TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

…And there was one guy there who kept asking me how does it are you sure feel and I / Didn’t even you don’t want to know how to talk about begin to answer what you’re / Experiencing that question and I just said so I just said no I don’t want to talk about it

So there I was, just another shitbag civilian / Afraid of the cops when I was outside, afraid of my friends when I was inside / And I grew tired of the scene / And then my dad showed up / And he was like / “Who are you to go against the word of our fathers?” / “Who are you? the scum of the earth” / No we are just we are just we are just teens of style

Tuesday was our son Jonah’s first day of 6th grade. Middle school here we are. Jonah was pissed that I was shooting pics and video, but I couldn’t help myself. It was too big of a landmark for this Idelic DJ to pass up a couple of snapshots.

I helped Jonah open his new locker, “…one to the left, two to the right…” Do you remember your old school locker? I had the same one for 6 years. Watching Jonah master his combo brought back a few memories… Emptying my locker for the last time and thinking about who would take it over next. How little they would know about me. Would they know about all the cool shit I stashed in there?

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Live Shots: Santana and The Doobie Brothers at Xfinity Center, 8/20

PHOTOS: LAURA KILGUS JENKINS AND CHRIS JENKINS IN MANSFIELD, NH | The air was filled with the scent of incense burning on stage as images of Woodstock illuminated the space, setting the tone for a tour that commemorates the milestone anniversary of Santana’s infamous performance some five decades ago.

Only a few days following the 50th Anniversary of their performance at the Woodstock festival in August 1969, the band named after Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Carlos Santana and the iconic musician himself brought the house down at the Xfinity Center outside of Boston.

Santana’s show is a true bounty of musical stylings. The set featured Latin and African beats, Latin rock, sounds of Jamaica, bluesy vocals, and guitar solos that no-doubt is a check off the Bucket List for long-time fans. Much like a maestro, Santana gestures to bandmates for smooth and subtle arrangement changes all while showcasing the skill of the artists and enriching the overall performance.

Fans were on their feet as the evening began with a hit-filled set from special guests, The Doobie Brothers. “I’d like to hear some funky Dixieland, pretty momma come and take me by the hand…” The Doobie Brothers sang in an engaging sing-a-long with the audience.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: Smashing Pumpkins, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and AFI
at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 8/17

Smashing Pumpkins singer, Billy Corgan fell ill right before the band’s performance at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Saturday night. Luckily for those in attendance world-famous vampire, Nosferatu was on site to fill in for the ailing singer. If not for his long fingers, sharp teeth, and creamy pale skin, the vampire would’ve been an odd stand-in for Corgan, but things seemed to work out just fine as the crowd were none the wiser to have the doppelgänger center stage.

Buffoonery aside, it was 9:25 when the Smashing Pumpkins took the pavilion stage in the woodlands of Columbia, Maryland. Billy Corgan—the real Billy Corgan—and his re-united Pumpkins, (James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin) must have been eager to play because I can’t recall any artist at the pavilion appearing on stage even one minute early for their set.

Prior to the Pumpkins taking their places on stage, the atmosphere had been set with dramatic stage props put in place; three striking Matryoshka dolls that stretched to the upper ceiling lights of the pavilion.

Reunited with guitar player extraordinaire Iha and drummer Chamberlin for this tour, the band is almost completely reformed. The only missing element is D’arcy Wretzky. the founding bass player, whose relationship with Corgan has been one of a “he-said, she-said” for as long as I can recall.

Opening their set with “Today” from 1993’s Siamese Dream, The Smashing Pumpkins played roughly a 90-minute set that spanned their catalog and of course showcased their many hits—”Solara” and “Zero,” with a sullen version of “Disarm” following. Later the classics “Ava Adore,” “1979,” “Tonight, Tonight” and “Cherub Rock.”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Boyz N The Hood OST, 2-LP vinyl debut in stores 9/27

VIA PRESS RELEASE | On September 27, Qwest/UMe is set to release the groundbreaking, multi-genre Boyz N The Hood soundtrack on double vinyl in two different color options: black and translucent blue. This will mark the first time the soundtrack for Boyz N The Hood has been reissued on vinyl since the album’s initial release on July 9, 1991. This special new 2LP edition also honors the indelible legacy of Boyz N The Hood director and soundtrack executive producer John Singleton, who sadly passed away in April 2019.

As the perfect sonic companion piece to Singleton’s incendiary 1991 directorial debut, the Boyz N The Hood soundtrack masterfully stacked cutting-edge of-era gangsta rap alongside a fine selection of R&B, funk, and jazz tracks. From the visceral thrust of Ice Cube’s West Coast gangsta manifesto “How To Survive In South Central” to Tevin Campbell’s New Jack Swing-styled Top 10 R&B hit “Just Ask Me To” (featuring rapper Chubb Rock) to the East Coast boom bap of Main Source’s spitfire take on “Just A Friendly Game Of Baseball (Remix),” the Boyz N The Hood soundtrack encompassed the full scope of Singleton’s singular vision for the film. Two tracks on Side D had been included on the initial 1991 CD release—Quincy Jones’ sultry “Setembro” and Stanley Clarke’s still poignant “Black On Black Crime”—with the latter making its vinyl debut.

Boyz N The Hood, a coming-of-age film starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, and Laurence Fishburne (then billed as Larry Fishburne), followed the trajectory of three friends growing up in early-’90s South Central L.A., and it established Singleton as an insightful chronicler of the then-shifting urban landscape.

At the time, urban film soundtracks were also on the rise, and Boyz N The Hood (which reached No. 12 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart) built on the success of the popular soundtracks for March 1990’s House Party and January 1991’s New Jack City. For his part, Singleton would go on to direct 1993’s Poetic Justice, 1995’s Higher Learning, 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, and 2011’s Abduction (his final film). He also co-created the acclaimed TV crime drama, FX’s Snowfall, which began airing its third season in July 2019.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
REO Speedwagon,
You can Tune a piano,
but you can’t Tuna fish.

I love this album, you most likely loathe this album, and you know what? I don’t give a shit! Feel free to mock this 1978 classic for its stupid title and awful cover, and even to hold your nose at the music contained within said cover, but be aware that proud know-nothings such as yours truly simply laugh at such criticism before drowning it out with the totally brilliant opening track, “Roll with the Changes.”

I’ll be the first to admit You can Tune a piano… isn’t the perfect album. The perfect REO album would include such earlier gems as “Ridin’ the Storm Out,” “Keep Pushin’,” “Anti Establishment Man,” and–it goes without saying–”Prison Women,” which includes such immortal poesy as “Like tears to a mouse, a biting to a clam” and “Life from limping eyes, yeah.” And how could I have forgotten “Light Up,” which is actually a Styx song but who’s counting?

You can Tune a piano… was the Champlain, Illinois band’s seventh LP in as many years, and it was the one that answered the question, “If this bunch of journeymen hacks really insists upon sucking, why can’t they at least sell a few records while they’re at it?” The critics hated ‘em; hell, even the rare plaudits they did receive were back-handed ones at best. “Pioneers of AOR schlock-rock schlock-pop,” Village Voice scribe Robert Christgau called them, and I think he meant it as a compliment.

But populist types like this guy knew better. Sure, their albums were uneven–a fate shared by You can Tune a piano… –but they all showed glimmers of originality; say what you will about the hard-charging “Roll with the Changes,” it’s anything but your hard rock same old same old. On it Gary Richrath lets loose on guitar, Neil Doughty struts his stuff on Hammond organ, and vocalist Kevin Cronin almost doesn’t sound like a pussy, and it evokes images of the band as entertainers on a 19th Mississippi riverboat, say the one in Herman Melville’s 1857 novel The Confidence Man. Although I suspect that’s just me.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/23/19

Chicago, IL | Beverly Records to showcase rare photos of ‘the day the music died,’ Buddy Holly’s last concert: The music might have died that night, but the legacy lives on. Hours before the plane crash that killed all on board and catapulted Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens onto the rock and roll world’s eternal radar, the young men were performing their music at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. The stop on the Midwest “Winter Dance Party Tour” was a last-minute addition. So was the plane ride. Rare photos of the young pioneers playing on stage the last night of their lives will soon be available for public viewing right here on Chicago’s southwest side. On Saturday, Beverly Records will become only the second place in the world to display seven photos from that fateful night. The pictures were taken Feb. 2, 1959 by fan Mary Gerber and now belong to documentary filmmakers Jim McCool and Sevan Garabedian, who are close friends with Jack Dreznes, owner of the Western Avenue record shop. After the Saturday unveiling, the photos will remain on display at the store.

Walton, UK | Format record shop open in Walton: A NEW record shop will be music to the ears of vinyl lovers in Walton. Format, in High Street, is aimed at music lovers of the 70s, 80s and 90s, with more than 100,000 items in stock including vinyl, CDs, cassettes and memorabilia. The shop buys, sells and exchanges records and is encouraging people to dig out their rare records. The owners, Janice, Lee and Paul Phelps, have run a busy music mail order service for the past 30 years. They said: “We have had many people ask us if we had a shop, so we thought it would be a good idea to make that happen. “The shop is a real time warp experience for those who remember the record shopping experience back in the 70s. “New stock is added on a daily basis, so you’re sure to find something new and interesting on each visit.” The shop will be open every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10am until 5pm.

Fargo, ND | Savoring the local flavor: Ojata Records and the Dogmajal: The High Plains Reader spoke to Ojata Records and the Dogmajal owner and operator Jeremy Swisher about the ever-growing Grand Forks record store and hotdog shop. “…Learning that Ojata was a ghost town 9 miles west of here was interesting, it was the first train stop heading west from Grand Forks. Legend has it that Ojata was quite the party destination. It’s said that one could hop the train for a nickel or dime and head to Ojata for nightlife and entertainment. Ojata wasn’t much more than a few saloons and hotels, a post office & the train station. The last of the buildings there had burnt down in the 50s, and it was erased from the county map. I guess I envisioned that the shop would be, not only a place for cool stuff like vintage vinyl, books, comics, music, movie media, and gear… but a small live performance venue for in store shows and other parties/meetings. So I decided to resurrect the name to see if there were still good times to be associated with it, a historic reboot for the region, or just a fun story to tell.

Halifax, UK | ‘Bigger and better’ expansion for Halifax record store: Vinyl and coffee shop Loafers is all set to start a new chapter and new later opening hours. The independent business is moving from the second floor of The Piece Hall to bigger premises on the ground floor, between Elder and the entrance to Halifax Central Library. The move means as well as welcoming record and coffee fans during the day, it will also open until late on Friday and Saturday nights, adding wine, craft ale, bagels and pizza to its menu, extending the number of vinyl and limited edition artwork that it stocks and offering outside seating. Director of Loafers Mark Richardson said the new premises will have the same atmosphere as their current place but the extra space will mean they can hold more live music and other events. “It’s what we have been doing but a bit bigger and better,” he said. “And we’ll be right in the centre of The Piece Hall.

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TVD Live Shots: Queensryche at the Islington Assembly
Hall, 8/14

The mighty Queensryche made their triumphant return to London last week, stopping by the Islington Assembly Hall for an intimate gig between a slew of European metal festivals.

Touring in support of The Verdict, their third studio record with bonafide rock god Todd La Torre on vocals, the band finds themselves with a functional problem: too many great songs for one set. How does one select songs from such an incredible legacy and catalog to fit into a 90-minute set? I would love to be a fly on the wall in that conversation as the band painstakingly chooses between pre-Mindcrime and post which represent two incredibly different styles for the band. Which one is better? The answer is neither, as they are equally epic in their own right.

The new album is an absolute beast of a metal album from start to finish. I won’t go as far to say that The Verdict is a return to form, because that happened on 2015’s breakthrough Condition Human. Oh, and did I happen to mention that La Torre played the drums on this record filling in for the recently departed Scott Rockenfield? Take a moment to let that soak in—this guy hits the notes on the classics without breaking a sweat, takes it up a notch or two on the new material, and now he’s taking over drum duties from one of the all-time greats? This guy is a fucking juggernaut of all things metal.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Three Social Distortion vinyl reissues in stores 9/27

VIA PRESS RELEASE | This fall, Craft Recordings will reissue three titles from Social Distortion’s independent catalog on vinyl. Set for a September 27th release, the LPs include the band’s 1983 debut, Mommy’s Little Monster, their 2004 studio album, Sex, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll, and 1995’s Mainliner (Wreckage From the Past), which compiles early singles and rare B-sides. Celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, the enduring So-Cal punk icons just kicked off their extensive, two-month North American tour.

Social Distortion formed in Orange County, CA, with front man Mike Ness and guitarist Dennis Danell at the helm. With their distinctive blend of punk and primitive rock ‘n’ roll, the four-piece (whose bassists and drummers would fluctuate over those years) found equal influences in bands like the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, and the Clash as well as the early country music of Hank Williams and the classic blues of artists like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Their 1983 debut, Mommy’s Little Monster was released on the band’s own label, 13th Floor Records. Full of raw vocals, powerful guitar-driven hooks, and plenty of attitude, the seminal album gained Social Distortion a national following and went on to inspire the likes of the Offspring, Rancid and many other well-known artists. Standout tracks include “The Creeps (I Just Wanna Give You)” and “Another State of Mind.”

The next two decades would bring the band continued lineup changes, a rehab stint for Ness—who has maintained his sobriety since 1985—a major label deal, some of their highest-charting singles (“I Was Wrong” and “Bad Luck”), and two Gold records (for 1990’s Social Distortion and 1992’s Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell). In the late ‘90s, the band returned to their indie roots and signed to Time Bomb Recordings.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Rod Stewart,
Every Picture Tells
a Story

The Decline and Fall of Roderick David Stewart is one of rock’s great tragedies. Five years, tops, is how long it took for “Rod the Mod”—the lovable rogue with the rooster-cut and the great cackle whose unique talents as a singer and songwriter gave us the magnificent Every Picture Tells a Story—to transform himself into “Rod the Bod,” the sleazy, self-proclaimed sex symbol and trend-following hack who bequeathed us “Hot Legs” and “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”

Since then Stewart has released a slew of desultory LPs (does anybody remember 1983’s Body Wishes or 1988’s appropriately titled Out of Order? If so, you have some explaining to do) and reinvented himself as an interpreter of popular song via his five “volumes” of The Great American Songbook. (Me, I prefer unpopular song. As Oscar Wilde once noted, “Everything popular is wrong.”) And I’m forced to ask: Am I the only one who wonders what happened? Because Stewart’s precipitous plummet from genius to sex goat is nothing less than a riddle wrapped in an enigma, or to be more accurate a mystery wrapped in the awful suit he’s wearing on the cover of Body Wishes, which makes him look like Don Johnson in flames.

Stewart’s singing career began in the early sixties, and he played in some half-dozen bands including The Steampacket (with Long John Baldry and Brian Auger) and The Jeff Beck Group before joining The Faces at about the same time he released his first solo LP, 1969’s The Rod Stewart Album. Rod was an ambitious lad, splitting his time between the Faces and his solo work and somehow managing to put out both a Faces album and a solo album nearly every year. Unlike the Faces’ rough-edged but smart good-times rock’n’roll, Stewart’s solo albums tended to cover the waterfront from rock, country, R&B, to folk.

Stewart’s first two LPs—for which he basically dragooned the Faces as a backup band—didn’t chart particularly well, although they included such excellent songs as “Handbags and Gladrags,” “Cut Across Shorty,” and “Gasoline Alley.” So come LP no. 3, Stewart tried a different approach, limiting the input of the Faces (excepting guitarist Ron Wood) to basically one tune—a cover of The Temptations’ “(I Know) I’m Losing You”—in favor of a sound that accentuated the mandolin of Lindsay Raymond Jackson (of Lindisfarne infamy), the violin of Dick Powell, and the 6,000 different guitars of Ron Wood.

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The TVD Storefront

Bernard Fowler,
In-store with TVD at
DC’s Som Records

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Bernard Fowler has been singing with the Stones since the ’80s and his CV reads like a Who’s Who of music legends. But this veteran rocker is anything but intimidating—in person he’s warm, charming, and full of great stories. Cratedigging with Bernard feels like cratedigging with an old friend, even if you just met him five minutes ago.

When we met up at Som, his most recent record, Inside Out, was up on the wall. It’s a collection of Rolling Stones songs, but instead of merely covering familiar tracks like “Sympathy for the Devil” or “Dancing with Mr. D,” Inside Out uses elements of free jazz, funk, and spoken word to completely reinvent songs you thought you knew. Nobody’s better qualified to do this than Bernard, with his impressive musical pedigree and years of personal experience with the Stones.

The day before the No Filter tour’s rescheduled stop at FedEx Field, I asked him what his favorite thing was about playing with Mick and Keef and Ronnie and Charlie. He’s got the best seats in the house, he said, with a laugh. What song would he add to the setlist, given the opportunity? “Dandelion.”

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores for
August 2019, Part Four

Part four of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases—and more—presently in stores for August, 2019. Part one is here, part two is here, and part three is here.

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Slumberland Singles Subscription Series |  These are the freshest two installments from this 30th anniversary project, copies of which will also be available in stores.

Wildhoney, “Naïve Castle” b/w “Kiss Me” Formerly from Baltimore and now on the West Coast, Wildhoney have dialed back their reported earlier shoegaze orientation a good bit. Well, on the A-side here, they’ve dialed it back a whole lot, as the tune is chiming Sundays-esque pop that could easily fit on mainstream radio except for the late boost of distortion that makes clear their ‘gazey sensibility hasn’t disappeared entirely. There’s also a roughly two-minute ambient kosmische finish that’s readymade for Hearts of Space. I like it, but, ahem, speaking of pop radio, I’m far more taken with a version of Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me” that reduces the original’s wispiness in favor of budget tech and an amply hazy finale. Avoiding the cutesy pop cover impulse, it completes a winning circular combination. A-

Smiles, “Gone for Good” b/w “This Boy” Smiles is a Bay Area proposition, though I agree with the assessment made in Slumberland’s PR notes that in its power-pop approach the 45 resonates like a byproduct of the Southeastern USA; that means Big Star, but I also hear their mention of Dwight Twilley. By extension, “Gone for Good” is destined to give adorers of the Teenage Fanclub a considerable thrill, so folks who fit that description should step right up to this platter whether or not they’re inclined to check out the entire subscription series. Barely breaking two minutes, the flip is not a gyp but is instead just the right dose of guitar-pop goodness, reinforcing this platter as in the lineage of 45s that’re bought for a buck and after played at home make you feel like you won the lottery. A

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: House Guests, My Mind Set Me Free (Shake It!) After working with James Brown, where they were called the Original JB’s, and prior to becoming part of Funkadelic as led by George Clinton, there was the House Guests, featuring brothers William “Bootsy” and Phelps “Catfish” Collins on bass and guitar respectively, Frank Waddy on drums, Clayton Gunnels on trumpet, and Robert McCollough on sax. The cut a couple of 45s in 1971 (one as House Guests Rated X), which are compiled on this set along with subsequent work from the groups Bootsy, Phelps & the Complete Strangers and Bootsy Phelps and Gary (as this group presaged Bootsy’s Rubber Band, I’m guessing the third named is Gary “Mudbone” Cooper).

From the opening title track complete with its lift from the Mission Impossible theme, this is as imaginative as it is funky, with the modest production values keeping things from getting too slick. The early stuff leans nearer to Brownian groove density, though “What So Never to Dance” has a celebratory atmosphere that will be great for late-summer parties. I don’t have recording notes handy (notably, this is the first time this stuff’s been legitimately reissued), but it seems to be following a roughly chronological progression, inching toward Funkadelic-style wildness along the way, and while “Be Right Back” had me momentarily worried that (as on many comps) the late stuff here was going to be of lesser interest, “Say Something Good” swings matters upward in a big way as the set rolls to a sweet finale. A-

V/A, Bedford-Stuyvesant Youth in Action Community Corporation Talent Hunt Winners (Big Crown) A reissue as enjoyable as it is historical. The ten songs here (plus a short introduction by Reverend Horace Tyler) are the byproduct of Youth in Action, Inc., a grant-funded community organization that achieved numerous goals including a musical talent contest. Having chosen a song to cover, with a focus on soul/R&B, the winning groups were subsequently backed in the studio by the Thrillers Band, who get to strut their stuff via instrumental theme song as faux crowd noise is mixed in to replicate the ambiance of the original performances. The subsequent cuts document a surfeit of skill in ’60s Bed-Stuy; in fact, I’d say this would fit quite nicely into a listening rotation of ’60s regional soul comps. A-

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/22/19

Big Bear Lake, CA | Village Music makes a move: Village Music owners, Stephen “Jonesy” Jones and his wife, Connie, found something they both have in common — a love for music. Connie plays the piano but doesn’t perform. Jonesy has always been a record collector and musician. The couple decided to open a new Village Music seven years ago, after the original Village Music had been closed for 10 years. The original store opened in 1967. “We started collecting records,” Connie says. “And asked the previous Village Music owner if we can use the (previous) store name. We reopened with his blessings.” …They travel far and wide a couple of times a month for records. “We get them everywhere and specialize in classic rock more than anything,” Connie says. Jonesy began collecting LPs (long players) in the ’60s. “The vinyl is warmer sounding (compared to digital),” Jonesy says. “I think people are picking up on that. The vinyl will blow away the sonic, sound wise.”

Brighton, UK | Hit record: What is behind Brighton’s vinyl revival? Music might be more accessible than ever thanks to online streaming but that has not stopped the return of vinyl. For many young people in Brighton, records used to be a relic. They were something to embarrass your dad with when you found his old collection of Japan vinyl in the attic. But now youngsters are the driving force behind increasing record sales, which reached a 25-year high in the UK last year. Digging around a record store has become an experience in itself for many Brighton students as they discover old gems and new releases. Graham Jones, author of The Vinyl Revival And The Shops That Made It Happen, called the city “the best place to go record shopping”. “Brighton’s an independent place, it has always supported independent businesses,” he said. “People realise that high streets are mostly the same everywhere so it’s vital to keep independent shops going.”

Dún Laoghaire, IE | Dun Laoghaire Vinyl Festival Returns For A Second Spin: Following the success of its 2018 event, the much anticipated Vinyl Festival returns to Dún Laoghaire from November 1- 3, promising once again to be an unmissable experience for music fans and vinyl record aficionados. The festival will take place in a selection of venues around Dún Laoghaire, including The LexIcon Library Studio, The National Maritime Museum, The Pavilion Theatre and The Lighthouse. It will involve a collection of talks and discussions relating to all aspects of vinyl recordings – from writing, recording, producing and performing, down to examining sleeve design and liner notes. The importance and significance of vinyl records in our culture today will also be explored. Highlights of the festival look set to be two live gigs featuring Johnny, Barry & Jim of Horslips on November 1 and 2 in the Pavilion Theatre (43 years on from recording their Horslips Live album in Dún Laoghaire’s old Pavilion). Meanwhile, Vicky McClure of Line of Duty and This is England fame will host a DJ set in The Lighthouse on the Saturday night.

Ocean Colour Scene’s ‘Moseley Shoals’ And ‘Marchin’ Already’ Set For Vinyl Reissue: Big sellers during the mid-1990s, these legend-enshrining albums were also spawned a succession of highly-acclaimed UK Top 10 hits. Two landmark Ocean Colour Scene albums, Moseley Shoals and Marchin’ Already are set for reissue on heavyweight, 180g vinyl on 27 September, through UMC/Island. Following a successful red vinyl edition for Record Store Day, Moseley Shoals will be returning on heavyweight black wax. Arguably the band’s quintessential title, it was originally released in 1996, at the height of Britpop when it reached No. 2 in the UK, and amassed 92 weeks on the charts, going on to sell a million copies world-wide. ‘Moseley’ takes its name from an area in Birmingham, and ‘Moseley Shoals’ is a tribute to Muscle Shoals, the legendary soul recording studios in Alabama. Having made a low key start to their career with a self-titled album in the early 1990s, Ocean Colour Scene’s career was boosted by two things – the endorsement of two of Britain’s biggest pop stars – Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher, and the exposure given to the first single, ‘The Riverboat Song’, by Chris Evans on his hit TV show TFI Friday.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live Shots: Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals and Trombone Shorty at Huntington Bank Pavilion, 8/17

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue have hit the road this summer on a co-headlining tour. They swung through Chicago’s summer concert hotspot—Huntington Bank Pavilion—on what turned out to be a beautiful Saturday night.

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue hit the stage hard and didn’t let up. The band brought some much appreciated New Orleans flair and played with such intensity that every song might as well have been their last. Trombone Shorty was more than happy to share the spotlight with his bandmates, as each took their moment to solo and shine.

Ben Harper assembled the original Innocent Criminals (Juan Nelson, Leon Mobley, and Oliver Charles) for this tour and what a treat it was to see them all together twenty years later. Their set felt more introspective and intimate than Shorty’s spirited performance, but that’s the beauty of Harper’s work. It was particularly satisfying to hear some of his older tunes (“Fight for Your Mind,” “Welcome to the Cruel World”) as well as a great cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.”

The tour hits the east coast next and wraps up at the end of August in Lenox, MA.

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The TVD Storefront

Needle Drop: Morsifire featuring Emily Afton, “Contact”

Frisco-based alt hip hop artist Morsifire is well versed in the art of committing his mental anguish to tape.

He’s experienced an unbelievable amount of trauma in his young adult life, and his honest songs bravely explore the depths of his pain. Yes, his debut LP, Metanoia, is clearly a therapeutic exorcism of his inner demons, but it also shows the boundless promise of an MC who is not afraid to tackle more substantial themes.

“Contact” is about the untimely loss of his younger sister, (one of the several family members he’s lost along the way), and Morsifire succeeds in honoring her by constructing a cathartic memorial of heartfelt verses that delve into the past and project into the future—all weaved together with a beautiful hook from San Fran songbird Emily Afton. It’s an evocative interplay of tones that recalls Eminem’s career high collaboration with Dido, “Stan.”

The forthcoming LP, Metanoia, arrives in stores on October 11, 2019.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Fairport Convention, Unhalfbricking

If folk music scares me–and it does–English folk music really scares me; I’m still trying to recover from the traumatic consequences of inadvertently viewing a YouTube video of Pentangle performing the pro-virginity dirge “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme.”

That said, I’ve always made an exception for Fairport Convention in general, and their LP 1969’s Unhalfbricking in particular. Unhalfbricking was the work of a band moving away from American influences towards the Ye Olde English-style minstrelsy, and the music they performed during said transition is some of their best.

Fairport Convention’s take on folk rock is decidedly English–as English as eel pie. And how couldn’t it be–listening to Sandy Denny, who remains arguably the best English folk singer in the history of recorded music, is like walking the Cornish cliffs of Tintagel on a lovely May morn. But–and the caveat is critical–you never get the awful sense you’ve wandered into the bucolic pagan setting of the 1973 film The Wicker Man, where you’ll be shoved into a wicker totem and burned alive, a sacrifice to a bountiful harvest, as the happy villagers sing “Sumer Is Icumen In.” (A tune I’m sure Pentangle performed all the time.)

While “lovely” best describes the songs on Unhalfbricking, you get plenty of variety: a trio of exceptional Dylan covers; one instant classic; a pair of slower numbers that creep up on you, and one Cajun-flavored rock’n’roller that sticks out, if you’ll bear the obscure allusion, like Beau Brummell at a stevedores’ convention. Oh, and there’s one simply incredible song that somehow manages to bridge the gap between the English traditional folk form and the Velvet Underground.

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