The pandemic has been going on for quite some time now and it may not be stopping anytime soon. Though this has greatly affected many artists, especially indie artists, we can also thank it for the resurgence of vinyl.
It has given the format a second chance at life again, including indie artists, in some ways. They have taken advantage of the growing interest in vinyl records and have been releasing their studio albums and EPs not just in CDs or digital format, but also in vinyl records.
Some indie artists are a bit hesitant with custom vinyl record pressing so I am here to bring some good custom vinyl record news for indie artists like you.
Vinyl pressing is not as expensive as it was before. Short run vinyl record pressing are being offered by many pressing plants now because they can afford to let customers order for as less as one copy.
If you haven’t thought of an idea or design for your vinyl album, we’re here to the rescue because we’re in love with all things music and design.
Here are 10 awesome vinyl records released by indie bands:
#1 TRANQUILITY BASE HOTEL & CASINO – ARCTIC MONKEYS
The rock band Arctic Monkeys was one of the first bands to have been known to gain attention through the internet. Their debut album became one of the fastest selling albums in the market and until today they still have many critically acclaimed albums they sure are proud of.
Among the many studio albums they’ve released, they have their most recent one entitled “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.” It was released in 2018 and has swept national and international charts, topping at no.1 in many of them.
Aside from the well produced tracks of the album that have greatly contributed to its success, the artwork and design has also helped. With the futuristic design on the printed vinyl gatefold jacket and the inner vinyl record sleeves it makes it look cooler. An addition to the cool futuristic artworks is the clear vinyl record with a very minimal design on the center label that looks like a robot’s eye.
#2 THE NEW ABNORMAL – THE STROKES
The Strokes, known for their critically acclaimed debut album “Is This It”, released their sixth studio album last April 10, 2020. The album received positive reviews from many critics about how their songs have matured and their sense of musical cohesion have improved.
The album’s cover features Jean-Michael Basquiat’s 1981 painting, Bird on Money. What makes it color though is the fact that it’s not only printed on the vinyl jacket, it has also been pressed on the vinyl as a picture disc vinyl. And according to fans, the picture disc sounds great.
#3 STRANGERS TO OURSELVES – MODEST MOUSE
The American rock band, Modest Mouse, has been active since 1992 until the present that explains the band’s extensive discography. The most recent studio album is their sixth album entitled, “Strangers to Ourselves”, which was released last March 17, 2015. And fyi, they’ll be releasing their seventh studio album this June 2021 so watch out for that.
So back to the recent album, though the vinyl records look plain since it’s in a standard black color, what makes it cool is the artwork on the vinyl jacket. The circular maze looks very mysterious and it looked random at first glance, but it truly embodies the album’s title “Stranger to Ourselves.”
#4 LITTLE DARK AGE – MGMT
MGMT is a pop and rock band that is well known for their single “Time to Pretend.” They are currently under their independent label, MGMT Records, and have already released a handful of songs after leaving their past label.
Their fourth studio album, “Little Dark Age” was their last full album released under Columbia Records, their past label. And like the album that came before this, it’s not the vinyl record that makes it cool, it’s the jacket. The cover was inspired from Munch’s art piece entitled “The Scream” but with a more sinister feel to it.
#5 NEOTHEATER – AJR
AJR is a band that consists of the Met brothers known for being multi-instrumentalists. The band’s name is from the 1st letter of the three brothers’ first names. A for Adam, J for Jack, and R for Ryan. They are well known for their eclectic music style that combines elements of pop, doo-wop, electronic, and dubstep.
Among the many songs and albums they have released throughout their 15 or more years in the industry, we have picked their coming of age album, “Neotheater.”It showcases 12 uplifting buoyant music that consists of lyrics darker than what the melody implies.
In their vinyl version of the album, they printed their gatefold jacket with a cartoony artwork that depicts the three members sitting on an instrument-made column. The jacket was paired with a dark blue vinyl record that may imply the deeper and darker message their album conveys.
#6 ANTISOCIALITES – ALVVAYS
The Canadian indie pop band, pronounced as “Always”, will be celebrating their 10th year anniversary in the music industry any time soon. Fans have been waiting for more than 3 years now after they dropped their most recent album Antisocialites.
The album has 13 tracks in total which were pressed in a 12” pastel pink vinyl record stored inside a doodled-out inner vinyl record sleeve and a vinyl jacket printed with a group of red jacket-clad people that seems to be sitting on top of a mountain peak.
#7 PAINTING WITH – ANIMAL COLLECTIVE
The experimental pop band of Baltimore, Maryland is truly experimental, not just in music but also in visual arts. The two album covers you see above are made by the band’s members. The left is from Noah Lennox or more professionally known as Panda Bear, while the right is from Brian Weitz or more known as Geologist.
Along with the colorful, but not colorful enough and complex but not so complex design covers is a standard black vinyl pressing that greatly compliments the jacket it has. In addition to the vinyl jacket and vinyl record is the zoetropic slipmat with the same color scheme as the covers.
#8 SLIGHT DISCONNECTS – BIS
The Scottish indie pop band has gone through many ups and downs and have even gone through disbandment in 2003. You might be asking about their whereabouts, and so I am happily delivering the message that they have officially reformed since 2009. And they released their fifth studio album last February 15 2019 with the title “Slight Disconnects.”
This vinyl pressing showcases why the bis should never think of disbanding again. They are such good musicians and their fans know it, and so soon the world will know it too. What makes this great is the warm fuzzy feeling the vinyl cover exudes as it showcases the OG members of the band in cute beanies that say “slight-disco-nnects.”The pastel yellow color of the other edition of the vinyl also looks very beautiful and looks good beside the standard black.
#9 BLOOD BANK – BON IVER
The indie folk band who is undeservingly underrated worldwide for some reason and who is known for their many collaborations has been getting much attention now. That may have been both thanks to the pandemic for boring people into discovering such a talented band and to the single entitled “Exile” which was a collaboration with known folk artist, Taylor Swift.
But we should thank their discography the most, because good music will always attract people and make them stay. Good music incorporated with good merchandise is a very big thumbs up and that’s what Bon Iver has. They released a 10th Anniversary limited edition of their first EP on a custom vinyl record pressing for the celebration of the band’s 10th year anniversary. The red matte-finished gatefold jacket houses a clear plastic printed sleeve which has a 12” translucent red vinyl inside it. And I think you already know why it’s colored like that, right? Red, Blood Bank, get it?
#10 SHORE – FLEET FOXES
Fleet Foxes is a 5-membered American indie folk band based in Seattle. They’ve been around since 2006 which makes it their 15th year in the music industry. Before such a celebration, the band released their fourth studio album, which they worked on for almost 2 years, entitled “Shore.”
Looking at the vinyl album’s packaging and record itself, we can really tell that they did an awesome job for this album and took advantage of the growing interest for vinyl records. The ocean blue swirl double vinyl records are inside a shore-printed gatefold jacket and protected by nature-printed inner sleeves. But what makes this really beautiful are the 15 flowers etched by visual artist Dino Matt on side D of the record.
Aren’t they just lovely?
Do you have a favorite indie band who released a badass record? Do share!