Archive for May, 2011

The latest Blink-182 album and final one that needed the vinyl treatment was released about a week ago. It’s exclusively sold in Hot Topic and was pressed as a double LP on colored vinyl. The first record is pressed on blue marble and the second record is pressed on green marble. All copies are on the same color scheme and this pressing is limited to 2,000 copies. The colors match the album artwork as close to perfect as you’re going to get.

The visual packaging for the vinyl version of the album is pretty much entirely based off the CD version of the album. The center labels for each record are the exact same as the CD itself, only different colors. The CD was a digipack release which opens like a gatefold record jacket does, which the vinyl version is housed in. The liner notes were printed on the inside of the digipack packaging, and the inside of the gatefold jacket of the vinyl version is an exact duplicate. I can’t complain too much about it because I like the continuity between releases that are meant to be a series and when some aspects between a CD and vinyl version of an album remain the same. But to me it just seems the people in charge of the aesthetics of this release took the easy road with this one. I do have one major gripe with this release though which ties into the easy road approach.

If you hold the jacket close the artwork gets very grainy and all the edges and lines start to get blurry. It clearly wasn’t scaled correctly and looks as if they just blew up the image, rather than getting the high-resolution artwork that was used and correctly scaling the image larger to nicely fill an LP cover. It does look great from a distance though. Only when you hold it in your hands does it look as if there is something obviously off about the cover art.


Green Day – Awesome As F**k

Posted: May 20, 2011 in Vinyl

Green Day’s second and latest live album was released earlier this year and was pressed on 180 gram pink vinyl. It was released by Billie Joe Armstrong’s label, Adeline. It is obvious what the actual title of this album is, but so my blog doesn’t get flagged as adult content, I purposely starred out two of the letters in one particular word. This was also done on the cover and spine of the actual release as well for similar reasons. For the typical idiots who always cry on the internet “that’s not punk rock” whenever Green Day does anything these days, especially with censoring this album title, the insert found inside the record has the uncensored title of the album in giant bolded letters, which I am censoring out for this post for the above stated reason.

Adeline has not released pressing info for this album and they probably never will. Expect this to stay in print for a long time. At least until demand for it dies completely.

Gift Wrapped: 20 Songs That Keep On Giving is a Christmas compilation that was released by Warner Bros. in 2009 and features a good chunk of their roster performing Christmas carols/songs. This festive double LP comp was pressed on red and green vinyl and was intended to be a promotional release that was never meant to be sold in stores. Even though that was the case there are no markings anywhere on the jacket indicating such,  which is unusual for promo records or gratis copies. This comp was sold digitally however. Physical copies of the comp were only meant to be promos. I have no idea how many copies were pressed. With promo only releases it’s tough to gauge because there could be a very small amount or in the tens of thousands.

The track listing includes bands such as My Chemical Romance, Jack’s Mannequin, The Flaming Lips, R.E.M., The Used, The Brian Setzer Orchestra and Relient K, as well as prominent solo artist such as Regina Spektor, Michael Buble and Randy Travis. There is also a second Gift Wrapped compilation that was released this part year. Warner might make this an annual compilation to promote their artists and cash in on the Christmas season.

Right now there are a few copies of this comp listed on ebay for around $20. Around the Christmas season they were listed for a bit more and there were quite a bit more that were put up for auction as well. Now that it’s well into spring the demand for this comp has died down dramatically so this are getting harder to come by in an auction setting. Your best bet of getting one is to check your local record store, as they may have copies lying around and may even give you one for free if you buy something, which was the case for me.

The packaging for Bruce Springsteen’s The River is what every record should strive for in the visual sense. It’s nothing over the top, but it includes everything that I think should be a part of a release. It’s not just the record stuffed into a plain paper sleeve and then slid into the jacket. This double LP set includes photo dust sleeves which include photos from the recordings session, candid shots, press photos and live shots. Also included is a fold out insert which contains the full lyrics for each song on the album. The only thing missing is a gatefold jacket, but the photo dust sleeves for each record make up for it.

Ninja Gun – Roman Nose

Posted: May 15, 2011 in Vinyl

Roman Nose is the latest EP released by Ninja Gun and first new material to be released on their new label, Sabot Productions. The EP was pressed as a 12″ on two color variants; white and black. As is the case with most Sabot releases, the colored variant in the more limited one. Keeping with tradition pressing info has yet to be released by Sabot. When I pre-ordered the record the first day they went up there were just under 200 white copies and over 500 black copies left. Sabot finally announced the pressing info, very late I might add as they put up the numbers for the latest Against Me! 7″ that came out in June before the info on this EP. The official numbers are 299 copies on white and unlimited on black. The artwork for this EP is my favorite for 2011 so far.

One unique thing about this record is that it one of, if not the first 12″ record to feature a punch out center. This type of center label/spindle hole design is usually reserved for 7″s. Hats off to Sabot for coming up with this new idea and to United Record Pressing for being able to press such something like this. Something else I haven’t seen before that is featured with this record is that inside of the jacket is printed with a design. So again hats off to Sabot for being willing to do something new and different with each of their releases.

Piebald – Vol. I-III

Posted: May 15, 2011 in Vinyl

I patiently waited to get this set two days shy of a month, which is much longer than I should have waited to get this. It was well worth the wait though, as this is one of my favorite Record Store Day 2011 releases. This three album, three record set was released by Rise Records and features Piebald’s first three full length albums, all of which are out of print on their own. The three albums are; When Life Hands You Lemons, If it Weren’t For Venetian Blinds It Would Be Curtains For Us All, and We Are The Only Friends We Have. There were only 1,000 of these sets pressed all on colored vinyl, which is printed on the back of the jacket. Even though the total amount of the pressing is printed on the back of the jacket, each one is not individually numbered, which to me pretty much defeats the point of going to the trouble and cost to print that fact on the jacket at all.

The set is housed in a triple gatefold jacket, much like the deluxe edition of Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American, which was also released on Record Store Day. The pocket for each record includes liner notes, but not lyrics for every song. Rise did the CD release of these albums, in three volumes as well. I do not own the CD versions of this set, but I’m guessing the liner notes printed with this LP set are the same as the CD set. The cover art from the Cd versions are used with this LP set, and the cover is the cover art from the CD version of Volume I, with the title wording obviously different however. The art layout for this et is one of my favorite aspects of this set. The gatefold folds out to make full artwork of the monkeys, which is the classic three wise monkeys proverb “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.”

The first record in the set is When Life Hands You Lemons, and it’s pressed on green vinyl. The shade is more like pea soup than a true green, and its marbled as well. The second record is Venetian Blinds, which is on clear blue vinyl and the third record is We Are The Only Friends We Have is on clear yellow vinyl. The color of each record corresponds to the color of the album artwork for each album and it’s CD release counterpart, except the shades do not match perfectly.

Even though this set was done very well, I have a huge problem with how Rise handled it. First, even though I was one of the first couple people on line, no more than 30 or 40 back (my local store is one of the busiest stores in the country on RSD) I did not get one. I have no idea when it was sold as in what number ahead of me in line the person was, but that is not the issue at hand. My store, which usually orders and gets in the most of every release out of all the participating stores in the country, could only get one copy of this set. After shopping at this store for close to 10 years now and being a regular customer I asked the owner later that week how they only got one when you got in almost 10 of the Jimmy Eat World record when that would be  a far more popular release? His response was along the lines of I ordered more and with our track record and location we usually have no problems getting stock for Record Store Day. This is the first release since Record Store Day started that we couldn’t get multiple copies of something in because our distributor didn’t get majority of the alloted stock in to ship out. That statement would later ring true after doing some simple digging. It turns out Rise was hoarding probably hundreds of these records to sell themselves on ebay. Combine that with however many copies were sent overseas and the number up for grabs in the U.S. dwindles further.

After striking out at my local store with this, the first time in three years I didn’t get something from my local store, I checked some of the many resources out there and found out Rise was selling this set on ebay for retail price, plus shipping, so I wasted no time and ordered one sitting in my car using my phone. I bought the listing April 16 and didn’t get it till today, May 14. All because whomever does mail order for Rise never sent it out. It took a few emails and the owner of the label getting involved to discover that simple fact, that a tracking number was never made for my purchase. That was the first thing wrong with how Rise handled this.

The second thing is a compound problem of sorts, think of it as a two-part essay question on a final exam. I mentioned above Rise held on to a lot of copies of this set to sell themselves. They actually did two rounds of sales for this set, the first round for retail price (which was $24.99) and for the second round they jacked up the price to $30. According to my ebay purchase history and the completed auctions search Rise sold 115 copies from that first round of ebay sales, and so far they have sold 34 copies for the inflated price and still have more 10 more copies up for sale, which would bring the total up to at least 44. The combined total would be at least 159 copies Rise held on to to sell for themselves, some for more of a profit. It could possibly be a nice, even, round number like 2o0 that Rise actually held on to to sell themselves. If Rise actually sent all of them out to their distributor I most likely could have bought one from my local store on Record Store Day and supported them instead of giving my money directly to a label that does bullshit like this.

The funniest thing is that in their auction for this set, they say “These are direct from the label at the best price. We’re trying to avoid you paying for a high price.” Oh really? You’re selling them for more than retail price and some auctions are selling, and even not selling for cheaper than you’re charging for these.

I was actually surprised when Mightier Than Sword Records announced they were re-pressing this record. Unlike all the Blink-182 releases they have done, this re-press/re-issue came out of left field. I’ll go further into why it’s a surprise further down. The details of this record are it’s part of Mightier Than Sword’s 10th Anniversary series, where the label goes back and re-presses albums they love or feel are classics, in some cases pressing some albums for the first time. The only stipulation is that the album had to be released no more or no less than 10 years ago. MTS pressed this on 180 gram black vinyl limited to a very odd 562 copies. Technically this is the third pressing of This Time Next YearThis Time Next Year is also the fourth installment in MTS’ 10th Anniversary series.

Part of the 10th Anniversary series is including an embossing or stamped in seal on the front of the jacket in the top left corner. This seal is actually part of the jacket, it’s embossed into it in some fashion. I always assumed it was just a sticker. This seal is the same across all, the only difference is what number in the series each album is. The other thing that changes are the dates of the releases, each seal has the album’s original release date and the current re-pressing/re-release’s release date.

Now back to why I was a bit surprised by this re-press even though I really shouldn’t have been. A few months prior to MTS’ pressing of this album, Revelation Records, the label which originally released This Time Next Year, did a re-pressing of the album. To date Revelation’s re-press hasn’t even sold out yet, but that didn’t stop MTS from doing their own pressing and stealing some thunder, like they always do.

At this point MTS should stand for Maximum Thunder Stolen because they always seems to do their own pressing of certain records which come out after, but not too far after another label’s pressing. They always seem to come out on the verge of the other label’s pressing selling out and going out of print. To be fair I don’t know how the licensing contracts are structured when MTS works out the deal. They could be forced to wait to announce details of their pressing and sell it after the album’s rights holder does.  Whatever the reason is I am not impressed with MTS re-pressing tons of records right on the heels of other labels or even bothering doing their own releases at all when another label just released it. It’s not very classy but I guess that’s part of the music business.

A big problems I had with how MTS handled this release was how they decided to handle shipping/manufacturing delays. The sent out 500 plus orders for this record without the insert, knowing full well that they didn’t have them. It wasn’t a mistake or an overisght on their end, they did so knowingly and on purpose. Their reasoning behind it was “the plant ‘overlooked’ the inserts when they shipped the records to them.” If that was the case why not just wait to ship out the records till the entire pakcage/release was in hand? At first I just assumed this didn’t come with an insert even though the Revelation’s original pressing did. It took over a month for me to finally receive the insert that was suppose to come with the record, and almost a week without a email response for the guy who runs the label. In the end MTS spent a decent sum of money shipping out all the owed inserts to customers, as they had to pay additional shipping costs and get this, they actually shipped the inserts out in a LP mailer, at least for me they did. So they ate some mailing supply costs too. All that money could have been saved had they just waited to ship out all the records till the inserts arrived.

The insert I waited over a month to receive is 99.9% identical to Rev’s original pressing. The only difference is a white border around the entire thing and MTS’ insert is printed on a dust sleeve, which they have done for most of their releases lately.

In general I haven’t been impressed with the quality of MTS’ pressings of albums. I don’t hear a big difference between the Universal and MTS presses of Blink-182’s Dude Ranch and Enema Of The State, nor do I see MTS’ pressing being far superior quality wise in any way. Before people feel the urge to complain about my critical and slightly hypocritical opinion, and the fact that I still bought this record, the only reason I bought this edition of This Time Next Year is because I’m a compulsive completest and feel the need to keep my collection of certain bands complete, The Movielife being one of those bands. The 10th Anniversary seal on the jacket is enough for me to want to add it to my collection.