2014 was a wonderful year for vinyl records, and some of the coolest LP’s came out over the past twelve months. In the past few years, there has been a significant resurgence in vinyl, with bands and labels producing new vinyl regularly. The quality of the vinyl has increased dramatically and 180 gram vinyl has become commonplace, though 200 gram can often be obtained as well. As the vinyl revolution continues, bands are stretching the capacity of the medium in new and inventive ways. These are some of the coolest vinyl records of 2014.
Record Store Day is often the site of the best vinyl records each year, and 2014 was no exception. On the official holiday in April, the neatest record was the Vitamin String Quartet’s interpretation of the 1996 Weezer classic, Pinkerton. Not only is the music of the quartet’s interpretation hauntingly beautiful, but the vinyl itself was remarkably interesting. Color vinyl has become fairly common, though most colored vinyl is solid or clear. For Pinkerton, however, the Vitamin String Quartet offered a beautiful blended vinyl, mixing together different shades of greens, blues, and whites to form an absolute work of art.
On Black Friday there were also some of the coolest vinyl records of 2014, since Black Friday celebrates a second Record Store Day event at record shops all over the nation. During this second vinyl loving holiday of the year, the coolest release was a limited press of the Velvet Underground’s 1993 reunion tour. Having previously never been pressed to vinyl, this four LP set was one of the coolest vinyl records of 2014. They only printed 7,500 of them, so they will quickly become collectors items, and the pressing was impeccably done, equipping the set with see-through blue vinyl for each LP.
Furthermore, Rockabye Baby! released some of the most interesting vinyl of the year as well. Essentially, they release lullaby renditions of famous artists’ music, covering everything from David Bowie to Pearl Jam. Not only do they package these sets together wonderfully on vinyl, but the actual pressings are intriguing, often coming on colored vinyl with extensive liner notes. Almost anything Rockabye Baby! put out this year should be given credit when addressing the coolest vinyl records of the year.
Finally, the best vinyl record of the year is Jack White’s Third Man Records pressing of Lazaretto. Deemed the “Ultra- LP,” White decided to reinvent the way audiences listen to vinyl with this spectacular press. There are hidden tracks under the center labels, one side plays from the inside out, White utilized dual-grooving to play different tracks in different grooves, and the whole LP is mixed differently than the other official releases. Those are only a few of the goodies on amazing record, making it one of the coolest vinyl records of 2014.
2014 was an exceptional year for music, and with that territory comes a great year for the coolest vinyl records. From colored vinyl presses that are as much of a work of art as the music they house to ingenious renditions of the medium the likes of Jack White’s new album, LP’s pushed further along this year than any year prior.