Saturday, April 30, 2016

Record Store Day 2016 - Part Three: Celebrated Mindset

No one pulls off a Record Store Day release better than React! Records. Year after year, React! continues to do it right, and give the collectors something special, while also benefiting their local record store in Baltimore, Celebrated Summer Records.

Since, I don't live near Baltimore, I'm lucky enough that Chris over at Unwavering Spirit has my back.

This year, React! gives us a great looking Verbal Assault rip off sleeve for the new Mindset record.

Such a great looking silk screened respect to one of the underrated bands from the mid to late '80's.

Celebrated Summer special pressings wouldn't be complete without the record store's cat mascot making an appearance...this time, nicely placed on the head of the Giant Records logo. Well done. Number 30 out of 50.

Thanks Chris!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Record Store Day 2016 - Part Two: Kill 'Em All

Last year, my biggest purchase on Record Store Day was an original Megaforce pressing of Kill 'Em All.. This year, my biggest purchase is...ummm...yeah...Kill 'Em All again. Fall to your knees, and bow to the deluxe edition of the phantom lord.

Lars and James must have been tuned into the Led Zeppelin deluxe box sets that have been released over the past couple of years, and fallen in love with them as I had done.

These Metallica deluxe box sets follow the same blueprint that Zeppelin used for theirs. Sturdy, sharp looking boxes, and just jam packed with tons of cool extras.

Of course we get the newly remastered vinyl pressing of Kill 'Em All. My Megaforce pressing is good enough for me, so this new version probably won't see much action on my turntable.

One of the big selling points for me with this box set was the double live album of Metallica's set from Paris in early '84. I can't get enough of those early Metallica live shows. The band still sounds so hungry, and James' voice is raw as fuck. Comparing this live set to the one from 2003 that Metallica released on CD for this Record Store Day, the 2003 set can be somewhat cringe-worthy.

In addition to the remastered CD, you get the Jump In The Fire picture disc, which looks cool as hell. Plus there is all the early shows from '83 and '84, a killer DVD of a live show from '83, rough mixes, and a really cool interview (although difficult to hear) with Lars about the recording of Kill 'Em All, and preparing to head into the studio for Ride The Lightning.

Finally, we get to the hardcover book, full of old photos and stories from those that were there in those early days.

I've heard people complaining about the price tag on this set, but really, when things are put together as well as this, I have no problem spending the extra cash.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Record Store Day 2016 - Part One: RSD Releases

Nine years on, and I still get excited for Record Store Day. I've calmed down on buying one of everything, and no longer get sucked into every overpriced reissue, but you know, it is still a cool day to get out and hit as many record stores as I can. I'm already looking forward to what the 10 year anniversary has in store for us next year.

While I may have been looking forward to Record Store Day, my want list was surprisingly very small. What can I say? RSD reissues excite me less and less each year, and as I headed out the door that Saturday morning, I only had two "must have" items on my list.

At the top of that list was the new Clutch 12 inch.

I didn't need to worry about missing out on the Clutch record, as the store had around twenty of them in stock...and they didn't appear to be flying out of the bins.

Featuring two songs leftover from the Psychic Warfare sessions last year, this is a pretty cool record as you can never have too much Clutch. Plus the etched b-side of the record is pretty badass.

I don't necessarily jump for vinyl discographies anymore, especially when most of the material was originally pressed on vinyl anyway. I guess they make sense for CDs, but vinyl discographies seem a bit obnoxious. I would have much rather seen those three new songs that Insted recorded for the discography back in 2004 pressed to a 12 inch EP, instead of this double LP. Still, seeing this in the store I couldn't help but purchase a copy. The vinyl looks amazing for this thing.

I'm no longer excited over REV reissues. Too much, too fast, and I got burned out on them. They only way that I'll pick them up now is if I don't own an original pressing, and such was the case with the Shades Apart reissue.

The band were never as good after their self titled LP and the Dude Danger 12 inch, but I still enjoy their REV albums from time to time. I haven't listened to Save It in over 10 years, so it was nice to revisit it with this reissue.

I bought the reissue of Burn's Last Great Sea simply because it was there. If it wasn't Record Store Day, and I could only get this in the REVHQ store, I wouldn't have put forth the effort to grab a copy. Now that RSD is done, I see that REV have pressed this again...this time it is available in their webstore on green vinyl. thanks. Fool me once...

Besides the Clutch record, the only other thing on my Want List for the day was the new Iron Maiden 12 inch single for Empire Of The Clouds.

I don't care that it is a picture disc, and I'm not bothered that it is just a song from their newest album. Maiden vinyl rules. Period. The packaging for this looks amazing...and considering Maiden didn't release any singles on vinyl for 2010's Final Frontier, I'm glad to see them back in the record game.

Empire of the Clouds is an epic 18 minutes long, and the b-side on the single features an interview about writing the band's longest song.

Yup...that's it for RSD releases. 5 records. Not even close to the epic hauls of years past. I guess it is a good thing that REV and Indecision released something for this years Record Store Day...if it wasn't for them, I may have been tempted to spend a ridiculous $60 on another live record from The Doors.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Set Me On Fire...Kerosene

Being stuck in an early punk state of mind, I've not only been finding some treasures that I'd missed with my first pass through the 80's, but I've also been uncovering some long lost gems that I'd largely forgotten about. Nostalgia has me dusting off some old albums and finding that some oddballs still pack a punch years later.

Even though I was a huge metalhead through my teen years, occasionally I'd stumble upon something outside of my metal comfort zone, but would be so "in your face", that I'd have to check it out. Big Black's Songs About Fucking was one of those albums. It seemed designed to offend, so I took a chance and bought a copy. It wasn't like anything I'd ever heard...well, possibly comparable to the Butthole Surfers records that I was spinning at the time...but that energy and angst was real, and it sucked me in. Soon, I'd picked up the two Big Black comp CDs to complete the collection.

As the years went by, Big Black largely got shelved and ignored. I'd pull out a CD every now and then...give it a quick listen...shrug my shoulders, and put it back with no desire to listen to it again for another 5 years.

For some reason this time was different. I was scouring through older punk stuff, and revisiting stuff from those later teenage years, when I stumbled upon those Big Black CD's. I dusted one off, and threw the Atomizer songs on my iPod...figuring I would be "one and done". Much to my surprise, I found myself spinning those songs daily, and my interest in Big Black had been reignited. I was so interested, that I took my cash to eBay to slug it out with a couple of other bidders for an original pressing on Homestead.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Going Back To Church

Recently, I've had my attention pulled away from Metal, and have found myself leaning heavily toward early punk. Even newer releases have failed to ignite any excitement. All that goes out with the new Metal Church.

I started looking forward to the new Metal Church album when they announced that they had reunited with singer Mike Howe. I'd always been a fan of Blessing In Disguise, but since I'd started leaving Metal in my rearview mirror around 1990, I'd never bothered with the two Howe-fronted follow up albums, Human Factor and Hanging In The Balance . Sure, I'd downloaded those albums when I started to get back into Metal in the mid-00's, but I'd never really spent any time with them. With the announcement of the Howe reunion, I went back and was surprised to find that I couldn't get enough of those albums. Suddenly, my interest in the new Metal Church album shot through the roof, and it was my most anticipated release of the year.

Disgusted with the music industry, Mike Howe walked away in 1994, shortly after the release of Hanging In The Balance. Here we are, over 20 years later, and Howe's voice still sounds like it did back in the early 90's. I usually make a point of staying away from watching youtube videos prior to an albums release, but in this case I couldn't stay away, and I watched the three Metal Church videos repeatedly. I was hooked. It blows my mind that bands that I loved as a kid, can still release albums like this today.

Limited to 300 on red vinyl.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Shades Apart

When I was picking up the Moving Targets LP, the seller had it listed with a Make An Offer option. I took advantage of this and sent over my offer, and in an attempt to sweeten the deal, I told him that I'd also take the Shades Apart record he was selling as well. I figured that the opportunity to unload another record at the same time would make my offer more attractive, and it paid off, as I walked away with both pieces of vinyl for a great price.

I first heard Shades Apart back when their Dude Danger EP was released back in '91. I loved that record and even got the chance to see them live in some small room behind a Harvest Co-op around Boston around that time. It was sometime during the early to mid 90' know, when it was frowned upon to move or show any kind of excitement when a band 50 of us squeezed into that room, and tried to pretend like we weren't having any fun. Shades Apart were cool to see at that time, even though I didn't know most of the songs they played for their set. I'd never heard the band's debut LP at the time, and didn't get a chance until my brother picked up the '94 CD release. Once I'd heard it, it instantly became my favorite Shades Apart record. Nothing they did after this or Dude Danger could come close.

Even though this was my favorite by Shades Apart, I still had never owned a copy. It was a good feeling to finally add this to the collection.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

TAANG Targets

In my continued obsession of early Punk, I've been discovering bands and albums that I'd never heard previously. Over the 30 years or so, since I first stumbled upon Punk, there has been some classic shit that I've just never followed up on. Everything was moving by quickly during those early years, and there was bound to be stuff that I overlooked because I was focused on something newer...or heavier and faster. With this latest Punk obsession, I'm digging in the weeds, looking for old stuff that I've never taken the time to check out before, and the payoff has been huge so far.

I'm "friends" with Al Quint, of Suburban Voice fame, on Facebook. A month or so ago, he posted a photo of the first Moving Targets album, and then a couple of days later there was an old picture of him wearing a Moving Targets tshirt. I honestly don't remember ever hearing this band's name before, but since they appeared to be an old Punk band that Al liked, I figured that I'd give them a chance and download the band's first album, Burning In Water.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I was a bit thrown off when I first started listening to the album. When I think TAANG!, I can't help but think of Slapshot...and Moving Targets is no Slapshot. I made it through the first two songs of the album, and then I put it aside slightly disappointed.

The next day, I decided to give it another shot...but with more of an open mind, and I was sucked right in. It reminded me of some of those more melodic punk bands of the late-80's/early 90's that I was eating up at the time. What a great surprise.

Over the past month, I've listed to Burning In Water more than any other album. This is a pretty good sign that I should buy a copy, so I set out on my mission. The discogs marketplace comes to the rescue once again, and hooks me up with the vinyl at a decent price. This copy included a poster, a sticker, and a TAANG! merch sheet.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Hot Rockin'

As a favor to Sandwell, I'd been storing a couple boxes of records here for him in The States. To save on shipping costs, he had some orders from REV and Deathwish sent to me, and then the plan was that when he was visiting NYC from the UK, I'd box up all the records and send them to his NYC address and he'd reimburse me the postage. Well, when I finally sent all the records to Mark, it cost me a little over $6. Pfft...I wasn't going to sweat $6, and I told him not to worry about paying me. So instead, as a 'thank you', he sent me a couple of Metal singles.

Nothing new on this Hot Rockin' 7 inch that served as a single from Judas Priest's Point Of Entry album. The B side features a live version of Breaking The Law. I imagine that this song was still pretty fresh at the time, and a live version would have been cool to hear...but these days, live versions of Breaking The Law are a dime a dozen.

So while the songs on this 7 inch aren't anything new, it is totally worth owning for the picture sleeve. Old Judas Priest photos rule.

Sandwell, obviously follows this blog closely, and knows that I've had a mild obsession with Saxon recently. This double 7 inch single for Never Surrender hits the spot.

Saxon have never looked overly "cool" or "metal", and this cover shot of the guitarist in denim overalls does not help their case at all. Band is still awesome, regardless.

There is just something cool about gatefold 7 inch sleeves.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Get Adicted

After spending the majority of my time chasing down new releases at the end of 2016, it feels good to be hitting up eBay and the discogs marketplace on a regular basis again...obsessing over which hole in my collection I want to fill next. With my current musical focus shifting from Metal over to early Punk, it is taking considerable restraint to not lose control and snatch up big ticket items one after the other.

One of the albums that has been getting repeat spins in my daily playlist lately has been the first album from The Adicts. This has to be one of the most fun punk albums of all time. I can't listen to this thing with out bouncing around like an idiot. Truly a band doing their own thing.

When I stumbled upon a US seller on eBay with an auction for each of the first three albums from The Adicts, I knew that I wasn't going to walk away empty handed. Songs Of Praise is the best from The Adicts' catalog, and I was happy to score that one with a winning bid.

While I was hoping to score an original 1981 first press on Dwed Records, the Fallout reissue from the same year, suits me just fine.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Sex In '77

If you were a kid growing up in the early to mid-80's, I'm going to have to assume that the Sex Pistols were one of the first Punk bands that you were exposed to. I know they were one of my first, and man, I listened to the shit out of the cassette that I'd bought at the Mall. It was obnoxious, loud and snotty...perfect for this young, awkward teenager. The problem was, I liked it so much, that I ended up over playing much so, that I've barely given them more than a passing thought for many years.

After picking up the Heartbreakers album recently, and my sudden obsession with the early records from The Damned, I suddenly found myself unable to get enough of those early punk albums...specifically albums released in 1977. It was a huge year for punk with two albums from both The Damned and Ramones, debuts from The Saints and The Clash, the aforementioned record from The Heartbreakers, and of course The Sex Pistols.

Of course I had to include the Pistols album in my '77 Punk daily playlists, and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed giving it a spin after all these years. While re-igniting my love for Never Mind The Bollocks, it occurred to me that the only copy of the album that I own is that cassette that I bought when I was around 15 years old. Time to rectify that.

The pressing info on this record is crazy. There were so many different variations it makes a collector's head spin. Even though I grabbed a copy with the solid pink back cover, and the vinyl was pressed with only 11 tracks (missing Submission), and the song EMI doesn't have the Sid Vicious credit...all which lead me to believe this is a first pressing, I suppose that there is still a chance this might not be one of the initial 1,000 pressed as some info indicates. This one didn't include the bonus 7 inch or poster...but then again, I don't think all first pressings came with them. It's all good...I'm just happy to have an original Virgin UK pressing.