Posts Tagged ‘Minus The Bear’

Minus The Bear – VOIDS

Posted: June 12, 2017 in Vinyl
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Minus The Bear’s new album, VOIDS, was not a variant fest or have insanely limited ones either. It’s great to see a label like Suicide Squeeze make a record widely available while offering choices for people if they want a more limited variant or colored vinyl. VOIDS was pressed on three variants; 180 gram black, “electric” blue and splatter.

The splatter is clear with blue, black and peach splatter. It was an indie store and tour exclusive, limited to 5,000 copies. “Electric” blue was exclusive to the band’s official pre-order and is limited to 1,000 copies. The mock up released for the blue had it looking like a straight forward translucent blue, but what actually turned out was more of a opaque navy/royal blue with black and white marble. The 180 gram black is widely available, even some indie stores got copies of it, and it’s also limited to 5,000 copies.

All copies come in a die-cut jacket, and full color printed dust sleeve and a download card/code. The artwork and layout was designed by Nick Steinhardt. The die-cut portion is on the cover, with the album title spelled out in big letters. This die-cutting creates some issues, since the album title is spelled out in such large letters that take up the bulk of the cover, it doesn’t lend much structural support for it. So once you slide the record out of the jacket, the cover collapses in against the back of the jacket. This should go without saying, but be careful sliding the record back in the jacket because it can catch on each thin strip left behind from the die-cut.

With the die-cutting, the printed dust sleeve shows through to add another element to the artwork. The sleeve shows through the die-cut, adding depth to the artwork. Instead of the typical white backing, or even black, inside the jacket is a peach color. The lyrics are printed on the reverse side of the dust sleeve.

There is a circle hype sticker on copies which indicate color along with saying “limited edition.” The splatter is simply called “splatter” on the hype sticker though. It doesn’t list out what colors make up the record. Retail price on this is around $20. Suicide Squeeze and the band are actually charging more for the blue and black variants online than many records stores are. I bought this from Amoeba on black vinyl (they actually had the splatter and black vinyl) for $19. They were selling the splatter for $21 though. I took advantage of their monthly 15% off sales and picked this record up for less. If there is one thing I learned about Minus The Bear is that it’s better to buy their albums sooner rather than later, as they typically sell records very well. And once they sell out they can fetch a pretty penny on the secondary market.

Minus The Bear – Lost Loves

Posted: December 29, 2014 in Vinyl
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Over the years Minus The Bear has done a tremendous job releasing their b-sides, and not only releasing them but releasing them as true b-sides. You know, a song that gets left off an album for one reason or another and later appears on the b-side of a 45 single for a song off said album. Majority of them have seen the light of day on one of the handful of 7” records they released over the years. But in fall 2014 the band released a b-sides album on Dangerbird Records entitled Lost Loves.

Lost Loves features 10 songs ranging from the Planet Of Ice era up to the Infinity Overhead era. Six of the 10 songs have never been released on vinyl before, with two of them being completely unreleased up till now. The songs “Walk On Air,” “Electric Rainbow,” Patiently Waiting” and “Cat Calls & Ill Means” have been released before this b-sides album, but were only done so on import versions of albums, retailer exclusive bonus tracks, exclusive bonus discs or on soundtracks. The two previously unreleased songs are “Invented Memory” and “The Lucky Ones.”

For the vinyl version of the album there are four variants in total for this record, two U.S. variants and two for UK pressing. both limited to 1,000 copies. There is a Dangerbird pre-order/tour exclusive on transparent pink/blues swirl and there is an indie record store/regular retail exclusive on smoky black/yellow swirl. One thing of note about the transparent pink/blue swirl is that the base color is pretty much clear, so the record’s true appearance is clear with pink and blue swirl, which is much different from the description given on both the hype sticker and by Dangerbird Records. As just mentioned, both variants for the U.S. pressing have a hype sticker on the front of the jacket (on the shrink-wrap) noting which variant/color the record is.

The UK pressing is much more limited than its U.S. counterpart, in fact there is half as many copies. There are 300 copies pressed on clear with gold swirl and 700 copies on black. The UK pressing was released by Big Scary Monsters, who seem to have a good partnership with Minus The Bear/Dangerbird Records as they have handled the UK releases of both of the band’s album released by Dangerbird in the U.S. I have not seen photos of the UK pressing so I don’t know what the clear with gold variant looks like or if either of the variants come with a hype sticker on the cover noting the color/variant.

With the U.S. pressing is a nice black and white insert with liner notes, the track listing that includes which album recording session each song is from and a note from the band explaining the reason behind this release. A download card is included for high quality 320 kbps MP3’s. The jacket is a standard single pocket jacket.

Overall this is a nice release, but the price should be lower. I don’t say that because I’m yearning for the time where single LP’s cost $10 and double LP’s cost under $20, I say that because if other, smaller labels can pull release a single LP in a gatefold jacket for $15 or less there is absolutely no reason other than greed that any other label out there should be charging $20 or more for single LP releases. Lost Loves’s MSRP is $20, and depending on where you look the price goes up to $22 or $23 before shipping. I bought this during a sale for $15 shipped, which is a decent price.

 

Here is the track listing with the recording session and where first released next to it since many people out there have not heard these songs or never knew of their existence up until know.

    1. Electric Rainbow – Planet Of Ice (Original CD release exclusive bonus disc track)2.
    2. Surf-N-Turf – Infinity Overhead [Steel & Blood 7” & Continental Obscura 7” (split 7″ w/ Manchester Orchestra exclusive to Ryan Russell’s Continental Obscura: From Birmingham To Bellingham photo book)]
    3. Broken China – OMNI (iTunes pre-order exclusive, Euro CD exclusive & Into The Mirror 7”)4
    4. .Walking On Air – Infinity Overhead [Injustice Gods Among Us Soundtrack (video game)]
    5. Patiently Waiting – Planet Of Ice (Original CD release exclusive bonus disc track)6.
    6. Cat Calls & Ill Means – Planet Of Ice (iTunes exclusive bonus track)7.
    7. Invented Memory – Infinity Overhead (previously unreleased)8.
    8. South Side Life – OMNI (Your Private Sky/South Side Life 7”)9.
    9. Your Private Sky – OMNI (Your Private Sky/South Side Life 7”)10.
    10. The Lucky Ones – Infinity Overhead (previously unreleased)

 

 


No Sleep Records released a book of all things. Guess it fits with all the other random crap they slap their logo on and try to sell. At least the book somewhat fits with music, as it’s a photobook from Ryan Russell, who shoots a ton of bands at shows and does some other photography work in the music world. He’s also responsible for the Nervous Energies Sessions as well. But the book is a travel log of sorts with random photos documenting his trip across the country, no live shots of bands and it’s not really music related at all. The book, entitled Continental Obscura: From Birmingham To Bellingham also comes with an exclusive split 7” featuring Manchester Orchestra and Minus The Bear (two of my favorite bands).

The 7” has one exclusive song, the Manchester Orchestra song “Sure Shot.” The Minus The Bear song, “Surf-n-Turf” has been released before, on another 7”, the UK single for “Steel And Blood.” A download code is included with the 7”, and it’s important to mention you also get a pdf file of the Ryan Russell photobook too if you order from No Sleep. The 7” comes in a half fold glossy paper sleeve, which has one of the photos from the book printed on the inside (one is also used for the cover).

The book is limited to 1,000 total copes for the first edition. No Sleep made hints that there would be multiple editions of the book as they mentioned the first edition is almost OOP, which implies there would be another run made. Obviously since the 7” accompanies the book there are 1,000 copies of that as well, which is split amongst three color variants, with some being exclusive to certain outlets. First there is the regular variant (available everywhere) limited to 800 copies on sonic blue/white haze. Next is “Beastmode Blue,” which is exclusive to Minus The Bear. The “Beastmode” portion of the color name comes from the nick name of Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, as Minus The Bear are big Seahawk fans being from the Seattle area. Lastly there are 100 copies on white, which is a Manchester Orchestra exclusive.

The two band exclusive variants have yet to materialize anywhere. They were supposed to be sold on tour with each of the bands, but so far nothing yet. Ryan Russell stated that Manchester Orchestra had copies of the book with them on the latest spring tour supporting their album Cope, but people in attendance said the band did not have copies of the book with them.

This book/7” set is on the pricey side, with the cheapest retailer (No Sleep’s webstore) selling it for $35 before shipping. I was smart and bought the book during one of No Sleep sales and got it for under $30 shipped. The entire package comes shrink-wrapped together, with the 7” along the back of the book. The book is 176 pages long, but sadly it’s not that good. It’s not really anything special, there was nothing that impressed me about it. To be perfectly honest I bought it just for the 7”, which I’m sure is the reason for a good chunk of the sales of this book. I’m not including photos of the book because frankly it’s took much work; the book is 176 pages long. Plus copyright issues will come into play too.


In 2014 Suicide Squeeze had a beer brewed in their honor by Fort George Brewery out of Oregon. They decided to release a record to commemorate the event, a compilation 7” entitled the Fort George 7”, features classic songs from their catalog. The 7”was limited to 1000 copies on amber gold vinyl. The cover is a half fold sleeve printed on glossy paper. A download code is included. Here is the official press release/description of the Fort George 7” taken from Suicide Squeeze, which better and fully explains everything behind this release.

“Astoria, Oregon’s Fort George Brewery began brewing limited-run seasonal beers in conjunction with some of their favorite Northwest businesses, craftsmen, and artists back in the spring of 2013. For spring 2014, Fort George is teaming up with Suicide Squeeze Records to offer up the Suicide Squeeze IPA. Available on draft or in tallboy cans designed by esteemed illustrator and graphic designer Jesse LeDoux, the IPA will be available throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho for the duration of the season. To celebrate this event, Suicide Squeeze is releasing the “Fort George” 7”—a collection of four classic tracks from the Suicide Squeeze catalog by some of the Northwest’s greatest artists. Featuring previously released singles, rarities, and out-of-print tracks by Modest Mouse, Black Mountain, Elliott Smith, and Minus The Bear, the “Fort George” compilation provides a prime overview of the eclectic and iconic Northwest indie rock fostered by Suicide Squeeze and commemorated through Fort George’s special microbrew. The “Fort George” 7” is limited to 1,000 copies on amber “beer” colored vinyl and comes with a download code.”

Here is the track listing for this comp 7” in order of appearance:

Modest Mouse – “A Life Of Arctic Souls”

Black Mountain – “Voices”

Elliot Smith – “Division Day”

Minus The Bear – “Pachuca Sunrise (acoustic)”

I bought this 7” during a great sale Suicide Squeeze had going for Memorial Day where a good chunk of their releases were essentially 50% off. I’m glad I bought this record during that sale for $3 instead of $8 they normally charge for it. My order total (including shipping) was less than the cost of just the 7” alone when not on sale. There really is not much to this release. The only reason I bought it was to keep my Minus The Bear collection complete, and their song on this comp 7” has already been released.VA - Fort George EP - Copy

 

 


The Mascluine Makeover comp came out in 2003 and is one of the few comps to feature Onelinedrawing that was pressed on vinyl. It was done as a pictures disc limited to 1000 copies. All proceeds went to the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.

The Onelinedrawing song featured is a live version of “Swamp.” This comp also features a song from Sharks Keep Moving entitled “Time Green Cafe,” which is exclusive to this comp.

 


Minus The Bear released a second acoustic album this fall titled Acoustics II. The band did a Pledge Music (a kickstarter esque crowd sourcing site) campaign to raise funds for something, although I’m not sure any of it actually went to anything related to the recording/ release of the album. I  say that because there was no mention of to common tag lines associated with kickstarter type things like “contributions go to help fund the recording process, to pay for a vinyl pressing or any other manufacturing costs associated with releasing an album.” It just seemed like a way to generate some quick cash.

There were rewards though, so you did get something for your money. Rewards ranged from $15 for a CD all the way up to $1,000 for a signed acoustic guitar. There was supposed to be a pledger exclusive color for the record, which did not turn out to be as that color was also sold on tour. Test pressings with a hand written lyric sheet were also made available for a $150 pledge Apparently people never received a hand written lyric sheet, only a photocopied thank you note. The cheapest option for the record was $40, but this came signed by the band. Copies of the record bought outside of the Pledge Music campaign were around $20 depending on where you bought it.

There are also two brand new songs on Acoustics II, which are mixed into the album. They do not fall consecutively at the beginning or end of the album. They are track 1 “Riddles” and track 6 “The Storm.” The new songs are in the acoustic vein, but not as stripped down as the earlier MTB tracks found on the album.

The pressing info is a bit hazy for this, are there are three known colors all limited to 1,000 copies each; 180 gram black, 3-color blend/split (red/blue/black) and blue/black/clear splatter (which is the pledger and tour exclusive). There are a total of 5,000 copies pressed, with the first 3,000 copies on colored vinyl (I guess 180g black counts as colored vinyl in Minus The Bear and Suicide Squeeze’s book). The remaining 2,000 copies will be made available internationally (as in outside the U.S.) No word on color or any other finer details for those remaining 2,000 copies. The copies out there so far come with a one-sided insert that has the lyrics printed on it. But since eight out of the 10 songs are not new the lyrics sheet is pretty pointless.


When Minus The Bear’s latest album went up for pre-order there were a few options in terms of bundles or package deals available through Minus The Bear’s official webstore. There was the choice to buy just the album on CD or as a digital download. At the time the record could not be purchased on its own, however the record did become available for pre-order through other distros. There was the option that included a choice between two different types of t-shirts (crew neck or v-neck) that featured the same design and a CD or vinyl LP, but with the vinyl option also came an exclusive slip mat. Then there was the pricey, “ultimate book” package, which included a 16 page hardbound book, the CD and vinyl version (exclusive 180 gram black copy) of the album, an autographed lithograph and the aforementioned slip mat and t-shirt. There was also the incentive that 10 random people who ordered the “ultimate book” package would receive a hand written lyric sheet to one of the 10 songs on Infinity Overhead, which was also autographed by Jake. This was one sheet for each song with one going out to each randomly drawn person, not 10 sheets for the same song. All bundles included a high quality digital download delivered via e-mail on release day. The shirt and CD/LP bundle cost $40 and the “ultimate book” package cost $85. Lastly, there were also UK exclusive bundles being sold by Big Scary Monsters (BSM), a UK label. Through the UK route the record was available on its own, or you could buy the two color variants together in a bundle as well. All pre-orders through BSM included a three pin set as well.

At the time pre-orders went up I debated whether or not to pull the trigger on the “ultimate book” package due to the price. After hearing some of the songs off the album and confirming the record would be housed inside the book I decided go for it. After receiving the book earlier this week I do not regret splurging on it. Though advertised as 16 pages, the book is actually 20 pages long. The record  and autographed lithograph each slide into their own page in the book, towards the back of it. The CD is also housed in the book itself as well, resting in one of the pages. It’s held into the book like it would be in a typical jewel case or digipack, only without the actual case. Each book is individually numbered in silver foil stamping on the last page of the book. Since the record is housed inside one of the pages, it does not come with the jacket that it would come with had it been purchased on its own in a store or online. When my package arrived there was a sticker on top of the box indicating it was the  “special edition deluxe set” even though none of the packages were actually called that. I’m assuming all orders for the “ultimate book” bundle had the same sticker on the package. Unfortunately I was not one of the lucky ones to receive a hand written lyrics sheet. Below you will find pictures of every included with the “ultimate book” bundle except the t-shirt, and this may be the first place to post pictures of every page of the book.

Infinity Overhead was pressed on two colors in the U.S. and possibly two colors in the UK. For the U.S. pressing there is black 180 gram limited to 1,000 copies, which is exclusive to the “ultimate book package” and clear, which is appears to be unlimited at this point and will be kept in print on for the time being. For the UK there is blue limited to 200 copies and clear limited to 300 copies. The UK blue was exclusive to BSM. The UK clear is more opaque and the U.S. clear is more of a traditional clear. Both pressings came in the same gatefold jacket with the same  full color printed dust sleeve. I am pretty positive that the deluxe book is now OOP, since the band is no longer selling it. There are a few places taking preorders for a 50 page book edition, but I have emailed Dangerbird and they confirmed to me that there is only one book version, the 16 page one they offered for pre-order. So do not order from anywhere stating they are selling a 50 page book of Infinity Overhead, as that product does not and will not ever exist.