It’s Whitney Houston New Vinyl Thursday at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:
Amy Winehouse- At The BBC
Arcade Fire- Everything Now
Canadian indie rock ensemble Arcade Fire are no strangers to using their albums to make grand statements about big themes. Their third album takes a look at the suburbs, while Reflektor, the band’s fourth album, examines making real connections in an artificial, digital world.
Arcade Fire’s fifth album continues this trend by tackling advertising and corporate ecosystems. This time, however, the band stumbles under the weight of their ambition. It appears the band had more fun coming up with the concept and rollout for Everything Now than making the music. In the run-up to the album’s release, Arcade Fire played behind fake social media accounts that parodied and trolled actual corporate social media accounts. The group also launched fake brands like Creature Comfort cereal, fake news websites and published ironic album reviews.
These collegiate theatrics do a better job hitting their targets than the 13 tracks on the album. Everything Now gets off to a fun start with the title song (which appears after a brief introductory track). The song gets a huge lift with production from Thomas Bangalter (better known as half of Daft Punk) and Pulp bass player Steve Mackey’s throbbing bassline. Banglater and Mackey guest on most of the album, and keep the party rolling into the next couple tracks, but you can hear the fun draining from the songs as the album progresses.
Everything Now features several songs that will enliven any Arcade Fire playlist – check out raw, rocking first half of ”Infinite Content” and the shimmering “Electric Blue” – but overall, so much energy is invested in the Big Statement that everything behind it feels hollow.- Joel Francis
Ariana Grande- Sweetener
Belinda Carlisle- Nobody Owns Me
Billie Eilish- Dont Smile At Me
Billie Holiday- Strange Fruit
Billy Strings- Renewal
Black Sabbath- Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Black Stone Cherry- Kentucky
Bremer/McCoy- Natten (the Night)
Bulbous Creation- You Won’t Remember Dying
The name Bulbous Creation sounds like one of Les Claypool’s side projects. In fact, the band formed right here in Kansas City at the end of the 1960s. After playing shows consisting of mostly original material for a couple years, the band had enough money to record what would become their swan song.
You Won’t Remember Dying was recorded in a single day in the underground studio at Cavern Sound, in Independence, Mo. Unfortunately, few heard it at the time, as the band broke up before they could raise funds to have their recordings pressed to album.
Half a century later, thanks to the Numero label, You Won’t Remember Dying is finally available as an authorized, band-approved release. The eight songs here bear the strong influence of hard and psychedelic rock of the time, including Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep.
Album opener “End of the Page” starts with a moody, acoustic intro before a trippy, prog-rock electric guitar arrives. The performance lasts for nearly 90 seconds before vocalist Paul Parkinson enters with new-age lyrics that would make any aspiring hippie smile (or blush). A few songs later, “Satan” opens with a riff out of Tony Iommi’s notebook. Parkinson is even less subtle lyrically here, but the song has a great groove.
Goofy name aside, Bulbous Creation were a heck of a band, as evidenced by the live-to-tape performances captured here. (When you’re recording eight songs in a single day, there isn’t a lot of time for overdubbing.) When Parkinson left the group shortly after this session to perform as a solo act, he left the best part of the band. Parkinson’s lyrics aren’t nearly good enough to do any heavy lifting on their own, but as one component of the band’s sound, alongside rock-solid drumming, insistent bass grooves, great guitar parts and a touch of organ here and there in the mix, they work perfectly.
You Won’t Remember Dying is a great flashback to KC’s bygone underground scene for those who were there the first time and those who can’t remember for chemical or biological reasons.- Joel Francis
Bummer- Dead Horse
Capone-N-Noreaga- The War Report
Capone-N-Noreaga’s debut release feels like an underground mixtape, but peaked in the Top 5 on the hip hop charts thanks to its major-label release. It sounds like the type of gritty gangsta rap emanating from California at the time, but actually originated from Queens, in New York City.
These dichotomies keep The War Report an interesting and engaging listen nearly 25 years after its initial release.
The duo started to get some buzz after they were featured in The Source magazine’s unsigned hype column in late 1995. Unfortunately, Capone was sent to jail for a parole violation during the recording process for The War Report, leaving Noreaga to complete The War Report alone. He got help from Tragedy Khadafi, who appears on nearly half of the album, and heavy-hitting guests and producers, such as Mobb Deep, Marley Marl and Lord Finesse.
Some of the album’s stand-out tracks include lead single “Illegal Life,” one of a handful of tracks to feature both Capone and Noreaga. “L.A., L.A.” is a response to Tha Dogg Pound’s Big Apple diss “New York, New York.” “T.O.N.Y. (Top of New York)” shines in part because a killer (yet subtle) soul sample. Noreaga delivers two of the album’s best tracks by himself: “Closer” and “Blood Money.”
Like most 1990s hip hop albums, The War Report suffers from a bloated runtime (70 minutes) and too many skits and interludes. However, at a time when hip hop was dominated by Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy stable and pop rap like “Getting’ Jiggy Wit It,” The War Report infused the genre with some badly needed reality and roughness.- Joel Francis
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram- 662
Clarksdale, Miss., is known as ground zero for the blues. It’s the place where Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the devil and the home to many blues legends, including Muddy Waters, Son House and John Lee Hooker.
Born in 1999, Christone Ingram, better known as Kingfish, acknowledges he is too young to remember the musicians who made his hometown famous. That doesn’t stop him from celebrating them and updating Clarksdale’s blues story into the 21st century.
Named for the area code for north Mississippi, 662 is 13 blues tracks that encompass Delta blues, Memphis soul, Chicago blues and rock and roll. The title song gets the album off to a roaring start with searing guitar and autobiographical lyrics. Kingfish shares more of his history in “Too Young to Remember.”
“When you see me play guitar, you’re looking back a hundred years,” Kingfish sings before listing a few of his heroes: Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Lightning Hopkins. You can hear echoes of all of them in Kingfish’s playing.
662 proves that the blues are far from dead and will appeal to fans who appreciate traditional blues and those who love their blues with a big dollop of guitar heroics and rock and roll.- Joel Francis
Claud- Super Monster
Danzig- Danzig 5: Blackacidevil
Dave Chappelle- 8:46
Digital Underground- This is an E.P. Release
Duran Duran- Future Past
English pop stars Duran Duran don’t turn out albums at the same pace they did when they were dominating MTV in the 1980s, but their new material always strives to be something more than bathroom-break filler when the big tour rolls through town.
Future Past is Duran Duran’s first album since 2015’s Paper Gods. As with that album, the band gets some help from outside collaborators. While Paper Gods sometimes felt like Duran Duran were guests on their own album, Future Past feels firmly like a Duran Duran record.
Producer Giorgio Moroder, dubbed the Father of Disco, provides two high points in the heart of the album. Driven by Moroder’s signature pulsing synthesizers, “Beautiful Lies” is guaranteed to pack the dance floor. “Tonight United” is upbeat call for unity.
Singer Tove Lo lends support to “Give It Up,” which resembles the band’s 007 theme “A View to a Kill.” David Bowie’s avant garde pianist Mike Garson dominates emotional album closer “Falling,” while Ivorian Doll drops rhymes on “Hammerhead.” Blur guitarist Graham Coxon lends his skills to half of the album’s dozen tracks.
With the exception of Garson, none of the guests overshadow the band, making Future Past an album that looks back comfortably while pushing forward. The album moves at a quick pace, making it feel shorter than its run time of 50 minutes. There are enough high points – including “All of You,” the title song and “More Joy!” – to make Future Past Duran Duran’s best release since The Wedding Album.- Joel Francis
Echo & the Bunnymen- Flowers
Elvis Presley- Elvis Presley
Fudge Tunnel- hate Songs in E Minor
GA-20- Does Hound Dog Taylor
Traditional blues trio GA-20 don’t play to show off guitar skills or see how long they can jam over a chord progression. Guitarist and bandleader Matt Stubbs thinks they might be able to start a blues revival.
“These days, if you go to a blues festival, you get a lot of the modern blues or rock take,” Stubbs said. “A lot of great artists do that, but that’s not we are doing. That’s not what I put on my turntable. I think when a lot of people hear the word blues, they think of guitar shredding and music derived from British blues and classic rock.”
You can experience the full power of GA-20 when the band plays Knuckleheads with J.D. Simo on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Go here to buy tickets online and get more information. https://tickets.knuckleheadskc.com/orderticketsarea.asp?p=286&a=1&src=default
“What I’d like to see is more traditional blues,” Stubbs said. “I think if more people heard this style of blues, they would like it. That’s a lot of why we make the records we do and why I produce the as I do. We’ll have people come up to us after shows and ask ‘What kind of music is this?’ I tell them it’s traditional blues.”
Learn the meaning behind GA-20’s name, read about the band’s tribute to Chicago blues man Hound Dog Taylor and discover how harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite’s album with Ben Harper lead to Stubbs forming GA-20 at The Daily Record.
Giobia & Cosmic Dead- Intergalactic Connection: Exploring The Sideral Remote Hyperspace
Hayes Carll- You Get It All
Ian Carr- Roots
JP Harris & The Tough Choices- Home Is Where The Hurt Is
JP Harris’ Dreadful Wind & Rain- Don’t You Marry No Railroad Man
JP Harris- Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing
John Coltrane- A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle
Jazz saxophonist John Coltrane’s 1965 album A Love Supreme is one of the greatest pieces of music ever recorded; a masterpiece that overshadows any classification. A live performance of the four-movement suite from France was released on a deluxe reissue of the album in 2002. That was thought to be the only other documentation of the complete album … until now.
Recorded a little more than two months after the French performance, A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle was discovered in the home archives of an Emerald City musician. On this date, Coltrane’s classic quartet – including McCoy Tyner on piano, bass player Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones – are augmented by saxophone players Pharoah Sanders and Carlos Ward (who also play percussion) and second bass player Donald Garrett.
Likewise, the performance of A Love Supreme is similarly expanded, growing from 33 minutes on the original studio recording to 75 minutes here. The studio version is only a framework for this performance. Opening piece “Acknowledgement” runs for nearly 15 minutes before the familiar theme is finally heard. Coltrane and Sanders spar and duet on “Resolution,” building more tension. Four interludes between movements further extend the performance.
This recording represents a literally pivotal moment in Coltrane’s career. Tyner and Jones parted ways with Coltrane while Sanders became a fixture in Coltrane’s group until the bandleader’s tragic demise in 1967. Pairing this recording with a previous Coltrane release, Live in Seattle, featuring the same ensemble at the same venue a few days earlier, paint the portrait of an artist looking back while simultaneously lunging forward.- Joel Francis
Kanye West- College Dropout
L7- Hungry For Stink
La Luz- La Luz
West Coast trio La Luz, Spanish for “the light,” have released three albums of surf rock over the past eight years, but take a slight turn on their fourth album. Working with producer Adrian Younge, La Luz’s self-titled album bears more hallmarks of Younge’s cinematic creations than Dick Dale or the Surfaris.
The album opens with the bedroom pop of “In the Country” before moving to the thumping “The Pines,” where a surf guitar part is partially obscured behind a Mellotron. Surf moves more to the fore on “Metal Man,” but again, it shares space with sci-fi sound effects and harmony vocals. The atmospheric “Yuba Rot” sounds like an Ennio Morricone score for an Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon movie.
Surf music is a calcified genre, so La Luz didn’t have much choice but to go large. In pairing with Younge, La Luz have delivered a dozen tracks that expand the scope of their music without turning their backs on their previous work. They have plenty of room to move forward from here and it will be interesting to see where La Luz goes.- Joel Francis
Larkin Poe- Paint The Roses (Live In Concert)
Mastodon- Hushed And Grim
Morphine- Cure for Pain
Mouse Rat- The Awesome Album
Neil Young- Carnegie Hall 1970
Nick Cave & Bad Seeds- B-Sides & Rarities
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds- Abattoir Blues / the Lyre of Orpheus
Nikki Giovanni- Truth Is On Its Way
Old 97’s- Fight Songs
Pat Metheny- Side-Eye NYC (V1.1V)
Paul Thorn- Never Too Late To Call
Peter Tosh – Legalize It
Reggae guitarist Peter Tosh had a lot to prove on Legalize It, his solo debut. After coming up in the Wailers, Tosh was eager to establish himself as more than Bob Marley’s sidekick.
Although the title song is a strident political statement (with supporting cover art), the rest of the album is surprisingly playful. “Ketchy Shuby” is a light-hearted look at love and “Whatcha Gonna Do” manages to stay perky despite a narrative about running afoul of the law. Think of it as the reggae equivalent of “Here Comes the Judge.”
The most heartfelt moments arrive in the middle of the album. “Why Must I Cry” is an emotional breakup song written with Bob Marley. The next song is an excellent Rastafarian hymn, “Igziabeher (Let Jah Be Praised).” Legalize It successfully established Tosh as a star in his own right and ranks among his best work.-Joel Francis
Pink Floyd- A Momentary Lapse Of Reason
R.E.M.- New Adventures In Hi-Fi (25th Anniversary Edition)
Riley Downing- Start It Over
Sao Paulo Underground & Tupperwear- Saturno Magico
Stephen Trask- Hedwig And The Angry Inch (Original Cast Recording)
The Beatles- Let it Be
The Cure- Seventeen Seconds
The Fugees- Score
The Joy Formidable- Into The Blue
The Kinks- Something Else By the Kinks
The Rolling Stones- Tattoo You
The The- The Comeback Special
The War on Drugs- I Dont Live Here Anymore
The White Stripes- White Blood Cells
Twenty One Pilots- Blurryface
Ty Segall- Harmonizer
Type O Negative- October Rust
Weyes Blood- Titanic Rising
Whitesnake- Restless Heart
Whitney Houston- I Will Always Love You – The Best Of Whitney Houston
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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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