Monday 31 December 2012

2012 Wrap Up

Now that 2012 is over, it's time to take a few minutes to reflect. It was a pretty good year for music and a good year for records. So just for fun and posterity, here are my top 5 lists.

(Note - there are a lot of links here. Each record title links to the original post on this blog, whereas the record label name links to the label's site in case you want to buy some records of your own)

Top 5 7"s of 2012

1. NO TOLERANCE 'No Remorse, No Tolerance' (Youngblood Records) - I saw this band play live this year, which really cemented them as one of my favourite bands. This 7" kills everything.

2. GIVE 7" trilogy - ok, so I'm cheating a bit, but the three Give 7"s are on constant rotation for me and it's impossible to pick one over the other two, so I'm choosing all three. Sue me.
'I Am Love' (Triple B Records)
'Flowerhead' (Youngblood Records)
'Petal Pushing' (Painkiller Records)

3. ROT IN HELL 'Termini Terrae' (Dark Empire Records) - just sneaking in at the end of the year, this marks a very welcome return for Rot In Hell with four 'next level' songs.

4. UNHOLY MAJESTY 'S/T' (A389 Records) - a 7" by a newer UK Holy Terror band, this 7" notched up a LOT of plays this year. Apparently there's an LP coming in 2013. Can't wait.

5. POWER TRIP 'S/T' (Lockin' Out Records) - if you'd have told me when I bought this that it would make my top 5, I would have said you were insane. But this one grows on me every time I play it & I'm pretty much playing this daily now, especially in the gym.

Top 5 LPs of 2012

1. GYPSY 'Giant's Despair' (Six Feet Under Records) - I was really looking forward to this LP, and it hit the spot immediately. I've played this loads this year and I show no signs of tiring of it. I only wish it were longer.

2. YOUR FAVORITE TRAINWRECK 'S/T' (Fortunate Son Records) - featuring Popeye from Farside and Jeff from Gameface, this was a slowburn at first but then I got hooked on a couple of songs, and now I know pretty much every word to it. Great record.

3. FIRE & ICE 'Not Of This Earth' (Reaper Records) - I was excited for this LP and it didn't disappoint at all. Great mosh inducing hardcore.

4. BOSTON STRANGLER 'S/T' (Fun With Smack Records) - THE most hyped record of the year (and decade), this did not disappoint at all. Love this.

5. DINOSAUR JR 'I Bet On Sky' (Jagjaguwar Records) - a new Dinosaur Jr album, and as usual it delivered. Great artwork too.

My Top 5 Pickups of 2012

1. The 'Ultimate Test Press Score' - I bought 13 test pressings from one person in one go, including five Revelation tests. This lot was sent in not 1, Not 2, but 3 separate packages.

2. UNITY 7" on blue - the first Wishingwell Records release, a killer record, and a long time want of mine. Done.

3. REASON TO BELIEVE LP Test Press - one of my all time favourite bands and albums, I was stoked to scoop a test press.

4. NO WARNING 'Suffer Survive' LP Test Press - I didn't listen to this album for years, but when I did listen I loved it. And fortunately, someone I knew just happened to be offloading a test press so I jumped all over it.

5. CAVE IN 'Jupiter' LP on clear - I've always loved Cave In, and this is the record of theirs I have played the most. The super rare clear vinyl copy appeared on eBay and I just had to take it.

Well, that pretty much sums up 2012 for me. Big thanks for anyone who continues to read this thing, and bigger thanks to those who comment. It's all about fun and communication, people. Here's to 2013...

Black Flag Colour LP Collection

I don't usually pull out things from my collection to post. This blog has always been an online diary of new things I pick up. But due to just completing my Black Flag color vinyl LP collection, as well as the fact that my girlfriend is sick and it's raining outside (hence I'm bored), I figured I would spend some time taking photos today. So here's the culmination of 6 years of patience and sniping...

First up, 'Damaged'. The purple marble copy has blue labels, which means it is an earlier press (apparently from the late 80s according to Lins). The pink, red & clear purple copies have red labels and are all early 90s pressings.

Next, 'My War'. The red vinyl has no barcode on the back, the blue does. The red is an earlier pressing for sure, but the blue seems harder to come by and sells for more on average.

And now, three copies of 'Slip It In'. The clear, dark red copy is from the early 90s, whereas the green and grey were pressed this year.

Next is 'Loose Nut'. The first blue vinyl copy (which is the early 90s pressing) that I bought on eBay (for about £6) arrived broken. I complained to the seller about poor packaging and got a refund, then I framed it. In 20 years of buying records, this is the only one that's ever arrived broken.

So not long after the broken blue vinyl copy of 'Loose Nut', I found another for about the same price. Then, this year, they repressed it on a million different colour variations. I stupidly bought three of them.

It's a similar deal with 'In My Head'. Until this year there was only one colour version, which is an orangey pink colour. Then this year it got pressed on several colours. I bought two. I like the dark brown as it matches the cover.

Not so great a record, but essential if you want a complete Flag collection, it's the inevitable live record - 'Who's Got The 10½?'. There are two colours of this one - clear pink and clear purple (which looks black here but is definitely purple, I assure you!).

Possibly the most pointless record to own if you have all the others, 'Wasted Again', which is a greatest hits album. I do love the colourful cover on this one, even though it's completely out of step with all the others. There are two colours of this one - gold vinyl and blue vinyl. The blue vinyl copy of this is pretty rare. Not even the ultimate Black Flag discography seems to know about this one. Ironically, this was the first piece of colour Black Flag vinyl I picked up back in 2006 when I decided to start this collection.

And here's a few odds and sods. Each of these (currently) only exists on one colour. 'Family Man' on yellow, 'The First Four Years' on gold, and 'Everything Went Black' on white.

And finally, the money shot. The whole lot in one go. It's a good job I have a king sized bed.

In total, this post must have taken about 3 hours to put together. After all this time and effort I can safely say that I don't want to see another colour vinyl Black Flag LP for quite some time.

Sunday 30 December 2012

Clear Purple Damaged

I'm super stoked on this one. Black Flag 'Damaged' on clear purple vinyl. It's one of those purple records that looks black unless there's a light behind it, as you can see:

Now that I have this, I think I have a complete Black Flag colour vinyl LP collection. Well, almost. Last year they reissued two albums on numerous different colours in one of those pressings where the plant used leftover vinyl, so there are all kinds of different colour mixes out there. Kind of irritating as it makes it impossible to get them all. But ignoring those dumbass 2011 reissues, I think I now have everything that was pressed in the 90s. It's taken me about 6 years to collect these things. In celebration I might get the whole lot out for a group photo. What do you lot think?

Saturday 29 December 2012

Silver Is The Devil

Not one that was really on my want list, but I saw it for what I thought was pretty cheap, so I clicked the button. This is Integrity 'Humanity Is The Devil' 10" with the silver sleeve, on black vinyl.

I didn't realise until this turned up that the pressing info is printed on the back of the thing.

I'm not sure exactly what the crack is with this. There are a few of the 'classic' Victory releases that at some point (late 90s? Early 00s? I struggle to remember) got put up for sale in limited sleeves. The ones I know about for sure are the Deadguy LP and the first Snapcase LP, but I'm pretty sure there were others. I don't know why these came to exist, but I would guess that they were leftover records and Victory wanted to shift them... although this one is numbered out of 1419 copies, so if my theory is true then that would be a lot of left overs.

Thursday 27 December 2012

Termini Terrae

It's been quite some time since I posted a ROT IN HELL record on here. Exactly one year, in fact. To the day. They used to crank out records pretty regularly, but then two members left and things went quiet. I was starting to wonder whether they had reached the end of the road, but fortunately they are back from the dead. What happened? Well, I don't really know the detail, but basically a foreign vocalist was recruited & things didn't seem to work out, so a local lad named Lecky (or 'electricity' if you're in Liverpool) ended up stepping in to fill the void. And there's probably someone else playing bass now too.

Well, as soon as the band was up and running again, there was a recording obligation to fulfill. A 7" for some label called Dark Empire Records. Yes, that's right - Dark Empire. Dwid's label from the early 90s.

I think I got lucky when the pre-orders opened. I must have been online quite soon after they went up, because I got in early enough to get a test press. Not sure who it is on the front. Some dippy tart.

The regular press looks far more badass. There were two colours available for pre-order - blue and white. Both out of 100 copies, and both now sold out.

My white record has a cool bluey purpley splotch on each side.

The cover is a tri-fold affair, and the artwork is pretty damn crucial, as usual.

If anyone was worried that the vocalist leaving would make the band sound very different, then you need worry no more. I imagine that anyone who didn't know the band changed singer wouldn't realise after listening to this. Musically this is also spot on. The intro to side b is fantastic stuff. I was expecting an acoustic song but it quickly upped the pace into a full on aural assault. I just need the mp3s now so I can listen to this some place other than sat on the floor in my spare room.

Monday 24 December 2012

Blue Are One

Hot on the heels of the Underdog 7" that I picked up a couple of months ago, I now find myself crossing yet another longtime blue vinyl 7" want off the list. This time, it's the Unity 'You Are One' 7". Wishingwell Records number one, no less.

So I guess that right now would probably be a good time to admit that I've never really understood which side of the sleeve is supposed to be the front cover. In my opinion, the side pictured above featuring the photo of the dude sitting under the tree is the front cover. This is based mainly on the logic that it features the name of the record, which as we all know is usually located on the front.

So, if I'm saying that the photo above is the front, then by process of elimination, the next photo must be the back:

The reason that I think that this side is the back is because it contains the song titles in the bottom right corner. I mean, whoever heard of putting the song titles on the front? That would be stupid.

Seems pretty straight forward, right? The front's the front and the back's the back. Well, maybe. But the confusion for me comes from the fact that about 99% of pictures I see of this record show the cartoon, x-d up dude side of the cover. So? Well, to me that just suggests that 99% of people think that side is the front. If they thought the other side was the front then they'd take a picture of the other side. Also, when Indecision Records re-released this back in 1999, they used the cartoon dude side as the front cover, although the got rid of the text box containing the song titles because, as we know, putting the song titles on the front would be stupid.

Anyway, I'd be interested to hear which side you think is the front, if for no other reason than to confirm I am right.

Moving on, I was conscious that the photos above make the blue vinyl look a little darker than it actually is, so I plonked it next to the window so as to show that it really is quite a light blue.

Next we move on to the issue of the insert. And again, there's a mystery to solve. As you may know, this 7" usually comes with one of two inserts. Apart from my black vinyl copy, that is, which comes without either! But in some bizarre twist of fate, this copy comes with two inserts - one of each version.

On the right, the one with the Unity written in a weird font at the top. It features pics of the band on the other side. And at the bottom, the one which has the lyrics condensed into 60% of the paper on one side, and a pic of the band on top of a building on the reverse.

Once again, I have no idea what the deal is. The 'Die Hard' insert seems to more commonly be paired up with the later pressing of the 7" (the one on black vinyl with red labels). But checking popsike, it seems pretty much all versions of the 7" can come with any version of the insert. In theory, the 'Die Hard' insert is for a later pressing and should never come with the first press blue vinyl record. But there are two that do. So god knows.

Sunday 23 December 2012

Larkin' With The Strangler

Unless you've been living under a rock for a few months, you'll know that pretty much the most hyped and sought after records of the year is the MUDLARK LP. Even though I latched onto the hype myself at some point, I don't really know where it came from. I would guess a hot demo tape and a few live shows. But regardless of the how, it seemed that everyone was eagerly awaiting the release of the LP. So unsurprisingly, when it came out, it sold out immediately. Not only that, but copies were going on eBay for insane amounts. And not a single limited version in sight. No colour vinyl, no limited sleeve. Just plain old black vinyl. Kinda cool that in 2012, where every record seems to have at least 5 different versions by default, that the most essential release of the year is black vinyl only.

Well anyway, I finally managed to get one, after months of consistently being too late. Here's the proof. Photos of my Mudlark LP:

I think the first place I tried to get a copy of the Mudlark LP was in The Essence records online store. Adam had ten copies and they were going to be available at 9am on a Saturday. I figured that getting one would be easy. I got up and had my laptop on at 8:50, and every few seconds I hit refresh to see if the LP was in stock. After about 100 clicks, eventually the LP appeared in the store as 'available'. So I clicked 'add to cart' to then be greeted by a weird message. It said something like 'sorry, you cannot buy this item because all items are in other user's carts'. Basically, the ten copies sold out in literally ten seconds. There must have been probably twenty more people doing the same thing as me that morning, and I just wasn't in the top ten of fast clickers. This was of course a flavour of what was to come over the next couple of months. Every now and again Mike would send me a message, or there would be a message on the Livewire board, saying "more Mudlark LPs available - check the Painkiller store" or "check the Grave Mistake store". And every link I followed lead to the same "SOLD OUT" mesage when I got there. So I gave up.

Then finally, a couple of weeks ago, Mike sent another message linking me to the Fun With Smack online store. They had a few more LPs in the store. The only slight catch was that you had to buy it as part of a combo package where you were forced to pay $16 to get the Mudlark LP plus some bullshit record that nobody has ever heard of by a band called Boston Strangler. This is either the biggest con ever known to man, or a genius way of selling leftover copies of a record that nobody cares about. One of the two.

So yeah, I got sent this Boston Strangler LP that I would never have bought if I wasn't forced to take it as part of this package deal. As you can see, there's a whole lot of BS going on here.

As it turns out, I have to say that this LP is alright. I have played it & I did enjoy it. Maybe this idea of being forcing people to buy a record they couldn't care less about isn't so bad after all.

Friday 21 December 2012

The Crushing Wheels Of Samsara

Once again I'm showing how up to date I am with another new release. This is a 7" by a UK band called INHERIT. To be completely honest, the only real reason I picked this up is because I know the vocalist, Adam. Dude has always been good to me. We have that 'old dude at the show' thing in common (well, on the rare occasions that I actually venture outside the house). So I wanted to check out his newest band.

This is the band's second 7". The first was released by Reflections and I missed it. This 7" is called 'The Crushing Wheels Of Samsara' and is a split release by The Essence (Adam's own label) and Control Records.

The first thing to say is that the packaging is top notch. The artwork is nicely done and printed on some fancy ass paper. I don't know what kind of paper this is, but trust me, it's rad. I got one of the green vinyl copies numbered out of 100. The vinyl looks lighter in real life, but it was really difficult to get the green to come out well in a photo.

If there was a hardcore band scale then I think they'd probably sit somewhere between Burn & the Cro-Mags, although I have to say that Inherit is a bit futher into the metal/thrash/crossover zone than I would usually venture. I wasn't really digging this on the first play, but I've stuck with it & it's one of my current gym favourites. I'd definitely be interested in seeing them play live... although seeing as that would probably involve going out of the house then it seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Monday 17 December 2012

Bonus Flag

At the start of the year, SST records repressed a couple of Descendents records on colour wax. 'ALL' came out on purple, and 'Bonus Fat' on grey and green. They were literally all over eBay. I planned to do an SST order and pick up those and the Black Flag colour reissues all in one fell swoop. But time passed and I didn't. All of a sudden, the Descendents represses were gone. Oops! But just recently I managed to track down one of them - 'Bonus Fat' on grey.

This really is the worst and most pointless Descendents record. It combines two 7"s onto one 12". One side is full of joke 30 second songs. The other side is the debut 7" which sounds like a different band. Not even a good band either. Some whackass surf type band. Atrocious stuff. Ride The Wild? Hardly. But you know how it is - if you're going for the full collection then you have to own the rough with the smooth.

At the same time as picking this up, I also grabbed another copy of Black Flag's 'In My Head' on a different brownish color. This is one of the dumbest purchases I have made. I am convinced that these were pressed on scrap vinyl, as there are many different shades of colour. It would be completely futile to try to collect them, as probably every copy is different. Yet even knowing that, I just bought another one. I have to stop now else I am going to end up with ten copies of this and ten copies of 'Loose Nut', which will ruin the collection and cause major imbalance... although I have seen a yellow one which does look kinda cool.

If anyone has a handle on where I can get a purple vinyl copy of 'ALL' please let me know. They probably pressed 500, so there must be somewhere I can get one without having to pay over the odds. Anyone?

Saturday 15 December 2012

Integrity Catch Up

I just checked, and in 2012 I only picked up two pieces of Integrity vinyl. I own a ridiculous number of Integrity records, but after missing a couple of pre-orders completely, I got pissed off and decided to give up. Well, I don't mean that I gave up completely, more just that I needed to take a break because missing a couple of releases stressed me out. I knew I would get them at some point. It would just be a matter of time. A couple of weeks ago it was the annual Black Friday sale in the A389 Records store, so I thought I would take the opportunity to start catching up. There's still a way to go, but it's all about taking it one step at a time at this point.

First it's the latest (fifth) pressing of the 'VValpurgisnacht' 7". This pressing sees the cover updated to now include a green Charlie, and this copy is on pale clear green vinyl. It also features updated label art.

Next up is the purple vinyl version of the split 7" with Creepout. When I ordered this back when it came out, there was no purple vinyl available in the store, although I saw a copy online so I knew it existed. But now you can freely buy it in the A389 store, so no idea if this is the rarer or more common colour. Not that it matters.

And finally, a black vinyl copy of the 'Kingdom Of Heaven' 7". This was released to mark 20 years since these songs were recorded. Back when this came out at the start of the year, the white vinyl and red vinyl sold out before I even knew this had been pressed. Now I'm looking at it positively. I have one, only need to find two more.

So after picking these up, I'm now only about 20 Integ records behind. If anyone wants to help out then get in touch.

Friday 14 December 2012

DC Guns

Despite how old I am and how long I've been collecting records, some things still surprise me. Today's record is an example.

The record in question is a test press of a 7" entitled 'DC Guns' by Down By Law, released by Selfless Records probably around 1994. I remember buying this when it came out. There were two versions - a single 7", and a double 7". This test is for the single 7", although on reflection it seems odd that the test would be anything other than the double 7". Ah well. Also, worth mentioning that this test comes with a sleeve (the regular one that the record was issued in), which is always a nice bonus for a test.

The surprise for me was that I was the only bidder on this test press and it sold for $10. Ok, so on the one hand this is not the band's best work, and DBL were never as big as other bands of this style and era. But still, it's a Dave Smalley band, and they were pretty big being on Epitaph and all. So not sure if I got lucky here, or whether I am literally the only person in the world interested in owning this. Whichever though, I'm not complaining.