Vinyl Spotlight: Brand New – Deja Entendu

deja_entendu

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.

Another Record Store Day has come and gone, which means that it’s time to enjoy our new records! This year was a particularly anticipated event for Brand New fans, who saw the band’s heralded 2003 album Déjà Entendu finally get a long-awaited repress. This pressing by Triple Crown Records was limited to 1,400 copies, which meant that if you wanted a copy, you needed to get there early.

I personally waited outside of Vinyl Rescue Project in Greenwood, Indiana, overnight with a few other vinyl lovers for my chance at snagging a copy. I’m happy to report that my dedication paid off and I am now a proud owner of one of my all time favorite albums. The real question is, was it worth the wait? The answer is an emphatic “yes!” Read on to find out why.

Packaging and Presentation

The artwork for Déjà Entendu is classic. The image of the levitating moon man against a fiery background has become legendary in its own right and this pressing brings new life to the artwork. The record itself is packaged inside a paper bag that simply reads “BRAND NEW DEJA ENTENDU” across the front. Once the bag is opened, the real fun begins.

The cover is die cut, with the moon man appearing on a green insert sheet with lyrics and liner notes behind the front cover. The album opens into a gatefold with gorgeous artwork inside, featuring the moon man in tall grass beneath a cloudy, moonlit sky. The quality of the casing itself is splendid and gives plenty of room for the bright red, orange and green colors to shine.

Also included in the packaging are some stickers, a Brand New patch and a beautiful lyric book with handwritten lyrics by lead singer Jesse Lacey. The book is high-quality card stock with special artwork and handwritten notes for each of the songs, including fret board drawings that explain how to play each of the tracks on a guitar. I am truly biased towards this record, but it very well may be my favorite packaging of any album I own. There is so much detail, it’s easy to lose track of time looking through it all.

Sound and Quality

As beautiful as the packaging is, what good would it be if the record sounded like crap? Fortunately, that’s not the case here. The album is pressed on two 12-inch 180-gram records that capture the full sound of one of the scene’s greatest albums. Part of what makes Déjà Entendu so legendary is its raw production value, and it comes through wonderfully on these discs. Lacey’s layered vocals sound as powerful as ever, complete with his cracking voice.

Similarly, the guitars sound great, especially on passages like the bridge of “Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades”. Déjà Entendu is a diverse album and this new pressing captures all of the highs and lows. “Guernica” sounds beautifully rough around the edges while “Play Crack the Sky” finds delicate moments that are elevated by the purity of Lacey’s acoustic guitar. This pressing allows the album to breathe and makes for an extremely enjoyable (and emotional) front to back listen.

It seemed like this album would never get the repress it deserved, but with this limited Record Store Day Release, Triple Crown Records came through in a big way. The unfortunate fallout from such a release is the number of flippers on eBay charging hundreds of dollars for the record. If you were unable to snag a copy of this on Record Store Day – don’t give in to the sellers. There are still some preorder options available for the standard release coming in May.

If you were able to get a copy – enjoy it. I know I am.

Deja vinyl

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel 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.

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5 Record Store Day Releases We Can’t Live Without

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The time has come once again – Record Store Day 2015 is this Saturday, April 18. If you’re not already aware, Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 as a way for independent record store owners to celebrate vinyl culture and has evolved in to a worldwide event. On Saturday, hit up your local record store to find special vinyl releases made available only to participating independent stores.

Last year, we wrote about the importance of Record Store Day and why you should get involved. This year, we’ve decided to share some of our most anticipated releases and why we’re excited to snag them on Saturday. Want the full list? Take a look here. Check out our list below and share some of your most anticipated RSD releases in the replies!

brand_new_dejaBrand New – Déjà Entendu

This is the one we’ve all been waiting for. At long last, Déjà Entendu will be getting a repress, much to the delight of their rabid fan base. This 2 x 12″ vinyl is pressed by Triple Crown Records and comes served in a paper bag sleeve. Pretty sweet. Get there early or you’re sure to miss out.

Yellowcard_a_perfect_skyYellowcard – A Perfect Sky

If you loved Yellowcard’s 2014 release Lift a Sail as much as we did, you’ve got to be stoked for this 10″ pressing of three previously unreleased acoustic versions of songs from the album. Also, the cover art looks incredible, and that counts for something.

south_of_the_cityThe Devil Wears Prada – South of the City

This 7″ colored vinyl release features one brand new song from The Devil Wears Prada called “South of the City”. The vinyl features the single on side A and an etching on side B. You’ll also get a digital download of this unreleased track.

echosmith_acoustic_dreamsEchosmith – Acoustic Dreams

Echosmith exploded into the mainstream last year with their hit single “Cool Kids”. On Record Store Day, the band will be releasing a 12″ colored vinyl titled Acoustic Dreams, featuring four tracks from Talking Dreams, including their hit song.

every_time_i_die_salemEvery Time I Die – Salem

Every Time I Die are following up their furious 2014 album From Parts Unknown with the Salem EP, a 7″ brown/red/clear swirl vinyl. The EP will feature four tracks, including two unreleased songs and a cover of Nirvana’s song “Tourettes”.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel 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.

Vinyl Spotlight: fun. – Point and Light

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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.

Believe it or not, we’re not quite finished writing about Record Store Day releases. This week, we’re taking a look at a very special release from fun. titled Point and Light. This 10-inch vinyl release features five demo tracks that didn’t make the final cut of the band’s debut album, Aim and Ignite. While this release doesn’t feature any brand new music (although many of the demos were previously unreleased), it was highly sought after on Record Store Day and we were fortunate enough to snag a copy. Let’s take a closer look…

Packaging and Presentation

There’s really no way around it – this release is extremely fun. While this is obviously a cheesy analysis, it’s certainly the truth. The cover artwork was done especially for this release, capturing the three members of the band in a wonderful display of color. The release opens in a gatefold with a large photograph of the band displayed on the inside. Included in the release is a poster, featuring all three members of the band in black-and-white photo form.

The record itself is a joy to look at. Pressed on clear vinyl with a splatter of rainbow color, this 10-inch record fits right in with the packaging and creates a uniform look of bright colors and popping images. If $20 seems like a high price to pay for a 10-inch record of five b-sides, you immediately understand the price tag once the record is opened. In truth, this is probably the best presentation and packaging of any record released for Record Store Day 2014, and is certainly one of my new favorite records from a visual standpoint.

Sound and Quality

It was made clear from the beginning that this was a collection of demos from the band’s first album, so we’re clearly not expecting top-notch production quality from Point and Light. These songs truly sound like leftovers from Aim and Ignite – stripped down, quirky, and a far cry from what the band has produced in the time since. That being said, if you’re a fan of Aim and Ignite or even old material from The Format, the five songs on this record will be quite a delight.

The best two songs on the release come in the form of “Light a Roman Candle With Me” and “The Gambler”. Both are slower, piano driven tracks, the first of which makes wonderful use of harmonies, while the latter features raw, but inspired vocals from Nate Ruess. These tracks feel warm and inviting in vinyl form, making the format of this release very appropriate. While this won’t be a record I spin regularly, it’s a great 20-minute investment when you need a quick indie-pop fix.

This release isn’t for everyone, but it wasn’t meant to be. Instead, Point and Light is a wonderful treat for hardcore fans of the band and vinyl enthusiasts who are passionate about time and effort spent to create an excellent visual presentation. I’ve already enjoyed showing this record off to several of my friends who all appreciate the care spent in creating the packaging of this release. If you’re a fan of fun. and are lucky enough to find a leftover copy of this in your local record store – pick it up immediately. You won’t regret it.

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by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel 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.

Vinyl Spotlight: Sunny Day Real Estate and Circa Survive split

circa_sdre_splash

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.

So, Record Store Day 2014 has come and gone. Now it’s time to enjoy all of our purchases! The first release I’m focusing in on is the Circa Survive/Sunny Day Real Estate split 7-inch. This was likely my most sought after release for the day – Why? Well, to put it simply, this is a beautiful pairing of a legendary band (Sunny Day Real Estate) and a band heavily influenced and inspired by the former band (Circa Survive).

Incredibly, the song provided by Sunny Day Real Estate, titled “Lipton Witch”, is their first release since the band put out The Rising Tide in 2000. The band had been rumored to be working on new music back in 2009, but things fell through, much to their fans’ dismay. Meanwhile, Circa Survive’s contribution, titled “Bad Heart” is their first release since 2012’s Violent Waves.

Packaging and Presentation

The packaging is both striking to the eye and appropriately in line with both bands’ previous releases. The artwork was done by Chris Thompson, who handled the art for Sunny Day Real Estate’s Diary and How It Feels to Be Something On. It’s a bit weird and a bit ambiguous, which means that it’s perfectly suited as a package for both bands.

This pressing was numbered to 2,500 with 2,400 being pressed on burgundy vinyl and the other 100 being pressed on clear vinyl. While I wasn’t fortunate enough to pick out one of the clear copies, the burgundy pressing looks pretty splendid. Not only does it mesh well with the cover art, but the classic-feeling label gives the disc a retro feel. No matter which variant you get, it’s hard to complain.

Sound and Quality

Even more than critiquing the actual sound of the record itself, people are likely most interested in the sound of the individual songs. Truly, it’s a pretty fantastic experience all the way around. “Lipton Witch” is one of the most enjoyable rock songs I’ve heard this year. Could it be because of the 14 year wait between new music from Sunny Day Real Estate?

Maybe, but this song is pretty fantastic in its own right – truly a Sunny Day track, but with a fresh kick that makes it feel relevant. I think this will have most fans itching to hear what else the band has been up to during their absence. We may never get another full length from the band, but “Lipton Witch” proves that the band still has “it.”

Likewise, “Bad Heart” is a fantastic new song from Circa Survive. The track is much more mellow than the majority of the band’s catalogue, but caries that eerie vibe that makes the band so special. Truthfully, “Bad Heart” wouldn’t have felt too out of place on the back half of Violent Waves, but it’s a great stand alone song in its own right. Here’s hoping that this song isn’t the end of the band’s new music in 2014.

What’s even more wonderful than the new tracks themselves is how well both sound on the vinyl format. Both of these songs deserve to be heard on record – don’t settle for YouTube versions. If you can get your hands on a copy of this release, definitely do it. The release also comes with a free MP3 download of both songs, should you choose to use it. Personally, I plan to spin these songs on vinyl on the regular.

circa_sdre_split

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel 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.

Vinyl Spotlight: Record Store Day 2014

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If you’re a vinyl nerd, you’ve likely had April 19 marked on your calendar for a while now. Saturday marks the seventh annual celebration of Record Store Day.

The event is all about showing love to your local record store and sharing the music you love in a communal setting with those around you. The day is marked by special vinyl and CD releases, performances, giveaways, parades and general festivities that take place at local record shops around the globe.

According to the official Record Store Day website:

“This is a day for the people who make up the world of the record store—the staff, the customers, and the artists—to come together and celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities.”

Here at It’s All Dead, we couldn’t agree with this sentiment more and we encourage you to get out and support your local record store this Saturday by picking up some new music by your favorite artists.

Personally, this will be my fourth year participating in Record Store Day. I began collecting vinyl in late 2010 as a way to cope with some difficult life events. The hobby soon become a source of joy and one that has benefited greatly from Record Store Day events over the past several years.

Not only does the day offer the opportunity to snag awesome special vinyl releases, but it promotes the idea of community – an essential part of the music experience that has been dreadfully affected by the digital age.

While standing in line, browsing through records and listening to music, you’re bound to meet someone with a common interest. The shared experience of music is something that bonds us together helps us relate to those around us. Record Store Day is the opportunity to embrace that idea and have a real connection with not only the music, but those around us who love the music as much as we do.

So this Saturday – get out and enjoy! To find a record store near you that participates in Record Store Day, go here. For a list of all of the day’s exclusive releases, go here.

Let us know how you plan to celebrate Record Store Day and what records you’re excited to pick up on Saturday in the replies!

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel 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.

Circa Survive to release split with Sunny Day Real Estate on Record Store Day

circasurvive1

In what may be the most surprising news of the week, it looks like Circa Survive and Sunny Day Real Estate will be releasing a split 7” for Record Store Day (April 19). The Sunny Day Real Estate track, titled “Lipton Witch”, is the first song released by the band in 14 years. The Circa Survive track, “Bad Heart”, was recorded by the band after the release of Violent Waves.

The pressing is limited to 2,500 copies, with 2,400 being pressed on burgundy vinyl and 100 being pressed on clear vinyl. You can check out the artwork below:

sunny-day-real-estate-circa-survive

For more information on Record Store Day releases, you can visit the official website.

Posted by Kiel Hauck