I got for him was so warped it would not play. The seller would only offer a refund on the 12" while I would have to eat the shipping both ways. So I eat shipping twice plus tax cos someone can’t grade a record??? Good thing you sent me P.O. Box as the return address, asshole. Anyway, the whole reason I am even mentioning this is cos one birthday tradition that never seems to fail is WHIPPITS, ahhhhhhhhh! I literally just realized I need to go buy a box today from the head shop, and now I am very excited!! Yeah I am juvenile, I don’t care.

Anyway, I am writing about a cool re-issue today, HYVINKÄÄ EP. I actually did not even know this EP existed until I heard about the re-issue. This EP is named after the city where all the bands were from. Before receiving the EP, I only knew one of the names, PAINAJAINEN. They are the only band from this comp that actually has a proper record. I think it is safe to say these bands are pretty obscure. Although when I got my copy and played it I instantly recognized the first PURKAUS track from the Killed By Finnish Hardcore 12" compilation. I had a lot of anticipation for the PAINAJAINEN tracks but compared to their EP it was not what I expected! I wondered if it was even the same band cos their EP is so fucking good, haha. I think the PURKAUS tracks might be my favorite if I had to choose. They know how to rip. But, the SOTAKULTTUURI tracks really get me going. They know how to seriously fucking ROCK! Aside from Finnish hardcore being known for its absolutely nasty (and sometimes sloppy) song-writing, I feel like Finland was the best at making songs groovy as fuck. The early bands knew how to throw a little cheese on some Discharge shit, but they make it stylish instead of corny. I really like contemporary band KOHTI TUHOA for this reason. There’s another upcoming release from Finland I cannot wait for either, YLEISET SYYT. We will be getting a lot of copies of this once it’s released. You know, I did not mention that the HYVINKÄÄ EP is not available from Sorry State yet. We have copies on the way with another re-issue from HöhNIE Records, the LASTA EP. So keep an eye out!

I’m a bit behind on getting this writing done, so I will have to wrap it up. The LASTA EP is another “obscure” record, though the bands on there are really not that obscure. It seems that some of the tracks appear elsewhere, but certainly not all. There’s 10 bands on this record! Aside from PURKAUS having an appearance here as well, this compilation features more popular bands like RIISTETYT, TERVEET KÄDET, BASTARDS, and KANSAN UUTISET! Both these 7"s coming from HöhNIE Records are very cool re-issues. Check ‘em out! If was you, I would surely grab both. Oh yes, I also forgot to mention we are getting the color vinyl versions for both releases! kk thanks for reading, peace!


I’ve come to really love Thursdays; putting together the newsletter has become one of my favorite parts of working at Sorry State! I let the music Daniel and my coworkers write about dictate my playlist and it’s honestly such a fucking joy to listen to everything each week. If you’ve gotten this far in the newsletter, I don’t need to tell you how cool this shit is, haha!

I’ve been spending a lot of time combing through my collection and updating my Discogs collection with the odds and ends I missed in the constant shuffle of new things. It made me realize I’ve picked up quite a few things on my Thursday shifts because of the newsletter, so I thought I’d share a few from the 7” box I’m currently reorganizing.

Distant Fear: A Reminder of Death 7”

I remember when we got this in and I was admiring the hand printed packaging. As someone who studied printmaking in college, I’m such a sucker for hand printed packaging on records. What really sold me on this, though, was Daniel’s description when this hit the Featured Release section way back when. For being a 7”, this record is still atmospheric and moody; it really feels longer than it is. We still have a few copies left because things from New Zealand tend to be a bit pricier, but I assure you this is worth every penny!

Electric Chair: Social Capital 7”

I don’t have to say much about this. We’ve been blowing through copies of this release since it came out, and for good reason. I’m still kicking myself for not grabbing Performative Justice when we had it in the store for 0.2 seconds before it sold out...don’t be like me, go grab Social Capital now why we still have it!!!

Execution: Silently it Grows 7”

Another record I fell victim to because of packaging and then the subsequent Featured Release write up. It’s an assault on the ears in the best way. Another import, so we luckily still have a few copies you can snag on the web store!

Horrendous 3D – The Gov. And Corps. Are Using Psycho-Electronic Weaponry To Manipulate You And Me… 7”

I think this might be my favorite thing I’ve picked up from the newsletter. I remember putting this on during a shift, not thinking too much about it, and watching the faces change on the customers in the store. I knew I needed it. It’s a dirty, nasty, hardcore jumbled mess that comes together perfectly for this record.

Nekra: Royal Disruptor 7”

I’m finding out I’m late to the game with some bands, but I’m glad to have found them either way. My Discogs want list generally increases every Thursday when I discover a new band. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I buy a cassette player and go down that hole. Finding Nekra definitely made me do a few eBay searches for cassette players so I could justify buying their demo from 2017. I’m so glad I have this release, though!

SSR Picks: October 14 2021

The Damned: The Light at the End of the Tunnel (MCA, 1987)

The latest issue of General Speech, along with Halloween inching ever closer, has me listening to the Damned. Tom from General Speech’s list of 20 underrated non-album tracks had me reaching for the Friday the 13th EP and the Damned But Not Forgotten compilation, and those releases gave me a hankering for The Light at the End of the Tunnel, a weird as hell 1987 compilation that has a special place in my heart, even though the CD copy I got 25+ years ago is long gone.

I remember ordering The Light at the End of the Tunnel from Columbia House when I was quite young. It must have been 1992 or 1993, just as I was digging past the MTV-approved grunge that was taking over the world. Mostly I was finding pop-punk, and I listened to my fair share of Green Day and NOFX and Screeching Weasel around that time. However, as one of the few recognizable punk names in the Columbia House catalog, this release from the Damned made it into my possession. I had no idea, but it’s a very strange introduction.

Looking atwhere the Damned’s critical legacy has landed, The Light at the End of the Tunnel offers a track list that is, shall we say, idiosyncratic. The compilation came out on the Damned’s then (major) label, MCA, and perhaps that’s why the band’s albums for that label, Phantasmagoria and Anything, are so well-represented. The collection starts off with “I Feel Alright” from the first album (starting with a cover rather than an original is only the first of many strange choices the compilers made), then segues into the title track from 1986’s Anything, followed by two non-album singles, 1982’s “Lovely Money” and 1984’s “Thanks for the Night” before the next album track, Machine Gun Etiquette’s brilliant “Plan 9, Channel 7.” The track listing doesn’t just ignore chronology; it seems deliberately chaotic.

On the surface, The Light at the End of the Tunnel seems like that nonsensical music industry monstrosity, the “greatest hits / rarities” compilation, which pairs an artist’s best songs with the chaff that wasn’t considered good enough for the higher-profile releases. The thing is, though, that despite its length and breadth, The Light at the End of the Tunnel never dips in quality. The Damned put out several classic albums, but their non-album singles and EPs hold some of their best songs. And while it’s weird that there are three covers here, it’s hard to deny that the Damned had a knack for transforming other artist’s material, as apparent on their version of Love’s “Alone Again Or.”


Speaking of Love, if I can discern any sort of organizing principle for The Light at the End of the Tunnel, it’s that it emphasizes the Damned’s roots in pre-punk pop and psychedelic music. I’ve spent a lot of time with the Damned’s first five albums, and even though this release contains a lot of those songs, you end up with a different impression of the band than you get from listening to the albums. The Light at the End of the Tunnel is missing some of my favorite songs (how do you leave off “Wait for the Blackout?”) but, by omitting so much, it reveals the Damned’s surprising depth. Amidst all the punk bashing and crashing, there was a sophisticated, thoughtful pop band lurking below the surface.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel also shows how the Damned love to stretch out. The collection is littered with four and five-minute tracks (even the single “Grimly Fiendish” appears in its 12” extended mix). The most stretched-out moment, though, is “Curtain Call.” This track took up the entirety of side 3 of 1980’s The Black Album, but the Damned’s US label I.R.S. omitted the track for their single-disc version, which is the version I have. “Curtain Call” is a great song… besides the psychedelic wanderings you would expect from a track of its length, it has a great chorus with one of Dave Vanian’s most memorable vocal performances. Including “Curtain Call” is a big part of what tilts The Light at the End of the Tunnel toward that portrait of the Damned as sprawling and grandiose, but it’s also a big reason why I’m still revisiting The Light at the End of the Tunnel all these years later.


What’s up Sorry Staters?

It’s been quite a journey to let my body and mind readjust to normal routine after this past weekend. Daniel, Usman and I have returned from playing a gig in Asheville with the almighty Warthog. I had a blast, and appreciate the dudes in Warthog for traveling to come play NC’s little mountain town. The gig itself was way more packed than I expected, and it was definitely overwhelming considering that’s the most people I’ve been in close proximity with in about 2 years. Between the rager of a gig, hiking to scale huge waterfalls, and chilling hard with old friends, I gotta say that I really needed that. Plus, I got tested and am covid-free!

Now on to important matters: this new Quarantine LP. I’m going to attempt to withhold some excitement and not totally dork out. Seriously though, I think this is one of the best hardcore records I’ve heard in years. When I first listened to Usman’s test pressing he received a few months ago, I remember my mind being blown at just how different it sounded. Agony manages to ride that balance between incorporating incredibly weird elements into the music while also remaining firmly rooted in traditional, tough-as-nails hardcore punk. It’s clear that the 4 dudes involved are just capable of putting together songs that have moments of mind-blowing and unexpected complexity, but also clearly just wanna let it rip and melt faces. The guitar work has me drooling at every turn. These moments of ambient dissonance that make me feel like aliens are invading are really just a tasty, thick bonus layer atop the shredding riffage. The drums are just insane… in the pocket and nasty, but also so tasteful. Also, the singer Jock’s vocals are just perfect. There’s no weak moment, he’s unrelenting and mean as fuck. Plus, the songs have so many hooks that it’s like they went fishing for ‘em. I can’t stop my brain from repeating, “MEDIA.PSYCHOSIS. MEDIA. PSYCHOSIS.” If I understand correctly, I think Quarantine is mostly Jock’s whole deal. I believe he’s a transplant to Philly from Boston. And like, if he does have a heavy hand in the songwriting, then it makes total sense because I definitely hear some MASS hardcore creeping in. The rhythmic style of the riffs reminds me a lot of Out Cold – and I’m not just saying that because I love Out Cold, I really do hear it. Now we gotta address the elephant in the room: in the midst of all the ripping hardcore, there are synth interludes. Yeah, you heard me. Which I dunno, to me at first this just seemed super off-brand? But somehow it fits. It’s almost like the interludes function less like something funny and more like creepy, minimal atmosphere that adds to the menacing personality this LP exhibits. I didn’t know I wanted a creepy synth version of “Lost” by Jerry’s Kids, but now I’m happy that it exists.

So yeah, clearly I’m really into this LP. Honestly, the sheer amount of content jam-packed into this LP might be kind obtuse and difficult for the general hardcore fan to absorb. Personally, I find it exciting. This band will lead us into the future.

No more blabbering from me. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


Hello and thank you for reading,

I don’t really have a nice write-up for you. I realize it’s been a long time since I did some deep nerding too, but I have just been too busy to set time aside. I’ve packed up a lot of the SISTEMA EN DECADENCIA 12” so I tossed it on last nite. Shit man, I was not ready for what this hot slab is packing... It is so fucking noisy, like shimmering in noise. Not in a lo-fi way, though; it sounds good. Haha yeah I don’t like lo-fi kinda shit. Being a noisy band doesn’t do it for me on its own either though… this band is fucking pummeling. The drumming is insane like MOB 47-style fast but still somehow has a little groove? I’m playing the bandcamp page now. Maybe the stereo here sucks or maybe the LP sounds way better than the digital. I listened to the LP at the shop yesterday and the sound was insane. If you like bands like GLOOM or COLLAPSE SOCIETY, this is right up your alley. You can grab a copy from our webstore here. Thank you for reading, peace!

SSR Picks: October 7 2021

This week I don’t have a staff pick for you as such, but I thought I’d still check in and let you know where my head is at. One reason I don’t have a staff pick is because I’ve been so busy with Sorry State stuff I have had little time to do anything but work. With the new Scalple, Lasso, and Cochonne releases keeping us busy, plenty of new distro stock coming in, and coordinating upcoming projects and the day to day work around here, I’ve been left with very little of what feels like my own time. While I feel overwhelmed, I’ve been working to keep myself from getting stressed out, spending a little time each morning prioritizing what I need to do each day and trying not to beat myself up if I don’t get to every single thing I planned to. That’s always a struggle as this type of self-imposed pressure is often the fuel that powers me to run that extra mile, but I think I’m doing OK.

One thing I made time for this week is getting outdoors. Here in North Carolina, the weather is unbearably hot between June and September, and everyone is too hot-natured to get outside much once the weather cools from November to March. That leaves a brief window in spring and fall when you try to get outdoors as much as possible. I can’t imagine living somewhere like Southern California or Italy where the weather is pleasant all year long… it seems like everyone would just waste the days away, confident there’s another one that’s just as good coming a few hours later.

I try to walk a few miles each day, usually on the trail by my house. I walk down the hill to the Neuse River, where the trail winds along the fast-moving river, crosses a bridge over Crabtree Creek, then empties into a park, Anderson Point, with a pleasant mix of manicured and wild spaces. I have a bunch of favorite spots along the trail. Of course, the bridge is a highlight. While the sight lines aren’t great (the thick steel railings are chin-high), if you stand on your toes or climb up a little, you can see a long stretch of river, and when the water is clear enough (maybe 50% of the time), you can see lots of fish. Sometimes I see a big creature—I think it’s a river gar—that’s 6 or 8 feet long. There’s also the beaver damn, which walls off an area that can be a large pond or bone dry depending on how much rain we’ve had, and the wildflower areas in the park, which attract an extraordinary number of butterflies, dragonflies, and other insects.

Usually I listen to music on large, over-the-ear headphones when I’m taking my walks, but lately I’ve been carrying the headphones more than wearing them. They’re hot, which inhibits my enjoyment of the weather. Sometimes I’ll go months without taking them off, and whenever I remove them for the first time in a while, I’m struck with how noisy and alive the area is. The sounds that stick out most are the birds calling to one another high in the trees. I think I heard something on the radio a while back about how the forest canopy is its own very unique ecosystem, which has prompted me to daydream about what it would be like to wander around up there.


What’s up Sorry Staters?

So this week, I’m tempted to go ahead and write about the new Quarantine LP, cuz for my money, it could easily end up being the best record of the year. I need to take a copy of the LP home and really dig into it to write something proper. I know my fellow Sorry State staff feels similarly, so I’m sure we’ll all gush about it next week.

Before I write about records or anything I’ve been listening to this week, I wanna acknowledge the gig coming up in Asheville this Saturday. If you’re in the greater NC area, I will obviously encourage you to try and make it if you can. The mighty Warthog are coming down from New York, and I’ll be pulling double duty on guitar in both Public Acid and Scarecrow. Even with my lingering anxieties about covid, Public Acid has already played some cool gigs this year – BUT this will be Scarecrow’s first gig in our home state in well over a year, so I’m stoked on that. It’s at a place called the Grey Eagle, which I know nothing about but I’ve heard is a cool ass venue. Hope to see some of y’all punks there.

Between getting ready for the upcoming gigs and all the energy that we’ve been putting into the hot new releases on Sorry State coming out for pre-order over the last week or so, I want to keep my blabbing to a minimum this week. I’m exhausted. But hey, what else is new? I really wanna talk about this Lasso record. I think Scalple and Cochonne both kick ass, but I already had some familiarity with those bands, both musically and also with the people involved. If I remember correctly, Lasso from Brazil reached out to Sorry State out of the blue to have us check out their new recordings. Daniel had me take a listen to see what I thought. I couldn’t have been more than a few songs deep, and I remember thinking, “Dude, we have to put this out!” I just remember being super impressed with the ferocity but also how tight and interesting the music sounded. The guitar stuff is right up my alley because it has that dissonant, leftfield melodic chording that always scratches my Die Kreuzen itch. It reminds me a lot of what I was (probably unsuccessfully) trying to nail in one of my previous bands Vittna. I wouldn’t exactly say Lasso has any gothy vibes, but their music does hit these moments of eerie, otherworldly discomfort that makes you grit your teeth. But for all their moments of abnormality, this record is 8 tracks of all-out aggression. The drums are absolutely pummeling, the vocals are throat callusing… And I’m not even saying you have to be an open-minded punker to appreciate Lasso. But for all you Sorry Staters out there who are hesitating, get with the program. Lasso rips.

This record is still available for pre-order, but the limited version is almost gone! Don’t worry, the whole pressing is on beautiful yellow vinyl:)

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

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


Good morning, good afternoon and good evening to you all wherever you are. I hope this past week has been a good one for you. I don’t really have a proper staff pick for you this week as per usual I haven’t managed to get my act together and write anything worth your reading time. Writing is not my strong suit. However, I would like to briefly mention one record that came into my hands this week and it certainly is worthy of being a “staff pick” and your investigation. The record is Mesh & Lace by Modern English.

Released in 1981 on 4AD in the UK and through Beggars Banquet in some countries, the copy I have now is one of those and was pressed in Canada. Modern English came from Colchester, Essex in Southern England, the same town that would birth Blur a decade later and are of course most known for their worldwide hit I Melt With You. That song came from their second LP called After The Snow from 1982. Mesh & Lace was their first album and follows on from their first few singles in being a darker affair than their later work. Those singles and the first album are much more in the post-punk camp than new-wave and Mesh & Lace has more in common with the type of stuff Joy Division were making. It makes sense that the 4AD label would sign them.

I am not trying to front and say that I am a big Modern English fan. Like most I thought they were a one hit wonder band and did not give them much thought until a friend turned me on to Mesh & Lace. I bought the CD and hoped to come across the vinyl one day. It took way longer than I thought to finally own a copy. Amazingly, in over twenty years of looking, I had never seen a copy in the wild. This past weekend I was given an incredible surprise when Daniel told me that the incoming mail had a package for me. I opened it and it was a copy of the album. Daniel had found someone with a copy and bought it for me. How kind, thoughtful and totally rad is that? Seriously. Working at Sorry State already rules but when your boss does things like that for you it almost brings a tear to your eye. Thank you Daniel, you are the best.

Playing back the album this week from vinyl felt good. I hadn’t listened to it in ages, and I think it has held up very well. The sound is almost hipper and more relevant now than it was then. I have a couple of those early singles but still need their debut Drowning Man from 1979. That song is killer. So is Gathering Dust. If you ever see those whilst record shopping grab them. I myself might even dig into the bands later discography as I know there are some gems on the second and third albums. Perhaps you’ll join me?

Anyway, here’s a link to one of my fave tunes on Mesh & Lace to get you started or to remind you of how good Modern English were. This song is called Move In Light and is quite good.

Thanks for reading. Thank you Lord Lupton and I’ll see you next time.

Peace & Love - Dom


Hello, and thank you for reading my brief Staff Pick,

I have been anticipating the QUARANTINE LP since I heard the tape earlier this year. I wrote about it when we got copies, if you read that. ‘Agony’ is fucking insane. I don’t care what kind of hardcore you like, this record is for you. Buy it now, seriously. This is the best record I have heard a long while, straight-up. It’s not trendy, it is straight up not-give-a-fuck hardcore. The songs are so fucking good, often times I feel like I am listening to cover songs. Does that make sense? The songs are so well written, they seem familiar and perfect in this way that it feels like listening to a favorite cover song. It’s weird, I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt that way about a record before... does that mean I am gay? Buy it now. Or tomorrow I mean if you're reading this Thursday; its release date is Friday 10/7/31 and we have two monstrous distro stockpiles. Thanks for reading, ‘til next time... Oh shit, I guess should maybe tell you I’ve been fan-boying the fuck out of the drummer for years now.. I was so lucky he sent me a test press of this shit. I’ve been playing it non-stop since I got it. I actually made Daniel a tape dub too cos I was so obsessed haha. Anyway, my frequent and punishing questions to Chris, the drummer, eventually turned into me interview the vocalist (and song-writer) of QUARANTINE, Jack. I should have helli copies printed by tonite, so you can expect to find copies of that in your SSR mail-order!! Alright, cheers.


It’s finally the best month of the year! Of course I spend my days off trekking to Spirit Halloweens and driving around neighborhoods looking at decorations. This is the first year I’ve lived somewhere where I’ll be able to participate in Trick R’ Treating and give kids candy and I want to make it awesome! A while ago, a customer told me about how his mom would play haunted house sound effect records on Halloween to spook anyone that came to their door. I immediately started scheming and figured out how to do the same thing. I don’t think the jangly chains and creaking door sounds will scare today’s kids as much, but hopefully I can put together some decorations to scare the shit out of children. Don’t worry, we’re going to be a full size candy bar house so it’ll be worth the scares for the kids. I’ve been rooting around my collection and listening to a bunch of the Halloween records and decided to share some of my favorites.

Alfred Hitchcock: Ghost Stories for Young People

I mean, it’s a record with the master of horror. If you don’t play it in October, why even own it? My favorite part of this record is the beginning where Hitchcock sets the mood and asks you to turn the lights off. Spoooooooky! The stories are short, cheesy, and GREAT.

Cherny Berg & Gabriel Dell: Famous Monsters Speak

This was the very first Halloween record I got and it’s been on rotation throughout the years because it’s so entertaining. One side is Frankenstein, the other is Dracula. I’m such a sucker for things that pretend to be real and this record starts off with an introduction by a scientist, talking about how these monsters are ‘actually real’.

Goblin: Suspiria score

This needs no introduction (hopefully). Hands down one of the best and most iconic scores, it HAS to be played at any Halloween gathering.

Tales from Beyond the Pale: The Grandfather

I wrote about other TFBTP records way back when I first started. My favorite release from that label is hands down this one, though. It is TRULY freaky and so well done. Narrated by The Tall Man from Phantasm, if you don’t get shivers up your spine from this one, check your fucking pulse.

Various: Great Ghost Stories

CLASSIC. I love this record so much. The cover is great, the stories are cheesy… this is a perfect Halloween record.

Ghostly Sounds

This is the newest buy in my Halloween section. Grabbed it from a box at work with way more Halloween records (maybe coming to our bins soon...shhhh) and it does not disappoint. I started collecting Halloween records because of the art on the covers, but I quickly figured out that the sounds in the grooves are just as good. This one has all the classic sounds and will hopefully bring a good spooky ambiance to our house when the Trick R Treaters come by.

SSR Picks: October 1 2021

This week I thought I’d give you a quick roundup of what I’ve been reading (besides the new issue of Razorblades & Aspirin, of course, which I cover in the Featured Releases section). As a wise man once said, check it out!

At Home No. 3 zine

The other day Jeff was tidying up around the store and produced a few copies of this issue of At Home zine. I’m not sure where they came from… perhaps the editor sent us a couple of freebies? I apologize for not getting back to whoever gave them to us! I hadn’t heard of the zine before, but an interview with Ian Mackaye was enough to draw me in, and I’m glad I investigated further because there’s some quality reading here. My favorite pieces are the interviews with Mackaye and Tim McMahon of Mouthpiece. I’ve read plenty of interview with both of them, but these interviews focus on shows both musicians played in South Carolina in the 90s, which provides an interesting angle. It made me think a lot about my own experiences going to shows in Virginia and North Carolina in the 90s, and I even went over to the Fugazi live archive to sample the audio from the first time I saw Fugazi live (Norfolk, Virginia 1995). I’m not sure how to get this zine, but if you see it, grab it.

Razorcake #124

Razorcake is such a steady presence in the punk scene that it’s easy to take it for granted, but I still check out every new issue. (It helps that they always send a big stack to Sorry State for free, which we then hand off to our customers.) This issue’s cover star is Martin Sorrondeguy, and he’s another person whose perspective I’m always interested in hearing. Here he talks with Michelle Cruz Gonzales of Spitboy, and as you might expect, the conversation is fascinating. Martin’s lengthy interview is reason enough to grab this issue, but as usual Razorcake is crammed to the gills with interesting art and writing.

Cometbus #54

About a year ago, when I got COVID, my friend Shane in Portland sent me a cool care package full of books, records, and zines to keep me occupied while in quarantine. (Thanks so much, Shane! I miss you, buddy!) Unfortunately, the package didn’t arrive until just as I was finishing my quarantine, so it’s taken me some time to look at everything, and one of the last pieces was this issue of Cometbus, a 2011 issue which chronicles Aaron’s trip to Southeast Asia with his old buddies in Green Day. I wrote about the most recent issue of Cometbus a while back and I was surprised how much I liked it. I’ve been aware of Cometbus forever, but I’m not sure I’d ever sat down and read an entire issue before then. I loved that issue, and I loved this one too. While I don’t have an inherent interest in what Green Day was up to in 2011, Aaron’s reflections on how people and friendship evolve over decades is fascinating, and I devoured all 97 pages in two sittings. New addition to the to do list: read more Cometbus (though I’m still terrified of the tiny handwritten text in the Cometbus Omnibus that has lived on my bookshelf for well over a decade now).

Joe Banks: Hawkwind: Days Of The Underground: Radical Escapism in the Age Of Paranoia (2020; Strange Attractor Press)

I’m only about halfway through this book, which one of Sorry State’s Instagram followers recommended after I posted about Hawkwind’s Hall of the Mountain Grill album. The book is dense with information about Hawkwind and I’ve learned a lot, but despite its density it’s a light read that keeps the pages turning. The writer has a strong sense of Hawkwind’s contribution to rock music and to British culture, infusing the book with a fan’s enthusiasm without drifting into hagiography. I wish Banks took as much time setting the scene as some rock biographies I’ve read. The book jumps right into the beginning of the band with little attention to the members’ lives before the group, and a minimal portrait of the London counterculture from which they emerged. I’m sure plenty of music heads will appreciate the fact that Banks doesn’t spend hundreds of pages describing Ladbroke Grove in the 70s, but it sounds like a fascinating place. (I know a little about the area from reading books about the early days of Rough Trade, which was headquartered in that part of London.) Maybe I need to find a book just about that counterculture scene? Anyone have any recommendations?


What’s up Sorry Staters?

This week for my staff pick I’m writing about the new LP Absortos En El Tedio Eterno by Algara, just released by the fine folks at La Vida Es Un Mus. I remember when Sorry State stocked the first 7” by this band and I don’t think I ever really gave it a fair shot. To me, they looked like an anarchist version of a costumed Fat Wreck band like Masked Intruders or the Aquabats. I guess I have a tendency to avoid punk records that put off a perceived aesthetic of silliness. But yes, looking further into it, I now understand that the intention behind Algara wearing masks is to remain anonymous in delivering their political agenda. And damn, now that I’ve given this LP a listen from start to finish I have to say shame on me for not giving this band more of my attention.

Speaking strictly from a musical standpoint, Algara is kinda all over the map. The first few songs on the LP have an energetic post-punky feel to them, with earworm catchy single note guitar lines. But by the time you hit the halfway mark on this LP, all constraints are lifted and it’s time for drum machine! I’m picky about a punk band’s usage of drum machine, but for Algara, I think it really works. A song like “Hedonistas” really caught me off guard. After a bunch guitar driven, up-tempo numbers, this song really stands out with its slow tempo and cold, sparse Gary Numan-esque instrumentation. The singer is really charismatic and sassy in their vocal approach. I feel like they harbor a lot of venom behind those catchy vocal melodies. Even though Algara are from Barcelona, something about the energy of the singer and the riffy garage-paced feel reminds me a lot of Sorry State alumns Smart Cops. But I gotta say, the more melancholic, synth-based tracks on this record I’m drawn to much more. That may be purely be because I happen to think those songs are the better songs on the record. “Máquina, Cuerpo, Soga” is my personal favorite. I wish I understood Spanish better because I imagine beyond the music, the lyrical content is the core driving force behind this band.

Definitely a cool and interesting record. If you haven’t checked out Algara yet, do yourself a favor and scoop a copy of this LP from your friendly neighborhood Sorry State.

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

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


Hey there Sorry Staters, I hope we find you well this week. Another full week of life with plenty going on. More legends in music, entertainment and sports passing away unfortunately. Special mention to Jazz organ legend Lonnie Smith, who put out a bunch of cool records in the 60s and 70s. Pop singer Barry Ryan, he had a huge hit in the 60s with the song Eloise that The Damned covered well and had a hit with. Also remembering Liverpool FC legend Roger Hunt, who also passed this week. He is the club’s second highest goal scorer of all time. May they rest in peace.

The past week has been a good one football wise though. Liverpool had a good result in Portugal against Porto in the Champions League and the world got to see Barcelona and Real Madrid get beaten. The Madrid result was a shocker, although minnow team Sheriff from Moldova has been getting some upset results this season. It will be interesting to see whether they can continue their run.

Music wise, this week I have been listening to and enjoying the new E.P. from Los Angeles band Smirk. Seems like they are getting good reviews from folks who have seen them play, apparently being one of the better groups playing at this year's recent Goner Fest according to reliable sources. We brought in their LP on Feel It Records earlier this year and I confess to not giving it the full attention I should have. This new E.P. is out on Total Punk and should do well for them. I say them because they are a band who play shows but are mostly the brainchild of main man Nick Vicario and this seven-track record does kind of sound like a solo studio project, albeit with a little help here and there. Vicario has another band called Public Eye, and we have carried their records here at Sorry State. The last one was pretty good, as I recall. Post punk sort of sounds mixed with a Pavement like attitude was how we described it. With good lyrics.

This new E.P. being on Total Punk sits comfortably with some of the other bands the label has released. The sound is indeed wiry punk and honestly, I could see our own Rich and ISS playing a double bill with these guys. The analogue approach coupled with good songwriting is always a winner in my book. Smirk aren’t necessarily breaking any new ground with what they are doing but at least they seem to be doing it well and you get the sense that you are still listening to something new even though you are getting comforting retro sounds coming at you at the same time. I’m always partial to a good E.P. You get four or five tracks, and nothing generally outstays its welcome and typically the cuts are exclusive to that release and often a track will stand out more than when buried on a full-length LP. Do you know what I mean?

Early to say which is my favorite track but I’ll leave you with Precious Dreams which I like.

Check it out and if you like them, you can buy the E.P. plus LP from us. Plug, plug.

That’s all I got for you. Peace and love and see you next time – Dom.


Hello readers, and thank you for reading.

“Power For Them, Pennies For You” was initially released with Demo Fest back in December of last year. It was a digital only release I am pretty sure, as a benefit. I am stoked that DHsK made physical copies of this release! DHsK is from Asheville, so naturally, I am even more excited there is another raging band in North Carolina. This tape is 5 tracks of straightforward, no-nonsense hardcore with a heavy Scandinavian influence. They have some breakdown parts that are reminiscent of other U.S. bands TØRSÖ and G.L.O.S.S. They cover fucking HERÄTYS too, one of the greatest bands that existed in the past decade or so… I lost my mind when I heard that cover track. If you don’t know HERÄTYS check ‘em out. Anyway I think this tape is so killer and you should give it a listen and grab a copy from our webstore! Our copies are out for delivery today. Thanks for reading, back to work for me. ‘Til next time...

SSR Picks: September 23 2021

This week I’m going to write about a couple of things rather than focusing on just one, ripping off the format that Rich uses for his picks. Hopefully Rich is back soon with another staff pick. I haven’t caught up with him in a few weeks, but I know he’s been super busy. I think right now he’s on the road traveling to Gonerfest. I’m sure our loyal newsletter listeners can agree that sounds like an interesting thing to write about HINT HINT RICH.

Ronan Fitzsimmons: The Toy Dolls: From Fulwell to Fukuoka book

The Toy Dolls have been on my mind lately. Of my few post-lockdown trips out of town, two of them have been to Philadelphia, and on both trips I stayed with my friends Jim and Amy, both of whom are big Toy Dolls fans. Shout out to Jim and Amy! I’m pretty sure that on both trips I told the story of when I got to see the Toy Dolls live. I can’t remember the year, but it was in Richmond in the late 90s, and they were fantastic. I didn’t know much about the Toy Dolls other than that they were an old UK punk band, but that was enough to get me to the show. Maybe it’s because I had no expectations, but the Toy Dolls blew me away that night, and their set lives in my memory as one of the best punk gigs I ever saw.

About a month ago, Scarecrow was in Richmond for a gig and, as usual, we stopped by Vinyl Conflict to check out their wares. I spotted this book on the shelf and grabbed it immediately. I have quite a few books like this that were printed and distributed primarily in the UK and it was a giant, expensive pain in the ass to get them, so even if this book sucked, I was willing to take the risk at only twelve bucks. Thankfully, though, it’s a great read.

From Fulwell to Fukuoka is based mostly on a single long interview with Olga, the Toy Dolls’ founder and mastermind. Over the course of the interview, the author and Olga discuss the entire history of the Toy Dolls and they go deep, even if (as the author notes) the rounds of pints take their toll after a while. The author is a die-hard Toy Dolls fan who grew up in the Northeast of England, just like Olga and most of the band members. He’s knowledgeable and passionate about the band, and Olga’s answers to his questions are rich with detail, if self-deprecating (he dismisses about 90% of the Toy Dolls’ output as “crap”). Olga’s recollections are rounded out with details culled from other sources, and the author spends a lot of time explaining the references in the band’s lyrics. There is some summary of Coronation Street plots, but the book remains readable throughout, thanks to the author’s combination of wit, humor, and passion for the Toy Dolls’ music. There’s also a surprisingly touching section at the end where fans share their stories of how they discovered the Toy Dolls and what the band means to them. From Fulwell to Fukuoka reminds me of Parks and Recreation, hilarious and unexpectedly heartwarming at the same time.

The Fall: Live in London 1980 12”

Loyal newsletter readers might remember several months back when I wrote at length about the recent Fall live album on Castle Face Records, throwing around the idea of a series of staff picks about live albums by the Fall. I’ve listened to Live in London 1980 five or six times since I had that idea, but even with all that attention I haven’t come up with an “angle” that could support an entire staff pick. I think said everything I have to say about Fall live albums in general in that piece, so I’ll just fill you in on the details on this record.

Live in London originally came out as a cassette on the Chaos Tapes label in 1982. The Fall was an odd fit for Chaos Tapes, whose other releases were by bands like Discharge, Chron Gen, and G.B.H., but the release sold out its edition of 4,000 copies, making it to #7 in the independent charts. The recording is magical (it became known among fans as “The Legendary Chaos Tape”), capturing one night of a two-night stand where the Fall showcased material from the recently released Grotesque and numerous songs from Slates and Hex Enduction Hour, neither of which they had recorded yet. Some of the newer songs are rough around the edges, but you don’t want a bootleg to sound exactly like the studio versions, do you? According to Mark E. Smith, the label pressed up the recording from the wrong gig and the other night was the better performance, but this may be a bit of attempted myth-making. While hardly exceptional, the sound quality is solid and the band’s intense performance shines through the grit. Mark E. Smith famously hated London, and one gets the sense he channels some of that ire into this performance.

The Fall: The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall 12” (1984)

Spending so much time listening to Live in London 1980 gave me a hankering for some Brix-era Fall, so I pulled out this gem. Coming just before the landmark This Nation’s Saving Grace album, Wonderful and Frightening captures a very cool moment in the band’s history. While Perverted by Language always sounded tentative to me, like they were still figuring out how to integrate Brix into the band (though the album has its proponents… I know it’s Dave from Cochonne’s favorite Fall record), and This Nation’s Saving Grace is so perfectly synthesized and realized, Wonderful and Frightening splits the difference. It’s not so much that individual tracks seem to look forward or backward; rather, songs like “2x4,” “Lay of the Land,” and “Slang King” have something of both the art rock / pop sensibility Brix brought to the band and the amphetamine jitter of the Grotesque / Slates / Hex era. It’s also, despite its title, a ridiculously fun record. Paired with a too-late-in-the-evening cup of coffee, it prompted me to clean my entire house, a process that stretched well past midnight.


Hey there Sorry State Gang. I hope all is well with you. We mark another week off the calendar and say goodbye to summer and hello to autumn. How time flies. I’m hoping that we’ll still have some nice fall weather down here in Raleigh so that I can get my Exotica night in. We had to cancel last week due to the threat of rain and are going to try again for this week. Damn pandemic preventing responsible social gatherings.

As I didn’t get to play the records I had pulled for the evening on the night, I’ve decided to feature one of them for a special mention here. I hope you don’t mind. It’s called Africa Speaks, America Answers by Guy Warren with Red Saunders Orchestra under direction of Gene Esposito and came out on Decca in 1957.

This record has been in my collection for a while but did not get the proper attention it deserves. I had it in a box of other similar odds and ends sitting in a back-room closet. Most likely because it’s a bit of a beater copy found at a thrift store that has some weird marks on some tracks, making them almost unplayable. Fortunately, most of it plays great, and I was pleasantly surprised when I previewed it for potential play at my gig. It is an awesome record, and I am angry at myself for letting it sit unappreciated for so long. However, I played a cut on Worldy this past Monday and will slip another in at tonight’s gig. Even with the weird scuffs that make a swooshing sound when the needle passes through the grooves on the first track and a half, I have played it several times at home this past week and it am really digging it.

Naturally, my ignorance of this record is not shared by the world in general. Turns out the album is quite collectable and highly regarded critically and a nice original copy will set you back a few bucks. In addition, Guy Warren is a total bad ass and worthy of your investigation. I can’t do his career justice here, but basically he has been credited with introducing the African “Talking Drum” to the Jazz world and inventing Afro-Jazz. Such was his virtuosity on the drums that he became known as “The Divine Drummer.”

Born Warren Gamaliel Kpakpo Akwei in Ghana, West Africa in 1923, which was then known as The Gold Coast. He was an exceptional student, athlete and musician, graduating with honors. During the Second World War, he worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the American Army department concerned with secret operations and intelligence. He worked as a journalist and broadcaster, becoming one of the first Africans to have his own show on the BBC.

He played in local bands but in the mid 1950s moved to the US as he was eager to ingratiate himself into the American Jazz community. In Chicago, he joined up with Gene Esposito and his band as percussionist and arranger. It was with Esposito and American drummer and band leader Red Saunders that he made his first album, Africa Speaks, America Answers for Decca in 1956.

During his dozen or so years in America, he worked with many of the jazz greats, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Max Roach and Louis Armstrong being four of the biggest and most recognizable names. In 1974, he returned to Ghana after becoming disillusioned with America and the west but in between recorded several more albums under his own name and played on quite a few others. A couple that came out in the UK during the late 1960s are very desirable. He even has a music library album called Native Africa on the legendary UK KPM label, those of the famous green covers.

The Africa Speaks album is where it began, though, and I can see why people are willing to part with their cash to own a copy. It’s more than just a record of music; it has historical and cultural significance. Jazz was changed just as much with his drum sound and authentic African language chants as it was with the Latin influence that had previously turned the jazz world on its head.

My poor prose would never do such great music justice, so I think I will just leave you a link to the whole album and let you all judge for yourselves. I promise it to be a rewarding experience. Click here to dig in.

As always, thank you for reading and I hope I was able to steer you towards something enjoyable that will enrich your lives for listening. Peace and love - Dom


In an ideal world, I would just write about TURNSTILE again, cos one write-up simply will not do ‘Glow On’ justice! Instead of punishing you with a repeat Staff Pick, I would like to mention a few releases. Some time ago we got this 12” from MESS released on Mendeku Diskak. Mendeku Diskak is a label based in the Basque Country. I remember getting it in and thinking about the killer Japanese band ME♀SS. Their 1986 flexi is unfuckwithable!!! I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before. Unfortunately, I never took the time to listen to the new MESS cos of the old ME♀SS I love so much. Yesterday I had an order for one and tossed a copy on the turntable for the hell of it... man was I in for a treat!!! This shit is top-notch UK82 style. This release sounds like it could have been on Riot City or No Future. Of course, it is just a bit more modern sounding than the hot slabs on those labels, but in a nice crisp kind of way. The leads remind me especially of BLITZ. I hear bands who often try this style and it just comes off too ‘tough’ for me, but MESS perfectly executes this style. Shit man, as I am writing this I see the MESS has dropped a new album this month! Check it out. I will too.

Alright next note is DEATH SIDE. I’m sure most everyone has seen the new 7" plus DVD release being talked about heavily on social media. This release is coming soon on Break The Records. I didn’t think it would be possible for us to get copies at the shop, but it looks like we will get a small amount for distro! Hell yes!!! Keep your eyes peeled cos these are bound to sell-out extremely quickly. “Two out of the four songs were previously released for digital charity benefits, but the remaining two songs are completely unreleased. These songs were recorded in ‘89 for Slice Records’ compilation ‘Game of Death’ when each member recorded their own vocals. How these songs remained hidden is truly a mystery. The DVD contains footage from the late 80s to the 90s compiled with current interviews with the members. Much of this footage is also unreleased and has never been uploaded to the internet. The liner notes are written by ZIGYAKU of GUDON (愚鈍), SYSTEMATIC DEATH, BASTARD, JUDGEMENT, HALF YEARS, etc. who alongside DEATH SIDE, built the history of the hardcore scene in Japan as we know it.”

Did you see Svart Records is doing a PYHÄKOULU re-issue?! I am so excited! I don’t think we have solidified our copies yet, but I am certain we will get some for distro. You can read about it here but I will still paste some info from the page here. So exciting!! On top of loving this band, I love Svart re-issues! “This band-approved compilation includes PYHÄKOULU’s tracks from their split with ABORTTI-13, their self-titled 12″, Sankari EP, live recordings from 1987, and previously unreleased studio quality tracks the band recorded in 1989 just before calling it a day. The audio material has been carefully restored and remastered from the original tapes, and the package comes with a thick booklet full of old photos, interviews, lyrics, flyers and other memorabilia.”

Alright, DISARRAY. I decided to write about this cos it was my obligatory weekly ‘Now Playing’ post haha. I have no idea if Black Water keeps this in print or if these are just copies from the initial pressing in 2014, but Sorry State just re-upped on copies. I first heard DISARRAY when Black Water released this discography, I think? I can’t remember, but I don’t imagine me diving deep into ‘80s Japanese hardcore until around that time cos I was too busy obsessing over Swedish and Finnish hardcore. (That probably still applies today.) I moved to NC in 2014 and that is when I got access to internet at home haha. Soon after, a friend showed me Soulseek, and I went nuts on international hardcore downloading rampages. Before that time, I would have to sit outside Panera Bread or Starbucks on a laptop to steal internet and download shit off 7" Crust Blogspot or Anarcho-Punk.Net if I wanted to hear stuff like that. Anyway, there is a chance I heard DISARRAY in those days, but I am just gunna put all my praise on Black Water for properly introducing me to the band. The flexi is great. It was released on legendary ADK Records. I think this release is what they are most known for. When I first heard this flexi, I remember confusing it a lot with THE EXECUTE’s flexi. While the sounds/song-writing have some strong similarities, not much can match THE EXECUTE. When I heard DISARRAY’s second EP, it caught me off guard cos it is much more melodic and catchy than their flexi, but I still enjoy it almost just as much as the flexi. Even if you already have the flexi and the EP, this 12" is worth grabbing cos it has their 1985 demo as well. This demo has a handful of previously unreleased songs alongside a few songs that have been re-recorded, played with even more raw intensity! The sound on this tape is excellent. Before these recordings appear on the record is their 1984 demo. It is cool to hear this, but to be honest, the sound is not good at all. It is still the perfect fit for a compilation 12" though. Peep our web-store to grab one!

Speaking of Black Water, I have another note. I have been highly anticipating the NIGHTFEEDER EP coming soon on Black Water. I wrote about this band previously when we distro’d their debut cassette release. I’m assuming it is delayed just like every thing in vinyl production right now. Black Water is a fucking excellent label. I love the re-issues they do, and I love lots of the current bands they release. Alright thanks for reading everyone, ‘til next time...


Charles Kuralt from the Bob Timberlake Collection

Yesterday Dominic found a really plain looking record in a collection Daniel had just picked up, but one of the few bits of text on it was a North Carolina address, so he handed it to me. Not much comes up on Discogs, but a quick google search came up with some really expensive box sets. Like literal hand made wooden boxes with a book, this record, and some Bob Timberlake prints. If you’re from or have lived in NC for a while, you know Bob Timberlake. Every southern grandparent had one of his landscapes hanging in their house; his paintings are almost as ubiquitous as the nature he paints. Growing up with these images lining thrift stores and inoffensive walls in locations I can’t quite put my finger on (but know I’ve been to), I took for granted how state specific his work is.

I put on this record not fully recognizing Charles Kuralt’s or Bob Timberlake’s names, and as the words describing the surroundings I grew up around came on the speakers I started remembering why the record felt so familiar. The internet helped me put a name to the paintings I grew up seeing and the signature on this record. I knew who Bob Timberlake was, but I didn’t know who he was... ya know? When I looked up Charles Kuralt on Discogs, I realized I’ve owned a record he’s on for years! I found ‘North Carolina is My Home’ years ago; it was the start to picking up records having to do with my home state. Charles Kuralt was also a prolific host on CBS, so I’m sure I’ve seen his face before. My parents are transplants to the south so I didn’t grow up as steeped in Southern culture as some, but hearing Kuralt describe traditions that are so distinctly North Carolina—the tobacco sheds dotting the landscape far outside of town, apple season in the fall—made me feel nostalgic and homey.

I can’t find any recordings of this record online, but I dug into my collection and pulled out another NC gem. This was a bargain bin find I picked up because there was an NC address on the sleeve and I absolutely love it.

Dulcimer is a great instrument and very, very Appalachian. I have a lot of zither music in my collection, so it makes sense I would gravitate towards a record with a dulcimer on the cover. The Strayaway Child is a great collection of Appalachian folk songs and also happens to be one of (if not the) only record from an NC based group that I can find a recording of online. I would love to show y’all Stoney Runn, too, but alas, nothing comes up Google. If you ever see this record on Discogs, or more likely in a bargain bin, you should grab it. Somehow a group of teens got into a recording studio and a small run of vinyl pressed in Cary, NC. Not sure how it happened, but the music is great!

I’ll leave you with the best/worst NC song I found on North Carolina is My Home: the title track.

SSR Picks: September 16 2021

Celtic Frost: Parched with Thirst Am I and Dying (1992, Noise International)

A few weeks ago I picked up the vinyl for this 1992 compilation album by the almighty Celtic Frost. I’ve owned the CD of Parched with Thirst for years, but picking up the (slightly abridged) vinyl version prompted me to dig back into this weird and wonderful record.

Even on the surface of it, a Celtic Frost compilation album seems like a curious proposition because the band reinvented themselves, often rather drastically, with each album. It’s a long way from the primitive eruption of Morbid Tales to the more measured and confident Vanity / Nemesis, and there are numerous detours along the way. Parched with Thirst doesn’t attempt to make sense of Celtic Frost’s complicated artistic trajectory, nor does it revel in the band’s eclecticism. As you might expect from Celtic Frost, the selection of tracks and the sequencing is idiosyncratic, at first glance kind of strange, but with some indescribable logic holding it all together, even imbuing it with a strange magic.

While I was researching what people had to say about Parched with Thirst, I encountered frustration from listeners who couldn’t put the record into a particular box. It’s not a greatest hits collection or highlight reel from across the band’s career. Nor is it a “rarities” compilation; while it includes rare and unreleased tracks, there are several previously released album tracks too. It’s unclear what Parched with Thirst is or who it is for, but part of being a Celtic Frost fan—I’d say one of the best parts of being a Celtic Frost fan—is surrendering yourself to the band’s unintuitive logic, trusting them to take you wherever they’re going to take you.

For all of this conceptual and philosophical muddiness, Parched with Thirst is an engaging listen, questioning conventional wisdom about the band’s artistic peaks and valleys. “Downtown Hanoi,” a track from Cold Lake that appears here in a version re-recorded in 1991 (though not drastically different from the original), sits right next to “Circle of the Tyrants,” a classic track from the classic Emperor’s Return EP, and it doesn’t sound weird at all. John Peel famously said of the Fall that they were “always different, alway the same;” perhaps the same statement could apply to Celtic Frost?

Along with the eclectic mix of tracks from earlier in Celtic Frost’s career, Parched with Thirst is bookended by two unreleased tracks, “Idols of Chagrin” and “Under Apollyon’s Sun,” both demos intended for Celtic Frost’s next album, though the band abandoned the project. Original drummer / not-so-secret weapon Stephen Priestly programs the drum tracks for these two songs (more successfully for “Idols of Chagrin” than “Under Apollyon’s Sun”), and the riffing and songwriting are characteristically left of center. “Idols of Chagrin” is an intriguing song, with a grungy main riff and reverb-soaked production held over from the hair metal era, but with a heavy and nasty bridge part that sounds like classic Frost. I’m sure Under Apollyon’s Sun would have been a divisive album, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.


What’s up Sorry Staters?

I found myself midway into my week, and once again, not even close to being dead set on what to write about for my staff pick. As much as I’m stoked about the Genetic Control reissue, Imploders 7”, and a whole bunch of other new releases we’ve recently stocked at Sorry State, I can’t stop listening to this new tape by Personal Damage.

Consistent with the weird world of punk we live in in the modern era, I discovered this Personal Damage tape through the wonderful world of the internet. At first, I had no idea this was the case, but apparently, a few people from Hate Preachers are in this band. So duh, no wonder this tape is so damn good. Within the first 10 seconds of the first song, “Shits Fucked,” I already knew I would love this shit. The guitar riffs have that specific rhythmic style that to me is an obvious nod to early 80s California hardcore. Specifically, I hear a lot of Wasted Youth or Anti. But then the vocals kinda hit an aloof tunefulness that reminds me of Shawn Stern from LA Youth Brigade. Lyrically though, it’s kinda the opposite where the dude seems less earnest and more snotty, almost humorous at times. When I got to the track “I Need A Cup”, I had a nice little chuckle to myself. So yeah, I guess this band don’t take themselves too seriously, but goddamn does this thing rip.

I would have loved to lock down a physical copy of this demo for myself, but I guess it’s already sold out. Hoping that Personal Damage makes another run of these bad boiz for all our sakes.

Keepin’ it brief this week. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


Hi friends, hope everyone is doing well?

The busy week continues for me personally, with the first of hopefully a series of DJ curated evenings at a cool spot here in Raleigh, The Longleaf Hotel & Lounge. Outside too. For the entire night I’ll be spinning Exotica, Tropical Latin and other mid-century Tiki Hut favorites. Easy listening for those not needing their BPMs in the hundreds whilst enjoying a craft cocktail. I’m hoping people will respond and enjoy it. I’ve wanted to have a venue and audience for this type of music for a while but typically when employed as a DJ the expectation is to be keeping the dance floor busy and rocking the joint with choice tunes and not chilling them out with gentle Latin grooves etc. It’s one thing to slip in a few of these types of numbers into the beginning of a set but another to make it the whole evening. It felt funny packing my record boxes and not including some of my go to bangers. Still, this gig is an early evening one and I think it’ll be fun playing Exotica for people.

Over the years, whilst digging for records in thrift stores and bargain bins, I have managed to collect quite a few Exotica records. For the most part, they had such great covers enticing the buyer with visions of far away places and mysterious sounds. In the mid-1950s through early 1960s, the craze for music like this, along with anything Latin, was at its peak. There are literally thousands of records that feature a mambo rhythm, bongos and other exotic percussion instruments. One name associated with the Exotica craze was Martin Denny, an American who lived in Hawaii. He released a bunch of records with the title Exotica and other similar inspired names. In 1959, he scored a huge hit with Quiet Village, a tune written by Les Baxter, another American musician who was scoring hits with his own blend of Jazz and Afro-Latin sounds. As well as these albums, Baxter was also busy scoring soundtracks, something he continued for many years to come. Similar to Baxter and Denny was a fellow named Enoch Light who made a name for himself by experimenting with recording technology and who released tons of records showcasing new stereo recording techniques, etc. A lot of these records have covers of pop hits and feature percussion instruments to the fore. In 1959, he formed Command Records and was one of the first to try and push the quality of recording to higher levels.

As I packed my record boxes for the gig, it was obvious how big an influence these names had on the genre and how many of their records I have managed to accumulate. In all honestly, these records are maybe not killer all the way through and to our modern ears sound dated, but on each one there are a couple of nice little moments, and I am hoping that I can select a good batch of tunes from my collection to entertain folks with. Wish me luck. It should be fun.

Next time you are out digging for records and see some of these exotic covers, I encourage you to investigate. They’re usually cheap and somewhat easy to find, but of course, in today’s upside-down world, maybe that is not the case for some of the better ones. Good luck.

That’s all I have for you this week. See you next time.

Cheers - Dom


Man, this album is the absolute pinnacle of the Hardcore of today! What an excellent album to follow up with! Oh shit, I guess you don’t know what album I am talking about… I am too busy to take a photo of the cover cos I’m fucking Hardcore dancing while I blast the LP instead. Turnstile, everybody. I see all you salad-eating pansies out here talking shit, but I want to see who the fuck can hang with me and my crew in the pit. You probably can’t take the heat this hot ass slab radiates. There’s no shame in that. You are just weak-minded, with poser blood pumping through your veins. All you want is the latest hype, the latest fads. All you want is D-beat and Japanese hardcore. You are blind. Turnstile is woke. All the trends will die, and Turnstile will still stand, proudly wearing their fucking Hardcore Heavyweights of the World Championship title belt. Turnstile is for the trve punks and Hardcore freaks. This album is so revolutionary. Me and my friends were at our weekly circle jerk (thank God we are back on schedule, Covid really fucked that up!) and my homie Chad threw on the new Turnstile, “Glow On.” I lost my mind at how good it was. I busted a nut immediately. “Don’t Play” is one of my favorite tracks! While Turnstile mostly reminds me of 311 mixed with a little Red Hot Chili Peppers, the ripping guitar on this track plus the gang vocals really remind me of The Casualties! What a great song! The fucking pinnacle of hardcore, you guys! You can listen to it here. Even though they have some absolutely ripping parts in the song, they still remind me so much of 311. (Another killer fucking band!) The song ‘Freak Out’ by 311 must be a really huge influence on Turnstile. There are so many parallels between the two bands. Hell yeah! So last week I had to cast another poll aside from HC Knockouts, but this time on my IG account @bunkerpunks. I had to ask the world this huge debated question!

To be honest, I knew 311 would take the cake! Turnstile fucking rule and have the capacity to crush 99.99999% of competition, but you can’t beat the originators. I know I go on about 311, but I know that Turnstile has other influences aside from 311 (and R.H.C.P.). But I really think they take influence from other killer artists like Rage Against the Machine, Dave Mathews Band (it’s true!), Good Charlotte, and of course 25 Ta Life. Sorry State sold our copies of ‘Glow On’ lightning fast (of course what a great fucking album, album of the decade!) but don’t worry, we have a restock on the way, for all you trve Hardcore motherfuckers. Alright everybody, keep glowin on!


Reverend Jim Jones: Last Sermon at the Peoples Temple

This record probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Hell, even when I put it on, I asked myself why I purchased it. It’s hard to listen to, but I’m so fascinated by Jim Jones and the cult he created, I found myself just sitting there, mouth open, while it played. Cults, serial killers, most true crime is fascinating to me and it’s been a cool experience watching it go from a fringe interest to something that is widely consumed by the public.

One of the most popular podcasts on the subject, Last Podcast on the Left, had an episode about a new graphic novel depicting Ed Gein’s life. Why bring him up? Well, the interview was great (just like most of the episodes of that podcast) but there was a moment that stood out to me and made things CLICK in my head. They talked about how Ed Gein has become this character, more than a person, and some of that is probably attributed to the lack of media there was to document his case. There are very few pictures of Gein, no videos, and he spent most of his time alone in his house. In the interview, they attribute Gein’s larger than life cultural persona to the lack of media surrounding his life and crimes. So many of the fascinating true crime stories have minimal media to consume, so we’re left with eyewitnesses and experts telling us about it. Jim Jones and his cult are a bit different.

There are tons of photos of Jim Jones, his followers, and the lives they created for themselves in Guyana. Anyone with a feigning interest in this cult has probably seen the aerial footage after the mass murders. For me, it is hard to quantify; it is hard to view Jim Jones as real. It is hard to see the aftermath photos and think about the bodies laying there. 918 people died, and that’s an impossibly large number to wrap my head around. Hearing the last recordings on this record has added voices to the bodies, grounded these individuals as people and not merely “cult members.” Jones recorded most of his drug fueled rants that were blasted on speakers all over the commune, day in and day out. There are hours of incoherent rantings you can listen to but, to me, it just made him more fantastical. How did a person like that exist?

The recording on this record, the last moments before the mass murder/suicides make the events at Jonestown so much more real. You can hear people crying, you can hear his followers trying to justify this decision, you can hear and FEEL the chaos erupting. So why the fuck did someone press this on vinyl? I’m not sure, but my morbid curiosity on all things Jonestown has been quelled by this release. I know this is the closest I’ll be to that event and it is STILL incredibly hard to wrap my mind around as something Real that Actually Happened. I can’t tell you why or what makes me want to delve deeper into these fucked up facets of humankind, but I’m glad I’m not the only one.

I’m not going to share a link to the recordings at Jonestown; it’s easily found by a quick Google search. I respect that not a lot of people would want to hear it, so I’m going to leave you with a trailer for the movie ‘The Sacrament’. It is a modern retelling of the last moments at Jonestown and will bring you just as close to this event as the record brought me…if that’s something you even want.

SSR Picks: September 9 2021

Stomu Yamash’ta and Masahiko Satō: Metempsychosis (Japan, 1971)

An idiom I repeat often in the world of records is, “when it rains, it pours.” It’s not uncommon for a dry spell of finding used records for the store to be followed by a bunch of collections coming all at once, sometimes more than we can handle or afford. This pattern also holds for individual titles. I can’t recall seeing an original pressing of Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain before 2021, but we’ve had three copies this year. There was one point a few years ago when we had four Beatles butcher covers in stock at once, though we haven’t seen one since.

Lately the unseen hand that controls the vinyl taps seems to have turned the knob labeled “Japanese records for Daniel.” I’m sure anyone with a passing familiarity with the newsletter knows what a Japanophile I am, so I always have a healthy want list from that magical island, but things have been dropping in my lap lately. Even when I was in New York with Public Acid, we walked into a random record store that we passed on the street and I found an original pressing of Creation’s first album from 1975. So weird. I’m sure I’ll cover plenty of these records in future picks.

This 1971 album from Stomu Yamash’ta and Masahiko Satō was the record that opened the floodgates, and it’s one I had been after for a while. Metempsychosis is one of Julian Cope’s top 50 picks in his Japrocksampler book, but it’s one I had trouble learning about. I found Cope’s description of the album intriguing, but at the time I could only find short snippets online (the full album has since appeared on YouTube). The album hasn’t been repressed since 1976, and it seems like few copies made it to the West.

Metempsychosis intrigued me for several reasons. It seemed like one of the more avant-garde titles covered in Japrocksampler, and I liked that the drummer gets top billing. I love drum-centric jazz with dense polyrhythms, and fusing that with traditional Japanese percussion sounded like a wild idea. Stomu Yamash’ta (sometimes also Yamashita) also seemed like an interesting figure. He was only 24 when he recorded Metempsychosis, and was already a rising star in the jazz world. With his long hair and flowing robes he cut a memorable figure on stage (captured dynamically on Metempsychosis’s cover photo), and he was already considered one of the top percussionists in the world. The Japanese record industry was trying several tacks at making Yamash’ta a star, of which Metempsychosis was one. Yamash’ta has had a long and successful musical career, his most famous moment for Western listeners coming in the late 70s when he led the jazz fusion supergroup Go, which also featured Steve Winwood, Al Di Meola, Klaus Schulze, and Michael Shrieve.

The other name on the cover of Metempsychosis was also a huge draw for me. Like Dennis Bovell, whom I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, Masahiko Satō’s name (sometimes spelled Satoh) just keeps coming up. His soundtrack for the 1973 animated film Belladonna of Sadness is a record I return to again and again, and while its sound is grounded in Miles Davis’s work on records like Bitches Brew and Live Evil, there’s something about Satō’s take on that style that just gets me… maybe it’s how he takes those epic, stretched-out jams and compresses them down to scene-length bursts of creativity? Satō’s album with his project Soundbreakers, Amalgamation (also released in 1971), is another record from Cope’s Japrocksampler list that intrigued me, and getting a physical copy has been a highlight of this recent deluge of Japanese vinyl to hit my collection.

Satō serves as composer for Metempsychosis, so it seems relevant to share Satō’s bio on Apple Music, which I discovered last night:

Masahiko is a Chick Corea-influenced pianist who also plays electric keyboards. His compositional depth is not considered as strong as his playing.

What a diss! I couldn’t disagree more about Satō’s skills as a composer. On Metempsychosis and Amalgamation, Satō’s compositions remind me of Bill Dixon, another of my favorite avant-garde jazz composers (and the subject of another of my previous picks). Like Dixon, Satō takes influence from 20th-century classical composers like Olivier Messiaen and Pierre Boulez. Suspicious of conventional melody and harmony, Satō is fascinated by density and volume, often contrasting bursts of of loud horns creating dense, complex chords with long passages of near-silence. As with Bill Dixon’s records, you need to be mindful of where you set your volume knob when you listen to Satō’s work.

Circling back to Metempsychosis, it’s pretty much exactly what I wanted to hear: Satō’s orchestration and composition skills laced with lots of dense, complex percussive patterns. It’s a wild ride.

Researching this pick, I’ve also discovered a few other records I need to check out. Right now, I have Stomu Yamash’ta’s 1971 album Red Buddha playing on YouTube and I am intrigued. I also realized I didn’t talk about the artist who receives third billing on Metempsychosis, Toshiyuki Miyama & The New Herd. I see that group has a huge discography, and I’ve heard their 1970 collaboration with Masahiko Satō, Canto of Libra. 1971’s Canto of Aries, this time a collaboration with Masahiko Togashi, appears to be part of the same series and I’ve seen it mentioned in lists of notable Japanese jazz records. I also want to find a copy of Pianology, Masahiko Satō’s 1971 collaboration with the German pianist and composer Wolfgang Dauner. That record has been reissued a few times in recent years, but don’t often pop up in the US.


What’s up Sorry Staters?

Honestly, I feel like the Meat House label is doing God’s work. I get stoked every time Sorry State stocks new releases from this label because they seem devoted purely to the very specific goal of getting rare and often obscure punk singles from the Los Angeles area back in print. I’ve always been attracted to the late 70s /early 80s California punk sound, and often I feel like Meat House re-releases exemplary, yet unsung gems from this era of punk rock.

About a year ago, Meat House reissued the first single by The Hated. While at the time the Hated were a band I was fairly unfamiliar with, I thought this single was super cool. At the same time, Meat House also reissued the super rare Waiting For The Bomb Blast single by Long Beach greats Funeral. Now, I wouldn’t say that the Funeral 7” overshadowed my attention toward the Hated single, but something about the burgeoning 1981 speed and ferocity of the Funeral single really grabbed me. With such poetry like “Politicians are sick, they all suck my dick!”… how could my attention not be diverted?

BUT NOW… The latest 2 releases from Meat House are out, and thankfully The Hated’s full catalog is once again available at reasonable prices for nerds like me. Man, how fucking killer are these 2 singles? Whereas the first single still had a foot in early LA punk, the Jan Brady-period single Pressure / Stereotype is a one-two punch of perfect punk with updated power and production. This single is on par with the legendary sounds of Dangerhouse, but also increasing the tempo and hinting at the oncoming Orange County fury of TSOL and the like. I mean FUCK man, the pure cynic view on suburban blight with direct but poignant lyrics: “Hate your job, hate your kids, hate your wife, hate your life”… you don’t get much more classic punk commentary than that. But for 1981? Still comes across as pretty earnestly scathing and visceral for the time. It’s anthemic dude. Catch me raging at like 2am just shouting “PRESSURE! PRESSURE! PRESSURE!” I’m hooked. BUT THAT’S JUST THE FIRST RECORD.

The Marsha Brady-period 4 Song EP for whatever reason has the kind of artwork that is instantly attention-grabbing for me. This looks like a classic punk EP that everyone should know about. Maybe in terms of speed and aggression, this record takes a step back as opposed to the aforementioned single. But that’s not to say this record isn’t just as powerful. The second track on this EP presents a melodic and innocent, but also bleak commentary on the state of your immediate reality. The hook screams “I’m afraid to leave my house today!” I dunno, even with my new-come familiarity with these songs, I just feel the frustration this band was evoking. These records feel like a missing link between bands like the Adolescents and other amazing bands from this era. Maybe I’m gushing and overusing ALL CAPS due to my excitement blasting these records right now, but I think this shit is killer. The symptoms of my ever-worsening case of Pretentious Record Collector Disease™ is now leading me to believe that I must own every original Hated single (with picture sleeves of course).

Do yourself a favor and snag both of these reissue EP’s.

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

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


Greetings dear readers and thank you for clicking on our corner of the internet again this week. I apologize for missing deadline on last week’s newsletter. A combination of only being able to write dog poop and a computer mishap is my excuse. It’s been another full two weeks of news and events in the meantime. Most of it not good. We’re looking at you Texas. It really does break you down reading the news. It would be easier to ignore it, but of course we can’t. We just find ways to bring our blood down from boiling point. Obviously, for us, music is our tool to help soothe our souls or fire them up. Thank goodness for that.

Before I continue, I wanted to acknowledge the sad news of the death of genius artist, producer Lee “Scratch” Perry. I won’t get into how great Perry was. I’m sure you are more than fully aware and have some of his records in your collection. More informed and eloquent people than me have done him justice since his passing and during his life. There are some great books about him such as People Funny Boy by David Katz and every music paper and magazine worth its subscription has done a piece on him. Hey! Weren’t we just looking at an old Grand Royal magazine with Perry on the cover? Like so many of us, his music has become woven into the fabric of our being, and he was one of my musical heroes. His photo hangs on my kitchen wall. Last week over on Worldy, the day after he died, Matt and I played a full show of Lee Perry music and productions, all pulled from our personal collections as our tribute. If you need some good reggae and dub in your life, you can check it out here.

Talking of my buddy Matt, he and I are going to be DJing this week at the opening of the Hopscotch Festival here in Raleigh. We’ll be providing tunes and good vibes somewhere within Wristband City. At the time of writing this, I don’t know the exact details, but we’ll be there from 10 AM until 3 PM on Thursday and Friday. Maybe I’ll see some of you there. A big thank you to Daniel and my colleagues for covering for me so that I could do this. It’ll be fun and Lord knows we need some of that. A full weekend of listening to music. Cool. Whatever your feelings are concerning the lineups for festivals is one thing, but I have always had a good time at Hopscotch and seen some good live performances, often when I didn’t expect to. Hopscotch has day parties too and they are a good way to see some live music either cheaply or free. In the past, it’s been a blast and let’s hope this year will be the same. Obviously, under different circumstances this time around with this damn pandemic. But that’s a whole other rant and not for here.

I don’t know about you, but often in between periods of listening to killer stuff, be it new or old, especially if it is loud and powerful, I need to put on something very different. It might not be a top tenner or a dance floor smasher, but it just needs to take my head someplace else. Typically for me that is found in older music and so for this week I would like to steer you towards a record that came out in 1970 on Warner Brothers called simply, Pride.

This has been stuck in my car CD player for the past week and has ear wormed me big time.

I used to have thousands of CDs, but over the years due to storage issues, lack of use and need for funds, I have sold most of them. I probably have just a couple of hundred left at this point. I kept this one because it has the two albums producer David Axelrod made in 1968 with garage band The Electric Prunes along with the Pride album. The CD also contained a bonus disc of instrumental versions, which is very cool, and I wish there was a record that had those on it. Future Record Store Day idea.

I am going to assume most heads know who the late David Axelrod was? He is up there with the legends on the back of the recordings he made for himself and those of others that he produced. You should go look him up if you are new to him and listen to his music and read his story. The record collecting world has long valued his records and the hip-hop world especially. Go ask Dr. Dre.

Mass In F Minor and Release Of An Oath were the two concept records Axelrod wrote and arranged for Electric Prunes producer Dave Hassinger at Reprise Records, who was using the Prunes’ name but not much of their musicianship. They played some parts, but much of the music was played by other musicians. For the two records, members of The Collectors, a Canadian psych band and Climax from Colorado were employed respectively for the two recordings. These were bands Hassinger was working with, but Axelrod however preferred his guys, various members of the famed Wrecking Crew of session musicians and it is their playing that forms the meat and potatoes of the albums.

Basically, they were concept records built around Catholic Mass rituals and other religious themes and not at all like the previous garage-psych sound of The Electric Prunes. The records released on Reprise were minor hits and prompted Axelrod’s main employer Capitol Records to demand he make records like that for them. Axelrod was Capitol’s head of production at this time and had been writing, arranging and producing hits for them since 1963 when he joined as A&R man. He produced records for jazz great Cannonball Adderley, singer Lou Rawls, actor David McCallum, South African Letta Mbulu and so many others and pushed the label towards signing more black artists. As mentioned, Axelrod used core members of the Wrecking Crew for his recordings. Drummer Earl Palmer, bassist Carol Kaye, guitarists Howard Roberts and Tommy Tedesco formed the backbone of many of his recordings. The beats played by Earl Palmer are very prominent in the records and those, along with some other unique sounds, are perfect for hip-hop sampling. Dr. Dre sampled the song The Edge for his track Next Episode to great effect. That song, The Edge, was produced by Axelrod for one of David McCallum’s albums. The popular actor put out several records and Axelrod produced them. They are not amazing all the way through, but there are some moments.

Axelrod made three records under his name for Capitol, Songs Of Innocence in 1968, Songs Of Experience in 1969 and then Earth Rot in 1970. Using the same core of musicians as on the Electric Prunes sessions just minus the Prunes. All three albums are concept based, this time using the poems of William Blake for inspiration on the first two and then environmental pollution for the third. Axelrod combined classical music with jazz and rock and r n’ b and molded them into something quite unique and special. Without getting into a long review of them, let’s just say they are all terrific, particularly the first two, and I’ve left you links to all three plus the Prunes albums for you to check out. If this is old hat for you, please forgive me.

After these three records comes the Pride album. This was a one off for Warner Brothers that Axelrod’s manager arranged using the name Pride as the artist. It was a collaboration between David Axelrod and his son Michael, who wrote the lyrics. Singer Nooney Rickett, who had been with Love, was the vocalist. The album has similar touches to the previous Axelrod albums but is more of a folk psych record with dashes of Spanish guitar and maracas giving it a Mexican folk flavor. The drumming is still on point and there are nice stabs of twelve string guitar. It’s not very long and in the grand scheme of things not that mind blowing, but it has a charm and perhaps because I am such a fan of his other records, I like it a lot. It’s not that easy to find an original, but there is a recent reissue on vinyl. The funny thing is that when people talk about Axelrod and his records, this one hardly ever gets mentioned. Probably because of the title, but for some reason it has been the sleeper in his discography that many people missed. I’ve read reviews comparing it to late era Love and The Byrds, which is fair, but I also think it has similarities to Rodriquez’s Cold Fact album in places. Admittedly not as good as that, but somewhat in the ballpark. It has the Axelrod touch though. Check it out when you are between things to play and need something mellow but with some substance. I hope you like it.

Okay, thanks for reading and see you next time. Cheers – Dom.


I’ve stayed away from writing about music for most of my SSR Picks because my coworkers do phenomenal jobs each week and I know I can’t keep up. But I don’t only listen to bargain bin weirdos and country music (I mean I do 90% of the time) so I guess writing about something else was bound to happen! I spent yesterday listening to a bunch of metal tapes from the 90s and found a few bands I now LOVE. They’ve been kicking around the store way too long for how good some of the music is! I guess old metal tape collectors are kind of niche, but I’m slowly putting the items online, so if you fit the bill, keep an eye out on our used section! Here are my favorites from my shift yesterday:

Octinomos: Demo 2 (1994)

Some good ol’ 1994 Swedish black metal. I love this because the low production quality helps instead of hinders and creates a really dark and bleak sound. Nothing super revolutionary, but the vocals are amazing paired with the guitar tone. I can’t find much info about any of these tapes or the artists behind them, but it looks like Octinomos last released a record in 2001. It’s their only vinyl release listed on Discogs so add to want list.

Mindrot: Faded Dream (1992)

Someone snatched this up as soon as I posted it on the Instagram story and who can blame them? This cassette is from 1992 and one of only a few releases by this band. It doesn’t feel strictly one type of metal, with a lot of thrashy, doomy, other metal subgenre-y riffs over the vocals that sometimes get more yell-y than scream-y. Even though Relapse Records picked them up in the late 90s, this band’s discography is way too short, making this cassette totally essential.

Various: Diabolical Netherworld II (1993) & III (1994)

I didn’t find much info on these compilations, but whoever put them together fucking killed it. Looks like it was some dudes in a band called Moonburn, but they only have one release on Discogs and a bunch of dead ends on Google. I really enjoyed the two compilations of this series we have in the store. It mixed some unknowns with some classic black metal bands, but the quality is high on every track. The bands on these comps span most of Europe, with most becoming defunct before the 1990s ended, unfortunately. It looks like the guys in Moonburn were the only American band on Vol II, so I’m going to assume these compilations were bringing over a lot of new music to the States. It’s so cool to think about the history of these specific objects and how they hopefully informed a budding metal fan. Our copies are still available on the web store to be loved by someone new!

SSR Picks: September 2 2021

This week I don’t have a pick for you as such. Instead, I want to use this space to talk about what a great time I had tagging along for Public Acid’s New York and Philly shows last weekend. I think we all struggled with the idea of going on the trip given the covid situation in the US seems to be getting worse rather than better, but now that everyone is back home and has negative test results I can breathe a sigh of relief and reflect on what a great time I had.

The shows themselves were awesome. I’ve been going to shows long enough to recognize when I’m seeing something special, that (usually fleeting) moment when a band is at the height of their powers, and that’s the feeling I get when I see Public Acid in 2021. In terms of their performances, Public Acid is a total force, and their three post-lockdown sets give me that feeling of the stars aligning, of a band playing the music people want to hear at the moment they want to hear it. PA’s sets both nights crushed, and people went off. These were perfect punk rock moments.

The other bands were also awesome. I got to see bands I already love (like Dark Thoughts and No Fucker, who sounded even better than they did the first time around), new bands whose recordings had already gotten me excited (80HD), and even get blown away by a band I knew nothing about (ICD10). I spend so much time listening to new releases that it’s tempting to think I know about everything going on in the punk scene, but even all the stuff that comes through Sorry State only scratches the surface of what punk and hardcore have to offer right now. I hope that, as the world opens up, more of you can reconnect with your local and regional scenes. And when you do, tell me who the good bands are so we can stock their releases at Sorry State!

Even more important than the music was connecting and reconnecting with so many humans I hold dear. First and foremost, I’m so appreciative of the time I got to spend with the people in Public Acid. Even small tours like this one can be stressful and can bring out the worst in people, but our time together was totally chill. Beyond the fun we had from moment to moment, it was great to strengthen and deepen these relationships. I also got to reconnect with people I’ve known for 15+ years (like Jesse from No Fucker and Zach from ICD10), have great conversations with people whom I’d only met briefly or corresponded with, and meet a bunch of new people too. I’m astounded by the number of people who took me up on my invitation in the last newsletter to come up and say hi. It made me so feel so good to know that not only do people read this thing, but they appreciate and value it too. Thank you so much to everyone who paid me and the band any bit of kindness this weekend, particularly the very special people who booked the gigs, put us up, and ensured we had a great time. And I apologize if I was weird or awkward to anyone… my energy level waxed and waned over the weekend, but I didn’t meet or hang with a single person who wasn’t cool as fuck.

So many times my conversations (with both new friends and old ones) turned to how much we care about punk. A year and a half without shows, as hard as it was, reminded me how much fun all of this is and how important it is to me. And as I get older—I turn 42 in a couple of weeks—I realize the punks are my people, my family. The NC punks are like siblings, and going to these larger shows is like visiting extended family or a gathering of tribes. I’m sure plenty of people think I’m a fool for dedicating so much of my energy to punk, but immersing myself in the community this weekend made me feel great about the life I’ve carved out for myself.


What’s up Sorry Staters?

As some of you may know, this past weekend I hit the road with Public Acid to play in both NY and Philly. It was a blast. Met some cool people, caught up with some old friends, heard some rad bands and also picked up some records along the way. Thanks to all the other folks in Public Acid, the homies Merm and Daniel who were along for the ride, and all the people who helped with the gigs and put us up. After the whirlwind of this adventure, I think it’ll be nice to cool off on gigs for a while.

One person I ran into in NY was Jesse, who used to play in Extended Hell as well as many other killer punk groups over the years. He hooked us up with a few copies of the brand new 7” by his new band Suffocating Madness. I was itching to check this record out when I got back from the trip. No surprise, this thing rips.

While I’m sure the Swedish riff masters of yesteryear are owed a small debt, Suffocating Madness sounds even a bit more vintage hardcore than other bands I’ve listened to on the Roach Leg label. This EP sounds raw and dirty but still punchy and warm, not like a dumb noisy, tin can raw punk recording. I would not be surprised if the dude who’s been recording all the stuff for Active-8 recorded this session as well. There’s a specific analog sonic signature that I feel like I’ve noticed with recordings done at this studio. Everything sounds kinda pushed into the red, compressing beautifully with a warm, spongey, gritty texture. Sounds cool as hell. I don’t know if it’s due to the vocalist Pancho, but I can’t help thinking that Suffocating Madness kinda sounds like the early Varukers singles. In the midst of his barking, Pancho’s voice does hit some distinct pitches. It’s not like the vocals are sing-songy or “melodic” by any means, but I can’t help but think of the chanting of early UK hardcore. My favorite track on the EP is the last song “Disassociate”, which has some serious Motorhead riffage. Not sure if that’s what they’re going for, but some of the riffs in this song are pretty rockin’. The single-note, chugging riffs on this track hint at a minor key, which gives the song this moody, bleak feeling.

As I’m writing this, Sorry State does not have the Suffocating Madness 7”s available on our webstore. But the boxes of records have arrived at the store, and I plan on getting them up on the webstore by the time the newsletter goes out this week. Don’t sleep on this ripper!

That’ll do for now I think. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


Hi,

I’ve been fucking blasting music a lot the past 10 days or so. Maybe more? Maybe that seems silly to say cos this is something I used to do every single day but I have fallen out of the habit over the past year for a number of reasons... Anyway I think this means I’m in a good mood. Or maybe it means the opposite and I just don’t want to think about all the shit that stresses me out. My drive to work is about one hour, so I have plenty of time to think haha. I currently have only one CD in my van and it has been blasting on repeat. I been singing along too, even though I don’t really know any of the words. Oh side note if you care, I have been jammin’ with a band for sometime now. We have like five or six songs. I do vocals. It kinda sucks but the people are cool so whatever. Anyway, this compilation ‘I Thrash Therefore I Am’ introduced me to some of my favorite bands of today. I remember picking this up simply cos it had Anti-Cimex on it. This was enough incentive to buy an unfamiliar record cos they were a band I had instantly fell in-love with. Who didn’t right? But I had never heard Mob 47 or Moderat Likvidation before. Man was I in for a treat. Don’t even get me started on Enola Gay and Existenz... these are some of the best tracks on this motherfucker. It’s a real shame that my young dumbass ears did not appreciate these two bands when I first heard the LP. They took me some time to warm up to. I think cos they don’t wear their Discharge “influence” on their sleeve like most Swedish bands I am obsessed with. I’m assuming most readers know but if you don’t, this compilation is actually a 12" reissue of a tape that came out in the ‘80s. The LP version doesn’t have all the tracks, while the CD version I been jammin’ actually has more tracks than the original tape. The photo up there is the back of the CD booklet. It’s similar to the 12" cover and the original tape cover, but with a lot more “color” hahaha... This photo below is the cover of the CD version. Bless whoever’s heart made the artwork to this shit. While the sound was improved, I think it’s safe to say the artwork was not. Alright thanks for reading, peace!


I spent last week (safely) traveling through the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. I spent 98% of the week busting my ass hiking up mountains and biking like over 50 fucking miles but I still somehow was able to spend a good amount of time looking at and thinking about records. I was unexpectedly able to spend a little under 24 hours in Seattle with a friend from high school at the end of the trip, so I spent much of my nights last week looking up record stores to go to. I would’ve easily and happily spent my time trekking from one side of the city to the other but my wallet, legs, and friend said otherwise. We hit some cool spots and I wanted to share a couple of the things I brought home with me!

Various: Israel Song Festival 1971 12”

Honestly can’t remember if I’ve mentioned the section of Jewish and Israeli records in my collection, but it is quickly growing and is equally nostalgic for me as it is informative. I grew up going to temple pretty regularly and while I had (have) my gripes with what I experienced, I always gravitated towards the music. This is a recording of the competition that started in the early 60’s that was a pre-competition of sorts for the Eurovision competition. I just looked all this up, I’ll confess. I have been finding other festival recordings of various genres and have loved all of them so I was excited to find this!

Beekeeper: Seafarer 7”

My first stop in Seattle, I’m sure this won’t surprise a lot of West Coast readers, was Singles Going Steady. My friend lived right around the corner which gave me ample time to look at all the odds and ends in the store. I found a few holes in my collection and had a lot of fun picking out some random 7”s based on cover art. Something about the name Beekeeper combined with the old photo caught my eye. After seeing it was made in 1992, I thought I had a good chance at liking it. It’s in a similar vein as some of the old radio copies I wrote about a few weeks ago; grainy, feedback-laden grunge type stuff that was well worth the few bucks.

Instängd: Mitt Svar På Ingenting 7”

New thing that keeps happening: not thinking twice about picking up old Sorry State releases at other stores. I had some great stuff to pick from at Singles Going Steady but opted for this 7” from 2007. I thought it was cool that it predates the store! If any of y’all haven’t dug through the Sorry State bandcamp, you’re missing out on some serious heat like this one.

Fuck the Facts: Die Miserable 12”

This band has had a special place in my heart after I saw them live at the (now dead, RIP) Jinx in Savannah while I was in college. It was such a POWERFUL fucking show, I can’t even remember who Fuck the Facts played with. I don’t have any of their releases on vinyl and can’t remember a time where I came across them in a store so I snatched this out of the bins quick as hell.

Arch Oboler: Drop Dead! An Exercise in Horror! 12”

I mean this screams my collection, I had to buy it. If I hadn’t worked so hard on my horror records during most of last year, I would’ve tried to buy way more in Seattle. It’s really cool going to a different city on a different coast and seeing how different their bargain bins are. I spent most of my time shopping in the bargain sections of various stores (who is surprised?) and instead of Grandma’s Collection of Country and Classical, there was a wide variety of international music, radio plays, and all my favorite types of oddball records to look through. This record, though, is already one of my favorites in my collection and I’ve only listened to it once. Bite size stories from every facet of horror; it’s absolute perfection.

Zulu: My People...Hold On/Our Day Will Come 12”

I didn’t get this in Seattle but it came the night I left so I couldn’t listen to it until today. THE ZULU RELEASES ARE FINALLY ON VINYL AHHHHHHH!!! And the packaging is stunning, with an awesome screen printed b-side. As of writing this, Sorry State has already sold out of the few copies we got so good luck getting your hands on it somewhere else!