New Releases: 22 November
Looking to liven up your life with some hot new records? Long Live Vinyl have got you to covered. Here’s our comprehensive list of 22 November releases…
01 The Who – Who
Claims of “The Who’s last album” have been made before, but there really is an air of finality about Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend’s first record since 2006’s unlovely Endless Wire. The reassuring news is WHO would be a more fitting epitaph than that album. Although Townshend has stressed he wanted to “stay away from nostalgia”, WHO’s standout tracks are self-referential. The opening All This Music Must Fade is their best pop song since Who Are You, Daltrey knowingly singing how nobody is interested in new Who songs before it crashes to a halt as he mutters, “Oh, who gives a fuck?” Rockin’ In Rage is more heartfelt.
Daltrey continues the deeper rumble showcased on last year’s undervalued solo album As Long As I Have You in a performance that rages, sure, but there’s wisdom and redemption in his voice, too. The subtler moments also work well: Beads On One String’s mysticism and the Simon Townshend-penned love song Break The News are sweet and simple outbreaks of calm. At the other end of the scale, Ball And Chain – previewed at this summer’s Wembley Stadium show – works better than you suspect a Who rant about Guantanamo Bay might.
So there’s half a great album here. The other six songs are passable, mostly mid-tempo meanderings. To paraphrase All This Music Must Fade, nobody needs them, especially forced gonzo outburst I Don’t Wanna Get Wise. Would anyone rave about WHO if it were by a new band? Doubtful. But there are enough wisps of old devilment to suggest that, all these years on, The Who aren’t a safe proposition yet either. – 7/10
02 Leonard Cohen – Thanks For The Dance
Bequeathed his father’s final recordings, Adam Cohen gathered a stellar cast – including Beck, Daniel Lanois, Dustin O’Halloran and, naturally, Jennifer Warnes – to guide them towards completion. His pa’s energy rarely registers:
on Listen To The Hummingbird, his mesmerising voice strokes one’s cheek alongside a quiet accompaniment of echoing piano and rippling effects, and It’s Torn is like Lee Hazlewood whispering, while Puppets is a brooding, profoundly moving, stark drama, which examines the manner in which we’re sometimes forced to act immorally on behalf of others.
Fortunately The Hills, with its softly sung choir, is more expansive, while he almost sings on the Louisiana funereal title track, before indulging his talent for seduction one last time on The Night Of Santiago: “Her nipples rose like bread.” – 8/10
03 Irmin Schmidt – Villa Wunderbar
After an initial CD-only release in 2013, the Can founder’s massive retrospective compilation album is now out on vinyl for the first time. This is great news for fans of his beyond-legendary krautrock outfit, who will note the inclusion of two remixes of Can tracks (Alice and Last Night Sleep), while aficionados of Schmidt’s solo work will appreciate tracks such as Fledermenschen, Kick On The Floods and Bohemian Step.
Before founding Can, Schmidt studied under Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage, and this classical training is pre-eminent in his soundtrack work for films and television (with 19 of his OST pieces curated by director Wim Wenders). This clear-vinyl version has been updated to now include music from 5 Klavierstücke, Schmidt’s well-received album of spontaneously recorded piano pieces released just last year. – 8/10
John Earls, Wyndham Wallace, Gary Tipp