Record Store Day – Post Mortem

I spent way more than I should.

I typically do.

And my retailer didn’t even get everything I was hoping to grab.

But for the most part, I was quite happy with this year’s Record Store Day haul, save for three titles:

Ella Fitzgerald: Ella at Zardi’s – Most albums released via the Universal Music family of labels are pretty lousy pressings, at least the ones pressed in the US. I don’t know why pressed this one — there are no telltale indicators in the deadwax — but much like many UMe North American releases, it’s off center on side one. That sucks.

Miguel: War and Leisure – Not sure why, but Sony’s RCA label elected to have United Record Pressing in Nashville, TN, press this, and URP did their usual job, failing to ensure it was centered. Encouragingly, only one of the four sides is off, and not quite by the usually ridiculous margin, so maybe there’s hope for URP yet. I don’t know. Still sucks to spend so much and wind up with compromised product.

Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock: It Takes Two – I don’t know what it is about TN record plants, but they really don’t know what they are doing. Case in point, this title, pressed by Memphis Record Pressing. I’ve encountered many titles done up by them that are off-center, and this is no exception. They actually seem to be doing worse at pressing than URP, and for a long time for me, URP were about the worst going. But MRP and Rainbo Record Pressing seem to be vying for the mantle of most indifferent approach to QC right now. The lack of care is astonishing.

Possibly my favorite of the titles I scored was the mono Piper at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd, mainly because I don’t think the album has ever sounded better. I had been led to believe by some online chatter that this would include all the early singles and recordings by the band, but that wasn’t the case. The only problems with my copy are that it is just a slight bit off-center and Roger Waters’ Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk. I know, but I am not and have never been a fan of Waters.

There were other joys to be had — Anti-‘s perfectly pressed set of Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards, Willie Colon’s The Big Break, David Axelrod’s Songs of Innocence (shockingly perfectly centered despite my previous experience with Universal Special Markets and Now-Again product) — but I wish that labels and pressing plants would invest more time and energy into ensuring LPs are flat, centered, and free of scratches and debris.

 

It’s rare that artists write their own goodbye, but that’s how Pink Floyd’s Jugband Blues has always sounded to me.

The song was the only one credited to him on the band’s second album, after he had dominated the credits on Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

It is tempting to read too much into the song, to assume Syd knew how the drugs and his apparent mental illness (he was never diagnosed),  and thus chronicled that, as well as the reaction of those around him to his deteriorating state.

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Wrecka stow day

I was looking at the purported list of albums announced so far for Record Store Day 2018 and I feel underwhelmed.

There are so many albums that have not yet been pressed to vinyl, but the labels are busy with all manner of gimmicks from picture discs to groups covering classic albums and so on.

Even the ones I am slightly interested in aren’t ones I feel I must have.

I mean, it’d be nice to hear Piper at the Gates of Dawn in mono.

Or to have Tom Waits’ Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards on vinyl (even if I have to acquire it as three distinct releases).

Or the Hawkwind compilation.

Maybe the 50th anniversary of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison.

Or Redd Kross’ Third Eye.

Or the expanded vinyl Sin-é recordings from Jeff Buckley

Perhaps the double reissue of the Beau Brummels’ Bradley’s Barn.

But not one of these is something I’d camp out overnight for.

And given the sheer volume of releases, you can bet that a fair number are likely to be off-center on one side or worse as plants like Rainbo and United and Erika pump them out without much QC.

Sigh.