It’s All Them Witches New Vinyl Thursday at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:
1000 Gecs – 1000 Gecs
All Them Witches – Nothing As The Idea (Gatefold LP Jacket, 140 Gram Vinyl)
Alain Johannes – Hum
Ambrose Akinmusire – On The Tender Spot Of Every Calloused Moment [180 Gram Vinyl, Gatefold LP Jacket]
The fifth album by jazz trumpet player Ambrose Akinmusire is a complex victory. Moments of vigorous dissonant improvisation that demand to be met on their own terms are countered with periods of sublime beauty. But a sense of unease floats throughout.
Akinmusire’s previous albums have featured guest singers and rappers. While some vocals appear On the Tender Spot, the powerful quartet is always in the spotlight. The pain and frustration of opening number “Tide of Hyacinth” give way to the more contemplative – but still demanding – “Yessss.”
Later, “Roy” is a slow, moving tribute to the late trumpet player Roy Hargrove, another horn player who, like Akinmusire helped bridge the gap between hip hop, R&B and jazz. The album ends with a callback to the final number on Akinmusire’s first album. On “Rollcall for Those Absent,” Akinmusire had a child read the names of Black men killed by the police. For Tender’s “Hooded Procession (read the names aloud),” Sam Harris plays a Hammond organ in slow clusters of notes that go by like a funeral procession. It is a powerful statement and stirring conclusion to one of the most profound jazz albums released this year. -Joel Francis
Angel Olsen – Whole New Mess
In 2019, Angel Olsen released All Mirrors, a lush album that featured an orchestra working alongside a full band. Arriving less than a year later, Whole New Mess is a companion to All Mirrors. You can hear the St. Louis-born singer/songwriter finding her way through the songs that would blossom on All Mirrors.
Nine of the songs on Whole New Mess also appear on All Mirrors, but they are drastically different here. Recorded alone in a church, the performances are little more than acoustic guitar and voice, with bit of organ in the background. Olsen has nowhere to hide in the stark recordings.
At times, listening to hear sing about heartbreak and crawling back to normalcy in such a naked setting can be uncomfortable, like eavesdropping on a therapy session. Lyrics like “I lost my soul/was just a shell” on “Summer Song” and “I’ve been watching all my past repeating/there is no ending” on “We Are All Mirrors” reverberate harder without anything to hide behind.
If All Mirrors demands a large space to accommodate its widescreen arrangements, Whole New Mess is best appreciated through headphones, where every lyric and nuance can fully reverberate. -Joel Francis
Beastie Boys – Licensed To Ill [30th Anniversary Edition]
Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique [Limited Edition, Clear Vinyl, 180 gram Vinyl]
The Beatles – Let It Be [Remastered 180 gram Vinyl]
The Beatles – Revolver [Remastered 180 gram Vinyl]
Black Sabbath – Master of Reality
Bobby Darin – That’s All
Bobby Darin – You’re The Reason I’m Living
Bully – SUGAREGG
Although Sugaregg is the Bully’s third album, it is essentially the solo debut for frontwoman, guitarist and songwriter Alicia Bognanno. After writing, producing and performing on Bully’s first two albums, Bognanno sacked her bandmates and brought in producer John Congleton, who has worked with Angel Olson, St. Vincent and Explosions in the Sky, to work the boards.
Sugaregg is still drenched in the ‘90s hallmarks that defined the first two Bully albums. Bognanno shreds her vocal cords on the angry opener “Add It On,” channels the Pixies for “Like Fire” and performs “Where to Start” like a tribute to Dirty-era Sonic Youth.
Beneath the grunge-era reverence, Bognanno takes a deep look inward, singing about her diagnosis with bipolar disorder and the daily challenges that come with it. “Hours and Hours,” a song Bognanno wrote about her mother, has the feel of a Breeders track, but Bognanno’s emotional pleading makes it one of the best moments on the album.
Sonically, Sugaregg may not be too different from Bully’s first two albums, but Bognanno’s newfound introspection makes this third release a promising addition to the Bully catalog. -Joel Francis
The Cranberries – Dreams: The Collection
Chvrches – Love is Dead
Chris Stapleton – Traveller
Collective Soul – Hints, Allegations & Things Left Unsaid
Collective Soul – Collective Soul [25th Anniversary Edition]
Cure – Seventeen Seconds
Cyndi Lauper – True Colors [Limited Edition, ‘flaming-orange’ colored, 180 gram vinyl]
Deerhoof – Future Teenage Cave Artist [Red Colored Vinyl]
Def Leppard – High N Dry [Remastered, 180 Gram Vinyl]
Def Leppard – Hysteria [180 gram vinyl]
Def Leppard – The Story So Far: The Best of Def Leppard [180 gram Vinyl]
David Bowie – Labyrinth Original Soundtrack
The Donnas – Spend the Night
Their fifth album in just six years, Spend the Night was the Donna’s major label debut and mainstream breakthrough. The videos for “Who Invited You” and “Take It Off” were all over MTV2 and the all-girl foursome even played Saturday Night Life.
Despite the adage, everything you need to know about Spend the Night is right there on the cover. The wood paneling evokes the 1970s spirit of Kiss and AC/DC that guitarist Allison Robertson channels effortlessly. The innuendo of the title and knowing, come-hither glances from the band (in slumber party attire) sums up the lyrics about partying, good times and boys.
While Spend the Night is by no means a deep or essential album, it is undeniably fun and infectious. The Donnas don’t want to change the world, but the will make it better for the next 40 minutes. For a more recent (and superior) analogue, check out the Bananarama-via-Van Halen homage Bat Fangs. -Joel Francis
Elliot Smith – Elliot Smith 25th Anniversary Expanded Edition [Anniversary Expanded Edition with Book]
Evangeline Gentle – Evangeline Gentle
Fleetwood Mac – Greatest Hits
The Flesh Eaters – I Used To Be Pretty
The Grateful Dead – Skeletons From The Closet: Best of Grateful Dead
Glass Animals – Dreamland [Blue Colored, 180 gram vinyl]
Gorillaz – G-Side
Greta Van Fleet – Anthem Of The Peaceful Army
H.E.R. – H.E.R.
INXS – The Very Best
John Fahey – Blind Joe Death
John Prine -The Tree of Forgiveness
Jessy Lanza – All the Time
As evidence that musicians deal with the COVID-19 fallout as much as the rest of us, synthpop artist Jessy Lanza and her musical partner Jeremy Greenspan were forced to collaborate remotely on All the Time, Lanza’s third album.
The result is a tight album packed with bubbly pop anthems that are perfect for your living room dance party and hopefully – someday – dance clubs. When Lanza coos “I just want you badly” against a minimalist burst of synthesizers on “Badly” it feels like an invitation for a top-down ride in a convertible. The robotic voice and arrangement on “Alexander” give it the feel of an early ‘80s R&B jam. Lanza gets right to the point on “Baby Love.” “I’m giving up my love/giving it all to you,” she sings breathlessly against a synthesizer line that hops around like a ping pong ball.
But All the Time isn’t all froth. “Lick in Heaven” is so catchy it may take several listens to unpack Lanza’s anger when she sings “I’m going to act out instead of act cute.” On “Ice Creamy,” Lanza’s manipulated voice sings about sleeping pills and addiction to pain-killers.
All the Time’s relentlessly upbeat production will keep your feet moving and a smile on your face, but there are enough wrinkles and layers in the music to keep it fresh through repeated plays. All the Time is unquestionably an album for this time. -Joel Francis
Johnny Cash – The Essential Johnny Cash
Journey – Greatest Hits (180 Gram Vinyl)
Kanye West – Ye
Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall II
Dedicated My Morning Jacket fans have been patiently waiting for a follow-up to the Louisville, Kentucky band’s album The Waterfall. After five years, the band dropped The Waterfall II, a collection of outtakes from the original Waterfall sessions.
As with The Waterfall, the sequel finds singer and lyricist Jim James ruminating over the consequences of time and decisions. On “The First Time,” James asks “Can tomorrow feel like it did back in the past?” He sifts through the remnants of a relationship on “Only Memories Remain,” confessing with remorse that “Sometimes life has other ideas/and though we both know how much it meant/now only memories remain.”
Musically, The Waterfall II showcases a mellow side of the group. “Still Thinkin’” has a Western swing feel and the beautiful “Feel You” could almost be an outtake from Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky. A more aggressive song is “Magic Bullet,” an anti-gun number rooted in the same synth-boogie that fueled Sturgill Simpson’s Sound and Fury. “Wasted” sounds like a Southern rock jam from the ‘70s that somehow morphs into progressive rock.
Five years is a long time to wait in the MMJ world. Hopefully now that the band has cleaned out the cupboards, they can start cooking up something new. -Joel Francis
Mac Miller – Circles [Clear Vinyl]
Marcus King – El Dorado [180 gram vinyl]
Mazzy Star – She Hangs Brightly (180 Gram Vinyl, Colored Vinyl)
Morrissey – I Am Not A Dog On A Chain (Clear Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
Paul Kelly and Paul Grabowsky – Please Leave Your Light On
Pink Floyd – Meddle (Gatefold LP Jacket, 180 Gram Vinyl)
Pink Floyd – The Final Cut (180 Gram Vinyl, Gatefold LP Jacket)
Panic at the Disco – Pretty Odd
Portishead – Dummy
Post Malone – Hollywood’s Bleeding [Pink Colored]
Queens of the Stone Age – Rated R (180 Gram Vinyl, Bonus Tracks)
Queen – A Day At The Races (180 Gram Vinyl)
Rage Against the Machine – The Battle of Los Angeles [180 gram vinyl]
Roddy Ricch – Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial
The Raveonettes – Pretty In Black [Limited Edition, Clear Vinyl, 180 gram vinyl]
Radiohead – In Rainbows (180 Gram Vinyl)
The Rolling Stones – Goats Head Soup [180 Gram Vinyl]
The Rolling Stones – Goats Head Soup [Deluxe Edition, 180 Gram Vinyl]
The Rolling Stones – Goats Head Soup [Deluxe Limited Edition 4 LP Box Set, 180 gram vinyl]
Slipknot – Slipknot [Limited Edition]
Team Dresch – Choices, Chances, Changes: Singles
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – The Best Of Everything – The Definitive Career Spanning Hits Collection [180 Gram Vinyl]
Turnpike Troubadours – Diamond & Gasoline
Turnpike Troubadours – Goodbye Normal Street
Van Halen – 1984
Vulfpeck – Vulf Vault 001: Antwaun Stanley [White Vinyl]
Warren Zevon – Life’ll Kill Ya (Anniversary Edition)
Weezer – Weezer (Blue Album)
Weezer – Weezer [Green Album]
XTC – Oranges & Lemons [2LP, 200 gram Vinyl]
Yo La Tengo – Electr-O-Pura [Gatefold LP Jacket]
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Enjoy the music and we will see you soon. Your loving Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven staff:
Sherman, Gordon, Cat, Matt, Dylan, Doyle, Heather and Max
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