Friday, May 9, 2014

Coven - Witchcraft : Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls

This post goes out to Mike Preston and Mark Sandwell - the only two guys in the collecting scene who would even remotely appreciate this!

I can say without any doubt that this is one of the odder purchases I have ever made. I have wanted this album for years, but purely as a curiosity. Since elementary school, the music I was drawn to was always on the "evil" side. From Black Sabbath to Venom to Slayer, and even up to today with Behemoth and Mayhem, I have always been fascinated with heavy music that touched on satanic or occult themes. I get a kick out of it, no different than watching horror movies like The Omen, The Exorcist or House of the Devil.
From the first time I read about this album, I knew I had to check it out. The band, and this album in particular, were always mentioned and appreciated in rock history books and magazine articles. A lot of attention had to do with the fact that they has a song called Black Sabbath and a band member named Oz Osbourne - a year before Sabbath released their first album. They were also the first band to publicly show a strong pro-satanic stance by throwing up the devil's horns and using inverted crosses before anyone else.

The problem is Coven aren't good. At all. Even with the recent popularity of 70's style doom metal/occult rock bands with female vocals like The Oath, Blood Ceremony and Purson, you would think that I would be able to gain an appreciation for the music on this album. Nope. It's just really bad psychedelic folk music. But really, this record has nothing to do with music.

Released on Mercury Records in early 1969, "Witchcraft" was quickly pulled from the record store shelves after a strong moral backlash stemming from the Manson Family murders in California and the fact that the album contained a fucking satanic mass. That's right, a 13 minute black mass on side two to finish off the album.

To tell you the truth it isn't exactly scary or powerful primarily because the guy conducting it sounds just like Principal Skinner from the Simpsons. KISS THE GOAT!

The layout of this album is unreal. 1969. I have to say it again, this was released in 1969.

It's has a weird double gatefold with the altar scene first and then it folds over again like a book for the lyrics. There is nowhere to actually put the record. That must have been inconvenient back in the day before polyethylene album sleeves.

I'm thinking I might spin the satanic mass on Halloween this year for all the trick-or-treaters. I'm a great dad like that.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Record Store Day 2014

Ah, Record Store Day. What a pain in the ass.
The buzz, the hype, the line ups, the ridiculous mark up and the frenzy of people crushing each other to grab the latest Bruce Springsteen exclusive.
Every year it's the same thing, standing in line before the store opens with all the weirdos and beardos. You know the ones. The hipsters who size you up and ask what you are looking for. They are hoping you are looking for completely different records from them or if not, figuring out how to box you out to ensure they "win".
The worst part is if you do get scooped on something you wanted, or the store didn't get it in, you end buying shit you don't want or need. You can't spend all that time and energy and walk away with nothing, right?

Well fuck all that. This year I avoided the day like the plague and was still able to pick up everything I wanted over the next two weeks.  As it turned out, a lot of the RSD exclusive releases never made it up here to Calgary in time. We still have stores getting records in this week. Not that there was much on my list anyway.
Since I started selling off represses and color variants last year in an effort to get this shit under control, RSD has suddenly become pretty easy. No more color vinyl represses means chopping off 80% of the punk and hardcore records released for the great event. No more Revelation. No more Victory. No Hydra Head, Taang or Beer City.

Whatever money I saved by not buying represses however went straight out the window with the Mastodon Live at Brixton double lp. This thing was outrageously expensive! On the plus side, it does come with a dvd of the entire concert. The video and sound quality are really, really good.

The only "must have" records on my list this year were the A389 Recordings split 7"s. The label started this series last year with the Ilsa/Seven Sisters of Sleep split. The bands cover rad metal/punk songs and it is all tied together with a fake horror movie motif. The records even come with huge foldout movie style posters as inserts.
This year's releases were Noisem/Occultist and Vegas/Integrity. I hope A389 keep this up. By far the highlight of RSD for me.

Since I am never, and I mean ever, going to buy original versions of The Fix 7"s, this awesome double pack from Touch and Go will do just fine. The records are reproduced as close to original as possible and come in this foldout sleeve. It's nice to finally have these songs on vinyl. Hell knows it wasn't going to happen any other way for me.

My 90's emo inner child couldn't resist picking up the Sunny Day Real Estate split. Gawd, I used to love this band. I will never listen to the Circa Survive side. At least I am honest about it.

I was flipping through one box and saw the "Mystery" side by side 7" release. I generally don't pick these up unless they involve Mastodon, but I was curious. I googled it while standing there and found out that it was Rush covering a Love song. As someone who spent a small fortune on a rare original Moon/Mercury self titled Rush lp earlier this year, I figured why not. Impulse buy number one.

My second impluse buy was the 32,525 repress of Joy Division's An Ideal For Living. Once again there was no way in hell I was ever going to pay two grand for an original 7", so this would have to do. Who doesn't love their early "post punk" stuff like Leaders of Men?

I picked this up off the racks heading for the door at one of my stops last week. I had no intention of buying it when I saw it on the RSD list, primarily because it wasn't an original and I really hate 10"s. Still, it's The Ramones, I have no intention of tracking down an original, and it looks pretty cool too.

 Oh, and Off! That was an easy choice.