Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Integrity / Hatebreed 7" on Green

Integrity week, day 2. I have had to change the plan for today's post due to not having much time left before bedtime, due to getting home late, due to a last minute meeting with a friend that I hadn't seen for a long time. So today's entry is pretty short...

Integrity split 7" with Hatebreed... on green vinyl:

This has always felt like the weirdest of all Integrity records to me. It's also the one Integrity record that I always seem to forget even exists. Aside from both bands being on the same record label in 1997, I have no idea what Integrity & Hatebreed had in common nor why they were paired up on a 7". This always seemed like a record that someone released because both bands were pretty popular in '97, and thus a split seemed like a sure-fire way to make some fast money. Anyway, I only bought this because I saw it on eBay & its an Integrity record that I don't have. I mean, I have it, obviously, just not on this colour wax. Except, of course, now I do.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Integrity 7.17 Compilation 7"

I'm thinking about binning this blog off and only writing about Integrity records from now on.

Not really, but sometimes it feels like I made that decision. It seems every other post is about Integrity records these days. Not that that's a bad thing of course. But anyway, I'm calling this Integrity week...

This first 7" is a compilation called simply '7.17' because it was released for a show that took place on the 17th of July 2010. As well as Integrity, this 7" features Gehenna, Vegas & Unreal City. I think there are only 300 copies of this thing - 200 on black (coming in two different colour sleeves - black, for mail order, and red, for the show itself) and 100 on green vinyl, which was available only through the bands. I don't have all versions, but I do have two nice ones...

Green vinyl, numbered out of 100. I gotta say, I like this particular shade of green:

Mine also came with a little bag of badges / buttons (depending on where you live) - one for each band, and to commemorate the show itself:

I was also lucky enough to pick up a test press of the same record. I think there were 20 of these & it comes in a special sleeve featuring one pissed off Charlie.

In the same package, I also got a couple more Integrity 7"s that I was missing. Firstly, two different versions of the latest 7" on Magic Bullet Records. This is definitely one of the best Integrity songs of recent years, or in fact ever. I have no idea what the pressing info is on this one yet, but I think the pink is the rare colour.

And finally, yet another VValpurgisnacht 7". This is another of the fourth pressing colours, coming in the silver sleeve.

Someone posted on a previous post on here that there were only ten of the yellow vinyl in a silver sleeve. I'm not sure I believe that. I mean, it's not numbered or anything. And there's nothing special about it to make it seem like an edition of ten. But even if that were true, there would be nothing to stop someone from taking a regular yellow copy and whacking it in a silver sleeve. Still, I knew this vinyl colour and sleeve combination existed, so I picked it up. Hopefully there aren't any more copies of this 7" that I still need. Well, except the one I'm waiting for in the mail that is...

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Dinosaur Jr 'Bug' Test Press (or 'How To Fix A Warped Record')

I think this may be the first post that I have made that is actually going to be USEFUL to people. You'll understand why I say that shortly. But this is also a story of ups and downs, of excitement, disappointment, happiness and sadness. Please bear with me. Here goes...

It all started about three weeks ago with an email from my friend Nick Mango. Nick runs Limited Pressing and is an all round stand up dude. We've exchanged a few emails on the subject of eBay theory over the last few months, and generally I would say that he is more on the ball than me. He finds great stuff, gets great bargains, and often emails me links to auctions that he knows I'll be interested in. Which is what happened here. I woke up one day to find an email with a link to a test press of the Dinosaur Jr album 'Bug'. Now, Chuck Dukowski sold a green vinyl copy of this record on eBay a couple of months ago, and it went for over $200. Obviously that went for a bit more because of the person selling it, but still, this kinda price suggests that a test press would go for pretty big money. Yet when I clicked the link to the auction, I was pleasantly surprised - there was less than a day to go, and the record was sitting at only £12!

Now a quick pause to throw down some eBay theory. Generally, I have found the following to be true:

1. Most things listed on eBay UK seem to go for less than they would on eBay.com, except perhaps for older, classic hardcore records, which can still go for big money (presumably to Euro kids).

2. Not many record collectors outside of the world of hardcore actually care about test pressings.

So, with this in mind, it perhaps wasn't so shocking that this record was sitting at an affordable price with a day to go. Still, I was very surprised by how much of a bargain this would turn out to be. It ended at a paltry £12.64 (which, if you're in the States, is $19.51 at today's price). Which is a good deal, right?

Oh yeah, there's one thing I forgot to mention. The auction stated that the the record was warped:

If you can't be bothered to click the picture and read the description, here's the only bit that's relevant:


I'm guessing that this may have also affected the price and influenced the lack of bids. But it didn't bother me, because it said that the warp would not affect play, and because the end price was pretty low. So at this point, I was over the moon. So I paid £12.64 (did I forget to mention that postage was free!) and a couple of days later it turned up.

It was at this point, however, that things started to go a bit wrong...

Sometimes when I get tests I will take a photo of the test with the regular sleeve. I don't know why I do this. It just seems the thing to do. So I did it with this one...

... and whilst I had both records in front of me, I decided to compare the matrix on the test with the matrix on the regular version. And guess what? Yup, they were not the same. This can only mean one thing - that the test press is not a test press of the record I have. Which also means it is not what I thought it was when I bid on it. The matrix is pretty much the same, except the matrix on the test press actually has an extra bit that the regular version does not. The auction stated that this is a test of the US pressing of the LP on SST Records. And yes, the matrix does say 'SST 216'. However, on the opposite side of the record, it also says 'BFFP 31'. This was enough to make me suspect that this was NOT the US pressing as the auction claimed. So I looked it up on the nerd. What I found (HERE) is that BFFP 31 is the catalog number of the UK pressing of this record, on a label called Blast First. I suddenly felt disappointed. I wanted a genuine, original US version of this, not some licensed UK crap. Damnit.

Then the situation got even worse. I decided to play the thing. Or rather, I tried to play it. Unfortunately though, playing it was impossible, because the warp was so bad that it kicked the needed off every time I tried to put it down. I even made a ten second video of it so you could see just how bad it was:

Kinda makes a mockery of the claim made in the auction huh? Warp does not affect the sound? Yeah, right.

At this point, I was more than disappointed. I was pissed off. But I sat there & thought about it & decided that I had a choice. I could email the seller and ask for a refund, or I could try to repair the warp. Obviously this wouldn't change the fact that this was a crappy UK test press rather than an SST version. But it might at least leave me with a record that I could actually play. Having never tried to fix a warped record before, I looked for tips on the nerd of what to do, and since it sounded pretty straight forward I thought I would give it a try...


As you probably know, warping is caused by heat. Essentially, it occurs when the record is exposed to heat so that the vinyl softens, and depending on where it is & how it is stored, it may then bend out of shape (warp). So naturally the way to fix it involves heating it up until it softens a little, then flattening it. Here's the method I used...

Step 1 - Take the record out of its sleeve and sandwich it between two pieces of glass. I'm not sure where the average dude is supposed to find two pieces of glass, but luckily for me I have a few LP sized picture frames knocking about, so I took the glass out of two of those.

Step 2 - heat an oven to a (relatively) low temperature (circa 100-120 degrees Celsius), and put the sandwich in to bake:

Step 3 - add a little weight to the top, to ensure that the thing stays flat, and leave it in the oven for about ten minutes.

Step 4 - remove the sandwich from the oven & place it to cool. Add more weight to the top to ensure it is well and truly flattened!

It should then be left for long enough to cool. I left this one for a couple of hours to be safe.

So, did it work? Well, yes... and no. On the positive side, the record came out flat as a pancake. I gotta say, I was pretty chuffed with the result. I have never tried to fix a warped record before, and my first attempt went pretty well. However, as soon as I put the thing on the turntable, I was again filled with disappointment. Why? Well, because the first song skips! Not only that, but it skips badly. It is unplayable. That's only the first song though. The rest of it is ok. But to make things even worse, it's exactly the same story on side 2. The first track skips, but the rest of the record plays fine. Here's another short video so you can see (and hear) the result:

Obviously I have no way of knowing whether I caused the thing to skip by placing the record in the oven, or whether it was already fucked. I'm guessing it was already scratched, because the warping suggests that the previous owner didn't exactly look after it properly. But I will never know. Overall I'm disappointed that what looked like a great bargain turned into such a disaster. But at least it was only £12.64 I spent on this thing. And hey, looking on the bright side, when else would I have got the opportunity to put a record in the oven?

Monday, 23 August 2010

Box of Odds & Ends

I won a record on eBay a couple of weeks ago. Nothing great. But when the auction was over I noticed that the description mentioned that the seller had lots of other records for sale, and a list was available to anyone who might be interested. So, as you would expect, I asked for the list. And, as you would also expect, I found a few items of interest. I'll run through them in alphabetical order...

First one is a good one. The first release from the Beastie Boys,which is a 7" called 'Polly Wog Stew':

For the younger readers of this blog who may not be aware, The Beastie Boys started out as a NY hardcore band. The rumour is that they were such big Bad Brains fans that they named their band Beastie Boys just so that the band initials were BB like HR's crew. As the photo shows, they look pretty young here. But also, notice that there used to be a girl in the band. The other point of note about this 7" is that it was released by Rat Cage Records, who are probably most well known for putting out the Agnostic Front 'Victim In Pain' LP.

Overall, I'm stoked to own this. I remember thinking when I was about 19 that I would never ever be able to find one of these, let alone find one at a reasonable price. I guess this is a lesson that all good things come to those who wait!

Next up, a couple of Descendents LPs on New Alliance Records. Firstly, 'Enjoy':

And secondly, 'I Don't Want To Grow Up'. I don't usually like using the flash for pictures, but the way the first pic came out made me laugh:

Next, a couple of Gameface split 7"s out out by Speedowax Records (one out of 500, one out of 50). These sleeves aren't too pretty.

Next up, another release by Rat Cage Records. A 7" by a band called Neos with a ridiculous title - 'Hassibah Gets The Martian Brain Squeeze'. To be honest, I only picked this one up because it was on Rat Cage and was cheap, so I figured I could either trade or sell it on. But I haven't listened to it yet, and maybe when I do I will decide to keep it. So if you want this, get in touch quick before I give it a spin and decide that i want to hang on to it!

And to finish, a couple of Suicidal Tendencies records. The first LP, on Frontier Records (I believe this to be a first pressing), which is now 27 years old. Goddamn. I don't know which is worse - that this is 27 years old, or that I have never owned a copy of this before.

The second Suicidal record is a bit of a funny one. It's either a test press, or a promo copy (although, to be honest, it was probably the same thing) of the 'Possessed To Skate' 12" EP. It comes in a plain black sleeve with a sticker on the front:

So there you go. I think this is a nice, if eclectic, little haul. And for a change, nothing here cost very much, which somehow makes it even better.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Ceremony Rohnert Park LP

Because I am so disorganised at times, I kinda forgot to order the new Ceremony LP from Bridge Nine when it went up for preorder. I think I checked the store once when the preorder was up, and the I thought "nah, I'll order it another day"... and then I forgot all about it. Well, in a fortunate twist of fate, Mike got sent two copies of the clear vinyl, so I said I'd happily take the spare off his hands.

There were 700 copies on clear vinyl. The most limited colour was red, of which there were 300. There was also a blue vinyl of 1000, making a total first pressing of 2000 copies... which believe it or not, sold out in a VERY short space of time. There's already a second press (on white) in the B9 store, and it wouldn't surprise me if there's need to do a third press too.

First thing I wondered was why the record is called Rohnert Park. I looked it up on Wikipedia. Doesn't tell me much. I'm guessing the band comes from this dump. It does sound like a pretty dull place. Also, not that it's relevant, but the house on the cover looks to me must like the house out of the movie 'Paranormal Activity' which I watched recently.

I've said before how I slept on this band for a long time. Their previous records have been ferocious hardcore which at times borders on some of that 90s power violence type stuff. But this record is completely different. I was so intrigued about this change of sound that I decided to read about it on the nerd, which is something that I never do. The consensus seems to be that even the most devoted fans were surprised by this record.

To get to the point, this sounds like something that would have come out in the early 80s. I would say that this is more of a 'hardcore punk' record than a 'hardcore' record, if that makes sense. I can't be specific as to who it might sounds like, but I don't think it matters. It's just a damn good record. People who like stuff like Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, Adolescents, TSOL and similar should check this record out. Seriously. Even if you are a bitter old fart who refuses to listen to anything new on principle. If you like hardcore punk then you will surely like this.

This, for me, is the record of the year so far, hands down. And this band is fast becoming one of my favourites. Clearly they have a lot more about them than most modern hardcore bands. If it weren't for the fact that it'll be cold, dark & wet, I'd be really looking forward to the UK Tour in October.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

SOIA 'Based On A True Story' LP

Today's entry is the latest album by Sick Of It All, 'Based On A True Story'.

My copy is on blue vinyl. But I have also seen clear and also green for sale on eBay. God knows how many colours there may be.

As the sticker says, it also comes with a CD of the same songs so you don't have to waste your precious time typing the name of the album into google and downloading it from mediafire or rapidshare or something.

I have a funny relationship with Sick Of It All records. I seem to listen to every other one on average. The last one I bought was 'Death To Tyrants' in 2006 which I have probably listened to about once in four years, although part of the reason for that is that I forgot it even existed. I have so much music on my ipod that I have a tendency to forget things that I have added before I have even got around to listening to them. Yet I've listened to this new album about 6 times in the past week. There are also a couple of albums on Fat Wreck Chords that I probably listened to about twice each, yet the albums on Equal Vision were played to death. Pretty funny, especially given that I do really like this band. One moment of clarity came to me in 2002 when I was at the Leeds festival with my then girlfriend watching Foo Fighters, and I looked around and saw loads of mums and dads, and I thought to myself "fuck me, where did my life go so wrong?". I then told my girlfriend that I was going to watch a real band, and waded through the mud to some tent to watch Sick Of It All, whereupon I got involved in a circle pit and also jumped on top of some fat dude. A good way to end a shite weekend! Anyway, this is a damn good record. Even if you think you know SOIA and have heard it all before, I don't think you could deny that this is a good record, and most likely the best one they have done since 'Scratch The Surface'. This reminds me of everything good I ever thought about this band, and even makes me want to go back and check out the other three albums that I didn't really get around to listening to properly despite owning for years. It's just a shame that I missed them play a couple of weeks back because I was painting my walls.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

VValpurgisnacht 4th press

It doesn't seem like it was only three weeks ago that I put up pics of my latest two copies of the Integrity 'VValpurgisnacht' 7"... but it was... and here I am doing exactly the same again three Tuesdays later!

This time, I have four colours of wax from the fourth(!) pressing. For those of you who don't know or care (which is probably most of you), the difference between the fourth press and previous pressings is that the sleeve now features a silver Charlie (instead of a red one). Here's an example:

So yeah, there were a few different colours of wax made for this fourth pressing. A couple were stupidly limited... but I was lucky enough to hit up the A389 Store before they sold out. So here's what I ended up with:

As you can see, a couple of these colours are pretty similar, but this is what I think the picture shows (with numbers made shown in brackets):

Burnt Red (25), Grape (Standard Pressing Color)
Blueberry/Blue Marble (50), Bubblegum/Pink (150)

I now have a ridiculous number of copies of this record. But the worst thing is, there are still a couple more from this recent repress that I still need. And like any self-respecting idiot, I know I'm going to have to add them to my collection or feel like my life is somehow lacking. Oh dear...

Monday, 16 August 2010

Godflesh Cold World

This is/was the first record I received at my new residence... the Godflesh 'Cold World' 12". Got this on ebay UK (which is becoming my favourite site for bargains) for about £4.

Ok, so summer isn't really the right time of year to be listening to this band. But considering how cold it felt this morning as I rode my bike to work, it'll soon be dark, cold & wet and the perfect weather to rock this dismal crap. Can't wait!!!

Oh yeah, I hope you noticed (and are suitably impressed by) the wooden floor backdrop to these photos.