This Just In: Boys For Pele

Big news! Tori Amos’s Boys For Pele is officially available on vinyl again for the first time in 20 years! Why is this important? Well, many consider Boys For Pele to be her opus, and I’m one of them. Yes, totally biased here because this is one of my “desert island albums,” hands down. A lot of people lump Amos into the generic singer-songwriter category, which is a huge oversight, especially when you consider this record. To say the compositions/themes transcended her previous material would be an understatement. Some say it was experimentation with psychedelics that helped foster its creation (seems plausible), but that’s the story of a thousand different albums. The true experiments here were sonic, as the production was considered just as much as the musical and lyrical content when they decided to set up the studio in an old Irish church. It’s the first we get a true taste of the depth’s of Tori’s signature vocal layering, harmonizing with herself over and over again to the point where the listener has to focus intently to figure out exactly what’s going on. It’s also the first glimpse of how remarkable a composer she is, especially with harpsichord arrangements. Oh yeah, and the freakin’ album art is, uh, ICONic. I could go on and on (seriously, I could give a two hour lecture on this album), but I beg you to trust me and listen if you’ve never heard it before. And make sure you listen to a version (like this reissue) that doesn’t substitute the remix  of “Professional Widow” for the original or the alt. version of “Talula” for the original – yes there are multiple versions of this album, but the original is key.  -MLE

Tori Amos – Boys For Pele 2LP
Listen: “Father Lucifer”
Read: Tori Amos’s Boys for Pele: a much misunderstood work of dark, wounded magic

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This Just In: Death Of A Ladies’ Man

We all know it’s been a year of intense losses in the music world. With each one I found myself saying “please don’t let Leonard Cohen be next.” Well, 2016, you took him anyway. It’s beyond my abilities to even begin to talk about Cohen’s legacy, so I’ll let Luke Turner of The Quietus do it for me. Below is also a huge in-stock list, most of which is undoubtedly inspired by Cohen in one way or another. -MLE

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This Just In: Special Night

If you’ve followed Sweat for a while now, you know that we’re HUGE Lee Fields fans. Hell, one of our most memorable shows was when we had him play at The Stage in December 2012 (I’m sure the embarrassing pictures of me going nuts up front are still floating around somewhere). When it comes to “retro soul” or whatever you want to call it, Lee is a KING, albeit a very humble one. He writes, records and tours relentlessly, always giving 100% on and off the stage. Anytime we play a Lee Fields record in the shop, someone walks out with a Lee Fields record – he’s simply THAT good. Take a listen to the title track off Special Night below and tell me you’re not hooked. There are also lots of other great in-stocks this week to add to the stack when you come buy Lee’s new album. -MLE

Lee Fields & The Expressions – Special Night
Listen: “Special Night”

“There are a few terms that get thrown around loosely, two of which are legend and retro-soul. One of these fits Lee Fields hand and glove, one of these doesn’t fit at all. Very few people in music have both earned the status of legendary and continue to solidify it. 50 years in the game and only getting better, gaining more fans, and evolving his sound on each album, Lee is in fact a Living Legend. This brings us to the misuse of the term ‘retro-soul’ when talking about Mr. Fields. You don’t have to look far to find a younger generation emulating the essence and styles of an era they’ve only experienced through music and movies. It seems unfair to tag Lee with a term that implies imitation when he is part of the generation that actually defined the genre. Plain and simple, this is not that. Special Night is a masterclass in soul music past and present.

‘I feel that every human being’s purpose is to do what their inner voice says to do,’ says Lee Fields. ‘And my inner voice, my driving force, wants me to put out music and keeping making better records.’

Produced by Leon Michels and Thomas Brenneck, and brilliantly performed by the Expressions, Special Night was written, recorded, mixed, and mastered entirely to tape in three weeks at the legendary Diamond Mine Studios in Queens, NY. A sense of urgency, equal parts fun and inspiration, and a decent amount of beer and Jack Daniels were the driving forces during the sessions that produced Lee Fields & The Expressions latest offering.

Special Night is also the first record in the Expressions catalogue in which every song was written jointly by Lee Fields and The Expressions. ‘When I record, I make every song like I actually mean it. I mean every word I say. On Special Night I’m talking to my lady — literally, expressing the way I feel.’ says Lee Fields. ‘You can tell if a song is real or not, and every moment I’m recording, those moments are real, this is a record about what people do in real life…’

Whether tackling a tune about love lost, found, or broader topics like the state of humanity, Lee has a very unique and honest perspective that is on display with each unforgettable performance. Also, The Expressions have never been sharper, they, along with Lee, have created a collection of music on Special Night which holds court with pretty much any soul music that came before it.” -Big Crown Records

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