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.