Tag Archive for 'Umphrey’s McGee'

(Upcoming Release) Umphrey’s McGee Launches Death by Stereo – Cover Art, move to ATO Records

Very soon on the heels of their self-released 2 LP and digital-only release of 2010 Hall of Fame that I reported on previously, Umphrey’s McGee announced their new studio album! To be titled Death By Stereo, it will be released on September 13th.

Death By Stereo marks the first release by the band since their move to ATO Records— home of Dawes, My Morning Jacket and Drive-By Truckers. While no explicit reason is given for the move from long-time home SCIFidelity, it is my opinion that this move will probably give the band some resources not available to them on SCIFidelity as far as distribution and promotion, if not visibility.

The press-release which came out earlier this week, says that Death By Stereo is a “lethal musical gumbo” which pretty well describes the genre-crunching band. The tracks mentioned in the article include “Wellwishers” which was originally going to be part of a digital EP series and was freely downloadable as an mp3 in exchange for an e-mail address via TopSpin (who was also the method for selling Hall of Fame) and also downloadable via umlive (my article here). Also mentioned are “Conduit” and “Booth Love” which both have been performed in concert (links to archive.org). “Conduit” was also included in the Summer 2011 free sampler provided by the band. Two tracks we haven’t formally heard as of this writing are “Miami Virtue” described as a psychedelic blend of Pink Floyd and Phoenix, and “Black Keys-style blues” track “Domino Theory.”

With the amazing pre-sale madness surrounding Mantis with its massive amount of free downloads, I’m sure we’ll get something just as cool with this release. Since they are on ATO, I’m hoping that the vinyl release will be 2 LP’s of 45 RPM 180g vinyl, just like Dawes has done for their two LPs. The band is already soliciting opinions about whether to include a CD or just download codes, so they are maintaining their practice of keeping their finger on the pulse of the fans.

Stay tuned for more details as they arrive!

Unplugged Musings has an article with some speculation on additional songs that could make Death By Stereo with video clips.

(Upcoming Release) Umphrey’s McGee Releases Live Album of 2010’s “Hall of Fame” Performances on Vinyl

Aside from the face-melting live performances delivered during their marathon touring schedule and the growing catalog of evolving studio albums, one aspect of Chicago band Umphrey’s McGee that continues to amaze me is their ability to constantly keep their finger on the pulse of their fanbase and use that to deliver performances and products that are tailored to the fans.

Back in March, the band asked the fans via a survey which songs performed during 2010 they should include in a “Hall of Fame” release. On Tuesday the band announced the results of the survey, which culminated in an impressive release bundle titled Hall of Fame: Class of 2010.

From the announcement:

We asked our fans to weigh in on their favorite live versions of the year and this lengthy record showcases their best of the best. Caressed and remastered into a seamless two set show format, this album contains many of the definitive UMLive moments of 2010. These versions are the essence of live: raw, inspired and imperfect. Available in digital, vinyl and uber fan bundles, this release has something for everyone.

Pre order now to get your hands on the first live vinyl we have ever pressed or snag an extremely limited copy of a hand drawn, customized test pressing from Jake Cinninger. Crank it up and get after it.

The fans have the choice of three (well, at this moment two…) options of purchasing Hall of Fame : Class of 2010:

  1. Analog remastered download of 16 live tracks (3+ hours), available in premium DRM-free 320kbps MP3s ($11.99), Apple Lossless or FLAC formats ($14.99).
  2. 2 LP Analog Remastered Limited Edition Black Vinyl featuring the best of the best of the best of the Hall of Fame selections. Which also includes the analog remastered download of 16 live tracks (3+ hours), available in premium DRM-free 320kbps MP3s ($29.99), Apple Lossless or FLAC formats ($33.99).
  3. (SOLD OUT) One of 25 Vinyl test pressings with Jake Cinninger personalized, one-of-a-kind hand drawn sleeve. Plus the 2 LP Analog Remastered Limited Edition Black Vinyl featuring the best of the best of the best of the Hall of Fame selections, and Analog remastered download of 16 live tracks (3+ hours), available in premium DRM-free 320kbps MP3s, Apple Lossless or FLAC formats. $99.

For the pre-order, all three bundles include an immediate download of “Partyin’ Peeps” from the Huey Lewis & the rUMors Summer Camp rehearsals + Hall of Fame Artwork PDF PLUS the new, unreleased UM original song “A.M.” (Read about this new track HERE)

Automatic digital delivery will happen on street date 6/28/2011, with the standard vinyl shipping on or around 7/11. The test-pressings with the Cinninger sleeves will ship later and the uber-fans will be contacted about a special customized note to be included.

This release should not be confused with the other “Hall of Fame: Class of 2010” release the band did earlier this year which is a culmination of fan-picked performances from 2006-2009 presented as full live shows on a DVD.

There are some interesting things to note about this release. First, there is no CD version! Only digital download and vinyl. UM has provided digital content for a long time and for most of their releases will provide a lossless version. The band further supports this by providing the nifty USB Stick of their entire catalog. Secondly, VINYL!! This is the third vinyl release from the band– Safety In Numbers and Mantis are also vinyl releases.

Analog purists in the crowd might take exception to the “analog remastered” description of Hall of Fame : Class of 2010, since the band records every show digitally as a matrix from the soundboard and house mics to be able to offer the shows for sale. This is technically accurate as they would have had to take the higher-resolution digital recordings and master them to analog to make the resulting LPs which have loudness limitations that digital does not. But, it isn’t like they were rolling tape to record the shows. The digital downloads are also referred to as “analog mastered” which must mean that the digital downloads are a different mastering than what you would get from downloading the individual shows from UMLive.

I would be very interested to hear about the process used to master the LPs and the downloads– maybe Kevin Browning could do a post on the band’s blog– or I’d be happy to include his comments here, if he reads this.

Update 6/28/2011: Kevin Posted an article on The Floor about the process which resulted in the analog mastering of the album as well as how he approached editing the pieces into the album.

Click Here to read the article.

I have my order in for the vinyl and I’m extremely excited to drop a needle on it!

Here is the tracklisting for the vinyl (with links to archive.org recordings!):

Side A: All In Time (Part I) – 20:03
The Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL 12/31/10 > The Nokia Theatre, NY, NY 2/25/10

Side B: All In Time (Part II), Girlfriend is Better – 20:02
The Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL 12/31/10 > The Lawn at White River State Park, Indianapolis, IN 7/17/10

Side C: JaJunk – 16:45
The Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL 12/30/10 (This track is only 11:47 on archive.org?)

Side D: Utopian Fir> Night Nurse > Utopian Fir – 19:38
The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC 2/11/10

Order your copy of Hall of Fame : Class of 2010 Here!

While you’re at it you can look at the 3+ hour version tracklist (click on the tracklist links towards the bottom of the page.

(Free Download) Umphrey’s McGee Releases New Studio Song “Wellwishers” and Announces “Bite Sized” EP Series

Chicago jamband heroes Umphrey’s McGee this week announced a plan to release their first studio recordings since the release of Mantis in January of 2009.  The Mantis release was an innovation in music distribution in that the CD unlocked content live songs, videos and cover art that was made available every month for a year. If you pre-ordered the album, you also got a large collection of demos and rare mp3’s.

From a collector’s perspective, this was quite a haul and frankly quickly solidified them as a band I wanted to follow.

So, this week’s announcement, while unexpected, is in line with the innovation they started with Mantis. The are going to release a collection of songs “in bite size pieces,” per their website. The songs will be new unheard songs (not performed live, yet) and some live favorites.

The upcoming releases will be available as series of digital EPs. You will have a few options to acquire them: buy the EPs separately or as a bundle; or splurge for the holidays on the box set which will include music and video for the discerning UMphreak, including a wealth of bonus tracks, previously unreleased rarities, and hand-picked, band curated material from studio and live work. The tracks will be available in multiple formats: MP3, FLAC, and 24-Bit Hi Res FLACs for select titles. Details will be released shortly.

Mantis was the first time the band had worked on an album in the studio that was largely not drawn from live performances. I say largely because at least one song had an early genesis in an improvisational jam that is known as a “Jimmy Stewart.” In the live shows leading up to that album’s release Umphrey’s was still debuting and playing songs that hadn’t made it to an album– tracks with working titles like “Search 4,” “Wappy Sprayberry,” “Gulf Stream,” and “Wizard Burial Ground.” I hope that these are the songs that will make it to this collection.

To kick things off, UM has provided a free download (with optional upgrades to FLAC and Hi Res FLAC) of a new song “Wellwishers.” It’s a laid back jam with a pumping electric piano part that reminds me of Gerry Rafferty. The song wouldn’t sound out-of-place on Mantis, in my opinion. It’s a free download, so check it out!

Here is a post from the bands blog about the recording of “Wellwishers”

Click Here to download “Wellwishers”

Or you can click on this nifty widget:

Umphrey’s McGee’s current list of fall tour dates is as follows:
Wednesday, October 6 Arcata Theatre Arcata CA
Thursday, October 7 McDonald Theatre Eugene OR
Friday, October 8 The Showbox Seattle WA with S2 EVENT
Saturday, October 9 The Wilma Theatre Missoula MT
Thursday, October 21 Mr. Smalls Theatre Millvale PA
Friday, October 22 Kalamazoo State Theatre Kalamazoo MI
Saturday, October 23 House of Blues – Cleveland Cleveland OH
Sunday, October 24 Bluebird Nightclub Bloomington IN
Wednesday, October 27 People’s Court Des Moines IA
Thursday, October 28 – Friday, October 29 Canopy Club Urbana IL
Saturday, October 30 – Sunday, October 31 The Pageant St. Louis MO
Wednesday, November 3 – Thursday, November 4 Higher Ground Ballroom South Burlington VT
Friday, November 5 – Saturday, November 6 9:30 Club Washington D.C.
Tuesday, November 9 Jefferson Theater Charlottesville VA
Wednesday, November 10 Legends at Appalachian State University Boone NC
Thursday, November 11 – Friday, November 12 Bear Creek Music & Art Fest Live Oak, FL
Wednesday, December 29, Thursday, December 30, and Friday, December 31 Riviera Theatre Chicago IL
Thursday, January 20 – Monday, January 24 Mayan Holidaze Puerto Morelos MEX

Click Here to visit umphreys.com

Upcoming Show: Umphrey’s McGee in Iowa City on 3/10/10 at IMU Ballroom

Umphrey's McGee Live at The Capitol Theatre 7-16-09
A little bit of New Year’s Umphrey’s McGee news is bestowed upon us as they announced new March 2010 tour dates which include stops in Madison, Iowa City and a three-night run in Minneapolis!

As Umphrey’s McGee is ostensibly a Chicago-based band you might imagine that they have played these cities frequently over the years and as such they have built a very strong fanbase in each of these towns. This is also bolstered due to the strong college populations in each of these towns. The Minneapolis multi-night run seems to be a recurring theme, and when I saw my first show last January it was at the beginning of a three night run as well. A lot of the great people I talked to at the show were going to hit all three nights as part of a package that also included a meet-and-greet with the band and a limited edition poster of the shows.

Tickets for the shows will pre-sale on January 5th with general sale on January 9th. As part of the announcement of the March tour dates, they also announced that they will be giving away tickets for shows through their Facebook fanpage. A week before any of the shows they will give away a ticket at random to a fan who has responded to the Facebook event for that show as “attending” and they will be able to bring a friend who must also have responded as “attending” or “maybe.” This is cool for them to do, but if you are a big enough fan you likely didn’t wait until the last week before the show to get tickets, so I don’t know how that works in reality unless you can get someone to buy the ticket you paid for. Maybe I’m missing something– feel free to explain.

The dates (from umphreys.com)

Wed, Mar 10th, 2010
Iowa Memorial Union Ballroom

125 North Madison Street – University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
– show: 8:00 pm
– tickets will go on sale via pre-sale through Umphrey’s Ticketing on January 5, 2010; general on sale will be January 9

Thu, Mar 11th, 2010
Orpheum Theatre

216 State Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53703-2215
608.255.8755
– tickets will go on sale via pre-sale through Umphrey’s Ticketing on January 5, 2010; general on sale will be January 9

Fri, Mar 12th, 2010
First Avenue

701 1st Avenue North , Minneapolis, Minnesota
612.332.1775
– tickets will go on sale via pre-sale through Umphrey’s Ticketing on January 5, 2010; general on sale will be January 9

Sat, Mar 13th, 2010
First Avenue

701 1st Avenue North , Minneapolis, Minnesota
612.332.1775
– tickets will go on sale via pre-sale through Umphrey’s Ticketing on January 5, 2010; general on sale will be January 9

Sun, Mar 14th, 2010
First Avenue

701 1st Avenue North , Minneapolis, Minnesota
612.332.1775
– tickets will go on sale via pre-sale through Umphrey’s Ticketing on January 5, 2010; general on sale will be January 9

Upcoming Show: Lotus Announces Winter 2010 Shows with a Stop at the Cap in Davenport

Although the band Lotus is one of the new additions to the SCIFidelity stable of bands, their label debut Hammerstrike in 2008 was actually their seventh release since their formation in 2002 in Goshen, Indiana at Goshen College (according to their Wikipedia article). With the label switch, Hammerstrike proved to be a refining and commitment to the more instrumental and unique sound that Lotus had started to drift towards in 2006 with The Strength of Weak Ties. If Umphrey’s McGee is a jamband with Prog Rock leanings, Lotus is a jamband with Post Rock leanings.

After Hammerstrike, the band continued their regimine of extensive touring pausing only to revisit some tracks for the album that either weren’t completed or the band didn’t feel fit. These tracks were completed and collected into two EP’s released in October– Oil on Glass and Feather on Wood. In addition to the eight new songs, they include three remixes of tracks from Hammerstrike.

Lotus just announced a run of dates in February 2010 which includes two nights in Madison at the Majestic and Davenport at the wonderful Capitol Theatre. I saw Umphrey’s McGee in July at the Capitol and was really impressed with it– a nice old theatre with beautiful ceilings and a balcony.

Click Here to visit Lotus’s Website which includes tourdate updates and news.

Click Here to listen to live shows on archive.org

Click Here to listen to “Simian” from Oil on Glass live at The Town Hall in Buffalo, NY on 10/30/09

Winter 2010 Tour Dates (from lotusvibes.com)

  • Fri Feb 12, 2010 The National Richmond, VA

    Time: Doors: 8:00pm, Show: 9:00pm
    Address: 708 E Broad Street
    Web: http://www.thenationalva.com
    Ages: All Ages
    Price: $16 adv, $19 dos
    Buy Tickets Online
    With: Toubab Krewe
    Additional Info: On Sale NOW!

    Details

  • Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:30 Club Washington, DC

    Time: Doors: 8:00pm, Show: 9:00pm
    Address: 815 V Street NW
    Web: http://www.930.com
    Ages: All Ages
    Price: $17 adv/dos
    Buy Tickets Online
    With: Toubab Krewe
    Additional Info: On Sale NOW!

    Details

  • Sun Feb 14, 2010 Sherman Theater Stroudsburg, PA

    Time: Doors: 8:00pm, Show: 9:00pm
    Address: 524 Main Street
    Web: http://www.shermantheater.com
    Ages: All Ages
    Price: $20 adv/dos
    Buy Tickets Online
    With: none
    Additional Info: On Sale NOW!

    Details

  • Wed Feb 17, 2010 Newport Music Hall Columbus, OH

    Time: Doors: 7:00pm, Show: 8:00pm
    Address: 1722 N High Street
    Web: http://www.promowestlive.com
    Ages: All Ages
    Price: $15 adv, $17 dos
    Buy Tickets Online
    With: none
    Additional Info: On Sale NOW!

    Details

  • Thu Feb 18, 2010 The Vogue Indianapolis, IN

    Time: Doors: 7:00pm, Show: 8:00pm
    Address: 6259 N College Avenue
    Web: http://www.thevogue.com
    Ages: 21+
    Price: $12 adv, $14 dos
    Buy Tickets Online
    With: none
    Additional Info: On Sale NOW!

    Details

  • Fri Feb 19, 2010 Majestic Theatre Madison, WI

    Time: Doors: 8:30pm, Show: 9:30pm
    Address: 115 King Street
    Web: http://www.majesticmadison.com
    Ages: All Ages
    Price: $16 adv, $18 dos
    Buy Tickets Online
    With: none
    Additional Info: Limited Two-Night Tix available – On Sale NOW!

    Details

  • Sat Feb 20, 2010 Majestic Theatre Madison, WI

    Time: Doors: 8:30pm, Show: 9:30pm
    Address: 115 King Street
    Web: http://www.majesticmadison.com
    Ages: All Ages
    Price: $16 adv, $18 dos
    Buy Tickets Online
    With: none
    Additional Info: Limited Two-Night Tix available – On Sale NOW!

    Details

  • Sun Feb 21, 2010 Schubas Chicago, IL

    Time: Doors: 6:00pm, Lotus: 6:30pm
    Address: 3159 N Southport
    Web: http://www.schubas.com
    Ages: All Ages
    Price: $22.50 adv
    Buy Tickets Online
    With: none
    Additional Info: On Sale Fri 12/18 at 10am – 2 ticket limit – 100% non-transferable will-call On-line sales only

    Details

  • Mon Feb 22, 2010 Schubas Chicago, IL

    Time: Doors: 7:30pm, Music: 8:00pm
    Address: 3159 N Southport
    Web: http://www.schubas.com
    Ages: 18+
    Price: $22.50 adv
    Buy Tickets Online
    With: none
    Additional Info: On Sale Fri 12/18 at 10am – 2 ticket limit – 100% non-transferable will-call On-line sales only

    Details

  • Tue Feb 23, 2010 Mercy Lounge Nashville, TN

    Time: Doors: 8:00pm, Show: 9:00pm
    Address: One Cannery Row
    Web: http://www.mercylounge.com
    Ages: 18+
    Price: $12 adv, $15 dos
    Buy Tickets Online
    With: none
    Additional Info: On Sale NOW!

    Details

  • Wed Feb 24, 2010 The Capitol Theatre Davenport, IA

    Time: Doors: 7:00pm, Show: 8:00pm
    Address: 311 Ripley Street
    Web: http://www.thecapdavenport.com
    Ages: All Ages
    Price: $15 adv, $18 dos
    Buy Tickets Online
    With: none
    Additional Info: On Sale NOW!

    Details

  • Thu Feb 25, 2010 Royal Oak Music Theatre Royal Oak (Detroit), MI

    Time: Doors: 8:00pm, Show: 9:00pm
    Address: 318 W Fourth Street
    Web: http://www.royaloakmusictheatre.com
    Ages: All Ages
    Price: $15 adv, $18 dos
    Buy Tickets Online
    With: none
    Additional Info: Tickets on sale 1/8 at 5pm

    Details

  • Fri Feb 26, 2010 Water Street Music Hall Rochester, NY

    Time: Doors: 8:00pm, Show: 9:00pm
    Address: 204 N Water Street
    Web: http://www.waterstreetmusic.com
    Ages: 16+
    Price: $15 adv, $17 dos
    Buy Tickets Online
    With: none
    Additional Info: Tickets on sale 12/19 at 10am

    Details

  • Sat Feb 27, 2010 Opera House Toronto, ON

    Time: Doors: 8:00pm, Show: 9:00pm
    Address: 735 Queen Street East
    Web: http://www.theoperahousetoronto.com
    Ages: All Ages
    Price: $18.50 adv, $20 dos (CDN)
    Buy Tickets Online
    With: none
    Additional Info: On Sale NOW!

    Details

  • Free Download : Umphrey’s McGee Live 3-13-09 at Murat in New mp3HD Format

    Umphrey’s McGee is a band that embraces technology. This is one of the things that really impresses me about the band. You can download every show within days of the performance at umlive.com in mp3 and FLAC formats with cover art, you can purchase a CD of the show at the show if you prefer. They have done subscription simulcast video over the internet, they twitter, they Facebook, they MySpace, they blog. They support taping and they have a very extensive archive of live shows on archive.org. Not to mention the bonus material afforded to the purchasers of Mantis via Push!

    As a result there is a lot of content readily available from the band. Even before a potential new fan would need to purchase anything they can get a pretty good sampling.

    In April Umphrey’s McGee partnered with Thomson and Fraunhofer– the owners and developers (and licensors) of the CODEC used for creating mp3 files– to provide part of their 3/13/09 performance at the Murat Egyptian Theatre in Indianapolis in the new MP3HD format.

    MP3HD is an attempt to provide a compressed, yet lossless file format (think a .WAV file) while maintaining the ubiquitous compatibility with mp3-capable software and mp3 players. This is achieved by providing mp3 compressed data along with the lossless data inside the file. This makes the mp3 player think it is playing a regular mp3 file, but devices and software that is mp3HD-compatible will be able to play the higher-fidelity lossless content. Even with the stacking of the file content they are able to achieve on average 4X compression over the uncompressed .WAV version. This is primarily because the mp3 portion tends to be very compressed. The Umphrey’s show has 128Kbps mp3’s, which by most people’s standards is pretty lossy bitrate. Amazon.com provides mostly 256Kbps or in some cases 192Kbps mp3 from their store for example.

    Certainly one might question the need for MP3HD. Anyone who has been dealing with lossless music files over the years have been using FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Compression) to do their bidding, and FLAC is free– that is no one is paying to provide that support– all software and hardware that is able to play mp3’s today should be paying licenses to Thomson.  Both Microsoft and Apple provide their own version of lossless compressed files, too– Apple’s ALAC, and Microsoft’s WMA Lossless. But, as you might imagine, neither of those formats are supported directly on the other’s media players, and neither player supports FLAC.

    As a result, if I want to have the lossless versions of Umphrey’s McGee shows, for example, I would download the FLAC files, and either burn them to a CD if that was my medium of choice (my CD burning software support FLAC) or I would have to convert them to mp3 using a utility or extract to WAV and convert with iTunes or Windows Media Player. (Note: There are other ways to achieve this but I’m not interested in providing a primer on making mp3 files here) I can then put these on my media player of choice. This is a lot of messing around to get to the final result and most people aren’t interested in doing all of that work so they will just stick to mp3’s. The other issue here is that I end up having to manage two or more copies of the music. The lossless version in addition to the one that is the copy of the mp3’s for my media player.

    I don’t mind juggling the files around as I’m pretty used to it by now, but the ability to only have one file that has both compressed and lossless is very appealing to me. I don’t like 128Kbps mp3’s, however, and I don’t have any devices that can play mp3HD so I have to convert them anyway to get a higher bitrate. I looked at the tools provided by all4mp3 and it appears that one can choose a higher bitrate for the mp3 data– of course this would be at a sacrifice of the 4X compression.

    So, we’ll see if this takes off I guess. I think ultimately this is the right idea, but there is a lot of consternation surrounding the licensing. I would rather that Apple just added FLAC support to the iPod/iPhone/iTunes, really. (Another solution would be the open source project Rockbox can be installed on an iPod providing FLAC support which isn’t a solution for most iPod owners).

    Getting back to the Umphrey’s show, it is a pretty good performance. The Murat is a very friendly location for the band to play– and they say so during this show. It also explains why they chose The Murat for their live album. The songs shared make up most of the second set and the encore from the 3/13 show. Looking at the setlist database at umphreys.com it looks like they edited out the “Another Brick in the Wall”/”Thriller” mashup second set closer, which is probably due to licensing the song. The Jimmy Stewart from this set is a vocal Jimmy that is pretty good, too. (A “Jimmy Stewart” in the band parlance is an improvisational performance).

    Click Here to download the Umphrey’s McGee 3/13/09 Murat Show in mp3HD at all4mp3.com

    Click Here for Umphrey’s McGee’s website

    Umphrey’s McGee Mantis Countdown to Release

    Mantis Deluxe Boxes

    As the rest of the world anxiously counts down to the swearing in of a new President and the promise that brings, a small percentage of the world is also watching the countdown clock to Midnight tonight for the release of Umphrey’s McGee’s new album Mantis— at least the digital version available for download to everyone who pre-ordered it. The download was offered to all who pre-ordered so that even if the US Mail failed to deliver the physical orders, everyone could listen to it tomorrow in some fashion.

    The pre-order for Mantis kicked off on October 27th and ran until December 6th at Midnight and– based on the amount of orders received– 9 “Levels” of exclusive bonus content would be made available to everyone who pre-ordered. This is in addition to the bonus material that will be made available using the CD as a key after the release to everyone who buys one!

    The pre-order came in two flavors– a Deluxe Boxset and a regular CD order. Both flavors would have access to the pre-order bonus material, but the Deluxe Boxset– which was limited to 500 initially, and expanded to 1000 when the first 500 sold out quickly– was going to include an audiophile 180g pressing of Mantis and a DVD of video content including the 10-year documentary “UM10” the band put together for their NYE 2008 shows, plus some other goodies from their online store and some other things they picked all housed in a box the band signed. The CD was $20, but the Deluxe Box was $50. Frankly, the box is the better deal if only because of the vinyl and the DVD, but the “personal” stuff the band threw in would really make this a collector’s dream. Of course, there were people bemoaning the “devaluation” of their copies with the additional 500. It’s still very rare, so it will be valuable either way, if that is the concern. Whatever, I’m opening mine and playing the record.

    From a logistics standpoint getting these packages to everyone who ordered was a feat in itself. The band and their assistance would have had to work backwards from the release date (tomorrow) and take in to consideration where in the world these packages had to go. Adding to that was the fact that today is a government holiday in the US, so no deliveries would happen today.

    Mantis Order Shipping

    Of course, this caused some folks to get their orders early– which was a source of much consternation on the umphreaks board, but allowed us to hear what goodies were in the boxes! Based on the “I JUST GOT MY MANTIS IN THE MAIL!!!!!” thread on the board (aka “The Bort”) people are getting

    • Mantis CD
    • guitar picks from the band
    • a guitar string that was used at a show from last year that has a tag with the date played.
    • a recipe from a member of the band: so far we’ve seen a Ryan Stasik baked brie, and a smoked rib from Andy Farag. Both sound fantastic, frankly.
    • a “Mantis” poster (folded, sadly– I’ll have to see if I can order a rolled one)
    • “UM10” DVD
    • A letter signed by the band.
    • A photocopy of a set list construction “worksheet.” This is generally handwritten and shows how the band goes through working on their setlists complete with crossing out songs.
    • The 180g vinyl version of Mantis.
    • Two “Mantis” postcards.
    • Tootsie Rolls
    • One set of “Mantis” iPod skins for Nano or Classic (no iPhone or Touch, unfortunately).

    Talk about a labor of love! Keep in mind there is also all of the pre-order bonus material and whatever they unlock beyond that!

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a gesture this big from a band to its fans. I’ve only been a fan of UM in the last year, and there are a lot of reasons that I like what this band is up to– a lot of it has to do with their approach to their music and the fact that they are as much fans of music as they are musicians. The fact that they have a very good grip on using their fanbase and the Internet as a way to promote what they’re doing and making the extra effort to make something like an album release special, is pretty great, too. Many bands could take a page from this band’s playbook. Of course it helps to have a rabid fanbase that would support this kind of effort.

    Bort member Tim Hara had provided some great pictures of the band signing the Deluxe Boxes to the board. He very graciously allowed me to re-post the pictures here.

    Umphrey's McGee Signing Mantis Deluxe Boxes

    Umphrey's McGee Signs the Mantis Deluxe Boxes

    Umphrey's McGee Signs the Mantis Deluxe Boxes

    The band also is doing an eBay auction to benefit their favorite charity UStorm. The cover art was designed by Mark Blanchette who surprisingly creates his montage photographs the old school dodge and burn method. There is a very informative posting on the band’s blog here. As a result he is able to control the serialization of his work to ten copies. The eBay auction is for one of those 10 prints framed along with a sheet with the band’s autographs.

    I was one of the lucky few who got in on the second 500 Deluxe sets, so I’m anxiously awaiting the deliver of it– to eat the spoils of victory (the Tootsie Rolls) while dropping the needle on the vinyl version of Mantis!

    Click Here to view other pictures Tim Hara took of the signing. Thanks Tim!

    Stay tuned for “Sexy Unboxing Pictures” of my boxset to come.

    Free Download: Umphrey’s McGee’s Christmas Gift EP

    Hot off the heels of the Umphrey’s Holidaze Cruise to Jamaica and all rested up for the upcoming NYE run, the boys of Umphrey’s McGee were feeling generous in the spirit of the season and have decided to give away a free holiday 3-song EP of never-before released material spanning the holiday shows from the past few years.

    Downloading the EP requires that you have a UMLive account– which you would have if you are participating in the Mantis pre-orders or have ever ordered any shows from the band. Either way, if you don’t have one it is pretty painless and worth it.

    Tracklisting:

    1. Greensleeves > Carol of the Bells (4:18)
    2. Christmas Time is Here (2:44)
    3. Christmas Medley (1:51) (Jingle Bells > Deck the Halls > Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer (Dub Style) > Menard’s Theme)

    They don’t tell you which years these tracks are from, unfortunately. Maybe it will be more clear when we get the Acoustic Christmas tracks in the Mantis bonuses. I about fell out of my chair when they broke into the Menard’s commercial. Clearly they are from the Midwest, where the Menard’s commerials are part of the advertising din!

    Click on the banner above to sign up and download your free Christmas mp3’s from Umphrey’s McGee!

    Umphrey’s McGee Mantis Cover Art, Track List and another “leaked” track

    The UM camp released some more information about Mantis recently including a large version of the album artwork, the track listing, another track from the radio promo and some nifty wallpapers. From The Floor blog, we get the radio edit of “Spires” as well. Notably, the “Made to Measure” that the band made available to everyone who signed up for a UMLive account is the full version of the track at 3:12. If you want to hear “Preamble” it is the first song played in the player on the Mantis mini-site.

    Here is the tracklisting for Mantis:

    1. Made to Measure 3:12

    2. Preamble 0:36

    3. Mantis 11:49

    4. Cemetery Walk 7:30

    5. Cemetery Walk II 2:19

    6. Turn & Run 7:25

    7. Spires 7:41

    8. Prophecy Now 2:47

    9. Red Tape 5:43

    10. 1348 4:49

    Total Running Time : 54:04

    In case anyone was worried that Mantis was going to be some exploration in radio-friendly pop music based on “Made to Measure,” check out the track times. There are four songs over seven minutes, and one song clocks in at 11:49! So, while this may be an album representing a change in the band, they aren’t eschewing extended workouts from their catalog.

    Click Here to Download the Radio Edit of “Spires”

    Click Here to go to the Mantis mini-site and pre-order the album, and download some nifty wallpapers.

    “Again with the Mantis and the Madness?” More Mantis Updates

    Developments in the Umphrey’s McGee camp as it applies to the release of Mantis are keeping me pretty busy here. Mostly this is because I’m one of the folks who has invested in the pre-order of the album, so I’m eagerly awaiting any surprise freebies, downloads, etc. While the pre-order crowd waits for the stalled progress bar on the Mantis page to move to unlocking Level 7 and exposing the promise of Level 8 with baited breath, other events have transpired this week.

    It seems that promos have been sent to radio stations who are “crunchy friendly” or would play Umphrey’s McGee in their rotation. This promo CD has radio edits of three songs apparently– the already-shared “Made to Measure” which is now freely available to anyone who clicks on the link on the page and signs up for a UMLive account, “Cemetery Walk” which is currently on the band blog complete with a posting talking about the development of the song which started back in 2007, and another track called “Spires” which was apparently aired on a couple of radio stations already.

    Click Here to download “Cemetery Walk” (This is the obscured link on the blog page player– so if they take this down, this link won’t work).

    In addition to all of this, Thursday this week (12/4) is when the pre-order folks will be able to download “Level 1” of the pre-order bonus material, which has some really cool stuff in it including four tracks of their 2005 Acoustic Christmas Benefit Show. More on that when I get to download that on Thursday.

    Stay tuned!

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