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5/45s With SORRY STATE RECORDS Part 2

For our 5/45s feature, we ask musicians to walk us through some of their favorite singles. Whether they be influential, impossible to find, or just a prized possession, we love discovering the 2-3 minute tunes that inspire some of our favorite music.

This week we have part two of an extra special 5/45’s feature! We speak to the staff of Raleigh, North Carolina’s SORRY STATE RECORDS, one of the best in punk, hardcore, and other badass records. SORRY STATE has a weekly newsletter full of great recommendations new and old so we knew they’d have some great picks for 45’s.

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Usman

I have way more 7″s than LPs. I think of the 7″ EP being the classic punk format. I know the ‘single’ has always been a popular approach to 7″s, but there were tons of bands from different continents cramming as much music as physically possible into the limited grooves of a 7″ record. Besides having that much material to release, I imagine bands did this to save as much money as possible. Tons of Finnish and Swedish records from the late ’70s into the mid ’80s were made with plain white labels. From my understanding, this was cos the printing of a center label cost more than pressing the actual record back then. While the price of making center labels is not really a factor anymore, the price of pressing a record steadily increases virtually every year. The $2 7″ record is no longer a thing. These days a 7″ is gonna run you anywhere from $8-$12. Regardless, the format lives on, and lives strong in our world. 

Kaaos: Totaalinen Kaaos EP (Propaganda Records, 1982)

Back in 1982, Kaaos released their debut EP entitled “Totaalinen Kaaos”. They crammed around 15 minutes of music on this 7″. These days, I don’t think you can even find a pressing plant who would agree to press that! When I first heard this record in my late teens it shook me to my core. I had no idea music could sound like this. I had heard classic UK and US punk/hardcore bands, but nothing gets quite as pissed off as Finnish hardcore. What I find most appealing about Finnish bands is that even though the music is typically so mean, the bands still have the ability to groove hard as fuck. I think the formula is extremely unique and a key characteristic when it comes to defining the traditional Finnish hardcore sound. Kaaos opened the door for me into the world of Finnish hardcore, and to this day most of my favorite bands are from Finland. I don’t just listen to Finnish hardcore all day long though. I am a huge fan of Swedish and Japanese bands, and of course my introduction to punk/hardcore was through US and UK bands.

Here are a few more releases that had a huge impact on me as a young punk:

  • Kaaos: Totaalinen Kaaos EP (Propaganda, 1982)
  • Discharge: Realities of War 7″ (Clay, 1980)
  • Minor Threat: S/T EP (Dischord, 1981)
  • Rudimentary Peni: Farce 7″ (Crass, 1982)
  • Anti-Cimex: Victims Of A Bomb Raid 7″ (Malign Massacre, 1984)

Angela

What a fun thing to participate in! I have a fair amount of 45’s, mostly comprised of punk EP’s, a broad spectrum of singles, and my most prized and cherished records. For my top 5/45’s, I tried approaching it from several angles, but in the end I chose records that I have distinct memories of listening to for the first time, that heightened my obsession with music, or prompted me to go down a new path. Most importantly, these records still excite me after all these years.

Minor Threat: S/T EP (Dischord, 1981)

Of the five, one record stands out above the rest. Not only for the music, but for the sheer childlike joy I felt when I finally got my hands on an early pressing. The first Minor Threat record stirs up something inside me that has yet to be replicated. There’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said about this legendary piece of hardcore history, but I’m gonna add my piece. In my eyes, this is the best hardcore punk record. It’s raw, fast, honest, and void of anything unnecessary. I love the tempo shifts, the way the music builds and explodes with perfect timing and execution. One of my favorite tracks, “Screaming At A Wall”, embodies all of this good stuff. Something as simple as a brief pause before a tempo shift in the middle of the song is so satisfying and so thrilling. These simple yet explosive arrangements are infectious, and part of what makes this record so impressive. I love the blistering choruses, the confrontational and provoking tone in Ian’s delivery, and the downright militant level of passion in the music. And when I play this record today, it still has a grip on me. It still feels fresh, like it will somehow always be shiny and new.

To round things out, here are a few more that haven’t lost their luster!

  • Minor Threat: S/T EP (Dischord, 1981)
  • Bikini Kill: New Radio 7″ (Kill Rock Stars, 1993)
  • Wipers: Alien Boy EP (Park Avenue, 1980)
  • Ramones: I Wanna be Sedated 7″ (Sire, 1988)
  • XTC: Making Plans for Nigel 7″ (Virgin, 1979) 

John Scott

For me, 7” records are for throwing something fun on around friends, playing a bunch of different stuff in a short period of time. Constantly having to flip and change the record gives you time to talk about whatever you just listened to, and also gives you more freedom to throw on whatever you like cause who cares if you don’t like it? It’s five minutes long. I also respect the art of cramming as much ripping music you can fit onto those seven inches.

The Cramps – Can Your Pussy Do The Dog? – 7”

My favorite 7” would probably have to be my Cramps “Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?” single. I remember when my older brother introduced me to The Cramps and I instantly was hooked on their off the wall sound. This was the first record of theirs that I found in person and I was stoked to snatch it up. It’s just a fun song that catches peoples attention whenever you throw it on. I’m also a fan of the b-side “Blue Moon Baby”, so it’s a win-win.

If I had to pick four more records for my favorite 7”s in my collection, these would be my top picks:

  • The Cramps – Can Your Pussy Do The Dog? 7” (Big Beat Records, 1985)
  • Negative Approach – S/T 7” (Touch And Go, 1982)
  • The Fall – Rowche Rumble 7” (Step-Forward Records, 1979)
  • Black Flag – Nervous Breakdown 7” (SST Records, 1979)
  • Howlin Wolf – I Ain’t Superstitious 7” (Chess, 1962)
Written By

Chicago based.

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