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    Vinyl Releases of the Week: May 30, 2012

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    After the surprise reunion of  its predecessor At the Drive-In, the Mars Volta is back with a new album! There is also new music this week from Sigur Ros, the Cranberries, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, as well as a stack of early Pulp reissues. Crate diggers and beat junkies should also keep an eye out for the Funky Delicacies reissues, gathering rare and unreleased funk and soul treasures from New York, New Orleans, and Detroit.

    Sigur Ros Valtari (XL Recordings)
    The new album from the otherworldly Icelandic band whose music NPR called “engrossingly strange but always accessibly pretty.” Full of expansive soundscapes, this double LP is no different – indescribably gorgeous, moody, slow-paced, and rewarding.

    Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic ZerosHere (Community Music)
    After waking up the inner flower child inside us all with their phenomenal debut, Up from Below, the indie-folk collective is back with a more mellow second album of cozy, hippy-dippy, roots-rock jams.

    The Mars VoltaNoctourniquet (Rodriguez Lopez Productions)
    The Mars Volta’s sixth album has been called “a welcome oddity in the Mars Volta catalog” and also the (insane) prog-rock band’s most balanced and accessible record to date (fancy that!). And this most recent odyssey is presented as a double 12-inch opaque blue and orange vinyl in a wide-spine jacket with two full color 3D inner sleeves and 3D glasses.

    Pulp It, Freaks, Separations (Fire Records)
    It’s a fine day for Brit pop thanks to these three early Pulp reissues from Fire Records. It is Pulp’s 1983 debut, a mainly acoustic album that bears the influence of Scott Walker and Leonard Cohen. 1987’s dark and electronic Freaks is being reissued as a special double LP packaged with singles and B-sides from the era. And last but not least, 1992’s Separations is reissued here with unreleased bonus material.

    The Cranberries Roses (Downtown Records)
    The Irish alt-rockers who dominated the charts in the ‘90s with hits like “Linger,” “Dreams,” and “Zombie” are back with their first studio album in 11 years! Roses features all four of the band’s original members and picks up where they left off. Produced by Stephen Street (the Smiths, Blur).

    The DamnedMachine Gun Etiquette (Drastic Plastic Records)
    Limited-edition vinyl reissue of this defining post-punk album by the seminal English punk band, originally released in 1979. Available on opaque blue vinyl or 180-gram black vinyl.

    Saint EtienneWords and Music by Saint Etienne (Universal UK Import)
    The British indie dance-pop trio that celebrated classic ‘60s pop in the context of early ‘90s post-acid house England is back with its first album of new music in seven years. Poignantly, Words and Music is an album about how music affects us.

    Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers Drum Suite (Music on Vinyl Import)
    This 1956 recording from the influential jazz drummer begs to be rediscovered on 180-gram audiophile vinyl. Blending African, Latin, and hard-bop rhythms, it prefigures Afro-beat by a decade, and the three parts of the drum suite were astoundingly recorded straight through live. Groundbreaking then and just as vital now.

    Nina SimonePastel Blues (Music on Vinyl Import)
    1956 album from one of the 20th century’s best blues singers. Pastel Blues features brilliant reinterpretations of Billy Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” and Bessie Smith’s “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out,” the traditional spiritual “Sinnerman” (one of Simone’s most popular recordings), and the a cappella “Be My Husband.” 180-gram audiophile vinyl.

    Joe Cocker Sheffield Steel (Music on Vinyl Import)
    180-gram reissue of the 1982 album that put Joe Cocker back on the map. Recorded in the Bahamas, Sheffield Steel is a slow-cooking mix of island grooves courtesy of the Compass Point All-Stars and well-done covers (Bob Dylan’s “Seven Days,” Randy Newman’s “Marie,” Steve Winwood’s “Talking Back to the Night,” Jimmy Webb’s “Just Like Always” and Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross”).

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