Friday, July 31, 2020


I'm a huge fan of everything that Ronnie James Dio has done, and I like to think that my collection for his records is respectable.  I still have a ways to go with the Dio singles, but the biggest hole that I've had was for the Magica album.  Released in 2000, this was the only studio album of Dio's that I was missing.  Technically, I guess I did own it, as I had the 2013 Record Store Day picture disk, but I wasn't counting it.  I needed a real piece of vinyl and for it to be packaged with a proper album sleeve.

For years I've had my eye on the Night Of The Vinyl Dead pressing that was done back in 2008, but as it was limited to only 500, the average selling price was around $350, with discogs douchbags regularly listing the record for over $500.  Damn, yo.  I wasn't prepared to throw that kind of money around, but fuck me, I was getting close to that point.  Thankfully, 2020 brought a reissue campaign from Dio, and we saw those out of print albums hitting the record stores at a decent price.  I still kind of want that NOTVD pressing, but for now, I'm happy to just have a copy in the collection.

Magica is probably my least favorite Dio solo record, but like pizza, even when it isn't great it is still pretty good.

Dio recorded the song Elektra back in 2009 and it was supposed to be included with the new album that was being planned.  Unfortunately that project didn't get very far before Dio's passing in 2010.  Since then, the song has been included on some compilations and as the b-side on the Holy Diver live picture disc single a few years ago, but it is nice to see it included here as well as a bonus 7 inch.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Killer On The Loose

Record collecting is a constant conflict. I usually just let my moods dictate what I want to purchase in the heat of the moment. No planning. I just buy what whatever excites me at the time. However, sometimes I stop and look at the big picture and I get disgusted that I still have some very large holes in the collection. At these times, I tell myself that I need to stop dicking around with goofy picture sleeve singles and multiple pressings, and focus on completing the album collections for some of my favorite bands.

This year I've discovered the earlier Thin Lizzy records...those first three records with Eric Bell on guitar, before they settled into their classic line up with Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham. As I was checking out the going price for the early Lizzy records, I decided to take stock of where my record collection stood for the band's other albums. Of the nine studio albums from the classic Thin Lizzy line up, I owned three. I was so upset at how far I still had to go with my Thin Lizzy collection that I immediately checked in to discogs to cross some of them off the want list.

When it comes to Thin Lizzy, I feel compelled to buy the original UK Vertigo pressings. A number of years ago, my friend Jeff gave me his copy of Johnny The Fox, but it was a US Mercury pressing. I was okay with it when he first gave it to me, but as the years went by, it was no longer cutting it. I needed those Vertigo UFO labels.

When I was picking up the Johnny The Fox album, the seller also had a copy of Chinatown it obviously made sense to grab that one as well. Man, this album is so killer. Outside of the stone cold classics of Fighting and Jailbreak, Chinatown may give them a run as one of my favorite Lizzy albums. Sugar Blues, Killer On The Loose, Genocide, plus the title track...all are fucking killer top shelf Thin Lizzy songs. Very happy to add this to the collection.

Around 1980, Vertigo dumped the UFO label design, and went with more boring looking orange label. They aren't nearly as cool, but I've still got to have them for my Thin Lizzy UK first pressing collection.

While we are talking about Thin Lizzy, I'm going to add one more record to this post. This 7 inch single for The Boys Are Back In Town b/w Jailbreak came from my mom's boyfriends collection that was passed on to me when he died about four years ago. I ended up dumping a large majority of his records to Goodwill as it wasn't anything that I was interested in, but I did set aside a few cool records, and I "officially" add them to my collection and put them up on the blog when the mood hits me. This Thin Lizzy single isn't that impressive as it is just a regular US pressing with the simple record label dust sleeve, but seeing that it came from Steve's collection, I figured that I'd hold on to it for sentimental reasons. It's funny. I assume that both of these songs top the list of overplayed songs that most people probably never need to hear again...but for me, these songs still sound fresh and kick a lot of ass.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Havok V

I really enjoyed the last Havok record, Conformicide from 2017, but honestly, I only listened to it a handful of times and haven't really felt any great pull to go back and revisit it. I like the modern thrash bands, and dig it when their records are spinning, but when I'm in the mood to listen to newer thrash, I'll just pull the latest Overkill or Testament albums from the shelf. So when I saw that Havok were releasing a new album this year, I didn't feel any rush to check it out.

The album had been out for a little while when I saw a video review for the album on youtube. The reviewer talked highly of the latest Havok album, and it kind of of piqued my curiosity. I gave it a quick spin on Spotify and immediately knew that I needed a copy. Sadly, by the time I tried to track down the album, it seemed that the colored vinyl options had sold out. Record stores were still closed at the time, but I did find that my local Bull Moose store had the option to buy the Indie Retail Store exclusive pressing through their online store. Score! Sea glass colored vinyl limited to 300 copies.

This record is a thrashing good time. Havok really are one of the best newer thrash bands, and this album had me banging my head like a maniac. Relentless energy. I'll easily be listening to this new album more than the last one.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Japan Double Dealer

I've been on a Deep Purple kick lately. The band have a new album coming out next month, and while I haven't generally been that interested in newer Deep Purple albums, for some reason this one has me curious. On top of that, I've really been digging in with the first few albums with the Mark I line up featuring Rod Evans on vocals. Then, I've also been heavily obsessing over the Mark III Coverdale albums. Needless to say, I've been listening to a lot of Purple this year. Combine that with my interest in singles and Japanese pressing and it was inevitable that they were all going to converge.

Man, I've been loving anything Coverdale lately, including Whitesnake and his albums with Deep Purple. When I was obsessing over singles earlier this year, I stumbled upon a few eBay auctions from a Japanese seller and there were a few Deep Purple 7 inches that caught my eye. Damn, these things looked cool, and since I was feeling pretty loose with my money, I threw a winning bid on this single for Lady Double Dealer. There is just something about those 7 inch picture sleeve covers that capture my attention, and this one from 1974 looks great.

I actually ordered this Deep Purple single from Japan back in March, and like the AC/DC record that I'd ordered from Australia around that time, the COVID-19 pandemic put international shipments on hold so this 7 inch sat in Japanese customs for two months before it even started to make its way over to the US. This record didn't come close the price tag on that AC/DC album, but it was still a relief when it finally arrived.

Picking up this Highway Star single was much easier from a US seller on Discogs. The price was very reasonable and it was delivered within a week.

Highway Star was originally released as a single back in '72. For some reason, Japan reissued the single in '76 with a different cover and changed out the b-side track to Strange Kind Of Woman. Love the clean pink layout for this one, but I'm going to need the original single cover as well at some point.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Gillan Nightmare

I've been so obsessed with collecting singles lately, and I decided to share that love affair with my friend, Jeff. His birthday was coming up, and being a huge Alice Cooper fan, I wanted to track down a cool picture sleeve single for him. I found a good looking French pressing of the Billion Dollar Babies single, and while I was picking that record up for him I grabbed a cheap Gillan single for myself.

A few years ago I bought a few Gillan singles as my introduction to the band. I had obviously loved his stuff with Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, so I figured it was time to finally check out what he had done with the Gillan band in the late 70's and early 80's. I had a great time with those few singles and I told myself that I was going to have to track down the albums from the band as well. Almost three years later and I've made zero progress on that front...but hey, here I am buying another single.

The a-side song, Nightmare, comes from the 1981 album Double Trouble, and it is another cool track. Man, I need to dig into the Gillan stuff more often, because I seem to enjoy everything I hear. Good stuff!

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Fear The Blood Star

I'm usually reluctant when people make recommendations for me to check out new bands. There are a small handful of people that I trust completely, and if they think that I'll like it, chances are they will be right...but for the most part I tend to be a bit skeptical when someone suggests that I check something out.

When my friend, Jeff, sent me a link to listen to a band called Blood Star, I didn't have high expectations. Now Jeff has great taste when it comes to 70's and early 80's metal, but he doesn't really bother with new bands, so I didn't expect much with this EP.

Holy shit. Blood Star are straight up traditional heavy metal, and I can't get enough of these two songs. Featuring one of the guitarists from Visigoth and a female singer, this EP is catchy as hell, and Tortured Earth may be my favorite song of this year.

The packaging for this 7 inch looks great. The cover artwork, colored vinyl and the OBI strip are all fantastic. "Tortured Galaxy" colored vinyl is limited to 500.

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Hang Your West Coast Head

I'm pretty random when it comes to collecting Foundation records. I mean, I'm not really actively working on attempting to buy every pressing from the band, yet I somehow have still managed to amass 15 records from them. I've got a couple of their cool special pressings on my Discogs want list, but whenever one shows up, I usually just ignore it as prices are typically much higher than I'd care to pay...seriously, the Final Show pressing of Turncoat would be sweet to collect, but that price seems to hold steady and there are other records that I'd rather drop $100 on.

I've had the West Coast tour pressing of Hang Your Head on my Discogs want list for four years, and when I recently saw one become available recently at a decent price, I figured that I'd finally make my move. Damn, I love the look of this special tour cover.

I've been listening to a lot of 90's hardcore lately, and while Foundation was from the late 2000's, they definitely fall in line with that 90's sound, so it seemed to be the right time to finally cross this one off the want list.

Number 41 out of 200 pressed.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Japan Shook Me

I've had a few things circling around in my head lately. AC/DC. Singles. Japanese pressings. I've been obsessing over each of these things lately, and they all happened to converge for this post.

Since picking up AC/DC's Touch Too Much single last month, and knowing that I had the first pressing of High Voltage on the way from Australia, I was itching for more from the band. I started randomly checking to see what was available from US sellers, and when I happened to catch someone with a Japanese 7 inch for You Shook Me All Night Long, I jumped on it...and while the $25 price tab seemed a little high at first glance, the sales history shows that the record typically goes for twice that, so I was fucking stoked to grab this.

I don't know man. There is just something cool about Japanese pressings and singles. I first got the bug when Doug went to Japan last year, and he started texting me photos of Dokken singles that he was picking up. Shit looked so great, and I wanted some of that action myself. Doug was a selfish motherfucker and filled his suitcase with records for himself instead of saving some room for me, but the fuse was lit, and since then I've been toying with the idea of hunting down some of those Japanese singles for myself. It feels good to take this first step.

Friday, July 03, 2020

Moment Of Truth

There had been a challenge going around on Facebook recently where people would post ten albums that had an impact on them. I usually avoid those kind of things, as I know that the majority of my Facebook friends do not share the same musical tastes as me, so what would be the point...but after being tagged to join the challenge by a handful of people, I decided to participate even if no one was going to care...hey, at the very least it would be interesting to see the posts pop up in my FB memories years down the road.

While most people were just posting album cover images they pulled from the internet, I wanted to use actual photos of records from my collection. I made the challenge a kind of musical timeline as we moved from the first album I remember buying for myself, and then as I progressed into Heavy Metal and then got into Hardcore. When I got to the point in the timeline when I first connected with Straight Edge, I ended up using a Minor Threat record, but really, that was only because I didn't own a single piece of Slapshot vinyl.

While I loved Minor Threat when I started to get into Hardcore around 1990, Slapshot were probably a much bigger influence. I was travelling to The Channel in Boston for a lot of Metal shows at the time, and somewhere along the way I started crossing over from Death Angel and Testament shows to Slapshot and Sick Of It All. Slapshot were angry and apologetically Straight Edge, and I gravitated to them. They had just released Sudden Death Overtime, and it feels like I must have seen them once a month for about a year...playing with Meliah Rage, Sam Black Church or Maelstrom. It was an amazing time.

Doing that Facebook challenge pushed me to finally hunt down some Slapshot vinyl. I didn't care if it was Back On The Map or Step On It...I just needed something. In the end, Back On The Map turned out to be the easier target, and I managed to pull a copy from eBay at a decent price. It had been a while since I'd listened to this record, but man, this thing is a classic. It is just absolutely fierce. Glad to finally add this important record to my collection.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Blue Roo Voltage

One of my priorities for the past few years has been to collect Australian first pressings for the Bon Scott era of AC/DC. These things don't come cheap, so each year I dedicate a portion of my annual bonus from work to the hunt, and I check another one from the list. This year, the band's first album, High Voltage, from 1975 was my target.

When it comes to the first few AC/DC albums, things can get confusing when comparing the original Australian releases to what the rest of the world saw from the band. Different cover art. Different track listings. Shit gets messy. In the case of High Voltage, things get extra sticky.

High Voltage, released in 1975, was AC/DC's first album and only available in Australia and New Zealand. When the international release of High Voltage was released to the rest of the world in 1976, the majority of that album contained songs from AC/DC's second Australia record, T.N.T., and only two songs from the original High Voltage album. So basically, AC/DC has two different albums named High Voltage.

I was expecting to go deep for an Australian first press of High Voltage. To find one in great condition, you can expect to go over $300, and I was ready to step up. As it turned out, I jumped on an eBay auction from an Australian seller just as the Covid pandemic was fucking exploding across the globe, and as a result, bidding was practically non-existent as I walked away winning the auction for half of what I expected to pay. Good deal. Of course, the downside was that Covid also ground international deliveries to a halt, and my record sat in the Australian customs office for about two months before it finally caught a plane for the States. Worth the wait!

This copy of High Voltage completes my collection of Blue Roo Australian first pressings for AC/DC. I still have a few more records to pick up for those Bon Scott years, and they still have high price tags, but at least I no longer have to look for that kangaroo on the label.