Sunday, September 17, 2017

Relentless Pentagram

It has been an amazing year for my record collection. I've knocked some true heavy hitters from my list, and over the Summer, I had the opportunity to cross off another big ticket item.

I had a great experience buying The Effigies record through Discogs. The record was in great shape, it arrived quickly, and the seller seemed like a good dude and we exchanged a few messages back and forth...also, it turned out that the seller was Rob Moss, who was a member of Artificial Peace and Government Issue. He seemed like a good dude, and when he sent me a message saying that he listed some more records on Discogs, I decided to browse his list and see if he had anything else that caught my attention.

Right there at the top of his list was an original first pressing of the debut Pentagram album.

This record is a straight up Doom classic, and for those in the know, it is held in the same high regard as the early Sabbath records. I've wanted an original pressing of this album for a while now, but they don't come around very often, and with the high price tag it usually carries, I haven't really actively pursued it. Seeing it there, available through this Discogs seller, made it incredibly tempting...regardless of the price that he had listed it for.

Initially, there was some inner conflict if I should really go for it, so I turned to Doug's old posts over at We Will Bury You, looking for some guidance. In these times of turmoil, I can count on my record collector friends to show me the light, and there it was, right in Doug's blog post. "Fuck it, when would be the next chance to get one?" So let it be written...so let it be done. Guided by his divine hand, I clicked the Add To Cart button and made it mine.

There were times when I questioned my decision, and wondered if maybe I shouldn't have spent so much for this record. Any feelings of buyer remorse were erased when the record arrived and took it out of the box. Holy shit, this thing was nearly dead mint, and as the needle on my turntable hit those first notes of Relentless, I knew that I'd made the right choice.

I was surprised to find this record in such great shape, but according to Rob, he got it direct from his bandmate in Government Issue, Tom Lyle, who as it turns out, also produced this Pentagram record...and between the two of them, they knew how to take care of their records.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

In Need Of A Miracle

There was a lot of hype around the new Miracle Drug record that was being released this summer. The band features some older Hardcore dudes...no one that I'm terribly familiar with, but they have been around, playing in bands like Mouthpiece and By The Grace Of God, so when preorders went up, I figured that I'd take a chance on it. Seemed like everyone was excited for it, and I didn't want to miss out.

I had downloaded the Miracle Drug demo last year, but I never really spent any time with it. I didn't even bother to chase the vinyl release for it, but with the new release I figured that I'd give them a fresh shot. To be honest, I wasn't really hooked after the first couple of listens...it was solid, straight forward Hardcore...but my first impression left me a bit disappointed. After sitting with it, and letting the songs sink in with repeat listens, I'm starting to appreciate it more.

When I placed my order, I couldn't resist the blue vinyl with the screened b-side.

It seemed a bit odd to screen the image in reverse, but when you check the a-side with some nice back lighting, it looks pretty cool.

100 pressed.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Soul Power

The past few years I've struggled to stay interested in newer Hardcore bands. That's not to say that some cool shit hasn't been released...I just generally didn't care to stick with it after a handful of spins. Considering there was time when I was on top of just about every new release, this was a dramatic shift in my mindset.

Earlier this year, that spark to hunt out some newer bands was reignited, and after being blown away by a string of Triple B records, suddenly I found myself hot to check out some other new bands and see what I'd been missing out on.

This summer, Marcus posted about a new record from a UK band named Higher Power. I'd never heard of them, but looking back at his previous blog posts, he had apparently brought up their name a few times. I must have been pretty headstrong in my resistance, because even though I follow his blog closely, neither of these posts had stuck with me...and I didn't bother following up on his recommendation...until now.

Aesthetically, there was something about this record that grabbed my attention. The bright colors and cover photo just reminded me of some early 90's Euro Straight Edge record. With a bit of nostalgia, and Marcus' recommendation, I decided to take a chance on it.

There is definitely a Desperate Measures-era Leeway vibe here, and at times the vocals take me back to the first Into Another album. Man, there is something about this record that I can't shake, and I want to listen to it over and over again.

300 pressed on clear with orange haze.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Spark Of Influence

Last year, I was crushing pretty hard on 90's Hardcore. I spent a lot of time stuck in daily playlists from that era, and found myself obsessively hunting down records that I thought I'd lost passion for long ago. One of those bands was Sparkmarker. It had been a while since I'd really spent any time with them, and revisiting their discography had me head over heals and hunting down pieces of vinyl that were missing from my collection.

I posted about it at the time, and it created a kind of Butterfly Effect that carried it's way across the Atlantic, influencing Marcus to dust off the Sparkmarker catalog, and buy a piece of vinyl that he had been missing.

And that influence comes full circle, as his blog post sparked me (excuse the pun) to chase the vinyl that he recently picked up.

When I was picking off Sparkmarker targets last year, I decided not to mess around with their split with Mystery Machine. I ignored it for two reasons. First, the Sparkmarker song on this split, Keep The Quarter, shows up later on the band's full length record...and second, I'd never even heard of Mystery Machine before, so who gives a fuck about their song?

Still, Marcus made a point of saying that he'd never even seen the blue vinyl pressing before, and that they didn't seem to come around too often, and of course now that he had one, two more were available on Discogs. I took the bait, and 5 minutes later, there was only one left on Discogs. I'm not going to be left out like a sucker.

Not to let Marcus get one up on me in the Sparkmarker game, I had to grab the clear vinyl pressing as well. It only cost me $3.50, so why not. So within the span of 10 minutes, I'd gone from not caring the least about the Sparkmarker/Mystery Machine split, to owning two copies.

The recording for Keep The Quarter here was done a few months prior to the LP, and this version sounds really cool with the more raw production...and surprisingly, the Mystery Machine song here does not suck. I'm not sure if I'd be interested in hanging with them for a full length, but I dig this song.

Okay, now that I had every 7 inch pressed for Sparkmarker, the only hole in my collection was the 500wattburner@seven LP...and for less than $10, I was able to cross that one off the list.

I was kind of surprised that this was such a cheap find. Sure, I would expect Sparkmarker vinyl to fly under the radar these days...but colored vinyl...from Revelation's weird cousin, Crisis Records? I thought it would still take a bit more effort than that.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Haunted Town

I've slowly been cutting back my record collection, and selling some pieces that I no longer wanted through Discogs. My rule of thumb when selling something has been to immediately turn around and spend twice what I received on a new record. Selling something for $30, means that I can invest that into a $60 record. Makes perfect sense to me.

I had some cash sitting in my Paypal account from a recent sale, and I wanted to put that to good use, and hunt down another Hardcore Punk classic. I've done a pretty good job this year, knocking off some serious records from my Wantlist, and I wanted to continue the trend.

With a serious early 80's Punk obsession brewing, I've had the Haunted Town record from The Effigies in my sights for most of this year. With the songs in constant rotation in my daily playlists, I was just waiting for the time to be right to make my move.

The Effigies were out of Chicago, and alongside Articles Of Faith and Naked Raygun, that area seemed to have it's own sound. Those bands don't seem to get the spotlight or recognition that bands from Boston or D.C. receive, but these days, I find myself appreciating them more and more.

Original 1981 pressing on Autumn Records.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Dillinger Gunpowder

Autumn is just around the corner, and cooler temperatures are rolling in...but here I am still digging through my record backlog from those Summer days when the sun was still high in the sky, and pop punk was blasting from my stereo as I was headed to the beach.

Over the past two years, Pinhead Gunpowder had kind of become my go-to band for a Summer soundtrack. I picked up the Carry The Banner record earlier this Summer, and was hoping to expand the collection a bit more.

Last year I discovered that Pinhead Gunpowder did a split with Dillinger Four. It didn't seem to show up from US sellers too often, so I threw it up on my Discogs Wantlist, and played the waiting game.

A month after picking up Carry The Banner, I got a notice the the split with Dillinger Four was available, and the timing was perfect for me to swoop in and grab it.

I've always loved D4, but it was cool to find that this split had a couple of songs that I'd never heard. 17 years after their release, here I am giving the songs their first spin on my turntable and hearing them for the first time.

These songs are great...with all the energy and attitude that you would expect from the classic D4 years. Funny how I discovered this record by hunting down Pinhead Gunpowder stuff, but now, this is tempting me to add some Dillinger Four vinyl to the collection.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Waste Punishment

After busting out a new Thrash album every couple of years since 2003, Municipal Waste has been quiet since 2012's Fatal Feast. There may have been five years of silence, but band members have kept busy with other projects...and with Iron Reagan releasing a new record earlier this year, I really wasn't expecting a new slab of wax from Municipal Waste.

This record was a blind buy. Hell, I didn't even dick around with the video that was released for Breathe Grease...no need for preview...I figured that I'd dive into the full album once it arrived. A new Waste record is always welcome in my collection, and Slime And Punishment does not disappoint. Full on thrash.

I'm not normally a splatter vinyl guy, but this green and yellow pressing is a perfect match with the album cover. 500 pressed.