Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Latest A389 Pre-order

A couple of weeks ago my latest order from A389 Records turned up. It had been a good couple of months, so I had completely forgotten what I had even ordered. Even though I hate pre-orders generally, I think its a good thing when you receive a parcel and have absolutely not idea what may be inside.

First up, the main point of ordering this stuff in the first place - the Integrity / Creepout 7". This has been repressed recently by A389. The original release was done for some Japanese tour and put out by a Japanese label. I managed to get one of the three Jap versions (see HERE), although what makes the repress interesting is that it is now on colour vinyl, whereas the three Jap versions were all black.

Also, another new addition to this version not present previously is two sets of boobs. In my book this is a good thing. You can never see enough boobs.

I also noticed something interesting on the inside of the sleeve, which is that something from the original version has been crudely modified for this repress, as you can see here:

The words are still legible through the marker pen ink, but if you want to know what it says then buy a copy yourself :o)

Next item out of the box is the one that I was most excited about. This is a test press of the Pale Creation 7" that A389 released last year. The Pale Creation 7" was the 7" of the year for me last year, so I was stoked to get this test press. Interestingly, when I placed the order for these records, A389 had a '24 hour test press sale' going on. There were a few tests up for sale in the webstore, but all of them were $99.99. Well, all of them except the Pale Creation test that is, which was priced at $36.66. This seemed like it must be an error to me. I mean, how could the best record in the sale also be the cheapest? I quickly added it to my cart before someone else grabbed it. Stoked.

Next up is the special bonus 7" given to those who preorder this pile of releases. This is a tribute to some band called Mighty Sphincter who I have never heard before. The tribute features Pulling Teeth featuring Dwid, and also Mighty Sphincter themselves. Pretty smart move getting a band to perform a tribute to themselves.

Now we're on to the LPs. Like the 7"s there are three. First up is a record that I had wanted for some time but not got around to ordering - the Niu 12" by Rot In Hell. This is a one sided live 12" which is limited to only 300 copies total. I like the overall blackness & minimalism of this record.

The songs were recorded in some weirdy place at an event which I am told was by invitation only. I can only assume my invitation went missing in the mail.

What I don't like, however, is that the record is covered in weird surface scratches. It's almost as if the plant pressed them up and them put them all into a a huge box without first putting them in paper sleeves, and they all rubbed against each other. There can be no other explanation as to how a brand new record can be this scuffed. Very strange. Here's an example:

Next is the Seven Sisters Of Sleep self titled LP. I know absolutely nothing about this band. I don't even know why I ordered this. It must have been part of the pre-order package deal I guess. I tried to seek out some info online, and all I really found was some dude on a blog who said "Killer new band featuring members of TAFKATA, SPRING BREAK, and THE ARM AND SWORD OF A BASTARD GOD". Might as well have been written in Chinese for all that means to me. But in the comments of this blog, some other dude had mentioned "shit it sounds like fucking Ironside". I guess that's not an unfair comparison. Well, assuming he's talking about the band Ironside, as opposed to actually having intercourse with a wheelchair based police detective.

Last up is the record which has subsequently turned out to be my favourite of the bunch. This is the self-titled album from Roses Never Fade, which is essentially one of Dwid's side projects. However, this sounds nothing at all like Integrity. This is acoustic, sad and creepy music. I don't know how to describe it, suffice to say I don't think I have any other records that sound like it in my entire collection. But I really wish I did. This is really great stuff, and definitely one of the most unique records I have heard in a long while. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Oh, it also LOOKS great. I love the artwork and the crystal clear vinyl:

I think Roses Never Fade released a 7" a couple of years ago. I remember because I ordered it, waited a few weeks, and then randomly one day got a refund and my order was cancelled by the label. I was not offered an explanation. But now I can see that I am going to have to track that 7" down. Damn.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Walking Concert LP

Everybody loves Walter. Or rather, everyone did, until he started to morph into Paul McCartney. And today's slice of nerd pie comes from one of his previous bands, Walking Concert. This band was active circa 2004/5 I think. I can't remember exactly and I can't be arsed to look it up. Anyway, the band followed Rival Schools and featured Walter and three other dudes, one of whom was Drew Thomas of Into Another and some other crappy straight edge bands. I saw them play a couple of times back in 2005 or so, and was lucky(!) enough to meet the fools and hang out with them a little in a gothic bar in Nottingham. In case you never heard them, they are/were probably Walter's least hardcore sounding band, but they had some good tunes none the less. Crucially though, only thing that they didn't have was any songs on vinyl. The album was CD only. Until now...

For some reason, 5 years or so after the band broke up, Arctic Rodeo Records have decided to finally give these songs the vinyl treatment. However, the only thing I'm not so into is that they also decided to give it new artwork. I don't have a problem with albums being released with new artwork, but the thing that seems slightly unfair to me is that the artwork now seems to suggest that Walking Concert was pretty much just Walter. The new artwork just features a couple of photos of him farting about on a beach. I'm not into it. But hey, at least they still kept the same band logo.

As you would expect in 2011, there were 400 different vinyl colours to choose from. I snagged one of the red vinyl copies of which there were only 100:

As well as the album you get some other rubbish like a 7" and a CD. Although, I have to say, even though I hate CDs and always did, this one is kinda cool, because it has been made to look like a record.

I went to see this dude play in London a couple of weeks ago. He was touring with a band, which included Arthur Smilios (Gorilla Biscuits, Civ) and Drew Thomas (Into Another & some other crap), and more interestingly, some dude called Dave Hill who appears to be some kind of comedian from NYC (god only knows how he got in the band, but he has a cheeky face which I found amusing which you can see HERE if you are curious). Anyway, as usual I filmed a song as a momento. This one is a cover of the Civ classic 'Don't Gotta Prove It'. Hey, it's not a Walking Concert, but nevermind. You'll still not enjoy it.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Coalesce 7" Mystery Colour

So as I have mentioned before, it wasn't until only about 5 years ago that I started buying up multiple versions of records. I guess that my lack of ambition to own multiple copies was firstly due to lack of money, and secondly because it always seemed unneccessary to own more than one copy of a record. However, that said, there were a few bands for which I made an exception... although I don't really know what my logic for this was.

One such band was Coalesce. They were one of the first bands that I got into from their first release, and they seemed to have something really unique about them. Plus they seemed to be getting significantly better with every release. I just latched onto them.

The record I am featuring today is a copy of their third 7", 'A Safe Place'. This was a split release between Second Nature and Edison. Back when this came out I was ordering from Very Distribution quite a bit. One thing I always liked about Very was that their catalogs & lists actually mentioned the colour of vinyl of the stuff they had in stock. This was rare at the time. But for a young trainee nerd like me, this was essential information, and when they started their own label (Edison) it was obvious they would make limited colour vinyl since they too were clearly vinyl nerds. One thing they did from the start which was quite unusual for the time was to make two colours of vinyl - one super limited colour and one more common (but still way rarer than black) colour. The Coalesce 7" followed that pattern, having 100 copies on green and 300 on tan. I guess this was the first record that Coalesce brought out for which there was more than one colour vinyl edition available. And even though I wasn't interested in owning multiple versions of records as a general rule, I can imagine that it was probably difficult for me to actively pass on a limited colour vinyl record by a hot new band that I loved, so I bought both. And then, wouldn't you know it, they used the (now familiar) trick of knocking out an additional limited colour (white) when the time for a second pressing rolled around. Like the old fart that I am, I got them all when they came out & they have waited faithfully in a box ever since.

Anyway, this latest entry is interesting because, technically, this record does not exist. As I have just mentioned, the colours pressed were green, tan and then white. So what on earth is this one that I just got?

I can tell what you are thinking. "Clearly, that's green". Well, I thought you would say that. So what I did was get the other copies out and photograph them together so that you can see that the real green one is a completely different colour. In fact, next to the real green one, the one above looks like a yellowish brown:

I searched around a bit and found a complete Coalesce Discography. However, this version of this 7" is not listed. It is also not listed in the pressing info on the Second Nature site. It is, however, pictured on Ohiopride's discography, which suggests that there were 100 made, although I'm a little sceptical as I can't seem to validate that anywhere else. So for now I'm still regarding this one as a mystery.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Bladecrasher 7"

Sometimes I wonder how many people there are out there like me. Well, not LIKE me exactly. Clearly, there's nobody else like me. But I mean in the sense of people who are as old as me and who have been into music and collecting records enthusiastically for as long as I have. Most people seem to grow out of it, else they have started collecting records relatively late.

Specifically, as I come to write this, I have to wonder how many people have been following Youngblood Records for as long as me. Believe it or not, I have been buying this label's output since their first 7", which (in case you're not as old, or as much of a nerd, as me) was the Rancor 7". I got that when it came out back in like '97 or whenever it was. And I've picked up every release the label put out since. However, in my defence I can say that I wasn't a crazy Youngblood collector until about 4 years ago. Prior to that I used to only really pick up one version of every release. But then something changed and then I started going back & trying to get all the other many variations of the things I already had. I now have 90* separate pieces of Youngblood vinyl. That breaks down as 61 7"s and 29 LPs. Not bad (or should that be not good?) considering the label has only released 31 records in it's lifetime.

*93 if you include the 12" that was a split release with React! and the 7" that was a split release with Malfunction.

Anyway, the latest addition to my Youngblood collection was acquired a couple of weeks back in a trade with Lins87. It's a variation Youngblood's second release - the '700 Club' 7" by Bladecrasher. This particular copy is on blue vinyl and has a black & white sleeve. It's stamped and numbered out of 100:

I hadn't listened to this one in quite some time, but it's pretty much exactly as I remember it. Has it aged well? I think so. I guess hardcore like this never really goes out of fashion. Anyway, I also ripped the songs to mp3 if you are interested. Here ya go... although please note that this isn't quite to my usual mp3 ripping standards - the volume levels seem quite low:

Bladecrasher 7" mp3s

As I listen to this in 2011, it strikes me that Bladecrasher are another band that I never knew anything about. I guess that's how it was pre modern internet. I couldn't even find anything about them on the modern internet. Anyone with info on this band, specifically what the dudes went on to do next, please comment. Thanks!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Frontier(s) 7" x 3

Here's a silly little story of how things happen in a way that they maybe weren't intended to and, as usual, I end up with more records than I intended to have. However, I'm not sure if this particular tale is funny or just tragic. You decide...

Just before xmas I found out about a band called Frontier(s). They are a newish band featuring the singer of Falling Forward / Elliott, and that was enough for me to order both their debut 7" and LP from No Sleep Records. Both were in stock on white vinyl, but I was disappointed to get a black 7" when my package finally turned up. So I emailed the label and asked if they could send me the white one I ordered if I re-paid the postage. They agreed. But then, as usual, I didn't do anything. I have seriously become THE worst person in the world at email. So many things I don't even reply to these days due to lack of time. And other things it takes me weeks to get around to replying to. So its perhaps no surprise that I didn't actually find two minutes to paypal them a few dollars for postage to get my 7".

Anyway, in the meantime, I stumbled across a test press of the 7" on ebay. A few days later I bid and won it. Turns out that the seller was the label. So I then asked if they could throw the white 7" in with the test press. They agreed. Great. But then, just before I was going to pay, a thought struck me... if I'm going to have the test press, the white 7" and the black 7", then that means I'm only missing one version - the green vinyl. So I asked the label whether they happened to have any of those left too. By chance, they found one just laying about gathering dust and agreed to let me buy that as well...

Test press, #13/20:

Green vinyl out of 100:

White vinyl out of 300:

I actually saw this band play in London a couple of Saturdays ago. It was one of those shows where you come out liking the band more than when you went in. What I liked was that Chris did lots of talking in between songs. This seems to be something that doesn't happen much these days. Most bands just play and maybe throw in the occasional "thank you" and that's about it. But Chris spent time before every song explaining what the song was about, which was really interesting. he was also very sincere, and appeared genuinely grateful to people for coming out. At one point he said something like "At this age, I know just how hard it is to make the decision to go out of your house". Funny, but true. A lot of times I want to see bands play but just can't be arsed to travel and stand in a room of fartknockers. He was also really grateful for the opportunity they had to tour Europe and to play London, and it was obvious from a couple of other things he said that making the decision to make music has had a big impact on his life and obviously made things tough at times. At points his little speeches were quite touching and at the end I just felt like I wanted to give the guy a hug. Instead though, all I did was buy a t-shirt and tell their guitarist, Matt Weider, that he looked like Christian Bale... which (unsurprisingly) he told me he'd heard before.

Here's a video I shot on my iphone for the song 'The Plains' from this 7":

I filmed three songs in total. If you want to watch the other two then I'm sure you can figure out how to do that.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Raw Life

Well, well, well... who'd have thought - me actually picking up a record by a current band!?. Admittedly though it's not a new record, so I guess this ain't quite the miracle it first seems.

The Rival Mob - 'Raw Life' LP on Lockin' Out Records on gold vinyl. Great hardcore record that gets better with every play. Fortunately, I have nothing else to say on the matter, except that I love the artwork on this thing. Primal.

All things considered though, I gotta say that my favourite feature of this record is the label art:

Monday, 7 February 2011

The Great Detroit Riverboat Race

After a very busy & lazy period, I'm back on track. Expect a few updates in the next couple of weeks...

In the mid 90s there were a slew of bands that almost spawned a genre. I don't know what the genre would have been called, but the formula was something like DC-ish emo type rock with a female vocal. There were a few bands that followed this formula with mixed success. Examples that immediately spring to mind include Ashes, Baby Gopal, Junction, Copper, Samuel, Idle Hands & Roosevelt's Inaugural Parade. There are probably more that I can't think of right now. But yeah, I was a big fan of this style and was always trying to find more bands & records that sounded similar.

One such find was a 7" by a band called The Great Detroit Riverboat Race. I vaguely remember reading reviews about the 7" and then wanting to check it out, but for some reason it seemed impossible to get hold of. I also remember reviews mentioning that it was numbered out of 100 copies, so for the longest time I thought that there were literally only 100 copies made in total. And I also seem to think that it came with a zine too, although I don't know what zine that may have been, or whether I am in fact just imagining it.

Anyway, as is usually the case I eventually tracked a copy down, although I am slightly disappointed in myself that I don't recall where or when. Usually I have a good memory for such things, but try as I might I have no idea where I got this record from originally. But when I did pick one up, the one thing that puzzled me was that my record wasn't numbered anywhere. In the end I just assumed that any write-ups mentioning it being numbered out of 100 must have had an insert that mine was missing. And I didn't even worry that I didn't have the zine!

Well anyway, many moons later and the mystery has been solved. I was on ebay recently & stumbled across one of these things in a different sleeve, which was (or rather is) numbered out of 100 copies. Here it is:

I can therefore guess that every review I ever read had one of these numbered out of 100 sleeves, whereas there were other copies in a non-numbered sleeve like my other copy. So just for reference, here's the copy that I have had in my collection for the last 10-15 (can't remember) years with the alternate sleeve:

If you are at all curious about this band (i.e. if you like any of the bands I mentioned at the start of this post) then I recorded the vinyl and made some mp3s. I figured nobody would mind. Here ya go:

Great Detroit Riverboat Race mp3s

I think these songs (and indeed, this genre) has held up well over the years. To me, these songs never get old and certainly don't sound dated. It's funny though is how strange it is hearing profanity in a female voice. I quote the second song... 'And still this happens every f*cking year'. Listen for yourself. Weird. But cool.

Finally.. if anyone knows anything at all about this band, please let me know. I literally know nothing. Who were these people? Did they do any other bands, either before or afterwards? Did this band record anything else? What's the score with the different sleeves? What are the band members up to now? If you know anything at all then please post a comment. Thanks!