A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 5/30/17

Record Store Coming To Fairhaven: Fairhaven is getting a new record store this June! Records seem to be making a comeback and Max J Records will soon have plenty of them at their Bridge St location in Fairhaven. As their Facebook photo shows, there is quite the mix of music offered in the new store. And you can start getting your hands on their vinyl at their grand opening planned for June 3rd.

Winnipeg-based ‘doctor of audio’ keeping the records spinning at age 83: In the cramped quarters of Bill Yaworski’s Sanford Street electronics shop some feel claustrophobic, others see charm and feel nostalgic. It’s a business, which has stood the test of time and survived numerous changes in an evolving industry shaped by digital downloads and streaming music services. At Columbus Radio, it’s the resurgence of vinyl records that has helped keep the business running strong. Yaworski – in his white lab coat surrounded by stacks and stacks of audio equipment including speakers, amplifiers and turntables in need of repair – is known by some as a doctor of audio.

8 easy and affordable ways to clean your vinyl records by hand: If you look after your vinyl, then there is no reason why your new, quiet record shouldn’t stay quiet for many, many years. More than that, giving second hand records a thorough cleaning will drastically reduce any noise that you hear. Using a record cleaning machine is the best way to clean a record but they are often prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, there are plenty of cheaper, manual methods of record cleaning that do a great job. What follows is a broad selection of the different types of cleaning gadgets that you can buy.

British-Pinoy’s bag design part of ‘Record Store Day’ celebration in UK: An image created by a British-Pinoy graphic designer was chosen by fashion label Fred Perry for the Record Store Day held last month. Melvin Galapon’s design, which encapsulates his trademark linear-based, geometric, clean, digital, minimal and sometimes monochrome style, is the illustrator’s first contribution to the event. The limited-edition bags were handed out for free to the first 20 customers who lined up at participating venues located in towns and cities across the country.

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The TVD Storefront

We’re closed.

We’ve closed up the shop for the Memorial Day holiday. While we’re away, why not fire up our free Record Store Locator app and visit one of your local indie record stores?

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

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TVD Los Angeles

The Best of The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

It makes a long time man feel bad / Yeah, it makes a feel so bad / Sometimes I hear you call my name / In the dead of the night, yeah

Yep, some days I feel like a “long time man.” Well, that’s because maybe I am, or soon to be. I’m not a prisoner, as referred to in the old prison song, but there’s a saying, “the road narrows.”

Today marks several occasions and “road signs,” a couple of which I will not write about. I have my superstitions. All I will say is one is a miraculous accomplishment and the other one is a bit touch and go. One thing I will mention with great joy, today in this canyon and much of LA—it’s the last day of school!

Yep, school’s out! FUCK YEAH to that!

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Kiefer Sutherland at the Birchmere, 5/23

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Among the perks of being a successful actor is the ability, at the drop of a hat, to fulfill every vague rock star notion you ever had. Unlike most struggling artists, there is no barrier to hiring a decent band, recording an album, or booking a tour that sells out based simply on your celebrity, giving fans the opportunity to see you in the flesh in their own towns, even if you don’t happen to be doing the thing that made you famous—acting—but happen to be singing or playing music instead.

It’s a formula that’s worked for Kevin Bacon, Keanu Reeves, David Duchovny, Bruce Willis, Russell Crowe, and Kevin Costner. So why not Kiefer Sutherland? The star of TV’s 24 and the current Designated Survivor is spending time away from the camera on an extensive tour to promote his album Down in a Hole, produced by Jude Cole, that was released last summer. His show at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA, Tuesday had been sold out for weeks.

With a solid band behind him that handled nearly all of the music, Sutherland, 50, still carried an acoustic guitar, occasionally switching to electric, though neither seemed to add a lot to the total sound. For an actor who has built a career going from theatrical whisper to big declarative shouts—the essence of his approach to Jack Bauer on 24—there was much less range in his singing voice. His aim is to deliver the simple lyrics he devised, but it doesn’t come with much in terms of timbre or style.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Strange Freedom: Songs of Love and Protest in stores 7/14, proceeds to benefit Planned Parenthood

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Nashville-based Americana songwriter Matt Haeck was still in shock last year after Trump’s election when a new song from an artist whose album he was producing, Rayvon Pettis, shook him out of his stupor. “Lailly and Abdullah” is the heart-breaking story of two young Aghani lovers torn apart by war, and it came to Haeck just a few days post-election.

Unsure of how to respond and bombarded by fellow folk songwriters looking to fight back, the song unlocked a new perspective on resistance. “Love is protest,” Haeck says now over the phone, and “protest is love. That’s what I realized. I love people and I see vulnerable people getting trampled on. As someone who’s been privileged not to be affected by oppression, I feel responsible to do what I can to fight against it when I see it.”

That feeling of love that Haeck got from being exposed to a humanized Afghani story, as opposed to the daily barrage of virtual news, was something he wanted to pay forward, a new way to resist Trump’s regime. The next day he put out an ask on Facebook for friends to help him put together an album of love and protest and was bombarded by requests, many from Nashville friends and colleagues. Working together with Doug Williams of Wild Ponies, the two took the small bit of money sent them from a willing donor and booked two days at John Prine’s Butcher Shoppe recording studio in Nashville and brought in as many artists as they could for a whirlwind series of recordings. A key idea of the album was to keep the resistance local to Nashville artists.

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TVD New Orleans

Newly released live recordings of African greats are a highlight of Zaire 74, in stores now

African music lovers rejoice! A new double live album on Wrasse Records, Zaire 74: The African Performers, features three superstars from the continent and three bands that are relatively unknown even to aficionados of world music. The superstars may not be household names to casual music fans, but Miriam Makeba, Tabu Ley Rochereau, and Franco are idolized across the globe.

The album’s backstory is almost as fascinating as the music and is detailed in a book that accompanies the release. Long story short, Hugh Masekela, the brilliant South African trumpeter, and his business partner organized a massive concert featuring international stars to take place in Kinshasa, the capital of Zaire (it’s now the Democratic Republic of Congo), in conjunction with the famed boxing match, “the Rumble in the Jungle.”

The music was recorded using state of the art equipment, but languished for years. Some eventually was released in two separate films, but it was mostly footage of the American stars including James Brown and B.B. King that saw the light of day. The Africans were relegated to the cutting floor. That was a shame beyond imagination considering the term and genre “world music” didn’t even exist at the time. Though South African vocalist Makeba played regularly in the United States, Rochereau didn’t get over the ocean until ten years after the concert.

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The TVD Storefront

Kylie Odetta,
The TVD First Date

“I had always been fascinated with record players and how they seemed to capture a period in time and take you there.”

“I saw them in movies and music videos, I saw records in music stores, specifically a local store called Earshot that closed about a year ago, or in Urban Outfitters. But the first time I ever actually picked up a record and held it in my hand was when my family and I were cleaning out my grandpa’s trailer after he passed away when I was 13.

He had a massive box full of records in mostly perfect condition that we found. I asked to keep them even though I had no way of playing them because I didn’t own a record player at the time. My parents let me take them home and I hung a few on my walls but the rest went into a coat closet and over the years I almost forgot about them.

I saw that record players were making a comeback in the music scene as I got older but I still didn’t make that jump into buying one. I would sit in a hot bath, reading a book, listening to “In A Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington through my little bluetooth speaker and imagine I was back in the 1920s with a record spinning and crackling somewhere in the corner.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Wanda Jackson,
There’s a Party Goin’ On

When it comes to vocalists—male, female, whale, Sasquatch, you name it—it’s hard to top Wanda “The Queen of Rockabilly” Jackson. For a couple of years at the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s Jackson recorded a bunch of truly hair-raising vocal performances that generated every bit as much feral excitement and raw sexual energy as the ones being recorded by Elvis Presley (whom she dated for a brief spell), Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, and Little Richard. The very much alive Jackson possesses vocal cords made of barbed wire, and has never met a tempo—most of them played back in the day with lethal intensity by a relatively unsung young guitar slinger named Roy Clark—so raucous she couldn’t rein it in. And she can yodel up a storm, too.

There were other women singing rockabilly during its golden age; Janis Martin, for example, who was unfortunate enough to have the moniker “the Female Elvis” hung around her neck like an albatross. But Martin had a more staid vocal style that came up short in the barbaric yawp department, and for the most part the same goes for Lorrie Collins of novelty act the Collins Kids, who had her moments of inspiration (check out her wonderfully frenzied take on “Mercy”) but who rarely roamed into the realm of the possessed. Jackson was a full-grown woman and her voice was a force of nature in 1961, and still is; just listen to the 73-year-old Jackson kick up a rockin’ ruckus out on such raunch’n’roll numbers as “Shakin’ All Over” and “Rip It Up” on 2011’s Jack White-produced The Party Ain’t Over if you have any doubts about the matter.

On 1961’s There’s a Party Goin’ On Jackson was at the peak of her rockabilly powers and poised to go country, which was the smart move for an Oklahoma City girl with country music in her veins after the rockabilly craze went belly up. With her band the Party Timers, Jackson—who declared herself the first woman to put “glamour into country music” with her fringe dresses, high heels, and long earrings—jumped, wailed, and growled, and the best tracks on There’s a Party Goin’ On are every bit as crazy, daddy-o as those produced by Elvis, Gene, Little Richard, etc.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 5/26/17

Independent Shop And Label alt.vinyl To Close: Independent online record shop and label alt.vinyl has announced that it is to close after 13 years. It began life as a record shop based in Newcastle opened by Graham Thrower, but soon changed to an online-only organisation, while remaining very much rooted in its northern surroundings putting out records from Richard Dawson and :zoviet*france: amongst others. In total, the label released more than 70 records. “It’s been great to have been a part of a global independent music community but the time is right… this cycle has come to a close,” Thrower wrote on the label’s website. “At the risk of a long post I’d just like to thank all those artists that alt.vinyl has had the pleasure to work with…”

Nostalgia for vinyl? Hamilton store’s 5,000 records can help: A new record shop in Hamilton aims to bring the resurgent vinyl format back to the forefront of people’s minds. Main Street Vinyl at 227 Main Street offers “a little bit of everything,” including albums from rock, soul, blues, country, jazz and reggae artists and groups. “You’ve got to have variety,” said store owner Bill Herren, whose collection of nearly 5,000 records, displayed in the business and stored in back, provides the bulk of the store’s inventory…“CDs are fading out and vinyl’s back,” Herren said. “There’s more vinyl sold in the last year that’s been sold since the 1980s … so it’s a good time to do it.”

Craft beer meets vintage records at The Vinyl Room: At first glance, The Vinyl Room could be a standard craft beer bar. Four local brews are on tap, with a selection canned beer and wine, and a light food menu. But guests will also find vinyl-packed shelves and turntables sure to delight any music fan. Equal parts bar and record shop, The Vinyl Room plans to combine the two interests into one unique addition to Wappingers Falls’ Main Street. And, it could be open by late-June.The business stems from owner John Kihlmire’s passion for music and beer. “I’ve been collecting vinyl since I was 15 years old,” he said. “More recently, I’ve really gotten into sour beer.” But The Vinyl Room isn’t just a mash-up of Kihlmire’s interests.

Seeking refuge in vinyl records during China’s cultural revolution: Around the beginning of the 1960s, our father spent 400 RMB to buy a Peony radio-record player. The record player, in particular, was quite high-tech back then: four-speed selection with automatic stopping coupled with a speed-detection regulation system. I imagined the flood of music that would flow out of the tiny red-and-green power light, turning our lives totally transparent, as if we lived inside a glass house. Father, however, didn’t particularly understand music, his purchase, while linked with an infatuation with modern technology, was more a reflection of his romantic temperament, a sharp contrast to the ominous age taking shape around us. An age when people endured constant hunger and busied themselves just trying to scrape by, living hand to mouth—idle ears seemed superfluous.

Reinventing the record: New Burlington factory turns out vinyl albums: Vinyl fanatics have a new champion in Gerry McGhee. McGhee is the proud vice president of Precision Pressing, a state-of-the-art vinyl record manufacturing facility in Burlington. The 20,000-sq.-ft. plant celebrated its official opening on May 11. It may be weird to describe a factory as beautiful, but that’s exactly what Precision is — a light-filled, high-ceilinged, scrupulously clean structure filled with handsome pressing machines and dozens of enthusiastic employees. Precision Pressing is a labour of love for McGhee, 55. He’s a lifer in the music industry — as both a musician and an executive — and Precision Pressing represents years of hard work and perseverance on his part to serve the global vinyl resurgence.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Best of Big Star in stores 6/16

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Stax Records, an imprint of Concord Music Group and its Catalog Division, Craft Recordings, is excited to announce the release of a new compilation celebrating Big Star. The 16-track collection spans all three of the influential band’s LPs (1972’s #1 Record, 1974’s Radio City, and Third, released after the group disbanded, in the late ’70s), and features rare edits of some of their most popular songs. Liner notes from GRAMMY® Award-winning writer and director Robert Gordon, plus an introduction by the sole surviving Big Star member, drummer Jody Stephens, round out the package. In stores on June 16, 2017, Best of Big Star will be available as a 2-LP, 45 rpm album housed in a gatefold jacket, with lacquers cut at Ardent Studios and pressed on 180-gram vinyl at Memphis Record Pressing. The title will also be available digitally and on CD.

Much like Nick Drake, the Velvet Underground, and other critically esteemed artists whose work only gained commercial traction long after its initial release, Big Star let loose their trademark mix — shimmering jangle pop with a side of elliptical melancholia — into a world that just wasn’t ready for it. In his liner notes, Robert Gordon muses that the band “fizzled before most anyone heard them, then when they seemed totally forgotten they began to exert more musical influence than most bands ever dream of — an unusual story … Big Star reminds us that great art lives, that immediate audience appreciation can’t be counted on and that it’s not about the brightness of the light but its beauty.”

Formed in 1971 by singer/songwriters Alex Chilton (1950-2010) and Chris Bell (1951-1978), drummer Jody Stephens (b. 1952) and bassist Andy Hummel (1951-2010), the Memphis-based group is now considered to be one of the most influential bands in modern music, having inspired some of the biggest alt-rock artists of the ’80s, ’90s and beyond. An underground core of fanatical enthusiasts kept the fire burning. The Replacements famously released “Alex Chilton,” a song that paid tribute to Big Star’s songwriting genius. R.E.M.’s Peter Buck said, “Big Star served as a Rosetta Stone for a whole generation of musicians.”

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