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.