Published on November 26th, 2020 | by Darren Paltrowitz


15 New-Ish And/Or Recommended Music Releases To Add To Your Album Collection This Season

Per a recent article published by Newsweek, vinyl sales have been on the rise for the past 14 years, and 2020 has been no different. Close to 5 million vinyl units had been sold as of March 2020, per Newsweek, with vinyl-based music accounting for over 20 percent of all albums, according to Billboard. In turn, not only are long-out-of-print titles getting special vinyl releases these days, but previously-unreleased material by influential artists is also finding its way out via the special LP format.

Below are 15 new-ish, recommended releases — most of which vinyl — to add to your album collection, should shelf space and bank accounts permit. All titles are available for online ordering.

Jimi Hendrix’s Music, Money, Madness…Jimi Hendrix In Maui and Live In Maui

Experience Hendrix, LLC — in partnership with Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment — has released a brand new feature-length documentary, Music, Money, Madness…Jimi Hendrix In Maui as well as the accompanying album Live In Maui. The film chronicles the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s storied visit to Maui, Hawaii and how they became ensnared with the ill-fated Rainbow Bridge movie produced by their controversial manager Michael Jeffery.

The Blu-ray version of the Music, Money, Madness title will include the full documentary as well as bonus features featuring all of the existing 16mm color film shot of the two performances that afternoon mixed in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound. Included in the package will be Live In Maui — both of the aforementioned sets spread across 2 CDs or 3 vinyl LPs — as newly-restored and mixed by longtime Jimi Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer and mastered by Bernie Grundman. In addition, there are new Maui-themed merch designs and music bundles available via the Authentic Hendrix store.

Interestingly, these releases have been unearthed exactly 50 years after the tragic passing of Jimi Hendrix in 1970. While unclear what else remains unreleased within the Experience Hendrix, LLC archives, this new release is one of the better post-humorous Hendrix releases.

Elvis Presley’s From Elvis In Nashville

RCA/Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, recently announced the release of From Elvis In Nashville, a 4CD/digital collection presenting the long-awaited definitive chronicle of Elvis Presley’s mythic 1970 marathon sessions with the “Nashville Cats.” Recorded live in RCA’s Studio B in Nashville over the course of an epic 5 day/night run in June 1970 — with an additional session on September 22 — Presley’s performances from those sessions formed the core of three of his most successful studio album releases from the 1970s: Elvis: That’s The Way It Is, Elvis Country (I’m 10,000 Years Old) and Love Letters From Elvis.

Now, for the first time, the master recordings from the 1970 Studio B sessions may be enjoyed together as a single official Elvis album. On From Elvis In Nashville, Presley’s studio tracks from the 1970 marathon sessions are presented in pristine audio, newly-mixed by acclaimed engineer Matt Ross-Spang (John Prine, Jason Isbell) without the added overdubs or orchestration appearing on earlier releases. The 4CD boxed edition of From Elvis In Nashville includes 2 bonus discs of rare and/or unreleased outtakes from the 1970 sessions, as also available digitally. A highlights package is also available in a 2LP 12″ vinyl pressing.

Alice In Chains’ SAP EP

Alice In Chains is one of my favorite bands all-time, and for the first time ever SAP — the second studio EP by Alice in Chains — has been released as a stand-alone vinyl. SAP takes a departure from the band’s heavy sound, focusing on acoustic guitar and maring the first time that guitarist Jerry Cantrell sings lead vocals on an AIC release. Side B on this Record Store Day exclusive includes a band logo etching. And this title, fortunately, is still available for purchase online.

Hans Zimmer’s The Holiday Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Hans Zimmer has scored more than 200 projects across all mediums, which combined have grossed more than $28 billion dollars at the worldwide box office. His work highlights include Gladiator, The Thin Red Line, As Good as It Gets, Rain Man, The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, and the live-action remake of The Lion King. His film credits for 2020/2021 include Wonder Woman 1984, the James Bond film No Time To Die, Top Gun: Maverick and The Spongebob Movie: Sponge On The Run. And prior to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Zimmer completed highly-successful tour stops for his Hans Zimmer Live concert all around the world.

Varèse Sarabande Records recently announced the upcoming first-ever LP release of The Holiday Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, as composed by Hans Zimmer. The Holiday was released by Sony Pictures on December 8, 2006, and has since become a modern-day annual holiday classic for movie enthusiasts around the world. Of Zimmer’s soundtrack, Screen Rant has said: “Utilizing strings and pianos to perfection, the music really does blend together nicely.” The LP is pressed on snow white vinyl discs, perfect for any record lover’s holiday collection.

Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets See Emily Play/Vegetable Man

From the dynamic drummer heard on every Pink Floyd album, Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets offers the opportunity to experience Pink Floyd’s early body of work in concert, including songs from The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn and A Saucerful Of Secrets. Alongside guitarists Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet), keyboardists Dom Beken and Lee Harris (Ian Dury & The Blockheads) and long-time Pink Floyd touring bassist Guy Pratt, Mason drew rapturous crowds throughout North America and Europe in 2018 and 2019 — including dates at The Roundhouse in London, the historic venue that counted Pink Floyd as its first performance in 1966.

This particular collectible Record Store Day-timed 12” single features 2 performances from the dazzling Roundhouse sets last May, including Pink Floyd outtake “Vegetable Man” — as played for the first time ever on this tour — backed by a custom etching. Also available from Mason and Sony is the full Live At The Roundhouse collection, which comes in the 2LP, 1 Blu-ray and 2CD/1DVD formats.

Plain White T’s All That We Needed

Back in September, Craft Recordings announces the vinyl debut of Plain White T’s’ best-selling third album All That We Needed. Released on November 13th, this special 15th-anniversary edition of All That We Needed was pressed on opaque red vinyl. Additionally, a limited-edition version pressed on yellow splatter vinyl is being sold exclusively in the band’s webstore.

2005’s All That We Needed was Plain White T’s’ breakthrough album, following 2000’s Come On Over and 2002’s Stop, which marked the Chicago quintet’s debut with Fearless Records. All That We Needed also found the group solidifying its current line-up of singer Tom Higgenson, lead guitarist Tim Lopez, rhythm guitarist Dave Tirio, bassist Mike Retondo and drummer De’Mar Hamilton. For their third album, the band turned to producers Ariel Rechtshaid (HAIM, Vampire Weekend, Usher) and Loren Israel (Jimmy Eat World, Less Than Jake, Sugarcult), who helped the artists concoct a collection of infectious songs. The album’s standout track, “Hey There Delilah” was released as a single in May 2006 and ultimately peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Globally, the song hit #1 in Canada, #2 in the UK, and was named one of the “10 Best Songs of 2007” by Time Magazine.

Anne Murray’s The Ultimate Christmas Collection

Canadian music legend Anne Murray is bringing some early holiday cheer to fans with The Ultimate Christmas Collection, as released on November 20, 2020 in 2CD and digital formats via UMe/Universal Music Canada. This collection of 22 songs have been selected from Murray’s personal favorites from 6 chart-topping Christmas albums Murray has released since 1981. Murray’s immediately-identifiable, distinctive voice has carried messages of joy, comfort and consolation to listeners worldwide.

Simply put, Anne Murray is a Canadian music trailblazer, with a string of firsts: first Canadian female solo singer to reach #1 on the U.S. charts, first to earn a Gold record (“Snowbird”), and the first woman to win “Album Of The Year” at the Country Music Awards (A Little Good News), to name but a few. Her successes helped establish a path for further Canadian artists to conquer the world stage including Céline Dion, Shania Twain, kd lang, Alanis Morissette and Sarah McLachlan. For those only familiar with Murray’s softer side, however, I recommend seeing the film Supermensch in which you will learn how Alice Cooper played a role in helping to make Murray an internationally-known recording artist.

elbow’s Asleep In The Back

elbow fans can finally own the band’s first 3 studio albums on vinyl. These heavyweight vinyl pressings cover debut, Asleep In The Back, follow-up Cast Of Thousands and third album Leaders Of The Free World. In addition, the band’s B-sides collection Dead In The Boot and 2014’s The Take Off & Landing Of Everything have also been repressed and restocked to stores, meaning that the entire elbow album catalog is currently available on vinyl.

The first 3 albums of elbow were all awarded 9/10 ratings by the NME and all have surpassed gold status in the UK with The Seldom Seen Kid achieving quadruple platinum status. If you are not already a fan of elbow, then this is the time to change that.

Xena: Warrior Princess Original Soundtrack Picture Disc

The first-time vinyl release of the original soundtrack to Season 5’s beloved musical episode, “Lyre Lyre, Hearts On Fire,” includes songs sung by Xena cast members — most notably lead actress Lucy Lawless. The album includes Lucy Lawless’ versions of “People Got To Be Free,” “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves,” “There’s Always Something There To Remind Me” and “War.” Available for the first time on LP, this double-sided picture disc comes in a clear sleeve with a full-color folded insert.

The score portion of the soundtrack is attributed to Emmy-winning composer Joseph LoDuca, who scored the entire Xena series. LoDuca’s career credits include 2 Emmy Award wins from 11 nominations, as well as a César Nomination for the French film Brotherhood Of The Wolf. He is also widely known for creating the music for the Evil Dead film series, as well as the soundtracks for the highly-rated syndicated TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and more recently The Librarians.

The Buddy Holly Story: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Varèse Sarabande Records has released the deluxe edition of The Buddy Holly Story Original Motion Picture Soundtrack with all songs from the Academy Award-winning film now available for the first time on all digital streaming platforms, LP and CD. The LP includes a printed inner sleeve and the CD includes a 16-page booklet, which includes rare photos of the icon, courtesy of his estate and The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation.

The expanded soundtrack features 22 tracks in total, including 11 tracks not released on the original soundtrack. The additional songs include many performances that were in the film, such as “That’ll Be The Day,” “Mockingbird Hill” and “Tennessee Waltz” performed by Gary Busey (as Buddy Holly), “Chantilly Lace” performed by Gailard Sartain (as The Big Bopper) and “You Send Me” performed by Paul Mooney (as Sam Cooke).

For those not already die-hard fans, Buddy Holly is one of the most revered musicians in rock and roll history, 1 of the original 10 members of the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame who inspired Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Dolly Parton and Ed Sheeran alike, and The Buddy Holly Story was his definitive biographic film. The project earned 3 Oscar nominations, including “Best Actor” for Busey. 2018’s Buddy Holly With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was a Top 10 hit on the Billboard charts.

Various re-issues by Little Richard

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 — released expanded versions of 2 of Little Richard’s key comeback albums earlier this year, 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.

Omnivore Recordings continues this series of expanded reissues of Little Richard’s 1970s and 1980s albums with 1972’s The Second Coming and 1986’s Lifetime Friend, as both released last month. These collections continued the rocker’s successful album career, which followed his explosive, genre-launching run of late 1950s singles on Specialty Records: “Tutti Frutti,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Rip It Up,” “Lucille,” “Keep A-Knockin’” and more, as well as his gospel recordings in the ’60s. Packaging for both title features photos, ephemera, and a new essay from Bill Dahl.

Suzzy Roche & Lucy Wainwright Roche’s I Can Still Hear You

This past spring, Suzzy Roche and her daughter Lucy Wainwright Roche headed down to Nashville to make their third album together. Suzzy Roche had written a batch of songs, informed both by personal loss — her sister, Maggie, and her mother died in 2017 — and her sense of the societal havoc stemming from the 2016 election. She wrote these close-to-the-heart, close-to-the-bone songs with Lucy always in mind to sing them.

The two were just a week or so into their recording sessions with producer Jordan Brooke Hamlin (who had produced Wainwright Roche’s last 2csolo albums) when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The duo had to return quickly to their homes in Manhattan and Brooklyn, respectively, for the quarantine lockdown. Ultimately, I Can Still Hear You was conceived out of personal loss and turmoil, arriving at a time of global loss and turmoil. The album’s 11 thought-provoking tracks explore themes of good and evil, youth and mortality, the absurd and the serious, the real and the imagined, and the connection between what is present and what is gone. Dark, smart, deep and thought-provoking beyond the great melodies.

Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift For You

Phil Spector’s holiday masterpiece A Christmas Gift For You is arguably the album that set the standard for contemporary Christmas music. Producer Phil Spector went into the studio with artists including The Ronettes, The Crystals, Darlene Love and Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans to perform definitive and transformative versions of holiday classics like “Sleigh Ride,” “Frosty The Snowman” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” in addition to the original version of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” With every track recorded, mastered and produced in Spector’s revolutionary “Wall Of Sound” production at its peak, this 12″ vinyl edition of A Christmas Gift For You has been pressed in its historic original mono mix, the perfect Christmas present for the vinyl music lovers in your life.

Cheap Trick’s Out To Get You! Live 1977

Cheap Trick is one of my favorite bands of all-time. Pre-COVID-19, I would catch every New York area appearance from Cheap Trick, side projects included. As now featuring guitarist/keyboardist Robin Zander Jr. in the group’s touring lineup, the group sounds tight as ever in concert.

Out To Get You! Live 1977 takes you back over 40 years to when Cheap Trick was touring relentlessly in support of its self-titled debut album. In June of that year, bursting with kinetic energy while recording follow-up album In Color, the group spontaneously booked a handful of club shows at The Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles. These sets would include Cheap Trick songs that wouldn’t appear on the band’s studio albums for years. Released for the first time ever and newly-mixed by 2-time Grammy Award winner Guy Massey (The Beatles, Ray Davies, The Jayhawks), Out To Get You! showcases a band taking determined steps toward world domination.

The Replacements’ Pleased To Meet Me Deluxe Edition

Pleased To Meet Me, which is the favorite studio album of many Replacements fans, was recorded over 3 months at Ardent Studios in Memphis with legendary producer Jim Dickinson before it hit stores in June 1987. This deluxe collection from Rhino Records opens with a newly-remastered version of the original 11-track album along with a selection of B-sides and a version of “Can’t Hardly Wait” that was remixed by Jimmy Iovine. All of the music included in this boxed set has been remastered by Justin Perkins, who remastered the band’s widely-acclaimed 2019 boxed set Dead Man’s Pop.

Ultimately, this release is a “deep dive” into the Pleased To Meet Me sessions as a 3-CD/1-LP deluxe boxed set. It tells the story of the album in ways not previously-possible with more than 50 percent of its content previously-unreleased. That includes the 1986 demo session with guitarist Bob Stinson — his last recorded Replacements performance — and additional 1986 demos with the band as a 3-piece outfit without Bob. Both a great starting point for an audiophile Replacements fan and an ideal catalog piece for a Mats completist.

The Andretti’s Suicide, Italian Style

Springing from the heart, soul and intellect of veteran music-maker Joe Ferrara, Suicide, Italian Style is intended to be the aural equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting. In other words, per its creator, a creation of “challenging, compelling, and ultimately satisfying order borne from a seemingly random and chaotic sonic chaos that melds David Bowie with Dick Dale, Ennio Morricone, Frank Zappa and Henry Mancini.” The album is sprinkled with 1960s-style experimentation, 1970s-style glam, 1980s-style bombast and 1990s-style noise rock, with elements of Latin, rockabilly, surf, doo-wop and metal also appearing at times. Altogether, this “mad-scientist” approach from Ferrara stands in stark contrast to contemporary music’s auto-tuned, disposable-pop default position.

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World,, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world's only known podcast about David Lee Roth, "The DLR Cast."

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