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Otis Redding New Vinyl Thursday

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

Aretha Franklin – Sparkle (Clear Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)

Weekly Review:

By the mid-1970s, soul legend Curtis Mayfield’s solo albums saw a dip in quality, but his pen remained
hot for other artists. In 1975, he gave the Staple Singers a No. 1 hit with “Let’s Do It Again,” the title song
to an underrated comedy film with Sidney Poitier (RIP) and Bill Cosby. The following year, Mayfield
helped give Aretha Franklin a much-needed shot in the arm with the Sparkle soundtrack.
As a film, Sparkle had little luster with critics or at the box office – the soundtrack is where it really
shines. Mayfield’s fingerprints are all over this album. It’s not hard to imagine him singing most of these
songs. The Queen of Soul adds power and, well, soul to Mayfield’s numbers.
It is evident from the first song, the title cut, that Sparkle is a special type of Franklin album. Her singing
is powerful and completely invested. Franklin’s albums since her masterpiece live gospel album Amazing
Grace had some good performances, but the singer didn’t always sound fully committed.
The sensuous ballad “Something He Can Feel” has become a staple of Franklin best-of collections, and
for good reason. While Franklin gets funky on “Jump,” for most of Sparkle she is head-over-heels in love
and only too proud to pour out her heart in mid-tempo love songs.
After Sparkle, Franklin moved in a disco direction before signing with Arista Records. She returned to the
charts several times, but the production on those records is very dated. Depending on your feelings of
Franklin’s ‘80s output (and beyond), Sparkle might be the last essential album in Franklin’s catalog.
Either way, it is worth owning. -Joel Francis

The Bad Plus – Activate Infinity

The Black Angels – Live At Levitation (Colored Vinyl, Limited Edition)

Buffalo Nichols – Buffalo Nichols

Busta Rhymes – When Disaster Strikes

Bob Marley- Best of Bob Marley

Bonobo – Fragments (Limited Edition, Colored Vinyl, 140 Gram Vinyl, Indie Exclusive, Digital Download Card)

Billie Eilish- Happier Than Ever Happier Than Ever (Brown Colored Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)

Bo Burnham – Inside (The Songs) (Gatefold LP Jacket

Beyoncé – B’day

Bad Brains – Bad Brains

Weekly Review:

The debut album from the Washington, D.C. punk quartet Bad Brains hits like a jackhammer to the head.
The rhythms are rapid and relentless and singer H.R.’s delivers lyrics somewhere between Joe Strummer
on “White Riot” and Twista on “Slow Jamz.”
Bad Brains first five songs blur past in under 10 minutes, all of them classics. “Banned in D.C.,” the
album’s fifth and greatest track, details how the band was blacklisted from so many clubs in the district.
After proving their punk credentials, Bad Brains shift course on “Jah Calling,” a dub reggae number.
Reggae had long been part of the punk repertoire, but few handled it better than Bad Brains. In fact, the
three reggae songs here comprise one-third of the album’s runtime.
The Bad Brains debut album not only jumpstarted the hardcore punk scene, but blazed a trail that’s
been followed – and feted – by everyone from the Beastie Boys, Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers
to Sublime, 311 and No Doubt. That’s an impressively wide path, and it should lead straight to your
turntable. -Joel Francis

Cat Power – Covers (Gold, 180 Gram Vinyl, Indie Exclusive, Digital Download Card)

Chicano Batman – Freedom Is Free (Pink, Blue Colored Vinyl)

Cowboy Junkies – Black Eyed Man

Cowboy Junkies – Caution Horses

Cowboy Junkies – Pale Sun Crescent Moon

Curtis Mayfield- There’s No Place Like America

Curtis Mayfield – Roots (Orange Vinyl)

Curtis Harding – If Words Were Flowers (Red Vinyl)

Calvin Arsenia – La Sessions

Childish Gambino – Because the Internet

Diana Krall – Live In Paris (180 Gram Vinyl)

Donald Byrd & Pepper Adams – Motor City Scene

David Bowie – Hunky Dory (2015 Remaster, Picture Disc Vinyl)

David Bowie – The Toy (Box)
 
Weekly Review:
 
In the summer of 2021, when it was announced that, five years after his death, an entirely new Prince album had been discovered, I was both excited and slightly guilty. It was somewhat unclear what Prince’s wishes would have been for the album if he still would have been alive. Thankfully, it turned out to be an amazing piece of work. Somehow this made it easier for me to reckon with listening and enjoying the the music, regardless of the man’s personal reservations for timing or his own quality control.
Luckily, such question marks do not exist around David Bowie’s posthumously released new album The Toy.  He had every intention of releasing the record in March of 2001. His label at the time,  EMI/ Virgin, chose to shelve the album due to “financial struggles.” This resulted in Bowie parting ways with EMI and starting work on his 2002 release Heathen for Columbia Records.
But The Toy was there in the back of his head. “Knowing him, I figured at some point it would see the light of day,” claims guitarist and co-producer  Mark Plati. “I knew he was quite proud of it. It just needed to have the moment.”
The idea for The Toy was partly born out of the practicality of wanting to make use of a well honed live band. After a brief tour supporting his previous album Hours, finishing with a live performance at the UK’s Glastonbury Festival, Bowie immediately booked studio time upon the band’s return to New York in the summer 2000.
The idea was to re-record a selection of previously released tracks, out-takes and b-sides originally tracked between 1964-1971. Along with the re-recorded tracks, several new songs were written for the project, including the title track “Toy” (later retitled “Your Turn to Drive”).
His guitarist Earl Slick, describes the vibes during the recording process: “We had been doing a lot of gigs up to that point. We didn’t have to do a whole lot of thinking about how to approach the songs. We had an operating system; an unspoken one. We hardly ever talked about anything. We’d just look at each other, or David would look at us, and it would just happen.”
The really fun part about listening to this record is comparing these versions to the earlier ones. The opening track “I Dig Everything” was first released as a commercially unsuccessful lounge, pop single in 1966. The Toy version is hardly even recognizable as the same song with of a swaggering swirl of distorted, shoegazy guitars.
The shapeshifter that he is, Bowie takes the track “You’ve Got A Habit of Leaving Me,” a classic 60’s garage tune, originally performed with his band at the time The Lower Third while he was still Davy Jones, and twists it into something  sounding more late period REM.
The album is chock full of these kind of interesting retakes.
Even though most songs were previously released, the way in which The Toy is curated establishes a common theme of slowing down and letting go.
It just goes to show you the level of artistry the man was operating. To be a living legend with the catalog and schedule that he had and still have the exploratory nature to totally rework songs, many of which were well over thirty years old, conveys Bowie’s nature to always be looking forward even when he’s looking back.  – Major Matt

Elvis Costello & The Imposters – The Boy Named If

Gang of Four – Entertainment

Ghost Bath – Moonlover (Black, Red, Colored Vinyl, Limited Edition)

Gorillaz – D-Sides

Weekly Review:

At the time of D-Sides’ original release, back in 2007, Gorillaz had as many collections of non-album and
remixed tracks as it did albums: two. Your milage on these collections depends on how much you buy
into former Blur frontman Damon Albarn’s rock/comic book/pop mash-up vision for the band.

A successor to 2002’s G-Sides, D-Sides draws from singles and ephemera surrounding Demon Days,
Gorillaz’ second album. Encompassing three platters, G-Sides is split equally, with three side each for b-
sides (and demos) and remixes.
Several of the b-sides feel like they could have fit on Demon Days. The upbeat “People” and “Highway
Under Construction)” – which finds Albarn experimenting with doo wop – could have worked well on
Demon Days, if they were given a little more work in the studio. Opening instrumental “68 State” places
Albarn’s sharp guitar skills against a drum machine and moody synthesizers. This hour of music doesn’t
quite feel like a lost Gorillaz album, but it’s fun finding the path Albarn ultimately followed through
these discarded scraps.
The remixes fare less well, if only because “D.A.R.E.” and “Kids with Guns” are each presented in three
versions. The remaining three songs in the set are given to “Feel Good, Inc.,” “El Manana” and “Dirty
Harry.” Albarn draws the A-listers for these remixes, with Hot Chip, Jamie T and James Murphy’s DFA.
Not all of these are essential, but they make for a good dance party and cast well-worn numbers in a
new light. -Joel Francis

Gorillaz – Song Machine, Season One (Deluxe Edition)

Great White – Great Zeppelin – Tribute to Led Zeppelin

Weekly Review:

The idea of Great White, a Top 40 hard rock band best known for a cover of Ian Hunter’s “Once Bitten,
Twice Shy,” seems like a bit of an overreach. And while yes, Great White aren’t a band on par with Led
Zeppelin, Great Zeppelin is a surprisingly enjoyable listen.
Great White frontman Jack Russell’s have always carried more than a passing resemblance to Robert
Plant’s and Russell uses that to his advantage here. Great White deserve a lot of credit for their song
selection, too. This nine-song collection opens with “Living Loving Maid” and includes deep cuts such as
“Tangerine” and “When the Levee Breaks.”
The band does best on the delicate, acoustic numbers at the end of side one. Russell’s voice does most
of the heavy lifting here, making it easy to get lost in the songs’ intrinsic beauty. The quintet run into
some troubles on the more muscular numbers. The joyful bounce of John Bonham’s drums are sorely
missed on “D’yer Maker” and lead guitarist Mark Kendall stumbles in Jimmy Page’s shadow on “Since
I’ve Been Loving You.” A tromp through “Immigrant Song” sounds leaden, pardon the pun.
Recorded live at a small, southern California night club in 1996, witnessing Great Zeppelin in person
sounds like a wonderful evening. How often one will want to revisit these songs 25 years later depends
on how worn out the grooves are in the listener’s personal Zeppelin and Greta Van Fleet albums. -Joel Francis

Halford – Resurrection (Red Colored Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)

Harmonia – Deluxe

Johnny Hammond – Gears

Jamire Williams – But Only After You Have Suffered

Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814

Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free (180 Gram Vinyl, Deluxe Edition, Digital Download Card)

Jimi Hendrix – Axis: Bold As Love (180 Gram Vinyl)

Jimi Hendrix – Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix [150 gram Vinyl]

John Coltrane – Lush Life

John Coltrane – “Live” At The Village Vanguard (Verve Acoustic Sounds Series)

John Coltrane – Crescent (Verve Acoustic Sounds Series)

Joy Division – Still

Weekly Review:

Like Nirvana, Joy Division enjoy an outsized reputation and legacy despite a slim catalog. Still is the first
Joy Division album released after frontman Ian Curtis’ suicide and rounds up 20 studio outtakes and live
tracks.

The most interesting – and morbid – material here is the material recorded live at High Hall at the
University of Birmingham on May 2, 1980. This was Joy Division’s final concert. Just 16 days later, Curtis
was dead.
Songs from the Birmingham show fill all of Still’s second LP and while they are certainly of great
historical note, the sound quality is a little rough. The balance and mix are uneven. Curtis’ vocals are off
mic during the first half of an otherwise gripping performance of “Ceremony” – the song that would
become New Order’s first single.
The studio material on the first LP is sonically better but less cohesive. Songs that appeared as b-sides or
on label samplers appear next to works-in-progress. Because Joy Division only released two studio
albums and fistful of singles, any official additions to the category are worth exploring. However,
newcomers are better off starting with Unknown Pleasures and Closer and before winding up at Still. -Joel Francis

Kurt Vile and Steve Gunn – Gunn Vile (Purple Colored Vinyl, Digital Download Card)

Kendrick Lamar- To Pimp a Butterfly

The Lumineers – Brightside (Oceania Colored Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)

Lonnie Smith – Breathe

Lady Wray – Queen Alone

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin I (180 Gram Vinyl, Remastered)

Mitski – Puberty 2

Miles Davis and Michel Legrand – Dingo: Selections From The Motion Picture Soundtrack (180 Gram Vinyl, Red Colored Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)

The Monkees – Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones Ltd. (Indie Exclusive)

My Morning Jacket – Z (Purple Colored Vinyl, Limited Edition, 180 Gram Vinyl, Reissue)

Mr. Bungle – California

Michael Jackson – Thriller (Picture Disc)

Olivia Rodrigo- Sour

Otis Redding – Best Of Otis Redding (Indie Exclusive)

Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon

Pink Floyd-  A Momentary Lapse Of Reason (180 Gram Vinyl, With Booklet, Gatefold LP Jacket)

Prince – Purple Rain (Picture Disc Vinyl LP)

Robert Plant- Raise The Roof (Gatefold LP Jacket, 180 Gram Vinyl)

Richard Hell & The Voidoids – Blank Generation (Indie Exclusive)

Sun Ra – Monorails & Satelites: Works for Solo Piano Vol. 1 2 3

Smoke Dza & Curren$Y – Prestige Worldwide (Colored Vinyl, Limited Edition, 150 Gram Vinyl, Indie Exclusive)

Sam Cooke – Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964

Taylor Swift – Folklore (Beige Colored Vinyl, Gatefold LP Jacket)

Twenty One Pilots – Vessel (FBR 25th Anniversary Edition, Silver Colored Vinyl)

Twisted Sister – Greatest Hits -Tear It Loose (Atlantic Years) (Red Clear Vinyl, Limited Edition)

Thelonious Monk – Misterioso

Thelonious Monk – Monks Dream

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Various Artists – Trip-Hop Vibes Vol 3
Various – Lost in Translation soundtrack
Weekly Review:
The soundtrack to director Sofia Coppola’s wonderful (and problematic) second film perfectly captures

the movie’s themes of loneliness and alienation.
This 15-song collection is anchored by four pieces My Bloody Valentine guitarist Kevin Shields wrote for
the film. Many of the selections are more mood pieces than formally structured songs, but woven
together they make for a rich and rewarding listen.
Some of the stand-out moments include the layered, washed-out guitars on Death in Vegas’ “Girls.” This
is the dreamy shoegaze everyone wanted Shields to make at the time. My Bloody Valentine’s
“Sometimes” and the Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Just Like Honey” were recorded more than a decade
before Coppola started rolling film, but enhance the film’s aesthetic.

Several delicate, intimate numbers complement the shoegaze. Air’s “Alone in Kyoto,” Shields’ “Ikebana”
and Sebastien Tellier’s “Fantino” blend acoustic guitars and organs to create statements that are
somehow warm and isolating at the same time. The Japanese song “Kaze Wo Atsumete” by Happy End
sounds like a curio rescued from a Wes Anderson project. The straight-up pop Phoenix’ “Too Young”
doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the pieces, but does a good job of breaking up and shifting the mood.
Lost in Translation works both as a film and a soundtrack because it connects with that inner core of our
being, either because it is a place one explores often or it is the last frontier, confronted when we’ve run
out of options and there’s no one else around. Even in a city of 14 million people, like Tokyo. -Joel Francis

Various – Juno soundtrack

Weekly Review:

The 2007 film Juno was the indie-est of indie comedies, so it follows that the soundtrack is loaded with
Pitchfork-approved favorites, such as Kimya Dawson, Belle and Sebastian, Cat Power and Sonic Youth.
Dawson is the collection’s lynchpin, both on her own and in her groups The Moldy Peaches and Antsy
Pants. Dawson is on eight (nine, counting a cover) of the soundtrack’s 19 selections, so your enjoyment
here is mostly dependent on your Dawson appreciation quotient.
Dawson’s lo-fi, childlike approach to songwriting and performing complements the titular character, a
pregnant teenager suddenly grappling with very adult pressures and decisions. The rest of the
soundtrack is split between classic rock numbers from the Kinks, Buddy Holly and Mott the Hoople and
indie rock gems. The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Sticking with You” manages to land firmly in both
camps.
While the jumps from Dawson to Sonic Youth and back, or from Belle and Sebastian to “All the Young
Dudes” may not entirely stick the landing, the Juno soundtrack winds up being quirky, awkward and
ultimately endearing – just like the film itself. -Joel Francis

Weekly Review #2:

When director Jason Reitman asked lead actor Elliot Paige what he thought his character in the Academy Award winning film Juno would listen to, Paige immediately turned to Reitman and said, “The Moldy Peaches.”
At the time Reitman imagined the characters being into glam rock. Imagine what kind of different movie it would have been if he had gone with his initial instinct.
Music can play many roles in a film. To say that the music of Kimya Dawson and her bands The Moldy Peaches and Antsy Pants are integral to the development of the two main characters in the film Juno is an understatement. The closing of the film has the two serenading  each other with MP’s song, “Anyone Else But You.”
Helping round out the cool factor of this iconic soundtrack are songs by Belle and Sebastian and Cat Power as well as Sonic Youth’s heart stinging rendition of the Carpenters song “Superstar.” But there is no doubt that it is Dawson’s songs that stand out as the musical skeleton that the entire film hangs upon.
Juno is a light hearted comedy about some very heavy subjects. The dialogue style is very direct, occasional bordering on the obsessive but the process reveals the human heart in a unique and relatable way, much in the way Dawson’s music works: A child- like voice conveying all of her fears and loves, honestly with the simple strummed accompaniment of an acoustic guitar and simple backing.
I’ve had the benefit of watching Kimya Dawson’s music work on people. I’ve toured with her with my band Schwervon! and even been fortunate enough to record her. I’ve seen her tame many a rowdy crowds of kids with the sweet understated compassion of her songs.
This album is a nice introduction to the work of Kimya Dawson and the quirky style of the New York Antifolk Scene of the early 2000’s.  Plus there’s some good representation by the top indie bands of the time, as well as classic tracks by The Kinks and Mott the Hoopla to boot! -Major Matt
Voka Gentle – Writhing!
White Zombie – La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1
Weekly Review:
La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1 wasn’t White Zombie’s first album, but it was the one that made the
band – and auteur Rob Zombie – a household name. While they certainly weren’t the first band to
combine b-grade horror films and metal, no one else in this vein sounded like they were having more
fun.
From the go-go dancers in short shorts in the “Thunderkiss ‘65” music video to song titles like “Welcome
to Planet M.F.” and “Grindhouse (A Go-Go),” it was always unclear whether White Zombie wanted to
mutilate or play with their victims. Ultimately, it was probably a lot of both.
Sonically, La Sexorcisto draws heavily from Danzig and Ministry. The live guitars and drums pack plenty
of wallop, but electronic, danceable elements are present as well. White Zombie are basically a one-trick
pony, with Zombie’s spoken/sung lyrics over gloomy guitars and infectious choruses that shake off
(most) of the darkness. Fortunately, White Zombie do this trick very, very well. If this sounds like fun to
you, La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1 offers it up 11 times (plus three spoken interludes). -Joel Francis

The White Stripes – Elephant

The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan (180-gram)

The White Stripes – Icky Thump

The Wombats – Fix Yourself Not The World

Weldon Irvine – The Sisters

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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 Lain

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