Shopping For Records #5: Sic Alps & Rollins Band

Just a couple things I’m pretty excited about.

Sic Alps:

Last year, I offered a little ink to the wonderful, but under promoted, Sic Alps. Their album, Pleasures & Treasures, offered a very real and raw interpretation of the muddily-amped garage band; an image that has been sort of misrepresented by “garage”-labeled acts like The Strokes or The White Stripes. Very distorted, very loud and VERY close to something as primal as Fun House or White Light/White Heat. At least, this is the case in my often-misinformed opinion.

In the spirit of under-financed music of the past, Sic Alps’ Mike Donovan and Matthew Hartman seem to put out records left and right that often go out-of-print very quickly. I managed to procure myself a copy of the Semi-Streets 7,” (a white-label record that so lovingly reeks of yesteryear DIY), but found myself at a loss with the following Description of the Harbor 12” and Strawberry Guillotine 7.” Thankfully, Animal Disguise Records is putting out A Long Way Round To A Shortcut, a compilation of all their past 7s and 12s.

In addition, they’re also putting out a cassette-only release through Folding, (Donovan’s very own cassettes-only music label), and a one-sided 7” on Important Records, both of which will undoubtedly be out-of-print soon. I think it’s worth checking out.

Rollins Band:

This is a big one for me.

In a recent newsletter, Henry Rollins mentioned that he was thinking about possibly re-releasing a two-disc version of Rollins Band’s criminally underrated, Hard Volume. Originally released in 1989 on Texas Hotel Records, Hard Volume was the band’s last independent studio release before The End Of Silence broke them out to a newly-interested mass of alternayouth that were mainlining Lollapolooza and Nevermind. Broke, tired, hungry and angry as hell, Hard Volume more or less captures a struggling band at probably its most candid and, in some cases, most creative.

Presently, I own two versions of this album: The original Texas Hotel version on CD, and an import copy on vinyl. I will gladly own a third.

This seven-song firebomb received the reissue treatment in 1999, along with its amazing predecessor, Life Time, by Buddha Records. The purists however were largely unhappy with the new treatment due to the exclusion of a track from the original called, “Joy Riding With Frank.” This is a 32-minute live jam that expands on the band’s version of The Velvet Underground’s “Move Right In,” and it’s a fantastic listen. I’m not really sure what the thinking was behind the track’s removal, but it was a bad decision and the Buddha reissue consequently doesn’t do the album justice. I’m hoping, with two discs to work with, that “Joy Riding With Frank” works its way into this new version.

Otherwise, do yourselves a favor and please, please, please, add this is to your MUST HAVE list. Hard Volume deserves ears. More importantly, it deserves MUSIC FAN ears: ears that will appreciate its penchant for free jazz, heavy-as-fuck blues jams and sonic assault. Rage rarely sounds this unfiltered.

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead
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