The TVD Storefront

We’re closed.

We’ve closed the shop for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday. While we’re away, why not fire up our free Record Store Locator app and visit one of your local indie record stores?

Perhaps there’s an interview, review, or feature you might have missed? Catch up and we’ll see you back here on Tuesday, 1/22.

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I don’t mind stealin’ bread from the mouths of decadence / But I can’t feed on the powerless when my cup’s already overfilled, yeah / But it’s on the table, the fire’s cookin’ / And they’re farmin’ babies, while the slaves are all workin’ / Blood is on the table and the mouths are all chokin’ / But I’m goin’ hungry, yeah

I hope you enjoy my second mix of 2019—and speaking of mixed, I had quite a few feelings this week. At the top of the week, I heard about this all-star Chris Cornell tribute show. Right from my first glance at the line-up I had an eerie feeling. Not that I was a good friend of Cornell, but I’m an “OG grunge dude” and I did know Chris well enough to imagine the look on the dude’s face seeing teenyboppers playing dress up and singing karaoke on his behalf.

The photos on Instagram and Facebook reminded me of seeing Lorde performing “Kurt songs” with the Nirvana guys at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s likely just me, but these days I’m constantly asking who is “smacked out” of their minds here? Well, props to Alice in Chains for keep Layne Staley’s spirit off the red carpet.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Leo “Bud” Welch, The Angels in Heaven Done Signed My Name in stores 3/8

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The final effort from legendary bluesman Leo “Bud” Welch, The Angels in Heaven Have Done Signed My Name, is due out March 8, 2019 via Dan Auerbach’s label, Easy Eye Sound.

The ten-song posthumous album draws from the 25-30 songs that were recorded at Auerbach’s studio in Nashville with his band The Arcs, and offers a dynamic showcase of Welch’s gifts. “Working with Bud was a true blessing and I’ll never forget it,” Auerbach shares. “Bud taught us the songs that he’d been playing since he was a kid. He was so soulful. When he sang, you listened. And his guitar playing was steady as a rock.” The Angels in Heaven Have Done Signed My Name is available for pre-order on all formats here.

Leo “Bud” Welch was born in Sabougla, Mississippi in 1932, and was taught to play blues guitar on a homemade one-string “wall” guitar. He began playing gospel music at Sabougla Missionary Baptist Church services when he was 13; six years later, he moved two dozen miles away to Bruce, a tiny town about 50 miles southwest of Tupelo. He would live and work in Bruce while playing at churches, earning a reputation for performing for hours, even through weeklong revivals, without repeating a song.

The gospel-and-blues dynamic would eventually define him, both in terms of music and his life. Beginning in the ’50s he often sat in with blues acts at Bruce’s renowned juke joint, the Blue Angel Ballroom, opening for legends like B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, and John Lee Hooker. At one point King invited Welch to come to Memphis and audition to play in his band. Welch, however, didn’t have the money to get a hotel room so he never went because King refused to pay for the trip.

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TVD Washington, DC

Save the Date: The
10th Anniversary of the DC Record Fair at Penn Social, Sunday 1/27!

Where does the time go? The DC Record Fair turns 10 and sets up shop to celebrate at DC’s Penn Social on Sunday, January 27, 2019!

As with each fair for a decade now, we’ll have 40+ vinyl vendors from up and down the East Coast, the special DJ line up, the drinks, the food, and special book signings all designed to put a welcome hurt on your wallet or pocketbook. You’ve been warned.

Our friends at the Fillmore Silver Spring put together the above feature a while back that outshines any descriptive copy we could devise—hit play.

THE 10th ANNIVERSARY DJ LINE-UP:
11:00-12:00: DJ Aisha Karimah
12:00-1:00: Cynthia Connolly (Banned in DC)
1:00-2:00: Danny Ingram (Dot Dash)
2:00-3:00: John Foster (Superior Viaduct Records)
3:00-4:00: Geologist (Animal Collective)
4:00-5:00: Nitekrawler (DC Soul Recordings)

Mark your calendars! 
THE DC RECORD FAIR

Sunday, January 27, 2019 at Penn Social, 801 E Street, NW
11:00–12:00, Early Bird Admission $5.00
12:00–5:00, Regular Admission $2.00

RSVP and follow via the Facebook invite and watch this space for updates!

POSTER: JOHN FOSTER AT BAD PEOPLE GOOD THINGS

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The TVD Storefront

Demand it on Vinyl: Gordon Lightfoot,
The Complete Singles 1970-1980 in stores 3/1

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Gordon Lightfoot is a genre unto himself. Neither pop nor folk nor country nor rock, his music is unvarnished, direct, a statement from one heart to another (as Lightfoot has stated, “I like to keep things simple. I don’t like to make them complicated”). And this uncompromising stance has not only made him a legend (particularly in his native Canada, where he is a full-fledged icon), but also, somewhat paradoxically, brought him huge commercial success (which, ironically, has in turn caused some to discount his prodigious songwriting talent).

For Gordon Lightfoot never set out to be a “popular” singer-songwriter. When he signed with Warner Bros. and began working with producer Lenny Waronker, Lightfoot thought of himself as an album artist, and, indeed, the Lightfoot-Waronker songwriter-producer partnership (with a brief period with Joe Wissert as producer) yielded nine charting albums—and that’s not even counting the compilations—highlighted by a #1 slot for 1974’s Sundown. But, starting with 1970’s “If You Could Read My Mind,” Lightfoot also reeled off 13 Pop chart singles including 4 Top Tenners during the ‘70s, as well as a host of Adult Contemporary and Country chart appearances, which is again testimony to his ability to transcend musical styles.

Now, Real Gone Music has for the first time ever compiled the A and B-sides of ALL the singles Lightfoot recorded with Waronker and Wissert for the Reprise and Warner Bros. labels, 34 sides in all featuring all the hits and hard-to-find B-sides.

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The TVD Storefront

Roman Lewis,
The TVD First Date

“My first memory of records was opening up this big cupboard my grandma has and finding a hundred of them packed on top of one another. I looked through it and didn’t recognise much so discarded them and forgot about it pretty quickly.”

“A couple of years later I got a record player for my 14th birthday. To make the most out of it I bought a record I had been listening to on repeat on Spotify called I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning by Bright Eyes. When the postman brought it to the door in its Amazon packaging, I couldn’t imagine the importance of the moment.

I went upstairs and placed the needle on the outer edge of side A and 45 minutes later I honestly felt like a different person. To that point I had never listened to an album in order. My listening ways were governed by that blasphemous shuffle button, but after finally listening to the songs I knew so well in the order they were meant to be heard, music for me was given a whole new meaning.

A song is a great medium for storytelling, but there’s only so much you can say in 5 minutes, whereas if you look at the song as the chapter and the album as the story, you can do a whole lot more.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Works, Volume 1

It’s impossible to interpret that Volume 1 as anything other than a threat. And it was. Shortly after the release of Works, Volume 1, the United Nations received a letter from the law firm of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, threatening to release a Works, Volume 2 unless the band received 100 million dollars in small, unmarked bills. Despite the risk of a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions, the U.N. refused to bend.

Let’s start over.

Way back in 1977, rock’s premiere triumvirate of colossal dildos took their elephantine self-regard to pompous new heights by releasing this prog-rock twofer on which, God save us all, each dildo got his own side. Talk about your hubris. Not even the bloated egos in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young ever dared to go so far.

You get a Keith Emerson side (he wrote a real live concerto!), a Greg Lake side (mushy acoustic balladry of the squishy candlelit sort), a Carl Palmer side (a so-so hodgepodge but better than the other guys’ sides), and finally a “group” side (on which the trio molests Aaron Copeland and performs theme music for a Deaf Olympics.)

Emerson’s side is the worst by leagues; in fact, I can say without hesitation that it’s the worst side of music in the history of modern music. His three-movement “Piano Concerto No. 1” (another threat!) is a case study in self-puffery and a complete wash; Lord knows your average ELP fan is a masochist prepared to eat any old kind of shit so long as it allows him to feel superior to the kinds of people who are too dumb to know that rock can only be improved by dressing it up in classical finery, but on this one Emerson leaves the rock out of the equation altogether. What you get instead are 18 interminable minutes of second-rate classical wankery, and what I want to know is who’d they hire to clean the bullshit off the piano bench afterwards?

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 1/18/19

UK | Bankrupt HMV Has Received ‘A Number of Offers’ — But Is This Chain a Goner? HMV Group fell into bankruptcy again last December. Now, there are ‘a number of offers’ to purchase the down-and-out chain. But then what? The past few years have witnessed a resurgence in music retail, particularly among mom-and-pops selling vinyl in trendy neighborhoods. Record Store Day (RSD), once judged to be a prayer, has lifted hundreds of smaller record stores. Even diversified retailers like Urban Outfitters and Barnes & Noble have expanded their vinyl record sections to profit from the bump. HMV Group, once a proud record chain based in the UK, hasn’t been so uplifted. In December, the chain plunged once again into bankruptcy — or in British speak, ‘administration’. That pre-Christmas lump of coal put thousands of jobs in jeopardy, while raising serious questions about the chain’s future. Over in Hong Kong, the future was definitively bleak. Instead of riding it out, HMV shuttered its entire Hong Kong business. But for now, stores in the UK are holding on.

Athens, OH | Coffeehouse exhibit explores glorious fringes of album art. Tescher to play music from displayed albums at reception Jan. 24. In a world of downloadable MP3 music files and streaming audio, what accounts for the lasting allure of the vinyl record? Part of it really is the sound – do not get your hardcore vinyl man started on the ineffable, broad-spectrum warmth of the analog recording. But any list of selling points for the old-school LP should also include its cover art. For decades the album cover was, like the comic book, a vital popular art form; for every American able to correctly identify Caravaggio’s “Basket of Fruit,” probably 10,000 can name that banana from “The Velvet Underground and Nico.” And if an album you love can bookmark a chapter of your life, its branding image can conjure the moment you first heard the music. To your humble reviewer, circa 1976 will always look like Mapplethorpe’s black-and-white portrait of Patti Smith on “Horses,” the poet staring evenly into the camera with her jacket slung over her shoulder. Someone could put together a trendy gallery show of “Iconic Rock ‘n’ Roll Album Art,” and no doubt someone has.

Dundalk, IE | Record fair comes to The Spirit Store, Dundalk on March 3: If you are a lover of vinyl records you might want to mark Sunday, March 3, down in your diary. The Pop Up Record And CD Fair will be rolling into Dundalk venue The Spirit Store from 10.30am to 5pm. At the record fair there will be thousands of LP’s, singles, 7 inch, 12-inch records and CD’s all in one place with several stalls from all over Ireland. At the fair, you can chose to come along as a customer and buy records, or sell some of your own or even trade some records with another attendee. Come along and browse the collections on show on March 3 and you might come away with some gems for your collection. Entry to this event is free of charge. www.spiritstore.ie

Bristol, UK | Discover Yamaha MusicCast Vinyl 500 at Bristol Hi-Fi Show 2019: Expect the unexpected as Yamaha showcases the MusicCast VINYL 500 turntable as part of a wireless Music system at The Bristol Hi-Fi Show 2019. If you’re looking to dust off an old record collection, or excited to discover a new one, the MusicCast VINYL 500 has it covered, whether it’s through streaming content from popular streaming services, or by playing your favourite vinyl records. Listen to your records around the house, wirelessly – experience True Sound without being tied down by cables. Naturally, there’s an app for this. The MusicCast app enables you to take control of all your listening needs with intuitive access to all your playlists in different rooms through the sophisticated yet user-friendly design. Furthermore, you can even hook up an Alexa device to give your system voice-command skills. The Bristol Hi-Fi shows runs from Friday 22nd February through Sunday 24th February 2019 at the Marriott City Centre Hotel, Bristol

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Jon Spencer
& the HITmakers at the Black Cat, 1/12

When Jon Spencer took the stage arranging his amps before his latest band started playing Saturday night at the Black Cat in DC, nobody much responded. Maybe they didn’t recognize him with glasses. But when he doffed the glasses, Clark Kent-like, suddenly he was the mercurial rocker, with an Elvis Presley voice, a rock ’n’ roll soul and manic psychobilly punk style.

Once part of such bands as Pussy Galore, Boss Hog, Heavy Trash and the epic Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, he now fronts a trio modestly called The HITmakers. As such, the bulk of his set came from playing all 12 tracks on the recent Spencer Sings the Hits he recorded in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

“Ready for more hits?” he’d say mid-set, with no little irony. As influential as he’s been on rock’s underground, he’s never come close to having a hit—even if his sounds helped power a recent Hollywood hit, Baby Driver. But what he did was hard-hitting, that’s for sure. The tight circle of the band had Sam Coomes, of Quasi and Heatmiser, on keyboards, and the young M. Sord on drums, augmented by the unusual percussion by onetime Sonic Youth drummer Bob Bert, who spent time in Pussy Galore with Spencer.

People talk about the gritty, piston-beats of industrial Michigan coming through its home-grown rock, but here was Bert wailing away on what looked to be an old Chevy gas tank with a pair of hammers. (On the album, the equipment is identified as “gas tank, strut spring, brake rotor, metal table, ventilation duct, unistrut, 2” EMT conduit, ball peen hammer”). Its distinct ping plays off Sord’s cellar-floor boom but helped conjure the heavy beat that’s always been a part of Spencer’s innate swagger.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Duster, Capsule Losing Contact comprehensive vinyl boxset in stores 3/22

VIA PRESS RELEASE | San Jose’s sonic cure-all for the Y2K hangover that never materialized, Duster emerged from a cloud of lonely bong rips to take indie rock to the moon, and beyond.

Scotch-taped guitars toggle between a chorus of brittle winter trees and a blanket of distorted fuzz. The low rumble of a cardboard box being kicked in a dead mall keeps pace in the background, as muffled, sung-spoken vocals ponder the great mysteries of modern mundanity. Three years of home recording accidents and blown-out 2AM studio experiments are spread across four LPs or three CDs, gathering the short-lived trio’s Stratosphere and Contemporary Movement albums, “1975” EP, singles, demos, and other miscellaneous debris into one escape pod, now free to drift in the endless void of space.

In honor of the announcement, the band have shared one of the previously unreleased songs included in the set.”‘What You’re Doing To Me’ was recorded in Jason’s basement in Seattle on 4-track during some lost time when we were isolated, distant stations just enduring the cold dark winds,” the band state. “Recording songs and putting them in a bag to do something with them eventually is kinda how we’ve always done it.”

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Germs, (GI)

We remember The Germs’ Lorna Doom who passed away on Wednesday, January 17 with a look back from our archives. Ed.

Poor Darby Crash. First the Germs charismatic and drug-abusing lead singer returned from England a converted Adam Ant fan (very bad form, very bad form indeed), then he had the amazingly bad luck to die in a suicide pact the day before the murder of John Lennon, thus ensuring his death would receive virtually no recognition in the press.

Fortunately neither his Antdom nor his ill-timed deliberate death by heroin overdose have sullied his posterity, and his pre-planned live-fast-die-young career continues to contribute to what practically amounts to a cult. And I get it. The guy was loony tunes, but he also had charisma. Germs drummer Don Bolles recalls, “With a little more luck and concentrated effort, Darby could have fulfilled his plan to be the new Jesus/Bowie/Manson/Hitler/L Ron Hubbard… he was a natural messiah type, whose heroic consumption of LSD helped make him the most psychedelic prankster I have ever known.”

Fortunately he started a punk band instead, and not just any punk band. As Germs guitarist Pat Smear recollects, “Whatever we were going to be, we were going to be the most. If we’re gonna be punk, then we are gonna out-punk the Sex Pistols! If we are gonna be the worst band ever, then we are gonna be the fucking worst band ever!” As the lead singer for what I like to think was one of the worst bands in history, those are inspiring words indeed.

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The TVD Storefront

The Struts’ Luke Spiller: In-store with TVD at DC’s Som Records

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNSIf there’s one thing that makes us happy to no end of late, it’s the return of good ol’ glam rock and roll to the airwaves, record stores, and turntables—and if there’s one band at its fore, it’s the UK four-piece The Struts who Dave Grohl famously cited as the Foo Fighters favorite support band (which says a thing or twenty as we’ve caught Social Distortion, The Joy Formidable, and Supergrass all open for the Foos over the years).

Now, allow us to be candid—the shelves in our office are teeming with records from within a ’70s sweet spot. (Get it?) Bowie, Queen, T. Rex, Slade, Mott, The Dolls, Alice Cooper, KISS, Elton, and yea Sweet, all still in heavy rotation. So, The Struts connected right right away–not just channeling this glitter era but contemporizing these sounds with hooks and earworms for days.

So, it was with great enthusiasm that we were joined by The Struts’ main main Luke Spiller at DC’s Som Records prior to the band’s well sold out show in Washington, DC late in 2018 for a binge in the record bins thinking Luke’s taste in records would fall in line with ours. And spoiler—yep, we’re simpatico.

So, down the stairs, shall we? We’re record shopping with The Struts’ Luke Spiller at DC’s Som Records.

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve: New in Stores for January 2019, Part Three

Part three of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases—and more—presently in stores for January, 2019. Part one is here and part two is here.

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Lisa/Liza, Momentary Glance (Orindal) Portland, ME’s Liza (pronounced Lisa) Victoria has a prior record out on Orindal, Deserts of Youth, where she goes it completely alone via acoustic guitar and vocals. On this follow-up she switches to electric and enlists some instrumentalist friends, though Victoria’s front-and-center presence is only intensified on a half-dozen selections (totaling 42 minutes) that radiate a magnificent late-night psych-folk vibe. Recorded and mixed by Efrim Manuel Menuck of Godspeed! You Black Emperor and Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra during a brutal Montreal winter, the suicide of a friend greatly impacted Victoria’s creative process. My learning of this surely deepened the emotional heft, which hits its apex with the massive “Tea Kettle.” A

Machinefabriek, With Voices (Western Vinyl) Dutch composer Rutger Zuydervelt is Machinefabriek, and his work essentially resides in a neighborhood shared by ambient, drone, minimalism, modern classical, noise, field recordings, electronics, and a general spirit of avant-experimentation. The man wields an insanely loaded, completist-defeating discography, but With Voices is destined to be one of the gems in that expansive body of work, in part because it finds him collaborating with a variety of vocalists across eight Roman numeric tracks, including Chantal Acta, Peter Broderick, Marianne Oldenburg, Richard Youngs, and Marissa Nadler. Eschewing lyrics, with a high percentage of the utterances effectively wordless, the results are wildly varied and in the case of the Nadler-sung finale, quite beautiful. A

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: Caspar Brötzmann Massaker, The Tribe & Black Axis (Southern Lord) Originally released by Zenzor in 1988, The Tribe was the debut by guitarist Brötzmann’s trio with Eduardo Delgado Lopez on bass and Jon Beuth on drums, and it delivered a noisily intense yet rock solid heart punch and a wakeup call; the possibilities of amplified string mayhem had been broadened and the roster of u-ground guitar heroes deepened. Coming off at times a bit like Hendrix at his wildest if he’d lived and largely set aside bluesy grooving for Germanic Industrial pummel, the Massaker were a formidable beast, and that they didn’t make as may waves as the Experience ultimately speaks to the conservative atmosphere of the era from which they sprang. A few slightly lesser tracks do emerge. A-

Caspar was the son of the German free jazz saxophone titan Peter Brötzmann (who designed The Tribe’s cover), which led to some speculation prior to hearing that the Massaker was going to be an excursion into skronk-rock fusion (like Last Exit, Jr., maybe). That wasn’t the case, though The Tribe and ’89’s follow-up Black Axis (originally on Marat Records) were both cut at FMP studio in Berlin, where many of the greatest German avant jazz recordings were made. Part of the reinforcement of a rock sensibility comes through the use of vocals, which serve roughly the same function as they did in the Experience. Black Axis finds the band (with fresh drummer Frank Neumeier) tapping into grooves a bit more (some near funky), but also kicking up clouds of pungent cacophony and launching into the stratosphere. A

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 1/17/19

Howell, NJ | Music, comic lovers bid farewell to iconic Howell record store: The Record Store, a beloved comic book and music shop, will close on Jan. 31. The Record Store, Route 9 north, Howell, stood out with its giant cassette, a sign that read “Music! Comics and other neat stuff,” a Superman light and painted messages in the window advertising an impressive used CD collection. Recently, owner Jeff Lega announced he would be closing the modest looking mom and pop shop and that meant many locals would be losing their favorite store; a place they have visited for 30 years for music and comics. A message posted on social media states that Lega “has decided to close down The Record Store at this time. He has been involved with the music business now for over 45 years. The Record Store did start out as a record store in Howell over 30 years ago. He has seen many ups as well as many downs, but he has stuck with it all this time. However, in the last few years he has found his enthusiasm waning and more importantly, his heart has just not been in the business anymore.”

Mark, My Words: the real reason I hate the cassette revival: …Psychiatrists are only now beginning to recognise a syndrome that I call my Radio Red Mist. I last had it just yesterday, when I was invited to discuss the sudden increase in sales of cassettes on Radio 4’s consumer and business programme You And Yours, the only forum for visceral, firebrand rock’n’roll polemic that’ll have me since I’m clearly too hot for Steve Lamacq’s Round Table to handle. One minute I was talking, quite coherently, about the revival in a physical connection to musical artefacts and the pros and cons of cassettes. The fiddly fast-forwarding. The clunky mechanics. The cold terror of hearing Black Francis start sounding like Nick Cave drowning that tells you, moments too late, that your tape deck is eating your precious spools like it’s ravenous for more of your tasty, tasty money oh god oh god I can’t take it any more

Vinyl made a surprise but welcome resurgence at CES: For a show all about the technology of tomorrow, CES sure had a lot of turntables – decidedly the technology of yesterday. If you ask the audiophiles, vinyl never really went away. But it’s certainly seen a resurgence the past few years – growth ironically aided by streaming services. It’s easier than ever to discover new music, and when people find something they really like, they’ll often shell out to own it in physical form (just look at ebooks vs regular books). Higher vinyl sales naturally lead to a greater demand for turntables, and a surprising number of legit manufacturers showed up this year. Although some of the turntables at CES have been demonstrated at audio shows previously, their presence at the conference was particularly notable given the show’s mainstream bent.

2018’s Top-Selling Vinyl Albums & Singles: Amy Winehouse, Prince, A Porg & More: Vinyl music sales in the U.S. continue to make a comeback, as Nielsen Music reports that vinyl album sales rose for the 13th consecutive year in 2018. Vinyl album sales grew 14.6 percent in 2018, as compared to 2017, rising to 16.8 million copies sold — a new one-year Nielsen Era record. (Nielsen began tracking music sales in 1991.) The Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 soundtrack finished the year as the top-selling LP, with 84,000 copies sold (see top 10 list, below). The year’s top 10 sellers are dominated by older releases and classic titles. The youngest title in the top 10 is Panic! at the Disco’s June 2018 release Pray for the Wicked, which closed out the year as the No. 10 seller, with 59,000 copies sold. The next two youngest releases in the top 10 are the Guardians album (issued in August 2014) and Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black (March 2007).

Auckland, NZ | Auckland Anniversary Day Vinyl Record Sale Red Beach: Huge 2nd hand Pop and Rock vinyl record sale at the Methodist Church Hall with heaps of stock that has arrived since my sales in December 2018!!!! Don’t miss this one!! Bargains galore!! Some LP’s have been discounted to only $2 each! Heaps of free parking! Don’t miss this opportunity to come and browse through thousands of records in order to find that specific album on vinyl that you have always wanted to add to your collection! Come and view the best music on vinyl at unbeatable prices! Anything from Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd to The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix and from Neil Young to Dire Straits plus everything in between, Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Simon and Garfunkel, Steely Dan, Lou Reed, Dolly Parton… the list goes on! Jazz, Blues, Rock, Folk, Country, Metal, Pop, Classical, Comedy, etc.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots:
Rayland Baxter and Illiterate Light at the Hamilton, 1/12

Opening the night for Rayland Baxter’s “Wide Awake” tour, two-member experimental rock band Illiterate Light took the stage. Taking in Jake Cochran’s minimalist drum setup and John Gorman’s synth base, it was easy to anticipate not hearing anything that might fit the evening’s expectations.

But well before the show, the pit was packed with fans who were ready to see them. You could chalk it up to the fact that they hail from nearby Harrisonburg, VA, but you’d be mistaken. Once their set started, the sound and energy that came from these two was entrancing. They had clear chemistry on stage, each carefully watching the other to perfectly time their rhythm and harmonies. But most impressive was their ability to turn up the volume, with Gorman stomping the synth base and nailing guitar solos while Cochran’s sang (screamed?) in a way that can only be described as primal.

They were a perfect opener for Baxter, who wasted no time taking the stage and harnessing that energy. Long-time listeners may be more accustomed to songs like “Olivia” and “Yellow Eyes,” both low-key alt-country songs that are excellent, but more suitable for a quiet evening in than a rock show. Opening with the first song from his new album, Strange American Dream, Baxter left anyone in the crowd expecting a quiet set—at least in this listener’s case—pleasantly mistaken. However, after about an hour, the 6-piece band left the stage, turned down the lights and sound, and left Baxter alone to do what he does best.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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