Romanus Vinyl End Of The Year Meaningless Awards & More 2023

  1. Favorite Wax Mage

Picking one Waxmage Records is a PAIN. But its this no question, the Skittles variant release of Saw Tooth Grin from the good folks at Wax Vessel. Tech is dialed in perfection! Loved seeing the label fire back up this year. Second favorite has to be the Galaxy variants for the Radderall release. Love seeing new tech coming out still after all these years.


  1. Favorite Third Man Innovation

Probably the biggest megaphone for early custom wax, they still are at it. This year their release of the Guitar Romantic “Exploding Hearts” LP got me in the feels. It looks like a giant label blowout via Waxmage but its as you imagine a exploding heart. This album was in my heavy rotation in my early 20s when I was a tutor at Broad Ripple HighSchool. It spoke deeply to the 23 year old out of college floating through the adult void point in my life. So happy to see it get some custom treatment


  1. Favorite Zoetrope

The Zoetrope KING Drewetz made a piece of anime royalty this year with his Cowboy Bebop Zoetrope sliptmats for the Cowboy Bebop Netflix adaptation. Do I care that its for the Netflix show and not the anime? No, its still forever Tank and will always be my favorite anime. Incredible work, see here :

First ever tie. This bicycle wheel zoetrope design (along with their vinyl designs) via le_maille on Instagram is unreal. The animation is so smooth, so bold. A true 1/1 

Check it:


Honorable Mention: Blood Records Rolling Stone release & the new Gorillaz album. Blood Records lives for the Zoetrope.

  1. Favorite Packagingssszzz of the year :

Top of the mountain #1: Aesop Rock “Integrated Tech Solutions”

As best as my research understands this collab is via Aesop Rock, dopestonelion, & elecor36. Basically this works like what feels like a giant greeting card tech cranked to 11. The outer jacket has to buttons you touch to activae the sound and light show. You have circuit boards, space shuttles, and the logo all lighting up for a next level visual and sound display. Probably my favortite custom piece of the year, so much so I bought one because I’m still a collector of all this cool stuff!

Numba 2. Fall Out Boy “So Much For Stardust” CRYNYL

Hey we got to help with this one! To celebrate Fall Out Boy’s newest LP we infused some of their REAL tears into 50 liquid filled lps. For real, I got sent some of these bad boys, it was a trip. The packaging really put this over the top with the jacket looking like a Kleenex box with a actual tissue you could use to collect your tears. Amazing vision via Braindotwtf & a host of other good folks Film: @davidaltobelli
S/VFX : @mrdiv.gif
Design: @badjeffkardos
Photo: @jessicamillerphoto
Production: @unreasonablestudios

  1. Favorite Video Game Vinyl: Fortnite OG Season Celebration Vinyl/Vid


These limited box sets went out to some of the most well-known content creators around Fortnite to celebrate the return of the Season 1 OG event. It includes a 7 inch, pendants and more but also included a famous clip video of each content creator and one their greatest moments. The attention to detail for this kind of stuff is next level. There are TONS of other amazing VGM releases this year, most are bootlegs, and I’m told to deny their existence forever. But many are amazing and out there. Mario RPG cough.


  1. Favorite Label of the Year – Levitation Records

They have every piece of pscyh we love basically on the planet. The sessions via Ty Segall, Oh Sees, Slift, etc. Plus their new sub label Reverb Appreciation Society are all just top shelf. The screen print art, the vinyl, its all beautiful, thought out and curated to the MAX. Cant get enough.


  1. Favorite Local To Us (Indianapolis) release of 2023 : (Non Romanus) SATURDAYS AT YOUR PLACE / SUMMERBRUISE / SHOPLIFTER SPLIT

Ok, so this isn’t ONLY Indianapolis, but it does feature emo boys Summerbruise with some of their most fully formed, polished, and well produced tunes ever. Key track, “Dead Daddog 20/20.” Seriously, the song is real, the chorus hook takes me to that special Diarrhea Planet party place. A all-time Sharon jam.


Jam here:

  1. Favorite Romanus Fest Act – Moon Goons


Proto prog psych. Something like that. The music is a real sandworm and its been awesome to watch this bands growth on a bunch of fronts. Their live production at Romanus fest was such a welcome sight. Excited to see what’s next. This years Romanus fest was even more streamlined and friend shipped to the max. Thankful for this fest in a ton of ways.


  1. Favorite Liquid Filled Record

Cant do anything about it. But the now 2x (said in Booker T voice) for our favorite liquid filled goes to Matt Ortt over at Plastikat Deviations. Known matt for a LONG time in the ol liquid experimental world. His year of October “Golden Days” liquid LP is a next level piece of beauty. Truly mind numbing.


Honorable Mention: Newcosmos Zuli Jr. Quad liquid color release. It’s a beaut


  1. Favorite Romanus Records Release: Pat & The Pissers America’s Dream/SOIL

No slight to any other fantastic Indy band, but PAT might have the most juice going locally right now. This release has all of the perfect blends of punk, hardcore, garage, and socio takes. Their live shows are truly unhinged push pit towers of power. The Maggot Filled LP was also our favorite Romanus Label piece. They are cooking up something magical over there. Happy to be a part. Their new EP “Growth” is also INCREDIBLE.


Second place #1 in our hearts. Calva Louise “Over The Threshold” Mixtape


MAN, we love some heavy tunes around here. Having had the chance to really lean into it and this metal, prog, industrial mix from these multi cultural giants hits all the right notes. They already had a sold out release via Blood Records and we are honored to get to put out at US release. They also just signed to Mascot Records!? At any rate, jam here:

Buy here:


  1. Favorite Romanus Custom VINYL MFG Piece

This is a tough choice. We were lucky enough to work on some really great releases this year. But choices must be made. The Fall Out Boy “Tear Filled” vinyl has to take the cake. Big moment for us here. However, top tier honorable mentions go to making a Blood Filled LP for Motley Crue “Shout at The Devil” and maxing a glow in the dark sand filled for Punk legends MXPX and their new lp. So many other candidates, truly a blessed year.


  1. Biggest Romanus Vinyl Innovation

Its gotta be what’s behind the “Maggot Vinyl” from Pat & The Pissers. We have something far more next level behind all this and cant wait to release it out into the world. We don’t want to become the “bug people.”

  1. Other things we liked

Getting a spot in the Creative Entrepreneurship Program through Pattern Magazine & The Stutz building has been MASSIVE. We got a free secondary workspace that allowed us to kind of pilot expanding without paying. Needless to say, we will have a full-time secondary space at some point in 2024, probably March from the looks of it. Romanus Fest 5 was a delight, loved the art via Stank Draws, tv appearances were fun, our short doc shot by Jake Huber & his team won a EMMY. Hard to wrap my mind around that, won a Making Vinyl Award. Idk, just felt the love big time this year.  


Other things. King Gizzard Petro album, falling head over basketball shoes for Japanese City pop, especially Masayoshi Takanaka, run on sentences, White Zombie, seeing North by North never stop touring, seeing VOLK NEVER stop touring, Tyrese Haliburton ascent, Knocked Loose, discovering Cybergrind via SoulKeeper, putting out another Dan Cummins LP, giving a poor mans TED talk at Kan Kan Cinema, anything Richard Houghton is working on, working with old pals Astral Hand, releasing another Joshua Powell LP, run on sentences, and so much more. I’m missing so many other important things, yell at me in the comments about what I should be into and watching.


  1. The Richard Houghton Cosmic Cutter Award

Richard has really stepped into an amazing spot in the custom vinyl world with his holographic cuttings and etchings. We used him earlier this year, saw a glory or death release, and I know more is cooking in the background along with his own amazing tunes. Super good guy to boot, check out some of his work below.

  1. Favorite Wax Mage

Picking one Waxmage Records custom is difficult. Heath runs an entire school I just made up called the “Waxmage School For the Vinyl Blessed” where Heath teaches, perfects, and allows innovation in the school. All that to say, Heath is probably/maybe/most likely the most innovative press operator in the world? I’ll say yes, and with that check out this piece which I believe is from 2022 based on research. My favorite piece has to go to the Pizza variant of this made for Wax Vessel & the band Saw Tooth Mega Grin.

Honorable mention: any triple X variant

  1. Favorite Third Man Innovation

Again, they kind of get their own category. In many ways they help set the bar early with a lot of this wacky vinyl innovation and what not. The Sleep “Dopesmoker” weed filled piece is no different. All time iconic album, iconic wax, iconic company. It’s got it all, also if you have one you want to sell or trade me please bark in my direction.

  1. Favorite Zoetrope

There have been many converts to the Zoetrope life, no one in modern times seems to have perfected the art more than Drewtetz (see here)  With that in mind what was our favorite we saw for the year? Probably this bowie piece, I love David Bowie and I’m helpless

Honorable Mention: Blood Records Muse Zoetrope, they do a ton of them, they all rule.

  1. Favorite Packagingssszzz of the year :

One leads to another, but one pick was too little.  This first pick is a late to the end of the year release but this Black Honey “A Fistful Of Peaches” dart board sleeve and dart board picture disc is TOO SLICK. The thought and layout here is amazing, via again the amazing Blood Records. See here:

Numba 2. Flint Glass – Azathoth via Sealt

The man behind Sealt honestly has some of the best packaging with every release. His wood cutting skills are unreal and they are used to make some of the most creative and beautiful packages in the world. Huge fans here in Romanus land

  1. Favorite Video Game Vinyl:

Oh man, see the thing is a lot of the coolest video game wax and packaging you will see out there are bootlegs. Made lovingly by collectors and archivist. It’s a very if you know you know world, its hard to explain, hard to quantify. But, there are also some amazing non off the vinyl grid release as well! All that to say our favorite has to go to Tekken 7 via laced audio. Love the artwork, layout, & more. We play a lot of Tekken here at Romanus. Save us.


  1. Favorite Local To Us (Indianapolis) release of 2022 : Cairo Jag – NEW WINDS

Man, this band just hits all the right notes. It feels like a new age psychier version of MC5. If they dropped MC5 in the 2020’s we think they might sound something like this. That’s a massive compliment.

  1. Favorite Romanus Fest Act – Pat & The Pissers

This was one of those sets we had heard about, the buzz around Indy for a local band was real, real in a way it hasn’t felt in a minute for a noisy band. It delivered easily our favorite set of Romanus Fest 2022. It was the unhinged socio-political jammer of our dreams. More on that band in 2022! Check out their newest LP soil & slightly older EP America’s Dream

  1. Favorite Liquid Filled Record

We aren’t the only people doing these things around here. One name in our view is above the rest. Good friend Matt Ortt (Th3 Barncat) & his custom manufacturing Plastikatdeviations. This whole liquid filled space is still pretty unknown in the sense of what will happen to some of these things in 10-20 years. Matt made some huge innovative leaps in 2021 and they bled in 2022 seamlessly. I don’t even know what this is and I want it.

  1. Favorite Romanus Records Release: Lung – Let It Be Gone

We have been huge fans, friends, and more of LUNG for a minute. It meant a ton to us to get to partner with such hard working legends this year and put out their new LP. They went on a MASSIVE tour run with Mac Sabbath to end the year out. The album is so good, distorted cello and drums for your entire family

Listen Here:

  1. Favorite Romanus Custom VINYL MFG Piece

This side of our biz EXPLODED this year. So what was our favorite piece we made this year? Gotta go with the Snowglobe Filled “Scrooged” Soundtrack from the iconic Danny Elfman. Enjoy The Ride Records has got their finger on the pulse of something. Whatever it is we like it, and we are glad they point it our way from time to time.

  1. Biggest Romanus Vinyl Innovation

No doubt it was the Brother O Brother “Skin Walker” Guitar Pedal LP. We made this in conjunction with our friends here at A.D.D. Pedals. This was a idea that we assumed we could do after some manufacturing innovations in the early part of 2022. But around August it was go time, we buckled down for a few weeks, worked out the kinks and presto. I shot a video with local videographer Fred Miller in Indy on Monday, on Tuesday Classic Rock Magazine debuted the news, and then all DIY internet hell broke loose. The pedal record was covered by NME, Guitar World, ultimate guitar, Loudwire, aggregated by Apple & More. Felt good to get a big DIY innovation win.

  1. Other things we liked

Jeff The Brotherhood & Diarrhea Planet Playing 4 sold out nights to close out the current iteration of the historic Exit Inn in Nashville. Driving 33 hours in 3 days to deliver Slime Language to Boston, patient customers, inspiring labels, Pacers defying expectations, William Paine being a all time pal and custom DEV friend in the background, whatever Wax Vessel is planning from a beauty standpoint, becoming a Slipknot fan, VOLK continuing to ascend, King GIzzard & The Lizard Wizard changing vinyl forever with the Gizzverse, hosting a once a month radio show, Joshua Powell & Adam Shuntich keeping this Romanus thing sane, WFYI, Dave Linqduist, flattering project requests that didnt work out from people I love (happy to just be asked), costochondritis reddit, Jake Huber, run on sentences, family, touring. Love you all. Onto 2023