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On April 17th, an eBay auction for a copy of Third Man’s balloon-launched “Freedom at 21” flexi-disc realized a price of $4238.88. As far as can be discerned, this is the highest price ever paid for a flexi-disc record, topping out usual benchmarks from obscure Japanese hardcore singles of the early 80’s and Beatles fan-club Christmas offerings. Of the 1000 balloons launched, only a handful have been discovered so far. This release will surely continue to rival such rarities as hand-painted Dead Weather singles, 3rpm LPs and Triple-Decker records as yet another in a long-line of collectible, investible, hard-to-find vinyl from the folks at Third Man Records.
NPR has produced an exclusive All Songs Considered featuring Jack in conversation with host Bob Boilen. As mutual fans of music and one another, the two sat down last month at the historical Driskill Hotel in Austin, TX, to discuss the creative process of recording Blunderbuss and the expectations surrounding his new songs. Watch the entire conversation at www.npr.org/music
thumbnail and photo credit: Loren Wohl for NPR
Starting this evening (9 pm BST/9 pm PT) fans will be able to stream Blunderbuss in its entirety on iTunes. Please note that start times may vary by a few hours depending on where you live. If you like what you hear, be sure topre-order your copy and get "Sixteen Saltines" immediately!
In celebration of the upcoming release of Blunderbuss on April 23/24, Jack will be performing a handful of intimate shows in Europe and America and to commemorate these events all attendees will receive the gift of an exclusive 18 x 24 inch poster designed by Rob Jones from a photograph by Jo McCaughey. On April 22 he'll be performing at La Cigale in Paris, tickets go on sale to the public tomorrow at 10 AM local time. The following night, April 23, finds Jack taking the stage at the HMV Forum in London, tickets go on sale to the public tomorrow at 9 AM local time.
A trip back across the pond and Jack takes over the iconic Webster Hall in New York City on Friday, April 27, a very special night as he kicks off the third year of the acclaimed livestream series "American Express Unstaged," in partnership with VEVO and Youtube. Directed by the legendary Gary Oldman, the show will be livestreamed at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT at www.youtube.com/JackWhiteVEVO and on mobile devices via VEVO and YouTube apps for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android. Tomorrow, April 17, a limited number of pre-sale tickets to this event will be available to Vault members at 9 AM ET and to American Express Cardmembers starting at 12 noon ET. Tickets go on sale to the public tomorrow at 3 pm ET.
The final intimate show during release week brings Jack to Los Angeles where he will perform at the Mayan Theater on April 30. A limited number of pre-sale tickets will also be available tomorrow to Vault members starting at 9 am PT, with tickets going on sale to the public tomorrow at 3 pm PT.
Meanwhile, following a stunning US TV appearance on Saturday Night Live in March, Jack will make his debut European TV appearances starting this week with a performance on the Harold Schmidt show in Germany on April 19. In France you can catch him on Concert Privé, which will air May 2 and Album de la Semaine on May 5. To win an invite to the filming of these shows this Friday, visit the L'Album de la Semaine Facebook page. Finally, in the UK fans can see Jack perform on Later With Jools Holland on Tuesday, April 24.
Directed by AG Rojas, the video for Jack White's “Sixteen Saltines” has premiered on VEVO and is a 180 degree turn from the previous “Love Interruption” video, eschewing that clip’s seductive palette for a magnification of the last frontier of urban wasteland and its dispossessed youth left to indulge any impulse. “Sixteen Saltines” seems to take place in a waking nightmare world outside of time or any kind of rule, a place you’d never want to live–but one you can’t stop visiting. In case you missed it, check it out...
The hits just keep on rolling with the 12th installment of Third Man’s Vault subscription series.
The 7” for this shipment features previously unreleased recordings by the Raconteurs from their Consolers of the Lonely sessions. “Open Your Eyes” b/w “You Make a Fool Out of Me” are two songs that would later be re-recorded and repurposed for Brendan Benson solo albums. “Fool” would appear on Benson’s 2009 release My Old Familiar Friend while “Open” is featured on his upcoming album What Kind of World under the title “Here in the Deadlights.” The versions on the 7” are not outtakes, demos, b-sides or anything of a cast-off nature. Rather, they are songs that just did not find a spot on the LP.
“’Open Your Eyes’ sounds like a hit. Seems like it could’ve been released as a single and I can’t remember why it didn’t make the album” – Jack White
For the LP component we’ve dug into our literal vault and dusted off Karen Elson’s live performance from Third Man on May 24th, 2010. That evening we celebrated the release of Elson’s debut LP The Ghost Who Walks and backed by her crack band. What was captured was a truly ethereal, vibrant recording that breathes a life into the songs that is wholly different from their studio versions.
Paired with the elegant recording of Karen Elson is an interactive record sleeve. The front cover depicts Elson in a field of peach with the striking image of her dress is die-cut. Coupled with a specially designed inner-sleeve, the listener can effectively play “dress-up” with four different looks for Elson, depending on the orientation of the sleeve. If that’s not enough, get rid of the sleeve completely and you can arrange the vinyl itself, pressed on split-color peach and black vinyl (or Eclipse Vinyl), to create a 100% unique dress design.
The bonus item for this Vault package is a DVD of the White Stripes titled Under New Zealand Lights. Made up of two different performances by the band on separate trips to the island nation, we find them performing at the King’s Arms in Auckland in November 2000. This is some of the earliest known footage of the White Stripes outside North America (it was their first international tour) and finds them confident and captivating before a unexpecting crowd.
Come October 2003 and the White Stripes were slightly more known but still in-front of a crowd they had to work considerably to win over. The audience was the student population of Freeman’s Bay Primary School. Jack and Meg provided a nice primer on American blues history and the kids seemed to enjoy themselves in this sweet, innocent performance that has been kept mostly under-wraps in the nine years since it took place.
Subscribe now as the we’ll stop accepting orders for this package on April 30th.
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.
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 www.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