A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 11/21/19

Why vinyl records have made major comeback: …In the process of cleaning up I also visited my collection of CDs and vinyl records, many going back to the 1970s. I also have a few shellac records which belonged to my mother, including her favourite “Shenandoah Waltz” from the 1950s…The record sleeves themselves were works of art and I recall the beautiful psychedelic renditions on many covers, which appealed to the youthful eye. When you buy vinyl today, it is like an investment. There are many people buying, collecting and reselling vinyl and it tends to retain if not increase its value over time so you can sell or pass it down to your children as an appreciating asset. There is something special about removing a well kept record from its colourful sleeve, wiping it down with an anti-static cloth and holding it by the edges before carefully sliding it down the spindle of a good quality turntable.

Baltimore, MD | Baby’s on Fire to soft open Fells Point location tomorrow, host festivities next week: Baby’s on Fire is set to open its new Fells Point location tomorrow, and fittingly the record store and cafe that is setting up a new coffee shop in another record store, The Sound Garden, will mark the occasion next week with a free concert. The local indie band PLRLS is performing a set on Nov. 27–the day before Thanksgiving–followed by music from DJ David K, aka Baby’s on Fire co-owner David Koslowski, the store announced yesterday. One night before that, four comics will perform as part of Ugly Baby: A Comic Show. But if you’re just dying to see the new cafe, housed in the Sound Garden’s old vinyl room, the soft opening starts tomorrow at 7 a.m. and promises coffee, scones, sandwiches and more. Sound Garden owner Bryan Burkert told Baltimore Fishbowl last April he approached Koslowski and his wife and co-owner, Shirlé Hale-Koslowski, about combining forces to “give the store a better vibe” and also boost foot traffic.

Phonocut lets you cut your own vinyl record: Vinyl records are back in our living rooms, with sales steadily growing in recent years to a level that could see the format outsell CDs for the first time since the mid-1980s. That’s great news for consumers, but for gigging bands and solo performers not signed to a major label, getting in on the vinyl action could be out of their budgets. That’s where Phonocut’s Home Vinyl Recorder might help. Essentially the device allows users to plug in an audio source (wireless connectivity is in development), place a blank vinyl record on the platter and push a button to start cutting a 10-inch vinyl record at home, at the studio or in the rehearsal space. Of course, you don’t have to be a musician to make the most of this system, you could just create the vinyl equivalent of mix-tapes to give to a loved one. Phonocut recommends that it’s “special recipe” blanks are used to ensure the “highest fidelity, longest durability and cleanest cut.”

Take Those Old Records Off the Shelf: For the past ten years, vinyl sales have been rising more than they have since cassettes first came out. Record stores have been opening back up around the country with events to promote their sales like the annual Record Store Day in April. More and more people are posting about their latest vinyl selection on social media. The question is why? Why are vinyl records coming back in an age of digital music like Spotify and Pandora that make listening to music cheaper and easier. People may argue that vinyl has a nostalgic aspect to it. …Senior, William Mangum, doesn’t get the whole vinyl phase . …However, Senior, Jesus Landa, would disagree with Mangum. “Vinyl just seems more real to me. It’s like holding tangible music in the palm of my hand.” he continues, “I definitely think it’s worth [paying] the extra money for vinyl. Owning music online doesn’t really feel like you own it.” Landa also agrees with the nostalgic aspect of vinyl, “…listening to the music through actual vinyl instead of blaring it through speakers calls to some people.”

Get pumped for Rocket League with a new vinyl soundtrack: If you’ve been craving an analog answer to your Rocket League wishes, then iam8bit has a special gift just for you. The company has announced the Rocket League x Monstercat: Greatest Hits 2-LP vinyl soundtrack set! The fan-curated album is available for pre-order on iam8bit.com, and it will feature 18 tracks that include music by Slushii, Infected Mushroom, Tristam, Dion Timmer, Muzzy, Tokyo Machine, and more. Rocket League is known for its pulsing, addictive music, and now it can play in your home! If you pre-order the Rocket League x Monstercat: Greatest Hits soundtrack before midnight on December 2nd, you’ll receive access to exclusive Rocket League in-game bonus content! And this will be the only time you can get these bonus items. Check out what’s available

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live: FKA twigs at the Riviera Theatre, 11/15

WORDS AND IMAGES: JULIA SIMONE PAUL | The line for FKA twigs’ MAGDALENE tour at the Riviera Theatre wrapped around the building before doors even opened on Friday night. Her devout fans wanted to ensure they didn’t miss a moment of the magical experience that is a FKA twigs show. Don’t make the newbie mistake of thinking she puts on your typical singer-dancer concert. Yes, she does both sing and dance during the show—but they’re really just a few of the tools she has at her disposal to guide the audience emotionally.

This emotional shepherding began before the show even started. Ambient, pulsing music was playing as fans filled the theatre. It slowly swelled in volume as showtime came nearer, building up the anticipation. A large black curtain hid the stage from view, and as the music seemed to be reaching its apex and the house lights went dark, I expected the fabric to sweep away to dramatically reveal twigs.

Instead, she simply stepped through the middle of the curtain onto the few feet of visible stage. Clothed in a black and white outfit that looked inspired by Elizabethan era fashion (and a pair of tiny sunglasses), she had only a few white lights shining at her from either side of the stage. Twigs began a tap dance, accented with a simple music track that embellished the complex rhythms she was playing with her feet.

While this was much less elaborate entrance than I had predicted, it soon became clear that it was intentional. Just as with the music preceding the show, she was gradually building the excitement in the room. When finished with her tap dance, the white side lights began pulsing, and the music became richer. Finally, she began to sing. Her ethereal slow-jam, “Hide,” was the perfect bridge to the more upbeat numbers that followed.

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TVD UK

TVD Live Shots:
Jon Spencer and the HITmakers at Bar Brooklyn, 11/13

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN | The last of three trips of the year for me and my day job find me in Stockholm for the first time at the Swedish Search Summit where I’m the second speaker of the day. My topic, creativity for marketers, and what better way to get my head in the right place for an early morning speaking gig than to head down to Bar Brooklyn for the original king of garage punk—the one and only Jon Spencer. He’s taken a break from the Blues Explosion to bless us all with a solo record of sorts called Spencer Plays the Hits and taken to the road as The HITmakers.

He’s brought together an all-star group featuring the talents of Sam Coomes (Quasi, Heatmeiser) and M. Sord, but the real highlight here is the legend that is Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore). Bert was on percussion, but it looked more like parts from a junkyard, including an industrial-sized coil and trash can that he played with a hammer. At first glance, it’s a pure what the fuck moment, but when it gets going, it works. While the HITmakers are not a massive departure from the noise rock genius of the Blues Explosion, they have a similar formula—loud, aggressive, groovy, and in your face.

Every time I see Jon Spencer live in any capacity, I can’t help but think he’s got to be the hardest working man in garage rock show business. This guy doesn’t stop moving the entire set. He’s like James Brown crossed with Stevie Ray Vaughan in the bizarro world. Bar Brooklyn filled up very quickly to witness the blistering 90 minute plus set that weighed heavily on the new record. But Jon and company threw us a few bones and a curveball with selections from his vast catalogue including a few Blues Explosion numbers that got the crowd going bananas. I swear I saw “Bellbottoms” on the setlist. It never transpired, and it didn’t need to.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Brenda
Lee, Rockin’ Around
The Christmas Tree:
The Decca Christmas Recordings
in stores

VIA PRESS RELEASE | In October 1958, 13-year-old wunderkind Brenda Lee entered the recording studio to record a new song by Johnny Marks, the songwriter behind “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” called “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” that her and her producer, Owen Bradley, felt had a lot of potential. Lee, who had already earned the nickname, “Little Dynamite,” belted out the lyrics, “Rockin’ around the Christmas tree/At the Christmas party hop/Mistletoe hung where you can see/Every couple tries to stop” while the band rocked on around her and created one of the biggest, most indelible, holiday songs of all time. “It was just one of those magical moments in the studio when everything came together,” Lee remembered. “The sax solo, the little guitar lick that’s in there. Everything just sort of fell into place.”

Surprisingly, when originally released the following month as her second Christmas single, backed with the Cajun-flavored holiday tune, “Papa Noel,” the song failed to make a dent in the charts. It was déjà vu all over again the following year too, but in 1960 when Lee’s teenage anthem of unrequited love, “I’m Sorry,” became a #1 smash hit, Decca Records reissued “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” and the song turned into a #14 hit. Over the last six decades the timeless song has become a perennial holiday favorite around the globe with continual airplay and streaming and has sold more than 36 million copies with the 5th most digital downloads sold of any Christmas single.

It has been featured in several movies including an iconic scene in the hit movie, Home Alone. Since 2014 “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” has returned annually to the Billboard Hot 100 chart and last year as it turned 60, it reached an all-time chart peak of #9 during the holiday season.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Assorted Artists,
Television’s Greatest Hits: 65 TV Themes!
From the 50’s and 60’s

The 1950s and ‘60s were a golden age of television. There was zero drug use, no filthy language, and nobody got to second base. Heady times indeed, if you were a puritan. But the theme songs! They were great! And wouldn’t you like to hear them again, all together in one place? Well you can, thanks to TVT’s invaluable 1985 compilation Television’s Greatest Hits: 65 TV Themes! From the 50’s and 60’s. And I’m here today with everybody’s favorite talking horse, Mr. Ed, who’s on a nationwide tour to promote the album.

Are you ready to answer some questions, Mr. Ed?

Mr. Ed: Ready as I’ll ever be. And you can call me Ed.

Thanks, Ed. Before we get started, what have you been up to since your show went off the air in February 1966?

Mr. Ed: I went through some hard times. I’m talking a serious oats addiction, three failed marriages, a couple of bankruptcies. At the peak of my career I owned a million dollar stable in the Hollywood Hills. I was dating Donna Douglas. Eva Gabor was an intimate friend. By the end I was living in a one-room flea trap on Skid Row, freebasing hay and settling for non-speaking roles on Bonanza. Chub and I used to sneak into Virginia City to score celery.

But you’re back on your feet?

Mr. Ed: Sober as Dick Webb.

What do you think of the compilation?

Mr. Ed: It’s great. I love every song on it with the exception of Grieg’s “Peer Gynt: Morning Suite.” For the life of me I don’t know why it’s on the comp. But to be honest, a lot of these TV theme songs are colored by what I know about the stars of the shows. Wilson Mizner called Hollywood a trip through a sewer in a glass-bottom boat, and he wasn’t kidding. It’s easy to lose your moral bearings in Tinseltown. You get jaded fast.

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The TVD Storefront

Needle Drop: Death
Party Playground,
“Still Memories”

Waterloo, Ontario-based Death Party Playground create wily power pop anthems, soaked in the tradition of Springsteen and Tom Waits.

Their latest single, “Still Memories,” boasts some thick, nostalgic vibes, sparkling with hope and reflection. “It’s a bit of a rock lullaby about resolving the pain of the past into something positive,” lead singer Kyle Taylor says. “A holistic reminder to appreciate the entire experience, both good and bad.”

Taylor’s poignant songwriting is accompanied by bright, folky guitars, all the way until the final lift, towards the end of the song, where the listener is invited to sing along, dance, and just have fun despite it all.

“These songs squeeze a little joy out of a darker time,” Taylor reflects. “It’s trying to have fun in spite of it. It’s purposefully not letting something break you.”

“Still Memories” is lifted from the band’s debut album Little Joy, due in stores January 17th.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Jake La Botz,
They’re Coming for Me

Hot on the heels of his 51st birthday, Jake La Botz has packed a lot of living into that half century, acting in films and on stage, learning the blues from Chicago legends Honeyboy Edwards and Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis, teaching meditation to prisoners and kicking drug addiction. Navigating through the ’80s punk scene, landing in Nashville and returning to Chicago to cut his ninth full-length, the results reflect his range of experience. Rootsy with a theatricality that avoids faltering into minstrelsy and with strong singer-songwriter bona fides, in an earlier era, he would’ve been a cult artist struggling on a major label, but in 2019 he’s releasing They’re Coming for Me on Jimmy Sutton’s Hi-Style Records. It’s a good fit.

Jake La Botz has a whole lot of records out that I’ve somehow managed to not hear since he debuted in 1999 with Original Soundtrack to My Nightmare. The extensive background is palpable on his latest, as They’re Coming for Me is not the album of a fresh-faced newbie, though it still has the spark that I often associate with more youthful performers.

The artist successfully walks a dangerous line as the album progresses, in that he successfully tangles with the roots impulse without straining for a weathered effect and simultaneously doesn’t impact the ear like some anachronistic relic. Contemporary touches are frequent as the disc progresses, with the opening title track settling into a country-tinged rockish singer-songwriter zone.

There’s enough blues in the cut’s equation to drive home that La Botz isn’t a replicator; instead, he’s productively absorbed the stuff. With that said, the next track “Johnnybag the Superglue” radiates some Calexico similarities, like if they were enlisted to back up Tom Waits, which brings us to how La Botz effectively conjures a likeness to that troubadour of bent Americana but without sounding like a copyist.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 11/20/19

Portland, OR | The 3 best vinyl record shops in Portland: Got a need for vinyl records? Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top vinyl record sources in Portland, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of the best spots to venture next time you’re in the market for vinyl records. Hoodline offers data-driven analysis of local happenings and trends across cities. Links included in this article may earn Hoodline a commission on clicks and transactions. 1. Bull Moose: First on the list is Bull Moose. Located at 151 Middle St., the video game store, which offers music and DVDs, vinyl records and more, is the highest-rated vinyl record spot in Portland, boasting four stars out of 43 reviews on Yelp.

IE | 7 of the best record shops in Ireland: Taking our cue from Red Bull Radio’s Counter Intelligence show, we look at some of Ireland’s best record stores. If you’re a regular listener to Red Bull Radio, you’ll be aware that Counter Intelligence – the show that highlights the stories behind both some of the most famous and most obscure record stores around the globe – is a cracking listen. (And if you’re not a regular listener, get on it, stat.) Taking that show as our cue, we’ve put together a list of some of the best and most interesting record stores in Ireland that are worthy of their stories being shared – and at the very least, worth checking out for myriad reasons, which you’ll read below. In no particular order…

Pasadena, NL | Welcome to the Vinyl Garage, a small-town rec room turned live music venue: Jan Stephen opens his home, decorated with music memorabilia, to host concerts and live his dream. On a quiet cul-de-sac in Pasadena, N.L., a yellow home with a white covered veranda looks like any other, but sometimes when the sun goes down, it turns into a rocking live music venue. Jan Stephen has been living his dream for the past two years hosting live acts right out of his own home. He calls it the Vinyl Garage, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is some glorified shed party. In fact, it’s not even a garage. “This room, originally in the house plans, was supposed to be a car garage,” said Stephen. “[But] instead of putting in a garage door at the front, they put in a bay window and turned it into a rec room.”

Verona, IT | Inside Mother Tongue – Europe’s newest pressing plant: A visual tour of the Italian vinyl outpost. As demand for vinyl has increased in the last ten years, so has the number of pressing plants, whether in high profile affairs such as Jack White’s Third Man in Detroit, or a number of independent operations pressing records for niche audiences. One of these operations is Mother Tongue. Located in Verona, Northern Italy, the pressing plant was launched by producer Patrick Gibin and a group of friends – with the help of an EU grant – in early 2019, and encompasses a record label, online shop and distribution service. Tackling the complex and finely tuned nature of the record pressing process, Gibin has enlisted Andrea Pasini to take care of manufacturing, utilising the plant’s sole Pheenix Alpha AD12 press – a modernised upgrade of original the Swedish-made Toolex Alpha AD12. Mattia Cristofoli, Carlo Grossule and Pietro Battista complete the team, managing administration and technical duties.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live Shots: Angel Olsen at the Riviera Theatre, 11/14

Angel Olsen is making the rounds in support of her exquisite 2019 album All Mirrors, and Thursday was Chicago’s turn to experience it live.

The Riv was packed head to toe for the occasion. As always, her voice and arrangements proved show-stopping, her band soaring behind her.

Olsen’s tour continues through the end of the year before heading to Europe to kick off 2020. Treat yourself.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Donnie & Joe Emerson, Dreamin’ Wild 40th anniversary reissue in stores 12/20

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Light in the Attic Records commemorates the 40th anniversary of Donnie & Joe Emerson’s Dreamin’ Wild, the private press album that hit the mainstream, garnering considerable acclaim and notoriety since its original release in 1979, and subsequent reissue in 2011 by Light In The Attic.

The brothers have recently become cult favorites thanks in large part to the hypnotic allure of “Baby,” a song that has been covered by Ariel Pink & Dâm-Funk (released as part of LITA’s Cover Series) and featured in a number of films and TV shows, including a prominent placement in the most recent season of the critically acclaimed HBO series, Big Little Lies. The unlikely story of the rock’n’roll farmer boys from rural Washington State is set for a big screen adaptation, helmed by Oscar-winning producer Jim Burke (Green Book) and producer/writer/director Bill Pohlad (Love & Mercy, 12 Years a Slave, The Tree of Life).

As part of LITA’s 40th Anniversary celebration, Donnie & Joe’s rare 1977 debut single “Thoughts In My Mind” and its b-side “Take It” will be released digitally for the first time, and Dreamin’ Wild will be made available on “Baby Blue” vinyl and on 8-track⁠—yes, on 8-track—which will be limited to 100 units world-wide. A newly commissioned series of animated shorts by Jeffrey C. Lowe will portray the unique story of Donnie & Joe. Exclusive merchandise will include a “Dreamin’ Wild” eye pillow (included with Donnie & Joe vinyl orders from the LITA online store while supplies last), fleece sweatshirts and, looking towards Valentine’s Day, a pack of Donnie & Joe-themed heart candy and a heart-shaped vinyl single of “Baby” b/w the previously unreleased song “Tonight.”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Pick It Up! Ska in the ’90s DVD/
Blu-Ray in stores 11/18

VIA PRESS RELEASE | PopMotion Pictures’ critically-acclaimed third wave ska documentary Pick It Up! Ska in the ’90s, directed by Taylor Morden, has been a fan favorite on the festival circuit and now the film is coming to DVD & Blu-Ray on November 18! The film will also be available for purchase digitally soon via Vimeo and Amazon.

The feature-length documentary explores the third-wave ska explosion of the 1990s, and tells the story of ’90s ska from a wide variety of points of view, including dozens of the key figures who lived it, such as members of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, No Doubt, and Sublime. A “love letter” to third-wave ska, the film delves deep into how the genre of ska evolved from its original Jamaican form, through British “two-tone” in the ’80s, into an entirely new global sensation in the ’90s, when it became wildly popular for an all too brief moment in music history, from the early years of bands like No Doubt, Fishbone, The Toasters, Let’s Go Bowling and Skankin’ Pickle, to the massive radio success of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, and Save Ferris.

Pick It Up is narrated by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong and features commentary from the likes of No Doubt, Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, Goldfinger, the Pietasters, Fishbone, Save Ferris, Let’s Go Bowling, Dance Hall Crashers, the Specials, Mustard Plug, the Toasters, Skankin’ Pickle, Hepcat, the Slackers, Kemuri, Blink 182, the Aquabats, the Hippos, The Skatalites, Sublime and many more!

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TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week:
St. Bishop

This week’s Artist of the Week comes all the way from Dublin, Ireland and he’s a humdinger, if we do say so ourselves. St. Bishop—aka Stephen Bishop—has just released his shiny new single “Sleep It Off” and its undeniably addictive in all the right ways.

Making his 2019 debut, it seems St. Bishop has been a busy bee this past year, collaborating with a number of exciting new producers in order to hone his sound. For the release of “Sleep It Off’” he has teamed up with the Veta Music (who we are firm favourites of here at TVD).

It seems the latest collaboration has paid off because “Sleep It Off” is all sorts of majestic from the offset. Think Years & Years mixed with Troye Sivan and a bit of Aquilo thrown in for good measure and you’re nearly there. It’s atmospheric, cinematic. and ridiculously infectious.

“Sleep It Off” is out now via Veta Records.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Robert Ashley,
Automatic Writing
and Improvement
(Don Leaves Linda)

Earlier this year, the label Lovely Music, Ltd. reissued composer and avant-gardist Robert Ashley’s Private Parts on vinyl and compact disc. Getting a new pressing of that ’78 classic was a terrific turn of events, and on November 22 the same imprint is bringing out a fresh wax edition of Ashley’s ’79 album Automatic Writing. It provides a sharp contrast with the October arrival of a contemporary performance (from February of this year at NYC’s The Kitchen) on double CD of the composer’s 1991 opera in two acts Improvement (Don Leaves Linda). If wildly different, both sets illuminate complementary sides of the same wonderful mind, and they help to shape one of the best release programs of 2019.

Even from within an oeuvre known for its qualities of eclecticism (partly detailed in my long review of Private Parts in this space earlier this year), Robert Ashley’s Automatic Writing is something of an outlier. While it postdates Ashley’s transition to text-based compositions, the record’s focus on involuntary speech, and specifically, Ashley’s self-described mild form of Tourette’s Syndrome, lends it stature that’s certainly distinctive but not especially divergent from the releases surrounding it in the man’s discography, in large part due to the focus on the human voice.

It required two attempts to record his involuntary speech, but Ashley succeeded, though the finished record offers more than this component. There are four intertwined parts, in fact: there is Ashley’s speech, a reading in French by Mimi Johnson of a translation of Ashley’s speech by Monsa Norberg, electronics and Polymoog as played by Ashley, and trad organ played by I’m unsure who (Paul DeMarinis designed and built the switching circuit that was crucial to the whole process). Actually, there is a fifth element, but we’ll get to that shortly.

Automatic Writing has been described as an ambient album, and as it’s a really quiet experience (best absorbed on headphones for maximum reward), that designation makes sense. It’s also, to my ear, the Ashley record that best fits the bill of minimal (although I haven’t heard everything he’s done). However, maybe the better categorization, if somewhat vague, is simply Experimental.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 11/19/19

Torrington, CT | Vinyl’s the thing at Torrington’s Revolution Records: Revolution Records is a time machine for music lovers — particularly those who still collect and play vinyl albums for their quality sound. The small shop on the corner of Willow and Franklin streets, a former bodega and a bait store, is filled to the brim with albums of every genre, from classic rock, jazz, blues, country, and everything in between. The walls are covered with vintage posters of recording artists including Lita Ford, Rush, Yes, Van Halen, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Sonic Youth and the Psychedelic Furs. “When we were setting up the store, I realized I needed to put something on the walls — they were pretty bare,” John DiBella said. “I’ve had these posters since high school and I saved them. So I got them out and hung them up.” On a counter near the door, a small turntable and receiver pumps music into two big speakers. All the equipment, DiBella said, he’s also had since high school. “It still works great,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve been using the turntable all along.”

Fort Wayne, IN | Neat Neat Neat Records and Music to continue under new ownership: After nearly a decade in business, the owner of a local record store is hanging up his hat, but the shop’s doors are remaining open. Neat Neat Neat Records and Music has been a fixture on Calhoun Street but after nine years in business, owner Morrison Agen announced on Facebook that they were looking to sell the store and all it’s contents with plans to liquidate if they could not sell. Luckily for their customers, it was not long before someone stepped up. “It took six days from the time we were offered the store to the time we took over,” said Chris Roetz, the new manager of Neat Neat Neat. The store was sold to local music franchise Wooden Nickel. Roetz is transitioning into his new role from working as General Manager of the Jefferson Boulevard Wooden Nickel location. He previously owned Entourage Music, which was located in Glenbrook Mall. Roetz wants it to be clear that while Wooden Nickel now owns Neat Neat Neat, they are not the same store. They plan on keeping the same name and branding the shop is known for, as well as keeping it’s focus on vinyl records.

Indianapolis, IN | Despite streaming, Indiana firm’s vinyl, CD business booms: Chip Viering, president of Optical Media Manufacturing, has intentionally hitched his wagon to a falling star. Or rather, several of them. Over the last decade, streaming sites and compressed file-sharing technologies such as MP3 have chased most “physical” media from the forefront of the audio and video recording industries. To put it simply, pretty much anything you can hold in your hand, from VHS tapes to CDs, has become an endangered species. In this, Viering sees not disaster but opportunity. Though his company does plenty of digital file-sharing work, it also acts as a sort of clearinghouse for customers whose products demand (or work best when presented in) an old-school audio or visual format. Optical Media Manufacturing offers (among a great many other services) in-house design for things like vinyl album cover art, liner notes and DVD formatting and duplication, plus access to a list of still-surviving domestic suppliers of such exotica as cassette tapes, boutique vinyl record pressers—even a guy who can still do VHS.

London, UK | ‘Westfield delays to blame for horrible decline in Croydon town centre’ says record store manager: Duncan Barnes says empty shops were unheard of ten years ago. There has been a ‘horrible decline’ in footfall for Croydon town centre according to one business owner who blames Westfield delays. Duncan Barnes runs 101 Records which moved to North End in 1991, it was previously based near East Croydon station. He said that 10 years ago empty shops in Croydon were unheard of, and you just need to walk through the town centre to see that is not the case today. Duncan said: “Footfall has declined horribly in Croydon for years. It used to be a thriving cosmopolitan place and it was always busy.” And he believes that Westfield delays are partly to blame and does not think the billion pound shopping centre will ever be built. He added: “North End has been declining for years and very little has been done about it.

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TVD UK

TVD Live Shots: Heilung at the Roundhouse, 11/10

I’ve seen some unusual shows before, but nothing quite like what I witnessed at the Roundhouse in London last week. Hailing from Denmark, Heilung (translated from German, “heilung” means healing) took to the stage for a ceremonial celebration of all things Celtic and Viking age. With music based on texts from artifacts of the Northern European Iron Age, Heilung call their unique sound “amplified history,” and while it’s an incredibly niche genre, the crowds are getting bigger and bigger.

Founded in 2014 by German tattoo artist Kai Uwe Faust along with Danish vocalist/ producer Christopher Juul and Norwegian singer Maria Franz, the group self-released their debut album, Ofni which quickly garnered an audience. This record would later be reissued on their current label Season of Mist, and become the basis for a stellar live performance, strong critical acclaim, and massive underground buzz that would pave the way for this new genre.

Opening up with a prayer of sorts to a capacity crowd of nearly three thousand, the stage was set to connect the audience back with earth. Nature sounds are played in between sets instead of the sound guy’s random playlist with human bones, reconstructed swords, and frame drums are the instruments of choice. Dark, ominous lyrics pulled from ancient artifacts such as amulets, rune stones, and other iron age artifacts. The level of detail and research that goes into the music is translated very well into a live show. There are moments where you feel as if you were transported back one thousand years into the past and are watching a pagan ritual as it happens. It’s quite an experience.

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