This Month's Vinyl Picks: November 2019
New albums from Michael Kiwanuka, Beck and FKA Twigs, a Pink Floyd box set and reissues from R.E.M. and Prince are amongst the best new vinyl releases coming in November...
Michael Kiwanuka – KIWANUKA
Not everyone who tops the BBC's annual Sound Of... poll goes on to succeed, but London-born singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka has made some big strides since coming out on top of the poll in 2012 and his second album, 2016's Love & Hate, saw him nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.
This month he returns with his third full-length offering KIWANUKA, on which he reunites with Love & Hate producers Inflo and Brian 'Danger Mouse' Burton. The album includes his recent single 'You Ain't The Problem' and is available in stores now, including a standard black vinyl version and a limited edition 2LP set pressed onto yellow vinyl.
**Update 07/11: Please note that the coloured limited edition vinyl has now sold out**
Beck – Hyperspace
Virgin EMI Records
Almost immediately after completing a tour in support of his most recent album, the Grammy-winning Colors, Beck was already itching to get back in the studio and, having contributed to NERD's recent comeback album, set about a collaboration with Pharrell Williams, initially with the idea of just creating a single or maybe an EP. Instead they created an entire album's worth of material and the result, Hyperspace, arrives in stores this month.
Written and produced by the pair (with additional input from David Greenbaum, Cole M.G.N.and Greg Kurstin), Hyperspace features the singles 'Saw Lightning' and 'Uneventful Days', as well as guest appearances from Sky Ferreira and Terrell Hines. The album arrives on all formats on November 22nd including a cassette tape and two vinyl versions – a standard black vinyl and a limited edition version pressed onto red vinyl which is exclusively available at hmv.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Ghosteen
When Skeleton Tree, the most recent album from Nick Cave and his band, arrived in 2016, it did so against a backdrop of heartbreaking tragedy; during its recording, Cave's 15-year old son Arthur died after falling one of the notoriously dangerous cliff edges that runs along the Sussex coast. Naturally, his death had a profound effect on both his father and the album he was in the process of making. When it finally emerged in its completed form, it was one of the most raw and emotionally resonant albums Cave has ever released.
Its follow-up emerged somewhat out of the blue, in digital from only, a few weeks ago, but this month his latest full-length offering Ghosteen arrives in physical form. As was the case with its predecessor, on Ghosteen the spectre of tragedy looms large in the album's lyrics and makes for a poignant, often heartrending listen. The album arrives in stores on November 8th and the vinyl edition is a 2LP set pressed onto black vinyl.
FKA twigs – Magdalene
Initially scheduled to arrive in October, the follow-up to FKA twigs' Mercury Prize-nominated debut album LP1 has been a long time coming, but her new album Magdalene is finally set to make its arrival this month. A large part of the reason for the five-year gap since her debut has been health-related: FKA twigs revealed in 2018 that she had undergone laparoscopic surgery, and the road to recovery has been a slow one, by all accounts.
Still, if the tunes she has unveiled over the last few months are anything to go by, Magdalene looks certain to be worth the wait. Featuring production contributions from the likes of Skrillex, Jack Antonoff and Kenny Beats, the new album includes recent single 'Cellophane' and is due to arrive in stores on November 8th, including a vinyl edition pressed onto black wax.
Leonard Cohen – Thanks for the Dance
With the possible exception of David Bowie's Blackstar, few artists have delivered a more poignant and powerful coda to their career than Leonard Cohen's You Want It Darker, the 14th and final album Cohen released just weeks before his death in 2016. Both albums find the artists confronting their own mortality, but whereas it's widely understood that Blackstar was intended as Bowie's “parting gift”, in the words of its producer Tony Visconti, Cohen was already working on a follow-up to You Want It Darker, but feared he wouldn't have time to finish it.
Sadly, as it turned out, Cohen was right, but this cloud has a silver lining: Cohen's son Adam, with whom the late singer recorded his most recent material, has completed the unfinished album according to his father's wishes and the result, Thanks for the Dance, arrives in stores this month. Featuring nine new songs recorded during the same sessions as You Want It Darker, the album presents an emotional coda to Cohen's long and distinguished career as one of the finest lyricists of his generation. The album arrives in stores on November 22nd and is available on black vinyl.
DJ Shadow – Our Pathetic Age
DJ Shadow's debut album Endtroducing is rightly revered as one of the 1990s most groundbreaking albums, but it's easy to see how setting such a high bar so early on can become a millstone around an artist's neck. His work in the couple of decades since has exhibited an extraordinary breadth of styles and flavours, delivering some brilliant albums in the process, but while fans can point to a series of excellent tracks featured on his more recent albums, many reviewers have often expressed a wistful desire for him to return to the more exploratory, instrumental territory that made them fall in love with his debut.
His latest offering, then, might be seen as containing something for everybody. DJ Shadow returns this month with his sixth full-length effort Our Pathetic Age – and we're not kidding when we say 'full-length'. A double album comprising a whopping 23 tracks altogether, Our Pathetic Age is split into two distinct halves – the first a purely instrumental set, the second featuring turns on the mic for a laundry list of hip-hop royalty that includes Nas, Ghostface Killah, Pharoahe Monch, Run The Jewels and De La Soul among many others. The vinyl edition is a 2LP set pressed onto black vinyl and arrives in stores along with all the other formats on November 15th.
Prince - 1999 (2019 Remaster)
From a brand new double album to one that's an established classic. Prince's fifth album was also the first to feature his band The Revolution, and besides its title track the album also features another of his biggest hits up until that point in 'Little Red Corvette'.
The album has been newly remastered and this month is returning to stores in both its original and newly expanded form this month. In addition to standard, deluxe and super-deluxe CD editions – the latter forming part of a CD/DVD box set – there are also several vinyl options, including a standard 2LP reissue pressed onto purple vinyl, a 4LP deluxe edition featuring b-sides and previously unreleased songs written for the album, and a super-deluxe vinyl box set featuring a DVD and a whopping 11 discs of material from Prince's legendary vault. All of the above are heading into stores on November 29th.
R.E.M. - Monster: 25th Anniversary Edition
When R.E.M. entered the recording studio at the tail-end of 1993 to record their ninth studio album, they did so at the peak of their commercial success. Having started out a decade earlier as one of the leading lights of the growing alt-rock scene taking college radio by storm during the early 80s, their previous two albums – 1991's Out of Time and its 1992 follow-up Automatic for the People – had seen them go from indie outsiders to bona fide chart-toppers, having reached the summit of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic and witnessed songs such as 'Losing My Religion' and 'Everybody Hurts' become a near-constant presence on the airwaves.
In what seemed like a backlash to their own grandiosity, the resulting album Monster did away with the lush orchestration of its predecessor in favour of a back-to-basics approach that produced an album with a raw immediacy that had been absent since their early years. To celebrate Monster's 25th anniversary, the album has been remixed and remastered by the band and their producer Scott Litt, with a new 25th anniversary edition landing in stores today (November 1st). There's a standard vinyl edition featuring the album as it was originally released, as well as an expanded 2LP version which also includes the new remixes.
Pink Floyd - The Later Years
Fans of 'The Floyd' had been waiting for a companion piece to the band's 2016 box set The Early Years ever since its release three years ago, and while it's been slow to arrive the second instalment in their career retrospective was eventually announced earlier this year. The Later Years covers the more recent period since the departure of bassist Roger Waters, from 1987 right up until their most recent album The Endless River, and album which is expected to be their last.
Those wanting the all-singing, all-dancing box set edition will have a little longer to wait – that's scheduled to arrive next month - but if you're just after the vinyl version then you'll only have to wait a couple more weeks, with both a CD and 2LP vinyl editions featuring previously unreleased material set to arrive in stores on November 29th. If you want to know more about what's in store you can check out our interview with the band's creative director Aubrey 'Po' Powell, who has been tasked with putting the collection together.