Monday, July 24, 2017

Sunshine Seems Important

Back in 2009/2010, when I was at the height of my record collecting frenzy, and buying multiple copies of just about every new release, one my go-to record labels was Just Another Day. The label specialized in multiple colored vinyl pressings, and at the time I had a mindset of "more is better", so I was loving the insanity of it.

The label eventually closed up shop, and then changed hands with Rune taking over and then changing the name to Never Back Down Records.

I wasn't really interested in the first Never Back Down release, and when the label started talking about their second record, an album from a band named Molly, I thought that I might be skipping this one as well. With the label making comparisons to Husker Du and Dinosaur Jr, I felt like this Molly record would hold zero interest for me. Still, I was listening to a bunch of new music at the time, and decided that it couldn't hurt to just give a song or two a quick listen to verify that I didn't like it as much as I expected.

Much to my surprise, I found myself kind of digging the first song that I checked out. There was something about that song that kept tugging at my brain, and asking me to check it out again...and again. I wasn't sure how much I was going to really enjoy the record, but I knew that I needed to buy myself a copy and dig in deeper.

This record is a flashback to '91/'92 when I was listening to a lot of R.E.M. and Nirvana, and I can definitely hear those influences here. While I would expect this kind of thing to irritate the shit out of me, strangely enough, I find myself drawn to this record.

Number 17 out of 108 pressed on the blue/clear split for preorders.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The State I'm In

My biggest surprise from last year was the new Rough Kids album. I'd never heard of the band before, but they came along at the right time, and fit that late 70's punk sound that I was obsessing over at the time.

That Rough Kids album went all the way to number one on my Best of 2016 list. I loved that record, but held back from rushing out to scoop up their 2013 debut album, The State I'm In. I wanted to fully soak in that new record, and didn't want to somehow dilute that by adding their first album into the mix too soon. So I waited it out a full year, before I decided the time was right to finally check out that first Rough Kids album.

The State I'm In fits that same '77 Punk sound, at times reminding me of the first album from The Adverts. How is it that a newer band can play a style of Punk that is 40 years old, and still have it sound fresh and vital?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Metal Church Live

Hands down, one of my favorite concerts last year was when Metal Church played a small club in Portland. Mike Howe's reunion with the band, had me obsessing over the three albums they did with him back in the late 80's/early 90's. I was listening to those albums like crazy and could not get enough...and on top of that, their newest record was impressive as hell. Having never seen Metal Church live before, I couldn't have been more stoked to see them when they came through town. A smile was permanently fixed on my face as I watched the band tear through some new tunes and a bunch of older classics.

I'm usually not too interested in live albums, but having such great memories of seeing Metal Church last year, I couldn't resist picking up their latest live release as a nice reminder of the show.

As the Classic Live title alludes to, none of the songs from their newest album are included here...only material from the bands original run...and with those last couple of Mike Howe albums feeling a bit under appreciated, it is nice to see songs like Gods Of A Second Chance and No Friend Of Mine falling under that "classic" umbrella. Solid fucking track list.

Only 300 pressed on vinyl, and only available through the band's website.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Virtual Maiden

All the cool kids like to look down their nose at Iron Maiden's Blaze Bayley years. I get it, after years of Bruce Dickinson's voice behind the mic, Blaze can be a bit jarring. Hell, it took me a number of years to come around to it, but these days, I'm on the Maiden train from start to finish. I love those oddball Blaze albums, and while I recognize they don't measure up when compared to anything else from the Maiden catalog, I probably still reach for them as much as anything else.

As much as I enjoy X Factor and Virtual XI, it was tough call to include the original vinyl pressing on my Want List. Trying to collect mid to late 90's Metal vinyl could break the strongest of record collectors. Vinyl was damn near extinct at the time, and if you want to chase anything from that era, you better be bringing stacks of cash...for a popular band like Iron Maiden, you better bring double.

The original 1995 pressing of X Factor was a bit steep, but it was manageable for me, but when it came to Virtual XI, with an average price of $300, things got a bit more serious. Earlier this year, I finally said "Fuck it", and I decided to step up and show that I was a serious player in the Maiden game. I had the record on my Top 10 Wants for 2017 list, I was getting ready to make a move and check it off...and then Iron Maiden announced that they were even repressing every album from 1990's No Prayer For The Dying through their latest picture disc release 2012's En Vivo. Unbelievably, Maiden were repressing the Blaze Bayley albums.

This put my thoughts into a spin. Did I save loads of money and go for the repress, or did I stick to my guns with the original press? I tossed the question around in my head over and over again. Taking the cheap way out felt dirty, but in the end $300 is a ridiculous amount of money to ask for what may be the weakest release in the Maiden catalog, so I put the money back in my wallet for another day, and I took the reissue for $30.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Nightmare Shovell

I've got a weird relationship with Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell. With each record they release, I check out the latest music video, I absolutely love it...then I rush to buy the vinyl, which I give a few spins, and then I put it on the shelf and there it sits, pretty much ignored. I get all excited about it initially, and then it quickly becomes something I push to the side.

...and yet, I keep running to buy the latest Shovell release. Go figure.

When the new video for the latest single was released, I figured that I'd check it out. Videos from the Shovell, never fail to entertain, and with the one for Nightmare full of photos of naked girls from old magazines, it does not disappoint. The song itself is okay, but doesn't really grab me by the throat and command my attention...and the same goes for the b-side In A Damaged Brain. Good enough, I guess, but I don't know how often I'll be spinning this thing.

Only 100 pressed on black vinyl.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Number Of The Beast

Last year, Beastmaker released their Doom debut, Lusus Naturae. For me, they seemed to come out nowhere, and that album was a great surprise. When Rise Above announced pre-orders for the band's follow up album, Inside The Skull, I was shocked. Two albums over two years? I didn't know that bands could still put albums out at this frequency.

One of the things that first attracted me to Beastmaker was the cover art for their first album. With Inside The Skull, the album artwork is still really cool looking, and the entire packaging really captures the feel and sound of the band.

Beastmaker know their Doom influences, and wear them proudly on their sleeve. Videos for Evil One and Nature Of The Damned show the band enveloped in the horror doom imagery, and pounding out the songs.

Die Hard pressing limited to 100 copies on black vinyl, and includes a giant poster featuring Fangoria artist, Kelly Forbes.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Black And Blue God

Black God rolled out a few 7 inch records from 2011 to 2013, and I could not get enough of them. They really hooked me at the time, and even sucked me into buying multiple copies of each one. Then after that initial burst of activity, the band went silent. Almost four years later, Black God come out of nowhere, and drop another 7 inch.

With their latest 7 inch, 4our, Black God stick with the formula they perfected through their first three records. They carry a strong 90's Hardcore sound, and still come across as totally unique in today's Hardcore scene.

100 pressed on opaque blue vinyl.

The first three Black God records have a set of rules etched into the dead wax, and I was looking forward to see what commandments they would lay forth this time around. Rule #7 and #8 were new for this record, but I'll post the full set here for the hell of it.

Rule #1: No song over two minutes

Rule #2: No record over six songs

Rule #3: No record larger than seven inches

Rule #4: No cover songs

Rule #5: No splits

Rule #6: No stress

Rule #7: No Idea

Rule #8: Break Rule #1

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Hit And Red

At the end of 2015, I picked up a copy of Decibel Magazine that counted down the top 100 old school metal albums. I love a good list, and had a great time reading about their Top 100. I'm a huge metalhead, so I knew most of the albums listed, but there were still a few surprises from records that I'd never heard before.

One of these surprises was Girlschool.

Of course I was familiar with the band name...having recorded the St. Valentines Day Massacre split with Motorhead kind of makes it hard to have never heard of Girlschool before...still, outside of their songs with Motorhead, I never bothered.

I was determined to listen to every album on Decibel's Top 100, and with Girlschool's second album, Hit and Run, charting at number 68, I grabbed a sneaky download, and threw it into the mix.

Much to my surprise, I loved it. Their punked up kind of rock n roll, hit all the right buttons, and I found myself listening to those songs daily.

For me, there is something really cool about colored vinyl in the 70's and early 80's. Black vinyl was king at the time, as opposed to today, where every album gets 10 different colored vinyl grabbing colored vinyl from those early days seems special to me. When I discovered that there was a red vinyl pressing of Hit and Run, I had to grab one.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

No Place For European Disgrace

Recently, there was a post on the Braveboard, asking what your two favorite songs were off of Flotsam & Jetsam's No Place For Disgrace album. The first song to come to mind was I Live You Die, but after that, I was at a loss as to what song number two might be. The only way to find the answer was to give the album a spin.

I love this album, but I only owned my original CD pressing that I bought back when I was 17 or 18 years old. When I started checking discogs for what it may cost me to finally add the vinyl to my collection, I noticed that the cover for the European pressing looked slightly different from the US version. This was all it took for me to go from a casual "I'd like to own this album on vinyl" to an immediate "I need this right fucking now".

Sometimes it is the little differences, and after years of being familiar with the blue cover for No Place For Disgrace, owning the red and black cover was something fresh, and just seemed cool.

This album is a straight up Thrash classic, and can easily stand toe to toe with some of the other heavy hitters that were released in 1988.

Oh...and for the record, the second song that I chose as my favorite would be the title track, No Place For Disgrace. Hari Kari!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Rocket To Russia

I've enjoyed the Ramones, on and off, over the years, but I've never really been that excited over them. I'd give their early stuff a listen now and then, but it wasn't anything that really came close to making my record collecting Want List...until last year. Last year, I became obsessed with Punk albums from 1977, and included in that all encompassing blaze were the Ramones.

Since that passion for late 70's punk was ignited, I've toyed with the idea of chasing the Ramones '77 albums, Leave Home and Rocket To Russia. With U.S. politics full of stories involving an orange president, Russian golden showers, and sketchy secret meetings, it helped to sway my decision.

Once again, Russia is rigging the selection process here in the U.S..

This album is a blast. Solid Punk Rock from start to finish.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Machine Response 7 inch

At the beginning of June, I would have had to write a blog post almost every day in order to catch up with the backlog of new records that are piling up on the floor in my music room. It is cluttered and unorganized, and with stacks of records crying out to be filed appropriately, it is giving me anxiety attacks every time I add a new one to the pile.

My plan was go fucking nuts this past month, and blog like a maniac to get caught up. Yeah, that didn't happen. Warmer weather rolled around, and I found myself out of the house interacting with other human beings. It has been terrible. Can't a man just stay inside watching movies and listening to records? Why does this world demand so much of me?

So as we approach the end of the month, and I'm making a desperate attempt to get my post count to double digits for June, now seems like a good time to blog about a record that saw was behind schedule more than I was.

I first ordered the new Career Suicide 7 inch back in November last year. A full six months later, the record finally arrived in my mailbox. I'm not sure what the delay was, and I wasn't really sweating it, but judging from the note on the inside cover, it sounds like it was a painful ordeal for the band.

It seems kind of strange for Career Suicide to release a new 7 inch and an album this year, giving the Machine Response name to both of them. You couldn't find a different title for each record? Oh well. No matter, because eight years after their last EP release, Career Suicide still rip with that early 80's Hardcore Punk sound. Worth the wait.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Familiar, Not Forgotten

I've been entertaining the thought of picking up the Walleye LP for years. It has been a cycle of getting stuck in some mid-90's nostalgia, and listening to that stuff on an endless loop for weeks, with my thoughts inevitably turning to Walleye.

Adding the Walleye album to the collection is no major feat...and you can pick it up for super cheap whenever you want. Because of this fact, there has never been any great pressure to buy it. It makes it too easy to procrastinate, and I kept pushing it out, saying that I'd get it next month...and then months turned to years.

Last month, I found myself in that familiar place of 90's obsession, and when Walleye popped up on my iPod playlist, I figured that it was finally time to get the job done. I hit up discogs, and five dollars later, I was finally crossing this off my Want List.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Maybe Tomorrow

There is still no greater thrill than the feeling of finally crossing off old records, that you grew up with, from your want list. It doesn't matter if it is a $150 rarity, or a $15 pick up...adding those albums, that helped shape who I am today, to the collection, still provides me with a charge that tempts me to sell my kids on the black market, and buy more records with the $50 that I'd get for them.

Insted were a huge part of my transition from Metal into Hardcore around 1990 or so. I wasn't tough or hard like the Slapshot or Cro-Mags guys, and when I saw the pictures of Insted, and read their interviews...they seemed like a band that I could relate to. Insted were MY band, and really helped shape my mindset. I hung on their every word, and their songs Feel Their Pain and Maybe Tomorrow were the major catalyst that pushed me to go vegetarian. I even, in a moment of embarrassing fan boy mania, tracked down Kevinsted's phone number, and called him repeatedly, leaving messages on his answering machine, until he changed his message to something along the lines of, "If this is Mike from Maine, give me a call this Sunday at 7:00. I'll be home, and can talk then.". Hey, I'd heard rumors they had just broken up, and I was determined to find out if it was true, and take the chance to speak to one of my Hardcore heroes. Man, I was a nerd.

So yeah...Insted and their What We Believe album was huge for me as a kid, so it feels especially good to finally add the vinyl to my collection.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Hole In The Sky

In my entire record collecting career, one of the highlights has to be completing the Vertigo Four for Black Sabbath. Buying those first four Sabbath albums, all as complete UK Vertigo swirl label first pressings, was a huge accomplishment that pushed my spending limits and had me stressing overtime until they arrived safely on my doorstep in excellent condition. It took me about three years to get them all, but in reality, my Sabbath mission was far from complete. I still had more original UK pressings for the band in my sights.

Even though I own the majority of the Ozzy and Dio-era Sabbath albums on vinyl, there was one record that has always eluded me...Sabotage. Having owned it on CD for years, I knew Sabotage well enough, and there have been times where I would call it my favorite Sabbath album...but still, it was embarrassing to admit that this piece of vinyl was still a hole in my collection.

Having left Vertigo behind after Vol. 4, and then making a brief stop on the WWA label for Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, the band found themselves on NEMS for the first UK pressing of Sabotage. Following in the footsteps that Doug laid down with his blog post back in 2013, I knew that this was the pressing that I had to chase. Thankfully, prices drop considerably after the Vertigo Four, so it didn't put a strain on the savings account when I finally grabbed one. I don't know if it is due to the textured cover, or what, but this sleeve is in amazing condition considering that it is over 40 years old.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Free At Last

Triple B has been dominating my playlist for current Hardcore bands. I'm not getting sucked in to buying every release by the label, but damn, there are a handful of records that have been my favorites over the past year or so...and the latest Free 7 inch is no exception.

Free is basically a Have Heart reunion under a different name. The only problem that I have with the whole thing is that now I have two bands named Free in my collection...and I hate it when that happens. Outside of that petty pet peeve, this record is everything that you would expect from Pat Flynn and company.

Somehow I missed the announcement that preorders were available, and by the time I got into the store, the limited clear vinyl had already sold out. 500 on grey and 800 pressed on black vinyl.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

When Then Becomes Now

While I've recently been rolling with a bunch of newer Hardcore bands, Triple B releases picks the perfect time to drop a new 7 inch from Abuse Of Power in my lap. I couldn't get enough of their demo from last year, and I jumped at the chance to hear more from this band.

Abuse Of Power still maintain that early 90's, Outspoken and Mouthpiece feel, and still sound like they would have fit right in alongside those bands on the Words To Live By comp. That time period was when I was really starting to immerse myself into Hardcore, so listening to Abuse Of Power has the nostalgia kicking in full time. I love this stuff.

I only ordered the limited black vinyl pressing from Triple B, but I'm feeling a strong pull to go back and order the colored vinyl as well.

100 pressed on black.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Can't Kill The Tribe Dream

I wasn't too familiar with Our Side, but when I saw they were playing at the Violence To Fade record release show, I figured that I better dust off their 7 inch that I'd picked up a few years ago. According to my blog post at the time, I had really enjoyed it...I just hadn't listened to it since then, and I'd forgotten all about it. Digging it out, and giving it a spin again, reminded me of how great this record was, and I was really looking forward to checking them out live.

As I walked into the show, I noticed that there was a merch table set up, and someone was selling the Our Side 7 inch with a special sleeve that was made just for this show. Damn right...I was buying one.

Labelled as the Show Of The Century Edition, with a special lyric sheet that was thrown together for this release, and hand numbered out of 50.

When Our Side kicked off their set with the intro to Detroit Rock City, I couldn't have had a bigger smile on my face. They played a fun set, and had I been more familiar with their songs, I would have been right in the mix, singing along and getting pushed around.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

The Mighty Violence To Fade

It has been a long time since I've gone out to a Hardcore show. Holy shit. I can't even remember when it was? We have got to be talking years. Yup...I'm that old guy now that doesn't want to leave his house, and would rather go to bed early with a good book than deal with Boston parking and see Judge play a reunion show. I hate myself.

Some newer Hardcore bands have been kicking my ass this year, and they managed to shake me from this slumber that I've been trapped in for the past few years. When Keith from Violence To Fade announced that his band was having a record release show for their new album, I committed myself to shaking off the cobwebs, and getting out to a Hardcore show.

I love a good record release cover, and the one that Violence To Fade put together does not disappoint. Keith is a huge superhero and anime fan, so to see this comic book cover for the Unstoppable Force record release is a perfect fit.

There were a few bands on the bill that I was interested in checking out. Glory was the one that I was most excited to see, but Violence To Fade, Our Side, and Vantage Point were great to see as well...and Red Sun is definitely a band to keep an eye for in the future. Too bad the sound was so terrible in VFW hall that the vocals were buried in the wall of sound. Hey, I guess that I've been spoiled over the past few years with Metal bands and a decent PA.

Number 8 out of only 25 made for the show. Worth making the two and a half hour drive for this alone!

Before the record release show, my preorder for Unstoppable Force arrived from Triple B. Such a solid influence of that classic New York Hardcore sound. Another great release from Triple B.

100 pressed on blue.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Black Vinyl Sux

I'm not the biggest Descendents fan in the world. They can be really good, and a load of fun to listen to, but I don't really consider them terribly collectible for myself. Still, when I was thinking about finally buying a copy of Everything Sucks on vinyl, I had some colored vinyl copies in my Want List on Discogs.

All that changed when I noticed that my local record store had the new 20th anniversary pressing in stock. Lured in by the embossed cover and bonus 7 inch, I didn't stand a chance to resist the temptation of instant gratification.

In my haste, I failed to do any research, and later discovered that this was pressed on a couple different colors as well. Great. Not the original pressing. Not colored vinyl. Just your common black vinyl pressing. Fuck me.

Since I'd never heard the two songs on the bonus 7 inch, that was the bait that hooked me. Two cool Descendents songs that were a nice addition to this album.

Despite my disappointment in not waiting to chase the limited colored vinyl, and since I only need one copy in my collection, I'll look on the bright side, and just be happy to finally own a copy of this on vinyl.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Doubled Horse

Troubled Horse caught my attention back in 2013 with the release of their first album, Step Inside. Rise Above Records was on fire with a streak of amazing albums, and with the word that Troubled Horse had some ex-members of Witchcraft, I downloaded the songs to check them out. The band met all my expectations, but for one reason or another I never got around to picking up the vinyl.

While Troubled Horse walked a similar path as Witchcraft, the band never seemed to come close to that level of popularity. It's a shame, because Step Inside is an awesome ride.

You can tell how underrated Troubled Horse is, because five years after its release, Rise Above still has Die Hard pressings available in their webstore. It was tempting to pick one up while I was placing an order recently, but cooler heads prevailed, and I decided to save a few bucks and went with the red vinyl option. 300 pressed.

The reason that Troubled Horse were back on my radar was because they had a new album on the way. I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that Rise Above was releasing the band's sophomore record, Revolution On Repeat. I had no idea that this was in the works, and after checking out their new video for the song Hurricane, I was there in the store to order a copy as soon as they were available.

I am loving this record right now. I don't think it is a strong as the first one, but over time, it may get there.

For Revolution On Repeat, the Die Hard pressing came with a bonus 7 inch, so that was obviously the way to go. 100 pressed on black vinyl.