This Month's Vinyl Picks: July 2020
Bob Dylan, Joy Division, Laura Marling and more coming to wax in July...
Bob Dylan - Rough and Rowdy Ways
After a trio of albums populated exclusively by cover versions of traditional pop standards, Bob Dylan returned this year with his first slice of new, original material since 2012's Tempest in just about the most Dylan-esque way possible: by delivering, as his new album's lead single, a 17-minute rumination on the death of John F. Kennedy titled 'Murder Most Foul'.
You can imagine the protestations a younger artist might have received from their record label for that kind of commercial kamikaze, but Columbia Records clearly knew better than to argue with a living legend who has seen everything, done everything, and has long-since stopped giving the slightest f*** what anyone else thinks of him or his art – if indeed he ever did.
And it's a good job, too, because on Rough and Rowdy Ways the veteran songwriter delivers an album that's raw, powerful and quite possibly the best thing he's done in decades. Released on CD and digital formats in June, the vinyl versions follow this month and in addition to the standard 2LP edition there's also a limited edition version pressed onto olive green vinyl, both of which are due to make their arrival in stores on July 17th.
Lianne La Havas - Lianne La Havas
It's always a curious thing when an artist self-titles a record several albums into their career, but in the case of Lianne La Havas it seems that her eponymous third album, which arrives in stores this month, represents something of an artistic homecoming. After two albums of smooth, jazz-influenced neo-soul that have seen La Havas draw comparisons with the likes of Sade, the promotional materials for her latest full-length offering suggest that La Havas feels she has, finally, found her own sound.
On the evidence of the singles released so far, such as 'Can't Fight' and 'Paper Thin', the new album feels more stripped-back in terms of production, but is no less appealing for it. You'll be able to judge for yourself when Lianne La Havas arrives on July 17th.
Joy Division – Closer 40th Anniversary
Rhino / Factory
Amongst other grim milestones for which this cursed year will no doubt be remembered, 2020 also marks 40 years since the tragic death of Joy Division's mercurial frontman Ian Curtis, as well as the band's second and final album, which followed two months later. To commemorate the occasion, a new 40th Anniversary edition of the album, which contains the singles 'Isolation' and 'Atrocity Exhibition', is due to make its arrival in stores this month in the form of a limited edition pressing on clear vinyl.
In addition, three of the band's non-album singles – namely 'Transmission', 'Atmosphere' and 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' – are also set to be reissued on vinyl as 12” singles. The album and all three singles are set to land on the shelves in our stores on July 17th.
Fontaines D.C. – A Hero's Death
Dublin post-punk quintet Fontaines DC earned plenty of plaudits for their 207 debut album Doggrel, which was named BBC 6Music's Album of the Year, and have spent the early part of this year gearing up to release its hotly-anticipated follow-up. Their second full-length effort, A Hero's Death, retains the production talents of Dan Carey, who helped the band craft their debut, and is set to arrive in all its glory on July 31st.
Containing 11 new tracks, including the already-released title track and recent single 'I Don't Belong', the album is available as a standard single disc LP, a 2LP set on heavyweight black vinyl or a limited edition 2LP version pressed onto 'stormy blue' vinyl.
Laura Marling – Song for Our Daughter
Chrysalis / Partisan
Three years on from the release of her sixth album Semper Fermina, singer-songwriter returns this month with studio album no.7, Song for our Daughter. Recorded with longtime collaborator Ethan Johns, the new album is a much more sparse affair in terms of the arrangements, many of which feature mostly just guitar and vocals, creating a much more intimate feel to the songs, even by the standards of an artist not exactly known for bombast.
Marling's delicately woven and often moving new album arrives in our stores on July 10th and will be available on both CD and black vinyl.
Alanis Morissette – Such Pretty Forks in the Road
Returning with her first album of new material in eight years, Canadian songstress Alanis Morissette is set to deliver her ninth studio album this month, with Such Pretty Forks in the Road due to land in stores on all formats – including a standard black vinyl edition – on July 31st.
Morissette has worked with producers Alex Hop and Catherine Marks on her latest full-length offering, which includes recent single 'Reasons I Drink' and 'Smiling', a new song written for inclusion in a musical based on her hit 1995 album Jagged Little Pill, which opened on Broadway at the tail-end of last year. A tour to coincide with the album's 25th anniversary had been planned for this year but, like everything else, has been pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic and is now expected to take place in 2021.
Keleketla! - Keleketla!
Ahead Of Our Time
The latest project from production duo Coldcut began as a meeting with several South African musicians, to whom they were introduced via the charity In Place of War, and soon developed into a musical collaboration involving both them and a litany of other luminaries including Yugen Blakrok, The Watts Prophets, Sibusile Xaba, Dele Sosimi and the late, great Afrobeat drumming legend Tony Allen.
The resulting album, Keleketla!, arrives in stores this month on July 3rd and is available on CD and 2LP heavyweight black vinyl.
Kamaal Williams – Wu Hen
Black Focus Records
Rising to prominence in 2016 as one half of the short-lived – but highly-regarded – improv jazz duo Kamaal Yussef, London-based producer and multi-instrumentalist returns this month with his latest album, which is released on his own Black Focus on imprint and is named for one of his other musical alter-egos, Henry Wu.
Containing 10 new tracks with guest appearances from Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Mach-Hommy and Lauren Faith, Wu Hen weaves together a fusion of jazz, soul, funk and hip-hop into a unique tapestry which illustrates why he's one of the most hotly-tipped talents on the British jazz landscape. His new album arrives in stores on July 24th on CD and black vinyl.
Depeche Mode – Violator: The 12” Singles
Sony Music CMG
Anyone keeping an eye on our monthly vinyl round-ups in recent months will already be aware that the last couple of years have been very good ones for wax-collecting Depeche Mode fans, with pretty much their entire catalogue of albums having been the subject of a reissue on vinyl in recent months. All that's been missing so far is the singles, but don't worry – they've got plans for those too.
This month will see the arrival of a brand new box set featuring all of the singles from their 1990 album Violator, as well as a large selection of remixes from the likes of Orbital and several others. The new box set lands in stores on July 17th and as well as the nine included 12” discs there are also other goodies such as a copy of the original single marketing poster, a numbered case and a digital download code.