Vinyl doesn’t need to be ordinary. It can contain parts and fluids from the human body, meteorite dust or even be made out of edible delights and eaten for dessert. Provided below is the short list of the weirdest vinyl records on earth, so brace yourself for shock, awe and wonderment.
Emperor Yes – An Island Called Earth
In 2014, London's psychedelic pop band, Emperor Yes, re-issued their debut album, An Island Called Earth, as a colored vinyl infused with dust from an actual meteorite. No shit. Not surprisingly, since asteroid dust is super hard to get your hands on, at least on Earth, the pressing was limited to 100 copies and fetches a pretty good price on the 2nd hand market.
Shout Out Louds – Blue Ice
In 2012, Swedish pop band, Shout Out Louds, released the single, Blue Ice, on a 7” record. Only 10 copies were released (via a competition through Merge Records), which meant only two handfuls of lucky fans were able to partake in the creation of homemade ice records. The DIY kit made it easy by including the necessary instructions, tools, and supplies, like water, to make the Blue Ice record. While the quality of the product appeared average at best (e.g., subpar sound quality, extra lumpy record), incredibly, the ice records actually worked, and from what I can tell, they could be recreated as often as desired after the disc melted. To see how the process works, check out this video.
Jack White – Sixteen Saltines
Released on Record Store Day in 2012, at the iconic Third Man Records Rolling Record Store in Austin Texas, was Jack White’s translucent blue, liquid-filled 12” single of Sixteen Saltines from his debut album, Blunderbuss. As the vinyl spins on a turntable, the blue liquid sloshes around for a super trippy effect. The only drawback is that liquid is reported to leak over time due to faulty production.
Bonobo – Cirrus
In the mid-19th century, and before modern film cameras, several devices were invented to display moving images, one of which was called a zoetrope. Along with its phenakistiscope brothers, a zoetrope creates the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of still pictures to generate progressive phases of motion. To date, several musicians have used zoetropes to create vinyl picture discs and perhaps the best example was thanks to Bonobo in 2013, with their single, Cirrus. The picture disc includes hundreds of small images, which when played, produce an animation effect super cool to see. To see Cirrus spinning in real-time, check out this video.
The Durutti Column: The Return of The Durutti Column
In 1980, English post-punk band, The Durutti Column, released The Return of The Durutti Column, now infamous for the destructive sleeve it was packaged in. The band used sandpaper for the album’s outer jacket in hopes that over time, its abrasiveness would strip away and ruin their owners’ other beloved album covers. As legend has it, each of the 2000 sleeves had to be handmade since vinyl record printing facilities didn’t offer the “sandpaper package” back then, or even now, so the band paid Joy Division’s front man, Ian Curtis, a nominal amount to make each cover for them.
Karen Elson – Vicious
In 2011, Karen Elson teamed up with Third Man Records for a special Record Store Day 7” release via a clear vinyl titled, Vicious, with real peach colored rose petals pressed inside. The run was limited to 1000 copies and includes Vicious on side A and In Trouble with the Lord on side B.
Split Enz – True Colours
Next up is the 5th studio album from Split Enz, the New Zealand new wave band that released a laser-etched vinyl of True Colors in 1980, which included their biggest hit, I Got You. The record may have hinted at times to come since it loosely resembled a CD when spinning with shiny rainbow-colors glistening in the light, although the pressing relied on reflective geometric shapes. This gem is relatively easy to find and not too pricey too, so it may be a good addition to your record collection.
Lemon Jelly – Soft Rock
In 2001, British electronic rock band, Lemon Jelly, self-released Soft/Rock as a 7″ single that came in a cutout denim jean pocket with a vanilla-flavored condom in it. The original pressing was limited to 1000 copies and fetches a nice price on the 2nd hand market. If you have a copy, feel free to spin the record as much as you want, but limit the condom to single use.
The next set of weird vinyl releases are categorized to make them easier to digest, and naturally, the list starts with edible records.
Breakbot – By Your Side
Edibles come in all shapes and sizes, and this weird creation is no exception. French producer Breakbot teamed up with his Ed Banger record label in 2012 and released a 100% edible chocolate 12” vinyl including the single, By Your Side. I’d be curious to see the statistics on how many times this single was spun before its owners decided to eat their music.
Gibonni – 20th Century Man
Similar to Breakbot, Croatian musician, Gibonni created an edible chocolate album because “[he] read that chocolate contains a hormone of happiness and boosts your libido, so [he] thought it was a perfect combination for the rock based on music we loved in the 1980s.” Croatia isn’t know for its music or chocolate, but perhaps they’re now known for their chocolate music.
The Flaming Lips – The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends
In 2012, The Flaming Lips collaborated with a solid list of other musicians, like Erykah Badu, Ke$ha and Neon Indian, to create a truly unique and philanthropic Record Store Day release that contained the actual blood from some of its collaborators. From the larger release, 10 copies included real blood and were sold for $2,500 each resulting in $25,000 being donated to two causes the Lips are closely aligned with – the Academy of Contemporary Music at U.C.O. and the Central Oklahoma Humane Society.
I used to have different plans for my body’s remains, but now I’m seriously considering editing my will and letting my family know that I want to “live on from the groove” and get my cremated remains pressed into a vinyl record. Thankfully, U.K.-based company, And Vinyly, offers that service from prices ranging from $1,200 to $4,000. If I had to choose a song my ashes will be pressed into, for eternity, it would be He’s Gone, by the Grateful Dead, and it would probably by the September 10th, 1972 from Hollywood, California, but that could change before I’m dead and gone.
What song(s) would you choose?
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Eohippus: 'Getting Your Hair Wet With Pee'
The weirdest vinyl release yet may be the 7” single released in 2014 by Pittsburgh, PA’s own, Eohippus. The Getting Your Hair Wet With Pee run was limited to 100 copies and (as the title would suggest) was infused with samples of the band's hair and urine.
Octopus – Jealousy
The single had two grooves on the same side, so it was completely random which song you’d get. And it was on green vinyl too, just because. Octopus also put out an album that folded out into a playable board game.
RPM – Turntable Football and Turntable Baseball
After the successful release of Turntable Football on Record Store Day in 2014, RPM released Turntable Baseball in 2015. The 7” vinyl is an interactive game siblings, spouses and friends can play against each other thanks to Decagonaphonic Multi-groove Technology. Playing off 13 grooves, side A gives each player the chance to hit home runs, get out and more as they play a full 9 inning game on their turntable. There's even a separate band of grooves, for when you have runners on base, if you feel like trying to steal a base. Side B is The Concession Stand Challenge, which pays homage to horse racing turntable games like, Foto-Finish, released in the early 1960s. Each player names the stakes and then the record chooses the winner for a chance to win a hot dog, salted nuts, nachos, soft pretzel or falafel. It’s also worth noting that RPM baseball includes color commentary from Jay Grainer and Barry Dingle, who announced RPM Football too, as well as clear instructions to make the game easier to play.