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    Vinyl Releases of the Week: August 24, 2011

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    While we don't get a vinyl option for the new Muppets tribute album, we do get one from another star, Jeff Bridges, as well as a Patti Smith best-of collection and the long lost third album from L.A. new wave band the Motels!

    Jeff Bridges - Jeff Bridges (Blue Note)
    We came to love his lazy, crazy ways in The Big Lebowski and appreciate his musical talent in Crazy Heart. Now the Academy Award-winning actor teams up with producer T-Bone Burnett (O Brother, Where Art Thou?; Crazy Heart) to record his major label debut. An intimate album of country and blues hymns, the record features guest vocals from Rosanne Cash, Ryan Bingham, Sam Phillips, and Benji Hughes, as well as songwriting from many of the same people behind the Crazy Heart soundtrack - not to mention a couple of Bridges originals.

    Patti Smith - Outside Society (Sony Legacy)
    Patti Smith's first career-spanning collection is presented here on 180-gram vinyl. Each disc of this double LP features nine re-mastered, chronologically-arranged tracks that take listeners through the most accessible and most challenging songs from the Godmother of Punk. All ten of Smith's studio albums are represented here, beginning with her magnificent 1975 debut, Horses ("Gloria," "Free Money"), and ending with her 2007 covers album, Twelve ("Smells Like Teen Spirit"). Includes track-by-track liner notes from Smith.

    Buddy Miller - Magic Silver Strings (New West)
    Limited-edition vinyl pressing of the acclaimed Americana artist's 2011 album. Magic Silver Strings features renowned guitarists Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, and Greg Leisz, as well as guest vocals from Miller's longtime cohorts Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, Lee Ann Womack, Ann McCrary, Chocolate Genius, and his wife Julie Miller. Together, this supergroup magnificently re-imagines classic country tunes.

    The Motels - Apocalypso (Omnivore)
    The '80s new wave band's long-lost third album! Originally recorded in 1981, Apocalypso was shelved by Capitol Records. The Motels would go back to the studio and return with a much slicker, more commercial (and not coincidentally, their best-selling) All Four One. Now 30 years later, the original version of that record is finally seeing the light of day.

    Whitesnake - Live at Donington 1990 (Frontiers)
    At long last, we see the Stateside release of this live album from the English rockers. Available as a triple vinyl LP, the album features the Whitesnake lineup of singer David Coverdale, guitarists Steve Vai and Adrian Vandenberg, bassist Rudy Sarzo, and drummer Tommy Aldridge during their unforgettable live performance at the UK festival on August 18, 1990.

    Eric Church
    - Chief (Capitol)
    The third album from the country sensation has already topped the Billboard Country Charts and debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200. It also finds Church pushing the creative envelope and earning the title of "trailblazer."

    Raekwon - Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang (Ice Water)
    Originally intended to be a new Wu-Tang album, Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang became the fifth solo album from Wu-Tang member Raekwon. Yet, it still features the usual Wu suspects Ghostface Killah and Method Man, as well as Black Thought, Nas, Lloyd Banks, Rick Ross, and Busta Rhymes.

    George Gruntz - Mental Cruelty Soundtrack (Sonorama)
    The hard-bop soundtrack to the 1960 Swiss film Mental Cruelty features pianist and composer George Gruntz accompanied by tenor/soprano saxophonist Barney Wilen, drummer Kenny "Klook" Clarke, bassist Karl Theodor Geier, trumpeter Raymond Court, and alto saxophonist Marcel Peeters. It was initially issued on Decca as a 10-inch EP, but quickly became an obscure collector's item after the musicians, who were only paid to do a film soundtrack not a recorded one, sued Decca and the record was immediately withdrawn. Thanks to Sonorama, the soundtrack is back on vinyl.

    Stephin Merritt - Obscurities (Merge)
    A collection of early, rare tracks from the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt. Includes songs from his unfinished sci-fi musical, "The Song from Venus," as well as a song he wrote for the audio book version of Neil Gaiman's Coraline.

    Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - Mirror Traffic (Matador)
    The fifth post-Pavement album from Stephen Malkmus was produced by Beck and is already being heralded as one of his finest.

    Zee Avi - Ghostbird (Republic)
    The sophomore album from the young Malaysian singer-songwriter known for her Billie Holiday-channeling, ukulele-based songs. Ghostbird began in Avi's Brooklyn kitchen, was finished in the silence of the Florida Everglades, and recorded in Jack Johnson's Solar-Powered Plastic Plant studio with producer Mario Caldato, Jr. (Beastie Boys, Bebel Gilberto).

    Darondo - Listen to My Songs: The Music City Sessions (Omnivore)
    Back in the early '70s, the soul-funk singer-songwriter Darondo released a few 45s, had a local hit with the song "Didn't I," then faded into obscurity. The recent discovery of his lost Music City master tapes, recorded between 1972 and 1974, reveals a goldmine of Bay Area street funk and soul grooves featuring Darondo at the top of his game.

    The George-Edwards Group - Archives (Drag City)
    A collection of never before released '70s and '80s psychedelia.

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