Sunday, November 28, 2010

Integrity - Organized Crime Halloween Package

It's not news that Organized Crime Records out of Chicago re-released two classic Integrity records this year, the In Contrast Of Sin 7" and the Those Who Fear Tomorrow lp.
By all counts, the reissue has been a great success as there was obviously a demand for the old stuff that had been out of print for years. Organized Crime are now on their second press and there are no signs this is stopping any time soon.

Myself, I have been hesitant in jumping at the reissues mainly because I already had original copies of both records and I was afraid that this new reissue would be over the top difficult to collect with massive amounts of special covers, colors and variants.
Well, I was right on that count. Test press, rejected tests, release show press, special artist sleeves, pre-order color, and on and on and on.

I hesitated on the pre-order, time passed, limited stuff was long gone and I moved on to the next record. There is always a next record. Or twenty.

So, I even surprised myself when I saw the super limited secret pre-order for an Integrity Halloween package on October 30 and decided to order it. The listing was intriguing. 75 sets total. Items that would only be available exclusively in this package, and a shirt. You couldn't see anything, you didn't know what it was, so you just had to jump at it.

Well a couple weeks later and this is what shows up at my door.

That is a good start. I always appreciate good mailer art!

So the mystery set ended up being glow in the dark color versions of the two records. Not bad. Oh, and a t-shirt. It's pretty good to. I would take a picture, but I am wearing it.

First up, Those Who Fear Tomorrow.

The gatefold art and packaging is top notch. An extra added touch is a stamped dust sleeve for the Halloween set.

Next up, In Contrast of Sin.

Once again, excellent attention to detail with a double sided cover and great inserts.

Also a stamped dust sleeve for the record.

I am glad I have this as the reissue is very well done and the music is great. This is their best stuff outside of Humanity Is The Devil 10" on Victory, oh and maybe System Overload and Seasons In The Size Of Days, but it is great nonetheless. Thankfully, I have no great desire to try to back track and "complete" the rest. This is good enough.

If you are looking for more on this release, check out Marcus' blog. He loves the Integrity collecting!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Crossed Out - s/t 7"

I am not in the best of moods. My home town of Calgary looks and feels like something out of the movie "30 Days of Night". Well except for vampires.
In one day we went from nice autumn weather to bone chilling deep winter. One day. They ever told us the hour it was coming.
Now we are a week into minus 30 degree Celsius weather and a foot of snow.
Oh yeah, it is also dark 16 hours of the day. The 8 hours of faint light we do get are while I am at work. Awesome.

Times like these make me hit the powerviolence, and there is no better band for that than Crossed Out. I would put Crossed Out and their first 7" along side the Infest - Machismo 7" and the Neanderthal 7" as the definitive sound of the first wave of west coast power violence.

Raw, strained gruff vocals, ridiculous fast blast beat verses and choruses contrasted with slow plodding heavy breaks - all wrapped up in around a minute or two. Sounds like heaven!

This 7" was released by Slap A Ham Records in 1991-92. Only one pressing of 1000 copies. All on black vinyl.

The value of these has fluctuated a lot over the years. When Chris Dodge closed down Slap A Ham, the value jumped quite a bit. Now you can grab one off ebay for around $50 to $60.

A discography was released in 1999 that compiled all of Crossed Out's releases. It was a cool record to grab so you wouldn't have to spend big money tracking down all their splits and comps. However, when Slap A Ham stopped, the value of that discography album jumped to the same as the rare stuff.

I guess people like their Crossed Out.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Zero Tolerance - Bad Blood 7"

Buffalo, New York - Home of the Bills, Sabres, chicken wings, The Goo Goo Dolls, about 50 Scott Vogel bands, Snapcase and the almighty Zero Tolerance.

At the height of youth crew straight edge hardcore in 1988, Zero Tolerance were a mainstay and a go to band for opening shows for the big bands on the US east coast. They were, and still are, absolutely revered in the city of Buffalo, in New York state and on the east coast in general.

Case in point, the Terror "Life and Death Demo" Zero Tolerance rip off cover and the New York state based label Reaper Records releasing the ZT cassette tape "Fuel The Fire". Patrick isn't letting this band fade away!

Up until the recent "Fuel the Fire" release, their only record was the "Bad Blood" ep that was released on Hi-Impact Records. As we all know, Hi-Impact released the first Turning Point 7", this and then morphed with Axtion Packed Records into Jade Tree in the early 90's.

Bad Blood is raw. Really raw. It is also aggressive, fast and a bit mean. I like it.

A total of 1000 records were pressed.
100 on clear gold.

The remaining 900 were pressed on black vinyl. There are also 100 of those with Fall Brawl sleeves. I have never seen one but if anyone is willing to part with one, hit me up.

One thing I find so disrespectful is the laziness of new lame bands that can't spend 5 minutes on Google to maybe see if their awesome band name hasn't been taken. I mean - Zero Tolerance, that is a great name! You think you came up with that all on your own in 2010?

There are no less than five Zero Tolerance bands on myspace. They range from party time rock and roll, to metal, to a southern fried rock Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band. Get a fucking grip.

Maybe I care about this stuff too much.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Converge - You Fail Me / No Heroes 2010 represses

Deathwish recently made the decision to repress two of Converge's somewhat older albums, "You Fail Me" and "No Heroes".

These are two albums that have been out of print for some time. The only way you could get them was through ebay or some other used secondary market for inflated prices.

Well, now these records are readily available again. Deathwish made the decision that these records would stay in print for as long as there was a demand for them. Not only that, but both records were pressed on good old black vinyl.

One color with no pressing numbers listed usually means just go about your business and live your lives. The records will be here if you need them. I ordered both and that was that.

After an innocent mail order mixup that was worked out by the fine folks at Deathwish, my records arrived in the mail this week.

First up, You Fail Me.

I find it interesting that Deathwish would repress this on black vinyl since this record has already been on black 180 gram vinyl in the past. On the first press, there were 552 on black that were sold on a European tour.
Generally Deathwish isn't known for repeating colors on represses. So be it. I will assume this repress isn't 180 gram and go with it. It is one hell of an album.

Next up, No Heroes.

Now for the interesting part. I got white vinyl.

I swore the webstore said both these records would only be available on black vinyl. After doing some digging around, I found that the Vinyl Collective board had been all over this. A few people who either had their orders lost or mixed up were getting No Heroes on white vinyl. I guess I am in that same boat.

The cool part is that Tre and Jake ain't saying shit. Chaos and anarchy are breaking out on the message boards by rabid completionists and these two are acting as cool as a cucumber.
I like that!

It can be one of two things.

#1. A super limited, secret double probation run of white vinyl was pressed to handle mailorder issues and any overselling from the high webstore demand. Only the band, Tre, Janelle and four guys with US post office problems have them.
These copies are as rare as blood diamonds and I now have the coolest Converge collection of all time.

#2. Deathwish are keeping this record in print and white is the next press of 5000. In which case I am a jerk off for writing even this much about it.

I am putting my money on #2.

Part of me hopes that any further represses will all be on one color and they can keep it in print forever. People can have the record if they want without having to resort to ebay, and I won't have to keep buying Converge records like a robot.

Seriously, my Converge record collection is starting to look like a mini-Deathwish warehouse!

On second thought, that looks pretty bad ass. Keep them coming.

Now I only have one question, can I still get a No Heroes on black?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Champion/Betrayed split 7"

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

Alright, I agree that quoting from Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" is a little fucking dramatic for a record collecting blog, but hey, bear with me for a minute.

I remember back in 2005/2006 when word was coming down on this split and just how excited I was that two of my favorite bands would be releasing a record together. These were two high profile hardcore bands enjoying yet another resurgence of straight edge popularity. They were both coming off monster releases as well with the Addiction ep and Promises Kept.

As cool as this was, I questioned at the time how Kyle from Rivalry could pull this off. For the most part, splits have a pecking order. There is a definite "bigger", more popular band that people buy the record for, and they end up named first and on Side A.
I know this sounds insensitive, but I don't know anyone who bought the Unbroken/Abhinanda split for Abhinanda - except maybe their friends and parents.
Anyways, what I am getting at is that to me this was a dead heat. What band would take the "backseat" as it were?

In the end it mustn't have that big of a problem. Aram Arslanian was the guitarist for Champion and lead singer for Betrayed. You had one guy involved with both bands who could help coordinate the band efforts. Kyle Whitlow was friends with everyone in both bands. Everyone was on the west coast. The people and pieces were there to make it happen, and it did.

However, the timing of this record had a much more profound effect on a personal level for all those involved, especially Aram.

This record can be seen as a crossroads for both bands. It was ultimately the inevitable end of one band and the meteoric rise of another with one guy caught in the middle.

I asked Aram his thoughts on this and this is what he had to say,

"This was a time in my life that was filled with both excitement and sadness. I think I knew deep down that Champion was coming to an end, and that band had been such a huge part of my life that I was sad to see it pass. But, Betrayed was such a great new chapter and it was really amazing to be in a band with someone as talented as Todd Jones. This record definitely represented the changing of the leaves for many of us, and I'm glad to say that all these years later we all remain the best of friends."

It's rare that a record can capture a snapshot in time so naturally and organically. This wasn't a designed farewell or a coming out party. In hindsight, it just kind of turned out that way.

Enough of me waxing poetically, let's get to the vinyl.

1st press. Red/Orange split out of 135. This was available at the 2006 Rivalry Showcase as the record release and was only available from Champion. Yeah, now bands had their own exclusive colors to sell.

1st press Brown/Orange swirl out of 135. This was also available at the 2006 Rivalry Showcase as the record release and was only available from Betrayed.

Up until this point, if you had a computer and kept your eyes open, you could jump on pre-orders to get the rarer colors. Then you could go through retail or distros to get the standard color. The rules were easy.
This was the first time I had ever seen this kind of wrinkle and it changed the collecting game for me once again. You better know someone who can pick one up for you, know someone in the band or with the label or just get used to ebay and having a smaller bank account.

1st press. Red with Orange splatter out of 320. This was the pre-order color only available through Rivalry.

1st press. Clear vinyl out of 980.

There were a total of 1570 pressed for the first run. That would be more than enough for most hardcore releases. Yeah, not so much.

2nd press. Clear out of 1325. Same color as the standard first press color. taking cues from Bridge Nine, a "II" was placed on the b side label to distinguish between the pressings.

2nd press. Clear out of 200. This was the Betrayed last shows version that used the second press clear vinyl. 200 covers were printed for the final two shows in California. As meteoric as their rise was, the fall was twice as fast as the band broke up while this record was still in print. Sad times.

The covers were stamped and machined numbered as well.

As we all know now, Betrayed are back and as good as they ever were with their new Suffering 7" out on React! Records. I'm sure you all have it already. Right?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Alone In A Crowd - s/t 7"

Talk about your one offs…

No real introduction is necessary for Alone In A Crowd. If you are into 80’s New York Hardcore, you know the story of this band.

Side By Side break up. Jules starts a new band with people who were, or would end up in Judge, Breakdown, Raw Deal/Killing Time, and Uppercut. It’s hard to call a band that didn’t make 5 cents to their name a “supergroup”, but it’s as close as we have I guess.

They enter Don Fury’s studio and record four amazing ‘88 style hardcore songs. It also doesn’t hurt that it is 1988.

As far as the songs go, no one is reinventing the wheel. Raw sound, gang backup vocals, crunch, speed, heavy breakdowns and lyrics about friendship, unity, and getting stabbed in the back. Hardcore 101.

They play one show and done. That’s it.

Well, at least we have this record to prove it happened.

The 7” was released on Flux Records in 1989. Two pressings, all on black vinyl.

First press of 1000.

Huge foldout insert.

Second press. They completely changed the cover and labels for the second press. It took me about 5 minutes of staring at the cover to finally figure out it was a close up picture of Marlon Brando’s face from Apocalypse Now. I’m not too quick sometimes.

Total of 500 pressed on black.

Seriously down scaled insert as well.

There is also an alternate sleeve for the second press that is a cheap photocopy that removes the group photo and changes the text on the back. I don’t have it and I have zero interest in it. Go check out Dobek’s site to see one.

Fifteen years later the record is finally repressed by Contrast Records. The last time I checked, everyone with a trading list on How’s Your Edge or Dead Format has one so I decided to leave it off here. There are a couple thousand pressed so it wouldn’t be too hard to track down if you are interested.