Monday, October 18, 2021

Rocket From The Crypt - Live From Camp X-Ray LP - Orange with Black & Yellow Splatter (/500)

Untitled

Vagrant (2021, Reissue)

This is the companion post to last week's Group Sounds review.  As part of the Vagrant Records twenty fifth birthday thing, they've been rereleasing records from their past.  As they had two Rocket records, it was probably inevitable that they'd be rereleased again.  This time out though they were exclusives sold through Newbury Comics.  

This was the last Rocket From The Crypt full length to be released and the fact that it is eighteen years old is a little crazy.  I keep hoping and hoping that we'll get another one someday, but so far there isn't anything in sight, I'll just have to keep on hoping I suppose.

This vinyl variant looks great with the album artwork, but it's also super similar to the 2013 reissue they did for that year's Record Store Day.  I'm fine always buying whatever variants are released to keep the archive up to date, but I wish they had done a version that was a little bit more unique.  While this is certainly the best looking version and is an improvement to the 2013 one, it is pretty much the same and I'm not sure why they didn't make it stand out just a bit more.

Then again, most people probably aren't idiots like me that own six versions of this same record...

Rocket From The Crypt - Live From Camp X-Ray:
https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_nKnmzeI1FIkTtSDffvbLqcPOwW_sQhUt0

Friday, October 15, 2021

The Mr. T Experience - Shards Vol. III LP - Sea Glass Vinyl (/300)

The Mr. T Experience - Shards Vol. III LP - Sea Glass Vinyl (/300)

Sounds Rad (2021)

This is the final volume of the Mr. T. Experience Shards project, wherein they compiled all of the weirdo non-album songs from the various singles, compilations and bonus tracks strewn across the land over the course of a few decades.  This particular volume mainly focuses on singles and B sides.  It's twelve tracks long, but for whatever reason I feel like it should be longer in my head.

I think that's primarily because even though I have a bunch of Mr T. Experience 7"s, I keep forgetting that there were a good amount of album tracks on those, not to mention about thirty seven appearances of the song "Together Tonight."  The tracks that are here are pretty great for the most part, with lots of fun cover songs and the tremendous tracks from the Alternative Is Hear To Stay single.

One of the things about these MTX singles is how difficult it was for me to track them down in a pre-internet world.  Now granted, it's not like I'm saying the internet didn't exist in 1995, but it sure didn't have the robust record hunting features that it boasts these days.  I spent a lot of time coming through record stores and trying to come up with interesting trades to other folks to obtain them.  I think in some ways that hunt makes me appreciate those 7"s a bit more than this LP.  While the songs undoubtedly sound better on the comp, there's something special about the memories forged by tracking down those singles, even if I can't really remember the specifics of any of those memories.

The Mr. T Experience - Shards Vol. III:
https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_mYKYzUXNSpF_pHvpQlFXZ9XGWhY5H2ddg

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

N.W.A - Straight Outta Compton - 20th Anniversary 2xLP

Untitled

Ruthless / Priority (2007, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

You are correct, I did write about picking up a version of this record on vinyl a few months ago, but my main experience with this album was always on CD.  The regular pressing of the vinyl didn't reflect the same tracklist as the CD version and that irked me a little while listening to it.  Yes, I know I'm aggrevated by very trivial things.

This 2xLP version has the same tracklist and song order as the CD I've had for ten thousand years.  It feels more comfortable to me this way.  That tracklist takes up three sides of this double album.  The fourth side is other hip hop groups covering N.W.A songs.  You've got Snoop Doggy Dogg, Bone Thugs N Harmony, WC and Mack 10.  I haven't listened to this side.  I don't know that I'll ever listen to it.  Who could possibly care about listening to N.W.A covers when you've got the real thing right in front of you?

N.W.A - Straight Outta Compton:

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Rocket From The Crypt - Group Sounds LP - Yellow w/ Black Splatter Vinyl (/500)

Rocket From The Crypt - Group Sounds LP - Yellow w/ Black Splatter Vinyl (/500)

Vagrant (2021, Reissue)

For Vagrant Records' twenty-fifth anniversary, they are rereleasing some records from their catalog.  To say that label had an uneven output of albums is the understatement of the century, but they did give the world a few John Reis releases, so they get a pass on the rest.

In addition to being part of the Vagrant reissue campaign, this particular version of Group Sounds was released as a Newbury Comics exclusive variant, limited to five hundred copies.  I already have five other versions of this on vinyl (and two on CD), but I just can't help myself from buying Rocket records.  The urge to have a complete archive of every version of every release is something I just can't shake.  Which is why the red vinyl version of the Pure Genius 7" haunts me daily.  Someone sell that to me please.

Anyway, this version looks pretty solid.  Yellow with splatter.  I don't know that it really stands out as being anything better or worse than the other colorways out there, but when you get to the tunes themselves, there are few records in this land as great as this twenty year old masterpiece.\

Rocket From The Crypt - Group Sounds: 

Friday, October 8, 2021

Reverse - Bloody Mary and Grant Hart 7"

Untitled

SP Records (2019)

This 7" was meant to be a precursor to the excellent Reverse full length album Empty Spaces.  Of course, I am now writing about it ages after the full length actually came out.  This record was in a pile of Japanese releases that Kazu kept aside for me for a period of time that was way longer than reasonable.  I am forever grateful that he helps me acquire the Japanese records I need and am even more thankful that he lets them accumulate at his place waiting for me to finally say 'ship them.'  A total class act.

On to this 7".  Reverse has been a long time favorite band of mine and the fact that they are active again (or as close to active as a band can get these days) is such cause for celebration.  The A side is "Bloody Mary and Grant Hart," which is the closing track on the Empty Spaces LP.  It's a fantastic song that I can completely understand why it was chosen as a single from the album.  It has those wonderfully rugged guitar riffs combine with the melodic, but somewhat gravely vocals I always associate with Reverse.

On the B side is a song that isn't on the album, "You're the Poison."  This one is a straight ahead rocker, blasting forth with a fast paced verse that erupts into a super catchy, singalong chorus.  Ah Reverse is one of the most under-appreciated bands out there.  Everything they put out is tremendous and the fact that the artwork on this 7" matches up to their three earlier 7"s they released in the 90s just makes me smile.

Reverse - Bloody Mary and Grant Hart 7":
https://sprecords.bandcamp.com/album/bloody-mary-grant-hart

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Cypress Hill - Black Sunday 2xlp

Untitled

Columbia / Ruff House (2013, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

In the lead up to the original 1993 release of Black Sunday, my anticipation to hear the record could not have been any higher.  This was after two solid years of listening to their debut on repeat pretty constantly.  Released during the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school, I could not have gotten to The Wall any faster to buy this album at the Rockaway Mall.  When I first heard it, I definitely dug it quite a bit.  

It had the same sort of soul-laced beats and wacky, screeching sound effects that made their debut so very enjoyable.  B-Real's vocals are perfect, with his nasally flow he just glides over the top of the beats and ties everything together.  Sen Dog's barking hype man backup vocals just add to the mix.  

Not too long after the record was released, it seemed like the single "Insane In The Brain" started to blow up.  People in high school that never listened to anything I liked were suddenly getting into Cypress Hill and it was a little jarring.  You have to remember in 1993 there was often a pretty big backlash to 'selling out' in hip hop and punk rock.  As a dumb high schooler I was susceptible to thoughts like this and it tempered my enthusiasm for Black Sunday as I moved on to digging for more obscure acts.

At some point, I even sold my CD copy and only kept their debut in my collection.  Rebuying this on LP gave me a chance to really listen to it again without the baggage of what was going on in music in 1993.  It is still a pretty great album, maybe not as good as the first one, but still absolutely one that should be in the collection.

Cypress Hill - Black Sunday:
https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_kzJiDdiQBY2OfdN9j1PS8hj_z3NJd-22g

Monday, October 4, 2021

Needles // Pins - Needles // Pins LP

Untitled

Dirt Cult (2021)

I have written several times about the dearth of new records in 2021.  There have been so few albums that have caught my interest and for the first time ever, I'm actually concerned I'm not going to be able to put together a top ten list, let alone a top twenty.  I don't know if it's just fewer records being released or if I'm just started to slip into irrelevance.  Regardless, I've been way more interested in hunting down records from the 90s than I have been about anything coming out this year.

The new Needles // Pins records is something of a microcosm of this dilemma.  This is a band that I know and have been listening to for nearly ten years.  I have all of their LPs and have enjoyed them all.  You can include this new one in that mix as well.  This is an extremely well written and well put together album.  It has that Leatherface-esque gravelly vocal thing going on that I like so much.  You can play it right after Dear Landlord or Off With Their Heads or Dillinger Four and it fits right in.

But for some reason, I'm not as excited about this album as I think I would have been at another time.  Yes, it is a good record and it is absolutely one of the best thing I have heard this year, but it's just not grabbing me and holding my interest as much as I'd expect it to.  I don't really know why.  I can't point to anything about the record that isn't what I usually want out of a band like this, so I assume the problem might be me.  

Either it's fatigue from a seemingly never-ending pandemic or I may have just crossed that line and I'm too old to stay excited about new music.  I'm really not sure, but I feel like if this record had come out a year earlier, I would have been much more enthusiastic about it.  But again, I think it's me - not the album.  If you've dug the band in the past, this record hits all of the right spots, it's definitely worth picking up.

Needles // Pins - Needles // Pins:
https://dirtcultrecords.bandcamp.com/album/needles-pins

Friday, October 1, 2021

Custody / Spells - Split 7" - Green Vinyl (/400)

Custody / Spells - Split 7" - Green Vinyl (/400)

Snappy Little Numbers / Brassneck / Keep It A Secret / Shield (2021)

I don't see as many split singles these days as I did in the 90s, but I'm always psyched when one comes out.  This time we've got two bands I already like, Spells and PopKid alumni Custody.

Custody never disappoints and their song "Into The Great Unknown" is no exception.  I find it difficult to write about Custody without typing the word Samiam, and while there are always some Sergie influences in most Custody songs, I do feel like the guitar work on this particular track does chart some newer ground for the band.  There's a surfy lead in the intro that breaks into a riff that reminds me a lot of the The End Will Be Kicks song "You Are All Kinds of Red Lights."  Once we hit the chorus, you get the booming, crunchy distortion that no one delivers quite like Custody, but I like the journey taken to get there,  Another great song.

Spells come in with "Confidence, Baby. Confidence!" which is a song that has a wide variety of punctuation in its title.  This one starts out by clapping and spelling out the word 'confidence' similar to the Bay City Rollers "Saturday Night" or Rocket From The Crypt's "Tiger Feet Tonight."  It then breaks into a pretty raspy vocal for the verse, the music fades here a little bit only to come roaring back in the chorus.  While I can't say this is my favorite Spells song that I've heard, it's also not so far away from the sound that I'm used to from them.  I could never say anything but good things about it, it just isn't hitting me quite as hard as some of their other songs.

Still, this is a great little record featuring two of the best current bands out there.  If you read my dumb website, chances are you probably need to pick this up.

Custody / Spells - Split 7":
https://snappylittlenumbers.bandcamp.com/album/split-single-sln-216