Where To Buy S#!t vol. 1 – Last Gang Records

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Whenever possible I usually try to direct people to a bands website or their label to purchase their record. The reasons for this are pretty simple. One – the actual band gets money flowing directly to them, or at least to the people who work with them. Two – the coolest deals are to be found in these places.

This is the case with Last Gang Records.

The label started as a way to get the music of Metric out to the public and from that point on they’ve grown to support a virtual ton of great acts that include: Metric, Death From Above 1979, K-OS, The New Pornographers, Billy Talent, A.C. Newman, Lindi Ortega and many many more.

As a hunter for cool vinyl to go with the music I love, they usually offer outstanding wax for music fans.

On a post from a few months back, I mentioned The New Pornographers most recent release Brill Bruisers. Last Gang produced four vinyl versions of 175 copies each in different colours. They also included a 3D poster of the neon light cover and 3D glasses to make the thing leap off the page. It was very cool.

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Then yesterday I’m checking out different web stores and BANG!

There it is, the lost Metric record on vinyl for the first time. Grow Up and Blow Away was recorded from 1999 to 2001 but due to record company bungles  (not Last Gang – they didn’t even exist at the time) it never saw an official release until 2007. It took seven more years for this beautiful piece of wax to get produced. It is on blue marble translucent vinyl and once again, compared to the download, the vinyl sounds way better.

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Check out the Last Gang line up here, and if you like, you might just want to get on their mailing list. AND (I almost forgot) If you live in the Greater Toronto Area you can opt to pick your purchase up and save on the delivery charge. Just make sure you make a quick decision as these offers do sell out pretty quick.

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Where To Buy Sh.. Stuff #4 – Newbury Comics

A while back I wrote a piece about treating everyday like Record Store Day. Thing is, while I don’t really want to endorse one retail place over another, a good deal of the “new” collectible vinyl I have gotten my hands on has been through Newbury Comics. I get an e-mail, I check out the price, and then decide if it is something I REALLY want.

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However, like RSD itself, it does come with its detractors. There are those people who would argue that having “special” “limited” “collector” or “variant” editions of records raises prices, causes delays in arrivals of new releases and is an overall cash grab. Generally speaking these limited run records do cost a couple bucks more than the common black vinyl editions. There is also the question of how many variants are needed for a single record. Between 2009 and 2014 there were no less than nine official re-releases of Bleach by Nirvana in 180 gram vinyl and in almost all the colours of a rainbow (blue, green, yellow, red, maroon, white and clear). Two of these colour choices came from Newbury itself and both quickly sold out.

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Still, for me the question is, does the vinyl sound good, and is it giving me a unique fan experience. I don’t go to e-bay resellers who charge way above market after the fact, but I do find it interesting what people will charge for what is essentially scalping records instead of tickets.  Of course my ego plays a part as I find it cool to see something I bought for $20.00 have a new asking price of $100.00 and that only 749 other people on the planet own a copy.

At other times, it gives me an opportunity to buy something I wanted to get, but in a different form. In fact, with music moving more towards a digital medium I think a bands best chance to make money from their “true fans” (those willing to spend money for their music) is to provide them with a variety of formats and “special” opportunities to receive their music in a unique way. The other thing is they do make awesome gifts for those hard to buy for people. I gave a copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas in red and white split vinyl to a very happy friend.

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So you see this is where Newbury Comics comes into the picture. For a couple years now they have been offering music fans a chance to get “limited edition” vinyl. The prices are competitive with most record stores for the same records that sit on their shelves and the shipping cost is quite reasonable. To date I’ve never had problems with any of the vinyl shipped to me. As for sound quality, I’ve played Big Star’s #1 Record gold coloured variant against the recent 180 gram edition, and I found both items sounding great… in fact, I’d lean more towards the gold variant as it “seemed” to have a bit of a warmer tone.

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Anyway, new items seem to hit the market every week, and the choices are pretty eclectic ranging from the Coltrane to Nirvana and points in-between. Check them out, you might find yourself signing up to the old mailing list and buying something from time to time. Just don’t be too disappointed if it gets sold out before you get your shot. It’s happened a couple times to me and caused a slight bit of teeth grinding and cursing. But then again, that’s all part of the fun of getting something worth having.

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Some links to past vinyl releases I wrote about that came from Newbury.

https://barrettbitesdotcom.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/episode-one-christmas-and-more

https://barrettbites.com/2015/03/13/oh-woe-is-me-the-rocky-horror-picture-show-soundtrack/

https://barrettbites.com/2015/03/25/which-bleach-is-bleach-nirvana-bleach/

https://barrettbites.com/2015/04/08/you-know-what-they-say-about-blinking-nirvana-sliverdive-7/

https://barrettbites.com/2015/04/16/1-in-so-many-damn-ways-big-star-1-record/

Holy Bat-Signal Batman; Is that a vinyl record or a ‘baterang’? – Where to buy S#!t vol. 2 – Mondo

With a quicker step than usual Tristan and I would beat a hasty retreat from the ugly Mackinnon Building to the drafty basement of Johnston Hall; not because the food on campus was any better there than anywhere else, but because there was a TV.

The opening notes of Danny Elfman’s score would begin and then the greatest superhero show of them all would start – Batman: The Animated Series. A show so cool it didn’t even bother putting the name of it on during the opening theme.

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During that first season in ‘92, it was on right after class and we wouldn’t say a word until the commercials. To this day, the debate over who is the best ‘Batman’ is so frickin obvious I scoff at anyone who denies it.

Kevin Conroy (the voice of the Bat & Bruce). You may never see him in the costume… but he is the Bat!

The official series may have finished many years ago, but to fans, it lives large in the psyche. So imagine my fan-boy glee when I’m looking at different types of collectibles and this appears…

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The opening and closing themes on bat-shaped vinyl! Bat –shaped and with grey splatter on the variant limited edition. ( http://mondotees.com/products/batman-the-animated-series-die-cut-12-single?variant=967910731)

Now, that is the thing about Mondo (http://mondotees.com/), the good people who have released this glorious single, everything they do is limited and outstanding and is collectors gold. In fact, this isn’t even the first time they’ve released the theme on vinyl. Others in the series include covers of the Joker, Harley Quinn, Clayface and Man-Bat.

In terms of vinyl, they pretty much only release soundtracks. So, in addition to my bat-vinyl I also picked up the Jon Brions’ original soundtrack to Paranorman.

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However, they got all kinds of wonderful things for those geeky folks who seem impossible to buy for. Iron Giant t-shirts, Fargo knit-wear, and a Gremlins Christmas sweater are hi-lights of the clothing, but it’s the posters and original artwork you really want to see.

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Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Batman, there is certainly a lot of material for fans to choose from, but honestly, that just scrapes the surface. Big with Mondo is variant movie posters released in limited edition. They are mostly based on cult horror or sci-fi/fantasy films, and are absolutely incredible. Here are a couple examples…

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The other thing that is a little on the insane side is the resale value, or at least what people are selling them for on e-bay.

This Guardians of the Galaxy poster originally sold for $60.00 and was limited to 750 copies.

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On e-bay sellers are now asking for more than $750.00 for it. Oh, and don’t for one second think this is an anomaly.  In ten minutes of research I could literally find dozens of examples. Just this week I tried to order an X-Men: Days Of Future Past poster and the damn thing sold out in the 45 minutes I was away from the computer. So, if you’re looking for a unique gift for that crazy super-fan or collector… keep an eye on Mondo. Now, maybe I could call Tristan up for a Batman: The Animated Series marathon. In fact, I think maybe a whole party or something… I am such a geek.

On The Path To Vinyl Glory – Dinosaur Jr.: Bug Live @ the 9:30 Club

Back by popular demand, another round of Dinosaur Jr’s Bug Live @ the 9:30 Club. The Original limited release back in 2012 was in two colours. 800 copies were in were in translucent green and another 200 in purple. They sold out quick.

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Original 2012 Release

So now it’s 2015 and Outer Battery Records has decided to do a second run. This time the release is both slightly more limited and less at the same time. The more exclusive edition is a white and purple splatter vinyl that will see only 300 made and has to be ordered direct from Outer Battery. The regular edition that will hit record stores on February 10th will be on red vinyl.

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New 2015 Release (http://www.outerbatteryrecords.com/products/dinosaur-jr-bug-live)

The original green vinyl sounded great on the turntable and it sounds as if the new release is taken from the same masters.

Now as for a review, well, Bug Live is a phenomenal documentation of the Dinosaur Jr. with their best line up. While most fans are more familiar with the bands 90’s output on the major label Sire (Green Mind, Where You Been, Without A Sound, Hand It Over), there most powerful music came from the line up of J. Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph who appeared together on their first three records (Dinosaur, You’re Living All Over Me and Bug). Apparently, creative tensions between Mascis and Barlow led to the departure of Barlow, and it wasn’t long after that Murph left.

Regardless the three started recording and touring again in 2005 and have released several very well received records since. This album was recorded live in 2011 and captures the band playing a highly energized performance of their 1988 release Bug.

If you are even a passing fan of Dinosaur Jr. then I’d suggest that this is a bit of an opportunity to expand both your listening experience with a great live record and own a pretty damn awesome collectible at the same time.

 

Where To Buy Shi… Stuff #2 – Let Them Eat Vinyl

Birthdays are awesome! Or at least, my birthday is pretty awesome. There is people you love and food and if you’re lucky, cool presents too. Sometimes the gifts can even surprise you. For instance, one of my most awesome sisters gave me the gift of records – which I love, AND, it was one I didn’t even know existed – even cooler!

Which brings me to this edition of Cool Places to Buy Sh… Stuff…

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The gift I got was the Ramones The Cretin Hop manufactured by the good people at Let Them Eat Vinyl. The Cretin Hop itself is a bootleg taken from a 1979 radio broadcast with a couple tunes added on from appearances on Letterman and the Tonight Show. This printing is a 180 gram yellow translucent double album housed in a pretty cool gatefold sleeve and limited to 1000 copies with further albums to be made in black vinyl thereafter. The quality of sound is exactly what one should expect from a live show. It is rough around the edges, but sounds exactly like a Ramones concert should be without the frills and clutter of overdubs and tinkering sounds that plague most major artists live albums. (Honestly, if you flub a part, leave it or pick a different night.)

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It also seems to be part of a loosely based series of albums taken from various radio broadcasts of different acts in their prime. Along with the Ramones you’ll find Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Flying Burrito Brothers, Pixies, Patti Smith, Lemonheads and many others all in similar black and white gatefold sleeve covers. In addition to the Ramones I also have Joe Walsh’s All Night Long which is on 140 gram vinyl and limited to 500 copies. The sound on this one is great, and seems to be a pretty perfect example of Walsh live. (Oddly, whoever wrote the liner notes for the Walsh album needs to Google a little more often as they mix song appearances from the movie soundtrack of The Warriors.)

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The story doesn’t end there. Besides putting out some quality bootlegs, Let Them Eat Vinyl has been responsible for putting the Ramones re-issues out on vinyl for a few years now. It looks like their first wave was all 180 gram limited edition coloured vinyl while the further editions were released on the more standard 180 gram black vinyl.

If you are looking for some quality bootlegs from an assortment of great artists, you should check out the Let Them Eat Vinyl catalogue. You might find something you like. (Can’t wait for my birthday this year.)

http://www.letthemeatvinyl.com/catalogue.htm

Where To Buy Shi… Stuff #1 – Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab

Ok, you have started a vinyl collection and you want to get a few of those classic records you loved so much back in the day. Unfortunately, the used copies you found sound like crap and you don’t know where to turn. Well, first place to stop is… http://www.mofi.com/Articles.asp?ID=255

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab has been around (with a brief absence) since 1977 and are known for making the best quality vinyl on the market. All their vinyl is put together using the original master tapes and then recorded onto the vinyl at half speed to make sure the music is recorded with “greater precision”. Essentially, Mobile Fidelity are the biggest name in the audiophile vinyl market. Actually they have done similar things with CD’s, and over time I’ve come to own a few of their products. You’ll pay a bit more than the standard vinyl and CD prices, but the end result is worth it. 

For the collector out there ‘mofi’ does all of their vinyl in limited edition quantities of 5000, and once an album has ‘sold out’ you’ll see people asking for huge dollars in the re-seller market. (see Joe Walsh/e-bay links below) 

While my first foray into mofi was a ‘silver’ or  CD copy of Joe Walsh’s Barnstorm,

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http://www.ebay.ca/itm/JOE-WALSH-MFSL-SILVER-CD-BARNSTORM-Sealed-/360689034658?pt=Music_CDs&hash=item53fabde5a2 

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Barnstorm-by-Joe-Walsh-CD-1990-Mobile-Fidelity-Sound-Lab-MFCD-777-/130847271833?pt=Music_CDs&hash=item1e771aeb99

it was my quest to find the first B-52’s record on vinyl that got me into discovering the lengths Mobile Fidelity goes through to release a quality record.

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As it stands, I managed with only a bit of work to get my hands on a copy. Ordering direct from Mobile Fidelity in Canada is costly. The shipping is almost the price of the vinyl itself. However, if the album is still in print, it can be ordered from your local record retailer, or can be found by online retailers within your country of choice. I got mine from Northern Volume and the shipping was free as my order was over $60. (http://www.northernvolume.com/the-b-52s-self-titled-silver-label-audiophile-vinyl-lp-record-from-mobile-fidelity/)

Overall, when the vinyl is put up against the CD copy I own, the vinyl wins hands down. One listen to the opener “Planet Claire” is proof enough. The keyboard/synthesizer is warm and more present within the mix while the guitar seems to hum with slightly more depth. The result is a record that slaps you upside the head with just how damn fine it is – all over again.