• Ben Lee

New Releases: 4th December 2020

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

Ben brings you all the new releases and reissues to arrive at The Vinyl Whistle this week, featuring releases ranging from indie, soul, hip-hop, electronic, soundtrack, pop, 80s psychedelic, punk and rock. To order, you can find the items on the links below as we will send items as normal for delivery during lockdown. Here's Ben's roundup of his Top 10 Picks of the week:

Arctic Monkeys - Live At The Royal Albert Hall


All proceeds from the album will go to War Child to help fill the £2 million deficit they are facing in 2021 caused by the devastating impact of Covid-19 on their fundraising. These funds are urgently needed to support those who are worst hit by the virus.

“On June 7, 2018 we played a very special show at London’s Royal Albert Hall. All the proceeds from that memorable night were donated to War Child in support of the vital work they do protecting, educating, and rehabilitating children who have experienced the trauma of conflict and the horror of war. The situation that was bad in 2018 is now desperate and those children and their families need our help more than ever. To enable War Child to reduce their funding deficit and continue their valuable work, we are happy to be able to release a live album, recorded that evening at The Royal Albert Hall. All proceeds will go direct to the charity. We thank all our fans in advance for their support of this release and in turn for their support of War Child” - Arctic Monkeys.

Recorded at the start of the band’s Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino tour, Arctic Monkeys - Live At The Royal Albert Hall, features 20 of the band’s finest moments to date.


Namir Blade - Aphelion's Traveling Circus


Namir Blade is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, and artist from Nashville Tennessee. He started experimenting with sounds at the age of six and further developing and refining his talents from middle school well into high school while attending Nashville School of the Arts.

Over the years he has had projects and collaborations that extended to multiple genres from House to Hip-hop, working with some of Nashville’s most renowned artists. His stylings are often self-reflective, innovative, organic, and almost sporadic at times. Surrealism, Afro-Futurism, Nerd culture, and Black culture bleeds through his sound as primary influencers so that anyone lending an ear is immediately ejected from their seat. In the past, Namir has worked closely with several multimedia art collectives, as well as SoundCloud-Golden age producer collectives, Natural Selection and Wizards Only. Recent press includes securing a spot on OkayPlayer’s ‘Best of the Week’ Spotify Playlist and being featured on both Uproxx (Best New Music) and HipHopDX.


Bonobo - Black Sands (10th Anniversary Edition)


To mark the 10th anniversary of the critically-acclaimed Black Sands, Bonobo’s celebrated breakthrough record, the album is released on limited-edition red vinyl featuring a new version of the iconic cover image taken by Green..

Influenced by the divergent, bass-driven strands of the UK electronic music scene at that time, Green artfully fitted those evolving sounds into his own wider vision. The record’s lasting importance stems from the depth that he found in those combinations, rattling two-step rhythms and heavy pressure sub-bass twinned with carefully crafted songwriting and lush, brightly-realised instrumentation.

It’s a record that’s both timeless and wonderfully of its time. From Kiara, which weds cinematic, string-laden composition with chopped up vocals and luminous synth arpeggios, to Eyesdown, where subterranean swells of bass meet Andreya Triana’s warm, peerless vocals, the album is effortlessly multi-faceted. Listening back a decade later, it still sounds just as beguiling, emotive and transportive as it did the first time round.


Nick Cave / Nicholas Lens - L.I.T.A.N.I.E.S


Perhaps best-known for his distinctive vocal style, Australian polymath Nick Cave here steps into the spotlight as librettist rather than performer, for a second operatic project with Belgian composer Nicholas Lens. Having collaborated on Shell Shock in 2014, they joined forces again during the global lockdown to create a new work, L.I.T.A.N.I.E.S.. At Lens’s request, Cave penned 12 litanies – “petitions to a divine maker” – simple, moving texts which the composer then wove into what he calls a “modest chamber opera of sleeping dreams”. Riding his bike around an unusually empty Brussels, Lens had been reminded of the magical stillness of the Rinzai Zen temples he had seen in rural Japan. Memories of these structures and of the inner peace he experienced while visiting them were the initial inspiration for the minimalistic, at times trance-like music of L.I.T.A.N.I.E.S., which features Denzil Delaere, N.L. Noorenbergh, Claron McFadden and Lens’s artist daughter Clara-Lane on vocals. Though the eleven instrumentalists recorded their parts individually in Lens’s home, to respect social distancing guidelines, there is a clear unity of purpose about the finished opera, a work of gentle beauty.


The Fall - Take It Down To The Wire


Limited 180 gram vinyl Gatefold sleeve. Great live recording from a radio broadcast of The Fall live on Sunday 16th of June 1985 Clitheroe Castle, Lancashire. It was a free open-air concert. The set from 2 x 4 through Lay of the Land was broadcast on Steve Barker's "On the Wire," BBC Radio Lancashire. Organized by the station and Ribble Valley Borough Council.


Half Japanese - Crazy Hearts


London's PVA have signed to Ninja Tune’s taste-maker label Big Dada (Young Fathers, Kae Tempest, Roots Manuva etc). Talks is the insistent, propulsive first release from their debut EP for Big Dada, Toner. The mercurial Dan Carey (black midi, Bat For Lashes, Fontaines D.C.) has worked with the band once more on production duties.

As well as featuring three new tracks - Talks, Sleek Form, Exhaust / Surroundings - the EP also features remixes from Mura Masa, an early fan of the trio, Lynks and Daniel Fox of Girl Band.


Kelly Jones - Don't Let The Devil Take Another Day


Barely a year after Stereophonics last no. 1 album Kind, ‘Phonics frontman Kelly Jones releases this 21 track collection featuring reinterpretations / re-workings of 18 Stereophonics tracks (classics and deep cuts), plus two songs from Kelly’s 2007 solo album Only The Names Have Been Changed and an emotional take on Kris Kristofferson’s timeless classic, Help Me Make It Through The Night.


Khruangbin - Late Night Tales


Hot on the heels of Mordechai, the critically acclaimed third album from US psych-rockers Khruangbin, the Texas trio become the latest act to present their own Late Night Tales in the popular, long-running musician-curated album series.

With a mind-blowing selection of tracks that cross borders and cultures, Khruangbin’s deep love of global grooves – from Asian pop to Nigerian reggae – Japanese mellow groove to Latina flavas – are steeped in eclecticism; Nazia Hassan’s Hindi-disco Khushi, produced by British-Indian legend Biddu, South Korean rock band Sanullim who contribute Don’t Go, a pair of African bangers from Nigerian Maxwell Udoh and Roha Band, from Ethiopia; a diversion to Belarus for Песняры and thence to Madrid for the strident vocal performance of Paloma San Basilio with Contigo before hightailing back to Texas.

Elsewhere, the Lone Star state reps proudly, with David Marez and Kelly Doyle plus, in the LateNightTales tradition, the band deliver an exclusive, horizontally brilliant version of Kool and The Gang’s Summer Madness, while the mix concludes with a spoken word piece by Tierney Malone, accompanied by fellow Houstonian Geoffrey Muller’s atmospheric banjo rendering of Erik Satie’sGnossienne.


Sigur Ros - Odin's Raven Magic


Composed in the 14th or 15th century Odin’s Raven Magic is an Icelandic poem in the ancient Edda tradition (Edda - a term that describes two Icelandic manuscripts of which together are the main sources of Norse mythology and Skáldic poetry) its anonymous author clearly had an intimate knowledge of the Edda literature and mythology which alludes to a number of pagan motifs which are now lost. The poem recounts a great banquet held by the gods in Valhalla while they were absorbed in their feasting, ominous signs appeared that could foretell the end of the worlds of the gods and men.

The album Odin’s Raven Magic is an orchestral collaboration between Sigur Rós, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, Steindór Andersen and Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir which premiered 18 years ago at the Barbican Centre, London and is now finally - almost two decades later - being released. The performance honours the poem, dramatic and beautiful, classical with a modern strike. A stone marimba was built especially for the performance by Páll Guðmundsson.

Odin’s Raven Magic - the poem - had been relegated from mainstream ancient literature ever since 1867, when Norwegian scholar Sophus Bugge claimed it was a 17th century fabrication.


Yungblud - Weird!


Weird! is Yungblud’s most emotionally complex body of work to date. He recorded it at studios in London and Los Angeles with Cervini, Greatti and another frequent collaborator, Matt Schwartz (Cold War Kids, Bullet For My Valentine, Massive Attack). True to Yungblud’s fierce refusal to box himself in, Weird! embodies a wildly eclectic collage of sound: Queen-inspired harmonies, Beatles-esque chord progressions, elements of dance-punk and glam-rock and hip-hop and metal. Weird! is like an episode of Skins in album form.


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

ABBA - Happy New Year


A highly-collectible, strictly limited, numbered, translucent blue vinyl 7”inch edition of Happy New Year in exclusive packaging. To commemorate the arrival of 2021, a world-wide run of 6000 copies of this exclusive single have been pressed. The die-cut sleeve features unique artwork, which displays the single with its picture label, a shot of ABBA from the Rune Söderqvist-designed Super Trouper album cover sessions.


Beyonce - Homecoming


This is a four LP set of Beyoncé’s historic headlining Coachella performance on two weekends in April 2018. Beyoncé was the first African American woman to headline the Coachella festival, and her performances received immediate widespread acclaim from fans and critics alike for the staging and celebration of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

The set includes over two dozen songs that moved over 125,000 concert goers in the Valley. The epic pyramid-shaped bleachers held some 100 dancers and band, with special guest performers including Solange, JAY-Z, and Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, who brought Destiny’s Child magic, harmony and nostalgia.


Camel - Rain Dances


The band's fifth release from 1977, Rain Dances is Camel at its best, offering the most consistent and representative package in their saga. The addition of Caravan-cofounder Richard Sinclair proves profitable, as do a few colourist touches by Brian Eno on Elke. Mel Collins' woodwinds are among the highlights, especially on Tell Me and the title track. From beginning to end, this project flows gracefully.


Coldplay - Christmas Lights


Coldplay celebrate the tenth anniversary of Christmas Lights by releasing it as a blue vinyl 7" single, backed by Coldplay's take on the perennial Christmas classic Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas which was recorded for a Jo Whiley, BBC Radio 1 live session, at the tail end of 2000. This is the first time Christmas Lights has ever appeared on a physical single format.


Edan - Primitive Plus