Posts Tagged ‘Manchester Orchestra’


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

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

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

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

Manchester Orchestra - How I Waited - Copy

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Manchester Orchestra’s latest album, A Black Mile To The Surface, is their fifth overall. And yes, you’re right, I’m not including Hope because it’s not a true studio album in my mind, nor am I including Nobody Signs Anymore because it was never officially released. In my opinion A Black Mile To The Surface is better than the band’s previous effort, Cope. I’ve enjoyed each of Manchester Orchestra’s albums, but found Cope to be the worst of them. And I will say I think their music has strayed from my tastes more and more as time has gone on, with each album.

The band has always been strong supporters of the vinyl format, and keeping their albums accessible by not letting them go out of print for too long. A re-press is always on the horizon with them. They have also been no strangers to doing deluxe editions or special box set type releases. Their latest album is no different, as it has a special edition that comes in a hard cover book packaging, deemed a photobook by the band. But what is different this go around is that they did variants for what could be called the standard version. Though the band/label differentiate these variants as “deluxe version” and “standard version.”

There are substantial differences between the deluxe version and standard version. The deluxe version, which is featured here, is pressed on 180 gram smoke colored vinyl (clear with black smoke) and comes housed in an exclusive gatefold jacket with an exclusive insert. Yes, you read that right, only the deluxe version comes in a gatefold jacket and with an insert. The standard version comes in a single pocket jacket and is pressed on 130 gram black vinyl. Both versions come with an etching on the d-side.Because the deluxe version is on clear vinyl, it was tough to get a photo (see gallery below) of the etching, but it’s basically the cover art with the tree and person dangling from it. The deluxe version is $10 more than the standard version. It’s an interesting move by the band/label, to offer a cheaper, but no frills option for fans, and I wonder if more bands and/or labels will follow suit.

I mentioned above that the deluxe cost $10 more than the standard version, so let me clarify. Direct from the band and label (Loma Vista Recordings), the deluxe cost $35 before shipping. And it’s pretty much that price everywhere else selling it as well. The standard version cost $25 direct from the band and label. Though prices on the standard version range greatly by online retailer/brick & mortar store. Both versions are available all over the place; they’re not exclusive to anywhere. But some brick & mortar stores are only choosing to carry one of them, typically the deluxe version. Why I don’t know.

These prices kept me from buying a copy of A Black Mile To The Surface because I found them to be ridiculous. I know the days of $10 single LP’s are long over, and $15 for a single LP seems out of reach now too unfortunately, but I still strive to save money first and foremost these days. My target price is under $15 for a single LP and under $20 for a double LP, and for the most part I can meet those goals by taking advantage of price drops long after an album is released combined with discount/coupon/promo codes. I know I like to brag sometimes about how cheap I score a record for, so I’ll do it again here. I bought the deluxe version of this album for less than half of its original retail price. Only catch was the download card was used and it was an opened used copy with the shrink wrap completely torn off (though the seller did tell me he never played it).

I like to have the hype sticker(s) that come with records for completionist sake, so that was one of the concessions I had to make in order to get this record for so cheap. Personally, what I do with gatefold jackets is slit the shrink down the side to get the records out, take the desired photos, then carefully slide the shrink wrap off the jacket and tuck it inside the gatefold jacket. I’ve gotten so good at it that I don’t tear the shrink in the process, so I have no need to rip it off the jacket in order to see what is printed inside the gatefold. For the record, (no pun intended) I leave the shrink wrap on my single LP’s too. I know it’s taboo, but I haven’t seen any damage from the shrink tightening over time, even on records I’ve owned since new for over 10 years. Not saying it doesn’t happen, but I’ve never encountered it.

The special edition photobook is similar to the Bad Books II and The Early November – In Currents hard cover/photobooks in terms of packaging. Its 32 pages according to the item description, and the records are pressed on gold vinyl. Though the “gold” vinyl looks more like the typical yellow/orange shade that many records advertised as being on “gold” vinyl actually come out looking like. To be clear, this does not look like the first pressing of Fall Out Boy’s From Under The Cork Tree but looks more like the orange/yellow variant of the debut self-titled Bad Books album or the gold variant of Saves The Day’s Anywhere With You 7”.

The band offered a special bundle for the photobook that included an exclusive t-shirt and “The Sunnshine” music box. I’m assuming the music box plays the song “The Sunshine.” This bundle cost $80 before shipping, and according to what some people said on message boards, shipping was around $30. This bundle was initially the only way to get the photobook, and it sold out relatively quickly. But the label did put up copies of the photobook individually, without the shirt or music box, at some point after the bundle sold out.

There was some shadiness on Loma Vista’s part with this photobook version though, as initially they were selling it for $50, but than inexplicably they jacked up the price to $60. This price jump corresponded to the album’s release date though, as it increased after it was released. But I don’t think the label’s web store said the $50 price was a limited time offer or special pre-sale/pre-order price. It’s the reason why I haven’t bought it yet.

After reading this you may be surprised to see Manchester Orchestra associated with a label other than their own; Favorite Gentlemen. While Favorite Gentlemen is still associated with this, and one side of the record has their familiar stock center labels, the band did partner with Loma Vista for this album. I’m not sure why, and can’t find any press release about the band signing with them.

Because I do not have the two stickers placed on the shrink wrap of the deluxe version, I’ve included photos I found of them elsewhere online (hence no watermarks) in the gallery below. The bar code sticker does list the variant color, and the hype sticker says it’s the deluxe version and that it’s on 180 gram vinyl. The hype sticker found on the standard version makes no mention of standard or deluxe, but does say 130 gram vinyl on if as if that is something worthwhile (it isn’t).

 

 


Collecting records can lead you down some strange roads. I never thought I would buy the soundtrack to a movie about a guy stranded on a desert island finding a dead body (played by Harry Potter), befriending it ala Tom Hanks with Wilson in Cast Away, and riding it around like a jet ski that is propelled by farts. But here we are, with that record added to my collection and you reading about it.

The soundtrack to the film Swiss Army Man was composed by Andy Hull and Robert McDowell of Manchester Orchestra fame. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) even contributes vocals to some songs. It was released by Iam8bit in conjunction with A24 under license from Lakeshore Records. This is the first Iam8bit release I own, and I have to say I’m impressed. Iam8bit is a niche label that specializes in video game products and has a bit of a cult following like Mondo, Waxwork or Spacelab9.  And following in line with those labels, they overcharge for their releases. This single LP cost $28 before shipping directly from Iam8bit. I was able to buy this from Amoeba for $25 with free shipping, plus I was able to use their monthly 15% off coupon to get it for a little over $21. I always found it ridiculous that some labels charge more than physical record stores and other distros.

The soundtrack may or may not have gone through a second pressing. I know for a fact that the label was sold out of the soundtrack for a brief period, then it was suddenly available for purchase again. Which indicates they had to press more copies. The pressing info has never been released, and as of posting this Iam8bit has never responded to my efforts to find out the pressing info. What I do know is that at the very least, all copies of the first pressing (if there are multiple pressings) were pressed on “ocean” colored 180 gram vinyl. The “ocean” color is simply opaque blue with white marble, which I included a photo of.

Another indication that there may be a second pressing is that Iam8bit’s website used to have “ocean” blue copies for sale, but now they just list it as 180 gram vinyl with no color given. Also, keep in mind mock ups aren’t final and do change, the original mock up Iam8bit released had the color listed as translucent “ocean” colored vinyl. But I doubt they changed the color from translucent to opaque for a re-pressing. For what it’s worth, the hype sticker on my copy (pictured below) simply says 180 gram vinyl; no color is mentioned. I’m still waiting for a response back from the label about this.

All copies also come housed in a gatefold jacket with a printed dust sleeve and an insert of sorts. This insert is comprised of cut out/punch out paper doll characters and props that are meant to be used on the diorama, with the diorama being what I’m assuming is the inside of the gatefold jacket. The artwork was done by Mark Englert. No download card/code is included with physical copies, but if you order directly from Iam8bit they will email you a download code. Ridiculous that a label charging $28 for a single LP can’t pay for download cards.

Regarding the price of this record, some people have foolishly paid over $50 for it on the secondary market. Don’t be one of those idiots. As aforementioned, the label is selling these for $28 plus $5 shipping. Save yourself money.

 


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

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

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

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

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


Usually Daytrotter Sessions are rarely released on vinyl, let alone on any physical format, and when they are its Daytrotter themselves releasing them as on overpriced 12″. Bad Books’ 2013 Daytrotter Session was released on vinyl in 2016 by the band themselves on their own label, Favorite Gentlemen. Yes, I’m aware Kevin Devine is in Bad Books, but I say their own label because its owned and operated by Andy Hull.

Initially the record was only available on Andy Hull and Kevin Devine’s solo co-headlining tour in early 2016. But after the tour concluded leftover copies were put up for sale online. The price was a bit high (including shipping) for a single LP, just under $20, but after you take into account what you’re getting it’s a bit easier to swallow. It’s a single-sided 12″ with a screen print of the cover art on the b-side. The cover art by the way features Nick Day, engineer for a lot of Andy Hull’s projects over the years.

There were 1,000 copies pressed, all on black vinyl with the same screen printing on the b-side. There are no different colors for the screen printing or different images, like some labels have done with various releases over the year to create variants. A download card is included as well as a double sided insert. The insert is pretty pointless however, as it’s just cartoon head shots of all the band members with coffee rings and stains strewn about both sides. The insert is so thin you can see through it, the images on the opposite side are easily visible.

Since Manchester Orchestra’s official web store is hosted by Big Cartel, people were being asshats and holding the entire stock of this 12″ in their carts so nobody could buy it. This immature nonsense went on for close to two hours before copies were finally freed up. I bought a copy nobody within the first minute the record went live, but it was slow going due to traffic volume. I wanted to check and see approximately how many copies were put up for sale online, but I couldn’t because of people holding the entire stock in their cart. Don’t worry, I’m never one of those people who bogarts items so nobody else can buy it, I simply add more copies than the entire pressing is out off to see how many copies are left or were available, then immediately clear my cart.

I bought this within the first couple minutes of it going live (something I rarely do for any release these days) expecting it to sell out pretty quick. But turns out I didn’t have to, because as of posting this there are 49 copies left for sale. Surprising considering it’s been over a month since this record was made available, and typically anything Manchester Orchestra and/or Kevin Devine related sells very strongly and quickly.

 

 


Manchester Orchestra appeared on yet another soundtrack in 2014, this one of for the Disney/Relativity Media film Earth To Echo. I knew nothing about the movie prior to purchasing the soundtrack, and didn’t even know the movie existed either. After doing some quick research the movie appears to be a blatant rip-off of the classic ET.

The song Manchester Orchestra lends to the soundtrack is “Opposite Sides,” which is a b-side off the band’s fourth studio album, Cope. This is the first time the song has appeared on a 12″ LP record, but not the first appearance of the song on vinyl, as it was included on one of the 7″ records included with the deluxe edition box set of Cope.

The Earth To Echo soundtrack was released by Music On Vinyl, which is a Dutch based label who specialize in soundtracks and re-presses of rare/expensive OOP albums. Since the soundtrack would be an import in The States, the price is going to be higher than it would be otherwise. There were 1,000 copies pressed on light blue 180 gram vinyl, with every copy being individually numbered in gold foil stamping on the back of the jacket in the lower left corner. All copies also come in a resealable protective poly sleeve with a gold Music On Vinyl sticker affixed to the top right corner that denotes what the album/record is.


To accompany Hope, Manchester Orchestra released a 7″ that would be included free with anyone purchase of the album at select indie record stores in the USA. The 7″ is entitled The AltNation Sessions and features two songs, one on each side. All copies were pressed on black vinyl, and pressing info will likely never be released since the 7″ is a promo.

The songs featured are “Top Notch” on the A-side and “Bananas” on the B-side. “Bananas” is an exclusive b-side only found on this 7″. The songs were recorded for satellite radio (Sirius) station/show Alt Nation way back in 2011.

Manchester Orchestra - The AltNation Sessions - Copy