Sunday, 21 January 2018

Free At Last

I ordered from a bistro recently, so I went through its stock for a while. I came across this record by Free At Last, which was advertised as in the vein of Count Me Out, Turning Point and Fury. Since I was in the mood to check out something new, I decided to order a copy. Well, I can see the influences by the aforementioned bands and all in all it's an okay record, but so far it hasn't really clicked with me. 700 copies on blue/white marble.


Saturday, 20 January 2018

Ex Tenebris

When I first heard about Free I was really excited. Another Pat Flynn band that basically is 4/5th Have Heart sounded pretty damn good to me. And the demo didn't disappoint. I actually managed to pick up a copy on tape at one of the Bane 20th anniversary shows. Pat Flynn was folding the inlays at the merch table when I bought it. Cool story, bro, I know. Anyway, when it was announced that Free was going to release a 7", I was really excited, again. I even set up several notifications and alarms so I wouldn't miss out on the pre-order. Guess what happened? Yup, I missed out on the rarest colour. And paying shipping from the US to Europe for the other variants didn't seem like the smart thing to do.
So I decided to wait and pick up a copy as soon as distros over here had them in stock. The ones I could find that had copies sold them for 8,50€ upwards. I couldn't bring myself to pay that much for a new 7", be it a band I really like or not. Especially if I could end up with a copy that might just be black. So I waited and waited and waited. No rare copies popped up on Discogs or eBay, so I decided to wait some more. Then Free announced a European tour and some sort of tour press, comprising the demo and the Ex Tenebris 7". I knew I wasn't going to make it to any of the shows, so I asked friends to pick up a copy if they had the chance. I should have guessed that those were going to sell out pretty fast, but from what I've heard those sold out super fast. Then Control Records announced they were going to sell the remaining copies of the sold out record (right?) online. And again I missed out. So after waiting for about a year and missing out on the same record twice within a few days, I said fuck it and bought a copy after finding one for an okayish price. This 7" is pretty damn good. Not as good as early Have Heart stuff, but then again, that comparison in itself is kind of stupid. Really looking forward to hearing more from this band.


Thursday, 18 January 2018

Bane + Descendents + Good Riddance

Last of the Fat Wreck order. It should have been a no brainer to add a record by a band that is comprised of members of three of my favorite bands ever. Still, it took me forever to do just that. The thing with 'all-star bands' is that there's usually a really big hype around them and more often than not they're simply not as good as the hype makes them out to be and not nearly as good as the original bands. Now, Only Crime may be the exception to the rule for me. They sound a lot like Good Riddance in my opinion, which is mainly due to Russ Rankin's distinctive voice. Now, you could argue that it's kind of boring to do basically the same music only with other musicians and it would have been a great opportunity to experiment and try something new, but I don't care. I like this record.


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Don't Turn Away

While ordering the Good Riddance LP I also picked up two more records from Fat Wreck that I'd long meant to pick up. The first of those two is Face To Face's debut LP. Originally released by Dr Strange Records in 1992, Fat Wreck has handled all the rereleases since 1994. I think the black/clear halves combo works quite well here, although blue and clear should have been the obvious choices.


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Repress Of The Revolution

There are certain bands that - despite making the same promise to yourself over and over again - you will still buy every repress of. Good Riddance such an example for me. They're probably the best band ever on Fat Wreck and one of my favourite bands ever. One of my collecting goals is to have all of the LPs on coloured vinyl at some point. That point is far, far away right now, because as of now I only have the last two records on coloured vinyl, but eventually I'm going to get there. When I saw a post on Instagram announcing a repress of their 3rd LP, I didn't hesitate a second, because coloured Fat Wreck vinyl usually sells out insanely fast. I think it came out really beautifully.


Monday, 15 January 2018

The Circle Of Influence Continues

This post goes out to two of my fellow bloggers. The best thing about this whole blogging affair has been meeting like minded people and getting to know so far unfamiliar bands through their blogs. Sparkmarker is a really good example for that. Both Marcus and Mike posted about this band and were very positive in their comments. So against my usual behavior I checked out the band on YouTube. I really liked what I was listening to, so when I ordered one of the records I recently posted about I checked the seller's other items and saw that he had a Sparkmarker 7" for something like $3. Really a no brainer to pick up the record. I'm definitely going to add more of their records to my collection sooner or later.


Friday, 12 January 2018

Cities In Search Of A Heart

The last few months I've been listening to a lot The Movielife. Especially This Time Next Year received a lot of play time. So when I read that the band was about to release a new LP I was kind of stoked, but after the initial feeling of happiness I became weary. So far the track record of bands getting back together and releasing good records has been rather bad. Refused and Burn come to mind as recent examples. I decided to give it a shot anyway. Cities In Search Of A Heart isn't a bad record. It doesn't sound anything like old The Movielife and once you get over that, the LP is quite enjoyable. I'm not 100% sold on it yet, but I have the feeling this is a grower. On the plus side, my wife is really into this record, so the decision to get a copy was definitely a good one.


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The First 9 Years

Being a history teacher, I'm a sucker for books on bands, people and labels involved with the hardcore scene. As far as I'm concerned, there should be much more books on labels and their (hi)story. When Bridge 9 announced that the long awaited chronicle of its first nine years of existence was finally going to be released, I couldn't wait for it to come. Bridge 9 was huge for me in the 90s and some of my all-time releases came out on this label.
Bridge 9 has been running for 22 years by now, so this release is a little bit behind its schedule, but whatever. You can tell that a lot of effort has gone into this project. You get so much information on bands, releases and the label itself. You also get a ton of pictures that take you down memory lane. The late 90s and early 2000s, those were the days for me. I'm already looking forward to The Second Nine Years and The Third Nine Years books.


View of the open box with the contents on display. I really like the handwritten 'Thank You' card. Very nice touch.


Vinyl on display with a  glimpse of the book. Just beautiful. 400 copies on grey vinyl.


Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Margin Walker

Another step towards having every Fugazi release. As good as anything they released. I'm fine with the most recent repress.


Monday, 8 January 2018

One With Serenity

Finally picked up the last release I was missing by this obscure band Fade. By obscure I mean they'd already split up before I really started listening to them, which also means I never got to see them, I basically know nothing about them, and they're not what I usually would listen to. Yet I find myself totally fascinated by their releases. And two years after they split up I was still able to score the most limited variant from a regular mailorder.



Sunday, 7 January 2018

Battery / Ignite

I'd long wanted to close the considerable gaps in my Battery collection, if you can even call it a collection. After seeing them live two months ago I vowed to myself to make that actually happen. So, here we go. Two really good songs by Battery plus two pretty good songs by Ignite. There are way too many variants out there, so one will do just fine for me.


Thursday, 4 January 2018

Fear And Loathing

I managed to pick up 4 out of 5 releases by Bad Trip last year. All I still need is the split with Go!. I really like both LPs and couldn't possibly decided, which one is better. Bad Trip definitely had their own style going at that time and since they didn't cater to the in-crowd, I can see why so few people still talk about them. But all of their releases are really good. I love the artwork of both LPs as well.


Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Red Letter Day

Happy 2018 everyone and happy record hunting. The Get Up Kids were pretty much untouchable in 1999 when it came to emo stuff. They released one of my all-time favorite records, Something To Write Home About, that year and if that wasn't enough, they also released this awesome 10". Red Letter Day has one of my favorite Get Up Kids songs, Forgive And Forget, on it as well. I finally grabbed a copy at the end of last year. It's 'only' a repress, but I don't care. I think the vinyl color of the repress was really well chosen. Nice fit with the sleeve. I got it for half price, too, because there's a small crease on the top left corner, as you can see in the picture. I'm not too bothered by that because a) I've received new records in worse shape due to poor mail service and b) this is one of those records I'm never ever going to sell, so I don't have to worry about the possible resale value.


Sunday, 31 December 2017

Collector's Choice 2017

So many good records made it into my collection this year again. I'm more than happy with what I managed to pick up in 2017. I didn't make a whole lot of progress with my want list, but I was able to cross off some items at least. Plus I picked up a few records that weren't on that list and some that I didn't even know of one year ago. That's what makes collecting fun though. The other element that makes collecting really fun is the people you get in touch with. Quite a few people have helped me in my efforts by pointing me to records, selling, trading or straight up giving me records for free. All of which I'm very grateful for. My favorite pick up is the test press for Bane's It All Comes Down To This LP, because it embodies everything I like about collecting: great music, incredibly rare, release by one of my favorite bands, and I was tipped of by fellow collector.

Here's to 2018, which will hopefully add more new good music and some old records to my collection and get me in touch with more people. Let's keep collecting fun.

XXX

Ralf


Saturday, 30 December 2017

Top Of The Pops 2017

My blog hasn't seen much action the last few weeks. The reason behind that is that I recently joined the club of hardcore dads and the little man has taken up most of the time, as any first-time parents will probably testify to. Anyway, we have found sort of a rhythm and the days leave some more free time again. I still have some records lying around that I picked up in the last few weeks and I'll make sure to catch up with the backlog in the nearby future.

But for now, it's that time of the year again. I can't believe another has gone by already. It feels like I just typed the year's end post for 2016. Crazy. 2017 has been a year with more ups and downs than the years before. I've seen close friends and family experience serious illnesses, death has been around my circle of friends way too much, and there have been some personal issues that close friends and also I had to deal with. Then again, 2017 saw many new friends, some friends and I started a band project, my wife and I went to a bunch of awesome shows, we got to hang out with friends from all over Germany and the world, and a very important friendship was rekindled. Plus, my wife gave birth to our first kid, so all in all 2017 has been a good year I'd say. Let's see what 2018 has to offer.

As I said before, I still have some records lying around that I haven't posted about, so the post count should be a little higher than it is, but it still would have been lower than in the years before. I took it slow in late spring/summer, kind of like last year, but I didn't finish as strongly as in past years. Oh, well.
One projection I can make for 2018 is that the first half of the year is going to see few pick ups and posts on here because I'm going to be a stay-at-home dad for half a year, which means I get to spend some real quality time with my son, but it also means that money will be tighter and buying records on a regular basis won't be in the cards.

2017 has seen some great releases in my opinion. I have noticed a tendency to buy more releases by old bands I already know and like. However, staying up-to-date with newer bands feels more and more like work. That's probably the old man in m talking. I often tell him to shut up, but it's getting harder. Luckily, I have friends who are a fair bit younger than myself and they keep me somewhat in the loop. Still, looking back on the records I bought this year and seeing which bands made my Top 10 this year, there is definitely an imbalance. Anyway, here are my Top 10 for 2017. No particular order.


Record Of The Year

Spirits - Unrest


7" Of The Year

Abuse Of Power - When Then Becomes Now


Demo Of The Year

Split between Open Your Eyes and Stand Point. They're also the only two demo tapes I picked up this year if I remember correctly. Maybe I should include tapes into my blog activities to keep track of that... Both tapes are okay, but there have definitely been years that were way better as far as demo tapes go. I know that you can listen to demos online, but that's not really caught on with me.


Honorable Mention

Free - Ex Tenebris

I still haven't picked up a copy because I missed out on the pre-order and the 7" sells for like 8+€ in  regular distros, so I couldn't bring myself to order a copy yet. 

Bridge 9 - The First 10 Years Box

Beautifully done with lots of details from what I have seen at first glance. I got my copy only this week and haven't really had any chance to sit down and spend some time with it.