It’s Megadeth New Vinyl Thursday at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:
311- Mardi Gras 2020
A Tribe Called Quest- Midnight Marauders
Black Keys – Dropout Boogie
Beach House – Depression Cherry (Digital Download Card)
Blondie – Against The Odds: 1974-1982 [Super Deluxe 10LP/ 10″ LP/ 7″ Single] (Deluxe Edition, Boxed Set, With Book)
Braxe & Falcon – Step By Step
Buffalo Springfield – Retrospective: The Best Of Buffalo Springfield (180 Gram Vinyl)
Bob Marley & the Wailers – Legend (180 Gram Vinyl, Special Edition)
The Cure – Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (180 Gram Vinyl)
Codeine – Dessau – (Transparent Green Clear Vinyl)
Chris Stapleton- Traveller
Cressida – Cressida
Cage the Elephant- Melophobia
Childish Gambino – Because the Internet
Demi Lovato – HOLY FVCK
Doris Troy – Just One Look (Green Colored Vinyl)
Duwayne Burnside – Acoustic Burnside (Purple Colored Vinyl Clear Vinyl)
Grateful Dead – Aoxomoxoa (140 Gram Vinyl)
Horace Tapscott Quintet – The Quintet
Jethro Tull – Aqualung (Steve Wilson Mix)
Jack White – Entering Heaven Alive
Not to be out done by anyone else’s pandemic record, Jack White decided to hedge his bets by releasing two separate albums, six months apart, that he wrote, produced, and largely performed over the course of the pandemic.
If the riff laden, cut and paste, electric assault that is “Fear Of Dawn” is to represent the Yin of White’s pandemic lockdown, then one might say that the acoustic based, Gypsy-folk, singalongs of “Entering Heavan Alive” must be the Yang.
Right out of the gate White appears to be playing with such no dualistic spiritual themes in the opening lines of “A Tip From You To Me”
– Ask yourself if you are happy and then you cease to be
That’s a tip from you to me
And it’s worked for sure I don’t ask myself for nothing anymore
My peace is freedom from the masses’ Cause the masses cannot see That’s a tip from them to me And now I know for sure I don’t need nobody’s help now anymore –
The song hangs nicely from a charming bar room piano part coupled with a bouncy Phil Lesh inspired bass line.
“All Along the Way” is a wandering baroque styled song that seems to explore the two sides of love and solitude. The song breaks down into a dub inspired bridge that hammers home the idea that sometimes choosing the “unknown road” makes “us who we are in a way.”
“Love Is Selfish” is a poignant mostly solo acoustic track that continues the theme of how to live in a world filled alienation and self centeredness.
“I’ve Got You Surrounded (with my love)” introduces a haunting pulse rhythm surrounded by jazzy wah wah guitar and the closest thing you’re ever going to find to free jazz piano on a Jack White album, while “Queen Of the Bees” summons a classic 30’s shuffle with some brave old school lyrics that only someone like Mr. White can pull off. IMHO.
The final track, “Taking Me Back (gently),” on “Heaven…” is a reworking of the first track on “Fear of Dawn,” bookending the two album project.
Where the version on “Dawn…” was a hailstorm of crushing beats and processed electric guitar, the later is a flapper’s delight, gypsy jazz treatment.
I think due to its maximalist approach “Fear Of Dawn” will garner more attention but as far as lyric content I think “Entering Heaven Alive” has got the long game on lockdown. Beautiful Detroit Denim vinyl is nice too. – Major Matt
King’s X – Three Sides Of One (With CD, Deluxe Edition, Gatefold LP Jacket, Limited Edition, Colored Vinyl)
Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers
Scores of rappers like to talk about themselves, but few can do it with the vulnerable introspection of
Kendrick Lamar. When we last heard from California the rapper five years ago, he was curating the Black
Panther soundtrack and winning the Pulitzer Prize for his album Damn.
Lamar’s fifth album, Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers, might be even more ambitious. Across 18 songs
and 73 minutes, Lamar grapples with family violence and abuse, transgender relatives, grief, maintaining
a romantic partnership, the responsibilities of fatherhood, sex addiction and more.
A schizophrenic production style that finds several songs suddenly changing textures and moods across
a few minutes makes Mr. Morale feel even more overstuffed.
Over a career than now reaches back more than a decade, Lamar has never been an easy listen. There
are layers to Lamar’s art that demand close, repeated plays. Mr. Morale makes the climb even steeper
by not providing any songs like “Humble” or “Alright” from his previous albums that allow the listener to
regroup and dance before diving back in.
Listening to Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers may feel like homework compared to Lamar’s earlier
album statements, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth grappling with. Great art is frequently
challenging. By design, it will take time to discern whether Mr. Morale lives up to those lofty standards
or falls short. The path to discovery may ultimately be more rewarding than the album itself, which is
still a big artistic win for Lamar. -Joel Francis
Liquid Tension Experiment – Lte3 (With CD, Gatefold LP Jacket, Limited Edition, Colored Vinyl)
Leon Bridges – Coming Home (180 Gram Vinyl, Download Insert)
Leon Bridges – Good Thing (180 Gram Vinyl, Download Insert)
Megadeth – The Sick, The Dying And The Dead! (180 Gram Vinyl)
Megadeth – The Sick, The Dying And The Dead! (Deluxe Edition, Limited Edition, 180 Gram Vinyl, With Bonus 7″, Lithograph)
Mel Carter – When A Boy Falls In Love
Motley Crue – Girls, Girls, Girls
Metallica – Metallica (Remastered)
Monophonics – Sage Motel (Transparent Orange w/ Black Swirl Colored Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
Miles Davis – Bitches Brew [140 gram Vinyl]
Miles Davis – Kind of Blue [Mono Vinyl]
Nina Simone – The Hits
NOFX – White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean (Colored Vinyl, Clear Vinyl, Blue, Anniversary Edition)
Neil Young – Tonight’s The Night
Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Live At Ronnie Scott’s 1963
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication [180 gram Vinyl]
Radiohead – OK Computer
Ramones – Ramones
Sponge – Rotting Pinata (Limited Edition, 180 Gram Vinyl,Orange Colored Vinyl)
Stereolab – Pulse Of The Early Brain (Switched On Volume 5)(Poster, Sticker, Gatefold LP Jacket, Digital Download Card)
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Live Alive
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Sky Is Crying (180 Gram Vinyl)
Sun Ra – Ra To The Rescue (Green Clear Vinyl)
Silk Sonic – An Evening with Silk Sonic
Pop star Bruno Mars and rapper/singer/producer Anderson .Paak have been burning up the internet since they released their first song online last March. The slow trickle of singles since then has built plenty of anticipation for a full-length collaboration. Now that it’s finally here, An Evening with Silk Sonic doesn’t disappoint.
After an introductory track narrated by P-Funk legend Bootsy Collins, the Evening kicks off with “Leave the Door Open,” a smooth slice of Marvin Gaye-inspired R&B that leads straight to the bedroom. Other songs borrow liberally from Rick James, the Delfonics and Isley Brothers. Playing spot-the-influence with Silk Sonic is child’s play. What makes the album so irresistible is hearing how much fun the pair is having putting together their throwback party mix.
Silk Sonic’s evening is delivered with a broad wink. On the playful “Smoking Out the Window,” Mars complains that “badass kids runnin’ ’round my whole crib like it’s Chuck E. Cheese.” The James Brown pastiche “777” is filled with tongue-in-cheek boasting about how much fun the pair plans to have. The upbeat party only pauses for the Philly soul-styled heartbreaker “Put on a Smile.”
If there is any flaw in An Evening with Silk Sonic, it’s that it ends so quickly. At eight songs (plus the intro) and barely more than half an hour, the party is just starting to heat up when the album ends. At this point, there is no choice but to flip the album over and start the whole celebration over again. -Joel Francis
Talking Heads – Talking heads: 77 [180 gram Vinyl]
Third Eye Blind – Third Eye Blind
Tame Impala – Currents
Van Halen – Van Halen II (180 Gram Vinyl, Remastered)
Valerie June – Under Cover
One year after dropping her fifth album, Nashville roots artist Valerie June is back with an eight-song EP
of cover songs.
June isn’t looking to blow anyone’s mind with obscure songs or artists. Half the songs here are obvious
picks by obvious artists: Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Nick Cave. June goes a little deeper for
the other half, with songs by Frank Ocean, Mazzy Star, Gillian Welch and Joe South.
Unsurprisingly, June fares better on the less-exposed songs, but the closing one-two punch of Dylan’s
“Tonight I’ll Be Staying With You” and Cave’s “Into My Arms” end the album on a high note. The pedal
steel on “Tonight” pulls the song right back into the Nashville Skyline context of the original, but June’s
warm vocals make the song even more soulful and inviting. June plays the hymn-like “Into My Arms”
more like Cave’s familiar rendition, but again, her voice pulls the listener in close, like a heartfelt
Ocean’s “Godspeed” gets more of a gospel feel under June’s watchful eye, while Welch’s “Look at Miss
Ohio” retains the rustic feel of the original. The only version that doesn’t work here is Lennon’s
“Imagine,” if only because the song has been done so many times there isn’t really anything more to be
said. Its enticing to imagine what June could have done with “Oh My Love” off the same Lennon album.
At just 28 minutes, Under Cover isn’t a major statement, but it solidifies many of June’s best traits and
demonstrates why she is an artist to watch. -Joel Francis
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Sherman, Gordon, Cat, Matt, Dylan, Doyle, Heather, Greg, Dave and Lain