New Releases: 19th March 2021
Ben brings you all the new releases and reissues to arrive at The Vinyl Whistle this week, featuring releases ranging from indie, rock, pop punk, techno, ambient, experimental, hip-hop, electronica, folk, soul, jazz, dance, acid folk 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:
Composed by Grammy Award-winning band Arcade Fire and their long-time collaborator and bandmate Owen Pallett, the score for Spike Jonze’s critically acclaimed 2013 film Her has never been released, until now. The film’s lush, piano-driven soundtrack received a nomination for “Best Original Score” at the 2014 Academy Awards and is regarded as one of the best film soundtracks of the past decade. Wistful, delicate and brimming with nostalgic warmth, the Her soundtrack is a stunning sonic companion to a story of modern love.
Set in Los Angeles, in the near future, Her follows Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive and unique entity in its own right. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha,” a bright, female voice (Scarlett Johansson) who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other. From the singular perspective of filmmaker Spike Jonze, Her, which won the 2014 Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, is an original love story that explores the evolving nature—and the risks—of intimacy in the modern world.
Black Honey release their brand-new album – Written and Directed on Foxfive Records.
Written and Directed is Black Honey’s second album. It follows their outstanding self-titled debut released back in 2018 when the world that surrounded the Brighton fourpiece looked and felt like a very different place. Black Honey however are still the bad-ass, truly original band they have always been, they’ve just graduated from the intriguingly anomalous newcomers to becoming one of UK indie’s most singular outfits. They've travelled the world and released a Top 40 album; graced the cover of the NME and become the faces and soundtrack of Roberto Cavalli's Milan Fashion Week show; smashed Glastonbury and supported Queens of the Stone Age, all without compromising a shred of the wild, wicked vision they first set out with.
It's now time for the next instalment of their story – Written and Directed – which see’s Black Honey deliver one, very singular, message – a 10 track mission statement that aims to unashamedly plant a flag in the ground for strong, world-conquering women. For fierce frontwoman and album protagonist Izzy B. Phillips – it’s the most important message she could send to inspire her cult-like fanbase and fill the female-shaped gap that she felt so acutely when she was growing up and discovering rock music for the first time.
Written throughout 2019 and recorded in fits and spurts between touring, Written and Directed is drenched with a hedonistic, anything-goes attitude. It’s also the most full-throttle collection of music that Black Honey have ever-written – egged-on by their run of shows supporting long-term friends and collaborators Royal Blood. Exploring everything from womanhood, to identity and power, it’s an album that revels in the rich history of pop culture, throws a wink to its rock-and-roll heroes, but ultimately (and in true Black Honey fashion) it stands on its own two feet.
With a typically hyper-visual world referencing grindhouse cinema, kitschy pulp films and a flip-reverse of female cinematic representation all primed to unfurl and explode around them, Written and Directed is the sound of Black Honey strapping in and saddling up, of harnessing their quirks, and, as the Phillips has always hoped, riding them joyously into the sunset.
No One Sings Like You Anymore is Chris Cornell’s handpicked collection of 10 cover songs, which he personally selected and sequenced to celebrate artists and songs that inspired him, including John Lennon’s “Watching The Wheels,” Janis Joplin’s “Get It While You Can,” a new recording of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” Ghostland Observatory’s “Sad Sad City,” Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into The Fire,” Carl Hall’s “You Don’t Know Nothing About Love,” Electric Light Orchestra’s “Showdown,” Terry Reid’s “To Be Treated Rite” and two songs currently available as digital singles, Lorraine Ellison’s “Stay With Me Baby” (originally released for HBO’s show Vinyl) and Chris’s 2020 chart topping hit “Patience” originally recorded by Guns N’ Roses.
Following the success of her 2019 Grammy®-nominated album Norman Fucking Rockwell, Lana releases her highly anticipated seventh studio album Chemtrails Over The Country Club.
Special Request continues his impeccable run of form with a typically fervent entry into the DJ-Kicks mix series. His adventurous 25 track mix takes in personal favourites, new school classics and of course a selection of his own brand new and exclusive edits, dubs and reworks next to some overlooked gems.
Leeds based Paul Woolford dares to go where few others do. He can do face-melting underground bangers, peak time piano anthems, ambient cinematics or chart climbing crossover hits. What unites his work as Special Request across labels like Houndstooth and R&S, though, is precision engineering, but never at the expense of real, raw emotion and visceral impact. He is an artist who very much pours his heart into everything he does, and has been on such a prolific run in recent years that it has been impossible to keep abreast of all his many projects. Even in this mix, he hints at yet more new sides and sounds. As always with Special Request, this is an emotional, full spirited ride through the musical mind of one of the most accomplished artists of the day.
The Sydney-based three-piece Middle Kids release their second album, Today We’re The Greatest via Lucky Number. Recorded and produced in Los Angeles by Lars Stalfors (St. Vincent, Soccer Mummy, Purity Ring), the follow-up to the band’s award-winning 2018 debut, Lost Friends, is their most personal and courageous effort to date. Moving away from lyrics of a more conceptual nature,Today We’re The Greatest is the open, uninhibited product of fearless collaboration. Showing a real vulnerability, Joy is pulling directly from her own experiences and breaking down barriers she had previously set for herself.
The album includes "nervy Strokes-esque floorfiller" (The Guardian) “R U 4 Me?” and their monumental new single, “Questions”, a charged three-minute odyssey which sees Joy struggle poetically with concepts of honesty and intimacy over an explosive rhythm section and a stunningly orchestrated brass-filled climax.
Other tracks like “Run With You”, were written when Joy was a few months into pregnancy with her and Tim Fitz, her husband and bandmate’s, first child. They recorded her 20-week sonogram, and wove the gentle, rapid thump of their baby boy’s beating heart into the last 20 seconds of the track -an exuberant declaration of devotion. Joy’s journey to motherhood and her marriage with Fitz has imbued her songs with a vibrancy that’s unabashedly romantic yet free of clichés. There’s also “Stacking Chairs,” with its unique allegories and Joy’s sunny vocals, that strikes this delicate balance beautifully: it’s a testament to her deep connection with Fitz and the new, “infinitesimal” love that transformed their lives with their son’s arrival.
New Pagans create music that's not only vivid and engaging but also home to massive riffs and rare dynamics. The bands audible influences range from PJ Harvey to Sonic Youth while lyrically the band deliver protest songs, songs about women, songs about mothers and songs about conversations overheard on Belfast's public transport systems. Their live shows are also something to behold and have just been the recipients of the best live act at The Northern Island Music Prize 2020. Music is the focus and an important vehicle for the healthy message the band promotes. New Pagans is a proud advocate for women’s rights, visibility and inclusion in the global music industry – an industry dogged with a history of stark gender inequality.
The arts community and media have responded to the bands refreshing social and historical lyrical stance which includes protest songs, songs of suffrage and an ode to Lily Yeats, the often overlooked sister of Jack and William B and a key mover in the world of Irish arts and crafts back in the day along with her younger sister, Elizabeth. New Pagans have headlined events as part of Women’s Work and Lyndsey McDougall has proudly embraced the demands of live performance and recording whilst pregnant [twice!]. The band are committed to promoting honest inclusion, demonstrating the female force and showing that you can be born as or identify as female, raise a family and have your place as a career musician. Young women, young mothers see Lyndsey as a symbol of strength and hope in her fearless and forthright attitude to motherhood whilst fronting a band. A lot of young mothers feel the need to hide that aspect of their personal life for fear of how people may perceive it as a limit in achieving creative breakthroughs. New Pagans are that breakthrough, a visible work in motion
The debut EP from renforshort, teenage angst is available exclusively on pink swirled clear vinyl. A candid stream of consciousness, it captures the messiness of growing up in today’s day and age. This EP deftly blends ‘90s alt-rock grunge with modern pop motifs.
Following excellent reviews for Forever Blue, her July-released debut album, A.A. Williams is back with Songs From Isolation, a 9-track LP of cover versions, and again via Bella Union. The Songs From Isolation project began at the beginning of the UK’s nationwide lockdown in March. A.A. Williams took songs suggested by fans and created a series of videos presenting the tracks with stripped-down instrumentation, recorded and filmed from her home in North London. The album represents a continuation of the project into a full collection of recordings and features cover versions of The Cure, Pixies, Deftones, Nick Cave, Gordon Lightfoot, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and more.
Nana Yamato with her effortlessly cool debut album on Andrew Savage from Parquet Court's Dull Tools. Nana’s debut LP, much like her previous 7” records released under the Anna moniker, is a strictly DIY affair. Yamato sings and plays guitar, creates beats and Midi melodies, in addition to creating the drawings and design of the LP itself. Produced by P.E.’s Jonathan Schenke, who has worked with Parquet Courts, Liars, and Surfbort, among others, Before Sunrise marks the arrival of an artist who has found her voice. She is not just the pupil of the new arrivals bin, but a life spent as a defiant dreamer, in the secret world that begins after childhood and before sunrise. For fans of Grimes, Cibo Matto, Perfume Genius and Snail Mail.
Here are the best reissues coming out this week at The Vinyl Whistle:
On vinyl for the first time since its first sold-out pressing in 2015, this fifth anniversary edition of Weyes Blood’s (Natalie Mering) warm and elegiac record, Cardamom Times, features reimagined cover art with the focal image of a desolate paradise during sunset — Jamaica Bay in Queens, NY surrounded by rust. A couple is laying on the ground, caught in a comfort beyond time.
Since the EP’s release, Weyes Blood’s Front Row Seat to Earth (Mexican Summer, 2016) and Titanic Rising (Sub Pop, 2019) were both named Best New Albums by Pitchfork, with the latter making multiple Best Albums of 2019 lists, including The Guardian, Pitchfork, and The Independent. Different from these elaborate albums, Cardamom Timeswas recorded onto reel-to-reel tape at Mering’s home studio in Rockaway Beach, New York.
The songs of Cardamom Times demonstrate Mering’s reverence of devotional music and the avant-garde, channeling the domestic hymns of Sybille Baer through the lens of Baltimore’s experimental DIY scene; the minimal, melodic drones of Terry Riley accompanied by the voices of the Sacre Coeur; the confrontational words of Anaïs Nin along with the warm embrace of St. Augustine.
With Cardamom Times, Mering invites listeners into that space of love and longing, struggle and change, surrounded by the decay of time that perpetually embraces us.
Limited reissue of a one-off project by Doug Martsch (Built to Spill), featuring Ned Evett, Ian Waters, and John Mullin Includes covers of David Bowie, Captain Beefheart, The Pretenders and more