After delay, Denver’s Vinyl Me, Please will start pressing LPs soon. These are the 5 biggest for 2024.

The new year promises new music from familiar names such as Rihanna, Sheryl Crow, Green Day, The Cure, HAIM, Bruce Springsteen and Usher. You can’t quite call them revivals — rather, they’re high points of career cycles brimming with new energy.

Most of us will listen via streaming services, but not all. Vinyl is another revival story, having outsold CDs in recent years. Taylor Swift’s records helped push vinyl sales to the 50 million mark in 2023, according to Billboard. That includes an astonishing, holiday-driven milestone of more than 2 million copies sold in the week ending Dec. 21, driven heavily by Swift’s “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” (last year’s top-selling vinyl release).

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What’s not to love about the tangible, ritualistic culture of vinyl? Well, besides a continuing lack of manufacturing capacity that holds back supply and drives up prices? Last year, it was so bad that Metallica bought its own vinyl pressing plant to keep up with demand, having sold nearly 1 million of its own records on vinyl in 2022.

Denver-based monthly record club Vinyl Me, Please counts on this increasingly mainstream collector culture, having churned out lovingly designed and cut releases for its members since 2013. Now, from its Denver plant, the company is joining a nascent music district in RiNo that includes Mission Ballroom and Victrola’s world headquarters, supporting artists from pressing to turntable to concert.

VMP’s Denver plant was delayed after a planned 2023 opening, but manufacturing will begin in the next few weeks once the city has given final sign-off, company officials said.

“And then we’re rockin’ and rollin’,” said Andrew Winistorfer, VMP’s senior director of music and editorial. “We already have a packed slate of releases that will be pressed there and can’t wait to provide customers with the highest quality records in the world under the direction of recordmaking legend  Gary Salstrom,” an industry veteran and the facility’s general manager.

The delayed opening hasn’t stopped VMP from mailing thousands of slabs ‘o wax to its customers. The company declined to release sales figures for 2023, but CEO Cameron Schafer last year said that the new Denver VMP plant could produce anywhere from 1.5 to 2 million records per year — with 80% of those going exclusively to its customers.

Here’s a preview of VMP’s biggest releases of 2024, some categorized in one of its five subscription tracks: essentials, classics, hip hop, country and rock. The company also previewed releases from its Anthology boxset series and its VMP Editions (special-edition reissues).

Willie Nelson performs at Farm Aid on Randall’s Island in this Sept. 9, 2007. (Associated Press file)

1. Willie Nelson, “Phases and Stages” (VMP Essentials, in March)

While VMP has reissued about a dozen Willie Nelson albums over the years, the Red Headed Stranger had yet to occupy a spot in the company’s flagship Essentials subscription, which usually runs $40 to $50 per title. The album they chose to represent Nelson is “Phases and Stages,” which is turning 50 this year, said music director Winistorfer.

“It’s a bruising, sad album that tells the story of a divorce from both sides of a couple, and acknowledges that in love, everyone has their own truth,” he said. “Our edition has been remastered all-analog from the original masters by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound, and sounds impeccable.”

2. Little Richard, “Here’s Little Richard” (VMP Rock, in May)

Rock pioneer Little Richard’s debut album will get the deluxe treatment from Vinyl Me, Please this year. (Provided by Specialty Records)

“When we launched our Rock subscription last summer, it was fun to think about all the different albums that fit under that genre description,” Winistorfer said. “It really could encompass music made from the 1950s until the present day; the options are sort of limitless.”

Rock pioneer Little Richard’s debut LP is the latest well-deserved addition. Richard’s collection of hit singles from the ’50s shows a musical original coming into his own via tracks like “Tutti Fruitti” and “Long Tall Sally.” The record will be the 11th release in VMP’s Rock subscription — all others have sold out — and comes between releases by Stevie Ray Vaughan and T. Rex, “which feels poetic,” Winistorfer said. “This one captures our Lost Sounds Found ethos to a T: without these sounds, the others after it might not exist.”

Dexter Gordon’s 1962 album “Dexter Calling” was one of the records included in Vinyl Me, Please’s “The Story of Blue Note” anthology. It’s being reissued in 2024. (Provided by Blue Note)

3. “The Story of Blue Note” (VMP Anthology)

About five years ago, as Winistorfer tells it, VMP began rethinking what vinyl box sets could be. Instead of jamming in a whole discography, they could be tightly curated. They could come with not just well-researched listening notes, but an accompanying podcast as well. They needn’t only feature big names.

That resulted in VMP Anthology, the company’s Grammy-nominated box-set series. Its first release was “The Story of Blue Note,” produced with Blue Note president Don Was, for the label’s 80th anniversary. (It’s repressing a  second edition this year for the label’s 85th.)

“We’re going to be pressing this release in our new pressing plant in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood, and it will come with new box art,” Winistorfer said. “VMP members can expect a bunch more in VMP Anthology this year.”

John Coltrane’s 1964 classic “A Love Supreme” is getting another look from Vinyl Me, Please in 2024. (Provided by Impluse!)

4. John Coltrane, “A Love Supreme” (VMP Edition)

This single-album release is getting the boxed set treatment with eight discs of material, including the original album, every outtake and alternate take, and two live performances of the original album’s tracklist. Physical booklets include original photo outtakes, a screen-printed poster, liner notes by music writer Jeff Weiss and original designs by senior art director Alan Hynes and art director Clay Conder.

“Our hope is that this pays fitting tribute to a legendary album, opening up new angles to explore for Coltrane aficionados, and providing a definitive collection for those looking to explore,” Winistorfer said.

The “Blue Velvet” soundtrack, by late composer Angelo Badalamenti, is being reissues in a deluxe version by Vinyl Me, Please in 2024. (Varèse Sarabande)

5. “Blue Velvet” soundtrack, with all new illustrations from Greg Ruth (VMP Edition)

VMP customers can expect a steadily increasing list of soundtrack releases and screen-printed posters in 2024, according to Winistorfer. Rob Jones, one of the founders of Austin, Texas-based poster-and-vinyl company Mondo, and longtime Jack White collaborator, leads a creative team that’s currently focused on a forthcoming reissue of the hypnotic “Blue Velvet” soundtrack that will feature all new illustrations by artist Greg Ruth.

“It will pair VMP’s attention to sonic detail with incredible original art, and be a release that can’t be missed for fans of David Lynch and ‘Blue Velvet,’ ” Winistorfer said of the 1986 film.

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