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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.

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The Skinny

Here’s how it works. You send Vinyl Me, Please some of your hard-earned money (plans start at $25/month) and they send you one meticulously selected album worthy of your time and attention. Easy, right? Each custom pressing (often on colored vinyl!) 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 March’s sultry release of Yours Conditionally from Tennis – plus additional rare and exclusive releases.

The store opens on April 17. And Team VMP has a treasure trove of goodies up for grabs this month. Like a killer reissue of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ 1997 classic The Boatman’s Call (on red vinyl w/black smoke, Ltd. to 1000 copies). Or the elegiac rock collage that is Broadcast’s Tender Buttons. If you’re on the hunt for sexy new releases, you might want to take a look at No Shape, the latest release from Perfume Genius (on clear vinyl with red streaks, Ltd. to 750 copies) or the self-titled new album from shoegaze icons Slowdive. And if you dig VMP’s April AOM from Gorillaz, well, you can pick up its follow-up Plastic Beach in the shop as well. Not to mention the band’s new album Humanz. Just sayin’.

There’s more. A lot more, to be honest. While the store is also open to the public, many of VMP’s more exciting selections are only available to members. So you’ll have to sign up if you wanna get your mits on them. 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 AOM 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.

What about this month’s release? Well, it’s a killer reissue of an album I should’ve listened to a long, long time ago.

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Gorillaz

For the Love of Music, Please DO NOT BEND

Confession time … I never really got into Gorillaz. Not because I didn’t like their music. The few tracks I’d heard were well-orchestrated and often possessed a melancholic restlessness all but absent from the pop scene. Those songs always managed to be at least interesting. Occasionally they were engrossing. But I still never felt compelled to listen to a whole Gorillaz album. Mostly because I was put off by the whole “cartoon band” thing. Again, not because the cartoons weren’t interesting. Jamie Hewlett’s animation was compelling fodder in its own right. But I couldn’t get over the idea that it felt like a gimmick. So I sat on the sidelines, watching my friends – even those whose musical opinions I valued – nod their heads in delight whenever ‘Clint Eastwood’ or ‘Feel Good Inc.’ came on the radio. All the while I found myself wondering if I might be wrong about Gorillaz. 

And so Demon Days – the band’s second full-length – became the first complete Gorillaz album that I listened to. To my surprise, there’s a lot more going on with Gorillaz than just modish vibes and slick animation.

That’s apparent in the album’s opening track ‘Intro’ – an eerie mashup of found-sound samples and a selection from Don Harper’s unused Dawn of the Dead (1978) soundtrack. The icy intro sets an ominous but adventurous tone for Demon Days. Gorillaz architect Damon Albarn revels in that tone over the 14 songs that follow. Unfolding with an expansive aplomb, those songs trip through the chilly sci-fi dub of ‘Last Living Souls’ to hip hop choir-funk on ‘Dirty Harry’ and the disco-rave improv of  ‘DARE’ (featuring Happy Mondays’ Shaun Ryder) with infectious energy. 

Wedged between more experimental fare like the folk-hoppy ‘El Mañana’ or Dennis Hopper’s trippy spoken word anthem ‘Fire Coming Out of the Monkey’s Head’, Demon Days often feels like a kitchen-sink sort of album. Behind the graceful (if occasionally heavy-handed – see ‘Kids With Guns’) production of Danger Mouse, Albarn & Co. are given free range to explore any and every musical styling they can conceive. Strings and beats and free-flowing rap verses come and go at will. But they do so with an arresting sense of focus. Somehow, those disparate styles come together to form a cohesive whole. Along the way, Demon Days becomes a stunning testament to a band – cartoons and all – coming into their own and embracing the fears and paranoias of a world on the brink. That makes Demon Days as relevant today as it was upon release back in 2005. And that’s why you need to hear it.

But What’s in the Box?

Yeah, yeah, yeah … they’re a cartoon band. But their sound on Demon Days often errs on the side of heavy. So it’s only natural that they’d be serious as hell here. Even if they’re a little more playful on the back. 

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Gorillaz

Before you rip open that plastic, be sure to check the info on this little sticker. Another. Exclusive. Pressing.  

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Ok, let’s get digging. And let’s start with a wee bit of poetic rambling from VMP Co-Founder Tyler Barstow.

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Don’t forget to scope out the bottom of that slip so you can personally send some love back to the VMP Staffer who personally packed your disc. Thanks for the love, AC.

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If you’re the sort of music lover who loves music a little more with a drink in your hand, well, you’ll want to flip that slip over. ‘Cause SaloonBox’s Joe Spector has come up with a wicked little cocktail to accompany the gloomy vibe of Demon Days. It’s called El Mañana. It’s made with Tequila … and a bunch of other stuff. It sounds a little complicated. But it also sounds tasty as hell. Bottoms up. 

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Don’t forget to check out Ariel Roman’s apocalyptic original 12″ X 12″ print. And if you want to know a little bit more about the gifted graphic artist, just flip it on over.

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If you’re still a little sheepish about which extra discs you should be scoping out when the VMP Store opens this month, don’t worry. There’s a handy little pullout in the box to help. Did I mention that VMP will be carrying Solo Piano selections by Philip Glass? ‘Cause they are. And if you’re looking to fill the holes in your record collection, you might want to invest in The Vinyl Me, Please Book – an in-depth look at 100 albums Team VMP thinks you need in your collection … complete with cocktail pairings and original essays. Nice.

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Let’s move along, shall we? But not before we take a moment to gaze upon the glory that is the Demon Days gatefold artwork. There’s an original piece for every single track on the album in there. Which is pretty damn cool.

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It’s high time we had a gander at those discs already, yeah? Not before we check out this killer Gorillaz character sticker pack! I already have plans for mine. Where will you stick yours? 

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Let’s scope out that wax already. Oh wait, we really should check out the dust sleeves … ’cause they’re different on all sides. Which is a really nice touch. 

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This is what’s inside. There’s two of them.

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There’s a different character on every label. 

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Gorillaz

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And that translucent red is gonna look dead sexy on your deck.

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How’s it sound? Like you fell asleep watching the news. The calamitous uncertainty of our times invade your subconscious. Your dreams arrive in waves of apocalyptic imagery. Bombs drop. People are starving. Streets are on fire. Politicians laugh as they shove chocolate cake into their mouths. The world shifts and changes and crumbles in on itself as you struggle to make sense of it all. You can’t. Still you try. You wake in fright, unsure of how long you’ve been asleep. You’re sweating. Or maybe you’re crying. A sense of dread sits like a stone in the pit of your stomach. You turn the TV off and sit for a moment, alone in the darkness. You hear laughter from street … music from an apartment down the hall. And you find a modicum of comfort in the fact that the world spins on nonetheless.

Give It a Spin

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, music always finds you when you need it. I slept on Demon Days upon its release. That was a mistake. But it’s a mistake that Vinyl Me, Please has now rectified. I couldn’t be happier to have found it now. Mostly because the album’s spectral, paranoid-but-hopeful vibe is something that could not be more relevant to the world today. Thank you Vinyl Me, Please for bringing Demon Days to my attention, for showing me that Gorillaz are more than just a clever gimmick, and for making every month another chance for pure discovery. ’Cause that’s what music is all about. 

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 tasty treat is headed our way for May!

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