After six days of solid sorting, I've finally got all of the records that I want to keep in hard alphabetical order. By that, I mean bands are separated into individual title release dates, and if they are doubles (usually because of import pressings), their country of origin comes first. In the beginning, I felt aware that being so particular was absolutely insane, but since completion, a great calm has come over me. Today I wanted to listen to the Punch Line by the Minutemen and it took me seconds to find the three copies that I own. One I kept for nostalgia purposes, as it's the copy I bought when I was 14, and the other two are the second pressings with the insert. One is fake signed by the band, like some person just did it in the same handwriting for each member. It's so obviously fake. I listened to the Punch Line six times in a row while doing chores this morning, having to flip the record every seven minutes or so. I spent some of the morning thinking about different pressings of Minutemen records and dug out my copy of their first EP, 1980's Paranoid Time, to check which one I have. I discovered that the big hole, black vinyl version is considered the first pressing, but it was also in print forever. It seems that the initial run was 300 copies that sold out quickly, but apparently nothing changed between that and subsequent re-pressings.
But whoa, enough thinking about spindle holes and pressings, this EP is a crazy white hot perfect slab of seminal political punk made by dudes in their early 20s. How did such youngsters become so informed? Apparently by listening to Blue Öyster Cult and Creedence. Every track is excellent and the whole thing is over in six and a half minutes. From the jerky rhythms of "Validation," to the manic chimes of "The Maze," to the thoughtful faux-intermission of "Definitions," to the brutal and wordless "Sickles and Hammers," to the relative calm of "The Fascist," to the thought provoking and catchy "Joe McCarthy's Ghost," to the fear inducing closer "Paranoid Chant," the whole thing is absolutely beautiful.