A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/21/18

London, GB | The world’s best record shops #120: Rat Records, London: Rat Records is a no frills record shop. You won’t find polished counters, ostentatious box set compilations, or shop assistants sniffing at your selections. Instead, it offers rare reggae, funk, soul, Afro, prog and fuzz-drenched punk records that are meant to be played and enjoyed, not gather dust in racks or be sold on Discogs. A favourite haunt for crate diggers, especially on the weekends, you’ll have to visit Rat Records early to get your hands on the real prizes. “We have a queue every Saturday at 10.30AM without fail,” boasts Tom Fisher, a record dealer since 1989 and owner of the Camberwell store since 1999. “The reason is because we always have a fresh selection and our prices are very reasonable. We not only undercut the competition, we are better than them, and I like selling records, not looking at them.”

Wellington, NZ | A Vinyl Affair – Record Fair: Saturday, October 6, 2018: Following the success of June’s pop-up record fair at the Rogue and Vagabond – the good news is that A Vinyl Affair – Wellington’s Record Fair will be back there, doing the day shift this time. It’ll be Saturday October 6, from 10am-4pm. As always there’ll be a huge range of vinyl treasures – new and second-hand – and there’ll even be some spot prizes. Follow the Facebook page for further details, for some hints at the giveaways on the night and to join the community…A Vinyl Affair – Wellington’s Record Fair is always a well-run event filled with great people selling and buying, lots of music fans all in the one place. And it’s FREE to attend.

CLASSIC VINYL: Cool contenders who challenged for Britpop title: …The band Blur fronted by Damon Alban were at the forefront of music that became known as Britpop. In the nineties the UK press attempted to concoct a Blur versus Oasis campaign when both acts released singles on the same day; in the event Blur won the chart battle with Country House but remained diplomatically silent. But in the long run it was Oasis who took over the headlines on a daily basis. Blur disappeared to Iceland to work on material for this, their fifth album. On its release it disappointed both critics and fans alike but has become acknowledged as containing their greatest work. Inspired by bands of the sixties, the best track is Beetlebum a homage to The Beatles.

This straight-up audiophile turntable costs less than you’d think: Looking to step up your vinyl game? The $999 MoFi StudioDeck looks, sounds and feels terrific — and it’s made in the US. While I rarely have a need to physically touch my speakers or digital converter, turntables are all about how they feel when you play a record. Vinyl is the most tactile of all music formats, so if the turntable feels awkward or cheap, playing music won’t be much fun. Even before I listened to an LP, the MoFi StudioDeck turntable scored high on feel and design, it’s a joy to use. Turns out it sounds good, too. The MoFi StudioDeck is a belt-drive turntable with a medium-density fiberboard base which is embedded with a smidgen of aluminum inserts. On top sits a nicely machined Delrin platter that spins on an inverted bearing, and it’s accompanied by a 10-inch aluminum tonearm that looks snazzy and feels solid.

RIAA Awards the Eagles with #1 and #3 Top-Certified Albums of All Time: The Eagles can now add another accolade to their unparalleled resume – Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 is the best-selling album of all time, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which recently certified the album 38x Platinum, accounting for sales and streams of more than 38 million copies since its release in February of 1976. Later that same year, in December, the band followed up with Hotel California, which is now the third best-selling album of all time, certified 26x Platinum by the RIAA for sales and streams of more than 26 million copies. “Congratulations to the Eagles, who now claim the jaw-dropping feat of writing and recording two of the top three albums in music history,” said Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO, RIAA.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Felix Cavaliere & Gene Cornish’s Rascals with Carmine Appice at The Birchmere, 8/16

One of the great underrated American bands of the 1960s is The Rascals, purveyors of a soulful brand of East Coast groove that provided a few hits that everybody knows and who forged an expansive, spiritual course before petering out in the ’70s. There have been attempts this century to reunite the original four, primarily by Little Steven Van Zandt, whose efforts also led to a short Broadway stint of reminiscence and rock five years ago, “Once Upon a Dream.”

The dream did not live on; members Eddie Brigati and Dino Danelli went their own ways. But Felix Caviliere, who wrote and sang lead on so many of their songs, has forged on at age 75 with a new iteration of the old band that includes one other original member as well as a renown classic rock drummer who would be seen at first as an odd fit. They played a show at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA, Thursday.

The cumbersomely named “Felix Cavaliere & Gene Cornish’s Rascals with Special Guest Carmine Appice” was actually a more muscular version of the band that might have otherwise been a pleasant nostalgia excursion. The Brooklyn-raised Appice, still with the black Fu Manchu mustache at 71, was actually influenced by the Rascals just before he started with Long Island rockers Vanilla Fudge. Danelli’s drums were an unsung component of the Rascals, providing exact time and tasteful fills that were integral to the music.

It was the producer Shadow Morton working with the Rascals who produced the four Vanilla Fudge albums. And though Appice went on to play in Cactus, Beck Bogart & Appice, and for people from Ozzy Osbourne to Rod Stewart (cowriting “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” and “Young Turks” along the way), Appice nailed down the solid beats and fills to run the Rascals engine on the current tour.

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The TVD Storefront

Demand it on Vinyl:
Yum-Yum, Dan Loves Patti CD reissue in
stores 11/2

If you stress it, they’ll press it. —Ed.

VIA PRESS RELEASE | If you’ve seen Paul McCartney over the past nine years, you’ve seen Chris Holmes. He’s been the DJ spinning records pre-show for nearly a decade now. But his story starts much earlier.

After his “space rock” band Sabalon Glitz scored a spot on the bill at Lollapalooza in 1995, they became part of the “alternative” bidding war scene in Chicago, and caught the ear of former Atlantic Records Vice President Jon Rubeli. But, a different muse was calling Holmes. He wanted to make music that reflected his love of AM radio. Recorded under the name Yum-Yum (an homage to songs like “Sugar Sugar” and bands like 1910 Fruitgum Company), a cassette of bedroom demos moved Rubeli to sign Holmes to a deal on his the new Atlantic imprint TAG Records.

The result was 1998’s glorious Dan Loves Patti, a slice of pop perfection featuring strings, brass, Melllotron, and Chamberlin, as well as lush harmonies and hook-laden songs. But as happens in the music industry, a regime change shuttered TAG, and the album was swallowed up into Atlantic. The lack of attention and promotion saw the album fade from view.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Harry Nilsson,
Nilsson Sings Newman

Sound reads from the archives, all summer long.Ed.

In the first month of 1970, RCA Records released Nilsson Sings Newman, a collaborative album between one of the period’s strongest and most unique pop vocalists and a truly gifted if somewhat obscure songwriter known primarily for providing other artists with prime material. A theoretical perfect match; it’s therefore unsurprising that hardly anybody bought the thing when it first came out.

On a purely commercial level, Harry Nilsson is vindicated by his very fine version of superb singer-songwriter Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin’,” initially an album track given second life by its use in the epoch-defining New Hollywood film Midnight Cowboy, and by the smash success of his 1971 LP Nilsson Schmilsson, which rose to #3 on the Album Chart and wielded three Top 40 singles including a #1 in “Without You,” another cover via UK group Badfinger.

Considering Randy Newman through this same specifically commercial prism finds him justified not only through the sizable hits his songs provided for other artists, but also via his late-career transformation into a film-scoring juggernaut, though it bears mentioning that he had an unlikely and somewhat unrepresentative #2 hit with “Short People” in 1977. However, many also know him through the smaller, though much longer-lingering success of his biting tribute to Los Angeles, “I Love L.A.”

But if there is one thing that the careers of Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman share, it’s in the way they exploit the futility of judging an artist purely in terms of record sales. To do so with Nilsson is to depict an artist of fitful slow-growth potential finally scoring a breakout success with his seventh album (or ninth if you count his soundtrack to Otto Preminger’s eternally divisive hunk of weird-meat cinema Skidoo, where Nilsson actually sang the film’s end credits, and his early ’71 “remix” LP Aerial Pandemonium Ballet) and then going through a long, slow decline.

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The TVD Storefront

Mountain Lions,
The TVD First Date

“Growing up, my parents had a nice record player with giant upright speakers. One of the first vivid memories of my life was sitting in front of those speakers, listening to Peter and the Wolf on vinyl.”

“It was an enlightening experience for me. My memory of it still has colors associated with the melodies from that album. I don’t have synesthesia, but I believe that when you listen to a record sitting cross-legged, staring at the album cover for hours, the sounds, sights, and smells all start to blend into one in a really beautiful way.

Years later, on that same record player, I once naively attempted to emulate ’90s DJs with my dad’s Beatles record. That didn’t go over very well!

I like to think that even growing up with the convenience of the digital age, I have retained a deep respect for vinyl and the experience it creates. It’s the difference between eating drive-through fast food in the driver’s seat of your car and sitting down to share a home cooked meal with your loved ones. Vinyl creates an atmosphere of authority for music that I love. You put on the record, sit down, and simply listen…or dance!

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Aretha Franklin,
Lady Soul

The recent passing of Aretha Franklin was hardly unexpected, but it still sent many millions of people the world over into flash mourning. Here in America, the Queen of Soul inspired us through the Civil Rights Years with her soaring voice, set our hearts a-beatin’ with her timeless R&B anthems, and sent us to Heaven with her songs of devotion and praise. She was the very definition of “young, gifted and black,” and her immortal voice will roll down the ages like soul thunder.

With a discography that spanned from the late 1950s to 2017, Aretha produced more than enough great music to stock a top-notch jukebox, but most everybody has a favorite Franklin LP. Me, I turned for solace upon learning of her death to 1968’s Lady Soul.

As with most of her albums, Lady Soul demonstrates Franklin’s amazing range; unlike many of her albums, Lady Soul gives Aretha the opportunity to show off her amazing range on a uniformly amazing collection of songs. She cooks up a heady soul stew, gets real funky, reaches for the stars, and sings from the gut about her poor broken down heart, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that she had one foot planted solidly in her hometown of Detroit and the other one in the Great Beyond.

Franklin got her start at her daddy’s New Bethel Baptist Church in the Motor City, and while she ultimately took the secular route, her gospel beginnings always showed; just listen to her spirit-rousing cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” on which she sings about a heaven-bound train that’s coming and thanks the Lord more times than I can count. I’m not a devout man, but this one makes me want to cry, “Raise me up, Jesus! I wanna ride that glorious soul train!”

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/20/18

Detroit, MI | Paramita Sound to revamp record shop, add booze at Siren Hotel: West Village-neighborhood record store and party house Paramita Sound is reopening as a combined bar and retail shop at the boutique Siren Hotel in downtown Detroit. The record shop closed its 3-year-old location on Van Dyke Street in January, popping up afterward in retailer Detroit is the New Black’s 1426 Woodward Ave. store from February to April ahead of its planned permanent relocation to downtown. Founder and owner Andrey Douthard, 32, wants to grow revenue of the business that was “basically … breaking even, keeping the lights on” in West Village. “Having the ability to sell spirits is going to completely change the dynamics of the financial picture for the record shop,” he said. “It’s a bittersweet moment leaving the Villages. Not excited about it, but we have to do what’s best for our business.”

Cincinnati, OH | C&D Record Bar: Oldest record shop in town has closed: Greater Cincinnati’s oldest record shop is no more. C&D Record Bar, a fixture along Newport’s Monmouth Street shopping district since 1957, has ceased operation. Dave Heil recently sold his inventory and the building at 908 Monmouth, which housed the store on the ground floor and his private residence above. “It just ran its course, I guess,” said Heil, who owned C&D since 1996. He also previously owned Circle CDs & Records, a former shop on Glenway Avenue in Western Hills. Heil had been attempting to sell C&D to a party interested in keeping the shop alive but couldn’t find a buyer. “I wanted somebody to take over the building and the business so I didn’t have to move it all, but I couldn’t wait forever,” the 64-year-old Heil said. “The next best thing was to move the inventory down the street. Keep it in Newport, at least.”

Barrington, IL | Rainbow Records in Barrington closes, but another music man steps in to fulfill ‘the attraction of vinyl’: cherished, independent storefront where music lovers gathered for 12 years to thumb through isles of vinyl recordings to buy, Rainbow Records in Barrington, recently closed its doors. However, the shop’s well-known reputation for vintage record selection and music industry knowledge from its owner, John Thominet, will continue when a separate store soon opens under a new owner and name. Rainbow Records is set to remain doing business Aug. 23 through Sept. 30 at its old location, 421 N. Northwest Highway, while the new Scratched Vinyl store has an Oct. 5 grand opening at 119 Barrington Commons Court in downtown Barrington under owner Jon Decatorsmith. “I wanted to get 20 years in, and it was time to go, which was what I did,” said Thominet, who operated his first Rainbow Records in 1998 in Palatine before opening a storefront in Barrington in 2006.

Lynchburg, VA | Aretha Franklin music lives on at local downtown record store: The Queen of Soul passed away but her music is being played throughout the country. A Vinyl shop in Lynchburg, Speakertree Records has Aretha Franklin’s records on display to honor her. Blake Gederberg owns Speakertree. He said he loves the community of people his Records store brings in because it’s about collecting music rather than consumption of music. “It reminds people of their passion and their love for that artist, to the point where they might be like I don’t have enough Aretha on Vinyl,” said Gederberg. Since her passing, Speakertree has this Natural Woman on display as you walk in. “I’ve listened to her all growing up, there’s nobody who doesn’t know who she is, she’s an icon,” said Michaela Williams, a frequenter of the store.

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

You’re a no good heart breaker / You’re a liar and you’re a cheat / And I don’t know why / I let you do these things to me / My friends keep telling me / That you ain’t no good / But oh, they don’t know / That I’d leave you if I could / I guess I’m uptight / And I’m stuck like glue / Cause I ain’t never / I ain’t never, I ain’t never, no, no (loved a man) / (The way that I, I love you)

Lyrics like these have always crushed me. Something about the way a southern black woman sings about her love for a,”no good, cheater man.” The words just stick to my soul.

The news about Aretha’s passing hit right about the time I was cutting this week’s show. A true queen of soul, she was a marvel from a miraculous time in music history. Fame studios, Rick Hall, Jerry Wexler, and of course The Swampers. For me, they are all magic.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Lindsey Buckingham, Solo Anthology in stores 10/5

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Lindsey Buckingham is widely considered one of the greatest guitarists and songwriters and musical expressionists of our time. A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and 3 time GRAMMY winner, Buckingham is best known as the producer, guitarist, vocalist, and chief songwriter for Fleetwood Mac and as a widely celebrated solo artist.

His forthcoming Solo Anthology – The Best of Lindsey Buckingham is a comprehensive record of this illustrious career. Out October 5th on Rhino Records, Buckingham’s Solo Anthology will be released as a 3-disc set on CD and digitally and will also be available as a single disc abridged release. A 6-LP vinyl release is slated for November 23rd. The album is available for pre-order now. Solo Anthology – The Best of Lindsey Buckingham includes album, live and alternate versions of some of Lindsey’s celebrated solo albums including cuts from Law and Order, Go Insane, Out of the Cradle, Under the Skin, Gift of Screws and Seeds We Sow and incorporates songs from his collaborative album with Christine McVie released in 2017.

The anthology features Buckingham’s film work with “Holiday Road” and “Dancin Across The USA” from the 1983 motion picture soundtrack to National Lampoon’s Vacation and “Time Bomb Town” from 1985’s Back to the Future. Live versions of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” and “Go Your Own Way” round out the album, but the most thrilling tracks come in the form of two new songs that have never before been released, “Hunger” and “Ride This Road.”

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TVD Washington, DC

Save the Date: The
DC Record Fair returns
to U Street Music Hall, Sunday 9/16!

Back in its 9th year is Washington, DC’s twice yearly record rummage, The DC Record Fair, which sets up for an almost Fall edition at U Street Music Hall on Sunday, September 16, 2018.

At this event we’ll have 20+ vinyl vendors from DC and up and down the East Coast, the anticipated DJ line up, the bar, the food, raffle items up for grabs just for coming through the door, and much more that make the DC Record Fair a special community event. 

A little while back our friends at the Fillmore Silver Spring assembled the above feature that connects all the dots to the day—hit play.

Mark your calendars! 
THE DC RECORD FAIR

Sunday, September 16, 2018 at U Street Music Hall, 1115 U Street, NW, Washington, DC.
11:00–12:00: Early entry $5.00
12:00–5:00: Regular admission $2.00

RSVP and follow via the Facebook invite!

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Gary Numan, Replicas, The Pleasure Principle, Telekon

Sound reads from the archives, all summer long.Ed.

Out of the UK’s punk scrap yard came Gary Numan, first as part of the ever more synth-imbued Tubeway Army and then as a solo artist for a long string of albums. His chart dominance in the waning moments of the ‘70s was fleeting but huge, and his most commercially successful run of LPs detail a pop-savvy artist of much deeper value than his hit singles; Replicas, The Pleasure Principle and an expanded Telekon see vinyl reissue in the US on December 11.

Gary Webb started out in the bands Mean Street and The Lasers; recording with neither (Mean Street waxed one song after his exit for the Live at the Vortex comp LP), after departing the latter with bassist Paul Gardiner they formed Tubeway Army with Webb’s uncle Jess Lidyard in the drum chair. Promptly signed by Beggars Banquet, with Webb on guitar they initially dished out beefy Bowie-influenced punk, the singles “That’s Too Bad” and “Bombers” later compiled with a mess of demos from the same era as The Plan.

It’s a cool acquisition for serious punk collectors, but ’78’s Tubeway Army was even better. By the point of its release Webb had adopted the name Gary Numan (he’d briefly wielded the handle Valerian) but his signature sound was still in development, the debut augmenting the punk excursions (which occasionally leaned into a hard rock/glam merger) and sci-fi themes (impacted by Phil K. Dick and William Burroughs) with interjections from a Minimoog discovered in the studio by Numan after recording began.

Tubeway Army is very good record with a few excellent spots and conversely a handful of lags; ‘79’s Replicas is more fully-formed, and while the group’s name remains on the cover it’s flanked by Numan’s on later editions; the LP is clearly his show and any doubts over such will be quickly dispelled by the icy/edgy opener “Me! I Disconnect from You.”

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TVD New Orleans

The Optimist, solo LP from Vulfpeck guitarist Cory Wong, arrives in stores today, 8/17

When Vulfpeck played at Tipitina’s this past spring, they sold out two nights in a row. Numerous friends went both nights. I had never even heard of the band, so when the sophomore solo effort from the band’s guitarist Cory Wong popped onto my radar I immediately popped it in. Though I listened to a pre-release download, the album will be released on vinyl today.

Wong surrounds himself with great musicians on The Optimist. The opening song, “Jax,” features members of Prince’s horn section. It is funky in a way that the Purple One would certainly have enjoyed.

“The Hornheads are best known as Prince’s horn section,” explains Wong, “and their leader, Michael Nelson, did most of the horn arrangements for Prince. The guys are all 20-30 years older than us, but we fit right in as friends because they love seeing young musicians with such passion.”

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Rolling Stones,
The Rolling Stones No. 2

Step back in time with me, won’t you, to the year 1965, when Dylan went electric, The Beatles went “Nowhere Man,” and a scruffy English R&B band called the The Rolling Stones released The Rolling Stones No. 2, which included a few tentative attempts at writing their own material.

In hindsight, the last named might be the most important musical occurrence of 1965, but Rolling Stones No. 2 isn’t a great album because it includes a trio of songs by what would become one of rock ’n’ roll’s most formidable songwriting teams. It’s a great album because The Rolling Stones had their R&R and R&B chops down, and were producing a cocksure product that belied their tender years.

So named because it was the second Rolling Stones LP released in England (if not in America), Rolling Stones No. 2 is a jaunty, swaggering romp through the archives of American popular music by a quintet of wide-eyed English lads who knew what they loved and were dead set on living up to the high standards of the artists who inspired them.

They kick first-generation rock ’n’ roll’s keister with their motorvatin’ version of Don “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” Raye’s “Down the Road Apiece,” which tools down the road just fine; prove they can’t be caught on their souped-up cover of Chuck Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me,” on which they say goodbye to New Jersey forever; and go swamp rockabilly with a vengeance on their hand-clap heavy and reverberating take on Dale Hawkins’ immortal “Suzie Q,” which boasts lots of berserker drumming and some of the most frenzied guitar playing you’ll ever hear.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/17/18

Berkeley, CA | Classical movements: Fans of Berkeley’s The Musical Offering may have noticed some changes have been afoot at the daytime café/classical music record store. Last Wednesday, the shop, located just across the street from UC Berkeley, closed early for a remodeling project. On Monday, just before Cal move-in day, it reopened with an updated front counter and new flooring. The old red counter, made from a harpsichord, had character, but the new countertop offers more space. This is just the first phase of changes to come at the 44-year-old institution, which is affiliated with the University Press Bookstore located just next door. According to Musical Offering’s transition manager Deirdre Greene, the updates will not be too jarring for longtime customers, but the shop is hoping to invite a more diverse crowd

Grandview, OH | Grandview-area Craft & Vinyl aims to quench thirst for music: It’s a record store with a fondness for craft beer. Craft & Vinyl opens Wednesday at 1806 W. 5th Avenue, in the Grandview Heights area. “I love music, I love creating music, I love craft beer, I love collecting vinyl,” said Troy Stacy, the longtime digital marketing consultant who owns Craft & Vinyl. “So the idea was to combine all the things I love into something that I don’t think has ever been done before. Come in, have a beer and enjoy browsing through the vinyl albums.”…In the middle of the shop are the record bins, which have traveled over the years from record store to record store — originally in a Peaches, then Record Convention, then Ace in the Hole in Upper Arlington. “I added cupholders,” Stacy said, in a nod to beer-drinking shoppers who’ll eventually need two hands to paw through the records.

Urban Outfitters’ Corduroy Record Players From Crosley Are An Instagrammable, Retro Dream: Urban Outfitters is undoubtedly one of the most popular clothing and lifestyle chains right now. Its claim to fame is an array of unique wears. During one trip you could leave with a flow-y, floral sundress and an ugly-chic pair of pants. But Urban Outfitters is also an exceptional stop for all your music needs as well. You’ve likely seen the LPs displayed in stores before, but if you haven’t, now is the time to take a closer look — especially now that UO is currently carrying an exclusive corduroy-covered record player online that is both functional and fashionable. Plus, it comes in THREE colors! (Hurl. —Ed.)

Danny Bonaduce Is Sneaking Around Record Stores Signing Partridge Family Albums: Partridge Family star Danny Bonaduce is on a mission to add value to old Partridge Family albums. He is on a crusade sneaking around Record Stores and adding his moniker to old Partridge Family albums. Bonaduce, who played Danny Partridge in the hit TV show, pops up at stores with his sharpie, finds the P section, flips to the Partridge Family albums and whacks on his signature, then quietly leaves the store. Even toy stores with old Partridge Family merch could get a visit. Bonaduce has been secretly signing Partridge Family paraphernalia for the past few months. He has videoed his escapades in Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, Honolulu and Vancouver. “Some people might call this vandalism. I call it ‘adding value.’ You’re welcome.”

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TVD UK

TVD Live Shots: Fantastic Negrito
at Nell’s Jazz and
Blues, 8/10

I was supposed to be at the Iron Maiden show at the O2 on Friday night here in London. Instead, I decided to check out something from the other side of the spectrum entirely, and I’m so glad that I did. Nell’s Jazz & Blues was hosting a sold-out show by Oakland, California native Fantastic Negrito. No opening act, a capacity crowd, and a venue that was somewhere between a cocktail lounge and a full-blown rock ‘n’ roll venue. I had no idea what to expect, and it quickly became apparent that this was going to be something over the top.

A primarily self-taught musician with a colorful background of dealing and hustling on the streets of the East Bay, Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz—aka Fantastic Negrito—is a unicorn upon the current musical landscape. Even the most prominent music labels in the world seem to be confused on what to do with his genre-fusing which he calls “Black Roots Music.” Is it funk, is it blues, is it rock, is it something completely different? That answer is yes to all of the above. The problem continues to be, how do you promote it?

As I squeezed my way up to the front of the stage trying to set myself up for a few good shots I mentioned to the two people next to me that I would only be up in front shooting the first few songs. They replied, “No problem, we’ll be dancing the whole time anyway.” Last time he played London was opening for the late great Chris Cornell at the famed Royal Albert Hall. Xavier asked the crowd how many had seen that show, and several people raised their hands with a loud cheer. What would come next was a full-blown blues and rock ‘n’ roll-fueled jam that at times felt like an underground sermon delivered by a master storyteller (and boy does this guy have some stories).

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