It’s Beyoncé New Vinyl Thursday at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:
Amorphous Androgynous – We Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal
A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders
Arctic Monkeys – Live at Royal Albert Hall
English indie rockers the Arctic Monkeys made a big splash with their 2006 album Whatever People Say I
Am, That’s What I’m Not. In the nearly 15 years since that debut, they’ve also developed into a powerful
At 20 songs and nearly 90 minutes, Live at the Royal Albert Hall also functions as a best-of collection.
The setlist favors the band’s two most recent albums, but draws on the Monkeys’ entire catalog. Many
of the quartet’s big hits also serve as some of the set’s high points: “I Bet You Look Good on the
Dancefloor,” “Brainstorm” and “Do I Wanna Know?”
Sweetening the deal, all proceeds from the sale of Live at Royal Albert Hall will benefit War Child UK, a
charity that works with children who have experienced the horror and trauma of war.
In a year with disturbingly few chances to experience live music, Live at Royal Albert Hall is a stirring
reminder of those halcyon days and provides a spark of hope that they will return again. -Joel Francis
Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Marcos Valle – Marcos Valle
Alice In Chains – Facelift
It’s been 30 years since Alice In Chains released Facelift, their first studio album. If you like grunge music, this album holds a significant place in history. Not only was it the first grunge album to reach the top 50 in America on the Billboard 200, but also the first to be certified gold by the RIAA. Give this album a listen and it’s easy to see why. The distinctive sound of Jerry Cantrell’s 1/2 step tuned down guitar + him harmonizing with Layne Staley is a master combination.
The album kicks off with one of the best one-two punches in all of rock. We Die Young is an all-out assault of an introduction to Alice in Chains. Cantrell wrote the song after observing 9 and 10-year-old kids selling drugs. The overall sense he got from watching them was that they will likely die young, much like the song, which ends promptly at 2:33 seconds. When I first heard it, I thought my speakers cut out. The song just stops, it’s silent, and then two snare drum hits ring out, driving right into one of the band’s biggest songs, Man in the Box. I’ve probably listened to it a hundred times and it still excites me.
Songs like Sea of Sorrow and Bleed The Freak both got radio play, but songs like Love, Hate, Love, and Sunshine stand tall on their own. Not all albums are worth owning, but to me, and over 2 million other Alice In Chains fans, this is certainly one of them. -Brad Simmons
Alice in Chains – MTV Unplugged [180 gram Vinyl]
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Beyoncé – Homecoming: The Live Album (140 Gram Vinyl, With Booklet)
Queen Bey made quite the splash with her 2018 performances at Coachella. Her excellent 2019
documentary of the show is essential viewing. Now we have the audio document.
Clocking in at just under two hours and eight sides of wax, Homecoming: The Live Album doesn’t quite
pack the same punch without the visuals, but is still an exhilarating listen. The 40-song setlist
encompasses all of Beyonce’s nearly 25-year career, including a reunion with Destiny’s Child, a duet with
her husband, Jay-Z, album cuts from her latest album, Lemonade and hits, hits, hits.
Those hits may sound a little different than the radio version. Beyonce performs “Who Run the World
(Girls)” with a marching band. “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” contains a lot of call-and-response with
the massive crowd. Other songs are little more than an intro, verse and chorus before moving on to the
next big moment. It all works very well in context, but could frustrate those who just experience a song
on its own. Running throughout the concert is a strong pro-Black, feminist celebration.
Surprisingly, not many of Beyonce’s albums have been released on vinyl. As an encapsulation of an
extraordinary career, that alone makes Homecoming: The Live Album a worthwhile addition to the
music library. -Joel Francis
Belle and Sebastian – What To Look For In Summer
Benmont Tench – You Should Be So Lucky
Best from the West – Modern Sounds from California [10-inch Vinyl]
Beabadoobee – Fake It Flowers (Red Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
Billie Eilish – Don’t Smile At Me
Blue Mitchell – The Thing To Do
Blue Oyster Cult – The Symbol Remains
The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds [180 gram Vinyl, Mono Sound]
Charles Lloyd – Passin’ Thru
Charles Lloyd – Wild man Dance
The Cranberries – Dreams: The Collection
Chris Stapleton – Starting Over
Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith & Devotion
Doja Cat – Hot Pink [150 gram Vinyl, Pink Colored]
Drive-By-Truckers – The Dirty South [Limited Edition, 180 gram Vinyl, Gatefold LP jacket]
Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong (180 Gram Vinyl)
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
The Flaming Lips – King’s Mouth
Greta Van Fleet – From The Fires
Guided by Voices – Mirrored Aztecs
The Grateful Dead – Aoxomoxoa(140 Gram Vinyl)
Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruins (180 Gram Vinyl, Gatefold LP Jacket)
Herbie Hancock – The Herbie Hancock Trio
Buckle up, this one has a bit of a backstory. In the late ‘70s, Herbie Hancock was working two paths
simultaneously. In addition to experimenting with synthesizers and electronic instruments, he was
recording acoustically with his bandmates in the Miles Davis quintet (minus the eponymous man with
The Herbie Hancock Trio is work of that quintet’s rhythm section: Hancock, drummer Tony Williams and
bass player Ron Carter. The trio recorded 11 songs in one day. Five appear here and six are on Carter’s
album Third Plane. The threesome also released a second album called The Herbie Hancock Trio in 1982,
built around a different recording session. Got all that?
Dropping the needle in the groove for “Watch It” is like opening the door to another dimension. A place
where the world isn’t as heavy and things somehow make more sense. Hancock flutters across the piano
as Williams holds down the beat and Carter nimbly darts in and out on the electric bass. An active,
robust remake “Speak Like a Child” continues the spell.
Hancock’s trio is relentless in their vision, working somewhere between their time together in the ‘60s
and the current fusion landscape. Because the album doesn’t fit neatly in one niche, Hancock’s label
decided to only release the album in Japan. Now it has finally arrived domestically and should be part of
any respectable jazz collection. -Joel Francis
Hamilton – Original Broadway Soundtrack
Jewel – Pieces of You
Jason Isbell – The Nashville Sound
Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced
Jose James – Lean On Me
Kamasi Washington – Becoming, from the Original Netflix Documentary
Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak
Kanye West – College Dropout
Karen Dalton – Recording is the Trip — The Karen Dalton Archives
Kelly Finnigan – A Joyful Sound
Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Live in San Fransisco ‘16
The Killers – Imploding The Mirage
Kraftwerk – Techno Pop
Lee Fields & Expressions – Big Crown Vaults Vol. 1 (Lavender Swirl Opaque Vinyl)
The Lumineers – Cleopatra
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV [180 gram Vinyl]
Ledisi – The Wild Card
Molchat Doma – Monument
If you’re not familiar with the Belarusian post-punk/synthpop trio Molchat Doma, fear not. The band
was about to start their first North American tour when COVID shut everything down. In place of a tour,
Molchat Doma have gifted us with their third album, Monument.
Sonically, Monument inhabits the world of Joy Division and Bauhaus, but also Depeche Mode, Kraftwork
and the Cure. Big ‘80s gated drums are prominent as well. In a way, their soundscapes are as cold and
processed as the icy, proletariat monolith gracing the album cover. On the other hand, most tracks,
particularly “Discoteque” and “Zvezdy,” are very danceable.
You have to hand it to Molchat Doma for titiling their songs in Cyrillic and signing in Russian. Hearing
these songs in an unfamiliar tongue definitely adds to the feeling of isolation. It also makes it impossible
for this reviewer to discuss the lyrical content.
Monument is an intriguing release from a very promising band. I have a sneaking feeling that Molchat
Doma’s live shows will win them a lot of new fans as well. Fans of ‘80s synthpop will find a lot to love on
Monument. Everyone else should pick this up and study it before the concert eventually rolls around. -Joel Francis
Marcus Strickland – People Of The Sun
McCoy Tyner – Inception
McCoy Tyner – Nights of Ballads & Blues
McCoy Tyner – Tender Moments
McCoy Tyner – The Real McCoy
The Real McCoy opens with a drum roll from Elvin Jones and some heavy low-end jabs on
the piano by McCoy Tyner, and it feels like the band plays like it has something to prove.
Because Tyner (and Jones) were part of John Coltrane’s quartet that brought us A Love
Supreme and Crescent (and many other classic albums)., the stakes were high for Tyner’s
Blue Note debut in 1967.
This wasn’t Tyner’s first solo album, though. He had already recorded six solo albums for
Impulse (the same label as Coltrane), but those albums were noticeably short on original
compositions and probably didn’t add much to his legacy. To mark this new chapter in
Tyner’s career, he brought five, strong original compositions to the studio. The bombastic
opening track, “Passion Dance,” and later the meter-shifting, “Four by Five,” grab the
listener’s ear. The sensitivity in the ballads still charms audiences, as “Contemplation” and
“Search for Peace” continue to be performed by other artists. To close out the record,
“Blues on the Corner” feels a bit like a Thelonious Monk tune at first before shifting into a
blues, but with Tyner’s characteristic chord voicings.
In order to distinguish his work in the Coltrane’s quartet, Tyner’s albums for Impulse were
primarily piano trio recordings. For The Real McCoy, though, he added Joe Henderson on
tenor saxophone. With the same instrumentation, comparisons to Coltrane’s quartet
recordings were/are certainly inevitable, but Henderson’s playing is unique and soulful.
Henderson doesn’t try to imitate Coltrane. Instead, he serves the melodies that Tyner lays
down and brings his sensitivity to the album.
Reissues are an invitation to revisit, and there’s a lot here to explore again. Fortunately, The
Real McCoy is not merely an academic dive into meter, intervals, and phrasing. Tyner and
his quartet recorded five immediately catchy and hummable tunes that stick with the
listener even after the record is over. -Jonathon Smith
Weekly Review 2:
Jazz pianist McCoy Tyner doesn’t get all the recognition he deserves. His work with John Coltrane
provided the unwavering platform for Coltrane’s sheets of sound explorations. 1967’s The Real McCoy is
Tyner’s first album after leaving Coltrane’s group and his first release as a leader in more than two years.
On these five original compositions, Tyner balances upbeat songs like “Passion Dance” and “Four by
Five” with weightier, meditative, introspective works such as “Contemplation” and “Search for Peace.
On the closing “Blues on the Corner,” Tyner paints the picture of him growing up in Philadelphia,
hanging out on the corner with friends.
Saxophone player Joe Henderson has big shoes to fill, but succeeds because he brings his own style and
perspective to the material, never trying to imitate Coltrane. Drummer Elvin Jones – Tyner’s friend from
Coltrane’s quartet – and Miles Davis’ bass player Ron Carter provide a solid foundation. The ensemble’s
collective chemistry makes The Real McCoy an excellent introduction to Tyner’s work away from
Coltrane. -Joel Francis
Mitch Murder – Interceptor
Michael Jackson – Thriller
Nelly – Country Grammer
No Thanks – Submerger
Nirvana – Nevermind
Nirvana – Unplugged In NY
Outkast – Aquemini
Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger In The Alps
Portishead – Dummy
Prince – Purple Rain
The Rolling Stones – I Can’t Get No Satisfaction (55th Anniversary Edition, 180 Gram Vinyl)
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication [Picture Disc LP]
Sade – The Best Of Sade [180 gram Vinyl]
Sheila Jordan – Portrait of Sheila
Sonic Youth – A Thousand Leaves
Sonic Youth – Goo
Sonny Rollins – A Night At The Village Vanguard
Sonny Rollins – At The Music Inn
Sonny Rollins – The Bridge
Sturgill Simpson – Cuttin Grass
Sturgill Simpson – High Top Mountain
Sturgill Simpson – Sound & Fury
Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide To Earth
Sun Ra – The Fireside Chat With Lucifer
Three 6 Mafia – The End
The Memphis, Tenn., rap collective Three 6 Mafia are best known for winning the best song Oscar in
2006. The group percolated in the underground for more than a decade before briefly bubbling up into
As Three 6’s second album, The End boasts better production than the group’s debut, but there are still
some issues with the mix. On several songs, the vocals are too low.
Rappers Koopsta Knicca, Lord Infamous, DJ Paul, and Juicy J spin frequently violent and demonic lyrics
about weed and gangsta life. On an album where being over-the-top is celebrated, female rapper
Gangsta Boo refuses to be outdone, often resulting in outrageous caricatures. Being so consistently
shocking has a numbing effect and by the last third of the album both the lyrics and the production tend
to run together.
Ultimately, The End played a role not only in building the crunk style, but establishing Three 6 Mafia and
advancing the horrorcore movement. Several of The End’s best tracks were also included on Three 6’s
follow-up release, which brought the group even more attention. Horrorcore took off in the new
century with rappers like Kansas City’s own Tech N9ne, the D-12 associates in Detroit and the Odd
Future collective. If you’re interested in exploring any of these scenes, The End is a good place to start.-Joel Francis
Tool – Undertow
Touche Amore – Lament
Townes Van Zandt – Somebody Had To Write It
Various Artists – World Spirituality Classics 2: Time for Peace is Now
Various Artists- The Crow Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Velvet Underground – Velvet Underground & Nico [180 gram Vinyl]
The White Stripes – The White Stripes Greatest Hits [150 gram Vinyl]
The War on Drugs – Live Drugs
Wes Montgomery – Incredible Jazz Guitar
Wes Montgomery – So Much Guitar
Wooden Ships – V.
Yung Lean – Starz (Green, Black, Gatefold LP Jacket)
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