Monday, 29 March 2010

Free To Think, Free To Buy

I don't even want to talk about how many copies of this thing I now have...

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Bane Of Strength

Until a few weeks ago, I had forgotten that this record even existed, despite owning it for about 12 years. I remembered of its existence when I saw Fred Hammer advertising one for sale on the Livewire board recently. Given that this comp contains a rare Bane song, I figured I needed to add this to my hoard, in line with my objective to collect every Bane test press... an objective at which I am failing miserably.

Anyway, this is a compilation LP called 'All Systems Go!', which was released circa 1998 as a split release by two labels - Underestimated Records and Open Handed Records. The LP features a bunch of late 90s bands covering hardcore "classics" from the 80s. Being old and having seen a few projects of this nature over the years, it seems to me that these things pretty much follow a set pattern - i.e. a comp of cover songs always seems like a fun idea at the time, but a year or so later everyone realises that it's seems completely pointless because, let's face it, anyone wanting to listen to Minor Threat or Dag Nasty should really do just that, rather than listen to some other band play covers. However, like I said, this has Bane on it, so I kinda felt the need to own this test press:

Here's a shot of the test press next to my regular copy:

Bane's contribution to this comp is a Chain Of Strength cover. The comp comes with a booklet, and this pic shows the Bane page:

The funny thing is that I have known the guys in this band for nearly ten years, and I have never asked about this song. I've never heard them play it live, and I am not sure that they ever played it live. Anyone know?

For anyone who hasn't heard the Bane song then I took the time to rip it from vinyl today. Unlike most people's vinyl rips, this is pretty good quality. Feel free to check it out:

Bane - Chain Of Strength cover

Hopefully dudes won't mind me posting this.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Little Green Fucker

I can't believe I got sucked into this crap. The Gorilla Biscuits toy (made by Super 7) seemed cool at first. They made up a toy of the gorilla from the cover of the GB 7" for the Australia & Japan tour of 2008. As soon as I saw a picture of one, I wanted it. I emailed a friend in Australia, and it turned out he was going to the show and had no problem in buying one of these things for me. Cool. Then, a few months later, the sneaky buggers made a "second press" yellow gorilla (just like the second press record), and I couldn't resist picking that one up too. And then, wouldn't you know it, they then went and made a third version, on green. By this point, I had reached a weird place. I mean, I wanted the thing, but all of a sudden I was starting to resent paying for something that I saw as useless plastic junk. I mean, these things were not cheap. I began to worry about my own sense of control. I started to wonder how many they could make before I would call it a day and not buy them. But like a fool, I still went ahead and paid for the third version, because I couldn't quite resist, even though I wanted to.

What happened next seriously pissed me off. The thing got delivered... but instead of getting a box with a toy inside, all I got was a note from the post office telling me that the package was waiting to be collected at the depot... but in order to collect it, I would first need to pay the import tax and clearance fee. Yup - after already paying some stupid amount like $65 for this thing, and then being forced to shell out another $30 or so for priority mail shipping (which was the only option, even though I didn't really want to pay for a priority service), I was then going to have to pay out more of my hard earned cash for the postman to be able to hand it over. I was gutted. I didn't want to pay. I started to resent myself for buying the thing in the first place. But then I realised I was in a no win situation - if I paid, then that would be $30 gone. But if I didn't pay, the thing would be sent back to the States, and then I would have to pay another $30 to have it sent back over again. The third and final option would be to have it sent back and then ask for a refund, but then they would only give me a refund on the cost of the item, not the postage. So whichever of the 3 options I went for was going to cost me $30... which seemed unfair. There seemed no way round paying out yet more than I had already paid, which I wasn't entirely happy about paying in the first place. Ugh! Not good!

Well, fate then intervened. That same evening, I fell over and dislocated my elbow, and then didn't go back to work (where my mail is delivered) for a month. After seriously injuring myself, I didn't give a second thought to the stupid toy until a month later, when I returned to work. But by this time, because nobody had been to collect it, the package had been returned to the sender. By this point I didn't actually give a shit. There seemed more important things in life to worry about. So I then ignored the issue for a couple of months, simply because every time I thought about the thing I got annoyed. Finally i decided that this was something that I should resolve, since I had already forked out $90, so I emailed Super 7 and asked about having the thing sent back over. They agreed to send it again (which I would have to pay for) but they agreed to not declare the value so that hopefully I would not get hit for the import tax again. I didn't reply straight back, because I wasn't in a hurry to spend another $30, so I just kinda thought about it for a bit, and mulled over just asking for a refund. SO then another two months or so went by. Again, I was not in a hurry and didn't really care too much about it. But I reached the point where I figured that the time had come to finally sort it out. I was so fed up of thinking about the money that these pieces of junk had cost me that I had pretty much decided that I was going to get the third one & then just sell all three on eBay. It was more about taking a stand and deciding not to get sucked in anymore. I realised that, in total, I would have spent something like $250 on these three toys, and I hated both the toys and myself for this. I felt like a sucker, I wanted my money back, and I never wanted to buy any toys again. So I emailed Super 7 and said I would pay the shipping to have the thing sent, so could they tell me what to do.

A few weeks passed & I got no reply. So I emailed again. And I got no reply to this email either. And every couple of days I would remember the whole saga and get further annoyed by it and wish that I hadn't bought the damn thing in the first place. And then I got so sick of waiting that I just decided to phone the place up. So I called up and spoke to a nice dude called Josh who confirmed that my box was still there. And then something good happened for once - he offered to send it out at no charge, to make up for the fact that they had ignored my last couple of emails. And that's exactly what they did. And a week or so later, it turned up. And, wouldn't you know it, as soon as it arrived I thought it was the best thing ever. Way better than the previous two, because it comes in a little wooden box, in homage to the GI Joe figures that Rev used to trade records for back in the day.

So there you go - without doubt the best piece of useless plastic junk I ever bought :o)

Monday, 22 March 2010

Flex Your Redhead

Seems like I only bought a colour vinyl reissue of the 'Flex Your Head' comp LP a couple of weeks ago (although it was a year and a half - see HERE), and now here comes another one! To be fair though, the last one was shite. It featured the 'dude with hat' (aka the worst) cover, printed on tissue thin card, and came on crappy euro vinyl. This new version, however, is really nice - it comes on red US vinyl, is re-mastered, and comes in a new red version of the super cool xxx sleeve. In short, this is one reissue that I can totally approve of.

Mine also came with some huge-ass poster, which has a little hand written note attached to it, as shown here:

Not sure what "you win" means exactly. I mean, its not as if receiving this thing is going to make me into one of life's winners. But still, it's a nice little touch, and even though I'm pretty sure this thing isn't an original, I kinda like it:

I don't think that this record is too limited, but I picked up a spare copy in case someone else wants one without having to order direct. If you're interested, get in touch.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Grace Of The Unholy Test

So a few weeks ago I got the Integrity 'Grace Of The Unholy' 7". It was a special limited affair that came as a freebie when ordering the 'To Die For' 10" from A389 Records. When it arrived, I was a little disappointed by the packaging. It just seemed a little, er, ordinary. So I went after a limited version... of which there is only one. So here it is. The test press. Apparently there are 10 of these things. I got lucky number seven.

I've somehow managed to acquire 3 Integrity test presses now. Ironically, the one I want most is one that I used to own. I had a test of the 'And For Those Who Still Fear Tomorrow' LP in about 1997. I got it from Dwid but stupidly traded it away a couple of years later. I can't even recall what I traded it for. What a dipshit.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Descendents 'Milo Goes To College'

I've been on a Descendents trip for the past three months. Ignoring a band for like 18 years is pretty stupid, and it can obviously be expensive to have to go back & try to find everything, but at the same time, it's kinda fun finding out about records I knew nothing about before. I knew that some of their earlier records came out on a record label called New Alliance Records, but I didn't know which ones exactly. So I've been doing research. And around the same time that Chuck Dukowski sold a load of coloured SST LPs for an average of $150 each, I picked up this almost mint condition copy, first pressing of their first LP, 'Milo Goes To College' for about $50. Given that this thing came out in 1982, I am very happy to have found one in such great shape.

I just love how basic the layout is on here, and how the label name and address looks like it was knocked out on a typewriter:

I also love how the same typewriter was used to make the labels, and how basic, cheap and crap it looks:

As much as this looks basic & crap by today's standards (and probably also by 1982 standards too, to be honest), you gotta love stuff like this. It just screams DIY. This was later reissued by SST records. I've never seen that version, but I'm curious as to whether they changed the labels. Anyone know?

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Bonds Of Friendship

There's been a distinct lack of blog updates recently. I can now reveal that this is because I haven't received any records in the mail for the best part of two weeks. However, in the last couple of days five parcels have rolled up, so March is finally going to see some action...

A few weeks ago I woke up to find the best email of all time sitting in my inbox from a friend. This is what it said:

I topped myself at anything I have ever done before. I have just spent $4k on 2 records.
Guess which ones?
When I clicked that SEND button on a paypal page I actually almost fainted.
Now, to avoid an inevitable divorce (I put that on my wife's credit card without asking first) I have to get this money back before the statement comes (IF the bank doesn't call her first)
Either way I am fucked. But I did it.
Not feeling good about this but I guess that feeling will pass soon and I will just be left with 2 records and $4k debt to pay off in 2 weeks or so...
Fuck record collecting. It's almost like gambling, soon I will stake my house...

Being a concerned friend, I offered to help in the only way I knew how - by buying some of his records! A few emails flowed back & forth, and in the end most of the things I wanted, he didn't want to sell for prices I thought fair. There were a couple he agreed to let go though. So we agreed a price and, as usual, I delayed on paying for a while seeing as paying would mean parting with some money, which I am generally not a fan of. Fortunately though, in the meantime I went to see Floorpunch play, and picked up a spare tour LP, and this got worked into the deal, meaning the amount of money I had to part with was less than agreed. So finally the deal was done, money and records were sent, and everyone's happiness levels increased.

This record is one that I really, really should have picked up a long time ago. Insted 'Bonds Of Friendship' LP on Wishingwell Records. After owning this record for about seventeen years, I finally upgraded to a colour vinyl copy. Wishingwell put out some damn fine records, and three of their releases are in my top ten most wanted records. Up to this point I have never owned any Wishingwell coloured vinyl. Most of it is way too expensive these days. Actually, scrap that - I do own one piece of Wishingwell colour vinyl - the 76% Uncertain LP. Probably one of the more obscure and less desirable releases.

I never really noticed before, but the labels on the red vinyl version are black & white:

Whereas the labels on the black vinyl version are a little more colourful:

This copy also includes an old Wishingwell catalog:

Overall I am stoked to get a colour pressing of such a classic sxe hardcore record.

The other record I got was the friends press of the Soul Control / I Rise split 7". This one looks cool and has hand drawn labels, which I think look really cool:

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Shook Ones LPs

In my last post I said that I had 197 pieces of Revelation vinyl. Doesn't take long for information to become out of date I guess. The number is now 199.

The latest additions are two versions of the same thing - one of the more recent releases. Well, I say recent, but it still seems that this record is now 2-3 years old. That's the entire duration of some people's hardcore career. Crazy how time passes these days...

So the record is the Shook Ones 'Facetious Folly Feat' LP. One of the stupidest album titles ever. I can't say I'm overly excited to have these records. In all honesty, I only bought them because they are on Revelation. But funnily enough, this seems one of the hardest Revelation releases to get at all. Most Rev releases had hundreds of copies available, and although the colours were limited, the black records were never hard to find. But this being one of the later releases, there is no black vinyl, only three different coloured versions. And because this band is still going, and seem to be pretty popular, getting any copy at all is pretty difficult. I tried to get just one copy of this loads of times before but they always sold for more than I was willing to pay. But recently I did ok and got two copies from the same dude. First, the most limited colour, the red & yellow starburst, which is limited to 204 copies:

Second, the yellow & brown split vinyl, which is out of 303 copies:

There's also a red vinyl of 500 copies, of which 100 come in a release show sleeve. Not sure if I'll ever get that to be honest. But then again, my (colour vinyl) Rev collection won't be complete without one, so knowing me I probably will.

This band is actually alright. They sound a lot like Lifetime. And just like Lifetime, the thought of this band seems to somehow be worse than the sound of the band. I mean, if I play this, I do find myself enjoying it. But when I think about listening to this, I think "urgh, no, rubbish". I guess that's the problem with these kind of bands - you don't really want to like them, but you just can't help it. I mean, I do have to admit that they make some damn catchy songs. I guess that's probably why they're so popular.

I'm now wondering what my 200th piece of Revelation vinyl will be. Part of me thinks that it should be something cool, but another part of me has a strange feeling that it probably won't be. We shall see...

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Sinking Ships 7"s

Back when I really started collecting records (as opposed to just buying them) in the early 90s, my main focus was on Revelation Records. The records they had put out to that point were all amazing, and as a young kid discovering sxe and hardcore, I quickly realised that Revelation was a label I could trust. Some of their releases over the next couple of years were quite a departure from their sxe hardcore past (Sensefield, Farside, Into Another) but I loved them all. It was obvious that Rev was just something special, and I turned my attention to collecting their records. Obviously this was before the internet got switched on, and it was a different world, but I did pretty well and picked up a lot of good stuff. And over the years, my Revelation collection is something that I have always tried to maintain & keep up to date, even though I haven't been overly fussed by a lot of the more recent releases. I always focused my collection on the limited pressings (i.e. colour vinyl), so I don't have any "regular" pressings (i.e. black vinyl), and I only have one test pressing, so my "collection" is far from complete. But still, I currently have 195 separate pieces of Revelation vinyl.

Actually, make that 197. I just picked up two versions of the Sinking Ships 7" that I didn't have before. Sinking Ships records were selling for big money a couple of years ago, but since they split up I have seen the prices finally start to come down to a level that I don't think is outrageous. I picked these up for $10 each. First, the white vinyl, which is the most limited colour, out of 225 copies:

Second, the Euro Tour press, which I suppose I could have picked up in person if I had wanted to go hang out in a room of 18 year old wheelchair moshers two and a half years ago:

The sleeve of this one is very DIY. I guess most bands/labels these days take the time to make a special sleeve for tours, but I actually prefer this approach. This is just a regular cover with 'Euro Tour 2007' written on the front in silver pen. There's also a bit of silver spray paint too which I'd never really seen before since it probably wouldn't show up easily on most photos:

Hand numbered on the back cover out of 65 copies:

To be completely honest, I was never a big fan of this band. I mainly bought this because ti was on Revelation. But having said that, this band does have a few good tunes. I'm really into the LP, and this 7" is also good, which is in part down to a Seaweed cover ('Losing Skin'). I'm now seeking the Sound & Fury version of this 7", which is pretty much the same deal as the Euro tour version, but on pink vinyl and numbered out of 50. It was selling for somewhere round $60-70 at it's peak, so I'm hoping I can get one for less than $20 now the dust has settled and fickle kids have moved on to collecting whatever band is cool this week instead.