Archive for December, 2013

Juan’s Record Nerdist Top List of 2013

Posted: December 29, 2013 by Juan D. in Record Nerds


A few things.

Just realized that last time I did top release list was 2011. Yikes!

And being that I, Juan, am the main dog here posting, may as well keep it going for the few of you who do follow and read this blog. All two of you.

So here’s my list of records of that WOW’ed me this year in some shape or another. Whether it was music or packaging or pretty colors. I will more than likely keep it close to my end of year list from he music site I formally write for. Just cuz I am lazy.

So here goes…the records that blew my socks off on 2013. In no particular order, of course.

DSCN3984DeafheavenSunbather 2xLP – Is it any surprised that this would be the first mention? I mean. It’s a record that as perfect as it gets? Not only from the deceivingly pink cover art (and there’s a reason for that. Look it up!) to the music contained within, Sunbather is an album that contains all this is best about this band. The release that took people outside of the aggressive music underground by surprise. It wasn’t a surprise to me. This album epitomizes what a balance of seemingly disparate styles and genres of music should be. All the best elements of black metal and shoegaze and ambient rolled into one mammoth of a beautiful masterpiece.

DSCN4191ABlack GodIII – The Louisville hardcore punk machine that is Black Good keep at their promise of an EP each year with song no more than three minutes apiece. Fast and furious music for the jaded hardcore punks. Especially those who grew up with and love all the previous bands each member was in. And let’s not forget that in typical No Idea effort, multiple colors were at hand and some random surprises too. Awesome to see the label and band keep people on their toes.


???????????????????????????????Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park –  Never surprised to find a non-metal/hardcore/punk album that I got hooked into. In this case, Musgraves may be a singer-songwriter in country and borderline Americana and bluegrass, but lyrically (and attitude) she is all punk rock. Weaving stories denouncing the hypocrisy of small-town America and celebrating doing what you want, when you want, this album may as well be honky-tonk punk rock.


ShaiHulud-ReachBeyondTheSunShai Hulud –  Reach Beyond The Sun –  Each time these metalcore giants release an album it’s a celebration. Sure enough they beefed things up in their sound and with former vocalist Chad Gilbert handling production and vocals, it was a complete throwback to their rawer sound and style. So glad they’re still at it. I didn’t get a good pic of the white vinyl but can imagine the packaging. Pretty standard.



Youth Code

Youth CodeYouth Code – Some bands get written off simply because they may sound too much like another band. I initially made that mistake with Youth Code. On first listen I weighed in too much on them being a carbon copy of Skinny Puppy. What I later realized was that although YC are deeply-rooted in the industrial sound, theirs is more with a punk attitude. And that’s what then clicked and I got hooked.


photoWhirr –  Around  –  The EP may have been short, but for the San Francisco newgaze band, this was a much noisier and heavier affair than previous outings. Their expanded sound lent to larger ambient landscapes of music that pushed Whirr into something new.




Nine Inch Nails –  Hesitation Marks –  It is now clear that with each new NIN album, you don’t know what to expect. Reznor threw everyone for a loop in not only announcing the return of NIN as a touring entity but also releasing a new album. A new album that was a culmination of the typical NIN sound and style borrowing from all previous records. May as well say that Hesitation Marks is the new classic NIN sound.



51B8B21F-2E8A-4DD8-939E-8BC2E79D91AB-378-00000039668F2E73Pity SexFeast of Love – The fuzz-pop group polished up their sound a bit on this new album. Taking their established elements of shoegaze, pop, and fuzzed-out distortion, and adding a little bit of clarity, Feast of Love was a pretty album to listen to.



DSCN4131OathbreakerEros/Anteros – Criminally underrated album released this year on Deathwish’s roster. To call this album a monstrous beast of heaviness would be scraping the surface. A heavy metallic exploration of love and hate and life and death, this was Oathbreaker’s mot complex and involved release to date.


thecivilwars-1375124398-1375306352The Civil WarsThe Civil Wars – After announcing putting the band on hiatus, the tension between Joy Williams and John Paul White was palpable in this album. The songs are heavy on emotion and thematically give a glimpse on the internal discord that led to the split of the group. This album is the sound of hearts breaking and souls being worn down. It’s a sad affair and felt very much human and a fragility that anyone can relate to.



Now. There were plenty of reissues and represses and whatnot this year. As always.

A few were noteworthy. I will have to admit that The Postal Service Give Up 3xLP deluxe reissue was the clear winner. From the gatefold packaging to the ‘Loser Edition’ version and additional tracks and whatnot, it killed.

Having forced its way to be noted though is the repress of Brand New‘s The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me 2xLP. Forget the fact that it was a mess from the sticker on jacket craziness to the import-only insanity, this was a hell of a reissue. Heavy-weight vinyl all around across all colors available, but also more affordable than finding an OG press copy on eBay.


Oh, Brand New. For a band that is so emotionally-heavy in their lyrics and music, they bring out the best in people. Or not.

Each and every time a Brand New vinyl release is announced or rumored (as has been the habit lately by alleged music “news” sites who bank on rumors and take vague unfounded tweets or FB posts as “news”) a shitstorm always ensues. It was no different when word of a repressing of The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me was announced. What drew ire from the hardcore fans was that it was being reissued by Music On Vinyl which is an import-only company based in the UK. Add on top of that being that the pressing would be on a Red Marble out of 666. Start the scrambling to find out where to get copies from. Nevermind the cost from $40+ (it is an import after all) but some felt the need that they must have it even if they already had copies from the original Triple Crown and Academy Fight Song pressings from three years ago. (Click here for a trip down that memory lane)

Those who kept up with the drama on this release, mostly perpetuated by the nerds in Vinyl Collective, then you know what it all came down to. Biggest point of complaint was the big-ass sticker on the front of the jacket. Not on the plastic sleeve or wrap. On the jacket itself! A few brave souls tried to peel it off, some more successful than others. A few people jumped plenty of guns ordering from Amazon in Germany and UK banking on red marble copies. There were other Euro distros carrying it briefly. Stateside, Sound Stage Direct carried the red marble for a hot minute before selling out however few they may have had. Subsequent copies were to be on Black 180gram vinyl.




As expected, the entitlement issues by a few came up. “I deserve a red marble copy because I am the biggest Brand New fan on the planet” may have been a prevalent mentality of a few. Especially those who threw very public temper tantrums online across message boards. Ah, the internet. Giving the idiots a voice.

I got lucky ordering from Sound Stage Direct. I know they always carry the MOV titles and even though expensive since they’re imports, they always come through. So Red Marble copy secured. Although it felt silly since I already have almost every variant from the original pressing anyways. But I will chalk it up my OCD variant-whoreness with some bands and their releases.




More drama ensued when Shop Radio Cast announced that they had struck a deal with MOV to carry an exclusive color of the reissue. They’d be carrying a clear variant on 180gram vinyl limited to 2,500 copies. Plenty to go around and satisfy everyone. Right? Wrong! More and more people complained as expected because they felt that they had been misled by someone (usually pointing fingers at SRC as usual) and that it wasn’t fair. Things got heated even further when SRC announced that they had been able to secure a few copies of the Red Marble variant. Suddenly the hater machine went into overdrive. People “calling out” SRC for being shady or pissed off at MOV for scamming “deserving fans” and on and on and on. Typical day and business in the world of variant collectors and entitled record nerds.

But the clear variant is pretty nice.




At this point, where all copies of all colors have pretty much sold out everywhere, I am not 100% sure there is a single person who is 100% happy of having just secured a copy to listen to or even have in their collection. Hell, they can frame their copies and hang them on the wall for all I’d care, but I’d be more concerned in knowing if they’re 100% happy. Or even content.

This whole drama over this reissue has reached a level where it’s comical. And that’s been happening more and more lately with any records being released. Some people, especially the younger and newer record collectors, feel that they are owed something. Their entitlement issues are so inflated that if they don’t get their precious record in the color they want or “need”, then they throw a shitfit. Granted, it’s all online and on message boards. But if it were in real life, it’d be like watching that seven-year old child at Toys R Us rolling around the floor and punching the ground because mommy didn’t want to get them the new hot toy that week.

I used to get upset when I didn’t get that record I wanted. But then I grew up.

You’re never going to have or get all that you want. This is a reality of life.

Move on.

Youth Code – S/T 12″ LP

Posted: December 6, 2013 by Juan D. in Record Nerds
Tags: , ,

Every once in a while I get behind on what bands are doing or new ones that pop up. The case with L.A.’s Youth Code is that I had been hearing their name in numerous places: blogs, shows, zines, and maybe even some message boards. Initially I didn’t pay much mind. Curiosity got the best of me one day and I reached to Tre from Deathwish. No idea why I’d ask him since he potentially doesn’t like some of the stuff I’d be into. But hey, it was worth a shot. His description of them was somewhere along the lines of Sleigh Bells but less dance-y and less pretentious than some dude in Poison the Well. Ouch!.

Thank goodness for Spotify. Off I went. My very initial reaction on listening to their self-titled album was that they were no more than emulating Skinny Puppy. Early Skinny Puppy that is. And although Skinny Puppy is one of my favorite industrial music bands, I was a bit turned off by this thought.

But fear not.

A week or two later I listened to the album again. Then it clicked. Having a similar sound to Skinny Puppy is a good thing. But Youth Code embody a more hardcore punk ethos in their approach. Listening to them you get the clear impression that they don’t give a fuck and they will pummel you with their sounds on their own terms. I dig that in a band.

So being the OCD record nerd that I am, I went looking for their LP. Released by Dais Records, who have also done stuff from Cold Cave, King Dude, Missing Foundation, and more, were close to sold out of the first pressing. The only color available at the time was the Black out of 500 pressed. The other colors initially available were a Smoke out of 100 and a red out of 400. But lo and behold, checking out Deathwish’s distro section they had the Red. So I snapped it up.

Youth Code





Got the Red version and left it at that. Then a couple of months later, I saw a post on a vinyl message board, that a guy who used to be in Nothing and Night Sins, two great bands out of Philly, was selling some stuff on eBay. Thinking that it’d be just Nothing and Night Sins, I checked it out and much to my surprise he was also selling the Smoke version of the YC LP. Sweet! Ended up winning it along with some Nothing and Night Sins stuff also. Double score!



The Youth Code LP is great. There is no doubt about it. If you’re a fan of “classic” industrial music with a punch, then this is for you. Trust me.

The band is in town right now here in good ol’ South FloriDUH! playing a few shows. Two actually. They played last night at an in-store at Radio-Active Records in Ft. Lauderdale. It was a small and very intimate (cheesy word to be using considering the style of music!) performance and they decimated the place. Getting a chance to talk to both Sara and Ryan before and after their performance, they were both super nice and friendly people. The entirety of the show I was (and still am) in excruciating pain. Not from “moshing” or going nuts. Oh no. Wish it were that. Recently (the day before) I was diagnosed with an epidermal inclusion cyst right at my lower back. Not only is it inflamed but it’s painful to the point that it has me in tears. Sitting or even laying on my back proves to be a chore. A painful one at that. So much so that it’s causing my whole back to be stiff and tightened. Ouch!

So thanks to that I can’t make it tonight to their show at Gramps Bar in Miami. It bums me out because it’s going to be a proper show for them showing the full effect of their sound and performance. The pain has overcome by will to overcome. Ha!

But Ryan mentioned that they may be coming back down this way next year. Hope it is so.

So if you’re intrigued by Youth Code, and you should be, check them out. A new pressing of the LP is up for pre-order at Dais Records. New colors and the cover art has been redone. So it’s like a whole new record!

And check out their video for “Carried Mask”. Watching it and listening to the song makes wanna get up and fuck shit up!