Tuesday 21 May 2024

Bi-Furious

One of the records I spent most time listening to last year was the self titled LP by a band called Downer. Deep in my collection I had a 7" by this band that came out on Ammunition Records in 1994. I bought it from a UK distro back when it came out and I had very little memory of it. So when I saw Black Claw Records announce that they were going to reissue the band's second album on vinyl for the first time, it got me interested as I was at least familiar with the band name. I listened to the band online and was into what I heard within about twenty seconds. So I decided to order a copy.

This record was originally released by Roadrunner Records back in 2001. Probably due to the fact that this came out in an age when the internet was fairly new and basic, there isn't too much you can find about Downer online. The Discogs page contains one sentence, which is 'Alternative Metal/Post-Hardcore band from Orange County, California'. By clicking links I managed to figure out that the vocalist was previously in Headfirst, and the guitarist was in Mission Impossible, both of which had records put out by Workshed Records. But I don't get the impression that this band was particularly huge back when this record came out. My guess is that they were semi popular with people who lived in Southern California due to their links with the hardcore scene.

This version is referred to as 'Clear to opalescent clear'. There were 50 copies made. It also comes with a bunch of inserts and stickers. No doubt Black Claw Records have been influenced by fellow Californian label It's Alive Records when it comes to stuffing a record full of extra bits and bobs.

I'm not sure exactly what kind of music this would be categorised as. It sounds kinda halfway between post hardcore and nu metal. I probably wouldn't have been overly excited by this back when it came out if I had heard it, but somehow in 2024 it sounds kinda fresh and interesting and I absolutely want to hear more by this band.

Monday 20 May 2024

Real Food At Last

I've posted here about the band Understand a couple of times. They were a UK band that came out of the straight edge hardcore scene and existed from 1992-1998. In that time they supported all of the big US bands that came over here, played a few shows in the States, had a 7" released by Equal Vision Records, and an album that came out on a major label. Over time they kinda moved away from the hardcore scene by nature of their decision to sign to a major (the 90s was a weird time), but musically they were absolutely great. They sounded like some of the mid 90s 'post hardcore' bands (Quicksand, Fugazi, Shift are all ballpark comparisons) and I definitely felt at the time that they had a lot more musical talent and songwriting ability than most other UK 'hardcore' bands. Basically they looked and sounded like a US band but lived in the UK, and as a result I think they never quite reached the level of popularity on either side of the Atlantic that they should have. The band came to an end in 1998 and by that time I'm not sure too many people really noticed. They definitely faded away, rather than burnt out.

Well, last year a US label (Rise Records) ended up releasing the 'lost' second album, 'Real Food At Last', which had been recorded following the band being dropped by EastWest back in 1996 or so. The songs sat gathering dust for years as apparently the band weren't happy with how the recordings sounded. Then during the covid period, they decided to spend some time converting the recordings to digital and mixing them. This culminated with Rise agreeing to put it out on vinyl.

This was pressed on 3 colours of vinyl, and I decided to buy only one. This is the 'white and black galaxy' and is limited to 150 copies. The mockup image on the Rise website looks terrible, but thankfully in real life it just looks a bit like a grey marble colour.

I can't imagine too many people (especially those who buy records) are still interested in this band all these years later. But without doubt they have a small following. I used to live in the town they came from and saw them quite a few times, so there is a certain nostaliga factor for me. But these songs still sound great today, and not at all dated. If you didn't know that these songs are over 25 years old, you wouldn't guess, which I suppose is a kind of proof that Understand were well ahead of their time.

Sunday 19 May 2024

Tip Of The Iceberg

Following on from my last post about the New Found Glory LP that Rev released last year, I found myself really enjoying one of their earlier albums, and acknowledging that I did actually enjoy their particular brand of American High School pop punk. So when Bridge Nine posted on instagram about some New Found Glory 7"s with limited sleeves paying homage to old Revelation straight edge bands, I couldn't really say no.

These things are not exactly 'rip off' or parody covers. More, they are just covers made in the style of a couple of classics. I'm going to assume that if you're reasing this then you don't need me to mention which records.

I'm assuming that there were some leftover records that had been sat around for a few years, and someone came up with the idea of making some sleeves to shift them. And the plan seemed to work. Each of these sleeves were numbered out of 200 copies, and the whole lot sold out within a couple of hours. This was the kinda thing where I felt slightly suckered, but they are kinda cool. Other than in the world of hardcore, what other music scene would people want to a buy a record just because it has been made to look like a completely different record?

Saturday 18 May 2024

Make The Most Of It

Back at the start of last year Revelation put out a New Found Glory LP. I was puzzled. This was a band that I had avoided for over twenty years based mainly on the name, and Rev were about to put out their new record. Inside I was disappointed. Yet at the same time I knew that New Found Glory records are pretty damn popular and can sell for a lot of money. So I figured it would make sense to buy now and think about it later.

In the meantime, I thought I would check out what New Found Glory actually sound like, so I downloaded one of their older records ('Sticks And Stones' from 2002) and I ended up playing the shit out of it. Unbelieavble.

This ended up being pressed on a number of different colours, and I think I managed to get one of each. The rarest colour was the 'transluscent violet' which was exclusive to RevHQ. It sold out in about two minutes.

There were 5 other colours, and I ended up with one of each. Seems kinda crazy, but hey... that's the way I roll when it comes to Rev releases. Gotta keep the collection as complete as possible.

In the photo are 300 Translucent Violet (300), Translucent Yellow (3,000), red (tour press), Translucent Green (300), Clear (500) and turquoise (2nd press / 2,500).

Even better than the records are the stickers on the shrinkwrap. I love how each different colour record has a different colour sticker. That's a really cool detail.

It turns out that this isn't really a new New Found Glory record. I mean, it IS, but it's not new songs. It's an acoustic 'greatest hits' record if you will. And even though I'm now a fan of one NFG record, these acoustic versions of the songs on that record are nowhere near as good as the originals. Still, this is a bit of a fundraiser, with some of the proceeds going to a Cancer related charity, so I shouldn't be too hard on it.

Friday 17 May 2024

Lazy Cowgirls

So far 2024 has been the year of the Sub Pop 7", as I made a goal of collecting as many of the first 200 releases as possible. This one is another record by a band I had never heard (or heard of) before, The Lazy Cowgirls.

This 7" was released in September 1989 as Sub Pop 43. There were 2,000 copies pressed, with half on clear vinyl and half on black. No prizes for guessing which version I wanted.

I love that a record like this just wouldn't get released today. It contains two songs, one on each side. We get 'Loretta' on Side A, and 'Hybrid Moments' (a Misfits cover) on Side B. In total the songs run for just over one and a half minutes each. I love how short records look, especially when pressed on colour vinyl. As you can see from the photos, there is a lot of dead wax in the centre, which looks kinda cool, right?

It seems The Lazy Cowgirls were an LA band active from 1983 to 2004. Given that I only really have one and a half minutes to assess them, I'm not really sure what they're like. There's not really enough here to get me too excited, but this is a damn cool little 7", partly for the novelty factor of a 3 minute record with the classic Sub Pop layout and labels.

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Trading My Life

The third and final in my series of Liars Academy 12"s, and this one is somewhat of a 'frankenstein' record,being made up of two different releases joined together.

'Trading My Life' was a four song CD EP originally released by Equal Vision in 2002. I actualy bought this CD when it came out. Seems kinda weird to think that I actually paid money for CDs back then. What a fool.

The flipside of this record is the band's original five song demo from the year 2000. I'd never heard these songs before as I've never really been a demo kinda guy.

As with the other Liars Academy records, there are a few different colours of this one. This one is the 'peach yellow swirl' out of 100 copies. I was tempted by the 'coke clear' version as it seemed to match the front cover much better, but it was slightly more common being out of 150 copies, so in the end I picked based on scarcity.

As witht he other two LPs, I also managed to get a test press of this record direct from the label whcih was in the same style numbered and signed sleeve.

It's nice to have the set of all three tests, especially given that they come in matching covers. But I also realised that I also own test presses of both other Liars Academy test pressings. So I actually have a complete set of all Liars Academy test pressings, which is kinda cool. Not that any of you have ever heard them.

Tuesday 14 May 2024

Demons

Following on from yesterday's post about the third Liars Academy LP, today I'm posting their second LP which I bought at the same time. This record, 'Demons', was originally released in 2004 by Equal Vision as a CD only release. Back then a lot of the bigger, more established labels seemed to think that vinyl was dead and opted for CD as the only format for new releases, so there are still a bunch of records from that era by bands that I like that I have never heard. This was one of them.

This record has been put to vinyl by a label called Steadfast Records, on a few different colours of vinyl. This one is 'clear with black smoke' and is out of 100 copies.

I was also able to grab a test press from the label which, like the test press for 'Ghosts', comes in a hand numbered sleeve signed by the band. Number 11 of 20.

For a fan of this band, this is another good record with some top singalong moments. And even though this is by definition more 'classic' Liars Academy, I think I actually prefer the newer / reunion record as it is a bit more 'rock' than this one. But still, I'm happy that this has finally come out on vinyl, else I may never have heard it.

Monday 13 May 2024

Ghosts

Another of my favourite releases from last year for which I have just picked up the vinyl is the third full length album by Baltimore band Liars Academy, titled 'Ghosts'. I have been listenind to this band since their first album dropped on Equal Vision Records back in 2001, and prior to this it had been nineteen years since they last released anything. So I was intrigued to check this out when it came out at the beginning of last year.

This was put out by a label I was not previously familiar with, Steadfast Records, and they have also reissued a couple of other Liars Academy records on vinyl for the first time (more on those later). There were 150 copies of this one on clear blue vinyl, which I think goes quite nicely with the cover art.

I was also stoked to be able to pick up a test press from the label's store. It comes in a numbered sleeve and is signed by the band members.

Discogs categorises this band as indie rock / post hardcore, which is vaguely accurate. I originally gave them a chance because a couple of the dudes in the band used to be in a band called Cross My Heart who I used to love in years gone by, but I imagine that probably isn't a useful reference point to most people reading this. Anyway, the point is that Liars Academy play music that is melodic and you can sing along to, and this is a really good record. Unfortnately, however, just like the Drain LP from last year, this record also features a pointless and irritating cover song which is included as the second to last song. It's a cover of 'Changes' by Black Sabbath, which is a song I feel that I could happily never hear again in my whole life (and yes, that includes the Sabbath version). So I have to skip this sone every time I listen to this re ord, which midly irritates me. Being a bit more positive for a second though, the song 'Without a Warning' is probably the best song I heard last year, which more than makes up for the cover song issue.

Saturday 11 May 2024

Glowing Spazz

Back in 2016 there was a new Descendents album released, and at the time it seemed like a big deal. 'Hypercaffium Spazzinate' was the first studio album that they had released in 12 years, and I was keen to try to collect every version of it. I initially picked up 5 copies and then a year later got another two copies. At the end of that post, which is nearly 7 years old, I wrote this:

I'm still missing the glow in the dark vinyl copy of this record, which is annoying as hell. But at 7 copies already, I'm not losing sleep over it. It'll come one day.

Well, that 'one day' has finally arrived, and I have picked up a glow in the dark copy.

According to the info on discogs, this is one of the three most limited colours, being out of 500 copies. I tried to get a photo of it actually glowing in the dark, and this was the best that I could do:

So one thing that is interesting abotu this is that, little did I realise it at the time, but back when this LP came out in 2016, things in the record collecting world were changing. With hindsight, this was one of the first records to have lots of different colours of vinyl, with each one being available from a different vendor, meaning that anyone who was stupid enough to try to collect all copies would have to place multiple orders and pay multiple postage costs. In recent years I have decided that this practice is shitty, and I refuse the collect records that are sold in this way. So, in accordance with my current policy, I am going to keep this copy and sell all of my other copies.

If anyone wants to buy any one of the other 7 copies that I have, get in touch.

Thursday 9 May 2024

Last Rights

A few months ago I came across a red vinyl repress of the Last Rights 7" on eBay. The seller had multiple copies for sale. The Taang! webstore didn't seem to mention anything about a red vinyl press. I was concerned that this was like the green vinyl Negative Approach 7" and it had sold out super fast and would then only be available for 3 times as much. So I just bought it.

I've wanted a Last Rights 7" for years and never quite got around to it. At this point I'm not confident I'll ever get one. So a cheap colour vinyl reissue is absolutely fine for now.

Interestingly, there is a discogs entry for this which says that there are 200 copies. The listing was set up by Taang! Records ten months ago, so the info must be legit. But it just seems odd that I haven't seen a single person post a picture of this record. Somehow it has flown completely under the radar. Only 4 people in the discogs world have it, one of which is me and another is Mike. Only ten people want it, and no copies have sold on there. A very strange situation indeed. Is it that nobody cares at all? Or does nobody know this even exists?

Tuesday 7 May 2024

Purple Approach

When I picked up a green vinyl copy of the Nagative Approach 7" a little over year or so ago, I said '...if they repress it again I will be right at the front of the queue'. This was beacuse I had initially decided that I didn't need a green vinyl repress in my life when it went up for order, but then when I saw everyone posting pictures I regretted it, and had to chasea copy on discogs for three times the price. So when I saw a purple vinyl copy go up for sale recently, I wasn't going to make the same mistake.

I love attention to detail, so I like that they changed the colour of the ink on the labels to match the vinyl.

Apparently there are 1,000 copies of this colour, which is the same as the green vinyl. But interestingly, there doesn't seem to have been anywhere near the same level of interest in this version. It's still readily available and the price on disocgs is roughly half of the price of the green version.I guess people prefer green to purple. Prince would certainly not be impressed.

Monday 6 May 2024

Go To Hell

Here's another of my favourite 2023 releases that I have only just got the vinyl for, this isa 12" by Mean Season titled 'Go To Hell'. I absolutely loved their LP 'Grace' that was released way back in 1994. I always held that as one of my favourite 90s releases. So when I heard that they had some new music coming out last year, to say that I was excited was a bit of an understatement.

This came out on Indecision Records about a year ago with little fanfare. There were 500 copies pressed, all on silver vinyl. I was kinda expecting that the world would have gone nuts for a new Mean Season record, but I've seen pretty much nothing about this record posted online, so it feels that it went largely unnoticed.

As excited as I was for this one, it felt like a bit of an anti claimax. Or possibly a missed opportunity. At first glance this appears to contain eight songs. However, the first is a 40 second atmospheric noise intro, and the final three are covers. So when you exclude those, what is left is just four new songs.

The four new songs that we do get are really good. They sound pretty much exactly the same as Mean Season used to sound thirty years ago, which is exactly what I wanted. There's also a song that features dual vocals with Eva from Power Alone which sounds fantastic. So whilst the new songs are really, really good, I just wish they'd recorded a couple more.

Sunday 5 May 2024

Living Proof

I was trying to decide what to post about today, and I saw on instgram that it was a year ago today that the secod Drain LP came out, so that made the decision for me.

Drain came into my life when Revelation released their debut LP 'California Cursed' in 2020. I really liked that record and it ended up being my most played record of 2020, and the one I went have gone back to the most. So even though they moved on to a new label, I was interested in hearing their new record. It came out on Epitaph and there were different colours of vinyl pressed for both Europe and the US, but as is often the case, the European versions looked like shit. So I made the decision to buy a US copy and wait a while.

This colour is a nice clear blue colour, which I think seems like the most suitable given the cover art.

I did enjoy this record a lot last year even though I didn't have the vinyl. But in my view it doesn't touch 'California Cursed'. Overall it just doesn't quite flow as well. Firstly there is a hip hop track which is titled 'intermission' and which just seems to slow things down a bit. And then after two more songs there's a Descendents cover ('Good Good Things') which I don't like at all. I saw them play live last year and everyone seemed to love this cover, but it just feels out of place to me. The singer tries to sing it in a different style and it does not sound right to me. WHat makes it super annoying is that this cover ends and then there is one more song. It would have made far more sense to put the cover at the end, not one song before the end. It just plain irritates me having to press 'skip' every time I listen to it.

Saturday 4 May 2024

Orange Garden

I am a long way from being the world's biggest Bad Religion fan. I was really into them back in 1992/93 ish, but I lost interest after 'Recipe For Hate'. I bought the album after that, 'Stranger Than Fiction' in 1994, but was so disappointed in it that I sold it and never gave them another chance after that. So that's pretty much my Bad Religion history in a nutshell.

Well, back in 2019 I was searching on eBay and I found an orange vinyl copy of the 'Atomic Garden' 7" for sale. At the time I had never seen it before. The 7" was released in 1991 as a one sided 7" containing only one song ('Atomic Garden') with an etched b-side. It was essentially a promo single for the 'Generator' LP that came out in 1992. Anyway, even though I'm not a huge Bad Religion fan, I kinda wanted the 7" as it just looked kinda cool... even though the record itself is pretty much pointless.

Well, I thought about that 7" for a day or two, and then when I went back it had sold. I was bummed. So I made a mental note to keep my eyes open for another one. And five years later, I managed to find one.

As with a lot of records from the early 90s, pressing info isn't available. But whatever the numbers, this is pretty damn rare. I think I read somwhere that there are only about 50 of these, although I can't find that now. To give that number context, there must be probably 5,000 - 10,000 black vinyl copies of this record out there. This means that one in every 100-200 copies are orange. As I said, a pretty pointless record, but a pretty cool one to own for sure.

Thursday 2 May 2024

Say Less

Another recentish new Revelation release, 'Say Less' is the debut release from Calling Hours, a band that features Farside vocalist Michael Vogelsang, aka Popeye. The band is basically made up of the band Don't Sleep with Popeye on vocals instead of Dave Smalley. They formed in 2021 and clearly didn't need to bother with a demo as Rev were straight there with an offer.

The record is like a lot of records these days, being a 12" which isn't quite long enough to warrant being called an album, but is also a little bit too long to be just an EP. There are 7 songs on here that clock in at 23 minutes, which is longer than the average full length hardcore record. This particular colour is the retail store exclusive colour which is pretty damn limited for a modern Rev release, as there are only 128 copies.

I actually went to see this band play a few months ago. They were supporting As Friends Rust on their european tour, and I made a rare effort to travel into London to see them play. This record wasn't out so it was one of those situations where the show just wasn't too much fun as I was hearing every song for the first time. At the time, the highlight was two Farside songs that were saved to the end of the set. But after listening to these songs a fair bit over the last few months, I wish I could see them play again. The songs are really strong and I have been loving this record. I had it in my top releases from last year that I didn't have the vinyl for at the time.

Obviously I was stupid enough to pick up every version, although in this case there are only three copies (at the moment at least).

Blue with white splatter is out of 200 and is the Rev exclusive, and there are also 600 on grey. And best of all, this thing weas clearly pressed in the States as the records both look and feel really good. So a double win here.

Tuesday 30 April 2024

Famine

When I was hanging around RevHQ a couple of years ago, there was a day when Jordan & Adam had a call with Paint It Black to discuss putting out a new record. At that point in time, the band hadn't released anything for ten years. I remember questioning whether anyone would still care, given a lot of the older people would have moved on and a lot of the younger people wouldn't know who they were. But I feel I was wrong, as a year and a bit later the record went up for order and it absolutely flew off of the shelves. The Rev mailorder colour (yellow) was gone in minutes. Fortunately I got one though.

If I had any doubts as to whether Paint It Black would still be good after a decade off, these were cast away within seconds. The opening song on here is just incredible... and the record doesn't relent after that. I'm not quite sure why this wasn't at the top of everyone's 'best of 2023' lists. It should have been. It's a really great record.

With this being a Rev release I was down to grab all copies. I took a photo of them all and then as I was typing this up I realised that there is another colour out there that exists that I didn't know anything about. Goddamnit.

Shown above are the blue (300 for retail stores), green (400), clear with black & white swirl (1000), yellow (150) and orange (300). Then there is some kind of white vinyl copy out there too it seems. I'm not sure there is anything as annoying as taking a photo of several copies of a record only to then realise you are missing one.

Saturday 27 April 2024

It's Always Darkest

A couple of years ago, Revelation reissued the Turning Point 7". Not including the Turning Point discography, the original 7" hadn't been in print for over 30 years. I'm not overly sure why this record was reissued, but it was hardly surprising that Rev then decided to follow up with a reissue of the LP.

I was in Fort Lauderdale, Florida when the preorder for this went live. I remember being worried that it would sell out quickly, so I ordered on my phone whilst walking along the beach in bare feet... in December. Well, that was December 2022, and I have just got around to getting the records.

'It's Always Darkest Before The Dawn' was originally released by New Age Records in 1990. Given New Age is still going, it's not entirely clear why Revelation took over the reissue, but I will admit that it looks kinda cool with the Rev logo on the back of the sleeve.

As with all records these days, this was pressed on multiple colours. Well, three colours to be precise. I think that the colours chosen seem quite suitable and actually look pretty good.

Shown above are the 500 blue vinyl (retail store exclusive/500), clear w/ white smoke vinyl (RevHQ exclusive /300) and orange vinyl (common version, 2,000 made). No doubt that now I have posted this, a new colour will appear within the next couple of weeks. That's usually what happens.

Friday 26 April 2024

If God Only Knew...

Record collecting has always been a game of patience for me. I add something to my wants list and I wait until an opportunity arises. And sometimes it takes longer than other times. This record here has been on my wants list for at least 20 years. Probably more, although I'm not sure as to how I can check. I could probably check the wants lists in my old zines, although I can't be bothered to go upstairs and dig them out.

I always loved Disemboded. I picked up their first vinyl release (a 7" on Moo Cow Records) when it was released, and I have loosely followed them ever since. But I never picked up this 'If Only God Knew The Rest Were Dead' 10", which was released in 1998, until last week. From the moment it came out I decided that I only wanted a purple vinyl copy and so I waited it out until one showed up... which turned out to be twenty six years or so later.

This was released by Ferret Music, and they used to release 100 copies of each of their records on purple vinyl. I'm not sure how long this carried on as I never had many releases on the label, but the ones I do have all come on purple, and they are generally pretty hard to come by.

Listening to this again recently, I have to say that this has held up really well. The songs are great as is the recording. When metal hardcore sounded like this it seemed cool and not dirty and embarrassing. If you've never heard this then I'd suggest giving it a go. And if you like it then in 2050 you might own your own copy.

Sunday 21 April 2024

The Second Of Too Many

A couple of years ago I had a trip down memory lane when I sold a friend's collection and ended up keeping a bunch of stuff for myself. One of the records that I really enjoyed then was the second album by a UK band from the early 90s called Senseless Things. My friends used to listen to them back in the 90-92 era, but back then I wasn't interested. But fast forward thiry years and it sounded good. Well anyway, I realised that the second album was also pressed on purple vinyl, so when I saw one recently on eBay for cheap, I decided to grab it.

'The First Of Too Many' was released in 1991, and I remember it well, because my friends were all super excited about it. From memory, this purple pressing was a second pressing, with the initial press being on black vinyl only. This copy is pretty much mint, with the sleeve still in the shrinkwrap, although sadly it is missing the 'purple vinyl' hype sticker. But I figure I can live without it for the price I paid.

When I bought this I planned to keep this one and sell the black one, but when I got them out to compare I realised that both copies have very different labels. So I thought I'd hold off selling for now.