Archive for June, 2014


The Jurassic Park Soundtrack is my first Mondo “drop.” Yes I’ve bought a Mondo release before, but that was not straight from Mondo during the “drop.” This will be the last mentions of “drop” because I think that term is one of the most asinine around. Anyway, for all the clout Mondo pulls with whatever they release, I had zero issues buying both versions of Jurassic Park, in the same order. I didn’t have to pull the nonsense of placing an order for one version and then going back to place another order for the other version. It was actually one of the easier pre-order/ordering experience I’ve had with a high-profile release.

If you’re not familiar with the antics and sales ploys Mondo pulls with their records I’ll lay out the ground work. For every one of their vinyl releases Mondo presses a random variant, one you can’t buy straight up from anywhere but on the second-hand market. This random variant, which is typically on colored vinyl, is more limited than the standard color, which is typically black vinyl. The random variant results in people buying multiple copies hoping to score one of them, which is not even mentioning flippers who buy as many copies as they can. In many cases people place multiple orders since Mondo limits things to 2 copies per order; this scenario also comes into play for flippers too. I know of several people, not flippers, who buy at least 5 copies of every Mondo release hoping to get one of the random variants. Their success rate is pretty low too, I should add.

Meanwhile I am one-for-one with Mondo random variants. I went into it fully expecting to get Version A on black vinyl, and was pleasantly surprised when I opened it to discover the “Dilophosaurus” vinyl. The “Dilophosaurus” variant is green with red and yellow splatter, which is inspired by the dinosaur in the movie that spits in Nedry’s face. Personally I also think it was inspired by the vehicles that take everyone on the tour of the park.

Now down to the nitty-gritty with the Jurassic Park Soundtrack. There are two different version of this Soundtrack; Version A and Version B. Both versions cost the same, $35 before shipping. Version A features its own unique artwork done by JC Richard. The double LP comes on either black vinyl or the random variant, the “Dilophosaurus” vinyl. Now I have not seen official pressing info for Version A, official being straight from Mondo themselves. Mondo rarely releases pressing info anyway, and anywhere you read claiming the pressing info never has a source listed. But the unofficial pressing info for Version A is 3000 copies on black vinyl and 2000 copies on “Dilophosaurus” vinyl. Again, those numbers are not official, they are only what it’s rumored to be.

Version B was what many people were clamoring over, for nothing more than the fact it’s more limited than Version A. Version B features its own unique artwork done by Dan McCarthy. The records were pressed on 180 gram amber vinyl, again inspired by the movie. The amber vinyl comes from what makes Jurassic Park exist in the first place, the mosquito sealed in amber, which can be found throughout the film on the end of John Hammond’s cane. Version B is the only one with pressing info laid out, which is 1000 copies.

Both versions come with the same insert and sticker on the front of the jackets (placed on theshrink wrap, not on the actual jacket. I need to say that after the Brand New debacle). The stickers are placed in different places on each version though to no obtrude on the cover art. The insert is done to imitate a classified memo from InGen, the company behind Jurassic Park in the film. The insert features a lengthy note/message/foreword/intro by film composer Brian Satterwhite, which discusses the impact of the soundtrack and a synopsis of everything that went in John Williams composing it. An interesting note with these is the differing center labels for each release. It might be obvious that each version would have differing center labels, but that is not exactly what I mean. What goes against the norm is that for Version A the A/C side labels are different from each other, but the B/D side labels are the same. For Version B the A/C side labels are the same but the B/D side labels are different. You can see this in the photos attached with this entry, which can be found below. For each version the A/C sides are the first photo, and the B/D sides follow. Version A is featured first then Version B.

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In late spring 2014 TDR Records announced that they would be pressing The Early November epic triple album The Mother, The Mechanic, And The Path on vinyl. Getting this album pressed on vinyl was a long time coming but was a huge undertaking that most labels didn’t want to touch with a 10 foot pole given the length of it; 47 tracks clocking in at a whopping 2 hours, 11 minutes and 55 seconds. Because of the length the album had to be pressed as a triple LP, which obviously added to the manufacturing costs and as thus would add on to the cost of the consumer.

The aforementioned consumer costs wound up being $35 before shipping. In the end the cost in my mind was well worth it. This release turned out amazing. The triple LP record comes housed in a triple gatefold jacket, which has a matte finish. The records were pressed on 180 gram vinyl and an insert for each album within the triple album is included. All of the inserts are full color as well. Overall this release was done with quality and every detail in mind.

For the first pressing there were four variants, with three of those being available to the general public. The three colors available to the public were 104 or 100 copies on transparent coke bottle green, orange crush, swamp green. 177 or 200 copies on a-side oxblood/b-side mustard yellow and 212 copies on clear with olive, orange crush and swamp green splatter. There was also a Drive-Thru Records exclusive variant limited to 29 copies on transparent coke bottle green, orange crush and swamp green with black splatter. Those Drive-Thru exclusives for the first pressing will never be made available to the public, except maybe for a copy or two that winds up on ebay because the person connected to DTR who got one decided to sell it for whatever reason. I listed two sets of numbers for each of the general public variants because the label listed the first number (the not rounded off number ) and the band posted their own pressing info on social media which is the second number (numbers rounded off evenly). So it all depends on who you believe. Both numbers make sense in their own right. The number listed by the label is most likely the actual number up for sale to the public, while the number listed by the band is most likely the amount ordered. I was able to order the a-side/b-side split variant, which is picture below.

Once again I was screwed out of the rarest variant for an Early November record. I initially missed out on the box set released by Enjoy The Ride Records for the band’s two EP’s and I missed out on the /100 variant for this album. I refreshed my page at 2:59 (I’m in the Eastern Time Zone) and the record wasn’t live yet, I refresh literally five seconds later and the /100 variant was already sold out. Pretty ridiculous that something sold out in literally five seconds because of A) jerks holding all the copies in their cart and/or B) overzealous nut job fans who constantly hitF5 to refresh their pages. For once flippers weren’t really a factor because the only copies I’ve see up onebay are the variant I bought, the one limited to 177 or 200 copies depending on who you believe.


No Sleep Records released a book of all things. Guess it fits with all the other random crap they slap their logo on and try to sell. At least the book somewhat fits with music, as it’s a photobook from Ryan Russell, who shoots a ton of bands at shows and does some other photography work in the music world. He’s also responsible for the Nervous Energies Sessions as well. But the book is a travel log of sorts with random photos documenting his trip across the country, no live shots of bands and it’s not really music related at all. The book, entitled Continental Obscura: From Birmingham To Bellingham also comes with an exclusive split 7” featuring Manchester Orchestra and Minus The Bear (two of my favorite bands).

The 7” has one exclusive song, the Manchester Orchestra song “Sure Shot.” The Minus The Bear song, “Surf-n-Turf” has been released before, on another 7”, the UK single for “Steel And Blood.” A download code is included with the 7”, and it’s important to mention you also get a pdf file of the Ryan Russell photobook too if you order from No Sleep. The 7” comes in a half fold glossy paper sleeve, which has one of the photos from the book printed on the inside (one is also used for the cover).

The book is limited to 1,000 total copes for the first edition. No Sleep made hints that there would be multiple editions of the book as they mentioned the first edition is almost OOP, which implies there would be another run made. Obviously since the 7” accompanies the book there are 1,000 copies of that as well, which is split amongst three color variants, with some being exclusive to certain outlets. First there is the regular variant (available everywhere) limited to 800 copies on sonic blue/white haze. Next is “Beastmode Blue,” which is exclusive to Minus The Bear. The “Beastmode” portion of the color name comes from the nick name of Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, as Minus The Bear are big Seahawk fans being from the Seattle area. Lastly there are 100 copies on white, which is a Manchester Orchestra exclusive.

The two band exclusive variants have yet to materialize anywhere. They were supposed to be sold on tour with each of the bands, but so far nothing yet. Ryan Russell stated that Manchester Orchestra had copies of the book with them on the latest spring tour supporting their album Cope, but people in attendance said the band did not have copies of the book with them.

This book/7” set is on the pricey side, with the cheapest retailer (No Sleep’s webstore) selling it for $35 before shipping. I was smart and bought the book during one of No Sleep sales and got it for under $30 shipped. The entire package comes shrink-wrapped together, with the 7” along the back of the book. The book is 176 pages long, but sadly it’s not that good. It’s not really anything special, there was nothing that impressed me about it. To be perfectly honest I bought it just for the 7”, which I’m sure is the reason for a good chunk of the sales of this book. I’m not including photos of the book because frankly it’s took much work; the book is 176 pages long. Plus copyright issues will come into play too.


In 2014 Suicide Squeeze had a beer brewed in their honor by Fort George Brewery out of Oregon. They decided to release a record to commemorate the event, a compilation 7” entitled the Fort George 7”, features classic songs from their catalog. The 7”was limited to 1000 copies on amber gold vinyl. The cover is a half fold sleeve printed on glossy paper. A download code is included. Here is the official press release/description of the Fort George 7” taken from Suicide Squeeze, which better and fully explains everything behind this release.

“Astoria, Oregon’s Fort George Brewery began brewing limited-run seasonal beers in conjunction with some of their favorite Northwest businesses, craftsmen, and artists back in the spring of 2013. For spring 2014, Fort George is teaming up with Suicide Squeeze Records to offer up the Suicide Squeeze IPA. Available on draft or in tallboy cans designed by esteemed illustrator and graphic designer Jesse LeDoux, the IPA will be available throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho for the duration of the season. To celebrate this event, Suicide Squeeze is releasing the “Fort George” 7”—a collection of four classic tracks from the Suicide Squeeze catalog by some of the Northwest’s greatest artists. Featuring previously released singles, rarities, and out-of-print tracks by Modest Mouse, Black Mountain, Elliott Smith, and Minus The Bear, the “Fort George” compilation provides a prime overview of the eclectic and iconic Northwest indie rock fostered by Suicide Squeeze and commemorated through Fort George’s special microbrew. The “Fort George” 7” is limited to 1,000 copies on amber “beer” colored vinyl and comes with a download code.”

Here is the track listing for this comp 7” in order of appearance:

Modest Mouse – “A Life Of Arctic Souls”

Black Mountain – “Voices”

Elliot Smith – “Division Day”

Minus The Bear – “Pachuca Sunrise (acoustic)”

I bought this 7” during a great sale Suicide Squeeze had going for Memorial Day where a good chunk of their releases were essentially 50% off. I’m glad I bought this record during that sale for $3 instead of $8 they normally charge for it. My order total (including shipping) was less than the cost of just the 7” alone when not on sale. There really is not much to this release. The only reason I bought it was to keep my Minus The Bear collection complete, and their song on this comp 7” has already been released.VA - Fort George EP - Copy

 

 


The soundtrack for Dallas Buyers Club is the first Music On Vinyl release I have bought, and it’s one of the nicest releases I have bought this year. In terms of quality it’s top notch, and for the price of their releases it better be. Granted it’s an import for the U.S. market, their releases are still on the pricey side.

There were 1000 copies pressed of this soundtrack, with LP 1 on 180 gram gold vinyl and LP 2 on 180 gram blue vinyl. It comes housed in agatefold jacket with an insert. The jacket is very thick and has a glossy finish. Each copy is individually numbered in gold foil stamping on the back of the jacket. A download card is not included. The record also does not come sealed, it comes in a resealable flap poly bag, which has a sticker on the front in the top right corner mentioning some of the highlights of the release. The main reason I bought this soundtrack was for the Manchester Orchestra and Portugal. The Man songs featured on it.


Broken Heart Records released Day At The Fair’s The Rocking Chair Years on vinyl back in August of 2013. It was pressed as a double LP and comes housed in a gatefold jacket. There were 500 copies of the album pressed, with 100 copies on black, 200 copies on orange and 200 copies on half yellow/half pink.

The label as did a run of lathe cuts for two unreleased Day At The Fair songs, which was limited to 60 copies and was exclusive to a bundle that included all three color variants of the album. Personally, I, along with a handful of other people are waiting for the lathe cut to sold outside of the bundles, something the label owner has said he’ll do at some point if the bundles don’t sell out.

On top of the full The Rocking Chair Years album there are several bonus tracks included. The label “wanted to use every inch of space.” Included are three tracks from the band’s EP The Prelude, which include “Kira Doesn’t Care About Anything, She’s A Nihilist,” “Priscilla The Traveling Proton” and “Homesick Angels.” The other bonus tracks (in order – tracks 18-21) are “Here Lies Our Holiday,” “Kira Doesn’t Care About Anything, She’s A Nihilist (New Version),” “First Two Moons” and “The Rocking Chair Years (Alternative Take).”

One odd thing I noted about my C/D side record is that the center labels have label maker type stickers on them denoting side C and Side D, where as my A/B record are printed normally. I have no idea what happened there.


It wouldn’t be an Enjoy The Ride Records (ETR) release without some sort of controversy, real or contrived. In the case of Chroma it was a mixture of both that lead to unnecessary ranting and raving by people in the internet realm, as usual. Although the band started another ‘is licensing wrong’ debate by calling out ETR for never contacting them about pressing Chroma, people on various message boards and “news” sites also took shots at ETR. The long and short of it is; ETR contacted the band and their management before getting the ball rolling on the Chroma pressing, about a year passes while ETR hammers out all the details of the pressing and gets the records in hand, ETR puts the records up for sale without any sort of notice or advertising and once the band catches wind they call out ETR for not contacting them about releasing their material, a message board pissing contest ensues about the rights and wrongs of the licensing out previously released material for vinyl re-releases where the usual suspects slam ETR for being unethical and shady, ETR publicly explains what transpired during the course of releasing Chroma on vinyl where he explicitly states he contacted the band but the band eventually stopped communicating back, the band sticks to their guns and continues their hissy fit by publicly denouncing the ETR Chroma pressing, eventually a few days pass and the band changes their tune (no pun intended) and admits everything was a big misunderstanding.

With all that drama out-of-the-way here are the fine points of this record. There were 1,000 total copies pressed spread evenly across two colors at 500 copies each. A clear with red splatter variant was offered exclusively through ETR’s webstore while a red variants was exclusively offered through Hot Topic. The record comes housed in a gatefold jacket, which is an “old school” style jacket, which simply amounts to it being thicker and slightly larger than normal. The lyrics are printed inside the gatefold jacket. In the audio department, the record was sourced from the CD master, as it was apparently the only thing made available from Epic Records (the major label rights holders of Chroma). This release was also on the pricey side, $25 before shipping for a single LP. Take into account shipping and the price tag jumps up to $30.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Chroma Cartel released what they described as their own pressing of the album in 2015. This pressing is known as the “band pressing” due to the fact that another label, Enjoy The Ride Records (ETR), already released Chroma on vinyl, which you’ve already read about above. To go into a bit more detail, at the time of ETR’s release, controversy swirled around it because they didn’t get the band’s permission to release it. Something ETR has been known for since basically day one.

You see, ETR was called out for licensing out Chroma for a vinyl pressing without asking the band’s permission, even though legally you don’t need the artists’ permission for such an endeavor. Even though most people object to licensing albums without the band’s permission there is nothing wrong with it legally speaking. Just like what happened with ETR’s pressing of RX Bandits’ album Progress, the band (Cartel) called out ETR for, to sum things up; being scum bags. There have been rumors swirling around that there is more to the beef between Cartel and ETR that has not been made public. It wouldn’t surprise me that ETR is shadier than already known to be, but so many people have come out of the wood work over the past year or so to beat the dead horse that is ‘hating on Enjoy The Ride,’ the people repeatedly stirring up those rumors may just be trying to add fuel to the fire. Personally I think the biggest problem Cartel had with ETR pressing Chroma was that ETR released their pressing first, and well before Cartel even announced their own “band pressing” let alone release it, and as a result stole some sales away from the band. Considering they’re selling a 7″ for $15 before shipping, that lends some credence to my opinion.

First off, it should be pointed that the “band pressing” is not self released, so it’s not a band pressing in the truest sense. This latest pressing was released by Field Day Records, which I believe is run by a friend of Cartel. Field Day Records has no website, Facebook page, email or any releases prior to this vinyl release of Chroma. Their lone other release is a 7″ for Cartel’s song “Honestly,” which came out a few weeks ago to commemorate the single going Gold. Cartel refers to Field Day Records as “their label” but I can’t find anything actually pointing to any of the band members having a hand in the label or being otherwise associated with it. During the pre-order phase people were told to contact the band’s manager, not the label apparently releasing the record.

Pre-orders for the “band approved official pressing,” a phrase splashed all over the place with this release, went up in early February 2015 with a scheduled release date of mid April 2015. The release date was timed for the band’s Chroma 10th Anniversary Tour and the pre-orders were launched even though the records weren’t pressed yet. The band set aside half of the pressing to sell online and the other half to sell on tour/sell through ticket bundles. Even though they had over two months to ship pre-orders on time, there were delays. So everyone who ordered a copy with a ticket bundle so they could pick it up at one of the 10th Anniversary shows left empty handed. The records did not start shipping until mid June 2015, two months late. In late July 2015 the leftover copies were put up for sale, which numbered between 25-to-30 copies, which is when I bought one. I decided not to pre-order a copy based on the price (read below) and the fact that Paypal was not accepted by an unknown, apparent upstart “label.” Two red flags in my book.

The “band pressing” of Chroma was pressed as a double LP on white vinyl, limited to 1,000 copies. The record comes housed in a gatefold jacket, which comes in a die-cut slip case. Printed dust sleeves are included rather than an insert or anything of substance on the gatefold jacket. The dust sleeves have the lyrics for each of the songs found on that particular record (Side A/B or C/D) along with liner notes on the reverse side of each sleeve. The jacket itself is rather bland, with whispy designs and colors inspired by the album’s artwork. If you own the CD version of Chroma what is printed on the cover and gatefold of the jacket is taken from the cover art, inlay and insert. All copies are also hand numbered, which is done on the back of the die-cut slip case. It’s also important to note that this pressing was not sourced from the CD like the ETR pressing was.

The cost of this band approved official pressing was $30 before shipping. Tack on the shipping, which was $10, and you have an insanely overpriced release. To make matters worse, some people were receiving damaged records in the mail after paying too much for shipping. In the end though, the shipping situation could have been worse, as they shipped the records via FedEx or in my case, 2-Day USPS Priority Mail. They could have charged $10 for medial mail. And before anyone jumps down my throat or calls me a hypocrite for buying this after complaining it cost too much, know that my out of pocket expense was $0 after selling off some records I no longer listen to or got for free at some point over the years of collecting.

The “band pressing” sounds leaps and bounds better than the first pressing done by ETR. That’s not to say the ETR pressing is complete garbage. I have worse sounding records in my collection than the ETR pressing of Chroma, it just pales in comparison to the “band pressing” The dynamic range is there on the “band pressing.” There is also little to no surface noise. The mastering of the “band pressing,” and the fact that it was stretched out onto two LP’s instead of cramming the album onto one LP, are the key factors to it sounding better. If you’re going to splurge on this record, since every pressing is now OOP, I would splurge on the second pressing, the “band pressing.” But if you’re hard up for cash and are desperate for this album on vinyl, the band pressing could suffice.