Timeless R&B lavish arrangements, indie-rock meets mainstream hype 2000 style, and a retrospective post-punk funk experiment that is being elevated from under the radar—such are the new vinyl releases that thrill us. These various projects showcase how eclecticism in music provides diversity, strength, and most importantly, informed taste.
Out of the Crate 2021, here we go!
JOHN MORALES PRESENTS TEENA MARIE, ‘LOVE SONGS & FUNKY BEATS’
BBE Music out of London is on a run in the new year, and we have yet to hit February. Coming off the heels of the label’s announcement of a Bowie tribute album (scheduled for release early summer), BBE focuses on yet another great who is worthy of deeper examination. Producer extraordinaire John Morales celebrates the life and work of R&B-soul legend Teena Marie with a double album full of brand new remixes, culled from the original studio tapes and entitled Love Songs & Funky Beats.
Upon a quick listen to the project (due out March 26th) it’s apparent Morales has opened up these arrangements so we can easily identify Marie’s innate ability for swing, groove, and build. Through these lavish reworks we get a better vision of the producer, arranger, and songwriter. Similar to Patrice Rushen, Teena Marie was a complete package in the recording studio during that early to mid ’80s soul-funk-boogie period. The project is an overdue deep dive into her sound artistry, revealing what makes a Teena Marie composition so identifiable. You may want to pre-order—this LP will sell out.
PJ HARVEY, ‘STORIES FROM THE CITY, STORIES FROM THE SEA’ (VINYL REISSUE)
Continuing her reissue series, PJ Harvey has announced a vinyl re-release of her fifth album, 2000’s Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea. Arriving February 26th, it will also include a previously unreleased demos collection of every track on the album, Upon the album’s initial release in 2000, it was a watershed moment for Harvey. By far her most well received project to date, Rolling Stone called it “the best album of her career.” Ironically, her diehard fans didn’t love the release—which makes strange sense. This was the moment the world caught up with Polly Jean, and her stans didn’t want to share her.
The project is full of broad sweeping moods, direct narratives, and as always in Harvey’s oeuvre, melodic lyrical play. Written but not recorded in New York City, it does in fact sound wonderful in the pod-hole while record shopping on the Lower East Side. Pre-order here.
ADRIAN SHERWOOD, ‘THE NEW AGE STEPPERS’ (VINYL REISSUE)
A loose studio collective centered around the partnership of Ari Up from The Slits and Adrian Sherwood, New Age Steppers existed on and off from 1980 to 2012. Known for bringing musicians from the post-punk and reggae scenes together, this collective featured contributions from members of The Pop Group, The Raincoats, Flying Lizards, Roots Radics, Aswad, and Creation Rebel.
The collective was one of the first acts on the On-U Sound label and released three albums in the ’80s. Action Battlefield, Foundation Steppers, and the self-titled LP are all being reissued separately on vinyl, and are also available a five-CD box set called Stepping Into A New Age, which comes with a 32-page book. Purchase here.