Ok, so another year is over. 2014 came and went in a blur. I bought a new house and got a new job, and throughout it all I carried on buying records. My record purchasing is a little different these days than it used to be. I have a friend in the US who buys stuff for me and ships it over en mass approximately once every three months. This means that I get records far less frequently, but when I get some, I get a huge delivery, which would skew the blog if I didn't break it into multiple posts. Back when I started this blog I used to post up records on the day I got them. If I'd have been doing it that way in 2014, I'd have made probably ten posts all year (being four or so large deliveries from my friend, plus a few bits I picked up domestically). So I have to break the deliveries into multiple posts to keep the blog active.
Before I get to the records, I thought I would look at my year's blogging activity. The following graphs shows the number of posts I did this year by month:
Ever since I started this thing back in 2008, I have always aimed for ten posts a month, which would give 120 for the year. Well, this year I managed to beat that, with a total for the year of 147 posts. The highest activity was in November, when I managed 30 posts. I was aiming for a post a day in order to get everything up by the end of the year, but I missed two days, so then had two days when I did two posts to make up for it. 30 posts in a month has never been seen before, and will probably never be seen again. But it was good to prove that I could do it if I wanted. Conversely, the lowest activity was in June, when I only managed 4 posts, but in my defence it was Summer, and I was moving house.
Interestingly, this year represents the year with the highest number of posts since I started this blog back in 2008. I graphed the number of blog posts by year to show the progress, and what it shows is that 2014 was (almost) off the chart compared to previous years:
I think that this year was partially helped because Vinyl Noize closed its doors. I always struggled to balance my time between the two blogs, so when Vinyl Noize died I was left with only this blog to amuse myself. My worst year was 2011, although I'm not sure why. I think I was really busy at work for half the year. I also remember back then thinking that this blog was a pain in the ass and considered packing it in. Funny to think that I have somehow kept it going to the end of 2014.
So after putting these two graphs together, I also decided to combine both and look back at prior years and compare the monthly posting profiles to see if they were similar. It's kinda silly trying to fit 7 years of blogging into one graph, but I had a go:
I'm not really sure this tells me anything to be honest. But I had fun putting together, and it looks kinda cool, so that's all that matters.
So anyway, on to the records themselves, and this year I added 264 to my collection. I went back through this blog and counted, and then put the numbers into a table.
Strictly speaking, this isn't a graph of when I bought these things, but when I blogged about them, which is slightly different. But at least it's consistent with previous years. As I would have expected, I picked up more 12"s than 7"s. I do prefer the 12" format to 7"s, but I suspect that a big driver of the numbers was Revelation's reissue policy (one every other day). The best bit, however, is that I didn't pick up any ten inches at all. They suck.
I also graphed the data from the table. Mainly just because I like graphs. As expected, it is exactly the same shape as the first graph, with the exception of September.
So, of these 264 records, what were the highlights? Well, in terms of new releases, I put together a list of my favourites. I felt like I bought quite a few new releases this year, although when it came to putting this post together I realised I didn't have many to choose from. But I did have more than ten, which made putting together a top ten slightly challenging. Here we go...
TOP 10 NEW RELEASES IN 2014
1. Bane 'Don't Wait Up' LP - a new (and final) Bane LP, and damn,, was it ever better than I (and everyone else) was expecting. What else was I going to pick as my number one?
2. Praise 'Lights Went Out' LP - this one started slow, but gets better and better with every listen, to the point where I get excited just thinking about it. Hopefully I will make it to see them play in London in a couple of weeks.
3. Angel Dust 'A.D.' LP. - this thing sneaked up on me, as I hated their 7" when it came out and thought this band was a joke. What a fool. This is one catchy as hell record.
4. Cold World 'How The Gods Chill' LP - the last LP was years ago and was a bit all over the place, but this one is almost perfect. So good.
5. Stone Dagger 7" - I'm not sure why I like this exactly. I mean, it's like 80s metal. But damn, it's good, and played by Boston straight edge dudes so there's nothing to be embarrassed about.
6. Adult Crash 'Unfinished Business' 12" - this one seemed to pass a lot of people by. Features some older San Diego dudes playing 5 songs that sounds like a mix of Septic Death and SSD.
7. Violent Reaction 'Dead End' 7" - A relatively quiet year for Violent Reaction on the releases front, but this 7" continued in the same vein as their LP last year and got a lot of play from me. The only problem was that it is too short.
8. Code Orange 'I Am King' LP - this is surely going to be in a lot of peoples' lists for the year. A total buzz record. I saw so many pics of this on instagram that I decided to see what all the fuss was about... and then realised what all the fuss was about.
9. Protester 7" - a new hardcore band from DC, this thing rips from start to finish. Now signed to Triple B, it'll be interesting to see what they do next year.
10. Step Forward 7" - at first I thought this was kinda weak compared to the first 7", but I was wrong. This rules. I'm already looking forward to the next release in 2022.
There were also some other releases that should have been in the chart, but seeing as I still haven't received the vinyl yet I can't include them. Those are the rules I'm afraid. So my other favourite releases from this year that didn't make it based on a technicality are as follows:
Ancient VVisdom 'Sacrificial' LP Battle Ruins LP Sweet Jesus 7" Boston Strangler 'Fire' LP
TOP PICK UPS IN 2014
Once again, 2014 was a strong year for crossing wants off the list. Here's a pic showing my favourites.
A couple of these things I thought I would never find or own. Funnily enough, most of these seem to be on green vinyl.
1. War Zone 'Lower East Side Crew' 7" on clear vinyl and green vinyl - I got these in a trade for another War Zone 7". This is without doubt my favourite trade of all time, and the best records I picked up this year.
2. Dinosaur Jr 'You're Living All Over Me' LP on Green vinyl - I'd never even seen this before, but knew it existed. I was stoked beyond belief to get one.
3. Soundgarden 'Louder Than Love' LP on Green vinyl - THE rarest Soundgarden record, and possibly their best album.
4. Brotherhood 'Words Run As Thick As Blood' LP on Solid Green vinyl - in a year that saw Brotherhood's catalogue get reissued, it was cool to pick up the rarest variant of their original LP.
5. Insted 'Bonds Of Friendship' LP on White vinyl - this had been on my wants list for years and I felt like I would never own one. So it was good to bag one at a reasonable price.
6. S.O.A. 7" on Green vinyl - another long time want that I thought I would never own, and the condition of my copy is exceptional.
7. Descendents 'Cool To Be You' LP on Blue vinyl - by far the rarest and most valuable Descendents record, I badly needed this to complete my colour vinyl Descendents LP collection... and then when I got it I realised that I was missing a purple copy of 'ALL'.
OTHER STUFF I LISTENED TO A LOT
Quite often I download other stuff to listen to that I don't own, or I listen to stuff that came out ages ago. So this stuff can't make my list of the best releases. But it deserves a mention, because I spent a lot of time listening to it. Here's a list of stuff I listened to a lot in 2014:Adolescents 'S/T' LP Beware 'S/T 7" Done Dying 7"s Fear 'The Album' Hüsker Dü - everything Into Another 'T.A.I.L. EP (never heard it before!) Madball 'Set It Off' LP (never heard it before - it's good!) Ride 'Nowhere' LP Squirrel Bait 'Skag Heaven' LP
Remember kids - this is just a bit of fun. Especially the graphs. These lists don't really mean much in the long run, as when I look back at previous lists from previous years, they seem to be full of stuff I never listen to anymore. This post is just a good way of marking the end of the year, and also a bit of a tradition. Thanks to everyone who still reads this thing, especially those who comment, and also to all the people who email me and offer me records. Overall, I'm just stoked that vinyl is still going strong in this day and age. Happy new year, and see you in 2015!