The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, On Tour with Eric Clapton

Poor Eric Clapton. Having been through the supergroup wringer with Cream and Blind Faith, there was nothing he craved more than a little anonymity. No more “Clapton is God”; all he wanted to be was a player in a band that wasn’t being hyped to the stars, and where he could perform his six-string pyrotechnics in the background, as it were. Those are rich man problems, for sure, but Clapton was truly burnt out, and given the opportunity to tour with the American soul/rock/blues band Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, he happily said yes. It was a respite and it paid off, as his guitar playing on the resulting LP, 1970’s On Tour with Eric Clapton, testified.

During the early seventies the Bramletts fronted a musical family that saw them taking in lots of famous orphans, including Duane Allman, George Harrison, Rita Coolidge, Dave Mason, and King Curtis. Despite a host of studio LPs Delaney and Bonnie were best regarded as an incendiary live act, one that led Clapton to not only say, “Delaney taught me everything I know about singing,” but “For me, going on [with Blind Faith] after Delaney and Bonnie was really, really tough, because I thought they were miles better than us.” In any event his time spent with Delaney and Bonnie was a happy one for the troubled musician.

On Tour with Eric Clapton didn’t just feature Clapton. In fact it was populated by a veritable who’s who of the best of rock’s supporting musicians, many of whom also played on that same year’s LP Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Clapton’s next project, Derek and the Dominos. You’ve got Dave Mason on guitar, Bobby Whitlock on organ and keyboards, Carl Radle on bass, Jim Gordon on drums, Bobby Keys on saxophone, Jim Price on trombone and trumpet, and Rita Coolidge on backing vocals; the folks who saw this iteration of the band live were lucky indeed.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
3rd Bass,
The Cactus Album

As Pitchfork recently commissioned select retrospective reviews of David Bowie’s catalog after his passing, here in the office we looked at each other and thought, “Well, way to catch up with what we’ve been up to lo these 9 years.”

Not lost on us is that record reviews—new releases—serve their purpose, but if you stop by TVD with any regularity or fire up our (free) Record Store Locator App, you’re bound to uncover both old and new records in record shops that should (or shouldn’t–let’s face it) be in your collection.

Our recurring job henceforth, tipped to you via that nifty icon lower left, is to inform your crate digging via our archives. Go forth, buy records, and be nice to people. —Ed.

Released a quarter century ago by the Def Jam label, Brooklyn trio 3rd Bass’ The Cactus Album stands as a hip-hop classic. Due to this stature one might assume the full story behind its creation has long resided in the historical record, but that’s not the case. To get the complete scoop on this and assorted other hip-hop achievements one needs seek out the books of Brian Coleman. Aptly subtitled “more liner notes for hip-hop junkies,” Check the Technique Vol. 2 is freshly available from Wax Facts Press.

Anybody having spent hours inspecting the treasures in a jazz-centric record shop knows LPs in the multifaceted style regularly came adorned with notes (Hentoff! Williams! Jones!) on the back of the sleeve. And folks devoting time, energy and dollars to keeping up with deluxe reissues and box sets in multiple genres understand that extensive annotation of and commentary upon background specifics was/is an expected component in the retail price.

As a relatively young art form, hip-hop has suffered from experiencing its burgeoning stylistic era(s) in a business setting that wrongly assumed buyers of contemporary music (as opposed to those dropping cash on older material) cared about little more than the sounds, the labels mostly throwing context and packaging to the wayside.

This was an easy assumption to arrive at if one’s only concern was making money. But those spending it were reliably left at mysterious loose ends. Producer credits, thank you lists, and cleared samples were a start, and interviews and articles in Spin, Vibe and The Source brought a modicum of enlightenment, but the deep investigation, which often simply entails sincere interest and respect for the subject, becoming comfortable with the artists and then asking the right questions, was lacking for years.

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The TVD Storefront

The Knitts,
The TVD First Date

“It’s funny how the universe forces you to develop as a person and learn. Keeping you interested(ing).”

“It’s possibly why I started a vinyl collection and why it came pretty easy to get it started. It wasn’t because my parents had an extensive  hand-me-down collection in the garage filled with records. In fact, my parents were hardly music fans up until my brother Charlie and I showed interest. CDs had become a mainstay and the standard music listening platform. Along with Napster and Limewire, downloading David Bowie’s discography was a quick “Wam Bam Thank You Ma’am” away. All of which is why it’s so odd that at 10 years old, I had a bigger collection than someone’s Grandpa.

Living in Los Angeles it’s only fitting that it started at Amoeba Music in Hollywood. My Dad had taken Charlie and I to the huge vinyl, video, and CD store off Sunset Boulevard. Not for music I add—he was looking for the 1979 film The Warriors on DVD. After rummaging through a bunch of vinyl, CDs and videos, there was one thing I really wanted, even though I had already downloaded it free, it was the size and grasp of that Gorillaz record on vinyl that was calling my name! I needed to have it! That vinyl was a trophy! A trophy for knowing all of the words to every song on that record.

In my mind it never clicked that it was a vinyl record, because all I cared about was how cool it would look in my room, and how it probably came with a poster and a big lyric sheet. After convincing my Dad that I needed it, he decided he would buy it for me.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Hateful Eight OST

Ennio Morricone’s credits span far beyond the role of film composer, touching upon pop-song arrangement and avant-garde free improvisation. But it’s indeed his scores for the movies, now totaling deep into the hundreds, which have brought him his highest acclaim; if one desires to absorb the possibilities of cinematic composition as art, engagement with Morricone’s oeuvre is a prerequisite, and that one would not err in choosing the soundtrack to The Hateful Eight is testament to his greatness. It’s out now in a splendid 2LP gatefold edition exclusively through Third Man; folks in Nashville and Detroit can scoop up the ludicrously elaborate box set.

The critical response to The Hateful Eight, the final entry in Quentin Tarantino’s bloodily ambitious historical trilogy following Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained, has been fairly wide-ranging; one area of general consensus is Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack, his first for Hollywood since 2002’s Ripley’s Game. It’s already won a Golden Globe and will be competing for Best Original Score in this year’s Academy Awards, where many have it favored; improbably (though not really), the composer’s never won an Oscar.

Morricone’s finished work eschews the twang-filled atmosphere of his defining contributions to the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone in favor of the darker environments of his giallo and horror scores, particularly his collaboration with John Carpenter on his classic The Thing, of which three themes were reused for The Hateful Eight.

“Eternity,” “Bestiality,” and “Despair” surface alongside “Regan’s Theme (Floating Sound)” from John Boorman’s wonderfully wacko Exorcist II: The Heretic, though none are on the soundtrack. As Tarantino borrowed Morricone’s stuff on all of his films since and including both halves of the Kill Bill saga, the reuse of extant material falls squarely into place.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 2/10/16

Echo Records debuts this week at downtown Huntsville retail incubator: A new record store likely smaller than Rolling Stone frontman Mick Jagger’s shoe closet is set to open this week in the heart of downtown Huntsville. Matt Wake, an entertainment reporter for AL.com, will launch Echo Records at noon Saturday at The Clinton Row Project, a small business retail incubator in the Downtown Storage building at Clinton Avenue and Jefferson Street.

New Billings record store opens with compilation vinyl of Montana music: A new record store opened up shop in Billings and to kick it off, it hosted a record release party on Saturday. Right on the corner of 27th and Minnesota Avenue, Smiling Dog Record store is open for business. “Long Time Coming” is a two record package of Montana music from across the state.

Mumbai’s Rhythm House record shop prepares for its swansong: With music consumption an increasingly online experience, sales at Rhythm House, which has been around for seven decades, have been declining and its owners recently admitted defeat and made the decision to close down. “It has been on the cards for some time,” says Mehmood Curmally, who owns and runs the store as its managing director, while his uncle, Amir Curmally, is the chairman. “Online sales of music, be it digital, streaming or physical sales through e-commerce, mean our sales are going to keep going down.

Canadian company designs new, faster record pressing method: The problem is that manufacturers have to use decades-old machines, which require rare and often very expensive parts. Viryl hopes to change that with their new, modernized vinyl presses, which they said will be available for sale at around $160,000 USD each. The company has redesigned traditional record-pressing technology, they said, making for not only higher-quality records, but a quicker and more efficient process. They’re backed by $1 million CAD in funding from a Toronto-area investor.

6 Tips To Keep Your Vinyl Record Collection In Perfect Condition While In Storage: There is no question that you want to keep your vinyl collection in the best possible condition, considering all of the time and money put into curating your collection. Sometimes it becomes necessary to store the vinyl record collection in a storage unit, especially if you are short on home storage – vinyl takes up a lot of space! However, your collection can quickly become damaged due to heat and moisture if proper precautions are not put into place.

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The TVD Record Store Club

TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Vanessa Carlton, Liberman

There was a moment during our Som Records in-store shoot with Vanessa Carlton—you can check it out here—when we collectively realized we didn’t have a copy of Liberman, her new and warmly received LP, on premises! A plan was immediately afoot to not only remedy this post haste, but to put the LP in the hands of a few of you. And we’ve got 3 copies of the record to do just that.

We should add that “warmly received” might be an understatement, Popmatters noting last October, “…the record itself is one of the strongest and most consistent of Carlton’s career. Liberman continues further into the reverb laden, dream-pop direction of Rabbits on the Run. At times, Liberman reminds the listener slightly of Nordic dream-pop enthusiasts like the Radio Dept. or Delay Trees, although Carlton never approaches the more noisy excursions of the former.

Liberman’s ten tracks whip by, each track filled with sweet, well-timed melodies and haunting atmosphere. It is over before you know it, compelling the listener to repeated, often back-to-back listens. Opener “Take It Easy” begins with a throbbing, almost danceable rhythmic pulse that would not sound out of place on one of the ‘Italians Do It Better’ records.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: Wilco at Constitution Hall, 2/7

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | When I purchased my Wilco tickets last year, I didn’t realize it would be the same night as Super Bowl Sunday. No matter, as Sunday night proved to be much better than any Coldplay/Moldplay/Beyoncé/Bruno Mars half time show. Wilco played their new album Star Wars in its entirety along with classics to a sold out audience. Even Tweedy commented, “Thank you for coming out on a national holiday. We are like Jews at a Chinese restaurant at Christmas. You are our people.”

Fittingly, the stage was set simply with flickering light strands which moved at times in tandem to the experimental sounds backing up the cohesive movements of the bands’ instruments. Guitarist Nels Cline performed several excellent solo pieces and drummer Glenn Kotche beat the crap out of the drums and provided enough sweat at the end of the show to fill an oak barrel.

The encore performances included several Wilco classics providing audience sing-a-longs, including a final number—perfect and exact—David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” As for DAR Constitution Hall, the evening included a malodorous air akin to a backed-up gym bathroom—and worse, its acoustics are rather lackluster. The fact that Wilco’s performance overcame these obstacles only reinforces their talents as performers and musicians.

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The TVD Storefront

James Supercave,
The TVD First Date

“The first vinyl record I ever bought was Kinda Blue at a thrift store in San Luis Obispo on a weekend getaway with friends. I didn’t own record player at the time, but Miles Davis had become one of my undisputed music heroes and the contemplative cover portrait of him mid melody just pulled me in.”

“I took it home under my arm and thus began my late long love affair with vinyl. I say late because I was in my late 20s. I grew up in a musical household, thanks in big part to my mother, Carmen. She would always be singing in the kitchen to the Bee Gees or an old bolero. She also played guitar and would wake my sisters and me with a serenade of “Las Mañanitas” on our birthdays. You could say mom was my first music programmer. She showed me The Beatles, Doo-wop, and Motown, but she had abandoned the record player of her day for the convenience of the digital era.

My mom’s brother, my uncle Abel, had a record collection that I would dare to thumb thru everyone once in a while but they seemed so antiquated and crude, I didn’t it. I thought they were more for nostalgia than anything else. When I was old enough to buy my own music it was cassette tapes. One of the first being Kriss Kross. (A purchase which I wholly stand behind, by the way.)

In high school it was 50 page CD jackets full of every album you love, riding around with you in the car with your friends. Not to be outdone by the iPod, which changed everything. Or so I thought.

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TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week:
Me And My Drummer

We recently featured Me And My Drummer as a “Needle Drop” where we enthused over their beautifully laid back single, “Blue Splinter View.” Well, since then, they’ve gone and delivered another single and we reckon this one’s even better than the last—hence this week’s “Artist of The Week” status.

Me And My Drummer have been away for a while, taking their time to make sure their next album is 100% ready for the world to absorb in full. They have a lot to live up to—their critically acclaimed debut album The Hawk, The Beak, The Prey received a huge amount of praise across the board and so it’s no real surprise that the electro duo have been holding their cards close to their chest with their forthcoming album, Love Is A Fridge.

However, if their past two singles are anything to go by, we’re definitely in for quite a treat with this next album. As we’ve already mentioned, “Blue Splinter View” is a gorgeous Americana-influenced track that is an absolute delight to listen to from start to finish. Comparably, the duo’s most recent release “Pentonville Road” sees them fall back into their trademark electro-pop sound akin to Lykke Li and Bat For Lashes.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Boston Creative
Jazz Scene 1970-1983

The history of jazz is dominated by events transpiring in New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago, California, and of course New York, but all the while the music was thriving elsewhere in a variety of styles. As evidence one need only inspect the outstanding new compilation The Boston Creative Jazz Scene 1970-1983; collective improvisation, full-bodied fusion, post-Fire Music free wailing, consciousness raising spoken word, and advanced composition for large ensembles all helped shape the scene. It offers an exhaustive amount of info in an 80-page book, and is available now on 2LP and CD from Cultures of Soul.

Many thousands undertook the migration to well-ensconced cultural centers in hopes of adding to the jazz discourse and achieving something immortal; a few did, the vast majority did not, and yet their accumulated sonic narrative is still a formidably mountainous accumulation of sound. A percentage of those in the early navigation stages of the established jazz canon might find Cultures of Soul’s latest compilation a daunting item to be soaked up only after contending with a few hundred records of higher profile.

This is a questionable approach. For starters, the canon isn’t going anywhere, and The Boston Creative Jazz Scene 1970-1983’s standard of quality is likely to get absorbed into the annals of important jazz recordings anyway. Furthermore, Mark Harvey’s extensive notes do a fine job of illuminating the specifics of the city’s jazz environs (particularly venues and educational avenues) and relating them to the East Coast and Midwest scenes while providing background into the larger avant-garde and pinpointing a succession of noteworthy Boston players in the style.

Admittedly a wide field, Harvey details the early Boston avant motions of pianist Cecil Taylor and multi-instrumentalist Makanda Ken McIntyre, moves into groundbreaking work of pianists Lowell Davidson and Ran Blake (both of whom cut albums for ESP-Disk in 1965), bassist John Voigt (sessions with guitarist Joe Morris, saxophonist Jameel Moondoc and more), and The Fringe, a trio formed in the early ‘70s comprised of saxophonist George Garzone, bassist Rich Appleman, and drummer Bob Gullotti (their self-titled debut emerged in 1978).

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