Our favourite vinyl releases this week

By in Features





Essential weekend listening.

This week’s rundown is by VF’s Kelly Doherty, and contributors Annabelle Van Dort, Emily Hill and James Hammond.

Alex Zhang Hungtai

Young Gods Run Free

(Modern Love)


A vehicle for the multifaceted talents of Alex Zhang Hungtai, Young Gods Run Free builds on stereo swells of collaged voice memo recordings. Interlacing and reconfiguring recordings of different percussionists with Hungtai’s sax slinking in and out of the ferment–this one’s a heady mix of timeslips and stereo phasing. Released digitally in 2020, a vinyl release comes courtesy of Modern Love.–JH

Exploring Together




After a string of gorgeously esoteric releases on labels like Good Morning Tapes, Vodkast and No Good News, Georgian producer Saphileaum presents Exploring Together, his debut for Tokyo-based label Mulemusiq. As the title suggests, the album buzzes with a playful, exploratory kineticism, blending vibrational tribal rhythms, ethereal synths and tranquil field recordings to a hallucinatory effect. Rich with a heady mysticism and earthy, folkloric textures, Exploring Together is a luscious, kaleidoscopic journey that sees Saphileaum define his distinctive blissful spiritual electronic style.–AVD

J Mascis

What Do We Do Now

(Sub Pop)


A fifth solo album from Dinosaur Jr founder J Mascis and the follow-up to 2018’s Elastic Days. Where his solo work has been a means to dial down the amps and look to softer modes of songwriting, What Do We Do Now carries on as more of the same in the best possible way. With acoustic guitars up in the mix, vocal refrains and guitar solos wrap around these tracks for a hook-laden effort that’s a must for the Mascis faithful and an easy record to sink back into for the unfamiliar.–JH

Various Artists

Optimo 25

(Above Board Projects)


JD Twitch and their partner in crime, Jonnie Wickes, come together once again to celebrate the 25-year legacy of their legendary Glasgow club night, Optimo. The party and label have come a long way since its inception in 1997, and is now an esteemed audio imprint whose impact can be felt worldwide. Compiling 14 tracks across a double LP, it shines a light on the diverse musical heritage of the night and even includes its namesake in the shape of Liquid Liquid’s 1983 hit “Optimo”.–EH

Ariel Kalma, Jeremiah Chiu & Marta Sofia Honer

The Closest Thing to Silence

(International Anthem)


A collaboration born of BBC Radio 3’s long-running late-night experimental music show Late Junction, The Closest Thing To Silence sees French-born, Australia-based ambient visionary Ariel Kalma work alongside critically acclaimed musicians Jeremiah Chiu and Marta Sofia Honer for the first time. Fusing improvisational passages with collage-based editing techniques, the trio expanded their collaboration beyond the 20-minute Late Junction assignment, utilising historical Kalma recordings from the 1970s, interweaving new musical passages and directions.–AVD

The Last Dinner Party

Prelude To Ecstasy



Having garnered an intimidatingly large amount of hype over the last year, British rock band The Last Dinner Party finally land their debut Prelude To Ecstasy. A theatrical, conceptual body of work, Prelude To Ecstasy, is a realised, self-confident arrival that blends anthemic pop sensibilities with glam rock dramatics. Drawing from the likes of Kate Bush and ABBA, The Last Dinner Party revel in the OTT, packing each cut with grandiosity and pomp. A unique release from pop’s next big act.–KD

The Chemical Brothers

Goodbye (Erol Alkan Rework)

(Phantasy Sound)


The Chemical Brothers make a rare appearance on Berlin-based imprint Phantasy. The label run by celebrated DJ and producer Erol Alkan, takes the reins on the release and reworks “Goodbye”, taken from their recent grammy nominated album For That Beautiful Feeling. Vocal and instrumental versions are given a euphoric twist with celestial breakdowns and a touch of dissonant analogue bliss. A truly notable edition to Alkan’s extensive back catalogue of remixes.–EH

Vera Sola


(City Slang)


Vera Sola releases her first album since her 2018 debut Shades. An unmistakably American album, Peacemaker has a troubadour quality with Sola brandishing detailed, smokey narratives of pain and human existence. The focus here is on Sola’s deep, enthralling vocals and intriguing lyrics, but subtle orchestral touches lend the release extra depth.–KD