Prepare your turntable for heavy rotation bangers vinyl fans, ’cause Bandbox record club is bringing 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 Marvin Gaye, Elliott Smith, and Mr. David Bowie. And just so you know – they’ve got a slew of shiny, exclusive color variants currently in stock, including glorious new pressings of works by Black Pumas and Adrianne Lenker.
As it is, having it your way really is the Bandbox mantra. Offering subscribers 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 legit 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’d I snag for September’s Bandbox, some good ole-fashioned esoteric, pop-tinged electronica from the one and only Tycho.
You should know up front Bandbox’s have it your way format is designed to ease the nerves of folks wary of the record club scene. And yes, you can still choose to be surprised by Team Bandbox every month if surprises happen to be your bag. If you’re not feeling any of the album’s Bandbox is offering, you can also 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
Scott Hansen (better know to the music world as Tycho) has been crafting first-rate instrumental electronica for the better part of the past two decades. Over that period, he’s released six full-length albums, each more layered, and ambitious than the last… though it’s safe to say his 2019 release Weather is a Tycho record unlike anything Hansen had done before. As such, both the man, and his way out of the Tycho box album are about as worthy of the Bandbox treatment as any artist/album combo you’ll find. While this pressing of Weather isn’t quite as exclusive as some of Bandbox’s recent offerings, its a beauty nonetheless. Let’s have a look, eh?
A quick note here on the cover art for Weather – which is that the cover art for Weather is absolutely f***ing gorgeous. It’s also quite indicative of the more organic tone of the album itself.
Now, even if this pressing isn’t as limited as some of the exclusives in the Bandbox vaults, Weather does come with this slick exclusive poster inspired by the song “Japan,” which was designed by Scott Hansen himself.
Tycho Weather (2019)
Those of you who’ve yet to listen to Weather might be wondering what exactly about the album separates it so dramatically from Tycho’s stunning oeuvre of instrumental electronic compositions. And the answer is that Weather finds Tycho stretching his ambient inklings into the realm of pure pop, fronting an album of song that share the spotlight with the pop-tinged vocal stylings of Saint Sinner.
Quite frankly the pop realm is all the better for it as that unexpected collaboration produced a mostly thrilling full-album experience at once rippling with the power pop angst of Saint Sinner’s vocals, and wholly awash in Tycho’s signature brand of ethereal electronica. Voices have, of course, been heard in the work of Tycho over the years, with the artist frequently blending found sound vocal tracks (i.e. weather reports, random snippets of dialogue and such) into his sprawling compositions, but you’ve really never heard a Tycho album that so fervently fronts proper pop vocals, or one that so willingly leans into pop music tropes.
As it is, many of Tycho’s long-time fans may not be quite prepared to hear the artist go full pop. Nor will they be ready to hear Saint Sinner so prominently featured on Weather. And yes, her unabashedly boisterous arrival in the album’s second track “Pink and Blue” is a legit shock to the system as it quickly overpowers some vintage ambient noodling from Tycho himself. Still, the man so lovingly cedes the spotlight to his collaborator, it’s almost impossible not to get wrapped up in the vibe. And of the song itself, I can attest that “Pink and Blue” is nothing short of pure pop bliss. Ditto for its followup, the pseudo chill-wave stunner “Japan.”
Even Tycho diehards unwilling to fully embrace the album will have to admire those two tracks in particular as they’re legit standouts on Weather – which also features three vintage ambient noodlings from Hansen alongside its five vocal-heavy offerings. Of the other three Saint Sinner-fronted tracks on Weather, they’re all solid in their own right… even if they’re nowhere near as effective as the aforementioned songs. Either way, coupled with tracks featuring Hansen’s more traditional soundscapes, even those misses help make for dreamy art-pop opus that teases the untapped possibilities in Tycho’s music… even if its frustratingly brisk, 29-minute runtime prevents it from reaching the sonic heights it alludes to.
A Cardboard Box for Sharing Music
A bandbox can rightfully be defined 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 zine featuring interviews, album breakdowns, and killer behind-the-scenes photos.
Bandbox issue #38 puts the aesthetically pleasing world of Tycho front and center, and finds Hansen giving a track by track breakdown of Weather alongside loads of his own Weather-inspred artwork. Check it out.
Now that we’ve perused that snazzy zine, let’s have a look at the album itself. But before we do, there’s some more glorious artwork adorning Weather‘s inner sleeve you really should take a moment to admire.
As for the wax it’s protecting, deep blue has rarely looked so warm and inviting.
And it’s set to do bring a soulful pop simmer to your deck when you finally get to spinning.
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 probably do that. The same goes for all those blessed deep cuts. Likewise, if you prefer your Tycho sans lyrics and power pop ‘tude, you’ll also find pressings of Weather‘s accompanying instrumental album Simulcast, and a full album of remixes from the man’s 2014 opus Awake in the Bandbox vaults. And believe me when I say any true Tycho fan would be more than happy with either of those releases.
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 October!