Music

The Best Vinyl Releases Of January 2021

Anybody who thought the vinyl resurgence was just a fad was mistaken: The industry has experienced a legitimate revival. As a result, music fans are interested in physical media in ways they may not have if the decades-old medium hasn’t made a comeback. That doesn’t mean everybody is listening to just their parents’ old music, though. That’s part of it, sure, thanks to rereleases that present classic albums in new ways. A vital part of the renewed vinyl wave, though, is new projects being released as records, of which there are plenty.

Whatever you might be into, each month brings a new slew of vinyl releases that has something for everybody. Some stand out above the rest, naturally, so check out the best vinyl releases of January below.

PJ Harvey — Is This Desire? and Is This Desire? Demos (Reissues)

UME/Island

If you’re a regular reader of this monthly round-up, you’ve fully aware that PJ Harvey has been re-releasing a lot of classic albums over the past few months. Well, there’s more where that came from here in January. This time, it’s her Grammy-nominated 1998 album Is This Desire, along with a collection of unreleased demos.

Get Is This Desire? here. Get Is This Desire? Demos here.

Bob Marley — Songs Of Freedom: The Island Years

Island

Bob Marley is the reflexive answer when anybody tries to think of a reggae artist, and this new vinyl collection is a terrific way to get some of the icon’s finest music on vinyl. The 6-LP release features some of his most memorable music (pressed on two red, two green, and two gold vinyl LPs), as well as rare tracks that are now available on vinyl for the first time outside of Jamaica.

Get it here.

The Mamas & The Papas — If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears (Reissue)

uDiscover Music/Sound Of Vinyl

The Mamas And The Papas delivered some of the finest pop-rock the 1960s had to offer, which is all the more impressive considering how much quality material of that ilk emerged from the decade. Now, the group’s stunning 1966 debut album If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears has gotten a new vinyl release, and here’s a surprising fact for those not familiar with the controversy that once surrounded the album: This reissue features the original art, including the toilet which was actually censored for the original release.

Get it here.

Rhye — Home

Loma Vista Recordings

Rhye just released his gorgeous new album this month, and it’s available in some equally beautiful vinyl editions. The signed double colored LP is understandably sold out as of this post, but that edition minus Rhye’s John Hancock is still up for grabs, as is a standard black vinyl for the traditionalists.

Get it here.

Killer Mike — R.A.P. Music (Vinyl Me, Please reissue)

Vinyl Me, Please

Run The Jewels has been one of the most beloved hip-hop duos of the past decade, but Killer Mike and El-P actually worked together before that. Their first full-album collaboration was Mike’s 2013 album R.A.P. Music, which El-P produced (and he features on “Butane (Champion’s Anthem)”). This Vinyl Me, Please version of the album comes with instrumental versions of all the album tracks.

Get it here.

John Prine — John Prine (Vinyl Me, Please reissue)

Vinyl Me, Please

Vinyl Me, Please always delivers, but their January offerings were especially stacked. Aside from the Killer Mike release, they also had John Prine’s self-titled album. The 1971 debut has been lovingly remastered from the original tapes and comes pressed on orange vinyl, an aesthetically lovely complement to the album art.

Get it here.

Dan Golding — Untitled Goose Game

iam8bit

Untitled Goose Game was one of the surprise video game hits of 2019, and that’s because every part of it was beautiful, from the clever gameplay to simple visual to thematically on-point music. The piano soundtrack is based on passages from Claude Debussy’s Préludes, Les collines d’Anacapri, and it’s now available to throw on your turntable while you cause mischief around the house.

Get it here.

Mariah Carey — Charmbracelet, E=MC², Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel, and Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse (Reissues)

Def Jam

Mariah Carey has been in the midst of a series of rereleases, and January brought a whole slew of them. The series actually concluded this month with a quartet of classics from the 2000s, an era that saw her continue her decades-long run of dominance with several top-5 albums, including her most recent chart-topper, 2008’s E=MC².

Get them here.

Azure Ray — Azure Ray (Reissue)

Flower Moon Records

Azure Ray was a defining act for Saddle Creek Records back in the early 2000s, but before that, the dream-pop duo released a pair of albums on Warm Electronic Recordings. The first was their self-titled debut, which turns 20 this year. To celebrate, here’s an exclusive rerelease (limited to just 100 copies), which includes a new 100-page photo book curated by the band that also features stories about the band’s history.

Get it here.

Buck Meek — Two Saviors

Keeled Scales

Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker highlighted 2020 with a pair of solo albums, and now it’s bandmate Buck Meek’s turn with his own effort. Multiple vinyl editions of the lovely album have sold out, but the “clear smoke” edition is perhaps the nicest of them all and it’s thankfully still available.

Get it here.

Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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