Every so often, our resident vinyl lover, Kiel Hauck, takes the time to talk about a recent vinyl release and gives a breakdown about everything from packaging to sound quality. Here’s his latest installment.
In the recent flurry of Copeland re-presses, perhaps the most anticipated was the band’s debut – Beneath Medicine Tree. Shop Radio Cast handled pressings of In Motion and You Are My Sunshine last year, along with Eat, Sleep, Repeat in 2013. While all of these were highly anticipated and handled with care, SRC vinyl’s pressing of Beneath Medicine Tree takes the cake.
The Florida indie rock act made their return with last year’s Ixora and are currently out on the road with Paramore. For a band that appeared to be gone for good, this sudden resurgence has been fun to watch. Nevertheless, Copeland’s 2003 debut still holds a special place in my heart, making this re-pressing a chance to grab one of my all time favorite records. Let’s take a look.
Packaging and Presentation
The artwork for Beneath Medicine Tree has always been unique and beautiful. This pressing captures everything that made it so special. The sleeve opens to a gatefold, featuring hand drawn medical images over green-tinted hospital photography. A booklet inside the record has a thin overlay of the drawings that sits atop the glossy photos. Inside the booklet are song lyrics and liner notes.
The album is pressed on two 180-gram coke bottle clear records that look sharp and reflect the overall color scheme of the artwork. This particular variant was limited to 500 copies, but another pressing of 1,500 copies on clear vinyl with black smoke was also made. The records themselves feature the hand drawn images in the center. The only drawback here is that the records aren’t clearly marked – I had to look for a few minutes before finding side A. Regardless, the overall presentation here is stellar.
Sound and Quality.
As I mentioned earlier, I love this album. Thus, I was pleased at how spectacular it sounds on this pressing. The record captures the raw, indie rock feel of the original recordings, but the songs sound even bolder than I expected. From the opening pianos of “Brighter” to the crunchy guitars of “Walking Downtown”, each track sounds distinct, with each instrument shining through at different moments.
The bassline on “When Paula Sparks” sounds rich, and Aaron Marsh’s vocals sound beautiful. Part of what makes Beneath Medicine Tree so special to me is Marsh’s vocal work – not yet over-produced, but sounding honest and authentic. It sounds fantastic here, especially over the upbeat keyboard line on “She Changes Your Mind” and on the delicate moments during “California”.
Shop Radio Cast has come through again with this beautiful and wonderful sounding pressing of Beneath Medicine Tree. Now that Copeland’s catalogue has been completely re-pressed, fans have to feel great about having access to each record, especially when they were each handled so uniquely. Each album seems to have its own personality, which comes through in the packaging and presentation of these records. If you haven’t picked one up – there’s still time. You can get your copy here.
by Kiel Hauck
Kiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.