It’s Ariana Grande New Vinyl Thursday at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:
2Pac – All Eyez On Me
“68 – Give One Take One
Ariana Grande – Positions (Clear Vinyl)
Ariana Grande -Sweetener
Alice Coltrane – Huntington Ashram Monastery
In the last years of his life, John Coltrane became obsessed with infusing a deep spirituality into his
compositions and playing. His wife Alice Coltrane continued this trend after the legendary saxophone
Naming her second solo album after a monastery is a big clue to Coltrane’s intentions, but the
performances are so vivid that her motive is impossible to miss. Huntington Ashram Monastery opens
with the title song, an almost free-associative piece with Coltrane on harp, Ron Carter on bass and John
Coltrane alumnus Rashied Ali on drums.
Alice Coltrane’s fingers blitz across the harp so violently it almost sounds like a zither at times. With Ali
playing sympathetic rhythms, Carter’s bass becomes the melodic and musical glue holding the
performance and ensemble together. As the counterpoint to Coltrane’s intensity, it almost comes as
relief when Carter is finally afforded a solo on “Via Sivanandagar.”
On side two, Coltrane switches to piano, and while the line-up is more traditional, the music still refuses
to compromise. Huntington Ashram Monastery will not serve as background music and must be taken
on its own terms at all time. While this can make for a challenging listen if you aren’t in the right mindset
or mood, it can be incredibly powerful in the right space and time. -Joel Francis
Aaron Lee Tasjan – Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan!
A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders
Arlo Parks – Collapsed In Sunbeams
Aretha Franklin- Young Gifted and Black
No Women ‘s History Month would be complete without talking about this lady.
On January 24, 1972 Aretha Franklin released her 18th studio album entitled Young, Gifted and Black. The album is Top 10 Gold-certified, and won Franklin a 1972 Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performanceof the year.
The title was inspired by the Nina Simone song “To Be Young, Gifted and Black”, recorded and released by Simone in 1969. Much in the way she did with the Otis Redding song Respect, she made YG&B her own!
Atlantic Records hired some of the best studio musicians of the time for this one including Donny Hathaway, Billy Preston and Dr John. Many say this is the album solidified her crossover from her gospel roots into the contemporary R&B and Pop/ Rock.
Her somber rendition of Long and Winding Road continues a lineage of great soul artists covering Beatles song. – Major Matt
Aretha Franklin – I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (180 Gram Vinyl)
Alice Cooper – Detroit Stories
Allen Ginsberg – At Reed College: The First Recorded Reading Of Howl & Other Poems
Bangles – Doll Revolution
After a decade-and-a-half gap, the Bangles reconvened and released their fourth album. Elvis Costello’s
song may have inspired the title and opening track, but the rest of the album sounds like what we’ve
come to expect from the Bangles, for better and worse.
The L.A. quartet’s paisley underground roots are on full display for the trippy “Stealing Rosemary.” Their
voices still generate magic when woven together, particularly on the upbeat “Ride the Ride.”
While there are many great moments on Doll Revolution, they are diluted by too many mediocre songs.
At one hour and 15 tracks, the album is just too long. Trimming a third of the tracks and cutting the run
time to a tight 40 minutes would have greatly improved the listening experience.
Susannah Hoff’s “I Will Take Care of You” and Michael Steele’s “Song for a Good Son” both sound like a
bad parody of Sheryl Crow. They, along with Vicki Peterson’s ode to middle-age romance “Single by
Choice,” could have easily been excised.
Their debut aside, the Bangles were always more of a singles band than album artists. While it is nice to
have new songs from the gals, Doll Revolution continues this trend. -Joel Francis
The B-52’s – B-52’s
Brian Eno – Ambient 1: Music for Airports [180 gram Vinyl]
Brainticket – Psychonaut (Green, Limited Edition)
Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep , Where Do We Go?
Black Sabbath – Master Of Reality (Deluxe Edition, 180 Gram Vinyl)
Charles Mingus – Pithecanthropus Erectus
Chet Baker – Sings (180 Gram Vinyl)
Childish Gambino – Awaken My Love.
Childish Gambino – Because the Internet
Cibo Matto – Viva La Woman (Limited Edition, 180 Gram Vinyl, Red Colored Vinyl)
The Church – Priest = Aura [Limited 180-Gram White & Black Swirl Colored Vinyl]
Dolly Parton – Jolene (140 Gram Vinyl, Download Insert)
Dee Dee Bridgewater – Afro Blue
Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac Live (Super Deluxe Edition, With CD, Bonus 7″, Boxed Set)
Frank Turner & Jon Snodgrass – Buddies II: Still Buddies
Funkadelic – Free Your Mindand Your Ass Will Follow
George Benson – The Other Side of Abbey Road (180 Gram Vinyl, Limited Edition, Gatefold LP Jacket, Audiophile)
Gorillaz – Humanz
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – G_d’s Pee AT STATE’s END
G_d’s Pee AT STATE’s END is the seventh album by Canadian post-rock band, Godspeed You!
Black Emperor (GY!BE). As on previous albums, the band’s sound is characterized by slow-
building guitars, droning strings, occasional field recordings, and a sound that approaches
metal at times. Like other bands labeled as post-rock, GY!BE is not afraid to take its time
with songs, stretching out over an entire side of a record.
GY!BE makes instrumental music and rarely gives interviews, so its liner notes are
important. The band’s statement for STATE’s END indicates “this record is about all of us
waiting for the end. All current forms of governance are failed. This record is about all of us
waiting for the beginning.” It is music for the end of the world split across only four tracks,
two of them being 20-minute suites.
The first side opens with sounds from a transistor radio and gradually builds as band
members add guitars and drums finally enter at the seven-minute mark. With a steady,
almost march-like beat, the guitars simmer. There’s a mix of dread and release as the side
ends with a mix of gunshots, explosions, church bells, and singing birds. The second side is
a sort of desert rock piece called “GOVERNMENT CAME” in 6/8 that descends into major
scale riffs and glockenspiel accents, strings enter and then crash into a field recording of
church bells that remind the listener there is beauty in sadness.
The 12” LP is accompanied by a 10” with two relatively brief (at least by GY!BE standards)
and tranquil, droning pieces that serve as a bit of a reprieve from the LP’s overall heavy
experience. Tape hiss and compression muddy some of the sounds, further adding to the
dreamy, surreal feeling of these songs.
For old fans, STATE’s END will be yet another heavy and tumultuous listening experience
with memorable (iconic?) packaging from GY!BE. While calling it accessible is probably a
stretch, the album’s majestic passages can certainly be inviting to new listeners. – Jonathon Smith
Helen Merrill – Parole E Musica (With CD)
H.E.R – H.E.R
Harry Styles – Fine Line (Gatefold LP Jacket, Poster, 180 Gram Vinyl)
Julien Baker – Little Oblivions (Yellow Colored Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
Joe Strummer – Assembly
Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer (Digital Download Card)
John Coltrane – Lush Life
Johnny Cash – Unearthed (Boxed Set)
Jon Batiste – Soul (Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture)
Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid Maad City
Khruangbin – Mordechai
Louis Smith – Smithville (180 Gram Vinyl, Gatefold LP Jacket, Limited Edition, Remastered)
Luca Yupanqui- sounds of the Unborn
In 1961 modernist composer Edgard Varèse defined music as “organized sound.”
Luca Yupanqui was not yet born when she recorded her debut album. The appropriately titled: Sounds of the Unborn is the first album created by a person while they were still inside the womb. Amongs many things it has been described as “the expression of life in its cosmic state — pre-mind, pre speculation, pre-influence, and pre-human.”
Sounds of the Unborn was made with biosonic MIDI technology, which translated Luca’s in utero movements into sound. Her parents, Psychic Ills bassist Elizabeth Hart and Lee “Scratch”Perry collaborator Iván Diaz Mathé, designed a ritual, a kind of joint meditation for the three of them, with the MIDI devices hooked to Elizabeth’s stomach, transcribing its vibrations into Iván’s synthesizers.
in 2020, the parents edited and mixed the results of the sessions, respecting the sounds as they were produced. Luca, now an infant, sat in the studio with them while they worked.
For fans of the the conceptual sound art genre, as well as the synth works of Mort Garson or the instrumental works of Brian Eno. – Major Matt
Marvin Gaye – Volume Two 1966-1970 (Boxed Set)
Mr. Bungle – California
Morphine – Cure for Pain [180 gram Vinyl]
Matthew Halsall – Salute To The Sun
Michael Jackson – Thriller
Miles Davis – In A Silent Way (White Vinyl)
Mad Season – Above
It is hard to believe that singer Layne Staley died 19 years ago this week. As the lead singer for Alice in
Chains, Staley was one of the biggest voices to come from Seattle in the ‘90s, powering songs like “Man
in the Box” and “Angry Chair.”
Above is the only album Staley made outside of Alice in Chains. Teaming with Pearl Jam guitarist Mike
McCready and Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin, Mad Season was a Seattle supergroup.
Unsurprisingly, Above shares the characteristics of both Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam, but also reaches
beyond what either band was able to do (such as putting marimba and saxophone on the song “Long
Most of the songs on Above unfurl at an unhurried pace. These are mood pieces more than guitar
showcases. The already melancholy mood takes on a darker shade today with the drug-related deaths of
Staley and bass player John Baker Saunders.
This expanded edition of Above contains a John Lennon cover, a brief instrumental and three songs
McCready and Martin wrote for a possible second Mad Season album, sung by Mark Lanegan. The
Lanegan tracks are especially compelling. Mad Season was never as celebrated as McCready’s other
supergroup Temple of the Dog, but grunge aficionados will find a lot to love in Above. -Joel Francis
Neil Young – Young Shakespeare
Nick Drake – Pink Moon
Otis Rush – Original A-Sides
Otis Rush has been unfairly forgotten behind his fellow Chicago bluesmen Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf
and Buddy Guy. This collection goes a long way toward making the case that at his peak, Rush was just
as influential a guitarist and spectacular a performer.
The dozen songs on Original A-Sides center mostly around the material Rush cut for Cobra Records in
the late 1950s. Opening track “I Can’t Quit You Baby” was covered a little more than a decade later by
Led Zeppelin. Side two opener “Double Trouble” supplied the name for Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band. The
classic “All Your Love (I Miss Loving)” – also on side two – has become a blues standard, covered by John
Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, Aerosmith, the Steve Miller Band and many more.
Rush is joined on these tracks by Willie Dixon, Ike Turner, Little Walter and other Chicago blues titans.
His searing guitar work isn’t as flashy as Guy’s or possess the primitive intensity of Wolf’s work, but
resides in the middle ground between these camps. Listening to tracks like “Three Times a Fool,” you
can hear how Rush influenced Billy Gibbons and Mike Bloomfield.
But Original A-Sides isn’t just a history lesson, it’s an enjoyable – if brief – romp through the blues any
old school music fan will enjoy. -Joel Francis
The Offspring – Conspiracy Of One
Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard of Ozz [Remastered, 180 gram Vinyl]
Pink Floyd – Animals
Pink Floyd – Meddle
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – And Now For The Whatchamacallit
Parker Millsap – Be Here Instead
Queen – A Night At The Opera [180 gram Vinyl]
Rush – Power Windows
Reverend Peyton’s Damn Band – Dance Songs For Hard Times
Rob Zombie – The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy (Red w/ Black & White Splatter)
Swamp Dogg – Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
System of a Down – System Of A Down (140 Gram Vinyl)
Shakey Graves – Roll the Bones X
A decade ago, Shakey Graves was a little-known musician from Texas who decided to put an album on
Bandcamp. That record became the website’s featured album, sold more than 100,000 copies and put
Graves on the map.
Now Graves – born Alejandro Rose-Garcia – is celebrating the tenth anniversary of his Roll the Bones
album by reissuing it on vinyl with a bonus album of 15 outtakes, b-sides and demos from that era.
Roll the Bones remains a fascinating, lo-fi journey through the underbelly of the old, weird America. The
almost amateurish recording quality and mixing makes Graves’ guitar- or banjo-driven folk songs feel
even more personal. In some moments, the sweet vocals and banjo may bring to mind early Sufjan
Stevens. At other times, Graves’ gruff growl resembles Tom Waits. A live version of “City in a Bottle”
performed with horns recalls a boozy waltz down Bourbon Street. These homemade, intimate musical
diary entries are punctuated by odd bits of found sound.
The second disc gets bogged down by too many spoken interludes, but the songs are more than
footnotes. Together they more than double the length of the proper album, giving us more time to roam
around this otherworldly musical terrain. -Joel Francis
Shy Boys – Bell House
Sturgill Simpson – Cuttin’ Grass, Vol. 2
The second installment of Sturgill Simpson’s Cuttin’ Grass series remains the same as the first: to take
some of his old songs and redo them as bluegrass numbers. But just because the idea is familiar doesn’t
mean it isn’t welcome.
The musicians obviously had a blast recording these songs and their joy comes through in the
performances. You can practically hear their smiles in the first, frenetic notes of “Call to Arms” and the
all-band backing vocals on “Sea Stories.”
Simpson called Volume 2 more personal than the first installment and said he was thinking about his
children, grandfather and wife during the making of the album. You can hear that wistful introspection
in the ballads “Oh Sarah” and “Hero.”
Closing track “Hobo Cartoon” is the one of two new songs on Cuttin’ Grass. Merle Haggard sent Simpson
the lyrics during his final hospital stay. The result is something that would have fit on Haggard’s album
The Bluegrass Sessions.
The only person who would complain about a second installment of Cuttin’ Grass would gripe about
receiving gifts on both Christmas Day and his or her birthday. Newcomers and longtime fans alike will
find much to embrace – and cross their fingers for a third volume. -Joel Francis
Tyler, The Creator – Igor [150 gram Vinyl]
Tune Yards – Sketchy
The first time I heard the band Tune Yards back in 2009 with their debut album Bird-Brains I though to myself, this band sounds like the future. I think I was kind of right.
TY’s genre bending mixture of lo-fi/ cut & paste folk with breakbeat drum patterns and various found sounds has clearly been an influence in today’s popular music. The projects real ace in the hole was the sometimes soulful, sometimes playful but always powerful voice and main creative force of Merrill Garbus.
Tune Yards latest album Sketchy (4AD) is a bit more hopeful and dare I say “groovy” or “melodic” than 2018’s: I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life. Of course ideas like groove and melody are relative terms in Tune Yard land. At any moment during a song, Garbus can transport us from a gut wrenching r&b croon to a futuristic a-tonal scat.
Sketchy is a peak for this band IMHO. They appear to have found their sweet spot between eclecticism and pop! – Major Matt
Tash Sultana – Terra Firma
Tash Sultana is an Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Sultana started their career busking in the streets of Melbourne and eventually rose through the ranks of Bandcamp and gained wider attention with their 2016 EP Notion.
Terra Firma is Sultana’s second studio album. The album was released on 19 February 2021, through their own record label, Lonely Lands Records.
A self proclaimed one person band, TF marks their first foray into collaboration. The result appears to have been the freedom to become more introspective.
Tash Sultana’s music kind of washes over you like a warm bath. It’s easy to miss some of the subtleties. This album has really grown on me over time. They hit a sweet spot between early 90’s soul like Erykah Badu with classic Hendrixy psychedelic rock and a dash of reggae dub for good measure. – Major Matt
Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin
Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated at Last
Theon Cross – Fyah (Indie Exclusive)
Tones on Tail – Pop
Train – Drops Of Jupiter (20th Anniversary Edition) (150 Gram Vinyl, Colored Vinyl, Anniversary Edition)
Various Artists – Pulp Fiction (Music From the Motion Picture)
Wilcovered – Wilcovered (Red Colored Vinyl)
Wo Fat – Psychedelonaut
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