Vinyl has been riding a serious comeback wave since the turn of the century. A demand in the market, technology and a desire to return to more artisanal and personable ways of consuming entertainment; there is no comparison: analogue technology – whether recording or playback – is simply the best way of listening to music.
This week’s vinyl selection has a smattering of brand new releases of some great up and coming acts. Meanwhile, we’re in no short supply of some brilliant reissues of classic records by Fleetwood Mac, Simon and Garfunkel and Buzzcocks. Classic glam rocker, Alice Cooper released a new record on the 26th titled Detroit Stories, giving the impression that Alice Cooper is paying tribute to some of his favourite Detroit acts with a handful of his own thrown into the mix. His voice is as solid as ever, it seems as if Cooper has not lost his range.
This week also includes a reissue of Jarvis Cocker’s second solo effort, Further Complications, which reveals Jarvis Cocker’s sense of songwriting – while still maintaining his usual quirkiness and details – sees him in a new environment and incentive for writing.
Old or new, debut or reissue, it matters not, our goal is to bring forth to your attention, the absolute best vinyl records you do not want to miss this week.
Below, we go into details about why you’ll want to get your hands on these records.
The 10 best new vinyl releases:
Alexei Orechin – Mirages
Alexei Orechin’s debut record came out on vinyl and what the listener will hear are beautiful classical arrangements of contemporary jazz spruced with chamber and ambient sounds. “A world full of mirrored light and illusion”, Orechin’s music is complex but very refreshing and sporadic.
The avant-garde is heavily present within these jazz numbers; the instrumentations are sparse with mostly guitars plugged through effects, waning through a sea of speculation. Definitely worth getting this on vinyl for a night of self-reflection.
Ole Kirkeng – Rocking Chair
The Oslo native has lived back and forth between Norway and New York and sounds as if Bob Dylan was born a lot later and discovered shoegaze music. His new album, Rocking Chair, was released this week and it features soft folk lyric-heavy gems of songs. Like Dylan in the 60s, Kirkeng spent time travelling around the city absorbing its ever-looming cultural presence.
Kirkeng said about the city, “Because of the array of venues around town, I was able to play and go see live music almost every week. A lot of my friends in Brooklyn are either musicians, music-lovers or work with other art forms, so being surrounded by such a creative group was a constant inspiration.”
Buzzcocks – 30 Live in London
The album, originally recorded in 2006, celebrated its 30th anniversary since the formation of the London band. Buzzcocks are the British Ramones one could say, in that they were very punk but rode the post-punk wave and they were apolitical, in a sheer vengeful, almost political-kind of way. Instead, their songs were about life in London and love, but cleverly written from a highly original perspective.
This vinyl record is packed with vital energy that is sure to bring any room alive with life and velocity. The songs are sped up and the band are presented here in true British punk fashion.
Oceanator – Things I Never Said
Elise Okusami fronts the Brooklyn-based Oceanator whose sound hearkens back to the 1990s and early 2000s. Most of the songs on this album are played with guitar tuned to lower pitches to give it that extra low-end crunch and fuzz.
Her songs are simple yet very sincere in their lack of flowery language and arrangements, she doesn’t try too hard to be someone she isn’t. Definitely worth a listen on vinyl.
Jarvis Cocker – Further Complications
This is Jarvis Cocker’s second solo album released in 2009. Further Complications was produced by the one and only Steve Albini, and the songs on this record took a vastly different turn for Jarvis than what we would normally expect from the lanky Sheffield bard. A reason for this is because Cocker wrote these songs with his band at the time as opposed to his usual process of writing them alone and letting them grow over a long period of time.
Cocker commented on this facet, “What I’ve tried to do with the new stuff, rather than me just sit there and wait for inspiration to come at some point – which takes ages – instead we’ve written stuff together. And it’s a bit louder.” Adding that he realised his band “could rock.” The record is a great modern twist on some early Kinks-era styled writing and the lyrics are minimal for Cocker, he seems like he let a little loose on this one.
Pinegrove – Amperland, N.Y
A sort of an underground sensation, Pinegrove who are from New Jersey, made their commercial breakthrough with their second album, Cardinal. This new record released this week on vinyl also accompanies a kind of extended music video you can find online. The music is unique as it meshes alternative country with emo pop-punk.
A music journalist for Pitchfork, wrote: “The project has evolved from a collegiate distraction to a hard-touring underground institution. Pinegrove are one of the greatest bands in the world right now.” Some heavy words for a young band such as these guys. This piece of vinyl, however, is worth checking out.
Alice Cooper – Detroit Stories
Alice Cooper’s 21st studio album, Detroit Stories was released on Friday the 26th. The album’s single is a tribute to Lou Reed’s classic song, ‘Rock n’ Roll’ he wrote with The Velvet Underground. Another cover of Outrageous Cherry’s ‘Our Love Will Change The World.’
Gareth Williams writing for Wall of Sound, said: “Diehard fans of Alice Cooper will embrace this album for what it is, back to his roots mix of blues, jazz, soul, hard rock, humour and heart. Casual fans may be surprised at the rocker’s versatility, but Alice has never been one dimensional.” It’s a great rock n’ roll record, a piece of vinyl you’ll surely want to get and turn it up loud.
Simon and Garfunkel – Bridge Under Troubled Water
Considered their most ambitious record, Simon and Garfunkel’s last album they did together is considered a masterpiece, as it combined elements of rock, R&B, gospel, jazz, world music and pop. Released in 1970, this vinyl reissue celebrates the legendary impact, Simon and Garfunkel made on the world and American culture.
Paul Simon who was the group’s main songwriter was heavily inspired by gospel music and was listening to a lot of it at the time. The record holds a timeless quality about it; it captures a snapshot of the essence of America at that particular point in history. Definitely a must for any serious collector of vinyl.
Stereolab – Electrically Possessed
This one’s a compilation record of the English/French Avant-Garde Pop Group’s period between 1999 and 2008. One of the most interesting groups of this period of time, Stereolab have been challenging the norms and conventions of what a listener understands both musically and philosophically. Their lyrics often incorporated themes of surrealist and situationist philosophy.
Formed from the remnants of the socialist-leaning McCarthy, Stereolab never really found commercial success, although they did garner a loyal underground following and helped spark a renewed interest in analogue technology. Their music is hypnotic, inventive, electronic, organic and on the cutting edge. Simply put, they are breathtakingly original. Electrically Possessed is a must-have on vinyl.
Fleetwood Mac – Mr Wonderful
Originally released in 1968, this is Fleetwood Mac’s second album. This is the Fleetwood Mac before it became line up most of us associate the band as now when they released their successful album, Rumours.
Mr Wonderful is a blues record with Peter Green leading this early line-up. The way the band recorded this one, was merely by miking the room up, the amps and the PA speakers, instead of plugging through an interface board and giving the sound a proper mix and mastering. When listening to this one on vinyl, what you’re hearing is pure raw rock and roll. It says a lot about a band that can do this well.