Sunday, 28 February 2010

Happy Birthday To Me

28 February. I started this blog two years ago today.

Two years (and 258 posts) ain't bad going considering I only started it one evening because I was bored and I wanted to see how easy it would be to do a blog.

Anyway, it seems fitting to celebrate the second birthday by posting up another variation of the first record I ever featured on here - the Rain On The Parade 'Full Speed Ahead' 7". This particular variant is one of the third/final press, of which there were four versions. This one is light yellow vinyl and comes in a green sleeve:

Interestingly, even though I just acquired this 7", I previously owned this very same copy! I originally bought this on eBay in about 2004 from a UK seller. I remember it like it was yesterday. There was no photo on the auction, and the description said 'white vinyl'. Now, there is a white vinyl pressing of this record - the second press of this record was 100 on white, and 900 on red. So I thought I was buying the white one. When this light yellow one turned up in the mail, I was pissed off, but the thing hardly cost anything anyway so I couldn't be bothered to complain. Instead, I traded it to a friend. Then, five years later, I bought it back. Pretty funny huh?

There are way too many versions of this 7" out there. This one is my tenth and there are still three that I don't have! The third press comes in four different sleeve colours - red, yellow, green & blue. Something that not many people know is that this was done as a tribute to the first Minor Threat 7". I used to think that having four different sleeve colours was stupid, until I found out why they did it. Now I think it's really cool and (obviously) I want all four. I've only got one left to find - the yellow sleeve. If anyone can help, please get in touch.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Awesome Youngblood Order

Finally got my latest order from Youngblood Records a couple of weeks ago. Without doubt one of the best labels around, putting out consistently good records for over ten years now. I'd pre-ordered the latest couple of releases a few months ago, and then, just before they got sent out, I also arranged to buy a couple of other bits from Sean that my Youngblood collection was missing. This is one of the best packages I have received in a while. Even the box is cool:

First up is the new Lion Of Judah 7" entitled 'Numberology'. I love this band and it's great that they are still going. The green vinyl was the pre-order version. I'm not sure how many were made, but the packaging on this is great:

The best thing about this is the lyric sheet, which takes the form of mask, complete with eye holes that you can pop out if you want:

I also got the clear vinyl version with plain yellow labels, which was made for the 2009 Youngblood showcase. This does come with a regular sleeve the same as the one pictured above, but I left that out of the photo. This one is numbered out of 125:

I think there was also a tour press of this record, which looks like a test press, with blank labels and no sleeve. I'd really like one of those too. Can anyone help me out?

The other record from the original order was the second 7" by Fired Up, called 'Doomed To Repeat'. I really like their first 7", so was stoked on a new record. I got three copies of this one, but I don't know the pressing info.

The orange vinyl is the Youngblood 2009 showcase version, numbered out of 100:

Also, sometime in the not too distant past, I had also bid on the tour pressing of the first Fired Up 7" on eBay, and lost. But Sean gave me a second chance offer, which I took up.

I was stoked to get this, as it meant that I had completed my Fired Up 7" collection... or so I thought. I got the records out to take a photo, and then realised one was missing:

There's a yellow vinyl pressing with plain red labels. I was convinced I had it. I spent ages looking through my records trying to find it. But then I checked my collection list and it wasn't there. So I can only conclude that I never owned it. I guess things are getting bad if I don't even know what I have anymore. Oops.

Next out of the bag was the orange vinyl press of the last Mind Eraser 7":

This sold out in a matter of hours and I missed it. I also missed the clear vinyl version from the first pressing too. I have managed to get them now, but I've collected this one in a backwards manner, from second press to first. I guess that's what I get for missing the pre-order. But good to have the set:

Next up, one that's over a year late - the Youngblood 2008 showcase press of the Worn Thin LP:

I seriously love this LP. One of the most under-rated LPs of the past decade. Cool to get it on black vinyl, since the other two versions of this that I have are both on blue. Here's my collection so far:

And finally, a record that I have too many versions of already - the first Iron Age LP. This latest one is the YB 2009 showcase version on blue:

I now have too many plus one versions of this record. But at least it makes for a cool photo:

According to my collection spreadsheet, I now own 89 pieces of Youngblood vinyl.I think I now need to figure out exactly what I am missing and update my want list, because 89 doesn't seem like enough :o)

Thursday, 25 February 2010

In Control - The Nard Curse LP

If you look really close, you'll see that there's a record here:

Yes, it's 'The Nard Curse' LP by In Control. I got this LP with the Bane 7" on 6131 Records a while back. I just forgot all about it until now. Oops.

This 12" includes both the Nard Curse 7" and also the demo. So not new songs, just a new format.

There are only 100 on clear. I gotta say though, this would look nicer if the 6131 Records stamp worked properly.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Verbal Assault 'Learn' on Red

I don't even know how long I've owned a copy of 'Learn' by Verbal Assault. I think I may have bought it on about 1997/8, based on a vague memory of where I lived when I got it in the mail. But I'm not sure. Anyway, the point is that I owned it for many years and never known it existed on anything other than black vinyl, until some point in the last couple of years, when I saw one for sale on red vinyl. I didn't win that copy, but I added it to my want list, and recently I picked one up. Stoked.

Not sure if this is first press or a later press, but there are a couple of subtle differences between this one and the black one I have. First, the black copy has a more glossy sleeve. Second, on the sleeve of the red one, it says 'Jacket made in Canada' on the back of the sleeve, but not on the red one. All this tells me is that the two versions were pressed at different times. But how far apart, and which was first and which is rarest? If anyone knows, please get in touch. Thanks!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Get Real LP Test

Get Real. You may not have heard of them, or even heard them. But this band is one of my favourite hardcore bands of the past ten years. I love the 7" and, unlike a lot of people who love the 7", I also love the 12". Don't really understand why most people don't, it's not a radical departure from the 7" in my opinion. Anyway, I was stoked to get a test press on ebay from me old mucker Bob Shedd. I've watched about 5 of these sell on ebay in the last 3 years or so, and every time I have not quite bid enough. I figured Bob must be running out of them now, so wanted to get one before they were all safely in the collections of various fatties. I was pretty lucky too because this didn't go for that much in the end. I think it was about $52, which I was happy to pay for a test of one of my favourite LPs of the past decade. Diggin' the cover on this one:

Because this record is a one-sided 12", the blank side has been "used" on this version, which I like:

I now have three of these things. Not a complete collection since there is at least one more that I am aware of. But still, I figured I would take a photo since it would look cool.

This is also one of those bands that I know next to nothing about. If anyone can tell me something cool about them I would appreciate it, since I don't have time to do my own research right now...

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Floorpunch - 2010 Tour LP

So last night I went to see a band play that I never thought I would see play:

Floorpunch toured Europe years ago (not even sure when it would have been... '98,'99,'00... something like that) but, as was the norm back then, they didn't bother with the UK. To this day I'm not sure why that used to be the case. The story used to be that the crowds were so lame over here that bands didn't want to bother. Or that that low crowds meant low takings and bands/promoters couldn't make enough money to make it worth their time. Dunno if either of these is the real reason. I also have my own theory - that there weren't really any promoters that were interested in old fashioned sxe youth crew type bands so they weren't going to go out of their way to try to book those bands and attract them to the UK. Anyway, it matters not, the past is gone. It's 2010. And somehow, in 2010, Floorpunch are on tour in Europe and they're in the UK. Fuck.

Until last night, I hadn't been to a show in nearly 6 months. The last one didn't go so well for me, so I wasn't in a hurry to go to another. But last night I felt that old excitement that I haven't felt for a long time. Like I was going to see something special.

Before seeing the band though, I had something more important to do. I had to get a tour record. I'd seen on the Livewire board that they had a tour record with them, and I wanted one. And I knew that they would sell fast. So the mission was on to get one. Fortunately, it wasn't as tough as I thought it might be. I didn't have a ticket for the show, and when I arrived there was a queue to get in. However, the venue were using a different door to usual as the entrance, but nobody realised this. Everyone queued at the normal door. So when the door opened for the show, nobody noticed. So me and my friend just went straight in and beat the queue. As soon as I got inside I went straight to the merch table. The record was there, but was not priced. Within minutes a crowd had formed around the table. We had to wait like fifteen minutes for Joe Merch to price everything up, then they opened for business. I got served second. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "How much is the record?"
Dude: "Twenty"
Me: "How many am I allowed to buy?"
Dude: "ONE!"
Me: "OK, I'll take one please."

The record is a double LP of the Floorpunch discography that Six Feet Under Records is putting out sometime soon. No doubt there will be a few different versions when it is released properly, but right now this is the only version that exists - the European Tour Press.

Overall it was a good night. I shot the first three minutes of the show using the record function on my crappy camera. The visuals are ok but the sound isn't so good. Enjoy...

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Pressure Release 7"

What I know about Pressure Release, you could write on the back of a postage stamp. I bought their 'Prison Of My Own' 7" circa '93 when I was really starting to get into sxe and records. To be honest, the ONLY reason I bought it was because it was released by New Age Records, and at the time New Age had some damn good bands - Outspoken, Mouthpiece, Ressurection, Unbroken - it seemed that New Age was the label with the hottest bands at that time, and they were really plugged into what was going on. So I picked up everything they had put out previous, which was pretty much the Walk Proud 7", Powerhouse 7", Turning Point LP and the Pressure Release 7". And, to be honest, the Pressure Release 7" is probably my favourite of all of those.

This is one of those records where I can't really say why it is interesting. It just is. There are two things I like about this record. Firstly, it reminds me a lot of one of my favourite bands ever, BURN. Perhaps that is not coincidental, seeing as Alex Napeck played bass in both bands. Secondly, because it sounds absolutely nothing like the two songs they had on the 'X Marks The Spot' 7" compilation, which were pretty much just generic sxe youth crew songs. This 7" is darker, more interesting & unique sounding, and shows a lot of progression.

I was checking ebay recently and stumbled across a red vinyl copy of this 7" for sale. The cool thing was that the seller was very close to me, in London. It makes a nice change to buy things locally rather than have to pay for overseas shipping and wait ages, and this somehow made it more attractive.

I had a green vinyl copy of this from years ago, and I never knew which version came first, or which was rarest. So I got the two out to compare. Having not looked at the green one in years, I then realised the most obvious difference between the two, which is the labels:

I then did something I have not done for a long, long time. I checked out the New Age Records website. I was looking for a contact email so I could ask what the difference was between the two. I then discovered that the New Age website has had a bit of an overhaul sometime in the last couple of years and is a lot better then it used to be. It also now contains a New Age Records Pressing Info page (which is far from complete for some reason), but which told me that the green vinyl is first press (of 203 copies) and the red is second press (of 100). Good to finally know this.

If you never heard this band, then here's your chance. I uploaded the 7" songs for you to check out. I didn't figure anyone would mind. Here you go:


Monday, 8 February 2010

Integrity Tests To Die For

You may or may not know that I released a couple of records 2-3 years ago. The first was a 7" by a pretty much unknown UK band that i decided to put out after a conversation with my good friend, who just happened to be the singer. After I put the 7" out, I then had to decide whether I was going to try to keep the label going, and if so, what I was going to release. Like a lot of things, I had no plan, but when I sat and thought about it, I decided that one thing I wanted to do was try to put on to vinyl some records that, for one reason or another, never came out on vinyl. I made a shortlist of 5 albums I wanted to own on vinyl that only existed on CD, and started contacting the bands. I contacted the Boston, MA band 27 about putting their latest album, 'Holding On For Brighter Days' out on vinyl. They were into the idea & let me do it. A few months later, I had 500 LPs in my flat. The band was happy & I was happy. It worked out well. One down, five to go...

Next up, I contacted Dwid and asked about doing the same thing for the 2003 Integrity album, 'To Die For'. I explained that I had been a fan of the band since '92 and just really wanted to own the album on vinyl because my Integrity collection felt incomplete without it... and if that meant that I had to spend a couple of thousand quid to get it made, then so be it. Fortunately, he was receptive to the idea, and said he would be into it so long as the guys at Deathwish were too. So I emailed Tre at Deathwish, and he was into the idea too. I had the green light. I was stoked. I then had a couple of chats with Dwid about it on aol instant messenger, which even went so far as to work out how many copies would be pressed, what colours would be made, and how many copies I would send him. It seemed easy & I was stoked.

However, not long after this it all went wrong for me. Dwid was insistent that the artwork be the same as the CD version, which meant that I needed Jake Bannon's help (or, at least, blessing). So I emailed him. Unfortunately though, I got no response. Not that I know the guy, but he obviously has a lot of stuff going on, so I could understand. And then, after this, time just kinda passed by. I had another couple of half-assed attempts to get things moving, but they went nowhere. It seemed that putting energy into releasing a 5 year old album was something that nobody other than me seemed too bothered about. So I just kinda forgot about it, with the hope that one day the project would still see the light of day.

Well, here we are in 2010, and 'To Die For' has finally been put to vinyl... except not by me. Instead, A389 Records stepped up to the plate and got put this thing out. And what a great job they have done...

This record is a 10" (which is the only flaw, in my opinion, since I seriously HATE 10" records. That said though, 'Humanity Is The Devil' was a 10", so this will sit nicely alongside that in my box) and features completely different artwork to the CD:

I was disappointed when I first heard that the artwork was going to be different to that of the CD, but purely for selfish reasons. After all, the reason I didn't get to release it was because the artwork had to be the same as the CD. But I have to concede that, no matter how disappointed I was initially when I heard about this, the end result looks fantastic. I really like how the whole thing has a shroud of mystery and intrigue over it. For starters, there is no text anywhere on the sleeve except for on the spine. And secondly, the way that the back of the sleeve is just a mirror image of the front:

Now, I have to hold my hand up and admit that I had no clue who the chick on the cover is, so I had to ask. My friend Doug, on the other hand, knew all about it (I won't repeat it here, but if you are remotely interested then you should read his blog on the same record HERE). As a next level of mystery, the only insert is a picture of the same chick showing off her blasters with her friend:

Good boobs. Shame about the hair though. She looks better with the hood on if you ask me.

Anyway, before this record even arrived, I had spotted a test press on ebay, sold by Dwid himself. Since I was initially going to release this, I figured that I deserved to have a test press of this one in my collection, so decided to bid higher than I normally would. Plus, I had just sold my old ipod, and had a decent amount of money in my paypal account, so it wasn't like I would notice the cash hit. So I placed a sneaky bid. Unfortunately though, I didn't win. Yet it seemed that fortune was smiling upon me that day, because I soon received a second chance offer, which I gladly took... even though it meant having to house yet another goddamn ten inch record! The test showed up the day after the A389 package. It features different (yet similar) artwork to the regular record, which no doubt Doug will recognise & be able to tell us all about ;o)

There are apparently only 5 of these things out there. I got the middle finger:

To make it even more interesting, I also asked Dwid to personalise the dust sleeve. This is what he came up with:

Nice huh?

So that's that. Another Integrity record gratefully received. So that's that. Except, not quite. I guess Integrity records are like buses. Nothing for ages then three come along at once. Or rather, four...

When the pre-orders went up for 'To Die For', A389 also announced a bonus 7" that would go to the first 250 pre-orders. The result is a 7" called 'Grace Of The Unholy', which features two songs ('Darkness' and 'March Of The Damned') from the first Integrity album, although these versions of the songs on here pre-date the first album, and were originally released as a cassette. Someone out there will know more than me on this. But since I don't have the cassette, this is a welcome addition to my collection... although I am ever so slightly disappointed by the packaging on this one. I don't know why exactly. It just feels like it could have been a little more aesthetically interesting than it is:

My package also contained something that most other people's didn't. A test press of the Walpurgisnacht 7" that I won from Dom on ebay a couple of months ago. I love the artwork on this one:

I also love the overall tits & ass theme that's coming out of today's post.

Finally, a record that isn't by Integrity, but by a newish band on A389 called Seraphim. This one comes on an orangey-salmon colour vinyl, which definitely is not grey marble:

I like the artwork on this thing. I'm also into the band. The bio describes this band as sounding like a mix of Mastodon, Neurosis & Baroness. I'm not going to disagree with that, but when I listen, it reminds me very much of another band... only, I can't figure out who. But if you like the aforementioned bands, you'll find something interesting here.

Finally... I just realised that you can download most of the Integrity back catalog for free on the band's myspace page:

Integrity downloads

There's pretty much everything you could need here, save for a couple of dodgier releases that they conveniently forgot about. So no 'Closure', although you can get The Kids Of Widney High songs from the split 7". I see pretty girls everywhere I go... at the park... in my school... on the cover of Integrity records. Gimme a yeah. Yeah!