This week saw some great new releases on vinyl and proves that while the pandemic is raging to varying degrees around the world, musicians and bands are determined to keep music alive — and we can only hope that live music will start up again very soon. In the meantime though, for all those who are forced to stay at home and quarantine, what better way to listen to music than on vinyl?
Pandemic or no pandemic, vinyl is always the best way to listen to music. There is something pure and natural about analogue musical devices, whether it be reel to reel for recording, all-tube amps, or the vinyl disc — you should never have to sacrifice quality.
More and more people are beginning to buy vinyl as it is becoming readily available again, and are finding that there is a lack of tangible when listening to music. Now that online streaming and digital devices have made CDs and tape cassettes essentially obsolete, it seems that people don’t only care about convenience. The record sleeve is just as important as the music itself, as the artwork cover accompanies the music in a beautiful marriage of ‘sound and vision’.
This week, Grouplove released a surprise record, their fifth album, titled This is This. The album is directly influenced by the pandemic: isolation, desolation, and collective confusion. What this results in, is a sonic explosion of high-energy and pop-hooks galore.
Below, you’ll find more releases and reissues that came out this week on vinyl.
This week’s vinyl releases:
White Void – Anti
White Void are from Norway and they are fairly new and also very refreshing. Their sound is sort of old-school metal but yet with some classic rock songwriting influences. Their sound is quite cinematic and massive; the singer is very dramatic and seemingly draws from a multitude of different offshoots of rock genres: at times he sounds like Richard Butler from Psychedelic Furs, other times he sounds like Bono.
The concept of the album – which has an expansive ’80s post-punk vibe but yet they are predominately a prog-rock band – is a post-apocalyptic one and inspired by Albert Camus’ theory of absurdism. Anti came out on March 12th and is worth getting on vinyl.
Atmosphere – God’s Bathroom Floor
Atmosphere consists of rap duo, Sean Daley and Anthony Davis. They formed in Minneapolis and have been around since 1996. Atmosphere accredits their success to relentless touring they did throughout the years, once driving from Minnesota to Dallas for only approximately 250 dollars.
Reissued on vinyl this week; God’s Bathroom Floor mixes rap with jazz lounge and some ambience. It makes for an easy listen at times and other times kicks your imagination into hyper gear.
Danny Elfman/Tim Burton – The World of Tim Burton
The collaboration between composer Danny Elfman and film director Tim Burton has become one of the most distinctive and unique ones in Hollywood. Danny Elfman has been able to translate the dark and fantastical strange world of Tim Burton into music many times; this ability has shown itself time and time again in films like Edward Scissorhands, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Nightmare Before Christmas.
The wonderful yet dark imagery has touched upon the imaginations of children, teenagers and adults alike for years, which would not have been possible without the musical interpretations and accompaniments of Danny Elfman. The way that music enhances film is a magical process, and can at times be taken for granted. Listening to just the music is a whole new experience altogether. The World of Tim Burton, which highlights the soundtracks of many of his movies, came out on vinyl this week and will prove to be a vital and unique addition to any record collection.
Sibille Attar – A History of Silence
A History of Silence is Swedish artist, Sibille Attar’s second full-length album. She is considered one of the most provocative musical artists working in Sweden currently and has also garnered the attention of Pitchfork and Stereogum.
Released this week, needless to say, her second album was highly anticipated; the music on this vital vinyl addition presents ‘80s electronic pop songs with great hooks, expansive soundscapes akin to the likes of Bjork. Sibille Attar is a truly organic artist within her composing as well as production skills – she recorded and produced the record herself.
Mike Dillon – Suitcase Man
Mike Dillon is a hard-working touring musician who plays with Les Claypool. Lately, while hunkered down during the pandemic, Dillon worked on his ‘quarantine trio records’, Suitcase Man being the latest release.
Dillon is a percussionist and multi-instrumentalist; Suitcase Man is unique because most of the songs are written and played on a xylophone. The title track sounds like it was taken straight from a Tom Waits album; Dillon’s style is rustic, rough, quirky and minimalistic.
Neal Francis – Changes (Demo)
“I just wanted to be honest about everything, from my musical influences to my story,” gospel singer-songwriter, Neil Francis wrote on his website. Ever since Neil Frances got into his late 20s, he’s been living a life of repentance and honest living, after living a life of deep drug addiction and dishonesty.
This record shows Francis’ debut record as stripped back, the version it was before it became what it is now. His songs are steeped in Americana, blues and gospel music. He writes all of his stuff on the piano – Changes (Demos) shows Neil Francis in a vulnerable stage before he dressed his songs up with great production.
Jarvis Cocker – Jarvis
Jarvis is Jarvis Cocker’s solo debut album, released in 2006. The record shows the lanky Sheffield singer maturing and coming to terms with life’s age-long questions of existential dread: growing old, mortality, becoming a parent and finding other ways to spend your time besides partying and being a pop star. Besides these usual themes found in Cocker’s work, this collection of songs shows Cocker at his absolute finest.
The track, ‘Running The World’, has become more than just a massive hit for the singer, but an anthem used at political rallies. Jarvis’ sense of humour is ever-present in the songs, and are of course, as always, catchy as hell.
Gang of Four – 77-81
This is a must-have box set of the greatest years of these giants of post-punk in Britain. The box set contains their first LPs, 1979’s ‘That’s Entertainment!’, and 1981’s Solid Gold. Included with these are demos, singles, live recordings and memorabilia.
The compilation record reveals the best music and the formative years for Gang of Four. Their music is the perfect blend of danceable punk, sheer tongue in cheek humorous lyrics, and an overall British punk aesthetic, without selling themselves too much to the trends of the scene at the time.
The Datsuns – Brain to Brain
Formed in 1998 in New Zealand, these garage rock revivalists have been around for quite some time, and they just released a new EP on vinyl this week, called Brain to Brain. It is clear that these Kiwi rockers don’t really care about what’s going on in musical trends, they are on their own wavelength and they do it really well.
It’s been seven years since their last album and their sound hasn’t changed too much or aged in any negative way. If anything, The Datsuns’ new music is, even more, infectious and catchy than ever before and really rocks.
Grouplove – This is This
Grouplove released their fifth album this week and it was somewhat of a surprise. The band said of the name of the album: “The album title, to me, represents that if you strip away everything and you throw us in a room. This is what the band sounds like.”
The record was heavily inspired by the pandemic and it’s been exactly a year since they released their last record – the start of the pandemic. This is This entails all the great ingredients that make Grouplove who they are; their songs are always catchy, energetic, and sound even better when played on vinyl and turned up loud.