Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chosen Ones - They Called Your Number

I also recently picked up a copy of "They Called Your Number" by the Chosen Ones from Reaper. First and foremost, I was absolutely shocked when I gave this thing a listen that Reaper would touch this record with a 10 foot pole. They must be good friends with some of the band members. That's not necessarily a knock on the Chosen Ones, it's simply because this is pure melodic punk rock (with the emphasis on "rock"), that at times flirts with "sugar Oi!", a term that was coined by Vanilla Muffins.

That being said, I do like this release. I compare it most to bands like Ducky Boys, One Man Army, the Sore Thumbs and Vanilla Muffins. This release would have been more appropriate on a label like Pirates Press, TKO, Longshot, GMM or Oi! the Boat, and it probably would have hit more of it's actual target audience on one of those instead of Reaper. I wonder how many hardcore kids got all butt hurt blindly ordering this from Reaper, haha! 

Being from the Bay Area, I am very familiar with this style of music. That melodic punk flirting with Oi! has been popular for the last decade plus with the rise of all the TKO Record bands in the late 90's/early 00's out here and all the way to today with all the Pirates Press bands. That being said, I do like this release, but there are other bands that are similar to Chosen Ones and are just doing it better right now. Immediately bands like Hounds and Harlots, Downtown Struts and Harrington Saints come to mind. Like I said, I do like this release and I will probably give it more listens than most of the hardcore shit I buy, but for this genre it is still not quite in the top tier. 

This was the limited version of /300 on "milky clear", it also had /700 on blue vinyl. Now I'm kicking myself for not ordering both. Check out their music video for "Fallen Generation" from this release below and decide for yourself:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Malfunction - Finding My Peace

When I pre ordered the recent Turnstile and Terror releases from Reaper, I added a few more releases to my collection that I didn't have yet. Malfunction's "Finding My Peace" was one of them, and it was my favorite pick up of everything that Reaper has put out recently. This is a fantastic release that seems to be getting slept on for the most part. Malfunction plays bare bones NYHC similar to Cro-Mags (you don't say, with a name like "Malfunction"?). Their vocalist even reminds me a little bit of John Joseph. This record was out of /203 on clear. It's either /542 or /800 on red vinyl, Reapers website gives both of those numbers so I'm not to sure which one it is. It would make more sense for it to be out of /800 for a clean 1,000 pressed. Malfunction definitely has it going on and is a bright new up and coming band. I am excited for any future stuff these guys put out. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

No Mistake - Connect the Dots

San Jose Hardcore is back with No Mistake's "Connect the Dots... Complete the Puzzle". This is fast raging hardcore in vein of SSD and Negative Approach. It's always refreshing to see this style of hardcore getting played in the Bay Area.

This 7" covers a unique array of different topics in their songs. Some of my favorites are "Unlucky You" which is about animals that are killed for one or two valuable body parts which is causing certain species to go extinct (see; Rhinos), "Expiration Date" which ponders what we will be leaving for the next generation, and "We Stole Hawai'i"which is about the US stealing Hawaii. Interesting and insightful stuff for a 80's style USHC band. 

The red and white vinyl was the limited version with an alternate cover and sold out pretty quick in pre orders. This is out of /93. 

The black and red cover is the normal cover out of /675. This was released by Refuse Records, Suburban Thrash, CC Fundacion (Spain) and Guerilla Vinyl (France). So if you're somewhere overthere in Europe and come across it then scoop a copy up! You can download all of these tracks and more for free from their band camp, which also includes a super cool cover of Negative Approach's "Whatever I Do". It's exciting to have these guys playing in San Jose and bringing that old style back.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Just (Born) Annoying

So recently I picked up the combo pack for the Born Annoying "Living How You're Not" EP from Reaper. It came on blue out of /762 and clear out of /212. When I received my package I noticed I just had 2 copies of blue vinyl. I emailed Reaper, and they said they are out of clear. Well, that pretty much sucks. I only ordered the blue because it was only a couple dollars more in the combo, but I was really just interested in the clear vinyl. 

As far as the release itself, I'm not really too impressed by it. The music is tight and crisp, and truly is on point. However, I'll say it over and over again; my opinion of releases live and die with the vocals. The vocals on this just annoyed me right from the first listen. They have an angry, screachy, pre pubescent sound to it that reminds me of nails on a chalk board. 

On a side note, the cover art is really strange on this, but for whatever reason I think it's really cool. I cannot put my finger on it. Would have loved to seen this come on a pink vinyl to match the Born Annoying text. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

RSD 2013 Pt. 3: Thelonius Skull Crisis

Here are the left overs for my RSD 2013 buys. Here is the Thelonius King 7" by Blu. I wasn't really excited about this one as I haven't been very impressed by Blu's latest releases. However, I didn't even realize that RA The Rugged Man was on this track as well. What a pleasant surprise. In all actually, this single is a serious banger and Rugged Man absolutely murders his verse on it. Out of /700 on black vinyl. Glad I got it! Check out the video for it below:

Next was the Earth Crisis 7". I have never been a big Earth Crisis fan so I guess it's whatever. I'd rather have it then not have it, in case some day I suddenly get into Earth Crisis. Out of /900 on red vinyl. 

I almost didn't get this copy of the Misfits and Lemonheads split. The super tacky cover art really turned me off, but now I feel good about it. I must be honest with you, I have never really even heard of the Lemonheads. I was really impressed with their acoustic cover of this classic track though. 


I guess now that I look at the pictures of the stuff I got, it doesn't feel like RSD was all that bad. However, the day of was a pretty shitty experience. My frustration levels were off the charts. I essentially waited in the line above at Streetlight Records in San Jose, CA for almost 2 and a half hours by the time I paid and got to my car. RSD has become a big deal and brings every bozo out of the woodwork that never goes to a record store all year long. I would put my paycheck on it that probably 90% of the people in that line don't even own a record player or give a shit about any of the music. I saw flipper after flipper walking out with shit I wanted and it was just so frustrating. Now, I can either not go next year and boycott it, or I can show up hours early like other people do and be patient...

But to me, it is more about the big picture of how big vinyl collecting has become. I made a conscious decision over 10 years ago to buy strictly vinyl. At the time, I could walk into my local record store and find all kinds of great shit all day long for killer prices. Now, the prices on everything are through the fucking roof and it will only get worse. Until the fad ends and all these sheeple move onto something else that is. It just really saddens me that people have to take a good thing like this and turn it into a chance to make a quick twenty bucks. All that being said, my dumb ass will probably be in line at like 6am next record store day. What did you guys pick up or miss out on this year???

Sunday, April 21, 2013

RSD 2013 Pt. 2: Liquid Swords Chessboxin'

For this Record Store Day, I was most excited to get Notorious BIG's "Ready to Die" and the GZA's "Liquid Swords" box set. I wasn't able to get Biggie's LP, but Liquid Swords was a great consolation price. Liquid Swords is not only one of the best Wu Tang solo side projects, but one of the best hip hop albums ever recorded. Mention Liquid Swords around any true hip hop head and they'll tell you whats up with it. GZA The Genius drops some serious knowledge over super grimey beats, with almost every song being a classic on this release. 

Here was one of the stickers on the shrink wrap that I unfortunately had to rip off to get to the good stuff. If this was just a regular old LP maybe I would have kept it wrapped, but being that there was an entire chess box inside there is no way I could resist opening it!

As you can see this was a pretty huge box. I won't even be able to put this on my record shelves, I'll have to put it somewhere on display.

This is what it looked like when I first opened it up. Super cool artwork all over this thing!

A very cool sticker set that will surely never be used. 

The cover of the insert booklet. This thing is amazing quality. It's super thick almost like a book more than a record insert. 

The first page, going with the chessbox theme.

The book has a ton of pages and contains all the lyrics as well as really cool artwork all throughout.

This is a 4LP release. It contains the full length on 2 LP's and then the instrumentals on 2 LP's. Hip Hop shit really needs to be on 2LP's. Most of the old hip hop releases were all on one lp, and now everything is pretty much on two because it makes the sound quality so much better with the deep bass lines. 

I was a bit disappointed that it was all on black vinyl. They went so over the top with this release on everything else, I really think it should have been on color vinyl. I think it would have been amazing on light blue or blood red to go with the album art. 

Here it is with the actual chess box in full effect. The chess pieces are very nice quality, they are all wood with the little felt stuff on the bottom of them. I have no idea how to play chess, I just put a few pieces on to give ya'll an idea.

I am really impressed with this release and happy I picked this up. For those of you that aren't that familiar with Wu Tang, you really need to check this out and some of the other Wu side projects. For years there has been a huge argument on what the best Wu solo side project is within the hip hop community. Just search it on google and you'll see page after page of forums with people arguing which is the best. Well, I'm going to give you my top 10 list. 90% of people will agree that OBFCL and Liquid Swords are the top 2 releases, but the big argument is usually about which one is better. In my opinion, here are the top 10 best (in order):

1) Raekwon - Only Built for Cuban Linx
2) GZA - Liquid Swords
3) Ghostface Killa - Iron Man
4) Ghostface Killa - Supreme Clientele
5) Ol Dirty Bastard - Return to the 36 Chambers
6) Inspectah Deck - Uncontrolled Substance
7) Method Man - Tical
8) Masta Killa - No Said Date
9) Raekwon - Immobilarity
10) Killah Priest - Heavy Mental

Check out the video for "Cold World" feat. Inspectah Deck, one of the singles on this album. And yes, this is where the band Cold World got their name from, just so you know...

RSD 2013 Pt. 1: I Shot Reagan

Record Store Day 2013. I am going to keep this particular post with no whining and my real feelings on RSD. I will wait for that for the next post. Ultimately, I got a few releases that I was really excited for, but some of the ones I wanted most I missed out on. I'll give the whole story for that later...

Now let's get down to business. Here is a 7" release by New York's late 90's/early 00's underground hip hop group Non Phixion. Non Phixion consisted of Ill Bill, Goretex and Sabac Red. Their single "I Shot Reagan" is a classic and was originally released in 1998 and is very hard to find. Needless to say, when I saw this was being released I was super excited about it. This release is probably still available at my record store since most of those main stream bozos have no clue what this shit is. People were trying to ask me about it in line and I was very cranky, so I ended up telling some jack ass "Heard of google?".

Here I am whining on my non whiney post. Stay focused. This is an AWESOME single. Two of Non Phixion's hardest songs, and I am super happy they re-released this. This was one of the only bright spots of my RSD 2013.

Non Phixion obviously got the name from the Suicidal Tendencies song. Ill Bill is a big fan of hardcore and constantly referencing to hardcore songs/bands in his lyrics. For all you hardcore kids out there, you'll probably find this still weeks from now in your RSD leftovers bin at your local store and it is worth it to pick up for your first hip hop 7". Out of all the rap shit I have, this is my FIRST 7", because it's typically always on 12". My only gripe with this release is that they didn't release it on red or yellow vinyl, which I think would have gone so great with the cover. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friend or Foe, One Year Later

Looking through some old back logged photos I came across some that were taken exactly 1 year ago today. A whole bunch that I have yet to post. A solid hardcore release that is available for a free download on their bandcamp. I believe this was pressed specifically for a festival but I can't recall exactly. It has been a year after all. This is some good shit though, I forgot how tight this was. This probably didn't make any top 10 lists last year, but still a solid easy listen that I'm sure will stand the test of time.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pregnancy Scares

Vocals are everything. I wanted to like this Deranged release, but it's just not happening. The music sounds very good, but the high pitched, shrill throaty vocals are just too much for me. I got the white limited vinyl version of this release, maybe I'll trade it someday. I have a bit of a love hate thing going on with Deranged. Some of their stuff is just out of this world, but sometimes they gamble on some real oddball stuff that I just can't get into. Pregnancy Scares made a video for a song on this 7" as well, you can decide for yourself. Pretty cool video though, I must say!

Monday, April 15, 2013


Surely to be one of the best releases of 2013, behold Southern California's STOIC VIOLENCE 8 song LP. This is an absolute shredder from start to finish of old school hardcore similar to Negative Approach. The vocals are very similar to those of 86 Mentality and Violent Future, except Stoic Violence is defintely faster than those two. You can download this entire release for free here, so there is no excuse for you not to be jamming this! This was released on Katorga Works and Video Disease records. Katorga Works has been putting out some serious heavy hitters. 

This release has really awesome artwork. The faces are looking through laced up boots as if they are behind bars, interesting. My copy is on black vinyl and I don't know if any color vinyl was released for this. It will be interesting to see how well these guys are perceived. I am sure if they were from Boston or something they would be blown up as hell by now, but since they are from the West Coast it may take a little more time for people to catch on. Don't be fooled, this is an amazing release and is deserving of any and all hype that it receives.

A big old poster insert. Sweet jacket. Listen to "Fight Them All" below and try and tell me that doesn't pump you the fuck up!? I'm hoping these guys come play in the Bay Area soon, I am so there!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Straight Edge Hatred

Painkiller is one of the premier labels and I don't really put much thought to their releases when they come out. I just go ahead and order it, but sometimes I end up with something that I'm just not all that into. I should have known when I read that this releases is 10 songs in 4 minutes and some change. That is just a little too fast for my blood. Vaccine plays a brand of super distorted and angry power violence-ey hardcore.

My version is a euro tour pressing on gray vinyl out of /300. It's still available on their big cartel, along with some pretty sweet shirts. This came out in 2010, but I just picked it up recently. 

The design and layout for this is top notch. Folds out into a huge X. Even though this is not my style and I probably won't be jamming it too often, doesn't mean I can't enjoy it (in small doses). Doing a little research on this, some have lauded this as one of the best releases in 2010. For those of you into that style of hardcore, then this is probably right up your alley. 

One thing that this really has going for it is it's super negative and depressing lyrics. I really appreciate how dark and aggressive the mood is on this record. Once I read the lyrics, I had to give it a longer listen to really judge it. Nothing get's this old drunk bastard going like militant straight edge hardcore. Preach, baby! Like how about the lyrics to the opening track "Your life's a joke": 

STRAIGHT EDGE! You make me sick. Stupid junkie. Your life's a joke. Chemically dependent. Mindless bastard. No fucking hope. Junk in your veins. Thinking you're fine. Your life's a joke, NOT MINE!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Caged Animal

I had what felt like a cruel April Fool's style joke played on me several weeks ago when Caged Animal (a Bay Area hardcore band I haven't seen yet) was set to play with Trapped Under Ice and Soul Search in San Francisco. I went to buy my tickets to find it was long sold out, Oops. I screwed the pooch on that one. So I missed the show and was really bummed, I was really looking forward to seeing these guys. The graffiti on the cover is what originally drew me to buying this, and I've heard these guys be compared to the likes of Negative Approach. I can see that relation. This is a pretty good release, and I think this band will get better over time. Definitely worth checking out and I could see these guys blowing up soon. They are raw and hard as hell, that is for sure. 

I was stoked when I put this on my deck and heard the San Jose homey the artist formerly known as Corny Jones, aka Antwon doing the intro. He's a San Jose hardcore kid named Tony that has been a part of the local hardcore/punk scene for years but now he's blowing up doing his rap stuff. He's on tour with Odd Future or something right now. If you are a fan of Steven McQueen, the movie Bullet, or just good rap then check out his video below (Antwon - Helicopters):