At The Drive-In – in•ter a•li•a

Posted: June 12, 2017 in Vinyl
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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.

 

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