Archive for December, 2015


Chris Farren released his Christmas album, Like A Gift From God Or Whatever, last year (2014) but it saw its first physical release a year later (2015) as Soft Speak Records had it pressed on vinyl on three different variants. Two of the variants are based on color, with the third having an alternate cover. This alternate cover was a Fest 14 exclusive only available at Farren’s solo show at The Fest in 2015. There were 30 copies of the Fest Exclusive pressed, and I’m assuming they come on red vinyl based on the pressing info. There were 100 copies pressed on gold and an odd 270 copies on red, so you see why I made an educated case with the Fest exclusive coming with a copy of the LP on red vinyl.

*** After Chris Farren got in touch with me I can make a correction that the Fest Press is on black vinyl. They’re test presses. So strike the “they’re likely on red vinyl” I mentioned above.***

The fest exclusive comes in card stock cover, which has a die-cut snowman in the center. There is either a red & white polka dot insert behind the snowman, which shows through the die-cut portion, or it’s affixed to the cardstock cover. I’ve never seen a copy of the fest exclusive and have seen only one picture to go on. There is a red ribbon tied around all four sides of the cover to complete the Christmas present theme behind the packaging. All fest exclusives are also hand-numbered /30 in silver felt pen.

To make the first physical release of the album a little bit more special, a new, previously unreleased song was added as a bonus track. The song, entitled “Cold Front” features Evan Weiss of Into It. Over It. fame. In fact the entire album features a ton of guest vocalists and performers as every song has Chris Farren joined by someone. Another aspect of the physical release (and all digital albums too, at least for the month of December) is that proceeds from sales are going to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Like A Gift From God Or Whatever comes in a single pocket jacket, which is quite thin, and also includes an insert. A download card is not included but you are emailed a download link after purchase. The artwork and packaging was designed by Jeff Rosenstock (Bomb The Music Industry!), and is done in a retro style. The center labels are also done in the Christmas spirit, with Side A being red and Side B being green.


In a surprise announcement The Modern Post (Dustin Kensrue side/solo project) released his second/first Christmas release; Lowborn King, on vinyl for the first time. The EP was released by BEC Recordings and is pressed as a 10″ on four different variants. The 10″ comes on oxblood/reflective gold limited to 100 copies, oxblood limited to 100 copies, gold limited to 100 copies and black limited to 200 copies.

This pressing got very little attention or promotion other than one or two Twitter posts. It was barely even mentioned on one of the most popular vinyl message boards. The only /100 variant to sell out (as of posting this) is the oxblood/reflective gold. Aside from the little promotion of the release, the main problem lies with the webstore selling the 10″ has a hyperlink problem which makes the store appear to not load. So people think they can’t buy it because the store won’t load. The hyperlink is to a specific item that is no longer available, so all you have to do is remove the nonsense at the end of the link in your address bar in your browser so the only there is http://becrecordings.merchline.com/

I opted for the 2-day priority mail shipping option because it was only 1 penny more than the cheapest shipping option available, so I got my copy very quickly (had this since Monday but didn’t post it till today). I was very disappointed when I opened it to see there is next to no gold on my copy. I usually don’t care about the way records look or get too concerned with what color it is, which sounds the coolest, etc. But in this case the oxblood/reflective gold sounded awesome because it should have matched the album art perfectly and if the gold was truly reflective it would be one of the more unique variants out there let alone in my collection.

You can see for yourself from the pictures below; there is little to no gold on the a-side of my copy (it’s little smatters around the edges) and the b-side has a decent chunk of “gold” around the center and that’s it. The gold is also not reflective, even when I hold it to the light as advised. It simply look likes someone took on dump on a record.

The record does not come with an insert. It also does not come with a download card and you’re not emailed one after purchasing the record either. While this record is somewhat on the cheap side, the fact that it’s just a record stuffed into a jacket makes the price worse. Especially considering it would’ve been cheaper had they pressed it as a 12″ instead of the more expensive 10″.

 

Against Me! – 23 Live Sex Acts

Posted: December 2, 2015 in Vinyl
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Against Me! released their second live album, 23 Live Sex Acts, in 2015. The triple LP release comes in a tri-fold jacket on a handful of variants. Initially there was some confusion about what the colors would be and where they would be available/exclusive to. There appeared to be an indie store exclusive color, but it turned out to be the same color as the colored variant available from Total Treble Records. My local record store and Total Treble had the album up for pre-order with the description of clear with blue and yellow splatter; a variant that turned out to not exist, at least not exactly. The color that it turned out being was essentially marble sea foam green/mint green/teal. The marbling is hints of blue. I used all three color descriptions because they are all fitting for it and have been used by multiple people to describe it. Judge for yourself based on the photos below. This variant is also 180 gram.

The colored variant cost $5 more than the “standard” black vinyl, $35 instead of $30. If you take out the fact they’re charging for more colored vinyl, a controversial practice, the price for this album, a triple LP, is not bad at all. I usually draw a line with buying a variant if it costs more than another, but in this case I bought this from my local record store after using a $10 reward credit, making the album cost $25 instead of $35. They didn’t carry it on black vinyl, so I couldn’t have picked this up for $20 instead of $25, but I’m content.

There are only three variants for 23 Live Sex Acts; this “splatter” variant that is an indie record store and Total Treble “exclusive,” black and a UK exclusive which is the first LP on blue/second LP on yellow/third LP on white. Pressing info for any of the variants has not been released, and it likely never will be. But that fact doesn’t prevent people from speculating how many copies of the “splatter” were pressed based solely on stock levels available online, even though the “splatter” is also available in physical record stores around the country on top of being sold online. All copies come with a download code.

It’s important to note that there are two different hype stickers for this album depending on the variant. Black vinyl copies come with a white sticker and colored vinyl copies come with a black sticker. Kind of goes against logic not using the black sticker for black vinyl but to each their own. The writing found on each sticker is also different. The colored vinyl stickers (black sticker) reads “COLORED VINYL?! WOW! GREAT! AND IT’S THICK! HOT SH!T! 180 GRAMS! SO BIG!” The black vinyl sticker (white sticker) reads “23 NEW! DEEP CUTS! RECORDED LIVE IN KIEV, INDIANA! FEATURING ALL THE HITS AND MISSES!

The songs featured on the album are collected from various shows on Against Me!’s 2014 tour, as obviously Kiev, Indiana doesn’t exist. With that said there is a big issue with the track listing. Not what song(s) they omitted or included, but what version of a song they decided was ok to put on the album given the fact they recorded multiple shows. The version of “New Wave” they included has close to two minutes of stage banter/an argument with security over someone getting kicked out of the show. And after it the band stops playing the song for good and the track is over on the album. Out of the 3:30 song, we got literally 1 minute of it. What was the point of including this version of “New Wave?” Anyone who has been to a show has heard bands argue with security for various reasons, talk to the sound engineer or lighting guy.


Even though they broke up one year prior, Anberlin would not bow out quietly as the band released a double live album on vinyl in late 2015. The double LP set contains two separate studio albums, Never Take Friendship Personal and Cities, each played live front to back. The recordings were taken from one at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City during the band’s 2014 farewell tour, hence the name of this release; Never Take Friendship Personal And Cities Live In New York City.

When this live album first went up for pre-order, people immediately started speculating about variants, well, because people are variant crazy. To help fuel the speculation places like Amazon, Best Buy and $hit Radio Cast all put up pre-orders way before an official one from Tooth & Nail Records was launched, with very little information other than “hey this is coming out buy it from us before you realize you can get it elsewhere.” When Tooth & Nail finally put up the official pre-order more information came out. Tooth & Nail released the pressing info, which was 2,000 copies on royal blue and “crush” orange, but even then that did not stop people from anticipating other variants, and even believing there were other variants out there despite the fact it was confirmed the blue/orange would be the only variant.

As aforementioned, this was pressed as a double LP on colored vinyl, with Never Take Friendship Personal coming on royal blue and Cities coming on “crush” orange. There were 2,000 copies pressed total, with the only variant being this blue/orange one. The records are housed in a gatefold jacket and each one comes in its own printed dust sleeve. This is hands down the blandest packaging job ever. The Beatles White Album has more to it than Never Take Friendship Personal And Cities Live In New York City. As you can see from the photos of the release below, the album art is all white with very tiny text in the top left corner for the album title. The gatefold jacket has a black & white photo along with the credits in black ink. The printed dust sleeves also have small black & white photos on each side. There is a hype sticker on the front, but guess what, it’s black. And to make matters worse, there is also a glaring typo on the hype sticker as well. The sticker reads “Two Classic Anberlin Albums Played Live, Start To Finish, Form The 2014 Farewell Tour.” Did you spot the typo? Because someone at Tooth & Nail clearly didn’t.

Pre-orders first went up in early June with a release date of early September, and despite all that time and the relatively small pressing for Anberlin’s rabid fan base, this record has yet to sell out. Prices on this range around $30, with Tooth & Nail charging $28 before shipping for it down to sellers on ebay selling it for $25 ppd or less. A download card/code is not included with the release no matter where you buy it from, however, if you buy this directly from Tooth & Nail you will be emailed a download code. Apparently due to licensing rights and legalities surrounding it (Tooth & Nail had to license the songs for a physical release from Universal Records) a download card/code could not be included with the vinyl release. I want to believe the download code via email is the reason Tooth & Nail is one of the more expensive places to buy this record from, but I doubt that is the real reason behind their price.