Hi everyone and welcome to the Sorry State update for January! Things continue to be relatively quiet on the label front, but we do have a new release planned for January: the second Brain F≠ LP, Empty Set, should finally be out this month! We just finally finished the artwork and the vinyl has been pressed already, so barring an last-minute weirdness this should be available for you to order in the next couple of weeks. I couldn't be more excited about this record... I like it even more than their great first LP. Watch your favorite web sites for some preview streams over the next couple of weeks, as Alex at Grave Mistake (with whom I'm co-releasing the record) and I are keeping this one close to our chests until the release date.
After that the only release with solid plans is the new Dark Ages LP. I've heard some rough mixes and they already sound astounding... there's definitely a progression from the first LP as the band has mixed in some brooding sounds with their lightning-fast hardcore. I'm not sure when this'll be done with mixing, but I'm guessing it should be out sometime in early spring.
As I mentioned before, the label will be quiet for a bit after that as we continue running the store and the distro, but a few Sorry State bands have new records in the works so don't think we're anywhere near done yet.
So I always feel like I'm terrible at doing these "Top 10s of the year things" because I know I'm probably forgetting something or that it's too obvious, but here's just a quick list of records I thought were really good this past year in no particular order:
1. Infernöh - 7 Spår EP
2. Framtid - Defeat of Civilization
3. Sickoids - No Home
4. Manipulation - Manipulation LP
5. Criaturas - Espiritu De Libertad
6. Pleasure Leftists - Pleasure Leftists LP
7. Padkarosda - Szabadulásom Művészete
8. Green Beret - Cult of State EP
9. Radioactivity - Radioactivity LP
10. Die - S/T EP
So there it is, short and sweet. I'm really looking forward to 2014 being another awesome year for Sorry State. Thanks for reading!
I'm not much for end of the year lists.
I can't remember what came out last month much less 11 months ago. I know any attempt to make one would end up with endless revising and going through my records over and over trying to remember what came out this year and then overlooking a million things I would like to put in.
Anyways my list would probably just end up saying Love Triangle ten times.
But yeah 2013 was another year with plenty of good albums and great shows.
It's gone though and no list will bring it back.
Instead I'm looking forward to this new year and new month.
There are a handful of great shows coming up in the Raleigh area this month.
Also there's lots of new Raleigh/ NC bands playing these shows.
I'm excited to see Skemata and Vacant Planet who are two new bands from around.
Then after a month or so off both Black Zinfandel and No Love will be back to playing shows, writing songs, and hopefully recording.
That's all about I have for this month.
I promise next month to actually talk about records.
In case you haven't noticed yet, the theme of this month's update is the year-end list, so here's mine. There are a bunch of rad things like the Arms Race demo and Glue demo 7" that I haven't really had a chance to digest yet, but would probably get on this list if I made it in a month, but for now I'll stick to my most-listened to 2013 releases. By the way, this excludes all Sorry State stuff (and I released some BANGERS this year if I do say so myself), and is in no particular order:
Nemesis: Gyou-Shou 7"
Radioactivity: S/T 12"
Avon Ladies: 2nd 7"
Violent Future: S/T 7"
Sauna Youth: False Jesii b/w Oh Joel 7"
Stoic Violence: S/T 12"
Parquet Courts: Light Up Gold 12"
Sad Boys: S/T and Pogo and Cry 7"s
Hoax: S/T 12"
Pleasure Leftists: S/T 12"
Various: Ground Zero Hardcore 12"
Kremlin: Drunk in the Gulag 12"
Church Whip: Psychedelic Nightmare 12"
Gag: This Punk Shit Is Cool... 12"
Gas Rag: Human Rights 7"
Quango: Fatality 7"
Sucked Dry: Dog Children 12"
The Repos: Poison Head cassette and Live Munitions 12"
Proxy: Something We've All Seen Before 12" and Police Car 7"
Impalers: S/T 12"
Lumpy & the Dumpers: S/T 7"
Merchandise: BBC Sessions 12"
As you can see, it was impossible to limit myself to just 10 records, and there are so many more great ones that I didn't even mention. 2013 ruled!
Oh, and in case you're wondering here are the top 10 distro sellers for December... I wish I had data for all of 2013, but it would be too difficult since I changed webstores in September. Maybe next year though!
1. Libyans: Expired Language 12"
2. Nemesis: Gyou-Shou 7"
3. Mercy Killings: S/T 7"
4. Creep: Creep Tape cassette
5. Joint D≠: Satan Is Real Again, Again... 12"
6. Deep Wound: S/T 7"
7. Glue: demo 7"
8. The Love Triangle: Clever Clever 12"
9. Secret Prostitutes: Welcome to Punk 12"
10. Lost Kids: Cola Freaks 7"
Savage Amused: demo 12" (Mind Cure)
Reissue of the surviving recordings by this early Pittsburgh hardcore band. Though they were around in 1985, they don't really sound anything like the crossover that was popular at the time. Really, they almost sound like a lost relic of proto-hardcore... I'm reminded a lot of the gnarliest Cleveland punk bands like the Pagans or a faster Dead Boys. In other words, it's fast and extremely tough, but also quite catchy. Fans of similarly tough punk bands like Battalion of Saints or Toxic Reason take note... this is a real undiscovered gem.
Deafheaven: Sunbather 12" (Death Wish)
Vinyl issue for one of the most talked-about releases of the year, metal or otherwise. With Sunbather, Deafheaven have created one of those releases that is so strikingly original and singular that it's almost difficult to wrap my mind around. Taking up where, say, Liturgy left off, Deafheaven infuse the raw black metal template with more melody than I would have really thought possible... and they're dreamy, spacey melodies at that. Try your best to imagine Darkthrone playing Sunny Day Real Estate or My Bloody Valentine covers and that will get you somewhere in the ballpark of what this sounds like, but really it's its own thing.
Doses: S/T 12" (Going Underground)
LA's Doses follow up their excellent Live in Waco, Texas tape with this monstrous debut LP. On the live tape they sounded more like hardcore with a drum machine (they did cover Cro-Mags on that tape after all), but their noise rock influences are closer to the fore on this LP. The band do a really great job of fusing off-kilter heaviness with the subtle catchiness that made bands like Unsane great... these are songs, but they're ugly, uncomfortable songs. A really striking and powerful LP.
Cro-Mags: Age of Quarrel 12" (Brass City Boss Sounds)
Straight reissue of one of the greatest hardcore records of all time. Age of Quarrel is sort of like the Reign in Blood of tough hardcore... if you have only one record in your collection that you could reasonably mosh to, then Age of Quarrel should probably be it. This reissue pretty much perfectly replicates the original's packaging and sound... 100% essential.
Glue: Demo 7" (Lagerville)
Vinyl issue for one of those most talked-about hardcore demos of 2013. After one of the most epic hardcore intros I've heard in some time (and one worth of the band name's SSD reference), this launches into some absolutely scorching hardcore punk. I could describe the sound of this, which is pretty much pure 80s hardcore with snotty vox a la Gordon Solie Motherfuckers, but really what makes this demo stand out is the songwriting. The band have a way of varying the tempos and the riffing in a way that really keeps you on your toes and just constantly wanting more. Easily one of the best-written and funnest hardcore demos since the Boston Strangler. Highly recommended.
Jimmy Smack: Death Rocks 7" (Death Vault)
Archival release of this obscure early 80s California synth punk project. Apparently Jimmy Smack shared bills with numerous bands from the early LA hardcore scene royalty, but this is the first I've heard of him... this some great, dark, minimal synth-punk in the Screamers vein though. It seems like synth bands from this era often come from the Human League end of things, but Jimmy Smack is pure dark punk... really sinister-sounding, and if you're a fan of the Screamers or the Normal you will definitely flip for this. Really killer.
Bad People: Mean Talkin' 7" (Feeble Minds)
Following quickly on the heels of their debut, here's the 2nd 7" from Buffalo's Bad People. As I noted in the description of their 1st EP, this band is ex-Brown Sugar and definitely has a lot of that band's off-kilter hardcore punk in their DNA; however, particularly on this EP Bad People are even catchier and more punk-sounding. The helium vocals recall the Dickies or numerous Killed by Death-type bands, but the tight, fast, and catchy playing makes me think of something more like Rhino 39... definitely one of my favorite current bands, and this new record is even more highly recommended than their first.
Generacion Suicida / Catholic Spit: Split 7" (MMM)
Two new songs from Generacion Suicida featuring their patented Vicious / Masshysteri-style punk... catchy, fast, raw and melodic. As for Catholic Spit, they're a little more straightforwardly post-punk, but their contribution is much more upbeat and fun than a lot of the Siouxsie-inspired stuff I've heard lately. Yeah, there's lots of chorus on the guitar, but the inspiration seems to be more stuff like Legal Weapon and very early Christian Death (but even faster). Overall a solid split 7" from two of California's most talked-about punk bands.
Permanent Ruin: Mas Alla de la Muerte 7" (Warthog Speak)
Brand new EP from this NorCal hardcore band featuring Mariam from Condenada on vocals. I've heard Permanent Ruin described as having a power violence influence and I guess that's true (there's a brief blast break at the beginning of "Solution"), but like my favorite bands who get described as power violence, this sounds more like straightforward hardcore played super, super fast and angry. In other words, it's fast, but the changes from fast to mid-paced parts don't feel gimmicky or overwrought. Definitely one of the tightest, angriest bands out right now... recommended.
Mayday!: S/T 7" (self-released)
New 7" from this band from upstate NY who had a split 7" with Brown Sugar. I don't know what it is, but bands from this area (I'm thinking specifically of Skate Korpse and Insubordinates) have this perfect, slightly weird combination of surf and punk... it's kind of like early Agent Orange, but really it's its own thing and a sound that is very much native to that particular region. Mayday are definitely in that vein, and if you dig the more original and interesting strands of music coming out of this region you should definitely check out this EP.
Eel: Turn Up Fuck 7" (Mind Cure)
Debut EP from this new band of Pittsburgh miscreants. I caught their promo video online a few weeks ago and they had a very kind of neo-noise punk sound a la Vaginors, but the recording on this EP is much uglier, nastier, and harder. It really does sound like first-gen Kyushu noisecore, Gai in particularly. It has the same bouncy bass, incredibly ugly vocals and the guitar isn't quite distorted into the realm of utter stupidity. This thing is super super limited and I believe already sold out from the label, so grab it now if you want it.
Koward: S/T 7" (Total Fucker)
New EP from this new Boston d-beat band (or maybe they're split between Boston and Portland?). This is some stomping, catchy d-beat... it's vaguely in the same universe as Framtid, but something about it is a little less brutal and a little more punk, but just as heavy and tough. Definitely one of the standout d-beat records I've heard of late.
Arm's Race: demo cassette (Flophouse)
US pressing of the demo from this new London band featuring members of Stab. While Stab are all about the Heresy / Ripcord sound, Arm's Race are a much nastier, more brutal, early 80s-sounding band. There's still that hint of metal to the riffing, but really this is nearly a dead ringer for early Agnostic Front in places... almost like it's some long-lost demo from between United Blood and Victim in Pain. Absolutely essential... highest possible recommendation.
Public Suicide: demo cassette (Flophouse)
Another in the new wave of one-man straight edge bands sweeping the nation. This one is out of DC and definitely a bit on the harder end of things. While it's speedy and snappy like early 80s hardcore, there's a meatiness to the riffing that belies an influence from early Madball and the type of NYHC bands that appeared on the New Breed compilation. Fast, tight, and extremely well-executed.
Komplott: Sei Vivo cassette (Flophouse)
Cassette release from this new Italian band featuring members of Holy... total pile-driving d-beat in the Framtid tradition. Just gnarly, Discharge-inspired riffs delivered with maximum power and catchiness.
Obstruct: No Life + Demo cassette (Flophouse)
Cassette release featuring the debut EP and demo from this UK straight edge band. Definitely more in the No Tolerance / modern Boston school of sxe HC, this is heavy, bulldozer stuff that packs quite a punch. UKHC has been killing it lately and it's great to see that the scene has some depth to it. Highly recommended if you're interested in No Tolerance, Violent Reaction, or modern sxe HC with an early 80s slant check this out.
Aube: demo cassette (self-released)
Demo tape from this Ottawa post-punk band. This has the heavy reverb and chorus that you expect from the genre, but also has a kind of snotty punk vibe that I don't generally associate with this dense post-punk sound. You can tell Bauhaus is a major influence, but the more punk vocals definitely give it a little something that it wouldn't have otherwise. A solid entry into the canon of modern post-punk.
No Negative: Album Blanc cassette (self-released)
Another Canadian post-punk demo, and it's another gem. You get some heavily chorus-ed out guitar, propulsive punk rhythms and a powerful rhythm section. This actually reminds me a little bit of Beastmilk in that the songs are extraordinarily well written, but the delivery is a lot scrappier, more DIY and more punk. Definitely one of the best post-punk-type things I've heard in ages.
Heron: Ritual cassette (self-released)
Debut EP from this North Carolina black metal band. While the base here is definitely classic-sounding black metal with haunting keyboards, there are some really interesting kind of progressive breaks that give this a really unique feel. Beautiful recording and powerful, atmospheric songwriting.
Sperm: demo cassette (self-released)
Demo tape from this new NY band featuring Josh from Shoppers / Bad People. I'm not really sure if the band were going for this at all, but the similarities to Broken Prayer are really striking. Like BP, nearly every song here is different from the last. There are some kind of brooding post-punk songs, some quirky midwest-style HC a la Die Kreuzen, and some stuff that just sounds like straightforward punk. All of it is raw, powerful, and interesting... if you're into forward-thinking punk and hardcore I highly recommend this one.
Vaccine / No Faith: Split 7" (Vinyl Rites)
Brand new split 7" from these two Massachusetts straight edge bands. No Faith follow up their LP on Painkiller with more of their crushing sound... all you get is slow here... no go at all, but it's noisy and angry as hell. As for Vaccine, these are their final tracks and they're right in line with their earlier stuff... almost impossibly fast and vicious straight edge hardcore with just ridiculous tempo changes and arrangements. Fans of Infest could definitely get down with this, but I wouldn't call it power violence as such... just super fast and mean hardcore.
The Insults: Population Zero 7" (Last Laugh)
You may know "Population Zero" from its inclusion on Killed by Death #8 1/2, and it's a great slice of minimal, UK-influenced KBD punk... it's got the loose, rawness of the best KBD stuff, but something about the driving, almost rockabilly-ish bass line reminds me of UK stuff, maybe even the early Fall? As for the flip, it's very much in the same vein with a fast tempo, high guitars and rumbling bass... in a way it reminds me of the Warsaw stuff, but not quite as dark. This is definitely all you want from a KBD reissue, so don't sleep!
Sick Thoughts: Terminal Teen Age 12" (Dead Beat)
Debut LP from this one man band out of Baltimore who clearly worships at the altar of Jay Reatard. Their earlier 7" on Can't Stand Ya! really blew me away with their big garage hooks, but the LP is a little more Reatards and a little less Jay Solo... in other words, the hooks are a little more buried and the recording is super blown out, approaching total fuzz in the bottom end. Still, there's plenty of killer riffs and tracks here, and if you want to hear some strong Reatards worship you'll flip for this.
The Kurws: Hole in the Ghetto 12" (Bat Shit)
US version of this Polish band's debut LP. Something a little bit different for Bat Shit, this is an all-instrumental band that plays hyperactive, skronky stuff... sort of like the Minutement or the Urinals at their most abstract moments, but even at time approaching the dizziness of the Residents. Rad artwork on this bad boy too.
Vermaio: MMDF 7" (Bat Shit)
Debut 7" by this new Italian project featuring two of the guys from Fogna. It's a bit more straightforward and punk than Fogna... it still has that distinct Rudimentary Peni influence, but it also reminds me a lot of both classic Mexican hardcore and newer stuff like Inservibles. At any rate, it's incredibly mean, nasty and ugly... great stuff, just as good if not better than Fogna.
Fogna: S/T 7" (Bat Shit)
Repress of the super limited debut EP by this Italian HC project. Deep, dark Rudimentary Peni vibes here... this music is dense, laden with feedback and dark as hell, but it also has the catchiness of Rudi P as well. In an interesting decision, this is recorded with a drum machine rather than a live drummer, and it really lends itself to the cold, desolate feel that the music has. A total stand-out, and highly recommneded.
Spasma: Mediocrazia 7" (Bat Shit)
Yet another Fogna-related side project from Bat Shit Records, though this one is a little different. While most of this crew's stuff tends to be marked by a heavy Rudimentary Peni influence (or at least what sounds like it to me), Spasma are much more straightforward, with a recording that very strongly recalls Poison Idea's classic Darby Crash Rides Again, perhaps mixed with some nasty early European hardcore like Agent Orange or Wretched. Regardless, this has absolutely perfect early 80s-sounding analog production and the songwriting is flat-out ripping from top to bottom... can't recommend this one highly enough.
Kaivosurma: Lootin Vaimo 7" (Bat Shit)
New EP by this blazing Finnish HC band... angry, straightforward stuff without a lot of the frills and complex musicianship of, say, Sokea Piste, but instead focusing on maximum rage. Consider this in the tradition of classics like Lama and newer stuff like Kieltolaki. I dig the super weird cover artwork too.
Pierre and Bastien: Cancer 7" (Bat Shit)
New 7" from this Parisian band. This is catchy, poppy stuff that reminds me a lot of the stuff coming out of Copenhagen a few years ago... it bears more than a passing resemblance to Gorilla Angreb (no lady vox though) as well as that great Peter Bonneman solo single that not a lot of people heard. In other words, this is fast and punk, but also super catchy and with something about it that feels vaguely progressive and post-punk. In a way it sounds like an early Rough Trade single, but without any sort of pretensions to recreating that style at all... it's just two great catchy, punk songs with awesome DIY production.
His Electro Blue Voice: White Wall 7" (Bat Shit)
Brand new EP from this Italian noise / post-punk band whose latest LP was released on Sub Pop(?!?). It's easy to see why, because this band can write a freaking hook. Yeah, it's bathed in lots of that My Bloody Valentine-influenced reverb and distortion, but so many bands recreate this sound without the great songwriting. Not HEBV, though... this guy can write a tune, and the two songs here are catchy, beautiful, and weird all at the same time... I absolutely love this band, and you should too.
The Secret Prostitutes: Fantasi di Auschwitz 7" (Bat Shit)
Repress of this hard to find SP's EP on Bat Shit Records. 8 songs of their patented manic, melodic punk rock... "Fantasi Di Auschwitz" is one of their best songs, and now you can own it on vinyl like the good lord intended.
Lögnhalsmottagningen: Billigtförpackadstandardpunk 7" (Bat Shit)
Latest 7" from one of the most obnoxiously-named bands in punk. Like their recent split 7" with Bad Daddies, this is some blazing fast, super catchy punk rock. The band they most resemble is the Secret Prostitutes, though without the unique vocals... this guy still has a high voice, but it's a little more conventional, giving this is a vibe like sped-up 70s Euro-punk... think Ivy Green or Lost Kids playing on 45 instead of 33. They also do a lightning-speed cover of "Love Song" by the Damned. A total ripper, with hooks to spare.
Parasite: Proof of the Existence 7" (Holy Terror)
Latest 7" from this Japanese HC / metal band that has been relentlessly championed by Dwid from Integrity. If you're not an Integrity fan, though, don't let that dissuade you, because this is pure ugly, Japanese punk/metal in the GISM tradition. I've heard a few of Parasite's super-limited releases before this, and it's really uncanny how well they tap into that classic Randy Uchida riffing style (like a drunk Iron Maiden sort of) and the vocals are an admirably warped impression of Sakevi as well. All in all two stone-cold rippers... extremely highly recommended for fans of the band and style.
Mutoid Man: Helium Head 12" (Magic Bullet)
Debut LP from this new band featuring Stephen Brodsky of Cave In and Ben Koller of Converge. The first thing that people who read that name are going to want to know is "is it heavy?" and the answer is a resounding "yes!" It's not just a rehash of their classic records, though... there's a lot here that wasn't in either metal-era Cave In or classic converge. There's a strong psych rock influence running through the guitar-playing... it's not quite Jupiter-type spacey, but it's often drenched in wah, and the drumming is just furious and technical the way you want this style to be. So, you get something that's the same, but different... really, this kind of sounds like the lost link between Until Your Heart Stops and Jupiter, with a bit of the spazzy rhythms of Petitioning the Empty Sky thrown in... a real shredder.
Beastmilk: Climax 12" (Magic Bullet)
Finally, one of the most hyped metal releases of 2013 gets a US vinyl release, but honestly this thing isn't really metal at all, at least not to my ears. One of the most fertile scenes right now seems to be the cross-pollination of underground metal and post-punk, whether it's the lush, My Bloody Valentine-influenced soundscapes of Deafheaven or the more aggressive, Hellhammer-meets-the-Fall sound of Raspberry Bulbs, and Beastmilk are probably the band in this sub-sub-genre most likely to really go somewhere. This actually reminds me quite a lot of the first Deathcharge LP in the way it mixes the lush, bass-driven sound of Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen with heavier influences, but this is much more polished, maybe even verging on radio-friendly. Recommended for fans of Savages, Flesh World, Pleasure Leftists, and other bands mining the more pop-influenced end of the dark post-punk sound.
Deep Wound: S/T 7" (Armageddon)
Finally, a spot-on reissue of this seminal early 80s HC record. Of course Deep Wound are most famous for featuring a pre-Dinosaur Jr Lou Barlow and J Mascis, but really this would be a highly-regarded EP even if that weren't the case. Certainly one of the fastest bands of their time, they also just seethed anger in a way that few others did... they're definitely in a class with bands like Negative Approach and Minor Threat, or at the very least only a notch or two below them. This reissue replicates the original packaging and track listing... totally essential if you don't already own this material.
Dropdead / Ruidosa Inmundicia: Split 7" (Armageddon)
Two new tracks from Dropdead, and much like their recent split with Systematic Death it's not as frantic as their early stuff but extremely well-written and super catchy. As for Ruidosa Inmundicia, they contribute three new tracks in their own unique style. You can tell they're heavily influenced by Japanese hardcore and that comes out in the riffs and the guitar sound, but the drumming is pure 80s European hardcore. This juxtaposition definitely gives their sound a uniqueness that it wouldn't have if they were just a 100% burning spirits style band.
Dropdead / Systematic Death: Split 7" (Armageddon)
Brand new split 7" between these two long-running bands. I can't remember the last new Dropdead material that I heard, but this stuff is ripping... not quite as blistering fast as some of their old stuff, but letting the foot off the gas pedal ever so slightly makes things way catchier. As for Systematic Death, they continue on the tear they've been on ever since reforming with two tracks of their patented blistering hardcore. Throw in a Sugi illustration on the sleeve and you need this!
Exit Hippies / Lotus Fucker: Split 12" (SPHC)
Brand new material from both bands. Exit Hippies continue their total deconstruction of music, but unlike a lot of "noise not music" bands, they actually have a sense of catchiness and dynamics in their music. It's wild and out there for sure, but you'll actually listen to it as well... it's easy to see why people go nuts for this band. As for Lotus Fucker, while their previous material has had a very Gauze-esque feel, this feels a little more in line with the Kyushu noise sound... a little looser, a little noisier, and the vocals higher-pitched and nastier. Throw in some brilliant cover artwork and you have quite the noise-punk pairing.
Nekrofilth: Devil's Breath 12" (Hell's Headbangers)
Debut LP for this new Nunslaughter-related (I believe) band out of Cleveland. This is just a pure metal-punk banger... it has all of the aggression of prime-era Slayer, but nasty punk vocals that (as pointed out to me by Scott from Double Negative) sound a lot like Dr. Know. This is just heavy, nasty stuff... it sounds like exactly the type of music that your parents don't want you to listen to. Highly recommended.
Shitfucker: Sucks Cocks in Hell 12" (Hell's Headbangers)
Debut 12" from this Detroit band that has been kicking around the crust and metal scenes for several years. I believe this band are crusties (my old band Devour actually played with them once) but they play primitive metal-punk a la Venom or first LP-era Bathory. It's loose--maybe even sloppy--but the hooks are undeniable, and it sounds evil as hell. If you can get down with those two records you need to hear this... a total banger.
Seven Inches to Freedom zine #12
Latest issue of this long-running zine out of Florida. This time around you get the usual columns and reviews, but the centerpiece is a lengthy tour diary of the last Panzram tour with detailed descriptions and reviews of all of the bands they played with... in that sense it ends up reading like an extremely well-connected, interesting scene report of current progressive, forward-thinking hardcore bands in the US.
Plastic Bags: Blind Them All cassette (Helta Skelta)
2nd tape from this Australian band who play strong, 70s-inspired catchy punk. Last time around they had a real Dangerhouse vibe, but a bit of a thinner guitar sound and more up-front vocals this time around put them more in line with the garage-y-est, most fun Bikini Kills songs like "I Hate Danger." I can see fans of Good Throb or even Shitty Limits digging on this hard... just solid, straightforward, catchy, well-performed punk.
Mystic Inane: tape #2 cassette (self-released)
Second demo tape from this New Orleans punk band featuring former members of Necro Hippies. Their first tape was quite raw, but this one is a little more polished, but has that same slightly naive appeal that made their first tape and the Necro Hippies stuff so great. In a way this kind of reminds me of Nasa Space Universe in that it's slightly creepy-sounding and super snotty but still hardcore; however, the sound is much thinner and has more of an authentic early 80s vibe. In short, this one is highly recommended for anyone who likes catchy, inventive, and vital classic-sounding hardcore punk.
Sacrilege: It's Time to Face the Reaper 12" (Havoc)
First official vinyl release for these Sacrilege demos, and people are STOKED. This double LP features four demos recorded between 1984 and 1986, and of course they feature a rougher, rawer sound than the versions we've all become accustomed to. Sacrilege perfectly rode the line between crust punk and early thrash metal, and of course these rawer recordings find them leaning even more heavily toward the crusty side. Mandatory listening for crusties everywhere.
Concrete Asylum: S/T 7" (Bad Vibrations)
Debut 7" from this new band from Halifax, Canada featuring members of Abject Pax, Negative Rage, and Grump. Concrete Asylum are more in the Kremlin mold though... gnarly, noisy hardcore that seems to owe as much of a debt to prime 90s HC like Citizens Arrest as it does the early 80s classics and Discharge. In other words, you get lots of weird little guitar flourishes and quirky rhythm changes, but all of this is put toward making it as raging as possible.
Mercy Killings: S/T 7" (Beach Impediment)
Debut 7" from this new mid-Atlantic powerhouse. Featuring 2 guys from Direct Control, 2 from Wasted Time, and Sorry State's own Jeff (ex-Stripmines) on guitar. This sounds pretty much like you hope it would, i.e. picking up right where Wasted Time left off with some beastly Poison Idea-inspired riffage. Mercy Killings also features those infectious basslines that made WT so great and Mark's always-authoritative vocals. Top it off with some sick full-color artwork from Guillem of Destino Final and you have an essential hardcore record.
Secret Prostitutes: Welcome to Punk 12" (Torture Garden)
Brand new LP from these Texas punk kings. The subtitle of this record is Viva La Evolución, and it's a fitting title as the band has expanded their sound quite a bit on this release. They've always had a flair for the unexpected, and there's certainly a lot of their snotty, 80s Euro-style punk on this full-length, but my favorite moments are the ones where the band is a little more adventurous, and a little more poppy / new wave-y. There are moments on this LP (particularly the brilliant last song) that recall Wire or the Buzzcocks at their finest, and while those are the moments that stick out the Secret Prostitutes are a multi-trick pony if I ever saw one. Like all of their releases, this one is highly recommended, but I'm pretty sure it's also my favorite SP record yet.
COMA: S/T 12" (Danger)
Reissue of this 1979 French cold wave banger, whose singer would go on to be in another seminal French new wave band, Charles de Goal. COMA sound like they were quite inspired by the early minimal synth scene... I'm not sure how connected all of these bands are, but there's quite a similar sound to the Normal, the Screamers, early Tubeway Army and Metal Urbain. There are still guitars here, so it's not as minimal as, say, early Depeche Mode, and the rhythms are generally speedy and agitated... fans of the Normal and the Screamers will definitely dig this hard.
Sex Crime: S/T 7" (Danger)
4-song 7" from this new Portland band with members of the Epoxies. I haven't heard the Epoxies in years, but I remember them having an extremely polished sound... Sex Crime, by contrast, is a lot more raw and full-sounding, though they make use of the same gooey-sounding keyboard melodies. The music is high-energy garage-punk of the type that Dirtnap Records seems to specialize in, but the synth melodies will satisfy your sweet tooth. Pretty killer.
Realities of War: S/T 7" (Not Very Nice)
Vinyl reissue for this obscure 1992 demo tape featuring Jacky from the almighty Framtid collaborating with a friend on some tunes heavily influenced by Sore Throat and Disaster. If you don't know those bands, rest assured this is very much in the tradition of Why?-era Discharge... loud, noisy, and raging. You know Jacky knows what's up, and if you crave the d-beat you'll love this.
Abject Pax: S/T 7" (Sewercide)
Debut 7" from this Canadian band that features members of a slew of other NE Canadian bands. This is some rad anarcho-informed hardcore... some songs have a more straightforward vibe a la Dirt or Icons of Filth, but I like it when they get weird, like on the second track, "Mind & Body," which has a quirky, Subhumans-esque rhythm and totally bizarre, haunting lady backup vox that really sound like nothing else I can think of. There are a lot of bands out there resurrecting the old anarcho sound as of late, but few of them capture the spirit of experimentation as well as Abject Pax do, while still staying grounded in a straightforward, catchy sound. Highly recommended.
Creep: Creep Tape cassette (Electric Assault)
Demo tape from this new NYC band that I believe features a few familiar faces. It's a different sound, though, than I've associated with NYC for the past several years... obviously extremely inspired by Warzone as well as Agnostic Front, this sounds like those bands' rawest and most inspired releases. It's really the best of both worlds, with the killer metallic riffing of Warzone mixed with the raw, vibrant sound of modern NYC punk. Totally killer.
Negative Trend: S/T 7" (Superior Viaduct)
Repress of this seminal early California punk/HC document featuring members that would go on to form Flipper. This is pure, snotty first-wave California punk, though, easily the peer of the similar releases on Dangerhouse Records, and a good bit rougher and tougher than those. Four songs of nihilistic, snotty punk... a total essential.
Nemesis: Gyou-Shou 7" (Solar Funeral)
2nd 7" from this great Japanese hardcore band. On their first 7" I was blown away with their raw hardcore attack, which immediately brought to mind Warhead's classic Cry of Truth EP. This time around they have a slightly rougher recording that reminds me even MORE of Warhead, and a totally gnarly, throat-shredding performance from the vocalist. An absolutely essential Japanese HC record... highly recommended.
Goner: Faking the Wisdom 12" (Superfan)
Endless Bummer: Ripper Current 7" (In the Red)
Gang of Four: Entertainment 12" (Rhino)
Motorhead: Orgasmatron 12" (Mercury)
Suicide: S/T 12" (Red Star Music)
The Jam: In the City 12" (Polydor)
Beastie Boys: Solid Gold Hits 12" (Capitol)
Beastie Boys: Hello Nasty 12" (Capitol)
Mudhoney: Superfuzz Bigmuff 12" (Sub Pop)
The Clash: London Calling 12" (Epic)
Joy Division: Love Will Tear Us Apart 12" (Cleopatra)
Meat Puppets: II 12" (MVD Records)
Sebadoh: Bakesale 12" (Sub Pop)
The Stooges: Fun House 12" (Rhino)
The Cure: Three Imaginary Boys 12" (Vinyl Lovers)
Nirvana: Nevermind 12" (DGC)
The Stooges: Raw Power 12" (Rhino)
Glaxo Babies: Nine Months to the Disco 12" (Superior Viaduct)
Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation box set 12" (Goofin')
Sonic Youth: Goo box set 12" (Goofin')
The Oh Sees: Singles Collection Vol 3 12" (Castleface)
Nobunny: Secret Songs 12" (Goner)
The Sound: Jeopardy 12" (1972)
The Sound: From the Lion's Mouth 12" (1972)
The Barbaras: 2006-2008 12" (Goner)
Grave Miasma: Odori Sepulcrorum 12" (Profound Lore)
Ty Segall: Lemons 12" (Goner)
Vasaeleth: Cryptborn... 12" (20 Buck Spin)
Christian Mistress: Agony + Opium 12" (20 Buck Spin)
Thee Oh Sees: The Master's Bedroom 12" (In the Red)
Swans: The Seer 12" (Young God)
Blind SHake: Key to a False Door 12" (Castleface)
Flamin' Groovies: Shake Some Action 12" (4 Men with Beards)
Hawkwind: S/T 12" (4 Men with Beards)
Iggy Pop: The Idiot 12" (4 Men with Beards)
Raspberry Bulbs: Deformed Worship 12" (Blackest Ever Black)
Shop Assistants: S/T 12" (4 Men with Beards)
Pampers: S/T 12" (In the Red)
TV Ghost: Disconnect 12" (In the Red)
PC Worship: Beat Punk 12" (New Images Ltd.)
Dirtbombs: Ooey Gooey 12" (In the Red)
Bone Sickness: Alone in the Grave 12" (20 Buck Spin)
Ty Segall: Melted 12" (Goner)
Ty Segall: Singles 2007-2010 12" (Goner)
Reatards: Teenage Hate 12" (Goner)
Eddy Current Suppression Ring: Primary Colours 12" (Goner)
Eddy Current Suppression Ring: Rush to Relax 12" (Goner)
The Oh Sees: Castlemania 12" (In the Red)
Animal Teeth: Sewer Gas cassette (Spotted Race)
Black Panties: Graveyard cassette (Spotted Race)
Mongoloid: Waller Sniffer cassette (Spotted Race)
Trauma Harness: Dead and Loving It cassette (Spotted Race)
Black Panties: Dead & Gone cassette (Spotted Race)
Violations: Stay Home cassette (Spotted Race)
Dem Scientist: The Freeburg Years cassette (Spotted Race)
Solid Attitude: No Sax cassette (Spotted Race)
Antichrist: Burned Beyond Recognition 7" (Electric Assault)
Orchid: The Mouths of Madness 12" (Nuclear Blast)
Slayer: Hell Awaits 12" (Metal Blade)
Rocket from the Crypt: All Systems Go Vol 2 12" (Swami)
The Ergs!: That's It... Bye 12" (Don Giovanni)
Mastodon: Remission 12" (Relapse)
The Replacements: The Early Mats 12" (bootleg),br> Take Offense: Under the Same Shadow 12" (Reaper)
Terror: Live by the Code 12" (Reaper)
3: Dark Days Coming 12" (Dischord)
Rites of Spring: 6 Song Demo 10" (Dischord)
Torche: In Return 10" (Magic Bullet)
Night Birds: Maimed for the Masses 7" (Fat Wreck)
Raw Justice: S/T 7" (Life to Live)
Con-800: Demo 82 7" (bootleg)
Cause for Alarm: S/T 7" (Victory)
Bad Brains: Soul Music for Bad People 7" (bootleg)
Major Accident: Massacred Melodies 12" (Radiation)
Possessed: The Demos 12" (bootleg)
Voivod: War and Pain 12" (bootleg)
Svart Framtid: 1984 7" (Voltage)
Inside Out: No Spiritual Surrender 7" (Revelation)
Title Fight: Spring Songs 7" (Revelation)
Various: NYHC: The Way It Is 12" (Revelation)
Down to Nothing: Life on the James 12" (Revelation)
DYS: Brotherhood 12" (Taang!)
Pantera: Far Beyond Driven 12" (Rhino)
Skeletonwitch: Serpents Unleashed 12" (Prosthetic)
Slayer: Seasons in the Abyss 12" (American)
Slayer: Reign in Blood 12" (American)
Slayer: South of Heaven 12" (American)
Chaos Channel: Magic Bullet 7" (SPHC)
Alarms / Rat Damage: Split 7"
Captive Bolt / Gary Francione: Split 7" (Dead Tank)
Boom Boom Kid: Musica Sin La Intervencion 12" (SPHC)
Crucified Mortals / Exorcism: Split 7" (Hell's Headbangers)
Witch Cross: Axe to Grind 12" (Hell's Headbangers)
Tiger Junkies: D-Beat Street Rock N Roll 12" (Hell's Headbangers)
Mortician: Chainsaw Dismemberment 12" (Hell's Headbangers)
Satanic Warmaster: Nachzehrer 12" (Hell's Headbangers)
Impaled Nazarene: Latex Cult 12" (Osmose)
Enslaved: Mardraum 12" (Osmose)
Saint Vitus: The Walking Dead 12" (SST)
Saint Vitus: Hallow's Victim 12" (SST)
Repulsion: Horrified 12" (Relapse)
Metallica: Master of Puppets 12" (Warner Bros)
Metallica: Kill 'Em All 12" (Warner Bros)
Metallica: Ride the Lightning 12" (Warner Bros)
Mercyful Fate: Don't Break the Oath 12" (Roadrunner)
Mercyful Fate: Melissa 12" (Roadrunner)
King Diamond: Abigail 12" (Roadrunner)
King Diamond: Them 12" (Roadrunner)
Hellhammer: Apocalyptic Raids 12" (Back on Black)
Hawks: Pushover 12" (Learning Curve)
Beastie Boys: Check Your Head 12" (Capitol)
Agnostic Front: Cause for Alarm 12" (Strength)
Agnostic Front: Live at CBGB 12" (Bridge 9)
Code Orange Kids: Love Is Love Return to Dust 12" (Death Wish)
Means Well: demo cassette (Self Aware)
Late Bloomer / Old Flings: Split 7" (Kiss of Death)
Just Die!: Since the Day We Were Born 7" (Goodwill)
Oddzcar: One Word 12" (Self Aware)
Old Flings: Spite 12" (Self Aware)
Lumpy & the Dumpers: demo cassette (Spotted Race)
Lumpy & the Dumpers: Halloween cassingle (Spotted Race)
Midnite Snaxx: You Kill Me 7" (Goner)
Fuzz: S/T 12" (In the Red)
Ex-Cult: S/T 12" (Goner)
Cosmic Psychos: S/T 12" (Goner)
Devo: Hardcore Vol 1 12" (Superior Viaduct)
Devo: Hardcore Vol 2 12" (Superior Viaduct)
Beastie Boys: Paul's Boutique 12" (Capitol)
Flesh Eaters: No Questions Asked 12" (Spittle)
Motorhead: Ace of Spades 12" (Mercury)
Motorhead: Bomber 12" (Mercury)
Motorhead: Iron Fist 12" (Mercury)
Motorhead: No Sleep Till Hammersmith 12" (Mercury)
New York Dolls: Too Much Too Soon 12" (Mercury)
Rezillos: Can't Stand the Rezillos 12" (Rhino)
Velvet Underground: Loaded 12" (Verve)
Velvet Underground & Nico: S/T 12" (Verve)
The New Flesh: Reality 12" (Self-released)
Hoax: S/T 12" (self-released)
The Abused: Loud and Clear 12" (Radio Raheem)
Down But Not Out: The Cycle 7" (Painkiller)
The High and the Mighty: Crunch Time 7" (Radio Raheem)
Dezerter: Underground Out of Poland 12" (Nic Nikt Nie Wie)
Condition: Deteriorating 7" (Rust and Machine)
Condition: Bombed Out 7" (Rust and Machine)
Die Kreuzen: Cows and Beer 7"
Mob 47: S/T 7" (Havoc)
Wretched / Indigesti: Split 7" (bootleg)
Blitz: Voice of a Generation 12" (Radiation)
Confuse: Indignation 12" (bootleg)
Kromosom: 8 Tracks 12" (Havoc)
Disorder: Under the Scalpel Blade 12" (Radiation)
Tragedy: Darker Days Ahead 12" (Tragedy)
EATER: Doomsday Troops 7" (Loud Punk)
Sarcofago: INRI 12" (Greyhaze)
Last Words: S/T 12" (To Live a Lie)
Lost Kids: Cola Freaks 7" (Sing Sing)
Agnostic Front: United Blood 12" (Bridge 9)
Warsaw: S/T 12" (Vinyl Passion)
Obituary: Cause of Death 12" (Roadrunner)
Obituary: Slowly We Rot 12" (Roadrunner)
Agnostic Front: Victim in Pain 12" (Bridge 9)
Amebix: Monolith 12" (Back on Black)
Cock Sparrer: Shock Troops 12" (Pirate's Press)
Cock Sparrer: Runnin' Riot in '84 / Live and Loud 2x12" (Pirate's press)
Exploited: Troops of Tomorrow 12" (Drastic Plastic)
FUs: Kill for Christ 12" (Taang!)
Jawbreaker: Unfun 12" (Blackball)
Joy Division: Closer 12" (Factory)
Dave Rata: Hallucigenia 12" (Bat Shit)
Ratas del Vatican: Rafagueados 2x7" (Bat Shit)
Creep: Creep Tape cassette (Electric Audio)
Proxy: Police Car 7" (MMM)
Chosen Few: Joke's On Us 12" (Going Underground)
Converge: Axe to Fall 12" (Deathwish)
No Power: Distort 7" (Inkblot)
No Power: No Axis 7" (Self Aware)