Monday, 14 October 2019

More Gameface

So it's funny how things work sometimes. You don't pick up any records by a certain band for years, then a few come along at once. After picking up two Gameface LP test pressings, another couple of records nice Gameface records ended up coming my way.

First up is a test press of the band's debut LP 'Good' which originally came out on Network Sound records in 1993. Sadly I didn't manage to score an original test press, but instead this is a test of the reissue put out by a label called Smartpunk in 2015. They pressed it on color vinyl for the first time, but I was trying to avoid repressings so didn't pick one up. I wasn't even overly fussed about this test press, until I saw the cover that is, and then I really wanted it.

Pretty cool huh?

This next photo shows the test cover next to the original, regular cover.

I figure I have pretty much zero chance of ever getting a test press of the original first pressing of this LP, so this reissue is an acceptable substitute.

The next record is a much more recent release. The 'IOU1' 7" was put out this year by Revelation for Record Store Day. There were 545 copies made on yellow vinyl, and approximately none of them came to the UK. However, 40 copies made their way to Japan, and were sold with a special sleeve. They were then sold in one store in Japan, so pretty much impossible to get for anyone in the UK. So I was pretty stoked to get one.

In the photos of this that were floating around on instagram it looked like this 7" came with an obi-strip. Howeever, after receiving this in real life it turns out that the obi-strip isn't really an obi-strip at all. It's more just a flap:

See what I mean?

The 'flap' is attached to a back cover which is basically a complete replica of the normal back cover, except for the fact that this one has a white space in the bottom right corner.

The white space looks like it is designed for a number to be written, but it's completely blank. So now I'm wondering whether any of them were numbered, or none. I haven't actually seen a photo of one anywhere so I don't know. If anyone knows please let me know.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Gameface Tests

I'm a big fan of Gameface. Always have been. I picked up their debut 7" and LP pretty early on in my hardcore 'career' as they were on labels that I latched quickly as purveyors of interesting tunes. I have several memories attached to their records and shows over the years. For example, I saw the band play in Summer 1996 in a small venue (The Duchess of York in Leeds) that was half empty; When their second LP ('Three To Get Ready') came out, I traded some UK hardcore 7"s with some dude at the label for a limited colour pressing and he threw in a test press for free. And I remember how excited I was to see them play in 1999 (or possibly 2000) when they toured their first LP on Revelation 'Every Last Time'. I really loved that record. It was a total time and place thing. You know how it is. Sometimes a record comes along and connects with you in a certain way, whereas maybe at a different time it wouldn't have. But 'Every Last Time' was a perfect record for me when it was released, and as such it will always hold a special place in my heart. So I was pretty happy to pick up a test press recently.

This copy came in a regular sleeve, which makes it better for storage purposes.

Only a year or so after 'Every Last Time' was released, the band released a follow up LP on Rev called 'Always On'. I enjoyed this record, but it certainly didn't hit me in quite the same way that 'Every Last Time' did. I guess that's the whole 'time and place' thing. I also saw the band tour this record, and even though it was only a year and a half later, the crowd was completely different. Was a very weird time. But anyway, I also picked up a test of this LP at the same time from the same seller, which was a pretty cool double grab.

This one didn't come in any kind of sleeve, but I had a spare stashed as Rev would sometimes pack leftover sleeves into orders that I would hoard.

Monday, 16 September 2019

God Fodder

Back when I was about 15 or 16, a bunch of my friends at school were into the current indie bands of the day, absolutely none of which interested me in any way. However, as time has marched on, I have ended up listening to some of these bands and I have learnt to enjoy many of them on some level. For one reason or another, about a year ago something made me check out Neds Atomic Dustbin, a UK band that that made quite an impression in the States back in the day. I downloaded their debut LP 'God Fodder' and was surprised at how many of the songs I already knew, mainly from hearing my friends listening to them back in 1991/92. The memory is an amazing thing at times.

I ended up finding myself going back to this record quite regularly when I wanted something that wasn't hardcore, and eventually I realised that I fancied buying a copy. Of course, back when I was young this record would have been available in every record shop in the country, but many years later when I finally want one it has become hard to find and relatively pricey. And then a reissue appeared on colour vinyl. But I had decided that I wanted an original. So I waited.

Eventually a copy appeared on ebay Uk. For whatever reason, this one copy didn't seem to increase in price too much. Sometimes some copies of sought after records seem to get missed by other people for some reason, and it felt like this was happening here. So I added it to the watch list and ended up winning it for less than a third of what this record usually sells for. Bargain.

This copy arrived with a couple of seam splits in the inner sleeve, but for the price I paid I wasn't overly fussed.

It wouldn't surprise me if regular readers of this weren't familiar with the band. But if anyone is remotely curious and wonders what they sound like then I thought I'd link in a video on youtube of 'Grey Cell Green'. If you're not into it then that's absolutely fine, but you have to admit - they don't make bands like this these days.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Rev 23

Another day, another Revelation test press. And this is one of the most controversial releases in the label's catalogue - the infamous Rev 23.

For those of you who don't know the catalogue numbers off by heart, this is the Ray & Porcell 7". Otherwise known as the Ray & Porcell & the drum machine 7". It's always been seen as somewhat of a joke release due solely to the use of a drum machine rather than a human drummer, which did always seem to me to be a weird choice. That said, I read an article about the story behind this release on NO ECHO some time ago, and it then made a lot more sense. Porcell wrote the music and wanted to do something different, so the drum machine was a conscious choice. Apparently he recorded it himself and wasn't even looking to release it, but Jordan at Revelation really liked it and talked him around. The most surprising bit for me was discovering there was originally supposed to be a girl singing, but she couldn't make it so Ray stepped in to help.

Anyway, my feelings on this record are probably the same as most people's, in that I think the songs are pretty good, although I wish they'd been recorded with real drums. That said, however, I can't imagine this being received entirely seriously even if it had.

This test press comes only in a plain white paper sleeve, but I did my usual and took a pic with the regular cover to make this post look a little more interesting.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

One Great Test

So a couple of months ago I picked up a Dag Nasty test press and wrote this:

It's not too often the opportunity arises to pick up a Revelation Records test press... when a chance arises to pick one up, it's tough to say no.

Little could I have know that the near future would bring more opportunities that I could not say no to. But it did, and I couldn't. So here is the first example of my recent good luck - a test pressing of the Burn 'Last Great Sea' 7":

It's actually very rare for a Rev test press to come in anything other than a plain white paper sleeve. But this one has a custom made sleeve which is basically a photocopy of the regular cover art, but with a bunch of small stars added. It looks pretty rad.

At one point in time a few years ago this would probably have been highly desirable and I'm sure that it would have sold for a lot of money. I'm not sure that would still be the case as the band's reformation and LP that was released a couple of years ago ('Do Or Die') seems to have soiled their past and their reputation, for some people at least. I guess that's the risk you take when deciding to reform after a long time. You either play the same old songs and milk it for the money, or you write new songs. Both approaches can backfire. But for me, I respect a band more for coming back and trying something new. And I genuinely think that Burn did a good job. But I see that a lot of people think it was a bad mistake. So I would guess that demand for their records, and the values, have subsequently reduced. Not that this really matters. Either way though, this 7" is still mindblowingly good. I remember how stoked I was to hear this when it came out back in 2002, and I'm still almost as stoked every time I play it all these years later.

So of course, after picking up the test press it seemed only fitting that I pick up the latest colour vinyl repress of it too. I almost lose track of how many colours of this there are these days, but I know for sure I didn't have this as I gave up on the Rev represses a couple of years ago (ahem).

Normally I'd pull out all my copies of a 7" and take a group shot for fun, but I seriously don't have time for that right now. Sorry kids. But you'll have seen the set on instagram before I'm sure.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Not For The Weak

I'm finally at the end of this haul of stuff that I picked up from a reader of this blog. I didn't put much thought into the order of these posts, and this is certainly not a case of saving the best until last, but it's just how it's worked out.

The final item in the batch was this Life's Blood 'Defiance' 7". A classic NYHC EP. This copy is a first press with the brown (sometimes referred to as red) labels on Combined Effort Records.

I was keen to bag a first press copy as all I had previously was a second press copy, denoted by the silver labels. But now that I have both I can confirm that the label colour is literally the only difference between them.

Picking this up sent me on a bit of a research mission as I realised that I had very little knowledge about the band. The one thing that always struck me is that, from what I could gather, the band were fairly low profile compared to other bands of the same era, yet they are always cited as a very important and influential outfit. The thing that I hadn't appreciated until recently is that the band only actually existed for a little over a year. OK, so they managed to put out a 7" and a split 7" and get onto three separate compilations, which is kinda impressive in itself. But a band whose total existence spanned just over a year in today's world would be completely forgotten within 6 months. So it's impressive that Life's Blood continue to be remembered and leave a mark over 30 years later.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Stikky

I'm almost at the end of this haul of stuff that I picked up from a reader of this thing. Only two more items left to feature...

I used to be quite into the Gilman Street / Lookout! Records type stuff back in the early 90s. There were a couple of compilations ('Can Of Pork' and 'Very Small World') that my friends and I played a lot and used to explore about a million bands between them, and I loved them all. At the time, picking up records by some of them was hard, but as the internet opened for business I found myself going back to these compilations and picking up records by some of the bands over the years.

I was never a big fan of 'power-violence' (or whatever other words were used to describe the fast, thrashy bands of the mid to late 90s that seemed to have a sense of humour at the forefront of whatever they did). I think I liked the concept of these bands more than the bands themselves. Anyway, Stikky were a kind of early version of these kinds of bands. So when I saw a 7" for sale on the list at a reasonable price I decided to grab it.

The colour of the record hasn't come out quite as it is in real life, as the vinyl is a very pale green, almost exactly the same as mint ice cream. You will see what I mean about the sense of humour factor from the song titles:

I actually already owned a copy of this 7", and the different vinyl colour and cover was enough to decide to pick up a second copy. Here are the two side by side:

With the gift of hindsight, I'm not really sure that picking up a second copy of this was a great move. I mean, it's a fun record, but wouldn't even make it into my top 500 records. I think sometimes the opportunity to pick something up overtakes the desire to actually own it. So if anyone would like one of these two, please hit me up, as I feel I can live without one.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Double-O

Another great pickup from the same person as the UK records I've been featuring is the Double-O 7". I don't know too much about Double-O other than what I have been able to figure out online, but I always knew this would be a cool record to pick up if I had the chance.

This release is one of the hard to find Dischord half numbers. Dischord assigns 'half' catalogue numbers to any of their releases that were a split release with another label. This was released as Dischord 10½ and R&B Records no.1 (R&B Records was a label started by two members of the band, Rich & Bert, hence the label name). This came out in 1983 and, considering it is now 36 years old, is in totally mint condition... although I don't actually know how many copies were made, and how long it was in print for, so I guess it is possible that this may not be a first press and may have dated from a couple of years later. Who knows?

What's interesting about this 7" is that it contains 4 great DC hardcore songs that are about 1.5 to 2 minutes long each, plus one 4 minute song with keyboards that sounds completely different to the others ('Death Of A Friend') and which is actually my favourite by far.

Friday, 23 August 2019

UK Hardcore Test Pressings: Part 2

A long time ago, my 100th post on here was a bunch of early 90s UK hardcore test pressings. Somehow that was 11 years ago now, but this post proves that sometimes history repeats itself.

So this bunch of records I'm about to run through all came from the same person I got the stuff from the other recent stuff from. This was a really good haul to get in at one go. I'm not sure how many people would be interested in some of these records in 2019, but I sure as hell am stoked to grab them. I'll go through them in alphabetical order...

First up is a split 7" between Baby Harp Seal (a UK emo band from Leeds) and Kosjer D (a belgian band).

This record was released in 1996. It probably got a great review in HeartattaCk zine I would imagine. This is when 'hardcore' was in a weird place with lots of emo, screamo, and mathcore dominating the scene, at a time where jumpers and glasses were the fashion and records came in manilla envelopes. There was a lot of weird stuff going on, and in the midst of it there was some good stuff mixed in. Baby Harp Seal were once such example and it was cool to see them play seevral times as they were a local band. Anyway, this is what the regular cover looks like:

Next up is the Kito 7" on Armed With Anger Records. Kito was a band from the north of England that to me kinda fitten the image of bands that would have played ABCNo Rio rather than CBGB, if that makes sense.

I actually picked up one of these in 2008, but it had a blue cover. This one has a white cover and is number 1/6. I mainly picked this up because it was listed as number 1 and thought maybe I could trade away my number 5, but given that they have different colour covers I'll probably keep both.

I also picked up this cool test press of the Stalingrad picture disc 7" that was also released on Armed With Anger Records.

Back in 2008 I also picked up a test press of the Stalingrad 7", but that one was a regular black vinyl record, which I thought was cool as the only release of this 7" was a picture disc. So it's cool to now have a second and different test press of this one. Here are the two next to each other:

I can only assume that the black vinyl one came first and then the picture disc one came second. But it would just be a guess.

Next is another test press of a Stalingrad 7", this time a split with Underclass. This was released on Caught Offside records.

I think I only saw Underclass play once. To me they were a less heavy but more crazy looking singer. I have no memory other than this.

Next, I also picked up yet another Understand 7" test press.

I was always a big fan of this band as they were from the town that I lived in at the time (Southend on Sea). Even though their later material is much better than this 7", this one holds a fond place in my heart as the cover looks awesome, and the record kinda sums up the time nicely. It takes me back to an interesting time in life where I was discovering new stuff and everything felt exciting. Anyway, I actually already have two of the tests for this release, so this now represents a third.

I don't really need three of these, of course, but over the years I picked a couple up for a good price, so figured I would hold them until I found someone else who wanted one. So if anyone wants one then let me know.

Next, a test of an old compilation from 1994. This comp is called 'Nothing New' and was a split release between Armed With Anger Records and KWYJIBO.

Just like the Understand 7", this record is a time and place kinda thing. A mixed variety of bands from the UK all playing different styles that were fresh back then and not typically 'hardcore'.

What's interesting about this test is that it comes in a photocopied & glued cover. I'm guessing it was made of the artwork that was used to make the final version of the regular cover. It folds out, and this pic shows the test cover (top) and the regular cover:

And finally, a UK hardcore compilation from 2006 or so. 'Run Your Mouth' features 3 bands of that era including Search & Destroy, whose 7" I released. I love this 7", and so bought two copies of the test press from the seller:

These two join the one I already had, meaning (like the Understand 7") I now have three. And yes, I'd probably trade the spares if anyone was interested. Just get in touch.

So that's the end of the UK stuff I bagged from this seller, but there are still a couple more records to get to from the batch which I will do in the next post...

Thursday, 15 August 2019

SSS

Moving on, the next items I picked up in a lot from a reader of this blog are by the band SSS. I was actually at the band's very first show in Liverpool. The only thing I remember was the singer swinging a wooden chair leg about at one point. A few weeks later at a different show I bought their CD demo, and a few months later still I picked up their 7" and LP, both of which were released by Dead & Gone Records. This was back in 2006. I picked up the limited colour vinyl copies of each, both of which were on clear vinyl. And now here I am 13 years later picking up the record release show versions of each.

First is the 7". It comes in a spray painted card mailer, and is numbered out of 50 copies on the back.

The mailer is sealed shut, and there's a sticker over the back of it. The previous owner left it sealed and so right at this moment it doesn't feel right that I should open it, even though I am keen to see what's inside. There's a similarly packaged Walk The Plank 7" which I own and which I did open, and inside it's like a pop up book. So I'm sure that whatever is in here must be pretty cool looking.

Next is the LP, which comes in a cloth tote style bag:

Fortunately the bag isn't sealed shut, so I could easily take out the LP and have a look. It's pretty cool. The band have basically taken the standard LP sleeve and spray painted the logo on the front in gold:

And on the back, they've each written some nonsense.

The back cover is also numbered out of only 25 copies.

I've just added both of these variants to discogs as neither were there previously. What I then found interesting is that the band released 3 more albums, the last of which was in 2014. I literally had no idea they had kept going for that long. It's also funny that, whilst I really enjoyed these two records, I never really had any desire to listen to any more of their output. Funny how that happens sometimes isn't it?

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Walk The Plank

The next item in my haul from a long time reader of this blog is a test press of another great record from the 2004/05 era of UK hardcore. Walk The Plank 'Dead Weight In Hostile Waters' LP. The band were active circa 2004-2006 ish. As I type this it seems crazy that they only existed for about three years, because I saw them play quite a few times in that period, and looking back it felt that they were around for longer. Wow. Anyway, the band featured Lecky on vocals (most known for being the vocalist of Voorhees previously, who had been one of the most 'successful' UK hardcore bands ever at that point in time) and they always sounded raw, hard and tight live. And with Lecky himself being a bit of a record nerd, they put out smoe great reocrds in super nice packaging. They had a 7" with pop up artwork, a 4 x 7" series, all in gatefold sleeves, and a full length with cool cover art and a couple of limited collectible versions. Pretty much a perfect hardcore band in every sense. But they broke up and sadly appear to be less well remembered than other bands who weren't as good.

Anyway, in short I loved the band live and I loved the records they put out nearly as much, so I was pretty stoked to be able to pick up a test press of their LP.

Again, this Dead & Gone Records release comes only in a plain white paper sleeve, with a D&G stamp and the release details written underneath. It isn't a visual treat, but tests aren't really about that. So as usual I took a photo of the test next to the regular sleeve:

On a related note, I'm now starting to get into the process of adding releases to discogs. I own something like 500 records that aren't listed on discogs at all, so I figured I would start adding them to the database. This test press wasn't there previously, so I just added it. But in doing so I notice that there is a limited version of this LP for some reunion show in 2012 that I had no idea about. So that's one for the collection and one for the want list at the same time!