Saturday 31 December 2011

So that was 2011?

So 2011 is over. Not the best of years in some respects. This was without doubt the busiest year of my life with regard to work, which ended up impacting on my personal life as I seemed to have far less time to do good stuff. I feel that I haven't listened to much new music this year. Or, in fact, much music at all. And the blog... well, I think it's fair to say it was a struggle to keep it going. I had a couple of months where I did pretty much nothing, and it constantly felt like a hassle that I was behind with and just didn't have time for. And then I volunteered to help out with Vinyl Noize, which I also didn't really have the time for but wanted to get involved with. On the positive side, however, I did find the time to release the Hope Defeated 7", but it took longer to sort out than I would have like as I struggled to fit it in around my work schedule (and I still haven't put the energy into promoting it that I would have liked). Let's just say that I need to work on my time management in 2012 else I am going to go insane.

Anyway, I decided not to do the end of year graphs and analysis that I have done the past couple of years. I was always so far behind with this blog that any kind of monthly analysis would be skewed. There were quite a few things I didn't blog about until 3 months after I got them. So instead, I'm just rolling with the obligatory 'Best of' list that everyone else is doing... although given the lack of new music I picked up, this wasn't easy. I mean, I wasn't exactly spoilt for choice!

(Note - these lists are not in any kind of order)

My Top 5 7"s of 2011

Hope Defeated '2010 Demo' (Endless Quest Records) - A great hardcore 7" by a new Canadian band that I released myself. I don't think I will ever tire of these songs. If you don't have one then please help me out and order one from my online store right away!

Times Together 'S/T' (Anger Battery Records) - Fantastic 7" in the vein of Uniform Choice, but from a UK band no less. I can't stop listening to this at the moment.

Tremors 'Island Songs' (The Essence Records) - Frantic hardcore punk from a London based UK band. Expect big things from this band in 2011.

Sacred Love 'S/T' 7" (Youngblood Records) - This record throws together elements of bands like 108, Burn and Civ together, this is a great 7". Their 12" wasn't bad either.

V/A 'No Peace / War' 7" (Organized Crime Records) - A Japanese hardcore tribute featuring all the best Holy Terror bands. Came in great packaging on different vinyl colours with matching obi strips.

My Top 5 LPs of 2011

Roses Never Fade 'S/T' (A389 Records) - I've been listening to this regularly for months now and still don't know how to describe it. Not heavy at all, just haunting. Looking forward to the new 7" in 2012.

Rot In Hell 'As Pearls before Swine' (Deathwish Inc) - Finally saw the light of day in 2011 about three years after it was recorded. An ugly and aggressive record that really put Rot In Hell on the world map.

Integrity 'Detonate World's Plague' (Holy Terror) - A new Integrity record in 2011, and it was really good. Some complained about the recording quality, but I guess some people are just stupid.

Hang The Bastard 'Hellfire Reign' (Holy Roar) - Ok, this probably came out in 2010, but I only got it in 2011 and I probably played it more than any other record, so it's going on my 2011 list.

Capital 'Givers Takers' (Underground Communiqué) - Their 3rd LP, and in my opinion their best.

My Top 5 Scores of 2011

Ok, so this is kinda a dumb top 5, but when I look back on this in a couple of years I'll find this interesting. These are the top 5 hot items I added to my collection this year. The first four had been on my want list for many years, so it was good to finally pick them up.

Floorpunch 'Division One Champs' (In My Blood) - Gold vinyl

Youth of Today 'Break Down The Walls' (Wishingwell) - Blue vinyl

Uniform Choice 'Screaming For Change' (Wishingwell) - Purple vinyl

Dinosaur Jr 'The Wagon' 7" (Sub Pop) - Purple vinyl

Beta Minus Mechanic '69 Camaro' 7" (Crisis) - Test Press

And finally...

Thanks to anyone who read this thing in 2011 & a bigger thanks to people who posted comments. See y'all in 2012...

Second Nature Tests

I always like to get a good deal. Unless absolutely necessary, I don't like paying top prices. It's cool to pick up rare records, but it's more satisfying when you know you get a good deal. I watched these two records end on eBay with no bids at least 5 times. Then I emailed the seller and made an offer quite a bit lower than the opening bids. Seller accepted. Job done.

This is the debut (and I think only) album 'Voices' by Able Baker Fox. This came out a couple of years ago on Second Nature Records. The band features the dude who plays bass in Coalesce on vocals. You know - the dude who used to sing in The Casket Lottery, one of my favourite bands from the turn of the century era. I didn't actually buy this LP when it came out because the limited version sold out quick. This test press is the only copy of this album I own.

The same seller also had a test of the Waxwing / Casket Lottery split 7". This one was also released on Second Nature Records, circa 2000 if my memory serves me correctly. This test is number 2 out of I don't know how many.

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Brotherhood LP on White

I don't trade much these days. To be honest, I don't have many records that I would let go. But now and again, a trade comes along. This particular one was interesting. Some dude emailed me wanting my Bolt Thrower LP. I had no memory of where I got a Bolt Thrower LP from, which is odd as I remember where most of my records came from. I can even remember specific trades from like 13 years ago. Hey, I have a good memory, what can I say? Yet I could not figure out where the Bolt Thrower LP came from. Anyway, I checked the dude's trade list and found a few things I liked. He proposed trading his white Brotherhood LP. Like me, he said he had no real idea of when or where he got the Brotherhood LP. Kinda funny. Almost as if these things had appeared in our respective collections just so that we could arrange this trade. So why stand in the way of destiny?

Brotherhood 'Words Run... As Thick As Blood' 12" on Crucial Response Records. White vinyl is from the third press, and is limited to 320 copies. I think this was pressed in the late 90s. I remember that when it came out I wasn't interested as I had the first and second pressings. This new white one seemed like a crappy repress and seemed real easy to get too. Fast forward ten years or so and I decided that I did want one after all, and all of a sudden it didn't seem so common. But all good things come to those who wait.

This pressing also comes with a giant poster. I wonder if somewhere somebody has this on their bedroom wall?

My copy also has some black streaks one one side of the record, although this is not an official transition press (ahem):

Also, for the third pressing, the label changed the back cover. This is what it looks like:

And this is the back cover on the first pressing. I actually think that the third press looks better.

To finish this post off I thought I would take a revised family photo. Well, you know, I had the day off work and there wasn't much else to keep me entertained. Looks good though, right?

Tuesday 27 December 2011

Rot Integrity Hell

As I recall, the Integrity / Rot In Hell split 2x7" went up for pre-order way back in February 2010. I remember seeing the pre-order announced and the same day going to place an order, but the limited colour had already sold out. So I decided not to bother ordering at all. I then sat back and watched as months passed & many people grumbled and complained about the delays. I guess it didn't bother me too much as I hadn't lost any money. Anyway, finally a month or so ago, these things finally started shipping out, about 21 months after the pre-orders were taken. Once I knew the record had actually made it into existence, I decided to get on the case. First up I went to the label's website and ordered the more common colour, and was pleasantly surprised to have it arrive in the mail the next day. Pretty good service. I almost felt guilty for getting such great service when a lot of people had obviously received the opposite.

The common colour is a blue / green swirl. My copy came with a couple of stickers.

The cool thing about this is that the sleeve contains an illustrated booklet. Or rather, the sleeve is part illustrated booklet. Looks really good. Illustrated by Dwid.

Next I grabbed a copy of the white vinyl from Dwid himself. White is the band colour out of 100. The first pic shows the gatefold sleeve folded out:

And finally, I was fortunate enough to get a test press. I got this one from Dwid. He sold a small number of copies (maybe 5?) with specially made hand painted covers. Mine features one of the characters from the illustrated booklet.

The label who released this, Thirty Days Of Night Records, are now also selling five test press packs in their online store, but their copies are without sleeves. Cheaper though. Definitely worth investigating if you like both bands and collect tests.

Monday 26 December 2011

In Contrast Of Xmas

I don't celebrate xmas. No tree, no cards, no gifts. I try to ignore it as best as possible. But this year I did buy myself a gift, which arrived in the mail on 24 December, and which I didn't get around to opening until the next day. So I guess it almost qualifies as a xmas present.

Integrity 'In Contrast Of Sin' 7" test press. This is a test of the original from 1990 (or thereabouts) on Victory Records. This copy was owned by Ati Moran from when it came out until a few months ago when he sold it on eBay and Dobek bought it. But then Dobek needed some money to fund his crack habit so I helped out.

As with most tests, it's not much to look at, being in a plain white dust sleeve with regulation United labels:

Although there is a homemade cover that Dobek knocked together which I'll probably keep:

I got my other copies out to take a family photo.

Made me think I should probably get serious and pick up one of the later black vinyl copies with the green cross on the sleeve, and also one of those copies with the promo sleeve.

Monday 19 December 2011

Orange 9mm 12" Light Green

It's not often these days that I manage to cross a Revelation item from my want list. Most of the ones I want or need are toward the rarer end of the spectrum, and prices just seem to keep on going up. So no chance of me picking up a Warzone on clear anytime soon I don't think. Ah well.

However, this one got me WAY stoked. I spotted this on ebay and knew from the photo that I wanted it right away. The seller was obviously lazy and wrote a shitty one sentence description that failed to mention that it was light green vinyl which is it's main selling point, because according to the Rev discography here, there are only 3 of these things out there. Now, I know this ain't true, because Mark has one and Nick has one, so counting mine would mean that nobody else in the world except us blog nerds could have one. But you just know that Kevin Finn will have one, and some dude who just sent me his trade list also has one, so there's 5 right away. And I'd bet my last dollar that Geoff has at least one, making six. But how many more might there be? Will we ever know? Probably not. But still, no matter whether there are 3, 6 or 50, in terms of Rev colour vinyl, it's rare and not an easy one to obtain.

I was stoked to win this for $32, although I definitely was not stoked to have to wait weeks and enter into an eBay case when the seller failed to send it a month after the auction ended. But thankfully he sent it in the end and it now sits happily on my floor.

I took my own photo comparing this light green one to a dark green one. As you can see, they're pretty different:

I also thought the time was right to crack out my orange and salmon copies to take the family photo.

I remember being into this bigtime when it came out. I asked the dude in the shop (Bad in Leeds, if anyone remembers that) to play it for me as I hadn't heard it but knew it was ex Burn, and I was therefore excited. I immediately loved the post hardcore groove that blasted out of the shop speakers and couldn't wait to buy the thing and get it home for proper listen, and so that I could tape it and walk around with it on my walkman. Who could have guessed that 17 years later i would be buying the same record again for the fourth time?

Thursday 15 December 2011

Times Together 2nd 7"

Yet another new release from yet another UK band. That makes two in a month. Anyone would think I had my finger on the pulse or something.

This is the second 7" by TIMES TOGETHER. I don't mind admitting that I was pretty excited to get this one, as their first 7" was my 2nd favourite 7" of 2010... although if I went back & re-did that list now I would place it at number one, cos I listen to it more than the record that I did put at number one. Ah well. Anyway, this 7" has just been released by Anger Battery Records. I pre-ordered the three 7" pack from their store and got one of each colour.

This pic shows the black 7" with the front cover, which kinda reminds me of the Judge 'Storm' 7" (for obvious reasons). Not sure I'm into all the little squares over the picture though. Black vinyl out of 250 copies:

Comes with a fold out glossy insert:

And here's the back cover, and the green vinyl (150 copies) which is a very close match to the green on the cover of the Chain TTD 7".

And finally the clear vinyl. This is only available from the band or via mailorder and is out of 100 copies.

I had no idea that pre-ordering would get me a limited sleeve, so that was a nice surprise. The 'sleeve' comes in the form of a single piece of card that sits on top of the regular sleeve.

It's also numbered out of 30, just like the release show version of the first 7" that I picked up recently.

So what's this like? Well, the band sounds like Uniform Choice, there's no denying that. But this 7" marks a step forward from the first 7" for me. I mean, musically I find it quite similar, but lyrically I think this shows progression. Lyrics feel a little darker and maybe a little more depressing - the soundtrack for people who feel let down and fucked over. Yet throughout it maintains a positive edge. To me, a couple of the songs can be read two ways... they are either about being let down by friends, or they are about being betrayed and left by someone you have loved deeply. What's really great though is that rather than all the songs being negative and critical, the penultimate song is open, honest and positive. Heck, it's just one of those beautiful songs. "I'm better when I'm with you". The record then ends with an instrumental called 'Rain' which is slow, reflective and a little sad. All in all, listening to this record feels like a short trip on an emotional roller coaster, which is quite an accomplishment for a straight up hardcore band.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Dinosaur Jr Sub Pop 7" Purple

So it turns out that this record here has for the last couple of years been one of my top 5 most wanted records. I have probably looked for it on eBay every week and not seen one for sale. There has been one on eBay for a fixed price (of $130) for about three years now, but I figured that was too much so refused to pay it. And it seems that everyone else felt the same as it remains one of those items that is permanently for sale. But finally someone put a copy up for auction, and I knew my time had come. After sitting at $10 for almost the entire duration of the auction, the last couple of minutes saw some furious bidding action, which ended up with me winning at a price which was slightly more than $10 and slightly more than I expected I would have to pay.

Anyway, here it is - Dinosaur Jr 'The Wagon / Better Than Gone' 7". Sub Pop 68. Purple vinyl. The pressing info for this is reportedly 10,000 copies on white vinyl and 200 on purple. That's not quite correct as there are also some clear pink copies floating about. But still, you get the idea. One in fifty is purple. It's pretty hard to find.

All the photos I had ever seen of this record made it look like a solid purple. But actually it's kinda transparent when you hold it, as hopefully this picture shows:

And finally, here are all three colours together. I'm super happy to be able to take this photo.

Hopefully soon I can track down the first album on red vinyl which I'm still missing. Then maybe I'll start thinking about collecting the SST 7"s on colour, although I'm not sure I have the energy for that.

Monday 12 December 2011

One Step Closer Than The Last

One of the bands I revisited lately in my return to the mid-late 90s is Harvest. This band was pre Hope Conspiracy and one of the early bands on the Trustkill label. They played metallic straight edge, but before that was an embarrassing scene of it's own like it seems to be now. Anyway, I decided to scan eBay to see if there were any interesting Harvest records floating about and spotted this 7", which I bid and won for cheap. This is a two song 7" called 'One Step Better Than The Last' which features two songs from their final album 'Transitions', which was a CD only release.

I once heard that Trustkill used to make a limited purple vinyl of 100 copies for each release which were for friends and band members only. Not sure if that is true, or if the colour of this record could ever actually be described as purple anyway, but still, this is an interesting colour of a good 7". Harvest used to be one of my favourites of their era and I've been enjoying playing their songs again recently.

Sunday 11 December 2011

Abolition LP

I'm now going to talk about something that is an increasingly rare event for me - picking up a new release! I got this one about three months ago, but as ever I am behind with this blog and now trying to get caught up by the end of the year.

This here post is dedicated to the debut LP by ABOLITION, a straight edge band who hail from London, UK (i.e. just up the road from me). Abolition have been going for a couple of years now and prior to this LP released a couple of 7"s. They also played first on the bill at last year's UK Unbroken show which seemed very apt seeing as Unbroken are probably their biggest influence. I've met their guitarist Sam a few times and dude is chill. A young kid who knows more about 90s hardcore than most people who lived through the 90s and who (bizarrely for someone in their early 20s) collects Moo Cow Records releases. You can't get much more 90s than that. Anyway, even if you never met Sam, you'd be able to figure pretty quickly that Abolition are heavily influenced by the 90s. They sound like someone threw a few mid 90s metallic edge records in a blender. I hear elements that remind me of Unbroken, Abhinanda, Chokehold, Harvest, Strain, Outspoken, Strife, etc. I think it's probably fair to say that not for sixteen years have I heard a band that sounds so much like 1995.

In terms of the record itself, I pre-ordered and got one of the 100 red vinyl copies, which are now sold out (just like the majority of the bands I mentioned above - ha!).

The LP was released by Holy Roar Records, but also features some weird logo for something called Pink Mist (which is a collaboration of Holy Roar & a couple of other labels). Kinda odd that the whole of the front & back cover is black & white except for this stupid pink logo in the top left corner. Ruins the vibe if you ask me.

I'm also digging the shout out to straight edge. Feels very 90s to me.

Overall I think this LP sounds great. The music is much more powerful than previous releases, although I think this is probably in part owed to the quality of the recording, which really is top notch. Whilst I thought that I had tired of that sound and left it in the past, listening this LP has made me realise that a lot of the mid 90s metallic sxe stuff does still sounds good today, and it's good to see that this sound is not exclusively the preserve of a few bitter old bastards trying desperately to hang on to the glory days of their youth that probably sucked anyway.

Saturday 10 December 2011

Wayfarer 7" Picture Disc

Wayfarer are probably best known for a split 7" they did with Rot In Hell. They are a UK band who play slow and heavy metallic hardcore and who have a slight obsession with norse mythology. Their latest release is a two song 7" picture disc.

An interesting choice of format if you ask me. I don't think I have ever met a single person who actually likes picture discs.

Thursday 8 December 2011

Drug Test Numbah One

Is it true that when you pick up numbered records, a low number is more desirable?

My opinion is that it depends on what the record is, and how many it's numbered out of. A lot of time the answer would be no. For example, a test press is so limited that if you get any number you've struck gold. But if you get a low number of a large numbered range (e.g. number 8 of 300) then that's kinda cool and possibly slightly more desirable than (say) number 368. But it depends on the band and the record too. However, the one thing I am pretty sure nobody would dispute is that owning a number 1 is pretty much always going to be more desirable than any other number, to the point where it would probably make that one copy more valuable than any other.

Well, if that's true then it would seem that any other copies of the records I just bought must be pretty much worthless...

I recently won these three copies of the DRUG TEST / R'N'R Split 7" on eBay for the grand total of $18. I'm not entirely sure of the history of this record, but I think that there were only 100 copies of this split 7" made back in like 2003 or whenever and that was that. Then five years later or so, once both bands had broken up and disappeared into the mists of time, a different label (Words of War Records) decided to reissue it. The three copies I have just picked up are from that second (reissue) pressing.

First up is the 'Newsletter Edition'. Not sure why it's called that, but that's is what it is called. This is on light blue vinyl and the record has a small hole. I got number 1 of 52. What happened here is that there were 52 of the original sleeves leftover from the original 2003 pressing that got numbered and used to house this version. A cool way of bridging the gap between the original pressing and the reissue. Sell a reissued record in an original sleeve.

Next up is the pre-order version. Light blue vinyl with a small hole in the record. Number 1 of 50. Also features really crap cover art. Some dude with a load of needles stuck in him throwing up some green sick. Or maybe he's eating spinach a la Popeye. I'm not sure. I can't bear to look at it long enough to make my mind up.

And finally the 'regular' version. This one is on dark blue vinyl, has a big hole in the record and is not numbered. It comes in the same awful sleeve that the preorder version comes in, but the photo shows the back of the sleeve instead.

If anyone happens to have the mp3s for this then let me know. I need them & can't find them on the internet.