The red lettering on the album cover of Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio record DAMN now has a complementary limited edition translucent red vinyl pressing. With only 2000 copies, the two-LP record will surely sell out. One of the strongest music offerings of the year, DAMN could and should be enjoyed across various formats.
Lizzy Goodman’s “Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011” is the incredible story of NYC’s explosive music scene in the early 2000s—in which bands like The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem and more were propelled into fame. The behind-the-scenes insights are from some 200 interviews with musicians, journalists, photographers, managers, music executives, groupies, DJs and more. It’s a fascinating read—full of gossip—and not just for rock enthusiasts.
Written by Elaine M Hayes, “Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan” explores the jazz musician and human/women’s rights activist’s incredible—yet often looked over—existence and legacy. From her early life in Jersey, to the ways in which she helped desegregate radio, to performing at the Apollo, to her civil rights work, Vaughan was truly a force—paving the way for women of color in the music scene and beyond. This book traces a true success story, and it’s inspiring.
A Tribe Called Quest’s first album in 18 years We Got it From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service was released late 2016 but still feels (like all of their records) super-fresh after countless listens. Featuring the likes of André 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Jack White, Elton John and more, it’s diverse and boasts seamless production across all 16 tracks. Of course, the group’s beloved, now-deceased member Phife Dawg makes a posthumous appearance.
Syd (aka The Internet’s frontwoman) released her debut solo record recently and it’s sublime. In early April, it will be available on vinyl—and not a moment too soon. With production from MeLo-X, Hit-Boy and Steve Lacy, the 12-track record is sexy and dark—quintessentially Syd.
Step into a time capsule of NYC’s nightlife scene in the ’80s to ’90s—when DJs and promoters would print flyers (often made by people with no design experience) by the thousands and hope their events would spread by word of mouth. Though the internet killed this DIY practice, these ephemeral pieces of paper, with their arresting aesthetic, have been collected to make a book filled with attitude and nostalgia. After selling out its initial run, “No Sleep” is now available thanks to a second printing—nab while you can.
Made from high-quality North American Walnut, Wrensilva’s new Loft console is a beautiful and useful piece. Capable of playing music via vinyl, Sonos, mobile (3.5mm jack) or auxiliary (RCA), it’s a music machine that will complement almost any room in the home. Additionally, there’s storage for 120 records, making the Loft the pinnacle of form meeting function.
While Sharon Jones sadly is no longer be with us, her vast repertoire of soulful tunes remains. A new limited edition pressing of her (along with the Dap Kings, of course) “It’s A Holiday Soul Party,” on green vinyl, offers the ideal opportunity to connect with her zest this holiday season. Supported by her acclaimed band, Jones joyously delivers 11 holiday songs, both original and traditional. It’s funky, powerful and lots of fun for all kinds of festivities.
London-based illustrator James Ward—who goes by the moniker Jimbob Art—uses cheeky animal drawings to portray humans’ innate desires. “I Will Play Keys for Cheese” is the perfect sentiment for the turophile in your life. Each eight-inch bone china plate is fired at a studio in the UK’s renowned potteries town of Stoke-on-Trent and is dishwasher safe.
Whether delivering his profoundly heart-wrenching lyrics in “Streets of Philadelphia” or recounting the joy of youth in “Glory Days,” Bruce Springsteen has always been a masterful storyteller. 2016 sees The Boss fantastically tackle long-form writing with his 508-page autobiography “Born To Run.” Springsteen spent seven years writing the book, which starts with him as a guitar player conquering his boardwalk town of Asbury Park and continues through to today, offering an honest look at how this “gun for hire” became the legend that he is.
Combining a series of apps and a smart vibration sensor, East London-based Mogees has managed to create a tech accessory that transforms any object into a musical instrument. By plugging the device into your smartphone and initiating one of the apps, Mogees can be played within two modes: Pulse or Jam. The former is a rhythm game, and the latter is essentially a set of tools that provide you with all kinds of sounds, loops and rhythms to create your own musical masterpiece. It’s also compatible with GarageBans and other MIDI apps.
When singer Kate Bush took the stage for a 22-date residency at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, fans around the world rejoiced. The sometimes reclusive songstress delivered a multi-media performance of epic proportions. Now, for those who were not able to attend, comes a 29-track, four-LP vinyl box-set wherein no tracks have been re-recorded or overdubbed. It’s a magnificent capture of the artists’ theatrical pop that enchants with each moment.
Most serious musicians spend an equally serious amount of time on the road, lugging around heavy equipment. While orchestra players may forever be doomed to carry weighty cases, electronic musicians can rest a little easier with Korg’s iWavestation, a modern take on the beloved synthesizer first introduced in 1990. Mix and morph on the go with this iPad/iPhone app, which powers the same tech as the classic in a tinier punch.
An exciting new pictorial tome, “Madonna NYC 83” presents previously unreleased images from photographer Richard Corman’s extensive shoot with the Material Girl early on in both of their careers. The photos capture her singular energy as well as street life in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and feel as fresh as the day they were taken.