I’m sorry for the drop in how often I’ve been posting lately, but I’m trying to get back on track with Uni work and the blog, so bear with me for the next few weeks please!
In the meantime, here is another subscription box review! However, instead of the usual beauty and lifestyle boxes I always seem to end up ordering, this time I opted for a one month subscription to Flying Vinyl.
The Revolution Will Not Be Digital
Every month the lovely people at Flying Vinyl send out 5 exclusive 7″ records, an artist information booklet and – if you’re lucky – extra merchandise. This is all for the monthly price of £20 – and includes free postage! I own an original red Fidelity record player because I absolutely adore the feel and sound quality of a vinyl record, but I find that vinyl – especially if it’s coloured or a picture disc – can be ridiculously expensive in comparison to CDs, and this can make buying records slightly difficult on a student budget. However, Flying Vinyl is relatively kind to my monthly allowance and allows me to sample new music whilst satisfying my vinyl craving – Hooray!
Due to the high prices and limited availability of modern artists on vinyl, I’ve had my eye on this particular monthly subscription box for quite a while now. I finally decided to sign up to Flying Vinyl this month because there was a discount code available online that would have been rude not to take advantage of. This code meant that for £20 I not only received the usual monthly box of 5 vinyls, but I also received a bonus box containing an extra 5! 10 7″ vinyls for £20 was just an incredible deal that I couldn’t resist. £2 per vinyl – What?!
I loved the packaging of the vinyl boxes and thought the whole “Tear Here” idea to separate a mini sleeve from the outer protective cardboard was really cool. A different design on each of the monthly boxes is also something that I particularly like to see in a subscription box.
So what did I receive? And would I continue my subscription?
Geowulf – Saltwater / Drink Too Much
Turtle – Blood Type (Feat. Eliza Shaddad) / Calculate
Alvvays – In Undertow / Dreams Tonite (ORANGE VINYL)
Francobollo – Future Lover / Finally (Acoustic Version)
Calva Louise – I’m Gonna Do Well / Getting Closer (PINK VINYL)
Before I ordered this box, I basically told all of my friends and family about my excitement at receiving a mystery box of records. But instead of sharing the joy, I had several of them ask me “What if you get a box full of artists you don’t know?”. Well, I thought the whole point of subscription boxes was to immerse yourself in the unknown and look forward to being sent mystery items to test and enjoy. Music is no different – and as you’ll from my review, I am very happy I signed up for this.
I think I made the ultimate mistake before playing the Geowulf disc… I judged a record by it’s cover! I assumed from the sleeve artwork that this would be a sound with a real folk influence, so I was expecting something not too dissimilar to the music of Kodaline or Dry The River to start floating out of the speakers… but no. I was genuinely surprised at the sound “Drink Too Much” produced and it really brought a smile to my face. I’ll definitely be seeking out more music from this artist!
Turtle was something I really struggled to get my head around – again, simply because I was not expecting the sound that came from them. But, in a similar way to my earlier Geowulf experience, I loved the music more than I would have done if it had met my previous expectations. For a start, I was completely taken aback by “Blood Type” track which included the glorious voice of Eliza Shaddad and gave me some serious Lana del Rey vibes. But even “Calculate” – a track which had a very different vibe to “Blood Type” complimented it beautifully with its lingering vocals and drum beat. A very clever A and B side pairing.
Okay… Alvvays actually knocked me over with the first note of “In Undertow”. For whatever reason, my mind was definitely was not expecting a gorgeous female voice to make its way out of this record. Maybe it was the orange vinyl and grunge-y artwork that made me assume it would carry a much heavier, male sound. For me the vocals carry a Gabrielle Aplin sort of quality, but again, it’s still different to anything else I’ve heard before and I could listen to this disc on continuous repeat. Amazing.
In contrast to the other discs, I could not draw any assumption from the artwork on the Fancobello sleeve – A man in a field with a pinecone for a head isn’t something I can draw massive conclusions from… After the first few seconds of “Future Lover” I would have said that the sound reminds me of Peace and The Kooks, but the constant changes in pace, harmonies and use of instruments give this band a very different sound – and it’s really good!
Calva Louise was the first record I listened to out of this bunch… because it was coloured… I can’t resist a coloured vinyl okay? I think this was probably the only disc I judged correctly – the grinning blue face and psychedelic fonts were big hints here. The mixture of heavy drumming, guitar and a very cool female lead turns out to be the perfect recipe for an awesome sound and fabulous A and B side 7″ vinyl.
So, as you can see, not knowing any of the artists turns out to be a massive positive when listening to a Flying Vinyl box set for the first time. Each disc was a new experience and a complete surprise – I love every single one and there are definitely a few new favourite artists in there for me.
Bonus Box (February 2017 Edition):
My first impressions of the bonus box were a bit mixed to begin with, but considering that this was a free collection of 5 records I couldn’t really complain. Of course I loved the artwork on every single sleeve, but it definitely wasn’t as colourful as the previous box so I was a bit worried that these 5 artists would sound quite similar. However…
Sports – Manicure / Whatever You Want (RED VINYL)
Crosa Rosa – Like A Lady / Wear My Heart
Honey Lung – Something / End Of Time
Cosmo Pyke – Chronic Sunshine / Social Sites
Martin Luke Brown – Shadow & Light / Roses
Red vinyl – an automatic plus. Thank you very much Sports. This is the sort of sound I would have expected to see on Top of The Tops back in the day – very laid back vocals with a guitar doing its funky thing in the background. It gives me all sorts of retro vibes -Love it love it love it.
The Crosa Rosa sleeve is my favourite, but this is because any sort of pop art design will always be a winner with me. The opening seconds of guitar of “Like A Lady” transported my mind straight into Jake Bugg territory but those husky vocals soon let you know that this is most definitely Crosa Rosa. If you want something to rock out to or fancy livening up your day by taking peek at their weird and wonderful Youtube videos, do it!
Honey Lung. Side A had me humming along straight away. The mixture of super sweet harmonies and catchy drum beat had me tapping my toes and drumming my fingers on the keyboard. A really nice sound from an album that I probably wouldn’t have picked up if I’d seen it lying about in HMV. But that’s the beauty of Flying Vinyl – they do the choosing for you and send out awesome 7″ vinyls like this fabulous offering from Honey Lung.
“Chronic Sunshine” seemed like a good place to start with the Cosmo Pyke vinyl. What can I say? I thought side A was smooth and calming, but in fact this whole album is very chilled. With the first few beats it relaxes you completely – So if I ever find myself on a Caribbean island, this will be the first album on my holiday playlist.
Oh Martin Luke Brown, you charmer you. This album got me after approximately one second. I sing this style of music all the time, and in return it sings to my soul – and oh what a lovely voice we have singing right now. For me, this is definitely a case of saving the best ’til last so it’ll probably be on repeat for the next few days…
I had never heard of a single one of these artists before receiving this box, but it’s safe to say that I’d buy music from all of them again – and I would definitely sign up to another month of Flying Vinyl. Each box contains a decent mixture of artists and sounds and it is a fabulous way of introducing a vinyl-loving audience to some seriously amazing Indie talent. Everything from concept to packaging is simply awesome and I thank the Flying Vinyl creators for making this available to us!
If you’re looking for something to spice up your mail and widen your music database, then this subscription box if definitely for you!
If you fancy signing up to this subscription service, please use the code: X7W8CSYO
Song Recommendation (Because I now love this song):
Calva Louise –> I’m Gonna Do Well