Archive for November, 2015


The idea behind this split is somewhat unique, but it’s not the first time something like this has been done. There are many splits out there where bands cover each other’s songs, and it’s somewhat of a tradition. Sometimes the splits are straight up covers where the song being covered has already been released prior to the split being released, so the band doing the cover already has an idea of the song’s melody. Then there are other splits where the song being covered has not been released, and the band doing the cover is handed over the lyrics and they’re left to their own devices musically. Lastly there are splits where the lead singer of each band on the split swaps bands and covers the other’s song(s).

This split featuring The Wonder Years and Motion City Soundtrack actually falls into two of those categories. The lead singers of each band swapped outfits and each act’s respective songs had not been released prior to the split being recorded. So you have the bands playing the songs they know and wrote, only with a new singer that doesn’t really fit their respective molds nor does he know how the song is supposed to be sung.

The Wonder Years song being covered is “A Song For Patsy Cline” off their latest album No Closer To Heaven. The title of the song on this split is also re-worked to be “(Sort Of) A Song For Patsy Cline.” The Motion City Soundtrack song being covered is “It’s A Pleasure To Meet You” off their latest album Panic Stations. For the split the song’s title was also re-worked, becoming “It’s (Sort Of) A Pleasure To Meet You.”

Initially there was some confusion about this split, with some people thinking it was a tour exclusive or would be sold on the band’s co-headlining tour. This stemmed from the fact that the split was announced after the start of the tour with a scheduled release date during the tour, and that people who ordered the VIP ticket package had first dibs on ordering a copy of the split online ahead of the general public (October 9 instead of October 12) through an exclusive access code. As a result many people thought a couple things; this was a tour split and you could pick up a copy ordered online at your respective tour date during the VIP events. Both of those speculations turned out to be false, as the entire pressing of this split 7″ was sold online and would only be available online through mail-order. Another crucial fact that was wrong about this was a huge lie about VIP ticket package purchasers having exclusive first access to the ordering the split on October 9, as the general public could order copies on October 9 without orders being cancelled. It might have been a glitch, but no official statement from Merchnow nor either of the bands about it. In the end it wasn’t that big of a deal because the split didn’t sell out in one day let alone a few hours or minutes.

There were 2,000 total copies of this split 7″ pressed; 1,000 copies on red and 1,000 copies on green. Upon getting my copy in the mail there is a sticker on the cover that says opaque red instead of simply red. I’m not sure of the green is opaque or translucent.

One thing that surprised me about this split is that it sold very slowly at first even though the general public could buy it the same day as the “VIP exclusive” pre-order. Hopeless and both bands even posted on social media that it was available for purchase, and it was posted on a message board when members there figured out that anyone could buy it, not just VIP purchases.

About 300 total copies were sold until a few days later, October 12, 2015, the day of the on sale to general public. Once the bands, mainly the Wonder Years, posted about the split being available to the public it sold very well, but still took over one day to sell out. Which was surprising given The Wonder Year’s rabid fan base.

What was even more surprising is that the green variant sold out much faster than the red. The green sold out in a little over one day, but the red still had just under 300 copies left at the time green sold out. Why this happened I have no clue. Green was not a Wonder Years exclusive color. In fact, neither color was a band, tour or exclusive to anything. The red copies sold out in a couple days.

The split comes in a regular jacket with no insert or anything of that nature. A download card is included though, for high quality 320 kbps MP3s.

Motion City Soundtrack - The Wonders Years Split - Copy

 

 


To mark the 10th Anniversary of Say Anything’s breakthrough album, …Is A Real Boy, Doghouse Records re-pressed the album yet again, but this time doing a box set containing four 10″ records along with a bonus 7″ of previously unreleased songs. Before the first pressing of this box set even sold out Doghouse put up a completely unnecessary second pressing. However, the first pressing was not without its problems.

The colors Doghouse announced for the first pressing and the mock ups that went along with them turned out to be completely wrong from how the finished product turned out. Doghouse didn’t even acknowledge that the colors were blatantly wrong, even after posting pictures of all the variants on social media. People’s reactions were like hot sauce; some people were slightly upset, some were mildly upset and some were livid while others could care less.

Before delving further into the color debacle, here is the pressing info for the first pressing of the box set. There were 200 copies half & half splatter, with 100 of them being available in test press bundle. Yes, Doghouse pressed 100 tests and sold all of them. The test press bundle cost $130. Noting the price for the test press bundle, you could buy that half & half splatter variant without test pressing for $65. The half & half splatter was supposed to be half white/half green w/ black splatter but came out half yellow/half green w/ green/brown/black splatter.

Next up is a variant limited 300 copies, which was supposed to be purple/white/green tri-color but came out red/white/green instead. There is a variant limited to 500 copies on color in color that was supposed to be purple/white but came out orange/white. Lastly there are 1400 copies on purple, which is the only variant to come out as intended. The purple /1400 variant cost $55 while all the other variants cost either $60 (tri-color & color in color) or $65 (splatter) simply because they were rarer. To date the only variant not to sell out is the purple.

On top of the color mix up, the records were delayed for a few months. Pre-orders went up in December 2014 with a scheduled release date in May 2015. The box sets did not start shipping until July 2015. To make matters worse Doghouse seemed to sparingly ship orders, as quite a few people had to pester Doghouse about actually shipping their order. As if more things couldn’t hit the fan; better duck and cover. When Doghouse finally did start shipping orders they discovered they oversold one of the variants (color in color /500) and offered people the least rare variant (purple /1400) as a replacement.

I never pre-ordered this for multiple reasons. First was the months-long preorder, second was a combo between the prices and how many copies were being pressed, and lastly was the fact Doghouse was shipping orders, as I know from others’ past horror stories they are hit or miss when it comes to fulfilling orders and with customer service. But when I finally ordered a copy of the purple variant in September 2015, almost one year after pre-orders first went live, I was very pleased with how the box set turned out.

The box has a glossy finish and the band’s name/logo is embossed with green foil. There is a hype sticker on the cover (box comes shrink-wrapped) indicating this box set is a “Special 10th Anniversary Box Set.” All the records inside the box come in full color, glossy dust sleeves. It’s minimal color, as only the album title, track names and Doghouse Records logo are printed on the sleeves. A full size (for a 10″ release) booklet is included, which has stories from the era in the words of Max Bemis. It highlights the recording process, where Max was as a person at the time and him reflecting on that time from today’s perspective. My only complaint is that the booklet is very short, it’s only six pages. The bonus 7″ features two songs; “But A Fleeting Illness” on the a-side and an acoustic version of “Belt” on the b-side. Both songs on the 7″ had never been released prior to this release.

As aforementioned, before the first pressing sold out Doghouse announced and put up for pre-order a second pressing. This second pressing went up for sale in early September 2015, which was before I bought my copy from the first pressing. Doghouse ordered the same colors that got screwed up from the first pressing. And they’re still charging more for the rarer variants and still ordering 100 “test pressings.” The pressing info for the second pressing is as follows: 200 copies on half white/half green w/ black splatter (cost $65, $5 more than other variants because rarest. 100 copies available in test press bundle. Test press bundle initially cost $120 but was inexplicably lowered to $100 about a week after pre-orders went up). 300 copies on transparent green w/ white marble ($60) and 400 on transparent yellow w/ “heavy” white splatter ($60).

Doghouse unfortunately still hasn’t learned their lesson with pre-orders, as they expect this second pressing to be ready to ship by November 2015. Seeing as they couldn’t ship the first pressing by the scheduled release date, which was five months away, I foresee the second pressing running into the same problems as the first pressing. Hopefully for anyone who orders a copy from the second pressing, the colors aren’t screwed up this time as well.

Below I’m including photos of the mock-ups Doghouse made and posted in their webstore, with the pictures (posted on Doghouse’s social media) of how each variant turned out next to its respective mock-up. If not obvious enough, these photos are at the end of the gallery. For information and photos of the first pressing of this record, which was pressed as a double LP, check here – Say Anything – …Is A Real Boy 2xLP (1st Press)