Best of 2014: Top Vinyl Variants

Special Features / December 8, 2014

Coming soon:
12/9: Top Vinyl Packaging/Best Sound Quality/Most Welcome Reissues
12/10: Top 50
12/11: Top Albums/Best Non-LP Releases/Biggest Disappointments
12/12: Label of The Year
This Week: 2014’s Best Musical Moments (Podcast)
This Week: 2015 Predictions (Podcast)

Whether you like it or not, part of the visual draw of the vinyl package is not only the enlarged album art, but the records themselves, along with the creative ways in which you can deviate from the “standard black” treatment. Now, I’m not claiming any of these beauties have the perfect “warm” vinyl sound that’s been attributed to the format (in other words, please no fights in the comments about it), but we’re only judging on appearance here. What vinyl variants were the best looking records of the year?

That “Super Splatter” from Secret Audio Club is one I’ve admired all year, with the perfect rainbow arrangement somehow achieved. The “blood-filled” version of Friday The 13th is another wild one and it would probably be quite the experience to watch it spin around your turntable. I’m going to commend Mondo on that “Winchester Ale” variant of Shaun Of The Dead because of just how perfectly it captures a fresh brew. And the two die cuts on this list are when that technique is used to perfection.

Note: Some of these photos, well I’m not sure who took them. If you’re really grumpy that I took a partial photo of your hand and a record, let me know and I might give you credit.

 Top 20 Vinyl Variants

In no particular order


Christopher Komeda — Rosemary’s Baby OST
Waxwork Records
Black with Burgundy Haze


Various Artists — The Fadeaway Records Friend Comp
Fadeaway Records
Each variant is great


Del Paxton — Worst. Summer. Ever.
Secret Audio Club
The Super Splatter


Dikembe — Mediumship
Tiny Engines
Yellow w/ Red, Green & White Starburst

VL-201331The Format — Swans
Bone Colored Die-Cut

Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 5.49.22 PMForever Came Calling — What Matters Most
Pure Noise Records
Specifically that Clear/Kelly Green/Black – Color In Color

Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 5.52.39 PM

Knuckle Puck — While I Stay Secluded
Bad Timing Records
Transparent Blue A-side / Transparent Red B-side w/ White Splatter


Liars — Mess
Mute Records (string version pressed for RSD)
Colored String Pressed Inside of Record

Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 6.07.45 PM

Harry Manfredini — Friday the 13th
Waxwork Records
Blood Filled, Did they kill someone for this variant?

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 9.47.47 PM

John Williams — Jurassic Park
Dilophosaurus (Version A)

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 8.14.37 PM

Matt Duncan — Beacon
Soul Step Records
Confetti Bomb


Akira Ifukube — Godzilla (1954)
Death Waltz Recording Company
Atomic Breath

SOTD_Version_A_Disc2-652x652Daniel Mudford & Pete Woodhead — Shaun Of The Dead
Winchester Ale Colored

Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 6.20.35 PM

Jeff Rosenstock — I Look Like Shit
Really Records
Both, but especially that one on the left


Alex North — 2001: A Space Odyssey
Beyond The Infinite Vinyl (in the light)


Lana Del Rey — Ultraviolence
Universal Music
Picture Disc


Sisyphus — ST
Joyful Noise Recordings
Gold inside Clear vinyl with White splatter


The Jazz June — After The Earthquake
Topshelf Records
Glitter inside record

Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 6.42.20 PM

James Vincent McMorrow — Post Tropical
Vagrant Records


Danny Elfman — Batman: The Animated Series

Reader Picks

Thanks to all the MV readers for their support throughout 2014.


Christopher Lantinen
Chris Lantinen is the owner and editor-in-chief of Modern Vinyl. Along with his modest collection of sad sounding records, he collects his share of soundtracks and previously adored indie up-and-comers. Chris is currently a professor of journalism and public relations at Edinboro University in the Erie, Pennsylvania area.

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