10 Best Vinyl Releases of 2013
For those fans who collect vinyl, there is an experience that surrounds the release of a record. Whether it’s something as simple as the color or weight of the vinyl or something as extravagant as the cover art, there are many different reasons people go crazy for their favorite band’s vinyl. It’s more than a niche, too, as Nielsen Soundscan reported some impressive numbers halfway through the year: vinyl sales increased 33 percent in the first six months of 2013!
There were a lot of cool vinyl releases this year, some with much more limited of pressings than others. Whether you bought these albums because you wanted to frame them or because you wanted to spin them, there’s no arguing this was — and still is — a great year for vinyl fans. In a seemingly impossible task, we’ve picked the 10 Best Vinyl Releases of 2013.
‘First Strike Still Deadly’
Kicking off our list of the 10 Best Vinyl Releases of 2013 is the re-release of Testament’s 2001 compilation, ‘First Strike Still Deadly.’ Not only is this the first time these tunes have ever been pressed on vinyl, but the cover art of ‘First Strike Still Deadly’ was updated for the release. Housed in a high-quality jacket with a matte finish, this album has never looked or sounded better. To drive vinyl fanatics crazy, ‘First Strike Still Deadly’ is limited to only 500 copies. One hundred of those records are clear while the other copies are pressed on 180-gram vinyl. Make sure you add this to your stack of records as soon as possible.
‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’
Alice in Chains’ latest effort is one of the harder releases to find in your local record store. Maybe that’s why ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’ is such an enticing vinyl experience, after all, who doesn’t like a limited-edition record? In addition to that, the double-LP is pressed on gorgeous cream-colored 180-gram vinyl with black trim around the records. On each record, there is an eerie 3D-esque picture of a dinosaur skull. Not only is it one of the coolest looking releases of 2013, but it’s also one of the best sounding.
If you think Kvelertak’s second studio album, ‘Meir,’ is awesome simply because of the beautiful cover art, we totally agree. There’s no mistaking that ‘Meir’ is a kick-ass album that encompasses near-perfect Norwegian metal, but Kvelertak realize vinyl is about more than just the music. You might even be able to find the album pressed on different, but very limited colored vinyl. All of that being said, we can’t take our eyes off of the artwork, designed by John Baizley of Baroness. Whether you frame the jacket or spin the double-LP, ‘Meir’ needs to be in your collection.
‘New American Gospel’
Even though ‘New American Gospel’ was released over 10 years ago, Lamb of God decided to re-release it in a very special way this year. ‘New American Gospel’ was a part of Record Store Day with only 500 copies available. Pressed on grey marble vinyl, this release comes with some cool fine print: All proceeds from the sales of ‘New American Gospel’ went to the Justice Now defense fund for frontman Randy Blythe. Not only is it a beautiful record, but it supported a hell of a cause. It’s a win-win LP.
Fans should not be surprised that the unnamed ghouls of Ghost B.C. released several different vinyl versions of ‘Infestissumam.’ From a transparent yellow third pressing offered in Scandinavia (that also comes with a 12-page book of ancient disturbing drawings) to the red version released in Europe and the United States, there are quite a few different types of ‘Infestissumam’ to keep an eye out for. It’s obvious Ghost B.C. had fun coming up with different vinyl releases. Keep in mind that some versions are more limited than others, so don’t hesitate to add this to your collection when you get the chance.
‘Chemistry of Consciousness’
One of the coolest colored vinyl releases of 2013, Toxic Holocaust‘s ‘Chemistry of Consciousness’ is a must-see. The band offered a glow-in-the-dark pressing of the album, limited to around 300 copies. The next best thing is the yellow and black splatter edition of ‘Chemistry of Consciousness,’ which is a little easier to find with over 600 copies pressed. Along with the standard black pressing, the super-limited edition of the album is the clear version, with only about 100 records pressed. No matter what vinyl you add, ‘Chemistry of Consciousness’ is a powerful experience before you even drop the needle.
With Queens of the Stone Age‘s ‘…Like Clockwork,’ the band released three different versions, making it one of the 10 Best Vinyl Releases of 2013. The standard release is still very cool as a double-LP and 45rpm, housed in a heavy-duty gatefold jacket. The exclusive indie edition pressing is housed in an alternate blue jacket and can only be found at independent record shops. The final release is deluxe, packed with a 20-page book and pressed on 180-gram vinyl. The Queens know what it takes to create an all-around album experience, and they did just that with ‘…Like Clockwork.’
Dream Theater’s self-titled album is a masterpiece, not just because of the music, but also because of the vinyl offerings from the band. From the standard, high-quality double-LP release to the super exclusive box set that includes a clear 7-inch single of ‘The Bigger Picture,’ Dream Theater created an experience around the release of ‘Dream Theater.’ Whether it’s the music, eerie artwork by Hugh Syme or the distinctive collector’s items in the box set, there’s no arguing Dream Theater’s place on this list.
Skeletonwitch released one of their best albums to date with ‘Serpents Unleashed.’ As a vinyl experience, the band put a lot of effort into the release, offering fans black, red and clear pressings, as well as a 7-inch box set of the entire album. Making the album even sweeter for vinyl fans is the artwork. Designed by Baroness‘ John Baizley, the cover art is spectacular when viewed on the 12-inch jacket. To make the release even more special for Skeletonwitch fans, the band offered a red cassette edition of ‘Serpents Unleashed’ that almost instantly sold out.
Monster Magnet‘s ninth studio album, ‘Last Patrol,’ is one all vinyl fans should own. Frontman Dave Wyndorf’s creativity has never shined as bright and his psychedelic rock sounds flawless spinning on a turntable. In addition, Magnet released ‘Last Patrol’ in a multitude of editions, including a rare purple pressing that is limited to 250 records and a mind-blowing multi-colored splatter version. To top off the experience, ‘Last Patrol’ has the best cover art of 2013, with a trippy outer space landscape designed by John Sumrow. ‘Last Patrol’ is a complete experience, from the artwork to the wax to the music, and that’s why it tops our list of the 10 Best Vinyl Releases of 2013.