This Month’s Vinyl Picks: April 2017
We're barely a quarter of the way through 2017 and already we've seen plenty of tasty vinyl releases landing on the shelves in our stores this year, but there are plenty more to come and April will see new albums from Deep Purple, Imelda May and Maximo Park, among many others, but we've rounded up 10 of the most exciting new releases and reissues coming on vinyl in the month of April...
Rewind back to 2012 and it looked as though we'd heard the last of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett's animated band, the two having reportedly fallen out. However, a couple of years later Albarn revealed that the pair had patched things up, stating that “wouldn't mind having another stab at a Gorillaz record”. The intervening years however have been busy ones, even by Albarn's standards, with the former Blur frontman releasing his first solo album in 2014 and reuniting with his erstwhile bandmates a year later for Blur's eight studio album, The Magic Whip.
By the summer of 2015 however Albarn revealed that he had begun writing for a new Gorillaz album and 2016 saw a series of social media posts highlighting the band's story so far. Then, just over a week ago, a release date and title for the new album were revealed. Humanz arrives in stores on April 28th and features a laundry list of guests including Grace Jones, De La Soul, Popcaan, Pusha T and Vince Staples, to name just a few. Two vinyl versions are available, a standard edition and a 2LP deluxe version featuring a 54-page booklet and a second disc with an extra six tracks.
Kasabian: For Crying Out Loud
Three years on from the release of their fifth album 48:13, Kasabian return at the end of April with their eighth. In February, guitarist Sergio Pizzorno revealed that the album was completed via a post on Twitter, which featured a scratched out track list and rather more of the guitarist's feet than was strictly necessary. This was followed by an official announcement on March 17th, which revealed the title of the band's sixth album, For Crying Out Loud.
The new album features 12 brand new tracks, including the new single 'You're In Love With A Psycho' and a song named 'Bless This Acid House', which Pizzorno has described as “one of the best” he's ever written. The album will arrive on April 28th and is available on heavyweight black vinyl.
Ray Davies: Americana
Sony Music CMG
As the frontman and creative driving force of The Kinks, Ray Davies must rank as one of the most prolific songwriters the UK has ever produced, with the band churning out roughly one album per year between 1964 and their eventual spilt 30 years later. A Ray Davies solo album however is a rather more rare event and his upcoming LP Americana, which arrives in stores on April 21, is only the fifth studio album that Davies has released under his own name in a career that spans more than five decades.
His first album since 2008's Working Man's Cafe is an autobiographical tale based around his recent memoir Americana: The Kinks, The Riffs, The Road, The Story, for which Davies has recruited The Jayhawks as backing band on an album that mixes his classic, jangling guitar pop with spoken word elements across its 15 tracks. Recently knighted in recognition of his contribution to British music, Davies has for a long time been a national treasure and this is an album that proves he still has plenty to offer.
Father John Misty: Pure Comedy
Bella Union Records
Since quitting as drummer of Fleet Foxes in 2010, the artist formerly known as Joshua Tillman has developed into one of the more intriguing characters on the American indie scene, releasing two critically-acclaimed albums under his Father John Misty alter-ego. A lyricist of considerable skill, his last album, 2015's I Love You, Honeybear, applied his unique perspective on the subjects of love and romance, but this time around on his third album Pure Comedy he widens the scope to address issues such as technology, entertainment, religion, the environment and the human role in all of these, particularly his own.
“The comedy of man starts like this / Our brains are way too big for our mothers's hips”, he sings on the title track's opening gambit, a typically idiosyncratic line from a pretty unique artist. If you've yet to be introduced to his music but have enjoyed the likes of Bon Iver or Sebastien Tellier, Pure Comedy is well worth checking out and the vinyl version is due to arrive along with the other formats on April 7th.
Alexandra Savior: Belladonna of Sadness
The fact that Alexandra Savior's debut album has been co-produced by Simian Mobile Disco's James Ford and Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner should give you some indication of what to expect from this hugely promising singer-songwriter. If you've been tuned into the second season of True Detective, you may already have heard an early demo of the song 'Risk', which featured on the show's soundtrack, but there are plenty of other delights on her debut album Belladona of Sadness, which arrives on April 7th.
Possessing a haunting, velvety voice which occupies the middle ground somewhere between Lana Del Rey and Margo Guryan, Savior describes her sound as having a “feminist horror movie angst feel”, which makes a lot more sense once you've heard songs like 'Vanishing Point'. If you enjoyed 'Miracle Aligner', a song co-written by Savior and Turner for the latter's recent Last Shadow Puppets album, then get in on the ground floor and snap this one up when it drops in a week's time.
Various Artists: Gimme Danger - The Story of the Stooges
As you might expect, one of the best things about Jim Jarmusch's recent documentary about The Stooges, Gimme Danger, was a soundtrack that featured not only the music of Iggy Pop and co. but also their contemporaries such as The MC5. It was inevitable, then, that the soundtrack would appear on vinyl sooner or later and on April 7 you'll be able to get your hands on the vinyl edition, which features 10 tracks from across the band's career, including a version of the title track mixed by none other than David Bowie.
If Jarmusch's documentary was your first introduction to the band then it's fair to say you've got some catching up to do, but this is as good a place as any to get started.
Childish Gambino: Awaken, My Love!
Childish Gambino is one of those annoying people who seems to be able to turn his hand to just about anything and excel at it. Having enjoyed some success as a comedian in New York-based comedy outfit Derrick Comedy and a writer on Tina Fey's 30 Rock, Gambino has also made an impression as an actor in shows like Community and Atlanta, landing roles as the voice of Simba in Jon Favreau's upcoming live-action remake of The Lion King, as well as taking on the part of Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Han Solo spin-off.
But he's also a skilled rapper and singer, as his first two albums Camp and Because the Internet have proved. His third album arrived in December last year, but is due to arrive on vinyl for the first time on April 28th and includes a double-LP edition of the album, a glow-in-the-dark sleeve, a booklet and a virtual reality headset, along with instructions on how to enjoy an immersive VR performance via his app, Pharos. If you're a fan of his first two albums and you're only going to buy one record this month, look no further.
Steps: Tears on the Dancefloor
It's not often you'll find The Stooges and 90s pop outfit Steps on the same page, but here we are. Back in 2012, more than a decade on from what looked to be their final album, Steps enjoyed a somewhat unlikely comeback thanks in large part to Sky Living's TV series Steps Reunion, which saw the group reunite and tour their hits while the cameras followed them around, leading to an album of mostly cover versions later that year.
Five years on, the group have been back in the studio, this time working on original material for the first time in 17 years, and the resulting album Tears on the Dancefloor arrives in stores on April 21st. Strictly one for the pop fans, this, but if you're a vinyl-loving Steps fan you might want to check out the limited edition neon-blue vinyl edition when it arrives along with the other formats.
April is a fairly quiet month on the reissue front, but the undoubted highlight the month's represses is this underrated gem from Nirvana's back catalogue. Announced just last week, April 7th will see the reissue of Nirvana's Incesticide, currently the only album in the Seattle grunge band's back catalogue not available on vinyl, so this is a great opportunity to fill in a blank in your collection. Although it isn't strictly a studio album in the proper sense, having been released to fill the gap between the band's all-conquering 1991 album Nevermind and its follow-up In Utero which arrived three years later, Incesticide nevertheless contains some of their best songs, including the album's opener 'Dive' and its parting shot, the pounding album coser 'Anuerysm'.
A mixture of studio offcuts and session recorded for the late John Peel at the BBC, Incesticide also includes a handful of cover versions, such as Devo's 'Turnaround' and a pair of songs by The Vaselines, 'Molly's Lips' and 'Son of a Gun'. The reissue coincides with the album's 25th anniversary and has been newly remastered and repackaged as a 2LP edition on heavyweight black vinyl.
Various Artists: Northern Soul Floorfillers
Our final pick this month is this superb collection of Northern Soul classics and rarities put together by the folks at Demon Records. Including tracks by the likes of Just Brothers, Freda Payne, Chairmen of the Board and Jackie Wilson, this is ideal for anyone wanting to relive the scene's glory days at Wigan Casino, or those too young to have been there the first time around.