The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Good Music to Avert the Collapse of American Democracy available on Bandcamp 10/2 to support Voting Rights Lab

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Today, we are proud to announce the second edition of Good Music to Avert the Collapse of American Democracy, a compilation made up entirely of previously unreleased recordings from some of the most important names in music today. The collection will be available for only 24 hours, exclusively via Bandcamp, starting at 12:01am this Friday, October 2 as part of their Bandcamp Fridays initiative.

100% of the net proceeds from the album’s sales will go to Voting Rights Lab, a nonpartisan organization that brings state advocacy, policy, and legislative expertise to the fight for voting rights. Voting Rights Lab works in partnership with organizations across the country to secure, protect, and defend the voting rights of all Americans.

The second edition of the compilation follows the original version released last month in support of Fair Fight and Color of Change. After raising over a quarter of a million dollars for those initiatives, the compilation’s organizers—author Dave Eggers, along with artist managers Jordan Kurland and Darius Zelkha (Brilliant Corners Artist Management), Christian Stavros (Little Operation Management), and Barsuk Records label head Josh Rosenfeld—were inspired to to create another. When they reached out to artists to participate, the response, and support, was overwhelming; as such, the resulting collection is, once again, an eclectic group of incredible musicians from many genres coming together to support a common cause at a time when voter advocacy is needed most.

GMTATCOAD Volume Two, like its predecessor, features never-before-heard new songs, covers, remixes, live versions, and unreleased demos. Pearl Jam, who recently launched their “PJ Votes 2020” initiative to increase voter turnout, contributed a brand new studio recording to the collection. The comp also features David Byrne’s demo for the Joan of Arc: Into The Musical musical; an unearthed recording from the late John Prine; a Postal Service live recording from their lauded 2013 reunion tour; Mark Ronson and Isley Juber’s Bond Theme submission; and more. Like Volume One, the compilation also features incredible covers, with both Yola and Feist taking on Nina Simone songs; Yeah Yeah Yeahs covering Atlas Sound; Phoenix covering Whitney; and more.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
T. Rex,
Electric Warrior

Celebrating Marc Bolan during his birthday week.Ed.

Never got into T. Rex as a kid. I lived too deep in the sticks, and the only kid I know who owned a T. Rex record refused to tear off the cellophane shrink wrap and play the damn thing because that’s the way he was with all his stuff; he was saving it for posterity, or for somewhere down the line when it would fetch a pretty penny for being in mint condition. He’s probably a millionaire now. I thought he was a complete imbecile.

And the songs I heard after that struck me as a bit fey and simplistic; Marc Bolan truly was a dandy in the underworld, and I failed to get the whole “T. Rextasy” thing that swept England in the wake of 1971’s Electric Warrior.

Before that Bolan was an unreconstructed hippie, in a duo with the wonderfully named Steve Peregrin Took. Their acoustic-guitar-based material had a raga-like feel and ran towards lyrics about paisley unicorns leaping through peace symbols in the tie-dyed sky. But the two band mates had a falling out, and Bolan caught the glam wave, with a funky and more pop-oriented electrical guitar style and a flashier sartorial style. Indeed, he is credited with founding glam, after he appeared on Top of the Pops with a spots of glitter beneath his eyes. Superstardom followed, as little girls swooned and little boys prayed nightly for a pair of platform glitter boots to appear magically in the morning by their bed. Hit followed hit in a manner not seen since the Beatles, and it mattered not a nonce that Bolan and Took’s old hippie audience cried, “Sell out!”

Electric Warrior is generally credited as being the high-water mark of T. Rex’s career, although 1972 follow-up The Slider also wins big props from fans and critics. Electric Warrior was, as its title indicates, Bolan’s move towards an electric rock sound, with irresistible hooks and an almost child-like approach to melody. The journey begins with the shuffle funk of “Mambo Sun,” which highlights Bolan’s almost whispered vocal delivery and playful lyrics, and it’s good, infectious fun. Bolan stuck to the basics, with relatively simple grooves that might run the entire song, and it’s an exhilarating formula. Call it white glam funk.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Mickey & Sylvia,
“Love is Strange” b/w “I’m Going Home”

The great Mickey “Guitar” Baker has left this mortal coil. Those who don’t know the name have almost certainly heard him sing and play on Mickey & Sylvia’s 1956 hit “Love is Strange,” and amongst numerous other accomplishments, that song endures as the breakthrough for which he is best known. It’s a glorious combination of sophistication and sexiness, and spinning it with the volume up loud is a fine memorial to a crucial and undersung figure in the formulation of rock ‘n’ roll.

To a large extent, the lasting appeal of the 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll explosion is defined in contemporary terms by a widely celebrated handful of originators and the subsequent explosion of wildcats who reacted to the sound of sweetly broken ground with worthwhile recordings of their own. One thread finds a bunch of unkempt, well-intentioned hicks succumbing to the potency of uncut rhythm and blues and combining it with the essence of their own tradition to fuse a new music that conquered the world.

Another storyline finds scores of African-American musicians perfecting the everlasting beauty of R&B to big sales figures but little cultural fanfare; that is until a burgeoning and restless youth culture discovered it, adapted it, and in some cases diluted it for a wider marketplace, with a few savvy black musicians making the shrewd adjustments necessary to become stars themselves.

The reality of both narratives, one the tale of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, the other the story of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and Little Richard, is indeed the bulk of the original rock ‘n’ roll impulse. But it’s not the entirety of the situation, and considering it the whole of the thing is how an enormously important figure like Bill Haley gets unfairly saddled with the reputation of being perhaps rock music’s biggest square.

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The TVD Storefront

Spencer Cullum,
The TVD First Date

“My introduction to vinyl came, like most, from my parents.”

“They bought me both Sgt. Pepper’s and the “White Album” on CD as a birthday gift, but when I realized that they had their own copies on vinyl, I gravitated to those instead. They came with the cardboard cutouts and all the extra trimmings and that felt a lot more magical to me than a tiny CD!

Growing up in Romford Essex, the music scene consisted of mostly dance nightclubs and techno music, but I managed to find a local record store called BeatRoot records (RIP) which opened my mind and gave me an insatiable thirst for vinyl at the age of 13. They also showed me that my birthplace did consist of great music legends such as Procol Harum, Graham Bond, and Billy Bragg (technically from Barking, Essex, but close enough).

This was the ‘other music’ record store of Essex, with more of a car boot sale vibe, that consisted of older fellas reminiscing about Steve Marriott’s pub years and a collage under the glass counter—consisting mostly of ’60s mod pop stars. My best mate David Woolf (who still has BeatRoot records taking up most of his house to this day) worked there for a time and the day they put a local newspaper clipping of me on the collage was a big moment.

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve: New in Stores for October 2020, Part One

Part one of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases presently in stores for October 2020. 

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Lafayette Gilchrist, NOW (Lafayette Gilchrist Music) Baltimore-based pianist-composer-bandleader Gilchrist’s CD from last year, Dark Matter, was a superb listen, but it was also a solo set, recorded live in 2016. This 2CD, which offers nearly two and a half hours of music, expands to a trio with Herman Burney on bass and Eric Kennedy on drums, and finds the band immediately setting forth on a course of high energy and groove heaviness that effectively illuminates Gilchrist’s influences from ragtime and stride to hard-bop and blues to go-go and hip-hop, with the thrust falling comfortably between the two-handed expressiveness of Dark Matter and the vivid sound of his larger bands, which includes the New Volcanoes (formed in 1993). There are also passages of considerable lyricism, particularly “The Wonder of Being Here” on disc two, but even Gilchrist’s ballads can boom (in no small part due to Burney).

Gilchrist might be best known for “Assume the Position,” which was featured on the HBO series The Wire. A ripping version of the piece opens NOW, the choice deliberate as the song deals with police violence, an issue that continues to plague this country (this reading of the tune was recorded last year, before the latest egregious examples occurred). Indeed, the record’s very title establishes that its contents are socially concerned, and as detailed above Gilchrist’s music is a robust blend of old and new. Along with The Wire, the pianist has also been featured on two other David Simon series, The Deuce and Treme; the connection to the latter highlights a touch of New Orleans in his music, though he’s firmly a Charm City-DC guy. While the length of NOW situates it as best absorbed a disc or so at a time (the first concludes exquisitely with “The Midnight Step Rag”), the second half does find the trio progressing into less torrid, more contemplative territory (the second disc also holds many of the set’s more personal selections). Most importantly, there’s never a shortage of ideas or verve. A

Michael J Sheehy, Distance is the Soul of Beauty (Lightning Archive) Londoner Sheehy’s music-making spans back to the 1990s as part of Dream City Film Club, who released a pair of albums and an EP for Beggars Banquet in the latter half of the decade. Following that outfit’s breakup in ’99, he commenced a solo stretch, initially on Beggars for three records, and next on Glitterhouse for three more, two of them with backing band the Hired Mourners, Then, a break of over ten years. But don’t consider that span a stretch of inactivity, as along with quitting drinking, Sheehy’s been playing in Miraculous Mule and is half of United Sounds of Joy, the psychedelic electronic act where he’s joined by his partner in Dream City Film Club, Alex Vald. Along with imbibing, another thing Sheehy stopped doing for a while was solo writing, although after a few years of sobriety and then his time in Miraculous Mule, the tunes began to come together.

Following the start of United Sounds of Joy and especially after the birth of his daughter, the songs were flowing with greater frequency, and Sheehy had an album on his hands. But that’s not what’s here, as post-Covid-19, he shelved that material unfinished and then dedicated himself to recording and releasing a finished album quickly. This is the result, and while it required a few spins to get its hooks in, I’m glad I took the time. Sheehy cites the third Velvets album as a touchstone for Distance, and I can hear that, though I’ll elaborate that a few cuts here, specifically in closer “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” remind me of the gentler Ira-sung selections on Yo La Tengo’s And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out. But there’s also a consistent Memphis-Nashville vibe (underscoring another of Sheehy’s touchstones, Elvis) and a use of electronics that drives home the influence of Suicide in a wonderfully subtle way. But the bottom line is that the songwriting here is strong throughout. A-

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 10/1/20

Ithaca, NY | Vinyl’s in style; record shop booms as listeners look for alternative music sources: As gloomy rain hangs over COVID restrictions, inside Angry Moms Records shop in Ithaca, they’re busy dancing. Nestled in the basement of a bookstore with albums from floor to ceiling; where the crinkle of plastic casing and ring of a corded landline brings you back in time. And the shops owner hopes to keep it that way. “It’s like a time machine…” store owner George Johann said. A time machine for many to a time before COVID. Especially as COVID restrictions continue to cancel concerts and impact the music industry, it might feel a little bit like doomsday. But in record stores they’re actually seeing an increase in business this year as people come to remember the good times and thumb through the shelves. One customer says he’s been looking into vinyl to listen to while he stays home. “People have kind of been cooped up in the house a lot and they want to go back just to try out new things, stuff they haven’t seen in a while. I think we kind of see people going back to like, I don’t know, different ways of listening to stuff,” said local Ithaca College student Quinn Karlok.

Santa Rosa, CA | Doug Jayne, “The Luckiest Guy In The World” behind Santa Rosa’s Last Record Store, upfront on KRCB Midday Music: Doug Jayne, who says he listens to music all the time, has four shows on the public radio station KRCB, and is a half-partner in Santa Rosa’s Last Record Store. His recording studio/record label has produced his own albums and about 35 for other bands. He has three sons and five grandkids. Jayne considers himself “the luckiest guy in the world.” In our recent phone conversation, Jayne tells me he emerged on this planet in Southern California in 1954. He recalls seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show as a youngster and thinking “Holy crap. This is crazy. This is gonna change the world.” Jayne learned basic guitar chords during his schooldays, but never played publicly until 1978, while living for a year in Durango, Colorado. While working in a music store there, he played at open mics, meeting other musicians. “I’m not much of a musician myself,” he says, crediting his later onstage success to surrounding himself with “tremendously great people. I’ve always been the weak link in any band I’ve played with.”

Kent, UK | A Record Fair with vinyl and CDs will be held at reopened Westgate Hall, Canterbury: Westgate Hall in Canterbury city centre recently reopened for the first time since lockdown, with plenty of safety measures, including sanitising stations and deep cleans. This weekend the second event will be held when fans of vinyl will be able to enhance their collections with finds from a range of eras and genres at the popular Record Fair, staged by UK Vinyl Vault on Saturday, October 3. Face masks must be worn by visitors and event organisers and there will be social distancing and a one-way system, among other measures for the event from 9.30am to 3.30pm. Westgate Hall CEO Clare Millett said: “The hall has inspired us to meet the Covid-19 challenges. It stood strong through two world wars, so we’ve had to stand strong again during this pandemic. “We are doing everything we can to remain a sustainable space for everyone now and in the future.”

PH | In an era of comebacks, vinyl records are spinning right back to music lovers’ hearts! We’re at a time of comebacks and as surprising as you might think, the rise of digital music streaming didn’t stop the resurgence of vinyl records. Yes, people are back to buying records off the shelves and online. Of note, these are not just reissues, but new releases by current artists as well! For the first time in three decades, vinyl records are spinning back on track outselling CDs, in fact, generating more than $224 million in revenue in 2019. Since peaking in the early 1980s, vinyl records didn’t fade into obscurity even with conveniently newer ways of listening to music; cassette tapes, CDs, and streaming services. According to Billboard, LPs contribution of 17% of album sales may not be much, but to factor in streaming for music consumption, really puts things in perspective. Digital music is accessible more than ever but how did this bulky, old-school tech gain new appeal? It’s not as convenient as newer options but this generation might be just reviving a hundred year-old technology come back from near extinction.

The FADER Launches Charitable Merch Collection Benefitting Independent Venues: As the COVID-19 crisis continues to disrupt the nation, the music industry is facing one of the biggest setbacks in its history. Realizing that 90% of independent music venues across the country are in danger of closing permanently, The FADER has partnered with This T-Shirt – a relief platform founded by Dylan Hattem and Cassandra Aaron of DS Projects – to do our part with the Save Our Stages capsule collection, starting with our hometown of New York City. In an homage to the classic tour t-shirt, The FADER & This T-Shirt will build on the National Independent Venue Association’s (NIVA) #SaveOurStages campaign, spotlighting independent venues across New York and the impact they hold within their communities. Current times call for bold and passionate messaging. As independent venues are the lifeblood of our culture, the collection taps into the community’s love for live music to communicate that if we don’t step in, these venues will not survive.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Billie Holiday, Billie: The Original Soundtrack
in stores 11/13

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Verve/UMe will release the official companion soundtrack for the anticipated documentary, Billie, about legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday on November 13. Billie: The Original Soundtrack, which will be available on CD, LP, and digitally for streaming and download, collects some of Holiday’s most popular songs featured throughout the transfixing film including “God Bless The Child,” “I Only Have Eyes For You,” “I Loves You, Porgy,” and “Strange Fruit,” along with instrumental cues. 

Playing out like a film noir, Billie, directed by James Erskine, explores the story of the world’s greatest jazz singer, whose life was mired in controversy, through a wealth of never-before-heard tapes recorded in the 1970s by the journalist Linda Lipnack Kuehl. Over eight years, Kuehl tracked down and recorded over 200 hours of interviews with extraordinary and brilliant characters that populated the iconic and controversial singer’s short, tumultuous life. But after Kuehl’s unexpected death, her tapes were never heard. Until now.

Using state-of-the-art techniques to bring her performances to life in color for the first time together with home movie footage, specially shot material, archive and still images, “Billie” plays out as a film noir and captures the complexity of a legend through the eyes of a woman whose obsession would lead to her own mysterious death. An Altitude and MPC presentation of a New Black Films and Reliance Entertainment Productions Documentary in association with Concord, BBC Music, Belga Films and Polygram Entertainment, Billie will be released in theaters November 13.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Helen Reddy,
Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits (And More)

Remembering Helen Reddy, from our archives.Ed.

Friends, Romans, Vinyl District readers; I come to praise Helen Reddy, not to bury her in the insulting verbiage many use to unfairly deride her formidable talents. Many have nothing but snide things to say about her, but I do not count myself amongst them; her multitude of AM radio hits—they didn’t call Reddy the “Queen of ‘70s Pop” for nothing—brought me too much happiness in my youth, from the altogether uncanny “Angie Baby” to her landmark feminist anthem “I Am Woman.”

Australia’s Helen Maxine Lamond Reddy has been unfairly consigned to the easy-listening dustbin of history. There’s no denying Reddy generally stuck to the middle of the road. But to steal a phrase from Dylan Thomas, she sang in her chains like the sea. And a careful look at her discography reveals she brought a host of weirdly subversive bunch of songs to the party while she was at it. Lucky for us, they’re all to be found on 1990’s Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits (And More).

Why buy this comp and not another? I’m glad you asked. First, it includes the funky electric piano-dominated version of “Angie Baby” I grew up listening to on the radio, and not the alternative version to be found on her other best of packages. Second, it includes the dance-floor friendly “I Can’t Hear You No More,” which you won’t find on most of her greatest hits albums. And the same goes for “Happy Girls,” her moving lament to “the lonely girls of the world.”

“Happy Girls” joins a triumvirate of empathetic portraits of woman who are, depending on your point of view, either mad or society’s outcasts. The countrified and gospel-inflected “Delta Dawn” tells the story of a Brownsville woman who wanders the streets wearing “a faded rose from days gone by” looking for a “mysterious brown-haired man” who is going to take her to his “mansion in the sky.” The touched protagonist of the funky and horn-fueled “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)” also wanders the town, talking to herself and telling everybody who approaches her to, well, leave her alone.

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TVD New Orleans

TVD Premiere: Bon Bon Vivant, “Ship Is Sinking”

Bon Bon Vivant is one of those only-in-New Orleans bands. They are hard to categorize, write great songs, and perform with the joie de vivre inherent in the city’s musical culture and overall vibe. TVD is proud to present the worldwide debut of “Ship Is Sinking,” the first single from their new album, Dancing in the Darkness.

The song is a kick-sand-in-the-bully’s-face response to the current political, economic and cultural climate. “If this world is ending, why don’t we go out singing” is one of the telling lyrics along with “we won’t go quietly into this angry sea.”

Though the song expresses rage and frustration, the music is uplifting with a lilting groove and a great chorus. I can imagine it being a great, singalong crowd pleaser once we are allowed to dance together again.

I have seen Bon Bon Vivant live numerous times and their unusual instrumentation contributes to their singular sound. Guitar, saxophone, accordion, sousaphone and voices mingle in an amalgamation that references eastern European folk music, jazz and Tin Pan Alley songwriting amid a danceable pop vibe.

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The TVD Storefront

Needle Drop: XIMXIA, “Pretend”

Versatile Los Angeles singer/songwriter XIMXIA is gearing up to release her debut EP, leading off with a dynamic new single that is already drawing comparisons to Portishead and Ellie Goulding.

Turning moody orchestrations into sweeping, widescreen digital productions seems to come naturally to the songstress who delays the song’s sugary Top 40 hook for a good minute before allowing its fangs to sink in. Clearly she is not interested in immediate clickbait, prefering to reward the listener for hanging through the dark curvature of the verse.

The resulting track is refreshingly bold and a wonderful introduction to an artist intent on pushing the boundaries, navigating the modern pop groove of Halsey and Robyn while leaning into the alternative nuance of Son Lux.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Four from El Paraiso Records

Operated by Jonas Munk & Jakob Skøtt, El Paraiso is a Danish label that began back in 2011 as an outlet for the psych-stoner-space rock sounds of Causa Sui, but has since expanded beyond that objective, all while maintaining a focused stylistic vision, expansive yet often heavy, that is well-encapsulated by their most recent releases, The Discipline of Ascent by the Martin Rude & Jakob Skøtt Duo, San Diego Sessions by the Ellis/Munk Ensemble, Aak’Ab by Justin Pinkerton, and Feat. The Legendary Emil Nikolaisen by Fra Det Onde. The first three are out now and the last is available October 2, but please don’t delay in purchasing, as they are all limited on vinyl and are sure to sell out their first pressing.

While none of these new offerings from El Paraiso are accurately categorized as stoner rock in nature, all four can be correctly tagged as creatively searching, if not necessarily psychedelic in comportment. Due to Skøtt and Munk being members of Causa Sui, one might expect the records they play on here to be nearer in sound to that of El Paraiso’s flagship band, but The Discipline of Ascent throws that supposition right out the window.

For the album, Skøtt plays drums, keyboards and contributes effects, while Martin Rude (who teamed with Skøtt in an earlier El Paraiso duo outfit, Sun River, cutting one album back in 2012) handles double bass and guitar, both acoustic and baritone. Given the number of individuals and the amount of instrumentation, it would be fair to assume some overdubbing took place, but the results flow like a live session; Skøtt seems to be doing double duty on the drums and effects, while Rude alternates between bass and guitar.

El Paraiso’s description of the album explains it as an homage to Miles and Coltrane, and especially their drummers Tony Williams, Jack DeJohnette, and Elvin Jones, though bass titan Mingus is also mentioned, which is fitting, as the sheer heaviness of Rude’s playing in the second track “A New Arrival” reminded me of Mingus’ wild string pulling on Money Jungle. Elsewhere, I thought of Richard Davis, Reggie Workman, and Cecil McBee, and that’s sweet. The infrequent sound of vibraphone had me thinking of Bobby Hutcherson, but in the context of Bitches Brew.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 9/30/20

Ashville, NC | With Citizen Vinyl, Asheville Drops The Needle On State’s Only Large-Scale Record Pressing Plant: Eighty-one years ago, when Asheville had two daily newspapers, the new art deco building that housed them across from the Grove Arcade featured tall ceilings, glass block windows, frosted light sconces and vast, marble floors with custom inlays. On the third story, long ago hidden beneath asbestos tiling, there was another unique floor. “And you see all these pock marks?” Gar Ragland said, pointing down. “These are cello stands, these are mic stands, I mean, who knows?” When Ragland learned this was also the one-time home of WWNC-AM Radio, he knew he’d found the home for his own dream—of resurrecting an artifact from a bygone musical era while giving Asheville something altogether new: A vinyl records pressing plant. “We had seen this in some of the historic photographs,” he said of the neglected confines on the former radio studio. “This is unbelievable. We have this opportunity, both a privilege and responsibility, to incorporate this into our new startup story.”

Washington, DC | A Vintage Record And Magazine Store Opens On Maketto’s Second Floor: Vinyl collectors can now add a D.C. restaurant to their list of places to go crate-digging. Cool Kids Vinyl, a new record store, has taken over the second floor of Maketto, Chef Erik Bruner-Yang’s food/coffeeshop/retail spot on H Street. The shop, which launched Sept. 1, is the brainchild of 28-year-old Matthew Talley, a creative marketing specialist from Southeast D.C. Five years ago, Talley started Digging Thru The Crates, a series of pop-up events hosted with D.C. legend DJ Alizay and featuring guests like rapper Biz Markie and producer 9th Wonder. The concept gave attendees a chance to dig through crates of vinyls, pick one, and hand it to the DJ to spin for the party. Talley has long wanted to take that energy and put it into a brick-and-mortar business, but the coronavirus pandemic complicated his plans to rent out a space in Southwest. Talley, who works as a daytime manager at Maketto, said his boss was looking to shake things up a bit for when the restaurant reopened indoor dining this month. “Erik was like, ‘Hey, why don’t you just do it upstairs, man?’ It’ll, in a way, re-garner that community that used to come to Maketto,’” Talley says. “The records kind of compliment those people.”

Chapel Hill, NC | There’s a new groove – and even appreciation – for vinyl records. Sales improve for old school technology. Ben Alschuler steps over the children’s’ toys and books sprinkled across his living room floor on his way to another room. As he enters, he waves at the rows of multicolored album covers stacked floor to ceiling in two cabinets against the wall. Between the shelves sits a long, polished counter, like the dashboard of a spaceship. Two turntables flank a panel of switches and knobs connected to speakers below. Alschuler climbs a step ladder to reach a record from a high shelf. “’I made this like a mini-night club, which is unusual for a house,” he says. Alschuler, who lives in Chapel Hill with his wife and two young children and grew up with cassettes and CDs, said records were his parents’ hobby. Now, Alschuler’s kids could say the same about their dad. Alschuler pulled a bright yellow and blue album from his kids’ shelf: Sesame Street’s “C is for Cookie,” with Cookie Monster grinning on the cover. No longer DJing for just college friends, Alschuler, 38, emcees dance parties for his 2- and 5-year-old sons. His turntables are dance-proof; they sit on springs that absorb the bounce of tiny feet as two generations of Alschulers share a nearly century-old music experience.

Record Store Recs: El Guajiro Of Ghetto Kumbé Shares The Music & Rhythms That Inspire Him: With Ghetto Kumbé’s self-titled debut full-length album, released in June, they’re ready to bring their global sound and the messages of unity around the world. To listen to Colombian trio Ghetto Kumbé’s music is to go on a lively, joyful journey through time and space, where borders no longer exist and drums and dancing are aplenty. The group consists of singer/producer El Guajiro, percussionist Chongo and West African percussion master Doctor Keyta—all veteran musicians who grew up on Colombia’s musically and culturally rich Caribbean coast. Their music seamlessly fuses traditional sounds with modern electronic beats and aesthetics. For example, their use of call-and-response lyrics come from the rich African and Afro-Colombian tradition called gaita, and the hand drums and rapid rhythms they incorporate also come from Afro-Colombian traditions.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Orchestra Baobab, Specialist In All Styles on vinyl for the first time, in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | In celebration of the group’s 50th anniversary, acclaimed Senegalese group Orchestra Baobab is reissuing their 2002 comeback album Specialist In All Styles via World Circuit Records. Out today, the record is now available on vinyl for the first time ever. The reissue follows the sudden passing of one of the band’s leaders and co-founders, Balla Sidibé, in early August at the age of 78.

Specialist was the first album by the full group since 1982’s legendary Pirates Choice, a holy grail for African music fans. Recorded at London’s Livingston Studios in just ten days and produced by World Circuit’s Nick Gold with Youssou N’Dour, Specialist In All Styles is a definitive illustration of Baobab’s Afro-Latin magic, introducing new material and reinventing some of the old tunes that made them famous.

The record features Baobab’s sublime rhythm section and two of the most distinctive sounds in African music: Barthélemy Attisso’s extraordinary guitar and Issa Cissokho’s atmospheric sax. The band’s five unique lead singers, each with their own contrasting but complementary styles, are joined on the song “Hommage à Tonton Ferrer” by special guests Buena Vista Social Club star Ibrahim Ferrer and Youssou N’Dour.

Adored both at home in Senegal and across the world, Baobab occupy a special place in the history of African music. Their epic story begins in the heart of Dakar’s Medina in the 1960s and extends across the world and into the 21st century, featuring a brilliant assembly of diverse musical personalities and encompassing a unique blend of Afro-Latin styles, international pop, West African griot music, and an after-dark West African nightclub ambience of lilting, mellifluous rhythms.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Jerry Lee Lewis,
Southern Roots: Back Home to Memphis

Celebrating “The Killer,” Jerry Lee Lewis on his 85th birthday.Ed.

For Jerry Lee Lewis, 1973 was the worst of years and the best of years too; despite a brief turn in prison, the death of a son, a divorce (his fourth), and rampant drug and alcohol abuse, the Killer still turned out two seminal LPs with The Session… Recorded in London with Great Artists and Southern Roots: Back Home to Memphis.

The latter LP is nothing short of a miracle; Jerry Lee somehow managed knock off ten galvanizing performances even though he was, by all accounts, out of control even by his own berserk standards. When he wasn’t abusing legendary producer Huey “The Crazy Cajun” Meaux, the heavily medicated Lewis was threatening to kill a photographer and generally being a dyspeptic old cuss. “Do you wanna try one?” asks Meaux doing the proceedings. “If you got enough fuckin’ sense to cut it,” replies the orneriest cage-rattler to ever hail from the friendly state of Louisiana.

Let’s make one thing clear from the start; neither LP comes close to recapturing the anarchic feel and demented energy of Lewis’ early recordings, or the deranged ferocity (subtlety? toss it out the goddamn window!) of his hair-raising live performance with the Nashville Teens at Hamburg, Germany’s Star Club in 1964. His vocals are lazier, and his piano playing less a frenzied hammering at the gates of Hell, the place he’s always figured will be his final destination. It may have been the pills, but the old piano burner almost sounds relaxed at times.

In short, on Southern Roots The Killer proves there’s more than one way to skin a cat. He lays back in the groove and waxes sly and lewd by turns, sounding randy even at his most relaxed and pretty copacetic for a guy who has just threatened to murder another guy for having the audacity to point a camera his way. Whether he’s singing the songs of Doug Sahm or Isaac Hayes or breathing life into novelty tune about a haunted house, Jerry Lee mostly plays it cool but isn’t afraid to blow volcanic hot when the mood strikes him.

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The TVD Storefront

Annie Dressner,
The TVD First Date

“I moved to England in 2011 and brought only one vinyl with me; Phoebe Snow’s Against The Grain. My mother had bought it for me a few years prior when I was still living in NYC, and I cherished it. One night, I was at a local bar in Astoria, LIC BAR, where I would perform a lot. The bar had and still has wonderful curated nights, booked by Gustavo Rodriguez. While enjoying a drink, who walked in? Phoebe Snow! I had to tell her that the only vinyl I owned at the time was hers. She was very nice, and it made the vinyl feel even more special to me.”

“My first memory of vinyl was my parents copy of John Denver’s Windsong as it leaned on the corner of our wooden side table in my living room in downtown NYC. My parents were always playing records, ranging from folk to classical, to rock to musical theatre. I actually once wrote a song called “Paper Moon” where I mention a vinyl that I “played so much that I broke it.” I’m not exactly sure what the record was called, but it definitely had the song “Pop Goes the Weasel” on it. (It only occurred to me lately that perhaps I didn’t break it, but maybe my parents couldn’t stand it anymore so that’s what they told me… hmmmm.) I used to run circles around living room and it was very fun!

My parents record player was one that flipped the record from side A to side B without our having to flip it. I was quite young, but I’m almost certain this is true, because I have a memory of watching it in awe and thinking it was cool. I also knew that I was not allowed to touch it, which I did not—but I wanted to. My brother, did however, teach me how to get an electric shock from the volume knobs of our hifi and also make our hair get staticky.

Another early memory I have of vinyl—if you can even call it that—was my Fisher Price record player. I don’t remember what songs it had, but I believe the ‘vinyl’ were primary colors. This was a great toy!

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