KILLER sound for this original Apple pressing with both sides earning nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades; only the second copy to ever hit the site!
Both of these sides are rich, full-bodied and Tubey Magical yet still super clean and clear; the bass is right on the money and the energy level is off the charts
“… boasting old-fashioned rockers, catchy pop tunes, and acoustic ballads… the heart of the album lies in Ham’s work.. He proves that songcraft is what separates great power-pop from good, and it’s what makes No Dice a superb pop record.” – All Music, 4 1/2 Stars
KILLER sound throughout with both sides earning shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades
Both sides here are clean, clear, full-bodied and spacious with a huge bottom end and lots of big rock energy
“Underneath the gloss, there are a number of songs that rank among Cheap Trick’s finest, particularly the paranoid title track… … it would later feel like one of the group’s last high-water marks.” – All Music, 4 1/2 Stars
One of the very best copies we’ve ever heard! Both sides earned top honors in our shootout, with side one even surpassing our reference copy to earn a “Four Plus”A++++grade. It goes far beyond anything we’ve heard before.
Out of the thousands of Hot Stampers we’ve listed over the years, less than twenty have earned Four Pluses. That alone makes this a very special copy indeed.(more…)
The best sides have the kind of PRESENCE in the midrange that most copies can’t begin to reproduce. The sound on the right pressings just JUMPS out of the speakers, which is exactly what the best copies are supposed to (but rarely) do. (more…)
This relatively quiet WHITE HOT STAMPER Straight Up is KILLER, with a A++ side one and an A+++ side two — you can’t do much better than that! Side two has Master Tape Sound, the kind that we like to call AGAIG — As Good As It Gets. Both sides have the kind of PRESENCE in the midrange that most copies can’t begin to compete with. The sound here just JUMPS out of the speakers, which is exactly what the best copies of the album are supposed to (but rarely) do. For fans of the band — and Power Pop in general — this is the Straight Up you have been waiting for!
Our last shootout was in 2007, not because we don’t like the record or have customers for it; rather it’s the fact that clean copies of the album just aren’t out there in the bins the way they used to be. Two or three a year is all we can find, and that’s with hitting the stores every week.
2007 vs 2010
In 2007 we wrote: “Having played more than half a dozen copies of this record during the shootout I can tell you that the most common problem with Straight Up is grainy, gritty sound. Most copies of this record are painfully aggressive and transistory.”(more…)
This KILLER copy boasts Double Plus sound (A++) on both sides of this brilliant early Apple pressing with some of the quietest vinyl we have heard in a long while
Clean, clear and dynamic with tons of space and transparency, this is the way to hear this band’s masterpiece
The sound here just JUMPS out of the speakers, which is exactly what the best copies of the album are supposed to (but rarely) do
4 1/2 stars: “This fine songwriting, combined with sharp performances and exquisite studio craft, make Straight Up one of the cornerstones of power-pop, a record that proved that it was possible to make classic guitar-pop after its golden era had passed.”
For fans of the band — and Power Pop in general — this is the Straight Up you have been waiting for!
We rarely do shootouts for this album, not because we don’t like the record or have enough customers for it; rather it’s the fact that clean copies of the album just aren’t out there in the bins the way they used to be. Two or three a year is all we can find, and that’s with hitting the stores every week. Subtract the noisy and groove-damaged ones and you don’t have much to work with until years have gone by.(more…)
Off the charts “Triple Triple” (A+++) sound for this classic Cheap Trick Live album, this copy will be impossible to beat
Like most live albums the sound won’t win awards, but this original is doing pretty much everything right, with deep bass, less distortion, and plenty of LIVE ROCK ENERGY
We’ve tried a number of Cheap Trick albums over the years, but this is the only one that cuts it for us both sonically and musically
“With their ear-shatteringly loud guitars and sweet melodies, Cheap Trick unwittingly paved the way for much of the hard rock of the next decade, as well as a surprising amount of alternative rock of the 1990s, and it was At Budokan that captured the band in all of its power.”
The first pressings of this record come with an OBI strip and a Japanese style lyric and photo booklet, giving the impression that this is a Japanese pressing. But it’s clearly domestic, so kudos have to go to Epic Records for doing a wonderful imitation of the import that would fool practically any record collector.