Wednesday, March 31, 2021

(I'm) Stranded In Australia

Last year I did a terrible job of focusing on my Top Wants list. I put this top 10 list together each year, not with the expectation that I'll buy everything on it, but to highlight some records that I've wanted over recent years, and to keep them in my sights so they don't continue to get pushed aside. Last year I only managed to pick off two of them from list, and I swore that in 2021 I'd do better. Before too much time got away from me, I wanted to make a move on my Top Wants list early, so back in January I started scheming on which one I was going to chase first.
The first album from The Saints, (I'm) Stranded, first showed up on my Top Wants list back in 2018. It has been stuck (errr...stranded) on the list for a few years, because I got it into my head that I would only be satisfied with an Australian pressing of the record...because of course The Saints were from Australia, so it only made sense to buy the pressing from their counrty...which of course makes it more expensive and difficult to track down...especially one in good condition. Hell, the US pressing of this record isn't exactly cheap, so if I'm going to do it, I might as well do it right.
I first discovered this album back in 2016 when I was obsessing over late 70's punk bands. I'd never heard of The Saints, but I was so hungry for that sound that I was trying a bunch of bands from that time period hoping to find something that hooked me. Along with bands like The Adverts, UK Subs, The Buzzcocks and The Dickies, I also struck gold with that first album from The Saints. From start to finish, it just has that cool punk attitude, and it feels good to finally have this classic in the collection.
I'm used to seeing the kangaroo logo on the early AC/DC records, but it is kind of cool to see it here on this album from The Saints.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Clearly Tragic

Despite their records being 25 years old, last year was the first time that I ever listened to Orange 9mm. As I started spinning the REV EP and Driver Not Included I was shocked at how much I loved what I was hearing. I was so excited to finally discover this band, that when my buddy Sandwell let me know that their 1996 album, Tragic, was being released for the first time ever on vinyl, I threw caution to the wind and without hearing the songs, I preordered a copy. Since I was ordering the record from Germany, and paying overseas shipping, it was a bit of a reckless move, but goddamn, sometimes you've just got to go with the impulse.
First things first, the packaging on this 25th anniversary pressing is top notch. I love the look of the new cover art, and with the red dust sleeve and clear is an impressive release.
While I do like what I hear on Tragic, it certainly doesn't have the same impact on me like the earlier records. To be honest, I think it all boils down to the last song, Kiss It Goodbye. The K-I-S-S-I-N-G chorus irritates me, and as this song closes out the album, it is the last impression I have of an otherwise solid record. Get that song outta there and this album fills the need when I want some unique 90's hardcore.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Metal City

Raven released an album, ExtermiNation, back in 2015, but it never clicked with me. I downloaded the songs, but that thing clocked in over an hour... and by the end of it I all I could think about was how much I just wanted to listen to something else. It wasn't terrible, but I just couldn't invest the time into it. When Raven released Metal City last year, it barely made a blip on my record radar. I knew the record was out there, but I wasn't in any rush to check it out.
There were a number of old metal bands that released top notch records last year, so I was curious as to how the new Raven album stacked up and I decided to give it a shot on Spotify. Surprisingly, Metal City is a ton of fun. The album is only 40 minutes long, and the songs are quick and catchy. I couldn't believe how much fun I was having listening to the album, and I grabbed the vinyl for it.
The cover is goofy as hell with it's comic book theme, and doesn't do a damn thing to help sell this album on me. Thankfully the songs are strong enough to help me get past it. Given how much I'm enjoying Metal City, I may have to go back and give ExtermiNation another chance.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Three-Chord Pegboy

I spent a lot of time at the end of last year listening to Naked Raygun. They just seemed to be the perfect soundtrack to the hope that was on the horizon after Trump lost the presidential election. I was so obsessed with Naked Raygun, and I wanted more. I'd heard the name Pegboy tossed around over the years, but I'd never actually heard anything from them. I knew there was some connection to Naked Raygun, so it seemed like it was finally time to see what I'd been missing.
While it took me some time to warm up to Naked Raygun, Pegboy hit me immediately. Soon I was listening to the two bands back to back, day after day...and the Strong Reaction album became one of my favorite discoveries of 2020...almost thirty years after it's release. Pegboy are so good, and just seem to capture that early 90's punk sound that I loved at the time. Honestly, if someone had introduced me to the band back in the day, they would have fit perfectly in with the early Jawbox and Fugazi records that I loved at the time.
In addition to Strong Reaction, I was also spinning the first Pegboy EP, Three-Chord Monte, quite a bit as well. I thought it would be relatively easy to pick up the vinyl for both of these, but it turned out to be a bit more difficult than I'd initially thought. Sure, there were European sellers on Discogs that had the records available, but for some strange reason there were no US sellers. I threw them on my Wantlist, and as soon as someone in the States had a copy of Three-Chord Monte available I jumped on it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Sign Of The Hammer

It is a rare thing for me to do repeat listens for an album. When I listen to a record, I'll give it one spin for the day and then move on. If I want to hear it again, it will have to wait until the following day. I was mentioning this the other day to a couple of people and they said that they will quite often listen to a song, and if they really enjoy it, they will immediately go back and play that one song again, and maybe even a third time. My head exploded. I don't understand this concept at all. So it was an unusual situation that I found myself in a few months ago, when I could not get enough of the Sign Of The Hammer album from Manowar.
It had been a long time since I'd listend to Sign Of The Hammer. I couldn't even remember when the last time I'd heard those songs but I was in the mood for some mid-80's American metal, so I queued it up on Spotify. This album hit me like a ton of bricks. The songs sunk their claws in me and did not let much that as soon as the song Guyana was finished at the end of the album, I immediately started it again from the top with All Men Play On Ten. Every song on this album had me amped up and excited...and then surprise, suprise...I gave the album my third spin of the day. I could not get enough and continued to revisit the album daily over the next couple of weeks. In fact I may even rank The Oath as one of my favorite metal songs of all time. It is such an anthem!
After losing my mind over this album, I obviously needed to get my hands on the record. I hit up Discogs and quickly grabbed one from a seller in Germany. This was at the beginning of December. With the postal service being a complete clusterfuck during the holidays, it took nearly three months for the record to arrive in my mailbox. I'd pretty much written it off as a loss by the time we got to February, and as we heading into March I was starting to think that I was going to have to buy another copy. It was such a relief to have it finally arrive.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Trainwreck EP

Last year I had exchanged a few messages with my old friend David, who ran Salad Days Records for a few years out of Portugal. I was always a huge fan of his band Clean Break from a few years ago, and when he sent me a link for his new band Trainwreck, I immediately checked them out and ordered the record.
The 7 inch contains five quick blasts of straight forward hardcore, with most of the songs not even breaking the one minute mark. It kind of reminds me of the early 7 Seconds, catchy and even with an occassional "whoa" thrown in there for good measure during the chorus. This record is a ton of fun and would have probably cracked my Top 10 for 2020 if the record had arrived before the year ended.
New Wave Of Portuguese Hard Core.
There were 100 pressed with the red cover, and another 100 pressed with a blue cover, each lightly numbered on the back cover.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Bound By Ties Of Colored Vinyl

There was a five year stretch in the late 90's into the early 2000's where Good Riddance were one of my favorite bands. I saw them play live in Boston and Providence a few times, and would I would dance like a fucking nut for their entire set. Man, I couldn't help but move for that band. Anyway, at one time I toyed with the idea of collecting original colored vinyl pressings, but I was going to have to drop some serious money if I wanted to go that route, and while I ain't afraid of expensive records, I wasn't sure that I wanted to go that deep for Good Riddance.

A few years ago, when there was more than just three people doing record collecting blogs, someone happened to post about a recent colored vinyl reissue for one of the Good Riddance records. I thought the vinyl looked great, so on a whim I bought a copy... then I found another reissue that looked great and I bought that one too... then at the end of last year I picked up the 25th anniversary reissue of the band's first album. Guess I'm collecting Good Riddance reissues now.

After I recently posted about the For God And Country reissue, I started wondering if there were other recent Good Riddance pressings that I may have missed out on. I found that the band's sixth album, Bound By Ties Of Blood And Affection, was reissued in 2018 on a yellow and gold piece of wax, so I grabbed one from a Discogs seller.
Once again, I really like the look of the vinyl for this pressing. Good looking vinyl for the reissues helps me not feel bad for focusing on these and ignoring the original pressings.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Sharpen Your NWOBHM Wits!

While I was doing the #febmetalpunk challenge on Instagram last month, I ended up buying the Metal Massacre II compilation so that I could use it for one of the days. That wasn't the only record that I bought specifically for the challenge though, the catagory for "patches" had me stumped as well. I'm sure the intention was for people to post a photo of their battle vest, but I haven't had a denim jacket covered in patches since 1988, so I needed to improvise.
For the "patch" catagory I was hoping to find a record cover that depicted some 80's heavy metal dudes wearing their denim and leather, and when I saw the Geddes Axe 7 inch from '82, I knew I'd found what I was looking for. Two young metalheads sitting class with their AC/DC, Saxon, UFO and Thin Lizzy patches was perfect. The only problem was, I didn't own a copy!
I've had this record in my sights for a year or so now, but had yet to pull the trigger. This Instagram challenge was the excuse that I needed to finally chase it down. These two songs, especially the title track Sharpen Your Wits, are pure New Wave Of British Heavy Metal gold! The band only released three EPs, and a total of eight songs... although High Roller released a compilation of the band a few years ago which included four previously unreleased songs. That's it...just some young kids bashing out a few songs and then disappearing. I love finding obscure NWOBHM singles like this.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Metal Massacre II

Last month I was doing the #febmetalpunk challange on Instagram. I get a kick out of these challenges and it gives me a good excuse to go through the collection and pull some records off the shelf that I haven't thought about in a while. As an additional challenge this time around, I decided to limit myself to only posting metal records that were released during the 80's.
It seems that every record challenge uses the "complilation" category. I was struggling to come up with something new for the challenge this time around, and figured that I'd use it as a good excuse to buy something new so I'd have something interesting to post for this day. I've always been a fan of the Metal Massacre series, and since I only own a few of them, I decided that I'd make a run at one of the early records.
The thing that I like about the Metal Massacre series is that it is full of great songs from bands that are relatively obscure. One of my favorites is Metal Massacre II, as it is loaded top to bottom with some great heavy metal. Armored Saint were the only band here that made much of an impact, but still, the songs from Surgical Steel, Savage Grace, Obsession, and Trauma (with Cliff Burton!) are all killer. Given that this record is almost 40 years old, the copy that I picked up is in great condition. I'm not usually big on comps, but I'm very happy to finally own a copy of this one.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Rock Your Heart Out

Over the past couple of years, I have made some significant progress on my AC/DC collection. Cheap pick-ups, expensive first pressings, singles, hasn't fucking mattered...I've been obsessed with the band, and will buy anything. What initially started out a few years ago as a simple "I just want Australian pressings for the Bon Scott records", has turned into "give me all of it" mentality.

As I was checking Instagram last month, Henk had made a post about his top five AC/DC records, and we started exchanging messages. Our lists were pretty loaded with Bon Scott era albums with a couple Brian Johnson records thrown in for good measure. It was fun to talk about the band with someone that is as passionate about them as I am. It had been a hot minute since I'd added a new AC/DC record to the collection, and talking with Henk had me all fired up to do some shopping.

With the release of their latest album, I've kind of become infatuated with the band's more recent stuff. As much as I feel the Bon Scott era is the best period for AC/DC, lately all I've wanted to listen to is those six Brian Johnson albums released from 1990 on. With that mentality, I wanted to try and find a single from that era, and was pretty happy to find a US seller on Discogs that had this promo 7 inch from Spain for the song Rock Your Heart Out from The Razors Edge.
I've recently just started to really appreciate The Razors Edge from AC/DC, and while this Spanish promo isn't much to look at, I was still excited to score a copy for the collection.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Rusty Medals And Purple Vinyl

The section in my record collection for 2001 is pretty thin. I was still focused on buying CDs at the time, so I don't have the vinyl for a lot of those releases, plus it really wasn't a great year for hardcore. Sure there are a few records from that year that stand out, but overall, when I scroll through my iTunes playlist for that year, there is just a lot of stuff that doesn't really excite me.
One of my favorites from those early 2000's was Over My Dead Body. They were a great blend of hardcore and punk, and the big attraction for me was that they were straight edge. I was 31 years old in 2001, so it was cool to still have older guys X'd up and singing songs like Drug Free Adult. "Doesn't mean shit 'til you're 21!"
As much as I liked Over My Dead Body back in the day, they kind of fell off my radar for the last ten years, and I've never really chased their records. When I was picking up a Third Degree 7 inch a couple months back, I noticed the seller also had a copy for Rusty Medals And Broken Badges available, and given how reasonable the price was, it seemed like the perfect time to finally add the album to my collection.
The vinyl is a nice dark shade of purple that is hard to see until you put some light behind it.

Monday, March 08, 2021

Now We're Playing Righteous Jams

As I was approaching 2,000 posts here on the blog, I lined up The Years Of Decay album from Overkill. It was a record that I'd wanted for a long time, and I thought it made for a nice creative title for a milestone post. The problem was, I'd ordered it from overseas, and with the pandemic and everyone mailing shit for the holidays, the postal service was overburdened and painfully slow. I started to panic that the Overkill record wasn't going to arrive on time, so I starting planning alternate ideas and picked up another record that I'd had on my Want List for a while now. With a back-up plan prepared, I had the title "2,000 Posts Of Righteous Jams" in my back pocket in case the Overkill record fell through. Thankfully, it all worked out...and I ended up with the Righteous Jams record as a bonus.
When I first started to get into record collecting around 2005, I remember the Righteous Jams record on red vinyl seemed wildly unattainable at the time. Looking back through popsike, I can see that the red vinyl for Rage Of Discipline was pulling down $80 back then, which put it out of reach for this newbie collector. While I wouldn't even blink at that price tag these days, time was on my side, and in 2021 this record goes for a more reasonable amount.
While time has seen the value of this record drop after the initial hype, the songs here have certainly held up. This album is still a blast...bust it!

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Push It To The Edge

Technically I could have included this one in my Cheap 7 Inch Haul series from a couple weeks back, but it was something that I picked up outside of that shopping spree, and I had to draw the line somewhere to end that series of posts... still, at $5 this one fit the theme.
I love Justice. At one point in time, I was really more focused on their early stuff, and I found the stuff after the Elephant Skin record to be a bit dull, but these days, I'm more inclined to reach for Escapades or Live And Learn. Either way, I'm always interested in growing my small Justice collection, even if I rarely focus long enough to throw the money needed to grab some of their more limited pressings.
I've never owned the Up And Down 7 inch, and when I saw the Lockin' Out pressing available for cheap, I scooped it up. These songs ended up on the Escapades record, but the recording sounds a bit raw here. I like it... and now I really want to chase all the Powered Records pressings and special covers.

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Change Record Release

Back in October, with their plans of a record release show cancelled due to Covid, Change instead decided to host a live event to raise awareness on the issue of violence against native women. At the start of the event, the band made available a "record release" pressing of their album, and all money made from these sales went straight to the charity. In addition, Change had set up a raffle that gave a handful of winners the chance to select their choice of available test pressings that had been donated. I laid down the money for five raffle tickets, and was hoping to score.
When October 8th rolled around, I completely spaced on the "record release" event. I had gone out for some pizza with my wife, and had forgotten all about it. I was sitting in my car after dinner and received a few messages from Marcus about it, when I suddenly remembered that the special pressing was going to be available. I jumped to the webpage for the event but the record had already sold out... and then I ended up not winning a raffle test press during the live announcement. Fuck me. Thankfully Marcus, scooped an extra record, and as I was crying about having dropped the ball, he mentioned that I could take his second copy. So grateful that I don't need think about tracking down an overpriced copy on Discogs.
The record release cover for this looks great. The front cover is a nice tribute to Ron Brotherhood who passed away from cancer in 2019, and is an illustrated recreation of a photo of some dude name Rich Jacobs, who ran Skate Edge Records and released the Brotherhood 7 inch. Nice and unique cover.
The only problem is that somewhere along the way, some clown managed to accidently take a razor to the front of this, slicing the plastic sleeve and leaving a faint score mark down the front cover. While you can barely see it, it will still haunt me until I die.
Number 75 of 90 for the record release version.