Usman's Staff Pick: June 1, 2023

Hello and thanks for reading. Today I am here to talk about this killer VORKRIEGSJUGEND 12"! The first pressing of this record sold out super quick. I think we got like only ten copies or less. Luckily it's back in print and we got a nice stack, so I am happy to write about it this time around. I discovered VORKRIEGSJUGEND soon after my adventures into German hardcore. I don't really know much about the band, but their 7" is absolutely killer. It seems like it might be rarest thing released on Pogar Records? Maybe cos they have pretty limited reissues. I was just looking on Discogs and the 2003 reissue LP goes for over $100, damn. When I was on there, I also saw this pretty cool write up on this very 12" I'm here with today. It's well-written and provides way more insight into the band than I could, haha. Nevertheless, I still wanted to highlight some shit. This comes from a sound board recording, so the audio is great. I mentioned thinking the 7" is killer, and they play all but one song off of it, I think. So of course, it had me raging! It seems like there is one track on this live 12" that was never properly recorded, but I could be wrong. I looked around YouTube and found some other live recordings and they had played the same song. This one is pretty nice, it's got a ton of sets on it - but still not the one that has been reissued on this LP! It was an excellent touch the LP comes with fold-out insert that has a photo of VKJ playing that night and a scan of the gig flyer. The insert folds out to show a bunch more flyers with them playing with some killer bands. This is the first release on Stonz Records, based in Berlin. I hope they have more planned cos I think this live LP is excellent and everyone should get one, haha. If you don't know VORKRIEGSJUGEND, I would definitely check out their EP. Their LP is cool too, but not quite as raging. A live LP may not be the best place to start if you've never heard a band...who knows though, if you don't buy it now maybe you'll regret it later. Oh before I go, I wanted to drop a link to this video on YouTube of VKJ playing live in 1984. It looks like they are playing in the basement of their squat or something. Since I don't understand German of course I have no idea if that's their squat. There's a handful of videos on there from the same occasion it seems, and it's all based around an interview of some sort. Alright then I’ve got to go! talk to you next week. Thanks to everyone for the support!!

Usman's Staff Pick: May 25, 2023

Hello and thanks for reading. I’ve been out sick from work this week, unfortunately. I am here today though to write about this (also) sick record from LANGUID. However, before I begin, I wanted to mention this killer new shit that I can’t get enough of. While it’s just a Bandcamp link for now, I know that it will eventually be released on Adult Crash. This is some of that real deal Tottis-worship, from none other than Uppsala, Sweden! The vocalist, Martin, booked SCARECROW in Uppsala on our European tour. (Hi Martin!!) It makes me feel super cool to know someone in the band across the ocean, especially cos I like it so much, haha. I can’t wait for the record. Until then I will be frequently visiting their Bandcamp site. So, LANGUID first came on my radar with their debut 7”. Their sound very quickly caught my ears. The most obvious influence I pick up on here is DISCHANGE. When a band like this is your primary inspiration, I think you gotta be super creative. Since almost all the songs are slow, the riffs must be very catchy, and the D-beat MUST groove. If you can’t achieve both, the record is going to sound sterile and just drag on. This pulled-back DISCHARGE style has been done countless times, but every now and again a band executes the sound with perfection, like LANGUID has done here. I feel like the DISCHANGE formula is unique, and so influential, because despite the songs being groovy and catchy, the riffs are still heavy and mean. Soon after DISCHANGE changed (haha) over to MEANWHILE they developed a more “rocked out” style compared to the heavy edge that DISCHANGE carried. Don’t get me wrong, they have plenty of songs that still have that heavy sound (including every single track on this amazing 2005 EP), I just feel like they leaned more into other aspects of the songwriting as time went on. Their 1995 masterpiece Remaining Right Silence is before I notice this change, however. Alright, LANGUID. It’s cool Desolate has decided to get this LP back in print. I remember trying to find a copy soon after it was released was no easy task. It was released only by the band in Canada. This Desolate release includes a bonus 7” which features their 2017 demo, remastered at Communichaos. I had never heard these recordings before. All these songs are re-recorded on the LP I think, but it’s always cool to get to hear their original take on the songs. Aside from the excellent songwriting on these releases, LANGUID’s artwork has always gotten my attention. The illustrations are simple yet mean. Just like the music, haha. They always gave me a Scandinavian Jawbreaker kind of vibe, but it doesn’t come off quite as cheesy. Naturally, I was excited to see this Desolate release came with a poser of the front cover! Alright, I think that’s all I got left in me this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone for the support. Peace!

Usman's Staff Pick: May 18, 2023

Hello and thanks for reading. I have been listening to KOHTI TUHOA a lot lately. I recently moved and Pelon Neljäs Valtakunta keeps finding its way back onto my turntable. I wrote about them in a staff pick a few years ago when I first heard them. They instantly had me hooked. When I heard their PAINAJAINEN cover, I lost my mind. On the album I just mentioned they have a song entitled “Kohti Tuhoa.” Unfortunately, there are times when a band has a song named after the band and it just doesn’t hit very hard. But every now and again there are occasions like this where it hits so hard you punch the fuckin air, even if you’re just jamming in your room alone. I feel like when you name a song after the band, it must be like the best song ever. It probably won’t have the same effect when you pull it out of the context of the full album, but “A Mean While” by MEANWHILE is another excellent song of this style. The lyrics are super clever, too. My drive to work takes about as long as the Who Killed Dove EP. I’ve been playing it every day for the past two weeks I think, haha. Funny enough, the song starts off with a song entitled “Crow.”

Anyway, today seems like a good day. I’m looking forward to whooping ass tonite in laser tag, and as you can see from my staff pic, I had a pretty sick mail day yesterday. I’ve been looking for this HEADCLEANERS 7” for ages it feels like. It feels great to cross one off the want list. (Yes, I have an actual written out want list.) I still desperately seek Extrem P with a green cover… I hope one day I find a copy to cherish and love forever, until death do us part. I got this copy of Disinfection in the mail from the UK alongside a few other new releases. I am here today to talk about one of those new releases, TÀRREGA 91’ on La Vida Es Un Mus. I saw they dropped a few new releases at once recently, and TÀRREGA 91’ instantly grabbed my attention. The cover looked classic, and even the name sounded classic as hell. I went to check it out, and surprise, the first track had my full attention! The band was described to take influence from bands like HHH, MG15, and ARROGANTA AGITATORER. I can definitely hear this, but one thing I hear (and see) is TAMPERE SS. Aside from the cover looking similar to an ‘80s Finnish punk collage, Tàrrega is the name of a city, just like Tampere. For the song structure, I mean of course at the end of the day it’s all DISCHARGE, but they have a few slower songs remind me of classic Finnish bands like TAMPERE SS or RIISTETYT. Speaking of RIISTEYT, the back cover of this TÀRREGA 91’ EP looks similar to Laki Ja Järjestys. The TÀRREGA 91’ discs are white labels, and they have these tiny gold stickers on them. They look just like the stickers Vote Vasko (P. Tuotanto) put on the represses of Laki Ja Järjestys and Systeemi Ei Toimi E.P. Haha, alright… enough of the nerd shit. Aside from TÀRREGA 91’ referencing their city of origin, it’s also referencing the year tons of youth rioted and nearly burned down their town hall. So sick. Per usual I didn’t really explain what the band sounds like but whatever. Overall, this is a killer record, and I would check it out if you have not. Alright that’s all for today. Thanks for reading and thanks for the support!

Usman's Staff Pick: May 11, 2023

Hello and thanks for reading. LASSO kicked off their US tour in North Carolina last night. The show was sick, and it was a great turnout for a Wednesday night. We all went to get burritos after the gig, and it was so much fun just to hang out. I can’t believe LASSO flew into Miami and drove to NC to start their tour. And to top that off, they are touring the entire time in a sedan. That is some die-hard shit right there. I don’t think I know many people willing to sacrifice so many comforts for the sake of touring. Super cool. SCARECROW played with them last night, and we will travel north to Norfolk to support the gig up there. I was surprised to learn that LASSO was a three piece. I feel like when the guitarist also sings the vocals are like way less a thing, but Marcelo yells his head off the entire time. I look forward to that Norfolk gig tomorrow even more, since I won’t be stuck working the door and I will get to really witness them live. It’s been quite busy at Sorry State per usual and I’m sure missing work tomorrow will set me back even more. Luckily, I have a very cool boss… While tomorrow night I will be enjoying a killer gig, I wish tonight I was in fucking Philadelphia to catch the DELCO MFs record release gig. God damn. This band is easily one of the sickest bands of late. They play so insanely good live. The first record is just Jim playing everything. It didn’t really sound like them live, but it was still an awesome EP none-the-less. This new EP is actually their live line-up on the recording, and man does it fucking rip. I usually wait til SSR gets copies of shit, but I went ahead and mail ordered this one. Check it out immediately if you missed their new release. Speaking of new releases… coming out sometime soon on Bunker Punks Discs and Tapes will be the U.S. version of the debut EP from SLAN! If you haven’t heard this EP yet, I would check it out without a doubt. SLAN plays real deal Swedish mangel from Göteborg, Sweden. It’s super exciting that Jeff and I will do our first international release on our label with them. Alongside this release will be a debut cassette from BLOODY FLAG. I won’t say too much now, but I am beyond honored to be releasing this one with Jeff!! It’s definitely similar to SLAN, in that they are both noisy d-beat bands, but BLOODY FLAG takes the KAWAKAMI approach to things. Stay tuned to get your ears blown to hell. Alright, that’s all for today. I’m about to rehearse with my new band FUCKING WAR, haha. Thanks for reading my diary entry, and thanks to everyone for support.

Usman's Staff Pick: May 4, 2023

Hello and thanks for reading. I can’t remember how I initially heard STATE OF FEAR. There is a chance I heard it randomly cos they have an EP on Profane Existence, but I’m guessing it was cos I was checking out what other bands members did from DISRUPT. Jay Stiles did like all killer bands after, and this was the first. While he didn’t play an instrument in DISRUPT, in STATE OF FEAR he took on guitar alongside vocal duties. The band leaned away from the grinding aspects of DISRUPT and way into the Scandi-side of things. This EP is for real a d-beat masterpiece. While I am a definitely a d-beat-aholic, I am not the kind that consumes anything and everything that comes into my path. I have an acquired taste that is usually found on the top shelf. The 1990s were saturated with boring crust and power-violence bands. Still, regardless of the bullshit, there were flawless EPs every now and again like Wallow in Squalor. The sound of the self-titled EP is more “thrashy” than the other. The drummer is not ever really playing a proper d-beat, but who cares? The song writing and overall sound is a bit heavier, and they even have a song that blasts all the way through. The second song, Consumption, is so good, from the lyrics to the fuckin’ riff. It makes me want to wreck shit. I didn’t realize either of these EPs were in high demand now. I think they both rule, so I am happy to see them back in print. Sonarize put the first two EPs one 12” as the first volume. It’s always nice not to have to get up to flip so much, haha. Also, this 12” comes with a booklet loaded with photos, flyers, and interviews. This was definitely a good way to top off the reissue. It helped me straighten out the history of the band. Alright, thanks for reading and take care.

Usman's Staff Pick: April 27, 2023

Hello and thanks for reading. Today I am writing about DESTRUCT’s new LP, Cries the Mocking Mother Nature. That’s no surprise though, right? I feel like I’ve been fan-boying this band since I first saw them live in 2018 with DISSEKERAD in Richmond. While they left a big impression, it was a strange line-up where Patrick took over vocal duties and they played without a bassist. I knew they usually had bass, but I didn’t know the bassist was still up there performing, haha. Regardless of being short a huge component of their sound, DESTRUCT was so good, like a machine. I had no idea a band from Richmond like this existed before I saw them that night. At the time, Echoes of Life had not been released, just their Human Failure demo. While that tape was a solid debut, it does not give testament to how good DESTRUCT was. Two songs from the tape were re-recorded on Echoes of Life and it sounds almost like an entirely different band. Aside from the excellent sound and songwriting on the records, what makes DESTRUCT stand out from others is their obliterating live performances. They have a well-formulated, massive sound. Regardless of the amps being so loud, little Alex behind the drums easily competes with the volume with his pummeling snare hand and fucking insane drum fills. On top of that, he plays speed alike to FRAMTID. My mind is blown every single time I witness them live. Last gig I saw them at, Zach and Patrick switched instruments on their final song and that one really fucked me up. Usually only bands who suck trade instruments. Anyway, I feel like Cries the Mocking Mother Nature is an amazing follow-up to Echoes of Life. Well, they did tease us with a few tracks from the new LP with their live cassette that came out a little while ago, Onward to Collapse. If you don’t have one of these and you are a DESTRUCT fan, I would definitely suggest picking one up. They are fairly cheap, and they have good sound quality. I’m not doing a very good job at describing the new LP but whatever, you can probably understand I think everyone should buy this record. I feel like they sound even more like DESTRUCT on the new LP, if that makes sense haha. They have their sound totally nailed down. I can’t wait for their next release, Screaming Death. I think I’ve probably mentioned this will be a 12" split with DESTRUCT, DISSEKERAD, RAT CAGE, and SCARECROW. The DESTRUCT songs on that are some next-level shit. That will be a co-release with Skrammel Records and BPDT. Following that I know they will do a 7" on Acute Noise Manufacture, and maybe I have heard some talk of an ABSOLUT/DESTRUCT split... Alright before I go, I wanted to mention we have a few of these sick long-sleeve shirts from their tour with ABSOLUT this past year. Not sure why we have any left… these are two excellent bands teamed up on a shirt with an homage to MOBS and GHOUL. Alright anyway, thank you for reading, and thanks to everyone for the support!

Usman's Staff Pick: April 20, 2023

Hello, and happy 420 to all the weed smokers across the world. Today I’m writing about this killer box set on Svart Records. The aim of this series was to provide replica-type copies of super hard to find 7”s from late 70s Finnish bands. I was familiar with most of these bands via a mixtape a friend gave me like 10 years ago, but back then I only wanted my Finnish punk to be raw and hardcore. It took me a while to appreciate the stuff he shared with me. Over time my taste opened, and now I can’t get enough of this early Finnish sound. Maybe I’ll talk more about those tapes some other time. Svart started this series Punk Elää in 2019, but there hasn’t been an addition since 2020. I hope sometime they will hit us with another one, and maybe repress the ones that went out of print. I don’t have Volume 1 and I would like to. Every record they have included is awesome, but that NAUTA 7” in Volume 1 is so good. Inside Volume 3 is BRUPS, NIRVANA, and OUTO ELÄMÄ. I’m not gunna bother writing about the bands, cos the description does it best and inside the box set is a very well-done booklet that includes history of the bands and photos. Alright, it’s about to be 4:20pm. Given that it’s about to be 4:20 on 4/20, I’ll be wrapping up my workday now and proceeding to smoke weed like there is no tomorrow. To all my fellow weed smokers out there, don’t forget to double-blaze it at 8:40. Cheers and thanks for reading!

Usman's Staff Pick: April 14, 2023

Hello and thanks for reading. Today I am writing about ANTI-SYSTEM. My introduction to the band was via their debut 7” ‘Defence Of The Realm EP’. At this point, the band more or less has that classic UK anarcho sound. The guitar sounds fairly tinny and noisy like a band on Crass Records, but the drummer plays with more DISCHARGE style compared to most of those bands. This EP is excellent, and I’m not sure I could say which of their records I like the most… but man, I’ve been playing their full-length ‘No Laughing Matter’ non-stop lately. I feel like it’s one of the best records that came out in 1985. They leaned way more into the DISCHARGE on it. The guitar tone even sounds more like ‘Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing", with the tinny guitar replaced by a huge wall of sound. While these elements were pushed harder on the LP, they still take the time and space to go deeper into the anarcho side of things. From audio-clips, to percussive passages accompanied by chanting, and even a tiny bit of political spoken word—this record has it all for me. I feel like this fusion of DISCHARGE and CRASS was not too uncommon around this time, but when has it ever been this perfect? ANTISECT’s ‘In Darkness There Is No Choice" is another example of this perfect fusion for me. Alright, I’m happy to say I don’t have to go back to work for once… but I am going to drink gin and tonics, and make some pizza. I hope everyone is well. Thank you for reading and thanks to everyone for the support!!

Usman's Staff Pick: April 6, 2023

Hello and thanks for reading. We rescheduled SCARECROW rehearsal this week and we went up to Richmond together to see KRIGSHODER and INDRE KRIG. It was awesome. INDRE KRIG was excellent, as expected. KRIGSHODER was awesome. I was really looking forward to seeing them. I saw a bunch of friends I didn’t expect to see, and I got way too drunk. One of my dreads was cut off by a friend to give to another friend, and I puked in a trash can outside of a gas station before we drove back home. Somehow I’m still managing to get some work done today...

I’m taking this opportunity to let you know about the next release on my new label Mäkitie 8, which is this KAAOS LP! The recording on this 12” is from 1981, and it was their second show ever. This lineup is before Jakke became the front-man, and they play a lot of songs that have never been heard or released otherwise. The recording isn’t the greatest, but for a Finnish hardcore nerd like myself that is not a huge issue haha. Given that this is the earliest known recording to exist of KAAOS I was super excited to hear it, let alone play a role in the release of it! This is actually the first release under Mäkitie 8; the SEKAANNUS 7" just happened to be ready from the pressing plant before this one. The 12" comes with a 16-page booklet which consists of scans from an old zine called SUBCULTURE. I actually didn’t know about this zine prior to this release, alongside some other “interesting” things about KAAOS (mainly their influences)… haha maybe I’ll say more later but you can discover the same stuff inside the booklet for yourself. I’m just waiting on the booklets to arrive and these will be available from Sorry State as soon as those are in. If you need the color version though, you can still order a copy directly from my site. There is also a t-shirt available, huge thanks to Marty for that!!! Alright that’s all for today, thank you for reading and thanks to everyone for the support!!

Usman's Staff Pick: March 30, 2023

SALVAJE PUNK caught my ear with a burning intensity on their debut cassette. I’ve been anticipating what they would do next, and I am so happy they went straight to 12” with 10 blistering tracks. In true Toxic State fashion, the entire packaging is screen printed. The fold-out poster is so sick. It is something that deserves to be hung up immediately. The LP looks like two songs are from the demo, alongside 8 brand new songs on a new recording session. When I said blistering earlier, I really mean it. This band plays with an intensity only bands like NO SECURITY can achieve. To me, their sound is somewhere in between them and like FORÇA MACABRA. UNCURBED might be another decent comparison, but SALVAJE PUNK pushes it into another zone of intensity. Hearing an LP like this is refreshing cos I feel like there are not really any bands playing with this 90s hardcore thrash style, especially in the USA. Check this shit out if you haven’t yet, and grab a copy! Cheers everyone, and thanks for the support!

Usman's Staff Pick: March 23, 2023

Hi and thanks for reading. ELECTRIC CHAIR seems to have everyone’s attention, like world-wide. Sorry State was lucky enough to get our own exclusive color of their debut 12”, which I’m sure you have already seen. I actually bought the cassette version of this a while ago cos I really wanted to hear it. It’s funny how long I had this art in my hand until I noticed the missile penis in the left corner. How could I have missed that? Everyone knows I love penises. I enjoyed that for a while after I discovered it, totally over-looking the shitting asshole... wow, this cover is insane. It also kinda looks like it says GWAR if you squint your eyes. Jesse Michaels (from OPIV!) did the back cover. That is so sick, and unexpected. I don’t listen to OPIV much anymore, but they played such an important role in my early years of punk. That probably goes for a lot of people my age though. Me and Rich were wasted one night some months ago coming home from Durham, and we listen to OPIV the whole way home, singing along. OK I have to go… thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone for the support!

Usman's Staff Pick: March 16, 2023

Hi and thanks for reading! Today I am writing about friendship, and how important it is. 2020 really changed my social life, and I feel like I haven’t bounced back from it. I have more anxiety than ever, mostly around social interactions. This never used to be a thing for me, and I blame it on the isolation that came during the pandemic. Of course it’s not that simple, though. Friends are so important. True friends will tell you when you are fucking up, but at the same time they will support your decisions, even if they disagree with you. I believe that our friends are our support system. We need to look out for each other 24/7, cos the fucked-up capitalist landscape is definitely not making things any easier on us. I could not have made it to this age without my friends (and punk, which is the same as friends in my mind). It gets old, seeing people hating and talking shit on the internet all the time. What’s the problem... are you jealous? Or is your ego so big that when you disagree with someone, it has to be an argument? Can we not all be different people, with different approaches and ideas, yet still work together to achieve a common goal? A common goal of surviving, causing the least harm as possible. Everyone has “character flaws” and these are traits we should embrace, rather than ridicule. Life is seriously too short for petty shit. Words mean more than you might think, but of course actions speak louder... Cherish your friends and tell them you love them. Show the world your care, indiscriminately. I think it’s OK to fight with each other sometimes. We are only human. But think to yourself next time you get bent outta shape about something, what are you really upset about? Take care of each other, but make sure you take care of yourself. Enjoy YOURSELF. It’s the little things that make this life worth it, I think. Alright, back to work I go. Thanks for reading, my friends. Much love.