It’s Drive-By Truckers New Vinyl Thursday at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:
Art Blakey & Jazz Messengers – Roots And Herbs (Blue Note Tone Poet Series, 180 Gram Vinyl)
Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Adrian Younge & Azymuth – Jazz Is Dead 4
Alice in Chains – Facelift [150 gram Vinyl]
The Awakening – Hear, Sense and Feel
A Tribe Called Quest – Low End Theory
AC/DC – Power Up
A new AC/DC record may well be the only good thing to happen in 2020.
The legendary Aussie rockers are back with “Power Up,” the latest in a long line of electricity-themed albums that not only talk about power but back it up.
It’s been 40 years since AC/DC released arguably the best heavy metal album of all time with “Back In Black,” which was my senior class song a decade later, but these guys still sound as good as they did back then.
For some, that’s a bit of a problem: Decades of AC/DC albums have tended to sound like each other, and that’s the case with at least part of “Power Up.”
The opening track, “Realize,” uses almost the same “ah-ah-ah-ah” chant that served as the foundation of 1990’s “Thunderstruck.” Another new track, “Witch’s Spell,” uses a similar-sounding guitar line.
“Rejection” uses the same four-chord pattern as 1979’s “Shot Down In Flames.” And “Shot In the Dark” bears more than a passing resemblance to 2008’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll Train.”
But it’s all good. I can eat Taco Bell Bean Burritos on Monday and be ready for more by Wednesday.
Not everything here has been heard before. “Kick You When You’re Down” has a funky, catchy riff atop pounding drums, and “Demon Fire” is a fast-paced rocker with a riff that burns into your brain with just one listen.
After an extended hearing-related absence that necessitated Guns ‘N’ Roses’ Axl Rose filling in to finish an AC/DC tour, lead singer Brian Johnson is back at the mic, and his voice, subjected to so much torture over the decades, sounds powerful again.And no guitar player anywhere sounds quite like Angus Young; the sound of his fingers sliding up and down the strings is as raw as it is instantly recognizable.
I love that many of the artists that paved the path for rock n roll from Bowie, Mccartney, Ozzy to AC/DC are putting out twilight offerings of substance and many are better in their 60-70s than they were for the previous decade. Thank you rock God! – Albert Schmurr
Weekly Review 2:
For their 17th album, and first in six years, Australia’s all-time bad boys trade in the electric guitars and
drums for synthesizers and samples.
Just kidding. We all know what this new AC/DC album is going to sound like. The band isn’t offering any
surprises, but they do provide a dozen meaty portions of hard rock comfort food. The band that once
gave us “Given the Dog a Bone,” now deliver “Money Shot.” “Demon Fire” is a hard, bluesy kick in the
butt, and “Shot in the Dark” thunders as well as any of the band’s 1980s anthems. Front man Brian
Johnson even dabbles with introspection on “Through the Mists of Time.”
The lineup for Power Up is exactly the same that delivered Back in Black, save for Stevie Young filling the
considerable shoes left by his uncle Malcolm on rhythm guitar. However, Malcolm Young, who died in
2017, is definitely present. He receives co-writing credit on all the tracks, which were hatched during a
2008 jam session.
AC/DC could have called it quits at any point in the past decade with their legacy secure. They’ve
returned to deliver this party because they want to and you can hear the enthusiasm in the
performances. -Joel Francis
Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Buck Curran – No Love Is Sorrow
Ben Harper – Winter is for Lovers
You might have missed it, but Ben Harper recently played Thundergong, a charity concert put on by KC native Jason Sudeikis. He’s been busy as he also just put out a new record called Winter is for Lovers. It’s a 15 song all-instrumental album best described as a “lap-steel symphony.” No band, no vocals, it’s Ben and his lap-steel guitar. That’s it. I will admit at first I was apprehensive as a solo lap-steel guitar album is not typically in my wheelhouse, but like the lovers in the title, I am smitten. Each track is named after a place that has inspired Harper in some way. Song names like Istanbul, New York, and London capture the auditory spirit of those locations. A close your eyes and you can feel the cityscape through the music kind of experience. Overall, the album melds and blends together into a relaxing soundscape. Winter is for Lovers is the perfect background music while working or a soundtrack to a conversation with a friend. It’s dynamic enough to be interesting, but subtle enough to be chill. If you are looking for something to cozy up to and relax, this is your album. -Brad Simmons
Chris Stapleton – Starting Over [180 gram vinyl]
Caiphus Semenya – Streams Today… Rivers Tomorrow (140 Gram Vinyl)
Drive-By Truckers – Decoration Day (Gatefold LP Jacket, 180 Gram Vinyl, Limited Edition, Clear Gold Vinyl)
Drive-By Truckers – A Blessing And A Curse (Limited Edition, Gatefold LP Jacket, 180 Gram Vinyl, Clear Purple Vinyl)
Drive-By Truckers – Brighter Than Creation’s Dark (Gatefold LP Jacket, Limited Edition, 180 Gram Vinyl, Clear Black Vinyl)
Drive-By Truckers – Dirty South (Gatefold LP Jacket, 180 Gram Vinyl, Limited Edition, Clear Blue Vinyl)
Drive-by Truckers – The Fine Print (Gatefold LP Jacket, Limited Edition, 180 Gram Vinyl, Clear Green Vinyl)
Drive By Truckers – Live from Austin Tx [180 gram Vinyl]
Dolly Parton – A Holly Dolly Christmas
Don Cherry – Relativity Suite
Donald Byrd – The Cat Walk
Doug Carn – Spirit of the New Land
Ghost Funk Orchestra – An Ode to Escapism
Within the first minute of Ghost Funk Orchestra’s second album, a soothing female voice encourages
listeners to put on headphones, unplug the phone and close their eyes. For the next 40 minutes, horns,
voices and guitars swirl from ear to ear. This is not the hard funk of James Brown and Parliament, but a
more laid-back vibe like that captured by Adrian Young, Morcheeba or Roy Ayers. There are elements of
psychedelic rock, jazz, soul and salsa in the mix.
As the listener basks in this blissful sea, the 10-piece band is working hard, changing time signatures as
often as a progressive rock outfit, but never breaking a sweat. According to press materials, this journey
into the subconscious is intended to explore isolation, fear of the unknown and how we create our self-
Despite this heady thesis, An Ode to Escapism is tripping pop perfection, a trip to the spa for the ears
and gray matter between them. A safe way to turn on, tune in and drop out. Use as directed. -Joel Francis
Gorillaz – Song Machine, Season One
Guru Guru – UFO
Gavin DeGraw – Chariot (Green Colored Vinyl, Clear Vinyl, Limited Edition)
The Grateful Dead – American Beauty [50th Anniversary, Picture Disc LP Vinyl]
Hanoi Rocks – Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks; Oriental Beat; Self-Destruction Blues;
Back to the Mystery City; All Those Wasted Years
These days, the Finnish hard rock band Hanoi Rocks is best known as a tragic footnote from the Motley
Crue story. The band’s drummer was killed while riding shotgun with a very drunk Vince Neil when the
Crue singer’s car collided with another vehicle.
Reissues of the group’s first five albums aim to push the spotlight back on their musical
accomplishments. 1981’s Bangkok Shocks is the missing link between glam rock, punk and hair metal.
“Tragedy” is a load of sleazy fun, but there are a couple surprises here, like the saxophone on
“Pretender” and a faithful cover of Carole King’s “Walking With My Angel.”
Hanoi Rocks dropped two albums in 1982, both amping up the hair metal quotient and expanding their
following. Oriental Beat contains should-have-been hair anthems “Motorvatin’” and “Devil Woman,” but
also the glam-inspired tunes “M.C. Baby” and “Teenangels Outsiders.” Self-Destruction Blues offers
more of the same, including party rocker “Kill City Kills,” “Desperados,” which is definitely not an Eagles
cover, and the very, very 1980s synth ballad “Whispers in the Dark.”
Released in 1983, Back to the Mystery City opens with flutes, acoustic guitar and nature sounds before
“Malibu Beach Nightmare” kicks out the jams. The title song borrows heavily from “Mony Mony” while
“Ice Cream Summer” and “Lick Summer Love” perpetuate sexist tropes. The 1984 live double-album All
Those Wasted Years rounds up most of the high points from the previous albums with Alice Cooper,
Stooges and Aerosmith covers included for good measure.
In the summer of 1984, Hanoi Rocks released their major label debut, but didn’t have long to celebrate
their success before Razzle took his fateful car ride that December. The band broke up in 1985, until a
decade-long reunion in the 2000s.
Only the most devoted hair metal aficionados will feel the need to add all of these reissues to their
collection. Curious fans will be satisfied grabbing any one of these titles before deciding if they want to
go further. -Joel Francis
Idles – Ultra Mono
Iron Maiden – Killers
Joel Ross – Who Are You? (180 Gram Vinyl)
John Parish & Polly Jean Harvey – Dance Hall At Louse Point
Joni Mitchell – Early Joni, 1963; Live at Canterbury House, 1967
A pair of archival releases capture folk legend Joni Mitchell finding her voice as a singer, songwriter and
The single album Early Joni, 1963 contains the first-known recordings of Mitchell. Performing on her
hometown Canadian radio station, the 19-year-old plays nine familiar folk songs, including “House of the
Rising Sun” and “Tell Old Bill.” It’s a fine set, but the confidence and majesty that makes her Joni are
The four-year leap between Early Joni and Live at the Canterbury House is striking. Mitchell is relaxed
and self-assured. She sings in a full range, working well beyond the timid soprano vocals on the ’63 radio
session. The material is light-years better as well. Many of the songs Mitchell plays across the evening’s
three sets (and album’s three LPs) wouldn’t be released for several years and still number among
Mitchell’s greatest compositions: “He Came for Conversation,” “Chelsea Morning,” “Both Sides Now,”
“Morning Morgantown,” “Urge For Going.”
Less than six months after the Canterbury House shows, Mitchell released her first album, Song to a
Seagull. It is a decent debut, but the material displayed at Canterbury House shows how much better it
could have been.
Early Joni is an interesting curio for hardcore Mitchell fans, but Live at Canterbury House is a
fundamental addition to any folk collection and an indispensable part of any serious Joni Mitchell
collection. -Joel Francis
Jason Isbell – The Nashville Sound
Jimi Hendrix – Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix [150 gram Vinyl]
Jon Hassell – Vernal Equinox [140 gram Vinyl]
Justin Townes Earle – Kids In The Street [150 gram Vinyl]
Joy Division – Substance (180 Gram Vinyl)
Kamaal Williams – Wu Hen (Red Colored Vinyl)
Keith Richards – Keith Richards & The X-Pensive Winos – Live at the Hollywood Palladium
Perhaps the best outcome from the Rolling Stones mid-‘80s hiatus is that it forced Keith Richards to
front his own band. Live at the Hollywood Palladium was originally released the same year as the Stones’
live reunion souvenir Flashpoint and it didn’t take a wizard to see where the soul of the band was. A new
remastered reissue of Live at the Hollywood Palladium adds three bonus tracks and as much
paraphernalia as you can afford.
The double LP at the heart of every set finds Richards and his stellar band performing nearly all of the
songs from Richards’ debut solo album Talk Is Cheap. The performances are loose without feeling
ragged and have a swagger sorely missing from the Stones at the time. When Richards does reach into
the Stones’ bag of songs he goes deep, pulling up songs from Dirty Work and Between the Buttons,
along with his signature song “Happy” and “Time Is On My Side.”
Live at the Hollywood Palladium is a worthwhile addition to any Rolling Stones collection and will be
enjoyed by anyone who enjoys their rock and roll straight up. For anyone else … well, copies of She’s the
Boss aren’t hard to find. -Joel Francis
Weekly Review 2:
Another example of the rock gods looking down on us is when Keith Richards decides to step out on his own. While these moments are increasingly rare, they almost always stand as highlights among a truly legendary career. The Rolling Stones’ guitarist and songwriter – and objectively the coolest person to simply walk the earth – has returned with his first solo outing since his acclaimed 2015 studio album, Crosseyed Heart, with a reissue of his 1988 live album with his band, The X-Pensive Winos, Live at the Hollywood Palladium. Previously only available on a long out of date CD, the reissue brings the live record to life on vinyl for the very first time and includes three previously unreleased tracks.
Opening with “Take It So Hard”, Richards and company are in very fine form. With a well-rounded sound, The X-Pensive Winos bring a heavy blues sound reminiscent of early Stones material are an incredibly tight outfit. Richards’ vocals are gruff and gravelly, yet melodic and soulful, while his guitar playing is rhythmic, slick, and deeply steeped in the blues tradition. The band is further enhanced by their prominent use of keys, lush backing vocals, accenting horns, and, of course, Steve Jordan – perhaps the living epitome of taste and groove – on the drums.
Performing nearly all of his 1988 debut solo album – his only solo record at the time – Talk Is Cheap, along with a handful of Stones deep cuts, and some covers, Live At The Hollywood Palladium truly is a collection of some of Richards’ best. Naturally, Stones songs like “Little T&A”, a stunning duet on “Time Is On My Side”, “I Wanna Be Your Man”, and the quintessential Keef cut, “Happy” stand out as obvious highlights. What speaks volumes for songs from Talk Is Cheap – “Make No Mistake”, the boogie shuffle of “Big Enough”, and “You Don’t Move Me”, the climatic closing track – is their ability to strongly stand beside that from The Stones. Additionally, Richards & The X-Pensive Winos’ foray into reggae on a cover of Half Pint’s “Too Rude” is a surefire knockout. Front to back, Live At The Hollywood Palladium is a stellar live record and delivers Richards at one of his definite peaks. Grab a copy for a gift and one for yourself, today at the Vinyl Underground. -Albert Schmurr
Lake Street Dive – Bad Self Portraits
Legendary Stardust Cowboy – Launch Pad Favorites
Lucifer – Black Mass
Mary J Blige – My Life
Melvin Sparks – Live at Nectar’s
Melvin Sparks – I’m Funky Now
Mother Mother – Eureka
Mother Mother – Touch Up
Morphine – Good (180 Gram Vinyl, Gatefold LP Jacket, Expanded Version)
Marvin Gaye – Every Great Motown Hit Of Marvin Gaye: 15 Spectacular Performances
Michael Jackson – Thriller
Michael Jackson – Bad
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Return To Greendale
Nas – Illmatic
The Nels Cline Singers – Share the Wealth (2020 | Blue Note)
It’s been six years the last album by The Nels Cline Singers, but that’s not because Cline
went away for a while. While certainly busy with his proverbial day-job in Wilco, Cline
somehow found time to sign with Blue Note Records and release two albums with vastly
different ensembles. Now he’s made an album for the label with The Nels Cline Singers, a
free jazz trio he’s played with for nearly 20 years now.
This time around the Singers have been expanded to a sextet, but its still doing what it’s
always done best, throwing pretty much anything you can think of at the wall and quite a
bit of it sticks. For Share the Wealth, the songs strike a balance between compositions and
improvisation dividing up the album’s lengthy 80-minute play time. Even with more people
in the band, it doesn’ necessarily feel like there are too many cooks in the kitchen. There
seems to be a narrative to many of the tracks, and the group leaves some wide open spaces
for the listener.
There is history in the band’s sound. “Beam/Spiral” begins with an “In a Silent Way” vibe
with incessant, quiet hi-hat and open space. The segue to an almost-Wilco song at 4:50
under the ghostly Fender Rhodes and a cymbal swell feels inspired by Bitches Brew tape-
splicing. “Nightstand” has an early Weather Report vibe to it, until sparse guitar chords
enter two minutes in and veer into airy, mid-seventies European jazz. “Headdress” again
invokes that ECM/Bobo Stenson sound, until the band brings the listener current with a
treatment on rock drum pattern that would sound at home on a current Mogwai album.
The playing isn’t always referential, though. The journey does get a little more free and
bumpy four minutes into “Stump the Panel” the first of three improvised pieces. At a
combined 42 minutes, “Stump the Panel,” “The Pleather Patrol,” and “A Place On the Moon”
could test the listener with cacophony and sheer length, but are wisely scattered
throughout the album. The pace slows down a bit toward the end of the album. “Ashcan
Treasure” features a resonator guitar and toy piano. “Passed Down” features resonator,
tenor saxophone, and percussion. The songs are a reprieve after such a long trip.
So is this the jazz record for people who don’t like jazz can get? Sometimes, given the
palette, the album almost feels like an approbation of early fusion. At 80 minutes, the
overall playtime may feel a bit overwhelming, but the bandmembers give themselves, and
ultimately the listener, plenty of breathing room. So, yes, theres’ a good chance that
listeners new to jazz will find something here to like here. -Jonathon Smith
Weekly Review 2:
The Nels Cline Singers featuring Wilco guitarist Nels Cline released new album Share The Wealth via Blue Note Records.
It took just two days for Cline and his collective group the Nels Cline Singers to record Share The Wealth. The all-star band included longtime collaborator and drummer Scott Amendola, saxophonist Skerik, bassist Trevor Dunn, keyboardist Brian Marsella and percussionist Cyro Baptista.
This band has never played a live gig together. So basically, the whole thing was an experiment. We recorded all these jams with the idea that I was going to take tiny fragments of them and create this kind of cut-and-paste, collaged, psychedelic record like an Os Mutantes record or something crazy like that. But when I listened back to these jams, I liked them so much that I wanted to keep them intact. And some of the most startling transitions, they’re not edits. They just happened in the course of these long improvisations in the studio, almost like magic, Cline explains.
There are grooves galore on this record. Dunn gets his Bootsy Collins on for “The Pleather Patrol” including a thunderous kick drum. Things goes off into an avant-spacy direction circa Herbie Hancock. Cline’s guitar work sets the mood for the smooth, gliding “Headdress,” and “Princess Phone” rides on Amendola’s unbreakable backbeat as Marsella’s heated Rhodes rambles trades off with Cline’s wah-wah’s
This is a solid record with a lot of material to explore with out being stuck in one gear throughout, instead tempos styles and sound shift gears and make for a nice ride. Pick up a copy today from the Underground Gang. -Albert Schmurr
Public Enemy – What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down?
Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
Pylon – Chomp
Pylon – Gyrate
Rage Against the Machine – The Battle of Los Angeles [180 gram vinyl]
Sylvan Esso – With (Indie Exclusive)
Sahib Shihab – Companionship
Sahib Shihab – Seeds
Sahib Shihab – Sentiments
Snoop Doggy Dogg – Doggystyle
Stan Getz & JJ Johnson – At the Opera House
Sun Ra – Fireside Chat with Lucifer
Theo Parrish – Black Jazz Signature
Various Artists – Southeast Of Saturn (Colored Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
Walter Bishop Jr – Coral Keys
The Weeknd – Echoes of Silence
Yusuf – Tea for the Tillerman 2 [180 gram Vinyl]
50% OFF – Pink Floyd – The Final Cut – Thursday, November 19th ONLY!
Black Friday Record Store Day 2020 is going to be Friday, November 27th. Click HERE to RSVP.
The “Stretch” Sale
Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 11am
We were lucky enough to have purchased the lifetime record collection of long time record store guy and music lover Bill “Stretch” Osment. The collection is 80% Blues, 15% Jazz and 5% everything else including 78’s, 45’s and 8 tracks. We will be putting the collection out for sale Saturday the 28th of November at 11 am. We will spread it out just like at RSD so that everyone can shop in safety. This collection has records we have never seen before. If you like the blues, you do not want to miss this sale. Click HERE to RSVP.
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!
We have official Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven shirts in all sizes again- small to 3XL! Come in today and pick one up.
Here’s where we talk about the virus. We are all freaked out. We are all nervous and anxious. We are OPEN. If you want to come shop in person put on your mask and we will say hello, give you a virtual high five- a virtual hug if we know you that well- and we will keep our distance. We love all of our customers and are glad to keep this little bit of normalcy in these crazy times. With that being said, we will also offer various other ways to get your vinyl fix. We have always shipped music and we will continue to do so. We also offer curbside pick up. Call us, pay, call us when you are outside and we will deliver your freshly sanitized purchase to your car.
Thanks for reading this week’s Drive-By Truckers 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 11/26/20.
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 #NewVinylThursday