The VMP Monthly Vinyl Buying Guide - September '15

On September 30, 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. 

U.S. Girls – Half Free

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There’s a moment about halfway through the opening track of Half Free where you realize the lyrics are discussing the type of dark family/relational issues that force your rapt attention out of a combination of unease and respect.  It takes a moment to realize because the instrumental backing is intoxicating in its own right, the type of left-of-center pop that threatens to whisk you away in a cloud of good beats until Meghan Remy’s lyrics and delivery pull you back down to reality in a hurry.  “Now I’m going to hang myself/ Hang myself from my family tree.” All this may lead to think this album is a real downer…it isn’t…it’s actually the perfect delivery of some somewhat disturbing revelations presented through the beautiful lens only music can provide.  This is one of the year’s best.

Stream album here

Kurt Vile – b’lieve I’m going down

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“Kurt does his own myth-making; a boy/man with an old soul voice in the age of digital everything becoming something else, which is why this focused, brilliantly clear and seemingly candid record is a breath of fresh air. Recorded and mixed in a number of locations, including Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, b’lieve i’m goin down… is a handshake across the country, east to west coast, thru the dustbowl history (“valley of ashes”) of woody honest strait forward talk guthrie, and a cali canyon dead still nite floating in a nearly waterless landscape. The record is all air, weightless, bodyless, but grounded in convincing authenticity, in the best version of singer songwriter upcycling.” – Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth

Watch music video for ‘Pretty Pimpin’

Youth Lagoon – Savage Hills Ballroom

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Trevor Powers has made a name for himself creating wet, humid atmospheres (lagoon-ish) with his music, his voice & lyrics sometimes existing as an unintelligible haze that, combined with the lo-fi recording techniques most evidenced in Year of Hibernation, take the listener on a journey, but also distance them from Powers himself.  That’s why his third album feels like such a shift – Powers is front and center with crisp, “dry” vocals and production that feel intimate as hell…you can almost hear him flinch at various points, possibly with the feeling of being completely exposed.  Recorded in Bristol, England, the 26-yr old Powers has created the album he needed to create…and while it may not completely satisfy those craving more of his lo-fi floaters, we think it’s a brave step in an exciting new direction and one worth spinning.

Stream album via NPR First Listen

Battles – La Di Da Di


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When your math-rock band loses your vocalist going into your third album you could go find a new vocalist…..OR you could just do without vocals altogether, which is precisely what Battles did with La Di Da Di.  A full instrumental album with a sound perfectly described by Jon Pareles as “high impact minimalism,” the band uses a lot of repetitive beats/riffs, but never for too long.  Over the course of the album the “rock” morphs into very heady, but danceable album.  It’s hard to put your finger on what makes it all work to be honest, but this album is smart, fun & worth a spin.

Stream album via NPR First Listen

Destruction Unit – Negative Feedback Resistor


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‘Noise-punk’….is way we’ve heard the sound of Destruction Unit described after several team debates and trips down Google lane.  ‘Wild-broncos-stampeding-through-a-sweaty-Mexican-whore-house’ was what we’d settled on previously, but noise-punk is probably the more proper terminology.  Either way the Arizona punk band, fronted by former Jay Reatard live band member Ryan Rousseau, seem to know a thing or two about maintaining cohesion while pushing energy in one direction…max.  Signed to Sacred Bones, their third album feels as though things are hitting stride with all the right kinds of droning chaos you need without the lack of direction you often get from less experienced bands trying to push it up.  If you’d rank “dabbling in punk/hardcore” low on your music activities list let us offer this album as a fine example of why you might reconsider.

Stream album via Adult Swim

Ought – Sun Coming Down


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Sophomore slump? Nay, horsies, nay.  The Montreal indie rockers signed to Constellation Records have come back after an impressive debut in 2014 to reveal they had more up their sleeves…and we are thankful.  Describing the evolution taking place on the second album Stuart Berman provided the following analysis,

“Ought make indie rock that sounds like how urbanity makes you feel: nervous, antsy, sometimes hostile, yet intoxicatingly vibrant. And Darcy, likewise, gesticulates like a dutiful office drone who’s played by the rules his whole life but just can’t take it anymore. Ought’s 2014 debut, More Than Any Other Day, was an album of slowly unfurled epiphanies, stoking simmering tension into fiery, exultant release. Those sort of affirming moments are a little harder to come by on the more chaotic and causticSun Coming Down, but the album’s relentless drive and uncompromising attitude constitute their own special kind of thrill. IfMore Than Any Other Day was about the hard-fought, triumphant ascent, Sun Coming Down is the giddy, daredevil “wheeeeee!” down the other side of the peak.”

Stream album via Stereogum

Empress Of – Me


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“In the course of finding and creating her own musical style, Lorely Rodriguez (aka Empress Of) ditched a full scholarship to a serious music college to instead make beats on her laptop. She posted some of these online, leading to countless blog posts–as well as a recording deal. Then, in the process of making her debut full-length album, she forewent the opportunity to work with a big-name producer, choosing instead to do it all herself. This might help to explain the album’s title.” – Hype Machine

Stream album via Hype Machine

Late Nite Tales – Nils Frahm


|| Available 9/16 via Member Store ||

If you haven’t figured it out yet by keeping an eye on our member store….we really like the Late Nite Tales series.  For the uninitiated, LNT is a concept label that, as they put it, “…invites the world’s best artists to delve deep into their music collections to create the ultimate ‘late night’ selection.” Basically it’s like if you went to your favorite artists’ homes and asked them to dj for you for the night from their record collections.  The newest release in the UK label’s series is from German neo-classical artist Nils Frahm….who we also really like.  So, for you taking notes, this is one of our favorite labels putting out a collection of songs on super high-quality vinyl from one of our favorite modern artists.  Thus, we’re offering it in the upcoming member store (opens 9/16).

Stream album via LNT 

Low – Ones and Sixes


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To hear the new Low album may cause the reaction from those unfamiliar with the Minnesota trio, “Holy hell, where did this band come from?” because as a whole it is really damn good…the type of good you falsely feel is not allowed to exist without being uncovered by your superior music discovery light beam.  However, the answer is that they’ve come from 20 plus years of making music as a band and 11 studio albums.  Albums this good, that feel this natural, don’t spring forth without years of mind & spirit-melding that allow brilliance to shine through without much awareness…the goodness of this album just exists, oozes into the ether — a magnified album from a band that will never get enough credit.

Stream album via NPR First Listen

Dam Funk – Invite the Light

Dam Funk

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Guess what kind of music Dam Funk plays…don’t overthink it.  Funk music is a strange beast that seems to be the weird uncle to many a record collection, but to those who know it, a cherished lover.  Invite the Light is the Stones Throw artist’s first album since 2009 (though he’s been quite busy in between) and continues exploring all the boundaries of what “modern funk” might mean…he’s in a position where he can somewhat write the script.  With guest features from Snoop Dog, Nite Jewel, Ariel Pink, & Q-Tip (seriously, this is just a few of them), Invite the Light, fits the funk ethos of being whatever you need it to be to get through the day.

Stream album via NPR First Listen

Diane Coffee – Everybody’s A Good Dog

Diane Coffee

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This author first saw Diane Coffee perform live in 2014 at a small hotel in Austin – a performance that felt like a psychedelic spirit-channeling of James Brown, Joe Cocker & Janis Joplin. It killed and made me forever a fan.  So boom, bias admitted.  With that said, the sophomore release from Shaun Fleming (also drummer for Foxygen) continues to build on the soulful, slap your face boogie train he started with his 2013 debut.  It’s lush, feel-good music that peels off some great layers from the 60s and 70s, but still retains its unique identity.

Stream album via NPR First Listen

Joan Shelley – Over and Even


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“If Kentucky folk singer and guitarist Joan Shelley had written the stories of her second album, Over and Even, for a book instead, its cover would be the forest green of middle Appalachia, and its edges would be worn. Her voice is milky and smooth, but her songs are aged and made wise by their lyrical weight. From the best of her genre she’s inherited the illusory ability to write songs that sound ancient and unimpeachably true….These are songs for any place and time, today or 50 years from now. This is a book for re-reading and then handing down.” – Katie Presley

Stream album via NPR First Listen

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