It’s Record Store Day 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
Alabama Shakes- Sound & Color
Art Blakey & Jazz Messengers- The Big Beat
The Big Beat was the first of three albums drummer Art Blakey recorded in 1960 (although one wasn’t released until 1966) and the release introducing the best version of the Jazz Messengers, featuring Lee Morgan on trumpet and Wayne Shorter on saxophone.
As Morgan and Shorter push each other to new heights, Blakey keeps the songs driving forward. Blakey’s aggressive fills and solos arrive like encouragement from a boxing trainer, encouraging each fighter – or in this case, player – to get back in the ring and give the other guy hell.
Shorter is responsible for half of the album’s six numbers, with pianist Bobby Timmons contributing another original song. While Shorter doesn’t yet display the adventurousness that would mark his time with Miles Davis’ superlative quintet a few years later, his playing is exuberant and his songwriting is inventive.
Among Shorter’s originals, “Sakeena’s Vision” stands out for the way it enables each musician to display his range and style. The swinging “Lester Left Town” pays homage to saxophonist Lester Young, who spent considerable time in Kansas City as a member of the Count Basie Orchestra.
Blakey recorded so prolifically that it can be easy to get lost in his immense catalog. Even compared to his other albums of the era, The Big Beat stands out.- Joel Francis
Billy Preston- 16 Yr Old Soul
Black Pumas- Black Pumas
Soul-funk duo Eric Burton and Adrian Quesada are some of the most talented individuals in modern soul/ experimental R&B. Black Pumas’ self-titled debut album released in 2019, creating a strong title for themselves.
A personal favorite off this album, is track #7, “Old Man.” Though it’s repetitive, the guitar layers beautifully over itself as the vocals top it with steady melodies.
“Ain’t no need to worry, babe
If you’ve got soul then you got fire
Ain’t no need to worry, babe
Let my love take you higher”
Overall, this song brings about good vibes all around- lyrically and instrumentally. This is one that I like to blare when I’m on a long drive.
Another song I really like off this album is, “Colors,” one of their most popular songs. Something I really like about this track is the chord progression. The guitar in unison with the contrasting harmonies gives me an “off feeling”, in the best possible way. Another part of the track I really admire is the piano and bass solo nearing the end. The bass remains groovy and the piano twinkles in such a way I can’t say I’ve heard before.
Generally, I think they did a fantastic job with this album. It includes unique elements ranging from psychedelic funk, to soul, to R&B; I like that they’re not classified to just one genre. If you like Durand Jones & The Indications, you’d thoroughly enjoy this album. -Nova Stebbin
Brand New- The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me
Though disbanded now, Brand New was an alternative sensation upon debuting. In 2006, their iconic album, “The Devil & God Are Raging Inside Me,” dropped, bringing with it groundbreaking tracks for their time. This album is personally my favorite by them, because I feel like it dives into a plethora of genres and toys with interesting concepts instrumentally and lyrically.
Introducing the album with nothing held back comes, “Sowing Season (Yeah).” This track experiments with intriguing guitar riffs and backing harmonies, building up to the cacophony of sound in the explosive chorus and break down. This song bleeds perfectly into track #2, “Millstone.”
One of (if not my favorite) tracks off this album is song #3, “Jesus Christ,” for many reasons. This song makes me feel like I’m opening a suitcase of old memories, good and bad. The melodic, soft guitar riff carries throughout the song, meshing perfectly with the vocals. With special backing guitar flanges and hidden harmonies, it all ties together in a way that tells its own story. This song stands at 5 minutes but after listening to the whole thing, it feels like it only lasted 30 seconds, making me want to start it over.
Another song off this album that stands out to me and many other fans is track #6, “Luca.” Yet another song with catchy guitar riff and beautiful harmonies included. A few things I really like about this song is the amount of variation in tempo, experimental sounds, and interesting lyrics.
Throughout the entire album, I felt a wide scope of emotions and couldn’t resist nodding my head along to it- it’s almost irresistible. Overall, I’d recommend this album to anyone looking for alternative music that speaks to a different part of your soul (cheesy, but true). Fans of Brand New also like: Bayside, Senses Fail, and Circa Survive. -Nova Stebbin
Bruce Springsteen- The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts (2LP)
In the fall of 1979, Bruce Springsteen and his E Street band took a break from working on their new album The River and headlined two nights at Madison Square Garden as part of a musical protest against nuclear energy called No Nukes.
Because they shared billing with other artists – some of whom joined Springsteen onstage during his encore set – the E Street Band had to streamline and tighten their normal three-hour shows into just 90 minutes. The result was a full-throttle performance by a band at the peak of its powers.
For the first hour, Springsteen delivers high-energy readings of his biggest songs: “Badlands,” “The Promised Land,” “Jungleland.” Even though Springsteen had only released one album since Born to Run at the time of this concert, “Thunder Road” and “Born to Run” had already transformed in to the communal sing-alongs they remain today. The Boss also premiered two songs: “The River” and “Sherry Darling.”
After nine of his own songs, Springsteen called out Jackson Browne and Tom Petty to help on a cover of “Stay” that kicks off an old-time rock and roll party. Readings of the “Detroit Medley” and “Quarter to Three” span nearly 20 minutes and the raucous set ends with Buddy Holly’s “Rave On.”
The E Street Band aren’t that far removed from their bar band days, but combine that wild energy with the experience and knowledge of an outfit that knows how to work an arena crowd. In the coming years, Springsteen would be playing stadiums to crowds so enormous they make this show at the Garden seem quaint. That mixture of raw enthusiasm and seasoned professionalism makes the 1979 No Nukes Concerts stand out even in a live catalog as rich and deep as Springsteen’s. – Joel Francis
Cat Stevens- Teaser And The Firecat
The catalog of English folk singer Cat Stevens is a near-perfect bell curve, starting with the 1967’s promising Matthew and Son and improving on each subsequent album, peaking with 1970’s masterpiece Tea for the Tillerman and Teaser and the Firecat, released in 1971.
Stevens’ delivers the 10 folk gems on Teaser with an ache and longing that would be easy to lampoon if every note and lyric didn’t seem to connect directly from his heart to the listener’s. On the delicate opener “The Wind,” Stevens portrays a searcher willing to “let my music take me where my heart wants to go.” A gorgeous arrangement of the hymn “Morning Has Broken” (with Rick Wakeman on piano) became a Top 10 hit. The reassuring “Moonshadow” broke the Top 40. The album’s best song is “Peace Train,” a four-minute ode of hope and aspiration for a better world.
On his subsequent albums, Stevens’ spiritual searching became stained with disillusionment and, later, didacticism. His ear for a catchy melody would also gradually wander, but for the 33 minutes of Teaser and the Firecat, there is no finer troubadour of enlightenment and optimism than Cat Stevens.- Joel Francis
Charles Mingus- The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady
Charles Mingus’ 1963 debut on Impulse! records was a match made in heaven. At the time, Impulse! was the home of John Coltrane and some of the most cutting-edge recordings in jazz. Mingus was also riding a creative zenith.
The four-track, six-movement suite The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady plays like a cross between Duke Ellington, chamber music and free jazz. The music is frequently frantic and sinister, like a long chase down a dark alley. (Don Butterfield’s tuba does a great job of establishing an ominous mood.) The dense performances are often sweetened with melody lines from the woodwinds, piano or Jay Berliner’s entrancing flamenco guitar.
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady isn’t a casual listen and wasn’t made for casual listeners. While the album is a challenging listen, it rewards the effort with a rich tapestry of music that expands the boundaries of American composition.- Joel Francis
Charlie Parr- Last of the Better Days Ahead
Cibo Matto- Viva La Woman
Curtis Mayfield- There’s No Place Like America
Genesis- The Last Domino? (4LP)
Ghostface Killah- More Fish
Greta Van Fleet- The Battle At Garden’s Gate
The Battle at Garden’s Gate is a celebration of Greta Van Fleet’s success, of their growth in songwriting ability and chemistry, and above all a celebration of life and music itself, strung along with an aftertaste of fear as it contemplates the possibilities of the fate of the writers, as well as the fate of the human world.
Heat Above opens the album with a story setting look at the world burning around us, with nature and human conscience both struggling to hold on. Carrying the activist spirit of metal and hard rock, this album contemplates the state of humanity for its strange existence and shortcomings in its attempts at control, while still clinging on the individual level to the need to have content and to dream and be free. In the following songs, a ‘battle’ is laid out with lyrical storytelling of the modern human’s attempt to stay sane in a world in turmoil, of the individual’s need to dream and be free of burden, and of the burdens we’ve given ourselves as a society by trying to control and manipulate the world around us.
The journey this album takes the listener on includes the strong desire to enjoy life, positive reminders that it is right to do so, and bitter realities of what can happen if we forget the other necessities of life and conscience. This balance of dreamy celebration shows in the lyrical journey of often dark and fearful contemplation, mixed with a constant celebration of musical and compositional ability, as deep rooted drumlines, roaring guitar riffs, and well crafted compositions line every song in a gold wrapping that makes the listener wish to be free of all reality but the music itself, best shown in the closing moments of The Weight of Dreams, acting lyrically as a sobering look at the road ahead and the paths we’ve walked before as individuals, as a society, and as a species, while also acting musically as an ecstatically beautiful call to that deep desire to simply be free of the weight of it all. Whether you’re in it for the excellently crafted lyrics and reflective storytelling or the musical skill of a band truly coming into its own, this is an album bursting with emotion, strength, and talent, and is a worthy addition to your collection.- Josh Wilson
Halsey- If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power
Hanson- Middle Of Everywhere: The Greatest Hits
Harry Styles- Fine Line
Horace Silver- 6 Pieces Of Silver
In late 1954, jazz pianist Horace Silver helped drummer Art Blakey assemble a mighty septet called the Jazz Messengers. The Messengers would continue for another 40 years, becoming a proving ground for scores of young jazz musicians, including Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan, Wynton Marsalis and Mulgrew Miller.
Under Blakey, the Messengers became adept at handling frequent lineup changes. Dealing with turnover came swiftly for Blakey, when Silver absconded with most of the Messengers about 18 months after helping form the group. Silver’s resulting album with these players, 6 Pieces of Silver, featured Donald Byrd on trumpet, Hank Mobley on tenor sax and Doug Watkins on bass.
Silver made good use of this ensemble, handing them six original tunes, two would of which become standards. Silver’s piano leads the way, with a style that displays shades of gospel and blues and more than a little debt to Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. The lone cover, closing track “For Heaven’s Sake,” finds Silver and his rhythm section working sans horns.
Although he’d released previous albums – including a pair with the Jazz Messengers just the year before – 6 Pieces of Silver announced Silver’s arrival as a bandleader and composer. Silver was still a couple years off from establishing his own sound and pushing bebop into post-bop territory, but 6 Pieces of Silver is a fantastic showcase of Silver’s potential and preview of what was to come.- Joel Francis
Led Zeppelin- Led Zeppelin IV
Leon Bridges- Gold-Diggers Sound
Link Wray- Great Guitar Hits
Makaya McCraven- Deciphering The Message
Jazz drummer Makaya McCraven rose to prominence through his work with Kamasi Washington and his 2020 reimagining of Gil Scott-Heron’s final album. McCraven’s work remixing and reworking Scott-Heron’s I’m New Here into We’re New Again transformed a curious footnote into a vital listen.
Now McCraven has been given the keys to the Blue Note vault to remix and reimagine some of the venerable jazz label’s catalog. This has been done before, of course. Madlib’s 2003 album Shades of Blue remains a compelling listen. McCraven’s Deciphering the Message will immediately sound familiar to fans of ‘90s jazz mash-up masters Us3 – both artists feature the same Birdland MC.
With the exception of “Autumn in New York,” none of the 13 songs here run longer than four minutes. It can sometimes be frustrating to hear a track taper off despite the music’s momentum. On the other hand, but keeping the tracks crisp, McCraven doesn’t allow any lulls to form during the course of the album.
McCraven gets help from vibes player Joel Ross, guitarist Jeff Parker and bass player Junius Paul. It’s often hard to tell where the sampled archival performance ends and the new instrumentation begins. This blend breathes new life into the performances.
In this regard, Deciphering the Message feels like conceptual kin to the excellent Jazz is Dead series. Both releases seek to pay tribute to a classic art form while recontextualizing it for a new generation. Like Jazz is Dead, Deciphering the Message succeeds making jazz more than a museum piece, making for an exciting listen for both longtime genre fans and curious newcomers.- Joel Francis
Miles Davis- Bitches Brew
My Chemical Romance- Black Parade
N.W.A.- Straight Outta Compton
Nathaniel Rateliff- The Future
Nina Simone- Her Ultimate Collection
Panic! At the Disco- Death of a Bachelor
Passerine Dream- Passerine Dream
During his past two decades in Kansas City, musician Dave Tanner has built a reputation as one of the best Paul McCartney stand-ins in Beatles tribute bands across the country. When the pandemic halted his touring – Tanner estimated he played 155 shows and was gone for 200 days in 2019 – Tanner turned to his backlog of songs and decided to record an album of his own material.
“At first I was farming myself out to record bass parts and backing vocals for other groups,” Tanner said. “Then I started wondering when we were going to be able to go to work and perform again. I went through a lot of doubt and some depression.”
To give his days a purpose, Tanner turned to the notebooks he’d filled with songs and ideas over the years.
“I kind of girded up the loins and said if you’re not going to record your own songs now, when are you going to do it?” Tanner said. “There was a specific day I decided I am going to record an album. I fired up a livestream on YouTube, said I was going to do it and livestreamed my first session, which was for the song ‘Be Together.’ I ended up keeping some of those tracks for the final mix.”
Tanner was gracious enough to walk us through the resulting album track-by-track. To learn where the name Passerine Dream came from, how NRBQ helped shape the album and how Tanner improvised on one song when his original recording files were corrupted, read the full interview at The Daily Record. (hyperlink the underlined words to: https://joelfrancis.com/2021/11/16/passerine-dream-takes-flight/) Pick up a copy of Passerine Dream and browse other great local artists at 7th Heaven today.- Joel Francis
Pineapple Thief- Nothing But The Truth
Pink Floyd- Meddle
Polvo- Today’s Active Lifestyles
R.E.M.- New Adventures In Hi-Fi
Robert Plant- Raise The Roof
Robert Plant’s refusal to be tied down to the legacy of Led Zeppelin has made him one of the most fascinating artists in rock. Fourteen years after Plant’s mercurial muse led to a pairing with bluegrass visionary Alison Krauss, the duo is back for a second helping.
Raise the Roof contains many of the same elements that made Raising Sand a delight in 2007. The two voices mingle like longtime friends sharing a plate of food. Producer T-Bone Burnett, who also produced Raising Sand, knows how to best support those golden voices and deliver a few surprises as well. The music track on Lucinda Williams’ “Can’t Let Go” sounds it was recorded at Sun Studios in the 1950s, while the drum on Allen Toussaint’s “Trouble with My Lover” seems to echo off a distant hillside.
The song selection is just as adventurous. In addition to well-known numbers, such as the Everly Brothers’ “The Price of Love” and Merle Haggard’s “Going Where the Lonely Go,” the dozen tunes here also encompasses pieces by Calexico, Bert Jansch and even a Plant/Burnett original that slips in unnoticed.
Zeppelin fans expecting the hammer of the gods are best off sticking to Greta Van Fleet, but fans of intrepid roots music will have a celebration day. – Joel Francis
Snail Mail- Valentine
Sonny Stitt- Stitt Goes Latin
Steve Lacy- Straws
Sting- The Bridge
The Grateful Dead- Fox Theatre, St. Louis, MO (12/ 10/ 71) [Live](5LP)
Tribe Called Quest- People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (25th Anniversary Edition)
U2- Achtung Baby
Various Artists- Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix 1 (Original Soundtrack)
Willie Nelson- Legendary Outlaw
Aerosmith- 1971: The Road Starts Hear
Bee Gees- Three Kisses of Love
Canned Heat- Friends in the Can
Chet Baker- Albert’s House
Fleetwood Mac- Alternate Live
John Legend- Once Again
Lana Del Ray- Chemtrails Over the Country Club
Lil Wayne, Rich The Kid- Trust Fund Babies
Ozzy Osbourne- No More Tears
Sons of Kemet- African Cosmology
The Jimi Hendrix Experience- Paris 67
Trippie Redd- A Love Letter To You 1/ A Love Letter To You 2
U2- Gloria (40th Anniversary)
“Here are 10 RSD releases dropping on Black Friday I’m excited about. Don’t forget to grab some tasty treats after checking out.
The Reverend Horton Heat – We Three Kings (1xLP, limited to 1,175 copies)
Billie Eilish – No Time to Die (7” single, limited to 15,000 copies)
Various artists – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou soundtrack (2xLP)
Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros – Johnny Appleseed (12” single, limited to 4,500 copies)
The Shangri-Las – The Best of the Red Bird and Mercury Recordings (2xLP, limited to 2,800 copies)
Local Natives – Music from the Pen Gala 1983 (cassette, limited to 1,500 copies)
Charlie Parker – Bird in L.A. (4xLP)
U Roy – Creation Rebel: Rare Sides by the Reggae Originator 1971-1975 (1xLP, limited to 1,500 copies)
Sons of Kemet – African Cosmology (12” single)
Big Mama Thornton – Sassy Mama – Live at The Rising Sun Celebrity Jazz Club (1xLP, limited to 1,500 copies)”- Joel Francis
Click on the RSD event link below to see all of the records we’ll have this RSD Black Friday!
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Which records, tapes, and CDs are your favorite local artists buying? On this episode of Record Shopping with Shuttlecock, we head to The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven with the Lawrence trio Flooding to do some digging. Tune in to find out what they copped. Flooding’s self-titled debut album is available now on Bandcamp and digital streaming platforms. Follow @ShuttlecockMag on social media and visit www.ShuttlecockMusic.com. Grab a t-shirt, button, or magazine from www.ShuttlecockMag.BigCartel.com to support the channel. Make sure to like, subscribe, and share.
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!
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