Emerging Now 2023 Playlist: Kick Winter Blues

As music fans gathered their end-of-the-year lists for 2022, January came whirling in with several surprising announcements for 2023. Boygenius will release their debut full-length album on March 31st, the harmonizing sister trio, JOSEPH, returns, and The Murder Capital released a sophomore record already at the top of the charts. Luckily, we kept our eyes peeled for any goosebump-inducing tracks and compiled the antidote for the winter blues. Our Emerging Now 2023 Playlist: Kick Winter Blues has something for everyone this chilly season. Keep an eye out for album releases to follow some of these intriguing singles.

// SPOTIFY PLAYLIST // APPLE MUSIC PLAYLIST //

2023 Album Releases from this Playlist:

// January //

Gabrielle Aplin-Phosphorescent: January 6th (available on vinyl HERE*)

Margo Price-Strays: January 13th (available on vinyl HERE)

The Murder Capital-Gigi’s Recovery: January 20th (available on vinyl HERE)

The Arcs-Electrophonic Chronic: January 27th (available on vinyl HERE)

Elle King-Come Get Your Wife: January 27th (available on vinyl HERE)

Samia-Honey: January 27th (available on vinyl HERE)

SG Lewis-AudioLust & Higher Love: January 27th (available on vinyl HERE)

Sam Smith-Gloria: January 27th (available on vinyl HERE)

*Indicates Amazon Associates affiliate link.

// February //

SYML-The Day My Father Died: February 3rd (available on vinyl HERE)

Paramore-This Is Why: February 10th (available on vinyl HERE)

Gorillaz-Cracker Island: February 24th (available on vinyl HERE*)

*Indicates Amazon Associates affiliate link.

// March //

Daisy Jones & The Six-Aurora: March 3rd (available on vinyl HERE)

Fall Out Boy-So Much (For) Stardust: March 24th (available on vinyl HERE)

Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness-Tilt At The Wind No More: March 31st (physical release not yet announced)

boygenius-the record: March 31st (available on vinyl HERE)

// April //

JOSEPH-The Sun: April 28th (available on vinyl HERE)

The National-First Two Pages of Frankenstein: April 28th (available on vinyl HERE)

// May //

Dave Matthews Band-Walk Around the Moon: May 19th (available on vinyl HERE)


*POETRY DANS LA RUE strives to promote new and upcoming artists in the music scene worldwide. Our goal is to provide a platform for ‘on the rise’ artists and encourage fans to discover new music.

Check out all of these artists and more on our Emerging Now 2023 Playlist: Kick Winter Blues

// SPOTIFY PLAYLIST // APPLE MUSIC PLAYLIST //

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Sterling Drake Highway 200

Now Spinning Sterling Drake ‘Highway 200’: Timeless Troubadour Tunes

Country crooner and Montana to Nashville artist Sterling Drake released his Highway 200 EP pressed on colored vinyl by Soul Step Records this month. Sterling, known for his deep country and western roots on his family’s ranch in Florida, connects his love of music to influences from his parents and grandparents. Drake grew up listening to Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Roger Miller, all of whom played a formative role in his music career.

If you’re new to Sterling Drake’s music, travel back to the era of outlaw country with Highway 200. Today’s mainstream country music seldom hits the wistful longing of a genuine country and western troubadour. You’ll be head over boots with one listen of “In the Pines” or “Highway 200” from this noteworthy rugged EP. Today we chat with Sterling Drake about living between Montana ranches and Nashville and the background of Highway 200.

Shop the Sterling Drake Highway 200 on vinyl by Soul Step Records HERE.

Sterling Drake Highway 200

Q&A with Sterling Drake //

PDLR: How have you found being in Nashville beneficial to your career? Do you still go back and forth between Nashville and Montana? 

Sterling Drake: “I think most artists that have spent time in Music City realize that it’s a love-hate relationship. If you move to a large music community, keeping your goals in mind is important. It’s easy to lose yourself in all the happenings of a big city. At times I’ve put too much stock into that town, which has ultimately led to a bit of resentment.”

“I went back to Montana during Covid, and my time away helped restore my perspective on Nashville. There is nowhere else with the amount of concentrated talent and abundance of country music lovers in a several-mile radius. The biggest benefit is mingling and playing with pickers and songwriters on any night. Currently, I spend my year split between Montana and Tennessee. When I’m in Nashville, I’m on the road, co-writing or recording. My downtime is back in Montana.”

PDLR: I’m eager to know more about country music’s influence on your childhood.  Can you paint the picture of when you realized you wanted to pursue country music?

Sterling Drake: “My father and grandparents introduced me to country music as a kid. Papa was a big Willie, Waylon, and Roger Miller fan. It’s safe to say that it’s in our genetics. Admittedly, that wasn’t the music that piqued my interest in my teens. While I wrote country songs, most of my musical time involved playing drums or lead guitar in rock bands. I like to say that country is emo music for people with adult problems. It takes a little bit of living for it to grow on ya.”

“It’s a long Montana winter, and it’s likely to drive us both insane, and the livestock and the jukebox are the only thing to occupy my brain.”

PDLR: Did you have any specific influences for this EP?  Whether it be another artist’s music or personal experiences.

Sterling Drake: “I wanted to incorporate several different styles of music that I enjoy. Highway 200 includes western traditional, old-time, and outlaw country. As a fan of American roots music, I aspire to fuse its different features into something new yet familiar.”

PDLR: Do you work with other songwriters, musicians, etc.?  If so, who are some of your favorite collaborators? 

Sterling Drake: “I’ve been fortunate enough to call a lot of great musicians and songwriters close friends of mine. I particularly enjoy discussing music and playing with Ryan Stigmon, a gentleman I’ve spent the past few years with on the road. He’s a steel guitar player out of Asheville, NC. Nashville is my musical home base. In Music City, I enjoy my time away from the road playing music and spending time with folks like Timbo, Sierra Ferrell, Hannah Juanita, Mose Wilson, Brennen Leigh, and many others.”

PDLR: What song on Highway 200 has the most meaning for you and why?

Sterling Drake: “I’d say the title track. It’s a true story about one of my experiences ranching in western Montana. Admittedly, there’s a bit of self-inflicted romanticism about western culture and ranching as a whole that I prescribe to. “Highway 200″ attempts to paint a more accurate picture of the lifestyle.”

“And I rented out a motel room off of Highway 200 just to work a riding job to earn my pay. And they never say this cowboy life was a good place to bring a wife, and I ain’t got a dollar to my name.”

PDLR: If you could collaborate or tour with any country artist, who would it be?

Sterling Drake: “I’ve spent time on the road with many of my contemporary artists and idols! In a fantasy world, I’d love to work with George Strait. One can dream.”

PDLR: What future goals do you have for your music career?

Sterling Drake: “Keep making more music and playing more shows for the good people!”


*Soul Step Records upfronts the cost of vinyl production for new artists. For more information on Soul Step Records and their mission, visit their website or follow them on Instagram below.

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Top Albums of 2022

Ranking Our Top Albums of 2022

POETRY DANS LA RUE explored 50 of this year’s hottest albums (see AOTY Contenders Playlist) and narrowed them down to 15 Top Albums of 2022. Don’t pay TOO much attention to the order because this year was massive for music releases! One commonality between these albums is the impeccable songwriting from these artists across the board.

Did any of these albums make your list? Check out our Top 15 Albums of 2022 and Honorable Mentions in the full breakdown below.

// Top 15 Albums of 2022 //

// 10 // Beatopia by beabadoobee

Rounding out our top 10 Albums of 2022 is Beatopia, the sophomore album by London alternative singer-songwriter beabadoobee. Beatopia is a lighter, more serene album from her debut Fake It Flowers. Bea holds fast to her ’90s-Esque female pop rock style on the hit single “Talk” yet goes more coffeehouse acoustic for “The Perfect Pair.” Matty Healy also makes some guest appearances with songwriting credits on this album. “Pictures of Us” echoes a sonic background similar to the likes of The Cure; Matty pens one of his signature metaphors “She reminded me that God starts with a capital, but I don’t think I could do it all,” as Bea’s voice murmurs unwavering as the track comes to a height.

// 9 // MUNA by MUNA

Indie pop threesome MUNA is at an all-time high with the band’s third studio album. MUNA is soft and vulnerable yet airy and captivating. Opening track “Silk Chiffon” ft. Phoebe Bridgers became somewhat of a feminine anthem of 2022. Other songwriting peaks include the inner dialogue ballad “Kind of Girl,” synth-pop tune “Runner’s High,” and the sultry track “No Idea.”

// 8 // Surrender by Maggie Rogers

Maggie Rogers shakes things up on her second studio album, Surrender. The singer-songwriter brings a delightful contrast from her debut album and pushes her vocal limits with “Horses” and “Overdrive.” Surrender is the pivot in an artist’s career where you see them feel entirely in charge of their artistic decisions, breaking out of the box and letting loose.

Top Albums of 2022

//7 // Sonder by Dermot Kennedy

Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy reaches massive heights with his sophomore album Sonder. Kennedy, who started his career while busking the streets of Dublin, brings the contrast of intimacy and mainstream pop on the 11-track LP. Longtime fans of Dermot bask in deeper emotional tracks like “Innocence and Sadness” and “Dreamer,” while newcomers may enjoy more pop-like tunes such as “Kiss Me” and “Something to Someone.”

// 6 // Multitude by Stromae

Belgian worldwide pop star Stromae FINALLY returned in 2022 with his third album, Multitude. After a long hiatus from the music industry, Stromae released “Santé,” a lead single with a TikTok trending dance to go with it. Stromae, inverse for “Maestro,” is a talented singer-songwriter and an all-around theatrical artist and producer. Stromae has a knack for taking a song such as “Enfers” and concealing a more profound message with the contrast of upbeat music. His music videos and stage performances take performative art to the next level. Multitude saw much success in North America this year at Coachella, and his headline shows.

Top Albums of 2022

// 5 // Midnights by Taylor Swift

After pouring out her most intimate diary entries on sister albums folklore and evermore, T. Swift is back with a stadium anthem-worthy album. Midnights is precisely the right direction Taylor needed to take for her return to the stage. Pop ballads like “Bejeweled,” “Karma,” and “Anti-Hero” bring back the reputation vibes that fans may have been missing. For the *always in your feels fans* there are a few tracks to get you down (see “You’re On Your Own Kid” and “Bigger Than the Whole Sky”). Taylor’s clever to-the-beat songwriting rings high on “Maroon,” “The burgundy on my T-shirt when you splashed your wine into me / And how the blood rushed into my cheeks, so scarlet, it was (maroon).”

// 4 // Leap by James Bay

James Bay’s third studio album, Leap, combines elements from his critically acclaimed debut album Chaos and the Calm and the more synth-pop sophomore album Electric Light. The British singer-songwriter tells stories of love, growth, and personal reflection with a voice full of emotion. Bay’s songwriting shines on the beautifully penned wedding song “One Life.” Other standout songs include “Nowhere Left to Go,” “Right Now,” “Brilliant Still,” and “Give Me the Reason.”

Top Albums of 2022

// 3 // Harry’s House by Harry Styles

Everyone lived in Harry’s House in 2022, including half of New York, Dallas, and L.A., for about fifteen nights a piece. Harry crafted the soundtrack of the year by debuting “As It Was” shortly before his Coachella headline set in April. Harry’s House hits hard with dance-pop on “Cinema,” empathy on “Matilda,” and funky soul on “Music for a Sushi Restaurant.” Harry is on top of the pop star world, and this album further solidified his spot for global stardom.

// 2 // Being Funny In A Foreign Language by The 1975

The 1975 stuns longtime and newbie fans in their 5th studio album, Being Funny In A Foreign Language. The Manchester band of 20 years has written their most cohesive CONCISE album, consolidating their musical artwork into eleven flawless and heartfelt tracks. The stripped-back production works wonders on audiences of all ages, especially on songs like “All I Need to Hear” and “When We Are Together.” Lyrically, 90% of the album takes a step back on some of Matty Healy’s most poetic monologues, making it easier to digest and sing along. If you’re looking for an overly indulgent and experimental track, that would be the lead single “Part of the Band.”

Top Albums of 2022

// 1 // Stick Season by Noah Kahan

Stick Season by Noah Kahan delivers lyrically, emotionally, and vocally track after track. Noah’s songwriting is at an all-time high as he paints pictures of melancholic dark winter nights in New England. This album will make listeners feel as though they are experiencing synesthesia in how Kahan weaves through the film-like images of his past and present. Top tracks include “Stick Season,” “All My Love,” “Come Over,” “Growing Sideways,” and “Everywhere, Everything.” Noah’s Stick Season tour is growing by the hour. He has upgraded several venues to accommodate more fans BEFORE the tickets even go on sale. “It’s the season of the sticks!”

// Honorable Mentions // Top Albums of 2022

Älskar by Nina Nesbitt, Autofiction by Suede, The Hum Goes On Forever by The Wonder Years, Lavender Days by Caamp, Tell Me That It’s Over by Wallows, and Bronco by Orville Peck

// AOTY SPOTIFY PLAYLIST // AOTY APPLE MUSIC PLAYLIST //

Matt Duncan

Now Spinning: Matt Duncan ‘Soft Times’

Soft Times, the 2013 debut soul-pop record from Matt Duncan, gets a third pressing from Soul Step Records this weekend. The ever-popular LP drops in time to make the perfect gift for music and vinyl lovers this holiday season.

Local Lexington, Kentucky singer-songwriter and soul artist Matt Duncan has a long resume of lofty accomplishments in the indie music scene over the past decade. You may recognize his captivating music featured on several hit TV series such as “Private Practice” and “Vampire Diaries.” Soft Times holds a library of eleven timeless tracks eluding to Motown, The Beach Boys, and blue-eyed-soul artists (i.e., Hall & Oates, Van Morrison, Amy Winehouse, etc.). Big horns, transcending vocals, and anecdotal songwriting round out the highs of this alluring record. We are thrilled to be introduced to this hidden gem via Soul Step Records.

Subscribe to Soul Step and get early access to the Soft Times Yellow Sun variant HERE!

Matt Duncan
Album artwork by Robert Beatty

// Favorite Tracks //

“The Keys” is a vacation getaway jam to start your soulful, poetic listening journey of Soft Times. Cure your winter blues and take a mental trip “down to the Keys.”

Soft Times” embraces big band-style brassy arrangements by Ryan Moore and Evan Belt. Smooth vocals and poignant lyrics from Duncan make for an ideal title track.

“The Horn of Plenty” is a stunner track reminiscent of “Under the Boardwalk” by The Drifters with its similar steady bass. A vast blend of piano, bass, horns, and guitar surrounds classic soul and profound vocals.

“Sparkle and Fall” has rock-esque guitars and vocals, leading to a jazzier outro of horns. “Sparkle and Fall” displays Duncan’s range of several genres on Soft Times.

“Summer Song” contains Beach Boys-like lyrics, arrangement, and a signature doo-wop feel. Pair this A-Side closer with “The Keys,” and you’ll have yourself celebrating Christmas in the tropics.

“Lost Boys” is a standout outro to Matt Duncan’s gorgeous collection of songs on Soft Times. The final track combines nostalgic elements of Motown and older pop vocal groups with a modern-day feel similar to MIKA or Allen Stone.  

*Soul Step Records upfronts the cost of vinyl production for new artists. For more information on Soul Step Records and their mission, visit their website or follow them on Instagram below.

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Cara Louise

Now Spinning: Cara Louise ‘Wholesome Dread’

Check your list for Album of the Year and add Wholesome Dread by Cara Louise to the queue. Soul Step Records drops two exclusive vinyl variants of the folk-inspired indie rock LP this weekend. Subscribe now and don’t miss the chance to check out the Orange Sunburst vinyl, a sweet Wax Mage variant, and a free 45 of “Fragile Heart” by Cara Louise.

St. Louis to Nashville singer-songwriter Cara Louise is the missing piece to your emerging artist vinyl collection. Cara Louise’s vocal style often reminds music fans of Brandi Carlile or Sharon Van Etten. Her indie rock disposition blended with folk roots also draws parallels to folk sisters Joseph and Larkin Poe. Wholesome Dread, released September 30th, pivots on the themes of existential dread and self-discovery. Take a deep dive into the 9-track LP, and you’ll be captivated by Cara’s lyricism and affinity for a genre-bending album.

Subscribe and check out the Wholesome Dread Orange Sunburst variant HERE!

Cara Louise

// Favorite Tracks //

“Wholesome Dread” encapsulates the ever-present theme of the album with relatable lyrics, “can’t deny we’re all the same, afraid of dying.” This intro track makes you feel like you are experiencing the live version in the same room with Cara Louise.

“Must Be Nice” is a lyrically relatable track for twenty and thirty-somethings trying to navigate adulthood and mental health struggles. Cara’s vocal range on the chorus quickly lands “Must Be Nice” as a standout track on the 9-song LP.

“Empty Me” has an upbeat dance-worthy backtrack yet is starkly contrasted by more profound lyrics of uncertainty. The single has the right amount of push and pull for a well-crafted melancholic hit.

“Julia” has more of a country folk feel with twangy guitars and vivid picturesque lyrics. Cara’s voice remains serene as the instrumentals amplify to a height.

*Soul Step Records upfronts the cost of vinyl production for new artists. For more information on Soul Step Records and their mission, visit their website or follow them on Instagram below.

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Parker Louis

Now Spinning: Parker Louis ‘All Good Things’

Soul Step Records* brings the heat for the end of the year with a stunning repress of Parker Louis’s 2019 LP All Good Things. The independent record label in Nashville launches two hypnotizing vinyl variants, Jungle Swirl (pictured below) and a limited edition Wax Mage beauty.

Parker Louis, of Columbus, Ohio, can be compared to soulful songwriters Sam Cooke, Raphael Saadiq, Anderson East, and Allen Stone. Louis’s smooth, bluesy style ranks him high among R&B and neo-soul fans of today.

All Good Things is now restocked and available for excellent audiophile listening on wax. From “No Love, Lately” to “Waiting,” listeners absorb jazzy instrumentals and raspy alluring vocals. Not only does the album sound exquisite on vinyl, but Parker Louis has recently shown off his vocal range on the road, opening most recently for fellow Columbus, Ohio, band Caamp. All Good Things is a timeless R&B gem to add to any collection.

Pick up the Jungle Swirl variant HERE!

Parker Louis

// Favorite Tracks //

“No Love, Lately” is a first-listen showstopper the minute the needle hits the groove. The overall bones of this track go deep in classic R&B with relaxed instrumentals, choir-like backing vocals, and a sweet-singing guitar.

“Vibe” is a smooth, sultry track to accompany your romantic dinner or evening party. One-thousand percent not lying when we say these songs sound superb on vinyl.

“Gemini” is our favorite of the 8-track LP. Louis’s vocals shine brighter than ever on this slowed-down confession of love. The guitar-driven outro calls for some wine and slow dancing in the dark.

“Lights” has a highly reminiscent vibe of Anderson East, which is a lofty compliment in our book. While listening to this side B opener, fans will quickly realize that Louis’s incredible songwriting talent is not letting up.

*Soul Step Records upfronts the cost of vinyl production for new artists. For more information on Soul Step Records and their mission, visit their website or follow them on Instagram below.

// FOLLOW SOUL STEP RECORDS // FOLLOW PARKER LOUIS //

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beginner turntables

Our Simple Guide to Beginner Turntables

Drop the needle in the groove, hear the crackle of some vintage tunes, and join the ever-growing community of vinyl record collectors. Whether you’ve got a stack of vinyl passed on from a relative or splurged on all four copies of Midnights at Target, we’ve created a simple guide to beginner turntables for the holiday season.

beginner turntables

All-in-one Record Players

Crosley, Victrola, or Suitcase Players*-A suitcase player is the cheapest way to start a collection of a few records. It is convenient for size, portability, and price; however, it is simply not the best option for quality, design, and longevity purposes.

Most people start with a small collection of vinyl and a suitcase record player, myself included.  There is a lot of stigma about these record players because of their design and reputation for “ruining records.” In my experience, I didn’t have any issues with damaged records, but I do know many people have discovered their records became scratched or skipped after long-term use.  I enjoy the Crosley suitcase for its portability and often played French records in my classroom.

That being said, my recommendation and other collectors’ recommendations would be to consider a better-designed entry-level turntable and build your setup from there.  You can start with an affordable turntable with a built-in preamp (aka no need for a receiver/amp) and hunt for secondhand powered speakers. Some newer turntables have a Bluetooth feature you can use until you can complete your setup.  *Bluetooth is not the best option for an authentic audio listening experience.

If you want more opinions on all-in-one record player recommendations and entry-level turntables, visit Reddit r/vinyl and r/turntables. I am nowhere near as knowledgeable as this subgroup, so check out some of the posts I have referenced below.

Best New Entry-Level Turntable to Start Out With (Sort by Price and Country): vinyl (reddit.com)

Turntables and Speakers: sharkamino (reddit.com)

I understand that Reddit can be overwhelming, so I’m breaking down some of the best, affordable beginner turntables in 2022. Prices will often fluctuate, so check current prices on each link.

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Beginner Turntables and Accessories-$130-$275 (Total Budget)

Insignia turntable-Availabe at Best Buy and has a built-in preamp. Bluetooth capability.

Crosley C6-This turntable is recommended over the Audio-Technica LP60x because it does not have the same design mechanism as a suitcase-type player. The Crosley C6 also has Bluetooth capability. We found the lowest price on Wayfair.

1BYONE High Fidelity Turntable Built-in Speakers*-If you’re looking for an all-in-one space-saver deal and unsure how much you will invest in the hobby, this system might be for you.

If you need to invest in speakers, check out one of the following options for a budget-friendly setup:

PreSonus Eris 3.5 Speakers*

Edifier 1280T*

True and Trusty Turntables-$200-$350

Sony PS-LX310BT*-Fully automatic turntable with Bluetooth and USB output.

Fluance RT80*-Built-in preamp. Comes with an Audio-Technica AT91 cartridge.

U-Turn Orbit Basic-No built-in preamp. Multiple color options (blue, purple, green, red, white, black). You can purchase with preamp for a little more cash.

Crosley C200A*-Built-in preamp. Comes with Audio-Technica-3600 moving-magnet cartridge.

*Denon DP-300F*-This is the turntable that I purchased in 2019. The cartridge that comes with the setup is of decent quality (i.e., you don’t need to change it unless you want to upgrade for better sound). I recently upgraded to an Ortofon 2M Red Moving Magnet Cartridge,* and I highly recommend it for a more dynamic sound. The Denon DP-300F is a fully automatic turntable with a start and stop feature. The automatic feature makes it easy to put on a record, press start, and walk away, as the stylus will always return to the tonearm rest. This turntable will also turn off on its own after a period of not being used.

Audio-Technica LP120X*-Audio-Technica is probably the most common entry-level turntable. This model is recommended for its longevity and ability to upgrade in the future.

Browse Used Turntables on eBay for a sweet retro deal to get your collection going! You can also find speakers, amps, receivers, etc., to build your entire setup from vintage gear.

Upgrade-$300-$599

Pioneer DJ PLX-500*-A few more features for digital recording and DJ-type use.

Fluance RT85-Multiple color options (white, black, bamboo, walnut). It comes with an Ortofon 2M Blue Cartridge, a step above my current Ortofon 2M Red.

Rega Planar 1*-Manual Belt Drive Turntable with Rega Carbon MM Cartridge.

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO-Multiple color options (red, yellow, black, white, walnut). Comes with a Sumiko Rainier cartridge. This turntable would be my choice for an upgrade from the previous selection.

My Complete Setup

Turntable: Denon DP-300F*

Cartridge: Ortofon 2M Red Moving Magnet Cartridge*-I researched Reddit for the best cartridge upgrades for my turntable. The Ortofon 2M Red significantly differs from my original Denon cartridge that came with my turntable. It has a more precise, dynamic sound and is an excellent upgrade for the value.

Speakers: Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2 Bookshelf Speakers*-These speakers require a receiver and speaker wire. I recommend these for the overall clean sound, the convenience of space, the look, and the value of the quality of the speakers.

Receiver: Yamaha R-S202*-I found an Open Box Deal ($60) purchased in 2019. You do not *need* a receiver if your turntable has a built-in preamp.

Main Shelf: Tactile WoodShop Mid-Century Modern Record Player Stand Etsy-Purchased in 2019. Prices have significantly increased; here is the shop if you are interested. The main reason I had my eye on this shelf was because of its unique design and ability to customize. It also matches my modern theme of rectangles and black and white in our music room.

Storage Shelves: Kallax Cubes-IKEA’S most common and cheapest vinyl storage shelves. I have eight cubes, but you can customize how many and the design you would like. You can also check Facebook Marketplace for secondhand Kallax shelves.

Cleaning & Accessories

Outer Sleeves*-100 12″ Record Outer Sleeves

Inner Sleeves*-50 count

Clear Book Ends*-Holds records in place when they don’t fill the shelf

Record Cleaner*-Liquid cleaner for vinyl records

!! Needle Cleaning Hack-Use a plain white Magic Eraser to clean your turntable needle. Video HERE.


If you have any questions on a specific turntable or accessory, I may not have all the answers, but I can point you in the direction of someone who can help.  Please keep in mind that this list is a guide to beginner turntables, not an expert audiophile experience. Happy spinning and happy holiday season!

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

#VINYLCOMMUNITY Contributors & Feedback: @danielsonwax2.0, @chrisking_1983, @all.the.records, @themusicwillplay, @what.kate.listens.to

Modern Nomad

Now Spinning: Modern Nomad ‘There It Is, There You Are’

Indie pop record There It Is, There You Are by Modern Nomad sounds flawless on white vinyl from Soul Step Records. Soul Step denotes the 2021 album as “psychedelic indie pop for fans of Tame Impala, Mac Demarco, and Toro Y Moi.” Furthermore, There It Is, There You Are is a surprising nod to The Beach Boys and The Beatles. This week, we chat with Tom McLean, solo artist under the moniker Modern Nomad, about his most recent album.

Pick up the white vinyl from Soul Step Records HERE!

Modern Nomad

Q&A with Modern Nomad //

PDLR: Soul Step Records mentions similarities to Tame Impala, Mac Demarco, and Toro Y Moi, as well as influences from The Beatles and The Beach Boys. 

Do you have other influences or anecdotes to share about what inspired There It Is, There You Are?

Modern Nomad: “Harry Nilsson is one of my biggest influences, he is at the top of my list! As for the overall inspiration, I wrote and recorded this record at a time when I entered a long-term relationship. I spent two months with my partner, hanging out and getting to know each other basically every day. It went from that to long distance. Navigating the newness of distance inspired a lot of these songs. Specifically, the song “Feel This Way Forever” has a lot of lyrics about our relationship.”

PDLR: “Baby, I Love You,” “Electrify,” and “I Want You to Stay” have an evident influence from The Beatles and The Beach Boys.

What specific elements in your music draw inspiration from these iconic bands?

Modern Nomad: “I love the harmonies in The Beatles and The Beach Boys’ music. Harmony is something that I spend a lot of time on, so I’ll obsess over stacking vocals. The balance of simplicity and complexity is an element I admire in The Beatles’ music. They’ll have weird chord changes that don’t seem to fit, yet they work out smoothly. I will undeniably be searching for a McCartney-quality melody my entire life.”

PDLR: Can you discuss the songwriting process for There It Is, There You Are?

Modern Nomad: “I write, record, and produce everything myself, so the process changes from song to song. Several songs, like “All in My Dreams,” were recorded and worked on for over a year, whereas I finished “Get a Little Closer” in one night. Usually, I’ll start with an idea for a chord progression and part of a melody; then, I produce a track around it. Once I arrange and map out the idea, then I’ll finish writing the verses, choruses, and bridges. Writing like this also allows me to revisit songs if something else I did in a newer song inspires me. I love having that freedom.”

PDLR: How would you describe the album’s sound to someone who has never heard your music?

Modern Nomad: “Maybe something like if The Beatles in 1967 had access to Ableton, 80’s synths, and were listening to the Spotify playlist ‘Modern Psychedelia’ a lot.”

Our Favorite Tracks //

“Reflection” -A captivating intro track to the 10-song LP. “Reflection” oozes psychedelic indie rock à la Tame Impala.

“Get a Little Closer” -On this second track, Modern Nomad brings a sultry, mellow vibe that sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Get a Little Closer” is our favorite tune, based solely on the smooth instrumentals.

“Baby, I Love You” -This track that draws clear inspiration from The Beatles and The Beach Boys. We go back and forth between connections of the two iconic bands in “Baby, I Love You.” Catchy, cute, timeless, and undoubtedly nostalgic.

“Electrify” -Infectious and quite literally electrifying. It’s as if The Beatles and Tame Impala came together right now over this song.

“Feel This Way Forever” -A psychedelic, dreamy track with jazzy undertones. “Feel This Way Forever” has a perfect fade-out on vinyl into the album’s last two tracks.

*Soul Step Records upfronts the cost of vinyl production for new artists. For more information on Soul Step Records and their mission, visit their website or follow them on Instagram below.

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Aquarius Purple

Now Spinning: Marcus Machado Aquarius Purple

We are head over heels for this Purple Ink Spot repress of Marcus Machado’s 2021 debut album, Aquarius Purple, from Soul Step Records*. Described as “guitar-driven rhythm and funk for fans of Raphael Saadiq and Jimi Hendrix,” something kept calling me to spin this album.

Aquarius Purple is a Guitar & B type record with funky instrumental tracks such as “Aq Intro” and “Table Dance.” Marcus Machado’s style, rooted in soul, rhythm, and dream-like instrumentals, sends you into a temporary reverie. Throughout the galactic-sounding journey of the album, music fans may also liken Machado to Thundercat or Black Pumas. “Let’s Play” is a soul-heavy instrumental track contrasted by “Her,” a funky dance-beat bop. Collaborative sounds from Jermaine Holmes, Daru Jones, JSWISS, Ahrel Lumzy, and TFOX make Aquarius Purple an eccentric album with striking layers.

Pick up the Purple Ink Spot variant from Soul Step Records HERE!

Aquarius Purple

// Favorite Tracks //

“Let’s Play”

“Tomorrow Never Knows”

“Her”

“Running”

*Soul Step Records pays the upfront costs of vinyl production for new artists. For more information on Soul Step Records, their mission, store, and contact info, visit their website or follow them on Instagram below.

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