Usman's 2022 Year in Review

Hello and thanks for reading! Today is Thursday, and I am just now piecing together my “Best of 2022” list. Please forgive me if I leave some bangers off, or write poorly, cos I am swamped with work haha. I don’t have a cool photo or collage of all the records either, but instead it is a photo of me about to embark on the time of my life on our European tour. 2022 was a great year for records. I remember feeling the same way coming out of 2021 and 2020 as well, and that is awesome! I bought a ton of new releases, but I am lucky to have Sorry State stock at my fingertips. I also bought a ton of 80s records from my want list... I am lucky to not have kids or a mortgage haha. Jeff and I released SCARECROW on our label alongside our “side project” FATAL. That was a really good feeling to get those out there. We should actually have the repress for Crisis EP in just a few days...and a little later we will be releasing an insane 4-way split 12", haha. Anyway, let me get to 2022...

To start off, STRAW MAN ARMY released a hell of an LP this year. I remember when we had their first LP, we sold like 100 before I finally decided to check it out. Neither the artwork nor name grabbed my attention, unfortunately. Both albums are so good. I can’t express what they do to me on the inside. (I’m sure some others can relate haha). I can never decide which is better, their first or second LP. It doesn’t really matter which is better though, cos you can have them both! I realize now this is probably the first time in my staff pick history where I suggest something that is not hardcore… hehe. I don’t really know how to describe the sound of STRAW MAN ARMY, but to sum it up, they sound like anarcho to me. Yeah, they have some aspects that are not in the realm of traditional 80s UK sound. The recordings are much more crisp than you’d usually hear on some old shit, but who cares. Anarcho is not boxed in by a certain sound. It is defined by politics. I listened to this album so much this year, there is something very special and genuine about it to me.

Moving SLAN! This EP just came out on Swedish label Flyktsoda Records. This has not been properly announced yet, but Jeff and I will be releasing a US version on BPDT! We’ve got the test presses in, hopefully not too much longer and everyone in North America can be enjoying this hot ass slab as much as we do. This is SLAN’s debut, straight to wax. Skiter I Allt is 5 tracks of urgent, absolutely blazing hardcore - this is the definition of fuckin’ mangel!!!! Check it out, and get excited for our pressing!

Alright, so I first heard of Flyktsoda Records when they released the self-titled LP from GEFYR. Holy shit. This shit RIPS. I wrote about them in my staff pick when we got these LPs in. The band is from Hudiksvall, Sweden. This is the same town Swedish legends NO SECURITY and TOTALITÄR were from. The sound of GEFYR is very reminiscent of both bands, leaning more towards the mean/thrashy sound of NO SECURITY. So fucking sick, so fucking good. This LP was an instant chart-topper for me.

Sticking with Sweden, NUKIES debut cassette was so excellent! I just wrote about it recently so I won’t say much. It’s funny these three bands are all from Sweden, but from very different areas. SLAN is from Göteborg, a pretty popular city in Sweden. They are probably most known in our world in reference to SKITSLICKERS. The town the GEFYR is from is a much further north than Göteborg, like an 8 hour drive. And NUKIES are from the most popular, and capital city of Sweden, Stockholm. On our European tour, we played two shows in Sweden, one was in Göteborg, and the other was in Uppsala. Playing in Uppsala was a dream to me. Why? Because some of the best ‘90s bands ever came from Uppsala, alongside Swedish d-beat legend Jan “Jutte” Jutila. I actually made a joke to the promoter of our show about Jan Jutila being there (Hi Martin!!!), he made some reply like “Oh, I can text him..” and I was like “Uh, no I was just kidding...I would die of anxiety.” I was already anxious enough with Jocke and Mattis in the room!! This show was funny cos we played totally alone, and Martin expected no one to come to the show… but in the end, it was one of the best crowds of our tour, haha! OK, getting on with it...

Richmond, Virginia’s finest, DESTRUCT released this powerhouse live recording in 2022. I can’t stress enough how good this band is live. They play insanely fast with such a pummeling intensity. It’s not so often you can hear a band play with such power(!!) and precision live. It was an honor to have done the artwork for this release as well. They have a new 12" coming out very soon, and soon after they will be featured on said 4-way split 12" hehe. I know they have another damn 7" recorded as well, coming later this year on Patrick’s (bassist of DESTRUCT) new label, Acute Noise Manufacture. His debut label release was a band that shares members of DESTRUCT as well, called HORRID PEACE. I gave this one a write-up as well earlier this year.

There were a bunch of killer releases I am not going to take the time to write about, unfortunately. K.O.S., AXE RASH, and CHAINSAW released some killer shit that I previously wrote about in a staff pick this year. NIGHTFEEDER was another release I had a lot of anticipation for. The LP stayed in heavy rotation for me, and it was also dubbed Record of the Week. We still have some copies of the restock actually, don’t sleep too long on that one.

It’s really exciting that Sorry State released my favorite record of the year, Viivyttely by SIRKKA. I can’t express how damn good I find this record. I mean maybe I just did by calling it my favorite record of the year! I was obsessed with their demo, and I cannot get enough of this EP. Some parts remind me so much of RIISTETYT, down to the tone, and that’s just insane to me. How do you do that? Haha. I feel like the sound of your recording is half the battle. You can forget about how good your songs are if the recording doesn’t bring them to life in the right way. Sorry State also released the 12" compilation of two previous EPs from YLEISET SYYT, and that shit rocked my world. The sound is similar to SIRKKA in a way, but mostly cos it’s Finnish lyrics. Their style is a bit more catchy or melodic, and much less raw than SIRKKA.

Before I go, I want to mention one more release that was also on Sorry State that really hit the spot for me, SHAVED APE. Five songs in just about five minutes... ahhhhh!!! This is that top-shelf hardcore shit right here. Vince recorded straight to tape too, so it has that sound that really gets me going. Drums always sound the best when they are recorded like that. I’m not sure if there will be more from SHAVED APE? If there is, I can’t wait to eat it up!! Alright, I guess that about wraps it up for my “Best of 2022”... I’m sure there is stuff I am completely spacing. Thanks to everyone for the constant support! It means the world to us all here at Sorry State. Punk the world!!!

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