Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Say Cheese

Earlier this year, there was a lot of hype around the newest Big Cheese record, Punishment Park. Triple B was pushing them hard and it seemed that everyone was onboard. I wasn't feeling it. I picked up their Don't Forget To Tell The World record at the end of 2019, but it failed to move me. I could see the potential, and Big Cheese played a style of hardcore that I love, but something about that first record just didn't click with me.

I had hopes that Punishment Park would be the record to sell me on the band. The album cover looked incredible, and I really wanted to like them, but I'm still up in the air on them. The songs are fast and powerful, but there just aren't any hooks that make me want to come back to it. Maybe it will take some repeat listens, and I'll appreciate it more as the year continues. We'll have wait and see.

300 pressed on orange vinyl.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Swingin' Swords

Mindforce are probably one of my favorite newer bands lately. Both their first 7 inch as well as their Excalibur album are still seeing plenty of spins, and I don't see that action slowing down any time it feels good to inject some new Mindforce songs into the mix.

Triple B announced that preorders for the new Swingin' Swords Choppin' Lords 12 inch were going live at midnight. What the hell? Midnight? Am I expected to stay up that late to order records? Hard pass. I can't miss my bedtime. I figured that I'd just jump on it in the morning...well, much to my surprise, the more limited pressing was already sold out before I'd wiped the sleep from my eyes. Surprising. I didn't think that kids still went that hard for preorders anymore. Mindforce must be something special.

Yeah, this 12 inch EP delivers exactly what you want from Mindforce. Four songs of that classic crossover sound, pressed to a one sided 12 inch.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Orange County Hardcore

I loved that Discrepancy 7 inch that Youngblood released a couple years back...I liked it so much, in fact, that I bought both colored vinyl options. When Youngblood recently announced that they were making a special limited cover for the Thoughts Are Things record, it only made sense to get in and grab a copy.

According to Youngblood, the printer shorted them 40 covers back when this record was released in early 2018, so the label made this limited cover for the final copies of the 7 inch. Sales for this record were to be used to fund future projects with Youngblood, and I'm always down to help that label.

Hand-numbered and limited to 40.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Weapons Of Warbringer

I'd been collecting records for a few years when Warbringer released their first album, War Without End, in 2008, but up to that point, I was still basically buying new metal albums on CD. I'd been getting more and more back into metal, and with that first Warbringer album, I finally made the move to pick it up on vinyl. It was a big step in finally getting out of the CD buying trap for metal albums and making more of a commitment to record collecting.

Twelve years and six albums later, it is cool to see that Warbringer are still around and playing trash. I felt like they were one of the better bands back when the trash revival was going on back then, and they have definitely proved themselves along the way. With Weapons Of Tomorrow, John Kevill and the guys are still as potent as ever. It's great to see trash bands delivering a socio-political message like we got from thrash bands in the 80's.

I've bought every Warbringer album along the way, and I grabbed each on on colored vinyl. When I went to buy a copy of Weapons Of Tomorrow, I was only given the option of black vinyl. I thought it was odd, but I bought one anyway. Now that I've discovered that colored vinyl options exist, I'm kind of disappointed to have this one on black.

Before the release of the full length album, Warbringer released a single for Power Unsurpassed. I really wasn't interested in making a special purchase for this 7 inch single, but since it was available when I was picking up the album, I didn't mind adding a copy to the cart.

Only 300 pressed for this single.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

New-Clear Age

I was extremely late to the party when it came to the UK Subs and some how did not hear the band until 2016. I was heavily into the late 70's punk sound that year, and I was hungry to check out just about any band from that era. When I finally got around to listening to that first UK Subs album, Another Kind Of Blues, I instantly fell in love with the band, and that record became one of my favorite discoveries that year.

It took me some time to finally getting around to checking out the second UK Subs album, Brand New Age, and after downloading a copy, I really wasn't feeling it. It sounded really muddy and I wondered if I'd downloaded a shitty copy of the songs, but after checking a couple other options on Soulseek, they all just sounded muffled and I couldn't totally get into it.

I ignored the album for a year or so, until I decided to finally give it another shot a couple months ago. I noticed that the album was on Spotify, and figured that it might be more reliable than the downloaded version that I had, and I queued it up. Well damn, it finally clicked and I was fucking loving the record. Despite having only really discovered the album two months ago, it is already one of my most listened to records this year.

I love UK Subs colored vinyl and had to go with the clear option for Brand New Age. I'm not sure how many bands were playing the colored vinyl game back in the late 70's and early 80's, but the UK Subs albums and singles look amazing and make them fun to collect. In addition to this album, I wanted to grab some of the 7 inch records from the band as well...however, some international orders are seeing significant delays due to the global pandemic, and until things calm down a bit, I've backed off from ordering from overseas sellers. For now, I'm just happy to have received this album from the UK.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Worn Thin Road Ahead

Shortly after the US started issuing Stay At Home orders, Youngblood Records ran a 50% off sale in their webstore. I remembered seeing a Justice test press in the store a couple weeks ago, and quickly jumped in with hopes of scoring a good deal. Unfortunately, someone got to that test press for the Escapades record before me, but since there was a Worn Thin test still available, I wasn't walking away empty handed.

I don't really spend a lot of time or money chasing test pressings these days. I have plenty of other records to focus on chasing, however when a good deal comes along, I'm not going to let it pass me by...and since Long Road Ahead is my favorite Worn Thin record, it just made good sense to grab this when I had the chance.

No special cover for this test. Just a Youngblood test press sticker in the lower corner and stamped record labels.

Limited to 18 test pressings.

Once I had the test press for Long Road Ahead, I was only missing the record release pressing. When I discovered that a Discogs seller had one available for only $10, I snapped it up and completed the collection for this 12 inch.

I've always loved the look of this spray painted record release cover, and as an unexpected bonus, it happens to turn 15 years old this month.

Not including the test pressings for the 7 inches, I think that I'm only missing the record release cover for the first 7 inch. Close enough to complete to warrant a group photo.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Big Red Chubby

At the start of the year, I started seeing the Chubby And The Gang album plastered all over Instagram. I had no idea what this was, and with a name like Chubby And The Gang, I really didn't feel the need to follow up and check it out. The band came up in a group message with some friends, and opinions seemed to be split...some people really enjoyed it, while others absolutely hated it. I knew that I needed to finally check them out.

With my first listen, I was immediately interested. Sure there were a couple of songs that fell flat for me, but overall, this was some great late-70's inspired punk. I don't know how you could like The Damned and The Ramones and not enjoy this record. Tons of energy and just a lot of fun.

By the time I first listened to the Chubby And The Gang record, the first press on blue vinyl was sold out. The label, Static Shock, was taking pre-orders for the second press on red, so I decided to procrastinate and figured that I'd pick it up at some point down the road. When I saw that Marcus posted about the red vinyl that he'd picked up, I figured that I'd finally head to the label's store and grab myself a copy as well. Well fuck me, the red vinyl was sold out. I had to take a quick side trip to Discogs to score this one before the price started to get ridiculous.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Misdirection Of Things To Come

I'm usually very careful when I order through Discogs, and I typically will only buy a record if the sleeve condition is rated higher than Very Good. Ring wear, crushed corners and beat up sleeves are a major turn off, and I usually pay very close attention to those things when I'm buying from a seller. For some reason I was asleep at the wheel when I ordered this Ensign album.

I was buying a bunch of records from a Discogs seller, and they were having a small sale in their store. I got so caught up in the text mentioning the sale as I blindly added records to my cart. Somehow I completely missed that the condition was listed as Very Good for this sleeve (and it isn't even that), and I didn't even see that the seller pointed out that the "sleeve has some edge wear and a corner crease". I'm completely dumbfounded at how blind I was when ordering this. That edge wear on the corner is inexcusable, so I'm going to need to fix this with a better sleeve at some point.

Regardless of how disappointed I am over the wear on the cover, this is still a great album that I'm happy to add to the collection. Ensign seemed like such a huge band at the time when they released this album in '97. I don't know how kind hardcore history has been to their legacy, but they were pretty fucking important back in the day.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Chase Is On

While I've always loved Reach The Sky, it wasn't until a few years ago that I got it in my head that I needed to really collect them. I made a good run at their first 7 inch and quickly grabbed a complete collection, plus I picked up some other random records from the band and I was on my way.

Somehow, three years have passed since I started up this Reach The Sky collection, and since that initial burst of activity I've made no further progress. While I was picking up some cheap records from a Discogs seller, I noticed that they had some records from my want list available. They were ridiculously cheap, so I didn't hesitate to grab them.

The Open Roads And Broken Dreams 7 inch was the first record from the band, after their Lost Glories demo, and the Boston hardcore scene was really strong at that time. I must have seen this band every other month back then.

Green vinyl is limited to 400. I have the white pressing so now all I need is the blue.

When the Everybody's Hero 7 inch was released in 1999, I wrote it off as pointless single from Victory. All the songs were on the So Far From Home album from Reach The Sky, and it kind of bummed me out when bands would release these kind of singles. It felt like a trick where the label would get you to buy the 7 inch, and then also include those songs on the full length a couple months later. Nothing exclusive here, but I do love these songs, and I want to complete the collection, so.....

This 7 inch was pressed on both grey and clear colored vinyl, and now I have them both, so this one is complete.

I'm almost done with the Reach The Sky 7 inch collection...unless I also chase after their splits with Buried Alive and With One Intent...which of course I'll have to do, and there are a number of pressings for those two records, so it may take me a little longer to complete this.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Seven Inch Teeth

I've been working from home due to the coronavirus since March 17th. Work has not slowed in the slightest, but I figured that while I was chillin' at home 24x7, I'd start posting to Instagram daily. Don't worry, I haven't resorted to posting a string of selfies to show off my quarantine beard...instead, I've been using the discogs shake tool in the mobile app to randomly select a record from my collection. I give that record a spin, take a picture and then load it up to Instagram. Given that I've got around 4,000 records loaded to Discogs, it has been fun to see what long forgotten record comes up each day.

One of records to come up during the daily discogs shake was the Teeth 7 inch on green vinyl that I picked up back in 1995. Teeth were out of Tucson, AZ and play that style of hardcore punk that was so difficult to categorize in the mid-90's. Do I call it hardcore? Is it emo? Is this punk rock? No matter what you call it, I love that style and got a kick out of listening to the record that I hadn't given a spin for the past ten years.

After the discogs shake had me pull the record, I started to check out the band on Discogs. I assumed that the self titled Teeth 7 inch was the only thing the band had recorded, and I was surprised to see they also had released a "2 song 7 inch" record back in '95 as well. There was a seller that had one available for less than a dollar, so I quickly added it to the cart.

This is a cool record. Good stuff to listen to when I'm in the mood for that mid-90's stuff like Greyhouse, Kill Holiday and Walleye.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Empires Fall

It has been a few years since we've heard anything from Night Demon. The band took the number one spot on my Best Metal Albums of 2017 list, so I was excited to see what the band would deliver with their new single, Empires Fall.

This song is fucking great. Straight forward traditional heavy metal. A couple guys from Rancid lend some back ups for the chorus, and even though I've never liked that band, this song is so much fun that they don't fuck it up. Man, I was supposed to see Night Demon last month with Satan, before coronavirus came along and cancelled everything, and hearing how great this song is makes me even more disappointed in missing that show. I don't know if Empires Fall is a prelude to an album later this year, but goddamn, if it happens it may top my 2020 list.

The b-side for this single is a cover song from some obscure New Wave Of Heavy Metal band named Le Griffe that I've never even heard of. The song, Fast Bikes, is great and I love digging in deep with the NWOBHM, so this was a great introduction to the band. I'll definitely be looking to check out more Le Griffe.

300 pressed on opaque blue vinyl.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Orgasm Record Addict

I remember my brother buying the Singles Going Steady cassette from the Buzzcocks when we were kids. We were metalheads through and through, but as 16 year old kids back in '86/'87, and basically feeling our way blindly, we had a string of good luck checking out bands with hilarious names like Butthole Surfers, Circle Jerks, and Dayglo Abortions. When we saw this Buzzcocks cassette, and with the opening song titled Orgasm Addict, we figured that we couldn't lose, and we took a chance on it. Unfortunately, it was a complete dud. Orgasm Addict was entertaining, but overall, it just seemed thin and weak to our ears at the time.

Just like The Weirdos, I decided to give the Buzzcocks another chance a few years ago when I was neck deep in a '77 punk obsession. I downloaded the band's first two singles, Spiral Scratch and Orgasm Addict, and had such a great time with them that I quickly also downloaded the first album Another Music In A Different Kitchen, and I was surprised with how much I was enjoying the band. I guess that my 16 year old metalhead ears just couldn't appreciate what I was hearing back then.

Initially I was looking to pick up a record with some history to it, and make a move for something bigger than a $3 record from a long forgotten 90's hardcore bands, and after grabbing the Crucifix 7 inch from Broken Bones, thing escalated quickly when I also added the We Got The Neutron Bomb from The Weirdos to the cart as well. At that point, I was in deep, and figured that I might as well go fucking nuts since the seller had a ton of great old punk records available, and I grabbed a copy of the Orgasm Addict single to the cart to finish this shopping spree off with a bang.

Monday, May 04, 2020

Solitary Confinement

While on a recent mission to pick up a record that was more substantial than the cheap haul of forgotten 90's hardcore bands, I was feeling content and fulfilled as I added an old Broken Bones 7 inch to my Discogs cart. The seller had a ton of other classic punk records for sale, and as I started scrolling through everything he had available, suddenly I wanted more.

A few years ago, I got heavily into late 70's punk. I hadn't paid much attention to those bands previously, but suddenly I couldn't get enough of that sound and I was hungry to discover bands from that era. I found so many great records and bands, and one of them was The Weirdos.

I've been familiar with the name The Weirdos for years...I remember seeing the Circle Jerks play live around 2003 and Keith Morris was talking about how great The Weirdos were before going into a great version of Solitary Confinement. Shortly after that show, I downloaded a copy of the Weird World comp from the band, but it never really moved me and eventually I deleted it. Finding myself deep into a '77 style punk obsession a few years ago, I figured that I'd give The Weirdos another chance and I downloaded their first two 7 inches. I fucking loved it. I'm not sure what didn't hook me with that comp the first time around, but this time I couldn't get enough of those early songs.

Two songs on the legendary Dangerhouse Records...although, this Weirdos 7 inch is actually the only thing that I think I've heard from this label. Maybe I should finally see what else they have to offer.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

I.O.U. Nothing

I really enjoy buying cheap records from older 90's and 00's hardcore bands that no one seems to care about anymore, but after my string of recent posts, I was itching to pick up something a bit more substantial. I wanted to add a record to my collection that felt more crucial to the collection, and something that had a bit more history to it.

I love the early Broken Bones stuff. I had the Bonecrusher and F.O.A.D. tapes as a kid and I've been looking to pick up their earlier records for years, but I've never followed through and actually bought something. As I was looking through my Discogs want list, I noticed that there was a US seller that had the Crucifix 7 inch available. The price was reasonable, and I didn't have to cough up extra cash for overseas shipping, so I jumped on it.

That cover art is amazing, and the condition is great. The seller was the drummer from Septic Death, and apparently the dude knew how to take care of his records.

Three songs clocking in just over five minutes. This is punk history, and I'm happy to finally have a copy in the collection. Now I want more Broken Bones records!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Vault Of The Metal Church

When Metal Church reunited with Mike Howe back in 2015, I couldn't have anticipated how productive the band would be. I kind of expected them to release an album of new material, do a quick tour and that would be the last we'd hear from them. I'm so happy to have been proven wrong. The band has released two fantastic albums, a live record, and have plans for a third studio album in late 2020/early 2021...and on top of that they have just delivered a new collection of previously unreleased songs.

From The Vault is a double album that features a few new songs, and I can't get over how great they sound. Damn, these are great and are worth the price of admission alone! They also throw in a re-recording of Conductor from 1993's Hanging In The Balance, and the band prove they still have the chops as the new version easily measures up to the original.

To close out the first record we get five songs that were left over from the Damned If You Do sessions, and while a couple of them are instrumentals, it doesn't feel like you are getting some cheap throw away songs...every one of these deliver a solid punch, and I'm glad that the band didn't let these fall to the wayside.

Over on the second record, Metal Church deliver a few cover songs, as well as two songs that were recorded live in Japan. These are fun to have, but not crucial by any means. For me, this collection is all about the first piece of vinyl...the rest of it is just nice to have, but not something that I'll need to spin too often.

The packaging on this is top notch. With the gatefold sleeve, OBI style stip, dust sleeves, and the album cover print with lyrics, Rat Pack Records did a great job pulling this together.

Number 118 out of an unknown number.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Intro Combust

I discovered so many great new hardcore bands in 2019. All the stars must have been aligned because I was open to checking out some new bands, and it seemed like I was stumbling on a great new find every other day. I felt like I couldn't miss, and if I had a good feeling about a band, I'd check them out and immediately fall in love with what I was hearing. I'd seen the name Combust thrown around a few times last year, but made assumptions and lumped them in with some tough-guy shit, so I avoided them.

Combust kept showing up as a recommendation on Spotify for other new bands that I was spinning daily, so in a moment of curiosity, I finally broke down recently and I checked them out. Wow. This is great. There are some great NYHC vibes on this record, but in a great Killing Time and Cro-Mags fact one of the songs strongly reminds me of Seekers Of The Truth from I've been spinning Best Wishes a lot recently, so this Combust record hit me at the right time.

I'd ordered the more limited green/yellow pressing for The Void, but Edgewood Records sent me the black with yellow splatter instead. Maybe the green/yellow had sold out, or maybe they sent be the splatter by mistake, either way, this record is damn good.

300 pressed on this black/yellow splatter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Testament Of Creation

Since Skolnick's return to Testament on guitar, the band have released an amazing string of albums. Over 30 years into it and Testament are still releasing uncompromising thrash albums that can stand up next to their 80's classics.

While I really enjoyed Testament's last album, Brotherhood Of The Snake, there were a couple of songs that were duds, so I was hoping that the band would crush from start to finish with the new one, Titans Of Creation.

Zero disappointments here. Some of these song jump out and grab me immediately, while I can tell that I am just going to appreciate this more and more with repeat listens. It will be interesting to see where this is going to land in my Top 10 list for the year.

The colored vinyl for this pressing is called "water element" and it looks fucking amazing. The pictures don't do the vinyl justice. I'm so glad that I picked up this version. 500 pressed.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Mindwar / Evolve

I've mentioned numerous times on this blog about my obsession with issue number nine of the No Answers fanzine. I studied that fucking thing, and had each record review as my roadmap for which bands I should be checking out as I started getting into the more underground side of hardcore. In the review section there was a photo of a band called Mindwar. No review for them...just a photo from Spanky's Cafe taken in July of 1990. I'd always been curious about the band, so when I was adding a bunch of cheap records to an order with a discogs seller, and I saw a split between Mindwar and a band named Evolve, I took a gamble and bought it with hopes that I'd finally found something from this old hardcore band.

Turns out that this is most likely not the Mindwar that I was looking for. The Mindwar on this 7 inch is from Connecticut and formed in the fall of 1990, so it is unlikely that they were playing shows in California that summer. Kind of disappointing that it wasn't the band I was hoping for.

Oh well, they are still an early 90's hardcore band, so I'll give them a shot. The two songs here are okay...nothing mind blowing, but it is some cool melodic hardcore that definitely fits with what was going on at the time.

The songs from Evolve are a bit better, and they definitely fit that metallic hardcore sound that was popping up in '92/'93. I imagine they were listening to a lot of those early Chokehold and Earth Crisis records. This record is kind of cool to own if you enjoy obscure 90's hardcore bands. I dig it.

As it turns out, while trying to find some info on Evolve, I found that they showed up on a Connecticut comp that included Another Wall. I fucking love Another Wall, and have never heard their song on this comp, so I'm obviously going to have to get that at some point.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Steel Jaws

When I started getting into hardcore in 1990, I discovered a bunch of really cool underground record labels at the time. Revelation, Victory, Nemesis, New Age...those were high quality labels, and chances were that you would strike gold with any record they had their name on. There was one label that was kicking around at the time that seemed a bit more mysterious to me for some reason. Conversion Records. I saw their name around, and knew they were connected to New Age in some way, but for some reason most of their records didn't make it onto my radar. Sure, I had the Endpoint album and the Face Value 7 inch, but stuff like Die Hard, Blindspot, Borderline and Process, that stuff never seemed to come around and they stayed out of my reach.

When I was adding a bunch of cheap records to my cart from a discogs seller, I noticed they had the Steel Jaws 7 inch from Process. With a $3 price tag, I decided to take the chance on a blind buy, and finally check this band out.

While this didn't knock my socks off, and I wasn't losing my mind over finding some long lost treasure, this was still fun to check out. Process definitely have that late 80's/early 90's sound, and to be honest, I can hang with that style any day of the week, even when it is a bit generic sounding.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Red Rhythm

Rhythm Collision is one of those bands that I don't really listen to regularly, but when I do happen to spin one of their records, I find myself asking why I don't pull them out more often. There uptempo style of punk rock is infectious as hell, and never fails to get me moving.

When I was picking up a bunch of cheap records from a discogs seller, I couldn't resist the opportunity to add one of their singles to the collection.

I've never owned any of the Rhythm Collision singles, and instead I just had the Collision Course CD comp from '97 that collected all of those songs from their 7 inches, so I'm happy to finally pick up the vinyl for basically what it would have cost me brand new 27 years ago. This Holiday single contains two RC originals and a frantic version of the Cheers theme song...because punk bands in the 90's loved to record off the wall cover songs.

Red vinyl with the blue lettering on the cover.