Monday, 8 July 2019

Who We Are II

I vaguely remember when I started collecting Descendents records a few years ago. Finding one of their records felt like a rarity, and as such it was kinda exciting. I remember how stoked I was to grab 'I Don't Want To Grow Up' on red, and 'All'on blue. Those were exciting records to buy. These days, however, any excitement has been well and truly beaten out of me by endless pressings of new releases. Yet still I consume. I was hugely underwhelmed with the clear vinyl euro pressing of the 'Who We Are' 7" on clear, but still decided to add a red copy to my collection.

This one was for the States, and is on a better quality vinyl (or so it feels), plus it actually came in a poly bag. But yeah, it doesn't really interest me in the slightest I'm afraid.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Dew It!

A couple of months ago I went to see Into Another play, and I had pretty much ignored (or not cared) about the fact that Beyond were supporting. I've never been a big Beyond fan. I Picked up their LP about 25 years ago and thought it was ok, but over the years it never really found itself coming back onto my playlist. So I wasn't too fussed about seeing them play.

The first night we only saw a couple of songs, but the second night I watched the whole set and actually really enjoyed it. Even though the band looked kinda old and there wasn't much energy in the room, the songs kinda clicked with me more than ever before. I found myself wanting to buy some records, although obviously there's only really one. Still, I managed to find something to waste my money on...

A couple of years ago Rev repressed the band's only official release, the 'No Longer At Ease' LP. I didn't pick it up at the time due mainly to not being bothered, so decided to grab a copy of the rarer colour, which is 'opaque red':

Around the same time, Rev also put the band's 'Dew It!' demo onto wax, along with a live set. Again, I picked up the rarer colour which also happens to be 'opaque red', although the eagle eyed amongst you will notice that both of these 'opaque reds' look pretty different to each other.

Kinda funny that seeing a band live can re-ignite my interest in songs that I have owned for 25 years, but sometimes that's exactly how the game plays out.

To end, here's a couple of songs I filmed from the show I went to. Enjoy...

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Toybox Records

I don't remember when exactly, but at some point last year a lot of grown men got very upset at not being able to buy a toy monkey. Super 7 put up a Gorilla Biscuits boxset for order, containing a blue vinyl pressing of the self-titled GB 7" and a gorilla toy. I tried to buy one but failed. I'm not going to pretend that I wasn't disappointed, but I accepted it, didn't whinge and moved on with life.

A few months later and I got the chance to pick one up for cost price, which I couldn't really turn down.

I have to say, the box is pretty cool. But the record looks a little cheap, mainly due to the plain looking labels.

And it doesn't have a sleeve. There is a folded up poster, but I'm not sure whether this is supposed to act as a cover or whether it is just supposed to be a poster.

And then a few weeks after I picked this thing up, another one went up for order at RevHQ. A 'second pressing' purple box was made and again I couldn't say no.

This one is kinda the same yet kinda different. This one opens in a different way. Rather than open like a book, it's a slipcase style to reveal the toy inside.

This one comes WITH a purple vinyl pressing of the GB 7", which (unlike the blue version) has a more typical style sleeve.

The sleeve itself is a booklet which contains a bunch of photos and some blurb about the record from various people involved in its release.

As I mentioned, the purple box comes WITH a 7". I'm emphasising this because it doesn't actually fit inside the box. Well, the record fits inside, but the sleeve is too big. So a bit of a major cock up.

And I think this is how I feel about both of these things. They both feel like a missed opportunity. The blue one doesn't have a proper cover, and the labels look too plain. And the purple record doesn't actually fit in the box. So slightly underwhelming really.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

California Son

There seems to have been a lot of controversy around Morrissey lately. I only really know of this because of stuff popping up on my facebook feed. It follows pretty much the same format as always, with some people slagging him off and other people defending him. I don't really pay attention to this stuff, because I've seen and heard it too much over the past fifteen years or so. But when a new record was announced my first thought was 'it feels like there was one released only a few months ago'.

This new one is a covers album. I wasn't actually intending to buy it. I downloaded it and made it through three songs before turning it off because I was bored. But then I found myself feeling tired and wanting to listen to something a little 'quieter', so I tried again... and really enjoyed it. And as often happens, I then found myself listening to it two or three times a day. So last week I decided to see if it was in the record shop that's about 5 minutes from my work during my lunchbreak.

Well, it turned out that they had two versions for sale - a black vinyl, and a 'limited' blue version for £1 more. So I paid up.

It's certainly a novelty for me to buy a record on my lunchbreak. It's a good job the shop is really poor else I'd probably be spending too much money there.

Anyway, I'm quite surprised that I have been enjoying this record so much. Could well be the soundtrack to Summer 2019...

Friday, 21 June 2019

Final Transmission

A few weeks ago I went to see Cave In play a show in London with Old Man Gloom. It was a benefit show for the family of bassist Caleb Scofield who sadly passed away last year. I hadn't seen Cave In play for probably about 13 years or so, and it was an interesting night for sure. One nice treat was that the new Cave In album, 'Final Transmission', was available to buy, a full two months before it would be sent out to those who had pre-ordered. Fortunately I hadn't pre-ordered (due mainly to the postage cost), so I was able to pick up both of the two coloured versions that were available fresh off the merch table.

The first colour is grey marble, out of 400 copies. It goes pretty well with the glossy grey front cover.

This is a pretty unique looking sleeve. The front is high gloss, whilst the back is a matte finish. I don't think I've ever seen one like this before as it's usually one or the other.

This also comes with an insert which has a really simple design. I love this image of a satellite blasting through the surface of a planet. There's something utterly fascinating about the infinite size of outer space that makes everything in human life seem to small and insignificant. And somehow this image of of the lonely satellite evokes similar feelings.

The second copy that I picked up is clear with white mix, also out of 400 copies, which also goes pretty well with the artwork.

I thought I'd put the two side by side to show the difference:

There is also a yellow vinyl version, which is the most limited colour, and which I don't have. I hope at some point to pick one up from somewhere or other.

So what is this like? Well, on first listen I found it pretty dull. But after a couple of goes it started to sink its hooks into me, and pretty soon I was feeling the addiction. It really does remind me of 'Jupiter' a lot, and in a similar way to when 'Jupiter' came out, I have been devoting a part of my day to this for the past three weeks or so. I could go on, but I won't. I'll simply say that this is my favourite record since 'Tides of Tomorrow', which came out in way back in 2002.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Minority Of 8

It's not too often the opportunity arises to pick up a Revelation Records test press. Despite test pressings becoming 'cool' over the past ten to fifteen years, Rev carried on making small quantities of tests (4-8) for most of their releases. Which makes them hard to get. So when a chance arises to pick one up, it's tough to say no.

So yeah... I was lucky enough to get this Dag Nasty 'Minority Of One' LP test press a few weeks ago. The cool thing about this particular test press is that Rev actually made up a sleeve for it. OK, so it's just a plain white jacket with a sticker on the front and a sticker on the back, but it's more than they usually do. Most of their tests just come in plain paper sleeves. But this looks pretty rad. Simple but effective, as they say.

The next thing I noticed was that the labels are plain white. Pretty much all Rev tests come with the standard Rainbo labels, so seeing this one with plain white labels left me slightly confused. I mean, was this record actually pressed somewhere else? Or did the plant run out of their standard labels? These are the kind of issues that can keep a nerd awake at night.

Well, after picking up the test press, I felt obliged to pick up the latest repress on 'clear and white marble' vinyl (which looks a lot like grey marble). I'm not sure how many of these exist but would guess at 500.

I remember being disappointed when this record came out back in 2002, but in the years since I have accepted this as a fully fledged Dag Nasty LP. Although I still think I prefer the other reunion record, 'Four On The Floor'.

Anyway, forget my opinion and enjoy this collection shot of my 8 copies of this record...

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Mindforce

I'm always late to the party but generally I get there in the end. The latest example is this here Mindforce 'Demo' 7" that got released in 2017. I decided to add it to the order when I picked up the Sunstroke LP on a whim. It was pretty cheap and I'd seen a lot of Mindforce records get posted on instagram, so figured I would grab one while I had the chance.

There are about a million different versions of this record out there. I grabbed this second press gold vinyl copy. Apparently there are only 33 of this colour.

I have to admit, after listening to this a bit, it is very good for what it is... which is that Leeway type thing. I don't really know what the term crossover refers to, and I've always hated it, but that term gets attached to this band. All I know is that these songs have been creeping into my regular playlist recently and the more I listen, the more that I feel I need MORE songs. It's a good one for the gym, but barely long enough to get me through three sets of shoulder press.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Cave In Pre-Release

I remember buying Cave In's first release on Hydrahead Records when it came out. It was 1997 and the label was young and exciting, and I was into what they were putting out. I'd never heard of anything they were putting out, but I bought it all and lapped it up. A few years later, so did everyone else. But even though I bought multiple copies of some of their releases, especially Cave In, it was only a couple of years ago that I discovered that there was a pre-release cover made for a few copies of the first 7". So I did what I always do and waited it out until one came along.

Not sure how I managed to neve see one of these in 20 years, but hey, never mind. The cover is literally just a piece of paper to cover the record. It's not even folded. DIY or die.

I would have paid a decent amount to get this into my collection, but this was only $5 because the record has a small chip in it near the edge. I wasn't buying it for the record so didn't really care, so it was cool to grab a big want for next to nothing.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Still Hiding From Reality

One of my favourite records from last year (even though it actually came out the year before) was the Protester 'Hide From Reality' LP. I was lucky enough to pick up a gold vinyl copy last year on my travels, but part of me still wanted a blue one too. Well, all things come to those who wait, and I scooped one for a pretty damn good price on a site called 'discogs' (some of you may even have heard of it).

There's not much more to say on this one really, other than this is one of the best current straight edge bands around and this record rips.

Given that I'm always behind, it's no surprise that I missed out on the gold vinyl edition of their latest record, but hey, you can't have everything I guess.

Friday, 31 May 2019

1990

I picked up a couple of records from someone on eBay. They had some pretty cool stuff for sale. But I honed in on a couple of items, both of which were released in 1990.

The first one has been on my wants list pretty much forever. It's one of those records that isn't even that great, but I always wanted a colour copy, and it ended up taking longer to get one than I could have imagined.

The 'Generation Of Hope' comp is kind of classic by nature of who is on it. Chain Of Strength and Brotherhood are the big hitters, and then Confront, Against The Wall and Pushed Aside (who I always regarded as kind of 'tier 2' bands), and then finally a band called Full On Straight (no idea who they are/were). But when I first got a copy of this I was super excited, only to be slightly disappointed that half of the songs were on other releases anyway.

Also, it almost goes without saying that this is a serious contender for the worst cover of all time. I mean, look at it - not only is is plain and boring, but you can't even read what it says easily. The leading 'A' is in a different font to the rest of it, and the word 'Of' takes up more space than the rest of the title put together. Oh, and the 'G's look like 'C's. If only someone would have had the sense to just put the photo from the back cover on the front instead, all would have been ok.

Well, that aside, and this really is a tough find on colour vinyl. It comes on purple and also gold. I've never really known the pressing info, nor which colour is rarest, but the gold does seem to pop up less, so I'm assuming that's rarer than the purple. But right now I'm pretty stoked on the purple. It looks rad.

Oh, and inside the sleeve was this extra insert:

I'm assuming that this is the original receipt for when this was purchased in 1990 for $4.19. Looks like it was $3.99 with the $0.20 US 'mystery tax' that only appears when you get to the checkout, haha! Normally I don't keep these things, but I think I'll keep this. If it's survived 29 years to date then I don't want to be the person who bins it.

Moving on, the second record was this copy of the Billingsgate 'Reach Out' 7" with promo sleeve. Just like the Integrity 7" that was put out around the same time by the same label, there were 100 of these sleeves made. I love the simplicity of this.

The inside of the sleeve was also stamped with the Victory logo.

It's also numbered on the back. I got number 78/100.

The craziest thing about the Billingsgate 7" is that the second press was on blue vinyl, and somehow you can still buy this from the label today! Check it out. Even funnier is that I don't have one, and am now considering buying one.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Green At Last

Anyone who is a long time reader of this thing (and has a great memory) may well remember that I picked up a 'New York Hardcore The Way It Is' green vinyl test press back in February 2013. At the time, it was pretty much a fantasy record for me, i.e. one that I never thought I would ever own. But after getting hold of one, it instantly became my favourite record in my entire collection.

Well, forward 6 years and I have added another similar item to the collection, which I am equally as stoked about.

This is another green vinyl test press on Revelation Records, being for Youth Of Today's 'Break Down The Walls' LP. I'm not sure exactly when this was made, but it was somewhere in between 1988 and 1992. I don't know for sure, but I think that this was made at the same time as the other two green test pressings (the 'NYHC The Way It Is' LP, and the Bold 'Speak Out' test press). There were only 10 copies of each made, and all three are on the exact same colour of vinyl. Here's the info from the Rev discography:

It's funny, but even though I've known about this thing existing for many years, I honestly don't think that I realised until today that this particular test press was actually rejected. So now I'm curious as to why.

Just like the other two tests, this one is pressed on a pretty unique green vinyl. It's slightly transparent, and has slight whisps of white running through it. Aside from these green vinyl test pressings, there is only one other record I have ever seen on this same colour (the last repress of the Up Front 'Spirit' LP).

As you can see from the pictures, one label is hand written, whilst the one on the reverse is blank. I'm not sure which I like the most. But I can have hours of fun flipping it around trying to decide.

What seems interesting about this one is that, of the three green vinyl test pressings, the Youth Of Today one used to be the one that seemed the most elusive. I'd seen a few people with one of the other two over the years, but only a couple of people seemed to have the Youth Of Today one. Last year, between instagram and a visit to RevHQ, I managed to figure out where every single copy of the ten was. So when there seemed a slight chance that one may be available, I made a move, knowing that if I didn't then I would most likely never get a chance to own it as everyone else who owns one has no plan to ever let it go. Fortunately it worked out ok in the end, and I became the first owner of one of these who resides outside of the US.

And whilst once I could only dream of owning one of these things, I now have two.

I remember one time saying that if I ever picked up the set of three then I would give up collecting. All of a sudden that doesn't seem quite so impossible as it once did. I know it's unlikely, but IT'S MY POSITIVE OUTLOOK!.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Haven't We Seen You Somewhere Before?

So last Summer New Age Records held a show to mark 30 years as a label. When I had first heard about the show I wanted to go, but in the end it didn't happen. There were a lot of great bands from the label's history playing, but one thing that surprised me was that there were not really any special records pressed for the occasion. Kind of weird when you think that the label is still going and still pressing several different colours of vinyl for each release. The only band that did make something special for the show was Mouthpiece, who turned up with 60 copies of their discography LP (which isn't even on New Age!) housed in a limited sleeve:

I was lucky enough to be able to find someone going to the show who picked a copy up for me. And then somehow it took months for me to get it. Not that it was urgent or anything. But I did notice that despite there being 60 of these made, not many seemed to get posted on instagram in the meantime. And I just checked discogs, and the entry for this shows that 6 people have it, and 8 want it. All in all it just feels like this particular version of this record has been overlooked or forgotten about.

Maybe it's something to do with this not being the most original cover idea. It's the same limited cover made for This Is Hardcore about 8 years ago, but in a different colour. Remember?

It's funny that I made a rule a few years ago to not purchase any more discographies, yet when one is on Rev I'll happily buy copy after copy as long as it comes in a slightly different cover.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Still Walking Alone

One of the most anticipated releases of 2015 was the full length by No Tolerance, 'You Walk Alone'. Back then the band were one of the biggest bands in hardcore, and as such I was pretty keen to get the limited colour vinyl pressings. Both went up for preorder at the exact same time - a blue vinyl copy, put out by Quality Control HQ in the UK, and a red vinyl copy released by Painkiller in the US. I managed to get both, and was prety pleased with myself, handling the pre-order process with ruthless efficiency. But then disaster struck and my red vinyl copy got lost in the post. Three years later and I have finally gotten around to buying another copy, for a really good price.

I wasn't overly impressed with this one when it came out. It just felt like a disappointment after my ridiculously high expectations. After not really listening to it much since, it does seem better than I remember it. I guess expectations are everything huh? Moral of the story - make sure your expectations are always low. That way they will always be exceeded and life will seem generally better.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Trigger / Bass • 103

At some point last year I was looking for something new to listen to and I decided to check out Soulside for the second time. The first time I listened to them was back in about 1994 when I was selling some dude's record collection. Back then I wasn't into it, and my opinion ever since has been 'I'm not into Soulside'. But something made me want to give them another chance last year, so I downloaded the 'Trigger' LP and gave it a chance.

Well, I guess sometimes a change of mindset can lead to a change of heart, and I quickly found myself enjoying the record. I was finally starting to get Soulside, and I knew that eventually I would want to buy some records. The first one I picked up was this reissue of the 'Trigger' LP that also has the 'Bass / 103' 7" tagged on the end. This reissue was released in 2014 on bright yellow vinyl.

I would have preferred to have picked up the original LP and 7" pressings, rather than this compilation reissue. But truth is that I found this in a shop, and you know how it is when you find something in real life - it's far harder to resist something that you are half interested in when it is in your hands. And the fact that it was on colour vinyl kinda helped too. So here I am breaking all of my own rules, and now I'm telling you about it. I know, I know, I suck at this right?