Over the years Bruce Springsteen has released a multitude of albums. Not only has his sound evolved over the years, he has released live albums, b-side compilations and covers albums. This is one of the later. We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions is a tribute album of sorts, and is comprised of Pete Seeger covers. It’s the only album Springsteen has released that is entirely composed of material that isn’t original.

Originally released in 2006, the record was a bit on the pricey side, even by today’s ludicrous $25 for a single LP standards. We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions is a double LP, and retail price on it is $35. At some points between 2006 and 2016 it was hard to find, which led to distros not putting the album on sale. Prices have dipped a bit here and there though, mainly on the secondary market like eBay and Discogs, where you could pick up copies for under $25. These days I try to not pay full retail price for anything, and I purposely held out buying this because I hate spending (for example) $20 on something when I could’ve waited and got it for $15 or less. Fortunately I picked this up from Hastings when they were going out of business, for the lowest price I’ve ever seen for this a brand new copy of this album; $13. It just took me 10 years to get it.

Pressing info was never released, and never expect it to be because it’s a major label release. But all copies were pressed on 180 gram black vinyl, housed in a large pocket jacket. No gatefold jacket for this overpriced album. The records do come in printed dust sleeves though, which have the lyrics for each respective side printed on them.

 

 


“Same old Arsenal.” A phrase every Arsenal supporter loathes, or at least should. After a jaw droppingly awful run of form; having to come from three goals down to salvage a draw with Bournemouth, losing to Watford a couple weeks later and then right on the heels of that embarrassing loss, suffering another loss, this time a demoralizing defeat to Chelsea. To make matters worse, the Gunners were dropping points at crucial times. Had they managed to take all three point from the aforementioned Bournemouth and Watford games, like they easily should have, they would have been six points behind Chelsea heading into that all important league clash. Instead, they found themselves 12 points adrift afterwards, with their title hopes all but gone.

So the question arises, yet again, who is at fault? On paper this is one of the strongest teams Arsenal has fielded in years. Arsène Wenger has actually spent money, in some of the right areas for once. There should not be any excuses anymore. Does the blame rest on the players, who always appear to take a nonchalant, lackadaisical approach when facing clubs from the bottom of the table? Or does the blame rest squarely on Wenger’s shoulders. Players come and go, but the one constant the last 20 odd years has been Wenger.

This same team beat Chelsea earlier in the season, embarrassing them the same way Chelsea did to them on February 4. There should have been even more motivation to beat them in the return fixture, because it would be a season salvaging win. So Arsenal can’t get up for big games, and they can’t take games against weaker teams serious enough to not fall behind by multiple goals before halftime. Who is in charge of firing up the team? Wenger. Who is in charge of making sure the players’ mentality is in the right place? Wenger. Who is in charge of not letting players become complacent with their spot in the team? Wenger.

Last season everyone saw the first rumblings of the “Wenger Out” campaign. The cries from supporters who want Wenger out as manager, for a multitude of reasons. With the now infamous “Arsenal FC. Not Arsene FC” banner on display at the Emirates summing up the frustration perfectly. This season, after the latest stumblings, you’re starting to see more unrest amongst the fans. In the 2-0 win over Hull City there were a great deal of empty seats, and the atmosphere was dull. It seemed like the crowd was looking to boo more than cheer. I can only imagine how bad the Emirates will be during their next home match after suffering yet another embarrassing defeat at the hands of Bayern, 5-1, which will ironically be against Bayern in the return leg of Champions League Round of 16. Towards the end of last season I was starting to switch camps into the Wenger Out side. But after how this season has been playing out, I’m firmly in the Wenger Out camp.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate everything Wenger has done for the club. With the key word there being done. He brought an exciting style of football to the club, helped the club remain successful under financial strictness as the Emirates was ushered in and brought titles, not just trophies. But it’s been far too long since Arsenal have won the title. And if last year was a kick to the groin, following it up with the poor performances this season is stepping on your groin after you’ve fallen from the initial kick.

Wenger has delusions of grandeur. He’s full of excuses without ever actually accepting responsibility for his team’s shortcomings. His refusal to change tactics or adapt to a new style of play that is dictated by the game or opponent is worrisome. The beautiful at all costs approach does not work all the time. Coming out and saying he’d rather play beautiful football than win is an insult to anyone who spent money supporting the club. Bottom line is, this is all getting old. It happens every season, and only worsens as any sort of adversity is faced.

While no one will complain about finishing in the top four year in and year out; it’s sure better than finishing outside it, it’s beginning to foster complacency. It was exemplified in the loss to Watford at the end of January. Where there was no urgency, hardly any effort put in and shell shocked expressions as if the players were thinking “how dare they have the audacity to score on us.”

Another issue is the disagreements amongst supporters. Last year, once the Wenger Out faction starting becoming more vocal and prevalent, you could see fans in the crowd bickering amongst themselves. With the Wenger diehards screaming at the Wenger Outs to sit down and shut up. There needs to be some sort of understanding amongst supporters. There will always be opposing views, but arguing with someone who disagrees with your opinion is simply yelling at a brick wall. If people want to protest let them. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a staunch Wenger Out member. Fighting amongst ourselves won’t accomplish anything. Sending mixed messages to the board won’t bring necessary change. And I think we can all agree that something needs to change.

The sad part is, at this point Arsenal have waited too long to get rid of Wenger even if they don’t retain him past this season. Antonio Conte, José Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancellotti, Massimiliano Allegri , Jorge Sampaoli, Frank de Boer and Jürgen Klopp, just to name a few, all have cushy new jobs at top clubs. The question begs who would want the Arsenal job that will actually take them back to the top? Diego Simeone from Atletico Madrid? Die Mannschaft manager Joachim Löw? Doubt any of them will leave their current jobs. Eddie Howe has been heavily linked with being Wenger’s successor once he departs, but with Bournemouth’s worrisome defensive record this season combined with Howe’s relative inexperience, it seems more and more like a risky venture. Manuel Pellegrini and Roberto Mancini are still available. And don’t anyone dare throw Jürgen Klinsmann name into the hat.

So the question begs; what will it take for Wenger to be out as Arsenal manager? Being embarrassed by Bayern in the Champions League? Tottenham finishing ahead of Arsenal in the league? Finishing outside the top four? Any combination of the above? To weed through this convoluted mess, let’s look at past experiences. Arsenal has never won the Champions League (UCL) in their history, let alone under Wenger, with their highest finish being reaching the UCL final way back in 2006. And In recent years they routinely make a Round of 16 exit. Yet Wenger has kept his job. This year is no different as Bayern already comprehensively demolished them in the opening fixture of the home and away series in the Round of 16. Aside from that, Arsenal’s stats are damning. They’ve allowed 3+ goals in four of the last five Round of 16 games, and Wenger’s record in the UCL knockout round is a dismal at best, standing at 15-10-18.

Last year the only thing Wenger could hang his hat on was finishing above Spurs. Leapfrogging them on the final day of the season to finish in second place, Arsenal’s highest league finish since The Invincibles. Arsenal haven’t finished outside the top four since 1994-95, long before Wenger’s tenure, and I think that will be the likeliest thing that would lead to his sacking/dismissal/non-retainment; however the powers at be want to phrase it.

Putting all that in perspective, yes winning the Champions League is extremely difficult. It’s why it’s called the Champions League and not the Europa League. Winning the Premier League is difficult too, but in reality is closer to Arsenal’s grasp than the Champions League. Beating and finishing ahead of Spurs is a matter of pride, but it’s ultimately out of Arsenal’s hands. The problems arise with, yet again, complacency. Arsenal are too comfortable. You could say they’re stuck in a rut, but to be stuck in a rut means you have some sort of ambition. And right now it seems Arsenal have no ambition. They’re perfectly happy with the status quo; finishing in the top four so you qualify for Champions League. Anything better than that is icing on the cake. There is no cherry on top in Arsenal’s book.

Until that mindset changes, which starts from the top, Arsenal will be stuck in this perpetual cycle of mediocrity. They’ll be a team everyone sets out to beat, but can legitimately embarrass. So here we are, on the eve of Arsenal’s FA Cup 5th Round match against non-league side Sutton United. When another non-league club already eliminated a Premier League club yesterday. Surely the disastrous can’t happen… right?

 

 

 

 

 


There are many Christmas albums and compilations. Almost every band/artist has recorded at least one Christmas carol during their career, with many releasing entire albums. But every once in a while there is a compilation that features not only many great artists, but some of them performing the perfect Christmas carol. This is one of those Christmas albums.

A Very Special Christmas was originally released in 1987, and was a benefit album for the Special Olympics. It was re-released several times over the years, most recently in 2016. This latest pressing, featured here, was done as a 30th anniversary edition, despite it being released 29 years later. It was meticulously recreated from the original 1987 release. It features the same gold foil stamped cover artwork, which was done By Keith Haring. No word on pressing info, but for a release like this it really shouldn’t matter. All copies were pressed on black vinyl. Here is the track listing:

Side A

  1. The Pointer Sisters – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  2. Eurythmics – Winter Wonderland
  3. Whitney Houston – Do You Hear What I Hear?
  4. Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band – Merry Christmas Baby
  5. The Pretenders – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  6. John Cougar Mellencamp – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
  7. Sting – Gabriel’s Message

Side B

  1. Run-D.M.C. – Christmas In Hollis
  2. U2 – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
  3. Madonna – Santa Baby
  4. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – The Little Drummer Boy
  5. Bryan Adams – Run Rudolph Run
  6. Bon Jovi – I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas
  7. Alison Moyet – The Coventry Carol
  8. Stevie Nicks – Silent Night

 

Against Me! – Shape Shift With Me

Posted: December 22, 2016 in Vinyl
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Against Me! has continued to power on, releasing their – studio album in 2016. Shape Shift With Me is the band’s second album with Laura Jane Grace. And to be honest I had some concerns with her as lead vocalist going forward. Nothing bigoted or hate filled towards the transgender, I just didn’t know if her voice would change significantly enough to result in a huge sound departure from earlier Against Me albums. That it wouldn’t sound like them anymore. Personally I enjoy Shape Shift With Me more than Transgender Dysphoria Blues, and I think it’s their best album since New Wave.

Shape Shift With Me was pressed as a double LP and does not come in a gatefold jacket. Which is a bit of a disappointment. One of my pet peeves are double LPs not coming in a gatefold jacket. Primarily because if they don’t they come in those cheap, slightly larger than normal single pocket jackets. An insert is included, which has the lyrics printed on one side with the one of the characters from the cover art on the reverse side. The lyrics are printed so small on the insert they’re best read with a magnifying glass. A download card is also included, for odd 319 VBR MP3s. They’re not all at a variable bit rate, every single song is at 319 kbps and have “(VBR)” attached to the end of them. All copies also come with a white circle hype sticker affixed to the top right corner, with colored vinyl copies “limited edition color vinyl” printed on the hype sticker, but no mention of exact color. Black vinyl copies have no mention of color.

The full pressing info has not been released for this record, only three of the five variants. First off, there is a U.S. and UK/Euro pressing. The U.S. pressing was handled through the band’s label, Total Treble. The UK/Euro pressing was done by Xtra Mile Recordings. First up, Total Treble had an exclusive variant, clear, which sold out during pre-orders. Clear is limited to 1,000 copies. Next up is white, which is an indie record store exclusive and is limited to 4,000 copies. The last variant with pressing info is the Euro exclusive blue vinyl, which is limited to 500 copies. Green Hell (German distro) got 250 copies of the blue variant to sell, so it stands to reason Banquet Records (UK record store) got the other 250 copies to sell. The blue is transparent, not opaque, and is closer to a sky blue than navy blue.

On top of those three colors Shape Shift With Me is pressed on black vinyl and random mix vinyl. The random mix is a tour exclusive, and the colors I’ve seen so far are translucent purple marble, green marble, brown marble, translucent blue marble and red. And you may or may not get a matching set for the tour variant. Black is available from most distros and is the color you’ll get if you order from anywhere other than an indie record store at this point. Clear and blue are sold out. I will point out that my local record store hasn’t had copies of the indie exclusive white vinyl for months now. But with 4,000 total copies it’s entirely possible to find many record stores across the country with copies left.

One thing I will add, there may or may not be a UK/Euro pressing of the clear and white variants. Banquet Records labeled the clear as “transparent.” They also listed the “transparent” vinyl to be limited to 1,000 copies, which lines up with the U.S. pressing. Where the question arises is did Xtra Mile Recordings press 1,000 copies on clear/transparent vinyl. Same goes for the possibility of a Euro exclusive white variant. Flight 13, a German distro, was selling copies of a white variant, saying it was limited to 500 copies. I haven’t seen pictures of the UK/Euro clear/transparent or white variants to see if there is an Xtra Mile Recordings logo printed on the back of the jacket. Discogs lists Xtra Mile as the label releasing both of those variants, but Discogs is far from accurate 100% of the time. Discogs is somehow actually getting less and less reliable by the day. To add an even bigger monkey wrench into things, Laura Jane Grace said on Twitter that there is an Australian exclusive variant as well.

I’ve contacted by Total Treble and Xtra Mile Recordings about the pressing info and to date have never heard back from either of them. I’ll likely try to contact them through various channels one more time before giving up. If I do hear back from them I will update this blog post accordingly.


If there is one band out there that will always generate interest it’s Nirvana. People go crazy for almost anything related to the band when it gets pressed on vinyl, including myself. I have more than my fair share of Nirvana bootlegs, so much so that I have live performances that overlap onto other bootlegs I’ve bought. I’ve even foolishly bought the same exact bootleg, only under a different title. I’m a bit more careful now, as I have photos of every bootleg I have to check the track listings. So when it was announced that a Kurt Cobain documentary was being worked on, what some people were calling the definitive biopic, and that an accompanying soundtrack would be released, many people were exited, myself included of course.

Montage Of Heck is the title of the documentary and corresponding soundtrack. The soundtrack is comprised of never before heard demos, outtakes, covers and various other early recordings Kurt Cobain recorded over his lifespan. Some of the songs are Cobain just tooling around and predate Nirvana, while others were written intended to be Nirvana songs. After listening to the soundtrack it is a bit of a letdown however. There is nothing earth shattering on it, and some of the songs have made the rounds online through Nirvana collector circles. If you’re like me and are a huge Nirvana fan/nerd and want to hear everything the band or Kurt Cobain has done, you’ve heard the demo version of “Sappy” and “Been A Son” before. This is just the first official release they’ve seen the light of day on.

There have been many complaints about the sound quality of this soundtrack. And all those complaints are unfounded. It’s nothing to do with the pressing, it being on vinyl, the mastering, etc. Some of these songs were literally recorded into a hand held tape recorder Kurt set up. So the source audio was far from worthy of being mass produced and released to the public. But with that said, the soundtrack itself is not worth buying for the casual fan. You should only buy this, on any format, only if you’re a diehard fan or completist. And you should definitely not buy this for full retail price.

Retail price on this soundtrack is $35. For that money you get a double LP pressed on black 180 gram vinyl, a gatefold jacket, insert and download card. Despite what the hype sticker says; “320 kbps MP3s,” that is not what you get via the download card. The download cards yields WAV files. A nice touch for the price, but useless files for most people. You can’t play WAV files in iTunes, they have o be converted to MP3. And since there are 31 tracks on this soundtrack, the file is well over 1 gig in size.

The soundtrack for Montage Of Heck was released over one year ago (December 11, 2015) as of posting this. And prices are still not coming down enough. Many distros are still charging way too much for this. Some are still charging full retail. Your best bet to find this soundtrack on the “cheap” are places like ebay or discogs. Prices on the secondary market have dropped significantly; to around $15. That is more than 50% off. While a deal can be had there, distros are marking this down to $30, or $25, in a pathetic effort to move old stock. I bought this soundtrack, brand new, for $10 shipped on ebay.

Pressing info has never been released, and never expect it to be because it’s a major label release.

 

 


The Ghostbusters reboot has been the source of controversy long before it ever went into production. And that controversy continued to swell as time wore on. The soundtrack did nothing but stoke the fire, as Fall Out Boy’s horrid rendition of the iconic Ghostbusters theme song tied up the awfulness of the movie in a nice little bow.

Yes, despite how bad the Fall Out Boy song is, I did buy this soundtrack for my Fall Out Boy collection, but I only spent $5 on it. How you ask? By taking a chance on an ebay mis-listing, where someone foolishly had the vinyl soundtrack listed in the CD category as a “used” CD without any pictures, and the item description stating “still factory sealed vinyl LP 2016 soundtrack.” It also helped that the seller had the listing titled as “Ghost blisters Spundtrack.” So I wound up getting the ” Ghost blisters Spundtrack” for a $3 BIN with $1.99 shipping. For that price I was willing to take the risk of a CD showing up. Retail price on this soundtrack is $20. But lo and behold, when the package arrived it was an LP mailer with a record inside. splurge to keep my Fall Out Boy collection somewhat complete. .

The soundtrack was pressed as a single LP and has two variants; red and black. Red was a Barnes & Noble “vinyl day” exclusive limited to an unknown amount of copies. Rarely does B&N release pressing info for any of their exclusives. Black is available everywhere else, even B&N now as they somehow managed to sell out of their exclusive color. Pressing info for the black has also never been released, and never expect it to be For those wondering “vinyl day,” a completely made up “holiday” was August 13, 2016, and I think B&N is the only place that does anything for it and they’re likely the ones who invented “vinyl day.”

The soundtrack for the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot features tweaked artwork from the original iconic artwork and Ghostbusters logo. Yet another thing done in a seemingly endless line of things that would piss people off. It was liked the powers at be went out of their way to piss people off. All copies come with an insert, and the download card is printed on the insert itself. There is a hype sticker, which is affixed to the top left corner on all copies. It’s tough to see it because the sticker itself is clear with slime green lettering. The B&N exclusive color has an additional hype sticker promoting their exclusive color.

 

 


At this point most of Manchester Orchestra’s discography has been pressed on vinyl. Now that the You Brainstorm, I Brainstorm, But Brilliance Needs A Good Editor EP has been pressed there are only a handful of outstanding releases yet to get the vinyl treatment. Many people have wanted this EP, along with the other Manchester Orchestra EPs not pressed on vinyl to see the light of day on the format, and the band finally listened to fans’ wishes in late 2016.

The vinyl release of You Brainstorm, I Brainstorm, But Brilliance Needs A Good Editor came out of left field. Some discussion popped up on message boards based around rumors the band was selling copies of the EP on vinyl on tour, but without an official announcement most people brushed it off as simply rumors. A few days later the band made an official announcement with on sale info and the pressing info. No pre-orders, the record shipped right away.

You Brainstorm, I Brainstorm, But Brilliance Needs A Good Editor was pressed as a 12″ on white vinyl limited to 1500 copies. All copies come with an etched b-side of one of the Queens found on the album cover. So obviously this is a single sided record. An insert is included as well, but no download card. It’s a bummer no download card is included considering this was originally a self released EP and the band released it on vinyl on their own label; Favorite Gentlemen.

An interesting note about this record, The band put up a placeholder in their web store, which is hosted by Big Cartel. On that placeholder they had a price of $20. But on the day the record went up for sale they lowered the price to $15. A nice move on their part, especially considering the only shipping option they offer cost $7.50. I’m putting up screen shots of the $20 price tag and $15 price tag to prove this, mainly because I’m starting to get a lot of comments on this blog from people attempting to call me out on things they think are bullshit. For the record (no pun intended) I take screen shots of almost everything when a record I intend to buy goes up for pre-order/order for the sake of posting as much information on this blog as possible. This record is the perfect example of why I do this. People have left comments showing their appreciation for my efforts at being as detailed as possible, which don’t go unnoticed and are appreciated. But I’m sure someone out there will feel the need to leave a comment on this post attempting to poke a hole in my logic.

If you’re familiar with Big Cartel you know their cart system allows people to hoard the entire stock of any item in their carts, making it impossible for anyone to buy that particular item(s). It happens all the time with records, regardless of rarity, which can lead to major headaches trying to buy the record. The inevitable happened with this record. Fortunately I placed an order before the trolls arrived, so I didn’t have to deal with any of the nonsense. But right after I checked out I went back to check the stock just to see how fast this EP was selling and lo and behold, someone had all the copies in their cart.