In a world that is now largely defined by an irreversible pace of technological development, it seems that people are constantly on the go. Whether it is riding the subway train, driving in a car or going for a jog, people still indulge in the enjoyment of listening to music with their headphones on. We are constantly ‘plugged-in’ during this age of information and the internet.
We are very fortunate to have these new media devices, such as our lightning-speed computers and mobile phones; information is constantly at the tip of our fingers and seconds away from a click of a button on our touchscreens. It is simultaneously a blessing and a curse; we are oversaturated with media, often overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options at our disposal.
Because of all this, it is a beautiful thing now to sit at home, either with friends or alone and in the great tradition of the classic rock era, to let the needle be gingerly placed onto the vinyl record, and get carried into an artist’s entire world through the prism of analogue expression.
The grass seems like it is always greener on the other side; when we are given one thing we crave the other and vice versa. What is the answer? We get to have both. Hush the naysayers that analogue mediums aren’t going to last. Vinyl use has gone up by 200 per cent, perhaps more, since the turn of the century.
Here at Far Out, we highly recommend you get your hands on a record player if you haven’t already, buy some vinyl, and sit back and relax to some brand new releases and reissues of this week. Below, you’ll find our top ten picks of vinyl releases this week.
Best vinyl released this week
B-52’s – The B-52’s
This week, the B-52’s eponymous debut was reissued through Rhino and Warner Bros. Records. Their electrifying debut features all their classics: ‘Red Lobster’, ‘Planet Claire’, and ‘Dance This Mess Around’.
The B-52’s created the perfect blend of novelty, new-wave, hilarity, kitsch, and fun. There’s nothing else like it and is the perfect vinyl record for parties.
Big Science – Laurie Anderson
This is a reissue of the avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson’s debut from 1982. The record is considered an experimental masterpiece and appears on some major lists for top records of the ’80s.
Big Science produced the successful hit, ‘O Superman’. Produced by Anderson alongside Roma Baran, this vinyl is great for an out-of-the-box listening experience.
Pulse of Defiance – Yoshinori Hayashi
A brand new release from this week sees electronic artist Yoshinori Hayashi’s sophomore album, Pulse of Defiance, take an apprehensive and exploratory approach to electronic music, avant-garde jazz, and a hint of techno and trip-hop.
Released via Supersonic Supersound, Pulse of Defiance walks an obscure line between all these different genres, and in doing so, it is hard to pin it down into one definitive category. Hayashi is chameleonic and intelligent; Pulse of Defiance is worth getting on vinyl.
Pulp – Ambre
Ambre is a soulful and beautiful singer-songwriter and rapper, who represents a very clear future for R&B and hip-hop. Pulp was released in 2019, and this week the ‘Director’s Cut’ version of the record was released.
Released via Roc Nation, Pulp was Ambre’s 2019 breakthrough record, and she’s described it as a “psychedelic coming-of-age story.” The director’s cut version of Pulp saw her expand on the original EP version, and is a soundtrack to a film that she’s always wanted to see. It is a soundtrack made up of composite parts informed by Pulp Fiction, Eyes Wide Shut, and Dazed and Confused.
KATYA – Vampire Fitness
Vampire Fitness is the debut extended play record of American drag performer, KATYA. The record was originally released in 2020 via Producer Entertainment Group. Katya sings in a combination of Russian and English.
Katya has described the record as “a dark and brooding international musical boat ride through the brain and mouth of famous cross-dresser.” Katya obtained a degree of fame and notoriety when they appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
This record is not for everyone, I suspect that you will either love it or hate it. It is a grimacing pop collage of dark cabaret, sexual energy, and non-binary empowerment.
Low Budget – The Kinks
This is a reissue of The Kinks’ 1979 record, Low Budget, and is a continuation of their arena rock phase, and attempted to follow the slight commercial success of their previous record, Misfits. The record features Ray Davies songwriting prowess approach current events in his usual sardonic wit and humour-fueled observations.
Low Budget is very much an American record, in the sense that they recorded the majority of it in New York City and it found more success in the States. Studio engineer for both Misfits and Low Budget, John Rollo said of the preliminary sessions for the latter record:
“The album before Low Budget, Misfits was beautifully recorded, but not that rock and roll. I think the first two songs I did, ‘Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman’ and ‘Low Budget’ went extremely well and the band wanted to spend some time in New York, to get away from distractions and kept it as a raw band recording.”
Funky Coup: Korean Soul, Funk & Rare Groove Nuggets 1973-1980, Vol. 1 – Various Artists
Released via Beat Ball Music; their mission was cataloguing this beautiful compilation of funk and disco hits that caught dancefloors off-guard in South Korea, between 1973 and 1980. It is a poignant and obscure look into the underrated hits of South Korea during this period.
This is a must for those hardcore vinyl collectors, who live for getting obscure, the absurd and the gems of a culture that is most times not put under a spotlight. The record features funky, soulful and masterful jazz and soul compositions, that might shed some light on current day funk bands, like Khruangbin and their influences.
Late Spring – Chihei Hatakeyama
Japanese electronic artist, Chihei Hatakeyama, explores ambient minimalism with his new record Late Spring and was released this week via Gearbox Records. The record sounds exactly like what you would expect with a name like Late Spring; it is a meditative, hypnotic look at the human condition and its emotional spectrum, as it attempts to grasp undefinable.
Hatakeyama, with his new record, set out to capture the feeling of archival film, according to The Vinyl Factory. It is minimalist in its expression, but also in its method of production, in which he uses only one instrument per track, whether it is guitar or synthesizer.
Push Back – Jetty Bones
Jetty Bones is the project name for Kelc Galluzzo and her new record released in February of this year; she walks an interesting line between alternative pop, electronic, and some tongue-in-cheek slam poetry.
This is Jetty Bones’ debut record, released via Rise Records. Although her music has got an obvious modern interpretation of where pop music is headed, it is also slightly retro, harking back to Madonna during the ’80s.
Live in Osaka ’91 and Detroit ’80 – Johnny Thunders
This is a double LP of two live concerts Johnny Thunders did in the respective years. Thunders was an important member of the legendary glam-punk band, The New York Dolls in the early ’70s. Later he found some modest success as a solo artist and with his band, The Heartbreakers.
Thunders is simultaneously an underrated and a much-revered punk and glam guitar player. New York Dolls bass player, Arthur Kane recalled hearing Thunders’ style of playing outside the rehearsal space for the first time:
“I heard someone playing a guitar riff that I myself didn’t know how to play. It was raunchy, nasty, rough, raw, and untamed. I thought it was truly inspired…”, adding “His sound was rich and fat and beautiful, like a voice.”