Archive for June, 2017

After a 17 year hiatus, At The Drive-In came back to release their fourth studio album; in•ter a•li•a. The band has breifly toured hear and there over that span, but this is the first time they have officially gotten back together for any significant amount of time. Rise Records signed the band and have really milked this album for all its worth. Lots of variants for it, lots of exclusives for it and a ton of copies pressed. And that is just for the first pressing. Yes, a second pressing is all but confirmed based on Merchnow’s shipping calendar, despite the first pressing still being readily available. With all the trends with releasing vinyl these days, it seems the latest one is doing a second pressing as quickly as possible not to keep the record in print (because it already is) but simply to get more variants on the market.

The pressing info for in•ter a•li•a is nuts. There are a whopping 23,137 total copies pressed for this record. Sure, some records may have that many, if not more copies pressed if it’s a massive, mainstream release like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Metallica, etc. But for an indie label and for a band like At The Drive-In? Unheard of. Then there are the amount of variants; nine, and exclusive variants; six. And there are variants within variants too. On top of all that, the color schemes and names for the variants see to be purposely complicated and as long as possible. With that much info to keep straight, I will try to lay it all out best I can.

All the variants are on 180 gram vinyl and have unique, color coded center labels that match the specific variant. They al also come in a gatefold jacket with a matte finish and a full color, printed dust sleeve. The dust sleeve has the lyrics printed on one side and a photo of the band on the reverse side. A download card/code is included (though for awful 160 kbps MP3s – inexcusable) and each copy also has a blue rectangle hype sticker that somewhat indicates color. The color of the sticker does not matter or indicate color, all the hype stickers are the same color; a light blue. But for everything other than the solid black and picture disc variants, it will simply say “180 gram colored vinyl.” It won’t list out exactly what the color is. Here is the breakdown of the pressing info, starting with the rarest variant working up to the one with the most copies

150 copies on half sea blue/half cyan blue with cyan blue splatter

500 copes on half bone & half beer with bone splatter

537 copies as a picture disc

600 copies on half “classic” black & half oxblood with “classic” black splatter

600 copies on half “classic” black & half cyan blue with “classic” black splatter

2,250 copies on half grimace purple & half deep purple with grimace purple splatter

2,500 copies on “classic” black (1,000 copies set aside for Urban Outfitters exclusive)

6,000 copies on half bone & half “classic” black with bone splatter

10,000 copies on ultra clear with grimace splatter


I will start out by saying the above descriptions are directly from Rise Record’s release page, and they differ from what Merchnow (Rise’s web store host) says. The /150 half sea blue/half cyan blue with cyan blue splatter is a “mega” bundle exclusive via Merchnow. This bundle cost a whopping $290 (before shipping) and come with frivolous and unnecessary things like a guitar pedal, not one but two t-shirts, custom socks, key ring, 45 RPM adaptor, pewter necklace, enamel badge, promo poster and classic (wider than normal) skate deck, along with a CD and cassette copy of the album too.

The /2,500 “classic” black variant is likely a mass retail exclusive, but it is the one with the variant within a variant, as there is an Urban Outfitters exclusive for it. The Urban Outfitters exclusive is limited to 1,000 copies and is simply has an alternate slip cover and comes on black vinyl. This slip cover is printed on thick, glossy card stock and is not screen printed. It is also folded correctly, and it’s a half fold back. Sometimes these exclusive slip covers are screen printed, come on non-glossy card stock, and sometimes are quarter fold sleeves. The Urban Outfitters exclusive comes semi-sealed. The standard LP in the gatefold jacket is sealed, but the slip cover is not sealed inside the factory shrink wrap. Instead it’s placed over top of the shrink wrapped standard LP and then placed inside a re-sealable poly sleeve, which has a distinctive Urban Outfitters barcode sticker affixed to back on the bottom left. I’ve included a photo of this barcode sticker.

Here are the Merchnow exclusives. The /6,000 half bone & half “classic” black with bone splatter, which Merchnow has the colors listed in reverse. The half bone & half beer with bone splatter (which Merchnow has listed as “half bone/half beer with splatter), and the picture disc. The picture disc is exclusive to a bundle that cost $63 (before shipping) that includes a poster, key chain, 45 RPM adaptor and pewter necklace.

The /2,250 half grimace purple & half deep purple with grimace purple splatter is an indie store exclusive. I’m not sure if the /10,000 ultra clear with grimace splatter is exclusive to anywhere. It wouldn’t surprise me if that turns out to be the retail exclusive. But after most of the variants via Merchnow sold out, they put up this ultra clear with grimace splatter online. It wasn’t available for pre-order. Merchnow has the ultra clear with grimace splatter listed as clear with purple splatter.

There are not one but two Australian exclusives. This is the first I’ve ever seen two Australian exclusive variants. The first is the half “classic” black & half oxblood with “classic” black splatter. One Aussie retailer lists this variant as black/oxblood black splatter. The other is the half “classic” black & half cyan blue with “classic” black splatter, which the web store lists as black/cyan with black splatter.

Many times bands will put random words or phrases, or even lyrics in the run out space. This record has different phrases on each side of the record, which when combined together create one longer, but unintelligible, sentence. The etching on the a-side reads “IN DEFENSE OF THE HEARD THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT WILL BE” and the etching on the b-side reads “ADMINISTERED INTRAVENOUSLY BY A STATE APPOINTED THERAPIST” If you combine those separate etchings you will see the complete sentence/message the band wanted to get across.

Retail price on this record is around $20. Merchnow charges $18 (before shipping) for standalone variants. So you could factor that price into the price of the bundles. Urban Outfitters charges $22 (plus applicable tax and/or shipping bought online).

I typically wait for price drops these days and/or a good sale so I can save money on records. But I do collect cover variants (one of the few variants I collect) so I opted for the Urban Outfitters exclusive despite the higher price tag. Once I saw their website having copies in stock, then abruptly out of stock, and with frequently changing ship dates from late May to early June (album was released in April) and no ship to store option to any of their locations in the country, I feared that not only might it be selling out sooner rather than later, but that no stores got any copies and it was an online exclusive. So I decided to buy it rather than wait any longer. They did do a 20% off promotion online, but even with that discount it would still be cheaper to buy it in a physical store. I bit the bullet and drove to my nearest store, delighted to grab the only copy they had left, and it was quite possibly the only copy they got in. Ironically, a few days after my purchase they sent me a $5 off coupon to use on any purchase in store or online, so I will wind up getting this even cheaper.



Mae – (m)(a)(e) (“1st” Press)

Posted: June 12, 2017 in Vinyl

Where do I begin with this fiasco? Guess I’ll start at the beginning. Mae’s trilogy of EPs, entitled Morning, Afternoon and Evening, was confirmed to the public on August 31, 2016, with pre-orders starting on October 5, 2016. The EPs were going to be pressed as a triple LP set, with each EP getting its own 12”, having all three records housed in a tri-fold jacket. Initially advertised as being limited to “only 300 copies,” that insanely low number was very short lived. And when I say very short lived, I mean a matter of minutes.

The band boasted on Twitter about how fast the pressing sold, 12 minutes give or take, and announced they would “make 200 more.” And it didn’t stop there. The band was very greedy with this release, offering up more and more copies as it sold out. Initially advertised as being “limited” to 300 copies, the band announced they would press 200 additional copies to bring the total up to 500 copies. Then after those 200 additional copies sold out, they added even more copies, 250 more copies, to bring the total up to 750, which is where they thankfully stopped. At least for a little while.

The band announced a “second pressing” a few months later in February 2017. But since the first pressing wasn’t even released yet, it’s not actually a second pressing. It’s just one gigantic pressing. This record is the epitome of a dog and pony show. The band lured people in with the extreme rarity (300 copies), then decided to cash in and add more copies to the pressing than what it was originally advertised as being limited to. To illustrate the cash grab motives, the second pressing is still available. It hasn’t sold out more than a month after it started shipping. And it didn’t see a sales surge after people saw how quickly the “first” pressing sold out, nor the post the release date/orders shipping surge either.

I say greedy because it’s one thing to re-press something to meet demand. I’m perfectly fine with that, so long as the second pressing is not announced right on the heels of the first pressing selling out during the pre-order phase. It’s an entirely different thing to blatantly false advertise something as being limited to a certain, small amount, and then decide to increase the amount of copies the release is limited to that same day. And not only more than doubling the total amount for the pressing, but adding more copies to it than it was initially advertised as being limited to? Not ok. Would I have bought this record had it been limited to 750 copies initially and never had more copies added to the pressing? Yes. This is all a matter of principle.

Mae seemed to copy a page out of Anberlin’s book. Anberlin did a practically identical thing with their box set. They (Anberlin) actually fell in between both ships; advertising it as a onetime pressing then decide to re-press it months later under the guise of “meeting demand” when the box set sat around for months and months without selling out. It only sold out a few days before it finally started shipping, not even before its scheduled “release date.” What is it with former Tooth & Nail bands being greedy and unscrupulous? Also no surprise Spartan Records is aboard that ship too.

There was a range of emotions regarding how Mae handled this release. Lots of people were angry and/or upset, myself included. Some people felt ripped off. Some were annoyed. Some didn’t care at all. But the majority was not thrilled about one or more aspects. Many people only bought this record because they felt it would be limited to 300 copies, and felt the hefty $50 before shipping price tag was worth it because only 300 copies were being pressed. Those were the most outspoken individuals, those who felt they were ripped off. With this blog I can appear outspoken, and many times I am. But part of why I write this blog is to highlight all aspects of any given record, any and all pertinent information about it and all the good points along with the bad points regarding it. So it can be a one stop for almost anything you’d want to know about a record. I’m not going to sugar coat anything and I don’t have too many vendettas against certain people, bands or labels. Save for Mightier Than Sword/Academy Fight Song Records and RJ. Who thankfully have seemed to fall off the face of the Earth.

If those issues weren’t enough, the band pulled the dreaded rookie move of launching pre-orders before test pressings were made let alone approved. This became public knowledge once the band posted a picture of the test pressings on their twitter on December 30, 2016. Not that tests were approved, but that they finally received the tests and the project was moving further forward. Again, pre-orders went live October 6, 2016, with an anticipated release date of March 2017.

I fully anticipated this Mae EP triple record set being delayed given all the BS that came about. So I contacted the band in late March, mainly to find out if they were still on target to ship orders in March because the month was quickly ending. So even when I was told they were “expecting the records today” I held my breath. My qualms were realized when someone posted an email he was sent on a message board.

The band apparently sent out emails to customers (not sure how many, if any actually truly got it) saying they oversold the first pressing. Inexcusable considering what they did with this release; consistently adding more and more copies to make as much money as possible. The supposed email (I say supposed and apparent because only one person claimed to receive such an email) asked the customer, who ordered two copies of the first pressing, to switch out one copy of the first pressing for a copy from the second pressing because of the overselling. By coincidence I emailed the band the same day this email was posted on the message board; I emailed hours before it was posted

A few days after I contacted the band and the email was posted on the message board, the band posted on Instagram a picture of Dave Elkins witting out hand written lyric sheets, which would be given to the first 300 orders as a thank you for being patient and being so quick to buy the record. This hand written lyric sheet posed an unseen problem for me, which turned into an ordeal within an ordeal.

Despite the band assuring me orders would start shipping the same week I emailed them (3rd full week of March), they inevitably didn’t. I waited two weeks to contact them again, asking what was going on with my order because people started posting on message boards saying they received their orders in early April. I was told they were waiting for the lyric sheets, as Dave was still finishing them up. I already knew I was in the first 300 orders because I ordered as soon as the pre-order went live and got an order in before the first “sell out.” But it was nice to get confirmation from the band I would be getting the hand written lyric sheet.

Two more weeks go by so I contact the band again to see what is taking so long, and was told they haven’t received any more of the lyric sheets. Implying Dave was sending them in small batches from Tennessee (he lives in Nashville) to Seattle (where orders shipped from). They went on to say they expected to have all of them by now (end of April) but Dave is incredibly busy. I follow Dave on Instagram, and “busy” meant painting a painting, lounging on his couch with his cat and watching the NBA playoffs on tv. That is what Dave was doing when he was working on the lyric sheets. I didn’t expect him to finish in a day or two, or even a week, but a month to write a mere nine lines 300 times? Absurd. I worked in a minor league baseball clubhouse for two years and those guys can sign 1,000 baseballs in about an hour, all before a game. And about the lyric sheets, they’re for a song that is not even on any of the EPs in this vinyl set; they’re for a brand new song that appears on a 7” Mae is charging $10 for, before shipping. And they’re written on cheap notebook paper.

You might think I’m one of those crazy people who email bands/labels/distros in an unreasonable time frame asking why my order hasn’t shipped after one day, but I’m not. I’m incredibly patient. But I felt I had to stay on top of the band about shipping my order because it was well past the point I could file a Paypal claim to get my money back, even with Paypal’s new extended 180 day window. Given everything that transpired with this release I was a little concerned about losing my money.

I finally received my record the second week of May 2017, over a month after they were supposed to ship, after having already waited since October 2016.

So now that all that nonsense is out of the way, here are the finer points of this record. As aforementioned the three EPs were pressed as a triple 12” set, with each EP getting its own 12” and unique color of vinyl. There are two variants for the set, one for the “first” pressing and another for the “second pressing.” I don’t consider there to be two separate pressings, it’s just one bulk pressing because they shipped at the same exact time and were very likely pressed at the same time too. There were first 300 copies, then 500 copies, then finally settling on 750 copies on transparent yellow, transparent orange, and aqua blue. Morning is on yellow, Afternoon is on orange and Evening is on aqua blue. The other variant, which some call the “second pressing” is limited to 500 copies on yellow smoke, orange smoke, and aqua blue smoke. Morning is on yellow smoke, Afternoon is on orange smoke and Evening is on aqua blue smoke. The base color for the smokes is clear. The first mock ups released had the records appearing more of a opaque base color (yellow, orange, or blue) with darker base color smoke. Later, the mock ups were adjusted to reflect what the records actually turned out to be.

The fine details of this release are great. For the most part, each record comes in a color corresponding dust sleeve, all of them except the yellow one. Why or how the band couldn’t find a yellow dust sleeve is beyond me. I know they exist and can be easily bought online in bulk. They found an orange one and a blue one (which the yellow record stupidly comes in) but not a yellow one. Even on of those manila envelope colored dust sleeve would’ve worked better than a black dust sleeve.

While on the cheap, flimsy side, each panel of the tri-fold jacket has the lyrics for each respective EP printed on it. So the pocket that holds the Morning EP has the Morning EP lyrics printed on it. The inner panel (the one that faces the back when the open the jacket all the way) has liner notes from the band printed on it along with a picture of the band after one of their shows, facing the crowd taking a bow of sorts. The cover is also embossed, but it’s poorly done as it’s a bit off center. Each of the letters; m, a and e are done in the respective colors that match the color of the record, and each of those letters are embossed. Only the embossing is off as it’s slightly to the right of the actual letter. I took photos of the cover at an angle to illustrate how it’s off.

Download cards/codes are not physically included with any of the records, but after you ordered the record the band sent you a download via email. The download was sent upon purchase, and was made available long before the records shipped. The audio on the vinyl version, and what is on the download from the vinyl version, is a re-mixed and re-mastered version than what was originally released from the EP’s original releases back in 2009-2010. There is not a drastic difference in the re-mix/master; it has a more whimsical feel.




Minus The Bear – VOIDS

Posted: June 12, 2017 in Vinyl

Minus The Bear’s new album, VOIDS, was not a variant fest or have insanely limited ones either. It’s great to see a label like Suicide Squeeze make a record widely available while offering choices for people if they want a more limited variant or colored vinyl. VOIDS was pressed on three variants; 180 gram black, “electric” blue and splatter.

The splatter is clear with blue, black and peach splatter. It was an indie store and tour exclusive, limited to 5,000 copies. “Electric” blue was exclusive to the band’s official pre-order and is limited to 1,000 copies. The mock up released for the blue had it looking like a straight forward translucent blue, but what actually turned out was more of a opaque navy/royal blue with black and white marble. The 180 gram black is widely available, even some indie stores got copies of it, and it’s also limited to 5,000 copies.

All copies come in a die-cut jacket, and full color printed dust sleeve and a download card/code. The artwork and layout was designed by Nick Steinhardt. The die-cut portion is on the cover, with the album title spelled out in big letters. This die-cutting creates some issues, since the album title is spelled out in such large letters that take up the bulk of the cover, it doesn’t lend much structural support for it. So once you slide the record out of the jacket, the cover collapses in against the back of the jacket. This should go without saying, but be careful sliding the record back in the jacket because it can catch on each thin strip left behind from the die-cut.

With the die-cutting, the printed dust sleeve shows through to add another element to the artwork. The sleeve shows through the die-cut, adding depth to the artwork. Instead of the typical white backing, or even black, inside the jacket is a peach color. The lyrics are printed on the reverse side of the dust sleeve.

There is a circle hype sticker on copies which indicate color along with saying “limited edition.” The splatter is simply called “splatter” on the hype sticker though. It doesn’t list out what colors make up the record. Retail price on this is around $20. Suicide Squeeze and the band are actually charging more for the blue and black variants online than many records stores are. I bought this from Amoeba on black vinyl (they actually had the splatter and black vinyl) for $19. They were selling the splatter for $21 though. I took advantage of their monthly 15% off sales and picked this record up for less. If there is one thing I learned about Minus The Bear is that it’s better to buy their albums sooner rather than later, as they typically sell records very well. And once they sell out they can fetch a pretty penny on the secondary market.

Acceptance – Colliding By Design

Posted: June 12, 2017 in Vinyl

Acceptance reunited to release what is only their second full length album in 2017, entitled Colliding By Design. The band signed with Rise Records, who opted to do four variants for the record, some exclusive to their traditional bundles. Thankfully there was only one bundle exclusive variant, but no shortage of useless bundle options though.

The bundle exclusive is half clear/half “doublemint with black splatter limited to 400 copies. “Doublemint” is simply mint green. At least that was the color that was advertised when pre-orders went live. What actually wound up shipping to people was that color scheme, but with red splatter instead of black. Needless to say lots of people were surprised when they opened up their “black” splatter copies.

The bundles ranged in price from $33 up to $61. There were five bundles in total, all with different names. Two of them were the $33 bundle, with different t-shirts in each one along with a poster and digital download. The next tier bundle, costing $52, had your choice of the two shirts from the $33 bundles along with the same poster and digital download, but added a CD and cassette copy of the album. The top tier bundle, costing $61, had all the aforementioned items, including both t-shirt designs instead of your choice of one.

The other variants are “classic” black limited to 100 copies, oxblood in coke bottle green limited to 600 copies and oxblood limited to 3,000 copies. The oxblood in coke bottle green is a Rise Record exclusive, which is still available as of posting this. I have no idea where the black was available from (it was never for sale on Merchnow), or where you can buy it at this point. The oxblood was a Pledgemusic (which I will explain about a bit later) exclusive variant, at least at first. I ordered this record from an online distro and received a copy on oxblood.

Initially the band went through Pledgemusic to fund the release of this album, way back in May 2016. They offered up the typical crowd funding goodies, like autographed items, test pressings, exclusive clothing, handwritten lyric sheets, studio hang outs and private shows at your house. You could pre-order the yet unnamed album at this time too, and with this preliminary pre-order the band released cover art that differs drastically from the final product. I’m including a photo of this early version of the cover art below, it should be obvious which it is. The record, on either black or colored vinyl, cost $30 through Pledgemusic, or $40 for it to be autographed.

In December 2016 it was announced that the band signed with Rise Records, and that their new album was slated for a release date of February 24, 2017. And that is where some issues started arising with the Pledgemusic exclusive variant. There were some delays with Pledgemusic items shipping, not just the exclusive vinyl variant. When people starting asking what was going on with their Pledgemusic stuff, the band sent out a statement saying that when they signed with Rise, they wanted everything to ship through their merch company (Merchnow). The band sent everything to them in a timely manner, but the merch company was slow in shipping.

So I’m assuming that is how Rise Records obtained the Pledgemusic exclusive variant, as the band pressed a certain amount, sent Merchnow or Rise most if not all of the copies, and Rise sent out the leftover copies after Pledgemusic orders were fulfilled, to distros. This is where I bought a copy from, and received it on oxblood.

Retail price on this is around $18; $16.50 if you buy directly from the label (via Merchnow) or around $18 if you buy from most any indie record store. Some online distros may be cheaper though, especially seeing as it’s been a few months since this album came out. With that price in mind, it’s a bit of a rip-off.

Seeing as another Rise release from around the same time; At The Drive-In’s in•ter a•li•a was on 180 gram vinyl housed in a very nice gatefold jacket with a printed dust sleeve, and only cost $1.50 more, it’s shameful that the label decided to release this Acceptance record on what is maybe standard weight vinyl (it’s very thin) in a cheap, thin single pocket jacket without an insert or printed dust sleeve.

There was a lot of both hype and high expectations for this album, but for me it’s a huge let down. Phantoms was such a good, high energy album, while Colliding By Design is anything but. It’s just not a good album by any stretch. But I felt the compulsion to buy it anyway to keep my Acceptance collection going. Though I waited for the price to come down significantly, where I snagged it for $11 shipped. For that price I felt comfortable buying a mediocre at best album.

After much hype Taking Back Sunday finally released their self-titled album in mid 2017. First it was rumors a few years ago that never panned out, then it suddenly became confirmed and was talked about for a few months without a pre-order or release date, and finally in late March 2017 the record was finally released. Lastly, there is the even longer talked about band exclusive colors that have yet to be released as of posting this.

You see, when the pre-orders first went live in early February, people asked the band on social media where their pre-order was or if an official pre-order would be happening. The band responded by saying they will have exclusive colors of Taking Back Sunday along with the Louder Now re-press available “soon.” That infamous “soon” phrasing turned into a release date of summer 2017. Several months after the March release date. So with that in mind, I am considering the colored variant a second pressing, since there is no way they were pressed at the same time as the initial copies on black vinyl. For those curious, the color for s/t is supposed to be on green vinyl based on the mock up the band released.

Pressing info has not been released for the first pressing on black vinyl, and it likely never will be because s/t was a major label release. All copies come with an insert, which has the lyrics printed on one side with the liner notes on the reverse side. No download card/code is included, which is inexcusable these days. This wasn’t a licensed release; it was the original rights holders putting it out, but the major label was too cheap and greedy to include a digital download for it. It’s even more inexcusable when you consider the retail price: around $17. But at least they did press it, so there is some silver lining.

In late July 2017 the highly anticipated second pressing on colored vinyl was released. Copies were sold on tour and online only at the band’s official web store hosted by Shop Bench Mark, for the ridiculous price of $25 for a single LP. Tack on shipping and the total came out to around $32. The color is green limited to 500 copies. The band is also selling copies on tour with them, a limited amount per show.


One of my most anticipated albums last year was Two Tongue’s sophomore album, aptly titled Two Tongues 2. And boy, was it a huge let down. The first Two Tongues album was great. Not only because it combined lead singers from two of my favorite bands (Saves The Day and Say Anything), but the music was inherently good. But the follow up sounds nothing like its predecessor. It sounds more like recent Say Anything albums, and that should give you an indication of how disappointing this album is.

Two Tongues 2 was pressed as a single LP spread across three colors. Yes you read right, three colors. Equal Vision hid the fact that they pressed a third variant because it was intended to be a tour exclusive, and said tour was abruptly canceled with no reason given. In fact, the label really only advertised one variant and never made mention of the 180 gram black either. But people actually knew the 180 gram black exists because it’s available for sale at some places.

So here are the three colors and pressing info (which is exclusive to this blog); split white/black with purple splatter 180g limited to 500 copies, black 180g limited to 500 copies and white 180g limited to 500 copies. The splatter (which is half white/half black base) was a label/band exclusive via Merchnow, and when it sold out Merchnow started selling black copies. Black is likely a mass retail exclusive though, so if you buy this at your local record store or online anywhere you’ll get black. White is the aforementioned tour exclusive. But since the tour fell through Equal Vision is just sitting on these. They did make same available to a random record store out of Michigan, Revival Records, which now goes by the name Alien Cow Records. When I emailed Equal Vision for the pressing info I was told the white was given to Revival Records, but the store changed their name long ago to Alien Cow Records, which I only discovered via a Google search. This indie record store was given a mere five copies of the white variant, and they sold all five copies on eBay for retail price.

An insert is included along with a download card/code.  Retail price on this is around $20. Something to be aware of with this record is that they were likely not shipped properly somewhere along the way; either from the plant or from distributors. As the copy I was sent that I ordered from a distro had a seam split, and both copies I saw at my local record store had seam splits as well, which is why I didn’t buy a copy from my local store. I would say the distro didn’t pack great, which they didn’t, and they’re notorious for shoddy packaging, but considering my record store had copies with seam splits indicates the problem runs higher up the food chain. It also helps when I told the owner of my store about the seam splits, because the store is usually very good about not putting out damaged copies like that on the sales floor, and he told me “That is how they arrived to us. So we’re kinda stuck with them. Nothing else in that shipment came damaged.”

Fenix TX – CRE.EP

Posted: June 12, 2017 in Vinyl

Fenix TX surprisingly came back to release their first new studio material in 14 years in 2016, in the form of six song EP entitled CRE.EP (aka CRE-EP) Though there are only four truly new songs on the EP, including a vinyl only bonus track to bring the total up to six songs. The four new songs are tracks 2-5; “Church And State,” “Bending Over Backwards,” “Get Loose” and “I Don’t Know What To Say.” The opening track, “Spooky Action At A Distance,” was released prior to this EP, on the soundtrack to the video game MLB 13: The Show, which came out in 2013. The vinyl exclusive bonus track is an acoustic version of “A Song For Everyone” off Lechuza.

Cyber Tracks released this EP, launching pre-orders in early September 2016 with an expected released date in November (though digital version were released in September). Initially the vinyl version of the EP was only available in ridiculously overpriced, and unnecessary bundles. These bundles ranged in price from $25 on the low end all the way up to $100. Though I will point out you didn’t have to buy the ridiculously expensive bundles in order to get a certain variant or the record in general. You could buy the record in a bundle with a t-shirt, which ranged in price from $25-30 depending on the variant. At first I assumed the price may be indicative of rarity of the given variant, but after obtaining the pressing info from the label I discovered that not to be the case.

The $100 bundle, dubbed the private show bundle, included a private show, an autographed record, autographed CD, digital download and two limited edition t-shirts, with only five bundles available. The next lowest bundle, named the online live show bundle, cost $75 and included an online live show bundle, an autographed record, autographed CD, digital download and two limited edition t-shirts, with 100 of these bundles available. The third most expensive bundle cost $50, which was called a non-show bundle, only included the autographed record, autographed CD, digital download and two limited edition t-shirts. You could get any of the three variants announced at the time of pre-orders in those bundles.

Those three variants are a bit confusing, as the label can’t even get the names of them right in their own web store. They are milky clear/swamp haze, aka bone w/ haze, milky clear/green splatter, aka clear w/ green splatter, and oxblood red. The description/name before the aka is what appears in the drop down menu when going to order any of the variants, and is what the variants were called when the record was only available in bundles. The description/name after the aka started appearing after the variants were made available for purchase outside of the bundle, which happened after the vinyl version of the EP was released in November 2016.

With that said, as aforementioned certain variants cost more when they were in bundles (the cheaper options). The splatter cost $30, oxblood cost $28 and the haze cost $25 in the bundles with a t-shirt. All had an identical t-shirt. After the variants were available outside of bundles (without being autographed), the price came down drastically to $13 each. But there was still a catch, as shipping remained a ridiculous $9 per record. So if you wanted to buy all three variants, or even just two of them, you had to pay $9 shipping per record. I will point out that the label did fix this issue, because as of writing this they lowered the shipping price to $6 flat rate.

Again, as aforementioned I assumed the different prices for certain variants meant one may be rarer than another. The pressing info spoke volumes though, as each of the colored variants are limited to 100 copies each. At this point I should mention there is another, fourth variant out there, which is black vinyl. Black vinyl is limited to 200 copies, and is only available through retail outlets other than Cyber Tracks. The label is not selling the black variant. But with that said there is a slim chance you could get one of the colored variants if you buy this from say like Amazon, an indie record store or any other online distro.  So 500 total copies pressed for CRE.EP (aka CRE-EP); the cover art has a period in the title, while the label’s official web store has a hyphen. Not sure what is going on there with the title.

I bought a copy of this EP from a conglomerate distro that operates under literally three different names, and sells on both eBay and Discogs using those three names as well, and received a copy on black vinyl, which I didn’t even know existed at the time. This distro is a supplier for many web stores out there, for example Barnes & Noble and F.Y.E., so if you place an order with them that includes records or CD’s your order will ship from this distro’s warehouse in Kentucky.

The price for this EP ranges from $13 directly from the label, up to $20 depending on where else you buy it. The distro mentioned above has a wide array of prices for it depending on from which of the retail hubs you buy from; one site might charge $16 while on eBay they have it listed for $20. Bull Moose has this listed for $16 too. As of posting this none of the colored variants are sold out, despite them all being limited to only 100 copies apiece. So it’s quite obvious they didn’t sell out of that online live bundle. I’d actually be curious to see how well the live show bundles sold.

With those prices laid out, it’s not a justified price. This is simply a standard weight record stuffed into a cheap, thin single pocket jacket. No insert or printed dust sleeve is included, neither is a download card/code. You don’t even get one sent to you via email if you order directly from the label. I stand by this whole heartedly, and I seem to repeat it with every record that falls into the category; these days it is inexcusable for any unlicensed record to not come with a download card/code.

Fenix TX - Cre.ep - Copy