Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Truth Hurts

I almost forgot about this one. I misplaced it and found it at the weekend when I was doing a spot of tidying. I bought this for £5 at the record fair I went to back in June. In Control 'The Truth Hurts' LP on clear vinyl.

This came out when vinyl was in a dark place. Indecision Records released the album on CD, but licensed the vinyl to a smaller label, Martyr Records. Revelation were also indulging in this practice around the same time. I guess sales were on the decline and these traditional vinyl labels didn't want to lose more money. Whereas smaller labels were somehow happy to take the risk.

There were 700 of these on clear, and 300 on grey. I already have the grey. It's a pretty good record too. I hadn't listened to this in quite a long time but have played it a bit lately after picking this up. I always thought that In Control were a solid band, but they never really seemed to get as much recognition as thy deserved. I think some people were very passionate about them though, and they always had records on the best labels too.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Can't Deny It

I finally got around to picking up a copy of one of the best records of the year. Turnstile released 'Non Stop Feeling' right back at the beginning of the year, in January. As is usual with Reaper Records releases, there was a whole range of colour options available, all of which looked pretty horrible. Plus I was annoyed (mainly at myself) for having so many different copies of the 7"s. So despite wanting the record, I couldn't bring myself to order it. Instead, I waited a few months until there were about twenty more versions out there and the initial hype had died down, and then picked up the rarest colour (black) on eBay for a pretty reasonable price.

As much as this is a good record, which it really is, the cover is truly awful. I mean, seriously, what is going on here? A predominantly white sleeve with a band name in multiple colours, and the record title in some crazy font. This really does look like an 80s pop record. Well, except for the picture of Joey Essex in the middle - in the 80s that would have been some chick with big hair instead.

I don't know. Perhaps in the future we will all look back at this record and realise that the cover art was years ahead of its time, rather than 30 years behind.

As a record, however, this is goddamn spot on. Super hard and super catchy. I can see how this band have become the biggest hardcore band in the world. I went to see them a little over a year ago and the crowd reaction was amazing. So much energy from both the crowd and the band. They did manage to make me feel really old though. I was just about the oldest dude in the place. I won't hold it against them though when I come to figure out the best records of the year. This will definitely be in there.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Swimmer's Ear

There are some records that really don't look particularly impressive when photographed. The impact comes more from knowing what the thing is. Here is a classic example:

Godspeed was a band that Skip and Jay from Turning Point did after Turning Point finished. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they sounded a lot like the later era Turning Point songs from the split with No Escape. They released one record back in 1993, a 12" (and CD) EP on Temperance Records. Now, I have owned this record for a long time and always loved it. It never gets old, not to me at least. So imagine how stoked I was to see a test press on eBay? Yeah, pretty stoked, as no doubt anyone would be who has this record. So I knew I had to have it at any cost.

Now, I'm gonna say this and I realise it may be controversial, but I don't care... I will gladly take this record over Turning Point's entire recorded output any day of the week. For me, Turning Point got better with age, and the split with No Escape was their high point. This record was the natural next step, but what makes this better than the split with No Escape is that this contains six songs rather than two. They're two very different bands, but obviously they are linked, so it seems fair to say that this band could and should be compared to Turning Point. And Godspeed wins. Disagree? Yeah, well, you have the right. But you're wrong.

It's funny, but this is one of those records that I would never have dreamed of even seeing a test press of, let alone owning one, so I'm pretty happy right now. Even as I sit here with it in my hands, I can't believe I have this. I even checked the matrix against the regular copy I have thinking that there must have been some mistake, but no, it exists and somehow I own it. Cool huh?

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Up Against The Wall

A few months ago Mark sent a facebook message telling me to pick up a Chain Rank LP. Now, I didn't know what it was, but after the let down of the second Boston Strangler LP I wasn't overly keen to sink more money into another Boston hardcore record. So I waited a couple of days and then found the record online to listen to. Pretty soon I was fist bumping along and decided that this was definitely worth investing in after all. The only problem was that it was now sold out. Oops! I cursed my hesitation and figured I had once again been too sceptical of the hype for my own good. But then Chris posted up a copy and mentioned that some small label/distro had some clear copies, and this time I didn't sit around thinking about it.

Available information suggests that there are only 200 of these on clear, and they sold out pretty fast. I think most of them were sold on tour. This album contains 10 songs, the longest of which is one minute and fifty seconds. These songs are short, hard and yet catchy blasts of raw hardcore.

Not that I'm in touch with what's cool these days, but this appeared to come out of nowhere. I mean, it's not on a well known label, and it doesn't contain any of the usual Boston hardcore superstars. Yet this is definitely one of those releases that has a real buzz about it, and deservedly so.

So is this the record of the year? I'm not sure, but it's definitely a strong contender. This is my 'go to' record at the moment and I can't see that changing for a while. The only problem is that it's too short.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

When Purple Isn't Purple

When you get into collecting colour variants you know that either: 1. You are a complete loser with no life whatsoever, or 2. You are on the verge of turning professional. Definitely one of those. Anyway, I saw this purple vinyl Vision 'In The Blink Of An Eye' LP on eBay and thought that it looked like a nice mid-range colour. So I made a play and won it.

When I say 'mid-range', I mean in the context of the other two copies of this record that I already own... as you can see.

I feel pretty lucky to have three different variants of this great LP. But the funny thing is, none of these colours really look like purple to me. I mean, can you imagine Prince wearing any of these? No, of course not. He wouldn't touch these with a barge pole as these are clearly pink, dark red and dark blue. However, there is one on popsike I have seen that looks like a textbook purple colour, which means it does exist, and suggests that perhaps one day I'll be wasting my money on a fourth copy.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Horns Lay Silent

Here's another 7" that has been on my wants list for a while. Admiral's first 7" on Soul Force Records. This came out in 1990 and this is the first time that I have either owned or heard it. Yup... there's nothing like being up to date... and I'm nothing like up to date.

In all honesty I mainly wanted this because it's on Soul Force Records. The label that released some great records at the tail end of the 80s, and I had always wanted to pick up this 7" after passing on one YEARS ago for £2 because I didn't know the band and I didn't like the look of the cover. Little did I know that it would take me half my life to finally get around to picking one up.

It's kinda funny listening to something for the first time 25 years after it came out. Especially when I could have listened to it at any time via the magic of the internet. But I have this weird rule that I'm not allowed to listen to something until I own the record. Even though, when I get the record, I don't play it, but download the songs from the internet. What a fool.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

More Of The Same

This one took a lot longer than it should have. I don't know why. It's one of those that used to seem not too rare, but when I actually started to want one it then became impossible to find. I was offered one of these for the pathetic sum of £5 about circa 2010, but it was part of a bigger deal that never went down in the end, although I cant remember why. And then five years went by.

This is the third press of Faith's 'Subject To Change' LP on red vinyl. I have no idea how many were made nor in which year it came out.

The first press was on blue, and seems to be the most common colour. Or at least, it does in the current day and age. The second colour press was a lovely pink colour, and then the red followed at some point later. Interestingly, on the back cover the 'pay no more than' price has increased to $5 on the red vinyl copy, where it was previously $4 on the blue and pink copies, which clearly show that the red was later.

There were also a few copies on clear vinyl. Nobody really knows how many, although I have heard suggestion of 20-50. And also, apparently, there was a ridiculously low number of white vinyl copies. I'd never even heard of a white one before, but someone on instagram said that they had heard that there were only 5, one for each member of the band. Something tells me my collection will end here...

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Voice Of Reason

Following on from yesterday's Ounce Of Kind 7" post, here's another record from a band that falls neatly into the 'obscure and little known 90s bands' category. This is a 7" entitled 'Gear' by a band called Voice Of Reason, released by Selfless Records. I already own a grey vinyl copy of this which I have owned since probably 1993 or so. I probably haven't listened to it for about 20 years, but this was one of those that I stumbled across for next to nothing and bought for two reasons - firstly, because it was on a different colour vinyl to the one I already had, and secondly because I remembered it being a pretty damn good record.

Well, the joke was on me because, when I got it and played it, I was surprised to find that I didn't remember it at all. And more to the point, that it was not great. Perhaps I was remembering their second 7" as being good. In the next few days I'll dig it out and give it a spin to find out.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Ounce Of Kind

There are some records that I own which I know next to nothing about. Some 90s bands have been pretty much forgotten, and some of these weren't even known in the first place. But there are some really great records out there that a decreasing number of people know about. And in a way, it helps people like me, as it is possible to buy rare copies of some of these things for cheap.

Case in point, I just picked up this Ounce Of Kind test press for not a lot.

This test comes in a handmade sleeve, which is actually numbered out of 100 copies. I'm not sure what this means exactly. I mean, were there really 100 copies? Or were there 100 limited sleeves, and the first few were used for the tests? Or is it numbered out of 100 but perhaps nowhere near 100 were made? I imagine we will never know.

I also puled out the regular copy of the record to take a photo of the two together for as a contribution to instagram's #seveninchseptember.

I hadn't heard this thing in a long while, so took the brave step of actually putting this on the turntable and giving it a spin. It's even better than I remember. It sounds a lot like Ashes, and whilst that sound started to get stale in the late 90s, it suddenly sounds quite fresh again. If anyone has the mp3s please get in touch.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Blinded By Illusion... Again

I bought a record from someone on discogs recently and (familiar story) looked at other stuff they were selling and decided to pick up this clear vinyl Skull Crusher 12"... because it was only $5.

This record was released by Livewire Records back in 2010, and I bought an orange vinyl copy. I was pretty underwhelmed by it back then, so of course it only makes sense that four years later I decided to buy a second copy.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Tonight And Forever

Sense Field were a band that I truly loved back in the day when their first LP came out. I played 'Killed For Less' and the other 12" (which was a compilation of their two self-released CDs) to absolute death back in 94/95. It was a few years before I could listen to them again. After 'Building' came out they took a bit of a break and then, 5 or 6 years later, they came back with an album called 'Tonight And Forever'. I'm not really sure what happened in the interim period, although I did talk to Jon Bunch about it once. I probably should have paid more attention.

Well, 'Tonight And Forever' originally came out in 2001 and was a CD only release on a major label. This was in a time when vinyl sales seemed to be slowing down and interest in the format appeared to be dying out, so major labels didn't bother with vinyl versions of their new releases, and even the indie labels were slowing down too. So basically there was no interest from anyone in putting this out on vinyl.

And here we are 14 years later and finally it has been put to vinyl by a small label called Spartan Records. There were 4 different vinyl colours made, but I decided that one would suffice.

This colour is referred to as 'hot pink / sea blue swirl'. Seems like a slightly off description to me. The pink isn't exactly hot, and the blue isn't the usual interpretation of 'sea'. But whatever.

I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this one. On the one hand, it's cool to have it on a proper format at last, but then at the same time I'm just not that into it. I guess it just kinda feels too late. Or perhaps unnecessary. And the blandness of the artwork probably contributes too. I don't know really, but in theory I should be way more stoked on this than I am. Can't win 'em all I guess.

Saturday, 5 September 2015


The third Pulling Teeth LP, 'Funerary', came out back in 2011 with what seemed like very little fanfare. The previous LP sold out at pre-order stage, thanks to a very special cover, but this one just seemed to appear out of nowhere. And it also seemed to be sold out immediately too. As soon as I became aware it existed, it was all gone. Crazy. I guess it's possible that there was a pre-order that I missed, but still, if there was it went fast. So I added it to the wants list and finally bagged one.

Part of the reason for the delay was that I wanted a green one. The record itself was hard to get, but the green vinyl was tough as hell to find. I'm not sure how many were made exactly, but I'm convinced that the minority were green. It's one of those colours that is very dark and looks almost black, until you hold it up the the light.

There was also a stupidly rare version made of the song 'Funerary' made as a one side 12" for record store day around the same time that this came out. It's even more elusive than this thing, so I reckon I'll track one down around 2020 at this rate.