Soul master Charles Bradley’s third album for Daptone is a knockout. Beginning with a genuine interlude of “God Bless America,” the album positions Bradley as someone who has gone though career and personal difficulty and come out on top, sounding upbeat and grateful to be alive and working. On “Good to Be Back Home,” Bradley flips things to explore the dual nature of home and what that means, singing of being back in the land where he was born, “sometimes it hurt so bad, sometimes, so good,” before unleashing a howl that better expresses the notion than any words could. That passion runs through the heartfelt and extremely affecting love songs like “Nobody But You.” Throughout, the Menahan Street Band’s expertly played and recorded horns and jazz grooves deliver the ideal backdrop, while there’s some experimentation beyond classic soul on tracks like “Ain’t Gonna Give It Up,” its moog and bass-drum-heavy groove reminiscent of krautrockers like Can. And if you don’t get goosebumps during Bradley’s cover of Black Sabbath ballad “Changes,” check your pulse. A playful flexibility within the carefully cultivated classic soul sound Bradley and many Daptone artists work within proves to be incredibly fruitful here. It’s Bradley’s best release yet from his second wind, as Bradley remains an expert at getting to the heart of soul music.
Record Store Day is coming April 16, bringing loads of exclusive records to record stores around the country. You can see everything that’s coming to Amoeba here and everything we have in store for the day thus far here, including sales, DJs and more. Here are 10 releases we’re looking forward to picking up on RSD.
David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World [Picture Disc]
David Bowie’s unfortunate passing has left us all with a thirst for all things Bowie. Some of his best-loved albums were recently re-released on vinyl, and the latest to get the reissue treatment is his third album. It’s best known for the title track, especially after being covered by Nirvana on their Unplugged LP, but The Man Who Sold the World represents a turning point in Bowie’s career as his music turned heavier and lyrics darker, setting an important precedent for goth rock, among other influences the album would have.
Bob Mould’s 13th solo album might be the fiercest thing he’s put to tape since his days fronting Husker Du. Though the guy who practically invented alt-rock never really softened with age, songs like “The End of Things” are shockingly fast and furious. Mould displays the energy of a man less than half his age on songs like the breakneck-speed “Hands Are Tied.” Though less concerned than ever with anything constituting a shiny pop song, his sense of melody is as strong as ever on catchy songs like “Hold On” and “Pray for Rain,” which sound like lost Alternative Nation hits. His returning backing band of bassist Jason Narducy (Split Single, Verbow) and drummer Jon Wurster (Superchunk, Mountain Goats) keep things excitingly full-throttle over unfussy arrangements on songs like the shoegazey “Lucifer and God” and the brutal “Losing Time.” Who needs a Husker Du reunion when Mould’s solo career is still going this strong?
Today the RIAA revealed numbers showing that vinyl sales made more revenue than ad-supported free streaming services, such as YouTube and Spotify’s free models.
Vinyl sales climbed 32% last year to $416 million, which is the highest they’ve been since 1988, according to the RIAA, which was around the time CDs overtook vinyl and cassettes as the dominant medium for music sales. By contrast, free, ad-supported streaming rose only 31% to $385 million in 2015. The news spurred a number of "Vinyl is back!" headlines once again, although vinyl still only makes up 6% of the music retail sales.
But these numbers only tell part of the story. Even if you include paid subscriptions to Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal etc., artists don’t see much of that money. Spotify themselves admit to paying only between $0.006 and $0.0084 to labels and rights holders per stream (this number combines all paid and unpaid user streams and also takes into account the share labels take). Once labels take their share, an artist might make only $0.001128 per song, according to the Guardian. And these services aren’t even profitable yet.
While streaming might pay out decently for the likes of someone popular like, say, Kendrick Lamar or Katy Perry, who get tens of millions of streams, the payouts are paltry for mid-level and independent artists. Numbers vary as far as how much artists actually make per physical album sold — it can be around 11% when you factor in deductions, according to Rollingstone. But while a nice piece of vinyl can sometimes feel like a splurge, it’s always worth remembering that buying an album physically is a better way of supporting the artists making the music than streaming.