Friday, 22 December 2017

I Thought I Believed In Nothing

So this is probably the longest post for this year, and it's also my favourite record of 2017. I understand that the idea of Brand New has been ruined for a lot of people, and whilst I can understand that; I still love this album. My feelings on this album don't really need to be known, and there are far too many photographs to really allow much room for talking. So let's dive in. This is the deluxe edition I ordered some 4 months or so ago. I'm of the opinion that this was well worth the wait, and well worth the additional expense. Some people have been let down by the cover/ packaging, but I'm more than into it. 

The cover is essentially a large envelope that opens from the back, with the cover art glued on the front. As you can see on the bottom right corner there is a fairly visible ding (an email came out to those who preordered stating there would be imperfections in the packaging); but I don't mind too much, and it was shipped in a sturdy box style mailer too, so it's not a problem on my end. 

The back cover apparently takes influence from another release, but it doesn't seem familiar to me. 

The cover opens from the back much the same as an envelope, with some heavy adhesive on the top flap. It took a bit of getting in to; and I assume some people have truly fucked the packaging trying to get in to the contents.

The album is 180 gram from what I can feel. The pressing overall is pretty great, a couple of tracks sound ever so slightly muddy in places though. The deluxe also comes with different centre labels and inner sleeves from the other pressings which is a nice touch. 

If anyone keeps up with this blog, you'll remember the post on the CD that was sent out prior to receiving this. It's a nice touch that I ended up with umber 9/500 when you consider this is PMT009.

The inners contain a set of live photos and what look like blueprints for a car on the A/C sides.

The B/D sides contain all of the credits for the record, and the album title and running time respectively. 

The A/B dust sleeve has some print on the inside too, although the C/D side inner seems to be plain blue.

On to all the bonus stuff that comes with it now! 

First up are these 3 oddities. The top left is a mock up advertisement for records in a can. I'm not sure what this relates o, if anything at all. I'm pretty certain Morning Breath did all the packaging and art/layout etc. It's just another strange addition that gives more questions than answers. Next to it is the download code, and beneath that is a sealed envelope. I'm pretty sure that it contains pressed flowers. I would crack it open to check, but the idea of trying to store them anywhere after the fact is pretty off-putting. Again, from what I've read online, some copies came with loose flowers that got inside the inner sleeves and that just sounds the worst.

Next up is a Pogolith. I assumed much like the others it would contain lyrics and maybe some guitar tabs and doodles. However, it's far more photography based with sparse bits of writing including a small poem of sorts. I was kind of hoping for a lyric book, and indeed a Pogolith for this (hopefully ones for Your Favorite Weapon and Daisy will surface soon too). 

A small excerpt of what lies within. If anyone really wants a more in depth run down of this, I half considered doing a small video. 

The second book contains additional art from Morning Breath. I'm fairly certain that these are exclusive to the bundle. This book looks like it would benefit from 3D glasses (y'know, the old blue and red lens type), and maybe that has some kind of link to the Red/Blue on the cover and the variant that corresponds. 

Both books are pretty hefty in size, I would just be here for way too long to photograph every page. And, plus it leaves a little to the imagination. I've found that over the last decade or so, this band have offered more questions than answers. They're also surely to become more obscure in time too. 

One of two big double sided posters. Anyone with sharp eyes might see Jesse wearing a Monsters Outside enamel pin on his hoodie. This poster is made from matte stock paper of some description. The closest comparison to mind is the free posters that Deathwish Inc. sometimes gives away. There were Touche Amore 'Is Survived By' and a Modern Life Is War 'Fever Hunting' posters in circulation with orders a few years back. It feels kinda similar to that I guess. 

The second poster comes on textured paper and feels a little sturdier. The top image takes up one side, and the other two images take up half of the other side each. If you open it up fully on this side, one image appears upside down. 

Finally, and perhaps the most practical of all the extras is this exclusive slip-mat that I'll definitely never use and it will stay inside the sleeve forever alongside the posters and books. It's a shame because the slip-mat would serve a way better purpose in use; and the art would obviously looks better on a wall instead of folded up in a sleeve. I guess I just can't separate stuff from where it should be. The set would feel incomplete and scattered to me. Maybe one day I'll get over it. 

Finally, this is a less than elegant photo of everything together. There is far more here than you can fit into one shot. Overall I'm incredibly happy with everything here, and it remains firmly my favourite record of 2017. 


Thursday, 14 December 2017

Sweet Jesus

Most of the time I like to assume that I've got a fairly good ear to the ground when it comes to all things hardcore related. However, some releases manage to slip through the cracks as they do with everyone I guess. What I'm struggling to come to grips with here though is how this one managed to pass me by for about two years. That's an age in hardcore. 

Sweet Jesus - You Destroy Yourself - Atomic Action Records - 1st Press - White /100 

Back Cover // B-Side 

10 tracks of pretty furious Dischord / Swiz worship that honestly hasn't really left my turntable since I picked it up about a week and a half ago. The dead stock black and white colour scheme is a nice touch here too. 

The label incorrectly states the speed of 33 1/3 as opposed to the 45rpm it plays at. 

Insert contains more artwork from Brendon Simmons along with live photos taken by Angela Owens on the other side. The lyrics are printed here too as are all the recording credits and personnel. This album was recorded by J. Robbins of Jawbox/ Burning Airlines fame. 

And here is the other side of the insert with the aforementioned live photos. Altogether this is a pretty incredible LP that remains aesthetically pleasing. I didn't know until buying it that dudes from Have Heart, Verse and Soul Control were involved in Sweet Jesus too. 

From the same seller listed in the same bid was the preorder flexi too. This contains two covers; one from Void and one from The Faith. The cover art alone can tell you that though right? 

The colour of the flexi here is a lot more true to it's actual colour; and it sounds remarkably heavy considering the format. Apparently this was given away as part of the preorder with the White variant of the LP. Pressing numbers aren't on Discogs so I'm not too sure how many were made, but there's a safe bet that it's at least /100 too.

I'd heard the name thrown away after the 'Box' 7'' had come out on Triple B; but I just never went past hearing the name until I saw this on eBay. On the upside, the waiting game seems like a good choice on this occasion as I picked both of these up for a really good price. 

I'll try to get another couple of posts in before the year's out!

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!