Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Champion - Time Slips Away

At the same time as the recent Promises Kept reissue, Bridge Nine also finally decided to release the Time Slips Away compilation. Now of course there is nothing really new or unreleased you would need off this album, it is simply a vinyl version of the cd compilation of Champion's two 7"s.

This is a great way for people new to the scene to get the songs from Come Out Swinging and Count Our Numbers, since both of the original 7"s (B9 and Platinum) are out of press. For myself, if it's from Champion and there is vinyl available - I'm getting it. I never bought the cd when it was released however many years ago, so it is nice to have the large layout and artwork available now. 

Bridge Nine doesn't have any pressing numbers up in their discography yet, but since clear vinyl was part of the package deal with the 24" x 36" poster and Promises Kept on green, I will assume it is the most rare.

The next color is white. I think it looks really good with the color and style of the labels.

Finally we have blue. This is probably the most common color out there as it is appearing in different distros and stores. Personally, I think it is the best looking color of the three. I really dig how they matched the color of the vinyl with the cover.

Surprisingly, this album didn't come in a gatefold sleeve as most of the recent reissues from Bridge Nine have. Instead, we get a glossy two sided insert with lyrics and credits.

Musically, you couldn't ask for a better record. These songs were among the very best straight edge hardcore songs of the 2000's, if ever. All three colors are still available at the Bridge Nine webstore as well as the package deal. I still don't know how that is possible. Maybe everyone already has the 7"s.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Verse - Aggression : B9 Repress & Bonus April Fools Day Prank

I wasn't planning on getting this album again. I really wasn't. A few years ago I collected a good half dozen versions of Verse's Aggression lp when it was first released on Rivalry Records. Kyle was always really cool with me and hooked me up with every version right off the bat.
Marcus from Endless Quest made a great point to me once. He told me to not look at represses as a burden for me to collect yet another version, but to stop being so self centered and see them as records for all the people who never had a chance to get them when they were first released. You know, the whole next generation thing. It was a great point.
So lately I have been trying (operative word - trying) to chill out and let represses go. Hell, maybe I can save some money in the process too. Look at me all grown up and shit.

When these were first released by Bridge Nine a couple months ago, I did a great job of holding off buying them. I was fighting it though. The pictures of the vinyl looked great, the album cover looked crystal clear as opposed to grainy and pixelated, it was now on a gatefold, etc. Nope I told myself, I'm good.

Fast forward to March 30. Bridge Nine had posted an offer for a new Have Heart 7" that was meant for a fourth Mystery Box that came in too late to sell. So they offered that if you bought $10 worth of stuff in the webstore, they would throw it in.
Well there went my willpower. I wanted the Have Heart 7". There would only be 500 of them total and I had to act fast. I cracked and bought all three Verse albums. 

In the end, no regrets. Deep down I wanted these. This album is so good and I really believe Verse were heading in an awesome direction before they called it quits. This lp had a serious Modern Life Is War vibe going on. Never a bad thing! Now that Verse are back it will be cool to see what they come up with next.

Bridge Nine don't have any pressing info up yet, so I don't know what the numbers are with these. I do know that the initial reaction was that the white with orange looked the best and was the one casual fans would be picking up based on aesthetics alone.

The other two colors are white with black, and white with grey.

As I mentioned earlier, the album is now on a gatefold sleeve with the lyrics and credits on the inside.

There is also a decent poster that was included that stays with the same layout and color scheme. For the life of me I can't remember if this was with the original Rivalry press. Doesn't matter.

Oh yeah, so by now we all know what the Have Heart 7" was right? It was an April Fools Day prank that Bridge Nine pulled. The 7" was a 7" ruler. I'm not going to get into it here, but I did a write up for Vinyl Noize on it. You can find it here. 
After all the dust had settled, the prank was fairly well received and anyone who was seriously put out could easily sell theirs for pretty good money. Especially if you had a blue one. Speaking of which...

I must have jumped on the deal pretty fast. Of the 500 rulers available, 100 were blue and 400 were red. I can only assume the blue went to those who ordered quickly. I ended up with #19.

Straight Edge indeed...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Champion - Promises Kept : 4th Pressing

There is a bit of a problem when you become a crazed, obsessed, ravenous fan of something. You lose perspective. I guess that would describe me when it comes to Champion and especially their Promises Kept album.

Promises Kept is my favorite album of all time. It just is. I can't explain it or rationally answer why. I certainly can't explain why it means more to me than Bringin' It Down or Age of Quarrel or any other album people regard as the best. I guess the best way to explain my feelings for the record is through this story.

A few years back I had a job that involved a lot of airplane travel. I mean a lot. Now, I can be a bit of a nervous traveler. I know it is among the safest modes of transportation, but then again, there isn't any room for error. If there is a serious problem, I am probably dying.
For five years, on every single flight, 24 minutes before boarding I would play the entire lp on my ipod. It was my good luck charm. That is just the start. Once on board I would cue up the song "Every Word" on my "On-The-Go" Playlist. If there was ever going to be a problem and my time was up, that would be the the song I was going down with and the last sounds I would ever hear.
"What we said and what it meant, every word is meant to last until the end..." Damn right.
Ok, I might be a bit nuts.

As far as record collecting with this album, just take a look at my banner. I want and need every version, every mix, every color. This time around the record is remixed once again with Kurt Ballou and this time they definitely got it right.  I for one am a simple man and like all of them. The songs matter to me and as I kind of already mentioned, they are perfect.

I have been waiting for this last version for almost two years. A couple summers ago Aram mentioned to me while I was sitting in his car after Shawn's wedding that Bridge Nine would be repressing the album once again with a different, final mix. Well that is some anticipation for a fella. Since that day I have been patiently waiting. A week or so before the album went up, Aram gave me a heads up it was coming. I kept my eye on twitter and facebook and I hate to admit it, but did a bit of the old F5 refresh on B9 as well. I literally think I was the first person to jump on the order when it came up. I hit the webstore, ordered one of everything and checked out.

At least that is what I thought I did. In actuality, I forgot to order the package deal with the huge poster and a copy of Time Slips Away. I figured it would be ok as the description said it would include a copy of the rarest color and I didn't know which of the two available that might be. Since I ordered one of each anyway, I would have it covered.

Well after a couple weeks, the message boards started showing that there was a third color with the bundle package deal. My heart sunk and I figured I was screwed. Hell, I thought these would all sell out in one day. Remember what I said about perspective? Well I thought everyone would be like me and have great taste. Order one of everything immediately. I mean christ, it's Champion! I ordered the bundle package, begged for the third color in the comments section and waited.

Of course things worked out and less than a week later it showed up. Let's get started shall we?

The package deal included a copy of Time Slip Away on clear vinyl and Promises Kept on green vinyl. Bridge Nine hasn't released the pressing numbers, but I assume this is the most rare color.

For the first time the album comes in a gatefold sleeve. All the lyrics and insert pictures are on this layout now instead of an insert.

 The package deal also came with this monster large poster. It has to be seen to be believed. I am heading to Michaels to get a frame for it for sure. It will sit nicely beside my original Judge Bringin It Down promo poster.

 The two other colors available that could ordered on their own were clear and gold. Once again, I have no idea how many of each are pressed, but they look great.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was another color hiding out there for friends or band only. If there is, great. I'm in. That all three of these are still available is great for new fans but a bit of a crime as well. I mean who isn't buying this immediately? Why isn't it sold out?