Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Rubber Revolver

When my interest in The Beatles was getting a big push last Summer with the Deconstructing The Beatles film series, I became painfully aware of how my vinyl collection was lacking for the band. I picked up a couple albums from Steve's collection, and that really ignited the spark that I needed to grab some more.

The last couple of years I've kind of taken up the position of only buying original pressings. However, lately I find that I'm relaxing that position a little bit, because for some records, who gives a fuck? There are some bands and albums where only an original pressing will do, but when I started thinking about picking up some vinyl for The Beatles, I found myself questioning if it really mattered. I'd heard that some of the newer vinyl pressings sound great, so I figured that I'd avoid the hunt and stress of finding a used copy in the condition that I'd want, and I'd just buy then new.

Rubber Soul is really where my appreciation for The Beatles starts to take off. I'm not sure what it is about this album, but they just seem to really push themselves forward with this record, and break away from the bubblegum smiley faced pop stars of their early to be the drugs of the late 60's.

For me, Rubber Soul and Revolver go hand in hand, and when I first started getting into these albums, I couldn't decide which one I enjoyed more. It's still a tough call, but these days I tend to lean towards Revolver. The Beatles are really stepping up their game at this point.

Here in Portland, there is kind of a Thanksgiving tradition where some local musicians get together for a performance of Beatles songs. I'd been interested in going the past few years, but never committed to going. When my friend, Todd, told me that this was the 15th anniversary of them doing this Beatles show, and they were going to do the complete Revolver album, suddenly I was really interested in going...and the more I thought about it, the more excited I got about the prospect of checking out this show. Todd and I ended up going, and even with my high expectations, I was still blown away by how much fun this Beatles Night was. I'm going to have to make this an annual tradition.

Feels good to finally have a couple of quality Beatles records in the collection.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Freeway Mad

The demo from Freeways was one of my favorite surprises from 2017. They made a nice climb in my Best of 2017 list, but it wasn't until the start of the new year that the vinyl pressing finally arrived. Good thing too, because the cassette tape release just wasn't going to cut it for me.

These three songs have a great Thin Lizzy vibe, and fit perfectly playing back to back with the new High Spirits from last year. Those two records are so smooth, I can get hooked into spinning them for days.

Damn, I need more songs from Freeways.

Limited to 100 pressed on blue vinyl, and it comes with a sweet looking patch.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

America's Hardcore Glory

For someone that doesn't really chase multiple copies of records anymore, I've really strayed from my path this month. What can I say? That focus and resolve has shown a few cracks lately, and picking up different pressings for some cool records has given me a bit of charge.

The Glory 12 inch was one of my favorite Hardcore records last year. Along with a couple other newer Triple B releases, it really pushed me into an obsession with newer Hardcore bands. I've even toyed with the idea of buying multiple copies of this record, just because of how good it is. I haven't made a move on that impulse, generally because dipshit sellers on Discogs insist on listing the limited pressings for $50. Fuck that. I'll wait until 2028 if I have to, and scoop them for a decent price when the record collecting community had chilled the fuck out.

This special cover was printed up for the American Hardcore shows that took place in Boston last December. I seldom leave the comfort of my old man cave these days, so I just bought this one from Triple B when they put some extra copies in their webstore.

The b-side of this record is blank, so I guess it completes the theme with the back cover being empty as well.

Limited to 50 with the limited AHC cover.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Rock In Portland

Sandwell is the live bootleg king. I can't touch that dude when it comes to the bootleg game, and every time he pulls in another haul, it just influences me to want to hunt some down as well.

When I saw pictures of his latest Iron Maiden bootleg shopping spree, there was one that caught my eye more than any of the others. I set out frantically searching for a copy to buy. After a few minutes in a panic, desperately trying to find one for sale, I was able to lock one down on eBay, and with little regard to cost or shipping fees, I hit that Buy It Now button.

Portland, Maine isn't going to be well known for it's Metal scene. We did okay through Metal's peak in the 80's, and we had some great shows that came through town, but it wasn't uncommon for a touring band to hit Massachusetts, and call it good.

So when I saw that Sandwell had an Iron Maiden bootleg that was recorded in my hometown, I had a burning need to get one of these into my collection.

The show was recorded in 1982, and was a couple of years before my I didn't start going to shows until Maiden came through town for the Powerslave tour in early '85. Still, to see the Cumberland County Civic Center's name on the album, and thinking back to how many concerts I saw there over a five year span...damn, it feels cool to see the name in print on something like this.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Hard Road

Over the summer, the local art museum here in Portland, hosted a series called Deconstructing The Beatles. Each month, they would feature a film that focused on a single album from The Beatles, starting with Rubber Soul, and working its way through Abbey Road...and in it, the host would dig in deep and pull out the details around the recording of each album. This was some full-on music nerd stuff...playing and dissecting different takes for many of the songs.

I enjoy The Beatles, so I figure that it would be cool to catch some of these Deconstructing The Beatles shows. Little did I know just how much it was going to have me obsessing over the band, and pulling out their albums for repeat listens.

Now my record collection for The Beatles stood at exactly one lonely piece of vinyl...and it was some shitty compilation that captured a bunch of cover songs from the 50's like Twist And Shout and Roll Over Beethoven...not exactly what I want when I'm in the mood for some Beatles. So when I was recently going through Steve's old record collection that I'd inherited when he passed away a couple years ago, I immediately pulled out a couple of their albums and placed them in the pile that I was interested in.

Steve's records were a mess. These things were played hard, and were in the need of a good cleaning. I wish that I could hear his stories about when he got them, and what impact they had on him...but sadly that opportunity has passed. Either way, once I'd washed the vinyl, and dropped the needle on the Abbey Road album, I was overcome with such a joyous feeling, and with each song, I'd bump the volume higher and higher. Fuck...this record sounds great, and had me singing and dancing along to it. Queue a small late 60's music obsession in 3... 2... 1...

The other record from The Beatles in Steve's collection was A Hard Days Night. The record cover for this one threw me off a little bit, as it wasn't the cover image that I was familiar with. Oh yeah, sometimes record companies in The States liked to fuck with the original UK layout.

My sweet spot for The Beatles is from 65's Rubber Soul through Let It Be in 1970. While I enjoy their earlier stuff, they aren't my go-to albums when it comes to The Beatles. Records like A Hard Days Night are just more poppy and "nice"...again, not bad, just not my favorite era.

Not only did the record company change the album cover to fit the soundtrack for the Beatles film of the same name, they also fucked with the songs on the record. Some songs were pulled from the US release, and replaced with some easy-listening instrumental versions of Beatles songs. These instrumental songs aren't performed by The Beatles, and are incredibly cheesy. Leave it to the US to think that fans wanted some kind of watered down Beatles record. Honestly, these instrumental versions are so bad and out of place on the record that I can't help but laugh and get a kick out of it.

Friday, January 12, 2018

I Need Air

When Justice released Escapades back in 2007, I was majorly disappointed. Following up their Elephant Skin album, Escapades came across like a limp dick. I was not impressed.

Okay...sometimes I'm a little slow, and over time this album wormed it's way into my head, and grew into a full blown obsession as I bought pressing after pressing of the thing.

It's been a while since I've been excited to chase multiple pressings of a record, and about five years since my last copy of Escapades, but fuck, when I saw that Youngblood had pulled a copy from their vaults and posted it for sale in their store, I quickly added it to my cart and checked out.

I'm not sure what possessed me to make the impulse purchase. I'd probably only listened to the record a couple of times over the past three years, but here I was throwing money at Youngblood to obtain my fifth copy of Escapades. I don't why the sudden urge, but since I've received this record, it is basically all I want to listen to. Seriously, I can just throw on Escapades and Soul Structure from Higher Power, and let them roll back to back over and over.

The thing is, I was so quick to buy this pressing, that I didn't pay much attention to the details, and can't remember exactly why Youngblood printed up these covers. I had to check back on my email receipt to see that Youngblood had mentioned in the description that this pressing was from 2013, but why? I want to say it was some kind of Youngblood anniversary showcase pressing, but I can't be sure. Fuck.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Speed Kills

While they certainly served their purpose at the time, I find most compilations to be utterly useless these days. Unless they contain some serious exclusive tracks, I've go no interest in them.

I was recently having a conversation with Doug, and he was quite excited about his Speed Kills collection. I'd never heard of it, but apparently it was a compilation series that Music For Nations/Under One Flag released from the mid-80's to early 90's. How this never entered my radar in the 80's is beyond me...maybe it was more of a European thing, and in the States, I was more focused on Metal Blade's Metal Massacre series. Either way, Doug kind of rubbed off on me, and soon I was checking to see if maybe I should check them out for the sake of nostalgia.

I came across a copy on eBay listed with a 99 cent start price. The seller did not invoke a lot of confidence with their listing.

I know absolutely nothing about records
So im selling them as untested (or as-is)
Have no way to test so please look at pictures
May contain scratches rips ect.

I rolled the dice, threw a low bid on it, and won the record for $5.00. Thankfully it paid off, and the record sounds great.

It was a lot of fun ripping through the songs on this record. Sure, I was already familiar with most of these songs...although the exclusive track from Exciter was a nice surprise...and even though I don't know how often I'll really pull this out for a spin, it is really cool to have this record in the collection. Of course I'm going to have to track down Speed Kills II through VII at some point as well.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Lost And Found Glories

It is a pretty rare occasion for me to chase multiple pressings of a record these days. That game was ruined for me with endless repressings and preorders that would go six colors deep, so in most cases, I'm quite content to own one copy. I've got way too many records that I still don't even own on vinyl yet, so I've got very little time to spend dicking around with multiple pieces of colored vinyl. Still, I'm a collector at heart, and sometimes I'm drawn back into those habits.

The past year or so, saw me rekindle some interest in Reach The Sky, and since my vinyl collection for the band was shit, I started filling some holes.

I made a good run at some 7 inches, but came up a little short when it came to their Lost Glories record. I added both the blue and the gold pressings to the red vinyl that I already owned, so the only one that I was missing was the white vinyl. Goddamn. They were all readily available, and cheap, but that white wax was nowhere to be found. I posted a photo of the incomplete collection to Instagram, and people jumped in to say they would check to see if they had a copy for me, but it was to no avail. When some guy commented that he had been searching for a few years, and just happened to score one through Discogs, my hopes were dashed. I don't think that white vinyl is super rare, but it has only shown up on Discogs twice in the last few I added it to my Want List, and expected to play the long waiting game.

When a copy showed up a couple months later, I didn't hesitate to pull the trigger.

Four records and the collection is done. That felt good.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Sleeping On The Job

I love the early Deep Purple records with Ian Gillan on vocals, and I'm a huge fan of the Born Again album that he did with Black Sabbath in 1983...but between those two periods, I'm pretty much blind to what Gillan was up to. I know that he had a couple of bands going during that time, with the Ian Gillan Band, and then Gillan, but outside of the Mr. Universe album from '79, I've never really spent any time checking out what the man had been up to.

As I was reading Martin Popoff's New Wave Of British Heavy Metal series, I kept coming across the Gillan name. From '78 to '82 the band released six albums and countless singles. Maybe it was time for me to dig in and see what I'd been missing.

As I started to check things out, I came across a video for the song Sleeping On The Job. Like that, I was hooked. The song was great, and with the denim vest and long hair, the look reminded me of Ian's time with Sabbath. I knew that I needed to chase down some vinyl.

When I found a US seller on Discogs that had three of Gillan singles from 1980 available, I scooped up all without hesitation...starting with the Sleeping On The Job / Higher And Higher 7 inch.

Next in line was the No Easy Way single. Like Sleeping On The Job, the a-side here was from the Glory Road album.

This is another killer song, and I can tell that I'm going to have to get my hands on that Glory Road album soon. Another great single.

The last Gillan record that I grabbed from this seller was the double 7 inch pressing for the Trouble single. The song is an old Elvis cover, and isn't too exciting, but it is still kind of cool to add to the collection.

The bonus 7 inch contains three songs that were recorded live at the Reading Festival in 1980.

These three records were a great introduction to Gillan, and I'm looking forward to checking out more from the band.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Russian Collusion

Near the end of 2017, I finished reading Martin Popoff's second book on the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, This Means War. As I closed in on the end of the book, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I was ramping up for a NWOBHM obsession.

I'll admit, my NWOBHM game is weak. My record collection is very light on the subject, plus there are a number of bands from that era that I've still never heard or spent much time with. As we rolled into 2018, more than 35 years after the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal started to take off, I was finally committing myself to dig deep and spend some time with those records.

I've got lots of work to do on this project, but my first order of business was to finally pick up the vinyl for Witchfinder General's Soviet Invasion EP.

Witchfinder General have an obvious influence from Black Sabbath, and the band pull off that sound perfectly. They are a bit more raw and loose than Sabbath, but goddamn, they are still great.

This 12 inch EP might not have the stunning photography work like their two album covers, but I still think that this record looks great. Feels good to finally have one of those original Heavy Metal Records labels in my collection.