Posts Tagged ‘Portugal. The Man’

Spacelab9 released both The Walking Dead Soundtracks (Volumes 1 and 2) in quick succession. The soundtracks were first released on CD and digitally (2014), then Spacelab9 licensed them out to be pressed on vinyl. Another soundtrack specialty label, Spacelab9 seems to do good work with their releases. This is the first Spacelab 9 release I’ve bought, so I can’t speak to quality on a mass scale. But my only complaint is their releases tend to be on the pricier side.

For Vol. 1 of The Walking Dead Soundtrack, Spacelab9 had a handful of variants and did a second pressing. They even printed up individually numbered certificates of authenticity for some of the variants from the first pressing. Clearly a gimmick that I’m not sure actually drove up sales or not. A fold out poster was even included. None of that stuff is included with Volume 2 though.

Vol. 2 of the soundtrack is just a record crammed into a standard single pocket jacket with a pointless insert advertising/promoting an irrelevant season premier of the show (season 6). No poster, no certificate of authenticity; in other words no frills. That didn’t stop Spacelab9 from charging $20 for it though. It even has the same artwork as Volume 1 save for the minute difference of swapping out a 1 for a 2 in the title. Granted the artwork for the initial CD/digital release of both soundtracks was the same. But at least Spacelab cut down on the variants for the Volume 2.

The first pressing of Vol. 2 was a Record Store Day 2015 exclusive pressed as a picture disc limited to 1,800 copies. I missed out on the RSD release of this soundtrack thanks to the re-press of Brand New’s Deja Entendu where it seemed like everyone came out of the woodwork to wait eight plus hours in line for it at my local record store. But in the grand scheme of things it was not the end of the world. The RSD picture disc was overpriced, and it was a picture disc. Plus, I was hedging my bets that Spacelab9 would eventually re-press it in a standard jacket on traditional, non-picture disc record. And my patience and bets paid off as they did just that in the fall of 2016. But I knew the standard release was coming as I emailed Spacelab9 way back in January (2016) asking about a non-picture disc release and was told yes. So I knew to hold off on buying a RSD picture disc, despite prices of it falling down to $15 (from the original $25 on RSD) on the secondary market.

The second pressing of Vol. 2 was pressed on only three variants; black limited 600 copies, half black/half orange limited to 200 copies and splatter limited to 200 copies. The splatter color is pink/red with black splatter and was a New York Comic Con (NYCC) exclusive (though leftover copies were sold online via Spacelab 9’s web store). The NYCC variant was made available for purchase at the event before the record’s official release date of October 23, 2016. The splatter was initially called “brains on blacktop” splatter then later changed to “splatter brains.” Half black/half orange was a Spacelab 9 web store exclusive and black is a mass retail exclusive (Amazon, other online distros, indie record stores, etc.). This pressing info is exclusive to this blog and is the first place it’s appearing anywhere. At least until Spacelab9 gets around to updating their discography page.

I would like to point out that some distros ran with the pressing info of Vol. 2 being limited to 1,000 copies during the pre-order phase, without being more specific than that. Ultimately that info panned out to be correct as there are 1,000 total copies for the second pressing. But I want to stress you can’t always trust what online distors say when they say a record is “limited to xxxx copies” because sometimes they are provided inaccurate info or simply lie about it to drum up business. Case and point, the distro I found that said “limited to 1,000 copies” also made the claim of “makes its official vinyl debut” despite the fact what they were selling was a re-pressing.

The track listing for Vol. 2 features an exclusive, brand new song from Portugal. The Man, which is why I wanted the soundtrack. The song is entitled “Heavy Games” and was featured in the trailer for season 4, it never actually played during the show. The soundtrack also features songs from Sharon Van Etten, Lee DeWyze, A.C. Newman and Ben Nichols.

To be perfectly clear I was not drawn to this soundtrack because I’m a diehard Walking Dead fan. I do watch the show as a casual fan, but I did not follow it from the beginning nor have I ever read the comics. I binge watched it when AMC was doing a marathon where they replayed every episode in order leading up to a season premiere, I think it was either season 4 or 5. I’m not heavily invested in the show, and to be honest I fast forward through 95% of every episode at this point because I can’t stand the soap opera nonsense anymore. The fast forwarding has gone up and up with every episode. I haven’t truly enjoyed the show since they left the prison, and season 2 on Herschel’s farm was my favorite. That season was what drew me in to the show. I caught bits and pieces of a few episodes from season 2 when they originally aired, but even then my interest was fleeting because there were soap opera elements that far back. And dramas are not my favorite entertainment genre. But the show has gotten so bad I don’t even care if I miss an episode, and I’m on the verge of cancelling it from my DVR recordings.

The soundtrack for Dallas Buyers Club is the first Music On Vinyl release I have bought, and it’s one of the nicest releases I have bought this year. In terms of quality it’s top notch, and for the price of their releases it better be. Granted it’s an import for the U.S. market, their releases are still on the pricey side.

There were 1000 copies pressed of this soundtrack, with LP 1 on 180 gram gold vinyl and LP 2 on 180 gram blue vinyl. It comes housed in agatefold jacket with an insert. The jacket is very thick and has a glossy finish. Each copy is individually numbered in gold foil stamping on the back of the jacket. A download card is not included. The record also does not come sealed, it comes in a resealable flap poly bag, which has a sticker on the front in the top right corner mentioning some of the highlights of the release. The main reason I bought this soundtrack was for the Manchester Orchestra and Portugal. The Man songs featured on it.

In 2013 Rise Records continued going through their back catalog with the pressing of Anatomy Of A Ghost’s one and only album, Evanesce. Initially there was only one variant for the record, which was pretty limited by most people’s standards at 200 copies. This variant, which was blue, was only available through Rise Records’ webstore. It was on the expensive side after factoring in shipping, even for a double LP, coming in at over $25. I held off on buying the record waiting to place a big order to try to spread out the shipping costs over multiple records since Rise’s store is hosted by Merchnow. I forgot to buy this album when I made an order around Christmas. As luck would have it I would get a better deal on the album.

A few months after Rise announced the album was getting pressed and put it up for pre-order, they announced an additional variant. It was a surprise but not a total shocker, as limited a pressing to only 200 total copies almost never happens. It’s a round number but not a friendly round number in terms of manufacturing cost. This new variant, which is white vinyl, is a Hot topic exclusive. If you read this blog enough and follow me on twitter you know my disdain for Hot Topic after all the shady crap they have pulled, and continue to pull, with vinyl. And as a result of that I refrain from buying anything from Hot Topic unless there is no other choice. In this case, I was able to buy this record cheaper from Hot Topic, and in my book cost overrides 99.9% of my predilections. I took advantage of their $1 shipping for orders over $30, the only sale/discount/promotion/code/coupon that still applies to vinyl from Hot Topic, and bought this record and another record that could only (not a Hot Topic exclusive variant, but entirely only available at Hot Topic) be bought from Hot Topic.

This pressing is not the greatest, but not terrible, which is par for the course for a Rise release. The album comes in agatefold jacket with the two records in cardstock dust sleeves. So the rundown on this record;gatefold jacket with lyrics printed inside, no download code/card, 500 total copies spread across two variants; blue limited to 200 copies and white limited to 300 copies.

To commemorate their 200th release, Rise Records released a vinyl box set (a CD version was also released) featuring songs spanning their entire history. A song from every album in their entire catalog is not featured however, as only 50 songs are on the compilation. The 5-LP box set comes in a slip lid box, with each record being housed in a card stock dust sleeve. All of the dust sleeves are exactly the same and feature the logo artwork used on the box set lid on both side of the sleeve. An insert is included as well, which also features the Rise Records logo on one side with the compilation’s track listing on the other side.

There were two variants for this, clear vinyl limited to 200 copies and black vinyl limited to 800 copies. Rise was charging $50 before shipping, (shipping was expensive) for the box set, but you could get it for as little as $35 from other outlets if you were smart and bought it during holiday (Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, etc.) sales or used a coupon code. All in all this was an all around cheap and lazily put together release. If it wasn’t for the completist in me I would have skipped over it. At the time of release it was also the only way to get Anatomy Of A Ghost music on vinyl, even if it was only one song. Compared to Rise’s Dance Gavin Dance box set, this Rise 200 box set looks like utter crap.

Evil Friends is Portugal. The Man’s second album on a major label, Atlantic Records. Since then variants and pressing info have gone the wayside. Whatever your opinion on that stuff, their music has not suffered the dreaded drop off after singing to a major label. Evil Friends is their best album in a while, and that’s saying something. Danger Mouse was the producer for this album, and he made a big difference.

The record was pressed on 180 gram black vinyl and has the stock Atlantic center labels which match the artwork, being half yellow and half black. The marketing campaign the band did over social networking services with the different faces is fully utilized in the artwork for the record. The vinyl version of the album features alternate artwork for starters. Inside the gatefold are two different faces, a third face is on the back of the jacket and a fourth face is on the insert, all with the various symbols or pieces of artwork plastered over them. Instead of a download code a CD is included with the record.

For a band that tends to release everything on vinyl and appreciates the format, The Majestic Majesty took about 3 years to get pressed. There were 1500 copies of the record pressed on black vinyl. The record has no center labels but has “Majestic” etched on the a-side and “Majesty” etched on the b-side. There is also no insert to speak of really, only a CD booklet size piece of paper that has the liner notes printed on one side while the other side is blank.

The stripped down acoustic version of Portugal. The Man’s 2009 album The Satanic Satanist, The Majestic Majesty was never physically released prior to this. Some people attribute that fact to a very big issue with this record, sound quality.

Usually when I hear rumblings about poor sound or records skipping I brush it off as people’s poor set ups, either using cheap/horrible turntables, speakers, pre-amps or any combination of those. Usually there are only a few people who whine about the sound quality and the majority quickly squash their gripes. But the general consensus with this record is that it sounds terrible, while others have no complaints. And after listening to my copy I tend to agree with them.

When I first heard the complaints I expected the worst. People made it out to be not worth picking it up, even for free. When I listened to it I was not pleased with the sound quality, but the people grabbing their pitchforks and torches are way off base. Yes the record does not sound great but it does not sound terrible either, at least my copy. Which stacks up with other people’s opinions of this record, some think it’s unlistenable and some think it’s fine. This seems to be a pressing with more bad apples than good, which is unusual.  The glaring issue is the mastering, as it’s quite obvious this was not mastered for vinyl. The levels are way off which results in distortions in some places along with some fuzziness on both sides. It’s like the person behind the board decided to randomly adjust everything up and down with no discretion.

The band eventually caught wind of these complaints and looked into the situation. The band listened to their personal copies and had the same result, a mixture of terrible copies and good copies. They are in the process of trying to figure out a solution to the problem and have yet to announce anything regarding it.

In March 2013 the issue was finally addressed as Equal Vision pressed more copies of the record. They offered replacements to anyone who bought copies from the first pressing and were not satisfied. This new pressing, which is the second overal, has center labels but is still pressed on black vinyl. From what a few people who went for a replacement have sad, the sound quality issues have been fixed.

Portugal. The Man’s latest single for “Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now) is a Euro release. I have only seen UK distros and stores carrying the 7″ so far, but the back of the jacket indicates it’s a Euro release, not solely a UK release. The b-side an exclusive to this 7” and is a remix of Got It All, the “Bjorn remix.”

I am currently trying to find out the pressing info for this, as I’m waiting on a response from the band and their manager, whomever responds first. I’m assuming all copies were pressed on black vinyl.