Say what you will about $hit Radio Cast ($RC), I know I bash them any chance I get, but for the most part their releases have been of top quality. But this release, Cartel’s self-titled album, is awful by their standards. This release erases all the positivity, however small, about them. Their more recent releases have had more frills, with nicer details and more attention paid to the finer points. Like going for a gatefold jacket (even for single LPs), fold out inserts or booklets, 180 gram vinyl and proper mastering. After getting my hands on this Cartel – s/t record I can see that their releases are actually not complete cash grabs.
This record, even though it’s a double LP, comes in a standard jacket. Albeit a larger pocket one. An insert is included, but it’s a standard single sheet, two-sided one on glossy paper. The records are on aren’t on 180 gram vinyl though. This album was apparently mastered for vinyl by Stan Ricker but you wouldn’t know it after listening to it. Odds are a digital master was used, and there is only so much you can do with that. And let’s not forget this album was record as a gimmick in that MTV reality show called Band In A Bubble. If you’re not familiar with that show is was a train wreck; the band was locked in a house with clear walls on a pier in New York City. They lived there and recorded the album in it with producer Wyclef Jean. So this album not sounding fantastic if not fault of Stan Ricker’s at all.
After all that $RC still charged $30 for this record. The same amount as their outstanding Jimmy Eat World reissues but without all the frill. This album was released during a span where $RC was actually releasing pressing info for their releases. So there are 500 copies on 180 gram translucent green and 1,000 copies on 180 gram translucent gold. I’m assuming green is exclusive to $RC because they tend not to send out the rarer variant to distros. So odds are if you buy this record from your local record store or online somewhere other than $RC you will get the gold variant. But obviously you have your choice of green or gold vinyl if you order directly from $RC as neither variant is anywhere close to selling out.
In fact, it’s sold so poorly that $RC put this on clearance for 50% off; so $15 before shipping. I would’ve preferred to get this for even cheaper, but I bought this album with a bigger order of three other records. So in the end I spent/saved the same amount of money by not having to pay shipping for multiple orders. I bought all the $RC releases I wanted in one for swoop.