Hello, and welcome back to Far Out’s weekly vinyl corner feature, where we bring you an intriguing selection of some of our favourite records, some bargain vinyl deals to look out for and some unmissable limited-edition releases.
In 2021, the exponential vinyl resurgence observed another milestone year as vinyl sales outsold CDs for the first time in three decades. The return to records has been on a steady climb since MP3 downloads and streaming services came into the picture in the late 2000s. While the weightless, highly accessible and practical format is great for discovering and consuming lots of new music while you’re out and about, there’s nothing like coming home for to bit of vinyl.
As the sale stats reflect, over the past decade, music lovers have decided that if there’s an album or artist you can’t stop listening to, streaming platforms won’t cut the mustard. The sound quality of the 12-inch plastic disc brings something more hearty with its analogue warmth and crisp definition that there’s really no substitute for.
As you’re here, I’ll assume you, too, are an analogue advocate. Allow me to walk you through our ten hot picks for the week. As they say, variety is the spice of life, so I’ve tried to include a healthy variety in my selections. Today, we bring a mixture of brand new releases from the likes of Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and Yard Act, as well as some modern classics from Radiohead and Dr. Dre.
The following selections have been handpicked by Far Out Magazine, and, as a result, we may earn from qualifying purchases.
The 10 best vinyl deals available on Amazon this week:
Sam Fender – Seventeen Going Under
In October last year, geordie singer-songwriter Sam Fender released his reflective, bold and vibrant second album, Seventeen Going Under. The indie-rock powerhouse delivered a more refined update on the style of his debut LP on this release. Highlights include the title track, ‘Getting Started’, Spit of You’ and ‘Get You Down’.
Receiving high praise in a 9.2/10 review, Far Out said: “Sam Fender is an artist that Britain needs right now. He’s got a relatability to him, which gives him an authentic touch and immense likeability. When most musicians deal with the topics that Fender expertly delves into, it often has a habit of feeling contrived or riddled with cliches. However, he’s not like most artists, and on Seventeen Going Under, he stakes a claim for being the most pivotal British voice of his generation.”
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Endless Rooms
Back in May, Australian indie group, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, released their third studio LP, Endless Rooms. The jangly pop covers light and dark themes with an innate Australian coolness and class. Highlights include ‘My Echo’, ‘The Way It Shatters’, ‘Tidal River’ and ‘Dive Deep’.
“It’s almost an anti-concept album,” the band said in a press statement. “The ‘endless rooms’ of the title reflects our love of creating worlds in our songs. We treat each of them as a bare room to be built up with infinite possibilities.”
Yard Act – The Overload
Leeds rockers Yard Act have been making a big name for themselves with the release of their debut record, The Overload, earlier this year. Lead vocalist James Smith, also an actor who has appeared in Peaky Blinders, spits out his authoritative verse that comments on modern society with satire and sarcasm. Meanwhile, the band stir up a real treat for the ears.
In a glowing 9.2/10 review, Far Out said: “With The Overload, Yard Act have landed the first great album of 2022. In the process, they’ve set a high watermark for not just other so-called “post-punk” bands, but for all bands and artists making rock music right now.”
Gang of Four – Entertainment!
One of the original post-punk outfits from Leeds, Gang of Four released their debut album, Entertainment! In 1979. The timeless classic does exactly what it says on the tin. Their characteristic sound is achieved by sharp, cutting chords, a storming drum beat and Jon King’s iconic vocal energy.
The highly influential release saw a rejuvenation last year as they re-recorded the album’s lead single ‘Damaged Goods’ with Bristol post-punkers IDLES. Other bold highlights on the record include ‘At Home He’s A Tourist’, ‘I Found That Essence Rare’ and ‘Natural’s Not In It’.
Buena Vista Social Club – Buena Vista Social Club [Deluxe Edition]
Buena Vista Social Club is both the name of this extraordinary group of musicians and the album, recorded in just seven days in 1996 at Havana’s 1950s vintage EGREM studios. At the time, nobody could have predicted that Buena Vista Social Club would become a worldwide phenomenon.
The album received a Grammy at the 1997 awards ceremony, and at 8 million copies, it outsold any other record in the bachata genre. This deluxe edition contains the original album, remastered by Bernie Grundman, five bonus tracks taken from the original studio session tapes and a 20-page booklet including new liner notes, photos, song notes and lyrics.
LICE – WASTELAND: What Ails Our People Is Clear
WASTELAND is Bristol art-rock group LICE’s conceptual debut album. The creative dynamite is structured as an experimental short story, taking cues from Brian Catling, William Burroughs and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. In a satirical allegory for crises in society and art, the moral, physical and temporal transformations of its characters are paired with the wordplay transformation: breaking from prose into cut-ups, soliloquies and even plays.
Framing the intensely evocative lyrics is a sea of industrial, entrancing soundscapes. For added flavour, the restless creatives even designed and built their own noise instrument using the conceptual plan for the Intonarumori. Highlights on the album include ‘Conveyor’, ‘R.D.C.’, ‘Persuader’ and ‘Clear’, the album’s brilliant closing track, which features vocals from Katy J Pearson.
Dr. Dre – 2001
2001 is the second studio album by Dr. Dre following his 1992 debut album, The Chronic. The eminent beat-maker, rapper and producer helmed the seminal album with a little help from guest rappers, including The D.O.C., Hittman, Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Xzibit, Eminem, and Nate Dogg.
The album exhibits an expansion on Dre’s debut G-funk sound and contains gangsta rap themes such as violence, promiscuity, drug use, street gangs, sex and crime. The album is home to some of Dre’s most memorable classics, including ‘Still D.R.E.’, ‘The Next Episode’, ‘Forgot About Dre’, and ‘The Watcher’.
Bicep – Isles
After releasing their highly praised debut, Bicep, in 2018, the Belfast duo worked for two years on their follow-up Isles. They have described the album as “a snapshot in time” from their work over the two-year period, with the tracks designed to evolve in their different iterations from record to live show and beyond. “This is definitely the home listening version,” says Matt, “the live version will be much, much harder”.
The album teeters on the fringes of techno with unique blends that morph through ambient textures and danceable beats. The varied record includes colourful hits like ‘Atlas’ and ‘Apricots’ as well as some immersive mind-benders such as ‘Lido’ and ‘Fir’. This deluxe-coloured edition includes three heavy-weight LPs.
Dazed and Confused – Motion Picture Soundtrack
Richard Linklater has got a good reputation when it comes to music in film; after all, he directed the 2003 Jack Black classic School of Rock. Around ten years before that, he helmed Dazed and Confused, the coming-of-age stoner comedy starring Jason London, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Cole Hauser and Matthew McConaughey.
Set in 1976, the film was naturally awash with some cracking rock music. This soundtrack LP includes classics from Alice Cooper. Kiss, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. The film was so jam-packed with music that there is a second vinyl soundtrack edition titled Even More Dazed and Confused, which is also available on Amazon.
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool [Limited Edition White Vinyl]
Six years ago, Radiohead treated us to their ninth studio album and the first since 2011’s The King of Limbs. Since then, frontman Thom Yorke and multi-instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood have split off for their impressive side project, The Smile, but it’s hoped that one day we’ll see Radiohead back in a room together.
Until that day, we’ve been left with an astonishing back-catalogue, and A Moon Shaped Pool is up there with the band’s finest. The album is given a fine balance with ambient orchestral soundscapes and intense beat-driven climaxes. Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne described the album as “cinematic” during his speech to induct Radiohead into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019.