Monday, May 26, 2008

Record Store Day

April 19th was officially Record Store Day, and had now topped Christmas as my favorite holiday. While I unofficially celebrate the holiday a couple times a month, this day was specifically designated by the independent record store. Locally, I've got a handful of these independent record stores, and I sometimes forget how lucky I am to have so many options. I check messageboards and read about other people ordering everything online with Best Buy as their only option for record stores. That is truly sad, as there is nothing like browsing through a store and hunting for some kind of treasure. I made sure that I showed my appreciation for these local stores and Jeff and I planned on hitting them up on this holiday.
Our first stop was Enterprise Records in Portland. Before we got there, Jeff stated that he didn't really like this store because of the owner. Then while we were there, and Jeff was pulling some vinyl out of the sleeve to inspect the quality, the guy told him that there was no reason for him to check them as they only buy quality records. This certainly rubbed him the wrong way, and it got me laughing to see the guy irritate him. Anyway, this is one of the best places around to pick up some used vinyl at a decent price, and I sure walked away with my fair share.
  • Anvil - Hard and Heavy : I had never heard this album from Anvil, but it was in great condition and was their first LP, so I picked it up. Pretty good Canadian metal.
  • Dio - Holy Diver : No doubt about it, I love everything Ronnie James Dio has put his name on. After leaving Black Sabbath, Holy Diver was his first solo record, and man, it is damn near perfect. Another album in great condition from Enterprise.
  • Rainbow - Rising : Another LP with Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals. Classic Dio and Ritchie Blackmore.
  • Judas Priest - Sad Wings Of Destiny : I have been on a huge Priest kick lately, and this album is one of their best. Only the second album for the band, and for 1976 it was a huge statement for Heavy Metal. The transitions from the softer songs, like Epitaph, into the screaming guitars of Island of Domination is just mind blowing. Intense. The album cover condition on this one wasn't as good as I would have liked, but the vinyl is in mint condition.
  • Judas Priest - Sin After Sin : Another one from Judas Priest. I didn't really appreciate this one when I was younger. I'm not sure why...the similarities to Sad Wings of Destiny are obvious, but as a teenager, songs like The Last Rose of Summer did not help my opinion on this album. As time has gone on, I find myself reaching for this album more and more out of the Priest library.

After our trip to Enterprise Records, we stopped in to Newbury Comics. These guys new how to celebrate the day by offering 15% off on all vinyl, and 35% off on all used CD's. Damn, how can I not show my appreciation for that! In addition to a few CD's, I also picked up the new album by The Sword. Packaged beautifully with a gatefold cover, this thing looks as great as it sounds. Only a metal band could get away with a song named Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephyrians. After Newbury Comics, Jeff and I took a trip over to Bull Moose. While they had no sales, they did have free candy and sodas to go along with the two new CD's that I bought. Truly a great day.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Can't Wait One Minute More

I had downloaded the Attitude album some time ago, and I really liked it, so when Get Outta Town Records was releasing it on vinyl, I figured that I would pick it up. I placed my order on April 4th, 2007. Over one year later, it finally landed in my mailbox. I think this was a World Record for the longest pre-order ever. Thankfully the label's website posted updates as to all the delays, so I wasn't wondering what was going on. When I finally received the package in the mail, I fell in love with the colored vinyl for this release. Released on tuttifruiti colored vinyl and limited to 170 pressed, this thing looks amazing. Definitely worth the wait. When I placed my original order, I also ordered the Everytime We Fall from The Geeks. I wasn't expecting much from this record, but with Tyler raving about how good it was, I figured I'd give it a chance. The boy is hardly ever wrong! This album was great. The copy that I got was on what looked like a brown and yellow split, but the label's discography shows a green and yellow split that was limited to 100 copies...maybe that's the one I got.

Another thing that has been a long time coming, and is starting to come together, is my room for music storage. With Steve finishing up school this week, he finally had some time to help me out on my Music Room Project. We made some good progress today and got the shelving built for my albums. I still need to buy the materials to build another section of shelves on the opposing wall, but man, it felt like we made some real progress today. I'm really looking forward to getting this sanctuary...just locking myself away with nothing but my music collection. Dropping the needle into the groove on some vinyl, kicking back, and just getting lost in the music.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Acting Like a Maniac

There are some records that change everything. Metal was introduced to the world with Black Sabbath's debut in 1970. Iron Maiden led the charge into the '80's with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. In the early 80's, Metallica was one of those bands that decided to kick things into a higher gear, determined to play louder, faster and heavier than anyone else. Their debut, Kill 'Em All, and the follow up, Ride the Lightning are metal perfection. They made music for themselves. Total fucking attitude.
They recently re-released those first two albums, each one released as a double LP on 180 gram vinyl. They come packaged with a gatefold sleeve, and both of them are just ridiculously sweet looking. Since my local record store failed to carry the new vinyl on the day it was released, I ordered mine directly from Worth every penny spent.

"If you came here to see spandex, and fuckin' eye make-up and all that shit...and the words 'rock n roll baby' in every fuckin' song...this ain't the fuckin' band. We came here to bash some fuckin' heads for 50 minutes. Are you fuckin' with us?"
- James Hetfield at Castle Donnington in 1985-

Saturday, May 03, 2008


I didn't think it was possible for The First Step to come close to matching the perfection of their last album, What We Know. With the Connection EP, they come pretty damn close. Four songs, clocking in around a total playing time of six and a half minutes. This 7 inch is pure hardcore...intense from start to finish. The First Step are one of my top 5 hardcore bands right now, and it is a shame that it has been so long since I've last seen them live. Damn, I think the last time I saw them was at the End of Summer Jam that Rob and I went to. When was that? A year and a half ago?!? Wow...that is too long.
I was really surprised to see Rivalry Records putting up pre-orders for the new EP. I had no idea the band was recording. The pre-orders went up at the same time as the new Paint It Black album, and while I was okay ordering just one copy of Paint It Black, I knew that I was going to need to collect all the pressings of The First Step so I ordered two copies. The two that arrived were on white (limited to 270) and red (limited to 1030). Apparently these sold out pretty quick, because shortly after the first pressings had shipped, Rivalry was doing another pressing.
Shortly after I received my order from Rivalry, I got an email from Aram. He was looking to sell off some of his records to get money for a new guitar, and since I'd helped him out in the past he wanted me to have a chance to go over the list before he posted it on some messageboards. He had a lot of stuff I would have liked to buy, but with money in short supply, I told him that I would take a couple copies of the new TFS record. He had the friends press on black vinyl, limited to 110 copies, and the pressing from the Rivalry Showcase on orange vinyl, limited to 170. I didn't hesitant and sent him an offer. Thanks again Aram, for helping me complete another collection.