Vinyl Me, Please Staff On Their Favorite Things From 2016

The Books, Snack Foods, And Records That Meant Most To Us This Year

On December 19th 2016

Staff Picks

Instead of hitting you with yet another list of the best albums of 2016—but seriously, check out our Best of 2016 lists—we asked our 14 staff members for their favorite things, books, foodstuffs consumed at desks/Colorado Tex-Mex restaurants, and events from 2016. They also share their dream Vinyl Me, Please Record of the Month.

Alex Berenson, A&R and Label Coordinator

Best concert you saw this year:

Ava Luna covering Serge Gainsbourg’s La Historie de Melody Nelson

Album you listened to the most this year:

Hiatus Kaiyote: Choose Your Weapon

Snack food most consumed at your desk in 2016:

Salt + Vinegar Chips

Best thing to happen to you in 2016:

Joining VMP :)

Best book you read in 2016:

Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Gillian McCain/Legs McNeil

Album that Paul played super loud in his headphones that was most surprising to you:

Any of his classical picks

Most ordered Pica’s item in 2016:

CHILAQUILES

Favorite album you bought on vinyl in 2016:

Khruangbin: The Universe Smiles Upon You

Tyler Barstow, Co-Founder and Senior Editor

Favorite VMP release this year and why:

The Books. Mostly because it blows my mind every time I listen to it that it all works together so well. It feels like what it must feel like to watch someone who knows their stuff do higher level Calculus on a huge chalk board because there’s an elegance and really mature simplicity to it that that you can see from a distance even if you can’t explain it. It gives me goosebumps to listen to it unfold, some because of the process of it and some because it’s incredibly other than me.

Favorite non VMP reissue this year and why:

Steve Reich - The ECM Recordings mainly because Steve Reich is, alongside Brian Eno, one of my heroes and this collection certainly meets the standard of what a reissue is meant to do: draw our attention back to a place we’ve been haunted by sometimes even without knowing it. In my book, he’s as valuable to modern music as almost anybody and this is a must own.

Best concert you saw this year:

The National at Red Rocks. They’re my favorite band and Red Rocks is my favorite venue in a very predictable and uninteresting way. I just love being there, and I feel lucky to live so close to it, and it was unreal for me to see The National there.

Album you listened to the most this year:

Blonde by Frank Ocean and it’s not even close. I’ve probably listened to it 60 or 70 times, no exaggeration, and it might be favorite album of next year too, we’ll have to wait and see. “White Ferrari” and “Self Control” are unbelievable and I literally cannot hear them enough times.

Snack food most consumed at your desk in 2016:

Damn. As far as sheer count it’s probably Sour Patch Kids but if we’re going by package numbers it’s probably Cherry Twizzlers. I’ve had to cut back to hippy granola bars so my body doesn’t disintegrate but both of those two snacks are the ones that really get me and have my heart.

Favorite music-related event from 2016:

The release of the broccoli-shaped “Broccoli” 7-inch for Record Store Day.

2017 album/thing you’re most looking forward to:

Japandroids duh I don’t even know what a different answer would look like.

Best thing to happen to you in 2016:

Getting married and moving into a house were both wild and very dope and on a smaller scale it feels fucking incredible to have my entire record collection in Discogs. Also beating Andrew’s High Score in Crossy Road and Season 1 of Westworld. In that order, for the most part.

Best book you read in 2016:

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Read Again by David Foster Wallace or It by Stephen King

Favorite Young Thug Mixtape from 2016

Jeffrey mostly because of the Harambe song.

Person on staff least likely to replace toilet paper roll in the bathroom at VMP HQ:

Me by like a mile.

Album that Paul played super loud in his headphones that was most surprising to you

That I recognized and can name? That’s tough. Probably Mariah Carey only because I don’t know why Paul’s listening to Mariah Carey in 2016. But at the same time, it does play well into his Sensitive Juggalo aesthetic which I respect him for repping so hard. Much clown love, or whatever.

Most ordered Pica’s item in 2016:

Flan, man. I’m really out here.

Favorite album from 2016:

Blonde by Frank Ocean, with Endless being a close follow up. Frank Ocean just ran the show this year as far as I’m concerned.

Favorite album you bought on vinyl in 2016:

Probably the Bright Eyes box set that came out, or the new Ricky Eat Acid album. Getting both of those made my month’s, respectively.

Dream VMP Album of the Month:

Yeezus by Kanye and that’s what it will be every year until it hopefully someday happens.

Matt Hessler, Head of Marketing

Favorite VMP release this year and why:

Big Bill Broonzy: this record was the perfect intersection of music discovery and comfort food. As the snow starts falling again here in Denver, this record continues to find its way back to my turntable

Favorite non VMP reissue this year and why:

Ryan Adams Heartbreaker, because there is a part of me that is a lonely 20-something who will forever want something to pine over.

Best concert you saw this year

Jon Bunch (lead singer from Sensefield) Memorial Show, Orange Country CA

Album you listened to the most this year:

Chance The Rapper: Coloring Book

Favorite music-related event from 2016:

Jon Bunch (lead singer from Sensefield) Memorial Show, Orange Country CA

Best thing to happen to you in 2016:

Traveling Italy for my 40th birthday

Best book you read in 2016:

Liu Cixin: *Death’s End *

Favorite Young Thug Mixtape from 2016:

Jeffery

Person on staff least likely to replace toilet paper roll in the bathroom at VMP HQ:

Tyler… NO SERIOUSLY ALWAYS TYLER

Album that Paul played super loud in his headphones that was most surprising to you:

J-Lo’s Rebirth

Most ordered Pica’s item in 2016:

Al Pastor Quesadilla

Favorite album you bought on vinyl in 2016:

Knapsack: This Conversation Is Ending Starting Right Now (1998)

Dream Vinyl Me, Please Album of the Month

Notorious B.I.G.: Ready to Die

Emily Greenstein, Co-Founder of The Spins

Favorite VMP release this year and why:

The Books, The Lemon of Pink. We decided on this album in Nov/Dec of 2015 even though it wasn’t released to members until November 2016. Prior to Cam and Matt talking about picking the album in 2015, I had never heard of the Books. I remember the first time I listened to the album, and it was just weird enough to keep me wanting more. I was studying for finals (my last finals ever. I graduated (officially) Dec 2015). I remember how much I HATED school at that point, but how I was one of those kids who would never just blow off a final exam. Fast forward 11 months and here we are full circle— I graduated from school, traveled, and completed my first year “full-time” at VMP. I guess all in all it’s just a super nostalgic album that has a lot of feels associated with it for me.

Favorite non VMP reissue this year and why:

Van Morrison, Astral Weeks. Van Morrison will always hold a special place in my heart. My dad is a part-time musician and he would always sing Van Morrison to me when I couldn’t fall asleep. Whenever I went to any of his gigs he would always play “Brown Eyed Girl.” I know, that song isn’t on this album but this is my favorite reissue bc it’s Van Morrison. But, if I’m talking about Astral Weeks, my fave track on there is “Sweet Thing.” I remember my preceptorial advisor during my freshman year of college driving me around in her pickup truck through San Diego and we blasted this song. It always takes me back to that moment.

Best concert you saw this year:

LCD Soundsystem at Red Rocks. DUUUUUDE, it’s LCD fucking Soundsystem at RED ROCKS. I had never been around so much good energy before. Every single person in the amphitheater was dancing their asses off in the pouring rain. My neck hurt for, like, a week following from all the headbanging.

Album you listened to the most this year:

Wild Belle, Isles. Natalie is my spirit animal. I’m a big fan of singing in the shower and on the drive home from work and this is the perfect album to sing along with.

Snack food most consumed at your desk in 2016:

Beef jerky?

Favorite music-related event from 2016:

Being backstage at Red Rocks for Portugal. The Man + Glass Animals. I cried, lol. Seeing 9,000 strangers crowded together in one space smiling, dancing, and all singing the same song from the artist’s’ perspective was unreal. Nothing connects people quite like music does.

2017 album/thing you’re most looking forward to:

Expectations are let downs under construction.

JUST KIDDING, lol. I don’t know, I have trouble looking further than 2 days in advance. I’d honestly love to get to a point in my life where I wear matching socks on a daily basis.

Best thing to happen to you in 2016:

Kicking off the new year in New Zealand. That place is unreal and spending the money to get there was the best purchase I’ve ever made.

Person on staff least likely to replace toilet paper roll in the bathroom at VMP HQ:

Tyler, lol.

Album that Paul played super loud in his headphones that was most surprising to you:

…. Adele?

Most ordered Pica’s item in 2016:

Tortilla chips + Half&Half (Guac + Pico de Gallo)

Favorite album from 2016:

Frank Ocean, Blonde

Favorite album you bought on vinyl in 2016:

I wish I could answer this question with Frank Ocean’s Blonde… but I didn’t get it in time :(

Dream VMP Album of the Month

LEMONADE!!!!

David Barnes, Head of Operations

Favorite VMP release this year and why:

The Fugees The Score because I love Lauryn Hill and it’s the best record we ran in 2016.

Favorite non VMP reissue this year and why:

John Coltrane A Love Supreme cause it makes me cry every time

Best concert you saw this year:

LCD Soundsystem at Red Rocks

Album you listened to the most this year:

Julien Baker Sprained Ankle

Snack food most consumed at your desk in 2016:

Mutha Fuckin’ Pop Chips high fives storf

Favorite music-related event from 2016:

VMP 2016 Label Summit

2017 album/thing you’re most looking forward to:

Our June ROTM

Best thing to happen to you in 2016:

Started working at VMP

Best book you read in 2016:

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Favorite Young Thug Mixtape from 2016:

I’m Up

Person on staff least likely to replace toilet paper roll in the bathroom at VMP HQ:

Tyler Barstow 100 times out of 100

Album that Paul played super loud in his headphones that was most surprising to you:

Nothing surprises me any more when his headphones go from ICP to Rihanna to System of a Down to Bob Marley.

Most ordered Pica’s item in 2016:

Jargarita…a jar full of Margarita.

Favorite album from 2016:

Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper

Favorite album you bought on vinyl in 2016:

Sigur Ros Taak

Dream VMP Album of the Month:

The National High Violet

Andrew Winistorfer, Senior Editor

Favorite VMP release this year and why:

BadBadNotGood, because that was the first VMP album I got a small say in in 2016. I will always remember listening to an advance copy of that when we were considering it while driving with Greens and Cam around Boulder.

Best concert you saw this year:

Maren Morris at a small show at SXSW before she completely and totally took over country music.

Album you listened to the most this year:

For reasons I can’t really explain, I’ve listened to Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde 49 times this year.

Snack food most consumed at your desk in 2016:

Crazy Hot Pop Chips, a brand of chip I am currently publicly beefing with on Twitter. @ me Pop Chips. You’re dead to me.

Long live cheese balls.

Favorite music-related event from 2016:

Staying up and watching Kanye perform “Ultralight Beam” on SNL and then waiting another two hours to hear the album. I love clusterfuck album releases. More of those in 2017.

Best thing to happen to you in 2016:

Starting at VMP, like everyone else on here. But also moving to a rental house with my girlfriend Amanda and realizing I totally love yardwork like mowing the lawn and shoveling snow. Also, shout out my Tushy Bidet.

Best book you read in 2016:

Tie between Underground Airlines by Ben Winters and Tetris: The Games People Play by Box Brown.

Favorite Young Thug Mixtape from 2016:

Improbably, 1017 Thug wins the award for the third straight year.

Person on staff least likely to replace toilet paper roll in the bathroom at VMP HQ:

At Midwest VMP HQ, it’s me. At HQ, it’s Tyler.

Album that Paul played super loud in his headphones that was most surprising to you:

Something by Insane Clown Posse that I saw him rapping along to.

Most ordered Pica’s item:

Steak quesadilla, but really it’s the chips.

Favorite album from 2016:

Maren Morris’ Hero

Favorite album you bought on vinyl in 2016:

Will Smith’s Big Willie Style

Dream VMP Album of the Month:

Garth Brooks: No Fences

Alex Gallegos, Customer Success Manager

Favorite VMP release this year and why:

Wells Fargo because I’m the biggest fan of African psychedelic rock and it’s just so good. This reissue knocked my socks off.

Favorite non VMP reissue this year and why:

Honestly, my favorites have been VMP reissues. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Best concert you saw this year:

Car Seat Headrest

Album you listened to the most this year:

Teens of Denial by Car Seat Headrest. It’s my “turn up” album.

Snack food most consumed at your desk in 2016:

Coffee and Kind bars

Favorite music-related event from 2016:

Is this a good plug for The Spins? ;)

2017 album/thing you’re most looking forward to:

More Kevin Morby music. I love that guy. Kansans, AMIRIGHT?!

Best thing to happen to you in 2016:

I moved to the beautiful state of Colorado and started working at Vinyl Me, Please where I constantly giggle every day.

Best book you read in 2016:

Citizen by Claudia Rankine

Favorite Young Thug Mixtape from 2016:

Slime Season 3

Person on staff least likely to replace toilet paper roll in the bathroom at VMP HQ:

Tyler

Album that Paul played super loud in his headphones that was most surprising to you:

“Ancestors Call” by Huun-Huur Tu (throat singers)

Most ordered Pica’s item in 2016:

Tostada salad

Favorite album from 2016:

Blonde by Frank Ocean

Favorite album you bought on vinyl in 2016:

Blonde by Frank Ocean

Dream VMP Album of the Month:

Channel Orange by Frank Ocean

Cameron Schaefer, Head of Music and Label Relations

Favorite VMP release this year and why:

The Books The Lemon of Pink. This project represented all the things I love about a record club: eccentric album that needs time to develop, remastered audio that enabled the album to sound the best it ever has, incredible care & attention put into the package with all new album artwork & an incredible story to be told in terms of the band and its internal struggles and breakthroughs.

Favorite non VMP reissue this year and why:

Betty Davis: The Columbia Years 1968-1969 — First off I had no idea Betty was the wife of Miles Davis, didn’t even know he was ever married. Second, the liner notes were incredibly effective in telling the story behind these recordings which had happened under the supervision of Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock & Wayne Shorter among others. The opening track “Hangin’ Out” is one of the coolest tracks I’ve ever heard and when you think about the amount of creative energy and confidence contained in that recording studio and the fact that the music never saw the light of day until this year it makes you wonder how many more stories and recordings like this exist and are just waiting to be discovered.

Best concert you saw this year:

Anderson .Paak at Stubbs, Austin, TX during SXSW —TIE— Ainslie Wills at The Foundry, Brisbane, Australia

Album you listened to the most this year:

Hamilton Leithauser & Rostam: I Had a Dream That You Were Mine

Snack food most consumed at your desk in 2016:

Salt & Vinegar chips

Favorite music-related event from 2016:

BIGSOUND Australia Conference

2017 album/thing you’re most looking forward to:

Hoping to see Kevin Morby live

Best thing to happen to you in 2016:

Getting to dig through the vaults at Capitol

Best book you read in 2016:

Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business by Frederic Dannen

Favorite Young Thug Mixtape from 2016:

Jeffery

Person on staff least likely to replace toilet paper roll in the bathroom at VMP HQ:

Tyler

Album that Paul played super loud in his headphones that was most surprising to you:

Enya (I think)

Most ordered Pica’s item in 2016:

Chips with half guac, half salsa

Favorite album from 2016:

Exploded View: Exploded View

Favorite album you bought on vinyl in 2016:

Kiki Gyan: *24 Hours in a Disco 1978-1982 *

Dream VMP Album of the Month:

Van Morrison: Veedon Fleece

Paul Bass, Provider of Dank Solutions, Customer Success Manager

Favorite VMP release this year and why:

Wells Fargo. This album came out of nowhere, and I think is the most important release we have done thus far. The story behind it and the music are both top cheese for sure.

Best concert you saw this year:

Prophets of Rage. They tore Red Rocks to the ground, and melted my face. I also rapped alongside Chuck D when he came into the crowd, and I thought I legit died and went to HipHopHead Heaven.

Album you listened to the most this year:

Illmatic. I listen to this album at least two times every week. It’s perfect.

Best thing to happen to you in 2016:

Best thing to happen to me in 2016 was starting Full Time at VMP! Its been a crazy year since then.

Favorite Young Thug Mixtape from 2016:

Jeffery, and I don’t care if someone says that’s not a mixtape. Every release he has is a mixtape so shut it…alright maybe not Barter..What was the question again?

Person on staff least likely to replace toilet paper roll in the bathroom at VMP HQ:

I’m going to throw Cam under the bus on this one. He totally strikes me as someone who likes to watch the world burn…by not replacing things when they are out.

Most ordered Pica’s item in 2016:

Chicken Tacos, as I have never ordered anything else at Picas. I legit don’t know what any of their other food tastes like.

Favorite album from 2016:

Blond(e) by Frank Ocean…Hands down.

Dream VMP AOTM:

Bobby “Blue” Bland: *Dreamer *

Casey Gipson, Lead Developer

Favorite VMP release this year and why:

BBNG. I’d never heard of them before and it’s a great album with amazing sound quality.

Favorite non VMP reissue this year and why:

I’m excited to finally get Sea Change on vinyl which has been selling for astronomical prices.

Best concert you saw this year:

Tame Impala at Red Rocks

Album you listened to the most this year:

I Love You, Honeybear, although lately I’ve been spinning a lot of Run the Jewels 2 at high volumes.

Snack food most consumed at your desk in 2016:

Breakfast burritos, all day every day.

Favorite music-related event from 2016:

Shows at Red Rocks. Hard to beat.

2017 album/thing you’re most looking forward to:

The new Run the Jewels.

Best thing to happen to you in 2016:

Scoring a job at VMP :)

Best book you read in 2016:

The Franklin BBQ book. I can now make some killer ribs thanks to his advice.

Album that Paul played super loud in his headphones that was most surprising to you:

Too many to name.

Most ordered Pica’s item in 2016:

Margarita

Amileah Sutliff, Editorial Assistant

Favorite VMP release this year and why:

Nina Simone’s Nina Sings the Bluesis all kinds of beautiful; Nina herself is so complex and incredible from every angle. Writing and learning more about her is one of my favorite things I’ve worked on at Vinyl Me, Please so far.

Best concert you saw this year:

FKA Twigs at Pitchfork. A close second, Carly Rae Jepsen at Pitchfork.

Album you listened to the most this year:

Puberty 2. 2016 was sad and complicated like that album.

Snack food most consumed at your desk in 2016:

Cheeseballs (Storf and I consumed two Very Large Tubs™of cheeseballs in just two months)

Favorite music-related event from 2016:

My very first SXSW!

2017 album/thing you’re most looking forward to:

My very second SXSW!

Best thing to happen to you in 2016:

Got hired as an editorial assistant at VMP, and now I get to read and write about music for my job, and I didn’t know life could be this cool. Also, Carly Rae Jepsen made eye contact with me at Pitchfork. These two things are equal in importance.

Best book you read in 2016:

Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur or The First Bad Man by Miranda July

Favorite Young Thug Mixtape from 2016:

JEFFERY

Person on staff least likely to replace toilet paper roll in the bathroom at VMP HQ:

I’m the only other human soul I’ve ever seen in the women’s bathroom at VMP Midwest headquarters, so I gotta say it’s me by default?

Album that Paul played super loud in his headphones that was most surprising to you:

I live in Wisconsin and have never physically met Paul, but in June I was walking down the street and thought I heard the distant sound of “Mambo No. 5” and couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. I can only assume it was coming from Paul’s headphones, so I’ll say “Mambo No. 5”

Favorite album from 2016:

Mitski’s Puberty 2 or Solange’s A Seat at the Table

Favorite album you bought on vinyl in 2016:

Our exclusive of JEFFERY or Julia Jacklin’s *Don’t Let the Kids Win *

Dream VMP Album of the Month:

Björk’s Post or Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion (please)

Hannah Brooks, Designer & Photographer

Favorite VMP release this year and why:

Glass Animals was just intense and go go go from a creative standpoint. We did a lot to promote this record and I loved the design esthetic we ran with all around. The band was so engaging which made it feel extra synergetic.

Best concert you saw this year:

Leon Bridges at The Paramount Theater in Denver. The entire, I mean ENTIRE, theater was moving. We were all grooving hard. Just one big sweaty sock hop dancy dance. And then out of nowhere, Denver native Nathaniel Rateliff just decides to do a little boot shuffly shuffle out onto the stage and join Leon and the band for the last few songs. My brother and I got to hang backstage and get all chatty with Nathaniel after so that was a winning night I’d say.

Album you listened to the most this year:

Tie between Bon Iver 22, a Million and Jim James Eternally Even.

Snack food most consumed at your desk in 2016:

Beefsticks

Best book you read in 2016:

Becoming Wise by Krista Tippet

Album that Paul played super loud in his headphones that was most surprising to you:

Nelly Furtado

Favorite album you bought on vinyl in 2016:

Free vinyl just flows like wine into my hands. Does wine flow into hands? (hopefully wine only flows into mouth)… but vinyl flows into my hands.

My collection has quadrupled in eight months but I’d say that my fav album I own right now would be one that I cannot say due to it being our Feb ROTM. Its near to my heart because I worked more closely on it than others and its just this awesome diamond we rediscovered.

I own an original pressing and am so anxious to own our new VMP pressing!

GAH! so freakin’ excited! jumps out window

Dream VMP Album of the Month:

Roger Miller, Greatest Hits.

Roger Miller reminds me of of my grandfather and he holds my first memory of vinyl records.

We had this huge old record player cabinet in my house growing up and the only two records I remember being spun on it were Roger Miller, Greatest Hits and Barbara Streisand, Live at the Forum. Those two. only. incessantly.

I can still hear my mom belting out Barbara… “on a cleeeeaaaar daaaaaayyyy” barefoot in the kitchen. We were always barefoot back then. Why?

Matt Fielder, Co-Founder and CEO

Favorite VMP release this year and why:

The Books Lemon of Pink — This is an all-time favorite record of mine so I was happy we could do it as a feature. It was a challenge for a lot of members, which I like :-)

Best concert you saw this year:

Sufjan Stevens at Red Rocks. His show & performance were insane. So many colors, so much going on, so much fun.

Album you listened to the most this year:

Probably Coloring Book although I’m still not sold it’s the best record of the year (or even one of the best). I love Chance and I wanted to love that record so much so I listened to it non-stop for about a month. I’m still sort of meh on it.

Best thing to happen to you in 2016:

Our daughter, Kinzie, turned 1 this summer. #prouddad

Best book you read in 2016:

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. It’s a mind blowing memoir from Phil Knight about starting Nike all the way up until their IPO. It’s an incredible read. I learned so much in it and there are some strange parallels to the early days of Nike to where we are at with VMP from a business perspective.

Person on staff least likely to replace toilet paper roll in the bathroom at VMP HQ:

Tyler, duh.

Most ordered Pica’s item in 2016:

Carne Asada wet burrito is straight fire. Chicken Puya salad is amazing as well.

Christy Aumer, Queen Of All Emails

Snack food most consumed at your desk in 2016:

Chocolate. Does that count as a snack food? It comes in many snackable forms: Brownies, cookies, chocolate bars.

Best concert you saw this year:

S. Carey Living Room show.

Favorite music-related event from 2016:

VMP Music Summit.

Best thing to happen to you in 2016:

Started working at Vinyl Me, Please.

Best book you read in 2016: Positive Computing by Calvo and Peters

Most ordered Pica’s item in 2016:

Cotija quesadilla on corn tortillas. Mmm. Cotija.

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