Best of 2014: Vinyl Packaging/Sound Quality/Reissues

Special Features / December 9, 2014

Coming soon:
12/10: Top 50
12/11: Top Albums/Best Non-LP Releases/Biggest Disappointments
12/12: Label of The Year
Now Live: 2014’s Best Musical Moments (Podcast)
This Week: 2015 Predictions (Podcast)

 Top Vinyl Packaging

Various Artists — Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Chronicles
Numero Group
This was actually third on my half-year list, but the more I thought about it, the more it simply had to be top packaging. I mean come on! They made a damn board game for the release! This is what I wrote about the set back in July:
The compilation, featuring various artists’ D&D-inspired tracks, comes with a brand new board game cooked up by Numero Group. The deluxe edition features that game, along with cards, die (s) and player tokens, making this a complete role playing experience. The music presentation itself is no slouch, though, with the 2xLP set housed in a gatefold jacket, complete with some beautiful gatefold artwork. But the draw is the board game and this inventive package.

And here’s one more of Numero Group’s videos for good measure, with a cool cover of the Game of Thrones theme song going on in the background. By the way, this was nominated for a packaging Grammy.

Honorable Mentions (Vinyl Packaging)

In Alphabetical Order

American Football — ST
Polyvinyl Record Company/12-page booklet featuring stories and notes about the tracks, gatefold jacket
Zach Behm/Chris Lantinen


Cursive — The Ugly Organ
Saddle Creek/Gatefold jacket, alternate artwork, booklet with essays and additional material
Zach Behm

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 9.06.57 PM

The Early November — The Mother, The Mechanic, The Path
TDR Records/Triple gatefold jacket, three inserts
Michael Escanuelas


The Format — Dog Problems
Self-Release/Die cut fold out jacket
Meghin Moore


Godzilla OST
Death Waltz Recording Company, UK variant/That epic gatefold jacket with full color booklet with liner notes from experts and exclusive artwork
Zach Behm

Godzilla packaging

Ivy League, TX / Turnover / Maker / Such Gold — 4 Way Split
Broken Rim Records/Gatefold and matte finish jacket
James Cassar


Jack White — Lazaretto
Third Man Records/Ultra LP, see video for all features
Chris Lantinen

Karen O — Crush Songs
Cult Records/Full sized booklet
Zach Behm

Karen O

Led Zeppelin I-IV and Houses of The Holy: Deluxe Reissues
Atlantic Records
Alan Miller


The House Of The Devil OST
Death Waltz Recording Company/Heavyweight gatefold jacket, with notes and special poster
Alan Miller

House of The Devil

Trick R Treat OST
Waxwork Records/Artwork from Francesco Francavilla, poster and exclusive liner notes
Alan Miller


Reader Picks

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


 Best Sound Quality

In Alphabetical Order, highlighting “House of The Devil” for being a nice sounding picture disc (!)
More labels need to let us in on the mastering process behind their pressings, and even into the information like where it was pressed at, which if you’re going to Pallas, could make all the difference. Shop Radio Cast has been mastering their releases directly for the format, which has made a difference, even going to the original masters for Clarity. Meanwhile, Mondo went to the originals for Jurassic Park. And even having audiophile sleeves helps, which allows even lazy people (who won’t clean their records) to listen to their music without too many pops and clicks. Let us in on this process labels!

 Angels and Airwaves — We Don’t Need To Whisper
Shop Radio Cast/180-gram, mastered for vinyl
James Cassar

Beck — Morning Phase
Capitol Records/Pressed at Pallas/Furnace Mfg., one of the best in the world, includes MP3 labeled the “vinyl experience” with very slight surface noise and longer delay in between A and B side.
Jim Hanke

Jimmy Eat World — Clarity
Shop Radio Cast/180-gram pressed at Pallas, cut from original analogue masters.
Jim Hanke

John Williams — Jurassic Park OST
Mondo/What I wrote in my review earlier this year:
The original score (minus the bonus tracks) is sourced from the original analog masters, while the un-assembled music cues were re-edited by Williams’ music editor, Ramiro Belgardt. Bernie Grundman Mastering took it from there. You can’t quite give it the perfect score, as there was a small trace of surface noise bogging it down at times, but it’s one of the closest we’ve ever reviewed here.
Chris Lantinen

Ought — More Than Any Other Day
Constellation Records/Pressed on 180-gram at Optimal in Germany. Packaged in “poly-lined audiophile dust sleeve.”
David Fisch

The House of The Devil
Death Waltz Recording Company
Alan Miller

Yasiin Gaye — The Return
Self Released/Pressing information unavailable
Alan Miller

Reader Picks

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


 Most Welcome Reissues

Individual Lists

Chris Lantinen (Owner/Editor)
American Football — ST (Polyvinyl Record Company)
The Format — Dog Problems (Self-Released)
Various Artists — Garden State OST (Legacy)
Copeland — You Are My Sunshine (Shop Radio Cast)
A Great Big Pile Of Leaves — Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex? (Topshelf Records)

Alan Miller (Review Writer)
Elf OST (WaterTower Music)
Zombi OST (Light In The Attic)
Creepshow OST (Waxwork)
Friday The 13th OST (Waxwork)
Tragically Hip — Fully Completely (Interscope)
The Dismemberment Plan — Change (Partisan)

Zach Behm (Review Writer)
Cursive — The Ugly Organ (Saddle Creek)
American Football — ST (Polyvinyl Record Company)
Oldboy OST (Milan)
Godzilla OST (Death Waltz, Original)

James Cassar (Managing Editor)
Angels and Airwaves — We Don’t Need To Whisper (Shop Radio Cast)
American Football — ST (Polyvinyl Record Company)
R.E.M. — Unplugged 1991 & 2001 (Rhino)

Stay tuned for the rest of the week’s content.


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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