Sunday, 31 October 2010

New Age Records '77 Pressings' Explained

Just thought I'd knock together a quick post to explain why New Age Records seem to be cranking out these so-called "77 Pressings" of their latest batch of reissues, since I am sure that most of you won't know.

The story starts in 1995. Unbroken's final 7" was released, and the cover took a slightly humorous approach by showing a picture of the Sex Pistols & claiming this was "Unbroken Circa '77":

Then the back cover showed a picture of Unbroken with the caption "Unbroken Circa '95":

To this day I'm not entirely sure why they put a photo of the Sex Pistols on the front cover, but one effect that this had was to cause confusion over the title of the record. Some people refer to it as the 'Crushed On You' 7", others call it 'Absentee Debate / Crushed On You' whilst some seem to think that it is actually called 'Circa '77'. (Interestingly, the current New Age Records site refers to this 7" as 'Crushed On You')

Well, this 7" came on limited purple vinyl, or standard black vinyl. I don't know how many of each were made. But there was also a rarer version made which was mainly for friends and a few mailorder customers, which was a purple vinyl record with different labels (the same labels as featured on the first New Age release - the Walk Proud 7") and which came in a limited sleeve. There were 77 copies of this thing. Here are some photos:

As you can see, making 77 copies made sense because it was a reference to the front cover of the regular sleeve, with the reference to '77.

So now we find ourselves in 2010 and New Age have repressed three of their older releases on colour vinyl & continued the theme of a limited edition of 77 copies using the Walk Proud labels. Unlike the Unbroken record in 1995, the 77 reference doesn't really make sense in the same way, but at least you can now appreciate that it does make some kind of sense & its not some random number.

I hope you find this information useful.

Friday, 29 October 2010

More New Age Records represses

Earlier this year I ordered some stuff from New Age Records. Unlike back in the 90s, my package took ages to arrive. And when it did arrive the packaging was poor and the records weren't in the best shape (you can read the story HERE). Anyway, after this bad experience I hoped that I would never need to order from New Age again.

Fast forward a couple of months, I was surfing the nerd and saw an update on xStuck In The Pastx about a ridiculously limited (to 38 copies) Outspoken LP. I'm sure you can guess what happened next. I mean, if you're a fellow record nerd then you know how it works - sometimes, you don't even have time to THINK. You see a rare record and your brain sends these little "BUY BUY BUY!" messages straight to your fingers, and then your subconscious takes over and before you know it you have clicked on those "add to basket" and "checkout" buttons so fast that you only realise what has happened when an email receipt drops into your inbox and brings you back into the real world. Well, this was one of those times. Except, as usual, my brain also did its usual "no point buying just one record from the States, might as well buy a few to make the shipping costs worthwhile" trick. So I had a quick look around the store and bagged a few other items, racking up quite a bill in the process. And given that I ordered in late August, I calculated that I would be lucky to see my records this side of Xmas. Surprisingly though, the records came in less than two months. Quite a result I'm sure you will agree...

Let's start with some Strife 7"s. I have the original pressing of this 7" with the blue cover and on blue vinyl. But still I couldn't resist picking up this repress because... well, you know, because that's what I'm like. Plus, they're only like $5 each. The first one is on "grey with yellow" vinyl, of 350 copies. Or, as I like to call it, "brown":

Next is another interesting colour. My receipt says that this is on "red/white" vinyl. Or, as most humans would call it, "pink". This is more limited, being out of 175 copies:

And finally, another "red/white" vinyl 7", although this time with a limited (i.e. cheap, crap) sleeve, and with the Walk Proud labels. This is the most limited. The Walk Proud labels denote that this is the "77 Pressing":

Next we move onto Outspoken records. The first item out of the bag is a recent repress of the first 7" 'Survival'. This never came on colour wax when it was released way back in 1962, and even though I got the special 77 pressing earlier this year, I like this 7" enough to pick up a second (different) colour copy. This one is 'burnt orange' and is out of 297 copies.

Next up, the one I was most excited about - The Outspoken 'A Light In The Dark' LP. This was one of the first hardcore records I bought. I bought it because I loved the 'Survival' 7" so much, but this LP always sounded disappointing in comparison. To add to the disappointment, they also never made any colour vinyl copies of it, only black. Or at least, that was the case until 2010, when they seem to have gone crazy and made 4 different colour vinyl versions of the thing! And, to make it SOUND better as well as look cool, this re-pressing has been remastered, and sounds WAY better than the original. I just wonder how many people have, like me, been around long enough to get excited about and appreciate this thing finally seeing the light of day on colour vinyl. I can't imagine too many to be honest. Anyway, the most common colour is orange vinyl, of which there are 275 copies:

One thing that's really cool here is that the B-side label is plain and hand stamped. I like this because it makes it clear that this is a new and different pressing to the original.

The second version is clear vinyl with black streaks. There are 193 of these.

And again, it has the plain, hand stamped B-side label. And another nice little touch is that the orange vinyl had an orange label whereas this one has a green label to match the green (even though it's clear) vinyl.

The third version is the 77 pressing. This one is the same clear vinyl with black streaks, but this one has the (now over-used) Walk Proud labels. As the name suggests, there are 77 copies of this thing.

And just to prove that this is clear vinyl rather than green like it looks in most of these photos:

So that now only leaves the fourth version, which is the whole point of me placing this order in the first place. Yup, the only photo I have not yet taken is of the ridiculously limited yellow vinyl version of 38 copies. The problem is though that as much as I'd love to show you a picture of one of these things, I can't. Why not? Well, because right after I clicked on the 'check out' button in the New Age store, I got a message saying that the yellow vinyl had sold out! Can you believe it? The record that made me place the order in the first place wasn't actually available. Kinda made me wonder whether it really exists or whether it was made up just to trick people like me into placing another order with New Age...

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Our Gang 'Uprising' LP

Ok, so I don't know much about this band at all, but after reading an interview with Our Gang a while ago on Double Cross, something just made me want this record.

Our Gang were a New York hardcore band that was around in the late 80s and played in the glory days of New York hardcore scene. They tick all the boxes - they played at CBGB's and The Anthrax, recording with Don Fury, and were (supposed to be) on the New Breed comp, but didn't submit their song because they didn't think it was good enough. But despite all of this, they never had a record out. Well, until someone recently (twenty odd years later) decided to press their recorded output onto vinyl. I ordered direct from the label so I could get the blue vinyl (not sure how many were made).

One thing I really liked about this record was the mp3 download card. It's just a regular card with a code on one side, but the other side is made to look like a cassette. Looks really cool and is a nice touch:

If you want one of these things then you can find the details here - Jack Roy Records

Or to read the interview as featured on Double Cross, go here:

Our Gang Interview Part 1

Our Gang Interview Part 2

Monday, 25 October 2010

The Redest & Greyest Curses

As anyone who buys records from overseas knows, international shipping costs can be kinda high. So sometimes it seems that the best way to make the order more worthwhile is to buy more stuff than you want. This way, you spend more than you planned on records and the shipping costs are higher too, but the average shipping cost per record will probably be slightly lower, giving you a small sense of victory. Of course, this is a total false economy and anyone who does this is a complete moron, but that's just the way it is sometimes.

So when I agreed a deal on the ROTP 7" (see the post below this one) I figured 'why spend $6 on shipping when I could spend $26?', and thus looked around for more records that I will never play to add some weight (and cost) to the package. Fortunately for me, Mr Private Sale happened to have a couple of Integrity LPs knocking about that I didn't have, so I happily threw more money at him and the United States Post Office.

Red vinyl, first press, 300 copies made (aka the rarest colour):

Grey vinyl, second press, 1000 copies made:

And hey presto, I'm finally up to date:

It does strike me that someone has missed a trick by not pressing a black copy of this. I mean, surely with a name like 'The Blackest Curse' the most obvious colour is black. But no. Still, we can but hope someone will fix this obvious oversight soon and give me an excuse to fritter away more money that I should be spending on a heater and kitchen flooring.

(By the way, I got these LPs with the Rain on The Parade 7", but decided to split it into two posts simply because it didn't feel right putting Integrity and Rain On The Parade together. It's definitely not that I'm trying to get my October post count up or anything)

Rain On The Parade 7" Redcheeks Edition

This is one of the more difficult 7"s to find for anyone who is, like me, still collecting Rain On The Parade records - the Robbie Redcheeks edition of the first 7". I got this through a private sale and, after I had made the offer and had it accepted, it dawned on me that I had never even seen this thing, so I asked for photos. I mean, I didn't want to pay for some rubbish variation, I wanted to make sure that it was different enough to warrant paying for. As it turns out, yes, it is - it has a full colour sleeve.

There are only 25 copies of this thing, numbered on the paper dust sleeve. My copy also has a hand written message which says "Wanna buy a dialler? 50 bucks!!" and there's a picture of some phone tone dialler glued on which has been cut out of a magazine or catalog. I don't know if all copies have the same message on the dust sleeve or whether each one is unique, but presumably this is some kind of in joke that I can't even begin to understand. If someone could explain this it would be appreciated.

This also comes with a little zine called 'xForWhat?x' which I hadn't seen before. It describes itself as a 'bitter edge fanzine' and basically just has pages of rants next to lyrics from songs by some 90s bands. It was put together by ROTP bass player Matt Smith. I'm guessing he was pretty young when he did this. It's not a particularly good read.

I still need a few more ROTP records to get near to a complete collection. A test of the first 7" would be nice, plus I need a yellow sleeve final pressing of the 2nd 7" and a test of the third 7". And a test of the LP. I know, I know... never gonna happen. But then again, stranger things have happened it the past...

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Godflesh 1st 12"

Some bands seem seasonal to me, and when this time of year comes and the temperature drops and the nights start drawing in, I like music that's every bit as bleak. About 4 or 5 years ago, at about this time of year, I discovered Jesu, and a couple of years back I started to investigate Godflesh, although the fact that they seem to have about 400 records available meant that I didn't really want to get drawn into collecting them. But almost inevitably I started picking them up one by one. Fortunately though, for whatever reason, Godflesh records are surprisingly cheap these days, which makes things a little easier (on the wallet at least).

I was perusing eBay recently and found a copy of the first 12" on clear vinyl. The listing said that it was the original first pressing from 1988, but not knowing much about the band or their records I had to do some internet research to validate this claim. It turned out that the auction proved to be telling the truth. This thing has been reissued about three times, but the auction was for the original version from 1988. It was released by a label which was started/owned by an independent record shop in Birmingham, and it seems that someone recently unearthed (as they so often seem to do with records) a box of these things, so they were up on eBay for sale, and at a price less than it costs to buy new records these days. A good deal that I couldn't refuse.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Unbroken in London

Last Saturday night (16 October 2010) I went to a show in London with a some friends. I guess you could say that it was a show that, in theory, I had been waiting to go to for a LONG time. It must be circa 17 years since I first heard Unbroken, and 15 years since I first spoke to bass player Rob Moran (when he used to work at Revelation Records, and I would phone up and order records using my Dad's credit card!), and finally after all this time I was going to see the band play live. Cool. And even better, there were some other good bands playing too:

When I walked in I made straight for the merch tables. I knew that Unbroken had a record for sale and obviously I wanted one. However, after surveying the scene for a couple of minutes, I decided not to bother. I have never seen such a huge gathering of people at a merch stand ever. It was about ten people wide by 6 deep. And the worst part was that only two dudes were actually working the merch stand. I did a quick calculation and figured I would be waiting until the end of time itself, so I went and chilled in the bar for a bit first. A while later I decided to brave the merch area again. Upon arrival, I found my friend Mark, who had already sneakily bought some shit. In the mayhem it seemed that nobody had realised that Disembodied had a merch stall and that they also had a record for sale, which came in a limited sleeve numbered out of 50 copies. Now, I'm not exactly a big Disembodied fan, but I figured this record would still make a nice momento of the show, so I snatched one up:

The funny thing is that when I got home it took me ages to even understand what record I had bought. Turns out it is a collection of some older recordings that have been remastered. The record is called 'Psalms Of Sheol' and it was released last year. What you may not know is that the limited sleeve above is a parody of the New Order 'Movement' LP, which looks like this:

Once I had the Disembodied record in the bag (or rather, in Mark's bag) I knew I would have to deal with the queue for the Unbroken records. Couldn't risk not getting one. So I waited it out. Wasn't as bad as I expected though, as I only had to wait for about 10 minutes. But it was worth it in the end because not only did I get a record, but I got served by Jesus, who now appears to be playing bass in Ceremony and who performed the miracle of selling 300 Unbroken triple LPs in one evening. Praise be!

When I initially heard that this triple LP discography had been repressed I was a bit disappointed. I mean, I was lucky enough to get one last year even though they sold out in one night, and I didn't want to buy a second copy of a triple LP (which was itself a reissue of a bunch of records I already own from when they were pressed in the 90s). But like an idiot, I ended up buying one anyway. Still, they made it cool by making it different to the version made that came out last year.

Note - one of these is mine, the other two were bought for friends who couldn't be in London - they have already been dispatched to their rightful owners. I guess I'm a good friend sometimes eh? The only slight disappointment with this record is the vinyl colour itself - some raspberry ripple style white splatter effect thing. You know how much I hate that euro vinyl already, but it could have been acceptable if it had been on plain colours rather than the splatter. Oh well.

I took the trouble to photograph this version next to last year's US version so that you could see the difference... although the colour of the US version didn't come out too well in these. But at least it shows the two side by side so makes the differences clear:

I guess they were trying to make this version look more like a traditional hardcore LP, whereas the previous one looks like some Joy Division record or something. The results are pretty impressive. Don't think I would go as far as to buy a third version (Indecision Records are selling a clear vinyl copy in their webstore right now).

Oh yeah, I also took the time to get my record personalised by Rob. I figured this would make it an even more special souvenir of the show:

The only other thing to say about this is that IT IS NOT A BOX SET!!! Seems that everyone in the world is referring to this as a box set. Is literally everyone stupid? I mean, the clue is in the name - BOX set. Do you see a box anywhere here? No. Quite clearly it's a triple LP set in a tri-fold sleeve. NOT a box set. OK?

After buying this stuff, I then had a great evening watching bands and chatting to people. I won't say too much about the show as this isn't a show review blog. But Rot In Hell were tighter than I have seen them before, which was good, and Ceremony were every bit as good as I oped they would be. The singer reminded me of a young (and skinny) Henry Rollins, and if I weren't so old i would have been down the front jumping on people when they played, rather than stood on the balcony like some old fart. Still, the balcony had its advantages - it gave a good vantage point for filming. I filmed a couple of the Unbroken songs - their first song ('And') and also their penultimate song ('In The Name Of Progression') on my iphone, and they came out pretty well. The second video is the better one to be honest, since the energy present in the room comes across so much better - near the end you can hear the whole crowd singing along, which sounds really powerful. Check 'em out: