Monday, 28 September 2020

Regular Size Surprise

In May this year I picked up a couple of Gameface LPs, and the label threw in a 7" that I didn't previously own, namely the 'Regular Size' 7", which was originally released in 2014. Then in June I picked up another version from a UK label that jointly released it. The hunt was then on for the other two versions that would allow me to have a complete collection.

Well, last week another one just rolled at my house completely out of the blue. My good friend Nico sent it to me just because he thinks it would sit better in my collection. What a great gift and surprise!

There were (if Discogs is correct) 100 of these on blue vinyl, with the first 50 copies coming in a cloth outer bag, and it's a really nice little item.

This now marks the 3rd version of this 7" that I have managed to acquire this year. Another nice touch is that the covers are all slightly different covers. So it's a nice colourful little collection of 7"s.

There's still a US pressing that I am missing, on Equal Vision, although it has a completely different cover so won't look quite as cool with these copies. And I'm assuming that the two different pressings mean that there are 2 different test pressings too. So this little collection could run for a few more years yet.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Time Is 3 Years Late

Late to the party as ever, I picked up this Ecostrike 'Time Is Now' 7". It's a first press copy on Carry The Weight Records (a UK label that is now defunct) that I spotted on eBay UK going for a bit less than it would ususally sell for.

Back when this came out, in 2017, I heard the buzz but decided I wasn't interested as it was advertised as 'vegan straight edge like Earth Crisis', which I didn't feel I needed in my life in 2017. But about a year later I decided to give the band a chance when I started seeing photos of the LP being posted and it was apparent that they were becoming a pretty big deal.

This 7" got reissued by Triple B Records a few months after it came out, so I was happy to pick up a copy from the first pressing. I actually prefer the first LP to this 7", as the LP sounds more like the first Strife LP (which is a lot more palatable to me than Earth Crisis these days) but I can't actually bring myself to buy anything on Triple B anymore as their records are always pressed on the most vile colours, and on the vinyl from the european plant that I hate. So I doubt I'll be adding any more Ecostrike records to the collection anytime soon, unless they repress them at a proper plant.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Another Fade

Another great pickup from eBay UK is this copy of the Fade 'One With Serenity' 7" with a limited sleeve.

I'm not 100% on this, but I think it may have been made for a record release show.

I tried to find my older post on the other version of this 7" that I own and was shocked to see that it was almost 5 years ago, in November 2015. Seriously, where are the years going these days? But I have played this band's output quite regularly ever since, and am still happy to go on picking up more versions of the same records. I'm still on the lookout for a clear vinyl copy of this one, if anyone wants to give theirs up.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Build & Destroy II

Back in 2017 I picked up a couple of 7"s by a band called Build & Destroy on Lockin' Out Records. The main point of interest was that the band featured a dude who used to be in RZL DZL, which was one of my favourite bands of the 00s. The band had two 7"s released at the same time, both of which were pressed on purple vinyl. One of these was their 2010 demo, and my purple copy was basically clear with a little whisp of purple in it. At the time I said this:

I'm sorely tempted to also try to pick up a purple one too. I bet there are quite a range of colour variants of this one out there, and it would be cool to have a couple of them.

Well, keeping up with my recent drive to try to mainly buy stuff from within the UK, last week I grabbed a much more purple looking copy that showed up eBay in the UK.

As you can see, this one is very much a slightly dirty looking purple colour. But it's a lot more purple than my other 'purple' copy, as you can see here:

I do find it interesting how bands just tend to appaer and pretty much immediately vanish again these days. It feels to me that it happens more often nowadays than in years gone by. The demo was released in 2010, then a 'proper' 7" came out five years later in 2015, and here we are another five years later and there has been nothing since. I'm assuming the band is dead, but is that ever really the case these days? It would be cool to get a full length, although at this point it feels highly unlikely. Shame, as this band is (or was) damn good.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Hammered Hulls

When i was picking up a couple of Dischord releases a couple of weeks ago, I also decided to pick up the Hammered Hulls 7" that came out last year.

I downloaded these songs when this came out, and it is indeed a great record. But I didn't feel the need to buy it previously because, well, it LOOKS kinda boring. Black vinyl and a black and white cover and no insert is hardly a feast for the eyes.

I think the reason I changed my mind and picked one up is that I became aware that Dischord had sold out. Plus it was sat there in front of me for a pretty low price. So I just figured it would be best to grab one whilst I still could. I mean, who knows, maybe it'll never be repressed?

For anyone unaware, the band features Alec Mackaye (Faith, Ignition) on voice skills, and also some other people whose other bands I don't really know about playing musical instruments. And it rips. It's some good DC hardcore that for me sits nicely in the middle of the typical 80s & 90s DC sounds.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Coriky

When I ordered the Minor Threat 12" on blue vinyl a couple of weeks ago, I also debated ordering the debut full length from Ian Mackaye's new band, Coriky. I have to admit, I am not the biggest Fugazi fan and I didn't like The Evens, so it didn't feel like a necessary record to me. Plus it only comes on black vinyl. So it felt that there was little real appeal. However, at the last second I added it to the order, mainly because I generally feel that I should be investing in more new releases and fewer multiple copies of things that I already have eight copies of.

Even in the age of the internet, with all music being instantly accessible, there are times when I'm happy to just buy a record on a whim without checking the band out online first. I guess it just feels like fun, and makes me feel a little nostalgic to the days when I never heard anything before I bought it, and listening to a new band for the first time was kinda exciting.

I think that in a different time I possibly would not have enjoyed this as much as I have been, but this has proven to be a good one for me to play whilst working at home. I don't know about you, but I prefer listening to mellower stuff whilst I work. Playing the latest Rated X LP is likely to make me want to jump on to my desk and dive off it again, which isn't going to help me crank out the necessary spreadsheets and emails. No, I need something a little slower in the background that maybe makes me tap my fingers a little faster. So this record ticks that box, and as such has been getting a fair bit of play recently, especially the song 'Have A Cup Of Tea' which is quite possibly the most apt song ever for a Brit like me.

Monday, 14 September 2020

I'm With Stu

Earlier this year it was announced that one of Bane's later era bass players, Brendan 'Stu' Mcguire, had been diagnosed with cancer. I saw Bane quite a lot of times over the years, and got to know most of them, although I never really got to know Stu. Before Bane, he played in another Boston band from the 90s/00s that I was into - Reach The Sky. After joining Bane, he played on the Dublin / Rome / Boston / Los Angeles series of 7"s & CDs that came out in 2009 (which I always seem to forget exist), so it seemed fitting that one of the labels that released a couple of those 7"s put together a limited version of one to help raise some money for his cause. Hurry Up Records had a box of the 'Dublin, 11:58 PM' 7"s left over, so they made up a different cover for them and sold them online to raise some cash and they sold out within a couple of hours.

Given there were two different versions available, I had to buy both in order to keep my Bane collection as complete as possible. I figured that the limited sleeve would just be a piece of paper made on a photocopier, but when it arrived I was pleasantly surprised as it was a printed and glued card sleeve of the highest quality. There were two different colours of vinyl, both leftovers from the 2nd press.

The red vinyl is slightly rarer than the other colour, being numbered out of 52 copies:

The green / black split vinyl is numbered out of 57:

Overall, this is exactly what it is - a good way to use up some leftover records and contribute to a good cause at the same time. It also served as a good reminder that these 7"s exist, which made me listen to them again for the first time in a long while. I seem to remember thinking at the time that they weren't that good, but listening again all these years later and clearly I was wrong. There are some great songs here, so it has been cool to rediscover them.

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Rhinoceros

Another repress I couldn't say no to (partly because it's on Rev and partly because it holds a special place in my heart) is this Orange 9mm debut 12" on 'rhinoceros grey' vinyl.

Unlike some people who managed to somehow avoid hearing this record for about 25 years, I first bought this in an actual shop (remember those?) when it came out. I remember seeing it on the rack and seeing the Rev logo on the front cover (which still feels like a strange move to this day) and feeling curious, but being a student with a very limited budget I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the money without hearing the band. So I asked the dude in the shop to play it for me, and I think I probably decided I wanted to buy it within 5 seconds.

My only 'complaint' with this record is the colour choice for the vinyl. I mean, for some reason I'm stupid enough to buy another copy to add to my existing 4 regardless, but the grey vinyl is quite a dark shade and seems a bit boring. I think a nice blue would have matched the cover far better, although the way things work these days maybe we'll be in store for that one next.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Guilty Of Being Blue

It was only a couple of weeks ago that I typed these words - I have tried over the past few years to reduce the number of reissues and represses that I buy but, as with most things in life, there are always exceptions.. And again, here I am posting another repress that I didn't need but had to have that gets added to my list of exceptions.

Dischord Records have never really pressed much of their catalogue on colour vinyl, but have put out a few colour pressings over the past 13 years or so. This latest pressing of the Minor Threat 'First Two 7"s' 12" comes on a very pretty baby blue vinyl that I imagine would be difficult for anyone who is interested in either Minor Threat or cool looking records to resist. In fact, I would guess that it's likely that the vast majority of these will end up in the hands of people who already own the record in one format or another.

I believe that there are a whopping 3,000 copies pressed, meaning it is unlikely to ever become particularly hard to find. But who really cares about that? Despite being a repress and probably about the 25th version of this record, it's a really nice item. Way nicer than the crappy green vinyl copy from 2007 which had a really flimsy sleeve and was on crappy euro vinyl. I'm already intriogued to see what happens when this sells out. Could it be red vinyl in a red sleeve? Yellow vinyl in a yellow sleeve? Or maybe just back to black vinyl? The way things are going we'll probably find out in a few months.

Monday, 7 September 2020

Confusion Hill

A couple of years ago I got into an old band called Nuisance. I have a song or two on some old compilations, and one day I listened to one of those comps and then decided to check out more songs by some of the bands whose songs I was into. I found the debut full length by Nuisance on youtube and left it playing whilst I worked. A few songs in and I genuinely thought that the LP had finished and youtube had moved on to some obscure Nirvana song. But no, it was Nuisance. So I started paying a bit more attention, and I was into it. The songs are very reminiscent of that early Seattle sound. I imagine the band spending their time in a dirty basement wearing checked shirts and smoking Marlboro whilst trying to figure out where they can buy a van for $100 so that they can go on tour.

Anyway, two years later (and 29 years after it was first released) I finally found a copy of the debut LP in the UK for a good price.

'Confusion Hill' was released by Lookout! Records in 1991. It exists on black vinyl only. I like the early Lookout! release aesthetic. I love how big elements of the layout are hand written. It gives the records a more DIY feel and overall just harks back to simpler times.

There's a pic of the press release that accompanied this LP on discogs, and this what it says:

Humboldt County, California pot-punk. Here you have the smoked-out, guitar-drenched voice of the Emerald Triangle. Has a Dinosaur Jr. feel with a splash of the Northern California and Seattle influence.

I've been exploring a few early Lookout! bands recently. Some of the bands I wasn't into back in the day, partly because I was so into straight edge back then that I didn't check out stuff that I would have liked a couple of years before. But looking back there was some great stuff that Lookout! put out, and I'm hoping to pick up a few more of their releases in time.

Friday, 4 September 2020

The Blackest Test

Today's entry is a story ten years in the making. I think it's a pretty cool story, so have taken the time to write it out at length.

Back in 2010 Integrity released an album titled 'The Blackest Curse'. I ordered it at preorder stage as I was pretty excited for it, because Integrity had always been one of my favourite bands. Funnily enough, I read my original post on this record back before writing this and had completely forgotten the trouble I went through to get the record originally. That's one of the main benefits of this blog I guess - to jog my own memory. Also, fun fact - I am writing this post on 04 September 2020, and my original post about this LP was written on 04 September 2010.

Anyway, around the time that this LP was released, Dwid sold a test press on eBay, which ended up selling for $449.

I remember at the time being shocked that this record sold for so much, as it was a new release. But the reason for the price was that it was one of only 2 (TWO!) copies made. I knew that both test pressings ended up in the hands of big time Integrity collectors, and just accepted that this was one test press that I would never own.

Fast forward about 8 years, and I was chatting to a fellow Integrity collector one day, and he hit me with a rumour that apparently there were more than 2 test pressings for 'The Blackest Curse'. The rumour suggested that the pressing plant had originally sent the label 2 tests, and then several weeks later sent another box with a lot more copies inside. Apparently they had been put into a store room or cupboard at Deathwish Inc. This dude had emailed Deathwish about it, and been told that they didn't know where the box was and weren't about to go looking. It sounded like a great story, but it also sounded kinda made up.

Fast forward another two years, and in the flurry of auctions and raffles that cropped up a couple of months ago for various charities, Deathwish launched their own test press raffle. I got an email on 07 July from Deathwish telling me that they were running a raffle, with 22 different test pressings up for grabs. And in the list of test pressings was Integrity 'The Blackest Curse'. It suddenly felt like perhaps this rumour were true. But the raffle seemed to suggest that you bought a ticket and then if your number was drawn you would be allocated one of the 22 tests on offer. So I figured that my chance of winning the one record that I was interested in were slim, and I didn't want to take the gamble that would likely result in disappointment.

Well, a few days later and my luck turned. I got an email from Dwid himself, offering a 'Blackest Curse' test press. He confirmed that the rumour was indeed true, and that Deathwish had recently unearthed the box of additional tests. Apparently the box contained 32 more copies, which took this from being the rarest Integrity test press to the most common overnight. Dwid got sent a few and made up some hand drawn covers for them.

The final thing worthy of note is that only two of the copies Dwid got sent had the same green labels as the copies he originally received in 2010. The rest had white labels. I was lucky enough to get one of the green label copies. So I still ended up with a rarer variant of this test press. Although this of course means that there is another different variant out there to collect if I'm ever desperate to spend more money.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Tied Down Warwound

This one is a semi new release that came out earlier this year. A split 7" of two current UK hardcore bands, Tied Down and Warwound.

I mainly bought this for the Tied Down side. The band features some older dudes from pretty successful UK bands and play music that brings to mind Boston and New York bands from the 80s. This 7" features three new songs from Tied Down, and fortunately there's no change in style from their debut 7" from last year.

The flipside of this 7" features Warwound, a band that I'd never heard of before. I was surprised to find out that they're a really old band that have recently reformed. Or rather, one of the original members has reformed the band by recruiting 3 new members. Anyway, the songs on here are pretty good, although this side definitely comes a firm second in the 'best cover on the Tied Down / Warwound 7"' contest.

There were 300 copies of this record pressed and that's it. No colour vinyl or any form of limited edition pressing sadly. Just like some of those classic early hardcore records.

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Somewhere In The Swamps Of Jersey

A couple of years ago I went through a bit of a Lifetime phase when I finally discovering their final LP over a decade after it came out. So I picked up a few more records for the collection, added some more to the wants list, and then went on with life.

Last weekend I was chatting with Nico about dickheads on discogs, and I mentioned how one fool had blocked me on there just for asking if I could get a pic of a record. This would have probably been two years ago when I was in my Lifetime phase. So out of curiosity I looked and the record was still up for sale. The seller actually had very high feedback which was 100% positive, so I figured it was worth taking a risk, especially as it ticked my box for cheap stuff from within the UK.

This name of this record always seemed unclear. A lot of people (including discogs) think it's called 'An Outstanding Recording Achievement', but I always thought that those words were just printed on the sleeve to make it look like a retro sleeve (which was clearly the objective). Interestingly, if you go to the label's website, it's referred to as 'The Boys No Good'.

I can't remember if this came out on colour vinyl originally, or just black. My memory thinks that it was originally only black vinyl, and then colour vinyl pressings followed a year or two later. Jade Tree definitely went through a phase of repressing some of its releases on colour a year or two after they had first been pressed. But whatever, there are three colours of this one, and the clear copy completes the set for me. I can't remember exactly when I picked up the red copy, but I'm pretty confident that this collection is over 20 years in the making.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Pissed Happy Children

I'd never listened to Pissed Happy Children (PHC) until about a month ago. I guess they were before my time and not on a 'big' label and I never really knew anything about them other than they had some split with Infest. Well, coincidences happen, and I checked them out for the first time about a month or so ago because some dude on instagram posted a picture of one of their records. He was in the band and often posts shirts or stuff from his old bands. So I saw this photo and decided to check them out, and I thought it was interesting. Definitely not what I was expecting. And then the next day I saw a 7" for sale on eBay for pretty cheap, which I bid on and won. I was partly attracted by the nice purple colour vinyl.

When it arrived I messaged the dude on instagram and asked if it was supposed to have an insert as my copy very much did not have one. Sadly he confirmed that all copies had an insert, which was bad news for me. But then there was good news because he told me that apparently there are very few purple vinyl copies out there. Apparently less than 40. So that helped cheer me up again.

Well, after this I had a quick look on discogs to see if there were any other cheap copies for sale, and found another copy for a cheap price, also within the UK. So I decided to buy that too. This one was on grey vinyl, which isn't quite as rare, but on the positive side came with the insert.

This 7" is on New Beginning Records, the same label that released the Underdog 7", Crippled Youth 7" and Half Off 7" & LP. So kinda crazy I never really picked up on this one before. I'm not good at describing bands, but it's kinda slow, plodding, and vicious sounding and I'm into it. Next up I need to seek out the LP for a reasonable price I think.

I've said it before, but this is what is so rad about hardcore - finding bands and records from 30 years ago you've never really given a chance before and getting stoked on them. Plus it seems slightly more interesting than buying the latest splatter vinyl release from all the current labels.

Monday, 24 August 2020

Hypocrite

I have tried over the past few years to reduce the number of reissues and represses that I buy but, as with most things in life, there are always exceptions. I was in Boston at the end of last year, and in Newbury Comics I had found a small stack of records I wanted to buy... but then, one by one, I put most of them back into the racks as I didn't really want to spend the money that day. One of them was a green vinyl repress of the 'Tied Down' LP by Negative Approach, and I put it back on the basis that it was a repress that I could probably live without... but then, as time has gone on, I have continually seen pictures of it popping up and found myself wishing that I had bought it after all. So last week I put that right.

As stupid as it sounds, one of the things that attracted me to this was the particular shade of green vinyl. It's a paler green that most clear greens. Plus, it looks cool because of the amount of dead wax in the centre. In both of these ways it reminds me of the original blue vinyl pressing of the Youth Of Today 'Break Down The Walls' LP. It's perfectly possible that if this was on a much darker shade of green then I would not have thought it looked so cool and maybe not bought it. I don't know. But If nothing else, this just proves that sometimes I can want to own a record for the stupidest of reasons. But we all knew that already.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

A Dog On A Chain

It seems like there's a new Morrissey record coming out pretty often these days. It used to be that he'd bring out a new album every few years, but recently it feels like it's every other week. Well, I went for years being happy to listen to his music without being too fussed about owning anything physical as the records were all just black vinyl major label pressings with no limited edition formats, but then (like everything else) the newer records started getting pressed on different vinyl colours, and I got tempted me to jump in and start buying.

The latest effort is called 'I Am Not A Dog On A Chain' and, similar to the last one, the cover is filled with a big picture of his ageing bonce.

The majority of the records seemed to be on red vinyl, which I think was for independent stores. There were also some on clear exclusive to the Morrissey online store. Obviously I wanted the more limited version, because that's the kind of sucker I am.

I'm still not sure what I think of this one. I've only got through it about 4 or 5 times so far. I really struggled to get through it the first time, and immediately decided that it was terrible. But I reached the same conclusion with the last one a year or so ago, and it then turned out to be my most played record of the year. So time will tell I guess.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Burning Bushes And Burning Bridges

Back in the early 90s I spent a couple of years living in a town called Southend On Sea. I moved there a month before I turned 17, and I never really felt at home there, but I did get kinda lucky as it did have a pretty good skateboard and music scene back then. Southend is a fairly small place and in a pretty dead end location, but back in 1993 it was home to a group of kids who started a couple of bands and made a huge impact on the UK hardcore scene. The most successful of these bands was Understand. In a short space of time, Understand got signed by a major label, and opened for pretty much every big US hardcore band that came over to the UK, including Farside, Sick Of It All, and Helmet. For a UK band at that time, they did pretty well, playing some shows in the States, and recording an EP 7" with Don Fury that got released by Equal Vision Records as well as the major label. The culmination of their efforts was a full length, 'Burning Bushes And Burning Bridges', which came out on EastWest Records on CD only back in 1995.

Well, during the early stages of lockdown back in April I was listening to their album whilst fannying about with some dumbbells, and I posted something on instagram to say '25 years later and I'm still hoping this may still come out on vinyl at some point'. And then by coincidence, a couple of days later, it was announced that it was going to be put out on vinyl for the fist time ever by a German label called Thirty Something Records. I placed an order quick smart and this week it showed up.

This was put out as a small run of 300 copies, with two different colours of vinyl. The first is clear orange with black marble, limited to 150.

The second colour is clear with black marble (although looks more like a clear brown), and is also limited to 150 copies.

Here's a pic showing both copies next to each other. I like that the colours nicely match the cover, although it would have been nice to see two colours that weren't so similar.

The record also comes in a printed inner sleeve with lyrics, and there's a separate insert with other photos and artwork from the original CD layout.

I was always a big fan of this band. At such a young age and it was cool to see a bunch of local kids achieve so much. At the time it felt like US bands were miles ahead of UK bands, but Understand were one of a small number of bands who I thought were on the par with what was coming out of the States at the time. They were always compared to Quicksand and Fugazi, which to this day still seems fair. But for some reason they didn't seem to make it as big as they perhaps should have done. I think they just didn't quite fit into any scene so left some people confused. They probably weren't 'hardcore' enough for the straight edge hardcore kids, but by contrast were too hardcore for the post hardcore / alternative rock scene, and too melodic for the metal kids. But musically they were incredibly good, and at the time I was just blown away by how could a UK band could be. However, after a successful and exciting couple of years from 93-95 that culminated with this LP being released, things went a bit quieter. I think they kicked around for a couple of years but didn't release much else, and then ended up breaking up. I don't really know or remember when or how they called it quits, but it seemed like they just faded away. It may have been something to do with the major label, but I just don't know.

A couple of the members have gone on to have pretty cool careers in the music industry. Dom (the singer) became tour manager for Muse, who play stadium shows and huge festivals and generally do pretty well, and Rob (guitarist) became the lighting manager for Iron Maiden. Not bad for band from a small seaside town.

Monday, 17 August 2020

Knocking The Skill Level

I've found over the years that I can be really into a certain band at a certain time, and then lose interest by the time the next record comes out. Back in 1994 I picked up the first Garden Variety LP, and was really into it. But for whatever reason, when their second LP was released in 1995, I didn't pick it up. But finally, 25 years later, I have got around to doing so.

'Knocking The Skill Level' was released on Headhunter Records. I imagine that a reasonable amount were pressed, but these days it can be a tough find. The price seems to have come down a bit lately, although I was lucky enough to get it given to me from an old friend.

It's slightly disappointing that this wasn't pressed on colour vinyl, although at this point I'm just happy to have a copy at all.

For anyone not overly familiar with this band, they were from Long Island and played a kind of post hardcore / emo rock. If you've never listened to them, you should. I've linked my favourite song below. It's only 3 minutes and you just might find your new (old) favourite band.