Vitreous Humor giving discography comp expanded, remastered, first-ever vinyl reissue
Kansas' Vitreous Humor only existed for a brief period in the early/mid '90s, and only managed to release a few EPs/singles and a split with their Crank! labelmates Boys Life, but their small discography proved to be influential, and today Vitreous Humor are rightly regarded as one of the definitive bands of Midwest emo. Their songs have been covered by Nada Surf and The Get Up Kids, and in fact, the great newer emo band Somerset Thrower just released a VH cover last week. They existed somewhere between emo, indie rock, and post-hardcore, and you can hear the sounds of Vitreous Humor reverberating throughout newer bands in all three of those genres. They're not easy to pin down, but they're very easy to love.
Their discography was compiled for the compilation Posthumous in 1998, though that comp was never released on vinyl and it's not on streaming services, so it's very exciting news that the band will be putting out an expanded, remastered reissue of Posthumous on May 7 via Ernest Jenning Record Co. (pre-order), marking its first-ever vinyl release and also coming to streaming services. It was remastered by Shellac's Bob Weston, who recorded VH back in the day, and it adds in "New Victoria Theatre," the "long lost" B-side to the Mute America “My Midget” 7-inch, and "The Whisper Twins," which was previously only on Crank! Records' Don’t Forget to Breathe compilation in 1998.
Vocalist/guitarist Danny Pound gives much more background on how this reissue came to be:
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. Think of Led Zeppelin “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).
That, however, is not the story of Vitreous Humor’s “Posthumous”. First of all, Vitreous Humor was definitely not the top selling artist on Crank!’s roster of bands (nor even in the top 5, one guesses), and despite their recent dissolution there was no great demand for “new” VH material from the indie-rock loving hordes. VH was no more, having split up in early spring of 1996. The original three members (Brad Allen, Dan Benson, Danny Pound) had re-formed later in the summer as The Regrets, and by the end of ‘96 had recorded their new full-length LP for Crank!, “New Directions: Results Beat Boasts”, with the legendary Bob Weston. So why an album full of demos, live cuts, and singles from a barely known, hardly mourned band whose original members had moved on and were, in earnest, pursuing a new artistic path?
Good question! 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 our Mute America 7-inch, and needed to be heard. Plus, there were many songs of ours that I loved and that only existed as demos (“Speaking Tube”, “Foster Oregon”) recorded live in studio, or captured as live in-studio radio performances (“The Landslide Dies”, “Cat Shit Silver”). 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. With those cuts seeing release I felt a little better about the recorded legacy of Vitreous Humor. Still, things felt incomplete.
Cut to 24 years later. Tom Mullen of the Washed Up Emo podcast invites me to do an interview. It immediately seems to drum up interest in VH (thank you, Tom!). Our old friend Nick Gordon puts us in touch with his friend Pete D’Angelo who seems to love “Posthumous” as much as we do, bless his heart. Thanks to Pete and Ernest Jenning, you can hear it now in all it’s 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. 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! Pete? Are you down for the “Vitreous Humor Vault” vinyl series yet?
Along with the announcement comes a stream of the remastered "Why Are You So Mean To Me?", and you can stream that and view the artwork and tracklist below. You can listen to Danny's appearance on the Washed Up Emo podcast below too.
In related news, Boys Life/Giants Chair-related band The Farewell Bend is giving their sole album an expanded reissue.
1. My Midget
2. Why Are You So Mean To Me
3. Speaking Tube
4. Science Has No Soul
5. Tough Women
6. Fashion Anyway
7. Foster Oregon
8. New Victoria Theatre
9. The Landslide Dies
10. Sharin' Stone
11. Our Lady Of The Highway
12. Whisper Twins
13. Cat Shit Silver (KLZR)