Blink-182 soldiered on after the craziness that was Tom Delonge, who is no longer in the band. Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio fame replaced Tom on guitar and is featured on Blink’s new album; California. It is weird seeing Blink without Tom. Love him or hate him, he was an integral part of the band. While a noticeable difference, Matt Skiba replaces Tom admirably.
California is not the band’s best work, but it’s far from being a bad album. It’s leans more towards a +44 sound than the Blink sound everyone has grown to love over the years. Personally I loved the +44 album, and I love Alkaline Trio, so I’m really enjoying this new Blink-182 album. Two of Blink’s infamous joke tracks are on this album. And there is a lot of oohhing and whoa oh oh-ing on this record to go along with Blink’s traditional na na na na na’s , so be forewarned.
When pre-orders for the album first went up in April 2016 people went nuts over it. There were plenty of bundles to choose from. Most included the same garbage most bundles have; t-shirts and hoodies, but one bundle had a signed drumhead along with a signed record (on the jacket). That drumhead bundle was rather pricey ($90) and sold out in a matter of hours.
Initially there was only one variant of the record available; purple. Purple sold out in two days and Kings Road Merch (KRM), who handled the pre-orders for this album, almost immediately put up a new variant; white. When white sold out they put up another variant; red. It seemed like never-ending variants for this album, which actually panned out to be pretty accurate.
On top of the purple, white, and red, there is also the standard, widely available black vinyl and a UK exclusive color; silver. And of course $hit Topic had to get into the game as well. Their exclusive color is red with black splatter, and you know they have to charge more than anyone else for their exclusive; $25. All the other U.S. variants cost $22 or under. But because KRM handled pre-orders they charged outlandish shipping prices; $11.15 was the cheapest option because they refuse to offer media mail. So that $22 price immediately turned into over $30 for a single LP. Because they staggered the release of the variants, and with KRM apparently refusing to combine orders for anyone, people who wanted all the variants had to pay that $11.15 shipping charge three separate times.
Pressing info has not been released for any of the variants, and don’t expect it to ever be. So don’t trust any sites that have pressing info listed… cough… Discogs…. cough. The numbers were never posted anywhere official during the pre-order phase or post release date, and if they were, they were immediately suspicious because they got vital info wrong like saying “exclusive” when that particular variant was being sold elsewhere. All colors, except for $hit Topic’s red with black splatter, are pressed on 180 gram vinyl though.
All copies of the record, except the red with black splatter, come with a color coded hype sticker in the top right corner. Whatever color the sticker is indicates what color the record itself is. The red w/ black splatter sticker is all black. All the hype stickers are circle and shape and indicate 180 gram vinyl (except for the red w/ black splatter) along with mentioning the color, just in case the color of the sticker isn’t enough. The vinyl version has exclusive, alternate artwork, but it’s a minor change. Instead of a white background it’s a black background for the vinyl version. The record itself come in a printed dust sleeve. The dust sleeve is printed on thick card stock and has the lyrics printed on one side with the liner notes on the opposite side. A download code for high quality 320 kbps MP3s is included with every copy as well.
So to sum up: six variants all on 180 gram vinyl except for the splatter (purple, white, red, black, red w/ black splatter, silver) with pressing info never released for any of them. Pressed as single LP w/ alternate artwork. Record comes in a printed dust sleeve and a download card included. Retail price is around $20.