It’s Courtney Barnett New Vinyl Thursday at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:
All Them Witches – Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (Limited Edition, Black, Pink, Colored Vinyl)
All Them Witches – Lightning At The Door (Limited Edition, Green, Purple, Silver Colored Vinyl)
All Them Witches – Sleeping Through The War (Limited Edition, Red, Orange Colored Vinyl)
ABBA – Voyage
Fans have been pining for new music from the Swedish pop quartet Abba since the musicians – but
never the music – faded away in the early 1980s. Now, nearly 40 years after their previous album, Abba
has answered those dreams with a new album.
Voyage, the band’s ninth album, grew out of a 3D tour of the band. The idea of having a couple new
songs for the production quickly snowballed into a full album. The result is an album that feels very
connected to the band’s previous work. There are no autotuned vocals, rap features or other gimmicks
that tie Voyage to any particular era.
Voyage also proves to be an apt title for this 10-song journey. Opening ballad “I Still Have Faith in You”
reintroduces the listener to those heavenly voices. This leads into the Irish-influenced “When You
Danced with Me.” “Little Things” is a Christmas carol that comes with a children’s choir, while “Don’t
Shut Me Down” is an up-tempo pop gem about a tryst with a long-lost lover accented with the piano
flourishes fans have come to cherish. And that’s just the first four songs.
In the remaining six songs, the foursome put the family dog at the center of a crumbling relationship on
“I Can Be that Woman” and deliver an ornate anthem with the ambitious closer “Ode to Freedom.” In
other words, Abba are all over the place. The album’s few missteps – such as the ‘50s pastiche “Just a
Notion” – add just as much character as the gems, because they display the band’s humanity. This
reunion isn’t an effort to out-shine the back catalog or trying to prove anything. It’s four friends
celebrating new songs together and sharing them with the world. -Joel Francis
Bela Fleck – My Bluegrass Heart
Billy Strings- Renewal
Bulbous Creation- You Won’t Remember Dying
Courtney Barnett – Things Take Time Take Time (Gatefold LP Jacket, Blue Colored Vinyl)
Cage the Elephant – Tell Me I’m Pretty (RSD Essentials)
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram- 662 (Purple Colored Vinyl)
Charles Mingus – Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus
In the mid-1960s, jazz bass player, band leader and legend Charles Mingus recorded three albums for
the Impulse! label. At the time, Impulse! was the home of John Coltrane and some of the most cutting-
edge recordings in jazz.
Mingus didn’t disappoint. His first Impulse! release was the dense and captivating The Black Saint and
the Sinner Lady. The final Impulse! offering was the quieter, intimately revealing Mingus Plays Piano.
Between these albums, Mingus revisited seven compositions from his back catalog with a large
ensemble on Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus.
For this victory lap, Mingus enlisted Bob Hammer to help rearrange these older titles, giving them new
names. The 11-piece band assembled for the two sessions that comprise this album include
saxophonists Eric Dolphy, Booker Ervin and Charlie Mariano and pianist Jaki Byard. Byard especially
shines on the subtle, elegant reading of Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo.”
Each side of Mingus kicks off with a deceptively up-tempo song before settling down. Album opener “II
B.S.” (also known as “Haitian Fight Song”) is particularly frenetic, suggesting the album may be along the
lines of The Black Saint. The pace slows on the second song, “I X Love” (also recorded as “Duke’s
Choice”) and by the time of “Celia,” the third number, Mingus’ ensemble resembles the Ellington
Side two opens with an update of “Better Get Hit in Yo’ Soul,” first heard on the masterpiece Mingus Ah
Um. This performance is more measured, giving more space for each soloist. After the soothing “Theme
for Lester Young” (a.k.a. “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”), “Hora Decubitus,” or “E’s Flat, Ah’s Flat Too” closes
the record on an energetic note.
While Mingus doesn’t soar as high as The Black Saint or reveal as much as Mingus Plays Piano, it is an
accessible entry point for newcomers and a worthwhile addition to any jazz library. -Joel Francis
Chicks – The Essential Chicks
DMX – Exodus
Dead or Alive – Fan The Flame (Part 2): The Resurrection (180-Gram Translucent Orange Vinyl)
David Bowie- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Eagles – Live At The Forum 76 (180 Gram Vinyl)
Emma Ruth Rundle – Engine Of Hell
Funkadelic – Standing on the Verge: The Best of Funkadelic
Garbage – Beautifulgarbage (Deluxe Edition 3 LP, 20th Anniversary Edition)
While women have always played a vital role in rock and roll – just ask Janis Joplin, Pat Benatar or the
GoGos – during the alternative explosion of the 1990s, it felt like nearly every band had a woman out
front. In a crowded field that included No Doubt, Cardigans, Cranberries and the Breeders, to name just
a few, Garbage stood from the pack by combining electronic sounds and rhythms with guitar landscapes
given a pop sheen by impeccable frontwoman Shirley Manson.
For their third album, Beautifulgarbage, the band pushed the boundaries established by their previous
albums by incorporating hip hop and R&B elements. This new approach is evident in the upbeat “Till the
Day that I Die,” which is built around a hip-hop loop with live instruments layered on top. The single
“Cherry Lips” features an electronic loop for the verses before exploding into a wall of guitars for the
very catchy chorus.
“Cherry Lips” sets up the strongest part of the album, leading into “Breaking Up the Girl,” another solid
single that would have been at home on the earlier Garbage albums. The stripped-down ballad “Drive
You Home” is a straightforward acoustic number. This sequence culminates with “Parade,” not just the
best song on the album but one of the best songs in the Garbage oeuvre. The verses sound like they
were arranged by the Chemical Brothers but the chorus blossoms into the most glorious song the
Smashing Pumpkins never recorded.
For the 20 th anniversary edition of Beautifulgarbage, the double-LP album is packaged with an additional
platter of outtakes, b-sides and live radio session tracks. This includes covers of the Velvet
Underground’s “Candy Says” and the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses.” These nine songs aren’t as cohesive
or interesting as the album itself, but are fun examples of the band trying to create from their new
approach. -Joel Francis
Iggy Pop- Lust For Life
John R Miller – Depreciated
Joni Mitchell – Live At Carnegie Hall 1969 (3LP)
Kirsty MacColl – Tropical Brainstorm (Limited Edition, Colored Vinyl)
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard- Butterfly 3000
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard- Live In San Francisco ’16
Lou Reed – New York
Upon first hearing Lou Reed’s fifteenth studio album “New York,” John Mellencamp, a good friend of Reed’s at the time, said “Yeah, it sounds like it was produced by an eighth-grader, but I like it.“
Very few songs are more than three cords on this album. Reed employs his signature lazy, speak-singing style throughout most of the album. The unadorned dry vocals almost uncomfortably up front and center provide a clean pallet for the true fireworks of the album: the poetry of the lyrics.
If there was any question about Reed’s place in the cannon of great North American songwriters “New York” pretty much sealed the deal.
In the late 80’s, New York City was a much different place than it is now. Despite Wall Street booms, homelessness and drugs were rampant. The hypocrisy of the American dream was never more apparent with the country’s most affluent and most devastated neighborhoods existing just blocks apart.
In the albums liner notes Reed directs the listener to hear the 57-minute album in one sitting, “as though it were a book or a movie.” The idea of the concept album is nothing new for Reed. His third album “Berlin” tells the story of a couple’s struggle with drug addiction and abuse.
“New York” is a more personal perspective on his hometown. Much of the imagery is more based in the times of its creation.
That being said, he makes no bones about borrowing from the classics like on the opening track, “Romeo Had Juliette.” As if taking the baton passed from Shakespeare, to Westside Story, Reed casts the iconic couple living in a crack infested city fueled by tensions between rival ethnic based crime factions of the Italian Mafia and Latin Gangs of Harlem. The two groups become a metaphor for the past and future battling for the face of the city/ America.
Halloween Parade, is an exhausted if not endearing portrait of New York’s less known but more locally loved parade and it’s deep ties to the LGBTQ community.
The single “Dirty Blvd” is a graphic portrait of a young boy’s daily exposure to harsh city streets, while “There Os No Time” is chugging protest call to action song that claims:
“This is no time for celebration
This is no time for shaking heads
This is no time for backslapping
This is no time for marching bands
This is no time for optimism
This is no time for endless thought
This is no time for my country right or wrong”
Reed’s forced cleverness and armchair politicking don’t always age well. On the song “Good Evening Mr. Waldheim” Reed compares Jessies Jackson and The Pope to at the time, ex Nazi and President of Austria, Kurt Waldheim.
I’ve really just scratched the surface here. I can’t imagine anyone listening to this album and agreeing with one hundred percent of the views expressed. The density and scope is worthy of true study.
The Deluxe edition features a remastered version of the full album plus some demoed and live performances of the time. -Major Matt
Lucifer’s Friend – Lucifer’s Friend
Lana Del Rey – Blue Banisters
Moe – No Guts No Glory
Nirvana – Nevermind (30th Anniversary) (With Bonus 7″, Gatefold LP Jacket)
The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready To Die (140 Gram Vinyl)
Nathaniel Rateliff – The Future: [Black Ice LP] (Limited Edition, 180 Gram Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
Neal Francis – In Plain Sight (Teal Colored Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – B- Sides and Rarities Part ll
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have just released the second installment of rarities and B- sides. It’s an impressive double album
I’m a huge fan of most things Nick Cave related but I find myself, as I get along in years, finding it a little hard to keep up with his prolific output as much as I’d like.
I loved the recent Carnage record with Warren Ellis as well as the last five studio albums since 2005’s first rarities release.
B- Sides and Rarities (Part 2) offers some unique glimpses of the band letting its hair down as well as a nice retrospective of this period of the band’s over thirty five-five existence… and counting.
The opening track, “Hey Little Firing Squad,” a b-side to the “Midnight Man” ep, opens the album with some upbeat levity. I’m not sure it qualifies as a campfire sing along. But the skiffle beat and doo-whop backing vocals play against the lush brooding type the band has predominantly cast itself as for this phase of its life.
Raw beauty… Kintsugi… Lofi… whatever you wanna call it, I’m a fan of imperfect beauty. Things like the slightly out of tune strummed guitar on “Accidents Will Happen” helps convey a sense of urgency and and dare are I say metaphor that might have been lost in a more produced version of the song.
“Free to Walk” is a lazy river folk tune made slightly haunting with Debbie Harry on backing vocals.
The next track, Leonard Cohen’s Avalanche, is a song Cave was more or less born to sing. And he delivers with a simple piano and violin accompaniment.
Side two of the first disc starts with three spoken word pierces backed by grinding, atmospheric loops courtesy of Cave’s sonic subconscious and long time collaborator Warren Ellis.
The meditative “Give Us A kiss” is taken from the evocative, Cave documentary, “20,000 Days on Earth,” (If you haven’t seen it put it on your list).
The disc finishes with a breath-taking live performance of “Push the Sky Away” backed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
The second disc draws from the more recent “Skeleton Tree” and “Ghosteen” era albums. Here we see Cave’s more meditative perspective and even occasional humor. His unique ability to balance the deeply spiritual with the macabre seems to be the Bad Seed’s gift that keeps on giving.
Though technically the opposite of a “Best Of” album, “B-Sides and Rarities” is actually a great way to introduce yourself or rediscover The Bad Seeds of the past fifteen years. – Major Matt
Opeth – Ghost Reveries
Primus – Green Naugahyde
The seventh album from prog/funk/whatever experimentalists Primus arrived more than a decade after
their previous full-length release. The band’s explorations with other musicians during this time apart
resulted in one of the tighter, more focused albums in the Primus catalog.
During the break, bass player/singer/bandleader Les Claypool worked with original Primus drummer Jay
Lane, leading Lane to rejoin the band. Lane brings tautness to the band, never letting the performances
wander off as they had a tendency to do on the group’s previous few releases.
Green Naugahyde contains many of the band’s familiar, yet still surprising, trademarks. Claypool’s
basslines bounce like flubber on a trampoline and Larry LaLonde consistently squeezes otherworldly
sounds from his guitar. The songs are somewhere between Captain Beefheart and Funkadelic with more
than a pinch of Rush thrown in for good measure. In addition to now-obligatory song about fishing,
Claypool and company tackle reality TV (on “Moron TV”), consumerism (on “Eternal Consumption
Engine”) and character actor Lee Van Cleef (on “Lee Van Cleef”) with characteristic goofiness.
The compact approach to performing also makes the moments when the trio jam more powerful. The
extended instrumental section at the end of “Eyes of the Squirrel” that backs into the long intro on
“Jilly’s on Smack” (featuring Claypool on bowed bass) are one of the strongest musical moments on the
album, and also one of several occasions when you can tell how much fun the band is having.
Primus are a tough sonic nut to crack, but Green Naugahyde is accessible as the band is going to get. It is
the sound of a band doing what they do best, whatever the heck it is that Primus does. -Joel Francis
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – SHYGA! The Sunlight Mound (180 Gram Vinyl)
R.E.M.- New Adventures In Hi-Fi (25th Anniversary Edition)
1996’s “New Dimensions in Hi Fi” was the tenth studio album by the College Rock Band R.E.M. This year marks its 25th anniversary.
It was the final album to feature all four founding members. Drummer Bill Berry left the band, amicably, a year after the recording was finished, due to exhaustion accredited to a cerebral aneurysm he suffered onstage while touring in 1995.
In sixteen years the band had moved from a jangle-pop, bar band from Athens, Georgia, to one of the largest acts in the world, performing in stadium sized venues each night.
The group wanted to capture the spontaneity they felt during sound checks, so they borrowed a technique from their friends in Radiohead and tried recording basic tracks for the album, live, in venues on the road, between performances.
The album opens with the haunting, dub- like “How the West Was Won and Where It Got Us.” The uncharacteristic, jazzy Avant- Garde piano breakdown in the middle of this song informs us that this is not a band just coasting through the twilight of their career.
Next we are thrust into the chugging riff of “Wake- up. Bomb,” perhaps, amongst other things, a reference to drummer Bill Berry’s near death experience?
Stipe is quoted as saying: “We got into the studio feeling very happy and relieved that everyone was okay, especially Bill. It brought us all much closer and made us realize how important we are to each other.”
Track three “New Test Leper” is a melodic upbeat track. The dreamy, folk pop quality of the song sets up a nice contrast to the darker theme as Stipe uses one of the Bible’s most famous stories to call out hypocritical religious zealots.
“I can’t say that I love Jesus
That would be a hollow claim
He did make some observations
And I’m quoting them today
“Judge not lest ye be judged”
What a beautiful refrain
The studio audience disagreed
Have His lambs all gone astray?
Call me a leper, Call me a leper, Call me a leper”
Whether it’s “Night Swimming” or “South Central Rain,” water has always served as an important metaphor for REM lead singer Michael Stipe’s lyrical palette.
Water returns in “The Undertow,” where the concept of drowning is used to represent a transformative escape from oppressive religious ideologies or even the ego itself. The idea is brilliantly conveyed through the howling chorus where Stipe sings “I’m drowning… me.”
Longtime friend and inspiration Patti Smith provides mystical back up vocals for “E- Bow The Letter”
“Leave” is an epic track that experiments with looped sirens and thick creamy guitar sounds. While the next track “Departure” is a full on rocker.
Both songs appear to be about movement and more specifically, the freedom and frustration of life in transit, all appropriate themes for an album mostly recorded on the road.
The previous album, Monster, was not guitarist Peter Buck’s first foray into heavier, distorted sounds with REM but it was certainly the boldest.
Even though New Adventures was touted as a return to earlier albums like Automatic For The People and Life’s Rich Pageant, it retains plenty of thick , crunchy tone established on Monster, but slightly more refined.
Clocking in at sixty five minutes, New Adventures is REM’s longest album and at first listen one might say the record has a tendency to ramble at times. It’s certainly a far cry from the perfectly crafted college pop songs of Murmur and Reckoning.
The more I listen to this record the more it reveals a band that is still searching and slowly expanding its horizons while trying to maintain a healthy balance with its vast previous accomplishments. It’s a true classic and the 25th anniversary remastering sounds pretty sweet!
– Major Matt
Shannon and the Clams – Sleep Talk (Gold, Silver Colored Vinyl)
Suburban Lawns – Suburban Lawns
Suicidal Tendencies – Suicidal Tendencies
Slothrust – Parallel Timeline (Yellow Colored Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
Snail Mail – Valentine
Lindsey Jordan has been through a lot since her first album as Snail Mail debuted three years ago. She
completed high school, signed with a label and became a public icon with all the all the upsides and
drawbacks of fame. During the pandemic, she also found herself back in her parents’ home, writing
songs in her childhood bedroom.
Snail Mail also blossomed during this time from Jordan’s solo project to a trio including bass player Alex
Bass and drummer Ray Brown. Having an in-house rhythm section makes Snail Mail sound more
expansive on Valentine, a sound that comes somewhat at the expense of the intimacy Jordan built on
The opening title song, is one of those love stinks, anti-valentines that explodes from its self-pity unto a
soaring indie rock chorus. On “Ben Franklin,” Jordan examines the masochism she puts herself through
in a new relationship (sample lyric: “You wanna leave a stain forever/but you said you’d die/said you
would’ve died for me”) against a slamming bassline and backing vocals from Waxahatchee’s Katie
Crutchfield. Jordan also uses the song to mention to the time she spent in rehab between her first
album and this one.
Even with an expanded palette, Snail Mail remains an emotionally penetrative unit. Songs like the
delicate acoustic ballads “Light Blue” and “c. et. al.” snuggle in close, like a pet under the covers on a
cold day. The album’s emotional polarization can be seen in the concluding songs on each album side.
“Forever (Sailing)” is about a partner with one foot out the door. Album closer “Mia” is about finding
peace in letting that partner go.
Song cycles about love have been done to death, but Jordan applies everything she’s been through in
the past three years along with the soaring, oscillating emotions of youth to create something fresh and
vibrant. -Joel Francis
Stephen Trask- Hedwig And The Angry Inch (Original Cast Recording)
Sam Cooke – The Best Of
Taylor Swift – Red (Taylor’s Version)
Taylor Swift – Evermore (Green Colored Vinyl, , Deluxe Edition, Bonus Tracks)
Tesseract – Portals
Theo Croker – BLK2LIFE A FUTURE PAST (180 Gram Vinyl, Gatefold LP Jacket)
War – WAR Greatest Hits 2.0
The War on Drugs- I Dont Live Here Anymore (Indie Exclusive, Clear & Blue Colored Vinyl)
The Who – Who’s Next (180 Gram Vinyl)
50% OFF RSD AND CLEARANCE– Thursday, November 18th ONLY!
Click HERE to RSVP to Sentenced 2 Die & American Terrorist on 11/14
Click HERE to RSVP.
RSD Black Friday! Click HERE to RSVP.
Click HERE to RSVP to Cohen.
Click HERE to RSVP.
Click HERE to RSVP to see Extinction.
Turntables! We got ’em. From starter tables to audiophile, and everything in between, we have you covered. We are honored to once again be carrying a full line up of the award winning, top of their class, made in America, U-turn Orbits! We have all the colors- including the high performance walnut and maple. Get here fast for best selection. Get yours today!
Thanks for reading this week’s Courtney Barnett New Vinyl Thursday post! Mention that you did before you check out and we will take 20% off of ANY one item in the store! Offer good through 11/17/21.
Enjoy the music and we will see you soon. Your loving Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven staff:
Sherman, Gordon, Cat, Matt, Dylan, Doyle, Heather, Dave and Max
#TheVinylUndergroundKC #WeAreLocal #YourNeighborhoodMusicStore