Prepare your turntable for some heavy rotation bangers vinyl fans, ’cause Bandbox record club is out to bring the record store to your own front door.
Groove is in the Bandbox
That’s right music fans, Team Bandbox is offering a truly tailor made vinyl club 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 Wilco, Marvin Gaye, and Mr. David Bowie. And just so you know – they’ve got a slew of shiny exclusive color pressings currently in stock, including glorious new pressings of Death Cab For Cutie’s indie classic Plans, and Waxahatchee’s 2020 instant classic Saint Cloud.
Unfortunately, you’ve already missed out on their stunning reissue of The Mountain Goats’ indie rock classic All Eternals Deck, which apparently sold it in like an hour. Missed chances aside, having it your way really is the Bandbox mantra. With the choice of a single album from an artist you love, and a fresh edition of Bandbox’s artist-specific fan zine showing up every single month, the B-Box service has effectively made it possible to do some serious bin-diving from the comfort and safety of your very own home. And you can now dig their vinyl+zine treasures for a beyond reasonable $29 a month.
Did I mention Bandbox even offers FREE SHIPPING for members? Well they do. And it’s sort of just the icing on the vinyl club cake.
So what’s Bandbox shipping out for May? Nothing short of an exclusive reissue of a late ’90s masterpiece from the late, great Elliott Smith. Here’s a peak.
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. And fear not if you do go the surprise route as Bandbox will actually let you integrate your Discogs account to ensure they don’t send you something you already have in your collection.
Of course, if you’re really, really suspect, you can pump the brakes on your subscription at any time by simply pausing 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
For music fans of a certain age, Elliott Smith needs no introduction, because his music was as vital a part of the late-90s/early 2000s indie rock scene as you’ll find. As such, few artists from the era could be more worthy of the proper Bandbox exclusive treatment. Ditto for Smith’s 1997 offering Either/Or, which is as solid an entry point to the artist’s oeuvre as any album he made. Oh, and just FYI – if you’re looking to cop one of these Bandbox exclusive pressings of Either/Or, you better get on it, ’cause they only made 1,000 of them. Say hi to #187.
As I mentioned, Either/Or is not my personal favorite Elliott Smith record. But I have to admit it does boast my favorite Elliott Smith album cover.
Ditto for the back cover, by the way.
Elliott Smith – Either/Or (1997)
So I spent a good hour or so tonight staring at my computer screen just trying to wrap my mind around how to talk about the music of Elliott Smith without focusing too much on the late singer-songwriter’s troubled life, or the devastating manner in which it ended. Frankly, I’m starting to think it impossible to truly explore his legacy without coming off as trite and reductive, or potentially even insincere. And since I have a boundless love and respect for Elliott Smith’s music, I don’t think I’d forgive myself if that happened.
As it is, I’ll simply say that Elliott Smith was one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived … crafting as singular as sound as any musician born of the so-called alt-rock era. I’ll say that Elliott Smith possessed a beautiful, but fractured soul that seemed able to find peace only in the songs he sang, and I’ll say those songs in all their trembling, lo-fi beauty spoke to me on a deeply personal level. I’ll also add that, troubled as he was, it still feels like Elliott Smith left the mortal realm far too soon. While I obviously never knew him, Smith’s songs made me feel like he knew me. In that spirit I offer that I genuinely miss him the way I miss childhood friends, and I’ll be forever grateful for the staggering body of work he left behind.
That obviously includes 1997’s Either/Or which is admittedly not my favorite Elliott Smith album as I’m more of a Figure 8 guy. Personal preferences aside, many a Smith fan hail it as his finest work, and I’m certainly not here to argue that point as the album fronts some of the best, most brutally and beautifully soul-baring songs Smith ever recorded. Those songs are as capable of inspiring pensive introspection and desperately lonely feelings inside as easily as they conjure a joyous sort of brooding and a warming sense of camaraderie. And when they were first released, they sounded at once familiar, yet somehow unlike anything that had ever come before, even in Smith’s own back catalogue.
If you haven’t heard them before, well, I genuinely pity you. I also sincerely hope you’ll seek out Either/Or in some format or another and listen to it immediately, ’cause it’s akin to literal sonic salvation, and who couldn’t use a little saving these days?
A Cardboard Box for Sharing Music
You might’ve noticed that prior photo defining a bandbox as: “a cardboard box, typically square, for sharing music.” And yes, every single Bandbox lives up to that billing, allowing super fans of featured bands to delve deeper into their music than ever before via an artist-centric fan zine featuring interviews, album breakdowns, and killer behind-the-scenes photos.
Bandbox Issue #37 does its best to shine a light on one of indie rock’s more enigmatic figures, doing so by exploring Elliott Smith’s vast catalogue of songs with a couple of people who clearly know and love music. And yeah, there’s lots of pretty pictures in there too, ’cause Smith didn’t take many bad ones. Check it out.
We’ll get a look at that exclusive orange vinyl in a minute. But before we do, let’s take a look at what else comes in this month’s Bandbox … like this shiny digital download code that’ll ensure you can take Either/Or with you wherever you want to go.
There’s also a slick little OBI strip cradling the spine of Either/Or. Flip it over if you want to know what other Elliott Smith albums you can pick up from the Kill Rock Stars Gang. Pro tip – buy them all, ’cause they’re all great.
You’ll also find a full, printed lyric sheet tucked inside the sleeve of Either/Or. And you should absolutely spend a few minutes studying it, ’cause the album found Smith in top form lyrically. Flip it over if you want to know all the how’s, where’s, and when’s of this masterpiece.
As for the wax, well, it’s an absolute vision in orange.
And you’d better believe it’ll bring some introspective fire to your deck.
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 decision making up to you. So if you’re looking to snag a copy of your fave band’s most popular album, you can do that. Ditto for all those blessed deep cuts. And if you want the super-sexy, limited edition color variant of Elliott Smith’s Either/Or, you can still grab that too … so long as you do it before they sell out. But hey, even if they do, you can still dig a pressing of Smith’s other Kill Rock Stars releases. And in case I wasn’t clear earlier, you won’t find more satisfying picks anywhere in the Bandbox vaults.
A thousand THANK Yous 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 June!