The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
David Sylvian,
Brilliant Trees

When UK new wavers Japan broke up in 1982, the members predictably splintered off into various directions, and the highest profiles belonged to Mick Karn and David Sylvian. Over the decades the latter has amassed a solo and collaborative discography of unlikely reach and impressiveness; however, giving a fresh listen to ‘84’s Brilliant Trees makes abundantly clear Sylvian’s career trajectory isn’t as surprising as it might initially seem.

Upon consideration, very few musicians who made their name in the pop sphere have aged as well as David Sylvian. Of course, this is mainly due to his choice after Japan’s dissolution (they briefly reunited for one self-titled ’91 album under the name Rain Tree Crow) to gradually leave the milieu that fostered his initial reputation. The subsequent journey led him into the outlying territories of experimentation and the avant-garde, though this shouldn’t give the false impression that Sylvian’s post-Japan oeuvre is devoid of pop elements.

As a youngster of the ‘80s, I knew little of Japan, my discovery of Sylvian supplied by his ’87 collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Secrets of the Beehive. The introduction was made through the frequent play and promotion of said disc by my hometown Mom & Pop record mart, an enterprise also involved in the sale of high end stereo equipment.

To my teen mind any system comprised of separate components was high end, and at the time Secrets of the Beehive basically eluded me, as did much “deep-listening” material attached to ambient, new age, minimalism, art-pop etc. Reengaging with Sylvian as a mature adult provided, if not an epiphany than another instance aiding the realization that artistic assessments work in tandem with personal growth, therefore flouting finality.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Repo Man (OST)

The life of a repo man is always intense. I know this because I have, at last count, watched Alex Cox’ 1984 film Repo Man 123 times. Its storyline—shiftless punk finds himself part of a motley crew of repo men, while a mad scientist roams LA in a car with some highly dangerous nuclear materials in the back—is both whacked and hilarious, and it’s as full of classic lines (“I don’t want no commies in my car. No Christians either” says jaded repo man Bud [Harry Dean Stanton] to young acolyte Otto [Emilio Estevez]) as Apocalypse Now. What’s more, it boasts a better soundtrack, thanks to the contributions of Iggy Pop, Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, Suicidal Tendencies, Fear, and The Plugz.

The film does a wonderful job of capturing the aimlessness of LA’s hardcore youth, and is so full of catch phrases (Bud: “Look at those assholes, ordinary fucking people. I hate ’em.”) you could spend the rest of your life, or at least a day or two, speaking only lines from the movie, and never repeat yourself. It’s not impossible, either. I have a friend who took a whole lotta acid and spent the next four days speaking only in song lyrics. Seriously. You might ask him how his day was going and he’d reply, “I’m easy, easy like Sunday morning” or “I feel like a bullet in the gun of Robert Ford.” I didn’t witness this, but I believe him. He’s not a pathological liar like yours truly, of whom Mary McCarthy once said, “Every word he writes is a lie, including and and the.” Come to think of it I’m lying again, because McCarthy was actually referring to Lillian Hellman.

Anyway, the soundtrack (and the movie) open with Iggy Pop’s “Repo Man.” He recorded the song with Blondie’s former rhythm section (Clem Burke on drums and Nigel Harrison on bass) and ex-Sex Pistol Steve Jones on guitar after hurriedly scribbling some lines in his notebook. Jones’ opening guitar riff is titanic, oceanic, and BIG, and the rhythm section is spot on. Jones then plays a sorta secret agent man riff while Iggy sings one of his greatest couplets: “I’m looking for the joke/With a microscope.” Okay, so it’s not as good as 1969’s “Now I’m gonna be 22/I say oh my and a boo hoo,” but that line’s one in a million.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Dave Clark Five, “Try Too Hard” b/w
“All Night Long”

Of all the marquee British Invasion acts, nobody typified the concept of “singles group” more than The Dave Clark Five. Of albums they had many, but the qualities that made them a special and enduring outfit are best served by the two brief sides of a 45. During the mid-‘60s their short-players stormed both the US and UK charts with a frequency that remains impressive, and “Try Too Hard” b/w “All Night Long” from 1966 is one of their finest efforts.

While they are well-remembered today, I also suspect that few people these days would rank the Dave Clark Five as one the tiptop exemplars of the Brit Invasion, and that’s an interesting scenario because during the phenomenon’s initial wave, only The Beatles achieved a higher level of popularity. Contemplating the subject for a bit leads me to a handful of reasons for the lessening of the DC5’s status over time.

Perhaps the biggest factor is that none of the Five’s non-compilations have landed in the rock ‘n’ roll canon. I tend to think that any well-rounded, historically focused record collection is incomplete without the inclusion of Clark and company, and no doubt many others feel the same way. But I also agree with those asserting that in the run of albums they made while extant, nothing represents them better than UK Columbia’s ’66 release of the 14-track The Dave Clark Five’s Greatest Hits.

This is not to infer that the original long-players are negligible. To the contrary, ‘64’s Glad All Over and the following year’s Coast to Coast, both issued in the US by Epic, are quite good.  But starting in the mid-‘70s and continuing until 1993, none of the Dave Clark Five’s music was commercially available in any format, leaving the used bins and the radio dial as the only ways one could access their discography.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

TVD Nashville

Vinyl-centric Acme Radio launches in Nashville

Acme Feed & Seed, in partnership with TuneIn, is pleased to announce the launch of Acme Radio. Listeners worldwide will be able to experience the variety and excellence of all things Nashville thanks to TuneIn’s unique platform—an app that provides listeners access to more than four million radio stations streaming from every continent. Tom Morales, owner of Acme Feed & Seed, reopened the doors of the historic, century-old building to bring locals back to downtown Nashville. He succeeded by renovating a building rich with local history and by inviting Nashville’s best players to the stage. 

“If you are one of the best musicians in Nashville, you are one of the best in the world. Acme’s stage gives this talent a live, local platform and Acme Radio will give them an international one. We are creating the opportunity for these artists to be discovered regardless of the genre,” said Morales.

Readers of The Vinyl District may recall that TVD contributor and Nashville editor Tim Hibbs began hosting Tuesday and Thursday lunchtime vinyl sessions on Acme’s ground floor stage in August 2014. The popularity of those sessions led Acme to expand them to five days a week and to feature The Vinyl Lunch as the midday program on Acme Radio. Running Monday through Friday, 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM (CST), Tim spins an eclectic music mix . Old and new, all genres are fair game for The Vinyl Lunch.

Read More »

Posted in TVD Nashville | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Low Flying Hawks,
Kofuku

Hailing from Mexico, Low Flying Hawks specialize in a dark-toned, art-imbued, and indisputably heavy style of contempo metal, and it’s fair to add enigmatic to the description; composed of two dudes sporting the handles EHA and AAL, they share guitar, bass, and vocal duties and fill out their sound with contributions from Trevor Dunn on bass and Melvin Dale Crover on drums. Produced by Toshi Kasai, formerly of Seattle sludge maulers Big Business, Kōfuku is an unusually confident debut album, and it’s available February 12 on Magnetic Eye Records.

As they emerge, some outfits tend to go a smidge overboard in the biographical department. Low Flying Hawks, or as the name is occasionally stylized, Lowflyinghawks, fall on the opposite side, obviously preferring the air of mystery. As stated above, they are from Mexico, which the last time I checked was a rather sizable slab of real estate, and I’ve unturned no further geographical enlightenment. Moreover, the use of what seem to be initials helps to cultivate anonymity, though the duo isn’t averse to credit (or for that matter, photos); EHA is the songwriter and primary vocalist.

They’re also not shy about detailing a batch of wide-ranging influences, name-checking Richard D James (a.k.a. Aphex Twin), Black Sabbath, the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, and My Bloody Valentine and citing the impact of drone, noise-rock, psych, shoegaze, post-rock, and least surprisingly metal as part of Kōfuku’s overall equation.

Considering the breadth of that list, Low Flying Hawks have cultivated a cohesive, disciplined attack right out of the gate. Those not smitten with the doom subgenre aren’t likely to be goosed by the contents here, as the disparate interests are best described as seasoning on an assured, and based on the ambiguous narrative of the song titles, possibly conceptual first outing.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 2/11/16

Leading independent record shop shuns Record Store Day: Having played along in recent years, OYE partner Markus Lindner announced today that OYE stores would not take part in 2016, explaining that although responsible for many good things – including increasing awareness of independent shops – RSD has developed in a way that no longer sits comfortably with OYE’s objectives.

Famed California record store may soon sell weed instead: Berkeley residents may be able to pick up hi-fi vinyl, and high-potency OG Kush in one stop this year. The legendary Berkeley record store Amoeba Records is close to securing a new lease on life, as sales of physically recorded music continue to decline. Amoeba is one of three finalists for the city’s fifth medical marijuana dispensary license. Thursday evening, the Berkeley Medical Cannabis Commission selected Amoeba to forward to the Berkeley City Council for final selection.

From broken roofs to broken marriages: meeting some of the most obsessive vinyl hoarders: Like most people, music was always on in my house as a child, but with a small difference: My father was a vinyl collector. Not in the “I buy two or three records a week” way, more in the “I have 13 fucked turntables piled up at my backdoor and you can’t get upstairs” way.

Rush Hour store gets new location, to host opening weekender: Amsterdam’s key record store and eclectic electronic music imprint Rush Hour announced today that it is getting a new location. To celebrate its new home, which will be on the same street as it now is, RH is throwing a three-day weekender in April. After being its home for more than 17 years now, the well-known location on Spuistraat 98, the record store is now moving to a bigger space in the same street, on number 116 to be exact.

Read More »

Posted in A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined | Leave a comment

TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots: Metallica and Cage the Elephant at AT&T Park, “The Night Before,” 2/6

photographed by Jason Miller-16

Metallica is arguably the biggest metal band on the planet, maybe of all time. When rumors began swirling that the band could be considered for the coveted Super Bowl Halftime show, it made a hell of a lot of sense to most music fans. But the NFL continues to play it safe after the Janet Jackson incident, so they opted for the light sounds of Coldplay—and we all saw how truly awful that performance ended up being.

But that wasn’t the end of the story for the legendary Bay Area natives. This gave birth to a new mantra for the band, “Too Heavy for Halftime” and it caught on. Frontman James Hetfield fired back a bit when asked about the snub by the Associated Press, “We’re not a variety show. We’re not pop. We’re not sparkly and all that kind of stuff that I think seems to be what is needed for that.”

photographed by Jason Miller-28

Metallica would represent San Francisco during SuperBowl weekend, but they would do it their way. Say hello to a headlining gig for CBS Radio’s “The Night Before” concert at the glorious AT&T Park, home to the three-time World Series champions San Francisco Giants and a fitting stage for a full on metal performance.

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, On Tour with Eric Clapton

Poor Eric Clapton. Having been through the supergroup wringer with Cream and Blind Faith, there was nothing he craved more than a little anonymity. No more “Clapton is God”; all he wanted to be was a player in a band that wasn’t being hyped to the stars, and where he could perform his six-string pyrotechnics in the background, as it were. Those are rich man problems, for sure, but Clapton was truly burnt out, and given the opportunity to tour with the American soul/rock/blues band Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, he happily said yes. It was a respite and it paid off, as his guitar playing on the resulting LP, 1970’s On Tour with Eric Clapton, testified.

During the early seventies the Bramletts fronted a musical family that saw them taking in lots of famous orphans, including Duane Allman, George Harrison, Rita Coolidge, Dave Mason, and King Curtis. Despite a host of studio LPs Delaney and Bonnie were best regarded as an incendiary live act, one that led Clapton to not only say, “Delaney taught me everything I know about singing,” but “For me, going on [with Blind Faith] after Delaney and Bonnie was really, really tough, because I thought they were miles better than us.” In any event his time spent with Delaney and Bonnie was a happy one for the troubled musician.

On Tour with Eric Clapton didn’t just feature Clapton. In fact it was populated by a veritable who’s who of the best of rock’s supporting musicians, many of whom also played on that same year’s LP Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Clapton’s next project, Derek and the Dominos. You’ve got Dave Mason on guitar, Bobby Whitlock on organ and keyboards, Carl Radle on bass, Jim Gordon on drums, Bobby Keys on saxophone, Jim Price on trombone and trumpet, and Rita Coolidge on backing vocals; the folks who saw this iteration of the band live were lucky indeed.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
3rd Bass,
The Cactus Album

As Pitchfork recently commissioned select retrospective reviews of David Bowie’s catalog after his passing, here in the office we looked at each other and thought, “Well, way to catch up with what we’ve been up to lo these 9 years.”

Not lost on us is that record reviews—new releases—serve their purpose, but if you stop by TVD with any regularity or fire up our (free) Record Store Locator App, you’re bound to uncover both old and new records in record shops that should (or shouldn’t–let’s face it) be in your collection.

Our recurring job henceforth, tipped to you via that nifty icon lower left, is to inform your crate digging via our archives. Go forth, buy records, and be nice to people. —Ed.

Released a quarter century ago by the Def Jam label, Brooklyn trio 3rd Bass’ The Cactus Album stands as a hip-hop classic. Due to this stature one might assume the full story behind its creation has long resided in the historical record, but that’s not the case. To get the complete scoop on this and assorted other hip-hop achievements one needs seek out the books of Brian Coleman. Aptly subtitled “more liner notes for hip-hop junkies,” Check the Technique Vol. 2 is freshly available from Wax Facts Press.

Anybody having spent hours inspecting the treasures in a jazz-centric record shop knows LPs in the multifaceted style regularly came adorned with notes (Hentoff! Williams! Jones!) on the back of the sleeve. And folks devoting time, energy and dollars to keeping up with deluxe reissues and box sets in multiple genres understand that extensive annotation of and commentary upon background specifics was/is an expected component in the retail price.

As a relatively young art form, hip-hop has suffered from experiencing its burgeoning stylistic era(s) in a business setting that wrongly assumed buyers of contemporary music (as opposed to those dropping cash on older material) cared about little more than the sounds, the labels mostly throwing context and packaging to the wayside.

This was an easy assumption to arrive at if one’s only concern was making money. But those spending it were reliably left at mysterious loose ends. Producer credits, thank you lists, and cleared samples were a start, and interviews and articles in Spin, Vibe and The Source brought a modicum of enlightenment, but the deep investigation, which often simply entails sincere interest and respect for the subject, becoming comfortable with the artists and then asking the right questions, was lacking for years.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

The Knitts,
The TVD First Date

“It’s funny how the universe forces you to develop as a person and learn. Keeping you interested(ing).”

“It’s possibly why I started a vinyl collection and why it came pretty easy to get it started. It wasn’t because my parents had an extensive  hand-me-down collection in the garage filled with records. In fact, my parents were hardly music fans up until my brother Charlie and I showed interest. CDs had become a mainstay and the standard music listening platform. Along with Napster and Limewire, downloading David Bowie’s discography was a quick “Wam Bam Thank You Ma’am” away. All of which is why it’s so odd that at 10 years old, I had a bigger collection than someone’s Grandpa.

Living in Los Angeles it’s only fitting that it started at Amoeba Music in Hollywood. My Dad had taken Charlie and I to the huge vinyl, video, and CD store off Sunset Boulevard. Not for music I add—he was looking for the 1979 film The Warriors on DVD. After rummaging through a bunch of vinyl, CDs and videos, there was one thing I really wanted, even though I had already downloaded it free, it was the size and grasp of that Gorillaz record on vinyl that was calling my name! I needed to have it! That vinyl was a trophy! A trophy for knowing all of the words to every song on that record.

In my mind it never clicked that it was a vinyl record, because all I cared about was how cool it would look in my room, and how it probably came with a poster and a big lyric sheet. After convincing my Dad that I needed it, he decided he would buy it for me.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment
  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text