Vinyl Corner is a feature where we take a look at vinyl pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound, how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect – as well as giving a brief overview of the music itself. For today’s instalment we’re looking at the latest release from Stevenage punks Bad Breeding.
Bad Breeding have been putting out short, sharp stabs of incendiary hardcore punk for a few years now, with their first 7″ single having been released back in 2014. Since then their modus operandi seems to have been to get in, say what they have to say and get out sharpish – if their two brief but excellent LPs are anything to go by. For their latest expulsion of fury they’ve taken the brevity aspect even further with a four track EP entitled ‘Abandonment’. Their first release for One Little Indian records, ‘Abandonment’ is another quality slab of hardcore punk that sees the group continue in broadly the same direction as they have in the past. Tempos are breakneck, guitars, bass and even vocals are awash with blistering distortion and the lyrics – or at least what we can make out of them – are as barbed as ever. It’s excellent stuff that’s bound to keep those already intrigued by the group engaged for a while longer and newcomers will find a relatively accessible entry point to a group who take noise and brutality to extremes which few, in even a style like hardcore punk, dare to.
This is a top notch pressing cut out of very heavy vinyl. We don’t have an exact quote of weight but it feels near enough 180g to us and it sounds fantastic, to boot. The 12″ EP has been cut at 45 rpm and really benefits from the play speed with huge volume (seriously, we actually had to turn our amp down when this came on, it’s cut so loudly) and top notch sound quality. Playback itself also leaves a good impression with very clean sound free of surface noise or pops – although, to be fair, the music is so loud that any flaws would have a hard job being heard over the sheer volume being thrown out of the grooves. Because there’re only two songs per side, there’s no risk of fidelity loss due to overcrowded grooves, so it’s unsurprising that sound is crisp, direct and immediate.
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As with previous Bad Breeding releases, packaging is really impressive here. The group’s two previous LPs both featured excellent DIY presentation that included numerous inserts including thought-provoking, well-written essays and this is continued with ‘Abandonment’. The sleeve itself is a single pocket affair which is not sealed from new but instead comes in a plastic sleeve to which the barcode sticker as been affixed – a nice touch as a barcode printed onto the cover would mar the aesthetic considerably. The sleeve is well made and feels sturdy and solid when handled. Bonuses are also plentiful here with two A4 paper inserts (one of which boasts artwork, the other an excellent double sided essay) and the record is also sleeved in a good quality printed cardboard inner. As always with Bad Breeding releases, the band put a quality package before profits as this goes far above and beyond the calibre of presentation and packaging that you’d expect from an EP that costs a mere £8 from the group’s bandcamp page (buy it from there or the One Little Indian website, both deserve the support).
‘Abandonment’ is another great quality release from one of the most interesting British punk bands at the moment. The music is top notch and so is the pressing, and the packaging and presentation go far beyond the quality of practically anything you can get for £16, let alone a mere £8.