Friday, January 12, 2018

I Need Air

When Justice released Escapades back in 2007, I was majorly disappointed. Following up their Elephant Skin album, Escapades came across like a limp dick. I was not impressed.

Okay...sometimes I'm a little slow, and over time this album wormed it's way into my head, and grew into a full blown obsession as I bought pressing after pressing of the thing.

It's been a while since I've been excited to chase multiple pressings of a record, and about five years since my last copy of Escapades, but fuck, when I saw that Youngblood had pulled a copy from their vaults and posted it for sale in their store, I quickly added it to my cart and checked out.

I'm not sure what possessed me to make the impulse purchase. I'd probably only listened to the record a couple of times over the past three years, but here I was throwing money at Youngblood to obtain my fifth copy of Escapades. I don't why the sudden urge, but since I've received this record, it is basically all I want to listen to. Seriously, I can just throw on Escapades and Soul Structure from Higher Power, and let them roll back to back over and over.

The thing is, I was so quick to buy this pressing, that I didn't pay much attention to the details, and can't remember exactly why Youngblood printed up these covers. I had to check back on my email receipt to see that Youngblood had mentioned in the description that this pressing was from 2013, but why? I want to say it was some kind of Youngblood anniversary showcase pressing, but I can't be sure. Fuck.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Speed Kills

While they certainly served their purpose at the time, I find most compilations to be utterly useless these days. Unless they contain some serious exclusive tracks, I've go no interest in them.

I was recently having a conversation with Doug, and he was quite excited about his Speed Kills collection. I'd never heard of it, but apparently it was a compilation series that Music For Nations/Under One Flag released from the mid-80's to early 90's. How this never entered my radar in the 80's is beyond me...maybe it was more of a European thing, and in the States, I was more focused on Metal Blade's Metal Massacre series. Either way, Doug kind of rubbed off on me, and soon I was checking to see if maybe I should check them out for the sake of nostalgia.

I came across a copy on eBay listed with a 99 cent start price. The seller did not invoke a lot of confidence with their listing.

I know absolutely nothing about records
So im selling them as untested (or as-is)
Have no way to test so please look at pictures
May contain scratches rips ect.

I rolled the dice, threw a low bid on it, and won the record for $5.00. Thankfully it paid off, and the record sounds great.

It was a lot of fun ripping through the songs on this record. Sure, I was already familiar with most of these songs...although the exclusive track from Exciter was a nice surprise...and even though I don't know how often I'll really pull this out for a spin, it is really cool to have this record in the collection. Of course I'm going to have to track down Speed Kills II through VII at some point as well.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Lost And Found Glories

It is a pretty rare occasion for me to chase multiple pressings of a record these days. That game was ruined for me with endless repressings and preorders that would go six colors deep, so in most cases, I'm quite content to own one copy. I've got way too many records that I still don't even own on vinyl yet, so I've got very little time to spend dicking around with multiple pieces of colored vinyl. Still, I'm a collector at heart, and sometimes I'm drawn back into those habits.

The past year or so, saw me rekindle some interest in Reach The Sky, and since my vinyl collection for the band was shit, I started filling some holes.

I made a good run at some 7 inches, but came up a little short when it came to their Lost Glories record. I added both the blue and the gold pressings to the red vinyl that I already owned, so the only one that I was missing was the white vinyl. Goddamn. They were all readily available, and cheap, but that white wax was nowhere to be found. I posted a photo of the incomplete collection to Instagram, and people jumped in to say they would check to see if they had a copy for me, but it was to no avail. When some guy commented that he had been searching for a few years, and just happened to score one through Discogs, my hopes were dashed. I don't think that white vinyl is super rare, but it has only shown up on Discogs twice in the last few I added it to my Want List, and expected to play the long waiting game.

When a copy showed up a couple months later, I didn't hesitate to pull the trigger.

Four records and the collection is done. That felt good.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Sleeping On The Job

I love the early Deep Purple records with Ian Gillan on vocals, and I'm a huge fan of the Born Again album that he did with Black Sabbath in 1983...but between those two periods, I'm pretty much blind to what Gillan was up to. I know that he had a couple of bands going during that time, with the Ian Gillan Band, and then Gillan, but outside of the Mr. Universe album from '79, I've never really spent any time checking out what the man had been up to.

As I was reading Martin Popoff's New Wave Of British Heavy Metal series, I kept coming across the Gillan name. From '78 to '82 the band released six albums and countless singles. Maybe it was time for me to dig in and see what I'd been missing.

As I started to check things out, I came across a video for the song Sleeping On The Job. Like that, I was hooked. The song was great, and with the denim vest and long hair, the look reminded me of Ian's time with Sabbath. I knew that I needed to chase down some vinyl.

When I found a US seller on Discogs that had three of Gillan singles from 1980 available, I scooped up all without hesitation...starting with the Sleeping On The Job / Higher And Higher 7 inch.

Next in line was the No Easy Way single. Like Sleeping On The Job, the a-side here was from the Glory Road album.

This is another killer song, and I can tell that I'm going to have to get my hands on that Glory Road album soon. Another great single.

The last Gillan record that I grabbed from this seller was the double 7 inch pressing for the Trouble single. The song is an old Elvis cover, and isn't too exciting, but it is still kind of cool to add to the collection.

The bonus 7 inch contains three songs that were recorded live at the Reading Festival in 1980.

These three records were a great introduction to Gillan, and I'm looking forward to checking out more from the band.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Russian Collusion

Near the end of 2017, I finished reading Martin Popoff's second book on the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, This Means War. As I closed in on the end of the book, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I was ramping up for a NWOBHM obsession.

I'll admit, my NWOBHM game is weak. My record collection is very light on the subject, plus there are a number of bands from that era that I've still never heard or spent much time with. As we rolled into 2018, more than 35 years after the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal started to take off, I was finally committing myself to dig deep and spend some time with those records.

I've got lots of work to do on this project, but my first order of business was to finally pick up the vinyl for Witchfinder General's Soviet Invasion EP.

Witchfinder General have an obvious influence from Black Sabbath, and the band pull off that sound perfectly. They are a bit more raw and loose than Sabbath, but goddamn, they are still great.

This 12 inch EP might not have the stunning photography work like their two album covers, but I still think that this record looks great. Feels good to finally have one of those original Heavy Metal Records labels in my collection.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Between The Lines Of 2017

This past year saw me as a finely honed record buying machine. I felt like my record collecting focus was on point for 2016, and I carried those lessons over to 2017. I wasn't fucking around with multiple vinyl pressings, and I spent most of the year crossing records off my Want List.

By the end of the year, I'd added 194 records to the collection. I don't expect to hit those highs that I had back in 2012, when I was buying every pressing from React! Records, and I seem to have found my comfort zone the last couple of years. I was actually surprised to have beaten last years numbers, as I was really tried to focus more on quality over quantity, but I guess I got wrapped up in the excitement of record collecting and there were a few months where a still bought a lot of records, regardless of their price tag. My numbers were up a little from last year, but where I saw the biggest increase was in my total dollars spent. After crossing off a couple of big ticket items in January, I kept chasing that high throughout the year.

2017 was an epic year. I bought some things that I didn't even think were within my grasp...but, I wanted to get shit done, and I made some big moves. Believe me when I say that it was fucking hard to narrow this down to my Top 5 from this year.

1. Pentagram 'Pentagram' first pressing - Pentagram takes the top spot this year. Not because it was the most expensive record I picked up in 2017, but because I was surprised how much I loved it. I was feeling underwhelmed when I bought it, but once it arrived and it hit my turntable, I was in love. Crushingly heavy.

2. DYS 'Brotherhood' XClaim! pressing - The DYS record was a huge win for me. One of those records that I honestly never expected to own because of the price tag that it carries. Things fell into place this year, and I took the opportunity to grab one.

3. Dio 'Killing The Dragon' NOTVD pressing - Night Of The Vinyl Dead issued two Dio records on their label...Killing The Dragon and Magica...and both of them sell for ridiculous amounts of money. Another record that I didn't know if I would actually be able to own. Only 500 pressed...that's it...unless you want the shitty picture disk. As a Dio fanboy, I feel lucky to own this.

4. Gorilla Biscuits 'Start Today' on purple vinyl - The original REV colored vinyl is for serious collectors only. Again, this wasn't a record that I thought I'd ever own, but it got to a point where I was like, "Fuck it. I've already gone overboard this year, what's one more big record?" Plus, I'd missed an opportunity at Bringin' It Down on green, and Start Today on purple helped ease that pain.

5. Search 'Behind The Lines' special covers - Record collecting is a brotherhood, and that really showed when two different people stepped up to help me complete my collection for the new Search 7 inch. They didn't want anything extra...just wanted to help out a fellow collector. I was humbled by there generosity, and I doubt that I would have these limited pressings if it wasn't for them.

In a complete reversal from the past few years, I was more excited over new Hardcore records than Metal. Hardcore had a fire, and was exciting. Let's not go crazy, I was still a jaded old man for the year, but some shit was able to crack my resistance, and man, those records were a blast.

Don't get me wrong. There were still some great Metal albums that were released this year, but over all I felt underwhelmed. Some of it was really good, but really all I wanted to do was listen to old 80's Metal and Crossover records.

There it is, my 2017 recap. It's funny. A little while ago, I felt like I needed to apologize for not posting as many Hardcore records as I used to. Gone are the days of multiple pressings and variants, but looking back over the year, I still posted a ton Hardcore stuff, and a number of heavy hitters. So fuck that apology. I've got nothing to be sorry for. If you are one of few that still spends the time reading this nonsense, I thank you. Let's see what 2018 brings.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Strange Houses

At the end of 2014, I was hit with an urge to listen to some Billy Joel. When I was around 8 or 9 years old, he was kind of a big deal. I downloaded 52nd Street, and expected that I'd probably give it a quick spin and be done with it. That didn't happen. The album stuck with me, and I ended up listening to it multiple times, and then as we moved into 2015 I downloaded more of Billy Joel's albums, and surprisingly I was loving much so that I went to see him three consecutive years in a row play at Fenway Park in Boston.

Back in 2015, I ended up picking up a handful of Billy Joel records at a used vinyl shop in downtown Portland. The Stranger is one of my favorites from him, but unfortunately, the store didn't have that one available during my shopping spree.

I'm not a big believer in fate, but when I inherited Steve's record collection after he passed away, and I added his copy of The Stranger to my collection, it just felt "right".

My wife and I had tickets to see Billy Joel at Fenway in 2016 with my mom and Steve. He passed away three months before the show. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant, from The Stranger, was one of his favorite Billy Joel songs, and it brings back memories whenever I hear it.

The other Billy Joel record that Steve had in his collection was the Glass Houses album from 1980. I don't know...this may be my second favorite from Billy Joel. Both You May Be Right and It's Still Rock And Roll To Me were huge to me as a 10 year old, as I started expanding my tastes further and further into heavier music.

Fun fact: I had a huge crush on a girl at 10 years old...I think she was the daughter of one of my mom's friends...and we were over their house one evening, and I noticed that she had this Glass Houses record in her "collection". I didn't own any music at the time, and probably only had blank cassettes that I was recording Men At Work and Police songs from Casey Kasem's Top 40 weekly radio show, so there was nothing hotter than a girl that owned her own records. I tried to play it cool, and asked her if we could listen to the album while we were in her room, but it still didn't even get me a kiss.