Archive for February, 2018

At some point Isotopes Punk Rock Baseball Club changed their name to simply Isotopes. It’s the same band, save for a few member changes. 1994 World Series Champions, released in 2017, is the band’s newest release and second full length album. It’s also their second release under their new moniker as well as on Stomp Records. The band/label has seemed to learn from their previous release; Nuclear Strikezone.

The price point came down, and an insert is included. If you read the entry for Nuclear Strikezone; that record was priced closer to $20 and it didn’t have an insert. 1994 World Series Champions can be bought directly from the band for two different prices. If you buy it from the band’s Bandcamp page, it costs either $17 and change or $15 and change depending on the variant (plus nearly $12 shipping for one record), but if you buy it from the band’s official website/store, it costs $15 (plus $3.50 shipping). The likely reason for the Bandcamp store to cost more is to cover whatever fees Bandcamp charges. Another factor is that since the band is from and based in Canada, so their Bandcamp page not only charges in Canadian Dollars, they also ship orders from Canada, which is the reason for the drastically higher shipping charges.

1994 World Series Champions was pressed as a single LP on two different colors; “tar” black and “bubblegum” pink, with both colors limited to 100 copies a piece. And as mentioned above, all copies come with an insert, but they don’t come with a download card. This is a moot point if you bought it via their Bandcamp page, because you’re granted access to MP3 files of the album as part of your purchase. Since this is such a small run, only 200 total copies, the above mentioned different prices for each variant of the record on Bandcamp make a bit more sense. The higher price is for the pink variant, and the cheaper price is for the black variant.

While Nuclear Strikezone appears to close to going OOP, 1994 World Series Champions is still readily available from the band and some online distros. Despite is being far more limited; less than half the run of Nuclear Strikezone. But like Nuclear Strikezone, this album also has clever baseball themed touches; as the album’s title refers to the Toronto Blue Jays, the only Canadian team to ever win a World Series. And for a baseball themed band from Canada, that historical fact is significant.


At some point Isotopes Punk Rock Baseball Club changed their name to simply Isotopes. It’s the same band, save for a few member changes. Nuclear Strikezone was released in 2015 and is not only the band’s first release under their new moniker, it’s their first full length studio album. Up until now the band has only released EPs. Nuclear Strikezone is also the band’s first release on an actual label; Stomp Records. All but one of their previous releases were self released on the band’s own label; 643 Records. That should come across as a clever name for a baseball themed band as 6-4-3 is the scoring for a common double play. The way the album title is printed on the cover is also a clever touch in line with their baseball theme; as the ‘k’ in Stikezone is pritnted backwards; which is the scoring for a strikeout where the batter did so looking (without swinging at the pitch).

Nuclear Strikezone was pressed as s single LP on two colors; white and “nuclear” yellow, both limited to 250 copies apiece. All copies come with a download card, but it’s for crummy 192 kbps MP3s. Aside for the download card, it’s just a record stuffed into a single pocket jacket. Considering this record was on the expensive side; around $20, it’s a bit of a let down. The band is sold out of copies, but some online distros have copies left. Nuclear Strikezone is getting tougher to find, so if you want a copy you better buy one sooner rather than later.

Isotopes - Nuclear Strike Zone - Copy

Gogol Bordello – Seekers And Finders

Posted: February 27, 2018 in Vinyl

Gogol Bordello released a new album, Seekers And Finders, in 2017, their seventh overall. I had high hopes for it because Gogol Bordello is one of my favorite bands and their previous album, Pura Viva Conspiracy, was great. But unfortunately Seekers And Finders pales in comparison to Pura Viva Conspiracy. A lot of the songs sound the same, and there is an evident lack of energy that is typically find on Gogol Bordello albums. It’s a boring album by any standard, and if not for the accordion and violin, you would never know it was a Gogol Bordello album.

There are four variants for Seekers And Finders, with all of them coming in a gatefold jacket with a full color printed dust sleeve. Despite what the appearance of the cover art suggests, the color of the cover is silver, not white. Some online images have the cover art with a white background, but all copies of the vinyl version of the album come with a silver jacket. One clever touch is the center labels, with the a-side being is labeled the “Seekers” side and the b-side labeled the “Finders” side. Pressing info was never officially released for any of the variants, but here are the colors; black, splatter , blue/white marble and translucent blue.

The splatter variant is exclusive to the band’s web store, and it’s clear with blue splatter. The blue/white marble is not actually an “indie record store exclusive,” like the name typically suggests. It’s a literal meaning, as in it’s available from any independent retailer, as evidenced by Interpunk selling copies of it. And it’s a light blue base with white marbling. I’m not sure what shade of blue the translucent blue variant is because I’ve never seen photos of it.

All of the color variants come with a hype sticker indicating the color. Only the black variant does not come with a hype sticker, which indicates that particular copy is on black vinyl. There are some sites that suggest there are separate U.S. and Euro variants/pressings, but they’re identical in every way. It’s just that some copies of the splatter variant were set aside for European distribution.

Retail price on Seekers And Finders is absurdly high; around $25 for a single LP. And if you wanted one of the colored variants you would have to spend a few bucks more compared to the black variant. If you’re smart just wait till prices inevitably drop, because they will as this record still hasn’t sold out when it was released over six months ago (August 25, 2017), and was put up for pre-order the first week of June. I bought this from Target of all places, which is selling this for below MSRP at $19.39 (they have since raised the price a bit), which combined with a 20% off code and free shipping, I bought this for within my acceptable range for a single LP; under $16.

In a rare move, Green Day released a second Greatest Hits album. An odd move for a band that is still active, especially considering they released six albums since the release of their first Greatest Hits album, but songs are only taken from four of those albums (Dos! and Tre! are not represented). As far as I know only two bands to date have released multiple Greatest Hits albums; Queen and the Eagles. And leave it to Green Day to come up with creative names for their Greatest Hits albums; with the first one titled International Superhits! and this new one titled Greatest Hits: God’s Favorite Band.

Say what you will about the cash grab that is a Greatest Hits albums, but Green Day has at least released new songs with each of theirs. International Superhits! had two brand new songs on it, but the band was slacking with Greatest Hits: God’s Favorite Band as there is only one true new song on it. There are technically two new songs on Greatest Hits: God’s Favorite Band, but one of them is a re-worked song off their latest studio album Revolution Radio. “Ordinary World” is that song, and it’s a sort of duet with Billie Joe Armstrong and Miranda Lambert. The other new song, which is the truly new song, is entitled “Back In The USA.” The new songs are tacked on to the end of Greatest Hits: God’s Favorite Band.

If the name of Green Day’s new Greatest Hits album was not enough to rile certain people up, the cover art certainly was. The cover art depicts all three main band members dressed as priests set against a stained glass window you’d typically find in a church. One nice touch with the artwork, front and back, is that the cover art for every studio album, or at least the key image (the heart grenade from American Idiot and the man with a sticker over his face from Nimrod for example) from each is depicted on it in a segment of the stained glass window.

All copies of Greatest Hits: God’s Favorite Band were pressed as a double LP on black vinyl, which comes in a gatefold jacket along with an insert. The insert has the lyrics from every song printed on it, which takes up both sides of the insert. It does not come with a download card though. You see, Reprise Records, along with a handful of other major labels, are starting to not put download cards in physical releases anymore. Instead, they are opting to only issue them to those who order the record from either the label’s or band’s official online store. The digital downloads are either delivered via e-mail or are redeemable after placing your order through a link on your order form/receipt. It’s yet another shady marketing strategy aimed to get people to buy records for a higher price in the form of full retail price if not for a mark up on it, and directly from the label/band so they make even more money by not having to pay middle man like a distributor to get copies out to say Amazon, Best Buy, indie record stores or other online distros. I know Reprise Records, which is owned Warner Music Group, along with Island Records and Interscope Records, which are owned by Universal Music Group, employ this no download card strategy, so it wouldn’t surprise me if every label under those respective umbrellas do the same.

Retail price on Greatest Hits: God’s Favorite Band is $25. But expect prices on it to eventually drop as I doubt this will sell well considering this might be the third time people are buying many of these songs. I bought this for $15 on sale during the frenzy that is the holiday shopping season.


After a lengthy break, the longest break in-between albums of their career, The Killers released their latest album, Wonderful Wonderful, in late September 2017. If you’re expecting another Hot Fuss, Sam’s Town or even Day & Age you’ll be disappointed with this new album. And I think you’ll be disappointed with all future Killers albums as well because this is most likely the direction the band will take from here on out. Wonderful Wonderful continues in the vein of Battle Born, but I think it’s a better album than Battle Born.

Pulling a dirty trick out of the past, Island Records released two different versions for   Wonderful Wonderful; first the standard edition followed a few months later by the deluxe edition. There are many differences between the two versions, and enough of them that will get people like me to buy both of them. Islands Records intentionally delayed the release of the deluxe edition to sucker people into buying the standard edition. It’s an old school marketing strategy that I hoped would stay in the past. But that is not the only dirty trick Island Records (along with a handful of other major labels) are pulling these days.

Aside from any visual and format differences between the standard and deluxe editions, unarguably the biggest, and worst difference is that the standard version does not come with a download card, while the deluxe edition does, at least in some form. You see, Island Records, along with a handful of other major labels, are starting to not put download cards in physical releases anymore. Instead, they are opting to only issue them to those who order the record from either the label’s or band’s official online store. The digital downloads are either delivered via e-mail or are redeemable after placing your order through a link on your order form/receipt. It’s yet another shady marketing strategy aimed to get people to buy records for a higher price in the form of full retail price, if not for a mark up on it, and directly from the label/band so they make even more money by not having to pay middle man like a distributor to get copies out to say Amazon, Best Buy, indie record stores or other online distros. I know Island Records and Interscope Records, which are owned Universal Music Group, and Reprise Records, which is owned by Warner Music Group, employ this no download card strategy, so it wouldn’t surprise me if every label under those respective umbrellas do the same.

Now that my rant is out of the way, here are the differences between the standard and deluxe editions of Wonderful Wonderful, which is what most of you are likely interested in. The standard edition, released on September 22, 2017, is pressed as a single LP (with variants) in gatefold jacket. It has the standard 10 song track listing, actually split evenly with five tracks per side. The deluxe edition, released on November 22, 2017, is pressed as a double LP (with no variants) housed in a gatefold jacket. It has three exclusive bonus tracks; “Money On Straight,” “The Man (Jacques Lu Cont Remix)” and “The Man (Duke Dumont Remix”, which are placed at the end of the standard studio album, placing these tracks all by themselves on the d-side. And because the deluxe edition is a double LP, it allows for better spacing of the tracks, so the track listing/order is a bit different, with only three track on the a-side, three tracks on the b-side and four tracks on the c-side. Not sure of any sound quality differences, but I would assume the deluxe edition sounds better simply because of this better spacing due to it being double LP instead of cramming the same album onto single LP.

Which brings me to why I bought a copy of the standard edition and plan on buying a copy of the deluxe edition as well; the cover art. Each edition has its own, unique and exclusive cover art. While they’re similar and share similar inspiration, they are different. The standard edition has a person holding up a conch shell on the cover, while the deluxe edition has a conch shell resting on the ground (what appears to be a dried up lake bed). I’m not sure if the gatefold artwork is the same between the standard and deluxe editions though, as I’ve never seen photos of the deluxe edition.

It appears as if not all copies of the standard edition come with a hype sticker, as the copy I bought from Target (yes Target sells records now) did not have a hype sticker on it. The hype stickers are all basically the same (you can see a photo of the U.S. pressing of the standard edition below); a vertical black rectangle with white and pink text. This text is basically shared between all the stickers as well, advertising all the singles and the fact it’s the Killers’ new album. The sticker on the UK exclusive pink copies are slightly different, as they say “Limited Edition Coloured Vinyl” and the deluxe edition sticker is slightly different as well with it saying “Deluxe Edition… + 3 Exclusive Bonus Tracks.”

I mentioned above variants for the standard edition, and there are only two. Unfortunately the U.S. did not get the colored vinyl variant, which made it even more expensive to obtain. The UK got Wonderful Wonderful on exclusive pink vinyl, which cost around 25 GBP before shipping. And with the exchange rate Americans’ wallets were hit a bit harder. The UK exclusive variant was flipper gold, with lots of copies selling for double retail price on the secondary market, despite pressing info never being released. It did sell out though, but there could still be 5,000 copies of it. Pressing info has not been released for any variant or edition. Aside from the pink UK exclusive, all copies for both editions are on standard weight black vinyl.

Price was just discussed a bit, but even retail price within the U.S. for this album was on the high side. The standard version cost around $25. Prices on it have started to come down though. The deluxe edition, which is exclusively available from the Killers’ official web store, costs $35 before shipping. Copies of the deluxe edition  have not started showing up on places like ebay, but the only reason for that is because they’re not flippable at $35 straight from the band, aside from them still being readily available.


Weezer – Pacific Daydream

Posted: February 22, 2018 in Vinyl

If you thought it couldn’t get any worse than Raditude or Hurley, I’m sorry to tell you you’re wrong. Pacific Daydream is the worst Weezer album to date. It’s a real head scratcher. What was Rivers Cuomo thinking? Sure, Weezer has had their fair share of uncharacteristic, cheesy songs like “Beverley Hills” and “Can’t Stop Partying”, but at least those songs have some semblance of substance. The heavy use of samples in Pacific Daydream is another puzzler. Most of the songs on this album are as creative as their made up words turned into song titles and choruses. Mexican Fender and La Mancha Screwjob? What the hell is that?

To make matters worse, there are variants for Pacific Daydream. Four in total, and some of them are sold out now so collectors who didn’t pre-order them will have to pay between $35-45 in order to get it. Albums like this make me glad I’m not an avid variant collector, at least not in the sense that I need to buy/collect every color a record is pressed on. At least if the album is good I wouldn’t feel as bad about spending the money on variants, but in the case of Pacific Daydream, it’s pretty much a slap in the face to spend upwards of $80 in order to complete a Weezer collection. I heard lots of Weezer collectors complain about the fact that there were variants and that there were so many of them. And in an unusual twist, I actually felt bad for them in this case.

But at least the band/label did not charge more for certain variants for whatever reason; the retail price for all them is $20 straight from the band/label. Obviously that price may vary slightly if you buy the record from an indie record store or online distro, but it will still be around $20. Here are the variants and pressing info for most of them; transparent/clear and pink / transparent with pink/clear blob limited to 1,000 copies, white with black splatter limited to 2,000 copies, red with black splatter limited to 3,000 copies, and an unknown amount on black vinyl. The transparent/clear and pink / transparent with pink/clear blob and white with black splatter were band exclusives available via Weezer’ web store, the red with black splatter is an indie record store exclusive and the black is widely available from all other retailers. All copies except the black variant come with a hype sticker that says what color the variant is.

All copies come in a single pocket jacket with both a full color printed dust sleeve and insert. A download card is included as well for high quality 320 kbps MP3s. The dust sleeve has the liner notes printed on one side with a promo photo of the band on the other side. The insert has the lyrics printed on both sides of it; one side of the insert per each side of the record. And if this album wasn’t already bad enough from a music perspective, loads of the artwork imagery utilizes some kind of Asian language text. I would venture to assume it’s Japanese, but only because Weezer has spent a lot of time touring in Japan. It would be nice to be able to read everything associated with an English language album and not miss out on what could be important context into the album.

I mentioned the retail price of Pacific Daydream above, but if you don’t care about what variant you get you can find this record for less than $15. I bought it for $11 shipped. And yes, I’m aware it’s a bit hypocritical to say this album is horrible, and say I feel bad for Weezer collectors, but still buy it.



2017 finally saw the release of Santi by The Academy Is… on vinyl. It was released by Enjoy The Ride Records (ETR) on two variants, each limited to 500 copies. ETR was touting this as a “10th Anniversary” pressing, but other than a brief mention in the item description in his web store, there is no mention of it anywhere else.

I was a bit disappointed with the color choices, as the obvious choice would have been black as a base for any splatter, swirls, etc. But no, ETR went with clear for the base color for the splatter they released, and chose to do a half and half split for the other variant. And again, no black was used for the split; clear and magenta were used. The splatter is clear with red/orange and neon red splatter (ETR’s pre-order announcement image says red, but the web store description says orange). The artwork is red neon lights set against a black background; how much simpler does picking colors get?

As this is an ETR release, it received the typical ridiculous ETR pricing; $25 for a single LP before shipping. ETR also jacked up their shipping prices, as I was charged over $6 for shipping. I bought both the Yo Gabba Gabba records he released (under his Enjoy The Toons moniker) not too long before buying Santi, and was only charged $5 and change for shipping two records (bear in mind I bought these records back in the summer, closer to their original release dates. I’m just very late posting about them). You can say I’m a sucker for still buying this record after complaining about the price. Believe me, I’d would have preferred to wait and hope there was a sale (something he rarely does), but the pressing sold out pretty quick and it was either pay the asking price or not get a copy and be forced to pay flipper prices, which are even more ridiculous.

Santi comes in a single pocket jacket that ETR claims is “upgraded” to a 400 GSM card stock jacket. I don’t notice anything superior about this “upgraded” jacket. If it is thicker, it’s only thicker ever so slightly. And it’s definitely not card stock; it’s the same standard cardboard material used for most jackets. The jacket does have a spot gloss finish on the neon light lettering, which is a nice touch. But even that could have been done better, as it’s not as noticeable as it should be when compared to other records I have with spot gloss finishing on the jacket. You have to look at the jacket for Santi closely, and at an angle to see the spot glossing is actually there. When you should be able to easily see it no matter how you look at it. The only thing that pops on the spot glossing is one spot on each letter, which makes it appear that the finish is not done on the entire letter.

No insert is included with this release, and the center labels are a variation of stock Atlantic Records labels.  It’s an odd choice for the center labels, because all the other Academy Is vinyl releases, even the ones with an association with Atlantic, have album/release specific center labels that are inspired by the cover art or other imagery associated with the release. I own the CD version of Santi, and even that doesn’t have any stock Atlantic imagery on the disc itself. One thing to note with this release is that ETR has apparently started springing for shrink wrapping on their releases, so Santi comes shrink wrapped, but without a hype sticker of any kind.

One good thing ETR did with Santi is included the bonus track “Ghost” at the end of the studio album, appearing as the last track on side B of the record. ETR could have done better though, as there are four bonus tracks for Santi. Yes, the studio album with all four bonus tracks would not fit on a single LP. But ETR could have done a double LP, either stretching out the master to fit on all four sides, or do a nice screen print or etching of the album art on the d-side.  And yes, I don’t know the fine print of the license deal ETR worked out to release Santi, but considering Atlantic let him use one bonus track, odds are they would let him use all four of them. And considering he already charges $25 for a single LP, it shouldn’t cost much more for consumers for a double LP. Say it costs $30, that would be $15 per record, which last time I checked is cheaper than $25 for a single LP.

The record as it stands with just the one bonus track, clocks in at 42 minutes, 47 seconds. Which barely fits on a single LP at 33 1/3 rpm to begin with. The studio album, with all four bonus tracks, clocks in at 50 minutes, 25 seconds. ETR could have done the studio album on sides A and B, and then put all four bonus track on side C, leaving room for the aforementioned screen print or etching on side D. Or even mastered it at 45 rpm and spread it out over all four sides.

An interesting note about this release is that the splatter sold out much faster than the split, doing so in about 4 hours. The entire first pressing took a few days to sell out. So further illustrates that people love splatter variants, if you somehow weren’t aware of that by now. This week (as of the posting date of this entry) ETR announced a second pressing, on yet to be announced colors and pressing info.

The Academy Is - Santi - Copy