For those who hate compression, Tom Petty salutes you. Or, his label does. Regardless of who made the decision, it’s rather daring to release a CD in today’s marketplace sans compression. But that is what Warner Brothers has done with the CD that is included in Mudcrutch’s recently issued 180gm two-disc vinyl set, using the same master for the bonus CD as it did for the LP. The regular CD that was released as a stand-alone piece has been compressed, as co-producer Ryan Ulrate recently explained to the New York Times that “when we did the regular CD, we had to deal with the realities of the marketplace, and we came up with a good compromise.” So hey, a nice little bonus for the audiophiles out there who view “compression” as an absolute evil. It’s a small victory, but somebody, somewhere gets it.
Hey, speaking of Mudcrutch, we just added this record to our site. It should have been up there a couple of days ago, but we refrained from posting it because the copies we received had some minor corner dents and dings. Okay (and just to warn you, I’m going to go on a big of a tangential rant here), we harbor the expectation that “new release” vinyl should come to us in pretty much perfect condition – no seam splits, no creases, no dents, no whatever. I mean, at least from a packaging standpoint. But it’s amazing how elusive that standard can be to attain. But it can be done, if only the sender of said vinyl packages it appropiately.
For instance, you don’t send heavy two-disc 180gm audiophile discs (that retail for $30) in a single cardboard box with air filler packs. Well, lemme re-frame that. You can do that, but don’t expect it to arrive to the customer without issues. And we don’t expect a customer to be happy about a corner dent, regardless of how minor it might be – if someone is anal enough about quality (and you know who you are, ourselves included) that they’ll bypass purchasing a $10-12 CD for a $30 album, then chances are they’re gonna check out every corner and seam when they pull that record out of the box. Yes, 40-year-old records pick up dents. However, 4-day old records should not.
Now…breathe. Okay, that aside, I do want to dole out props where props are due. WMG or WEA (or whatever three-letter acronym they currently go by) was way, way out front of the recent resurgence in newly issued vinyl. And they are also taking the time and care to do it right, issuing 180gm HQ vinyl, in nice jackets, most of it mastered and pressed at RTI by guys who have the process down. There’s a lot of crappy new pressings out there, but again, we’re very supportive of what WMG is doing in regards to repetoire and quality. They ain’t half-stepping.
Oh, and about those Mudcrutch records on the site. The record retails for $30; we’ve put ours up for $25. Again, I want to emphasize that the, ahem, jacket imperfections are minor. But, hey, they do exist. If you want a prisitne and perfect copy, please let us know as we do have more on the way. But if you’re looking for the music, aren’t all that bothered by a small ding or dent and want to save $5, come and get ’em.
One last thing – if you’re a Petty fan, you won’t be dissapointed. It’s not a Heartbreakers record, though Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench are here and stellar as ever (Benmont even sings on a track!). It’s definitely twangier than a Petty record. It basically feels like a bunch of old friends getting together and knocking out some songs for the fun of it. Which I suppose was more or less what it was. And is. Cheers.