Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Youth Attack Bounty

The internet hyped, bursting at the seams hardcore label from Brooklyn has been busier than the subway during rush hour over the past few months, churning out releases and distro items for the "masses." The joke is on us though, as most of these items are highly limited; especially live, tour, or special mail order only releases. Even the quantities of the label's own material doesn't seem to be enough to satisfy the insatiable appetite for Youth Attack Records or their related bands, labels, or distros. Having bought items from them before, and followed some of their bands for years, the unusual activity surrounding these particular artists is approaching a level of questionable phenomena.

As with most popular labels or bands, maniacal message board chatter and mailing list news bulletins generate incredible amounts of essentially free publicity for underground music. Of course, I 100% support bands and labels promoting themselves, but the unique nuances of buying these releases is unlike anything I've seen in a long time. Unless the bands are touring in your area, attempting to pick up some of these records, tapes, or zines has become a ridiculous task of spending hours on the computer while feverishly hitting the F5 key until you're ready to rip it right out of your laptop. Youth Attack has a mailing list which will alert you of an incoming update, but this isn't necessarily fail safe either, as some of the items will literally sell out in a matter of a couple minutes, or even seconds. As each item pops up in the store, they almost instantly run out, forcing you to place upwards of four or five different orders if you want more than a couple items (refunds are given for combined shipping later but, still.) During the update that contained the Veins cassette, the Big Cartel store basically crashed, wreaking havoc through internetland and generating endless complaints in the Jerkbooth.  

There really wouldn't be so many aggravating factors about this, if it weren't for the fact that an inordinate amount of copies immediately end up on eBay, sometimes with outrageous "Buy it Now" prices approaching $75 to $90. Occasionally, you can hunt down copies in distros, or even at places like Interpunk (yeah, really), so the willingness to search will definitely help to avoid being ripped off by flippers. Right after Raw Nerve went on tour, a landslide of copies of the LP's tour press went up for sale, turning the entire purpose of buying it into a relative joke. The obvious response is "Well, just go to a show and buy one for yourself if you don't want to pay triple or quadruple the price." This would be great, but many of the Youth Attack bands don't visit a large part of the US, leaving many people out, especially on the West Coast.

Am I willing to sit through another pending update refreshing my browser for a couple hours? Probably. Will I consider buying ridiculous industrial noise or power electronics cassettes I don't even want so I can attempt to resell them for five times the asking price later? No chance. I'm not complaining about the rarity of the material, the difficulty currently buying them, or even having to place multiple orders to get the music or shirts I really want. However, fighting mobs of people on the internet to buy noisy underground hardcore or live powerviolence tapes seems like an oxymoron to me. I'm aware of my support of the label, and not interested in beating the dead horse that's the SQRM trash bag shirts, these are just some thoughts. My apparent irritation and criticism is derived more from the people who have no interest in supporting the bands, not McCoy, his label, or the groups fortunate enough to be on it. 

Pending reviews and more pictures of the items above will be up soon.