Posts Tagged ‘Thrice’

Once again I decided to camp out for Record Store Day (RSD), getting to my store 8 ½ hours ahead of opening. I know I said on Twitter that I likely wouldn’t bother with RSD this year, but things changed obviously. That thing was adding more and more things to my list, which ending the debate of do I want to go out for the one thing I know I won’t be able to find online for retail price. I’d rather not spend $30 on something if it means the only thing being sacrificed is a good night’s sleep. If you think I’m crazy for waiting that line and getting to a store that early, keep reading. But I do sleep for at least 2-3 hours of that wait time. If you want to skip this column-esque story, skip ahead four paragraphs for the start of the write up on this particular RSD release.

To lay the ground work for RSD this year, I actually had fun the past two years (2016 & 2017) waiting in line, which makes the time go by faster. That was not the case every other year, and I’ve been attending RSD since its inception in 2008. I had some cool people to talk to these past two years, which rarely, if ever happened every other year for RSD. I’m talkative person, it’s the other people who either can’t or refuse to hold a conversation for whatever reason. The past two years I was next to the same group of people actually. You see, at my local store, the same groups of people show up around the same time every year, especially the diehards. I’m talking about the real early birds, the people who get there 7+ hours ahead of opening. And at my store you have to show up by 4 am (for an 8 am opening) in order to have a serious chance of getting what you want. Otherwise you’re like 150+ in line and will spend around 2 hours (after opening) just waiting to get in and get checked out. It’s a popular store in a highly populated area.

For those curious about what store I go to, I never mention it because I want to maintain some privacy for myself. I don’t want people knowing where I live. It’s not a matter of turning people onto the store and having more people show up. Trust me, this store is well know and one of the most popular stores in the region. It draws people from four different states for RSD, and there are no shortages of record stores in the area either.

The only thing that changed in the 10 years RSD has been happening is how early I have to line up in order to get everything I want, or at the very least the few things I would have a hard time tracking down for a decent price online. I used to get to my store around 5 am, and got everything I wanted with no problem. But ever since 2015 the line has gotten out of control. I used to be no more than 20th in line with a 5 am arrival from 2009-2014, but I learned my lesson in 2015 after getting there at 2 am (thinking that additional 3 hours would be enough to compensate for the Deja Entendu release) and being like 50th in line, resulting in missing out on stuff I wanted for the first time ever. And I mean for the first time ever. Prior to that year I never missed out on a single thing on my list.

Ever since then my goal was to get there by midnight, and it’s worked. And I’ve had more fun in line than ever. People bring beer, people are more talkative, offer to get food and coffee for people and are just more helpful and nicer in general. I think a lot people are immediately grumpy when they get there later in the morning and come to the dreaded realization of how long the line actually is. The line can be a bit deceiving because it wraps around the building/strip mall. Lots of people see what they think is the end of the line at the end of the building/strip mall, only to walk over and discover it keeps going. I’ve heard plenty of obscenities being yelled at 5 and 6 am, some from like a hundred feet away.

That one thing mentioned above was the Thrice 7”. I have a complete Thrice collection going and didn’t want to ruin that or have to pay upwards of $30 for a 7” if it was somewhat easily avoided. This 7” features two songs, one b-side from the To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere and a live version of a song of that album as well. I don’t consider a song recorded live at a radio station to be a b-side, even though this 7” was marketed as having “2 b-sides”

The one b-side is entitled  “Sea Change” and is apparently about sea levels rising and climate change based on Twitter posts Dustin Kensrue made the day of RSD, which coincidentally was also Earth Day. I didn’t get that meaning after listening to the song though. I got more of a song about general struggle and adversity vibe, not as specific as rising sea levels and/or climate change. The live track, “Black Honey,” was recorded at Sirius XM. There is one track per side.

The 7” was limited to 2,500 copies, and is pressed on translucent blue vinyl. The Fact that this 7” is pressed on colored vinyl was never mentioned anywhere. It wasn’t on the official RSD list, no store made mention of it, the hype stickers didn’t nor did the band or any band members. It came as a complete shock to me, and probably everyone else who bought a copy too. But given the apparent meaning behind the song, the choice of blue vinyl is very fitting.

As aforementioned, there is not one but two hype stickers on the cover of this 7”. The obligatory Record Store Day sticker (though not one of those square silver foil RSD stickers) and another one indicating that a portion of the proceeds from this release got to Climate Central. Which I’m assuming is a non-profit  aimed at working towards environmental issues. Again, that Climate Central hype sticker is in line with the apparent them of the lead song, “Sea Change.”

A download card/code is included, which yields WAV files. There is no insert, and the jacket is extremely thin and cheap. It’s a shame, but that is becoming a trend with RSD releases; making them as cheap as possible while still charging top dollar for them. Of course there are always the super nice releases sprinkled in, but for the most part I’ve never been impressed with the bulk of the RSD releases I get, especially for the price charged for them. This 7” cost around $8 depending on the store, when it should have cost no more than $6 given what it turned out being. Because it’s an RSD release the powers at be feel like they can get away with tacking on an additional $2-3 to every release. I’m actually surprised this 7” came with a download card, many times RSD releases don’t. This 7” was one of two RSD releases I bought this year that actually came with a download card, and I wound up buying 10 releases this year.

Thrice - Sea Change - Copy



Yet another band to go on hiatus in recent years, Thrice, came back to life with a new album in 2016. The album, To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere, is the band’s first new album in five years. Thrice has very finicky fans, some of the hardest to please I think. And they can be split into three basic camps; those who feel they can do no wrong, those who hate anything that doesn’t sound like their early, harder albums, and those who prefer their later, less edgy sound. Whatever camp you fall in there is no doubt Thrice fans have very high expectations, which only sets up most of them to be let down. At this stage in their career it’s unrealistic for them to make an album that harkens back to the First Impressions or Identity Crisis era. But that doesn’t stop the hate anything that doesn’t sound like their early, harder albums camp from making their disgust known.

Some people actually felt like Thrice just churned out a “dad rock” album after hearing To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere’s first single, “Blood On The Sand.” Which couldn’t be further from the truth. And I’m not even going to go into how unfair it is to judge an album by one song, especially its first single before the album is even released. Yes, this latest Thrice album is far from First Impressions and Identity Crisis, but it’s by no means a bad album. It follows in the vein of their more recent work.

The vinyl version of the album sold out of its first pressing pretty quickly, but it was still slow by Thrice standards. When pre-orders first went up on March 24, 2016 only one variant was available; “smoke” 180 gram limited to 1,000 copies. This variant was only available through Thrice’s official pre-order hosted by Music Today/Delivery Agent, a relatively unknown store host. By all accounts that merchant is terrible. The smoke variant cost $20 before shipping

The smoke variant sold out in less than one day, and almost immediately after it sold out another variant was put up for sale; black 180 gram, also limited to 1,000 copies. There is some debate on how many black copies actually exist. When the black pre-rder first went up it said “limited to 1,000 copies,” but that was later removed. The band themselves also advertised the black 180 gram as being limited to1,000 copies. Seeing as how quickly black disappeared I think it’s safe to it actually is limited to 1,000 copies. Sales immediately slowed after the black copies went up, as other online retailers started putting up cheaper pre-orders. You have to admit, it’s a clever sales tactic; release the variants one at a time without ever announcing how many variants there will be, all increase sales by making people think there will be only one variant.

Eventually the black copies sold out online too, but a big part in that was some black copies were sent out to indie record stores. I don’t think any online distros received copies, as it was impossible to find online. Amazon had a pre-order for it, but I don’t think they were able to fulfill anyone’s orders, they just kept people waiting for something that it sold out and will be on back-order for a long time. A severely limited amount was sent to physical stores though, as they’re all sold out and did so in a matter of days, I doubt any stores had copies last for a week.

When pre-orders started shipping many people were disappointed with how the “smoke” turned out. The smoke variant is basically grey marble. Other bands/labels have released smoke variants in the past, and they’re generally clear with various shade of grey and black swirled in. This “smoke” variant is very far from that.

Going back to how terrible the merchant hosting Thrice’s pre-order is, there were some major problems. Many people received the wrong variant, some who ordered smoke received a black copy. And their customer service was hit or miss. They sent some people out the proper smoke variant they ordered without having the customer return the black copy, they took a long time to respond to some people about an exchange, they told some people to return the black copy in order to receive the correct smoke copy. The wrong variant problem eventually got so bad the merchant ran out of smoke copies to give to people who ordered them in the first place. Those people were basically SOL, as they didn’t offer refunds for people who wanted to return it.

And if all that wasn’t enough a third variant was announced well after the smoke 180 gram and black 180 gram sold out; Thrice would be selling a tour variant on their summer tour. The tour exclusive is on teal 180 gram. Pressing info for the tour variant was never released, and so far the band has had copies on all the stops. However, there was some miscommunication about the tour variant being sold out, as Dustin apparently announced at the Orlando date it was sold out, but that was obviously wrong as they were still selling copies at dates after the Orlando show. Why he would say something blatantly wrong is beyond me, but maybe he meant they sold out of their allotted copies for that specific show. That is the most likely explanation, but there is a problem with that theory as well, as they weren’t limiting how many copies a person could buy at any stops on the tour prior to the Orlando date. Many people posted online, with one person even admitting to it, that people were walking around venues with five copies of the tour variant.

As expected, many tour variants wound up on ebay, where they sold for over $80. The smoke variant was also ebay gold, as they sold for over $70. Many people even bid up black copies to over $40 after the realization sunk in that the album may be sold out and OOP. Because I purposely held off on pre-ordering/buying this album with the expectation of buying a black copy for well below retail price at a gem of a site I found that routinely has great discount codes on records already listed below retail price, I too had to resort to ebay to buy this album. But I only spent $20 including shipping on it, which is less than I would’ve spent had I pre-ordered it from Thrice’s official pre-order. Sadly it’s not the $13 I would’ve spent had that online distro been able to get copies, but I still came out ahead.

All copies come with an insanely nice booklet along with a download card. The booklet is 22 pages long and is as big as it can get (size wise), likely 11″x 11″ (I’m not going to measure it). Because of the booklet the record jacket is oversized. It comes in one of those overzied double LP jackets, you know the ones, the ones where the label is too cheap/greedy to spring for a gatefold jacket but still wants to overcharge for the release. The booklet has the lyrics, with each song getting its own page. Other imagery is found inside the booklet too, typical Thrice artistic randomness, as you can see in the photos below. Christopher King of This Will Destroy You was responsible for the art direction of the album. Instead of traditional binding the booklet it actually sewn together, with the stitching showing on the cover and back cover. It’s also important to note that the colored and black variants each have their own respective hype sticker. The hyper sticker on the colored variants (smoke and teal marble) say “limited colored vinyl” while the black variant makes no mention of color or being limited.

In a surprise announcement The Modern Post (Dustin Kensrue side/solo project) released his second/first Christmas release; Lowborn King, on vinyl for the first time. The EP was released by BEC Recordings and is pressed as a 10″ on four different variants. The 10″ comes on oxblood/reflective gold limited to 100 copies, oxblood limited to 100 copies, gold limited to 100 copies and black limited to 200 copies.

This pressing got very little attention or promotion other than one or two Twitter posts. It was barely even mentioned on one of the most popular vinyl message boards. The only /100 variant to sell out (as of posting this) is the oxblood/reflective gold. Aside from the little promotion of the release, the main problem lies with the webstore selling the 10″ has a hyperlink problem which makes the store appear to not load. So people think they can’t buy it because the store won’t load. The hyperlink is to a specific item that is no longer available, so all you have to do is remove the nonsense at the end of the link in your address bar in your browser so the only there is

I opted for the 2-day priority mail shipping option because it was only 1 penny more than the cheapest shipping option available, so I got my copy very quickly (had this since Monday but didn’t post it till today). I was very disappointed when I opened it to see there is next to no gold on my copy. I usually don’t care about the way records look or get too concerned with what color it is, which sounds the coolest, etc. But in this case the oxblood/reflective gold sounded awesome because it should have matched the album art perfectly and if the gold was truly reflective it would be one of the more unique variants out there let alone in my collection.

You can see for yourself from the pictures below; there is little to no gold on the a-side of my copy (it’s little smatters around the edges) and the b-side has a decent chunk of “gold” around the center and that’s it. The gold is also not reflective, even when I hold it to the light as advised. It simply look likes someone took on dump on a record.

The record does not come with an insert. It also does not come with a download card and you’re not emailed one after purchasing the record either. While this record is somewhat on the cheap side, the fact that it’s just a record stuffed into a jacket makes the price worse. Especially considering it would’ve been cheaper had they pressed it as a 12″ instead of the more expensive 10″.


The true follow-up to Dustin Kensrue’s debut solo album was released in early 2015. Carry The Fire is actually his fourth solo album, but his two previous efforts were not original material. Released on Vagrant Records/Staple Records/Workhorse Music Group, the vinyl version was pressed on two different colors; red and orange. Each color has a sticker on the front of the jacket (on shrink) denoting which color it is. There are 1,500 copies pressed on each color, making 3,000 total copies pressed. Some sites are reporting red is limited to 1,000 copies, but that number is wrong and has never been officially announced nor posted anywhere like the pre-order page, Dustin’s website or any of the labels associated with this release’s websites. The pressing info I am reporting was obtained directly from Vagrant Records after less than an hour from sending an email. Staple Records/Workhorse Music Group responded to my inquiries about pressing info with a personal attack towards me rather than simply saying “We don’t want to release the pressing info.” And that was after one week of being ignored. It’s sad that one label is abrasive towards fans while the other is nothing but prompt, polite and helpful.

There also seems to be some confusion/misdirection with there actually being a second pressing of Carry The Fire. When the album first went up for pre-order only one color was available, red. Eventually Dustin and Staple Records/Workhorse Music claimed the red vinyl sold out, which was timed with the announcement of a new color, orange, which was billed as a “second pressing.” However, the red variant never truly sold out. You can still buy it at indie record stores, various online distros and even Vagrant’s official web store. My local store sold out of red copies by the time I went back to buy it. They had at least 30 copies but Dustin did an in store performance there a few days before I went back so that is likely how they disappeared so fast. I bought this record online from Amoeba Records last week during a sale and received a red copy. So red copies are still out there. The red variant only “sold out” via the official pre-order/order page for the album. The orange copies started shipping at the same time as the red copies; how convenient for a “second pressing” to be ready at the same time as the first pressing.

There were no delays with the records shipping, even with the release date the week after Record Store Day (RSD). As most people are aware RSD releases cause massive delays at pressing plants around the world, pushing non-RSD releases to the back burner so plants can devote all their attention to getting RSD releases out in time for RSD. Now with that fact in mind, how could any label get a second pressing of any record done during this time frame and have it be released at the same exact time as their first pressing? Easy, the answer is there never was a second pressing ordered, both colors were ordered at the same time and the label purposely held back that information until the “first pressing” on red vinyl was somewhat close to selling out. Given my interactions with Staple Records/Workhouse Music Group, it adds further evidence in my book of there not being a second pressing.

The red variant is somewhat translucent, or what some people would call clear. I think the orange variant has some marbling in it, but I have not seen photos of it so I can’t confirm how the orange looks. All copies come with a download code for high quality 320 kbps MP3’s as well as a huge fold out poster that doubles as the insert. The poster has the lyrics printed on one side and on the other is one of the lamest photos I’ve ever seen that never needed to be blown up to poster size. They should have chosen a better photo for one side of the poster, or just used some sort of artwork. The photo is 1/2 of Dustin’s face with his body being obscured by fire. To make matters worse that side of the poster is 3/4 blank white, with the remaining 1/4 having the awful picture of Dustin standing against a black backdrop where you can basically only see one of his eyes.

Thankfully that poster did not drive the price up too much on this record. I doubt the label would have charged less for the record if they included a traditional insert instead of the poster. This record cost around $17 from most places. The album is amazing though, which is the most important thing. The record sounds great and the music on it is, right now, my album of the year. It sounds much different from Dustin’s first album, Please Come Home, and I think Carry The Fire is the better of the two.

Once this album came out Dustin Kensrue had released a traditional solo album, a Christmas album and a Christian worship album. An odd trifecta for a casual observer, but Dustin never hid the religious aspect of his life from the public. The Water & The Blood is Kensrue’s third solo studio album, released in 2013 on Mars Hill Music/BEC Recordings. BEC Recordings is a sub label of Tooth & Nail Records.

There were 1,000 copies pressed on clear vinyl. The vinyl version has alternate artwork than the CD version. The vinyl version artwork is blue, while the CD and MP3 cover art is white. The vinyl version also includes the iTunes bonus track, “Psalm 145,” which is the last track on the record, track number B6. The record comes with an insert, which has the lyrics printed on one side. A download code is not included, but if you ordered it directly from the label they emailed you a download link via email. Amazon was the only retailer to get copies of The Water & The Blood, but I’m not sure the album was released in time to coincide with Amazon’s autorip feature, which grants the buyer a free MP3 copy of the entire album they purchased.

The Water & The Blood took a while to sell out. It was likely due to the fact that album is worship music. It created a weird dilemma for some people, While drawing in more fans from the Christian/Worship music arena would not normally buy a Dustin Kensrue or Thrice album, it also alienated some Dustin Kensrue and Thrice fans at the same time. I know many people didn’t buy it because they didn’t like the music, I was one of them. But also a good number of people bought it keep their Dustin Kensrue and/or Thrice collections complete; I eventually became one of those people.

Eventually the record sold out, and once it did they were fetching hefty prices on the secondary market, up to $100, but averaging out at around $55. In late April 2015 the label put up about 100 copies for sale. This was likely not leftover copies, but overrun copies, as 10% of 1,000 is 100. They sold them for the original retail price. It was nice to see the label not resort to flipping them, either on ebay or themselves directly. These remaining copies of the album sold out in a few hours, which is when I decided to pull the trigger on buying the album to complete my Dustin Kensrue/Thrice collection.

A fabled record that was much talked about since 2011 but didn’t get legitimately released until January 2013, the Manchester Orchestra and Thrice split 12″ is one of the fastest selling records I’ve ever ordered. Originally supposed to be sold on the Manchester Orchestra and Thrice co-headlining tour in 2010, the records were not done in time, and once they were done Thrice abruptly dropped off the tour for personal reasons. However some copies were sold on that tour even though they weren’t supposed to be, about 100 copies according to Manchester Orchestra.

Fast forward three years and here we are. Manchester Orchestra started sending out pics of the cover of this split on Twitter and Facebook hinting that it would go up for sale soon. Eventually Andy Hull gave a specific date and time they would be put up for sale on the band’s webstore. Like most people wanting the split, I sat by my computer waiting for 3 pm EST. The records were put up a little early, and I refreshed at the perfect time and snagged a copy with zero lag, glitches, errors or any problem for tha matter. Most people, myself included, expecting a disaster as Manchester Orchestra’s store is hosted by Big Cartel, one of the worst web store hosts out there as anyone can add the entire stock of an item to their cart and hold it hostage for as long as they want (I know Big Cartel says items are held in their cart for only 10 minutes, but I know from personal experience that is not the case at all). Combine that with the vast amount of people who wanted a copy of the split, and you have utter maelstrom.

While I checked out with ease, probably hundreds of people missed out and began voicing the displeasure, frustrations and anger on Manchester Orchestra’s Facebook page and message boards. What they thought that would accomplish is beyond me. This split was also an obvious target for flippers, and Manchester Orchestra tried to limit how deep they could sink their claws in by placing a limit of one per person. Some flippers immediately put their copies up on ebay, well before shipping notifications even went out let alone the records were in their hands. The band was not at all happy about this and sought out to find said people and cancel their orders. How much progress was made on that front will never be known, but at least the band wanted and tried to do something about rather than not caring.

There were 500 copies pressed on clear vinyl, with all copies being hand numbered on the back of the jacket. The jackets are also silk screened. Both songs on the split are cover songs, one being a 14 minute version of No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” by Manchester Orchestra that also features O’Brother. The length of Manchester Orchestra’s contribution forced this split being done as a 12″ instead of a 7″. Thrice contributes of cover of the Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).”

After people lucky enough to get a copy of the split started getting it in the mail, some people claimed to have inserts. Some people tried to draw a correlation between the number of the record and whether or not it had an insert, but the people who claimed to have an insert had numbered records all over the place. It didn’t help much that the people claiming to have inserts on a message board were not active members of said message board.  I was already skeptical about the existence of the insert, and since my copy did not come with one I emailed the band and got a response back almost immediately. According to the band there are about 10-20 legitimate copies with an insert and the only ones with inserts were a select few that made their way out around the record’s initial pressing back in 2010. The ones that were not supposed to be sold. They also made mention that the pictures of the insert circulating around were taken from an article in Alternative Press. I take the word of the band over what people post on a message board, especially ones who could very easily and very likely be trolls with photoshop skills.

Thrice – Anthology

Posted: December 4, 2012 in Vinyl

Anthology may be the last release by Thrice ever, hopefully it won’t be though. A four LP live album box set recorded during the band’s farewell tour, Anthology was limited to 3000 copies on white and black 180 gram vinyl. Each set is individually numbered on the back of the cloth lined box and comes with a 22 page full size booklet. Anthology is one of the nicest release of the year. All fours records and booklet slide into the box, as one end it opened. LPs 1 and 3 are on black vinyl and LPs 2 and 4 are on white vinyl. When laid out vertically the sleeves for each record form one image, a watercolor painting that fades from light to dark.

A new development as of March 2013 is that people who buy copies at this point (as of March 2013) are getting copies numbered higher than 3000. There are a few ways to look at it. You could write it off as overruns since the numbers only go as high as in the 3300’s, which would account for a 10% overrun of 300, a standard figure most plants use, a 10% over/under. You could assume there were 4000 copies pressed instead of 3000, a conclusion a few people on a message board immediately jumped to. I typically tend to put more weight in and believe the official numbers given by labels, but in this case I am torn because from personal experience the label has been doing some things I find shady. But until someone gets a number in the 3900’s I’m still more inclined to believe the official pressing info given by a label that in my opinion I feel has less than stellar reputation over assumptions made by people on a message board.