This record is a good example of patience is a virtue. Hellogoodbye’s debut self-titled EP was finally pressed on vinyl in 2015, with the pre-order going live late 2014. Over two years after the pre-order started, the record is far from sold out, and because I held out for a discount code, clearance or some other sale before buying this, I saved over $4 on it. Not much, but it’s definitely better than spending $18 for a five song EP plus an additional $6 for media mail shipping.
Of course the pre-order ran into delays. Initially slated for release in April 2014, the release was pushed back to May, then pushed back again to July. When July came and went with no records, everything went quite until it was announced at the end of July that tests were finally being sent for approval. Though tests weren’t actually approved until mid August 2014, way after the intended release date of May 2014. At that point there was still no updated release date. It wasn’t until mid September 2014 that a new release date was scheduled, this time of late October 2014. That final release date of October 2014 was actually met. Because of all the delays people started laying into the guy posting on the message board promoting the release.
Hellogoodybe’s s/t EP was pressed as a 10″ by Drive-Thru Records. Yes, you read right, Drive-Thru is still active. They opted for a 10″ for an unknown reason, likely because they could charge more for it when they went to sell it because it’s more expensive to produce 10″ records than 7″ or even 12″ records. I don’t think this EP would fit on a 7″, and it definitely would sound better and be cheaper (at least manufacturing costs) than a 10″. That isn’t to say this record sounds bad. It’s actually tough to tell because let’s face it, this EP doesn’t really lend itself to an audiophile experience solely based on the music itself. There is nothing noticeably awful with the sound quality of this record. Is it the best sounding record I own or ever listened to? No. But it’s also not the worst.
The artwork for the vinyl release was altered slightly from what was used for the original release of the EP from 2004. Instead of the avocado with the pit, there is an avocado with the pit removed and separate on the cover. The position of the EP title/band name is also different between the original CD release and subsequent vinyl release. When this release was first being hyped in December 2014, the person with connection to Drive-Thru promoting the release on message boards posted a mock up he did for the records, which had the original artwork. At some point the label opted to do alternate artwork for the vinyl release. When asked why the artwork was the changed on said message board, the person providing info about the release stated it was because they wanted to keep in line with past Drive-Thru vinyl releases, which had alternate artwork.
The record comes in a printed glossy paper dust sleeve, which has the lyrics printed on one side and an image of the band on the reverse side. No download card/code is included, which can be viewed as a lame move. But considering Hellogoodbye was part of the upswing/distribution deal with Universal Music Group that Drive-Thru had, they might not own 100% of the rights to this EP. At least not for re-releases like this vinyl release. Technically, Hellogoodbye came around after Drive-Thru got out pof the original deal with UMG and signed a new distro deal with Sanctuary Records. But Sanctuary quickly hit financial ruin and was absorbed by… wait for it… Universal Music Group.
Drive-Thru went with two variants for this EP, yellow and green, and thankfully they charged the same price for both. There are a handful of labels out there that charge more for the rarest variant or more for color vinyl vs. “standard” black vinyl. Neither of the variants for this EP are rarer than another, they’re both limited to the same amount of copies. Initially advertised as being limited to 250 copies each, there was an overrun that Drive-Thru was actually forthcoming with. Drive-Thru doing something reputable and upstanding? Shocking, I know. Due to the overrun, which is normal for vinyl pressings, there are 274 copies of each color.
But even with that honesty upfront, Drive-Thru still decided to do their traditional friends pressing without telling anyone until after the record was released. This time they disguised it as a “promo” variant. This “promo” variant is on black vinyl and is limited to 15 copies, and it was never made available to the general public by any means. But it wouldn’t surprise me if these “promo” copies are actually test pressings that Drive-Thru decided to formally stick into jackets and give out to the band, whatever employees they have left, people who worked on the release, etc. Because they opted to only get 5 tests made, which they disclosed when they released the full pressing info on a message board. In this day and age, when pressing plants dish out test pressings like candy and labels essentially flip them off for massive profit, it’s hard to believe a plant would do a run of 15 records without them being test pressings.
This never used to be the case. Pressing plants used to typically do a run of 10 tests max and they were purely for audio sampling for the label to either approve or reject the final run. I’m sure it was possible to order say like 25 test pressings like many labels like to do these day, but it was unheard of. These days many labels, especially those who exist solely to license out albums to re-release on vinyl, order as many tests as the plant will allow, with the aim to flip them either directly to customers in their online stores, list them on ebay or even do back alley deals on the secondary market. Given Drive-Thru’s reputation, it wouldn’t surprise me if they went this route, but so far none of these 5 test nor the 15 “promo” copies have surfaced for sale anywhere.