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.