I can honestly say that this past year contained some of the most interesting new releases I've seen in a while. And by new releases, I do mean reissues, one-offs and limited releases. RSD this year, both the OG and the Black Friday Edition had me out of the bed and reaching for my wallet. Heres a list of some of the cooler things for sale this year..
Prince-1999 (RSD exclusive)
This seven-song single LP version of the late artist's 1982 album 1999 includes the title track, Little Red Corvette, Delirious, and Let’s Pretend We’re Married. Previously unavailable In the States, and while it does leave off some of the classic songs (D.M.S.R., Automatic and International Lover), the cool factor of the different album cover cannot be denied. I haven't seen any since RSD, so try your luck on line.
Nas - Illmatic Live From the Kennedy Center
Two decades after the album’s critically-acclaimed release, hip-hop icon Nas teamed up with the National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., to stage a symphonic rendition of illmatic, one of the most revered albums in hip-hop history. This exclusive vinyl will be available for RSD 2018. Packaging includes gatefold 2XLP 180 gram (heavyweight) vinyl with gold foil embossing, 24x36” 2-sided poster with gold foil embossing, euro sleeve inserts with exclusive event photos with gold foil embossing, and download card of live album.
Khraungbin-Christmastime Is Here Green Vinyl
Khruangbin shared a cover of Vince Guaraldi’s holiday classic “Christmas Time Is Here.” The Texas-based trio posted a video directed by Nathan David Smith and featuring artwork by Fuzzytown to accompany the single.
This too I believe is sold out...ya snooze ya lose!!
Rage Against the Machine-Live at the Democratic National Convention 2000 (White Vinyl)
Less than a year after the release of The Battle of Los Angeles, Rage Against The Machine waged their own battle of Los Angeles in the summer of 2000, staging an incendiary concert in protest of the American political party system across from the Staples Center while the Democratic National Convention was held inside. This raw, uncompromising set is now available for the first time anywhere, pressed exclusively on vinyl for Record Store Day 2018.
(I missed out on this my damn self...but if you wanna see the raw power of the mighty mighty RATM, here's a video of the concert
Meth's sixth studio album will include 22 tracks and will feature guest appearances from Snoop Dogg, Redman, Sheek Louch and more, as well as fellow Wu-Tang members Raekwon, Cappadonna and Masta Killa. Curated by Hanz On, the album will look to bring up-and-coming rappers together with more established artists.
January 23, 2019
Finally back on vinyl, the classic first Mantronix LP with all the hits: "Bassline", "Fresh Is The Word", "Needle To The Groove", "Get Stupid Fresh Pt I", "Hardcore Hip Hop." All tracks that'll have you dragging out the linoleum, plus some nice rhymes from MC Tee!
Lupe Fiasco proves again why he's one of the most discussed figures in hip hop on Lasers – running the show here, but with some guest spots by Skylar Grey, Trey Songz, MDMA and others. Lupe is that fascinating figure who is more likely to be heard plotting a route out of the rap game than he his plotting a takeover – and that sometimes thematically weary, but always passionate and exuberant voice is at the center here. Titles include "Words I Never Said" with Skylar Grey, "Till I Get There", "Out Of My Head" with Trey Songs, "The Show Goes On", "All Black Everything", "Coming Up" feat MDMA, "Never Forget You" with John Legend and more.
The indefatigable Atmosphere returns with its sixth proper album (and 198th if you include their always worthwhile vinyl only, web only, and otherwise underground releases – what's in that lemonade, anyway?) – and the dynamic duo is as hard hitting and cathartic as ever! Beatmaker Ant gets more and more diverse with his killer wall of sound – whether it's a busy tapestry or minimalist funk – and Slug's words and delivery are vivid as always. Tracks include "Like The Rest Of Us", "Puppets", "The Skinny", "Dreamer", "You", "Painting", "Your Glasshouse", "Wild Wild Horses", "Me", "In Her Music Box" and more.
December 7A stunner from London saxophonist Nubya Garcia – a tenor player with a very majestic voice, working here with an ultra-hip combo that includes some other leading lights on the underground UK jazz scene! The album's just an EP – as hinted at by the 5 in the title (even though there's a bonus alternate take here too) – but there's a richness to the performance that won't have you missing any longer space – as these guys really pack a hell of a lot into just a little – working with piano from Joe Armon-Jones, drums from Moses Boyd, and bass from Daniel Casimir – plus trumpet from Sheila Maurice Grey on one track. Garcia's solos are great – very rich and complex, with a spiritual jazz energy that goes way past the fashionable image on the cover. Titles include "Red Sun", "Hold", "Lost Kingdoms", "Fly Free" and "Contemplation"
The most mindblowing work we've ever heard from guitarist Amancio D'Silva – a really freewheeling blend of jazz and Indian music, and a set that goes far beyond most of his other albums! The album definitely lives up to the dream sequence promised by the title – as it features one long track that spins out in a beautiful blend of tablas, sitar, flute, percussion, violin, and Amancio's own great electric guitar! The leader crafts these trippy solos that are a bit like the work of Gabor Szabo, but even more open-ended and exotic – and the group also features some great work on sax from Alan Branscombe, plus violin from John Mayer – who'd worked on previous experiments of this nature with Joe Harriott. Despite the length of the track, the record is never over-indulgent or repetitive at all – as D'Silva constantly shifts the mood and the sounds – creating this wonderful interplay that really makes for a scenic richness throughout – an evocative journey in music that holds us completely rapt all the way through.
Beautiful grooves from a cool Japanese group – one led by bassist Eiji Nakayama, with some great electric piano and tenor sax in the lineup too! The tracks are long, and relatively open-ended – kind of in the Three Blind Mice label style of the period, but with an even more contemplative feel – especially on some of the piano lines, which get nice and blocky – really feeling their way into space, as the tenor sax comes into the mix to carve out a few more edges! Titles include "Aya's Samba", "Yellow Living", "S ee Sea Town", and "Far Away Road"
A really wonderful album from Sun Ra and the Arkestra – recorded during their early 70s relationship with Impulse Records, but rejected by the label at the time – because the sound was too far ahead of its time! That lack is our gain, though – as the session's gone onto legendary status over the years – in part because of Ra's fantastic work on keyboards on the title track – which pave the way for the album's great mix of acoustic and electric elements! After the jagged keyboard interplay of "Crystal Spears", the set then moves into some great group numbers that build in the best tradition of the Arkestra's earliest work – but with the different of Ra on electric instead of acoustic – so that percussion interacts with the work of John Gilmore on tenor and Danny Davis on alto, everything sounds maybe even more spacey and other-worldly than it would if Ra was playing a standard piano. Other titles include "The Eternal Sphynx", "The Embassy Of The Living God", and the very long "Sunrise In The Western Sky" – all of which have a lot more keyboards. (Limited edition – on colored vinyl & includes poster!)
January 11, 2019
Really really wonderful work from Moonchild – even better than we remember from the first time around! The group have this perfect balance of vocals and jazzy instrumentation – played by a trio who handle all the instruments themselves, then produce the whole set – in support of vocalist Amber Navran, who also plays tenor on the record! Rhythms are spare and crackling – never overdone, and just the right sort of laidback funk for Navran's wonderful vocals – sliding out in this smooth, slinky way that has plenty of jazz undercurrents, and no sort of commercial styles at all. A decade ago, these guys might have been headed towards major label stardom – but it's the indie, underground nature of the record that's going to keep them strong for years – as you'll hear on cuts that include "The Truth", "Nobody" "More Than Ever", "Winter Breeze", "Just A Minute", "Moonlight", and "I'll Make It Easy". (finally on vinyl!!)
Deccember 21st (vinyl)
Cinematic hip hop soul from Anderson.Paak named after a seaside city west of Los Angeles, CA – but it's not Malibu, it's the stunning follow up Oxnard – a little looser, more diverse, and ultimately just as impressive set from this still rising talent! The uber-impressive guest list including Kadhja Bonet, Norelle, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop, Dre, Pusha T, J Cole, Q-Tip and more but this is the sprawling Anderson.Paak show all the way, his distinctive blend of Cali sunshine and nighttime music and mood, his gritty-smooth voice so masterfully going back & forth from singing to rhyming, the production breathtaking from the stripped down beats, bass and vocals focused tracks to grander and more densely layered material. Includes "The Chase" with Kadja Bonet, "Headlow" feat Lowrell, "Tints" feat Kendrick Lamar, "Who R U", "6 Summers", "Saviers Road", "Smile/Petty", "Mansa Musa", "Brothers Keeper" feat Pusha T, "Anywhere" feat Snoop Dogg & Last Artful Dodgr, "Trippy" feat J Cole and "Cheers" feat Q-Tip – plus the bonus track "Sweet Chick" feat BJ The Chicago Kid.
A full on funky soul Christmas gift from Aloe Blacc! AB wasn't messing around with the title here, he delivers genuinely funky Christmas cheer from beginning to end, all the more endearingly so, as it's rooted strongly in new original songs rather than leaning on the classic Christmas songbook like so many modern holiday albums. Even the couple covers are pretty loosely adapted! His soaring soul vocals are as out front and instantly recognizable as on his major label work of the previous few years, but he ultimately steers clear of the pop soul sound of some of it in favor of diverse funk & soul influences from the 70s onward. Includes the Aloe originals "Tell Your Mama", "I Got Your Christmas Right Here", "I Can't Wait For Christmas", "The Mrs. Saved Christmas", "All I Have Is Love", "At Christmas" "Funky A** Christmas", "Love Comes Home" and the aforementioned covers – Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" and Wham's "Last Christmas" – pairing spacious funky bass and beats with seasonally appropriate chimes on the former, soaring soul vocals and an electro-era George Clinton-inspired backdrop on the latter.
An insane bit of fuzzed-out funk! This is Parliament's rare first album – a trippy batch of tunes that come off of Clinton's experimentation in the Detroit soul scene, infused by the rock-heavy energy of the city at the time, and probably a heck of a lot of cannabis, too! The record is quite different than the slick funky sound of the group's later work for Casablanca – and has the psychedelic funk sound of the early work of Funkadelic, which was also recorded during the same period. The album's filled with funky classics – including "I Call My Baby Pussycat", "Little Ole Country Boy", "My Automobile", "Funky Woman", and "Nothing Before Me But Thang".
Marquee Moon set the bar so high in the eyes of the avant rock/post punk literati, Television's nearly as great, but not as revolutionary follow-up Adventure never really got its due. Regardless, this is an incredible album, and entirely essential, too! They had already broken all of the new ground on the first album, so you can't really fault Verlaine and co. for not delivering another epiphany here, but Adventure again takes Television guitar sound to places no other major label rock band were going at the time. Greatness! With "Glory Days", "Foxhole", "Careful", "Carried Away", "The Fire", "Ain't That Nothin'" and "The Dream's Dream".
A key album in the post-Hendrix tradition of funky black rock – and the only album ever recorded by Cleveland's Purple Image! The approach here follows nicely in the same territory worked by Funkadelic and Fugi in the early days – a heady, fuzzed-up blend of trippy guitars, heavy rhythms, and some nice sweeter soul touches – all in a mode that swings nicely between really messed-up tunes, and others with a lighter, more soul-based approach. Side two of the record is dominated by the great jamming track "Marching to a Different Drummer" – easily enough to rival anything on Funkadelic's Free Your Mind album – and other cuts include "Living In the Ghetto", "Why", "Lady", and "We Got To Pull Together"
The album was co-produced by Jackson and producer Pat Dillett (David Byrne, Sufjan Stevens, Glen Hansard, etc.) The band in question was the same group that Jackson has played live with ever since the release of Fast Forward: Teddy Kumpel on guitar, Doug Yowell on drums, and long-time collaborator Graham Maby on bass (Maby was on that first recording session 40 years ago as well).
Next Friday, December 14 Bruce Springsteen will issue the soundtrack for his Springsteen On Broadway concert film via Columbia Records. Springsteen shared a clip featuring a portion of “Growin’ Up” from the album.
The soundtrack comes out one day before Bruce plays his 236th and final Springsteen On Broadway show at New York City’s Walter Kerr Theatre. Netflix unveils the Thom Zimmy-directed concert film on Sunday, December 16. Springsteen On Broadway is a one-man show featuring a mix of stories and songs about and from throughout The Boss’ illustrious career. The New Jersey native starts each performance with a monologue that leads into “Growin’ Up.” Check out the second official album trailer for Springsteen On Broadway:
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