Archive for February, 2015


After self releasing their fourth studio album, Circa Survive signed with Sumerian Records to release their latest album; Descensus. The pre-order and subsequent handling of future pressings is nothing short of a clusterf*ck.

First, the distros deceptively posted “limited to” numbers with bundles for the new album, and seeing as the record was only available in said bundles, people logically made the conclusion that certain variants were limited to the number advertised with the bundle. But it turned out that number advertised with the bundle was only for the bundle itself, which also included a poster and CD. After a handful, possibly even more people, mailed the label and distro to figure out what was going on, the response received was that there were actually double the amount of records pressed. Initially people were led to believe there were only 500 copies of the band’s exclusive variant, but in reality there were 1,000 copies pressed.

Descensus has three variants for the first pressing, which were all pressed on 180 gram vinyl. The first pressing is not even sold out yet but the label is already selling a second pressing to cash in. The second pressing will get even larger once the rest of the records are made available to the public. For the first pressing there are 1,000 copies on yellow with black splatter, which was a band exclusive and oddly available through two separate distros. This was the variant caught up in the false/deceptive advertising debacle. Next up is, surprise surprise, a Hot Topic exclusive, pressed on clear with blue and white splatter “limited” to 1,000 copies. Last, is a mass retail “exclusive” pressed on black vinyl limited to 3,000 copies. I say “exclusive” because that is what the label calls it, even though the distro handling Circa Survive merch for them is selling copies of it online. Pressing info for the black copies was not announced until after the second pressing went on sale, which happened out of the blue. None of the variants have a sticker on the cover denoted what color the records are, which because majorly important later on if you keep reading.

This album was/is flipper gold, as was expected. The Hot Topic variant sold out online in under a few hours. To be honest, I didn’t monitor it closely or even know exactly when it was intended to go up for sale online, because I was not concerned about buying a record for over $30 when I knew I would be able to snag it for close to $20 elsewhere. What I did see though, were all the cry babies come out of the woodwork after it sold out and copies were put up on ebay with ridiculous BIN’s and starting prices. Face it people, Circa Survive is flipper gold and will always be a target, especially when there is a Hot Topic exclusive involved. Hot Topic is one of the worst when it comes to deterring flippers as they don’t have a purchase limit. You can even argue Hot Topic are flippers themselves seeing as they mark things up at least $5 higher than nearly every other retailer out there.

The second pressing, which as stated above went on sale even before the first pressing sold out, was completely unexpected. The band and label made no hint or mention of it until the records were up for sale. The second pressing has three variants just like the first pressing. Another similarity to the first pressing, is Hot Topic getting the same exact color for their exclusive of the second pressing, which is clear with blue and white splatter, and also “limited” to 1,00 copies. There are plenty of people upset about this and voicing their complaints, and an equal number of people complaining about the people complaining. So typical internet BS. The way I see this dilemma is that it’s clearly a shady move by an already shady company. Is it a problem the record is getting re-pressed? No. What is the problem is choosing the same color. Knowing that the company could have easily requested a different color, knowing that Hot Topic reps work with labels to not only get exclusive variants but what color they will be as well, asking for a new color for the second pressing would have been very easy, and the right thing to do. If the label was just re-pressing all the colors and patterns/schemes they already used, then Sumerian wouldn’t be doing the second pressing on two new colors, as you will read below. Hot Topic chose to go with the some color because it sold out from their website very quickly, and is very likely one of the fastest selling records they ever had. So they wanted to capitalize on the hot selling color by getting more copies of it. With Hot Topic now getting another, at least 1,000 copies of the same color to sell at some point in the future, I foresee lots of people trying to rip people off on the secondary market by listing their second pressing copy of the Hot Topic variant as the first pressing. And there will be absolutely no way of telling them apart so they will get away with it.

The other colors for the second pressing are transparent yellow, limited to an unknown amount and blue limited to 1500 copies. Only 500 of the 1500 blue copies were available through Circa Survive’s distro, a number that was clearly stated this go around. So all seems fine and dandy with the second pressing, until Killer Merch (distro) and Sumerian had a bit of a snafu with shipping.

When the second pressing went up for sale, Sumerian also put up the remaining copies of the yellow with black splatter they had leftover for whatever reason, which was something they hinted at doing but didn’t actually happen for about two months. Some people who ordered those leftover copies of the yellow with black splatter received a copy on transparent yellow vinyl, which up until then was an unannounced variant Sumerian wanted to keep the lid on until later. I believe some people who ordered the blue variant also received the transparent yellow instead as well, but I’m not 100% sure o n that. Apparently there was a filing error and many copies on transparent yellow were stored with the rest of the records. So when orders were being packaged up and shipped, employees were unknowingly sending out the wrong color. KillerMerch’s solution to this; letting almost everyone who received a transparent yellow copy keep it while also still receiving the correct color that they order. They didn’t make people return them in order to receive the correct item that they ordered. But only certain people who received the wrong item, not everyone. If someone ordered more than one copy of the album, of any or both variant(s) they were told to return their order by marking the package as return to sender. They requested this done after sending out replacement orders for the correct items. Now, seeing as 99% of people who ordered multiple copies are flippers, what do you think the odds are of people actually returning their extra copies?

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Manchester Orchestra appeared on yet another soundtrack in 2014, this one of for the Disney/Relativity Media film Earth To Echo. I knew nothing about the movie prior to purchasing the soundtrack, and didn’t even know the movie existed either. After doing some quick research the movie appears to be a blatant rip-off of the classic ET.

The song Manchester Orchestra lends to the soundtrack is “Opposite Sides,” which is a b-side off the band’s fourth studio album, Cope. This is the first time the song has appeared on a 12″ LP record, but not the first appearance of the song on vinyl, as it was included on one of the 7″ records included with the deluxe edition box set of Cope.

The Earth To Echo soundtrack was released by Music On Vinyl, which is a Dutch based label who specialize in soundtracks and re-presses of rare/expensive OOP albums. Since the soundtrack would be an import in The States, the price is going to be higher than it would be otherwise. There were 1,000 copies pressed on light blue 180 gram vinyl, with every copy being individually numbered in gold foil stamping on the back of the jacket in the lower left corner. All copies also come in a resealable protective poly sleeve with a gold Music On Vinyl sticker affixed to the top right corner that denotes what the album/record is.


Enjoy The Ride Records released The Honorary Title’s debut album, Anything Else But The Truth, on vinyl and labeled as a 10th Anniversary release. Strangely though, the label made only one brief mention of the 10th Anniversary pressing through their social media outlets, and made no mention of it after it went up for sale. They did not milk that aspect of the release at all, for whatever reason.

There are four variants for this record, which was pressed as a double LP housed in a gatefold jacket. Three of the four were exclusive to Enjoy The Ride, while the fourth was a Hot Topic exclusive. All of the variants has the C/D-side on green vinyl, which is supposed to match the snake featured in the album artwork but is not even close. So the variants are based off the color of the A/B-side record, and are as follows. There are 100 copies on white with black spots. The black spots are three black circles, not dots, even spaced around the record. There are 150 copies on black and white swirl with oxblood splatter and there are 150 copies on half white/half black with oxblood splatter. Those three are the Enjoy The Ride exclusive variants, which sold out in a few days, and only did so because of the extreme rarity of them. Lastly, there is the Hot Topic exclusive variants, which is half white/half black limited to 600 copies.

The gatefold jacket has the lyrics printed inside, and no insert is included as a result. The vinyl version also has all five of the bonus tracks that were included with the double-CD re-release of Anything Else But The Truth from 2006 (album’s original release was in 2004). The bonus tracks are found at the end of the original release version of the album, starting witht the third track on the C-side running through to the end of the album. The bonus tracks, in order as they appear, are as follows: “Soft, Pale And Pure,” “Reason To Celebrate,” “Never Said,” “Smoking Pose (alternate version)” and “Bridge And Tunnel (alternate version).”

An interesting thing was discovered about Enjoy The Ride’s partnership with Hot Topic, which many people overlooked and I think Ross from ETR let slip without realizing. I’m sure after reading this blog entry he will delete the post mentioning it from the message board though. But I took a screen shot of it to save for posterity. Apparently Hot Topic had ETR sign a contract forcing ETR to price match Hot Topic on every ETR release that has a Hot Topic exclusive variant. So that explains the ridiculous price tags associated with most of ETR releases of late ($24.50 for this Honorary Title record and $25 for the single LP Cartel release). It’s not an excuse for the prices by any means, and the cash grab aspect is purely on Hot Topic in this case, but if Ross from ETR had any integrity (which is laughable at this point given the long track record of questionable things he has done since day one) he wouldn’t go into business with Hot Topic after seeing they would force him to artificially inflate the prices of his releases. The way I look at it; it’s yet another reason not to buy anything Hot Topic.

Before people get on their high horses and call me a hypocrite; I try my damndest to not buy records from Hot Topic, but my wallet is the judge and jury in the end. If I can buy a record for drastically cheaper than anywhere else, as was the case with this particular record (by taking advantage of dimwitted new employees during Hot Cash), I will bite the bullet and buy it. For the most part if there are several variants for a record that include a Hot Topic exclusive, I won’t buy it from Hot Topic even if it is a better looking record, matches the artwork better or is more rare. And before people get on their high horses about that last statement; yes the music sounds the same no matter the color of vinyl the record is pressed on, but why should I not be allowed to choose what color I purchase using logic and rationale I deem worthy if there are several choices at my disposal.

In mid 2016 Anything Else But The Truth is getting re-pressed, this time by Doghouse Records themselves. Price is about the same as the first press, and since it hasn’t been released yet no word on if the bonus tracks are on the second pressing.


New Found Glory’s eighth studio album and 12th release overall was released in early October 2014 and is entitled Resurrection. The album marks the band’s first release as a four-piece, as guitarist Steve Klein left the band earlier that year. It’s not the end of the band’s firsts though, as this is their first album on Hopeless Records, who are snatching up old scene stalwarts to rebuild their roster. In my opinion Resurrection is also the band’s worst release to date. It’s almost a complete departure from the band’s signature pop punk sound, transforming into a more straight up hardcore sound that more closely follows the modern day pop punk sound. Seeing as New Found Glory are one of the pioneers of pop punk, it’s awful to see them morph into the garbage pop punk of today. Any way you look at it the sound of Resurrection is louder, lower chords and harder.

Now all that being said, Resurrection is by no means a bad album, it’s simply the band’s worst. Had this not been an album deep into New Found Glory’s career, first as a four-piece or first without one of their founding members (if they had replaced Steve), it would likely be a great album. Basically, had there been no precedence, Resurrection would stand on its own just fine. The album is a grower though, but I can’t ever see myself listening to it in the car, which is the ultimate test in my opinion of an album’s staying power. Which is a shame because coming from the northeast, New Found Glory is a band you play on the first warm day of the year when you can drive with the windows down for the first time in months.

Resurrection was pressed as a single LP and comes in a glossy, photo dust sleeve. The dust sleeve would be full color, except for the fact that the printing is done in black and white, so technically it’s not, even though the sleeve is in the style of full color dust sleeves. The dust sleeve has the lyrics printed on one side and liner notes printed on the opposite side. A download card is included, but it’s for awful 192 kbps MP3’s, which sadly is a trend for Hopeless releases. Hopeless usually offers up low quality MP3 downloads with their records, which really needs to stop.

The complete pressing info had not been released, that is until now. Initially the only variant that had pressing info announced was clear with black splatter, which is limited to 1,800 copies and is exclusive to Hopeless Records’ web store. However, there are several other variants for this album. There is a Hot Topic exclusive pressed on half pink/half lift green with purple splatter, which is limited to 750 copies. There is a Glamour Kills exclusive, which is half black/half white limited to 300 copies. Glamour Kills might sound like an odd place to have an exclusive variant for a record, let alone be selling records to begin with as they’re a clothing company, but the variant was set up because New Found Glory was headlining the Glamour Kills tour. The Glamour Kills variant did not go on sale until well after the Hopeless Records pre-orders launched. The last variant for the first pressing is black, which is limited to 4,000 copies. Black copies are available through everywhere other than the above mentioned exclusive retailers. Other than the Glamour Kills variant, there are no stickers denoting what color the vinyl is on the front of the jacket.

When the band announced their Spring 2015 tour in December 2014, they announced a special, VIP ticket bundle exclusive variant for Resurrection. No word on what color vinyl it will be pressed on or how many copies there will be, only that there will be an exclusive hand numbered slip cover.

*** Update with more detail on the tour cover – July 2015 ***

To coincide with their Spring 2015 tour, the band released a tour exclusive cover for Resurrection. This cover is silk screened, and is a fold over slip cover that is designed to go over top of the original jacket. Each tour cover is hand numbered, and was only available via VIP ticket packages. These VIP packages cost $80 and included a general admission ticket, exclusive sound check performance, meet & greet/photo op with the band, tour poster and coffee mug on top of the tour cover of Resurrection. There was also a $60 option that included all those exclusive items but did not include a general admission ticket.

The tour cover has artwork taken from the “Sleep When I Die” Tour that was used for the tour posters and promo images for the tour. The hand numbering is done in silver ink on the front of the slip cover in the bottom right corner. The back of the slip cover has all the tour dates printed on it along with the band’s logo they’re using for Resurrection. The record itself comes on black vinyl. Pressing info was never released for the tour exclusive cover, but there are 4,000 copies on black vinyl. So we know the tour cover can’t exceed 4,000 copies. The band never announced how many VIP tickets were available per show, so the only number I can go on for how many copies of the tour exclusive cover were made is based on my personal copy of it; 541. Pictures of the tour cover are few and far between.

Prices on the tour exclusive cover range widely. A few sold for over $50, but that was over a year ago and closer to when the tour finished or was still going on. Other copies sold for closer to $30 though. I bought my copy for a little over $25 shipped, over a year after the tour completed. The $50 copies were autographed, so that may attribute to the higher price. Whatever the price, tour copies are hard to find. They rarely pop up for sale on ebay or via other means on the secondary market. So if you see one you should probably snatch it up. I wouldn’t advise anyone to spend $50 on a record, especially a variant, but how high you’re willing to go on this tour exclusive is up to you and how badly you want it.

People might be wondering where this pressing info came from since it’s not posted anyway for the most part. Well, first of, all of the pressing info posted on this blog is obtained from legit sources; i.e. from the label and/or band themselves. So the info is straight from the horse’s mouth. The other obvious source of the pressing info is pre-order/order pages for records when they go up. Even if I didn’t buy the record yet, I either take screen shots of web stores/websites/facebook/twitter/instagram where the pressing info is posted or either make a Word document for it so i can easily recall the numbers when I go to update my blog.

So I have a contact at Hopeless Records, who has been very helpful over the years with sorting out issues with mail order stuff from them and obtaining pressing info. No, I won’t give of their contact info.

 

 


2014 was quite the year for post My Chemical Romance projects, as Frank Iero and Gerard Way each released albums with their new projects. Gerard Way released his debut solo album, Hesitant Alien, in late September 2014. The vinyl version features exclusive, alternate artwork that differs from that used with the CD and digital versions. Instead of a photo of him, it’s a drawing.

Hesitant Alien was pressed on two colors for the first pressing; black and clear. Clear is a Hot Topic exclusive, and black is widely available everywhere else. I’m not sure of the pressing info for a couple factors, first being the album is on a major label, who rarely release pressing info. Second, Hot Topic seemingly refuses to post pressing info for their exclusive variants now; which is no doubt a sales tactic on their part. A rep from Hot Topic said in response to not releasing pressing info; “I don’t do it because people get angry when it (the album) gets re-pressed.” That reason is complete BS. There are rumors that there are 1,000 copies pressed on clear vinyl, but that has yet to be substantiated, although many people take it for truth.

The record comes in a glossy full color dust sleeve, which has the lyrics printed on both sides. This dust sleeve is in place of an insert since the lyrics and brief liner notes are printed on it. A download card is included, but make sure you use Firefox to access the download because it will not work with Interne Explorer. I did not try Google Chrome for the download because I don’t use that browser, so it may very well work with Chrome. What I can guarantee is that you can’t use IE to download the album, but Firefox will work.


The Gaslight Anthem’s fan club, the 45 RPM Club, is still going “strong.” I use “strong” in the weakest sense since it had a rocky start that turned into a landslide, with the club currently running like an engine down a cylinder. If you remember from my other post for the first fan club record last year, there were many issues with fan club members actually getting what was entitled to them for signing up, mainly the 7″, which is the sole reason most people signed up. Those same problems persisted with this latest annual 7″ for the fan club, but not at as high a percentage. Instead of 95% of members not getting their 7″, only about 75% of the people who signed up for the fan club for its second year didn’t get the 7″. It’s important to mention that previous fan club members from 2013 were not automatically renewed for the second year, 2014. If anyone, even previous fan club members, wanted to remain part of or join the fan club for the first time, they had to pay for a new year’s membership.

The band/infinite merch/punkrockmusic did things differently with this year’s fan club 7″. First off, they did several variants for it, where the first year’s 7″ only had one color pressed. The 7″ also comes in a traditional jacket rather than a thin glossy paper sleeve/jacket like the first year’s 7″ did. For the second year the “45 RPM Club Annual Record Volume X” was dropped from the record’s title. Instead they opted for a track-by-track title, which led to the title of this year’s fan club record being Anywhere I Lay My Head b/w This Is Where We Part.

Another change with how the fan club was run in 2014 as compared to 2013, was that there was a surcharge for a vinyl package, which was an additional $20 on top of the fee to join the club itself. So there was a regular fan club membership, that did not include the 7″, and another, more expensive vinyl membership where you got everything from the base membership plus the exclusive fan club 7″. The basic membership cost $20, cheaper than in 2013 but it also included the 7″ at no additional cost. The vinyl membership cost $40, which is more than the $25 for the 2013 membership that included not only a 7″, but an exclusive t-shirt, stickers and membership ID card. The price increase is arguably the biggest change. There is still one more catch with the fan club for 2014 that nobody saw coming, the fact that there would be additional variants made of the 7″ that would be made available to every member, even those not part of the vinyl membership and did not pay the additional $20. In early April 2014 the fan club put up three new colors for the fan club 7″, charging $8 (before shipping) for them. The fan club exclusive color given out to vinyl membership holders was also put up for sale for $8 along with the other three colors. This is a gigantic slap in the face to everyone who shelled out an additional $20 to get a somewhat exclusive record. The band/infinite merch/punkrockmusic essentially stole $12 from countless people. To add even further insult to injury, in late October 2014 the price was cut in half to $4 per 7″.

The pressing info for Anywhere I Lay My Head b/w This Is Where We Part is as follows; 400 copies on electric green, 400 copies on blue, 400 copies on clear and an unknown amount of copies on coke bottle green. Odds are the coke bottle green has more than 400 copies, as that color was given out to fan club members who subscribed to the vinyl package. As everyone probably already figured out, the 7″ has two songs on it, one on each side. “Anywhere I Lay My Head,” a Tom Waits cover, is on the A-side, with “This Is Where We Part,” a Twopointeight cover, on the B-side. “This Is Where We Part” is exclusive to this 7″ and previously unreleased. The song is also part of the Get Hurt sessions along with “Anywhere I Lay My Head,” which was released as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of Edition Get Hurt.

Because there have been so many issues with people actually get the records in, whether it be the initial batch intended for vinyl membership holders or people who placed an order for any of them afterwards, I waited to buy a copy of this 7″ on the secondary market to have a better chance of actually receiving it. Rather than have a fan club member buy one for me, which countless people did, I wanted to make sure the person I was buying the record from actually had it in hand. I didn’t have to pay flipper prices either, or even a huge markup on the “retail” price. I paid $10 shipped for my copy.