It’s Glass Animals New Vinyl Thursday at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:
100 Proof (Aged in Soul) – 100 Proof (140-Gram Black Vinyl)
Alison Mosshart – Sound Wheel
Anderson Paak – Ventura
Alanis Morissette – Such Pretty Forks in the Road
It’s been 25 years since Alanis Morissette took center stage by storm with her debut release Jagged Little Pill. There were big plans for 2020, including a broadway musical, a national tour and the release of a new album, Such Pretty Forks in the Road. In true Alanis fashion, isn’t it ironic that the year she was going to see some major financial health was ruined due to a global sickness.
It’s no doubt the tour (which is now canceled) would have helped drive album sales for the latest release, however, I do think that the tour would have overshadowed the album, which would have been unfortunate. The album is good, really good actually, but it’s different from Jagged Little Pill. Morissette, now mother of three, is still angry, but is more contemplative, more chill. Songs like “Reasons I Drink” are a very real look at addiction, at being middle aged but not quite having it all figured out. “Smiling” is a song that was written for the Jagged Little Pill musical. It’s a look at putting on your strong face while internally trying to deal with the pressures of life and motherhood.
It’s not all struggle, Morissette does take time to focus on that for what she is grateful for. “Ablaze” is a beautiful ode to her children, wishing each of them strength, courage and love. Check out the Jimmy Fallon version where her adorable daughter totally steals the show.
This album is not, and never will be Jagged Little Pill and that’s a good thing. It’s the same Alains, but at a different point in her life. For those of us that grew up with her, it’s relatable for where we are now, which is a pretty good place to be. – Brad Simmons
Weekly Review #2:
On her first album in eight years, Canadian songstress Alanis Morissette gets introspective and a little too comfortable. Such Pretty Forks in the Road hits the turnpike out of the gate, but takes an unfortunate detour, succumbing to its own ponderous weight before getting back on track for the final songs.
Written for her children, “Ablaze” belongs on any Morissette best-of playlist and features one of the best lyrics on the album: “My mission is to keep the light in your eyes ablaze.” The piano-driven confessional “Reasons I Drink” could be a b-side from Fiona Apple’s stellar Fetch the Bolt Cutters. “Drink” is followed by “Diagnosis,” a frank look at depression and mental illness. These songs are saved from being pablum for a group therapy session by a raw, honest delivery and arrangements that heighten Morissette’s emotions.
Unfortunately, Forks then takes a wrong turn. The songs start to blend (bland) together and the lyrics grow treacly. “Losing the Plot, a song about insomnia, did a good job of putting this listener to sleep. “Sandbox Love” suggests something new with a shimmering guitar intro, but collapses into the same middle-of-the-road quicksand.
Closing numbers “Nemesis” and “Pedestal” end the album on a strong note, but anyone pining for the raw anger of her ‘90s breakthrough oughta know those days are nowhere to be found. -Joel Francis
Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Blakk Soul – Take Your Time
Blue Oyster Cult – 45th Anniversary – Live In London
Blues Pills – Blues Pills
Brandy – B7
Bill Withers – Live at Carnegie Hall (180 Gram Vinyl)
Black Pumas – Black Pumas (Picture Disc Vinyl LP, Limited Edition, Indie Exclusive)
Bobbie Gentry – The Delta Sweete
After the surprising – and massive – No. 1 hit “Ode to Billie Joe,” Bobbie Gentry recorded a sometimes-autobiographical song cycle about life in the South. As a Mississippi native, the material is a natural for Gentry, but odd production choices make The Delta Sweete a completely unique release.
Neither psychedelic nor countrypolitian, the acoustic instruments at the heart of each performance are saturated with strings, horns and seemingly everything producer Kelly Gordon could think of. The busy arrangements often draw the focus away from Gentry’s voice and lyrics. At times, the material resembles folk songs posturing Las Vegas show tunes.
Perhaps no number on The Delta Sweete embodies this juxtaposition better than “Sermon,” also known as the country gospel song “God’s Going to Cut You Down.” Gentry’s version is startling upbeat, accented with punchy horns. It is especially astonishing for those used to the foreboding Johnny Cash version.
The new deluxe version unearths a mono mix of the album, along with band tracks, but the spare acoustic demos are most fascinating addition. The Delta Sweete might be a better album if it stayed closer in spirit to these stripped-down performances, but it would also be a lot less interesting. -Joel Francis
Ceelo Green – Ceelo Green Is Thomas Callaway
Clint Black – Out Of Sane
Collective Soul – Hints, Allegations & Things Left Unsaid
David Bowie – Legacy (Gatefold LP Jacket)
Dr. John – The Sun Moon & Herbs (180 Gram Vinyl)
Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (Deluxe Edition, 180 Gram Vinyl)
Dead Kennedys – Plastic Surgery Disasters
Dinosaur Jr – Where You Been (Deluxe Edition, Gatefold LP Jacket, Blue Colored Vinyl, Expanded Version)
Drake – Take Care
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain
George Clinton’s genre melting experiment never soared as high as it does on Maggot Brain, the third album from Funkadelic. Guitarist Eddie Hazel’s 10-minute solo on the title track may be the finest sound coaxed from six strings by any rock axeman not named Jimi Hendrix. “Can You Get to That” exists in a world where Crosby, Stills and Nash recorded with Norman Whitfield-era Temptations. “Hit It and Quit It” reimagines jazz organist Jimmy Smith as a member of a Bay-area jam band. “You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks” combines the spirit of Sly and the Family Stone and Stevie Wonder with a jazz trio.
And that’s just side one.
Any trepidation of musical whiplash reading these descriptions would be well-founded, but somehow everything hangs together. Clinton’s vision of putting heavy metal, gospel, folk, funk and any other LSD-inspired musical visions into the blender and seeing what pours out resulted in a collection that is decidedly greater than the sum of its parts. Each performance supports the other possibly because the only points of reference for this sound are the other songs on the album.
Funkadelic released many other superb albums in the 1970s – to say nothing of brother band Parliament’s output – but they never danced so freely on the edge of threatening to fall into the abyss while simultaneously grabbing anything with an arm’s length to raise them into the stratosphere. -Joel Francis
Funkadelic – Standing on Verge of Getting It On
Glass Animals – Dreamland (Indie Exclusive, Blue Colored Vinyl)
Glass Animals – Zaba
Grateful Dead – Aoxomoxoa (140 Gram Vinyl)
Gorillaz – Now Now (Picture Disc Vinyl LP)
Greta Van Fleet – Anthem Of The Peaceful Army
In This Moment – Mother
Jason Isbell – The Nashville Sound
Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland (180 Gram Vinyl)
Kansas – The Absence Of Presence
Khruangbin – Mordechai
Lou Reed – When Your Heart Is Made Out Of Ice
LL Cool J – Radio
Laura Marling – Song For Our Daughter (Purple, White, Indie Exclusive)
Maceo Parker – Soul Food – Cooking With Maceo
Man – Revelation (Limited Edition, Purple Colored Vinyl)
Metallica – Metallica
Nirvana – Unplugged In N.Y.
Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard Of Ozz (180 Gram Vinyl, Remastered)
Ozzy Osbourne – Diary Of A Madman (Picture Disc Vinyl LP, Remastered)
OutKast – Stankonia
Paul McCartney – Flaming Pie (180 Gram Vinyl, Remastered)
Paul McCartney went all-in after the Beatles Anthology pushed the Fab Four back into the spotlight. For his first post-Anthology album, McCartney enlisted Anthology producer Jeff Lynne and called on old pals Ringo Starr and George Martin.
The resulting album, Flaming Pie, hits that sweet spot where the performances shine without seeming over-labored and the songwriting has a relaxed feel without feeling tossed-off. The first time McCartney was able to sustain this zone throughout an entire album he delivered Band on the Run. While Flaming Pie isn’t as good as that album, it isn’t far off and may be as close to that apex as we will ever see again.
High points include the Ringo-assisted “Beautiful Night,” the R&B number “Souvenir” and single “The Song We Were Singing,” where McCartney confronts his legacy with the great lyric “I go back so far/I’m in front of me.” The acoustic “Little Willow” is a heartfelt ballad, while album-closing “Great Day” could have appeared on Ram.
If you have some spare change, consider buying the deluxe version. The extra LP finds McCartney laying down early versions of these songs accompanied only by his own guitar (or piano). Ringing phones, overhead airplanes, barking dogs and passing trains only add to the intimacy. -Joel Francis
Pink Floyd – The Best Of Pink Floyd: A Foot In The Door (Gatefold LP Jacket, 180 Gram Vinyl)
Post Malone – Stoney (Colored Vinyl, Orange)
Psychedelic Furs – Made of Rain
For better or worse, the Psychedelic Furs will always be tied to “Pretty in Pink” and the films of John Hughes. The master of 1980s coming-of-age movies directed his last film in 1991, the same year the Furs released their final album. That is until now, 29 years later, and Made of Rain.
Just the eighth album from the band, Made of Rain is far from the cash-in or pale imitation skeptics could rightly assume after so long an absence. To be sure, Made of Rain will never be mistaken for one of the Furs classics made in the first half of the Me Decade, but it is also better than some of the albums released toward the end of the group’s original run.
“The Boy that Invented Rock and Roll” opens the album with no concession to the passage of time. Singer Richard Butler is still entrenched in that odd niche between Johnny Rotten and David Bowie, while Mars Williams’ saxophone darts around Tim Butler’s propulsive bassline. Lead single “Don’t Believe” is a tough number that features a short, soaring chorus against a dark backdrop. Later, “Come All Ye Faithful” finds Richard Butler at his sardonic best, delivering lines like “When I said I loved you, and I lied / I never really loved you, I was laughing at you all the time.”
Even less-successful numbers such as “Ash Wednesday” and “You’ll Be Mine” get by on their ability to conjure the specific feelings and memories only the Psychedelic Furs can produce. It isn’t pure nostalgia, but also a wonder that no matter how much has changed, life could somehow sound and feel this way again. -Joel Francis
Prince – Purple Rain (180 Gram Vinyl, Remastered)
Prophets of Rage – Prophets Of Rage (180 Gram Vinyl)
The remaining members of Rage Against the Machine have had a hard time filling the void left by the unexpected near-retirement of frontman Zack de la Rocha nearly 20 years ago. The trio paired with Chris Cornell for three albums in the ‘00s and are now working with Public Enemy’s Chuck D and DJ Lord and B-Real of Cypress Avenue.
The supergroup’s 2017 self-titled album is closer in sound, content and spirit to the Machine’s celebrated catalog. Chuck D has no problem agitating a lyric against injustice and the like-minded B-Real is a better foil in this context than a post-reality show Flava Flav.
Neither Public Enemy nor Rage Against the Machine were known for subtly and truthfully the Prophets of Rage doesn’t offer many surprises. The album sounds pretty much exactly as one would imagine. Those excited by this prospect know playing the Prophets at maximum volume satisfies both a primal and sociopolitical need. -Joel Francis
Panic! At the Disco – Vices & Virtues
Pixies – Bossanova (30th Anniversary, Red Colored Vinyl, With Booklet)
Queen – A Night At The Opera (180 Gram Vinyl)
Ray Wylie Hubbard – Co-Starring (Gatefold LP Jacket)
Rolling Stones – A Bigger Bang (180 Gram Vinyl)
Rolling Stones – Bridges To Babylon (180 Gram Vinyl)
Rolling Stones – Voodoo Lounge(180 Gram Vinyl)
The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street (180 Gram Vinyl)
Soft Palms – Soft Palms (Colored Vinyl, Yellow, Digital Download Card)
Small Faces – Small Faces
The Stooges – Live At Goose Lake: August 8th 1970 (Colored Vinyl, Cream, Indie Exclusive)
Tame Impala – Currents
Turnpike Troubadours – Diamonds and Gasoline
Van Halen – Van Halen II (180 Gram Vinyl, Remastered)
Wooden Shjips – Back To Land (Limited Edition, Colored Vinyl)
Washed Out – Purple Noon
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