Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Crossed Keys

I somehow picked up on this newish band called Crossed Keys. They're from Philadelphia and feature a bunch of dudes who have been in a bunch of bands, most of which I have heard of, with the exception of the drummer's old bands (Kid Dynamite, Paint It Black, Good Riddance & Lifetime). I downloaded their latest EP and have been really enjoying it, and when I saw it for sale at a UK distro I figured I'd buy one, because it looks pretty damn cool.

'Saviors' is a 7 song EP, and is pressed as a one sided 12". I got one of the blue vinyl copies, which is actually the most common colour (out of 200 copies).

The flipside is a screen-printed affair, and is pretty tastefully done.

This band plays a melodic style of hardcore which is probably best described as catchy. That's about as far as I can go with that one. But there's a to to like here, and this one has been my 'go to' record these last couple of weeks when we have had incredible hot weather for a change. Definitely one of my records of this summer.

Sunday, 31 May 2020

High Vis

Today's post is a recent-ish release that I've been listening to quite a lot lately. And, as usual, I'm slightly later than the cool kids...

The band is called High Vis and this is their debut LP, 'No Sense No Feeling'. The singer of this band used to be in a hardcore band called Dirty Money, but aside from his voice, this new band sounds nothing like the old band at all.

This bright yellow cover and vinyl combo is the perfect choice for a band called High Vis.

I'm not good at descriptions, but this sounds kinda like a slightly more modern and aggro version of Joy Division. I'm not really a big fan of that kind of stuff, but I gave it a chance just out of wanting to listen to something a bit different, and (a bit like the Chubby & The Gang LP from a couple of months ago), I found that I enjoyed it and kept coming back to it. So I bought a copy for the shelf. Funny how the most recent interesting records out of the UK are a big throwback to 1980 huh?

There are only 300 copies of this in total, and there are still some available for anyone who is interested HERE.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Bus Vol.I

Here's another compilation 7" I just sourced, and I would guess that a lot of people won't have heard of this one. This one is titled 'Bus Vol.1', and was released by a label called Jester Records way back in 1990. This one absolutely made my day / week. Carry on reading out find out why...

Jester Records is probably most well known for releasing a Headfirst 7". This compilation also features Headfirst, as well as Smile (who also had a 7" on Jester) and a band called Ice (which features Popeye from Farside).

I've actually owned a black vinyl copy of this 7" for many years. But I literally only found out that the clear vinyl existed about three weeks ago. For some reason or other, I started looking at my compilation 7"s and trying to figure out which ones I needed to 'upgrade' (i.e. find more limited, or additional copies of) and I decided to check whether this 7" existed on colour. I always suspected that it did, because I have two other releases on Jester Records (the Headfirst 7" and the Smile 7") and both come on limited coloured vinyl. The coloured vinyl copies are actually quite difficult to find, to the point where most people didn't know they came on colour at all, although that will have now changed with them being listed on discogs).

This was a pretty cool find. I checked on discogs at how many copies of this one were for sale. There were about 15 copies for sale, but one of them stated 'clear vinyl'. I messaged the seller and asked them to confirm that the record was indeed clear vinyl, but got no response. So I just took a chance and bought it anyway. It was only £2.50 + postage, and was being sold in the UK, so it arrived in about 3 days and I was pretty happy. And the picture above confirms what I always suspected, that the label made a limited colour vinyl of each of their releases.

This is the joy of record collecting summed up right here. Finding a 30 year old record you didn't know existed that nobody else cares about, and getting it for super cheap at the same time.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Only The Strong

In my last post I mentioned about how I was looking at compilation 7"s and thinking about what I was missing or wanting to upgrade. One item that caught my eye from the seller I picked up the mental records from was this copy of the 'Only The Strong' compilation:

I used to own one of these in the 90s. But (as I have said before), I owned two different colours of this record, and back then that felt like one too many. So I traded this version away and kept the rarer clear blue copy. I'm also pretty sure that I traded it to Aram from Champion too. I have a good memory for these things.

This is such a classic comp. The main point of interest on here for me was always Integrity, but the theme for this record for me was always how mean and dark it seemed. All of the photos of the bands look like they are in some sketchy basement, all the dudes look hard as fuck and it just looks like the kind of place where the average young hardcore kid would have been genuinely scared. So of course, this appealed to me, and a lot of other kids too I suppose, as Victory went on to become pretty much the biggest label of the 90s.

I have no memory of this, but looking at the booklet it seems that the comp is dedicated to a venue in Chicago called Club Blitz, which is probably where most of these photos were taken.

Not much else to say, but here's a pic to show the difference in colour between this and the blue one I've had forever.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Mental Crew

When I picked up the Youth Of Today 7" (in the last post), it then turned out that the seller had a few other bits for sale. So I made a list of things I was interested in and we made a deal. I mainly ended up buying a whole load of Mental records. I have what I can only describe as a halfway Mental collection, with a couple of versions of most of their records, but none of the uber rare versions. They're a band whose records I always wanted to pick up more versions of, especially as the prices haven't really moved much in the last 10 years, so this just felt like the right time to make a move...

The 'Get An Oxygen Tank' 7" came out on Bridge Nine back in 2003. I remember at the time wondering what the hell the title of the record was all about, and to this day I still have no idea. I also remember thinking the same about the front cover. This was a point in time when I had been slightly disconnected from hardcore for a couple of years, and Mental made me feel that I was completely out of touch with where it was going.

I actually used to own this yellow 7", which I got from the label when it came out. Back then there weren't too many records that I wanted multiple versions of, and so because I had the rarer clear purple version, I ended up trading the yellow one to someone else (for something I can't remember). So it's kinda funny that I ended up buying it back again sixteen or seventeen years later.

I also picked up 3 different versions of the 'Yo!' 7". Discogs tells me that there were 600 each for the pink and red vinyl, and 500 of the green.

I already had one other copy of this 7", so I still have about 3 to go it seems.

And I also grabbed this yellow vinyl copy of the 'Sweet Vision' 7" comp. This is actually a really underrated comp and features some great tunes by some of the best bands of that 2003/4 time period.

This record also made me start looking at other compilation 7"s and think about what I was missing or needed to upgrade. A couple of posts on that subject to follow...

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Positive Outlook

Last year I finally picked up an orange vinyl Youth of Today 'Can't Close My Eyes E.P.', and mentioned 'now that I have this, I have even more of a yearning to go after a first press and Some Records versions, although I can't see that these will ever really be a priority'. I said that those would never be a priority because I hate paying big money for a 'standard' black vinyl record, especially when there are hundreds of pieces of colour vinyl I am still trying to get which always seem more appealing. But a few weeks ago the planets fell into alignment, so to speak. A friend had a 1st press copy to sell, and I had a really healthy bank balance right before pay day, so I figured I could buy this (as well as another big want that I hope to receive at some point this year) and still manage to hit my monthly savings target. So I pulled the trigger.

It's crazy to think how much time it has taken me to get one of these. I first bought a copy of this 7" back in 1994 in what I found out a few years later was a really shady deal. I won't talk about that here, (although if anyone is interested then email or DM me and I'll happily share the story), but I think I paid £3 for that record on that day, so I wasn't too fussed that it was 'only' a second press. I mean, that price was steal even in 1994. So in my mind I had got lucky and I didn't particularly feel that I needed to pay a lot more for another copy with different colour ink on the front cover. But as time went on, that second press just felt inadequate, especially after Rev reissued the record as a 12", complete with red ink on front cover.

I'm not really looking to add more copies of this one to the collection after this, but if I ever get a chance for a Some Records press for a good price then I probably won't say no.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Blangk / Hedge

One of my favourite aspects of record collecting is getting a record you have never seen before, especially if it is something from a long time ago. I guess this is something that is rare these days thanks to the power of the internet. But a number years ago you would hear of records but not see them, and the first time your eyes and ears would be able to take them in was when you bought one for yourself. And even though this is now an old fashioned concept, it still holds true for a few obscure and forgotten records that have all but vanished from history.

I used to be a big fan of what was coming out of the Louisville scene in the 90s. Even though I was just a young kid in the UK, from everything I saw or read, it felt that there was a lot going on in this city that seemed hundreds of miles away from any other hardcore scene. But back in the mid 90s, Initial Records, Falling Forward, Endpoint and Metroschifter were all pretty popular bands, and they all grabbed my attention. And this led on to discovering smaller bands from the same scene. One of these was a band called Blangk. I picked up a 7" of theirs, then a full length CD, and then somewhere and somehow I became aware that they also had a split 7" with a band called Hedge. So I added it to my want list and waited. And finally, in 2020, a copy made its way into my collection.

There was one pressing of this record, with 500 made in (I think) 1994. It's not much to look at. But until a year or so ago I had never even seen it. I probably searched for it on discogs at some point but it wasn't in the database. I also used to try searching for it on eBay, but basically gave up because every time I would search for 'blangk' it would return search results for 'blank', and literally millions of items would be returned. The first time I saw this record at all was at some point in the last couple of years or so when someone posted a bunch of records that they had just received on instagram, and this was one of them. I could see the word 'Blangk' so asked if the record was the Blangk / Hedge split 7", and I was told that yes, it was. Finally I had seen what it looked like. Then I searched for it on discogs again, and found that since the last time I checked, someone had created a listing. So I added it to the want list and waited, and a couple of years later one appeared. At $8 I probably overpaid by $3-5, but who cares. It was just nice to end a long (probably 20 year or so) hunt.

This record got me reminiscing about the 90s Louisville scene. Whilst digging for information I discovered a site I hadn't seen before, with a lot of informationon the Louisville scene, here: Louisville Punk/Hardcore History. Some of the info is pretty scant, but it's still a great reference site and worth a bit of your time if you were ever interested in this scene.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

More Forced Order

There are some records for which no human can ever obtain a complete collection. The 'Vanished Crusade' LP by Forced Order is a great example. Revelation pressed 4 'official' colour versions, but there are some crazy variations of a couple of them, to the point where nobody really knows how many actual different variations exist. And there's a record release version with a different sleeve. And of course, a test press.

I picked up this test press a couple of weeks ago, and I was pretty stoked. But when I looked at it, something looked weird. Side A is crammed with lots of songs, and the groove almost runs right to the centre label (you my be able to see this in the above photo), whereas Side B only has a couple of songs and then there's a lot of dead wax. I compared it to the regular pressings of the record, and it's completely different, so I figured that there must be two test pressings. I then contacted Adam at Revelation and he confirmed this. So despite moving one step closer to 'completing' the collection of this record, I then immediately found out that I'm one step further back. Never did the name of this blog seem quite so appropriate.

I also picked up the record release version of the band's 'Retribution' 7". I had originally bought one of these in 2016, but it got lost in the post. There are only 35 copies of this with the release show sleeve, which isn't many, so I'm happy to have finally found another.

The cover of this is a rip off of the Fury 'Kingdom Come' 7". Interestingly, the record release press of the Fury 7" features a rip off of this Forced Order 7". I love stuff like this. Nerdy hardcore facts that most people wouldn't know or care about.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Now Still Matters Now

In today's edition of 'I can't believe how much time has passed', I'll be talking about the last Gameface album. 'Now Is What Matters Now' is the band's 6th full length, and was released what seems like about 3 years ago, but was actually 6, in 2014. At the time I picked up one copy of the Euro pressing out of the three available, because I didnt think that this was a record I would need multiple copies of. But after picking up a number of rare Gameface records in the last couple of years, I just kinda decided that I wanted to collect everything I was missing as far as possible. So when I saw a few weeks ago the label post about a few leftover copies of the two colours that I neglected to buy back when the record came out, I decided to grab them while I still had the chance.

The first version is clear vinyl. There were 251 copies made.

The second version is the clear blue/black mix, of which there were 259 copies.

This now means that I have all 3 european colours of this record, as well as the US pressing and the US test press. So I'm only missing the euro test. I asked the label but sadly they don't have any left.

When the package arrived, there was also a Gameface 7" thrown in for free. The 'Regular Size' 7" was released by a european label called Coffeebreath And Heartache ‎Records. It was also released in 2014, and for some reason was released by 3 different labels (one in europe, one in the UK, and one in the States).

In total there are 5 copies of this thing out there across the 3 labels, and until this arrived I owned none. So of course, the quest is now on to find the other 4. At this rate I should probably have them all just in time for my 60th birthday.

Monday, 11 May 2020

Two Thousand Cries

I've been around in this game long enough to have seen a few unique items over the years. So when a friend decided to sell some bits, the first thing on my want list was this quirky, one of a kind (probably) Despair 'One Thousand Cries' 7":

As you can see, this comes on a yellowish vinyl with some orange swirls. But this record was only pressed on either orange or white. So clearly this is some kind of cool looking transition copy. I'd only ever seen one of these before, and this is it.

I already owned the other (regular) orange copy, so figured I should also pick up the white vinyl copy so that I could have a full set.

But of course, I still don't have a full set, because I don't have a black one. But I'm not bothered about that. Oh yeah, plus there's some kind of limited sleeve version which, now that I think about it, I'm not sure I've ever seen in all of the 25 years since this thing came out. Is that even possible? It doesn't seem so. Perhaps I saw it and forgot what it looks like? Hmmmm. Not sure. But if anyone has one and can send me a picture, let me know.

So this last pic shows the 3 copies that I own together. As you can see, the regular orange looks pretty different to the yellowy orangey swirl copy. So you can see why i was keen to pick it up.

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

Record collecting can be a roller coaster ride of emotions at times. I saw that Painkiller had pressed up 208 final copies of the first Violent Reaction LP on blue vinyl, and at first I thought to myself 'hey, that looks cool, I want one'. But then, as often happens, I didn't actually want to spend the money. So I just waited a little, trying to decide whether I actually wanted to buy one or not. And then I suddenly realised that it was sold out. And then my mind went into the 'shit, I need to get one of these ASAP' gear.

Fortunately, I managed to find a distro that had one copy left, which I didn't hesitate to buy.

This is described as 'Everton blue' vinyl, and the inner paper sleeve is black and stamped and numbered with the Everton logo:

For those of you unaware of what this is all about, Everton F.C. is a british football club, based in Liverpool. I'm going to assume that Tom is a fan and this is a pretty cool tribute to the club. Here's the actual Everton logo:

The latin 'Nil Satis Nisi Optimum' apparently translates as 'Nothing but the best is good enough'. Kinda sounds a bit like my record collection, right?

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Chapter Zero

Over the years, there have been quite a lot of limited sleeves made for Revelation releases. For some sad reason, I made a list of them at some point, and I counted 18 of them that are not mentioned in the Rev discography. Here's one of them - the record release version of the Primal Rite 'Dirge of Escapism' LP.

This one stretches the definition of 'limited sleeve' a little. The limited bit is just an obi strip, albeit one that just folds around the spine of the regular sleeve.

This is numbered out of 50 copies and (obviously) is on black vinyl, although I have also seen copies on red vinyl. No idea what the color breakdown is on the 50 copies.

The record also came with some other gubbins - two different posters for the LP, a poster for the show and a couple of stickers:

This record was released back in January 2018 and it already feels like a lifetime ago in hardcore terms. This band has since broken up and is probably already lost in the sands of time. Shame, as this LP is really great.

Monday, 27 April 2020

Infrared Riding Hood

A couple of years ago I got obsessed by trying to re-collect Tad records. I used to have a bunch of them in the early 90s, but for some reason I sold them when I got into straight edge hardcore. But many years later I decided that I wanted them back, and I got a good start from a UK seller who had a whole bunch of 7"s, including some cool test presses. But I then decided that i wanted to go a step further and pick up the major label LPs that came out after I gave up on the band. There were two of them, and I managed to get one almost exactly two years ago. The other one, I have just picked up, and I am happy to end this chase, because it took longer than I had expected.

This is the final studio album by Tad, and it was released way back in 1995 on EastWest Records. At the time EastWest had a couple of other decent bands on their books - Sick Of It All, Clutch and Orange 9mm. Interestingly, all of those bands had albums that were pressed on vinyl at the time, but this was at a time when major labels had really started cutting down on vinyl, so a couple of them only had vinyl editions pressed for the european market. Which means that they became quite sought after and expensive. And all of them got reissued by the 'Music On Vinyl' label in the last few years.

I had wanted to wait for an original pressing of this, but it took a long time because every copy coming up for sale on either discogs or eBay seemed to be at a fixed price, which was stupidly high. Or they were in some sketchy country that I didn't want to buy from. But finally the right copy came along, from a German seller who seemed to have about ten unplayed copies. God only knows where he got them, but I love how stuff like this happens from time to time.

It's kinda funny how I avoided this record for over 20 years, but when I finally listened to it for the first time, I loved it. Shame I missed out on this one and I also never saw the band play live, which I'm sure would have been a cool experience.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Loud And Clear USA

I saw this Step Forward 7" for sale on eBay and it instently grabbed my interest. I'd never seen or heard of it before, but the listing said that it was numbered out of 40 copies, so I knew that whatever it was, it was something special. So I bid and won for a good price.

As you can see, this comes in a red sleeve and has an obi strip that says 'Loud And Clear USA', although I am unsure why. The back of the obi strip is numbered. Mine is 36/40.

It's kinda interesting how the prices of records from bands of the early to mid 00s have, if anything, largely gone down over time. I'm sure there are some exceptions, but it's not like there are lots of records of this era trading hands for hundreds of dollars. Yet a lot of the bands are so damn good, and the records are nicely collectible. The mid 00s were probably also the peak of 'version mania' where there would be at least 6 different versions of every single record. Feels like I could be buying records from the 00s for the rest of my life... although that would probably cost less than a single Revelation test press.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Antagonize

Today's post features another of my favourite releases from last year, 2019, which I have only just received the physical vinyl for. The band is Antagonize and the record is titled 'Slip Death', and was released by Triple B Records last year. I'm not sure if this is a 12" EP or an LP, as it has 8 songs and is over in 14 minutes, but maybe those are just old fashioned concepts anyway in the modern era.

Antagonize features Aaron Bedard on vocals (formerly of Bane) and has Sam Yarmuth (owner of Triple B Records) on bass, plus some other people I don't know anything about. It kinda sounds similar to Bane due to Bedard's vocals, but other than that, the songs are short and heavy. When I spoke to Bedard about it a couple of years ago, he thought that the rest of the band members were into Integrity and that was the sound that they were going for. But it sounds nothing like Integrity to me. But whatever your opinion on that comparison, Antagonize is a really great hardcore band. The songs are short, loud and hard. And no matter how many times I listen to this, I just can't get bored of it.

Well, when the pre-orders launched, even though I knew that all copies were pressed on the euro vinyl that I'm not a fan of and the colours sounded ugly, I still ordered all three colours. The red & white swirl is /300 copies.

The rarest colour is the green with black splatter and it's /200.

The most common colour is the least offensive, being the red vinyl /500. The other colours are sold out, but this one is still available.

Even though Antagonize are on Triple B, they do seem to have flown under the radar more than most bands on the label. There seems to have been less buzz about them that other bands, and this record has not seen a repress, which is strange for any Triple B release. So I'm totally unsure about what kids think of this band. But it certainly feels like they should be getting more attention.

My only other hope with this is that someone puts out the demo on vinyl at some point. Those are some damn good songs, and it doesn't seem right that it only exists on cassette. Fingers crossed.

Monday, 20 April 2020

A Test In The Dark

When New Age put up some 'sold out' records up for sale a few months back, they also put up a couple of older test pressings too. There were probably only one or two copies of each available, and sadly a couple that I really badly wanted were sold out by the time I got there. But I was early enough to grab a test press of the Outspoken 'A Light In The Dark' LP.

Sadly this isn't an original test press of this release. If you were sharp eyed, you would notice that this record has the 'new' Erika labels, which denotes that this is a test press of the repress that came out in 2010. Still cool though, even though straight edge isn't cool anymore.

I always thought that this LP was underrated. I think it got panned back in the day, but I always liked it a lot. Good job too, as I now own 6 copies of the thing. But I'm still looking for two more versions - the yellow vinyl, and the 2012 tour press. Get at me if you have either and would let them go.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

War & Insanity

Another item I ordered from New Age Records is an LP titled 'War & Insanity' LP by a band called Maniac. I hadn't heard of the band before, but a quick check online and I decided I'd buy it. The band is from somewhere in Massachusetts, and contain two members of one of my current favourite bands, Restraining Order. Apparently they've been going since 2010, and this album was originally released in 2018 on a different label on cassette only. It's pretty good hardcore, although I can't describe it as it crosses over a few different styles. Musically it reminds me of Forced Order, Integrity and The Suicide File in places, with vocals that kinda make me think of early B9 bands. That's about as good a description as I can come up with.

So I picked up the 77 pressing, to keep my 77 pressing collection as complete as possible. It's a pretty rad clear blue colour with some black swirls.

I also grabbed a test press that the label put up for sale. It was pretty cheap as tests go, so I didn't really hesitate to add it to the cart, although it's not overly exciting to look at.

I have to say, I'm enjoying this recent resurgence of New Age Records. They're churning out some pretty good stuff lately, and me trying to keep my 77 pressing collection going is opening me up to some new bands that I probably wouldn't have found otherwise. Stay tuned, because more posts on this same theme will follow...