Sometime in early September, a few hundred people around the world received in the mail a flat, cardboard box containing a heavily padded, highly anticipated vinyl record. Ostensibly, those same few hundred people slipped the record out of its astral-themed jacket and then placed it under the needle of their record player.
Assuming they started with side A, they would have listened to the opening track, “Control,” an upbeat dance-pop tune by the Sydney band Olympic Ayres. Had they started with the other side, they would have heard a moodier, piano-laced ballad called “Baptize” from a Los Angeles band named RKCB. Because therein lies the beauty of this vinyl release: It’s a mixtape, not an album.
Called Vinyl Moon, the nascent, Los Angeles–based endeavor is a subscription-based vinyl mixtape series, featuring a new 10-track release mailed out every month. Each curated release consists of songs from relatively obscure and unknown indie artists and bands. In addition to the records, each volume comes with stickers and postcards, and each record jacket is decorated with original, custom artwork from different artists.
As Brandon Bogajewicz, the creator of Vinyl Moon, explains in an interview at his home office in West Los Angeles, “You’ve got to convince people to go vinyl over streaming, and what [the artwork and packaging] is saying is, ‘We made this for you.’ To capture our audience, we have to make it feel special.”
The idea for Vinyl Moon came to Bogajewicz in the summer of 2014, while listening to 7-inch records from some of his favorite burgeoning bands. Though he likes to support bands by buying their albums and EPs, listening to a 7-inch vinyl, which can only hold about two songs per side, was downright annoying. “It was so frustrating,” he says. “It was like, ‘Great, I love that you guys made a song, but I would like to sit down for longer than 3½ minutes.’”