New Releases: 5th February 2021
Updated: Feb 5
Ben brings you all the new releases and reissues to arrive at The Vinyl Whistle this week, featuring releases ranging from indie, post-punk, psychedelic, lofi, hip-hop, afrobeat, electronic, ambient, rock, folk, prog, soul, jazz, punk, synthwave, reggae, soundtrack, shoegazing 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:
The debut album from Black Country, New Road - the latest stars from the burgeoning and famed Brixton Windmill scene, which also fostered the rise of contemporaries, black midi, Squid, Fat White Family and Shame.
Recorded with Andy Savours (My Bloody Valentine) during the early part of this year and then finished at the end of the nationwide lock-down, the album is the perfect capturing of a new band and all the energy, ferocity and explosive charge that comes with that whilst also clearly the work of a group who have no interest in repetition, one-note approaches or letting creative stagnation set in. Featuring six new songs including reinterpretations of early tracks Sunglasses and Athens, France, For the First Time is a sonic time capsule that somehow manages to bottle the past, the present and the future.
Common releases his new project, A Beautiful Revolution Pt 1, through Loma Vista Recordings. This instant hip hop classic and call to action from the modern-day renaissance man - a Grammy-, Emmy-, and Oscar-winning artist, activist, actor, and two time New York Times Bestselling author - features seven new songs and two new interludes that catch Common at a new prime in his career. With a core band that includes Robert Glasper (keys), Karriem Riggins (drums), Burniss Travis (bass), Isaiah Sharkey (guitar), and PJ (vocals), plus features from Black Thought and Lenny Kravitz, A Beautiful Revolution Pt 1 is music meant to “uplift, heal, and inspire listeners dealing with racial injustices as well as other social injustices,” says Common.
Shore the new Fleet foxes album is a celebration of life in the face of death, honouring lost musical heroes, from David Berman to John Prine to Judee Sill to Bill Withers, embracing the joy and solace they brought to people's lives and honoring their memory. Shore is an object levitating between the magnetic fields of the past and the future.
The album was recorded in upstate New York at Aaron Dessner's Long Pond Studio, in Paris at Studios St. Germain, in Los Angeles at the legendary Vox, in Long Island City at Diamond Mine, and New York City's Electric Lady.
Medicine At Midnight is the new album from Foo Fighters, packing nine new songs into a tight ass 37 minutes. This collection includes the smoldering new single, Shame Shame. Medicine At Midnight is produced by Greg Kurstin and Foo Fighters and is the band's 10th album. Foo Fighters are Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett, Pat Smear, and Rami Jaffee.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets continue to assert their status as one of Australia's hardest working bands - pandemic be damned - with the release of their new album, Shyga! The Sunlight Mound. For the Perth group, creativity and production hasn't stopped in 2020. Despite much of this year's tour plans being put on pause, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have used their time off road to continue preparing for the release of their fourth studio release, and an eventual blistering return to stages around the world.
Over the course of two EPs, two singles and a stripped-back live album, Puma Blue has established himself as one of the UK’s most vital new talents. Now comes the long awaited debut album In Praise of Shadows via Blue Flowers. In Praise of Shadows is a delirious dreamland of soulful vocals, D’Angelo-ish guitars and muted electronic beats. Its fourteen tracks are a contemplation on “the balance of light and dark, the painful things you have to heal from or accept, that bring you through to a better place” says the 25-year-old Puma Blue, real name Jacob Allen “It’s about finding light in darkness - and realising that it’s what got me here today.”
The album astonishing in its openness, from bittersweet reflections on past relationships - “I never learnt to cherish her” Jacob laments on Cherish (furs) - to pure love-laden soliloquies such as Already Falling or Sheets, one of the albums most personal moments, which borrows a sample from the score of Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and repurposes it as a lilting love-song that Allen describes as “like a really personal note that you’d leave in the house to be found when you’ve got to head out early.” Nowhere is that openness more apparent though than on lead single Velvet Leaves. Propelled by a crisp hip-hop beat and culminating in reverb-drenched wails reminiscent of one of Allen’s biggest influences, Jeff Buckley, the track explores an incident that still leaves him near panic attacks today.
It’s a decade since The Staves self-released their first EP and a lot has happened since then. Their third album Good Woman was written and recorded amid major upheaval, heartbreak and bereavement. The new-found boldness, loudness and lyrical directness on this record are indicative of lives forced to become a serious concern.
In early 2020 the band resumed touring, unveiling their expansive and exhilaratingly powerful new sound, and previewing these emotionally affecting songs in intimate venues across the country; with tickets selling out in seconds. They ended the tour with a triumphant homecoming appearance at the 6 Music Festival.
The Staves’ first album in five years is an accumulation of everything that life has thrown at them in that time. Emily: “You find strength in the vulnerability and you find beauty in the sadness and magic in the despair. We lost so much, but we found so much. And while the album is not all about mum, something shifted in us when she died that made us make the record in the way that we made it. We became more fearless.”
Camilla: “It feels more about trying to take ownership of these events and not letting sadness or trauma rule you.”
Jessica: “It’s a record about sisterhood, motherhood and daughterhood; love, loss, change and trying to be a good person, a good woman.”
The five members of Sun June spent their early years spread out across the United States, from the boonies of the Hudson Valley to the sprawling outskirts of LA. Having spent their college years within the gloomy, cold winters of the North East, Laura Colwell and Stephen Salisbury found themselves in the vibrant melting-pot of inspiration that is Austin, Texas. Meeting each other while working on Terrence Malick’s Song to Song, the pair were immediately taken by the city’s bustling small clubs and honky-tonk scene, and the fact that there was always an instrument within reach, always someone to play alongside. Sun June returns with Somewhere, a brand new album.
It’s a record that feels distinctly more present than its predecessor. In the time since, Colwell and Salisbury have become a couple, and it’s had a profound effect on their work; if Years was about how loss evolves, Somewhere is about how love evolves. “We explore a lot of the same themes across it,” Colwell says, “but I think there’s a lot more love here.” Somewhere showcases a gentle but eminently pronounced maturation of Sun June’s sound, a second record full of quiet revelation, eleven songs that bristle with love and longing. It finds a band at the height of their collective potency, a marked stride forward from the band that created that debut record, but also one that once again is able to transport the listener into a fascinating new landscape, one that lies somewhere between the town and the city, between the head and the heart; neither here nor there, but certainly somewhere
Unsurprisingly, there isn’t a precedent for launching a band during a global pandemic, but among the general sense of anxiety and unease pervading everything at the moment, TV Priest’s entrance in April with the release of debut single “House Of York” - a searing examination of the Monarchy set over wiry post-punk and fronted by a Mark E. Smith-like mouthpiece - served as a breath of fresh air among the chaos, its anger and confusion making some kind of twisted sense to the nation’s fried brains.
It’s the same continued global sense of anxiety that will greet the release of Uppers, and it’s an album that has a lot to say right now. Taking musical cues from post-punk stalwarts The Fall and Protomartyr as well as the mechanical, pulsating grooves of krautrock, it’s a record that moves with an untamed energy. Over the top of this rumbling musical machine is vocalist Charlie, a cuttingly funny, angry, confused, real frontman. Uppers sees TV Priest explicitly and outwardly trying to avoid narrowmindedness. Uppers sees TV Priest taking musical and personal risks, reaching outside of themselves and trying to make sense of this increasingly messy world. It's a band and a record that couldn’t arrive at a more perfect time.
The Weather Station - project of Tamara Lindeman - releases her new album, Ignorance, on Fat Possum. Through Ignorance, Lindeman has remade what The Weather Station sounds like, using the occasion of a new record to create a novel sonic landscape, tailor-made to express an emotional idea. Ignorance is sensuous, ravishing, as hi-fi a record as Lindeman has ever made, breaking into pure pop at moments, at others a dense wilderness of notes; a deeply rhythmic and painful record that feels more urgent and clear than her work ever has. Ignorance began when Lindeman became obsessed with rhythm; specifically straight rhythm, dance rhythm, those achingly simple beats that had never showed up on a Weather Station album before. The album marks Lindeman’s first experience writing on keyboard, not guitar, and her first time building out arrangements before bringing them to a band. Montreal producer Marcus Paquin (Arcade Fire) co-produced, with Lindeman, and also mixed the record. The lyrics across Ignorance roil with conflict. The narrator confronts characters who turn away from love. “I used to be an actor, now I’m a performer,” Lindeman says. In those roles she often finds herself to be the subject of projection, reflecting back the ideas and emotions of others. In turn, the album cover shows Lindeman laying in the woods, wearing a hand made suit covered in mirrors. Throughout Ignorance, she sings of trying to wear the world as a kind of ill fitting, torn garment, dangerously cold; “it does not keep me warm / I cannot ever seem to fasten it” and of walking the streets in it, so disguised and exposed.
Here are the best reissues coming out this week at The Vinyl Whistle:
Brainbox is a Dutch rock group that was initially active from 1968 until 1972, and then reformed in 2009. Brainbox is best described as a progressive blues rock band infused with jazz elements. Their eponymous debut album, released in 1969, is also the only Brainbox record that features founding guitarist Jan Akkerman, who left the band in late 1969 to join Focus. Nevertheless, Brainbox is considered a legendary Dutch band of international allure. Brainbox is now available as a limited edition of only 500 individually numbered copies on purple vinyl.
The version of the Byrds that played Amsterdam’s prestigious Concertgebouw in July 1970 was very different to previous incarnations. The Skip Battin / Gene Parsons rhythm section was tight and allowed the guitars of Roger McGunn and Clarence White room to roam, most noticeably on an extended Eight Miles High. Thoroughly road-hardened, the band played material from throughout their entire career and threw in some previously unreleased cover versions as well.
Joyful Noise is the third studio album by American jam band The Derek Trucks Band. The record is known for covering a wide range of genres, including gospel, blues, jazz, Latin and East Indian music. It features many well known guests artists like Susan Tedeschi (wife of frontman Derek Trucks) and Solomon Burke. It is also the first record to feature Kofi Burbridge as the bands new songwriter, keyboardist, flutist and backingvocalist. Produced by Russ Kunkel and Craig Street, this album is a must have for all fans of Southern rock. Joyful Noise is available as a limited edition of 1000 individually numbered copies on translucent green vinyl.