Prepare your turntable for some heavy rotation bangers vinyl fans, ’cause Bandbox record club is officially in town, and they’re set to bring band-themed boxes to your own front door every single month.
Groove Is In The Bandbox
If you’re wondering what the big deal with Bandbox is, the words FULLY CUSTOMIZABLE explain it all. That’s right, Team Bandbox offers a tailor made listening experience each and every month, giving you the chance to fill your monthly box with artists and albums that fit your own personal tastes. As their slogan goes, it’s pretty much like having the record store delivered to your front door every month, and Bandbox is currently boasting a record store style variety of artists including Neil Young, Weezer, Ride, Joy Division/New Order, Johnny Cash, Wilco, and more. And just FYI – they’ve got a slew of sexy exclusive color pressings on the way from artists like Death Cab For Cutie and Nada Surf.
If you’re among the legions of music fans out there excitedly reading my vinyl unboxing every month, you know a big time format change has recently come to Bandbox land, and that customizability is now the key to their coveted box. And with a fully customizable format (via a single artist/album of your choosing) Team Bandbox is pairing each selection with their “Band Dox” zine full of insight, interviews, and behind the scenes pics of your personally selected artist. As such, you’ll now be able to dig their vinyl+zine treasures for a super reasonable $29 a month.
Did I mention Bandbox even offers FREE SHIPPING? Well they do. And it’s sort of just the icing on the vinyl box cake.
Here’s a look at the Bandbox I customized for me, myself, and I in September.
Hopefully, Bandbox’s wonderfully customizable format will help ease the nerves of folks wary of letting a group of complete strangers “surprise” you with artist/album selections every month. Just so you know, you can still choose to be surprised every month if that’s your bag. If you’re still suspect, you should know Bandbox will even let you integrate your Discogs account to ensure they never even offer you something you already have in your collection.
And if you’re really, really suspect, you can pump the brakes out of your subscription at any time by pressing “pause” on your sub. It’s unlikely you’ll want to “pause” anything once you’ve signed up and experienced Bandbox for yourself. Just know that your Bandbox experience will be every bit as amazing as you make it.
Let The Great World Spin
Now that you know the score, I’ll confirm that this month’s Bandbox added a long-missing slab of wax to my own collection. One that’s helped re-define rock & roll for an entire generation upon its release nearly two decades ago. That’s right, kids, this month’s Bandbox features a super-slick reissue of The Stroke’s legendary 2001 rocker, Is This It.
The Strokes – Is This It (2001)
It’s almost too easy to forget now 20 years into the millennium, but in the early days of the 2000s, rock & roll music was seriously on the rocks, and on the verge of being viewed entirely as pastiche by the general public. There was good reason for that, of course, as the ’90s had essentially spent the better part of the decade shoveling so-called “Grunge” rock down the throats of humanity, and the advent of “nu-metal” didn’t do much to endear rock music to many.
As it was, the late-90s found rock & roll unceremoniously playing second fiddle to a revolving door of boy bands and pop princesses, with even legendary rock outfits like U2 dipping their toe into shameless pop absurdity (see their fascinating 1997 disaster Pop). Pop, at least, managed to produce a few crunchy riffs into the mix. As for the rest of pop music from the age, well, good old fashioned guitar rock was hardly seen or heard.
Needless to say, but a change in the rock realm was desperately needed as the new millennium approached. Little did the rock-loving public then know, but that change was already well in the works. And like the punk rock explosion of the late-70s, the New York underground scene was the epicenter of the action, with bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, Interpol, and The Rapture mining the city’s grit, glamour, and absurdly rich musical history to usher in a full-on garage rock revival.
Of course, none of those estimable bands were the first through when the damm broke and the “The” bands (see also The Vines, The Hives, The White Stripes, and dozens of others) began to overtake the pop charts. Rather, it was the motley New York outfit known as The Strokes who ultimately became the poster-boys of the movement, with their stunning debut release Is This It standing as a sublimely gritty, blissfully disaffected, endlessly rollicking, and immaculately constructed document of post-punk revival/next-wave rock & roll..
Now, before I get too far into hailing The Strokes as the saviors of rock & roll (as many did in the early ’00s), I want to be very clear about something; which is that The Strokes didn’t save rock & roll with the release of Is This It. More than anything, they simply reminded the music world that rock & roll could still be really f***ing cool. And more than anything else, perhaps, Is This It remains one of the most viscerally cool rock & roll records of the day … if not ever.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Is This It was hands down the most distinctly New York sounding album released at the dawn of the new garage rock era, with the band digging deep into the NY scene of the ’70s to hone a sound that pulled equally from iconic acts like The Velvet Underground, Ramones, Television, and The Heartbreakers. Add in a dose of more pop-friendly, West coast pioneers like Tom Petty, and you get a good sense of what The Strokes were all about on Is This it.
Only The Strokes delivered the same sort recklessly adventurous offbeat rock as those other groups with a heavier dose of slacker idiom, and not even a fleeting hint of earnestness. The result is an electrifyingly low-key collection of insatiably sexy, crunched-out guitar rock anthems (“Last Night,” “The Modern Age,” and “Someday” were hits, but there’s really not a bad song here) as infectiously catchy and utterly timeless as they are singularly of the moment.
Upon release, Is This It ultimately redefined what hip actually was; and did so while conjuring a vivid picture of what it was like to be young, talented, and too cool to care in an endlessly indifferent city that’s historically devoured “cool” like candy.
To say The Strokes had a moment with Is This It would be an understatement. In fact, Is This It was the moment. And while that moment didn’t exactly last for The Strokes (subsequent releases have undoubtedly been more miss than hit), Is This It continues to rank among the most important rock albums released in the early 2000s. It also stands as one of the best. In case you’ve forgotten about it in the years since, or have somehow never given it a proper listen yourself, there’s no better time to revive this little rocker.
A Cardboard Box For Sharing Music
For the record, Bandbox is all about living up to that, “cardboard box for sharing music” definition. As the focus of each month’s box is hardcore customizability, they’ve taken the opportunity to beef up their killer “Band Dox” zines with more pictures, interviews, and insightful artist breakdowns. Which means readers are set to dive deeper into your chosen artist’s history than ever before.
“Band Dox” #21 finds the Bandbox crew shining a light behind the scenes of one of the early 2000’s most visible scenesters, and doing so with revelatory explorations of The Stroke’s rise from underground slacker-rock studs steeped in late-70s New York cool to kings of garage rock revival. And as The Strokes were one of the most photogenic of those bands, you can be certain there’s a slew of glorious photos from the era and the ensuing two decades.
I know, picture-packed zines are all well and good, but this is a vinyl unboxing, and you’re probably ready to get a look at that hot slab of wax right about now. Fear not, ’cause there’s a glossy black, 180g beauty tucked inside that sleeve.
And it’s gonna bring some seriously hard rocking slacker cool to any homespun spin session.
It’s the Bandbox You Want, And The Bandbox You Need
Look, the so-called “vinyl boom” is not gonna fade away anytime soon. If you’re one of the many who have found themselves giddily wrapped up in the madness, you’re already aware there are a million and one different options for getting your hands on some sweet, sweet wax. While I’d always encourage you to shop first at your local record store, I also understand that subscription vinyl clubs are an excellent way to help fill in/round out your growing collection.
If you’re looking to round out that collection a little sooner than later, a vinyl club that’s down to send you one, or even two worthy records every month is a pretty good way to do it. With Bandbox delivering high-quality pressings of albums by popular artists, they’re giving you a chance to both grow your collection with lust-worthy popular discs and discover deep dive delights you might previously have overlooked. That savvy mix of quality and variety should make it easy for diehard vinyl fans and newbs alike to board the Bandbox bandwagon. Make sure you get on board today!
A huge THANKS to the folks at Bandbox for sponsoring this subscription. If you like what you’ve seen here, you can head over to the official Bandbox website and sign up to have a sexy new Bandbox delivered to your own front door every single month. Be sure to check back in and see what goodies the Bandbox team sends our way next month!