I joined a record-of-the-month club last summer. That’s right, vinyl records in the mail, every month, gate-fold covers complete with inserts, liner notes and stuff. It’s really cool. The club obtains rights to release their own pressings and packaging – it’s not from the warehouse. High-quality stuff, generally colored vinyl and sometimes multi-color designs.
(This blog’s primary interest is endorsing the artists and the music that I am appreciating, and I encourage readers to seek them out for themselves. I will, occasionally, divulge the names of services that I use, if I think they are worthy.)
I joined Vinyl Me Please on a little bit of a whim. Desperate to find new music, and excited about the renewed interest vinyl records, I happened to overhear something on the radio and immediately found the website and pulled out my credit card.
Besides the great ‘do not bend’ plea to postal workers on the packaging, each album features a recommended cocktail recipe to drink while listening. That’s full-feature service. (Trouble is, I don’t typically have all the liquor ingredients laying around. Just wine.)
After I joined Vinyl Me Please in August, I discovered a few other similar services, and based on descriptions, I did good. I’m six months in. Here’s a summary of my VMP experience.
№ 45 — September 2016
Glass Animals How To Be A Human Being (original release: 2016)
I’d never heard of these guys and I gotta tell you, I think they’re really cool. I’ve tried to fit them into a playlist, but they’re very different for me. (Weeks into this I figured it out – I’ve never been much for Hip Hop.) They incorporate a lot of different styles of music and a lot of stuff and a lot of noises. It was hard to work them into a playlist (I tried, see playlist #1 on Community Noise); I’m not sure what to do with them, and I find that very exciting!
I need help! Does anybody have a Hip Hop primer? A top 10 list? A beginner’s guide?
№ 46 — October 2016
Beck Odelay (original release: 1996)
When Beck hit the scene in 1994, I had a real job and I was working hard, but most of my friends were slackers. “Loser” hit an off-note for me. When VMP sent this to me a few months ago, I didn’t have any Beck in my library, had never gotten into him, never gave him much notice. I was delighted to receive this; it gave me a second chance. It’s a really good record. I guess I’d always liked “Devil’s Haircut” .
(Edification note: writing about Beck taught me a new word, mononymously. MS-Word doesn’t think it’s a word, but Wikipedia knows better.)
№ 47 — November 2016
The Books The Lemon of Pink (original release: 2003)
This album is really fun to listen to. Little melodies come and go, loops of sounds, voices, and notes. Some drone here and there. You have to be in the right mindset – you’re not going to be dancing or singing along, but, for example, the morning that I’m writing this passage, it is great music to have on whilst making breakfast, consuming same, and drinking coffee.
As I’ve had John Cage in my mind recently, I think Cage would be pleased with this; his “noise is music” ideas fit well here. (Yoko Ono would enjoy this…) There are songs on this album, sometimes, but really this album has ‘tracks’. Here’s a taste (from the album, not the pancakes): “The Lemon of Pink I” . Also, quickly, there’s this, Exclamation Mark
№ 48 — December 2016 (original release: 1967)
Nina Simone Nina Simone Sings the Blues (original release: 1967)
Gatefold cover, baby blue vinyl, inserts, flats suitable for framing, little notes. It’s a beautiful object.
And, oh my goodness, can Nina sing. “Do I Move You” . I’ll give you a second sampling, “Since I Fell For You” . It’s agonizing; lyrics so miserable, voice so soothing.
I could not stop playing this the night I received it. Just play side A, turn over to side B, play it, side A, play it, side B, play it, repeat. Again. Several more times. Dream about it in my sleep. Hear her voice over the din of traffic, the colleague’s monotony, the noise of life; nothing keeps up with her voice. Nina kills!
VMP call themselves ‘curators’. They curated their asses off with this selection.
№ 49 — January 2016
Panda Bear; Person Pitch (original release: 2007)
I can’t … where the fuck did this come from? It sounds like Benedictine Monks and Martians found a beat and went nuts making a record together. Fucking incredible. (Yes, YES, I mean that as good.)
There is something familiar – like something familiar has been muffled, garbled, slurred, and blurred – but I can’t figure it out. There’s something here that I’m acquainted with, but it’s just not right. Damn this is good. Give “Good Girl” a try.
№ 50 — February 2016
Main Source; Breaking Atoms (original release: 1991)
I’ve never been a rap guy. The Club gives me an opt-out option, I think twice a year, where I can decline a month’s offering and request something else from their catalogue. But I decided early on that I wanted to be challenged, and I wanted this experience to be trusting – I’m trusting the curators at VMP to kick ass and deliver great things to me every month. My trust is paying off. Having other people choose your music, even just occasionally, is a great way to expand your mind. (Insert rant about the state of commercial radio in the US.)
I put this on as soon as I got it; I was working at home, and I was just ready to make lunch. Really enjoyed having this on the stereo. I have so much to learn. Try this jolt, “Snake Eyes” .
Sometimes, but not always, you’ll get a secret code you so can download digital copies of everything — I think that is really cool. Only one of the first 6 records that I’ve received is new; the rest are re-issues. I can speak out of both sides of my mouth here … almost everything has been new-to-me, but finding brand new great stuff, for some reason, is more difficult than finding great old stuff. However, I am delighted with this service. I have some Nina Simone, but rarely listened to her before; I’ll say this, Sings the Blues is the album to have. Go buy Nina Simone Sings the Blues.
n.b. I noticed that Rough Trade is going to start a goodies club of their own. They’re promising to send “something” every month. They started up just this month for the U.K. and will be able to add memberships for the United States and the Rest of the World starting Mid-2017. https://www.roughtrade.com/membership I’ll be going with the CD option for this one, I think, rather than more vinyl. As long as you’re checking out Rough Trade website, check out their current catalogue. They’re killing it!
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