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From Kings of Leon to Etta James: The best vinyl released this week

@DrewAlanWardle1

Vinyl has made a serious comeback since the start of this century. New up and coming groups, regardless of their popularity or success, will typically include a vinyl release along with the more popular digital release. It is great to have digital MP3 downloads for travel, convenience and for the sheer amount of quantity of music one can have in the digital format. There’s still nothing that beats analogue technology, however. Even to this day, putting the needle to the wax; from the soft crackling sound to even those times when one accidentally knocks the record player, and the needle skips, creating an unpleasant sound; from picking up a physical copy of a vinyl; these small things have become somewhat of a novelty and aesthetic that reminds us that music is still mostly a humanistic artform, and one of the few things that still speaks to us in a universal language.

Artists, old and new, are either releasing for the first time or reissuing their albums on vinyl – and it happens every week. Therefore, we have been reporting to you and will continue to do so, each and every time. This week, there have been some interesting new releases with small followings but nevertheless a promising sound and sometimes, a unique one. 

On March 5th, Kings of Leon released their anticipated eighth album, When You See Yourself. The band are one of the first major groups to also offer their new record in a cryptocurrency format, called a non-fungible token, which contains different assets for music and visual art. The tokens were developed by the ticketing platform, YoungHeart, which uses Blockchain technology.

Below, we listed our 10 favourite releases and reissues on vinyl, this week.

Best vinyl released this week:

Postdata – Twin Flames

Twin Flames was released on March 5th through Paper Bag Records. Postdata is a side project for indie singer/songwriter Paul Murphy who is from Canada. The songs found on Twin Flames has an impressive array of instrumentation and nice arrangements. 

Twin Flames is a good representation of some of the indie music that is coming out these days and is also reminiscent of 2005-2010. The sound of Postdata is informed by indie artists such as Spoon, Vampire Weekend, and St. Motel.

Laura Veirs – My Echo

My Echo was released on October 23rd and came out on vinyl this week. Veirs’ album exists in an interesting meeting place between easy-listening pop and lounge jazz. The content of the album is very personal and about her marriage that was falling apart while writing the songs.

As Veirs said herself, “‘My Echo’ is my 11th solo album. My songs knew I was getting divorced before I did this album. My conscious mind was trying as hard as I could to keep my family together but my subconscious mind was working on the difficult struggles in my marital life. I was part of a ‘Secret Poetry Group’ that met and wrote poems monthly for a year during the writing of this record.”

Charles Webster – Decision Time

Charles Webster, a producer of mostly house music and electronica, he was very prominent in the ‘90s. Through the turn of the century, he has been relatively quiet and remained in obscurity. Here and there he has released some records of his own music, Born on the 24th of July in 2001; he has worked in a producer capacity with a number of different artists and at times doing remixes.

Decision Time’s opening track is an electronica minimalist at its best, featuring Sio on vocals. His music is always drum and bass-heavy with some interesting ambient arrangements. His signature sound and quality have definitely become synonymous with the decade of the ‘90s. Definitely worth catching this one on vinyl.

Kings of Leon – When You See Yourself

Released on March 5th, this is the Grammy award-winning rock band’s eighth album since Walls released in 2017. In addition to online streaming and vinyl release, Kings of Leon will be one of the first major commercial rock bands to use a form of crypto-currency called a non-fungible token which employs the use of blockchain, a new kind of technology that is gaining more popularity. 

When You See Yourself, musically speaking, is a continuation of the sound Kings of Leon has operated in since their 2017 Walls, and 2013’s Mechanical Bull, which is, generally speaking, a catchier album with more recognisable hit songs. All in all, for diehard Kings of Leon fans, this is a piece of vinyl you do not want to miss.

Lizzard – Eroded 

Eroded was released back in February of this year, and a vinyl edition was released this week. The album’s feel – from the artwork to the grunge-like and ambient soundscapes – is definitely a correct reflection of how the world seems to be going in the worst of times. It packs a big energetic punch and just simply rocks and slams your face against the wall.

Lizzard hearkens back to the grunge sound of the ‘90s while incorporating musicality more commonly found within the metal genre. The band knows how to play, and the overall achievement is a true rock ‘n’ roll success.

Normandie – Dark and Beautiful Secrets

Normandie’s sound is akin to that of Imagine Dragons and Panic at the Disco! The songwriter of Normandie, Philip Strand, has talked about these songs being of a very dark nature as they touch on his personal issues with mental illness:

“This is a really dark album to me. We decided to be as intimate and personal as possible.” As well as adding, “I couldn’t recognise myself in the mirror and it felt like nobody could see or hear me.”

David Bowie – Live at the Montreal Forum 1983/Serious Moonlight Tour

In support of Bowie’s most commercially successful album, Let’s Dance, Bowie embarked on his biggest concert tour of the world he had ever done in 1983. Over two million tickets were sold for the entire tour, because of this, Bowie decided to include into the majority of his setlist, his most popular songs. He resurrected songs like ‘Space Oddity’ and ‘Cracked Actor’ from around the early ‘60s and late ‘70s period of time.

While Bowie was never considered to have developed a particular character for The Serious Moonlight Tour (like his Ziggy Stardust and Thin White Duke), during this tour in ‘83, he did have a distinct style and look: it was like a mixture of the plastic soul era Bowie and a derivative of Duran Duran’s look – the result was bleached blonde electric hair, high waisted suit pants with overalls and a highly thought out stage design with 32-ton columns that Bowie referred to as ‘condoms’. This is a must-have on vinyl.

Etta James –  Collected

Etta James burst out into the world in 1954, blowing people away with her powerful and legendary voice – to this day she is still considered one of the best singers to have ever lived. She performed in various different genres, such as R&B, blues, jazz, gospel and just plain old rock ‘n’ roll, whatever the genre was; she made it her own.

Collected features some of her greatest hits she recorded over the years, including, ‘The Wallflower’, ‘At Last’, ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’, ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You’, and ‘Something’s Got a Hold On Me’.

Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell

Originally released in 1980, this is the first Sabbath record to not feature Ozzy Osbourne but instead, Black Sabbath recruited Ronnie James Dio on vocal duties. Produced by Martin Birch, the album was a gigantic success, reaching number 28 on the charts at the time and was certified silver.

When Black Sabbath guitar genius, Tony Iommi and singer, Ronnie James Dio began a friendship and their subsequent conversation on starting a new project together, they ultimately decided that Dio would, instead, join Sabbath. Dio commented on this: “Sabbath was a band that was floundering, and, with my inclusion in it, we pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps, cared a lot about each other, and knew that we could do it again – especially under the banner of a band that had been so successful.”

Morphine – Good

The first album by the three-piece band from Cambridge, Massachusetts; Morphine were always a kind of an underground group with a cult following during the ‘90s. Their sound was unique, featuring Mark Sandman on a two-stringed bass guitar and vocals, Dana Colley on saxophone, and Jerome Dupree on drums.

They called themselves a low-rock band, due to their low-end sound, created by the prominent bass guitar, and baritone sax. They toed the line between novelty and originality, and despite their limited capabilities, they still went on to create great albums with even better songs. Due to Sandman’s lifestyle, he died of a heart attack on stage in his 50s.