Brian Fallon’s debut solo album, Painkillers, is exactly what you’d expect if you have been following his career to this point. A perfect blend of The Gaslight Anthem and The Horrible Crowes. Some people are disappointed with Painkillers, but I have no idea what those people were expecting.
Painkillers essentially has two separate pressings. You could call it variants, but I would go as far as saying separate pressings. But technically, they are part of the first pressing. There is an LP pressing and a 7″ box set pressing, both of which are featured here. Both versions were put up for pre-order at the same time, with the box set getting a much later release date than the standard LP version. The 7″ box set was slate for May or June, and for once a record was released in the early portion of an estimate. The LP was released around the album’s release date of March 9, there were not any delays with it. However, with that said, there may have been a problem with the pressing that caused the distributor or label to pull it. It completely disappeared from many stores and couldn’t be ordered online anywhere for about 2 months. Of course if you looked hard enough you could find it online, but places like Amazon, Interpunk, other online distros and my local record store had it out of stock.
I haven’t heard any complaints about the pressing and there aren’t any glaring errors with it like the wrong music being pressed on the LP (yes, that does happen) or horrible typos anywhere. I asked my local store whether they would get in more copies, fearing the record may have actually gone OOP, and was told it was on hold in their system. Hold essentially meaning un-orderable but the title will be made available again at some point in the future.
The LP version is pressed on black vinyl and features the standard album. It comes with a download card (for WAV files, so be prepared for about a 500 MB file) and an insert. The insert has the lyrics printed on it, which go onto both sides and is divided up by side. The liner notes are printed on the side with the Side B’s lyrics. Pressing info was, and likely never will, be released. Expect there to be thousands of these out there and if it ever does go OOP for it only to be briefly as it will probably be re-pressed to stay in print for the foreseeable future. Given this distributor pull, the record did not get a second pressing during this time. Everything matches up between copies from before the pull and after; the barcode, matrix, etc.
The 7″ box set version comes with seven 7″ records, slid into a slip case box. There are two album tracks per record, with the last record in the set containing the two box set exclusive bonus tracks. These bonus tracks are “The Blues, Mary” and “Digging In The Dirt.” The box set version does not come with a download card, and you don’t get the bonus tracks via the download emailed either, so getting MP3s of the exclusive bonus tracks will be tough. It’s a pretty lame move on Island Records’ part, as you’re already spending $65 on the box set the least they could do is include a download card containing the exclusive bonus tracks. If you order the box set directly from Brian Fallon’s web store you will be sent a download code for the studio album only.
Each 7″ in the box set has unique cover art. They don’t come all come in a jacket with the same artwork, plain sleeves or stock label sleeves. It’s a nice touch, a similar one done with The Gaslight Anthem singles collection 7″ box set, The Killers Hot Fuss 7″ box set (although they all had a similar running theme) and the Taking Back Sunday Happiness Is 7″ box set. The center labels are also color coded to match the colors on the respective jacket. I don’t know how many copies 7″ box set were pressed on, but they’re all on black vinyl.
The 7″ box set is available from a multitude of places. You can buy several options from the official Brian Fallon store ; just the box set for $55 plus shipping, the box set with an autographed poster (same artwork as the booklet cover) for $65 or the box set with the autographed poster and t-shirt (same image as poster) for $85. Island Records’ web store is also selling the box set (without any of the extra goodies) for $55 before shipping. Many indie records stores are also carrying the box set, but they all seem to be charging $65 for it. So the whole sale price of the box set is obviously $55 and stores are marking it up $10. I bought the box set from Amoeba during one of their monthly 15% off sales, so I got it for cheaper than I would have had I bought it from either of the official online stores.