My happy little bundle arrived today. Vinyl Me Please is a vinyl subscription service I researched a while back, although there are several different vinyl subscription options out there, this seemed the most cost-effective, nice bonuses and (for me) just the easiest to use – or even cancel. Finally, I took the leap and joined.
The thing that drew me to such a service wasn’t convenience or price – it was “control”, or rather “giving up control”. The thing that struck me about this subscription service was that I would really have little to no control over the music selections chosen for me. Obviously, there is an option to change your assigned LP, these are called SWAPS, but I liked the idea of not engaging that internal filter, the one that tells you “Yeh, that may be a good album, but I want to stick with something I would be more likely to enjoy…”
My first subscription offer for October was Beck – “Odelay“ (the second official studio album and fifth overall by American alternative rock artist Beck, originally released on June 18, 1996). But this was coloured vinyl. Bourbon coloured vinyl. With black marbling. Back in ’94 I was living in Vancouver, BC when I was first exposed to Beck’s “Loser” while watching Much Music in a damp basement apartment. I was living in the UK when “Odelay” was released, and although I heard “Devils Haircut” on BBC Radio 2 and I knew I’d like to hear more Beck … I never did. Anyway, I have it now on vinyl and I love it. Quirky and cool, but I’d certainly like to think that I appreciate it more now, with a wider musical appreciation gained over the years. But, who am I kidding – I probably would’ve enjoyed it in my 20s too.
I discovered another bonus of membership to Vinyl Me Please, access to member-exclusive inventory in the VMP online store. To be honest, they had me at “member-exclusive inventory”.
Which leads to this months subscription: The featured album is The Books – “The Lemon Of Pink“ (first released in 2003) which judging from the description had me kinda freaked out. That internal filter was kicking in… But, I read the reviews and the album seemed pretty intriguing and certainly would reinforce the reason I joined – to expand my musical horizons! Nick Zammuto, cellist Paul de Jong, and vocalist Anne Doerner have made (from what’s described in the Vinyl Me Please, ‘Liner Notes’) an album containing “… the appearance of freak folk, musique concrète, electro-acoustic neo-classical, and cafe indie. But the songs shift in and out of form as if each measure of music was a replica made out of a million grains of sand.”
Hmm. I wouldn’t know yet.
Because I’ve already opened the 2 additional purchases I made at the VMP Exclusives Store (the “bonus” that I eluded to earlier).
Danny Brown – “Atrocity Exhibition” and The Chills – “Kaleidoscope World“.
First, Danny Brown. This is the (short) review that first propelled me to purchase this LP “Named after the second song on Joy Division’s Closer, Danny Brown’s 4th full-length project is the best post-punk album out this year. Danny has always rapped over the weirdest, best beats, and on this album, it sounds like he’s going off over a Pop Group compilation from 1981. It’s one of the year’s best rap albums, so don’t sleep.” … there’s a reference to Nine Inch Nails at some point too (well, the first track is titled “Downward Spiral”) so I was sold. I like what I’ve heard so far – even if I would categorise myself as more of an ‘old school’ Hip Hop fan, it’s difficult to not be entertained by the album. Cypress Hill-esque. Well, Danny Brown even features B-Real on the track (you guessed it) “Get High”.
Second, The Chills. I volunteered at the local University Student Radio station in my last year of High School, and these guys are a Dunedin band (deep in the South Island of New Zealand) that were obviously well supported by student radio and local music fans. I really loved “Pink Frost” – it’s been a favourite for years, but “Kaleidoscope World” was also popular and they even had some commercial success in New Zealand with “I Love My Leather Jacket”. Now, this compilation was released in 1986, when I probably should have bought it … but never did. Recently I saw this release advertised on the Flying Nun website, but the added shipping to Canada made this purchase seem rather exorbitant, so when I saw this featured on the VMP site, I took it as a sign. Anyway, this new release is packed with bonus material: “… the best of the magical early period recordings of The Chills and simply oozes excitement and possibility. Now re-issued on a deluxe 2xLP and 2xCD set, it will feature six bonus, b-sides, demos and live tracks plus an expanded gatefold cover with photos, and posters.”
To be honest, since these only arrived this afternoon, I’ve only had a few minutes to open the package, carefully review the LPs and have a quick listen to a few tracks. As mentioned, I haven’t even opened the seal on The Books album, yet. Perhaps tomorrow. But that’s what loving and collecting vinyl is all about, enjoying the discovery and making time to appreciate and connect with the vinyl.