Thursday, July 12, 2007


Bam. There it sat, a u-line record mailer, laying next to my door, nearly overlooked.

I opened it, greeted with a couple brown protective layers, discarded soon enough. Inside the album, a jewel a bit more than twice (four times?) the size of the compact disc; the cover art large enough to communicate the idea that the front photo was taken on a grainy medium-format in bad light; the seal, only a nod at an idea on the cd package, actually sealing the gatefold double record package. A peppermint-stripe slipmat as a bonus.

Kick ass. Two 180-gram doses of vinyl love, the Icky Thump release.

Let me level with you. I like vinyl. I think it sounds better. Most of the time, it's a feeling, an idea that the vinyl is a bit more spatial, or has a bit more "depth." This time I've got proof, as long as you're willing to record your vinyl copy and compare the waveform to the one you ripped off your cd.

Not willing to do that? Well then just listen to the record. It's special. The bass drum sounds deep and round and really, really loud -- just like an unmuffled bass drum in your garage kit. I'm really sorry that CD listeners are going to hear a distorted version with nasty digital sound artifacts. The CD version sounds like somebody ripped it to a low-quality mp3 and then burned it. It is seriously messed up.

Listening without the horrible distortion messing with my head, I've come around on a few songs -- Rag and Bone is my new theme song for craigslisting; I even like the thrashing Little Cream Soda ok. Listening on vinyl also paces the album better; without a pause, I get a bit worn out between I'm Slowly Turning Into You and A Martyr For My Love For You; with a side change everything is cool.

The vinyl sounds fan-effing-tastic: the highs shimmer up out of a well of deep bass; yes, the sound seems spaced better, too. But best of all is that deep bass hit, which was clearly meant to be the star of the album, a motif for bringing the whole thing together. It's deep and thick and clear loud and clean; this is the icky thump the album was named for, and it's a shame more listeners won't be able to hear it.
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