Posts Tagged ‘Motion City Soundtrack’


Motion City Soundtrack’s latest album, Panic Stations, is their best record in years. It’s better than their previous album, Go, but not quite as good as Commit This To Memory (their best in my opinion) or I Am The Movie. It’s rivals My Dinosaur Life and it’s better than Even If It Kills Me. Many people seem to dislike Panic Stations, the band’s sixth studio album, but I enjoy it greatly. I’m chalking up the dislike to the typical disgust towards band’s later works people harbor.

Panic Stations was pressed on three variants; blue, red and black. Colored vinyl cost more than the black variant, which is a practice I despise. Blue cost $25 and black cost $20. I’ll buy the cheaper variant every time. Yes, you will find some exceptions in my collection and on this blog, but I’ve smartened up over time and for the most part shop by my wallet and not by what pretty color a record comes on or how limited it is. If you can save $5 on a record it really adds up over time. Think about it; save $5 per record four separate times by not splurging on the colored or most rare variant and you can afford to buy a whole other album.

Pressing info has not been released, and you’ll be hard pressed to find it. Epitaph Records is about 50-50 in terms of releasing pressing info. They do it for some of their releases but not all of them, and they rarely respond to inquiries asking for pressing info. What I do know is that black vinyl is the widely available variant, which you’ll get if you order from places like Amazon or other distro sources. I think blue is exclusive to the Epitaph web store and red is exclusive to the band’s web store through Go Merch. There is supposedly a Hot Topic exclusive of this album, but it has yet to surface. So there may be a fourth variant out there on a different color, or one of the aforementioned colors (red or blue) is the $hit Topic exclusive. The album has been out for several months now (September 2015) and the $hit Topic exclusive has still not appeared, so what I’m guessing happened is a $hit Topic rep flat out lied to people so they would hold off on buying the record and buy it from $hit Topic. He’s been asked about it and ignored the question.

***UPDATE 11/23/2016 – I was finally able to obtain the pressing info directly from Epitpah. To my knowledge the pressing info has not been posted anywhere before now. So here it is: 600 copies on red, 1,000 copies on blue and 3,000 copies on black.***

All copies come in a gatefold jacket, which has a spot gloss finish on the cover. A download card is included, which yields high quality 320 kbps MP3s.


The idea behind this split is somewhat unique, but it’s not the first time something like this has been done. There are many splits out there where bands cover each other’s songs, and it’s somewhat of a tradition. Sometimes the splits are straight up covers where the song being covered has already been released prior to the split being released, so the band doing the cover already has an idea of the song’s melody. Then there are other splits where the song being covered has not been released, and the band doing the cover is handed over the lyrics and they’re left to their own devices musically. Lastly there are splits where the lead singer of each band on the split swaps bands and covers the other’s song(s).

This split featuring The Wonder Years and Motion City Soundtrack actually falls into two of those categories. The lead singers of each band swapped outfits and each act’s respective songs had not been released prior to the split being recorded. So you have the bands playing the songs they know and wrote, only with a new singer that doesn’t really fit their respective molds nor does he know how the song is supposed to be sung.

The Wonder Years song being covered is “A Song For Patsy Cline” off their latest album No Closer To Heaven. The title of the song on this split is also re-worked to be “(Sort Of) A Song For Patsy Cline.” The Motion City Soundtrack song being covered is “It’s A Pleasure To Meet You” off their latest album Panic Stations. For the split the song’s title was also re-worked, becoming “It’s (Sort Of) A Pleasure To Meet You.”

Initially there was some confusion about this split, with some people thinking it was a tour exclusive or would be sold on the band’s co-headlining tour. This stemmed from the fact that the split was announced after the start of the tour with a scheduled release date during the tour, and that people who ordered the VIP ticket package had first dibs on ordering a copy of the split online ahead of the general public (October 9 instead of October 12) through an exclusive access code. As a result many people thought a couple things; this was a tour split and you could pick up a copy ordered online at your respective tour date during the VIP events. Both of those speculations turned out to be false, as the entire pressing of this split 7″ was sold online and would only be available online through mail-order. Another crucial fact that was wrong about this was a huge lie about VIP ticket package purchasers having exclusive first access to the ordering the split on October 9, as the general public could order copies on October 9 without orders being cancelled. It might have been a glitch, but no official statement from Merchnow nor either of the bands about it. In the end it wasn’t that big of a deal because the split didn’t sell out in one day let alone a few hours or minutes.

There were 2,000 total copies of this split 7″ pressed; 1,000 copies on red and 1,000 copies on green. Upon getting my copy in the mail there is a sticker on the cover that says opaque red instead of simply red. I’m not sure of the green is opaque or translucent.

One thing that surprised me about this split is that it sold very slowly at first even though the general public could buy it the same day as the “VIP exclusive” pre-order. Hopeless and both bands even posted on social media that it was available for purchase, and it was posted on a message board when members there figured out that anyone could buy it, not just VIP purchases.

About 300 total copies were sold until a few days later, October 12, 2015, the day of the on sale to general public. Once the bands, mainly the Wonder Years, posted about the split being available to the public it sold very well, but still took over one day to sell out. Which was surprising given The Wonder Year’s rabid fan base.

What was even more surprising is that the green variant sold out much faster than the red. The green sold out in a little over one day, but the red still had just under 300 copies left at the time green sold out. Why this happened I have no clue. Green was not a Wonder Years exclusive color. In fact, neither color was a band, tour or exclusive to anything. The red copies sold out in a couple days.

The split comes in a regular jacket with no insert or anything of that nature. A download card is included though, for high quality 320 kbps MP3s.

Motion City Soundtrack - The Wonders Years Split - Copy

 

 


In late 2013 Enjoy The Ride Records announced one their releases, which was a joint effort with Fadeaway Records, a not defunct, but dormant label. It was a compilation on a grand scale. It wound up being a triple LP featuring unreleased songs from many popular indie scene bands. Profits from the comp went towards cancer research. Some of the bands on this comp included Brand New, Saves The Day, Motion City Soundtrack, Hot Rod Circuit, Nightmare Of You, Far , Fred Mascherino of Taking Back Sunday and Terrible Things fame, The Honorary Title, Vinnie Caruana of The Movielife and I Am The Avalanche fame, Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra fame, Matt Pryor, Reggie And The Full Effect, Head Automatica, Frank Iero of My Chemical Romance fame, and Kevin Devine. It was comprised mostly of bands producer and head of Fadeaway Records, Michael Dubin, worked with or had some connection to over the years. The comp was simply entitled Friends.

The record is housed in a triple panel gatefold jacket and comes with an insert to boot. Each copy is also hand numbered out of the variant total, not the total amount of copies pressed. All copies were also pressed on colored vinyl, some sort of splatter was used for the several variants this comp has. There were some, what I feel were shady goings-on with the variants.

There is a “1st press” and a “2nd press” of this record. I use the quotes because they really are one combined pressing. The “1st press” sold out, rather slower than expected, and right on the heels of it selling out, before the “1st press” even shipped, a “2nd” pressing was announced and put up for pre-order. Anyone with common sense would say how can there be a second pressing when the records from the first pressing were not even done and pressed yet.

The nonsense with the variants continued even after all the “pressings” were announced, as the “1st press” had a friends press, limited to 100 copies. When the comp was first announced there was no mention that there would be a friends press, only that the comp would be limited to 500 copies. Since it took so long to sell out the actual 400 copies of the pressing that were available to the public didn’t matter. It continued still with the“2nd pressing, as it had a friends press of sorts, which was called an “extra special variant.” I’m not making that up for giggles, the two labels responsible for this comp actually called it that; “extra special variant.” This “extra special variant” was split into two groups; 50 copies were randomly given out in orders for the “2nd pressing” and 50 copies could only be pre-ordered at the compilations’ record release show. Yes, a compilation album comprised of unreleased songs had a release show, where I should point out none of the bands featured on the comp played.

So the pressing info for this comp is as follows: “1st press” – 400 copies on red/white/black splatter and 100 copies on red/clear/white splatter (friends press). “2nd press” – 500 copies on milky clear/red/blue/yellow splatter and 100 copies on black/blue/white splatter (“extra special variant”). Again, a triple panel gatefold jacket houses the records. An insert is also include.

The biggest issue I have with this comp is the price gouging and downright ripping off of people. The comp cost $40 before shipping, a bit outrageous but since it was a triple LP and came in a nice jacket with an insert it became a bit easier to swallow. My justifiable pricing, a price which I consider acceptable for multi-disc releases is $10 per LP. So in that train of thought this should be closer to $30 than $40. Again, the finer points of the release somewhat justify the price tag. After hearing how much it cost to produce this comp, which was stated publicly by the head of Fadeaway Records on a public message board (and which I took a screen shot of for posterity), each copy cost at most $20 to produce. I understand the business model of doubling your money or don’t bother, but in this case that markup is a bit drastic.

The shipping charges are where I have a major problem; I find them unacceptable. Fadeaway Records charged $9 for shipping, and they wound up shipping it media mail, which as well all known is the cheapest shipping method available for records. The actual cost on my mailer said $3.65; factor in material costs (guy who runs the labels packaged orders himself so no employee costs) and shipping shouldn’t have been more than $6, and that’s being generous.Fadeaway Records justified the price points as, direct quote; “The proceeds are going to charity. Any overages on shipping will be donated to charity.”

I have no problems with charitable donations, but customers, anyone really, shouldn’t be forced to pay more money so someone else can make a bigger donation to charity. If I wanted to donate more of my money to charity I would donate the money directly to the charity of my choosing myself. That decision shouldn’t be made by someone else and it definitely shouldn’t be made by a bias third party.


The Making Moves series is an odd pairing, having a well seasoned and accomplished like Motion City Soundtrack handle the musical side of things by “curating” the series and music business college students from Drexel University handle the business side of things through their Mad Dragon Records imprint. The later part really shines through in the finer details of this box set.

Featuring all six volumes of the Making Moves series, this box set also comes with a cheap promo poster and a USB drive that has a roughly two-hour documentary on the making of the series, liner notes for each volume and for good measure additional MP3’s of all the songs in the series. Going volume by volume (1-6) the bands featured are The Company We Keep, Brick + Mortar, A gret Big Pile Of Leaves, Goldrush, The Skies Revolt and Motion City Soundtrack. Volume 1 is on translucent red, volume 2 is on translucent yellow, volume 3 is on coke bottle clear, volume 4 is on translucent green, volume 5 is on translucent blue and volume 6 is on opaque purple. There were 200 copies of this box set made, which I;m assuming is just meant for the box itself, the poster and the USB drive. because the six 7″ records that come with this set are exactly the same as the ones you can buy separately, so there were probably thousands of the records pressed. The box set also comes with an obi strip as well.

Before getting into the many negative aspects of this box set I’ll mention some of the positive ones. The records sound great. That’s it. If you want to talk about a discombobulated mess look no further. There is next to no attention to detail and comes off as if there was an I don’t give a f*** attitude when putting everything together. I understand this is a college student thing, but how their advisors or whoever oversaw this project gave final approval of everything is sad. Maybe the merch company and/or pressing plants had a hand in it too, but having personally gone through college and having a thesis project that was scrutinized with a fine tooth comb, how some things slipped through is appalling.

First I’ll go into what is on the USB drive, which has the biggest downfalls.the liner notes and lyrics are plain word documents converted into a pdf. Only three of the six singles/bands have photos from the recording session on the USB drive. And the ones that do have photos, the quality of the photos varies from tiny 432×281 pixels to large 1281 x 853 pixels. The vibe I got from watching the documentary was another I don’t give a f*** moment. It’s like they filmed it and edited it together just so it made sense chronologically then called it a day. Content wise it’s great but the finer production details like lighting and sound are terrible. No regard for white balancing or setting up lights properly if at all and no adjusting of the sound levels to blend everything together. I watched it with headphones on and there were multiple, seemingly random moments where I had to rip my headphones off because it hurt my ears.

The MP3’s are all over the place when you use the download cards that come with each 7″. Song names wrong, band names and album title not entered for most of the downloads, quality varies from VBR to 320 kbps on up to 2116 kbps, for some only 1 song on a single has artwork while the other 2 songs don’t have artwork attached. Some singles don’t have artwork attached at all. For the artwork some singles have the cover of the respective 7″, which makes sense, while others have random artwork. Oddly enough the MP3’s on the USB drive are all at 320kbps but the issue with the artwork and song info are still there.

As for the physical portions of this box set, the box itself is barely big enough to hold all the records. You almost have to force them in. The lid for the box, which slides on and off, is a struggle to take off and put back on. It’s very tight. Also, to mimmick the die cut jackets for the records so the center labels show through, there is a just a giant white swath in the center of the box. I would have liked more creativity, or maybe an entirely unique box design rather than continuing a theme that doesn’t quite work. The poster isn’t folded properly, none of the folds are straight. Only one of the singles had a dust sleeve when the other five didn’t. nd when you add dust sleeves to them they no longer fit inside their sleeves. The stickers on the poly sleeves are slapped on in random spots; some are in the top left corner, some in the top right, one put in the middle along one of the sides. Lastly, why have the sixth volume being pressed as an opaque vinyl instead of translucent vinyl to match the rest of the set?

This box set cost $40 before shipping, and tack on another $10 for that and it comes out to $50. Each record costs about $6 if you bought them separatley. So a bunch of stuff that wound up being pointless garbage wound up costing $10. To add further insult to injury, the box set was delayed for two months because of Hurricane Sandy, something I had to deal with on a personal level as well. To sum things up this is one of the few releases I have in my collection I’m disappointed with.


Motion City Soundtrack’s latest album Go, only received one limited variant, grey swirl limited to 500 copies. The record was also pressed on black vinyl, which will probably be kept in print for quite a while. All copies come with a CD as well. Rather than an insert Epitaph opted for a full color printed dust sleeve that has the liner notes on it. The grey swirl was only available from Kings Road Merch and is out of print, but it took a few weeks to sell out. The grey “swirl” is also more of a marble than swirl.

I don’t have a copy on black vinyl,  but the grey swirl is one of the lightest and flimsiest records I own. It’s so bad that if you hold it by one edge it starts to bend over on itself. There is so much flex that anyone could easily snap it in half with zero effort. I’m not a stickler for 180 gram, but there is a line between good quality records and crap. This record teeters towards crap. It doesn’t sound all that great as a result. It’s not the worst sounding record I ever played, but it leaves a lot to be desired.


The Minnesota Beatle Project is a series of compilations that feature bands and artists hailing from or currently based in Minnesota covering Beatles songs. It has gone through three volumes to date. All proceeds from the sale of the albums goes towards funding music programs in Minnesota public schools. The series of compilations are released through Vega Productions.

This latest volume Volume 3, appealed to me for the cover of “Here Comes The Sun” contributed by Motion City Soundtrack. It’s the only place where the song appears, and the band did a great job keeping the original integrity of the song together while putting their own touches on it. They did not completely crap all over and ruin a classic song like so many bands do on tribute or themed cover albums. This comp was released on CD, vinyl and digitally. The CD and digital version are widely available, but the vinyl version is only being sold by one record store based in Minnesota, Electric Fetus. There were 500 copies pressed on 180 gram red vinyl housed in a gatefold jacket. All copies also come with a digital download code as well.


One of Motion City Soundtrack’s earliest releases, the Promenade/Carolina 7″ is also one of the band’s hardest to track down. There were only 500 copies pressed, all on white vinyl. These regularly sell for close to $100 at auction. Your best bet to get one for a decent price is from someone having no clue what they have, either through a cheap BIN listing or someone mislabeling the listing. Sometimes it pays to thoroughly scour ebay instead of taking the easy route and just searching through the records category…