Monday 20 March 2017


My ability to think up a remotely clever or amusing title has completely evaded me today. But that's ok, because what matters isn't the title. It's the fact that I have obtained a test press of one of my favourite bands. I got this in a trade recently from someone who picked it up recently but, fortunately for me, didn't want it.

For the younger readers, Ashes were a band from Washington DC, active in the early 90s. They were notable for having a female vocalist with an enchanting voice and, for a few years, they were the band that any other band with a female vocal got compared to. They had Brian McTernan on guitar, who was also known for being the vocalist in Battery. If you haven't heard them, you should check them out. They were popular because they were interesting and different. Well, at least back in the day they were. Not sure if they would sound 'different' today, but give them a listen and let me know.

Predictably, I pulled out my other copies for a photo. As well as the test press, included above is the black vinyl first press with greenish sleeve, and the second press on white vinyl with black cover.

Saturday 18 March 2017

Let Down II

A couple more Dead by 23 records for the collection, because I definitely didn't have enough already.

Unfortunately, the website (and the pressing info) got taken offline years ago. So I have no idea how many of these exist. But having said that, I don't think the website was online when the Let Down 7" was released anyway. So it's just a guessing game. But the fact that I hadn't seen this variant before means it's probably pretty rare.

I also picked up one that's probably a little more common. The Damage II 'Broken Bloodlines' 7" on gold vinyl with a small hole.

As I said a few weeks ago about a Black Flag 7", here is further evidence that I'm collecting holes. Here's the latest Damage 7" next to the other gold vinyl copy I own.

I checked the spreadsheet, and I now have a grand total of 62 DB23 7"s. I'm not really sure how that happened. Yet there are loads of variants that I know I don't have. To quote No For An Answer - when will it end?

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Drowning Room

I really love picking up test pressings of lesser known (or less well remembered) records. One of the advantages is that they are less expensive, but they are every bit as satisfying. Take this Lament 7", for example. Lament was a band from NYC which, I think, featured a couple of guys from Maximum Penalty. They released this 7" on Inner Journey Records in 1991, and also a CD on Too Damn Hype Records (which I've never heard). Then they were done.

Inner Journey Records was a pretty cool label back in the early 90s. The put out some great 7"s - Clutch, Sub Zero, Railhed and Release. Each one came on two different vinyl colors, and there were also limited edition copies with comic books or superhero covers. Great records which were also highly collectible.

I've seen pictures of the Clutch and Sub Zero test pressings, and they coe in the same standard cover. Pretty cool. I do like consistency. I only wish I had another test from this label to show how the covers are the same in a photo. Maybe one day. Anyway, the Lament 7" was the only Inner Journey release to come on not two but three different colors of vinyl. I have no idea which came first or which is rarest. But the colors are maroon, blue and pink. A bit like this:

I actually have a spare pink vinyl copy if anyone is interested. Hit me up...

Monday 13 March 2017


So yeah, as I was saying, I had picked up four ALL albums and had them go missing in the mail, so a few months later went to buy them again. One that I didn't manage to pick up last year, however, was the band's major label release on Interscope Records, 'Pummel'. Released in 1995, at a time when major labels were starting to severely cut back on the amounts of vinyl they pressed, this remains the hardest ALL record to find... and is therefore the most valuable / expensive. So imagine how stoked I was recently to find a sealed copy.

I don't believe in keeping records sealed. I don't believe that there is any benefit to doing so. If a record is rare and sought after, it will be so whether it is sealed or not. So I did what I always do, and I opened it up.

There's something really quite satisfying about opening a record that has been sealed for 20 years. I can't explain why, exactly. But this isn't the first time I've done it.

It's not easy getting into a band and records many years later and understanding the history and the context. If I were a betting man, I'd put money on the fact that ALL were signed by Interscope after Green Day got huge, in an attempt to find bands with hardcore / punk credentials and a lot of melody. The sixth LP from the band, it sounds less poppy and more angry than the previous (and subsequent) records. After reading around a bit, it feels as if this is not overly liked by ALL fans, although I think there are some truly brilliant songs on this record.

It's funny, but just as I've managed to bag an original pressing copy of this record, it is about to be re-issued on vinyl for the first time since it's release. So look for pictures all over instagram in about a month's time.

Sunday 12 March 2017

Mass Nerder

Almost exactly a year ago, I posted up three ALL records that I has bought, and explained that I had just got into the band and was on a mission to pick up all their records. So I bought up 4 albums and they promptly got lost in the post. So I gave it a few months then started to look for them again...

'Mass Nerder' is the band's 7th LP. It was originally released in 1998 by Epitaph. It was then repressed on clear orange vinyl in 2015.

Unlike any color Descendents record that's ever been made, this album was available to buy from the label for a good few months. I was able to buy one, store it for a couple of months at a friend's place, have him send it & it go missing, wait three months and then buy another one before it sold out. I guess this really does highlight how much less popular ALL are than The Descendents.

Tuesday 7 March 2017

Clear Scene

I didn't even know that the Dinosaur Jr 'Freak Scene' 7" came on clear vinyl until a few months ago. But when I saw a picture I instantly wanted it. Having not seen one before in 20+ years, I figured it must be rare and would take an eternity to find. But it actually wasn't too bad.

Just like the colour Black Flag 7"s I'm trying to collect, which are also on SST Records, it feels like I'm picking up one of these every year or so. Which means I should have a pretty good collection sometime around 2025...

Sunday 5 March 2017

Feeling Down

As you may or may not have figured out by now, I'm not the biggest fan of black vinyl. It feels 'common' and, to be honest, I always found it boring. But there was a part of me recently that was pretty damn keen to pick up this black vinyl copy of the Swiz 'Down' 7":

Truth be told, it was one of those weird record collector things, where I was feeling incomplete without the black vinyl copy. But now, finally, I feel complete...