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  • Dave K. 8:00 pm on 2018/11/12 Permalink
    Tags: , bnstorefront-vinyl, , ,   

    10 Albums to Pick Up During Barnes & Noble’s Vinyl Weekend 

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    Vinyl Weekend is coming to Barnes & Noble! November 16–18, there will be tons of deals on vinyl and vinyl accessories at many Barnes & Noble locations (check with your local store), as well as dozens of new, exclusive albums for sale in store and online. Below is just a sampling of what we’ll have in the Vinyl Store, including albums from Cher, Josh Groban, Elle King, and Mumford & Sons, as well as classic film soundtracks. So mark it on your calendar and get your holiday shopping done early at Barnes & Noble!

    Bridges, by Josh Groban              
    Groban wrote Bridges right after spending a year on Broadway, as Pierre in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. Groban was clearly energized by his time onstage, and it helped to inspire a lovely, uplifting record. Along with songs like “Symphony,” “River,” and “Won’t Look Back,” Groban duets with Sarah McLachlan on “Run” and Andrea Bocelli on “We Will Meet Once Again.” He also delivers marvelous performances of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “S’il suffisait d’aimer,” a song originally written for Celine Dion.

    Love, by Michael Bublé
    Love, romantic and otherwise, is the cornerstone of the holiday season, and Bublé has devoted an entire album to songs about it. On this album, a perfect gift pick this holiday season, his song selections include Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose,” and two songs from the 1937 musical Babes in Arms: “My Funny Valentine” and “Where or When.”Bublé has two writing credits of his own on this album: “Forever Now,” and “Love You Anymore,” a song he cowrote with singer and YouTube star Charlie Puth.

    Dancing Queen, by Cher
    Following her appearance in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Cher has recorded an album of ABBA covers. Not only did Dancing Queen provide her highest debut sales week in the U.S., it also debuted at number one on the US Top Album Sales chart, a career first for the artist. What surprised us about this album is how long it took to happen; Cher and ABBA were made for each other, and Cher’s husky contralto voice breathes new life into songs like “SOS,” “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight),” “Fernando,” and of course the title track. Definitely pick this one up for the holidays—it’s perfect for parties.

    Delta, by Mumford & Sons              
    Marcus Mumford’s always been ambitious, but he had big plans for what he wanted Delta to accomplish. Recorded as a freewheeling, collaborative effort with as many as one hundred other musicians (not all of whom appear on the record), Delta draws on the core band’s shared exhaustion with touring and aims to be more introspective and reflective, but also has more musical elements (namely electronica and rap) than previous Mumford albums. There’s a lot going on with this record, and it’s a balancing act that the group handles with aplomb. Their lead single from this record, “Guiding Light,” is proof of that.

    Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert           
    Earlier this year NBC produced a live telecast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar, and now the Vinyl Store has that cast’s complete performance. While the musical is a classic, many haven’t heard much of it beyond hit song “Superstar,” and may be surprised by how funky these songs really are. “Heaven on Their Minds” has an explosive power, and that goes double for “Damned for All Time/Blood Money.” On the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, the show’s most tender ballad, “I Don’t Know to Love Him,” is sung beautifully by Sara Bareilles.

    Carousel Original Soundtrack             
    Once hailed by Time Magazine as the best musical of the 20th century, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel is indeed a classic, and we’re proud to offer it on vinyl. Even if you’re not a musical theater fanatic, you’re probably familiar with “If I Loved You,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over,” but the whole soundtrack is well worth your time. Hammerstein himself said that Carousel was the best show he ever wrote, and it’s easy to see why. The lush orchestration and clever lyrics throughout Carousel are timeless.

    Shake the Spirit, by Elle King                               
    Elle King’s second album is more musically curious than her debut, which makes sense; once she established it, it was only natural before an artist as talented as King would step outside her comfort zone . With her loud, soulful voice as a unifying element, King blends a soulful hard rock sound with 1960s spy movie balladry and old-school girl group swagger, and it all works. “Shame” and “Naturally Pretty Girls” occupy the rougher end of the spectrum, and “Good Thing Gone” calms things down a bit with a slower tempo and more vocal harmonies. Regardless of style, King never loses the smoky allure that makes her music so satisfying to listen to.

    Harry Potter Original Soundtracks by John Williams: The Sorcerer’s Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, and The Prisoner of Azkaban   
    The first three films in the Harry Potter film franchise—The Sorcerer’s Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, and The Prisoner of Azkaban—were scored by acclaimed film composer John Williams, and now the original soundtracks of all three are on sale in our Vinyl Store! Williams’ work is already known for its versatility, and these soundtracks gave him (and the London Symphony Orchestra) a lot of room to swing between whimsy, discovery, gloom, and tension. And, as expected, his character pieces are immediately recognizable.

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Original Soundtrack 
    While John Williams composed the first three Harry Potter film soundtracks, schedule conflicts prevented him from continuing the work. The reins for the fourth film in the Harry Potter series were passed to Scottish composer Patrick Doyle, a regular collaborator with Kenneth Branagh who proved himself very capable of stepping into Williams’ shoes. He and the London Symphony Orchestra contributed new major themes to the franchise, including the chilling, intense “Voldemort” and the surprisingly moving “Death of Cedric,” which has become an emotional touchstone for Potterheads.

    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Original Soundtrack 
    The Harry Potter film series switched directors again for the fifth installment, as composer Nicholas Hooper stepped in, recording this soundtrack at the legendary Abbey Road Studio in London. Hooper’s contributions to the Harry Potter soundscape include specific themes representing Dolores Umbridge and the possession of Harry’s mind by Lord Voldemort, as well as the use of a Japanese Taiko drum to liven up the percussion. Hooper’s decision to emulate John Williams’ work as little as possible makes this film score a unique, and excellent, part of the Potterverse, and one well worth picking up on vinyl.

    The post 10 Albums to Pick Up During Barnes & Noble’s Vinyl Weekend appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Dave K. 2:00 pm on 2018/09/04 Permalink
    Tags: , bnstorefront-vinyl, easy listening, ,   

    The Best New Vinyl to Spin This September 

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    Summer’s winding to a close and the weather is (eventually) cooling down, but our vinyl selection is just heating up! A lot of collector’s edition vinyl is hitting the Vinyl Store’s shelves in September, including exclusive colored vinyl pressings of new albums by Paul Simon and Paul McCartney and a special pressing of Joan Baez’s 1960 debut. In addition, we have new records coming in from Carrie Underwood, Willie Nelson, and much more! Keep checking back every month to see what’s new at Barnes & Noble’s Vinyl Store.

    Cry Pretty, by Carrie Underwood 
    Cry Pretty is Carrie Underwood’s sixth album, but it’s very much an album of firsts: it’s her first album with Capitol Records Nashville, and her first time coproducing an album. Her performance of the album’s title track at this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards received much critical praise and topped the Digital Songs chart the week it was released, another first for Underwood. So yeah, she’s gotta be feeling pretty good about this record’s potential, and we don’t blame her. “Cry Pretty” is a soulful, dynamic song about not being able to hide one’s emotions forever, and it sets the stage for what’s sure to be Carrie’s best record yet.

    My Way, by Willie Nelson 
    It’s hard to imagine two people as different as Frank Sinatra and Willie Nelson being friends, but they shared a mutual respect and admiration Willie expresses on My Way, his new album of Sinatra covers. As it turns out, Nelson’s freewheeling vocal delivery is a great fit for these songs, proving the pliancy of the Great American Songbook; no matter who sings them, or how, they still resonate. “Summer Wind” is particularly well-suited to Nelson’s playful singing style, and the unashamed, confident lyrics of “My Way” apply to him perhaps even more than Sinatra. Nelson also duets with Norah Jones on “What Is This Thing Called Love?” in a fantastic pairing.

    Joan Baez, by Joan Baez 
    There aren’t a lot of debut albums preserved by the Library of Congress, so that should tell you something about Joan Baez’s first record, pressed onto red vinyl as a Barnes & Noble exclusive. Released in 1960, it gave the era’s burgeoning folk revival a major shot in the arm; not only was Joan decades younger than most other female folkies at that time, she had an incredible soprano voice that, frankly, blew everyone else out of the water. The pitch and vocal clarity of “Silver Dagger” and “Little Moses” are unreal, and her take on “House of the Rising Sun” might be the best of all time.

    Chicago Plays The Stones
    Modern Chicago blues musicians take on the Rolling Stones on this unique album, which demonstrates how much the Stones’ music took from, and gave back to, the blues community. Chicago-based blues troupe The Living History Band play twelve Stones songs recomposed in classic Chicago blues fashion, meaning there’s plenty of harmonica, muddy guitars, and roadhouse bump ‘n’ grind tempos to be found here. Buddy Guy duets with Mick Jagger on “Heartbreaker,” while Keith Richards pairs up with Jimmy Burns for “Beast of Burden.” Billy Branch’s smooth, seductive cover of “Sympathy for the Devil” is this album’s highlight, and proves the true versatility of blues music.

    In the Blue Light, by Paul Simon 
    Pressed onto blue vinyl as a Barnes & Noble exclusive, In the Blue Light revisits ten of Simon’s favorite songs from his 50-year career. Not only does Simon revisit these songs, he rewrites them, freshening up the compositions and arrangements with the help of chamber ensemble yMusic, the National’s Bryce Dessner, and jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, among others. With help like that, making a great album looks pretty easy, and Simon makes it seem even easier: every track on this record succeeds. Our personal favorites are his new takes on “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor,” “René and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War,” and “Some Folks’ Lives Roll Easy.”

    Egypt Station, by Paul McCartney 
    Named after one of his own paintings, Egypt Station is Sir Paul’s first album of new music in five years, and is being sold on red vinyl exclusively through Barnes & Noble. Wanting to make an album with a cohesive feel, McCartney (and producers Ryan Tedder and Greg Kurstin) modeled Egypt Station after a long but pleasant train journey, with many unique stops along the way to a specific destination. There are ballads (“I Don’t Know”) and meditative acoustic numbers (“Happy With You”) alongside the kind of pop-rock McCartney is famous for (“Come on to Me,” “People Want Peace”), before ending on the adventurous, multi-movement “Despite Repeated Warnings.”

    Love is Here to Stay, by Tony Bennett & Diana Krall 
    Tony Bennett seems determined to release an album with everyone on Earth, and his latest project is a collaboration with Diana Krall; together, they sing the music of the Gershwins on Love Is Here to Stay. Pressed onto opaque red vinyl as a collector’s item sold exclusively through Barnes & Noble, this album has solo tracks from both Bennett and Krall, but the duets are where Love Is Here to Stay really shines. In particular, “S’Wonderful,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me, “My One and Only,” and “I’ve Got A Crush on You” are outstanding. “Fascinating Rhythm” is another standout, and was also the song that began Bennett’s career in the first place.

    The post The Best New Vinyl to Spin This September appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Dave K. 4:45 pm on 2018/07/10 Permalink
    Tags: , bnstorefront-vinyl, , , ,   

    Join Us July 13–15 for Vinyl Weekend at B&N Stores! 

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    It’s July, which means one thing for vinyl collectors: Vinyl Weekend at Barnes & Noble! And this year’s vinyl haul is a doozy, with plenty of collector’s exclusives you’ll find only at B&N, including colored vinyl, limited edition cover art, and other perks. Be sure to stop by your local B&N for great records and great deals, including 10% off all vinyl, in store and online; 30% off select vinyl; and, to make sure you’re listening in style, 50% Off Crosley T150A-CG turntable and speakers. Below, check out a ten-album sampling of what we’re offering this year—exclusive pressings included—and don’t miss your chance to participate in two sweepstakes sponsored by Sony Music Studios: enter for a chance to win an autographed Buddy Guy standard Stratocaster, or a Leon Bridges autographed Epiphone Sheraton!*

    In the Heights, by Lin-Manuel Miranda
    Hamilton fans might not know about In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2008 musical about Hispanic Americans living in NYC’s Washington Heights neighborhood, but they should. As in Hamilton, hip-hop is the dominant musical influence here, but there’s a lot of salsa music and Latin pop in the mix, too. The resulting blend of styles makes for a lively, enthusiastic Broadway offering that can be seen, in some ways, as preparation for Hamilton, diversifying what musical theater could be onstage, who could write it, and how it’s performed. Barnes & Noble is the only place you can purchase this vinyl.

    Back Roads and Abandoned Motels, by The Jayhawks
    The Jayhawks are one of the most quietly influential bands in the history of American music; their alternative country-rock sound was decades ahead of its time, and their influence can be heard everywhere in both country and alternative rock today. Their new album, Back Roads and Abandoned Motels, is available on a gorgeous orange vinyl pressing exclusively through Barnes &Noble. We can’t prove that the orange makes it sound better, but we’re pretty sure it does.

    Anthem of the Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, by The Grateful Dead
    Five decades after its initial release, Anthem of the Sun—the first Grateful Dead record to feature Mickey Hart on drums—remains a classic, and this exclusive vinyl release is a must-have for deadheads with a turntable. Fully remastered, the vinyl perfectly captures the unique mix of the album, which famously combined studio and live recordings to form a hybrid mix that’s neither entirely a studio or live affair. The end result is one of the most unique recordings from one of the most unique bands of all time—and this exclusive vinyl issue, in a fiery yellow-orange swirl, is the perfect way to discover or rediscover it.

    Rush of Blood to the Head, by Coldplay
    Coldplay’s second album, containing classic tracks “The Scientist” and “Clocks,” won the 2003 Grammy for Best Alternative Album. The leap forward the band displays on this record is remarkable—the arrangements, instrumentation, and lyrics are all more complex and more lush. This exclusive white vinyl pressing is only available at Barnes & Noble, and the classic format is ideal for enjoying Coldplay’s best work.

    Heathen, by David Bowie
    In 2002 Heathen became Bowie’s most successful album in over a decade. In the wake of Bowie’s death the album’s reputation has only grown, and this exclusive vinyl reissue is a triple record affair with a startling tri-fold cover and black, white, and grayplatters inside. Bowie was as much a visual artist as a musical one, and these colored records match the design and packaging of the album perfectly, making it an absolute necessity for the Bowie fan and collector.

    Top Pop, Vol. 1, by Pentatonix
    Nobody does a cappella like Pentatonix; their hip twists to the classic instrument-free style have made them among the most recognizable performers in the genre. Their sixth album is stacked with must-have cover versions of songs by Bruno Mars, Camila Cabello, Ed Sheeran, and Demi Lovato—just to name a few—and the B&N exclusive red vinyl pressing makes this the perfect party record that makes a statement the moment you pull it from its sleeve.

    All Aboard the Blue Train, by Johnny Cash
    Originally released in 1962, All Aboard the Blue Train was Cash’s fourteenth studio album, re-pressed on smoky blue/gray vinyl exclusively for Barnes & Noble. This album is best known for “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Wreck of the Old ’97,” which have become synonymous with Cash, but there’s so much more here than those two songs. For one thing, Cash’s take on Leadbelly’s “Rock Island Line” is fantastic—Cash’s voice and preferred tempo were perfect for songs about trains. “Hey, Porter” is another underrated classic Cash performance, and “There You Go” puts his mournful, bass-baritone voice to work in a song about heartbreak. This album is available in blue/gray smoke vinyl only at B&N.

    Road House Original Soundtrack
    A quintessentially American cult film, and one of Patrick Swayze’s most iconic roles, Road House is a must for collectors of 1980s action film soundtrack. It’s just as fun and rough-edged as the movie itself, with multiple blues-rock contributions from the late Jeff Healey (who played Cody in the movie). Healey’s band recorded covers of “Roadhouse Blues,” “I’m Tore Down,” “When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky,” and “Hoochie Coochie Man” for the film, which also includes Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine” and Bob Seger covering “Blue Monday.” Buy it from Barnes & Noble and get it pressed on neon blue vinyl, which you won’t find at other retailers.

    The Greatest Showman Original Soundtrack
    This is a re-press of B&N’s exclusive blue vinyl edition of the thrilling, energetic soundtrack, back by popular demand. The beloved musical about P.T. Barnum is buoyed by an impressive cast, highlighting the vocal talents of Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, and Zendaya.

    Boys & Girls, by Alabama Shakes
    Originally released in 2012, Boys & Girls is the Alabama Shakes’ debut album, and was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as blues rock “minus any affectation, histrionics or irony.” Get your copy from B&N for an exclusive pressing in pink and blue split vinyl. The band’s soulful, Muscle Shoals–influenced instrumentation meets Brittany Howard’s Zeppelin- and Bowie-influenced vocals to create music that can be loud (“Hold On”) or quiet (“On Your Way”) with equal intensity. And either way, this album is funky; “I Ain’t The Same” and “Hang Loose” could have been Stax releases fifty years ago.

    Drop the Needle: Best of Ray Charles, by Ray Charles
    What can you say about Ray Charles that hasn’t already been said? The man pioneered a fusion of rhythm and blues, stride piano, gospel music, and pop that still resonates in American music today, and was hailed by Frank Sinatra as “the only true genius in show business.” Not bad. And unlike most geniuses, Charles’ artistic output was very accessible, in part because he was such a versatile musician. He could perform slow, sentimental ballads (“Georgia On My Mind”), happy songs (“Hallelujah I Love Her So”), and songs about getting kicked out of relationships (“Hit the Road, Jack”) with equal commitment and skill. Pick this record up exclusively from Barnes & Noble.

    *The Buddy Guy and Leon Bridges sweepstakes are open July 9–31. Barnes & Noble is neither a sponsor nor co-sponsor of the sweepstakes.

    The post Join Us July 13–15 for Vinyl Weekend at B&N Stores! appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Dave K. 5:00 pm on 2018/06/08 Permalink
    Tags: , bnstorefront-vinyl, , ,   

    The Best New Vinyl to Spin This June 

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    June is a big month over here at Barnes & Noble’s Vinyl Store. Not only do we have new records from Father John Misty and blues legend Buddy Guy coming in, we’ve also got the first new studio albums from Panic! at the Disco and Dave Matthews Band in years. Whether you’re a new fan of these artists, or just getting started on a vinyl collection, these albums will sound great on your turntable and look good on your shelf.

    God’s Favorite Customer, by Father John Misty 
    The ever-eccentric Father John Misty’s newest album, God’s Favorite Customer, is a more personal and less conceptual album than his previous output. Misty also promises “sprightly” tempos on this record, which he produced himself and wrote during a six-week rough patch when he was living in a hotel. One can sense that heartache in songs like the ballad “Just Dumb Enough to Try,” a heartfelt and moving (if not exactly sprightly) piano-driven affair with a buzzing synth solo. “Mr. Tillman,” meanwhile, is a much cheekier song that shows off Misty’s impressive storytelling instincts as a lyricist.

    The Blues Is Alive and Well, by Buddy Guy 
    Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy’s follow-up to his 2015 album, the excellent Born to Play Guitar, will be a star-studded effort. Guy recruited singer James Bay as a guest on the track “Blue No More,” rock legends and blues aficionados Keith Richards and Jeff Beck appear on “Cognac,” and none other than Mick Jagger appears on “You Did the Crime” as a guest vocalist. Just based on all that, The Blues Is Alive and Well will be the coolest record on your shelf this year. Plus, it’s neat seeing some of the musicians directly influenced by Guy coming back to collaborate with him.

    Pray for the Wicked, by Panic! at the Disco 
    Pray for the Wicked is Panic! at the Disco’s sixth studio album, and it’s a real firecracker. Vocalist Brendon Urie is in fine form here, hitting insane high notes on “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” and the surprisingly cheerful “(F— A) Silver Lining.” Urie, who spent part of 2017 on Broadway as a lead in Kinky Boots, wrote this album as a thank you to his fans, and that revved-up energy is present in both of the aforementioned songs. The band’s lyrical content has stepped up, too. In particular, Urie’s lyrics for “Say Amen” are really clever, detailing a night of rock ‘n’ roll debauchery using mostly religious allegories.

    Come Tomorrow, by Dave Matthews Band
    Amazingly, this is the first proper studio album Dave Matthews Band has released since 2012, and it follows the somewhat controversial absence of fiddler Boyd Tinsley. If you’re one of the DMB fans who was upset about Tinsley’s hiatus from the band, don’t worry, this album more than meets the standard set by previous output. In fact, some songs exceed it. “Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin),” named after a cult film starring Robert Z’Dar, is a heaving, emotional track, whereas “Can’t Stop” has a greasy blues guitar lead. Also, one of the producers has revealed that late woodwind player LeRoi Moore was able to contribute to this record.

    The post The Best New Vinyl to Spin This June appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Dave K. 4:00 pm on 2018/05/01 Permalink
    Tags: , bnstorefront-vinyl, , ,   

    The Best New Vinyl to Spin This May 

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    All those April showers are flooding Barnes & Noble’s Vinyl Store with must-listen May records, including new albums from Beach House, Arctic Monkeys, Courtney Barnett, and Ray LaMontagne, a B&N exclusive collector’s edition of Leon Bridges Good Thing, and Kendrick Lamar’s curated Black Panther soundtrack. Welcome the incoming warmth and sunshine by adding some new vinyl to your collection!

    Good Thing, by Leon Bridges
    Leon Bridges’ vintage R&B sound and look are a welcome addition to 2018’s pop music landscape, and Good Thing proves that, as much as Bridges has studied the past, he’s not merely a retro act. His voice is impeccably smooth, carrying emotion without sounding corny or forced. And he doesn’t just sing ballads, either. “Bad Bad News” is a playful, uptempo track that contrasts nicely with slow jams like “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand” and “Beyond.” In fact, the central pleasure of this album is how it blends classic R&B with slicker, 1990s R&B and modern production, resulting in an album both purists and casual listeners will enjoy.

    Black Panther: The Album [Music from and Inspired By]
    When the news broke that Kendrick Lamar (who has since won a Pulitzer) was curating the soundtrack for groundbreaking superhero film Black Panther, expectations were high. To say that Lamar delivered would be an understatement—the album he put together is as unique and exceptional as the movie itself, bringing another facet of black representation to the superhero film genre. Lamar’s taste is impeccable; along with his own contributions, he brought in 2 Chainz, the Weeknd, SZA, Future, and Schoolboy Q to collaborate with him, and that’s not even the full list of artists on this record. Add this to your collection, pronto.

    7, by Beach House
    Baltimore dream pop duo Beach House treats us all to another slab of mesmerizing, gently psychedelic indie rock with 7, having freshened up their production and songwriting methods. The two spent more time in the studio for this album, and didn’t limit their songs to what they could necessarily replicate onstage, so their sound is thicker here than in previous outings. But don’t worry, the hallucinatory vibes we’ve come to love from them is still present; “Lemon Glow” and “Dive” should settle any worries that Beach House is changing too much. Rather, as “Dark Spring” proves, they’re simply improving.

    Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino, by Arctic Monkeys
    Arctic Monkeys might be bonafide rock stars, but that doesn’t mean they’ve forsaken their indie rock spirit of audacity. Their upcoming record, Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino, will not be preceded by any singles beyond a brief YouTube teaser of its contents. What we know so far is that it’s set to be a piano-centric, science fiction concept album—the album’s name references the site of the 1969 moon landing—and that it’s inspired by a wide-ranging selection of music. Frontman Alex Turner has cited Nina Simone, the Three Degrees, Serge Gainsbourg, Dion, and Leonard Cohen as influences on this record. In other words, we can’t wait to listen to this one.

    Tell Me How You Really Feel, by Courtney Barnett
    Courtney Barnett’s third studio album continues the grungy, low-key psychedelic sound of her previous two albums, with occasional pop flourishes and special guest appearances by both Kim and Kelly Deal. Barnett’s songwriting and vocals are catchy in a relaxed, easygoing kind of way, best exemplified on this album by “Need a Little Time” and “City Looks Pretty.” When the energy does lift, as it does in “Nameless, Faceless,” it catches the listener by surprise. Still, it’s a mistake to write off Barnett’s as slacker music—her lyrics (and many of her song titles) betray a sly wit that gets sharper and more fun to listen to with each record.

    Part of the Light, by Ray LaMontagne
    Ray LaMontagne’s upcoming seventh album was not just written by him, but produced by him as well. Giving someone complete creative control over an album can go one of two very different ways, but LaMontagne is disciplined enough in his vision (and reclusive enough to avoid promotional distractions) that this record will be a joy. The lead single, “Such A Simple Thing,” is a great piece of folk music, simple and earnestly performed with a Stephen Stills/Neil Young vibe to it. He’s also been performing “To the Sea,” which has an irresistible, choppy guitar melody, at live shows, leaving fans eager to hear how it will sound recorded in studio.

    The post The Best New Vinyl to Spin This May appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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