Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Still Having Their Say

I've been interested in a bunch of books lately. In addition to the fiction that I read constantly...and I'm racing to finish Stephen King's Dark Tower series before the year is up...I've got a stack of music related books growing on my bedside table. Books on the New Wave of British Heavy Metal...books on Thrash...a book on Led Zeppelin...a book on AC/DC...the list goes on and on. It is going to take me years to work through the ones that I have, so the last thing that I needed was to add another one to the pile. Yet, when Bridge Nine announced preorders for the xXx Fanzine book, I was so excited, I didn't just order a copy...I ordered the deluxe package deal.

I don't know what came over me. Totally blinded by the excitement of the moment, and a loss of self control, really. If you had tried to sell me a record full of cover songs, featuring a bunch of bands that I didn't know, I wouldn't give you a dollar for it. Yet, here I was jumping at the deluxe package for the xXx Fanzine book with the Still Having Their Say comp.

Listening to this record, my reaction is exactly what I'd expect. This is shit. I hate myself for ordering it, and the chances that I'll ever listen to it again are slim. Sure there are a handful of decent songs...Strife do a great job with the Void cover...Done Dying covering Government Issue is cool...nice addition of Voivod doing a Die Kreuzen cover live...but over all, I just found this incredibly irritating to sit through. Look, I'm old and jaded, and apparently hate a bunch of newer Hardcore bands. I should have seen this coming and saved the extra $20.

xXx Fanzine ran from 1983 through 1988, documenting the Hardcore scene through interviews and photos of the classic bands of that time. I'd never seen a single issue, and surprisingly wasn't very familiar with the 'zine until the announcement of this book...but I was hot to get my hands on a copy and dive in.

This book is amazing. The hardcover packaging really speaks to the quality of this whole thing. I'm really looking forward to sinking my teeth into this.

Oh, I almost forgot...because I hadn't thrown enough money at this book, I felt compelled to buy the mini-zine that Bridge Nine released in advance to help promote the book. I got sucked in with that great looking shot of Dag Nasty on the cover, and the talk about additional photos and interviews.

There really doesn't seem to be that much exclusive content, and I'm not terribly excited over the Nomads flexi, so overall, I probably could have skipped this as well, put my money elsewhere, and just ordered the book.

Man, I don't mean to sound so down on this package, because Bridge Nine did a really great job...I just could have spent my money much more wisely and skipped the deluxe package.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Back In Hell

I've always been a big AC/DC fan, but I never really put much effort into picking up the vinyl from their catalog. AC/DC records aren't rare or anything, so time after time, I pass them by for something more exciting. That changed when I made a quick and fun purchase of Blow Up Your Video a couple months ago...which prompted me to get serious with a first Australian pressing of TNT...and now I'm adding a couple of beat up copies of Back In Black and Highway To Hell. It is funny how things have snowballed into a mini run on AC/DC lately. Sometimes, things just work out that way.

Even though it has been a year and a half since Steve died, and my mom gave me his old record collection, I've been slow to really do anything with it. It took me until this past Spring to finally go through them all, and separate the trash from those few that I wanted to keep. After letting them sit there for another six months, I'm finally just getting around to adding them to the collection.

I tend to overlook Back In Black. The album is massively popular, and even the least Metal people you know will go nuts on the dance floor at your cousin's wedding when the DJ spins You Shook Me All Night Long. Because of this kind of bullshit, I forget just how great the album actually is.

Earlier this summer, I was participating in a 100 mile relay race with a team, and one of the guys was playing Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution as he was getting hyped up for his next run, and the song really struck a chord with me. Holy shit...that song rules, and made me want to listen to nothing but AC/DC for the next month.

Normally, I would have little interest in a record that has as much wear as this one does...the cover is beat to shit, and the off center A side label cranks up my OCD...but since it came from Steve's collection, I'll happily place it on the shelf, because the vinyl still sounds amazing.

While Powerage stands as my favorite AC/DC album, Highway To Hell gives it a good run for it's money. Not a single weak track on this record.

While I am looking to build a complete Australian first press collection for the Bon Scott albums, I wouldn't mind getting a full collection for the US pressing as well.

As I was cleaning the vinyl for these albums, and giving them a spin on my turntable to prepare for this post, we got the sad news that guitarist Malcolm Young died at the age of 64. Seems like a good time to crack the cover for Martin Popoff's latest book on AC/DC, and dig in deep with this band.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Keeper Of 1987

Last month, I got a little obsessive when it came to 1987. I had a pretty solid 7 post streak here on the blog for some absolute classic Metal and Crossover albums from that year. It was a good run, but eventually I moved on and started chasing other records on my Want List. Then, as I was picking up a piece of vinyl for a German seller on Discogs, I saw he also had Helloween album from '87 available, and I easily fell back into the train of thought of "just one more".

Earlier in the year, I read the Damn The Machine book, and of course it triggered a minor obsession with the bands from the Noise label. I'd picked up a couple records, but didn't nearly get in as deep as I'd wanted, so with the fire for '87 still burning, I figured that I'd scratch the itch for both with this pressing for Keeper Of The Seven Keys, Part I.

Get out of here with your lame US pressing...I had to go for the European pressing with the gatefold sleeve.

Oddly enough, I completely skipped this record as a kid...even though I did buy Part II on CD. I'm not sure how I missed this one...although I can see it getting lost in the noise that the US thrash bands were making that year...but still, this album has aged very well for me (or maybe I've just been on a Power Metal kick the last couple of years), but either way, this album is all kinds of great.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Radio Free Vinyl

At the start of Summer 2016, my mother's boyfriend of 15 years passed away due to a massive heart attack. It was a pretty big blow for the family, and for some us, it was the first time we had to deal with death of someone that was close to us.

In helping my mother clean out Steve's stuff, we came across a couple of crates that consisted of his old record collection. She offered them to me, and I took them off her hands. I expected that about 95% of it was of no interest to me, but I held out some hope that there may be small handful of records that were worth holding on to.

Back in the early 90's I was listening to more and more emo stuff out of the Hardcore/Punk scene, and along with that came an interest in REM. Hey, don't fucking judge me...even Endpoint and Doghouse Records were sliding into that Indie/College Rock sound at the time, and it seemed like REM was required listening for the socially aware feminist vegan that I was.

By 1996 or so, everything seemed so damn pretentious and uptight. I couldn't take it anymore, and I walked away to follow Ten Yard Fight and Floorpunch to something that seemed more sincere, and something that I could connect with.

I've had no desire to listen to REM for the past 20 years, but seeing their 1983 album, Murmur, in Steve's collection...it not only shocked me to see it in there, but kind of made me want to give it a spin.

I had only listened to Murmur a couple of times previously, and it didn't really move me when I initially heard it. But this time was different. I don't know if it was because I was listening to it on vinyl, or if just happened to fit my mood this time around (maybe that Molly album from earlier this year had something to do with it)...but as soon as Radio Free Europe started playing, I was immediately interested. I mean, I figured that I never needed to hear this band again, and here I was giving the album multiple spins...so no one was more surprised that I was at this change of heart.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Strength Of The Mind

I don't always do the best job of keeping up with new bands, but thankfully I'm on Instagram about 10 times a day and if something hot is going down, I might pick up on it...just hit me in the head with it a dozen times, and maybe it will start to sink in and pull me out of the 80's long enough for me to pay attention.

I'd seen Mindforce photos peppered through my Instagram feed through the summer, but usually just scrolled passed them. A photo recently caught my eye though, and comments from the poster seemed to mirror the same kind of excitement that I felt when I heard the Ecostrike record earlier this year. A few months late, but I finally decided to see what the Mindforce hype was all about.

Goddamn! The comparisons to Leeway are dead on, and the record rages with a kind of Crossover fury. Man, They Just Want War rips so hard and fast...I'm wondering how high this record is going to climb in my Best of 2017 list. Believe the hype!

278 pressed on blue vinyl.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Blue Roo Dynamite

A few weeks ago I posted about the vinyl I picked up for AC/DC's Blow Up Your Video album. I'd been tossing around the idea in my head of possibly chasing the Australian first pressings for the band...at least for the Bon Scott era...and grabbing the oddball record of Blow Up Your Video felt kind of silly and spontaneous.

While buying that record felt like a step backward from where I wanted to take my AC/DC collection, it did kind of kick me in the ass and get me thinking more seriously about that goal. Soon after that, I ended up with a good chunk of cash in my Paypal account from selling stuff on Discogs, and I knew exactly what I was putting that money towards.

The early AC/DC Australian catalog is very different from what I grew up with here in the US. With different album covers and track listings...for instance, most of the songs on the Aussie pressing for T.N.T., ended up on the US pressing for High Voltage...while the Australian pressing of High Voltage was a completely different set of songs...it kind of stoked the flames on my interest in collecting the Australian pressing. It seemed to make for an interesting quest.

AC/DC first Australian pressings don't come cheap, but this one was worth every penny. Great condition for an album that was released in 1975.

There are a number of different pressings on the Australian Albert label...blue labels, black labels, red labels...but for a true first press you gotta make sure that the blue label has the kangaroo logo on there.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Iron Chic III

I fell hard for Iron Chic when I first heard their debut album, Not Like This. That record was infectious as hell, and almost six years later, I still can't listen to it without turning the volume up and singing along whenever I hear it. I love that album so much that it will be Iron Chic's curse that no other record that they release will compare to that initial blast.

Regardless of if I think a new Iron Chic album would fail to measure up to their first one, I still got excited when I heard they would be releasing You Can't Stay Here this year.

Yeah, this album is fun...and the way it comes out of the gate with those first two songs, almost had me fooled into thinking that it was going to be as good as Not Like This. We lose a little steam after those songs, but man, this record is a good time.

800 pressed on clear with black, red and gold splatter. As far as splatter vinyl goes, this actually looks really good, and the gold accents on the cover are a nice touch.