This year I was in the USA for Record Store Day and I shopped at two stores; Burger Records in Orange County and Amoeba Records in Hollywood. It’s a completely different situation in the USA to what it is here in Australia. I’ll explain my purchases:

On the Friday, I was out with a friend and she took me to Burger Records. The guy who works there, he was pricing everything and I asked him if I could buy the stuff early and he kindly let me do so. He didn’t have everything but he did have some great titles. From this store I bought the Empire Records 2xLP soundtrack, The White Stripes 7″, The Black Angels 7″, Otis Redding / Aretha Franklin split 7″, MC5 / Afrika Bambaataa split 7″, and the Chocolate Watchband 7″. I also picked up some other classic vinyl LPs including the Riot On Sunset Strip soundtrack LP that I had been looking for over the years and this copy is in awesome condition considering it’s age.

The next day we headed to Amoeba Records in Hollywood and I knew this day was going to be manic. We got there 2 hours before doors opened and the line was huge. We got our place in line and the people there distributed lists of the exclusive releases to everyone that was waiting in line. The way it works there is you tick off all the ones you want and then when you get close to the door, they take your list, give you a number and they take your list away and bag up what you are lucky enough to get then you wait in another line and then go and purchase your products. You have no idea what you are lucky enough to get and that’s kind of a thrill but also a bummer because I listed things nine items that I wanted but only got four of them when it came time to hand over my cash. Sadly, I didn’t get the Joey Ramone single which was one of the main things I wanted. I did however get The Bronx record which I was excited about. Also got the Pelican / Playing Enemy split 7″, The Horrible Crowes 7″, and the Mastodon / The Flaming Lips split 7″.

The Wednesday night before, I was lucky enough to attend the REFUSED show in San Francisco and they had copes of the Record Store Day reissue of The Shape Of Punk To Come on 2xLP red vinyl. I snapped up one of these for $20. Comes with a CD of the album, a DVD of Refused Are Fucking Dead, and a poster. Not a bad deal at all!

All up, I had a good day and I hope next years Record Store Day will be just as fun. Please leave a comment below on how your day was.

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Woke up early, but not by default, just that this new job I have has me waking up early every day. I just can’t seem to stay asleep… but that’s not important right now… records are. And here we are once again, the annual celebration of the independent record store that falls on the second Saturday of April each year. Now 4 years strong, the phenomenon of scouring record stores for records you like has people once again embracing the spirit of owning a vinyl album. This is how my RSD (Record Store Day) went:

Thornbury Records (591 High Street, Thornbury –
I had never been to Thornbury Records before which was a huge loss on my part as not only is it run by an actual musician but the staff at Thornbury Records are also nice people. They opened at 11am and once the doors opened, I managed to secure a copy of The Black Angels ‘Phosphene Nightmare’ on 10” white vinyl.

Polyester Records (387 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy –
Headed to the city and thought I’d pop in to Polyester Records as I hadn’t been there in yonks but thought that since it was in Brunswick St, they may have catered for the hipsters which meant the one record I was searching for, ‘David’s Town’ by the band Fucked Up may just be waiting there for me. I parked (possibly illegally, I wasn’t sure, I couldn’t see a sign) and waltzed in. Heading for the counter, everyone was milling around the RSD releases that were on the counter. To be quick (due to my unsure parking skills) I simply asked “Do you have a copy of David’s Town by Fucked Up?” and the dude says “yeah, there should be 1 copy there”. The dude who was flicking through the records stopped flicking and said “there ya go, have a look…” What a top chap! He let me flick through and there it was… *yoink* MINE! I paid my cash and walked out with smiles on my face. Walked outside, got to my car, no ticket. The consensus at this point: so far, the day was pretty awesome.

Heartland Records (61 Peel Street, West Melbourne –
If there was one store that I knew I would find the other Black Angels limited RSD release, it would be here. Heartland Records is one of the lesser known stores but also in my opinion, one of the best. Over the many years I have been toMelbourne (before actually living here), I have frequented this store. It was the only store I knew of in Australia that sold Wildhearts stuff when I started getting into them in ‘98. Walked in and staring at me at first glance was The Black Angels ‘Another Nice Pair’ 12” Record Store Day release. I didn’t get one of the lucky 100 that had the randomly inserted fully signed poster but nonetheless, I got a quality release that sounds even better than it looks. Here I also managed to acquire the Sonic Youth RSD re-issue of ‘Whore’s Moaning’, their 1993 Australian tour EP. I used to own this on CD but someone borrowed it and I never saw it again. Today’s special at Heartland was free 7”ers with every purchase. I pulled out a handful of singles by Ash, The Blood Brothers and The Bronx and away I went.

Missing Link / Collector’s Corner (Basement 405 Bourke St, Melbourne –
Walked in and the place was packed. The majority of the exclusive RSD releases were all gone. I was searching for the exclusive OFF! single that was being released for this event but no luck. I wasn’t giving up though. I searched right through this store for any items that were in the sales bins looking for that bargain. Picked up some $1 singles by J Church, Los Gusanos (has C J Ramone), The Kwyet Kings (has Euroboy from Turbonegro), and Game For Vultures (Estrus release) all on glorious 7” vinyl. Amongst the record buying public I caught up with my mate Billy and we continued our journey.

Off The Hip Records (Basement level, 381 Flinders Lane, Melbourne –
One of my favourite Melbourne stores cos not only does it house great rock and power pop records but it occasionally has awesome bands playing and for the drinkers, owner Mickster usually flows regulars with beers. Greeting Mickster, the question was asked… “Did you get any of the RSD releases?” He responds with “I got one… The Big Star boxset”. *yoink* MINE! That was easy. While talking punk and rock with Billy and Mickster I advised that the one record I really wanted that was left from the RSD releases was the OFF! single and that I couldn’t find it. Some dude in the store overheard me say this and told me that Ritual Records had some. I had never heard of this store before but thought I’d check it out. After leaving Off The Hip, I walked back to my car with Billy and pointed him in the direction of Heartland Records as he had never been there before and I assured him he was giving his collection of vinyl a great disservice. We parted ways and off I went.

Ritual Records (189 St Georges Road, North Fitzroy –
Never been in this store before but it may become a staple part of my vinyl diet. Cheap prices and a lot of records tailored to the punk, emo, drone, indie genres. They had sold out of the OFF! singles so no luck there but I will keep this store in mind for future treks. Not a bad store and I hope they stick around. So thus ends my record store day.

Here’s a pick of my scoop:

The RSD releases I wanted that I missed out on were:
MASTODON / ZZ TOP – Split 7”
NIRVANA – Hoarmoaing EP
OFF! – Live 7”

Anyway, enjoy your weekend, crank up your turntables and party hard, Andrew WK style.

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A STORM OF LIGHT / NADJA – “Primitive North” 2xLP, Robotic Empire, 2008

When this arrived in the mail, I was amazed at the packaging found within. A lot of care and love has gone in to making this record look superb from the artwork to the vinyl, it all looks amazing. When I saw this listed on the Robotic Empire website, I had to buy it. A bargain at $16.99, this heavy record looks and sounds amazing.

Starting with the cover, the art looks like something you would have seen on panel vans in the 1970’s parked at Judas Priest concerts. Hot! The gatefold sleeve has more beautiful nordic inspired art within and so does the lyrical insert. Truly gorgeous to look at.

The vinyl itself is incredible. The phosphoresence coloured 180 gram vinyl has 3 sides of music while the 4th has a nice design printed on the wax. Different to a picture disc, the vinyl stays smokey clear so that when you look at the 3rd side, the picture is visible. It looks fabulous.

As for the music, the sounds found within are a mix of drone sludge with melody and atmospheric songs of melancholy and heavy guitars. For fans of Jesu, Isis, Boris, etc. If that style of music moves you, I highly recommend you get your hands on this. You will not at all be disappointed. The 2xLP also comes with a CD of the album so you can plonk the tunes on to your iPod when you wanna wig out on trains, planes and automobiles.

Track listing:

Side 1:
A Storm Of Light – Brother & Sister

Side 2:
Nadja – I Make Your Eyes The Sun

Side 3:
Nadja – Brother (Remix)
A Storm Of Light – I Make Your Eyes The Sun (Remix)

The bands:

A Storm Of Light:
Josh Graham – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Domenic Seita – Bass, Vocals
Vinny Signorelli – Drums
Pete Angevine – Drums
Nerissa Campbell – Vocals

Aidan Baker – Guitars, Vocals, Drums
Leah Buckareff – Bass, Vocals

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STUPIDS and HARD-ONS – “No Cheese” EP, Waterfront Records, 1988

Back in 1988, UK skate punk band, The Stupids, decided to tour around Oz with fellow power pop punk band and Australia’s very own, The Hard-Ons. I wasn’t old enough to attend this tour but I did manage to buy this tour EP on lovely bright yellow 10″ vinyl back in the day. This 8 track EP includes both bands swapping instruments, playing covers and basically kicking out the fuckin’ jams in true punk rock style.

Side A is the Stupids side (Side Retard) and kicks off with a blistering cover of Minor Threat’s “No Reason” which sounds huge and features guest vocals by Randy Reimann from Massappeal. It’s brutal and a lot faster than the original. They also play an original titled “This Is The Norm”, tear through a 1 second track called “Fun” and finish off the side with a cover of the Ramones “Let’s Go”.

Side B is the Hard-Ons side (Side Nerd) and starts with a punk thrash cover of AC/DC’s “Walk All Over You” followed by a cover of the U.K. Subs, “C.I.D”. There’s a re-worked version of the 1 second song “Fun” from the A-Side re-titled “Nuf”, and the side ends with a supercharged and much heavier version of their single “All Set To Go” complete with double kick pedal.

Waterfront seemed to dish up the coollest vinyl releases in the 80’s, especially the releases by the Hard-Ons, complete with their over-the-top artwork by the band’s bass player, Ray Ahn. This EP is no exception both with the artwork and the music within. Both sides of the record contain humourous spoken pieces between the songs; highly politically incorrect but funny nonetheless.

The record also has 2 inserts. The first is a comic strip drawn by Ray and is pretty funny, detailing antics from the tour. It also includes the lyrics and who played on what songs. The second insert is a catalogue for Waterfront records that details the label’s releases at the time. This was handy for me growing up because it gave me an idea of records I needed to find.

I believe 2000 copies of this 10″ vinyl were released. 1000 in Australia and 1000 in the UK to coincide with the tours in their respective coutries. I have seen this pop up on eBay a few times and as of now, this record is the only place you can find these versions. The Hard-Ons cover of AC/DC was re-released on their 2 CD boxset, “A Decade Of Rock”, but that has been out of print for a long time now also. Happy hunting!

Track listing:

Side 1
No Reason
This Is The Norm
Let’s Go

Groove message: “RRRRRROB!!!”

Side 2
Walk All Over You
All Set To Go

Groove Message: “BORRRRRR!!!”

The bands:

The Stupids:
Ed – Guitar
Steve – Bass
Tommy – Drums

The Hard-Ons:
Blackie – Guitar
Ray – Bass
Keish – Drums

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This arrived today in the mail and I am pretty darn stoked on it. For those not in the know, Elvira has started up her Movie Macabre series again which, if you were a horror fan in the late 80’s, you no doubt stayed up late watching this hot buxom babe present to you the best in schlock horror films. It was on pretty late here and I got to see only a few movies as I was trying to attend highschool back then. Fast forward 20 years and Miss Cassandra Peterson and her alter-ego, Elvira, are back on American TV screens dishing out the best in terrible (read: awesome) B-grade horror films. To celebrate this return to the big screen, Elvira has been released on glorious vinyl.

This picture disc 7″ single has the theme song to Elvira’s Movie Macabre played by a bunch of spunky goth chicks known as The Black Belles. This was the first time I had heard of them but I hope it isn’t the last. The track “What Can I Do?” is on the A-side and an instrumental version of the same song is on the B-side. Now, I am usually not a fan of the same song on the B-side but as an instrumental deal but this time it can be used for good things like getting your girlfriend to dress as Elvira and do a sexy dance for you on your birthday to the soundtrack of this little number. Well, we can always hope and dream. I should also point out these tracks were also produced by Detroit’s very own, Jack White. True story.

Anyway, the cover is a coffin shaped fold out cardboard piece that has embossed spider webs and writing with a picture of The Black Belles and Elvira make-up tips on one side while on the other a bra-less mummified Elvira reaches out for you. HOTT! The record itself has another boobilicious picture of Elvira on one side with a photo of the Black Belles on the flip. To keep the awesomeness coming, this fold-out coffin cover apparently glows in the dark! I haven’t seen this happen yet as it just arrived today and it’s heaps bright and sunny in my room but I shall take note of it’s glowingness tonight when the lights are out. The record itself is pressed on nice and thick high-quality vinyl and can be obtained from Third Man Records. Link below.

Side A:
What Can I Do?

Groove message: “Now With Atmosphere!”

Side B:
What Can I Do? (Instrumental)

Groove message: “One… More… Time!”

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TEGAN AND SARA – “The Official Vinyl Collection” Boxset

Tegan and Sara, for those who don’t know, are a female duo who play pretty little acoustic pop rock songs. Their vinyl sells for big bucks now on eBay as they are hard to come by but thanks to the major label multi-national corporation known as Warner Brothers, they dished up a 6 LP boxset of their 5 albums; Sainthood, The Con, So Jealous, If It Was You, and The Business of Art. Plus, as an added bonus, exclusive to this boxset you also get Home Recordings which includes 9 demo songs dating back to the So Jealous record. The track listing on Home Recordings is as follows:

Side 1:
Walking With A Ghost
Fix You Up
Where Does The Good Go
Back In Your Head
Dark Come Soon

Side 2:
Red Belt
Sentimental Tune
The Ocean

Reading the Because Sound Matters website, this boxset has now sold out so your best bet is to hunt around on the internet and see what you can find. I am guessing now that because this is now unavailable, this too will go for big bucks on eBay. My copy was pre-ordered and the pre-orders had a signed LP sized poster in the box. This poster can be seen in the second photo below.

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KISS – ”Alive II”

I found this beauty in a second record / radio / stereo equipment store in Cleveland, Ohio. It cost me $2 which to me is a total bargain. This store had reasonable prices on anything and I bought a bunch of LPs from them but when I took them to the counter, the guy charged me $1 for the single LPs and $2 for the doubles saying that the records were overpriced anyway. I was not going to say no. I felt like I was ripping him off but kept my mouth shut. Anyway, I found this and to my surprise when I got it home, I noticed it still had the KISS ARMY fanclub sign-up form and the poster booklet; “The Evolution of KISS”. All this for $2? Thanks mate! I was a happy chap.

We all know the stories of this LP, that it was recorded in the studio, but that doesn’t stop it from being a classic. I always made a promise to never buy KISS stuff brand new cos I didn’t want Gene getting a cent from me and I have done well keeping to that tradition. But you can’t fault these 70’s albums by “the hottest band in the world”. This double LP sounds good and the only setback is the non-inclusion of Black Diamond which I personally think is their best song. Just sayin’.

Anyway, a great score for $2. Both the vinyl’s are mint and look as though they weren’t appreciated enough for a record released back in 1977. Sweetness!

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PIG DESTROYER – “Phantom limb” LP, Relapse Records, 2007

Has it really been that long? I guess it has. It appears they were only just tearing Melbourne apart yesterday. For those not hip, Pig Destroyer are one of the most chaotic and insanely riffed grindcore bands to walk the earth. What we have here is a plethora of blast beats, heavy guitar, and screaming vocals mixed in with samples. It’s pretty darn brutal. Unfortunately for me, I missed out on the first pressing of this LP cos it was snapped up pretty quickly but I was lucky enough to get my hands on the repress on glorious red vinyl. Pig Destroyer vinyl seems to always look good. I mean, just check out the amazing cover art to this very LP designed by John Baizley.

As for the music, there is a time and a place for Pig Destroyer… a nice romantic night in with your partner is most probably not the ideal time to be blaring out he likes of “Fourth Degree Burns” or “The Machete Twins”. But hey, who am I to judge? If that’s what you’re into, go for it! To anyone else, approach this album with caution. This shit is off the wall. It’s so crazy and fast and the guitar just riffs itself away (there is no bass, just a guitar) and the vocals sound like a nightmare. Yeah, it’s brutal. It’s good. I don’t normally get down and funky with the likes of grindcore but Pig Destroyer are something else.

The vinyl itself was pressed at Pirates Press so you know the quality is damn good. Really awesome record and excellent thick card packaging.

Track listing:

Side 1:
Rotten Yellow
Jupiter’s Eye
Thought Crime Spree
Cemetary Road
Lesser Animal
Phantom Limb
Heathen Temple
Fourth Degree Burns

Side 2:
Girl In The Slayer Jacket
Waist Deep In Ash
The Machete Twins

The band:
Brian Harvey – Drums
JR Hayes – Vox
Blake Harrison – Noise
Scott Hull – Guitar

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THE HELLACOPTERS – “Payin’ The Dues” LP, White Jazz Records, 1997

I still remember the day I bought this. I was in Melbourne seeing my girlfriend at the time and we went to the city to do the usual; buy records, clothes, movies, books, etc. I walked into Au-Go-Go Records in Melbourne and saw it, sitting there, in all its glory. I picked it up and took it to the counter. It had just been released so I was pretty happy with my find. If there was one band that was made for the vinyl format, it was this band, Sweden’s own rock n roll legends, The Hellacopters.

The packaging of this LP looks sweet as. The gatefold cover has the flames, logo and song titles in an embossed type while the inside has the band in MC5 pose ala Kick Out The Jams. Nice quality cover and the insert has the lyrics on one side and a small stamp sized photo on the other of Fred “Sonic” Smith (from the MC5 and Sonic’s Rendezvous Band). Most importantly though, the real quality here is the sonic awesomeness of the smoke coloured vinyl (limited to 2000 copies). When I got this home, I put this on the stereo and immediately could tell just how amazing the vinyl was over the CD. I remember at the time my girlfriend saying to me “Wow! What do they (the Hellacopters) do to make their records sound better than other bands?” I had no answer. All I can think of is that Nicke is an afficionado when it comes to analog recording and no doubt kept a watchful eye over the process to make sure it was of a standard he would expect from the bands he loves.

After repeated listens, it was quite apparent that this album had snuck in to the top 5 records, in my opinion, of the greatest rock n roll records of the 90’s. At a time when things had gotten a little dull in the rock world due to grunge depressing the hell out of everyone and rap-metal, somehow, actually becoming a genre, I am desperately trying to think of 10 flawless amazing albums in the 90’s and I am honestly stumped. Sure, there were a lot of good records released but how many were as incredible as this? Exactly! Not a lot.

Mention must be made here of the included vinyl only cover of the Sonic Rendezvous Band’s ‘City Slang’. This track has always been a fave but to hear it done by one of my all time favourite bands using the sonic distortion and guitar tones that were used on this album is really something else. I would loved to have seen a documentary on the making of this record (as they did with their Rock N Roll Is Dead album) to see just what equipment, techniques and production suggestions were brought to the table to create this gem.

Many people see this record as being THE definitive Hellacopters album as it not only signalled Dregen’s departure from the band after it’s recording but their following record, Grande Rock, saw a change in the band’s sound too as they opted for a more slick sounding 70’s rock record. Which, by the way, was still awesome. You really need to own this.

Track listing:

Side 1:
You Are Nothin’
Like No Other Man
Looking At Me
Riot On The Rocks
City Slang

Groove message: “HÅLL KÄFTEN SKUTT!”

Side 2:
Where The Action Is
Twist Action
Colapso Nervioso
Psyched Out & Furious

Groove message: “VA? HÅLL KÄFTEN. VARGEN ERE JU!”

The band:
Kenny Hellacopter – Electric Bass Guitar
Nicke Hellacopter – Electric Rhythm and Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals, Fender Rhodes and Percussion
Dregen Hellacopter – Electric Rhythm and Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals and Percussion
Robert Hellacopter – Drums, Cymbals and Percussion
Boba Fett – Fender Rhodes

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Blondie covers and a new Baroness single

THE MR. T EXPERIENCE – “Sex Offender” single, Vital Music Records, 1990

Blondie covers have always been fun to hear and for the most part, it’s usually girl power pop bands that do them. Makes sense really seeing as Blondie is fronted by the amazingly talented Debbie Harry. Back in 2001, the Sympathy For The Record Industry label released a double LP lovingly titled “How Many Bands Does It Take To Screw Up A Blondie Tribute”; it featured a ton of old Blondie classics, reworked into the performing bands own style. Some were great, others good and there were a few that weren’t so good but the thing is that they had fun doing it. Blondie tunes are fun to play and singalong to. Everyone knows the words, we’ve all heard the songs before; it’s good time party music. Even after hearing that double LP, I still have to hail The Mr. T Experience’s reworked version of Blondie’s X-Offender, titled “Sex Offender” (which, sadly, and most importantly strangely, isn’t included in this tribute), as the greatest and definitive Blondie cover of all time.

Recorded back in 1990 on the New York City based Vital Music Records label, this single to me seemed like it was in press for a long time. Either due to the fact it’s an amazing version and everybody wanted it or it just didn’t sell well and seemed to always be available, who knows. All I can tell you is that this really is an amazing fun version of a classic Blondie tune. Pressed on nice clear vinyl, the sound of the press is perfect for the pop / punk style of music that the MTX were known for. The B-Side has an original titled “The Last Time I Listened To You” which is a work of lyrical genius and catchy chorus’.

I am pretty sure the Mr T Experience have called it a day but I do know that singer / songwriter, Dr Frank, has also written a book titled ‘King Dork’. You can buy a copy of that book right here. The single, on the other hand, your best bet is to try eBay. It’s worth it, trust me.

BARONESS – “A Horse Called Golgotha” single, Relapse Records, 2010

If you are yet to hear the sounds of Georgia’s Baroness, this could very well be the best place to start. Baroness are a force to be reckoned with. Great riffs, pounding drums and gang vocals with harmonies and toughness. This shit rules. They are touring Australia soon in support of Metallica’s shows in October and November. I highly recommend seeing them. These guys are riffmasters.

This single was recently released on Relapse Records as part of their Relapse Singles Series and comes in 5 shades of colours (not including the 100 pressed on clear because they aren’t available to the public); 309 on Black, 429 on Red, 493 on Pink, 45 on Clear Red, and 750 on Purple, and of course the cover art looks awesome. It is available now through Relapse’s website right here. The A side comes from their mindblowing latest album, Blue Record (also released on Relapse), while the flip has an exclusive cover of the Descendents’ “Bikeage”. Surprising, to say the least, because if you hear the original stuff Baroness do, it’s hardly pop / punk but somehow this works. And quite well too! I am stoked to see the band go out on a limb like this. Their version stays faithful to the original and after spinning this side of the record, I can definitely hear how the Descendents fit, albeit quite oddly, into the style of Baroness’ music. Great stuff!

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