The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Grace Slick, Manhole

“The horror! The horror!” Mistah Kurtz, Heart of Darkness

Some things just should never have been. Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Foreigner. John and Yoko’s Double Fantasy. And let’s not forget Grace Slick’s 1974 debut solo album, Manhole. From the unfortunate sexual connotations of its title, to its inflated songs odious cover art, Manhole is just that: something you might fall into, and be very frightened until you manage to climb back out. Oh, and it says something, although I don’t know what, that on Manhole’s best cut—and that’s relative—Slick doesn’t even sing.

Don’t get me wrong; Slick sings well, and she’s surrounded herself with everybody who was anybody in San Francisco at that unfortunate juncture in time. Even David Crosby, Grace’s male equivalent, makes a cameo. But you know you’re in trouble when the album’s highlight—or lowlight—is a 15-plus minute opus entitled “Theme From the Movie Manhole,” a movie that never got made and for all I know was a figment of Slick’s acid-fogged imagination.

I’ve never been a big Jefferson Airplane/ Jefferson Starship/ Starship fan, so I’ll admit to having a bias. I like the song “Volunteers” and that’s pretty much it, although I will confess to occasionally listening to Jefferson Starship’s “Miracles” just to guffaw when Marty “I got punched in the nose by a Hell’s Angel” Balin sings, “I had a taste of the real world/ When I went down on you, girl.” But I try to keep an open mind because, well, I’ve seen previous musical prejudices of mine destroyed on multiple occasions, and it’s no fun eating crow.

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The Single Girl: Leon Of Athens, “Global”

Leon of Athens, aka Timoleon Veremis, is an artist with a sound which, quite frankly, is very difficult to disagree with. His recently re-released single “Global” combines a mixture of indie-pop with electro and folk elements to create something bright and euphoric—basically, it’s pretty darn good.

“Global” begins with a lovely jangly guitar intro before bringing in a nice bit of soulful jazz, and then breaking into those lovely indie-electro vibes I mentioned earlier.

His musicianship is oozing with colourful layers, whilst his warm vocal tone also brings in a more sensitive and delicate aspect to his music. An all round winner. Check him out.

“Global” is out now via Mimosa’s Dream Records through Believe Digital. You can follow him on Twitter.

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The Best of Shell Zenner Presents

Greater Manchester’s most in the know radio host Shell Zenner broadcasts the best new music every week on the UK’s Amazing Radio and Bolton FM. You can also catch Shell’s broadcast here now every Wednesday at TVD.

“I’m on air tonight as usual with an unbelievable assortment of new artists and bands. On tonight’s show Panda Bear meets the Grim Reaper! No really—it’s this week’s ROTW by the outstanding electronic master Panda Bear.

This week’s #shellshock is dark and explosive—it’s A Place To Bury Strangers and ‘Straight’” —SZ

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Alan Lomax, Music for Work and Play: Carriacou, Grenada, 1962

We’re in the midst of the Alan Lomax Centennial and the achievement of the indefatigable folklorist radiates life-affirming goodness as strongly as it ever did. Global Jukebox is the digital-only imprint of the Alan Lomax Archive, and on July 7 their latest installment Music for Work and Play: Carriacou, Grenada, 1962 will be available for download. Focusing heavily on a cappella groups and string bands with the added enlightenment of interview segments, it adds impressively to the already vast wealth of Lomax’s research and documentation, the sheer value of which is essentially incalculable.

Alan Lomax was a folklorist, ethnomusicologist, archivist, writer, scholar, activist, and more, but less grandly he remains part of a family tradition spanning three centuries; he’s the son of distinguished folklorist John A. Lomax and father to Anna Lomax Wood, who currently runs the Lomax Archive in addition to heading the Association for Cultural Equity.

Founded by her father, the ACE is a charitable organization housed at New York City’s Hunter College. Its objective is to “explore and preserve the world’s expressive traditions with humanistic commitment and scientific engagement.” By extension the Global Jukebox, which Lomax and a team of developers began in 1989, attempts to “organize and synthesize the findings of anthropology and musicology that evoked relationships between expressive style, human geography, and long-standing patterns of subsistence and social life.”

One of the benefits of digital innovation is how it aids in the dissemination of large stores of historical material while simultaneously helping non-profits keep costs at a minimum. This shouldn’t bum-out fans of physical media (of which I am one) and lovers of vinyl (ditto) for it’s become pretty plain digital itself is not an enemy, though soulless streaming sites might be. And yet as a correspondent for this website I would be remiss in not mentioning Global Jukebox’s teaming with a handful of other organizations to utilize a wide array of formats.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 7/1/15

Q&A: Bob Fuchs, Manager Of The Electric Fetus, How the popular music landmark is tackling changing trends and maintaining relevance in the dawn of digital: “In the last three years, we’ve seen a huge move toward vinyl in the music department…”

86-year old forced to part with lifelong collection of records: “…Having just moved into a rest home, the venerable New Zealander must now find a new home for his beloved record collection because there’s simply no room for it anywhere. For the moment the records are being stored (admittedly quite badly) at the old Timaru Majestic Theatre, free of charge…”

Does The Death Of Album Revenue Spell The End For Rock Stars As We Know Them? “This study dissects data from the top selling tours and albums of the last 34 years to see where the industry is heading. So how can a band not have a top selling album in decades and still blow everyone else away in tour revenue? And can tours really plug the gaping hole in music industry profits left by declining album sales?”

Put Your Fancy Vinyl To Display With Gramovox Floating Record: “…the Floating Record is a one of a kind disc player that lets the users show off their collection and play the sounds effortlessly.”

First vinyl record shop opens in Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar: “One of the world’s most isolated record shops, Dund Gol Records is the brainchild of B. Batbold. It has a stock of over 1,000 vinyl records from Batbold’s own collection…”

The 8 best record cleaning machines for the true vinyl connossieur: “If you love vinyl and you have the cash, the only way to properly clean your records is with a record cleaning machine. Yet the world of the record cleaning machine (RCM) can be a confusing place…”

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: Chris Stapleton and Aubrie Sellers at the Jefferson Theater, 6/20


If you are a fan of country music and you aren’t familiar with Chris Stapleton, there is a void in your life that you may not have even realized was there. The Lexington, Kentucky native has written songs for some of the biggest names in country and beyond including Sheryl Crow and Adele. Having previously fronted the Grammy-nominated bluegrass band The SteelDrivers, Stapleton has broken out on his own and is making huge waves with his debut solo album, Traveller. In the midst of a string of sold-out dates, I was a traveller myself, venturing from DC, down to the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville, VA on Saturday to see him first-hand.

This is not your typical FM-country radio or CMT Awards fare. You won’t find songs of cold beer and hot women, and driving through the mud to get to the lake party or other standard bro-country themes. Stapleton is honest, real, and pure, and there is no pretension to what he does. It may have been a hot, rainy night in Charlottesville, but the warm glow of good music inside the venue made everything all right.


The venue packed quickly, fans lining both floors of the theater seeking out a vantage point. The crowd was buzzing by the time Aubrie Sellers took the stage to open the show. Having paid her dues as a country music background singer, Aubrie seems poised to break out on her own in a big way. The daughter of country stars Lee Ann Womack and Jason Sellers, the twenty-four-year-old Sellers won over the audience in no time flat. Her commanding voice was damn near a dead ringer for her mother’s, with an extra tablespoon of attitude thrown into the mix.

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TVD New Orleans

Tipitina’s and Galactic partner for inaugural Landing Festival, September 26-27

Ever since the closing of the World’s Fair back in the 1980s, music lovers in New Orleans have longed for a new venue on the water which would provide concertgoers with cool breezes and hot jams. This fall, our dreams come true with the first Landing Festival located on the south shore of Lake Ponchatrain.

Tipitina’s and Galactic are curating the two-day festival’s offerings and it looks to be a who’s who of local and national jam-oriented bands.

Of course, Galactic will perform. Expect to see Grace Potter, Cake, Dr. Dog, Trampled by Turtles, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, the North Mississippi Allstars, Anders Osborne present N.M.O., the Soul Rebels, and Rayland Baxter. More bands are expected to be announced.

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The Jaguar Club,
The TVD First Date

“I have always bought vinyl and I’m embarrassed for my bandmates when I say that I am the only one of us (5 adults!) who has the passion. Growing up I was introduced to the format, as many kids my age were, by Disney and Sesame Street records. My sister is older than me by enough that we still had these around the house when most people had moved on to cassettes. I was also strongly influenced at a tender age by an Alf flexidisc I received with my kid’s meal from Burger King.”

“Eventually we no longer had a turntable in the house and the stash of family records was moved to a shelf in the basement where they sat for roughly a decade until I did what every late ’90s teenager worth his piercings did and decided to become a DJ. Inspired by Beck lyrics, that first actually-really-good Fatboy Slim album (you know, with Santa Cruz on it?), and DJ Shadow’s Entroducing, I obtained some turntables and a grossly-underpowered little DJ sampler. The pile of mildewed vinyl was rescued from my brother’s friends’ frisbee games and I started exploring.

In addition to kids albums there was a lot of show tune stuff and classical albums, as well as my personal favorite at the time—the soundtrack to the TV show Mission Impossible. I tried, in vain, to make my terrible 8 second Gemini sampler do the impossible while drooling over MPCs in the Musicians Friend catalog. I never got to the point of making songs from samples like Mr. Cook or DJ Shadow (I don’t think I even really knew how they did it then) but I did develop some basic DJing ability and could eventually match beats and was mixing bits of my parents’ old collection in with current 12”s I was buying.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Premiere: Scott Krokoff, “Sparrows”

NYC singer-songwriter Scott Krokoff delivers refined bittersweet folk lullaby.

We have the pleasure of premiering Scott’s soothing single “Sparrows” from his second LP installment, Realizations & Declarations Vol. 2, which finds the practicing lawyer tapping his love for ’70s era Petty and James Taylor. While most of the album is filled with orchestrated country pop, “Sparrows” is a decidedly stripped down affair—adorned with adroit fingerpicking and clean delivery.

“Many of my songs are about not giving up and pursuing what you love for obvious reasons,” Scott reflects. The songwriter is adamant that one should never put a shelf life on their dreams and these principles are reflected in his graceful tales of morality and perseverance.

Krokoff’s Realizations & Declarations Vol. 2 is scheduled for a September 4th release.

Scott Krokoff Official | Facebook | Twitter

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UK Artist of the Week: Brendan Dalton

There is a lot of folk music coming from the UK at the moment, and while we’d usually eye it suspiciously, there’s just something about a Scottish voice that breaks down our barriers and let’s us embrace it. This week, we’re shining a light on Brendan Dalton and his latest single “Medium.”

The man hasn’t been writing long (around a year), but if this is what he’s producing, then it bodes well for his long-term career. There are no bells and whistles to the single, just a lone voice and a steady guitar melody carrying it along on a bed of handclaps, there’s an underlying and haunting reverence to it. It takes guts to lay out something this stripped back, and we think it might just have paid off.

Of course, no single would be complete without its accompanying video, and free track “Beachcomber’s Holler” (which I guess would be the digital equivalent of a b-side—what an age we live in!)

“Medium” is out now on via Meraki Records. You can follow Brendan Dalton on Twitter.

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