Sunday, August 20, 2017

Youngblood Stand Off

Since I was in the Youngblood shop picking up the D.C. Disorder record, I figured that I might as well add a couple more records to the cart before making my exit.

I wasn't initially impressed with the Stand Off demo...it wasn't bad in any way...it just failed to leave much of an impression on me. Still, that didn't stop me from picking up their new 7 inch, Behind The Wire. I figured that these D.C. kids had enough energy and passion, so I'd stick it out and see how they improved with their follow up to the demo.

Things definitely improve here. It still doesn't fully grab me, but I can appreciate it.

150 pressed on blue vinyl.

While I was happy to have the Damaged City pressing of the demo 7 inch, and didn't really need another copy, I still felt obliged to pick up the limited colored vinyl while it was available.

200 pressed on clear vinyl.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Naive To A World

I was late to the party with the Discrepancy release from Youngblood. I was not going to make that mistake this time around. I was itching for some new Hardcore bands, and as soon as the D.C. Disorder record was available for preorder, I was there.

It has been a long time since I've been gone overboard and bought every pressing that is available for a record, but listening to all these new Hardcore bands had me experiencing record collecting flashbacks...back when I was super excited over multiple pressings...and I was loving what heard from D.C. Disorder, so I jumped straight into the deep end.

D.C. Disorder features the bass player from Worn Thin, who were around in the early 2000's. I caught them live at the Youth Of Today reunion back in 2004...and since reunions weren't the everyday occurrence that they are these days, a few of us hoped in a car and made the drive to Pennsylvania to catch the show. Worn Thin played, and I remember being surprised to see their bass player with this spiked mohawk. Over 10 years later, and it looks like the dude is still maintaining it! Damn, that is some dedication.

150 pressed on blue, 200 on red, and 300 on black.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Strength Lies With Youngblood

Earlier this year, I found myself on a huge kick with newer Hardcore bands. I haven't felt that charged up in long time, and was scrambling to check out on a bunch of bands that I'd ignored recently. I'd had my head buried in the sand for the past couple of years, so I had a bunch of new bands to dig into.

Youngblood Records rarely lets me down, so when I started looking for bands that I'd missed out on, they seemed like a good place to start.

The Discrepancy record is a year or two old, and I remember when Youngblood first put them up for pre-order. Either I missed the announcement, or I was too slow pulling myself out of the Heavy Metal headspace I was in, but by the time I got to the Youngblood store, the limited colored vinyl had already sold out. With black vinyl as the only option, I just couldn't be bothered at the time, and I left the store empty handed. I didn't even bother listening to the songs.

Fast forward to January of 2017, and my interest in new Hardcore bands was starting to gain some momentum, and with some new Youngblood pre-orders going up in their store, I figured that I'd grab that Discrepancy 7 inch as well.

Damn! I've been missing out! This four song demo from 2014 is great. Please tell me that there is more to come from this band.

300 pressed on black vinyl.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Stuck In The 90's: Finale - Reach The Sky

As the 90's came to a close, a lot of that weird shit fell away, and bands got back to playing straight up Hardcore again. For me, it was perfect timing for the "Youth Crew revival" to happen, as I was growing more and more tired of the screamo/chaotic thing that was going on. As we got over the hump of '95, I just wanted to get back to stagedives and singalongs.

Thankfully, a bunch of bands came around at the perfect time, and made Hardcore fun again.

Reach The Sky were one of those bands. When they were on stage, their passion and energy just carried out to the floor. They didn't follow the Youth Crew template, but man, kids loved to crowd to the front of the stage and jump around.

When I was recently at the Violence To Fade show back at the end of May, I was checking out some records that someone had for sale. In the pile were a bunch of Reach The Sky records, and they caught my attention. I didn't have the money to buy them at the time, but it planted a seed. I'd never really considered chasing multiple copies of the Reach The Sky records, but seeing a few pieces of colored vinyl at the distro table ignited a spark, and after getting home from the show I couldn't stop thinking about them. It didn't take me long to hit up discogs, and find a seller with multiple pressings available.

I already own the red vinyl for the Lost Glories 7 inch, so I grabbed the gold and blue pressings. I just need the white vinyl to call this one complete.

When Reach The Sky released Open Roads And Broken Dreams back in '98, I was all about the CD, and didn't buy the vinyl. This white pressing is my first piece of vinyl for this one, and I'm happy add it to the collection.

The Everybody's Hero record is pointless, as the four songs here ended up on the band's So Far From Home album....but then again, I just bought my second and third copies of the Lost Glories 7 inch, so I've got "pointless" nailed down.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Stuck In The 90's: Part 6 - 1996 AP Is For Action Patrol

Back in 1995, I traveled to Boston to see Avail play at The Middle East. Avail were notorious for their fun live shows at the time, but when I think back to that show, the only thing that I remember about it was Action Patrol opening for them. I'd never heard of them, and when they took the stage with their orange jumpsuits, thick black rimmed glasses, hilarious between song banter, and their brand of spastic punk rock, I was immediately sold on them.

I bought their first 7 inch at the show that night, and then shortly after that they released their full length album, The Weak Force. By the time the final 7 inch, B Is for Bombard, was released in 1996, I was an idiot and had pretty much stopped buying vinyl, so these songs went unheard until they released their discography CD the following year.

I love everything that Action Patrol released. When bands were getting way too serious and screamo, Action Patrol were like, "Fuck that, lets have fun". A truly unique band.

I've been on the hunt for the B Is For Bombard record for a while. It isn't rare or expensive, but it just seemed like the only sellers that had it available were from overseas, and I wasn't interested in high shipping rates for a $4.00 record. When I noticed that one was available from a US seller, I jumped on it. Very happy to finally have this record in the collection.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Stuck In The 90's: Part 5 - 1995 Buzzy Trip

One of the things that I love about 90's Hardcore/Punk was the variety of sounds. Bands were doing their own thing, and in the early part of the decade, it seemed like every band was pushing the boundaries of Punk and Hardcore, and creating new styles. These days, I don't know if I'd have the understanding and patience to hang with new bands that were that adventurous, but back in the 90's, that shit was king.

Bad Trip were one of those bands that were difficult to pin down when describing their sound. Sure there is a touch of Quicksand in there, but really, Bad Trip just seemed to do their own thing. While on the surface, it could be easy to think that they didn't really fit in anywhere, but still, it was the early to mid-90's, so maybe that means they fit in with everyone.

I've always preferred the first Bad Trip album, Fear And Loathing, over their second, Buzzy...and because of that, I've dragged my feet on picking it up. Not that Buzzy is bad, but it just doesn't have that immediate punch that the first album delivered. With the 90's obsession at full steam, it seems like the right time to finally cross this one off the list.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Stuck In The 90's: Part 4 - 1994 Pinhead No More

Last Summer I took a casual hit of Pinhead Gunpowder and it grew into a full blown obsession that lead me to finally pick up the band's first two 7 inches. I listened to the shit out of those two records as that style became my soundtrack to the Summer of 2016.

With the warm Summer temperatures, and a 90's obsession in full swing, it was inevitable that I'd be drawn back to the sounds of Pinhead Gunpowder...and with that came the need to buy another piece of vinyl from them. This time around I went for their third release, Carry The Banner.

This was the first release that I'd heard from the band back in the late 90's. Of course I picked up the CD at the time, so it is good to finally add the vinyl to the collection now.

I was tempted to chase the colored vinyl repress, but in the end, cooler heads prevailed and I stuck with the original first press on Too Many Records...even though it is a 10 inch.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Stuck In The 90's: Part 3 - 1991 Fletch Of Reality

The Discogs wantlist feature is a fucking curse. Each day it provides me with an email reminder of all the records that I want, and how many are available for the taking with just a click of a button. She is a dirty hustler, calling to me from some darkened back alley, tempting me with the promise of a ménage à trois involving records and my paypal account. I mean, I'm only human. How much temptation can I be expected to resist?

At some point I added the Fletch 7 inch from Slap Of Reality to my wantlist. I can't remember the exact reason, but it most likely went something like this, "Hey, I own the first two Slap Of Reality 7 inches, so if I can pick up Fletch on green vinyl for cheap, I might as well go for it". And like that, it was on the list, and I was getting occasional reminders that sellers had it available...the problem was that everyone on Discogs selling it was from overseas. The price was right, but I wasn't too excited about the prospect of paying more for shipping than the cost of the record...so I decided to wait it out, when the time was right, I'd grab it.

Well, when I was picking up the Hunger Farm album from an overseas seller, I noticed that they had the Fletch 7 inch available as well. Bonus!

As for the songs on this record, it really isn't anything "new", as both Radiate and Where's It Going ended being recorded for the Three Lefts Make A Right album...but here, on this 7 inch, the songs sound more raw, with more of a Hardcore edge. I'm sure that most people don't care about Slap Of Reality records in 2017, so why am I so excited to finally own this 25 years after it's release?

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Stuck In The 90's: Part 2 - 1991 Hunger Games

Picking up the two Hunger Farm 7 inches earlier this year proved to be an awesome find. Great stuff that fits in nicely with what Lookout Records was releasing from bands like Cringer and Monsula. Somehow, I missed out on this band at the time, but discovering them in 2017 is like finding a long forgotten buried treasure.

With my 90's obsession in full swing, and having just discovered the two Hunger Farm 7 inches, I figured that I might as well grab their full length LP as well. It was tough to find a copy on green vinyl here in the US, so I ended up grabbing a copy from an overseas seller in the Discogs Marketplace. Solid deal at just over $6.00 for a record that is over 25 years old and still in the shrink wrap.

When I posted a picture of the first two Hunger Farm 7 inches to Instagram, Big Frank from Nemesis Records commented that the high point for the band was the Dogma LP. Initially, I wasn't feeling it...but with repeat listens, this album grows on me more and more. Surprising that this band wasn't making more noise at the time, because I'm loving them right now.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Stuck In The 90's: Part 1 - In A Time Of Catharsis

I love a good obsession...those times when I can't get my mind off a certain era of music, and I get stuck in a cycle, repeating the playlist over and over again. Inevitably, these kind of things lead to a record shopping spree, and with some recent purchases stacking up, I figured that I'd group a series of blog posts together to showcase the fallout of my recent 90's obsession.

Back in the early 90's, when I picked up the first two Endpoint albums (not counting that If The Spirits Are Willing cassette), I was oblivious to the concept of limited color vinyl pressings. I grabbed a copy of both In A Time Of Hate and Catharsis on black vinyl, and I was happy just to own the record.

At some point over the last 10 years, I discovered that the first pressing of In A Time Of Hate had a red cover, as opposed to the blue one that I was familiar with...and on top of that, it was pressed on blue vinyl. I was shocked. How was I in the dark for so long?

When Marcus posted on his blog that he had picked up extra copies of those first two Endpoint records on colored vinyl, and them available to anyone that wanted them, I immediately hit him up to take them off his hands.

In addition to the red cover and colored vinyl, the first pressing has a different back cover. I love the look of that thick, black X on the hand...90's Straight Edge rules.

The first two Endpoint records are the most straight forward and solid Hardcore records from their discography, and are easily my favorites from them. Trying to pick between In A Time Of Hate and Catharsis is an impossible task. While Catharsis is definitely more solid, the youthful energy of In A Time Of Hate is tough to ignore.

Pressing info on these two records is a mystery to me, but I'm happy to finally own the colored vinyl in my collection.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Insist On Orange

There was a time when I was buying multiple copies of every new record. The strain of trying to keep up with that race became overwhelming, and I jumped ship...choosing to only keep playing that game with my most favorite of record labels. These days, I struggle to even keep up the fight on that front as well.

I'll admit it, over the past couple of years, I've struggled to stay excited over new Hardcore bands. Sure there have been some great records, but my fire was starting to fade when it came to checking out every new band. With some recent releases from Triple B, my interest came back pretty hard, and suddenly, I was chasing all kinds of newer bands.

I'd initially ignored the preorders for the latest REACT! release, but since I was chasing all kinds of new bands, the Insist record was put on that list. After a quick Bandcamp preview of what was being offered here, I knew it was another record that I had to pick up. Sounding like a cross between The First Step and Mindset, I was kicking myself for not jumping on this sooner.

Because I had my head up my ass, I missed the more limited clear vinyl pressing. Since that one was sold out, and I couldn't order the entire first pressing, I decided to go simple and just grab the orange vinyl, which was limited to 300.

Solid record!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Lies Of Liberty '87

Mos Generator have always been a bit hard to stick into a specific genre. Their mix of Stoner/Doom/Rock makes it difficult to describe their sound. With their latest release, Lies Of Liberty, the waters get even more muddy.

Back in the mid 80's, before Mos Generator was even a twinkle in Tony Reed's eye, and he was still an angry young punk, he had band named Lies Of Liberty. The songs never received a proper recording at the time, so in 2016 Tony Reed pulled the Mos Generator guys together to have a bit of fun and put them to tape.

Old dudes playing punk songs from their youth. I'll back that.

This record is a blast. Eleven songs in eighteen minutes.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sunshine Seems Important

Back in 2009/2010, when I was at the height of my record collecting frenzy, and buying multiple copies of just about every new release, one my go-to record labels was Just Another Day. The label specialized in multiple colored vinyl pressings, and at the time I had a mindset of "more is better", so I was loving the insanity of it.

The label eventually closed up shop, and then changed hands with Rune taking over and then changing the name to Never Back Down Records.

I wasn't really interested in the first Never Back Down release, and when the label started talking about their second record, an album from a band named Molly, I thought that I might be skipping this one as well. With the label making comparisons to Husker Du and Dinosaur Jr, I felt like this Molly record would hold zero interest for me. Still, I was listening to a bunch of new music at the time, and decided that it couldn't hurt to just give a song or two a quick listen to verify that I didn't like it as much as I expected.

Much to my surprise, I found myself kind of digging the first song that I checked out. There was something about that song that kept tugging at my brain, and asking me to check it out again...and again. I wasn't sure how much I was going to really enjoy the record, but I knew that I needed to buy myself a copy and dig in deeper.

This record is a flashback to '91/'92 when I was listening to a lot of R.E.M. and Nirvana, and I can definitely hear those influences here. While I would expect this kind of thing to irritate the shit out of me, strangely enough, I find myself drawn to this record.

Number 17 out of 108 pressed on the blue/clear split for preorders.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The State I'm In

My biggest surprise from last year was the new Rough Kids album. I'd never heard of the band before, but they came along at the right time, and fit that late 70's punk sound that I was obsessing over at the time.

That Rough Kids album went all the way to number one on my Best of 2016 list. I loved that record, but held back from rushing out to scoop up their 2013 debut album, The State I'm In. I wanted to fully soak in that new record, and didn't want to somehow dilute that by adding their first album into the mix too soon. So I waited it out a full year, before I decided the time was right to finally check out that first Rough Kids album.

The State I'm In fits that same '77 Punk sound, at times reminding me of the first album from The Adverts. How is it that a newer band can play a style of Punk that is 40 years old, and still have it sound fresh and vital?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Metal Church Live

Hands down, one of my favorite concerts last year was when Metal Church played a small club in Portland. Mike Howe's reunion with the band, had me obsessing over the three albums they did with him back in the late 80's/early 90's. I was listening to those albums like crazy and could not get enough...and on top of that, their newest record was impressive as hell. Having never seen Metal Church live before, I couldn't have been more stoked to see them when they came through town. A smile was permanently fixed on my face as I watched the band tear through some new tunes and a bunch of older classics.

I'm usually not too interested in live albums, but having such great memories of seeing Metal Church last year, I couldn't resist picking up their latest live release as a nice reminder of the show.

As the Classic Live title alludes to, none of the songs from their newest album are included here...only material from the bands original run...and with those last couple of Mike Howe albums feeling a bit under appreciated, it is nice to see songs like Gods Of A Second Chance and No Friend Of Mine falling under that "classic" umbrella. Solid fucking track list.

Only 300 pressed on vinyl, and only available through the band's website.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Virtual Maiden

All the cool kids like to look down their nose at Iron Maiden's Blaze Bayley years. I get it, after years of Bruce Dickinson's voice behind the mic, Blaze can be a bit jarring. Hell, it took me a number of years to come around to it, but these days, I'm on the Maiden train from start to finish. I love those oddball Blaze albums, and while I recognize they don't measure up when compared to anything else from the Maiden catalog, I probably still reach for them as much as anything else.

As much as I enjoy X Factor and Virtual XI, it was tough call to include the original vinyl pressing on my Want List. Trying to collect mid to late 90's Metal vinyl could break the strongest of record collectors. Vinyl was damn near extinct at the time, and if you want to chase anything from that era, you better be bringing stacks of cash...for a popular band like Iron Maiden, you better bring double.

The original 1995 pressing of X Factor was a bit steep, but it was manageable for me, but when it came to Virtual XI, with an average price of $300, things got a bit more serious. Earlier this year, I finally said "Fuck it", and I decided to step up and show that I was a serious player in the Maiden game. I had the record on my Top 10 Wants for 2017 list, I was getting ready to make a move and check it off...and then Iron Maiden announced that they were even repressing every album from 1990's No Prayer For The Dying through their latest picture disc release 2012's En Vivo. Unbelievably, Maiden were repressing the Blaze Bayley albums.

This put my thoughts into a spin. Did I save loads of money and go for the repress, or did I stick to my guns with the original press? I tossed the question around in my head over and over again. Taking the cheap way out felt dirty, but in the end $300 is a ridiculous amount of money to ask for what may be the weakest release in the Maiden catalog, so I put the money back in my wallet for another day, and I took the reissue for $30.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Nightmare Shovell

I've got a weird relationship with Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell. With each record they release, I check out the latest music video, I absolutely love it...then I rush to buy the vinyl, which I give a few spins, and then I put it on the shelf and there it sits, pretty much ignored. I get all excited about it initially, and then it quickly becomes something I push to the side.

...and yet, I keep running to buy the latest Shovell release. Go figure.

When the new video for the latest single was released, I figured that I'd check it out. Videos from the Shovell, never fail to entertain, and with the one for Nightmare full of photos of naked girls from old magazines, it does not disappoint. The song itself is okay, but doesn't really grab me by the throat and command my attention...and the same goes for the b-side In A Damaged Brain. Good enough, I guess, but I don't know how often I'll be spinning this thing.

Only 100 pressed on black vinyl.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Number Of The Beast

Last year, Beastmaker released their Doom debut, Lusus Naturae. For me, they seemed to come out nowhere, and that album was a great surprise. When Rise Above announced pre-orders for the band's follow up album, Inside The Skull, I was shocked. Two albums over two years? I didn't know that bands could still put albums out at this frequency.

One of the things that first attracted me to Beastmaker was the cover art for their first album. With Inside The Skull, the album artwork is still really cool looking, and the entire packaging really captures the feel and sound of the band.

Beastmaker know their Doom influences, and wear them proudly on their sleeve. Videos for Evil One and Nature Of The Damned show the band enveloped in the horror doom imagery, and pounding out the songs.

Die Hard pressing limited to 100 copies on black vinyl, and includes a giant poster featuring Fangoria artist, Kelly Forbes.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Black And Blue God

Black God rolled out a few 7 inch records from 2011 to 2013, and I could not get enough of them. They really hooked me at the time, and even sucked me into buying multiple copies of each one. Then after that initial burst of activity, the band went silent. Almost four years later, Black God come out of nowhere, and drop another 7 inch.

With their latest 7 inch, 4our, Black God stick with the formula they perfected through their first three records. They carry a strong 90's Hardcore sound, and still come across as totally unique in today's Hardcore scene.

100 pressed on opaque blue vinyl.

The first three Black God records have a set of rules etched into the dead wax, and I was looking forward to see what commandments they would lay forth this time around. Rule #7 and #8 were new for this record, but I'll post the full set here for the hell of it.

Rule #1: No song over two minutes

Rule #2: No record over six songs

Rule #3: No record larger than seven inches

Rule #4: No cover songs

Rule #5: No splits

Rule #6: No stress

Rule #7: No Idea

Rule #8: Break Rule #1

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Hit And Red

At the end of 2015, I picked up a copy of Decibel Magazine that counted down the top 100 old school metal albums. I love a good list, and had a great time reading about their Top 100. I'm a huge metalhead, so I knew most of the albums listed, but there were still a few surprises from records that I'd never heard before.

One of these surprises was Girlschool.

Of course I was familiar with the band name...having recorded the St. Valentines Day Massacre split with Motorhead kind of makes it hard to have never heard of Girlschool before...still, outside of their songs with Motorhead, I never bothered.

I was determined to listen to every album on Decibel's Top 100, and with Girlschool's second album, Hit and Run, charting at number 68, I grabbed a sneaky download, and threw it into the mix.

Much to my surprise, I loved it. Their punked up kind of rock n roll, hit all the right buttons, and I found myself listening to those songs daily.

For me, there is something really cool about colored vinyl in the 70's and early 80's. Black vinyl was king at the time, as opposed to today, where every album gets 10 different colored vinyl options...so grabbing colored vinyl from those early days seems special to me. When I discovered that there was a red vinyl pressing of Hit and Run, I had to grab one.