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Durand Jones New Vinyl Thursday

It’s Durand Jones New Vinyl Thursday at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:

2Pac- Until the End of Time

Weekly Review:

The fourth posthumous album from rapper Tupac Shakur is a bloated mess that adds very little to the departed’s legacy.

Until the End of Time has many problems, but the biggest one might be that the 29 tracks and two-hour playtime seems to run until the end of time. Any good moments here – and there are a few – are almost forgotten by the conclusion.

Another issue is the production. Too many tracks are just too busy, with layers of loops and beats stacked on top of guest vocalists and big choruses. The result often leaves Tupac feeling like a guest on his own track. This might be the result of not having enough material from which to craft an entire performance, but it ends up feeling hollow regardless.

When Until the End of Time does get it right, it still manages to muddle the result. The title track features a fantastic, urgent performance married to a hook taken from Mister Mister’s “Broken Wings.” It’s one of the few moments where all the elements come together and create something worthy. And yet, in keeping with the project’s bigger-is-better mantra, the song also appears in a remix as the final track. 

Until the End of Time would have been solid as a better-produced single album and outstanding as an EP, but as it stands, only the most dedicated will be driven to devote the time to separate the wheat from the chaff. -Joel Francis

Alexis Marshall- House Of Lull . House Of When

Alice Coltrane- Kirtan: Turiya Sings

Antonio L. Newton- Novaphonia

Arrested Development- 3 Years 5 Months & 2 Days

Bad Brains-I And I Survive

Big Boy Pete- The Cosmic Genius of Big Boy Pete

Bikini Kill- Revolution Girl Style Now

Billie Eilish- Happier Than Ever

Billie Eilish- When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

Black Francis- Bluefinger

Black Sabbath- Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath- Master of Reality

Bob Dylan- Blood On The Tracks

Bob Marley- Best of Bob Marley

Branford Marsalis- The Secret Between The Shadow And The Soul

Brown Sugar featuring Clydie King
Weekly Review:
Clydie King was an American singer probably best known for her session and backup work. But she’s released several excellent solo records. The list of musicians King has worked with is beyond impressive including: B.B. King, The Rolling Stones, Steely Dan, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Cocker, Dickey Betts, Joe Walsh, and many others.
Like many great soul singers of the 60’s and 70’s she first started singing in her local church but you could say that she literally grew up in the studio. King was still a youngster when her recording career started in 1956 with Little Clydie and The Teens. Soon after that she booked a three year run singing backups for Ray Charles as a Raelette.
Throughout the 60’s King became a go to for producer Phil Spector and in the early 70’s helped launch the Motown vocal group, The Blackberries, named after label owner Barry Gordy.  The group would proceed to tour as back up singers for Humble Pie and Pink Floyd.
In 1973 King released the album Brown Sugar a soulful album reminiscent of Early Diana Ross. Kings voice hits all the right notes in all the right places and has the unique ability of being her own backup singer.
This is the first time this classic album has ever been reissued on vinyl. Stand out tracks are the Supremes-like Loneliness and the Sly Stone cover: Dance To the Music.  This a great chance to hear an artist Bob Dylan called, “The ultimate singing partner.”
– Major Matt

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Bryan Ferry- Boys And Girls

Charlie Parker- Bird Of Paradise: Best Of The Dial Masters

Chevelle- NIRATIAS

Cinderella- Night Songs

Dave Pike Set- Noisy Silence – Gentle Noise

Descendents- 9th & Walnut

Dexter Gordon- Go

Weekly Review:

Sax man Dexter Gordon recorded two albums in as many days with the same ensemble of musicians. Although they were released a couple years apart, both releases remain high water marks in his considerable catalog.

Released just three months after its recording, Go! was the first album to come out (and the better of the two). The five-track album opens with “Cheese Cake,” an upbeat tune with a melody just as delectable as its title. Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale” has been done a million times, but drummer Billy Higgins’ infectious rhythm right out of the gate makes this performance impossible to skip. The way pianist Sonny Clark (in one of his last sessions) frames Gordon’s playing on the ballad “I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry” builds off the way pianist McCoy Tyner supported John Coltrane on their Atlantic albums together the previous two years.

In 2019, Go! was recognized by the Library of Congress as an essential American album. They weren’t wrong. Go! is heady enough to be stimulating to hardcore jazz fans, with the accessibility to be appreciated by anyone.- Joel Francis

Dexter Gordon- Swiss Nights 2

Durand Jones & The Indications- Private Space

Fleetwood Mac- Greatest Hits

Foo Fighters- Foo Fighters

Funkadelic- Shake the Gate – Version Excursion

Glass Animals- Zaba

Greg Foat- Symphonie Pacique

Greta Van Fleet- Anthem Of The Peaceful Army

Harold Land- Eastward Ho

Harold Land- The Fox

Harold Melvin & Blue Notes- The Best Of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes

Holly Golightly- Do The Get Along

Holly Golightly- God Don’t Like It

Holly Golightly- Truly She Is None Other

Ida Mae – Click Click Domino
For the past 20 years the alternative rock world has not been short on blues inspired duos. Whether it’s the sensuous grind of The Kills, the classic back woods soul of the Black Keys or the verging on off-the-rails, raw,  garage energy of the White Stripes one might consider the territory fairly covered.
What makes Ida Mae’s energy stand out so significantly are how husband and wife Chris Turpin and Stephanie Jean’s voices seamlessly integrate to form a singular sound that can at times soar like a morning dove stretching it’s wings and other times haunt you like a ghost in the night. Not since John Doe and Exene Cervenka have I heard two voices fit together in such an idiosyncratic ways.
The British couple broke into the music industry with a totally different project with Turpin’s more alt rock outfit Kill It Kid. Even though Kill It Kid’s last of three  albums was released on a major label, Warner Brothers, the couple fell into a creative pattern of a more paired down Americana style, influenced by the blues music of the Deep South like Son House and Robert Johnson.
Click Click Domino is the the second studio album by Ida Mae and it starts on a more somber note with the slow breaking Road To Avalon. Beginning a sophomore, post pandemic, album with a track that feels like we’ve just been through something is a bold and effective move.
But the party really gets started with the second song and title track featuring some sweltering guitar work by Marcus King. The stream of conscious, pop culture inspired lyrics are a nice twist for a song that is so solidly based in the foot stomping roots of the delta blues.
Track three, Line On the Page, takes us even deeper into a more paired down gospel inspired slow sway about taking life one day at a time.
Side one ends with Deep River, another dystopian barn burner, again featuring Marcus King, about a couple making their way through the world. The poetry, delightfully vague, reads like some forgotten Falkner manuscript:
“You were a cannonball moving on the water
I was the moon and the river and the rapture
Mississippi Cavaliers crashing through the May Queens chandeliers”
As much as Ida Mae songs are inspired by music of the past, a handful of choices givea this album at least one foot in the modern world.
The use of an old school drum machine on the track Little Liars as well as the driving Queens of the Stone Age bass distortion on Long Gone and Heartworn also keeps things fresh and interesting.
On mystery melt colored vinyl this record is definitely on my short list for the year so far!
– Major Matt

Jim Lauderdale- Hope

John Coltrane- Coltrane Jazz

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard- Willoughby’s Beach

Laraaji- Ambien 3: Day of Radiance

Leon Bridges- Gold-Diggers Sound

Weekly Reviews:

Texas-born soul singer Leon Bridges debuted six years ago with an album that sounded like the uncanny reincarnation of Sam Cooke. Desperate to avoid being typecast, Bridges has steered clear of replicating that sound ever since. But try as he might, Bridges’ third album sparkles with the same timeless spirit that made him a star initially.

This isn’t to say that Gold-Diggers Sound – named after the Los Angeles hotel Bridges called home while writing and recording the album – sounds like Coming Home. The jazzy opening track “Born Again” sounds like it was pulled from one of pianist Robert Glasper’s Black Radio albums (and with good reason, as Glasper guests on the track). Later, Terrace Martin, who has worked with everyone from Snoop Dogg to Herbie Hancock, provides the bedrock for “Sweeter.” Martin’s minimalist production gives Bridges’ examination of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s in the era Black Lives Matter even more heft.

Bridges is a journeyman singer, swiping bits of D’Angelo, Marvin Gaye, Prince and Smokey Robinson along the way. The only time Gold-Diggers looks forward musically is on the haunting, synth-based album closer, “Blue Mesas.” Is this a peek at the next chapter in Bridges’ journey? Time will tell. Until then, it is fun to ride along, exploring recontextualized, familiar terrain.- Joel Francis

Being released for only about a week now, “Gold-Diggers Sound,” is already charting billboards and heightening Bridges’ career. Leon only started releasing music in 2015 but caught wind fast with his first studio album, “Coming Home,” getting airplay, attention from several artists, and labels. He signed with Columbia Records in 2014. 

He brings in a lot of different aspects of various genres in his music such as: modern R&B, pop, hip-hop, indie, funk, and soul. He somehow combines all of these elements together so effortlessly, making for a very unique and catchy album. 

Track #3, Steam is quite interesting because it hones in on more of an uplifting, indie sound but experiments with R&B, and funk leaning into the chorus. I like the incorporation of multiple genres in one song, it reminds me of Jimi Hendrix with the guitar flangs, but simultaneously like Daniel Caesar with his melodies and rhythm. In my opinion this is one of the catchier songs on the album because of the tempo, detailed layering, and lyrics. 

Another track I found alluring was Don’t Worry (Ft. Ink). This song is bass heavy but with layered complimenting guitar, light piano lines, and backing harmonies, it makes for more of a groovy, indie/R&B vibe rather than funk or hip hop. The featured artist, Ink, is (to me) what gives it more of an R&B sound. She comes in with softer airy vocals before her verse, adding to Bridges’ soft melodies, but coming around to her verse, she adds rhythmic grit and soul.

Overall, I think Leon Bridges did a phenomenal job with the construction of this album. Not only is there a lot of variation, but the way he uses those variants truly reeled me in. I don’t typically like modern soul or hip hop, but after listening to this, that might’ve changed. I’d recommend this album to anyone who likes Daniel Caesar, Black Pumas, and Durand Jones & The Indications. -Nova Stebbin 

Leonard Cohen- Songs from a Room

Little Richards- Bama Lama Bama Loo

Los Lobos- Native Sons

Lucy Dacus- Home Video

Marvin Gaye- What’s Going on

Method Man- Method Man Presents Street Life

Michael Jackson- Thriller

Miles Davis- Bopping The Blues

Miley Cyrus- Plastic Hearts

Modest Mouse- Strangers to Ourselves

Motley Crue- Saints of Los Angeles

Mr Airplane Man- Jacaranda Blue

Mudhoney- Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge

Weekly Review:

These days, Mudhoney is a mostly forgotten footnote in grunge history, known only to the biggest ‘90s rock fans. It’s a shame, because this Seattle quartet helped develop the sound that would be known as grunge in the late ‘80s. 

By 1991 and their second album, Mudhoney had mostly abandoned the heavy guitar sounds that marked their landmark debut EP, 1988’s Superfuzz Bigmuff. Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge opens with some church organ on “Generation Genocide” and some huge drums and electric guitars that foretell the second coming of Deep Purple. While some acoustic guitars pop up frequently across the album, no one will confuse this with an Unplugged project.

High points include lead single “Let It Slide” and the follow-up “Into the Drink.” Adorned with an acoustic rhythm guitar and harmonica, the song “Move On” hints at the slacker rock Pavement would perfect with their debut album the next year. The closest the band gets to their signature superfuzz sound is on side one closer “Broken Hands.” Regardless of the arrangement or instrumentation, Fudge is undeniably a grunge album, tied to the epic era in which it was born.

The new 30th anniversary edition of Fudge matches the original albums 14 songs with 15 bonus tracks on a second LP. These outtakes, alternate takes and demos provide a look at what went into making the album.- Joel Francis

By the late 80’s/ early 90’s I had extensively explored a wide range of music that helped me express my general frustrations with the world. I had discovered punk, metal, industrial music and even a little avant-garde jazz. I was starting to catch the well orchestrated buzz about bands based around the northwest US city of Seattle, Washington.
In 1988, from the ashes of a recently defunct band called Green River, some guys in Seattle formed a band that would help shape the sound of rock music for the next couple decades. No, I’m not talking about “That” band from Seattle. I’m talking about Mudhoney.
I had already dipped my toe in the cold rain-puddles of the Seattle grunge scene with acts like Tad, Melvins, and yes “That” band.  But upon my first listen to Mudhoney a whole new dimension for my surrogate of angst was about to be unleashed.  It just so happened that dimension was a twisted sense of humor. I mean, the band IS named after a soft-core porn film set during the depression.
Another door that Mudhoney opened for me was a connection to psych rock and garage bands of the early 60’s… a trend that would take a stronger hold in the late 90’s with groups like The Strokes, The White Stripes and The Oh Sees.
After the earth shattering ep Superfuzz Big Muff and a lukewarm warm reception to their first self- titled LP the Mudhoney boys made a bold move to record their next album, Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, on a down and dirty 8-track tape machine.
The limitations seemed to be just what the band needed to solidify their driving modern day slacker anthems into classic tunes that would not be out of place on any Nuggets compilation.
Lucky for us, Sub Pop has just reissued EGBDG on a deluxe remastered double album, including a full disc of unreleased demos, alternate takes, b- sides.
The wry vocal stylings of Mark Arm combined with explosive, noise maker sounds of guitarist Steve Turner held down by the freight train drumming of Dan Peters makes this record an absolute staple in defining the grunge and neo-garage-rock music trends of the 90’s and early 00’s that still continue to this day.
– Major Matt

Nada Surf- High/ Low

Weekly Review:

The first album from New York City-based alternative rock quartet Nada Surf arrived almost exactly two years after Weezer’s self-titled debut (a.k.a. the Blue Album). The timing did them few favors. Both albums were produced by Cars mastermind Rick Ocasek and filled with power pop gems so fun and infectious, you never seemed to mind how easily they got lodged in your head. 

To top it off, the breakthrough singles for both bands bore a striking similarity: spoken verses which examine high school social cliques that burst into a loud chorus.

Which is to say, if you enjoy the Blue Album, you’ll probably dig High/Low as well. But the Surfers have a few other tricks up their sleeves here, too. In addition to the Top 10 hit “Popular,” the album offers several more songs in a similar vein: “Psychic Caramel” (which has a bit of Sonic Youth in it), “Sleep,” Stalemate” and the show-biz send-up “Hollywood.” 

High/Low is Nada Surf’s only major-label release to date, but the band has remained busy. Their latest album is last year’s well-reviewed Never Not Together. High/Low is a summertime jam that will have everyone dancing at the backyard BBQ party, be it in 1996 or 2021.- Joel Francis

Nathaniel Rateliff- Red Rocks 2020

Nick Drake- Pink Moon

Old Crow Medicine Show- Carry Me Back

OutKast- Aquemini

Paul McCartney- McCartney Imagined III

Weekly Reviews:

Last year’s lockdown provided an opportunity for the Beatle legend to write, perform and produce an album by himself. Now, Paul McCartney has opened up the process to others with a companion release, III Imagined.

The contributor list shows off McCartney’s considerable rolodex flex: Beck, St. Vincent, Damon Albarn, Phoebe Bridgers, Josh Homme, Anderson .Paak, Radiohead drummer Ed O’Brien, Khruangbin and Blood Orange each get a track to play with.

The result is pleasant, if inessential. Only a couple of the new performances add anything to what McCartney already delivered, and the remixes don’t add much more perspective. Beck makes “Find My Way” sound like an outtake from Colors, while Bridgers turns “Seize the Day” into a moody performance that captures the exuberance of Wings on the chorus. Homme’s “Lavotory Lil,” twists the album’s weakest song into something caught between a desert rock jam and pub singalong.

On the remix side, the results are just as uneven. St. Vincent slows down “Women and Wives,” making it feel like Portishead, while O’Brien, as EOB, speeds up “Slidin,’” turning it into a Foo Fighters song. The best interpretations come at the end, where .Paak flips “When Winter Comes” into a ‘70s soul jam and 3D RDN marries the primitive synthesizer programming from McCartney II’s “Temporary Secretary” to McCartney III’s “Deep Deep Feeling.”- Joel Francis

Some would say Paul McCartney is old news; some in the younger generation may not have even known who he was- until ‘Four Five Seconds’ with Rihanna and Kanye West dropped in 2018. As a staple musician in the music industry for decades, he never fails to amaze long time fans, while also reeling in newer, younger listeners with each new release. “McCartney III Imagined” was the perfect drop to say to people everywhere, “Hey I’m still here!”

Paul typically remains in the realm of rock/experimental rock, but with this album he experiments further by letting his featuring artists take reign over their tracks, of course with the incorporation of his own sound. This cacophony album plays with bedroom pop, indie, synth-pop, and of course the staple rock concept with track #9 featuring McCartney’s long time friend Josh Homme. 

I admire his drive, as it’s blatant he’s striving for not necessarily a new sound, rather a unique variant to his pre-existing classics. I think a lot of long time fans of his music might’ve been taken off guard, disliking the album due to its seemingly strong strive to be mainstream and stay in the loop, but personally I think he did quite the opposite, almost in a mocking sense. He definitely strayed from his older music, but by collaborating with mainstream artists while keeping the traits he’s known best for- guitar and experimentation- he only gives himself more credit as a well-rounded, experienced artist. He’s one of the only artists that I know of that’s been around for decades but has consistently stayed in the flow without conforming, per say. -Nova Stebbin

PJ Harvey, John Parish- A Woman A Man Walked By

Weekly Review:

Just a year and a half after working on the haunting Victorian album White Chalk, PJ Harvey and John Parish reappeared with the duo’s second co-billed collaboration, A Woman A Man Walked By. The two albums couldn’t be more different. While White Chalk was stark and piano-based, A Woman A Man is full of guitars, jangly and angular.

Parish wrote all of the songs and performed most of the music, freeing Harvey to concentrate fully on her vocals. You can hear her pushing her singing to new places in the whoops and wails on the freaky folk of “Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen” and the high falsetto of “Leaving California.”

While Parish is an apt musician and collaborator, he isn’t on Harvey’s level as a songwriter. This makes the album feel like Harvey is trying out different characters and personas on each track, without a unifying feel. It’s certainly intriguing to watch Harvey explore new areas, but the albums where she is able to inhabit and sustain one spirit throughout, which is to say her solo albums, are more interesting and rewarding.- Joel Francis

Philip Glass- Akhnaten

Prince- Welcome 2 America

Pulp- Different Class

Queen- Greatest Hits I

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss- Raising Sand

Rodney Crowell- Triage

SZA- CTRL

Sparks- No 1 In Heaven: 40th Anniversary Edition

Sparks- Terminal Jive

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble- The Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble

Stone Temple Pilots- Core

Taylor Swift- Folklore

The Bleachers- Take The Sadness Out Of Saturday Night

The Clash- London Calling

The Gun Club- Fire of Love

The Specials- Ghost Town

The Weeknd- Starboy

Thee Headcoatees- Bozstik Haze

Thee Headcoatees- Have Love Will Travel

Thee Headcoatees- Sisters of Suave

Thelonious Monk- London Collection, Vol. 2

Tyler, The Creator- Igor

Varukers- Vintage Varukers

Velvett Fogg- Velvett Fogg

Whiskey Myers- Firewater

Yazz Ahmed- La Saboteuse

Yazz Ahmed- Polyhymnia

Yola- Stand For Myself

 

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Sherman, Gordon, Cat, Matt, Dylan, Doyle, Heather, Dave and Max

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