Posts Tagged ‘Blink-182’


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.

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Blink-182 – California

Posted: July 18, 2016 in Vinyl
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Blink-182 soldiered on after the craziness that was Tom Delonge, who is no longer in the band. Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio fame replaced Tom on guitar and is featured on Blink’s new album; California. It is weird seeing Blink without Tom. Love him or hate him, he was an integral part of the band. While a noticeable difference, Matt Skiba replaces Tom admirably.

California is not the band’s best work, but it’s far from being a bad album. It’s leans more towards a +44 sound than the Blink sound everyone has grown to love over the years. Personally I loved the +44 album, and I love Alkaline Trio, so I’m really enjoying this new Blink-182 album. Two of Blink’s infamous joke tracks are on this album. And there is a lot of oohhing and whoa oh oh-ing on this record to go along with Blink’s traditional na na na na na’s , so be forewarned.

When pre-orders for the album first went up in April 2016 people went nuts over it. There were plenty of bundles to choose from. Most included the same garbage most bundles have; t-shirts and hoodies, but one bundle had a signed drumhead along with a signed record (on the jacket). That drumhead bundle was rather pricey ($90) and sold out in a matter of hours.

Initially there was only one variant of the record available; purple. Purple sold out in two days and Kings Road Merch (KRM), who handled the pre-orders for this album, almost immediately put up a new variant; white. When white sold out they put up another variant; red. It seemed like never-ending variants for this album, which actually panned out to be pretty accurate.

On top of the purple, white, and red, there is also the standard, widely available black vinyl and a UK exclusive color; silver. And of course $hit Topic had to get into the game as well. Their exclusive color is red with black splatter, and you know they have to charge more than anyone else for their exclusive; $25. All the other U.S. variants cost $22 or under. But because KRM handled pre-orders they charged outlandish shipping prices; $11.15 was the cheapest option because they refuse to offer media mail. So that $22 price immediately turned into over $30 for a single LP. Because they staggered the release of the variants, and with KRM apparently refusing to combine orders for anyone, people who wanted all the variants had to pay that $11.15 shipping charge three separate times.

Pressing info has not been released for any of the variants, and don’t expect it to ever be. So don’t trust any sites that have pressing info listed… cough… Discogs…. cough. The numbers were never posted anywhere official during the pre-order phase or post release date, and if they were, they were immediately suspicious because they got vital info wrong like saying “exclusive” when that particular variant was being sold elsewhere. All colors, except for $hit Topic’s red with black splatter, are pressed on 180 gram vinyl though.

All copies of the record, except the red with black splatter, come with a color coded hype sticker in the top right corner. Whatever color the sticker is indicates what color the record itself is. The red w/ black splatter sticker is all black. All the hype stickers are circle and shape and indicate 180 gram vinyl (except for the red w/ black splatter) along with mentioning the color, just in case the color of the sticker isn’t enough. The vinyl version has exclusive, alternate artwork, but it’s a minor change. Instead of a white background it’s a black background for the vinyl version. The record itself come in a printed dust sleeve. The dust sleeve is printed on thick card stock and has the lyrics printed on one side with the liner notes on the opposite side. A download code for high quality 320 kbps MP3s is included with every copy as well.

So to sum up: six variants all on 180 gram vinyl except for the splatter (purple, white, red, black, red w/ black splatter, silver) with pressing info never released for any of them. Pressed as single LP w/ alternate artwork. Record comes in a printed dust sleeve and a download card included. Retail price is around $20.

 


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.

One of the releases that is still lingering post RSD is the Billie Joe Armstrong 7″ picture disc. It’s billed as solely a Billie Joe Armstrong release, but in fact it’s a split release featuring two other artists and the music is taken from the soundtrack to the stop-motion animated musical film Live Freaky! Die Freaky!. Side A has the Billie Joe Armstrong song, “Mechanical Man,” and side B has two tracks, one by Travis Barker (Blink-182 drummer) entitled “Charlie? (Opening Song)” and the other by Jane Wiedlin (Go-Go’s) and Roddy Bottom (Faith No more) entitled “Do The Creep Crawl.”

There were 2500 copies pressed, all as a picture disc. It was released by Frontier Records to celebrate the film’s 10th anniversary. One thing of note about this release is that is does not come in a red picture disc sleeve as the picture on the official RSD releases list implies based on the picture attached to it. It comes in a regular, clear, picture disc sleeve with a hype sticker on the right hand side.

This 7″ was arguably the most expensive release considering what it is. Yes, there were far more expensive releases by dollar amount, but they were either box sets or multi-disc releases. You can’t compare the price of a box set against a single 7″. What I’m getting at is this three track, picture disc 7″, cost $20 retail. Sure some places might have undercut that price by a few bucks or charged even more for it than that, but theMSRP was $20. To make matters even worse, theMSRP’s stated leaking out shortly after owner of Bull Moose Records and one of the founders ofRSD, did an interview about everythingRSD where he said, referring toRSD 2015; “Ryan Adams’ ongoing inexpensive 7″ series means a label better have a very good reason for releasing a 7″ for $12-$15″ and ‘some releases were rejected based on price.’ Obviously those statements were hogwash as this 7” somehow made the cut at this price point. Before anyone jumps down my throat about complaining about the price but still buying it, myout of pocket cost was only $10 after applying a rewards point bonus that my local store does.


2014 saw a legitimate Blink-182 re-press, finally. Mixed in with the completely unnecessary and pure cash grab splatter re-presses of all of Blink’s albums, was a re-press of the split 7″ with Swindle entitled Lemmings/Going Nowhere. People always forget that this is in fact a split 7″ and features a, additional band other than solely Blink-182 and additional songs other than just “Lemmings.” The classic 7″ that has been OOP for almost 20 years, was re-pressed on three different colors; yellow/”gold”, blue and red. The first press was only done on two colors; yellow and black.

As far as I can tell the first press and second press are practically identical visually. They have the same track listing, obviously, since it’s a re-press and not a re-issue, but I can’t do a sound comparison because I don’t and likely never will buy, a first pressing. Both jackets/sleeves are a half fold, which when unfolded reveal the same artwork. I’m not sure if the material used for the jacket/sleeve is the same between both pressings. The second press is made of card stock, but I believe the first press is made of glossy paper. I’ve never seen a first pressing in person.

No word on pressing info for the second pressing, nor official pressing info for the first pressing. The yellow copies from the first pressing are rumored to be limited to 300 or 500 copies. Grilled Cheese Records was not the foremost when it came to releasing pressing info. They’ve done multiple pressings of the They Came To Conquer Uranus 7″ at this point and have yet to release pressing info for any of them, and now two pressings of the Lemmings Split 7″ and haven’t released info for it either.


The lone Blink-182 album not to get pressed on vinyl, their Greatest Hits album was released on the format in June 2014. It was pressed as a double LP on clear with black and silver splatter, which was limited to 3000 copies. It’s a Hot Topic exclusive, not a Hot Topic release as many morons still tend to believe. Hot Topic is NOT a label kiddies. This is also part of what those same morons anointed the “splatter series” of Blink-182 records that Hot Topic has been selling. As if there couldn’t be a more obvious way of duping morons out of money, Universal and Hot Topic are catering to kids who buy records for all the wrong reasons, which is leading to the dramatic rise in prices.

To further illustrate my point, one person who owns this record weighs all his records for absolutely no reason! He weighed his copy of the album and posted pictures of the scale’s reading as proof one LP weighed dramatically more than the other after multiple people complained about the weight difference on a message board. For the record, no pun intended, there is no weight difference with my copy of this record. So it’s probably not a widespread issue and it definitely does not affect every copy. Since I own other Universal releases from this latest batch of re-presses and new pressings, one of which (Fall Out Boy – Infinity On High 2nd pressing) has a weight difference between LP’s, there is a quality control issue and/or pressing error at whatever cheap plant Universal is using for their records.


Before delving into the ridiculous history of this release I will lay out the pressing info for this latest incarnation now along with a review of the packaging portion. By the way, the records sound great, definitely better than the Hot Topic exclusive pressing. I won’t speak to the Euro pressing because I don’t have it. Fair warning, this will be the longest entry in the history of this blog. It will cover the Mightier Than Sword fiasco all the way through the actual release of this package from $hit Radio Cast. I’ve had these records for over two weeks now, I was just lazy with putting posting this on the blog.

There were 2500 copies pressed on 180 ram black vinyl with three bonus 7” singles that feature all the bonus tracks from TOYPAJ. Each 7” is on colored vinyl (red, yellow, green) and each features their respective bonus tracks from their CD version of the album. The entire package comes in a triple gatefold jacket that houses the LP and the three 7”s. There is a slot for each 7” on its own panel of the triple gatefold jacket. It’s essentially the same package that Mightier Than Sword Records “offered” for “pre-order” what seems like ages ago now. The price was pretty much the same too, which I will go into later if you choose to continue reading.

After finally getting the records in hand I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of it. Not that I was expecting utter garbage, but I wasn’t expecting it to be as nice as it was. The triple gatefold jacket is nice and thick and features a matte finish. The three 7”singles that have the bonus tracks each come with their own insert, which has the lyrics printed on one side and a shot of its respective band member on the other side. A full color photo dust sleeve comes with the LP.

But even so, there are still some issues. First the jackets/sleeves for the three bonus 7”s are thin, cheap glossy paper rather than the thicker stock paper used for pretty much every record regardless of format. You could actually buy thicker inner dust sleeves if you were so inclined. The 7”s also have terrible ring wear from $RC not shipping the records outside of the jacket/sleeve, which when you consider none of the records were sealed and they shipped the LP outside the jacket is flat out careless.

Next, the slits that are supposed to hold each of the three 7”s are way too tight, at least on my copy. There are so tight that the empty jackets don’t fit into the slots let alone the jackets with the record inside. They barely expand enough, and in fear of destroying the LP jacket and/or the 7”s I did not force them to go in. The opening for the LP on the triple gatefold jacket is also very tight. There is just enough room to fit the record but the not adjoining printed dust sleeve or the foreword. Another note, if one were to store all three 7”s inside the triple panel gatefold jacket, the amount of further ring wear it would cause to each 7″ jacket would be astronomical. The gatefold jacket itself would likely not even close completely and would be bulging up.

From a functionality standpoint, this is the most impractical packaging for a release ever. A great idea in concept, but not practical once completed. It seems $RC opted for frills over functionality and practicality just to keep the MTS concept of the release intact; full color double-sided inserts and dust sleeves, matte finishing, triple panel gatefold jacket with slots for three 7”s, gold foil stamping and hand numbering on the foreword, 180 gram LP. They could have easily scaled down the release and simply include the three bonus 7”s on their own, have a regular gatefold jacket or not a gatefold jacket at all. They could have sold the records at a lower price point too had they scaled things down.

The foreword (yes it’s foreword and not forward or foreward) by Mark Hoppus is a recollection of the recording process of TOYPAJ, which sheds a lot of light on the band along with the writing and recording process from beginning to end. It’s an interesting read. It’s hand numbered in gold felt marker and Hoppus’ signature is stamped in gold foil. There is also a glaring error with the cover of this foreword, which is a separate insert that is a half fold piece of cardstock. On the front and back covers the colors are out of order. Instead of it being red- yellow-green to correspond with the cover art and bonus 7″s, $RC gave the go ahead on green-yellow-red. You can see what I mean by looking at the pictures below.

One final gripe some people had turned out to be one message board troll. Some cry baby was complaining that on the first bonus 7″, the red 7″, the beginning of the b-side plays for a split second at the end of the a-side, and the corresponding split second is chopped off the beginning from the b-side where it actually belongs. That is not completely true, at least on my copy. Yes there is a weird yelp at the end of the a-side that shouldn’t be there but the opening of “Mother’s Day,” the ‘1-2-3-4’ count in is there in its entirety. That same person also complained that the 7”s sounded worse than the LP because they were sourced from digital mixes. The three 7”s I have do not sound as good as the LP; is it noticeable, yes, but it is something to have any gripe over or throw a tantrum over, no. This one person led a few other people to jump on his bandwagon and share the some complaints, even though they had no proof of their own yet. The hilarity of message board trolls was upped a few hours after he started posted, as he admitted he didn’t even have the record in hand yet, so there is no way he could have listened to them to know there was an issue. Of course some people may experience worse sound quality based on their set up. I usually chalk sound quality complaints up to someone listening to their records on a terrible $99 turntable hooked up to a cheap amp through cheap speakers. People immediately blame the record when they should blame their setup. If it’s a widespread problem then it probably is the record, but in this case I can say it’s each individual person’s setup that makes or breaks the listening experience with this release.

Immediately after the initial pressing of this package “sold out,” $RC announced a second pressing of this package. I say “sold out” because the first pressing is still available through other outlets, it’s only sold out in $RC’s store. This second pressing is part of $RC’s subscription and also available outside the subscription. The only added bonus of the subscription version is a more limited variant for the LP and the three bonus 7”s are on the same colored vinyl as the first pressing. Copies purchased outside the subscription receive the 7”s on black vinyl. The pressing info for the second pressing of this version of the album is 182 copies of the LP on  180g clear vinyl with the three bonus 7”s on red, yellow and green vinyl respectively in order, which is the subscription exclusive that also comes with a hand numbered “belly band” over the LP jacket The “belly band” is an obi-strip, $RC are just idiots with calling it a “belly band.” And 300 copies of the LP on 180 g clear vinyl with the three bonus 7”s on black vinyl, with no “belly band” over the LP jacket.

This is the end of the regular entry for TOYPAJ. So for those not inclined you can stop reading here. Now for the finer details of the debacle leading up to the actual release of this package by $RC. In no way is this defense of anything, I’m just laying out some facts that 99.9% of people who have chimed in about this release chose to ignore, trolls or not.

Back in late February 2013 $RC announced they would be taking over the deluxe re-issue of TOYPAJ with the three bonus 7″ featuring all of the bonus tracks from the album’s original. They plan to release the exact package that MTS “intended” down to every tiny detail, except press the LP on one variant, at least for the first pressing of this package. The trolling, flaming, joking, shock, disbelief and excitement immediately started on message boards.

People really thought they would and should get the new pressing, from a different company, for free. If that was allowed to happen where does it stop? Does the company give all 2500 copies away for free? Perfect Pandora ’s Box situation.

Obviously it sucked to get ripped off by MTS, I was one of those people until I simply took matters into my own hands and filed a charge back. A suggestion to everyone, never attach your bank attach your bank account to your Paypal account unless you sell a ton of stuff, like you run a distro, label or routinely sell hundreds of items a month on ebay. Credit cards are the way to go as you’re protected on two fronts; Paypal’s buyer protection and through your credit card. It’s beyond easy to get a credit card and I suggest using American Express for all online purchases as they are the easiest to work with when you get ripped off. One simple phone call and they issue a credit to you account while they do their own investigation into the charge/company in question.

Why people sat idly by waiting for MTS to issue refunds was beyond stupid. Should they have issued refunds, yes, but unfortunately nothing was forcing them to issue refunds. People should have realized that after a week of being ignored or being lied to with no refund, that a refund was never coming. It wasn’t like it was an isolated incident here or there, 95% of people who ordered from MTS were all in the same boat and stayed on it while it sank. People haven’t even learned from the experience, they still pre-order things from less than reputable places or send money as a gift through Paypal and wonder why they’re money is gone again.

The other thing people complained about was the price, which was pretty much the same as when it originally was put up for pre-order about two years prior. Without even considering any determining factors of price people still complained, and most people refused to really say why they think it’s too much, just that “it’s too much!!! Rabble rabble rabble!!!” I know I can be very opinionated on this blog, but I at least support my opinion with facts or lay out why I feel a certain way. I never just say “too much,” “it’s terrible” etc.

The determining factors I speak of above are things like licensing costs, production costs, inflation. Not trivial nonsense like “this shouldn’t be the new norm.” or “a single LP shouldn’t cost more than $12.” Does it suck that prices have gone up, yes, but no one is forcing you to buy it. If people actually stopped to think before having diarrhea of the mouth about something they are not privy to the bottom line on they would realize how stupid they come off. People outside the company will never know how much it cost to license TOYPAJ this go around. If I were Universal and saw all the BS that happened with trying to get this version of the album pressed, I would raise the fee so whoever does step in to do will actually release it. Have the higher fee be an incentive to actually release it, not twirling around in a chair with your thumb up your ass making pathetic videos to keep up a charade of releasing a record.

Then there are the production costs, which have undoubtedly risen over the years. People forget that vinyl is a petroleum product, and if you have filled your gas tank in the past 10 years you know crude oil prices are insane and keep going up with no end in sight. I’m willing to bet most of the people who bought this record weren’t even alive when gas cost under $2 a gallon. Then there are the production costs for manufacturing the specialty jacket that goes along with this release. Maybe even Mark Hoppus got some reimbursement or more royalties for writing the foreword. That foreword is also another additional expense that is not typically associated with records.

A bunch of petty arguing over $10. $10. Which quickly and easily turned into $5 if you saved any sort of proof you ordered TOYPAJ at any point prior to this new release.  People didn’t complain about the price when MTS was going to “release” this. The proof of purchase coupon was another complaint people had, expecting people to save their emails or orders. Because it’s very difficult to not delete emails or take a screenshot and save it somewhere amongst the hundreds of gigs of space your computer has. Has anyone even filled an email account to capacity? For the naïve still holding out hope a refund would come from the MTS situation, why would you delete the proof you got ripped off? Plus Paypal lets you go back through your transaction history quite a ways, definitely back far enough to the point where MTS put up their TOYPAJ pre-order.

SRC apparently reserved each person a copy who qualified for the advance pre-order. So the worries of the pressing selling out were squashed before there was even a debate about flippers snatching them all up. Pre-order was launched in stages, the first time I’ve ever seen one handled like that. People who qualified for the 10% discount by ordering the MTS version of the release took first priority, SRC subscribers took second priority a few days later, and finally copies went on sale to the general public a few days after that.

Now for the MTS debacle. Keep in mind this was written well over a year ago, back in 2012. It hasn’t been touched since February 2012. I did not go back and edit it to make it current, so the tone and tense is obviously off. At some point I decided to start writing the entry for this blog anticipating that the MTS package would at some point start shipping. I wanted to document every step, or I should say mis-step of the MTS saga. So as you read the below paragraphs keep in mind factual info has obviously changed.

Worst. Pre-order. Ever. Mightier Than Sword (MTS) still hasn’t learned their lesson either, as they are still doing pre-orders more than two months in advance of the targeted release date, which will most likely be pushed backed several times. They even put articles of clothing up for pre-order. It must be nice running a business with zero investment, relying on the money taken in from pre-orders to actually put out a release. And if that money does not come, delay the release for as long as it takes. And conveniently for a Paypal payment business only, the time gap between when pre-orders first go live and the initial targeted release date is always after the 45-day Paypal claim deadline. This will be the longest post in the history of this blog and will likely never be topped in terms of length. To keep detailed notes of everything that transpired over the course of this pre-order I started writing it in Microsoft Word in early December 2011 in full anticipation that the revised December 20, 2011 release date would be missed. I feel this debacle of a release was worthy of a sevens page (pages go by MS Word) write up to fully detail the shadiness, lies, dodging and ignoring of customers, multitude of missed release dates and last but not least how poorly MTS handled every aspect of this release. I will post the pressing info in the next paragraph for those who do not want to read the entire post, but I assure you it’s as good a read as Dickens or the Harry Potter books. Maybe even better because there is no climax so there is no abrupt downfall in entertainment, the plot keeps thickening without ever falling off.

Pressing info for the MTS pressing of Take Of Your Pants And Jacket, which is the third overall U.S. pressing and fourth overall pressing worldwide. For the LP there are 500 copies on 180 gram black vinyl as part of the MTS 10th Anniversary Series, 1,000 copies on red, 1,000 copies on green and 1,000 copies on yellow. For each 7” record there were 500 copies on black, which was only available in a package deal with the 10th Anniversary 180 gram variant of the LP, and 1,000 copies  each on red, green and yellow. So the red bonus 7” is on red vinyl, green bonus 7” on green vinyl and yellow bonus 7” on yellow vinyl. In all there are 3500 total copies of the LP and 3500 total copies of the bonus 7” records. People had the option to buy just the LP on its own, one 7” record on its own, all three bonus 7” records on their own, or a copy of the LP and all three bonus 7” records packaged together. The only way to get the 10th Anniversary variant on 180 gram black vinyl was to buy the package with all three bonus 7’ records on black vinyl. The black variants were not available separately.

Pre-orders went live July 8 of 2011, and the record did not come out till . This release had more problems, delays, lies and broken promises than anything I have ever been a part of in any way shape or form. The DMV runs smoother and more efficiently than MTS. There were so many delays of one kind or another, whether it was a missed release date or a week-long delay in emailing out a simple update to customers that I lost count. And as lame as it sounds I was actually keeping track for the intents and purposes of this blog as well as my own amusement. After the seventh or eighth one I stopped caring because the situation was completely laughable. So I don’t have an exact number since I stopped counting after at least seven, and there were still, at the very least, six more various delays or mishaps before MTS went out of business. But it’s good to know they can plan a holiday party at a bar when they should have been shipping out everyone’s order. Due to this disaster of a pre-order and the Senses Fail debacle, (which could have easily turned into a disaster of similar proportions) this is the last time I ever purchase anything from MTS let alone pre-order anything from them. If they happen to release anything that peaks my interest in the future, I will buy a copy of it from someone on a message board or on ebay if the price is right. I am not giving them any more of my money because Bernie Madoff is more deserving of it at this point.

MTS did not even have the jacket/artwork layout chosen, let alone in production until after the first targeted release date of September 6, (which was obviously missed). Pre-orders went live the first week of July, so what they were doing during those two months is beyond me. People were clamoring about test presses being approved rather quickly after MTS posted a video of one playing on Youtube, a pretty lame move on their part as they clearly thought they needed some sort of proof other than their word. But it’s still something I highly doubt, in terms of test presses being approved as early as they were, as the video could have easily been faked, especially considering Universal did their own pressing of TOYPAJ that came out over a year before MTS started to get the ball rolling on their pressing.

To continue the lack of character MTS first started censoring their Facebook page, deleting comments people were leaving on their wall. They deleted anything that voiced any sort of concern, outrage, disgust, disapproval, jokes, asking for updates and/or any sort of negativity. Usually I don’t approve of internet flame wars and trolling, but all the disparaging comments that were left were fully deserved in this case. They even began to block people from leaving future comments or posting anything on their wall. Eventually MTS went as far as disabling comments on their Facebook page altogether. Once people figured out they could not comment directly on MTS’ Facebook wall anymore, so they started leaving comments on practically every single wall post MTS made themselves, whether it be a calendar update or a new release that was not TOYPAJ. MTS slowly but surely got around to out deleting most if not all of these comments.

On a similar note, RJ (the guy who owns MTS) used to be a very active member on message boards, but once significant backlash started popping up about this release, he fell off the face of the earth and has not posted in over five months. To further show his professionalism, he went on a profanity laced tirade on said message board after people rightfully criticized how he operates life. He also does not answer emails either, even hiring two people to handle PR related aspects of the label, who also do not answer emails or provide any sort of useful information when they occasionally happen to answer emails. I think RJ hired the guys to deal with the backlash from this release so he would not have to deal with the constant grief and angry customers. The only way anyone at MTS responds is to put “REFUND” as the subject line, even then it took them at least two days to reply. Eventually though MTS started ignoring every single email, even ones not related to TOYPAJ. Ones asking about other orders, whether it was asking why an order hasn’t shipped or to change a shipping address were included in the ignoring emails portion of this escapade. Also, the PR guys they hired know absolutely zero info related to the company they work for, or they are told not to provide information, as their answers to any question are something along the lines of “I don’t know.”

Another development, which happened on Christmas eve into Christmas day of all times, and what shows RJ’s true character (as if it needed to be displayed and proved further), is that he cancelled someone’s order for voicing their displeasure on Twitter. Yes, that’s right, RJ cancelled someone’s order because of an angry tweet. To add further lameness to this situation, the twitter account was pretty anonymous, as in a real name or location was not used anywhere on it. A few weeks later, once the calendar changed to 2012 and still no sign of the records being anywhere close to done, he also tried to cancel my order after I sent him sternly worded emails asking simple questions like “have the records even been pressed ye? Are the jackets done being printed? Where is the tracking number you promised weeks ago?” After trying to find my order using my email address and name, both of which were fake for the emails I sent him, he tried asking me for my order number. Unfortunately for him I am not that stupid.

Sometime in early to mid December 2011 MTS claimed the records would be shipping from the pressing plant and promised to post a tracking number online so people could track the shipment and see its progress. To this day that tracking number has not been supplied, so that was one big blatant lie in a long string of lies MTS has told throughout this travesty. When questioned about anything regarding when the records would be done, the typical response was “soon.” “Soon” would wind up being one of the themes with this release and was most often used to answer the ‘”when will TOYPAJ be done?”

In early January news spread that MTS did not even start production on the three bonus 7” records included with this release, or at least an added option customers could purchase. Also that MTS owed money to at least one pressing plant, enough so that said pressing plant stopped working with MTS and refused to press anything for them even after the debt was cleared. That was not surprising at all, but it was disappointing. That information came from emails between an anonymous individual, the pressing plant involved and Universal Records, the rights holders of the album and all songs being pressed. I know who deep throat is though, so when I heard the news I believed it. To further substantiate these rumors a bit, RJ never spoke of the situation to confirm or deny the accusations/rumors. Given his track record of ignoring problems he created, this led many to believe the news was true. Universal even launched an investigation into what was going on with this release and MTS, or so I was told via email from someone working for Universal.

Eventually things dragged on long enough that Universal gave the go ahead for another pressing of Take Off Your Pants And Jacket that would be sold exclusively through Hot Topic. To add further embarrassment, this new Hot Topic exclusive pressing would be pressed on 180 gram vinyl, just like the MTS pressing. At first this Hot Topic re-press was only joked about, but then MTS putzed around so much that the person who handles ordering releases for Hot Topic decided to officially start working on a second pressing that would be sold through Hot Topic. This second pressing through Hot Topic was started well after MTS started taking pre-orders for their pressing, and was released well before, months ahead of MTS’ pressing. There were 500 copies pressed for this second U.S. Universal pressing, because that is how many jackets were left over from the first pressing according to a rep from Hot Topic.

Towards the end of January RJ/MTS posted a video “update” on MTS’ website and Facebook. Only this “update’ did not contain any new information, or at least pertinent new info regarding a release date or the status of the records in question. The only thing new was that the free release pre-order customers would get would be a Blink-182 album “by summer 2012.” In the video “update,” RJ seemed very nervous throughout it, especially so in the beginning. It was like he was being forced to provide such an update. Ironically, but maybe not so seeing the character of RJ and the label, RJ shot the video in front of a shelves holding a decent amount of Blink-182 records MTS has pressed over the years and chose the Blink-182 song “Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over” to play in the background.

At the end of the video “update” people were still left wondering whether or not all the records were actually being pressed let alone done being pressed, if all the jackets were being printed let alone done being printed and finally if the Mark Hoppus written “forward” was being printed let alone done being printed. A few hours later MTS posted a photo of what appeared to be the cover of the foreword written by Mark Hoppus, which upon further analysis was created in MS paint in about 5 minutes. So one of the things “holding up the release” since December was something that was hastily created in a matter a minutes. I should add from the picture posted on Facebook I was severely underwhelmed with the appearance of the foreword.

If all that is not enough MTS has been routinely ignoring customers’ request for refunds via email for well over a month, maybe creeping towards two months. I should add that they seem to be selectively giving refunds, as not all customers go ignored, but more go ignored than acknowledged. But even one person getting ignored, and MTS making excuses and passing the buck on to someone else, is completely wrong in every way. Eventually people had to call their credit card companies and initiate a fraudulent charge investigation or a charge back with their bank because the final product was not delivered after 7 months and MTS was ignoring their emails. People also filed complaints against MTS with the Better Business Bureau and the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. I feel it was possible these formal complaints brought about the pathetic video update mentioned above, that RJ was forced to do something along those lines.

A hilarious development happened in late January, when someone posted a video on Youtube of themselves burning one record of MTS’ double LP pressing of Blink-182’s s/t album on top of a Christmas tree. The video had clever editing and words panning through the frame at times describing what was happening. The account posting the video was also a funny play on words of Mightier Than Sword. The video was posted on message boards and on MTS’ Facebook page. Astonishingly the link to the video was deleted from Facebook for quite a few days. In mid February RJ reported the video to Youtube for copyright infringement, so RJ obviously took the low road with handling this, as it usually the case with him. How the video was in any way a violation of MTS copyright is beyond me, but it’s another in a long line of lame moves made by RJ during the course of this debacle.

On February 15 and 16, 2012 it became apparent that MTS started marking multiple people’s orders as “shipped” despite the fact that some of those orders marked as “shipped” were refunded/cancelled. The “shipped” statuses were fake, as orders were not actually shipped or even a shipping label printed out. It was yet another in a long line of classless moves by MTS, and was a cruel slap to the face to the hundreds if not thousands of people still waiting on any sort of update, let alone their orders actually shipping. Later in the week people finally started to get refunds, some of which were asking for one for a month or more. When it finally seemed MTS is doing something correct, they drop the ball yet again by giving people refunds who did not ask for refunds. Not just one person, but quite a few people had this happen to them. The following passage is taken directly from an email from MTS sent to one of the people who received a refund but did not ask for one after it was posted on a message board: “Received this from “Ryan Lynn” after receiving a refund after not asking for one: “I apologize that you received a refund for your TOYPAJ order, it was a mistake. If you’d still like the record I can send you a request for payment via paypal for the same amount you paid originally, once you pay that your order will be good to go. Please let me know how you’d like to proceed and again, I apologize for the mixup. We appreciate your support and for being patient with us throughout this process!” How they are screwing up refunds is beyond me, giving refunds through Paypal is one of the easiest and simplest things to do. All you have to do is find the payment; the correct payment, click on a drop down menu to bring up options and then click on refund.

On February 17 MTS made another update on the status of TOYPAJ. They informed people that the jackets were not even in production at the time of this February 17 update, and that the design was recently finalized and given approval. MTS did not even have a quote from the manufacturer yet. Despite the fact that RJ posted not only stated but posted a photo of the sample “approved” jackets months prior, back in October 2011. So that first sample “approved” jacket was clearly another lie. Seven months, quickly approaching 8 months after pre-orders went up and MTS did not even have a major portion of this release in production, as many had suspected. Why MTS could not have come out and said the jackets were the only thing holding up shipping these things out. People would have been angry either way, but waiting this long after pre-orders went live to admit a portion of the release was not even in production yet made people even angrier. It was also stated in the update that MTS expected this first pressing of TOYPAJ would be sold out by the following Monday. When Tuesday rolled around a bombshell announcement was made not by MTS, but by anything shady enterprise, which you can start reading about four paragraphs down.
To top things off MTS is flipping their own release. After a decent number of people demanded refunds (people continued to demand refunds all the way up to the point when the records started shipping), MTS all of a sudden had extra copies of the records, including the only sold out variant, the 180 gram black copies. Originally costing $40 before shipping, MTS decided to sell them for pretty much double the original price, $60 before shipping. As if the nonsense could not get any worse and their reputation could not get any more tarnished… bam!

MTS also started flipping some of their older releases on ebay with a huge catch, for some of their double LP releases they were only selling half of the record. So MTS was only selling sides A/B or C/D. That is probably an indication MTS is/was desperate for money. How anyone could support MTS after this is the most astonishing part of all of this, and going by their Facebook page, there are still plenty of people who love MTS. I would love to meet these people personally as it seems I could sell them 20 ounces of air in a 10 ounce jug, with them knowing I was selling them 10 ounces of air they would never get.

In late February 2012 is became known that MTS also does not mind customers flipping their own releases as well, as someone posted a screenshot of their refunded order on a message board, with the refunded amount coming out to a whopping $552. If it wasn’t obvious enough already that person was outed as being a flipper after their ebay account was posted on that same message board, where he/she lists quite a few records way overpriced. I’ve come across his/her ebay account before and he/she routinely flips records, even stealing photos from this blog to post with the listings. One person buying up $552 worth, regardless of any insanely high shipping prices, of one release should throw up a red flag. But it does not for MTS as after seeing that respective order made it more obvious to me and to others that MTS only cares about money and making as much of it in the easiest ways. There are plenty of labels who limit their releases to one per person or household and still have no problems selling out the pressing. MTS needs to do the same.

On February 21, 2012 Shit Radio Cast (SRC) announced via their email newsletter that they would be taking over mail-order responsibilities for MTS, or at least would be helping out with a portion of it. It’s still not clear if SRC will fulfill 100%, or to lesser extent majority of MTS’ mail-order. SRC started selling the remaining copies of TOYPAJ for MTS on this date, with a release date of April 10. SRC was charging $60 before shipping for the 180 gram black with three bonus 7”s bundle, just like MTS was doing with the refunded orders. RJ most likely told SRC to charge this much or dicked over SRC with a wholesale deal so they had to charge that much. This move to SRC was likely an attempt by RJ/MTS to wash their hands of this TOYPAJ mess and/or they realized no one will buy directly from MTS anymore. What this move over to SRC did accomplish however were fewer people buying anything from SRC and no longer support them after their partnership with MTS. A boycott if you will.

RJ tried to make amends in November by offering a free record that was assured “would be of interest” to those who order this Blink-182 record and a 50% code good for every customer who pre-order TOYPAJ. That 50% code was quickly nullified a few months later, as MTS contracted out SRC to fulfill their mail-order. If you ask me giving away stuff is a moot point and a desperate attempt to make up for huge wrong, in this case a comical series of wrongs. At the time of writing this there are still no signs of those free records, and I doubt they will ever come. It’s not a total waste, as I’m willing to bet they would be some horrible pop punk record MTS can’t sell. Something so awful I could not pay people to take it off my hands. This also happened to be the time he set the “revised” release date of December 20, which was obviously missed by a looooong shot.

In mid February 2012 MTS pulled another classy move, re-pressing Blink-182’s Dude Ranch and Enema Of The State, but with a big catch. In a likely attempt to nullify those 50% codes mentioned above, MTS sold yet another re-press of Blink-182’s Dude Ranch and Enema Of The State exclusively through Shit Radio Cast, a partnership made in heaven. You see people could not use their 50% code through Shit Radio Cast, only through orders placed directly with MTS. Something else pathetic is that the Dude Ranch and Enema re-presses were supposed to come out on March 27, but ran into delays and are still not done. Shocker, I know. Many people suspect these two albums were re-pressed and put up for pre-order to raise more money in order to get TOYPAJ finished.

Blink-182 – Neighborhoods (1st Press)

Posted: October 26, 2011 in Vinyl
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Blink-182′ first studio album in eight years received the vinyl treatment a few weeks after the album’s initial release. It was pressed on four different variants, with two being exclusive to certain retailers. There were 500 copies pressed on pink, which was an Interpunk exclusive, 1,000 copies on white/black marble, which was a Hot Topic exclusive (and which came out to look more like grey than white/black marble), 2,000 copies on white/blue and 3500 copies on white. I think all copies have a sticker on the front denoting what color the records are; at least the pink copies do. So far the only variant that is sold out is pink. Even though there were a staggering 7,000 copies pressed, I fully expect this to sell out due to flippers snatching up multiple copies. So there majority of copies will be sitting on ebay at absurd prices for months on end. If you need any evidence to support my feelings, copies started popping up on ebay as early as three weeks ahead of the vinyl version’s release date.

Now down to some more details. The album was pressed as a double LP, and the records are some of the thinnest I’ve ever handled. At least the pink copies are, but it’s safe to assume all copies will be the same weight. I’m not a stickler for 180 gram records for the sheer fact of heavier weight and the stretch to better sound quality, but there is no way around the fact the label cut costs by pressing these on the lightest vinyl at their disposal, and still felt the need to charge over $20 for it. Some places are advertising the jacket as a “six panel gatefold,” which I feel is over exaggerating a lot. If you count the cover as an actual panel, then maybe. Upon opening the record up, there are only three true panels in my opinion. The entire jacket folds out into three panels, with the liner notes and a photo of the band on the inside panels and the full artwork on the other side.

All copies also come with a download code, which links to one of the worst set ups for a digital download I’ve ever used. There is no option to download the album as a whole, only each song individually. And if you have pop up blockers on, then you can get screwed out of some songs,because you only get one redemption of the code, so make it count. Turn off any pop up blockers, because their download host sends a pop up through that you have to click on in order to start the download. If you fail to click on it in time or if it doesn’t appear due to a pop up blocker, then you miss your chance to download that song forever. That particular song’s download button changes from ‘download’ to ‘redeemed,’ and you used up your one download. Also make sure to only download one song at a time, because if you try multiple songs at the same time it will screw up and could cancel any downloads in progress on top of missing out on downloading that second or third song you tried to download simultaneously due to their one redemption max/limit.