Matt Embree – Macaracuay

Posted: November 7, 2017 in Vinyl
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Completely out of the blue, Matt Embree released his first true solo album, entitled Macaracuay on August 9, 2017. Yes, I’m aware he released solo stuff under the Love You Moon moniker, which is why I tab the Macaracuay album as his first true solo album, because it’s the first released under his own name.

Matt posted on his Instagram that the album was available for pre-order on August 9, but it actually started shipping immediately. My order shipped the same day, as did many others’. However, at some point something changed and a later ship date was posted on the web store (hosted by Hello Merch).

I’m not quite sure on the pressing info for this record. Matt said only 300 copies were available, and there are two variants for Macaracuay. There is no word on exactly how many copies were pressed on each color, so you can’t assume it’s an even split, or if it’s 300 copies per color. I got the impression that Matt meant there were 300 copies total available, but even that is not concrete. To add another monkey wrench into the pressing info, it seems the first batch of records sold out, and another batch was put up for sale.

At this point the web store posted that there were 250 copies available for each, meaning each color. That information was not posted in the web store when I placed my order during the first batch on August 10. So the pressing info is completely up in the air. How can there only be 300 copies available when the web store now states 250 copies per each color. One is left to assume that Matt meant that only 300 copies were initially available, and that more copies would be available at some later date and ship later, without explicitly stating that.

I mentioned it a few times already, but here are the two colors; bone and blue/violet splatter, and clear and violet splatter. What is pictured below is the clear and violet splatter. The web store actually lists the colors with a ‘+’ instead of an and, when it should really be called ‘with.’

When I placed my order, one of the variants was sold out (the bone and blue violet splatter). Which is why I placed my order when I did, as I feared the pressing was selling very quickly. But it turns out that I rushed for no reason, because as of posting this on November 7, 2017, there are still copies available. The misleading advertising saying 300 copies definitely led to people rushing to buy the record, which is why it sold out initially. Another reason I planned on holding off on buying this is the price.

This single LP, without a download card nor an insert or printed dust sleeve, cost $25 before shipping. After tacking on shipping, the total came out to $31. That is a ridiculous price for most records, be it a single LP or double LP. The records are pressed on 180 gram colored vinyl, but that is the only thing that would drive up the cost. Other than that, it’s just a single LP stuffed into a thin single pocket jacket.

There are 10 songs on Macaracuay,  with only one of them being a new, original song. The rest are all covers or RX Bandits songs, which are borderline covers in and of themselves. The album is also an acoustic album. Matt does cover some classic songs though, like Jimi Hendrix’s “The Wind Cries Marry” and “I Second That Emotion” by Smokey Robinson. The album was recorded in Venezuela, and was released on Matt’s own label; MDB Records. The original song is “Morning Sun,” and the RX Bandits songs are “My Lonesome Only Friend” and “March Of The Caterpillar.”

If you want to hear this album you have to buy this record. It’s not streaming anywhere and it’s not available for digital download or as a CD anymore. I say anymore because Matt was selling copies of the full album on CD on one of his solo tours and one off shows here and there a few years ago. Matt said on Instagram that the entire recording session lasted four hours, and as we all know only so much music can fit on a LP, and even CD for that matter. He also said that there are a possible five or six different songs found on the vinyl version that weren’t on the CD.

Matt Embree - Macaracuay - Copy

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Say what you will about Green Day selling out, but Billie Joe Armstrong never forgets where he came from. He formed yet another side project, called Armstrongs, which released their first material in the Summer of 2017 in the form of a flexi disc. The sole song on it, entitled “If There Was Ever A Time,” is a good blend of Green Day and Rancid, the later of which rounds out the rest of Armstrongs lineup. If you haven’t guessed by now the group features Tim Armstrong of Rancid fame, along with Billie Joe’s son (Joey) on drums and Tim’s nephew Rey Armstrong.

Initially the flexi was limited to 1,000 copies, with all proceeds going to 924 Gilman, the legendary non-profit venue in East Bay. This pressing/variant of the flexi was released by Pirates Press Records. At some point later, New Noise Magazine featured the song on their own pressing/variant of the flexi as part of their “subscriber exclusive” issues of the zine. Though I’m not a subscriber and was easily able to buy a copy of the zine (issue #33) with this flexi (along with another issue with The Falcon flexi) ala carte directly from New Noise Magazine.

Here is a little more details about each pressing/variant. The initial run released by Pirates Press cost $9.24 (odd price, I know, but considering it’s identical to 924 Gilman, it makes sense) plus an additional $6 for shipping. In the fine print they were describing the flexi as a “donation” so they were obviously getting a tax write off for this release. The New Noise pressing/variant cost $5 for the magazine plus an additional $2.50 for shipping. That total is almost less than the shipping for the Pirates Press pressing/variant. Which is the main reason why I opted to go with the New Noise pressing/variant.

Now, I’m not against charity, especially ones revolving around music. But I’m not a fan of being ripped off. $15 is a decent price for a single LP album, not a single song flexi disc of all things. If I wanted to donate $15 (or any amount for that matter) to a charity, I would donate it directly to them. Not buy something where those responsible for manufacturing it would recoup their costs, and then donate the remaining money to said charity. So even though you spent over $15 for a charity flexi disc, the charity did not actually get $15.

There is one key difference between the Pirates Press and New Noise Magazine pressings/variants. The center labels are different. The Pirates Press release has unique artwork, while the New Noise Magazine release has New Noise stampings on it; like a stock center label. That is aside from the glaringly obvious fact that the New Noise Magazine release comes with a magazine. Both pressings/variants are on black vinyl. What is featured in the photos below is the New Noise pressing/variant. The artwork on the cover of the magazine was done by Richie Bucher, who drew the artwork for Green Day’s Dookie.

An important note about the New Noise flexi variant/pressing is that it comes glued inside the magazine (see last pic in gallery below). The ind of glue that is easy to peel off without destroying anything or leaving a residue. You can literally roll it up and slowly peel it off. Apparently the reason the zine is now gluing the flexi inside the magazine is that lots of copies of previous flexis arrived damaged. The aforementioned copy of The Falcon flexi I have was not glued inside the magazine, but it also did not come damaged. New Noise also offers different shipping options, ranging in price and packaging. The cheapest option is just the magazine shipped inside a flat envelope, while the more expensive options offers more protective packaging. All copies of the zine with the flexi also come shrink wrapped in the typical plastic bag type wrapping that many magazines come in.

Despite the prices I mentioned above, flippers are making good money on the secondary market off this flexi. Fools are paying upwards of $55 (before shipping) for the Pirates Press release and idiots are paying an average of $15 (before shipping) for the New Noise Magazine release. Bear in the mind you can still buy the issue of New Noise Magazine with this flexi directly from them online for $7.50 shipped.

The song featured on this flexi is also part of the soundtrack for the upcoming documentary Turn It Around: The Story Of East Bay Punk. Nationwide screenings of it started in late May 2017 and ran through late October.

 


I’ve been on the hunt for this bootleg for years. It wasn’t exactly hard to find, it was hard to find at a good price. As with most things, it’s not that you can’t find it; it’s that the person selling it wants way too much for it. And like most sensible people, I want the best deal possible. Copies of this bootleg 7” are all over eBay and Discogs, but for $10 plus shipping. Someone even foolishly spent over $50 on it, but granted that was about 12 years ago.

This bootleg, entitled Pick A Winner 1994 UK Radio Session, has likely gone through multiple pressings. But like with all boots, it’s almost impossible to tell for sure. There typically aren’t any identifying marks, they’re not advertised or promoted because they’re illegal, and you’d be hard pressed to find any source material for them like a label’s website. I’m basing the multiple pressings on the fact that there are at least three different variants out there, along with the fact that this was released at the very latest July 2005 as that is when a copy sold. Obviously no label is given for this release, and even if a label was given, it’s a bogus “label” that the person producing this bootleg dreamed up. But with that said, there are some notorious bootleg “labels” out there like The Amazing Kornyphone Rebirth Label and The Swingin’ Pig.

One pressing, an early one, is on green vinyl. Later pressings are on black vinyl, and within those black vinyl pressings is likely another pressing. As the copy I bought, which is on black vinyl, does not have “promo only not for sale”’ printed on the center labels. It just has blank white center labels. The cover is also slightly different between the green pressing and black pressings, with the green pressing being lighter/brighter. It’s the same basic design and layout though.

Another difference is track listing, as earlier ones have four tracks, and later ones only have three. The additional fourth track on earlier pressings is a live version of “She.” Technically all these tracks are live versions because they were performed live at a radio session that was broadcast live over the air. I don’t have a copy from the green pressing, so I can’t say exactly what this extra version of “She” is.

No radio station or show is given for this bootleg. The other tracks on this 7” are “Basket Case” and “2,000 Light Years Away” on the a-side with “She” on the b-side. The extra version of “She” is the second track on the b-side of the green pressing. I mentioned it above, but prices for this 7” range widely, but you can pick up a copy for around $15 shipped. I bought a copy from my local record store on Record Store Day for $10.

Green Day - Pick A Winner - Copy

Mae – Our Love Is A Painted Picture 7″

Posted: November 1, 2017 in Vinyl
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A few months after announcing the release of their triple EP set on vinyl, Mae released a brand new song entitled “Our Love Is A Painted Picture,” and announced it would be featured on an upcoming 7” slated to be released later in the year (2017). This is that 7”, which also features another new song on the b-side; “Light.”

To further reiterate my stance of Mae, and many former Tooth & Nail bands, being greedy, The band is charging $10 for a 7”. I know the days of $5 7”s are over, but anything over $7 is overpriced in my mind. I purposely waited to buy this till I was able to buy it for a more reasonable price. Amazingly Spartan Records, who received some copies to sell (I’m pretty confident Spartan is helping Mae with shipping all their merchandise), was running a 40% off sale on their entire web store. Spartan was also charging $10 before shipping for the 7”, but the 40% off code reduced the price to a little over $6 before shipping. I figured that was a good time to buy it, because other than a discount/coupon/promo code, the price of this 7” would never be marked down.

In another move out of the greed book, the band is charging more for the rarer variant. As if $10 wasn’t already too much for a 7”, the band felt that charging $12 for the rarer variant was acceptable. I’m sure some people bought copies of the rarer variant for whatever reason, but I’m not biting on that.

So here is the pressing info. There are 500 copies on glow in the dark vinyl, and 1,000 copies on clear with gold splatter. In this case the gold is what most people would think of when they hear gold. It’s not that weird orange or yellow color. I was quite impressed with how the splatter variant turned out. And it actually matches the mock ups released.

A nice touch with this release is unique center labels that correspond with the different sides of the jacket. Each side of the jacket has what amounts to different cover art for each song on the 7”. There is the typical cover art on the front (which corresponds with the lead single found on the a-side), but when you flip it over the b-side track has its own cover art. I’ve included photos of both sides of the jacket with their respective center labels matched up.

All copies also come with an insert, but the insert only has the lyrics for one of the songs; “Our Love Is A Painted Picture.” Not a big deal because the b-side track is an instrumental song. All copies also come shrink wrapped, with no hype sticker(s) of any kind. For the price, you also don’t get a download card/code. That is unless you buy this directly from the band. Physical copies of this 7” do not come with a download card/code. The only way to get a digital download if you buy the physical release of this single is via email after you buy directly from the band.

 

 


This record epitomizes everything wrong with Record Store Day (RSD). Not this particular record single-handedly, this is just a great example for a case study. Similar things happen with many RSD releases every year. And therein lies the bigger problem.

As RSD expanded to include a Black Friday Record Store Day, the already watered down “holiday” for record collectors and music enthusiasts that was initially intended to save and support independent record stores, became oversaturated. Black Friday RSD typically is not of the scale as the main RSD held in April, and the affects or not just limited to less releases by volume, but also by quality. Not as many desirable releases or big titles come out on Black Friday as do on the main RSD in April. Combine that with people out shopping for bigger ticket items like big screen televisions, computers, video game systems and video games, and Black Friday RSD suffers even more.

Every year on Black Friday RSD I never have to go out and line up in front of my local store waiting for them open because I could go way later in the day or even the next day, and the release(s) I wanted are still there because they didn’t sell out. And my store is one of the more popular/frequented stores in the country, not just the area. And there lies the dirty little secret of RSD; many stores are stuck with RSD releases long after the event. We’re not talking about one week, one month or even one year. Some stores still have RSD releases from 2013 that they simply cannot get rid of.

Now comes how this particular record can be used to illustrate the unsellable RSD phenomenon. Dustin Kensrue is the lead singer of a very popular band, Thrice, and his solo stuff is also popular. To accompany his solo covers album, Thoughts That Float On A Different Blood, Vagrant released a 7” with two additional cover songs left off the full length album on Black Friday RSD 2016. Initial retail price on it was around $8.

I watched a copy of this 7” on eBay that was being sold by an indie record store. They initially had it listed for that $8 price with $2.95 shipping. But as time went on they offered more and more flash sale type deals on it, where it was 10% off for a limited time. It still didn’t sell. As things continued to get worse, they marked it down to $4 plus $2.95 shipping, not a limited time sale on it; that was the permanent Buy It Now price. It still didn’t sell. Fast forward a few more months to the end of July 2017, and they marked it down to $3.60 with free shipping, which is when I bought it.

So this store took a big loss on this RSD title just to clear it from their inventory. And they didn’t drastically mark down just this Dustin Kensrue RSD release, they did it with all their leftover RSD stock. Marking LP’s down to $7 and change, and some 7” releases even further than this Dustin Kensrue release, to $2.80. There were easily over a dozen different titles listed, and there could have been more actual items because they might have multiple copies of one or more of the individual titles. I didn’t check to see if that was the case. It was just a cursory glance through their items for sale to see if this store was offering any other insane deals.

So the question begs to be asked; how long can a store that is teetering on the brink keep losing money on RSD titles, keep their doors open? Sure, RSD saved a lot of brick & mortar independently owned businesses from going under, but in the long run they might be doing just as much harm as good. A store’s entire earnings from RSD could be erased by having to take titles they can’t sell and needing to mark them down by over 50% just to get rid of them. Granted selling an $8 7” for $3.60 isn’t that big of a hit, but selling a $25 single LP for $7 and change is.

I’ll be honest; I could have bought this Dustin Kensrue RSD release from my local store, as they still had copies left after the morning rush the day of. But I was purposely waiting to buy it bundled with Dustin’s covers album. Because you see, Vagrant pretty much sabotaged their own RSD release by announcing there would be a non-RSD variant for sale online. And they offered it bundled with the full length covers album, which has yet to sell out (but that didn’t stop them from re-pressing it on a fancy color) at a discounted rated where you’d save $1 on each record.

But even with that discounted bundle option, it was still overpriced for my liking. So I was waiting for a sale or coupon/discount code to apply to my order for the bundle. That never happened, even after multiple holidays passed. Then this indie record store marked a copy of the 7” down to he aforementioned $3.60 price tag with free shipping on eBay, which is cheaper than it would cost in the bundle from Vagrant.

More Thoughts That Float On A Different Blood  was pressed on two variants, with only one of them having pressing info released. The RSD exclusive variant, which is on red vinyl, is limited to 1,200 copies. The Vagrant/Dustin Kensrue exclusive, only available from his/the label’s official web store hosted by Kings Road Merch, is on red/black vinyl. This red/black (which is what the color is called in the web store) is red with black swirl/haze/smoke. Pressing info for it has not been released.

One obvious difference between the variants that will help you tell them apart if you’re looking for a particular variant, is that the RSD exclusive has a thin rectangle RSD sticker in the top right corner. The red/black Vagrant/Dustin exclusive does not have any hype stickers. The jacket for this record is very thin, basically one step above a picture sleeve found with 45 rpm singles from the 70s and 80s.

The two songs on the 7” are an Imogen Heap cover, “Hide & Seek,” and a Mumford & Sons cover, “Sigh No More.”  A download card is included with all copies.

Dustin Kensrue - More Thoughts That Float On A Different Blood - Copy

Brand New – Science Fiction

Posted: October 24, 2017 in Vinyl
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Leave it to Brand New to do something unusual. The band dropped their fifth studio album completely out of left field, without any sort of announcement. Pre-orders went live in the middle of August and the album began streaming two days later. The band that seems to purposely shroud themselves in mystery for the sake of confusing, misleading and agitating their fan base added new chapters to their already infamous book with the release of Science Fiction.

As is typical with anything Brand New related, people went nuts when word spread about the new album being released. People snatched up the pre-order for the vinyl version of Science Fiction without hesitation. To the point where it sold out within a matter of minutes, only to be restocked and sell out again in nearly the same amount of time. That shouldn’t be surprising to anyone at this point; pre-orders routinely sell out in minutes these days. What is insane about this particular pre-order, regardless of it being a Brand New album, is that people literally blindly threw money at them.

This wasn’t your typical $20 or even $25 record. Science Fiction cost $45 before shipping. And many people said their total came out to over $50 when all was said and done. There were no details regarding this release either; no pressing info, no release date/ship date, no title… not even cover art. The only imagery associated with the pre-order was a white square with black text saying “Brand New Fifth Album  Vinyl / Very Limited. Ships in October.” See photo below, it was saved directly from the pre-order page. The download link given to those who pre-ordered also said release of June 5th, with nothing available to download. Yet another hilarious touch by the band.

Due to all the excitement once word spread about the pre-order, the website for Brand New’s label, Procrastinate Music Traitors! (PMT), pretty much shit the bed. The site was extremely slow within the first 10 minutes, and wouldn’t even load after about 30 minutes. But again, this didn’t deter people from pre-ordering. It was a hailstorm of angry comments all over the internet. Message boards, social media and reddit all bore the brunt of disgruntled, desperate and amused Brand New fans, along with trolls because it was a feeding frenzy for them. The trolling was intense with this record in the first few weeks. Yes, that is how long it lasted.

I loved how one particular message board complained incessantly about how “typical Brand New” this was, and how they seemed to purposely be as vague as possible with this pre-order and provide little to no info about it; yet they essentially trolled themselves by posting nonsense, making it next to impossible for anyone interested, or not in the know at the time, to find any sort of useful information. The same handful of idiots on that message board cluttered up the thread for this record so much that it ballooned out to 12 pages in one day, with 9 of those pages being what they felt was clever, insightful and/or hilarious conversation when in fact it was all complete BS that wastes everyone’s time. Especially anyone looking for real information. Sad, because this message board never used to be like this. It was a great resource 7-8 years ago.

The trolling only got worse when people who pre-ordered the “Very Limited” $45 vinyl option, started receiving unexpected packages from PMT, with the contents being a limited to 500 CD copy of the new album. This CD is only one track, making it tougher to rip and spread on the internet. It came packaged in… you guessed it, a paper bag! All copies are numbered out of 500, which unfortunately is the only way to legitimately know how many copies of the CD were made due to not just trolling, but people who routinely spread incorrect information based purely of speculation or some other means that can’t be corroborated let alone confirmed. The label shipped all 500 CDs via one-day priority mail.

Eventually variants started being announced for Science Fiction, which again, led to chaos. In all three variants were completely confirmed, with a fourth being available but with no concrete info about it, and a speculated fifth in the “very limited,” which was just discussed. The first variant announced was oddly an Australian exclusive, which is on white vinyl limited to an unknown amount, but has the standard “indefinite pressing quantity” statement in the details of the variant. This Australian variant was being sold by Artist First, and cost $2 more than the “standard” variant (assumed to be black) from the same vendor. I say assumed because you can never assume anything when it comes to Brand New, despite the mock up for the “standard” variant depicting black vinyl. Somehow there are no pictures of a black variant anywhere online. The Australian variant cost 45 Australian Dollars, before shipping.

Next up was an indie store variant, which is on red/blue vinyl (which matches the jacket and skirt of the girls on the cover), limited to a whopping 5,000 copies. But that rather large number didn’t stop people from going nuts trying to track down a copy. With people paying over $100 for the indie store exclusive variant on ebay after stores started cutting off pre-orders for it. Keep in mind it cost $28 (before shipping) from pretty much every store. The mock ups for the indie store variant had the records being transparent, but they’re actually marbled. The first record is on red, and the second record is on blue. The blue is a light blue; not quite a sky blue or baby blue, somewhere darker than sky blue. It’s a rather unique blue. All copies of the indie store variant have a hype sticker that indicates color. What may be the “standard” black vinyl has a hype sticker that does not indicate color.

I will say I didn’t bother with any of this hype, for any of the variants. I anticipated my local store getting plenty of copies in, and they did, and I was able to easily buy a copy on release day; October 20, 2017. My store was even one of the stores to do online pre-orders that brought so much traffic to their web site it basically shut it down. I even got $10 off as my store has a loyalty program, where you get $10 off for every $200 you spend, which can accumulate over time; it doesn’t have to be all in one purchase.

So I had zero stress and aggravation getting a copy of this record, and I got it for pretty cheap all things considered because I don’t see theses ever going on sale to the point where I’ll save $10 on it or the equivalent price I wound up paying. With the “indefinite pressing quantity” pinned to this release by the label, they will just keep pressing more to meet demand. The “I Am A Nightmare” 12”, “Mene” 7” and the demos 10” they released a few years ago hasn’t ever gone on sale, anywhere, nor have they gone out of print.

The last variant announced was an Urban Outfitters (UO) exclusive, on clear vinyl limited to 5,000 copies. The UP variant also cost $28 before shipping and/or tax. By this point lots of people were worn out, either financially or mentally, maybe even both. Nobody went nuts of the UO variant. It never sold out. But after release day people who pre-ordered said their orders haven’t shipped. UO still hasn’t learned how to deal with pre-orders/highly anticipated releases effectively in terms of shipping orders. Not that they ship online orders in a timely manner to being with.

All copies of Science Fiction come in a gatefold jacket, which is very thick. Probably one of the thicker jackets in my collection, gatefold or not. There are nice elements of gold foil stamping inside the gatefold jacket and on the back of the jacket where the track listing is printed. Each record in the double LP set comes in a printed dust sleeve, but these are somewhat thin paper and can suffer seam splits rather easily. One of the sleeves of the copy I bought in person from a brick & mortar store had a seam split along with side. Also included is a huge double-sided fold out poster. There is a download card through Bandcamp, so you can choose any format of mp3s you want, which is nice. The artwork on the download card is random and really doesn’t make much sense in regards to the album. If you order directly from the label you will get PMT release stickers, which they typically send out with all orders. In the case of Science Fiction, it’s catalog number 009, so the sticker will reflect that.

One important note with the record is that all copies come in sealed, but they’re placed inside a poly sleeve. This poly sleeve is where the hype stickers are located. There are two hype stickers; one is a small pink circle PMT release sticker and the other advertises this specific release. It says the band’s name and the album title, and for the indie variant, says “red/blue vinyl, limited.” There are no stickers affixed to the jacket itself, nor the shrink wrap directly on the jacket.

As of posting this the only variants released/shipped are the indie store exclusive, UO exclusive and the “standard” variant. Not sure about the Australian exclusive, I haven’t even seen pics of it yet. For all the fuss made over the potential “very limited” variant, it has not shipped yet. The label refuses to give a release date for it, and the answer they give anyone who asks about it is “it’s still a pre-order item.” Personallly, I find it hilarious that people who blindly spent over $50 on something still don’t have it, when people like me, who didn’t partake in any of the pre-ordering nonsense, already have a copy in hand; for less than half the price of the “very limited” variant, if that even exists at all. It wouldn’t surprise me if Brand New pulls another fast one on their fans and the “very limited” variant is exactly the same as the rest of the variants, just on a different color. And the extra money charged for it was to cover the CD sent to people and the one day shipping costs.


Well, if you wanted Portugal. The Man to inexplicably become a hip-hop band, you got your wish. With their latest train wreck of an album, Woodstock, they’re appealing to the lowest common denominator. Somehow the lead single “Feel It Still” went gold, which just proves how bad America’s taste in music actually is. They make jokes about selling out and sell t-shirts saying “I Like Portugal. The Man Before They Sold Out;” but that is exactly what they did. They even have hype men, yes, men, not one lone hype man, perform on stage with them. All they do is flail their arms around trying to get the crowd to put their arms in the arm, but maybe 10 people actually do it. The rest just stand there. These hype men also double as background dancers. Fall Out Boy doesn’t even have choreography. That speaks volumes of what Portugal. The Man has become. They barely get any applause after songs now. I would say it’s sad, but they brought this upon themselves.

You could see their sound start to shift on their last album, Evil Friends, but I don’t think anybody saw Woodstock coming. I really enjoyed Evil Friends, but I find Woodstock a complete disgrace. The band has resorted to making memes poking fun at how bad Woodstock is. But hey, they landed another big national commercial spot with one of their songs, so who cares right?

To make matters worse, the vinyl version of Woodstock was delayed, with the deluxe box set delayed even longer than the standard vinyl version. To make up for this the band and/or their label, Atlantic Records, decided to send everyone who pre-ordered the deluxe wooden box set a special gift to make up for the long wait. This special gift was a “no vinyl” version of the album. This “no vinyl” version is literally an empty jacket. The jacket is about a plain as you can get too; plain white with a white embossing of Atlantic’s logo in the center, and a hype sticker in the top left corner explaining the “no vinyl” version. On the back are fake excuses as to why the vinyl version of Woodstock is delayed, and mixed into it are quasi political statements. Also included with the “no vinyl” version is an exclusive poster and download card.

Because the deluxe box set was delayed even further, the band and/or label decided to further apologize for it by sending everyone who pre-ordered a copy of the standard vinyl version free of charge. They supposedly sent out emails to everyone who pre-ordered the deluxe box set explaining this, but I never got one. Which resulted in me having to email customer service asking what was going on with order to finally receive my free copy of the standard version. This standard version comes in a gatefold jacket that has the traditional album art on it.

I finally received my copy of the deluxe box set on October 10, 2017, after a yet another delay. Initially, the deluxe box set was suppose to come be released on September 29, but it got pushed to the next week and didn’t started shipping till October 5. And let me say, the deluxe box set was not worth the wait. It’s a severe disappointment. The price tag for the deluxe box set was $40 plus shipping, which was an additional $9 for me.

The mock up given with the deluxe box set in the band’s official web store was 95% accurate, and it was listed as soon as pre-orders went live at the end of May 2017. No idea why it took so long to be released. Here is what comes with the deluxe box set: the record on 180 gram black vinyl packaged in an exclusive printed inner sleeve, “Feel It Still” 7” featuring alternate takes of “Feel It Still” with perforated blotter paper insert, a 24” x 36” fold out poster, six 8” x 10” band photos, a button, a slipmat, three sticky passes, a Bumper Sticker and a download card. All that stuff comes packaged in a hard cover slip lid box, which has the artwork from the standard vinyl version on it. The cover art and artwork on the back of the jacket are replicated on the box set. Even the artwork from inside the gatefold jacket with the standard version is replicated on the box set, as it’s printed inside the lid.

I mentioned above that the mock up in the band’s official web store was 95% accurate; here is where it differs. The mock up shows the “Feel It Still” 7” being on black vinyl when in fact it’s on maroon or ox blood colored vinyl. The 7” features four different alternate takes of “Feel It Still.” The album version of the song is not found on the 7”. Here is the track listing for the 7”:

A1 – Feel It Still (Alt-Structure Pre-Final)

A2 – Feel It Still (Day One)

B1 – Feel It Still (Structure Rework)

B2 –  Feel It Still (So Young Placeholder)

The 7” also comes with a blotter paper insert. It really has nothing to do with the record itself; while it somewhat relates to the band, it’s a completely random and unnecessary thing to include with a record. If you don’t know what blotter paper is, at least in the context it’s meant to be in for this instance, it’s most commonly used for dropping acid. Doses of LSD are most commonly distributed on little square sections of blotter paper, and the insert with this 7” has the perforations to divide it up by these tiny squares.

It’s important to note that depending on how you view things; the box set 7” may in fact be the second pressing of the single/release, as it was pressed as a 5” flexi post card for Record Store Day (RSD) that was only available from Music Millennium, an indie record store in Portland, Oregon, the band’s defacto hometown. It was mainly a gimmicky promo item and was used to gain entry into the band’s instore performance at Music Millennium on RSD. The store did put remaining copies of the flexi post card up for sale online for $5 plus shipping. Some people who bought copies online said they arrived bent, which isn’t surprising. I held off on buying the flexi post card once the deluxe box set was announced because I’d rather have an actual record than a flexi if given the choice. I do collect flexis though.

The other inaccuracy is not so much an inaccuracy but an omission. There was no mock up given for the slip mat. As you can tell from the photo below, it’s classic Portugal. The Man artwork, which was likely done by The Fantastic The, or better known as John Gourley, front man of Portugal. The Man. Those two things are the only things different from the mock up.

The sticky passes are a bit of a disappointment. They were advertised as being similar to VIP or Backstage Passes distributed at shows, and they’re very small. Most passes I’ve seen and been issued at shows/festivals are far bigger. A slight mix up with the sticky passes included in this box set is that they have “All Access Photo” printed on them, so they’re technically not VIP or Backstage Passes; they’re press/media pass replicas.

The poster, while on the large side, is a bit of a disappointment too. Especially when compared to the poster that was included with the “no vinyl” version. Instead of artwork, one side is a terrible live photo of just John (not worth mentioning the roadie in the background) while the reverse side has the lyrics printed on it. So if you were only to buy this deluxe box set of Woodstock, the only way to read the lyrics as you listen to the album is to awkwardly deal with this huge fold out poster.

The six 8” x 10” band photos are black and white promo photos of each band member. Most of them are horrible photos, either silhouettes or literally a shot of their backs as they walk on stage. Look at the photos of them below and judge for yourself. The button is on the large side, the item listing on the band’s web store says it’s 2.5”, and I believe it. It’s a bland button though, black background with white lettering reading Wood Stock on two lines. Same with the bumper sticker. It’s all black with white lettering, having lyrics from “Feel It Still” printed in large font. The bumper sticker is actually two separate stickers. One large one with the lyrics printed on it and a much smaller one with the band’s logo and ‘1966’ and ‘1986.’

When pre-orders for Woodstock went live, the listing for the deluxe box set made it clear the record would not come in any sort of jacket, especially not the gatefold jacket the standard vinyl version came in. That it would come in a “printed inner sleeve.” Well, that is part true. The box set does come with a printed inner sleeve, it’s just that the record does not actually come in it. I know I’m splitting hairs, but it’s worth mention because the record comes in a plain black paper dust sleeve. This printed inner sleeve is exclusive to the box set. It’s different than the one that comes with the standard vinyl version. But it’s not much to speak of however. It’s all black with white font that just has ‘1966’ printed on one side and ‘1986’ printed on the other side.

I already touched on the “no vinyl” version, and the deluxe box set version, now it’s time to delve into the standard vinyl version. It comes housed in a gatefold jacket, with the record coming in a very thin printed dust sleeve on glossy paper. Standard printer paper is actually thicker than the paper used for this dust sleeve. For what might be the first pressing, the record is pressed on 180 gram black vinyl, just like the record that comes with the deluxe box set. A download card is included. The artwork inside the gatefold jacket is liner notes. It’s a lame move, as liner notes typically go on the dust sleeve or insert.  The printed dust sleeve with the standard vinyl version does have the lyrics printed on it, with the corresponding lyrics printed on its respective side. It appears the a-side is dubbed “1966” and the b-side is dubbed “1986,” which is taken from the now gold status single, “Feel It Still.”

For what might be the second pressing of the standard vinyl version, which was announced in August 2017, is on pink vinyl. It’s part of the “Ten Bands One Cause” campaign, which has the funds from sale go to Gilda’s Club NYC, an organization that provides community support for both those diagnosed with cancer and their caretakers. It is named after comedian Gilda Radner, who passed away from cancer at the age of 43 in 1989. No word on pressing info for this second pressing, but Discogs says it’s limited to 3,000 copies. Don’t believe that number because pressing info was no officially released for this record. That is the cute thng about Discogs, anyone with an account can edit any release, entering in incorrect info for whatever reason. The pink variant/pressing costs the same as the 180 gram black variant from first pressing; around $18.

I saw might be first/might be second because all vinyl versions of Woodstock were delayed for so long it’s impossible to tell if the label went back and pressed the pink copies after the black copies. Originally slated for a June release, the standard vinyl version did not ship till early August, and the deluxe box set version did not ship till early October. It wouldn’t surprise me if they delayed releasing the standard vinyl version to not take away sales of the breast cancer pink variant/pressing. The pink variant/pressing was announced in late August with a release date in early October.

It’s worth noting that even with all the delays, this record sound terrible. It’s not just the music on it that is awful, the sound quality of the pressing itself is bad. It’s mixed too low, it’s muddy and just downright terrible in terms of sound quality. This means they likely used not just an MP3/digital master, but a low quality one at that. Lots of people are reporting in that this record sounds awful, so it appears to be a widespread problem regardless of people’s setups. I don’t often discourage people from buying a record(s), but given how bad this album is in general, combined with the poor sound quality of this pressing, I would not recommend anything waste their money on the vinyl version of Woodstock.

Just for reference, here is the order of the photos below: “no vinyl” version and all associated items photos 1-3. Standard vinyl version photos 4-7. Deluxe box set and all associated items photos 8 to the end.