Staff Picks: May 28, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

The Exploited: Death Before Dishonour 12” (Rough Justice)

This week I have a good old-fashioned hardcore punk recommendation for you. I heard the Exploited’s 1987 album Death Before Dishonour at a party a while back and was surprised by how good it was. While I haven’t listened to it in ages, I remember not really being into their previous album, Horror Epics, so I’d never given DBD a look. I made a mental note to find myself a copy, and this week I finally nabbed a UK original. It turns out it’s even better than I remember! As was the case with bands like Discharge and Sacrilege, the Exploited drifted toward straight up metal over the course of the 80s, but their take on metal here is tough, economical, and downright savage in its playing style. I believe the Exploited were touring regularly throughout this period, and the band is razor-sharp. They give the people what they want, pounding out song after song crammed with killer metallic riffs and an all-go, no-slow mentality that I imagine kept the crowd lively between the more familiar (and more anthemic) older tracks. In particular, if you’re a fan of the way Broken Bones balanced ripping metallic riffs with anthemic hardcore punk, I’d encourage you to snag a copy of Death Before Dishonour for yourself. Originals aren’t hard to come by (there was also a well distributed US pressing on Combat), and good looking reissues come in periodically at Sorry State as well.

Staff Picks: Jeff

Tower 7: Entrance To A Living Organism cassette (D4MT Labs)

I hesitate to write about new releases before we actually have them in the store, but goddamn this new tape by Tower 7 is so killer. They’re a newer band from the D4MT Labs camp, but I’m not sure if it’s people from Kaleidoscope or not. If that’s the case, it would not surprise me. Recently, I feel like in different pockets of the punk scene there are some newer bands popping up that have incorporated a darker, heavier crust influence into their sound. Bands like Rigorous Institution and Subdued come to mind. Tower 7 also seem to be leaning in this direction, but while they self-describe in this way, their interpretation of “crust” is pretty void of slow and boring passages of metal influence. Really, Entrance To A Living Organism just sounds like a dark and disgusting hardcore record. They capture the weight and eeriness, but also manage to sound left-of-field with noisy weirdness -- and most importantly, without sacrificing rage or intensity. This is one of my favorite new bands I’ve heard in a while. This tape is sold out from the label and I think Sorry State is only getting 20 copies, so don’t sleep on this!!

Staff Picks: Eric

Destructos: Blast! cassette (World Gone Mad)

This group is really hard to pin down. Self described as "evilrobodancerock," this Philly duo plays groovy, noisy, and nasty post punk. I love the dueling vocals and the simplistic yet dissonant chord structures. I always loved Cassidy's vocal style in Blank Spell, so it's cool to hear her yelling AND playing drums in another sick (albeit different) group. A very refreshing listen for those who are sick of the same old stuff! I've probably jammed this tape about a dozen times now.

Staff Picks: Dominic

Hi everyone, it’s another newsletter and another Dom’s Digs, where I delve into our Bargain Bins here at the store and pull out a handful of interesting records that won’t set you back more than a few dollars each. Check out the Flip Videos and the links for the full list of this week’s and previous week’s digs. Cool. Off we go then with ten records that I recommend.
1: $2 Fun Boy Three: Our Lips Are Sealed. What happens when a Special meets a Go-Go? Well this great song for one. Terry Hall and Jane Wiedlin wrote this and David Byrne produced it. This 12” also has a special remix version and an interesting Urdu version. Two bucks, c’mon.

2: $3 Fingerprintz: The Very Dab. New Wave band from Scotland and their debut LP. For fans of power pop and new wave, this has some moments.

3: $3 The Members: Uprhythm, Downbeat. Another UK New Wave group and their third from 1982. There’s no Sounds Of The Suburbs on here but they do treat us to a reggae take of Kraftwerk’s The Model which I kind of like.

4: $3 Various Artists: Sharp Cuts. Across the pond now and a nifty compilation of American New Wave. Some names you may know like The dB’s and The Alleycats are on here. A highlight for me was the song Last Supper by Peter Dayton. Worth investigating.

5: $3 Dusty Springfield: Cameo. You should already be bowing down at the altar of the great Dusty Springfield. An icon. This is a terrific early seventies album, mostly in an adult pop style but with some soul and groove also. It features the cream of the L.A. session musicians known collectively as The Wrecking Crew. Highlight for me is first cut Who Gets Your Love, a dramatic burner.

6: $3 Burt Bacharach: Reach Out. No one epitomizes the sixties as much as Burt Bacharach. The songs he wrote with Hal David ruled radio and the silver screen alike. Mostly working with other artists, this album is by the man himself and features many of his hits. Fifty years later and like the songs says What The World Needs Now Is Love.

7: $2 Lionel Hampton: Golden Vibes. I’m a Jazz head and love the sound of the vibes. This is an original pressing with a little crackle but it’s not too bad and still well worth the two bucks. Just nice mellow music.

8: $5 Mingus Quintet: Meets Cat Anderson. More Jazz, this time from 1972 and recorded live in Berlin. Two side long pieces, Celia and Perdido, the latter quite swinging. Hard Bop baby.

9: $3 Deodato: Deodato 2. Still in the seventies and in a Jazz mode but with a little more soul and groove with this one from keyboardist Eumir Deodato. He covers Nights In White Satin for the opener, a nice groover it is too. Highlights elsewhere include Skyscrapers and Super Strut where guitar duties are ably handled by John Tropea. In one of those cool CTI Records sleeves too. Funky.

10: $4 Hugo Montenegro: This Is. I’ll tell you what this is, it’s a terrific double of HM’s scores for several great movies. He worked on music for Spaghetti Westerns, you get music from A Fist Full Of Dollars and For A Few Dollars More. He did spy stuff, there’s Our Man Flint and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. He also did music for Hair and Valley Of The Dolls. It’s all here. Well worth checking out.
There you have it. Not a bad selection. Good records at great prices. Guaranteed.
Before I leave you, I wanted to also recommend a record that I have in my collection but that came in the store the other day in a buy and which Ava and I played today. It’s by Duke Edwards & The Young Ones called Is It Too Late? on Prestige Records from 1968.

On the surface, it is a soul-jazz record but it really is one of the most righteous records you will hear and sadly is just as relevant today as it was 52 years ago. Duke Edwards was a member of Sun Ra’s Arkestra and this project apparently yielded a lot of material but this one album was all that was released. You will be given a sermon on social ills and the need for love and respect for each other all backed with a subtle but grooving musical accompaniment. To quote the original liner notes “There is no possible way of putting in print what the Young Ones convey with their music. It is more than a potpourri of the classics, rhythm and blues, jazz, Afro-Cuban, calypso and pop. It’s rather an experience. To categorize the sound of the Young Ones would be too difficult. It is in no recognizable bag. Let’s just label it as indescribably beautiful”. ‘Nuff said.

Staff Picks: Ava

Masayoshi Takanaka: An Insatiable High (1977)

This album has QUICKLY made its way onto my all-time-favorite albums list the last few months after re-discovering. I remember coming across this years ago skimming youtube with a friend, just listening to stuff that had interesting covers. The first song hadn’t finished yet and he immediately bought it off Discogs. City Pop/Jazz Fusion/Funk/Soul fans have got to hop on this one STAT. It’s such a wonderful album, Masayoshi’s guitar playing is always so interesting and fun. You cant help but want to groove when that first track comes on. It’s perfect to listen to while working, relaxing, being outside with headphones on, and especially while cooking for me personally. I highly recommend putting this on for a listen first thing in the morning some time when you’ve got the chance. It never fails to put me in a good mood.

Staff Picks: May 21, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

Lately I’ve been listening to some French Yé-yé music. If you’re uninitiated, Yé-yé is a style of pop music that came from Europe (mostly France) in the early 60s. It tends to be sunny and melodic, taking the skeleton of beat music and adding orchestration that seems perfect for sipping a cappuccino outside a café on a warm afternoon. I’ve been aware of Yé-yé music for years, but it’s clicked for me lately. One thing I like about it is that it’s pop music, but it has such a strong vibe. It’s great music to put on around the house, because if my attention drifts toward it, the strong melodies and dense orchestration hold my attention. However, if it’s serving as background music while I’m washing dishes or reading or tidying up, it gives me light, airy energy that propels me through the day.

French Swinging Mademoiselle, which compiles several singles by Clothilde, is the record that hooked me. “Fallait pas écraser la queue du chat” is the undeniable hit with its big melody, energetic rhythm, and best of all the zany, psychedelic organ riff that punctuates the song. However, the entire album is great, with an energetic, driving sound that strikes me as a little punky. Maybe that’s why it grabbed me?

Intrigued by Clothilde, I took home one of the France Gall reissues that just came out on Third Man Records. On Dominic’s recommendation I went with 1968, which I had my eye on anyway thanks to its cool, colorful artwork. The artwork captures the vibe of the music well. While I wouldn’t call it psychedelic in any meaningful sense of the world, it’s full of signifiers of the psychedelic sound like sitars and organs, and even has a song about LSD. Like the Clothilde record, there isn’t a bum track here.

Dominic has already played me a few things, but if anyone has more Yé-yé recommendations feels free to hit me up. I’m officially intrigued!

Staff Picks: Jeff

ID: Twoja Twarz 12” (Refuse)

We got in a batch of releases from Refuse Records, a label that seems to primarily put out current straight edge hardcore bands, which admittedly are not really my bag. Interestingly though, Refuse also releases a lot of reissues of obscure 80s hardcore bands, particularly from Poland. This band ID from Poland formed as early as 1983. Twoja Twarz is their final recording, which wasn’t recorded until 1991 and was only available on cassette when it was finally released in 1993. Even though this record’s initial exposure was as a 90s release, this band clearly maintained their 80s hardcore sensibilities – maybe in part due to that they were unable to record early on in their career. Musically, I don’t think ID sounds too far off from classic Polish punk bands like Dezerter or Siekiera. That said, the production on this particular LP has a totally 90s sonic treatment. The recording is very clear with big sounding guitars. ID does also seem pretty unafraid to get pretty weird though. There’s a lot going on intermittently over the course of this LP including long, droning electronic sounds, sections of loud phaser effect on the guitars over an otherwise straight forward hardcore riff… Then there’s this one song that almost sounds like it’s going to be an 80s power ballad, but with gated break beat type drum patterns -- all kinds of crazy shit! Overall though, I think this record is a totally raging punk record uncharacteristic of its time with well-written songs and cool experimental ideas. Definitely an interesting listen if you don’t mind getting a little weird mixed in with your hardcore.

Staff Picks: Eric

Cool Hiss #10: The Guitar Tab Issue

I love this idea. What a cool way to share knowledge and art on a DIY scale; guitar tabs by punks for punks. I've really enjoyed looking this over and seeing all the contributions, because everyone has a different take on how they write their tunes down on paper. Also, I think it is super practical and helpful for folks who are maybe wanting to learn to play guitar but are intimidated by some other avenues of learning.

I am also just a big fan of Cool Hiss' material. The creator Brian always generates really interesting content by interviewing and engaging with bands in a way that I think is unique and isn't the same old script. Plus, a lot of times it's pretty funny. An excellent coffee table zine for punk houses everywhere.

Staff Picks: Dominic

Here we are once again with more cool records that have been plucked from our huge cache of bargain bin records. These are all decent play copies and may have an imperfection here or there but for the most part are in great condition (unless otherwise noted) and will not set you back more than a few bucks each. Okay, let’s get into ten that I pulled for your consideration this week.
1: $4 Bangles: S/T. This is their great EP that came out before they started walking like Egyptians and getting Prince to write songs for them. It definitely shows their roots in the 60s sounds and L.A.’s Paisley Underground scene. Cool cover of the La De Das’ How is the air up there?

2: $3 The Jam: The Bitterest Pill (I’ve had to swallow). Almost at the end of their incredible run, this EP from ’82 clearly shows the new direction Paul Weller was heading in.

3: $5 Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark: O.M.D. Another great Liverpool band. This is such a great synth-pop LP with the hit, Enola Gay starting things off and also includes Electricity and my personal favorite Messages. You need this record.

4: $3 Julian Cope: Saint Julian. More from Liverpool, this time fresh out of Teardrop Explodes is Cope’s solo LP. It’s awesome and has lots to offer. World Shut Your Mouth was the hit and Trampolene is a great song too. You need this one also.

5: $3 The House Martins: The people that grinned themselves to death. Before Norman Cook became Fat Boy Slim, he was in this band, famous for the hit Happy Hour. This, their second LP from ’87 is chocked full of great pop songs with smart lyrics and hooks.

6: $3 Tommy James & The Shondells: Best of. Talk about great pop songs, Tommy James had sacks of them as evident from this nice best of. I mean, Crystal Blue Persuasion alone should be a good reason to buy this.

7: $3 Pacific Gas & Electric: Best of. I was turned on to this great band several years ago and highly recommend this best of as a good entry point. Like their Columbia label mates, The Chambers Brothers, PG&E mixed rock and soul with a dash of funk and psych to keep things tasty. There aren’t many better ways to spend $3 these days.

8: $3 Stevie Wonder: Talking Book. A classic that doesn’t need much hype. It’s got Superstition on it. Shall I continue?

9: $5 Wes Montgomery: Best of. This is a nice collection culled from his albums for Verve in the mid to late sixties. It’s jazz with pop hooks and just a nice cool, relaxed vibe. Plus, anyone that can do decent cover of Caravan gets the thumbs up from me.

10: $3 American Graffiti Soundtrack (double LP). A personal favorite movie of mine and the soundtrack is an all killer no filler collection of 50’s rock ‘n’ roll and early 60s classics. Again, there can’t be many better ways to spend $3 and get 41 great songs on a record can there? Haven’t seen the movie? Do yourself a favor and get on that.
Alright, there you have it. Look out for our flip videos with these and other great records priced to give you maximum bang for your buck. As always you can check out what's currently available in Sorry State's online bargain bin here.

Before I sign off I wanted to give a mention to the sad passing of yet another music legend. Last week we lost Phil May from The Pretty Things. This afternoon it was a wet and dreary day here in Raleigh and we celebrated Phil by spinning the Pretties great late 60s album Parachute. Such a perfect record. Different to their early R ‘n’ B efforts and not a psych LP like S.F. Sorrow but just a good mood LP. A lot of current bands owe a debt to these guys in some way or another. Please take time to play this one and raise a glass to Phil.
Cheers, until next time.

Staff Picks: May 14, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

Sam McPheeters: Mutations: The Many Strange Faces of Hardcore Punk book

I just finished the new Sam McPheeters book, which I plowed through in about a day and a half. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned many times, I’m a junkie for punk books—I read almost every single one I can find—and he quality of writing and depth of thought here make this is one of the best out there. One problem I have with punk books is that they usually present themselves as objective histories, but they don’t engage with the troublesome questions of historiography. Thus, what happens is the authors either parrot established narratives and received wisdom about the genre and/or they’re blind to their own biases and the idiosyncrasies of their particular world view or lived experience. Sam McPheeters doesn’t have either problem. This is partly because he cut his teeth in a smaller scene during what’s usually described as one of punk’s fallow periods, so his own story doesn’t neatly fit into punk’s grand narratives. But, mostly, it’s because McPheeters seems trapped in his own head, second-guessing and criticizing his every move, both as a human being and as a writer. When he was in Born Against he was a relentless antagonist, and he remains so as an author, constantly (and often brutally) pointing out inconsistencies, ulterior motives, and plain old bullshit. As McPheeters notes in this book, the rear-view mirror of punk can feel like a high school football player reminiscing about his glory days, but McPheeters’ version is more like an addiction / recovery narrative. He acknowledges some crazy / interesting / fun stuff happened, but there’s a sense of shame and regret that hangs over everything like a sheer curtain.

If you devour punk books like I do, there’s so much material here you’ll love. McPheeters’ investigative journalism is great, particularly the lengthy piece about Doc Dart from the Crucifucks, which I remember reading online a few years ago. His first-hand tales of tours, making zines, and various scene dramas are always interesting and hilarious. His account of the infamous Born Against / Sick of It All radio debate is a must-read. And there is some poignant music criticism, with McPheeters singing the praises of the Cro-Mags, Void, and Youth of Today in ways that articulate why they were so important while acknowledging the inevitable complications.

He’s so even-handed and eloquent about his favorite bands and records that it’s even more frustrating that he’s so hard on himself. I’ve known so many people like this who were brilliant, but reserved their most astute and cutting criticism for themselves. Maybe I’m naïve, but I treasure my involvement with hardcore punk, and while I don’t need to see it celebrated uncritically, I’m also defensive about it. Maybe I’m defensive because some parts of Mutations hit too close to home. When McPheeters writes about quitting playing music and disengaging from the scene, it makes me wonder if I’ll hit a point where punk is part of my past, where even listening to the music will feel like flipping through an old photo album. And if I don’t take that path, am I making a mistake? Am I dooming myself to a lifetime as a man-child? Usually, an enjoyable punk book will make me dig out a few records I haven’t spun in a long time, but this is the shit Mutations has left running through my head…

Staff Picks: Jeff

Sial: Tari Pemusnah Kuasa 12” (La Vida Es Un Mus)

Goddamn, what a crusher! Singapore’s Sial has always piqued my interest with their previous releases. On their 7” Binasa from a couple years back, I remember thinking how they were one of the cooler bands doing a sort of noisy pogo punk thing. But upon closer inspection, I think categorizing Sial alongside bands like Disorder is almost belittling them. It’s not as if they’re just aping like 80s noise punk or something. On this new LP, Tari Pemusnah Kuasa, the band really has worked their sound down to something lethal. Honestly, listening to the riffs, it’s not as if they strike me as totally unique. But I think what’s more important is that Sial creates a palpable atmosphere and orchestrates with intention how sections of their songs will impact you. In turn, listening all the way through, you find yourself being caught off guard by really powerful moments. There is something almost primal about their sound, where everything will strip down to only pounding drums over these meditative riffs --and while the main vocalist still chants aggressively, underneath there is a creepy whispered voice that makes the vibe feel both brutal and haunting at the same time. Of course, these primal drum beats only serve as a brief period of calm just before an all-out assault of intense hardcore. I think that’s the other thing I pick up on when listening to Sial: nothing seems forced or contrived. The band delivers their noisy yet musical hardcore like they fucking mean it. It’s less like they sat down and tried to put a bunch of killer riffs together and make songs… it’s more like a methodical, thoughtful and angry catharsis. I don’t know how any punk who claims to love raging hardcore could listen to the closing track “Wanita” and not get goosebumps. Anyway, that’s enough of my ramblings. I dig this record.

On the total other end of the spectrum: yesterday I brought home a bunch of records to list on the webstore. I found myself happily blasting reggae all afternoon. Assuming it hasn’t sold yet, I highly recommend checking out the Studio One Rub-A-Dub compilation. Very nice collection of doob-smoke appropriate jams on there. Jah!

Thanks for reading,

Staff Picks: Eric

Suck Lords: Songs The Lord Taught Us 7" flexi (Edger)

My favorite new hardcore release I've heard all year maybe. Holy shit. I can't think of one band playing as fast as these fools while also being water tight. This is the kind of hardcore that can only be executed with a razor sharp drummer. Every time I listen I am in awe of how perfectly the drums cut. 5 songs on a single sided flexi? That's what I'm fuckin' talkin' about! Here are some phrases I said out loud to myself while listening to this the first time: "OOOOO!", "what the FUCK", "Oh, that's dirty", "Oh baby", "HOW?".

United Mutation: Dark Self Image 12" (Radio Raheem)

Finally a reissue of this criminally underrated DC area classic. United Mutation is often looked over when people talk about DC hardcore. Maybe it's because they were from Annandale Virginia (a suburb of DC), or maybe it's because they had a different approach to hardcore than their peers in DC. UM was dirtier, darker, and a lil more experimental. I jokingly say that UM reminds of what GISM would sound like if they were from the DC suburbs. This release features 26 tracks, 6 of which were previously unreleased, and it's all killer no filler. I believe we are sold out right now, but we should be getting as restock in any day. Keep your eyes peeled!

Black Uhuru: Guess Who's Coming To Dinner 12" (Heartbeat)

I picked up a used copy of this last week at the store. I won't pretend to know much of anything about Reggae or Dub, but I know I love this record. I love the low thumping bass tone and the monotonous grooves, I love haunting and relaxing vocal melodies, and I love the percussion. It has been on the turntable more than anything else for me this week!

Side note: I was featured on my friend John's podcast, Cruel Noise. Check it out!

Staff Picks: Dominic

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Dom’s Digs. This is where I go through our Bargain Bins to find some cheap but worthy records for your collections. As we are still not open to the public and have been listing a lot of our inventory on to our webstore we wanted to give you guys access to the ton of good used records that typically sell for $5 and under. Not all good records have to be expensive you know? Okay, here are ten that I pulled today that need good homes.
1: $5 Buffalo Springfield: Retrospective. Great way to snag some of the best moments from this sixties group that featured Neil Young and Stephen Stills as members.

2: $3 Donavan: Barabajagal. I’d recommend any of Donavan’s sixties records, they’re all pretty good. This one from 1968 has him backed by The Jeff Beck Group on some tracks. Worth it for the title track alone.

3: $4 Bloomfield/Kooper/Stills: Super Session. Nice OG copy still in the shrink. A super session from a super group, almost, as the sessions were recorded separately but talking of Donavan, they do a great version of Season Of The Witch which has been sampled by Pete Rock and other hip-hop producers. Nice blues rock record.

4: $4 Allman Joys: Early Allman. Before the Hour Glass and Allman Brothers Band this is what they were up to. Signs of things to come for sure. Nice version of Spoonful among other blues tunes and some early Gregg Allman compositions.

5: $5 Little Feat: Time Loves A Hero. Another talent similar to the Allman Brothers whose band needs more props is Lowell George and his Little Feat band. There are some real nuggets spread across the first few Little Feat albums if you dig 70s rock with a bluesy, funky and country flavor. I like the instrumental track Day At The Dog Races on this one.

6: $4 Robert Cray Band: False Accusations. 80s blues records probably don’t have much appeal but I have a soft spot for Robert Cray and his first few albums. They’re decent albums, well recorded by a good band with good tunes. Blues and soul fans, do yourself a favor and snag these.

7: $4 Ian Dury & The Blockheads: Do It Yourself. The famous wallpaper cover album. What can be said about Ian Dury and Stiff Records that hasn’t been written already? Not much. An English folk hero and a label that birthed so many great artists. Pub rock done good.

8: $5 Eric Burdon & The Animals: Best Of. Vol. 2. A dozen crackers on this one. Nice copy still in the shrink. No home should be without at least one Animals record. This is a great place to begin.

9: $3 Stories: About Us. American group but in touch with the UK scene. Famous for the cover of Brother Louie, a song by Hot Chocolate about inter-racial love that was used by Louis C.K. for the opening of his TV show. Good early 70s rock in the vein of Badfinger.

10: $3 M: Pop Musik. Coming out in the dog end of the 70s and ushering in the new decade of pop sensibilities. Just a great Pop song, hence the title.
Okay, there you go. Check these out and give us a shout if you want any of them and remember to scope the Bargain Bin videos for additional records that won’t hurt your wallet but will please your ears. Cheers. Until next time.

Click here for Sorry State's online bargain bin:

Staff Picks: May 7, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

Nihilist: Carnal Leftovers 12” (Nuclear Blast)

Even though Entombed’s Left Hand Path has been one of my go-to metal albums for years (maybe even decades at this point?), it took this latest repress coming in to Sorry State for me to listen to Nihilist, the band where several of Entombed’s members cut their teeth. After hearing this collection, I feel like I’ve wasted a bunch of time I could have spent listening to this ripping collection of demos.

There are few things I love about the sessions compiled here. First, they capture a band playing death metal that doesn’t feel as stylized as the genre would come, even by the time of Entombed’s masterpiece Left Hand Path. Early Sodom must have been a huge influence on the songwriting and vibe here, but there’s an “anything goes” vibe, like they’re simply trying to be heavy and brutal rather than fit every moment into a coherent aesthetic. While there is plenty of dark and evil-sounding thrashing, so many parts are upbeat, even danceable, with the tone occasionally shifting to a kind of splatter movie-type glee. I’m not sure if hardcore bands would have been listening to Nihilist, but the way they combine heaviness with a bouncy groove reminds me of the metal-tinged hardcore popular in the 90s, but with an added sense of supernatural horror and menace.

This LP is out of stock from us, but hopefully we can get more. Therefore, I should note there’s a lot of material crammed onto this LP and the fidelity suffers somewhat. The a-side is quieter than I would expect, but the recordings are lo-fi in the first place, so it’s not a deal breaker for me. It would be awesome if they reissued this as a double LP collection, but in the meantime this version will work just fine for me.

Staff Picks: Jeff

Suck Lords: Songs The Lords Taught Us 7” flexi (Edger)

Pretty cool to title your raging hardcore record after a Cramps album! I don’t know why, but I feel like I’ve come to distinguish bands like Suck Lords and the whole Edger scene as my mind’s counterpoint to all the spikey punk in this world. That’s not to say I don’t like spikey punk, because clearly I do. For some reason, there’s something about Suck Lords that reminds me of the mid-00s/No Way style hardcore. That said, on this new release Suck Lords attack vicious, chaotic and fast-as-fuck USHC with surgical acuity. It kinda feels like Suck Lords had something to prove by squeezing 5 songs onto one side of a 33rpm flexi. There’s no room to breathe, where every moment feels like they discussed “What else can we do that’s intense?” There’s moments where the speed is almost blast beat territory, where they push the Negative FX tempo to its extreme. Still though, at their fastest and most intense, what the band is doing musically is super in the pocket and intelligible. I broke a sweat blasting this thing. Definitely recommended.

Staff Picks: Dominic

Hello everybody. I hope you are all doing well?

We are still working hard on getting records listed on our website for you and with that in mind it’s time for another addition of Dom’s Digs, where I go through our Bargain Bins and pull out some good used records that won’t hurt your budget. So, with no further ado and in no particular order here are this week’s ten picks.

  1. $5 Uriah Heep: Demons And Wizards. The Heep sometimes get a bad rap but this album from ’72 is a good progressive LP and comes in an awesome Roger Dean designed gatefold cover.
  2. $5 Spirit: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus. I have always liked this record, Spirit’s fourth and apparently lowest charting record from 1970. It’s not a psych record or a prog record but would appeal to fans of both genres. Interesting tunes and lyrics, nice textures, almost funky in spots. Not quite a lost masterpiece but worthy of your attention.
  3. $4 The Stranglers: Aural Sculpture. Sad to hear of the passing of Dave Greenfield this week. Perhaps a good time to snag this ’84 album. Has its moments.
  4. $5 Marianne Faithfull: Broken English. Her late 70s album on Island. A new wave rock sound with some electronic and dub elements and her twenty a day voice.
  5. $4 Bobbie Gentry & Glen Campbell: S/T. Two great 60s artists together on some nice duets. Bobbie looks fierce in her blue suit and silver boots on the cover.
  6. $5 Ian Hunter: All-American Alien Boy. Mott front man’s solo LP from ’76 which features Queen on backing vocals and a host of famous side men. Nice record.
  7. $5 Buddy Holly & The Crickets: 20 GH. Every household should have a Buddy Holly record in it. Snag this hits collection and Rave On Peggy Sue.
  8. $5 Duke Ellington & Johnny Hodges Orchestras: S/T. Two sessions from ’62 and ’64, the former recorded for a film sponsored by Goodyear Tire Company. Great, swingin’ stuff.
  9. $3 Chic: C’est Chic. Disco gold and future hip-hop samples from Nile Rodgers and Chic. Freak out.
  10. $5 Pink Floyd: Meddle. Classic. Any album that samples Liverpool fans singing You’ll Never Walk Alone gets my thumbs up. Plus, the side long track Echoes.

There you go. Another ten records for your collection and enjoyment. Check out our Instagram for videos of other bargain records and get in touch if you would like to order any of these titles and/or add them to an existing webstore order. You can also check our our currently available bargain bin listings on our online bargain bin.

Honorable mention this week goes to Classic Era Hip-Hop, which has been blasting all day here at Sorry State. We enjoyed:

Eric B & Rakim: Paid In Full
The Beastie Boys: Paul’s Boutique
De La Soul: Three Feet High And Rising
Gang Starr: Daily Operation

That last one we have an original copy of here at the store.

All of these sample based hip-hop records sound just as vital and fresh as they did thirty years ago. Man, where did the time go?

Staff Picks: April 30, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

I’ve been working around the clock for the past few weeks so I’ve had no time to play music. Thus, my staff pick for this week is something a little different: meditation. I'm not talking about a band or even a book or a film, but the activity.

I started meditating last year, and the practice has changed my life. Like many people, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety my entire life, and I’ve tried plenty of different medications and treatments like counseling and CBT. However, nothing has ever done the trick for me like meditation. It’s the one thing that can stop the rush of bad thoughts, that gives me the peace that, for most of my life, has felt like a distant dream.

I usually meditate for 20 minutes once per day, but longer or shorter than that is fine too. If you’re trying to establish a meditation routine, it makes sense to do it at the same time every day, but I’m all over the place. I find there are benefits to doing it at any time of day. If I do it in the morning, I’m calmer and more focused throughout the day. If I meditate in the middle of my workday, it clears my head and makes the latter part of the day more tranquil and pleasant. If I do it when I finish work, it helps me disconnect from that part of my day and enjoy my evening, and if I meditate just before bed, it helps me get to sleep quicker and to sleep more soundly.

It’s also easy. I use an app (I think it’s the most popular app, so I’ll avoid plugging them since they have plenty of money), which worked for me, but a book or a youtube channel or an in-person training session might work better for someone else. You should not have to spend any money to get started meditating or to maintain a practice. You should just do it. It’s easy, and it’s not unpleasant in any way. It feels good, and it keeps you feeling good long after you’re done.

Not only has meditation helped me navigate my way through the stressful and difficult situation we’re all living through, it’s also helped me to enjoy the things I already love. It makes listening to and playing music a deeper and more rewarding experience. It also shapes my relationships with people, allowing me to listen to and empathize with them. I still get overwhelmed and cranky sometimes, but now I recognize when that’s happening and I have strategies in place to deal with it.

I’ll stop here because I know this is a weird fuckin’ staff pick, but I just wanted to throw it out there in case anyone is curious. Whether or not this works for you, I hope everyone out there is staying healthy and sane.

Staff Picks: Jeff

What’s up Sorry Staters?

During quarantine, I’ve spent a good amount of time familiarizing myself with songs that resonate with me and make me feel joy. It also doesn’t hurt that when I’m discovering my deep connection to these songs, I’m usually already a few beers deep. More often than not for me, those songs tend to be early UK punk bangers. I remember some time last year discovering a Buzzcocks sleeper hit that I had maybe heard, but if so, I didn’t pay close enough attention. I tend to be more inclined to dig Steve Diggle’s songs over Pete Shelley’s (no disrespect, I like both). Next to “Harmony in My Head”, “Why She’s A Girl From The Chain Store” has become one of my all-time favorite Buzzcocks tracks. It makes sense that I wouldn’t have heard it a lot, because it’s not on any of the albums or Singles Going Steady.

To me it’s got everything: it starts off with a melancholic, sorta single note guitar intro and then launches into a classic, catchy Diggle melody with “ah-ah” back up vocals, and it has a big key change! Also, the structure is interesting because it’s not really verse-chorus-verse-chorus. It’s more like the main section is the chorus, and the song alternates between the main section and a short bridge. The lyrics really do it for me too, because rather than being self-analyzing, they’re more observant. The recognition of a character that on the surface is simple, ordinary and not usually noticed, but underneath is lonely and hopeless is quite poignant. It’s also relatable, because aren’t we all “down at the discotheque waiting for someone to bite our neck”?

Anyway, I was blasting this track the other night and it really got to me. So because Sorry State doesn’t have a copy and I can’t find one in the wild for the foreseeable future, I bought one on discogs for too much money. Those few beers probably didn’t help matters.

Thanks for reading the ramblings,

Staff Picks: Eric

This week I found myself really digging some stuff from our bargain bin:

Kim Wilde: S/T 12" ... Jeff had played this for me before and I obviously recognized "Kids In America" but I suppose I wasn't paying very close attention at the time. The other day a copy of this record was in our bargain bin pile and it is probably the best 3 bucks I have spent in a while. It has hardly left my turntable the past couple days. The whole thing front to back is a great new wave album. Someone could argue it's synth-poppy but I wouldn't call it that. Great hooks and melodies the same way Blondie or Go Go's pull it off. I love it, if you see this record floating around it is so worth it. My current favorite track is "2-6-5-8-0", which is one of the more reggae/ska influenced tracks (so typical of UK artists of the time).

Badfinger: Straight Up 12" ... I mentioned to Dominic that I finally watched all of Breaking Bad (I'm either at the shop or at home, I got nothing but time). He asked if I liked the song in the very last scene of the series finale, and to be honest I remember thinking that song was fine but I was more focused on Walter White's body lying on the floor (sorry for the spoiler if you haven't seen it but it's been a long time since that show ended). Dominic handed me a copy of this record and said that that song "Baby Blue" is on this record and I should check it out. The copy he gave me from the bargain bin is pretty beat, so it crackles a bunch but that hasn't stopped me from jamming it. You can hear a lot of Beatles and Byrds style influence; they fit right in with many of the other greats from the 60s and 70s. But to me there is something a little bit different about this band that draws me in. The melodies and songwriting style are more reminiscent of early power pop. I did a little bit of reading about them and their story is pretty sad and involves deaths as well as label disputes and other nasty stuff. A super interesting band with great tunes. I can't wait til I can score a better copy!

Staff Picks: Dominic

Hello everyone and how are you all?

Going to get right into it this week with another addition of Dom’s Digs, where I pull out ten records each week from our Bargain Bins that I think are worthy of your attention. We have so many good records priced $5 and under that need good homes. You can check previous newsletters for other picks and also look at some quick flip videos that we have posted on our Instagram to give you an idea of the things on offer. See something that you like, get in touch to order and/or add to other items that you want from our webstore.

So here in no particular order are this week’s digs.

  1. Casino Royale Soundtrack. Great soundtrack to this spoof Bond movie. Includes music composed by Burt Bacharach plus Dusty Springfield doing The Look Of Love and the title theme by Herb Alpert. Cool cover art too. $5.
  2. Various Artists: Invictus’ Greatest Hits. Invictus was the label Holland-Dozier-Holland formed after leaving Motown. This is a nice collection of some of their best sellers. Includes Freda Payne, Chairman Of The Board and The 8th Day. My favourite on here is Ruth Copeland with The Music Box. $5.
  3. Booker Little: Victory And Sorrow. A 1977 pressing of Little’s fourth and final LP for Bethlehem from 1961. Real nice Jazz this and a great way to get classic era albums at a fraction of the cost. $4.
  4. The Lovin’ Spoonful: Do You Believe In Magic. Fun sixties pop album. The title tune is a classic and there are some other nice songs on this one such as Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind. Both questions, interesting. $3.
  5. Paul Revere & The Raiders: Greatest Hits. Cool original collection of their sixties hits. This copy even has the colour photo booklet. Forget the goofy outfits, these guys could play and have a bunch of cool pop garage tunes. $5.
  6. John Kongos: S/T. 1972 album on Elektra. Not a bad record and features some good players such as Caleb Quaye on guitar and was sampled by Happy Mondays for their song Step On. $4.
  7. The Rolling Stones: Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! Their infamous 1969 tour recorded at Madison Square Garden. A great sounding live record and worth every penny of $3.
  8. 10cc: Deceptive Bends. Great pop album from 1977 recorded at Strawberry Studios. The hit was The Things We Do For Love and there are a bunch of other good songs on this record. $5.
  9. The Shangri-Las: Collection. 20 Greatest Hits. No frills package of the girls’ best moments. Worth it for Sophisticated Boom Boom alone. $5.
  10. Rod Stewart: The Rod Stewart Album. Rod’s early solo records along with those by The Faces and Jeff Beck Group are all good records and worth checking out. Just fun records with good tunes and great players. Before the leopard skin pants and blonde hair dye era of later. $3.

So, there you have it, another ten records that will provide you hours of listening pleasure without breaking the bank. Happy collecting.

Staff Picks: April 23, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

This week my staff pick is not only a book, it’s a book that’s not even about punk! Yes, I spend virtually all of my time listening to and thinking about punk, but I try to squeeze in some time here and there for other pursuits. If I remember correctly, I heard the author Andrew Marantz on Marc Maron’s podcast and added Antisocial to the list of books I wanted to read. I’m not sure what prompted me to buy this rather than any of the dozens (maybe even hundreds?) of books on that list, but I’m glad I did.

Anti-Social chronicles the rise (and sort of fall) of the alt-right, a process that tech companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit enabled through their utopian belief in the unequivocal good of a technologically connected world. I don’t pay much mind to online extremism, but part of what interested me about this book was that the alt-right is a subculture not unlike the one I spend so much time taking part in. While I’d like to think my subculture is more enlightened, a lot of the same stuff goes on, particularly since both subcultures are now mediated through the same technology. It’s frightening to see how malleable people are, and how quickly they can put aside their deeply held beliefs when their definitions of what is normal or acceptable shift.

Beyond the moral, political, and social lessons, Anti-Social is a great read, as Marantz focuses on a few key characters. Some of them are leaders in the movement, and some are followers, but taken together they provide a rich portrait. Further, Marantz is a dedicated enough journalist that he doesn’t portray these people as cartoon villains, but also discerning enough to say when something is fucked up. It’s so hard to find journalism that feels like truth these days, but Anti-Social feels like truth. Further, it helps me to understand how and why so much misinformation spreads, which is a useful thing to understand as some of these same people are using the same techniques to hijack the public discourse around COVID-19.

Staff Picks: Jeff

What’s up Sorry Staters?

So this week I’m (once again) going to talk about records that I’ve been constantly listening to rather than records that we actually have for sale at the store. Let me start by saying: I’ve been buying a lot of records lately! I don’t know if the isolation of quarantine has brought on boredom so extreme that I just feel a need to have something to look forward to, or if my record habit is satiating some deep-seated anxiety. Who knows?

A few of the records I’ve acquired recently are UK singles, which I always thought would be cool to have one day, but never went out of my way to track down. The main two records I wanna talk about I feel like have become real gems in my mind. Funnily enough, they’re both anarcho-punk records by bands with similar but opposite band names. I picked up a copy of In Defense of the Realm by Anti-System and man this thing is a ripper. Anti-System lyrically are a total peace punk band, but beyond a couple Flux-esque spoken word parts, I’ve always thought this EP is just a raging hardcore record. I think this record also just sounds perfect.

The other record I got is the Warfare EP by The System. Only 3 songs, and in general I feel like this a band people don’t bring up too often. Even in the scheme of anarcho-punk, I feel like The System are super underrated. I actually posted a short clip of me listening to this record on social media, and a lot of you out there seem to agree with me. The track that really stands out to me is “Their Corrupting Ways”. That haunting melodic guitar melody makes my skin crawl. It starts kind of quiet, but it’s so dynamic, because when the intensity kicks in during chorus I truly get goose bumps. Between that and reading the lyrics, which seem rather relevant, this record has been a borderline-obsessive listen over the last couple weeks.

Thanks for reading, hope y’all are all doing okay out there,

Staff Picks: Eric

Annihilated: Demo Cassette (Roach Leg) This is one of my favorite demos to come out as of late. Mean and scary hardcore punk from London. Featuring members of some of the greats like Arms Race and SHIT. More often than not when it comes to hardcore: less is more. And I think The Annihilated is a perfect example of that. I can hear some clear US hardcore influence a la Negative Approach and The Fix, but with a hair of UK82. Crank this shit LOUD!

Staff Picks: Dominic

Hey there Pop Pickers! Are you having fun with your records? Want more but need to be responsible with your stimulus check? We might have the answer for you here at Sorry State. We are going to continue to feature more of our Bargain Bin records and give you a chance to enjoy the rich pickings that normally our walk-in customers would get at the store. Watch for our flip videos and listings of titles on social media and here in the Newsletter. I am going to continue what we are calling Dom’s Digs and pull out ten titles each week that I think you might enjoy. Check last week’s newsletter for information on the first ten, some titles still available. Our Bargain Bin records are in very playable condition and for the most part in excellent shape but some may have worn covers or a couple of scuffs here and there and we will point out any major issues. Mostly though it’s a chance to score records for five bucks and under.

Okay, off we go, in no particular order;

  1. The Steve Miller Band: Sailor. A nice 70s issue copy of their 1968 record. Like Bob Seger, the hits didn’t come until later but there is a lot to like about his and Steve Miller’s early work. It might be a little patchy but there are some interesting tunes spread across their albums and I recommend you pick up cheap copies like this and investigate.
  2. Jimmy McGriff: I’ve Got A Woman. Primo Mod Organ Jazz on the great Sue label. This copy has a little wear but those old pressings sound great even with little hiss and crackle.
  3. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: Time Out. Late 60s LP with at least four hits including Doggone Right and Baby, Baby Don’t Cry. Also has a version of Wichita Lineman which makes it worth having in my book.
  4. Various Artists: Motown Chartbusters Vol. 4. A no brainer this. You get a dozen prime era Motown hits for the cost of a cup of coffee. Collect them all.
  5. Grover Washington, Jr.: Soul Box. Kudu Records were a CTI Records label and put out a lot of cool soul jazz records in the 70s. This one from ’73 and recorded by Rudy Van Gelder is pretty funky and groovy with a side long cover of Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man.
  6. Freddie Hubbard: Echoes Of Blue. This is a 70s combo of two earlier Hubbard albums, Backlash and High Blues Pressure and is a great way to get some key cuts from those records. Nice soulful jazz with a Latin flavor on some tracks. Minty vinyl on this copy.
  7. Booker T. & The M.G.’s: Booker T. Set. Great Stax soul and funk with some interesting covers of then current pop tunes mixed in. Cool silver cover always catches the eye.
  8. Robert Cray: Strong Persuader. I have a higher tolerance for Blues than my colleagues here at Sorry State but I kind of always liked the first few Robert Cray records. It’s pop blues but there are some good tunes and he does have chops.
  9. The Ventures: Best Of. This is an 80s, budget double LP with no bells and whistles other than being in great shape and containing 27 of their most popular and awesome surf instrumentals. Too many hits to list.
  10. Lou Reed: Coney Island Baby. Mid 70s Lou and a personal favorite of mine. This one has a cool laid back vibe for the most part and is a real grower. I highly recommend it. Not that Lou Reed needs any one to tell him how cool he is but I did pass on my admiration for this particular album to him personally when I was lucky enough to stand next to him at a show in New York some time ago.

Alright, there you have it. Ten very worthy records that you can scoop cheaply. Contact us directly to reserve titles and/or to add to an existing order.

Before I go there were a couple of tunes and records that I wanted to mention.

Firstly, someone needs to buy the Jeremy Steig: Fusion double LP on Groove Merchant that we have listed on our webstore currently. It’s a steal at $9 even with a little light wear. Such a cool record of slightly psychedelic and funky flute led jazz. The Beastie Boys famously sampled him for Sure Shot.

Lastly a tune that I have been playing on repeat recently, The Heptones: Let’s Try from their Studio One LP Sweet Talking. It’s a great uplifting political song for the young generation. Here’s a link to the extended version.

Nice up the dance.

Note: Dom's Digs are pulled from Sorry State's online bargain bin, which you can access here. Everything is still for sale unless it's been crossed out!

Staff Picks: Ava

Psuchagōgoi: Under A Green Light

Psuchagōgoi is hands down the most unique project I've come across as of late. This solo project is made by Kryptorgeist of the United Kingdom and this is the third full album. This particular album has been my go-to listen for the last few weeks, especially while hiking in this spring weather. The atmosphere created with the constant acoustic guitar playing, wind blowing through trees and leaves, many different types of birds, occasional quiet piano and vocals consistently gives me chills. Each listen to me is always very relaxing and entrancing, the melancholic ambiance this album possesses is always captivating yet somber. "An ambient acoustic portal to the forest from dawn until dusk. Recorded 2019 - 2020" (Psuchagōgoi Bandcamp Page). Released March 17, 2020.

Staff Picks: April 16, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

Steve Hillage: Fish Rising LP (Virgin; 1975)

This week I have another LP that Dominic tipped me off to when a used copy came through the store. I love extended psychedelic guitar freakouts, and this title supplies in spades. While I see it’s categorized under “space rock” on Discogs, it reminds me less of the tripped out, stoned vibes of Hawkwind or early UFO and more of the frantic orgy of notes I associate with the first few Mahavishnu Orchestra albums (particularly The Inner Mounting Flame), which I also love. Sure, it’s a little looser than that, more rock and less jazz, but if you like John McLaughlin’s style this is worth checking out. For my money, there’s not a dull moment on the record.

As a side note, when I was reading about this album online, someone pointed out that in an episode of The Young Ones when they’re having a big party, someone trashes some of Neil’s records and he says “oh no, my Steve Hillage!” That prompted a moment of reflection, recognizing that I’m now listening to Neil’s music rather than Vivian’s or Rick’s…

Staff Picks: Jeff

Violent Christians: No Speed, No Punk! demo (Roach Leg) I just heard this band for the first time the other day. Roach Leg put this tape out and we should be getting copies for the store pretty soon. I don’t know why, but all I’ve wanted to hear lately is pissed, mean, sloppy and irreverent US hardcore. Violent Christians are really scratching that itch for me at the moment. I’m honestly sick of hearing the phrase “d-beat.” I don’t care anymore. I dunno much about Violent Christians. I think they’re from Texas? No guitar solos. No metal. No cliché mosh parts. Most songs are under a minute. Sign me up. Perfect band to crush beers to while you’re quarantined in your room at 3am.

Staff Picks: Eric

Dissekerad / Earth Crust Displacement: Split 7" (Rawmantic Disasters) Who would have thought I'd be recommending TWO (see next pick) split 7"s! I'm loving the first track on Dissekerad's side, "Slakten's Massor." Straight up mid tempo Swedish hardcore at it's finest. Caveman D-beat. Dissekerad features an all star line-up including legendary Swedish frontman, Poffen, on vocals. His vocal style is so recognizable that the guttural sound of it has become a staple of the genre. I had never heard ECD before throwing this record on the turntable, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit more into the Dissekerad side, but ECD is crushing and menacing. Absolutely recommended for fans mangel and/or folks who like their dis-rock a little crustier.

Heavy Nukes / Earth Crust Displacement: Split 7" (Rawmantic Disasters) Heavy Nukes deliver 4 insane tracks of explosive Shitlickers style Swedish D-beat. It's easy for stuff like this to sound pretty uninspired and monotonous to me, but Heavy Nukes doesn't feel that way. It feels like they have perfected the art of classic Swedish D-beat hardcore and turned it into a modern beast in the 21st century. The ECD tracks on this are also ripping and crushing as ever. I think Heavy Nukes and ECD pair just a little bit better than Dissekerad and ECD, making this split feel a bit more on brand as a contemporary crasher crust hit. The tracks on this split were recorded in the same session as their split with Disease and include a cover of German band, MxVxDx.

No streaming links for these, sorry!

Staff Picks: Dominic

Hey there friends and music lovers, how are you holding up? I hope well.

With the social distancing still in full effect it seems like people have been busy. There are a ton of podcasts, mixes and shows going up from all corners of the world and many of them are excellent. Add to that all the other stuff to watch and to read and you barely have enough time to get through a fraction of it despite being home with all this apparent free time. I don’t know about you but I feel overloaded and have actually been trying to consume less during this period and just stick with what I know and what I already have. That for me is records and they will always be my go to for entertainment and enrichment purposes. So, between listening to the records we have been putting up on the store and digging into my own shelves I have gone through a lot of records and have had little time for much else. Maybe a little TCM at night, I do like my old movies but mostly music. Anyway, this time made it more than clear to me what great value records are. You get the music, the artwork, the information and can hold it and feel it and enjoy them time after time if handled and stored properly. They also don’t have to cost a fortune. Growing up, part of the appeal with records was that no matter how much money you had it was always possible to round up enough to get something cool. Good record stores then and now always catered to both ends of the budget scale. The mark of a good store should be that whether you spend just a dollar or a few hundred, either way you come away with a decent record. At Sorry State Records, I think we do a good job at that. Since the shutdown, we have been listing lots of our used records for you and will keep going with that but one area of the store that we wanted to try and give you access to is our great Bargain Bin section. This is where we have records priced $5 and below. There are so many good records that don’t go for much but are just as good as those rare holy grail types and can give you just as much pleasure for a fraction of the cost. Most often with the bargain bins it is a chance to pick up solid back catalogue titles and best sellers at affordable prices. We have lots of those.

So very briefly without any more blather here are ten titles, in no particular order, that I just plucked today that are worthy of being in anyone’s collection. All priced between $2 and $5.
1: Introducing The Eleventh House With Larry Coryell. Vanguard 1974. Killer jazz fusion with funky moments and heavier psych guitar parts. All his sixties and early seventies records are pretty good.

2: GoldFinger Soundtrack by John Barry. United Artists 1964. What’s not to love about this? One of the best Bond title tunes, sung by Shirley Bassey. One of John Barry’s finest. Plus, a cover with cool Bond images including Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore. Come on.

3: Mae West: Great Balls Of Fire. MGM 1972. Yes, that Mae West. She made a couple of these records backed by a swingin’ beat combo. Covering mostly 50’s rock ‘n’ roll songs, there are a couple of cool numbers on here and you get Mae still doing what she always did best, sexy innuendo and double entendres.

4: Tony Bennett with Count Basie Big Band: Big Band Bash. Intermedia Records 1982. Not sure when this was actually recorded but it sounds great. Really swingin’ stuff and both band and vocalist were on top form. Class.

5: Ramsey Lewis Trio: Hang On Ramsey! Cadet 1965. I love this record so much. Prime Ramsey Lewis Trio recorded live at the famous Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, California. He covers two Lennon & McCartney tracks among the repertoire of other current pop hits and originals. A great listen start to finish. If you are not picking up every Ramsey Lewis record you see on Cadet, you should be.

6: Cal Tjader: Soul Sauce. Verve 1965. The record that introduced me and most others to the talents of Cal Tjader and the joy that you feel when you listen to him play the vibes. His records combine just the right mix of jazz and Latin grooves and always hit the spot. Perfect mood music. This record is dripping in pedigree. Recorded in part by Rudy Van Gelder at his studio and featuring among others, Willie Bobo, Kenny Burrell, Donald Byrd, Grady Tate, Armando Peraza as musicians. Such a great record and holds up to the best.

7: Mongo Santamaria: Stone Soul. Columbia 1969. Keeping on the Latin tip with this great funky and soulful album. Again, a who’s who of musicians playing on it including Bernard “Pretty” Purdie on drums. Nice versions of See-Saw and Cloud Nine among other pop and soul covers, all with great Latin percussion.

8: The Isley Brothers: It’s Your Thing. T-Neck 1969. Killer funk and soul from The Isley Brothers on their own label. You get the title hit and a lot of other great tunes. I always liked I Must Be Losing My Touch and Don’t Give It Away off this one. Some cool down tempo ballads too.

9: Dave Edmunds: Get It. Swan Song 1977. Classic late seventies Rockpile production. Dave pretty much played and sung everything on this one and it’s full of 50’s influenced rockers with hooky guitar parts-a-plenty. This is a fun record.

10: Kenny Rogers: The Gambler. United Artists 1978. We only just dipped our toes into the rock and country records but let’s wrap it up at ten with this classic. Nothing needed to be said. Respect to Mr. Rogers. This one has a great cover and that title song and a couple of other half decent songs. The Hoodooin’ Of Miss Fannie Deberry is Kenny doing Tony Joe White and getting all swamp funk groovy.

Alright, there you go. Ten records pulled from our Bargain Bins that are fully guaranteed to be ace and will set you back about $35 if you bought the lot. That’s pretty good value. Get in touch if you want them.

These are only a few bucks each, so just buy or look it up on YouTube your dang self!

Staff Picks: Ava

Pyöveli: No Speed Limits (Headsplit)

Maniacal Finnish duet Pyöveli are here to melt face with their fourth full length "No Speed Limits". Released in early 2019 on Headsplit records, these brothers have presented to us a 28 minute long underground masterpiece that will appease the mind of any old school thrash/speed maniac. For Fans Of: Sodom, Deathhammer, Mutilator

Staff Picks: April 9, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

When I moved into my current home about a year ago I didn’t have a suitable spot to set up all of my stereo gear, so just hooked up a receiver and turntable in the living room. My partner and I listened to vinyl pretty much exclusively for the first 8 months we lived here, then for Christmas some of my friends chipped in and got me a Sonos Connect, so for the past few months I've also had streaming audio. For all of this time my CD and tape decks sat in a closet and my tapes and CDs (nuts) sat unplayed. This week I got a little stereo cabinet to hold all of my components, so I’m back to playing all formats. The first order of business is to go through this massive CD collection that Sorry State bought last summer.

If you’ve been paying attention to our used stock for the past year, you’ve seen that we’ve had a ton of compilation LPs. These CDs come from the same collection and are similarly heavy on compilations and reissue collections. The boxes of CDs have been sitting sealed in storage, so opening each box is like waking up on Christmas morning and getting a couple hundred CDs as a present. There’s so much I want to listen to, but here are the first three things I played:

Various: Cold Waves + Minimal Electronics CD (Angular)

My partner has a weird hatred of CDs, so I knew that I had to come out with some fire if I would convince her it was cool for me to be playing CDs regularly. This compilation fit the bill as she’s a huge fan of vintage post-punk and minimal synth. I put it on, and she was dancing in the living room within minutes. I wasn’t familiar with much of anything on this compilation, but everything here rules and fits the bill as vintage cold wave and/or minimal synth. Plus, since it’s a CD, there’s over an hour of music to go through!

Various: Messthetics #101 CD (Hyped 2 Death)

I was super excited to see a few Hyped 2 Death CDs floating around in the collection, and the first one I threw on is this Messthetics compilation. If you aren’t familiar with Messthetics, it was one of the first compilation series that I was aware of devoted to the UKDIY scene. While the regular Messthetics volumes featured songs in alphabetical order by artist, the 100 series is sequenced like a “best of” type of thing, and it’s all hits. I was familiar with a few of these bands (Scissor Fits, Homosexuals, The Door and the Window), but this thing is packed with bands and tracks I know nothing about. Awesome!

Various: Murder Punk Volume 2 CD (Murder Punk Inc)

I remember downloading the two volumes of Murder Punk in the late 90s or early 2000s, and even though I have official reissues of almost all of these tracks, it’s great to revisit this one. This is total bootleg quality—many of the tracks have audible surface noise from the vinyl—but it doesn’t matter because the music is so jaw droppingly great. There’s a reason original copies of these records command four figures… they’re that good! The News, the Scientists, Fun Things, Victims, Thought Criminals… fuck, what a lineup! There isn't a single dud here. Here’s hoping I find Volume 1 in one of the other boxes.

Staff Picks: Jeff

What’s up Sorry Staters?

Hope you all are remaining safe at home and still being thoroughly entertained by listening to record after record on a daily basis. I must admit that I do find myself getting a little stir crazy here and there. And what keeps my brain occupied? Buying new records, of course! Recently I got an order in the mail with a few 7”s, mostly 80s singles that aren’t too crazy, but moderately priced. A couple of the records I got are by Japanese bands that I would describe as being right on the brink of no longer being hardcore and moving into full-on metal. I find it so interesting that bands from Japan that were active in the mid-to-late 80s seem to be unashamed of blending metal influences into their hardcore. I think most would agree that Death Side is decidedly claimed by the punk community and welcomely accepted, but musically is topped by Chelsea’s shredding, metal-esque guitar leads… Kinda weird.

But anyway, one of the singles I got is by a band called Front Guerilla. According to Discogs, this 7” is their only release. The vocals kind of remind me of Power Never Die-era Comes, but beyond that, everything about this record pretty much screams metal. In particular, the way the band looks on the front cover. We’re talking leather, lace and big hair! It’s four songs, which are all pretty melodic, I would say, but super cool. Lots of chugga-chugga riffs and double kick drum. Definitely would recommend checking it out.

The other single is by a band called Doom, not to be confused with the UK band. The 7’ I got is entitled Go Mad Yourself, which appears to be their first proper release from 1986. Doom apparently self-describes their band as “psycho metallic fusion”, so I feel like that’s a good jumping off point for describing their sound. I’ve heard their full-length that follows this EP from 1987, which is definitely much more a straight up metal record. “Go Mad Yourself” I would say still has a foot in hardcore punk though, almost kind of in the same way that crossover bands do. They also seem to use the same grim reaper image as Sacrilege on their record layout. There’s a detectable “evilness” in the sound, kind of almost Slayer-ish riffs. Visually, the band also would paint their faces stark white along with “blood” red make-up dripping from their eyes. Kinda like Mobs, but more fucked up. Maybe proto-Visual Kei? Honestly though, the record just fucking rips.

Staff Picks: Eric

Damn La Vida Es Un Mus really knocked it out of the park with these releases.

Fried E/M: Modern World LP: Upon first listen I didn't love this record, but then I revisited it a week or so later and I can't stop jamming it. First off, it's a perfect recording (love the way every instrument sounds). It's a little eggy, but more than anything it's just snotty, apathetic, and punk as fuck. No D-beats here, just great midwest hardcore punk.

Soakie: S/T LP: I'm loving this debut from this half NYC/half Aussie punk band. The descriptor that comes to mind when trying to describe this is bouncy, the same way I feel a band like Glue is bouncy. I can't stop shaking my head back in forth. But the word "bouncy" sounds too fun and innocent; this shit is abrasive and mean. Snarling vocals with powerful lyrics on top of urgent and catchy punk riffs.

FOC: La Fera Ferotge LP: Totally ripping hardcore punk based out of Barcelona and sung in Catalan. Sloppy and fast as fuck hardcore. The chord structures and riffs remind a lot of classic USHC, but the vocal phrasing and the way all the instruments blend together sounds totally inspired by Italian punk like Wretched or Indigesti. I would also go as far as to compare it some Scandinavian hardcore like Kaaos. A must listen for hardcore fans everywhere, I'd say.

Staff Picks: Dominic

Greetings everybody. I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and surviving?

Thanks to you, our loyal friends and customers, we are still selling records through our webstore and keeping the lights on at Sorry State. We appreciate you guys being as excited about music and records as we are. So, the way it has been working is that each day we gab a handful of records and go home and list them. As I have been taking photos and listing records I will stick one of them on and have a little listen as I work and so for this weeks’ picks I want to just high light some gems that I was digging.
In no particular order, we have two from Britain, two from the US and one from Holland. These are all groups and artists from the sixties, some you may know and others perhaps not but I promise you these records are all great.

First up from England we have The Sorrows and a reissue of their 1965 album called Take A Heart. Formed in Coventry in the Midlands, The Sorrows played what is now called Freakbeat or Mod Rock, a soulful and harder version of the Beat and R ‘n’ B that was ruling the country at the time. They had moderate success in England but were quite popular in Italy where they recorded Italian versions of their songs. This version of the album is padded out with some single cuts including the mighty You’ve Got What I Want which I have always liked.
Next up from Holland we have The Outsiders, the Dutch Pretty Things. Led by the enigmatic Wally Tax, these guys were right behind the UK acts and put out a slew of great Beat and R ‘n’ B tracks with interesting pop sensibilities. Their psych masterpiece being the album CQ, which should be in everyone’s collection if they are fans of great 60’s psychedelic music. We have for sale a Dutch best of and it is a good way to introduce yourself to the band. Highlights being the songs Touch, Bird In The Cage and Strange Things Are Happening. This copy has a little cover wear but the vinyl is clean and sounded great.
Over to the United States now. First up, the Spanish label Guerssen put together a nice collection of the garage band The Lemon Drops who are most famous for their awesome I Live In The Springtime single. This record even has the rare fuzz version of that single. Like most young teen bands recording back then not everything was gold but there are plenty of really good tracks on this record other than the aforementioned single. I liked It Happens Everyday, Crystal Pure, Death Calls and Talk To The Animals as they all feature some fuzz guitar and have more psychy leanings but some of the ballads were cool too. Definitely worth investigating.
Another American record next. We have a nice reissue of the Del Shannon 1968 psych pop record The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover. Originally released on Liberty, this version is courtesy of Trouble Mind and they have done a nice job on the packaging and quality. I really love this record. I was a Del Shannon fan from his 50’s hits and then discovered his mid-sixties 45’s that were decent and then finally this album. I found mine in an old record store on City Island in the Bronx back in my New York Days. That spot was a secret diggers gold mine. Anyway, the Del album is an interesting listen. It covers a lot of ground and almost has the feel of the type of records Scott Walker was making or those that Curt Boetcher was making with The Millennium. Tracks like Silver Birch have a real atmospheric quality with swirling horns and organ at the end that segue into one of the highlight tracks I Think I Love You which grooves along with strings propelling the rhythm. The record ends on New Orleans (Mardi Gras) which has a nice soul groove albeit with a dark edge, cut as it is with heavy guitar work and sound effects. Del Shannon was popular in England and France and he cut a nice pop record over at Immediate which sadly didn’t get a proper release and was put out piece meal later in the seventies. Again, highly recommended.
Finally, we return to the UK for a late sixties heavier rock sound and an LP by The Open Mind. Their self-titled album was recorded at the famed De Lane Lea studios in early ’69 and didn’t sell at all at the time despite having a pretty cool cover. Musically the sound is a little late for 1969 and is more 67/68 in my opinion and possibly might explain why the hip record buyer ignored it at the time. The track that modern listeners may know as it has become a DJ fave over the years (yours truly included) is Magic Potion. That track is much heavier and has a great driving sound more in line with early Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. It’s definitely the money track on the record. That being said, for fans of late sixties UK post summer of love sounds, there is still plenty to enjoy here. I liked the track Horses And Chariots and Before My Time which reminded me a little of The End and their Bill Wyman produced album Introspection, which is also highly recommended.
Alright, so there you have it. All these beauties are available to purchase at the time of writing on our webstore, so go check ‘em out. Before I sign off I do want to say how pleased I was to come by the store the other day and hear Jeff playing one of my favourite bands The Las. That was cool. Then today I was jamming a used copy of The Teardrop Explodes’ Kilimanjaro in the store and in comes Jeff and his ears pricked up to what was playing and I was able to turn him on to another one of my faves. Such a great record. We are going to turn Jeff into a Scouser before too long with all these Liverpool bands. Talking of Liverpool and in particular the football club, our fan anthem is You’ll Never Walk Alone, an old Rogers & Hammerstein song from Carrousel the musical made famous in the sixties by Gerry And The Pacemakers and sung at games ever since. In these scary times, it has taken on more significance than ever as people try to find sense in the current situation. You can YouTube countless different versions being sung at football matches by fans and more recently by people across Europe in unison. Here’s the 45 version. Perhaps it might inspire you if needed.

Staff Picks: Ava

Ritual Dictates: Give In To Despair (Artoffact Records)

Hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, Ritual Dictates has brought us a damn fine slab of death metal/classic rock/grindcore to wear out during quarantine. Containing ex members of 3 Inches of Blood (one of my favorite power metal bands!) and a current member of Revocation, Ash Pearson and Justin Hagberg are sure to confuse and entrance you with these supreme riffs. I absolutely LOVE the contrast of guttural and clean vocals. This is the first album to come out this year that has truly captivated me. It’s just one of those records that each song is so unique to itself AND well written that you find yourself excited to hear what comes next. 10/10 highly recommend for fans of anything at all heavy and melodic. Out NOW on Artoffact Records!

Staff Picks: April 2, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

Spooky Tooth & Pierre Henry: Ceremony LP

One of the best things about Dominic working at Sorry State is when he hands me a record and says, “here, take this home.” The latest record he’s hipped me to is this 1970 LP, billed as a collaboration between the blues rock band Spooky Tooth and French avant-garde / musique concrete composer Pierre Henry. I was coming to this blind as I wasn’t familiar with either artist’s work.

Boy, is this a weird one! Spooky Tooth is admirably heavy and grimy here, approaching Sabbath levels of heaviness without degenerating into the BBQ blues that I have a hard time with. The lyrics, strangely, are overtly—even aggressively—Christian, and normally that would irk me, but the entire enterprise is undercut by Pierre Henry’s contributions to the album. Rather than being a true collaboration, Spooky Tooth completed their recordings and sent the master tapes to France where Henry overdubbed his own contributions… bleeps, bloops, tape loops, and other tricks of the avant-garde trade. Sometimes these sounds create a subtle background texture to Spooky Tooth’s songs, while at others they dominate the mix with the band’s music in the distant background, barely audible.

In reading about the album online I found many people who insist that Henry ruined what would have been Spooky Tooth’s greatest album, but not being invested in Spooky Tooth’s career trajectory, I think what exists here is fantastic. There’s an unresolved tension between Spooky Tooth’s and Pierre Henry’s contributions to the album, as if they are fighting a bitter battle for the listener’s attention rather than trying to work together. This also works with the album’s lyrical themes. Spooky Tooth envisioned their tracks as a rock-and-roll mass, while Pierre Henry cast his abstract and non-linear contributions as field recordings of pagan religious rites. It’s like the soundtrack to one of Captain Cook’s exploratory missions making first contact with a remote Pacific island civilization. It is truly wild, and while it’s unlistenable in many respects, I also find myself unable to turn away.

Staff Picks: Jeff

What’s up Sorry Staters?

Hope everyone is dealing with all this bullshit to the best of their ability. Daniel has been cool enough to let us keep working from home, so I’ve of course been throwing on record after record. I can only imagine all of you reading this are doing the same! While I generally dislike being super engaged with social media, I have to admit it’s been fun watching people I know posting cool records. There have been a lot of games where people tag each other with like “Show 4 gems from your 7” fire box” and stuff like that. I succumbed to the flood of activity and made some posts myself. And while maybe spamming people with Instagram stories is a bit tiresome, it has been a good way to stay connected and chat with people. I’m all for it.

Between playing all my “fire” 7”s, I have also been throwing on records here and there from the store as I’m posting them for sale online. Recently I was jamming the Alley Cats 2nd album Escape From The Planet Earth. While I’d heard the Dangerhouse singles, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a couple bangers on a, by comparison to the singles, modestly priced LP. Sure there’s some weird dub-twinged songs, but tracks like “It Only Hurts The First Time” are totally killer! Gotta say tho, the opening title track is a sleeper hit if I’ve ever heard one. I typically prefer the songs that Dianne sings, but if even just for the guitar on “Escape From The Planet Earth”, I’d put it up in the high rankings. We’ve got $13 on it if this piques your interest.

Staff Picks: Eric

Muro / Orden Mundial: Sonido De La Negacion 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)

Yet another home run for Muro out of Colombia. Simple, pounding riffs that feel so much more genuine and punk than so many other hardcore punk bands today. The recording is blown out and sounds like it is clipping at times which I fuckin' LOVE. The Orden Mundial songs sound even more crazy on recording. Fuzzed out and fucked up hardcore punk. The slower, mid tempo songs are hypnotic in a strange way. There is noisy and fucked up guitar over top of monotonous bass and drum grooves. It's kind of maddening, honestly (that's a good thing btw)! The faster tunes are my favorite though. It is certainly reminiscent of US hardcore, but it is even rawer than what you'd expect from most classic USHC. Honestly, an amazing split in the year 2020. A copy of this is definitely coming home with me.

As I'm sure Daniel has mentioned, our operation has shifted for the time being and most of us are working from home. One thing that has been nice about working from home is having to chance to revisit records in my collection that haven't gotten much love recently. Some things I jammed while I was editing photos today include:

-Larma: S/T 12" ... Fuck, I think I just played the fuck out of this record as soon as we got it in the shop. After taking a break for a couple months and revisiting, I can tell you with 100% certainty that it kicks so much ass. Swedish HC brought to you by some of the same folks that brought you Skitkids (among others).

-Broken Bones: FOAD 12" ... I had forgotten how good this band is. It's like Danzig and Discharge pushed together. I had won this record in a raffle at a halloween benefit show this past year and hadn't spun it since. I was fuckin' missing out!

-Wendy O' Williams: WOW 12" ... Last year I was absolutely obsessed with the track "It's My Life" on this record. It has been recorded by a couple different artists, but Wendy's version is the best hands down. There are certainly a handful of bangers on this that were nice to revisit, but god damn I had to crank the volume for my track.

I jammed a bunch of other shit but these are my highlights for today. Stay punk!

Staff Picks: Dominic

As those of you who follow us regularly or who are local and shop at the store will know, we have had to shut the door to the public for the time being but that doesn’t mean we have stopped adding new records to our webstore including some of our used inventory which never usually gets listed. So definitely get yourselves acquainted with our new look online experience. Another thing we haven’t stopped doing is listening to music. It really is our passion and life love. My colleagues here are so damn cool and into such good stuff and between us all we have a pretty wide knowledge of music, new and old but are also humble enough to realize that there is a ton of stuff out there that we have still yet to discover. 

This week whilst working I have been playing some playlists that various friends sent me and thought I would highlight one or two of those songs that seemed particularly apt right now, whether it be for obvious title reasons or maybe a lyric that was poignant and add a couple of my own choices that I have been playing. So, in no particular order here we go:

First off, a cover of Jackson Browne’s These Days by country artist Johnny Darrell.  Although a song about love and loss it just seems to capture a mood. The song was rightfully made popular by Nico’s version of it and subsequent use in movies but I have dug Darrell’s version for many years now and honestly think it to be the best. His California Stop-Over LP is pretty good and fans of outsider type late 60’s country should check it out.

Next up an anti-war protest song from the 60’s, Barry McGuire and Eve Of Destruction, which honestly when you listen to it sounds like it could have been written last week and is commenting on current situations. Kind of sad that fifty years later and we are still fucking things up. Any way a good song in the early Dylan style.

A favorite around these parts and another oldie but a goodie. The Chambers Brothers and Time Has Come Today. Damn this song rules. If you don’t have their Time album with the full eleven minutes of this jam then you should try and find one asap. This track kills, especially the psych freak-out at the end. The album itself is great and covers a lot of ground, psych, soul and folk rock. If it was good enough for The Ramones then…

Something a little more modern next and an absolute personal fave of mine. It gets me every time. Manic Street Preachers and If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next. A song from their late 90’s album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours and more about Welsh Farmers joining the anti-fascist forces in Spain in the 30’s and Spain’s civil war but it still resonates today and certainly applies to our current situation. Such an anthem. I love the Manics so much. They didn’t really make it in America but those in the know appreciate them a great deal.

Gonna go out on a real oldie but again a song that might as well have been recorded last week as we can all relate.  I am talking about Nina Simone and Save Me.  Not much needed to say about the greatness of Nina Simone but this track has a killer groove and lyrically it sums up how a lot of us are feeling.

Alright, that’s your lot. A short playlist that has been helping me get through the day and with luck it will do the same for you too.  Stay safe out there. Listen to music and if you can support us and any of your local businesses that need you right now. Peace.

Staff Picks: March 26, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

I’ve been working so much that I have had little time for my typical routine of listening to a record or two while I unwind at night, so what I covered in this week’s Featured Release Roundup is more or less my playlist for the week. However, since many people are cooped up with time to kill, I thought I would recommend a few of my favorite podcasts:

You Don’t Know Mojack

The conceit of this podcast is that the two hosts—two charming, music-obsessed Canadians—go through the entire SST Records catalog, with one episode devoted to each release. They’re doing the catalog in order, and they’ve now done well over 100 episodes. They are insanely thorough and often have guest interviews that provide information you can’t find anywhere else. This podcast is so fun that I devour every episode whether they’re talking about bands I love like Black Flag or the Descendents or bands I’ve never heard and probably never will, like Zoogz Rift. This is one of those things like The Best Show that might seem bewildering to an outsider, but once you’re hooked, it’s your favorite thing ever.

Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio

Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio is the podcast arm of the long-running zine Dynamite Hemorrhage. Jay Hinman, the man behind both enterprises, is insanely knowledgeable about music, but if you created a Venn diagram of our backgrounds and tastes, they’d only have about a 20% overlap. He’s well-versed in 90s garage and UKDIY (areas I know a little about, but not a ton), so every episode leads me to check out several bands I knew nothing about. His tastes skew toward the intellectual and arty (the overlap with what Sorry State carries would be labels like Ever/Never, Digital Regress, and C/Site), so if that interests you, you should check out this podcast.

Garbage in My Heart

If Dynamite Hemorrhage overlaps with my wheelhouse about 20% of the time, Garbage in My Heart is about 90%. That means they play a ton of music I love, with emphasis on the kinds of things that Sorry State carries. If you’ve always yearned for a podcast version of the Sorry State newsletter, this is as close a version as you’ll find, and it’s extremely well produced.

Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend

Definitely the most mainstream selection here, I had to include it because it’s been my favorite podcast for the past few months. Conan O’Brien is hilarious, and the loose, unscripted podcast format plays to his strengths. I’ve gathered that Conan ruffled some feathers in the podcast community because his show has gotten so much attention, but I think that’s less because of his material resources and more because the show is just that good.

Life During Wartime

You might remember me promoting this show a few weeks ago when I was a guest, but I still listen to every episode even if I’m not on it. They have killer bands play live in the studio (the podcast is based in Portland so they have a pretty much bottomless well), and the segments when they play records feel like hanging out with your buddies, slamming beers and cracking wise while you all try to play the coolest stuff for one another.

Bad Reputation

This is a documentary podcast about the history of the Runaways, though it digresses into other related subjects, making it more of a podcast about the history of women in rock music. This one has excellent, NPR-level production, and even features Scott Plant from Droid’s Blood as the voice of Kim Fowley!

The Nimrods Podcast

Just as the You Don’t Know Mojack podcast goes through the SST Records catalog, The Nimrods Podcast analyzes every single song in Green Day’s extensive catalog. Sometimes the vibe is a little goofy (as you might expect given the hosts are two guys in their early 30s (I think) who are lifelong Green Day fans), but there’s plenty of interesting history and analysis here too.


This one is way outside my wheelhouse, but I still enjoy it. Noisextra started as a show examining Merzbow’s recorded catalog, but a few months ago they expanded their scope to cover other classics of the noise genre. The hosts are extremely knowledgeable, and I’ve learned a ton about noise by listening to this. I just wish the records they talked about weren’t so hard to find…

Lost Notes

Lost Notes is a music history podcast by KCRW, an NPR affiliate in Los Angeles. Each episode tells a different story, sort of like This American Life, but all about music. Probably the best-produced podcast on this list, and even when they’re talking about music I know nothing about it’s still great.

Henry & Heidi

This is Henry Rollins’ podcast that he does with his assistant Heidi. I’m a fan of Rollins’ weekly radio show on KCRW, but there’s no music on this one. Instead, Heidi proposes a topic and Henry just talks about it until he runs out of steam. Some of my favorite episodes have been about Henry’s experiments with LSD, his experiences on the Lolapalooza tour, and his relationship with Black Sabbath and its members. You need to have some degree of Rollins tolerance to enjoy this one, but if you’re a fan, this is essential.

Staff Picks: Jeff

We’ve spending a lot of time at the store listing a bunch of our used inventory on the webstore. One record I always find myself coming back to is the self-titled album by Government Issue from 1986. I love this record. I remember my copy was gifted to me for (I think?) my 15th birthday by a good buddy. I was in a phase of just getting deeper and deeper into hardcore punk. My buddy who bought me the record had this funny anecdote about how when he was in the record store, he overheard another person who was more or less talking shit on the record. Basically, this random guy in the store was saying, “Well yeah, but that’s not GI’s good stuff.” My buddy still got it for me anyway, and honestly, I hadn’t heard Legless Bull yet, so it made no difference to me. As I’ve gotten older, I acknowledge that it’s not exactly an intense or aggressive record, but I think the songwriting -- and particularly the guitar playing -- is great on this record. To me, it’s a classic GI record. The intro track “Visions and ?” still gives me chills. I still have the same copy I got when I was 15 and don’t really plan on getting rid of it. If you want a great, but maybe a less well-known, listen from a classic DC punk band, you definitely can’t beat it for $10.

Staff Picks: Eric

Hate Preachers: Bile Of Progress cassette (Suck Blood)

Absolutely raging hardcore punk from some of the same folks that brought you Blazing Eye, Cruelty Bomb, etc. This sits somewhere between 80s Scandinavian HC and UK82. Very interesting and quick moving riffs while still being pounding and powerful. Plus, this recording is absolutely perfect, I wish all bands would sonically sound like this. I was fortunate enough to see this band in LA last year and they were great, not to mention it's also refreshing to see a great hardcore 3 piece!

Chained Bliss: Stained Red cassette (self-released)

My roommate was jamming this cassette while we were doing our post apocalyptic grocery store run. It's melodic punk I can get behind. My gut reaction is to call it somewhere between Masshysteri and The Marked Men (and I fuckin' love that kinda shit). The guitars are crunchy and chorusy, the vocals are snotty and harmonious, and that drummer's hi-hat hand stays rockin' those 16th notes. This one caught me by surprise, I highly recommend!

Staff Picks: Dominic

Echo And The Bunnymen: Crocodiles (Sire) 1980

The current world situation definitely sucks and I would be lying if I hadn’t thought for a second about whether I might be one of those that doesn’t make it, what with my weak lungs and proclivity to catching colds and all. The only way I can chase those thoughts out of my mind is to replace them with the music that I love. I am always listening to music new and old, but right now it has been a return to the classics and records that I grew up with and have loved since I first heard them. My pick this week is the fantastic Crocodiles by Echo and the Bunnymen.

You may have picked up on the fact that I like Liverpool. The city and people, the football club and particularly the music scene. Obviously the 60’s Mersey Beat scene that birthed the Beatles is foremost in most people’s minds when they think of music from Liverpool, but in the late 70’s and early 80’s some of the best and most interesting sounds were coming out of Merseyside. Two of my favorite groups being Echo and label mates on Korova in the beginning, The Teardrop Explodes. Both these groups I followed and tried to buy their records as soon as they came out.

Crocodiles was released in 1980 on the Korova label in the UK and Sire here in the US. It was the group’s debut. Early versions were ten track affairs but a few months later in the UK a bonus 7” was included with two additional tracks, Do It Clean and Read It In Books. The US Sire version came with those two tracks included and all subsequent versions did too. Apparently a record exec at the time didn’t like those two tracks, thinking them rude.

Side note: The Teardrop Explodes’ version of Books is probably the better version of the tune in my opinion and you should check it out and see whether you agree.

To my young ears at the time and still today, the record just sounded different from most of the stuff coming out at the time and the combination of the band’s look and the lyrics really enforced that. Ian McCulloch had a cool presence from the get go and combined the best of Jim Morrison and David Bowie in his vocal delivery and style. The band itself was killer. Will Sergeant on guitar brought fresh exciting riffs. Les Pattison on bass was like a rock and formed a formidable rhythm section with late joiner Pete de Freitas on drums. Crocodiles was the blueprint and cornerstone that the band built on with each subsequent release and as much as I like all their records, this is the essential one in my book and should be in your collection also. So glad that Do It Clean was restored to the album also as this song rules.

Luckily for you we have a copy for sale here at Sorry State currently. Not that it is a tough LP to find, but take a look at our web store and see if we still have it if you need.

Big Boss Man: Last Man On Earth (Blow Up Records) 2014

A Modern take on 60’s Soul Jazz grooves this week from me. A record that came out a few years back but could be the lost soundtrack to a cool cult movie from the late sixties or early seventies if you didn’t know otherwise. I picked up a copy at a local store here in Raleigh (Nice Price Books, check ‘em out) and have spun it several times since and am really digging it.

Big Boss Man is a four piece from England led by Nasser Bouzida who also aliases as The Bongolian. Their sound is Mod and very sixties influenced, taking in Jazz, Soul, Latin, Psych and Soundtrack vibes as a starting point and adding subtle touches here and there to keep things relevant and fresh. In my opinion they do a very good job at this.  Last Man On Earth is the groups fourth full length from 2014, their first LP coming out circa 2000. I became aware of them and the aforementioned Bongolian records from the Mod scene and from buying most things that came out on Blow Up Records at the time. That label is a fantastic source for cool and groovy Mod sounds and I would recommend picking up most if not all of their releases if and when you see them.

On Last Man On Earth they expand their sound further and add a female vocalist, Princess Freesia on two tracks including the title and delve deeper into the world of Music Library and Soundtrack type sounds. As you listen you will hear shades of Roy Budd and his work on the Get Carter Soundtrack and the late sixties work of Georgie Fame. I also picked up elements of Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man soundtrack and the vibe from those great Norman Whitfield produced Motown records and the ones made by Charles Stepney at Cadet. The latter two being names that I know I have spoken about before and will keep singing their praises to the heavens as they were so great. In addition, there are little borrowed touches from other great songs, for instance you definitely can hear the Nancy Sinatra Boots bass line in a song. I love all these influences and think it makes for a great mix on the record. I really do feel like I am listening to several of my favorite records as I play this one. They are not reinventing the wheel with this one by any means but have done a very nice job putting together an album that will appeal to all of you who dig some grooves in addition to your heavier punk sounds. Shouldn’t be too hard to score yourselves a copy either which is always nice. Cheers!

Staff Picks: Ava

This record is just straight up BRUTAL and the most crushing og death metal i've heard this year. Disembowel will take you on a trip of audial brutality with this full length which came out early March, 2020. Coming out on Maggot Stomp Records, this 34 minute masterpiece is sure to make you press repeat, go ahead and support these guys!

Staff Picks: March 19, 2020

Staff Picks: Jeff

Muro: Pacificar 12” (Beach Impediment) 

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

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

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

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

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

‘Til next time!

Staff Picks: Eric

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

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

Muro: Pacificar 12" (Beach Impediment)

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

Staff Picks: Dominic

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

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

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

Staff Picks: March 5, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

Avskum: Uppror Underifrån 12” (Prank)

Earlier this week I was listening to this Avskum LP (which is something I do often), then I saw on Prank Records’ Instagram that the band is coming to the US for a “final” tour. Sadly, the tour isn’t hitting the east coast of the US so I won’t get to see it, but if you are able, you should go. Even if you can’t, I encourage you to pick up any record you see with Avskum’s name on it. Despite the fact that the band started all the way back in 1982, I don’t think they’ve released a bad record (or, if they have, I haven’t heard it). Their 1984 EP Crucified by the System is a classic of Swedish d-beat, and their sound continued to develop (without changing too much) throughout the 90s and 2000s. On Uppror Underifrån Avskum incorporated heavier, more complex chords into their punishing attack and made a modern d-beat masterpiece. Prank mentioned that they’ll be repressing Uppror Underifrån for the tour, so if you don’t have it already, you should pick up the repress once it’s out.

Staff Picks: Dominic

Little Ann: Deep Shadows LP (Timmion)
Whilst flicking through our racks here at the store I noticed we had a copy of this superb soul record and wanted to draw your attention to it and the artist concerned.

Chicago native “Little Ann” Bridgeforth was a soul singer who recorded in the late sixties/early seventies. She had a single on Ric-Tic in 1968 and was then taken under the wing of the great Detroit producer Dave Hamilton. He cut almost an album worth of material with Ann but for whatever reason those sides never saw the light of day and remained in his tape vaults for twenty five plus years until the chaps at Ace/Kent Records from the UK whilst researching and compiling tracks for a series of releases of Hamilton productions came across the tapes. Over the next few years these cuts were released on several different Kent Soul CDs and seven inches. Those 45’s were quickly snapped up by eager soul fans and DJs like myself and now command top money. Then around 2008 the Finnish Label Timmion put out the collection Deep Shadows which gathered all the key tracks that had appeared at that time. It’s only nine tracks and barely thirty minutes of music but when the quality is this high, who cares? Just lap it up and enjoy. Kent did finally put out their own LP version which includes additional alternative versions of some tracks but I dig the Timmion version and prefer their cover.

Dave Hamilton was a vibes player who put out a record Blue Vibrations in 1963 and worked as a session player at Motown. His 45 Pisces Pace from 1970 is a sublime groove and barely leaves my DJ box. As a producer he built up quite a portfolio of tunes and tracks and as was the case in the day would use the same backing track for different artists and either had them sing the same song or had completely different lyrics written for the tune. Some of the Little Ann tracks were also used for another artist O.C. Tolbert. For me the highlights of the Deep Shadows collection are the tracks Who Are You Trying To Fool and Sweep It Under The Shed. The latter a tune that always has people coming up to me when I spin it to ask about it.

The internet is a great tool to search out these songs and sample them and then if you dig them as much as I do, you can come in to Sorry State and buy our copy or search out one from your local favorite record store. I urge any soul fans out there to do so. You will not be disappointed, I guarantee it.