April 23, 2022 was record store day and even though this is my first time having a proper turntable, amp, and decent set of speakers I didn’t make it out to any of the local record stores. But I did have my own version of a “record store day”
On January 20, 2022 I placed an order direct with They Might Be Giants for a few records; First Album re-issue, Lincoln 30th Anniversary re-issue, Flood (translucent green / Asbestos Records), and Mink Car. A month goes by and I haven’t received any update to the order so I reach out and get a simple message that one item in my order is a pre-order and all items will ship together. A couple days later John F. sends an apology explaining due to worldwide supply chain issues relating to the raw material availability they experienced an unforeseen delay. They started taking orders expecting the albums would be in their warehouse within a month.
April 8, 2022 I get an email that my records have shipped and it is being sent UPS SurePost. With that, I know I should get it close to the end of April because it’s always about 3-weeks to ship anything using UPS SurePost from mainland to Hawaii. On April 23, 2022 the USPS delivered my records.
They packaged them so well. It was a large sturdy box and each one was individually wrapped with a layer of cling bubble wrap.
I start to remove the shrink wrap and check out each album. Right away I notice some problems in the pressing. “First Album” has bubbles in the vinyl. “Flood” has spots, or areas where the green dye isn’t there…I’m not sure. The sleeve for “Lincoln” has a tear. The sleeve for “Mink Car” has a corner which was crumpled a bit.
I listened to each album in order of release so first on the turntable was “First Album”. There wasn’t any static on this record, but the parts of the vinyl which had bubbles did have a bit of distortion as the stylus traveled over them.
I wasn’t able to take pictures of the problems with the pressing on “Lincoln” but there are some very small lines, or scratches, which do cause the stylus to skip. It’s more pronounced on side-B. The song “Mr. Me” was the worst track and even taking a brush to the record didn’t fix the skipping. I will try adjusting the tracking force to see if it plays better.
I didn’t listen to “Flood” because I already have a couple copies. One being the original Elektra issue and then the zoetrope picture disk re-issue. The latter is also a bad pressing with lots of skipping on side-B. I got it more for the looks and not to listen to. I will put on this copy soon to see if there are any problems with the playback.
“Mink Car” had no problems and sounded great. There was no static and no skipping. It was the first time this album has ever been issued on vinyl and I think they did a decent job on the mastering. It could do with a bit of de-essing, especially on “Man, It’s So Loud in Here” and “Cyclops Rock”. Or maybe a half-speed mastering process would improve the sound.
As a fan of They Might Be Giants, of course I have these albums in other formats and even have one or two copies of previous issued records already. I got these because they are re-issues with the colored vinyl and “Mink Car” was the first time it was released on vinyl. I am also not the type who listens to it once and then shelves it never to be played again. I’ll still pull them out from time to time and spin them because I still enjoy the tangible and kinetic aspect of records. The tonal quality is purely subjective and as I get older and my hearing diminishes I probably couldn’t tell the difference between a CD or record now anyways.