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.

Usman's Staff Pick: March 9, 2023

Hello and thanks for reading! I wasn’t too sure what to write about this week. DESTRUCT’s new album is now available for pre-order and streaming, but only the special record release gig version of the LP has circulated. SCARECROW played this gig, and DESTRUCT was off the charts. I’ve seen them a lot and I think this was the best I have I yet to witness, god damn… I think the LPs they had at the gig sold out before they even played, haha. I thought it might be best to wait and write about the LP until Sorry State gets our copies, since the limited blue vinyl quickly sold out on pre-order from Grave Mistake. I’ve been playing this LP for a while now since I am lucky enough to have a test press, and it is fucking killer. Just wait until you hear their split tracks on the upcoming ‘Screaming Death’ 4-way split LP...

I haven’t really mentioned this to anyone, but since my brand new label has released something this week I thought I would mention it! This label will be focusing on reissues only, beginning with this SEKAANNUS 7”. Sorry State will definitely be getting copies of this once the covers arrive next week, so there’s no need to order from my site if you are interested. Well, I do have some color vinyl available still that’s only available direct from Mäkitie 8... SEKAANNUS had a demo tape before their split with MASSACRE. The tape is quite rare, but luckily there have been some digital rips shared over the years. The band plays much more raw and raging hardcore during this time, instead of the more pulled-back, groovy song writing that came later on the “Kutsu” EP. I enjoyed that EP a lot, but there’s nothing that beats raw Finnish hardcore, haha. I am happy this demo has finally made its way to a reissue and I love that they still did the cover in the classic Finnish cut-and-paste style!! This 7" is actually the second release for Mäkitie 8. The KAAOS 12" that was supposed to be the label’s debut is still at the plant, but it should be released soon! The KAAOS 12" is a live recording, super early in the band’s formation. It’s got a ton of unreleased songs and actually has Kake on vocals instead of Jakke, like the split with CADGERS. Both of these are co-releases with the Finnish Hardcore label, and Sami is the one doing all the work. He has some other plans ahead that I am very excited to play in a role in as well. To simply put it, it’s an honor to have this small hand in releasing some old raw Finnish hardcore!! Alright, back to work then. Thanks to everyone for reading and thanks loads for the support here at Sorry State, cheers!

Usman's Staff Pick: February 23, 2023

Hello and thanks for reading! When this week first began I planned to write about ΠΥΡ ΚΑΤΑ ΒΟΥΛΗΣΗ (PYR KATA VOULISI), but it has since sold out. If you haven’t checked out the band, I definitely would cos I think this top-notch hardcore at its finest!! I’ve never heard of them before; I don’t think they even have a demo released. When you rip this hard, why bother? They don’t really play super fast, but the riffing is non-stop. The songs are insanely catchy yet absolutely raging. They sound similar to HERÄTYS, who are one of the best bands ever. And of course, ΠΥΡ ΚΑΤΑ ΒΟΥΛΗΣΗ and HERÄTYS both sound like they have a heavy influence from Swedish legends TOTALITÄR. Speaking of legendary Swedish bands, that leads us into my staff pick. Let me start off with the photo. This photo was taken in 1986 by Anders Holmqvist at the “Egg-mangel” gig. Anders is a long-time Sorry State customer and friend. He was a music nerd back then just as much as he is today (if not more maybe?). He’s constantly giving newer bands short, honest reviews on his Instagram account. I am so happy and honored he shared photos from this gig with me, especially cos now I can share this one with you! This gig is how I think I first heard SVART PARAD because it was recorded and released on cassette after, and then fortunately re-released in the ‘90s on vinyl by Your Own Jailer. Based on what it says inside the vinyl version, I am pretty sure Jan Jutila (YOJ) released the tape. He definitely organized the entire gig. I think SVART PARAD is kind of obscure amongst other Swedish bands. They never had a proper vinyl release in the 80s, only some cassettes, and the information about them is a bit confusing. I remember reading online that the band was influenced by MINOR THREAT, and that one really caught me off guard, haha. There have been a few SVART PARAD bootlegs over the years and F.O.A.D. did a SVART PARAD discography not too long ago. But still, to me nothing beats having a reissue that emulates the original. The packaging on this cassette is awesome, but that is a given since it is on Outsider Classics. They did amazing Swedish cassette reissues like MISSBRUKARNA and NISSES NOTTER previously, so I was filled with anticipation immediately when I saw this reissue. I would die for a DISACCORD cassette reissue… Anyway, if you aren’t familiar with SVART PARAD and enjoy raging Swedish hardcore, I would check this one out and grab a copy! Cheers and thanks to everyone (especially Anders)!!!

Usman's Staff Pick: February 16, 2023

Hello and thanks for reading! I am here today to talking about the latest, amazing release from Norwegian Leather! I love this label. I know they haven’t done much, but re-issuing How We Feel and releasing a BANNLYST discography LP is so cool to me. I can’t remember which one of those 12"s it was, but it was my introduction to Norwegian hardcore. I like the sound of Norwegian bands I know a lot. Unfortunately, I don’t really know that many. The bands I do know tend to have melodic tendencies, but the sound really stands out to me cos they still maintain a pummeling intensity regardless of how catchy the song may be. BANNLYST is probably one of my favorite Norwegian bands, but also it seems like a no-brainer cos the band has a good amount of tracks out there and they all rip. Some of the other Norwegian bands I know started to sound a little less “hardcore” as time went on, and the sound isn’t really for me. Anyway, naturally when I saw an upcoming BANNLYST 7" on this archival label I got super excited!! They shared a blog post, explaining about how this 7" came to be that I would encourage everyone to read. I think it’s so cool to be in this day and age, and there is still some killer hardcore being unearthed from the 80s and released. The B-side has a live recording from 1992 of them playing an EP song, and it fucking rules. The EP comes with a full-color foldout photo of the band with lyrics and info on the back, housed in a super thick pocket sleeve. What a beautiful release, from the sound to packaging. (And the price, that’s cheaper than some domestic releases, haha.) Get one! Before I go, another tour memory… we played at Club 37 in Oslo. This band SVART PEENG played, and they were sick as hell. SCARECROW likes to keep a couple cover songs in our back pocket, and a SVART FRAMTID (Norway) cover is one of those. Well, we joked about playing this cover when we were in Norway, but we could not decide if it was whack. There was some older guy who approached our merch table early on and bought two copies of our record and t-shirt. I thought this might be a good guy to ask. So, I asked him if it was a bad idea. Not only did he say it was a not bad, but it was a good idea and we should definitely do it. The room was already packed and crazy for SVART PEENG, so inevitably the energy would be great for us. But when we busted out that cover, I feel like the room exploded. I remember looking up (which is very rare occurrence for me) and this guy had essentially pushed Red to the side and had the mic in hand, yelling every lyric. So sick. It is a great memory for me. Anyway, thanks for reading and thanks to everyone for the support!! It’s quite busy here..

Usman's Staff Pick: February 9, 2023

Hello and thanks for reading! I’m so busy today with Sorry State and my own label BPDT and unfortunately, I have don’t have the time or mental capacity to formulate a staff pick today! Instead of writing nothing, I thought I could at least write about what has been taking up so much of my time! I’m sure as you saw already, SSR has just announced the KORO re-issue! I am so excited for this. If you have the first reissue SSR did, don’t fuck up and think you can pass on this. To me, this reissue blows that one out of the water. The discs sound amazing, and the packaging is like a replica. So close that we had to stamp Sorry State inside since there is no mention of the label, haha. When Daniel first mentioned doing this once again, he agreed to give me and Jeff’s label our own special color, hehe. I guess it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but fuck it, Jeff and I think it’s so cool cos KORO fuckin’ rules. We spiced it up a bit by including an extra hand-stamped cover! We are very happy to announce this pre-order is available from us alongside the SCARECROW “Crisis EP” repress. Sorry State will have copies of those available on Monday online, but we will have some in-store starting Friday—so if you are a local, no need to buy it online from BPDT, just come on down to the shop! I’m not sure how many people reading this are that big of SCARECROW fans who also are looking for the EP still, but I will let you let you know since you are reading this; there will be a special cover available with the BPDT pre-order. That’s a secret though, so don’t tell anyone. Alright, back to stapling these Network of Friends zines! Cheers and thanks to everyone for the support!!

Usman's Staff Pick: February 2, 2023

Hello and thanks for reading! I am doubting we will have copies of my Staff Pick in stock as this is being read. Every time I look back at our stock it is less than before. I have been trying to hit up all my friends to ensure they get a copy though, so each time I check back usually it’s going to be one copy less by default haha. We saved a few for the shop too… so if you are a local, you might have a chance to get the last copy this weekend if you come by. I never really thought this stuff would get reissued. Of course, when the same label did the EP last year, I had a feeling this would come later down the road. I think this reissue is significant cos it’s the first time since the original release where the complete track list is included. The 90s VARAUS CD compilation omitted three tracks, the same three tracks the Feral Ward 1/1 LP also omitted. I mean, the LP was made with the same sound source as the CD, I am pretty sure anyway. I heard those tracks were not included on the reissue cos of the sound quality. I don’t know if they were made from master tapes or what, but I thought the sound was very good on the CD. I read online the original 12” did not have very good sound in general, so I was pretty excited to hear this pressing since it was advertised as the original “lo-fi” mix. Comparing it to the Feral Ward LP, there is an obvious difference in the sound. One could argue the re-master had better sound than the original. It’s much more powerful but not in a terrible compressed way. Speaking of the Feral Ward LP (slash CD reissue), I think this is the way I have always listened to VARAUS. Maybe I have a 1/2 LP rip on my computer somewhere, but it felt like my first time listening to these three songs that were left off the later reissues. That was pretty sick. Those Feral Ward LPs are not easy to come by, and you’re probably going to have to pay up a bit to get one. So, it’s great that there is another version that is in print! I hope it remains in print for some time. Alright, that’s all for today. Thanks for the support!!!