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John Wall, co-founder of Slowdime Records and acting spokesman for the Sorts, reports that the harried band is alive and well in Europe despite an ugly run-in with the Polish mafia. Thugs tried to steal the Sorts’ tour van during the band’s five-day stint in Poland, but they were foiled when the key broke in the ignition. The Sorts’ tour partner Nomeansno wasn’t as luckyits van was successfully stolen by the same group of thugs. The bands reported the incident to local cops, says Wall, after which the cops reportedly shot at several of the suspects. The band lost the equivalent of a few thousand dollars in Polish zlotych in the exchange before getting the van back. Both bands beat a hasty retreat to the border, according to Wall, where, because of their troublesome recent history in the country, they had to bribe their way to safety. The Sorts, who have just released Hawaiian Bronco, a new CD compilation of vinyl singles and EPs, will be watching their backs as they put the finishing touches on their two-month European tour. The trio will be home in time for Christmas and a welcome-home gig at Metro Cafe on Saturday, Dec. 19, with Karate, the Ivory Coast, and recent Silver Spring-by-way-of-Kansas City transplants Farewell Bend. They’ll be choosing their parking space carefully. (CB)