Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Arts + Culture Music New Music: 5 year-end suggestions for audiophiles (Baby Yoda...

New Music: 5 year-end suggestions for audiophiles (Baby Yoda included)

A maximalist take on Disney+ Star Wars, rare vinyl from Tyler, the Creator, and more to tempt even the most jaded sound snob.


Here are some gifting suggestions that have nothing to do with mistletoe or eggnog. (A farty combo nobody has to endure this year since those “who’s gonna get fired this year” holiday parties are cancelled. PANDEMIC ROCKS!) Enjoy our picks …


86 million subscribers. Yep, that’s how many subscriptions Disney+ streaming platform has to date. This is quite incredible when you take into account that a number of Disney executives told investors and analysts they hoped to reach 60 million by 2024. Is all of that due to precious Baby Yoda a.k.a. Grogu (we found out during Season Two this year he had a name)? Surely part of the credit is due to “The Mandalorian,” who fly around space in a tuna can aircraft, executing video-game-type missions in a spaghetti Western formula. Well, at least it’s not the Toy Story spinoff “Forky Asks a Question.”

Swingers and Marvel Movies’ famed director Jon Favreau was the head showrunner for this runaway TV show that isn’t precisely on TV. He has found a way to present Star Wars to the world without offending the billions of online Star Wars aficionados—a miracle coup. He will have a direct influence on how Lucas Films proceeds with the Star Wars legacy from here on out. Recently, it was announced that nine new Star wars series would be debuting on Disney+, and two new films are in development as well. 

And so, when you engage with the lavish Mandalorian season one soundtrack sold as an eight XLP set and produced by Ludwig Göransson (who was also behind the Black Panther soundtrack, FX show “Atlanta,” and Awaken My Love by Childish Gambino), you can hear Baby Yoda writing and cashing checks for Disney with his telepathic mind. 


Leroy Burgess, who is fondly called The King Of Boogie and who played the fifth anniversary party for Sweater Funk, is widely known for his many incarnations. Disco soul singer, keyboard player, songwriter and producer, lead member of groups Black Ivory, LOGG, Inner Life, and many more.

An unearthed and unreleased Leroy Burgess tape from the same sessions as “Heartbreaker” finally sees the light of day with three brand new mixes from the legendary Dave Lee.

According to the Z Records site, last year when searching through the Salsoul archive Dave Lee came across a Leroy Burgess tape that contained a song called “One + One” that he didn’t recognize. On the off chance that it could be something interesting, Dave got the tape digitized and when he heard it, quickly realized this wasn’t an outtake, but a killer tune. He contacted Mr. Burgess to ask him if he knew why this song had never been released, Leroy was overjoyed when he heard that “One + One” had been unearthed after 35 years of going missing.

It turned out that it was recorded in the same sessions as Leroy’s classic ‘Heartbreaker’ for an album that never came out, but the tape had somehow been lost, and he’d given up hope of it ever being located. ‘One + One’ is Leroy on top form in his prime with the full team of New York musicians who featured on many of his classics (Jocelyn Brown, Melissa Morgan, Stan Lucas, Sonny Davenport, James Calloway). Mr. Lee has given the song three brand new mixes, a full vocal, Dub, and reprise. If you’re a Burgess fan, this is as essential as it gets.


According to legend, at the time of this album’s original release, Verocai had been producing albums for musicians such as Elis Regina, Jorge Ben, and Ivan Lins. Around the time of Red Vinyl’s recording, Verocai often listened to American funk and soul musicians like Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Stan Kenton, and Wes Montgomery, who heavily influenced the sound of the album by this Brazillian arranger. As it would happen, Red Vinyl was largely ignored by critics, and sold very few copies upon its initial release in 1972. The poor performance of the album motivated Verocai to rethink his career as a solo musician, deciding to pursue a music career in advertising.

Retrospective reviews and different ears hearing the great risks and leaps taken immediately claimed the ingenuity for repurposing. 

After remaining relatively unknown for three decades, Red Vinyl made a resurgence in the mid-2000s. Emcee and producer MF DOOM sampled the song “Na Boca Do Sol” on the track “Orris Root Powder” in 2005. Hip-hop group Little Brother sampled “Caboclo” on the song “We Got Now” from their 2005 album The Minstrel Show. Original copies of the LP have become highly sought-after. Discogs reports a median selling price of $2,594.09 as of this year.

Yet Red Vinyl‘s greatest co-sign is this simple one from Madlib; “I could listen to this album every day for the rest of my life.” 


A whizz-bang one-off like no other finally comes with a vinyl presentation. Tyler, the Creator hops on the heavily Anita Baker-influenced beat for “Peach Fuzz”, his collaboration with Prophet a couple of years ago. It’s a quick-hit banger that flew under the radar of some digital platforms and arrived as a 10-inch picture disc, with Prophet’s version on the B-side. The instrumental, produced by Prophet, Mndsgn, and Swarvy, motivated Tyler to put serious bars on the track.

This is an underground treasure, for sure. 


(straight from the liner notes, which were written by yours truly)

Reinier Thijs a.k.a. Thijsenterprise’s new project Lahringen begins where most of his previous creations have left off. Through reedy skronking sax, no easy listening aesthetics here, we get that passport to the ’80s. The intersection between Lou Reed’s old New York attitude and the encroaching rhythmic assault about to hit. Post-punk, featuring steady bass lines—peak demon Jaco to cool as fuck Slits era—in transit.

Repurposing discordant sounds, as an alchemist traveling through time, Reinier sounds at home. Clearing out space, grounding up source material, for the cruise. Truth be told, he’s confessed to pulling attitude and sound inspiration from The Lounge Lizards and James Chance. It’s unmistakable and you can hear it. But the combination of new school beat-making tactics, via scientists Makaya McCraven and Jeff Parker, who’s shown it’s far more interesting tossing out the rule book, see Reinier come full-circle with the wide spectrum of his sound jacket.

John-Paul Shiver
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to 48 Hills since 2019. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in the Wire, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.

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