It’s Lil’ Kim New Vinyl Thursday at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:
21 Savage & Metro Boomin – Savage Mode II (140 Gram Vinyl, Red Colored Vinyl)
Alice Cooper – Detroit Stories (Limited Edition,Red Colored Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
Ari Lennox – Shea Butter Baby
Arrested Development – Don’t Fight Your Demons
For causal listeners, hip hop collective Arrested Development made a huge splash with their debut
album 30 years ago, then quietly went away after a second effort flopped. The truth is, AD reconvened
in 2000 and have quietly and regularly released albums ever since.
AD’s 12th album, Don’t Fight Your Demons, takes a hard, uncompromising look at racial injustice in
American today and the fallout from this inequality. Unfortunately, not much on Demons is performed
with the sunshine that marked the group’s early single “People Everyday,” which makes for a fatiguing
Demons has many powerful moments, such as “Becoming” a tale about how abuse and poverty lead to
recidivism that is buoyed by gospel choir. “Melancholy” discusses the often-taboo topic of depression
and mental wellness. Later in the album, MC Speech grapples with AD’s musical legacy on “We’ll See.”
Sonically, Demons fits in nicely with New Native Tongues albums dropped around the turn of the
century, like Black Star, Let’s Get Free and the Lyricist Lounge collections.
At 16 tracks and 65 minutes – including two remixes – Demons would be better served by cutting a half
dozen tracks (the poppy autotune track Journey On should be the first casualty). If you’re willing to
wade in Speech’s muddy waters, rewards will be found. -Joel Francis
A Tribe Called Quest – People’s Instinctive Travels
Arctic Monkeys – Am (180 Gram Vinyl, Digital Download Card)
The Avalanches – We Will Always Love You
The third album by Australian electronic duo The Avalanches – We Will Always Love You is like a seven-layer dip. At first, it’s overwhelming… how can all of these flavors, collaborators, genres, and samples ever blend, let alone be good? The more you listen, the more everything starts to morph and blend, becoming a sound symphony worthy of your time.
The list of collaborators is… overwhelming. Leon Bridges, Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction, Denzel Curry, Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, Kurt Vile, Blood Orange, Jamie XX, MGMT, Tricky, and even Mick Jones of the Clash. While all of these artists’ can carry an album on their own, The Avalanches find success weaving the guests into the fabric of the album and not relying on the guests to carry the album.
The mix of sounds is… overwhelming. Dance, disco, funk, psych, hip-hop, soul, spoken word, easy listening, and pop are all represented here. There’s plenty of song samples to go around, with the most evident being an Alan Parsons Project track. The differences are what make them the same. Not living inside a specific genre or box, it’s safe to expect the unexpected.
Brainbox – Brainbox (Limited Edition, 180 Gram Vinyl, Purple Colored Vinyl)
Bill Withers – Live at Carnegie Hall [180 gram Vinyl]
Billie Eilish – Don’t Smile At Me
Bob Marley & the Wailers – Legend (180 Gram Vinyl)
Bruno Mars – 24k Magic
Cleveland Eaton – Plenty Good Eaton
Bass man Cleveland Eaton made his name as a member of the Ramsey Lewis Trio in the 1960s, helping
shepherd the group from traditional acoustic songs like “Wade in the Water” to funkified electric
collaborations with Earth Wind and Fire in the 1970s.
In the mid-‘70s, Eaton took a break from his role as a sideman to release a handful of albums under his
own name. Eaton’s second album, 1975’s Plenty Good Eaton has grown a reputation as a landmark
funk/jazz album. Out of print for decades, Plenty Good was discussed more than it was heard. Now
finally back in print, it should be in any funk, jazz or Blaxploitation fan’s collection.
The album starts with “Chi-town Theme,” which should be titled “Cousin of Shaft” because of its
similarity to the Isaac Hayes song. As the band funks out against the pulsating hi-hat, wah guitar and
female singers, Eaton goes to town on his upright bass, leaping all over the place. “Keena” is a mellow
string-driven number, while “Moe, Let’s Have a Party” recalls vintage Kool and the Gang.
Over on side two, “Kaiser 405” and “Hamburg 302” are bebop workouts that showcase Eaton’s elastic
playing and tasty solo from guitarist Ernest Johnson and trombone player John Watson. For “All Your
Lover, All Day, All Night” the band slips back into Shaft/Super Fly mode.
After five solo albums, Eaton joined the Count Basie band, where he played until the early ‘90s. Sadly,
Eaton died last summer at the age of 80. -Joel Francis
Chaka Khan – Epiphany: The Best Of Chaka Khan (Burgundy Colored Vinyl)
Charles Mingus – Candid Recordings Part One
Charles Mingus – Candid Recordings Part Two
David Bowie – Station To Station (Remastered)
Deftones – White Pony (20th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition, 4LP, 2CD)
Deftones – Around the Fur (180 Gram Vinyl)
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio – I Told You So
Danny Elfman – Batman Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Emmylou Harris – Red Dirt Girl
Country music legend Emmylou Harris followed up her masterpiece – and sonic departure – Wrecking
Ball with 2000’s Red Dirt Girl, an album that moved closer to Harris’ traditional sound, while maintaining
the lush textures of her later work. Even more impressive, Harris has a hand in writing all but one of the
The album opens with a gurgle of electronics as Harris counts in and lightly strums her acoustic guitar.
The lyrics are an earnest prayer that somehow provides comfort without divulging any answers. The rest
of Red Dirt Girl inhabits a similar space, where drum machines and synthetic sounds comingle with
acoustic and live instruments, while Harris’ voice glides above it all.
Bruce Springsteen and his wife Patti Scialfa drop by to provide vocals, as do Dave Matthews, Patty
Griffin, Kate McGarrigle, Julie Miller and guitarist Buddy Miller. Despite all this star power, the focus
never veers from Harris’ angelic vocals (and lyrics). “Bang the Drum Slowly” is a tribute to her late
father, while “Michelangelo” is a dream about a departed friend. But while death and tragedy are
common themes throughout the album the delivery and arrangements keep the material spellbinding.
Red Dirt Girl is an intimate work that doesn’t adapt to all situations, but reliably provides solace when
needed. -Joel Francis
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – Hunter And The Dog Star
Ella Mai – Ella Mai
Erykah Badu – Mama’s Gun
When faced with following up her smash debut, Erykah Badu never faltered. Mama’s Gun doesn’t only
match the high points of Badu’s first album, but exceeds it in breadth, making it the best album in her
catalog to date.
Badu helped establish the neo-soul movement in the ‘90s, but she consistently and organically blurs the
lines between genres on Mama’s Gun, straddling R&B, funk, reggae and jazz. J Dilla, Roots drummer
?uestlove, Roy Ayers, Roy Hargrove and Stephen Marley are among the guests on this sonic adventure.
While Baduizm featured cryptic lyrics, Badu is direct on Mama’s Gun, whether addressing her physical
appearance on “Cleva,” Amadou Diallo’s murder on “A.D. 2000” or romance – earthly and heavenly – on
“Kiss Me on My Neck (Hesi).” The jazz number “Orange Moon” moves at a crawl but rewards the
listener’s patience. Album closer “Green Eyes” picks through the wreckage of her relationship with
Outkast’s Andre 3000. The song’s 10 expansive minutes aren’t enough to resolve Badu’s pain, leaving
her and the listener without an easy exit.
More than 20 years after its release, Mama’s Gun stands as a masterpiece of its era alongside Voodoo,
My Life and Urban Hang Suite. It is the conduit from Marvin Gaye’s Here My Dear to Amy Winehouse,
Adelle and the Weeknd. -Joel Francis
Foo Fighters – Medicine At Midnight [140 gram Vinyl]
Fela Kuti – Fela Live with Ginger Baker
Fleetwood Mac – Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac – The Pious Bird Of Good Omen
Frank Black – Oddballs (140 Gram Vinyl, Colored Vinyl, Silver)
Gene Russell – Talk to My Lady (Remastered Vinyl Edition)
Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction [180 gram Vinyl]
The Hold Steady – Open Door Policy
Heldon – Electronique Guerilla (Heldon I)
Henry Frankin – The Skipper (Remastered Vinyl Edition)
Incubus – Make Yourself
Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow (180 Gram Vinyl, Remastered)
Julien Baker – Little Oblivions (Yellow Colored Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
Julien Baker – Sprained Ankle (Colored Vinyl, Blue, Indie Exclusive)
John Prine – Pink Cadillac
John Prine – September 78
John Prine -The Tree of Forgiveness
Kiss – Destroyer
Korn – Follow the Leader
Korn – Untouchables (140 Gram Vinyl)
Kiss – Rock and Roll Over (Limited Edition, Remastered)
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Flying Microtonal Banana
Lil’ Kim – The Notorious K.I.M. (Pink & Black Colored Vinyl)
The Left Banke – Too (180 Gram Vinyl)
The London Suede – London Suede [180 gram Vinyl]
Michael Jackson – Thriller
Mogwai – As The Love Continues (Transparent Yellow Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
For over 25 years, the band Mogwai has created music for soundtracks, whether imaginary
or real. It’s not typical soundtrack music, however, with orchestral arrangements. Mogwai
plays soundtrack music with rock band instruments in a style that became known as post-
Much like any soundtrack, some of Mogwai’s music can get lost in the experience of
listening to it. It’s the flourishes, musical entrances, and changes that grab attention: the
arpeggiator in “Supposedly, We Are Nightmares” bubbling up from beneath the almost-
metal lead guitar riff and synthesizer pad, the brief phasing effect in “Ceiling Granny”
disrupting the power chords in the bridge, the real(!) string section fading in from behind
the steady drumbeat in “Midnight Flit,” some ghostly theremin-ish sound under the relaxed
groove in “Pat Stains,” and the vocoder in “F*ck Off Money” rising above the shoegaze
guitar, Because most of the band’s songs are instrumental, songs with vocals tend to stand
out the most on its albums. This album’s pop song (at least by Mogwai’s standards) with
vocals is “Ritchie Sacramento,” lamenting the recent passing of their friends who were
This is part of the review where the writer should round third base, recommending an
album and pronouncing to the discerning music listener where that particular record fits in
the band’s catalog. The problem (and I’d say this is a good problem!) with Mogwai’s music
is that sometimes it hard to judge if a song is going somewhere or if the band is running out
of ideas. Some of the band’s best moments in the past have been precisely when it feels like
the point of an entire song is the anticipation.
As Love Continues sounds great, and it’s difficult to tell where this will ultimately fit in the
band’s catalog. The band, at times, still leans into its metal influences that made its albums
like Mr. Beast and The Hawk is Howling so memorable. Then again, there seems to be more
of an emphasis at times on shoegaze and layered guitars. But then again, the band
continues to explore the use of synthesizers in very un-new wave songs.
It’s this ebb and flow of sounds and ideas that give the new album character. For listeners
content to sit back and let an album take them on a long, bumpy ride, this is a great record.
And for listeners new to Mogwai, this might be as good of an entry point to the band’s
catalog as any. The album feels a bit like a compilation of the different styles it has tinkered
with through the years while remaining unmistakably Mogwai. -Jonathon Smith
Melvins – Hostile Ambient Takeover (Pink Colored Vinyl, Reissue)
Menahan Street Band – The Exciting Sounds Of Menahan Street Band
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Way Down In The Rust Bucket (Deluxe Edition, With CD, With DVD, Boxed Set)
N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton
The National – The National (2021 Remaster)
Outkast – AQUEMINI
Outkast – Speakerboxxx: The Love Below
PJ Harvey – Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
PJ Harvey – Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea – Demos
Patty Waters – College Tour
Patty Waters – Live
Portishead – Dummy [180 gram Vinyl]
Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon (180 Gram Vinyl)
Radiohead – OK Computer
Radiohead – Kid A
Rush – 2112
Rush – Power Windows
Ray Charles – The Best Of Ray Charles: The Atlantic Years (Blue Colored Vinyl)
Riverside – Out of Myself
Rihanna – Girl Like Me
Shelia E – The Glamourous Life
Prince’s album with girl groups Vanity 6 and Apollonia 6 in the early ‘80s provided a sexy vehicle for his
songwriting and production, but his work with Shelia E. was a true partnership.
Hailing from a musical family that included Santana percussionist Coke Escovedo, alt-country pioneer
and underrated singer/songwriter Alejandro Escovedo, Sheila E. had already appeared on albums by
George Duke and Herbie Hancock by the time Prince shepherded her 1984 debut.
While the abundance of programmed drums doesn’t provide many opportunities for E’s skills as a
percussionist to shine, her voice is in fine form, particularly on the dramatic ballad “Next Time Wipe the
Lipstick Off Your Collar.” The singles that bookend the album, instrumental funk workout “Strawberry
Shortcake” and upbeat “Oliver’s House” are jams built for dancing and fun.
A brief album at just six songs and 33 minutes, The Glamourous Life wastes none of its time. From the
opening Top 40 hit “The Bells of St. Marks” to the closing Top 10 hit title song, Prince’s fingerprints are
all over the album. The Glamourous Life laid the sonic framework for future efforts like Janet Jackson’s
Control and is a key chapter in the evolution the Minneapolis Sound. -Joel Francis
The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
The Stone Roses – Second Coming
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble – The Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble
Stereolab – Electrically Possessed (Switched On Volume 4)
System of a Down – Toxicity (140 Gram Vinyl)
Turnover – Peripheral Vision (Colored Vinyl, Digital Download Card)
Tash Sultana – Terra Firma
The cover of second album by Australian multi-instrumentalist Tash Sultana looks like a metal or world
music album, but the first song, “Musk,” quickly dispels that notion. Across 14 tracks and one hour,
Sultana weaves a musical tapestry that ranges from the New Age/RPG video game vibe of “Musk,” to hip
hop, soulful R&B, funk and rock.
Although more than capable of recording the album alone, as numerous YouTube videos will attest,
Sultana worked with a band for Terra Firma. The trio recorded the album in 10 days against the
backdrop of the Covid pandemic and Australian brushfires.
Terra Firma’s best moments are clustered together in the middle of the album. “Pretty Lady” is a
sumptuous romantic song that gives way to “Dream My Life Away,” an astral duet with Josh Cashman.
“Coma,” arrives a couple tracks later. The atmospheric tune features charging drums and chiming guitars
reminiscent of something U2 would try on The Joshua Tree.
Despite Sultana’s best efforts to vary temps and textures, Terra Firma feels a little too laid back for its
own good. Swapping out a couple ballads toward the end for some more aggressive cuts would have
helped, but as it is Terra Firma is a lush, laid-back journey. -Joel Francis
Tyler Childers – Long Violent History [140 gram Vinyl]
Travis Scott – Astroworld (150 Gram Vinyl, Download Insert)
Van Halen – 1984
Van Halen – Fair Warning (180 Gram Vinyl, Remastered)
White Stripes – White Stripes (180 Gram Vinyl, Reissue)
The Weather Station – Ignorance
The Weeknd – Starboy
Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
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Sherman, Gordon, Cat, Matt, Dylan, Doyle, Heather, Dave and Max
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