Archive for August, 2011

Black Lips

Posted: August 31, 2011 by Nick_J in Record Nerds
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This is one of those albums that I was very enthusiastic about buying. I heard online months before the album was released that Mark Ronson was going to produce it. I really like Mark Ronson and I thought it would be really weird having him produce Black Lips, so it sounded like a really good idea to me. As far as Black Lips go, I really loved their last two albums so I though with Ronson’s assist they would make killer shit.

I get the record and its a great record, but like every other Black Lips album, it has its fair share of annoying songs that drive me nuts. I don’t know what it is about this band that wants to annoy me but I figure maybe in the end it might be a good thing. The production on Arabia Mountain might be a little more consistent from track to track but it is far from clean, which is awesome. The Ronson – Black Lips collaboration worked just fine as far as I can see.

I love the album art and vinyl for this album. Supposedly the wax is limited but god knows what that means.  If anyone does know, let me know and I’ll throw it up on here. My copy came with a 7″ but I have know idea if that’s limited too. Also, the record is really noisy at times, which blows.

I’m psyched about this write up cause I want to attach what has quickly become one my favorite videos of the year.

New Direction

Zao

Posted: August 29, 2011 by Nick_J in Record Nerds
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So the people over at Broken Circles Records have done a pressing of the classic  Zao record  Liberate te ex Inferis. This record is one of my favorite Zao records and I was really excited to see it available. Broken Circles also did a pressing of Where Blood And Fire Bring Rest which is one of my favorite metal albums of all time. Both of these records are without a doubt my top two Zao albums.

I like the new album art , though I was a huge fan of the original art. Every once of venom is present on this pressing as the vinyl sounds great. The pressing history is, Black – 100 / Clear Red w/ Black Swirl – 200 / Opaque Gray Marble – 200. I really like the red. For some reason I think it matches the feel of the album.

I haven’t really kept up with these guys since Jesse Smith left the band but the records that lineup made were really brilliant. Zao are definitely one of the best bands my home state has ever produced. That band is so screwed up…. more issues than an episode of Jerry Springer. I remember being told Zao had broken up at least five times. How they’ve continued with the bizarre lineup changes over the years is ridiculous.

How To Pack Records 101

Posted: August 28, 2011 by Juan D. in Record Nerds

It seems that as of late I have received a few fucked-up records in the mail from other collectors. Hell, even from some labels. And I’m not talking about the ocassional crimped corner or split inner sleeve. I’m talking about bent, cracked, warped, and destroyed records.

So with than in mind, here’s a handy visual guide on how to properly pack a record whenever sending it out to a fellow collector or eBay buyer or your cousin on Wichita. It’s very simple and all common sense.

(Pics borrowed and recycled from a VLV poster a million years ago…thanks for taking the time to take them!)

How to properly pack a record:

All you really need to safely pack a record is:

  • LP or 7″ mailer (A bubble mailer of pizza box do not count!)
  • Packing tape
  • Bubble wrap (optional)
  • Backing board

Following the simple steps illustrated above you can make the conscious effort to avoid any misphaps to the record your’re sending out. Granted, once it’s out of your hands and at the mercy of the USPS, then it’s a gamble. Not to mention the miserable summer heat that 99.9% of the time will cause records to warp if they’re left sitting on your doorstep long enough.

But by safely and properly packing the record, you’ll be confident in knowing that you made a effort in avoiding damages such as these:

For further reading  and more in-depth look on the matter, also check out Crucial Times’ Ultimate Guide to Packing Records.

Don’t forget to write FRAGILE on the outside of the mailer too! (Not that it will help b/c if the postal worker feels like playing frisbee with the package they’ll still do so regardless). But at least you tried!

“Safely & Properly Packing Records Since 1995″

This CONVERGE collection will kick your ass!

Posted: August 20, 2011 by Juan D. in Record Nerds
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Over at Dead Format, a fellow CONVERGE fan and collector took the time to take a picture of his collection. To say that it’s mind-numbingly awesome would a gross understatment.

If a picture is worth a thousand words…then this one is worth a few thousand dollars and one word: FUCKIN’ AWESOME!!! (Ok, that’s two words…but fuck you this is my blog…kinda)

Mad props to darrenxdoe for sharing the pic…and taking the time to lay his collection out…and not falling off the ladder in the process.

 

When it comes to being into (The) Melvins and collecting their vinyl releases, I feel a sense of camarederie with fans of NOFX and Against Me! To an extent. Pursuing a complete Melvins collection is borderline impossible…and expensive…and completely nuts! So many variants out there and limited pressings and “you can only get it by being at the show” versions. And plenty more.

With their newest record, The Bride Screamed Murder, they continue the shenanigans. This time around they did a simple pressing of 1,000 on White w/ Splatter vinyl. Sounds easy enough right?

WRONG!

Released via Amphetamine Reptile, the record was to have 10 different artists create custom covers for it. So there’d be 100 copies with different artwork. Best described from the AmRep site:

The pressing on this LP was limited to just 1000 copies & are in white vinyl that splattered with red/orange/yellow streaks. To make things even more special, 10 artists were commissioned to create artwork for the letterpress print that’s affixed to the back of the sleeve with each design being limited to just 100 copies.

Great! Now time to send completist assholes like myself into a scramble. You’d think that the price would have been a deterent but noooooo. Fans snapped these up as they became available. And who can blame them with the list of artists doing the artwork: HAZE-XXL, Mackie Osborne, Junko Mizuno, Baseman, Dalek, King Buzzo, Molly Osborne, Coop, and Adam Jones.

As soon as I saw the list I was all in for Coop and Jones for different reasons but mainly for being a fan of the music (Jones w/ TOOL) and artwork (Coop) for a long time.

As luck would have it though, ordering for each individual version went up at random times. Unless you were keeping with Twitter, Facebook, or even a thread over at VC, you’d miss out. In my quest to get the Coop and Jones, I also ended up with the Dalek and Buzzo covers. Surely much to the dismay of some fans who are less than pleased that they have not been able to snag a single copy.

Dalek cover

King Buzzo cover

COOP cover

Adam Jones cover

There are five other covers out there. All sold out of course. There is a tenth one yet to be revealed. Surely it will sell out with the quickness. And go up for sale at the most random of times, like the Jones one which went up at 4am my time and I missed it. Luckily AmRep found a few more copies laying around and put them up. As soon as I saw the tweet come up and jumped on it. It sold out within seven minutes of that tweet.

As for the record itself…it’s typical Melvins. But more of a throwback to (A) Senile Animal and Stoner Witch even. Heavy, groovy, and bombastic. All things that make (The) Melvins awesome. If you’re a long-time fan, then you know this album and dig it.

Hopefully AmRep will do a regular version of the record for everyone who just want it on vinyl and not pay through the nose to get it. A few of these limited covers are commanding high prices on eBay as would be expected. Especially given the rare nature of some of these now.

Let’s see what will happen.

 

There are way too many schools of thought when it comes to reissues and represses. Some tend to think that they’re not necessary. Others always welcome the chance to have a favorite hard-to-get record be re-released at a much affordable price. A few like to bash those who collect represses and colors and variants to no end. No real logical reason why. We could spend countless hours arguing the pros and cons of this nonsense…hours that I honestly don’t have and really do care less what people think.

With that diatribe out of the way. The reissue of The Fall Of Troy‘s Doppelgänger is finally here. Originally released by Equal Vision in 2005, the vinyl version was licensed to Divergent Records, and it was  ridiculously limited: 150 on Clear for the 1st press and 350 on Black/White Swirl for the 2nd press. No other colors. No other pressings. At least as far as I know from the wealth of useless information I have amassed throughout the years.

The reissue was done by Enjoy The Ride Records, a label I know very little about. They’re out of Long Island, NY and from what I have seen on their webpage and the discussions (which has led to much much bitching & moaning by people who take the internet and message boards far too seriously) all over they have licensed and reissued a few releases. Most of which are bands I’m not much into which is why I’m not very familiar with the label. I will say this though, I have exchanged a few emails with ETR’s head-cheese, Ross, and he seems like a nice guy.

Back to Doppelgänger.

Two colors available: 500 on Oxblood/Black Split w/ Bone Splatter and 1,000 on Oxblood/Black Split. The latter color is exclusive for Hot Topic stores.

I went with the Oxblood/Black Split w/ Bone Splatter  because it was the first available for sale. I believe Hot Topic should be getting their copies soon. If not, already have them.

If you know this release it’s obvious that it’s different from the original vinyl pressing. The artwork is all the same as the CD. The jackets are printed in a nice matte finish and printed glossy inner sleeves. The vinyl itself os 140gram for those who worry about that type of stuff.

Soundwise,  it is so much better than the original pressings and even the CD! It’s clearer and the bass is more upfront. Not to mention that the heaviness of the sound is amped up. There was no mention of any remixing the record for the reissue, but in the end it sounds sharp.

Although I dig that ETR went back to the original artwork from the CD for the reissue, I have to admit that I’m partial to the original vinyl pressing art. It was completely different from the CD. Not to mention a but creepier with the twins on the cover. Or rather…the doppelgängers.

That difference in artwork/design between CD and vinyl versions is what in my opinion amounts to creating a more immersed experience in the music listening. It’s almost as getting two different perspectives on the record and can create an impact when enjoying the music. This is by no means a knock against the ETR reissue. It’s awesome to see the original CD art in LP format and the attention to detail is noticeable.

I’m just being a nit-picky and jaded old fart.

Bottom line: This is a great reissue. The decision to change the artwork and design is effective. The record is visually pleasing with colors that compliment the art. And the music itself, which is what matters at the end of the day, is phenomenal. I’ve been reading that a lot of people fell off the TFOT fan-wagon, but I think this reissue will bring them back. It still sounds as fresh and great as when it first came out in ’05…which that right there sounds odd to say when you consider that it was only six years ago. That’s not that long ago!

Crazy how styles and tastes change for some people in such a few years.

 

Seaweed

Posted: August 15, 2011 by Nick_J in Record Nerds
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I’m pretty stoked about the idea of sitting here writing about a new Seaweed record. What an amazing band! There were many years where Seaweed were my favorite. I thought their album Four was the goddamn holy grail of punk. One can only hope this is just the beginning.

It’s been  ages since Actions and Indications in 1998, but it was well worth the wait. These two songs are fantastic and I was so happy to see No Idea put this out. The songs here are Service Deck / The Weight. I’m not sure what the pressing run on this one is but I think it’s 800. Great screened packaging and green wax.

I threw this in just for kicks. I love this song.

This is Pg. 99 Document #8. When this album came out I was pretty much over-saturated with screamo/metal/grind type hardcore records but this is one of those few album that has stood the test of time for me. Pg. 99 really made this sound all their own with brilliant transitions but not just the typical tempo stuff. This album has tons of styles and feelings that are the hallmarks of the changes that occur throughout the album. Pg. 99 prove it doesn’t have to be all math rock + grind part + pleading vocals for the win. The songs on this album have soul and when it’s all said and done, this album is a classic.

It would be a terrible disservice to this band for me to try to pigeonhole their sound so I will leave that to you with this LINK. Go listen to the record and and I’m sure you’ll go buy it for sure.

As far as this pressing is concerned….this is what I love to see in a hardcore record. Silk screened – two panel jacket with a thick  black and white booklet inside.  From what I’ve read this pressing consists of 200 on red, 200 on white and 600 on black vinyl. I love this kind of rawness in packaging, it’s both beautiful and simplistic… everything hardcore is supposed to be. Robotic Empire did a fantastic job with this pressing as they do with everything they do .

Here is an extensive look at the package. Maybe a few too many pics but hey, I did it.

These are all shots of the booklet.


Thou

Posted: August 11, 2011 by Nick_J in Record Nerds
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This is the new record from Thou. It’s called The Archer & The Owle and it is bad ass.

I had never heard Thou even though I always saw them on the Robotic Empire webstore. One day I was at some department store and dude I know who is into all kinds of music suggested them. This dude knows his shit so I checked them out. Totally vicious sludge/doom metal but with this great spacey side too.  I really got hooked so I was pumped to see this record get put up for pre-order.

I will first start by saying that this is the hardest thing I have ever photographed in my life. I wanted to show the spot-gloss of birds all over the cover but the only way I could do it was by putting a shit ton of light on it. One thing was that the back didn’t have too much going on, so the camera was trying to focus on the spot-gloss and wouldn’t focus properly. Total bitch. In the end I just did what I could. I got a decent amount of the birds to show up but I think I could have worked at it and maybe got them all to show up without all the glare.

It’s funny listening to Thou at times cause you get into this Pelican like groove where it’s all blissful and then BOOM, Satan on vocals. The Nirvana cover really kind of freaked me out too. Fantastic band and another home run for Robotic Empire.

The album is stunning. One of the best looking jackets I’ve seen. Great heavy vinyl and fantastic art. 500 on opaque gray (mailorder/band only) and 1500 on translucent clear.

I’d be hard pressed to name a hardcore band that had as much influence on me as Sick Of It All. They were most likely the first hardcore band I ever heard. Their importance to hardcore in general can’t be overstated. I saw them on their tour with Biohazard and Sheer Terror years back and from that point I loved hardcore. It’s funny but I can remember seeing the video for Just Look Around on MTV and thinking the world had to be coming to an end. Little did I know the potential for how big hardcore could become.

I was surfing around and saw that Think Fast! was pressing Based on a True Story and scooped that shit up during the pre-order. I love this record. It has that edge that made SOIA the shit back in the day. The jacket is an embosses gatefold that looks pretty bad ass. I think they pressed this on white/black swirl (of 150), gray/black swirl(of 350), and black swirl (of 500). I love this swirl style. I got a couple like this and I really like the way they look.