Off the Wall releases

Off the Wall releases

Walk Alone

 So this will be the final 2015 release to make the blog, and just about in time for the end of year cut-off. I was leaving this one as late as possible for two main reasons; firstly, because I couldn’t get good photos, due to light issues, and secondly because I wanted some time to listen to it properly.

There was a lot of anticipation and excitement over the debut No Tolerance full length, ‘You Walk Alone’, especially amongst record collectors as it was being released simultaneously by two record labels. This here is the UK / European pressing, released byQuality Control HQ.

This is the limited blue vinyl pressing, of which there are 200 copies. I knew these would sell out fast, and I knew I wanted one, so on the day it was going up for pre-order I had reminders set in my phone and, on top of that, I made sure to leave work early to ensure that I was at home in time for the launch. I didn’t want to waste valuble sedonds trying to transact on my phone, with its stupid keyboard, where I manage to misspell pretty much every single word. Anyway, being dedicated (aka sad) probably helped, as I had orders placed with both labels inside of three minutes. But I’m guessing that there must have been a lot of people playing the game in a similar way, because the blue vinyl copies were gone within an hour.

So what’s this like? Well, it’s good, but at the same time it feels slightly disappointing. I guess the problem is that my expectations were sky high, so it invariably fails to meet them. On the first listen it didn’t blow me away, and even though I have now listened to it over ten times, I’m still not left feeling overly impressed. I’m not sure what the problem is exactly, but truth is that I’m just not feeling floored by this record. Is it a good hardcore record? Undoubtedly yes. But is it up there with their last 7″? Well, no. Not yet anyway. Perhaps it just needs a few more plays…

I also managed to obtain this rare orange vinyl copy of the Arms Race 7″. This band features Ola, who runs Quality Control HQ, on guitar. She kindly let me have one of these even though they are super limited copies for friends & family only. I missed out on the blue vinyl copies when this went up for sale originally, but I’m more than happy with this copy as the orange looks very nice, especially as it goes so nicely with the sleeve.

 Another two records scratched from my wants list are these two 7″s by Dirt Merchants. They were a Boston band active circa 1992-97. I first heard of them about 5 or 6 years after they broke up. Somewhere around 2003 I started a mild obsession with a band called 27, mainly due to the enchanting vocal talents of Maria Christopher, and Dirt Merchants was her previous band. They released one album on a major label, before which there were a couple of indepently released 7″s. So I stuck them on my wants list and they just never seemed to appear. Well, until this year when I thought to look for them on Discogs, where both were sitting for pretty much no money at all.

The first is apparently self titled, and features two songs – ‘Beware Of Dog’ and ‘Mindfuck’.

The second also features two songs – ‘Love Apnea’ and ‘Purple Barrel’.

There isn’t really too much to say about these two. But I wish the rest of my wants list was available this easily and cheaply. Although, if that were the case, things would pretty boring I guess.

 Another new release that isn’t a new release at all. The Harkonen / These Arms Are Snakes split 12″, entitled ‘Like A Virgin’, was first released by Hydrahead back in 2005 on something called a ‘compact disc’. This was still in an era when I liked Hydrahead and what they were doing, but even then I wouldn’t push myself as far as buying a CD. And whilst Hydrahead may no longer be one of my ‘trusted labels’ (in so much as I don’t religiously buy everything they release), and whilst I don’t really listen to bands like this much these days, once I saw this record I couldn’t stop myself from ordering a copy.

The record contains five songs pressed onto one side, with a screen print on the flipside. Mine also came with a couple of bent sleeve corners.

This is the milky white vinyl version out of 114 copies. There are three other versions and, believe it or not, this one is probably the worst looking one of all.

The label put some serious time, effort and money into this thing. Not only does it come with a full colour insert, but also an additional, second insert on some fancy ass paper.

This is seriously one of the nicest records I have seen in a long time. I really wish that more labels would put the care and love into their releases that this label did with this one. Truly awesome stuff.

 Here’s a pretty minor record that has been on my wants list for way too long. This one sided, one song Mind Eraser 7″ was originally only available to people who ordered the ‘Glacial Reign’ LP direct from the label back when it came out. I was not one of those people, unfortunately, so a year or so later I added it to my want list, and then a few more years went by. Oops.

This record looks pretty cool, with a stamped label and also a screen printed obi strip. The only thing missing is a sexy colour of vinyl.

I still want the limited cover versions of the ‘Cave’ LP, although for some reason I didn’t even bother putting them on my want list in the first place. Which means i keep forgetting that I want them. Hardly surprising that I haven’t managed to find them yet then, is it?

 Here are two 7″s I picked up a couple of months ago, which are kinda related. The first is a single from J Mascis which came out a year ago as a Black Friday release. I’m not really sure when the whole ‘Black Friday as RSD part 2’ started exactly, but never mind. Anyway, this comes in a retro looking sleeve, which I’m not a big fan of.

There were 4,000 copies of this thing made, all on orange vinyl.

The other one that I picked up for cheap was this red vinyl pressing of the Dinosaur Jr ‘Freak Scene’ 7″ on SST.

I used to own this on red years ago. It was probably one of the first 20 records that I bought. For some reason I sold it, so this represents me correcting a mistake I made something like 20 years ago.

 I’m only too aware that the end of the year is almost upon us, and I have a pile of records I picked up this year that I still haven’t got around to posting. So I figure I need to fix that and get them all up here. It’s gonna be a busy few days…

Earlier in the year I picked up some test pressings from Second Nature Recordings. I didn’t get around to posting them all up here as they got put into the wrong pile. It was only last week when I was looking back over the year’s pickups when I realised that I had forgotten about the other records in the batch. So here they are.

Anasarca was a band that I never heard about when they were actually a band back in the mid 90s. But back when Second Nature originally released this discography LP in 2001, I picked it up as I really liked what the label was doing at the time, and I really enjoyed it. I picked up two copies of this LP. The first is the purple vinyl, which was the limited colour second press out of only 100 copies.

I also picked up this test press of the same record. There were only 8 copies made and this one is stamped with a number 3.

Next is a test press of the Casket Lottery / Small Brown Bike 10″. This record got reissued this year on a different record label as a 12″, but the original pressing was unfortunately a 10″, which means I now have another one of these stupidly sized discs in my collection.

The sleeve for this record is really nice, with the front cut around the centre label.

The next record is not very well knowm. The band is called Eulcid and the record is called ‘The Wind Blew All The Fires Out’. At some point, Kurt Ballou from Converge was in this band, along with some dude called Matt Redmond. Anyway, this record was their debut album released back in the year 2000, and I first bought it back then.

This test press is numbered 4/8 in gold ink on the back cover.

Next is a test of the Kid Kilowatt ‘Guitar Method’ LP. Being a big Cave In fan, I really like this LP. It was a project band for a couple of guys from Cave In, as well as Kurt Ballou from Converge and some dude called Matt Redmond. Ever heard of him?

This has a number 6 stamped on the top of the front cover. Again, there were only 8 copies of this test made.

Now, way back in November 2008 I picked up a test press of the Kid Kilowatt 7″ on eBay. It came in a plain white paper dust sleeve, but at some point later I learnt that the other copies had sleeves made. So when I picked up this batch of tests, I asked Dan is he had any spare sleeves for the 7″ test. He sent one over.

And finally, a test press of the first Waxwing LP. This was a band that Rocky Votolato sang in, and they knocked out three albums. This is the first, and for some reason I only own this one on CD. Not sure why that’s the case.

The craziest thing about this batch of records is thinking about how old most of these releases are now. I still think of these bands and records as relatively recent, although they are 10-15 years old at this point. Crazy.

Back in August last year I picked up a green vinyl copy of Soundgarden ‘Louder Than Love’ LP. I was pretty stoked, but ended the post with these words:

Of course, even though obtaining any colour copy of this seemed an impossible find in the past, now that I have a green one I kinda feel obliged to chase a red one.

And now, a year later, here we are.

Both the green and red vinyl copies were promotional copies. The red is apparently less rare than the green, although still pretty damn rare. The numbers generally touted around are 200-250 green, and 500 red, although as far as I am aware there is no official source for this information. It’s pretty much just folklore at this point.

The only issue I have with this record is that the sleeve is not in th ebest condition. It took the shine off of getting this a little. There’s a tear in the spine and also a couple of more minor creases. It’s definitely disappointing. Shame, as it would be expensive to find another replacement copy.

Anyway, here’s a shot of the two copies together.

I imagine that most people who read this won’t care or won’t be interested, but this is kind of the Soundgarden equivalent of a photo of the blue and red vinyl copies of ‘Break Down The Walls’ on Wishingwell. Kind of.

 When I was younger, there was no internet, so to hear something you either had to own it yourself, or know someone else who did. Given that I didn’t really have any friends into the same stuff as me, I didn’t get to hear much without buying it for myself. So there were LOADS of (what are now considered) classic records that I did not hear for years. And even now there are still bands that I have never heard. But as I get older I like looking back in time and checking out bands that I wasn’t interested in listening to before, so last year I made an effort to download some classic records that, for one reason or another, I had never got around to listening to. The pick of the bunch was definitely the Adolescents LP, so I decided that I wanted to buy a copy to make my collection look a little more respectable. The only dilemma was which copy to buy, as this record has been pressed quite a few times since it was first released back in 1981.

In the end I opted for the UK pressing on red vinyl. The original record came out on Frontier records, but the first pressing was black vinyl, and now costs a lot of money. This UK pressing, which came out in 1990 on Overground Records, was a pressing of 1,000 copies on red vinyl. For some reason I figured it would be more interesting to own this than some recent-ish colour vinyl Frontier pressing.

This is such a classic LP, with an iconic cover. Kinda funny that it has taken me this long to get around to hearing it, but that’s exactly what I love about music generally – there’s so much of it about that it is impossible to listen to all of it. No matter how old you are, there’s always new music to discover, even if it’s old music.

I’m glad I’m not trying to collect every variation of this record as there are seriously loads of them. You could, if you were so inclined, go straight to the Frontier Records store and pick up seven different colours right now. Add those to the nine extra colours that I spotted on google, and it would seem that there are nearly as many copies of this thing as the last Bane LP.

 At the start of the year I decided to make a conscious effort to reduce the size of my want list. To be honest, it hasn’t gone too well. I don’t feel that I have really crossed too many things off. I certainly haven’t made any significant impact. But I have crossed a couple of longstanding items from the list, and here’s one that I’ve been wanting for a long time…

Rain ‘La Vache Qui Rit’ 12″ on Peterbilt Records. I’m not exactly sure how many copies were made, but this has always seemed rare to me, especially one in good condition. This band were from DC in the Revolution Summer era, slightly after Embrace, and this record features one of the earliest examples of a sleeve made from a manilla envelope.

There’s no lyric sheet. The only insert is a postcard size piece of card with some names on. I included it in both photos as it somehow helped the camera capture the colour/light.

This band sounds very reminiscent of Rites of Spring, One Last Wish and Embrace. These six songs are really good and make me wonder what could have happened if they had gone on to do more. Even though this record is a tough find, the songs themselves are easy to get as Dischord released this on CD back in 2007. If you’ve not heard this before then it’s worth a few minutes of your time.

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