It’s weird. Some questions crop up routinely (“When are you going to tour Europe,” “Why did Eddie Mansfield break kayfabe on national TV”), but over the past six months or so it feels like people have been asking me “When do we get an All Hail West Texas reissue?” and “Is All Hail West Texas ever coming out on vinyl?” a lot. I have been evasive when confronted with these questions, because the whole time I was getting these questions in my Twitter mentions and my Tumblr asks, there was a secret plot afoot to 1) reissue All Hail West Texas on Merge and 2) put it out on vinyl for the first time ever.
Getting the reissue together has been a really interesting project for me, because it involves going through old boxes of tapes, which necessarily means exhuming the corpses I became at several turns between then and now. All Hail was the last grinding burst of the machine on which I’d built whatever name I had at the time. It was recorded in the final frenzy of the boombox-era writing style (hit a stride, work absolutely every night until you write a song you don’t like, sulk for a couple of days, start up again), though I’m hesitant to say final, because who knows, I still track demos on a couple of the working decks I still have and I have ~~~ideas~~~about restricting myself to demo’ing on tape for a season at some point, who knows, life’s long, “seldom say never” remains my non-committal motto par excellence. It’s the only album where one of the worktapes went missing not by accident (the fate of untold handfuls of worktapes) but because I made good on my generally-empty promise to myself to destroy stuff if I don’t want to see it out in the wild at some point. In between the songs that made the album on the two surviving worktapes there’s a lucky 7 that didn’t make the cut, sometimes for technical reasons (“ran out of tape”), sometimes for artistic ones (“this chorus: what were you thinking?”). These songs have been transferred from the original cassettes and are now on the reissue as bonus tracks, mainly ones that fit into the former category. Several more I didn’t transfer from the original cassettes at all, because after listening to them, it was learned that they kind of sucked. RIP, “Red Southern Curl,” you are just plain not a good song.
There’s more to tell, but most of it’s in the new liner notes, and the rest of it’s in this piece Matt Fraction wrote about it, which is legitimately all you really need to know. The vinyl’s 220 125grams, mea culpa on being wrong when I wrote this update , and who really knows what the CD weighs, because who weighs CDs. Preorder is up right over here; Merge picks up the shipping costs on US orders. Bonus! See you next month!