Saturday, May 28, 2011

Deafheaven - Roads To Judah

Every once in a while I am reminded of why I love music.
Just when it seems everything musically has already been done and when I realize that most of the records I buy these days are represses, something comes along to remind me why I spend so much time and energy on it.

Maybe everything has been done. Maybe there are no more original songs, but the one frontier left for new music is the combination of different styles to create something fresh and exciting.

Deafheaven combine atmospheric black metal, 90's style screamo, spacy shoegaze rock and some straight up hardcore to create a sound that is familiar, but unique.

Well to me anyways, my wife thinks it sounds like screaming and blast beats.

Roads To Judah is by far my favorite album of the year to date. It will be tough to beat.

This album was released on three colors for the first press. It also comes with a gatefold cover and lyric sheet. All the horizontal parts of the letters are missing. It must be a cvlt thing.

I am going on an educated guess here, but judging but the colors still available and the traditional Deathwwish pressing numbers, let break it down like this;

300 Cream/Black split

700 Cream Black mix

1000 Cream

Everyone who pre-ordered the album months ago got instant access to a digital download of it. According to itunes, I have listened to the record 93 times before the album was released and I received the vinyl in the mail.

Yeah, I guess you could call me a fan. Album of the Year.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Defeater - Empty Days & Sleepless Nights

This post is long overdue as the latest Defeater album, "Empty Days & Sleepless Nights" was released months ago. Unfortunately, it has taken me this long to track down the first press. The pre-order for the album went up on Bridge Nine while I was away on vacation in February and I missed out.
To show how insane I am, I actually regretted (just for a minute) going on vacation when I saw the pre-order email from B9 in my inbox when we got home.
Defeater are one of my favorite current bands and I knew it would be a pain in the ass to try to track this down after the fact, especially with the popularity of the band these days.
To tell the truth, even if I was home I'm not sure I would have been able to get all three versions of the first press. This album sold out extremely fast. I think I read somewhere the entire first press was sold out in four days!

After passing up some ridiculous overpriced ebay auctions, and buying what I could, where I could - I finally finished off the first press right in time to see the second press dark red vinyl sell out! That chase will have to wait for another day. Hell, B9 are already on a third pressing. 4000 records pressed in three months? I guess Defeater are popular.

"Empty Days & Sleepless Nights" as you all know by now is actually two separate albums. "Empty Days" is a narrative concept album chronicling the downright depressing lives (and deaths) of members of a post WWII family in America, picking up the story where the "Lost Ground" ep left off.
Just like with their last two releases, "Travels" and "Lost Ground", the songs are told in a storytelling fashion with plenty of emotion. Musically, they continue with their Modern Life Is War-like modern hardcore sound.
The second record, "Sleepless Nights" is a one sided, four song acoustic set of folk style rock that we have seen glimpses of in the past with the band, ie. "Prophet In Plain Clothes" off Travels.

I'm not sure why I am bothering to "review" the record since everyone and their dog has it already. On to the vinyl!

1st press. Gatefold sleeve.

Black vinyl with gold labels/300

Black vinyl with silver labels/700

Black vinyl with red labels/1000

I love that instead of color vinyl they went with different labels for the first press, a la American Nightmare's "The Sun Isn't Getting Any Brighter" 7".

The b-side of the second record is etched. Railroad spike. It all makes sense if you read the lyrics.

The pre-order package came with a 64 page book with lyrics and pictures, a huge 36" x 24" poster and a smaller poster.

The book is basically a really thick cd booklet. I was hoping for something along the lines of "Society Verse" that came with the Ceremony Rohnert Park pre-order. Still, it's all good.

I can see this record getting repressed a few times down the road. The band's popularity and the overwhelmingly positive reviews this album received could end up putting this into Have Heart territory for total number of records pressed.

I'm going to need more shelf space.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sick Of It All - Blood, Sweat And No Tears lp

According to Google Analytics, a good percentage of the traffic that visits this blog are people looking for mp3s and free downloads. I can't imaging how bummed out they are when they open the website to find nothing more than pictures of records.
To those looking for free music, sorry I couldn't help you out. I actually like buying and collecting these things, and hopefully will to.

Every once in a while I get a cool comment or email from someone asking about a particular record they have questions about or would like to see pictures of. Last week I got a very nice email asking if I could do a post on the first Sick Of It All full length album, "Blood Sweat And No Tears". He had the European repress and wanted some info on the first press. So for Sajid, here you go!

The first press of this record was released on the Relativity Records' In Effect imprint label in the summer of 1989. In-Effect was around for a few years in the late 1980's and early 1990's, releasing primarily New York Hardcore.
I bought a lot of their releases including Agnostic Front - Live At CBGB's, Bad Brains - Attitude, Killing Time - Brightside and the best of all of them, Nuclear Assault - Handle With Care. (No, I'm not joking.)
Unfortunately, there were a few Prong, 24-7 Spyz and Scatterbrain releases mixed in there. I guess you can't win them all.

One very cool element on all their releases was that In-Effect would include the hometown or borough of New York the band was from in the label. For Sick Of It All, it was Hollis, Queens.

The In-Effect pressing of the record also came with the dreaded glossy printed inner sleeve. I got lucky and mine is still intact with no split seams.

Interesting that the only lyrics on the sleeve are for the song "Injustice System". I guess they knew early on it would be the "big single" with a video and everything.
They do mention that you can write in and get the full lyrics from the band/label. That is pretty cool. It's like the Kiss Army fan club for skinheads!

I can't think of anyone in my travels who doesn't like, or was at least exposed to this record.
The album came around at just the right time for the band to be included with other bands riding the popularity of metal and crossover. One listen and you could tell this was not metal or crossover though. Pure basic hardcore.
The album also had just enough "major" label pull where a suburban Canadian kid could catch the video for "Injustice System" in regular rotation on the Much Music Power Hour, and then go pick up the record at the mall. That was earth shattering back then. Ah, the good old days...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Touche Amore - ...To The Beat Of A Dead Horse : RSD 2011 press

Record Store Day this year was a little disappointing. While I ended up getting everything I wanted, it took a lot of help from friends to make it happen. Revelation represses? Mike had to get those for me in Boston. Rival Schools - Wring It Out 7", same. Off! - Live at Generation Records 7". Mike as well. Wow, thanks Mike!
My friend Todd helped me get the Bad Brains - Pay to Cum repress on gold, Mastodon - Live At The Argon 2xlp and the Fucked Up - David's Town comp too. Basically I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off, bouncing from record store to record store, too late to find anything on my own except a Dio picture disc. Well, that was kind of cool.

At least I did one thing right. At 11:00 AM MST, I ran home to park myself in front of the computer and hit refresh on the 6131/Hellfish webstore to score this:

Touche Amore - ...To The Beat Of A Dead Horse Record Store Day 2011 press.

This was my biggest want from the entire event and I am so happy I was able to get one. Originally I didn't think it would happen. Due to unforseen circumstances, 6131 were unable to distribute the lp to stores in time for RSD, so they instead made it a web store deal. That's a good thing for me because there is no way in hell it would have made it up here in Canada.

This Record Store Day exclusive is the album's 4th press and was limited to a ridiculously low run of 250 on white vinyl with no labels. I'm guessing it is 180 gram vinyl, the same as the third press on white.

The main special touch was a white letterpress cover. Unfortunately, it really needs to be seen with the human eye to be appreciated as my camera just can't pick up any detail. I did what I could adjusting the contrast, but it's obviously not working out for me too well.

Oh yeah, this album is awesome - but you already knew that. I can't wait to see them play at Chaos In Tejas in three weeks. Stoked beyond belief!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Life Sentence - s/t 12"

Thanks to a gloomy, rainy Sunday afternoon, I actually had some time to hit the basement and finally listen to some music. I had to be quick about it because there is always the next family craft, task or project around the corner.
I thought about pulling out DRI's - "Dealing With It" lp, but as short and fast as those songs are, there are just too many of them. I ended up choosing the Life Sentence 12". The songs are just as short and fast except there's a whole lot less of them!

Life Sentence started out as a five piece, and then shrunk to a three piece hardcore band out of Chicago, Illinois in the mid 1980's.
Throughout their career they tried to appeal to every sub-genre or group in hardcore. Skaters, skinheads, peace punks, straight edge, crossover, and especially metal heads.

Unfortunately, Life Sentence were criminally under appreciated. Seriously, there are two documentaries about the Chicago punk and hardcore scene and neither of them even mentions the band. What's even more screwed up is that the film, "You Weren't There" was directed by the former bass player in Life Sentence!!!!

As far as vinyl goes, the s/t 12" was released back in 1987 on Walkthrufire Records, a local Chicago record label. All black vinyl. No idea how many were pressed. It was bootlegged or repressed on the Legends of Hardcore label on red vinyl a few years ago.

To me, Life Sentence were at their best with this, their first record. There were way too many line up changes, sound changes, lawsuits, scab players, reunions and all that crap after this one.
Their sound at the time was a cross between DRI and 7 Seconds. How could you lose?

Life Sentence were also one band that missed out on the Metallica-push payday. Hetfield wears a Misfits t-shirt in 1987, the metal world discovers punk, The Misfits, Samhain and Danzig. Glenn gets famous and gets to write songs for a Hollywood movie soundtrack.
Lars Ulrich wears a Life Sentence shirt, people think the logo looks cool because it's a rip off of Life magazine.

No breaks.