I would like to point out that this here entry marks my 100th post. A landmark achievement. Also, my little cluster map tells me that this site has now had over 5000 views. Not bad considering I never really publicised it or really expected more than about three people (including me) to read it. So I'm pleased with the progress. Thanks to anyone who reads & comments!
Next a quick explanation... I haven't made a post on here for ages now. My last entry was over a week ago. This is the longest I have gone without posting anything since I started this thing, which is due (mainly) to having no free time at all recently. Work has been insane, and there were also things going on outside work. So now I'm trying to catch up with a whole range of things, this being one.
However, the other reason that this hasn't been updated is that I haven't actually acquired many new records recently. A few weeks ago I was expecting something like 18 parcels at the same time, and I seemed to get something in the mail every day for two weeks straight. But I haven't had anything for over a week now. This is largely due to the value of the UK currency falling against the dollar. For all of 2008 the UK pound has bought me nearly two US dollars, but in the last two months the rate has been sliding, and current sits at circa $1.5 to the £. This month the exchange rate reached the lowest rate I have ever known, around 1.43. This means, of course, that even though prices have stayed the same in dollars, records from the States have become 25% more expensive for me. I've hardly bid on anything on eBay this past month as a result. Previously records were dirt cheap. Now they feel expensive. The situation is not good. Suddenly it feels like I am being affected by the goddamn world economic crisis. And with UK interest rates likely to fall, the situation is only likely to get worse. Balls.
Anyway, enough whining. Today's entry is something I am stoked about. I picked up some test pressings of some old UK hardcore records. These bands were mainly active around the early to mid 90s. These records are special to me because some of these bands introduced me to hardcore. And some of them had people in that I knew and respected. There's more of a personal connection to these than most records.
First up, a test press of the ABOVE ALL 7" on Sure Hand records:
This band came from Southend. The best show I saw them play was around December '94 in Bradford at the 1in12 club. They supported Earth Crisis. This was when Earth Crisis only had two 7"s out, before their first LP dropped. Earth Crisis were the buzz band at the time. But Above All came on and completely blew Earth Crisis off the stage. They could have achieved great things if they hadn't signed to Roadrunner & turned into a metal band. This 7" represents their best output. An incredible record.
Next up, a test of the DEAD WRONG 7" on Armed With Anger Records:
Dead Wrong were, I would say, one of the earlier bands pushing the boundaries between hardcore, rock & emo. I guess they would have been on Dischord had they happened to reside in Washington DC (if you hear this you will know what I mean). When I went to university in September 1993 I met their guitarist Rob, who introduced me to several bands I would otherwise not have heard. He sold me a Rorschach 7" for £2. I will never forget that. Not long after I saw his band play & was blown away. Back then it was like nothing I had heard. Great dude, great band, great record.
Next is a test of the KITO 7" on Armed With Anger Records:
I saw this band the very first time I went to the 1in12 Club in Bradford for a two day hardcore festival. I think this was late 1993, or maybe 1994. I can't remember exactly. But Kito played and I thought they were great, although kinda scary. Something about the club and the band felt kinda dangerous, and I wasn't entirely comfortable being there.. although, at the same time, I didn't want to leave. Shows weren't predictable back then like they are these days. This record takes me back to that time & place. An interesting time in my life.
Next, a test press of the UNDERSTAND 7" on Armed With Anger Records:
These guys were so far ahead of their time. They always got compared to Quicksand or Fugazi, although I don't think either of those comparisons is really very accurate. But back then, if you weren't doing mosh metal or thrash punk then you were probably gonna get compared to Quicksand. Understand used to support all of the touring US bands of the era, such as Sick Of It All, Helmet, Into Another and CIV. They also toured the States and attracted the interest of Equal Vision Records, who put out a 7" circa 1995. They were shit hot, and (familiar story) got signed by a major label, alienated themselves from the hardcore scene, had an album come out which didn't do very well, then split up. A couple of years later a band called Hundred Reasons came along and did something not too dissimilar and sold hundreds of thousands of records, even though they sucked big time. I guess life isn't fair sometimes.
Next, a test of the STALINGRAD 7" on Armed With Anger Records.I'm particularly stoked on this one, since the actual 7" that was released was a picture disc. So having a non-picture disc version is kinda cool.Here's a pic of the test next to the proper 7":
This band also played the first 1in12 festival that I went to. This was without doubt the scariest band I had ever seen in my life up to that point. Come to think of it, I have never seen a scarier band since. The singer (god knows why I'm referring to him as a singer, what he did could never be described as 'singing'!) spent half his time walking around the crowd screaming in people's faces. I'd never seen anything like that at the time. The dude had a shaved head and wore big Doc Martins and looked like he was trying to figure out which member of the audience he was going to kill first. I spent most of the time hoping that he didn't come anywhere near me. Fuck, I so wish I could go back in time & watch that show again. I'm intrigued as to whether, 14 years later with hundreds of shows under my belt, I would still be scared. Probably.
Finally, a test of the IRONSIDE 7" on Subjugation Records. The interesting thing about this one is that it comes with two different sleeves:
This is also the first test press I have ever seen that has the proper label on one side. I guess the point of this is to also check if the labels would come out as the label hoped.
I never actually saw this band. I think they played the festival I went to that I have mentioned twice already, but I missed them for some reason. In fact, I never got to see them play. But I remember picking up the 7" from a record shop in Leeds called Bad. I was amazed that this was a UK band. So good.
I was going to post up MP3s of these records so that anyone unfamiliar with these bands could check them out. But I don't have time. However, I will post them up later if people would be interested. Let me know via comments. If I get a sense that people would appreciate hearing these things then I will make the effort to post them up.