It’s Mac Miller New Vinyl Thursday at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:
A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders
Atmosphere – God Loves Ugly
Alicia Keys – Alicia
It’s hard not to consider Alicia Keys’ seventh studio album as a musical extension of the autobiography
she released earlier this year. Giving the album her first name and appearing on the cover without
make-up, Alicia implies a continuation of the intimacy found on Here, Keys’ previous album.
Alicia and Here are similar in that both albums feature production without the glossy, pop sheen that
marked Keys’ early work, but you can also see on Alicia how Keys has grown as a songwriter during the
four years between albums.
Lead single “Underdog,” released as a single back in a more innocent time last January, celebrates the
working class with an infectious chorus that will lodge in your brain for days (in a good way). Similarly,
the album’s closing track, “Good Job,” provides inspiration to everyone trying to grind along: “The world
needs you now,” Keys sings on the chorus. “Know that you matter.” Similar statements of positivity
buoy the songs “Time Machine” and “Authors of Forever.”
The beauty in Alicia is that the songs never sound cloying or ham-fisted. Another treat is hearing Keys
skip from the reggae of “Wasted Energy” to the sensual R&B of “So Done” and several other genres with
an A-list of guest stars while always sounding true to herself and her ideals. Alicia is not an album
programmed with singles designed to generate movement in specific niches. It is the widescreen vision
of an artist who continues to grow. -Joel Francis
Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill
Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique [180 gram Vinyl]
Beastie Boys – Ill Communication [Limited edition, Silver Colored, 180 gram Vinyl]
Beastie Boys – To The 5 Boroughs
Beyonce – B’Day
Beyonce – Lemonade [180 gram Vinyl. Gatefold LP Jacket]
Black Pumas – Black Pumas
Bob Marley – Legend [180 gram Vinyl]
Bruce Springsteen – Letter to You [140 gram Vinyl]
The Budos Band – Long In The Tooth
Bob Mould – Blue Hearts
Bill Evans – Waltz for Debby
Calexico – Garden Ruin
Chris Stapleton – Starting Over [180 gram Vinyl]
Chvrches – Love Is Dead
Coil – Sara Dale’s Sensual Massage
The Clash – London Calling
Joe Strummer, lyricist, lead singer and rhythm guitarist for The Clash died on December 22, 2002. By the
time I found out it was late the next day. Every 24 th of December since then, I have dedicated Clashmas
Eve to the memory of Strummer and the majesty of The Clash. This non-denominational holiday can be
celebrated by all, and if you don’t have any Clash albums handy London Calling is an excellent place to
A double-album dropped in December, 1979, (and named the album of the ‘80s by Rolling Stone despite
not seeing release in that decade), London Calling not only solidified the quartet’s punk cred with hard-
rocking numbers like the title song and “Clampdown,” but also expanded the language of punk to
include ska on “Rudy Can’t Fail,” lounge music on “Lost in the Supermarket” and pop music on the Top
40 hit “Train in Vain.” The song “The Cheat Card” even featured a wall of sound, Phil Spector-esque
arrangement that had guitarist Mick Jones on piano and trumpet solo.
Never Mind the Bollocks and the Clash’s first album may have burned hotter as succinct statements of
raw punk rock, but London Calling sustained that passion across four sides of vinyl and transcended the
genre in the process. If you like music, you need London Calling.
Don’t forget to toast to the spirit of Joe Strummer with whatever you spin today. Happy Clashmas Eve. -Joel Francis
Dave Matthews – Crash [Anniversary Edition, 180 gram Vinyl]
David Bowie – Hunky Dory [180 gram Vinyl]
Dead Kennedy’s – Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables [180 gram Vinyl]
Drive-By Truckers – The New Ok
The Drive-By Truckers’ second release of 2020 feels like a continuation of the trilogy the started back
with 2016’s American Band and January’s The Unraveling. All albums deal with the frustration of living in
a continually (and intentionally) fractured culture where those in power gleefully decimate their
country’s morals and safeguards to line their pockets.
Many of The New OK’s songs started as outtakes from The Unraveling, but they are delivered with an
urgency that makes them feel like a musically superior version of Neil Young’s political broadside Living
Songs about the Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, Ore. (“Watching the Orange Clouds”) or how
casting an underqualified politician paved the way for a reality television president (“Sarah’s Flame”)
inhabit the same left-wing ecosystem as Steve Earle and Billy Bragg’s musical editorials. Fortunately,
songs like “Sea Island Lonely,” punctuated by upbeat horns, and a spirited version of the Ramones’ “The
KKK Took My Baby Away” keep the album from being swept away in its own bleak undercurrent.
Hopefully, the current circumstances will change and the Truckers’ grim trilogy will no longer feel
relevant. Until then, anyone who needs confirmation that they are really seeing what they are seeing
and hearing what they are hearing can turn to the Truckers. -Joel Francis
George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice [180 gram Vinyl]
Gil Scott-Heron – Pieces of a Man
Goldfrapp – Supernature
Gorillaz – Humanz
Greta Van Fleet – Black Smoke Rising
Grizzly Bear – Pained Ruins [180 gram Vinyl]
Guided by Voices – Mirrored Aztecs
Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction [180 gram Vinyl]
Glass Animals – Dreamland
Harry Styles – Fine Line [180 gram Vinyl]
The Killers – Imploding The Mirage
The Killers’ sixth studio album Imploding the Mirage is huge. Like the actual Mirage, the hotel/casino/mega-resort in the band’s hometown, Las Vegas, it’s a lot to take in all at once. It’s arena rock in a time when arenas sit empty, not only fulfilling the need for nostalgia, but also the need for hope. This is by far, The Killers most optimistic album, trading the jealousy and dread of the previous albums for the hope of a better tomorrow.
My Own Soul’s Warning is theatrical and swirling. It’s a big, fun arena rock anthem chock-full of synths and danceable drum beats. Lead singer Brandon Flowers matches the energy with his powerful vocals. It’s easily my favorite song of the year and is going to be a heck of a song to kick off a live show with when that time comes.
Songs like Blowback and Caution are tales of characters like Bon Jovi’s Tommy and Gina or Mellencamp’s Jack and Diane. Tales of youth, feeling trapped, and the hope of a better tomorrow. Through the storytelling, you feel like these are people you could get to know, or already know.
Dying Breed is a modern-day Born to Run. It evokes the dream of the top-down, hair blowing in the wind, desert driving American road trip. The sound projects a huge landscape, much like the visuals it invokes.
When it comes to The Killers, they continue to remain universal and unique, writing songs that speak to the many, while sounding like the few. I’d be hard-pressed to find a band today that has the style, poise, hooks, and riffs that Imploding the Mirage brings to the table. Time will tell if it’s because other bands see it as a formula for success, or like the song suggests; when it comes to The Killers…maybe they’re a dying breed. – Brad Simmons
Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
Kelly Finnigan – A Joyful Sound
The Christmas season, as even a toddler can tell you, leans heavily on nostalgia. While most Christmas
albums wind up being retreads of the same two-dozen Yuletide tunes, Kelly Finnigan uses nostalgia in a
different way for his seasonal release.
A Joyful Sound captures the sound and feel of those 1960s albums recorded in Los Angeles by the
session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew. The spirit of these albums are familiar even if the Crew
isn’t – think of the Mamas and Papas, Nancy Sinatra, Phil Spector’s releases, the Righteous Brothers,
Johnny Rivers and Jan and Dean.
Finnigan captures this spirit right down to the string arrangement and mournful French horn on “No
Time to Be Sad.” A baritone sax adds a Daptone feel to “Just One Kiss” (no surprise, since Finnigan’s
band includes members of the Dap-Kings, Durand Jones and the Indications, Ghost Funk Orchestra and
the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio).
The result is a half-hour of upbeat, original holiday music that lives up to its title and can be embraced
by the whole family, across all generations. -Joel Francis
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Live in San Francisco ‘16
The Kinks – Lola versus Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Part One
The title song of the Kinks’ 1970 album may not have aged well in politically correct circles, but the rest
of the album is still as resplendent as ever.
Lola, the album, is the perfect balance of hard rock songs and acoustic numbers, bridging the distance
between the British song hall tunes that characterize Village Green and the big guitar numbers that
helped the Kinks fill arenas at the end of the decade.
Somewhere in this lies a story about the music industry and the opportunists that hide in its shadows.
Fall in that rabbit hole as far as you wish, but don’t let it distract you from Ray Davies’ terrific batch of
songs and the outstanding performances of them.
Songs from Lola have popped up frequently in the half-century since their release. Wes Anderson used
several to great effect in his film The Darjeeling Limited. Davies’ underlying thread about the music
industry inspired Tom Petty’s similarly themed album The Last DJ. And, of course, the title song remains
a staple on classic rock radio.
The Kinks hung around another quarter-century after Lola, but they never released another concept
album that felt so effortless and fun and only sporadically delivered an album’s worth of such strong
material. Lola deserves a place in every British Invasion or classic rock album collection. -Joel Francis
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV [180 gram Vinyl]
Lee Fields – Big Crown Vaults Vol. 1
Lou Donaldson – Lush Life
Lucinda Williams – Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
Laura Veirs – My Echo
Singer/songwriter Laura Veirs may have been the least-known member on the supergroup album
case/lang/veirs released in 2016 with Neko Case and k.d. lang. Veirs’ new solo release My Echo proves
she is more than capable of pulling her own weight.
Veirs’ 11 th album is her Blood on the Tracks, written as she was trying to preserve her marriage. This is
well-trod territory, but Veirs almost sounds at ease. When she sings “come and rest a while in my
song/nothing’s wrong” on “I Sing to the Tall Man” it is easy to believe her. In lesser hands, the chorus of
“all the things I cannot hold I cannot save” (on “All the Things”) would sound pithy and aphoristic. Veirs
gives the words weight, making them sound like a proverb.
My Morning Jacket’s Jim James shows up on two tracks. His verse on “Vapor Trails” makes an already
intimate album sound even more confidential. Guitarists M. Ward and Bill Frissell also make noteworthy
Fans of the other artists on case/lang/veirs or confessional singer/songwriters will relish My Echo. With
any luck, the next time the supertrio convenes, Veirs’ name will be more distinguished. -Joel Francis
Mac Miller – Swimming In Circles (Deluxe Box Set)
Mac Miller – K.I.D.S.
Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On [180 gram vinyl]
Miles Davis Enigma (10-Inch Vinyl)
Miles Davis – On the Corner (180 Gram Vinyl)
Miles Davis – Nefertiti
Metallica – …And Justice For All
Metallica – Metallica
Michael Jackson – Bad
Michael Jackson – Thriller
My Chemical Romance – Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge
Nick Drake – Bryter Layter
Nirvana – Nevermind
Paul McCartney – III
After nearly 60 years of gifting the world with some of the best-loved songs of all time, the cute Beatle
doesn’t owe anyone anything. When the pandemic put Sir Paul McCartney in rockdown, as he termed it,
the studio was a natural place of comfort.
The 11 songs that emerged from this insulated isolation are all written, performed and produced by
McCartney. Sonically, the album is closer to the homespun charm of McCartney’s first self-titled album,
rather than the 1980’s electronic sequel.
McCartney’s optimism can be too much at times, but here it provides an upbeat ending to a tiring,
troubling year. On the album’s second song (and first with lyrics), McCartney sings “You never used to
be/afraid of days like these/but now you’re overwhelmed/by your anxieties/let me help you out/let me
be your guide/I can help you reach/the love you feel inside.”
There are no embarrassing moments where McCartney attempts to incorporate dubstep or otherwise
overreach. McCartney III is the sound of a brilliant musician and songwriter staying within his
wheelhouse and building off what he does best. It is both comfort food and good art. Wrap yourself in it
and feel better. -Joel Francis
Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon [180 gram Vinyl]
Pink Floyd – Animals
Pop Smoke – Meet The Woo 2
Prince – Purple Rain [180 gram Vinyl]
Queens of the Stone Age – Songs for the Deaf [180 gram Vinyl]
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication [180 gram Vinyl]
The Rolling Stones – Goats Head Soup [Limited Edition, Deluxe, 180 gram Vinyl]
Seatbelts – Cowboy Bebop [150 gram Vinyl]
Sturgill Simpson – Cuttin’ Grass
Sturgill Simpson – High Top Mountain
Talking Heads – Speaking in Tongues [180 gram Vinyl]
Terry Callier – Turn You To Love (180 Gram Vinyl)
Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
Three 6 Mafia – The End
Tyler Childers – Country Squires [150 gram Vinyl]
Tyler The Creator – Flower Boy [150 gram Vinyl]
Various Artists – Guardians of the Galaxies (Songs From The Motion Picture)
Various Artists – Singles Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [150 gram Vinyl]
Woody Shaw – Live In Bremen 1983
The War on Drugs – Live Drugs
Yusef Lateef – Eastern Sounds
50% OFF – Any 1 RSD Title – Thursday, December 24th ONLY!
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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.
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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, Dave and Max
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