UNDER THE DUSTCOVER: The Draft - "Na Na Na b/w Devil In The Shade"

Hello all and welcome to a new thing we're gonna call "Under the Dustcover".  One of our favorite things about vinyl, as a medium, isn't the supposed "warmth" or collectability of different variants; no, it's the stories behind how the record you're holding in your hand came to be.  Every record has a story behind it, whether it's a tale of a seemingly doomed recording session that churned out a classic record, or the journey an actual physical record took from the pressing plants to our doorstep.  And to start out with, we figured we'd pick a record that's fascinated us since we got our hands on it - a 7" by The Draft, "Na Na Na".  

 The Draft - Na Na Na (2007)

The Draft - Na Na Na (2007)

To give some background on how this record came to be, we'll jump back a few years before this to 2005, when singer/guitarist Chuck Ragan stepped away from seminal Florida punk band Hot Water Music.  The remaining three members (Chris Wolard, Jason Black, & George Rebelo) declared HWM to be on a full hiatus shortly after in 2006.  During this time, the trio had been working with Gainesville guitarist Todd Rockhill and wound up in the seminal Salad Days Studio, helmed by Brian McTernan.  Out of those sessions came the bands first, and only, full-length record In A Million Pieces, released in 2006 on Epitaph Records.

There were, however, some additional songs that didn't make the record, and out of those tracks came the first of three 7"s released through No Idea Records, "Na Na Na/Devil In The Shade".  The A-side was recorded at Salad Days Studio in 2005, while the B-side was recorded with Rob McGregor at Goldentone Studio in Gainesville - and features a guest appearance from Brian Baker of Minor Threat, Dag Nasty, and Bad Religion.  Released originally in 2007, the particular record we're looking at today was a repress put out in 2010.  

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The record was pressed on a greenish mix vinyl, which is a common practice for a lot of No Idea (and other) labels.  Mixed color vinyls like these are usually created by combining the runoff from other records pressed at a plant - when a single color record is pressed, they are pressed into a circle and any vinyl product that isn't pressed into that circle is cut off and kept aside.  (For up and coming bands or labels out there, going with a mixed color like this is a great way to press a record on something other than plain black vinyl and save a few bucks!)

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The label for the A side of the record features artwork by Steak Mtn, an artist who got his start designing albums for his own band combatwoundedveteran and later became the go-to artist for a host of bands on No Idea, most notably Against Me!  The B side is the iconic No Idea "stressface" logo, bound to be found somewhere on nearly every release put out by the Florida label.

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The front (at the top of this article) and back of the sleeve stand out for being mostly white, with only black text on the back and black line work on the front.  The crab monster, also designed by Steak Mtn., is credited as "Pinchy".  A little bit above that we see the thing that makes this record so unique - under the lyrics for "Devil In The Shade", we see the numbering out of 75, plus a date and a credit:  "Coloring by Ivo and Vivie".  That's right - each sleeve was colored by one of these two youngsters, presumably the kids of either one of the band members or label heads (didn't go too far looking into that, because this is only 8 years old and they're still kids today).  

Each record has its own unique version of Pinchy - ours has a minty green body with orange tentacles and pink & purple skulls, plus tons of waters droplets around and under him.  The band's name is highlighted in yellow with blue in the cloud surrounding it - I've seen versions of this cover where each tentacle is a different color, or there's no blue water outlines, or the crab body is red.  That's what's so fun about this - not only is this limited to less than a hundred copies in existence, but each one of those copies has its own color scheme and one of a kind design.

I say "less than a hundred copies" because it's well-known that pressing numbers are usually more approximate than ironclad - vinyl pressing machines run fast and it's very common to have slightly more or less copies than planned press out (the plants will usually err on the side of a few extra copies, though).  

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When we take a closer look at the back of the sleeve, we can see that this record is technically listed as #79 out of the run of 75, and that one of our aspiring artists has crossed out "APRIL 2010" and helpfully put in June 2011 - which makes it seem like a few copies of the overrun were forgotten and completed about a year after the initial run.

The story behind this record is a great way to sum up why we fell in love with collecting vinyl in the first place.  Not only do you have an amazing lineup of some of the biggest names in punk rock (the dude from Minor Threat is here!), but you have them sharing their passion with the people they love the most, and helping them be a part of it!  It's a lot less embarrassing way to remember your childhood than an album full of old baby pictures, that's for sure.

BASEBALL PUNX!

Our good friend Jak Kerley (who once found us on the side of the road in Savannah, GA, and helped us get to a rental car place - true story!) put out a new documentary short about the cross-pollination between baseball and the DIY punk scene.  It features Scott Radinsky from Pulley, John DeDomenici from Death Rosenstock, Steve Sladkowski from PUP, and more!  Check it out here:

BEST OF 2017!

Hello everyone, and welcome!  We're gonna try something fun here and have a place where we can talk about music - after all, we're a record store, so what better way to keep y'all in tune with what we're excited/anticipating/frustrated/hopeful about in the music industry!

To start everything off, we're gonna go to the old standby, the Best Of list.  With 2017 in its final days and 2018 just around the corner, we thought we'd share with you some of the record we loved the most this year!  Without further ado, here are the ten albums that came out this year that we felt truly defined the year in music!

 

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10:  The Flatliners - Inviting Light

Four teenagers from Toronto started a ska band in 2005.  You’d think the story would end after a few shows, maybe a small tour and a CD put out by a label you’ve never heard of, but don’t tell that to these boys.  The Flatliners are truly a band we’ve been able to watch grow up in front of our eyes (well…ears), and Inviting Light gathers up their entire career and squeezes it into 12 tracks of PBR-soaked punk.  

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9:  Mutoid Man - War Moans

Born from the unholy union of Cave In’s Stephen Brodsky and Converge’s Ben Koller, Mutoid Man’s second full-length draws influence from all around the heavy music world - blistering guitar solos, chugging bass riffs, mathy breakdowns, howling vocals, and sprawling song structures to create one of the most inventive metal albums of 2017.  

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8:  Julien Baker - Turn Out The Lights

2015's Sprained Ankle was a raw, emotional record that cut through you with its sparseness.  For her follow-up, Julien crafts a lush, beautiful, yet haunting record that doesn't so much cut as slowly dissolves you into a puddle of tears.  Beautiful, beautiful tears.

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7:  The Menzingers - After the Party

“Oh yeah, oh yeah, everything is terrible” are the first words you hear on the Menzingers’ latest record, in the Clash-evoking song “Telling Lies”.  This record’s for anyone who’s hit that point in their life (whether after their 20s or not) where they feel like, for whatever reason, they have to stop fucking around and get serious.  The band continues their strong storytelling aesthetic throughout, and this February release set the stage for a great year in music.

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6:  Open City - S/T

2017 was a year of women reclaiming their autonomy in all facets of life - from the Women’s March in January, to the #MeToo movement coming to the forefront in the last part of the year, the push for equal treatment was at the forefront of the news pretty much constantly.  Open City’s self-titled debut rang out like a clarion call when it came howling out into the world this year.  Featuring members of Paint It Black, Bridge & Tunnel, and Ted Leo’s band, this record cuts through you like a buzzsaw while forcing you to confront the fact that the punk scene may not be as perfect as we all want to pretend it is.

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5:  Rozwell Kid - Precious Art

On the surface, this record comes off like a power-pop parody album - songs about boogers, Mad TV, Weird Al Yankovic movies, and homages to Michael Keaton abound.  But dig a little deeper and you’ll find a record with a lot to say about insecurity, ennui, and loss.  Who can’t relate to using comedy to cover up those deep, hard to talk about feelings?

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4:  Converge - The Dusk In Us

2017 was a grinding, relentless stream of bad news and unsettling revelations.  No one captured that better than Jacob Bannon and company - The Dusk In Us is a grinding, relentless album that perfectly captures what it felt like to live through this year.  “Trigger” washes over you with a threatening, insidious groove; “Wildlife” threatens to break your neck dragging you along for its ride.  Converge once agains shows us all they’re the ones setting the bar for everyone else in hardcore to measure up to.

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3:  Sincere Engineer - Rhombithian

Deanna Belos takes all the fun of a Gainesville Holiday Inn singalong and throws in a healthy dose of Chicago punk to give us all an album that sounds fresh and incredibly nostalgic all at once.  A record that came seemingly out of nowhere to be one of the best punk records of 2017, and hopefully the first of many awesome albums from Deanna.

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2:  Lorde - Melodrama

There’s a theme on Lorde’s second full-length.  It starts in the upbeat lead single “Green Light” and winds its way through eleven tracks, until the last line of the last song - a feeling of FOMO, of needing to push everything to its absolute limit because there’s always a better place to be, a better crowd to run with, a better time to be had.  Then the record hits its denouement and asks us - why are we doing this?  What are we chasing?  Would we be able to know what do with it if we caught it anyway?  Lorde writes with an emotional resonance that few can hope to touch, and Melodrama is proof positive of it.

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1:  Iron Chic - You Can’t Stay Here

We swear this isn't just because part of the first video for the album was shot in our store, but this truly was our favorite record of 2017.  Four years of heartbreak - ruined relationships & lost friends - combine to inspire Iron Chic on their third full-length.  Continuing their ability to meld pop-punk riffs with lyrics that hit like a ton of bricks, the Long Island 5 piece will have you screaming along, fist in the air at one minute and crying into your beer the next.  

 

So there's it - our favorite records of the year!  We made a playlist featuring some of the best cuts from these records, plus some of our other favorite songs that came out this year - check it out below!