Published on August 30th, 2020 | by Darren Paltrowitz
There is no shortage of great new musical releases to talk about, no matter whether you are talking about vinyl, CD or digital titles. Below is a list of 10 new-ish music releases that have caught my eyes and/or ears for a variety of reasons, spanning various eras, genres, price-points and formats.
The Matrix Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Don Davis – Vinyl
“Unfortunately, no one can be told what The Matrix is. You’ll have to see it for yourself,” said Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus in the original Matrix movie. As accompanied by Don Davis’ adrenaline-fueled score, the score to The Matrix is now available on picture disc vinyl for the very first time, thanks to Varèse Sarabande Records. Side A of this this exciting collectors’ edition features an image of the green code from the iconic film, while Side B shows Neo (portrayed by Keanu Reeves) in full action mode. The soundtrack album weds Davis’ mastery of musical detail and coloration to a largely atonal postmodern concerto that’s complex, dark and unrelenting. With news that The Matrix will be returning for a 4th installment in 2021, new and original fans alike are revisiting the film (and soundtrack) that started it all.
The Running Man Original Soundtrack by Harold Faltermeyer – Vinyl
The Running Man Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by GRAMMY-winning composer Harold Faltermeyer (Beverly Hills Cop, Top Gun, Cop Outm the upcoming film Top Gun: Maverick) from 1987 has been expanded from a 17-track soundtrack has been expanded to a 35-track release. Now including additional music and unreleased and alternate cues, the original release was remastered from the original Paramount Pictures sources. This deluxe package features original artwork, images from the film and a booklet with extensive liner notes by film music journalist Daniel Schweiger. Commented Faltermeyer on this special deluxe edition release: “It was fun working on this movie and it‘s great to see that after all these years, there is still a vivid interest. I was very delighted when I heard that Varèse Sarabande would be releasing the entire score!”
Hackers Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Various Artists – Vinyl
Now on vinyl for the first time, as well as on an expanded 2 CD set, the definitive soundtrack to the film Hackers has been released in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the film, exclusively from Varèse Sarabande Records. The double LP features music from an incredible lineup of electronic artists, and 3 never-before-released score tracks — including “Hackers Suite” performed by composer Simon Boswell — as well as 2 pieces by Guy Pratt, “One Combination” and “Grand Central Station” featuring David Gilmour. Additionally, tracks that were not on the original soundtrack release in 1995, including “Protection” by Massive Attack and “Open Up” by Leftfield, are part of this special album edition. The commemorative package includes 2 black vinyl LPs in a gatefold, new notes from director Iain Softley and unreleased photos of the cast. The CD version features even more unreleased music, with a total of 9 tracks by Guy Pratt and Simon Boswell on disc 2.
I Like It Like That (A Mi Me Gusta Así) by Pete Rodriguez
Craft Latino, the Latin repertoire arm of Craft Recordings, has released I Like It Like That (A Mi Me Gusta Así), widely considered the most iconic boogaloo album of all time. Originally released by Alegre Records in 1967, this was the fifth album by pianist and bandleader Pete Rodriguez. Marking the heyday of the boogaloo movement in New York, the title track became the genre’s anthem and one of the most iconic dance hits in the history of Latin American music; notably, “I Like It Like That” was sampled and served as the basis for the global mega-hit “I Like It,” released in 2018 by Cardi B with Bad Bunny and J Balvin. Offering 7 tracks brimming with Afro-Caribbean flavor, I Like It Like That is a seamless album, ideal for a deep listening experience on vinyl. This new edition of I Like It Like That boasts all-analog mastering from the original tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio. The 180-gram vinyl was manufactured at Memphis Record Pressing. Simply put, it is one of those albums to have in your vinyl collection to simultaneously impress music snobs, get a party going, help the work day fly by, and keep you psyched.
Live Fast, Diarrhea by The Vandals – Vinyl
Another classic given the proper reissue treatment by Craft Recordings is The Vandals’ Live Fast, Diarrhea, which was released just in time to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Known for their brash humor, breakneck beats and anthemic hooks, The Vandals are one of the longest-running bands on the legendary Southern California punk circuit. Produced by guitarist Warren Fitzgerald, the Live Fast album features the band’s current lineup — including Fitzgerald, singer Dave Quackenbush, renowned studio drummer Josh Freese and bassist Joe Escalante — in top form. Highlights off the 15-track album include a cover of The Simpletons’ love song “I Have A Date,” an unexpected punk-rock rendition of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” and “Let The Bad Times Roll.” Hilarious album cover, catchy and often-humorous lyrics, great production and altogether a wonderful capturing of one of favorite punk bands past or present.
The Rill Thing by Little Richard
Less than 4 months ago, the musical world lost a big contributor when rock pioneer Little Richard died in May 2020. Thankfully, Omnivore Recordings — one of my favorite record labels — is releasing expanded versions of 2 of Little Richard’s key comeback albums next month, 1970’s The Rill Thing and 1971’s King Of Rock And Roll, These expanded editions from Omnivore feature bonus tracks, new liner notes by Bill Dahl, photos, and ephemera. Tracks from this era of Little Richard’s catalog were ultimately covered by the likes of Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney and LaVern Baker, shown the widespread appeal of Little Richard’s music. Fingers are crossed that more unreleased material from the Little Richard catalog is on tap in the near-future from the Omnivore team.
2020 (Redux) by Rushden & Diamonds
My favorite Canadian hip-hop artist, past or present, is most likely the duo of Rushden & Diamonds. The latest effort by the two is 2020 (Redux), a proper full-length followup to the conceptual album 2010. Featuring the likes of Kool Keith, Kutmasta Kurt, Moka Only, Dylan Ross (Rozz Dyliams), Mega Ran and Naoto Tanaka (composer of Capcom’s Mega Man X series), 2020 (Redux) is a star-studded affair by indie-hip-hop terms. Lead-off track “What You’re Used To,” which includes a cool Digital Underground sample, never fails to cheer me up.
All The Misery Money Can Buy by Gasoline Lollipops
On its website, the Gasoline Lollipops slot themselves among the alt-country crowd, and the rock crowd AND the Americana crowd alike. It is not that they can’t make up their minds, it is that the band does not concern itself with being pigeonholed, so you need not do so either. The songs on their new album All The Misery Money Can Buy — due out on September 11, 2020 via Soundly Music — back that up, to say the least. The “Gas Pops” are 3-time winners of the “Best Local Band” award from the Colorado Daily, and 2-time winners of the “Best Country Band” award from Denver alt-weekly Westword. Notably, in 2018 the band made Billboard’s Top 10 Spotify chart, as well as Pandora’s Top 10 Trendsetters list. So keep an eye on All The Misery Money Can Buy and beyond.
Last Will And Testament by Bonnie Whitmore
For the last 2 decades, Bonnie Whitemore has played bass and sung with some of the biggest artists in the Americana genre, including Hayes Carll, John Moreland, Eliza Gilkyson, Sunny Sweeney, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock. Pre-COVID-19, she also maintained a weekly residency at the legendary Continental Club Gallery in Austin, where she lives. Years and years prior to that, Whitmore toured in a band with her parents Alex and Marti and older sister Eleanor (now one-half of alt-country outfit The Mastersons with husband Chris Masterson). Last Will And Testament us due out on October 2nd, as co-produced with Scott Davis. It was recorded at Ramble Creek Studio in Austin with engineer Britton Biesenherz. Craig Bagby (drums), Trevor Nealon (keys), and BettySoo (backing vocals, accordion), all members of Whitmore’s band the Sad Girls. Whitmore was recently named “June Artist Of The Month” by Austin-American Statesman music critic Peter Blackstock for Austin360.
The Loneliness In Me by Rachel Brooke
Due out on October 23rd, Rachel Brooke’s new album The Loneliness In Me is the long-awaited followup to 2012’s A Killer’s Dream; Brooke had worked on collaborative projects with Modern Mal and Lonesome Wyatt within the 8 years between albums. First single “Great Mistake” was premiered by Parade Magazine ealrier this month, which complimented Brooke for her “unique voice, sound and storytelling ability.” Recorded in Traverse City, Michigan, the album is savvy to the contradiction of the blues, as penned by Brooke with her fellow musician/husband Brooks Robbins. It was mastered at Detroit’s recently-launched Third Man Mastering.
I Am Christopher by Christopher The Conquered
Christopher The Conquered has traveled North America and Europe for over 10 years, piano in tow, sharing his self-proclaimed “interstellar soul” music with anyone who will listen. His 2016 album I’m Giving Up On Rock & Roll has received over 500,000 listens online and garnered positive reviews, with Alternative Press labeling it a “raw, emotional” album and ABC News declaring his music as “compelling, interesting, and funny,” while Julien Baker has called it “a great record.” His new album is I Am Christopher and the first 50 vinyl orders of the album — prior to September 25, 2020, that is — will come with all sorts of bonus goodies. The CD version of the album, as an alternative, will feature 2 bonus tracks not found on the vinyl edition. Any way you slice it, expect tongue-in-cheek lyrics and smart hooks from a great singer/songwriter with this one.
Live In Tampa by BUSH – DVD
Led by guitarist / vocalist Gavin Rossdale, BUSH was undeniably the first post-Nirvana British band to hit it big in America. Of course, BUSH became a hit by playing by the grunge rules — they had loud guitars, guttural vocals, stop-start rhythms, and extreme dynamics. Around 25 years after the group scored its first hit in the States, Live In Tampa finds BUSH performing to a sold-out crowd of 10,000 die=hard fans at the MidFlorida Amphitheater in Tampa, Florida during its critically-acclaimed 2019 Altimate Tour. This 90-minute performance was filmed in 4K UHD with 15 cameras to capture the show from every angle and produced by award-winning producer Barry Summers of Rock Fuel Media. It features the band’s biggest hits, including “Machinehead”, “Glycerine”, “Comedown”, “Swallowed” and “Everything Zen,” plus “Bullet Holes” from the John Wick 3 soundtrack. This special edition package includes a Blu-ray disc, a standard definition DVD, and a bonus audio CD of the entire concert.