We've come to the end of the first ten years of the new millennium, and the old format of 12" records came back strong. Many believe it to be a counter to the digital boom, others believe it may be a fad. There's no denying that with the success of this year's Record Store Day and the fact that many of our old favorites and major label classic represses have made it a year for wax on - wax off.
Many of you know, I'm no exception to the rule. Ever since my father handed me down his collection four years ago, I've been slowly building my own. I've also been quite a fan of the tangible/digital download card mix, that I hope many labels keep holding onto or pick up on.
Here are my top five favorite vinyl releases this year. These are the ones that blew me away for one reason or another. I know there's two months left, and I still have releases from Kevin Devine and Thrice coming at me...but I'm going with these five anyway.
1) Thrice's The Alchemy Index Vol 1-4 --- Did this one take forever, or what? Talk about being well worth the wait. A book with each page as a sleeve, four separate colors, gold numbered, etc. Maybe Beggars is going to be signed and contains full artwork, but the packaging for the four album EP is incredible. It also didn't hurt that for some reason I received an extra copy of Vol 4: Earth with my package - my favorite Index.
2) Rx Bandits' Mandala --- One of my favorite bands returned with a stellar album, and an even more stellar vinyl release. The cover feels as smooth as the artwork, and the eye cutout on the gatefold is just the icing on the cake. Now, if I can just get a release of Progress on wax, my collection will be complete.
3) Narrows' New Distances --- Something about this cover gets me. I think it's how the cover art of glossy city streets are blended with the background, or the fact that the cover art is so good, that you kind of have to own a larger copy of it. I'm still scratching my noggin over why I love this one, but I honestly just do since the first time I picked it up.
4) Pelican/These Arms Are Snakes' Split --- Browsing eBay, there's plenty of hardcore/post-hardcore splits from back in the day containing choice bands and choice cuts. Of all the splits I have, this was one I had to own. The cover is great (working with the same glossy set-up as New Distances in fact), and the four colors came out great as well.
5) Sunny Day Real Estate's Diary (re-issue) --- I went to buy Brand New's Daisy, but ended up having to order it. I picked this one up instead, and relived what good music used to be about. The full booklet and 2xLP pink pressing is great, and mine is now signed by Jeremy Enigk and William Goldsmith.