Archive for December, 2016


There are many Christmas albums and compilations. Almost every band/artist has recorded at least one Christmas carol during their career, with many releasing entire albums. But every once in a while there is a compilation that features not only many great artists, but some of them performing the perfect Christmas carol. This is one of those Christmas albums.

A Very Special Christmas was originally released in 1987, and was a benefit album for the Special Olympics. It was re-released several times over the years, most recently in 2016. This latest pressing, featured here, was done as a 30th anniversary edition, despite it being released 29 years later. It was meticulously recreated from the original 1987 release. It features the same gold foil stamped cover artwork, which was done By Keith Haring. No word on pressing info, but for a release like this it really shouldn’t matter. All copies were pressed on black vinyl. Here is the track listing:

Side A

  1. The Pointer Sisters – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  2. Eurythmics – Winter Wonderland
  3. Whitney Houston – Do You Hear What I Hear?
  4. Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band – Merry Christmas Baby
  5. The Pretenders – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  6. John Cougar Mellencamp – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
  7. Sting – Gabriel’s Message

Side B

  1. Run-D.M.C. – Christmas In Hollis
  2. U2 – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
  3. Madonna – Santa Baby
  4. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – The Little Drummer Boy
  5. Bryan Adams – Run Rudolph Run
  6. Bon Jovi – I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas
  7. Alison Moyet – The Coventry Carol
  8. Stevie Nicks – Silent Night

 

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Against Me! – Shape Shift With Me

Posted: December 22, 2016 in Vinyl
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Against Me! has continued to power on, releasing their – studio album in 2016. Shape Shift With Me is the band’s second album with Laura Jane Grace. And to be honest I had some concerns with her as lead vocalist going forward. Nothing bigoted or hate filled towards the transgender, I just didn’t know if her voice would change significantly enough to result in a huge sound departure from earlier Against Me albums. That it wouldn’t sound like them anymore. Personally I enjoy Shape Shift With Me more than Transgender Dysphoria Blues, and I think it’s their best album since New Wave.

Shape Shift With Me was pressed as a double LP and does not come in a gatefold jacket. Which is a bit of a disappointment. One of my pet peeves are double LPs not coming in a gatefold jacket. Primarily because if they don’t they come in those cheap, slightly larger than normal single pocket jackets. An insert is included, which has the lyrics printed on one side with the one of the characters from the cover art on the reverse side. The lyrics are printed so small on the insert they’re best read with a magnifying glass. A download card is also included, for odd 319 VBR MP3s. They’re not all at a variable bit rate, every single song is at 319 kbps and have “(VBR)” attached to the end of them. All copies also come with a white circle hype sticker affixed to the top right corner, with colored vinyl copies “limited edition color vinyl” printed on the hype sticker, but no mention of exact color. Black vinyl copies have no mention of color.

The full pressing info has not been released for this record, only three of the five variants. First off, there is a U.S. and UK/Euro pressing. The U.S. pressing was handled through the band’s label, Total Treble. The UK/Euro pressing was done by Xtra Mile Recordings. First up, Total Treble had an exclusive variant, clear, which sold out during pre-orders. Clear is limited to 1,000 copies. Next up is white, which is an indie record store exclusive and is limited to 4,000 copies. The last variant with pressing info is the Euro exclusive blue vinyl, which is limited to 500 copies. Green Hell (German distro) got 250 copies of the blue variant to sell, so it stands to reason Banquet Records (UK record store) got the other 250 copies to sell. The blue is transparent, not opaque, and is closer to a sky blue than navy blue.

On top of those three colors Shape Shift With Me is pressed on black vinyl and random mix vinyl. The random mix is a tour exclusive, and the colors I’ve seen so far are translucent purple marble, green marble, brown marble, translucent blue marble and red. And you may or may not get a matching set for the tour variant. Black is available from most distros and is the color you’ll get if you order from anywhere other than an indie record store at this point. Clear and blue are sold out. I will point out that my local record store hasn’t had copies of the indie exclusive white vinyl for months now. But with 4,000 total copies it’s entirely possible to find many record stores across the country with copies left.

One thing I will add, there may or may not be a UK/Euro pressing of the clear and white variants. Banquet Records labeled the clear as “transparent.” They also listed the “transparent” vinyl to be limited to 1,000 copies, which lines up with the U.S. pressing. Where the question arises is did Xtra Mile Recordings press 1,000 copies on clear/transparent vinyl. Same goes for the possibility of a Euro exclusive white variant. Flight 13, a German distro, was selling copies of a white variant, saying it was limited to 500 copies. I haven’t seen pictures of the UK/Euro clear/transparent or white variants to see if there is an Xtra Mile Recordings logo printed on the back of the jacket. Discogs lists Xtra Mile as the label releasing both of those variants, but Discogs is far from accurate 100% of the time. Discogs is somehow actually getting less and less reliable by the day. To add an even bigger monkey wrench into things, Laura Jane Grace said on Twitter that there is an Australian exclusive variant as well.

I’ve contacted by Total Treble and Xtra Mile Recordings about the pressing info and to date have never heard back from either of them. I’ll likely try to contact them through various channels one more time before giving up. If I do hear back from them I will update this blog post accordingly.


If there is one band out there that will always generate interest it’s Nirvana. People go crazy for almost anything related to the band when it gets pressed on vinyl, including myself. I have more than my fair share of Nirvana bootlegs, so much so that I have live performances that overlap onto other bootlegs I’ve bought. I’ve even foolishly bought the same exact bootleg, only under a different title. I’m a bit more careful now, as I have photos of every bootleg I have to check the track listings. So when it was announced that a Kurt Cobain documentary was being worked on, what some people were calling the definitive biopic, and that an accompanying soundtrack would be released, many people were exited, myself included of course.

Montage Of Heck is the title of the documentary and corresponding soundtrack. The soundtrack is comprised of never before heard demos, outtakes, covers and various other early recordings Kurt Cobain recorded over his lifespan. Some of the songs are Cobain just tooling around and predate Nirvana, while others were written intended to be Nirvana songs. After listening to the soundtrack it is a bit of a letdown however. There is nothing earth shattering on it, and some of the songs have made the rounds online through Nirvana collector circles. If you’re like me and are a huge Nirvana fan/nerd and want to hear everything the band or Kurt Cobain has done, you’ve heard the demo version of “Sappy” and “Been A Son” before. This is just the first official release they’ve seen the light of day on.

There have been many complaints about the sound quality of this soundtrack. And all those complaints are unfounded. It’s nothing to do with the pressing, it being on vinyl, the mastering, etc. Some of these songs were literally recorded into a hand held tape recorder Kurt set up. So the source audio was far from worthy of being mass produced and released to the public. But with that said, the soundtrack itself is not worth buying for the casual fan. You should only buy this, on any format, only if you’re a diehard fan or completist. And you should definitely not buy this for full retail price.

Retail price on this soundtrack is $35. For that money you get a double LP pressed on black 180 gram vinyl, a gatefold jacket, insert and download card. Despite what the hype sticker says; “320 kbps MP3s,” that is not what you get via the download card. The download cards yields WAV files. A nice touch for the price, but useless files for most people. You can’t play WAV files in iTunes, they have o be converted to MP3. And since there are 31 tracks on this soundtrack, the file is well over 1 gig in size.

The soundtrack for Montage Of Heck was released over one year ago (December 11, 2015) as of posting this. And prices are still not coming down enough. Many distros are still charging way too much for this. Some are still charging full retail. Your best bet to find this soundtrack on the “cheap” are places like ebay or discogs. Prices on the secondary market have dropped significantly; to around $15. That is more than 50% off. While a deal can be had there, distros are marking this down to $30, or $25, in a pathetic effort to move old stock. I bought this soundtrack, brand new, for $10 shipped on ebay.

Pressing info has never been released, and never expect it to be because it’s a major label release.

 

 


The Ghostbusters reboot has been the source of controversy long before it ever went into production. And that controversy continued to swell as time wore on. The soundtrack did nothing but stoke the fire, as Fall Out Boy’s horrid rendition of the iconic Ghostbusters theme song tied up the awfulness of the movie in a nice little bow.

Yes, despite how bad the Fall Out Boy song is, I did buy this soundtrack for my Fall Out Boy collection, but I only spent $5 on it. How you ask? By taking a chance on an ebay mis-listing, where someone foolishly had the vinyl soundtrack listed in the CD category as a “used” CD without any pictures, and the item description stating “still factory sealed vinyl LP 2016 soundtrack.” It also helped that the seller had the listing titled as “Ghost blisters Spundtrack.” So I wound up getting the ” Ghost blisters Spundtrack” for a $3 BIN with $1.99 shipping. For that price I was willing to take the risk of a CD showing up. Retail price on this soundtrack is $20. But lo and behold, when the package arrived it was an LP mailer with a record inside. splurge to keep my Fall Out Boy collection somewhat complete. .

The soundtrack was pressed as a single LP and has two variants; red and black. Red was a Barnes & Noble “vinyl day” exclusive limited to an unknown amount of copies. Rarely does B&N release pressing info for any of their exclusives. Black is available everywhere else, even B&N now as they somehow managed to sell out of their exclusive color. Pressing info for the black has also never been released, and never expect it to be For those wondering “vinyl day,” a completely made up “holiday” was August 13, 2016, and I think B&N is the only place that does anything for it and they’re likely the ones who invented “vinyl day.”

The soundtrack for the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot features tweaked artwork from the original iconic artwork and Ghostbusters logo. Yet another thing done in a seemingly endless line of things that would piss people off. It was liked the powers at be went out of their way to piss people off. All copies come with an insert, and the download card is printed on the insert itself. There is a hype sticker, which is affixed to the top left corner on all copies. It’s tough to see it because the sticker itself is clear with slime green lettering. The B&N exclusive color has an additional hype sticker promoting their exclusive color.

 

 


At this point most of Manchester Orchestra’s discography has been pressed on vinyl. Now that the You Brainstorm, I Brainstorm, But Brilliance Needs A Good Editor EP has been pressed there are only a handful of outstanding releases yet to get the vinyl treatment. Many people have wanted this EP, along with the other Manchester Orchestra EPs not pressed on vinyl to see the light of day on the format, and the band finally listened to fans’ wishes in late 2016.

The vinyl release of You Brainstorm, I Brainstorm, But Brilliance Needs A Good Editor came out of left field. Some discussion popped up on message boards based around rumors the band was selling copies of the EP on vinyl on tour, but without an official announcement most people brushed it off as simply rumors. A few days later the band made an official announcement with on sale info and the pressing info. No pre-orders, the record shipped right away.

You Brainstorm, I Brainstorm, But Brilliance Needs A Good Editor was pressed as a 12″ on white vinyl limited to 1500 copies. All copies come with an etched b-side of one of the Queens found on the album cover. So obviously this is a single sided record. An insert is included as well, but no download card. It’s a bummer no download card is included considering this was originally a self released EP and the band released it on vinyl on their own label; Favorite Gentlemen.

An interesting note about this record, The band put up a placeholder in their web store, which is hosted by Big Cartel. On that placeholder they had a price of $20. But on the day the record went up for sale they lowered the price to $15. A nice move on their part, especially considering the only shipping option they offer cost $7.50. I’m putting up screen shots of the $20 price tag and $15 price tag to prove this, mainly because I’m starting to get a lot of comments on this blog from people attempting to call me out on things they think are bullshit. For the record (no pun intended) I take screen shots of almost everything when a record I intend to buy goes up for pre-order/order for the sake of posting as much information on this blog as possible. This record is the perfect example of why I do this. People have left comments showing their appreciation for my efforts at being as detailed as possible, which don’t go unnoticed and are appreciated. But I’m sure someone out there will feel the need to leave a comment on this post attempting to poke a hole in my logic.

If you’re familiar with Big Cartel you know their cart system allows people to hoard the entire stock of any item in their carts, making it impossible for anyone to buy that particular item(s). It happens all the time with records, regardless of rarity, which can lead to major headaches trying to buy the record. The inevitable happened with this record. Fortunately I placed an order before the trolls arrived, so I didn’t have to deal with any of the nonsense. But right after I checked out I went back to check the stock just to see how fast this EP was selling and lo and behold, someone had all the copies in their cart.


Record Store Day Black Friday (RSD) is usually a pain free experience because first off the releases are far fewer in number, and on top of that most of the releases are not as sought after/in demand as the regular RSD in April. I’ve never had a problem getting every RSD Black Friday release I wanted and I’ve never had to line up to get them. It’s gotten so lax that this year I purposely did not go to my local store, and opted instead to buy everything I wanted online as stores posted their leftovers. That decision was made after the only release I felt may be difficult to track down, the Dustin Kensrue 7″, was being sold online, albeit a different variant, prior to RSD Black Friday. The two other releases I wanted, the Underworld Soundtrack and the Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics LP I felt were worth rolling the dice on, especially since Bull Moose, who I bought these two RSD releases from online, had cheaper prices than my local store.

Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics was originally released in 1999 as a promo. That first pressing was also on brown vinyl, and had some slight difference with the cover art/jacket when compared to the RSD Black Friday pressing. The first pressing has a hype sticker on the cover and the parental advisory warning is much smaller. The hype sticker may or may not be an actual sticker, and if not its apart of the actual artwork and done to be a mock hype sticker in an attempt to poke fun at how ridiculous some hype stickers can be. This RSD Black Friday pressing definitely has a hype sticker though, which is affixed to the top right corner. I’m posting a photo of the original album cover for comparisons sake. The picture without a record next to it is the original, the one with a record next to it is the RSD Black Friday pressing.

The RSD Black Friday pressing was limited to 3,000 copies pressed on brown vinyl, and it became one of the more sought after releases. I bet wrong, as I thought 3,000 copies would be more than enough to go around and this record would be easy to find online. I should have known better based on the fact that two previous South Park RSD releases flew off the shelves and now fetch around three times the original price, and on top of that this latest South Park RSD release is a Christmas themed album.

One of the unique things about this record is that it’s scented. Yes, you read right, scented. People speculated, and rightly feared, that this record would smell like poo. Turns out it does not smell like poo. It does not smell bad at all. People are picking up different scents but they’re all in the same ballpark. Personally I think it smells like Play Doh or decorative bath soaps your mom/girlfriend/wife insists on putting in the bath room and yells at you if you happen to use them. Other people have said it smells like potpourri. One common theme though is that the scent is very faint. It’s not overwhelming and shouldn’t affect your other records in terms of the scent being passed on to them. The scent is actually more powerful on the dust sleeve than the record itself.

The record comes in a full color printed dust sleeve along with an insert. The dust sleeve has a cartoon image of Mr. Hankey on one side with the opposite side being blank red. The insert has the liner notes printed on both sides. It’s nice to have a printed dust sleeve and an insert, but it’s not ok for there to not be a download card. It’s unacceptable these days for any non-licensed release to not come with a download card. Not including a download card is another cost cutting measure taken by a major label (Sony) to increase profit margin.

 

V/A – Underworld Soundtrack

Posted: December 14, 2016 in Vinyl
Tags: , , ,

Record Store Day Black Friday (RSD) is usually a pain free experience because first off the releases are far fewer in number, and on top of that most of the releases are not as sought after/in demand as the regular RSD in April. I’ve never had a problem getting every RSD Black Friday release I wanted and I’ve never had to line up to get them. It’s gotten so lax that this year I purposely did not go to my local store, and opted instead to buy everything I wanted online as stores posted their leftovers. That decision was made after the only release I felt may be difficult to track down, the Dustin Kensrue 7″, was being sold online, albeit a different variant, prior to RSD Black Friday. The two other releases I wanted, the Underworld Soundtrack and the Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics LP I felt were worth rolling the dice on, especially since Bull Moose, who I bought these two RSD releases from online, had cheaper prices than my local store.

The Underworld Soundtrack is on the extremely pricey side. Retail on it is around $35. Thankfully I had Bull Moose points to use on it to get it half off. But the price (retail) is easier to swallow after seeing how nice this release is. The soundtrack is pressed as a double LP and comes with a gatefold jacket. The records themselves are housed in printed, glossy paper dust sleeves. On the dust sleeves is never before seen/released story board art for the film. The artwork on the sleeves is very nice, very elaborate for a story board. It’s not your typical simple sketches most story boards are composed of. The artwork inside the gatefold jacket is pretty pointless. They could’ve went with better imagery, something like a collage of stills from the movie. Not just the opening scene of the movie.

The jacket itself has a glossy finish, and is nice and thick. Each copy is individually numbered in gold foil stamping on the back of the jacket. The quality of dust sleeves however leaves a lot to be desired. They’re very thin, not unusual for printed dust sleeves, but all I’m saying is they could and should be made of thicker material. Especially for the price of this record. The timing of this record is awfully suspicious too. It was initially released back in 2003, but is only now seeing the light of day on vinyl, on RSD no less. Likely because there is a new movie in the Underworld franchise coming out in January 2017.

There are two variants for this records, and thankfully one is not rare than the other and it’s not a needle in a hay stack endeavor to find the rarest variant. Both variants have a white sticker affixed to the top left corner indicating the vinyl color. Other than that sticker there are no hype stickers or any other stickers on the cover. Both variants, translucent blue and clear with black smoke, are limited to 1,000 copies a piece. So 2,000 total copies for this record. Going into this I had no preference for either color. But after getting the translucent blue and seeing pics online of the clear w/ black smoke, I’m happy I wound up getting a copy on translucent blue as I feel it matches the packaging and imagery of this release better.

I bought this soundtrack for the Finch song, “Worms Of The Earth.” It’s the first and only time the song has been released on vinyl, as it’s a b-side from What It Is To Burn. In fact, this soundtrack is one of only two places the song was physically released, with the other being the Atticus Dragging The Lake II compilation from 2003.