Liner Notes: Chicago Versus Amsterdam

Phil Collins - July 3, 2017

Chicago cover    Amsterdam cover    Chicago record label    Amsterdam record label

Welcome to the fifth edition of Liner Notes, a feature in which I will talk about the production design, packaging, and process of buying a particular record. I am building a collection of vinyl. The look and feel of the record is important to me, otherwise I would be satisfied to have all my music solely in a digital format. People do not buy records because it is convenient. They take up a lot of space, they are fragile and they get dusty. Record collectors do not mind these drawbacks so much because of what we get in return: big artwork, full liner notes and the tangibility of vinyl.

Chicago Versus Amsterdam is a four way split between two bands from each city. Interestingly enough, this was put out by a record label in Van Nuys, California - Hopeless Records. They certainly picked their Chicago bands well - 88 Fingers Louie continue to be revered here and have a new album coming out this year. The Bollweevils have been popping up on shows a lot more lately. If you see them live, you won't forget it. This split came out in 1996, right in the primetime for both bands' recorded output. Most of both bands' discographies came out in the mid to late nineties. Their Dutch comrades Funeral Oration and NRA both seem to have folded, the former in the late nineties, the latter a little more recently although it is not clear when. They are fitting matches sonically for fans of the two stateside punk bands. The 7-inch includes one previously unreleased track from each band.

Dueling record covers include one of each city's most famous or infamous icons branded with a punk symbol. Al Capone has the FEAR logo emblazoned across his head on the Chicago side while Van Gogh gets a mohawk on the Amsterdam side. The record sleeve slides in at the top so you really could file this with either cover facing front. Amsterdam gets a more glam font on the record label while Chicago gets a nondescript serif. I picked this one up at Reckless Records on one of my cheap random 7-inch binges. I won't declare a winner in this matchup since I'm a little biased here but this is a solid release all around.