Three weeks prior to the April 24 release of his debut album Blunderbuss (Third Man Records/Columbia), Third Man Records has premiered the as yet unreleased Jack White album track “Freedom at 21″ exclusively via 1000 flexi-disc records attached to helium balloons launched from the label headquarters in Nashville on April 1st, 2012: http://youtu.be/szoIcNykCc0
Envisioned as an experiment exploring non-traditional forms of record distribution and a way to get records in the hands of people who don’t visit record shops, the label was sure to use biodegradable latex balloons and all-natural twine in the process.
Accompanying the balloons were custom postcards with instructions for the finders to submit photos, discovery location and the date on which the record was found, all of which will be incorporated into a website where fans can access the information at http://thirdmanrecords.com/balloon
Statistics for similar balloon launches show a recovery rate of approximately 10% so it’s quite possible that less than 100 of the 1000 records launched will ever be discovered. Whatever the numbers, the “Freedom at 21″ flexi-disc will surely be a highly sought-after collectible for years to come.
Next up, a veritable onslaught of TMR Record Store Day releases marking the April 21 occasion as seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qtOtNKHbBNY:
JACK WHITE: “SIXTEEN SALTINES” – The12-inch single of Jack White’s “Sixteen Saltines” features a George Ingram-designed playable etching of the iconic Third Man logo on its B-side (Jack’s cover of U2′s “Love is Blindness”). The grooves of the record play through the image, making it the world’s first-ever playable etched record ®.
But there’s a more… a limited-edition version of the “Sixteen Saltines” 12-inch, also featuring the playable etching, is pressed on clear vinyl–and filled with psychedelic blue liquid. The liquid-filled “Saltines” is the first-ever disc of its kind to be made available to the public.
KAREN ELSON: “MILK AND HONEY” – The new single from Karen Elson, a cover of Jackson C. Frank’s “Milk and Honey,” is pressed on milk and honey split-colored vinyl, and also available in a limited edition with a laser-cut lace sleeve. The visual these two elements make when combined together is simply stunning.
THE WHITE STRIPES: “HAND SPRINGS” B/W “RED DEATH AT 6:14″ – Third Man will release a red vinyl with black wisps edition of the White Stripes “Hand Springs” and “Red Death at 6:14″, two songs that have been out of print on vinyl for over ten years.
JERRY LEE LEWIS: LIVE AT THIRD MAN – The CD/LP release of Jerry Lee Lewis’ Record Store Day 2011 live performance at Third Man will be available at ANY record store wise enough to have ordered copies for Record Store Day.
The liquid-filled “Sixteen Saltines” and laser-cut lace split-color “Milk And Honey” will ONLY be available from Third Man Records physical location in Nashville (623 7th Ave S) on Record Store Day, April 21st, 2012. The playable etching will also be available from Third Man and a select number of record stores.
Finally, reports of Third Man pressing up the first ever 3 RPM record can be confirmed: Guests at Third Man’s March 8 third anniversary gala were not only treated to a once in a lifetime evening of culinary delights and custom tailored libations, a surprise live performance by Jack White, an opening set by Hell Beach and Greg Cartwright on the wheels of steel… Every guest in attendance left with a 3 RPM LP containing every Blue Series single Third Man has released. The world’s first 3 RPM record is a study in contradictions: Cut at the slowest speed yet playing faster than any other LP, a compilation of 7 inch records packaged like a 12 inch–but in a 12 inch sleeve made, like TMR’s 7 inch sleeves, of one continuous piece of paper folded in half and put into an acetate sleeve, easy to play but impossible to hear, given away from yet impossible to find… You get the idea. Or if you don’t: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bipMmoHCaZw