Wednesday 29 July 2020

Cheap 7"s (2014 Edition)

My 'buy cheap stuff from the UK' run is still going strong. It's partly driven by the effect of Corona virus on the international postage system, and partly because it's kinda fun to buy cheap records and have then arrive in a couple of days. And to think I have spent years chasing expensive records. Cheap finds are just as satisfying if not more so.

The first item on today's list is the first recording by Red Death. This 7" is is a vinyl pressing of their demo from 2014 plus one extra song, released by Grave Mistake Records.

There were 220 copies on clear vinyl. Perhaps it's just me but I'm not as into this as their later stuff.

Next up is the debut 7" by True Love. This was released back in 2013. I have another record by this band, which I quite enjoyed as it was a decent rip off of American Nightmare from back when they were actually good, but I haven't really followed their last couple of releases. I assume they are reasonably popular as they have had releases on both Bridge Nine and Triple B.

I like the artwork on this one, and how the vinyl colour matches the flowers on the front cover. The vinyl also reminds me of the colour pressing of the second American Nightmare 7".

At the rate I'm going I could probably just change the name of this blog to 'cheap 7"s' and carry on like this forever more.

Saturday 25 July 2020

Bargain Buy 2001 7"s

Here's a couple more cheap 7"s I picked up recently from sellers within the UK mainly just because they were cheap and in the UK.

First up is another copy of the first Worn Thin 7". This one came out on Malfunction Records in 2001. I'm pretty sure that the first press was solid orange vinyl and a few on black. And there were some on clear yellow for the Malfunction box set. But it seems that there were also some of the clear yellow in the regular sleeve, which I didn't have until now.

The seller also had another cheap 7" from 2001 that caught my eye. The first Damage Done 7" on Western Front Records. I own a copy of this with a Turning Point rip off cover, so figured I'd add this regular cover version as it cost practically nothing.

And I also picked up another Damage Done 7" from the same seller. I already owned a copy, but saw on Kyle's blog that there are different shades of blue. So I bought another cheap copy in case it was a different colour blue to the one I already had. But when I came it was pretty much exactly the same.

So this is now a spare copy. It isn't worth much, so let me know if you want it & it's yours.

I've quite enjoyed picking up really cheap 7"s so am hoping to find some more bargain bins buys in the next couple of weeks. In some ways, finding things for cheap is almost as satisfying as picking up a big money item.

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Pretty Buff

Last year Angel Du$t released their third full length, 'Pretty Buff'. With it's weird front cover and a video for a song which featured people dressed as cats, I had zero interest in checking it out. I'd liked the first LP and been a bit disappointed by the second, so I just figured that they were on a downward trajectory and my time with them was over.

Well, in recent months I have found myself at home a lot more, and found myself wanting to listen to something a little different. For some unknown reason, one day I remembered that Angle Du$t had released a weird third LP, and decided to check it out with an open mind. And of course, it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I was expecting. In fact, in the heat of the summer sun, it seemed like a perfect choice for lazy days. So after a few listens I was looking online for a copy to buy, and I ended up finding a red vinyl copy (the more limited colour) for less than the label are still selling the more common yellow vinyl copies.

It's interesting how your opinion can change over time. When I first saw the front cover I thought it was lame as hell, but now I quite like it.

Of course, by coincidence, on the day I went to post this the band just posted a new 3 song EP. At least it appears to be digital only, which means I don't need to debate whether I should buy one or not.

Monday 20 July 2020

Product Of Greed

Next in my small pile of cheap finds from within the UK is another maroon vinyl 7" from a long time ago. The record is called 'Product Of Greed' and is by a band called Transcend, released in 1990 on Doghouse Records.

Transcend were one of the first bands I got into many years ago. A UK label (First Strike Records - mostly now known for releasing the 2nd Chain Of Strength 7") released a couple of records by a band called Majority Of One, and Transcend were a kind of brother band of Majority Of One.

I've had a gold vinyl copy of this 7" for many years. Probably since 1993 or so. But I wasn't sure that I even knew that this existed on another colour. I thought that it was the Majority Of One 7" on red and this one came on gold. But after checking discogs, it seems both 7"s came out on both colours. Who knew?

Thursday 16 July 2020

Just Cause

This whole Corona virus & lockdown situation has had a lot of impact on the world so far. And one of the tiny side effects has been that it has made me focus more on buying records from within the UK, as international postage seems to be experiencing a few issues.

Today's cheap gem from within the UK is a maroon vinyl copy of the Just Cause 'No Barriers' 7".

This was released by Vicious Circle Records in 1991. I actually used to own this 7" but sold my copy probably about 20 years ago, because I didn't think it was anything special and I hated the front cover. I actually think that probably the main reason I got rid of it all those years ago was the front cover, and I still can't work out what animal it's supposed to be. I think it may be a wolf, although it looks more like a badger to me or possibly a rat. Whatever. But it seems kinda funny that I decided to buy it again all these years after letting it go.

The main reason that I bought this was because I have never seen a copy of this record on colour vinyl. So because it was listed as being colour vinyl and was only £4, I just bought it. I even broke my own policy of asking for pictures and just bought it blind. I know, I know - this kind of behaviour will land me in trouble eventually.

I listened to this and it's actually not bad at all. If anything, time has probably helped it, because now I'm listening to it partly with a nostalgic ear, rather than trying to compare it to whatever else I was buying back in the early to mid 90s, and it sounds good for a record from 1991. It toally reminds me of a couple of Inner Journey Records releases, in that it slightly suffers from poor production, and it has been pretty much lost to the sands of time. But I'm happy enough with this for the price paid. Buying cheap 7"s is fun for sure.

Monday 13 July 2020

27 Miles Under Water

Back in January I had started a new job and wasn't overly happy in it. I had a 20 minute walk at the start and end of each day and I spent most of that time for a couple of weeks listening to the second Higher Power album, '27 Miles Under Water'. From the first listen, I couldn't get enough of it. The 90s was my era, and I still love a lot of bands and records from that time. I mean, who doesn't? There are now so many 'classics' from the 90s that it's not at all surprising that a modern day band would want to write a record paying homage to the decade. But that's what Higher Power have done with this record.

I took ages to buy this record considering I was all over it in January. At some point I ordered the most limited pressing of this from the Roadrunner US store. After about a month of waiting I realised that the status of my order hadn't changed, so I emailed to be told that they were waiting for the item to be 'restocked'. I had to then ask what exactly that meant. If there was a limited colour and it was sold out, how on earth was it going to get restocked? Well, the answer came back that it wasn't, so they asked if I wanted a different version or a refund, and I opted for the refund, not wanting to give these dipshits my money. The last week I was listening to it again and realised I still wanted a copy, so I grabbed the more common colour from the Roadrunner UK store instead.

I'm actually glad that I didn't get the rare colour for this. Having seen a pic on discogs, it looks like space vomit. Whereas this colour here is pretty rad. It's always cool when you get a record on a colour which is uncommon. I don't think I own another record this colour or particularly close to it.

I'm sure that if I buy enough releases to do a Top 10 of new releases for the year, this wwill be right up there. It'll also be interesting to see where the band goes in future after this. They've definitely moved on from 'hardcore' to a more 'alternative' place. It wouldn't surprise me if they end up becoming a mainstream rock band like Foo Fighters in a few years.

Saturday 11 July 2020

Between Earth & Sky

Back in 2009 a compilation 7" was released that included Bane and 3 other bands. I finally picked up a copy 4 years later, in 2013. The main point of interest for me was Bane. I think I probably played that compilation once and left it there. Back then I had no real interest in the other bands on that comp (Grade, Unrestrained and Between Earth & Sky).

A few weeks ago the songs from the comp were put up on a bandcamp page, and I gave them a listen for a second time, and I was instantly grabbed by the songs from Between Earth & Sky. I had no idea who the band was, so I immediately looked them up, and found that it was a band featuring Greg Bennick from Trial and Sean Lande from Strain & By A Thread. I then discovered that they put out a 12" back in 2011, and then managed to find one for sale in the UK, which I grabbed immediately.

'Of Roots And Wings' contains 6 songs and was released by Refuse Records. There were 217 copies on blue vinyl. There were also some on clear, and a tour press I believe.

The only other thing I can think to say about this one is that it sounds just like Trial. If you were into Trial then you'd probably enjoy this, and if not you probably won't. Although I don't know why I'm explaining this to anyone when this thing is now 9 years old. I'm guessing everyone else heard this when it came out, so already know whether they like it or not.

Tuesday 7 July 2020

Zozobra Tests

I posted a few Hydrahead items over the last couple of months that I picked up from some dude who used to help run the label. The transaction wasn't entirely smooth. I paid and then weeks and weeks went by without him shipping them out. All the while I sensed that he was a good guy and wouldn't rip me off, but at various points I did start to worry.

One day he called me up via an instagram video call to tell me that he was going to make up for the delays by sending me a couple of extra records for free. In the end he sent me two test presses, which made me very happy.

Zozobra was a band formed in 2006. They appeared out of nowhere with their debut LP 'Harmonic Tremors'. I picked up a copy of the LP when it came out, even though the only vinyl version was a numbered tour press. I listened to that LP a fair bit when it came out, when I was deep into the Isis / Pelican type sound that blew up back then. The test press comes in a sleeve which is a basically just a paper flap.

So a couple of years after the first LP came out, I got a little tired of that whole scene. Hydrahead started to put out stuff that I just wasn't interested in, and I pretty much stopped buying their releases completely. So when the second Zozobra LP, 'Bird Of Prey', came out in 2008 I had moved on and wasn't interested. And just like the first LP, the only vinyl version was a numbered tour press, so it wasn't easy to get even if I had wanted one.

Last year I saw Cave In play in London, and at one point Aaron Turner joined them on stage and sang a couple of songs. At the end he said 'We were Zozobra' (or something similar). Those were my two favourite songs of the night, so heavy and intense. So after that I downloaded the second Zozobra LP and was blown away by it. Way better than the first. And I felt like a fool for ignoring it for 11 years. The record itself is still pretty expensive to pick up, so I was pretty stoked to get a test press of it.

I just checked discogs, and both of these test presses have sold 3 or 4 times, with each selling for $60-70 every time. So it was very nice to be given these as an apology.

Saturday 4 July 2020

Tell Me I'm Alive

The world of hardcore never ceases to surprise. Here we are in 2020, and a new album has appeared from Downcast. Younger kids (i.e. anyone under 40!) would be excused for not knowing anything about this band, as their last release came out waaaaay back in 1991.

My introduction to Downcast was circa 1993/4. That was the time that I was discovering straight edge hardcore and the more obscure / underground bands and labels of the day. Someone loaned me a small batch of records, one of which was the Downcast 7". I was floored about how angry and heavy it was. To this day I think it is on a par with one of the greatest 7"s of the 90s, the Inside Out 7", except the Downcast is less well know, probably due to not being on Revelation. Anyway, if you have never heard that 7" then do yourself a favour and check it. You're welcome.

The band were extremely political, which was the order of the day, although I heard that they were very anti-dancing at their shows.Like a lot of things in the early-mid 90s, it kinda made sense back then but in the modern day it seems utterly ridiculous. They put out a full length in 1991 as a follow up to the 7", but it wasn't received as warmly. Generally people seem to regard it as a disappointment, which was probably almost inevitable following on from the 7". But it is very much a solid record.

So what would a new Downcast record 29 years after their last recorded output? I was intrigued. I listened to one song online, thought it was pretty terrible, but still bought the record anyway. Sometimes I can't even begin to explain what drives my decision making process.

As you can see, this is pretty dull aesthetically. Unsurprisingly, there was no limited version of this record, with all copies being on black vinyl only in a sleeve with pretty boring artwork.

So how does it sound? Well, first up, you have to give them props for doing it in the first place. Writing new music is always a gamble. But anyone expecting the same sound as either the previous LP or the 7" is going to be disappointed. It's nothing like either of those records. The sound on here is kinda mixed. For me it's a typical story of a band reuniting many years down the track. Basically, you have to get past the band name. You have to not think of it as a Downcast record. If you can do that, it does have some good songs. I've been listening to this a fair bit in recent weeks, but interestingly I have found that I generally reach for this one when I fancy something a bit different. So an ok record, but not exactly a Downcast record.