Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 The Way It WAS

So 2013 is done and dusted, and what a weird year it was for me with music. The year started strong, and 3-4 of my top ten releases for the year came out in the first three months of the year. After that, as usual, my motivation to pick up new releases was lacking as I concentrated my efforts on picking up more copies of records I already owned, or just stuff that came out prior to 2013 (more on that stuff later). I also strangely found myself thinking a lot about what the best record of the year was going to be throughout the year, as from early on it was always going to be a three horse race. In the end it wasn't an easy choice, but my over-thinking means that I'm happy with my choices. So here goes...


1. The Rival Mob 'Mob Justice' LP (Revelation Records) - It was between this, the Violent Reaction LP and the Magic Circle LP. In the end I chose this based on two factors. Firstly, I saw 'em live back in October and it was one of the best shows I have ever seen. Secondly, when I looked at my itunes play count, I listened to this one the most. Great record, and great to see Rev releasing new bands again.

The best of the rest looks like this...

2. Violent Reaction 'City Streets' LP (Painkiller Records / Quality Control HQ) - A truly great LP and nice to see a UK band getting so much attention worldwide. Plus the diffrent pressings gave record collectors something to chase.

3. Magic Circle 'S/T' LP (Armageddon Shop) - this one came out of nowhere, and whilst not my usual bag, I could not stop playing this. Neither, it seems, could anyone else.

4. Turnstile 'Step 2 Rhythm' 7" (Reaper Records) - the only 7" in my list. The intro makes me want to put my fist through a wall.

5. War Generation LP (Rise Records) - sneaking in at the end of the year, this features Jon Bunch from Sense Field, and has been playing 2-3 times a day for the last couple of weeks in my house. So far it's having the same effect on me as Sense Field did in 1995. Well, nearly.

6. Red Hare 'Nites Of Midnite' LP (Dischord Records) - Jason Farrell & Shawn Brown from Swiz's new band that sounds a lot like Swiz... which is absolutely fine.

7. Mindset 'Leave No Doubt' LP (React! Records) - the best straight edge album since The First Step 'What We Know'. Technically this 'came out' in 2012 although the vinyl didn't really get sent out until 2013, so this counts as a 2013 release if you ask me. Shame in a way. In 2012 this would have been even higher up the list.

8. Ancient VVisdom 'Deathlike' LP (Prosthetic Records) - not as good as their first album, but still a dark & haunting record which I played regularly throughout the year.

9. Integrity 'Suicide Black Snake' LP (A389 Records) - another Integrity album landed this year which fortunately sounds just like Integrity. Some people think everything after the Melnicks left sucks, but it's their loss. Just a shame there was an impossible number of vinyl colours to collect... although, that's probaby a good thing.

10. Down To Nothing 'life On The James' (Revelation Records) - this one didn't hit me right away, but it has grown and grown. I don't think it touches their previous two LPs, but it's still a great record and a current gym favourite.


I didn't pick up many new releases in 2013, but I sure as hell picked up a lot of great records, and crossed some long standing items from my wants list, including a couple that I never ever thought I would own. Here are my favourite items... (click to read the entries I wrote on each)


As I mentioned in my last post, I narrowly missed my dumbass target of picking up 52 test presses in the year and 'only' got 50. Here's the complete list of those 50 tests, in the order I picked them up.

01. Cave In 'Anomalies Vol. 1' (Hydrahead Records)
02. Cave In 'Planets Of Old'(Hydrahead Records)
03. America's Hardcore Volume 2 (Triple B Records)
04. Antidote 'No Peace In Our Time' LP (Bridge Nine Records)
05. V/A 'NYCHC The Way It Is' LP Green vinyl 2nd press(Revelation Records)
06. V/A 'The Rebirth Of Hardcore 1999' LP (Supersoul Records)
07. Times Together 7" (Anger Battery Records)
08. Iron Curtain 'Year Of The Wolf' 7" (Anger Battery Records)
09. Threadbare 'Escapist' 12" (Doghouse Records)
10. Omaha 'S/T' LP (Doghouse Records)
11. Get Up Kids 'Woodson' (Doghouse Records)
12. Cave In 'Tides Of Tomorrow' 12" (Hydrahead Records)
13. Cave In 'Jupiter' LP (Hydrahead Records)
14. Piebald 'When Life Hands You Lemons' LP (Hydrahead Records)
15. Cave In 'Lift Off / Lost In The Air' 7" (Hydrahead Records)
16. Cave In 'White Silence' LP (Hydrahead Records)
17. Self Destruct 'All My Friends Are Dead' 7" (Zandor / Rumour Control)
18. Joshua 'A Whole New Theory' LP (Doghouse Records)
19. Piebald 'We Are The Only Friends We Have' (Big Wheel Recreation)
20. True Head 'S/T' (Youngblood Records)
21. Cave In 'Creative Eclipses' 7" (Hydrahead Records)
22. Supertouch 'Lost My Way' 7" (Reaper Records)
23. No Tolerance 'Boston Straight Edge' 7" (540 Records)
24. Supertouch 'S/T' 7" (Combined Effort Records)
25. Unity 'Blood Days' 7" (It's Alive Records)
26. Dempsey / Kill Holiday Split 7" (Indecision Records)
27. Boxer Rebellion 'S/T' 7" (Hydrahead Records)
28. Boxer Rebellion 'The Romance Of Aeronautics' LP (Hydrahead Records)
29. The Hollomen 'S/T' 7" (Hydrahead Records)
30. Huguenots / Sevenpercentsolution 'Split' 10" (Hydrahead Records)
31. Ancient VVisdom 'A Godlike Inferno' LP (Magic Bullet Records)
32. Integrity / Gehenna Split 7" (Holy Terror Records)
33. Integrity 'Systems Overload - A2 / Orr Mix' Lp (Organized Crime Records)
34. Cave In 'Perfect Pitch Black' LP (Garden of Exile Records)
35. Times Together 1st 7" (Just Another Day Records)
36. Roses Never Fade 'The Man They Want To Hang' 7"
37. Farside 'Keep My Soul Awake' 7" (Crisis Records)
38. Rot In Hell / Vegas 'Split' 7" (Organized Crime Records)
39. Police & Thieves / Remission 'Split' 7" (Amendment Records)
40. Seaweed 'The Weight' 7" (No Idea Records)
41. 108 'Songs Of Separation' LP (Lost & Found Records)
42. Magic Circle 'S/T' LP (Armageddon Shop)
43. V/A 'Generations' LP (Revelation Recods)
44. Chinchilla '101 Italian Hits' LP (Crisis Records)
45. Citizens Arrest 'Soaked In Others Blood' 7" (Painkiller Records)
46. Freewill 'Sun Return' LP (Wishingwell / Giant Records)
47. Lights Out 'Get Out' 7" (Youngblood Records)
48. Casket Lottery @Real Fear' LP (No Sleep Records)
49. Seaweed 'Four' LP (Sub Pop Records)
50. V/A 'NYCHC The Way It Is' LP 1st press(Revelation Records)


As I said at the start, despite not picking up too many new releases, I spent a lot of time listening to stuff that either came out prior to 2012, or stuff that I didn't even buy at all that was picked up through the black magic of the internet. The main stuff that I spent a lot of time listening to in 2013 (aside from the records listed above) was:

Black Sabbath '13'
Down By Law 'All Scratched Up'
Husker Du 'Metal Circus' and 'Flip Your Wig'
Leeway 'Born To Expire' and 'Desperate Measures'
Metallica 'St. Anger' (yes, seriously!)
Righteous Jams 'Business As Usual'
Title Fight 'Floral Green'

Sure, these weren't new releases, but they were new to me, so I think they're worth a mention.


Quite obviously, these lists are just a bit of fun and not to be taken remotely seriously. This one is mainly for me. Thanks primarily to anyone who reads this and also to those who comment. Thanks also to all the people who have emailed me offering records for sale, wanting to trade or buy, or to those who just want to chat the universal language of the nerd. See you all in 2014...

2013 The Way It Is

Ok, so right off the bat I'm gonna tell you that I didn't hit my target of 52 tests for the year. The whole stupid idea started when, back at the end of March, I got a Self Destruct test press and casually wrote at the end of the post 'This marks my 16th test press of 2013 so far, which averages more than one a week. I wonder if I'll keep it going and make 52 for the year?'. Well that was it. After that i kept count and kinda hoped I would make it, but unfortunately, I didn't. I ended the year with a count of 50. Sorry to disappoint you. But as a consolation, the 50th is a pretty big deal...

'Revelation Records Presents: New York City Hardcore The Way It Is'. One of the most important records of my life and in my collection. Earlier this year I picked up a green vinyl second press test, and right at the end of the year I have also added a first press test press (out of 8) to my collection.

Just like the green vinyl test press, this one also arrived in a sleeve, which is nice. And interestingly, the spine of the sleeve is blue rather than the usual green. Here's a photo that shows the blue spine next to several other green spine sleeves:

And given I'd pulled the other copies out of their respective hiding places to take the photo of the spines, I figured I may as well take them all out of their sleeves to take a family photo:

The downside to taking this photo is that it made me realise that I don't own a first press copy, and neither do I own a black vinyl copy with white labels... although, looking at it positively, at least it gives me an excuse to buy more copies of this record.

So finally, after I'd got all of the records out, I then decided to take my framed poster off the wall and put it with the records for yet another photo. I mean, why not? There's not much else to do this time of year.

So that's the end of the great 2013 test press chase. I honestly thought I was going to make it, but fate conspired against me. I had one 7" test that I was promised way back in March but which the dude still hasn't got around to sending. And in mid December I won a Seaweed LP test press on eBay UK that, when it arrived, turned out to be not a test press at all but just a regular LP. Still, picking up 50 (including two different 'NYCHCTWII') tests made for a pretty good year, and I'm definitely not unhappy. Thanks for reading!

Monday, 30 December 2013


Believe it or not, I didn't used to like test presses. I used to only want them if there was no limited pressing of a record available. If I like a record then I naturally want to own a special version, and when there aren't any coloured copies or limited sleeves or anything, then the only possibility of a 'limited' version would be a test press. Somewhere along the way my philosophy changed to wanting to collect tests of my favourite records, or tests that are relatively cheap, but tests of records that have no limited version is still the most exciting to pick up.

Today's post is a great example. This is a test press of the second Seaweed LP 'Four'. This was released by Sub Pop Records waaaay back in 1993, and despite the label's history of making lot of crazy colour vinyl editions for most of their releases, this one only ever came on black vinyl. So this is a great test to own.

As you can see, this test comes in a plain white card sleeve which has the band name hand written on the top corner, with the date and label catalogue number stamped on both the cover and the record's labels. Insane to think this album is now twenty years old. Wow.

As I often do, I pulled out the regular version of the record for a more interesting photo.

I frickin' love Seaweed, and this album is, in my opinion, their finest moment. If I had to pick just one test press of theirs to own, this would be it. So it all worked out well.

For the two of you who are interested, the test press count for the year has now hit 49... and there's only one day of 2013 left. Tune in tomorrow to see how this story plays out...

Sunday, 29 December 2013

War Generation

As mentioned in the last post, I really stuggle to stay up to date these days. But now and again I can still be ahead of the crowd. I'm assuming I am with this one as I haven't really seen anyone else mention this one. This is an LP by a band called War Generation called 'Start Something Never Surrender'. It was released in September this year by a label called Rise Records. I pre-ordered but have only just received it. All of these details are irrelevant to be honest. The main thing that drew me to this record with enough excitement and anticipation to place a pre-order, and the main thing that you need to know, is that Jon Bunch sings for this band. I imagine that some of you will probably now potentially be interested in this (or not) based on that name alone. Right?

For those unfamiliar with the name, Jon used to sing for Sense Field, and before that Reason To Believe. He has a very unique and beautiful voice. Both of those bands are big favourites of mine, so I was keen to hear this new band when I first heard about it, although I generally don't like listening to records before I have the vinyl in my possession. So this means that I have only had it and been listening to it for a week, but it has already firmly hooked into my brain and I am currently addicted to it.

Anyway, the vinyl pressing breaks down into two colours. The most limited is the orange vinyl, which is out of 200 copies.

It wasn't possible to order this on it's own at pre-order stage. The label rigged it so that you had to buy some bullshit package deal with a t-shirt and the less limited blue vinyl. I didn't mind too much because I wanted both colours, but I see that now you can buy the orange on its own.

So what does it sound like? Well, to me it sounds like later Sense Field - the stuff released after they moved on From Revelation. Just to make it easy for you, I thought I'd stick up this video for you to click and listen to.

Both colours are still available in the label's store in case you may be interested. If you're not interested, that's fine. Just never speak to me again!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Steppin' Up

I've bought so few new releases this year that it's almost embarrassing. It used to annoy me when people would stop listening to new bands or new music, and now I'm pretty much one of them. Pathetic. Anyway, late as ever, here's the best 7" of the year in my opinion. Turnstile's 'Step 2 Rhythm' 7" on Reaper Records. I was very late to this party and only managed to get hold of these two second press colours - the green and the pink.

As has already been pointed out by some young trendsetter, the sleeves on these things are different. The more limited green vinyl comes in a glossy sleeve with the words 'second pressing' added in the bottom right corner, whereas the pink vinyl comes in a matte sleeve which fails to mention that it is a second press. I would guess they had lots of sleeves left from the first press and wanted to use these up before moving on to new sleeves... although only making 200 extra sleeves for the second press would have been expensive... so maybe they made loads more, which will then get recycled later in the third press. But then they'd have to alter the word 'second'. Sounds like a lot of hassle doesn't it?

I missed the first press completely. Shame as the first press colours look nicer than the second press. But now there are three more colours up in the Reaper store for the third press. Go get 'em kids...

Friday, 27 December 2013

A Real Test

So not long after I picked up the latest Casket Lottery LP (about a year after it came out), a test press went up for sale on eBay. I probably ended up bidding a bit more than I wanted, although it wasn't too much in the grand scheme of things. As tests go, this one is relatively interesting as it comes in a special No Sleep Records sleeve. I'm guessing they got one shit tonne of these made which they use for every release, craftily changing the front cover using a pen to make it suit whatever release they want. Very clever indeed.

That brings the test press total to 48 for 2013.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Futches Reich

So here's an interesting idea. First up, get hold of an ammo tin like this (ammo not necessary):

Then spray paint your band's name on the side, call it 'Futsches Reich', then fill it with records and CDs. Cool idea, right? Yeah, well, it may sound cool in theory, but only one band has actually done it & made this idea a reality. Who? Rot In Hell of course. Who else? There were only 35 of these made, and it seems that people overseas have had trouble getting theirs due to customs issues. At least, that's the theory. Anyway, since I didn't have to deal with overseas shipping on this one, mine arrived quickly and in great shape.

Within the box are several of the recent and semi-recent 7"s, each with a specially made red sleeve. God only knows how long it must have taken to put this together. Anyhow, enough chit chat. On to the contents...

First up is the split with Wayfarer. This sleeve has been cut out and looks pretty special.

The split with Moloch. Rather than a sleeve this one just has a smal folded strip:

The split with Horders in a 'regular' photocopied sleeve:

And the split with Vegas, also in a 'regular' photocopied sleeve:

The split with Integrity in a unique and simple sleeve:

And another copy of the lathe cut 'Studies In Emerald' 7". This is the one that came in very special packaging on it's own.

There were also four CDs included. I'm not exactly sure what is on each of these, but I probably already have the songs so that's not as stupid as it sounds.

There was also a couple of envelopes included. The smaller one contains, I think, a bullet. The larger one... who knows? It's sealed.

The envelope does have a pretty special stamp on it. The stamp is actually where the box gets its name. If you are remotely interested in what 'Futches Reich' means then I'd suggest starting here.

This final photo shows all the contents in one go, minus the tin. Kinda crazy, isn't it?

I've almost lost track of all the fancy ass Rot In Hell records there are. I'm pretty sure that this one can't be topped though. Can it?

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Yet Another Rev Catch Up

So I got another Revelation 'catch up' package this week. This one actually contains a couple of new releases, which makes a nice change, although most of the contents are just represses.

I'm not sure if I'm the only one, but I'm not overly stoked on the latest Down To Nothing LP, 'Life On The James'. I mean, it's ok, but it doesn't stand up to the band's previous LPs. Still, I probably haven't listened to it enough... although I'm not that motivated to listen to it. It's a vicious circle of disappointment right here. Still, could be worse - I could have been sent two copies on the same colour, rather the one of each of the blue and green.

Next up is the Title Fight 'Spring Songs' 7". When I heard this was coming out, I downloaded a couple of albums by this band, and I have to say, I quite like them. But again, emphasis on the word 'quite'. This band is interesting for sure, and has some catchy hooks, but I guess I was hoping for something that was gonna excite me like Farside, Into Another and Sense Field used to back when their records were released. Still, at least these dudes ended up with their records pressed on cool vinyl colours.

This next one nicely bridges the gap between the new releases and the represses. I got this one on eBay. It's the gold vinyl pressing of the The 'Rev 25 CA' comp. Gold was the rarer colour only available to people at the show. As there were 300 of these made, I thought there would be loads of these for sale after the show and they would be cheap to pick up, but that hasn't proved to be the case. They don't pop up too often, and when they do they still tend to go to nearly $40, which I figured too much. Well, my patience paid off and eventually I got one for a not too unreasonable $20.

I still need a copy of the 'Rev 25 NY' LP on green if anyone can help... although I don't plan on spending more than $20. Or trading for something equally as useless.

Ok, so now it's on to the next round of represses. Nothing to say about these really. They are what they are at this point.

And of course, the day after I ordered these, more colour represses went up for sale. I will definitely order them, I know that much, even though I don't really want them. I'm actually starting to question my own sanity at this point. I have reached a point where I seriously hate these represses, yet I can't say no for fear of breaking my 'complete' collection. I guess if you're reading this then perhaps you are in the same boat. I just wonder how far it could possibly go before I stopped buying. Perhaps 2014 will hold the answer...