Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015: Words Are Not Enough

So 2015 is done, and thank god. On a personal level, it wasn't the greatest year for me. But at least keeping the blog going didn't seem like too much of a chore this year either for some reason. The main problem was just trying to spread out the records, as I only received two big parcels from my friend in the States (one in April and one in September) and that was it. I mean, I bought a few bits myself, but 95% of my records came in two deliveries which I then spread over the year in terms of blogging. Long gone are the early days of this blog when I posted about something on the day I acquired it. Anyway, my aim is always to do ten posts a month, which is 120 for the year, and I just about managed to achieve it despite a very slow start with barely any activity in the first four months.

In terms of the number of records I acquired this year, I picked up 220, which represents a 17% reduction from last year's 264.

The number of 7"s was down by 14%, from 113 last year to 97 this year. The number of 12"s was also down, by 20% from 151 to 121. The number of 10"s, however, was up by infinity percent, from zero to an incredible TWO (one of which I kinda wish I didn't buy at all, but never mind). The next graph shows the monthly profile, although to be honest it doesn't really mean much these days, as it's more when the records hit the blog rather than when I picked them up. But it's kind of a tradition at this point.

Looking at it this way, it seems weird that August was the pinnacle of blogging activity. I mean, in theory it was summer, and has never has been a high point of posting before. I can't even remember why this was the case. I think I was probably trying to get everything up before the next delivery arrived from the States at the start of September.


For once it seemed that there were a lot of cool new releases in the year. I think this was the first year that I bought so many new releases that I was spoilt for choice to come up with a top ten. After way too much consideration, this is what I came up with as a list of my favourites:

Note - The photo doesn't put them in order of preference. It was simply arranged in the way that seemed to reflect the least amount of light. If you need someone to blame then I'd suggest December's daylight hours and the positioning of the windows in my house.

One thing I noticed when I got the records out to take this photo was that they all had either black or white covers. Turnstile were the only band who used any colour on their cover (well, Into Another & Done Dying did too, but their colours were pretty dark so I'm conveniently ignoring them). Anyway, if I were forced to put these records into an order of preference, this would be it:

01. Chain Rank 'Up Against The Wall' LP - the best release this year by a country mile. Short blasts of Boston HARDcore that somehow didn't seem to contain DFJ or CC.

02. Into Another 'Omens' 12" - Twenty years after their last release they came back, and sounded better than ever. This only loses points because there were only five songs.

03. Fade 7" - this 7" sparked a small obsession with this band for me towards the end of the year. So rad that this band is british. Hopefully I will get to see them play one day.

04. Sweet Jesus 'You Destroy Yourself' LP - I played this LP a lot before the vinyl landed. Because, let's be honest, nobody could have waited THAT long to hear this.

05. Title Fight 'Hyperview' LP - this actually came out on my birthday, and marked a change in sound for the band that I really enjoyed. This was my most listened to record on holiday this year laying on the beaches of southern France.

06. Turnstile 'Non Stop Feeling' LP - goddamn, this is a good LP from quite possibly the biggest hardcore band in the world right now, but why did they have to shove it in one of the worst covers of all time?

07. Stick Together LP - this was a bit of a slow burner for me, but once I got into it I loved it. Seems most other people forgot about this band though.

08. Violent Reaction 'Marching On' LP - a british band on Revelation is certainly worthy of celebration. I don't think this was as good as the last LP, but I still ended up playing it loads.

09. Done Dying LP - a great debut LP from a bunch of veterans. What I love about this guys is that they're still cracking out new music, unlike most of their generation who are still touring records that came out 25 years ago.

10. Blacklisted LP 'When People Grow, People Go' LP - I was a little sceptical about a new Blacklisted LP, but I shouldn't have been. This sits somewhere between their last two, and made my iphone crash not once but twice.


Aside from new releases, I was pleased with the year in records. I picked up some pretty rad items. My favourites are the ones in this photo:

For those of you with poor eyesight or recognition skills, the photo contains:
7 Seconds 'The Crew' LP on blue vinyl
Faith 'Subject To Change' LP on red vinyl
Godspeed 'Swimmers Ear' 12" test press
Swiz 'Down' 7" test press
Jawbreaker 'Whack & Blite' 7" on grey vinyl
Vision 'Undiscovered' 7" on green vinyl
Bold 7" on pink vinyl
Rain 'La Vache Qui Rit' 12"


When the year started I decided to try to make a big dent in my wants list. Now, that may sound like a stupid thing to say, but a lot of the items on my wants list have been there for years. For some reason, I seem to spend most money and time picking up stuff that isn't on my wants list at all, so the damn thing never gets any smaller. As I'm not getting any younger, I decided to try to reduce the size of the list this year. Overall I did ok, but not great. I picked up 24 items, which averages two per month, although I have to admit that I had hoped to cross off more. I probably shouldn't complain though as some of these were long-standing wants. Here's the full list of items I crossed off, in alphabetical order:

01. Admiral 7" on Soulforce Records
02. Avail 'Front Porch Stories' LP on red vinyl
03. Black Flag 'Six Pack' 7" on baby blue vinyl
04. Bold 7" on pink vinyl
05. Cave In / Piebald split 7" on pink vinyl
06. Coalesce 'Functioning On Impatience' 12" on purple vinyl & orange vinyl
07. Comeback Kid 'Turn It Around' LP on white vinyl
08. Dirt Merchants 7"s x 2
09. F.U.'s 'Kill For Christ' 12" on X-Claim!
10. Faith 'Subject To Change' 12" on red vinyl
11. Floorpunch 'Division One Champs' 7" with NJ/DC cover
12. Harvest 'Living With A God Complex' LP on orange vinyl
13. Integrity / Creepout Split 7" Japanese press with hand numbered sleeve
14. Integrity 'Black Heksen Rise' 7" on Indie Recordings on white vinyl
15. Jawbreaker 'Whack & Blite' 7" on grey vinyl
16. Life's Halt 'Demo' 7"
17. Mind Eraser 'Teenagers' 7"
18. No Warning 7" on purple vinyl
19. Rain 'La Vache Qui Rit' 12"
20. Samiam 'I Am' 7" on clear vinyl
21. Soundgarden 7" on Sub Pop on purple vinyl
22. Statement 7" on blue vinyl
23. Supertouch 'Lost My Way' 7" with RSD elephant cover
24. Vision 'Undiscovered' 7" on green vinyl

There were two others I picked up which are still sitting in the States waiting to be shipped, so unfortunately they don't count. They'll wait until next year though...

The funny thing is that I've just spent a little time revising my wants list, which means adding more items on, so in total the list has actually got longer this year. #fail


Sometimes I listen to stuff that I don't have on vinyl. Or I get into stuff too late for it to qualify as a new release. Or I get impatient and download a new release without having the vinyl. So here's a list the other stuff that I spent a lot of time listening to in 2015.

Life Of Agony 'River Runs Red' LP
Life Of Agony 'Ugly' LP
Flight Of The Conchords 'S/T' LP
Flight Of The Conchords 'I told You I Was Freaky' LP
ALL 'Allroy Saves' LP
Jaguarz 'Jungle Jamz' 7"
Mutoid Man 'Bleeder' LP
Neck 'Should My Fist Eye' LP
Smashing Pumpkins 'Gish' LP
Higher Power demo & 7"
Negative FX LP
Shockwave discography
True Identity Demo
Unborn 7"


If you've read this far then here's an extra visual treat for you. I decided to put a pic of every record I picked up this year into video format. If you missed any posts this year and can't be bothered to go back and read them, this is the format for you. Enjoy...

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Big Creative Eclipses

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I am a big Cave In fan. Always have been. This year saw a remastered reissue of one of their 'classic' releases - 'Creative Eclipses'. This was a hugely significant release when it came out back in 1999. It marked a big step away from what they had done on 'Until Your Heart Stops' towards the more rock sounds of 'Jupiter' which would follow a year or so later. Of course, I lapped this up when it came out. I didn't care that it sounded 'softer' because, despite the vocals moving from screaming to singing, to me the guitars sounded even better.

Well, sixteen years later and Hydrahead decided to reissue this by adding the two 'songs' that were originally previously only released on the CD version. This meant that a 7" was no longer big enough to fit it all on, so it got put out as a 12" instead. Obviously I had to invest in all three colour versions available.

Hydrahead pressing info is rarely divulged, but someone has suggested that, just like the original 7", the clear vinyl is the rarest, being out of only 100 copies (and before someone points it out, I know that there were actually 118 copies of the clear vinyl 7"!).

Red vinyl is supposedly out of 300 copies.

And the third colour is white, of which there are apparently 500 copies.

One very cool thing about this release is that the sleeve is just like a scaled up version of the original 7" release, with the front cover having a lot of die cut circular holes in it. It even has the exact same number of circular holes, although I suppose anything different would technically constitute different artwork.

The weird thing is that I can't make up my mind what I think about this reissue. I mean, on the one hand it seems pointless, as the two extra songs are not really songs at all, but 'sonatas', which are basically just musical interludes, the second of which is nearly eight minutes long. Personally, I just don't think they're necessary. But being more positive about things, the release was originally 5 songs long, and those of us who bought vinyl sixteen years ago got shortchanged. The whole notion of 'extra tracks' on CDs always seemed a bit shitty to me. I guess in reality it was all just about using up the available space on the disc, but as somenoe who always bought records it just felt slight favouritism towards those who embraced the new technology... the fools.

So basically I still can't make my mind up whether I like this reissue of not. But while I try to make my mind up, here's a picture of the three 12"s together with the original 7". Just because.

Oh yeah, nearly forgot... but when these things got repressed, the 2011 album 'White Silence' also got repressed on a solid red vinyl. So I had to grab one of those too.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

I Walk Alone

So this will be the final 2015 release to make the blog, and just about in time for the end of year cut-off. I was leaving this one as late as possible for two main reasons; firstly, because I couldn't get good photos, due to light issues, and secondly because I wanted some time to listen to it properly.

There was a lot of anticipation and excitement over the debut No Tolerance full length, 'You Walk Alone', especially amongst record collectors as it was being released simultaneously by two record labels. This here is the UK / European pressing, released by Quality Control HQ.

This is the limited blue vinyl pressing, of which there are 200 copies. I knew these would sell out fast, and I knew I wanted one, so on the day it was going up for pre-order I had reminders set in my phone and, on top of that, I made sure to leave work early to ensure that I was at home in time for the launch. I didn't want to waste valuble sedonds trying to transact on my phone, with its stupid keyboard, where I manage to misspell pretty much every single word. Anyway, being dedicated (aka sad) probably helped, as I had orders placed with both labels inside of three minutes. But I'm guessing that there must have been a lot of people playing the game in a similar way, because the blue vinyl copies were gone within an hour.

So what's this like? Well, it's good, but at the same time it feels slightly disappointing. I guess the problem is that my expectations were sky high, so it invariably fails to meet them. On the first listen it didn't blow me away, and even though I have now listened to it over ten times, I'm still not left feeling overly impressed. I'm not sure what the problem is exactly, but truth is that I'm just not feeling floored by this record. Is it a good hardcore record? Undoubtedly yes. But is it up there with their last 7"? Well, no. Not yet anyway. Perhaps it just needs a few more plays...

I also managed to obtain this rare orange vinyl copy of the Arms Race 7". This band features Ola, who runs Quality Control HQ, on guitar. She kindly let me have one of these even though they are super limited copies for friends & family only. I missed out on the blue vinyl copies when this went up for sale originally, but I'm more than happy with this copy as the orange looks very nice, especially as it goes so nicely with the sleeve.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Dirt Merchants

Another two records scratched from my wants list are these two 7"s by Dirt Merchants. They were a Boston band active circa 1992-97. I first heard of them about 5 or 6 years after they broke up. Somewhere around 2003 I started a mild obsession with a band called 27, mainly due to the enchanting vocal talents of Maria Christopher, and Dirt Merchants was her previous band. They released one album on a major label, before which there were a couple of indepently released 7"s. So I stuck them on my wants list and they just never seemed to appear. Well, until this year when I thought to look for them on Discogs, where both were sitting for pretty much no money at all.

The first is apparently self titled, and features two songs - 'Beware Of Dog' and 'Mindfuck'.

The second also features two songs - 'Love Apnea' and 'Purple Barrel'.

There isn't really too much to say about these two. But I wish the rest of my wants list was available this easily and cheaply. Although, if that were the case, things would pretty boring I guess.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Like A Virgin

Another new release that isn't a new release at all. The Harkonen / These Arms Are Snakes split 12", entitled 'Like A Virgin', was first released by Hydrahead back in 2005 on something called a 'compact disc'. This was still in an era when I liked Hydrahead and what they were doing, but even then I wouldn't push myself as far as buying a CD. And whilst Hydrahead may no longer be one of my 'trusted labels' (in so much as I don't religiously buy everything they release), and whilst I don't really listen to bands like this much these days, once I saw this record I couldn't stop myself from ordering a copy.

The record contains five songs pressed onto one side, with a screen print on the flipside. Mine also came with a couple of bent sleeve corners.

This is the milky white vinyl version out of 114 copies. There are three other versions and, believe it or not, this one is probably the worst looking one of all.

The label put some serious time, effort and money into this thing. Not only does it come with a full colour insert, but also an additional, second insert on some fancy ass paper.

This is seriously one of the nicest records I have seen in a long time. I really wish that more labels would put the care and love into their releases that this label did with this one. Truly awesome stuff.

Thursday, 24 December 2015


Here's a pretty minor record that has been on my wants list for way too long. This one sided, one song Mind Eraser 7" was originally only available to people who ordered the 'Glacial Reign' LP direct from the label back when it came out. I was not one of those people, unfortunately, so a year or so later I added it to my want list, and then a few more years went by. Oops.

This record looks pretty cool, with a stamped label and also a screen printed obi strip. The only thing missing is a sexy colour of vinyl.

I still want the limited cover versions of the 'Cave' LP, although for some reason I didn't even bother putting them on my want list in the first place. Which means i keep forgetting that I want them. Hardly surprising that I haven't managed to find them yet then, is it?

Monday, 21 December 2015

Two From J

Here are two 7"s I picked up a couple of months ago, which are kinda related. The first is a single from J Mascis which came out a year ago as a Black Friday release. I'm not really sure when the whole 'Black Friday as RSD part 2' started exactly, but never mind. Anyway, this comes in a retro looking sleeve, which I'm not a big fan of.

There were 4,000 copies of this thing made, all on orange vinyl.

The other one that I picked up for cheap was this red vinyl pressing of the Dinosaur Jr 'Freak Scene' 7" on SST.

I used to own this on red years ago. It was probably one of the first 20 records that I bought. For some reason I sold it, so this represents me correcting a mistake I made something like 20 years ago.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Second Nature Tests

I'm only too aware that the end of the year is almost upon us, and I have a pile of records I picked up this year that I still haven't got around to posting. So I figure I need to fix that and get them all up here. It's gonna be a busy few days...

Earlier in the year I picked up some test pressings from Second Nature Recordings. I didn't get around to posting them all up here as they got put into the wrong pile. It was only last week when I was looking back over the year's pickups when I realised that I had forgotten about the other records in the batch. So here they are.

Anasarca was a band that I never heard about when they were actually a band back in the mid 90s. But back when Second Nature originally released this discography LP in 2001, I picked it up as I really liked what the label was doing at the time, and I really enjoyed it. I picked up two copies of this LP. The first is the purple vinyl, which was the limited colour second press out of only 100 copies.

I also picked up this test press of the same record. There were only 8 copies made and this one is stamped with a number 3.

Next is a test press of the Casket Lottery / Small Brown Bike 10". This record got reissued this year on a different record label as a 12", but the original pressing was unfortunately a 10", which means I now have another one of these stupidly sized discs in my collection.

The sleeve for this record is really nice, with the front cut around the centre label.

The next record is not very well knowm. The band is called Eulcid and the record is called 'The Wind Blew All The Fires Out'. At some point, Kurt Ballou from Converge was in this band, along with some dude called Matt Redmond. Anyway, this record was their debut album released back in the year 2000, and I first bought it back then.

This test press is numbered 4/8 in gold ink on the back cover.

Next is a test of the Kid Kilowatt 'Guitar Method' LP. Being a big Cave In fan, I really like this LP. It was a project band for a couple of guys from Cave In, as well as Kurt Ballou from Converge and some dude called Matt Redmond. Ever heard of him?

This has a number 6 stamped on the top of the front cover. Again, there were only 8 copies of this test made.

Now, way back in November 2008 I picked up a test press of the Kid Kilowatt 7" on eBay. It came in a plain white paper dust sleeve, but at some point later I learnt that the other copies had sleeves made. So when I picked up this batch of tests, I asked Dan is he had any spare sleeves for the 7" test. He sent one over.

And finally, a test press of the first Waxwing LP. This was a band that Rocky Votolato sang in, and they knocked out three albums. This is the first, and for some reason I only own this one on CD. Not sure why that's the case.

The craziest thing about this batch of records is thinking about how old most of these releases are now. I still think of these bands and records as relatively recent, although they are 10-15 years old at this point. Crazy.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Hands All Over

Back in August last year I picked up a green vinyl copy of Soundgarden 'Louder Than Love' LP. I was pretty stoked, but ended the post with these words:

Of course, even though obtaining any colour copy of this seemed an impossible find in the past, now that I have a green one I kinda feel obliged to chase a red one.

And now, a year later, here we are.

Both the green and red vinyl copies were promotional copies. The red is apparently less rare than the green, although still pretty damn rare. The numbers generally touted around are 200-250 green, and 500 red, although as far as I am aware there is no official source for this information. It's pretty much just folklore at this point.

The only issue I have with this record is that the sleeve is not in th ebest condition. It took the shine off of getting this a little. There's a tear in the spine and also a couple of more minor creases. It's definitely disappointing. Shame, as it would be expensive to find another replacement copy.

Anyway, here's a shot of the two copies together.

I imagine that most people who read this won't care or won't be interested, but this is kind of the Soundgarden equivalent of a photo of the blue and red vinyl copies of 'Break Down The Walls' on Wishingwell. Kind of.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

No Friends

When I was younger, there was no internet, so to hear something you either had to own it yourself, or know someone else who did. Given that I didn't really have any friends into the same stuff as me, I didn't get to hear much without buying it for myself. So there were LOADS of (what are now considered) classic records that I did not hear for years. And even now there are still bands that I have never heard. But as I get older I like looking back in time and checking out bands that I wasn't interested in listening to before, so last year I made an effort to download some classic records that, for one reason or another, I had never got around to listening to. The pick of the bunch was definitely the Adolescents LP, so I decided that I wanted to buy a copy to make my collection look a little more respectable. The only dilemma was which copy to buy, as this record has been pressed quite a few times since it was first released back in 1981.

In the end I opted for the UK pressing on red vinyl. The original record came out on Frontier records, but the first pressing was black vinyl, and now costs a lot of money. This UK pressing, which came out in 1990 on Overground Records, was a pressing of 1,000 copies on red vinyl. For some reason I figured it would be more interesting to own this than some recent-ish colour vinyl Frontier pressing.

This is such a classic LP, with an iconic cover. Kinda funny that it has taken me this long to get around to hearing it, but that's exactly what I love about music generally - there's so much of it about that it is impossible to listen to all of it. No matter how old you are, there's always new music to discover, even if it's old music.

I'm glad I'm not trying to collect every variation of this record as there are seriously loads of them. You could, if you were so inclined, go straight to the Frontier Records store and pick up seven different colours right now. Add those to the nine extra colours that I spotted on google, and it would seem that there are nearly as many copies of this thing as the last Bane LP.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

That Time Of Year

At the start of the year I decided to make a conscious effort to reduce the size of my want list. To be honest, it hasn't gone too well. I don't feel that I have really crossed too many things off. I certainly haven't made any significant impact. But I have crossed a couple of longstanding items from the list, and here's one that I've been wanting for a long time...

Rain 'La Vache Qui Rit' 12" on Peterbilt Records. I'm not exactly sure how many copies were made, but this has always seemed rare to me, especially one in good condition. This band were from DC in the Revolution Summer era, slightly after Embrace, and this record features one of the earliest examples of a sleeve made from a manilla envelope.

There's no lyric sheet. The only insert is a postcard size piece of card with some names on. I included it in both photos as it somehow helped the camera capture the colour/light.

This band sounds very reminiscent of Rites of Spring, One Last Wish and Embrace. These six songs are really good and make me wonder what could have happened if they had gone on to do more. Even though this record is a tough find, the songs themselves are easy to get as Dischord released this on CD back in 2007. If you've not heard this before then it's worth a few minutes of your time.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Every Day I'm Hustlin'

Generally in life I am a very disciplined person. I don't drink, don't smoke, exercise regularly, and only allow myself some foods that I like once a week. I make sure to eat fruit and vegetables, cut out sugar wherever possible, walk up the stairs at work, drink water regularly, blah blah blah. You get the picture. However, other areas of my life can be the opposite, and music is one. At times I am a total addict.

A couple of weeks ago Mike posted about the new Gentleman's Pistols LP 'Hustler's Row'. It came out last month and is their third LP. Funnily enough, I turned him onto the band in the first place, never got around to picking up their second LP at all, so when I realised there was a third LP I was a little 'meh'. I kinda figured that this was not really a sound that interested me anymore, and in my mind filed this band under 'old news'. Still, I figured it only worth giving them a chance, so I downloaded the album. The next day I was at work, in an office on my own, and decided to play it. I then ended up playing through four times in a row. Then I played it on the train on the way home. Then again once I got home. Holy crap, six plays in a row. And the next day, as soon as I woke up, I wanted to hear it again. I then realised I needed to own a copy before the limited white vinyl sold out.

Apparently the label usually press 800 colours of each release, but for this LP there is only one limited colour, being white. The rest are black. There are 300 white and god knows how many black. Kinda reminds me a bit of the olden days.

Well, my addiction lasted a full two weeks, during which time I listened to nothing else. I've just come out of it and have listened to other stuff this week as well. Whether I keep playing this over the next few months will remain to be seen, but for now I'm so stoked to have this band back in my life. This isn't my usual cup of tea, but man, you can't deny how damn catchy these songs are.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Children Of The Void

I mentioned in my Alert post a couple of weeks ago that when labels do big auctions on eBay, like Dave and Six Feet Under Records, I often watch bits that I think other people won't be too interested in. So aside from the Alert records, I also had my eye on this test press of the Tremors 7" that got released back in 2011. I really like this 7" and wanted this test as it's a UK band, and I kinda like having test pressings from UK bands. I'll definitely have a UKHC test pressing section in my hardcore museum when I get around to opening it.

This is nothing to look at. No special sleeve. Nothing. Just the record in a plain paper dust sleeve, the same as it would have been received back from the plant. So as is tradition on here, I pulled out the regular cover to make a more interesting photograph.

Funnily enough, back when I first bought this 7" from SFU originally, my order also included a copy of the Alert 7". This means that a pattern has now been established, being that if I buy an Alert 7" from Six Feet Under Records, then I simultaneously must also order a Tremors 7".

That's 29 tests for the year so far, for anyone who's counting.