Friday, September 30, 2016

Stuck in '96: Part 5 - Shoulder

When I set out on my mission to buy a bunch of vinyl from '96, little did I realize that most of what I would end up chasing were records that I'd never even heard. Such is the case with this Shoulder 7 inch.

Prior to this 1996 endeavor, my only knowledge of Shoulder was that split that they did on Moo Cow with Morning Again. As I was settling into my playlist one day, Flower Drum Song started playing after the Sense Field's Building album. Being the only Shoulder song in my library, I'd kind of forgotten all about this band...but hearing that song again reminded me how great it was. It got me wondering if the band had released anything besides that split, and a quick trip to Discogs steered me in the direction of a two song 7 inch that they also released that year.

I wanted to preview the songs before investing my full $6 in this record, but with only a couple of low quality live vids on youtube, I took the plunge, and bought it. Well worth the money spent, as these two songs are fantastic slabs of 90's Hardcore.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Stuck in '96: Part 4 - Sparkmarker

While technically, their cooler shit was from the early 90's, listening to all these '96 records, it put me in the mood for some Sparkmarker. Since I only own their stuff on CD, I was checking their list of 7 inch records on Discogs. When I noticed they had release in 1996...boom, automatic purchase to fit the theme.

This two song 7 inch was Sparkmarker's only Sub Pop release, and in typical 90's fashion, the packaging is unique and top notch. With the plain white embossed sleeve, and the fold out back cover with the lyrics and photos printed on the tabs, this thing looks great. While both songs here, Sawed-Off But Silent and 2:20 ended up on Sparkmarker's next album, the presentation here was too cool to pass the less than $3.00 price tag helped make a good argument for grabbing this as well.

Inserting a condom, and safe sex pamphlets, in with your record is so mid-90's. Thankfully the previous owner preferred the natural feel, and kept the full packaging intact. This thing is probably still good to use, right?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Stuck in '96: Part 3 - By The Grace Of God

While my 1996 spree has turned up a couple of treasures, I also wanted to make some moves on the vinyl that I never picked up the first time know because I was too focused on buying CDs back at that time.

Admittedly, Hardcore got a bit weird and emotional back in the 90's, so it was kind of surprising to see a couple of guys from Endpoint (who had gotten a bit emo in their own right) come back in '96 with By The Grace Of God, and play some straight forward Hardcore. I don't really remember listening to these songs very much back in '96/'97...I did play the shit out of their LP though...but while I've been stuck in a '96 playlist recently, this record is getting daily spins.

Quite possibly one of the worst band names, with one of the crappiest looking 7 inch covers. Terrible ideas all around...even though the band delivers some quality Hardcore.

1,000 pressed on green vinyl.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Stuck in '96: Part 2 - Miltown

While talking about Cast Iron Hike with Marcus, he asked if I was familiar with a band called Miltown. At first I was confused, and I was mixing them up with some pop punk band called Midtown. I lost a little respect for the man for a second, but once we got the Mil's and the Mid's straightened out, we could get on track with a serious conversation.

Given my confusion over the two band names, and the fact that I've never cared very much for Hydra Head Records releases, it is no wonder Miltown never crossed my radar. With a '96 mindset, and a youtube link for the band's song No Matter handed to me, I decided to give them a shot.

From that first song, I was hooked. When I visit 1996 in my playlist, this is the exactly what I want to hear. I didn't know anything about Miltown, so I started digging around and taking it every piece of info that could find on the internet. I was reading interviews and watching live youtube videos. I couldn't get enough...and you mean to tell me that the band only released one 7 inch and a split with Cast Iron Hike? Damn. I want more.

It's funny. Here is a band that was playing in the Massachusetts scene, that I was a part of, and yet somehow I don't hear about them until 20 years later, from a dude in the UK.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Stuck in '96: Part 1 - Cast Iron Hike

This past month has found me firmly entrenched in 1996. I stopped by to revisit an album or two, but soon found so many great records that I hadn't listened to for years. Suddenly 1996 was the theme of my daily playlists, and I was full on celebrating the 20th anniversary of those releases.

As I'll sometimes do when I get fixated on an older band, I'll do a search over at The Endless Quest blog, and see if Marcus has ever posted about them, and check out what he has had to say. This time, my obsession brought me to his blog to search for Cast Iron Hike. I found that, six years ago, he had a great post about a test pressing for the Boxed 7 inch. After reading it, along with all the comments, I sent him a quick message and we got to talking. I'd never heard this 7 inch, but after talking with Marcus, and checking out the link he sent me...minutes later, I'd bought a copy from the Discogs Marketplace. Since it was never released on colored vinyl, it made it a cheap and easy buy.

The general consensus seems to be that this 7 inch is the best Cast Iron Hike record. I'm not sure if it is really better than the LP, but The Most Beautiful Woman In Town may be one of the best songs the band recorded.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Doom Thy Lover

Even though I'm a big fan of Doom, I've somehow managed to avoid Candlemass all these years. They are Doom legends, and both their Epicus Doomicus Metallicus and Nightfall albums are considered classics, and yet, as we rolled into 2016, I'd never really paid them any attention.

Earlier this year, I finally got off my ass and downloaded a couple albums from the Rob Lowe era, and while I don't know if they are considered to be classics, I did know that I loved them. So when I saw that Candlemass were releasing a new EP this year, I knew that I was going to have to check it out and not be left behind once again.

With Death Thy Lover, the band brings in another singer (their sixth?), but they keep the Sabbath doom riffs coming. Not bad for a band in their 30th year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

From The Ashes Of Burn

Of course I love the first Burn 7 inch...and I can even hang with the Cleanse record. Yet, for some reason, when it was announced that they were releasing a new 7 inch in 2016, I found it as appealing as a poop flavored lollipop. Still there was some hype around it from a few friends, and I got sucked into buying a copy. Plus it was going to be pressed on pink vinyl, and goddamnit, if I don't own the first one on pink, I figured that I'd at least own the new one on that color.

Preorders went up at Bridge Nine back in April. At the time, I was heavily into late 70's and early 80's style Punk. I wasn't in the musical headspace to appreciate what was going on, and as soon as I placed the order, I regretted it, and wrote it off as a waste of money. Another old hardcore band that was bound to disappoint by trying to relive those glory days...and this would just be another record taking up space in my collection.

Bridge Nine saw numerous delays with pressing this record, so in July they made it available for download for those that had ordered the vinyl. I grabbed it, and really wasn't expecting much. Still, the cover art intrigued me, and I loved the inclusion of those old masks from the first record. Aesthetically, it gave off a great vibe, and surprisingly, I was finding myself more and more interested to check out what Burn had to deliver. Much to my surprise, I found myself really liking this record...much more than I expected to. Suddenly, I was very thankful that I'd bought this when preorders went up.

Once B9 got the vinyl in, they realized that the pressing plant had messed up the we got baby blue instead of pink. To make up for the delay and the color mix up, they whipped up some preorder covers for the record. Hand numbered out of 210. Job well done all around.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Three Minutes To Midnight

I picked up the last two Wo Fat albums based on their amazing artwork alone. Man, those album covers are amazing pieces of art...great examples of record covers done right.

When Wo Fat released their new album, Midnight Cometh, earlier this year, I was a bit underwhelmed by the cover art...and subsequently ignored it. What can I say? I was in more of a punk rock mood, and couldn't be bothered with new releases from some Stoner/Doom band.

As summer was starting to fade, and the upcoming Saint Vitus/The Skull show was on the horizon, Doom started to creep into my playlists, and I decided to finally get off my ass and download that new Wo Fat album to see if it moved me. Well, holy shit. Surprisingly it knocked me on my ass. Quite possibly my favorite record from the band.

I was tempted to chase a piece of the sold out colored vinyl, but when I found the black vinyl at my local store, I took the easy way out and grabbed it. The only disappointing thing about this record is that the vinyl leaves off my favorite song, Riffborn. Big mistake leaving this killer track off the vinyl. Only five songs in 45 minutes. They should have stretched this out to a double LP just to include it.

I actually really dig the back cover art, and kind of wish that they used this on the front.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Troubled Mind Condition

Since buying my tickets to see The Skull and Saint Vitus next month, I've gone on a bit of a Doom bender...consuming heavy doses of the heavy. Given the connection with The Skull, it is no surprise that Trouble wormed it's way into my daily Doom playlist.

Trouble is one of those bands that I've grown to appreciate more and more over the years. It is funny how my position on them has changed as time has gone on. Initially, I was all about the first two albums...then when I heard Run To The Light, I decided that this album was "the best Trouble album". My mind changed again when I finally heard the Def American self titled album a couple years ago...oh hell yeah, this one is the best. Then earlier this year, I finally downloaded a copy of the band's final studio album with Eric Wagner, Simple Mind Condition. Fuck. Is this one my favorite now? Apparently they can do no wrong.

The album originally didn't see a vinyl pressing when it was released in 2007. However, it did finally see wax with a 2009 US pressing, and then again from High Roller out of Germany in 2010. Since the High Roller pressing looked more cool with the front cover art and gatefold sleeve, that's the one that I tracked down.

300 pressed on black vinyl.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Souls Of Summer

Summer is coming to an end as I post one of the last pieces of vinyl from my Punk Rock Summer Playlist. Man, there is something about the warm summer sun that makes me want to break out some fun punk rock to bounce around to, and Bouncing Souls fit that niche nicely. Seems like each year when the temperatures begin to rise, I find myself digging their albums out for spin. Definite summer jams. So it was perfect timing when The Bouncing Souls released their 10th studio album this past summer.

The Bouncing Souls stick with their formula of infectious sing along punk. Nothing new, yet somehow this record is still a blast.

I love the look of this clear/red split vinyl. It might be the most common pressing at 3,000 pieces, but this is the way to go as far as I'm concerned.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

V is for Vitus

Buying my ticket to see The Skull and Saint Vitus this Fall pushed me to start looking online for pieces of vinyl that I'm missing in the collection. Sometimes you need to chase that immediate need that is right in front of you, and there is nothing like a touring band to call me to action.

Even though Saint Vitus is touring with their original singer, Scott Reagers...which also happens to be my favorite for the band...when I saw the Wino fronted album, V, I couldn't resist due to the $11 price tag.

Normally I would have held out for an original vinyl pressing, but since Tony Reed of Mos Generator did the remastering for this release...and I'm a huge fan of whatever Tony is involved in...I was interested in checking out this pressing.

I'd never heard V prior to this, but like most Saint Vitus releases, this one is as thick and doomy as hell. How many bands can title a song Ice Monkey, and still have it come off super cool?

Friday, September 09, 2016

Longing For The Skull

It was recently announced that The Skull and Saint Vitus were doing a Fall tour of the US. I was interested in getting tickets, but then as soon as I saw that Magic Circle were opening the Boston show, there was no turning back at that point. I had to go. Even though I've grown to hate driving into the middle of Boston for shows, I'm making an exception in this case.

While I was hanging out in the All That Is Heavy webstore a couple weeks ago, I noticed that they were carrying the new 7 inch single from The Skull. Having just purchased my tickets to see them live, it seemed like a good time to pick up the band's latest 7 inch release.

Admittedly, it took me a little while to warm up to The Skull's 2014 album, For Those Which Are Asleep. However, after purchasing my tickets to their show, I had that record spinning daily. Man, that thing finally sunk it's hooks in me and wasn't letting go. This new 7 inch follows suit. One new song, The Longing, plus a new recording of their namesake song that was originally done by Trouble back in '85. Great stuff and it has me fired up even more to see them live.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Think I Care To Trade

I've got a few pieces of Think I Care vinyl in my collection. Nothing wild or outrageous...just a couple records from a time that I rarely revisit these days. I'd had no burning desire to chase any of their other releases, but things just fell into place during a recent conversation I was having with Doug.

He had recently woken from a deep sleep to discover that he really enjoyed True Love. He'd missed out on the entire first press from React, and had mentioned how if I wanted to part with it, he was interested in my black vinyl copy of the New Young Gods record. I blew off the request initially. I mean, this was on React...the one label that I was still religiously buying everything for. But then I got thinking...hell, I like the record, but it isn't like I'm going to be chasing test pressings or tour covers for this. If I wasn't going to even try to complete the True Love collection, why the hell was I clinging to the black vinyl so badly? Fuck it. Time to let go a little.

A couple of weeks after I'd turned down Doug's offer, we were having a conversation and he mentioned gathering up some old Hardcore records from the 2000's that he was thinking about selling off. The name Think I Care was brought up, and since I didn't own the vinyl for the Dead Alive record, I said "What the hell" and asked it he wanted to trade.

I could have grabbed this record for cheap on discogs at anytime, but I figured that I might as well help the dude out, and fill a hole in my collection in the process.

While I wasn't looking for another copy of the World Asylum record, Doug did also offer up a copy of the grey/orange swirl pressing. Since I didn't own it, I agreed to take it off his hands. I don't know why. I already owned the splatter pressing, and didn't really need another copy of the album...but I grabbed it anyway.

So the end result was that, in an effort to clear some shelf space, I dumped a copy of a record that I had multiple copies of, and ended up with multiple copies of a different record.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Boot Sabbath

I do love live bootleg LPs. I've got a few of them in my collection, and when I stumble across them on my record shelves, they strike me as something special. Nothing official...fuck, anyone can buy a live album from a band, but it feel like you are part of an elite secret society when you own a live if record collecting didn't already make you better than everyone else as it is.

Well, a couple months ago, Sandwell was blogging about a few Iron Maiden boots that he'd recently picked up, and it got me itching to pick up one myself.

I'd been eyeballing an Iron Maiden bootleg from the Piece Of Mind tour, and had been tempting myself with it for a couple of weeks. It was a bit pricey, and I kept procrastinating on pulling the trigger. When I saw a new bootleg available for Black Sabbath, and at a great price, I finally scratched that itch.

According to the liner notes on this album, the recording was for the band's first show as Black Sabbath, just after they had changed their name from Earth. 1969. Before they had even recorded their first album. This bootleg really reaches back into the archives!

Very cool to hear the band live during those formative years, including three bluesy songs from the setlist that never were recorded for a studio album.

For a bootleg, the packaging on this is great. The history behind the recording, the list of equipment that the band was using that all the great old pictures. Well done.