Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Everything Blue Sucks

Another piece of the colour vinyl Descendents puzzle is now in place. 'Everything Sucks' on blue. This one took an inordinate amount of time to track down. I believe that there were 500 of these made, and this was the third colour pressed a couple of years ago. Whilst the white vinyl was sold in the Epitaph store, as was the clear vinyl that was pressed a few months later, the blue vinyl was (I think) a Hot Topic exclusive. Quite why any label feels the need to press exclusives for that place I do not know. But this meant that it was not widely available, especially if you live overseas like I do. Well anyway, after far too much time spent waiting, I finally I found one at a reasonable price. Good news.

I now have the colour set for this one. I love how each one has a sticker on the shrink wrap to denote the vinyl colour.

This means that (aside from the recent reissues) I'm only missing two colour LPs now - 'Liveage' on blue and 'Cool To Be You' on blue. Hopefully it won't be too long...

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Headfirst LP Test

eBay lesson time. How to score a bargain. Bit of a risky strategy this one. It involves NOT bidding on an item you want in an effort to score it at a reduced price. Here's how it works...

First up, you find an item on eBay that you want, but at a price you feel is perhaps a shade too optimistic. Next, you watch it, but do not bid. If you are lucky, everyone else who wants it will also think it is priced too high, and the item will end without a bid. At this point you may wish to email the seller and ask about buying it. But if you're confident then you'll wait for them to relist it and then you'll go through the same process again of watching the item at the high price and not bidding. Then you email the seller and (this is the key) tell them you have seen it end twice with no bids, and you then make an offer for the price you feel is reasonable. Having listed it twice without success, any seller with half a brain will realise that they priced it too high. But before the get a change to relist for a lower price that may encourage several people to bid, you storm on in & scoop it. Simple.

I've successfully applied this tactic a few times in the past. Here's the fruits of my latest attempt - a test press of the Headfirst LP 'The Enemy'. This was listed on eBay twice for $39.99. I paid a little less.

Since some readers may not know the record in question, I dug out my white vinyl copy mainly to show the sleeve.

This band was active circa 1990 and had both a 7" and an LP on Dan O'Mahoney's label Workshed Records. The 7", from what I can tell, was quite highly regarded at the time, whereas the LP represented a change of sound and was seen by many as a metal record, or a rock record. Not really hardcore. Although despite this change of sound, it's quite a good record when you get into it. This band also featured Kevin Murphy, who also went on to play in 411 and, later, Farside. If you like any of these bands then you should give Headfirst a go.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Not Of This Earth

Probably every other post I whittle on about being old. One of the things about getting older is that you get less excited about stuff generally. But especially with music. I don't get anywhere near as excited anywhere near as often as I used to 15 years ago or so. But this record here definitely did have me excited. The new (and in fact, debut) album from Fire & Ice.

Good old Mike turned me onto this band. he practically threatened to kick my ass if I didn't give them a listen. He knew that I liked both Iron Boots and Down To Nothing, and he also knew I would like Fire & Ice. However, I don't think he could have figured exactly how much I would like this band. It was my soundtrack to last summer's bike rides, and this album has arrived just in time for summer 2012. Rad.

First thing I have to say is that I love the name of the album, 'Not Of This Earth', and the front cover art.

Also love the back cover. Silhouettes of dudes in hoods. Although, is it just me, or is this heavily inspired by Supertouch?

The colours pressed for this thing were 300 on black, 700 on blue and 1,000 on white. Partly because I am a sucker, and partly because the prices were very reasonable, I could not help but pick up all three.

The little sticker in the top corner of the cover made me chuckle. "Richmond VA's most promising hardcore outfit is here...". Strikes me as a funny choice of words. I mean, 'promising' - that kinda implies they aren't very good, but have potential. But also, the whole purpose of the sticker in the first place. I mean, seriously, what's the point?

I've had this for four days now and listened to it three or four times a day. It's pretty much as good as I expected. The opening riff of the first song though is SOOO good. I only wish it lasted longer. But then again, I could say that for the whole album. It needs to be abuot five minutes longer. I ride my bike from Richmond to Hammersmith and back each day, and the album finishes about five minutes before I reach my destination, which is quite simply not good enough.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Current 'Peace Love' 7"

I picked this 7" up from Six Feet Under Records at the same time that I got the Gypsy LP, but it took me a couple of weeks to get around to listening to it as I was too addicted to the Gypsy LP to bother listening to anything else.

The funniest thing was that when I opened my package and this was in there I thought at first I had been sent a free 7" as I had no memory whatsoever of ordering it. But then I checked my paypal receipt and found that I had paid for it after all. I then spent a few minutes trying to figure out WHY I had ordered it. I mean, it didn't seem to have any kind of stand out feature. Nothing out of the ordinary to make me think 'god damn, I MUST order this one'. Well, I gave it a chance and in the end I'm glad I picked this up.

The front cover is interesting, although I can't look at this without thinking of Amy Winehouse. I think white is the most limited colour available too, out of 101 copies.

Talk about value for money. This 7" has nearly as many songs as an album and feels as long as one too.

I have found myself enjoying this and going back to it, although it's really hard to describe what it sounds like. The label's description says "sonically appealing to fans of everything from Burn to Quicksand to Bane to Modern Life Is War" which I would say is not far wrong, in that if you like most stuff then you'll no doubt find something you like here. One song even really sounds a lot like The Suicide File, which was one of my favourite bands of the last ten years. Dunno what else to say really, but I'd definitely buy an album if one came out.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Super Test

So I went to see Supertouch play last year in London, which turned out to be a really great show. I was slightly disppointed when I got to the venue though, as I learnt that the test press of their new (aka reissued on vinyl for the first time) record was sold out. The label made 50 tests for the band to sell on their brief jaunt to Euroland, and just my luck they played the UK last, meaning no records were left. Within a week or two someone sold a copy on eBay for over $200. It seemed the world had gone insane.

Well, after leaving it for a while I have eventually tracked one down, which I am pretty happy with. It'll sit nicely next to my test for 'The Earth Is Flat'.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Cave In Antenna 7"

As I mentioned a few days ago, I've been on a bit of a Cave In kick recently, getting into the newest album and also re-exploring the back catalogue. A few weeks ago I picked up a red vinyl copy of the 'Antenna' 7" and this got me to thinking that I should try to get the other colours, given that the red was my third copy. I feel this happening more and more now. I have to decide to go for a full set or just be happy with one copy... although, when I look at my collection, there are loads of records that I have half a collection of, and whilst I don't want more copies, I also find it hard to let copies go. So I'm destined to stay in a halfway house, which seems kinda pointless. Anyway, back to the Cave In 7"... after deciding to go for a full collection (based largely on the theory that it wouldn't cost much) I looked around on eBay to see what was available. And to be honest, it didn't take too long to find what I was missing, and at a very low price.

First up, the clear blue vinyl. This is from the first press and is the rarest version out of only 100 copies.

Next, clear vinyl. This is the more common colour of the first press, being out of 600 copies.

And finally, purple marble. No way of telling which pressing this is. It's either second or third press. According to the website, both were on marble/mess/swirl, and in total there were 3,500 for both of these pressings combined.

Adding these new copies to the test, red & gold copies that I already had, I think this one now counts as complete. Job done.

And then as soon as I had taken this picture I suddenly realised that I don't have a black vinyl copy. Job not done. Fail.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Misfits II

As you may recall, I picked up three copies of the purple vinyl Misfits LP back on Record Store Day. One I sold to a friend for cost price, the other I traded with a guy overseas. He asked me to pick one up, so I did. But I wasn't sure what to ask him to send me in return, as I figured I would be able to get most of the RSD stuff I wanted myself. So in the end I sked him to send me one of the US colours of the very same Misfits LP. So he sent me a blue one.

The funny thing is I'm not even really into the Misfits at all. So god only knows what I will do with the two copies of this record that I have. I'll probably trade these away at some point. Then again, I always say that and never get around to it.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Ancient VVisdom II

Only fifteen days ago I wrote about the Ancient VVisdom LP that I bought when I saw the band play live. Rather stupidly, I bought a copy of the LP from the band even though I had already ordered one from the label. You know how it is. When a record is in front of you, it's hard to not buy it. Well anyway, the copy I ordered from Magic Bullet records showed up. The copy I bought at the show was green, whereas the copy I mail ordered was orange-ish. I asked for this one because I thought it would go best with the album artwork.

Well, it seems to me that both are pretty similar. Remember though, one's supposed to be green and the other's orange. No doubt that's obvious though, right?

There are four colours of this thing in total, although I have to say that the colours shown on the label website do all look very different to each other (see HERE). The other two sound like they are very close to each other as well, being purple and grey. I'm not crazy enough about this band to want four copies, and all of a sudden two copies seems kinda stupid, so I guess I can let one of these go. Anyone want to buy or trade one?

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Record Store Bank Holiday

It's not often I go to record stores these days. I don't really live near to any, but even if I did, I probably wouldn't find the time to go much anyway. But sometimes, when I do have some time, it's fun to flick through the racks in the hope of finding something cool.

Well, I got an email recently from a dude who had read this blog and told me about the record store he worked in which wasn't too far from me. The shop is called All Ages Records and is based in Camden. I went there once back in about 2003 and was not very impressed, given that it had a tiny vinyl section and was mainly CDs. I didn't even know it was still open to be honest, although the fact that it does must mean that enough people do know it's there. Anyhow, on last week's rainy Bank Holiday Monday I jumped in the car and went into London for the day, with the store forming one item on my day's itinerary.

It's probably a good thing that I'm not too close to any physical stores, because this trip showed how easy it is to spend money. Here's a summary of what I picked up:

First up, the new album by The Alligators. This is dude from Agnostic Front and dudes from Insted. I got the two 7"s that Indecision Records put out a few years ago. They were pretty good, so I was keen to pick up this album. No idea on the pressing info. I would guess this colour is the more common variation, but I'm not overly fussed as the other colour looks horrible.

Next, a 7" on Hydrahead Records by a band called Black Face. I still haven't actually got around to listening to this yet, but it sounds (and looks) promising, as you can see:

Next up, three more additions to the Black Flag colour vinyl collection. I've been meaning to order the latest colour vinyl pressings of the LPs for a while but just not got around to it. So it was cool to be able to pick two of them off at one go without ordering from the States. 'Slip It In' on both grey and green vinyl:

And here's the 'TV Party' 7" on orange. This was the last of the four 7"s that were pressed on colour vinyl last year that I was missing.

Next, the second 7" from Louisville supergroup Black God. There were a lot of different colours made for this one. I don't feel the need to own more than one copy of this one as I know there are many variations available, and the band doesn't excite me enough to make me want to buy THAT many records. Stoked on this colour though. Crystal clear always looks good.

This next one is a funny one. This is a 7" by a band called GUILTY on Six Feet Under Records. Dude played it in the shop for me. It's pretty heavy, but what sold it to me was the grunt in the first song. I challenge you to name one song where the vocalist fills a moment with a grunt that isn't good. Yeah, that's right, there isn't one. Sold.

And talking of SST Records colour vinyl reissues, here's Husker Du's 'New Day Rising' LP on grey. Husker Du are a band I have always wanted to like more than I do. My introduction to them was a song on the first Blind Skateboards video back in 1991 or so. Out of love for that song I have tried several times to get into them in the past. Seeing the record on the rack in front of me made me want to give them another go. I mean, I only started liking Descendents about three years ago, so there's still a chance...

And finally, a reissue of the Scream 'This Side Up' LP. I must have missed that this got made, as I was happily buying Dischord colour represses for the past few years. Maybe I missed a couple? I'll have to check. But this one looks great with the silver sleeve and clear vinyl. Good job.

I think if I lived closer to Camden I'd definitely go check out All Ages Records more often. My bank account, however, is probably glad that I don't.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Cave In - Orange Silence

I've always been a Cave In fan. From the early days of their 7" on Hydrahead, to the first 'proper' album 'Until Your Heart Stops', to the controversial (at the time) change in direction that was 'Jupiter', and then on to the major label rock breakthrough attempt of 'Antenna', the comeback record 'Perfect Pitch Black'. And then last year came the surprise of a new album being dropped, 'White Silence'. Good news. Sign me up.

Unfortunately, however, it wasn't quite that simple, as the combined popularity of Cave In, Hydrahead Records and colour vinyl meant that the end product sold out fast. All vinyl copies of this album sold out stupidly quickly, and I was disappointed to not be able to get one. So, as is often the case, I turned to eBay, and after only a year(!) I finally managed to get myself a copy of this record. I think there were three colours pressed (white, orange and grey). No idea on the pressing info, but I picked up clear orange copy:

Not sure what I think of the cover art on this one. On the one hand I think I'm not into it, because it looks kinda messy, as the above photos probably show. But holding a physical copy in my hand I have to say that there is something about it in real life that makes it look cool somehow. I think it's the white. The white makes it look clean and sharp. But for those of you who haven't seen a copy in real life, you'll just have to take my word for it.

So what's this album like? Well, I have to say, I'm really into it. I did struggle at first though. The first listen was really hard work. I had to strongly fight the urge to turn it off halfway through. It seemed unlistenable because it was all over the place. But due to my history of loving this band, I wanted to give it more of a chance, so I persisted, and after about 5 listens I started to get into it. It's now on regular rotation. I get it more with every listen. I think it's fair to say that this record brings together elements of several of their previous releases - the ferocious vocals from the metal hardcore records, the 70s rock moments from 'Until Your Heart Stops', and the hippy vibe from that billboards song on of 'Creative Eclipses'. It's all here in one very interesting album. Somehow I have a feeling that this won't be the last copy of this record that I acquire.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Gypsy Giant's Despair LP Deluxe Edition

I'm always going on about how I am out of touch with new bands. I can't help being old and I can't help not having as much time as I would like to listen to music. However, as bad as I am at keeping up these days, there are still times when I'm proud to remain one step ahead of the crowd and get in early. Here's one of these increasingly rare examples.

Back in August 2009 I got the debut 7" by a band called GYPSY and I liked it alot. At some point in the last couple of years there was mention of an upcoming LP. Then one day in early January this year I got an email from Six Feet Under Records announcing that the Gypsy LP was available for pre-order. I didn't hesitate for a second. Even better, it mentioned that there was a deluxe edition of 50 copies available, so I wasted no time in adding one to my cart and checking the fuck out quicksmart. Four months later it landed on my doorstep.

First observation - the artwork is a bit 'different'. There is no writing anywhere other than on the spine of the jacket, and the rest of the gatefold jacket is taken up by photos of a young girl surrounded by / playing with a bunch of dreamcatchers.

This 'deluxe edition' is out of 75 copies (although only 50 were sold to nobodies like me, the remaining 25 were distributed amongst the label and band). There are two things that differentiate this version to the regular version. Firstly, the vinyl colour - this version is on pink vinyl (other colours are lavendar and white).

Interestingly, the other differentiator is that this version also comes with one of the dreamcatchers used for the photoshoot. Quite a gimmick I'm sure you will agree. At first I thought that this was pointless, but now I think it's kinda cool just because it's something different. Not an easy item to store though, as I can't really put it in the record sleeve. File under mildly irritating.

My assessment of the LP to date is like this - Day 1, listen to it twice, find it a bit dull and samey & struggle to get through the damn thing. Day 2, listen to it two more times, still find it a bit samey, not particularly excited by it. Day 3, start to find a couple of the songs catchy, and end up playing it about 5 times. Go to bed looking forward to the morning when I can listen to it again. That's where I'm at so far.

So yeah, this is already showing signs of being a real grower. This to me sounds a lot like a beefed up Jawbreaker. Kind of like the vocals from Jawbreaker over Quicksand or Handsome guitars. Check this song (esp the riff that starts 13 seconds in) and I'm sure you'll see what I mean.