Posts Tagged ‘Against Me!’

Once again I decided to camp out for Record Store Day (RSD), getting to my store 8 ½ hours ahead of opening. I know I said on Twitter that I likely wouldn’t bother with RSD this year, but things changed obviously. That thing was adding more and more things to my list, which ending the debate of do I want to go out for the one thing I know I won’t be able to find online for retail price. I’d rather not spend $30 on something if it means the only thing being sacrificed is a good night’s sleep. If you think I’m crazy for waiting that line and getting to a store that early, keep reading. But I do sleep for at least 2-3 hours of that wait time. If you want to skip this column-esque story, skip ahead five paragraphs for the start of the write up on this particular RSD release.

To lay the ground work for RSD this year, I actually had fun the past two years (2016 & 2017) waiting in line, which makes the time go by faster. That was not the case every other year, and I’ve been attending RSD since its inception in 2008. I had some cool people to talk to these past two years, which rarely, if ever happened every other year for RSD. I’m talkative person, it’s the other people who either can’t or refuse to hold a conversation for whatever reason. The past two years I was next to the same group of people actually. You see, at my local store, the same groups of people show up around the same time every year, especially the diehards. I’m talking about the real early birds, the people who get there 7+ hours ahead of opening. And at my store you have to show up by 4 am (for an 8 am opening) in order to have a serious chance of getting what you want. Otherwise you’re like 150+ in line and will spend around 2 hours (after opening) just waiting to get in and get checked out. It’s a popular store in a highly populated area.

For those curious about what store I go to, I never mention it because I want to maintain some privacy for myself. I don’t want people knowing where I live. It’s not a matter of turning people onto the store and having more people show up. Trust me, this store is well know and one of the most popular stores in the region. It draws people from four different states for RSD, and there are no shortages of record stores in the area either.

The only thing that changed in the 10 years RSD has been happening is how early I have to line up in order to get everything I want, or at the very least the few things I would have a hard time tracking down for a decent price online. I used to get to my store around 5 am, and got everything I wanted with no problem. But ever since 2015 the line has gotten out of control. I used to be no more than 20th in line with a 5 am arrival from 2009-2014, but I learned my lesson in 2015 after getting there at 2 am (thinking that additional 3 hours would be enough to compensate for the Deja Entendu release) and being like 50th in line, resulting in missing out on stuff I wanted for the first time ever. And I mean for the first time ever. Prior to that year I never missed out on a single thing on my list.

Ever since then my goal was to get there by midnight, and it’s worked. And I’ve had more fun in line than ever. People bring beer, people are more talkative, offer to get food and coffee for people and are just more helpful and nicer in general. I think a lot people are immediately grumpy when they get there later in the morning and come to the dreaded realization of how long the line actually is. The line can be a bit deceiving because it wraps around the building/strip mall. Lots of people see what they think is the end of the line at the end of the building/strip mall, only to walk over and discover it keeps going. I’ve heard plenty of obscenities being yelled at 5 and 6 am, some from like a hundred feet away.

That one thing mentioned above was the Thrice 7”. That is what drew me out for RSD, but I also picked up a bunch of other things rather than deal with paying for shipping and the potential for damage during shipping. The Against Me! 7” was one of those other things I wanted, but felt wouldn’t be hard to find online for retail price. Especially considering I found the Against Me! 7” from 2015 that was far more rare, limited to 750 copies.

This Against Me 7” is limited to 4,000 copies as a picture disc. The picture disc unfortunately is the only variant for this 7”. An interesting note about this 7”, the official RSD list and any store that put up photos of the releases on their website used the b-side for the display image. Typically the a-side is the used for display/stock images. For the photo gallery below, the a-side is the first photo (from the left) followed by a photo of the b-side.

The official title for this 7” is “Stabitha Christie,” which is featured on the a-side. The b-side features “First High Of The Morning.” Both songs are b-sides from Shape Shift With Me. The record does not come with a download card, so the only way (as of posting this) to this hear the songs is by having a copy of this record.

Another interesting note about this 7” that was not mentioned anywhere prior to buying this; not even on the official RSD list, is that each copy is individually numbered. This numbering is down on the giant white square hype sticker affixed to the top left corner of the sleeve. The sleeve is obviously a picture disc sleeve. You think the fine folks who run RSD would emphasize the fact this release is individually numbered, because that feature is one of those buzz words/phrases that are used as sales tactics. And that seemingly innocuous feature does push some people over the edge to buy a release rather than not.

Retail on this 7” picture disc was around $9. A bit pricey for a 7”, but it’s higher than other RSD 7”s because it’s a picture disc, and they’re more costly to press.


Against Me! – Shape Shift With Me

Posted: December 22, 2016 in Vinyl

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.

Fat Wreck Chords released another compilation in their long tradition of releasing them. Mild In The Streets: Fat Music Unplugged is a play on the Circle Jerks album Wild In The Streets, right down to the album cover. As the title suggests, the compilation is full of acoustic renditions of Fat Wreck Chords artists songs. But despite the title, not all the artists nor songs featured on the comp are nor were ever Fat Wreck Chords artists. Matt Skiba/Alkaline Trio stick out the most.

As with most Fat Wreck releases there is a limited colored variant and a standard black variant. The color vinyl for this comp is red with white splatter, limited to 522 copies. Surprisingly is has not sold out yet (as of writing this way back on July 29, 2016 – not posting this), which is odd for a Fat Wreck release as the label has a very rabid and dedicated fan base/collectors who snatch up everything. Also in line with Fat Wreck tradition, this comp is very affordable. Retail on the black variant is around $13. But Fat Wreck does do one thing I despise; charging for more the limited variant or colored vinyl. The colored vinyl cost $15 while the black variant cost only $12 from Fat Wreck.

I bought this comp for the Matt Skiba song and the Against Me! songs. Matt Skiba covers “Continental,” an Alkaline Trio song off Good Mourning. Against Me! covers “Joy,” off Searching For A Former Clarity. As a whole this comp features a lackluster lineup, which may be the reason the colored variant hasn’t sold out yet (as of writing this way back on July 29, 2016 – not posting this).

An insert is included along with a download card. The insert is pretty pointless though, as one side is simply the album artwork with the reverse side having the credits. The download card (CD version too) features an exclusive bonus track that is not on the vinyl release of the comp due to length issues. This bonus track clocks in over 19 minutes long and is a NOFX song of sorts, “The Decline” but it’s a full symphonic performance done by Baz And His Orchestra. The official title of the song is “NOFX’s The Decline (A Punk Rock Symphony).”

Against Me! – 23 Live Sex Acts

Posted: December 2, 2015 in Vinyl

Against Me! released their second live album, 23 Live Sex Acts, in 2015. The triple LP release comes in a tri-fold jacket on a handful of variants. Initially there was some confusion about what the colors would be and where they would be available/exclusive to. There appeared to be an indie store exclusive color, but it turned out to be the same color as the colored variant available from Total Treble Records. My local record store and Total Treble had the album up for pre-order with the description of clear with blue and yellow splatter; a variant that turned out to not exist, at least not exactly. The color that it turned out being was essentially marble sea foam green/mint green/teal. The marbling is hints of blue. I used all three color descriptions because they are all fitting for it and have been used by multiple people to describe it. Judge for yourself based on the photos below. This variant is also 180 gram.

The colored variant cost $5 more than the “standard” black vinyl, $35 instead of $30. If you take out the fact they’re charging for more colored vinyl, a controversial practice, the price for this album, a triple LP, is not bad at all. I usually draw a line with buying a variant if it costs more than another, but in this case I bought this from my local record store after using a $10 reward credit, making the album cost $25 instead of $35. They didn’t carry it on black vinyl, so I couldn’t have picked this up for $20 instead of $25, but I’m content.

There are only three variants for 23 Live Sex Acts; this “splatter” variant that is an indie record store and Total Treble “exclusive,” black and a UK exclusive which is the first LP on blue/second LP on yellow/third LP on white. Pressing info for any of the variants has not been released, and it likely never will be. But that fact doesn’t prevent people from speculating how many copies of the “splatter” were pressed based solely on stock levels available online, even though the “splatter” is also available in physical record stores around the country on top of being sold online. All copies come with a download code.

It’s important to note that there are two different hype stickers for this album depending on the variant. Black vinyl copies come with a white sticker and colored vinyl copies come with a black sticker. Kind of goes against logic not using the black sticker for black vinyl but to each their own. The writing found on each sticker is also different. The colored vinyl stickers (black sticker) reads “COLORED VINYL?! WOW! GREAT! AND IT’S THICK! HOT SH!T! 180 GRAMS! SO BIG!” The black vinyl sticker (white sticker) reads “23 NEW! DEEP CUTS! RECORDED LIVE IN KIEV, INDIANA! FEATURING ALL THE HITS AND MISSES!

The songs featured on the album are collected from various shows on Against Me!’s 2014 tour, as obviously Kiev, Indiana doesn’t exist. With that said there is a big issue with the track listing. Not what song(s) they omitted or included, but what version of a song they decided was ok to put on the album given the fact they recorded multiple shows. The version of “New Wave” they included has close to two minutes of stage banter/an argument with security over someone getting kicked out of the show. And after it the band stops playing the song for good and the track is over on the album. Out of the 3:30 song, we got literally 1 minute of it. What was the point of including this version of “New Wave?” Anyone who has been to a show has heard bands argue with security for various reasons, talk to the sound engineer or lighting guy.

Record Store Day (RSD) 2015 was my worst yet. Typically I arrive about three hours before my local store opens and I’m usually no more than 20 people back, having no problems getting everything I want. This year, because of the Brand New – Deja Entendu re-press I decided to get to the store even earlier, anticipating a clusterf*ck because of the Deja release. Boy was I wrong in how early I should have gotten there. Even though I lined up five hours before opening, two hours earlier than I usually do, I was the 55th person in line, more than double where I usually am in line. How do I know where I was in line you ask? Simple; my local store is insanely organized when it comes to RSD. They keep all the RSD releases alphabetized and categorized by format (7″, 10″, LP, CD, tape, box set) behind a counter they set up just for RSD, have it set up menu style where you tell them what you want and they get it for you, only let a handful of people in the store (RSD area) at a time and they hand out numbered pieces of paper like a deli in a supermarket based on line order to make sure nobody further back in line gets RSD releases ahead of anyone because they have four or five different employees getting releases.

So to sum up, I got to the store earlier than ever before, was further back in line than ever before for my effort and didn’t get three releases that I wanted. Considering in the six previous RSD’s I’ve attended I only didn’t get one release over that entire span, not getting three in one year is a horrible swing. To be fair though, I bought one of the releases I missed online from Bull Moose. I found out from talking to people in the store and some employees that people started lining up at 5 pm on the day before (Friday) RSD, with the bulk of people getting the Deja RSD exclusive lining up by 11:30 pm the day before. No way will I ever line up that early for anything non-life essential.

This is one of the releases I missed out on, the Against Me! – Osama Bin Laden As The Crucified Christ 7″. It turned out to be one of the most sought after releases (after Brand New and Foo Fighters) seeing as it was limited to only 700 copies and was one of the “regional focus” releases on RSD. To this day I have no idea what regional actually means in RSD terms. It can’t be literal, because stores across the country get it, so it’s not like only certain areas, or regions, are able to get it.

As stated above, this 7″ was limited to only 700 copies. The official RSD pressing info said 700 copies on pink, but once people got copies it became obvious the pressing info was wrong, at least in terms of color. It seems like they checked the random colors box when placing their order with the plant, as this 7″ comes in at least three different colors that I’m aware of. The colors are pink, green, grey/putty (some people are calling this light purple) and purple/maroon. The shades range in hue, and all of the colors have marbling in them as well. What is pictured with entry is the purple/maroon color. The RSD site has since edited the pressing info and release details on their site to reflect that this 7″ is not only on pink. They changed it from “pink vinyl” to simply “colored vinyl.”

This 7″ did not come sealed and does not come with a download code. This 7″ also features two, never before released exclusive (for the time being) songs. A live version of “Osama Bin Laden As The Crucified Christ” on the a-side and “Osama Bin Laden As The Crucified Christ (Extra Dysphoric Version) ” on the b-side. The live version from the a-side will apparently appear on the band’s forthcoming live album.

For a band like Against Me! 700 copies is not enough for a record that is not getting a wide release. Combine the size of Against Me!’s fanbase with the calamity that is RSD, and you get a perfect storm for a rare record. One of the good aspects of the 7″ being so limited though, is that is actually cuts back on the amount being flipped, as flippers have an equally tough time getting it. Do they math. There are around 1500 participating stores for RSD, and even if every store only ordered 1 copy of this 7″, less than half of the stores would actually get it. However, flippers did get some, it just wasn’t as widespread as it usually is for RSD release. Prices are ranging up to $41. Considering this 7″ cost as little as $5 from some stores, that is a huge profit, nearly 10x.

I somehow scored this 7″ during the Bull Moose RSD leftovers frenzy. Last Year (2014) I couldn’t even get Bull Moose’s site to load, but this year I was not only able to get the site to load, I was able to buy something exceedingly hard to come by.

Against Me! - Osama Bin Laden As The Crucified Christ - Copy

Against Me! – Daytrotter Sessions 7″

Posted: December 29, 2014 in Vinyl

Against Me!’s 2014 Black Friday Record Store Day (RSD) release is one of the first Daytrotter Sessions to be released and sold outside of Daytrotter’s clutches. The 7″ was released on Against Me!’s label, Total Treble, limited to 1500 copies on black vinyl. The recording is not a full band session, it’s only Laura Jane Grace and Atom Willard.

The 7″ features four songs, “500 Years” and “Two Coffins” on the a-side and “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” and “Pretty Girls” on the b-side. A download code is not include with this release, which is very unfortunate.

Against Me! - Daytrotter Session - Copy


Against Me! – Unconditional Love 7″

Posted: October 30, 2014 in Vinyl

The only vinyl single to be released off of Against Me’s latest album features an exclusive, previously unreleased b-side entitled “500 Years.” The single, “Unconditional Love,” was pressed as a 7” picture disc, which is a first for Against Me. Of all the 7”s and singles they have released over the years, none have been a picture disc. In fact, the band has only released one picture disc during their career, which is a variant of the forever in print Reinventing Axl Rose.

I do not know how many copies were pressed as Total Treble has not gotten back to me as of writing this. Some fans were disappointed with the single selection for this 7”, as they feel it’s the worst song on the album, which I agree with, but those complaints should be nullified by the fact that the b-side is a true b-side. “500 Years” is an acoustic song, and a good one at that. In fact, it’s a much better song than the single “Unconditional Love.”

The 7” comes in a picture disc sleeve with a sticker on the cover. I have seen the sticker affixed wrong on the sleeve, as it’s placed in random spots it seems. I’ve seen it near the opening, upside down by the opening, on the opposite side of the opening (my copy), upside down and on the wrong side of the opening, etc.