Saturday, 29 August 2020

Somewhere In The Swamps Of Jersey

A couple of years ago I went through a bit of a Lifetime phase when I finally discovering their final LP over a decade after it came out. So I picked up a few more records for the collection, added some more to the wants list, and then went on with life.

Last weekend I was chatting with Nico about dickheads on discogs, and I mentioned how one fool had blocked me on there just for asking if I could get a pic of a record. This would have probably been two years ago when I was in my Lifetime phase. So out of curiosity I looked and the record was still up for sale. The seller actually had very high feedback which was 100% positive, so I figured it was worth taking a risk, especially as it ticked my box for cheap stuff from within the UK.

This name of this record always seemed unclear. A lot of people (including discogs) think it's called 'An Outstanding Recording Achievement', but I always thought that those words were just printed on the sleeve to make it look like a retro sleeve (which was clearly the objective). Interestingly, if you go to the label's website, it's referred to as 'The Boys No Good'.

I can't remember if this came out on colour vinyl originally, or just black. My memory thinks that it was originally only black vinyl, and then colour vinyl pressings followed a year or two later. Jade Tree definitely went through a phase of repressing some of its releases on colour a year or two after they had first been pressed. But whatever, there are three colours of this one, and the clear copy completes the set for me. I can't remember exactly when I picked up the red copy, but I'm pretty confident that this collection is over 20 years in the making.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Pissed Happy Children

I'd never listened to Pissed Happy Children (PHC) until about a month ago. I guess they were before my time and not on a 'big' label and I never really knew anything about them other than they had some split with Infest. Well, coincidences happen, and I checked them out for the first time about a month or so ago because some dude on instagram posted a picture of one of their records. He was in the band and often posts shirts or stuff from his old bands. So I saw this photo and decided to check them out, and I thought it was interesting. Definitely not what I was expecting. And then the next day I saw a 7" for sale on eBay for pretty cheap, which I bid on and won. I was partly attracted by the nice purple colour vinyl.

When it arrived I messaged the dude on instagram and asked if it was supposed to have an insert as my copy very much did not have one. Sadly he confirmed that all copies had an insert, which was bad news for me. But then there was good news because he told me that apparently there are very few purple vinyl copies out there. Apparently less than 40. So that helped cheer me up again.

Well, after this I had a quick look on discogs to see if there were any other cheap copies for sale, and found another copy for a cheap price, also within the UK. So I decided to buy that too. This one was on grey vinyl, which isn't quite as rare, but on the positive side came with the insert.

This 7" is on New Beginning Records, the same label that released the Underdog 7", Crippled Youth 7" and Half Off 7" & LP. So kinda crazy I never really picked up on this one before. I'm not good at describing bands, but it's kinda slow, plodding, and vicious sounding and I'm into it. Next up I need to seek out the LP for a reasonable price I think.

I've said it before, but this is what is so rad about hardcore - finding bands and records from 30 years ago you've never really given a chance before and getting stoked on them. Plus it seems slightly more interesting than buying the latest splatter vinyl release from all the current labels.

Monday, 24 August 2020


I have tried over the past few years to reduce the number of reissues and represses that I buy but, as with most things in life, there are always exceptions. I was in Boston at the end of last year, and in Newbury Comics I had found a small stack of records I wanted to buy... but then, one by one, I put most of them back into the racks as I didn't really want to spend the money that day. One of them was a green vinyl repress of the 'Tied Down' LP by Negative Approach, and I put it back on the basis that it was a repress that I could probably live without... but then, as time has gone on, I have continually seen pictures of it popping up and found myself wishing that I had bought it after all. So last week I put that right.

As stupid as it sounds, one of the things that attracted me to this was the particular shade of green vinyl. It's a paler green that most clear greens. Plus, it looks cool because of the amount of dead wax in the centre. In both of these ways it reminds me of the original blue vinyl pressing of the Youth Of Today 'Break Down The Walls' LP. It's perfectly possible that if this was on a much darker shade of green then I would not have thought it looked so cool and maybe not bought it. I don't know. But If nothing else, this just proves that sometimes I can want to own a record for the stupidest of reasons. But we all knew that already.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

A Dog On A Chain

It seems like there's a new Morrissey record coming out pretty often these days. It used to be that he'd bring out a new album every few years, but recently it feels like it's every other week. Well, I went for years being happy to listen to his music without being too fussed about owning anything physical as the records were all just black vinyl major label pressings with no limited edition formats, but then (like everything else) the newer records started getting pressed on different vinyl colours, and I got tempted me to jump in and start buying.

The latest effort is called 'I Am Not A Dog On A Chain' and, similar to the last one, the cover is filled with a big picture of his ageing bonce.

The majority of the records seemed to be on red vinyl, which I think was for independent stores. There were also some on clear exclusive to the Morrissey online store. Obviously I wanted the more limited version, because that's the kind of sucker I am.

I'm still not sure what I think of this one. I've only got through it about 4 or 5 times so far. I really struggled to get through it the first time, and immediately decided that it was terrible. But I reached the same conclusion with the last one a year or so ago, and it then turned out to be my most played record of the year. So time will tell I guess.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Burning Bushes And Burning Bridges

Back in the early 90s I spent a couple of years living in a town called Southend On Sea. I moved there a month before I turned 17, and I never really felt at home there, but I did get kinda lucky as it did have a pretty good skateboard and music scene back then. Southend is a fairly small place and in a pretty dead end location, but back in 1993 it was home to a group of kids who started a couple of bands and made a huge impact on the UK hardcore scene. The most successful of these bands was Understand. In a short space of time, Understand got signed by a major label, and opened for pretty much every big US hardcore band that came over to the UK, including Farside, Sick Of It All, and Helmet. For a UK band at that time, they did pretty well, playing some shows in the States, and recording an EP 7" with Don Fury that got released by Equal Vision Records as well as the major label. The culmination of their efforts was a full length, 'Burning Bushes And Burning Bridges', which came out on EastWest Records on CD only back in 1995.

Well, during the early stages of lockdown back in April I was listening to their album whilst fannying about with some dumbbells, and I posted something on instagram to say '25 years later and I'm still hoping this may still come out on vinyl at some point'. And then by coincidence, a couple of days later, it was announced that it was going to be put out on vinyl for the fist time ever by a German label called Thirty Something Records. I placed an order quick smart and this week it showed up.

This was put out as a small run of 300 copies, with two different colours of vinyl. The first is clear orange with black marble, limited to 150.

The second colour is clear with black marble (although looks more like a clear brown), and is also limited to 150 copies.

Here's a pic showing both copies next to each other. I like that the colours nicely match the cover, although it would have been nice to see two colours that weren't so similar.

The record also comes in a printed inner sleeve with lyrics, and there's a separate insert with other photos and artwork from the original CD layout.

I was always a big fan of this band. At such a young age and it was cool to see a bunch of local kids achieve so much. At the time it felt like US bands were miles ahead of UK bands, but Understand were one of a small number of bands who I thought were on the par with what was coming out of the States at the time. They were always compared to Quicksand and Fugazi, which to this day still seems fair. But for some reason they didn't seem to make it as big as they perhaps should have done. I think they just didn't quite fit into any scene so left some people confused. They probably weren't 'hardcore' enough for the straight edge hardcore kids, but by contrast were too hardcore for the post hardcore / alternative rock scene, and too melodic for the metal kids. But musically they were incredibly good, and at the time I was just blown away by how good a UK band could be. However, after a successful and exciting couple of years from 93-95 that culminated with this LP being released, things went a bit quieter. I think they kicked around for a couple of years but didn't release much else, and then ended up breaking up. I don't really know or remember when or how they called it quits, but it seemed like they just faded away. It may have been something to do with the major label, but I just don't know.

A couple of the members have gone on to have pretty cool careers in the music industry. Dom (the singer) became tour manager for Muse, who play stadium shows and huge festivals and generally do pretty well, and Rob (guitarist) became the lighting manager for Iron Maiden. Not bad for band from a small seaside town.

Monday, 17 August 2020

Knocking The Skill Level

I've found over the years that I can be really into a certain band at a certain time, and then lose interest by the time the next record comes out. Back in 1994 I picked up the first Garden Variety LP, and was really into it. But for whatever reason, when their second LP was released in 1995, I didn't pick it up. But finally, 25 years later, I have got around to doing so.

'Knocking The Skill Level' was released on Headhunter Records. I imagine that a reasonable amount were pressed, but these days it can be a tough find. The price seems to have come down a bit lately, although I was lucky enough to get it given to me from an old friend.

It's slightly disappointing that this wasn't pressed on colour vinyl, although at this point I'm just happy to have a copy at all.

For anyone not overly familiar with this band, they were from Long Island and played a kind of post hardcore / emo rock. If you've never listened to them, you should. I've linked my favourite song below. It's only 3 minutes and you just might find your new (old) favourite band.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Picture Discs Are The Devil

There are generally two things that most self-respecting record collectors hate. One is picture discs, the second is ten inch records. If you're anything like me you hate both with a passion and wish that they didn't exist. So imagine how stoked I was when it was announced that the classic Integrity 'Humanity Is The Devil' was going to be reissued as a picture disc. But not only that, there were going to be 5 different versions. Oh how I jumped for joy that day!

Well, when they finally launched the price was pretty high. Depressingly high in fact. But despite this, they were still selling fast. So I faced the eternal dilemma of 'buy now, or decide you want later and have to pay double the price'. So of course I caved in and bought all of them. I actually got these months ago, but kept them sitting in a pile in the corner of the room, because I couldn't face the prospect of taking photos of them all. But finally the time has come.

This was released by a label called Knives Out Records, a label that puts out small runs of records with custom cut covers, mainly picture discs. Even though I am not a big fan of picture discs or 10" records, I have to admire the effort that has gone into these things. I'm not going to say much about each of these things, so nstead, I'll just make this post a stream of pictures showing the different versions.

Version 1 - the 'Devil Knives Pushead Edition', out of 116 copies.

Version 2 - The 'Devil I' Pushead Edition, out of 116 copies:

Version 3 - The 'Devil II' Pushead Edition, out of 116 copies:

The next couple of versions are more limited, and were only available to people who were stupid enough to buy all of the other three versions.

Version 4 - The 'Iconic' Josh Bayer edition, out of 75 copies:

Version 5 - The 'Iconic' Josh Bayer Knives edition, out of 75 copies:

There are so may elements to this release that I haven't even seen them all. I think that at least one of them has some secret message that glows in the dark. The last two also feature some weird strobe effects that come to life when you play the record and shine a strobe light on it. And, craziest of all, there is some kind of android app that you can apparently download that does something, but I have no idea what.

And of course, it doesn't end there. There was also a test press for this release. Mine came in a hand drawn cover by Dwid.

So there it is. Six new 10"s and 5 new picture discs into the collection in one fell swoop.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

The Blood And The Sweat

So this one appeared out of absolutely nowhere with no warning whatsoever. A(nother) repress of the debut Sick Of It All 7" on Revelation, but this one was extremely limited, with 300 copies being pressed on gold vinyl. It went up for a sale a couple of weeks back and then started shipping immediately. It was made to acompany a book called 'The Blood And The Sweat', which is the story of the Koller brothers.

There were only 300 copies made in total, with 100 copies each being sold by Revelation, Generation Records in NYC, and Coretex Records in Germany. Although for some reason the Generation copies were sold without the book.

The labels for this pressing are photos of Lou and Pete from when they were nippers. I love how they both have such huge collars on their shirts in these photos. Collars for Kollers.

This copy came from Coretex and has their usual crappy sticker slapped on the back cover. I was pretty lucky to get this as it sold out super quick. It was gone in less than an hour. Probably half an hour. So I think I was just lucky in being at the computer and noticing this announced due to working from home. In the old days of being in the office I would certainly have missed out.

I haven't had a chance to read the book at all yet but I probably will. I'm actually kinda interested in how these kids started up their band.I'm sure it'll be a fascinating story.

Sunday, 2 August 2020


A friend recently hit me up telling me he had a few classic LPs for sale. I already had most of them, but one item caught my eye, so we did a quick deal.

This is the first LP by Up Front titled 'Spirit'. I always thought of this as a kind of 'tier 2' straight edge record, as it was always overshadowed by Youth of Today, Judge, and Minor Threat, and because the production isn't as strong. But time has been good to this record in my opnion. For one, the artwork has become almost iconic in its own right. And the songs themselves are good, despite the slightly weak production.

This is the second pressing out of 500 copies. The first press had a black and white cover, and on the second press the black was changed to red. I think this is also the rarest pressing of this record, being out of 500 copies.

So after winning this one I had a quick look to see what other versions were available to buy within the UK, and I found a blue vinyl copy in great shape. This is part of the third pressing which was 1000 copies on blue vinyl and 1000 copies on white vinyl.

The cover got slightly updated on this version, with an extra colour being introduced in the printing process to help make the band name stand out.

I can't remember if I ever owned a blue copy of this before. I definitely used to own a white one, which I traded away, and I think I also traded away another colour copy in the late 90s but can't remember if it was blue or white.

Well, as if often the case, I don't set out to collect these things, but over the years I have ended up with a few copies of this LP, and am only missing one... and of course, it ends up being the white vinyl copy that I traded away a few years ago. So I'll probably be on the lookout for one now.