April: M.I.A.’s Kala
In April, for our 100th Essentials ROTM, VMP will be featuring M.I.A.’s sophomore album Kala, and the album’s very first vinyl reissue since its release in 2007. Half-speed remastered by Barry Grint with Cicely Balston at Alchemy Mastering at AIR, our 2-LP pressing on neon purple and neon green vinyl breathes new life into a ubiquitous late-aughts sensory-blasting game-changer. Created and recorded in a myriad of locations (Trinidad, Jamaica, India, Angola, Liberia, Australia), the album blurred sonic borders and uniquely entangled a range of sounds in a way that the mainstream had never seen — a concept that Tara Joshi’s new original print Listening Notes explore at-length.
“M.I.A.’s Kala just makes perfect sense as not just an Essentials ROTM, but our 100th Essentials ROTM. In my opinion, it’s everything a great VMP Essentials record should be: an easily overlooked staple for everyone’s collection that never really got the type of quality vinyl treatment it deserves,” said VMP Head of Editorial, Amileah Sutliff, about the record. “And while we’ve consistently gotten a lot of requests to do this album, it still feels like a slightly unexpected pick. I think nearly everyone remembers this record, of course, but how many people have gotten to revisit it and appreciate it for what time has proven it to be? In addition to shooting M.l.A. into a ubiquitous pop fame stratosphere, it’s clear to see over a decade after it dropped how truly influential and groundbreaking Kala really was from sheerly a musical standpoint, and I’m thrilled to be adding a reissue to my collection that reflects that status.”
Kala is available for sign-ups now.
May: DARKSIDE’s Psychic
In May, VMP Essentials will feature Psychic, the debut full-length from DARKSIDE. On the 2013 album, experimental electronic music producer Nicolas Jaar teams up with his touring guitarist Dave Harrington to create an unexpected, yet singular unification of psychedelic rock, blues, house and Jaar’s signature textures of electronica. VMP's 2LP, 45-RPM edition of the album was pressed on on standard weight crystal ball clear vinyl at GZ from laquers cut by Barry Grint at Alchemy Mastering and comes with an exclusive listening notes booklet by Arielle Gordon.
“It was an album that, in my opinion, changed what electronic music could be at that time. And Nicolas Jaar joining forces with Dave Harrington was a beautiful marriage of very minimalist electronic music and very soulful and colorful guitar, in an interesting way that really resonated with people,” said VMP Head of A&R Alex Berenson. “So, we’ve wanted to work with DARKSIDE for a very long time and have been asking to run this record for a while now, and we were given the opportunity to really upgrade the package in a beautiful way and recut the lacquers while still maintaining the amazing audio quality of the original pressing. It’s not only a record that a lot of our members have asked about over the years, it’s also a staff favorite, and we get very excited when we get to run a record that holds such a special place in all our hearts.”
Psychic will be available for signups starting April 27.
June: The Doors’ The Doors
In June, VMP will be featuring The Doors’ quintessential self-titled album. Our 180g pressing was remastered by Bruce Botnick from the original mono masters from lacquers cut by Bernie Grundman. Our June Essentials ROTM will also include exclusive print listening notes from Jeff Weiss and a 7” that’s modeled after this rare 1967 French EP release of "Light My Fire" backed with "Take It As It Comes" and "The Crystal Ship." The additional clear vinyl 7” and was also mastered by Bruce Botnick and lacquered by Bernie Grundman. Read what VMP Classics & Country Director Andrew Winistorfer, and Doors fan since adolescence, had to say about the upcoming release:
"For more than 50 years, The Doors have remained an important cog in every rock fan's journey through the history of the different strands and characters of the music. The Doors was essential in establishing the fusion of jazz and rock thanks to Ray Manzarek's organ and piano, and essential in establishing the archetype of the leonine rock god who could command an audience off a cliff and deliver poetry at the same time. Whether it's remained a favorite or is an album you thought you left in your teenage years, The Doors is an essential listen, and we hope our edition will bring it back into your life.”
The Doors will be available for signups starting May 26.