Long Live Vinyl’s pick of this week’s best new album releases on vinyl – including a live classic, existential electro, a scientific breakthrough and politically charged folk…

Reissues

Neil Young Roxy new albums on vinyl

Neil Young
Roxy Tonight’s The Night Live
Reprise

During the 1973 live shows where Young played his as-yet unreleased Tonight’s The Night album in its entirety with no familiar material to sugar the pill, at encore time the singer baited the angry crowd who’d come to hear the old stuff. “Okay,” said Young. “I’m gonna play you something you’ve all heard before.” He then ran through the new LP again. What a wag. This show at L.A.’s Roxy club was performed directly after Young et al finished cutting the album. Although the setlist differs from the studio incarnation, these live versions retain the LP’s narcotic craziness. With Tonight’s The Night written in the wake of the deaths of guitarist Danny Whitten and roadie Bruce Berry, Young is on the edge.

The stunning title track finds him in reportage mode, with Nils Lofgren adding striking solos. Mellow My Mind has Young going beyond his vocal range. It’s all part of the torn-heart feel of the album, though. For the full experience of the gig’s out-there feel, Exhibit A would have to be the plaintive Tired Eyes. Few songwriters have come up with better opening lines: “Well, he shot four men in a cocaine deal/ And he left them lyin’ in an open field.” Extraordinary stuff.

New Releases

We Are Scientists new vinyl album releases

We Are Scientists
Megaplex
100% Records

On their sixth album, We Are Scientists are almost unrecognisable from the band that people fell in love with on their 2002 debut album. Gone are the urgent, post-punk-indebted indie-rock numbers, and in come shimmering electro-pop and euphoric rock. While there’s always been a melody-heavy approach to the group’s work, underpinning a pop sensibility, the band sound as if they’ve wholeheartedly embraced this on this latest record.

One In, One Out is the closest thing to dancefloor music the band have made, the synth-heavy wash recalling mainstream 1980s chart pop. While their desire to shake off tired indie sounds is admirable, some moments of the album work better than the others. You Failed is velvet-smooth synth-pop, whereas tracks such as Now Or Never occasionally slip into glossy U2-esque stadium rock. The group’s ability to craft a hook remains undeniable, it’s just not all of them sink in as firmly as others.

Half Waif album

Half Waif
Lavender
Cascine

Half Waif began in 2012 as a vehicle for the thoughts, stories and songs of Nandi Rose Plunkett. Since then, alongside bandmates Adan Carlo and Zack Levine, Half Waif has created a powerful sound that’s designed to be both immediate and experimental — song structures that shift and interlock underneath swells of synth, surges of percussion and undulating melodies upon which ride waves of intricate vocals.

Opening a new era for the project, this new album expands upon themes of travel and leaving home to include connections Nandi forged with the women in her family.

The Beat Escape album

The Beat Escape
Life Is Short The Answer’s Long
Bella Union

Building on their experience DJ-ing together in a Montreal bar, the Canadian duo release their debut album on Bella Union, a stylish, hypnotic synth-pop album that draws on elements of Moroder, krautrock, Factory Records and rare minimal-wave records of the 80s.

 

 

Okkervil River In The Rainbow Rain album 2

Okkervil River
In The Rainbow Rain
ATO Records

The Trump Presidential win has had an unexpectedly positive influence on Okkervil River mainman Will Sheff – he’s deftly turned his outrage into a collection of joy-filled songs, designed to heal and uplift us through turbulent times. He goes for the jugular, though, on the odd but poignant opener, Famous Tracheotomies, which lists notable cultural figures who’ve undergone the titular surgical procedure, including Gary Coleman, Ray Davies, Dylan Thomas and Sheff himself. More conventional is the punch-the-air ebullience to the juggernaut chorus (and superb skronking sax solo) of The Dream And The Light.

Sheff keeps it varied for the swooning Family Song, rocky Pulled Up The Ribbon and easy-going Don’t Move Back To LA, which chronicles his conflicted feelings about the City of Angels and New York. Epic closer Human Being Song encapsulates it all. There’s still hope for humanity: but with Trump in charge, it’s harder to see right now.

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