Archive for the ‘Vinyl’ Category


Senses Fail’s sound has been ever changing over the span of their career. Starting out as the prototypical scene band as a screamo outfit, evolving into hard rock band, morphing into a full fledged hardcore band and now blending the sounds found on all their previous releases into one harmonious sound. Maybe it has finally come full circle for Buddy (Nielsen), but whatever the case, I am glad to see Senses Fail get back to their roots with their latest album; If There Is Light, It Will Find You.

This album marks the band’s second album and fourth total release (two additional EPs) on Pure Noise Records, who tend to go a bit overboard with variants for their releases. The pressing info for  If There Is Light, It Will Find You can even be a bit more complicated when you take into account the fact that the label slapped an unnecessary “second pressing” distinction on one of the variants. The issue with this lies in the fact that this “second pressing” was released at the same time as the “first pressing.” It wasn’t a case of the first pressing selling out and the label putting up an additional pressing for pre-order with it being released a few months later. The so called “first pressing” did indeed sell out before this “second pressing” was put up for sale, but considering the “second pressing” variant was clearly ordered and pressed within the same window based on the fact it started shipping practically immediately after the album’s release date, it’s easy to dispute the “second pressing” claims.

The water gets even muddier when Merch Limited released what has become their traditional exclusive alternate screen printed cover variant for If There Is Light, It Will Find You. When Merch Limited initially put up their pre-order for it, they listed the color of the record as being white, which was listed as part of the variants for the “first pressing.” Without telling anyone who bought one, they switched the color to the “Easter” yellow that is part of the erroneous “second pressing” They inconspicuously changed the wording on the item page to reflect the color change only after it sold out, which happened within a couple hours. The band themselves even advertised this Merch Limited alternate screen printed variant as being on white vinyl on their social media accounts.

So here is the complete pressing info for If There Is Light, It Will Find You. The “first pressing” has four variants; “electric” blue with white & grey splatter limited to 300 copies, baby pink limited to 500 copies, “ultra” clear with baby blue splatter limited to 1,250 copies and white limited to 750 copies. The “electric” blue with white & grey splatter was a label exlcusive only sold on Merch Now, the baby pink was an U.S. indie exclusive (not brick & mortar record stores as Interpunk was selling copie) and the “ultra” clear with baby blue splatter was a band exclusive only available via VIP packages for the band’s current tour. On top of those there is the lone variant for the “second pressing,” which is on “Easter” yellow limited to 1,000 copies.

While there are 1,000 copies on “Easter” yellow, 100 of them were set aside for the aforementioned Merch Limited exclusive alternate screen printed cover variant. So only 900 or so copies were left available for purchase elsewhere.  The Merch Limited screen printed cover is a ¼ fold card stock sleeve that is hand numbered on the back.

Odds are any place you buy this record from as of posting this will have this yellow variant. Some indie record stores may have copies on pink left, but the “electric” blue with white & grey splatter is sold out. The white variant I’m not sure about, but Merch Now is sold out of it. All of the variants come with a hype sticker, but none of them say what color that particular copy is. So if you’re buying this on the secondary market looking to get a specific color, be careful as you can easily be ripped off or be honestly mistakenly sold the wrong color.

All copies come housed in a gatefold jacket with a full color printed dust sleeve. I would much prefer an insert to a printed dust sleeve. The artwork inside the gatefold leaves a lot to be desired, as it’s just a close up of the skull guy from the album cover (actually found all over the packaging for this release). A download card/code is included with all copies as well, which nets you high quality 320 kbps MP3s.

To keep my collection as complete as possible, I held off on pre-ordering this album anticipating that Merch Limited would be doing one of their exclusive alternate screen printed covers (as they did one for  Pull The Thorns From Your Heart), and I bet right. They put it up for pre-order the week before the street date for the album, but it also included an exclusive slip mat to make an unnecessary bundle, which also jacked the price up to $34. Typically Merch Limited’s screen printed covers only cost $25 (with shipping included in that price), but lately they have started doing unnecessary bundles in a likely attempt to make more money. They have always done limited edition clothing and other band merch, something I never saw the point in because frankly who cares if the shirt or hoodie you’re wearing is limited to 100 pieces. Case in point; they recently did an alternate screen printed cover variant for the re-press of Anthony Green’s debut solo album that came with a horrible tie-died  blanket or wall flag thing that drove the price up to $55.

 

 

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Manchester Orchestra have been no strangers to giving their fans what they want, especially when it comes to releasing their material on vinyl. They have been keeping their back catalog in print for quite a while now, and after years of cries from fans they finally pressed You Brainstorm, I Brainstorm, But Brilliance Needs A Good Editor on vinyl for the first time. The band is also very hands on and DIY when it comes to merchandise. They run their own web store and ship all orders from a band’s member’s house (I believe mainly Andy Hull’s). And if you email their web store you typically get a response directly from one of the band members; not an employee, friend, label rep, management etc.

So when it came time to tour in support of their latest album in 2017, the band wanted to do something special for their fans, and it came in the form of an exclusive 7” with brand new material. This 7” was not your typical tour exclusive release however; it was part of a VIP upgrade that a lot of bands are starting to offer now. Personally I despise tour exclusive releases for a number of reasons, and this latest trend of VIP ticket packages is even more infuriating. Bands view them as a way of treating their most dedicated or diehard fans to something special; but since you have to pay a decent chunk of money for them in many cases, it’s not really a reward at that point. Want to do something for your fans? Go out before the show and talk to some of the people waiting in line (yes I’m aware this still happens. I just think bands shouldn’t charge money to meet them). Pose for photos, sign some stuff or just chit chat. The people at the front of that line ARE your most dedicated and diehard fans. Not only the ones who pay extra to meet you.

Now getting a bit back on track here, Manchester Orchestra did put leftover copies of this tour/VIP package exclusive 7” up for sale online long after said tour concluded. Along with the 7”, the bundle (varied in price depending on venue/date but came out around $50 plus the cost of a GA ticket) included a tote bag, laminate, signed tour poster (specific to the show you attended) and priority entry into the venue. The band was selling the leftover copies in their web store for $10 plus shipping (which varied widely, and I amazingly paid on $1.42 for shipping). Pressing info was never release for the 7”, nor was the amount of VIP tickets available per tour date. So you can’t even ballpark how many copies there are of this 7”.

As mentioned earlier, the 7” includes two never before released songs. But it’s not all as it seems, as the songs are the same as the second track is a demo version. So you’re really only getting one new song. Odds are this is a b-side left off A Black Mile To The Surface, but nothing official regarding that has been announced by the band. The song is “How I Waited.” Pressing info for this 7″ has not been officially released.

Manchester Orchestra - How I Waited - Copy


Another record I’ve been looking to cross of my want list for a long time and finally got around to buying was Gatsbys American Dream’s EP In The Land Of Lost Monsters. It was released by Overdue Collection Agency, who released the two other early Gatsbys releases, and did a great job with them. The pressing for In The Land Of Lost Monsters is no different, as Overdue Collection Agency turned it up a notch with this release. It’s a shame none of the variants have sold out so far.

Let’s start off with the most obvious thing; the alternate artwork used for the vinyl release. It was created by label owner Michael Lopez, with inspiration from the title and original cover art. The jacket, which has a matte finish and printed in the reverse board style, came out looking very nice with this new artwork. One variant in particular has an additional feature revolving around the cover art in the form of an ob-strip.

From there the other notable difference with the vinyl version is the insert, which is a fold out insert printed on newspaper print. Some might call it cheap, but it was intentionally printed this way to replicate old zines, and it came out great. It’s full of substantial content, the best of which is an interview with – The lyrics are also printed on the isert, which is laid out and designed like a newspaper.

One often overlooked, but important aspect with this record is that it was mastered at 45 rpm. Which yield optimal sound quality. He could’ve opted for the easier, cheaper or quicker route that so many labels do these days, but he went for quality. With that said the record sounds great, and even the digital files you get with the digital download included with this record sound substantially better than the original master.

In The Land Of Lost Monsters was pressed on three variants, but only two different colors. It’s a slightly odd scenario, but easily explained. There were 550 copies on half clear/half glow in the dark vinyl and 550 copies pressed on black vinyl. The third variant comes in with the black vinyl, as 200 out of the 550 copies on black vinyl come with an obi-strip, which was briefly mentioned earlier.  So the full pressing info is 550 copies on half clear/half glow in the dark vinyl, 200 copies on black vinyl with an ob-strip and 350 copies pressed on black vinyl without an obi-strip. All variants are pressed on 180 gram vinyl.

The ob-strip is hand numbered, but it’s not like most ob-strips as it doesn’t wrap around the entire jacket. It just lays over the front of the jacket. I have seen some obi-strips that wrap around the entire jacket, which is the traditional way, while others are like the one found on this record and only lay over the top of the cover (whether it be a CD or LP).

If you remember there were some issues with Overdue Collection Agency’s other Gatsbys releases, but he seemed to rectify all of them and did not duplicate any past mistakes. There was no pre-order so the records shipped almost immediately after ordering, and the price point was better at $14 (before shipping, which was around $5) for In The Land Of Lost Monsters. Another nice thing the label does is donate all the profits to charity, so for this particular record about 52% of the sale price goes to the charity water.org.

I mentioned above that I waited to buy this record. Part of it was hoping for a sale, not because this record was overpriced, but because I don’t like paying full price for anything anymore. Which stems from being burned countless times by buying records for full price either through pre-orders or around release date, only to see the record not sell out months or even years later, when I could’ve waited and used a coupon/discount/promo code to get them cheaper or by just waiting for a price drop. The vinyl version of In The Land Of Lost Monsters was released in 2014, and I didn’t buy it until 2018.


Vagrant Records snuck in some final releases into their 20th Anniversary pressings towards the tail end of 2017, and boy was one of them a doozy. One of the only outstanding Saves The Day releases to not be released on vinyl was their b-sides album, and Vagrant finally decided to press it as part of their aforementioned 20th Anniversary celebration.

Ups & Downs: Early Recordings And B-Sides was pressed on only one color; 180 gram black limited to 900 copies. An insert is included with the record, which has the liner notes printed on both sides. The liner notes for this album are pretty good, as the band gives a brief but detailed history of each and every song on the album. Along with these descriptions are photos of the band whilst on the road touring as well as shots of them performing live. So ignore what Discogs says about the insert as it’s wrong; there are no lyrics printed anywhere on it. All copies come with two hype stickers; one advertising that this release is part of Vagrant’s 20th Anniversary celebration and another saying the record is on 180 gram vinyl.

The only place to buy this record is via Vagrant’s official web store, which is hosted by Kings Road Merch (KRM). Retail price on it is $20, and because Vagrant and KRM rarely run sales, at least on anything worthwhile, I wouldn’t wait to buy this hoping to get it cheaper. Case in point, I waited almost two years for the Dustin Kensrue covers album to go on sale or for a coupon code to use on it, but KRM never did either. While Ups & Downs: Early Recordings And B-Sides has not sold out in the seven or so months it’s been available, there really is no reason to wait and buy it if you have the money to afford it now.


The All-American Rejects released their first new material in five years in the form of a two song EP. The two songs are “Sweat” and “Close Your Eyes.” The only physical release for the EP is vinyl, which comes as a 7”.

Pressing info was never released, but this 7” is being advertised as being “limited edition.” All copies are pressed on black vinyl, and come in a traditional jacket instead of a paper sleeve. And yes, that parental advisory notation is printed into the artwork. It’s not a sticker on the jacket or the shrink wrap.

Retail price on this is a bit higher than it should be; $8 before shipping. Considering this is actually a tough record to find anywhere other than directly from the band’s web store, you’re pretty much forced to pay shipping. My local store, which gets pretty much everything, didn’t even have copies of it. And when they don’t carry something they take special orders, but they couldn’t even special order it for me either, which I found strange as some indie record stores were able to somehow get copies. And it’s not like my local store is some hole in the wall store in a Podunk town.

Shipping was an additional $6 directly from the band. But I was able to find one on ebay for a bit cheaper thanks to lower shipping charges (plus my ebucks code). This 7” was released in August 2017, and hasn’t seen a sale or price drop. Plus taking into consideration the limited buying options mentioned above, I figured now was a good time to buy it. Especially since my ebucks code was going to expire the next day.

If you needed another reason to hate major labels, here is one more; Interscope Records, who released this 7”, 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 Interscope Records, which is owned Universal Music Group as well, 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.

The All-American Rejects - Sweat - Copy

 


This is a record I’ve spent years trying to track down. It might not seem like a record that people are clamoring over, and it doesn’t sell for ridiculous prices. At this point in my record collecting it’s more about price than anything. I have a strict budget I stick to. Not an overall monthly budget or anything like that, but a certain price I want I don’t want to go over based on the record. Typically $15 for a single LP, $18 for a double LP, and under $10 for a 7”, all with shipping included. Sure there are a few exceptions here and there, but for the most part I’ve done very well sticking to that budget the last couple years.

Hellogoodbye wasn’t even a band I was heavily into or liked all that much. It’s one of those cases where when a pre-order is announced or a new album is released you sometimes go and listen to that band, or in the case of Hellogoodbye go back and listen them again, which leads to re-discovering them. Like most people, I was familiar with Hellogoodbye from their Drive-Thru Records days, which led me to their latest album, the self released Would It Kill You?, which I think is an underrated and fantastic album. That led me to want to collect them, which was somewhat easy considering they’ve only released three records to that point, which shortly increased to four total with the releases of their debut self-titled EP on vinyl. I eventually got around to buying all of their vinyl releases except for one; this picture disc 7” for Here (In Your Arms).

Since this is a UK release, it was rather hard to find in the U.S., and it eventually swelled into just finding a copy at all. Copies rarely popped up on ebay, and if they did, it was a UK seller with a Buy It Now (BIN) that lasted a month, and then when it didn’t sell they would just re-list it for the same price until it sold. But since I lived in the U.S., I would be hampered by not only the exchange rate, but international shipping, the latter of which sometimes cost more than the record itself. It took a long time, but I finally found someone, well stumbled upon someone in the U.S. selling a copy of this 7”. And to sweeten the deal they were selling it for only $5. I bought a few other things from this seller, which helped on shipping costs, so I wound up buying this 7” for $8 when all was said and done.

Pressing info was never released for this 7”, but all copies were done as a picture disc. The artwork is pretty much the same on both sides of the record; a photo of the Southern California band frolicking on the beach. All copies come in a less traditional picture disc sleeve, as it has crimping running from top to bottom on the left and right hand sides. And considering most picture discs just come by themselves in picture disc sleeves, this particular picture disc has a backing board, which serves as an insert. It’s on very thin paper, and one side is blank, but it’s better than nothing. The only info printed on is it the track listing, which is the single on the a-side and a live version of “Baby, It’s Fact” on the b-side.

No Doubt – s/t

Posted: June 5, 2018 in Vinyl
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No Doubt released their debut album on vinyl in 2017 to commemorate the album’s 25th anniversary. It’s an often overlooked album, as many people aren’t even aware of its existence, thinking that Tragic Kingdom is the band’s first album. That fact, or well, misguided fact, affects lots of bands, but mainly those who burst into the mainstream with a breakout album while being relative unknowns prior to the release of said album. The band’s self-titled album, released back in 1997, is what the band originally set out to be; a new wave ska band. Which doesn’t help people be aware of its existence, as the album sounds nothing like Tragic Kingdom and all subsequent albums.

There are a handful of variants for No Doubt, but all copies were pressed as a single LP in a single pocket jacket with a printed dust sleeve. There is also a large white circle hype sticker on all copies, which denotes the color of the record. The variants are blue limited to 500 copies, opaque yellow/black split limited to an unknown amount of copies and black 180 gram limited to an unknown amount of copies as well. So far it seems like the colored vinyl variants are only available online, while black is available both online (band’s web store and other online outlets) and via physical retail outlets. When the record was put up for pre-order the band’s official web store was selling autographed copies (signed on the jacket) on your choice of variant for $100. And they sold out well before release date. Retail price on this record is $25 otherwise.