Saturday, 30 March 2013

Staring Into The Sun

Today's record is all about second chances.

Uniform Choice 'Staring Into The Sun'. This album was released in 1988, only two years after 'Screaming For Change', although it feels more like it should have been longer, such was the change in both the band's sound and style. They moved on from being shaved head straight edge hardcore band, to long haired rock outfit. The music slowed down and the vocals were more sang than screamed. I heard it once years ago, struggled to get through it and dismissed it as an awful record, never to be listened to again.

About three months ago, fellow Vinyl Noize blogger Antonio featured a black vinyl copy of 'Staring Into The Sun' (see HERE) on VN and wrote about how it never gets enough love. I don't know what it was exactly about what he wrote, but it made me want to try it again. So I downloaded it, and found it the same as before. I struggled to get through it without turning it off. But then a day or two later, I tried again. It still sounded awful. I then spent a couple of days painting my kitchen, listening to five albums that I had downloaded, of which this was one. Well, somewhere around the fifth or sixth play, one of the songs got stuck in my head, and I started to enjoy it. And then the same with the song after it. Eventually I was getting used to the record and starting to enjoy it for what it was. I guess I started to look beyond the fact that it was Uniform Choice, and just listened to the songs. To cut to the chase - I started to like it and then realised I needed a red vinyl copy in my collection, and Discogs was there to help me out.

I never thought too much about the front cover. I mean, it's slightly weird, but it's not THAT bad. The inside of the gatefold, however, IS worth mentioning. I mean, this is one hell of a posed and well considered photo. I think this photo pretty much sums up why people hate this record. To me, this could be Bon Jovi. I think Pat Dubar is the dude on the far left in this photo. That hair is a long way from the shaved head on the front of 'Screaming For Change'. Is it even possible to grow your hair that long from a skinhead in two years?

The back cover is also a little odd. A rose on a plain white background next to a photo of a fence wrapped in barbed wire. It doesn't really fit in my opinion. However, it does remind me of the cover of the Unity 'Blood Days' LP, so in that context doesn't seem too weird.

Whilst I would never go as far as to say that this record is as good as 'Screaming For Change', I would be so brave as to say that it's not as bad as most people say. Heck, I should know - I used to be one of those people. But all in all I'm glad I gave this a second chance.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Self Destruct Test II

Self Destruct were a UK band active circa 2006-8 or so. They featured Mike who now drums for Rot In Hell and some other dudes too. I remember when Set To Explode came over, and Dave Byrd posted on the internet somewhere that the best band in the UK, or possibly Europe, was Self Destruct. I think I saw them play about three times. No idea when or why they split though. Anyway, I spotted a test press of the second of their two 7"s on eBay recently. It was one of those moments where I knew that I would win it as soon as I saw it. I think I won this for £2.99, which I'm pretty happy with. It doesn't have a special sleeve or anything, which I am slightly disappointed with, but you can't have everything.

Rather than leave it there, I took a couple of photos of the test with the sleeve.

This marks my 16th test press of 2013 so far, which averages more than one a week. I wonder if I'll keep it going and make 52 for the year?

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Red Shook Ones LP

Something like 6 years ago, Revelation released an LP by a band called Shook Ones. This was way back in an era when Rev had a whole three current bands on their roster (the other two being Sinking Ships and Down To Nothing). Anyway, this was a weird time for vinyl. Sales were probably doing ok, because the LP sold out pretty damn quick and I didn't manage to get a single copy. But for some reason they were pressing their vinyl in Europe on the horrible cheap plastic (see the Judge discography for the best / worst example of this). Well, it took me about three years to actually pick up a copy of this LP, at which point I actually picked up two copies (see HERE). And somehow that was three years ago now. But I have now finally picked up a clear red copy, and despite it being the most common colour, this is by far the least offensive to the eye.

If you want to see pics of the release show version, then at the rate I'm going I'd advise you come back here sometime around March 2016.

Monday, 18 March 2013

More Cave In Tests

So here's the next installment of my deal to acquire some Cave In tests. Last time I mentioned about how I connected with a dude who was selling some Cave In tests on eBay and then found out that he had more. Well, here's the contents of the second parcel which contained two more tests, one older and one newer.

The first is a for the 'Lift Off / Lost In The Air' 7". I bought my first copy of this from the band when they toured 'Jupiter'. It was on black vinyl and I remember that it was quite some time later that the colour vinyl copies became available. Kind of a weird 7" as both songs later appeared on the 'Antenna' LP. I hate 7"s where all songs later feature on an LP. Cheapens the format in my opinion. Anyhow, this test comes in a standard sleeve with a Cave In sticker on the poly bag, which is then numbered using a marker pen. My copy is number 13/30.

The second test is for the last LP, 'White Silence'. This one is a lot less visually interesting, coming in a plain white disco sleeve... although this is one clear step up from a white paper sleeve.

This also has a sticker in the top corner where it is numbered 11/30.

I still have one more Cave In test coming in the mail from a different source. After that the well will have run dry, so to speak. Given that I'm still missing some crucial records, I think I need to tap a new well.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

When Life Hands You Lemons

When Piebald released 'When Life Hands You Lemons' back in the late 90s, it caught my attention. I had a couple of their previous releases, which I would describe as pretty typical 90s emo fare. But their debut LP marked a change of style and one that I was really into. I loved that they were lyrically still very much an emo band, but their playing style had more melody and less screaming. Heck, this was a record you could sing along to. In fact, it even sounded rock-ish and upbeat a lot of the time. I guess it was just catchy, but maintained a very DIY sound. It totally sounded like the singer couldn't really sing, but I liked that. Anyway, this album quickly became one of those records that I couldn't stop listening to. There were songs for every mood, and for a period of a few weeks there was nothing else I wanted to listen to. In my mind it always was and always will be their best record. So when I saw a test for sale recently, I knew I was going to take it.

It's not much to look at. Like a lot of tests, it comes in a plain paper sleeve and has blank white labels. Not that it matters too much of course.

I dug out my regular copy of the record to make the photo a little more interesting, and so that those of you unfamiliar with the record could see what the regular cover looks like.

One of the biggest disappointments of my life was when the band stayed at my house. This was later in their career when they were touring their third LP. I brought up the subject of this record, but their basic feeling was that it was awful and embarrassing and they didn't want to talk about it. I think I went off them immediately at that point. Fools.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Mob Justice Is The Reason

So it seems like every man and his dog got their Rival Mob LPs a couple of weeks ago. There were pictures of them all over the internet. Not only that, but everybody seems to have lucked out and bagged one of the green copies. Except me that is. I missed the green because I wasn't fast enough. To compensate I ordered myself two black copies and a gold one, although I only got sent one black even though they took the money for two.

If I sound bitter it's because I am. After buying direct from Rev for years and supporting vinyl through the darkest days, I'm apparently now one of the only people who can't get hold of the new releases. Or maybe they just put stuff up for sale when I'm in bed.

Thankfully it wasn't quite as hard getting a Texas Is The Reason discography double LP on colour. I think these also sold out, although not within a few minutes, so I actually had the chance to grab one. Not that I'm as bothered about this one. Anyhow, this is on (almost) solid orange vinyl.

Inside is a complete list of shows the band played. It includes the show I went to. The Duchess Of York, Leeds. All I remember about the show was thinking how boring they were. I didn't have the LP and they only played maybe one or two songs from the 7", so I just didn't know any of the songs.

I also added the Shook Ones 7" latest repress to my order. 500 on clear green vinyl. A very dark green that looks almost black.

Until you hold it up to the light that is. I'm not sure I have a single record in my collection that is on as dark a clear green as this. I really like this colour.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

White Brigade

A couple of months back I picked up a yellow vinyl copy of the Right Brigade / A Poor Excuse 7". I said that I had always meant to collect the different versions but had never got around to it. Well, that was then. After grabbing this third press white copy, I'm now up to five copies, which is exactly half way to having every version.

If anyone has any of these they want to let go then please get in touch. I need the clear yellow vinyl, 'Fuck Off' sleeve, Iron Cross Sleeve, Black vinyl in regular sleeve, and test press. Thanks!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Black & White Confetti

Back in early October last year I saw Give play and bought the 'Singles Going Confetti' 12". The 12" compiles three of their 7"s and was released by Assault Records over here in Euroland. For some stupid reason, I didn't order the limited sleeve version (which I regret) nor the black version. Ah well, I have to leave myself something to aim for I guess.

Well wouldn't you know it, the same record has also been pressed for those Stateside by Deranged Records. The front cover is the same as the Euro version, although the colour scheme has changed. This new version has the band name and border in white rather than yellow, which looks way better in my opinion. Unlike the Euro version, I picked up one of each black and white vinyl copies.

The best thing about this is that the black vinyl copy contained this piece of paper:

This says that if you send the band a letter or postcard you can get free stickers, shirts, records and other cool shit. Seriously? That seems pretty damn generous to me. I wonder if they ship overseas?

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Half Off 7" Grey

A bit like Mike, I find it hard to go on eBay and not buy anything. I probably end up watching 20 items a week on average, although most of them I end up not bidding on as the prices go beyond what I want to pay before the last couple of hours. So sometimes I end up bidding on things just because they're the only items on my watch list sitting at a low price near to the end of the auction.

So here's one example. I picked up this Half Off 7" on grey vinyl for £2.99 and I was the only bidder. I have this on red vinyl and also on gold vinyl, so figured I should add a grey one to my collection if it was going to cost less than I spend on a sandwich each day.

'Shoot Guns, Eat Pussy' always struck me as a strange title. I mean, these are two very different pastimes, only one of which I endorse. I also always thought it was weird that this 7" comes on about 5 different vinyl colours, suggesting loads were pressed, suggesting it was in high demand. Yet it's always on eBay for about three bucks. All in all... weird.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Hydrahead Are Faggots

Recently someone from Cave In was selling some records on eBay as a benefit to help some dude whose studio had been wrecked due to flood damage. I stumbled across the auction on eBay and immediately had my eye on some of the test pressings on offer. There were three I wanted badly but the prices were high. So I sent the seller a message asking if we could maybe work out a deal if I bought three records. I sent the message and then went back to view the item. But during the time it had taken me to write the message, all of the records had sold. Fuck. I was gutted. Some dude somewhere must have dropped about a thousand dollars and bought most of the records using the massive buy it now options. Damn me for trying to save money!

Then, coincidentally, a couple of weeks later, a completely different dude was selling more Cave In tests on the bay. I bid on a couple but got outbid by a dollar or two. And given the amounts I bid, I only bid on two of the three he was selling... and then, wouldn't you know it, the one I didn't bid on went for way less than the others! So I won none out of three. After having never seen any of these Cave In tests for sale before, I'd just missed out on some TWICE. I figured it would be a longass time until I had another opportunity. I was again gutted.

However, the next day I got an eBay email to tell me that one of the tests had been re-listed. I clicked the link to the re-listed item but there was nothing there. It said the item did not exist. So I emailed the seller to ask whether the record was available or not as it was confusing. He said he still had it as the buyer had flaked. That was all I needed. I was in. We then exchanged several messages where I discovered that the dude had several other Cave In tests, and in the end a pretty major deal had been agreed. Oh yeah, and I was pretty damn pleased.

So here's the test that somebody flaked on - 'Tides Of Tomorrow'. As you can see, this one comes in a plain paper dust sleeve, although it is numbered, this one being 1/23.

A pretty cool score. But the next test is the big one. The one I wanted more than any other. I missed it when the band auctioned it, but when I found out this other dude had one, I wasn't going to miss it a second time. This is a test press of what most consider to be the band's finest moment, 'Jupiter'. As someone I know recently said, a truly timeless record.

I could write a thousand words about this record. I won't, but I could. When it came out it was one of those records that I could not tire of. I wanted to listen to nothing else. I played it at least three times a day for several weeks. I remember as if it were yesterday. It came out in summer 2000, but I didn't get it until about September (I think that was because it only came out on CD initially. I waited three months for the vinyl and then just gave in & bought the CD because I couldn't wait any longer to hear it). What I remember most is listening to it in the evenings as I walked to the library to study, and then on the way home again at about 11 o'clock. These were the dark and cold October & November nights. Always a hard time of year, but this in itself was a hard year as I had started professional exams and hadn't long broken up with my long term girlfriend. I guess looking back it was a pretty lonely time. I was spending most of my time alone and I didn't have time to do anything but go to work in the day time and then go to the library to study in the evening. I needed motivation and without wanting to sound corny, this album gave it to me and for three months it was pretty much my best friend.

I haven't played the actual vinyl since I bought it. So when I got this test and read the matrix it made me laugh. What does it say? Well, I used the matrix as the title of this post. Brilliant huh?