• Ben Lee

New Releases: 19th February 2021

Ben brings you all the new releases and reissues to arrive at The Vinyl Whistle this week, featuring releases ranging from indie, synth-pop, lofi, hip-hop, electronica, rock, folk, RnB, soul, jazz, punk, dance, psychedelic rock, pop-punk, funk, metal and pop. To order, you can find the items on the links below. Here's Ben's roundup of his Top 10 Picks of the week:

Another New Thing - XYZZY (Indie / Synth Pop / Electronic)


Dipped In Gold Recordings are proud to announce Another New Thing The latest project from Sheffield’s number one purveyor of synth pop Dean Honer ( All Seeing i, I Monster, Electronic Research Council, Moonlandingz, ITOP).

Take three self professed toerags, one in Sheffield UK, one in Preston UK and one in Pennsylvania USA, quarantine them in their houses for 6 months for their own safety, tell them to make an album.

In 2015 Honer, Nagle and Himlin met on a Sonic Weekend in Wales. An annual event which was organised by Ann Shenton of Add N to X. People from all over the world gather in a remote farmhouse surrounded by sheep, to get hammered and make and record noise. Honer (ITOP, Moonlandingz, All Seeing I, I Monster) plays the role of producer for the weekend.

Himlin said to Nagle “One day we should make some music together”. 2020 Lockdown – Nagle sends Himlin some of his extended modular synthesizer workouts. Himlin writes songs over them and also adds guitar and bass. Nagle said to Himlin “These arent too shit, we should send these to Honer to do some mixes and production” And so the the game of audio “exquisite corpse” began. The tunes were passed from person to person via the transatlantic telegraph cable (Wetransfer) to add to or subtract from, until lockdown was eased and they were deemed complete. Himlin casually dubbed the project “Another New Thing,” “because that's what it is!”.

Nagle dubbed the album XYZZY after a magic password key he had discovered playing text based adventure games on his computer in the 70s, the unknown pronunciation being a bonus in his mind.


David Bowie and Morrissey - Cosmic Dancer (Pop Rock / Indie)


Morrissey and David Bowie’s duet of T-Rex’s ‘Cosmic Dancer’, that was recorded live at the Inglewood Forum, Los Angeles on 6th February 1991, is to be released officially for the first time. The 7-inch double A-side single featuring ‘Cosmic Dancer’ alongside Morrissey’s 2020 cover of The Jam’s ‘That’s Entertainment’ is to be released on 19th February. The sleeve front and back features photographs of David Bowie with Morrissey and were taken in New York City by Linder Sterling.


Bradford - Bright Hours (Indie / Rock)


Distressed of sound and disturbed of subject matter, “down-faced doll” sees the classic indie outfit connect with their dark-sides to deliver a cacophonous alt/folk stomp unlike anything they’ve released before.

based on a chilling true story told through the eyes of a discarded toy, its lyrics like clues, begin to lay evidence to a scene enough to turn anyone’s blood blue. as vocalist ian h. says: “by far the most disturbing song i’ve ever written. some songs seem to have a strange compelling energy which no one can rightly claim authorship to. they ‘write themselves’ but of course a great deal of working and shaping occurs too… a true story - well the first two verses are. the last two verses are my attempt to imagine “how did it ever get to this”…” customised with discomposing eastern-inspired guitar riffs and clamouring percussive rhythms, “down-faced doll” instils an unshakable feeling of paranoia, pursuit and unsease to match its haunting storyline. “ewan and stephen immediately tuned into its unsettling vibrations to create sounds and dark corners as you are unwillingly dragged through the scenario.” ian adds. created & produced by bradford (ian hodgson, ewan butler & stephen street), “down-faced doll” was mixed by stephen street (blur/new order/ kaiser chiefs) and mastered by john davies.


Grandaddy - The Sophtware Slump...on a Wooden Piano (Indie Rock)


Jason Lytle set up a new plan when he decided to re-record the songs from Grandaddy’s “The Sophtware Slump.” Twenty years ago he made this ageless record while red-eyed and running around a sweltering slipshod home studio in his boxers using some gear he planned to return to Best Buy as soon as he was done. For this new, piano-centric “The Sophtware Slump,” Lytle traveled around Los Angeles, sourcing studios and pianos like a master chef selects foods from a farmer’s market. He identified three instruments and three studios that would suffice. Everything was in place. As with many best-laid plans, his were scuttled. In this case by a pandemic. So two decades after making a DIY masterpiece, Lytle found himself recording those songs again, sweating in his apartment again, trying to create a controlled environment while surrounded by chaos.

“I wrote a list of things I had to work around here,” he says. “Traffic. Pretty strong from 8-10, commute times. Then 2 to 5. Helicopters, garbage trucks, weed whackers, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, motorcycles that inevitably always drive by during the middle of a take, sports cars, lots of fancy luxury sedans with no mufflers, parrots.” Parrots. So unlike the old days where the coming and going of birds could be electronically punched in, Lytle 20 years after “The Sophtware Slump” found live birds willing to contribute to his album, and at no cost.


Ryan Hemsworth - Pout (Indie Pop / Electronic)


The first release in the Friends Of series, a new project that extends dedication to dynamic and innovative collaboration. Features from Ms. John Soda and BadBadNotGood’s Leland Whitty."For this EP I was trying to live less in nostalgia and function less off obvious references. I worked on 'Pout' while becoming a dad, sitting a lot in my garden, and trying to kill my ego. Tracks like “Mountain Access” make me think about driving around Hamilton, Ontario, my home as of a year ago. I hope people can still get a chance to walk around with this on headphones or daydream while listening to this project." - Ryan Hemsworth


Hey Colossus - Dances / Curses (Rock / Psychedelic / Post Rock)


Amplification moves air and gestures to the celestial. A splitter van parks in a service station. The afterglow of the stage. The weight of a bass cab up a steep flight of metal stairs. Hey Colossus are no strangers to the dualities of life as a loud rock band. But more importantly, they know how to channel both facets into records that transcend all limitations in a blinding volley of incandescence.

Dances / Curses - their lucky thirteenth record - is the work of six musicians at the peak of their considerable powers of intuition and inspiration. Constant motion is also something Hey Colossus know a little about, now into their eighteenth year as a band in a never-ending search for new trouble and new epiphanies. When this iteration of the band - which came together around the making of their last release, 2019’s Four Bibles, geographically spread between Somerset, Watford, London, Nottingham and Sheffield - first began work the chemistry apparently took care of itself, with their meetings at weekend rehearsals seeing them undergo a process less like jamming and more like a particularly intensive form of instant composition. Whatever sparks were spontaneously flying in these initial sessions, they gave rise to enough material to make Dances / Curses a double record, running the gamut from the rhythmically-driven, infectiously melodic songcraft of Donkey Jaw and Medal via the slow-burning atmospherics of U Cowboy to the mightily motorik-driven 15 minute travelogue that is A Trembling Rose, which takes in a plethora of unified headspaces in richly cinematic style.

Longterm Hey Colossus fan Mark Lanegan makes an appearance amidst the languid and sun-soaked denouement of The Mirror, the existential gravitas of his tones entirely at home in these revelatory surroundings. True to form for a band in full control, Dances / Curses is far from the kind of sprawling psych opus that exists purely due to the band being too baked, biased or blasé to edit it down. Indeed, this serendipitous record marks something even these six musicians never necessarily intended - a work in the tradition of the double album with an element of mystery, a record that somehow changes itself every time it returns to the shelf. Somewhere on the great continuum between Unwound’s Leaves Turn Inside You and Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants, somewhere between the dances of aspiration and the curses of reality, Hey Colossus have created their finest alchemical achievement to date.


SG Lewis - Times (Dance / Electronic / Disco)


Following the release of his huge summer singles Chemicals and the Robyn and Channel Tres collaborative smash Impact, UK songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist SG Lewis releases his long-awaited debut album, times. The LP, via EMI Records, finds one of modern pop’s secret weapons stepping out front and centre, as he takes listeners on a voyage through soaring electronic dance and kaleidoscopic future disco, with the help of a few friends along the way.


Lael Neale - Acquainted With Night (Indie / Alternative)


Lael’s new album Acquainted With Night is a testament to this poetic devotion. Stripped of any extraneous word or sound, the songs are lit by Lael’s crystalline voice which lays on a lush bed of Omnichord. The collection touches on themes that have been thread into her work for years: isolation, mortality, yearning, and reaching ever toward the transcendent experience.

Lael grew up on a farm in rural Virginia, but for nearly 10 years called Los Angeles home. Those years were spent developing her songwriting and performing in venues across the city, but the right way to record the songs proved more elusive. She says, “Every time I reached the end of recording, I felt the songs had been stripped of their vitality in the process of layering drums, bass, guitar, violin, and organ over them. They felt weighed down.”

In a moment of illumination the solution presented itself: do the simple thing. In early 2019, in the midst of major transition, she acquired a new instrument, the omnichord, and began recording a deluge of songs. Guy Blakeslee, who had been an advocate for years, set up a cassette recorder in her bedroom and provided empathic guidance, subtle yet affecting accompaniment and engineering prowess. Limited to only 4-tracks and first takes, Lael had to surrender some of her perfectionism to deliver the songs in their essence.

While Lael returned to her family farm in April 2020, Los Angeles is a player on this album, and “Every Star Shivers in the Dark” is an ode to the sprawling city, the outskirts of Eden. One can envision her walking from Dodgers Stadium to downtown, observing strangers and her own strangeness but determined to find communion with others. “Blue Vein” is her personal anthem, a Paul Revere piece that gallops through the town as a strident declamation. It is an amalgam of thoughts, concerns, and lessons as she nearly speaks the words, unmasked by flourishes, ensuring the meaning cuts through.

Normally a morning person, Lael recorded most of these songs in the darkening of the early evening, and so became Acquainted With Night.


Tash Sultana - Terra Firma (Indie / Alt / Rock)


Tash Sultana offer up their sophomore release on Lonely Land Records, via Sony Music. The follow up to the critically acclaimed "Flow State" from two years ago.


Tindersticks - Distractions (Indie Rock / Alternative)


Just before the end of the year 2020, a mere 12 months, after the release of their celebrated record No Treasure But Hope, Tindersticks surprised everyone with mentioning a new album to be released in 2021.

Stuart Staples was already nurturing seeds for a different kind of Tindersticks album before lockdown halted their tour in early 2020, singer. If 2019’s No Treasure but Hope saw the band rediscovering themselves as a unit, the follow-up reconfigures that unit so that everything familiar about Tindersticks sounds fresh again. Distractions is an album of subtle realignments and connections from a restless, intuitive band: rich in texture and atmosphere, it lives between its open spaces and details, always finding new ways to connect with a song.

If it’s an album that resists easy summation, at least one thing is clear: though it isn’t untouched by the lockdown, Distractions is not ‘a lockdown album’. As Staples says, “I think the confinement provided an opportunity for something that was already happening. It is definitely a part of the album, but not a reaction to it.”


Here are the best reissues coming out this week at The Vinyl Whistle:

Anti Flag - For Blood and Empire (Punk)


For Blood and Empire is the fifth studio album by American punk band Anti-Flag, released in 2006. In the same year, the song “The Press Corpse” entered the Hot Modern Rock Tracks Chart. Anti-Flag are known for their politically charged songs, often criticising right wing policies and conservative ideologies. For Blood and Empire was released during the reign of George W. Bush, so naturally the album boils over with vehement anti-Bush attacks and confrontational lyrics that overwhelmingly target the war in Iraq. Featuring classic Anti-Flag songs “The Press Corpse”, “This is the End (For You My Friend)” and “Depleted Uranium Is A War Crime (feat. Tom Morello)” and “1 Trillion Dollar$”. The LP set includes an 8-page booklet, which contains short essays for all but two songs, providing more in-depth perspective on the inspirations for the song subjects.


Paul Chambers - Bass On Top (Jazz)


Part of the Blue Note Tone Poet Series. When jazz bass virtuoso Paul Chambers recorded Bass On Top, in 1957, his third and final album as a leader for Blue Note, he was only 22 years old but already well established as one of the top bassists in jazz. This brilliantly seductive album features stalwarts Hank Jones on piano, Kenny Burrell on guitar, and Art Taylor on drums. Highlights include the chamber-jazz interpretation of Jerome Kern’s “Yesterdays” and a lightly swinging version of “Dear Old Stockholm,” a tune often associated with Miles Davis who was Chambers’ employer at the time.


Cigarettes After Sex - Cry (Deluxe) (Alt Rock / Dream Pop)


Cry - the sophomore album from Cigarettes After Sex - was released on Partisan Records (IDLES, Fontaines D.C., Laura Marling) on 25 October 2019. This is the first time the deluxe LP edition is being made available to retail.

Clocking in at nine songs, Cry is a compact collection but its brevity belies its depth. While the band’s sound may be most associated with the romantic pop music of the late 50s and early 60s, Greg Gonzalez pushes into more unexpected sonic territory on Cry, reaching back to his childhood in El Paso, Texas, to draw subtle melodic influence from 90s Tejano stars like Selena and mainstream pop country artists like Shania Twain.

Gonzalez pushes himself lyrically on the album too, tackling sex with the graphic frankness of Henry Miller or Leonard Cohen as he renders unabashed, sometimes explicitly erotic scenes with a casual candour. Writing with a filmmaker’s eye, he captures tiny moments with a rich, cinematic detail that manages to locate the profound within the mundane.


Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon OST (Soundtrack)


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a 2000 wuxia film directed by Ang Lee. Taking place in 18th-century Qing dynasty China, the story revolves around a warrior who gives his sword, Green Destiny, to his lover to deliver to safe keeping, but it is stolen, and the chase is on to retrieve it. The film was praised for its story, direction, and cinematography, and for its martial arts sequences. It won the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The score was composed by Tan Dun, containing many solo passages for cello by Yo-Yo Ma. The track “A Love Before Time” features Coco Lee.


Cymande - Cymande (Funk / Psychedelic / Reggae)


This brilliant 1972 album from UK 70s funk outfit Cymande (pronounced Sah-mahn-day) has been heralded as the best Brit Funk album of all time. Taking influences from their Guyanese and Jamaican roots they fused reggae influenced basslines, Afro-tinted Nyabinghi percussion, psychedelic touches and American style funk instrumentation creating a unique sound which the band referred to as nyah-rock. Their tracks later became a mainstay of block parties and hip hop break samples. This, their debut, boasted perhaps their best-known funk anthem The Message and the much-sampled Bra, adopted by pioneering DJs like DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash before being plundered by De La Soul, The Wu-Tang Clan, The Coup and The Fugees to name but a few. They stand today as one of the most sampled black British bands ever cropping up on Hip Hop, House and Dance 12”s all over the World.


Goat - Requiem (Psychedelic Rock / Experimental / Folk Rock)

In a culture obsessed with content, saturation, and continual exposure, it's rare to find artists who prefer to lurk outside of the public eye. Thomas Pynchon is perhaps the most notable contemporary recluse - a virtually faceless figure who occasionally creeps out of hiding to offer up an elaborate novel steeped in history and warped by imagination—but for crate diggers and guitar mystics, Sweden's enigmatic Goat may qualify as the greatest modern pop-culture mystery. Who are these masked musicians? Are they truly members of the Arctic community of Korpilombolo? Are their songs part of their isolated communal heritage? Their third studio album, Requiem, offers more questions than answers, but much like any of Pynchon's knotty yarns, the reward is not in the untangling but in the journey through the labyrinth. Western exports may have dominated the consciousness of international rock fans for the entirety of the 20th century, but our increasing global awareness has unearthed a treasure trove of transcendental grooves and spellbinding riffage from exotic and remote corners of the planet. Goat's previous albums 'World Music' and 'Commune' were perfect testaments to this heightened awareness, with Silk Road psychedelia, desert blues, and Third World pop all serving as governing forces within the band's sound. But Goat's strange amalgam isn't some cheap game of cultural appropriation - it's nearly impossible to pinpoint the exact origins of the elusive group's sound. The fact that they pledge allegiance to a spot on the periphery of our maps bolsters the nomadic quality of their sonic explorations. With Requiem, Goat continue to rock and writhe to a beat beholden to no nation, no state. Goat's only outright declaration for Requiem is that it is their "folk" album, and the album is focused more on their subdued bucolic ritualism than psilocybin freakouts.


Emmylou Harris - Red Dirt Girl (Folk / Country)


Emmylou Harris’s first Nonesuch recording, Red Dirt Girl, was released in September 2000, and won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album of the year. It was her first solo studio recording since 1995’s Wrecking Ball. The album was produced by Malcolm Burn, who previously worked with Harris engineering and mixing Wrecking Ball, and features Buddy Miller on lead guitar; Daryl Johnson on bass and drums; Malcolm Burn on piano, guitar, and bass; and Ethan Johns on drums, guitar, and other miscellaneous instruments. Harris wrote all but one of Red Dirt Girl’s 12 tracks, marking only the second time in her career that she has been so involved in the composition of an album. Dave Matthews sings a duet with Harris on the album, and Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa, and Patty Griffin also contribute vocals.


Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell (Rock)


Debut studio album by American rock singer Meat Loaf, as well as his first collaboration with composer Jim Steinman and producer Todd Rundgren. Originally released October 21, 1977, Its musical style is influenced by Steinman's appreciation of Richard Wagner, Phil Spector, Bruce Springsteen and The Who. Bat Out of Hell is one of the best-selling albums of all time, having sold over 43 million copies worldwide. As of June 2019, it has spent 522 weeks in the UK Albums Chart, the second longest chart run by a studio album.


Modern Talking - Romantic Warriors (Synth Pop / Electronic)


Romantic Warriors is the fifth studio album by German pop duo Thomas Anders and Dieter Bohlen, better known together as Modern Talking. The album was a hit in Europe upon its release in 1987, reaching the top 10 in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, while also reaching the top 20 in Sweden and Norway. It continued Modern Talking’s reign as one of the most popular synthpop acts of their time. The album contains the hit single “Jet Airliner”, a song that charted in many countries including The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and even South Africa. Romantic Warriors is a true 80’s classic, and it is now released as a limited edition of only 2500 individually numbered copies and sleeve with gold-spot varnish on the Modern Talking logo on the front cover.


Lee Morgan - The Rajah (Jazz)


Part of the Blue Note Tone Poet Series, this sleek and beautifully paced Lee Morgan album was recorded in 1966 but shelved until 1984 for unknown reasons. In addition to the trumpeter, the quintet here features a superb line-up with Hank Mobley on tenor saxophone, Cedar Walton on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums, all playing at the top of their game. Highlights include the Duke Pearson gem “Is That So” and the enticing title track penned by Morgan.


Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water (Pop Rock / Folk)


Bridge over Troubled Water is the fifth and final studio album by American folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel, an x11 trk album, released in January 1970 on Columbia Records. Following the duo's soundtrack for The Graduate, Art Garfunkel took an acting role in the film Catch-22, while Paul Simon worked on the songs, writing all tracks except Felice and Boudleaux Bryant's "Bye Bye Love" (previously a hit for the Everly Brothers). With the help of producer Roy Halee, the album followed a similar musical pattern as their Bookends LP, partly abandoning their traditional style to incorporate elements of rock, R&B, gospel, jazz, world music, pop and other genres. It was described as their "most effortless record and their most ambitious".


Sleep Party People - Sleep Party People (Electronic / Pop / Folk)


Sitting in his bedroom in Copenhagen one evening in 2008, arched over a shivering piano in the twilit cool, Brian Batz found himself measuring out sounds in cascading waves. The aching and otherworldly Third Drawer Down the product of Batz’s 2 a.m. chording reflects an ecstatic phonometric approach for his first album under the moniker Sleep Party People. Full of arcane arrangements, broken and secondhand instruments, and manipulated vocals, the ST record has redoubled in mystic strength on the verge of its 10-year anniversary reissue. Batz began working on SPP as an alternative outlet from the band he’d been playing with, the opportunity to opt for the obscure decisions and creative idiosyncrasies on his own. Without proper recording equipment or fancy gear, that meant summoning together the misfit musical tools in his apartment including a busted piano, an outdated Roland TR-505 drum machine, a keyboard, a handful of assorted guitar pedals, and an acoustic guitar that the kindergarten where he worked was going to throw away.

“I sat in my apartment for a year and a half turning everything upside down and just trying to push my own limits,” Batz recounts. The completed record swims through a dizzying sea of haunting imagery and clever musical turns: the fluffy winter afternoon of “Our Falling Snow”, the pulsating MicroKorg pop of “10 Feet Up”. The inspiration from the tracks ranges from the surreal to the ultra-real; “The Dwarf and the Horse” utilizes silverware and water glasses for a percussion base inspired by a Lynchian dream of the titular characters, while “Notes to You” was inspired by a letter Batz wrote to his father and eventually tore up rather than send. And as the years passed, more and more homemade bunny masks have made their way into the crowd, fans around the world eager to join the journey, singing along even if Batz’s lyrics are more impressionistic than crystalline sentences. “People write out my lyrics all the time and they’re always wrong,” he says. “But even still, they capture the feeling.” Therein lies the sublime magic of Sleep Party People, a record that conveys equal depth and power to countless listeners despite no two seeing it exactly the same way.


Sola - Un Muñeco De Madera (Funk / Soul / Afro-Cuban)


The majestic 1971 album Un Muñeco De Madera, courtesy of the shadowy Sola, and it sounds exactly as you’d want it to. Originally released on RCA in Mexico, it’s kaleidoscopic Acapulcan-funk. The album’s endless grooves are propelled by softly rocking, quasi-library funk breaks. Vocally, Sola is in step with the 60s French pop-chanteuse style, but of course her lyrics are delivered in sensuous Spanish. Her voice is beautiful. Pillowy soft and tender, it can suddenly explode in mystical anger. These are ten tracks of moody, mysterious vibes that stir the spirit and sooth the soul.

Mastered with great respect by Simon Francis, cut by the master Pete Norman and with that sleeve lovingly restored by the Be With team, this re-issue ensures that Un Muñeco De Madera now sounds, looks and feels as beautiful as it deserves to.


Status Quo - Dog Of Two Head (Rock)


Dog of Two Head was the first step for Status Quo in becoming the band and the sound they are known for. The music contains less of their psychedelic music and more of their wall of sound rock. The content takes on a heavy blues feel with plenty twelve bar rocking numbers. The single Mean Girl, was to become a UK #20 hit some time later, in April 1973. The innovative and inventive sound on this album makes it one of the best studio albums they have ever recorded.


Right On Time Trojan Rock Steady - Various (Reggae)


Right On Time - Trojan Rock Steady is the 2nd part of the exclusive Music On Vinyl’s Trojan compilation series, which celebrates the best works from the legendary reggae label Trojan Records. It was compiled by Laurence Cane-Honeysett, who also wrote the linernotes. Some of Trojan’s finest are featured on this compilation; as there are The Gladiators, The Melodians, The Gladiators, Ken Boothe a.o. The album is released as a limited edition of 1000 individually numbered copies on translucent green vinyl. The package also includes an exclusive Trojan / Music On Vinyl coaster.


Tougher Than Tough: Trojan Rude Boy Sounds - Various (Reggae)


Tougher Than Tough - Trojan Rude Boy Sounds is an exclusive release from Music On Vinyl’s Trojan compilation series, which celebrates the best works from the legendary reggae label Trojan Records. It was compiled by Laurence Cane-Honeysett, who also wrote the linernotes. Some of the artists featured on this compilation include Stranger Cole, The Pioneers and Alton Ellis. The album is released as a limited edition of 1000 individually numbered copies on translucent red vinyl. The package also includes exclusive Trojan Records and Music On Vinyl coaster.


UGK - Ridin' Dirty (Hip Hop)


Ridin' Dirty is the third studio album by dirty south legends Bun B and Pimp C – together known as UGK (Underground Kingz). It is easily considered one of the greatest southern hip hop albums ever made, but let’s drop all the labels this is just pure good rap music, for any region. It's all right there, everything that people have come to expect from Houston rap: candy-painted cars, wood-grained steering wheels, flashy jewelry, late-night odes to lean and weed, passing references to DJ Screw tapes, those warm funk synthesizers that sound like radio oldies. All of Ridin' Dirty feels iconic now— among other reasons, because so many of its lyrics have since been cribbed by everyone from Slim Thug to Jay Z. There's the laid-back badassery of Diamonds and Wood the zoned-out celebration of Three in the Morning, the ridiculous boasting of Fuck My Car. Everything here is essential.

Ridin’ Dirty was produced entirely by Pimp C and features start to finish bangers such as One Day, Murder, “Hi Lif” and of course the title track. Pimp C’s makes use of perfectly chosen Soul, Funk and Gospel samples to create a perfect soundscape for he and Bun B to trade verse over. Despite there being no singles or videos released from the album, the set went on to be a pivotal moment in southern hip hop as well as UGK's best-selling and most critically acclaimed release.


Armin Van Buuren - Embrace (Trance / House)


Embrace is the sixth studio album by Dutch trance DJ and producer Armin van Buuren. The album features hits like “Another You (ft. Mr. Probz)”, “Off The Hook (ft. Hardwell)”, “Looking For Your Name (ft. Gavin DeGraw)” & “Heading Up High (ft. Kensington)”. Other notable collaborators include Angel Taylor, Cosmic Gate, Eric Vloeimans and many others. The album was originally released in 2015 through Van Buuren’s own label Armada Music. Critics noted how the record has a poppy, commercial appeal, but still allows the emotional essence of trance music to shine through. Embrace is released as a limited edition of 2500 individually numbered copies and comes with a 4-page insert with pictures, lyrics and credits, and the run-out groove contains secret inscriptions.


You Baby / Lost Summer Love - Various Artists (Funk / Soul)


It all starts with a great song and You Baby has it all! Penned by husband-and-wife team Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and with the magic touch of Phil Spector, it was the bedrock of a future classic. The song was originally produced by Spector for the Ronettes, signed to his Philles label. It appeared on their 1964 breakthrough album Presenting The Fabulous Ronettes, featuring, of course, his wife-to-be Veronica Bennett. The song was also recorded in the U.S. by pop/rock band the Lovin’ Spoonful for their 1965 debut album Do You Believe In Magic. However, in January 1966 Pye Records unleashed JACKIE TRENT’s epic Northern Soul version, produced by her husband Tony Hatch. Heralded by a pounding drum beat and trumpet blast it is no wonder that Jackie’s definitive cover shook the walls at Wigan Casino a decade later. And its popularity has never gone away, hence its current price tag of £300-400. Other notable covers include Sonny & Cher, the Bubblegum pop group Salt Water Taffy and, in 1975, John Holt’s reggae version.

Lost Summer Love was originally recorded in 1964 by U.S. actress Shelley Fabares, known for her long-running role as Mary Stone in the sitcom ‘The Donna Reed Show’ and as Elvis Presley’s leading lady in Girl Happy, Spinout and Clambake. She also scored a No.1 pop hit in 1962 with the teen anthem Johnny Angel. But, as with our ‘A-side’, it was reborn as a Northern Soul classic when Pye Records picked the song up in 1965 and recorded it on their latest signing, teenager Lorraine Silber. Once again the stomping drum track, percussion and handclaps propel you to the dancefloor where you’re greeted with an unforgettably catchy tune, a bevvy of backing vocals and Lorraine’s effervescent vocal.


War Horse - OST (Soundtrack)


10th Anniversary edition of 500 numbered copies. War Horse is a 2011 American war film directed and produced by Steven Spielberg. Its soundtrack was composed by Spielbergs frequent collaborator John Williams, the legendary composer known for his works for films like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jaws, E.T. and Jurassic Park.


Whitesnake - The Blues Album (Hard Rock)


Whitesnake celebrates the blues sound that helped inspire its multi-platinum career on a new collection that features remixed and remastered versions of the group’s best blues-rock songs. The Blues Album is the third and final release in the band’s Red, White and Blues Trilogy, a series of compilations organised by musical themes that began earlier in 2020 with Love Songs (red) and The Rock Album (white). The new compilation delivers a potent mix of hits and deep tracks that originally appeared between 1984 and 2011 on six Whitesnake studio albums and Coverdale’s solo album, Into the Light.

The Blues Album showcases two of the band’s biggest songs: “Slow An’ Easy,” a big hit in 1984 from Whitesnake’s massive album Slide It In, and the smash “Give Me All Your Love” from the band’s 1987 self-titled globally successful album. Other choice tracks from Whitesnake are also featured: “Looking For Love” and “Crying In The Rain,” and “Steal Your Heart Away.” The collection also includes “If You Want Me,” a studio recording released in 2006 as a bonus track on the live album, Live…in the Shadows of the Blues. Coverdale also taps his 2000 solo album, Into the Light, for “The River Song.”


Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Rock)


Named in honor of the three-word codes used by short-wave radio operators, Wilco's fourth album sounds like a late-night broadcast of some weirdly wonderful pop station punctuated by static and the sonic bleed of competing signals. Songs that begin with simple, elegiac grace—"Ashes of American Flags" and "Poor Places"—end in a cathartic squall of distortion. The results can be initially jarring, but it's these tracks more than the sturdy jangle pop of "Kamera" or "Heavy Metal Drummer" that demand, and reward, repeated listens. Mixed by studio experimentalist Jim O'Rourke and produced by the band, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot harkens back to a time when the words "pop" and "sonic adventurism" weren't mutually exclusive. The Beatles and Kurt Cobain knew this, and clearly so do Jeff Tweedy and company.


Neil Young - The Times (Rock / Acoustic / Folk)


The Times is a moving and topical solo acoustic performance, a unique collection of songs, recorded by Neil Young at home during lockdown as part of the raw and personal, Fireside Sessions series.

The songs include his updated Lookin' For A Leader - 2020, Alabama from the seminal Harvest album, the Young penned CSN&Y classic Ohio, the brilliant Southern Man from the After The Gold Rush album, and Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin closing with Little Wing from the latest Reprise release, Homegrown.


Here are the best of the rest of the new releases arriving at The Vinyl Whistle this week:

Another Michael - New Music and Big Pop (Indie Pop / Folk)


For Another Michael, it all boils down to trust. In mid-2017, the critically acclaimed indie three-piece packed their bags and collectively relocated from Albany, NY to a shared house in West Philadelphia. This move signalled not only the start of a new chapter for the trio, but also a deepening of the bonds that would come to define their captivating debut LP, ‘New Music and Big Pop.’

It should come as little surprise, then, that ‘New Music and Big Pop’ is Another Michael’s most collaborative work yet. Recorded in a small A-frame house-turned-makeshift studio outside Ferndale, NY, the record finds the trio pushing their sound in a dreamier, more folk-influenced direction, building songs around vulnerable, intimate performances using an ethereal palette of breezy guitars, subtle keyboards, and layered harmonies. As on the band’s early EPs, singer and songwriter Michael Doherty’s mesmerizing voice is front and center here, calling to mind Robin Pecknold or Ben Bridwell in its reedy, crystalline timbre, but it feels more at home than ever before amidst the album’s lush, Technicolor landscape, which the band partnered with producer and fellow housemate Scoops Dardaris to create. The result is a masterfully understated record that belies its status as a full-length debut, a thoughtful, poetic, collection all about growth and change, hope and faith, endings and beginnings, delivered by a band that’s only just begun to scratch the surface of their story.


Aquaman OST (Soundtrack)


Mondo, in collaboration with WaterTower Music with the first vinyl pressing, and premiere physical release of the Deluxe edition of Rupert Gregson-Williams brilliant score for the 2018 global sensation Aquaman.

This Deluxe edition release features the complete score from the film, as well as a disc of Bonus Tracks and Remixes. Also includes the songs "Everything I Need" performed by Skylar Grey and "Ocean To Ocean" performed by Pitbull featuring Rhea.


The Beths - Future Me Hates Me (Indie Pop / Pop Punk / Alternative)


The Beths from New Zealand occupy a warm, energetic sonic space between joyful hooks, sun-soaked harmonies, and acerbic lyrics. Their debut album Future Me Hates Me on Carpark Records, delivers an astonishment of roadtrip-ready pleasures, each song hitting your ears with an exhilarating endorphin rush like the first time you heard The Breeders / Jale / Veruca Salt..

Front and center on these ten infectious tracks is lead singer and primary songwriter Elizabeth Stokes. Stokes has previously worked in other genres within Auckland’s rich and varied music scene, recently playing in a folk outfit, but it was in exploring the angst-ridden sounds of her youth that she found her place. From the irresistible title track to future singles Happy Unhappy and You Wouldn’t Like Me, Stokes commands a vocal range that spans from the brash confidence of Joan Jett to the disarming vulnerability of Jenny Lewis.

Beths guitarist and studio guru Jonathan Pearce (whose other acts as producer include recent Captured Tracks signing, and also an RT fav, Wax Chattels) brings it all home with an approach that’s equal parts seasoned perfectionist and D.I.Y. Channeling their stew of personal-canon heroes while drawing inspiration from contemporaries like Alvvays and Courtney Barnett, The Beths serve up deeply emotional lyrics packaged within heavenly sounds that delight in probing the limits of the pop form. “That’s another New Zealand thing,” Stokes concludes with a laugh. “We’re putting our hearts on our sleeves—and then apologizing for it.” The result is nothing less than one of the standout records of 2018.


Black Pistol Fire - Look Alive (Indie / Rock / Punk / Alternative)


Black Pistol Fire is a high-octane rock duo based out of Austin, Texas by way of Toronto, Canada; composed of Kevin McKeown on guitar/lead vocals and Eric Owen on drums. Drawing inspiration from blues, R&B and rock greats such as Led Zeppelin, Chuck Berry, Nirvana, Buddy Holly and Muddy Waters, BPF’s gritty and dynamic performances are fueled by undeniable musicianship.


Bodega Bamz - Yams Heard This (Hip Hop)


El Barrio Spanish Harlem native Bodega Bamz’s breakthrough mixtape Strictly For My P.A.P.I.Z dropped in 2012 during the ‘New, New York’ movement, when the next generation of East Coast talent - A$AP Rocky and the rest of the Mob, Joey Badass and the Pro Era crew, Action Bronson - were moving from the underground to the mainstream. What sets Bodega apart from his peers is how uncompromisingly Latino he is, part Puerto Rican and Dominican, the tape is littered with Spanish slang, lyrics and samples. In 2015 Bamz went in a new direction on his sophomore album, Sidewalk Exec. Produced entirely by V Don and released under the venerated Duck Down Music label, Bamz served up an LP that sonically and lyrically were reminiscent of the boom-bap era of New York hip-hop, incorporating the gritty, New York underground sound, and V Don did a good job mixing high-pitched flutes with an arrangement of woodwind instruments. Keeping his guest features to a minimum on the 40-minute-plus LP, Bamz recruited the help of some familiar faces with A$ton Matthews, Flatbush Zombies, Joell Ortiz and the late A$AP Yams all appearing on the project. Following the release of Sidewalk Exec, Bamz continued to release music (Papi) and expanded his fanbase and the Tan Boys brand, a collective of Hispanic MCs that aim to unite the Latin community of Hip-Hop, by going on several nationwide tours with the likes of Flatbush Zombies, Danny Brown, and Joey Bada$$. ‘

Yams Heard This is the 4th album by Bodega Bamz. Dedicated to the memory of his late friend A$AP Yams, the ten-track record includes features from Kevin Gates and Tan Boy Luka, with production that incorporates both the Latino flavor from Strictly 4 My Papiz and New york boom bap from Sidewalk Exec.


Bon Jovi - 2020 (Rock)


Bon Jovi’s new album 2020 is the 15th studio album from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band. The album features the new single Limitless as well as Unbroken, which was featured in the documentary To Be Of Service.

The album - which follows the band’s 2016 No. 1 release, This House is Not For Sale - also finds the group coming out of the other side of a period of great change. Once again co-produced by John Shanks and Jon Bon Jovi, the record features the entire touring band - keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres, bassist Hugh McDonald, guitarist Phil X, percussionist Everett Bradley, and guitarist John Shanks. The title, an allusion to the forthcoming Presidential election year, features Jon on the album cover standing in front of the New York City courthouse in sunglasses, with an image of the American flag waving inside the frames. The imagery was inspired by a photograph of President John F. Kennedy, deep in thought before addressing a crowd. “It’s not a distinctly political record, but it’s an election year so there is a wryness in the title 2020. This record had to encompass different themes, not just politics, but the state of our world today, life, love and loss,” – Bon Jovi


Rasheed Chappell & Buckwild - Sinners and Saints (Hip Hop)


On their ambitious collaboration, New York rap heavyweights Rasheed Chappell and Buckwild have perfectly captured the stress and tension, but also faint sense of the hope, of what it means to be a sinner or a saint. In just eleven tracks, Sinners and Saints plays like an audio documentary series filled with expertly crafted beats and rhymes. When the two sat down to work together, Rasheed says that they only knew that they “wanted to address the now, the past, and the potential future.” And upon receiving the first batch of beats from Buck the D.I.T.C. producer with decades of acclaimed work to his name the NY emcee used a majority of them and knew immediately what they were doing. “My goal was simple: don’t try to recreate anything they have done, just create something that no one else can do, which is to be me,” Rasheed says. Buck echoed that sentiment when he talked about the record in a documentary, in which he expressed his excitement to work with not just a talented rapper, but a skilled artist. “Being an artist is just as important as putting two words together to rhyme,” Buck explained. That high level of artistry, from everyone involved, is what makes Sinners and Saints so impactful. Not just anyone could pull off a track as stirring as The Blue Hood, in which Rasheed plays the role of a racist, corrupt police officer over Buck’s harrowing production. The same goes for Rock Bottom where he and Ransom sound off about life’s low points, and Bredren, a speaker-knocking middle-finger in musical form featuring Planet Asia. There’s just so much to love about what these two have created with Sinners and Saints, a project that sounds like if 2020 was a hip-hop album. And if things do truly get better as we move into 2021, there’s no better anthem than Black Owned, a powerful anthem for Rasheed, Buck, and everyone listening.


Hand Habits - Dirt EP (Experimental / Ambient / Folk / Indie)


dirt is the latest EP from Hand Habits, the songwriting project of Meg Duffy. Comprised of two songs, “4th of july,” a simmering swell of chaos and beauty and “i believe in you,” a favorite of Duffy’s from the Neil Young canon, the EP finds the songwriter exploring themes of growth and finding ways to let go of the parts of their past that no longer serve them.

dirt showcases an artist returning to the fertile creative ground of their home. However, this time around home-recording didn’t necessarily mean working in isolation. Duffy had relocated to a shared living situation in Los Angeles with musicians Sasami Ashworh and Kyle Thomas (King Tuff), which also housed Thomas’ studio. The resulting songs showcase this creatively collaborative environment, with Ashworh co-producing the lead single and Thomas co-producing “i believe in you.” Such is the strength of this relationship, in fact, that this new single just may serve as a bridge toward a greater body of work the three will ultimately create together.


Katy Kirby - Cool Dry Place (Indie / Rock / Post Folk)


Cool Dry Place is Katy Kirby’s long-awaited debut album. The 9 songs here are equal parts driving indie-pop and artful folk songwriting in the vein of Waxahatchee, Lucy Dacus, and Frankie Cosmos. Intimate, vulnerable lyrics give way to anthemic choruses, true earworm, and memorable vocal melodies.


Love and Death - Perfectly Preserved (Alt Rock / Nu Metal)


Love and Death return with their long-awaited sophomore album 'Perfectly Preserved’, journeying further into their unique sound bolstered by the talent and passion of Brian ‘Head’ Welch (Korn), Jasen Rauch (Breaking Benjamin) and JR Bareis (Spoken). A head-turning canvas baring raw emotion, ‘Perfectly Preserved’ plunges into brutally craggy shadow yet also captures glacial, delicate melody. This is heavy music to vigorously confront depression, heartbreak, and pain.


Mainliner - Dual Myths (Rock / Acid Rock / Psychedelic / Japanese)


"This new album is the second chapter of this present Mainliner. finally we could open to the next stage to break old customs since 1995". The follow up to 2013's 'Revelation Space' has been rumoured for many years. I've even heard tales of several recordings being finished and scrapped over the last five years. That's how hard it is to run a band when members are based on different continents and in other very busy bands themselves. But it's finally done. And it's being pressed as I type. The killer trio from the original reformation is all intact, we have Kawabata Makoto (motorpsycho guitar), Koji Shimura (drums) and Kawabe Taigen (bass/vocals) and we're back to calling them just Mainliner once again.

Seba Kaapstad - Konke (RnB / Hip Hop / Soul)


Seba Kaapstad is not just a band; Seba Kaapstad is about showing people what it looks like when cultures collide - stories that come from the lives of Palesa Modiga, Philip Scheibel, Ndumiso Manana, and Sebastian Schuster. If you have ever wondered what it would sound like if a South African, a Swazi and a few Germans got together and used their talents to express themselves, this is your answer. Seba Kaapstad is the coming together of worlds and experiences while appreciating how alike we are as human beings. Through the global perspective of the members, Seba Kaapstad are able to explore a soundscape influenced by soul, groove, electronic undertones, jazz and African music.

They conjure beatific grooves that radiate with alluvial soul, celestial jazz, electronic experimentation and the polyrhythmic essence of Africa. It is marrow music, what digs beneath your bones, seeping into your bloodstream and inner visions. You hear flashes of the greats: Badu, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Jill Scott, and the Things Fall Apart-era Roots. You might even hear the ethereal float of Frank Ocean or the glowing bliss of Flying Lotus and Thundercat. But like all stellar quartets, Seba Kaapstad is indivisible and made stronger by the sum of their parts.


Selm - TiiiER / Post-Adrenaline (Techno / Industrial / Electronic)


Two years after the release of Kreise, Selm have once again peered out from the torture racked enclave they call a studio. Originally conceived as two separate EP's and later stacked into an all-consuming album over 44 minutes Tiiier / Post-Adrenaline pushes Selm's agenda of techno and physically exhausting industrial churning to new levels.


Wailing Souls - Back A Yard (Reggae)


For Fans of: Burning Spear, Mighty Diamonds and Roots Reggae. The veteran roots reggae duo return with Back A Yard (patois for ‘back in Jamaica’). The 11-song set features longstanding members, Winston “Pipe” Matthews and Lloyd “Bread” McDonald, in the studio with producer / singer Alborosie, whose deep study of Jamaican music was heavily influenced by the Souls and their heyday at Channel One studio in the 1980s. The production features all-star musicians including keyboardist Tyrone Downie (formerly of The Wailers) and bassist Errol “Flabba” Holt (of the historic Roots Radics band). The first single is a re-make of Shark Attack one of the bands classic ‘90s hits, featuring a deejay verse by Alborosie.


Whitney K - Two Years (Experimental / Folk / Country / Indie)


A Rough Trade Shops tip for 2021. Rolling through life, an open mind like an ocean, an infinite ride that comes furiously crashing to a halt. This is Whitney K’s Two Years, a deep dive into the Canadian songwriter’s journey through vulnerability, change and ultimately letting his guard down. Whitney K is the wandering stalwart Konner Whitney, a Whitehorse Yukon resident who has spent time in Vancouver, Montreal, Burnaby and Los Angeles. We met the character in 2016 through his intoxicating 4-track recorded manifesto Goodnight, a head on collision into 24 hours of illusioned romance and modern day escapism.

Fast forward to 2021, lift those curtains, aptly titled Good Morning is the opening track on Two Years, a different cracker, a deliberate record about transformation, where to put it simply, Whitney K has arrived. Enlisting the aid of main collaborator and bandmate Josh Boguski, the focus has been shifted, folklore and realism becoming reckoning and truthfulness, what was outsider folk is now political poetry, life in motion delivered through a freeway ridden baritone voice that transforms the mundane into extraordinary.

Written with a completely different mindset and a conscious effort to break with the traditions of a corrupt, hypocritical, and hateful society/lineage, Konner’s pen is precise and daring, uniting the earnestness of Willie Nelson and the comedy relief of Harry Nilsson on the beautiful Me Or The Party #165, or when painting Canada’s colonial past and heartland image on the primitive rock’n’roll anthem Trans-Canada Oil Boom Blues. There is no avoidance, no excuses, whether your self portrait in the mirror resembles a five dollar caricature sold on a boardwalk, the John Cale-esque opener ‘Good Morning’, or whether you learn you are worthy of love like on the poignant vignette Maryland, the beautifully arranged album closer that echoes Tin Pan Alley with Lou Reed’s grit. Two Years also presents plenty of fun, the perfectly stumblin’ garage rocker Last Night #2, the honky tonk blues coming-of-age episode Cowboy City Rocker and the cello / violin belter Hit This Pipe.

One of Whitney K’s many gems is The Weekend a minimalist spectral ode to hope where the band’s restriction brings out the pure force and vocal command of the ramblin’ troubadour. Time to open your arms, he’s coming out of no fun city and aiming straight for you.


Wild Pink - A Billion Little Lights (Indie Rock)


On Wild Pink’s third album (and first for Royal Mountain Records), A Billion Little Lights, John Ross explores the dichotomy of finally achieving emotional security - of accepting the love and peace he deprived himself of in his twenties - while also feeling existentially smaller and more directionless than ever before.

Produced by Grammy-winning producer David Greenbaum (U2, Beck, Jenny Lewis), the album is a two-pronged triumph: an extraordinary reflection on the human condition presented through the sharpest, grandest and most captivating songs Wild Pink have ever composed.

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