Posts Tagged ‘The Movielife’


The Movielife is back after 14 years with their fourth studio album; Cities In Search Of A Heart. I was excited when I heard that the band would be releasing a new album, but let me say they should have stayed broken up. It goes to show just how bad the new album is when Brandon Reilly, Vinnie Caruana and the band’s twitter accounts incessantly retweet and favorite crowd videos from their most recent co-headlining tour that are all of older songs off 40 Hour Train Back To Penn.

The band signed with Rise Records, who seem to be yet another label snapping up old scene bands to bolster their roster. I always thought it was odd that a hardcore label went out and signed the likes of Acceptance, At The Drive-In, The Bouncing Souls and Drive-Thru Records castaways The Early November and Hidden In Plain View. Now you can add The Movielife to that list. Rise typically does a lot of variants for their releases, and Cities In Search Of A Heart is no different.

There are six variants, with all of them being exclusive to certain places. First there are the Rise Records/Merchnow (label’s web store host) exclusives. There are two of them; doublemint limited to 700 copies and “ultra” clear with white smoke limited to 300 copies. The “ultra” clear is a bundle exclusive, where the cheapest option to get it cost $37. This $37 bundle had a flask, promo poster (which only had the album artwork on it) and one t-shirt in your choice of two different colors, as each color shirt had the same design. There were two more bundles, which were more expensive. The next tier bundle cost $53.50, and had the same flask and promo poster, and a hoodie (same design as t-shirts) instead of a t-shirt. The most expensive bundle, costing $73, had everything from the $3.507 bundle, but included a t-shirt (only the white shirt out of the options from the $37 bundle).

There is a Smartpunk exclusive; yes Smartpunk is back in business and getting into the vinyl game, pressed on “Easter” yellow limited to 500 copies. Now, there is some discrepancy here, because Smartpunk’s website says “Easter” yellow is limited to 475 copies. The /500 number is straight from Rise Records. What likely happened is they ordered 500, and they either only gave Smartpunk 475 of them to sell or the pressing plant shorted Rise. The Smartpunk exclusive is also individually numbered, on a sticker that is placed on the top left corner on a outer poly sleeve placed over the shrinkwrapped record by Smartpunk. This sticker says /475. Banquet Records (UK indie record store) also has their own exclusive color, which is on oxblood red limited to 500 copies. So it’s not just a UK exclusive, it’s a Banquet exclusive.

It wouldn’t 2017 without a tour variant, and the tour exclusive for this record is limited to 400 copies on baby blue with white swirl (what the band calls it) or A Side B Side – baby blue with white (what the label calls it). Based on photos of the tour exclusive, it’s baby blue with white swirl. The last variant is a retail exclusive on gold vinyl limited to 3,000 copies. Despite the title, the retail exclusive was also available on tour. The “ultra” clear with white smoke was also available on tour as well. The gold “retail” exclusive is actually a gold color. It’s not that weird orange/yellow color labels sometimes get and call “gold.”

Rise Records never released the pressing info for this album. They have a ‘releases’ page where the put the pressing info for all of their releases, sometimes putting them up before an album is even released. But the never did for this Movielife record. I had to email them for the pressing info.

All copies come in a single pocket jacket with an insert and download card. The insert has the lyrics printed on both sides, along with the liner notes taking up a portion of one side. The download code nets you awful 160 kbps MP3s. Ridiculous Rise, ridiculous. Every copy has the same hype sticker, which is s small white circle affixed to the top right corner that simply says “limited edition first pressing on colored vinyl.” It doesn’t indicate color. So in order to ensure what variant you get you have to buy from a certain place. Buying a copy on tour might be a crapshoot though since they’re selling three different variants, not just the tour exclusive.

Retail price on this record ranges greatly. Rise/Merchnow is selling copies for $16.50 before shipping. But indie record stores are selling them for closer to $20. Other online retailers are also closer to $20 as well. I found this from one of my go to online distros, which had it for a few cents more than Merchnow, with free shipping and a discount code I used on it to bring it down to just under $13. Considering how bad this album is, the extremely high amount of copies pressed for this and how the /300 variant is still not sold out, there is no urgency to buy this record. You can wait till the price comes down, because it inevitably will.

If they want to move this album, places selling it will have to mark it down a bit, because it’s clearly not selling well. In fact I probably should’ve waited till the price hit $10. I checked the stock level of the standalone /700 doublemint variant on MerchNow, and they barely sold 150 copies of it in the nine months since it was put up for pre-order at the end of May 2017. Rise severely overestimated the demand for a Movielife album in 2017, even more so when you consider their intentions to do a multiple pressings for it based on the “limited edition first pressing” they put on the hype sticker.

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The Movielife – It’s Go Time

Posted: March 8, 2018 in Vinyl
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Back in 2015 The Movielife’s debut album It’s Go Time was pressed on vinyl, released by Fadeaway Records on four variants. Yes, you read right, four variants. Despite the label only making three publicized, there is a fourth variant, which was a tour exclusive. Despite the fact that band was not really touring much at the time. They weren’t even officially re-united at the point when this vinyl re-release came out. And since this is a Fadeaway Records release, that curiosity is not the first misstep with this release.

If you’re familiar with Fadeaway’s Friends triple LP comp released a handful of years ago, many of those same gripes arose with this Movielife re-issue; record being overpriced, shipping being a rip off, another charity release and flat out lies as “explanations” for the aforementioned gripes. This single LP cost $25, before shipping. With shipping being $6 for media mail, and a disgusting $9 to ship two records. It was actually initially doubled up, so for every record you ordered you were charged $6 per record for shipping. If you ordered two copies you were charged $12 shipping, if you ordered all three variants you were charged $15 for shipping.

But before you make final judgment on the price of this record, you have to take into account the etching on the b-side and the fact that it comes in a gatefold jacket. The fact that this record would have an etching was inexplicably kept a secret at the time the pre-order was announced and subsequently went live. It wasn’t announced until about a month after pre-orders were launched. That is by no means an excuse for overcharging for a single LP release, because even with those upgrades no single LP should ever cost more than $20. The price gets even more ludicrous when you consider that Fadeaway owns the rights to this album since they were the ones who originally released it back in 1999. Even with the re-mastering, which has to be done (or at least should be done) for every album that is getting pressed on vinyl, there is no legitimate reason for this record  to cost $25. Charity or not, which was the excuse the label gave, again, for overpricing this record.

I purposely waited, literally years, for this record to see a price cut. But it never happened. I wasn’t holding my breath for it, but I was still hoping that because the label didn’t sell out of any of the variants after three years that he would drop the price. So I used a good chunk of my higher than normal ebates check from Christmas shopping to buy this for a more reasonable price. Technically I could’ve paid $1 for this, but I opted to split the ebates check across two different records in order to lower my out of pocket cost on both of them.

Now to delve into the finer points of this record. This single LP has all nine, yes nine tracks on one side of the record. The b-side has an etching of the original cover art, which was changed for an unknown reason for the vinyl version. An interesting note about the new, alternate cover art for the vinyl version; it is Vinnie jumping off the cliff/bridge (not sure what it is). There was no reason given as to why the artwork was changed. Since I opted to order the clear base variant, it’s next to impossible to get a photo of the etching. So I’m including a photo taken from Fadeaway’s web store of a test pressing.

The gatefold jacket is nice and thick, but doesn’t really have any substance to it. It’s literally a collage of random photos of the band, a picture of a long retired WWF/WWE wrestler and a very long thank you section. But given the price, it’s better to have a pointless gatefold jacket than a traditional single pocket jacket, because Fadeaway would likely charge the same price for it. There is redundancy in the download code/card included with this record, as after you order you receive a download immediately (even those who pre-ordered back in 2015) along with a physical download card inside the jacket.

The track listing for this re-mastered vinyl version of the album was re-arranged for no logical reason. The jacket even has original track listing from the 1999 release printed on the back. The download card/code also has the correct track listing from the original 1999 release. But the record itself has some tracks switched around. So here is the track listing as it actually appears o the record itself:

  1. Barefoot
  2. Champ
  3. Dead To The World
  4. Except Me
  5. Maybe It’s Nothing
  6. One Way Ticket
  7. Racer
  8. Read My Lips
  9. Speed Demon

Track 4 on the original 1999 release was “Speed Demon,” so that song moves to the final track, track 9, on the vinyl version. The original track 9 on the 1999 release was “Racer,” which is track 7 on the vinyl vesion. “Except Me” was track 7 on the original 1999 release, but it’s now track 4 on the vinyl version. Another difference is that track 5 on the original 1999 release was “Read My Lips,” which is now track 8 on the vinyl version. The original track 8 on the 1999 release was “One Way Ticket,” which is now track 6 on the vinyl version. The original track 6 on the 1999 release was “Maybe It’s Nothing,” which moves to track 5 on the vinyl version. “Read My Lips” was track 5 on the original 1999 release, but it moves to track 8 on the vinyl version.

Initially advertised as each variant (the three that were publicly announced and made available) being limited to 250 copies, the actual pressing info was later revealed to be a bit different. It’s one of the few good things about Fadeaway Records; his transparency with pressing info. As is typically the case with vinyl pressings, there is either an overrun or underrun. Your rarely get the exact amount of copies you order. In the case of It’s Go Time, it was all across the board. So here is the final numbers; 256 copies on A Side Easter yellow / B Side cyan blue, 224 copies on ultra clear w/ blood red, orange crush, piss yellow, kelly green, royal blue and deep purple splatter and 242 copies on electric blue w/ cyan blue, sea blue and highlighter yellow heavy splatter. I feel like I am saying this more and more, but those have to be the longest variant names/descriptions ever, especially the ultra clear splatter one. Which I happened to have bought and photos of which can be seen in the gallery below.

It’s also worth noting that none of the variants turned out like the mock ups released for them in the Fadeaway Records web store. Not even close. It’s actually the most far off I’ve ever seen mock ups be from the finished product. It’s like he ordered completely different variants than what he mocked up. He actually had a transparent base record be grey in the mock up. Common sense would tell you to not do that if you were paying any sort of attention. And he had the a-side/b-side variant be black and white in the mock up. But at least he got the “heavy” splatter mock up right in terms of what splatter looks like, though he did use the wrong color for the splatter; once again, grey.

But, as mentioned earlier, that is not all the variants. Those are just the ones that were made publicly available and were announced via the pre-order. There is a fourth variant, which was a “tour” / band exclusive. Considering the band was not really touring at the time of this re-release, they were only playing a handful of shows here and there spread out over a couple months, it’s a little deceptive to call this a tour exclusive. Though the label called it a band exclusive on social media, the band themselves called it a tour exclusive on their social media accounts. While they were only available at shows, there weren’t enough shows to consider it a tour in my book. This tour/band exclusive was pressed on clear with blue haze/smoke, limited to 200 copies. There was never an official announcement as to what the color was called, which would’ve helped as Fadeaway went into extreme detail describing the rest of the variants, right down to the exact shade/hue of a color and using visual descriptions like “piss.” From pictures of this tour variant that I have seen, there is very little blue to be seen. It’s only found around the center of the record, and covers maybe from the run out to the last track on the a-side.

It was briefly mentioned above, but this was yet another charity release by Fadeaway, where it was claimed 100% of the proceeds were donated to a charity. Thing was though at the time pre-orders were launched the charity people’s money was going to wasn’t named. So people had no idea where their money was going. The only thing announced about where the money would be going was that it would be a charity of the band’s choosing. People kept asking what the charity was, but radio silence for a long time on the label’s end. Eventually it was put up in Fadeaway’s web store that the charity chosen was The Lustgarten Foundation. No formal announcement was made regarding the charity chosen. Not even a description of what the charity does; no mention of that anywhere.


Vinnie Caruana’s debut solo album, Survivor’s Guilt, was released by Equal Vision Records in the U.S. and distributed by Big Scary Monsters in the UK. The album was pressed on a handful of variants. There are a whopping six variants in total, three for the U.S. and three for the UK.

The three U.S. variants are baby blue limited to 300 copies, opaque light yellow limited to 500 copies and grey with white splatter limited to 700 copies. The baby blue is a tour exclusive and the pressing info is per a sign at his merch table, so that number may or may not be accurate. The yellow is a retail exclusive and the grey with white splatter is exclusive to Equal Vision web store hosted by MerchNow.

The UK variants are pink limited to 100 copies, grey with white splatter limited to 300 copies and black limited to 300 copies. The pink is a UK tour exclusive, but Vinnie only did five UK shows the pink variant was available at. It’s more of a baby pink that a hot pink. The grey with white splatter is only available from big Scary Monsters online as far as I can tell, and the black is available online from Big Scary Monsters and UK indie record stores like Banquet Records. I’m also not sure if there are any difference between the UK splatter and U.S. splatter, but the mock ups for each look completely different. The UK splatter mock up looks like an actual picture of the completed record while the U.S. splatter mock up still looks like a computer rendering, even after the record was released.

All the U.S. variants come with a hype sticker indicating the color of the record. All U.S. copies come with a download card for high quality 320 kbps MP3s. An insert ins included with U.S. copies as well, which has the lyrics printed on both sides along with the liner notes taking up a portion of one side as well. I can’t speak to any details like this for the UK pressing as I don’t own a copy.

Prices for the U.S. pressing range from $20 before shipping from MerchNow, between $19 to $23 at indie record stores to around $20 at online distros. But if you shop around and be patient you can get a great deal on this record. I bought it for $14 shipped taking advantage of coupon codes and already lower prices at one distro. Odds are though that this record will sit around for a while and it will get marked down. If it hasn’t sold out at this point it likely won’t for a long time, and considering his earlier EP, A City By The Sea hasn’t sold out after almost two years, Survivor’s Guilt will likely fall into the same boat.


Before anyone jumps down my throat for buying an Enjoy The Ride Records (ETR) release know that I didn’t buy this directly from ETR, I won it on ebay for $10 shipped over one year after it was released. This soundtrack, for the film Bridge And Tunnel, was pressed as a single LP limited to 500 total copies. It comes in a die-cut jacket with an insert, which slides into the jacket to add artwork to the cover through the die-cut portion. Neither a download code nor a CD copy of the soundtrack are included with the vinyl version. The vinyl version is the only physical release however, so a CD not being included is understandable.

There are 50 copies pressed on “label blowout” and 450 copies on clear. To be clear, all copies are on random colored vinyl, the label blowouts are just a clear base with random colors swirled in along with the center labels broken into fragments. The process to make a “label blowout” variant is pretty simple, the plant presses two records on top of each other and the lower label essentially explodes and gets broken up into the finished record as it’s pressed. For the 450 random colors variant, the colors I have seen are clear, red, green, brown and blue. There is some marbling in some copies, some came out as splatters and some as swirls.

The soundtrack features new and unreleased songs from Vinnie Caruana of The Movielife and I Am The Avalanche fame, John Nolan of Taking Back Sunday and Straylight Run fame, Bayside, NGHBRS and Happy Body Slow Brain. I bought this soundtrack to keep my Vinnie Caruana, Movielife and I Am The Avalanche collections complete.

ETR pulled out all the gimmicky stops with trying to move this release, but he still has copies lying around he can’t seem to give away. First of all, you couldn’t buy one of the “label blowouts” on their own. They were randomly given out in orders, but if you ordered more than one copy hoping to up your chances of getting a “label blowout,” the guy who runs ETR may have given one to you if you asked him to. So that pretty much outs the “label blowout” variant as a sales ploy to get people to buy more copies of the release. The next couple gimmicks happened well after the record was released and ETR was still sitting on unsold copies. ETR had John Nolan sign 10 copies of the record, but only made eight available to the public. In the summer of 2015 ETR had former WWF/WWE wrestler Virgil, who appears in the film, to autograph 5 copies of the soundtrack and hand number them.

The oddest thing is the random sales ETR has on this soundtrack. When it first came out he charged $20 for it. Then when it didn’t sell out he lowered the price to $15 and advertised it to death on social media. Then when they still didn’t sell he bumped the price back up to $20. Fast forward a few months and he is again running a sale on this for 15% off the $20 original price tag, so on sale again for $15. Meanwhile his business partner at Looney Tunes record store/Brookvale Records has been trying to sell a copy on Discogs for $10 for months with no luck.

 


To date I Am The Avalanche has released all three of their albums on vinyl, on three different labels. An interesting fact that you can drop on your music snob friends. It should be pointed out that I Surrender Records, who released this, the band’s latest album, also released their last album as well, they did not release it on vinyl however.

Wolverines received quite a few variants, and before it was even released was on its “second pressing.” I say “second pressing” because it’s not like the album went OOP and the label decided to press more copies. They decided to press as many copies to meet demand, and there are a two different ways to look at that. You could be happy the album won’t be hard to find and is available for all the band’s fans to buy and support them, or you could be upset that your “rare” record is no longer as rare as it originally was. I can see arguments for both sides, but the later makes you look like a selfish prick. I’ve been known to voice my displeasure at labels/bands who do shady things like press up more records than advertised, release more variants after pre-orders start or sell out, lie about pressing info to drive up sales, and false advertise or lie in general. The case with Wolverines somewhat falls into the category where I voice my displeasure, but it’s not egregious enough to worry about. In reality there is nothing to complain about because the label never said the magic words “limited pressing,” “one and only pressing” or “one time pressing.”

Anyway, back to more pertinent info, the pressing info. For the “first press,” there were 200 copies on black/white swirl (I Surrender exclusive), 500 on translucent red, 300 on non metallic gold (hand-numbered, tour exclusive), 300 on white (euro exclusive), 200 as a picture disc (Banquet Records UK exclusive). There are also 300 copies on pink, which was announced and put up for sale about one week after the black/white swirl and red copies sold out through I Surrender. This was not announced as part of the first or second pressing, they just appeared one day.

More confusion lies with yet more variants I Surrender put up for sale without any major fanfare. You had to follow their social media platforms to find out about it, I think they actually only posted about it on their instagram account. Otherwise you would’ve just stumbled across them in their webstore. Two new colors were added to the “first” and/or “second pressing” (I throw quotes on it because it’s not a true second pressing since the album was not even released yet), clear limited to 200 copies and green limited to 500 copies. I consider it part of the “first pressing” and not the first pressing because the label added copies willy-nilly to meet demand. Again not something I agree with, adding more copies to a pressing after it sells out, but not something to get too worked up about or complain about since they’re keeping a record readily available. The “second pressing”, formally labeled such by I Surrender (I throw quotes on it because it’s not a true second pressing since the album was not even released yet), has two variants; highlighter yellow limited to 544 copies and “warm” red limited to 548 copies.

An important note is that this record does not come with a download code. You only get a digital download of the album if you order directly from I Surrender Records, who emails you a download code after purchase.

 

 


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.


I Surrender Records has been quiet for quite some time, but in November they released a four-way split featuring lead singers of well-known bands going solo. The split, entitled I Surrender Records Presents Our Voices features Adam Lazzara of Taking Back Sunday, Anthony Raneri of Bayside, Chris Conley of Saves The Day and Vinnie Caruana of I Am The Avalanche. The record is single sided, with the b-side featuring an etching of a diamond pattern, which can be found on the cover art. According to the folks at I Surrender, this split will hopefully become a series.

The record was pressed on four different colors, each representing an artist based on the background color from the cover art. There were 500 copies of each color pressed, and they are green, red, blue and grey. Since there are 2000 copies of this split it should be around for quite a while. My local record store has between 10-20 copies of this. No insert is included. One thing of note is that if you buy this record from a brick and mortar store you won’t get a download card/code, only if you buy it online straight from I Surrender Records.