Saturday, July 11, 2020

Fear The Blood Star

I'm usually reluctant when people make recommendations for me to check out new bands. There are a small handful of people that I trust completely, and if they think that I'll like it, chances are they will be right...but for the most part I tend to be a bit skeptical when someone suggests that I check something out.

When my friend, Jeff, sent me a link to listen to a band called Blood Star, I didn't have high expectations. Now Jeff has great taste when it comes to 70's and early 80's metal, but he doesn't really bother with new bands, so I didn't expect much with this EP.

Holy shit. Blood Star are straight up traditional heavy metal, and I can't get enough of these two songs. Featuring one of the guitarists from Visigoth and a female singer, this EP is catchy as hell, and Tortured Earth may be my favorite song of this year.

The packaging for this 7 inch looks great. The cover artwork, colored vinyl and the OBI strip are all fantastic. "Tortured Galaxy" colored vinyl is limited to 500.

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Hang Your West Coast Head

I'm pretty random when it comes to collecting Foundation records. I mean, I'm not really actively working on attempting to buy every pressing from the band, yet I somehow have still managed to amass 15 records from them. I've got a couple of their cool special pressings on my Discogs want list, but whenever one shows up, I usually just ignore it as prices are typically much higher than I'd care to pay...seriously, the Final Show pressing of Turncoat would be sweet to collect, but that price seems to hold steady and there are other records that I'd rather drop $100 on.

I've had the West Coast tour pressing of Hang Your Head on my Discogs want list for four years, and when I recently saw one become available recently at a decent price, I figured that I'd finally make my move. Damn, I love the look of this special tour cover.

I've been listening to a lot of 90's hardcore lately, and while Foundation was from the late 2000's, they definitely fall in line with that 90's sound, so it seemed to be the right time to finally cross this one off the want list.

Number 41 out of 200 pressed.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Japan Shook Me

I've had a few things circling around in my head lately. AC/DC. Singles. Japanese pressings. I've been obsessing over each of these things lately, and they all happened to converge for this post.

Since picking up AC/DC's Touch Too Much single last month, and knowing that I had the first pressing of High Voltage on the way from Australia, I was itching for more from the band. I started randomly checking to see what was available from US sellers, and when I happened to catch someone with a Japanese 7 inch for You Shook Me All Night Long, I jumped on it...and while the $25 price tab seemed a little high at first glance, the sales history shows that the record typically goes for twice that, so I was fucking stoked to grab this.

I don't know man. There is just something cool about Japanese pressings and singles. I first got the bug when Doug went to Japan last year, and he started texting me photos of Dokken singles that he was picking up. Shit looked so great, and I wanted some of that action myself. Doug was a selfish motherfucker and filled his suitcase with records for himself instead of saving some room for me, but the fuse was lit, and since then I've been toying with the idea of hunting down some of those Japanese singles for myself. It feels good to take this first step.

Friday, July 03, 2020

Moment Of Truth

There had been a challenge going around on Facebook recently where people would post ten albums that had an impact on them. I usually avoid those kind of things, as I know that the majority of my Facebook friends do not share the same musical tastes as me, so what would be the point...but after being tagged to join the challenge by a handful of people, I decided to participate even if no one was going to care...hey, at the very least it would be interesting to see the posts pop up in my FB memories years down the road.

While most people were just posting album cover images they pulled from the internet, I wanted to use actual photos of records from my collection. I made the challenge a kind of musical timeline as we moved from the first album I remember buying for myself, and then as I progressed into Heavy Metal and then got into Hardcore. When I got to the point in the timeline when I first connected with Straight Edge, I ended up using a Minor Threat record, but really, that was only because I didn't own a single piece of Slapshot vinyl.

While I loved Minor Threat when I started to get into Hardcore around 1990, Slapshot were probably a much bigger influence. I was travelling to The Channel in Boston for a lot of Metal shows at the time, and somewhere along the way I started crossing over from Death Angel and Testament shows to Slapshot and Sick Of It All. Slapshot were angry and apologetically Straight Edge, and I gravitated to them. They had just released Sudden Death Overtime, and it feels like I must have seen them once a month for about a year...playing with Meliah Rage, Sam Black Church or Maelstrom. It was an amazing time.

Doing that Facebook challenge pushed me to finally hunt down some Slapshot vinyl. I didn't care if it was Back On The Map or Step On It...I just needed something. In the end, Back On The Map turned out to be the easier target, and I managed to pull a copy from eBay at a decent price. It had been a while since I'd listened to this record, but man, this thing is a classic. It is just absolutely fierce. Glad to finally add this important record to my collection.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Blue Roo Voltage

One of my priorities for the past few years has been to collect Australian first pressings for the Bon Scott era of AC/DC. These things don't come cheap, so each year I dedicate a portion of my annual bonus from work to the hunt, and I check another one from the list. This year, the band's first album, High Voltage, from 1975 was my target.

When it comes to the first few AC/DC albums, things can get confusing when comparing the original Australian releases to what the rest of the world saw from the band. Different cover art. Different track listings. Shit gets messy. In the case of High Voltage, things get extra sticky.

High Voltage, released in 1975, was AC/DC's first album and only available in Australia and New Zealand. When the international release of High Voltage was released to the rest of the world in 1976, the majority of that album contained songs from AC/DC's second Australia record, T.N.T., and only two songs from the original High Voltage album. So basically, AC/DC has two different albums named High Voltage.

I was expecting to go deep for an Australian first press of High Voltage. To find one in great condition, you can expect to go over $300, and I was ready to step up. As it turned out, I jumped on an eBay auction from an Australian seller just as the Covid pandemic was fucking exploding across the globe, and as a result, bidding was practically non-existent as I walked away winning the auction for half of what I expected to pay. Good deal. Of course, the downside was that Covid also ground international deliveries to a halt, and my record sat in the Australian customs office for about two months before it finally caught a plane for the States. Worth the wait!

This copy of High Voltage completes my collection of Blue Roo Australian first pressings for AC/DC. I still have a few more records to pick up for those Bon Scott years, and they still have high price tags, but at least I no longer have to look for that kangaroo on the label.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Snapcase Starburst

I really loved Snapcase back in the 90's, but at some point I shoved them aside and forgot all about them. I've been in a mood to listen to a bunch of 90's hardcore bands lately, and there have been a number of records that I've dusted off and have been surprised with how much I still love them in 2020. One of those bands has been Snapcase.

Not only was I surprised with how much I was digging Snapcase, I was amazed at how much I was enjoying the band's third album, Designs For Automotion. I mean, Lookinglasself and Progression Through Unlearning are obviously gold standard for 90's hardcore, but I'd completely forgotten that Designs For Automotion easily measures up to those first two records. It has been a blast rediscovering this album over recent months.

I only owned this album on CD, and was desperate to add a vinyl copy to my collection...however, I was torn on which copy I should chase down. I was tempted to go for an original colored vinyl pressing on either blue, orange or white vinyl...and they seem relatively easy to pick up at a decent price...but I was seriously tempted by the "starburst" colored vinyl that was an exclusive pressing for Newbury Comics last year.

The colored vinyl for that pressing looks insane, and I wanted to see one in real life, so that was the one that I grabbed off eBay. Stupidly, it actually cost more than an original pressing, but damnit, I wanted this starburst color...and don't get me started on how badly I'm tempted to rush out and buy other pressings for all the Snapcase stuff.

Must. Resist. Temptation.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Freeways Bearings

That demo that Freeways released back in 2017 blew me away with how great it was, so when I saw that the band was finally releasing their first album this year, I was stoked.

Out of the Great White North of Canada, Freeways play an excellent style of 70's rock, and that first demo sounded heavily influenced by Thin Lizzy. That inspiration isn't as obvious on the new album, True Bearings, but this record still hooks me hard.

True Bearings was one of my more anticipated releases this year, and it does not disappoint in the least. The riffs are heavy and the melodies smooth...I've been giving this album repeat spins since it has arrived.

When I preordered the record back in February, I went for the Die Hard pressing that included a patch and keychain because I love little collectibles like this.

150 pressed for the Die Hard edition on beige colored vinyl.