Posts Tagged ‘Matt Skiba’


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).”

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Matt Skiba has kept himself busy when Alkaline Trio is not in the studio or touring. He’s had several side and solo projects over the years, not even counting that he is now a full time member of Blink-182. One of those side projects, Matt Skiba And The Sekrets, released their second full length album in 2015, entitled Kuts. I had high expectations for the album based off how good their debut album was, and my anticipation grew after hearing the lead single “She Wolf.” But I was left a bit disappointed with Kuts. It’s rather bland and forgettable. It makes you miss Alkaline Trio and fully realize one of the reasons that make them so great; the dual lead singer aspect. Don’t get me wrong, I love Matt Skiba and pretty much everything he has a hand in, but an entire album of him on lead vocals is starting to push it.

Kuts was pressed as a single LP across multiple variants. Two are domestic and two are Euro imports. Pressing info has been released for all of the variants except one, which happens to be the one I have in my collection. For the U.S. release the record was pressed on blue, limited to 750 copies, and red, on an unknown amount. Both colors are on 180 gram vinyl and match the cover artwork almost perfectly. The blue matches the background and the red matches Skiba’s sunglasses.

Blue was exclusive to the Matt Skiba And The Sekrets web store hosted by Kings Road Merch. Red was initially billed as a $hit Radio Cast ($RC) exclusive. That info was later proven to be false advertising on $RC’s part, as everywhere other than the Skiba store is selling the red variant. I’m not sure if $RC, $RCvinyl, or whatever they decide to call themselves now as I believe they formally changed their name in a likely attempt to cover up their track record of criminal business practices, ever changed their “exclusive color” advertisement. I’m not sure because they don’t even carry this record anymore.

For the U.S. variants, all copies come with a copy of the album on CD rather than a download code. The record comes in a full color, printed dust sleeve. The dust sleeve is on thicker than normal stock. It is be a nice touch, but I prefer inserts over printed dust sleeves all day long. In the grand scheme of things the printed dust sleeve with this release is pretty pointless. It only has the credits printed on one side with Matt Skiba’s logo printed on the reverse side. All the U.S. variants come with the same red hype sticker on the cover along with another sticker indicating the color of the record. This sticker is a small circle with no writing on it,  which matches the color of the record, it’s not a white sticker with the variant color printed on it.

The Euro variants for Kuts were distributed by Green Hell and Inside Out Music, both based in Germany. You could have them shipped to the U.S., but it was severely cost ineffective after the international shipping charges and unfavorable exchange rate with the Euro. The Euro variants are silver (Green Hell exclusive) and white (Inside Out Music exclusive), with both being limited to 100 copies each. I’m not sure if they’re on 180 gram vinyl though. I have never seen pictures of the Euro variants or the packaging for it. A CD is included with both variants as well.

This record cost a lot, no matter where you bought it from. It cost so much that it was actually cheaper in some cases to buy it from Germany, before shipping of course. White was available for 18 Euros and silver cost 19 Euros. Blue cost $20 and Red cost around $24 depending on where you bought it. Obviously international shipping costs would drive up the price of this record, but the point is the record itself cost less overseas than domestically. But if you look deeper into this release, you’ll find that the label releasing Kuts, Superball Music, is based in Germany. So technically this album is an import if you buy any variant as a U.S. resident.

Because of that import factor, prices on Kuts will likely never come down due to overhead costs. But on the other hand, it hasn’t gone OOP in over a year, so if you want to wait and see if prices ever do drop, you probably have some time. If they haven’t moved 750 copies of a record in over a year chances are they’re getting a bit desperate to unload them. I took advantage of Bull moose points to get this half off.


In an odd turn of events, this was a comp I was aware of but wrote off because at first glance it seemed to be about Youth Brigade and BYO Records, two things I have no interest in to be honest, so I assumed the comp would be full of bands I didn’t like. Fast forward to 2015, six years after this comp come out and I was behind the eight ball a bit as I missed quite a few clearance sales for Let The Know: The Story Of Youth Brigade And BYO Records.

After writing this comp off I didn’t give it much of a second thought. It wasn’t until I was looking through Discogs that this comp come up in my recommendations, so it made me curious. At that point I discovered Matt Skiba contributes a song to the comp, so my interest in it immediately went from zero to 100. I remembered seeing this on clearance for like $15 at Hot Topic for what seemed like years, and laughing about it because Hot Topic couldn’t get rid of them, thinking it was karmic retribution towards them. But when I went to see if $hit Topic still had it I was out of luck.

Google searches for this comp didn’t return much, at least in terms of decent prices on it. PLenty of places had copies in stock, but wanted full retail price, which was around $50 before shipping. So I waited to buy it until the 11th hour on ebay for $20 shipped to get me over the hump for the ebay bucks rewards $5 redemption threshold. In a twist of irony, the person I bought it from bought it from Hot Topic. I know this because it still had one of those stupid security tags $hit Topic puts on all their records.

Enough about the back story to how I obtained this comp. Let The Know: The Story Of Youth Brigade And BYO Records is an elaborate release, which is definitely the reason it cost so much when it first came out and the reason it has yet to sell out/go OOP, destined for clearance sales if a retailer hasn’t resorted to that already. The sdouble LP comp, pressed on colored vinyl (red), is housed in a 100-page hard cover book that also has the CD version of the comp and the companion DVD. I believe the vinyl release is the only one to include all version of this release. It was released as a stand alone book, book with CD and DVD, stand alone DVD, stand alone CD and digitally. With all those different formats, the main focus of this release was the DVD, which is a documentary on Youth Brigade, BYO Records and punk rock in general. BYO Records put this release together to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Sadly, the label called it a day in 2013.

I do not know how many copies were pressed, but it’s likely a couple thousand. All copies were pressed on red vinyl and were never released outside of this book box set. It was never sold as a stand alone LP. The book is full color, and highlights the history of both Youth Brigade and BYO Records. It also details the history of punk rock as well. All songs on the comp are covers of Youth Brigade songs or original songs performed by Youth Brigade themselves. In total 31 different bands contribute songs to the comp. Matt Skiba covers “I Scream.” Along with Skiba, the comp also features Bouncing Souls, Lagwagon, 7 Seconds, NOFX, Youth Brigade (obviously), Dropkick Murphys, Pennywise, Anti-Flag, Off With Their Heads and many others.

The records, CD and DVD are all housed in the book itself. The LP’s slide into sleeves that are part of pages of the book. The first LP is on the first page and the second LP is on the last page. The last page also houses the CD and DVD, which also have their own respective sleeves. For whatever reason, but what I’m guessing is to add more support and protect the LP’s, a small rectangular piece of thin cardstock is slide into each sleeve in front of the record itself.

Ordinarily I post photos of everything included with a release, whether it be a box set, single LP album or a measly jukebox 7″. But in this case I am not going to post photos of the book itself. I want to protect the writer’s intellectual property. If I post photos of all the pages of the book then anyone searching for it can read the book without buying it. I’m posting some of the pages, ones without any text, to highlight some aspects of the book without giving it away for free.

 

 


theHELL released their second EP in late 2013. Just like their first EP it was also pressed as a 10” featuring four songs. The similarities between the two EP’s don’t stop there either. The artwork between the two is nearly identical. It features the same background, some posing, some wardrobe and same table setting. The only differences are the masks Matt Skiba (left) and Atom Willard (right) are wearing and that Willard is answering the phone in the art for Southern Medicine.

Southern Medicine was pressed on green vinyl and pressing info was never officially announced. Odds are 1,000 copies were pressed based on the amount of copies pressed for theHELL’s first EP.theHELL - Southern Medicine - Copy


This is a charity comp with all profits going to the Tony Sly Memorial Fund. A charity album is one of the few times when it’s acceptable for a label to go the cheap as possible route when pressing a record, but Fat Wreck Chords opted to put out a top notch release that includes a gatefold jacket, fold out poster, sticker and colored vinyl (even though clear is technically not a color). The comp has no variants and will be kept in print to meet demand, which again, is great fior a charity album. There should be no one complaining that the record is not rare.

Bands on the comp include over 30 songs from huge bands like The Gaslight Anthem, Alkaline Trio, Pennywise, Yellowcard, Simple Plan, NOFX, Rise Against and Bad Religion. Every band on the album contributes a cover of No Use For A Name  (Tony Sly’s band) song or one of Tony Sly solo songs. One of the bands I was surprised not to see on this comp was the Foo Fighters, since Chris Shiflett played in No Use For A Name before joining Foo Fighters. Chris Shiflett should have contributed something, either with Foo Fighters or with his solo/side project Chris Shiflett And The Dead Peasants.


There was a long delay with the deluxe box sets of Alkaline Trio’s latest album My Shame Is True and accompanying b-sides EP Broken Wing, which is why this entry is being posted over two months after the album’s release. The delays with the box sets seemed to be for a few different reasons, first being quality control. Apparently the screen printed box sets did not meet the standards Epitaph laid out, as the ink was not evenly applied. Epitaph/Kings Road Merch sent out a pic via email to illustrate the problems with the box sets. This was made apparent about one month before the album’s release date, which is much better than finding out why your order hasn’t shipped well after it was supposed to. The second delay was a customs issue, as apparently the wooden boxes were made outside the U.S., something no one was aware of. The deluxe box sets finally started shipping out in the final days of May.

The deluxe box sets came with a whole bunch of extra goodies on top of the album and EP on exclusive colored vinyl; a t-shirt, 46″x46″ flag featuring the band’s heartskull logo, a heartskull embroidered patch and an “Alkaline Trio spirit board game” aka a Ouija board with a solid wood heartskull game piece. The shirt and flag come sealed in plastic bags; the flag with a resealable flap bag and the shirt is vacuumed sealed in a bag. The deluxe box sets were limited to 500 copies/pieces and sold out in less than 24 hours. My Shame Is True came on dark green vinyl and the Broken Wing EP came on tan vinyl, both only available in the deluxe box set bundle and limited to 500 copies. The dark green vinyl actually come out a light green marble and the tan vinyl come out much darker than tan and could be considered straight up brown. My Shame Is True also comes with a CD copy of the album.

The wooden box sets are most likely made out of pine and are not stained. The covers/lids are screen printed in black ink and open from the top. The lid opens all the way and folds flat. It does not remain vertically open. If you can’t understand what I’m talking about the pics below will demonstrate what I mean by “opening all the way and folds flat.” The inside of the box is felt lined. The aforementioned  delay from quality control issues with the screen printing on the box sets seems to be fixed for the most part but is still evident on my copy. While not nearly as bad as the pic sent out via email by Kings Road Merch, my copy still has some ink issues, albeit minor ones. Another issue is that the records barely fit inside the wooden box.  They have to be forced slightly into the box, and if you are successful getting to fit inside there are next to impossible to get out. You have to turn the box upside down and bang on it a few times to get the record out. I was only able to get the album in the box and could not get the EP in the box as the jacket is slightly larger. It doesn’t matter if the box is empty or has all the extra goodies inside, the records still won’t fit without a struggle. I was told by Kings Road Merch the box was designed to have the records fit inside.

The full pressing info for My Shame Is True is as follows: 500 copies on dark green (only available in the deluxe box set bundles through Kings Road Merch), 1,000 copies on pink (only available online) and an unknown amount on black vinyl. The full pressing info for the Broken Wing EP is as follows: 500 copies on tan (only available in the deluxe box set bundles through Kings Road Merch) and 1500 copies on blue. I’m not sure if copies of the EP will be made available anywhere other than Epitaph’s web store hosted by Kings Road Merch, whether in brick and mortar stores or through other online distros. The EP is also the only limited pressing, as it appears it will not ke kept in print on black vinyl. however there are some error pressing of the Broken Wing EP, as an undetermined amount of copies were pressed on pink vinyl and sealed in pink copies of the My Shame Is True LP. I do not know how many copies of the Broken Wing EP are on pink vinyl as Epitaph and Kings Road Merch have not addressed it.

There were also some problems with pink copies of My Shame Is True, as people complained about a film residue on the record and various issues with sound quality and skipping. People said their copies had tons of background noise, with some calling it the noisiest record they own. Not everyone had these issues though. Kings Road Merch apparently sent out replacement copies to those who emailed them at not additional cost and without having to send back the claimed defective copies. i have not seen issues with the green copies of the album nor the tan copies of the EP, and have not heard complaints about anything other than the pink copies of the album.


With this 7″ my Alkaline Trio collection is finally complete, keeping in mind I’m not a variant collector (except under a few circumstances). The For Your Lungs Only 7″ was the band’s second 7″ released back in 1998 by Asian Man Records. There were 1,000 copies pressed all on black vinyl. It features four songs, only one of which was released on the band’s debut full length Goddamnit.