It’s Black Friday New Vinyl at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:
2Pac – All Eyez On Me
Arlo Mckinley & The Lonesome Sound – Arlo Mckinley & The Lonesome Sound
Beyonce – Lemonade [180 gram Vinyl, Gatefold LP Jacket]
Black Creatures – Wild Echoes
Chavez – Gone Glimmering (Gatefold LP Jacket, Expanded Version)
Chris Stapleton – Starting Over [180 gram vinyl]
Drive-By Truckers – Decoration Day (Gatefold LP Jacket, 180 Gram Vinyl, Limited Edition, Clear Gold Vinyl)
Drive-by Truckers – The Fine Print (Gatefold LP Jacket, Limited Edition, 180 Gram Vinyl, Clear Green Vinyl)
Drive-By Truckers – Brighter Than Creation’s Dark (Gatefold LP Jacket, Limited Edition, 180 Gram Vinyl, Clear Black Vinyl)
Drive-By Truckers – Decoration Day; The Dirty South; A Blessing and a Curse; Brighter Than Creation’s
Dark; The Fine Print; Live from Austin, Tx
In 2001, the Drive-by Truckers, or DBT, released Southern Rock Opera, their first masterpiece, and
established themselves as Southerners able to both embrace and grapple with their complicated
heritage while being able to rock as hard as their Southern rock and alt-country idols. The six reissued
albums show the band building off that success and continue to blossom as songwriters and performers.
These albums also cover Jason Isbell’s time with the band.
Decoration Day, the Truckers’ first album with Isbell and fourth studio release, is just as ambitious as the
group’s breakthrough release and nearly just as good. Songs like “Marry Me” and “Sounds Better in the
Song” illustrate DBT’s ability to translate subtly and nuance across universal themes. “Marry Me” is a
rocking, straight-ahead love song, while “Sounds Better” almost functions as a heartbreaking coda, as
the woman gradually outgrows her lovestruck man. The title track is Isbell’s first great song.
Released just 14 months later, The Dirty South continues the themes established on the previous two
albums. “Carl Perkins’ Cadillac” celebrates Sun Records and a three-song suite examines a Tennessee
sheriff who fought organized crime. “Puttin’ People on the Moon” is another thoughtful, first-person
song that could easily be a short story. In it, guitarist Patterson Hood looks at the economic impact of a
NASA space center in Alabama. This type of ambitious songwriting could easily wind up being preachy or
pretentious, but in the Truckers’ hands, more often than not they are compassionate and emotionally
For 2006’s A Blessing and a Curse, the Truckers decided to write songs in the studio and record them
quickly. The result is a record that sounds like it was cut alongside Sticky Fingers or Street Survivors. It is
also Isbell’s last album with the band before an amicable parting. In just 10 stanzas, opener “Feb. 14”
captures a couple at the moment of estrangement. Despite its title, “World of Hurt” is an ultimately
optimistic tale of advice told by a person looking back through a scarred life. A Blessing and a Curse
doesn’t have an overarching theme like the previous Truckers’ albums, but captures 11 capsules of life.
Written and recorded during the tour supporting A Blessing and a Curse, 2008’s Brighter Than Creation’s
Dark is DBT’s best album since Decoration Day. Bass player Shona Tucker wrote and sang three poignant
songs that draw on her divorce from Isbell at the time. In “Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife,” pays
tribute to a murdered underground musician who wonders what will happen to his family now that he is
gone. “A Ghost to Most” is a reaction to Hurricane Katrina and “The Man I Shot” is a moving look at
post-traumatic stress in a veteran. It’s heavy stuff, to be sure, but the Truckers are such great musicians
and seasoned performers that they know how to somehow make it a delight for the ears.
The Fine Print is an outtakes collection from the Isbell era that is worth the price just for the cover of
“Like a Rolling Stone” that has each of the band’s vocalists sing a verse. Among the Tom Petty, Warren
Zevon and Tom T. Hall covers are early versions of songs reworked for later albums and numbers that
didn’t make the final cut, for whatever reason.
Finally, Live in Austin, Tx captures the band on Austin City Limits during their Brighter Than Creation’s
Dark tour. The 13-song set is a master class in how to build a show, starting with the low-key “Perfect
Timing” and gradually building in tempo with each song until “18 Wheels of Love” and “Marry Me” kick
the doors down. (Even then, the 12-minute “Wheels” takes its time, with a lengthy spoken-word
introduction setting up the performance.)
The Drive-By Truckers combine the literacy of a Tom Wolfe novel with the chops of Muscle Shoal’s
swampers studio musicians, the power of a Lynyrd Skynrd concert and the emotion of a Gus Van Sant
film. Start with Decoration Day, then follow what sounds intriguing. It won’t take more than a couple
albums to turn you into a fan. -Joel Francis
Daniel Lanois – For The Beauty Of Wynona (Limited 180-Gram ‘Smokey’ Colored Vinyl)
Fates Warning – Long Day Good Night
Gavin DeGraw – Chariot
“This is the start of something good, don’t you agree?” and just like that, the world is introduced to Gavin DeGraw. That’s technically not true, most people probably first heard the single (and opening theme song for the TV show One Tree Hill) “I Don’t Want to Be.” It was all over the radio in 2004. While that is statistically his biggest song, it’s just a good song full of great songs on DeGraw’s debut album Chariot.
Songs like “Chariot,” “Follow Through” and “Just Friends” (also released later as singles) didn’t enjoy the same commercial success but are beautifully crafted soulful pop songs. Most songs on the album are piano-driven, helping DeGraw to differentiate himself from some of his peers during the same timeframe. I’ve personally been waiting on this album to be released on vinyl since I first picked up the CD back in 2004. This is a great album and is arguably his best work. It’s finally getting a vinyl release and I very much look forward to reconnecting to this timeless album. -Brad Simmons
Iron Maiden – Killers
Joel Ross – Who You Are (2020 | Blue Note)
Joel Ross and his band, Good Vibes, have returned with Who You Are less than a year since
their last album, KingMaker. The five-piece acoustic band is held down by a typical rhythm
section with piano, bass, and drums, while the frontline features Ross on vibraphone and
Immanuel Wilkins on alto saxophone. For the band’s second record, it worked with Walter
Smith III, and it feels even more like an ensemble effort.
After playing with him in other bands, Ross’s rapport with Smith seemed to help Good
Vibes in developing Who You Are, where an emphasis is placed as much on the whole
album as it is on individual songs. Even more so than with KingMaker, this record feels like
a book and songs are chapters. Ross, in fact, has been quoted as saying, “This record is a
culmination of our maturing—as people, as a band, within the music—it’s about figuring
out who we are.”
Comparionsons to KingMaker are inevitable because it was such a strong first album.
Instead of the vibraphone, the first soloist to greet the listener on Who You Are is Kanoa
Mendenhall, the new bassist. This seems indicative of the overall approach on this album.
Ross allows his bandmates some stretching room on this record, more time to solo like in a
live setting. Twelve of the fifteen tracks were composed by Ross with another band
member, which also seems to signify more input from the whole band this time around.
With a heavier low-end and addition of harpist Brandee Younger on several tracks, the
sonic palette is even fuller than on KingMaker.
Listeners know that music can serve many purposes at once. Sometimes a person can
desires to break down transitions, structure, or improvisation, and there is certainly plenty
to analyze on Who You Are. Sometimes a person just needs the right vibe for dinner, and
Ross and Watkins share many smooth riffs. Once again, Joel Ross and Good Vibes deliver an
album that can provide opportunities for both academic and casual listening. -Jonathon Smith
John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
Kamaal Williams – Wu Hen
The second album by the London-based musician Kamaal Williams opens with a mournful saxophone set
against lush strings and harp. The two-minute palate cleanser does a good job setting the table for this
eclectic mélange of jazz, funk, hip hop and more.
“One More Time” is built on a synth line that sounds like it was pulled from an old Atari game driven by
a funky bassline and hip-hop drumming. The extremely funking “Save Me” sounds like a house track
with a sax solo pulled from the Weather Channel. Elsewhere, “Hold On” is a dreamy R&B cut with
Lauren Faith guesting on vocals. “Pigalle” is a bebop cut that sounds like it was pulled straight from the
Blue Note archives.
Williams has released two jazz albums since breaking into the mainstream with drummer Yussef Dayes
on the critically lauded album Black Focus. On Wu Hen, it feels like Williams is creating the sounds he
wants to make, rather than responding to Black Focus. (Williams also releases house records under the
name Henry Wu)
Fans of Flying Lotus, Karriem Riggins and Taylor McFerrin will already be familiar with Williams’
aesthetic. For fans of traditional jazz, Wu Hen is an excellent introduction to this new movement. -Joel Francis
Lucinda Williams – Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
Lucifer – Black Mass
Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (180 Gram Vinyl, Reissue)
Mary J. Blige – My Life
In the early ‘90s, soul music was in a weird place. For the past several years – more than a decade,
really, it seemed like the genre was trying to find a place within another genre rather than continuing to
develop and push its own sound. There are some pretty big exceptions to this, but you can hear (and
feel) the growing pains in Curtis Mayfield’s disco tracks or Aretha Franklin singing against synthesizer-
heavy productions on Arista.
My Life was a game-changer. It used the sample-heavy production of new jack swing, but used those
samples to create lush, sweeping backdrops. The sound producer Chucky Thompson created for Mary J.
Blige’s voice stood in contrast to the harder, hip-hop heavy settings found on Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison”
and Janet Jackson’s “Nasty.”
But great production will only get you so far. Blige drained her heart into these songs, singing frankly
about her relationship issues, depression and substance abuse. Despite these bleak themes, the song
cycle ends on a high note of self-empowerment with “Be Happy.”
You can hear the pained, honest echoes of My Life in Jackson’s Velvet Rope and the debut albums from
Erykah Badu Lauryn Hill. Those reverberations are still there today in the music of SZA and Solange, to
name a few. But influences can’t replace an original and more than 25 years after its release, My Life
still sounds and feels vital. -Joel Francis
Mild High Club – Skiptracing
Melvin Sparks – I’m Funky Now
At age 13, guitarist Melvin Sparks sat in with B.B. King. As a high school student, he backed up Little
Richard, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield. After graduation, in the 1960s, Sparks played on
albums for Blue Note and Prestige as a session musician. His solo debut arrived in 1970.
I’m Funky Now was supposed to be Sparks’ fourth album, but languished unheard in the vaults for
decades when his label at the time decided Sparks’ music was out of step with the current disco trend. It
takes less than a minute to hear the label’s mistake. The title song blasts out of the gate with a super
funky groove. Likewise, “Disco Booty” and “I’m Going to Funk You Up” would also have had no trouble
filling dance floors. The ballad “Love Tones” rides the pocket between jazz and soul.
Had it been released in 1976, I’m Funky Now would have been a godsend to DJs, packed with hook after
hook ripe for sampling. Sadly, much of the information around the album was lost over time. It is
rumored members of Parliament/Funkadelic played on I’m Funky Now. Regardless, these seven tracks
belong in the collection of any ‘70s soul or funk aficionado. -Joel Francis
Molchat Doma – Monument
Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die
Orville Peck – Show Pony (Purple Colored Vinyl, Sticker, Extended Play, Poster)
Public Enemy – What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down?
Since their time pioneering hip hop as “CNN for the streets” in the 1980s, Public Enemy have never had
a problem speaking their minds and confronting authority. Back on Def Jam for the first time this
century, PE’s 17 th studio album couldn’t be timed better.
Lead single “State of the Union (STFU)” shouts what many Americans have been thinking for a while and
provides an early, cathartic shot. A half-dozen guests update PE’s signature cut, “Fight the Power,” with
references to Breonna Taylor, Obamacare and Marvel films. The song is filled with thought-provoking
lines that make it urgent and so much more than a sentimental rehash. Sample lyric: “You love Black
Panther but not Fred Hampton.”
The album succeeds along these same lines. Chuck D and Flava Flav bring on a host of guests – ranging
from George Clinton to PMD – not for mere nostalgia but because of their experience. Def Jam alums
Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys lend a hand on “Public Enemy Number Won,” turning in not only a
celebration of an era, but an examination of how that time has defined them in the decades since then.
Chuck D and Public Enemy have consistently spoken truth to power for nearly 35 years. If you fell away
for a while – and many fans did – this is the perfect album to come back on board. -Joel Francis
Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Rage Against the Machine – Renegades (180 Gram Vinyl)
Sun Ra – Jazz in Silhouette (180 Gram Vinyl)
Sturgill Simpson – Sailor’s Guide to Earth (Bonus CD, 180 Gram Vinyl)
Tech N9ne – Strangeulation (Gatefold LP Jacket)
Tyler Childers -Country Squire [150 gram Vinyl, Gatefold LP jacket]
Turnpike Troubadours – Diamonds and Gasoline
Tame Impala – Currents
Various Artists – Southeast of Saturn
While Detroit is rightfully heralded as the home of the Motown sound, the Motor City also has a rich
legacy of dirty, scuzzy rock and roll. Local bands such as the MC5 and Gories influenced a young Jack
White growing up Detroit. Now as the head of Third Man Records, White has collected 19 songs from D-
Town’s underground space rock scene in the 1990s.
Many of the songs gathered on Southeast of Saturn sound like unwashed stepchildren of shoegaze. The
song “Astrobrite” by the band Crasher leads off the second disc and kicks like the My Bloody Valentine,
while the next song, Naming Mary’s “Stardriver,” sparkles on top, but has an aggressive undertow.
If band names such as Thirsty Forest Animals, Miss Bills or Butterfield Eight don’t ring a bell, fear not.
Southeast of Saturn is designed to enlighten the masses on a scene the probably missed the first time
around. This two-record collection is an ideal way to get up to speed. -Joel Francis
Various Artists – Stone Free: Jimi Hendrix Tribute
Black Friday Record Store Day 2020 is going to be Friday, November 27th. Click HERE to RSVP.
RSD – Black Friday Preview
Raise a hand if you took part in any of the previous Record Store Days this year in August, September or
October. Now put it down – people are starting to look at you.
Whether you are a Record Store Day veteran or new to the experience, come out this Friday, November
27, for the final Record Store Day event of the year.
Seventh Heaven will open at 7 a.m. and has implemented several changes to keep both you and staff
safe. While waiting in line, please stay six feet apart from your fellow record fans. Everyone entering the
store is required to wear a mask over his or her nose and mouth at all times.
Once inside, there will be several tables set up with RSD goods in the old space downstairs. There will be
a limit of two people per table. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of open space to maintain social
As always, Seventh Heaven has ordered every RSD title and will have them priced below retail. Sealed,
single-serving cans of pop and candy bars are available for all. Learn more about Record Store Day Black
Here are 10 RSD releases dropping this Friday I’m excited about:
Public Enemy – Power to the People and Beats: Public Enemy’s Greatest Hits (limited to 7,000 copies)
Chris Cornell – Patience (7” single, limited to 6,000 copies)
Elliott Smith – Elliott Smith Alternate Versions (limited to 2000 copies)
Motorhead – On Parole (Expanded and Remastered) (limited to 3,000)
Various Artists – Afrikan Blood (limited to 1,500 copies)
The Bangles – Doll Revolution (limited to 1200 copies)
Beastie Boys – Some Old Bullshit (limited to 8,000 copies)
The Comet is Coming – Imminent (12” vinyl, limited to 2,500 copies)
Willie Nelson – Live at Austin City Limits 1976 (limited to 4,000 copies)
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – Just Dropped In (To See What Condition my Rendition Was In) (limited
to 4,000 copies)
The “Stretch” Sale
Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 11am
We were lucky enough to have purchased the lifetime record collection of long time record store guy and music lover Bill “Stretch” Osment. The collection is 80% Blues, 15% Jazz and 5% everything else including 78’s, 45’s and 8 tracks. We will be putting the collection out for sale Saturday the 28th of November at 11 am. We will spread it out just like at RSD so that everyone can shop in safety. This collection has records we have never seen before. If you like the blues, you do not want to miss this sale. Click HERE to RSVP.
Turntables! We got ’em. From starter tables to audiophile, and everything in between, we have you covered. We are honored to once again be carrying a full line up of the award winning, top of their class, made in America, U-turn Orbits! We have all the colors- including the high performance walnut and maple. Get here fast for best selection. Get yours today!
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.
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
#TheVinylUndergroundKC #WeAreLocal #YourNeighborhoodMusicStore