Posts Tagged ‘vinyl’

A Little Bit Country…

Posted: February 15, 2014 by Juan D. in Record Nerds
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If 20 years ago you had told me that today I’d be listening to other genres of music besides hardcore, punk, and metal, I would’ve scoffed at the mere though of it. If one of those genres was country music, I would’ve called myself a sellout and probably kicked my own ass. It’s a given that as time passes, most music fans find other styles of music to get into and appreciate and enjoy. If you’re as hardcore as I am (pun intended), then you don’t care and have no shame whatsoever in exploring all of the music that is out there regardless of what it may be. It’s the mentality of being open-minded and accepting that I learnt from hardcore and punk music which has allowed me to delve into music from different scenes and sounds including country.

It’s by now no secret that I love Taylor Swift. She may have started as straight-up country pop but nowadays has veered more into pop sounds. A few months ago, a good friend of mine who happens to also be into music at the same obsessive level as I am, told me to check out Kacey Musgraves. He figured I’d dig her style of music. I did. And I am hooked. Although her album Same Trailer Different Park came out in March of last year, and has won numerous awards all across, I didn’t get around to getting the record itself til recently.

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Simple packaging. No insert. The record itself feel heavyweight so that was a nice surprise. More a major label release, it’s well-done.

Musgraves’ style of music is deeply-rooted in country but delves into some Americana, bluegrass, and even folk. Lyrically, she goes into some bitter topics such as infidelity, hypocrisy, and loss of individuality. She has a very sharp and venomous tongue. She could easily be in the genre of outlaw country music with the likes of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Emmylou Harris.

Spin magazine placed Same Trailer Different Park as the number one country album for 2013 and noted that Musgraves ”

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The covers are screenprinted and give it a very indie feel to it.
Along the way I also tracked down a promo copy of the LP with a CMA “For Your Consideration” sleeve. Or rather, wrap-around vellum sleeve. Much like the Taylor Swift RED red vinyl, this is also sent out to members of the voting entity for the CMAs.
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It is on black vinyl. So no real surprise or novelty there outside of the vellum sleeve.
Someone asked me to describe Musgraves’ music to them recently. I just plainly told them that to me, it feels like honky tonk punk. It may sound country, but it has a lot of punk attitude and feel. Hell, could also be called alt-country. But that’s going overboard now.
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Baroness – Yellow & Green

Posted: August 7, 2012 by They Still Press Vinyl in Record Nerds
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What more can be said about Baroness that hasn’t already been said? For me, they are one of those bands that are a “no doubt about it, must buy!” in a time when the bulk of my non-vinyl music listening comes from iTunes or a service like Pandora, Spotify or Rdio. Their last 2 full lengths (“Red Album” & “Blue Album”) are absolute heavy music classics that everyone who even remotely likes metal or any kind of heavy music should have in their heavy rotation – be it on CD, digital or vinyl. So, with that kind of track record behind them expectations were high for their latest release, a double behemoth titled “Yellow & Green.”

Continuing their evolution into being something more than just another modern sludge or prog metal band, “Yellow & Green” finds the band playing around with a more “dreamy” (for lack of a better way of putting it) sound scape that, other than the tuning and use of heavy riffs, is something closer to a band like Dredg than some of their heavy contemporaries and that is a a surprisingly good thing. While at times the 18 tracks that comprise this album seem to all be one continuous jam it still manages to hold your attention.

As for the vinyl release  itself, there were a few different variations that the always reliable Relapse Records put out for the fans and the collectors alike.  There’s the absolutely insane Deluxe Hardbound Book version that saw a total of 3000 pressed with 500 Yellow/Green split, 500 on Dark Green, 500 on Orange Cream and 1500 on Opaque Yellow. There’s also the standard double lp gate fold release with 9100 total pressed; the standard 100 on clear that Relapse does for every release (and rarely, if ever, release to the public), 1000 on 180 Gram black, 1000 on Yellow (A & B sides) and Green (C & D sides) and 7000 on standard black. (All pressing info via Discogs)


As is typically the case with Relapse Records vinyl releases this is a fantastically put together release with awesome artwork (done, as usual, by Baroness’s own John Baizley) and the always greatly appreciated gate fold packaging. Combine all that with the fact that Relapse keeps the price of the release to nothing one would call absurdly high it’s absolutely a release you need to look into. It’s still available on the standard black pressing through the Relapse web store so slide over and pick it up today.

Torche are one of those bands that just gets better and better as time goes on. With their latest release, “Harmonicraft”, the boys from Miami have not only produced their most accessible album to date (at least in terms of potentially widening their listening base of fans) but probably their best album since their classic self titled debut and my personal Album of the Year (so far.)

For their first release on Volcom Entertainment , the Torche gang goes all out on the vinyl release; pressed on clear vinyl, with a gatefold sleeve and a bonus slipmat for your turntable and, of course, the “instant digital download” the label and band put together a great package that comes in at a really good price ($19.99) when you consider the overall quality of the vinyl this is pressed on and the packaging itself. Nothing cheap about this release.

Not sure what the pressing details on this one are but it looks like the band bucked the trend of releasing multiple variants on different colors of vinyl and is keeping it in one color with a large pressing number so that everyone and anyone who wants this beast on vinyl doesn’t get stuck paying some ridiculous secondary market price for the privilege. As someone who finds flippers to be one of the worst parts of the vinyl market this is something I can get behind. Yeah, it’s nice to score that really rare variant if that’s your thing and you really like a band/collect a bands entire catalog (including every possible variant.) But if you’re someone who doesn’t give a damn about all that and just wants to listen to good music without paying a ridiculous premium for it then this is a fantastic development that hopefully more and more of the well known bands on small labels can get behind.

If you haven’t already you really do need to buy this record. If you haven’t heard any of it, here’s a taste; the video for Kicking

Has it really been a full decade since Andrew WK appeared (seemingly) out of thin air and rocked our smile covered faces off with his collection of goofy, fun Party Metal? It has indeed and Century Media is going to celebrate that anniversary in style this July.

From Century Media’s website (bolding my own)

A decade ago, pop-metal party icon, ANDREW W.K., released his renowned debut album, I Get Wet. In honor of the album’s 10-year anniversary, ANDREW W.K. has joined forces with CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS for a special re-issue edition to be released on July 17, 2012…I Get Wet features hit songs that helped make ANDREW W.K. the household name that he is today. The album includes party anthems, “Party Hard”, “Party Til You Puke” and “She Is Beautiful”. This special reissue will include not only the full-length original album, but also a second disc featuring a generous helping of never-before-heard live recordings, early demo versions, alternate mixes and other previously unreleased material. There will also be a limited number of autographed deluxe editions each containing a very special “SOMETHING” directly from Andrew’s private collection – including everything from a lock of his hair to a world tour airplane ticket stub. In addition to the special CD release, I Get Wet will also be reissued as a special double gate-fold vinyl LP.

Double wax with a gatefold and (presumably) the goodies listed with the CD re-release? Two words; Hell. Yes.

This upcoming summer just got a whole lot more awesome.

It’s ISIS. Really what more can I say? They are one of those bands that you either hate or unquestionably love.  The ongoing Live series (undeterred by that whole ‘they broke up in 2010’ thing) captures the band at their absolute best and Volume 6 might be the best of the bunch. Recorded in November of 2007,  it is a collection of some of their absolute best material highlighted by the opening track; an absolutely brutal version of “Hive Destruction.” It is an album that can be listened to in the car and still melt your speakers, but I highly recommend you listen to it with headphones. Cliche as it sounds, listening to it like that really adds something to the album.

The vinyl release of this sold out fast (as is usually the case with Isis vinyl releases, live or otherwise) but you can still grab it via iTunes. Or you can search eBay and pay only slightly above retail (at least at the time of this posting) for the vinyl version.

The release itself comes in grey packaging with letter pressing all around. The sleeve, the insert all simple and to the point with a very nice overall look. The records themselves are pressed on some heavy duty feeling vinyl and overall it’s a really well put together release that was well worth the $20 Hydra Head had it priced at when it went up on the website.

I believe it was released on just black, grey and clear. No idea what the pressing numbers are (as is usually the case with Hydra Head releases.) The copy I picked up is on grey but to me it’s more a light grey/dark grey swirl. Whatever, this particular color is the nicest of the bunch because it ties into the rest of the packaging so well. And, as we’ve discussed, the most important part of the package – the music cut into the grooves – is top notch. So it is an overall A+ release and another job well done by the folks at Hydra Head.

Ryan Adams PAX-AM Seven Inches

Posted: March 21, 2012 by Nick_J in Record Nerds
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Since leaving Lost Highway and starting PAX-AM Ryan Adams has been dropping 7″s fairly regularly. Main problem is that they have all been pretty rare or at least very hard to come by. Here are a few that I’ve managed to pick up in the last few months.

Empty Room/Nutshell – This is a fantastic record and one of my favorite Ryan Adams 7″s. The Alice in Chains cover is great. This sleeve is so beat up and it came straight from PAX-AM beat up. This was a tour 7″ and the leftover were sold on the website.

Do I Wait/Darkness – This record was the Record Store Day Black Friday record for Ryan last year. Do I wait is an alternative version. What an amazing song.

Come Home/Starship – This record is a tour 7″ that a friend picked up when he saw Ryan Adams with Jason Isbell. This is also a fantastic record of a couple demo tracks.

Black God, who had one of the best releases of 2011 with their self titled debut 7 inch on No Idea Records, have  a follow up coming next month (again via No Idea Records) with “II.” And it’s now up for Pre-Order in the No Idea webstore.

If you’re not familiar with Black God here’s some info (via a blurb today over at Decibel Magazine);

If you didn’t know it by now, Coliseum’s Ryan Patterson is an inhuman machine that runs solely on guitar riffs and beard hair.

His newish project is a throwback to the 90s hardcore scene of Louisville where sweat flowed like beer and beer pretty much stayed in the fridges at the convenience store.

Joined by members of Black Cross, Young Widows, Endpoint and the inimitable By The Grace of God, Black God has debuted their track “Everyone’s a Friend,” a hyper-manic, noisy post-punk affair from their follow-up EP II, which will be out on No Idea March 20th.

You can check out a cut from the new release over at Decibel as well.

A.A. Bondy

Posted: November 14, 2011 by Nick_J in Record Nerds
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Albums this perfect come along once in a great while. As a music nut, you usually comb through hundreds of albums and years to find them. The new A.A. Bondy called Believers  is a perfectly composed and performed record that is a genuine masterpiece.

I’ve liked A.A. Bondy since the first time I heard him. His sound prior to this albums was always a blend of acoustic singer songwriter tunes with plodding rock. His songwriting and lyrics are really second to none. That said, this album (being totally different)  is his most organized and cohesive effort. 

Believers could almost be called a concept album based on it’s musical qualities alone.  The record is full of dark and lush sounds that drag on in the most beautiful way. I’m reminded of a smokey room when I listen to this music. There is an almost Mazzy Star meets Pink Floyd feeling to the songs. Many times an album of this slow speed and feel tend to be mood music to me, not this record. I want to listen to this record every day.

When reviewing for my albums of the year, this will surely be number one, or second at worst.  This has been a year for solo artists for me and whoever is at the top of my list, there is a good chance it will be someones solo album. Frank Turner, AA Bondy, Ryan Adams, Jason Isbell immediately jump to mind and have all put out astounding records this year.

If the jacket looks a little beat up….it is. I got really drunk and walked into it and smashed it against my cabinet. Glad it wasn’t really rare.

Foo Fighters

Posted: September 27, 2011 by They Still Press Vinyl in Record Nerds
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When we get to the end of the year, and I start discussing with Nick and Juan our favorite records of the year I’m pretty much sure that ‘Wasting Light’ will be at the top of the heap on my list.  So, needless to say, I was pretty happy to pick it up on vinyl recently.

For one reason or another I kept putting off buying this particular record. Yeah, I’d bought the CD…and downloaded the album…and listened to it numerous times in the prior 5 months or so…but for whatever reason I kept putting off buxing it on wax. Luckily I finally stopped messing around and added it to my collection.

The record comes on two heavy duty pieces of wax – it’s honestly one of the most sturdy records I own – in a really nice gatefold packaging. As all three of us (Nick, Juan, and myself) have expressed on more than one occasion, double lps in a single flap jacket sucks. So it’s always nice when a label does it right and gives a double record the proper packaging.

The record also comes with the standard download code and card. What makes this one stand apart is that this particular digital download is ‘specifically cut from the original vinyl recordings.’ Maybe that’s common practice (I really don’t know) but I know that’s the first time I’ve seen it promoted on a download card I’ve gotten with a record. I guess for the real audiophiles that matters.

In the fall of 2002, I was working at a small record store. Every once in a while myself and some of the employees would put together an order from Lumberjack Distro for ourselves (there wasn’t a lot of demand for that kind of stuff in southern West Virginia at the time)  and this is how I got my hands on some of the more awesome early 21st century releases. One of my friends/co-workers suggested I check out Harkonen – a band I had not even remotely heard of at that time – one day while looking over the latest distro catalog. So, with the next order we made I put myself down for a CD copy of ‘Shake Harder Boy’ and, once it came in and I got the chance to listen to it, I immediately fell in love. Now, almost 10 years later, the fine folks at Brutal Panda have given me something I had feared I’d never get to see; ‘Shake Harder Boy’ on vinyl.

 

If you haven’t heard Harkonen, you really need to get into it. Terms like ‘post-hardcore’ get thrown around a lot, but it works here. Just crushing stuff all around. The vinyl itself delivers those crushing riffs and looks damn good to boot. Brutal Panda kept the total press run really low with this one; only 300 total. 100 of them on clear, 200 on ‘ocean blue.’

We discussed the pre-order for this record HERE and, of this posting, there were still some of the ocean blue left. So if you haven’t already picked one up you ABSOLUTELY need to. It’s easily one of the absolute best albums of the 21 st century and this initial vinyl release of the album is awesome; with a full color packaging and sturdy vinyl you absolutely will not be disappointed.