Sunday, 28 April 2013

Integrity Bits & Bobs

I'm so far behind with Integrity records these days that I can't even count how many I don't have on four hands. But I'm not stressing about it. I'm just gonna cross them off one at a time for the next three years. Here are a few that I picked up recently.

First up, the 2x7" split with Rot In Hell on black vinyl. This was the limited pre-order version out of 100.

The funny thing about this is that I thought I had a complete collection of this one, but I couldn't find one of them. I thought I had a red copy, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I can only conclude I don't have it after all. I guess it's bad when I don't even know what I have anymore.

Next is the split with Gehenna on blue. This is my second copy of this record. There are at least four more I don't have (pink, clear, blue with blank labels, test press). Fucking hell.

And finally for today, the 'Palm Sunday' live LP on clear with black smoke vinyl. This was pressed by Organized Crime Records for RSD 2012 and came on both white and grey vinyl. I didn't get either. But this version here is better than both because it comes in a limited sleeve numbered out of 114 copies.

I might try to put a list together of everything I don't have just so I can see what I'm up against, although it might depress me too much because there really are too many.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Lost My Test

Seems like this was a big month for 'can't say no' records. You know - the kind of things that, when you get a chance to own, you just can't resist... even if you've already spent your budget. Here's one of this month's examples... a test press of the Supertouch 'Lost My Way' 7" that came out on Reaper Records a couple of years ago. I picked this one up on eBay. As soon as I saw it listed I wanted it. It was just a question of how much I was going to have to pay. In the end it wasn't too bad.

This is numbered out of 15 copies and comes in a sleeve which is a rip of the 7 Seconds 'Skins, Brains & Guts' 7".

For some reason, the inside of the sleeve is stamped with a batman stamp. I guess this is in homage to the early Rev 7"s, although it's a different stamp.

I got number 12 of 15.

Now all I need is the RSD 2012 version with the elephant sleeve. And the Vinyl Noize version. And the black vinyl. And United Blood sleeve. So pretty much all of them really.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Rev Justice

Last month I got my Rival Mob LP order. I made no secret of the fact that I was pissed about missing the green vinyl. It sold out in an hour or two whilst I was tucked up in bed. After buying direct from Rev for 18 years, it seems to have reached the point where I am last in line and can't get the new releases whereas every Johnny Come Lately buys five copies to throw on eBay to fund their retirement. Anyway, seeing as there were 400 made, I figured I would get one eventually. It would just be a matter of time. But I have to say, it was a lot sooner than I expected, because it rolled up at my door today.

So this one has a (slightly) interesting story behind it...

A few days after writing my last blog entry for my black and gold vinyl copies, I was tidying my room and I came across the invoice for my order carelessly thrown on the floor. I was about to throw it in the bin, when I realised something. Back when I pre-ordered the record, I had ordered three copies of the record - one gold and two black. Yet in my parcel was only one black and one gold. A twist of bad luck left me short one record. It was only $11, but still, it's the principle. So I decided to email Rev to point out the error, hoping to get a small refund against my next order. Here's what I wrote:

Hi. I just received my last order (xxxxx) and there is a small problem. I paid for two black vinyl copies of the Rival Mob LP, but only received one. I have a newer outstanding order (xxxxx). I would be happy for the credit to be placed against that order, rather than be sent another black record. I would expect credit of the $11 for the LP and also a few dollars for the extra shipping. Thanks!

Five days later I got a reply and my eyes nearly popped out of my head. It read:

We still have green and red copies, would you want either of those? Let me know when you can, thanks!

Needless to say I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. It's just a shame that I couldn't buy one of these because they were sold out, yet they managed to find one to make up for a mistake with my order. Still, I'm not complaining. Rev are suddenly my favourite label again and all is well in this house.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Saves The Daybreak

So when I picked up the Rival Schools LP from the US label, I also had a quick look around their online store and picked up one other item - the second press of the Saves The Day 'Daybreak' LP. 500 on white vinyl. I think the first press was exclusively black vinyl and it was therefore a low priority pick up for me. But seeing a white vinyl pressing was enough to make me decide to finally add this to my collection.

I've been listening to this band since their first LP was released by Equal Vision back in about 1997. Most bands that I can think of that I was interested in back then who are still going now are no longer on my radar. But somehow I've never lost interest in Saves The Day. I know it's kinda wussy, but it's also pretty catchy stuff. Funny though how I feel like I should probably be embarrassed to still be listening to this band. Still, things could be worse. I mean, they could have just completely given up even trying to come up with cover art for their records.

Oh, wait...

Monday, 22 April 2013

Rival Schools 'Found'

Sometimes you get screwed over and you're a willing participant.

A few weeks ago I saw some announcement or other somewhere to tell me that there was a new Rival Schools LP about to drop. Actually that's not quite true. I mean, there was a newly pressed LP about to come out, but this was the 'lost' second album from way back in the early 00's. You know - the one that everyone has the mp3s of. Well it turns out that someone decided to press it up on vinyl and call it 'Found' and present it as a new LP.

I've always loved Wally. He has this knack of writing a catchy tune or two. So I wanted the record. But when I got the website to place an order I was presented with a choice of either gold vinyl or black vinyl, each limited to 500 copies. Usually I would have gone with the gold and left it there. But the thing is, the previous two Rival Schools LPs only came out on black vinyl (obviously I'm choosing to ignore any picture disc variations of the last one as picture discs generally don't count), so I kinda wanted to keep the black vinyl collection intact. So basically, like a sucker, I ordered both.

So as soon as this arrived I google'd the record looking for mp3s and then found a picture of the LP on green. What the hell? I had seen no mention of a green. So I google'd a bit more to discover that the green was limited to 250 and only available to fools in the UK. Seeing as it was still available, the rarest color, and also shipping from just down the road from me, I figured I would pick one up. I mean, why not?

So the worst thing is that as soon as this arrived I then found out that there is also a clear vinyl copy, also out of 250 copies! Fuck my life. If they had only pressed black vinyl I would have been happy with that just like the previous two LPs, but now I can feel the compulsion to order myself the fourth colour to complete the set.

Like I said, sometimes you're a willing participant in getting screwed over.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

I Bet On A Rainbow

Back in September last year I picked up the latest Dinosaur Jr LP, 'I Bet On Sky' on purple vinyl. Two things happened in the months that followed. First is that they pressed up another colour as a tour press. When I saw a picture I decided that I had to have one. Initially they seemed to be impossible to get hold of for less than $45-50, but after waiting a few weeks I managed to get one for a bit less.

It's a clear record with blue, red and yellow splatter marks in it. I'm not usually a big fan of splatter vinyl, but that's because 99% of the splatter vinyl is manufactured on the horrible cheap looking euro vinyl. This, however, is pressed on top quality US vinyl and therefore looks great.

The second thing that happened was when I received this I then realised that the purple copy I have is a UK pressing, and that there is also a purple vinyl US pressing, which is on a different colour purple and on a different record label. Which of course means that I now need one of those. Balls.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Creative Eclipses Test

Prior to this year I had only ever seen one Cave In test press in my life. But since 2013 rolled around I have managed to pick up seven of the damn things. This here is my seventh, which is a test of the 'Creative Eclipses' 7" that Hydrahead released in, I think, 1999. This came after 'Until Your Heart Stops' and was a hint at the change of the direction the band were taking. A year or so later and 'Jupiter' dropped and left a lot of people confused. I do like this record a lot. I just wish there were more of it.

This doesn't come with a cover, but has a piece of card with a Cave In sticker on it. It also includes what I think is the CD insert.

I was pretty lucky with this. I saw one sell a few weeks before this appeared on eBay. I got outbid and it went for about $120. This one then appeared as part of the collection of Matt Pike that Dave from Six Feet Under was selling. I had my eye on it from the start of the auctions, and ended up getting it for about half of what the previous one had sold for a couple of weeks before. Always nice when you get something you really want for what feels like a good deal.

My test press count for the year is now 21.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

True Head

Something that is increasingly rare these days is me picking up on a new band before most other people. It used to happen all the time in the 90s when I bought every new release that came out. But now I pretty much never buy anything new unless there's a lot of hype. So it's nice when, for once, I am at the front of the queue to check out a new band. It almost makes me feel young and hip.

So here's a new band for you. True Head. One of the strangest band names I've heard in a long time. At first I thought the name was stupid, but now I'm used to it I find it kinda cool. Anyway, the reason I've heard them is that they are on Youngblood Records, which is pretty much the only label that I buy religiously. However, I have to say, this is not your typical Youngblood band. They sound nothing like any other band on the label, and if I had to guess based on their sound, I would have probably said that this was in fact an early 90s Dischord band. Coincidentally, they do hail from DC, and contain a dude from Lion Of Judah and a dude from The First Step, but if anything those names are going to prove misleading as this band sounds nothing like either. True Head does remind me of some band or other, but I can't quite put my finger on who. I want to say Jawbox, but it isn't. But perhaps that's not a bad guide to the ballpark that this band plays in.

The record hasn't been 'officially' released yet, but I managed to score a couple of 'advance' copies. The first is the 'pre-release' version that was sold at the Youngblood Showcase in late November 2012. Just like the band's name, the cover of this is quite interesting.

Numbered out of 54 copies, I scored number 3. Not bad considering I didn't even go.

I do like how the blank purple labels match (or nearly match) the sleeve.

I also got a test press for this one which, as yet, has no cover, and which is therefore not much to look at.

This now marks 20 tests for the year so far.

I wasn't sure about this record at first, but I have to say that after a few listens it has me hooked. I look forward to seeing the proper version of this, and also I'll be interested to see how this band progresses. Wouldn't surprise me if they ended up on Dischord.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Doghouse Tests II

A few short weeks ago I posted up a couple of tests I bought from Doghouse Records. I said that I optimistically entitled the post 'Doghouse Tests I' because there were a couple of records missing from the package. Well, it took a while, but the other two records FINALLY showed up early this week. It took me raising an eBay dispute to get them, which is a bit of a shame, although I don't actually think the delay was intentional. I think it was more that they didn't prioritise getting my package out, but if me raising a dispute lit a fire under their ass then it was worth it.

As I said, there were a couple of extra records I was owed. The first was one of my favourite Doghouse releases from the later years. Joshua 'A Whole New Theory' LP. Once again, this test comes in a plain white paper sleeve.

I also took this photo of the test with the regular cover, although on reflection I think the regular cover is even more dull than the test cover.

The second test I picked up isn't even a Doghouse release. It was released by Big Wheel Recreation, which is the same label that released the Ten Yard Fight 7" and In My Eyes demo 7". This is a test of the third Piebald LP, 'We Are The Only Friends We Have'. I'm not sure exactly how Doghouse had at least two of these tests (they sold one to me and one on eBay). I have a feeling that they may have shared an office with Big Wheel around the turn of the century, although I am not entirely sure on that. Anyhow, this was a favourite of mine when it came out, and I can still sing along word for word. I'm pretty happy to have bagged this, especially for the price I did. $30 well spent.

Once again, it only comes in a plain white paper sleeve, but I pulled out the regular sleeve for the second photo to make it more interesting.

I also received a mystery 7" test press too. I didn't pay for this, but I think they put it in by means of an apology for taking so long to send these records. At first I didn't know what it was. Rather than play it, and risk having to endure some god awful racket I couldn't identify, I just looked up the catalog number that was in the matrix. I then found out that this was a test press of the Get Up Kids 7" that Doghouse released. However, I can also tell from the label and the vinyl itself that this is some recent repress, as it is pressed on European vinyl, which the original never was. I may have paid a little for a test of the original press of this 7", but I'm not fussed by a fifteen years later repress test... although if it's free, I'll take it. I couldn't be bothered to pull out the original 7" because pulling 7"s out of boxes is a lot more hassle than pulling out LPs from a shelf.

Including these three, I have now picked up 19 tests so far this year. Still on track for the 52 target for the year.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Systems Remixed

For the last three years, Organized Crime Records have done a special Halloween package. The contents are never revealed in advance and kept as a surprise to those who pre-order literally until the packages arrive at peoples' front door. Kind of like that Bridge Nine Have Heart ruler thing, only good. Anyway, I've never actually ordered any of these Halloween preorder packages, yet have managed to acquire them all later when it inevitably turns out that I really want whatever the thing was. I should probably learn my lesson there. This year, as soon as I saw what the item was, I was gutted that I had missed out... but I then realised that the store still had some available. So I checked out as fast as I could and was happy when it showed up only about 4 days later.

So this year's package contains a special pressing of Integrity's 1995 sophomore album, 'Systems Overload'. This is the A2 / Orr mix of the album. Basically, when this thing came out, Victory calmed the recording down. The intention was to have it sound more raw and noisy, like some of the Japanese punk, but Victory thought they wouldn't make as much money off that or something. I don't know. Anyway, this remix is an attempt by the guitarist at the time and the current guitarist to get back to how the record should have sounded. A pretty good idea I think. And as ever, if they were going to do this, Organized Crime were going to pull out all the stops to make it look every bit as special as it should sound.

So it comes in a special silver plastic bag. I don't know what this material is called, but I would describe it as what astronauts would pack their sandwiches in. I saw 'space food' for sale one and it was packed in this stuff.

Once you take the stuff out of the silver sleeve, you find a giant poster folded up to form a cover, and a red vinyl LP.

There's also an insert which explains the concept behind the record, with writings from both A2 and Orr. This is then numbered out of 165 copies.

The package also included a shirt. I doubt I'll ever wear it though. I'll probably just keep it folded up somewhere.

Overall this is a great package, and I feel lucky to have bagged one. The same thing is being released in an edition of 365 copies on black vinyl for the annual farce that is Record Store Day. So I'm happy that I've managed to get a rarer version without going through the hassle of standing outside some shite shop with a bunch of fools who only buy records once a year.

Oh yeah, the record also sounds good. A definite improvement on the original. Does make me wonder if Victory butchered anything else though to make it more marketable. Anyone know?

Monday, 1 April 2013

Rot In Hell Catch Up

You know how it is when you collect a lot of records. There you are, going all out for one band's stuff, and then for whatever reason you miss one. Maybe you get distracted by something more urgent. Anyway, it happens to us all, and it happened to me with a couple of Rot In Hell releases. So recently I remembered about them and then decided to catch up.

First up, the split 6" with Vegas. This came out on Organized Crime Records, and was initially only available on black vinyl as part of the label's Halloween 2011 surprise package. I didn't order one at the time, and once I saw one regretted it. The label then pressed it on both red and yellow vinyl, which I also didn't order, due to being annoyed at myself for missing the black. I know, I know... weird. Well anyway, over a year later and I managed to pick up all three versions with relative ease... and a bit of luck.

I picked up the black and red vinyl from the band. The black copy comes as it would have originally, wax sealed in a black envelope. (I haven't opened mine, but if you are curious as to what is inside then you can see that HERE)

The yellow copy I picked up from the label, to (nearly) complete the set. The only thing missing is the test press. But I'm happy enough with this little collection, especially as I slept on this release for so long.

Next is the more recent 'Termini Terrae' 7", which came out in December of last year. I ordered a test press and both blue and white vinyl copies from the label at the pre-order stage, and when they arrived I saw the label then reveal a small number of red and black vinyl copies. However, I also saw that the band would be getting these colours, so decided to wait and order within the UK rather than wait for another overseas order. The only thing was, after this I forgot all about it. Fortunately, when I remembered about this a couple of weeks ago, there were still copies of each colour left.

Added to the white and blue copies and the test, this represents a complete collection on this one as far as I am aware.

At least this was pretty easy. But for various reasons, I'm also behind by about five Integrity releases, which I don't think they will be anywhere near as easy to catch up unfortunately. Ah well, at least it gives me something to do...