Our favorite new vinyl releases.
This week’s recap is by VF’s Will Pritchard and Lazlo Rugoff, alongside Annabelle Van Dort, Emily Hill and James Hammond.
Danger mouse and black thought
Uncle rap doesn’t get much tighter than that – small surprise with such a powerful pairing involved. Black Thought remains one of the most consistent (and ever provocative) conscious lyricists to hit a mic, while Danger Mouse’s prominent pop credentials never took him too far from his first love of hit rap. Chuck in Joey Bada$$, Conway The Machine and a posthumous MF DOOM star and you have a roster to compete with. Break your neck. âWP
Eccentric soul: the Shiptown label
Based out of the Nimrod Record store in Norfolk, Virginia, Shiptown Records has brought together a host of local musicians and singers under the banners of soul, funk and the founder’s open approach to recording and production. label Noah Biggs. True to Numero Group eccentric soul series, Shiptown’s 1967-77 discography features an array of approaches, with the usual number of overlooked gems. From Flipflop Stevens to Shiptown regular Barbara Stant, varying injections of funky and soft tones create a collection full of upbeat flourishes. â J.H.
Minami-âkaze Î± Wave
A special one-way 7″ from talented Japanese producer Henry Kawahara, this special disc is a rare vocal track from the late legend that comes on the heels of the success of the 2021 release of Cybernetic Defiance and Orgasm: The Essential Henry Kawahara. Minami is a beautiful atmospheric number. Originally produced in 1993, it challenges the genre of pop music produced in Japan at the time by Haruomi Hosono or Tetsuya Komoro. Bringing together elements of folk and the more experimental corners of ambient, it further cements the legacy of Kawahara’s musical prowess. â E.H.
Tilted and enchanted
One of the best to do so, Pavement’s beloved debut album – Tilted and enchanted â returns this week for its 30th anniversary. Led by the distinct vocals and sleazy guitars of Stephen Malkmus, the record features some of the band’s most famous hits, including “Summer Babe” and “In The Mouth of a Desert.” The reissue also includes a replica of the tape the band used to try to sell the record to labels. – L/R
You who go to Nirvana
A striking proposition: minimalist vibe Midori Takada seeks a match in an assembly of meditating Buddhist monks. With Reverend Syuukoh Ikawa at their helm, the monks’ chants were recorded by Takada in Tokyo in 2019, who then added his own signature additions – drum breaths, brushed singing bowls – for results that were both soulful and, perhaps expected, mesmerizing. . âWP
No rules Sandy
Avant-garde electro-pop experimenters Sylan Esso return with their first album since 2020’s Free Love. No rules Sandy is a swirl of glitchy, arrhythmic drum patterns and shimmering synth arpeggios, full of trippy overdubbed vocal harmonies that reverberate like heavenly echoes over Amelia Meath’s distinctive airy vocals. An ambitious and technically impressive return to form for the North Carolina duo. â AVD
Blue Notes for Johnny
Built on the foundations of a lasting friendship and a wealth of shared musical explorations, the Blue Notes’ celebratory and uplifting 1987 release of Blue Notes for Johnny was made as a tribute to their recently deceased teammate, Johnny Dyani. Featuring Dudu Pukwana on alto sax, Louis Moholo-Moholo on drums, and Chris McGregor on drums, the trio traverse be-bop, post-pop, and free jazz, unraveling call and response melodies, and keeping a certain adherence to the groove. because they produce amazing sounds. A first vinyl reissue of this essential work. â J.H.
On their third album, Chopper, Canadian rockers Kiwi Jr. whip up a raging concoction of scrambled garage rock and synth-based experiments. Catchy hooks and choruses abound, showcasing the band’s ear for an infectious melody. Describes itself as âthe anti-patio-sunscreen-Beach Boys singles cruise sings long,â Chopper is an album that delights in the surreal. Each track is replete with cryptic witticisms and scathing observations crafted with ironic flair. â AVD
Yuji Dogane and Mamoru Fujieda
Ecological Plantron Ecological Plantron
Originally released as a CD in 1994, Yuji Dogane and Mamory Fujieda Ecological Plantron is an audio document, capturing an installation that took place in a gallery in Tokyo. The work was created by botanist Yuji, who developed the “Plantron” to give plants a voice by electronic means, assisted in this by composer Mamory, who converted plant energies into audible sounds. Described by artists as not strictly music, there remains a delicate intelligent energy that flows through as plants strive to communicate with us. â E.H.
The silver globe
(Guardians of the Finders)
Always taking a broad approach to music-making, Jane Weaver turned to Polish science fiction films, cosmic imagery and “esoteric stories” when writing. The silver globe. Playing with the potential of pop music, Weaver combines vintage synths, dreamy vocals and “contemporary space rock”. It takes focused artistic vision to cohesively pull together seemingly disparate strands, and Weaver more than pulls this off. – L/R