Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Disorganised & Bored

I haven't posted on here for over a week. Why? Because I haven't had anything to post. Why? Because I haven't had any new records. Why? Because I haven't bought or traded anything lately. Why? Because the goddamn exchange rate makes things expensive. Why? Because I live in a country with an economy that is falling to pieces, thanks to the banking industry.

Anyway, it struck me the other day how disorganised I have become. I used to keep all my 7" records in alphabetical order in boxes. But I haven't really put any new records in boxes for over a year now. Instead, I seem to have formed several piles on the floor around my room. It occurred to me that I don't even know why I have several piles rather than one or two. But it made me laugh, because I used to hate randomness like this. If I went to someone else's house & found records all over the floor, I would probably lecture them about tidying up and keeping things in order. But for some reason I have become slack, so I thought I would document it & post it up here for your amusement... and because I don't have anything else to post... and because I am bored.

So here's the view from the doorway of my living room:

It actually looks quite tidy from here. Just a couch and some LPs. Looks kinda minimal & pretty organised huh? Notice the heater under the window. Here's what's on the other side of the heater:

More LPs, although this side looks less tidy. I guess its mainly due to the crap on top of the LPs, especially the copy paper boxes. And next to the copy paper boxes is 7" Pile #1:

This pile contains 17 records that have picture disc style clear plastic sleeves. I dug these out because I planned to replace the plastic sleeves with poly sleeves, and put the records into paper dust sleeves. But I haven't got around to it yet & it's been a few months. Oh well.

Next, 7" Pile #2, which is located on the floor next to the LPs:

This pile consists of 8 records and a 7" box set. The box set is there because it wouldn't fit into a box, so I just left it on the floor. The other records are a random mix of things I picked up in Summer. A couple need new poly sleeves, a couple need new paper dust sleeves, a couple are just there for no reason. I don't really know why they are where they are. But I can't be bothered to move them.

7" Pile #3 is found down the side of my couch:

This pile consists of 45 7"s. Some are leaning against the couch, some against the wall, and some are laying flat on the floor. These are the most recent records I have acquired. The piles are in no order at all, and the number or records in each mini-pile is not consistent. When I look down here, I get an urge to put the records into some kind of order. But I can't actually be bothered to do it. This worries me slightly, although not enough to actually do anything about the situation.

7" Pile #4 is located on the other side of the couch:

This is the smallest pile, and consists of only two 7"s. These records were given to me. I have left them here to remind me to listen to them to decide if I want to keep them. They've been there for a couple of months now at least.

Next, here's the view from my couch:

The boxes contain 7"s, which are actually in alphabetical order. But notice there are piles of 7"s around the floor too.

7" Pile #5 is found propped up against the front of one of my 7" boxes:

This pile is the stuff I bought from my friend Hop a couple of months ago, plus a Black Flag 7" I bought on eBay. There are 15 records, including one with a zine that is just laid on the floor on its own. I don't know why I put this stuff in a separate pile. There may have been a reason at the time, but I can't remember.

7" Pile #6 is a collection of records which are hidden behind the door.

There are 97 records here. These are mainly records with "at risk" sleeves, i.e. photocopied sleeves that are delicate. I don't like keeping photocopied sleeves in boxes since the pressure of other records seems to lead to damage. So I have kept them out separately, with a view to putting them somewhere cool. There are also a small number of records that I plan to sell or trade, and a bag containing some spare LP sleeves. Some of these records have been here for over a year. Whoops.

Finally, 7" Pile #7 consists of three piles of records that are leaning against the wall next to the door:

There are 60 records here. These are again records with "at risk" sleeves. I don't know why they are in a separate place to the others though, and I don't really have an urge to move them since they are not exactly in the way.

1. There are 245 records dotted around the floor of my room.
2. I need to get myself organised.
3. In the time it has taken me to write this nonsense, I probably could have got myself organised.
4. I am an idiot

Hopefully normal blogging service can resume soon...

Sunday, 18 January 2009

I Wish I Could Learn To Never Go Back

A couple more of the recent Dischord colour vinyl repressings turned up today, and it seems that the label continue to use an array of different pressing plants with varying results. First up is the Dag Nasty 'Can I Say?' LP on blue vinyl:

Possibly my favourite ever Dischord release, this record managed to let me down by being pressed on crappy-ass euro vinyl, which means that it comes in a paper-thin sleeve which almost bends itself in half once you take the record out. Consequently, this somehow feels like a cheap copy of a Dischord release. Very disappointing.

Next, by contrast, is the Faith / Void split LP on high quality, remastered purple vinyl:

This one has been pressed in the US. You can tell because the matrix is in handwriting, rather than courier font, and the paper dust sleeve has rounded corners. Oh yeah, and the sleeve is higher quality card. Overall this one looks nicer and feels nicer, and makes me feel that it was worth the money. And they've had it remastered, so it sounds louder. And it comes with a free download card, although I don't need this since I already downloaded the songs from the Dischord site (if you order direct they give you instant download access from their website, which is nice).

So yeah. Once again it's USA vinyl 1, Euro vinyl 0. I just wish Dischord would realise that the the US product is of superior quality and get all records pressed on home turf in future.

(Oh yeah... I picked up a spare of the Faith / Void record, so if anyone needs one, get in touch)

Walpurgisnacht II

Less than a month ago I picked up three different versions of the latest Integrity 7", and I wrote "I have a feeling I'm going to be buying more copies of this one at some point". But little did I realise I would be acquiring another version so quickly. Here's one on purple:

And here's the purple one next to the grey one:

I don't think this is a different version. I think (although not entirely sure) that this is just part of the grey pressing. I have seen two other records in the past (Deadguy LP and War Zone live 7") where the vinyl colour ranges between grey and purple. Some people refer to theirs as purple, some as grey. But the truth is that there are not two colours, just variations of one pressing. One guy who used to work at Victory referred to this as "putty", whereas the recent Cheap Tragedies 7" on Livewire refers to it as "scrap". Anyway, regardless of whether there were intended to be different colours or not, the fact remains that idiots like me can pick up yet another copy of a record they already have because it is a shade different.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Rollins Band

This is pretty funny, and pretty sad. But I recently bought a record simply because I liked the vinyl colour. Well, kind of. In fact, it was partly because I liked the colour, and partly because I had never seen the record on coloured wax before. And this swung me to buy it, even though I wouldn't have wanted it otherwise. It's an album by the Rollins Band:

This is on an interesting pink vinyl, although not sure I have captured it too well here:

I've never been a big fan of this band. Truth be told, the Rollins Band was just a huge disappointment after Black Flag. I bought "The End Of Silence" when it came out circa 1992, but I never really had an urge to check anything else out. But at the moment I'd rather spend my money buying old records rather than new, since most new stuff seems pretty samey and uninspiring. Or maybe I'm just getting old. But anyway, I have seen a few Rollins Band records over the years, and all seem to have really bad covers, and look like nobody could be arsed to spend more than two minutes doing artwork. They just look like cheap, rushed jobs to be honest. But all of a sudden this kinda appeals and makes them cool. Check out this back cover:

I like how the biggest thing on the back is the announcement that it was produced by Ian Mackaye. I can almost imagine them sitting around thinking "how on earth are we gonna persuade anyone to buy this crap? Ah, I know... let's increase the font size and trick people into thinking it's a Minor Threat record". Haha!

Anyway, I also noticed on the credits that it says it was recorded in Leeds, UK. Now, since this is where I lived for 13 years (until 2 years ago or so), I was intrigued. I had heard rumours over the years about Henry Rollins living in Leeds at some point. I was never really sure if it was true or not though. I read a couple of his books and it was never mentioned. But after seeing this LP sleeve I thought I check the internerd, and I found something written by Henry that confirms this is true. It seems like he stayed in Leeds for a while (on more than one occasion) to record. And he lived only a few minutes from where I used to live. Not that I lived there in 1987 though, and not like I was into hardcore back then anyway (I was 12). But there could have been Black Flag fans living in Leeds at the time. Did anyone have any idea that Henry was living in town? Did anyone ever bump into him in the streets? I'm curious. Even better, Ian Mackaye also came over to record them at some point. This seems pretty funny to me now. I like the idea that, back in 1987, you could have gone to the Co-op on Burley Road to buy some bread and bumped into Henry Rollins and Ian Mackaye. Crazy.

Anyway, I thought I'd just paste in the info I found. It's pretty interesting stuff. Enjoy...

From 1981 to 1986 I was in a band called Black Flag. In late summer of 1986, the band broke up and I had to decide whether to stop or try to keep making music. Years before, Chris Haskett, an old friend of mine, and I promised each other that some day we would record together. We were both in DC at the time so I called him and told him that my schedule was suddenly extremely open. Without missing a beat, Chris went right to work and assembled a band: Bernie Wandell on bass and Mick Green on drums.

At the time Chris was living in Leeds UK and he headed back there because his gear and Mick were there. Bernie and I were to fly out when he got things set. It was a strange time in my life. I had grown used to being in a band, going on tour and being handed a schedule telling me where I was going all the time. I couldn't see ever making another record. Chris would have none of it. There was no doubt in his mind that things were going to go great and he really picked me up. In October I flew to London and took a bus up to Leeds and went to 52 Harold Mount where Chris lived. I had never met Bernie or Mick so it was strange at first but we hung out that night and it was cool. We had practice time booked and both Chris and I had some song ideas. We went in the next day and started work. I think one of the first things we played together was Suicide's "Ghost Rider." From there we worked on covers that I had wanted to do and Chris showed us some of the riffs he had written.
From practice we would go back to 52 Harold Mount and eat. After that, Chris and I would work on song writing. Perhaps it was a grand combination of new association, excitement and a good dose of fear of failure, but whatever it was, we wrote like men possessed and came up with a lot songs in a short time.

Life Time is the first studio record by the Rollins Band. We did our first practice on April 7, 1987 and went out on a long tour of America and Europe. On the road we wrote songs and got them put them into the set. By late October we finished the shows in London and went up to Leeds where Chris had a place to live and booked time at the same place that he and I did the Hot Animal Machine recordings a year before. I had no producer for this record and feared that since everyone in the band had strong opinions on how it all should be done that if we tried to do it ourselves we would do more harm than good. I called Ian MacKaye and asked for help. He got on a plane and came right out. That's Ian.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

A Boston Rock Christmas

This one arrived a couple of weeks later than I hoped. A weird record that I only bought for one song... and because it was cheap.

This is exactly what it looks like - a dodgy Christmas compilation of bands whose only connection is the city they came from. Most of these bands are total garbage, but the reason I bought it is that it includes a song from the legendary Boston straight edge band SSD.

I don't really know anything about the history of this record. Does anyone? I first saw this at Lecky's house about three years ago and it intrigued me. I picked it up recently on the cheap thinking it would be a good one to have in time for xmas, although unfortunately it didn't arrive in time, and consequently my xmas was ruined.

This is what FLEX has to say about this record:

Obscure Xmas EP which is sought after mostly because of the SSD track. Tracks from various Boston bands: Del-Fuegos (r'n'r, yawn), Native Tongue (austere wave rock, OK), SSD (legendary power version of the old xmas song, cool), Jeff & Jane (ultra cheap synth sounds), and - of course - Christmas (nice melodic indie rock, noisier and faster than their 7"). SSD and Christmas are best.

Personally, I like the Jeff & Jane song. Actually, I don't, it's bloody awful, but I find it a funny name for a "band". I can just imagine two new wave fartknockers sat around in 1983 with their synthesiser, agonising over what to call their "band", getting nowhere, and deciding that just using their first names would be cool enough. I then decided to see if I could find anything about Jeff & Jane on the internet, and wouldn't you know it, they have their own website! Better still, it seems they reformed in 2002 and cranked out a new record. Read about it yourself if you can contain your excitement enough to control your clicking finger: http://www.officialjeffandjane.com/ You can even buy their CD for only $20! How can you go wrong?

On a slightly more serious note, I did manage to find a site I had not previously seen before - the X-Claim site, which has a few songs that you can download, including the SSD song from this record. So if you want an SSD Christmas song, go here: http://www.xclaim.com/sounds/sounds.html

Also, while you're there, look around the site. There are a few other bits of interest. A statement about the attempted SSD reunion tour that didn't happen last year, in which Al states that Springa will be terminated from all association with SSD. And to prove this, if you then click on the SSD page, it lists the band members, although there is actually no vocalist listed. Haha! Look around the site further and you can also read about Al's back pain, and watch some videos he made for his employer about dust and sand. It's all good stuff.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Ice Grillz

I realised recently that there aren't actually many current bands that I am into. This worries me, because it makes me think that I am getting old. Well, not getting old exactly - I mean, technically, I am old already. But I always figured that people who stop keeping up with current bands are the kinds of people that go around saying things like "It's not the same as it used to be" and "kids today don't know they're born" and other such crap. I don't listen to that many current bands I guess, but then again, I probably listen to a lot more current bands that most people my age who have been into this crap for as long as I have. My conclusion is that there are actually too many bands and labels to keep up with, and it's hard to know where to focus my attention. But maybe that's the point - I'm old and out of touch, else I'd know exactly where to look. Damnit.

Cold World 'Ice Grillz' 7" on ice clear vinyl. I do like this 7" a lot. It was probably my most played record of 2005. When this came out this band were new and cool. Now I'm not so sure. I know they're still going, and I picked up their LP, but I kinda feel that I should be embarrassed to be listening to this band now. Are they still cool or not? Can someone please let me know.