Sunday, March 11, 2012

Homestead vinyl sucks.

In auditioning material to clean up for my Iain Burgess series, I've had the opportunity to inspect a lot of assorted vinyl transfers from vintage mid-80s punk vinyl.

Man, Homestead used some really cheap vinyl and from my investigation had a lot of really poor pressings.

Breaking Circus is a perfect case.  In auditioning the EP The Very Long Fuse, I've heard three different FLAC transfers, from presumably three separate copies of the record, on three different setups (turntables, cartridges, etc) - and they all suck.  Not the fault of the rippers, I think, it's just that all the copies used are presumably beat to hell, and are poor pressings to begin with.  Same goes for the Smokers' Paradise EP.  Oddly, the one Breaking Circus that's giving me the least issues is the only full-length album The Ice Machine - which is odd in that it has the least bit of inner groove distortion on the side-ending tracks, yet the sides themselves are longer than either EP sides.  I know that one of the rippers provided his rips of Fuse and one of his rips of Ice Machine, and his Fuse is craptastic while his Ice Machine is really nice - which rules out his setup being the problem.

So again I place the call:  Does anyone have *nice* transfers, in FLAC, of either Breaking Circus EP?  Someone somewhere has to read this blog, have a near-mint copy of the record(s), and has the ability and capacity to transfer them to FLAC on nice equipment.  If I had the records I would, but my setup is less than ideal for good-quality playings off vinyl.

This is why if I had a million dollars I would somehow gather up the rights for all the non-rereleased Homestead releases, start up a reissue label, and get these classic records back in print and up to speed in the digital era.  There's no reason why half the Homestead catalog - if not more - languishes in out-of-print obscurity, and more often than not never made available on CD from the start.  I'd also pay royalties, both earned from my stewardship, and unpaid from Homestead's tenure.


  1. At this point I'd even settle for a rip from cassette! I know Smokers' Paradise at least was issued on tape, not sure about Very Long Fuse.

  2. Additionally, if anyone owns a physical copy and can scan the sleeve, it would be most appreciated! You don't have to bother with piecing it together, I'll take care of that.

  3. I had the exact same issue that you're mentioning, with ripping Breaking Circus vinyl -- especially "Smoker's Paradise", which doesn't sound too hot for a 12" EP. So I guess it's not just your ears.

    Not sure if I've noticed in in every other Homestead vinyl release, though...

  4. It's really a shame because arguably two of the very best Breaking Circus tracks are the closing tracks on the EPs, "Eat Lead" from the SP EP and "Morning" from VLF. They both suffer from horrible groove distortion on all copies I've heard and it's near impossible to fix.

  5. @brushback: Homestead/Dutch East was notorious for using piss poor vinyl in the day. I'm sure it bugged Gerard but he probably was powerless to do anything about it. I love your blog BTW.

  6. Re HMS: they started using british pressings mastered by Porky and these are good. Then moved to Trutone in New Jersey, who were spotty. But I doubt Gerard cared because Matador used them through 1993/Warners deal.

    Re: Breaking Circus I have Ice Machine and Very Long fuse both bought as sealed cutouts at 2nd Hand tunes in Evanston in the early 1990s. Don't recall any issues with either. I do have very fine equipment, but it might take a while to do transfers.

  7. I have very lightly played copies of fuse and ice machine that I bought new myself and I don't recall any tracking issues or anything. I do also have very high end equipment but I'm not sure when I'll be in a mood to procrastinate more pressing concerns in order to make transfers.

    As to Homestead vinyl, they started out fine, importing records from England, but switched in 1986 or so to Trutone in New Jersey. I'm sure Gerard didn't object because Matador used them through the 1993 WEA distro deal.