Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ruiner - Hell Is Empty

Ruiner are one those bands that make me want to destroy.
More than few times at work I have had my ipod plugged in and "Out Go the Candles" and "Paint Peals" comes on while I staring at some inane, boring, soul crushing task.
"WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO RIGHT?!?!" screams through my head as I daydream of walking out and never coming back.
Of course, the work gets done, I smile and make small talk with the boss and co-workers I have nothing in common with, and once in a while I will take on new responsibilities with the hope of a good performance review and maybe a higher raise. The joys of adulthood and family life. I got responsibilities, you know?

At least Ruiner help me get through it. They never seem to disappoint. Their new lp Hell Is Empty is no exception.

Some serious effort and care went into the layout and vinyl on this one. Spot UV coating on everything, six panel folded insert, and a gatefold sleeve to boot. This package has to be seen to be truly appreciated.

I haven't seen any word online about a friends or tour press, but it wouldn't surprise me since this out on Bridge Nine. The pre-order anyway had two colors available.

500 on clear

1000 on blue/pink mix

The insert is pretty amazing. Two sided and absolutely huge! I had to be careful unfolding it, it is pretty thin and can crinkle easily.

I think one of my favorite things about this record is my good buddy Shaun gets a "thank you" in the credits! I hang with VIPs.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bane - Dublin, 11:58 PM 7" (Tour Press)

Less than a month ago, I pre-ordered the European version of the new Bane 7 inch, "Dublin, 11:58 PM" from Hurry Up Records. I figured since it was going to be expensive to ship, I would order the three pack that would cover all the color variations. I think a few of us did the same.

Well, recently I got an email from Hurry Up that limited Euro tour versions were available. I guess having three on the way already wasn't enough and I ordered a tour copy as well.

Anyways in less than two weeks it arrived and I have to say I am pretty happy with it. This tour version looks to be a lot more involved than a magic marker over a blank white dj sleeve.

From what is pictured on the Hurry Up website of the regular press, it looks like completely different sleeves and labels were printed. Right on the back cover and labels it states that this is a limited edition for the European Summer Tour.

The one I got is on black vinyl which the Hurry Up discography states is out of 120. A green pressing was also available on tour out of 480. Looks like I got another to find.

Chain of Strength - What Holds Us Apart (Confusion)

Confusion? Hell yeah I'm confused.

With the release of the second pressing of the Chain of Strength - What Holds Us Apart 7" on Foundation Records, the entire press of 1000 on black was given to Mindpower Records to sell and distribute.

New photocopied covers with the Mindpower logo were made (800 on yellow and 200 on blue) and new glossy inserts were printed with the Foundation logo. These were not the same inserts as the first Foundation press.

Also thrown into the mix were a number of "Confusion" sleeves. No one knows how many were made, but these versions became a big ticket item for Chain collectors. Based solely on numbers, it may be the rarest Chain record out there.

For a long while the "Confusion" version was essentially the same for any lucky person who had one, Foundation 2nd press black vinyl, the newer style Foundation insert, and a different cover using the picture that would end up on "The One Thing That Still Holds True" lp released a few years later.

Now things get, pardon the pun, confusing. A small number of "Confusion" records are out there that are quite a bit different than the one I just described.

First of all, the picture on the sleeve is way darker, almost to the point Curtis can't be seen. Second, there is a noticeable white band or stripe at the bottom fold and right side that is not there on the other Confusion sleeves.

The insert is the same, the glossy Foundation one used for the Mindpower press.

Here's the kicker though, the vinyl is the REJECT press vinyl used for the Chain Crew record.

500 reject press records were pressed. Only 100 were used for the Chain Crew, the other 400 are out there and at least a few were used for this second "Confusion" version.

Checking the How's Your Edge trade list, a grand total of three people have one like this. Kyle Whitlow from Rivalry Records, Dobek Ohashi from Japan (cool blog - check it out), and me. I got mine from Troy Trujillo who's collection is also listed on the HYE board. According to popsike, one single copy has been sold on ebay. It was sold by Malcolm from Trash American Style.

So, is it a bootleg? Well, that is a hell of a bootleg if the vinyl you get is the prized reject press!
Who put it out? Someone with access to the reject press leads me to assume someone close to the band as they were each given 100.

I can't find the straight dope on this record online. I just put this together on my own, so if anyone knows the score on numbers or who put it out, please comment on it.

Whatever the case may be, as a Chain of Strength nerd, I am glad to have it. Whatever the hell it is!

Friday, September 18, 2009

No Mercy - Widespread Bloodshed/Love Runs Red

Never mind how much of a joke the whole Suicidal Tendencies/Suicidal Family/Cyco Miko/Infectious Grooves thing has turned out to be. Back in 1987, No Mercy was as serious as a heart attack. This was the album everyone in my group of friends loved and played continuously for months.
I still remember pathetically attempting to ollie up on to the curb over and over to a dub copy of this album on my "ghetto blaster". I gave up on skateboarding, the tape player bit the dust, but the tunes thankfully stayed.

No Mercy first showed up on the Welcome to Venice comp out on Suicidal Records in 1985. They definitely had that Venice sound down and fit in well with the rest of the bands on the comp including Suicidal Tendencies, Beowulf and Excel.

When Widespread Bloodshed was released a couple years later, their sound had basically changed into Suicidal Jr. The main reason, Suicidal's singer and leader Mike Muir was now singing on the record.

What really sets this album apart in the collector's world is the rarity. It was pressed once on lp and cassette. That's it.
The story goes that the masters and plates were either lost, mistakenly thrown out or were destroyed in a fire. Whichever way it happened, this record was never released on cd or given a remaster treatment. This is it folks.

When I was tracking it down a few years ago, it was easily going for $100-$150 on ebay. It peaked at $200 a couple years ago, but you can find it now for around $60.

My copy came with a cool Suicidal Records merch order form. I only wish I could have got the first Beowulf lp for $7.50

I also have a promo sheet included from Caroline who did the distribution and were involved with the "second" lp that never came.

A good number of the songs were re-recorded by Suicidal Tendencies and released on their "Controlled by Hatred/Feel Like Shit...Deja Vu" ep when Mike Clark (guitarist and song writer) from No Mercy joined the band. I have to say, the re-recordings just aren't as good, especially "Choosing My Own Own Way of Life" and "Waking the Dead". They ended up so different.

Don't waste your time with the comebacks, new comp tracks or unreleased demo tracks that Suicidal is pumping out now, this album is the real deal and the best you will find from the band. I just pray Mike Muir doesn't re-record a funk version of this record. I might cry.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Now I consider myself fairly savvy when it comes to punk and hardcore, especially with bigger bands and labels. If I hadn't heard it personally, at least I would have heard of it.
That is why it came as a shock to me when a couple years ago, my buddy Todd told me about his quest to find the elusive Minuteflag ep.

I thought to myself "Minuteflag?". Of course I didn't let on I had no idea what he was talking about. I just nodded knowingly. The first thing I did when I got home was add Minuteflag to my ebay searches. It took almost a year for one to pop up. I got it for $8. I completely understand why.

Minuteflag was a collaboration of Black Flag and The Minutemen. Legend has it that the jam session they recorded in Mrach of 1985 would not be released until one of the two bands would break up. Well about a year later D. Boon died and Black Flag broke up. As a result, we get this.

You would think a punk super group would be mind altering. Well, it is. That is if you are into avant guard, experimental jazzy freeform jams.
There is basically one real song here. The opener is the hippyish "Fetch the Water" with D. Boon singing and Henry Rollins yelping sterotypical Mexican fiesta laughs and aribas in the background. I wish I was kidding.

The rest of the record is instrumental and a bit of a cluster fuck seeing as you have two bassists, two drummers, Greg Ginn wanking as usual, D. Boon, and Mr. Garfield playing "percussion". All at the same time.

Ahhh, the hell with it. I can't explain it. I would say go ahead and pick it up to check it out yourself if you are interested, but it won't be that easy. This was released on SST (of course) but unlike almost every other SST release, was never repressed and never released on cd. There are a couple youtube posts out there to check out, but they don't sound very good.

If you are curious as to which era of Black Flag it is, always check the hair length.

Yup. late era.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cro-Mags - The Age of Quarrel

I love me some Cro-Mags.
Even after all the soap opera in-fighting, 20 different line ups and question of ownership of the name, their reputation from the first album alone still puts them the top of the heap for hardcore fans.
Cruise by the Livewire message board and you will see hundreds (well maybe dozens) of 35+ year old men bowing at the feet of John Joseph. Personally, his book pissed me off. Just one big long bragging session about how awesome he is at EVERYTHING. Fighting, yup. Scamming, yup. Chanting, yup. Cooking, yup. Is there anything he can't do?!?!? Whatever.

Of course, the music is what matters and it really doesn't get better than Age of Quarrel. Black vinyl, unknown number pressed. Just tough as hell to find in the used racks, let's say that.
I can safely say I dig every song and each one is memorable. Even "Malfunction".

What we have here is one of the more rare variations of the first lp, an "Uncensored" inner sleeve. I'm not really sure why as you can't make anything out on it anyways.

Most of the copies released had a censored sleeve. Here is one for comparison.

If you want to see what the intention was, check out the Age of Quarrel demos 10" bootleg. You can make out all the images at least.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Agnostic Front - Victim In Pain

Back in the mid 1980's, I bought a magazine that professed to be the definitive encyclopedia of Thrash Metal bands. The thing is, there were way more than thrash bands. In addition, there were lots of crossover bands and some straight up hardcore bands like Youth of Today and Black Flag. It was so cool to see all these bands I liked in one place.
I was enthralled by the full page ads, one of which was for Combat Records. On page 13 was an ad for the reissue of Agnostic Front "Victim In Pain" and also their third lp "Liberty and Justice For..."
I had heard Agnostic Front a few times but to be truthful I was more intrigued with what I read about them. The Lower East Side, NYHC, Stigma, CBGB's, squats, the works. Nothing could be further from life in Calgary, Alberta.
Of course I bought Victim In Pain as soon as I could - on cassette.

It would be years later that I would start hunting down the vinyl. At the top of my list was the original version on Ratcage.

The shocking imagery and relative difficulty finding this before the internet days made this a taboo record. Let's just say I wasn't showing it off to mom when I got it through a penpal deal.
This is the second press as it has the added Important Distribution label on the back cover.
There are a lot of represses of this but you can tell the original by the red lettering on the front cover.

That is some serious dead wax! More than half the side is blank.

For years I ignored the Combat repress. I felt it was second tier at best to the original. Over time though, I have found it near impossible to find one in good shape. AF fans must really beat the shit out of their records. Either the vinyl is scratched all to hell or you have huge corner creases (like mine).

But the main claim of infamy for this record is the ringwear. I am nominating it into the ringwear hall of fame alongside Ozzy Osbourne/Randy Rhodes - Tribute. The black cover doesn't help but every other copy I have seen has a huge ring on it.

Besides the killer embossed cover, the reissue also came with a sticker on the shrinkwrap telling you what the record was. Like this was going to be a problem at the mall with dad buying it for his daughter or something.

What is kind of crazy is that the reissue was released 2 years after the original. Two years! It hardly makes it a cheap money grab. Now 23 years later, I would say having either of them is a good score.
Oh yeah, the music rules too. But you knew that.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Have Heart - Tour & Festival 7" presses

A couple weeks ago Have Heart came through Calgary as part of their End of the World tour. It is inconceivable to me that this band who planned a farewell world tour to cover every continent (except Antarctica) on the planet, who played amazing cosmopolitan cities full of culture and history - for some reason decided to play Calgary. I mean this town sucks. 11 hours drive to Vancouver, 8 to Regina, 10 1/2 to Saskatoon. No man's land.

I am happy to say that this was the best Calgary all ages show I have ever seen. Ever.

The reaction when Have Heart played was something I had never seen in this city before. Believe me, Calgary is somewhere around the ninth level of hell for tours and we got treated to an unreal show that also had awesome opening bands like Voices, Grave Maker, Bitter End, Cruel Hand, and Shipwreck. That is a fest worthy lineup!

The only downside as a collector was the lack of tour vinyl or covers. Nothing except a 7" from Grave Maker. Of course I had to get it.

The lack of tour vinyl got me thinking about my Have Heart 2003 Demo and What Counts collection. Have Heart don't seem to be shy when it comes to tour presses.

Demo 2003 - Summer 2005 Tour cover. Out of 150 on black with stamped labels.

Demo 2003 - 2005 Posi Fest press. 200 on clear with stamped labels.

Demo 2003 - Sink With Cali Fest 2005 press. 100 pressed on black with stamped labels.

What Counts - 2004-2005 US Winter Tour cover out of 40. 2nd press green vinyl. 200 total pressed.

What Counts - 2005 Posi Numbers Fest cover. Red vinyl out of 125.

What Counts - Sink With Cali Fest 2005 press. 100 pressed on black.

What Counts - Bonds of Bro-Ship Tour cover. 150 pressed using 3rd press black and white vinyl.

Of course like the rest of my collection, I have holes. I am missing the first one of course. 2003 Demo - 2004 Summer tour with the Gorilla Biscuits rip off cover. There are only 45 of those so here's hoping one pops up some day. Anyone with a line on one, hit me up!