Saturday, 31 August 2019

Not For The Weak

I'm finally at the end of this haul of stuff that I picked up from a reader of this blog. I didn't put much thought into the order of these posts, and this is certainly not a case of saving the best until last, but it's just how it's worked out.

The final item in the batch was this Life's Blood 'Defiance' 7". A classic NYHC EP. This copy is a first press with the brown (sometimes referred to as red) labels on Combined Effort Records.

I was keen to bag a first press copy as all I had previously was a second press copy, denoted by the silver labels. But now that I have both I can confirm that the label colour is literally the only difference between them.

Picking this up sent me on a bit of a research mission as I realised that I had very little knowledge about the band. The one thing that always struck me is that, from what I could gather, the band were fairly low profile compared to other bands of the same era, yet they are always cited as a very important and influential outfit. The thing that I hadn't appreciated until recently is that the band only actually existed for a little over a year. OK, so they managed to put out a 7" and a split 7" and get onto three separate compilations, which is kinda impressive in itself. But a band whose total existence spanned just over a year in today's world would be completely forgotten within 6 months. So it's impressive that Life's Blood continue to be remembered and leave a mark over 30 years later.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019


I'm almost at the end of this haul of stuff that I picked up from a reader of this thing. Only two more items left to feature...

I used to be quite into the Gilman Street / Lookout! Records type stuff back in the early 90s. There were a couple of compilations ('Can Of Pork' and 'Very Small World') that my friends and I played a lot and used to explore about a million bands between them, and I loved them all. At the time, picking up records by some of them was hard, but as the internet opened for business I found myself going back to these compilations and picking up records by some of the bands over the years.

I was never a big fan of 'power-violence' (or whatever other words were used to describe the fast, thrashy bands of the mid to late 90s that seemed to have a sense of humour at the forefront of whatever they did). I think I liked the concept of these bands more than the bands themselves. Anyway, Stikky were a kind of early version of these kinds of bands. So when I saw a 7" for sale on the list at a reasonable price I decided to grab it.

The colour of the record hasn't come out quite as it is in real life, as the vinyl is a very pale green, almost exactly the same as mint ice cream. You will see what I mean about the sense of humour factor from the song titles:

I actually already owned a copy of this 7", and the different vinyl colour and cover was enough to decide to pick up a second copy. Here are the two side by side:

With the gift of hindsight, I'm not really sure that picking up a second copy of this was a great move. I mean, it's a fun record, but wouldn't even make it into my top 500 records. I think sometimes the opportunity to pick something up overtakes the desire to actually own it. So if anyone would like one of these two, please hit me up, as I feel I can live without one.

Sunday, 25 August 2019


Another great pickup from the same person as the UK records I've been featuring is the Double-O 7". I don't know too much about Double-O other than what I have been able to figure out online, but I always knew this would be a cool record to pick up if I had the chance.

This release is one of the hard to find Dischord half numbers. Dischord assigns 'half' catalogue numbers to any of their releases that were a split release with another label. This was released as Dischord 10½ and R&B Records no.1 (R&B Records was a label started by two members of the band, Rich & Bert, hence the label name). This came out in 1983 and, considering it is now 36 years old, is in totally mint condition... although I don't actually know how many copies were made, and how long it was in print for, so I guess it is possible that this may not be a first press and may have dated from a couple of years later. Who knows?

What's interesting about this 7" is that it contains 4 great DC hardcore songs that are about 1.5 to 2 minutes long each, plus one 4 minute song with keyboards that sounds completely different to the others ('Death Of A Friend') and which is actually my favourite by far.

Friday, 23 August 2019

UK Hardcore Test Pressings: Part 2

A long time ago, my 100th post on here was a bunch of early 90s UK hardcore test pressings. Somehow that was 11 years ago now, but this post proves that sometimes history repeats itself.

So this bunch of records I'm about to run through all came from the same person I got the stuff from the other recent stuff from. This was a really good haul to get in at one go. I'm not sure how many people would be interested in some of these records in 2019, but I sure as hell am stoked to grab them. I'll go through them in alphabetical order...

First up is a split 7" between Baby Harp Seal (a UK emo band from Leeds) and Kosjer D (a belgian band).

This record was released in 1996. It probably got a great review in HeartattaCk zine I would imagine. This is when 'hardcore' was in a weird place with lots of emo, screamo, and mathcore dominating the scene, at a time where jumpers and glasses were the fashion and records came in manilla envelopes. There was a lot of weird stuff going on, and in the midst of it there was some good stuff mixed in. Baby Harp Seal were once such example and it was cool to see them play seevral times as they were a local band. Anyway, this is what the regular cover looks like:

Next up is the Kito 7" on Armed With Anger Records. Kito was a band from the north of England that to me kinda fitten the image of bands that would have played ABCNo Rio rather than CBGB, if that makes sense.

I actually picked up one of these in 2008, but it had a blue cover. This one has a white cover and is number 1/6. I mainly picked this up because it was listed as number 1 and thought maybe I could trade away my number 5, but given that they have different colour covers I'll probably keep both.

I also picked up this cool test press of the Stalingrad picture disc 7" that was also released on Armed With Anger Records.

Back in 2008 I also picked up a test press of the Stalingrad 7", but that one was a regular black vinyl record, which I thought was cool as the only release of this 7" was a picture disc. So it's cool to now have a second and different test press of this one. Here are the two next to each other:

I can only assume that the black vinyl one came first and then the picture disc one came second. But it would just be a guess.

Next is another test press of a Stalingrad 7", this time a split with Underclass. This was released on Caught Offside records.

I think I only saw Underclass play once. To me they were a less heavy but more crazy looking singer. I have no memory other than this.

Next, I also picked up yet another Understand 7" test press.

I was always a big fan of this band as they were from the town that I lived in at the time (Southend on Sea). Even though their later material is much better than this 7", this one holds a fond place in my heart as the cover looks awesome, and the record kinda sums up the time nicely. It takes me back to an interesting time in life where I was discovering new stuff and everything felt exciting. Anyway, I actually already have two of the tests for this release, so this now represents a third.

I don't really need three of these, of course, but over the years I picked a couple up for a good price, so figured I would hold them until I found someone else who wanted one. So if anyone wants one then let me know.

Next, a test of an old compilation from 1994. This comp is called 'Nothing New' and was a split release between Armed With Anger Records and KWYJIBO.

Just like the Understand 7", this record is a time and place kinda thing. A mixed variety of bands from the UK all playing different styles that were fresh back then and not typically 'hardcore'.

What's interesting about this test is that it comes in a photocopied & glued cover. I'm guessing it was made of the artwork that was used to make the final version of the regular cover. It folds out, and this pic shows the test cover (top) and the regular cover:

And finally, a UK hardcore compilation from 2006 or so. 'Run Your Mouth' features 3 bands of that era including Search & Destroy, whose 7" I released. I love this 7", and so bought two copies of the test press from the seller:

These two join the one I already had, meaning (like the Understand 7") I now have three. And yes, I'd probably trade the spares if anyone was interested. Just get in touch.

So that's the end of the UK stuff I bagged from this seller, but there are still a couple more records to get to from the batch which I will do in the next post...

Thursday, 15 August 2019


Moving on, the next items I picked up in a lot from a reader of this blog are by the band SSS. I was actually at the band's very first show in Liverpool. The only thing I remember was the singer swinging a wooden chair leg about at one point. A few weeks later at a different show I bought their CD demo, and a few months later still I picked up their 7" and LP, both of which were released by Dead & Gone Records. This was back in 2006. I picked up the limited colour vinyl copies of each, both of which were on clear vinyl. And now here I am 13 years later picking up the record release show versions of each.

First is the 7". It comes in a spray painted card mailer, and is numbered out of 50 copies on the back.

The mailer is sealed shut, and there's a sticker over the back of it. The previous owner left it sealed and so right at this moment it doesn't feel right that I should open it, even though I am keen to see what's inside. There's a similarly packaged Walk The Plank 7" which I own and which I did open, and inside it's like a pop up book. So I'm sure that whatever is in here must be pretty cool looking.

Next is the LP, which comes in a cloth tote style bag:

Fortunately the bag isn't sealed shut, so I could easily take out the LP and have a look. It's pretty cool. The band have basically taken the standard LP sleeve and spray painted the logo on the front in gold:

And on the back, they've each written some nonsense.

The back cover is also numbered out of only 25 copies.

I've just added both of these variants to discogs as neither were there previously. What I then found interesting is that the band released 3 more albums, the last of which was in 2014. I literally had no idea they had kept going for that long. It's also funny that, whilst I really enjoyed these two records, I never really had any desire to listen to any more of their output. Funny how that happens sometimes isn't it?

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Walk The Plank

The next item in my haul from a long time reader of this blog is a test press of another great record from the 2004/05 era of UK hardcore. Walk The Plank 'Dead Weight In Hostile Waters' LP. The band were active circa 2004-2006 ish. As I type this it seems crazy that they only existed for about three years, because I saw them play quite a few times in that period, and looking back it felt that they were around for longer. Wow. Anyway, the band featured Lecky on vocals (most known for being the vocalist of Voorhees previously, who had been one of the most 'successful' UK hardcore bands ever at that point in time) and they always sounded raw, hard and tight live. And with Lecky himself being a bit of a record nerd, they put out smoe great reocrds in super nice packaging. They had a 7" with pop up artwork, a 4 x 7" series, all in gatefold sleeves, and a full length with cool cover art and a couple of limited collectible versions. Pretty much a perfect hardcore band in every sense. But they broke up and sadly appear to be less well remembered than other bands who weren't as good.

Anyway, in short I loved the band live and I loved the records they put out nearly as much, so I was pretty stoked to be able to pick up a test press of their LP.

Again, this Dead & Gone Records release comes only in a plain white paper sleeve, with a D&G stamp and the release details written underneath. It isn't a visual treat, but tests aren't really about that. So as usual I took a photo of the test next to the regular sleeve:

On a related note, I'm now starting to get into the process of adding releases to discogs. I own something like 500 records that aren't listed on discogs at all, so I figured I would start adding them to the database. This test press wasn't there previously, so I just added it. But in doing so I notice that there is a limited version of this LP for some reunion show in 2012 that I had no idea about. So that's one for the collection and one for the want list at the same time!

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

On Thin Ice

A couple of months ago or so, someone reached out to me via this thing to tell me that they had some stuff for sale. It used to happen quite a lot in the early days of the blog, but these days nobody reads this anymore and any communication from it is rare. So it was nice to get an email from a long time reader, and even nicer when he sent me a list of records which had some nice little items. A few weeks later and they were delivered to my house, but it has taken me over month to take any photos. Such is life. Anyway, I figured I would break the pile into a few different posts else it would be too long.

I thought I'd start with some UK hardcore from 2004/05 era. On Thin Ice were a band from the 'dirty south' of the UK that I saw play a lot in a short space of time. They sound very similar to early Blacklisted, which was a sound I was very into back then. Come to think of it, I still am. Anyway, I picked up a test press of their debut 7", released on Dead & Gone Records in December 2004.

This one isn't a lot to look at, which is kinda surprising for a test from this era, which was when tests really started to become collectible, and most had alternate covers made. So kinda cool that this is just in a plain paper sleeve with a stamp. But this record is one of my absolute favourites from this era. I still listen to this one regularly (which these days means probably once or twice a year). It's every bit as good as anything being put out by similar bands of the time in the States (i.e. everything on Dead By 23 or Malfunction Records).

I also took a photo of this next to the regular cover:

I also picked up three copies of the On Thin Ice / Down To Nothing split 7" that I didn't have, and only 14 years after it came out. The first version is the pink vinyl in the US record release sleeve. Numbered out of 125 copies on Grave Mistake Records.

I also grabbed a red vinyl copy, which to be honest I'm not even sure I knew existed. Discogs tells me that there are only 50-75 of this colour, but I'm not sure I believe that. I'm sceptical of any information on discogs, but that's another story.

And finally, a UK pressing of the same 7" on Dead & Gone Records with a limited tour cover. In theory I was at a show on this tour and could have bought one there, but I never actually saw them for sale.

This split 7" has a crazy number of variants. Discogs contains 15 of the things. I now have 7 and don't think I really need any more, but if someone has a US test press I probably wouldn't say no.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Hard Stance

As I said in my last post, I am trying hard these days to avoid spending money on represses, reissues and discographies. Yet I manage to make exceptions to the rule all the time. So here is yet another example of me breaking my own rules...

A few months ago Indecision Records put up the Hard Stance 'Foundation' LP for order. No, the band hadn't reformed and recorded a new LP, but instead Indecision had compiled all of their output onto one handy discography LP. As discographies go, this one is pretty good - it has artwork that is the same as their 7" (rather than some new design that doesn't look right) and it includes a glossy booklet. There were three vinyl colours to choose from, so I picked the most limited (blue / 200). I didn't feel I needed more than one copy.

The LP contains 20 songs, which is quite a lot for a single LP. Fortunately none of the songs are too long. But check out the number of tracks on one side of the LP. Looks kinda cool if you ask me:

Inside, the booklet contains lyrics and a lot of photos.

And despite me saying that I didn't feel that I needed more than one copy of this one, I could not resist picking up a test press. Indeicison never used to sell their tests, but have done so with a couple of their newish releases. It does actually look pretty cool, coming in a black sleeve with a spray painted logo, and a spray painted catalogue number on the back.

Mine also features a nice corner ding for extra punk points.

So is this worth buying? Well, yes. I mean, it sounds good, it includes an unrecorded song (played live) and it looks good, and its nice to have all their output on one piece of wax. Although no doubt in a year or two I will probably regret buying it as I seem to do with pretty much all discographies.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Fat Represses

Even though I have been trying to avoid represses, reissues and discographies for a while, I always seem to be able to find reasons to bend my own rules and buy more of the things. Today I present two more examples...

Firstly, a repress of the Good Riddance 'Symptoms Of A Levelling Spirit' LP from 2017. I kinda got the bug for picking up Good Riddance records after picking up another of their represses ('Ballads From The Revolution') last year. I think partly it's because I know that some Fat Wreck stuff is highly sought-after and hard to get, so when the chance comes along I figure best take it.

Apparently this red vinyl repress (which seems a far better colour choice than the original grey vinyl pressing) is limited to 327 copies. I didn't actually own a vinyl copy of this LP before this, and it was super cheap, so everything worked out pretty well.

I also couldn't help myself from picking up this yellow vinyl repress of the Sick Of It All 'Life On The Ropes' LP.

I'm not exactly sure what it was that made me want to spend money on this. I mean, this is far from my favourite Sick Of It All record. I guess the prospect of a Fat Wreck colour vinyl LP for $10 seemed too good to turn down.