The TVD Storefront

Happy Thanksgiving!

We’ve closed up the shop today for the Thanksgiving holiday. While we’re away, why not fire up our FREE Record Store Locator app and visit one of your local indie record stores this coming Black Friday?

Perhaps there’s an interview, review, or feature you might have missed? Catch up and we’ll see you back here on Monday, 11/30.

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The TVD Record Store Club

The TVD Record Store Club for 11/27/15

Welcome to the TVD Record Store Club for the week ending 11/27/15.

The TVD Record Store Club is another free feature we’ve added to The TVD Record Store Locator App that recently relaunched refreshed and rebranded. The Club points to a record store agenda that we’re assembling for your weekend now that new release vinyl lands in stores on Fridays—AND for the early part of the week coming when those mom and pops could use the foot traffic.

Every Thursday we’ll be tipping you off right here at TVD—and within the app at the Club tab—to releases of merit newly on store shelves, along with in-store ticket giveaways you can win by simply waving the app, pricing incentives, contests, cool partner initiatives, and a host of surprises we’re looking forward to putting in your pocket on the regular.

Ostensibly, the TVD Record Store Club exists to light a fire under you each week and weekend to get out to your local mom and pop record shops, but with Record Store Day’s Black Friday event looming, it’s kinda been taken care of for us this week. Our picks from among the Black Friday releases come from The Arcs, The B-52’s, Buzzcocks, Gang of Four, Green Day, and The Jesus and Mary Chain.

In addition to the Record Store Day flood of product this weekend, Saturday brings you Small Business Saturday, which is at the crux of our daily agenda at TVD when you get right down to it. So, after your record rummage, why not “shop small” and spend some time in your local indie comic book retailers, your book stores, the little coffee spot, that donut shop, sandwich store, or small batch brewery. It’s habit forming.

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TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots: The Cult and Primal Scream at the Warfield, 11/17

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-7

I’ve seen The Cult perform live almost a dozen times and they never cease to amaze me. How could one ever get tired of the combination of Ian Astbury’s dark yet soulful voice and Billy Duffy’s one of a kind Phil Spector-esque wall of sound guitar tone?

Add in some of the most iconic and memorable rock songs of the past 30 years and you have arguably one of the greatest rock bands on the planet in my opinion. For some reason they seem to play in San Francisco more than any other city in the country, but this time around it was quite a different show.

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-2-2

Teaming up with Scottish rock gods Primal Scream, the co-headlining bill appropriately named “Primal Cult,” is in the midst of a short West Coast run. I’m a casual fan of Primal Scream as they usually come in one of two flavors in regards to their live shows. One being their signature, noise-induced psychedelic electro-rock in the form of Screamadelica and Evil Heat (which I totally dig as do so many aging hipsters), and the second, their Stones-infused classic rock jams found on my favorite two records from them, Riot City Girl and the terribly underrated Give Out but Don’t Give Up. This show in particular would feature the later.

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The TVD Storefront

Josh Rosenthal’s The Record Store of the Mind: A Consideration

Before founding and operating his consistently rewarding label, Josh Rosenthal worked in the big-time music industry. Prior to that he was in college radio and even earlier was just a budding music junkie, seeds planted in childhood gradually blossoming into Tompkins Square Records. Along the way he’s naturally amassed some stories, viewpoints and favorites, and some of them are corralled in his new book The Record Store of the Mind. Folks with sizable collections should find it a welcome companion, and those just getting the fever will likely have their horizons broadened and want lists substantially increased.

A little over halfway through The Record Store of the Mind, in a chapter simply titled “Jazz,” Josh Rosenthal bluntly states a personal requirement regarding the particular section’s topic; even in traditional jazz, or “inside” stuff to borrow the parlance of the music, a discernible “outside” element still needs to be present or the end result will fail to grab his interest.

Non-jazz buffs might not get it; for one thing, the conventional (received) wisdom is that above all else jazz must “swing.” But Rosenthal’s prerequisite makes total sense and is a fairly common barometer; for instance, this writer adores the titanic outside piano of Cecil Taylor and also loves the inside with undercurrents of out mode of Bill Evans but has hardly ever been swayed by the (at least to these ears) firmly inside style of Oscar Peterson.

Of course, the parameters of “out” will vary by listener; is it enough to experiment, or does there need to be an aspect of friction at play? And like, what’s your take on Ahmad Jamal? But I digress, as digressing is a foible that afflicts music nuts and yes indeed, music writers as well. However, it bears noting that Rosenthal keeps close to the various points at hand throughout his collection.

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The TVD Storefront

Brenna Whitaker,
The TVD First Date

“I go to a lot of estate sales as I’m intrigued by anything with a little dust on it.”

“Having bought and listened to records since I was a teenager, I’m huge fan of vinyl. I find as an adult now (oh god), I’m most creative working while listening to creepy, slightly sharp (or flat) horn solos from the ’40s or jazz noire compilations from all the fabulous European companies that are helping to keep vinyl alive.

My current record player was bought at the Melrose Flea market in Hollywood and is a Vintage 1972 SE -990 Panasonic that came with matching speakers. It’s been a total gem and an integral part of me discovering myself in the City of Angels. There is nothing more relaxing than cooking or hanging out with my dogs, Louis Armstrong, and Pearl Bailey with lit candles and listening to my favorite pianist, Vince Guaraldi. My most favorite records lately have come from a website called Fantastic Voyage. They have all the rarities that inspire and fuel me to do what I do in life.

Growing up in Kansas City as a kid, I did a lot of professional theater and my mom and dad would drive me to do 2PM matinée and 8PM performances all the time. In the car we listened to this fabulous radio station called Fish Fry Friday that basically changed my life. Lyrically the way songs told stories in the ’50s and ’60s has really stuck with me.

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TVD New Orleans

TVD Recommends: Minos the Saint and Burris at Chickie Wah Wah, 11/27

Even though we will be off for the rest of the week celebrating Thanksgiving, I wanted to give readers an advance warning shot about a great show on Friday night at Chickie Wah Wah. The music scene in Baton Rouge has been heating up lately and representatives from Family Fish Productions have been making the drive upriver to check out the latest bands. Two of the finest outfits are making the trip to New Orleans.

Beginning the evening at 8 PM will be Minos the Saint. This ensemble is an eclectic chamber folk band with a unique sound that is an acoustic blend of guitar-based songwriting mixed with symphonic brass along with accordion and funky bass.

Since the band’s founding in 2013, they have performed at numerous venues and festivals across South Louisiana including French Quarter Fest, Gasa Gasa, the AllWays Lounge, the Marigny Opera House, the House of Blues, and the Varsity Theater in Baton Rouge.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Scott Fagan,
South Atlantic Blues

Scott Fagan’s tale holds a circuitous course of impressive connections, valiant attempts, and unfortunate misses, but it’d be anticlimactic without a worthwhile record in the equation; the fresh reissue of South Atlantic Blues helps provide enduring relevance to the narrative. Originally released by Atco in 1968 to utter consumer neglect, it’s a rediscovery requiring neither qualifications nor special pleading, for nobody else cooked up a progressive stew of folk, pop, and soul quite like this one. It’s out now through Saint Cecilia Knows, the first 1,000 hand numbered copies of the LP featuring 180gm vinyl and a heavy-duty tip-on jacket exclusively reproducing Jasper Johns’ lithograph “Scott Fagan Record.”

Scott Fagan’s father was a musician (reportedly a saxophonist and singer) who kept company with such heavyweights as Dizzy Gillespie and Lester Young, while his dancer mother raised him in an art colony on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas. As a teen Fagan played rock ‘n’ roll in an act christened The Urchins and in the mid-‘60s stowed away for Florida, eventually making his way to New York where he immediately scored an in-person audition with Brill Building songwriters Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman.

Consequently, Fagan was signed to Pomshu Productions, receiving two years of mentoring from the duo as he and Pomus wrote “I’m Gonna Cry Till My Tears Run Dry,” a hit for Irma Thomas later waxed by Linda Ronstadt. Pomshu additionally secured deals for Fagan, first with Columbia, where he cut an unreleased single, and then via Bert Berns’ Bang Records, the association producing ‘66’s “Give Love a Chance” b/w “Tutsie.”

The story takes a wild turn as Fagan almost became an Apple signing, South Atlantic Blues amongst the candidates to be the first non-Beatles-related album issued by the label (a distinction belonging to the self-titled debut of James Taylor, though the Modern Jazz Quartet’s Under the Jasmine Tree is documented as sharing the same release date in the UK and US.)

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 11/24/15

Visiting the Record Shops of the South West: Whilst living in Poland over the past two years, I’ve been casually photographing record shops here and there. Going back to England for an extended stay, I was excited to revisit some of my old digging spots across South West England. Some had moved, some had changed and some spots had closed down. Here are five of those spots.

Vinal Edge, one of Houston’s favorite record stores, turns 30 years old this month: It spent nearly 27 years on Houston’s north side, nestled in a strip center off Veterans Memorial Drive, a far car ride for most Inner Loop music heads. It was common to hear collectors plan carpools out to the location, saving a Saturday or Sunday to rummage through boxes upon boxes of vinyl that owner Chuck Roast and his employees hadn’t yet priced.

New downtown indie record store the Vinyl Countdown celebrates its grand opening: Vinyl is far from being a dead medium, which works out well for Aaron Levy, owner of the recently opened record store, the Vinyl Countdown. “At this point, the choice of how you get your music is online or vinyl,” he says, pointing to the sales-by-format section of Billboard magazine. “From 2014 to ’15, CD sales are down by 10 percent and vinyl is up 31 percent. Digital is staying flat.”

Opening set for Jack White’s Third Man Records Detroit store: An opening date has been announced for Jack White’s Third Man Records store just north of downtown Detroit. The Detroit Free Press reports that the shop will open Friday with vinyl reissues from Tamla Records.

Record turnout as vinyl fans attend fair at Blanchelande: Passionate LP fans and music hoarders were spoilt for choice at this year’s Vinyl Record and CD Collectors Fair as they sifted through stacks of music.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Morgan James and Boh Doran at the Hamilton, 11/17

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | It’s not easy out there for female singer/ songwriters.

Take the duo who played the Hamilton in DC Tuesday night. Headliner Morgan James is a belter who has conquered several fields, from covers, to Broadway to Nina Simone to her own well honed R&B, but still making her way, despite a dynamic presence and often astonishing vocal range.

Opener Boh Doran is having it a little tougher, keeping track of her two keyboards and a backing track via iPad while trying to sing her songs solo and having to lug her own equipment when her half hour was done.

A Minnesotan who studied politics at George Washington a few years back, the former MaryEllen Doran was having a bit of a homecoming in the D.C. show. And while she presents herself as a fully formed interesting chanteuse in her sultry five-song EP and especially the track “White Knuckles,” which this site premiered in June, she had too much to keep track of in a solo show where she ultimately had to serve as her own roadie.

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The TVD Storefront

The Darkness: In-store with TVD at Washington DC’s Som Records

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | As we noted last month, Last of Our Kind is the first album in three years for The Darkness. It’s hailed as one of their finest records yet, and a maturation of their sound. “It is the best rock album you will hear this year,” says singer Justin Hawkins. “It is the best rock album you will hear until next time The Darkness makes an album.” It’s difficult to argue for a more appropriate title; they don’t make rock bands like The Darkness anymore.

“We’ve always been a cult band,” bass guitarist Frankie Poullain tells TVD, but that’s quite an over-simplification (and he knows it). It’s been over a dozen years since Permission to Land blasted rock music out of its same-y, neo-garage rut. Its influence punched the genre in the face and reminded people, who were too young to remember, what it was like for rock to be a fun, profane, exhilarating spectacle. With Last of Our Kind, The Darkness again unleash tongue-in-cheek bombastic rock music that delivers in spades and (figurative, possibly literal) pyrotechnics.

In DC for a show just over the District line proper at the Fillmore Silver Spring (our coverage is here) The Darkness’ Dan Hawkins and Frankie Poullain reveal themselves to be—what else?—real record store denizens. And sure, we talked Thin Lizzy, but their touchstones are varied. Teenage Fanclub, Big Star, The Waterboys, My Bloody Valentine, and the Blue Nile are among some of the band referenced that might not come to mind immediately with the lads over a record rummage, but there you have it.

So, let’s go—we’re record shopping with The Darkness at Washington, DC’s Som Records.

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