Monday, June 30, 2014

Two Song Blood Ceremony

Whoa...I almost came short of double digit posts for this month. I haven't seen numbers that low since 2011, but it has been tough finding the time to update this blog lately. With Summer finally here, I'm hoping that my schedule opens up a little bit, and I have more time to waste on important shit like this blog.

So getting right into it...Blood Ceremony released one of my favorite records last year with The Eldritch Dark. Great Sabbath inspired stuff from this Canadian doom band. I was surprised when I heard that the band were back in the studio so soon, and recording a couple more songs for a new 7 inch. Hey, the more Blood Ceremony, the better.

Perhaps I got myself over-excited with this whole Blood Ceremony 7 inch. I have no problem buying direct from Rise Above when I am grabbing a Die Hard edition for one of their releases...which typically come with something special, and can only be purchased through Rise Above. The shipping costs are a killer, but I like the little extra attention to detail, so I'm okay paying for it. So why did I feel the need to quickly pull the trigger on the limited pressing for this Blood Ceremony record? I don't know...other than the more limited colored vinyl, it would have been the same packaging if I'd just waited and ordered it from a distributor in The States. Could have saved a bit of money, but I guess some habits are hard to break.

The clear vinyl was limited to only 100.

The two songs on this record though, are classic Blood Ceremony. The band can do no wrong at this point.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rush Live In '74

When I first got into Rush, I only bothered with those early days. I knew that things got sketchy for Rush during the 80's, as they fell in love with synthesizers, so I never bothered with anything post Moving Pictures. People seem to really dig the last couple of Rush albums, so I'm slowly venturing into that territory, and have downloaded both Counterparts and the remixed Vapor Trails albums. I'm surprised...they are actually rather good. However, there is no confusing the difference between "good" and "jaw-droppingly amazing", and mid-70's Rush absolutely demolishes the more recent stuff.

A few weeks ago, I was hanging out with a friend, and killing time in the record store. I was trying to convince myself that I shouldn't spend any money, and then I saw this live Rush album from '74. Knowing my indifference towards live albums, I'm not sure what it was that compelled me to buy it...well, other than my recent obsession with the band, and really that is the only reason that I need.

When I got the record home, and dropped the needle on the vinyl, I was very satisfied with my purchase. Damn, these songs sound so urgent, and Geddy Lee's voice is so raw...a perfect snapshot of a hungry band on the rise. At the time, Rush had only released their self titled debut, and were preparing the follow up, Fly By Night. With tracks only covering those two albums, and including three songs that Rush never properly recorded in the studio, this live album was well worth the money spent...even though I found it available online for $20 cheaper the following week. Damn.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Break The Dogchain

Even with my large consumption of Metal, I'm still trying to keep in touch with what is new for the Hardcore scene. I tend to follow along with what Life To Live is up to, so checking out the new Dogchains release wasn't really that much of a stretch for me.

With the band's name, I really wasn't expecting much, and though that this 7 inch was probably one that I could pass right by. I checked the song, Sun, that the label posted, and was instantly sold. The band has a sound that is reminiscent of early Justice, and that was all I needed to know. I hopped in the store, and placed my order.

Pre-orders came with a special cover with a band logo that reminds me of Infest. Clear vinyl is limited to 200.

I'm not sure why, but at the time, I felt the need to buy two copies. Orange vinyl is limited to 300.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Reign In Vinyl

At the start of each year I make a half-assed mental Want List. Nothing really set in stone...just a list of a few records that I have the best of intentions of making a run at over the course of the year. Most of the time, these efforts don't amount to much, and an original pressing of Reign In Blood has been near the top of that list year after year.

I originally bought this on cassette back when it was released in 1986. I remember getting home, popping it into the tape deck on my stereo, and giving it my first listen. It was so evil. I loved it, and was little scared of it at the same time. By the time the thunder crashed, and the sound of rain started to close out Raining Blood, I was feeling nauseous and had to crash on my bed to rest my head. I ended up coming down with the flu and spent the night vomiting. A few friends at school had cautioned me about listening to this kind of satanic metal...they knew people that knew people, and had heard stories about kids that had some serious shit happen to them, that was in some way most likely related to the music they chose to listen to...and as I lay in bead sweating out my sickness, a part of me wondered if maybe they were right.

But this album was so good, and once I had my strength back,I had to give it another try. This time there were no ill side effects...this time through the album, I had my new favorite band.

While I've owned Reign In Blood on both cassette and CD over the years, I've never owned it on vinyl...well, with the exception of my copy that came with the Vinyl Conflict box set. Still, that one didn't really count, as I needed an original Def Jam pressing. Week after week, month after month, I watched them come and go on eBay. Either they went for more than I wanted to commit to, or they were beat to shit. When I'm buying an original pressing, it needs to be in great condition, and not look like it been kicked around some kid's dirty floor and left to soak in a puddle of beer.

Last month, one popped up on eBay that looked to be in good shape, and it had a Buy It Now price with the option to Make An Offer. The time was right for me to make my move. My offer was made and accepted. Finally! I own the vinyl for one of the best metal albums of all time. Praise, hail Satan.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Generations Of Thieves

I first meet Jim back at the Posi Numbers fest in 2005. I was wearing an Undertow tour shirt that he wanted, so we worked out a trade...I gave him the shirt I was wearing, and he bought me shirts from Have Heart, Gorilla Biscuits, and Triple Threat from the merch tables. Solid deal.

Years later, around 2011, I saw his band Nation Of Thieves play at a gig at the Democracy Center near Harvard Square in Cambridge. We were talking after their set, and he mentioned that they were going to be recording some new songs for a 7 inch.

Fast forward a few years, I caught up with Jim again at the REV25 shows in New York. I asked him what became of that Nation Of Thieves record, and if memory serves me correctly, he'd said that band fell apart after recording, and they just never pulled the money together to get it a proper mix. I told him that was a shame, because those songs sounded really good when I'd seen them live.

Jim recently reached out to me, and asked for my address, as he wanted to mail me a surprise. I was really hoping it was those unreleased songs from that recording session, and I was not disappointed. Man, these songs are so good. It is such a shame that this release never saw the light of day. Great early 90's inspired Hardcore with influences from Undertow, Unbroken and Outspoken. I asked Jim if it would be cool if I could make these songs available for download, and he gave it the grab it HERE, and appreciate.

Along with the Nation Of Thieves unreleased songs, Jim also threw in a piece of vinyl for one of this other bands, Generations. I've heard this band's name before, but for one reason or another, I'd never checked it out. Released back in 2006, I guess it is better late than never.

Overall, this is pretty good. At times it sounds like it could have been an early Youngblood release. A good solid record.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Electric Mountain Majesty

I bought that Stone Axe 10 inch, Extended Play, on a whim, but I'm still reeling from the impact of listening to those few live songs on that record. Soon after playing that record, I was consumed by all things Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Outside of a few spins of the great new Praise record, I've largely ignored listening to Hardcore recently. These phases come and go, and I'm sure that my priorities will straighten out after I catch the Chain Of Strength and Mindset show next week. Until that time comes though, I'm all about the power of the Metal riff.

Man, I do love Stone Axe, and this past month I've found myself reaching for their records four or five times a week. I can't get enough.

I'd heard the name Mos Generator thrown around over the past couple of years, but I'd never really been that interested in taking a chance on them for one reason or another. I'd known that the Stone Axe guitar player was in the band, and with this recent obsession, plus with Mos Generator releasing a new album this year, I figured that the time was time was right to finally make my move with Electric Mountain Majesty.

While Stone Axe go for more of 70's Rock/Thin Lizzy vibe, Mos Generator take more of a doomy style with their songs. The two bands complement each other nicely, and I find myself bouncing from one band to the other while at the height of this obsession.

I don't expect Electric Mountain Majesty to take my number one spot for my Best Of 2014 list, but it is going to be near the top, and not going down without a fight.

Because I wasn't going to be happy posting about just one Mos Generator record, I had to quickly grab another. This split 7 inch single, only features one Mos Generator song, Lonely One Kenobi...and then it ended up on the band's 2012 album, Nomads, which kind of makes this a throw away record...but still, that cover art was cool enough to entice me to buy it. Such a great song...and again, that motherfucking opening riff! Damn!

The flip side on this record is a song by an Australian band named Seedy Jeezus. Meh, they are okay, but Mos Generator steal the show here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Caught In A Euro Crowd

It has been a long time since we've seen a release from Powered. In fact I haven't ordered anything from them since The Great ON Delay of 2009. The label seems to have revived itself, so I figured that I'd take a chance with preorders for the new Caught In A Crowd compilation LP.

It seems like more and more bands are releasing a couple of 7 inches, and then collecting those songs and pressing them to 12 inch vinyl. With a Euro tour planned, CIAC jump on the bandwagon, and Powered pressed some new vinyl for the band to sell while on the road. I really like the clean, crisp design, but it feels somewhat familiar.

Looks like I got number "W" out of 100.

Preorders for the Caught In A Crowd vinyl came with Powered Fanzine number 5, featuring interviews with CIAC, Ev from REACT!, and an old one with Dag Nasty. Great job all around. Solid looking package.

Love the personal touch with the fanzine...even though I couldn't give a shit about soccer or football.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

My Own Special Jawbox

At the start of the year, I had a Jawbox re-awakening. Triggered by Dischord's recent reissue of Grippe, I dusted off the first two Jawbox albums and was surprised at how much I was enjoying them. I liked them so much, that I finally ventured to expand my Jawbox experience to include the band's third album, For Your Own Special Sweetheart.

I'd never bothered with this record back when it was released. It was the first major label release for the band, and in my world, at that time, major labels were the kiss of death for bands. I was too busy waving the Ebullition flag, and judging bands by that code of ethics. Twenty years later, I'm hearing this album for the first time. A great continuation of where the band was at with their previous album, Novelty. A great record for when I'm in an early 90's emo/Dischord mood.

When I started hunting for the vinyl, I grabbed the first one I found. A copy of the 2009 repress on DeSoto Records. A nice eBay special at $7.00.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Ghost Story

It doesn't happen very often, but some days I'll find myself open to try something different. I know what I like for metal, rock, hardcore, and punk...I listen to it all day everyday, and I can stay rather close minded on any type of music outside my predefined tastes. When I read a recent post from Chris over at Unwavering Spirit, I was caught in one of those rare moments, and I found myself intrigued to try something new.

Chris' post was for some band named The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger, or The GOASTT for short. I'd never heard of them before, and his post sparked my curiosity, so I checked out the band's video for Moth To A Flame. What the fuck did I just watch? I don't think that I particularly liked the song, but there were some primal women running around topless, so it had my attention. I decided to check out some more from the band, and found a video for their song Animals. More boobs...more freakness...and while I still wasn't sure if I liked the music, I was suddenly obsessed by it. I could sense a big influence from The Beatles, and after listening to these songs for an hour or so, I finally discovered that John Lennon's son fronts the band. I probably watched those two videos a couple times through, trying to get my mind around what I was seeing and hearing. I couldn't stop, and next I queued up their live set from SXSW and was loving the guitar sound. The band looked like the biggest hipster douchebags, but I couldn't get myself to unlug and walk away. In the span of a couple of hours that morning, I couldn't stop thinking about the band and knew that my only cure was to leave work and buy the record.

Here we are a few weeks later, and I'm still not sure if I like them, or if I only think that I like them. If that makes sense. Either way, they are different and I enjoy listening to them today.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Rush To The Moon

I've never gone over the edge crazy with Rush, but I do enjoy spinning their early albums now and again. Pretty much anything from the first self titled album, up through Moving Pictures is solid stuff. The recent reissue of their first album sparked some conversations with friends about how great the band is. Before I knew it, I'd been sucked into our own self-created hype machine, and found that I had pre-ordered a copy.

Listening to this piece of vinyl today, I'm glad I made the purchase. With Finding My Way's intro guitar riff that explodes with Geddy Lee's screechy scream, I was suddenly hooked...and that hook stayed planted in deep until the end notes of Working Man. Goddamn, sometimes I forget how great those early Rush albums are.

The first album was originally released on Moon Records, and limited to 3,500 pressed, before being re-released by Mercury later that same year. Let's be honest. When the originals are going for between $350 and $700 on ebay, the chances of me owning a piece of vinyl with this great looking logo on it are slim to none. Taking advantace of this reissue was the only way to make it happen.

I love box set vinyl, and was excited to add this to the shelf.

Truth be told, though, there really isn't much inside this box. In addition to the vinyl, we get a poster, some photo cards of the band members, a Rush family tree...nothing that probably couldn't have been included the regular album sleeve. Still, the packaging is solid and well done, and the vinyl sounds amazing.