It’s Amy Winehouse New Vinyl Thursday at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:
Adele- 25 (180 Gram Vinyl)
Ali Hasaan Ibn- Metaphysics: The Lost Atlantic Album
Altin Gun- Gece (Summer Sky Wave LP)
Ambrose Slade- Ballzy
Amy Winehouse- At the BBC
Andrew Hill- Passing Ships
Arrested Development-3 Years 5 Months & 2 Days
Beach Boys- Pet Sounds [Stereo]
Beyoncé- Lemonade (180 Gram Vinyl, Gatefold LP Jacket, Yellow Vinyl)
Bill Evans- Sunday at Village Vanguard
Blink 182- Neighborhoods
Bob Mould- Distortion: 2008-2019 [Signed 140-Gram Clear Splatter Vinyl] (Boxed Set)
Brown Sugar – Brown Sugar Featuring Clydie King
Soul singer Clydie King had a prolific and impressive decade in the 1970s, recording backing vocals on iconic songs such as “Tumbling Dice,” “Sweet Home Alabama” and “You’re No Good.”
Despite these songs and other recording sessions with Elton John, B.B. King, Steely Dan, Humble Pie and many other luminaries, King also managed to release three solo albums. Her second album, 1973’s Brown Sugar featuring Clydie King has been reissued for the first time since its original release.
Although it was recorded in Los Angeles, much of Brown Sugar has a swampy feel that makes it feel like it came from Muscle Shoals, Ala. An electric piano drives several songs, including “If You Like My Music,” “Real Love” and a version of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Dance to the Music” that is nearly unrecognizable.
Other songs on Brown Sugar are decidedly less Southern. Album opener “Didn’t I” feels like a muscular Diana Ross track. “Loneliness” leans into what would become disco in just a few years. The album ends with “Weep For Me,” a strong, socially conscious gospel song.
King made another solo album, but Brown Sugar is the jewel in her crown and a lost soul classic that is finally getting a little more of the spotlight it richly deserves.- Joel Francis
Candy Dulfer- Essential [180-Gram Black Vinyl]
Can- Future Days
Future Days is a great entry point for music lovers who find it difficult to know where to start with Can’s discography. Future Days was released in 1973 and feels slightly more sonically focused than the albums that preceded it. With close-mic’d drums and synthesizer pads, it feels almost accessible.
But keep in mind, this “focused” and “accessible” in the Can manner. Future Days is still the work of a first-class jam band with an engineer who could splice tapes like no other. Paying little attention to song structures had become the band’s forte by this point, and three of the album’s four songs meander through long passages of ambient, progressive, and funk. The songs feel as indebted to “Saucerful of Secrets” at times as they do to “America Eats Its Young.”
The clarity of the recording accentuates the subtlety in the juxtaposition of sounds: the bubbling organ spurts in “Spray “ over repeated blues riff over a rolling beat and the childlike percussion breakdown and kitschy vocals over repetitive riffs in “Moonshake.” (And at almost three minutes, “Moonshake” is one of the more accessible songs in Can’s catalog.) The closing track, “Bel Air,” begins with a dreamy delayed guitar and synthesizer pad, not unlike something Brian Eno would try five years later. The beat intensifies then calms down throughout the twenty-minute track as disparate motifs fade in and out of the mix.
As the vocalist, Damo Suzuki was a draw for many fans of Can, but he is much less prominent in the mix on Future Days. It would prove to be his final album with the band, but it doesn’t feel like a proverbial swan song. Suzuki’s vocals are treated more like an instrument that just kind of goes along with the flow of the music (instead of being the centerpiece).
Along with the cleaner production and Suzuki’s downplayed presence, Future Days has not typically been a fan favorite. Then again, how could anything compare to what the band had accomplished on albums like Tago Mago or Ege Bamyasi? With the band showing a bit of restraint and precision on Future Days, it can be an excellent starting place for fans new to the group.- Jonathon Smith
Carla Thomas- Carla
Celeste- Not Your Muse
Curtis Mayfield- Roots (Colored Vinyl, Orange)
David Bowie & Trevor Jones- Labyrinth (From the Original Soundtrack)
David Bowie- Hunky Dory (180 Gram Vinyl)
Davis Arnold- Casino Royale (Original Soundtrack) (180 Gram Vinyl)
Dexter Gordon- One Flight Up
Dinosaur Jr – Sweep It Into Space
Certain bands get a lot of grief for releasing variations of the same album over and over, but there’s something to be said about a group that knows its limitations and can reliably deliver music that satisfies its audience.
The reunited original lineup of Dinosaur Jr. has long outlasted the trio’s initial incarnation. Sweep It Into Space is the influential underground band’s first album in five years and fifth overall since reconvening in 2005. (The three albums they released in the 1980s remain the bedrock of their legacy.)
If you’ve heard any of the previous Dinosaur Jr. albums, you know what to expect: layers of frontman J. Mascis’ guitars and his laid-back tenor supported by Murph’s bedrock drumming and Lou Barlow’s bass. Sweep It Into Space also offers a couple new wrinkles. Co-producer Kurt Vile adds a jangly guitar to “I Ran Away” and a little classic rock muscle on “I Met the Stones” and “N Say.”
The biggest surprise is “Take It Back,” a bubbly song with an effervescent piano line that fizzes throughout the performance. Maybe these dinosaurs can learn some new tricks after all.- Joel Francis
Weekly Review #2:
In meditation there is a concept that is occasionally used called being at the “edge of your practice.” It means something like finding that balance between knowing the places where you could be better while at the same time maintaining a happy awareness of the things you already do well.
Dinosaur Jr.’s 12th studio album, Sweep It Into Space, sounds like an indie rock band on the edge their practice. It’s a bit of a cliche, but this one feels both fresh and familiar.
The album was originally set to be released in the summer of 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To me J Mascis always sounds best when he’s showing his vulnerability and he does it out of the gate with the opening track “I Ain’t.” Where he confesses repeatedly, “I ain’t good alone.”
When bass player Lou Barlow reunited with the band in 2005 I was pleased. Early DJ albums were always my favorites and I’m a longtime fan of Sebadoh, Barlow’s band with indie stalwart Jason Loewenstein (The Fiery Furnaces) The two tracks that Barlow contributes to the album, especially the heart wrenching track Garden, rival the best of anything you could pull from his vast solo works.
This is a fantastic return for a band that helped to define indie rock for a generation. Best one since Bug IMHO! -Major Matt
Dropkick Murphys- Turn Up That Dial (Coke Bottle Green) [INDIE EX]
Echo & the Bunnymen- Stars The Oceans & The Moon
Erykah Badu- But You Caint Use My Phone
Esther Rose- How Many Times (Opaque White Vinyl)
First Aid Kit- Big Black And The Blue (Limited Edition, Blue Vinyl)
First Aid Kit- The Drunken Trees (Limited Edition, Yellow Vinyl, Digital Download Card)
Fleetwood Mac- Rumours
Foo Fighters- Foo Fighters
GoGo Penguin- GGP/ RMX
Greta Van Fleet- Anthem Of The Peaceful Army
Greta Van Fleet- The Battle At Garden’s Gate
Guided by Voices- Earth Man Blues
Harry Styles- Fine Line (Gatefold LP Jacket, Poster, 180 Gram Vinyl)
Imagine Dragons- Night Visions
Jason Isbell- Live from Alabama
Jason Isbell- The Nashville Sound
Joe Strummer- Assembly (INDIE EX) [Red Vinyl]
John Prine- September 78
Kendrick Lamar- Untitled Unmastered.
Kenny Burrell- Night At The Vanguard (180 Gram Vinyl, Gatefold LP Jacket)
Kohsuke Mine- First
Leon Bridges- Coming Home (180 Gram Vinyl)
Liam Bailey- Ekundayo (Translucent Red Vinyl)
Machine Gun Kelly- Tickets to My Downfall
Madlib & Freddie Gibbs- Pinata
Maggie Rogers- Notes From The Archive: Recordings 2011-2016 (Colored Vinyl)
Maroon 5 – Songs About Jane (180 Gram Vinyl)
Michael Jackson- Bad (Gatefold LP Jacket)
Mick Fleetwood- Celebrate The Music Of Peter Green And The Early Years of Fleetwood Mac
Misfits- Misfits Collection
My Chemical Romance- Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge
N.W.A- Straight Outta Compton
Nas- Distant Relatives
Neil Young- Zuma
Norah Jones – Til We Meet Again (Live)
Despite her pop leanings and mainstream appeal, Norah Jones never wants you to forget that she records for Blue Note, the same label that reliably delivered stacks of classic jazz albums in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s.
‘Til We Meet Again, Jones’ first live album, opens with a closely mic’ed upright bass that sounds like it is coming from a basement jazz club, not a concert hall. The trio of piano, drums and bass (with a little B3 organ sneaking in at the end) deliver one of the collection’s best performances on Hank Williams’ “Cold Cold Heart.”
From there, the album scatters across Jones’ catalog for a dozen tracks. The best numbers are the ones where Jones and her considerable band – including Brian Blade on drums – massage the songs, drawing new meaning and depth missing from the studio versions.
The set builds toward a predictable “Don’t Know Why,” but then goes one step further, concluding with “Black Hole Sun” performed just a week after Chris Cornell’s death at the same venue where Soundgarden played their last song.
Although the performances were compiled from shows spanning several years and continents, the album feels like a unified statement. Til We Meet Again will not only please Jones’ fans, but may appeal to some who find her studio work too staid.- Joel Francis
NOFX – Single Album
So-Cal punk mainstays NOFX are now in their fourth decade and have just released their 14th album. Frontman Fat Mike, now 54, sings in same snotty whine he did in the ‘90s. Father Time may not have yet caught the band’s sound, but it has captured part of the subject matter.
Single Album – so named because it was going to be a double album until COVID disrupted everything – opens with “The Big Drag,” an impressive number that ponders mortality and the environment until closing a profound proverb. Elsewhere, “Grieve Soto” is a tribute to fellow punk rocker Steve Soto. “Birmingham” documents Mike’s struggles with addiction and self-tribute “Your Last Resort” opens quietly, with a gentle piano accompaniment. “My Bro Cancervive Cancer” is an homage to a dying fan whose last wish was to have a song dedication. The band even gives their early hit “Linoleum” a kiss off with the parody track “Linewleum.”
The band’s legendary political leanings are on full display on “Fish in a Gun Barrel,” a reggae-tinged number about gun violence (complete with sax solo). “F-k Euphemism” tackles labels and political correctness in the LGBTQ community.
Although Single Album is darker than expected from NOFX, it will resonate with all the long-time punk fans growing older alongside the band, while playing to the band’s strengths enough to be a lot of fun in the process.- Joel Francis
Nude Model- Love Games (200 Gram Vinyl)
Phish- The White Tape (White Vinyl, 180 Gram Vinyl, Remastered, Silent Movie)
Pink Floyd- Live At Knebworth 1990 (180 Gram Vinyl, 45 RPM, Gatefold LP Jacket)
Pink Floyd had already concluded a two-year tour when the invitation came to play at the Knebworth Festival in London. On June 30, 1990, Floyd capped an incredible day of music that also included performances by Eric Clapton, Genesis, Dire Straits, Elton John, Paul McCartney and Robert Plant (with guest Jimmy Page).
Floyd’s complete seven-song set was part of last year’s Later Years box set, but it now receives a stand-alone release. Despite the gig’s historic status as part of that legendary day of music, the release is puzzling. This era was already documented on the Delicate Sound of Thunder set and the arrangements at Knebworth don’t offer many surprises.
What makes Knebworth compelling is Clare Torry’s singing on “The Great Gig in the Sky.” Torry is the one who performed the iconic vocal track for The Dark Side of the Moon album. Knebworth was her first time singing with Floyd since 1973. Candy Dulfer’s saxophone sparkles on “Money.” Composer and arranger Michael Kamen plays keyboards but doesn’t stand out in the mix.
It’s difficult to think of Knebworth as anything other than Thunder’s little brother. All of the songs on Knebworth also appear on Thunder. At roughly half the length, Knebworth plays like Thunder’s cliff notes. Only die-hard Floyd fans need both. -Joel Francis
PJ Harvey – Uh Huh Her
Four years after releasing the most accessible album in her catalog to date, PJ Harvey returned with a raw, stripped-down, guitar-based set.
While Uh Huh Her reads like something akin to Harvey’s first two albums, the final result is a distinct effort that lacks a central theme, yet works best as a whole piece. Harvey produced the album herself and performs all the music, sans drums.
The album opens with the dry stomp of “The Life and Death of Mr. Badmouth.” The angry song circles around lyrics like “your lips taste of poison/you’ll be the unhappy one” without bursting into a noisy rage, making it even more menacing. The fury is unleashed a few songs later on the raw “Who the F-k?” which sounds like it could have come from Rid of Me. “You Come Through” is a spooky, marimba-driven love song.
Along the way, Harvey slips three, minute-long palette cleansers, including a track of seagull sounds before the final song. By the time the acoustic “The Darker Days of Me and Him”
Harvey has never made the same album twice, but Uh Huh Her holds a unique position in her considerable catalog. It is not a holding pattern or transitional album, yet not quite a step forward, either.- Joel Francis
Prep – Prep (Translucent Pink Vinyl)
Pinhead Gunpowder – Jump Salty
Queen- A Day At The Races (180 Gram Vinyl)
Queen- A Night At The Opera (180 Gram Vinyl)
Queen- Queen Greatest Hits II
Rage Against the Machine- The Battle Of Los Angeles (180 Gram Vinyl)
Roots- Things Fall Apart
Royal Blood- Typhoons (Boxed Set)
Rush- Permanent Waves
Sade – This Far (Boxed Set, 180 Gram Vinyl, Remastered)
Selena- Ones (Picture Disc Vinyl LP, Limited Edition, Reissue)
Sook-Yin Lee- Jooj Two
The Avalanches- Since I Left You (Gatefold LP Jacket)
The Beatles- Abbey Road Anniversary (1LP)
The Black Angels – Live at Levitation
The Austin-based psychedelic rockers reached into the archives for a powerful live set that captures the band at the cusp of their ascent. Live at Levitation was recorded at the Austin Psych Fest from 2010 to 2012. The six-song, 30-minute collection draw’s primarily from the Black Angels’ debut, Passover.
“Manipulations” starts the party, contrasting a sitar with sludgy, droning rock guitars. It doesn’t take long for the trip to start getting deep. The party continues on “Better Off Alone” and a twangy, delayed guitar line that recalls Duane Eddy. While other instruments occasionally jump to the fore in the mix, the Black Angels experience is a cumulative one, where most of the sounds emanating from the stage act as one monolithic – and captivating – organism.
“Surf City” is decidedly not a Jan and Dean cover, while portions of “Empire” brought to mind “The End” from The Doors debut. An extremely fuzzed-out “Young Man Dead” wraps up the collection. There’s not a bum moment to be found.
Live at Levitation’s biggest shortcoming is its brevity. Each time Live at Levitation reached its conclusion, I was never ready for the album to end. Hopefully a second volume in the works.- Joel Francis
The Black Crowes- The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion
The Lillingtons- Can Anybody Hear Me (A Tribute To Enemy You)
The Offspring- Smash
The Smiths- Hatful Of Hollow (180-gram)
The Weeknd- After Hours
The Weeknd- Beauty Behind the Madness
The Weeknd- House of Balloons
Thee Oh Sees- Mutilator Defeated at Last
Thee Oh Sees- Orc
Three 6 Mafia- End (Orange Vinyl, Remastered)
Tom Petty- Greatest Hits
Trees- On the Shore (Red Vinyl, Re-issue)
Tyler, The Creator- Flower Boy (Gatefold LP Jacket, 150 Gram Vinyl)
Tyler, The Creator- Igor (Gatefold LP Jacket, 150 Gram Vinyl)
Van Morrison- Latest Record Project Volume 1
Various Artists- Soul Slabs Vol. 2 / Various (Indie Exclusive)
Weezer- Van Weezer (Indie Exclusive)
The Who – Sell Out
In 1967 The Who released their third studio album as a collection of unrelated songs strung together with fake commercials and PSA’s, a strange concept album made even more ironic by the fact that they were getting paid for recording music for real commercials around the same time period.
Many speculated it was their way of saying good by to the British Mod culture the band had sprung from.
This skit driven concept was meant to emulate Pirate Radio which was very popular in the UK at the time. The formula was borrowed by countless bands, including a number Hip-Hop acts of the 1990’s.
Like most Who albums, the writing duties were predominantly credited to guitarist Pete Townshend with significant input by bassist John Entwistle who wrote the tracks Silas Stingy & Someone’s coming.
The response to the record was immediately positive and would seal the bands fate as one of the most popular rock bands in the world at the time. The album’s only single, I Can See For Miles, remains the biggest hit single in the US for The Who, their only one to reach the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, at number 9 on 25 November – 2 December 1967.
This is my favorite Who album and the reissue really sounds great! The 2 LP Stereo Deluxe remastered edition, has 12 bonus tracks, rare photos and a free psychedelic poster. – Major Matt
White Lion- Best of White Lion
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