Panda Riot's "Amanda in the Clouds" flexi disc

The welcome resurgence of vinyl and cassettes hasn’t been without its side effects: hideously overpriced LPs engineered to provoke collectors’ lust, record flippers trying to make a fortune on Discogs and eBay, and of course dumb trend pieces. It’s easy to suspect that a label dabbling in such formats is merely trying to cash in on a fad, but you can still find newcomers eager to work with outmoded media just for the fun of it. Take Chicago label Notes & Bolts, which started putting out music last year; it not only works with quality local acts (Disappears, Magas, Plastic Crimewave Sound) but has also created some pretty absurd releases. There’s a monthly lathe-cut seven-inch series, a collection of ambient songs available on floppy disk, a White Mystery flexi that comes with an eight-page coloring book, and a Panda Riot flexi called “Amanda in the Clouds” packaged in a gauzy “cloud sleeve.” Label founder Kriss Stress makes meticulously detailed artwork even for the “regular” seven-inches, so everything looks special.