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Record Labels and Vinyl Philosophy

I’ve begun reaching out to friends and various record labels to enquire about their philosophy with regard to vinyl releases. I’m fucking sick of limited editions and special colored vinyl, and it’s time to get some answers from people. Unfortunately, the consensus from friends, record store proprietors, et. al. has been that collector vinyl is just that, for collectors at the expense of those of us interested in simple and expansive vinyl releases of albums. Let’s hope there’s some intelligent and respectful conversation, and that ruffled feathers can be learned from. Here’s the letter I sent to Profound Lore this evening:

Howdy PL!

You folks are putting out some great records these days, but I’m having a hell of a time finding some of them on vinyl. I find the metal community is especially egregiously guilty when it comes to releasing extremely limited vinyl editions of albums and I simply don’t get it. Why put out 500-1000 colored vinyl records when you could press 1000-2000 (or more) on black so they get into the hands of more listeners? Unfortunately, it seems like the days of SST pressing 20000 Black Flag records are over. Remember, it’s easy to say how important and famous they are now, but they couldn’t give them away at the time. What’s your philosophy on the matter? Was the Man’s Gin record ever pressed on vinyl? Either way, any idea if it’ll be pressed/re-pressed? I’ll never (ever) pay for a CD or download again in this lifetime so I’m hoping the answer is “yes”.

Thanks for your time and continued effort to release great music. Please know there are those of us listening and appreciating the work.

Best,

Marmon Hammer
Austin, TX

I’ll be sending a similar version to Southern Lord in a few minutes, but with a more specific critique of their particular habit of releasing 500 records for the collector community only.

Here’s the Southern Lord letter:

Howdy Southern Lord,

You folks are releasing some great records these days, but I having a hell of a time finding some of them on vinyl. I find the metal community is especially egregiously guilty when it comes to releasing extremely limited vinyl editions of albums and I simply don’t get it – why put out 500-1000 colored vinyl records when you could press 2000+ (or more) on black so they get into the hands of more listeners? Unfortunately, it seems like the days of SST pressing 20000 Black Flag records are over. Remember, it’s easy to say how important and famous they are now, but they couldn’t give them away at the time. I find you folks to be one of the worst when it comes to limited vinyl editions of albums that seem to be directly marketed to a relatively small group of record collectors, not the majority of listeners/fans that simply want to listen to releases on vinyl. If a record is going for more than it’s initial price (on eBay, for example) then you didn’t press enough. From an outsider’s perspective this seems obviously calculated as opposed to a series of innocent miscalculations. What’s your philosophy on the matter?

Thanks for your time and continued effort to release great music. Please know there are those of us listening and appreciating the work.

Best,

Marmon Hammer
Austin, TX

UPDATE: 4/7/2011

I still haven’t heard from any label. Perhaps they don’t like being called out on their bullshit, perhaps their too busy at the moment. To keep the ball rolling I sent the following note to Rise Above, a fucking great record label out of London that is horrible about printing extremely limited runs of very desirable records.

Howdy Rise Above,

You folks have been releasing great records for years, but I having a hell of a time finding some of them on vinyl. I find the metal community is especially egregiously guilty when it comes to releasing extremely limited vinyl editions of albums and I simply don’t get it – why put out 500-1000 colored vinyl records when you could press 2000+ (or more) on black so they get into the hands of more listeners? Unfortunately, it seems like the days of SST pressing 20000 Black Flag records are over. Remember, it’s easy to say how important and famous they are now, but they couldn’t give them away at the time.

I find you folks to be one of the worst when it comes to limited vinyl editions of albums that seem to be directly marketed to a relatively small group of record collectors as opposed to the majority of listeners/fans that simply want to listen to releases on vinyl. I saw the first Witchcraft album on evilBay today for $400! If a record is going for more than it’s initial price (on eBay, for example) then you didn’t press enough. What’s the point? What do you get out of collector editions? More importantly, what does the band get out of it? From an outsider’s perspective this seems obviously calculated as opposed to a series of innocent miscalculations. Would you even know about half the music you loved and listened to growing up if there weren’t a decent number of records pressed? What if Black Sabbath or Saint Vitus pressed 500 copies of all of their records, that would be a dirty shame, huh? Perhaps most telling is that the new Blood Ceremony LP came out just recently and it’s already sold out.

I’d appreciate your thoughts on the matter – what’s your philosophy?

Thanks for your time and continued effort to release great music. Please know there are those of us listening and appreciating the work.

Best,

Marmon Hammer
Austin, TX

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SXSW Wednesday Review

THRASHER DAY PARTY @ SCOOT INN

Dark Castle (St. Augustine, Florida)
Great! I usually hate two pieces, but Dark Castle is an exception. The new material is 70’s inflected heavy groovin’ shit. More atmospheric and throbbingly heavy than the earlier songs. Stevie, the guitar player, says there’s a new record out soon.

Gay For Johnny Depp (New York City)
Awful, awful, posing shit. These guys are fucking idiots and you can see it onstage. Something weird going on as if they’re trying to be tongue-in-cheek, but they obviously take themselves seriously. Horrible band. If you’re unfortunate enough to see them, laugh at them and yourself if you paid to get in.

 

BROKEN NECK NIGHT PARTY

Hull (Brooklyn)
Awesome. Atmospheric. Sonically complex. Hawkwind-ish at times and jazz chords at others. Check them out over the next four days of SXSW. Thursday they’re playing the Full Metal Texas show at Emo’s at 3:10pm.

Asahara (Austin)
Same old punk/hardcore shit. I’d heard they were good, but they’re not breaking new ground. If you like your punk with 80’s speed and 90’s recycled hardcore riffs you’ll like Asahara.

Skycrawler (Austin)
Heavy, groovin’, keyboards! Just their fourth show and already they sound good. Super fucking heavy four piece, but, unfortunately, I couldn’t hear the keyboard player. Look for them around town, they’re worth your time.

Green & Wood (Los Angeles)
Rocking heaviness with a healthy 70’s undercurrent of rumbling riffage. Very jamming. Looking forward to seeing them again at the Thrasher party at Scoot Inn before Pentagram on Friday.

Say you love Satan!

SXSW Thursday

FREE SHOWS AND PARTIES

Austin Facial Hair Club presents Grackle Rock Day 2: Japan Preview Show with Vampillia (7pm), Oh Sunshine (6:25pm), Takashi Kamide (5:50pm), Hystoic Vein (5:15pm), YDESTROYDE (4:40pm), Suck Piggy (4:05pm), Lolita #18 (3:30pm), White White Sisters (2:55pm), DJ Teraoka and the Revolution (2:20pm), Mo’Some Tonebender (1:45pm), Zukunasisters (1:10pm), Sonodaband (12:35pm), Puffyshoes (noon) @ The Grackle (1700 E. 6th St.) [free, free beer randomly throughout the day]

Sacred Bones/Stereogum/Chaos in Tejas present a Free Show in Austin: Altaar (Oslo), Amen Dunes, Anika (Berlin, DJ Set), Chelsea Wolfe, Cult of Youth, Frankie & the Heartstrings (UK), Human Eye, Liturgy, Moon Duo, Pop. 1280, Slug Guts (Australia), Soft Moon, Trust (Toronto), Zola Jesus @ Beerland [a] [m] [2pm-2am, free]

South by San Jose: Wanda Jackson (8pm) @ Jo’s Coffee (1300 S. Congress) [free]

Pitchfork presents #OFFLINE: J Mascis (5pm) [stage 1, free] | OFF! (4:30pm) @ East Side Drive-In (1001 E. 6th St.) [stage 2, free]

Thrasher Magazine presents Texas Style Death Match: Trash Talk (5pm), Weedeater (4pm), Zoroaster (3pm), Liturgy (2pm), The Body (1pm) @ Scoot Inn [a] [m] [outside]

CMRTYZ Records, Psychic Lunch Records, and HoZac Records present SiiickXSW: Quintron & Miss Pussycat (11:30pm) @ 1112 E. 6th St.[free]

Full Metal Texas: Yob (5pm), Trap Them (4:05pm), Hull (3:10pm), Kvelertak (2:20pm), Rwake (1:35pm), All Pigs Must Die (12:50pm), Goes Cube (12:05pm) @ Emo’s [a] [m] [inside stage]

Paste Magazine Party in Austin: J Mascis, The Submarines, Exene Cervenka @ The Stage on 6th (508 E. 6th St.) [11:30am-8pm, free, RSVP]

Roky Erickson’s Ice Cream Social: Roky Erickson, Peter Buck, The Riverboat Gamblers, J Mascis, Peelander-Z, more TBA @ Threadgills (301 W. Riverside Dr.) [starts at noon]

Unofficial Cyclopean Records Showcase: Mammoth Grinder, Hatred Surge, The Roller, Green & Wood, Sungod, Strider and Catheter @ The Magic Number (777 Shady Lane) [8pm, free, free beer and food]

 

PANELS

Promoting DisCord in the DesCene @ Austin Convention Center (Room 12AB) [3:30pm]

 

SHOWCASES

Rwake (8pm), Danava (10pm), Zoroaster (1am) @ Valhalla (710 Red River)

The New Mastersounds @ ACL Live at The Mood Theater (W Hotel, 310 W. 2nd)

Amber Asylum (9pm), Agalloch (11:45pm), Dixie Witch (1am), YOB (1am) @ Barbarella Patio (611 Red River)

OFF! (10pm) @ Club De Ville (900 Red River)

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club (12:10am) @ Red 7 (611 E. 7th)

East Bay Ray & The Killer Smiles (1am) @ Skinny’s Ballroom (115 San Jacinto)

SXSW Wednesday

FREE SHOWS AND PARTIES

Thrasher Magazine presents Texas Style Death Match: KEN Mode (5pm), All Pigs Must Die (4pm), Rwake (3pm), Dark Castle (2pm), Dixie Witch (1pm) @ Scoot Inn [a] [m] [outside]

AnSo SXSW Day Party: Slim Cessna’s Auto Club (Denver) + others @ Spiderhouse [stage #1]

Paisley Umbrella’s Third Annual International Psychout: Sons of Hercules (5:30pm) + others @ Spiderhouse Ballroom (510 W. 29th St.) [free]

Pawn Shop Rock: Baby Got Bacteria (3pm) @ Cash America Pawn/ Sno-Beach parking lot (3402 Guadalupe) [free]

Rwake, Dark Castle, Royal Thunder, The Roller, Skycrawler, Asahara, Hull, Batillus @ Broken Neck [a] [m] [6pm]

Kylesa, The Secret, The Roller @ Emo’s Inside [Brooklyn Vegan Day Party]

PANELS

Tropical Hot Dog Panel @ Austin Convention Center (Room 12B) [12:30pm]

Our Band Could Still Be Your Life @ Austin Convention Center (Room 16B) [2:00pm]

SHOWCASES

Shit Horse @ Habana Bar [8pm]

J Mascis @ La Zona Rosa [9pm]

Jimmie Dale Gilmore & The Wronglers @ The Victorian Room in the Driskill [9pm]

OFF!, Bad Brains @ Emo’s Main Room [9:50pm]

Arson Anthem [night]

SXSW Tuesday

The South by Southwest Music Festival is here and the free shows and parties have begun. I’ll be posting daily updates and recommendations throughout, and for the record, if it ain’t listed here, don’t bother. That said, let me know if I missed something. Also, remember that showcases are reserved for badge holders and wristbands, but there’s always a chance you can get into a show if you try hard enough.With the large number of concurrent shows getting into a showcase is always a possibility, and if they won’t let you in, get creative.

 

FREE SHOWS AND PARTIES

Swamp presents Swamp Fest: Kylesa, The Roller, Mammoth Grinder, HOD at Klub Krucial (614 E. 6th St.) [+] [8pm]

Easy Action, the Sons of Hercules, Tempo Tantrums at Ruta Maya [a] [m] [+] [8pm]

Pre-SXSW Panache Party: Slim Cessna’s Auto Club + others at the Scoot Inn [a] [m] [+] [outside, 8pm-2am, $10, 21+]

 

SHOWCASES

Psychic TV/PTV3 at Elysium [12:30am]

Sit Back and Bleed

The site isn’t even a week old and we already have our first guest blogger – welcome SALO666 and the first installment of SIT BACK AND BLEED!

Here’s a list of some stuff I’m spinning (vinyl and digital):

Aldebaran
Fucking Lovecraftian doom/death from Portland (the drummer owns Parasitic Records which is a fucking killer label/distro).
Ash Borer
Hypnotic black metal from Cali that will fucking blow your mind…raw, transcendent while primal.
Begrime Exemious
Dirty dirty muddy dirty sludgy dirty grindy muddy death metal…dark and dank like a pervert’s cellar.
Blood Ceremony
Canadian doom rock old school occult rock with Hammond organ, flute, and badass female vocals.
Blood Of Kingu
The new one is fucking slaying my drives to work and school…members of Hate Forest/Drudkh (Ukrainian black metal) BoK is more blackened death with Sumerian and middle eastern bits.
Bosse-De-Nage
California-based black metal with a bit of shoe gaze and post rock, but this is some amazing stuff…self titled.
Christian Mistress
More female fronted heavy metal, this time from Olympia, WA.
Coffinworm
This is some fucking great blackened sludge with a bit of a groove at times. If you can get the vinyl…do it. Amazing packaging.
Deafheaven
This is my go-to music for black metal hunger. Signed to Deathwish Inc. (which is so weird), this is amazing. Cali based again. West coast black metal is just phenomenal right now. They’re coming out with a full length in about a month.
Dishammer
Spain-based blackened crust punk with a “go fuck yourself” attitude and topless tattooed chicks on the album covers….dirty, loose, fun, and fucking killer.
Endless Disease
Crusty and super pissed off black metal from TX!!!!! The only release is a digital EP entitled OUR TIME IS THE END. This shit is angry!!!!!!!!
Fell Voices
Much like Ash Borer, hypnotic black metal in the vein of the new Cascadian (NW and Canadian black metal) movement, great shit.
Necrite
Cali black metal again….hypno-drone and buzzing blasts with eerie vocals. Check this shit out, it’ll put you in a fucking mood.
Panopticon
One-man anarcho crust punk black metal (think if His Hero Is Gone decided to worship the earth and embrace eco-terrorism, but start a black metal band that sounded like a more political Wolves In The Throne Room…A. Lundr is the mastermind and he is a dreaded anarchist).
Prosanctus Inferi
This is some dirty, creepy death metal/black metal fusion. Raw and lo-fi but not shitty in a “we do this so that you’ll pay $400 for a limited vinyl record”. These guys are creeps.
Skagos
Cascadian black metal. Pretty sure these guys have just broken up which is a shame. Very good shit.
Valdur
Cali black metal again. More of a blackened war metal feel, but still amazing stuff.
Vassafor
New Zealand black metal. Members of Diocletian (this band and the whole NZ scene is so fucking twisted) doing swampy and dirty black metal.
Witchrist
Members of Diocletian doing some “out there” death metal – extremely forward thinking in my opinion.
Woe
More Cali black metal but with a bit more melody and a few parts of clean vocals. A bit of a crust/thrash feel to there song-writing.

If you aren’t already aware, check out Hell’s Headbangers Distro. They carry a lot of these releases on vinyl and they are fucking amazing with prices and shipping. I’ve ordered a bunch (and that’s an understatement) from them and they go crazy with the packaging for shipping. They take care of your purchases and they are very reasonable. They are also putting out Inquisition’s newest on vinyl. You need to see it. It’s crazy.

If you ever want to chat about fucked up music, you know how to reach me. The darker and angrier it is, the more I love it.

Sit back and bleed out while the world swallows us whole.

SALO666