It’s Talking Heads New Vinyl Thursday at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:
Aaron Frazer – Introducing Aaron Frazer
Aaron Frazer – My God Has A Telephone
Alice in Chains – Facelift [150 gram vinyl]
Alicia Keys – Alicia [150 gram Vinyl]
Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill
Beck – Hyperspace
Big Scene Nowhere – Vision Beyond Horizon
Bill Frisell – Nashville [180 gram Vinyl]
Billie Eilish – Dont Smile At Me
Black Pumas – Black Pumas Deluxe Edition
Their debut self-titled album is a genre-blending joy ride. Intoxicating vocals are introduced on opening track “Black Moon Rising,” which quite literally starts Black Pumas off with a bang. The tune sets up the vintage tone for the album, and kicks it off with an infectious energy, which admittedly has its peaks and valleys throughout the album. That said, Black Pumas feels celebratory. On stand out track “Know You Better,” the Pumas make use of a xylophone as well as Burton’s falsetto. Burton and Quesada mix soul, blues and funk, blurring the lines of genre almost to a point of contrast, like in “Touch The Sky,” which borrows conventions from blues and rock guitar instrumentation and pairs the sound with a full horn section.
The album is inherently hopeful,
The new 2-LP deluxe edition features new artwork and a gatefold with unpublished in-studio and live photographs, three brand new songs, live in-studio recordings, a cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” as well as a bonus 7-inch featuring covers of The Beatles, and Legendary Bobby Blue Bland tunes. A great album and really nice deluxe edition. Pick up a copy while they last. -Albert Schmurr
Black Sabbath – Master of Reality
Bruno Mars – 24k Magic
The Cure – Greatest Hits
1980s and ‘90s alt-rock stalwarts The Cure are can be seen as two different bands, depending on the
listener’s approach. On one hand, they created gloomy album-long masterpieces, including
Disintegration and The Head on the Door. But those moody monuments were punctuated with brief
rays of sunlight, often released for airplay. As a singles act, The Cure were a different animal, creating
off-kilter, infectious and even up-beat songs such as “Friday I’m In Love,” “Just Like Heaven” and “Close
As the title indicates, Greatest Hits tells the more cheerful, accessible story of The Cure. The 19 tracks
here span more than two decades and encompass several key non-album singles. Most of the songs that
were released on albums are presented in truncated single versions, which just reinforces the
danceable, buoyant narrative. Although the two previous compilations the band released covering the
same period are better, there’s nothing here a casual Cure fan wouldn’t want. Devoted fans may also
want to dabble in this collection to hear a sunnier side of The Cure. -Joel Francis
The Cardigans – First Band on the Moon [180 gram vinyl]
Childish Gambino – Awaken My Love
Multi-hyphenate Childish Gambino – better known as Donald Glover in the acting and comedy worlds –
threw people for a loop when he turned away from hip hop on his third proper album, Awaken, My
The 2016 album works in the same psychedelic funk trenches dug by Sly and the Family Stone and
George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic back in the ‘70s, with some Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind and
Fire for good measure. It is an ambitious undertaking, but like the TV show Atlanta, which Glover
produced, and Community, in which he starred, the aspirations of Awaken, My Love! pay off
Slinky, sexy “Redbone” with Glover’s seductive falsetto and an arrangement borrowed from Bootsy
Collins became the album’s breakout hit. The song landed just outside the Top 10, won a Grammy,
appeared in Jordan Peele’s film Get Out and launched a million memes.
The other 10 songs are just as sumptuous. Opening cut “Me and Your Mama” takes more than two
minutes to begin, as keyboards and a choir gradually appear before a monstrous slab of funk decimates
the carefully constructed sounds. In other hands, this entrance would have been the cue for frenetic
rapping. In Glover’s hands it is something that would make Clinton strip down and start dancing. Come
to think of it, you and I should probably be dancing now, too. -Joel Francis
Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith & Devotion
Donald Byrd – Byrd In Flight [180 Gram Vinyl, Blue Note Tone Poet Series]
Dr Dre – The Chronic
Drive By Truckers – It’s Great To be Alive
Durand Jones and the Indicators – American Love Call
Over the last several years, the Ohio-based Colemine label has been quietly stepping into the soul and
funk revival territory cultivated so successfully by the Daptone label’s stable of artists.
The second album from Durand Jones and the Indicators trades the big horns and dance-ready rhythms
of the group’s debut with strings and lush vocal harmonies. The retooled approach recalls the early
Motown output of The Miracles and pre-psychedelic Temptations.
Opening number “Morning in America” recalls Gil Scott-Heron’s “Winter in America” and Curtis
Mayfield’s “Hard Times” as an examination of inner-city poverty and decay. It is an astute a piece of
commentary and insight.
The rest of the album is just as urgent, if less political, as Jones and the Indicators examine matters of
the heart. Jones weary, resigned voice speaks volumes about the woman playing hard-to-get in
“Circles.” A mournful French horn acts as a beacon on “Listen to Your Heart.” Drummer Aaron Frazier
handles lead vocals on “Court of Love,” where his falsetto paints a vulnerable tale of deception.
Music fans who fell in love with soul music back in the day or newcomers discovering it through its 21 st
century resurgence will find much to love on American Love Call.-Joel Francis
Eric Dolphy – Outward Bound
Erykah Badu – But You Caint Use My Phone
Fleetwood Mac – Rumors
Gil Scott-Heron – Pieces of a Man
The studio debut of poet, activist and innovator Gil Scott-Heron remains a high-water mark in the artist’s
Pieces of a Man opens with Scott-Heron’s best-known song, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”
Across a backdrop of jazz flute, funk bass and rock drums, Scott-Heron offers a rejoinder to the Last
Poets’ song “When the Revolution Comes” and beats Public Enemy to the punch by 16 years.
From there, Scott-Heron celebrates his heroes on “Lady Day and John Coltrane,” examines childhood
trauma on “Home is Where the Hatred Is” (later sampled by Kanye West for Common) and assembles a
gripping portrait of addiction on the title song. Whew.
It’s a lot to take in, for sure, but Scott-Heron gets a big assist from jazz pianist Brian Jackson and
producer Bob Thiele. This initial collaboration between Scott-Heron and Jackson resulted in nine more
collaborative albums over the next decade. Famed jazz producer Thiele used his clout to bring in notable
musicians Ron Carter on bass, drummer Bernard Purdie and flutist Hubert Laws to play on the album.
The music swings, stomps and scorns in sympathy with Scott-Heron’s singing, never letting the listener’s
Fifty years after its release, Pieces of a Man remains a giant achievement that belongs in any hip hop,
jazz, soul or spoken word collection. -Joel Francis
Herbie Hancock – Takin Off [180 gram Vinyl]
Harry Styles – Fine Line
Everyone seems to be mad at Harry Styles. A year ago, fans were upset he played the Super Bowl pre-
game party. Later, conservatives were angry he posed for a magazine cover wearing a dress. Heck,
Kansas Citians are probably hurt that Styles is stepping out with local boy Jason Sudeikis’ ex-wife Olivia
Wilde. Can’t anyone see that he only wants to make people happy?
Admittedly, Styles’ brand of middle-of-the-road pop isn’t for everyone, even if it often seems like it has
been focus group tested to appeal to as large an audience as possible. The former One Direction singer’s
self-titled solo debut builds on the boy band’s sound with touches of Elton John, Badfinger and hair
metal to reach out to the parents whose kids have long obsessed over 1D. Last year’s Fine Line
broadened the palette further with songs that channel Bon Iver, Mark Ronson, and Childish Gambino’s
Styles’ music may not be forever, but it is definitely for now and when (fingers crossed) the world starts
reopening again, these songs are going to be inescapable. And for once no one will be mad at Harry
Styles, because we’ll all be in clubs and restaurants and wherever-the-heck-else we’ll want to be and it
will be safe. The end. God bless Harry Styles. -Joel Francis
Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City
Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
Damn. was my album of the year in 2017 and it remains a compelling listen today. At first, Damn. may
seem simplistic when compared to its predecessor, the dense, jazz-based, era-defining masterpiece To
Pimp a Butterfly. But Damn. is just as bold, even if the production and delivery are more accessible.
The single-word song titles and radio-ready play times make Lamar’s concise delivery and pontification
even more impressive. In just 14 tracks and 55 minutes, Lamar examines the seven deadly sins, sharing
vignettes from his own life, contemplating their ramifications – and scoring several major hits in the
Damn. opens with a brief street encounter that seems a little random until the final track, which puts
that introduction in perspective and ties the entire album together. The story is like a miniature hip hop
version of the Christopher Nolan film Inception, containing multiple layers and locations that all loop
back to one moment. It is staggering and breathtaking.
The rest of Damn. is no less inspiring, as Lamar wades through the ambitious commentary with high
profile guests like Rihanna, Zacari and U2 and beats that are so dope that it makes Lamar’s weighty
philosophizing go down like ear candy. Rumor has it Lamar is nearing completion on new material. Like
many others, I can’t wait to hear what he does next. -Joel Francis
Kool & The Gang – Kool and The Gang
The Killers – Imploding The Mirage
Being one of the biggest bands on the planet can’t be easy, especially when your heydays are trapped in a perpetual cycle of indie discos and TV ads. For The Killers, the growth from indie-darlings of the 2004 Hot Fuss era, through to the present day, almost twenty years later, is remarkable.
On Imploding The Mirage they’re hitting the highway once more, driving with intent; an intent to live, to explore, and to keep those Springsteen choruses lathered in glitz and glamour with a gritty undertone.
Clocking in at ten tracks, the focus here is simply keepin’ on, keepin’ on. Even the slower jams such as “Lightning Field” and the slightly reserved Fleetwood Mac channeling “Running Towards A Place” keep that same spirit.
There’s no denying The Killers are a band who can write a hit, the ability to pen an entire album that feels coherent while making sure the diamonds sparkle doesn’t seem to come easy. Battle Born and Wonderful Wonderful both had the necessary components but just didn’t quite sink into that comfortable zone of being memorable. Whereas Imploding The Mirage is an album unbound by needless direction, instead it hones in on the razzle-dazzle, showy synth choruses that feel in the same world as any of their classics, but with a feeling only time has made better.
Escapism running through its veins, right down to the gentle “woah-oh’s” or cascading drums, Imploding The Mirage works because it doesn’t try hard but still pulls all of those components we’ve come to know and love together. Even “When The Dreams Run Dry”, a band like The Killers will light a fuse and spell-bind the world into remembering life is to be lived, and stories are there to be told. Definitely worth a spin, so pick up a copy today from the gang at the Vinyl Underground. -Albert Schmurr
Lothar – Come Along: The Exodus 1966
The Lunimeers – Cleopatra
Marvin Gaye – Lets Get It On [180 gram vinyl]
Massive Attack – Mezzanine [180 gram vinyl]
Michael Jackson – Bad
Miles Davis – Porgy & Bess
Orville Peck – Pony
Osees – Panther Rotate
Outkast – Aquemini
Panic At The Disco – Pretty Odd
Prince – Purple Rain [180 gram Vinyl]
Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
The Pretty Things – Parachute [140 Gram Vinyl, 50th Anniversary]
Rage Against The Machine – Evil Empire [180 gram Vinyl]
Run The Jewels – RTJ4
The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed
Sturgill SImpson – Cuttin Grass
Sturgill Simpson – High Top Mountain
Swans – Children of God
The Talking Heads – Speaking In Tongues
The Talking Heads – The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads
Tina Brooks – Waiting Game [180 Gram Vinyl, Blue Note Tone Poet Series]
Tom Petty – Damn The Torpedoes [180 gram vinyl]
Tyler The Creator – Goblin
50% OFF Tom Petty – Wildflowers (All Versions) – Thursday, January 7th ONLY!
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Sherman, Gordon, Cat, Matt, Dylan, Doyle, Heather, Dave and Max
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