Good things comes in 12 inch packages. Delivering limited edition vinyl pressings of new and classic albums directly to your doorstep, VMP operates under a simple philosophy: The Album Lives! With a carefully curated catalog of new and hard to find releases, the subscription service is more than just a record club, it’s a lifestyle choice for folks who wish Record Store Day could happen every month… in their living room.
Here’s how it works. You send Vinyl Me, Please some of your hard-earned money (a 3-month membership will set you back about $128) and they send you one carefully curated album they feel is Essential to any record collection. Yes, it really is as easy as it sounds. You even get FREE SHIPPING. Each custom pressing (often on colored vinyl!) also comes with killer extras like original artwork and informative listening companion booklet.
You’ll have membership privileges in the VMP store too, which means you can grab a copy of previous VMP selections from the archives – including January’s psych-tastic pressing of Grateful Dead’s Anthem of the Sun – or choose from a slate of super-limited releases pressed exclusively for Vinyl Me, Please. The store is open, and Team VMP are dropping fresh new selections to their stock every single week. Do not miss out.
Word to the wise, while the store is open to the public, most of the more covet-worthy stock is only available to subscribers. Members are privy to reduced “Members Pricing” as well, so joining the club definitely has its rewards. If you’re peckish about relinquishing control of your record collection to complete strangers, know that VMP’s Swaps Program is in full effect. That means you can flip any VMP pick you’re not interested in for a past featured album from any track (including Essentials, Country, Classics, and Rap/Hip Hop). My advice? Don’t overthink it. Do your turntable a favor and sign up today.
What’s on deck for February? Hope you brought your sexiest space suit, ’cause we’re blasting off with Air’s flawless debut Moon Safari.
For the Love of Music, Please Do Not Bend
Oh man, I really cannot remember such a lengthy stretch of Vinyl Me, Please Essentials pick that have been so completely in my musical wheelhouse. But here we are with a sixth straight Essentials pick that I never even considered swapping. And if you call yourself a fan of the late-90s indie scene, it really doesn’t get more essential than Air’s 1998 masterpiece Moon Safari.
As it is, the debut album from Air also takes honors as probably the sexiest album to ever make the Essentials track. Likewise, not many acts have ever been as consistently cool as the French purveyors of space-age psychedelic electronica. And that remains true despite the fact that they haven’t released new music for more than a decade now.
If you’ve yet to delve into the world of Air, the band was formed in Versailles, France in the mid-90s by sonic agent provocateurs Nicholas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel, who released six full length albums, a pair of film scores, and one legendary EP under the moniker between 1998 and 2012. Along the way, they turned untold generations of listeners on to a brand of bachelor-pad friendly electronica so singular in sound and mood, it can only be described as Air-esque.
Some might even argue Air was the band that put the mood back into mood music. To listen to Moon Safari is to understand beyond doubt that the band’s goal when they hit the studio was to cut a record that sounded at once totally retro, yet undeniably modern. They achieved that goal and then some with Moon Safari. And they’ve kept at it with every subsequent release.
The band’s journey to becoming the modern era’s prime purveyors of blissed-out space pop begins with “La Femme D’Argent,” the very first track on Moon Safari. Make no mistake, as far as opening tracks go, you’d be hard pressed to find one that so completely sets the tone not just for an album, but for a band’s entire ethos. And every sublimely chill track that follows only bolster the vibe.
Some of those tracks you likely know as “Sexy Boy” was a low-key alt-radio hit, and “Kelly Watch the Stars” is currently backing a heavy-rotation television commercial. But even outside of those modest “hits,” Moon Safari is bursting at the seems with spaced-out cuts guaranteed to groove you outside in, then inside out. As an album, Moon Safari is so steeped in vibe it’s impossible not to be moved, if not consumed by it. And just to be clear, the grooves therein have never grooved harder than they do here.
Air is a band almost wholly consumed by a sexy, space-age pop aesthetic. Mike Mills’ water color-styled album art for Moon Safari is positively dripping with that vibe. And Mill’s work has never looked as lovely as it does adorning this Staughton gatefold sleeve.
As always, you’ll want to check out the hype sticker with every VMP release so you’ll know exactly what makes this pressing the pressing to have in your collection.
Some of that info also adorns the OBI-strip cradling the album’s spine. There’s an excerpt from the listening companion book for Moon Safari on the back as well.
In case there were any question, Sophie Frances Kemp does some serious opining on the creation, and legacy of Air’s Moon Safari in the pages of that listening companion.
As always, there’s an album-inspired art print in the box too. This looks to be an unused piece of artwork from the original release. And like all the art spotting the Moon Safari gatefold, it comes from the amazing Mike Mills … who’s best known today for directing some of the best films of the past couple of decades (including Beginners, 20th Century Women, and C’mon C’mon.
You’ll see a bit more of Mill’s work on the inner sleeve too, by the way. There’s also a full lyrics breakdown.
Regarding the precious wax inside, it’s another breathtaking color-way for the Essentials track. And the “Sea of Tranquility” galaxy effect could not be more on point.
How’s it sound? Like stepping out of a lunar module, and walking straight into the sexiest moon base in the whole damn galaxy.
Give Vinyl Me Please a Spin
I’ve always said the trickiest thing about curating a record club is trying to find music that checks enough boxes to satisfy the bulk of a subscription base. Vinyl Me, Please doesn’t always achieve that near impossible goal, but they’ve proven over the years to be absurdly in tune with what their people want.
I’m guessing electronic music is a tougher sell for them than most genres, particularly on the Essentials track. And yet, when they do delve into electro land there, Team VMP tend to find the album that can even electronic music novices on. To be clear, if this immaculate pressing of Air’s Moon Safari doesn’t turn you on, you should consider seeing a doctor immediately, ’cause vinyl releases really don’t get better than this.
A big THANK YOU to our friends at Vinyl Me, Please for sponsoring this subscription. Don’t forget to check out the Vinyl Me, Please website and sign up to get some choice wax delivered right to your door each and every month! Be sure to check back next month to see what vinyl treasure Team VMP sends our way!