Saturday 31 December 2016

2016 - A Final Backwards Glance

So 2016 has finally dragged its sorry arse out the door, and I don't think there are too many people who are sad to see it go. The year started with the loss of David Bowie back in January, and the grim reaper didn't let up after that, taking a host of famous people and several hugely influential musicians including Prince and George Michael, who seemed to go way before their time. I was personally saddened by the loss of a couple of people from my favourite bands, namely Jon Bunch (Reason To Believe, Sense Field) and Jody Taylor (Strain). Truly heartbreaking events and a reminder that life is tough and not fair.

In slightly less shocking circumstances, Bane called it a day after more than twenty years as a band. I had optimistically bought a ticket for the last show in June, but couldn't bring myself to overcome my fear of flying in order to actually go. I watched a video and it looked great, but it still seems odd to think that Bane is no more.

Outside of the world of music, shit got just as messed up. First up the UK voted to leave the European Union, which nobody really expected (even the fools who ran the 'Leave' campaign) and then, not to be outdone in the field of piss poor decision making, the citizens of the United States of America voted Donald Trump to be their next President.

God only knows what the implications of these choices will be in the future, but already we've seen the £ drop to the lowest value against the $ that I have ever known, which has in turn made records significantly more expensive for me. I've already had to decline some amazing records that, pre-Brexit, would have been affordable. And talking about not getting records, did I mention that I had a whole lifetime of record collector's bad luck in one go when a parcel of 98 records that was sent to me vanished in the post? The contents represented five months of purchases, and not actually receiving them then severely impacted my blogging activity for the rest of the year, meaning that 2016 was the least active year for this blog since I started back in 2008. To prove it, here's a graph of my annual post count by year, clearly showing this year's drop off:

I lost a few new releases in that lost parcel at the end of April, and after a couple of months of not really buying anything, when I did start getting going again I was still getting stuff delivered to my friend in the States, which I still haven't had sent on to me due to basically being shit scared of the postal service. This means that I barely actually received any new releases on vinyl this year. That said, I did receive a couple and I downloaded a few more, so in time honoured tradition I can still just about manage to scrape together a list of my favourite new releases from 2016...


This picture shows my favourite releases of the year, whether I received physical vinyl copies or not:

In random order, these are the records in the picture:

Descendents 'Hypercaffium Spazzinate' LP - The first LP since I've been into them, this didn't disappoint one bit.

Dinosaur Jr 'Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not' LP - Until today I actually thought the name of the LP was 'GET a Glimpse...', but have just realised it is actually 'GIVE a Glimpse...'. Whoops!

Magic Circle 'Journey Blind' LP - I think technically this may have come out in 2015, but given the vinyl didn't ship until this year I'm counting it as a 2016 release.

World Be Free 'The Anti Circle' LP - a hardcore supergroup, if there is such a thing. This is a cool record and a collector's dream.

For Pete's Sake 'In Faith And Loyalty' LP - a really interesting record which looked interesting too. Sadly the singer, Peter Amdam, also shockingly passed away this year way too young. RIP Peter.

Ignite 'A War Against You' LP - I didn't actually manage to buy a copy of this, and nor did I go see the band play in London. I'm an idiot on both counts.

Burn 'From The Ashes' 7" - new releases from old bands are always shit. This one was not.

Nails 'You Will Never Be One Of Us' LP - this band is monstrous. I didn't manage to get a copy due to there being too many colours and my being too indecisive.

Devotion 'Headspace Astronaut' LP - again, I didn't pick up a copy as I found out about this release too late, but I played the shit out of it regardless.

Praise 'Leave It All Behind' LP - possibly THE best release of the year, so not sure why I'm listing it this far down, but again I failed to get a copy due to being far too slow.

Angel Du$t 'Rock The Fuck On Forever' LP - nowhere near as good as their first LP, but still catchy as hell. I have a copy coming to me soon, in theory.


Despite having a pretty unlucky year and losing 98 records to bad luck, I did still manage to pick up some nice items. The highlights were:

Dag Nasty 'Can I Say' LP Test Press
Dag Nasty 'Wig Out At Denkos' LP Test Press
Resurrection 7" Test Press
Unbroken 'Ritual' LP Test Press
Over My Dead Body Both LP Test Pressings
World Be Free LP with tour sleeve
Dwarves 'Blood, Guts And Pussy' LP Grey vinyl
Nirvana 'Bleach' LP on Green vinyl
Dinosaur Jr Sub Pop 7" Test Press
Tad 'Jinx' & 'Loser' 7" Test Presses

Kinda funny that the majority of this list is test pressings considering I didn't used to be interested in them at all. At the start of the year I thought I was going to pickup a an average of one test press per week, but then 26 of the damn things went missing in the mail in one fell swoop. I can't be bothered to count how many I actually ended up with, but regardless of the quantity, the quality was definitely more than I could have hoped for.


Even though I didn't actually acquire many physical records this year, I still listened to a lot of music. Aside from the releases listed above, and the 20,000+ songs I already own in one format or another, I spent a lot of time this year listening to these:

ALL - everything! I'm on the verge of saying that I prefer ALL to Descendents at this point

Tad 'Inhaler' & 'Infrared Riding Hood' LPs - the major label albums from the early 90s which I had never heard before. Both rule.

Dwarves 'The Dwarves Are Young And Good Looking' LP - I bought this when it came out in and thought it was shit. But after seeing them live this year, I tried it again and it's actually pretty good.

Union 'You Fell For It' 7" - I picked up a copy of this earlier this year (haven't received it yet) which got me to spinning it again for the first time in a LONG time.

Further Seems Forever 'Hide Nothing' LP - this LP features Jon Bunch on vocals. I've never heard anything else this band did, and am not really fussed, but it was good to hear Jon's voice over some new (to me) songs.

Well, that's the end of another year. Thanks to my fellow bloggers and anyone who reads and comments for providing the inspiration and motivation to keep me doing this. Hopefully 2017 will be kinder to me!


Friday 30 December 2016

Wiggin' Out

So after what proved to be a pretty whack year for records, things have ended on a high for me with the last minute arrival of this test press:

Nico sent me a link to this on eBay a couple of weeks ago. I asked if he had it & he replied yes... but added that if he didn't, then he wouldn't have told me about it in the first place. I think I had said the same to him about the purple Husker Du record I made him buy a few weeks previous. I love this about record collectors - we're all friends but we're all rivals at the same time. Fortunately, this time around there was no rivalry, so I was able to snag this test press for Dag Nasty's second LP 'Wig Out At Denko's' without fuss or bother.

I like how this has one hand written label and one stamped. Much cooler than two blank labels. It didn't come with a sleeve, so I got one off of my shelf to take this pic, as it is a legal requirement to take such a snap when test pressings only come in a white paper sleeve.

Kinda cool that one of the first records I picked up this year was a 'Can I Say' test press, and I'm ending the year with 'Wig Out At Denkos'. Not just because I have managed to acquire two Dag Nasty tests, but also because I got them in order. Based on this I'm now expecting 'Field Day' to rear it's head... although, to be honest, I'd rather just skip straight to 'Four On The Floor', haha!

Picking up this record was also a reminder that I had filmed the first couple of songs from when I saw the band play back in August. So I uploaded it to boobtube today. This also served as a reminder that I never got around to picking up the 7" they released this year. Ah well. Maybe next year...

Wednesday 28 December 2016

Big Bill

This is a pretty dull post even by my standards. It's not really an exciting record and there are no exciting pictures. So I'll just get on with it...

This here is a test pressing of a 12" single. Yup, that's right, a 12" single. When I was young, and all normal chart/pop songs got put out on vinyl, they often made 7" and also 12" versions. I never really understood the point back then, and I still don't now. But the reasons I decided to actually buy one are:

1. It's by Seaweed
2. It's a test press
3. It was cheap

This was released by the European arm of Sub Pop. It came on black vinyl only. I've never really been interested in owning any of the Euro Sub Pop 12" singles, but I couldn't really pass this one up because of the bargain price.

Monday 26 December 2016

A New Scene

The good thing about keeping this online diary of my record collecting habits is that I can look back into what I was doing and thinking in the past. I distinctly remember not being bothered about collecting Dinosaur Jr 7"s in the past, but then at some point changing my mind. So I checked the blog and found that in December 2011 I said:

...maybe I'll start thinking about collecting the SST 7"s on colour, although I'm not sure I have the energy for that

It's funny how things change I guess, but this here grey vinyl copy of 'Freak Scene' marks my third copy of this 7".

Since there is no official pressing info for SST releases, the only way to figure out what exists is to search the internet. Discogs is a pretty good source these days, although is far from complete. But despite having three copies of this one (grey, red and purple) there are at least two other colours of this 7" (blue and clear) that I don't have, plus variants of the blue and purple as well as a rumoured yellow copy. And of course, the test press. This one will no doubt keep me busy for a while longer yet...

Tuesday 20 December 2016

A Goddamn Anthem About Man

My recent Sub Pop pickups pushed my attention back on to the label and got me to wanting more of their coloured discs with big holes. So I started scratching my head trying to think of other Sub Pop releases that I already own for which there were additional pressings that I didn't own, so that I could buy more copies and experience the same excitement I did when I first bought them. In the end I decided against spending ten grand trying to collect copies of Nirvana's 'Bleach' and instead went for this five dollar blue vinyl copy of the Fuckers 7".

This band was some balaclava clad 'mystery' band that somehow everyone knew was actually members of Seaweed. They released this 7" on Sub Pop and also another on Merge and that was it. Musically they sounded a little bit like The Dwarves but not quite as good.

I've had this 7" on green vinyl for years, and I also have a test press that I bought cheap on eBay back in 2010. So given that I don't have much to say about this one I figured I'd end this post in the same way as the others in this recent Sub Pop series by throwing up a pic of the three together. A little bit like this:

Monday 19 December 2016

Earache My Eye

Another Sub Pop test I picked up a couple of weeks ago on my late night shopping spree was Sub Pop number 72 - the July 1990 Singles Club 7" release by The Rollins Band.

The 7" itself is a bit of an odd release. The A side features a spoken word track, whilst the flipside is a cover of 'Earache My Eye', which was originally by Cheech & Chong.

Well, given I had just bought a test press, and I already had a pink vinyl copy, I figured I needed a red copy to complete the set. So I hit up discogs and managed to grab one without too much of an issue.

There were 4000 copies of this 7" made. 2000 on black and 2000 on color. The color copies come on both pink and red vinyl. I don't think the actual numbers are known, but the red seem to be much rarer than the pink.

And to end, the obligatory collection shot.

One of the funny consequences of this record is that it got me interested in Cheech & Chong. I'd never seen one of their movies in my life, but after listening to The Rollins Band version of 'Earache My Eye' I decided to check out the original on youtube. This then made me want to watch their first movie, 'Up In Smoke'. It was pretty good, so I then went to watch the sequel, but that sucked so bad that I turned it off after about half an hour.

Sunday 18 December 2016

To Justin - Tank Fer Buyin' The Record

You may or may not be aware, but Sub Pop recently repressed the three Tad 12"s that they released. I'm trying to avoid represses as far as possible these days, so didn't bother, but it made me realise a couple of things - firstly, that I hadn't ever heard the Tad LPs that came out after they left Sub Pop, and secondly, that I didn't own a copy of the 'Salt Lick' 12". So I set about changing the situation. To start I downloaded the major label LPs that I'd never heard, and right off the bat, they clicked. I then couldn't stop listening to them. Then I started looking for a reasonably priced copy of the 'Salt Lick' EP, which wasn't too much of a challenge.

Surprisingly, for an early Sub Pop release, there was no limited pressing for this record. Just black vinyl. Well, until last month when it finally got pressed on colour wax for the first time.

Well, because I also wanted the major label LPs, which aren't actually that easy to find, I set up a saved search on eBay for 'Tad'. And a couple of weeks ago, that came up with a couple of very interesting finds. I was just about to go to bed when I checked eBay and found a couple of Tad test pressings listed (along with the Dinosaur Jr test that I posted about a few days ago). So that was that. Buy it now mania kicked in.

The first test press was for the 'Loser / Cooking With Gas' 7". This one comes on clear vinyl with a hand written label on one side.

After buying the test I decided I needed a regular copy of this 7". So I looked around eBay and discogs. I used to own a copy of this 7" back in 1992 or so, but sold it probably 20 years ago. It was on pale blue vinyl. Just my luck, that now turns out to be the rare colour of this record, and I couldn't find another one for sale at a good price. But I did manage to grab a green vinyl copy.

When this arrived I was showing my other half, and she noticed something that I had missed - the sleeve is signed on the back. I'm not really fussed about this kind of thing, but I guess it's kinda cool as the seller didn't mention it. Maybe he didn't even know it was there himself?

The second test press I scored from the eBay seller was for the 'Jinx' 7". This one comes on clear red vinyl.

And in a weird twist of fate, at the same time I bought the test press, someone else in the UK was selling a spare sleeve for this record. It was only £0.99, so I figured I'd pick it up as a place to store the record.

So a pretty cool coincidence that worked out well.

And again, after picking up the test, I figured I'd buy the other versions of the record. I mean, if you have a test, you have to have a full set, right? I was able to find all three colours of this one on discogs pretty easily. Two of them came from the seller who had the green 'Loser' 7" above. So I managed to negotiate an even better price.

The first copy is the most common colour, which is a solid yellow vinyl. I used to own this one back in the early 90s. So, it would seem, did someone called Justin who saw fit to get it signed right across the front cover. I can't even read what the writing says. It either says 'Thnx' or possibly 'Tank'. I'm not sure which is the stupider thing to write.

Interestingly, the photo of the band on the back cover of this 7" became the front cover for the band's second album '8 Way Santa' after the original cover was banned. Anyway, next up is a light blue vinyl copy of the same record. This one is tougher to find that the yellow.

And finally, a purple vinyl copy. I also used to own one of these years ago, but I sent it to a friend for his birthday. What I remember is that my friends and I always used to write dumb shit on the envelopes of stuff we'd send each other, and when I sent him this record I wrote 'Do not fucking bend!' on there. Well, the postman didn't take too kindly to that. Apparently he knocked on my friend's door and informed him that if anything similar was written on stuff in future, it would be binned! Haha!

It doesn't end there though. After I bought those tests, I emailed the seller to see if he had anything else that he hadn't got around to listing yet. And wouldn't you know it, there was another Tad test. So I made a deal. This one is for the infamous 'Jack Pepsi' 7":

And again, getting the test meant that I wanted a regular copy of this record. And again, discogs delivered, for only £2 (plus postage). As it turns out, this record was a promotional record issued in a plain white paper sleeve on black vinyl, so it's not overly sought after.

And still there's more. Because when looking on discogs, I also picked up another, later 7". And again, I used to own this one way back in a different lifetime. This is the 'Salem' 7", which came on both blue and black vinyl. There were quite a lot made, so it was also pretty cheap.

So that's that. Kinda funny to think that two weeks ago I only owned two Tad records, being their two LPs on Sub Pop. And in a few days I've added nine 7"s and a 12". It's been a cool journey though as I've been listening to these songs for the first time in years, and watching some old live footage on youtube. Next up I need those major label LPs, and the first two 7"s. You know how it is - always gotta have something to aim for...

Friday 16 December 2016


It's been a little over two years since I downloaded and started listening to the first Ride LP. I had friends at school in the early 90s who all liked this band, but at the time I didn't. But for some reason, in 2014 I decided to check the record out and found myself enjoying it. I wanted to pick up the record but was holding out for a copy at a fair price with the original sticker still intact. Two and a bit years later, I crossed it off the list.

The sticker says 'This sticker is removeable' underneath the title. Makes me wonder how many people took this as an instruction or advice, or removed it. I've seen a lot of copies in the last couple of years without the sticker, but being anal about these things, this sticker was essential for me, so I'm stoked to have finally found a copy.

Even though I was never a fan of this record when it came out and my friends all loved it, I always liked the awesome cover art, which has since become pretty iconic. Less is definitely more.

Monday 12 December 2016

Better Than Gone

Last week I was in the process of going to bed when I realised that I hadn't checked eBay for a few days, so figured I would have a quick look. Perhaps it was fate, but only a couple of minutes previous someone had listed a couple of test pressings for some old Sub Pop Records releases. My eyes nearly popped out of me head and, even better, these things were being sold by someone in the UK, meaning a less risky shipping process. I couldn't hit the BIN button fast enough.

Although this isn't much to look at, there are some records that I thought I would never own, and this is one. Great band, great record and a great version that I'm sure lots of people would be willing to fight over. Fortunately it didn't come to that. Anyway, you know how it is - the best way to celebrate is of course to take an updated collection photo:

It's funny, but it was almost five years ago to the day that I picked up the purple vinyl copy. There were apparently 10,000 copies on white vinyl but only 200 on purple. Well, that's the official story, although there are also some clear pink copies too. And whilst there are no official numbers on the test press, it doesn't really matter.

More Sub Pop records to come soon...

Sunday 11 December 2016

Deathly Fighter

Issue #143 of Decidel magazine, which came out in September this year, came with a 'free' (if you paid $6 for the magazine) Integrity flexi. It featured one song, a cover of 'Deathly Fighter', which is a song by the Japanese band R.U.G. (Randy Uchida Group). Randy used to play guitar in G.I.S.M. who were a pretty big influence on Integrity, so it all kinda makes sense.

Well, I had pretty much zero intention of buying the magazine as I'm not really a magazine person, so I went about trying to get a copy from somewhere else. As it turns out, I ended up with a test press in hand drawn sleeve. I have to say, as far as flexi discs go, it looks pretty cool.

As well as this, there were 100 copies that came in a sleeve, made for This Is Hardcore 2016. Other than that, the only copies that exist are the magazine freebie copies that come without sleeve.

Saturday 10 December 2016


So the third Black Friday release that I picked up a couple of weeks back was this reissue of the 1997 LP from Integrity, 'Seasons In The Size Of Days'. Organized Crime Records have just reissued it on white vinyl. I think there were 700 copies made.

The original LP came in a regular sleeve, but this reissue is a gatefold. However, I haven't opened it as that would involve taking the shrink wrap off, which I didn't really want to do.

So this was a good reminder that a few weeks ago I received a test press of this one. I've somewhat got out of the blog habit this year due to lack of records, so picking up the Black Friday copy was a good reminder to take some photos of the few things I have received recently before the year ends. This test has a sleeve handmade by Dwid:

Here's the test sleeve next to the original 1997 LP cover:

And the back of the sleeve, which features the same art as the insert to the original release:

Digging out the original LP from my collection I found it had a press release sheet inside. I think this was because I did a zine back then and got sent Victory promo CDs. Anyway, I took a photo and figured I would upload it in case anyone was interested:

Sunday 4 December 2016

Life Of Mud

On my weekend trip last weekend I also picked up a couple of used records from a dude who was selling a collection. Dude was selling a bunch of hardcore stuff from the late 80s & early 90s, although most of it I already had, and it was priced to sell on discogs, so not really any bargains to be had.

It's only about a year and a half since I first heard Life Of Agony. In that time I managed to buy an original pressing of their first LP, and see them play live. And now I've managed to pick up an almost mint condition copy of their second LP, 'Ugly' too.

This LP has a printed inner sleeve, which is completely free from rips or tears.

I'm not sure how this LP was received back when it came out. I would guess it wasn't as well received as the first LP due to some of the songs being a little more personal. It took me a little longer to get into, but it's still a great album without a doubt.

The second record I picked up was a Mudhoney 7". Hardly a surprise as I've been on a bit of a Sub Pop trip lately. This copy of the 'You Got It' 7" is on black vinyl, which I wouldn't usually bother with, but this copy comes with the first press sleeve, denoted by the live photo printed on the inside.

I imagine they had a lot of fun the day they caked themselves in mud for the cover shot, although I imagine they also received some funny looks and, probably, some verbal abuse. I mean, that's not exactly a good look for going into town is it?