VINYL REVIEW: North By North – ‘Something Wicked’

north by north

Artist: North By North
Album: Something Wicked
Original Release Date: 11/16/13

I stumbled across Chicago’s North By North on Bandcamp back in November as I was initially drawn in by their newest album’s excellent artwork, and luckily, their music was just as unique and enjoyable. Something Wicked boasts a whopping 18 raw garage jams with stellar production spanning various areas of blues and rock & roll that will certainly appeal to fans of Portugal. The Man, The White Stripes, and The Black Keys.

In addition to the digital download option that’s been available since the album’s initial release date, the band recently released Something Wicked on limited edition vinyl and we’re happy to have a copy to give you the details on.


Pressing Info

This is the first pressing of North By North’s Something Wicked that originally released on November 16 of last year. The album is limited to only 250 copies and is pressed on two mint green, 160-gram discs with each disc containing its own exclusive artwork which when put together forms one long gatefold-like image. The album is priced at a reasonable $20 in the US with an additional $3 for shipping. Something Wicked can be purchased at North By North’s Bandcamp.


Packaging & Presentation

The band could have easily chosen to go with a standard double LP gatefold for the packaging but they chose a more unique option in releasing the album’s two discs in their own separate jackets. I’d imagine some to consider this unnecessary but I really do like the fact that you can lay the two side by side to create the full cover image with title in tact. If it weren’t for Something Wicked‘s excellent artwork done by the band’s own guitarist/vocalist, Nate Girard, this easily could have been a lot less appealing, but the art style and vibrant colors really pop and draw your attention. Again, this is why I originally found myself drawn to the release. To accentuate the colors in the artwork, the band made the wise choice of going with a mint green variant for both discs which are slightly above a standard weight at 160 grams a piece and protected in standard, white paper, inner sleeves.

Neither jacket contains any sort of lyric or credits insert which seems to be a common inclusion these days and with some releases can definitely feel like a missing component, but with Something Wicked‘s presentation spanning two separate jackets it can be pretty easy to overlook their absence. No download card was included either but you receive an immediate download of all 18 tracks when you purchase the vinyl through their Bandcamp.


Sound Quality

The band’s brand of gritty garage jams might as well have been tailored specifically for this format. The entire release across both discs sounds exactly as it should; their style may be raw but the album’s quality is crystal clear. Like any rock & roll, Something Wicked begs to be blasted at high volumes and sounds better and better the higher you crank the knob…until you blow the speakers.


Wrap-Up

$23 (shipped) is a completely fair price for a double LP, especially one that’s a great listen from beginning to end. Even if the record wasn’t that good, there are plenty of people that would pay the price just to use this record as wall art. If you haven’t had the pleasure of discovering North By North before now, do yourself the favor of listening through their newest album, especially if you’re a fan of any of the bands mentioned earlier in this review. Something Wicked has been out for a few months now but the vinyl is fairly new and as it’s limited to only 250 copies, give it a listen then decide sooner than later if you want to pick up a physical copy before you lose the chance to. However, I truly feel that anyone that enjoys solid bluesy rock music will love this album and should certainly add it to their collection.

Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
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