This Month's Vinyl Picks: December 2018
Beastie Boys, Joni Mitchell and Wu-Tang's GZA are bringing the best new vinyl in December...
GZA - Liquid Swords
Fans of both hip-hop and Marvel might remember that, around three years ago, the comics giant issued a series of variant covers for more than 50 classic hip-hop albums from the likes of Wu-Tang Clan, Gang Starr, N.W.A., Snoop Dogg and MF Doom, among dozens of others. They were certainly cool to look at, but at the time they were intended as concepts only. However, that's all about to change.
Marvel have teamed up with Urban Legends to start wrapping some of those incredible covers around the actual albums they were meant to represent, and this month the first three reissued vinyl LPs featuring the redesigned Marvel covers are available to buy for the first time.
The first batch arrives on December 7th and includes LL Cool J's Mama Said Knock You Out (red vinyl), 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' (translucent red vinyl) and GZA's Liquid Swords (pictured – 'sea glass' vinyl). As well as the standard versions with limited edition Marvel covers, for each of the three albums there's also a version with a stunning lenticular sleeve. You can find them all here in our online store.
The Offspring – Americana
Round Hill Music
It has been six years since the last album from Californian punks The Offspring and while it was reported this week that the band are considering releasing not one but two new albums next year, in the meantime one of their earlier records, 1998's Americana, celebrates its 20th birthday this year.
To mark the occasion the band are set to release a special 20th anniversary edition of the album in December, pressed onto red vinyl and packaged with a sticker sheet and a 12x12 lenticular poster. The 20th anniversary edition is set to arrive in stores on December 14th.
Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now: Live Radio Broadcasts
A new compilation of Joni Mitchell's live performances on a series of radio broadcasts is set to make its way into stores this month and features 11 live renditions of hits including 'Both Sides Now', 'Night in the City' and 'Song to a Seagull'.
The album also includes three duets with singer-songwriter James Taylor and is set to arrive in stores on black vinyl on December 14th.
Beastie Boys – Paul's Boutique
Want to feel old? Well, if you don't then you should probably stop reading now because next year will mark 30 years since the release of Beastie Boys' masterpiece of a second album Paul's Boutique. Wildly under-appreciated at the time of its release, the album has gradually become regarded as one of the most influential hip-hop albums ever made.
A double-gatefold anniversary edition emerged a few years ago, but it was pricey and difficult to get your hands on, so this month Paul’s Boutique gets a standard black vinyl reissue, making a lot easier - and cheaper - to fill that gap in your Beasties vinyl collection.
Blue Öyster Cult - Some Enchanted Evening
These days, Blue Öyster Cult are probably best-known for their 1976 hit '(Don't Fear) The Reaper', thanks in large part to Saturday Night Live's famous “more cowbell” sketch starring Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken. A live version of the band's most well-known hit is one of the highlights of their 1978 live album Some Enchanted Evening, which gets a special “legacy edition” reissue this month.
Originally released in November as part of Record Store Day in the US, this is the first time the expanded legacy edition has been available on vinyl and comprises a 2LP gatefold set with the original seven tracks, recorded at various locations in the US and the US, plus seven more recorded at Largo Maryland's Capital Center in 1978. It's a strictly limited edition, so if you've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell, you'd better add this to your collection when it drops into stores on December 7th.
Howlin' Wolf – The Howlin' Wolf Album
Get On Down Records
After six albums on the Chess Records imprint that turned Chicago blues singer Chester 'Howlin' Wolf' Burnett into a household name, his record label bosses thought it was time to shake things up a little. For his seventh LP, the label recruited the members of Rotary Connection as Burnett's new backing band to add their psychedelic, soulful twist to some of his blues classics. The singer, was not initially impressed with the results (he once publicly described the record as “dog sh*t”), but the album has become a something of a landmark crossover record and includes some deeply funky versions of hits like 'Smokestack Lightning' and 'Three Hundred Pounds of Joy'.
The album's iconic cover was certainly a bold way of marketing the album and it has been reproduced in all its glory for a new reissue of the album, pressed onto black vinyl and headed for stores on December 7th.
John Legend – A Legendary Christmas
At this time of year there are always plenty of festive albums on the market, but this new one from John Legend looks set to be something a little bit special. The singer and his wife Christine Teigen are set to star in a one-off Christmas special for NBC, which will feature various guests stars including Stevie Wonder, Kim Kardashian and Zach Galifinakis, but alongside that Legend is also set to release his first ever festive LP.
A Legendary Christmas has been produced by Raphael Sadiq and features a mixture of original songs and cover versions, including renditions of 'What Christmas Means to Me' with Stevie Wonder and a cover of 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' featuring Esperanza Spalding. The the album makes its arrival on vinyl on December 7th.