TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I want some magic to keep me alive / I want a miracle; I don’t want to die / I’m afraid that if I go to sleep I’ll never wake / I’ll no longer exist / I’ll close my eyes and disappear / And float into the mist

I’m as Jewish as a Jew can get, but due to my wife and son’s mix of Cherokee Indian blood, I refer myself and our immediate family as “schmohawks.” Hey, I consider myself as spiritual as the next dude, but I don’t really follow religious protocol on holidays.

On Wednesday for Yom Kippur, I did reflect and pray for long lost friends and think upon the path ahead. I didn’t exactly fast either. I ate very light, sweet cantaloupe and almonds, drank coffee, and drove to Topanga Canyon to visit Jacknife Lee’s studio.

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TVD UK

TVD Live Shots: The Quireboys, H.E.A.T, Aaron Buchanan, and Those Damn Crows at
the O2 Forum, 9/14

The Quireboys made a triumphant return to the stage in London to a sold-out O2 Forum crowd. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of their landmark record Homewreckers and Heartbreakers, these veteran rock ‘n’ rollers proved that they are still very relevant and that rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well on their watch.

This would be a special one-off performance of the Homewreckers album in its entirety. While it may be a cliche these days to go on tour and play a classic record from start to finish, the Quireboys are anything but. These guys have stuck to their guns and their original sound from the beginning—one of the few bands who have a three-decade-plus career who never have to claim that they are “going back to their roots,” as they’ve never left them.

Spike looks and sounds fantastic as does the rest of the band. The songs hold up incredibly well, and that’s because of their dedication to keeping their brand of rock ‘n’ roll fresh. Being from the States, I remember the first time I saw these guys on MTV. I must have played their debut album A Bit of What You Fancy a hundred thousand times. I missed Homewreckers as it wasn’t a hit in the US, but I’m glad I got to see this show and even picked up the 10th-anniversary edition of the record which the band signed for me. (They are all super cool by the way and signed CDs and took photos with fans for hours before the gig.)

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TVD New Orleans

Jazz pianist Christian Sands’ Facing Dragons
in stores today, 9/21

PHOTO: ANNA WEBBER | Just thirty years old, critically acclaimed jazz pianist/composer Christian Sands represents a new generation of musicians schooled, like many of his contemporaries in other genres, on a wide range of musical styles. He brings all of his influences to bear on Facing Dragons, his current effort for Mack Avenue Records. It’s out today.

“Sangueo Soul,” a track that was pre-released back in early August, sets the stage for what’s to come on the full album. Sands had this to say about the song, “(It’s) an infectious groove influenced by the rhythms of the Caribbean and South America…I grew up in the gospel church but also around many other styles of music, so they all inspire me in similar ways.”

Though much of the album was recorded using his touring trio of Yasushi Nakamura on bass and Jerome Jennings on drums, some of the most fascinating tracks feature two percussionists—Cristian Rivera and Roberto Quintero on Venezuelan indigenous percussion (cumaco, clarin, laures, maracas). The first three of those instruments may be unfamiliar to most listeners but they help create a mighty force, especially in conjunction with Sands’ very percussive piano technique.

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The TVD Storefront

Ottawa,
The TVD First Date

“I was 7 years old the first time I ever put a record on a turntable. I have vivid memories of feverishly digging through my Dad’s old record collection in a crate, in the basement—dusty and mostly untouched since the recent appearance of cassettes and CDs.”

“It was the early ’90s and the radio was filled with Ace of Bass, Spin Doctors, Enya, and Nirvana. So I naturally gravitated towards my Dad’s record collection every night. Mostly because that was the only access to music I had at such a young age. Luckily my Dad has pretty good taste.

I was very picky and judgemental about music even at a young age, my Dad had a lot of records that I simply didn’t like. Mostly Rick Springfield, Pat Benatar ,and the local regional power pop hero Michael Stanley. But I would keep going through every side of every record, looking for songs and albums that resonated with me

I was too young to understand the concept of what a band is, or what a song is, or what a record is. I was too young to understand what Michael Jackson and Brian Wilson were really singing about, but the music still touched a nerve inside of me—Michael Jackson’s Thriller with the infectious dance grooves of “Billie Jean” and “Wanna Be Starting Something.” The infamous ending of Thriller, featuring a spoken word narration by Vincent Price, reciting a long form poem set to dissonant organ chords still creeps me out (in a good way).

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Elton John,
Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player

As Elton John bids a bittersweet adieu to playing live with his 2018 Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, let us all reflect for a moment on what he has given us. Speaking just for myself, he gave me everything; Elton John was the idol of my unfortunately well-mannered youth, and his were the albums I lost myself in when the world was too much with me.

Not for nothing did my friends start calling me Elton.

And I wasn’t alone. It’s hard to imagine now, but during the mid-seventies the unprepossessing (short, plump, balding) English piano rocker was King, boss, God, and bigger than anybody.

Forget McCartney, Lennon, Frampton even; Sir Elton conquered the world (seven consecutive No. 1 U.S. albums, a heap of hit singles) and he did it his way. To listen to his songs now (and I’m including the big hit singles) is to realize how weird, wonderful, and utterly idiosyncratic they are.

I dare you to come up with another major artist who produced hits as defiantly unorthodox as “Rocket Man” (astronaut as 9-5 drudge) “Bennie and the Jets” (electric boots glam rock) and “The Bitch Is Back” (“I get high every evening sniffin’ pots of glue”). As for the non-hits, I recommend you to “Solar Prestige a Gammon” (top shelf gibberish rock), “I Think I’m Gonna Kill Myself” (teenage angst complete with tap-dance solo), and “Social Disease” (country-and-gonorrhea anyone?).

In short, the man is one of a kind, and we may never see his likes again.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 9/21/18

Gallatin, TN | Work underway in fight to save Randy’s Record Shop: Many claimed a major piece of music history was just too damaged to be saved. Now, a group has work underway in the fight for Randy’s Record Shop in Gallatin. Nikki Nobles can’t help but smile listening to a very old radio broadcast of her dad, legendary WLAC DJ Gene Nobles. “He started in 1943 and retired in 1972,” said Nobles, thinking back to her father’s time as one of the original DJs who introduced rhythm and blues music to WLAC. “The rhythm and blues, you could feel it in your soul,” she said. “It had a message.” “Here he and Randy are at a banquet,” Nobles continued, lifting another picture out of a stack…”It’s a historical place for Gallatin,” said Nobles.

Vancouver, B.C. | Vinyl Exchange: Downtown record store changes hands after 25 years in business: Adam Harrison bought his first record from the Vinyl Exchange — Pink Floyd’s The Wall — more than seven years ago. He fell instantly in love with the charmingly no-frills store, but never imagined he would own it one day. That changed late last year when Harrison, who wound up working at the Second Avenue shop while finishing his degree at the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business, realized longtime owner Mike Spindloe wanted to sell. “Records aren’t getting any lighter and my back’s not getting any stronger, and as most people probably know I’ve lived in Vancouver for many years — I have family out there — and the commute was just getting to be a little much,” Spindloe said.

Quezon City, PH | This vinyl collector is San Agustin Street’s proprietor of cool: Amidst bottles of booze and the smell of truffle oil, Tonyboy de Leon tells us about how he got hooked on vinyl and fell deep for the subtleties of sound. It’s raining outside, and the notorious Makati traffic has piled up even in this Salcedo backstreet—but no outside sounds are heard here, in 78-45-33, Tonyboy de Leon’s bar-cum-bachelor pad. Instead, Aretha Franklin is serenading us from the vintage JBL Hartsfield speakers, likely produced in 1964, which de Leon purchased from audio equipment collectors. The only light source in this Japanese jazz kissaten-inspired joint comes from the shelf where his 2000+ record collection sits just above the bottles. He’s irreverent and gregarious, the inflections of his voice upbeat. This entrepreneur isn’t trying to sell me something, but is more of a next-door neighbor excited to have you over for drinks and check out his music collection.

Greenville, SC | Greenville Record Fair focuses on love of music, renewed popularity of vinyl: Last June, Rolling Stone magazine published a story pronouncing both compact discs and downloads dead, espousing both streaming and the vinyl LP as the current — and future — musical-delivery methods of choice. No less an authority than Jack White, former White Stripes singer-songwriter-guitarist and founder of the thriving independent label Third Man Records, said, “I definitely believe the next decade is going to be streaming plus vinyl — streaming in the car and kitchen, vinyl in the living room and the den. Those will be the two formats. And I feel really good about that.” This news didn’t come as a surprise to Gene Berger, owner of the downtown independent record store Horizon Records. The store has been open for 43 years, and while Berger still sells CDs, vinyl LPs have been the backbone of his business for most of the past decade.

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TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots: Greta Van Fleet and Dorothy
at the City National Civic, 9/18

Greta Van Fleet

To describe the rise of Greta Van Fleet as dramatic would be a vast understatement; from the release of a pair of lauded EPs in 2017 to a major headlining tour including three San Francisco Bay Area shows (all in venues well over 2,000 capacity) BEFORE their first full length album has even dropped is nothing short of baffling. The three Kiszka brothers (Josh/vocals, Jake/guitar, Sam/bass/organ) and drummer Danny Wagner have pulled off something simply unheard of in music today.

One listen to GVF and you’ll get a sense for why. Retro, blues-based rock and roll (the Plant/Zeppelin comparisons can’t be avoided) performed by a bunch of youngsters (the average age of the band members hasn’t quite hit the legal drinking age in the US) strikes a nerve and bridges generations. This is quite apparent after one look at the San Jose crowd.

Dorothy

San Jose is notoriously unpredictable when it comes to turning out for live music but, even being flanked by shows in Oakland and San Francisco, San Jose turned out in force. 90% of those who were outside when the doors opened bee-lined it to either the front of the stage or the barricade. The remaining 10% grabbed primo seats to watch the show.

Close to the end of opener Dorothy’s set, an older gentleman spied my media credentials and leaned over to ask, “Do you think rock and roll is back?” The short answer was, “I guess we will see,” but one look around would suggest a simpler answer … “yes.”

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: The DC Record Fair at U Street Music Hall, 9/16

So, there was a record fair last weekend! The DC Record Fair returned to U Street Music Hall for its midseason mini event, which if you’ve been one of those grumbling about crowd size in the past, most likely that wasn’t a complaint this time around—the event scaled down for the venue.

But! Next year DC’s record fair turns 10 and we’re mulling over options this very moment—and we’d like your input. Please share your thoughts in the comments below with what you might like to see for the 10 year anniversary, and perhaps a thing or to for us to avoid. It’s a team effort here and you guys are on the team as well.

Meanwhile, photographer Brendan O’Hara was on site Sunday to document the record rummage in pixels for us.

The DC Record Fair is brought you by Som Records, DC Soul Recordings, and TVD.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live Shots: Riot Fest Chicago, 9/14

1:32PM: Riot Fest 2018 is officially underway! My first stop in Douglas Park is the Hellzapoppin’ Tent for their famous circus sideshow revue. A “half man” is walking on shards of glass and I’m in a panic that he’s about to bleed everywhere. He doesn’t, of course.

2:21PM: “Who wants to go on the Ferris wheel with me later?,” Liz Phair asks in between songs. The entire crowd raises their hands. She is on tour now in support of the 25th anniversary of her acclaimed debut album, Exile in Guyville. If the tour is anything like this set (and I’d guess it is), it’s not to be missed.

2:24PM: And let’s not forget Liz Phair is a Chicagoan! “I want to petition the new mayor to rename the Damen exit the ‘Exit to Guyville.'” I second that.

2:38PM: I am too late to catch The Fever 333, but I do manage to catch a bit of Lagwagon’s set. The California punk rockers have a hearty crowd singing along to every tune.

2:43PM: Despite missing The Fever 333, I happen to catch a cool moment—guitarist Stephen Harrison is taking a moment to talk to fans side stage. They are asking him about chord changes and begging him to bring the band to Pennsylvania.

3:27PM: Oh man I’ve been waiting for this set. It’s Pussy Riot time! The activist collective (““We are not a band, we’re a political movement.”) is in the news again—this time because one of their members, Pyotr Verzilov, is currently being hospitalized for suspected poisoning. “Today is the first time he talked,” leader Nadya Tolokonnikova updated the crowd in between songs. The considered cancelling their appearance at Riot Fest but “thought it would be more important to go on with it and tell people what happened,” she explained. The collective wasted no time getting to the point, as the masked members emerged carrying a large banner that read “We will punish those who poisoned Peter Verzilov.”

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TVD UK

TVD Premiere: Blossomer,
“PREACHER_LEARNER”

We are extremely proud to share with you an exclusive listen of Blossomer’s brand new single “PREACHER_LEARNER” right here on The Vinyl District.

The single is a gorgeous slice of psychedelic goodness, instantly reminding us of the likes of MGMT or Wild Beasts. As the track gradually builds, you are introduced to an incredible cocktail of celestial tones with frontman Alex Crabbe’s enchanting falsetto leading the way.

Talking about the track, Crabbe explains, “As religion has always been one of my common themes to sing about, this was based around the idea of striving to believe in something that isn’t quite there. A preacher teaching his pupil of something that doesn’t necessarily exist. I find it bizarre but it intrigues me.” Intriguing indeed.

‘PREACHER_LEARNER’ is the first single to be taken off the Sheffield group’s forthcoming EP “HLLW,” in stores on 11th January 2018 via Instant Karma Records. If this track is anything to go by, we certainly are in for a treat.

“PREACHER_LEARNER” arrives in stores on 21st September 2018.

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores, September 2018,
Part Three

Part three of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases presently in stores for September, 2018. Part one is here and part two is here.

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Devin Gray, Dirigo Rataplan II (Rataplan) Of the players here, I’m most familiar with tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin (through his stuff on hatOLOGY and Eremite) and bassist Michael Formanek (his own bands, Tim Berne’s Bloodcount and Thumbscrew), but the compositions and overall conception belong to drummer-leader Gray on this sequel to a group’s debut from 2012, with trumpeter Dave Ballou completing the lineup. The Ornette quartet vibe can be strong at times, which is an unambiguously fine thing, but through Gray’s writing and the players’ rapport, imagination and overall experience, a splendid distinctiveness is achieved. For vinyl-only folks into avant-free-friendly but compositionally rich jazz, this one (and the first Dirigo Rataplan) are on wax, so don’t futz around. A

V/A, Music of Southern and Northern Laos (Akuphone) Between 2006 and ’13, “self-taught ethnologist” Laurent Jeanneau (aka Kink Gong) traveled to Laos to capture numerous musical practices of the country’s minority groups, and the results are captivating, but unlike the sometimes studious, other times polite and commonly distant aura of recordings in this tradition, this set (one CD and two separate LPs by titular region) is wild and intense. With a deep interest in South East Asia, Jeanneau’s been at this for a while (releasing on Akuphone, Atavistic, Discrepant, Loup, unsurprisingly Sublime Frequencies and others), and it shows. While part of the richness comes from the clarity of modern portable recorders, listening on headphones really gives the impression of being right in the thick of it. Wonderful. A / A

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: Stella Chiweshe, Kasahwa: Early Singles (Glitterbeat) Zimbabwean Chiweshe has been called “The Queen of Mbira,” and her discography backs up the praise. If you’re into her work, it’s a cinch you’ll want this collection of her early output, initially cut to 7-inch vinyl mostly in the ‘70s, as it’s never been issued outside of her home country. However, if you’re a curious newbie, this short but abundantly beautiful set would make a fabulous introduction. Featuring just vocals, shakers, and of course the metal-and-wood thumb piano (the mbira, which also names the style she’s mastered), this lacks the bright production and interpolation of other genres that marks her subsequent stuff, but the root essence is strong and delightful, especially on the 8-minute standout “Mayaya (Part 1 & 2).” A

Dur-Dur Band, Dur-Dur of Somalia: Volume 1, Volume 2 & Previously Unreleased Tracks (Analog Africa) If you hunger for all things globally funky, then you may already be hep to the Dur-Dur Band, who rose to fame in ’80s Mogadishu as the funkiest act in Somalia. Awesome Tapes from Africa reissued the group’s 1987 cassette Volume 5 on multiple formats back in 2013, and now here comes this massive and very welcome 18-track roundup of their first and second releases plus additional material on a choice of two cassettes, a 2CD, or a 3LP gatefold edition. Dur-Dur’s stated mission was to combine traditional Somali music with “funk, reggae, soul, disco and new wave” plus anything else that would get bodies moving. And so, a groove monster, but one that not only holds up but encourages pure listening. That’s rad. A

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 9/20/18

Singapore, MY | White Label: Record store by day, bar by dusk: Founders of social commerce #vinyloftheday have launched their first brick-and-mortar record store, White Label at Ann Siang Hill. In 2013, Darren Tan and Kurt Loy founded the music and lifestyle platform #vinyloftheday for vinyl records collectors and music enthusiasts. Following their social media success, they have launched White Label, an integrated record store and bar, in the hip heritage neighbourhood of Ann Siang Hill. The storefront is adorned with a neon signboard that reads, “You Make My Heart Spin”, with a playful pun on the soulful pleasures of listening to a vinyl. The store boasts an extensive selection of records from various eras, as well as a rotating selection of offerings from local and regional record stores.

Toronto, CA | Elton John stops by Toronto record store, adds to his vinyl collection: Elton John surprised employees at Toronto record shop Sonic Boom on Tuesday when he strolled into the store and bought a number of vinyl albums. Manager Christopher Dufton says he instantly recognized the legendary performer, who was dressed in black Adidas gear and black-rimmed shades. “I didn’t have to ask,” he said of spotting John’s famous face. “You would know, too.” On Instagram, the store wrote that John might be “the only knight we’ll ever have in Sonic Boom history.” John is in the midst of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, which rolls into Toronto next week. His husband, David Furnish, is also from the city. The musician has fostered a reputation for collecting vinyl in recent years.

Chicago, IL | Oak Park board: No way on Val’s Way, Honorary street rejected by Oak Park Board of Trustees. The Oak Park Board of Trustees rejected a proposal to designate an honorary street sign for the late Val Camilletti, the beloved local record purveyor, who died in July. The honorary street would have run in front of Camilletti’s record store, Val’s halla Records, 239 Harrison St. Trustee Jim Taglia was the sole yes vote on the proposal and Trustee Deno Andrews recused himself from the vote, stating that it was a conflict of interest because he is serving as executor of Camilletti’s estate. Andrews is the trustee who proposed the honorary street for Camilletti. Trustees said they opposed the measure because of the slippery slope of honorary streets becoming more common.

Brighton, UK | Brighton is one of the best places to buy and sell records: Nine years ago, author Graham Jones documented the decline of record shops in his best-selling book Last Shop Standing. However, since then vinyl records have made a spectacular comeback and Graham has published a new book, The Vinyl Revival and the Shops That Made It Happen, which comes out on Friday. The book is a guide to independent record shops that sell vinyl. It also entails personal stories of shop owners who have helped make the vinyl revolution happen. Graham, a regular visitor to Brighton, said he highly recommends the city for vinyl lovers. He said: “I’ve spent 32 years travelling around the UK visiting record shops. Over the years, I must have visited about 2,000 different shops. “Independent shops are responsible for the vinyl revival.”

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The TVD Storefront

PublicART, The TVD First Date and Premiere, “Light Years”

“My earliest encounters with music were digging through my father’s vinyl collection.”

“He would categorize them meticulously and protect them with fine plastic sleeves, a treatment that undoubtedly influenced the way I would nurture my own stash of recordings, systemized my understanding of music history and probably also shaped the way I dissect music production to this day. It was a tangible relationship with music. The credits, graphics, faces, and fashions. We would load up each disc onto the old Sonab turntable with great care, drop the needle, watch the wide lines get closer as the song faded in, feel a sense of urgency if the vinyl was warped, wondering if it would glitch. It was precious.

Original copies of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Animals, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue and Milestones, War’s The World Is a Ghetto, Stevie Wonder, Cat Stevens, Ella Fitzgerald… it was all there. A thorough education before I’d even picked up an instrument. I am forever indebted.

My first trips to NYC in my early 20s brought access to used vinyl stores, where I started my own modest but symbolic selection of LPs; Pat Metheny’s First Circle, George Benson’s CTI recordings, Prince’s Batman soundtrack. In the advent of iTunes and LimeWire, I painstakingly transferred my favorites of these LPs over to MP3. It sounded old but had the accessibility of streaming. But the original medium had instilled in me the passion for hearing the album from start to finish.”
Jan Ozveren

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Pink Floyd,
Wish You Were Here

I have a dream. It’s that someone will put out a LP of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here made out of sugar and heavily laced with LSD. That way you could lick it before turning it on, and hear the damn album the way it should be heard, while you’re peaking.

It would be appropriate; has any major band ever been as associated with acid as Pink Floyd? (Yeah. The Grateful Dead, dumbo.) But not even the Dead managed to put out LPs (like 1969’s Ummagumma) that I would ONLY listen to while I was on hallucinogens, because they were unlistenable to anyone on the uninitiated side of the doors of perception. That said, I’ve since put on Ummagumma and found its first side to be bearable and its second side to be complete and unadulterated bullshit (“Several Species of Small Furry Animals” or “The Grand Vizier’s Garden Party (Entertainment),” anyone?). And while my recollections are hazy, I have come to the conclusion that the guy in the dorm who owned it was so far out there he’d only play side two while tripping balls.

The Pink Floyd story is a familiar one. The band was formed in London in 1965 by Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright, with David Gilmour coming aboard in 1967, destined to be the substitute for Barrett, who despite the band’s success and his status as the band’s chief songwriter was coming unhinged. After numerous legendary on-stage fiascos involving increasingly odd behavior on the part of Barrett—he might stand in the hot stage lights, crushed ludes melting in his hair, looking off into the distance with his arms dangling down, declining to play his guitar for the entire set—the band more or less decided to not pick him up for a gig, and just like that he was gone, although his living specter (he showed up, bald and bloated, at the Wish You Were Here sessions, and his evident madness left several of his former band mates in tears) would haunt the band and indeed inspire some of their best work.

As time went on the band moved from challenging works such as Ummagumma towards more commercial LPs, such as 1973’s The Dark Side of the Moon, which contained none of their trademark acid jams (“long psychedelic noodling stuff,” as Gilmour dismissively described them) and made them superstars. But I’m partial to its successor, 1974’s Wish You Were Here, in part because I’ve heard “Time” and “Money” so many times I scream in agony when they come on the radio, and I don’t think I could give the landmark LP they’re on an even break.

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TVD Washington, DC

Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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