New Found Glory – Snow 7″

Posted: April 20, 2017 in Vinyl
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In 2015 New Found Glory released a single-sided 7” for their original Christmas song, “Snow.” It took nearly two years for it to sell out, so I wound up buying a Christmas release from 2015 in late February 2017. I didn’t save much money on it in the traditional sense, just through combined shipping.

The 7” has a screen printed b-side, and was pressed on two different colors, each limited to 250 copies apiece. The screen printing is the same on each variant. The two colors are red and green, a logical choice for a Christmas release. Rather than coming in a traditional jacket or sleeve, or even a fold over sleeve, this 7” just comes with what amounts to an insert.  Thankfully a download card/code is included. No copies of this 7” came sealed, so if you see anyone trying to unload a copy on the secondary market don’t fall far the “still factory sealed,”  “still sealed” or “unopened” sales pitches.

Regarding the two variants for this, red was a Merchnow exclusive and green was exclusive to the band’s own webstore; newfoundglorystuff.com. The band was charging $1 more for it in their store than Merchnow was, $8 vs. $7. And that does not include shipping, which was also more expensive in NFG’s store, just under $7 rather than just under $5 via Merchnow. That is not a big difference in price, but when you consider the green copies sold out before the red it’s a bit troubling, as well as puzzling. I actually snagged one of the last two copies of the red variant on Merchnow (you can track the stock levels by maxing out your cart), so I got pretty lucky there. I was waiting for the Circa Survive – On Letting Go deluxe edition to go on sale or for there to be a promo code to use to save some money. That never happened, so I bought this Snow 7″ and the Circa Survive record together once I saw the insanely low stock levels of the Snow 7″.


With the popularity of vinyl, you sometimes get re-pressing that are long overdue and releases getting pressed on the vinyl for the first time that are long overdue. Some that are not even really necessary. What you can’t control unfortunately is how they’re pressed. The American Pie Soundtrack was released on vinyl in 2015, but sadly as a picture disc. Though no one would argue against it being pressed as a traditional record (on any color) in a traditional jacket with inserts and maybe even a download card/code.

My bigger complaint about this is that it falls into the cash grab category, capitalizing on two trends; picture discs and soundtracks. Lately the two go hand-in-hand, but that never used to be the case.  First it was the soundtrack craze, with labels cashing in on multiple facets of consumer culture; nostalgia, collectors and trendiness. There are film nuts and score/soundtrack nuts who will collect anything related to a film they like, and then there are people who don’t like the film, or haven’t even actually seen it, who still collect soundtracks/scores because they like the music. There will always be those who buy things for nostalgia’s sake, which sadly is a strong selling point with records these days. And it leads to things like picture discs, $35 single LP’s and stuff like My Little Pony and the Forest Gump Soundtrack clogging up pressing plants.

This soundtrack comes in a picture disc sleeve with a hype sticker affixed to the bottom right corner, with the sleeve having one of those re-sealable flaps. No idea on pressing info, and it will likely never be released because this is a major label release. No download card/code is included, which isn’t a huge shocker.

Circling back to the mention of $35 single LP’s, when this record first came out in September 2015, that was the price for it; $35. And it’s why I held off on buying this for almost two years after its release. It took that long for me to find it within the price threshold I wanted to spend. I paid $17 shipped for this, which I’m comfortable with because this record is actually becoming harder to find via traditional means. But of course places like ebay and Discogs will always have copies, but those sellers rarely, if ever, lower their prices.

The reason I wanted this soundtrack is for the Blink-182 and Third Eye Blind songs. Blink-182 contributes “Mutt” off Enema Of The State and Third Eye Blind offers up “New Girl” off Blue. If you went to high school when American Pie came out, or even recently graduated, you undoubtedly love the movie, at least the first one. Personally I feel like the choice of using Blink’s “’Mutt” for the scene where Jim runs from his house to Kevin’s house to watch Nadia change, and then picking the song back up again as Jim runs back home to “score” with Nadia, really added something to the scene. It at least made it more memorable for me, hence why I’m able to recall it with such ease.


The Young Veins was a band that flew under many people’s radar. The band was formed by former Panic! At The Disco members Ryan Ross and Jon Walker. Almost immediately after leaving Panic! At The Disco the duo formed The Young Veins, and the band released their first song a few weeks later. Considering the direction Panic! At The Disco took, you can see why Ross and Walker left over creative differences.

If you enjoyed Panic! At The Disco’s Pretty. Odd., you’ll like The Young Veins. They have a Sgt. Peppers era Beatles vibe. Ryan Ross and Jon Walker trade lead vocal duties, and they do a decent job. Their debut, and lone album Take A Vacation, was released on July 8, 2010, and the band went on “hiatus” less than a year later in December 2010. That hiatus has lasted to this day, so it’s pretty safe to assume the band is broken up for good.

Take A Vacation was only pressed on black vinyl, with pressing info never being released. All copies come with a CD copy of the album rather than a download card/code. The CD comes in a card stock sleeve with the cover art on it instead of the cheaper alternative, a thin plain white paper sleeve. This record was available for a long time, and it even went on clearance at many retailers. But it now appears to being quickly going out of print. Copies were selling for around $10, but now because they’re becoming harder to find people are trying to sell copies for around $20.

An odd thing happened with the copy I bought. I bought it from an online distro, which will remain nameless, and as you can see by the photo below, the cover came with a hard to miss defect. That smearing is not how the artwork is supposed to look. How and why this was shipped a customer is beyond me. It should have been destroyed, or at the very least sold as “damaged” or “defective” with a marked down selling price as well. None of those steps were taken. I paid full price for this (not really because I used a discount/coupon/promo code. But the point is the distro charged full price for it and made no mention of the obvious problems with the jacket), and this piece of garbage is what I was sent. And it figures that this jacket didn’t arrive with seam splits. I actually would’ve be a happier had this jacket had seam splits rather than another record. I would’ve tried to return it for another copy, but was told it was on “back-order.” So in other terms, it was sold out with no chance of coming back in stock.


Where do I begin with this record. It’s one of the better releases in terms of packaging, and it seems no expense was spared with it either. Years in the making, Mind Over Matter Records (MOMR) finally released Deadbeat Sweetheartbeat by The Juliana Theory in 2016. In my opinion it’s one of the better Juliana Theory albums, which obviously makes the listening experience better. But the vinyl version released by MOMR is not just a nice package, a good deal of thought and energy went into the music found on the records.

Deadbeat Sweethearbeat was pressed as a double LP on one variant. Each record in the set is on a different color though, with disc 1 on clear with silver blob and blue splatter, and disc 2 on clear with gold blob and green splatter. The mock ups MOMR released were spot on for once. Not that MOMR has ever gone wrong with mock ups, but many times the mock ups labels release during pre-orders don’t always match what the finished product turns out to be. The record is limited to 524 copies, all hand numbered. The hand numbering is done on the back of the slip cover.

I just hinted at one of the finer details of the packaging for this record. The double LP comes in a quad gatefold jacket, with the jacket housed inside a screen printed slip cover. But don’t let the bland slip cover fool you. The jacket is above and beyond in terms of detail. It opens to over four feet in length, which made it rather difficult to get proper photos of. The record also weighs in at the heavyweight class, coming in at almost two pounds. The artwork inside the gatefold is what most people know the album artwork for Deadbeat Sweetheartbeat to be. But the vinyl version was modeled after the limited edition deluxe version of the original CD release from 2005. Which takes me to some of the finer details of the track listing of the vinyl version of the album.

The aforementioned deluxe version of the CD release came with an exclusive DVD, which had exclusive audio tracks on it. At the time these bonus tracks were tough to listen to, because you had to pop in the DVD in order to hear them. And because of the format, they were even tougher to get MP3’s of to export to your computer or iPod. MOMR did a lot of digging in order to find them, having to turn to the studio where the album was recorded, in order to gain access to proper files to press onto the vinyl release. MOMR didn’t stop there either. On top of those DVD exclusive bonus tracks, there was a more traditional bonus track that was all the rage with releases in the 90s to early 2000s; a hidden track.

For those unclear as to what a hidden track is, it’s a song that is literally hidden amongst the proper album. Typically it can be found either after a silence gap at the end of an album or before the lead track of an album. You can’t skip to the hidden bonus song because it’s not an actual track on the album. Sometimes these are joke song, other times they are legit songs. But bands like Green Day, New Found Glory, Nirvana and even The Beatles all have utilized this hidden track feature. MOMR also added these hidden track to their vinyl release of Deadbeat Sweetheartbeat.

To wrap up, all five bonus tracks from earlier releases of Deadbeat Sweetheartbeat are on the vinyl version of the album. All four of the DVD bonus tracks; “Over The Earth,” “Slowly Flying Solo,” “Opposite Parallel Poles” and “Can’t Suspend It” are tacked on to the end of the formal album, and appear in order at the start of side D. The DVD bonus tracks are the only track on side D. The hidden track bonus track, “Her Velvet Voice,” is found after a blank locked groove between tracks C2 and C3, obviously on side C of the album. If you have trouble figuring out how to get the hidden bonus track to play, it’s final track / song on side C. Just pick the needle up to get it out of the locked groove, your turntable won’t automatically change tracks as the record spins. The silent locked groove is meant to replicate the silent gap between the final album track on the original CD release of the album, “French Kiss-Off,” and the hidden track found after the silent gap, “Her Velvet Voice.”

Circling back to the packaging for this record, MOMR re-worked the liner notes to include the lyrics for all five bonus tracks. They are found on an insert, which is printed on thick card stock. The quality of this insert actually puts many jackets I’ve seen to shame, it’s far thicker. On top of adding on to the liner notes, MOMR also added a foreword by Juliana Theory guitarist Josh Fiedler. The foreword sheds some light on the writing and recording process, along with the state of the band at the time of recording. The band was transitioning to a new label, and Josh, understandably, seemed to not be thrilled with the situation that predicated the band leaving Epic Records, a major label. See, prior to signing with Epic The Juliana Theory were on renowned indie label Tooth & Nail Records.

As of posting this, there are still copies of this record available directly from Mind Over Matter Records. The price tag of $26 is well worth it, don’t let that scare you off. If you haven’t already, you should jump on it before the record sells out for good.

Moneen – The Theory Of Harmonial Value

Posted: February 24, 2017 in Vinyl
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Moneen’s debut full length, The Theory Of Harmonial Value, originally released in 2001, was given the vinyl treatment in early 2017 by Dine Alone Records. Many people clamored for it, especially after seeing all of Moneen’s other albums pressed and/or re-pressed in recent years.

The Theory Of Harmonial Value was pressed as a double LP on one variant, metallic gold / black swirl, which is limited to 500 copies. The record was first sold at Moneen’s string of The Red Tree 10th Aniversary shows in Toronto in early January 2017. Dine Alone held some copies to sell online however, which went on sale about a week after the shows. With a price of $35 Canadian (about $25 USD) plus shipping from Canada (should you live in the U.S.) coming in at $17 Canadian ($12 USD), this record is expensive. But it’s the only way to get it unless you want to pay flipper prices on the secondary market when this inevitably sells out. But with that said, this hasn’t sold out yet.

The high price tag for this is a bit justified though. There are some touches to this record, starting with the jacket. There is a tip on glossy photo affixed to the center of the jacket, which is a wide spin rather than a gatefold. A gatefold jacket for this release would have really set it off. On top of that there is a clever insert included. It’s a booklet, which is meant to replicate Lozlo Pronowski’s journal. The replica journal is kept inside a small manila envelope with a metal clasp seal. The booklet has the lyrics printed inside, along with notes/writings from Pronowski. For those unaware, before you go Googling Lozlo Pronowski, he is a fictional scientist created by the band.

An interesting note about how Dine Alone shipped copies of The Theory Of Harmonial Value. They painted a red line on all the LP mailers they used to ship out orders of the record, and I’m guessing orders for the re-press of The Red Tree as well, which went on sale at the same time as The Theory Of Harmonial Value. This hand painted red strip is inspired by the identical stripe painted on the cover of The Red Tree box sets. Which also happened to go on sale at the same time too. And according to Dine Alone, the reason for the mailers being painted is because they needed a fall back in case the proper boxes intended for The Red Tree box set didn’t arrive in time for any of Moneen’s shows in Toronto where the box set would be released.

Apparently this metallic gold / black swirl variant is a deluxe version, with that color and the finer details (tip on glossy photo cover and booklet insert) being exclusive to the deluxe version. As of posting this Dine Alone has not announced plans for a non-deluxe version.

 

Weezer/Wavves – Split 7″

Posted: February 24, 2017 in Vinyl
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A release that came completely out of left field, Weezer did a split 7″ with Wavves in 2016, which was released on Wavves on label, Ghost Ramp. The split has a previously unreleased (on physical format) Weezer song on the a-side and a cover of a Weezer song, “You Gave Your Love To Me Softly” by Wavves on the b-side. The artwork is also inspired by past Weezer releases, and each side of the split gets its own artwork. The Weezer side is inspired by Pinkerton and the Wavves side is inspired by The Blue Album. The Weezer song, “Fake Smiles And Nervous Laughter,” is a b-side from The White Album that was released as a Japanese bonus track on the initial digital release of the album and subsequent deluxe edition worldwide digital release.

The 7″ was put up for pre-order mid September 2016 with no release date given. These days I usually refrain from pre-ordering anything, especially something that doesn’t have a release date given, which is based off past nightmare pre-orders that were delayed several times and didn’t ship in some instances till almost one year after the pre-order. Another red flag for me was a label I never heard of before. But in the case of this split 7″ I’m glad I put my reservations aside because it sold out in six hours.

The 7″ was pressed on two colors, each limited to 1,000 copies for a total run of 2,000 copies. But that fact didn’t stop people from spending more money on the colored variant. The colors were blue and black. Ghost Ramp decided to charge $2 more for the blue variant, which drove the price tag up to $10 before shipping for a two song 7″, with one of the songs recorded by the band owning the label. The black variant cost $8. Shipping was $4.85, and the label decided to ship 7″s in cheap LP mailers. Which led to major problems.

Once the split started shipping in late November 2016, quite a few people reported that the package arrived with absolutely nothing inside. It wasn’t a widespread problem, but it was enough people so that it wasn’t just a fluke incident. Some people said their mailer wasn’t taped down properly, with enough room in the ends so the 7″ could have easily slid out or been stolen out of the package somewhere along the way. While other people said the mailer was taped properly but there still wasn’t anything inside the mailer. Ghost Ramp did send replacements to those affected. However, the shipping issues may or may not have been rectified by the label (red below). But it seems to have only affected the blue variant.

From my personal experience with this 7″, the mailer used, an LP mailer, was still cheap and thin. When it was delivered  the tape on one end of the mailer was completely undone. So my worst fears were bubbling up. The tape was only stuck to one side of the mailer, the other half sticking up in the air and completely dry. As if it came unstuck very early in the delivery process, likely almost immediately. It wasn’t shipped in the summer either, so it’s not like the heat loosened the adhesive on the tape. It just wasn’t applied properly to the mailer. Thankfully the 7″ was inside. But there was not support to speak of inside the oversized LP mailer used for a 7″, just a hastily cut piece of bubble wrap that didn’t even completely cover one side of the 7″ let alone wrap around it or be cut to fit the mailer.

Ghost Ramp did include freebies in most if not all of the packages, but that doesn’t make up for lapses in rudimentary packaging methods, like making sure the tape is actually stuck to the box before mailing it. I received an enamel pin and a CD of a Ghost Ramp release, while other people said they only received a pin.

On top of those issues, Ghost Ramp also started shipping out the 7″ in batches. They shipped out the color variants first because apparently the pressing plant had a delay pressing the black variant. So rather than wait for the entire pressing to be in hand before shipping orders, they opted to ship what they had in hand first. The black variant did not start shipping till a few weeks after the blue variant. It’s not a huge problem, it wasn’t like they never shipped them, it’s just a slight annoyance. This type of delay is not unheard of, but it is odd and despite that has happened with more frequency lately. Labels rarely shipped certain variants earlier than others, so you never heard of these types of delays with specific colors being backlogged at the plant. But more and more labels are starting to ship out releases in batches because of these types of delays with certain variants out of the whole pressing.

If those problems and issues weren’t enough, Ghost Ramp opted to use their stock label dust sleeve for this 7″, which is way too big for the jacket used for the 7″. I’m sure Ghost Ramp uses the same stock label dust sleeve for all their releases (obviously scaled accordingly for a 7″, 10″ 12′), but for this specific release it backfired. Because this black Ghost Ramp dust sleeve is too big, and makes it next to impossible to get the record out of the jacket. Combine that with how cheap and thin the jacket itself is, you may actually tear the jacket trying to get the record out. I know I was very afraid I was going to not just put a small tear in the jacket, but completely destroy it.

It got to the point of trying to get the record out that I was violently shaking the jacket in an attempt to jar it loose. This shaking was also done out of frustration. I’ve never had this much trouble getting a record out of a jacket or sleeve.  It also doesn’t help that this 7″ is shrink wrapped, and if you’re like me and want to keep the shrink on the jacket, the slipperiness caused by the shrink makes it even tougher to get the record out. When you pull on the dust sleeve the shrink wrap starts sliding off the jacket instead. That is how tight of a fit the dust sleeve is inside the jacket.

My advice on how to get this record out of the jacket is to hold the top and bottom of the jacket, holding it so the opening is facing down, then gently squeeze it make the opening a bit larger. But be careful doing this because if you apply too much pressure/force you may tear the jacket. That is how thin it is. Once you have the opening a bit larger, it should look like someone making a slight ‘o’ face, start jiggling the jacket. I know that sounds dirty, but get your minds out of the gutter. Essentially what you need to do it shake the dust sleeve out of the jacket, you need to jostle it free with the help of gravity. Eventually it will come out enough to where you can pull it the rest of the way. If it wasn’t obvious enough, DO NOT put the record back in the jacket. Leave it outside the jacket inside a protective poly sleeve. And if you are foolish enough to try let alone get the record back in the jacket, may you be judged kindly in the next life.

 


Valencia’s debut album, This Could Be A Possibility, was finally pressed on vinyl in 2016. I Surrender Records released it, who originally released the album back in 2006 and also pressed Valencia’s B-sides And Rarities 7″ in 2011. This Could Be A Possibility has already gone through a second pressing, which is surprising.

It’s not surprising that the record sold well, just how fast the first pressing “sold out” and why I Surrender would go ahead and do a second pressing so quickly. Let’s get some things straight before going any further. The first pressing, which is on red vinyl limited to 1,000 copies, is not exactly sold out. It’s just no longer available via I Surrender Records’ web store. What happened was they sent out a portion of the pressing to distros. So there are copies  from the first pressing floating around in various places. Places like indie record stores, Amazon and other online retailers of records. Then there is also the secondary market like eBay, where you can still easily find copies for close to if not below retail price. Retail price on this by the way is around $20. I Surrender charged $20 for it in their web store, but I was able to pick this up for $17.99 at my local record store, even after their mark up. Go figure. At one point you could even buy copies on eBay for $16.

The first pressing comes in a thin single pocket jacket with a full color, printed dust sleeve. There is no download card/code, despite I Surrender being the label that originally released the album. No excuse for that, especially when you want to charge more for it than a brick & mortar store. Not sure if the second pressing has the same packaging as the first pressing, it should, but you can’t take anything for granted. The second pressing is limited to 500 copies on random blended colors. I’m assuming “blended” is the same as No Idea’s infamous “random mix.” The picture I Surrender posted with the item page in their web store for the second pressing has the record on a mint green color.