April is always that funky month where it's not quite warm but not always cold, but never just right. It's a crapshoot and filled with all sorts of vibes - and that's reflected in our selections this month from Vinyl Me Please. We have a great grouping of indie and electronic vibes from some of our favorite artists, including Bicep, The Avalanches, and Sen Morimoto. So check out the cuts below, the vinyl cleaner (because you need this) the insane Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back Headphones, and Gearbox MK II Turntable the ultimate kit for chilling at home and getting lost in your music. We are already working on May's selections so see you soon.
So as you will learn quickly, dust loves records and does not play well with needles, err stylus'. So what do you do besides keeping your records in their sleeve and your player regularly dusted off? You get a bad-ass cleaning kit like the Hudson Hifi version, which yes maybe a bit of overkill but that's how we like to do it. There are several other kits on the market that will also do just fine, this one is just a bit more anal-retentive.
The 9 PIECE COMPLETE VINYL CLEANING KIT: Includes all the vinyl record accessories you could ask for in an album cleaner kit with a microfiber cloth, record cleaning solution, durable silicone rubber label protector, record stylus cleaner gel bubble, stylus cleaning solution with a brush, velvet record cleaner, record mitt x 2, and anti-static carbon fiber record cleaning brush. So while this may look intimidating don't worry, there are detailed instructions and it's all about just getting in the habit of cleaning your collection and your player. This effort is well worth it and you will be rewarded with better sound and longer life on your player and vinyl.
Bicep (Matt McBriar and Andy Ferguson) have gained what you might call a cult following after they dropped their first album, Bicep, back in 2017. This limited edition drop from VMP suits this brilliant sophomore album Isles perfectly, it's beautiful artwork was meant to be seen like this, big, bright, bold, and wonderful and the purple wax, ugh forget about it. I've already listened to this album probably 20x, but hearing it on vinyl just brings it to life that much more forcing you to pay attention to every nook and cranny inside the sounds. Isles brings enough energy to keep your head bobbing but also brings a perfect temp for just straight-up listening and enjoying their sonic genius. This is a true album and when many electronic artists have kind of given up on the format, it's nice to see that artists like Bicep still get the value of a fully thought-out recording. Songs like "Apricot" and "Sundial" come fully to life inside the Audeze LCD-2 closed back headphones, every click, and rattle of percussion vibrates down to the tip of your toes. This is electronic music at its finest and worth every penny and hour you devote to it on vinyl. Just go buy it already, because they will be gone soon.
For those of us that have been in the electronic music game for a while, The Avalanches have become something of a legend. They came on the scene back in 1998 with their stellar debut Since I Left You, filled with breaks, funk, Disco, wonderful samples, and so many good vibes it was hard to contain yourself while listening to it. We expected so much, and then poof they left us... sorry had to. Then kind out of nowhere, we heard rumblings of a return, and we got Wildflower in 2016 which kind of picked up where they left off. Still groovy after all these years. Then the aptly named We Will Always Love You was dropped on us in all its glory in 2020. A triumphant return stacked with guests from Tricky to Perry Farrel to Blood Orange to Jamie XX and more. This is a decidedly different and calmer record than their debut and sophomore album, but well worth the wait and getting it on vinyl is a must. They are older now, the mood is softer and perfect for sitting down with an adult beverage and contemplating things. This limited release on VMP delivers with stunning pinkish purply swirly vinyl and you know, that big beautiful album artwork. The tones and textures on this album just sound brilliant in the LCD-2's and dare I say take you into another layer of this album. I hear something new every time I listen to it, some little sample or vibe that just adds to all the wonderful layers of this album. So slide into something comfortable and let your mind unwind.
Sen Morimoto is just a rad human, that simple. Trying to classify his music is not easy as it crosses over so many genres from jazz to indie rock, to hip hop, to electronic to spoken word. The self-titled album Sen Morimoto gets the VMP treatment with some sick orange vinyl and only 300 copies, so make sure to grab it if you are a fan as it won't be around for long - maybe jacked up on Discogs. This album is kind of like a love letter to the life of the older zoomer - it doesn't like rules or to be classified, it just wants to do its own thing and I'm just fine with that. The vinyl brings out the wonderful production on this album and the headphones help you hear all of the subtle sounds, as there is a lot going on in Morimoto's production. From the squelch guitar licks to rumbling bass to glitchy electronics to orchestral sweeps - it's for lack of a better word, DOPE.
The Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back Headphones - We chose these headphones this month because of their amazing ability to keep sound out and still sound wide, crisp, and responsive - which is perfect for music that is more on the electronic side of things. You can't help but be pulled into your own little HiFi cocoon with these lovelies and at $899 they are an investment, but worth every penny. When listening to properly cleaned vinyl you can hear things in the recording you just wouldn't when listening on speakers or lesser cans, you get so much detail it can be overwhelming (in a good way) when listening to complex music like Sen Morimoto or Bicep's stuff. A fantastic closed back that can even stand up to some open backs, yeah I said it.
From Audeze: They say you shouldn’t mess with a classic - we say, “Have you heard our LCD-2 Closed Back?” Experience the engaging warmth and vibrancy of our LCD-2 Classic without disturbing your neighbors! This headphone is the perfect option for those looking for an accessible entry point to our world-renowned LCD line. Its closed-back housing provides better sound isolation than the LCD-2 Classic, while its modified driver design gives it a wider soundstage than other closed-back headphones. LCD-2 Closed Back will truly make you feel like you’ve been transported into your own musical world.
Our Turntable of Choice - The Gearbox Automatic Mkii turntable, custom-built by Pro-ject is a piece of functional art. Its compact footprint, sleek design, and fantastic audio output are hard to beat, and it's attainable at $595. What also sets the Mkii apart is the high-fidelity built-in valve phono stage (the first in the world to have one), designed and tuned for moving magnet cartridges such as the pre-fitted Ortofon OM10. This means that you can plug the turntable straight into any line input and enjoy the warm and open acoustics right from the box. Not only does Gearbox obsessively release excellent albums on vinyl, from reissued jazz to fresh new artists from various genres, but they also made their own turntable - so we had to work with them. Check our label profile out HERE
Audeze: Founded in 2008, Audeze is an award-winning premium technology company engineering the world's most advanced audio solutions. Centered on science, innovation, and craftsmanship, Audeze's precision audio extends from proprietary planar magnetic drivers and custom-engineered transducers to pristine sound reproduction and highly-unique audiocentric applications. From discerning audiophiles to Grammy-winning recording engineers, top esports athletes to specialized medical facilities, Audeze has become one of the most respected audio companies in the world.
Audeze is proudly owned and operated in the USA, designed and engineered in California.
Gearbox: Gearbox Records is an independent record label founded in 2009 and based in London and Tokyo. With a commitment to the highest quality pressings, Gearbox by extension also includes an analogue studio situated in King's Cross. In the early days of Gearbox and under the mentorship of famed engineer Sean Davies, founder Darrel Sheinman was inspired to build an all-analogue cutting and mastering studio based around vintage vacuum tube tape machines and a 1967 Haeco Scully lathe, to which one can attribute the signature "Gearbox sound." With the guiding ethic of "future analogue", label and third-party releases are cut and mastered for analogue and digital using the best combination of rare vintage and modern equipment inside the London studio. The label's dual output includes previously-unreleased historic recordings and genre-breaking new music by contemporary artists; you will come across music by Thelonious Monk, Don Cherry, and Nico as well Binker and Moses, Sarathy Korwar, Chihei Hatakeyama and Abdullah Ibrahim. Ever-motivated by this ideal of affordable high fidelity, the label is also responsible for the one-off, beautifully-designed Gearbox Automatic Mkii turntable, custom built by Pro-ject.
Vinyl Me Please: Vinyl Me, Please (VMP) is a community of explorers and storytellers who navigate between sounds that are lost and found to create transcendent tangible music experiences. VMP offers customers four different monthly vinyl subscriptions (Essentials, Classics, Hip Hop, and Country), an online record store with exclusive pressings, and a multitude of editorial content, storytelling, and events. Through these offerings we embark on explorations of familiar sounds from our past, and new sounds for our future. To learn more, visit vinylmeplease.com and follow @vinylmeplease on socials.