Thursday, 31 December 2020

2020: The End of a Fucked Up Year

2020 has been one of the strangest years of my lifetime. The world pretty much closed down due to Corona Virus, and as a result I have spent the last 9 months of the year at home, only straying more than 2 miles from my house about 5 times. However, I'm not going to complain about it one bit, because compared to a lot of people I feel quite lucky. I was able to work from home all year and receive full pay, and due to not being able to go anywhere or do anything I also saved a decent amount of money. But the effects of this virus will live on for years to come, I am sure, although I don't think that anyone can predict what the long term effects will be at this point. Also, smack bang in the middle of the virus came the Black Lives Matter protests, which will also no doubt have a huge global impact on future life, and which led to a whole bunch of record auctions and raffles. And right in the middle of it all was Donald Trump, embarrassing himself and shocking the rest of the world with his ignorance, selfishness and stupidity on an almost daily basis. I think that probably every American that I know breathed big a sigh of relief when Trump ended up losing the election, although from what I can tell he probably still thinks he won. And then right at the end of the year (at 11pm today) the UK will have completed Brexit and formerly left the European Union which, just like the other things I have mentioned, will no doubt also have a huge impact on daily life for a lot of people in the UK for quite some time. Right now the biggest question I have is whether it will have any impact on postage prices or import charges from mainland Europe. If it affects me buying records, it's serious.

Moving on to the important stuff, i.e. records, and it was a funny year for those too. I spent a fair portion of the year buying cheap stuff from within the UK. It was kinda cool being at home to open the door to the postman, and I found some nice bargains and took advantage where I could. I got into a rhythm of buying cheap records and getting pretty stoked on them too. I also made sure to listen to a reasonable number of new releases for a change, and I managed to pick up a few hot items from my wants list along the way.


My mind seems to have played a trick on me, because when I sat down to write this I genuinely felt like I listened to more new releases this year than I did in the last few. I think that this was because there were a couple of occassions where I wasn't feeling too fussed about a particular record, but then made a conscious decision to buy it because I felt that I should buy more new releases. For example, the Coriky LP only came on black vinyl and wasn't much to look at, but I figured I should buy one anyway, and I really enjoyed it. So there I was thinking that this was a big year of new releases, but when I looked back at my 'end of 2019' post from 12 months ago, it seems that I did actually listen to more new releases last year. But the other main difference this year was that I managed to get the vinyl in my hands for the year's new releases, whereas last year I listened to more via downloads and picked the vinyl later on.

Anyway, for what it's worth, here's are the 2020 releases that I spent the most time listening to:

Shown above are:
Coriky 'S/T' LP (Dischord Records)
Shades Apart 'Eternal Echo' LP (Hellminded Records)
Be Well 'The Weight And The Cost' (Equal Vision Records)
Heavy Discipline 'S/T' LP (Painkiller Records)
Rated X 'United Front' LP (Painkiller Records)
Bitter Branches 'This May Hurt A Bit' 12" (Atomic Action Records)
Don't Sleep 'Turn The Tide' LP (Mission Two Entertainment)
Change 'Closer Still' LP (React! Records)
Every Scar Has A Story 10" (Equal Vision Records)
Drain 'California Cursed' LP (Revelation Records)

I'm not going to attempt to put these in order of preference, partly because it's too difficult to choose. But if I had to choose one favourite then I would probably have to go with the Be Well LP. I imagine that this is the one that will get the most future play, based mainly on the lyrics.

The one thing that stands out from this list is that I clearly seem to mainly listen to either old bands, or new bands made up of old dudes. There can't be too many younger kids listening to some of the above records, as the average age of the people in these bands is probably about 45. Does the average 20 year old hardcore kid care about Ian Mackaye's new band, or that the singer from Deadguy has a new band? I'm guessing not.

Also, I'd like to give honourable mentions to these 2020 releases, which I also listened to quite a bit, but didn't include in my top 10 above:

Big Cheese 'Punishment Park' LP - I liked this a lot but just didn't get around to buying the vinyl

Higher Power '27 Miles Underwater' LP - I was big into this one at the start of the year, but I found myself getting tired of it quite quickly. It didn't have the longevity for some reason.

Chubby And The Gang 'Speed Kills' LP - Seventies style punk from a young British band, this one proved to be a lot of fun, and it's good to see them getting global recognition as a result.

Winds Of Promise 'Cut.Heal.Scar' LP - I got it too late in the year to really give it a good go, but after a couple of listens it sounds just like I was expecting.

Mil-Spec 'Worls House' LP - I have listened to this a few times in the last week or two, but don't have the vinyl yet. Gets better with each listen.

Casket Lottery 'Short Songs For End Times' LP - technically a 2020 release, but the vinyl got delayed so it will feel more like a 2021 release.


As ever, the year afforded me a few opportunities to pick up some cool records and brag about them to the 5 people who still read this blog. My favourites were these:

Shown in the photo are:

Walleye 'Familiar, Forgotten' LP - test press
Dwarves 'Blood, Guts & Pussy' LP - pink vinyl
Movielife 'Forty Hour Train Back to Penn' LP - test press
Integrity 'The Blackest Curse' LP - test press
Black Flag Jealous Again' 12" - clear vinyl
Down To Nothing 'Live On The James' LP - test press
Bold 'S/T' 7" - orange / pink mix vinyl
Black Flag 'Six Pack' 7" - clear blue vinyl
Swiz 'Rejects' 7" - test press
A bunch of Wreckage Records test presses (represented by the Neglect 7" in this pic)


I've done this list the last few years as I find it interesting to make a record of other music that I have spent a lot of time listening to. It's interesting for me to look back on if nothing else. But other than the records shown above, I have listened to all manor of crap this year.

System Of A Down 'Toxicity' LP - I'm not sure what made me listen to this, but I probably listened to this more than anything else this year. I have a vivid memory of playng this whilst excavating a drain in my back garden that I am sure will last a lifetime.

Metallica 'Death Magnetic' LP - I never listened to this before this year, and it rules. And it became the soundtrack for me painting my fence, haha.

Pantera 'Cowboys From Hell' LP - I used ot have this on CD a long time ago & rediscovered it this year. The soundtrack to evening workouts this year in the gym (aka loft).

76% Uncertain 'Nothing But Love Songs' LP - I've had this on vinyl for a long time but rediscovered it after downloading the songs this year. Sounds just like the first Descendents LP if you're interested.

The Cry 'Beautiful Reasons' LP - Originally released on cassette only in 1990, this vinyl reissue made a lof of old skatebaorders very happy.

Smile 'Maquee' LP - an old San Diego band that sound a lot like Helmet in places. I need the colour vinyl in my life ASAP!

Ex Youth 'Oakland Intervention' 7" - A raging hardcore 7" from a couple of years old with the guitarist of Ceremony on vocals. I feel I'm gonna need to buy additional copies of this one.

The Bombpops 'Fear Of Missing Out' LP - I was tricked into listening to this band simply because the singer is so hot, but I stayed with it because it's catchy as hell.

Crossed Keys 'Saviors' 12" EP - this would have been in my favourite releases for the year, had it not come out at the backend of 2019. A great melodic band from Philly, I hope they deliver more in 2021.


If there's anyone still out there reading this, you may have noticed that I managed to put more effort into this blog this year than I have for quite some time. I posted more this year than the previous two years combined, and somehow 2020 has ended up being the joint second highest number of posts I have made in all the years since I started this thing. I think it's partly to do with the lack of anything else to do this year, plus the fact that I was at home most of the time, so there were more opportunities to take photos. But it all made easier by the whole process of taking photos becoming less time consuming. Previously I used to have to take 10 or more photos of each record to get a good one. These days I take one or maybe two of each. It saves so much time and it makes this thing just less of a task generally. So after years of thinking that I am on the verge of giving this thing up, I'm back at a point where I feel I can comfortably continue. And of course, I'm still collecting records, which helps ensure there's always stuff for me to talk about.

See y'all in 2021...

It's the end of a fucked up year... there's another one coming... OH SHIT!

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Constant Elevation

So I thought I'd sneak in one last post for the year. There are a couple of 2020 releases I haven't covered yet, and a whole stack of other records on my floor too, the year to cover them all. But one release I wanted to cover was the 2nd 7" by Constant Elevation... partly because I also realised that I never got around to putting up the first 7", which came out in 2019. So I figured at this point that the best thing would be to get it out of the way and cover off of both at the same time.

Anyway, by means of an introduction if you need one, Constant Elevation is another 'supergroup', being comprised of Sammy Siegler (from every NYC SXE band in the late 80s) and Vinny Caruana (vocalist of The Movielife). The debut 7" came out last year and I scooped the most limited version from Coretex pretty much immediately, but then I was waiting for the other two copies to show up before I took photos and wrote something. And it took me over a year to get around to it.

So first up, the 1st 7". The first copy I picked up was the green vinyl, which was exclusive to Coretex Records in Berlin, Germany. As usual for a Coretext exclusive, this is hand numbered on a sticker which they have slapped straight onto the back cover.

According to Rev, there were 165 on green, although these are numbered out of 150, so I assume there were 15 that were not numbered. I think this came out somewhere around September 2019. It then took me about another 6 months to get around to ordering the other two colours from Rev, and after that it took 9 months for them to get to me. Both of the other colours were sold by Revelation. There was a red vinyl (out of 300) and also a yellow vinyl (out of 700).

So I was quite into the first 7". I thought it was a nice little 7" with some melody, and the first sone expecially really did remind me of The Movielife. Good stuff. I listened to it quite a lot, and always felt that it would be good to have a few more songs to listen to.

So then at some point this year, a second 7" was released, titled 'Freedom Beach'. As with the first 7", there were 3 colours of vinyl made, although one of the colours (white) was evenly split between Coretex Records and Generation Records in New York, with each store numbering their copies out of 100. So 3 vinyl colours, but technically 4 versions. And it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out how many copies I was going to buy.

First is the white vinyl Generation Records version. This one is out of 100 copies and is numbered on the paper dust sleeve:

Second, the white vinyl Coretex Records version. This one is also out of 100 copies, and is (as usual) numbered on the back cover via a Coretex sticker:

Fun fact - some of the Coretex version come in a misprinted sleeve version, with the opening being at the left side rather than at the top. I'm not sure how many were made like this, but apparently some were sent out before the mistake was spotted, and when they realised they then corrected the issue. So some have the misprint sleeve, others have the correct sleeve. I got one of the defective ones.

The third version is the Lilac and grey vinyl. I think there were 400 of this colour made and sold by Revelation. The colour goes quite nicely with the artwork.

And finally, the lilac and white vinyl. This is the most common colour, out of 800 copies. It's one colour on one side and another on the reverse.

I'm still unsure as to what I think of this record. The first song starts out real noisy, reminding me slightly of Septic Death for a few seconds. But that doesn't really last. Overall it's like the first 7" but without as much of the Movielife influence. I enjoy it when I listen to it, but I think the issue I have is that it isn't overly memorable. Will be interesting to see if this grows on me as time passes.

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Every Scar Has A Story

I can't imagine many people have listened to this one, as I'm not sure who would be interested in this, although my guess would be 'not many'. I'm not sure if this is technically a debut release or not by this band. The band is called Every Scar Has A Story, and it's the latest offering from hardore veteran Rob Fish plus some other dude I haven't heard of. I've been a fan of pretty much everything that Rob FIsh has done over the years, although I will admit that I never even heard his last band that put out a 7" about ten years ago. That band was called Eshas, but it occured to me that 'Eshas' was probably just an acronym for 'Every Scar Has A Story'. But aside from Rob Fish, there is no consistency between the two bands, and at no point was the old band mentioned in any of the recent press material, so I remain unsure as to whether it is technically a different band or the same band. Regardless, I decided to check this out via the concept of a download, and found myself going back to it again and again. I actually think that anyone who has zero interest in Rob's previous bands could enjoy this, as to me it sounds nothing like anything he has done in the past. Musically (but not vocally) this sounds like something that could have come out on Dischord, and whilst I know that's probably not the most helpful description, but I can't explain it any better.

Anyway, this was put out by Equal Vision this year, and they were only selling a blue vinyl pressing in their store. But I saw a white vinyl copy on instagram that Rob himself posted. I asked what it was and was told that it was some tour pressing... not that anyone has been able to tour this year. I then agreed to buy one from Rob directly, and he also gave me a blue one for a pretty good price too, making it impossible to say no.

This record is only 3 songs, and probably clocks in at around 10 minutes in length. It probably could have been a 7", but obviously someone out there must like the 10 inch format. Or perhaps 7"s don't sell as well anymore? The songs fit onto one side, and the flipside features some arty screen print. I think this works better on the white vinyl, as in my opinion screen printed b-sides work better when they are confined to one side rather than when they show through on clear colours, as you can see here:

So yeah, kinda funny that I ended up buying two copies of this one, especially with it being on EVR and being a 10". It's just a shame that it's only 3 songs as 5 or 6 would have worked better with this format. And as I said earlier, I can't imagine too many people being interested in this one, but it's definitely been one of the sleeper hits of the year for me. Not one I was excited about, but one I have played a lot. Will be interesting to see if they put anything else out in the future.

Saturday, 26 December 2020

Heavy Discipline

Another 2020 release that I blasted quite a bit in recent months is the debut self titled LP by Heavy Discipline. This was released by Painkiller Records, and I picked it up at the same time that I picked up the Rated X LP. It was definitely a case of the 'is there anything else in the store that I could pick up now I'm here?' approach that I usually take, as I have always felt that it seems inefficient to buy one record at a time. I'd never heard of this band before, but I gave it a quick listen before I bought it for about one minute, and decided that it was worth spending a few dollars to check out.

This is typical of the sound that I associate with Painkiller releases. The band come may come from Pittsburgh, but they sound like they could have arrived into 2020 via a time machine that they secretly created in Boston in 1983. This actually reminds me most of the first Boston Strangler LP. You remember, the one that was everyone's favourite record of 2012, that they followed up with a record that nobody really cared about. Well, if anything, I would say that this sounds like what the second Boston Strangler LP should have sounded like. Definitely one of the hardest records I heard this year, although disappointing that it doesn't quite seem to have gotten the attention it deserves.

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Eternal Echo

One of the most surprising releases that appeared in 2020 was a new full length from Shades Apart. It appeared with very little fanfare on a newish NJ based label called Hellminded Records. Prior to 2020, the band hadn't released any new music since 2001. I hadn't heard anything they had done since their last album on Revelation, which came out in 1997, and thought I wasn't really interested in this band anymore. But seeing their name appear again after all these years got me curious, so I made a point of listening to the new record on bandcamp. And then I got kinda addicted to it, to the point where bandcamp wouldn't actually let me listen to it anymore without paying. So I ended up buying a copy. I hadn't bothered with the pre-order, but there was a limited version being sold by a distro in Europe, so it seemed easiest to grab one of those. It comes on 'blue ocean waves' vinyl and in a sleeve which is numbered out of 50 copies.

So a few weeks later I spotted that Hellminded Records were doing a Black Friday sale, and I went to buy a different record, and couldn't resist also picking up another copy of this one. I think I partly got sucked in because the pink vinyl had already sold out, but the label 'unearthed' 10 copies and put them up for sale in their store. I got caught up in that moment of 'if I don't grab one now I might not get another chance'. But I always enjoy pink as a colour choice.

Once again I found myself listening to something that I was initially sceptical of and I really enjoyed it. If anyone reading this used to listen to Shades Apart at any point in the past I would recommend giving this one a chance. One of the biggest surprises of the year for sure.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Be Well

Be Well are one of the biggest stories of 2020. A hardcore 'supergroup' with Brian McTernan (of Battery) on vocals and people from Bane, Darkest Hour and Fairweather playing the instruments, they released two records this year. I bought both, and just received them last week after a few months of listening to the songs digitally. I decided to deal with the records all in one post to make sure I squeeze them into 2020, and also decided to feature them in reverse order of release date (or in order from best to worst).

The band's full length, 'The Weight And The Cost', went up for pre-order in June. There were two labels selling the record on either side of the pond - Equal Vision in the States, and End Hits in Europe. Each label put up 4 or 5 different vinyl colours, and most of them were ugly splatter type things. I wasn't overly keen to order any of them based on this. Then the craziness stepped up a notch, with each label selling out of all the colour options and then immediately offering more different colours... all before it was even out. The fact that most colours were pressings of 100 probably encouraged some people to buy more than one, which helped sell it out and then lead on to countless other colour options. Somewhere along the way, Equal Vision offered what sounded like acceptable colours, and I ended up checking out on a bundle deal for two 'limited' colours - dark blue and clear. I think possibly these were intended to be sold on tour or something, but I may just be imagining that.

Anyway, aside from the multitude of vinyl colours, the record itself is pretty damn good. This is all over people's 'best of 2020' lists and I can see why. It reminds me of the first American Nightmare LP. I remember getting that back in 2001 and thinking it was good, but when I sat down and listened with the lyrics in front of me, it hit ten times harder. This record is exactly the same. The lyrics are all about Brian's struggle with mental health over the years, and I think it's safe to assume that anyone who has ever suffered from depression and feelings of hopelessness (which is probably pretty much everyone) will immediately find something here to identify with. I sure did. All in all I think this record fully deserves all the attention and praise it has received. It presents a subject matter than no doubt affects a lot of people in a very personal way, and which most struggle to talk about, and it unashamedly brings the issue to the table and shoves it in people's faces. And with hindsight, I don't think that there could have been a more apt year for this to have been released than 2020.

And whilst I bought two copies of this, I don't feel that I need both. I have zero interest in trying to collect all 28 versions of this that exist, so I see no point in owning two. One will be fine. So I have one for sale or trade if anyone is interested.

So that brings me on to the 7" that was released earlier in the year. With hindsight, this is a pretty pointless release as it contains two songs, both of which are on the full length. I intended to buy a copy when it came out, but the first couple of versions that went up for sale (at RevHQ and Coretex) sold out in a very small amount of time and I missed out on both. Damn, I wasn't expecting that. So when the next version went up for sale, I checked out right away. The clear blue vinyl was sold by EVR directly as a pre-order. Funnily enough, I just checked my receipts and I paid for it almost exactly a year ago, in December 2019. I'm not sure exactly when the records were sent out, but like I said at the start, I just received mine last week.

So after the blue copy soldout, EVR then put an orange vinyl version up for sale in late Feb. I think this was pressed because the demand was so high that they just decided to make another colour. I can't remember what the deal was with this one, but it sounded pretty limited, so I decided to buy one of these as well.

And then at some other point just before the world went haywire, the band played a release show in Washington, DC. They had a green vinyl version of the 7" which was given to people who attended. I was lucky that a friend of mine went along and wasn't too bothered about the 7", so she sent said she would send it to me, which she did a couple of weeks ago and it also arrived last week:

So now I have this weird dilemma and I'm not sure what to do. I have 3 versions of the 5 that exist for this 7". I'm not sure I want to try to collect the other two. But do I want to let go any of the ones I have? Plus I also have extra copies of the blue and orange ones as I figured I could use them to trade. Just like the LP, get at me if you want one.

Monday, 21 December 2020

Bitter Branches

One record that I got pretty excited for this year was the debut 12" from Bitter Branches. I'd never heard of the band until fellow blogger Mike wrote about it back in early September. All I needed to hear was that the band featured that guy from Deadguy & Kiss It Goodbye and I was interested. But I then needed information on where to buy this record, and Mike's post came through, telling me that I shouldn't waste my time on the screen printed cover version, and that the rarest variant was for sale at RevHQ. So I ordered one right away.

There were 100 copies on this ugly bright yellow colour vinyl. I find it interesting that the most limited version of this record is being sold by Rev and not the label that released it (Atomic Action). But hey, it's 2020. Everything is the wrong way round this year.

It's funny, but if you would have asked me at the start of the year if I'd like a new record with Tim Singer's vocals, I would have been pretty indifferent. But this one has notched up a lot of plays in the last 3 months. I think it's partly because there are only 5 songs on here, which seems like a great length for when you don't want to get too involved. But this is pretty essential for anyone who ever liked Deadguy or Kiss It Goodbye, and I'm stoked to see what they do next.

Sunday, 20 December 2020

California Cursed

I'm now scrambling to blog about the year's new releases in the limited amount of time left before 2020 ends. Today's post is a record that I spent a lot of the summer months listening to. The band is called DRAIN and the record is called 'California Cursed'. It was released by Revelation Records earlier in the year, probably around April, and I have literally just received my copies recently. But I listened to these songs a lot this year. Without wanting to sound like a washed up old man, I would say that this was without doubt the soundtrack to gardening in 2020. Haha!

I'd never heard of this band until it was announced that they had a record coming out on Rev. So I did some homework and I watched of video of these guys performing and I was instantly intrigued. On the down side, the show I watched looked like the audience were all about 18, so this felt like a new band for new kids. But the energy in the room was pretty cool to see. These kids were loving this band, and the band were clearly enjoying playing to these kids. I also found it interesting that the band members all kinda look like they should be in different bands. The guitarist in particular grabbed my attention. Dude was playing like he was in Metallica or something and seemed pretty damn impressive. I listen to this record and I struggle to believe that they only have one guitarist. Overall it was clear that this band had energy and was getting people excited, and it seemed pretty infectious. I wanted in.

Well, because this was a Rev release, and I still firmly count myself a Rev collector, I picked up both colours of the first press that were up for pre-order. The most limited, and by far the best looking, is the pink vinyl, out of 300 copies:

The blue vinyl is also part of the first press. There were 700 of these made:

About 6 months after the first press, there was a second press on yellow vinyl out of 1500 copies.

There was also a green vinyl pressing which was part of the first press for indie stores, although I didn't manage to get one of those. Yet.

I'm still debating where this should fall in my list of new releases for the year. Whenever I listen to it and genuinely feel disappointed when it ends every single time. It's the perfect soundtrack of wanting to put your fist through a wall. Or for mowing the lawn. Deinitely could be my record of the year. I guess I should probably figure that out in the next ten days or so.

Friday, 18 December 2020

The Mix

Whatever else has happened in 2020, it's been an interesting year in the world of my record collection. And this is a great way to end the year. Something that has been high on my want list for almost 6 years now - the elusive orange/pink mix vinyl copy of the Bold 7". I wanted a pink one for many years, and then as soon as I picked up one of those (in 2015), I immediately felt that something was missing.

For anyone who doesn't know what the score is, I thought I'd save my fingers a little work and just paste in the text from the Revelation Records pressing info:

The color vinyl was suppose to be maroon, to match the cover, but the pressing plant couldn't mix the color properly and came up with pink. After pressing a number of the pink they stopped and tried remixing the color, this time coming up with orange. To make life easier Jordan just had them do the 1000 on orange so the mix was created when changing from pink to orange without cleaning the presses. The actual invoice states 60 on pink and makes no mention of the mix, so how many of the pure pink versus how many of the orange pink mix exist is not known, but it is safe to say that that there are more than 10 of the mix as was originally believed. What is more, did the mix of colors count as orange or pink on the invoice? So are there 60 pure pink and a number of the mix color, or are there a even fewer pure pink and a large number of mixed?

The colour of the 'mix' copies does differ, and what I like about it is that nobody knows how many there are, or even which copies are actually mix copies and which are simply light orange (which I personally don't regard as being a mix, but who knows?). So part of the reason that it has taken me so long to grab one of these was because I wanted to wait for a copy that clearly contained a clear trace of pink, rather than just be a light orange. There's a definite pink splotch at the 9 o'clock position, which I think shows up more clearly when placed next to my pink copy of the same record:

For anyone wanting to own one of these, it's a total minefield. The photos of this record vary so much according to the light and background. A lot of the time someone thinks they have a mix when they really just have a regular orange copy. But the mix is going to cost at least double that of an orange copy. So buying 'blind' is a bit of a risk and could be an expensive mistake. The only real way to tell what's what is to have a mix copy and an orange side by side, but even then the light has to be good. I took a few photos of this one and every time at least one of the records came out looking not quite right. I tried to take a picture of my three copies, but none of them look quite like they do in real life. Still, it does show the contrasting colours.

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Don't Sleep

Don't Sleep is a relatively new band fronted by Dave Smalley. They appeared on the scene a couple of years ago with the release of a self-titled 12" on what was a new label, Unity Worldwide Records. I remember thinking at the time that I wasn't interested in hearing it as I had given up on Down By Law many years ago, and the DYS reunion (from what I saw of it) wasn't something that really interested me. But this year the band released a full length on the newish label Mission Two Entertainment (which is basically Victory Records reborn), and I saw a few pople posting it on instgram, and I was curious. I think at the time I just wanted to listen to something new, and I kinda wanted something with a bit more melody. So I downloaded it and found myself enjoying it pretty much immediately. So of course I then decided to buy a copy.

The vinyl itself is referred to as 'clear with apple red splatter'. I guess 'appled red' must be some american slang term for 'pink'. Anyway, there were 150 copies made on this colour, and it is now sold out, although I'm sure you can pick up an overpriced copy from discogs if you are desperate.

I do find this record really catchy. The songs have a varied sound. Some are faster and heavier than others, but all have Dave Smalley's unmistakable vocal over the top. I think it's more Down By Law than Dag Nasty. Sure, some people are cynically think that a record from Dave Smalley put out on Victory Records Mark 2 is not worth their attention, but they'd be missing out. This will definitely be in my list of best records for the year, if I make one.

Monday, 14 December 2020

This Ship

I've picked up a few Dischord releases in recent months, a mix of represses and new releases. The latest is a new Soulside 7" that came out this year titled 'This Ship'. Sadly it only comes on black vinyl, but I still wanted one. Mainly just because it was something to buy and cheer myself up on one of the days of this shitstorm of a year.

This 7" features 2 new songs, and when you download this record you get a third song too. I can only assume that the 3 songs wouldn't fit on a 7", although it seems like a strange decision to make one only available digitally. I mean, why bother making records at all?

The 3 songs were recorded during the European tour, and I actually saw the band play these songs at one of the last shows I went to back in October 2019. Referring back to the obligatory instagram post I made the day after that show, I said They played 3 new songs which were all pretty good too, so will be interesting to see if those get released at some point. I guess they did. Or two of them did at least.

I have to say that I have played these songs quite a lot. A couple of these songs remind me of a more indie rock band, maybe slightly reminding me of Interpol. It definitely sounds a little different to other Soulside songs, but that's hardly surprisng as these are the first songs that they have recorded since 1989. It blows my mind to think that a band can get back together and record music after 30 years, but it's kinda cool that they did I think. Better than just reforming and cranking out old tunes for a few quid.

Saturday, 12 December 2020

Four On The Floor

Now here's one that I never thought I would see - a repress of the 4th Dag Nasty LP, 'Four On The Floor'. This record always felt like one of those 'forgotten' records. You know the kind, where a record comes out and then a few years later everyone kinda agrees that it was a bad decision, and nobody ever talks of it again.

This LP was originally released in 1992. At this point, Dag Nasty had broken up and members had moved on to other things. The band's original vocalist, Dave Smalley, had a new band (Down By Law) which was doing pretty well. I'm not sure of the details, but this record came about as the original band members were all in LA in Summer 1991 and they got together and wrote this album, which then got put out by Epitaph.

I originally picked up a copy of this record many years ago. At the time I was really into Down By Law, and it seemed that this record was neither as good as that band now Dave Smalley era Dag Nasty. Don't get me wrong, there are some good songs here, but it just felt it wasn't a proper Dag Nasty record. To be honest, I never really knew what the rest of the world thought about it, as at the point I got into it, it was already an 'old' record. I guess everyone always talks about either 'Can I Say' or 'Wig Out At Denkos', and now and again someone might bring up 'Field Day'. But nobody ever mentions this one.

This is a recent repress put out by Epitaph Europe that just seemed to appear out of nowhere. I believe that as I type this, it is only available in Europe and not in the States, which in itself seems a little weird. I'm not sure why it was decided to repress this now, and why only in Europe, but I actually think it's kinda cool. It's good to see that the label do actually acknowledge that this exists, and I'm always down to add more to the Dag Nasty collection.

Thursday, 10 December 2020

United Blood 2011

Collecting records is not for the impatient. I know some people out there can't seem to wait, and send emails out all over the place to try to acquire things that they are missing, and some of these people have a lot of success this way. But me, I'm happy to just add something I want to my want list and just sit back and wait. And sometimes it can take a long time. But I'm ok with that. There are so many things I want that stuff is always popping up (as you may have noticed), so I think it's fine to just wait to seewhat comes long rather than go out and chase things.

On this theme, Supertouch released a 7" back in 2011 called 'Lost My Way' (on a side note, I can't believe it has been almost 10 years, but hey, that's how life is these days - I'm old and time is flying). To date I have managed to collect 5 versions of this thing, and there are two more I don't have (well actually, one I do have that I bought about 3 years ago, but it's still not with me yet). The other version I never thought I would get, as there were only 20 copies made. But then out of the blue a couple of weeks ago I got a message from fellow blogger Willem telling me that he wanted to send me this record, so of course I couldn't really say no.

This version is an odd one. The second press of this record was 1070 copies, all on black vinyl, but there were then 5 different sleeve variations. This one is the most limited in terms of numbers made, but basically this is just a standard cover with a United Blood 2011 stamp in the bottom left corner of the front cover. I assume that the band played at that show, else this would be a weird thing to make. There were only 20 of these made, which is why it's so difficult to find one. And when to consider that people from the label and the band may have copies, I wonder how many of the 20 actually got sold to Joe Public?

I remember at some point in the past, probably not long after this came out, there was talk of a second Supertouch LP. It was supposed to come out on Triple B Records. Any talk of this went silent for several years, but in the past couple of weeks I saw something on it again, although now I think aboutt it I'm not sure where. Perhaps it will come out one day after all?

Anyway, big thanks for this, Willem. I hope to repay the favour at some point.

Sunday, 6 December 2020

Back With A Vengeance

There are some records that I can't stop buying. No matter how many copies keep getting pumped out over the years, I keep shelling out more money to own the same thing again and again. I guess everyone has at least one of those records. But in this case this one really is a special record for me. Pretty much THE record that got me into straight edge hardcore,the 'New York City Hardcore The Way It Is' compilation. Despite it feeling like this one has been pressed to death, it's actually been 6 whole years since this once was last (clear orange) copy came out, so I can forgive another pressing coming this year. The 2020 version is on solid yellow vinyl:

There's really nothing I can say about this that I haven't said before. But getting this copy was a reminder that I still technically need a first press to complete my collection. Somehow the copy I own that I thought was a first press is a second press but witht he first press booklet, which isn't good enough. One day I'll get around to sorting it out I'm sure.

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Closer Still

One of this year's most anticipated and celebrated releases is the debut LP album from Change, a straight edge band from Seattle featuring a couple of members of Champion. 'Closer Still' was released in September on React! Records and the first press sold out pretty damn quick. Given that the last couple of React! releases were pressed on the Euro vinyl that I hate so much, it actually put me off ordering one right away. The most limited colour, clear pink, sold out in one day, so when I finally got around to placing an order a couple of days later, I was left with a choice of either a purple copy (out of 300) or the Revelation exclusive yellow vinyl (out of 200). And given there was something else that I wanted from Rev, it seemed like an easy choice.

Of course, when people started to receive their records and post pictures, it became apparent that I had made the wrong choice. I could see immediately that this record was pressed on finest quality US vinyl, and the colours that I didn't order of course ended up looking way nicer than the one I chose. Ah well.

The purple vinyl especially looked so rad that I was kicking myself for not ordering one when I had the chance. I tried to track one down to no avail, as it was sold out everywhere. But then last week, two days after the second press was put up for order, a UK distro that I use sometimes received a couple of copies, so I grabbed one quicksmart. I guess the slow postal system played to my advantage for once.

Aesthetically this record is rad. The cover looks great, as do the vinyl colours. It's definitely had a lot of thought gone into the layout, and it shows. As I've always said, the look of a record is every bit as important as the sounds, because it is the cover that draws people in.

The only thing I feel slightly confused about is whether this is a permanent new band, or whether this record is just a one off project to pay tribute to Uniform Choice. I mean, clearly this LP is heavily inspired by Uniform Choice. The tree graphic and the band logo from the front cover of this record is a tribute to an old UC shirt graphic. I found a version of it on the internet so you can see for yourself:

In keeping with the UC references, the record labels are also clearly a nod (rip off) of the labels on the 'Screaming For Change' LP. And then there's a spoken poem at the end of the record, which at first seemed kinda corny but on balance I now think I am ok with.

Musically this band reminds me of several other bands all at once without really reminding me of any one in particular. Having a couple of members of Champion, it does remind me of Champion in places, but it's a lot more varied. No doubt time will tell whether this band will hang around and do more, but even if they do just leave it here I actually think that there would be nothing wrong with that. This is a solid hardcore record from a modern straight edge band and no doubt one of the better releases of the year.