UK Artist of the Week: Chloé Caroline

This week’s Artist of The Week is a surefire sizzler who is bound to get you in the summer spirit. California’s Chloé Caroline has just released her infectious new single “Messy” and it’s an absolute delight from start to finish.

If you’re a fan of Shania Twain or early Taylor Swift then Chloé Caroline is definitely for you. Her new single is full of colour and feel-good vibes that will get your toes tapping instantly. Chloé combines country and commercial pop sensibilities to create a sound both vibrant and warm—along with being a totally addictive ear worm in the process. You’re welcome.

Talking about the track, Chloé elaborates, “This song is meant to unify people through our messiness and celebrate the strength it takes to keep moving forward despite the struggles.” Amen to that.

With residencies in Los Angeles and Las Vegas already confirmed for later on this year, it’s safe to say Chloé isn’t doing too badly for herself. We actually can’t believe this is the first we’re hearing of her, but we’re sure it won’t be the last.

“Messy” is out now via AWAL.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Neil Young + Stray Gators, Tuscaloosa

With Tuscaloosa, the Neil Young Archives continue to grow. Documenting a night on the road in 1973 with his band the Stray Gators post-Harvest and prior to the arrival of Time Fades Away, this latest installment is intrinsically tied to both of those celebrated records while presenting broadened and toughened aural portraiture of the artist. The results, incomplete and partially the byproduct of Young’s frustrations during this period of newfound success, cohere quite well and should make a nice addition to the shelves of devoted fans; more casual listeners might find its succinct range appealing. It’s out now on double vinyl (with an etched side four), compact disc, and high-res digital through Reprise.

Neil Young is a musician I respect quite a bit, with a large percentage of his output held in at least fairly high esteem, but somewhat predictably for a music nut, I remain largely indifferent to Harvest, the record that will likely endure as his highest-profile work. Every few years I go back and check out the whole thing again to see if my feelings have changed. Thus far, that hasn’t happened.

Unlike some folks, I don’t dislike Harvest as much as I’m just underwhelmed by its abundantly clear and undeniably effective commerciality. I bring up my lukewarm relationship because that album is a major component in Tuscaloosa’s whole. Of the 11 selections captured in the gymnasium of the University of Alabama (again, not the whole evening, as the soundboard recorder apparently wasn’t turned on at the beginning of the set and ran out of tape before the end; additionally, a few songs were simply omitted by Neil), five are from Harvest.

But partially due to the performance circumstance (delivering these songs in a building intended for playing basketball games), there’s more heft and edge to the Harvest tracks; in the order of their playing, “Out on the Weekend,” the title track, “Old Man,” and “Heart of Gold,” all unraveling as a lump after two pre-Harvest solo songs, “Here We Are in the Years” from his ’69 debut and a solo piano “After the Gold Rush,” and toward the end of the album, “Alabama.”

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 6/18/19

Louisville, KY | Moving out but moving forward: Underground Sounds getting new location after 24 years. The owner says after being in it’s original location for 24 years, he wishes they could stay for another 24. A local store that’s fed the hunger of music lovers for decades is closing its doors. They are leaving their shop right off Bardstown Road, to move to a more affordable location on Barrett Avenue. “Bardstown road has changed over the last few years. The cool mom and pop stores really can’t afford the rent in the area anymore so we’re kind of going off to the side streets now,” said Craig Rich, the owner of Underground Sounds. Although they are starting new beginnings elsewhere, they are leaving years of history behind at 2003 Highland Avenue. “My son said his first words here, he took his first steps in this store.There’s people who have met here that formed bands. I had two kids that were working here for me a while ago. They’re married now,” explained Craig. They are able to move most of their merchandise to the new location and Craig says they will bring their vibes along on the journey.

Cardiff, UK | The story of Kellys Records – the oldest secondhand record store in the UK: The Cardiff institution this month celebrates its 50th birthday. On the balcony of Cardiff Central Market a group of teenage girls excitably pose for pictures with friends. They’re gathered outside one of the market’s longest-running stalls and haven for music lovers – Kelly Records. One of the youngsters has a camera trained on her subject, while others capture images on their mobiles no doubt destined for social media. On closer inspection several of the girls having their picture taken are all wearing the same uniform – white t-shirt and blue jeans. It transpires that the pictures being taken are for a photoshoot for an aspiring band hoping to get some eye-catching publicity shots. “It happens all the time,” laughs Allan Parkins, the owner of the shop that has become a secondhand paradise for music lovers in the city and beyond during the last half century. “People love to have their photo taken with the records. It’s a great backdrop for pictures to put up on Instagram and Facebook.”

Prince Edward Island, CA | No jail time for P.E.I. man who stole vinyl records: A P.E.I. man who used a stolen credit card and sold about 200 records he stole from his roommate was recently given a suspended sentence. Tanner Edwin Earl Bell, 24, appeared before Judge John Douglas in provincial court in Charlottetown where he pleaded guilty to the theft of the records and using a stolen credit card. The court heard that while the records’ owner was away Bell told him there was a break-in at their home, which wasn’t true. When the owner returned home, he learned Bell had taken about 200 records and sold them. The victim was able to locate most of the records Bell sold to Back Alley Music and to Most Wanted pawn shop. Bell was also caught on video using a stolen Visa card that belonged to a different victim. The court heard he had no prior criminal record before he committed those offences. Before hearing his sentence, Bell told the court he was deeply apologetic and won’t do anything like it again. “It’s a pretty atrocious act on my behalf…”

New Documentary ‘Blue Note: Beyond The Notes’ Surpasses Its Purpose: Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes, a stylish and engaging new documentary by Sophie Huber, opens in the recording studio, with a top-tier crew of modern jazz musicians going about their business. From his station behind a keyboard rig, Robert Glasper calls out ideas for an arrangement; Ambrose Akinmusire’s trumpet, warming up, can be heard in the background. An establishing shot introduces Don Was, the musical polymath serving as Blue Note’s president, as a hipster Buddha in the control booth. As Was explains to the camera, we’re watching a session for the Blue Note All-Stars, a group with an obvious name and celebratory purpose, having originally been assembled in commemoration of the label’s 75th anniversary. That was five years ago. Now, the pacesetting jazz label is celebrating its 80th, and among its related promotions and corporate tie-ins — vinyl reissues, branded playlists, album-cover art prints, a limited-edition watch — is this film.

Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon sells for big money: ONE of Pink Floyd’s best known records is one of the most expensive to be sold in the UK. Fronted by Hove resident David Gilmour, Pink Floyd’s 1973 release Dark Side of the Moon is considered one of the finest records of all time. As well as being a musical masterpiece the album is also worth a lot of money. According to a list by music website Discogs, the album ranks in the top 50 most expensive albums ever sold in the UK. The Vinyl LP, Gatefold Sleeve edition of the record, released on Harvest, was sold in 2018 for the sum of $3,242 (£2,557). It means it ranks 31st in the list of most expensive records sold in the country. Containing well known hits like Us and Them, Time and The Great Gig in the Sky, Dark Side of the Moon is often heralded as one of Pink Floyd’s greatest albums.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live Shots: Dead
& Company at Wrigley Field, 6/15

WORDS AND IMAGES: TAYLOR NETTNIN | Dead & Company packed Chicago’s Wrigley Field on Saturday, June 15th, closing out their two night run on their 2019 Summer Tour. The day started off with threats of thunderstorms, but dead heads were able to rejoice as the skies cleared up just in time for the crowd to dance and cheer all night long.

Grateful Dead members Mickey Hart (drums), Bill Kreutzmann (drums), and Bob Weir (guitar) were joined by Oteil Burbridge (bass), Jeff Chimenti (keys), and John Mayer (guitar) to perform a slew of jams that the stadium recited word for word. The members of Dead & Company delivered a thrilling performance that did not feel overpowered by any single member; everyone seemed so comfortable playing with each other, at times it felt like the crowd was witnessing magic being created.

The first set started with a dazzling rendition of “Terrapin Station,” followed by “Sugar Magnolia,” “Mr. Charlie,” “High Time,” “Friend of the Devil,” and “Bertha.” They then played a stunning cover of Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried” before closing out their set with “Turn On Your Lovelight.”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: The Stan Getz Quartet, Getz at The Gate 3LP in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Previously unreleased live recording of Stan Getz at New York’s Village Gate to be released via Verve/UMe on June 14th. Features an all-star, rarely-heard quartet with pianist Steve Kuhn, bassist John Neves, and drummer Roy Haynes.

On November 26, 1961, saxophonist Stan Getz and his relatively new quartet of Steve Kuhn, John Neves, and Roy Haynes performed at New York’s Village Gate. The show was professionally recorded, possibly for eventual release, but was soon forgotten and the tape languished in the vaults for almost 58 years. On June 14th, Verve Records/UMe will release the 2-CD, 3-LP Getz at The Gate, which includes every note recorded that night. This recording and this quartet both serve as a sort of “road not taken” for Stan Getz. Having just returned from living in Europe, Getz assembled a new quartet and was exploring a slightly more modern and aggressive sound with this group. Steve Kuhn had only recently finished playing with John Coltrane’s quartet and a more modern music and sound – personified by Coltrane – was gaining popularity.

By 1962, though, Getz’s album Jazz Samba, with guitarist Charlie Byrd, released and motioned the bossa nova boom, followed by the groovier Jazz Samba Encore! (1963) album featuring Luiz Bonfá. Another significant Getz Verve release was Getz/Gilberto (1964) with Brazilian guitarist João Gilberto, which included 1965’s Grammy Record of the Year “The Girl from Ipanema.” The break-out hit dictated the course of Getz’s career for the next few years.

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The TVD Storefront

Demand it on Vinyl: Steve Miller Band, Welcome to the Vault 3 CD/DVD rarities set in stores 10/11

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Renowned guitarist, multi-platinum-selling singer-songwriter, bandleader, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Steve Miller has opened up his voluminous archive of recordings for the first time ever to present a milestone 3CD + DVD box set.

Welcome to the Vault covers Miller’s genre-blurring six-decade career over 52 audio tracks, pairing a number of greatest hits and certifiable rock ‘n’ roll classics with 38 previously unreleased recordings that span demos, rehearsals, outtakes, vintage concert performances, and 5 newly uncovered original Steve Miller Band songs recorded in the 1960s and 1970s. The accompanying DVD collects 21 live performances, among them legendary rare TV appearances and concert videos. Welcome to the Vault is accompanied by a 100-page hardbound book of photos, memorabilia, and artifacts from Miller’s personal collection, as well as an exclusive 9,000-word essay by renowned rock journalist David Fricke. Steve Miller Band’s Welcome to the Vault, also available as a 52-track digital collection, arrives Friday, October 11 via Sailor/Capitol/UMe.

Fricke writes in his liner notes: “Miller wrote ‘Rock’n Me’ with a different setting in mind. He was still without a working band when the English prog-rock giants Pink Floyd asked him to be their special guest at a massive festival on July 5th, 1975 at Knebworth, England. Miller called Lonnie Turner, Les Dudek – a guitarist in Boz Scaggs’ band – and Doug Clifford, the former drummer in Creedence Clearwater Revival. They rehearsed for a single afternoon, working up a half-dozen R&B standards, a couple of Miller hits, and a surprising debut, ‘The Window,’ an early version of which appears on Welcome to the Vault.

“‘But I knew what was going to happen,’ Miller says. The Floyd ‘were gonna put me on at sunset. There won’t be any lights, and I’m just chum. I needed a song to rock the whole joint.’ Miller showed ‘Rock’n Me’ to the band at practice; they played it live for the first time in front of 100,000 people at Knebworth. ‘We closed with it, and it killed them,’ Miller says proudly.”

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The TVD Storefront

of Solid Sound,
The TVD First Date

“My first introduction to vinyl records came through the mysterious RCA console in my parents’ living room and the modest stack of records they owned.”

“The console looked like a piece of furniture, but if you slid the top panel back it revealed a record player, a radio tuner, and some dials for EQ. It truly was a work of art. Inside the compartment was an assortment of 45s and LP records. My parents had rock-n-roll 45s including Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Bill Haley and the Comets. They had pop classics like The Crew Cuts, Harry Belafonte, Trini Lopez. They even had some big band jazz like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Glenn Miller

They had fewer LPs: Sinatra, Nat King Cole, the film soundtrack to West Side Story, Henry Mancini, some Christmas albums, and a few kid’s records like The Chipmunks. Their collection was somewhat eclectic and arbitrary.

My brother and I flipped out when we first heard the Elvis Presley 45 “Heartbreak Hotel.” What a menacing tune! It had dark lyrics about loneliness and despair. The spooky sound of the record set a brooding mood, and Scotty Moore’s staccato guitar breaks are the stuff of legend!

Back in the day, we had limited access to the music we wanted to listen to. That’s why vinyl took on such an esteemed position in a music lover’s life. Sure, you had the radio at home and in the car, jukeboxes at a diner or pizza place, and the sounds emanating from your TV or local movie theater screen, but vinyl records were your possession. You’d listen to them over and over, gaze at the artwork, and read the liner notes. Fascinating!

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Little Feat, Little Feat

Little Feat’s eponymous 1971 debut may not have changed the world, but to those who were listening it must have come as a revelation–here were four guys, two of ‘em Mothers of Invention alums, boldly staking their claim (and a decent claim it was) as America’s very own Rolling Stones. Not bad for a first outing.

Fronted by guitarist/vocalist and native Angeleno Lowell George–who with his gutbucket growl was the youngest white old black bluesman ever to graduate from Hollywood High School–Little Feat laid it on the line on their first LP. You get lysergic blues, trucker toons, some Sticky Fingers-school country honk–these guys took Gram Parsons’ concept of Cosmic American Music and ran with it. This is edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold music, the sound of the Mississippi Delta on hallucinogens–a mythical collaboration between Don Van Vliet, Dave Dudley, Mick & Keith, ZZ Top, Slim Harpo, and Harpo Marx.

Robert Christgau opined that these guys could “pass for” the Band, but he’s fulla shit. The Band always held things in check; they were as tightly wound as a clock, and clocks aren’t in the business of howling. They never hit as berserk a note as the Feat do on “Hamburger Midnight,” and there’s simply no mistaking the very agitated freak looking for safe harbor in “Strawberry Flats” to Levon Helm’s resigned drifter looking for a place to lay his head in “The Weight.” And the Americana-loving Robbie Robertson never could have come up with as song as bizarrely lovely as “Brides of Jesus,” which is set where exactly? In Lowell George’s LSD-scrambled mind?

No, the early Little Feat was a freak’s dream’s come true. Just check out the sorta Captain Beefheart-esque “Hamburger Midnight,” on which George plays some truly frenzied slide guitar and delivers the most unhinged performance of his career. Or “Strawberry Flats,” wherein poor Lowell (who’s been “ripped off and run out of town”) knocks on a friend’s door in search of succor only to discover: “His hair was cut off and he was wearing a suit/And he said not in my house, not in my house/”You look like you’re part of a conspiracy.”

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 6/17/19

Cincinnati, OH | Old OTR record store gets new life … Oh, and hemp products: Another Part of the Forest, the record shop on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine, is re-opening with a new owner and new focus. Jerry Stepp is taking over the operation and renting the storefront from Julie Fay, who owns the adjacent Iris Book Café. Stepp ran Another Part of the Forest for Fay until a few months ago when it was closed and the business switched over to Stepp. Stepp’s changes include renovating the space and paring down the stock. What made the former incarnation of the store so interesting was also what made it so difficult: there was stuff everywhere. Nowhere did the vinyl-shopper’s phase “crate digging” more fittingly apply. Another Part of the Forest opened in 2010 with Mike Markiewicz running the operation. He gave it its name, taking the phrase from the Shakespeare play “As You Like It.” Merkiewicz died in 2014. Fay, the landlord, was left in charge and had help from Stepp and others.

Gastonia, NC | Record store opens in Gastonia: In a world of streaming music services, there’s still nothing quite like vinyl. Just ask Ron Davis. “It’s the ritual of it,” Davis said. “It’s just like for a cigarette smoker. It’s taking a cigarette out, tapping it, lighting it, that first inhale. It’s the same thing with sliding the record out of the jacket, spearing the hole with the spindle, and then dropping the needle down. It’s the ritual of it.” Davis is far from the only person who feels that way. And last month, he and business partner Speight Byrd opened Revolver Records on East Franklin Boulevard. It’s Gastonia’s first record store in decades, and it’s a dream come true for Davis. “I’ve always wanted to operate a record store,” Davis said. The shop, which opened in May, is full of vintage and new albums. Prices are varied, but Davis says his selection is cheaper than what folks might find in record booths or in sections of big-name stores. Vinyl in general has seen something of a revival in recent years.

Milwaukee, WI | Inglenook, a new store in Menomonee Falls, sells homemade products and plays vinyl records: Whether the record player is spinning Queen or Madonna, the unique physical vibrations from vinyl records will be the first impression of Inglenook, Menomonee Falls’ newest homemade items store. Inglenook, on the outskirts of downtown Menomonee Falls at N89 W16338 Main St., features homemade products such as self-care products, perfume, pottery and macrame. “Records have the perfect feel to the store,” business owner Tanya Kapp, who owns the business with her partner Angela Roberts, said. “It makes you feel as if you are at home.” They also stock the vinyl records played in the store, Kapp said. Requested records can be special ordered, she added. Inglenook, a Scottish word meaning a nook near a warm place, has a homemade faux-lighted fireplace where customers can chat or just listen to records. “Records are not a thing of the past,” Kapp said. “Vinyl records never went away.”

Chicago, IL | Tone Deaf Records Opens Saturday In Portage Park, With 12,000+ Punk, Metal, Indie, Jazz And Soul Albums To Choose From: Why don’t you do what you’ve always wanted and open a record store? his girlfriend said. So, owner Tony Assimos has been renovating the storefront at 4356 N. Milwaukee Ave. After months of preparation, Tone Deaf Records will open to the public Saturday (6/15). Tony Assimos, the store’s owner, decided to take the plunge and open a shop of his own at 4356 N. Milwaukee Ave. after he was priced out of Logan Square and the neighborhood’s other longtime record shop, Raffe’s, shuttered. “I’ve been busting my ass for the last two months to get everything up and running,” Assimos said. “I think it looks nice and the shelves are full of stuff. I think we’re presentable enough. “I’m going to open the doors at noon and have some cookies, coffee and other snacks,” he added. Assimos said his dad had a “killer record collection” and growing up, he’d sit with him and listen to albums from artists like Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Stones.

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Holiday / Oh what a lovely day today / I’m so glad they sent me away / To have a little / holiday today, holiday / Holiday / And I’m just standing on the end of a pier / Hoping and dreaming you were here / To share my little holiday

Dear dad…being a dad is a trip. I think about “it” and therefore you much of the time—how our lives and kids happen and unfold. God only knows, but there is magic to it for sure.

Yesterday a friend and I were chatting about this new Clarence Avant documentary, The Black Godfather, and how, as a kid, his dad used to take him to sit in Al Glaser’s box at Yankee Stadium. It took me back to one of my earliest childhood memories—my old man taking me to see Mickey Mantle at Yanks. Yeah man, only magic a dad can make.

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TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots:
The Cult and The Beta Machine at The Regency Ballroom, 6/12

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since The Cult released their iconic Sonic Temple album, but leave it to The Cult to remind us with a tour and a sold out show at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom. A two-hour power outage at the Regency delayed doors, and openers The Beta Machine were still sound checking as the lobby filled with the eager fans who rushed to the barricade the moment they had the chance, venue staff hollering, “walk please!”

Due to the crew’s herculean effort to get the show back on track after the outage, The Beta Machine was able to take the stage only 10 minutes late for their 30 minute set. You may not know The Beta Machine but you’ll likely recognize some familiar faces … Matt McJunkins (A Perfect Circle, Eagles of Death Metal and many more) and Jeff Friedl (A Perfect Circle, DEVO, Puscifer and many more) held down the rhythm section and joined by Nicholas Perez (guitar/keys) and Laura Vall (vocals) for what would only be her third show with the band. In spite of the mad scramble to get the show rolling, the band’s performance was flawless and the shared vocals between McJunkins and Vall sounded great.

By the time The Cult finally took the stage, the Regency Ballroom was packed to capacity. First Damon Fox (keys), then John Tempesta (drums), and Grant Fitzpatrick (bass) stepped out and launched into the groove of “Sun King” followed by original members Billy Duffy and finally Ian Astbury as the crowd went wild.

The notoriously-deficient Regency air conditioning was living up to its reputation, leading Astbury to comment, “this place seems to have its own weather,” as the temperature and humidity soared (maybe “Rain” would have been a better opener). A playful Astbury shrugged off the heat and strutted the stage while demonstrating his tambourine acrobatics skills which left the stage littered with its casualties.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: This Is
The Town: A Tribute to Nilsson (Volume 2)
in stores 7/21

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The forthcoming album release, This Is The Town: A Tribute to Nilsson (Volume 2), out June 21 on Royal Potato Family, celebrates the songs of the legendary Harry Nilsson with performances by Cheap Trick, Martha Wainwright, Lauren Ruth Ward and more. Throughout this captivating set, defying expectations is a continuous theme. The 14 kindred spirits of Nilsson assembled on the collection are as stellar as they are varied in their art, each underscoring different facets of his songwriting. A follow-up to the initial This Is The Town tribute released by Royal Potato Family in 2014, Volume 2 once again finds producer Kenny Siegal at the helm, capturing the album’s vibrant and diverse performances at Old Soul Studios in Catskill, NY.

Kicking things off in grand fashion is Mikaela Davis’s rendition of “Take 54,” the opening cut from Nilsson’s 1972 release, Son of Schmilsson. Davis—a classically trained harpist—injects her own brand of feminist swagger, turning the masculine bravado of the original inside out. Equally intriguing is Martha Wainwright’s take on “Daddy’s Song”—a standout that is particularly revealing in its approach. Here Wainwright opts to slow the tempo and strip away the ’60s psychedelia of the original to reveal the heartbreak of abandon ensconced within Nilsson’s lyrics. It serves as a reminder that even though Nilsson was a pop artist, he was always conscious of the depths of his emotions and surroundings; being one-part troubled troubadour, one-part song-and-dance-man never seemed in conflict.

Legendary rockers Cheap Trick get down and dirty with raucous guitars that emanate manic fuzz on their reading of “Ambush.” Vocalist Robin Zander’s sublime vocals are unparalleled in their expression of the anxieties of war. But the tension is far from bombast, as the performance does everything it can to convey Nilsson’s wry wit, something he was able to masterfully weave into even the most contentious of topics. Elsewhere, indie rockers Invisible Familiars add swirling synths and a percussive march to “Old Forgotten Soldier,” while Valley Queen uncovers a darker, more haunting depth in the Nilsson hit “I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City.”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: My Morning Jacket, The Tennessee Fire: 20th Anniversary Edition 3LP in stores 8/2

VIA PRESS RELEASE | My Morning Jacket is proud to announce the release of THE TENNESSEE FIRE: DELUXE EDITION, celebrating the 20th anniversary of their now-classic debut album. The newly expanded edition includes all 16 original tracks alongside 16 previously unreleased and unheard, lost songs, demo outtakes, alternate versions, and more. THE TENNESSEE FIRE: DELUXE EDITION arrives via Darla Records on August 2, 2019. You can pre-order the record here.

Furthermore, My Morning Jacket will commemorate the momentous occasion with “My Morning Jacket Presents: A Tennessee Fire 20th Anniversary Celebration,” a one-night-only live event set for Friday, August 9 at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY where the band will perform the album in its entirety, along with songs from that era. A special pre-sale for all ticket holders for the band’s performance at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens on August 10 will begin on Thursday, June 13 at 12pm local and ending Sunday, June 16 at 10pm local. Any remaining tickets will go on sale to the general public on Monday, June 17 at 12pm local. For complete details on tickets and VIP packages, please visit

“Wow. I cannot believe it has now been over 20 years since we recorded THE TENNESSEE FIRE on my cousin John’s grandparents farm out in Shelbyville, KY in a little studio called “Above the Cadillac,” says James. “What a life changing time that was for me — a cosmic door opening to a new universe, thanks to the generosity of family and the spirits of music and connection, I have been so lucky to encounter. We tried to do as many fucked up things as we could that we loved and hoped folks would enjoy. We laughed a lot and we cried some too, ha. We are so grateful and humble that people are still enjoying it so many years later, and we also really love playing these songs live still after all these years, ha ha ha.”

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The TVD Storefront

The TVD First Date

“My first experience with vinyl was when I was about 7 or 8 and I saw that my Mom had a turntable.”

“In movies and on TV I’d seen DJs using turntables to scratch the records, and I asked my Mom if she could pull her record player out, and the minute she put the first record on I started scratching and she completely lost it and was like, “that damages them!”

I was so confused and so she sat me down and taught me how turntables worked and showed me a different way to listen to music with vinyl. We spent the whole day going through so many old gospel records. Then when I was around 13 I bought my first records: Calvin Harris, 18 Months and Mumford and Sons, Babel were among the first few.

My relationship with vinyl has only grown. I’m regularly digging through the $1 bins at record stores and finding the most obscure record they have—it just blows my mind that a song can be lost, and then someone can rediscover it.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on the Curve:
The Doobie Brothers,
Takin’ It to the Streets

Talk about your unholy alliances. Michael McDonald and The Doobie Brothers? If you’re a fan of neither, it can only be compared to a disastrous corporate merger (remember AOL and Time Warner?) or, if you’re really a hater, the Hitler-Stalin Pact.

Ah, but if you’re a proud Yacht Rock captain, their coupling was a dream come true–the McDoobies’ first album, 1976’s Takin’ It to the Streets, produced not one but two smooth rock classics in the form of the title cut and “It Keeps You Runnin’.”

It was ace guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter who recommended fellow Steely Dan alum McDonald to the Doobs when Tom Johnston took sick with stomach ulcers (the result, no doubt, of massive guilt), so blame the stink on the Skunk if you want. But no matter where you stand on the band, there’s no denying that Mc’D’s addition gave the Doobie Brothers a new lease on life–their previous LP, 1975’s Stampede, included only one hit, and it was a cover. Despite continuing album sales, the Doobie Formula was growing stale, and the band’s quantum leap into easy listening kept them on FM radio.

Takin’ It to the Streets didn’t win the Brothers any critical love; The Village Voice’s Robert Christgau, for one, famously dismissed it with the words, “You can lead a Doobie to the studio but you can’t make him think.” Oddly, Christgau seems not to have noticed the addition of McDonald and the band’s radical turn towards blue-eyed soul. No fan of either artist, he might have noted that their union was a laudatory thing, insofar as having them in the same place made it easier to keep an eye on both of them.

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