Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 - Done & Dusted

Ok, so another year is over. 2014 came and went in a blur. I bought a new house and got a new job, and throughout it all I carried on buying records. My record purchasing is a little different these days than it used to be. I have a friend in the US who buys stuff for me and ships it over en mass approximately once every three months. This means that I get records far less frequently, but when I get some, I get a huge delivery, which would skew the blog if I didn't break it into multiple posts. Back when I started this blog I used to post up records on the day I got them. If I'd have been doing it that way in 2014, I'd have made probably ten posts all year (being four or so large deliveries from my friend, plus a few bits I picked up domestically). So I have to break the deliveries into multiple posts to keep the blog active.

Before I get to the records, I thought I would look at my year's blogging activity. The following graphs shows the number of posts I did this year by month:

Ever since I started this thing back in 2008, I have always aimed for ten posts a month, which would give 120 for the year. Well, this year I managed to beat that, with a total for the year of 147 posts. The highest activity was in November, when I managed 30 posts. I was aiming for a post a day in order to get everything up by the end of the year, but I missed two days, so then had two days when I did two posts to make up for it. 30 posts in a month has never been seen before, and will probably never be seen again. But it was good to prove that I could do it if I wanted. Conversely, the lowest activity was in June, when I only managed 4 posts, but in my defence it was Summer, and I was moving house.

Interestingly, this year represents the year with the highest number of posts since I started this blog back in 2008. I graphed the number of blog posts by year to show the progress, and what it shows is that 2014 was (almost) off the chart compared to previous years:

I think that this year was partially helped because Vinyl Noize closed its doors. I always struggled to balance my time between the two blogs, so when Vinyl Noize died I was left with only this blog to amuse myself. My worst year was 2011, although I'm not sure why. I think I was really busy at work for half the year. I also remember back then thinking that this blog was a pain in the ass and considered packing it in. Funny to think that I have somehow kept it going to the end of 2014.

So after putting these two graphs together, I also decided to combine both and look back at prior years and compare the monthly posting profiles to see if they were similar. It's kinda silly trying to fit 7 years of blogging into one graph, but I had a go:

I'm not really sure this tells me anything to be honest. But I had fun putting together, and it looks kinda cool, so that's all that matters.

So anyway, on to the records themselves, and this year I added 264 to my collection. I went back through this blog and counted, and then put the numbers into a table.

Strictly speaking, this isn't a graph of when I bought these things, but when I blogged about them, which is slightly different. But at least it's consistent with previous years. As I would have expected, I picked up more 12"s than 7"s. I do prefer the 12" format to 7"s, but I suspect that a big driver of the numbers was Revelation's reissue policy (one every other day). The best bit, however, is that I didn't pick up any ten inches at all. They suck.

I also graphed the data from the table. Mainly just because I like graphs. As expected, it is exactly the same shape as the first graph, with the exception of September.

So, of these 264 records, what were the highlights? Well, in terms of new releases, I put together a list of my favourites. I felt like I bought quite a few new releases this year, although when it came to putting this post together I realised I didn't have many to choose from. But I did have more than ten, which made putting together a top ten slightly challenging. Here we go...


1. Bane 'Don't Wait Up' LP - a new (and final) Bane LP, and damn,, was it ever better than I (and everyone else) was expecting. What else was I going to pick as my number one?

2. Praise 'Lights Went Out' LP - this one started slow, but gets better and better with every listen, to the point where I get excited just thinking about it. Hopefully I will make it to see them play in London in a couple of weeks.

3. Angel Dust 'A.D.' LP. - this thing sneaked up on me, as I hated their 7" when it came out and thought this band was a joke. What a fool. This is one catchy as hell record.

4. Cold World 'How The Gods Chill' LP - the last LP was years ago and was a bit all over the place, but this one is almost perfect. So good.

5. Stone Dagger 7" - I'm not sure why I like this exactly. I mean, it's like 80s metal. But damn, it's good, and played by Boston straight edge dudes so there's nothing to be embarrassed about.

6. Adult Crash 'Unfinished Business' 12" - this one seemed to pass a lot of people by. Features some older San Diego dudes playing 5 songs that sounds like a mix of Septic Death and SSD.

7. Violent Reaction 'Dead End' 7" - A relatively quiet year for Violent Reaction on the releases front, but this 7" continued in the same vein as their LP last year and got a lot of play from me. The only problem was that it is too short.

8. Code Orange 'I Am King' LP - this is surely going to be in a lot of peoples' lists for the year. A total buzz record. I saw so many pics of this on instagram that I decided to see what all the fuss was about... and then realised what all the fuss was about.

9. Protester 7" - a new hardcore band from DC, this thing rips from start to finish. Now signed to Triple B, it'll be interesting to see what they do next year.

10. Step Forward 7" - at first I thought this was kinda weak compared to the first 7", but I was wrong. This rules. I'm already looking forward to the next release in 2022.

There were also some other releases that should have been in the chart, but seeing as I still haven't received the vinyl yet I can't include them. Those are the rules I'm afraid. So my other favourite releases from this year that didn't make it based on a technicality are as follows:

Ancient VVisdom 'Sacrificial' LP
Battle Ruins LP
Sweet Jesus 7"
Boston Strangler 'Fire' LP


Once again, 2014 was a strong year for crossing wants off the list. Here's a pic showing my favourites.

A couple of these things I thought I would never find or own. Funnily enough, most of these seem to be on green vinyl.

1. War Zone 'Lower East Side Crew' 7" on clear vinyl and green vinyl - I got these in a trade for another War Zone 7". This is without doubt my favourite trade of all time, and the best records I picked up this year.

2. Dinosaur Jr 'You're Living All Over Me' LP on Green vinyl - I'd never even seen this before, but knew it existed. I was stoked beyond belief to get one.

3. Soundgarden 'Louder Than Love' LP on Green vinyl - THE rarest Soundgarden record, and possibly their best album.

4. Brotherhood 'Words Run As Thick As Blood' LP on Solid Green vinyl - in a year that saw Brotherhood's catalogue get reissued, it was cool to pick up the rarest variant of their original LP.

5. Insted 'Bonds Of Friendship' LP on White vinyl - this had been on my wants list for years and I felt like I would never own one. So it was good to bag one at a reasonable price.

6. S.O.A. 7" on Green vinyl - another long time want that I thought I would never own, and the condition of my copy is exceptional.

7. Descendents 'Cool To Be You' LP on Blue vinyl - by far the rarest and most valuable Descendents record, I badly needed this to complete my colour vinyl Descendents LP collection... and then when I got it I realised that I was missing a purple copy of 'ALL'.


Quite often I download other stuff to listen to that I don't own, or I listen to stuff that came out ages ago. So this stuff can't make my list of the best releases. But it deserves a mention, because I spent a lot of time listening to it. Here's a list of stuff I listened to a lot in 2014:

Adolescents 'S/T' LP
Beware 'S/T 7"
Done Dying 7"s
Fear 'The Album'
Hüsker Dü - everything
Into Another 'T.A.I.L. EP (never heard it before!)
Madball 'Set It Off' LP (never heard it before - it's good!)
Ride 'Nowhere' LP
Squirrel Bait 'Skag Heaven' LP


Remember kids - this is just a bit of fun. Especially the graphs. These lists don't really mean much in the long run, as when I look back at previous lists from previous years, they seem to be full of stuff I never listen to anymore. This post is just a good way of marking the end of the year, and also a bit of a tradition. Thanks to everyone who still reads this thing, especially those who comment, and also to all the people who email me and offer me records. Overall, I'm just stoked that vinyl is still going strong in this day and age. Happy new year, and see you in 2015!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Electric Flower Circus

So it would seem that there is just time for one last post in 2014 before the clock resets and it all starts again.

Just like the Supertouch live LP that I posted a few days ago, this post has taken me a lot longer to get around to than it should have due to the difficulty of getting some half decent pictures. Lack of light is a constant issue at this time of year. In the end I had to use a different background just to get this post done.

When Give put their 'Electric Flower Circus' LP up for pre-order a couple of months ago, I messed up. I imssed out on the colour vinyl copies, which sold out in a day or so. But then it was announced that a European label was also releasing it, so I made sure to get on the case quicksmart. Adagio 830 was extremely efficient and had these things mailed out to people across the world within two weeks.

The cool thing about this European press is that it has a different cover to the US version. I love this cover. So simple, yet looks so good. There were 100 copies on green and 400 on black. I got the green. It's pretty dark and I struggled to get it to show up in the pics.

I grabbed a second copy of this one for trade purposes as the US colour vinyl was sold out. If anyone gets an extra US copy and wants to trade for one of these then get in touch.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Give Me Back

If you didn't live through the 90s hardcore scene then this post probably won't mean much to you. Come to think of it, even if you did live through the 90s hardcore scene, you probably won't give a shit about this record. In my mind, this is a largely forgotten compilation featuring largely forgotten bands on a largely forgotten label.

This is a compilation LP called 'Give Me Back' on Ebullition Records. It came out in 1991 and is based around the issue of gender. Everything on Ebullition was very politically focused, and a lot of it was overwhelming for me. But that aside, some of the bands and music were great. I originally picked up this LP almost 20 years ago, as part of a collection that I bought from someone. I wasn't massively excited for it, but it has some good songs on it, most notably the Downcast song, which is incredibly catchy and possibly their best song.

I recently picked up this colour vinyl copy for two main reasons. Firstly, because it is rare, and secondly, because it was cheap. It's a nice colour green.

According to the Ebullition pressing info, there were only 100 on this 'turquoise' vinyl. This definitely wasn't part of the first press as the first press had the booklet sleeve, and this doesn't, although exactly when and why it was pressed I have no idea.

Just look at that line up. Amenity, Born Against, Seein' Red, Man Lifting Banner, Econochrist, Downcast - these bands were all huge in the early 90s, when hardcore had a more political edge to it. In some ways this LP acts as a timewarp back to a different time. It's easy to look back at those days and think they sucked, but when I read this stuff and listen to the songs it all kinda makes sense, and actually makes me miss those days.

As I said, the first press sleeve was a large booklet, but later pressings came in a regular sleeve with a zine type insert included.

Apparently there were also 113 copies on red vinyl, but I think that was part of some Ebullition box set that came out at the turn of the century. I'm not overly fussed about trying to find one. But if someone wants to sell me one cheap, I could be interested.

I'm going to end this post with a link to this LP on youtube. The sound quality isn't great - obviously someone has ripped it from vinyl and not attempted to eliminate any pops and clicks. But the point of this link is so that you can forward to 34:25 and listen to the Downcast song. I mean, seriously, how good is it?

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Bad Timing

So, No Warning's second LP, 'Suffer Survive' was a weird one. It came out ten years ago on CD only on a major label. Bridge Nine were supposed to do the vinyl, and went so far as making a test pressing, but then the project was canned. To this day I have no idea why. So there were 16 or so vinyl copies of this LP made, which were test pressings, and that was it. Well, until 2014 that is, when Six Feet Under Records surprised the world by releasing it on vinyl for the first time, with no pre-order and no fanfare. I was around when the email announcing this dropped into my inbox, and could have easily bought the most limited colour, but I had a friend in the States who owed me money so I emailed him and asked him to buy me a copy. Dude was busy at work so the first two most limited colours sold out, leaving me with the most common colour... the brown & white mix copy.

I don't know why exactly, but I fucking hate this thing.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Back In Black

I picked this one up a while ago but have taken a long time to get around to posting it as I have struggled to take any half-decent photos. This is because, as you may have noticed, I like to use a black background for my photos, and (surprisingly) an LP on black vinyl with a black cover doesn't show up too well on a black background. Oh, and also there isn't much good quality daylight around at this time of year, which is another barrier to obtaining a good photo. In the end I have been forced to get rid of my black background and use a floor background just so I can finally make this post.

I scored this release show copy of the Supertouch 'Live on WNYU 1988' LP on eBay for only $24. I thought that was a pretty good price give that there are only 50 of these things.

The cover is screen printed onto a plain black glossy LP cover. The back is left blank except for the numbering in silver ink. It really is tough to photograph.

As is often the case when I pick up my umpteenth copy of something, I couldn't help but pull out my other copies for a group photo.

Shown in the photo are the following:

- Black vinyl test press 39/50, Black vinyl in Black Release show sleeve #25/50
- Black vinyl in White Release show sleeve (not numbered), Red vinyl 1st press #77/500
- Purple vinyl 2nd press #96/100, Gold vinyl 3rd press #100/100

Apparently there's a new Supertouch LP coming out on Triple B Records at some point in 2015 and I, for one, can't wait.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Skag Heaven

There are some bands that I have had weird relationships and/or interactions with over the years. One of them is Squirrel Bait. I first read about this band in some dude's personal zine in the mid 90s. I'd never heard the band, but the article made me curious. This was back before the internet existed, so I couldn't just go online and check them out as you can today. It was probably another 6 years or so by the time I got around to listening to Squirrel Bait. I stumbled across their first LP for cheap somewhere, so with the zine article still fresh in my mind, I took a chance on it. It was (and still is) an incredible record and I played it a lot when I first picked it up, which I think was circa 2001, although I am not exactly sure.

The weird thing was that I never got around to checking out anything else that the band released. I don't even know why. But a couple of months ago I was playing my ipod on shuffle, and a Squirrel Bait song came on, which instantly reminded me how good they were. I then decided to look up what else they had released. There actually isn't much - two albums and a 7". I picked up this green vinyl copy of their second LP, 'Skag Heaven' for very cheap on discogs. I guess not too many people care these days.

If you've never heard this band before, well, I can only advise that you check them out. There's not really any band that I can think of that sound like them. But they are in the same kinda ballpark as Dag Nasty and Hüsker Dü, yet catchier than both. Trust me.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Ten Years Of Shore Style

Three months or so ago, Six Feet Under Records put a ten year anniversary pressing of the Get Real 'Shore Style' LP up for sale. The text description in the store made me laugh. It said 'This is on Broken Glass Records, we are just selling them because Broken Glass is lazy'. Ha!

There were only 100 of these made, in a limited sleeve on plain black vinyl.

The original pressing of this thing was a one sided record with a screen printed b-side. This one just has a plain b-side. But it has some fancy ass poster to compensate.

I remember picking this LP up originally from RevHQ back... well, about ten years ago. Crazy to think that much time has passed. I would have pulled my other copies out for a photo, but in the end I couldn't be bothered. Mainly because there isn't much daylight this time of year. It makes taking photos so much more of a pain in the ass.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

White Lights

Back in 2010 I picked up a couple of records by a band called Frontier(s). The main attraction was that it was Chris Higdon's new band. Dude used to sing in Falling Foward and Elliott, both of which I loved when they were active, so when I heard he had a new band I was keen to check it out. I ended up going to see them play in London in early 2011 too. They were a great find back then, although I probably haven't listened to them at all in the last three years if I'm honest. However, when I heard they had a new record coming out, I was keen to check it out, as I had assumed that three years of silence meant that they had broken up.

The new record is a 5 song ep called 'White Lights', and was released in Summer this year on a label called Tiny Engines. Unfortunately, it now appears to be completely sold out. I picked up a grey vinyl copy, of which there are 150 copies.

This release continues where they left off previously. I said before that this band sounds halfway between Elliott and Falling Forward, and I stand by that. I don't listen to much stuff like this these days, and because of that I've been enjoying this. It gives me a nice break from the stuff at the heavier end of the spectrum.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


I saw a few of these pop up on eBay over the past few months and ignored them all. I wasn't interested. Then a few weeks ago another one got listed and, mainly due to lack of anything else going on. And when it had no bids with not much time to go, I figured I would have a crack. It was listed at $25, and I won it for $26. What is it? It's a test press of an Integrity 12" called 'Hookedlungstolenbreathcunt' which came out on Lost & Found Records in 1994.

I'm not 100% certain as I've never really paid any attention to this release, but I think that this came out as a picture disc only. So a test press is pretty much the only acceptable vinyl version that exists. This is a weird compilation record which contains everything up to and including the first album. No idea if it was officially licensed or not. At this point in the game it doesn't really matter.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Three Rev Holes Filled

After picking up the two War Zone 7"s on green and clear a couple of months back, I decided that I needed to make more of a push to finish the early Revelation collection. I have most of them, and some of the ones that are harder to find, but there are some glaring gaps. The problem is that everyone is chasing the same records, so on the rare occasion that something pops up, prices go off the chart. Every record seems to sell for more than the previous copy. So I've decided to just pick up the things that I need when I can, and be less concerned about the price, otherwise I'll be at this forever. So when I saw Dobek was selling some records recently, I figured I would take the opportunity to fill some gaps.

I've never owned a first press copy of the Sick Of It All 7" before. My main focus was always colour vinyl, so it seemed low down the priority list for me. Then time ticked on and prices carried on rising, so the point where the price put me off. For years I had passed on one of these. But I decided that now was the time.

The first press copies are instantly recognisable due to having a number stamped inside the sleeve. The first press copies were numbered from 1-1000.

The labels are also different on the first press copies. The A side label has no Rev logo, and the B side label is the same photo as that used on later pressings, but more of a zoomed in close up.

The main attraction to this particular copy was that it came with the apology note still intact. I'm not sure how many of these were issued by the label, but it seems that taking money for pre-orders and then experiencing delays in sending out records has been going on for years.

I also took the opportunity to pick up a second pressing, red vinyl copy of the Sick Of It All 7". I own one of these in a photocopied sleeve, but I was missing one in a regular sleeve. I actually bought one of these way back in about 1994 for £10, but it skipped on my record player, so I took it back to the dude I bought it from and got my money back. Ha!

These second press copies were also numbered, but the numbering started at 1001 and goes up to 2000. Mine has a slight stain, although it is far less visible in real life. Sometimes photos make these things look worse than they really are.

Notice how the B side label differs to that on the first press.

The third record I grabbed was this clear vinyl Chain Of Strength 7". I used to own one of these but traded it away in 1997 with Mark for a Four Walls Falling 7". It seems stupid today, but back then I was happy. I'd decided I didn't need the Chain 7" as I had just picked up a clear vinyl copy in a silver sleeve. Owning two clear copies seemed unnecessary. Seventeen years later, it seems essential, so I fixed my mistake.

When discussing prices for the above three 7"s, I'd also talked about buying two Breakdown '87 Demo' 7"s. But given these were not as high on my want list, I decided to pass. The prices seemed a little high, especially on top of what I was already paying out, so I backed out. So imagine how stoked I was when I opened the package to find that Dobek had thrown one in for free! Very kind. This copy is on clear yellow vinyl, although looks slightly green due to the green swirls.

My early Rev collection is now only missing a couple of Gorilla Biscuits 7" variants (a light yellow vinyl and War Zone B side) and the non-orange Bold 7"s (pink and orange/pink mix). The Bold on pink is undoubtedly the main want of those. I feel I could happily live without the GB 7"s... although if I get the chance to grab one I will probably change my mind. We shall see.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Dark Empire

So those of you who read this regularly may have realised that my post rate has increased lately. That's mainly because I received a shipment from my friend in the States containing approximately 70 records back in October. I took photos of the whole lot in one day and ended up with over 600 photos. I then realised that I would need to do a post a day for over a month in order to clear the backlog by the end of the year. So that's what I did. And with today being the last day of the month, this will be post 30 in 30 days. And in all of those days, I didn't make a single Integrity post. So to end the month, here are some Integrity 7"s...

The first Integrity record I ever heard (and owned) was this white vinyl copy of the first 7". This is the second press on Dark Empire records. I bought one of these back in 1993, but sold it a year or two later when I picked up a Victory pressing, because back then one copy of any record seemed enough. Over twenty years later and I've finally picked up a replacement. This one, however, is a bit different as it includes an insert. I'd never seen one with an insert before, so when this one came up for sale I knew it was the excuse I had been looking for to add one of these back into my collection.

The insert itself is a little weird. I mean, tt's just a one sided colour photocopy that has the record title on one side and the song titles on the other. Kinda feels more like an alternate cover to me rather than an insert. But it came inside the sleeve, so in theory it's an insert.

Anyone else have one of these, ever seen one or even know what it is?

Next is another second pressing of an older release. The split 7" with Mayday came out back in about 1990 on Endgame Records. It was a black vinyl only affair. Then a few years later a label called Game Two Records reissued it on several colours of vinyl. Once again, because I had the first press I never bothered with any of the repress copies, but recently someone offered me one in a trade, so I went for it. And here it is...

A couple of years ago, A389 Records released a 7" containing three songs recorded twenty years prior that included drummer David Araca before he passed away. This 7" contains both songs from the Mayday split 7", and also the song 'Eighteen'. When this came out I missed it completely.

And finally for today, another variant of the split 7" with Gehenna. This one is on pink vinyl.

The depressing thing is thinking about how many variants of these 7"s that I don't have. Ugh.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Delayed Reaction

So I placed an order for a couple of new React! Records releases a few months ago. The release date seemed to get delayed a little, and then my order seemed to go out later than everyone else's. Oh, and I got sent a partial refund, as they had sold out of one of the records that I had ordered. All in all it felt like a bit of a journey for these to get here.

The main point of interest when I placed the order was the Keep It Clear 'A Lesson That You're Gonna Learn' 12". I was quite excited about this one. I ordered all three colours available for pre-order. However, the smoke colour somehow sold out so I got a refund for that one and just received the 'maroon' (which looks like a burnt orange to me) and black.

I was less excited for the Praise 'Lights Went Out' LP, although I ordered it because I felt like I should try to keep up a little more. I had picked up their first 7" when it first came out, but was never overly excited by it. I orderd one copy of this LP and received the blue vinyl.

It also comes with a cool little zine about the history of the band.

What's funny is that I was way more excited about the Keep It Clear record, yet I have ended up listening to Priase a lot more. The Praise LP is a real grower. It seeed a bit dull at first, but I stuck with it and then reached a point where it got better with every listen, and I'm still very much in that zone. It definitely deserves a place in the best of the year list.