Monday, September 28, 2009

Adolescents In Canada

This past weekend, Rob, Paul and I headed out for the 6th Annual Guy's Roadtrip. Our destination this year was a return trip over the Canadian boarder and into Toronto. A 12 hour drive, we made our first stop at a town called Niagara on the Lake, where we had reservations to take a jet boat ride down the river at Niagara Falls. The ride was awesome as the jet boat takes you down some class 5 whitewater rapids, plus it did some pretty sweet 360 degree spins as we were rocketing down the calmer parts of the river. Definite adrenaline rush. After changing into some dry clothes, we headed out for Toronto. We got to the hotel a little late, but we did bump into David Faustino, who played Bud Bundy on the TV show Married With Children back in the 80's. He talked to Rob and Paul for a bit while I was checking us in to our room. Seemed like a cool enough guy. Hanging out in Toronto was a lot of fun. We walked the streets for miles and miles...from record store to record store, but I only bought something at the first store we stopped at, Sonic Boom. Pretty cool record store with a nice selection of vinyl, but they didn't take American currency, so I had to put it on my credit card (which I was hoping to avoid). It made me hesitant to buy anything at the other stores, although I'm totally regretting not picking up the Slayer bootleg album that I had seen at Rotate This. After record shopping, we went to see a Toronto Blue Jays game. The home team won in the 10th inning with a walk off home run. Very nice. All over town we had been seeing movie posters up for this film called Dead Snow. None of us had ever heard of it, but he movie poster was so cool, that we hunted down a movie theater and caught a 10:00 PM showing at the end of the day. Movie was as good as we had hoped it would be...Nazi zombies with plenty of blood, guts, and gore. Nicely done. We spent all day on Sunday driving home, which was a little exhausting. All in all, it was one of the best roadtrips that we have been on. Good times.

The first album that I picked up at Sonic Boom was the Adolescents LP. I first heard this album about four years ago...somehow avoiding this punk/hardcore classic since it's release in 1981...and I've fallen in love with it. I have been meaning to pick it up on vinyl for the past couple of years, always putting off ordering it from Frontier Records. Seeing the 25th Anniversary pressing on grey colored vinyl at Sonic Boom was as good a reason that I needed to finally pick this up.

Another album that I've been wanting to buy for a while now was some of the Motorhead vinyl reissues on Back On Black. The pressing that they have done for the Motorhead catalog have looked absolutely amazing, but due to the price of these UK imports, I've held off on picking any up. I saw a few at Sonic Boom, and finally took the plunge by picking up Volume One of the BBC Live & In-Session double LP. Featuring some early live performances from '78 and '79, I was happy to finally add one of these Back On Black Motorhead pressings to the collection. Sonic Boom also had the 4 LP pressing of the band's 1980 classic, Ace of Spades, but with a $60 price tag, that one was still too pricey for me to pick up. Maybe some day....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Overloading The Collection

Just Another Day Records is really impressing me. I loved the Debaser 7 inch that I received earlier this month, and their newest 7 inch from Overload, We Live Here And Now, is a quality release as well. The pre-order version for this record is pretty sweet. Not only do you get the dust sleeve personalized and hand numbered (which is a nice touch, even though he spelled my name wrong and had to scratch it out!), but it comes with a different cover, and is one of the sickest looking pieces of gold vinyl that I have ever seen. Pictures do not do it justice, but it really looks amazing. Sebastian from Just Another Day had intended to press 88 on gold vinyl, but the pressing plant ended up only giving him 44, which make the pre-order version even more limited. Apparently the plant ended up pressing this on a lot more colors than Seb had requested, so like the Debaser record, there are a bunch of these to collect. In addition to the gold pre-order pressing, I also got the purple/pink marble (limited to 74) and the brown/grey mix (limited to 95).

Like Debaser, I had never really heard Overload when I purchased their record. A few guys, who's opinions I trust, had been saying good things about the with that record cover, it is no surprise what kind of hardcore they play. Straight Edge Old School Hardcore. I'm liking it, and will be talking to Seb to try and get my hands on other pressings of this solid record.

Monday, September 21, 2009

We're Gonna Rise Above

Back in April, I set myself up with a project. My mission was to listen to all of the music that I have downloaded for free and burned to CD over the past 10 years or so. I would give it a fair listen, and if I decided that it wasn't something that I would ever purchase, it went right into the trash. I had over 800 burned CD's in my collection, so this was not going to be a quick and easy task. So, from April through August, these burned CDs were all that I would listen to...starting at Abhinanda and ending with ZZ Top...tossing out over 100 pieces of shit like Dashboard Confessional and Static-X, and buying CDs of those that I wanted to keep like Dead Kennedys and Van Halen. At one point, I had no problem downloading free music, but no more. If I like it, I buy it. It is going to take some time to clear up the remaining 700 burned CDs that I still have, but I'll keep chipping away at it each month and make my record and CD collection more respectable.
My latest attempt to clear out some of those ugly CDRs came from an order to Rise Above Records. I've wanted to get my hands on Witchcraft's The Alchemist LP for some time now, but having to order from overseas was a bitch on shipping. I finally got to the point where I didn't care about pricing...I wanted this. The album is now on it's fourth pressing, and has been released on numerous colors, which now go for a hefty price on eBay. Rise Above had some of the third pressing available, so I went for it. I had the choice between green or purple vinyl, but I went for the "black sparkle". It is a very cool black vinyl pressing with bits of glitter in the wax. Nice. The band rocks a heavy Sabbath vibe, and I'm loving this album more and more with each listen. Seriously, this record is so good that I want to go back and order a couple more colors. Yeah, maybe when I've got an extra $100 burning a hole in my bank account.

The other album that I bought was the Gentlemans Pistols LP. Marcus introduced me to this band about a year ago (check it here), and as soon as I heard them, I was in love. Definite 70's rock influence that's got some serious hooks. Man, I remember being so excited when I first heard this was just before I was headed up to bed one night, and after listening to one of their songs on myspace, I was too excited to fall asleep and tossed and turned for a while. Since it took me so long to finally place this order, I missed out on the colored vinyl, but fuck it, the black vinyl is limited to 200, just like the yellow pressing, so who cares.

Friday, September 18, 2009

React Records For The Win

The latest React pre-orders arrived this week. I typically do a first in, first out method for blogging, but since Marcus has already written about this one, I figured that I knock this one out know instead of putting it on the bottom of the pile. When pre-orders went up for this one, my bank account took a huge hit as I ordered the Hardcore Lives package deal from React, the Reaper Records special pressing of the ON album, plus another chunk of change was sent over to Powered Records for their pre-order of the ON album as well. In one day, I managed to blow over $100 on pre-orders. The race was on, and I wondered which label was going to get me the vinyl first. React easily took first place as I'm still waiting for the other two labels to cross the finish line.
I didn't hold back with my React pre-order, and went for the Hardcore Lives package deal which got you 2 pressings of the ON LP, three copies of the Gone But Not Forgotten 7 inch, plus 1 shirt from each band. Judging from Marcus' pictures, it looks like it also got you a different screened cardboard mailer (which are always a cool bonus).

I was happy with my ON records until I noticed that Marcus got a blue pressing of the record. I was at work today, and all of a sudden I couldn't remember if my colored vinyl for this was blue or white. Blue was the more limited color with only 150 pressed, where the white pressing was of 250. I was certain that I had received blue vinyl, as Marcus had, but I couldn't be sure and started having doubts. It got so bad at one point that I considered calling my daughter at home when she got off the school bus, and asking her to check which color I had. I stuck it out and checked immediately when I got home...shit....white vinyl. I was bummed. How was I going to get my hand on that blue vinyl pressing? I made a couple comments on Marcus' blog, expressing my disappointment in finding out that I had white vinyl, and within a couple of hours I had an email in my inbox from a friend saying that he could hook me up. Made my day.

The last piece of the Hardcore Lives package was the three colors of the Gone But Not Forgotten 7 inch pressing of the demo. React had previously released this on cassette, and while I hate the format, I still bought one. I'm glad that React decided to release this on vinyl as well. Great straight edge hardcore, with a strong Brotherhood feel to it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cheap Shots

After picking up the Cheap Tragedies 7 inch on Livewire Records back in July, I immediately sought out their other records. To keep things simple, I was able to order both the LP and their first 7 inch through Mad At The World Records. The band was pretty busy in 2008, because all three records were released last year, and all of them are solid. Great hardcore punk from Tony Erba and the boys. Mad At The World released the LP, Volume 1: Souvenirs & Evidence, which I picked on clear vinyl (limited to 300)...while No Idea released the self titled 7 inch (I don't know how many were pressed on purple).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dead To Me

My friend, Rob, recently bought a Dead Swans shirt from Bridge Nine and as part of a package deal, he got a copy of the band's 7 inch as well. Since Rob doesn't really have any use for vinyl, he passed it along to me. This wasn't a band that I would have actively searched out and bought anything from, so I'm glad that I got this free 7 inch as my introduction. Neither good, nor bad for me, this one just fails to really make an impression on me. I've listened to it 3 or 4 times now, and while it is some rough hardcore in the same vein as Ruiner, Dead Swans quickly become background music and has me looking forward to the next record that I'll get to play. Maybe it's because this 7 inch ends with such a bad song. I've never heard the original version of My Bloody Valentine's When You Sleep, and after hearing Dead Swans cover it, I know that I never need to. Such a bad song that can easily be ruining the entire listening experience for me. Hey, at least Bridge Nine is now putting exclusive songs on their 7 inch records that prepare fans for the bands upcoming LP. I guess that is a positive, even if they are shitty covers of My Bloody Valentine.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Another Day, Another Record

A couple of months back, I spent a lot of money on records. Seriously, I was out of control. As a part of my record frenzy, I took a chance on the Debaser 7 inch from Just Another Day Records. Not only did I take a chance on buying a 7 inch from a band that I hadn't really heard before, I bought 4 copies...then I ended up paying too much in shipping so the label threw in a tour press as well, so make that 5 copies. My risk paid off, because this record is of the best new bands for 2009. Imagine if The Nerve Agents had a head on collision with Panic...from the remains of the wreckage, you would find Debaser's Rich White Boys 7 inch. I can't say enough good things about this record.
The pressings on this remind me of the Have Heart demo from Bottled Up Records. The record was just released, and there are already a ton of different colors and transition presses. Those that don't really "get it" will crap all over this and say that there are too many pressings. Screw them, I love it and want them all.
Here we go...the pre-order pressing is limited to 107 on a dark magenta vinyl (although the pictures here make it look black), and the dust sleeve is hand numbered and mine has a note about the blog (thanks Seb!). The lilac/pink color is the tour pressing and limited to 84. Then there were 100 on blue, 110 on neon yellow, and 87 on solid orange.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hard As Iron

I'm still not really sure how I feel about the Iron Age 7 inch, The Way Is Narrow, that was released last year on Painkiller Records. First of all, the cover art is absolutely killer...I love the 60's psych vibe of the whole thing, and might have bought this based on the cover alone. The two songs on the record are pretty good, I guess. Everyone seems to be loving this band right now, but I think it will take some time for me to really grasp this one. There are a lot of layers here for me to dig through, and while it didn't really grab me right off, this is getting better with each listen. I'll keep spinning it, and see if I want to invest in the new LP they just released.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Committed For Life

My first experience with 7 Seconds probably wasn't the best. When I first started getting into hardcore, I had heard the band's mentioned left and right. Everyone seemed to like 7 Seconds. I decided to check them out myself, and I picked up their newest CD at the local record store. Soulforce Revolution. Of course the band had been moving in a more indie/alternative direction, and I was left pretty confused. What the hell was everyone talking about? Over time, I grew to enjoy Soulforce Revolution, but it was when I decided to take another chance on the band that I discovered why they had earned their reputation as hardcore legends. I had seen the Committed For Life E.P. at Newbury Comics, and the band didn't really resemble the dreadlocked band that I was introduced to on Soulforce Revolution. No, this band was raw. This version of 7 Seconds was HARDCORE. It wasn't until I was browsing through Al Barkley's eBay listings back in July, that my attention was drawn to the numerous pressings of this 7 inch. I knew right then that I needed to start collecting them.

So here we have the 6th and last pressing of this 7 inch on Squirtdown Records. This one has the orange cover, but according to Al's website, there appears to also be a 6th pressing with a yellow cover. All pressings after this one were on the Pazzafist label. Grabbed this copy for $6.50.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Straight And Alert

Alert are a fairly new Straight Edge band out of Western Massachusetts. I downloaded their 2008 demo a while back and caught them play with Mindset and The Effort way back in February this year. I was really impressed with them, and you can tell that these kids love the old school sounds of Uniform Choice and Insted. Needless to say, I was pretty excited when I found out that Life To Live Records was releasing the demo on vinyl.

I jumped right on the pre-orders when they went up, but the vinyl package deal had already sold out, and I was left with only the clear and black to 200 each. I couldn't believe how fast the red vinyl, with the special pre-order cover, had sold out! After catching Alert back in February, I had exchanged a few messages with the band's bass player Keith. A wise man once told me "If you don't ask, you don't get." and every once in a while I'll put that into practice. It worked for me with the Daysgone test press, and I figured that since I missed out on the Alert pre-orders, I'd hit up Keith to see if he could help me get my hands on the red vinyl. To my surprise, Keith had a copy that he would sell to me. I immediately sent him the money via paypal, and waited for the records to arrive. Each day, I was sure that today was the day that the records would arrive from either Keith or from Life To Live, and each day I was disappointed with my empty mailbox. I finally followed up with both of them. Dan at Life To Live wasn't sure what had happened. He said that my records had shipped, but offered to send them again. I told Dan, that there was no reason for him to be on the losing end of this transaction, and that I hated to see a cool new label lose some money, so I told him that I'd order them again when I got my next paycheck. At the same time I was having the conversation with Life To Live, I heard back from Keith. He was very apologetic that the records hadn't been sent. He had been away on tour and hadn't sent them before he left. I told him the bad luck that I was having in getting my hands on this vinyl, and so he said that he was leaving for the post office at that moment, and was mailing me all three pressings of the demo. Sure enough, the very next day, I received the package from him in the mail. Man, it feels good to finally have this in my hands! Thanks Keith!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Carrying On

With the Carry On pre-orders just posted this week for the It's All Our Blood LP, on React and Youngblood, I thought that it was fitting that I post the Roll With The Punches 7 inch that I just received. Nothing super rare...there are 1,700 pressed of this on black vinyl...but goddamn, it would be hard to not include this record in my Top Ten 7 inches of all time. That is how much I'm loving this record right now. Carry On are another band, in a long list of bands, that I've wanted to add to my record collection for a long time, but I've always had my eye on some other prize. Last month, I went on a "cheap" record spree, buying a bunch of stuff for under $10 a piece, and scored this record.

The funny thing is that I didn't start collecting records until the beginning of 2005 with Champion's Promises Kept. After a few months of getting into this hobby, I made my first major purchase...Carry On's A Life Less Plagued LP on orange vinyl. I spent $60 for it on eBay. At the time, it was a HUGE purchase for me. Never in my life had I thought that I would have dished out that much cash for just one record. The record collecting bug had bitten me hard, and since there were only 150 pressed, I figured that if I didn't go for it then, who knows when I would have had the opportunity to grab this record again. Here we are over 4 years later, finally picking up my second piece of Carry On vinyl, and more thankful than ever that I spent the money on that LP when I did.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Reach Out And Pass It On

A month or so ago, Al Barkley had a bunch of stuff up on eBay. I saw that he had two different pressings of the Billingsgate 7 inch. Knowing that I only had the black vinyl pressing of this record (which I picked up when I saw them open up for Killing Time in Boston), I set out to win both of them. I was prepared to pay more than they were worth, because once I get my mind set on something, there is no stopping me. The 7 inch was released in 1990, and I wouldn't consider it a huge collector's item...however, it was second release from Victory Records, so I couldn't be sure how collectible they really were. Since the auctions ended at $10 for the white vinyl, and $3.50 for the blue vinyl, I guess that there isn't a huge demand for Billingsgate vinyl. There is something about this band that I love. They played straight forward hardcore, but had some real sincere lyrics that touched upon some political themes of the day, such as the war in Iraq and pro-choice...including their Reach Out intro, "Just remember knowledge leaves an imprint greater than any punch. Reach out and pass it on.". The guitarist went on to play in Dillinger Four.

Comparing the three pressings, I was surprised at all the differences. Each one has a different color ink for the lyric sheet on the inside sleeve, plus the different ink on the b-side label for the black and white vinyl, not to mention the three different designs for the a-side labels. I would love to know the reasoning behind all the changes from one pressing to the next. Hell, I'd be content to just know the numbers pressed on this, since Victory doesn't seem to post the vinyl pressing info on their site.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

In The Beginning...

For me, Heavy Metal began with the first Black Sabbath album. Other bands may have had some heavy riffs prior to the release of this album, but no one put it all together like Sabbath did. The album was released in 1970, which just so happens to be the year that I was born. Because of this, I thought that it would be rather fitting that I finally add this classic album to my vinyl collection with the gift certificates that I got for my birthday...and with the recent deluxe expanded editions being released, it was perfect timing. Released as a double LP, with bonus tracks of b-sides and studio outtakes, combined with the beautiful packaging, this thing is amazing. Truly a classic.