Thursday, 5 November 2009

Sunny Day Real Estate Reissue LPs

I guess it must be double LP reissue week over here right now. Here's the next installment...

Originally released in 1994, Sunny Day Real Estate's 'Diary' LP was something of a slow burner I guess. One of those records that more and more people latched on to over time. Fifteen years later, it is hailed as a massively important record, so Sub Pop have given it the reissue treatment.

I first heard this album on a copied tape that Ben Doyle sent me in the post. Ben was a bit of a metalhead and generally into all things heavy, so I was pretty surprised when he sent me this and I first played it. But as well as being surprised because it was nothing like I imagined, I was also surprised at how good it was. I was REALLY into it. Kinda hard to describe, but back then this just sounded like a completely new sound. Really gentle, whiney vocals over some quite heavy(ish) guitars. I don't know, I am crap at describing bands, but I knew straight from the first second that this was something new and interesting, and I played nothing else for weeks. Quite a while later I finally bought a copy of the LP from Jumbo Records, and was stoked to get the blue splatter vinyl version (which I still have). A few years later (circa '99 maybe?) Sub Pop reissued it on a clear green vinyl, and I bought one of those too. And now we have a double LP, red vinyl, gatefold sleeve version. I'm not complaining though. They could press a different version of this record every week and I'd buy it every time.

The sticker on the shrink wrap claims that this is the first time on LP in its entirety, which is true - the previous vinyl versions have been lacking a couple of songs that were on the CD version. They've also padded this out with a couple of other songs from their second 7" before they got signed by Sub Pop.

Even though I hate gatefold sleeves these days (because even the crappiest records with the worst artwork use them), having one on this release seems like the right thing to do. It works well.

Interestingly, one of my two discs had a small flash of black. I guess modern idiots would call this the 'transition press' and claim it to be a different variant on the red vinyl. Haha!

Well, anyway, the story doesn't end there. Sub Pop have also given the same treatment to the second Sunny Day Real Estate LP and reissued that as a double LP too... but thankfully, without a gatefold sleeve! And thankfully, someone had the sense to match the vinyl color to the artwork, which is always a nice touch. So here we are - 'LP2', otherwise known as 'pink':

I like how the two records are different shades of pink. Keeps it interesting.

Also, the dust sleeves have some nice stuff printed on them. A history of how the record came to be, written by all the band members and the guy who recorded it, including an explanation of why the cover is just pink.

And finally, because I ordered directly from Sub Pop, I got a couple of extra pieces of crap thrown in:

I've been playing these records again recently. As much as I loved 'Diary' when it came out, I find it difficult to listen to now, simply because I played it too much in the past. The pink album seems far more interesting. Visually though, 'Diary' beats it hands down. The artwork is beautiful and very cute. Overall, Sub Pop have done a great job with both reissues. Each have extra songs and some nice things to read, making them worth picking up even if you have the original versions. Two (or rather, four) great pieces of vinyl.


Wade said...

i really need to pick these up. i was bummed that i didnt get to see them when they came through on their tour.

TreTillDeath said...

I love the dig on "transitions"

Anonymous said...

Hi, can you tell me more about "transition" press records? Do they actually make a record more valuable? If it is a transition press, do they need to be properly marked as a transition press anywhere on the sleeve? Otherwise, how can you differentiate it from a manufacturing defect? Thanks.

mcs said...

An interesting question...

'Transitions' can be more valuable if they are officially recognised as a different variant, i.e. identifiable by a marking or numbering or possibly mentioned in a discography. However, If they are not recognised by the label or marked to distinguish them from the regular pressing, then I guess they are just a slight manufacturing imperfection and thus no more valuable than a 'pure' colour.

That's not entirely true though, because sometimes some real unique records appear as a result of a manufacturing glitch, and one-off records can result, which then makes them extremely valuable. For example, if the transition resulted in the record looking like a different colour to the other records. But again, it would depend on what the record is.

Hopefully that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Hi thanks for shedding some more light on this topic. I am somewhat of a novice vinyl collector and had never heard of a transition press until a customer service rep told me about them. I googled to find out more and found your blog. I recently purchased a 7" through mail order and noticed a spot on my record. The dark grey/black spot (which looks like a dirty fingerprint on both sides of the record) was immediately noticeable because the single is pressed on white wax. Thinking it might be a manufacturing defect, I contacted the store and they told me it was not a defect but a transition press and so they would not provide me with a replacement unless I paid for shipping both ways. I am a little wary of their explanation, but they are claiming that the transition press is highly collectible and unique. Unique yes, but I am not sure how collectible it would be. It doesn't particularly make the record look good but just dirty looking because the wax is white. There is no acknowledgement of a transition press issue anywhere. Although apparently the record company said they were aware some of the records had transition patterns and set aside some of those copies for the band and staff to take home for themselves to add to their own personal collections. Should I take their word for it?

Anonymous said...

I bought both of those as well when I saw they came out.

My version of Diary has a sticker saying it's colored vinyl but the actual color of both records is solid black. I have held it up to the light thinking it was a dark color or something, but no, solid black.

I was kind of disappointed at first. But is this an anomaly? Did anyone else get solid black despite the sticker saying it's colored?