Lazaretto  Sells 40,000 Vinyl Copies, Opens at #1 on Billboard Charts

Jack White's new Third Man/Columbia album Lazaretto opened at #1 on Billboard's album charts, selling 138,000 copies, 40,000 of which were the "ultra" vinyl edition, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It was the biggest vinyl seller since the beginning in 1991 of Nielsen SoundScan's music tracking service.

Readers have been asking for a review but you can't buy a copy now because it's currently out of print and remains off of Mr. White's label's radar screen. Not even sure if Third Man services anyone with promo copies.

As soon as one becomes available it will be reviewed. The record includes a number of interesting gimmicks that no CD or file can manage including playing from the inside out (Side A), having two parallel grooves for the intro to one tune, plus two songs under label, one at 45 and one at 33 1/3 (be sure to play the label using your $10,000 Lyra Atlas) and of course a hologram.

The music is also supposed to be great.

stretch35's picture

i think one of the hidden label tracks is at 78 rpm , making it one of the few if any records using 3 different speeds

AnalogJ's picture

Does your $200,000 table play 78s?

By the way, I have been reading that there may have been problems when the double track. Perhaps they're looking into that before another pressing.

Michael Fremer's picture
Why yes, it does! And it doesn't cost $200,000! When I reviewed it, they were hoping to bring it in for around $90,000 so I was able to get my "B" stock for a price based upon that list. I lucked out because I couldn't have afforded the same percentage break starting at $150K. Mine was one of the few that they chromed. Chroming magnesium is extremely difficult so cosmetically it's got many "issues" but sonically it's something else.
soundman45's picture

Though some people don't care for his music, you got to give it up for Jack. His passion for the recorded art form and his dedication to preserving and archiving musical history and the vinyl/acetate medium is really commendable.

Jim Tavegia's picture

I believe this was pressed at United in Nashville, but I could be wrong. You have to give Jack White credit for his inventiveness. I loved the video of him explaining his thought process in doing this album this way.

cement_head's picture

Yes, it is printed at URP & includes a download card. The music is awesome - better than his last!

SimonH's picture

I didn't realise there was a non-ultra version - I will try and find that - my ultra lp arrived on Monday from the US and confused the hell out of me - had to watch the vid on the TMR site - I think you have to love JW for his vinyl and the Vault releases as well.

AnalogJ's picture

AFAIK, no non-ultra version exists unless you're talking about a CD. There is a multi-colored vinyl version and a black version, but they both have the same features otherwise.

kozy814's picture

I’ve had my copy for a week now. The sound overall is not bad, if a touch on the low-fi side, which does fit the music. The nature of this record means that you are occupied with all the oddities before you sit back for the listening session – not sure how I feel about that, because I play vinyl for the sonic experience. The dual-groove track, “Just One Drink” does have a curious little bloop on the electrified version of the song. On the acoustic groove, my copy plays without a hitch. I did not play the label pressed tracks – a little squeamish that it could damage my stylus. The matte side looks sorta like somebody sanded it with 1500 grit -- not exactly like a 78 record, but you get the idea. The Ultra LP does come with a download coupon that features the CD tracks, including the electric version of “Just One Drink”. The music itself it not unlike some of his later White Stripes material, and not quite as pop-driven as his Blunderbuss album. The LP plays quiet enough with maybe a tick or two over the whole album. It’s a cool little conversation piece.

Jim Tavegia's picture

Can you tell any difference in sound quality from the 2 finishes?

kozy814's picture

Not at all. The sides match up pretty evenly. Oh, and BTW -- the halogram is a series of what look like random engravings that create the image when spinning under light. Wild Stuff

J. Carter's picture

side 2 on mine and many others from what I have read is off center but it seems to fit the music. It is my favorite Jack White album since his White Stripe days for sure.

kozy814's picture

Mine too is a touch off center on the matte side. Not really audible on my rig, thankfully.

J. Carter's picture

I am not all that sensitive to the effect of an off centered record. Mine is pretty off center but I don't think I can hear it when I compare the MP3 files to the record.

chaosofmemories's picture

This is a really good album, the best music Jack White has written since Icky Thump.

And it is quite a good pressing for United, no warps, not too noisy, well centered, etc. A little noisy but not that bad....

I have not bothered the "hidden tracks" under the label - I use a 2M Black...not 20 grand, but I have no desire to spend a much of money playing tracks under the label. I've heard the tracks and they're novelties.

There are flaws with the record that could have been solved by including local independent store has gotten a lot of calls from people who don't understand why their needle is falling off of the record on side 1. As well, you need to really carefully cue the beginning of side 1 (in the centre) as there is no proper lead-in groove. This is to be distinguished from Camper Van Beethoven's use of this gimmick, where they use an inside lead in groove and even an arrow etched into the deadwax.

In terms of the skipping when going between song intros, I have yet to encounter it - it does sound abrupt when going from acousting to electric (like a DVD layer change) so maybe folks thinks that's a skip.

More to the point, however, it's a great sounding rock record, with some really interesting textures - more countryish than White has ever been.

Jim Tavegia's picture

It should be one of his better releases as he stated that sound quality was important to him so no compression or limiting was used. On my tour of united I saw some of his vinyl being pressed. They were also pressing quite a bit of colored vinyl that day. They were crazy busy on that Friday, everywhere.

Ortofan's picture

...Gates turntable used in the promo video for the record on the Third Man website?

On another note, is there any music on the LP to which one would actually want to listen or is it merely a curious collection of clever chicanery?

kozy814's picture

This is a very good album. One of the better new releases this year, IMO

Jim Tavegia's picture

His audio gear appeared to be all McIntosh.

Michael T's picture

The other amazing feat, according to a Billboard article, is that sales of the vinyl LP almost tied CD sales: 40,000 LP's vs. 41,000 CD's sold. Incredibly impressive!

jblackhall's picture

Got a local record shop? Mine had it in stock for $22.

Catcher10's picture

JW is not my normal listening genre, so yes I pre-ordered my copy because of the gimmicks. I should have ordered 2, but oh well. I have not played the label tracks, my tonearm will not go that far in unless I loosen the VTA screws so the arm will swing to the spindle, no plans to do that.
The locked groove on Side I is weird, it could have been something more interesting...The biggest flaw is no leadin groove for Side I as has been noted. You cannot just drop it or the arm scoots to the center and hits all the hologram grooves...not good.

The music IMO is decent, I prefer Side II to I, for both sound quality and content. My first play of Side I was not impressive, very bland sounding lacking dynamics, I suppose my OC9ML/II does not like to play inside out..Side II really sounds nice, you can tell it was all analog tape, as is noted.

A good album.

mem916's picture

I also found side 1 to be of poor sound quality compared to side 2. Not sure why that should be as I have an air-bearing linear tracking tonearm and as long as the table is level it shouldn't care which way it tracks. I've only listened to it once though. Just not grabbing me the way Blunderbus did. I can't imagine anyone with a half-way decent cartridge playing those "under the label tracks". If he wanted us to play them he shouldn't have pasted a label over then!

dconsmack's picture

I played the hidden tracks under the center label with my Dynavector 17D3. No problems at all. It doesn't sound like it's hurting the stylus in any way; there's gentle noise in the background. Believe me, it's not the same as your stylus sliding over the center label on a regular record. It's only paper so it's not going to hurt a diamond. Just be careful lowering it into the grooves. I suggest doing it with your hand and not the cue lever. Make sure it's well lit too.

Paul Boudreau's picture

I've got the "Vault" version (half blue/half white vinyl) and it went to the top of my list of "most wacky vinyl features" instantly. I love that sort of thing, going back to Dave Mason's first solo record (US pressing - multi-colored marble-ish vinyl, or something less palatable) and a gizmo (triptych) cover to boot. I've listened to part of "Lazaretto" and am provisionally impressed. I need to clean it again before I continue since, like my copy of Neil Young's "A Letter Home" LP (also pressed at Universal), there are tiny bits of sticky black goo that the Nitty Gritty cleaning process didn't remove. Definitely annoying - anyone else have the same experience? I've cleaned lots of other LPs recently so I don't think it's coming from the NG somehow.

If you want to see all the features of the LP (including the hologram!), check out the video clip here:

Mazzy's picture

Yeah, and 10,000 were returned because the owners didn't know that side one plays from the inside out. Thanks for not including a sticker on front about that! I'm one of those who kept drying to play track one, not knowing it was an end groove at the beginning. Surprise surprise!

Paul Boudreau's picture

They were a little sneaky about that, weren't they? Glad I did the research before I attempted to play it.

Kirby's picture

I agree with Catcher10 the reversed side one does not sound as good as side two. Fun though but I would like to have a regular copy of the lp.

Ortofan's picture

...might have an interesting story to tell. Is it anyone MF already knows?

Jeffrey Lee's picture

It's a shame Jack White assumed his fans were sufficiently interested in his music to have actually watched the heavily hyped video, or read any of the dozens of stories written about it, or any of the many posts on audio sites. He's such a dick.

stretch35's picture

he was also on a little show called "the tonight show w Jimmy Fallon" showing the album and playing 2 songs. very little effort to promote this lp!

Jim Tavegia's picture

If they press another 40,000 that will be 25% regrind I guess. ;>(

Mark Maloof's picture

Ok, I have a Dynavector XX2 MK II cartridge, which isn't exactly cheap (just under $2000), but I think is one of the nicest carts you can get until you start getting into that crazy $4000 + range. I bravely/foolishly tried to play one of the label tracks (going where others here dared not trend). The hideous grinding sound that poured fourth from the speakers made go lift that arm pretty damn quick. In my case at least, it looks like a no go for playing those "inner" songs. Oh well.

The rest of the album has what I consider to be very,very good rock music (I've been a fan since seeing the White Stripes play to maybe 100 people in NYC a few moons ago, think it was at the defunct Continental Club. I had been tipped off from a friend who used to put out a Pinball/garage rock fanzine named Multiball. They had released a single from a little band called the White Stripes, which somehow managed to make it into UK DJ/taste maker John Peel's hands, and next thing you know, they were taking off in Europe). It's fun record to play with (I dig lock grooves, like ex-Sonic Youth Lee Renaldo's "From Here to Infinity" album, every cut ending in a locked groove). The backwards aspect of side one is a hoot, I was one of those fooled into starting it at the beginning. That was a surprise, ha ha!