Sunday, September 17, 2017

Relentless Pentagram

It has been an amazing year for my record collection. I've knocked some true heavy hitters from my list, and over the Summer, I had the opportunity to cross off another big ticket item.

I had a great experience buying The Effigies record through Discogs. The record was in great shape, it arrived quickly, and the seller seemed like a good dude and we exchanged a few messages back and forth...also, it turned out that the seller was Rob Moss, who was a member of Artificial Peace and Government Issue. He seemed like a good dude, and when he sent me a message saying that he listed some more records on Discogs, I decided to browse his list and see if he had anything else that caught my attention.

Right there at the top of his list was an original first pressing of the debut Pentagram album.

This record is a straight up Doom classic, and for those in the know, it is held in the same high regard as the early Sabbath records. I've wanted an original pressing of this album for a while now, but they don't come around very often, and with the high price tag it usually carries, I haven't really actively pursued it. Seeing it there, available through this Discogs seller, made it incredibly tempting...regardless of the price that he had listed it for.

Initially, there was some inner conflict if I should really go for it, so I turned to Doug's old posts over at We Will Bury You, looking for some guidance. In these times of turmoil, I can count on my record collector friends to show me the light, and there it was, right in Doug's blog post. "Fuck it, when would be the next chance to get one?" So let it be written...so let it be done. Guided by his divine hand, I clicked the Add To Cart button and made it mine.

There were times when I questioned my decision, and wondered if maybe I shouldn't have spent so much for this record. Any feelings of buyer remorse were erased when the record arrived and took it out of the box. Holy shit, this thing was nearly dead mint, and as the needle on my turntable hit those first notes of Relentless, I knew that I'd made the right choice.

I was surprised to find this record in such great shape, but according to Rob, he got it direct from his bandmate in Government Issue, Tom Lyle, who as it turns out, also produced this Pentagram record...and between the two of them, they knew how to take care of their records.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

In Need Of A Miracle

There was a lot of hype around the new Miracle Drug record that was being released this summer. The band features some older Hardcore dudes...no one that I'm terribly familiar with, but they have been around, playing in bands like Mouthpiece and By The Grace Of God, so when preorders went up, I figured that I'd take a chance on it. Seemed like everyone was excited for it, and I didn't want to miss out.

I had downloaded the Miracle Drug demo last year, but I never really spent any time with it. I didn't even bother to chase the vinyl release for it, but with the new release I figured that I'd give them a fresh shot. To be honest, I wasn't really hooked after the first couple of listens...it was solid, straight forward Hardcore...but my first impression left me a bit disappointed. After sitting with it, and letting the songs sink in with repeat listens, I'm starting to appreciate it more.

When I placed my order, I couldn't resist the blue vinyl with the screened b-side.

It seemed a bit odd to screen the image in reverse, but when you check the a-side with some nice back lighting, it looks pretty cool.

100 pressed.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Soul Power

The past few years I've struggled to stay interested in newer Hardcore bands. That's not to say that some cool shit hasn't been released...I just generally didn't care to stick with it after a handful of spins. Considering there was time when I was on top of just about every new release, this was a dramatic shift in my mindset.

Earlier this year, that spark to hunt out some newer bands was reignited, and after being blown away by a string of Triple B records, suddenly I found myself hot to check out some other new bands and see what I'd been missing out on.

This summer, Marcus posted about a new record from a UK band named Higher Power. I'd never heard of them, but looking back at his previous blog posts, he had apparently brought up their name a few times. I must have been pretty headstrong in my resistance, because even though I follow his blog closely, neither of these posts had stuck with me...and I didn't bother following up on his recommendation...until now.

Aesthetically, there was something about this record that grabbed my attention. The bright colors and cover photo just reminded me of some early 90's Euro Straight Edge record. With a bit of nostalgia, and Marcus' recommendation, I decided to take a chance on it.

There is definitely a Desperate Measures-era Leeway vibe here, and at times the vocals take me back to the first Into Another album. Man, there is something about this record that I can't shake, and I want to listen to it over and over again.

300 pressed on clear with orange haze.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Spark Of Influence

Last year, I was crushing pretty hard on 90's Hardcore. I spent a lot of time stuck in daily playlists from that era, and found myself obsessively hunting down records that I thought I'd lost passion for long ago. One of those bands was Sparkmarker. It had been a while since I'd really spent any time with them, and revisiting their discography had me head over heals and hunting down pieces of vinyl that were missing from my collection.

I posted about it at the time, and it created a kind of Butterfly Effect that carried it's way across the Atlantic, influencing Marcus to dust off the Sparkmarker catalog, and buy a piece of vinyl that he had been missing.

And that influence comes full circle, as his blog post sparked me (excuse the pun) to chase the vinyl that he recently picked up.

When I was picking off Sparkmarker targets last year, I decided not to mess around with their split with Mystery Machine. I ignored it for two reasons. First, the Sparkmarker song on this split, Keep The Quarter, shows up later on the band's full length record...and second, I'd never even heard of Mystery Machine before, so who gives a fuck about their song?

Still, Marcus made a point of saying that he'd never even seen the blue vinyl pressing before, and that they didn't seem to come around too often, and of course now that he had one, two more were available on Discogs. I took the bait, and 5 minutes later, there was only one left on Discogs. I'm not going to be left out like a sucker.

Not to let Marcus get one up on me in the Sparkmarker game, I had to grab the clear vinyl pressing as well. It only cost me $3.50, so why not. So within the span of 10 minutes, I'd gone from not caring the least about the Sparkmarker/Mystery Machine split, to owning two copies.

The recording for Keep The Quarter here was done a few months prior to the LP, and this version sounds really cool with the more raw production...and surprisingly, the Mystery Machine song here does not suck. I'm not sure if I'd be interested in hanging with them for a full length, but I dig this song.

Okay, now that I had every 7 inch pressed for Sparkmarker, the only hole in my collection was the 500wattburner@seven LP...and for less than $10, I was able to cross that one off the list.

I was kind of surprised that this was such a cheap find. Sure, I would expect Sparkmarker vinyl to fly under the radar these days...but colored vinyl...from Revelation's weird cousin, Crisis Records? I thought it would still take a bit more effort than that.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Haunted Town

I've slowly been cutting back my record collection, and selling some pieces that I no longer wanted through Discogs. My rule of thumb when selling something has been to immediately turn around and spend twice what I received on a new record. Selling something for $30, means that I can invest that into a $60 record. Makes perfect sense to me.

I had some cash sitting in my Paypal account from a recent sale, and I wanted to put that to good use, and hunt down another Hardcore Punk classic. I've done a pretty good job this year, knocking off some serious records from my Wantlist, and I wanted to continue the trend.

With a serious early 80's Punk obsession brewing, I've had the Haunted Town record from The Effigies in my sights for most of this year. With the songs in constant rotation in my daily playlists, I was just waiting for the time to be right to make my move.

The Effigies were out of Chicago, and alongside Articles Of Faith and Naked Raygun, that area seemed to have it's own sound. Those bands don't seem to get the spotlight or recognition that bands from Boston or D.C. receive, but these days, I find myself appreciating them more and more.

Original 1981 pressing on Autumn Records.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Dillinger Gunpowder

Autumn is just around the corner, and cooler temperatures are rolling in...but here I am still digging through my record backlog from those Summer days when the sun was still high in the sky, and pop punk was blasting from my stereo as I was headed to the beach.

Over the past two years, Pinhead Gunpowder had kind of become my go-to band for a Summer soundtrack. I picked up the Carry The Banner record earlier this Summer, and was hoping to expand the collection a bit more.

Last year I discovered that Pinhead Gunpowder did a split with Dillinger Four. It didn't seem to show up from US sellers too often, so I threw it up on my Discogs Wantlist, and played the waiting game.

A month after picking up Carry The Banner, I got a notice the the split with Dillinger Four was available, and the timing was perfect for me to swoop in and grab it.

I've always loved D4, but it was cool to find that this split had a couple of songs that I'd never heard. 17 years after their release, here I am giving the songs their first spin on my turntable and hearing them for the first time.

These songs are great...with all the energy and attitude that you would expect from the classic D4 years. Funny how I discovered this record by hunting down Pinhead Gunpowder stuff, but now, this is tempting me to add some Dillinger Four vinyl to the collection.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Waste Punishment

After busting out a new Thrash album every couple of years since 2003, Municipal Waste has been quiet since 2012's Fatal Feast. There may have been five years of silence, but band members have kept busy with other projects...and with Iron Reagan releasing a new record earlier this year, I really wasn't expecting a new slab of wax from Municipal Waste.

This record was a blind buy. Hell, I didn't even dick around with the video that was released for Breathe Grease...no need for preview...I figured that I'd dive into the full album once it arrived. A new Waste record is always welcome in my collection, and Slime And Punishment does not disappoint. Full on thrash.

I'm not normally a splatter vinyl guy, but this green and yellow pressing is a perfect match with the album cover. 500 pressed.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Th' Inbred Reproduction

Back in the mid to late 80's, when I first started discovering punk, one of the early bands that I'd heard was Th' Inbred. I love that band...in fact, to this day, their 1986 LP, A Family Affair, remains one of my favorite hardcore/punk records of all time.

I've had an eBay alert set for the Reproduction EP from Th' Inbred for a long time now. The record doesn't show up very often, but over the years, each time I'd get a notification that one was available, I'd make some excuse to let it pass me by. Since the theme of 2017 seems to be "I buy what the fuck I want", when a copy of Th' Inbred 7 inch recently came on to my radar, I threw more money out the window, just to cross another big item off my Want List.

This EP doesn't measure up the the two albums from the band, but it is still a fun listen with a heavy influence of Dead Kennedys, and I'm stoked to finally have this underrated classic in the collection.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Taking In 16 Year Old Runaways

For the longest time, I was a bit resistant when it came to female fronted bands. I grew up with Joan Jett and Lita Ford, and as I got deeper and deeper into Metal, they didn't bring enough aggression and angst to meet what I was looking for. My musical tastes have expanded a bit since those days as a young and angry teen, and lately I've been looking to discover some long lost gems that I've been missing out on...and ironically, one of those bands features Joan Jett and Lita Ford.

I really wasn't familiar with The Runaways, and I can't remember what it was that pushed me to finally check them out. I'm sure that Doug was an influence...and falling in love with Girlschool's Hit And Run certainly helped as well. Once I'd checked out a video over on youtube for Cherry Bomb, it was all over...I was in love. The song kicked ass, and with the singer, Cherie Currie, strutting around in lingerie and looking cute as hell, I needed to find out more about this band. Oh fuck...she was only 16 at the time.

This album is a lot of fun and the songs straddle a line between raucous rock and roll and punk rock. These girls must have been tough as nails to pull this off back in '76.

For the young at heart...

I feel like simply owning this album, with this gatefold sleeve, is going to get me on a list in some database somewhere. I may want to hold off on picking up a first press German copy of Virgin Killer from Scorpions. Owning both of these records could lead to trouble.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Youngblood Stand Off

Since I was in the Youngblood shop picking up the D.C. Disorder record, I figured that I might as well add a couple more records to the cart before making my exit.

I wasn't initially impressed with the Stand Off demo...it wasn't bad in any way...it just failed to leave much of an impression on me. Still, that didn't stop me from picking up their new 7 inch, Behind The Wire. I figured that these D.C. kids had enough energy and passion, so I'd stick it out and see how they improved with their follow up to the demo.

Things definitely improve here. It still doesn't fully grab me, but I can appreciate it.

150 pressed on blue vinyl.

While I was happy to have the Damaged City pressing of the demo 7 inch, and didn't really need another copy, I still felt obliged to pick up the limited colored vinyl while it was available.

200 pressed on clear vinyl.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Naive To A World

I was late to the party with the Discrepancy release from Youngblood. I was not going to make that mistake this time around. I was itching for some new Hardcore bands, and as soon as the D.C. Disorder record was available for preorder, I was there.

It has been a long time since I've been gone overboard and bought every pressing that is available for a record, but listening to all these new Hardcore bands had me experiencing record collecting flashbacks...back when I was super excited over multiple pressings...and I was loving what heard from D.C. Disorder, so I jumped straight into the deep end.

D.C. Disorder features the bass player from Worn Thin, who were around in the early 2000's. I caught them live at the Youth Of Today reunion back in 2004...and since reunions weren't the everyday occurrence that they are these days, a few of us hoped in a car and made the drive to Pennsylvania to catch the show. Worn Thin played, and I remember being surprised to see their bass player with this spiked mohawk. Over 10 years later, and it looks like the dude is still maintaining it! Damn, that is some dedication.

150 pressed on blue, 200 on red, and 300 on black.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Strength Lies With Youngblood

Earlier this year, I found myself on a huge kick with newer Hardcore bands. I haven't felt that charged up in long time, and was scrambling to check out on a bunch of bands that I'd ignored recently. I'd had my head buried in the sand for the past couple of years, so I had a bunch of new bands to dig into.

Youngblood Records rarely lets me down, so when I started looking for bands that I'd missed out on, they seemed like a good place to start.

The Discrepancy record is a year or two old, and I remember when Youngblood first put them up for pre-order. Either I missed the announcement, or I was too slow pulling myself out of the Heavy Metal headspace I was in, but by the time I got to the Youngblood store, the limited colored vinyl had already sold out. With black vinyl as the only option, I just couldn't be bothered at the time, and I left the store empty handed. I didn't even bother listening to the songs.

Fast forward to January of 2017, and my interest in new Hardcore bands was starting to gain some momentum, and with some new Youngblood pre-orders going up in their store, I figured that I'd grab that Discrepancy 7 inch as well.

Damn! I've been missing out! This four song demo from 2014 is great. Please tell me that there is more to come from this band.

300 pressed on black vinyl.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Stuck In The 90's: Finale - Reach The Sky

As the 90's came to a close, a lot of that weird shit fell away, and bands got back to playing straight up Hardcore again. For me, it was perfect timing for the "Youth Crew revival" to happen, as I was growing more and more tired of the screamo/chaotic thing that was going on. As we got over the hump of '95, I just wanted to get back to stagedives and singalongs.

Thankfully, a bunch of bands came around at the perfect time, and made Hardcore fun again.

Reach The Sky were one of those bands. When they were on stage, their passion and energy just carried out to the floor. They didn't follow the Youth Crew template, but man, kids loved to crowd to the front of the stage and jump around.

When I was recently at the Violence To Fade show back at the end of May, I was checking out some records that someone had for sale. In the pile were a bunch of Reach The Sky records, and they caught my attention. I didn't have the money to buy them at the time, but it planted a seed. I'd never really considered chasing multiple copies of the Reach The Sky records, but seeing a few pieces of colored vinyl at the distro table ignited a spark, and after getting home from the show I couldn't stop thinking about them. It didn't take me long to hit up discogs, and find a seller with multiple pressings available.

I already own the red vinyl for the Lost Glories 7 inch, so I grabbed the gold and blue pressings. I just need the white vinyl to call this one complete.

When Reach The Sky released Open Roads And Broken Dreams back in '98, I was all about the CD, and didn't buy the vinyl. This white pressing is my first piece of vinyl for this one, and I'm happy add it to the collection.

The Everybody's Hero record is pointless, as the four songs here ended up on the band's So Far From Home album....but then again, I just bought my second and third copies of the Lost Glories 7 inch, so I've got "pointless" nailed down.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Stuck In The 90's: Part 6 - 1996 AP Is For Action Patrol

Back in 1995, I traveled to Boston to see Avail play at The Middle East. Avail were notorious for their fun live shows at the time, but when I think back to that show, the only thing that I remember about it was Action Patrol opening for them. I'd never heard of them, and when they took the stage with their orange jumpsuits, thick black rimmed glasses, hilarious between song banter, and their brand of spastic punk rock, I was immediately sold on them.

I bought their first 7 inch at the show that night, and then shortly after that they released their full length album, The Weak Force. By the time the final 7 inch, B Is for Bombard, was released in 1996, I was an idiot and had pretty much stopped buying vinyl, so these songs went unheard until they released their discography CD the following year.

I love everything that Action Patrol released. When bands were getting way too serious and screamo, Action Patrol were like, "Fuck that, lets have fun". A truly unique band.

I've been on the hunt for the B Is For Bombard record for a while. It isn't rare or expensive, but it just seemed like the only sellers that had it available were from overseas, and I wasn't interested in high shipping rates for a $4.00 record. When I noticed that one was available from a US seller, I jumped on it. Very happy to finally have this record in the collection.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Stuck In The 90's: Part 5 - 1995 Buzzy Trip

One of the things that I love about 90's Hardcore/Punk was the variety of sounds. Bands were doing their own thing, and in the early part of the decade, it seemed like every band was pushing the boundaries of Punk and Hardcore, and creating new styles. These days, I don't know if I'd have the understanding and patience to hang with new bands that were that adventurous, but back in the 90's, that shit was king.

Bad Trip were one of those bands that were difficult to pin down when describing their sound. Sure there is a touch of Quicksand in there, but really, Bad Trip just seemed to do their own thing. While on the surface, it could be easy to think that they didn't really fit in anywhere, but still, it was the early to mid-90's, so maybe that means they fit in with everyone.

I've always preferred the first Bad Trip album, Fear And Loathing, over their second, Buzzy...and because of that, I've dragged my feet on picking it up. Not that Buzzy is bad, but it just doesn't have that immediate punch that the first album delivered. With the 90's obsession at full steam, it seems like the right time to finally cross this one off the list.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Stuck In The 90's: Part 4 - 1994 Pinhead No More

Last Summer I took a casual hit of Pinhead Gunpowder and it grew into a full blown obsession that lead me to finally pick up the band's first two 7 inches. I listened to the shit out of those two records as that style became my soundtrack to the Summer of 2016.

With the warm Summer temperatures, and a 90's obsession in full swing, it was inevitable that I'd be drawn back to the sounds of Pinhead Gunpowder...and with that came the need to buy another piece of vinyl from them. This time around I went for their third release, Carry The Banner.

This was the first release that I'd heard from the band back in the late 90's. Of course I picked up the CD at the time, so it is good to finally add the vinyl to the collection now.

I was tempted to chase the colored vinyl repress, but in the end, cooler heads prevailed and I stuck with the original first press on Too Many Records...even though it is a 10 inch.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Stuck In The 90's: Part 3 - 1991 Fletch Of Reality

The Discogs wantlist feature is a fucking curse. Each day it provides me with an email reminder of all the records that I want, and how many are available for the taking with just a click of a button. She is a dirty hustler, calling to me from some darkened back alley, tempting me with the promise of a ménage à trois involving records and my paypal account. I mean, I'm only human. How much temptation can I be expected to resist?

At some point I added the Fletch 7 inch from Slap Of Reality to my wantlist. I can't remember the exact reason, but it most likely went something like this, "Hey, I own the first two Slap Of Reality 7 inches, so if I can pick up Fletch on green vinyl for cheap, I might as well go for it". And like that, it was on the list, and I was getting occasional reminders that sellers had it available...the problem was that everyone on Discogs selling it was from overseas. The price was right, but I wasn't too excited about the prospect of paying more for shipping than the cost of the record...so I decided to wait it out, when the time was right, I'd grab it.

Well, when I was picking up the Hunger Farm album from an overseas seller, I noticed that they had the Fletch 7 inch available as well. Bonus!

As for the songs on this record, it really isn't anything "new", as both Radiate and Where's It Going ended being recorded for the Three Lefts Make A Right album...but here, on this 7 inch, the songs sound more raw, with more of a Hardcore edge. I'm sure that most people don't care about Slap Of Reality records in 2017, so why am I so excited to finally own this 25 years after it's release?

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Stuck In The 90's: Part 2 - 1991 Hunger Games

Picking up the two Hunger Farm 7 inches earlier this year proved to be an awesome find. Great stuff that fits in nicely with what Lookout Records was releasing from bands like Cringer and Monsula. Somehow, I missed out on this band at the time, but discovering them in 2017 is like finding a long forgotten buried treasure.

With my 90's obsession in full swing, and having just discovered the two Hunger Farm 7 inches, I figured that I might as well grab their full length LP as well. It was tough to find a copy on green vinyl here in the US, so I ended up grabbing a copy from an overseas seller in the Discogs Marketplace. Solid deal at just over $6.00 for a record that is over 25 years old and still in the shrink wrap.

When I posted a picture of the first two Hunger Farm 7 inches to Instagram, Big Frank from Nemesis Records commented that the high point for the band was the Dogma LP. Initially, I wasn't feeling it...but with repeat listens, this album grows on me more and more. Surprising that this band wasn't making more noise at the time, because I'm loving them right now.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Stuck In The 90's: Part 1 - In A Time Of Catharsis

I love a good obsession...those times when I can't get my mind off a certain era of music, and I get stuck in a cycle, repeating the playlist over and over again. Inevitably, these kind of things lead to a record shopping spree, and with some recent purchases stacking up, I figured that I'd group a series of blog posts together to showcase the fallout of my recent 90's obsession.

Back in the early 90's, when I picked up the first two Endpoint albums (not counting that If The Spirits Are Willing cassette), I was oblivious to the concept of limited color vinyl pressings. I grabbed a copy of both In A Time Of Hate and Catharsis on black vinyl, and I was happy just to own the record.

At some point over the last 10 years, I discovered that the first pressing of In A Time Of Hate had a red cover, as opposed to the blue one that I was familiar with...and on top of that, it was pressed on blue vinyl. I was shocked. How was I in the dark for so long?

When Marcus posted on his blog that he had picked up extra copies of those first two Endpoint records on colored vinyl, and them available to anyone that wanted them, I immediately hit him up to take them off his hands.

In addition to the red cover and colored vinyl, the first pressing has a different back cover. I love the look of that thick, black X on the hand...90's Straight Edge rules.

The first two Endpoint records are the most straight forward and solid Hardcore records from their discography, and are easily my favorites from them. Trying to pick between In A Time Of Hate and Catharsis is an impossible task. While Catharsis is definitely more solid, the youthful energy of In A Time Of Hate is tough to ignore.

Pressing info on these two records is a mystery to me, but I'm happy to finally own the colored vinyl in my collection.