TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots: Muse,
30 Seconds to Mars,
and PVRIS at Shoreline Amphitheatre, 9/15

English rockers Muse took the Bay Area by storm with a super-sold-out show at Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheatre along with supporting acts Thirty Seconds to Mars and PVRIS.

Clearly aware of what Muse had in store, both PVRIS and Thirty Seconds to Mars brought their A-games. While PVRIS’ Lynn Gunn left an impression on the gathering throngs, 3STM’s Jared Leto was absolutely brilliant, traipsing up into the seats during the first song and wowing the Shoreline audience with a set that could have easily filled a headlining slot.

But the crowd that packed the Shoreline was clearly there for Muse and as their set time approached, the entire amphitheater was on its feet from the front row to the very back of the general admission lawn. Finally the band took the stage, the drum riser sliding out from the shadows as the band launched into “Dig Down” in the dark with frontman/guitarist Matt Bellamy only lit by the lights affixed to his guitar and glasses.

With the stage backed by giant LED blocks that occasionally shifted forward and back, Muse put on a show that was both sonically and visually stunning. What makes it more impressive is the amount of sound coming out of four guys (including Morgan Nicholls hiding in the shadows behind the drum kit).

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists and TK Echo at the Black Cat, 9/15

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Eighteen years after he started Ted Leo & The Pharmacists here, the band returned to DC for a spirited pair of shows this weekend at the Black Cat after a long absence, gladdening fans with his driving older material even as he attempted to show a new direction with his latest.

It’s not a completely inverted approach, as the tarot-card like cover of his new Kickstarted album The Hanged Man may indicate. Indeed, may of the new songs purposely match the legendary velocity of yore. But other times accompanied by an acoustic guitar, the use of which he felt he had to apologize for each time, or even more surprising, beginning a song solo at the piano in the shadows (the venue light system, for one, not being able to adapt to such a shift), he made clear he wanted to try things out in a singer/songwriter mode.

Already he’s dropped the name of his band from the self-released album, though it appears on the marquee of the tour he was kicking off—replete with familiar players as guitarist James Canty, bassist Marty “Violence” Key, and the much-in-demand drummer Chris Wilson (who is also now part of Titus Andronicus). They were augmented by saxophone player Adrienne Berry and guitarist Ralph Darden, a pair who also contribute backup vocals and have a tendency toward skronky experimentalism with their respective instruments.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Slade’s Slade Alive! “Art of the Album” Deluxe Ed. in stores 9/29

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Ask a fan of any band to name their favourite album by said act and there are not many sets of fans whose first choice would almost unanimously be a live album. But Slade are most definitely one of those bands and the album that tops most fans’ lists is Slade Alive! And their legendary frontman Noddy Holder agrees, maintaining to this very day that it is the band’s greatest album; “I think it had the essence of what Slade was all about as a band. It was very basic and raw, it captured a mood and it also helped set us apart from other pop acts. We weren’t just a singles band anymore—we had a credible, raunchy hit album too. We were pop and we were cool. It was perfect.”

With their first monster hit single “Coz I Luv You” poised to spend four weeks occupying the coveted UK No.1 spot in late 1971, Slade aka Noddy Holder (vocals/guitar), Dave Hill (guitar), Jim Lea (bass), and Don Powell (drums) were a young West Midlands band on the cusp of international rock stardom. Manager and producer Chas Chandler was keen to get an album into the shops fast in order to capitalise on the imminent success of “Coz I Luv You” and a live album seemed by far the quickest and easiest solution. Famously recorded for the princely sum of just £600 over three nights (between 19th-21st October 1971) of loud, hot and sweaty 300-capacity fan-club only gigs at a packed Command Studios, Piccadilly London W1, Slade pushed the club’s PA system to its limits as Chandler set about the tricky task of capturing on tape the sound of a band at the absolute peak of their live power.

Speaking of the album recently, Don Powell said; “Memories are still vivid of the three nights in Command Studios at Piccadilly Circus where we recorded Slade Alive! It was also a small theatre where we invited fan club members. We actually used all of the second night for Slade Alive!

Jim Lea continues; “After “Get Down And Get With It”, “Coz I Luv You” was to come next and in the gap, because of “Get Down And Get With It” being such a closing feature of our stage show, Chas came up with the idea of a live album. Slade Alive! was a true live album (most are not) and it broke new ground for us.”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Third Man Records to reissue Chess Records’ Muddy Waters singles

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Third Man Records is proud to introduce their partnership with Universal Music Group in an effort to highlight the depth and importance of the Chess Records catalog. In what is now their third ongoing, label-based series of 7″ reissues, along with their Sun Records and Tamla Records series, the label has released three singles that are the pinnacle of Muddy Waters’ recorded output.

Muddy Waters is considered the premiere Chicago blues artist. His recordings influenced everyone from the Rolling Stones to Led Zeppelin, and countless others. Before his name was synonymous with the Chicago sound and Chess Records, Waters was an aspiring musician in the Mississippi delta whose confidence was bolstered by a visit and field recording by Alan Lomax. “I really heard myself for the first time. I’d never heard my voice. I used to sing; used to sing just how I felt, ’cause that’s the way we always sang in Mississippi,” Waters told one journalist. “But when Mr. Lomax played me the record I thought, man, this boy can sing the blues.”

The move from Mississippi to Chicago to become a professional musician resulted in two early Muddy Waters hits on the Chess brothers’ Aristocrat Records, which shortly thereafter changed its name to Chess Records. Originally released on 78rpm records in 1950, 1953, and 1955 respectively, Waters signature first hit single on Chess, “Rollin Stone” b/w “Walkin’ Blues,” is paired with “She’s All Right” b/w “Sad, Sad Day” and “Mannish Boy” b/w “Young Fashioned Ways.”

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TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: East of My Youth

Those pesky Nordics have been serving up some amazing acts recently and East Of My Youth is the latest. Their current twinkling delight is new the single “Broken Glass,” out now via West Of My Future Ltd.

Kicking off with silky smooth vocals and a truly hypnotic electro-pop beat, you’ll have your toes tapping from the offset and throughout. As the track builds, we are introduced to a celestial cocktail of synth-infused sounds and soaring, ethereal vocals, creating a wonderfully majestic sound. Fans of Anna Of the North and Lykke Li will feel at home here.

East Of My Youth—aka Herdís Stefánsdóttir and Thelma Marín Jónsdóttir—formed in May 2015 in Reykjavik, Iceland. In that small space of time, these extremely talented women have already started making a name for themselves both in their home country, the UK, and across the pond. Having already dazzled fans at SXSW and Iceland Air, we can’t wait to see what they get up to next. Watch this space…

“Broken Glass” is in stores now via West Of My Future Ltd.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: 80s Underground Cassette Culture Vol. 1

A fair amount of deserved spotlight has been paid to ’80s UK DIY, an impulse that thrived in the underbelly of the decade’s post punk scene, but a new compilation from the Contort Yourself label reinforces self-production and distribution of experimental sounds as a global occurrence throughout the decade. 80s Underground Cassette Culture Vol. 1 collects 21 examples of subterranean artistry with a focus on dark and occasionally misanthropic electronic experimentation. It’s out September 18 on double vinyl with a gatefold jacket, printed inner sleeves, and two inserts.

As detailed in Tristan Koreya’s succinct notes, the selections corralled here exist due to a confluence of factors. There was the increased affordability of musical instruments (synths, drum boxes), recording devices (microphones, tape machines), and duplicating equipment (Xerox copiers, dual tape decks, and naturally, cassettes), but just as importantly, there was the postal service, a network of enterprises which made it possible for these artists to overcome seclusion, providing and receiving inspiration and validation via the mailbox while developing a base of listeners, even if tiny.

Side one of this often-fascinating collection wastes no time in emphasizing the widespread nature of the phenomenon. East End Butchers hailed from Australia, their “Assassins” an ominous bit of tape collage, incessant pulse, rhythmic whacking, and sing-song spoken word, while Magthea called Belgium home; the extract from their “Magthea & Insanity” is a rising-falling and appealingly low-tech instrumental soundscape.

Missing Persons shouldn’t be confused with the US new wave act of the same name; representing the DIY wave mentioned up top, this Missing Persons resided in the UK. “Rotten to the Core” is aptly pegged as post-punk political protest, certainly a more strident affair than “The Other Stranger,” an unruffled blend of synth, rhythm, and dialogue samples from the Dutch outfit Doxa Sinistra. Germany’s PCR employ similar ingredients to a darker, industrial-tinged result, as side one closes with an extract from their “Myths of Seduction & Betrayal.”

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 9/19/17

Skeleton Dust Records opening in downtown Dayton: Vinyl and cassettes are back in style and will be sold at a new shop opening in downtown Dayton. Skeleton Dust Records, owned by local resident Luke Tandy, is on track to open in October at 133 E. Third St. Tandy said he’s been describing the store as “curated and eclectic,” with a wide range of genres available on records, cassettes and CDs, but also a carefully picked selection of what he considers the best stuff. “I’ll be kind of carrying a little bit of everything, but there’s a focus of stuff that falls outside of the mainstream,” he said.

Free Vinyl Record DAY at LA’s The Record Parlour, 30,000 LPs for FREE on September 23-24, 2017: 120,000+ Records purchased in the last several months have created a massive mountain of #Vinyl Records to accumulate since our last #FREE DAY in June. Over 30,000 records across all genres are out for FREE Sept 23-24. Arrive EARLY for the best selection and shorter wait time. Spend $20 and take up to 100 RECORDS FOR FREE. Please bring your own box or bag. We only do this 2-3x a year – don’t miss this final opportunity for 2017. (Next date is Jan 2018) In addition to LPs, we will have about 5,000 fantastic 45s, 78s, #Cassettes, Music Magazines and #Posters. They also have TO GO and are FREE.

Vinyl records experience resurgence in New Zealand: The death of vinyl is over-rated. Long-time record lovers say they never went away. A record fair held in Hamilton on Saturday saw a new generation trading, buying and selling records, organiser and collector Brian Wafer said. More and more young people are buying records, collectors say. More young DJs and alternative music fanatics are turning to vinyl. In Australia, a record plant will open in 2018 for the first time in 30 years to keep up with increasing demand. In New Zealand, revenue from record sales has climbed over the past four years. Radioscope, which collects data on the recording industry, reports sales doubled from $462,000 to $1 million between 2013 and 2014.

How to see Prophets of Rage perform at a Long Beach record store: Politically charged supergroup Prophets of Rage will make an appearance at Long Beach’s Fingerprints Records, 420 E. Fourth St., for an in-store performance on Friday, Sept. 22. The collective is made up of Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine, Chuck D and DJ Lord of Public Enemy and B-Real of Cypress Hill. “We’ve done a couple of things with Chuck D over the years and we’ve had Tom Morello before, and they called and said they wanted to do it,” said Rand Foster, owner of Fingerprints. The 7 p.m. show happens about a week after the release of the band’s self-titled 12-track album which mixes rap and rock with socially conscious and politically-driven lyrics.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Stax Country in stores 10/20 via Craft Recordings

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Craft Recordings, the catalog division of Concord Music Group, is pleased to announce the forthcoming release of Stax Country, a collection of rare and unreleased country songs, recorded in the early-mid 1970s for the Memphis label.

Due out October 20th, the album will be available on vinyl and CD, as well as across all digital and streaming platforms, and will include new liner notes by author Colin Escott, who has not only chronicled the stories of Hank Williams, Sun Records, and the Grand Ole Opry, but also co-wrote the Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet. Stax Country comes as part of an extensive 60th anniversary celebration of the iconic soul label, taking place throughout 2017.

Primarily known as a soul outfit, Stax often made efforts to diversify, with signings in rock, blues, and country music, the latter of which wasn’t a stretch for the Memphis label: Stax’s cofounder Jim Stewart was a fiddle player himself, who began his career in the genre; while Nashville—the mecca of country music—was just a mere three hours away. The label cast a wide net to find the next big voice in country music, but the results were lukewarm. In his liner notes, Escott confirms, “Indies had never broken the major labels’ hammerlock on country for long. Smaller labels nibbled around the lower reaches of the charts, sometimes even pushing a record or two to the top, but year-in, year-out, the majors owned country music. Stax was neither the first nor last label to discover that.”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: R.E.M.’s Automatic For The People 25th Anniversary Edition in stores 11/10

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Rock icons R.E.M. are reissuing their landmark album Automatic For The People to commemorate the title’s 25th Anniversary. Due November 10 via Craft Recordings, the remastered album will be available in a variety of formats, the most extensive of which is the Deluxe Anniversary Edition, which will feature the album in its entirety mixed in Dolby Atmos.

The album (plus bonus track “Photograph,” featuring Natalie Merchant) was remixed in Dolby Atmos by Automatic’s original producer, Scott Litt, and engineer, Clif Norrell. This technology delivers a leap forward from surround sound with expansive, flowing audio that immerses the listener far beyond what stereo can offer. It transports the listener inside the recording studio with multi-dimensional audio—evoking a time when listening to music was an active, transformative experience, and reigniting the emotion you felt when you first heard the album in 1992. R.E.M.’s Automatic For The People is the first album to be commercially released in this expressive, breathtaking format.

In addition, the 4-disc Deluxe Edition will offer a wealth of previously unreleased material. The band selected 20 never-before-heard demos from the LP’s sessions, including the fully-realized, unreleased track “Mike’s Pop Song” and the oft-mused about song, “Devil Rides Backwards.” “Mike’s Pop Song” debuts today and is available as an instant grat track with preorder of the reissue.

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The TVD Storefront

Robbery Inc.,
The TVD First Date

“My first memories of vinyl were when I was a kid living in Oahu, HI, and my older cousin busted out an AC/DC Back In Black record. He would drop the needle at random spots and I’d guess which song was playing off the album. We’d also have air guitar contests and I’d always win; this was a good 8 years before I started actually playing guitar so I guess it was in my blood!”

“From there it was Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Captain Fantastic, Kiss’ Destroyer and Alive!, Black Sabbath’s Heaven And Hell and Paranoid. I loved the artwork on these albums, and would stare at it while playing the records. There were a slew of 45s I wore out: The Village People’s “YMCA,” Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration,” Kiss’ “I was Made For Loving You,” and then there was my grandfather’s amazing collection of Cuban music that I loved. Even now, whenever I hear traditional Cuban music, I’m transported back in time to when we’d build puzzles and listen to his records.

The thing I love most about vinyl is the packaging and the artwork. It helps convey the tone and feel of what the artist is going for musically, or it can be a visual experience of what an album is about. Its part of a band’s branding. When I first bought an album I would read the lyrics off the liner notes while singing along to the music, and there were also credits (remember those?) so I’d know exactly who played on the records and who mixed and produced the tracks.

The old jazz albums would have forwards on them, like a book, providing great context for the listener. I think that credits are the most important thing missing from today’s digital downloads and streams. I’m a musician, but I’m also a producer, and the lack of focus on these details on iTunes, Spotify, and other DSPs is disappointing. With vinyl’s resurgence, artists can now include the credits, backstories, and lyrics once again. This is great!

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