In case you hadn’t heard, vinyl is not just for old people looking to relive the glory days. We have the retro-crazed hipsters to thank for vinyl’s revival. Although the hipster movement may be looking at its twilight, vinyl records are far from their demise. Today’s artists are proof of that. Below are ten modern artists that sound amazing on vinyl. So put the needle on the record and enjoy.
Father John Misty
The ex-Fleet Foxes’ drummer released Fear Fun back in 2012 and the rest has been ear candy. His latest release, Pure Comedy is a throwback to Elton John’s Madman Across the Water and conjures musical images of Leonard Cohen and Randy Newman.
And speaking of new releases, Leela James just put out a new record entitled, Did It for Love. All the heavy-hitting influences are intact: Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, and Tina Turner (probably Khan more than the others). Leela James takes modern soul to the next level, however, by not bowing entirely to the divas of the past. Coming across more like Mary J. Blige than Tina Turner, James’ voice jumps off the record and grabs ahold of you from start to finish. Her songs are genuine and soft, but not watered-down. She knows when to pull back and when to surge forward. The result is time-tested music that you’ll come back to time and again.
Forget you ever heard “Pompeii”. Everybody needs a hit to get things rolling, after all. Bastille delivers music that jumps off the record player and into your psyche. Dan Smith sings compelling well-produced songs that are full of lush arrangements and sonic drums.
Do yourself a favor. Pull out the record, For True, skip to track 11, “Big 12”, and then prepare to be entertained. Hailing from the Big Easy, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews delivers some of the most ear-tingling modern jazz grooves this side of Willie’s Fried Chicken. Shorty mixes traditional jazz with funk, R&B, soul, and even a little hip-hop for good measure. The bad news is Trombone Shorty hasn’t released a new album since 2013’s, “Say That to Say This”. The good news is you don’t have to wait any longer. The highly anticipated forthcoming “Parking Lot Symphony” is due out April 28th. Clean your needle.
Their new album Relaxer is due to be released in June of this year. They’re embarking on a new tour that will launch in the same month. Their fan base is growing exponentially. Alt-J combines Peter Gabriel’s simple yet infectious rhythms and melodies with Radiohead’s dark progressive mood music. They’re one of the freshest most original bands in all of modern music.
If you have an old beat up record player on your back porch overlooking a cotton field in Georgia, then Colter Wall’s self-titled debut should be your go-to album. After that, put on Imaginary Appalachia and give it a spin. After that, throw some bacon on the skillet, toss some biscuits in the oven, and pull out the goat’s milk from the back of the fridge. Later on that evening, shove some fresh chew from the pouch in between the cheek and gums and enjoy a shot of your favorite peach moonshine. ‘Nuff said.
And now for something completely different. If you prefer to acquire your taste, then San Fermin is a band worth looking into. Yes, they’re indie pop…but not really. Ellis Ludwig-Leone’s bizarre arrangements include horn sections, off-the-cuff percussion, bells, vibraphones, random items, lead vocals in the bass register (think Crash Test Dummies), and wispy female vocals. The music is all over the place, and that’s what makes it interesting.
The Wild Reeds
Ever since the Appalachian-folk revival began a decade ago, numerous artists have either emerged from the hollers of Kentucky and Tennessee or have embarked on a pilgrimage to the hallowed ground. Whether that’s a literal or musically figurative statement matters not. L.A.-based The Wild Reeds continue the neo-mountain tradition with their brand of saloon sloshed indie folk tunes that that lift off the record with warmth and honesty.
Split seconds after the initial crackle and pop hits on the vinyl, the chords from the only rock ‘n’ roll ensemble on this list will come blaring out. And, yes, you’ll jump around. White Reaper is refreshingly rock. They’re proof that the genre hasn’t given up the ghost quite yet. The garage punk trio from Louisville, Kentucky delivers raucous and rowdy punk music that’s somewhere between early Beatles, early Cheap Trick, and the Sex Pistols. If you’re a fan of the Black Lips and Jay Reatard, you’ll love this band! (Don’t worry, we won’t use the ‘turn it up to 11’ spiel…but you should.)
Andrew Combs is from Nashville, but you’d swear he hails from Indiana. He blends indie pop with classic Americana but leans more towards the latter. There’s nothing distinctive about Combs’ vocals. You got to give it up, however, for his uber-focused and poignant songwriting. The tunage is perfect for a sunny Saturday afternoon.
To experience these amazing artists with a true vinyl experience check out the Electrohome line of record players.