This week saw a plethora of brilliant new releases from very talented artists and musicians. Most notably, Lana Del Rey’s Chemtrails Over The Country Club.
With this record, Del Rey has once again shown the world how much she really knows about music, and instead of venturing out into new territory for her, she has found and mastered her own sound and style. As Joe Taysom wrote for Far Out, “In a world when artists feel compelled to chop and change with every record, Del Rey acts as a reminder that sometimes it’s better to be a master of one style than a jack-of-all-trades.”
Unique releases are the name of the game, and for fans of Spike Jonze’s film, Her, the long-awaited soundtrack composed by Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett has finally been released this week on vinyl.
The tortured and vivacious – the late grunge singer of Soundgarden; Chris Cornell’s album of covers, No One Sings Like You Anymore – which was recorded and sequenced by him in 2016 – was released this week posthumously. That album features songs from John Lennon, Harry Nielson, Jeff Lynne from ELO, Prince, among other greats.
Below you’ll find the full list of our favourite vinyl records – new and old – that were either released or reissued this week.
Best vinyl released this week
The Soundtrack to Her – Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett
After about eight years since the debut of Spike Jonze’s film, Her, the soundtrack to the film, written by Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett, has finally been released on vinyl on March 19th. The music from the collaborative project between the Canadian indie masters and Pallett is sparse, haunting and ambient in its nature.
The record ventures into minimalist piano compositions and electronic dystopian moods, which did a lot to match the bizarre storyline of Her; Theodore Twombly — played by the nimble Joaquin Phoenix — who falls in love with artificial intelligence in the form of a voice synced up to all of his operating devices.
This vinyl is perfect for easy listening, in times of need for focus and calm.
No One Sings Like You Anymore – Chris Cornell
When Chris Cornell, singer of Soundgarden, recorded his last album in 2016 — a collection of covers which would become No One Sings Like You Anymore — Cornell began to explore territory as solely a singer/songwriter showcasing his lighter sensibilities.
Released this week, the album features Chris Cornell performing songs from several different masters of the craft: John Lennon, Harry Nielson, Jeff Lynne, Guns N’ Roses, Prince, and Jerry Ragovoy. We all know Chris Cornell’s ability to scream a brilliant rock song, but what happens when he strips back all the loud electric guitars and the rough exterior of the rugged rock star? What we get is No One Sings Like You Anymore, a beautiful rendition of songs delivered by a tortured soul who’s redemption is found in the spiritual nuance of effortless passion.
Get this vinyl now. You won’t regret it.
Chemtrails Over The Country Club – Lana Del Rey
Written in the perfect collaboration of which only brilliance can happen, Lana Del Rey and Jack Antonoff delivered a package of songs of understated sadness and youthful heartbreak.
Chemtrails over the Country Club sets the tone as ambiguous and striking from the moment we read the album’s title; a beautiful image. The record is an exploration into when the tidy memories of our sugar-coated childhood dreams are pushed and prodded to the point of breaking at the seams, only to shed some revelatory significance of where we currently stand in the present moment.
Lana Del Rey commented on the record that its about, “wanting so much to be normal and realizing that when you have an overactive, eccentric mind, a record like Chemtrails is just what you’re going to get.”
Takk… – Sigur Rós
Originally released in 2005, the Icelandic post-rock group’s fourth album was critically acclaimed – the record went platinum in UK and Gold in the US, and won them a bunch of awards in their home country of Iceland.
This new reissue features three vinyl LPs — pressed on two 12 inch records; this piece of music contains some of the favourites they’ve ever done: Hoppipola and Glosoli. Takk… has also provided the backdrop and soundtrack to the beloved Planet Earth documentaries. Overall, it is a beautifully composed record and worth having on vinyl.
Written and Directed – Black Honey
Black Honey’s music is often tinged with that unfortunate trait that seems to plague many modern rock bands who are living in the past, namely the cliche of MOR songwriting which is the symptom of having no real foundation in any roots. However, Black Honey is extremely unique in that they are completely independent; they choose who they work with and have signed no poisonous contract with any major label.
Considering that, it is very impressive how successful their first record became, which landed them on the illustrious Glastonbury bill.
Their second record, Written and Directed, is worth listening to if you like pop-rock music along the lines of The Kills, the lighter side to The Black Keys, and some Queens of The Stone Age. This record is still worth listening to, or for a nice backdrop during a party with your co-workers.
Zoom In – Ringo Starr
The legendary Beatle survivor – Ringo Starr has released a new EP this week. A project that was started to give the drummer something to do during the pandemic, turned into a classic example of what Ringo Starr does best: a feel-good ode to the hippie counterculture with zero pretension. The beauty of Ringo is that he never pretends something that he isn’t.
It seems like he just exudes good vibes and happiness — fully embodying the message of his music.
Very much inspired by the forced lock-down; the title of the record, Zoom In, has a nice double-entendre effect: named after the popular program used for conversing online, the title also refers to focusing on the good aspects of humanity, such as Ringo Starr’s favourite subjects: peace, love and happiness. Get Starr’s Zoom In on vinyl and enjoy some quality time with your loved ones as you dance around the living room, mimicking your dad’s funny little moves.
Insomniac – Green Day
A reissue of Green Day’s 1995’s Insomniac, the album was the follow up to the band’s platinum-selling breakthrough, Dookie. Insomniac suggests early signs of early-onset disillusionment; there are no hit songs on this record, but instead, there are plenty of heavier, more raw, and punkier tunes.
Insomniac could also express Billie Joe Armstrong’s conflicted feelings regarding Green Day’s new-found massive success. When they found said success, Green Day were rejected from their own inner-circles of the punk scene from which they came. Billie Joe Armstrong commented on this:
“I think I was just lost. I couldn’t find the strength to convince myself that what I was doing was a good thing. I was in a band that was huge because it was supposed to be huge, because our songs were that good. But I couldn’t even feel that I was doing the right thing, because it felt like I was making so many people angry.”
Still Woman Enough – Loretta Lynn
Country Music’s very own Laureate, Loretta Lynn, has been around since the ‘60s and has recently come out of retirement this week with her new album. A further declaration of her fierce female working-class empowerment, not based on feminism, but instead, based on conservatism — Still Woman Enough is simple in its meaning but powerful for the same reason. She has stood the test of time while surviving a stroke and a broken hip all at the tender age of 88.
She comes back to us out of retirement with reproach but a delicacy to let us know that although the world has evolved and changed a lot since the ‘60s, it still has a place and needs a figure such as Loretta Lynn, to remind us that the world isn’t simply black and white.
We can be traditional yet revolutionary — conservative yet progressive.
Endless Garbage – John Dwyer, Ted Byrnes, Greg Coates, Tom Dolas, Brad Caulkins
Most notably known for his work with Thee Oh Sees, John Dwyer is one of the most creative figures working in the industry today. Never known to stick to simply one genre, with Endless Garbage, he again makes a deafening musical statement of the highest experimental order with a slew of collaborators. Endless Garbage is an avant-garde record inspired by saxophone player Albert Ayler.
This piece of vinyl is for those who need something out of the left-field, conceptual, and starkly different from all the overall garbage coming out these days. John Dwyer thought of the idea for this record/collaboration when he heard someone playing the drums (I would suspect in the fashion heard on this record) in a garage while walking home one day.
The album was recorded by all the members of the project remotely from one another.
We Are – Jon Batiste
Jon Batiste’s new album is a throwback to the great jazz, gospel, funk and soul musicians. The record features a lot of guest fill-ins. For example, writer and poet Zadie Smith on ‘Show Me The Way’; Hot 8 Brass Band on ‘Adulthood’; PJ Morton and Trombone Shorty on ‘Boy Hood’.
Batiste said about the brilliant record, “I like to use the inspiration from the past and combine it with the things that are in the present to create the future. We’re finally at a point where we’re starting to untangle the way that my grandparents, and even my parents, experienced America.
“It feels like the culmination in the coming of age of what many generations have built, fought for and poured into.”