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Staff Picks: August 13, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

Rattus: Ihmiset On Sairaita 7” (Ann & Archie Records, 1985)

We recently nabbed a cool collection with lots of international hardcore and I made a big pile of “keepers” for myself… so big that I still feel kind of guilty about it. One of my favorites is this 1985 7” from Finland’s Rattus. Rattus is a special band to me because I got to see a few dates on their 2004 US tour and had an amazing time. While that personal connection is important, their records are incredible in their own right. They formed way back in 1978 and their early EPs are punky, catchy and fun, like a lot of other European and Scandinavian punk bands that formed in the Sex Pistols’ wake. However, when hardcore came out around, Rattus embraced it. After a string of singles and an LP, WC Räjähtää (which translates to something like “bathroom explosion” and features a memorable Pushead illustration of demons emerging from a toilet), Rattus expanded their lineup to a 4-piece. While guitarist Jake was and is a solid vocalist, there’s something about the raspy timbre of vocalist Annikki that does it for me. Besides the change in vocal sound, Rattus’s songs got faster, more complex, and more metallic, and their experience as players gave them a uniquely composed and technical sound.

Ihmiset On Sairaita features this 4-piece lineup, and while I’m fuzzy on the chronology, it may have been the first thing Annikki recorded with the band. While I love Rattus’s LPs from this period, Ihmiset On Sairaita is special in that it’s the only EP recorded with this lineup, and as is often the case with music this intense, it works better in a smaller, more digestible chunk. Even cooler is the fact that they play the three songs on the b-side as a medley, linking them with wild, out of control-sounding guitar solos. Hearing the band wander off on a Discharge-style guitar solo only to come back together and lock into step is thrilling.

While Finnish hardcore and punk records can get expensive, this one doesn’t tend to be too pricey. Alternatively, the tracks are available on the Brazilian pressing of the Uskonto On Vaara LP and many other LP and CD collections, so they shouldn’t be too hard to find. You might also recognize the first track, “Reaganin Joululanju,” from Maximumrocknroll’s Welcome to 1984 compilation. You can’t go wrong with any Rattus records you find, so if you see one, pick it up!

Staff Picks: Jeff

Krigshoder: Krig I Hodet EP cassette (Suck Blood)

It’s always a pleasant surprise when somewhere… lurking out in the ether, there are the seeds of an endeavor to create a band. Then, when that band’s first release seemingly emerges out from a veil of smoke, it totally blindsides you and you didn’t even know how bad you needed to hear it until it had magically appeared. For me, this new Krigshoder tape is checking all the boxes. Whether or not this phenomenon is a result of circumstances directly related to the pandemic, it seems like several recording projects have sprung up this year that involve people here in the States collaborating with someone that lives overseas contributing vocals. Between that Sirkka tape, the Humant Blod 7” and now this Krigshoder tape, it appears that the formula is working.

The label Suck Blood has released several tapes that I’ve thought were killer, most of which are bands from Los Angeles. If the information I’ve gathered serves me correctly, Krigshoder is made up of a few familiar faces from the Suck Blood camp along with a dude who lives in Norway. Now, whether or not this band sounds exactly like they could’ve been released on X-Port Platter could be debated. They do cover Siste Dagers Helvete who are Norwegian. That said, I think the variety of influences that can be drawn from Krigshoder’s vicious synthesis of riffs is what makes them so good. I hear a lot Aareton Joul- era Terveet Kadet but I also here the chaoticness of Italian hardcore like Declino. I’m rambling, but suffice it to say that they put all of this together to make a record that is both totally classic sounding but also refreshing and original. This recording is just perfect. It’s raw and organic, but is also played tight and perfectly. We’ve got frantic, yet tuneful and memorable riffs. Super punchy and ripping drums with drum rolls that make my teeth hurt. The vocals are probably the best part – absolutely snarling. Every song is put together with interesting and unique ideas… they play classic sounding hardcore but hit a little weirdness/noisiness from time to time. It’s not too long, it doesn’t get boring. I just have no complaints. This is a breath of fresh air. Or smog. I can’t tell the difference anymore.

Sorry State should be getting a good stack of these, so don’t sleep on them once we get them at the store!

Staff Picks: Eric

James Chance and The Contortions: Buy 12”

When I was in high school my buddy had the song “Contort Yourself” on his iPod and we would ride around in his Mom’s mini van blaring it on repeat. This record came through the store not so long ago and I had to pick it up. Speaking honestly, I have had a very hard time getting into No Wave as a genre. Listening to music with very loose structure and improvisational melodies kinda stresses me the fuck out. However, I really like The Contortions. Perhaps it’s because these songs have a solid backbone of drum and bass lines that keep everything grounded and on track. When I listen to this record I can’t help but smile a little bit. It’s got funky rhythms, free jazz style saxophone and guitar, and a punk delivery on the vocals. There is so much squanky sax in this album I think Jeff’s head would probably explode. Freaky music for freaky/artsy fucks. A classic for sure!

Staff Picks: Dominic

I’m old enough to have lived through many golden eras of music, periods where almost every release within a genre is now considered a classic. One of those golden eras was that of hip-hop. I remember vividly hearing the first tapes of this new “scratch” music in the early 80’s at school and when I started working in the States in ’89, the so called Golden Era of Hip-Hop had just begun. I recall buying The Source magazine and picking up all the latest releases. As I was working on ships during this period I was mostly buying CDs. One of my favorites and one that I still have but finally converted to vinyl is my pick for this week.
 
Marley Marl: In Control Volume II (For Your Steering Pleasure). Cold Chillin’ Records. 1991
 
Released three years after In Control Volume 1, a record which fully helped mark the beginning of that most fertile period and a record that featured the hottest New School MCs - Craig G., Master Ace, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G. Rap, Roxanne Shante and M.C. Shan- known collectively as the Juice Crew and coming out of Queensbridge, NYC. Produced by Marley Marl and released on Cold Chillin’ one of the hottest hip-hop labels, it featured the great posse cut The Symphony and the stone cold classic Droppin’ Science with rap by Craig G.

By this time, 1991, hip-hop was arguably the most original and exciting form of music being made and I can remember being particularly pumped when I saw this album had come out. It reunited the Juice Crew rappers for The Symphony, Pt II and also brought in a lot of newer names that I did not know and some others that I did. The album also played more like a mix tape or radio show with the different MCs and samples used in the production. Some of the tracks, Buffalo Soldier and Fools In Love have a reggae dancehall vibe to them and overall the production has great sample hooks and beats. There is also a contemporary New Jack Swing sound on the cut Reach Out featuring a R ‘n B style vocal. If that was almost too soft for you, follow up track Keep Control featuring Chubb Rock, Def Jef, Tragedy and Grand Puba comes off sounding more like a Public Enemy track. In fact, Chuck D. himself does show up on the record and is featured on America Eats The Young, a cut whose title tells you what to expect.

For me, one of the tunes that still stands out is Cheatin’ Days Are Over which has a great production and features a name I know not much about on the rap, Mike Nice. Whoever he was, he was nice on this.
Probably compared side by side, most people would give the edge to Volume One as far as classic status goes but I think if not a classic, Volume Two is definitely a good record and one that has held up for what is now almost thirty years. I had always hoped to find a vinyl version but oddly it took me quite a while to find one, mostly due to the fact that it only came out as a promo in a plain white sleeve and never received a full vinyl release. It was a nice surprise to finally score a copy and as Ava and I had been talking about 90’s New York Hip-Hop and how I lived a few blocks from Queensbridge while in NYC, it seemed like a good time to pick this gem for recommendation.





Staff Picks: Usman

To start, the label that released this cassette sold out before Sorry State could get distro copies! But, I have a handful of copies, and also a few Vivisected Numbskulls tapes left for distro - which are also now sold out from the label and Sorry State. Feel free to hit me up for distro stuff at in.decay@yahoo.com. I've wanted to write about this release for my previous two Staff Picks but I wanted to have the copies in my hands before I wrote. You never know what the end result might be when dealing with cassettes, or almost any release really. This cassette is brought to you by Outsider Classics, who also did badass re-issues likes Cólera, Nisses Nötter, and Missbrukarna. I think I’ve mentioned Asta Kask several times already in the handful of Staff Picks I've written. I assume everyone knows who Asta Kask is who is reading this so I will do my best to keep it interesting. Please, no shame if you don't know this band. I hate that hierarchal mindset some “punks” have when it comes to knowing about bands. I’ve always heard Asta Kask were the pioneers of trallpunk (a melodic, Swedish style of HC/punk), but from my understanding trallpunk was not coined until the 90's, over a decade after the band had formed. They are from a small town in Sweden called Töreboda. When I say this town is small, I mean like less than 5,000 people small. Imagine Pittsboro, NC. On a map it also looks like there’s nothing going on there too, just like Pittsboro (aside from the beautiful land.) It's kind of strange to imagine an excellent band like this coming from a small town where no other notable bands came from, but at the same time I feel like that is common in the USA. But this is probably worth noting, I’m still looking on a map and guess what city is almost right the middle of Stockholm and Gothenburg? Yup, it's Töreboda. And it looks like you literally have to pass right through it to travel between those two major cities… that had to have played a role.
 
Asta-Kask originally formed as X-tas in 1978, playing Sex Pistols cover songs. Their first actual release was in 1982, För Kung Och Fosterland. It was really well-received internationally at the time, but the band had broken up before the EP was actually released. In 1983, the vocalist/guitarist Micke re-formed the band with a new-line up and recorded En Tyst Minut... (That title translates to 'a minute of silence...' I wonder if that was related to the break-up of the band.) This new line-up is the same one the band would stick with until their end of days. I do want to note there was a compilation tape Anarkist Attack that was released in 1982 (I think) that features a great deal of Asta Kask tracks. There are many songs on there I don’t recognize, but there are certainly some songs that appear on later releases with new recordings. It makes me wonder if Micke had wrote a shit ton of songs early on and really didn’t want to abandon them, hence the reformation of the band with a new line up. Another even more important note, Micke Blomqvist operated his own recording studio through the 80’s called Kloakens Alternativa Antistudio. This person deserves so much credit…at his studio legendary bands like Nyx Negative, Crude SS, Asocial, Svart Parad, Anti-Cimex, Avskum, and Rövsvett have all recorded. Anyway, in 1984 En Tyst Minut...was released but they were so on top of their shit that they had already recorded for their next record Plikten Framför Allt, which was released later that same year. After three EPs they released Med Is I Magen in 1985. I think this LP is the most renowned of their releases, but my favorite stuff is their EPs, especially the ones that came out in 1984. Still in 1985, they recorded for their next EP Än Finns Det Hopp. They were keeping it steady at the time, visiting the studio regularly and playing gigs throughout Sweden. But the next year would be the bands “final” years active. In 1986 they visited the studio to record Aldrig En LP and embarked on their first international tour. I’m not sure how long the tour was, or what cities they hit, but they toured Germany with Upright Citizens. I don’t know anything about why the band broke-up, but maybe it was subsequent to their tour. Although the band did call it quits in 1986, they have reformed several times since then (1989, 1992, 2003, etc.) This tape features their EP collection plus an additional track that wasn’t originally released with the EP. You can find these EPs for about $30 (haha although some of the first presses go for much more.) They are relatively affordable, but it’s really cool to have ‘em all compiled onto a cassette – you don’t have to flip shit nearly as often, and it saves you like $100. Cheers to Outsider Classics! And, thanks for reading..til next time.

Staff Picks: August 6, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

High Tide: Sea Shanties 12” (Liberty, 1969)

I recently scored an original US pressing of this heavy psych banger from 1969. It first came on to my radar when a used copy came through the shop a year or two ago. My friend Phil bought it before I could listen to it, but at some point I checked out Sea Shanties online. It grabbed me from the first listen, and I revisited the record every few weeks. Rock didn’t get much heavier than Sea Shanties in 1969. Their heavy, fuzz-drenched guitar sound gets compared to Blue Cheer, but High Tide reminds me more of Sir Lord Baltimore’s 1970 album Kingdome Come. Like that record, Sea Shanties is not only very heavy for its time but also fast and chaotic. Sir Lord Baltimore generated tension by double-tracking the guitars, but on Sea Shanties, the second guitar spot is filled by an electric violinist which also gives this album a similar feel to Amon Düül II’s Yeti album. I’m a sucker for two-guitar bands, and the way the guitarist and violinist sometimes harmonize with one another and sometimes play across and through one another’s melodic lines hits the sweet spot.

Sea Shanties hasn’t seen a vinyl repress since a 2009 Sundazed reissue, and since even that seems to near the $100 mark on Discogs, when a clean original US copy popped up for around that price I jumped on it. I also started doing some research into High Tide and its members, though I haven’t found much. High Tide has a second album from 1970 that I’m looking forward to checking out, and they stayed together throughout the 80s and 90s, releasing music during that period with a revolving door lineup. Vocalist / guitarist Tony Hill seems to have focused most of his energy on High Tide, but violinist Simon House has a much longer resume, serving time in the Third Ear Band and joining Hawkwind for Hall of the Mountain Grill, which might be my favorite of their many albums.

Staff Picks: Dominic

I was looking through my phone at old photos and found one from four years ago that has me here at Sorry State before I began working here – Ava and I recently celebrated our first-year anniversary of being part of the SSR family- and it’s a picture of me buying the record that I am going to suggest to you all this week. It was a sealed copy and quite expensive and so I had to bring something in to trade. I brought in a sealed copy of Nirvana’s Bleach and we worked it out. Some of you might think it was an odd trade but I had been looking for this particular record for a while and have a play copy of Bleach so wasn’t too bothered about letting it go.

Anyway, as we hit August and it is officially summer, this one might be appropriate.
 
J.K. & Co.: Suddenly One Summer. White Whale. 1968
 
There’s something about records that were made in the year of one’s birth that intrigues me and I wonder if anyone else feels the same? It doesn’t always follow that you will like them but more often than not I do. This one I certainly do.

So, what’s the deal? Okay, it’s a pop-psych record of real class and distinction and will appeal to anyone who digs that type of thing. It has elements of all the great records from that period. Think Beatles post Revolver, Bee Gee’s 1st, The Left Banke, Zombies, Aerovons, Gandalf, Bobby Jameson, Sagittarius and Love, to give you some references.

The story goes that fifteen-year-old Jay Kaye, son of Mary Kaye the renowned guitarist, raised around music all his life, accompanied her to Vancouver where she had arranged studio time for him to record. Already mature beyond his years and quite a gifted musician and budding songwriter, Jay arrived at the studio with his songs and presented them to producer Robin Spurgin, who was immediately impressed. Spurgin had a worked up a good resume by this time recording several of the better local bands and he enlisted another teen prodigy, Robert Buckley to help with arrangements and members of underground group Mother Tucker’s Yellow Duck to play. Over the next few weeks this group worked on what was to end up being Suddenly One Summer. Taking in the local music scene as inspiration and the previous couple of years of summer of love style music and most importantly, LSD. Kaye freely admits that psychedelic experimentation was a big part of the creative process.

Armed with the record in the can, Kaye initially tried to use his family connections at Capitol to have the album released but they wanted to change things and rerecord some stuff. Instead, they took it to White Whale, who flipped for the record and it was one of their in-house producers who came up with the title because Kaye came into their office and blew them away suddenly one summer. White Whale did a good job initially promoting the record locally with billboards and store displays and underground radio particularly liking it. Trying to build on that the label decided to put out a single but foolishly picked the first track off the record which was barely thirty seconds and meant as an introductory piece of music for the rest of the album. Naturally this sunk without trace and other than some live shows that Kaye did with a new band not much else happened and everyone moved on with their lives. It wasn’t until years later when records from this era were starting to be rediscovered that interest in it started back up again. New York label Sundazed did a pretty nice reissue job back in 2001 and that version is pretty easy to find. Originals do show up but still command decent money.

Key tracks are the lysergic Fly with backwards playing tapes ala Beatles, Christine, that begins with a drum break for the sampler ready producers, Crystal Ball, a quick acid guitar groove and O.D. a prime West Coast psyche tune. Elsewhere you have some trippy sitar on Magical Fingers Of Minerva and a harpsichord track that might have been a Village Green out-take.

Clocking in at just over thirty minutes, the album doesn’t outstay it’s welcome but hopefully now that you know about it, you can welcome it into your life. Take the trip.

Staff Picks: Ava

Vampyr: Cry Out For Metal (Hot Blood Records)

Hailing from Germany, Vampyr are one of those legendary one-and-done bands with Cry Out For Metal being their only release. Every song has a mandatory head banging riff. The contrast between the true speed metal songs and the straight up heavy metal, hard-driving rock songs make a perfect anthem worthy album. Starting off the album with the epic "Sinner" really hooks you into listening to the full album in one sitting. Hell Bent Angels has got to be my favorite track on the record though.. Wolfgang Schwarz's Vocals have a small range but an insane amount of power and a beautiful south German speed metal style behind them. The lead guitars are insane and those solos...WHEW boy does this record kick ass. Definitely a gem of 1985 speed/thrash metal. 10/10 Recommendation for fans of Tyrant, Jag Panzer, Lizzy Borden, Armored Saint.

Staff Picks: Usman

I have been really feeling compilations lately. I used to love them when I was younger. They are a great way to hear new bands. At least they used to be before the internet took over everything… I think the last compilation I was really into was the Killed By Finnish Hardcore bootleg, and that was 8 or 9 years ago. Haha, I just realized I didn’t have internet at my house back then, I wonder if there was a correlation with my obsession of the LP. I do want to apologize for not writing about something available at Sorry State, or a new release in general. This is rather a “Suggested Listening” than a Staff Pick. The Tsjernobilly Boogie LP is relatively affordable though if you can find one second-hand. Also, ANYONE reading this is more than welcome to e-mail me (in.decay@yahoo.com) and I’d gladly put this on a tape for you with a cute lil’ cover!! I actually think this release was originally on cassette format before being pressed on vinyl, but I haven’t confirmed that. According to discogs, there was a booklet “issued” with the disc but they all burned up or something before they could retrieve them. Bummer, cos I would absolutely love to know some information about a few of these bands! It’s not often I hear a compilation where I enjoy listening to every song. Side A opens up with Kafka Prosess. They deliver the goods; fast, pummeling hardcore with melodic elements, traditional X-Port Plater style. Also, these tracks were exclusive to the release at the time! This is a great way to start off a compilation. It lets every listener know you simply are not fuckin’ around. In 2000, Skuld Releases did the Ingen Fattige, Ingen Rike compilation LP which featured these tracks as well as their split with Disorder (UK). You can still find these cheap second-hand.

Barn Av Regnbuen follows with four songs. Barn Av Regnbuen is a band I’ve heard before after checking the X-Port Plater catalogue, funny though I don’t remember them being this good! After hearing the tracks on this compilation I re-visited their previous material and I have been enjoying it a lot! I see why I probably passed them over at first. They incorporate what I call “weird” elements into their HC, haha. But the other more traditional elements keep me listening, cos they play it well. It also makes the “weird” shit even cooler. Now I regret not getting their first EP in the past.

Overlagt Drap rules!! It sounds like shitty rock-n-roll with a “dirty” punk edge. They appear to be the only band on this compilation that sing in English. I know very little about the band, I know they have two other appearances on compilations, using the same songs. One appearance was on a US label as benefit for Green Peace. The other appearance was before the Tsjernobilly Boogie LP on a compilation on Norwegian tape label Den Onde Sirkel, who released some badass stuff like Asta Kask.

Brent Jord finishes off the B side with 3 tracks. I wish there was more. These might be my favorite tracks on this compilation!! I know nothing about the band, and of course, these are the only songs I can find of theirs. It reminds me a bit of Stengte Dører and Svart Framtid, some of my favorites.

Angor Wat opens up the B side with a groovy HC track, a great song to start the B side. They are the last band on the compilation I had heard of (there was only three bands I knew previous to listening). Angor Watt sticks out from the compilation in this way that it sounds more metallic rather than melodic like the rest of the bands.

Following Angor Wat is TMB (The Midnight Blues). They lay down 3 tracks of RAGING HARDCORE!! The first track sounds kind of like Disorder (UK) but more ripping, while the other two songs sound pretty different. They almost sound like a German band. The way the vocalist sings reminds me of Vorkriegsjugend especially.

Jesus, this LP just gets more and more HC!! Josva lays down some off-the-hinge HC tracks. The first and third songs barely hang by a thread but in a good way, kinda like Wretched (Italy). The middle song is quite different than the ones that surround it, with a sort of English vibe. I think it is because the vocalist sounds like the dude from early Chumbawamba recordings to me, haha.

The last two tracks on the compilation really contrast the rest of the compilation. But I enjoy them so much… it’s a great way to finish off a compilation like this. Dead Swingers is the first of the two. They are much more melodic and “punk” rather than HC. There are many layers to the song, with multiple tracks for the vocals and guitar parts that create a really encompassing atmosphere. They had a cassette some years before this LP where their compilation track came from called Nisseland. I would love to hear more, but I got to find some downloads…

Det Glad Vanvidd finishes off the compilation with like a 7 minute long song, haha. I don’t think I could listen to a song that long generally, but for some reason it doesn’t feel that long when listening to the LP. They incorporate strange elements into the song…there is like a bird “caw” that echoes frequently in the distance, synths, and other dissonant sounds. I think they might have more material released than any other band on this compilation, but unfortunately I think they were more an “experimental” band so I’m not sure I’d suggest diving deep into that one.

Shout to the Hardy Boys, WHAT UP! Michael told me about this compilation recently otherwise I would’ve never known it existed. Those two punk-ass mofos have shown me and friends countless HC bands, cheers yall! Till next time..

Staff Picks: July 30, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

Various: Keats Rides a Harley 12” (Happy Squid Records)

Last Saturday I was sitting on the couch, scrolling away on my phone and having a relaxing afternoon, when a picture of the Fuck-Ups’ FU82 popped up on a local shop’s Facebook feed (Sound Off Records & Hifi here in Raleigh, in case you’re wondering). I jumped in the car and nabbed that record for a good price, and I was very stoked because I’ve been looking for that one for a long time. I also bought a few other records that must have come in with the same collection, including a copy of Keats Rides a Harley, a 1981 compilation on Happy Squid Records, the label associated with the Urinals.

I’ve been aware of Keats Rides a Harley for many years, but I can’t remember if I’d ever listened to it. I can, however, assure you that it never hit me like it did this week. In fact, my Fuck-Ups EP hasn’t been getting nearly the attention it should because Keats has been monopolizing my turntable.

There are a few things I like about this record. First, the production is great. The recordings resemble what you hear on a lot of early California punk records like the Dangerhouse singles or the American Youth Report compilation, with all the instruments clear and present, but with the perfect amount of grit. It’s also super short and doesn’t wear out its welcome, much like Chunks or Cracks in the Sidewalk. I’m not sure why Californians loved short compilations, but I’m down. Finally, it’s just full of great tracks. The Gun Club song is awesome, the Meat Puppets turn in a scorcher from their early hardcore period, Toxic Shock sounds like a reject from the American Youth Report comp and the unknown S Squad serve up the record’s best song. And that’s just the a-side!

I also picked up a copy of Keats Rides a Harley’s unofficial sequel, Warf Cat Tales, and it’s also excellent, though it’s not as punk and the artwork’s Dick Tracy vibe hasn’t aged as well. The recordings are still raw, though, and the mix of bands is eclectic but very strong. cordings are still quite raw, though, and the mix of bands is eclectic but very strong.

Staff Picks: Jeff

Stray Bullet: S/T 7” (Adult Crash)

New EP from this band out of Sheffield, UK. I’m not exactly sure if this band shares members with Rat Cage, but if not, they surely are part of the same scene because I hear a lot of similarities. To me, what distinguishes Stray Bullet is that stylistically they sound a little less mangel/Swedish hardcore influenced, and instead sound more on the US hardcore side of things. I can only hope that the band’s namesake is an Out Cold reference. I don’t know why, but the singer has this shredded vocal approach, which does seem to fall somewhere audibly between Mark and Kevin. When you drop the needle on the first cut off this EP, the first few punches of guitar chords grab your attention just before everything drops out except for drums, which rage at a barreling pace not unlike the break in “Cult Band”. Then this thing just takes off. One earworm riff after another washes over you before you’re able to get a grasp on the songs, which immediately demands repeated listens. One thing I think Stray Bullet does really well, which I personally think is hard to pull off tastefully, is the insertion of catchy and dancey mid-paced sections. They manage to work these parts into their songs without it feeling like a stupid and unnecessary “mosh part”. Is this band recreating the wheel? Not really, but I do feel like they are surgical in making all the right moves to achieve a killer hardcore song.

Not to harp on Out Cold too much, but if you’ve never checked out their No Eye Contact EP from 1998, you should definitely check it out. “Stray Bullet” is the first track. Give it a listen ya dummie!

Thanks for reading,
-Jeff

Staff Picks: Dominic

Hey there music lovers. Are you surviving? Another mad week and just about the only thing that makes sense is music. This week I’m going back to the tail end of the 60’s for some obscure garage and psychedelic music and a little bit of tongue in cheek humor from the UK.
 
C.A. Quintet: Trip Thru Hell. Candyfloss records. 1969

First up a very rare record put out by a garage band from Minneapolis. This record, like most of their ilk, barely sold on its initial release and the band were never heard of again. In fact, the band were only really known in their local area. In a typical tale, their record gained popularity a good dozen plus years later with collectors and lovers of psychedelic music. Original copies soon commanded four figures. Thankfully a decent reissue came out in the 90s through Sundazed Music and now in the internet era the music can be heard through your computer. We did manage to stock a more recent reissue here at Sorry State and have it available.

There is so much that appeals about this record. The title and cover for starters. Artist Rod Eaton certainly came up with an image and feel that lets you know that this might not be your typical pop record. Musically it is a concept piece of sorts and quite accomplished for a young band. Instrument wise, it’s the usual guitar, bass, organ and drum set up of most sixties garage bands but with clever percussion added, the odd mariachi trumpet, sound effects and a haunting female vocal that is used for the main theme and which is repeated at several points through the record. When I first listened to the title track I thought I was hearing a lost Morricone Spaghetti Western soundtrack. It definitely sounds like something Tarantino might use for one of his films. It’s an epic nine plus minute track that slowly builds with the hypnotic vocal and music getting more and more intense as we take our trip thru hell and even features a phased drum solo that doesn’t actually suck.  

The mariachi trumpet features through second track Colorado Mourning and reminds me a little bit of Arthur Lee and Love. Spooky organ ushers in third track Cold Spider and the west coast Love vibes continue albeit with another twisted guitar solo. The remainder of the album continues in a similar vein and ends as it began with the second part to Trip Thru Hell. The record is just around thirty minutes and doesn’t out stay it’s welcome. There is now some interesting information available on the internet about the record and hopefully I have piqued your interest to go investigate.

The Head Shop: S/T. Epic. 1969

Another American record from ’69 and this time from a group out of New York that received the patronage of famous sixties producer and fashion icon Milan aka The Leather Boy. It was through his involvement that this unknown band were able to put out a psyche record on major label Epic. The album is really a psychploitation record. It definitely was trying to appeal to hip, turned on listeners but also throws in some covers to try and grab the casual buyer. The covers being a phased and trippy version of Sunny with some pretty good acid guitar and two (sigh) Beatles songs. However, the first, Yesterday, is worked into a longer Zappa like number and is tolerable and the second, Revolution, is a good song to begin with and the Head Shop version is full on acid guitar overload with bongos and you know that’s alright. Other highlights are the title track which sets their stall up as track one and the song I Feel Love Comin’ On which features guitar hero Larry Coryell playing. Throughout the record there are stereo effects and lashings of fuzz bass and distorted guitar, some tasteful Hammond organ and soulful vocals and some other nice touches. For an underground record, it’s pretty good and still has an accessible sound despite some of the weirder moments such as on the track Prophecy which employs a heavenly mix of choral vocals, church bell and harp among other things. Final track comes on almost like Steppenwolf until it disappears into a collage of electronic noise and keyboard sounds. Cool record, interesting story, expensive as an original, available here as a reissue.
 
Lastly, a quick bit of comic relief from England. The 1967 film Bedazzled starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore was on TV the other day. It’s a great humorous take on the Faust tale with Cook playing the devil and granting wishes to Moore’s character. One scene has Moore wishing he was a pop star and after he sings his big number dressed in gold lame to the screaming girls, he is upstaged by Cook (as the devil) who comes on and sings his number and steals the show. The soundtrack was composed by Moore, an accomplished jazz musician, and the title track is a great pop-psych track that seems an appropriate way to end things this week. Enjoy.





Staff Picks: Ava

Hiroshi Yoshimura: Soundscape 1: Surround (1986)

Hiroshi has been my go-to artist these last few months during a few big life changes I've had to endure, especially being a go-to falling asleep soundtrack. Soundscape 1: Surround has a way of alleviating these stresses I've been dealing with that I can't find in many other albums. His minimalist electronic themes are so easy to be whisked away in and become lost in the soft melodies. "In addition to solo performance and improvisational music, he made music for galleries, museums, building spaces and train stations." Yoshimura was a pioneer of Japanese ambient and minimalist electronic all throughout the 80's and early 90's. in 1986, the Misawa corporation hired Yoshimura to "provide something their own products were missing. Given out with every prefab home was Yoshimura's spellbinding Soundscape 1: Surround, an album of music that was meant to provide a foreground to a lot of something you might be missing." (Diego Olivas, October 12, 2016). I've never heard of an album given out with prefab homes to solely experience in that specific space. If you are a fan of anything at all ambient, Minimal Synth, or Environmental-Electronic, you should totally give this a listen.

Staff Picks: Usman

It’s funny I was thinking for a few days what record recently came out that I found compelling enough to write about here in the newsletter. I'm not sure how many people even read the shit I write here, but I still feel like its privilege to write record reviews in the Sorry State Newsletter. So I want to truly put effort into what I say here. Hopefully that will still be the case in a few years (unless Daniel’s fired my weed smokin’ ass by then).

Anyway, the Staff Pick idea hit me after we had packed up dozens of the Totalitär Heydays Revisited EP. How did think I not think of this before? I've been awaiting this release for a minute! I was getting antsy as I saw distros all over the States get their copies, as we still awaited ours. Seriously not hating on how long post takes right now. I am truly grateful the mail is still even moving, especially internationally. And, you can still mail a handful of records for less than $5. If you don't give your post carrier lil’ gifts around the holidays you should truly consider this, given that you buy records through the mail, I guess. Anyway, as I awaited their arrival I even watched some video on Youtube a few times of somebody filming their turntable with a smart phone as they played the first song on the EP. I was dying to know what the tracks would sound like. But then one day a big La Vida box arrived at Sorry State that included a single copy, destined to some lucky person in the States! Naturally Jeff and I played that mug IMMEDIATELY. (Thanks to whoever's disc that was by the way!!) If you didn’t hear it, the quality of the bonus 7" from the 1986-1989 compilation LP was kind of a letdown. But what could I really expect for something that was described as bonus disc of rehearsal takes? That's not the case here with the Heydays Revisited EP. On top of that, it is so cool to hear different recordings of songs I know and love, and even an "alternate" version too!! When I heard the “preview track” on Youtube I was already trying to figure out what session these songs would be from. I predicted they were from the same session as the Luftslott EP or maybe from the sessions of those random two songs they tack onto the end of Sin Egen Motståndare LP. But it’s neither. It is from sessions recorded around the same time, in the same studio, and mixed by the same person, haha. But these are tracks that have never seen the light of day! So cool! The back cover gives a brief history of the band at the time and where the recordings came from. This release was very well done, and I am so happy there are so many copies in circulation for everyone all over the world to enjoy. When this release was first planned I’m pretty sure it was set for only 500 copies, but after so much awareness and want for the EP the quantity pressed in the end was 4 times that. Record “collecting” is fun but it can be kind of a dirty game. Most of my Totalitär records I bought about ten years ago for fair prices, punk prices. But as time goes on there are always more people turned onto bands, the internet hype, blah blah blah; so it’s good to see this many copies of this EP in circulation so everyone can get a chance! Cheers Flox!! Also heads up to readers, Prank Records has a repress on the way of Sin Egen Motståndare! When I very first heard a Totalitär EP I was instantly obsessed (which I think was actually not an EP but a split with Dropdead). It was like Discharge but it ripped instead of pounded, if that makes sense. I bought any Totalitär record I could after that. Totalitär is one the greatest bands, in my opinion. Their first release was in 1987, although they were on many compilation tapes in 1986 (including an appearance under the name Anti-System before they were Totalitär. I believe the name comes from a Fanzine they did at the time). Since 1986, they had more or less consistently released records for 20 years. Every single record they released is worth the listen. This band has no filler, no dull moments. There is not a single moment I want to miss. It never gets old, just like the Discharge EPs. Don't ask me what my favorite Totalitär record is; they are all my favorite. I'm not kidding. Do you know any bands that have released compelling hardcore records for over 20 years? Most of the time when a band is around that long they’ve changed out so many members that it is barely even the same songwriters, or they’re all burnt out need to stop milking their name. That’s not the case with Totalitär. I once met the vocalist Poffen at the Dissekerad show in Richmond and I made a complete fool of myself, cos I pretty much just tried to say to him what I have just wrote here. Fuck it, I mean what I say. No shame. They are legends. Anyway, til next week… please, take care y'all and thanks for taking the time to read what I have wrote.

Staff Picks: July 23, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

Nico: Drama of Exile LP (1981)

A year or so ago I was listening to Henry Rollins’ radio show on KCRW and he played “Genghis Khan,” the opening track from Drama of Exile, and it just blew me away. I’d heard some of Nico’s other solo material in passing and I know the Velvet Underground pretty well, but “Genghis Khan” was something else. The chirping synths and tinny production reminded me of Bowie’s Berlin period, and Drama of Exile even features a cover of “Heroes.” However, Drama of Exile came out in 1981, a few years after Bowie had moved on from Berlin. Anyway, after hearing Rollins play “Genghis Khan” I looked up the album on streaming services and returned to it repeatedly over the next several months, and eventually I added it to my want list.

It took a long time to track down a reasonably priced copy because Drama of Exile never came out in the US, and COVID-19 has made me wary of ordering records internationally. A few weeks ago a copy popped up in the US, though, and I couldn’t pull the trigger fast enough. I’ve listened to it several times over the past few weeks, and I’ve only come to love it more. While I could deal without the covers (particularly “I’m Waiting for the Man”), the rest of the LP is brilliant. If you’re a fan of Bowie’s Berlin albums or Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life and The Idiot, there’s a strong chance you’ll agree.

Since getting into Drama of Exile I’ve also checked out Chelsea Girl and that’s great too, though the vibe is different. I think I need to check out The Marble Index and The End, though I’m open to other recommendations if anyone has any. Oh, and I’ve also just now discovered that there’s an entire alternate recording of Drama of Exile that sounds totally different. It never ends!

Staff Picks: Jeff

Subdued: Over The Hills and Far Away 12” (Roach Leg)

It's crazy, at the time of me writing this, Sorry State had actually already sold out of our copies of this LP. Luckily, we should have it restocked by the time the newsletter goes out. Who knew this record would be such a hit? PS, am I the only one who thought it was funny this gnarly new band out of the UK named their record after a Led Zeppelin song? (just kidding)

Anyway, this new Subdued LP, along with Rigorous Institution’s Survival single, is an interesting one-two punch from Roach Leg. Each band is kinda leaning in the crust direction, which is a refreshing sound amongst other releases on the label. In the description on Roach Leg’s site, Subdued is directly compared to Amebix. This is funny because I feel like way more-so Rigorous Institution's vocalist is a dead ringer for The Baron. It is very apparent that Subdued are ambitious in trying to create a dark and heavy atmosphere, especially like the introductory passage in “Problem of Evil”, but for me, I feel like the metallic influences end there. I couldn’t help but feel like there was a disorienting element in the guitars that seemed super familiar that I’d heard elsewhere in my UK hardcore… I took it upon myself to see who played guitar in this band. And A-HA! I knew it, Ralph from DiE and Permission plays guitar on this record. His signature guitar approach is so detectable. While I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, there’s a couple mid-paced riffs of this LP that come in and are straight up HARD. Even so, I think these familiar hardcore stylings mixed with some wisps of darkness are a welcome combination. Subdued’s sound does seem very authentic and thoughtfully put together. Definitely one of the more unique and powerful hardcore records I’ve heard in a while. Not sure if Sorry State will be able to get more copies, but definitely try to snag one if you get the chance. (Note: they're back in stock now! Buy away! --Daniel)

Staff Picks: Eric

What’s up everyone? Y’all miss me? I sure miss all of you. I moved up to Richmond a couple weeks ago and have been settling into a new town during a global pandemic (weird to think I haven’t been inside a business except for 711). I’m super grateful that Daniel and crew are allowing and encouraging me to continue writing for the newsletter. Moving forward I’m not sure what my picks are going to like seeing as I don’t have immediate access to all the sick new records that come into the store. For now, I want to tell you about a used record I picked up the other day:

The Catalyst: Voyager 12”: Anyone that knows me personally knows I’m a bit of a Catalyst super fan. I have many fond memories going to see insane sets from them when I was young (including a set in Northern Virginia where the cops busted into the room and they kept playing. I’ll remember that forever). Voyager was their last record before their demise. I originally brushed this record off because I knew this record marked the departure of their second drum, which made them a 3 piece. Part of the reason I loved them was seeing two drummers in a fucked up punk band and not some whack ass doom metal band (I like the Melvins just fine). I have every other record they put out and figured it’s about time I complete the collection. I’m bummed I slept on it so long. It’s the same perfect mixture or Dystopia, Nirvana and Pg. 99 that enticed me in the first place. In fact, the recording is so much clearer with only one drummer. The main difference I hear in this record compared to their earlier material is it is way more melodic, and in fact has some actual singing? It’s fuckin’ grungy as fuck. I definitely recommend it for fans of heavy, fucked up punk with dissonant chord structures. Truly interesting and unique tunes!

Staff Picks: Dominic

Whenever the temperature rises and the summer months set in I always feel the need to listen to Reggae, Afro-Funk and Latin music of some sorts. It’s hitting high 90s here in Raleigh and so for this week’s picks I thought I would include two of those genres with a couple of records that I have loved ever since first hearing them and that are somewhat connected as they originally appeared on the same label. The first is:

Earl Coleman And The Latin Love-In. Worthy Records. 1967

I was lucky to find a copy of his record soon after I moved to New York City in the late 90s at a flea market in Chelsea. It was a good day of digging because I remember finding Minnie Riperton’s Come to my garden that day also. Anyway, the Earl Coleman just looked interesting and I took a chance and was so glad I did. Coming out on the Worthy Records label, an independent Jazz label founded by Gil Snapper in the late 50s. Released in 1967 but recorded probably in 1966 as a single preceded the album, this is a beauty of a New York, mid-sixties Latin boogaloo record. And that term boogaloo is correct and the original use, so screw those turds trying to steal it. The record incorporates several Latin styles but has a couple of really good dancefloor numbers, namely Sex Drive In D Minor and Come On Down which sound like prime Ray Barretto, Joe Cuba et al. Coleman was the piano player on these sessions and the group supporting him are superb. The playing is top notch all the way through with nice ebbs and flows and tempo changes and a sound that is traditional but cool also. The cut that caught my ears first time listening though was Hippy Heaven, a song about LSD and how the singer’s (producer and label head Gil Snapper) girlfriend got high and jumped out of a window. Classic 6Ts stuff.
 
Next up is:

Mulatu Astatke: Mulatu Of Ethiopia. Worthy Records. 1972

Again, on the Worthy Label, I believe this was the last or close to last release on the label, coming out as it did originally in 1972. Mulatu was from Ethiopia and studied music abroad for many years and recorded three albums in New York, this one and two others a few years earlier in 1966 which were more straight up Latin-Jazz. The unique blend of Jazz with Afro-Ethiopian touches literally created a new hybrid genre of music that is known as Ethio-Jazz. Mulatu was a multi-instrumentalist who played keyboards, organ and vibraphone and a prolific composer. He blends the jazzy sound of vibes with Latin percussion and then adds the secret Ethiopian ingredient to come up with a sound that seems familiar but is at once very different and unique and instantly recognizable once you are familiar. I like this record also because it has a more contemporary feel than the earlier records and doesn’t date itself instantly. Over the last twenty years or so the world has caught up with Mulatu. His music has been used in movie soundtracks and the sound he created has definitely influenced some modern artists. Our man Gil Snapper says it best in the liner notes, “This is a record you cannot play just once. It is musically addictive, especially when the volume is turned up”.

Both of these records as originals are quite collectible but thankfully have been reissued a few times. We have a copy of the Mulatu currently in stock as I type if I have piqued your interest.

Cheers all. Until next time.



Staff Picks: Usman

VIVISECTED NUMBSKULLS

On my first listen knowing nothing about this recording - I thought this was an '80s band straight up. Is it bad that if the recording sounds like its from the '80s I am way more inclined to like it? To me, this tape sounds somewhere between a record you'd find on Riot City or No Future Records and maybe a Swedish HC band. I actually think they sound like Snobb Slakt a lot. I don't have the physical tape yet so I'm writing this based on the youtube link. Man, the first song kicks in full on fuckin raging... pounding drums up front in the mix, with the toms rolling right into yer fuckin face. The guitars are really fuzzy, not blown out like you would hear with a modern band. They do sound a tad digital but I think it pulls off the "'80s" sound really well. I bet the guitar tone will sound even better on tape! I'm always wondering what elements have to come together to get that gritty, cutting but clear guitar tone found on classic albums like Riistetyt's Valtion Vankina. Anyway, this VIVISECTED NUMBSKULLS tape features four tracks. The riffs are played really mean but the chords typically contrast each other in a catchy way. The rampant vocal style really leans into my UK82 reference, along with the general 1,2,1,2 vibe from the drums. Ah, don't let me forget about the brief solos sprinkled throughout the songs. I absolutely love the solos... dissonant and buried in the mix, but they stand out like mad cos the tone is super "clean" compared to the rest. It sounds like a whistling flute in the distance or something haha. It is strongly reminiscent of the Anti-Cimex solos found on the Really Really Fast and I Thrash Therefore I Am compilation tracks. This band walks the line of "tough" pretty often but then they do something that compliments the writing in this way that makes the band sound more "classic" than tough. For example, in the mid-tempo song Mausoleum, the bass maintains this groove that keeps the song from straying into the "wall-to-wall" HC sound. It's perfect. Most modern bands I hear who try to pull off classic HC or crust sounds have a tendency to come off a bit tough. I feel like it's such a fine line... VIVISECTED NUMBSKULLS certainly walks this line, but keeps its classy in the end. Top-notch HC 100% worth your time! Check it out. Sorry State has copies on the way.

As I said above, I don't know many bands that sound like Snobb Slakt. They don't play the "traditional" käng/mängel Swedish style like most Swedish bands I know and obsess over. Some elements of Snobb Slakt do remind me of other Swedish bands I know like Headcleaners, Wax, or Ab Hjärntvätt. I wish I knew more about them! They have many appearances on compilation tapes and a cassette release "Anti-Disco" that was released before this 1984 EP. I don't know any bands affiliated to them, or where they are from either. I looked up the mailing address on the back of this EP and its a small coastal city close to Denmark called Helsingborg. However, this is just the mailing address for booking/info so i'm really not sure if the band is even from there. Check out the EP! I thinks it's fairly underrated, and still "fairly" affordable. I got my copy from Dennis Nukke from Solar Funeral (if yer reading this, WHAT UP!).

P.S. I have a few records for trade. email me if yer interested, or if you have any info you'd be kind enough to share on Snobb Slakt!!!

in.decay@yahoo.com
Betong Hysteria - Spontan Abort (MES 4)
Death Side - All Is Here Now (HG 15)



Staff Picks: July 9, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

Alan Watts, Boreta, Superposition: ”Listen, Dream” 12” (superposition.world)

As I’ve mentioned before, Dominic has this habit of pulling things out of our bargain bin and handing them to me saying, “I think you might like this.” This is one he didn’t know much about, but had trouble pricing because of the lack information available online. Knowing I was into meditation, he thought it might be an interesting listen. Boy was he right!

This LP, as far as I can tell, takes a guided meditation recorded by Alan Watts in 1971 and gives it musical accompaniment, a swirl of Tangerine Dream-esque spaced-out synth noises. As I mentioned in a previous staff pick, I’ve been meditating for a while now, but I’ve been using the Headspace app. That app is very much like other meditation techniques I’ve used, which focuses on mindfulness and feels very modern and science-y rather than new age-y. Watts’ guided meditation has no problem drifting into new age-iness. First he has you focus on your breath and slow down, much like the meditations I’m familiar with, then he breaks down your ego, pointing out that what you refer to as your “self” is a mental construction, an abstraction. His voice is gentle but authoritative, and his accent makes me think of the kindly, elderly narrators on old British children’s TV programs. There may or may not have been mind-expanding substances helping the process along, but listening to this LP while lying on my couch in the dark, I had a full-on psychedelic experience. It was awesome.

The musical accompaniment is great too. Much of Watts’ guided meditation focuses on processing sound, so having the ambient music underscores his point while remaining unobtrusive. The b-side of the records contains instrumental versions without Watts’ voice, and while I haven’t actually listened to that I’m sure it’s a fine listen as far as this very spaced-out ambient electronic music goes.

I’m not sure if it’s possible for anyone out there to buy this LP… it’s just one of those things that fell into my lap. But I had share because this was, by far, my most intense musical experience of this past week.

Staff Picks: Jeff

Regimen De Terror: Inherente Del Poder 7" (La Vida Es Un Mus)

Raging debut EP from this new band out on La Vida. I’d never heard anything about this band, but because the lyrics are sung in Spanish, I wanted to know where exactly Regimen De Terror is from… After some brief research, it seems like they’re based out of the Basque Country. With so many bands nowadays adopting the “D-beat” moniker to describe their sound (which in some cases I think is totally inaccurate), it’s refreshing to hear a band totally nail the earliest conception of playing hardcore in this manner, and do it with spirit and authenticity. Regimen De Terror doesn’t seem like they would want to attempt to incorporate elements of metal or fill in gaps with layers of blaring noise. Rather, their approach to playing these songs, and particularly the production on this EP, comes across totally classic sounding and sonically truly reminiscent of the first 3 Discharge singles. Also, it’s not raging fast – it’s got what I call that “in-between” tempo going on. Now, I’m not sure if these notions I’m getting are reflective of the band making some kind of a mission statement. Like I don’t know if they’re “taking a stand” to try and sound this way and distance themselves from current bands that sounds more “slick”, but it’s more fitting for my taste regardless. All that said, and maybe I’m being blind sighted by the vocals, but alongside the clear early Discharge sound, there is an aspect of Regimen De Terror that brings to mind 80s Spanish hardcore like Anti/Dogmatikss. Anyway, this EP is 5 tracks (most of which don’t clock in much over a minute), and it rips. If you think that based on what I’m describing this will tickle your particular punk itch, then I highly recommend checking this band out. Killer!

Thanks for reading,
-Jeff

Staff Picks: Dominic

The Fallen Angels: It’s A Long Way Down. Roulette 1968
 
The Fallen Angels were a psychedelic group based in the Baltimore/ Washington D.C. area who recorded a couple of albums and singles in the late sixties. Their first single on Laurie was a minor hit and their new label, Roulette hoped that subsequent album would be a hit also and mirror the success of pop acts like Tommy James and The Shondells who were also on the label. Their first album was a good mix of garage and pop-psych sounds but was promoted more as a pop record and didn’t really take off. Most groups wouldn’t have been given a second chance but Roulette, to their credit, gave the Angels full creative control to make the record they wanted. The result is It’s A Long Way Down. It naturally bombed and the group were subsequently dropped. Over the years as interest in obscure records from this period grew both their albums became sought after items. The cover alone on this one is worth having and is a great example of psychedelic art work. As for the record itself, it’s not a crazy hard rocking psych record but one more in tune with work by groups like The Left Banke, Bee Gees and later Zombies with similar baroque touches. Other references would be west coast acts like Love, Common People and Kak who all have elements of this type of sound. I have enjoyed this record since first hearing it and luckily it is still in print and available at an affordable price and we just restocked a copy. I think in these weird times, slightly strange records like this are quite appealing and I would recommend you to investigate. As I said, it’s not a record to blow your wig off but rather something to reflect on late at night or early in the morning.
 
D.R. Hooker: The Truth. On Records 1972
 
In recent years, knowledge of this lost gem has become more widely known but when I first saw and heard a copy it still had yet to be reissued and was a $1000 plus item on the collectors’ market. Apparently less than 100 copies were made as a private press record back in 1972. The cover would have you believe it is some kind of hippy or Christian rock record and you wouldn’t be far wrong with that assumption. But once the needle hits the grooves and first track The Sea begins, it soon becomes obvious that you are listening to something quite different here and a little bit special. Recorded back in 1972 in New Haven, Connecticut by Hooker, a reformed druggy hippy turned evangelical with a pick-up band of local musicians who were never heard of again. The group were presented with the material at the session and arrangements were hashed together and the whole album recorded quickly. The result is a true acid psych gem and one that has stood the test of time very well. Listening to the record, you could be forgiven for not nailing the ’72 recording date right away. Elements have a more late sixties sound, while other parts sound much more contemporary with a groovy and funky backing. There are several stand out tracks but for DJs, the song Forge Your Own Chains has a lot to offer. I was excited to score a reissue copy a while back and have often played this record at gigs and typically get someone coming up to the booth asking “ who’s this?” Luckily there are now several versions out there and we have an affordable version back in stock for you to check out. The Truth is out there.

Staff Picks: Usman

Bombanfall: Åsiktsfrihet EP (D-Takt & Råpunk)

(I think Åsiktsfrihet translates to "freedom of opinion, but that’s just what the internet told me.)

If you know me it’s probably obvious I'd pick this one...I'm pretty sure the first re-issue sold out lightning fast from the label, so I'd jump on this repress quickly if you can! These reissue discs sound EXCELLENT. D-takt is NOT fuckin’ around. When I first heard this hot slab I was already pretty deep in Swedish HC. I didn't really think much about the late '80s in Sweden, but damn did hearing this change my mind..I'm not sure if this is common response to hearing this record if you’re following Swedish HC chronologically? It's got all the elements of kängpunk but has this extra "crust" edge to my ears. Bombandall remind’s me Svart Parad and Krunch (Hello Bob only I guess) a bit more than any other Swedish bands, but they sound like they could be direct influences to Doom and a shit ton of bands onward. I am not well-rounded on the late '80s/early ‘90s so who knows. I love the drums on this recording, the toms cut through like mad. The slow intro leading leading into the bombardment..maybe they like Amebix? haha or Part 1 (also UK)... Not that it matters cos the entire EP rips, but holy shit the second track "Ögon I Mörkret" (Eyes in the Dark) blows the fuckin doors straight-off. The chorus part. Jesus. Then straight into the second track with mid-paced swingin like mug Discharge-beat. Perfect... Do I need to continue with the B side?? You've probably already heard this EP, and if not hopefully you've heard enough from me to just grab it. Cos you wont regret it. That import price is a lot, it sucks, but I will say this reissue was done beautifully and with authenticity.

Speaking of late '80s Swedish HC, here is Libresse: Krystvärkar LP. I really cannot remember when I first heard this record but it caught my ears right from the start, although it tested my threshold of "weirdness" soon after. At first, I thought they were from Norway cos they remind me of So Much Hate with their tendency to chain tempos/rhythms often. The LP maintains a ripping HC baseline, while some parts are overwhelmed with heavy melodic elements, and there are a lot of change-ups. This record came out in 1987, the same year as the Bombanfall EP. (I do know this was recorded in '86 though, I am unsure of when Bombanfall recorded their EP.) It was released on Hard Core Horror Records. They released some Anti-Cimex material but also Black Uniforms. The drummer of Libresse played on the earlier Driller Killer records. The guitarist of Black Uniforms and Driller Killer, Cliff, was also a later member of Cimex. Oh, Hard Core Horror also released D.N.A., who shared the same vocalist from the Anarkist Attak EP. Sorry, I'll stop nerding now and go back to the music. I said this album tests my threshold of weirdness. It's cos they have same parts that sound like straight-up black metal, and also parts that sound almost folky/Nordic or something I don’t even understand the routes of, haha. I suggested this record to Ava cos of these elements and it's funny cos yesterday I was playing this in the store and Dominic said it sounded like something Ava would like. Some songs certainly took many listens to grow on me, but the thing is that every song has some really cool ripping shit you can look forward to. The songs are not very short, and they have many passages from head-banging mid-tempo, to insane starts and stops, to groovy d-beats, to blast beats... it's truly like no other record I know. I think usually when a band tries to “fuse” that much shit together it just comes out so bad. I wish I had an insert with my copy, I wanna know some more about this graphic cover, cos it’s kinda ridiculous. My copy is so warped its unbelievable it can play without skipping. It’s the kind of condition you gotta leave to room to play the record cos you have a roller coaster of anxiety hoping the needle doesn't kick off as it spins. Anyway, I think this LP is definitely worth a listen - check it out! Peace.



Staff Picks: July 2, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

Caravan: In the Land of Grey and Pink LP (1971)

Most of my free listening time this week has been devoted to the new Cool Greenhouse LP, but I’ve also found time to throw this album on a few times over the past week. A while back I was catching up on my YouTube watch list, and one thing I watched was this video giving a primer on Canterbury Prog. That’s a term I’ve seen bandied about a lot over the years, and given how much I’ve listened to Gong and Steve Hillage in 2020, I thought it was time I boned up a little. I listened to all the albums mentioned in the video, but In the Land of Grey and Pink is the one that grabbed my ear, which is surprising because I don’t like a lot of music that has this kind of pastoral vibe. However, the meandering guitar lines and bright melodies are just irresistible.

Staff Picks: Dominic

Records and Footie.
 
Greetings all, I hope you are doing well? It’s been a funny ol’ time for me this past week. The proverbial emotional rollercoaster. My Mum had to have heart related surgery back in England and on the very same day, Liverpool FC won the English Premier League. Talk about mixed emotions. Mum made it through fine and is home recovering. As for Liverpool? What can I say? I’ve been a supporter all my life and am old enough to know the good times and the bad ones. We’ve had to wait thirty years for this particular title win and it came in the year that will be remembered for many other things other than football. When the pandemic hit and stopped the season it was possible that they wouldn’t resume and the season would be voided (among other possible scenarios) but thankfully the league restarted last week and games are being played in fan-less stadiums. Teams have been paying respect to those effected by the pandemic and also taking a knee at the beginning of each game to show support for BLM. In fact, every player had Black Lives Matter written on the back of their shirts instead of their name. Great to see the league showing a unified support for the movement. Great to see games being played again even if the fans can’t actually be there to cheer the teams on.

I mention football and particularly Liverpool because it has been something that over the years has influenced me, informed me, educated me and introduced me to so many people from all over the world. The same thing that music has done. Records have educated and entertained. There are many ways to take in knowledge but for me records and the music have been my great teacher. Growing up in the 70s and 80s music opened up the world to me. I was exposed to different cultures, races, nationalities and religions and soon learnt that we are all one on this planet, bleed red, have similar hopes and dreams and just want the best for ourselves and our loved ones. Each new record contained more signposts to other artists and music and taught me a little bit more about the world. Some music was more political than others, some was just fun but it came from humans and nothing else (for the most part) has the power to move people and bring them together other than the aforementioned football and other sports.

In the pre-internet era hearing music was not quite as easy as it is now. You had to put some effort in and a little foot work to get the best sounds. Radio ruled and the local record shop was the place to be. Listening to the radio in the UK was a mixed bag, it wasn’t all good. There was a good reason why pirate radio existed. However, at certain times of day there would be a show and a DJ that would make it worthwhile tuning in. For me that DJ was the great John Peel. He was simply the best and had the most eclectic show on radio. Plus, he was a Liverpool fan (The circle completes). Listening to his show you would be constantly making notes of new records to hunt for and you would hear so many different styles of music played back to back. Peel was like an IPod on shuffle play long before they had been invented.

This past week or so I have been listening to a lot of old John Peel Shows that are up on YouTube and it has been a lot of fun in addition to being a bit of time travelling. So, for this week, these are my “picks” for you to go investigate and enjoy. As well as John Peel Shows, I have also been playing another great old radio show that you can find on YouTube. This time from here in the US and New York City and originally airing in the early 90s. I’m referring to The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito show that aired on WKCR out of Columbia University. It was a hip-hop show that aired late at night/early morning and featured mostly new and upcoming artists in an uncensored environment. The late hours meant that FCC rules were a little looser at that point so guest MCs could truly freestyle when they came on. Later the show moved to Hot 97 and an earlier time slot and the freedom wasn’t quite the same. I highly recommend anyone who likes hip-hop and who hasn’t heard some of these shows to check them out. You’ll hear artists like Nas, Biggie, The Fugees and Jay Z making some of their first radio appearances among many others. When I moved to America to work on cruise ships, I used to have tapes of these shows (along with copies of The Source magazine) mailed to me. They were one of the best educations I could get and it brings me back to my main point of this writing, that of the power of music to introduce you to other people and cultures and to bring people together with love and respect.

Here are a couple of examples of each show for you to check out and some rabbit holes to fall down into.

Staff Picks: Usman

When I saw this re-issue was happening, I wasn't sure what it was. But when I looked at the track list and discovered it featured Bannlyst, then ALSO read "Members of bands on this release went on to form bands like Svart Framtid, Kafka Prosess, Stengte Dører and So Much Hate," I lost my mind. It was a must have! Svart Framtid was the first Norwegian band I ever heard. I bought their EP on whim back when I lived in Indy. At first, I thought it was a Framtid (from Japan) record but my friend behind the counter was like, "nah it's not Framtid but it's an '80s re-issue and its rips." It was expensive cos it was an import (look at me now…). I soon discovered the music alone was worth every dollar, not to mention the beautiful double-sided fold-out sleeve. The vocalist of Svart Framtid ran the label X-Port Plater, a small label based in Oslo, Norway who released records from 1984 to 1989. Almost all the Norwegian bands I know were released on X-Port Plater. Funny enough, all these bands share members too. I made a diagram to show the connections, rather than just trying to explain it in a confusing fashion.

Anyway, "Molde Punx Go Marching Out" is a compilation that was originally released on cassette format in very small quantities. Little did I know that Molde is a coastal town in Norway, and it's really not that close to Oslo… so I’m going to have to look into the "punk" connection between these two cities! I listened to the LP a shit ton of times when I got it, and the bandcamp link (maybe even more) while awaiting its arrival. I didn't know most of the bands beside Bannlyst. I wasn't really sure what bands specifically were affiliated with the bands I already knew and loved. And later, once I got the booklet in my hands I was surprised at times to see who was in each band. The booklet is absolutely beautiful. It's the size of the album cover. The pages are full of information, cool photos, flyers, etc. The back of the booklet has a photo of all the actual cassettes they ripped to make this release happening. It is truly amazing to see these tapes turned into something so well done. There are very few signs that this LP was made from old tapes because the quality is overall so damn good. Only in a few places can you hear the degradation of the original tape. There are a lot of bands on this compilation, and I don’t have the space to talk about each one. So I will make note of my listening highlights and share useful information from this release. I am taking the time to share this information cos unfortunately this shit is sold out. BPDT distro copies disappeared and before I could get any for SSR, the label had sold them all. Hoping for a repress!

Nevrose (Neurosis) starts off the compilation with two tracks and I enjoyed the fuck out of these songs… they are not HC, more like fast punk with really, really good chorus parts. The drummer reminds me of Riistetyt with the hi-hat goin’ tststststststststs almost nonstop. The band doesn’t sound really anything like Riistetyt, but a bit like Nolla Nolla Nolla! The vocalist was later in Bannlyst. Their voice grew up fast, haha. Recorded in October ’82.

Paranoia finishes off the A side with 3 tracks and they are fucking sick! The first song reminds me of UK82 with the gang vocal choruses and especially with where they decide to sing. The other two songs sound like an entirely different band. The drummer comes in with goddamn Discharge beat(!), the structure of the riffs is noticeably different, and vocals sound much more “Norwegian.” The riffs on the last two songs I can imagine a ‘90s crust band playing (in a good way though, like Crocodileskink or Macrofarge). Or maybe it just sounds like Agoni and I’m over thinking this cos I’m high as fuck. These are high-lights right? Note: this band has the same drummer and bassist as Nevrose, the first band on this compilation. Recorded in March ’83. (It’s obvious they were diving deeper into HC when you hear the progression here, so sick.)

Stygge Føt (Ugly Feet) open up the B side and are pretty cool. There are some things I am not super fond of (I think mainly the vocals), but that doesn’t mean I can’t grow to like them! The guitar parts are what made me curious about who was in this band cos some like “change-ups” reminded me of So Much Hate. The guitarist/vocalist of this band did later play bass in Bannlyst and So Much Hate though! Recorded in ’82.

Forbudt Ungdom (Banned Youth) is my favorite band on the B side! Fucking rips!! I think the only member it shares is the drummer was later in So Much Hate and had the vocal duties in Bannlyst too. Recorded in March ’83.

Skabb (Scabies) starts off the C side, and while unfortunately I do not enjoy listening to the tracks, I wanted to note that the guitarist was in Bannlyst and So Much Hate. Recorded October ’82.

Psykisk Terror (Psychological Terror) has my favorite tracks on the C side! It kind of reminds me of Chaotic Dischord when they play fast, and then Hard Skin when they play slower. Recorded March ’83.

Anfall (Seizure) kick off the D side with a riff that sounds just like the song “Anti-Cimex” off Anakist Attack to me, haha. Although this shit was recorded 10 months before the Anarkist Attack EP was. This sounds really nothing like Anti-Cimex, except for maybe it sounding a little “tame” like Anarkist Attak did. It seems Anfall started pretty early compared to the rest of the bands in this scene. Another early notable Norwegian band who absolutely rules is Betong Hysteria (Concrete Hysteria), check em out. Recorded in February ’81.

(Note: When I said Anarkist Attack EP sounded “tame” I just mean in comparison to Raped Ass and later material. But in reality those mofos were tearin’ it up in the early line-up and were not tame at all! The real note here: when the band was recording Anarkist Attack the engineers made them “calm down” the songs in the studio.)

And finally, like I said above when I saw Bannlyst on this comp, I knew I was down. When I first heard the tracks (cos you already know I skipped straight to them on bandcamp page) I was a little surprised. It wasn't as raging as I hoped. Don’t get me wrong, it's really good shit to hear, but it just isn’t as pummeling as their proper releases. After looking into it I realized Bannlyst had a different drummer on these early tracks! I recognized a few of these songs appear again with the new drummer on later releases. Man, that drummer they had for all their proper releases truly made the band shine above and beyond. I don’t mean any disrespect to the drummer from the demo, Geir Sverre Danielsen. This person contributed SO MUCH to this compilation including many photos to the booklet and many of the recordings of my favorite bands tracks on this compilation, including Paranoia, Forbudt Ungdom, and Psykisk Terror. Record in March ’81.

Skitzo - I've never heard anyone talk about this band. (I’ll keep this one short since I feel like I just wrote a bible.) This release, like other releases on Fight Records, was recorded in the ‘80s but was not released until the ‘90s. I wonder why this was the case with multiple releases on this label... like if they were just broke at the time? Or maybe they thought no one gave a shit about the material until later? Who knows, maybe these releases were originally some rare tapes that I just don't know about. Anyway, I heard this band on the "Finnish Spunk / Hard Beat" compilation, Tampere SS is credited with (Skitzo) next to their tracks, which naturally made me so curious. Eventually I came across a Skitzo EP and bought it right away. It’s definitely different from Tampere SS! Really cool though, some parts are ripping and some parts are more like chill “Finnish” sounding parts. Track 5 is straight up a Tampere SS song but a different version. These songs were recorded in 1984 in JJ-Studio, which is the same studio where Tampere SS, Bastards, Vaurio, Kaaos, plus more bands recorded! Make from Skitzo was also the drummer of Tampere SS. And they also shared the guitarist, Mika. Masa, the bassist of Skitzo, was the vocalist of Antikeho and the drummer of Bastards. Nappi, who has a guest appearance on track 4, was the bassist in Kaaos for a short time. Definitely a cool side-project of some really cool bands, grab the EP while you can!!

If you are still reading my words, cheers! I spend a great deal of hours “researching” and writing this stuff out. I wanna give a shout out to my homie Curt McGurt from Illinois (what up chickenhead!) He wrote me after my first staff pick “asking” me if Appendix was really even trallpunk? I think he might be right, I wasn’t really thinking about how trallpunk is a Swedish thing, not a Finnish thing... who knows, who writes the rules… These are our American perspectives anyways. Please anyone feel free to write me about any shit I say on here (or a trade list). Always trying to learn new shit or talk shit, my email is in.decay@yahoo.com

Staff Picks: June 25, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

Cybotron: Colossus 12” (Dual Planet)

When Record Store Day announced their 2020 releases earlier this year, this record was one I was most excited about. I knew nothing about Cybotron, but when I checked a sample on youtube, I was eager to hear the whole album. While most of this year’s Record Store Day releases were delayed until late summer and into the fall, some are already trickling in, including this one. Colossus is the band’s second album, originally released in 1978, and it sounds like Neu!, Pink Floyd, and Tangerine Dream had a baby. It’s entirely instrumental, and most songs glide along at the same mid-paced tempo. Synths recite classical-sounding motifs in a way that reminds me of prime-era Goblin, and other instruments weave in and out of the mix a la Can. Like Amon Duul II, some parts sound jammed out while others have a tighter, prog-ier backbone. I could see someone complaining the songs on this album are too similar, but I like that… it makes for a more effective zone out session. I’m curious what Cybotron’s other albums are like, but Colossus is a gem.

Staff Picks: Jeff

I’m not going to talk about any cool new records we have at the store this week. So, I hope you’ll indulge me in this rant:

Recently, Sorry State acquired a small batch of used records, most of them being punk and hardcore records released in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. This prompted a conversation that I had with Daniel in which he described this era as “Y2K Thrash.” I’ll be honest in that most bands playing hardcore at this time I never got super familiar with. Some bands I even intentionally ignored because musically they were not my bag at all. In my mind, a lot of bands from this period pre-dated and are a clear distinction from the explosion of interest in 80s US hardcore that made a wave around the time labels like No Way started releasing records, which we’ll say is around 2005. My era of getting into and discovering hardcore was definitely timed more-so with the No Way period than Y2K Thrash, so I missed the boat on some of these bands – exceptions being Career Suicide, Total Fury, etc.

Anyway, all this to say: one of the records Daniel pointed out to me in this used collection was Power Bomb Anthems Vol. 1 by Gordon Solie Motherfuckers. Damn dude, what a crusher. I feel like a sucker for not hearing this sooner. One of the first things out of my mouth as soon as I dropped the needle was “Wow, this sounds like Japanese hardcore.” Bands like Systematic Death immediately came to mind. Daniel went on to drop knowledge about how the Erba brothers and the Cleveland scene were a big help in spreading the love for Japanese hardcore in the US during this time. There’s even a track on this GSMFs record called “Burning Thrash Spirit”, which is pretty much a perfect description for their sound: Y2K Thrash meets late-80s Japanese hardcore. So yeah, I think I’ll be on an early 00’s hardcore kick for a while getting learnt. Man, I’m a chump.

Thanks for reading,
-Jeff

Staff Picks: Dominic

Waiting for a new release that really excites can be a lot like waiting for the bus. You wait and wait and then three come along one after the other. That’s not generally how things are here at Sorry State, as there is always something cool arriving each week, but I did feel like we got in three bangers that required my lunch money and that I should recommend to you.

Firstly, one that Daniel will no doubt be highlighting, as he and I share our love for this band is the new full length from The Cool Greenhouse. This self-titled album has been one that we have been eagerly waiting for ever since falling in love with those first sevens and EPs. Fans of late 70s/early 80s UK DIY will find a lot to like here, although on this record the group have expanded the sound a little and made use of a proper studio, so not as raw and homemade as before. What does remain is the humor and political commentary and clever observations on modern day living from chief member Tom Greenhouse. This is essential stuff and in some ways, reminds me a little of The Streets: Original Pirate Material album in its very British references and aesthetic. Like that record, The Cool Greenhouse have made a very topical and fresh album that will age well and appeal to Anglophiles, punks and pop music fans alike. Trust.

Next up, two single reissues that only the fortunate, wealthy or those that were there might have in their collections and are now finally available to us, the filthy masses. Namely, The Times: Red with Purple Flashes and Z Cars: This Is singles.

The Times single came out in 1981 and is quite a collectors’ piece as an original. Referencing the sixties Mod band The Creation with the title, B-side and general vibe, this is a perfect slab of second generation mod cool. Creation guitarist Eddie Phillips famously described his band’s music as Red with Purple flashes and The Times manage to sound somewhere between that sixties sound and the type of music groups like The Jam and other second wave Mod groups were making. B-side Biff! Bang! Pow! references another Creation song and inspired Alan McGee to name his indie pop band after it and ultimately the name of his label. To drive the Pop-Art theme home, the single comes in an Andy Warhol Campbell’s soup can inspired sleeve.

Z Cars: This is single originally came out in Australia back in 1980 and pretty much sunk without trace, not helped by negative reviews at the time both from the press and band themselves. I am not sure why this record wasn’t better received as to my ears both sides are great pop punk songs that wouldn’t be out of place on a volume of Do the Pop and sound like the sort of stuff The Victims, The Saints and Radio Birdman were pumping out at the time. Although named after the old British TV show Z Cars this is not the theme music from that show that gets played before Everton games at Goodison Park and is more like an early Scientists record such as Frantic Romantic/Last Night. Crikey!

Get on these quickly, we have a few in stock but they are sure to sell fast.





Staff Picks: June 18, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

Television Personalities: ...And Don't the Kids Just Love It 12" (Fire)

Last week we got in a fresh reissue of one of my favorite records of all time: …And Don’t the Kids Just Love It, the debut LP from Television Personalities. I could be wrong, but I get the impression that Television Personalities' most well-known music is their first EP, Where’s Bill Grundy Now?, which features the title track and the all-time classic “Part Time Punks.” That EP is great and those songs are classics, but on that EP I think the actual songwriting gets overshadowed by the lyrics, which are among the first self-referential meta-commentaries on punk (a tradition that continues to this day, not the least with North Carolina’s own ISS). On ADTKJLI, however, the band’s songwriting packs atomic force. “The Angry Silence?” “The Glittering Prizes?” “World of Pauline Lewis?” “Geoffrey Ingram?” “Look Back in Anger?” In my mind, punk has produced very few pop nuggets that eclipse these songs. While those are just the highlights, the album also includes moodier moments like “Silly Girl” and “La Grande Illusion” and playful psychedelia like “I Know Where Syd Barret Lives” and “Jackanory Stories,” giving this album a three-dimensionality that makes it feel like a journey, as all great albums should. It’s a shame Fire Records releases are expensive here in the States (a problem that has also affected another one of my favorite bands, Leatherface), but as the saying goes, this one would be a bargain at twice the price.

Staff Picks: Jeff

Battlefields: 4 Track Demo cassette (self-released)

New demo from this band made up of members from US and Canada (I think?). It’s safe to assume the band name was lifted from one the most raging Iconoclast songs. Musically, this reference-point isn’t too far off either. With the recent Iconoclast reissue on Sealed, you can finally hear the band’s early recordings in high fidelity. That said, there was something magical about hearing the rage and power when those songs from their demo were still totally muffled and blown-out. Battlefields seems to have taken this approach to heart, because this tape is totally fucked up sounding. Crushing, catchy and raging fast riffs are obscured by a veil of noise. The tape honestly sounds like they stuck one microphone in the middle of a room, plugged it into an old 4-track and recorded everything pushed all the way into the red. The pulse and hits of the drums are almost unintelligible. Still, you can feel the energy of the band playing. This demo doesn’t feel overworked or overthought -- it comes across more like an urgent attempt to make something furious and intense. Don’t worry about artfully putting together songs as part of your “craft”. Make raging hardcore by any means necessary…

Staff Picks: Eric

Bad Religion: Against the Grain 12" (Epitaph)

The other day I scooped a few original pressings I have wanted in my collection for a while: Bad Religion: Against the Grain, Bad Religion: Suffer, and Minor Threat: Out Of Step (with misprint black back cover... it's so fucking sick). Needless to say, I've been spinning these on repeat for the past few days. As much as I love all three records, the one I keep going back to is Against the Grain (plus no one wants to hear me review Minor Threat, how fuckin' whacky would that be?).

Against the Grain is Bad Religion's fifth studio album. It is the last album of what Jeff refers to as "The Holy Trifecta": Suffer, No Control, and ATG. This record feels darker than the others; to me it seems like there are more minor chord structures in these songs. Moreover, Greg Graffin sings with intensity and conviction I don't hear on other albums. I have always been a sucker for BR's infectious "woahs" and "ahhhs"; Greg Graffin has a natural sense of harmony and it shines on this record in a way that is still aggressive and punk. The guitar work feels haunting (check out "Anesthesia" for instance, plus, it has a badass sad/heavy outro). An interesting thing I learned while doing some light background research for my staff pick is that ATG is one of few BR records to feature songs that aren't written by Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz.

Bad Religion isn't for everyone. Many people fuck with their early 80s HC material, which is great (don't get me wrong), but to understand Bad Religion's influence on contemporary punk you gotta work your way through their discography (arguably this era of the band defined their sound moving forward). If you're into melodic punk but haven't dived into Bad Religion, I think Against the Grain is a great place to start.

Staff Picks: Dominic

Hello friends, we are making steps to begin “normal” operations here at the store but at least for one more week let’s have another edition of Dom’s Digs, shall we? Those of you who are regulars to the newsletter will know the drill by now but for the newbies, basically I have been going through our cache of bargain bin records and pulling out interesting and good titles for your potential enjoyment. These are records that normally only in-store customers would see. I try to mix it up genre wise and most if not all are in excellent condition. A full list is viewable here and a quick flip video is posted to our social media. Okay, here are a dozen out of a fresh batch of thirty I pulled for you this week.
 
1: $5 The Yardbirds: Original Recordings 1963-1968. A cheap and cheerful German compilation of some fine Yardbirds recordings. Starts with the great The Train Kept A Rolling and is worth it for that track alone. This is the band that had Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck in it at the same time and previously featured Eric Clapton as guitarist in case you were wondering.

2: $5 Jean Michel Jarre: Oxygene. A classic in electronic music. Not quite Kraftwerk but still enjoyable music and great to have in the background to relax to. This was a huge hit and put Jarre on the map back in the late 70’s.

3: $4 Roberta Flack: The Best Of. Modern listeners know her from The Fugees cover of Killing Me Softly but there is plenty more to dig and enjoy here, including The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face and her duets with Donny Hathaway. Beautiful copy this too.

4: $5 Delaney & Bonnie” The Best Of. This duo covered a lot of ground musically, from country to soul making stops at folk, blues and rock along the way. Buddies of Clapton and were in the movie Vanishing Point. I have always loved the track When The Battle Is Over which leads this collection. Features Duane Allman on some tracks and a whole host of big session players.

5: $4 B.B. King: 20 Greatest Hits. To repeat a line I use often, every household should have some B.B. King in it. The King of the blues. This is a pretty tight Italian collection of twenty prime King sides.

6: $4 The Beat: What Is? Or the English Beat as they are known this side of the pond. Such a great band and one of the original ska groups that came out of the Two-Tone movement. This collection has non-album singles and live tracks along with the hits like Mirror In The Bathroom and my personal fave Twist & Crawl.

7: $5 Muddy Waters: Rock Me. Back to the blues with the great Muddy Waters and this Dutch collection of ten of his killer blues sides. No thrills package but all you need is the music.

8: $5 Various Artists: Blues From The Fields Into The Town. This German produced collection has some cool country blues sides and hot Chicago type blues cuts. Makes for a good blues primer for those new to the genre but will appeal to more seasoned listeners too.

9: $4 Mott The Hoople: Greatest Hits. If you don’t own any of the albums this is the perfect introduction to the band. Includes All The Young Dudes, written for them by David Bowie but Ian Hunter shows that he knew how to write a song too.

10: $5 Various Artists: The Best Of Disney. Pretty cool double album of prime Disney movie soundtrack highlights. Well worth the five bones.

11: $5 Stray Cats: Built For Speed. The US version of their first album with different tracks and running order to the UK pressing that included later single sides. So many good songs on this including their awesome cover of the Eddie Cochran cut Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie where Brian Setzer shows his guitar playing chops. Rockabillies Rule OK.

12: $5 ZZ Top: Fandango. Another American trio that rule, the ‘Top of the 70’s mixed blues and hard rock with Tex-Mex flavors to great effect. This one from 1975 has them at the mid-point of their career, is partly live and a fun play.
 
Alright, there you have it. Another dozen cheap but cheerful platters needing a good home. Remember music is your best friend and will reward with repeated listening time and time again. It’s also one of the best ways to expose yourself to other cultures, people, races and political stripes. You can get quite a good education from playing records folks. Thanks for following along and get in touch with us if you want any of these or the other titles in this week’s batch. Cheers!

Staff Picks: Usman

Systematic racism is so mechanized, sometimes it’s hard to understand each individual cog. Regardless of how "woke" you think you are, you will inherently play a role as an oppressor. I was born as a man, and I do my best to watch my footsteps. I also try to reflect on the path I have taken. Reflection allows me to actively address and combat misogynies embedded into my brain and inform my action. But this doesn’t make me exempt from being a misogynist. Yes, I am a feminist. Yes, I am an anarchist. But this doesn’t change the fact that all men, including me, are misogynists. Or the fact that all white people are racist. You cannot escape your privilege. To try and do so means you refuse to acknowledge the plight of the oppressed. Feel me? Anyway, I say this stuff cos in these trying times there’s a lot more important things you can do and read to help understand your role as an oppressor and use your privilege to help your community and protect the human targets around you. The difference between punk/hc and other “music” is that punk is a revolutionary movement, a state of mind. Yes, I buy pieces of plastic (records) but in the plastic grooves you will hear thought-provoking, insurrectionary ideas. And in the papers that surround the plastic you will find words and images that critique society while addressing the privileges we bask in at the expense of marginalized populations. Punk is the only subculture I know where you can travel (almost) anywhere in the world and find like-minded strangers who will give you a spot to sleep and something to eat. Punk is the only subculture I know that practices acceptance of all people, except those who are intolerant of others. Punk is about learning and teaching, punk is about recognizing social injustices and taking action against them! In punk there is no hierarchy (except for those pretentious assholes who seem to be having an identity crisis..move along tourist!) In punk, we work TOGETHER to reach goals. If the entire world adopted a "punk" lifestyle, maybe we would not live in such a sad place. I will never stop being punk and buying records. It may sound weird to say it's important to buy something, but I believe it's important to buy records, especially from current bands/labels! It is integral to our lifestyle to support bands and labels. If that were to stop, then punk would ultimately stop… look what happened to MRR. When a culture dies, its ideologies and practices will soon be ideas of the past. Anyway, this a record review not a “political” platform..

Löckheed Conflict Delirium EP (Blown Out Media)

I recently got this EP in a trade with the label. It’s the kind of EP I put on and then continually flip over the course of the afternoon cos I just can't get enough. Grooving Discharge-beat locked into the blown-to-hell buzzsaw guitars and its near-perfect production makes this record stand out. The riffs are straightforward, but the drums and guitar parts compliment each other. Certain elements of the EP remind me of 偏執症者 (Paranoid)'s Satyagraha 12” (which is a hands-down unfuckwithable album; I'm sure you’ve all heard it). Sorry State will have this EP in stock soon as well as a restock on the Project GBG EP.

Various Artists: Pultti EP (Pultti – GLASH-1)

I recently got this EP with a few Skitkids records. Skitkids rule and you should listen to 'em immediately if you have not! I think I have all their records, but I was getting some duplicates to send to a friend. To be honest, when I first saw the Pultti EP I had not heard of it, but when I saw Appendix and Maho Neityst were on it, I was sold! The record was released by the vocalist of Maho Neitsyt, Pexi, in 1982. It is the only release on his label, Pultti. This compilation features two Appendix songs from the 1982 LP but with the vocalist before Mikki! I didn’t even know they had a vocalist before him!! So cool. The tracks are more raw in production and played a bit slower. The vocalist sounds so much like Mikki that I had doubts it was a different vocalist, but I read a bio about the EP that says it’s a different person. To cross-reference, according to Discogs, Appendix had vocalist named Olli, but it doesn’t specify on what albums. Aside from the tracks from Appendix and Maho Neitsyt, it features three other exclusive tracks from obscure Finnish bands such as Nato, Etuala, and Antikeho. Appendix were the first "trallpunk" band I had ever heard, so I was very excited to hear these early recordings. Maho Neitsyt is a band I have developed an affinity for later in life. The thing about trallpunk is it's played too HC to seem like "pop punk" and Swedish naturally sounds more aggressive than English, so it is easy for me to separate the idea that Appendix sounds like pop punk. Unlike Maho Neityst. Ive always hated poppy sounding bands, I even hated the Ramones when I was a young punk haha. Maho Neityst has pretty much all "poppy" or catchy riffs, but all the recordings are blown out as shit and the main thing is the vocalist is fucking brutal. The contrast is so sick. It's like the same idea where Gai (Japan) has riffs that sound ridiculous (in a catchy way) but they are plastered with disgusting vocals. Nato and Antikeho both have tracks on the Russia Bombs Finland compilation (Propaganda) and Etuala's appearance on this record is their only vinyl appearance!

Staff Picks: June 11, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

Romero: Honey 7” (Cool Death)

This past week we restocked one of my favorite records of recent memory, the debut single from Australia’s Romero. Last time we stocked this single, we sold all of our copies in a few days. In fact, I didn’t even have time to grab a copy for myself, but even without a vinyl copy I played the digital release repeatedly. These two tracks are perfect pop songs that build and ebb and flow and feel like complete journeys in and of themselves. When I wrote a description a few months ago, I compared Romero to Sheer Mag and Royal Headache, which makes sense given the contrast between the rough recording and lofty pop songwriting chops. However, nowadays I’m more inclined to compare this single to a classic like the Buzzcocks’ “Ever Fallen in Love” or “What Do I Get?” I love singles, but it’s rare that one feels like a complete and coherent world unto itself, that two songs on two sides of vinyl seem to have everything you need without pointing to an album or some other part of a band’s discography. Honey has that, and it’s a single I can flip again and again without getting bored. In fact, when I listen I get addicted, finding it difficult to break the feedback loop and move to something else. I’m not sure why, but this one hits me HARD.

Staff Picks: Jeff

Skitklass: Sekaino Byoudou Sayonara 7" (Distort Reality)

It’s always funny to me when a band’s aesthetic doesn’t match the way they come across musically. While I think I’ve heard some of their previous releases, based solely on presentation, I always go into listening to Skitklass expecting noisy mayhem… like random chainsaw revving sounds to be happening in the background or some other weird shit. Reading other musings about the band, it seems like people really try to accentuate the mystery and enigmatic quality of the band’s emergence. All pretty silly. They’re often tagged with “raw punk”, and the label’s description on this new record refers to their songs as 1 minute blasts of violence. On this new record, Tokyo’s leather-clad, mask-wearing Skitklass have pretty clean guitars and not very blown out production, so to me they kinda sound more like early Smart Cops or something. Daniel even described them as “The Hives playing d-beat.” All that said -- this record totally rips!

Sorry, couldn't find a streaming link for this!

Staff Picks: Eric

CB Radio Gorgeous: S/T 7" (Thrilling Living / Not Normal)

Great debut wax from some of the people that brought you Forced Into Femininity, Negative Scanner, and CCTV (believe it or not the first thought I had while listening to this was, "Damn, this reminds me a lot of CCTV"). Very dry, hooky and punchy; total telecaster punk. The obvious influences that come to mind are Suburban Lawns and Devo, but it feels less corny and more punk. I saw this group in Oklahoma City last year and thought they kicked ass. I'll be bringing a copy home for sure!

Staff Picks: Dominic

Hello everyone. Thanks for checking in with us. We missed doing a newsletter last week although I think we all can agree that it was obvious why. Although 2020 still has plenty more in store we are back again doing what we know, bringing people together through music. For this week’s Dom’s Digs we have a good cross section of music, some classics and pretty much all in very nice condition. There’s thirty going up today but here are a dozen keepers.
 
$3 Spencer Davis: Greatest Hits. Post Stevie Winwood era tracks. So many good tunes in a blues/R&B vein. Standouts being I’m A Man, Gimme Some Lovin’ and Keep On Running. Great stuff.

$5 The Ventures: A Go-Go. Maybe one of the most prolific instrumental combos of the 60’s, they literally have a ton of records, mostly in the surf/go-go mold and covering hits of the day. Their psych albums are worth looking for and on all their records there is always a couple of tasty originals. This one is still in the shrink and looks great and sounds groovy. Chock full of hits.

$5 Deep Purple: Shades of Deep Purple. Early era Purple and more pop than heavy but with some great tunes on here. Hush was the hit and they even cover Help. Also, with the obligatory cover of Hey Joe.

$5 Eddie Cochran: The Very Best Of. The cornerstone of any decent rock n’ roll record collection needs some Eddie Cochran. A great guitar slinger and a life cut short. Here are sixteen great sides he cut in the late 50’s.

$5 Gene Vincent: Greatest. You can’t have Eddie with out Gene. Two of the greatest original rockers. Gene was in the car crash in England that killed Eddie on that fateful night back in 1960. If you are a fan of rock music, you need these sides in your life.

$5 Lulu: To Sir With Love. A great movie but this album is not really the soundtrack, although it features the title song. Rather a cash in LP that gathers up a lot of singles and other Mickie Most produced sides and is totally great. Worth it for the song Love Loves To Love Love alone.

$5 Various Artists: Phil Spector/ Echoes of the 60’s. Back to Mono with the Wall of Sound and these twenty awesome Spector produced cuts. Prime Brill Building Girl Group sounds featuring The Crystals, The Ronettes, Darlene Love and Ike & Tina. A must have for any self-respecting household.

$4 Jose Feliciano: A Bag Full of Soul. A little Folk, Rock and Blues with this early album from Jose. First cut If I Really Bug You has been a DJ fave of mine for years.

$5 Laura Nyro & Labelle: Gonna Take A Miracle. Another personal favorite of mine and continuing with the Girl Group theme of the Spector collection. This is such a good and fun record where Laura joins Labelle to sing a collection of Motown and other 60’s pop hits. Produced by Gamble & Huff.

$4 Pointer Sisters: Break Out. Sad to hear of the passing of Bonnie Pointer this week. Perhaps an opportunity to celebrate her life with this 80’s classic.

$4 The Pretenders: Pretenders II. Talking of an 80’s classic, you can’t get much better than this. Just a great album from start to finish. Plus, a great Kinks cover on I Go To Sleep.

$5 The Ponys: Laced with Romance. Something a little more recent, 2003 and a mostly solid indie rock garage album from this Chicago band. Some good tunes on this, I liked Let’s Kill Ourselves.

Remember, you can see what's currently available in Sorry State's online bargain bin here.

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,
-Jeff

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! https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/cruel-noise/e/69559400?autoplay=true

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: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1UX0aAZic4jgFI2in2VVipRZThQdWF-x5mtHyMLw2BHE