It’s John Coltrane New Vinyl Thursday at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:
Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad- Instrumentals Jid009
Amyl & Sniffers- Comfort To Me
Arcade Fire- Everything Now
Arlo Parks- Collapsed In Sunbeams
Bad Brains- Bad Brains
Billie Eilish- When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Bob Marley- Legend
Brandi Carlile- In These Silent Days
Bulbous Creation- You Won’t Remember Dying
Capone-N-Noreaga- The War Report
Chicano Batman- Cycles Of Existential Rhyme
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram- 662
Coldplay- Music Of The Spheres
Coldplay has been around since 2000, making for a highly anticipated new release with this album. I’d say this album falls under the category of pop/indie pop, straying from their past work of softer indie/rock vibes. I’m not sure how I feel about this transition for them, and maybe that’s because I grew up listening to them so I’m not used to their new sound-maybe it’ll grow.
This album uses new and fun, poppy synths and track #2, “Higher Power,” showcases these new elements for a high energy pop song. Again, not the staple Coldplay sound, but it does give them an interesting new sound to add to their discography.
Track #5, “Let Somebody Go,” featuring Selena Gomez (another childhood favorite), brings them back to their roots with a mix of new elements. I really like this slow pop song; it’s sad enough to feel what you need to feel, but not so dark that you sulk. This track is probably my favorite off the album.
Track #6 is very euphoric, and very beautiful. I credit this to featuring artist Jacob Collier, who’s a master of all things harmony and peace in music.
“My Universe,” their top played song off this record, definitely stands out. It reminds me a lot of Imagine Dragons, John Mayer, and the direction they went in as well. This is probably my least favorite off the album, due it being “basic” pop-definitely not the direction I saw Coldplay going in.
Overall, I’d give this album a 6/10. I’ll give it to them for trying out new sounds and concepts, but I personally think they could’ve executed better by sticking to their sound. The album has a couple of good tracks on it, but I think it needed more of a flow to really nail their concepts. -Nova Stebbin
Dave Matthews- Crash Anniversary Edition
David Bowie- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Donald Fagen- Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly Live
Duran Duran- FUTURE PAST
Freddie Hubbard- Ready for Freddie
Hall & Oates- Very Best Of Darryl Hall & John Oates
Iggy Pop- Lust For Life
Jamiroquai- Return Of The Space Cowboy
Two decades removed from their 1990s heyday, the U.K. acid funk act Jamiroquai (actually just Jay Kay) are best remembered for “Canned Heat,” the song that soundtracked the dance sequence in the film Napoleon Dynamite, and the trippy music video with moving floors, “Virtual Insanity.”
Neither of those songs appear on Jamiroquai’s second release, 1994’s Return of the Space Cowboy, but this winds up working in the album’s favor. Since the listener isn’t waiting for the nostalgic touchstones, he or she can appreciate Return of the Space Cowboy for what it is: a slick blend of ‘70s funk, disco and R&B primed to bring life to any dancefloor.
Lead single (and album closer) “Space Cowboy” has a strong Stevie Wonder vibe that is prevalent in much of Jamiroquai’s work – jazz chords on electric piano, soulful falsetto vocals with accentuating touches on synthesizer. Kay modernizes the sound with an acid drum track and overt references to marijuana (drug references were more oblique in the disco era).
Like Wonder – and Sly Stone, with whom Kay also shares some ambition – the album is unafraid to tackle serious topics, including Native American rights (“Manifest Destiny”) and youth activism (“The Kids”).
Kay keeps The Return from staying in one place for too long by incorporating horns, a digeridoo, hip hop rhythms and amping up the funk quotient. The result is a fun, if not entirely original, listening (and dancing) experience.- Joel Francis
Jimi Hendrix- Are You Experienced
John Coltrane- A Love Supreme: Live In Seattle
John Prine- Common Sense
John Prine- Fair & Square
John Prine- Sweet Revenge
Kenny Garrett- Do Your Dance!
Kishi Bashi- Sonderlust
La Luz- La Luz
Lee Fields & Expressions- It Rains Love
Lou Reed- Berlin
Lucinda Williams- Lu’s Jukebox Vol. 3: Bob’s Back Pages: A Night Of Bob Dylan Songs
Mac Miller- Faces
Mammoth Wvh- Mammoth WVH
Miles Davis- In a Silent Way
Mono- Beyond The Past -Live in London with the Platinum Anniversary Orchestra
Two long years ago, before the world shut down and masks and vaccines became flashpoints for violence, the Japanese instrumental, post-rock quartet Mono celebrated its 20th anniversary with a concert in London. Beyond the Past is the audio documentation of that night, a glorious 12-song performance that includes material from each of the band’s 10 studio albums at that time and spans nearly two hours.
Singling out specific tracks for special moments seems as pointless as determining which gulp of water was the best in the glass. These expansive works are clearly meant to be experienced as part of a greater tapestry. These pieces mostly hover around the nine-minute mark and a couple push past the 15-minute mark. In that time, Mono demonstrates their mastery of manipulating emotions, creating movements that evoke melancholy and joy – sometimes at the same time – building to shattering crescendos, then instantly collapsing into powerful silence.
Mono are so adept at creating their own widescreen soundscapes that the Platinum Anniversary Orchestra doesn’t add much to the experience. That’s OK, because Beyond the Past is already so pregnant with powerful moments that the times when the orchestra is able to push through and provide flourishes are rendered even more compelling.
Beyond the Past is best experienced in one, long setting, with music only pausing for the flipping of sides. If you’ve ever wished Sigur Ros sounded more like Deafheaven (or vice versa) or wished that Mogwai’s “My Father My King” was a novel instead of a chapter, this is the music for you.- Joel Francis
Moor Mother- Black Encyclopedia of the Air
My Chemical Romance- Black Parade
My Morning Jacket- My Morning Jacket
Neil Young- Carnegie Hall 1970
Nick Cave & Bad Seeds- B-Sides & Rarities: Part II
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds- Kicking Against the Pricks
Nina Band Hagen- Original Vinyl Classics
Nina Simone- Amazing Nina Simone
Nubya Garcia- Source + We Move
Ozzy Osbourne- No More Tears
P.O.D. ( Payable on Death )- Satellite
From Bing Crosby and David Bowie to Chris Cornell and Timbaland and even Tony Bennet and Lady Gaga’s current Top 10 collaboration, music fans have seen a lot of strange bedfellows over the years. But none may be more surprising than P.O.D.’s massively successful crossing of nu metal with Christian faith.
P.O.D.’s fourth album was released on Sept. 11, 2001. In the aftermath of that awful day, uplifting lead single “Alive” was omnipresent on the radio, pulling the rest of the album right along. It would be easy to say Satellite was only successful because of this tragic timing, but the reality is even more obvious: P.O.D. make good music.
“Alive” uses nu metal’s bone-crunching sound and replaces its meathead lyrics with an uplifting gratitude. Similarly, “Boom,” another single, takes what would be off-putting braggadocio in lesser hands and turns it into a song of self-empowerment.
References to Christianity abound, but are generally subtle enough to be palatable to an unsaved audience. Singer H.R. from Bad Brains stops by for “Without Jah,” a hardcore punk song that becomes a reggae jam. The San Diego quartet return to the sound of Jamaica on “Ridiculous” with reggae singer Eek-A-Mouse.
Across 15 songs and 53 minutes, Satellite does more than add riddims and Jehovah to formulas perfected by Korn. It proves that music about eternal light can be just as compelling as the darkness.- Joel Francis
Peter Cat Recording Co- Bismillah
Peter Tosh- Legalize It
Riley Downing- Start It Over
Rob Zombie- Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy
Ryo Fukui- Mellow Dream
Ryo Fukui- Scenery
Seether- Wasteland – The Purgatory
Spiritualized- Let It Come Down
Sturgill Simpson- Cuttin’ Grass – Vol. 2 (cowboy Arms Sessions)
Sturgill Simpson- Sound & Fury
The Allman Brothers Band- Bear’s Sonic Journals: Fillmore East February 1970
The Beatles- Let It Be Special Edition [Super Deluxe 4 LP + 12″ EP Box Set]
Nearly 20 years after the Beatles delivered a stripped down, re-visioned version of their final studio album, comes another version of Let It Be timed with the album’s 50th anniversary and Peter Jackson’s documentary about the making of the album.
Fortunately, the music on Let It Be is worth all the fuss. The Super Deluxe edition of Let It Be contains two unreleased visions of the album. The first is Get Back, producer Glyn Johns’ original version of the album. It’s not hard to see why the Beatles reject this version. Best known at the time for his recording work with the Rolling Stones and Small Faces, Johns’ submission is raw and ragged.
Johns’ Get Back Opens with “One After 909” then moves into a half-formed medley of “I’m Ready,” “Save the Last Dance for Me” and a false start of “Don’t Let Me Down.” While Johns’ sequence certainly distills the essence of the fractured recording sessions it also strips the Beatles magic from the recordings. There are too many joking asides, ad libs and ramshackle moments for this to be anything more than audio verité.
A second vision of the album comes from Giles Martin, son of the late Beatles producer George Martin. The younger Martin finds a halfway point between Let It Be’s original producer Phil Spector’s overblown production and the bare-bones (yet still polished) Let It Be … Naked, released in 2003. (For those of you playing along at home, this now marks the fourth version of Let It Be put forward: Johns, Spector, Naked and Martin.)
That takes care of half of the super deluxe album’s platters. Fortunately, what’s left is more revelatory. Get Back: Apple Sessions provides alternate takes of the songs that eventually got released on Let It Be, including a rooftop performance of “Don’t Let Me Down.” The performances are warm and friendly, the sounds of friends making music together without as much of the goofing around that plagues Johns’ Get Back.
If Get Back: Apple Sessions examines the Beatles in the moment, Get Back: Rehearsals and Apple Jams imagines what might have been. Here, the Fab Four work through future Abbey Road songs, such as “Polythene Pam,” “Octopus’s Garden” and “Something.” Even more fascinating are embryonic takes on “All Things Must Pass” and “Gimme Some Truth.”
With cameras and audio recorders rolling throughout the entirety of these (heavily bootlegged) sessions, it is a little disappointing to think that only 73 minutes of material was mined for this super deluxe edition. However, it’s important to remember that much more from these sessions are likely to be included on the super deluxe version of the soundtrack to Jackson’s documentary. It’s also worth recalling that a lot of what was recorded is simply boring and unformed. No one strikes gold with the first throw of the axe – even the Beatles. Heck, they’ve had more than a half a century with these tapes and still can’t decide how they want them presented. Until we meet again in the line at the cash register for Let It Be’s 60th anniversary, the super deluxe edition of Let It Be will more than suffice. -Joel Francis
The Black Keys- Delta Kream
The Clash- Combat Rock
The fifth album from English punk legends the Clash brought the commercial breakthroughs the group was seeking, but also displayed the fatigue and tension in the group.
After turning out four albums in as many years – including a double- and triple-album – and five non-album singles, the Clash let nearly 18 months slip past before releasing another album. When Combat Rock finally came out, it became a Top 10 smash, spending more than a year on the U.S. charts, delivering the Top 10 single “Rock the Casbah” and another hit – and the band’s mainstream calling card – “Should I Stay or Should I Go.”
For these reasons, Combat Rock is often derided as a sell-out effort, but if the Clash were selling out, they had a weird way of doing it. Beat poet Allen Ginsberg provides vocals on “Ghetto Defendant,” which points more toward the soundtrack work Clash singer Joe Strummer would explore later in the decade than the raw punk the band had perfected in the late ‘70s. Likewise, guitarist Mick Jones’ vocal showcase on “Inoculated City” foreshadows his work with Big Audio Dynamite.
The group’s weariness is evident on “Overpowered by Funk.” The band turned out upbeat jams like this effortlessly just a few years ago, but “Overpowered” seems sluggish and overwrought in comparison.
Despite the album’s experimental nature, internal politics and exhaustion, there are several songs that won’t be denied. (And to be fair, even that those that don’t completely succeed are still an enjoyable listen.) “Straight to Hell” features some of Strummer’s best lyrics and is an essential addition to even a casual Clash playlist. Angry opening track “Know Your Rights” remains sadly poignant today. “Rock the Casbah” and “Should I Stay” are overexposed, but still capture the quartet’s energy and ambition.
The success of Combat Rock positioned the Clash as heirs to the throne opening stadium shows for the Who and headlining the U.S. Festival. Sadly, the band was too exhausted and fractured to carry on. Drummer Topper Headon was asked to leave the band shortly before the album’s release because of his drug addiction and Jones exited after the U.S. Festival. Strummer and bass player Paul Simonon hired new faces to courageously carry on, but the essence of the band was gone. Combat Rock is the sound of the Clash kicking a hole in the wall before slamming the door shut. -Joel Francis
The Garden- Mirror Might Steal Your Charm
The Joy Formidable- Into The Blue
The Rolling Stones- Let It Bleed (50th Anniversary Edition)
The Rolling Stones- Tattoo You
The Rugged Nuggets- Odds & Ends
The Upsetters- Build The Ark
The White Stripes- White Blood Cells
Tito Arevalo- Mad Doctor of Blood Island (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Tom Petty- Greatest Hits
Tom Petty- Wildflowers & All The Rest
Tribe Called Quest- People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (25th Anniversary Edition)
Twenty One Pilots- Blurryface
Various Artists- Gimme Danger (Music From the Motion Picture)
Various Artists- Heavy Metal (Music From the Motion Picture)
Various Artists- I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute To The Velvet Underground & Nico
Various Artists- Rockin’ Legends Pay Tribute To Jack White
Throughout his career, guitar hero, rock star and all-around rapscallion Jack White has gone out of his way to shine a light on the artists that influenced him. Now the tables are turned as many artists from yesteryear pay tribute to White.
Calling the 14 artists who appear here legends is a bit of a stretch, but that doesn’t mean the performances aren’t good. Wanda Jackson, the biggest name here, opens the collection with a version of “In the Cold, Cold Night” that’s so good it’s hard to believe it isn’t pulled from the album she made with Jack White. Gary U.S. Bonds was 36 years old when White was born, but Bonds kicks through “Salute Your Solution” like an angsty young punk.
Big hits “Seven Nation Army” and “Fell in Love with a Girl” are here, but the best performances are the ones that add new dimensions to the song. Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers add a great blues harp to “Steady, As She Goes,” moving the song White’s native Detroit over to Chicago. Bobby Vee treats “We’re Going to Be Friends” like a Glenn Campbell song. The Denver Broncos UK reimagine “Top Yourself” as a slow Cramps number.
One of the benefits of this tribute is that songs from all parts of White’s career are given equal context. Songs originally performed by the White Stripes, Raconteurs and White as a solo act are placed side-by-side. Rockin’ Legends shows that not only is White a consistently strong songwriter, but knows how to have fun, too.- Joel Francis
Vince Guaraldi- A Charlie Brown Christmas
The animated special A Charlie Brown Christmas has delighted and united families each holiday season since its initial airing in 1965. An essential part of the special’s charm lies in the joyful and relaxed sounds emanating from Vince Guaraldi’s piano.
A quarter of Charlie Brown’s tracks are familiar Christmas songs, from the opening “O Tannenbaum” and “What Child Is This” to the closing “The Christmas Song.” The children’s choir on “Hark! The Herald Angels Song” manages not to sound mawkish while conveying the wholesome charm of innocent children rejoicing in the holiday.
The original material fares even better. “Linus and Lucy” has become a cartoon anthem, but it seems to roll off the piano as effortlessly as Lucy’s inherent bossiness. “Skating” is the sound of laughter in the snow. The only thing the song does wrong is that it should be three times as long. “Christmas Time Is Here” is presented in both instrumental and vocal versions. Both are equally enchanting.
Cynics and optimists, old and young, traditionalists and rebels, all can bask equally in the delight of A Charlie Brown Christmas.-Joel Francis
Waxahatchee- Saint Cloud
Weezer- Weezer (Blue Album)
William Lava- Dracula Vs. Frankenstein (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
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