The Killers – Hot Fuss (1st U.S. Press – LP / T-Shirt Combo Box Set, 3rd U.S. & UK/Euro Pressings)

Posted: January 23, 2012 in Vinyl
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Hot Fuss has gone through several bootleg pressing since it’s legit release on vinyl. There are three legit LP pressings of the album, one for the U.S., one for the UK and a box set that includes a t-shirt. The box set is the most recent release of the record, coming out a few years ago through Hot Topic and band’s web stores. It is important to note that all legit pressing of the album were done on a shade of blue vinyl, but it is also important to note that there are bootlegs pressed on blue vinyl as well.

I will try to clear up as much of the confusion about which pressings are bootlegs and which are legit. Some are quite obvious and easy to spot, while one is tougher than the others. Most if not all of the bootlegs come from overseas though; somewhere in Europe, possibly even the UK. The main legit U.S. pressing is done on translucent blue vinyl with red center labels on both the A and B sides. For factory sealed copies there is a black sticker on the top left corner of the cover. This U.S. pressing is the only one to feature the exclusive vinyl only bonus track “Indie Rock ‘N’ Roll,” which is the last track on side B and is mentioned on the aforementioned hype sticker. This pressing was released by The Control Group by way of Island Records. Both label’s logos will be on the back of the jacket, with the catalog number of Island CGO 017. There were 3,000 copies pressed with silver foil lettering on the cover and 100 copies with red foil lettering on the cover that were all hand numbered. Most of the red foil copies went to Control Group employees, and when they do pop up on ebay they regularly sell for between $100-$400. Copies with the silver foil lettering even approach $100.

The legit UK pressing was done on opaque baby blue vinyl, or at least a much lighter shade of blue than the U.S. pressing. The UK pressing does not feature any bonus tracks. It was pressed by Lizard King, with a catalog number of LIZARD11X. The legit pressing has white center labels on both sides that are slightly recessed by the spindle hole. There were 2,000 copies pressed for the legit UK pressing that were all individually numbered on the back of the jacket, but I believe there were actually more than 2,000 total copies pressed for the UK pressing however.

The third legit pressing was released in 2009 by Bravado. It comes housed in a box set with a grey t-shirt. The record slides inside the lid of the box set while the t-shirt is housed in a compartment inside the box itself. This pressing was also pressed on translucent blue vinyl, with the only difference being the center labels, which you can see in the photos gallery below. I remember reading that there were 5,00 copies of this box set pressed/made, with it being a Hot Topic exclusive, but I doubt that number is accurate at this point. While Hot Topic sold out of the sets fairly quickly (they would’ve sold out faster if they were cheaper), The Killers webstore had copies for sale for a few years afterwards. The band’s store finally sold out of them in late 2012, but Bravado’s webstore still has copies up for sale.

For the bootlegs most are done on completely different colors than blue. First copies on a shade of blue that matched the legit U.S. pressing started popping up, then copies on red, then copies on green, then copies on clear or smokey grey and most recently copies on dark blue. All of the bootleg copies have some marbling effects in them and are not 100% their respective solid color. Some have streaks and swirls of black running through them, others have streaks of white. All bootleg copies have white center labels A crucial difference is that the center labels on the bootleg copies are not recessed at all like they are on the legit UK pressing. All of the bootlegs are made to look like the Lizard King UK pressing, with the center labels 99.9% identical. i have never seen the back of a jacket for a bootleg copy, but they are most likely almost identical to the legit pressing as well. An important thing to note about the bootleg blue copies is that they are opaque and not translucent like with the legit U.S. pressing.

In 2016 Hot Fuss finally received a proper re-press. I guess Island Records finally got tired of seeing countless bootlegs coming out. That is the only reason I can see for this album not to be re-pressed sooner. They could’ve capitalized on the vinyl trend long ago, and it didn’t come out as a Record Store Day exclusive or even as an anniversary pressing. Money is, as always, the biggest motivator.

The album actually has undergone more proper pressings the past year, two, than it did in the 12 years the record was out of print. Odd, but it is what it is. The first re-press, which is the second traditional and legit pressing of this record, was done on white vinyl. The third pressing was done on black. No word on how many copies for the third pressing (featured in pics below), bit the second U.S. pressing was limited to 1,000 copies on white vinyl. The white vinyl sold out pretty quick. I was in no rush to get a copy, because in all honesty the only reason I wanted it was for the different cover.

Regarding that different cover, it’s a subtle change from the first pressing to the second and third pressings. On the first pressing there are the aforementioned cover variants, silver foil and red foil for the band’s name. The second and third pressings have no foil stamping of any kind, it’s standard printing in white ink. Another subtle difference between the first pressing and later pressings is that the later pressings come with a printed dust sleeve rather than a plain white paper dust sleeve. No insert is included with any pressing, and you don’t get lyrics or even liner notes with any of them either. The printed dust sleeve with the later pressings just has photos of each band member on it, two band members per side.

Only the U.S. pressing (of the third pressings) comes with a download card, but don’t bother using it. You have to jump through some hoops in order to actually download it. And once you do, you have the privilege of receiving 96 kbps MP3s. Yes, you read right. Not VBR, not 320, not even 128; 96 kbps. Each song sounds so awful they almost sound like demos. One of the tracks, “Somebody Told Me,” actually has “DO NOT USE” in parentheses after the title.  The aforementioned hoops include making an  an account to download it, not just optionally entering an email address, skipping the email entry altogether or entering in a bogus email address like the majority of download hosts used for download cards. You then have to verify your account before logging in. The you have login after creating and verifying said account, and when you click on login in it takes you back to the create account page. You then have to click through again in order to login in. Lastly, you have to verify the download via an approval link they send you via email, which takes you back to thesoundofvinyl.com to finally start the download for the worst quality MP3s known to man. I could literally fart into the microphone of my laptop and it would be a higher quality MP3 without doing any encoding.

As with the first pressings, there is a U.S. and UK pressing for both the second and third pressings. Discogs has the release date for the second U.S. pressing as 2017, but I’m pretty confident it’s 2016 because I saw it in multiple record stores in 2016, and not one of the bootlegs. The third UK pressing is on 180 gram vinyl, while the U.S. counterpart is not. However, the U.S. press does come with a download card/code, whereas the UK pressing does not. An odd trade off. The UK re-pressings have the sort of UK exclusive track, “Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll” on the studio album as track 8 (track B3 on record). It’s not a bonus track/b-side like it is on the U.S. pressing. Note, when I say b-side it’s not the figurative sense, not the literal sense. The U.S. pressing has the studio album most people are familiar with, having “Change Your Mind” as track 8 (track B3 on record) instead of “Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll.”

To be perfectly honest, the only reason I bought the UK pressing was because of that track listing difference, along with it being ridiculously cheap ($10). If it wasn’t that cheap though, I would’ve been fine just having the U.S. re-press for the different cover art. Those are some of the few variants I do collect. And when I say cheap, I mean $10 shipped. Which is basically half off, so I got two for the price of one. Granted I could’ve saved $10 by not buying the UK pressing, but you’re missing the point.

For the photo gallery below here are the order of the pics: 1st U.S. press, LP/T-shirt box set, 3rd U.S. press, 3rd UK/Euro press. The sleeves are the same for both the 3rd pressings, so they will come in the middle to further differentiate the two 3rd pressings.

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