Best of 2015: Vinyl Packaging

News / Special Features / December 21, 2015

The Lineup:
12/18: 2015’s Best Musical Moments (Podcast) and 2016 Predictions (Podcast)
12/21: Top Vinyl Variants/Top Vinyl Packaging
12/22: Top Reissues/2016 Most Anticipated (Text)/Best Tape Releases
12/23: Top 50
Songs/Top Albums
Label of The Year

Honorable Mention Record Destroyer

Father John Misty — I Love You, Honeybear
Sub Pop
The recent Father John Misty packaging, designed by Stacey Rozich (she worked in watercolors), is highlighted by its pop-up nature. When opening the gatefold, it plays a portion of the title track, as shown above. It also comes with a fold-out poster. And although it destroyed much of the vinyl within, we have to give props to the sheer beauty on display.

Most Inventive

DJ QBert —Extraterrestria/Galaxxxian
Thud Rumble
The packaging and art looks like your traditional DJ setup and is completely interactive. It involved a 9-minute instructional video, in which it works along with an IOS App. Just incredible. The Kickstarter campaign’s updates ran far into 2015.

Best Artwork


Various Artists — Guardians of The Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1
The project, which started in 2014 but didn’t ship out until 2015, looks like your standard LP jacket. Upon closer inspection, though, you’re looking at a screen-printed quality jacket, complete with metallics. You can see some more photos below, but you had additional screenprinting on the inside of the sleeve, a randomly inserted handbill and one of the best vinyl variants of the year. High quality, dashing presentation by Mondo.

Best “Regular” Release

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 3.41.11 PM

Joanna Newsom — Divers
Drag City
A super thick, glossy gatefold jacket is a nice set-up, but it’s the 10 lyric filled postcards that break it into the best packaging category. Just a solid gatefold presentation with classic black vinyl. Worth the $28 price tag.

Best Box

Front Sleeves

Kamasi Washington — The Epic
The 3xLP box-set includes separate sleeves for each disc, with the back of these sleeves including a ton of information about the album collaborators. Each disc is 180-gram, on top of the solid presentation. You can see the additional inserts below.

Best Box (Pt. 2)

Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s — The Bride On The Boxcar
Joyful Noise Recordings
Just a beautiful overall product, you have each disc housed in its own page of this coffee table style book presentation. The art for each disc also folds out, revealing even more content and you get some sharp colored vinyl to top everything off. Early orders also got a flexi postcard.
Recommended by @danenatureson


Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 4.06.22 PM

Eugene Mirman — I’m Sorry (You’re Welcome)
Sub Pop
Not only is the music within Mirman’s latest comedy release a bit off kilter (195 orgasm sounds to be exact), the vinyl options are just as intense. You have the standard 7xLP set above, but let’s just go over the purchase options
— A “white velour bathrobe” includes an MP3 player that’s loaded with all 9 volumes of the release. It’s “installed in a special, tailor-made pocket by our finest dressmakers.”
— A $1,200 chair option is described as being “wired with a pair of embedded speakers.” Well actually, there’s two chairs, one covered in fur that’s still on sale.
— “Puppy.” Still not sure what that one entails. It looks like a stuffed dog with an MP3 player attached.

Best Die-Cut


Junkie XL — Mad Max: Fury Road OST
This one’s already been highlighted in our vinyl variant section, but the packaging also deserves praise. The way they’ve set up the die-cut cover allows for either Mad Max or Immortan Joe to lurk beneath the wheel. The front and back cover are appropriately worn, much like the characters we find inhabiting that desolate landscape.

Best First Release


Myron Schaeffer/Larva — The Mask
Ondes Positives
Ondes Positives’ first vinyl release houses music for The Mask, the Canadian horror film hyped as it’s first 3D picture. When the discs rest in the gatefold jacket, they change the color of the die-cut eyes, given the discs are label less. You also get a postcard, lobby card and full liner notes (plus more for early orders).
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Bonus! Best Tape Packaging

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Sunrot/Inertia — Split
Pavonine Packaging
The black and white swirl tape rests inside this coffin, complete with the name and pressing run on the outside. You also have a print on the inside of the coffin, along with a fold-out, double-sided insert. Great work by Pavonine (check out their whole site for all kinds of eye candy).

Reader Submissions


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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