Alkaline Trio – Agony & Irony (1st Press & 2nd Press – Deluxe Edition)

Posted: September 28, 2010 in Vinyl
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This is Alkaline Trio’s first and last album on a major label. After years of success on the indie scene Alkaline Trio finally made the jump to a major label. It was ultimately a failure, even though the album fared respectably in the sales department. It was still nowhere near their past albums in terms of both sales and quality however.

Alkaline Trio was dropped from Epic Records after this album. During the recording process the band was even featured on an episode of The Hills while they were in the studio recording. Why I don’t know, but I think it was because one of those girls worked for Epic Records. I reluctantly watched that episode as my girl friend at that time loved The Hills and I was forced to watch many episodes, otherwise certain things that were worth suffering through The Hills for would be withheld from me.

Pressing info was never released for this record as is the trend with major labels. The First press was pressed on 180 gram black vinyl though, housed in a gatefold jacket and comes with a download code. The first pressing is now OOP.

The Second pressing was released by Shit Radio Cast. Of all the SRCvinyl releases I have in my collection this is by far the worst. As someone who despises SRC all their releases have exceeded my expectations with the exception of this one, but my expectations were admittedly low to begin with. Artwork is the same between the two pressings. Some people seemed to complain that “Alkaline Trio” is not actually printed on the cover, but it was never part of the artwork to begin with.  The “Alkaline Trio” portion that is seen on the cover is a sticker placed across the top of the poly bag that comes with copies of the second pressing. For The first press it was a square sticker in the top right corner.

In a no doubt calculated move SRC waited till Agony & Irony went out of print before launching their own pre-order for a deluxe edition that has all the bonus tracks from the deluxe edition of the U.S. CD version of the album included. There are tons of bonus tracks for this album, but some are exclusive to certain retailers or countries so they couldn’t be included with this release. These extra tracks pushed the record to a double LP from the single LP the first pressing was. There are five acoustic bonus tracks are  “Maybe I’ll Catch Fire,” “live Young, Die Fast,” “Into The Night,” “Over And Out,” “Lost And Rendered” with the one non acoustic bonus track being “Burned Is The House.” For whatever reason SRC put “Burned Is The House” as the final track even though it’s not the last track on the deluxe edition CD version of the album. I’m hoping it’s because that song was too long to fit on the c-side, because appearance wise it makes no sense. They could have put all the acoustic songs on one side, the d-side, rather than having one acoustic song as the last track on the c-side. It really screws up the flow of the album.

A completely unnecessary move was packaging this pressing inside a triple panel gatefold jacket, which is where my biggest gripe with the quality of this release lies. Going for frills over substance seems to be the trend with SRC releases. The jacket for this release is very cheap and flimsy. For the price SRC had the audacity to charge for this release, over $30 after shipping, I expected much better quality. The jackets for Saosin, Blink-182 and Say Anything are great while the jacket for Agony & Irony is like the forgotten step son. The records are also very thin to boot, but it doesn’t affect the sound enough to be too big of a complaint. Comparing the first pressing to this second pressing the sound quality is pretty much the same. I guess you could assume that an album spread out over two LP’s instead of one should sound better, but in this case a major difference good or bad does not stand out.

Also included with this deluxe edition is a 14 page oversized booklet that has the lyrics for each song printed one per page. The booklet is made to replicate a song book. The backdrop for all of the lyrics is sheet music. It may very well be the music for each song, but while I can read music I have no idea how to play any string instrument so I can’t say for sure.

The pressing info is as follows; more than 250 copies on cream, 500 copies on red and 1500 copies on black. Odds are there was a good amount of overrun copies on red and black, maybe even a few less copies on each color than advertised. I know for a fact there are more than 250 cream copies as SRC started selling the overruns. I think SRC finally had enough of my negative comments about them in this blog that they stopped replying to my pressing info emails. It’s either that or their terrible customer service just choose to ignore more. In the past they would respond with the final pressing count. They are likely not selling the unsold subscriptions as you can still buy all of the subscription packages that include this release, but you can’t put anything past SRC.

This release was also part of SRC’s subscription package, which was broken down into three separate editions; one that included every single SRCvinyl release (releases announced at the time) and  two smaller editions that were categorized by genre of music and era; “punk” and “1995”. The smaller editions also got numbered later on, with “punk” becoming series 1.52 and “1995” becoming 1.51.  Agony & Irony was part of the “punk” 1.52 series subscription Once all the releases from the first subscription were released SRC sold the overrun copies individually outside of the subscription, but these copies did not come with one of the hand-numbered obi-strips, oh wait, “belly bands” as SRC likes to call them

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