Vinyl

Sales of vinyl records are on pace to outsell CDs. Listening to the warm sounds of analog are a balm for life during a pandemic. (Photo by Suzanne Cheavens/Telluride Daily Planet)

Vinyl is back, but for a quite a few collectors of music who prefer to “spin the black circle,” as Pearl Jam sings, it never really went away. Pandemic be damned, sales of vinyl remain strong. In fact, vinyl record sales are on pace to outsell CDs. Music, after all, heals, and there is nothing quite like the warm analog sound that a well-mastered slab of vinyl produces.

Telluride Music’s Warren Gilbreath could probably talk music for as many hours as there are in a day, and given the number of artists that are releasing fresh wax, even in the midst of a pandemic — or maybe because of — there are no shortage of titles he’s digging. 

In fact, he’s already picked his top record of 2020, and it’s only just past the halfway point of what has been a challenging year. Fiona Apple’s latest, “Fetch the Bolt Cutters,” has risen to the top of his list.

“It’s got this cool, disjointed feel that’s very powerful, very political,” he said. Comparing Apple’s new record with Tom Waits’ more recent work, he has paired the two in his mind’s eye.

“They should be collaborating,” he said. “He works with these ‘found sounds’ that she does on this record. I was blown away.”

Place that one in the shopping cart.

Gilbreath is also crazy about Goat Rodeo’s latest, “Not Our First Goat Rodeo,” the second effort from the instrumentalist supergroup of Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile.

“These guys are all the greatest at their respective instruments,” Gilbreath said. “This is more of what I’d like to see from Thile. This record totally captured my attention. It’s just phenomenal.”

Gilbreath and his Telluride Music cohort, Tom Nading, send out occasional emails to a curated list of local vinyl afficianados that feature riffs on new releases, items new to the shop, and beloved reissues, such as The Presidents of the United States of America first album, a staple of hip indie rock collectors in 1995. Gilbreath remembers sitting in class in a hoodie  — hood up — so he could clandestinely listen to that album on repeat.

Some performers just can’t stop working and putting out new music. Bob Dylan’s latest, “Rough and Rowdy Ways,” features the song “Murder Most Foul,” a 17-minute masterpiece The Guardian calls a “dark, dense ballad.” 

Another 1990s artist that has re-emerged with a vengeance is Alanis Morrisette. "Such Pretty Forks in the Road" features, according to the Associated  Press, piano, angst and the voice.

“Postpartum depression, check. Management embezzlement, check. Music industry fatigue, check. Joy of motherhood, check,” writes reviewer Cristina Jaleru. “Morissette's creative companion, the piano, takes us on a journey that's sometimes dramatic, sometimes somber, sometimes playful, sometimes wistful. But it's the electric guitar riffs that add a sheen of nostalgia.”

Who can relate to angst? Check.

Fans of the progressive rock band, Yes, will be  pleased to know that one of the English band’s most  captivating guitarists, Steve Howe, has released a new solo album, “Love Is.” 

According to AP reviewer, Pablo Gorondi, there are echoes of his former band throughout the effort.

“Steve Howe's guitar mastery was a key component of the success of prog-rock masters Yes and you can hear some of his trademark acoustic and electric sounds on ‘Love Is,’ his first solo album since 2011.

"Occasionally overly mellow and held back by his limited vocal range, the album still has enough flashes of Howe's stringed wizardry to attract a crowd.” 

Gorondi caps his review, saying, “Howe recently told Rolling Stone magazine that a reunion with Anderson and Rick Wakeman is ‘completely unthinkable,’ but should he think twice, it would be all right.”

Another new record for those keening for the 1980s is Psychedic Fur’s new one, “Made of Rain,” the band’s first studio release in 29 years. Yes, you’re old. The songs stand alongside the hits of its 80s glory days — “Pretty in Pink,” “Love My Way” and “Heartbreak Beat.”

Got an urge to spin something new? Contact Telluride Music at warren@telluridemusic.com, or follow the shop on Instagram #telluridemusicco.