Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Deal With It 'Eyjafjallajökull' LP

Right now it's 23:35 and I just got done painting my bathroom. In the end I had to give it three coats. I applied two coats this afternoon and the third I left until this evening after I got home from the gym. The only problem was, when I got in from the gym I was feeling pretty tired and didn't really have the energy to pain the bathroom. Unfortunately though, I had to, seeing as I had left the paint tray out with paint in it, so the choice was either paint it tonight or clean the tray, roller and brush and then go to bed and then have to do it tomorrow... which would involve cleaning everything again, which in my mind is the worst part. So I decided to finish it tonight, despite being exhausted.

I figured that some high energy music was required to spur me on. So I chose the latest album from the UK's own DEAL WITH IT. I actually picked this LP up nearly two months ago, but as usual I am way behind on posting so am only getting to it now. Tonight's painting episode was the reminder I needed.

This is Deal With It's second full length, which is pretty respectable for a UK hardcore band. Most UK bands crank out one LP at best, if they even hang around long enough to do an LP in the first place. So to do two albums in just over two years is pretty good going in my book.

This album is also a bit of a step up from the last one. It sounds even harder, as if that were possible. So, ladies & gentlemen, I present you with the most unpronounceable album title of all time...

If the name sounds vaguely familiar to you, that's because it is the name of the Icelandic volcano that was in the news last year when it erupted and brought half the world to a standstill. This also explains the artwork on the front cover, which I'm totally loving by the way:

My copy is on 'Icelandic blue' vinyl, which was limited to 150 copies out of the 500 pressed in total, and which is now sold out. I asked the vocalist, Mike, why they named the record after the exploding rock and this is what he came back with:

As for the album name, it was sort of twofold. The album itself thematically is a snapshot of the year 2010, broadly in terms of world events, but also on a more narrowed level of thought processes I was working with at the time. The volcano that erupted in January was sort of a precursor to a really really shitty year for me, so in a way it made sense to see it as some sort of ill omen for a terrible time in my personal and global history. On a more obtuse level we liked it because it was unpronounceable. Ergo, in some small way it fucked with people. But it definitely sounds mega metal.

Gotta say, I concur 100% with Mike's sentiments. It does indeed sound mega metal. I'm not the biggest fan of metal, or crossover or whatever, but I'm a fan of hard music generally, and this record is indeed hard as nails. This is my current album of choice for the gym, although it's also pretty good or for painting your bathroom late at night when you'd prefer to be in bed. You should probably just trust me on that last one rather than find out for yourself.

If you never heard this band before, and you like metal, thrash, crossover, The Cro-Mags or ramming your fist through walls, please do me a favour and go to the band's myspace page (linked above) and listen to 'The Watcher'. You won't be sorry.

Also, for the benefit of my Stateside readers, you may be interested to know that the vocalist of this band was the original bass player for Rot In Hell, before he left to get drunk. Just thought I'd mention that in case it helps sway you towards giving them 5 minutes of your attention...

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

12 Inches of Sacred Love

Recently I have been thinking about packing this blog in. It has felt like more of a chore than ever & I have been starting to wonder what the point is. But this month I got sent two surprise packages in the mail from fellow nerds & it makes it all seem worthwhile...

Out of the blue a few weeks ago my good internet buddy & fellow record nerd Mike asked for my shipping address. He's mailed me countless things before, so god knows how he failed to keep a note of it. Must be slightly disorganised I guess. That's probably how he ended up dropping his ipod in the toilet.

Anyway, a week or so after I painstakingly typed my address out for the ten millionth time, a package rolled up. Inside I found a 12" that up to that point I did not know existed. There was a short note attached:

The record was/is another release by (my new favourite band) Sacred Love. This 12" is called 'Dividing Lines' and is, like their demo 7", also available from the fine folks at Youngblood Records. Or rather, it will be available at some point in the not too distant future. It's not out yet. This is some advance pressing with a hand assembled sleeve made for some tour. The regular version isn't even up for pre-order yet.

Must have been a short tour, because there were only 35 of these things made. In terms of numbers made, and excluding test pressings, this is the most limited Youngblood releases in my entire collection (and believe me, I have a pretty extensive YB collection!). I feel both lucky and honoured to own this one.

Overall I'm loving this record. It features four songs that average about a minute and a half in length, and then a final song that clocks in at five and a half minutes which really does showcase the band's ability & potential. The song starts off sounding like Iron Age for about 20 seconds, then jumps to a minute and a half of more typical fast hardcore a la Mindset, before slowing into a couple of minutes of something that sounds like one of my favourite 90s bands - Mean Season. All in all, this band is nothing if not interesting!

The only downside to this record is that there are only 5 songs on it. I'm really getting into this band now and I want more. However, because there are only 5 songs then the record is one sided, and for some stupid reason, unlike Mike, I love one sided 12"s. I prefer 12"s to 7"s generally, and (as dumb as it sounds) I love the look and the shine of a record without grooves. Just check out the reflection of my dope new shoes:

Finally, the record has an insert which features a funny/weird picture. It appears to be a dude in a Judge shirt at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, but I'm not sure who it is nor why the picture was included. Maybe someone can chime in and give us the lowdown?

Like I said, it's times like these that help keep me doing this blog. Not the getting sent surprise records, but the reminder that I have made genuine friends typing this dumb crap. Thanks Mike. Your generosity is appreciated & will definitely be repaid.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Sacred Love 7"

My favourite 7" of late has been the new Sacred Love 7" that was put out by Youngblood Records recently. I bought this purely because I trust Youngblood after their long history of putting out great hardcore records. Even when they put out a band I have never heard of, I just KNOW it will be good. So when the pre-order went up for this about five years ago, I was in, even though I had no idea who or what Sacred Love was.

Turns out that, unsurprisingly, my trust was well placed. As is usually the case with YB releases, this is a damn good hardcore record. And according to itunes, I have now listened to this 19 times in a little over a week. For those of you not in the know (i.e. most of you) this band contains dudes from such bands as Mindset, Brick and Praise. If you don't know who those bands are then I would guess that you are over the age of 25 and probably also starting to look a bit old and fat. Me, I'm a fan of the first of those bands, the second I don't know, and the third is just alright. In my opinion, however, Sacred Love trumps them all. There are bits in the different songs that remind me of various other bands that I have listened to over the years. There's a bit in the first song that reminds me of Civ, and another bit towards the same song that brings to mind 108. The third and fourth songs are reminiscent of Lion Of Judah, which is good for me as LOJ are one of my favourite bands of the past 5 years or so. I'm guessing that's probably not a popular opinion, mind. But I guess we can't all be right all of the time eh?

As I understand it, this 7" is not a new recording, but simply the band's demo from early 2010 pressed onto vinyl. It's also a one time pressing of 500 copies, with 200 on purple and 300 on black. I ordered one of each, mainly because only ordering one would have disrupted my Youngblood collection and thus put the universe out of balance.

When I opened the package, however, I found a third copy of the 7" waiting for me. I would guess that Sean threw it into my order intentionally, rather than by mistake. Anyway, this is the same Sacred Love 7", but with some kind of limited cover. I assume this is the inevitable release show version. I love the art on this thing. I love how it's just a pile of random nonsense. I mean, seriously, what is going on here? We have a swan with a trumpet, a castle on fire and some kind of... what is that? A horse? A dog? A kangaroo? I have no idea. It's just random. But that's why I like it.

It's always really nice to find an extra in a package that I wasn't expecting, and this one is really appreciated... mainly because it means I won't have to spend time scouring eBay for a copy, and saving time is of prime importance these days with my schedule the way it is. Thanks Sean!

When I placed the order for this record, I also took the chance to pick up yet another copy of the first Fired Up 7". This is (apparently) the final press of this 7". I'm almost embarrassed about how many copies of this record that I own. It's seemingly getting out of hand.

Somehow, a different & hand-numbered sleeve always make a record seem more interesting and a day seem brighter...

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Wayfarer 'The Days...' LP

Today's entry is short but sweet. I am more stoked on this record than I have been on any other record in at least a week.

The band is called WAYFARER and the record is a 12" called 'The Days Have Gone Down In The West'. The band is from the UK and if you think you have heard of them it is probably because they recently did a split 7" with Rot In Hell. Now, because I am old and out of touch, I hadn't heard of them prior to the split 7", and boy, did I feel like a chump! Fortunately I definitely now know who they are and, as we have already established, since I know what I am talking about I would suggest you follow my simple step by step guide as follows:

1. Go to the band's fagspace page

2. Listen to the song 'Ragnarok'

3. Piss your pants

After I did the above I was excited to hear more songs and so downloaded the LP from the internet. This is abnormal for me because usually I feel bad for downloading something that I don't own on vinyl. So I then decided to buy the record to make up for it.

As you may have gathered from the artwork, this band has a slight obsession with Norse mythology. Not something I profess to know anything about, but if you want a brief understanding of where this influence comes from then I suggest you read Part 1 of an interview with the band's vocalist on Joe Fad's blog. Part 2 will no doubt surface around the same time that I get that test for the Rot In Hell / The Process split.

There are only 250 copies made in total, so I'm a little surprised that there are still a few copies left over. To order one go HERE.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Rot In Hell UK Release Show LP

Another day, another Rot In Hell LP from a release show that I didn't go to. This version right here is from the UK release show, which took place in Manchester down the same street that Morrissey, Ian Brown and the ginger one from Simply Red all live on. Fact.

Obviously I didn't go, because I now live in the south, and what most foreigners don't know is that once you move from the north of this country to the south you are only allowed to go back twice a year, and even then only if you speak in cockney at all times so as to advertise to the locals that you are a soft southerner... at which point you will be beaten with shovels and crapped on. Once ten years have passed though, you are allowed to move back to the north, as long as you eat a lot of pies and stop shaving. Fact.

Anyway, thanks to good old Iron Hat, I was notified that the impoverished northern youth couldn't afford the £49.99 price tag on this LP, and so there were a couple knocking about for idiots with more money than sense like me, so I bit his hand off.

The cover of this one is completely different to the US release show version that I featured in my previous post. This one is all black with some latin words on it. I did latin at school for two years and at the time hated it, because when you are 12 and someone is forcing you to learn a dead language, it's hard to be interested. It was funny one time though when the teacher shouted at Andy Carroll and he responded by throwing his latin text book on the floor in an act of defiance. At 12 we'd never seen anything like that before. We all went silent and shat ourselves, waiting for some kind of combat to ensue, but probably fuck all happened other than everyone in the year dropping latin when we got to the third year.

Please excuse the shite photos, but I had to take drastic measures to get the print to show up as it is orange ink on black card.

The back of the sleeve is a foldover affair with the band name featured in a nice size.

Then, inside of the sleeve is a flyer for the show. I strongly suspect that it was designed by a 5 year old wigger with no fingers. But looking at the line up kinda makes me glad that I didn't go. I'm not sure I would have had the patience to sit through 400 bands that I'd never heard of. Most likely I would have gone for a walk to find some food, ventured onto Canal Street and decided to give homosexuality a go just to pass some time. Then you know how it goes... I'd have had to come back down south, collect my records, quit my job and then go live with my new boyfriend Peter in his cramped studio apartment, and after a while he would get annoyed that my records take up too much room, and it would end in a fight. So all in all, best I didn't go to this event.

The best thing about this LP is that the record itself comes in a bright orange disco sleeve. Now, I'm sure that if I had seen this somewhere else then I would have said it was crap, but I actually really like this. I'm sure you will agree that the bright orangeness is really different and striking and I'd say that it's worth owning for this colourful feature alone.

Also, unlike the US release version, this one came with the lyric sheet / insert. No idea what the delay was with these, but it's nice to have the complete package, so to speak.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Rot In Hell US Release Show LP

Can you believe that some people had never heard of Rot In Hell until just recently? I've been banging on about them on this blog for three years now, since the release of their first piece of vinyl. But now that their first proper album has dropped on a big US label, it seems a lot more people are finally starting to take notice. Good news that the band are getting more attention, as they obviously deserve it, but the slight downside for me is that there are loads more fartknockers chasing their records, which makes life harder for an idiot like me. Here's a recent example...

The band recently (well, two months ago... but when you're as old as me, that still qualifies as 'recently') played in Baltimore at the annual A389 Records jamboree. This show served as both the record release show for their LP, and also the band's first opportunity to play live in the States and confuse foreigners with their strange accents. But since I wasn't going to Baltimore, I knew I was going to miss out on the box of treats they were taking. I missed out on the most interesting record that they made, a 7" called 'Urethra' (or something like that) which came packaged in a fine English top hat. I think there was one left unsold, but old Iron Head gave it to his new best mate Stefan Sonic rather than bring it back home. And then to add insult to injury, me old mucker Sandbag got one, which he shoved on his blog and in my face. I guess that'll be one that I'll have to live without. Ah well.

For some reason, however, it seems that not all of the release show LPs sold at the event. I can only guess that when inquiring about the price, some Americans could not understand the reponses they were given in traditional Northern English and thus walked away puzzled rather than transacting. But this of course meant that a couple of the LPs came home to Blighty, so it was only right that one of them found it's way into my museum.

So here we are - the limited cover for the US release show. As is oft the case, this takes the form of a piece of card over the top of a regular sleeve:

I'm not sure exactly how many of these things were made, but must have been a helluva lot seeing as mine is number 45,150:

Mine also came with copies of two flyers for the event. A nice momento for anyone who went. And also good for those of us who didn't go. It means that we can say we bought our copy at the show when we come to sell our records on eBay in a few months to try to make a fast buck because we're moving on to our next fad.

Removing the record release cover, you get to see the 'regular' cover for the record. I'm not sure what the skull is supposed to be but I think it might be some kind of rat. I'm also not sure why it was chosen exactly, but I like to think that the original intention was to show a picture of a nice, healthy, happy rat on the cover, which the label procured in good time and put safely in a box with the recording. But then three years later when they came to actually release the album, they found that the poor rat had long since died and all that remained was a pile of bones. So they just took a photo of it anyway because buying a new rat would have taken another three or four years and by that time vinyl would most likely have been replaced by thoughts which you would have implanted in your head, hence eradicating the need for cover art altogether.

The vinyl itself is a classic example of GZ vinyl, which you are probably aware by now that I am not the biggest fan of. The colour being exhibited here is described as 'gold / orange mix' and I believe there were 300 made.

The other colour available (that I don't have) is being referred to as 'beer' vinyl, and I believe that this colour was made as an ironic tribute to three members of the band's straight edge status.

Musically this is spot on. But, to be honest, I've been telling you that for three years, so if you haven't go the message yet then I'm probably wasting my breath. It's funny though, because I sneakily acquired some kind of advance, unmastered copy of this about two years ago and I've already pretty much played it to death. But it's great to read the reviews of other fools lapping this up. Interestingly though, I don't think I've read a bad review of this yet, which (if nothing else) confirms that I was right all along and therefore means that you should pay more attention to me in future, 'cause I know what the hell I am talking about.

My record also came with a cdr which I know bugger all about. I think that this was available in limited numbers. This is a newish ep which goes by the name of 'Studies In Emerald'.

This sounds absolutely nothing like Rot In Hell that you think you know. This CD contains four acoustic songs played & sung by the guitarist who doesn't look like he could be in Blue Oyster Cult or the Bee Gees. The style of music is pretty much nothing like how the band usually sounds, but they are still fantastic . Imagine if you will a mix of Johnny Cash, Death In June and Morrissey and you're starting to get an idea of the confusion that will unfold once you spin this disc. That said, however, I'm not sure if you can actually buy this CD, as I think it was made for the US release show of the LP and all copies are gone. But I admit that I don't really know. All I can say is that if you have the opportunity to acquire these songs then you should. Oh, and for those of you who (like me) don't like CDs, then it's worth noting that two of the songs will surface on vinyl at some point in the not too distant future. In fact, one already has - it just came out on a split with Horders that you can buy from Feast Of Tentacles Records (use google). The other song was originally going to be on a split 7" with Roses Never Fade, but now I think it's intended to be released on the split 7" with Integrity that might actually come out one day if all the planets come into alignment.

Check out the band's blog if you like stuff and things:

Rot In Hell Blog

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Christie Front Drive 12"

I used to listen to my fair share of wussy emo in the mid to late 90s. Everyone did. It's just how things were back then. If you were there then you know, if you weren't then you'll just have to take my word for it. But bands like The Promise Ring, Sunny Day Real Estate, The Get Up Kids, Texas Is The Reason etc all used to play to hardcore kids clad in Revelation Records t-shirts. Another example of such band was Christie Front Drive. I remember picking up their 7" from Armed With Anger distro and was immediately captivated by it. Seems like it were yesterday, although somehow it was about 16 years. I guess that's what happens when you get old though eh?

Anyway, I recently picked up a colour vinyl copy of their debut 12". I think this originally went onto my want list circa '97. Prior to that I had a black vinyl copy and never knew that a colour version existed, but the internet revealed the truth to me and I tried a couple of times to trade one from someone on the Revelation Trade Board (RIP) without success. In the years that followed, I watched a couple sell on eBay, but I could never quite bid enough. However, I don't remember seeing one on eBay now for about 5 years... well, aside from the copy that has been up with a bin of $70 for about three years, which is a price I deem too much - and clearly so does the rest of the world seeing as it has never sold. But when one appeared recently with a lower buy it now option I decided that I should finally cross this one off the want list.

Now, I don't know about you, but to me this is definitely a greenish colour. The only info I could find on the internet (HERE) says that there were 1900 made total, with 350 on blue/grey. The one that lives on eBay is definitely grey (see HERE). So I kinda like that mine seems to be a colour variant that is less common, or not officially acknowledged. Helps keep life interesting.

I don't know much about this band. Things were different pre-internet. Back when this came out you would read record reviews in zines and buy records from distro lists with one sentence descriptions. You might then see a pic of the band in a zine. Other than that, if they didn't tour, they remained a mystery. Sure, I can find stuff on the nerd about them now, but it's not the same as reading about them when they were an active band in the mid 90s. I know that they put out two 12"s, one 7", a couple of split 7"s, one split 10" and a few songs on different compilations. However, I'm not sure how big an impression they made. But I assume that they did make a bigger impact than the average backwater emo band of the day seeing as Magic Bullet Records reissued their final LP last year.

Musically, this band has aged well I think. Not that the average hardcore kid in 2011 will give a monkeys. Ok, so they don't make music like this these days (at least, if they do, I have no idea what scene it is a part of or who would be interested), but it doesn't sound old. It still sounds fresh & interesting.

I'll probably get rid of my black vinyl copy now. Get in touch if you are interested...

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Off! First Four EPs

Continuing the theme of 'records that I am the last person in the world to get', here's the Off! 'First Four EPs' boxset that finally arrived on my desk last week.

I was trying to pick this thing up for weeks with no luck. I wanted to get it from within the UK so as to avoid paying the shipping charges required to get it here from the States. The problem was that it just wasn't available anywhere. It was either listed as not being out yet, or sold out. I even went into a couple of shops and had to communicate with actual human beings in my quest to get this, but to no avail. All I got was meaningless waffle wrapped in lies atop a pile of bullshit. Yet somehow, people I knew had managed to get one of these things. Typical.

I got it eventually though. I went to lunch at the local Thai eatery and found that they were giving away an Off! boxset with every phad thai, all for the bargain price of £5. Top stuff!

See the sticker on the front? I noticed something wrong with it almost immediately. It brags that the band contains some dude called Mario Rubalcaba, and tells you that he was in some bands called Rocket From The Crypt and Hot Snakes. Yet it somehow completely forgets to mention that he was in some good bands too. Most notably, 411 and (a personal favourite that nobody else in the world likes) Metroschifter*.

Still, as we know, nobody buys a record for the drummer, and we all know that the main point of interest in this band is Keith Morris, who is apparently now 55 years old and who still feels the need to piss in the punchbowl. And he can still jump too, as the photo in the color booklet clearly demonstrates:

I also realised when I was taking photos that I never wrote up the first Off! 7" that I also acquired late. It seems pretty pointless buying it now if you don't have it because if you want the boxset you'll just be buying it again. It's the same as the one in the box except for it comes with a big fold out poster and a different sticker on the front.

I think we can safely say that if you like early Black Flag then you're going to be into this. If you don't then... hello?

*Somehow I own two of the ten tests of the first Metroschifter 7". I might be persuaded to let one go if someone wants to trade.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Supertouch 'Lost My Pre-Order' 7"

I pre-ordered the new Supertouch 7" back on 5 December. I'm not 100% definite, but I'm reasonably sure that I placed an order on the first day on which it was possible to do so. Then I waited. And waited some more. And then I started to realise that everyone else had received theirs except me. Lins87 got his in early February, and Doug got his a few days later, at which point I proclaimed myself to be the only person in the world not to have theirs. After waiting a bit longer I finally got around to emailing the label a week or so ago to see if I could figure out what happened. Here's the response I got back:

... when i mailed the pre order packages out a few weeks back there was one package with no address when i got to the post office. i had 400 pre orders and no way really of knowing which one we forgot to put an address on. anyways i kept that one aside until yesterday when i got your email. i put YOUR address on the package and its going out today.

So there you go. I actually WAS the last person in the world to get their preorder. Ha!

Because I ordered early I was lucky enough to snag one of each colour - blue (out of a few), and green (out of a few more).

What's it like? Well, you probably know that already. After all, you got yours about two months ago, remember? But it's like most Supertouch stuff. Some people love it, others hate it. Like pretty much everything in the whole world. I guess the sound isn't surprising. But the thing I find weird is the cover. A chick swimming. What the hell has that got to do with anything? It doesn't appear to have anything to do with the title of the record to me. But maybe I'm missing the point. I probably shouldn't dwell on it too much though. I mean, let's be clear, I'm not complaining. One should never complain about seeing a great ass. Perhaps they're just trying to start a new trend - half naked girls on record covers. Or maybe they're just following Integrity's recent lead...

I saw Supertouch play over here in the UK in January right after eating a great pizza. I filmed a couple of songs on my iphone. I was lucky enough to capture the two songs that Chaka from BURN sang. It's interesting to see how these dudes look in 2011 if nothing else. Someone on Livewire thought that Chaka was wearing a cape, which I found very amusing. Check it out if you have a spare seen minutes and twenty nine seconds:

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Happy Birthday To Me

I'm running a little behind schedule (no change there then!), but as of two days ago...

Of all the things I could do with my time, why on earth do I do this?