It’s Fantastic Negrito 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
Allusinlove – It’s Okay To Talk
A Tribe Called Quest – Low End Theory
Bassnectar – Reflective Part 4
Beths – Jump Rope Gazers [Orange Colored Vinyl, Digital Download Card]
Black Sabbath – Master of Reality
Black Market Brass – Undying Thirst
Blakk Soul – Take Your Time
Listening to Take Your Time, one could be forgiven for thinking Blakk Soul was an ensemble. Layers of voices form intricate harmonies, call and respond and soar in unison throughout the album. The carefully crafted vocals become even more impressive when they all emanate from Eric Keith. Much like D’Angelo, Keith patiently builds small choirs by overdubbing.
There are moments when Take Your Time feels like a neo-soul album. Elements of hip-hop, R&B and trap abound as well. Taken together, these elements create a unique space where Auto-tuned vocals ride next to a B3 organ or shimmering guitar.
Although MC Joell Ortiz drops a verse on “Help” and several female vocalists stop by to assist, Take Your Time is entirely Blakk Soul’s vision. In addition to writing credits, he also stepped behind the boards to mix, master and sequence the album.
Take Your Time takes its time, rarely rising above slow jam tempo, giving plenty of space for all those exquisite vocals. Blakk Soul sings about personal freedom and staying mentally strong, but frequently returns to seducer, telling women what he has done and will do to their bodies.
As a result, Blakk Soul’s debut feels a bit one-note throughout. But it’s a heck of a note and if he can figure out how to expand his sound and vary the tempos, Blakk Soul should have a bright future ahead. -Joel Francis
Blink 182 – Enema of the State
Blue Oyster Cult – Best Of Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear The Reaper [180 Gram Vinyl, Red Colored Vinyl, Audiophile, Gatefold LP Jacket]
Blues Pills – Blues Pills
Blue Pills – Lady In Gold
Bon Jovi – Cross Road
Brian Blade – Brian Blade Fellowship
Brittany Spears – Oops I Did It Again [Picture Disc Vinyl LP, 140 Gram Vinyl, 20th Anniversary Edition]
Bronson – Bronson [Limited Edition, Colored Vinyl, Black, Yellow, Gatefold LP Jacket]
Brandy – B7
After taking a 12-year break to focus on acting and break ties with her former label, R&B queen Brandy is back with B7. The album will no doubt please the fans who have been waiting patiently. After apologizing for the wait, Brandy takes on love, jealousy, mental health and self-empowerment.
Sadly, the fun stops after the first two songs, when the music stalls on too many similar tracks sequenced together. Played individually, these songs might fare better, but their resemblance and weaknesses are compounded by proximity.
B7 perks up on the final third, when Brandy expands her bag of tricks. She raps on “I Am More” and “High Heels” (which features her daughter Sy’rai). Chance the Rapper drops by on “Baby Mama,” while Daniel Caesar duets on “Love Again.”
This isn’t to imply that Brandy needed to recruit more friends to improve B7. As always, Brandy has the pipes and personality to carry a track on her own. The problem is that her personality doesn’t shine brightly enough during the unfortunate middle slog.
The high points on B7 amount to more than an EP but less than an album. Hopefully we won’t have to wait as long to see what Brandy gives us next. -Joel Francis
The Cramps – Bad Music for Bad People [150 gram Vinyl]
The Cramps – Gravest Hits [150 Gram Vinyl]
The Cramps – Psychedelic Jungle [150 Gram Vinyl]
The Cramps – Songs the Lord Taught Us [150 Gram Vinyl]
The Cure – Greatest Hits
C418 – Minecraft Volume Beta [Red, Orange, Yellow Color Vinyl]
Cowboy Junkies – The Trinity Session
Ceelo Green – Ceelo Green Is Thomas Callaway
David Bowie – Diamond Dogs (Indie Exclusive)
Dr. John – The Sun, Moon and Herbs
Originally intended as a triple album, Dr. John’s fourth record, The Sun, Moon and Herbs leaves plenty to digest as a single platter.
Songs like “Black John the Conqueror,” “Craney Crow” and “Zu Zu Mamou” find John in high Night Tripper mode. The performances are drenched in swampy humidity and mysticism. They also seem familiar and expected. The Sun was Dr. John’s fourth and final outing as the Night Tripper. Maybe the persona was wearing thin on him as well.
On the other hand, “Where Ya at Mule” and “Familiar Reality (Opening)” are straight-ahead, New Orleans R&B romps. The party practically drips off John’s piano keys as he plays and the performances point in the direction John would go on his next couple albums.
Members of Derek and the Dominos – including Eric Clapton – and Mick Jagger appear on The Sun, Moon and Herbs, but apart from some slide guitar work from Clapton, the other guests are all subsumed into the musical jambalaya.
Devotees of the good doctor or New Orleans music will enjoy The Sun, Moon and Herbs, but casual fans are better off diving into the releases on either side of this transitional work. -Joel Francis
Eminem – The Eminem Show
Fantastic Negrito – Have You Lost Your Mind Yet
Frank Zappa – Hot Rats [50th Anniversary Edition, Pink Vinyl]
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain
Glass Animals – Dreamland
The first two Glass Animals albums focused on the stories of other people. For their third album, the Oxford, England quartet turn the magnifying glass on themselves. Or, more accurately, frontman Dave Bayley wrote about himself.
Bayley was inspired to look inward after a song about the suicide of a close friend was well-received on the band’s previous album, and after Glass Animals drummer Joe Seaward nearly died after being hit by a truck. When the band went on hiatus while Seaward learned how to talk, walk and play music again, Bayley returned with new, introspective material.
Dreamland deals with heavy topics. Bayley recalls witnessing a friend’s mother in an abusive relationship in “Domestic Bliss.” “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” tells the story of a childhood friend who attempted a school shooting long after Bayley lost touch.
Thanks to arrangements that blend synthpop, indie rock, hip hop into pop gold, Dreamland never feels heavy. If anything, the music might sugarcoat the subject matter too much. You may have to put on headphones and concentrate to get the full impact of Bayley’s lyrics, but Dreamland can just as easily (and successfully) be turned up loud for a backyard dance party. -Joel Francis
INXS – The Very Best
In This Moment – Blood
Jim Sullivan – UFO [Galaxy Swirl Colored Vinyl]
Jimi Hendrix – Experience Hendrix: The Best Of Jimi Hendrix [150 Gram Vinyl, Gatefold LP Jacket]
Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland (180 Gram Vinyl)
Kathleen Edwards – Total Freedom
Kid Cudi – The Man on the Moon – The End of Day
Kanye West – Late Registration
Scratch The Upsetter (Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry) – Cloak & Dagger [Limited, 180-Gram, Orange Colored Vinyl]
Laura Marling – Song for Our Daughter
English singer/songwriter Laura Marling opens her seventh album with a bold assertation of authority. Marling’s “Alexandra” is an answer song to Leonard Cohen’s “Alexandra Leaving” that wonders “where did Alexandra go?”
The confidence is well-deserved. Song for Our Daughter is a 10-song triumph of storytelling with nary a note or lyric out of place. The bubbly, all-acoustic instrumentation recalls Joni Mitchell’s early ‘70s triumphs and Laurel Canyon’s heyday.
Though every song could be a high point, a few stand out. “Strange Girl” is a bouncy joy that mirrors the mood of Mitchell’s “Carey.” On the other end of the spectrum, “Hope We Meet Again” is a bitter kiss-off in the spirit of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright),” filled with potent poetic venom. I would hate to be on the receiving end of lyrics like “I tried to give you love and truth/But you’re acid tongued, serpent tooth.”
The album ends with “For You,” a love song that could double as a hymn. “I thank a God I’ve never met/Never loved, never wanted (for you),” Marling sings against harmonies that evoke Simon and Garfunkel’s “America.” It is a beautiful, hope-filled conclusion to a stellar release. -Joel Francis
Mac Miller – GO:OD AM
Marcus King – El Dorado (180 Gram Vinyl)
Metallica – Metallica
My Chemical Romance – Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge
Nipsey Hussle – Victory Lap
Oasis – (Whats the Story) Morning Glory
Otis Redding – Otis Blues [180 Gram Vinyl]
Otis Redding – The Dock Of The Bay
Otis Redding – Its Not Just Sentimental
OutKast – Stankonia
Pixies – Bossanova
Hot off the heels of touring their breakthrough second full length album, Doolittle, which included the crossover MTV staple Monkey Gone To Heaven, the progenitors of “Loud Quiet Loud” started recording their third LP, Bossanova, in early 1990 at Cherokee studios in LA.
A mere two weeks of rehearsals preceded the recording and it was safe to say it was the least prepared the band had ever been entering the studio. The process was cursed from the start with technical difficulties. The studio desk would start picking up a local pirate radio station every night making it impossible to record past 6pm. After a quick studio change they finally got to serious work on their version of the rock cliche: “the difficult sophomore album.”
Frank Black recalls a very fast and loose routine, lyrics were often created on the spot and parts were finalized mere minutes before they were recorded. The process would yield mixed results but that spontaneity would be something the band would preserve to some degree in all future endeavors. While Bossanova garnered mostly positive reviews, especially in the UK, Rolling Stone gave it three out of five stars, a bit of a snub for one of the most anticipated indie rock albums of the time.
Back in 1990 you could not have found a bigger Pixies fan than me. But I recall Bossanova was not the Pixies record I was hoping for. Like most punk kids, I was living by a code and spacey surf- guitars, sophisticated melodies, and goofy Theremin sounds were not a part of it.
In retrospect, what I see now with Bossanova is a band at their peak, not afraid to stretch out and explore. The bold move of starting the album with the spaghetti westernish instrumental of Celia Ann (originally by the Surftones) followed by the blood curdling cries of Rock Music into the expansive wave crashing soars of Velouria, to me now, depicts a group confidently in the driver’s seat of where they needed to be. It was easy at the time to see songs like Alison and Is She Weird as Pixies filler only because the bar the band had set for themselves was so high. Listening back the song-craft of tunes like Dig For Fire and The Happening rival any Paul Simon or Brian Wilson venture. Ultimately, what we see on Bossanova is the Pixies doing what they do: mashing up bits and pieces of past cannons with the unique styles of four individuals to dictate the trend of the next decade in alternative rock music.
This beautiful new reissue, on translucent red vinyl with the original sixteen page booklet is a fitting testimony to the thirtieth anniversary of this monumental album. — Matt Roth
Pixies – Surfer Rosa
Post Malone – Hollywood’s Bleeding
Pink Floyd – The Final Cut [180 Gram Vinyl, Gatefold LP Jacket]
Pink Floyd – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn [180 Gram Vinyl]
Prince – Purple Rain [180 Gram Vinyl, Remastered]
Queen of the Stone Age – Song for the Deaf [180 Gram Vinyl, Gatefold LP Jacket, Paexp, Explicit Content]
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication [Picture Disc Vinyl LP, Explicit Content]
Robbie Kreiger – Ritual Begins at Sundown
Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed [180 Gram Vinyl, 50th Anniversary Edition]
Sneaker Pimps – Becoming X
Spoon – Girls Can Tell
Sublime – Sublime [Gatefold LP Jacket]
The Shaggs – Shaggs’ Own Thing [Bonus Track, Remastered]
Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak [180 Gram Vinyl]
Three 6 Mafia – Mystic Stylez [Anniversary Edition]
Tonya Donnelly -Tanya Donelly and The Parkington Sisters [Colored Vinyl, Indie Exclusive, Digital Download Card]
Van Halen – Fair Warning [180 Gram Vinyl, Remastered]
Van Halen – Van Halen
Various – If You’re Not Part Of The Solution: Soul Politics & Spirituality InJazz 1967-1975
Weezer – Weezer [Blue Album]
XTC – Black Sea [200 Gram Vinyl]
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Enjoy the music and we will see you soon. Your loving Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven staff:
Sherman, Gordon, Cat, Matt, Dylan, Doyle, Heather and Max
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