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In June, members of Vinyl Me, Please Essentials will receive an exclusive reissue of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, the breakout LP from French indie-rockers Phoenix. Vinyl Me, Please’s reissue was remastered from the master tapes, comes with mirrorboard alternate album art, and comes on pink vinyl. You can read an interview with the band here, and sign up to receive it here.
Below, read why we picked Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix and the details of our reissue.
Andrew Winistorfer: Last year, we did a lot of 2000’s indie rock — Arctic Monkeys, Beach House, TV on the Radio, Feist, etc. — and with the exception of how you classify Flying Lotus, this is the first indie rock album we’re doing this year, and it’s from that similar era. What made us program this one for this month? Why did we pick this as the indie rock record this month?
Alex Berenson, Vinyl Me, Please Head Of A&R: This is a title that we’ve had as a dream Record of the Month for a bit, always kind of in surprise that no one had done this on a wide release color variant since it came out. There’d also never been a “deluxe” version either, which felt surprising, because of all those 2009 indie rock albums that got big, this one felt the most ubiquitous: you heard this record everywhere in 2009, and for good reason; it's amazing, and it's a classic. Phoenix became one of the biggest bands on earth off this record. This record was such a cultural moment, and usually records like that are reissued like crazy, and this one was just repressed from the original release.
And we realized that we were coming up on the 10th anniversary of the album, and thought it could open an opportunity for us to do something cool for that. We talked to the band and Glassnote, and they were really excited to do this project with us.
It’s easy to forget now, because you take Phoenix as this really huge, big-font-on-the-festival-poster band, but before this album, I’m not sure that they had a huge audience who knew who they were.
Yeah, you heard that song in Shallow Hal and were like, “This band is really cool, I should check them out,” (laughs). This record really skyrocketed them to this huge level.
It’s also hard to overstate how ubiquitous this record was for those of us into this kind of music in 2009; a sitting U.S. congresswoman danced to this record in 2009, you know?
And we all just love this record and have a lot of memories tied up in it. What’s your favorite song off this?
I think it’s the “Love Like a Sunset” suite. When they toured this record, I was in college in Philly, and I went to go see them play the Electric Factory. My friend and I got there super early and fought to get as close as possible, and we ended up front and center in the first row. To this day, it’s probably the best concert I’ve ever seen. When “Love Like a Sunset” started, Thomas Mars was kind of walking around since he doesn’t sing on the first part, and then he laid down with his head between two monitors, and when he got up, he was full-on crying. Some bands hit that level of fame — and you know they deserve it, getting famous is hard work — but it’s kind of like the feeling of “I’m here, look at me,” where Phoenix felt like they had such incredible gratitude for the position they suddenly had found themselves in, thanks to this record. And excitement and happiness to the point of tears. I’ll never forget that image.
You saying they’re grateful for that really tracks with the interview Corbin did with them. Thomas says that he knew his life was changing when they were at a fest and they heard people cheering in a tent, and he thought, “This crowd is excited” before realizing that it was people waiting for them to show up, and that his life was going to change. I’ve never read an interview with an immensely popular rock band that pinpoints that moment and is so grateful for it, you know? I think that’s what sets them apart.
The cover on this is a cool change; we did a mirrored cover behind those big blimps on the cover. Makes this a really great record to roll weed on (laughs).
(Laughs) Yeah, it’s got a mirror on the front, and it’s a heavyweight gatefold package. We also had the record remastered from the original tapes by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound. He’s done a bunch of our direct tape remasters. Around this time, people were just starting to record to tape again; it’s sometimes hard to find albums from the late-’90s and early ’00s where the album was actually recorded to tape first. So we were super excited that the band had the original master tapes on this. So this is an all analog pressing. It also comes with a lyrics booklet, and the art print this month is a band photo from the photo shoots for the album.
And it’s on pink vinyl, and it looks very cute. I don’t mean that pejoratively at all, it’s a cute package.
It also looks very French, I think. It’s delightful. Great package, great record.
Andrew Winistorfer is Senior Director of Music and Editorial at Vinyl Me, Please, and a writer and editor of their books, 100 Albums You Need in Your Collection and The Best Record Stores in the United States. He’s written Listening Notes for more than 30 VMP releases, co-produced multiple VMP Anthologies, and executive produced the VMP Anthologies The Story of Vanguard, The Story of Willie Nelson, Miles Davis: The Electric Years and The Story of Waylon Jennings. He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.