The TVD Storefront

TVD Live Shots: Steel Panther at La Riviera, Madrid, 2/12

God bless Steel Panther. For those of us who grew up listening to “hair metal” and love the glory days of the Sunset Strip, we have a savior, or saviors, in the form of Michael Starr, Lexxi Foxx, Stixx Zandinia, and Satchel. ( I know, it’s like just Satchel?) Steel Panther continue their mission of keeping a lost art alive while taking excessiveness to a whole new level and reminding us all how ridiculous hair metal at times became.

Legend has it that Steel Panther were on the brink of signing the largest record deal in history back in the ’80s. All the major labels came to their showcase one night in LA, but the band never showed up. According to Dee Snider, their manager told them to be at the showcase, and they mistakenly thought he said to go out and get shit-faced. The labels ended up signing Jane’s Addiction, and the rest is history.

Fast forward 20 plus years and the band continues to celebrate a “fruitful” resurrection with their latest album Lower the Bar which “does exactly what it says on the tin.” Songs such as “Going in the Backdoor” and the insanely catchy “Poontang Boomerang” continue the insanity and political incorrectness that is the genius of this band.

But don’t let that fool you, these guys can write a great fucking song. The single “That’s When You Came In” is a remarkably well-written song led by an unfortunate chorus, but either way, this gem would stand up against any of the classic power ballads—”Every Rose Has It’s Thorn,” “Heaven”—you name it. While these guys may not take the genre too seriously—who still can for that matter?—they have some serious skills and noteworthy songwriting talents, in terms of pure unadulterated party rock ‘n’ roll, that is.

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TVD New Orleans

Acclaimed jazz pianist Jason Moran to play in conjunction with Prospect.4, 2/21–2/22

PHOTO: CLAY PATRICK McBRIDE | A fascinating new piece of public artwork will premiere this weekend in New Orleans as part of the closing weekend of the art exhibition known as Prospect.4: The Lotus In Spite of the Swamp. One of the world’s most famous living artists, Kara Walker (photo below by Chuck Close), has constructed a thirty-two-note steam calliope, which will be installed and activated daily on the banks of the Mississippi in Algiers. On Friday and Saturday afternoon, Jason Moran one of the most important jazz musicians of his generation, will play the contraption.

The Katastwóf Karavan is a calliope similar to the one that is played throughout each day from the deck of the Steamboat Natchez in the French Quarter. Walker’s creation is housed in a funky looking parade wagon of her own design.

The calliope plays songs and sounds associated with the long history of African-American protest music including gospel, reggae, jazz improvisation, chants, and shouts. Moran will add his own flourishes on Friday at 4:30 PM and on Saturday at 2:30 PM.

While Moran’s appearance will surely be the highlight for jazz fans, the Katastwóf Karavan on the west bank will alternate with the Natchez’s calliope on the east bank all day Friday through Sunday beginning at 11:30 AM on Friday, creating a once-in-a-lifetime, call-and-response experience across the mighty river. Though keep in mind that the artist’s intention is juxtapose the more saccharine sounds of the Natchez with the social messages inherent in her selections.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Premiere: Russian Baths, “Penance” EP

Ambient, ethereal noise pop quartet Russian Baths release “Penance” EP.

Incorporating dissonant guitar fuzz and heavenly vocals into traditional song structures, Brooklyn’s Russian Baths paint in wildly original strokes, finding beauty in towering, looming, incendiary noise-rock. The scope of their sound is marked by a decidedly unique approach, the stripped-down infrastructure oscillating between Jack and Jill vocals, unhinged feedback, and heady lyrics which conjure the Pixies. The subject matter is dark and brooding, laced with metaphors and bubbling with weirdness in all the right places.

“Penance” was recorded at Time Castle studio in Brooklyn where the band honed their signature sound with the help of a few haunted nooks and crannies. According to guitarist Luke Koz, “There is a concrete, quasi-utility closet at Time Castle that is a magical place to put an amp.”

Russian Baths’ “Penance” EP arrives in stores tomorrow, February 23, 2018.

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The TVD Storefront

Candi Carpenter,
The TVD First Date

“I don’t remember how old I was when I watched the needle drop on my first vinyl record, but I do remember the song. It was ‘Blowing Bubble Gum,’ by Spike Jones and His City Slickers. It’s not a traditionally ‘cool’ song, but nobody’s ever accused me of being traditionally cool anyway. My family had a collection of worn out gospel records, and I remember laughing with my cousins about the awkward vintage photos on some of the covers. (For reference, google: ‘Captain Hook and His Pirate Crew, gospel album.’)”

“I signed with my first Nashville producer when I was just a little kid. My Mom and I would load up her bright pink Geo Tracker, and we’d take off down the highway from Michigan to Tennessee, blaring my LeAnn Rimes cassette tape with the windows rolled down. In my early teens, I played the honky tonks on Lower Broadway and ran my fingertips over the album covers lining the walls in Legends Corner. I combed through the display racks at The Ernest Tubb Record Shop, dreaming of recording my own project someday.

By the time I was 16, I was touring with country music legends and memorizing their songs. Jack Greene took me on the road as his duet partner, and I had the opportunity to learn from Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, Bill Anderson, Little Jimmy Dickens, and so many of my classic country heroes. Several years ago, I started collecting their records. Phonoluxe, McKay’s, Grimey’s, and The Great Escape are some of my favorite places to go treasure hunting in Nashville. It’s a weird feeling to walk into a vintage record store and see the names and the faces of the people I grew up around.

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve: New
in Stores, February 2018, Part Four

Part four of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued wax presently in stores for February, 2018. Part one is here, part two is here, and part three is here.

NEW RELEASE PICKS: The Skull Defekts, S/T (Thrill Jockey) I’ll admit that I first got into The Skull Defekts due to the connection with Daniel Higgs, who’d been the singer and poetic fount for Baltimore’s Lungfish, a band I long loved, and who’d joined the Swedish band well after their formation. But in soaking up their pre-Higgs discography, the appeal widened, with The Skull Defekts’ work serving up another fine example of Swede u-ground rock (with connections to Anti Cimix, Cortex, Union Carbide Productions, and Kid Commando), and it continues here with Higgs’ departure and Mariam Wallentin stepping in. In a reflective explanatory piece written by member Joachim Nordwall, he observes that this is probably their most composed album, and I don’t disagree. But it’s still a superb finale. A-

Renata Zeiguer, Old Ghost (Northern Spy/Double Denim) Although this is vocalist, pianist, and violinist Zeiguer’s first full-length, she doesn’t lack experience; there was her self-released “Horizons” EP from back in 2013, and she’s spent time in the interim performing as Cantina and contributing to numerous projects, including Ava Luna, Twin Sister, Cassandra Jenkins, and Christopher Burke of Beach Fossils. But it goes back farther than that; influenced as a child by classical music and a little later by the Great American Songbook, there is a florid quality to much of her material that when combined with her vocal strengths, solidifies the mention of Kate Bush. But her love of The Beatles and tropicalia also shines through (adding welcome touches of strangeness0, and I dig the indie rock toughness throughout. A-

REISSUE PICKS: Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Other Poems (Craft) This set includes a bunch of pertinent material: there’s a booklet with writing by Beat expert Ann Charters and poet Anne Waldman, a repro of the invite to the poetry reading of ’56 held at City Lights bookstore, a photo of the man at his typewriter, and a reprint of the City Lights Pocket Poets edition of the work that impacted so many lives and challenged so many norms. It’s all certainly appropriate regarding the poetry’s import and looks cool as hell, but the main attraction is a translucent red vinyl repress of the Fantasy Records LP from ’59. Hearing “Howl” read by its creator still delivers a major charge, stripping away time’s extraneous bullshit and getting to its protest core. Before braying it’s no longer relevant, just take a look around. A+

Langley Schools Music Project, Innocence & Despair (Bar/None) When this collection of ’70s Canadian elementary schoolers doing pop-rock tunes under the aegis of a cool music teacher emerged in back in 2001, it was a bit of a sensation, and deservedly so, as it delivered an extended dose of youthful goodness that seems impossible to resist; over the years I’ve witnessed it unrankle more than a few curmudgeons, and if you need a taste of human decency to offset the drag-me-downs of existence, it’s a surefire remedy. Putting the kibosh on any twee tendencies and resonating emotionally in a way that music created for children almost always doesn’t, to swipe from Tosches, it’s really the school assembly that transcendeth all knowing. And “The Long and Winding Road” gets me every time. A

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 2/22/18

CDs on decline as dorm rooms become studios, streaming becomes king: …With this steady decline in physical CDs, a surprising listening device from the past has made a renaissance. Durbin said vinyl has seen its 12th straight year of sales growth and more and more retailers are jumping on the trend. For Cicero, he said he thinks the nostalgic nuances CDs and vinyl bring back will stick around for awhile. “I like buying physical music from a store,” he said. “I think that physical music holds a sort of sentiment that digital music cannot match. Physically owning an album now to me means I am passionate about supporting the artist.”

Delicious Pizza carries on the Delicious Vinyl music tradition: Dough. Cheese. Sauce. All three words can double as slang for money and influence in the pop and hip-hop universe. But brothers Mike and Rick Ross have since 2015 taken a more literal approach with their music-inspired restaurant Delicious Pizza. With roots in Los Angeles hip-hop label Delicious Vinyl, their two pizzerias have gradually become communal hubs where pepperoni matters as much as beats. The brothers, who hail from Long Beach, opened the first Delicious Pizza at 5419 W. West Adams Blvd. in 2015. In the fall of 2016, the siblings, both in the early-to-mid-50s, opened a second outpost in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard just a short stroll from another pop nerve center in Amoeba Music.

Schlafly getting retro with new limited pilsner and vinyl pairing: Beer and records. Never thought to put those two together, but perhaps that is why I’m not in marketing. But leave it the brains at Schlafly Beer to come up with a way to bring the retro cultural revival of vinyl to beer, in the form of a new promotion for a limited edition version of its Pilsner pack. The Pilsner pack made it’s return to the market back in August and thanks to all of us, the sessionable style is now part of the brewery’s 2018 portfolio. Today, the brewery announced that for a limited time, the 12-bottle pack of the golden, crisp lager will come with a record affixed to the front which will feature a voucher inside for $5 off of any vinyl at local participating record stores across Schlafly’s distribution. The special record packs will be available now through spring.

Friels Cider launches Record Store day competition, Friels First Press Vintage Cider is running an on-pack competition to support its sponsorship of Record Store Day UK (21 April). A limited edition can design on 330ml cans will promote the competition, which offers consumers the chance to win a home vinyl package, including a Friels limited edition turntable, amp, loudspeakers, £200 to spend in any participating record store and four cases of Friels. To enter, shoppers need to enter their details on the Friels website. There will also be five smaller monthly prize draws from February to June for the chance to win a limited edition turntable, £50 to spend in local record shops, or a limited edition FrieIs Record Store Day bag. Each of the monthly winners will also get a case of Friels First Press Vintage 330ml cans.

My Bloody Valentine Confirm Isn’t Anything Surprise: My Bloody Valentine recently released a pair of all analog vinyl reissues of their albums Loveless and Isn’t Anything, and they’ve now confirmed that they slipped a little something extra in with some fans’ orders. Taking to Twitter, they said that they have been giving away an alternative cut and pressing of Isn’t Anything, but the LP has now sold out directly from the band. The pressing was only available to fans who ordered the record as part of its initial run. The band are currently at work on the follow-up to their 2014 LP m b v, with Kevin Shields having said last year that he wants the album to be available in the traditional LP format running at 40 minutes with seven songs. “It could turn out to be only five tracks. I hope not, but I don’t want it to be a double album and I don’t want it to be really long,” he said.

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TVD New Orleans

The Revolution bring the Prince catalog to the Joy Theater, 2/22

With the untimely passing of Prince, the world lost one of the true geniuses of music. While his death has left a major void, see the Superbowl halftime show a month ago, it also sparked the reunion of one of the Purple One’s most formidable backing bands. The Revolution will be appearing at Joy Theater Thursday night with DJ Soul Sister opening.

While Prince was known for writing the songs, producing the music, and playing most of the instruments on a majority of his albums, he had some strong collaborators throughout his career. Most prominent among them are Revolution band members Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, Bobby Z, BrownMark, and Dr. Fink.

These are the musicians who performed with Prince on some of his best works including Purple Rain, Around the World In a Day, and Parade. Some of the musicians also played on 1999, Controversy, Dirty Mind, and Sign O’ The Times.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Steve Miller Band’s Complete Albums Volume 1 (1968-1976) vinyl box in stores 5/18

VIA PRESS RELEASE | It’s been 50 years since Steve Miller Band’s first two Capitol Records albums were released in 1968, and now Miller and Capitol/UMe are incredibly excited to announce the May 18 release of the legendary Steve Miller Band’s first nine studio albums in an unprecedented new 180-gram vinyl box set collection called Complete Albums Volume 1 (1968-1976).

Spanning the band’s first studio album, Children of the Future, through 1976’s multiplatinum masterpiece Fly Like an Eagle, the albums have all been remastered and are available now for preorder. Each album is also available for preorder as individual 180-gram black LPs to be released on the same date, as well as limited edition 180-gram color vinyl LPs for sale exclusively via

The Steve Miller Band’s first nine studio albums have also been newly remastered for HD digital audio (96kHz/24-bit). Starting with today’s global release of Children of the Future, the albums’ HD digital audio debuts will continue weekly in chronological order ahead of the Complete Albums Volume 1 vinyl release.

A much-loved summer tradition, the iconic Steve Miller Band has been performing inspired versions of Miller’s incomparable songbook to legions of fans across the globe for many years. Among the many highlights of the tour, the SMB will be performing at the legendary Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, and will be closing out the final day of New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Blue Öyster Cult,
Blue Öyster Cult

Good news! You don’t have to fear the Reaper! Blue Öyster Cult were only joking!

For years morons like yours truly were so wrapped up in Blue Öyster Cult’s ethos (evil as career choice) that we never caught on to the (manifestly obvious in hindsight) fact that the band was pulling our collective leg!

That’s right. Here we hayseeds thought they were, like, a bunch of Satan-worshipping Aleister Crowleys dabbling in Nazism and S&M when in reality they were just a coupla nice Jewish boys from Long Island sniggering down their collective sleeve at the hard-rock-loving suckers retarded enough to take them seriously. As occasional lyrics contributor and full-time rock critic Richard Meltzer said of the boys’ music, “This is really hard rock comedy.”

I don’t want you to get the impression that I’m some kind of terminal moron; I caught on to the joke a long, long time ago, and would have never fallen for it in the first place if I hadn’t been spending all my time smoking pot with pig farmers. Pig farmers and bikers make up the bulk of the Blue Öyster Cult fan base, and by that I don’t mean to imply pig farmers and bikers are stupid. Most of them are in on the joke too, and love it, because not only were Blue Öyster Cult funny back in 1972, they were one hotshit boogie band writing great songs that sounded even better after you drank a bottle of Wild Turkey and popped a few Placidyl.

Blue Öyster Cult’s eponymous 1972 debut may have less laughs than some of their later LPs, but it’s heavy on screaming diz-busters, inspiring anthems, a lil taste of the rock ’n’ roll apocalypse, and one very cool psychedelic threnody to a foot. In short it’s one helluva rock record, and well deserved the plaudits it received from just about every critical luminary (Christgau, Bangs, etc.) of the time.

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TVD Washington, DC

Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

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