Archive for May, 2014


Manchester Orchestra has to be one of the most consistent bands out there, at least bands that I listen to. They have yet to make even a mediocre album let alone a bad one, or one that makes you go ehhh. For their fourth studio album, Cope (I refuse to capitalize every letter for the sake of my sanity), the band decided to release a deluxe box set with plenty of bells and whistles.

The box set, limited to 2,000 copies, features three bonus 7” records exclusive to the set; arguably the biggest draw. Of course there will be diehard fans who will buy everything and anything the bands puts out, but I will never fall into the category for any band. Even if it wasn’t for my quirky completist (going after cover variants and different formats [albums comes out as LP then later as double LP mind-set], I would buy this box set just to get those 7”s. As if the three exclusive 7”s weren’t enough, you also get an autographed insert, two postcards and a newsprint insert that has the lyrics to every song printed on it, all of which are also exclusive to this box set. There was also an incentive for the first 100 people to order, as they received an exclusive patch in their box set. It’s also important to mention that some people received random Polaroids inside their box set. I was not fortunate enough to receive a random item inside my set.

The LP comes on 180 gram black vinyl and is housed in a gatefold jacket. It’s vital to note that the LP that comes inside the deluxe box set is identical to copies that can be found for sale outside of the box set. The LP itself is not numbered, the only numbering, which is done by hand by the way, for the box set is found on the back of the autographed insert. The back of said autographed insert also features a thank you note from the band to everyone who purchased the box set. The box set has a slip lid cover, which an image of the band printed on the inside of the lid. The letters that spell out Cope on the front of the lid are raised a bit, not quite embossed but they raised letters are noticeable. Inside the box is a spot, really a holem for all three 7” records to fit. The autographed insert will NOT fit snuggly inside this spot, so don’t try to force it in, unless you like damaged things.

The three bonus 7”s are all on red vinyl. Each has their own b-side, with two of the three being initially exclusive to their respective 7” singles. The first 7” for “Top Notch” has “Never Really Been Another Way Out” on the b-side. The second 7” for “Cope” has “After The Scripture” on the b-side and the third 7” for “The Ocean” has “Opposite Sides” on the b-side. Initially “Never Been Another Way Out” and “Opposite Sides” were the two songs exclusive to the 7” singles found in this box set. Later on, after the album was released, “Never Been Another Way Out” became available through places like Amazon MP3 for purchase as an individual song, where you wouldn’t have to buy the entire album to get it. “After The Scripture” can also be found on the Dallas Buyers Club soundtrack. All three records come in red jackets with red lettering in the same font as the album cover. The 7” released for “Every Stone” also follows in this layout.

It appears the box sets were sent out based on order number, so the people who ordered first received a lower numbered set. I got number 151, but I held off on ordering initially. I could have easily been inside the first 100 and received the patch, but it wasn’t a big draw for me given the price of this box set, $65 before shipping ($75 after shipping). Given how long I held off from buying this I’m surprised I got such a low number.

The box set took a while to sell out, probably for a number of factors; price and amount made are probably the biggest though. The sets were also delayed close to two months. The album came out on April 1, but didn’t start shipping till the middle/end of May. Shipping notices were never sent out and there wasn’t a postage marker on my package, so it’s impossible to say when they started shipping. But a safe assumption is somewhere in the May 15-17 window the first box sets went out, as I received mine on May 19. It’s an odd delay because the LP itself was not delayed, as it was ready in time for the album’s release date. What exactly held up the box set from shipping will never be known, but the band kept customers and fans updated throughout the process, which is crucial in this day and age.

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Leading up to the release of Manchester Orchestra’s fourth studio album they released a 7” for “Every Stone.” It features an exclusive b-side, “Escape,” and continues the artwork theme for all the other 7” records the band will be releasing for Cope, which are only available in the deluxe box set version of Cope. There are 3,000 copies pressed, all on black vinyl.

This 7” is an indie store exclusive promoting 2014 Record Store Day, and even though there are 3,000 copies of it stock was quickly exhausted, most likely because the entire pressing was not initially made available. This 7” was also insanely cheap, $2! Also included with the 7” was a coupon for $2 off the purchase of Cope at the record store you bought the “Every Stone” 7’ from. The coupon was only good for four days after the release of Cope, which was April 1, so at the time of posting this the coupon is no longer valid should you buy a copy of the “Every Stone” 7” at this point.

311 – Evolver

Posted: May 23, 2014 in Vinyl
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311’s Evolver was first pressed on vinyl for the first time, timed to be first released in conjunction with Record Store Day 2014. Some people are complaining about the album being re-pressed, exclaiming ‘They lied! It’s not RSD exclusive!” Well if you read the official RSD release list you would see that not only this 311 release, but both of them were in the “RSD first” section, meaning that they would be first released on Record Store Day, that they would NOT be RSD exclusive releases. The section even explicitly stated “The releases on this list are exclusive on Record Store Day but will be released to other retailers in the future.” I also say officially pressed because there are thousands of promo copies of this album floating around. There are so many promo copies that it might as well be an official pressing of the album. Those promo copies were pressed as a single LP.

Now down to the finer details of this version of the release; plain and simple it’s a pure RSD cash grab. Given the price of this, $35, there should be more to it. There should be a gatefold jacket, or at least a jacket that is of nicer quality. The jacket itself is very thin, to the point where it flexes when holding both LP’s. It’s so thin I would be very concerned about seam splits if you order these from anywhere where they’ll have to be shipped. The copies of both 311 records that I ordered from a record store post RSD, for cheaper than the $35 price tag I should add, had seam splits. An important note is that the records come on poly dust sleeves instead of the traditional paper dust sleeves, which combined with the thinness of the jacket is a recipe for seam splits. So beware of that, as my copy has seam splits starting from storing the records inside the jacket. I advise storing them outside the jacket inside a protective poly sleeve bag.  An insert is included with the record, which somewhat makes up for lacing a gatefold jacket.

The records are pressed on 180 gram black vinyl, and every copy is individually numbered on the back of the jacket in gold foil stamping. Evolver is limited to 3000 copies, which is less than theRSD pressing of the band’s s/t aka Blue album, which is limited to 4000 copies.


311’s debut album, which is self-titled, or better known as the Blue album by fans, was officially pressed on vinyl for the first time, timed to be first released in conjunction with Record Store Day 2014. Some people are complaining about the album being re-pressed, exclaiming ‘They lied! It’s not RSD exclusive!” Well if you read the official RSD release list you would see that not only this 311 release, but both of them were in the “RSD first” section, meaning that they would be first released on Record Store Day, that they would NOT be RSD exclusive releases. The section even explicitly stated “The releases on this list are exclusive on Record Store Day but will be released to other retailers in the future.” I also say officially pressed because there are thousands of promo copies of this album floating around. There are so many promo copies that it might as well be an official pressing of the album. Those promo copies were pressed as a single LP.

Now down to the finer details of this version of the release; plain and simple it’s a pure RSD cash grab. Given the price of this, $35, there should be more to it. There should be a gatefold jacket, or at least a jacket that is of nicer quality. The jacket itself is very thin, to the point where it flexes when holding both LP’s. It’s so thin I would be very concerned about seam splits if you order these from anywhere where they’ll have to be shipped. The copies of both 311 records that I ordered from a record store post RSD, for cheaper than the $35 price tag I should add, had seam splits. An important note is that the records come on poly dust sleeves instead of the traditional paper dust sleeves, which combined with the thinness of the jacket is a recipe for seam splits. So beware of that, as my copy has seam splits starting from storing the records inside the jacket. I advise storing them outside the jacket inside a protective poly sleeve bag. An insert is included with the record, which somewhat makes up for lacking a gatefold jacket.

The records are pressed on 180 gram black vinyl, and every copy is individually numbered on the back of the jacket in gold foil stamping. The s/t aka Blue album is limited to 4000 copies, which is more than the RSD pressing of the band’s – album Evolver, which is limited to 3000 copies. I have yet to read or hear about a sound comparison between the single and double LP pressings.

There is a single LP pressing floating around that came out when this album was originally released in 1995. It’s a promo version, indicated by gold oil stamping on the back of the jacket, ironically in the same spot as the numbering on the RSD 2014 pressing, and was never meant to be sold in stores. Regardless of that fact, there were tons of these pressed and are fairly easy to come by. The hefty price tag for promo copies are the only deterrent, averaging out to around $60 on the secondary market. So this is why I’m not sure what to call the RSD 2014 pressing, the first or second pressing. Because promo pressings are hard to classify as legitimate pressings since they were never commercially available. But I’ve never seen so many promo copies of a record in the digital age; the early 90’s. By this time most promos sent out to radio stations, record stores and press were CD’s.

 

 


A 7” featuring what could likely be the final Sunny Day Real Estate recordings ever released was one of the most sought after releases on 2014 Record Store Day. The 7”, a split also featuring Circa Survive, features two brand new songs from both bands. The SDRE song is the first in __ years. The 7” was pressed on two colors, with 2400 copies on burgundy vinyl and 100 copies on clear vinyl. The 2500 total copies were snatched up at most stores in the first few minutes after they opened, very few made it to the couple days after RSD where stores put up their remaining stock online.

The clear copies were randomly given out to stores. When a store put in an order for this release they did not know if they were getting clear copies or the main burgundy variant. In the aftermath of RSD I question the randomness of the clear variant, since someone who I know is friends with the owner of one of the participating RSD stores (both will remain nameless), just so happened to get a copy on clear. Said record label owner also has business dealings with said store as well. I guess it’s random in the fact that stores didn’t know they were getting a copy on clear, but I’m willing to bet this store checked the color on their copies and gave it to this particular person.Circa Survive - Sunny Day Real Estate Split - Copy

 


Keeping with the In Utero barrage, Robotic Empire Records released a tribute comp where punk bands performed the album front to back. The comp, entitled In Utero: In Tribute features (in order, and you can figure out what song each band covers from there) Pygmy Lush, Circa Survive, These Arms Are Snakes, Thursday, Jay Reatard, Young Widows, The Mean Jeans, Thou, Whirr, Daughters, Ceremony and Black Math Horsemen. The comp was first released in conjunction with Record Store Day 2014, with an exclusive variant that included an exclusive poster. The RSD variant was on maroon vinyl which was limited to 1000 copies. The poster is just an enlarged version of the cover art, nothing too special.

The label made it known that the comp would see a regular version, which would be released after RSD. Plus the label released a list of all the stores they sent the comp to, because this release was not on the official RSD list and did not see distribution. Knowing this made my RSD shopping a ton easier, as I did not have to go out super early, and I even contemplated not going out at all this year to avoid the hassle that has become RSD. I used to look forward to RSD every year, but it has gotten so out of hand for a number of reasons that I no longer get anxious or excited over it. Anyway, there are two other variants of this comp on top of the RSD version. There are copies pressed on black and translucent yellow vinyl, both of which do not have pressing info released as of writing this.

The translucent yellow variant was a surprise, as the label only said the comp would see a regular black pressing after RSD. The label put the non-RSD version of the album earlier than scheduled, but announced it thoroughly so everyone got a chance to buy it worry free. Even so, black copies sold out pretty quickly, with the yellow copies taking a tad longer to sell out.

This comp is pretty simple but is still on the pricey side. It’s just a record in a jacket. I’m assuming the high price tag is due to the fact it has something to do with Nirvana, and all the headaches Courtney Love attaches to anything Nirvana related. I know there were some issues getting this comp out there, what exactly they are is none of my business, but I’m glad Robotic Empire stuck with it and finally got this comp out there. It’s one of the best comps in my collection.In Utero In Tribute - Copy

Nirvana – Pennyroyal Tea 7″

Posted: May 23, 2014 in Vinyl

Keeping in line with past Record Store Days, there was another Nirvana release, this time a 7”. This RSD release marked the first time in 20 years that the Pennyroral Tea single was released on vinyl. In reality it could be considered the first time it has ever been released on vinyl, as the only vinyl pressing out there are promo copies from 1994.  This was one of the priciest releases for this year, given what it is. The price, $14, rivaled many 12” singles and LPs. There were 6000 copies pressed on black vinyl.Nirvana - Pennyroyal Tea - Copy