Moneen – The Theory Of Harmonial Value

Posted: February 24, 2017 in Vinyl
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Moneen’s debut full length, The Theory Of Harmonial Value, originally released in 2001, was given the vinyl treatment in early 2017 by Dine Alone Records. Many people clamored for it, especially after seeing all of Moneen’s other albums pressed and/or re-pressed in recent years.

The Theory Of Harmonial Value was pressed as a double LP on one variant, metallic gold / black swirl, which is limited to 500 copies. The record was first sold at Moneen’s string of The Red Tree 10th Aniversary shows in Toronto in early January 2017. Dine Alone held some copies to sell online however, which went on sale about a week after the shows. With a price of $35 Canadian (about $25 USD) plus shipping from Canada (should you live in the U.S.) coming in at $17 Canadian ($12 USD), this record is expensive. But it’s the only way to get it unless you want to pay flipper prices on the secondary market when this inevitably sells out. But with that said, this hasn’t sold out yet.

The high price tag for this is a bit justified though. There are some touches to this record, starting with the jacket. There is a tip on glossy photo affixed to the center of the jacket, which is a wide spin rather than a gatefold. A gatefold jacket for this release would have really set it off. On top of that there is a clever insert included. It’s a booklet, which is meant to replicate Lozlo Pronowski’s journal. The replica journal is kept inside a small manila envelope with a metal clasp seal. The booklet has the lyrics printed inside, along with notes/writings from Pronowski. For those unaware, before you go Googling Lozlo Pronowski, he is a fictional scientist created by the band.

An interesting note about how Dine Alone shipped copies of The Theory Of Harmonial Value. They painted a red line on all the LP mailers they used to ship out orders of the record, and I’m guessing orders for the re-press of The Red Tree as well, which went on sale at the same time as The Theory Of Harmonial Value. This hand painted red strip is inspired by the identical stripe painted on the cover of The Red Tree box sets. Which also happened to go on sale at the same time too. And according to Dine Alone, the reason for the mailers being painted is because they needed a fall back in case the proper boxes intended for The Red Tree box set didn’t arrive in time for any of Moneen’s shows in Toronto where the box set would be released.

Apparently this metallic gold / black swirl variant is a deluxe version, with that color and the finer details (tip on glossy photo cover and booklet insert) being exclusive to the deluxe version. As of posting this Dine Alone has not announced plans for a non-deluxe version.

 

Weezer/Wavves – Split 7″

Posted: February 24, 2017 in Vinyl
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A release that came completely out of left field, Weezer did a split 7″ with Wavves in 2016, which was released on Wavves on label, Ghost Ramp. The split has a previously unreleased (on physical format) Weezer song on the a-side and a cover of a Weezer song, “You Gave Your Love To Me Softly” by Wavves on the b-side. The artwork is also inspired by past Weezer releases, and each side of the split gets its own artwork. The Weezer side is inspired by Pinkerton and the Wavves side is inspired by The Blue Album. The Weezer song, “Fake Smiles And Nervous Laughter,” is a b-side from The White Album that was released as a Japanese bonus track on the initial digital release of the album and subsequent deluxe edition worldwide digital release.

The 7″ was put up for pre-order mid September 2016 with no release date given. These days I usually refrain from pre-ordering anything, especially something that doesn’t have a release date given, which is based off past nightmare pre-orders that were delayed several times and didn’t ship in some instances till almost one year after the pre-order. Another red flag for me was a label I never heard of before. But in the case of this split 7″ I’m glad I put my reservations aside because it sold out in six hours.

The 7″ was pressed on two colors, each limited to 1,000 copies for a total run of 2,000 copies. But that fact didn’t stop people from spending more money on the colored variant. The colors were blue and black. Ghost Ramp decided to charge $2 more for the blue variant, which drove the price tag up to $10 before shipping for a two song 7″, with one of the songs recorded by the band owning the label. The black variant cost $8. Shipping was $4.85, and the label decided to ship 7″s in cheap LP mailers. Which led to major problems.

Once the split started shipping in late November 2016, quite a few people reported that the package arrived with absolutely nothing inside. It wasn’t a widespread problem, but it was enough people so that it wasn’t just a fluke incident. Some people said their mailer wasn’t taped down properly, with enough room in the ends so the 7″ could have easily slid out or been stolen out of the package somewhere along the way. While other people said the mailer was taped properly but there still wasn’t anything inside the mailer. Ghost Ramp did send replacements to those affected. However, the shipping issues may or may not have been rectified by the label (red below). But it seems to have only affected the blue variant.

From my personal experience with this 7″, the mailer used, an LP mailer, was still cheap and thin. When it was delivered  the tape on one end of the mailer was completely undone. So my worst fears were bubbling up. The tape was only stuck to one side of the mailer, the other half sticking up in the air and completely dry. As if it came unstuck very early in the delivery process, likely almost immediately. It wasn’t shipped in the summer either, so it’s not like the heat loosened the adhesive on the tape. It just wasn’t applied properly to the mailer. Thankfully the 7″ was inside. But there was not support to speak of inside the oversized LP mailer used for a 7″, just a hastily cut piece of bubble wrap that didn’t even completely cover one side of the 7″ let alone wrap around it or be cut to fit the mailer.

Ghost Ramp did include freebies in most if not all of the packages, but that doesn’t make up for lapses in rudimentary packaging methods, like making sure the tape is actually stuck to the box before mailing it. I received an enamel pin and a CD of a Ghost Ramp release, while other people said they only received a pin.

On top of those issues, Ghost Ramp also started shipping out the 7″ in batches. They shipped out the color variants first because apparently the pressing plant had a delay pressing the black variant. So rather than wait for the entire pressing to be in hand before shipping orders, they opted to ship what they had in hand first. The black variant did not start shipping till a few weeks after the blue variant. It’s not a huge problem, it wasn’t like they never shipped them, it’s just a slight annoyance. This type of delay is not unheard of, but it is odd and despite that has happened with more frequency lately. Labels rarely shipped certain variants earlier than others, so you never heard of these types of delays with specific colors being backlogged at the plant. But more and more labels are starting to ship out releases in batches because of these types of delays with certain variants out of the whole pressing.

If those problems and issues weren’t enough, Ghost Ramp opted to use their stock label dust sleeve for this 7″, which is way too big for the jacket used for the 7″. I’m sure Ghost Ramp uses the same stock label dust sleeve for all their releases (obviously scaled accordingly for a 7″, 10″ 12′), but for this specific release it backfired. Because this black Ghost Ramp dust sleeve is too big, and makes it next to impossible to get the record out of the jacket. Combine that with how cheap and thin the jacket itself is, you may actually tear the jacket trying to get the record out. I know I was very afraid I was going to not just put a small tear in the jacket, but completely destroy it.

It got to the point of trying to get the record out that I was violently shaking the jacket in an attempt to jar it loose. This shaking was also done out of frustration. I’ve never had this much trouble getting a record out of a jacket or sleeve.  It also doesn’t help that this 7″ is shrink wrapped, and if you’re like me and want to keep the shrink on the jacket, the slipperiness caused by the shrink makes it even tougher to get the record out. When you pull on the dust sleeve the shrink wrap starts sliding off the jacket instead. That is how tight of a fit the dust sleeve is inside the jacket.

My advice on how to get this record out of the jacket is to hold the top and bottom of the jacket, holding it so the opening is facing down, then gently squeeze it make the opening a bit larger. But be careful doing this because if you apply too much pressure/force you may tear the jacket. That is how thin it is. Once you have the opening a bit larger, it should look like someone making a slight ‘o’ face, start jiggling the jacket. I know that sounds dirty, but get your minds out of the gutter. Essentially what you need to do it shake the dust sleeve out of the jacket, you need to jostle it free with the help of gravity. Eventually it will come out enough to where you can pull it the rest of the way. If it wasn’t obvious enough, DO NOT put the record back in the jacket. Leave it outside the jacket inside a protective poly sleeve. And if you are foolish enough to try let alone get the record back in the jacket, may you be judged kindly in the next life.

 


Valencia’s debut album, This Could Be A Possibility, was finally pressed on vinyl in 2016. I Surrender Records released it, who originally released the album back in 2006 and also pressed Valencia’s B-sides And Rarities 7″ in 2011. This Could Be A Possibility has already gone through a second pressing, which is surprising.

It’s not surprising that the record sold well, just how fast the first pressing “sold out” and why I Surrender would go ahead and do a second pressing so quickly. Let’s get some things straight before going any further. The first pressing, which is on red vinyl limited to 1,000 copies, is not exactly sold out. It’s just no longer available via I Surrender Records’ web store. What happened was they sent out a portion of the pressing to distros. So there are copies  from the first pressing floating around in various places. Places like indie record stores, Amazon and other online retailers of records. Then there is also the secondary market like eBay, where you can still easily find copies for close to if not below retail price. Retail price on this by the way is around $20. I Surrender charged $20 for it in their web store, but I was able to pick this up for $17.99 at my local record store, even after their mark up. Go figure. At one point you could even buy copies on eBay for $16.

The first pressing comes in a thin single pocket jacket with a full color, printed dust sleeve. There is no download card/code, despite I Surrender being the label that originally released the album. No excuse for that, especially when you want to charge more for it than a brick & mortar store. Not sure if the second pressing has the same packaging as the first pressing, it should, but you can’t take anything for granted. The second pressing is limited to 500 copies on random blended colors. I’m assuming “blended” is the same as No Idea’s infamous “random mix.” The picture I Surrender posted with the item page in their web store for the second pressing has the record on a mint green color.

Facial – Mistress

Posted: February 24, 2017 in Vinyl
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I discovered this band thank to Chain Letter Collective throwing in this record free with my order of the Fakers 7″. To be honest, I would have never checked out this band otherwise. Don’t let the name turn you off. Yes, it’s a bit of a provocative name, but Facial is not an over the top, in your face, weird for the sake of weird band. I’m actually not sure of their name should be spelled in all caps; ‘FACIAL’, because that is how I’ve seen it used for various things, or grammatically correct like ‘Facial’. Their sound is raw and energetic, and harkens back to a time when grunge was just starting to get a foothold.

Facial’s debut album, Mistress, was pressed on pink vinyl limited to a mere 300 copies. So in that regard I was surprised to see Chain Letter Collective throw it in with my order for free. But after listening to the album, I see why they gave me it. The three piece outfit hailing from Los Angeles has a similar sound as Fakers, and has a refreshing genuineness. If you like Piebald, Nirvana or – you will enjoy Facial


After Piebald broke up Travis Shettel kept himself busy. First he started his solo project, TS And The Past Haunts, which he released one EP and one full length album with. From there he formed a new band; Fakers. Now based in Los Angeles, Travis has enjoyed a fruitful post Piebald career. Piebald has done a reunion tour of sorts, but there has been no mention of the band fully getting back together to record new material. To date Fakers has released two EPs, Personality Voices and Sound The Alarmists, with only one of them seeing a physical release.

Personality Voices is a four song EP but the physical release of it, done as a 7″, only had room for two of the four songs, thanks in large part to the final track being four and half minutes long. So the first two songs off the EP made it on the 7″. “$600” is on the a-side while “Gold Room” is on the b-side. If you like Piebald you will dig Fakers. They’re a bit wacky, but it has Travis on vocals and their sound is not a huge departure from Piebald. Along with Travis, Fakers also features Cameron Dmytryk of Vanaprasta/Sun Drug, Benjamin Heywood of Summer Darling and brothers Joey and Andy Siara of The Henry Clay People.

The 7″ was released by Chain Letter Collective (run by band member Benjamin Heywood and his wife) in 2015, and it’s the labels first release. It was limited to 300 copies, all on black vinyl and all hand numbered. The band’s bandcamp page has incorrect info, or at least inaccurate info. Their bandcamp page says “edition of 230,” which is likely how many copies were available via bandcamp. It’s quite obvious there are 300 copies based on the hand numbering.

The numbering is done on the white paper dust sleeve rather than on the record’s sleeve like most records have. Not a big deal, it’s just odd. It just makes it so you have to keep that original dust sleeve no matter how dingy it gets over time. The record comes in a half fold sleeve printed o glossy paper. It’s not thin paper like you’d find with a printer, but it’s not quite card stock either. The 7″ is very affordable, around $5 before shipping. Oddly, there are several places to buy the 7″ from, all run/shipped by the label, but all with different shipping charges. If you want the cheapest route, buy it from the band’s bandcamp page and you’ll save $1 on shipping.

There may or may not be multiple pressings for this 7″. I’m only basing that on the fact that all the pictures I’ve seen on the 7″ has the hand numbering done in gold ink, likely done with a felt tip pen. While the copy I bought has the numbering in black ink done with a ballpoint pen.

Hellogoodbye – Hellogoodbye s/t EP

Posted: February 24, 2017 in Vinyl
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This record is a good example of patience is a virtue. Hellogoodbye’s debut self-titled EP was finally pressed on vinyl in 2015, with the pre-order going live late 2014. Over two years after the pre-order started, the record is far from sold out, and because I held out for a discount code, clearance or some other sale before buying this, I saved over $4 on it. Not much, but it’s definitely better than spending $18 for a five song EP plus an additional $6 for media mail shipping.

Of course the pre-order ran into delays. Initially slated for release in April 2014, the release was pushed back to May, then pushed back again to July. When July came and went with no records, everything went quite until it was announced at the end of July that tests were finally being sent for approval. Though tests weren’t actually approved until mid August 2014, way after the intended release date of May 2014. At that point there was still no updated release date. It wasn’t until mid September 2014 that a new release date was scheduled, this time of late October 2014. That final release date of October 2014 was actually met. Because of all the delays people started laying into the guy posting on the message board promoting the release.

Hellogoodybe’s s/t EP was pressed as a 10″ by Drive-Thru Records. Yes, you read right, Drive-Thru is still active. They opted for a 10″ for an unknown reason, likely because they could charge more for it when they went to sell it because it’s more expensive to produce 10″ records than 7″ or even 12″ records. I don’t think this EP would fit on a 7″, and it definitely would sound better and be cheaper (at least manufacturing costs) than a 10″. That isn’t to say this record sounds bad. It’s actually tough to tell because let’s face it, this EP doesn’t really lend itself to an audiophile experience solely based on the music itself. There is nothing noticeably awful with the sound quality of this record. Is it the best sounding record I own or ever listened to? No. But it’s also not the worst.

The artwork for the vinyl release was altered slightly from what was used for the original release of the EP from 2004. Instead of the avocado with the pit, there is an avocado with the pit removed and separate on the cover. The position of the EP title/band name is also different between the original CD release and subsequent vinyl release. When this release was first being hyped in December 2014, the person with connection to Drive-Thru promoting the release on message boards posted a mock up he did for the records, which had the original artwork. At some point the label opted to do alternate artwork for the vinyl release. When asked why the artwork was the changed on said message board, the person providing info about the release stated it was because they wanted to keep in line with past Drive-Thru vinyl releases, which had alternate artwork.

The record comes in a printed glossy paper dust sleeve, which has the lyrics printed on one side and an image of the band on the reverse side. No download card/code is included, which can be viewed as a lame move. But considering Hellogoodbye was part of the upswing/distribution deal with Universal Music Group that Drive-Thru had, they might not own 100% of the rights to this EP. At least not for re-releases like this vinyl release. Technically, Hellogoodbye came around after Drive-Thru got out pof the original deal with UMG and signed a new distro deal with Sanctuary Records. But Sanctuary quickly hit financial ruin and was absorbed by… wait for it… Universal Music Group.

Drive-Thru went with two variants for this EP, yellow and green, and thankfully they charged the same price for both. There are a handful of labels out there that charge more for the rarest variant or more for color vinyl vs. “standard” black vinyl. Neither of the variants for this EP are rarer than another, they’re both limited to the same amount of copies. Initially advertised as being limited to 250 copies each, there was an overrun that Drive-Thru was actually forthcoming with. Drive-Thru doing something reputable and upstanding? Shocking, I know. Due to the overrun, which is normal for vinyl pressings, there are 274 copies of each color.

But even with that honesty upfront, Drive-Thru still decided to do their traditional friends pressing without telling anyone until after the record was released. This time they disguised it as a “promo” variant. This “promo” variant is on black vinyl and is limited to 15 copies, and it was never made available to the general public by any means. But it wouldn’t surprise me if these “promo” copies are actually test pressings that Drive-Thru decided to formally stick into jackets and give out to the band, whatever employees they have left, people who worked on the release, etc. Because they opted to only get 5 tests made, which they disclosed when they released the full pressing info on a message board. In this day and age, when pressing plants dish out test pressings like candy and labels essentially flip them off for massive profit, it’s hard to believe a plant would do a run of 15 records without them being test pressings.

This never used to be the case. Pressing plants used to typically do a run of 10 tests max and they were purely for audio sampling for the label to either approve or reject the final run. I’m sure it was possible to order say like 25 test pressings like many labels like to do these day, but it was unheard of. These days many labels, especially those who exist solely to license out albums to re-release on vinyl, order as many tests as the plant will allow, with the aim to flip them either directly to customers in their online stores, list them on ebay or even do back alley deals on the secondary market. Given Drive-Thru’s reputation, it wouldn’t surprise me if they went this route, but so far none of these 5 test nor the 15 “promo” copies have surfaced for sale anywhere.

 


In 1994 a European movie was made about the early days of the Beatles. The movie is titled Backbeat and centers around the band’s time in Hamburg, Germany, focusing on the relationship between Stuart Sutcliffe (Beatles original bassist), his girlfriend, and John Lennon. The film spawned a soundtrack performed by a super group of sorts. The band was dubbed The Backbeat Band and featured Dave Grohl (Nirvana/Foo Fighters) on drums, Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum), Gregg Dulli (Afghan Whigs) on vocals, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) on guitar and Mike Mills (R.E.M.) on bass. Henry Rollins even does vocals on one song. The soundtrack is comprised of covers of Beatles songs and covers of covers the Beatles performed in their early days.

The soundtrack has gone through two pressings. The first pressing was released in 1994 and the second pressing, which is featured here, was released in 2016. The retail release of both pressings are visually identical. Same cover art, same printed dust sleeve, same center labels, etc. However, there is a promo pressing from the first pressing that differs greatly from the mass retail release. This promo version, the only U.S. release of the soundtrack from the first pressing from 1994, was pressed on green vinyl and comes in a plain white poly sleeve. I’m not sure if it’s a picture disc sleeve or not though, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it is. This promo version is the only variant of any pressing to be released on color vinyl.

One important note about the second pressing of this soundtrack is that many online listings, both distros and second hand places like ebay, are using an artwork image that is wrong. This wrong album art, which is featured below for posterity, features a white background. The artwork for the second pressing is identical to the first pressing, and what is used on all versions of the soundtrack (CD, tape, etc.).

Because this soundtrack was OOP for over 20 years, it was somewhat in demand. However, prices of it did not go out of control. Prices topped at $28 for it. But with that said the U.S. promo copies went for far more, topping at $50. When the 2016 re-press came out, retail price on it was $25. A debatable move by the label (Virgin) because not many people will pay $25 for a single LP release with little to no extra details like a gatefold jacket or heavyweight vinyl. The re-press was being marketed as “limited edition” with no pressing info given to say exactly how “limited” it was.

I expected there to be thousands upon thousands of copies pressed. Surprisingly, this soundtrack is becoming hard to find. So that “limited edition” hype line may actually be true. I held out on buying this expecting it to go on sale way after release date because distros can’t move their stock. As of writing this I was wrong. Nobody is lowering their price on this, everyone is selling this for close to $25. But that is not to say I didn’t get a deal on this record. I bought this online from indie record store Amoeba Record during one of their monthly 15% off sales. They often list items they took in trade as being used despite many of them still being factory sealed. It’s likely because due to legal reasons they can’t sell someone they’re selling second hand as “new.” Whatever the reason, they were selling a “used” copy for $20. and with 15% off and free shipping I spent $17 on this.