Friday, December 30, 2011

Step Aside 2011...Bring On 2012

I started off December with a goal to post all of the 2011 releases that had been piling up in my blog backlog. Sure, I'm still about 25 posts behind, but at least I've reached my goal this month and cleaned up all the new 16 posts for November and December ain't too bad either.

Over the summer, Double Cross posted about four new bands that you should check out. One of those bands was Step Aside. I'd never heard of them before, but they certainly looked like a band that I'd be into. When Life To Live Records put up the pre-orders, I jumped in to order all three pressings.

In case you couldn't tell from varsity jackets and X'd up hands on the record cover, Step Aside are a Straight Edge Hardcore band...and they play the style very well. It is probably no surprise that I love this record.

125 pressed on blue vinyl with an alternate cover.

125 pressed on green vinyl.

225 pressed on black.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Written Off / Out Crowd

I don't get out for shows very often anymore. Finding the time and energy to get out doesn't come easy these days. However, when I heard that there was going to be a small show in Boston recently, surprisingly I found myself excited to go. The bill was full of newer Straight Edge bands. I wasn't too familiar with any of them, but the thought of checking out some new bands seemed like a great way to spend a Saturday night. I'd heard Better Times and Enough, and was looking forward to checking out Caught In A Crowd and Written Off.

My brother decided that he'd tag along with me, so the two of us headed out for a two hour drive to Boston. Trying to find a place to park in Boston sucks, and after driving around for an hour looking for a spot, we got to the show late. They numbered our hands as we paid at the door...number 27 and 28...yeah, this was a SMALL show. I was glad that we made it out to show some support for the touring bands. We missed the first few bands, including Better Times. Enough were great live, but the crowd were pretty reserved. The sound for Written Off was terrible...either too much bass, or not enough vocals. I don't know, but I had a hard time hearing what the band was doing as it was pretty much a distorted mess. After Written Off had played, the church next door complained about the noise, and the show was put on hold for an hour so they could finish up their service. I wasn't looking forward to hanging around for an hour to check out one more 15 minute set, so we took off for the drive home. On the way out, I picked up a couple copies of the 7 inch that Written Off were selling.

Iron Mind Crew Records released the split 7 inch with Written Off and Out Crowd. This is a great record from a couple of up-and-coming bands. The Written Off side dominates this for me. I need to get my hands on the vinyl pressing of their demo.

Written Off were selling the red and white vinyl pressings for this split.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


It has been almost 30 years since I started getting wrapped up in music, and even now, I still get a charge out of finding new bands. I don't want to sit back and rely on the great music of the past. I want to feel the rush when something new moves me. Yes, I still find bands that can give me a sudden surge of adrenaline when a song starts...when that riff sinks it's hook into me...when that chorus has me screaming along from the driver seat of my car on the ride home from work. Music still matters. New music is still relevant.

I didn't really pay much attention to Turnstile when Reaper Records released their 7 inch, Pressure To Succeed, earlier this year. In fact, I didn't bother to check it out until a few weeks ago when I started thinking about putting together my 2011 recap. I downloaded it for the fuck of it, and soon found myself listening to the songs on this 7 inch daily. If Leeway was recording Born To Expire in the same studio when Mental was laying down their first couple of 7 inches, it would sound an awful lot like this record.

I could not get enough of this record, and knew that I needed to get a copy as soon as possible. The only problem was that Reaper was sold out of it, and I couldn't find a copy from my usual distros. I checked ebay, and still came up empty handed. Somehow, I stumbled upon some distro that I'd never heard of before, In Vinyl We Trust, and they had the record in stock. Psyched to finally find one, I didn't hesitate to order a copy.

830 pressed on blue vinyl.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Give It Time

When I first heard Give, I really wanted them to jump out and knock me on my ass. I dug some of their stuff, but overall, they didn't immediately blow me away. Here we are, a year after I received my first piece of Give vinyl, and about two and a half years since I first saw them live, and I can finally say that I'm starting to "get it". The more I listen to this band, and the more two song 7 inches they release, the more I get into them.

Sure, I picked up the Heaven Is Waiting 7 inch last was released on REACT!, and my obsession with that label insisted that I buy all available pressings. Then when the Boots Of Faith 7 inch was released by Deranged, it hardly made a blip on my radar. I'm not sure where my head was at, but I ignored the Deranged release, and couldn't be bothered to grab a copy before the colored vinyl was sold out. Triple B recently released the I Am Love 7 inch, and it was perfect timing as I was really just starting to get into the band. Something finally clicked, and I was really starting to dig what this band was doing. Now, with new records due from Youngblood and Painkiller, I couldn't be more stoked on this band.

I Am Love was limited to 200 on clear vinyl.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Police & Thieves : Youngblood & REACT!

I'm most appreciative of when situations like this happen. Despite not making it out to either the REACT! or the Youngblood Showcase, I was still able to buy a copy of both Police & Thieves special pressings for these events.

First up is the record release pressing of the new Police & Thieves album, Fracturing. Four of these seven songs showed up on the Blizzard Sessions '10 tape from last year, but they get a proper mastering for this release. P&T are from D.C. and they nail that D.C. Hardcore sound from the mid-80's Dischord bands. Holy shit, this record is so good.

The record release pressing comes with a special cover and is limited to 55. Along with the white vinyl, I really like the way this looks.

Number 5 of 55.

For the REACT! Showcase, Police & Thieves did a limited special cover for their Amor Y Guerra LP on Salad Days Records.

"REACT SHOWCASE '11" was spray painted on the front cover for the LP. It is kind of hard to see with the gray on gray, and I think it might have looked better if it was positioned more on the pink.

Limited to only 20, I feel extremely lucky to have a copy of this.

I can't say enough good things about this band. Thanks for the records Carlos. Looking forward to the regular press of Fracturing from Youngblood.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

REACT! Showcase 2011

I love a good Hardcore fest. A day spent checking out bands and cruising merch sounds like a perfect day to me. Unfortunately I was not going to be able to travel to California for the REACT! Showcase this year...and it is doubtful that I'll ever be able to...but thankfully Aram put the leftover box sets up in the REACT! webstore for those of us that couldn't make it.

Last year, Aram and crew put together a 7 inch box set for the Showcase. For 2011, he went bigger and did one with the last five REACT! LPs.

The box itself is thick and heavy, with a screened front and back. You can't help but be impressed with the level of quality.

The LP box set is limited to 100, with all the records on black vinyl. I assume that the 100 was pulled from the regular black vinyl run for each LP. If I'm correct, then the pressing for the black vinyl on each release would be adjusted, allowing for 100 to be used with the box set.

Inside the box, you have all five LP's bound together, a special issue of Effort Fanzine, all the essays and downloads included with the regular LPs, plus some assorted stickers.

Each LP is housed in only a dust sleeve which is stamped with the band's logo. Looks like I ended up owning a copy of the Skin Like Iron LP after all. I've given it a few spins since I've received this box set, but it has still failed to move me in any way.

The issue of Effort Fanzine that is included is a tribute to all things REACT!. Everyone related to the label is interviewed in this thing...Aram, those that help keep the label running smooth, the bands, even those that help design the records...we hear from everyone. Effort always had great interviews, and while this one keeps things brief, it is still very well done. Worth it for the Ole Johnson interview alone, where he talks about all he went through in designing the Together LP for Get The Most. Such a great story.

Another quality release from REACT!. Now I've just got to get my hands on those special 7 inch pressings that REACT! handed out to the first 88 people at the Showcase.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Iron X Curtain

When I ordered the Times Together vinyl from Anger Battery, I also grabbed a couple copies of the Iron Curtain 7 inch the label had up for sale. I'd never heard of them before, but since they were described as "raw hardcore in the vein of early Lockin Out Records like Mental or the Righteous Jams demo" I figured that I'd take a chance on them. Good move because this London Straight Edge band, are pretty fucking cool.

Has there ever been a record cover with monkeys that hasn't ruled? I can't think of any. While this cover for the Iron Curtain 7 inch looks awesome, I'm a bit confused because they look like gorillas with tails.

Black vinyl is limited to 100, but 30 of them had the dust sleeve stamped and numbered for pre-orders.

200 pressed on white vinyl.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Second Times Together

While I do enjoy it that younger kids are still forming bands, and keeping Straight Edge Hardcore alive, I also get a charge when older dudes keep that Youth Crew spirit going strong. Not all of us threw out our BOLD tshirts, and started listening to Sunny Day Real Estate and Iceburn when we got older. No, some of us still cling to our Wide Awake and Turning Point records, singing along to those youth anthems as though they were still relevant in our grown up lives.

Thankfully older guys like Times Together are still kicking around, and putting out solid Hardcore in 2011. I really liked the cool Uniform Choice/Unity vibe of the first 7 inch, but I had no idea that Times Together were releasing a follow up this year.

After receiving the Rearranged LP a few months ago, I decided to check out what else Anger Battery Records had released, and was pleasantly surprised to see that the label had just put up pre-orders for a new Times Together record. In order to try and keep up the collection, I ordered the three pressings that were available.

100 were pressed on clear vinyl, but only 30 of these got the limited pre-order cover.

The limited cover is a nice touch, and is hand numbered on the back.

Number 30 out of 30. Right on!

I love the layout of this record. The block pattern is a great look.

250 pressed on black.

Times Together were going for a Chain of Strength look and feel with this layout, and they nailed it with the back cover. Nicely done.

150 pressed on green vinyl.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Never Enough

There are a bunch of newer Straight Edge Hardcore bands kicking around right now. Man, it is a good feeling to see that kids are still keeping this music alive. Enough are one of these bands, but after releasing two 7 inches this year, you better sit up and take notice.

Their second 7 inch, Something We Can Build, was released on Iron Mind Records, and landed in my mailbox a couple weeks ago. While I'm not a big fan of the record cover and I think that the production is pretty rough, I'm loving the songs from the 7 inch.

There is something about Enough that reminds me of Fastbreak from the Youth Pride demo days. The band matches that level of youthful enthusiasm and raw energy.

Iron Mind released the Something We Can Build with a special preorder cover that rips off the Crucial Youth 7 inch. It's a good look.

94 pressed on orange, 200 on black, with 50 of the black getting the Crippled Youth rip off sleeve.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tokyo Straight Edge

I received the new Inside 7 inch a couple weeks ago, along with the Tremors 7 inches from Six Feet Under. The download code included with the Inside 7 inch didn't work, so I had to rip the mp3's using my USB turntable. The process isn't that difficult, but it's such a pain in the ass compared to a quick download. Because of this hassle, it took me a couple of weeks to hear the record...and thus delayed my post. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever had a download from SFU work successfully.

In case you didn't notice the cover for the record, Inside are a Straight Edge band out of Tokyo. They have a sound that is similar to Foundation and fit in with the SFU roster nicely. The thing with Inside is that they sing in Japanese. I don't know what they are saying, and I can't sing along. Can I connect to a band if I can't plug in and scream the lyrics? Regardless of how well Inside play this style of Hardcore, I wonder how often I'll really play this record.

Six Feet Under pressed 200 on both blue and red colored vinyl. They only kept 30 of the red to sell in The States, and shipped the rest to Tokyo.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tremors Six Feet Under

A few months back Marcus posted about some new band called Tremors. I'd never heard of them before, but he had some pretty high praise for the band. Despite the fact that he is a jaded old dude when it comes to new music, and he likes Piebald, somehow I still tend to trust his judgment. He liked the record, so I immediately looked to check it out. The band's song on the Striving Higher comp only sealed the deal. Raging hardcore, full on pissed and ready to explode. This is some good shit, and I needed to get my hands on the new Island Songs 7 inch.

The 7 inch was originally pressed by The Essence over in Europe. They were sold out of the limited color vinyl pressing, so I decided to sit and wait for the US pressing from Six Feet Under. The SFU pressing uses a different photo for the record cover, so of course now I want the Euro press as well. Also, the pressing from The Essence contains an additional song! What the fuck!?! Why leave a track off the US pressing?

100 on green vinyl. 200 on black vinyl.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Don't Forget Your Roots!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...I've never been a big fan of a records worth of cover songs. That said, I've always loved the H2O cover songs...the exception being that Madonna cover...damn, I never need to hear that garbage again. 7 Seconds, Minor Threat, Dead Kennedys, Ice Cube, even that bad boys song from Cops...shit was a lot of fun. So when it was announced that Bridge Nine was going to be releasing an H2O album of cover songs, as the band pays tribute to their influences, I was actually looking forward to it.

Brian Walsby, who did the iconic cover of 7 Seconds Walk Together Rock Together album, gives us the H2O version for the Don't Forget Your Roots cover.

H2O's music covers a lot of styles. They can play solid Hardcore, and they can seamlessly switch over to more of a punk rock sound with a ton of melody. So it is no surprise that their covers album includes a wide variety of bands. They cover songs from some bands that I couldn't give a shit about, like Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Rancid, and The Clash (yeah, I said it). They also cover some songs from the best bands ever, and while the Warzone cover is no surprise, Cats and Dogs by Gorilla Biscuits was a great choice, and hats off to H2O for including covers of Embrace and Verbal Assault.

While there is no lyric sheet, it was a nice touch to have something written by the band about what each song means to them.

Prior to the Don't Forget Your Roots LP release, Bridge Nine released three individual 7 inches. Each one is named after the scene that the chosen bands were from...for example, the California 7 inch includes Circle Jerks, Rancid, and Social Distortion, who were all guessed it, California. Again the artwork was done by Brian Walsby, and each cover incorporates different icons from each scene and the bands involved.

I loved that all the 7 inches had a common theme and look running through them, and picked up one of each.

Since Bridge Nine refuses to post the pressing info when they put up vinyl pre-orders, I was left pick blindly on which colored vinyl I would buy. Seems like I picked the most common color for all of them. Damn.

1,000 pressed on yellow vinyl for California.

1,000 pressed on "orange" vinyl for New York City.

1,000 pressed on red for D.C..

Friday, December 09, 2011

Saxon's Call To Arms

Sometimes I'm pushed to by new vinyl simply because the price is too good to pass up. This is typically the case only with Metal, because as the blog history will show, I have no problem throwing cash at Hardcore records. But these days, I'm making a more conscious effort to buy vinyl for Metal releases as opposed to falling back on the cheaper, more accessible CD format. I still collect CDs for Metal and Hard Rock releases, but now that I'm fully taking advantage of my iPod, I have very little reason to buy new releases on CD when there is a vinyl option.

I recently downloaded the new Saxon album, Call To Arms, and I was really impressed with what I heard. Out of curiosity I wanted to check to see if it had been released on vinyl, so I started searcing around the internet to see what I could find. I found it, but at the time it looked like the vinyl was only released in Europe. I wasn't excited about having to pay import prices for the vinyl, but when I stumbled upon a copy at with a very reasonable price, I jumped on it. Of course now when I check, I can find the album from a few other US sellers, all with decent pricing. I guess I didn't need to rush to purchase right away.

Saxon were major players in the early 80's with the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, and I would say that Call To Arms can hang with Saxon's classics like Denim and Leather and Wheels of Steel. Yes, it is that good. I'm impressed that a band that has been around for over 30 years, and released 19 albums can still produce a records that stands up next to some of their classic material.