Thursday, March 31, 2011

No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith

As a kid, there was something about Hammersmith. For music in the early 80's, it seemed like it was THE place to play. It spawned Motorhead's No Sleep Til Hammersmith (which strangely enough, wasn't actually recorded in Hammersmith), plus side D of Iron Maiden's Live After Death album, which gave us Bruce's trademark line of "Scream for me Hammersmith!" Two classics that made quite the impression on this 15 year old kid.

Now, Black Sabbath release their Live At Hammersmith Odeon album on vinyl for the first time.

Back in 2007 Rhino Handmade released this live recording on CD. Limited to 5,000, this sold out quickly. The day after I received mine in the mail they were popping up on ebay for over $100 a piece. The vinyl is more limited, with only 3,000 pressed although I don't expect the demand to be as great.

This three record set is from the '82 Mob Rules tour...just like Sabbath's Live Evil album. This recording doesn't include Sign of the Southern Cross, but it is nice to hear live versions of Country Girl and Slipping Away. A nice addition to my Sabbath collection.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Twelve Inches of Love

A month or so ago, Rob and I headed down to Boston to catch Sacred Love, Police & Thieves, and Wolf Whistle. The gig was at a place that I'd never been to before, and the two of us ended up driving around Harvard Square for an hour trying to find it. Damn GPS kept telling us to take a right turn that didn't exist. Once we finally found the place, it took us another half hour to find a place to park. Somehow we still managed to get to the show before it started.

Prior to the weekend tour, Sean Youngblood posted that Sacred Love were going to have an extremely limited tour pressing of their 12 inch EP, Dividing Lines. I bought one as soon as I walked through the door. I hated carrying it around all night, but I didn't want to take any chance of this being unavailable at the end of the show. It wasn't that big of a hassle anyway, since I was nursing a fractured thumb, I was planning on hanging out at the back of the room anyway.

Very cool front and back cover designs for this limited release. Tour presses, pre-order covers, record releases...alternate cover designs rule.

Number 34 of 35. Right on.

The Dividing Lines 12 inch first made it's appearance at the 2010 Youngblood Showcase with the pre-release cover. How much longer do we have to wait before we can order the regular press of this thing?

I exchanged some emails with Sean after the Showcase, trying to get my hands on a copy. He had some left over, but he really wanted to package them with the posters created for the showcase. I was cool with that, as I wanted a poster to frame for my music room at the house. Sean had to look at packaging options, as the posters were didn't respond too well to rolling. They would have to be shipped flat, and the could get a little pricey. A few months later, we had worked out the details, and one arrived at my door step.

The front and back design was done by Ev, and looks great. While I do prefer the 12 inch format over 7 inches, I'm scratching my head as to why you would release a 12 inch record with nothing on the b-side...nothing but flat wax and a record label. Strange.

Number 41 of 100.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Getting Nothing Done

Finding Nothing Done vinyl on eBay is just about an automatic buy for me. I love this band and will put up a Maximum Bid amount for ridiculous money to insure that I win those records that I don't own. Thankfully they don't command high dollar prices, and I was able to pick up this pressing of the Powertrip LP for $5.00...and from the States no less.

Solid looking alternate cover for the UK edition. Apparently the UK edition was only for sale through Dead & Gone Records. Shame that both the NJW and D&G record labels are no longer putting out releases...each label was solid.

Number 51 of 60.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Witch Hunt

Witchfinder General were an early 80's Metal band that did their best to rip off the Sabbath sound. They weren't nearly as tight as Sabbath, and their lyrics could be downright goofy, but if you can get past their "lets trip on L.S.D." lyrics, they are a hell of a band. They released two full length albums and with each one, they take the opportunity to get a girl to take off her shirt. Sabbath and boobs are a winning combination as far as I'm concerned. Both albums were recently reissued by Back on Black.

One of the local record stores in Maine, Newbury Comics, is notorious for having a shitty selection of vinyl (such a shame because I know two of the Boston locations are pretty impressive). I stopped in the other day and much to my surprise, they had the first Witchfinder General album, Death Penalty, in stock.

I've been picking up quite a few impulse purchases for Metal vinyl lately, and this one can be added to that list. I see it. I want it. I buy it. March was a month of no restraint.

Who killed Marilyn? Witchfinder General.

Hey, I like boobs as much as your average horny teenager, but I can think of a better way to fill the inside of a gatefold sleeve. No lyrics. No band photos. No written history of the band, documenting the recording of the album. Lame. I expect more from Back On Black.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Face Reality

Back in January, Youngblood Records posted on their Facebook page that they were going to be releasing a new record from Face Reality. I really liked their Positive Change 7 inch that Dead End Records released back in 2009, and I thought they would be a perfect fit for Youngblood.

I originally ordered and received the Positive Change 7 inch from Dead End on red vinyl. I was too slow to order the blue vinyl as well, and soon after my original order, the douche at Dead End took everyone's money for the split 7 inch with Outlast and Reveal The Truth, and he disappeared...fucking over a bunch of hardcore kids, and leaving a stack of records to collect dust in his closet. Awesome, dude. Way to rip people off. At least the guy at Upside Down Records had the balls to admit his mistakes with the live Mindset LP, and make sure that everyone got what they ordered.

When Youngblood posted the news about adding Face Reality to their roster, I commented that I wished I had ordered the Positive Change 7 inch on blue when I had the chance. David Conrad used to be involved with Dead End, and when he sensed that things were getting shady, he got out before it completely went South. Seeing my comment on Facebook, David let me know that he had a few copies of the Positive Change record on black vinyl if I was interested. It wasn't the blue copy that I wanted, but hell yeah, I'll take one.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ghost of Slumber

Rise Above Records released the Opus Eponymous LP from Ghost at the end of 2010, and it quickly became one of my favorite Metal albums from last year. Obtaining a vinyl copy became quite a struggle. Shortly after they went up for sale on the Rise Above site, the first press of 800 records was sold out. My local record store listed the record as on backorder, but they special ordered me a copy. The second press of 600 from Rise Above sold out just as quick, and yet I still didn't have a copy. By the time the third press went up for sale, I couldn't wait anymore...despite the crazy overseas shipping costs, I took matters into my own hands and placed an order direct with the label.

Like the Sick Of It All record from Marcus, this order took about two months to arrive. Does the UK postal service suck that bad? 300 pressed on clear vinyl for the third pressing. Fourth pressing is now sold out.

I can't even begin to describe what this band sounds like. People tend to make comparisons with Mercyful Fate, but Ghost aren't as easy to define as that. They are really just a band that you have to listen to for yourself. Check the video for Ritual here.

Since I was placing an overseas order, I felt like I needed more than just the one record. It seemed as though the Gates Of Slumber LP was the only one that Rise Above had in stock that I was interested. This album was a grower for me, but with each listen I'm loving this album more and more.

300 pressed on transparent grey vinyl.

Friday, March 18, 2011


There was a time when I thought that I owned an original pressing of SS Decontrol's The Kids Will Have Their Say. I bought it about 20 years ago, and at the time I didn't know anything about record collecting. All I knew was that I needed to hear this classic record from one of the pioneers of the Boston Straight Edge. Fast forward 15 years and I'm getting back into buying vinyl, and stumble upon a messageboard post about some SS Decontrol bootleg that Jordan from Revelation released years ago. The record lists the label as EXClaim instead of XClaim. Yup, that's what I have. The bootleg. I had no idea.

I came into a little extra money last wife wanted to buy new blinds for the living room, and gave me $100 to go and buy records. Pretty good deal. I knew that I wanted to make a solid purchase...something big. A few things didn't pan out, but I was happy to finally land myself my first true XClaim record...Get It Away by SS Decontrol.

Prices on this record seem to fluctuate. While I may have paid near the high end of that range, this record was in such great shape that it didn't bother me. The scary thing is that this seems to be one of the least expensive XClaim records to obtain.

When the record arrived in the mail, and I saw the return address was from Minor Threat guitar player, Lyle Preslar, it made this purchase even better. Original Boston Straight Edge purchased from someone that helped originate the Straight Edge.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fresh For 2010, You Suckas

Sick Of It All play their 25th anniversary show this month in New York City. 25 years is way past the average life expectancy for Hardcore bands. Hardcore bands are made to hit fast and hard...and then get the fuck out of the way for the next set of kids. Bands that hang on too long tend to lose their fire...their sense of urgency. Many people will argue that's the case with Sick Of It All. To be honest, I had given up on them. I loved the band longer than most, and stuck with them up until Life On The Ropes in 2003. It was an okay album, but something was missing. Death To Tyrants in 2006 made even less of an impression. I was done, and could not care less when Based On A True Story was released last year. Not interested...until Marcus posted about the vinyl for their album on his blog. He talked so highly about it, I had to check it out.

The problem was, the vinyl appeared to not be for sale in the States. Seems as though the band's new label, Century Media, only released the vinyl in Europe. I called in a couple of favors, and had Marcus pick me up a copy.

I knew that the album had been pressed on a few different colors of vinyl. Marcus had blue, and therefore I assumed that the one he picked up for me was blue as well. I was kind of surprised to find that mine was clear vinyl. It was cool to receive something different. The album itself meets the high expectations that were set. It sure isn't 1989, but for a band 25 years into it, they can still bring some intensity. Nicely done.

After Marcus agreed to pick me up a copy of the vinyl, months and months went by without seeing it. I would occasionally think about it, but I was so busy with the other records that were filling my mailbox, that I figured it would arrive sooner or later. Around the middle of February, Marcus sent me an email, checking to see if the S.O.I.A. album arrived safely. He had mailed it just before Christmas, and we were both surprised that it hadn't shown up yet. Disappointed, we both thought the worst...after almost two months since it shipped, the package was most likely lost in the mail system. One week later, the package arrived at my doorstep...with a December 24th post date. The package must have ended up on a slow boat across the Atlantic. Welcome home.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A European Foundation

I like Foundation, but I never really set out to collect their records. Yet somehow, along the way, I've managed to pick up five different copies of the Hang Your Head 7 inch. The two latest copies are from the Euro press that Control Records did.

While I like Foundation, I LOVE Control Records. Each release has one limited pressing on colored vinyl, and a small run on black vinyl. The packaging is always well done, with a few stickers thrown in with each pressing. I'm really loving the new cover design for this Foundation record. Total quality. At this point I'd buy anything that the label releases.

100 on clear. 200 on black.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

77 Pressings

New Age mailorder sucks. The label hasn't released anything new that is worth buying in over 10 years. Yet, I still have no problem laying down the cash for their recent repressings. With the exception of the Unbroken record that I've never collected, this is the last of the limited "77 pressing" series.

There is really nothing special about the 77 pressing for Outspoken's Light In The Dark LP. No new cover...just the Walk Proud labels. The truth is that I passed on this when I ordered from New Age 6 months ago. I didn't see the point. Once I got my order for the other Light In The Dark represses, I knew I had to have one. I'm a sucker.

I had heard that New Age had cleaned up it's mailorder process, and they were more efficient, so I soon placed another order with the label. Not much had changed. Emails went unanswered until Mike Hartsfield let me know three months later that my order was shipping. Same shitty packaging though. Bubble envelope? Seriously? Should not come as a surprise that the post office mangled it and the spine of the record cover tore.

The one "77 pressing" that I really wanted was for the first Strife 7 inch. The trouble was, I couldn't find it in the webstore. It seemed that the availability of records all depended on what link you clicked on when you were in the webstore. Some of the Outspoken records weren't available on the Vinyl link, but if they showed up in the Featured Release section, you could order them there. I took a chance and tracked down the original link to the Strife "77 pressing" from and old Facebook post on the New Age Records page. Got it! Seems like all navigation issues are now sorted out, as the webstore has all Strife and Outspoken pressings available.

The sleeve on this record is really cheap. Too bad, because I love the layout on this thing. That front cover shot reminds me of how intense Strife shows were back in the mid-90's. The "77 pressing" neck tattoo for the dude on the back cover is hilarious.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

If You're Not First, You're Outlast

Just when I was starting to make a dent in my blogging backlog, my computer went and shit the bed. Third time in the past year. While I've been lucky enough in the past to recover all my data before rebuilding my machine, this time I wasn't as lucky. Four months of photo, and music files were lost. All music that I had added between November and the end of February was lost. All records and CD's that I had cataloged in my database for that time period vanished. Four months of work flushed down the toilet as my computer experience a hardware failure and crashed. At least I had bought an external hard drive back in November, and backed up my info then, so all was not lost. Sure the blog hit a bit of an obstacle with my computer down for a week, but now I'll probably have to devote most of my time to rebuilding what can be recovered.

Bottled Up is a small time record label. They don't crank out a ton of releases...hell, the last time we heard from Jeff was back in 2009 when he released the Right Idea 'Our World' 7 inch. Bottled Up may not be huge, but when they do release a record, you know that it is going to be something honest and heartfelt.

Bottled Up have released some solid releases over the years, with One Up, Have Heart, and The First Step in their back catalog. When I heard the label was going to be releasing the new Outlast 7 inch, I knew that this was going to be their best release yet.

The band had a solid demo in 2009, and I was really looking forward to some new stuff from this Straight Edge band. This record does not disappoint, and I will be spinning it all week in anticipation of catching their live show at the end of next week in Boston.

100 on green, 150 on white, and 250 on black.