Wednesday, 25 March 2009

A Is For Asshole

Just picked up a record that came out in 2003, which was in the dark period when I was losing touch with hardcore because I was busy doing exams. It seems I was studying so that, a couple of years later, I could get a better job and earn more money and buy records that I was too busy to buy when I was studying. Here we have the "A Is For Asshole" LP by the A-Team, on mint green vinyl. It also comes on camo vinyl, which I guess I would also like to pick up at some point. I spotted this on eBay a few weeks ago and decided I wanted it, then that night had some bizarre dream that I managed to find three super rare colour vinyl versions which were limited to one copy each. When you dream about records, you know you have a problem.

From the same dude I also bought a Cross My Heart 12" that I already have:

I bought it again because this one is numbered out of 50:

However, it is identical in every way to the other one I have that is not numbered. So I'm wondering whether the one I already had is one of the same 50, but the numbered insert got lost? The numbered one is more grey, whilst the unnumbered one has a little more of a brown tinge to it, but I can't believe for one second that these are two different colours:

If anyone knows anything about this, please let me know. Thanks!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Break It Up Test

There's an old saying / piece of advice that I have found can get you a long way in life - "If you don't ask, you don't get". What this really means, of course, is that if you want something badly, then you should be a cheeky bastard and ask for it, because sometimes you'll be lucky and end up with exactly what you wanted. I whole-heartedly subscribe to this theory. It's worked for me numerous times over the years. One time in about 1997 I wanted to see the band Will Haven play in my hometown, but they were supporting The Deftones & it was completely sold out. Undeterred, I went along to the venue, asked to speak to someone from Will Haven, and just told the dude I wanted to watch his band but the show was sold out. He put me on the guestlist. Another time I phoned up the owner of Revelation Records and asked if I could get a Chung King record, and a couple of months later we did a dodgy trade and I had one [NOTE - do not try this now, you will get nowhere]. And today, once more, the simple piece of advice yields great results, as I received a Break It Up test press in the mail:

As you can see, I got the "fucked up" test pressing:

I was interested to know exactly what was wrong with this record, so (for a change) I actually put a record on my turntable. The answer is that there is a constant, high-pitched ringing noise throughout the duration of side 2 of this record. I would therefore concur with the description of this being "fucked up". If you are interested in pressing info on this record, see Lins87's blog HERE.

The dust sleeve also came with a cool message from Lins87 himself:

THANKS DUDE! This is greatly appreciated!

For those of you who don't know, Break It Up were a UK band that existed circa 2003-2006. One of the best shows I saw them play was in some basement in Leeds. It just sticks in my mind. The night was horrible, and I just sat in some kid's room with a load of other old men watching tv, waiting for Break It Up to play. They played, I jumped on someone's head, the night seemed slightly improved. It's funny what you remember sometimes I guess. Anyway, for anyone who never heard Break It Up, check them out:

You can probably still pick up their album somewhere I'm sure if you wanted.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Clouds - We Are Above You

The second album by Clouds, "We Are Above You", came out a good couple of months ago. I wanted to order this when it came out, but the price put me right off. Hydrahead wanted $20 for the record (it's a double LP) and also $20 postage. With the current exchange rate that would have been circa £29 in real money, which to me seems utterly ridiculous. So I abandoned the order hoping that I would be able to pick it up cheaper at some later date. This weekend I was in London and found it in HMV on Oxford Street. It was £25. I was so stoked at finding something half-decent in HMV that I momentarily lost my mind and decided to just buy it. I was happy to pay less than it would have cost me to get it from Hydrahead, although £25 for a new album is still a total rip-off. Overall I think there's something severely wrong with the world when you can buy something in HMV cheaper than ordering direct from the label. To get to HMV it's been through a distributor, who have added a mark-up, and then HMV will have added their own mark-up. And still it's less than ordering from the States.

If you've never heard this band, they play some loud-ass rock music and feature they guy from Cave In who looks like the guy from Piebald.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Walpurgisnacht III

Another day, another 'Walpurgisnacht' 7". This one is white and has a holy terror stamp on the dust sleeve.

I have too many copies of this record now. Although, that said, there is at least one more version I need. Yes, you read that correctly. Need.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Can't Kill What's Inside

Got my latest order from Revelation, which I am pretty happy with. Although, I gotta say, I am distinctly unhappy with the amount of money I had to part with to get this stuff - the combination of the exchange rate and Parcel Force slapping a customs charge on me meant that I paid an average of about £16 per record for the contents of this parcel.

Anyway, first up, the whole basis for me placing the order - the Mouthpiece discography LP, which they named after the title of this blog post:

I love the aesthetics of this thing. I love the photo on the cover. You can read the story of the cover photo HERE. The vinyl also looks nice, with the black labels and gold ink contrasting with the "Chung King White" vinyl. I also like how, in keeping with the legendary straight edge hardcore records of the past, the insert is a double sized fold out affair:

I haven't listened to this yet, so I'm not sure how different the remixed & remastered songs are going to sound. But one thing that immediately puzzles me is how they could fit everything on one single LP. I mean, this stuff was originally released as an LP and two 7"s, plus this record includes 3 songs from compilations too. Crazy. Anyway, the buzz around this record has caused me to revisit Mouthpiece for the first time in ages. "Can We Win" is still an awesome song, as is "Cinder". I even started to like the songs from the LP which at the time I was really let down by. Overall I think these songs have aged pretty well, and it's good to see Mouthpiece getting brought to the attention of a new generation of kids.

The next record out of the box is the latest LP from Ceremony, "Still Nothing Moves You". I had never listened to this band before, but checked them out after Mike suggested I give them a listen a few weeks ago.

I must admit, I was kinda drawn to this LP by the artwork. I like the minimal packaging. Occasionally artwork can make me want to check a record out. This is one of those times, and I was not disappointed. This album, and band, is really good, and I feel like a fool for failing to check them out sooner. This green vinyl is a second press, but I'm not too fussed about that I guess.

The next record I added to my order was an LP called "Seasons" by a band called Wait In Vain. I'd heard a couple of songs by these dudes which I liked, but (again) it was partly the artwork that enticed me to buy the album. The cover is a photo of some big ass black storm clouds over a field. I love the contrast in this image. I guess the band do too, which is probably why they used it:

This LP is hand numbered out of 267 copies. It also comes with a cool insert. Rather than the usual single sheet insert, this comes with three postcards in an envelope. All three cards feature more storm photos. Really cool idea.

Next, a record I already own three copies of. The Iron Age LP that Youngblood put out. This is a recent repress on clear. I had to buy it to get one step closer to my goal of owning every colour of every Youngblood record. If you don't understand that comment then you're reading the wrong blog.

The final record in the parcel is a split 10", featuring Pelican and These Arms Are Snakes. Each band covers one of the other's songs. I love Pelican, but generally I hate 10" records, and this one immediately fails to impress with its crap artwork:

Finally, I was stoked to get a spare LP sleeve for the 2nd In My Eyes LP:

I asked for this in the "comments" section of my order. I wanted it to put my test press in. So cool that Revelation were kind enough to throw this in.

Sunday, 8 March 2009


I got my Mindset pre-order this week. I ordered it back on 27 November 2008. So more than 3 months to wait for this. But once again, React! Records makes the wait seem worth it.

First thing I see when I open the package is another cool piece of screen printed cardboard, with my three 7"s underneath:

Then I check the records out. I knew there were two colours for this one (200 on red, 300 on white) plus the usual black vinyl. So I check to make sure I got one of each, like I expected. Immediately, something looks wrong:

Yup, I'm missing the most limited colour, the red vinyl. I can only assume that I got my order in late. Knowing my luck, I was order number 201. So React! send me two white vinyl records instead. I feel disappointed. Anyway, after the initial disappointment, I check out the the records, and once again the packaging is top notch. Each record comes with a sticker, a download code (two thumbs up!), as well as the standard insert:

I also got sent a huge React! Records poster, which is kinda cool, although I will clearly never "use" this:

Once I'm done checking everything out, I notice something weird. One of the two white vinyl 7"s has a stamp on the dust sleeve, whilst the other does not. So I take the two records out & lay them side by side to investigate:

What suddenly becomes apparent is that I didn't get two white vinyl records after all. I got one of the regular white records, but I also got one super limited "transition press" version. When records are made, if the plates aren't cleaned between colours, you can get traces of one colour in the other colour. Which is what has happened here. I'm guessing the red were pressed first then the white. Consequently, some of the white records contain traces of red. The traces of red are very subtle and I couldn't get the difference to show up too well on my camera. The most obvious way to see the difference is to place them both in front of the light. This brings out the red in the "transition press" & makes it appear almost pink:

So, after the initial disappointment over not getting one of the red vinyl records, I was then left feeling really lucky, since the transition press variants with stamped dust sleeve are limited to 45 copies. So I lucked out yet again. The irony of this is that each record also comes with a short article about "appreciation", which talks about how we're never satisfied with what we have, but we always want what we don't have. This is so true. The moment I opened this package all I could think about was the red vinyl I didn't have. I guess that makes me the perfect example of the modern fool.

So what does this band sound like? I mean, that's the point, right? Well, if you used to like straight edge hardcore 20 years ago and then took an extended break, all I can say is... you didn't miss much. I mean, yes, things went a bit funny in the 90s for a while, but we're over that now & back on track. Mindset isn't anything particularly fresh, but they're certainly welcome, since there aren't too many bands around in 2009 doing the traditional straight edge hardcore thing. These guys also have great lyrics. "More than words, this is a revolution". Check 'em out:

Monday, 2 March 2009

Instant Burden Collection

It's funny, but when you start to get old time seems to whizz by and you lose track of how many years have passed. There are some bands that I always planned to get around to listening to at some stage, but never did. One of these was BURDEN. I distinctly remember Burden coming up in conversation with Bedard on the first Bane euro tour in 2000. At that time I had heard of Burden but never actually heard them. I also knew that they had a 7" and a few copies came on red vinyl, and I made a mental note to check them out and pick up the 7".

What happened next is that, somehow, nearly 9 years passed without me managing to pick up that record. Nine years! I suppose the band didn't blow up as big as some others, so the record never quite made it onto my "must hear asap" list. And time ticked on. And then recently, Jason Kolins (vocalist) was selling some records via internet message boards, and I figured it would be a good time to pick up that 7". I emailed Jason, and managed to also pick up everything else that Burden released in one go:

The first 7" on red is limited to only 50 copies, apparently. I also got the LP and the second 7", both of which were put out by a euro label, Dead Serious records. Jason was also kind enough to throw in a couple of CDs, which were very much appreciated.

Listening to these records, I'm kicking myself for overlooking this band for so long. This is great hardcore. Check out their myspace page, where you can still pick up a couple of these records if you so wish:

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Free To Think

One of the Bane records I never picked up was the first press of the 'Free To Think, Free To Be' 7". This is their second 7" from about 1997. Years ago, when I picked this record up for the first time, I obtained a numbered yellow vinyl pressing, which I was more than happy with. No need to chase a black copy. But a while ago I realised I needed the numbered black version else I would clearly just be some kind of moron. I finally got around to getting a copy:

I like how the label says "black". Just in case you weren't sure I guess. I have now decided that I also need a regular black press with the regular labels. I now have 7 copies of this record, and just realised that they all have plain white labels. So a "regular" copy with a proper printed label suddenly seems rarer, hence I need one. Ebay here I come...