Needle Drop: The Van T’s, “Laguna Babe” EP

Honeyblood, Hinds, Menace Beach—over the last few years there have been a number of excellent post-punk, female-led bands to emerge onto the alternative music scene, and with their new EP “Laguna Babe,” The Van T’s are making a strong case to join them.

Led by twins Hannah and Chloe Van Thompson, these Glaswegian rockers combine dual vocals with simple but catchy reverbed guitar lines and frantic drums to produce tunes which come with all the energy you might expect—yet with some equally impressive songcraft.

Title track “Laguna Babe” (which has also been released as a single), lures you with its slow grungy intro before dropping into the double-time verse and a classic surf-rock lead guitar line. “Growler” on the other hand brings to mind strong comparisons to bands like the Pixies with its harmonically distorted guitars and heavy ride cymbal drum beat.

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TVD Asbury Park

The Best of 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.

“How do you interpret a Beatle? How can you alter their lyrics and music into your own vision; give them a new sound, or feel? How can one do so in a way that won’t detract from the timeless originals, but yet be unique enough for people to want to hear? Those were some of the challenges facing Paterson, NJ’s John Pizzarelli when he decided to embark upon his latest project, “Midnight McCartney.”

But, it wasn’t really John’s idea, it was Paul’s. Having worked with Paul as a featured jazz guitarist on his 2012 standards release, Kisses on the Bottom the former Beatle was aware of Pizzarelli’s jazz chops and methods of interpretation. So, he sat right down and wrote him a little letter about interpreting his solo work in a jazz setting. When Macca makes a suggestion, you’d best follow suit.

Join us this week as we talk McCartney originals, recording with a legend, and how the miles that separate Paterson from Liverpool aren’t really all that much between musicians.” —EZT

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Video Premiere: Jemima Surrender, “Hammer and Peg”

“The video was made pretty organically (that means we didn’t have any ideas, hah!) but I knew I wanted the hammer and peg toy in it, although I normally don’t like literal videos.”

“The hammer and peg imagery is borrowed and twisted from the sweet little book Naive. Super by Erlend Loe. The main character uses it to find peace, ‘exquisite monotony,’ in the song though it’s more a metaphor for feeling beaten by the monotony of relationships and a constant need for validation.

That monotony is easy and safe, but empty at the same time. The song isn’t all doom and gloom though, it’s self-empowering, which is probably why the video is colourful with a lot of me in it! The cat decided she wanted to be in it so we didn’t really have a choice, otherwise she wees on our stuff.”
Millie Phipps

Bristol-based trio Jemima Surrender channels ’90s alt-rock in quirky video for “Hammer & Peg.”

We have the pleasure of premiering the video off the band’s debut, The Uninhabited World, which oozes casual charm and indie sensibility. The stark punk approach to their instrumentation enhances the subtle visual flow, while lead singer Millie Phipps’ cerebral lyricism comes to life when sung directly into the camera.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Billy Bragg & Wilco,
Mermaid Avenue

Of all the musical collaborations that come to mind, none is as both as lovely and as rambunctious as Mermaid Avenue, the album Billy Bragg and Wilco recorded of music they set to the lyrics of the greatest folkie of them all, Woody Guthrie. It never fails to move me, or do a silly dance as Jeff Tweedy sings in the great “Hoodoo Voodoo.” Kindred spirits, Bragg and Wilco achieve an amazing feat; they provide ingenious musical settings for songs that Guthrie, who’d written the lyrics, was too sick to write music for due to the physical impairments of Huntington’s Disease. It’s truly a masterpiece this one, and never fails to remind me of E.M. Cioran’s comment that “What is not heartrending is superfluous, at least in music.”

It was Nora Guthrie, Woody’s father, who offered the lyrics to radical folk singer Billy Bragg, who went to Wilco about recording an album. The sessions ended up being stormy; Wilco’s Jay Bennett felt that Bragg’s musical settings were too ornate, and there was a falling out. Bennett called Bragg about re-recording some of Bragg’s recordings, to which the Englishman replied, “”You make your record, and I’ll make mine, fucker.” But things were finally settled, and I’m of the opinion that Bennett overreacted; the songs sound all of a piece, like a latter-day Basement Tapes.

From the wild opener, “Walt Whitman’s Niece,” a raucous and harmonica-fueled tune featuring group vocals and a spoken section by Bragg about a run-in with a woman who claimed to be Walt Whitman’s niece to the sublimely beautiful “California Stars,” the album will make you dizzy with joy from the start. “California Stars” boasts an ethereal melody that will make you swoon, some lovely piano and guitar, and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy on vocals. He wants to make lay his head on a bed of California stars, and violinist Eliza Carthy helps provide the beautiful sound that makes the song altogether irresistible. That and Jay Bennett’s piano, and lots of guitars. One of my favorite songs of all time, this one.

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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 to inform the next trip to your local indie record store.

The Frisbys – Give In To The Dark
Suntrodden – Sunrise To Sunset
Drew Gibson – Bettie-Jane
E T E R N A L S – Out Of Context
Violent Mae – In The Sun
OVERLAKE – Travelogue
Broken Gold – Turning Blue
Germany Germany – October
Shapes On Tape – Still Believe in Love
Monogem – Wait And See (Adam Johan Remix)

Donna Missal – Hotline Bling

Moa Holmsten – Tougher Than The Rest
Bobby Shoebotham – Somebody Else’s Girl
Postcards From Jeff – Goddess Of The Sun
The Drama State – Pool House Envy (feat. AJ Perdomo)
Shannon and the Clams – It’s Too Late
The Black Ships – Dead Empires
Shinobi Ninja – Bang Bang
Grave Babies – Something Awful
Strange & Primitive – Highwayman

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 11/30/15

Digital Culture, Meet Analog Fever: It turns out that while the digital often comes close to crushing its analog precedents, that process can do something curious to its putative victims: underscore their virtues, elevate their status and transform the formerly workaday into something rarefied, special, even luxurious.

Jack White previews Third Man store at opening party: Before its doors open to the public on Friday, Jack White threw a private party for a few hundred guests at his new Third Man Records store in the Cass Corridor Thursday night. Those guests — friends, family and members of the Detroit rock community — were given a sneak preview of White’s expansive new emporium, a black and yellow wonderland selling all manner of Third Man goodies, collectible vinyl and Jack White-themed merchandise.

Jack White To Open Vinyl Plant: Demand is apparently considerably backed up at the two main plants in the region, but Third Man will primarily be used to press Third Man’s own releases while also opening itself up to local acts. Co-founder Ben Blackwell told Pitchfork: “This is going to make it easier for a little punk band to make 300 copies of a 7”.”

Record stores learn to embrace Black Friday without getting carried away: “Anything that puts people’s focus at a record store is good,” says Chris Penn, co-owner and manager of Good Records on Lower Greenville. “It’s got good intent.”

Record Store Day draws Black Friday crowd to UHF Records: For some, Black Friday is about the deals. For others, it’s about the tunes. A crowd of about 40 people who braved unpleasant weather Friday morning outside of UHF in Royal Oak would fall into the latter category.

Sound and Color will bring vinyl records and a flair for design to Grand Avenue in January: Sound and Color, a mixed-use space that will host a design studio, vinyl retail store, gallery space for art shows and more, will open on Grand Avenue in January…“We just kind of want to do our part and give people a little platform to come and share their music and not feel weird about being in a record store and, you know, actually talking about tunes and sharing music,” Tsimahidis said. “First and foremost, you know, you’ve got to share the music.

Seth Troxler buys Dave Haslam’s record collection: Remember we told you about former Haçienda DJ Dave Haslam selling his record collection? Well, it’s been sold to Seth Troxler. Dave announced in October that he would be flogging about 4,500 pieces of wax, saying he wanted to get rid of the lot in one go, and the records will soon be in Seth’s hands.

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The TVD Record Store Club

The TVD Record Store Club for 11/27/15

Welcome to the TVD Record Store Club for the week ending 11/27/15.

The TVD Record Store Club is another free feature we’ve added to The TVD Record Store Locator App that recently relaunched refreshed and rebranded. The Club points to a record store agenda that we’re assembling for your weekend now that new release vinyl lands in stores on Fridays—AND for the early part of the week coming when those mom and pops could use the foot traffic.

Every Thursday we’ll be tipping you off right here at TVD—and within the app at the Club tab—to releases of merit newly on store shelves, along with in-store ticket giveaways you can win by simply waving the app, pricing incentives, contests, cool partner initiatives, and a host of surprises we’re looking forward to putting in your pocket on the regular.

Ostensibly, the TVD Record Store Club exists to light a fire under you each week and weekend to get out to your local mom and pop record shops, but with Record Store Day’s Black Friday event looming, it’s kinda been taken care of for us this week. Our picks from among the Black Friday releases come from The Arcs, The B-52’s, Buzzcocks, Gang of Four, Green Day, and The Jesus and Mary Chain.

In addition to the Record Store Day flood of product this weekend, Saturday brings you Small Business Saturday, which is at the crux of our daily agenda at TVD when you get right down to it. So, after your record rummage, why not “shop small” and spend some time in your local indie comic book retailers, your book stores, the little coffee spot, that donut shop, sandwich store, or small batch brewery. It’s habit forming.

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TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots: The Cult and Primal Scream at the Warfield, 11/17

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-7

I’ve seen The Cult perform live almost a dozen times and they never cease to amaze me. How could one ever get tired of the combination of Ian Astbury’s dark yet soulful voice and Billy Duffy’s one of a kind Phil Spector-esque wall of sound guitar tone?

Add in some of the most iconic and memorable rock songs of the past 30 years and you have arguably one of the greatest rock bands on the planet in my opinion. For some reason they seem to play in San Francisco more than any other city in the country, but this time around it was quite a different show.

The Cult Photographed by Jason Miller-2-2

Teaming up with Scottish rock gods Primal Scream, the co-headlining bill appropriately named “Primal Cult,” is in the midst of a short West Coast run. I’m a casual fan of Primal Scream as they usually come in one of two flavors in regards to their live shows. One being their signature, noise-induced psychedelic electro-rock in the form of Screamadelica and Evil Heat (which I totally dig as do so many aging hipsters), and the second, their Stones-infused classic rock jams found on my favorite two records from them, Riot City Girl and the terribly underrated Give Out but Don’t Give Up. This show in particular would feature the later.

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The TVD Storefront

Josh Rosenthal’s The Record Store of the Mind: A Consideration

Before founding and operating his consistently rewarding label, Josh Rosenthal worked in the big-time music industry. Prior to that he was in college radio and even earlier was just a budding music junkie, seeds planted in childhood gradually blossoming into Tompkins Square Records. Along the way he’s naturally amassed some stories, viewpoints and favorites, and some of them are corralled in his new book The Record Store of the Mind. Folks with sizable collections should find it a welcome companion, and those just getting the fever will likely have their horizons broadened and want lists substantially increased.

A little over halfway through The Record Store of the Mind, in a chapter simply titled “Jazz,” Josh Rosenthal bluntly states a personal requirement regarding the particular section’s topic; even in traditional jazz, or “inside” stuff to borrow the parlance of the music, a discernible “outside” element still needs to be present or the end result will fail to grab his interest.

Non-jazz buffs might not get it; for one thing, the conventional (received) wisdom is that above all else jazz must “swing.” But Rosenthal’s prerequisite makes total sense and is a fairly common barometer; for instance, this writer adores the titanic outside piano of Cecil Taylor and also loves the inside with undercurrents of out mode of Bill Evans but has hardly ever been swayed by the (at least to these ears) firmly inside style of Oscar Peterson.

Of course, the parameters of “out” will vary by listener; is it enough to experiment, or does there need to be an aspect of friction at play? And like, what’s your take on Ahmad Jamal? But I digress, as digressing is a foible that afflicts music nuts and yes indeed, music writers as well. However, it bears noting that Rosenthal keeps close to the various points at hand throughout his collection.

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The TVD Storefront

Brenna Whitaker,
The TVD First Date

“I go to a lot of estate sales as I’m intrigued by anything with a little dust on it.”

“Having bought and listened to records since I was a teenager, I’m huge fan of vinyl. I find as an adult now (oh god), I’m most creative working while listening to creepy, slightly sharp (or flat) horn solos from the ’40s or jazz noire compilations from all the fabulous European companies that are helping to keep vinyl alive.

My current record player was bought at the Melrose Flea market in Hollywood and is a Vintage 1972 SE -990 Panasonic that came with matching speakers. It’s been a total gem and an integral part of me discovering myself in the City of Angels. There is nothing more relaxing than cooking or hanging out with my dogs, Louis Armstrong, and Pearl Bailey with lit candles and listening to my favorite pianist, Vince Guaraldi. My most favorite records lately have come from a website called Fantastic Voyage. They have all the rarities that inspire and fuel me to do what I do in life.

Growing up in Kansas City as a kid, I did a lot of professional theater and my mom and dad would drive me to do 2PM matinée and 8PM performances all the time. In the car we listened to this fabulous radio station called Fish Fry Friday that basically changed my life. Lyrically the way songs told stories in the ’50s and ’60s has really stuck with me.

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