The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Esquerita,
Vintage Voola

It’s not a great secret, but the spicy story of Eskew Reeder Jr., better known to the world as Esquerita, still requires a periodic retelling, the tale relating to newcomers that Richard Wayne Penniman aka Little Richard wasn’t the only wildly flamboyant piano rocker to inhabit the supposedly squaresville decade of the 1950s. But if that was the only reason to keep Esquerita’s name alive he would’ve been forgotten long ago. Fact is the man rocked with reckless abandon and his stuff holds up gloriously.

The life of the man known as Esquerita holds quite a few chapters, all of them interesting if too many fraught with darkness, desperation and (worst of all) an unhappy ending to ever translate into a big screen biopic, for the feel-good stuff all happens early and there’s no late in life redemption. The chronicle of this South Carolina native hits its highpoint with his one real chance for commercial success, the opportunity coming amidst the wild atmosphere of the decade from whence rock ‘n’ roll was born (or if you prefer was finally bequeathed with a name).

Due to the influence of Gene Vincent, Esquerita ended up signed to Capitol Records, where the label obviously hoped to repeat the same pattern of copycat success against Little Richard that they’d scored via Vincent’s Blue Caps in reaction to the retail juggernaut that was Elvis Presley. Obviously Esquerita came nowhere close to scoring a hit single, though Capitol can’t be said to have given up on him without trying. They even released a self-titled LP in 1959 and tossed on an exclamation point after this manic maestro’s name in hopes of stirring up some excitement in the marketplace. No dice sadly; the man was destined to be a solid if enduring underground figure.

Esquerita continued to haunt recording studios until the end of the ‘60s, mellowing his style and even using a different moniker (The Magnificent Malochi) in hopes of changing his chart fortunes, but by the next decade he’d been absorbed into the undiluted rawness of the old New York City subculture. When he was discovered playing a weekly gig at the nightclub Tramps by future members of the A-Bones Billy Miller and Miriam Linna, he was described as having suffered numerous hard life knockdowns, only to find himself back on the bandstand every Monday night.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Jayne/Wayne County and the Electric Chairs, The Best of Jayne/Wayne County and the Electric Chairs

When it comes to the first wave of punk, Wayne (and later Jayne) County and the Electric Chairs are often sadly overlooked. And this despite such raunch’n’roll classics as “Toilet Love,” “Fuck Off,” and “Cream in My Jeans.” County, a Georgia transgender woman, combined glam punk with the sheer camp outrage of New York City’s Theater of the Ridiculous, and the results were both hilarious and irresistible. Yet none of the band’s albums were released in the United States, an inexplicable omission unless one concludes that U.S. record execs found County and the Electric Chairs’ songs simply too sleazy to touch.

County and the Electric Chairs were the biggest proponents of the trash rock aesthetic this side of the New York Dolls, but they took things much, much farther than the Dolls ever did. County might come on stage wearing a plastic vagina with straw pubic hair, and punk photographer Roberta Bayley recalls the time County, having decided (amongst many others, including Bayley) that Patti Smith’s “I’m the Second Coming of Arthur Rimbaud” shtick was so much pretentious horseshit, “did a big parody of her where he came on and he had a black wig and a white shirt, a tie and he did this whole thing about following one of Jim Morrison’s pubic hairs down the sewers of Paris.” If Jayne had never done anything but that, I’d still love her.

Subtle County wasn’t, but the Electric Chairs also released such bona fide trash-free classics as the celebratory “Max’s Kansas City,” the transgender anthem “Man Enough to Be a Woman,” and the most delirious song about wanting to have a number one hit since the Raspberries’ “Overnight Sensation” in “Trying to Get on the Radio.” And the best way to listen to the multi-faceted County is to pick up a copy of 1982’s Best of Jayne/Wayne County and the Electric Chairs, which includes all of the above songs as well as such searing rockers as “Bad in Bed,” “Hot Blood,” and “Night Time,” to say nothing of the lovely “Eddie & Sheena” and the Transformer-flavored “Midnight Pal.”

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The TVD Storefront

H.C. Love, The TVD
First Date and Album Premiere, Light Breaks

“Once upon a time, there was a child whose light shined so bright…”

“You have been telling your story in personal terms… now tell it in mythological terms. Take the story past the wounding to the place of transformation. When finished share it, a show put to music and dance [and sing] the living myth.”

“She goes on a journey into the woods to find herself. The deep forest of the unconscious…She has many adventures trials and tests and gets lost along the way and off the path. She returns home after years…home within her true self…”

One record early on, I remember having an impact on me was Harper’s Bazaar “Anything Goes.” Records like this brought something tangible to the experience of listening where the moment is lingered upon and stayed with, as in how one follows the thread of a story that unfolds. This allows for a deeper experience of listening when the moment moves into a timeless realm.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

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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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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Kristin Hersh,
Wyatt at the Coyote Palace

Together with her recent work in 50FOOTWAVE, Kristin Hersh is well-known for an abundant solo discography and as a member of Throwing Muses, who alongside fellow New Englanders The Pixies helped to pioneer the onslaught of Alternative Rock. Not one to rest on laurels, in recent years she’s explored the vocation of author with noted success, her words occasionally joined with continued musical pursuit. Wyatt at the Coyote Palace is the latest example if these fruitfully intertwining threads; an auteur project if ever one existed, it combines two CDs with a hardcover book of prose and lyrics, and is available October 28 in the UK and November 11 in the US through Omnibus Press.

Hersh’s writing career began in a manner fairly standard for a working musician, specifically by composing essays and partaking in that bastion of the ’80s fanzine press, the tour diary, with her work appearing via her own website and as a guest blogger for But Hersh wasn’t just any working musician; this seemingly newfound outlet for creative expression branched off from impressive musical achievement having commenced way back in 1984 through Throwing Muses’ self-released EP “Stand Up.”

As the first American signing to the important UK post-punk label 4AD, Throwing Muses gained prominence through an untitled ’86 debut and House Tornado in ’88; in addition to Hersh, listeners were also introduced to the talents of Tanya Donelly, who departed after The Real Ramona in 1991. Releasing three more albums before a long hiatus and the periodic resurgences of Throwing Muses in 2003 and Purgatory / Paradise in ’13, even with Bernard Georges playing bass since 1992 and David Narcizo filling the drum seat from way back in ’83, it’s Hersh who’s most immediately identified with the name.

This is partially due to her role as songwriter and vocalist, and the situation is surely amplified by her productivity as a solo artist, though Hersh’s releases under her own name have consistently explored a dynamic unique from the band framework of Throwing Muses. This scenario reaches an apex with Wyatt at the Coyote Palace; with a few exceptions, her previous solo output has welcomed a varying degree of guest input, but as the promo notes for her latest explicitly state, this is the second consecutive occasion where she “performs and creates all instruments and sounds.”

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 10/26/16

Oklahoma City rapper Jabee announces vinyl scavenger hunt: Want to give Jabee Williams’ “Black Future” vinyl a spin? It won’t cost you a dime if you follow the Oklahoma City-based rapper on Instagram or Snapchat. Starting Monday morning around 9, Williams will share photo clues and a rap hinting at a scavenger hunt location in the metro. The first person to arrive at the local business asking for the record will win a free copy. He’ll do it once a day until Oct. 28. His handle is @mynameisjabee on both social media platforms. “I’m trying to do something different and fun,” Williams told The Oklahoman. “It’s my first time doing a real vinyl release, and I’m just excited about it.”

Vinyl record store opens on downtown block undergoing resurgence: MUSKEGON, MI – The renaissance of downtown Muskegon’s Third Street corridor is well underway with the addition of a vinyl record store. Third Coast Vinyl opened on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 1115 Third St. The store stocks new and used records and other music-related items. “Contrary to what a lot of people might think, they do make new records,” said Paul Pretzer, owner of Third Coast Vinyl…Pretzer chose the Third Street location because he sees potential in the neighborhood. “I wanted to be part of something that I thought was growing,” he said.

Chemical Brothers To Reissue Eight Albums, Duo will put eight old LPs back into print with coloured vinyl reissues: The Chemical Brothers have announced plan to reissue their full album discography on coloured vinyl. They released their eighth album, Born In The Echoes, last year and the reissues will take in every album released until then, starting with 1995’s Exit Planet Dust. They will be pressed on 180-gram vinyl in 2xLP packaging with each record’s sleeve being recreated for the new pressing. They will receive a wide release on December 23 though they can be purchased in the UK from November 18.

The world’s best record shops #042: Music Mania, Ghent: Opened way back in 1969, Music Mania is Belgium’s longest running record shop. But unlike other such institutions where dust has been allowed to settle on the racks, the team of heads and selectors running Music Mania today still keep things fresh. One of those is Ziggy Devriendt aka DJ Nosedrip, whose ear for obscurities belies his modest years. The man behind online radio station and soon-to-be label STROOM.TV, it’s not surprising that Music Mania has retained such a central role in Europe’s young selector scene. In the store you’ll find records from across the spectrum, from jazz, blues and folk, to disco, synth wave, cosmic, Afro-funk and practically every sub-genre in between.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Live Shots: Die Antwoord at the House of Blues Boston, 10/20


I’ve seen thousands of live shows in my life across all different genres but never have I witnessed anything quite like a Die Antwoord show. Imagine the ability to harness pure energy, bleeding edge visuals, art, hip-hop, and some of the biggest hooks in music today into a single performance. It was controlled chaos, completely unhinged, surreal, completely original, and dare I say, borderline genius.

Hailing from South Africa and led by the outlandish duo known as Ninja and Yolandi, Die Antwoord are a rave-rap duo who embrace the Zef culture from their homeland. What is Zef? According to Yolandi, “It’s associated with people who soup their cars up and rock gold and shit. Zef is, you’re poor but you’re fancy. You’re poor but you’re sexy, you’ve got style.” If you’ve seen the movie Chappie then you already have a glimpse into what this translates to on the big screen and what it means to embrace this lifestyle. In the 2015 science fiction film, the duo were cast to play themselves in the lead roles and did so remarkably well.


Having never been to an EDM show myself, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. In fact, when I think EDM, I usually think of a DJ on stage where the lights overshadow the actual artist. This is why I would hesitate to label this an EDM show as in this case it was the complete opposite. The crowd was hanging on every single lyric, rhyme, downbeat, etc. while completely losing their minds.

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The TVD Storefront

The Fontaines,
The TVD First Date

“Recently there was a rumor that Amoeba in Hollywood was gonna close—real glad that isn’t happening.”

“Not only was Amoeba the first record store to carry our music, they also hooked me up. One time I went in to pick up an Animal Collective record, and on the way out the guy running their coat check asked me if I wanted a box of records. People donate vinyl to Amoeba all the time, and some of it’s in unplayable (or at least unsellable) condition.

I took the offer. Inside were lots of broken discs, but also working copies of Are You Experienced by Jimi Hendrix and Round About Midnight by Miles Davis. I love streaming music, but I wouldn’t have listened to those records nearly as much if I didn’t get them in that fluke turn of events.

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UK Artist of the Week: Tokyo Taboo

Artistic fusion among musical genres is making it increasingly difficult for consumers to determine where a band’s influences are derived, and often just what style of music is being created. In my eyes though, this is in no way a negative thing as it brings together differing worlds through the mutual love of music, style, and fashion—and cultivates something unique among the sub-genres. 

London-based Tokyo Taboo sound like they are heavily influenced by American pop-punk, but this isn’t the only thing that makes them our weekly Ones to Watch. Singer Dolly Daggerz and guitarist Mike recorded their album 6th Street Psychosis in downtown LA, and among the city’s inherent influences, the band incorporate Japanese culture, drag, and an ’80s fashion sensibility into their eclectic mix.

They’ve recently played shows stateside and have returned to the UK in time for the album’s release, delivering single “N.A.R.C.I.S.M” which explodes with honestly and exuberance with airplay on Radio X and BBC Radio 1.

You can catch the duo live at the following dates:
25th Nov – Album Launch Show – The Borderline – London
14th Dec – The Black Heart – Camden 

6th Street Psychosis is out November 25th 2016 via TT Records.

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The TVD Storefront

The Vinyl Guide Podcast
with Nate Goyer

The Vinyl Guide is a weekly podcast for fans and collectors of vinyl records. Each week is an audio-documentary on your favourite records, often including interviews with band members and people who were part of the project.

It’s hosted by Nate Goyer, a self-described vinyl maniac who enjoys listening to records and sharing the stories behind them. Despite his Yankee accent, Nate lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife, 2 kids, and about 1,500 records. (But only about 1,000 of them his wife knows about.)

The Vinyl Guide takes records one by one, telling the tale of how they came to be, why the work is important, and then shares how collectors can tell one pressing from another. Learn more at the or simply subscribe via iTunes or RSS feed.

Mike Doughty is one of my favourite artists—beautiful songs, striking lyrics, melodies that stick in the head for days and he’s prolific, so there’s more of him to enjoy. Today he stops by The Vinyl Guide and discusses his craft as well as his new LP The Heart Watches While the Brain Burns available now. Plus we feature a special track for listeners of The Vinyl Guide!”

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