A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 7/10/20

Paddington, AU | Go crate digging at Paddington’s new record emporium Dutch Vinyl: Any music lover or audiophile will tell you that there’s no sweeter feeling than lightly dropping the needle on a brand-new record. Although the act of buying a physical release might seem like an outdated way of digesting tunes to some, vinyl records have continued to increase in popularity and so too have record stores. Last weekend Paddington welcomed a brand new music house called Dutch Vinyl, a Melbourne-born business that has expanded north, bringing with it a curated collection of new and old records and an atmosphere that makes flipping through wax an immeasurably enjoyable experience. Opening a record store in the age of digital streaming is a challenge in itself – throw in an active pandemic and you’ve got a significantly more difficult job on your hands. For Mark Reuten and Tam Patton, that’s exactly the sort of predicament they found themselves in whilst bringing Dutch Vinyl to Brisbane. When Dutch Vinyl’s owner Mark opened his first store in Abbotsford in 2016, he experienced a sharp learning curve that came with the territory.

Naperville, IL | 6 shops closed but 5 new opening in downtown Naperville: …Recently opened are Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ at 47 E. Chicago Ave. suite 108, which wasn’t in business long before Gov. J.B. Pritzker required restaurants to close in March; and Purple Dog Records, which opened Tuesday at 231 S. Washington St., suite 105, after moving from a space on Center Street near the Naperville Metra station. Purple Dog opened in 2014 under the father-daughter-son ownership of Joel Sicker and his children Erin Gavin and Colin Sicker, but the shop closed at its original location March 15 because the building was sold. The family took until May to find a new spot in town, accessible from a downtown alley just north of Jackson Avenue, then got help moving from longtime customers and began buying and selling vinyl again this week. “We’ve got a lot more visibility,” Sicker said of the new location. “We just put our sign out there and people just see it and walk on in.”

Cincinnati, OH | Umber 87, OTR’s new waxing bar, has an interesting origin story: Siobhan McNear didn’t expect to use her rented Over-the-Rhine business space just yet. The Cincinnati native, a longtime backup vocalist for award-winning singer Jennifer Hudson, had planned on a spring of touring and performing. She told herself she would fill the empty storefront on Walnut Street when she had the time and money to do it. The COVID-19 pandemic pulled all those plans out from under her. “I had no work,” McNear said Wednesday. “I’m a singer, so the entertainment industry was hit very hard, and I didn’t have anything.” The only thing she had left in a world with no air travel and no live music was Walnut Street. She started praying. Hard. And she got to work. McNear’s new body waxing bar, Umber 87, is a space where she hopes to share her love of music and beauty with her clients. The menu of services is printed on a vinyl record, and the walls are decorated with framed album covers: TLC’s “CrazySexyCool,” Usher’s “My Way” and SWV’s “Anything” among them. Customers who trade in their own vinyl can get a discount.

Phoenix, AZ | Here’s What We Found in Our Zia Records Mystery Bag: Record shopping usually goes: Enter a store, find something you think you’ll like, and buy it. How boring is that? Desperate for anything to snap us out of our pandemic rut, we recently hit up Zia Records on Mill Avenue for one of its enigmatic Mystery Bags. For only $4.99 plus tax, adventurous listeners get a sealed, opaque bag containing 10 records that didn’t even sell on clearance. (This didn’t bode well for the quality of the offerings.) What we got for our fiver truly was a mixed bag: some bland, dated albums we could take or leave, but stuck among the dross were a few records we were glad to discover and plan to hang on to. Here are the contents of our Zia Mystery Bag, in the order we listened to them.

The Cranberries’ ‘No Need to Argue’ is landing an expanded reissue: Massive news for fans of The Cranberries! The band’s legendary 1994 album No Need to Argue is landing its very own expanded release. Announced by Island/UMe, the new edition will feature new demos, B-sides, live recordings, a Carpenters cover, and fully remastered versions of the original tracks. No Need to Argue has long been heralded as one of the band’s most defining bodies of work. Boasting iconic tracks such as Zombie and Ode to My Family, the record has sold over 17 million copies worldwide since its release nearly two decades ago. Punters will now be able to get their hands on the record’s two-CD, vinyl, and digital reissues, along with exclusive photos snapped during the sessions. Cranberries archivist Eoin Devereux was even kind enough to chuck a No Need to Argue history essay into the mix. The group’s 1993 debut Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? was reissued back in 2018, in honour of the album’s 25th anniversary. In addition to 2019’s In The End, this had previously been the last release from the band following the passing of front woman Dolores O’Riordan. The expanded edition drops on September 18th.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: PJ Harvey, Rid of Me and 4-Track Demos vinyl reissues in stores 8/21

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The vinyl reissue of PJ Harvey’s entire back catalogue continues this summer with RID OF ME and 4-TRACK DEMOS out August 21 on UMe / Island.

Just a year after the acclaimed release of debut album DRY (1992), Harvey returned with her second studio album RID OF ME in May 1993. Produced by Steve Albini it featured the singles “50ft Queenie” and “Man-Size.” RID OF ME charted at No. 3 in the U.K. 4-TRACK DEMOS – released in October of the same year – is a collection of demos written and recorded at Harvey’s home throughout 1991 and 1992. Self-produced, it presents the songs in a simple first incarnation on a record of “depth, range and conceptual completeness” (Rolling Stone).

Taken together, these two releases made for an astonishing major label debut on Island Records in 1993, a body of work which has lost none of its urgent potency. This period also firmly established Harvey’s creative relationship with photographer and director Maria Mochnacz who shot the artwork for both records and also directed the videos for “50ft Queenie” and “Man-Size.”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: ‘Idiot
Prayer: Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace’ streaming event 7/23

VIA PRESS RELEASE | ‘His singing is also extraordinary in this intimate setting…takes your breath away.’The Guardian

Nick Cave performs solo at the piano in Idiot Prayer: Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace, a film shot at the iconic London venue this June. Join the online streaming event on 23 July 2020. In this unique performance, audiences around the world will have the chance to watch Cave play songs from his extensive back catalogue, including rare tracks that most fans will be hearing for the first time. The songs are taken from across the breadth of Cave’s career, including early Bad Seeds and Grinderman, right through to the most recent Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds album, Ghosteen.

The performance was filmed by award winning Cinematographer Robbie Ryan (The Favourite, Marriage Story, American Honey) in Alexandra Palace’s stunning West Hall. It was edited by Nick Emerson (Lady Macbeth, Emma, Greta).

Tickets to view the film stream online are now available at three times globally: Australia & Asia: 8pm AEST, UK & Europe: 8pm BST / 9pm CEST, North & South America: 7pm PDT / 10pm EDT. The film will be streamed as a live experience, and will not be available to view online following the event. Please note during the event you will not be able to pause, rewind, or fast forward the stream.

For tickets and information on your local time click HERE.

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TVD New Orleans

5-part podcast series
on New Orleans Jazz Fest debuts today, 7/9

This new narrative series focuses on the history and impact of New Orleans music and the annual jazz festival, featuring interviews with 25+ leading musicians, writers (including yours truly!) and more. The 5-part series will explore everything about the music of the city and about the jazz festival that just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

You can listen to the trailer below. Some of the musicians interviewed include Ivan Neville, George Porter, Jr., Irma Thomas, Anders Osborne, Ben Jaffe, Papa Mali and dozens of others. There are also interviews with writers, academics, and music fans about what makes the music of the city so unique.

Here’s some info from the producers about the company: “Osiris Media is transforming how music fans connect with the music they love. We deepen the connection between artists and fans through the power and intimacy of audio storytelling, and bring people together for unique musical experiences. Our 35 podcasts, which reach over 250,000 downloads per month, include shows with high-profile artists, stories about music, and interview-based shows on various musical and cultural topics. We also host live music interviews and performances. Deepen your connection here.”

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Needle Drop: The Frisbys, “The Wicked Mind” EP

We first featured alt-folk six-piece The Frisbys way back in 2015 and they seem to have gone from strength to strength ever since. They recently released their vibrant new EP “My Wicked Mind” and it is oozing with poignant lyrics, hook laden melodies, and captivating harmonies throughout.

Opening with their infectious single “I Heard,” this feels like the perfect introduction to the EP from the group. It’s fun, it’s upbeat, and allows sisters Helen and Nicola Frisby’s enchanting harmonies to take centre stage—with help form the rest of their extremely talented band of course.

The EP then takes a slightly more sombre tone and the sisters’ haunting harmonies are joined by Sal Palekar’s intricately delicate piano playing, creating a sound that is undeniably mesmerising and full of emotion. The pace then picks up again for a personal favourite of ours, previously released single, “Gretna.” This feels more akin to The Frisbys’ earlier work and also reminds us of the likes of The Lumineers’ ability to pen infectious alt-folk melodies that are bound to warm your heart. Sam Keer’s electric guitar solo is rather impressive also.

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores for
July 2020, Part Two

Part two of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases presently in stores for July, 2020. Part one is here.

NEW RELEASE PICK: Wolfhounds, Electric Music (A Turntable Friend) Formed in Romford, Essex, England in 1985, the Wolfhounds were one of the 22 lucky bands (all bands) included by the Brit music periodical New Musical Express on their now long-legendary, genre-defining indie-pop compilation C86, initially a tape purchasable via mail order but released on vinyl by the end of that year (reissued in 2014 as an expanded 3CD and then spread out onto 2LP with no extra tracks as a Record Store Day item in 2016, both editions released by Cherry Red). For many, all this background is old news, but it’s worth mentioning in large part due to the Wolfhounds not fully conforming to the subsequent indie-pop model. C86 did offer a handful of acts who spanned stylistically beyond the jangle norm, e.g. Stump and Half Man Half Biscuit, but it should be further clarified that the Wolfhounds’ cut on C86, “Feeling So Strange Again,” fit the jangle mold pretty well.

The same is true for second single “Anti-Midas Touch,” which is my fave cut from the original lineup. Really, it was with a late-’80s personnel shift that the band’s sound became heavier and more in line with indie-rock (often compared to Sonic Youth) than indie-pop, though by 1990 they were kaput. Reformed in the mid-’00s by founding guitarist-vocalists Dave Callahan and Andy Golding, with Richard Golding on bass and Pete Wilkins on drums, they’ve just released their third full-length since, and it finds them retaining and sharpening their denser rock approach, in the process underscoring that the return to activity was no nostalgia gambit. Electric Music is solid throughout and recommended for indie rockers and post-punk lovers alike; hey, there’s even guest bassoon from Scritti Politti’s Rhodri Davies, plus sleeve notes from noted fan Stuart Lee. The title track here is a monster. A-

Silver Scrolls, Music for Walks (Three Lobed Recordings) Featuring Dave Brylawski on guitars and vocals and Brian Quast on drums and vocals (plus bass, guitars, organ), Silver Scrolls have delivered a debut album (they have one prior 7-inch, “Tiny Reason” from back in 2015) that, fitting for its title, is functionally psychedelic, and with blues-rock undercurrents and even a little math-rock, which isn’t surprising as Brylawski was a founding member of Polvo (he was also in Idyll Swords and Black Taj) and Quast drummed in a later incarnation of that band (he was additionally in Cherry Valance and Vanilla Trainwreck). I’ll emphasize a little bit of math-rock, just so you don’t go expecting this to sound like Don Caballero or something. Overall, this set fits into the Three Lobed scheme quite well, which is to reiterate that Silver Scrolls have a handle on expansive possibilities.

Divided into Walk One (side one, four tracks) and Walk Two (side two, two tracks), Music for Walks is described in the nifty promo text (really better described as an online set of liner notes) by Rob Munk as a “light” concept album, which gets us back to the functional. Munk also says that the record starts out in the city and ends up in the mountains, but as they go rural, they avoid taking any detours into the deep weeds, which often happens in heavier psychedelic scenarios. Another way of putting it; this is a record of continual momentum. Silver Scrolls might roll into the thick forests, but they stay on the path. That may read as a disappointment for those who like to get lost and linger, but there are plenty of records that will let you do that. The path exists for a reason, and Silver Scrolls follow it with purpose. Recorded in Arlington, VA by the reliable Don Zientara, Music for Walks might not be heavy, but it is robust. And it has drum solos (more like drum passages) during Walk Two. I totally fucking dig it. A-

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 7/9/20

Cub Sport, Denzel Curry, Alex Lahey announced for Australia Record Store Day August releases: The event takes place August 29. The 2020 Australian Record Store Day has revealed the staggering list of vinyl releases available to purchase as part of its August event. Record Store Day was initially scheduled for April 18, before being postponed to June 20 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “This decision comes at a time of unprecedented uncertainty and the health and safety of the general public must come first,” RSD organisers said in a statement at the time. “This was absolutely not an easy decision to make as hundreds of independent shops and labels have been working hard towards this year’s celebrations.” Finally, it was announced the event would be spread across three days in August 29, September 26 and October 24. Notable Australian artists included in next month’s drop of releases include Alex Lahey, Angus & Julia Stone, Cub Sport, Ocean Alley, The Teskey Brothers, Vance Joy and Flume.

CN | Record buyers get back in vinyl groove: Turntables spin as format witnesses revival. Since launching his debut album Jay in 2000, Mandarin pop star Jay Chou has built a massive fan base in Asia. To mark his 20th anniversary in the music industry, the singer will release a set of vinyl records, Chou’s record company Sony Music announced on June 30. Featuring 150 songs from his 14 albums during the past 20 years, the set will include a blank vinyl disc to promote Chou’s upcoming album. “This is the first time I have released on vinyl. My first album was released on Nov 6, 2000, and it’s meaningful for me to celebrate my career with a set of such discs,” Chou said. Vinyl plays a small but vital part in China’s music industry. Rather than disappearing, the format is making an impressive comeback amid competition from digitalized music. The resurgence of interest in vinyl also underscores the fact that the country has become a dynamic force in recorded music.

Lawton, OK | Wannabe wired: Analog audio in the 21st century: Vinyl records were a thing of the past by the time I was old enough to develop my own taste in music. The world had transitioned to CDs and that was the future—until it wasn’t. I can’t remember the last time I bought a CD, or, for that matter, the last time I bought a digital album. These days my casual musical listening is done through streaming. That’s what I like to call “filling the silence” listening. When I’m just trying to pass the time on my commute or fill my head with sound while I’m writing, I stream music. But for true audio felicity, I turn to vinyl. If you haven’t heard the news, vinyl has made a big comeback in recent years. Last year, vinyl records outsold CDs for the first time since 1986 (which happens to be the year I was born). On a side note, while researching this column I found out that CDs first became available commercially in 1982. A fact that absolutely blows my mind because I 100 percent believed they were a product of the 90s.

Cut your own vinyl record with this nifty toy: Unless you’re a real music nerd, cutting records is a pretty mysterious process – especially for those of us who grew up with CDs and streaming services. If you want to do some hands-on learning, though, you could try the Gakken Toy Record Maker. Created in partnership with Japanese designer Yuri Suzuki, the nifty gadget lets you record digital tracks onto real-deal vinyl records by simply plugging in your phone or computer and letting the machine do its thing. As the music plays, the cutting arm engraves sound waves onto your vinyl disc in real time, which is exactly how small-run records are made. With that said, it’s not quite as easy as unboxing and pressing play. (As this video shows us, there’s the small matter of assembling all the machine’s bits and pieces, too.) The final record is not going to blow your mind with commercial-quality sound, but you will get some cool, old-timey effects, and learn a thing or two about records in the process.

Forest Park, IL | Relearning how to listen: Urban Art House will bring music, art to Madison Street. It was after 2 in the morning on July 1. A group of artists had just finished painting a rainbow street mural in front of Urban Pioneer Group, a project organized in part by Trevor Toppen. Toppen is easy to talk to, intelligent and humble. As he spoke about the mural, it was clear this project was important to him. But he was also excited to discuss Tom Kunkel’s new Urban Art House, which will host art shows and classes and, with Toppen driving it, music. Toppen’s commitment to, and love for, music was shown when he bailed out Oak Park music store Val’s halla in November 2019 to keep it from going out of business. A loyal customer for years, it was Toppen who gave the store its new lease on life. General Manager Shayne Blakely called him a “guardian angel.” Toppen is still involved in the music scene at Val’s halla, but he wants to bring a new/old way to experience music in Forest Park. New because there’s nothing quite like it. Old because it focuses on vinyl.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Melvin Sparks, I’m Funky Now reissue in stores 8/28

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Melvin Sparks (1946–2011) was a talented American Soul Jazz, Hard Bop, Blues and Funk guitarist. The Texas native picked up a guitar at age 11 and was only 13 when he sat in with B.B. King.

As a high school student he first joined Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, and then the Upsetters (a touring band formed by Little Richard, which also backed Curtis Mayfield, Sam Cooke, and Marvin Gaye). Sparks and his guitar were very much in demand during the ’60s and ’70s and he was featured on sessions by Idris Muhammad, Lonnie Smith, Charles Earland, Ceasar Frazier, Bernard Purdie…and many others. During his career Mr. Sparks recorded multiple albums for renowned labels such as Prestige, Muse, and Savant and worked as a session musician for Blue Note Records. Melvin Sparks’ songs were sampled countless times by DJ’s and Hip-Hop outfits (including Grandmaster Flash) over the decades.

In 1973 Sparks moved into funkier directions and joined the Westbound/ Eastbound family where he recorded some of his all-time classics (“Texas Twister” and “75”). A third record with Westbound was planned for 1976 (called I’m Funky Now) but was never released (although a sequenced production master and and a limited number of acetates were produced) because of the major changes that took place in the music industry at that particular time…clubs were suddenly going for DJs instead of bands and the much loved (but less obvious) genre/scene that Melvin Sparks was part of suddenly fell out of grace.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Seven Days of Satch: A Virtual Celebration of Louis Armstrong, 7/27–8/2

VIA PRESS RELEASE | French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (FQFI), producers of French Quarter Festival and Satchmo SummerFest, proudly announce Seven Days of Satch presented by Chevron. The multiplatform, virtual celebration is a collaboration between FQFI, New Orleans National Jazz Historical Park, WWOZ, WWL-TV, and New Orleans Jazz Museum. Seven Days of Satch will span an entire week, starting on Monday, July 27 and run through the end of Sunday, August 2. Fans can look forward to thematic programming on WWOZ, Louis Armstrong-inspired cooking demos on WWL-TV, and a full weekend of original performances and Armstrong scholars broadcast on Facebook Live.

The virtual event pays tribute to 20th anniversary of Satchmo SummerFest presented by Chevron, an annual festival dedicated to the life, legacy, and music of New Orleans’ beloved native son, Louis Armstrong. Traditionally, Satchmo SummerFest has been a weekend filled with music, education, cuisine, and culture on the grounds of the New Orleans Jazz Museum. Due to public health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, FQFI announced the cancellation of the event in May. “Since 1984, we’ve been committed to our non-profit mission to showcase our incredible local music and culture,” said FQFI President & CEO Emily Madero. “For the remainder of 2020, FQFI has refocused its energy on creating new ways, like the Seven Days of Satch, to support the community and deliver on this mission. We are thrilled to work with our generous partners, talented artists, chefs, and speakers, to produce this virtual tribute.”

The Seven Days of Satch lineup includes eight acts from beloved New Orleans artists: James Andrews, John Boutté, Wendell Brunious, Topsy Chapman and Solid Harmony, Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns, Herlin Riley, Treme Brass Band, and Tuba Skinny. Musical performances sponsored by the New Orleans National Jazz Historical Park will be filmed onsite at the New Orleans Jazz Museum and shared on Facebook live Saturday, August 1 – Sunday, August 2. Louis Armstrong-inspired cooking demos will air on the WWL-TV Morning Show July 27-30.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Blodwyn Pig,
Getting to This

When friends recommended I check out Blodwyn Pig’s 1970 sophomore LP Getting to This, I was dubious. This was, after all, the band England’s New Musical Express praised for its promising blend of “Hooting grunting blues mingled with snorts of jazz.” The only adjective they omitted was squealing. Then there’s the issue of the awful band name, which only beats Pearls Before Swine by snout. You really shouldn’t name your band after livestock, unless you’re The Cows.

But now that I’ve listened to Getting to This, I can only say the above description is an understatement. Ex-Jethro Tull guitarist Mick Abrahams and gimcrack saxophonist/flautist Jack Lancaster (who’s been known to play two saxes at once just like Rahsaan Roland Kirk!) do more than hoot, grunt and snort—on Getting to This they whip up a pig’s ear stew, and toss in everything but the trotters.

The eclectic shtick doesn’t always work. Take “San Francisco Sketches.” It opens with some ocean atmospherics ala the Who’s “Sea and Sand,” then cuts to Lancaster sitting beneath a tree in Sherwood Forest playing a fey flute. Then a high school jazz band enters stage right, Abrahams plays a hot dog of a guitar solo, and a choir of heavenly voices enters stage left and pulls a Godspell on ya. Then things kick into overdrive, Abrahams’ guitar adds kraut to the dog, and Lancaster follows up with a tasty sax solo. Me, I want to take a surgical knife to the damn thing and remove the parts that irk me. I guess this is what your aficionados call progressive rock. I prefer to call it attention deficit disorder.

“Variations on Nanos” is even more out there. Lancaster opens on a freak flute note, launches into a flitting butterfly of a solo, then hands things over to Abrahams, who serves up a subdued but classy guitar solo. All’s as should be until Abrahams (who sounds a whole lot like nemesis Ian Anderson) decides to sing from the deep end of a swimming pool before climbing out, drying himself off, and launching into a dead-on impersonation of Captain Beefheart. Weird, but not as weird as “To Rass Man,” a Deutsche Schlager Oompah reggae tune designed to excite the lederhosen hacky-sack crowd.

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The TVD Storefront

Needle Drop: Llargo, “Clouds”

Llargo, led by Italian singer-songwriter and producer Christian De Cicco, is an open ensemble that explores a common ground through downtempo electro jazz. Influenced by the work of Bon Iver, The Cinematic Orchestra, and Massive Attack, Llargo conjures up a dreamy and captivating world of mystical folk progressions and otherworldly ambience.

Regarding his unique and eclectic blend, Christian says, “I’m always searching for new ways into music and sounds, always pushing outside of my musical comfort zone.” Reaching out to one of his favorite vocalists, Heidi Vogel of The Cinematic Orchestra, was one of the ways he pushed himself.

“I wrote ‘Clouds’ with Heidi’s voice in my mind. I’m a huge fan of her tone and I thought she would be perfect for this song as her voice would blend really well with all the other instruments. We then met and recorded her vocals in London. What a magic experience!” The resulting track is pregnant with sonic potential, begging for further exploration of this one-off collaboration.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
John Bence,
“Kill” EP

Bristol, UK-based composer and producer John Bence has two releases in his discography, both EPs released on vinyl: 2015’s “Disquiet” on the Other People label of Nicholas Jaar and 2018’s “Kill” on the Grooming imprint of Yves Tumor. The latter initially came out in an edition of 100 copies on one-sided wax and was then given a clear vinyl run of 200. Needless to say, not many folks own a copy, but Thrill Jockey is remedying that situation with a third press, also clear and one-sided, which, due to Covid-19 plant closings, is now releasing August 21. However, the brief three-part suite is out digitally July 10, with the 12-inch available for preorder. It’s a work of considerable depth and narrative power.

John Bence’s “Kill” is indeed a short affair, at 14 and a half minutes only slightly longer than “Disquiet” (which has vinyl copies still available, try Forced Exposure). But his first effort is markedly distinct, being the byproduct of a composition for soprano voice and cello that was recorded and then manipulated by Bence, with this process repeated three more times.

While “Kill” is appropriately billed as an EP, due to narrative cohesion and gripping intensity, it lingers in the memory like a much-longer work. This is not to underrate “Disquiet,” which is a piece, also in three movements, of substantial beauty and unpredictability, and doubly impressive as it was conceived when the composer was just 19 years old.

“Kill” was written and recorded during a six-month residency at the FUGA space in Zaragoza, Spain, with its impact musical but also thematic. In Bence’s words, it “tells the story of a murderer who kills his lover, commits suicide and then accelerates towards God to be judged.” Given that description and considering Bence’s youth, newbies might fear that “Kill” will be the work of an insufferable edgelord, but thankfully, that’s not the case.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 7/8/20

How to clean vinyl records, deal with scratches, and store LP records properly: All you need to know about caring for your LP collection, including how to clean vinyl records properly, and where NOT to store them. Vinyl fans spend a lot of time lusting after the perfect record collection – floor to ceiling, dotted with first pressings, valuable vinyl records and boutique oddities. It’s safe to say that the same passion and focus isn’t reserved for the maintenance of vinyl once it’s safely slotted onto our shelves at home, or regularly spun on a turntable. In order to help you learn how to care for your vinyl records, including how to clean your vinyl properly, we recently spoke to experts at Leeds-based Norman Records, who have offered up some tips on how to clean your vinyl records so that they kick out the jams for years to come. “Who knows, maybe your grandchildren, years from now, will be able to experience the same musical joy as you do from your collection today,” say Norman Records.

East Anglia, UK | Could you have £10k in the attic? These 30 vinyl albums are worth a mint: Britain’s lofts, garages, spare rooms and cellars have never felt so much love as they have in the past three months. If lockdown has had you rummaging around among your possessions, you may have blown the dust off your long lost record collection, or if you’re still a regular collector, you may have been having a good old reorganisation. Either way, there’s probably some gems in there worth a bit of money. It was around 40 years ago that record sales first began to dwindle – cassettes took a share of the market and gradually, as compact discs became the format of choice for recorded music through the late 80s and into this current century, our love affair with vinyl records started to wane. With the digital download age dominating the first decade of the 21st century the value in second hand records dipped – nobody wanted these large relics of past times when they could own a file containing dozens of tracks and store it on a computer hard drive.

Elipson Chroma 200 and 400 turntables go big on features and value: Two of the six new Chroma models offer pre-amplification, Bluetooth connectivity and USB outputs. If you’re after an affordable turntable that does more than just spin records – by which we mean one that can record vinyl to digital files and stream vinyl over Bluetooth – then you may well be interested in Elipson’s new range of decks. The Chroma 200 and 400 ranges, which replace the brand’s decent Alpha and Omega series, each comprises three models – a standard deck, one with an integrated preamp, and one with a preamp, Bluetooth connectivity and a USB record output. The six new Chroma models – all designed and manufactured in France – range from £279 for the standard Chroma 200 to £699 for the flagship Chroma Carbon RIAA BT, and are available in the UK from this month. Elipson has made a smattering of improvements to the Chroma range over its predecessors to advance its aesthetics, ease of use and sound quality.

Federal Government Loan Program Lends Millions to Indie Labels: Sub Pop, Third Man, Stones Throw, Light in the Attic, and ATO among the businesses to receive Paycheck Protection Program loans. On July 6, the Small Business Administration released a list of all the businesses that have borrowed between $150,000 and $10 million as part of the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program loan program to help keep employees on payroll in the middle of the pandemic. The list includes multiple companies in the music industry, including several major and independent record labels. Sub Pop Records, Third Man Records, and Knitting Factory Records each received a minimum of $350,000. Stones Throw Records received between $1 and $2 million. J. Cole’s Dreamville Records, ATO Records, Dim Mak, Rostrum, and Cleopatra each received at least $150,000. Other labels that received loans include the punk and hardcore label Equal Vision, the Americana label New West, Christian hip-hop label Reach Records, and metal labels Sumerian and Metal Blade.

Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 vinyl albums receive new printing: If you’re like me and have fond memories of playing the Sonic Adventure games on your friend’s Dreamcast for hours as a kid, then the music from those games probably awakens emotions deep within your soul. If that’s the case, then the folks at Brave Wave have your back! The record label tweeted that the sold out vinyl albums of the Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 soundtracks will be receiving a new 180g black vinyl reprint. The exact date that orders will be open wasn’t provided, but the vinyl could sell pretty quickly, so act quickly if you want a copy. Then you can live out the dream and listen to the “Station Square” song on repeat for the rest of your life, as it’s the only song you’ll ever need!

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Ringo Starr,
Blast from Your Past

Happy 80th birthday to Sir Richard Starkey MBE.Ed.

Beatles fans, stop your incessant bickering about who’s the better artist, Paul McCartney or John Lennon! Because let’s face it, Ringo Starr beats the MBEs off both of ‘em! He’s a hit machine, a genius and a true Starr! And to those who would say otherwise I say, well, to HECK with you!

I don’t base my opinion on the fact that Ringo is the humblest and most lovable Beatle. No, all one has to do is compare his best of, 1975’s Blast from Your Past, with those of the other members of the Fab Four. It’s got a higher winner to loser ratio (90%, and that’s only if I call “Beaucoups of Blues” a loser, which it ain’t!) than John Lennon’s Shaved Fish (64%) Wings’ Wings Greatest (50%), and George Harrison’s The Best of George Harrison, which I refuse to even consider seeing as how its first side is composed solely of Beatles’ era songs.

And not only does Ringo have a better batting average–he’s also a lot more fun. Sure Lennon’s “Cold Turkey” (to pick just one song) is a harrowing depiction of heroin withdrawal blah blah blah, but do I ever listen to it? Of course not! It’s a stone bummer! And yes, Paul the Frivolous has written some lovably lightweight songs over the years, but he’s also the spitwit responsible for “Silly Love Songs,” “Let ‘em In,” and “Ebony and Ivory,” which makes him a horrible person in my book! And don’t even get me started on that nebbish George Harrison. No, Ringo’s the King, and I say that not as a fan but as a completely objective party who Ringo just paid me to say that!

Look, I would call Ringo the Greatest but I don’t have too since he comes right out and says he is in “I’m the Greatest,” just one of the delicious trifles that make Blasts from Your Past as indispensable an album as, well, pick an album, any album! And just in case you think Ringo’s only good for producing trifles, I give you “Photograph” (as touching a song as you’ll ever run across) and “It Don’t Come Easy,” which has George Harrison’s fingerprints all over it but who gives a shit!

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Twinkeyz,
Alpha Jerk

Once diminished as a momentarily convulsion on the path toward increased aural sophistication, punk rock has endured as a vital development in the annuls of modern music. It’s a style too often debased today, but in a swell turn of events Sacramento’s Ss Records offered a corrective to the defilement by reissuing the sole album from their hometown brethren The Twinkeyz. Infusing a modestly scaled and vibrant garage package with knowledge of the era’s fringe, the enlightening and appealing Alpha Jerk stands as a worthwhile instance of pre-codified punk form.

“Aliens in Our Midst” might’ve been released in 1977, but the A-side to The Twinkeyz’ first single is simply dripping with the wide-open spirit of ’76. Formed in the summer of that year, the band was certainly impacted by familiar touchstones, most obviously the output of proto-punk mainstay the Velvet Underground, yet these tangible qualities are interspersed with the atmosphere of a bunch of guys getting it all down on wax before the rulebook was chiseled into granite.

Underscoring the breadth of influence, The Twinkeyz’ name derives not from the junk food staple but is a tribute to Twink, the drummer for UK group Pink Fairies. Donnie Jupiter was the constant member as Steve Bateman and Wit Witkowski exited fairly early; Marc Bonella, Walter Smith, and Keith McKee were involved as well. Tom Darling was around from beginning to end but didn’t fully join until after the session that produced their best known song.

And what a song it is; “Aliens in Our Midst” unfurls a glorious recipe, a few of the ingredients having fallen to the wayside as punk grew far more focused on the intersection of surliness and speed; those VU attributes, specifically a Reed-like vocal approach and Loaded-era hook, get introduced to a decidedly garage template as a downright catchy melodic sensibility emerges complete with backup singing.

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