Sunday, September 29, 2013

Birds That Were Born To Die

Night Birds ruled my world last year. They were an amazing surprise, and I could not get enough of them. Seeing them play live in Boston just elevated my appreciation for them, as it was one of the best shows that I'd seen in a long time. So much fun.

I was looking forward to the new LP, Born To Die In Suburbia, this year. Even though I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for the pre-orders, I still missed out on the limited screen printed cover. The Night Birds aren't big on colored vinyl, so I'll have to take this one copy on black...but that's okay, as plain black vinyl seems to fit the band perfectly.

As for the new album, I wasn't completely sold on it after the first listen, and I was disappointed. That seems to be the theme lately, as more and more, I need repeated listens before an album sinks in. With this one it took me a handful, and while it doesn't match The Other Side Of Darkness, this thing still has the hooks and energy to still deliver.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Feeling Nervous

When I first started collecting records, around 2005, I used to obsess over Bridge Nine releases. I would check their discography webpage daily, and just study that history. I made up a checklist of those records that I wanted, and my aim was to collect every one of them. Then there came a string of releases that I just didn't give a shit about...Death Before Dishonor, Crime In Stereo, Ambitions, Energy, New Found Glory...I hated the direction they were going in, and I bailed. Every once in a while, the label would release a Cruel Hand or Ceremony record to remind me that they were still around, but for the most part, I'd stopped caring.

It has been a couple of years since I've been really excited about a new Bridge Nine release, but this Nervous Impulse 12 inch has certainly grabbed my attention. This record has a ton of spastic early 80's punk energy. The vocals are a bit odd, which is just a part of it's charm...kind of in the same way that Jello Biafra helped define the sound for the Dead Kennedys. I love this record, and with each listen it continues to climb up in my Top 10 list for the year.

500 pressed on yellow vinyl.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

REV Repress: Part 4342512566

Revelation keeps on churning out the vinyl repressings. While this was a lot of fun when they started doing this a few years ago for Record Store Day, at this point, I can say that the thrill is gone. There are some that I'll probably keep stepping up to the plate for, but no matter how much I love Judge, I can't see myself buying that double LP discography every time REV presses it on a new color.

Yet, for some reason, I'm okay with the third recent pressing of Break Down The Walls.

The vinyl on these things look beautiful, and even though the green doesn't really match the red and blue colors from the record cover, it still somehow looks great.

I'll complain at every chance I can to say that repressing of the the Inside Out record was a missed opportunity for REV. This should be a 12 inch and include the CD bonus songs Sacrifice and Redemption. Still, I'll step up and buy this every damn time.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Iron Chic Action

I first heard Iron Chic last year, based on a recommendation from Sandwell. I was hesitant to do so as everything about the band seemed "cute" and "silly"...two things that I have a low tolerance for in hardcore/punk. Still, I checked out their album, and I'll be damned if I wasn't completely hooked on it. Over a year later, I still can't listen to it without turning up the volume on my stereo and singing along like an idiot.

Honestly, it feels like it has been years since I've cared for a new Bridge Nine release. When it was announced that Iron Chic had signed with B9, I figured that was it...the band would probably start to suck now. I worried that a release on B9 would leave them too polished and poppy. I approached their new 7 inch, Spooky Action, with some low expectations. While not as great as their last LP, the songs on the new 7 inch are actually quite good. Two originals, a Ramones cover that is only available on the Bridge Nine US pressing...the Euro pressing has a Butthole Surfers cover instead. This is a solid release, an it leaves me looking forward to the new LP they are recording.

350 on red vinyl.

While in the Bridge Nine store, I saw that they were also carrying Iron Chic's Split n Shit 7 inch. This record captures the songs from their (Cosmic) Future 7 inch and their split with Pacer.

500 pressed on black vinyl.

There were numerous delays at the pressing plant for the Iron Chic 7 inch. To make up for the long wait, Bridge Nine threw in one of Soul Control's 7 inches that I would have never bought otherwise.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Better Than You

Some bands just seem to not quite get the attention they deserve. They aren't on a big name label, and they don't seem to generate a lot of hype...yet, year after year they continue to release consistently great Hardcore records. Better Times are one of these bands. They play no frills youth crew style, straight edge Hardcore...nothing really new, but they play with such passion and conviction, they certainly have my attention.

I didn't know Better Times were releasing a new record this year, but when I saw preorders go up at State Of Mind Records, I quickly placed my order.

The preorder cover is a nice rip off of Gorilla Biscuits "Better Than You" design. Well done.

While the vinyl initially looks to just be a plain black wax, technically it is considered colored vinyl as there is the most insignificant amount of white mixed in.

Preorder cover is limited to 65.

While I dig the GB rip off design for the preorder cover the regular packaging is far superior.

The vinyl comes wrapped in, what the label calls an "arigato style jacket". Is that what this is called? I had no idea. Either way, it is solid. Great job on doing something a little different.

Anyway, this record is very cool. There are only a few things I like more than new kids playing Straight Edge Hardcore. This music is timeless.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Have Heart Repress

Every year or so, Bridge Nine gives us another pressing of Have Heart vinyl. This time they drop all three LPs on us at once.

Since it's release in 2006, I've probably listened to The Things We Carry more than the majority of the records in my collection. For years, this thing dominated my stereo. I've played it death, and it doesn't get many spins these days, but when I do hear it, I'm reminded of why this album is a Hardcore classic.

Amazing that this is now in it's eighth pressing. 1,000 on solid white vinyl, that will no doubt sell out in a couple of months, giving B9 another opportunity to press it again and take more of my money.

Songs To Scream At The Sun doesn't command my attention nearly as much as Have Heart's first album. It is still a solid record, but as a follow up to perfection, it was a bit of a disappointment.

This album is now in it's sixth pressing, with 1,000 on red vinyl. Yes, the album cover still sucks.

Honestly, the only reason that I keep buying the live album is because it is a part of Have Heart's legacy. I rarely reach for live Hardcore albums, and this one doesn't really move me. I haven't bothered to chase either the green or red copies from the first pressing, but here I sit with five copies of this thing.

Third pressing of 1,000 on brown vinyl.

Friday, September 13, 2013

REACT! Week - Part Five: The Mindset Finale

REACT! week has been fun, but we have reached the end. Five posts over five days. Damn. I didn't know that I had it in me. Now that we are bringing things to a close for the week, I figured that I'd end it in a big way. I've posted two other REACT! test pressings this week, but things don't get much bigger than a Mindset test.

It was love at first sight when REACT! revealed this design for their 30th release. I love the clean, crisp edges and bold we get three X's across the front. A nice dual meaning for the number thirty and the Straight Edge.

When Mindset's guitarist, Drug Free Mike C, posted some records on eBay to help with some car troubles, I figured that I'd check it know, just to see what there was to see. When I saw the test pressing for the Collection LP, and the great RXR design on the cover, there was no doubt that I was going to win it.

Number 19 of 24 pressed.

Shortly after scoring the Collection test press, REACT! did a second pressing of the LP on clear vinyl. Goddamn right.

Thanks for hanging out this week. Fifteen records. Three test pressings. Five days. That was fun.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

REACT! Week - Part Four: Angel Du$t

I'll admit, I was a little skeptical when I first saw the Slam video from Angel Du$t. There was a bit of hype on this new band, but seeing the video, I was kind of underwhelmed.

Here we are a few months later, and I've got to say that my opinion has changed. After receiving the vinyl in the mail, and listening to it a few times, I was hooked. It seems impossible for me to describe their is like some weird hybrid of Turnstile and The Damned. I don't know. It's weird and I'm loving it.

The record cover isn't much to look at, but I dig the nice crisp, clean design.

150 pressed on yellow. 200 on clear. 300 on white vinyl. There is also a black vinyl pressing, limited to 400...looks like I've got to get that too!

"Jump in the crowd, I don't give a damn when the music's so loud. I gotta slam!"

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

REACT! Week - Part Three: Clearsight

Can't sit back, time for more REACT!.

Clearsight are a Straight Edge band out of the Ukraine. REACT! pressed their 2008 demo to vinyl, and then the band broke up. Thankfully, they are back together to give us this nine song 7 inch. Great, no frills, old school style...nothing but Hardcore.

Good to see the REACT! inserts are back with the Clearsight record. Honestly, I don't pay much attention to them, but they were always a nice touch in the label's early days.

I have no idea what the pressing info is for this record, but I'm going to assume that it is the same as the WarXgames record...150 on colored vinyl, with 350 on black.

Originally I had only ordered the WarXgames test pressing when REACT! had it available in their store. At that time, they also had a test of the Clearsight record available, but I'm desperately trying to not buy everything, so I grabbed a copy of WarXgames, and checked out. Four days later, I checked back in the REACT! store and was surprised to see the Clearsight test was still available. Unbelievably, it hadn't sold out yet. The price was very reasonable for a test pressing, so I bit the bullet and bought it. No fucking willpower.

The Clearsight test looks even less exciting than the WarXgames one. This one isn't even numbered! Still, it is a test, so I'm not going to kick it out of bed for eating crackers.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

REACT! Week - Part Two - WarXgames

No more games, time to keep rolling with REACT! week! This time around we have the new 7 inch from WarXgames.

I'd never heard of this band prior to REACT! putting up the preorders for the 7 inch. It was on REACT! and it had Ev from Mindset in the band so I was sold from the start.

150 on white vinyl. I don't know why, but I love it when I discover one of these "thumb prints" on my colored vinyl. I'm not sure if they are intentional, but get a kick out of that little off color smudge on my otherwise pristine white vinyl.

When you see the photos of the band members you know right away that this isn't going to sound like your average Straight Edge record. I mean, come on, the dude is wearing a Darkthrone backpatch on his jacket, so you know that this record is going to hit just a little harder. REACT! cites influences from Infest and Void, and I would say that is a fair comparison.

350 on black vinyl.

Preorders went up at the first of May, and then something caught my eye on Facebook one night towards the end of July. I had spent a late night out for work, with some clients over dinner. With these things, I can count on two, I'll inevitably have to talk about being vegetarian, and two, someone will no doubt make a joke about me not drinking. This particular night wasn't as painful as you might think, and I left dinner around 9:30 feeling pretty good about how things had gone. I get to my car and pull out my phone, check my messages and hit up Facebook to see what's gone down. There I see a notice from REACT! that they have put up a couple of test pressings in their webstore. First come first serve. Fuck, I hate navigating the internet on my phone, but I don't want to miss out on this, so I quickly hit the REACT! store. I'm surprised that the tests haven't sold out, and I quickly secure a copy of the WarXgames record.

The packaging is rather plain, with just a sticker on the front cover, and a REACT! stamp on the back. Oh well, not every test can be as epic as the Fire & Ice one. I'll still take it.

Handnumbered out of 24

With the regular pressings and a test, I was feeling pretty good about my WarXgames collection. Then Chris over at Unwavering Spirit comes along and tells me whats up. I obviously need the special record release cover as well.

I fire off an email to Ev over at REACT!, and we quickly come to an agreed upon price. Deal's done...collection complete.

Monday, September 09, 2013

REACT! Week - Part One: Noose

As usual, I'm far behind with my posts for the blog. I've got a large backlog, with a number of them being for new REACT! releases. I hate posting a bunch of different records within one post, so I'm going to separate each release, and try and blast through them over this next week. That's right, this is officially REACT! week here on the blog.

First up is the Noose LP, The Moral Law.

This full length compiles all the previous Noose material, three 7 inches and one compilation track, to a convenient LP. This shit is harsh and angry...hate fueled Straight Edge Vegan Hardcore. Intense. Granted the album cover featuring a gang of guys dressed like Dumb Donald from Fat Albert kind of ruins the mood, but I can see what they were going for.

350 pressed on green vinyl.

REACT! pressed only 150 on pink, with proceeds from this pressing going to the Chenoa Manor Animal Sanctuary. Animal liberation!

I've written here about the number of problems that I've had with Hellfish. REACT! has been using them as a disto, and I've had a string of bad luck. Crushed corners with one order, and wrong colored vinyl with others. The streak continues with this order, as they failed to send me the black vinyl copy of the Noose LP that I'd the Mindset CD was missing as well. I dropped a note to Ev at REACT! to let him know. I wasn't looking for him to fix their error, but I just wanted to give him a heads up. Ev let me know that, thankfully, REACT! is no longer using Hellfish. All mailorder is being managed in-house. Such great news. He was shipping me some other records from a separate order, and he kindly offered to include those items that Hellfish failed to send. No doubt, Ev is a solid dude! Thanks, man.

500 pressed on black vinyl.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Reissues Can Dropdead

When I was listening to Hardcore back in the early 90's, there was an unholy trinity of bands that my wife could not tolerate. Born Against. Rorschach. Dropdead. She could hang with a lot stuff that I listened to at that time, but man, those three bands irritated her to no end. Shit was far too chaotic and over the top for her tastes. She doesn't understand the record collecting game at all, so I'm sure she'd roll her eyes at the thought of me buying a second copy of the first Dropdead LP.

While I'd vowed to cut back on the vinyl repress mania this year, I still found myself drawn to the latest pressing of Dropdead's first album. I'm not sure what it was. I own the original vinyl on Selfless Records from 1993, and since I don't collect Dropdead records, why did I feel the need to buy another copy? Not everything needs to be examined...we don't need a reason for everything, and some things are better left unexplained. I saw it in the store...I slid the vinyl from the sleeve and saw it was on blue wax...I wanted it, so I bought it. Simple as that.

It's hard to believe that this record is 20 years old this year. Still, these songs sound fresh and alive as they jump off the turntable with an incredible amount of anger and urgency. Ahhh...the timelessness of Hardcore.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Never Enough Time

We all know my story about trying to make up for lost time. After my "Ebullition years", I stopped buying vinyl. By 1996, I bought very few records, as I preferred buying CDs over vinyl. Then, much like the time I spent as a kid buying cassettes instead of vinyl, the seven year span from '98 to 2005 was a dark time in my music history. If it wasn't on CD, I didn't buy it.

When I started buying vinyl again, my Youngblood record collection consisted of one copy of the Rancor's Flip The Switch. That was all. I had about 19 or 20 of their past releases to catch up on.

I enjoy the hunt for those past Youngblood records. I'm in no rush to complete the collection, and don't always actively search out those missing pieces, but when I do acquire one, it is always a thrill.

When I saw that Sean Youngblood had uncovered a couple lost copies of the Desperate Measures LP, and had added them to the webstore, I figured that it was time to finally own my first vinyl copy of this record.

275 pressed on blue vinyl.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Surprisingly Good Religion

I haven't cared about Bad Religion since the early 90's. By the time the Recipe For Hate album was released in '93, I couldn't have cared less for what this band was doing. I'd drop in every now and then to see what the band was up to, downloading The Empire Strikes First and New Maps Of Hell, but after few spins I'd tuck them away and they would be forgotten. When I heard that Bad Religion was releasing their sixteenth album, True North, this year, I didn't give a shit.

Soon after the release, some friends on Facebook started posting about how great the album was. Still I resisted. I held firm to my belief that the album would be a yawn inducing bland-fest, and I continued to ignore it. Yet, the positive reviews kept coming in, and unable to withstand the pressure any longer, I downloaded the album with a glimmer of hope that it might actually be decent. I didn't expect much, so it was a complete surprise when I found that the album was quite good. Of course it isn't going to touch Suffer or No Control, but I'd probably reach for True North over 1992's Generator.

Yeah, there were a few different colored vinyl pressings for the album, but with the convenience of having the album for sale at my local record store, I decided to just grab the black vinyl copy.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Raw Justice

Life To Live Records is a solid label, and I tend to dig most of the records they release. When they announced that they were doing a split label release for a new band out of France called Raw Justice, I figured that I'd give them a chance.

The band had a free download over at their bandcamp page, so after checking it out and digging their raw old school sound, I decided to grab a copy from LTL.

Since this was a split release with two overseas labels, Ugly And Proud and Straight & Alert, Life To Live was only going to have 50 records available out of the 350 total pressed. For some reason I was worried that this was going to sell out fast, and made sure that I was first in line when pre-orders went up.

Three months later, Life To Live still have these available.

Being there early for pre-orders at least meant that I was able to grab a copy of the test pressing that Life To Live had up for sale. I love it when labels put up test pressings up for sale, and I'm too weak a man to just walk away. Couldn't resist picking up a copy.

Number 19 out of 23. "Only for promotion".

A few weeks ago, I saw that Straight & Alert had some left over copies of the Raw Justice tour pressing available. Since I had the regular pressing and the test, I couldn't just let the tour press pass me by.

Number 45 out of 70 with the special SSD cover for the Summer tour.