Before Sorry State Records opened its doors for the first time at noon on Saturday, a line of eager customers already gathered outside the Morgan Street storefront. The shelves of new and used records on offer were quickly clogged with people scouring the stacks for vital titles among the curated selection of punk, metal and garage rock.
The crowd made thorough browsing a pipe dream for all but the most patient and dedicated; still, it didn’t seem to take much effort to find something covetable. Customers gathered records by the armload, and conversations spawned from mutual jealousies. (I’m as proud of scoring a near-mint copy of Suicide’s Zero Hour EP near the front of the shelves as I am envious of whoever left with the copy of Slayer’s Show No Mercy that showed up in photos of the store before it opened.)
Sorry State, which operated as a punk label and mailorder shop for years before opening the Raleigh storefront, has never been particularly narrow in its aesthetic focus. To wit, its catalog has made room for the metallic hardcore blitz of Stripmines, Whatever Brains‘ shape-shifting post-punk and, recently, the sharp power-pop of Ireland’s The #1s. The shop’s inventory, nevertheless, gave the most attention to rock’s more aggressive offshoots.
But Sorry State offered hints of a broader selection to come, too: One corner stocked a selection of classic rock, country, jazz and novelty LPs. And the new titles included Merge- and Matador-stamped concessions to indie rock and high-end reissues of horror movie soundtracks from Death Waltz and Waxwork.
In a Facebook event promoting the grand opening, Sorry State owner Daniel Lupton set his goal succinctly: “We want to be the go-to new music spot for Raleigh’s adventurous listener.” If the success of opening day is an indication, it will be.