With the advent of the digital format dominating the market and in the process, making physical formats for music listening largely irrelevant, space opened up within the said market for something more tangible, proving that people still need something to hold and to behold as they are listening to their favourite records, new and old. Since the early 2000s, vinyl records have made a great comeback, harking back to a time in the 1960s and ’70s, a time when the album format meant something culturally significant. The medium determines the message, in other words, the format in which the music is transmitted will significantly impact our listening experience. Analogue does not limit bandwidth as digital does, and it does not suffer from generation loss. Whether it is your favourite older records or new acts you should listen to, each week we will be delving into a list of our top ten best vinyl releases or reissues.
This week, the long-awaited cover of T-Rex’s Cosmic Dancer from Morrissey featuring David Bowie was released. Morrissey invited Bowie onto the stage, who appeared out from the corner 30 seconds into the song. Recorded at Inglewood Forum in Los Angeles in 1991, the audience could only hear Bowie’s deep baritone voice before he came on to join Morrissey from the shadows. The pair would tour together four years later; their relationship was fraught with drama and anticipation, as can only be expected from two musical giants of their stature. Morrissey opened for Bowie on a 1995 tour, and the former was dismayed when he saw the posters promoting the show. The poster revealed that Morrissey would be a ‘support act’ for Bowie, which he was not too pleased about. Morrisey would later disparage Bowie with a comment that went something like, ‘Bowie used to be good’.
Below, along with the Morrissey and Bowie tribute, we delve into some other great new vinyl you’ll certainly want to get your hands on.
The 10 best new vinyl releases:
Another Michael – New Music Big Pop
Another Michael’s debut LP released on vinyl this week is music with soft modern indie-folk sensibilities. Based in Philadelphia, they are heavily inspired by Nick Drake but sound intentionally modern. Their lyrics often reference cultural impressions and everyday things that only someone young today would pick up on as ‘the norm’.
Their album is somewhat of a rollercoaster ride, taking the listener from high to low fairly artfully; they possess some quirkiness with some added surprise time signature and key changes, proving themselves as fairly accomplished musicians. Definitely a prime example of a modern band taking advantage of today’s rekindled trend of listening to vinyl. Worth checking out.
Celeste – Not Your Muse
Not Your Muse was originally released on January 29th of this year, this is a relatively new reissue, as well as a new record. The music is fresh with another soft edge to it, which could be best described as jazz, soul and indie R&B.
Celeste Waite has a beautiful and delicate voice, which enthrals the listener and prompts you to follow her along her emotional journey. In a similar vein to Amy Whitehouse, it seems there is a lot of pain behind the voice. Highly recommend this vinyl record for an evening of self-reflection on your own, or oppositely, an evening of celebration with friends. She covers the entire spectrum.
Hand Habits – Dirt
A brand new record, Dirt was released on February 19, and could easily see Hand Habits becoming a major band in a few years. The mastermind behind Hand Habits is Meg Duffy who is a very accomplished session guitar player; she has performed and toured with Weyes Blood, Kevin Morby, and The War on Drugs. Hand Habits’ sound has been compared to Angel Olsen and Big Thief. Dirt sounds like it was informed by all these influences as well as her session work with the aforementioned acts.
Dirt is an interesting collage of sounds and songs, they explore a vast array of different genres as well. The songs explore themes of love, darkness, personal memories, and struggles of the road.
Harakiri for the Sky – Maere
Dubbed ‘post-black metal’, Maere has intricate melodies and sounds as if the members are truly inspired by medieval music. Stylistically and aesthetically speaking, it seems as if medieval is something they are going for. Its got furious energy, couple with shoegaze ambience – the album is very precise.
Harakiri for the Sky are Austrian and their new album came out on vinyl on the 19th. It seems like Harakiri for the Sky are Vikings from another age who happen to find themselves into today’s age. This vinyl is highly recommended for metal lovers who also like cerebral music.
Icon for Hire – Amorphous
Released on February 19th, Amorphous borders on the lines between dubstep, techno, hip-hop, pop and electronica. One minute they deliver a piano ballad, then for a few seconds they reminisce back to ’90s pop via Britney Spears, before a breakdown that verges between metal and dubstep. It sounds like a usual combination, one that should not theoretically work, but they deliver and execute it well.
In the words of the singer of Icon for Hire, Ariel Bloomer: “We are first and foremost just a rock band. That’s where our roots are and where our hearts are. But a few years ago we started really getting into synths and programming. We love the combination of brutal, in-your-face riffs, with the fun candy of pop production sprinkled all over it.”
Aerial East – Try Harder
Released this week, Try Harder possesses elements of country, indie rock, and folk. When talking about her music, Aerial has said, “I want to tell stories about people in Texas. I want to humanise different characters.”
“I was going through a period of high anxiety,” she explains, adding that she listened to a lot of solo-piano to calm down during moments of ungroundedness. “I wanted to make a record to be soothing in the same way.” So, much to the initial scepticism of her collaborators, East decided against adding drums to her songs. “I just wanted it to be healing and calm, something you can listen to even if the world is ending.”
John Salvage – Coyote Hasten
Released on January 29th, Coyote Hasten is now available on vinyl. The record is the debut by the Michigan based artist and the songs have an interesting alternative country-rock feel to them.
If you’re looking for something new but also something that reminds us of where country music can go, then this is a great record. Coyote Hasten was released through Outer Limits Lounge.
Kirsty MacColl – Other People’s Hearts
A British singer-songwriter, she recorded several pop hits in the 1980s and ’90s. A very distinctive style and voice, throughout her career she covered a range of different artists, including The Kinks and Billy Bragg. She found a hit with her own song ‘There’s a Guy Who Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis’.
Other People’s Hearts is a compilation of her B-sides and was originally released in 2020. The record is now available again on 140g black Vinyl.
Leonard Cohen – Live in Session ‘68
Unmatched in his creativity, insight, and crippling candour, Leonard Cohen was a true visionary whose voice will be sorely missed. Live in Session was recorded at the Paris Theatre in 1968, a time when Leonard Cohen emerged from a slew of other acoustic poet troubadour poets, but was, for the most part, drowned out by other giants, such as Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Joni Mitchell.
This vinyl record includes some brilliant numbers, such as ‘Bird on the Wire’, ‘So Long, Marianne’, ‘Master Song’, ‘Sisters of Mercy’, and the tragic but classic hit, ‘Suzanne’. One time, Cohen performed the song and divulges the story behind ‘Suzanne’; Leonard Cohen was cheated into losing ownership of the song, and while he wrote the song and it would be the one that propelled him to attention, he never received any money from it.
David Bowie and Morrissey – Cosmic Dancer/That’s Entertainment
The long-awaited recording of two giants of indie music, David Bowie and Morrissey doing a rendition of T-Rex’s classic anthem for the youth, ‘Cosmic Dancer’, the B side of which is Morrissey’s cover of Paul Weller’s ‘That’s Entertainment’. It doesn’t get much better than this.
This rendition of ‘Cosmic Dancer’ was recorded at Morrissey’s show at Inglewood Forum in Los Angeles in 1991. It was announced a few months ago that vinyl was being cut of this rare occurrence of the two frienemies paying tribute to Bowie’s old friend. The wait is over, this is an essential addition for music nerds and fans alike.