When a friend told me about “the best damn record club out there” I was skeptical. After DJing in Chicago for twenty years, I thought, “I’ve got the record-collecting thing covered.” However, as Vinyl Me, Please shipments arrived each month, my skepticism gave way to excitement and appreciation.
You see, each record delivered from Vinyl Me, Please is painstakingly curated by obsessive music lovers—picture the staff from “High Fidelity”—who are passionate about how people listen to music.
Artists have an idea in mind when assembling an album and choosing the accompanying art and packaging. For all the benefits of streaming music (portability, accessibility), it undermines the experience of listening “exactly the way it was put together: start to finish,” asserts Tyler Barstow, co-founder of Vinyl Me, Please.
“Vinyl is, by far, the best format for that because it enforces it. It’s inherently inconvenient; it requires you to spend time with it, but allows you to give it that attention.”
No one visits a museum for five minutes, but it is now common to consume music in these small increments. And consider how attention to music and art relates closely to gift-giving and holiday shopping: One hopes a gift well-conceived will be a gift well-received, that time will be spent with it and an appreciation will develop.
The gift of an album creates many lasting moments, and Barstow obsesses over “creating such moments for people and their family, their friends, their significant others, around these albums.”
“Even if you already have the record, we want you to feel that this is the coolest version that could have possibly been done,” says Barstow.
For this cynical Chicago DJ, that’s exactly what happened. For example, Vinyl Me, Please recently collaborated with Stones Throw to re-release Madvillain’s seminal hip-hop album, “Madvillainy.” Of course I already had it—digitally and on CD—but this time was different. Jeff Jank, legendary Stones Throw’s creative director, designed a custom lyric book exclusively for this 3,000-copy release. Also included was a twelve-inch-by-twelve-inch art print by James Reitano, based on the original illustrations from Madvillain’s “All Caps” video. As a music, hip-hop and vinyl nerd, I was floored.
Barstow laughs, “It’s an easy sell. It’s thoughtful and original and getting awesome vinyl each month is difficult to be disappointed by.”
So this season, visit Vinyl Me, Please and request an invite. Set up an account and each month a vinyl album will be delivered to your (or someone else’s) door. Each release comes with a custom cocktail recipe and a twelve-inch-by-twelve-inch album-inspired art print. Additionally, subscribers gain access to The Standard, a weekly digest highlighting new music and gear and, each month via the Golden Ticket Giveaway, one lucky subscriber wins some swag. Add to your hand-wrapped shipment with a choice from the archives—even the records that don’t make the cut are meticulously prepared. (John Alex Colón)