Sunday, 15 October 2017

Either // Or

It seems that around this time of year, I'll take a dive into an artist that I've heard of but never taken the chance to listen to. I'll also dive in by blind buying one of their LP's and taking it from there. Last year I bought Pink Moon by Nick Drake and absolutely obsessed over it for weeks. This year I went with Either / Or by Elliott Smith. Normally a mass reissue of an LP wouldn't be much to sing over, but I managed to pick up the expanded edition for cheap from that crazy All Your Music sale in August. It was listed as used, it came brand new and sealed. It was a great come up, and I bought a few more from that sale too. 

This new expanded edition comes as a double 180 gram deal and released by Universal; quite a long way up when you consider that it's initial release came from Kill Rock Stars in the US and Domino records in the UK. 
First up, this record came with a cool obi strip which you don't see too often nowadays.

The back of the obi advertises some of Elliott Smiths other recordings. Since buying this a couple of months ago, I've also picked up Roman Candle, the Self Titled LP and XO. However, they are just Back to Black reissues so I'll likely not post about them.

A close up of the front obi shows the explains of the record, including some great photographs and an essay by Larry Crane on the time surrounding the recording and release of this record. Even as a complete newcomer and layman to Elliott Smith, this was a great read and the bonus stuff was just as enjoyable a listen as the studio LP. 

As I said, the record comes on plain black double 180 gram in printed jackets. I believe there were a couple of variants for this release too. An indies only copy, and a mail-order exclusive too on Buttercream Splatter. I wasn't bothered about a colour copy at the time, but the Kill Rock Stars store won't allow orders to the UK anyway. 

One side of the jackets contain all the lyrics... 

The other side contains some credits and some archive photographs. The photographs all seem to be credited to a Felice Ecker; who I gather was his publicist. Initially I assumed it would be his then partner, but a quick read online told me otherwise. 

The inside gatefold contains more photographs and the essay by Larry Crane. Larry Crane I gather was a friend/ producer/ archiver and Jackpot! Recording Studio owner. From what I understand, a bunch of these recordings were made on 4-track or 8-track. Certainly the albums prior to this were. The essay is pretty in depth about the time of this recording, and Smith's distance from Heatmiser too. 

Finally, the download code comes as a postcard. I assume they're reels or VHS  tapes cased in those boxes. It's a cool piece of history that won't really come around again. 

I was always fascinated by the life and death of Elliott Smith, and for years was aware of his music without diving in. However, I'm doing my best to make up for lost time and grabbing as much as I can. I'm still worried about listening to Figure 8 and the posthumous recordings, as Figure 8 sounds like a big departure in sound. I'm sure I'll get into them at some stage, but for now I've got a decent amount to go on. 

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Red Pleasure

Following seeing Citizen on their short UK/ Euro run earlier this week, I was massively feeling the hype for the new record. Today I got ahold of my pre-order for the new record (As You Please), and before it even hit my turntable I grabbed a few quick photos to make a post. 

A couple of things: I'm in the middle of redecorating my house, so places to photograph are becoming limited, especially being in Grey British weather. Also, this is one of seemingly a million backlogged posts; they're not coming in order of what arrived when, but they're definitely coming! 

I pre-ordered the Deluxe Box Set LP. As the variant is exclusive to the box set and is /500, I'm going to assume that the whole package is limited to this number. The box is pretty chunky and feels super sturdy, with foil stamped front and sides. 

The side of the box also has the label Catalogue Number too (RFC162). 

As part of the contents for this box, you get a massive (A1) poster that hasn't photographed too well but looks great in person. I'm not normally one for separating stuff from their sets, but I'm pretty tempted to frame this. The only immediate downside here, is that this poster is a trade in for the regular poster that comes with the standard copy (from photos I've seen it may have a Cheetah on it). This means that the LP is missing the poster, and there's also no insert/ lyric sheet. Not the biggest problem, but it would've been a welcome addition. 

Next up are the pin and dice set. The dice come in a bag, and the pin comes with a locking back which I'm a fan of. Being a sucker for a good pin made this box set all the more appealing (as did the dice but I'm really not sure why). 

This is the mixtape (the shell appears to be clear red but I haven't removed it from it's cellophane yet). It apparently contains remixes and other 'curiosities'; not a clue what that means but I'll have to wait for my new cassette deck to arrive before finding out. The pin and cassette are fastened to this cream background with the AYP Star logos in red. The cassette fastened by a light adhesive that should peel off without any damage, and the pin is fastened through the card which is cool as it kept it from getting thrown around too much in transit. Plus it looks nice and packs out the box a little more. 

Finally, this is the full set (minus poster) laid out. The variant is described as Red/ White Mix Swirl and as I said before is /500 and exclusive to the box set. I didn't photograph the B-Side, but it's mainly white with a small red streak running through. 

All in all I'm really enjoying this package, and the album is truly stunning. It's sold out on the main RFC store, but there may be a couple copies left on the UK one. I'd jump on it quick though! 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Closer to True Faith

Sometime last month I took around a 280 mile round trip from my hometown to the city of Manchester to attend the True Faith Exhibition. I would be lying if I didn't say that a big factor in that journey was the limited pressings of both Closer by Joy Division and Power, Corruption and Lies by New Order on sale.

However, at a £35 price tag a piece, I kept myself to one or the other. I had copies of both, and they are both original (or at the least, early) presses; but my copy of Closer has definitely been a little more 'loved' than P,C&L so I justified that this album was more in need of an upgrade. 

The record came in a special printed polysleeve with the details of the gallery on the far left. 

On the shrink was this hype sticker too. The 2007 remasters are from (I assume) the Rhino represses. 180gm is definitely the way to go for this. The pressing sounds incredibly clean and really defines how well this record has aged. It still sounds timeless to this day, and I'm incredibly thankful that this came in ahead of another repress of Unknown Pleasures. 

As some kind of consolation prize, I also picked up this postcard of 'A Basket of Roses' by Fantin-Latour. It seems fitting to own it in a way, as the original reference from Peter Saville picking this as the artwork for P,C&L came from a postcard he bought. In true archivist fashion, I bought one to stay in the sleeve of the LP, and one that is currently on my fridge at home. 

Finally, here is a close up of the text from the printed jacket for the LP. As you can see, this variant is limited to 1000, as was the copies of Power, Corruption and Lies (in Silver vinyl). Considering they were still readily available at the shop on my visit, they have been fetching silly money on Discogs and eBay. Closer has a Discogs highest price of £100, as does Power, Corruption and Lies. This fact comes as particularly upsetting when you figure that the exhibition was truly incredible too. Among performance films, archive posters and Raf Simons Parkas was the highlight of being within touching distance of Ian Curtis' handwritten lyrics for Love Will Tear Us Apart. 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Record Swap pt. 1

At the beginning of this year, my good friend Harry approached me with the idea of doing a record swap. The basic premise was that two times in the year (tentatively May and November) we would buy a record for one another and post it off to it's new owner. The basic rule set was that it should be an LP, it should be by a band that the other person has likely not heard of or owns any music from; and there had to be some kind of assumption that the other person would be in to it. So in May I sent him an album by the band Monsterland. Given his love of Gin Blossoms and other 90's radio rock/ borderline grunge kind of stuff I thought it'd be a good shout. He seemed in to it and I awaited my arrival. 

Fast forward being 4 months (fashionably late I would assume?) and this mysteriously arrives at the door! I have a vague eye for Harry's handwriting and so I eagerly opened it. 

The Lounge Lizards - Self Titled - Editions EG. / Polydor - 1st Press (UK) - Black /? 

Harry just about hit it perfect with this one. From a design perspective there's plenty to talk about; it's also from an artist I haven't heard (although I have heard of them - from his enthusiastic account of his debut listen to this record). I had a small feeling that this album was going to end up in my possession as a result of this friendship! 

The back cover contains all the credits and their is no insert, so here is all the information you need as a guess! Three cool things to point out: 
1. The cover has this small bronze strip that wraps around the front and back cover which looks really great. 
2. On the first photo, at the centre of the top of the sleeve you can see a small white plastic or wax tab that wraps over slightly. I have no clue if this is part of the cover art, or whether it was put there from a previous owner to cover a seam split. Either way, the sleeve was designed my Peter Saville (most famous for his work with Joy Division/ New Order and all things Factory Records related. An inexplicable white tab on a sleeve would seem perfectly feasible in his world. 

Number 3 requires a little zooming and maybe a little imagination. The sleeve is textured. Not the first time a Peter Saville design came with a textured sleeve. I'm assuming this may be a Garrod & Lofthouse product. It's anyones guess at this point though! 

Finally, here is a note containing all the ins and outs as to why Harry picked this record. Normally, I like to keep these things to myself as a personal note remains personal for a reason. However, the reasoning behind me ending up with this album has some incredibly sound logic. I've been longing to get in to jazz for quite some time, and hearing that this was a gateway record gives me some kind of hope that I'm ready to finally delve in to that world. 

I've caught up with the last few episodes of Twin Peaks: The Return. I have watched Audrey dance and so the rest of my Sunday afternoon will be taking a journey in to something new. My next post will be a more familiar realm I'm sure, but I'm glad that this post is here as it has a story to tell for sure. 

I already have the record I'm sending in November, and much in the same way I'll make sure to write to Harry and let him know why that record should be in his possession. I'm incredibly thankful for friends like Harry, allowing me to push the boundaries of recommendation, and for trusting me with an aspect of life that often remains so intrapersonal. As it's my birthday in a few days too, this just about qualifies as an early birthday gift! 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017


Judging by the title of this, everyone should know what it's about. 

Brand New - 44.5902N104.7146W (Science Fiction) - Procrastinate Music Traitors - CD - 1st Press - 9/500 

This is the first part of post, following what was probably the most tense pre-order since the Valentines Day press of Is Survived By by Touche Amore. 
Long story short (for if you're out of the loop with this Brand New pre-order deal), Brand New dropped pre-orders via their own Procrastinate Music Traitors label seemingly out of the blue. There was no artwork, no track list, no album title and no options. You either bought a blind $45 pre-order bundle or you missed out (or so we thought at the time - if you want all the rumour mill that followed see one of the hundreds of Reddit wormholes you really want to fall in). I wasted no time in dropping the money for this, and patiently waited to see what would turn up. 

Plain white sticker to seal the envelope (if I didn't mention, the packaging for this CD is an envelope that is hand numbered with a live photo glued on as the cover). 

On with the story. 
A few days later the album surfaces via a soundcloud link online with the above title (which are the co-ordinates for Devil's Tower - the setting for Close Encounters of the Third Kind). Much the same as this CD, the stream was all 12 tracks collapsed in to one single track with no individual titles, but seemingly the artwork had surfaced. A few hours later, the album becomes available as a download with an album title, artwork and track titles. I listened to it at least three times in full that night; with each listen clocking in at just over an hour, I barely slept. 

The CD is presented on a cut out piece of cardboard with a CD stopper (similar to what you'd find in a digipack tray) glued in the middle for the disc to sit in. 

I'm assuming this breaks down as 1 X 61 Minutes : 27 Seconds : 45 Milliseconds 

The insert is printed on blue paper, but has photographed a lot lighter. It contains dialogue and a set of chess moves, taken place by HAL and Dr. Poole from 2001: A Space Odyssey. 

The story now becomes a rabbit hole. You can tie in the two cinematic influences and the album title (Science Fiction) together. You can also tie in the chess moves to the Your+Favorite+Weapon album art; creating a link between debut and closing chapter. You can tie in the 18 year predicted lifespan of the band to the Soco Amaretto Lime lyrics (18 Forever). A bunch of the lyrical themes on this record (particularly the track 'In the Water') recall previous lyrical themes and audio sampling. 

A quick note on the packaging, it's completely DIY - and a little fragile so I'm really reluctant to mess about with it more than I have to. A CD held by a stopper glued to piece of cardboard placed inside an envelope that is hand numbered with a photocopied live shot glued to the front. Thankfully Customs didn't get their hands on it else who knows what condition this would've turned up in. 

We're still all clueless as to what this means for the bundle. I'm assuming the CD's correlate that 500 pre-order mystery bundles were made available. Maybe there are more, the CD's were sent out at random and I just got lucky. All I know is that number 9 is the lowest number I've seen in circulation so far. 

Brand New have been one of my favourite bands for over a decade. I still don't really know how I'll feel without them around. If this record really is their last, it's a remarkable way to go out and I'll keep you posted as more stuff arrives!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Back From Sleep

Well where do we start right? It's been a while. Long story short, it's been over a year and some of that year has been messy. For some of that time I was without a laptop and most of my records were boxed up. But everything is cool, and I always loved doing this blog so hopefully I'll be doing this a little more often. Instead of running out with a huge backlog of records (I didn't really slow down on buying at least!) I'll head straight in with something I bought recently. 

Sleep - Holy Mountain - Easy Rider Records - 2nd Press - White Shell /200 (in screened mailer) 

People seem to get really funny about people that aren't Straight Edge wearing shirts by Straight Edge bands etc.; or at least there's this assumption that everyone listening XrepentanceX is Vegan or something. So where does it stand when Straight Edge folks listen to records essentially written around Sabbath riffs and bong rips? I don't care much either way, I've been on a huge Sleep kick lately and adding this to my little tape collection felt great. There's something about how these songs sound with all those cassette related imperfections that I'm in to! 

The cassette comes in this screened mailer. Pretty standard stuff but it looks great; apparently there was also a sticker with some orders. As this copy didn't come to me direct from the label, I guess I'll never know but I'm not too heartbroken about it.

Big Ol' label logo on the back. 
Funny little tidbit: the folks who run this label had to change the name of Easy Rider Records shortly after this release to RidingEasy Records. Apparently some US Motorcycle Magazine delivered them a cease and desist. Who would've known! At this point they'd only been a label for somewhere around 6 months too.

Finally, here is the album in all it's stoner perfection. The art was done by a guy called Robert Klem who might be a tattooer too (I'm not sure). This art probably gets overshadowed by the Arik Roper masterpiece that graces the cover of Sleep's opus 'Dopesmoker'; but I'm a huge fan of the trippy font. 

So there we have it. 15 months-ish later and a blog post is done. I'm already looking forward to the next one. Most of my purchases are posted on Instagram with the handle: kanexdoe so if there's anything you want to see a little bit more in depth on there, let me know. Failing that, I'll just keep on keeping on. 


Monday, 9 May 2016

Anniversary of Hope

There are still quite a few posts from RSD that I haven't got around to; but I figured this one can just jump the queue as I couldn't find it on the day and only just got around to getting a copy. 

Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope - Sire Records - 1st Press - /3000 (10th Anniversary Double LP - RSD '16) 

Begin To Hope is definitely a strange album for me. A classic case of you fall in love with an album, you buy the album for the girl you're in love with, girl loves album, girl breaks up with you, and then you can't listen to the album. Before buying this copy and spinning if for the first time (today) I haven't touched this record in maybe 5 years or more. 

So this album originally came out in 2006, with a vinyl release not seeing the light of day until 2009. The first LP is the record, and the second LP is a bunch of great bonus stuff that's definitely worth owning. That 2009 copy also included most of what is on this 2nd LP as it was also a double LP release. The exclusive material on this anniversary edition is the song 'Baby Jesus' as stated on the shrink below. 

Yes I'm a creep who cuts the stickers out from the shrink, waits for more polysleeves to arrive and then carefully peels the stickers off and reapplies them. No shame. 

Here is the track-listing from the back cover. The artwork from this LP always made me smile, it looks pretty accurate for how it sounds. It's been really great hearing these songs again. 

More of this great artwork takes up the gatefold. The sleeve is this oddly textured glossy stuff that's pretty awkward to photograph so I hope I've managed to give you a rough idea. It really should be seen in person though. 

A close up of the centre label. I like how it isn't labelled as sides A-D, it goes Disc 1 Side A through to Disc 2 Side B. And the tiny heart is sweet. 

The insert comes with the LP lyrics on one side, the bonus disc lyrics on the other. Sometimes with bonus stuff, the lyrics never get printed so it's a nice change of pace. But a 12''x12'' white insert with small black text never makes for a good photograph so here's a small excerpt. 

This has been fun to write about, and really fun to hear again. Never stop listening to great records for dumb reasons right?