Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Barmy Army

Buying that G.B.H. EP recently, served as a reminder that I'd fallen off from buying old 7 inches from The Exploited. One purchase lead to another, and as soon as I'd purchased a record for one classic UK punk band, I was on the hunt for the other.

I probably spent more money than need to pick up the Exploited Barmy Army 7 inch, but truth be told, I've been chasing it off and on for a while now, and I finally got sick of the game, and I just pulled the trigger....plus it was a US seller, so I could justify the higher price as offsetting the savings on overseas shipping.

Before The Exploited signed on with Secret Records, they released their first two singles on their own independent Exploited Record Company. Never mind those Secret reissues, first press was the way to go for me. Cool little record that is still a blast to sing along with. Anarchy!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

For Twisted Minds Only

Earlier this year, my listening habits got stuck in 1970. I couldn't get enough, and had those albums set on repeat for a few weeks. I did not want to leave that year, and started to actively search for other records that were released at that time, but that I'd never heard. One of the bands that I came across was Horse.

I checked out a few of their songs on youtube, but it didn't immediately grab me, so I moved on without giving them much thought.

By a strange coincidence a few months later, when pre-orders for the new Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell record went up, I noticed that Rise Above also had available, a reissue of the self titled Horse record from 1970. Funny how things unfold like that.

With Rise Above's name behind this reissue, I decided that maybe I should revisit this record. Maybe I'm easily influenced, and I just swallow whatever the hype machine feeds me, but this time around the opening riff for The Sacrifice had me more than intrigued, and I quickly added it to my order along with the new Shovell record.

By the time the vinyl arrived, I was second guessing my purchase, and thought that maybe I'd spent my money a little foolishly...and I'd regretted spending so much money on a record that I doubted that I was going to really enjoy that much. After a couple of spins, I could lay that doubt to rest. This was some dark and heavy stuff...especially for 1970...and with killer riffs in songs like Freedom Rider, this record was a winner. A great addition to my 1970 playlist.

Packaged with a bunch of unreleased songs, and a great looking 12x12 booklet, detailing the history of the band, once again, Rise Above does an amazing job with this reissue.

The Die Hard pressing is pressed on clear vinyl, and comes with a bonus 7 inch. Limited to 150.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Oh No, It's GBH Again

I was recently reading the Crossover chapter in the NYHC book, which prompted me to spend a bunch of time with my 1986 playlist. While ripping through a bunch of Crossover albums, I came across a G.B.H. EP that has never gotten a lot of play. Well, it was checking all the right boxes, and I was loving those four songs.

Obviously the early G.B.H. stuff is the best, but the mid to late 80's stuff is no slouch either. I also have a slight obsession with Combat and Combat Core stuff, so that was the way to go when picking up this record.

I love that this copy came with the IRD Mailorder form. Man, they had all kinds of great stuff available to order in '86.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Abuse Of Power

New hardcore records have been in short supply for me in 2016. I imagine that some of you will be less than impressed when I post my Best of 2016 list next month. I'm not sure if I've really missed some great records for this year, or if I just don't give a shit about trying to keep up with everything these days.

I do keep up with record collecting blogs though, and when Chris over at Unwavering Spirit posted about Abuse Of Power last month, it caught my attention.

I've been seeing posts recently from New Age Records, about a couple of newer bands that they were working with. Abuse Of Power were one of those bands.

Chris seemed impressed with the record, and said that the band would have fit in nicely with the Words To Live By 7 inch back in '91. I was a little skeptical, since New Age hadn't released a new record that was worth my attention for over 15 years now. I was doubtful that this release was going to be anything different, but since Chris was down with it, I decided to give it a chance.

Damn! I'm impressed. The hype was deserved as this does sound like it would have fit in nicely with those songs from the Words To Live By record. I quickly jumped to the New Age store to make sure that I got a piece of that delicious looking "pink lemonade" colored vinyl. 200 pressed.

While I'm trying to ease up on buying multiple pressings for records, I couldn't resist adding another color to my Outspoken collection for A Light In The Dark. Since I already had four copies, I figured that I might as well go for five.

Plus that Reason To Believe pressing looked too good to pass up. R.I.P. Jon Bunch.

200 pressed on red colored vinyl.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Admiral Sir Greasy Shovell

Rise Above may be known for their Doom bands, but when Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell comes around, you better be ready to party. Their brand of punked up Rock n Roll is gonna make you move.

A new album from The Shovell is definitely something to get excited over. With a new 7 inch released earlier this year, I wasn't expecting a full length follow up so quickly. As soon as pre-orders went up, I was quickly catching a preview of the album, and then dumping money into the Rise Above webstore.

Top notch packaging from the band again. Love the look of the Birdman theme on their record covers. I just wish that Rise Above didn't slap their logo sticker across the front of Keep It Greasy and ruin the full aesthetic.

The Die Hard pressing from Rise Above comes with a bonus 7 inch, so you know that was really the only way to go when ordering.

150 pressed on clear vinyl.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Products & Accessories

Sparkmarker were one of those bands that seemed to get a bit of hype in the early 90's...I mean they even put out a record on Revelation's weird side label, Crisis Records...but these days I wonder if anyone remembers who they are.

A couple months ago, when I had a full on obsession over records from 1996, I couldn't get enough of that style of Hardcore, and found myself reaching back a few more years to dust off some Sparkmarker CD's that I had kicking around.

In 1994, Sparkmarker released a CD called Products & Accessories that compiled the songs from their 7 inches onto one convenient disc. At the time, it made more sense for me to buy the one CD instead of chasing four different 7 inches, so that was the way I went. Over 20 years later, I'm correcting the error of my ways, and for the most part, still paying 1994 prices.

The Gerberick 7 inch is one in a series of records where Sparkmarker featured Canadian artists, with this one giving exposure to the strange work of Ken Gerberick. Grabbed this one for $2.00 through Discogs.

The next record in the Canadian artist series featured the photography of Shawn Scallen. In this series, the Scallen 7 inch is my favorite. I remember seeing Shawn Scallen's photos in fanzines from the time and on early Shotmaker records. Great pictures, and a nice clean layout. $3.00 though Discogs.

The Plug 7 inch was released in '92, and preceded the Canadian artist series. It was their second record, but it was where the band really started to come into their own sound. This was the last Sparkmarker 7 inch record that I needed, and so therefore I spent a bit more for it in an effort to complete the collection...breaking the bank at $6.00.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Seven Sisters

Earlier this year, my friend Jeff turned me on to Seven Sisters. It is pretty rare for Jeff to turn me on to a Metal band that I'd never heard before...especially one this good. Man, what a great find. I quickly grabbed their debut 7 inch, and then paid to download the demo from bandcamp...no doubt, I was loving this band.

I didn't really expect to hear from Seven Sisters again. I figured they were too good to be true, and after dropping those six amazing NWOBHM influenced songs, I thought they might disappear forever. Thankfully, that was not the case, and they keep things rolling with a full length release.

Let me list the reasons why Seven Sisters rule.

1. They absolutely nail that New Wave Of British Heavy Metal sound. Seven Sisters sound like they could share a bill with Angel Witch and Jaguar back in the early 80's.

2. They didn't wait a couple of years before following up each release, like most bands these days. Demo in 2014. EP in 2015. Full length LP in 2016. I can respect that.

3. They didn't recycle any songs from their past releases to fill out the album. It is always a disappointment when a band will pad their first album with songs that they had previously recorded. Eight new songs with this record and no filler. God damn right.

150 pressed on blue vinyl for the first pressing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Day That I Stood Trial

At the beginning of the year, I put together a list of my Top 10 Wants of 2016. Just something to try and keep me on track of chasing some bigger targets that I've wanted for a while. Well, I've done a shitty job of focusing on it. A month of so after creating the list, my musical tastes did a 180, and I lost some interest is chasing some Metal records. For 2016, the more important job was to fill some crucial holes in my Punk and Hardcore collection.

I first heard Verbal Assault when I ordered the Trial CD from the Toxic Shock/Westworld distro back around 1990 or so. I didn't really pay much attention to the Verbal Assault disc at the time because I also got a cassette of Youth Of Today's Can't Close My Eyes in the same order. Yeah, CDs and cassettes. I was making all kinds of great decisions back then. Either way, while Youth Of Today were immediate and in your face, Verbal Assault was more of a slow burn, and it took a number of years for me to fully appreciate just how great that Trial album is.

These days if you were putting up Break Down The Walls and Trial, I'd probably go Verbal Assault more often than not. This album is so damn good, and even though it is really no big quest to obtain one, it still feels good to finally add the vinyl to the collection.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Testament Of The Snake

No doubt, this has been a big year for fans of old school Thrash bands. I think that I'd done a fairly good job in getting them ranked for my Best Of 2016 list, and then Testament goes and disrupts the entire thing, with another killer album.

It was going to be tough for Testament to top 2012's Dark Roots Of Earth, but with Brotherhood Of The Snake, they make a good run at it.

The album starts by tearing the roof off...total old school Thrash, and Testament sound as vital as ever. But then we hit the first stumbling block with the song Black Jack. Holy shit. The gambling lyrics are so cheesy that I can't hang with it. "The stakes are high, and so am I". Oh fuck, make it stop. Easily the worst Testament song ever, and it really lets the steam out of all the momentum that was built to that point. This could have been a serious contender for the top Thrash album, but this blight is going to take it down a notch. Why did this song have to happen?

In typical Nuclear Blast fashion, they went over the top with vinyl pressings, releasing the new album on at least eight different colors. I figured that orange was good enough, and grabbed a copy from the webstore.

500 pressed.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Big Lizard

This year has been a strange trip. I've been in a completely different musical mindset compared to the past few years, and it has led to some vinyl purchases that have surprised me with how much of a charge I've gotten from adding them to the collection. The power of nostalgia.

I was having a blast diving back into the catalogs of Big Black and early Butthole Surfers, and it got me thinking about what other oddball bands I was head over heals with at the time. Another band that I had fun revisiting was The Dead Milkmen...and while Big Lizard In My Back Yard never goes out of style, it had been years since I'd bothered with Eat Your Paisley and Bucky Fellini. Man, it was a blast to spin these songs again. When the obsession took me to the internet to find some vinyl, my first stop had to be the classic first album.

Catchy as hell, silly, and totally infectious. "Go kill a cop, and drink 'til you drop, baby that's my advice".

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Shoot, Knife, Strangle, Beat and Crucify

A couple of months ago when I was losing my mind over Cast Iron Hike and Miltown, I was hot to pick up a copy of the split 7 inch that the two of them did together. The only trouble was that neither eBay or Discogs had one available. I threw it on my Discogs wantlist, and played the waiting game. One month later, when I got the notification that one was available, I didn't hesitate to pull the trigger.

I'd never heard of Miltown until this year, failing to have the band crack my radar for about 20 years. Now I'm making up for lost time, and listening to these songs like crazy. I'm not even a fan of The Cure, but Miltown's cover here is amazing.

Cast Iron Hike give us one song on their side...a GG Allin cover...and while I'm not a fan of GG, I do find that when other bands cover his stuff, for one reason or another, they are great. Plus given the results of the Presidential election here in the States, Shoot, Knife, Strangle, Beat and Crucify seems to fit my current mood.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016


Back in 2014, Mos Generator kicked up quite a storm in my Top 10 list for the year...seemingly coming from nowhere with Electric Mountain Majesty, and shooting up to the number two spot. Man, I fucking loved that record. They are a band that should be huge in the Heavy Rock scene, and yet it seems that they are still largely ignored. Shame.

The band has been hitting the road quite a bit over the past year, so hopefully that will help get their name out there, and push their new album, Abyssinia, to the masses.

With Electric Mountain Majesty, I missed the chance to score the colored vinyl, so I was glad to not make the same mistake with the new record. 200 pressed on "bone white" vinyl.

While Abyssinia is a killer record, I still find it kind of underwhelming as a new release. Mos Generator released three split 12 inches last year, and of the ten songs on the Abyssinia LP, seven of them were from those splits. This means we are really only getting three new songs here. Man, I wish the band would stay away from the split format, and just release their own shit.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

The Great British Mistake

Earlier this year, I found myself in a '77 Punk state of mind. I listened to albums from that year over and over and over again. I was never a big fan of that late 70's Punk sound, so when it started to dominate my playlists this year, I started to search for hidden treasures that I may have missed along the way. I started scouring internet lists, and found all kinds of records that hit my '70's punk spot.

While I was searching through list after list, I kept seeing the album cover for The Adverts album from '78. I thought the record cover looks terrible, so I kept skipping over it, and didn't give it my time. As the weeks went on, I was starting to run out of new albums to check out, so with a sigh, I hit up youtube for a preview of Crossing The Red Sea With The Adverts. As we get through the initial guitar feedback, TV Smith shouts out "One chord wonders" and we dive head first into a driving riff...immediately I know that I've found something special. The entire album is so damn good, and it will easily be one of the most listened to albums for me this year.

Just like with the UK Subs earlier this year, as soon as I discovered that there was a colored vinyl pressing of Crossing the Red Sea, I knew that I had to make a run at it. Granted, the first press on red vinyl was limited to 500 pieces, so it wasn't going to come cheap. Still, I had committed to it in my head, so I couldn't take the easy way out.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Thick As A Brick

I've never really given a shit about Jethro Tull. They were always just "that band from the 70's that had a flute". Nothing really appealing there for me, so I've avoided them.

Three years ago, Ian Anderson from Tull was coming through town and playing the Thick As A Brick album in it's entirety, and my friend, Jeff, wanted to go. I had zero interest, but it was a free ticket and an excuse to hang out, so I said I'd go with him. Ten minutes before he picked me up, I decided to get a preview of what I was in for, and I checked out some of the album on youtube. Much to my surprise, it was pretty good. It didn't knock my socks off, but I did grab a free download through soulseek.

After that show, I never really went back to spend much time with the album...and I generally forgot all about Jethro Tull. Earlier this year, I discovered the Aqualung album, and since I can basically listen to this album every day, and not get tired of it, I figured that it might be time to start spending a little time with Thick As A Brick as well.

Since I had grabbed the recent Steven Wilson remix pressing for Aqualung, i did the same here with Thick As A Brick.

Originally released in 1972, Thick As A Brick was Jethro Tull's response to the critics calling Aqualung a concept album. Ian Anderson decided to give everyone the mother of all concept albums, and take a playful swipe at the prog rock bands of the time as well, with TAAB comprising of one single 40 minute song...split between the two sides of vinyl of course. Given it's immense weight, I suppose that I can be forgiven for not picking up on how great this record was when I first heard it. There is a lot to take in, but once I committed to it, I found that I'd started giving it repeat listens on any given day.

The original packaging for Thick As A Brick came with an elaborate newspaper print cover, and this 2015 reissue, does a great job adapting that into the 12x12 booklet, which includes bonus interviews and photos from those days. Well done.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Dear Furious

When I bought that Cast Iron Hike record from Victory a few weeks ago, it was a strange experience. The label hasn't released anything remotely interesting since probably '97, so it felt a little weird to be buying something from their webstore. I was talking to Marcus about it after I'd paid and checked out, and strangely enough, he'd been visiting the store as well. During the conversation, he mentioned the A18 albums that were available on vinyl for the first time. I had completely overlooked them on my visit to the store, so shortly after talking with Marcus, I was back in the Victory webstore placing another order.

I remember A18 coming on to the scene in the early 00's. Featuring Issac from Chorus Of Disapproval and Hartsfield from Outspoken, it was a Straight Edge kid's dream come true. I really liked both of the A18 albums at the time, and listened to them religiously when they were released...but over time, they got shoved into a corner and ignored. This vinyl release is a nice reminder of how fierce the band was. "What the fuck do you know about dedication?"

322 pressed on red vinyl for Forever After Nothing.

Back in the early 00's, when these albums were released, most people were idiots and preferring CDs. This pushed vinyl into near extinction, and with the demand so low, even some Hardcore labels stopped caring about the format. They were dark days indeed...well in retrospect, since I was one of those morons that found CDs superior to vinyl at the time. Good to see Victory breathe some new life into these A18 albums with a proper release on wax.

326 pressed on clear colored vinyl for Dear Furious.