Monday, 27 February 2012

Descendents Hallraker Live!

Oh, how the SST color vinyl gods have been smiling on me lately. This is the fourth SST color vinyl long time want that I have picked up in the last two months. 2012 has already seen me pick up two colour vinyl Black Flag records (not including the recent reissues, I hasten to add) and now here's the second colour Descendents record of the year, 'Hallraker Live!' on green vinyl.

A weird record this one. The second live Descendents album that SST Records released. I mean, live records seem pointless at the best of times, but if you've already put out a live LP then why would you put out another? Could it have been because the band had broken up and the label needed an excuse to issue another Descendents record to make some more money? Who knows? But despite the fact that there seems little point to this record, I gotta say that I do love the cover.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Trial 'Foundation' 7" Repress

Yet another repress from the vaults of New Age Records, and this time out is the TRIAL 'Foundation' 7". This one originally came out in about 1995 and, oddly for New Age at the time, was pressed on black vinyl only. So 16 years later they finally decided to get it pressed on colour vinyl. And, like the other New Age represses of recent times, they really went to town on it, making 4 different versions...

The rarest colour is marble grey. There are 200 of these suckers:

Or should I say, there are 277 grey, but 77 of them got given the old Walk Proud labels (as with every other record New Age has repressed in the last couple of years) to become to rarest version - the '77 pressing. My two grey copies are slightly different shades of grey. The '77 pressing is a lighter grey than the regular grey copy, but I don't think it shows up too well here.

There were also 300 on clear, and 500 on 'brown'. Well, the label calls it 'brown', but the copy I got was definitely a dark red.

And here you can see the four copies together:

It's funny how some things are never quite how they seem. I remembered this 7" as a really good record that I liked a lot back when it came out. But if I'm honest, I haven't listened to Trial for a long time, and when I re-listened to this recently, it just sounded like a weak version of Strain to me. I was a little disappointed. But I really enjoyed reading the story that came with this record, which is a band history that leads right up to an explanation of how this repress came about. There was quite a lot to read for such a small piece of paper, and I found it a really nice extra to throw in with the records.

Looks like New Age still have all colours in their store if you're interested.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

More BANE bits & bobs

Ok I admit it, I have a few records. I've been collecting records now for close to 20 years. Jesus Christ, that in itself is a scary fact. It makes me sound OLD. Fuck. Anyway, despite having something like 3800 records in my collection, I don't think that I have a complete collection of any single band. There are a lot of bands for which I own all their releases, but I don't think there is a single band of which I own a complete collection. Not one.

Having said that though, it's not easy. For the last ten years or so, every single record released is likely to have at least 5 versions. There will be a test press, a record release version, a pre-order version, probably a couple more 'regular' vinyl colours, a tour version, and probably a last show version. So if you try collecting records by a band that releases say 3 records in a year, that means that you most likely have about 15 different records to track down. Not to mention any uber rare variants like transitions, friends presses, etc. So really, what I am saying is that it's a tall order for anyone to ever get a complete collection of any band these days. So it's perhaps no surprise that I don't have any complete collections.

However, if there was one band that I might conceivably achieve this feat for, it would be Bane. I now own 11 different Bane test pressings and most of the rarest variants of their releases. But ironically, I realised recently that what I am now missing is the common versions of some of their records. Although, after more than ten years since they were released, suddenly even the common versions aren't that common any more. So I got in touch with a friend who I knew would be able to help me out, and I was able to add a couple of variants to the collection that I was missing so that I could one (or four) steps closer to being complete...

First up, the third 7" that was released by Equal Vision Records, 'Holding This Moment' on plain old black vinyl. I have three colours of this already and a test press. And ironically, this regular black copy was the last one I needed to complete that particular set. But at least it's now done.

(Note the b-side label which features a picture of Ben Affleck)

Next, the split 7" with Adamantium on Indecision Records, also on black vinyl. Again, I have a test press and also the more limited grey vinyl, but this black copy now completes that set.

I once heard that this 7" was supposed to come with a set of dog tags, but for some reason that never happened. I imagine cost and packaging would have caused a few problems.

Next up is a(nother) copy of the second 7", 'Free To Think, Free To Be' 7" that was released by the Life Recording Company, on green vinyl. This one is both interesting and annoying. There were 200 of these things made on green vinyl. One hundred were stamped and numbered out of 100. The other 100 were simply stamped with the Bane stamp and left unnumbered. This copy is one of the numbered copies.

However, there is a quirk to this copy. As I just said, one hundred of these were numbered. They were numbered using a mixture of hand writing and a rubber stamp. The stamp says '/100' and the numbers (1-100) were then written on by hand. This copy follows that same pattern. However, as you can see, rather than this one being number 8/100, it is 8/300.

Now, hang on a second... this is number 8 out of THREE hundred? That can't be right. There weren't even 300 of these things made. So how the hell did the '/300' stamp find its way on to here? It doesn't make sense. I mean, if you were going to sit down to stamp 100 records, then by my reckoning you would need one hundred and one things - a stamp reading '/100' and one hundred seven inch records. So how on earth does a situation arise where would you stamp 99 copies with '/100' and then somehow stamp another one with a different '/300' stamp? And how or why would you then number that particular copy number 8? As you can imagine, I'm keen to try to figure out how this weird stamping error may have happened, although I fear that I will never get an answer because the person who released this is unlikely to remember.

Finally, here's another quirky variant. This is another copy of the 'Free To Think, Free To Be' 7", but this one is on black vinyl. There were originally two different black vinyl versions of this record. One with printed labels (with the Bane logo printed on them that I still don't own), and three hundred copies which came with plain white labels. However, these plain label copies were (just like the green vinyl copy above) stamped and numbered out of 300 (using that damn '/300' stamp). This copy I have just acquired has plain white unstamped labels, and also does not come in a sleeve. In pretty much every way it looks like a test press. However, the person who sent it to me is as sure as can be that it's not a test press. It's just one of the 300 copies that had plain white labels that never got stamped & numbered (and also never given a sleeve it seems). Apparently there were only about 30 copies that were not numbered, although as they are not numbered and there is no official record, there seems no way of verifying that.

So that's that. Four steps closer to completion. But still several steps away. I am aware that I now need one of the black vinyl versions of the first 7" (I think the one with the white labels), a test of the second 7" (which is impossible), the black vinyl copy of the second 7" with bane logo labels, and a test of the 6131 Records 7". Oh, and possibly a test of the 10 Year Anniversary 7", if such a thing exists. And also I once heard of a clear yellow copy of the second 7" that is ultra rare. And then there's the compilations too. Ugh. It never ends.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Old Man Gloom Charity LP

Like the rest of the world, I went through this major Isis / Pelican / Hydrahead phase back in about 2004. It got to the point where if a song was shorter than 6 minutes and had any vocals in it, I wasn't interested. Short angry blasts of hardcore weren't doing it for me at that point in time, as it all seemed a bit stale. It was all about 'post metal', or whatever that genre is called these days. Kinda funny now, given that today the situation is the complete opposite and I don't really listen to anything remotely like Isis these days as that style now seems played out and dull.

One band that I pre-dated my 2004 post metal phase, however, was OLD MAN GLOOM. I'd been into what Hydrahead were doing since their early days, and always enjoyed label owner Aaron Turner's various music projects, so naturally I checked out Old Man Gloom. Old Man Gloom was an interesting band. I have no idea how to describe their sound. Metal, post metal, hardcore sludge... all of these. I don't know. It doesn't really matter too much. But they were obsessed with apes in some way. Song titles from their debut album 'Meditations in B' include:

- Simian Alien Technology Message Received
- Rotten Primate
- An Evening At The Gentleman’s Club For Apes
- Test Result Alien Ape Distress Signal

Anyway, this was originally released by Tortuga Recordings on CD and then Magic Bullet Records put out the vinyl two or three years later. The first press was over 1,000 copies, after which there was a second pressing of only 150 in a silk screened sleeve. This was known as the 'Charity Edition' as all proceeds benefited the Great Ape Survival Project (whatever that is). Of the 150 charity copies, 120 were on black vinyl, and only 24 were on grey vinyl... and I finally managed to track one down.

Now that I finally tracked down a grey copy, I could let my black vinyl copy go. Get in touch if you are interested.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

In My Head Orange Pink Salmon

I've been slowly collecting colour vinyl Black Flag records for about five years now. I've been picking them off one at a time. No rush. But one proved a real problem for me. 'In My Head' on pink. For the first couple of years I didn't even know that this one existed. Then I found out about it but couldn't find one anywhere. Then one appeared on eBay. I watched it for a few days and decided to bid with about five seconds left. I bid something like $110 because I wanted it bad, but when I hit the 'confirm bid' button all I got was some annoying message saying "sorry, but this seller does not ship to your country". I cursed myself for not spotting this sooner and emailing the seller. The record sold for nowhere near $110 and I remain convinced that if I had have been able to get my bid it I would have one. Anyway, that was that. I didn't get another sniff of that record. Then, a month or so ago, I picked up the recent repress of 'In My Head' on brown vinyl. Suddenly, owning a colour vinyl copy of it meant that I wasn't so fussed about not having the pink one. And then, wouldn't you know it, about a week later the pink one appeared on eBay UK. Typical. As soon as the urgency drops away, the very thing I wanted appeared right in front of me. So I went through the usual ritual of watching it for a few days and then bidding at the last minute. I won it for £15, which is quite clearly a lot less than the $110 that I would have paid a couple of years back. Cool.

The slightly annoying thing is that my copy is not exactly what I would call pink. No, this one is definitely more toward orange. Kinda cool though because this colour is a closer match to the orange on the cover. See the nun in the orange box in the bottom right corner? Well, the record colour is quite close the orange of that box. And vinyl matching cover art colours is always a good thing. But still, it makes me think that there must be copies out there that are more pink, given that everyone seems to refer to this colour as pink. Which means that I still need one on pink. Here's a picture of one I found on popsike:

As you can see, this one definitely looks more pink than my copy. But maybe it's just the light. Maybe they are all kind of orangey pink, the kind of colour that sometimes gets referred to as 'salmon'. Then again, maybe nobody cares. Maybe it doesn't matter. But it does kinda bug me.

Anyway, picking this one up now puts me in an interesting situation. Aside from this on pink, and a couple of the recent represses (which barely count) I think the only colour LP I now need is 'Damaged' on clear purple. Then I would have a complete Black Flag colour vinyl LP collection. So, is anyone out there going to do the honourable thing and donate me one? Come on, people!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Bane 'Give Blood' 10 Year Anniversary Reissue

The passing of time never ceases to amaze me. As I get older, the years seem to be flying by faster and faster. The last 5 especially are a total blur. But as much as I am constantly surprised by the passing of time, I still can't believe it has been ten years since Bane released 'Give Blood'. Crazy. Then again, if I think back to where I was and what I was doing in 2001, it does seem like a lifetime ago. Oh, how life has changed. And then, in some ways, it has remained the same. I mean, here I am, still buying the bloody colour vinyl for starters...

So yeah, you probably know by now that Triple B Records decided to repress 'Give Blood' in 2011 to mark the ten year anniversary of its original release. Given that it was originally put out by Equal Vision Records, and the band is still going whilst the vinyl LPs are long gone, it seemed sensible to put it back into print so that a new generation of kids could spin these songs on their turntables without having to drop big bucks on eBay.

The cool thing is that this has been reissued in different packaging, meaning that even those of us who bought it first time around could still get involved in the vinyl action and get some excitement. The front cover this time around is simply a red cross, and the sleeve is now gatefold:

The original artwork is also included, but this time as the cover to the glossy booklet style insert.

Just like the original, this reissue has been pressed onto 4 different colours of vinyl. Red & White Splatter (200), White (400), Clear Red (400) and Black (1000).

I did make sure to do something different to ten years ago though. This time around, I figured it most sensible to pursue up a test press as quickly as possible so as not to get caught up in some crazy bidding war on eGay. And wouldn't you know it, I got lucky.

There were 15 tests made, and unusually these come on color vinyl. It's quite a nice colour too. A kind of 'toothpaste' type colour.

I think that I now own one copy of this album for every year that it has been around. Wow. Here's to ten more...

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Mega City Four 'Tranzophobia' LP

You know how sometimes you get a song stuck in your head? Well, this happens to me quite a lot. Most of the time it seems to be a song I've heard playing in a shop or some other public place, but now and again a song comes from the deep reaches of my brain and surprises me. Mega City Four were a UK band active at the end of the 80s and into the early 90s. Back when I was about 16, some of my friends liked them, but I was never really into them. I guess I just thought they were too melodic for me. Back then I was starting to crave stuff that was harder & faster. But because my friends played their stuff quite a bit, I became familiar with a few of their songs. And somehow, twenty years after I last heard anything by this band, one of these songs popped into my head recently. Weird huh? So I went online to listen to it, and then ended up listening to a few other tunes. Then I downloaded them, and then ended up spinning them on my way to work. And before I knew it I had downloaded two albums and a couple of EPs and I couldn't stop listening to them. And then, wouldn't you know it, I ended up on eBay looking for vinyl, where I found their first LP 'Tranzophobia' which I won for £0.99. Deal.

Twenty years on, it seems that my friends were right. This band was pretty good. After a bit of googling I then found that their first two LPs (of which this is one) came on colour vinyl, so now the hunt is on. I also found out that their singer passed away in 2006. RIP Wiz.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Screaming for a Repress

There are a lot of represses & reissues these days. But here's one that everyone should own (especially if they don't already own the record) - a new colour vinyl pressing of the classic Uniform Choice 'Screaming For Change' LP on Wishingwell Records.

When I first heard about this one being on green vinyl I thought it was a stupid colour choice, seeing as the record was originally pressed on clear green way back when. And we all know that one of the golden rules of pressing records is that you don't press the same colour twice. Fortunately though, this recent pressing is pretty easy to tell apart from the original clear green pressing.

Here is the repress (on the left) next to the original (on the right). As you can see, the repress is on a lighter green vinyl, but also the colours on the front cover of the repress are slightly lighter than the cover of the original, which is most noticeable if you look at the words 'screaming for change':

The next difference would probably not be obvious unless you had both records laying next to each other. But the dead wax area at the end of the songs is much smaller in size on the repress compared to the original, as these pictures show:

Also, not that you can see it here (as I couldn't capture it in a photo) but the matrix itself is different. The original has a little message in the matrix, whereas the repress contains only the catalogue number.

Finally, the most obvious difference is the insert. Here's a pic showing the original on the right and the repress on the left:

Yes, that's right, there is no insert with the repress! I guess it was too expensive to make more inserts. Could there be any other reason?

Also, in case you are not aware, there is another variant of this repress out there, which is some weird ugly green colour (see HERE). If anyone has one and wants to part with it please get in touch as I'd quite like one.

Finally - I picked up an extra copy of this thing. If someone in the UK wants it then get in touch.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Wasted Again... again

In my last post I mentioned something about having another lead on an old piece of Black Flag colour vinyl. Well, it came good and here it is... 'Wasted Again' on gold.

I always thought that this is a weird record. It's kind of like a greatest hits type record, with half the songs being pre-Henry and the other half being Rollins songs. I would describe the Henry songs on here as about as far from the greatest hits as is possible to get. 'Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie', 'Louie Louie' and 'Drinking & Driving' could easily have been left off here in my opinion. Not that it matters really. Given that all the songs are on other records, it's kind of a pointless record anyway. Although, I have to say, I like the cover of this record. An odd design no doubt, but I just like the colours.