Monday, November 30, 2020

Soul Ship

I was scrolling through Instagram a while ago and saw that someone posted a photo of a new Soulside record. At one point I might have been surprised, but these days it seems that pretty much every old band has reunited in one way or another. I've always enjoyed those Soulside records from the late 80's, so I was interested to see what they would deliver thirty years later.
Initially, this record fell flat for me. I had the record in my cart in the Dischord store and all ready to go, but after giving the songs a spin on Spotify, I cancelled the order and walked away. Nope. I wasn't feeling it. I really love old Soulside, and I really wanted to like this new EP, so I gave it a shot again a few weeks later...meh, it was okay, but I felt like maybe I needed repeat listens to appreciate it. Fuck it. I went back to Dischord and ordered the record anyway.
I've given this record a few spins this month, and I've really come to like the song This Ship. Great song. The second track, Madeleine Said, is taking a bit longer, but I'm starting to come around on it. The third song, Survival... which is only available as a download, and isn't even on the fucking record (so that bothers me)... I'm still struggling with. It's okay, but the chorus doesn't sit right with me. So, overall, I had higher hope for this record, it isn't terrible, but it also isn't Trigger... and this is probably unfair of me.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Wild Cat

Last month I picked up a few New Wave Of British Heavy Metal singles. It had been a while since I'd really focused on that stuff, and those 7 inches were the catalyst that had me obsessing over it again. It was only a matter of time before I was on the hunt for more NWOBHM records, but now I wanted to knock a classic album off my list.
I've been listening to the first Tygers Of Pan Tang album a lot this past year. I had always preferred the band's second singer, Jon Deverill, and hadn't really paid much attention to thier first record, Wild Cat, with Jess Cox on the mic. Compared to Deverill, Cox's voice had always sounded a bit amateurish to my ears. This time around though, it was Jess Cox that made me keep reaching for the Wild Cat album. Suddenly it clicked, and I was loving the rough and shaky sound that Cox brought to the record. This album is just overflowing with youthful hunger and passion, and I haven't been able to get enough of it this year. When I started to look to pick up a NWOBHM classic, Wild Cat was the obvious choice.
While I could have probably picked up a US pressing for cheap, I really wanted the UK press that included the merch insert and lyric the UK version has the full Tygers Of Pan Tang logo on the center labels, instead of just the plain text for the band name. While it didn't break the bank, it was still worth the overseas shipping to grab this copy.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Seger Single Shakedown

Look, I enjoy Bob Seger's music, but I'm not a collector or even close to a completist. A lot of his 70's stuff is great, but as Seger moved through the 80's, things got a bit dicey, and I don't really spend much time with it. These two singles from '86 and '87 are outside of my comfort zone for the man, but they were free, and the songs aren't terrible, so I'll keep 'em in the collection. Why not?
The first Seger single on deck I received from a Discogs seller as a freebie. I'd ordered a few Japanese singles from him, so he tossed this one in for me. Okay, I'll take it. The song itself is Shakedown, from the Beverly Hills Cop II soundtrack. As a kid, the first Beverly Hills Cop movie was a favorite. It was one of the few VHS videos that my family bought, and watched that this over and over. The sequel, I don't remember a damn thing about right now. I do remember this song though, and I found it was a fun one to spin today.
I've got a few odds and ends that are still sitting in a pile from a collection that I inherited from my mom's boyfriend when he passed away four years ago. It is stuff that isn't too interesting or exciting, so I haven't bothered to do anything with it... but this seemed like a good time to pull out the Bob Seger single from the pile. The song, It's You, is from the Like A Rock album, which I am completely unfamiliar with. The song is okay. Not sure that I'd actively reach for it, but if I'm spinning some Seger, it isn't something that I'd skip.
Strangely enough, both singles happen to have the same b-side song, The Aftermath.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Punching The Sky

It has been five years since the last Armored Saint album, Win Hands Down. Having seen the band play live twice when they toured for that record, I have fond memories of it. When I heard that we were getting a new disk from the band in 2020, I was looking forward to what they would deliver. As soon as preorders went up in the Metal Blade store, I was quickly grabbing my copy.
The album is a solid slab of Armored Saint. It took me a few spins to warm up to Win Hands Down, and that was the same deal with this new one, Punching The Sky. It takes a bit for the songs to hook me, but after a few spins, I finally start to settle in and really enjoy it.
When I ordered my copy, I went for the special edition. Lavender colored vinyl, numbered and limited to 300, and includes a bonus patch and 7 inch.
Over the Covid Summer Lockdown, since all touring was shut down, a lot of bands were getting together virtually and recording some songs for fun and posting the videos online. Armored Saint decided to do a stripped down acoustic version of Isolation, from their 1987 album, Raising Fear. Glad that they took the opportunity to include it on the bonus 7 inch here.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Green Nightmares Of The West

Back in the day, I was a huge fan of the first couple of Strike Anywhere records. I absolutely loved Chorus Of One and Change Is A Sound, but after that, their other albums failed to make much of an impression on me. I mean they were okay, but nothing really hooked me. Still, I was hopeful when I heard that Strike Anywhere were releasing a new record in 2020. If ever there was a time that we needed a blast of their brand of political punk rock, it is now.
Nightmares Of The West delivers exactly what I needed. Seven songs in 21 minutes that makes me want to bounce around, sing along, and throw up a middle finger to so much of the bullshit that made this past year so much of a hellscape. Try watching the video for Frontier Glitch and not be moved... emotions were stirred when I tune in to it for sure.
Because I was dragging my feet on ordering this record, I had to settle for the second pressing. That's cool. I dig the look of this colored vinyl, so I'm happy.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Open Hearts And Cow Print Vinyl

I'm easily influenced. Someone on Instagram recently posted a photo of a record for The First Step, and it got me thinking about what I was still missing. I jumped over to Discogs, noticed a few glaring holes in my TFS collection, and made a move to cross one off the list. Zero self control.
Much to my surprise, I realized that the only copies of Open Hearts And Clear Minds that I owned were the 12 inch reissues. I didn't own a single 7 inch pressing that was originally done by Livewire Records in 2003. Seeing the opportunity to correct this oversight, I grabbed the "cow print" colored vinyl. I love the look of this pressing.
I've been extremely slow in collecting records for The First Step. I fucking love this band, but they released their demo and Open Hearts And Clear Minds before I got into collecting records, so I'm still working on making up that lost ground. It feels good to take another small step in building this collection.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Alive And Screamin'

Last year I became kind of obsessed with Krokus. They were one of those early bands that got me hooked on heavy metal, but I hadn't really listened to them since 1985, when I started chasing bands that were louder, faster and heavier. By chance, I happened to stumble upon their Hardware album when I was digging through the used bins at one of record stores in town, and I bought it on a whim. That shit sent me down a Krokus rabbit hole, and I spent a lot of time in 2019 rediscovering those 80's albums from the band.
I'd done a decent job last year building up my Krokus collection, but once 2020 hit, I started to focus on other things. Recently, however, I got to thinking about the band again, and I didn't want to close out this year without buying a single Krokus record. I started looking at what I was missing, and while I'm not big on live albums, I still needed the Alive And Screamin' record from '86.
This is a solid live disc from the band, with a good mix of songs... especially since checking their '86 setlist from when they opened for Judas Priest's Turbo tour, it shows Krokus playing four fucking cover songs in their nine song it is good to see them doing all originals here for this live album. As a bonus, this live set includes Lay Me Down, which I don't believe showed up on any of their studio albums, so it is cool to have it here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Look Of Japanese Love

When I first started buying Japanese singles for those early MTV hits, I kind of assumed that it would be a fleeting obsession. I figured that I would burn out on it rather quickly. Yet, here we are, and after going a few rounds with these things, I still have a desire to keep this collection growing.
In continuing my obsession with these MTV singles, my first move was to pick up another 7 inch from Hall & Oates. I'm not sure exactly what it is about their songs, but man, I really dig them. It has to be some kind of deep connection to my childhood, or maybe it is just John Oates mustache, because that thing is glorious. Either way, their early 80's singles are mandatory, and the 1981 7 inch for Private Eyes is no exception.
As I was listening to the Early MTV playlist on Spotify, the song Abracadabra from Steve Miller Band came up in the rotation. Holy shit. I'd completely forgotten about this song, and it was a lot of fun to hear it the video for the song was state of the art technology for 1982.
I had no interest in Rod Stewart, and if someone had mentioned the song title for Young Turks, I would have shrugged my shoulder in indifference. Nope. I didn't recall that song at all. When it popped up on the Early MTV playlist on Spotify, I had my finger ready to hit the "skip" button and move on to the next song...then once I heard the familiar synth sounds, I figured that I'd ride it out and give it a chance. As the song progressed, it all came back to me, and unbelievably the lyrics were rolling off my tongue as if I'd been hearing this song regularly since the 80's. Honestly, this song was a huge surprise. I'd forgotten how much I'd loved it as a kid. As an awkward eleven year old, this song about teenage runaways, and the lyric "there ain't no point in talking when there's nobody listening, so we just ran away" was like a wild and dangerous fantasy at the time. Man, it was cool to discover this song again.
Before I closed out this run of MTV singles, I wanted to pick up a song that basically defined those early 80's MTV years. Big synths and wild videos defined that time, and I needed that represented in my collection. I really didn't care for the synth pop stuff at that time, as I preferred stuff with more of a kick, but going back and listening to those songs, I can't help but get sucked into them. I remember that the Poison Arrow video was kind of big on MTV during those early years, but once I started checking out the other ABC hits, I was surprised to find that I not only remembered them, but I was also fucking loving them. The video for The Look Of Love is a perfect snapshot of the time. It is just so over the top and weird...I can't look away from I definitely needed the 7 inch single.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Ex Youth Intervention

About a month or so ago, I was talking with some old blogger friends about some guilty pleasures that we had been listening to lately, and eventually the conversation turned to newer hardcore bands. When asked to name any relatively new hardcore band that gets us excited like the good old days, and while I was quick to throw out a list of bands that I totally get a charge out of, for the most part other responses were pretty sour and negative about the current state of hardcore. Hey, I get it. New bands probably aren't going to have the same impact on you at 50 that they did when you were 18, but I don't find them any less vital or enjoyable. Sure, that Youth Of Today record is superior to anything released recently, but I still reach for some Vantage Point before putting on Break Down The Walls... and there have been times when I didn't find newer hardcore records too exciting, but as history has shown, eventually some new record will click with me and I'll obsess over discovering new bands again. Anyway, after that coversation, my daily playlists were filled with nothing but records from the last ten years, and there was plenty of stuff in there that still gets my blood pumping.
The following day, Marcus reached out to me and mentioned a newer band that I'd never heard of before. With the horrible band name of Ex Youth, it isn't any surprise that I never picked up on them when their 7 inch was released in 2018. However, once Marcus mentioned that one of the Ceremony dudes was singing in the band, and they were reminicent of those early Ceremony records, I was quick to check them out.
This shit is great. The entire Oakland Intervention record rages with an absolute fury. I was so impressed that I rushed over to Discogs to snatch up the purple vinyl pressing before anyone else made a move on it. Who says there are no good newer hardcore bands?

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Doors Stripped

With the global pandemic causing events to cancel all year, Record Store Day tried to adapt and moved to a phased approach for their releases...basically spreading RSD over a three or four different weekends in an attempt to limit crowds, or something like that. Whatever. It was of little consequence to me as there were only a couple of records that I was interested in. I'd picked up the latest Dio picture disk single without any trouble, and was hoping for more of the same when it came to the release from The Doors a few weeks later.
I'm a huge fan of The Doors and when I heard the details around their latest RSD release, I immediately knew that I was going to have to get my hands on it. The record is called The Soft Parade / Stripped and is basically their Soft Parade album without any of the horns and orchestration, and it is just stripped down to a more raw version with only the band playing thier instruments. At the time I purchased it, I was under the impression that the record contained the entire Soft Parade album, but once I received it and paid attention to the track list, I can see that there are really only four songs from the album that appear here in the "Doors Only" recording...with three of those songs appearing a second time on the b-side with Robby Krieger guitar overdubs (which sound fucking cool, if you ask me).
I've seen some complaints from people about the minimal packaging for this record, with only the vellum paper "cover" stuffed into a PVC sleeve, but I think it fits the "stripped" theme of the release... also, that crystal clear vinyl looks amazing... of course the first thing I did was get the record into a proper dust sleeve to keep the PVC one from damaging it (thanks for the pro-tip, Marcus). Ridiculously listed as "limited" to 12,000 copies.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Haunting Flashback

No band is more productive than Haunt. Since releasing their debut EP back in 2017, the band has released a staggering amount of material. It is ridiculous how many records they have pumped out in such a short period of time. Haunt already released a new album, Mind Freeze, earlier this year, but hey, with touring bands trapped at home due to the pandemic, might was well write and record another one, right?
Flashback is Haunt's fourth album overall, and these eight songs give you exactly what you'd expect from the band. Solid traditional metal.
Haunt decided to stay away from streaming services like Spotify with this release, and are limiting it's release to only Bandcamp and physical formats. I get that Bandcamp is a more attractive option for bands, but I only use it to preview a record to see if I want to buy it...I'll never actively go to Bandcamp to listen to an album, so it looks like Flashback will only get playing time on my turntable...which means that I'll probably only give it the occassional spin.

200 pressed on blue vinyl.

I was recently talking with my friend Jeff, who had just discovered Haunt, and he was very excited about the band. That excitement was contagious as I then rushed out to buy another record from the band.
The man behind Haunt, Trevor William Church, was not happy with the recordings for their first full length album, Burst Into Flame. He recently spent some time cleaning up those songs, and decided to release them as this limited Burst Into Demos record. I'm not sure that I really needed this, but I loved the album art work, and after talking with Jeff, I couldn't resist adding another Haunt record to the collection. Only 250 pressed, and all on this red colored vinyl. There is supposed to be some gold splatter in the red vinyl, but thankfully my copy doesn't have much of it.

Monday, November 09, 2020

Just One More

I recently received a message from Marcus about a post that It's Alive Records had made on Instagram about a new pressing for the first Rain On The Parade 7 inch. It's Alive has their IG settings set to private, so the only way that I could get the lowdown on this new pressing was to start following them and then drop them a private message for payment info. Kind of a pain in the ass process, but since I've got a pretty decent ROTP collection, there wasn't any way that I was going to let this pass me by. The record was kind of expensive for a 7 inch, but once you see all the work that went into it, I find it was worth it.
First off, the record comes packaged in an oversized envelope. The front of it is printed with a nice looking live shot, and is stamped and numbered out of 100. The envelope is sealed, so I had very carefully peel back the flap to get to the record inside.
Once you have the envelope open, you face your next hurdle. The record itself is in a plastic sleeve, and someone thought that it would be a good idea to also seal this with a plain white sticker. Good luck trying to get through Level 2 of this security system without mutilating or tearing it open.
Once you are finally inside, all that hard work pays off. Green colored vinyl, lyric sheet insert, printed dust sleeve, a few stickers...such a great looking package.
The inside of the record sleeve has a bunch of old fliers printed, and is stamped and numbered...again. I'm not sure what prompted It's Alive to press the Body Bag record almost 25 years after it's release, but I'm happy to add it to the collection.

Friday, November 06, 2020

Guilty Of Loving Japanese Singles

I was recently feeding my obsession for Japanese singles, and as I was loading up my cart from a US seller on Discogs, I noticed they had a record from Whitesnake available. Given how much I've been listening to the band this year, it was an obvious choice to add it to my order.
This single is for a couple of songs off of Whitesnake's Slide It In album. The a-side song is Give Me More Time, which kind of surprised me, as I figured the b-side of Guilty Of Love was the bigger hit. Either way, I love the look of that front cover.
To be honest, I'd never really paid much attention to the Slide It In album, as I usually focused more on the earlier, more bluesy years from the band. That changed over this past summer. I was doing a lot of running at the time, and putting up around 40 miles a week. I was in love with this eight mile loop that I'd just discovered, and as I headed out the door at 5:00 one morning, I queued up a couple of Whitesnake albums to listen to on my run...and the second one on deck was Slide It In. As soon as the first song, Gambler, kicked in, I instantly perked up. Whoa. I didn't remember this sounding so damn good...and that feeling stayed with me for the entire album. It has been a mistake for me to overlook this album for so long. So good.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

In A Night Demon Trance

Night Demon have been releasing a series of 7 inch singles throughout 2020, and I've been having fun picking up each one...with the exception of the Vysteria single, where FedEx lost the entire shipment of records to the distributor, and the band ended up having to reimburse everyone that bought it.

Typically the Night Demon singles feature one new original song, with the band recording a cover song for the b-side. For their latest single, we get two Scorpions covers that were recorded live in Germany. I'm usually not too hot on bands recording cover songs, but Night Demon always manage to make it worth the while. Their live version here of In Trance features original Scorpions guitarist Uli John Roth, and it sounds amazing...the b-side cover of Top Of The Bill sounds great too. Two classic Scorpions tunes and Night Demon pull them off flawlessly.
The band did pressings on black, red and yellow know, to match the German flag...and I grabbed the yellow pressing, which was limited to 250.
My record arrived with a note from Night Demon's singer/bass player, Jarvis...and it's not some simple generic "thank you" the personal touch.

Monday, November 02, 2020

Rated X

More often than not, it seems that I'm late to the party for new bands. I feel disconnected and out of the loop, so it was no surprise that when I was finally tuned into Rated X that the limited pressing of their United Front album was already sold out. I thought that someone out there might have given me a heads up on this, as it is obviously something that I'd be into, but no, apparently my friends only think of themselves.
Rated X is another project from the man behind Violent Reaction, and you get exactly what you'd and ripping straight edge hardcore. These twelve songs do not let up...from start to finish, you are just pummeled.
Once I'd discovered that I'd missed the colored vinyl option through Painkiller, I added it to my Discogs want list and hoped for the best. Thankfully I didn't have to wait long, and a Discogs seller came through rather quickly, and at a great price too, and I didn't hesitate to jump on it before someone else snatched it up. 160 pressed.