Thursday, September 22, 2011

Step Forward - 10 Song EP 7"

Late Passes Suck. Not only are you behind everyone when it comes to discovering new, exciting music, but it can be hard to catch up if you miss out on the wrong band. Case in point, Step Forward.

Ever since seeing an impromptu Step Forward set at Chaos In Tejas last summer, I have been obsessed with tracking down their record. It hasn't been easy. It is rare and in high demand, making it pretty pricey to boot.
I remember seeing the 7" available from Painkiller Records four years ago, but I was focused on other bands and labels at the time. Like I have said before, you can't have it all. You can't buy everything. I just wish this was one I had picked up when I first had the chance.

Step Forward are a full on, super fast, aggressive straight edge hardcore band from Boston made up of guys who are in, or were in, every 2000-era Boston hardcore band. They don't play often, and as of right now, they have only released one ep.
While there may be only one record, damn, is it ever awesome. Maybe it is just time and place with what I am into now, but I can't stop listening to it. The CC guitar solos are just so cool and fit in seamlessly with the rest of the music. Great vocals, bass playing and drums too. Love it!

On to the vinyl.

Record release pressing. "Crossword puzzle" cover out of 154.

Black vinyl with stamped labels dated for the record release show with Righteous Jams.

There is also a second "Loud and Clear - This Is Boston! (Not Belgium)" cover for the record release out of 30. I would love to have one, but they haven't been popping up much. Actually, not at all.

First press. Clear vinyl out of 220.

The first press was rounded out with black vinyl out of 418.

There is also a second press on black vinyl out of 350 that is identical to the black vinyl of the first press.
Lyrics and credits are printed on the inside of the cover.

I was really glad to hear that the band had finally finished their second 7" and are planning on releasing it soon. If it is anything like this one, it could be my record of the year.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cursed - III : Architects Of Troubled Sleep

Ever since seeing Burning Love play at Chaos In Tejas this summer, I have been on a bit of a Chris Colohan bender. Some Burning Love, a bit of Left For Dead and The Swarm, and whole shit load of Cursed.
The album I have been digging a lot again lately is their last full length album, "III : Architects Of Troubled Sleep". Not their most popular album by any stretch, but to me it is their best.

Cursed has always had an issue with their recorded sound. To me, they have never been able to capture what I have heard when I saw them live. This album was at least the closest. Plus, this record has two of their best songs, "Antihero Resuscitator" and "Into The Hive". Hardcore.

As for the vinyl, there are two separate releases for the album, each with their own unique touches. The North American pressing was on the awesome Canadian label, Goodfellow Records.

The limited color was 300 on grey.

The rest of the first and only pressing was on black vinyl. 700 pressed.

Comes with the dreaded glossy two sided printed inner sleeve. I have fingerprint marks all over it that I can't get rid of. Fail.

There is a record release/Good Friday version with a alternative cover out of 85. I am still on the lookout for it, but it goes for some pretty big bucks. $100 these days, if you can find it at all.

One very strange thing with our independent Canadian music scene is that if you have the organizational skills and a willingness to tour and promote yourself in Canada, you can get a grant to help subsidize your band/label endeavors.
Yup, this Cursed album was partially paid for by my Federal government. O Canada!

I don't know, seems weird to me. There are some things you expect the government to get involved with, hardcore isn't one of them.
You can read up on the whole Factor program here. Checking the site out I just found out that Silverstein got $15,000 to make a video. Comeback Kid got $7184 to tour. I obviously pay too much in taxes.

There was also a European pressing of the album released on Reflections. This was a nice surprise as most of the licensed stuff Reflections releases is in the straight up hardcore like Blacklisted, Modern Life Is War and Terror. I know, that is a pretty big generalization, but hey, let's go with it.

Clear with black splatter out of 250.

Clear or milky white out of 250.

Black out of 500.

The European press also came in a gatefold cover made up of the printed insert of the North American version. You can see there are also a couple slight differences with the front cover as well with shading and stuff like that.

I miss Cursed.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Navio Forge - As We Quietly Burn A Hole Into...

I figured I'd end the week off with the most polarizing emo record out there. Those who love it regard it as the high water mark for the genre, the emo-est of the emo. Those who hate it basically believe it killed the whole thing for just going too far.

Navio Forge - As We Quietly Burn A Hole Into...

Navio Forge were a very short lived emo band out the Berkeley/bay area scene in California. They played a total of two shows, both at Gilman St., and released this album in 1993 after they had already broken up.
Really, the band was just a blip on the radar at the time. However their reputation has grown because of this record, and really just one song in particular.

Musically, the band were pretty straight forward all things considered. Very few jangly guitar parts or whispered vocals. The guitarist Mike Kirsch (who was also in just about every Ebullition band including Fuel, Torches To Rome and Bread and Circuits to name a few) had a very straight forward driving sound, almost heavy. Vocally, well that's another story.

It all comes down to the last song on the record, "Haloed Eyes". In a nutshell - the singer cries. At the end of the song, he's wailing away, moved to tears from singing about not making eye contact - or something.

Some called it brilliant, the final natural step for emotional music. Others checked out. Late teen, early 20's suburban hardcore kids had a tougher time hanging with it. One thing is for sure, it left an impression!

As far as the vinyl goes, the record was self released on Shadow Catcher Records. All on black vinyl. No idea how many pressed but the internet consensus is well under 1000.
It can't be many, as very few show up on ebay and those that do end up going for some pretty serious bucks. The last one sold this year went for over $70.
There was also a "limited cover" version that took other hardcore record jackets, turned them inside out and screened them. Sounds like they ran out of covers. Those go for $100 - $150. I couldn't be bothered.

It would be interesting to know what others thought of this record. I know my friends had definite opinions on both sides of the fence!