It’s Steve Earle New Vinyl Thursday at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:
24-Carat Black – Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth
311 – Mardi Gras 2020
Black Keys – Brothers (Deluxe Edition, Gatefold LP Jacket, Remastered, Anniversary Edition)
Black Unity Trio – Al-fatihah
Black Pumas – Black Pumas (Bonus Tracks, With Bonus 7″, Deluxe Edition, Colored Vinyl)
Brittany Howard – Jaime (Colored Vinyl, Limited Edition, Indie Exclusive)
Britney Spears – Baby One More Time (Picture Disc Vinyl LP, 140 Gram Vinyl, Download Insert)
Beastie Boys – Beastie Boys Music
Charles Lloyd and the Marvels – Tone Poem
Jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd’s love affair with country music continues on Tone Poem. Previous
recordings with the Marvels, Lloyd’s vehicle for these adventures in Americana, found the iconic jazz
man covering Bob Dylan and recording with Lucinda Williams. For the third installment, Lloyd does not
feature a vocalist, but leans hard on guitarist Bill Frisell.
An accomplished musician in his own right, Frisell is more than a counterpoint to Lloyd’s playing. Frisell’s
strummed rhythm on “Ramblin’” underpins the song and brings to mind Bela Fleck and the Flectones.
Frisell provides a beautiful, delicate guitar line to a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” that is closer in
line to rock or country than jazz. Frissel’s interplay with steel guitarist Greg Leisz on “Dismal Swamp” is
one of the album’s many highlights.
This isn’t to say Lloyd is passive. His playing on the Ornette Coleman number “Peace” sets the tone for
the album. Later, Lloyd opens “Monk’s Mood” with a long solo that sets up Frisell’s lengthy showcase.
At 82 years old, Lloyd is still playing when many of his peers – Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter – cannot.
Tone Poem is another strong entry in a catalog that dates back to the days of Beatlemania and proof
that Lloyd remains a compelling player, regardless of what mode or mood intrigues him at the moment. -Joel Francis
Cibo Matto – Viva La Woman (Limited Edition, 180 Gram Vinyl, Red Colored Vinyl)
Chet Baker – Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner And Loewe
Cage the Elephant – Cage the Elephant
Chris Cornell – No One Sings Like You Anymore
Cody Jinks – Adobe Sessions
Crazy Horse – Crazy Horse (180 Gram Vinyl)
Childish Gambino – Awaken My Love
Chris Stapleton – Traveller
Dizzy Gillespie – At Newport (180 Gram Vinyl)
Def Leppard – Hysteria [180 gram Vinyl]
Etta James – Collected (180 Gram Vinyl)
The Freedom Affair – Freedom Is Love
The debut album from Kansas City’s own The Freedom Affair will help soothe the ache created by the
passing of Sharon Jones. The Freedom Affair frequently embody both the spirit and sound of Jones and
The sextet uses the word freedom in both the band name and album title and the concept weaves
through the album as well. As album closer “Love Liberates” builds to a climax, a gospel choir sings the
album title over and over.
One cut earlier, the song “One Nation” features the chorus “We`ll never be one nation if we can`t have a
conversation/can`t be the land of the free if you won`t hear me.” It’s a simple and heartfelt plea that will
unfortunately be swept downstream by the crocodile tears over Dr. Suess, Muppets and a cartoon
Even the song titles reinforce the notion of freedom and love: “Move On,” “Rise Up,” “Give a Little
While the second half of the album is packed with flower power, the front is loaded with songs about
resilience, romance, heartache and empowerment. At times the sound recalls Martha and the Vandellas
or the sweet soul of the Stylistics. Ultimately, Freedom is Love is the type of feel-good album that will
sound even better wafting from open windows and convertibles. -Joel Francis
Foo Fighters – Medicine At Midnight [140 gram Vinyl]
Fleetwood Mac – Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac
Fleet Foxes – Shore (Crystal Clear Vinyl, Poster, 150 Gram Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
Grandaddy – The Sophtware Slump …. On A Wooden Piano (Clear Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
Green Day – Insomniac (25th Anniversary)
Goat Girls – On All Fours
Gang of Four – 77-81
It didn’t take Gang of Four long to establish their brittle, angular, working-class aesthetic. The punk band
was only a democratic quartet for four years, but what they accomplished during that time not only
informed their sound and approach across the next four decades, but also inspired many disciples.
The new five-LP, one-cassette anthology 77-81 encompasses the Gang’s first two albums, an LP of non-
album singles and a double-LP concert. There’s also a cassette with more than two dozen demos and
home recordings and a hardcover book with essays and testimonials.
Gang of Four’s 1979 debut Entertainment! remains a staple of best-of lists. You can hear the stiff, jerky
sound on Entertainment! echoed in the Feelies and Minutemen. The band’s leftist politics are evident in
song titles “Guns Before Butter” and “Outside the Trains Don’t Run on Time” and establish the platform
used by Fugazi, Rage Against the Machine and countless others since.
Released in 1981, Solid Gold isn’t as celebrated as Entertainment! but is nearly as good. Imagine a more
uptight Talking Heads performing songs with lyrics by Ralph Nader and you’re getting close.
A seven-track LP titled Singles collects the band’s offerings that weren’t part of those two albums. The
15-song, double album Live at American Indian Center 1980 captures all but one song from
Entertainment!, previews a couple songs from Sold Gold and adds a Mekons cover for good measure.
One hopes a download code for the material on the cassette is also included with this pricey box. Issuing
this early material on an outdated format provides limited listening ability. (Why not eight-track or
Betamax?) But this is the only misstep in this exquisite packaging of an influential band at its peak.-Joel Francis
Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction
Guns N Roses – Greatest Hits (180 Gram Vinyl)
Glass Animals – Zaba
The Hold Steady – Open Door Policy
Ho hum, it’s the eighth studio album from the Hold Steady. Another collection of evocative short stories
filled with interesting and alliterative characters set against a bracing blast of rock and roll.
Sorry, if I’m not more excited but lead singer and songwriter Craig Finn has been gifting fans with these
character anthologies at a pace of almost one a year for nearly a decade, if you include Finn’s prolific
solo career. And yes, the arrangements on Open Door Policy nearly always pin my back against the wall
and I still marvel at Finn’s attention to detail and how he’s able to make syllable-packed stanzas sound
melodic (and intelligible). But at this point I just want … more.
His literary songwriting cred long established, it would be nice if Finn would thread the narratives and
provide an overall theme to the album. Not a concept album, per se, just maybe a connective tissue
Instead, we get 10 solid songs with characters like Hannah with the henna on her hands and a band
reinvigorated by the return of keyboard player Franz Nicolay. Musically, Open Door Policy might contain
the best band performances since Boys and Girls in America.
To be sure, what the Hold Steady give on Open Door Policy is more than enough. But it’s hard to see
Finn plowing the same path again when the potential for even more greatness is so close.-Joel Francis
H.E.R – H.E.R
Henry Grimes – The Call
John Coltrane – Standard Coltrane
Proclamations of “underrated” or “overlooked” are not uncommon when reading about
John Coltrane’s albums, and for good reason. Because he made so many kinds of big, iconic
albums, it can be easy to overlook other albums simply because they didn’t change the
course of jazz history.
Standard Coltrane is one such album that can get overlooked because it is not, say, Giant
Steps or A Love Supreme or Ascension. It isn’t a proper album at all, more like a compilation.
By the year of its release in 1962, John Coltrane was creating several legendary albums
each year for Impulse Records. It was only natural that Presitge, the label Coltrane was
under contract to in the mid-fifties, would seize the moment and assemble unreleased
Apart from the restraint that didn’t seem to match the reputation Coltrane had gained by
the time the album was released, it wasn’t readily apparent that the album was cobbled
together four years after it was recorded. Standard Coltrane stands alone as a good album
of covers where he occasionally tries out his “sheets of sound” technique (most notably
here on “Spring is Here”). In these ways, the album is not unlike Soultrane, an album that
was released while Coltrane was under contract with the label.
While it documents his growth as an improviser, Standard Coltrane is not just an artifact
useful for historical context. His lineup on the record is mostly the same band that played
with Miles Davis at the time, so it has that rainy day, contemplative feel the players would
perfect less than a year later on Kind of Blue.
Three of the selections are ballads, with Coltrane practically crooning with his horn on
songs like “Don’t Take Your Love from Me” and “Invitation.” Wilburn Harden on trumpet
fills out the sound with his warm, almost flugelhorn-like sound. Standard Coltrane doesn’t
feel like a compilation because the lineup is the same for the entire album and the group
plays with a sensitivity that feels cohesive. The album should be viewed as far more than
just a stop on Coltrane’s way to greatness. It’s a great listening experience that never feels
too drawn-out. -Jonathon Smith
John Coltrane – Stardust (Limited Edition, Blue Clear Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
Jim Croce – Photographs & Memories: His Greatest Hits
Jewel – Pieces of You (25th anniversary edition)
Don’t look now, but Pieces of You, Jewel’s debut album, is 25 years old. To celebrate the album’s silver
anniversary, the Alaska-raised folk singer-songwriter has remastered her debut and bundled it with
more than two platters of b-sides, rarities and unreleased material from the era.
The singles from Pieces of You were omnipresent in the mid-‘90s, but seemed custom-made for coffee
houses. “You Were Meant for Me” and “Foolish Games” both peaked at No. 2 while “Who Will Save
Your Soul” stalled just outside the Top 10 and No. 11. If none of these songs ring a bell, a quick listen
online should bring every syllable screaming back to your consciousness.
Although Pieces of You was reissued on vinyl just last year, the supplemental material provides a nice
capsule of the era. While radio edits and mixes of the singles seem superfluous, Jewel re-recorded these
songs for airplay. The new versions are all superior to the originals, making them an essential part of the
Lightweight material like b-sides “Rocker Girl,” “Cold Song” is balanced out with songs that sound like
they could have fit on Pieces of You, like the heartfelt ballads “Angels Needs a Ride” and “Emily.” Any of
the 12 million Americans who have purchased Pieces of You over the past quarter century will be
delighted with what they find in this expanded and improved edition. -Joel Francis
Kendrick Lamar – Damn
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly
Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid Maad City
Lauryn Hill – Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Lana Del Rey – Chemtrails Over The Country Club (Yellow Colored Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
Loretta Lynn – Still Woman Enough (150 Gram Vinyl, Download Insert)
L7 – Hungry For Stink
Madness – Our House
English pop band Madness emerged during the late ‘70s ska revival, but evolved to have several hits in
the ‘80s and continue to record and perform today. Our House: The Very Best of Madness is a single-LP
collection that distills a larger four-LP or two-CD retrospective.
The dozen songs here primarily draw from 1979 to 1983, the band’s commercial heyday – in England, at
least. Madness only had three hits in the U.S. Appropriately, their Top 10 hit “Our House” opens the set.
While this is far and away Madness’ most recognizable song, the other tunes here are just as strong.
Early songs “House of Fun,” “Baggy Trousers,” “One Step Beyond” and “The Prince” are high energy ska
jams guaranteed to get you skanking. On “Embarrassment” you can hear the band’s sound nudging
away from these roots. The ornate arrangement on “It Must Be Love” is closer to Burt Bacharach than
dancehall. A pair of songs from the current century show group isn’t resting on its laurels and can still
write irresistible material.
Our House isn’t a comprehensive look at Madness’ enduring catalog, but it has enough of the high
points to lure in first-time listeners for more. -Joel Francis
Mac Miller – Swimming
Mac Miller – Best Day Ever
Motley Crue – Girls Girls Girls (180 Gram Vinyl, Reissue)
Miles Davis – Agharta
Miles Davis – Bitches Brew Live
Nirvana – Bleach
Nirvana – Unplugged In N.Y.
The Notorious B.I.G. – Greatest Hits
Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die
Neil Young – After The Gold Rush (50th Anniversary Edition)
Nik Turner’s Sphynx – Xitintoday (Picture Disc Vinyl LP, Limited Edition, Deluxe Edition, With CD, Reissue)
Oliver Nelson – The Blues And The Abstract Truth
Prince – Purple Rain (Picture Disc Vinyl)
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – SHYGA! The Sunlight Mound (180 Gram Vinyl)
PJ Harvey – Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Public Enemy – He Got Game (Original Soundtrack)
Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
Queen – A Night At The Opera [180 gram Vinyl]
Roddy Ricch – Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial
Rage Against the Machine – The Battle Of Los Angeles
Ronnie Boykins – The Will Come Is Now
Steve Earle & the Dukes – J.T. (Red Colored Vinyl, 150 Gram Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
Sarah Jarosz – World On The Ground
Still Corners – The Last Exit (Limited Edition, Poster, Clear Vinyl, Indie Exclusive, Digital Download Card)
Spoon – Everything Hits At Once: The Best Of Spoon
Snoop Dogg – The Last Meal
SZA – CTRL (Gatefold LP Jacket, 150 Gram Vinyl, Colored Vinyl, Green, Download Insert)
Tom Petty – Wildflowers and All the Rest
Tame Impala – Currents
The Triptides – Alter Echoes
Various – Singles (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Van Halen – Van Halen
The Velvet Underground – Velvet Underground & Nico
The Velvet Underground – Collected
Valerie June – The Moon And Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers (White Colored Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)
X – More Fun In The New World
50% OFF Jewel – Pieces of You – Thursday, March 18th ONLY!
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!
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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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