Music Lounge

Published on July 1st, 2021 | by Darren Paltrowitz


15 New-Ish And/Or Recommended Releases Worth Purchasing Today

Below are 15 new-ish, recommended releases — many of which music releases on vinyl — worth purchasing this season, should shelf space and bank accounts permit. All of these titles are currently in-print and presently-available for online ordering from top retailers.

Southland Tales on Blu-Ray

Richard Kelly’s Southland Tales is an ambitious story about a conspiracy involving an action film star stricken with amnesia, a porn star with reality TV dreams, and a police officer. And despite Kelly’s strong reputation for his work on Donnie Darko, this star-studded film was panned when released in 2006. Among other issues, critics — and some of those involved in the film — were not entirely sure what to make of its long, sprawling nature.

Yet, over the years, the film has maintained a strong, loyal fanbase that continues to grow, with many admiring the film’s attempt at doing something grand. To this day, Kelly insists it is the work he is most proud of, comparing it to “the misunderstood child.” Arrow has gives this title a new metaphorical lease on life with new 2K presentations of the film, as approved by Kelly, with both the 145-minute theatrical cut and the 160-minute “Cannes cut” included. The release also comes with a wide range of special features, including a brand-new documentary on the film’s making. And yes, that is Dwayne Johnson shown within the video embedded above.

Roof Beams’ This Life Must Be Long

The band was named after a J.D. Salinger novella, and singer Nathan Robinson’s lyrics are relentlessly remarkable. This is Roof Beams’ first album since 2016’s Charon, and it offers greater, warmer rewards than ever before. Its sound is raw, pure, independent music and it feels like hearing a set from 5 feet away at a house show, something we all would desperately like to be able to do safely this year. There are also forays into indie-electronic pop that Robinson has dabbled in previously, an especially-isolated production style that fit well with the realities of stay-at-home orders and apocalypse politics. Now available digitally and on vinyl LP.

The Travis catalog re-released on vinyl

It has been 25 years since the 4 members of the band Travis first set foot in a Glasgow, Scotland rehearsal room. At various points along the group’s trajectory, the band has sold millions of albums, they have been the subject of the award-winning feature length documentary Almost Fashionable and frontman Fran Healy has elicited praise from Paul McCartney, Elton John and Graham Nash. 2021 has brought a string of deluxe vinyl re-releases for Travis, including those of 1997’s Good Feeling, 2003’s 12 Memories and 2007’s The Boy With No Name, thanks to Craft Recordings.

10 Songs is the latest album from Travis, as released via BMG on October 9, 2020. Co-produced by Fran Healy and Robin Baynton (Coldplay, Florence & The Machine) and recorded at RAK Studio, 10 Songs reflects a band whose lineup has not changed in its entire collective lifetime. 10 Songs includes synth work from Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle, lap steel from Greg Leisz (Beck, Emmylou Harris, Bruce Springsteen) and vocals from Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles. The music video for its first single, “A Ghost,” was created by Healy and his son while in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. I had the pleasure of speaking with Healy about this last year, as linked here.

Verónica Valerio’s Van Dyke Parks Orchestrates Verónica Valerio: Only In America

Verónica Valerio is a singer, songwriter and harpist born in Veracruz, Mexico, while Los Angeles-resident Van Dyke Parks is a musical institution best known for his work alongside The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, Harry Nilsson, Little Feat, Ry Cooder, Inara George, Silverchair and Joanna Newsom. One is young, one is not. One sings in Spanish, the other communicates in English. One plays the harp, while the other “plays” an orchestra in his role as arranger. Yet the 2 artists come together with mutual respect and shared belief in the towering power of music to transcend the stifling gag of borders. Their collaboration, Van Dyke Parks Orchestrates Verónica Valerio: Only In America, is a BMG/Modern Recordings release you can find on 10″ vinyl and via digital outlets. As an added bonus, Klaus Voormann designed the EP’s cover art.

Just A Gigolo DVD, Blu-Ray & Digital

Shout! Factory, LLC is a leading multi-platform media company devoted to film and TV distribution, development and production, as well as the preservation and revitalization of the very best in pop-culture entertainment. Founded by Richard Foos, Bob Emmer, and Garson Foos in 2003, Shout! owns and manages a large portfolio of films, contemporary and classic TV series, animation and documentaries. Shout! also develops, acquires and distributes new films via Shout! Studios, owns and operates libraries, including Mystery Science Theater 3000 (in partnership with creator Joel Hodgson) and the Roger Corman New Horizon Pictures Library, and operates the acclaimed streaming service Shout! Factory TV. In turn, whenever I hear of a new Shout! title, I am immediately interested.

Just A Gigolo is now available on Blu-ray for the first time, thanks to Shout! Factory. The drama starring David Bowie has been newly-remastered from original sources, presenting the film for the first time ever in high-definition. The release comes complete with a 32-page booklet and with bonus features including “The Making of Gigolo” with Producer/Writer Joshua Sinclair and Assistant to the Director Rory MacLean, as well as audio commentary with Rory MacLean. Within the film, Bowie plays Paul von Przygodski, a young Prussian gentleman who has arrived in the trenches in time to be caught in the final explosion of the Great War. Bowie appears alongside Marlene Dietrich, who plays Baroness von Semering.

Dramarama’s Color TV and Cinéma Vérité on vinyl

Influential New Jersey alternative-rock quintet Dramarama has released 2 of its most iconic albums, 1985’s Cinéma Vérité and 2020’s Color TV on limited-edition vinyl via Pasadena Records. The simultaneous vinyl release of these 2 albums poetically-bookends the career-to-date of an excellent band. Legendary music critic Robert Christgau added Color TV to his most coveted “Dean’s List” and called the album “the finest of an impressively consistent career.” American Songwriter said the album “features some of lead singer / songwriter John Easdale’s fiercest and most moving compositions,” while Rock Cellar declared Color TV “among the strongest rock releases this year.”

Dramarama’s fierce debut album Cinéma Vérité included “Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You),” which L.A. radio station KROQ helped make a musical institution. This undeniable, anthem-of-angst, punk rock smash sounds as unnerving and hungry as ever in 2021. But “Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You)” is only 1 highlight of Cinéma Vérité, which this vinyl edition makes rather obvious.

Cream’s Goodbye Tour – Live At The Forum 1968 LP

Last month UMe/Polydor released the limited-edition, blue, 2LP release of Cream’s show Live At The Forum, as recorded at the Los Angeles Forum during the band’s Goodbye Tour of 1968. Taken from the 2020 full version of the 4-CD set of the that 1968 tour and produced by Bill Levenson, this sumptuous 2LP set is the first authorized release of the full concert on vinyl. It captures Cream at its virtuosic best, at the end but also at the height of their career.

With Cream — as comprised of Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton — setting the template for not only the “supergroup” but also the “power trio,” Cream made an unprecedented impact in just 2 years as a band. As said by Clapton in a prepared statement: “Cream was a shambling circus of diverse personalities who happened to find that catalyst together… any one of us could have played unaccompanied for a good length of time. So you put the three of us together in front of an audience willing to dig it limitlessly, we could have gone on forever… And we did… just going for the moon every time we played.”

If you have never heard this top-notch live recording, rest assured that the set’s 10 tracks include the biggest hits of Cream alongside some very inspired, long-form jamming.

Jonny Polonsky’s Hi My Name Is Jonny LP

Having notable supporters in Jeff Buckley, John Zorn, David Bowie guitarist Reeves Gabrels and The Pixies’ Frank Black, Jonny Polonsky was signed to American Recordings by its founder Rick Rubin in the mid-1990s. Polonsky wound up on MTV and touring as part of Lollapalooza. Polonsky eventually became an in-demand session musician. His touring and/or recording credits include Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, The Dixie Chicks, and Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan’s band Puscifer.

Jonny Polonsky’s debut full-length album was 1996’s Hi My Name Is Jonny, on which Polonsky played all of the instruments and sang all of the vocals. It was never released on vinyl — until now. On the new music end, Polonsky’s latest full-length studio effort is Power and Greed and Money and Sex and Death, which featured contributions from Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Go’s. On April 11, 2021, I had the pleasure of speaking with Jonny Polonsky via Zoom, which you can view here.

Donny’s Bar Mitzvah on Blu-Ray

For the new film Donny’s Bar Mitzvah, writer/director Jonny Comebacks takes audiences on a timewarp back to 1998, where sex, drugs and a dysfunctional family surround a boy’s entrance to manhood, as seen through the lens of a hired videographer. The raunchy comedy will be available March 23, 2021 on iTunes and Amazon Prime Video. Great premise aside, Donny’s Bar Mitzvah features an excellent cast including John DeLuca (the Teen Beach Movie franchise, Spree), Tricia O’Kelley (The Mick, The New Adventures of Old Christine), Noureen DeWulf (Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past, Anger Management), Wendy Braun (Atypical), Danny Trejo (Machete) and Steele Stebbins (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend).

Donny’s Bar Mitzvah is now out on Blu-Ray, thanks to the Vinegar Syndrome team. More about the film can be learned via my recent interview with the aforementioned Tricia O’Kelley, which you can watch by clicking here.

Steph Tolev’s I’m Not Well LP

Steph Tolev is a stand-up and sketch comedian from Toronto, Canada currently living in Los Angeles.-As a stand up, Tolev has done the prestigious Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal 4 times, 3 of which were taped for TV and air on the Comedy Network. She made her American TV debut on on Comedy Central part of Bill Burr’s new show The Ringers. She was named among Vulture’s “Comics You Should and Will Know” and as part of Comedy Central’s “Up Next” comics to watch. She also co-wrote and co-starred in the Comedy Central web series Steph & Deb. She won a Canadian Comedy Award for “Best Female Stand-Up” and was a finalist in Sirius XM’s “Next Top Comic.”

Tolev’s latest album is I’m Not Well, which was nominated for a Juno Award for “Best Comedy Album.” It is available via Comedy Records digitally and on vinyl.

K. Trevor Wilson’s Sorry LP

Speaking of Comedy Records… K. Trevor Wilson — often called “the Man Mountain of Comedy” — has spent over 20 years in entertainment. A star of Crave TV’s award-winning Letterkenny, Wilson has also appeared on What Would Sal Do, Showcases’s Billable Hours, NBC’s Darcy’s Wildlife and A&E’s Breakout Kings. As a stand-up comedian, Wilson has performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live and Comedy Central’s Roast Battles, beyond making multiple appearances at the Just For Laughs Festival, the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and JFL 42.

Wilson’s debut stand-up album SexCop FirePenis reached the top of the iTunes Comedy Charts and was named “Best Taped Live Performance” at the 2016 Canadian Comedy Awards. His latest release Sorry! (A Canadian Album) debuted at #1 on iTunes and was nominated for a 2018 Juno Award. An award-winning comedian, Wilson’s honors include the 2012 Irwin Barker Homegrown Award at Just For Laughs, the 2014 and 2015 COCA Comedian Of The Year and was named Canada’s “Best Male Stand Up” at the 2015 Canadian Comedy Awards. In the summer of 2018, Wilson taped his first Netflix special as part of the Comedians Of The World series that was released on New Year’s Day 2019. I spoke with Wilson last year, which you can watch by clicking here.

Fred Armisen’s Parade Meeting EP

Parade Meeting is a new instrumental EP from actor, comedian, writer, producer and musician — and this year’s Record Store Day Ambassador — Fred Armisen. The music was recorded and produced by Ty Segall at his Los Angeles studio. This vinyl offering comes with 3 songs on 1 side, and a custom artwork etching on the flip side. Find a store near you carrying this title by clicking here.

Having A Party: Sun Records Curated by Record Store Day, Volume 8

This limited-edition compilation LP was curated from the legendary Sun Record Company catalog and marks the 8th installment of the “Sun Records Curated by Record Store Day” series. The track listing for this compilation was carefully selected by the hard-working people in record stores to make the perfect dance party soundtrack. This Record Store Day 2021 exclusive release is limited to 3,000 copies worldwide. Find a store near you carrying this title here.

Mark Morrison’s Return Of The Mack Re-Issue

Last but definitely not least… On April 22, 1996, a relatively unknown Mark Morrison took the world by storm and released his debut album Return Of The Mack, which was also largely self-produced. The lead single (and title track) would go on to become one of the biggest songs of the 1990’s, topping the charts in the UK, across Europe and hitting #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 the following year. In celebration of its 25th year, the album has been reissued on limited-edition purple vinyl and as a 70-track digital deluxe version featuring 40 previously-unavailable remixes and rare versions. Videos from Morrison’s debut will be also restored in HD and released on his official YouTube channel weekly.

Earlier this year, Mark Morrison signed a multi-million dollar deal with Primary Wave. The new deal will see Morrison work closely with the team on his catalog, as well as in any new ventures. “Return of The Mack” has notably been the soundtrack to adverts from some of the world’s biggest brands, including Google, McDonalds and Uber Eats.

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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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