Saturday, June 30, 2012

Vacant State Rules OK!

As discussed in my CREEM post, I really can't put my finger on what makes bands popular or fuels the hype. I really think it has to do with several things besides the music itself, such as: where the band is from, how often they tour, what label their on, band image and marketing, etc. I am very happy to see a band like Boston Strangler blowing up, but it confuses me why so many other great similar bands are hardly given any attention. Canada's Vacant State is one of my favorite bands right now, and all their material is really amazing. They bring that early 80's Boston hardcore with a little Oi! flavor and are pissed as all hell, with pissed off negative vocals and lots of distortion. This release came out in 2011 on Deranged Records, and according to discogs there was only 500 pressed on black. If that's true and only 500 were pressed on this, I'm amazed this is not long OOP and going for ridiculous amounts on ebay. This record is a fucking classic! At the end of the year I'll probably have to make a top 10 list for 2011 AND 2012 since I didn't do one last year, and I can't imagine ten other records in the last 2 years to keep this out of my top 10.

Here is my copies of "Internal Conflict" on Deranged Records (red) and "State of Confusion" which was a self release. I like how State of Confusion has a cool "Vacant State" stamp on the A-side. Both of these are fantastic as hell also. I prefer "State of Confusion" between these too, it seems to have a little bit more of a raw, less polished feel to it. I would go pick up both of these if I were you though and decide for yourself. Listen below to Vacant State's title track "Fill the Void" from their LP:

Friday, June 29, 2012

Must love cats? No Problem!

Sorry for no posts the last few days, my brother and sister in law, their significant others and new born babies have all been staying at my house the last few days. So it's been non stop "activities" and bringing them all around to show what the Bay Area has to offer. Basically, hectic as all hell. So before we go to the beach, let me do a quick post. Here is No Problem's "And Now This" LP on Deranged Records. Plain old black, not sure on pressing info. Very solid '77 style punk but with a bit of a harder edge to it. I'm liking it! This is not your cookie cutter '77 punk, it's far from poppy and has some bite to it.

Here is the "Paranoid Times" 7" on black on Handsome Dan Records. 

Here's the "Your Eyes" EP on a beautiful Orange. They also have Gary Bussey on vocals, which is always a good thing. Also on Handsome Dan Records.

I'm loving the cat theme on these. I already thought highly of these but the cat them on all three record labels really sends this band out of the park for me. I need to give this more of a listen but man, just after a few spins I am loving this. I have a feeling these could grow on me to be some of my favorites, glad I picked them up! Check out the ripper below, "Paranoid Times":

Monday, June 25, 2012


Here is another super solid young youth crew band. Here's my copies of Break Away - For Life. I ordered this one based solely off the cover art (have you noticed I do that alot?) Sometimes listening to bands first just ruins the surprise. This one is on Mind Rot records and the pressing info is Blue /89, Clear /171, Black /225. Totaling out to a kind of cooky 485? What happened to those other 15 copies... it leads me to believe there is a mysterious other version, or most likely 15 were used for a band only release, or a record release? If someone could clarify that would be sweet. And if there is a version out there that's /15, I'm all over that if it makes it to ebay. I was impressed by this thing though, and just from looking at the cover art you can pretty much figure out it's going to be no nonsense straight edge hardcore. Another band great young band to keep my eye on, and with them about to play at Sound and Fury festival I would suggest picking up your copies of this release now, don't fall prey to merch flippers. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Here is Commitment Crew's - What are you? LP on Germany's Crucial Response Records. Pressing info is /500 Black vinyl, /261 Red and /261 Blue. I think this title appropriately fits this band, because at times this release flirts with epic Oi! and at times it flirts with being generic and incredibly annoying. You know me, I have to keep it real. It's not like every record I buy is the good. The music on this thing is great, but the vocals really kill it for me. I've said it time and time again, the vocals will make or break any band for me. The singer pretty much sounds just like the vocalist from 86 Mentality at times, which is awesome, but then he goes into this throaty super Oi! yell that instead of sounding cool, sounds more like someone gargling listerine or a cat getting choked. So much potential. That being said it's not all bad. I still feel this release was well worth my $12 and an occasional listen. But am I going to fork over the big bucks to get the red and blue copies from Germany, like I did with the Shipwrecked LP? Hell to the no no.

As seen in the cover art, the artwork is definitely incredible. At first I thought it looked stupid because I couldn't really see what it was. The pictures on Grave Mistake weren't all that clear when I bought it. I could clearly see the CC, but I thought it was some celtic crap or flowers or something. But after getting the actual record in my hands I could see what was going on. all these demented little demons and monsters. Hell yeah. Really cool artwork in the layout too, but the best is on the record itself. Yes, they used the label hole as a butthole for some demon. I don't think I've ever seen the hole on a record used as a butthole. Either way this record is atleast worth a listen. If you can deal with the annoying vocals, then you may end up loving this.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

It's a Dark, Vicious Lie

I only have a few minutes to write this before work so I'll keep this short and sweet. Here is Kansas City's own Dark Ages - "Vicious Lie" EP on Cowabunga Records. I have been hearing alot about this band lately and decided to check them out. Many bloggers had this on their Top 10 of 2011 list, and let me tell you it doesn't disappoint. It is very different from what I usually listen to and it is definitely dark and depressing hardcore, but man it is sweet and it is original. I was excited when I visited Cowabunga and found that they had a limited "raspberry" pressing out of /40 (even though I think it's more of a salmon pink). They're still available so scoop one! I recently ordered their 12" from Sorry State and I can't wait for it to come in, this EP has left me wanting more. Check out this cooky video of "What do you believe?" off the EP. I'm just guessing someone made this and it's not an official band video, but you never know.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Swingin' Utters - Teen Idol Eyes

Here's my copy of Teen Idol Eyes by Swingin' Utters. This is a really great 7" with a classic track that was on the Punch Drunk Vol. 1 Sampler. For being such an early TKO Records release by such an influential band, I'm surprised that these are still so easily available. You can even find them on the TKO Records website still! TKO pressed /300 on clear and /700 on black. That's actually alot of color copies for early TKO standards. Most of their releases were /100 on color. The Utters used to be a big freaking deal in the Bay Area. I remember when I was a little youngster they would always have the craziest shows and pack out every club they played, and were always incredible live. They actually still play often around here, but aren't as hyped and exciting as they once were. But when a band is around for almost 20 years what do you expect?

I find it funny that alot of the LP's are cheaper than the CD's according to this old TKO catalog flyer that was included. You have to keep in mind this was 1999! No one wanted those pesky big wax things anymore, CD's were the king back then. It's sad that some of the most influential and important TKO Releases never even made it to vinyl, like The Beltones - On Deaf Ears, Pressure Point - Life's Blood and the Punch Drunk Vol. 1 Compilation. I've already sent TKO Records messages in the past begging them to re-issue these on vinyl but I don't think it's going to happen. But hey TKO if you want to send me that Bodies LP for $8 then I'll pay that price all day! 

Here's the Utters playing my favorite song by them, "No Eager Men" at the Gilman all the way back in 1995! Some of my favorite punk lyrics to boot: "He's just a shadow of what he used to be, until I put him in his place. She's just a memory that's scarred him horribly, just like the lipstick on his face. This side of paradise is slow, and no eager men go to a show, Except for me!"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tough Luck - The Fifth Column

Here's my copy of Tough Luck - The Fifth Column. I recently picked this up from Mind Rot when I was ordering Break Away's 7" package, and this is one of those I basically picked off of the cover art alone. The artist who did this has also done T-shirt's for Backtrack and Downpresser and some other bands too I think. Coincidentally, these guys are very similar to both the bands I just mentioned, which is a good thing. It's actually a really good thing. I'm glad I scooped this because this is actually an excellent little 7"! It's not anything new or ground breaking but it is done with great execution and vocals. The music is heavy as all hell. This thing's so good I may actually have to order all three colors from Last Anthem Records.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

BOSTON STRANGLER, and how to run your label pt. 2

It's impossible to keep up with all the sick new hardcore bands these days. Unless you are just constantly trolling message boards, and have unlimited amounts of money sitting around to spend on vinyl, you are going to miss out on some shit. That's just the way it is. I was late to the Boston Strangler hype fest and by the time I caught on and gave these guys a listen, these records were going for $50 on ebay, with their shirts going for even more. I thought to myself, NO WAY am I going to pay that much for a record that just came out with hundreds of copies on black. I mean, maybe on a limited color I might be able to justify it, but as far as I know they only pressed this on black. So, I'll wait. I know it will pop up somewhere eventually right? Fast forward a few months... 

Time goes by and every time it pops up in a distro, I miss out on it. I just couldn't keep up, it was starting to become an obsession that I had to have and I was growing weaker by the day, getting ready to fork up the big bucks on ebay. But my internal cheapness told me to hold out, just a little bit longer. I even decided to make a facebook just to follow bands/labels so I wouldn't miss out on other limited vinyl. And from the amount of limited shit I've gotten since I did, I should have done that along time ago, I don't know what the hell I was thinking! So one day on facebook I see Grave Mistake posted that they put up 15 new copies of Primitive. Yes! Finally! I head over and it is gone. Fifteen copies sold out in under a half hour. Are you fucking kidding me? I figured I would email Alex in a last ditch effort to acquire this thing. Now, I have been a pretty loyal Grave Mistake customer for a while now, but still what Alex did fucking ruled. He says "Don't even trip, I got you" and sent me his pressing from the first batch that he got, and told me he'd get one some other time. How awesome is that? 

So all you other label owners take note. Not only does Grave Mistake have some of the best bands and music out of any label today, but Alex treats people right and keeps them coming back. I don't think I've ever received a Grave Mistake order without all kinds of free shit. Plus, they have the cheapest shipping of any east coast label to the west coast. On several occasions, he has even refunded me a couple dollars because the shipping was too much. Wow. Also, when you get a shipment from them you know it's going to be packed to withstand a nuclear blast. I have never received a damaged record from them. As far as this record goes? Yes, it is an excellent record. Is it deserving of all the hype it's gotten? Yes, it does. But that doesn't change my opinion that there are other records with that similar style that are just as deserving of all the hype, like the record above and some of the other bands I mentioned. Either way, Grave Mistake rules OK!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


This is going to be a top ten album this year. Here is NYHC's CREEM. Early 80's Boston sounding hardcore with a little bit of Oi! influences. I am loving the revival in this type of music right now, in the past few years we have seen bands like (the almighty) 86 Mentality, Vacant State, Wasted Time, Violent Minds, Boston Strangler, Shipwrecked, Cold Stare, Reckless Aggression, Bukkake Boys, No Class, and so many more. I think this is becoming one of the most exciting eras of hardcore with this kind of revival, after so many years of just youth crew, beatdown and powerviolence styles dominating the 'core. Which is nothing wrong with that, but I grew up on Oi! and old hardcore so seeing these genre's become more and more prevalent is a great, fantastic thing. This release is FANTASTIC. I just wish it was longer, seven tracks that come out the speakers straight for the kill. No fucking around, just amazing hardcore. I'm frankly amazed that these guys aren't as blown up as Boston Strangler is right now. Either way, I would go ahead and scoop up a copy of this if you have a chance. Just listen to the track below, "Think Twice" and Think Twice about buying this record.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Welcome to the DANGERZONE

I was hesitant to put this post up yet but Mike at The One Thing That Still Holds True's post today inspired me. I was even going to name this post "Losin it in the Danger Zone", until I realized his post was the same exact name. Always one step ahead of me! Life to Live records really has it going on right now. They have three great new young bands in Losin' It, Step Aside and Provider and Losin' It is on a full US tour. The reason I was putting off posting this is because my collection is incomplete. I still need the pre order copy which I missed out on, but who knows when one will pop up on ebay and I could end up having to wait a year to find one,  so go check out Mike's pre order copy for now to get the full effect! Above is the Test Press /25, Clear /125, Violent /155, and Black /155. The violet copy I think is by far the best looking version.

What is there not to love about the cover art? 1) Floorpunch is awesome. 2) Aliens are awesome. So a  Floorpunch alien, hardcore dancing through space? Hell yes that's awesome! This is a really awesome record too, good fun youth crew straight edge. You just can't go wrong.

I was even more excited to get the test press. One of the band members from Truth Inside was selling it on Ebay before they took off for their US tour a few weeks ago, and I was able to snag it for $28. I think that may end up being a good price, depending on how well Losin' It catches on. It's kind of like getting a good players limited rookie card, but he's not quite on the all star team yet. As with all Life to Live test presses it is hand numbered on the sleeve and the record itself, and has the Life to Live stamp half on the record and half on the white sleeve. What's strange is the Sleeve says 17/25, but Dan wrote 17/26 on the record itself. I'll have to ask him when I see him when Losin' It comes to San Jose on their tour. Go check these guys out while they are on tour and snag one of these copies up before they are all gone! I think just before Dan shut down the Life to Live store for the tour, the clear and purple may have been all gone, so hopefully you can still scoop one somehow.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I'm exhausted, and now I'm broke. I had all kinds of records come in the last week, and I pretty much broke the bank with a big Grave Mistake order, but what the hell. So I was also really behind on taking pictures and alphabetizing and typing up all the records, their names, colors and pressing info into my little database that I got going on (am I the only nerd doing this?). That's what I did today.... for the past 6 freaking hours. I also took 250 new pictures, sweet. Now it's time to relax, so I got some people coming over for a BBQ tonight, and I figured I would post this awesome new Noose record I got. These guys would probably be disgusted to know that this record will be spinning at a BBQ with tons of meat and alcohol... But relax guys I'll be offering sodas and vegetables as well. Ok that's all for now, hopefully now that I have new pictures I will be able to update this more. Stay tuned for a gang of new posts. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Loud and Clear

Here's the Powered Records 2006 pressing of Loud and Clear on black vinyl (/550). This was also pressed on Six Feet Under where the "Loud and Clear" at the top is in yellow instead of red. I picked this up on ebay for seven bucks a few months back in a multi auction haul. I am really feeling this record, and I'm wondering why I wasn't messing with these guys sooner. I had downloaded this a few years back but honestly never really got around to listening to it. Really dropped the ball on that one because this one is a straight ripper! If you are a fan at all of Youth of Today, this is worth checking out. Since this is the most common pressing, I am hoping to add some more versions of this to my collection. Spoiler's take on the classic Abused art is incredible as well!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My favorite record of the last year is...

Most of you reading this are going to completely disagree, because I know that most of you don't like Oi!, but it is what it is. These technically came out in 2011, but I'm going to make a bold statement that these are the best two records I have bought in the last year or so (as far as new releases go, that is). I first bought this when I saw the Sydney Ducks for the first time last December with the Beltones in San Francisco. Oi! is one of my favorite styles of music and when done right can be incredible, but it's no secret that Oi! can also be the worst, most generic music there is. I usually prefer a mix of more hardcore and Oi. Anyways, when I seen these guys getting ready to take the stage I wasn't expecting much. They were all sussed out with boots and braces, Fred Perrys, Pea coats and the whole nine yards, so I was pretty much just expecting your typical generic Oi! But once they started playing I was completely blown away. I felt like they had the best set of the night, which is saying alot considering they played with possibly my favorite band of all time which is the Beltones. I just got this feeling watching them that I was witnessing something truly special. They played with passion and a purpose, and you could tell they really believed in their music and that resonated with the crowd. I'm going to go ahead and make another bold statement that Sydney Ducks is the best American Oi! band to come out in the last ten years. If you know of a better more recent Oi! band then please let me know!

I got the first pressing on black at the show, and I'm not sure how many were pressed. According to the internet the black vinyl never existed at all, so maybe it is super limited? This was repressed on red (/500) and white (/500) which I still need to get. This also has an amazing design, with the band looking up at you through the gutter. I think this release which is their newest is probably their best work so far. This release has my favorite song on it which is on the b-side called "Joaquin Murrieta" which is a remake of a Spanish folk song.

Next up is their first 7" which I also got on black vinyl at the show. The first pressing on black which they put out independently on "Sydney Town Records" is OOP and I'm not sure of the pressing info on it. Pirates Press Records has done a 2nd pressing on clear (/250), which has the same exact sleeve as the first pressing. The Pirates Press layout also has the "Sydney Town" logo on it, so the only difference is the vinyl itself. You can see the first and second pressings have different layouts on the actual record. Below is a track from this record, "Stray Dogs".  I would HIGHLY suggest picking these up now if you are into Oi! before the rest of the world catches on to these guys. Even if you aren't into Oi!, this is just incredible music and it's worth it to add to your collection before these guys blow the fuck up!

"You can find him, where the stray dogs sleep"