The Jaguar Club,
The TVD First Date

“I have always bought vinyl and I’m embarrassed for my bandmates when I say that I am the only one of us (5 adults!) who has the passion. Growing up I was introduced to the format, as many kids my age were, by Disney and Sesame Street records. My sister is older than me by enough that we still had these around the house when most people had moved on to cassettes. I was also strongly influenced at a tender age by an Alf flexidisc I received with my kid’s meal from Burger King.”

“Eventually we no longer had a turntable in the house and the stash of family records was moved to a shelf in the basement where they sat for roughly a decade until I did what every late ’90s teenager worth his piercings did and decided to become a DJ. Inspired by Beck lyrics, that first actually-really-good Fatboy Slim album (you know, with Santa Cruz on it?), and DJ Shadow’s Entroducing, I obtained some turntables and a grossly-underpowered little DJ sampler. The pile of mildewed vinyl was rescued from my brother’s friends’ frisbee games and I started exploring.

In addition to kids albums there was a lot of show tune stuff and classical albums, as well as my personal favorite at the time—the soundtrack to the TV show Mission Impossible. I tried, in vain, to make my terrible 8 second Gemini sampler do the impossible while drooling over MPCs in the Musicians Friend catalog. I never got to the point of making songs from samples like Mr. Cook or DJ Shadow (I don’t think I even really knew how they did it then) but I did develop some basic DJing ability and could eventually match beats and was mixing bits of my parents’ old collection in with current 12”s I was buying.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Premiere: Scott Krokoff, “Sparrows”

NYC singer-songwriter Scott Krokoff delivers refined bittersweet folk lullaby.

We have the pleasure of premiering Scott’s soothing single “Sparrows” from his second LP installment, Realizations & Declarations Vol. 2, which finds the practicing lawyer tapping his love for ’70s era Petty and James Taylor. While most of the album is filled with orchestrated country pop, “Sparrows” is a decidedly stripped down affair—adorned with adroit fingerpicking and clean delivery.

“Many of my songs are about not giving up and pursuing what you love for obvious reasons,” Scott reflects. The songwriter is adamant that one should never put a shelf life on their dreams and these principles are reflected in his graceful tales of morality and perseverance.

Krokoff’s Realizations & Declarations Vol. 2 is scheduled for a September 4th release.

Scott Krokoff Official | Facebook | Twitter

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UK Artist of the Week: Brendan Dalton

There is a lot of folk music coming from the UK at the moment, and while we’d usually eye it suspiciously, there’s just something about a Scottish voice that breaks down our barriers and let’s us embrace it. This week, we’re shining a light on Brendan Dalton and his latest single “Medium.”

The man hasn’t been writing long (around a year), but if this is what he’s producing, then it bodes well for his long-term career. There are no bells and whistles to the single, just a lone voice and a steady guitar melody carrying it along on a bed of handclaps, there’s an underlying and haunting reverence to it. It takes guts to lay out something this stripped back, and we think it might just have paid off.

Of course, no single would be complete without its accompanying video, and free track “Beachcomber’s Holler” (which I guess would be the digital equivalent of a b-side—what an age we live in!)

“Medium” is out now on via Meraki Records. You can follow Brendan Dalton on Twitter.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Sonny Knight and the Lakers, Do It Live

2014’s I’m Still Here advanced Sonny Knight to the venerable ranks of rejuvenated soul belters. He was backed on the LP by the Lakers, a young and energetic gang of Minneapolis-based R&B acolytes, and the pairing has reemerged with a four-sided performance bonanza. Captured during a two-night stand last December in front of a hometown crowd, it provides ample evidence of Knight’s aptitude for vocalizing and showmanship; behind him the Lakers are a tight and relentless sonic machine. Do It Live is currently available from Secret Stash, and the first 300 copies of the 2LP are on orange vinyl.

Sonny Knight’s career began in the mid-‘60s; as a teenager he fronted and cut a 45 as leader of the Cymbols, though his musical pursuits were curbed by subsequent US military service in Korea and Vietnam. Upon returning, he spent time in California before moving back to Minneapolis and hooking up with funk/R&B outfit Haze. Disco’s commercial crash reportedly spelled the end of that act; thereafter Knight took up truck-driving as a vocation.

His reemergence is directly related to a budding relationship with the Minneapolis-based Secret Stash label. Devoted to soul, funk, African, and Latin recordings predominantly of ‘60s and ‘70s vintage, Secret Stash is run by Eric Foss, who also plays in the enterprise’s house band the Lakers. Amongst the imprint’s worthy reissues is 2012’s Twin Cities Funk & Soul: Lost R&B Grooves From Minneapolis/St. Paul 1964-1979, a dilly of a geographical comp offering selections from The Valdons, Wanda Davis, the Prophets of Peace, Morris Wilson, Willie Walker, and more.

Secret Stash additionally booked studio-time for Wanda Davis and The Valdons as assorted gigs were scheduled; amidst the activity the call was made for Knight’s abilities. As the frequency of these assists increased, little time was wasted in devising a scheme to combine vocalist and band, an entity comprised of Foss on drums, Sam Harvey-Carlson on organ, Blair Krivanek on guitar, Casey O’Brien on bass, Bryan Highhill on trumpet, Cole Pulice on sax, and Tony Beaderstadt on trombone.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 6/30/15

Vinyl Revolution: The fall and rise of sound retromania, “…Simon Reynolds, one of the greatest music writers of his generation, underlines one reason as “Retromani”: pop culture’s insatiable desire and addiction for embracing its own past.”

A former music executive is seeking funding for a vinyl restoration plant in Brooklyn: “’Functioning presses are especially scarce,’ says Socolov in a Kickstarter video seeking funding for the Brooklyn Vinyl Works plant. ‘More presses in operation will help us better serve the independent artists and small labels that frequently have to wait size months to get their finished product,’ he says…”

Penelope Spheeris Reissues ‘Decline of Western Civilization’ Films: “The arrival of “The Decline of Western Civilization Collection” as a pristine extras-filled box set from Shout Factory this week is to budding punks what a new “Star Wars” movie is to, well, all the other kids: something they never thought they’d get to experience in their lifetimes…”

Floating Record Vertical Turntable Shows Off Your Favorite Vinyl Records: “The vertical turntable shows off a premium and stylish housing made from natural walnut or maple wood, but most importantly, Floating Record features an innovative vertical playback system formed by its fully-adjustable, carbon-fiber tone-arm, Audio Technica AT95E cartridge, belt drive system with a silicone belt (33-1/3 & 45 RPM) and etc in order to deliver you an unprecedented vertical vinyl experience…”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Brian Wilson, No Pier Pressure, Autographed

As our own Tim Hibbs noted last April prior to a chat with the man himself, “…Brian Wilson is a musical genius. The depth he brought to the Beach Boys recordings through his vocal and instrumental arrangements is still the benchmark so many strive to reach. Wilson’s personal struggles have been well documented but he has never stopped creating arresting and vital music.

On April 7th, Capitol Records releases Wilson’s eleventh solo studio album, No Pier Pressure. Originally intended as a Beach Boys release, those plans were scrapped when the band fell apart after their 50th anniversary tour. Instead, Wilson assembled an all-star lineup of guest vocalists including Kacey Musgraves, fun.’s Nate Ruess, and She & Him’s Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, along with Beach Boy alumni Al Jardine, David Marks, and Blondie Chaplin.

Likewise, he recruited A-list session players like Don Was, drummers Jim Keltner and Kenny Aronoff, Dean Parks, and Jeffrey Foskett. The good news for vinyl fans is that it will be released as a two-LP set pressed on 180-gram vinyl in addition to CD and digital formats.”

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TVD Asbury Park

Garden State Sound
with Evan Toth

All jokes aside, New Jersey is a pretty great place. While it has a lot to offer as a state, it also has a rich musical history of which many people remain unaware. Everyone knows Sinatra and The Boss, but there’s much more.

Tune in to Garden State Sound with Evan Toth to explore the diverse music with connections to New Jersey. You’ll hear in-depth interviews with some of Jersey’s best music makers and have the opportunity win tickets to some of the best concerts in the state.

“Even though Shaun McGann—my good compadre and TVD colleague—thinks that the legendary White House Sub Shop in Atlantic City goes a little heavy on the hot peppers, the Beatles seemed to disagree. In honor of the upcoming 51st anniversary of their performance at the Convention Hall in August of 1964, we enjoy a block of Beatles tunes by some of New Jersey’s finest performers.

But, wait; there’s more! We’ll also check out Spiraling, Deal Casino, the Porchistas, and Andrew Cedarmark. Tune in and order some hot peppers on that six-foot sub; you only live once!” —EZT

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The TVD Storefront

Zac Nelson,
The TVD First Date

“I always loved going to my Gammy and Papa’s (my father’s parents) 75 acres with a beautiful lake and hills out in Carbondale, Illinois. There is a college there (SIU) and it was a big deal to go in this rad place called Plaza Wuxtry and get CDs and patchouli oil, but I didn’t actually start collecting vinyl until later in my life.”

“Growing up, I was influenced by a lot of albums, including the first and second Blind Melon albums, Rap Beginnings Volume One, a Yes Fragile tape with no cover that my mom had for some reason, a Metallica Black Album with no cover that my mom had for some reason, a whole bunch of classic ’90s alternative stuff, folk style music like John Denver, Weezer, Beck—my sister listened to a bunch of awesome ’90s singing groups like Boyz II Men, Shai, Color Me Bad, etc.

At the time, I acted like I didn’t like it but now when I reflect on it, I think it had a positive effect for helping me be comfortable to make emotional songs. My parents don’t really listen to jazz at all and one day I found a Chick Corea live acoustic band tape with Dave Weckl on drums and I had never really heard someone play drums like that.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Earth, Wind & Fire, The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire Vol. 1

Of all the things I’ve loved during my tenure on this planet, it’s hard to beat Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White. And not because he’s a musical genius and head honcho of one of the Seventies’ best soul/funk outfits. No, I love him because he’s the guy who sings, “Yowl!” on several occasions on the great “That’s the Way of the World.” They never fail to thrill me, those yowls, not since I was a young sprog and loved the hell out of MFSB’s “T.S.O.P.”

EWF’s songs dominated Top 40 radio when I was young, because unlike Sly and the Family Stone and Parliament/Funkadelic they were unapologetically middle of the road. But that doesn’t mean that their songs weren’t great, just that they were more like the black equivalent of Elton John than, say, Randy Newman. As the critic Robert Christgau noted about one of their prime LPs, “Most of these songs are fun to listen to. But they’re still MOR–the only risk they take is running headlong into somebody coming down the middle of the road in the opposite direction. Like The Carpenters.”

But so what? Earth, Wind & Fire have produced their fair share of timeless songs, and if they’re slick, the slickness works. Under the direction of White, EWF’s drummer, songwriter, and vocalist, the band’s sound was—and still is—an eclectic brew of funk, jazz, gospel, rock, smooth soul, blues, folk, African music, and disco, and what made them particularly remarkable were their group vocals, and especially the vocals of Maurice White and Philip Bailey. Unrelentingly positive, their songs were a balm for the soul, and I for one think “That’s the Way of the World” is a slice of mystical brilliance and a song for the ages. All of those vocalists throwing in; it’s a sound so soulful I sprout an Afro every time I listen to it. And their horn section, the four-member Phenix Horns, also merits special attention; one listen to the opening of “Shining Star” and you know you’re in the presence of genius.

Which is not to say I like all their songs. The ones on which Bailey handles lead vocals in particular tend to be too slick for my tastes, what with his high-pitched vocals and their tendency to wander into romantic schlock. But hey, he can hardly be blamed for crooning; people love a good crooner. They’re good songs, just not my cup of soul.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD’s Press Play

Press Play is our Monday recap of the new—and FREE—tracks received last week, provided here to inform your next trip to your local indie record store. Click, preview, download, purchase.

Tiny Rhymes – Arrows
Milo McMahon – Caveman
The Legal Immigrants – Fork In The Road
Oki’s Wagon – Horror Chord
Twin Within – Bernie
Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers – Future Talk
Shades. – Time Back
Monks of Mellonwah – Even When It Burns
Muse – Uprising (Disco Fries Edit)
Sentinel – Counting Stars

The Phantom Sound – Get To Me

Pearl Charles – You Can Change
Buku – Might Be
Ron Flieger – All I Want
Zapéd – Prague (ft.Groszek)
Weakling – Pullup
My Dead Air – Holding On
Telegraph Canyon – Why Let it Go
Future Love Hangover – Moving Mountains
BECOME X Elohim – She Talks Too Much
Donatachi – Neo (ft. Blair De Milo)

8 more FREE TRACKS on side B!

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