Monday, 20 March 2017

Ashes

My ability to think up a remotely clever or amusing title has completely evaded me today. But that's ok, because what matters isn't the title. It's the fact that I have obtained a test press of one of my favourite bands. I got this in a trade recently from someone who picked it up recently but, fortunately for me, didn't want it.

For the younger readers, Ashes were a band from Washington DC, active in the early 90s. They were notable for having a female vocalist with an enchanting voice and, for a few years, they were the band that any other band with a female vocal got compared to. They had Brian McTernan on guitar, who was also known for being the vocalist in Battery. If you haven't heard them, you should check them out. They were popular because they were interesting and different. Well, at least back in the day they were. Not sure if they would sound 'different' today, but give them a listen and let me know.

Predictably, I pulled out my other copies for a photo. As well as the test press, included above is the black vinyl first press with greenish sleeve, and the second press on white vinyl with black cover.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Let Down II

A couple more Dead by 23 records for the collection, because I definitely didn't have enough already.

Unfortunately, the website (and the pressing info) got taken offline years ago. So I have no idea how many of these exist. But having said that, I don't think the website was online when the Let Down 7" was released anyway. So it's just a guessing game. But the fact that I hadn't seen this variant before means it's probably pretty rare.

I also picked up one that's probably a little more common. The Damage II 'Broken Bloodlines' 7" on gold vinyl with a small hole.

As I said a few weeks ago about a Black Flag 7", here is further evidence that I'm collecting holes. Here's the latest Damage 7" next to the other gold vinyl copy I own.

I checked the spreadsheet, and I now have a grand total of 62 DB23 7"s. I'm not really sure how that happened. Yet there are loads of variants that I know I don't have. To quote No For An Answer - when will it end?

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Drowning Room

I really love picking up test pressings of lesser known (or less well remembered) records. One of the advantages is that they are less expensive, but they are every bit as satisfying. Take this Lament 7", for example. Lament was a band from NYC which, I think, featured a couple of guys from Maximum Penalty. They released this 7" on Inner Journey Records in 1991, and also a CD on Too Damn Hype Records (which I've never heard). Then they were done.

Inner Journey Records was a pretty cool label back in the early 90s. The put out some great 7"s - Clutch, Sub Zero, Railhed and Release. Each one came on two different vinyl colors, and there were also limited edition copies with comic books or superhero covers. Great records which were also highly collectible.

I've seen pictures of the Clutch and Sub Zero test pressings, and they coe in the same standard cover. Pretty cool. I do like consistency. I only wish I had another test from this label to show how the covers are the same in a photo. Maybe one day. Anyway, the Lament 7" was the only Inner Journey release to come on not two but three different colors of vinyl. I have no idea which came first or which is rarest. But the colors are maroon, blue and pink. A bit like this:

I actually have a spare pink vinyl copy if anyone is interested. Hit me up...

Monday, 13 March 2017

Pummel

So yeah, as I was saying, I had picked up four ALL albums and had them go missing in the mail, so a few months later went to buy them again. One that I didn't manage to pick up last year, however, was the band's major label release on Interscope Records, 'Pummel'. Released in 1995, at a time when major labels were starting to severely cut back on the amounts of vinyl they pressed, this remains the hardest ALL record to find... and is therefore the most valuable / expensive. So imagine how stoked I was recently to find a sealed copy.

I don't believe in keeping records sealed. I don't believe that there is any benefit to doing so. If a record is rare and sought after, it will be so whether it is sealed or not. So I did what I always do, and I opened it up.

There's something really quite satisfying about opening a record that has been sealed for 20 years. I can't explain why, exactly. But this isn't the first time I've done it.

It's not easy getting into a band and records many years later and understanding the history and the context. If I were a betting man, I'd put money on the fact that ALL were signed by Interscope after Green Day got huge, in an attempt to find bands with hardcore / punk credentials and a lot of melody. The sixth LP from the band, it sounds less poppy and more angry than the previous (and subsequent) records. After reading around a bit, it feels as if this is not overly liked by ALL fans, although I think there are some truly brilliant songs on this record.

It's funny, but just as I've managed to bag an original pressing copy of this record, it is about to be re-issued on vinyl for the first time since it's release. So look for pictures all over instagram in about a month's time.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Mass Nerder

Almost exactly a year ago, I posted up three ALL records that I has bought, and explained that I had just got into the band and was on a mission to pick up all their records. So I bought up 4 albums and they promptly got lost in the post. So I gave it a few months then started to look for them again...

'Mass Nerder' is the band's 7th LP. It was originally released in 1998 by Epitaph. It was then repressed on clear orange vinyl in 2015.

Unlike any color Descendents record that's ever been made, this album was available to buy from the label for a good few months. I was able to buy one, store it for a couple of months at a friend's place, have him send it & it go missing, wait three months and then buy another one before it sold out. I guess this really does highlight how much less popular ALL are than The Descendents.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Clear Scene

I didn't even know that the Dinosaur Jr 'Freak Scene' 7" came on clear vinyl until a few months ago. But when I saw a picture I instantly wanted it. Having not seen one before in 20+ years, I figured it must be rare and would take an eternity to find. But it actually wasn't too bad.

Just like the colour Black Flag 7"s I'm trying to collect, which are also on SST Records, it feels like I'm picking up one of these every year or so. Which means I should have a pretty good collection sometime around 2025...

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Feeling Down

As you may or may not have figured out by now, I'm not the biggest fan of black vinyl. It feels 'common' and, to be honest, I always found it boring. But there was a part of me recently that was pretty damn keen to pick up this black vinyl copy of the Swiz 'Down' 7":

Truth be told, it was one of those weird record collector things, where I was feeling incomplete without the black vinyl copy. But now, finally, I feel complete...

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Gypsy Hardcore

There are some records that you have no intention of collecting, but you kind of end up doing so. I can feel that this LP is now falling into that category. I just picked up this copy of the Gypsy 'Giant's Despair' LP on white vinyl. There were 680 copies on white, which is the most common colour that was made. However, only 35 came with a 'This Is Hardcore' stamp on the dust sleeve. So that makes this record both the most common and rarest version of this LP at the same time.

I started out with a pink vinyl pre-order copy and then picked up a test press, and now with this I have 3 copies. It's kinda pushing me towards trying to grab the other two colours too, although I'm not sure if I want to. I guess time will tell...

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Our Times

A friend was selling some records a while ago, so I picked up a few bits for a pretty reasonable price. Among the hoard was a couple of copies of this 7" by a band called Generations. I already had one copy of this which I bought for cheap a few years ago, and I was really into it. It came out in 2006, but to me looks (and sounds) like it could have come out in 1995. Very Mouthpiece-esque. I have no idea what the pressing info is for this, but I picked up a white vinyl copy and a test press.

Adding the green copy I already had, I've managed to make this nice square picture:

I never thought to check until about two seconds ago, but it appears there is another version that comes with a zine. Bum.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

More Represses

No matter how many times I say I'mgoing to quit picking up Rev represses, there are some that I just can't say no to. More colours of the classiscs. Truth be told, I bought these some months ago but have only just received them.

Burn 'Last Great Sea' on solid orange. This one was probably due a repress to be fair as there were only 1,000 pressed in total back in the 2002. Solid orange seems like an odd choice of colour to me, although on the plus side, at least it's something different to the clear blue / clear green / clear yellow that Rev have repressed half their catalogue on over the last couple of years.

Not so sure that the Youth of Today 7" needed to be repressed again on a different colour, but here we go. And what was that I just said about everything being pressed on clear blue, yellow or green?

And finally, Judge 'Bringin' It Down' LP on red vinyl. This one was a pressing plant mistake. Last year they pressed 252 copies on gold vinyl, then changed colour and pressed 296 on red. Given the low numbers pressed on both of these, I quickly snapped both up.

Since this mistake happened, Rev stated that they would press more on both colors. So after the red, they went back and pressed another 420 copies on gold. I guess in theory once those sell out, they will do more on red to 'even things up'. The thing i have noticed though is that the red has pretty much no value in the market. The copies that have sold on discogs have sold for new release prices, and there's a copy sitting there right now for sale. Given how much coloured copies of this album have sold for in the past, this just tells me that the multiple repress colours thing has kinda killed it. People have pretty much stopped caring. Whether that's true or not, time will tell I guess...

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Encapsulated

I used to LOVE the Metroschifter back in the mid 90s. Such a great band that were years ahead of their time. One thing that always appealed to me was how the band had some really interesting and original ideas to keep things fresh and original. Case in point - their third album, 'Encapsulated'. Here's a test press of it that I have just recieved:

As you can see, this was a double LP. However, what makes this one interesting is that that the band themselves didn't even play on this record at all. Instead, they wrote the songs and then sent out demo versions to other bands, and asked them to record their own versions. The songs that came back then became the album. So it's a Metroschifter LP which the band themselves don't play on at all. I guess that kind of makes it a compilation... although it was released as a Metroschifter LP, not a compilation of Metroschifter covers.

Here's a pic of the test next to the regular (gatefold) sleeve.

When I took the sleeve out, I found the following sticker inside that I had cut off of the shrink wrap when I bought this back at the turn of the century.

Sadly, I think that the Metroschifter have been forgotten in the sands of time. But you can see from the line up of this record that they were a pretty big deal back in their day, being able to convince some of the bigger bands of the era to participate in their project.

I think this is the third Metroschifter test that I own. It would be four if it weren't for some dick on eBay a few years ago.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

A Story Of Life

We all love the feeling of picking up some big time records now and again. But it's also equally as satisfying to pick up records for super cheap. So when I saw someone selling a couple of copies of the Far Cry 'Story Of Life' 7" for super cheap, I jumped on it. It's not the best record ever made, but it's definitely an underrated little straight edge hardcore record with a rad cover.

The first copy I picked up was this pink vinyl copy in blue sleeve. The blue sleeve was the first press.

The second copy is this second pressing copy on yellow vinyl.

The pressing info for this one is confusing to say the least. The second press was apparently 251 copies on yellow vinyl, and 40 copies on 'swirled' vinyl. Previously I only owned one copy of this, which I have now placed next to the yellow vinyl in this photo:

As you can see, these two look different. But there's no way to tell whether the one on the right is one of the yellow or swirled copies. One thing is for sure though - this is a crazy record to try to collect. The first press was officially pink vinyl and yellow vinyl... but the 'pinks'range from pink to orange, and the yellows range from yellow to white. Then, the second press was officially yellow and swirled, but copies range from light yellow to dark yellow, and the swirls are (I think) various shades of grey. Not sure I want to pick up more, but I may do if I see them for cheap.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Label Blowout

As we all know by now, Record Store Day is an over hyped pile of crap. Stores filled with pointless, overpriced reissues. But now and again some labels do some cool stuff, and last year Six Feet Under Records put up a limited War Hungry LP in their webstore. This thing sounded cool as hell, so I ordered one immediately. And finally, nine months later, I have it. And damn, was it worth the wait.

Of the first press of this LP, 99 copies were on red vinyl and sent out as pre-orders. But there were an additional 52 red vinyl copies which were pressed with the labels exploded inside the vinyl, and which were held back. Despite the photo above looking like this comes on red vinyl with black splatter, the bits in the vinyl are actually the paper labels which have been 'exploded' inside the vinyl. Here's a close up which shows it much better:

And the fancy shit doesn't stop there. Of these 52 'label blowout' copies, 36 were clear red, whereas 13 also had white streaks. I was lucky enough to get one of the thirteen. As the photos above show, it looks clear red on one side, but like a completely different record when you flip it over:

And as if that wasn't enough, the cover is also special, having the band name laser etched across the front. Here's a pic showing it next to the regular version:

This is a great example of what people can achieve when they want to push the boat out. This really is something truly special. It's just a shame that more people can't own one because it looks even cooler in real life than it does in these pictures, if you can believe that is possible.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

GB x Conne Island x RevHQ

I'm sure everyone knows the story on this one already. 350 gold GB 7"s pressed, 100 sold via Core Tex Records in Germany without too much of a big announcement, lots of people missed out, and then a few weeks later Rev put 150 copies up for sale, all of which sold in about 16 minutes. Being a Rev nerd, I wanted one of each and I managed it. I've already posted my Core Tex copy, so here's my Rev copy.

The only difference is that the Rev copies have a plain paper dust sleeve, and the numbers inside the sleeve are in the range 201-350.

Here are the two together:

I'm not overly convinced that I need one of each. If the Core Tex copies didn't have the stamped dust sleeve I'm sure one would have been enough. And whilst it feels kinda greedy to have two, I'm sure I'm not the only one who had to pick up both versions. Record collectors eh?

Monday, 6 February 2017

Hole

A few short years ago I decided to start collecting colour vinyl Black Flag 7"s. This was pretty much when I had completed (as far as possible) a collection of colour vinyl Black Flag LPs. I figured this 7" journey would take a while, which isn't a problem as I learnt to have patience years ago. So I sat back and started slowly scooping them up, one by one. Anyway, I thought I was getting pretty close to a complete colour 7" collection when I realised that there were two different red vinyl copies of 'Nervous Breakdown'. And finally I've managed to track down the one I was missing.

So what's the difference between this new one and the one I already had? Well, rather than explain, I thought we could play a game of 'spot the difference'. First up, the front (new record at the top):

And secondly, the back (again, new record at the top):

I had the exact same issue with two red vinyl copies of the 'Louie Louie' 7" - one with large hole, and one with small hole. You'll have to trust me on this, but it's an odd moment when you realise that you've crossed a line between collecting records and collecting different sized holes.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Slip It In California

So here's a record by a band that I know precisely nothing about. A tour version of a I12" by a band called Forced Forward:

I actually already own this 12" on pink vinyl in a regular sleeve. I got it from the label pretty much when it came out. It's a really good record, hence me picking up this limited tour version too. But I know zero about this band. Using my Columbo-like powers, I think I've managed to work out that they were from DC. This is because:

1. I found a pic of the record release version of this record, which shows that they played with LOJ, Cold World, War Hungry, Police & Thieves and Turn Into Ghosts. I know that LOJ and Police & Thieves were both from DC, and I kinda figure that Police & Thieves didn't get out of town much. So I would guess this show took place in DC.

2. The top right hand corner of this record says 'FFDC'.

This is the California 2007 tour version, numbered out of only 25 copies.

Notice that the dust sleeve refers to a blog that they did on tour. It's still up here ---> http://forcedforwardtour.blogspot.com

Interesting to think that on an average year I aim for 120 blog posts, but these dudes managed that in one month.

Anyway, if you have never heard this band I would seriously advise that you check it out. It's good, and you can buy a pink vinyl copy for super cheap on discogs.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Synesthesia

Back in the 90s I was really into what was going on in the Louisville scene. I really liked Endpoint, and they helped open my eyes (or rather, ears) to some other great bands that were around at that time. Initial Records were leading the charge and helping these bands get pushed around the world. I used to order directly from Initial Records by sending cash in an envelope. Andy who ran the label was always nice and helpful, and also patient with my questions about pressing info. Some of the earliest records I remember mail ordering from him was the Guilt 'Synesthesia' 10", the Falling Forward 'Hand Me Down' 12" and the Enkindel 7". They all came out in 1994, and I taped them onto a cassette so that I could listen to them on my walkman whilst walking around town. The order used to be Falling Forward, then straight into the Guilt 10", then the Enkindel 7". And they're all great records which I still listen to. So after coming up for 23 years of listening, I was pretty stoked to find a test press of the Guilt 10" for sale recently.

As you can see, this is numbered 3 out of 10. I've seen pics of a few Initial Records test pressings before and for most there are only 3 copies. So ten copies of this one is a relatively high number.

Oh, and in case you've never seen the actual cover before, here's what it looks like:

Back in the 90s, Guilt always stood out as a really interesting band. Each record sounded like a big step up from the last. But they also had interesting aesthetics and ideas going on which kind of made them stand out. For example, all of the songs on this record are named after colours, but the back cover doesn't name the songs using words, just colour blocks. After this record they got picked up by Victory (this was in an era when Victory was a good label) and they put out a full length LP and (unbelievably) another 10", on which all of the songs were untitled. Kinda funny that their entire vinyl discography consists of only 5 releases, of which 40% are ten inches.

If anyone happens to have any other Guilt or Initial Records tests that they don't want, hit me up. I'll gladly take 'em.