VNYL – January Review

If you’ve read the previous post on the vinyl subscription service, VNYL, you understand what all the hype is about. I decided I needed to check it out for myself, and see if it truly was worth all the buzz. I placed my first ever order and chose the vibe #JANYOUARY on January 14th. In my profile, I decided to take the opportunity to link up my Spotify and Discogs, to really give them a feel of what I was listening to. I also listed some of my artist preferences such as Amy Winehouse, Led Zeppelin, and The Front Bottoms. I chose to tick off the box ‘cold as ice’ which means that I only wanted them to send me records that were within the genres and recognized artists that had provided to them. I received my box on February 27th, so the curating and shipping process did take quite a while, especially for a service that claims to send you records ‘monthly’, however when I reached out to a customer service rep, she explained that they were behind on curating boxes due to the increase in subscriptions over the Christmas holidays, which is totally understandable. Now, let’s get to the fun stuff.

The records that I received were Sufjan Steven’s – Carrie & Lowell, The Suffers – The Suffers and The Smith Street Band – Throw Me In the River.

Carrie & Lowell

This album was selected based on my profile, where I said I was a fan of Bon Iver. I can agree that overall, the album actually is very Bon Iver-esque. After a good listen I would describe this album as light, warm melodies with folk-inspired lyrics with soft and high pitched vocals. Now, this is not an album I would’ve picked up for myself at the record store, however, I do think it’s a decent addition to my collection. The problem with this album for me was the cliché, “if you’ve heard one song, you’ve heard them all”. There is little to no variation between the songs, and at one point I had actually zoned out for a little and didn’t even realize that I was listening to a different track. Personally, for me, this album was a flatline. It felt like throughout the whole album I was waiting for the big chorus or guitar solo to kick in, but nothing ever happened. Overall Rating: 3-stars

The Suffers

Upon first listen to this record, I had very mixed feelings. This was because the strong, soulful, female vocalist reminded me of the some of the most prestigious old-school jazz singers,  like Etta James and Nina Simone, which is a huge win, but the instrumental wasn’t really to my tastes. It gave me a big band sound, but it was more along the lines of ‘cruise-ship funk band’ than a big grand band. It’s certainly a unique addition to my collection as I have nothing along the lines of this album at the moment. I’m not entirely sure on the reasoning behind the curation of this record, but it may have come from my Spotify listening. Overall Rating: 2-stars

Throw Me In the River 

The handwritten note that comes with each box described this band as “bonfire ready… think The Front Bottoms” After listening to this record I can definitely see the similarities. I had heard about The Smith Street Band before, but never really just stopped and gave them a proper listen before. The lyricism is quirky and unheard of and the ‘talk-singing’ featured vocals are very reminiscent of The Front Bottoms vocalist, Brian Sella. The only downside to this album was that I did find it a little bit too intense at some points. Personally, I don’t really listen to this type of pop-punk all that much anymore, but I do appreciate getting to finally listen to this band. A bonus feature was that the record I received was on a smoked-out gray color, which I felt fit the feel of this album quite nicely. Overall Rating: 3-5-stars

At the time of writing, I have canceled by subscription to VNYL. This isn’t because I was disappointed with the records I got, it was more so the price point for what I received. Being an international subscriber, this box cost me around $85.00, which comes to about $28.00 per record. Personally, I can’t say that if I had seen any of these records at a record store, that I would’ve picked them up for $28.00. I am content with the selection they gave me, and for a complete stranger to pick out music for me, it was pretty close to stuff I would have picked out on my own.

Will I continue my subscription in the future? Maybe. For now, I’m going to stick with my record subscriptions from various other companies. I’ll continue to keep checking back to the VNYL member store for any deals, and maybe if I see a vibe I like, I’ll re-activate my subscription.

Overall Rating VNYL: 3-5-stars

What are your experiences with VNYL? Do you want to check it out for yourself?

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