Tuesday 28 October 2008

Integrity Closure

Integrity are one of my all time favourite bands. I've been listening to this band for 16 years now. They remain one of a small handful of bands that I don't seem to be able to tire of. Unfortunately, though, I can't claim that they have a flawless output. There were a couple of records made under the name Integrity 2000, which most people think are pretty poor. But in my opinion, the worst Integrity record is the one that most people either haven't heard or have forgotten about - "Closure"...

I checked the Victory webstore to see how they describe the album. I laughed at what I found:

As it is true with all of their other releases, this marks a new progression in their lyrical evolution and songwriting. This album is by far Integrity's darkest vision of the world to date.

It made me laugh because it seems so goddamn dishonest. I mean, as if this is their darkest vision of the world! As if this record showcases any kind of evolution! Come on! This album is a mish mash of sounds and can't make up its mind what it wants to be. There's a couple of industrial noise tracks, a weird rock song, an ambient song with whispered vocals, and a couple of "hardcore" songs (although the mix is bad on these, the guitars sound weak, and even Dwid's vocals sound kinda strained and lacking). Overall this record is just plain bad, and probably best forgotten. As much as I love this band, listening to this album all the way through is almost impossible.

However, despite this, I still decided to buy myself a second copy of this record recently. Hence this post. The weird thing about this record is that Victory never actually released it on vinyl. Instead, it somehow got licensed to an Australian label. Why? Who the hell knows.

This copy I have just bought claims to be a one off. I bought this on eBay. The auction claimed: THE GREEN COLOR IS A FREAK OF THE PRESSING PROCESS AND IS THE ONLY ONE OF ITS KIND IN EXISTENCE. Not sure I believe that. But at $32, it hardly matters.

I originally picked up a vinyl copy of this from a trade with a dude who used to work at Victory. Back when this came out, in 2001, you couldn't actually buy it. Trading it from the Victory dude seemed to be the only way to pick one up. The copy I acquired in that trade is on a clear blue vinyl. During the trade the dude told me that this colour was limited to 15 copies, and that there were only 60 copies in total on colour vinyl. Again, I am not sure I believe this. But the fact remains that picking a vinyl copy of this record up at all is not easy, so I'm stoked to have two different versions, even if it is total garbage.

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Hydrahead Revisited

What seems funny nowaways is that I used to buy Hydrahead Records by sending dollars through the post, which I would have to buy from a bank and send in an envelope. Even funnier is that I used to call up Aaron Turner on the phone and ask him to put records aside for me until my cash arrived. Seems crazy that it was possible to call Aaron Turner up. I guess he's too much of a global superstar these days to talk on phones or touch records. He pays fools to do that shit for him these days. And rightly so. I wish I didn't have to talk on phones. What a waste of time. But anyway, in 1996 I somehow stumbled across Hydrahead (which was a new label at that point), I liked what they were putting out, and bought pretty much all colours of all records they released. Although, that said, I did miss a few through being too slow. Luckily though I have managed to plug four of those gaps in one day with the latest parcel...

First is a Converge / Brutal Truth split 7", which was the second 7" in the Black Sabbath cover series. I have two colours of this one already, but this is the first press with limited cover numbered out of 100:

Next is the Cave In "Creative Eclipses" 7". This was their 2nd 7" on Hydrahead, and the one where the wheels fell off. In other words, Cave In changed their sound completely and became some kind of rock band. Not that this is a bad thing. I actually prefer their rock opus, "Jupiter" to their previous metal records. But this 7" was interesting when it came out because it was such a shock to the system. Nobody expected them to actually start SINGING!

This came out in about 1999, and it has taken me since then to finally get hold of one of the clear vinyl versions numbered out of 118. I picked one up on ebay last year, but frustratingly it wasn't numbered. So I'm happy to finally cross this fucker off the want list.

Next, another of the Black Sabbath 7" series. This time, the split between Cave In and Botch, on solid yellow vinyl.

I have this on red/yellow split vinyl, but clearly one is not enough so I need another one to stick in a box and never look at or play. On reflection, this is probably the best of the Sabbath tribute 7"s. The Botch song especially is incredible.

Finally, the sixth and last installment in the Black Sabbath covers series, the Neurosis / Soilent Green split on messy pink vinyl. I couldn't care less for the Neurosis song, but the Soilent Green side is a cntender for best Sabbath cover in the series:

I'm guessing that to most Black Sabbath fans, the idea of Converge, Cave In & Soilent Green covering their songs sounds horrendous. However, I disagree completely. What most of these bands do is take the Sabbath songs and make them heavier, but without straying to far from the original versions. I would even seriously say that some of these versions are actually better than the originals. And yes, I am a big Sabbath fan. In fact, I'm going to do you a favour and give you a chance to judge for yourselves. I've uploaded all the Sabbath covers, so that you can download them and form your own opinion. These songs are all ripped from my records, but you wouldn't know that, because the quality is so fucking good. You'd be excused for thinking that these songs were from the CD that Hydrahead never got around to releasing. Here ya go:


Now, what I'm interested in is what people think is the best Sabbath cover in this series. I'm so interested, in fact, that I'm going to run my first ever poll. You have until midday on Hallows Eve to vote. I'm voting for Botch. Come on!

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Right Idea 12"

After placing an order on 26 June, my package finally turned up today. That's 4 months of waiting. When I checked my paypal receipt, I was actually surprised that it was only 4 months. It feels like longer. I guess 4 months is quite a long time, but I have waited far longer in the past, so it's no big deal. But yeah, after seeing everyone else in internetland get theirs last week, I am stoked that mine finally turned up. Pretty much from the moment I opened the package I was glad I placed an order for this.

The first thing I saw when I opened the box was a card stiffener with the React! logo screened on top, which is a really cool idea and looks nice. I'll definitely be keeping this:

Next, a printed story / apology about the delays in getting these orders sent out. It's nice that these guys actually feel the need to apologise for holding onto people's money for months. It reads like they didn't intend for this to happen and are genuinely sorry. I generally hate the concept of pre-orders because I am convinced that some labels have in the past used pre-order money to finance records, taking cash six to nine months before the records were done, and not apologising to the people they suckered. So this sentiment is appreciated.

The cover of the record itself rules. I like what React! Records are about. It's about no-nonsense straight edge hardcore, using typical sxe style aesthetics and designs, so that you can look at the records and pretty much know what you're going to get before you drop the needle. This 12" reminds me of something that would have come out on Wishingwell in 1988:

The record also has a big Wishingwell / Revelation style fold out lyric sheet, as well as a couple of stickers, and a sheet from React! records on the merits of praising and being nice to people.

As for the vinyl... well, there are three colours made, and (like any self-respecting idiot with more money than sense) I bought all of them:

There were 200 on blue, 300 on white, & 500 on black. All with labels that look exactly like the first Ressurection 7"... haha!

So what does it sound like? Well, firstly... as if that fucking matters! This record looks so good that what it sounds like is irrelevant. Except for the fact that it sounds pretty much as you would expect it to... which is a fucking good straight edge hardcore record! The cool thing about this band is the overwhelming positivity they seem to have. This harks back to a time when straight edge was all about being positive and trying to change things for the better. The lyrics have that theme running throughout, and it's nice to see this kind of attitude being pushed rather than the negativity that a lot of bands seem to advertise these days with their "life is shit" approach.

Overall, Right Idea and React! Records are trying to make straight edge something to be proud of again, and I can get behind that 100%.

To order this, go here (and hurry up because it's on the verge of selling out... like you probably did about 4 years ago, haha!):


Saturday 18 October 2008

Seaweed Spanaway LP

I've been listening to Seaweed for 16 years now. I remember buying the "Weak" LP and being excited before I even dropped the needle. I just bought it because the cover looked good. I wasn't let down. Seaweed have never let me down. Such a good band. One of my favourites. I've been listening to them again recently because the band Sinking Ships did a Seaweed cover on a 7" not so long ago. Anyway, I just picked up the "Spanaway" LP on green vinyl:

I got this LP on black vinyl when it came out back in about 1995. It's on Hollywood Records, which is some major label subsidiary. They signed Seaweed and Into Another at about the same time. I guess this was supposed to be the record that broke Seaweed and pushed them to the next level. Oh well. This is 13 years ago, and until only about 4 months ago I had no idea that this album even existed on anything other than black vinyl. I read some throwaway comment somewhere on the internet about the Spanaway record on green vinyl. I couldn't believe it. So I added it to my want list and then, a couple of weeks back, it popped up on eBay, at which point I knew it was mine no matter what it cost. In the end it only cost $39, which I thought wasn't bad. But in a bizarre & ironic twist, the green vinyl turns out to be some licensed UK pressing, so it must have been pretty common over here when it came out. Typical.

Tuesday 14 October 2008

Dinosaur Jr

One of the first bands I got into was Dinosaur Jr. The sole reason was that they had a song on an old sk8 video (a Santa Cruz speed wheels video called "Speed Freaks"). The final section went to Mike Vallely, who skated to "Freak Scene" by Dinosaur Jr. At the time I didn't know who the band was. This was in the days when sk8 vids didn't tell you what music they featured. Or rather, they just listed the bands, without any reference to what band was featured in what section. So it was by chance that I found out the band was Dinosaur Jr. After that my friend bought the album and I taped it. Over the next three years they released another couple of albums and became one of my favourite bands. Then I discovered straight edge and started listening to Judge and Chain and for some reason decided that anything wasn't hardcore wasn't cool and somehow made my hardcore record collection look weak. So I sold all my Sub Pop records and similar stuff, including all of my Dinosaur Jr vinyl. What a prize tit.

About three years ago I started buying them all back again. And I've managed to pick up a few things that I never had before, including this copy of "You're Living All Over Me" on purple vinyl that arrived in today's mail:

My main Dinosaur Jr want now is the Sub Pop 7" on purple vinyl (NOT Pink). Anyone?

Ten Years Plus

Bane. I love this band and I love these guys. It all started on 7 October 2000. I went to see them play in some shithole town in the north of England called Bradford. They played on a bill with about 10 other bands, none of whom I can name today. As usual with shows at the 1in12 Club, things were poorly organised and the show overran by a couple of hours. Bane didn't come on until about 1am or something stupid, but which time a lot of people had left to catch trains home. Afterwards I got tricked into putting Bane up at my house, because the promoters didn't have any room at their houses because the other 20 bands had taken all the space. So I had to sleep 6 Americans and a German in my one bedroom flat, along with my friend Mark who was staying over. During the night there was an incident when Mark decided to wake up Tre and demand his cushions back, although Tre has no memory of this today. All Tre remembers is my talk about breakdancing lessons. Anyway, the point is that from that day on I stayed in touch with the dudes in the band and I count them as friends. And the fact that they're my friends means that I have a stronger desire to collect their records than I do for most other bands.

Having said that, however, they released a 7" two years ago that I only just got around to picking up. I have no excuse for this slackness... well, except that the 7" was never actually available for public sale. It was sold at the 10 year anniversary show in December 2006, which (obviously) I didn't go to. Except, in a way, it wasn't sold at the show at all, because the 7" wasn't ready in time for the show, so instead kids got given a CD and then had to later use a redemption code to order the 7" from Equal Vision direct. Something like that.

First up I need to talk about the songs themselves. As strange as it sounds, I actually ended up listening to this record. It makes a nice change to play one for a change. The first song sounds like something from the first album. I don't even know what the crack is with this song, when it was written and recorded. Man, I feel like an amateur here. The second song, a Bjork cover, is one of the best songs I have ever heard in my life. I have listened to this song about fifteen times in a row tonight. How the fuck did I never hear this before? Shit me.

This, unfortunately, brings me onto one of the flaws of this record - the sound quality of the vinyl, which is not good. There is a lot of hiss and crackle on this record, which I'm surprised about. I have to wonder if EVR decided not to bother with a test press. I can't imagine why else the quality would be lacking. Strange.

Generally though, this 7" is well packaged, although it suffers from the obvious flaw of being pressed on euro vinyl and has 'Pirates Press' stamped into the matrix, which irritates me. But the cool thing is that, whilst I got both colours of this record, I could blag that I have four, since each 7" is a different colour on each side, as shown here:

The inside of the sleeve:

And a special thank you note:

However, even though I am happy to finally have this 7" in my collection, I'm still bummed. Why? Well, for a start, the sleeves are supposed to be numbered, although mine aren't, as you can see:

This means that, me being an idiot, I will not be happy until I have also tracked down a numbered version. But then I'm probably only going to be happy if I get a numbered version of each colour. But also, the inside sleeve makes mention of a CD, which I don't have. So I need that too, to feel like I have the complete package. I guess I'm never happy.

Finally... I would just like to send a big thank you to Pete for sorting me out with this.


On a separate (but related) note, does anyone have any Bane test pressings? I only have a test press of the split 7" with Adamantium. I need tests of all the other records. If anyone can help, please get in touch!

Monday 13 October 2008

Just Another Manic Monday

The post office intrigues me sometimes. Like if someone posts two parcels on the same day and one arrives on Friday and the other arrives on Monday. How exactly does that happen? Anyway, here's what the postman brought me today...

Another DTN 7" on Rev. I have four of these now. The irony is that I'd rather not have any. This is the worst piece of vinyl that Rev have ever released. Crappy cover art and crappy cheap vinyl. Horrible. Also another First Step 7" on crazy vinyl that looks like it was pressed in Europe, but was actually pressed somewhere good.

Go It Alone 7" on red and Iron Boots on green:

Justice 7" with Ninja Fest 2004 cover. I never went to a Ninja Fest in my life.

"Good number to have mate - lucky number seven":

Another Triple Threat 7" and Youth Attack 7". These pictures are all supposed to be in alphabetical order, but clearly I fucked up here, damnit:

Now, let's see what Tuesday brings...

Saturday 11 October 2008

Catching Up

I got some stuff towards the end of this week, but for once was too busy having a life to take photographs. This entry is the sum total of three parcels. I guess the theme here is mainly (although not exclusively) 2000-2004 variants. Most of these are things I already have in one form or another, but I need extra versions in case the hardcore police come round to do a site inspection.

First up, the third Atari 7" on gold and the Efforts Made 7" on baby blue:

Get The Most 7" on green, and Half Off 7" on gold:

Yet more Have Heart 7"s, including the horrible 5th press on orange splatter vinyl, which results because the label decided that they were sick of records that looked good and wanted to use a shit pressing plant instead:

Two One Up 7"s:

This version of the Demo 7" has a screen printed inside sleeve, which looks nice:

Two 7"s from My War records (both of which I already have, so these are spares if anyone is interested):

Right Brigade 7" and Youth Attack 7":

The interesting thing about the Right Brigade 7" is that this this record is red. The second press of this record (of which this record is undoubtedly part) is supposed to be pink, but mine is undoubtedly red, although it does have a white swirl (at the top of this pic), suggesting it is probably one of the early ones off the press before they added the white to mix the colour. I'd now like a pink one so I could photograph the two side by side to prove I'm not colourblind.

Next, the Soul Control 7", with limited Sound & Fury sleeve:

Sk8 Or Die compilation 7" on pink:

I like how the person who put this out somehow decided that they needed to number all three elements - the sleeve, the insert and the record itself. Seems like a lot of effort:

76% Uncertain "Estimated Monkey Time" LP. I had this already, but my record had a huge scratch across it, and this is a trade so that I now have one in good condition:

Inspired by Lins 87's post few weeks back, I picked up a couple of versions of the Damage Control LP. The first press on clear:

And the 2004 Euro Tour press. I would have bought this myself on the tour if I had gone. Actually, no, what I mean is that I did buy it when I went, but I traded it away and needed to replace it. How could I forget? I was down the front moshing and singing along all night. Just like when I saw Minor Threat and Black Flag in 1983 on my 8th birthday:

The 2nd In My Eyes LP with the record release cover:

I got one of these when it came out from Anthony Pappalardo, but the one he sent me has an alternate back cover numbered out of 10. So I decided that I needed the version that everyone else has with the regular back cover:

And finally, the 12" version of the Justice 7" that Lockin' Out released, on a nice green vinyl from the days before they got their stuff pressed at the shit pressing plant:

Ok, I'm done. I'm up to date again. Cool.

Tuesday 7 October 2008

Cider 12"

It's late, I'm tired and I can't be arsed to write anything. Here's a Cider 12":