The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Jackson Browne,
For Everyman

I’ve come up with a great contest idea. If you win second place Jackson Browne plays an intimate show in your living room. If you win first place Jackson Browne doesn’t play an intimate concert in your living room. Just kidding. Jackson Browne has never been my sensitive El Lay singer-songwriter of choice, but then again I can’t be said to have a sensitive El Lay singer-songwriter of choice. All I know for sure is he beats hell out of Andrew Gold.

That said, let me start all over again with two quick observations on Browne’s 1973 sophomore album, For Everyman. One: You would think a legendary singer-songwriter of Jackson’s fastidious ilk would have put more time into writing compelling songs. Two: The songs that are compelling are the ones he seems to have spent the least time writing. Does it make sense that we should applaud such a deep soul as Browne for what appear to be his toss-offs?

Why not? The serious Jackson Browne has problems. For starters, he’s not a very good poet, at least on For Everyman. It’s impossible to know what the hell he’s trying to say when he says things like, “Hanging at my door/Many shiny surfaces/clinging in the breeze” (from “Colors of the Sun”) or “I Thought I was a child/Until you turned and smiled” (from “I Thought I Was a Child”). Browne has a gift for the portentous that borders on the pretentious, but too many of his songs hinge upon lyrical vagaries that drift away like smoke when you try to parse their meanings.

More problematic by far is the fact that too many of the songs on For Everyman appear to have failed out of charm school. It’s hard to imagine a song more colorless than “Colors of the Sun”; the melody plods along like a workhorse, the lyrics are so much mush signifying not so much. And “Sing My Songs for Me” ain’t much better. Browne has a template for dirges like this one, and on For Everyman he repeats the formula too often. “The Times You’ve Come” has a more delicate feel but the result is the same; I don’t know what you call what Jackson does but I call it droning. The slow tempos drag you into a pit of ennui that only a quick listen to Elton John’s “The Bitch Is Back” will alleviate.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 11/20/17

Death and the salesman: running a record shop with cancer, Willie Meighan of Rollercoaster Records on dealing with a terminal illness and the “happiest little record shop in the world.” Speaking to people about their passion and their time spent working in music is a pleasure, but all the talk of work evaporates in the face of life-changing news, which Willie Meighan, the proprietor of Rollercoaster Records in Kilkenny, shares in the first few minutes of our chat. Meighan has cancer and recently found out it’s terminal…Meighan is pragmatic about his prognosis and has continued to do bits and pieces for the shop that he so clearly enjoys running. He does orders from home, and his staff look after the day-to-day running. He was also booking gigs in Kilkenny but he has had to let others look after that end of things.

New Hamburg record store fulfills vinyl dreams: “It’s millennials, mostly,” he said, referring to the traffic coming through his store, Rick’s Record Shack & Wifey’s Closet, which opened three weeks ago, 10 minutes south of the city at 3348 Lakeshore Road in Hamburg. “I love that these younger people have so much passion for music, and deep knowledge about it, too. I mean, I had these kids in here freaking out about finding old Ella Fitzgerald vinyl in the store.” It should go without saying that the idea of opening a record store in 2017 would not seem to qualify as a genius business decision. Given the way retailers are imploding financiall, it might not be a wise decision to open any kind of store, but music sales in particular have been especially hurt by the rise of the digital and social media culture.

Company hopes to turn the tables on vinyl market: One firm is hoping to shake up the vinyl record market with its new state-of-the-art machinery. In August, Vinyl Presents began operations from its production facility in Victory Trading Estate. A 2016 report stated that, in 2016, market demand for vinyl in the UK was over 1,700,00 per month. As the majority of pressing plants are situated abroad, the team behind Vinyl Presents are hoping to bring the manufacturing back to the UK. Director & CEO Daren Fudge said: ‘Our plan is to bring record manufacture home to the UK, ‘A huge percentage of vinyl is currently pressed overseas which is a trend we want to reverse.

Vinyl art exhibition sure to spark some nostalgic music memories: Record sleeves were once such an iconic part of the music industry. Now people can enjoy some great nostalgia with a new exhibition celebrating that art and will also give people the chance to vote on what they like most. Best Art Vinyl is an international award celebrating the best in record cover design and comes to Barnsley as part of a new exhibition featuring a host of renowned names from the world of music, art, design and photography. Best Art Vinyl celebrates record cover art, compiling the global opinion on the best in art, photography and graphic design in modern music culture.

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Cubscouts are screaming, / Needing icescreaming and all the pleasures of June / I’m in a parked car. / Flowers seem friendly and people in hall ways feel walls. / Now it is night time maybe we’e cruising avoiding the anti-cruise. / Oh I don’t really know where we are. / If things get real promise to take me somewhere else, / By the time fear takes me over will we still be rolling and feeling oblivion.

(I’ve always loved a great British lyric to take me to a far away imaginary place.)

On another note, last week Jon from The Vinyl District reminded me that due to the holiday schedule I only had four Idelic Hours to go before year’s end. My reply was something to the effect of… “I know.”

For some years now, bloggers have been creating their “Year End” lists earlier and earlier in the year. The standard rule of thumb these days might be the week after Thanksgiving. In this day and age someone always knows better than me.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Morrissey biopic England Is Mine Blu-ray and DVD editions in stores 12/12

VIA PRESS RELEASE | England Is Mine is a new drama about the early days of Morrissey, the iconic pop star and original front man for the seminal band, The Smiths. Directed by Academy Award® and BAFTA-nominee Mark Gill, the film stars Jack Lowden as the artist formerly known as Steven Patrick Morrissey and Jessica Brown Findlay of Downton Abbey fame as his soul mate and muse.

Set in Thatcher’s Britain of the ’70s and ’80s, a time when working class Manchester was beset by unemployment and riots, the film tells the story of 17 year-old Steven (Lowden), a painfully shy, intellectually precocious loner who lives for, and writes about, the burgeoning local music scene—a surprisingly vibrant subculture in an otherwise drab industrial city. Too intimidated to join that scene, he writes reviews from the sidelines, imagining what he would do if he were on stage.

When one of his write-ups is noticed by kindred spirit Linder Sterling (Brown Findlay), an aspiring painter, the two become fast friends, and she pushes him to form a band and take to the stage. Steven finally works up the courage to book a club date, and performs a dazzling cover of an old girl-group standard. This is the first time the world gets to hear the distinctive, emotion-filled voice that would eventually propel him to stardom.

That very night, a manager reaches out with an offer. Unfortunately, it’s only for guitarist Billy, not the lead singer, meaning Steven will be left behind. His dreams of a musical career vanish and he’s left with nothing but wasted days at a soul-crushing civil servant job, and lonely nights holed up in the same bedroom he’s slept in his whole life. Only his mother’s unwavering belief in his talent, and Linder’s constant reminder—”be yourself, everyone else is taken”—give him the strength to keep trying to become the artist he was always meant to be.

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TVD New Orleans

Bonerama brings Hot Like Fire to Tipitina’s
for album release party Saturday night, 11/18

When Hurricane Nate was threatening the gulf coast, the city of New Orleans ill-advisedly instituted a city-wide curfew 36 hours before the unpredictable storm was slated to make landfall. Perhaps the early warning was because of devastation wrought in Houston or long memories of Katrina. Though the storm ended up to the east of us, numerous shows were cancelled including Bonerama’s album release party.

Back in October, their seventh studio album, Hot Like Fire, the first on New Orleans’ premier independent label, Basin Street Records, was released on schedule and has been earning rave reviews. Due to the only-in-New Orleans, trombone-driven funky rock band’s relentless touring schedule, the party was rescheduled for Saturday night. Darcy Malone and the Tangle are the opening act.

Bonerama first burst on the scene twenty years ago with a sound unlike anyone had ever heard. With three trombones out front, led by founding members Mark Mullins and Craig Klein, the group moved past genres into a category of one.

With a sousaphone and drum kit (Matt Perrine and Walt Lundy respectively) driving the beat, they can sound like a brass band. With a driving electric guitar, played with jazzy aplomb by Bert Cotton, they can rock. Given this is a New Orleans band through and through, heavy funk is in the DNA as well provided in a large part by third trombonist Greg Hicks. Consider his solo on the album’s last cut, “Christiania.”

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The TVD Storefront

The Vaughns, The TVD First Date and Premiere, “Bby Save Me”

“When I was about three years old, I remember scrounging around my basement through my dad’s massive vinyl collection.”

“I remember seeing Bowie’s infamous cover of Diamond Dogs and was so fascinated by its creature-like appeal. Every day for about a month, my parents told me I would walk around the house just saying, “BOWIE, BOWIE, BOWIE” over and over and over. I probably made them crazy. Personally, I still make a habit of waking up every Saturday morning and throwing on one of these classic records to my turntable.

Anyway, to this day The Vaughns still practice in this old basement and we have taken these old duplicate records and lined them around our practice walls. Old records including Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Zeppelin, and The Pretenders surround us every time we practice and write. I feel like these tiny vintage subtleties have bled into our songwriting over the last year and a half. I think all four of us agree that vinyl provides an artistic listening experience like none other and I’m just elated that our new singles are now available in this format for all our continued followers.
Tom Losito

“Thinking they were a product of the past—I used to have records hanging up on my bedroom walls for decoration. One of my favorites was the Doors’ LA Woman because of the butterfly on the label.”

“Some years later I was at a friend’s house when I heard TV on the Radio blasting through a pretty legit record player. It blew my mind that modern-day bands were still releasing vinyl records, and even more so that kids my age were collecting them. It also sounded incredible. The next day I rummaged through my parents’ garage to dust off their record player and devour their collection.

These days Tom is always showing us some random ’80s record like Phil Collins’ “I Cannot Believe it’s True,” Ryan is letting me borrow his Sylvan Esso album for the weekend, and I’m still wondering how anyone will top David’s Secret Santa gift to me last year, The Lemon Twigs’ Do Hollywood vinyl. There’s something special about sharing the music you love with your friends. I think adding a tangible aspect offers an intimacy to the exchange that mp3 files and sending links can’t compete with. Let’s hope that never goes out of style.”
Anna Lies

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Blackmore’s Night,
Shadow of the Moon

What does it feel like to be a voluntary atavism? I can understand those contemporary rockers who fall prey to an irresistible urge to retreat to the days of rockabilly; life nowadays is so complicated and scary and it’s hard to fight the longing for a return to some mythical, “simpler” time.

But there’s looking backwards and then there’s really looking backwards and it took the unadulterated genius of Ritchie Blackmore—of Deep Purple and Blackmore’s Rainbow fame—to slither his way backwards in time the whole way to the Renaissance.

The Renaissance! Oh wondrous age! When the men wore codpieces and the women wore merkins and people got smarter! And folks wiped their greasy hands on the olde pub dog and suffered from black bile and lived to the ripe old age of 35! Those were great times if you were a fan of the Great Plague, and Blackmore—along with wife Candice Night, who does the singing—unwittingly provide an appropriately pestilential soundtrack for the Age of the Black Death.

The songs on 1997’s Shadow of the Moon would sound just right coming from the stage of your local Renaissance Faire. The problem is I hate Renaissance Faires. I was strong-armed into attending one once and it was all I could do not to beat the closest wandering minstrel to death with an oversized turkey leg. If there’s one thing in this world I cannot abide it’s a wandering minstrel. And lest you think Blackmore and Night would be offended by comparisons with Renaissance Faires please allow me to point out that they’ve seen fit to equip Shadow of the Moon with a song called “Renaissance Faire.” About the best I can say for it is that it’s every bit as vapidly pleasant as most of the other songs on this benighted LP.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 11/17/17

Fives record shop celebrates 40 Years: IT was all the way back in 1977, in the heady days of glam rock and punk, that Fives Record Store first opened. Owner Peter Drisoll had just closed his heating business, and was wondering what to do next: it was a choice between a bike shop and a record shop, and to all local music lovers’ relief, he chose the latter. The first incarnation of the store was next to the Sarah Moore pub on Elm Road.“Two recent customers actually remembered the Elm Road shop!” Peter laughed…“It was very bad about six year’s ago, but the vinyl comeback saved us. Young people are really into it now,” he explains.

Godfathers of vinyl: “I thought I was out, but they pulled me back in.” After a five-year break, former M-Theory owner Eric Howarth is getting back into the brick-and-mortar record-store business. His new shop will be a mere stone’s throw away from the old M-Theory location on the corner of 30th and Juniper in North Park. “I appreciate having the flexibility to do things when I need to versus having to open at a certain time and close at a certain time. I enjoyed having M-Theory and everything else, but you’re locking into a certain thing if you’re going to be behind the counter at a retail store. That’s just the way it goes,” Howarth said. Howarth was actually looking to sell off his Vinyl Junkies business, which he refers to as his “mobile record store.” He mentioned it to Tim Mays since Mays’s bar, the Casbah, hosts the Vinyl Junkies Record Swap. To Howarth’s surprise, Mays expressed interest in buying Vinyl Junkies and took up his offer to stay on as a partner.

Learning about vinyl records in a digital age: The convenience of Googling a song and being able to listen to it in a matter of minutes was not always possible. Before radio, Pandora, or Apple Music, there were vinyl records. Junior Journalist Raines Murphy took a trip to Falling Star Records and he says he learned a lot from music guru Tony Doolin. “Elvis, you need some Elvis. How about this one,” says Doolin. Raines asked, “How do records work?” Doolin explained, “You see these tiny little grooves on the record? When you put that on the turntable and you bring the needle over, there is a diamond tip and it runs through the grooves and the vibrations translate into an electronic signal and is reproduced as music.”

Kiki & Henry’s vintage record fair returns to Stourbridge: Vintage vinyl is up for grabs to Black Country music fans this weekend as Kiki and Henry return to Stourbridge with their popular record fair. From 11am until 4pm on Saturday (November 18), the organisers and their fellow traders will be taking over their regular spot at the historic Talbot Hotel in High Street for the last time in 2017 – so customers are urged to bring their Christmas lists along. Traders will be offering a vast array of vinyl records and collectables to suit all tastes and budgets. Music books, CDs and memorabilia will also be for sale and the Talbot’s bar and restaurant will also be open for hungry shoppers.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Bob Dylan
and Mavis Staples at
The Anthem, 11/14

“Forever Young” is not a song Bob Dylan played in his first show at the big new rock club The Anthem in DC Tuesday, but it is something he embodied. Who else has so dominated American music for half a century, requiring one to venture out to see his shows with his band year after year not necessarily to hear new music, but to see how the old ones have evolved even more, even since the last time around.

Dylan at 76 does seem younger—his hair no longer hidden beneath a hat but grown out to a brown ‘fro again; his voice as clear as he wants to make it (its cragginess here and there, we see, is a choice). Behind a baby grand piano rather than an electric keyboard—and never coming close to touching a guitar, something I’m still not quite adjusting to—he dominated early solos in a setlist that has been substantially the same for much of the last year. Charlie Sexton didn’t seem to weigh in with short, stinging guitar solos until later in the show. That made the sound of the songs different, which will happen when your lead instruments are piano, pedal steel, and tom tom.

Entering the vast Anthem stage to the sounds of guitarist Stu Kimball, improvising “O Shenandoah,” the band kicked in with “Things Have Changed,” the 2000 song that earned him the Oscar he appears to have on display on an amp. The song seemed propelled on kind of a cowboy beat that seemed to fit with the matching Western suits the band wore (black hats on the left, hatless on the right).

It’s an occupational hazard to pluck out lyrics of a Dylan song to clarify what’s happening. In this case it’s “I used to care, but things have changed.” And in the second song, a further kiss-off to those who would be too fervent a fan: “I’m not the one you want babe, I’m not the one you need.” Add this to the fact that he never speaks to the audience or acknowledges them in any way and you might think he doesn’t like what he’s doing.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: D.O.A.:
A Right Of Passage
screenings and Blu-ray/ DVD in stores 12/8

VIA PRESS RELEASE | D.O.A.: A Right Of Passage is the ground-breaking classic rockumentary about the origin of punk rock. The film will be coming to select theaters in mid-November, and will also be available in a collector’s edition Blu-ray and DVD package.

High Times is pleased to finally uncover and restore this extraordinary, vintage film – D.O.A.,” said High Times owner and CEO Adam Levin. The vision for the film can be attributed to two people: Tom Forcade (the founder of High Times magazine) and filmmaker Lech Kowalski (East of Paradise). The production centered around the Sex Pistols 1978 tour of the US, which ended with the group breaking up. Forcade and Kowalski followed the band with handheld cameras through the clubs and bars during their seven-city U.S. tour.

Mixing this with footage of other contemporary bands, trends in the fashion capitals, and punks of all shapes and colors, the film makers captured a grainy, stained snapshot of the punk movement at its peak (which includes the now famous footage of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen in bed) along with rare interview and concert footage of the late seventies punk rock music scene.

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