Sunday, September 14, 2014

Deathfix (self-titled)

As the needle drops into and finds the grooves of the wax, a fuzzy guitar lead opens Deathfix's first track, "Better Than Bad," and takes off, followed by the beat as the first rift completes.  Immediately, you are digging through your record collection, somewhere between the "B" or "C" section, hunting down a copy of either Big Star's (the original) or Cheap Trick's (a cover; theme song for That 70's Show) version of "In the Street."  (Damn it!  I don't have either one; that would have been an excellent song to follow Deathfix in a DJ set.)

Their self-titled album continues on a stupendous rock 'n' roll journey, sticking to their guns of excellence,  but not particularly with one pattern.  Deathfix's free will keeps it alive for the duration of a very respectful seven song album.   Yes, kids of the digital age, a proper album, such as this, should only be seven to eight solid tracks that actually say something; cut the crap and save the others for b-sides to your 7inches.

Handsomely designed, the jacket boasts with a silky gloss finish that is either telling me to caress this shit out of it (perhaps due to the erotic heart for an "a" and "x" used to dot the "i" in the hot Deathfix logo - yes, this is a Dischord Records release, people - on the front cover), or it is begging me to lick-lick-lick it, from top to bottom, side to side, edge to edge (all the heck over), 'cause it's like freaking candy.  Candy, I tell you; candy.  (Pause; I'm hungry now, and I think I need to take a cold shower.)

I'll tell you, glossy finishes can either make or break a cover (for me).  When they are done right, as Deathfix and Dischord did with this release, damn... it can bring a man to tears.  But don't get all glossy-happy on us now, record label people; make sure you've got a good photograph and/or design that calls for it.  Christopher Green really did a bang-up job with such a simple photograph of what looks to be either the band's practice space, recording studio, or the scene from a DIY show (taken by lead singer and guitarist, Brendan Canty, I am guessing), and utilizing the dreamy Deathfix logo, designed by Linas Garsys.  I love how the photograph/design fades to black as it wraps around the spine onto the back panel, giving just a subtle hint of your proximity to the Red Light District.

The sleek black theme is extended inside to the inner sleeve.  Silhouettes of Deathfix on one side, and well placed credits and lyrics on the other; this is the kind of (anthem) music you would want to sing along to, so study up, boys. The only thing I can't quite figure out is why did the vinyl record come in its own white paper sleeve, while the liner notes are printed on a proper cardboard inner sleeve; meaning you could put the record inside the sleeve that the liner notes were printed on, and save yourself from including the white paper sleeve.  The only thing I can guess would be perhaps they wanted to give the buyer the option; maybe some vinyl purists feel the cardboard inner sleeve could be damaging to the record itself, and they prefer to use the white paper sleeves.  Possibly there was an added cost from the manufacturer due to liner notes arriving after the vinyl was pressed and put into paper sleeves.  I don't know, but I swear this is becoming a (welcomed?) trend.


With a traditional silver faced center label on black vinyl, something I would have thought was a standard for all Dischord releases (but it's not; I just got up and checked a bunch of other Dischord records I have), Deathfix's self-titled release is a great, inviting rock 'n' roll momemto for all ages.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Soccer Mom (self-titled)

I love the speed at which Soccer Mom attacks their music, as well as the tonality and grit they use to pronounce each note; danceably dissonant.  Their songs easily forgive the past two decades, and thankfully there are plenty of us still flying that flag (staring down at our shoes).

The packaging for Soccer Mom's self-titled album is pure and simple, and at home in its format.  The cover art is all typography, toying with the opacity of blue, yellow, and red to introduce themselves.  Song titles and 100m Record's logo are all that's necessary on the back; seemlessly continuing the starch white backdrop of the jacket.  It would not be hard to imagine the words "Thrill Jockey Records" (in spirit of all things Sam Prekop) replacing the 100m Records logo (no disrespect meant by that; an honest admirable compliment) for this modernly designed release.

Soccer Mom makes great use of the larger format on their latest vinyl record, featuring three wonderful photographs in full color from Tom Bellotti,  including one of the band themselves.  With great consideration for this accompanying art form, Soccer Mom keeps the photographs free and clear of all distractions, gently placing their credits to one side of the insert (black and white ink, of course, to pinch a penny where you can / when you can; why not?).

I like to put the photograph of the band in my peripheral vision while I go back and forth between the other two pictures, imagining I'm watching Soccer Mom play live outside the illuminated house past dusk, or carelessly on the city streets of Boston as the pigeons retreat overhead.

The layout for the center labels are really what tickle my fancy.  I'm simply always a fan of anything that bleeds over the edge of the stock; especially text; especially important text (such as a band's name). In this case, Soccer Mom refers to themselves as "SM," in which they allow the "S " to shyly tuck its head behind the black curtain of vinyl framing in the data.  With the sans serif font theme carried throughout, the center labels stand to be as attractive as their patrón.

It is all very classic.  It is all very 90s.  Who's with me?!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Kid Icarus + Cold Coffee Split 12inch

I don't believe I own many split 12inch releases.  I mean, I have a few, but they are pretty rare.  I think we can all agree, the split 7inch is more of the norm when it  comes to shared releases.  However, the split 12inch really gives you more bang for your buck.  I've always been very fond of a good solid EP release.  EPs have a short runtime by nature, and often force an artist to cut out the fat (all of the fat) from what would have made a mediocre full length (LP) album.  The fact that the manufacturing costs of an EP are relatively equal to that of a LP, which translates to the retail price being not much less, keeps EPs from being produced as often as they probably should.   A split 12inch record allows two artists the same opportunity to shine within the limitations of an EP, and provides the buyer with double the fun at what most likely is a more than fair price.

Summersteps Records delivers a solid indie-cred split 12inch with Kid Icarus and Cold Coffee.  The music between the two bands does compliment each other; perhaps the common thread, Nathaniel Kane, who plays "phantom keys" for Kid Icarus and is the singer, guitarist, and keyboardist for Cold Coffee (I'm guessing this is his main gig), lends to those comparable tones.  Not to mentiom, Nathaniel Kane engineered and produced the Kid Icarus tracks, while he mixed Cold Coffee's.  I simply love the fact that his name is spelled "Nathaniel" everywhere except as a band member for Kid Icarus, where he is referred to as "Nate."

The digitized hounds tooth -slash-  checkerboard monotone (white) cover art is what first caught my attention (as it should).  Wait, that's a lie; it was actually my curiosity of the color of the jacket.  I think it is black.  I'm pretty sure it is black.  But as strange as it may sound, every time I hold the jacket, it appears to be the deepest of dark, navy blues.  Oceanianic; from the most distant abyss.   A blue so blue; virgin to sunlight. I've compared it numerous times to other records with black jackets, and I tell you what... this blue jacket is definitely black, yet still so blue.  (I actually think it is the amount of white ink from the hounds tooth pattern that hosts the humorous trickery to the eye.)

That all being said, what also makes me confirm this record's blackness is the fact that there is no printing on the spine.  I know I've mentioned before how blank solid black record jackets can be purchased, and prove to be an economically choice canvas for young bands doing whatever it takes to get their music out on vinyl.  These blank jackets are often used by bands to silkscreen their artwork on by hand, rather than mass production, giving them a more custom aesthetic, and saving a few bucks in the process.  A well noted result of handprinted jackets is a spine without anything on it, simply because it is so hard to print on the spine once the jacket has been assembled.  The split 12inch for Kid Icarus and Cold Coffee might not have printing on the spine, however the craftsmanship on the front and back is flawless enough to make me question even my own inner Sherlock Holmes.

Nonetheless, the stamp-like typography on the center labels delivers my second clue with trying to solve this home-ec-mystery.  The name of each band is the only text printed on the label of each respective side of the vinyl record.  On Cold Coffee's side, there is what appears to be an ink splotch that would likely have been caused by some leaking ink or mishandling by its home based creator.  You see, if a band or label is going through the trouble to handprint jackets to save money, it would make sense that they order their vinyl records with basic white labels (no manufactured printing), or have the blank labels sent to them prior to being glued to the records, so that they could also handprint the center labels as well.  Genius!  And my gut is telling me that this is the case with Kid Icarus and Cold Coffee.

The obscurity of all this makes the Kid Icarus and Cold Coffee split 12inch a go-to record for when I'm wanting to intrigue friends within my abode. The youthful position of the music keeps me going back for more.

Monday, September 1, 2014

MRENC - All Around Surround

If you did not grow up in Florida, or perhaps have not familiarized yourself with Florida's geographical (nautical) surroundings, you might not know which side of MRENC's (pronounced "Mister E - N - C") album All Around Surround to play first, which I like.  It puts the sequencing in the listener's hands.  Side-A is the "Atlantic Side," while Side-B is the "Gulf Side."  The title All Around Surround is a lyric from the closing track "Cover Me."

The vinyl release comes with a CD, not a MP3 download.  I remember my first experience with this; getting a CD with a vinyl I purchased.  It was the summer of 2000 in Cambridge, MA (I had just returned from an amazing honeymoon with my wife), and Shellac had just released 1000 Hurts.  Inside they included a CD copy of their album.  It was brilliant, and before MP3 downloads.  Nowadays,  when an artist like MRENC puts their CD inside the vinyl, it demonstrates their position on this whole digital movement; basically saying they ain't planning no games when it comes to their music.  Giving you the CD is giving you the music itself (like the vinyl), not a cheap-ass digital photocopy.  I've got all respect for bands like MRENC for including CDs with their wax.  Plus, the CD jacket plays the role of the liner notes for the vinyl; a practical solution.

Added props go out to MRENC for their packaging.  Those of you following this here little blog site are probably catching on to the fact that 1) I love black and white artwork, and 2) I love it when bands cheat the system and design an exquisite package on a dime.  To the naked eye, one would not know that the latter was the case with MRENC.  However, those in the industry may recall that jacket manufacturers offer solid black finished jackets at a discounted price.  If a band or label is capable of designing simplistic, yet pro, artwork / imagery that can be hand silkscreened upon these ready-to-go jackets, without looking like it was hand silkscreened,  or (possibly / debatably) worse feeling like it was hand silkscreened,  then they just might be able to pull off an economicly sound design like MRENC was able to do with All Around Surround.   Job well done Mr. Eric N. Collins (MRENC).

Hand numbered on the "Atlantic Side" center label in a silver ink.  Housed in a polypropylene bag.  Released by one of the hardest working indie labels this side of the Mississippi, New Granada Records. A lot of thought went into this vinyl record, and it shows. 

MRENC remind me of The Walkmen, somewhere between the vocal and drums and guitar work, but not all at once.  There is an aggressive punch at times like Les Savy Fav, and sexy (yup, that's a first), seductive lure that brings me back to why I liked that band Plexi (just saw their album somewhere on vinyl;  should have picked it up);  I think that is the Florida 90's goth vibe I'm picking up (and loving; love me some old school Florida goth).

Fuck it.  This is a damn good album.  Buy it.  There were only 300 made.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gospel Claws + Roar Split 7inch

Gospel Claws' track is called "I Want It All." Roar's track is called "Dream."  If you read my previous post about the split 7inch from Beached Out and The Reference Desk, you will understand why I would say Gospel Claws and Roar are lucky I like the artwork for both sides of their split release.  But it is not for me to pass along judgment or opinion, it is simply a truthful statement about my own personal attractiveness as to why I would (or possibly not) pick up their 7inch from a stack of hundreds of others.  Again, read the other post (my intro will make sense).

The theme is dogs.  The sub theme is duets (or pairs); perhaps a nod to the pairing of bands for this record.  Gospel Claws are more regal (like a beagle?) in their approach with the artwork on their side.  A dated photograph of two Dobermanns.  Roar's black and white hand drawn Siamese-Twin guard dog may have been taken from a 5th grader's Trapper Keeper or brown bag book cover; aside additional customized graffiti that included words like "Gotcha!" and "Awesome," and images of lightning bolts and that funky diamond-like "S" that was never really an icon for anything, but more of a mathematical puzzle of varying lengths.  I like it.

Regardless of whether I first encountered Gospel Claws' Pinchers, or the vicious two-headed Roar, I know I would have been drawn in enough to crack open the envelope and see the stunning baby blue opaque vinyl within.  With the respectfully simple white label (black text), complimented by the jukebox-ready center hole, the vinyl itself is truly the physical gem of this release.  I would have bought this record simply for the wax alone, even if it was only packaged with a white sleeve and no artwork.

Fans of indie pop bands like Black Kids, The Shins, and Built To Spill will enjoy this split release of reverberation from President Gator Records; second for their catalog.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Beached Out / The Reference Desk - You're Getting Close Split 7inch

I am first trying to figure out why this split 7inch between bands Beached Out and The Reference Desk has a title.  Unusual, but intriguing. It's the first thing I noticed.  I may be wrong, but I believe I heard Beached Out use the words "you're getting close" in their track "Tiny War."  Perhaps it's a theme.  The Reference Desk's track "When You Drown" seems that it should (?) or could include the phrase.

Their traditionally punk 7inch v-fold jacket was the second thing to catch my attention.  The unmistakeable waxy film from a black and white photocopy machine is always so pleasing to the touch.  It's the sort of thing I will buy a record for.  It shares the level of commitment a band has toward getting their record out: at all costs.  And in most cases, possibly a direction to keep costs down; but in the end, a demonstration of pure character.  Beached Out and The Reference Desk used a standard pastel yellow photocopier paper, 11"x17" in size for print, and then cut-to-bleed to keep it cool; purposely designed with images that run well.  (I think I have an Ariel Pink 7inch of the same mind set.) Simple, classic sans-serif fonts; clean layout, with just the facts required.  They get a 10/10 for design.

I'm dying to find out if the vinyl itself was pressed with Rainbo Records in Canoga Park, California (bands: feel free to email directly to let me know).  I've always been a fan of their product, and this 7inch is in line with Rainbo's standards.  The opaque lemon chiffon yellow vinyl is naturally heavy in weight, and holds well.  Centered with a red / black contrasting label, the 7inch immediately becomes a through-back to the Chapel Hill NC college music scene, circa 1990.

The final note-worthy feature (perhaps a lesson for others, so take note): the respect Beached Out and The Reference Desk give to each other and their single release.  Perhaps this is their point of having a title.  While I do understand when two bands release a "split" release why they often think to give each other their own side of the packaging, making it appears as if there is a unique cover for each band, I don't think those bands understand that if I am digging for vinyl, there is now less of a chance that I am going to buy their record if I am only exposed to one of the two bands. 

With a normal record (not a split), there is a pure 50/50 chance that you (the customer) might be interested in picking it up when stumbling across the record for the first time.  If you don't know the band or the release, fate is now left in the hands of the design - the art work, and whether or not it compels you to pull the record out of the stack.

When you have a split release, you are either doubling yours odds to attract a new listener, or you are actually cutting them in half.  If you promote both bands on the cover and make it look like a shared release, like Beached Out and The Reference Desk did, the customer may be interested in either band, and in a sense... doubling the chances of the customer picking up the record.  However, if only Beached Out were on the cover, and I happen to not know the band or like the design they gave their side, I am not going to pick it up. And if I would have actually known or was interested in The Reference Desk, whom would have been on the other side that I never saw as I was flipping through hundreds of vinyl, then both bands would have missed out on me buying their record; cutting the odds in half and making it harder to sell their split release.

That all being said, I am happy to see Beached Out and The Reference Desk did not make this mistake.  In fact, I know for sure that their 7inch would have been an immediate grab amongst many others if I just so happened to stumble upon it on Digging Day.  And, (I am happy to report) after a first listen at home, I would not have been disappointed.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Black Bug - Reflecting the Light

Towards the end of the 2000's first decade, I stumbled across a Silk Flowers album in the used record bin at Zia Records in Arizona.  I remember being surprised to find the PPM Records release, especially used, and picked it up, simply intrigued by the rarity of this find; I had never heard of the band before.  The music had me at the first dissonant goth chord, loving the "Bela Lugosi's Dead" meets Switched-On Bach current approach.  This was my first encounter to what seemed to be a new wave of music that was pulling from some of my favorite past times.

Upon opening HoZac Records' mailer and witnessing Black Bug's cover art for Reflecting the Light, a band I was also unfamiliar with, I could smell the freshness of this new synthesized, yet punk approach, to darkness, simply from the artwork.  The opening track, "You Scream," delivered with perfection.  I was immediately transported back to The Milk Bar; a references that works on two levels. Anyone growing up in Jacksonville, FL, knows I am referring to Goth Nights at the underground downtown club, The Milk Bar.  For anyone else, the A Clockwork Orange reference generates the same aesthetic.

The digital collage begins with a healthy centerpiece that is our own moon, supported by a horizon of fog and evergreens with the watchful eye of mountains above, tangled in a web of computerized red angular outlines. The afternoon sky above, reflecting the light, is warm like the desert, in contrast to coolness of the morning below.  The cover art is the only image necessary for this album.

There was no text on the front telling me what I was in for, yet this artwork spoke so clearly.  It is the kind of album cover that I know would have compelled me to buy immediately while cratedigging, and would have withstood all process of elimination phases if funding had to drive such a decision.  Black Bug's Reflecting the Light wins on all levels, and that's before their future-like music evens fills the room.

I recently read a book about Joy Division, claiming they never intended to attract a gothic following, and certainly did not take a goth approach with their songwriting.  I believe this, and I believe it is the same for bands like Black Bug.  Hell, no one actually said to me that this was goth. I think in fact I am the one proudly using that term here; that is the impression I get, just like so many Joy Division fans did years before.

Call it what you want; it is good / bad ass / loaded with attitude / loaded with synths / overdriven to perfection / current / right / infectious / horrifying. It's Black Bug.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Young Evils - Foreign Spells 12inch EP

I've been dying to write a review for this 12inch EP titled Foreign Spells from The Young Evils ever since I've been dancing in front of my speakers (a la Einstein A Go-Go style; kicking the foot back and all) at full volume over one year ago when it first graced my turntable.  This quartet from Seattle, WA simply nailed it with their four song EP, brought to you by Fin Records.  Their sharp-shooting approach with such a stellar release reminds me of the EPs Ride used to put out between their full lengths; packing a punch and never tiring.

"Darker Blue Bayou" takes off with a great clap-beat, supported by an assured groove.  Troy Nelson and Mackenzie Mercer play back and forth with vocal leads.  The rhythm drives deep into the bayou down I-10, never looking back.

I remember hearing "Dead Animals" for the first time; the second track to side-a.  Mackenzie plus a muted power-pop guitar begin the song.  Truthfully, my first impression was, "Oh no, it was too good to be true.  They over delivered on the first song, and now it's downhill from here."  But to my great and welcomed surprise, just about sixteen seconds into the track, The Young Evils brought me back to my imaginary dance floor, head swinging back and forth (wishing I had hair), and singing along to the lyrics (yes, upon first listen).  Turning the volume up louder and louder, rift by rift, I simply could not get enough of The Young Evils' persistence; and we were only two-tracks into this inaugural listening.

Take a breathe, walk over to the turntable, and flip this beautiful wax to continue an amazing indie pop discovery.  "The Devil's Barricade" finds Troy, with his hushed Jesus & Mary Chain -like vocals, taking the first step with another boy/girl tag-team approach to the vocals; I think this what I am beginning to like more and more about The Young Evils (it's keeps things interesting, and moving along).  There is a familiarity with their music, much like The Rosebuds, leading you to believe you already know what's coming, yet creating a yearning for more.

Just as I am beginning to adore The Young Evils grittier comparison to UK indie poppers, The School, "Touch Tone Lovers" takes a sharp right hand turn onto 'Bad Ass Lane.'  Do yourself a favor and go turn up the volume even louder than you had it before for this one; the drums feel so good, especially when The Young Evils drop out the bass for that break, leaving the guitars dangling out the window.  Mackenzie's voice slides into a more chill, shoegaze-like vocal style, while the music, traditional to Rock n' Roll in many senses, really stands out on its own; presenting you with the truest of sounds for The Young Evils (and I love it).  

Fin Records does not cut back in any way for this four song release.  True to their form, the clear vinyl is simply immaculate.  Inner sleeve embossed with their logo, pristine polypropylene bag to protect the artifact, Fin Records shows respect in many ways other won't.  The two-toned packaging lends a hint to the modern day doo-wop inside.  I just wish I could have told you all about this sooner.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Puddle - Secret Holiday / Victory Blues

When I decided to start this project, reviewing vinyl records and their packaging, I knew it would be limiting due to the cost of mailing physical materials, so I am always very thankful when someone chooses to send something over my way for me to write these words within this here website for you all to read my thoughts about their release.  That being said, and having been a distant fan of New Zealand's own Fishrider Riders, I was pleasantly taken aback when their package arrived at our doorstep.

Now, I say "distant fan" not only as a pun due to the mileage between us, but because I truthfully did not own any of their records (until now), but have always had great respect for Fishrider Records and their contributions to the indie pop world.  The Puddle, a band also from New Zealand, apparently have no shortage of prestige themselves.

This particular record Fishrider Records released for The Puddle is not a proper album, rather a double EP: Secret Holiday and Victory Blues.  I almost wish The Puddle gave unique cover artwork for each EP, using each side of the jacket to represent the cover individually.  Fishrider Records delivers a traditional 12inch LP package, with titles and featured artwork on the front, while credits are on the back.  The insert providing additional photographs and lyrics for each song is a comfortably odd 3:4 landscape cut.  I can't help by wonder if its size was driven by economics; printing two insert sheets on one tabloid size sheet of paper and cutting in half (two for one printing).  I love it when positive design characteristics are actually the result a non-creative decision; it's nature's way of keeping the world balanced.

At first glance, or should I say touch, the satin / waxy finish makes you wonder what they are doing down their in New Zealand.  In this post-high-gloss era of printing on the reverse side of the cardstock, satin presents an entirely welcomed veneer. The polypropylene (rather than the standard polyethylene) outter sleeve adds to this mystique.  I'm always (at first glance) impressed by these crystal clear skins, but in the end, prefer the traditional (milkier / heavier) polyethylene protective layers; I find the polypropylene bags can easily tear.

Being a fan of The Puddle's music, and as mentioned before, I do desire something more with the artwork; not just craving some identity for each EP, but some explanation for how the black and white photograph of girls laying on the ground being governed by two goats ties into holidays and the blues.  I don't often require this connection between cover art, album titles, or the music, but for some reason, The Puddle's cover is so strikingly offbeat, yet seemingly with purpose, there has got to be something I am missing.  As I dance around my living room listening to The Puddle, studying their imagery with great effort, I struggle with no relevance, even within the photograph itself and it's featured characters.

Speaking of dancing, have you ever seen Tim Gane from Stereolab dance along as he is playing his guitar during their live shows?  This is me while listening to The Puddle's track "The Vitalist."  I could dance to this song for hours; singing along with George Henderson's perfectly-placed "ba-dah-bahs" and Gavin Shaw's playfully-plucked lead via acoustic guitar (at least I think that is who is doing it and how the lead was constructed).  For me, "The Vitalist" is definitely the stand-out track, and will certainly be played at the discotheque on our next DJ night.

I'm a sucker for the 007-like / spy movie hook with "Decline to Fall."  The lead here, played by a necessary synthesizer, adds to the 1970's aesthetic, while Alan Starrett's viola shares a uniqueness, reminding you that this ain't American.  I also appreciate the Farfisa on "Hydrogen 6," Shaw's glockenspiel on The Puddle's instrumental closer, "Walrus Arabia," and the sadness of "Tender Validation," with a deep cutting Will Sargeant inspired guitar lick.


There is a looseness within The Puddle that excudes confidence and wisdom.  George Henderson's vocal tone is familiar and comforting; I'm guessing Sondre Lerche was influenced by him.  The eclectic instrumentation of The Puddle's lounge-pop compels you to move to section "B" of your record collection, reaching for anything Belle & Sebastian to follow.  Of the two EPs, Secret Holiday makes sense on Side-A; for me, it's the hit single.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Electroscopes - Made a Mistake 7inch

I love this little record, I love everything about it.  I love the way it came to me.  I love the cover.  I love that it is on black wax.  I love the music that comes out of the speakers.  I love the bands being promoted on the promotional flyers that were included.  I love the handwriting used to label side-a. I love the 4-millimeter (not the less expensive 2-millimeter) polyethylene bag used to hold everything together.  (Wait, haven't I done that already, where I start the review with "I love..., I love... I love...?")

Okay, not that we got that over with, let's begin.

The Electroscopes "Made a Mistake" 7inch was released by German label, Firestation Records, limited to 200 copies.  It is the sole project of Paul Mansell, from Northampton, Britian; a fine young gentleman I may add.  When Paul himself heard our original copy of his record was lost somewhere in that great big pond that divides our countries, he without hesitation sent a second copy (again, limited to only 200 pressings) to ensure we were still able to get our groove on.  I have got to say, sending out promo copies of a limited release vinyl records is one thing.  Sending promos internationally is another.  But sending a replacement copy... hats off to you Paul, and superthanks for making sure this one landed safely.

I remember pulling this 7inch out for a first spin late one night.  I believe I had just returned from being out at the clubs (or you could say, "in da' clurb" if you like), and me and Mrs. Blogger were feeling pretty chill as is.  "Made a Mistake" was no mistake at all, rather cool and nostalgic; reminiscent of early Trembling Blue Stars.  I immediately dimmed the lighting to a faint glow, savored a nip of American Kentucky bourbon, and repositioned the black Ray-Ban Wayfarers I once wore only to shade the sun.  

"First Into Space, Last Down to Breakfast" on the flipside kept the party going.  It is the soundtrack for a contempo Asian bar, where conversations are comfortable, the beat keeps you feeling right, and everyone looks good.  If this song were released earlier than 2003, Sofia Coppola would have included it in Lost In Translation.  Another example of the b-side track potentially outshining it's (what's meant to be) better half.

I think Firestation Records could have gone with DJ-style white (no label) center labels for this one, perhaps lending further to the downbeat discotheque elements of the release.  However, the fact that someone literally hand wrote information on side-a only gave a cordial hit of twee / C86.  The black and white photocopied j-fold sleeve is simple, and gives all you need; done right.  The heavier polyethylene bag makes the record proud; I always appreciate it when that detailed is given attention.

The cover art is a photograph of a skyscraper; perhaps one with businesses below and a handful of condominiums on the upper floors.  There is a texture to the photograph that dates back to the 1970's, but the many television satellite dishes (or are they electroscopes) affixed to the porches greets the modern age.  Iconic, nonetheless, and well positioned, it's an appropriate image for a single.  

As for the promotional material included, I think someone knew how big of a Sarah Records fan I am.  It did not take too long for my eyes to detect the mentions of The Orchids and St. Christopher.  Thanks for the additional swag!