Unique and Unusual Vinyl
I imagine since the dawn of pressing machines, there have been mad vinyl scientists hatching evil plans to alter the tried-and-true formula of black wax pellets. Almost every record collector has a few of these experiments sitting on their shelves, mostly in the form of colored vinyl, and possibly with splatter or marbling effect. However, only a lucky few own the true oddities, such as the ice record and "hair and piss soaked" vinyl, which has to win the award for the most disgusting 7" single in existence.
It's no secret that colored wax is becoming increasingly popular, to the point where it almost doesn't feel unique or special anymore. Every band's new release has at least one "limited" color variant and often times five too many - I'm looking at you, Stranger Things. And don't think record labels aren't taking notice - in an effort to stand out in the crowded sea of rare vinyl, here are a few gimmicks they've come up with.
Besides simply adding color, this is definitely one of the more commonly used treatments on vinyl. Unfortunately, glow-in-the-dark records are known for having excessive surface noise, so you really have to want the novelty of seeing your turntable glow in the dead of night. I've seen a few of these in my local shop but have yet to purchase one. I was tempted when Andrew Bird's Armchair Apocrypha recently popped up as a Newbury Comics exclusive, but seeing that I already own the standard black version, I couldn't pull the trigger.
Records and glitter are two things that seemed destined for each other. People like vinyl, people like sparkly, so why not combine the two, right?? It does give your vinyl that 80s glam vibe, and it sure beats leaves causing pops and clicks.
With so many things that can go wrong when mixing liquid with vinyl equipment, this has always seemed like a terrible idea to me. I can just picture someone spinning their Friday the 13th blood-filled disc, when all of a sudden it leaks everywhere, destroying all that is dear to them. I admit these do look really cool, but I've read too many horror stories to ever feel the need to want one.
Experimental rockers, Liars, wanted to take things to the next level when they released a 12" single from their 2014 album, Mess. For the track "Mess on a Mission", they decided to play off the cover art and embed the single with multi-colored yarn. At first glance, it looks like a kindergarten art project, but I give them props for trying.
I own a few records with elaborate etchings on the blank sides with no grooves. This unexpected art is a sexy added detail, so it was a nice surprise when I saw that etchings have found their way onto all sides of vinyl. And besides being eye candy, the graphics supposedly doesn't hinder sound quality at all, which makes me wonder why more labels aren't rolling these out.
The history of Soviet x-ray records is a lengthy one, which would be better told in a future Waxy post dedicated to the phenomenon. The CliffsNotes version is that in the 1950s, Western music was banned in the Soviet Union, but determined aficionados somehow thought of pressing their favorite Frank Sinatra tunes onto discarded x-ray sheets. The grooves were usually very shallow, which translated to muted, thin playback, but without the ability to digitally stream whatever their hearts desired, bone music more than sufficed.