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 truly 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 their recent reissue of Thelonious Monks’ jazz masterpiece Monk’s Music – 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.
As for September’s box, I gave the VMP Rock track a test drive with The Stooges’ porto-punk masterpiece Raw Power. Here’s a look.
For The Love Of Vinyl, Please DO NOT BEND
For those keeping track, Vinyl Me, Please’s Essentials pick for September is actually Santigold’s popped-out, self-titled indie sleaze classic, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary here in 2023. If you’re wondering why I opted into a swap, it’s in part because I just never got into Santigold when it was released, and 15 years has not changed my opinion on the album. That being said, if Santigold was your jam back in the day, word on the street is that VMP’s release is nothing short of marvelous.
As it is, my decision to swap was largely driven by the fact that the just-launched VMP Rock track had indeed tabbed The Stooges Raw Power as its record of the month … and I’d somehow never added the band’s heavy-hitting third album to my own collection.
This is, of course, not the first time the VMP team has featured a Stooges record. A couple of years back, they actually gave the John Cale mix of their groundbreaking self-titled debut the Essentials treatment. If you read my review of that release, you know it stands as one of the best releases in the VMP vaults. Since I covered some of the band’s early history in that review, I’ll spare you another recounting of their rise to rock and roll infamy. And if you don’t give a toss about reading my words, you can also get a blow-by-blow of their, shall we say, “colorful” history in Jim Jarmusch’s brilliant 2016 documentary Gimme Danger.
As for Raw Power, it’s worth noting The Stooges had actually had a legit parting of ways not long before it was recorded, with Iggy initially eyeing the album as his first solo effort. In doing so, he jetted of to London with former Stooges guitarist James Williamson to write songs for the album – which was to be produced by Iggy, and backed by an as-yet-determined lineup of UK rockers.
In the end, Iggy and Williamson were wholly underwhelmed by those they auditioned for Raw Power, eventually bringing former bandmates Scott (drums) and Ron Asheton (bass) aboard as their rhythm section. And despite certain lineup shifts, the band picked up exactly where they left off once they were all in the studio together, ripping through the eight song set with a filth and a fury that bested even their legendary first two albums, 1969’s The Stooges, and 1970’s Fun House.
The proverbial rub was that in his maybe not-so-infinite wisdom as a producer, Iggy utilized just 3 of the 24 available channels in recording Raw Power, leaving virtually no wiggle room to mix guitars, vocals, and backing instruments after the fact. Though the tone of Iggy’s initial mix no doubt matched proclamations made the album’s title, Raw Power was deemed unreleasable by his label, who demanded that the work be completely re-mixed. Fearing Raw Power might get permanently buried, Iggy asked his new pal David Bowie to take a crack at the mix.
Though Bowie infamously quipped, “There’s noting to mix” upon his first listen to the three track masters, he and Iggy did what they could, with Raw Power finally hitting record shelves in February 1973. The VMP version of Raw Power is not, however, the Bowie mix. Rather its the fully “in the red” mix Iggy himself re-worked in 1997. Now, if you know anything about either of those mixes, you know the both suffer mightily from Iggy’s production approach. But in all its fierceness, the ’97 mix is the one many fans prefer.
And if you’re one of those fans, you’ll be happy to know the Vinyl Me, Please pressing of Iggy’s ’97 mix of Raw Power is arguably as good as it has ever sounded.
Given the label’s initial attempts to front iggy as a solo artist on Raw Power, it’s hardly surprising that The Stooges frontman stands alone on the cover. And to be honest, he’s rarely looked more Iggy than he does here.
There’s a few other pics of Iggy on the back of that fancy tip-on sleeve too.
Be sure to take note of the sleek red VMP Rock foil stamp.
And lest you doubt this pressing of Raw Power is worthy of that stamp, its immaculate credentials are front and center on the old hype sticker here.
You’ll find a few more intriguing tidbits about Raw Power on the album’s spine-cradling OBI-strip as well. Including a brief excerpt from the listening companion booklet that comes tucked in side the sleeve.
Courtesy of journalist Andy O’Connor, that book is a fascinating exploration of what Iggy and his iconic band went through while recording Raw Power
And as for the vinyl, I gotta admit the “Heart Full of Napalm” color-way if pretty damn fitting.
And it’s fully set to detonate on any deck it comes in contact with.
Give Vinyl Me Please a Spin
How’s it sound? Like a street-walking cheetah walked into the studio, set fire to the building, and recorded their songs as they watched the structure burn down around them. If you don’t believe me, well, you’ve still got time to find out for yourself as (at least for the time being) Raw Power is still available to add to your monthly Vinyl Me, Please sub. And if you call yourself a fan of The Stooges, know that this is as sold a pressing of this immortal classic as you’re likely to find in the vinyl wilds. Don’t miss out.
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!