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The VMP Monthly Vinyl Buying Guide - October '15

On November 11, 2015

Every month we put together a vinyl buying guide of some of our favorite records that have just been released. If you're headed to the local record store and want to make sure you don't miss out on anything, this will help.


GEMS - Kill the One You Love

“Dark, atmospheric pop” seems to be the go-to phrase to describe the grayscale, hazy-synth pop sound produced by acts like the XX & Purity Ring, but there’s something about it that falls a bit short when trying to sum up the debut album from GEMS.  The late night moodiness is still there, but the difference is with Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John Usher you can actually sense their deep personal connection much in the same way you can with fellow Partisan roster mates Sylvan Esso.  They actually seem to like...or possibly love each other and the chemistry & tension comes out with each rise and release during the album.  They’ve made a killer debut album for everyone to hear, but in listening you get the sense they would have been fine just making it for each other.

Purchase in the Member Store

Stream the album here


Shigeto - Intermission EP

“Over half a dozen years Shigeto, has tweaked his headphone electronica, pulling in jazz, hip-hop, his ear for texture and ability on the drums to create inimitable midnight bedroom bliss. With the Intermission EP, Saginaw has taken everything his previous works brought him, boiled it down, and left only the choicest elements from which to spin the intricate bedroom symphonies he’s best known for.” - Rory Foster, Line of Best Fit, 7.5/10

Buy the album here

Stream the album here


Fuzz - Fuzz II


|| Purchase Album Here ||

Ty Segall is the wizard on top of rock mountain at the moment and if you don't realize it, you've been living under a different kind of rock........*waits*......*bows*.  The second album from his power trio consists of Segall (drums/vocals), Charles Moothart (guitar/vocals) & Meatbodies' Chad Ubovich (bass). As in other projects, Segall & Co. possess an amazing ability to push deep into long rock anthems, satisfying the most absolutist headbanger, without ever losing track of where the song is going (see the 14-minute title track).  It's this amazing balance that makes his music satisfying to such a wide range of music's really good whether you dig into the details or satisfyingly sit  a few feet above.  Fuzz II won't likely be in the top 10 of many year end lists, but it'll be the one you keep on your turntable...and that's probably much more important.

Stream album here

Joanna Newsom - Divers

Joanna Newsom

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If Ty Segall is the wizard on top of the mountain (see above), Joanna Newsom is the harp-wielding princess in the heavily-wooded forest convincing you a slight detour won't hurt anyone and just may provide the answer to life's riddles.  Deep, lyrical riddles are Newsome du jour.  Newsom recently touched on the most ardent fans, "...she calls 'the delvers': those who spend hours scanning her dense lyrics for meaning. 'I definitely can’t write an easy song,' she said. 'There is a group of people who are showing up with absolute, complete faith that there’s something worth digging for in the lyrics. And if I don’t put it in there, it’s like breaking a contract.'" With Divers, once again, the digging proves to be worth the time and effort even if answers don't come quickly.

Stream album here

Pure Bathing Culture - Pray For Rain


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"Sarah Vesprille and Daniel Hindman, the Portland-based duo who work as Pure Bathing Culture, follow a well-trodden route, combining the sounds of sunshine with lyrics exploring the unutterable fear of existence. So while the opening track, The Tower, feels like something you might hear in a beachfront bar at sunset, the lyrics were inspired by the disappearance of Malaysia Airline flight 370. In truth, you’d have be listening extremely closely to pick up on the the existential dread that apparently permeates the album: Pure Bathing Culture’s sound is so consistent – melodic, but slightly gauzy and blurred around the edges – that one gets caught in the sonics, and the singing becomes just another texture in the recording. And it’s their strength with melodies that will keep listeners coming back..." - Michael Hann, The Guardian

Stream album here

Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Style


Purchase in Member Store

If you’re anything like me, you have a healthy appetite for washed out stratosphere rock and Will Toledo delivers that in a serious way with his project Car Seat Headrest. He’s one of those musicians whose music is a perfect fit for so many different situations that it will end up becoming a pervasive presence in your life. It just will. Check it out.

Big Grams - Big Grams

big grams

Purchase in Member Store

Crossover between electronica of various kinds and rap has been going on for awhile now, with the most recent trend centering around blending the modern iteration of trap and rap thanks to folks like Hudson Mohawke and many others. Super group Big Grams has taken a step in a slightly different direction, however, by bringing together the fuzzy soothe-groove of Phantogram with the goliath talent of Big Boi from Outkast. It’s predictably catchy and a necessary addition to your chill house party collection.

Alex G - Beach Music

|| Purchase Album Here ||

"Giannascoli" is a tough name to wrap you head around..."G" was a smart edit.  Alex G has been making music for a while and putting it on his Bandcamp page, but like fellow artist Car Seat Headrest, was recently scouted & signed by a major indie this case Domino.  This is the type of internet music success story that spammy music coach blogs tout as the new model, but in reality so few artists actually achieve.  In the case of Alex G, however, we get it...his Domino debut reveals an artist that is in no way out of his league, but instead seems comfortable progressing the sound he's been honing for several years, a slightly slanted DIY indie pop that reveals more than it initially lets on.

Stream album here

Weyes Blood - Cardemom Times

|| Purchase EP Here ||

Much in the same way Grizzly Bear's Daniel Rossen was able to pack more into his EP 'Silent Hour/Golden Mile' than more artists can manage in a full LP, so Mexican Summer's Weyes Blood has done with her EP follow up to 2014's The Innocents.  Filled with the type of operatic underpinnings that make life feel bigger than the world can contain and love a path with many forks, Natalie Merring got a lot right with her latest work.  Recorded on reel-to-reel tape in her home studio in Rockaway Beach, New York the 4 tracks are a Fall novella delicately poised to become the medicine you require as the air turns cold & the sky dark.

Stream at FADER

Protomartyr - The Agent Intellect

|| Purchase in the Upcoming Member Store ||

"While the individual songs have peaks and purpose, the album winds up functioning on the same level. Its clear climax is “Ellen”, named after Casey’s mother and written from the perspective of his father speaking of her from beyond the grave. “I will wait for Ellen/ I’ll pass the time/ With our memories for Ellen/ I took them on ahead/ I kept them safe for Ellen,” Casey sings as if he’s his own parent, imagining to his best approximation the love his father felt for his mother through the lens of his own love. As if the sentiment itself wasn’t beautiful enough, it’s sung fearlessly over a galloping rhythm and expansive, scuzzy guitar, showing the band capable of a deeply moving prettiness that they’ve only vaguely hinted at before. When the song retreats and returns unexpectedly, it’s a much deserved encore from a band that just tied a ribbon on their finest work." - CoS

Stream album via NPR First Listen

Kamasi Washington - The Epic

|| Purchase Album Here ||

We had this album in the member store last month...for about 15 minutes.  We'd ordered what we thought was a significant number given the higher price point of this 3LP ($39), but apparently the word is out...this is one of the best albums of the year.  Three hours of knockout jazz from one of the studio crew that made Kendrick's To Pimp a Butterfly enter alternate universes.  "This triple-album set is an extravagant love letter to (among other things): soul jazz, John Coltrane (various periods), and 1970s fusion leaders like Miles Davis and Weather Report."  If that sounds even remotely interesting, take out your shekels and lay them on the record store counter.

Stream album here

Express Rising - Fixed Rope

|| Purchase Album Here ||

VMP members of yore may remember we featured Express Rising's last album in February of 2014.  We did this because the music being made by Chicago-based Danta Carfanga has a frustrating, but addictive mystery to it that matches that of the artist himself.  He might as well be a wisp of snow blowing across your windshield in the winter scene of his most recent album cover...who then shapeshifts into a chemist in an underground industrial lab that makes beats/arrangements in his spare time.  Regardless of the identity of the artist himself, his most recent album continues in a similar vein as that of his self-titled LP, but with even more Nils Frahm's Felt where you get the impression that even a mis-breath from the artist could collapse the entire affair.  A great Fall album...we think you'll end up spinning this more than you might initially imagine.

Stream "Spirit Darts" at Noisey

Autre Ne Veut - Age of Transparency

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"...the album has a layer of translucent alienation that aligns all its elements: the galling and the gorgeous are one. Even with the gospel choir that opens “Get Out,” the most instinctively welcoming of sounds is made slightly horrible—you feel like the singers’ skin would stretch like taffy if you touched it, their hair would melt down into the ground. The album is unpredictable and internally elusive, distracting you with huge streaks of melody while keeping you subconsciously after its internal calculus and time. And so it centers more strongly on jazz than anything. Only on its best tracks does the alt-R&B category seem relevant, and only in its pursuit of a note that’s finely, obliquely sexual—an unfamiliar familiarity, the first time like you’ve been there before, and every time after that like the first time." - Jia Tolentino, Jezebel

Stream album via NPR First Listen


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