Monday, January 20, 2014

Wax Packs: Casual / Crybaby - Split 7" - Violet Vinyl (/154)

Wax Packs: Casual / Crybaby - Split 7" - Violet Vinyl (/154), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.

Secret Audio Club (2013)

Wax Packs Hobby Box
Wax Packs is one of the more unique things I've come across record collecting.  They're put out by a label attempting to combine their love of record collecting with their love of trading cards.  It's an interesting singles series concept, but instead of getting 1 record every month, all of the singles are released at the same time, the only catch is that you don't know what records you're going to get.  The basic concept of Wax Packs is that they are selling 7"s in generic sleeves that are sealed.  If you go to the store or buy a single record, it's a lot like the vinyl toy blind box phenomenon that's been taking off over the past few years.  Until you buy your record and take it home to open it, the record your buying is a mystery.

The way it becomes a bit more like trading cards is the records are also sold in groups on 5 singles, as a Hobby Box.  The benefit of the Hobby Box is that in addition to having multiple chances to get the record you want, you are guaranteed to get one of the more rare variants of the records.  Let me explain.  For each of the 10 7" releases, there's different variants hidden randomly in these hobby boxes. There's a limited to 150-ish version on colored vinyl, a limited to 50 numbered colored vinyl version and the test pressing for each record is also out there.  So if you buy a box of 5, you get a pretty cool box and a sure shot limited variant. There's also  collectible download trading cards, one for each band randomly distributed in each box.

Box Break
It's one of the cooler ideas for record collecting I've seen and while I don't collect trading cards now, I did as a kid.  I had an awful lot of Star Wars cards if nothing else.  I think if your goal is going to be to collect every variant of every record, you might drive yourself to drinking.  But if you buy a couple of boxes and then try to trade for the other records you're missing, it's kind of fun and opens you up to a collecting community of like minded souls.

That's a lot of describing the concept of this series, but with no talk of the actual music.  As I have 1 Hobby Box, it would be an extremely long review to try to tackle everything in this box.  What I'm going to do is review 1 of the 5 records each day this week, that way I can treat each 7" as its own release and can give the bands on the records a bit more time.  I will also say this.  Of the 19 bands in this series, I had only ever heard of 1 of them going in.  I had no clue what to expect.  Some of the records I liked, some of the records I didn't.  It's the same as every singles series, if you line up 19 bands, no one is going to like all of them, but there's enough interesting diversity in this group that I'm definitely glad I have a box of these.
Casual / Crybaby - Split 7"
On to the record at hand, the Casual / Crybaby split 7".  When I did my "box break" I actually had a heck of a box.  I got 4 records on regular black vinyl.  I also got a test pressing and then this split 7" on colored vinyl, limited to 154 copies.  I had never heard of either band before, so I went into this record blind.

Crybaby turned out to be alright.  They remind me a great deal of the Conor Oberst fronted Desaparecidos.  Pretty decent hooks and quivering vocals.  There's some wacky guitar breakdowns that didn't thrill me and I think the band as a whole could use a bit more oomph, but in general, these songs with ok.

Casual was more my speed.  Though they stray close to being a bit too straight forward rock, they string together 2 good songs with strong vocal melodies.  This sounds similar to some early 2000's bands to me. The first song is poppier, the 2nd has significantly more shouting with a big group singalong chorus.  I prefer them to Crybaby, but for bands I had never heard before, I think both are worth a listen.

I'll be back tomorrow with the next 7" that was in my Hobby Box.

Casual Side:

Crybaby Side:

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