What's Not Good About intheclouds' 12 Lathes of Christmas

On Monday, intheclouds Records announced the 12 Lathes of Christmas. In which twelve releases would get a limited release with a count based on the day number in which it would be available. This is possible through label-head Dan Marter’s vinyl cutting lathe, a machine that cuts vinyl records one by one.

I’ve talked to Dan about this lathe several times and we both agreed before he traveled the world to get it that it was a cool idea. Now that the lathe is being put to use, I’m starting to notice the problems from a consumer standpoint and it’s leaving a sour taste in my mouth.

The idea is fun. For the first 12 days of December, the label will put up for sale records in extreme limited number. For example, on the first day, HOWWEMAKEMISTAKES (solo project of Athletics and Ghost House’s Howie Cohen) will get just one copy made. Just one. On the second day, a Control 7" will get 2 copies made, and so on.

There are a lot of problems here, but I’ll stick to the obvious. < 12 copies of each of these releases will be made. That means that The Receiving End of Sirens fans (of which there are a great number) will have to beat the button to get one of 12 copies of the Weightless Underwater 7". That’s insane.

Once these are done, they’re done. You missed it? That sucks. Set your eBay alerts and move on with your life. Maybe you’ll be able to grab it for $60 someday in a bidding war.

When these go online, it’ll be a matter of moments before they are gone. In my case, I foresee myself at work when day 11’s release becomes available. I don’t have a desk job. I won’t be able to get it if that’s the case. If I miss out on Squid The Whale’s first EP with Bradley Walden, I’m not going be thinking “Shucks, coulda woulda shoulda…” I’m going to be angry with Intheclouds for offering such a personally important record in such a ridiculously limited number. I’m also going to remember that forever. I’m not alone.

Squid The Whale was a well-loved band with a relatively small fan-base. Nothing like the scale of fans TREOS garnered in their years together and after. With the press this campaign hasgarnered, I don’t look at day 12’s release as /12 (record-out-of-twelve). I see it as the number of disappointed fans out-of-possible-hundreds. And while their marketing person might see bad press as good press, I certainly don’t. Being remembered for delivering a quality product is better than being remembered for teasing a quality product, which is the case for everyone after the first dozen purchase forms are filled.

I love this label. I have a vast majority of their releases and used to work for Dan at some capacity. I love his drive and creative endeavors. Those qualities make intheclouds THE coolest label in vinyl production. That doesn’t make this campaign cool, however. I think the negatives outweigh the positives on this one.

Releases, by day and count.

/1 - HOWWEMAKEMISTAKES - This Time Last Night 7"

/2 - Control - Live Together, Die Alone 7"

/3 - Why Bother? - Still Not That Great 10"

/4 - KEYES - Wandermere 10"

/5 - Nomads - Sunset on the Range / Walking By Lamplight 7"

/6 - Ghost Parade - Foundation

/7 - Hidden Hospitals - Controlled Chaos / CC VL RMX 7"

/8 - NGHBRS - Golden Age / Small Talk 7"

/9 - The Black and The White - Futures EP 12"

/10 - Happy Body Slow Brain - Live EP 12"

/11 - Squid the Whale - new war. 7"

/12 - Receiving End of Sirens - Weightless Underwater 7"