Personally I get a bit weirded out when I play music on VLC; not that there's anything wrong with it, but it's just so dull. Music is beautiful, so why shouldn't it be played by something equally beautiful? Which is why I think I've finally found my solution, using the Xbox Music app that comes with Xbox Smartglasses.
The interface like almost all Windows 8 designed apps is beautiful and simple to navigate, the app itself combines your own library with the music store in on tab. Meaning on the left side of the screen you have your library/playlists, while scrolling to the right will show you recommended/top selling music in the Xbox music store.
Viewing any song that's now playing will bring up the screen seen above; with random generated pictures of the artist shuffling in the background (or the sidebar if you pinned it to the side of the screen). scrolling to the right will give you additional info about the artist including a full bio page, latest albums, and additional albums with direct links to purchase them from the Xbox music store... pretty neat.
Of course you also have the option to play a "Smart DJ Mix" which compiles a playlist from artists similar to the one you're listening to (or more tracks from the same artist), which is usually pretty accurate at detecting what mood of music you feel like listening too (plus it's free!).
Above is a "Smart DJ Mix" generated from listening to a "train song" as you can see it started off with Drops of Jupiter then jumped to some other related music... pretty neat.
But by far the coolest feature that makes this is a must have app is the integration into Windows 8; lowering the volume on your PC (through the keyboard hot keys) will bring up the box seen in the upper left corner in the screenshot above. Finally an app for windows 8 that brings media integration into the volume controls, it shows the track currently being played + Album art as well as Skip/Pause/Previous track options. Plus the obvious fact that since this is a Windows 8 optimized app you can pin it to one side of the screen and your desktop will resize to accommodate it on the left or right side of the screen; giving you a standalone media player that is as un-intrusive as possible.