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 $119) and they send you one carefully selected 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 February’s smashing reissue of Grimes’ breakout hit Visions – not to mention 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.
As for March’s Essentials pick, Team VMP tabbed a legit, late-90s indie rock masterpiece from the one and only Modest Mouse.
For The Love Of Music, Please DO NOT BEND
For a certain sect of music lovers, the name Modest Mouse carries with it a level of fervid fandom virtually unrivaled in the indie rock realm. Formed in Issaquah, Washington in 1992 (when frontman Isaac Brock was just a teen), Modest Mouse hit the Pacific Northwest scene with a crunchy, eclectic sound and a fiercely DIY aesthetic that fit right into the region’s burgeoning indie arena. There, Brock and company cut their playing basement shows and local punk venues.
A few years later, they cut their first record, with 1996’s This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About serving as a sprawling, at times baffling rock record fueled by driving guitars, moody grooves, wildly unconventional arrangements, and lyrics as raw, and intensely introspective as they were astonishingly observant.
This Is a Long Drive also didn’t sound like anything else out there upon release, and fans who found it indeed latched onto the band who made it with the aforementioned intensity. Three decades and six proper albums later, they haven’t let go. And Modest Mouse has rewarded their devotion by continuing to crank out raucous, inventive indie rock gems steeped in grandiose, inward looking themes, and vaudevillian flair.
Those elements are well on display throughout The Lonesome Crowded West too, which arrived a year after This Is a Long Drive. And some Modest Mouse fans (present company included) might be quick to argue it served as the first release in one of the great three album stretches any band in rock history has ever forged, with 2000’s The Moon and Antarctica and 2004’s Good News for People Who Love Bad News – serving as Modest Mouse’s legit masterpiece, and their mainstream breakthrough respectively.
On the surface, Modest Mouse’s The Lonesome Crowded West continued what Brock and company began on This is a Long Drive, taking a passenger side view of emotional and physical frontiers simultaneously eroding from existence and rising with phoenix-like fury. While the album reveled endlessly in roach-ridden trailer parks, lonely highways, and barren landscapes, there was a focus, and a ferocity dominating the album that hadn’t quite been there on band’s debut.
That focus resulted in a near 80-minute DIY rock odyssey fronting lo-fi style with operatic ambition. It’s an album comprised of songs so fully realized you stop, listen, and fully engage no matter where you are or what you’re doing. It’s an album that demands to be listened to front to back every time you play it. It’s an album that begs to be played over, and over again. And thanks to the fine folks at Vinyl Me, Please, we can now hear it the way it was meant to be heard.
As for the cover art, let’s just say high-rise buildings darting into a clouded, Pacific Northwest sky are more than befitting album titled The Lonesome Crowded West.
This spot-glossed, tip-on beauty is also a gatefold, by the way, boasting additional photography both inside, and on the back cover.
There’s also as shiny bit of foil-stamping on the back forever noting this pressing of Modest Mouse’s The Lonesome Crowded West an Essential to any and every collection.
And for those who doubt fact, the album’s hype sticker will likely change your mind.
Now, for the past year or so, Vinyl Me, Please has been hosting a monthly contest for subscribers to design their own vinyl centric sticker. While I personally don’t have much use for them, said stickers are always fun to find. And this whistling wonder from Thurman Pursley is one of the best VMP stickers yet.
Cradling the spine of The Lonesome Crowded West is VMP’s signature OBI-strip, which fronts some vital stats as well as an excerpt from the album’s listening companion booklet.
And about that listening companion, this month’s behind-the-scenes memoire was penned by Scott Swayze, who actually worked on The Lonesome Crowded West with Modest Mouse way back in the ’90s.
This month’s album-inspired art print from Violet Aveline is a legit sight to behold too. So much so that I’m not gonna waste any words describing it. Rather, I’ll simply allow you to bask in its raw-nerve glory.
Don’t worry, we’re about to get a look at the vinyl inside this month’s box. But before we do, let’s take a look at the printed inner sleeves protecting them, ’cause they feature a track list, album credits, more photography, and a full breakdown of Isaac Brock’s bracing and beautiful lyrics.
As for the wax in side, these “Bottom of the Sky” colored lovelies beautifully mimic the cloudy sky on the album’s cover.
And they’re set to bring some serous Pacific Northwest fury to decks all over the planet.
How’s it sound? Like road-tripping in a hot-wired car through the parched, broken, but often unconscionably beautiful landscapes of a world both eerily familiar, and forever in flux.
Give Vinyl Me Please a Spin
I’ll go ahead and admit I’m a full blown Modest Mouse fanboy. But I’ll also cop to the fact that The Lonesome Crowded West has never been a particular favorite of mine from the band’s catalogue. Of course, I’d also never given the album a proper listen on vinyl before. After giving this VMP pressing a spin, I sort of feel like I’m hearing the album for the first time.
While The Lonesome Crowded West is still not my favorite Modest Mouse record (The Moon and Antarctica forever!), after hearing it on this format, it’s quickly climbing the charts. And I can all but guarantee you’ll have the same reaction if you get your hands on a copy.
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!