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.

Friday, 28 November 2014

You're Still Living All Over Me

Dinosaur Jr week, day 5. Today marks the final day in my week of Dinosaur Jr posts and in my opinion I've saved the best until last.

'You're Living All Over Me' was the band's second album. It was released by SST Records in 1987 back when the band were still called 'Dinosaur' and didn't have the 'Jr' addition to their name (the first press copies are easy to identify as the front cover has the original band name). At some point in the years that followed, and once the band had changed their name and added the 'Jr' bit on to the end, the album got repressed by SST. And some copies were pressed on colour vinyl. I picked up both pink vinyl and purple vinyl copies in the past, and thought that was all there was. But then at some point circa 2009 or so, Chuck Dukowski sold some records on eBay, and one happened to be the second Dinosaur Jr LP on GREEN vinyl. I'd never heard of or seen a green one before. And to make it worse, the record was sealed, so I didn't even get to see it. It ended up selling for a lot of money. I don't remember the exact amount it sold for, and for some reason it doesn't appear on popsike, but it went over $200. It immediately became one of my most wanted records.

Well, as time went on it moved further and further up my want list, until recently I decided it was probably my most wanted record. So imagine how happy I was when one appeared for sale on discogs recently. I knew I had to have it. It was just a case of negotiating the price down, which took a few weeks. But finally I sealed a deal, and this week it showed up.

Rather confusingly, this album was reissued earlier this year on a different label on green vinyl, although the reissue is on a darker, more common green marble vinyl. This original SST green vinyl pressing is on a very light green and is very tough to photograph accurately. Greens always are for some reason.

So of course, after picking up this fourth copy I had to take the important group photo:

What is interesting is that the green vinyl and purple vinyl copies have red labels, whereas the clear pink vinyl has black labels. The first press black vinyl also has black labels, so I'm assuming that the pink was pressed before purple and pink. The copy in the bottom left is the first press black vinyl, as denoted by the sleeve with the original, shorter band name.

I'm very happy to have been able to take the above photo, and also to have had enough ammunition to do these posts this week. One of my favourite bands of all time, yet somehow I've never seen them live. Crazy.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Bug Live II

Dinosaur Jr week, day 4.

Back in April this year, I picked up a copy of the 'Bug Live At The 9:30 Club' record. The one I bought up was the most common version, being the green vinyl copy out of 800 copies. When I posted it on here, I wrote this:

There are at least two other versions of this one out there that I would like to own. It comes on purple out of 200, and a green vinyl in a sleeve numbered out of 50. I probably have a chance at getting the purple, but not the limited sleeve version.

Well, for once it makes me happy that I was wrong. One limited sleeve version is now firmly in my posession.

The sleeve of this version features the same artwork as the regular version, but it is printed on a green card rather than brown, giving it a very different look to the regular sleeve.

The cover art was made by the artist Marq Spusta, and the 50 green sleeves were hand numbered by him and also signed on the back. The only place you could buy one was direct from his own website when this came out. Alternatively, you could just wait for two years and buy one on eBay.

As you can see, I got number 15/50. The only slight disappointment is that these originally came with a signed 7"x7" Buggin' screen print, but this one didn't have one included. On the positive side, however, I think I paid less for this one than anyone else has paid for one on eBay. According to popsike, these have sold for $246, $150, $149 and $100, which are all amounts higher than the one I paid. So I can't really complain.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Purple Bug

Dinosaur Jr week, day 3, and today I'm moving on to a different record.

I'm pretty sure that 'Bug' is widely regarded as the band's finest moment and best record. It originally came out in 1988, and was released by SST Records, although it has subsequently been reissued on no less than eleven different labels! The first time I heard the band at all was back in 1989, when they featured on the soundtrack to the Santa Cruz Speed Wheels video 'Speed Freaks'. At that age I was a young skateboarder, falling in love with all the weird music that featured so heavily on skate videos of the day. As a result, Dinosaur Jr, and especially their third album 'Bug', will always have a special place in my heart.

A few weeks ago I was looking at something on eBay. I don't even remember what it was. But at the bottom of the screen I noticed another item under the banner of 'People who viewed this item also viewed' which caught my eye. It was a purple vinyl copy of 'Bug'. Now, I already owned 'bug' on purple vinyl and I've seen many other copies over the years. But this copy on eBay was a solid purple vinyl. I'd never seen such a colour before. The only copies I had ever seen were on clear purple vinyl. So I clicked on it and ... BANG!... the countdown timer jumped out of the screen and hit me in the face. There was just over one minute left on the auction! I had sixty seconds to decide how much I wanted this thing and how much to bid. Usually I like to watch an auction, try to guage the rarity and the interest, and decide how much I would be happy to pay. With this thing I had literally one minute. So I did what anyone would do. I panicked and entered some stupidly high number. Fortunately, I won it for a lot less, which was probably something to do with it being based in France.

It's crazy that I have been collecting records for twenty years or so and never seen this thing. Not sure whether it is simply rare or uber rare. I'm not even sure whether it is a pressing in it's own right or perhaps some kind of transition press where only a few were made accidentally. Who knows? Anyway, I dug out my other copy so that you could see the difference between this version and the 'normal' aka 'more common' clear purple vinyl.

The clear purple was one of the first records I ever bought. I bought it in 1992 in a shop in Wickford, Essex called Adrian's. What I remember quite distinctly was that they had two copies out in the rack - one on black vinyl, and one on purple. It was one of those life defining moments, and in my opinion pretty much sums up record collecting. So, as I said, there were two copies for sale. The interesting thing was the price. The black vinyl copy was £8.00, whereas the purple vinyl was £8.50. Now, a lot of people I knew then and have met over the years who are not collectors said (or would say) that there was no way that they would pay an extra £0.50 just to get a colour vinyl version. They thought it was a pointless waste of money. Me, on the other hand, couldn't wait to hand over the extra money, and wondered how anyone could possibly not choose the purple copy. And so began my whole coloured plastic adventure...

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Dinosaur Test

Dinosaur Jr week, day two. Yesterday I featured the first pressing red vinyl copy of the first LP, today I'm sticking with the same record but upping the ante to the test press.

This one appeared on eBay with a very optimistic price attached to it. I shot the seller an email offering a much lower price. He politely declined. I thought that he would, but at the same time I knew my offer was fair and that his expectation was too high. So then I played the waiting game. A couple of months later I sent another email saying that I was still interested and my offer still stood. He tried to get me to increase a little, but I played hard ball and declined. Then a few days later he agreed to sell it to me for the price I wanted to pay. That's how you neogitate, kids.

I've seen a couple of copies of this test press previously, and both had a press sheet glued to the front. Sadly, mine doesn't have that, but I'm fine with it just the way it is. It comes in a white disco sleeve with the record name and catalogue number written in the top corner in pencil.

The labels of the record are hand written. Both of them. I love the Side 1 label as it has the date written on too - 17 June 1985. For some reason, an exact date seems more shocking and difficult to comprehend than just a year. I wonder what I was doing in the Summer of 85? Given that I was ten, probably riding my bike and playing on my Atari 2600 I imagine.

So of course, now that I have completed this collection (black vinyl doesn't matter to me), I thought I'd crack out all three copies and take a group photo:

I'm proud of this collection. These things are hard as hell to find. There can't be too many people out there with all three. Times like this make me feel lucky.

Monday, 24 November 2014


I've picked up a few 'top end' Dinosaur Jr records lately. It feels like a waste to bundle them all together into one post, especially as I bought them all separately. So I'm declaring this week to be Dinosaur Jr week on The Endless Quest...

To start the week, here's a red vinyl copy of the first, self titled album. This album was released back when the band were called Dinosaur rather than Dinosaur Jr. This album came out on Homestead records in (gasp!) 1985. Homestead Records pressed a limited number on gold vinyl and also red vinyl. I have no idea which came first, or which is rarest. But both are incredibly hard to find. I was lucky enough to find a gold copy in 2009, and it has taken me a further five years to find a red one. But finally, after a long and patient wait, my day came.

One interesting observation I can make is that the red and gold copies have different 'color vinyl' stickers on the shrink wrap, which suggests that they were pressed at different times. One must have been pressed and released before the other, although we may never know which.

This LP has been repressed a few times over the years. All of the later reissues have the band name updated to include the 'Jr' bit on the end. There have been six different labels that have repressed this thing, mainly after 2005. Most of the 2005 vinyl reissues come pressed on a variety of disgusting splatter-effect vinyl. I have no interest whatsoever in owning any of them. But the fact that they exist makes owning the original coloured vinyl copies much more satisfying.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Another Dead End

When Violent Reaction released their 'Dead End' 7", I had no idea it even existed. It appeared to just come out of nowhere. I just saw it pop up one day on instagram, wondered what the hell it was, then hit the internet to find out. After a few minutes I realised that it had just been released, and that there was a limited, white vinyl press out of 100 copies that was already sold out. Bugger. I thought it would take a while to find one, as no doubt most people who had managed to bag one would no doubt be wanting to hang on to it. But fortunately, my old friend Mark had somehow picked up a spare copy, and was happy to trade it with me.

Just like the third press of the first 7", this one comes in a fancy fold out sleeve. When unfolded, it forms a giant X... and has three giant X's printed on one side. And there are X's on the label. Man, that's a lot of X's.

I'm pretty stoked to have picked up both colour pressings of this 7". But I still want a green version of the Painkiller pressing. Oh, and there's also an Australian pressing that came out on Rain On The Parade Records. I don't think there was a colour vinyl version, but there was a limited number with a stamped sleeve that is (obviously) sold out. So, you know, there's always something to chase.

Ride And Fall

Back when I was in school, I had a group of friends who listened to music that was probably pretty cool at the time. To me, however, it was just crap. I wasn't actually that much of a music fan back then, but the little music I did like was built around heavier and faster guitars than those featured in the bands my friends liked. They were really into The Cure, The Pixies, and a lot fo the Manchester stuff fo the time like The Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets and similar. One band they also got into was Ride. I remember being quite into the artwork on the first Ride album 'Nowhere' but other than that I had no interest in the band whatsoever.

Well anyway, for some reason recently I ended up downloading some Ride songs and quite enjoying them. I then decided that I wanted to own 'Nowhere' on vinyl, so started looking on eBay and Discogs. I didn't find a copy at a price I wanted to pay, but I did stumble across this 'Fall' 12" EP for pretty cheap, so I decided it would suffice.

This 12" is one of a series of three 12" EPs that all came out in 1990 and had similar layouts and design. I remember that at least three of my friends had them all back when I was 16 or so. I wonder whether those dudes still have their copies somewhere, and what they'd think of me starting to get into this band now, over twenty years later?

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Get Involved

There was quite a lot of anticipation earlier this year for a Brotherhood release that Southern Lord were putting out. Test pressings were sold before anyone knew exactly what was coming out, and then teaser pictures of a three coloured record were put up on the label's facebook page. It felt like a lot of people were excited to see what was coming. Well, everyone except me. I already have a pretty good Brotherhood collection, so felt like I could probably get by just fine without owning some kind of reissue. So I didn't bother to order any of it.

Well, then what happened? The same as always - every man and his dog started posted pictures on instagram of their new Brotherhood records, and all of a sudden I wanted in on the action. Unfortunately, at that point, I had missed out and the colour vinyl copies had all sold out, and I cursed my stupid decision to pass on this record. Idiot.

But then Jeff sent me a secret link to the Southern Lord store where the limited colours were still for sale. You couldn't access this link from the front end of the Southern Lord website, but it allowed you to buy the (apparently sold out) limited vinyl colours. It seemed like I was being offered a second chance, so I gladly took it.

All copies of the LP came sealed in a poly sleeve with a sticker on the front to indicate which colour vinyl was inside.

Once the poly bag was opened, I realised that each LP has a piece of paper folded over the top of the sleeve to tell you what it is.

The most limited colour is the 'Seahawks' vinyl, out of 300 copies.

The red vinyl is out of 600 copies.

The red vinyl copies come with either a red or blue vinyl 7" inside. Mine was red. It does seem pretty stupid to do two different colours of the 7" and put them both with the red LPs. I mean, why not include two different 7"s with two different colour LPs? Surely that would make more sense. Anyway, as I didn't want to buy two red LPs I left it there and didn't bother trying to pick up the version with the blue vinyl 7".

All copies of the LP come with a glossy 7" sized booklet inside which has lots of photos inside, as well as a weird and pointless write up by Nate Mendel. Surely Greg Anderson would have been far more appropriate?

The blue vinyl version was exclusive to Revelation Records. After picking up the other two colours, I figured there was no logical reason to not grab this one too. Like the red vinyl, there were 600 of these things.

So that was that. Three copies deep after intending to buy none. Good job, dipshit!


In August last year, the good folks over at Stuck In The Past posted an article about an unreleased Bloodlet song recorded back in 1994. At some point in 1994, the he band recorded three songs, two of which were released as the 'Cherubim / Shell' 7" on Stability Records. The third song, 'Embrace', didn't make it to the 7" and also never ended up being used anywhere else. Twenty years later, in January of this year, the band reunited to play the A389 Records anniversary bash, and to celebrate the occasion the label finally put the song to vinyl.

I used to like this band a lot back in the 90s. I mean, who didn't? And I still listen to them now and again, so I figured I'd invest in the 'new' release. There were 1000 copies made, spread across red, blue and green vinyl. I decided that one of these was enough and ended up with the red.

As there is only one song, one side of the record was redundant, so it got etched. It looks pretty cool.

It always felt like this band were really big in the 90s, especially as they got signed to Victory and released three albums with them before calling it quits. But for some reason it also feels like they have been largely forgotten about compared to other bands of the era. But actually their stuff has aged pretty well, and this 7" is a good reminder of that.