Completely out of the blue Equal Vision Records put up Armor For Sleep’s album What To Do When You Are Dead for sale. No pre-order, just place an order and it shipped. This marks the first time the album has been released on vinyl, and it coincides with the album’s 10th Anniversary and the band’s tour to celebrate it. Considering the tour was announced not too long ago and the records were already ready to ship, the label has been working on this vinyl release for quite a while and managed to keep it under wraps the whole time. It’s refreshing to see a label not resort to pre-orders.
Initially there was some confusion about pressing info, with people on a message board speculating the record was limited to 250 copies based solely on a stock check on Merchnow (the distro hosting Equal Vision’s webstore). That person/people jumped the gun a bit, as Equal Vision didn’t even officially announce the release yet despite it being up for sale on Merchnow. Once Equal Vision announced the release, about an hour after it was first posted on a message board, they eventually announced the pressing info via Facebook, which is 1,000 copies. Equal Vision responded to every single comment left on their Facebook page regarding this release, but it seems like they have a 16-year-old girl managing their Facebook as most of the responses had every letter capitalized, emojis and unnecessary exclamation points. Most of the replies were just hyping up the release to sell more copies, but they did finally announce the pressing info after being purposely vague about it at first by saying things like “it’s extremely limited.” “Extremely limited” is not 1,000 copies. That is a standard run that many bands can’t even sell out of.
Even though Equal Vision seemingly communicated well about some of the details about this release, the complete pressing info is still vague at this point, as there is one other variant out there without any pressing info attached to it. So that 1,000 copies number from Equal Vision could mean 1,000 copies of the black with green marble variant or 1,000 copies total, which would mean there are less than 1,000 copies of the black with green marble variant.
It should be pointed out that with all the scrambling regarding the black with green marble variant; Hot Topic conveniently announced their own exclusive variant after the black with green marble variant sold out online. In all likelihood this was done purposely by Hot Topic. And of course pressing info for the Hot Topic variant was purposely withheld. The Hot Topic variant is on pink vinyl, as if there could be a worse color to pick for this album considering its theme. Hot Topic, again to no one’s surprise, is charging more for their exclusive variant than Merchnow did, $22.50. They also put it up for sale about one month after it was first released.
The black with green marble variant sold out online in about three hours, but it’s important to point out that the entire stock of said variant was not available online as the band is selling copies of it at their shows on their 10th Anniversary Tour. Merchnow also pulled a page out of Hot Topic’s how to be shady book, as they slowly added more copies for sale after the record appeared to be sold out. I know this because I was periodically checking the stock level to see if I needed to buy it sooner rather than later. The stock started out around 200 when I discovered the message board thread, shot down to about 175 around 45 minutes later, then plummeted to 75 after it was officially announced on multiple social media platforms and accounts, which is when I bought it. I continued to monitor the stock for the sake of this blog so I could report how quickly it sold out for those curious about that sort of thing, when it got down to less than 20 copies then all of a sudden shot back up to about 250 copies. It then quickly dwindled over the course of an hour and a half to sell out online. Again, the band is selling some copies of the black with green marble variant at shows on their 10th Anniversary Tour for What To Do When You Are Dead.
Merchnow shipped out these records very quickly. I ordered it on a Friday afternoon and received it the following Monday. People in California, which is across the country from Merchnow’s warehouse in upstate New York, also received their order the same day as me via media mail. Upon opening my copy it looks nothing like the mock-up/picture posted on the item page on Merchnow. Instead of having a ring of green marble around the center, it’s interspersed around the entire record. It looks exactly like the camo variant of the first pressing of Fall Out Boy’s Take This To Your Grave. I usually don’t get excited over what variants look like or order certain variants because they look cool, but I was excited about getting this variant of What To Do When You Are Dead because it looked cool and it matched the artwork and theme of the album so well.
The record comes in a single pocket jacket and has two inserts inside, with one of them being a mini booklet. If you have the CD version of What To Do When You Are Dead then you know the mini booklet I’m talking about, as the vinyl version comes with that same booklet only its larger in size. Both booklets (CD & vinyl version) are scaled to fit each release, and I’ve included a picture of both of them side by side for comparison. The regular insert has lyrics printed on one side with the liner notes printed on the reverse side. The mini booklet artwork and imagery was also used on promo material, mainly posters (which you can still buy. I got mine at Skate & Surf back in 2005), back when the album was first released in 2005. I’m including a picture of one of those promo posters which you can see in the photos below.
I noticed some people are upset this does not include the non-album bonus track “Very Invisible.” While it would be nice to have that song on the vinyl version of the album, it logistically makes sense that the song is not included seeing as it was an iTunes exclusive bonus track. Oddly, nobody is upset the vinyl version of the album does not include the pre-gap hidden track from the CD version of the album, “One Last Regret” aka Suicide Song, which is a song Equal Vision could have easily included seeing as they own all the rights to it.
So to wrap things up; there may or may not be 1,000 copies pressed on black with green marble, there is an unknown amount of copies on pink vinyl which is a Hot Topic exclusive and the release as a whole is essentially a scaled up version of the CD version of the album.