Archive for November, 2011

This is the second year in a row (that I know of at least), that Hydra Head has done some sort of special release(s) for Record Store Day. In this case for the cash-grab and greed-induced push by labels and bands called Black Friday. As if most people of affluence were not going nuts by standing in line at three in the morning in front of Walmart for a 32inch flatscreen for $150, here come the independent record stores to also cash in on the madness. Let’s cash in on “special” releases that will only be flipped later on eBay and also gouge the customers right at the cash register. You want that Nirvana Nevermind Singles 10″ box set, kid? That’ll be $65! Oh for fuck’s sake.

As much as I am bitching and moaning about RSD…and in this case, Black Friday…I did manage to grab a few releases that were well worth getting and walk away not feeling like I was just ass-raped in that one episode of OZ on HBO. Hydra Head, being the wily and savyy hype-machine and effective marketers that they are with their releases, they jumped on the RSD-BF train with a few releases:

OLD MAN GLOOMChristmas Eve I & II + 6 + Live in NYC 12″
PYRAMIDS / HORSEBACKA Throne Without a King LP+7″
BLACK FACE – I Want to Kill You b/w Monster 7″

Just like before, HH put these up for “pre-order” via their BCD webstore to at least give a chance to people who wouldn’t make it to their record stores on that dreaded day. And that’s if the indie stores would even order and get copies. I passed on ordering the PYRAMIDS / HORSEBACK and BLACK FACE. Don’t ask me why. Maybe I am finally coming to the realization that sometimes I don’t need all those records. Riiiiiiiiiight…that’s the stupidest realization I have yet to have.

Snagged only the OLD MAN GLOOMChristmas Eve I & II + 6 + Live in NYC 12″ simply because it’s an awesome release that finally got a proper pressing. This was originally released back in 2003 by Tortuga Recordings and only limited to 50 “test presses”. So now it got a proper, more wide release. And the other reason to get it is because it is Aaron Turner. Duh!

Limited to 1,000 in three colors: Light Blue, Yellow, and Black.

I went with the Light Blue. Seemed to make the most sense. The packaging on this 12″ is different and not what I expected. The jacket is open at the top and feels like a cardboard mailer from the UK. The artwork in front and back is screenprinted and there’s a lengthy and sarcastic message on back. Part of it was posted by Hydra Head on the description for the release:

So, Old Man Gloom is milking old material for another “new” release, that’s what you’re thinking right? And you’re also wondering why you should shell out a portion of your not-so-hard earned cash in exchange for an item manufactured with the sole intent of making more money for an already wealthy group of individuals, yes? You want to know why? Because, whether you realize it or not, Old Man Gloom is the best band on the planet, hands down; and if we shit in a bucket and threw it in the presses at the vinyl manufacturing plant it would still merit purchasing. And you know what else? Even our mossy turds are better than 99.9% of the other “music” that’s floating around out there. This is not idle boasting, this is fact, based on sound scientific research conducted by the head technicians at the OMG Institute for Simian Alien Technology. After centuries of forethought and developmental planning, the Institute has produced one ground breaking document after another over the last decade, and humanity has benefitted greatly as a result. Truth be told though, the figures behind OMG have not worked together in the same facility for the past eight and half years, simply because of the collective realization that, even now, so many years after the initial publication of our works, no one outside the interior group has been able to fully comprehend those massive feats of intellect and creative ingenuity (see articles i-v: “meditations in b”, “seminars ll & lll” , “christmas eve l & ll + 6″ [previous digital 3″ compact disc and analog 2×7” vinyl versions], and finally the simply and aptly titled “christmas”). While it seems some recipients of these documents have been able to grasp the general themes addressed therein, many, if not all of the nuances and fastidiously constructed details continue to elude and confound the average (and even above average), intellect of today’s global citizen, no matter their background training or level of education. This is a sad truth, only too apparent to we the creators of the aforementioned documents, but despite this, the members of the Institute continue to hold out hope that with enough persistence, educational presentations, and continued dissemination of past documents in various formats and incarnations, that one day humanity will finally be able to grasp the full scope and meaning of our work. Though the OMG team has not been fully assembled in any cohesive form since late 2003, the strength and force of our collective will has only grown in the interim and shows no signs of dissipating. We all have continued to develop new theoretical hypotheses and developmental projects individually, as well as in other cooperative collectives, though the results of such efforts are dwarfed by the formidable shadow cast by the incomparable output of our assembled whole. Be that as it may, we have opted to continue our work separately until such time for reassembly is deemed appropriate. This could be tomorrow, it could be 10 years from now, but whatever the case, rest assured that OMG will always retain the ultimate goal of the betterment of society and the global community at the forefront of their collective consciousness…
 
 
There’s more to it…a Q&A and a tracklistting…but it’s better to get your own copy and read it. It’s hilarity ensuing for sure.
 
 And sure enough the OMG Gorilla is present on the labels…
 
        
 
 Music: it’s the expected post-everything doom sludge whatever you’d expect from OMG. If you’ve been a long-time fan, then you’ve heard these songs before so no surprises here.
 
Maybe I am biased…well, I know I am…but to me, Hydra Head is the only label that continually puts out stuff that I want to get regardless of when, for what ocassion, and no matter cost. Well, within reason of course. Scratch…if it involves A. Turner, I’ll get it. Fo’ sho!
 
 <<Insert some sort of witty closing statement here>>
 
 
 
“Fanboy gushing over A. Turner since 1995”
 
 
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It has been getting harder and harder to write up records and successfully express any type of excitement over a new release by any one band. Maybe I’m just getting burnt out with some music or even records. I do know that I am sick and tired over the attitudes of a few of these newjack collectors who are not only overzealous but also have inflated senses of entitlement. “Wahhh…I didn’t get the rarest version of the records?”…or some nonsense to that effect.

It is a bit hypocritical of me to be bitching about that since I tend to be a variant whore with certain bands. But hell, I don’t get my panties in a wad if I don’t get that one variant out of 50. It’s not crucial…if I didn’t get it, then it wasn’t meant to be.

What does any of this have to do with Wolves In The Throne Room’s Celestial Lineage 2xLP? Not a goddamn thing. Zero.

Let’s talk about WITTR. They play Black Metal. More specifically, Cascandian Black Metal. It’s a sub-genre. Just like what every band out there plays. There’s no longer a straight-up style being played by any one band anymore. It’s all an amalgamation of styles and sounds. At least it keeps things interesting.

I used to think that Black Metal was a relatively silly genre. Not as in it’s funny, but in that I couldn’t take it seriously. Going back to the whole Norwegian Black Metal origins and “let’s burn churches down” infamy, I saw it as a genre in which the bands took themselves way too seriously. So seriously that to me they borderline on caricature and comical. I was essentially writing off the genre and bands on what little I knew and the first few and unfair impressions. But then I started talking to my friend Alan who is probably the most metal guy I know. What I am with hardcore and punk and Deathwish Inc. and Hydra Head, Alan is into all types of metal and Southern Lord and obscure metal labels.

I had known of Wolves In The Throne Room for a while but didn’t really check them out more until I found out that Aaron Turner…and it all comes back to A. Turner doesn’t it…at least for this fanboy it does…was going to be working with the band on their new record. So I pre-ordered Celestial Lineage from Southern Lord as soon as it went up. And waited. And waited. People started getting their orders…and nothing here in FloriDUH!. I got impatient…and I rarely do but when I started hearing that friends had already gotten theirs and I had not, it was a very “What the fuck dude?!?!” moment. Even so much more when I went to Boston and stopped at a Newbury Comics and they had copies!

Adding even more impatience to the whole thing, Vacation Vinyl put up copies for sale. I ordered those with the expectation that I’d received those before the Southern Lord ones would show up. But all that ended when all copies arrived on the same day. Finally! Hurrah!

Three versions of the 2xLP are out there. Four if you count the regular black. And of course that counts.

Gold Vinyl. Limited to 500 from Southern Lord. This was the pre-order.

 

Blood Red Vinyl. Limited to 1,000. According to Vacation Vinyl this is the “mailorder” version. What that means, I have no idea.

 

Black w/ Gold Splatter Vinyl. Limited to 500. European pressing. Also got this one from Vacation.

According to the liner notes, Aaron Turner did some chanting on two songs, as did his wife Faith Coloccia. And Turner and Coloccia also had a hand in the album artwork design. Mainly on the lettering I believe.

This is a great record. I haven’t stopped listening to it since I received it. And thanks to WITTR, I have expanded my knowledge and familiarity of Black Metal and checked out a few other bands as well. My impressions of the genre and style have definitely changed for the better. I no longer see it as “silly” anymore…that’s for sure. Well, except those bands that feel the need to amp up their performances and corpse-paint just for the sake of shock value.

A.A. Bondy

Posted: November 14, 2011 by Nick_J in Record Nerds
Tags: , ,

Albums this perfect come along once in a great while. As a music nut, you usually comb through hundreds of albums and years to find them. The new A.A. Bondy called Believers  is a perfectly composed and performed record that is a genuine masterpiece.

I’ve liked A.A. Bondy since the first time I heard him. His sound prior to this albums was always a blend of acoustic singer songwriter tunes with plodding rock. His songwriting and lyrics are really second to none. That said, this album (being totally different)  is his most organized and cohesive effort. 

Believers could almost be called a concept album based on it’s musical qualities alone.  The record is full of dark and lush sounds that drag on in the most beautiful way. I’m reminded of a smokey room when I listen to this music. There is an almost Mazzy Star meets Pink Floyd feeling to the songs. Many times an album of this slow speed and feel tend to be mood music to me, not this record. I want to listen to this record every day.

When reviewing for my albums of the year, this will surely be number one, or second at worst.  This has been a year for solo artists for me and whoever is at the top of my list, there is a good chance it will be someones solo album. Frank Turner, AA Bondy, Ryan Adams, Jason Isbell immediately jump to mind and have all put out astounding records this year.

If the jacket looks a little beat up….it is. I got really drunk and walked into it and smashed it against my cabinet. Glad it wasn’t really rare.

Since I get complete lack of inspiration from time to time, it feels as though making a new post becomes a chore. A job that I dread having to do. Even more so when there’s nothing really exciting to wrote about…especially with new records and/or music. Hence the complete uninspired and completely idiotic title of this post. Definitely a front-runner for dumbest title I have ever thought of.

But don’t fret. It’s basically an indication of what is to come. Being that I have not received any new records to really get stoked about enough to write about, I figured I’d indulge my completist asshole nature and brag about some test presses I have landed in the last few months. I’ll probably get bored halfway through writing about each one…oh well.

Ink & Dagger – Love Is Dead 7″ repress

This one was a bit of an ordeal to get my hands on. Well, not really but there a sort of backstory to it. When the Love Is Dead 7″ reissue came out on October of last year. There were/are three variants out there: Glow In The Dark vinyl with silk-screened covers out of 100, Clear vinyl with regular covers out of 666, and the Clear L.A. show-only w/ silk-screened covers out of 55. And of course the test press which is out of 10.

I initially had contact the label putting out the reissue, Six Feet Under, to see what we could work out for a test press. Either a trade or buying it off them. A few emails were exchanged but then things unfortunately fizzled. I wrote it off. Then about a month or two ago, I got wind that SFU would be selling off a bunch of rare and limited releases to fund future projects. I contacted a mutual friend to see if he would pass word to SFU about selling or trading the I&D test press before it goes to eBay. Again, a few emails were exchanged with me making offers and increasing the amounts. And once again, things fizzled.

Two or three weeks later SFU dumped a large chunk of their rare and limited catalog on eBay and the three rarest Love Is Dead were among the items. Including the test press.

And as it is evident…I won the auction for it. For a lot less than my final offer had been in the email exchanges. Two things are cool about this test press: the vinyl itself is clear, which according to SFU it was unexpected, and it came with a silkscreened cover in silver to tell it apart from the other cover like it.

 

Shai Hulud – Hearts Once Nourished With Hope And Compassion

Shai Hulud was the first hardcore band that I became a fan of when I first moved to Florida. They were definitely the defining band of the South Florida scene along with Morning Again, Poison The Well, and a few others. Hearts Once Nourished… was their first LP released by Crisis Records, which was a sub-label of Revelation. If I recall correctly, Rob Moran of Unbroken, Some Girls, and Narrows, ran Crisis. So you can thank him for the few great bands that were on Crisis’ roster.

It’s perceived as cheesy when someone says that a record or band changed their lives. But I have to honestly say that Shai Hulud‘s Hearts Once Nourished With Hope And Compassion impacted my life greatly. The lyrical content, which was scarily parallel and suitable for what I was going through in my life at the time it first came out and I listened, resonated with me along with the hardcore and metal hybrid of the music.

With this beast of a record, I contacted a few of the band members to see if they’d be willing to part ways with any test presses. For some reason I never thought of contacting Crisis, but then again at the time I thought of searching of the TP, the label itself was no longer operational. I received a luke warm response from Oliver Chapoy who had been in the band since day one and up until after the release of split with Indecision. But things fizzled. It was only a few months ago that I heard directly from Chapoy asking me if I was still interested in the test press. Of course I was. So we worked a deal out.  

No jacket/sleeve with this one. Just means I’ll have to make my own. At some point. And not only ended up with the test press, but also sealed color copies of the LP itself and also the Indecision split 10″. Score and score! (I asked Rob M. if he knew how many TPs were made. He advised that eight were made.)

 

Minus the Bear – Planet of Ice 2xLP 4th press

A test press for a 4th pressing of Planet of Ice?!?!…What the hell does that mean?!?!

When Suburban Home pressed Minus the Bear‘s Planet of Ice for a fourth and final time, they re-cut the album at 45rpm with new plates and everything.  So they did a run of test presses for it. Being the MtB completist I asked Virgil of Suburban Home if I could snag a test press. He more than obliged since he knew how I am with MtB releases. But what’s funny is that after that initial contact with him, we didn’t complete the deal until a year or so later. Life got in the way for both of us.

Thankfully, he was still cool with the deal and we worked it out. Simple test press. No custom sleeves/jackets this time around as with the first pressing.

And that’s it. Nothing too exciting this go around. I guess.

Hopefully next post will be more exciting and more pictures of records on all pretty pretty colors.

WIFE – Pipe Candy 12″ LP

Posted: November 3, 2011 by Juan D. in Record Nerds
Tags: , , ,

Whenever members of a band make the decision to stretch themselves out musically in side-projects or other bands, it can be either disastrous and turn off fans or it can be a new and exciting expression of their art. Thankfully with WIFE, we have the latter. WIFE is comprised of Nick Steinhardt (Touché Amoré) and Andrew Thomas. Just two guys. All sounds and music created with guitars and bass. That’s it. No drums. No vocals. Nothing else. Sounds intriguing doesn’t it?

It definitely is intriguing and very different than anything you’d expect from a member of Touché Amoré. WIFE‘s sound straddles the line between Shoegaze and Ambient. The music creates more of a mood and feel to just let yourself go in. You can either let it play in the background or listen intently and pay close attention. Either way, you will be enjoying this to no end. I know I am.

I had heard of the band a while back but didn’t really get on buying the record until earlier this week when Deathwish Inc. posted it on their distro. It’s a bit pricey for an LP ($20) but considering the quality of the release, it’s very well worth it:

The packaging features a Stoughton vintage style tip-on gatefold jacket, metallic/spot UV inks, and Wife embossing on the record sleeve. The vinyl itself is 180 gram clear / bubble gum, “Half N’ Half” virgin vinyl.

The LP seems to be the first elease by Dios Mio Music (judging by the #001 catalog number, maybe?), is according to their blogpost page, “an outlet for composer/musician/sound engineer Andrew Thomas to share his work with the world.” Thomas being the other half of WIFE of course.

And looking at it…it’s like a giant piece of bubblegum!

There are no center labels which adds to the aesthetic of the record. Nothing to break up the clear and bubblegum pink colors.

Oh yeah…it’s limited to 250. I know you only care about that sort of stuff anyways.

If you’re curious about the band and how they sound…which I’d be wondering why since you should’ve already ordered this record anyways…WIFE has a Soundcloud page with a few songs off the LP (“Terraines” and “Ecuador”) and a few non-LP ones. Check them out here.

There’s also this video from their record release performance at Vacation Vinyl in L.A. Enjoy.