Vinyl Me, What? Vinyl Me, Please!!
Good things come in 12 inch packages. Delivering limited edition pressings of new and classic albums directly to your doorstep, Vinyl Me, Please 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 $23 a month and they send you one meticulously selected album worthy of your time and attention. Easy, right? Each custom pressing (often in color!) also comes with special features like original artwork and even a recipe for a companion cocktail. Best of all, you get access to the VMP online store. That means you’ll have a chance to grab a copy of previous VMP selections from the archives – including December’s gush-worthy release of Nina Simone Sings The Blues – plus additional rare and exclusive releases.
The store is now open … and likely already sold out of several titles. They tend to go quickly once those internet shop doors are unlocked. But don’t worry, the store is bigger than you think. And it’s stocked to the brim with intriguing selections. So don’t fret if you missed out on the reissue of The Avalanches’ landmark sample-feast Since I Left You, ’cause you can still score a copy of Run The Jewel’s Run The Jewels 3 on gold wax (complete with sticker pack and poster!). Don’t shed a tear if Epoch by Tycho has gone the way of the dodo … you can still scoop a peach sherbet reissue of Melody’s Echo Chamber’s ethereal self-titled debut (ltd to 750 copies). If pure discovery is your goal, Team VMP has you covered with their Selector and VMP Rising Series’. Those outlets are featuring releases like Shintaro Sakamoto’s freaky folk-pop masterpiece How to Live With a Phantom, Totally Mild’s playful indie-pop debut Down Time, and the debut EP from Australian indie rockers Middle Kids. If you’re looking for something with a more neoclassical bent, look no further than the trippy, experimental compositions on Mica Levi’s and Oliver Coates’ Remain Calm. And for the more adventurous amongst you, think about grabbing up a copy of loop maestro William Basinski’s latest A Shadow in Time. You will not be disappointed.
Trust me, there’s more. But you’re gonna have to sign up to find out. If you’re peckish about relinquishing control of your record collection over to complete strangers, just know that VMP’s Swaps Program is in full effect. That means you can flip any VMP pick you don’t like for something a little more your speed. And if you want to get up close and personal with fellow VMPers to talk it over, keep an eye out for the VMP road-show, The Spins. They may be coming to a bar near you in the future. My advice? Don’t overthink it. Do yourself a favor and sign up today.
Before you do, let’s see what’s inside this month’s box. ‘Cause Team VMP is kicking off 2017 with a beauty.
Had to grab a copy of that Mica Levi/Oliver Coates disc for myself. And it’s not like anything I’ve ever heard. Thanks Team VMP for carrying it.
For the Love of Music, Please DO NOT BEND
“Music, you know, true music – not just rock n roll – it chooses you. It lives in your car, or alone listening to your headphones, you know, with the cast scenic bridges and angelic choirs in your brain. It’s a place apart from the vast, benign lap of America.” – from the film Almost Famous (2000)
I tried like hell to come up with better words to describe my love for music, but that quote (attributed to legendary music scribe Lester Bangs) sums it up all too perfectly. I would add only this – music doesn’t just choose you, it chooses you at the moment in time that you most need to hear it. I can’t really remember the first time I listened Person Pitch because, well, I was a different person ten years ago. Like all of us were. What I do remember is that Person Pitch was one of the albums that made me want to open myself up to humanity. It made me think that there was truth to be found in the wondrous emotional wilderness and narcissistic ugliness of the world. So it lived in my car. It lived in my headphones. It guided me beyond that most benign of laps. And it helped my visualize the life I wanted. I don’t quite understand how or why Person Pitch did that for me. I’d just say that it chose me when I needed it.
That was a surprise even to me. After all, Person Pitch was not my first encounter with Panda Bear (AKA Noah Lennox). I’d been listening to Lennox’s music with experimental, electro-psych outfit Animal Collective since the release of Danse Manatee (2001). I’d listened to the melancholic folk of Lennox’s first solo release (Young Prayers) as a result. But there was something different about Person Pitch. And you could feel it even in the album’s opening moments. Sure the melancholy can still be heard on ‘Comfy in Nautica’, but it’s awash in loops and samples that swirl around Lennox’s soaring vocals and guitars. They cast an air of sunny solemnity over the entire track. That solemnity bleeds through every somber/sugary track that follows. So too do all those loops and samples. You’ll hear them behind the stoic strumming of ‘Take Pills’. You’ll hear them in the self-loathing swoon of ‘I’m Not’. You’ll hear them bouncing off the echoey, layered vocals of ‘Ponytail’ and you’ll want to sing along.
Coupled with expansive, experimental ramblings like ‘Bros’ and ‘Good Girl’, Person Pitch has a sound that can only be described as opulent. It’s a stark deviation from that first Panda Bear release. Yet Lennox keeps the album grounded in sonically intimate territory. The seven songs that make up Person Pitch are nothing if not deeply personal. They’re songs about love and loss and fear and the spontaneous sentimentality of growing up. They’re playful like the eyes of a newborn, soulful like the heart of a lover, lonely like the mind of a writer, and whimsical like the music of a street performer. They harken back to the likes of The Everly Brothers and The Beach Boys without ever mimicking them. And they sound like they were recorded in Lennox’s own living room … the angelic choir in his brain made audible.
But What’s in the Box?!
A simple note on that cover. It looks like the world’s wildest and saddest jacuzzi party. That’s sort of what Person Pitch feels like too.
Be sure to check the date on the back sleeve. Hard to believe that this album is 10 years old.
Now, who’s ready to start digging? Ah, ah. Before you do, you might want to check out the info on this all important little sticker. Remastered and Repackaged exclusively for Vinyl Me, Please. Well done, folks. Well done indeed.
The Vinyl Me, Please crew has upped their game with poly sleeves in recent months as well. Which is nice. Personally, I find these fold-over jobs better suited to preserving than to playing, but they’re nice to have anyway.
The new year finds a slightly different look inside the box. That slick little half sleeve carrying vital info like the album’s name, the cocktail recipe, and the initials of the VMP staffer who prepared your delivery is gone! Don’t worry, it’s been replaced with this handy 12″ X 12″ insert … which is slightly less elegant even if it does get the job done. Still, I kinda miss seeing those handwritten initials. I’ll just take comfort knowing that Tyler Barstow’s poetic ponderings haven’t changed a bit.
And the recipe for this month’s companion cocktail is on the flip side. I’ve never had a ‘Search For Delicious’. It has bourbon and coffee in it though … and those are two of my favorite things. So yeah, can’t wait to try this one.
Don’t worry, you’ll still find a stunning bit of original artwork in the box too. This month features a doozy from Brooklyn based artist Mi Ju. Behold.
You’ll also find a teaser card featuring some of the highlights from the upcoming store. Justin Timberlake isn’t really my thing, but I have a feeling some of you might be flipping to get your hands on that VMP Exclusive pressing of FutureSex/LoveSounds. That’s cool, I’ll just be ogling Brian Eno’s Reflections while you’re getting your groove on.
Alright, let’s get into that sleeve and see what’s what. But before we do, have a gander at the lovely shot lining that gatefold sleeve.
And don’t forget to dig out your download card, ’cause Person Pitch is gonna sound great in your headphones.
Now, what about those discs?
I’m calling this one White Lightning.
And I’m calling this one Blue Thunder. Yeah, they’re both going to look good on your deck. Though I’m partial to that blue myself.
How’s it sound? Like you rented a beach house and threw yourself a birthday party. The music is chill, the vibe is right and the people are jovial. You are not. The party feels trite and meaningless. But you love your friends. And you love your life. You smile and make small talk but find yourself seeking out quiet spots in crowded rooms. Eventually, you step onto the deck for some fresh air. A gentle mist touches your face. You stick your tongue out to taste the salty air. You gaze out over the vast unfeeling ocean. Moonlight dances on the water like a million drowned fireflies. You walk quietly down to the beach and wade in up to your knees. You feel sand burying your feet in the murky wake. The noise from the party mixes with the crashing of waves. The world around you is alive in ways you’ve never comprehended. You feel sunlight in the moonlight. A pang of despair swells somewhere deep inside of you and you scream until the all the air has left your lungs. You look up and see a group of kids watching you. They walk to the water’s edge and scream as loud as they can. They look back at you and start to laugh. You can’t help but laugh too.
Give It a Spin
Person Pitch is the sort of effervescent musical enterprise that vinyl was made to capture. It’s an album about a time and a place in life common to every human experience. The seven songs that make up Panda Bear’s sophomore release so thoroughly encapsulate the moment that you can understand it even if you haven’t yet been through it. Those songs might even prepare some of you for it … as much as you ever can be at least. Whether you like Panda Bear’s style or not, you’re bound to find something to connect to on this album. And you’re sure to be thankful that it’s in your collection. Don’t worry, it will always be there when you need it. I’d like to thank Vinyl Me, Please for adding it to mine … and for making every new selection an adventure … ’cause that’s the whole point of music.
A big THANK YOU to our friends at Vinyl Me, Please for sponsoring this subscription. Don’t forget to check out the official Vinyl Me, Please website and sign up to get some choice wax delivered right to your door each month! Can’t wait to see what crunchy treat they send our way for February.