From Laufey to Kapitan Kulam: Here’s some recent must-haves on vinyl

Joey Salgado

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From Laufey to Kapitan Kulam: Here’s some recent must-haves on vinyl
Kapitan Kulam's 'Blunt Instrument' is a post-apocalyptic, feedback-saturated descent to madness, a vomit-inducing tour of the seven circles of hell that was the Duterte regime
Laufey,  A Night at the Symphony (AWAL)

For this year’s Record Store Day (RSD), former TikTok sensation and now Grammy winner Laufey released on vinyl her 2022 live recording with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. 

Given her worldwide fanbase, the album has become one of RSD’s much-anticipated releases. (Record Store Day, usually held on the third Sunday of April, started in 2007 as a way of helping independent record stores. Today, it’s a much-awaited and much-hyped worldwide event where major labels and artists unload limited editions of rarities, live concerts, picture discs, and just about anything in their vaults to an enthusiastic audience with fat wallets.)

“The night was magical and this performance was more than a recording of my songs,” Laufey writes in the liner notes. “It’s a living journal of my life. Each note and crescendo mirrored my experiences, transforming my songs into a sonic autobiography.”  

Laufey has been credited for making jazz standards cool to a new generation. Her love for jazz provides interesting textures to her original works and A Night at the Symphony validates her bold musical directions. With her songs arranged for orchestra, the performance highlights Laufey’s vocal and compositional skills, and adeptness at piano, guitar, and cello.   

Here’s the catch: only 4,200 copies of A Night at the Symphony were pressed. If you weren’t able to get a copy last April, you might need to hunt for one on the secondary market where the album is being sold for as high as $101.  Then again, that’s what fandom is all about.

Kapitan Kulam, Blunt Instrument (Terno Recording)

On Blunt Instrument, the usually voluble Lourd de Veyra – poet, author, painter, media personality, and former leader of the jazz-spoken word collective Radioactive Sago Project – lets his guitar do all the talking. But his guitar doesn’t just talk. It spits, snarls, and wails. 

The album is a post-apocalyptic, feedback-saturated descent to madness, a vomit-inducing tour of the seven circles of hell that was the Duterte regime. 

Listening to the album leaves one feeling bludgeoned and cut a thousand ways, the smell of gunpowder lingering in the air. Blunt Instrument is the sonic version of Patricia Evangelista’s Some People Need Killing channeled through a distortion pedal.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Fu##in’ Up (Reprise Records)

Fu##in’ Up is another RSD 2024 release from Neil Young and his longtime backing band Crazy Horse. A warning for the casual Young fans, though. This is not the acoustic folkie of Heart and Gold and Harvest from the early ’70s. This is Neil Young the noisemaker, the godfather of grunge in the ’90s, backed by probably the loudest, gnarliest band on the planet.  

The album was recorded live at a private gig in 2023, with Young and his band performing almost all the songs from Ragged Glory, the extremely loud and distortion-laden follow up to Freedom released in 1990.

The performance is endearingly raw and rambling, which is to say it’s just another Young and Crazy Horse ride. And at 78, old man Young still exudes the kinetic energy that made his live recordings with Crazy Horse compelling.

Various Artists, Homegrown (The Grey Market/Backspacer Records)

Compilation albums can be tricky. A-listers and D-listers are usually crammed together on two sides of the record. When this happens, you would wish that a turntable had a skip button. But when they work, compilations can give the listener a snapshot of creativity. The bonus: hearing previously unreleased songs that speak loudly about an artists’ intent or vision.  

Homegrown is a compilation album containing previously unreleased tracks from a mixed bag of outstanding Filipino indie rock musicians. Namecheck: 7-Foot Junior, Color It Red, Vagabonds, Milagros Dancehall Collective, Happy Analogues, Rod Mijares Combo, Session Road, CoffeeBreak Island, Scarlet Gum, The Spills, Plaster of Paris, and Neighbors. 

Lots of quirky, funky, grooving music here. Throw in Gloc-9 jamming with Color it Red and Ely Buendia singing with the Vagabonds on a country-twinged track ala Flying Burrito Brothers and Gram Parsons and you’ve got a keeper.

Johnoy Danao, Dapithapon (Backspacer Records)

Before embarking on a solo career, Johnoy Danao was the vocalist for alternative band Bridge and Kakoy and Johnoy, with guitarist Kakoy Legaspi. The duo built a regular following at 70s Bistro with their left field take on folk-rock and indie rock hits. 

Danao released his first solo album, “Dapithapon” in 2010. Fourteen years after, the album has been released on vinyl courtesy of Backspacer Records. The remastering by Shinji Tanaka adds greater clarity to Danao’s voice, highlighting its quivering fragility. The remastered version of “Ikaw at Ako” leaves the listener anticipating a voice that could break anytime from sincerity. And it doesn’t. –

Joey Salgado is a former journalist, and a government and political communications practitioner. He served as spokesperson for former Vice President Jejomar Binay.

This was first published in ourbrew

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