Archive for July, 2013

Gogol Bordelo’s latest album, Pura Vida Conspiracy makes a case for their best album to date. For me it’s tough to decide between this new album and their first album, Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike, but to be fair their latest effort features a few more members added to the band since their early days who greatly compliment the band’s dynamic. After attending the band’s in-store acoustic performance at my local record store the night before the album’s release, the crowd learned an interesting fact about two of the songs on he album. The song titled “My Gypsy Auto Pilot” was shortened during the final stages of recording process of the album. The song’s original working title was “My Gypsy Conzo Auto Beatnik Turbo Pilot,” which is reflect on the track listing printed on the back of the jacket as the long version of the title is printed with several words crossed out to show the final title. Also, “Dig Deep Enough,” the second track on the album, was originally slated to be the opening track but at some point during the recording/mixing process it was pushed deeper on the album. Personally I would have preferred that original track listing rather than having “We Rise Again” open the album, “Dig Deep Enough” would open Pura Vida Conspiracy brilliantly.

There are at least two variants for Pura Vida Conspiracy; a regular variant with the regular artwork an indie record store exclusive variant that has an exclusive cover with alternate artwork. The regular cover variant features the traditional album artwork and is pressed on white vinyl. Included inside the jacket is a bonus 7”, also pressed on white vinyl, that features two exclusive b-sides from the album, “Crack The Case” and “Jealous Sister.” The regular cover variant comes with a download code and a four page fold out insert that has the lyrics printed on two pages, liner notes on another and a live shot of the band on the final page. The download code does include both of the bonus tracks to album that are found on the bonus 7″ that accompanies the regular cover variant, but there is a catch. “Crack The Case” is a stand alone song while “Jealous Sister” is a hidden track that comes after the final track on the standard version of the album, “We Shall Sail.” You’ll notice that “We Shall Sail” appears to be a long song clocking in at over 10 minutes, but in reality it’s only a 3:42 song. After about four minutes of silence “Jealous Sister” kicks in, starting at the 7:38 mark.

The indie record store exclusive variant was announced about a week before the record was released. It has been a hot seller and my local store sold out of the five copies it got in through pre-orders for a in-store performance the band was doing in a matter of hours. This variant comes pressed on black vinyl with blank white center labels. It’s limited to 800 copies and is hand numbered on the cover. The artwork is meant to mimic a brown paper bag and is printed on chipboard. This variant also does not come with three main things found with the regular variant; a download code, the bonus 7” or an insert.

At first the band’s official online store implied the white vinyl would be an LP pre-order exclusive, but that turned out not to be the case when as far as I can tell all copies of the regular cover variant were pressed on white vinyl. Their store also boasted that the bonus 7” was exclusive to their pre-order, which also turned out to not be true either as all copies of the regular cover variant come with the bonus 7” slid inside the jacket. Sometime between one and two weeks before the album’s release their online store changed the description for the LP pre-order to reflect that none of the things they advertised as “exclusives” were actually exclusive.


You’re Always On My Mind is A Great Big Pile Of Leaves’ second full length album and first on Topshelf Records. It was the band’s first time working with a producer, something that could have easily helped or hurt the band. Thankfully it was a positive move as this is their best album to date, which is saying something.

There were three color variants for this record; clear with yellow and red splatter limited to 200 copies, oxblood limited to 300 copies and mint limited to 500 copies. The only color sold out is the clear with yellow and red splatter. While the oxblood is close to being sold out online the band is selling this variant on tour with them. The mint copies, while sold out from Topshelf, were likely given to distribution and could be bought at any retailer selling copies of the album on vinyl. The clear with yellow and splatter was meant to imitate a pizza, which is a theme for the album as it’s used in multiple areas of the artwork layout and is used for promotional items for the album. I can say that in person this variant looks as close to a pizza as you can get without going the copout route and making a pizza picture disc.

Instead of an insert Topshelf went with a printed dust sleeve. It’s one of the cooler printed dust sleeves I’ve seen. It’s die cut and very thick.

I Is Another is yet another project from Jonah Matranga. He has been one of the busiest people in the music world over the last 20 plus years, never really taking a break from releasing music spanning multiple groups and solo efforts ranging from harder to softer music.For this project he teamed up with Ian Love, best known as the guitarist from Rival Schools to create an album that tastefully blends the sound of all their past bands into one.

There are two different pressings for this album, a U.S. pressing released by Sound The Siren done as a double 7” and a German pressing released by Arctic Rodeo Recordings done as a single LP. So far I only have the German pressing, but I plan on picking up the U.S. pressing at some point. I’m hoping it gets distributed because I heard bad thing about ordering directly from Sound The Siren.

There were 500 copies pressed on black vinyl for the U.S. pressing, again done as a double 7”, which comes in a gatefold type jacket/sleeve. It’s not a traditional jacket because it doesn’t have enclosed on three sides, but it’s not quite a sleeve because it opens like a gatefold. Judge for yourself by the photos below. One nice touch with the U.S pressing is that is essentially has two different colors depending on which side of the jacket/sleeve you’re looking at. It has the traditional cover art, the tan/cream color cover on one side, and an alternate dark blue cover on the reverse side. The imagery is the same between the two covers, only the background changes color.

The German pressing was limited to 300 copies split across two different colors; 100 copies on blue and 200 copies on clear yellow/orange mixed. The German pressing comes with a thick full color insert and features three acoustic bonus tracks that are not included on the U.S. pressing of the album. The bonus tracks are all album tracks and include in order “Bittersweet,” “Queen Of Swords” and “Prayed For You.”

Jonah Matranga did a Kickstarter to fund this release, something he has done for the last few of his releases.  What I gathered from that Kickstarter based on the rewards being offered was that they planned to release one 7” per every two songs they recorded for the I Is Another project, and would as many records as it took to get the entire album out. This would be included in a box set that would be handmade and hand-numbered. This Kickstarter reward was met with 16 backers but after seeing pics of the finished product it was hand numbered out of 36. Also included with the box set was a t-shirt, the CD version of the album, a hand written note/lyrics, and a couple autographed photos. The vinyl and CD included in the set came autographed as well.  This “box set” version of the U.S. pressing was limited to 36 backers and cost $90 (including shipping and a t-shirt).

I debated going in for this Kickstarter reward but I tend to refrain from participating in crowd funding projects because a lot can go wrong between the time you throw your money at the project and when the release actually comes out. Something illustrated in the first and last Kickstarter type thing I decided to pull the trigger on, which will get its own blog post if and when I finally get what I was ultimately ripped off for. I’m glad I held off on the I Is Another Kickstarter though as after seeing the finished product I would’ve been severely disappointed and felt like I wasted my money. The “box set’ is a tiny, regular cardboard box that is hand painted one half orange and the other half light blue. The “a 7” for every two songs recorded” turned into the double 7” that later turned out to be the standard release through Sound The Siren. And I would have no need for the other stuff in the box set. I love Jonah and will always buy anything he releases on vinyl, but this “box set” was pathetic under any circumstance.


This 7” is Reverend Crow’s first physical release and features two songs; “Swamp Stomp” on the a-side and “Liar” on the b-side. Reverend Crow is a new band from former Finch front man Nate Barcalow. Their sound is similar to Say Hello To Sunshine era Finch. Even though SRC lists the title of this 7” as Swamp Stamp b/w Liar, the cover of the record simply says 7 Inches. Why SRC can’t get the titles correct on one of their own releases, or at least get the cover artwork to match up with the title you want to give it is beyond me. But at least they didn’t spell anything wrong or put down the wrong songs. This is also their first legit release, as everything else they put out so far is licensed from another label

There were 500 copies pressed on random colored vinyl. The only colors I’ve seen so far are red, which I have, and purple. For those saying there has to be a known amount of colors and how many copies there are on each color out of the 500 total copies, guess again. “Random colors” for vinyl pressings have been around for a long time and when you order that from the plant they don’t even know what you’ll be getting. The plant fills the order with whatever color pellets they have lying around, have a surplus of, nobody seems to order and they can’t move or are the cheapest. Sure, the label could have someone count  out by hand  how many copies per each color, but I’ve never seen it done.Reverend Crow - 7 Inches - Copy