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Posted March 15, 2021 by Jeff in Tunes
 
 

Vitreous Humor’s Debut Arriving on Vinyl for First Time Ever

Vitreous Humor
Vitreous Humor

A remastered version of Vitreous Humor’s sole full-length album Posthumous arrives on May 7 via Ernest Jenning Record Co. The release marks the cult classic album’s first appearance on vinyl and features two additional tracks not found on the CD version. 

Remastered by Bob Weston, the spunky first single, “Why Are You So Mean to Me?,” is available to stream now.

Formed in 1989 in Topeka, Kansas, Vitreous Humor was best known as the flagship band on the Crank! record label out of Santa Monica, California. During their time with the lablel, the band released two 7-inch records, one EP, and, after their dissolution, one full-length album of singles, demos, and live tracks.

Vitreous Humor shared stages with bands such as Archers of Loaf, Urge Overkill, Everclear and the Get Up Kids, and their songs have been covered by bands such as the Get Up Kids and Nada Surf. The band is often spoken of as one of the progenitors of the “emo” movement, but their style and sound never fit neatly into any category, evolving from melodic, guitar heavy indie-rock/pop to a “more dissonant and angular” sound.

“It has been a common practice of record companies to dig around for scraps in the vaults of their top-selling artists after the artist or band has broken up, moved to another label, or passed on, and to issue albums of these scraps in an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of said artist/band,” says singer-guitarist Danny Pound in a statement. “Think of Led Zeppelin’s Coda, or that awful Dylan album with his hackneyed versions of ‘Mr. Bojangles’ and ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ (I enjoyed both of them, myself, despite the shoddiness of the material within).”

Though VH split up in early spring of 1996, the original three members (Brad Allen, Dan Benson, Danny Pound) re-formed later in the summer as the Regrets, and by the end of 1996 had recorded their new full-length LP for Crank! with the legendary Bob Weston.

So why an album full of demos, live cuts and singles from a barely known, hardly mourned band whose members had moved on?

“Good question!” says Pound. “The answer, I believe, is that I myself wished to have that material heard, and I must have lobbied for such a compilation to be released. It is also possible that for Jeff Matlow, founder and head of Crank! records, having the much ballyhooed ‘Why Are You So Mean to Me?’ issued in any format was desirable. But ever since I started writing and playing and singing at age 10, I have been a ‘collector’ of cassettes containing songs and sounds that I made with friends or alone, and have always enjoyed making collages of material comprised of stuff from disparate sources, so the notion of an album of ‘cut-ups’ of scraps of material from VH’s recent past was exciting to me (what a weirdo, huh?).”

“My Midget” had only been released as the A-Side to the band’s Mute America 7-inch, and songs such as “Speaking Tube” and “Foster Oregon” only existed as demos.

“There was also what I considered the best example of powerhouse Vitreous Humor to ever make it to tape in ‘Our Lady of the Highways,’ recorded live at Granada Theater in Lawrence, Kansas at the last ever Vitreous Humor show in February, 1996,” says Pound. “With those cuts seeing release I felt a little better about the recorded legacy of Vitreous Humor. Still, things felt incomplete.”

After Tom Mullen of the Washed Up Emo podcast invited Pound to do an interview, it immediately drummed interest in VH. Old friend Nick Gordon put the band in touch with his friend Pete D’Angelo who seems to love “Posthumous” as much as the band does. Thanks to Pete and Ernest Jenning, you can hear it now in all its jump-cut glory.

“We’ve augmented this re-issue by adding on ‘New Victoria Theatre,’ the long lost B-Side to the Mute America ‘My Midget’ 7-inch,” says Pound. “And for good measure we have included ‘The Whisper Twins,’ previously only heard on Crank! records Don’t Forget to Breathe comp back in 1998. We asked our old friend Bob Weston to handle the job of remastering, so it all sounds shiny, fresh, alive. All that’s missing is…well, I’ve got roughly 100 hours of tapes hidden away in my closet!”


Jeff

 
Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at jeff@whopperjaw.net.