Prepare your turntable for some heavy rotation bangers vinyl fans, ’cause Bandbox record club is in town, and they’re out to bring the record store to your own front door.
Groove is in the Bandbox
If you’re wondering what the big deal with Bandbox is, the words FULLY CUSTOMIZABLE explain it all. Yep, Team Bandbox offers a tailor made vinyl experience every month by letting you fill your 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. Bandbox is currently boasting a record store style variety of artists including Weezer, Joy Division/New Order, Wilco, The Cure, and Mr. David Bowie. And just so you know – they’ve got a slew of shiny exclusive color pressings currently in stock, including a glorious 15th Anniversary reissue of Death Cab For Cutie’s Plans.
Having it your way is the key to their coveted box. With the choice of a single album from an artist you love, and a fresh edition of the “Band Dox” zine showing up every single month, Team Bandbox has effectively made it possible to do some good ole fashioned bin diving from the comfort and safety of your very own home. And you can now 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.
So what’s in the box for February? Get ready to fall in love with a stunning, limited edition pressing of one of 2020’s best-loved albums.
But before we go further, you should know Bandbox’s have it your way format is designed to ease the nerves of folks wary of the record club scene. Just so you know, you can still choose to be surprised by Team Bandbox every month if surprises happen to be your bag. But if you remain suspect of that whole show, Bandbox will actually let you integrate your Discogs account to ensure they never send you something you already have in your collection.
And if you’re really, really suspect, you can pump the brakes on your subscription at any time by pressing “pause” plain and simple. 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
Depending on your personal musical tastes, the names Katie Crutchfield and Waxahatchee might mean a great deal to you. Likewise, they just might be names you’ve never heard before. If you’re in the latter group, know that they are one in the same being. And the good news is whichever side of that conversation you land on, the artist’s latest album Saint Cloud is indeed Waxahatchee like nobody has ever heard. It was also one of 2020’s best albums, and could not be more deserving of the full Bandbox treatment.
I mentioned this pressing of Saint Cloud is a limited edition Bandbox exclusive, right? It’s also a hand-numbered edition, mine being #572 of 1,000.
Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud (2020)
First things first, ’cause when I say Waxahatchee’s latest was among 2020’s best album’s that’s not purely my own personal opinion. Saint Cloud actually featured prominently on dozens of year end Best Of lists including Pitchfork, NPR, Rolling Stone, and Spin to name just a few. Hell, even former President Barack Obama gave it a shout out when naming his favorite albums of the year. So if you’ve been waiting for even the slightest of nudges in the direction of giving Saint Cloud a listen, consider yourself good nudged by music lovers who know what’s what.
No, I’m not necessarily counting myself amongst those in the know. And as it is, I’m hardly a Waxahatchee superfan. I did manage to catch Crutchfield and band live in Philadelphia a few years back though, and I was impressed enough to at least casually track their music in the years since. So when I say that Saint Cloud presents a Waxahatchee like most have never heard, I believe that to be true … even if it’s maybe not entirely accurate. Truth is Katie Crutchfield has been stuffing Waxahatchee’s catchy, indie-tinged rock albums with dashes of folky twang since she started recording under the name.
Still, Saint Cloud finds Crutchfield leaning more fully into her countrified leanings than ever before, and delivering arguably as pure a distillation of country music as the beleaguered genre has seen in decades. The album also finds Crutchfield embracing sobriety for the first time in many a moon, and it’s impossible not to hear a distinct brightness and near euphoric energy in many of her new songs that was all but absent in her prior album, 2017’s marvelous but undoubtedly muddied indie rocker Out in the Storm.
Likewise, Crutchfield is aided mightily on Saint Cloud by a shiny new backing band who know when to get all twangy, when to twang on the mellow, and when the shut the f**k up and let Crutchfield do what she’s always done so well – sing soulful, introspective lyrics so damned earnestly it feels like she’s actually sitting right next to you and crooning directly into you ear. And even in its unabashedly poppy (and occasionally just a touch over-produced) moments, that’s exactly what it feels like to listen to Saint Cloud.
Of the 11 tracks that form the bones of the album, it hardly seems fair to break any out from the others for in-depth exploration, because more than perhaps any other Waxahatchee release to date, Saint Cloud is a genuine full album experience that rewards listeners who can drop the needle and only lift it when it’s time to flip to side B. I will offer, however, that “Oxbow” is maybe the best album opener in Katie Crutchfield’s entire song book. And that the heartfelt title track “Saint Cloud” brings to close not just a perfect album side, but a near flawless country-rock confection. And no, it will never look or sound as good as this Bandbox exclusive.
A Cardboard Box for Sharing Music
You might’ve noticed that prior photo defining a bandbox as: “a cardboard box, typically rectangular, for sharing music.” And yes, that’s exactly what every single Bandbox is. They’re also a chance for super fans of this artist or that to delve deep into the inner workings of their favorite music makers. Team Bandbox takes you deeper than most every month with their very own artist-centric fan zine featuring interviews, album breakdowns, killer photos of the featured musician.
“Band Dox” #29 obviously shines its light on the amazing Katie Crutchfield, who’s been making amazing music under the moniker Waxahatchee for over a decade now. Here’s a peak at what’s inside Waxahatchee’s “Band Dox” zine.
Before I give you a look at the colored wax inside, we should take a moment to dig on the lovely printed inner sleeve cradling it as it boasts another breathtaking photo of Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield … not to mention a full list of lyrics from Saint Cloud.
And please be sure not to overlook the mp3 download card inside, ’cause I can assure you Saint Cloud is an album more than fit for headphoning while wading through the sunny days of the coming Spring.
As for the wax inside, Bandbox brass is calling simply blue and red, but I do declare it to be the vinyl equivalent of a single red rose floating in a bright blue sky.
And yeah, it’ll bring some full-on Americana Beauty to any deck on planet Earth.
It’s the Bandbox You Want, and the Bandbox You Need
Vinyl is here to stay, friends. And if you’re one of the many who’ve found themselves fervently swept up in the madness, you’re already aware there’s a million and one ways to get your hands on some sweet, sweet wax. While I’d always encourage you to shop first at your local record store, subscription vinyl clubs really are an excellent way to help fill in/round out your growing collection.
The great thing about Bandbox is that they ultimately leave the choices up to you. So if you’re looking to snag a copy of your fave band’s most popular album, you can do that. But if you’re looking to move beyond the hits and dig deep into said band’s back catalogue (there are several other Waxahatchee albums to choose from if Saint Cloud isn’t your speed, by the way), you can do that too. But seriously, Saint Cloud is your speed. So climb aboard the Bandbox train and get spinning 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 Bandbox website and sign up to have a sexy new Bandbox delivered to your own front door every single month. While you’re there, feel free to check out their podcast and merch section too! And be sure to check back soon to see what goodies we select from the the Bandbox vaults for March!