TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I want to live at / The Holiday Inn / Where somebody else makes the bed / We’ll watch TV while / The lights on the street / Put all the stars to death / It’s been on my mind since Bowie died / Just checking out to hide from life / And all of our problems, I’m gonna solve ’em / With you riding shot-gun, speeding, ’cause fuck the cops

And you, you must have been looking for me / Sending smoke signals / Pelicans circling / Burning trash out on the beach

These days I rarely compile The Idelic Hour on a Tuesday. Monday I was feeling under the weather. Although we tried to stay out of last weekend’s “smokey conditions,” my body felt heavy and slow to start the week.

By Tuesday I was feeling back to par and spent most of the day in my cozy office, working away at the hustle of the 21st century music business, drinking coffee and eating delicious vegetables from my beloved Hollywood Farmers Market. The thought dawned on me that both “smoke” and “Tuesdays” have a fair share of tunes. I nonchalantly threw a few tunes on a playlist. My mind went from “Smoke on the Water” to a childhood favorite from The Platters. Then from “Ruby Tuesday” to Bowie’s Deram Records classic “Love You Til Tuesday.”

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: Amon Amarth, Grand Magus, At the Gates, and Arch Enemy at The Fillmore Silver Spring, 10/13

The ticket said “The Raid of Silver Spring,” and that meant only one thing: Swedish metal giants were in town, bringing metal to the huddled masses of suburban Washington, DC direct from Sweden.

Going into the evening, I’d hoped to steer clear of the easy Viking clichés, but having a look around the venue, I saw fans wearing kilts and Viking helmets while carefully sipping beer from drinking horns. The bands on this Sunday night’s bill, headlined by the Viking metal behemoths themselves, Amon Amarth, traffic in the imagery, so I’ll join in. Indeed, the name of the tour, “Berserker,” is the name given to the fiercest of all Viking warriors, so anything else is pointless and not fun.

I’d need the strength of my Scandinavian ancestors to endure this assault; Grandma and Grandpa Swanson, help me out here. I’d argue it wasn’t so much a raid as recruitment, as the enthusiastic fans—packing the Fillmore to its chandelier-adorned ceiling—needed no coercion to board the ship.

Whetting our appetite for the plunder were Stockholm metal veterans Grand Magus. In a roughly 25 minute, five song set, the trio (Janne Christoffersson, Mats Skinner, and Ludwig Witt) stirred the masses with their doom/stoner metal sound, including a taste (“Untamed”) from their latest album, Wolf God, released this spring. A genuinely appreciative Christoffersson declared the Fillmore crowd the “loudest” they’d ever played for and suggested a residency right there, because who needs Vegas? The crowd roared in agreement and, during the last song of the set, sent Grand Magus off by chanting along with “Hammer of the North.”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: The Viscaynes & Friends, Sly Stone’s earliest recorded music in stores 12/6

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Formed in Vallejo, California in the 1950’s, The Viscaynes were a high school doo-wop group who are said to be the first recorded singing group of Sylvester Stewart (aka Sly Stone), and the launching point of his extensive career.

The group gained some early notoriety with a performance on Dick Stewart’s Dance Party, after which they were introduced to producer George Motola. Charting on KYA radio’s top 60 chart in 1961, “Yellow Moon” became a hit song for The Viscaynes, though they split up around the time of the song’s popularity. The Viscaynes & Friends is the first official full-length release from the group, coming to light only after a master tape reel was discovered more than half a century since the group disbanded. The release features seven tracks from Sly and The Viscaynes, along with one cut from the The Individuals and two from The Precisions, all of which were produced by Motola.

The Viscaynes & Friends will be widely available on black vinyl, CD, and digital formats beginning December 6, 2019. You can pre-order the album now from our online store. Our friends at Zia Record Exchange will carry an exclusive “Yellow Moon” color vinyl pressing, limited to just 200 copies. Both vinyl editions come in a gatefold jacket with extensive liner notes from author, historian, and radio host Rickey Vincent.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Mixtape Potluck by Questlove
in bookstores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “Even with its many flashy co-authors, Mixtape Potluck never wavers from its earnest stated intent: to help readers plan the best possible dinner party. With friends like his, Quest is one to trust.” —Eater

Questlove’s new book, Mixtape Potluck (Abrams Image), was released today. In the book, Questlove imagines the ultimate potluck dinner party. He invites more than fifty chefs, entertainers, artists, thought leaders, and musicians and asks them to bring along their favorite recipe, see the full guest list below. He also pairs each guest with a song that he feels best captures their unique creative energy. The book starts with a charming foreword by fellow potluck aficionado Martha Stewart and finishes with Questlove’s tips on how to make the perfect dinner party playlist.

The result is not only an accessible, entertaining cookbook but also a collection of diverting musical commentaries. With Questlove’s inimitable style of hosting dinner parties and entertaining guests, Mixtape Potluck gives readers unexpected insights into the fascinating creative relationship between music and food.

The Guest List | Éric Ripert • Carla Hall • Tom Sachs • Fred Armisen • Martha Stewart • Dustin Yellin • Ardenia Brown • Padma Lakshmi • Greg Baxtrom • Ignacio Mattos • Camille Becerra • Nyesha Arrington • Kelly Fields • Maya Rudolph • Shep Gordon • Tariq Trotter • Alex Stupak • Lilly Singh • Zooey Deschanel • Marisa Tomei • Edouardo Jordan • Flynn McGarry • Jessica Koslow • Amy Poehler • Haile Thomas • Kimbal Musk • Natalie Portman • Jessica Seinfeld • Ashley Graham • Mark Ladner • Humberto Leon • Tanya Holland • Kwame Onwuachi • Yvonne Orji • Jimmy Fallon • Carol Lim • Kevin Tien • Athena Calderone • Andrew Zimmern • JJ Johnson • Mashama Bailey • Missy Robbins • Chris Fischer • Jessica Biel • Melody Ehsani • Dominique Ansel • Christina Tosi • Joey Baldino • Thelma Golden • Gabrielle Union • Kether Donohue • Dave Arnold • Matty Matheson • Stanley Tucci • Q-Tip • Jarobi White • Eric Wareheim • Janina Gavankar

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Replacements,
The Shit Hits the Fans

Please allow me to begin this review with an anecdote, most likely apocryphal. Seems Minneapolis’ The Replacements went into a recording studio, and when they left the cleaning person, or whoever, found vomit–on the ceiling.

True or not, the story serves as a testimony to The Replacements’ reputation as a band of drunken don’t give a fucks–they were the band that got a big break in the form of an invitation to appear on Saturday Night Live and literally sabotaged themselves by getting drunk beforehand and sending the word “fuck” out to an entire nation–live and on the air. SNL producer Lorne Michaels’ exact words afterwards were “Your band will never perform on television again!”

The Replacements were infamous for the falling down drunk live shows; put ‘em on stage, and there was a good chance they’d muck it up. Whether they did so on purpose is a good question, but they seemed to take a perverse pleasure in falling apart in public. Songs would disintegrate in real time, vocalist Paul Westerberg and guitarist Bob Stinson might get into a tussle, and on many a night the band said to hell with playing their originals in favor of playing a bunch of cover songs they’d never played before. Depending on your point of view, such shows were either a rip-off or one of the most liberating experiences of your life.

This is where 1985’s The Shit Hits the Fans comes in. The cassette-only live album captures the band at their hit-or-miss best at a show in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and depending on who you talk to the cassette was a) seized from an illegal taper by the band’s sound guy or b) stolen by the band’s sound guy from the club’s manager, who’d asked for permission to record the show (Westerberg’s reply: “Why? We suck.”).

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 10/18/19

Bridport, UK | Bridport Music set to close this month: A record store is winding down as it gets set to close its doors for the final time – after more than 40 years in business. Bridport Music will shut on October 26 and Steph and Piers Garner, who run the shop, have thanked all their customers over the years. The couple say they’ve put their ‘hearts and souls’ into running the business but are ready to move on to the next phase of their lives after more than four decades. Mrs Garner said: “We have had many lovely, loyal customers over the years and we want to say a big ‘thank you’ to them. We will miss it – it’s been a big part of our lives. We have brought up three kids in this time, paid off a mortgage and now it’s time for us to move on. It’s hard work running a business – but we’ve managed to make it work.The size of the shop, and its potential, will make someone else a good living. It’s time for some fresh blood.”

Norwich, UK | Tributes paid after death of well-known record shop owner: Robin Watson died aged 75 on September 27 after being diagnosed with cancer some years earlier. Mr Watson, who was born in Essex, first set up Robin’s Records on Norwich market in 1971, at the time operating just one day a week. He had been selling records at markets across the country, but, after growing fond of the city, decided to set up home in Norwich, opening a permanent store on Pottergate two years later. He weathered years of change in the industry and overcame obstacles – in 1977, thousands of pounds worth of stock was destroyed by fire – to become a popular spot in the city for music lovers. His wife Gillie Bexfield described him as a warm, generous man who loved his family, music and cooking, and who was something of a wine connoisseur. “He was just lovely,” she said. “He was generous, he was always loving, upbeat and cuddly, and just good fun to be around…”

Anastasia Island, FL | Join in celebrations at St. Augustine Beach: Two community events are on tap at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre next week. The Fall St. Augustine Record Fair will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. It will feature live music, family friendly activities, food and drinks and more than 25 music vendors. Thousands of music-related items including new and used vinyl records, posters, turntable equipment and supplies, memorabilia, collectibles will be available for purchase. Activities will include the “DJ 101 Session for Kids,” hosted by DJ Dorian Lopez, who will also do sets throughout the day. Food and beverages will be available for purchase from several on-site food trucks as well as the Amphitheater’s own concessions.

UK | Does HMV have a future on the UK’s high street? When HMV opened its first store on London’s Oxford Street in 1921, it kick-started the company’s journey to selling music and film to the masses and becoming an iconic entertainment brand – both in the UK and abroad. However, the struggle to stay afloat on the UK’s high street became evident back in January 2013, when a period of decline saw the retailer collapse into administration – placing 4350 employees at risk of redundancy. The following April, restructuring firm Hilco came to its rescue with a £110 million deal despite HMV having £176 million in debt – including £20 million in tax owed to the HMRC. Just five years later though, HMV filed for a second administration. When it collapsed again a few days after Christmas 2018, Hilco blamed the “tsunami” of retail competition that HMV faced. Rick Smith, managing director of insolvency specialist Forbes Burton, said HMV “simply had too many unprofitable stores, not offering anything new and not reacting to the changing retail landscape as quickly as they should have done”. “There is also the high rents and business rates that are still strangling many businesses on the high street…”

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD Live: Bastille
and Joywave at the Greek, 10/12

PHOTOS: JULIA LOFSTRAND | In these troubling times Bastille’s music feels like an antidote. Their simple tales of love, heartache, joy, and doom resonate with people worldwide. And it makes sense. Daniel Smith, the group’s lead singer and songwriter, has an English language and literature degree, and is an adept storyteller. They are out on this current tour supporting the release of their latest album, Doom Days.

Openers Joywave, an indie synth pop quintet from Rochester, NY played their entire set in matching neon yellow shirts and Adidas sweatpants preparing for a few up-and-coming shows where they will headline. Opening for Bastille is no easy task. Not that there isn’t enough talent in the world because there is, it’s just that their originality is hard to match. Smith, known for his fascination with film (every Bastille album cover resembles a movie poster) brought stage production values to this tour. Songs were played to easily movable sets much like a Broadway show, each song having its own space to tell its story.

The new album, Doom Days, focuses on our planet’s undeniable nihilistic condition, a theme constant for Bastille. Smith told the crowd that while making the album, they set out to create something optimistic but invariably created something depressing. They opened with a “Quarter Past Midnight” the first song off of Doom Days, and played material from each of their three studio albums including “Of the Night”—a brilliant mashup cover of two 1990s dance classics: Snap!’s “Rhythm is a Dancer” and Corona’s “Rhythm of the Night.”

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TVD UK

TVD Live Shots: Alice Cooper, The Stranglers, and MC50 at the O2 Arena, 10/10

The godfather of shock rock, Alice Cooper is alive and well as he delivers one final masterclass in all things horror, rock ‘n’ roll, and stellar musicianship.

He’s 71, but you would never guess it. His band is full of incredible musicians, and the stage show is a theatrical masterpiece celebrating everything that society fears, both past and present. At times it’s undoubtedly comical with the giant inflatable babies and twenty-foot monsters in chains, but the message never gets lost, and it’s incredibly entertaining. On top of all that, you have one of the most celebrated catalogues in rock ‘n’ roll history to pull from as the centrepiece.

Cooper pulled out all of the stops for this one including the guillotine, Frankenstein, straitjackets, an insane mental ward nurse (played by his lovely wife), along with a cast of monsters and ghoulish tricks that ended with a shower of confetti and a full house of fans singing “Schools Out” at the top of their lungs. Joining Cooper on stage for the encore was none other than original Alice Cooper band bassist Dennis Dunaway who looked right at home jamming alongside the newbies.

The setlist that night pulled from Cooper’s incredible catalogue and didn’t discriminate between the ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s albums as there were gems drawn from each. “Roses on White Lace” from Raise Your Fist and Yell? Holy shit. I didn’t see that one coming. Not to mention, “He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask),” the theme from Friday the 13th.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Child’s Play OST 2-LP vinyl edition in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The complete 1988 score by Joseph Renzetti remastered for vinyl from the original master tapes.

Waxwork Records is thrilled to announce the release of Child’s Play Original 1988 Motion Picture Music by Joseph Renzetti! Child’s Play is a 1988 American horror film directed by Tom Holland and starring Brad Dourif and Catherine Hicks. The film is based on the story by Don Mancini of a widowed mother that gifts her son, Andy Barclay, with a popular “Good Guy” doll for his birthday, unaware that the doll is possessed by the soul of a serial killer named Charles Lee Ray.

The film immediately gained a cult following, and its success spawned a multi-media franchise that includes a series of six sequels and a remake of the original movie. It remains one of the paramount and classic horror movies from the 1980’s. The Chucky character has earned his rightful place alongside other slashers and horror icons such as Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, and Jason Voorhees.

Child’s Play electronic / orchestral hybrid film score by Joseph Renzetti is a fan favorite that was released on the vinyl format only once prior in 1989 after the theatrical release of the movie. Ominous synth drones, pulsing electronic percussion, and nightmarish de-tuned harpsichords round out the terrifying score. The music of Child’s Play moves from hellish soundscapes to driving, chase-like rhythms in violent fashion.

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The TVD Storefront

Caramel, The TVD First Date and Video Premiere, “Queesh”

“Vinyl provides an entirely different listening experience to any digital audio medium; it captures the spirit of the original studio recording and adds that analog magic. Having something physical with large format artwork brings meaning as well as helping to simulate visual cues, lending a part to play in the wonder of vinyl.”

“I was brought up in the seaside town of Southend-On-Sea, Essex, England. Growing up with musicians around me, strangely, I never really took much of an interest in playing an instrument until I was 15 years old. I was first turned on to records by my Father, who would play a lot of ’70s and ’80s rock/prog on vinyl, but his biggest lust was The Beatles (he is actually a renowned historian of the group and has worked with Paul McCartney on a few occasions).

I have a love for synthesisers and this has inspired my taste in music equally as much as the influential music that my Father would play throughout my formative years. Recently, records such as Piero Umiliani’s Synthi Time, Air – Moon Safari, Broadcast – Work And Non Work and a lot of synth-based library music from KPM have strongly influenced the music I have produced. Anything by Piero Umiliani and Mort Garson is going to be right up my street. I prefer writing music with distant memories of these albums as it makes for a more organic and personal feel to the sounds I create.

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve: New in Stores for October 2019, Part Three

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

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Los Siquicos Litoraleños, Medianos Éxitos Subtropicales Vol. 2: El Relincho Del Tiempo (Hive Mind) From the rural north of Argentina comes a sound that’s gloriously weird. While the folk music of their home country is the bedrock, with the spirt of Tropicalia also present, there is detectible punk fuckery happening, though a better way of putting it is to say this reminds me a lot of The Residents. Once heard, it was a hard similarity to shake, but the group never sounded too much like the Eyeballers, and that really increased the impressiveness. Mixing new material with selections from the group’s extensive archive of home recordings probably aids in the strangeness retaining such a consistently high level of quality. There is a Vol. 1, released on tape in 2016, and it’s still available. A-

The Muffs, No Holiday (Omnivore) Guitarist-vocalist-songwriter Kim Shattuck has left us far too soon, departing this mortal coil shortly before the release of this, her band’s seventh LP. Soaking up the 18 tracks drives home the solidity of the endeavor, which makes its release especially bittersweet. Shattuck was a rock scene lifer, playing in The Pandoras when this middle-ager was just discovering the whole ’80s u-ground rock shebang, and one thing about long-haulers is how they regularly exude a sorta careerist vibe, an understandable aura if one that’s often underwhelming. But not Shattuck. Her stuff, No Holiday’s stuff, a batch of songs written between ’91-’07, radiates love for ’60s-ish pop mixed with ’77 punk roar. It’s out on CD and 2LP but with a standard album length. RIP Kim, you’ll be missed. A-

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: Milton Delugg & His Orchestra, Music for Monsters, Munsters, Mummies & Other TV Fiends & The Munsters, S/T (Real Gone) Halloween is coming, don’tcha know. We’ll cover these two vinyl reissues now to give folks ample time to swipe copies for their upcoming costume soiree, and we’re going to group them together as that makes utter sense, though they do offer fairly distinct approaches to the holiday theme. The Delugg album can be considered as a cash-in, and a kitschy one at that, but it’s also a load of fun, leaning HARD into a ’60s TV theme-talk show big band sensibility that I find hard to resist. There are undisguised steals from Mancini, cuts reminiscent of or in direct reference to Neal Hefti and Vic Mizzy, plus a fair amount of non-crap organ stylings.

The Munsters is also a money grab, but it’s a Wrecking Crew-affiliated one, featuring Glen Campbell and Leon Russell in the studio. Produced by Joe Hooven and Hal Winn, the results are much closer to the youth sound and culture of ’64. It’s surfy with flurries of hot licks and hot rod sounds (the Jan & Dean-knockoff “(Here Comes the) Munster Coach” is borderline ridiculous, and that’s swank), references to Frankenstein wearing a Beatle wig, a vampire stripper scenario with saloon piano, Martin Denny-esque exotica, vocal contributions from the Go Gos (who are noted for their own ’64 LP), and more. Original copies go for hundreds, so this run of 1,000 on grey wax will surely please interested parties who don’t require a first press. The Delugg is a 900-copy edition on green vinyl with a cover by Jack Davis. B+/ B+

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 10/17/19

Brooklyn, NY | New York venue public records opens record store: Located in the venue’s cafe, The Store is the latest addition to the new Gowanus club. Brooklyn’s public records has opened a new in-house record shop, The Store. Run by DJ and bvrly owner Tal Silberstein, The Store officially opened two weeks ago in the public records’ cafe. The shop stocks vinyl spanning African, jazz, disco, ambient, house and more. The selection will also include new releases from partner labels like Rvng Intl., Pacific Rhythm, Séance Centre, Incienso and Sound Metaphors. In addition to records, products from New York art book store Import News will be available for purchase. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 7 PM, the store will also sell audio gear, merchandise and prints. public records, Brooklyn’s new hi-fi bar and music venue, opened in Gowanus last March.

Peterborough, CA | Moondance record store founder Mike Taveroff dies: Mike Taveroff, the founder and operator of the downtown record store Moondance for 46 years before he retired and closed the store in 2018, has died. Mr. Taveroff was 70 and died on Sunday. Mr. Taveroff died of cancer after he was diagnosed in March, the Kawartha Now online site reported. He is survived by his daughters Jesse and Leigh. He was predeceased by his wife Cheryl, who died of cancer in 2017. Mr. Taveroff was a Montreal native who’d been living in Vancouver when he decided to move to Peterborough in the early 1970s. He started selling records in 1972 in his wife Cheryl’s clothing store — called Moondance, after the Van Morrison song. The Taveroffs worked together in the early years before Cheryl stayed home to raise their two daughters. Mr. Taveroff continued to run the store for 46 years, and was known for his eclectic taste, his ability to source rare recordings.

Duncan, OK | Record store opens in Duncan: A new record store is now open in Duncan. Vinyl has made a comeback in recent years, with several record stores opening around southwest Oklahoma. “I think it’s the vintage sound that vinyl has. You can’t duplicate that sound, really, I don’t believe in any other way. Vinyl is something, in my opinion, that has a unique sound of its own and I think that’s what people are drawn to,” said vinyl fan and owner of J & M Family Music Matthew Bernard. Duncan resident Casey Sorensen – Kindt said he grew up listening to music on vinyl and remembered his love for it after he and his wife bought a few records at Goodwill. “We ended up buying several more and every place we stopped we continue looking for them. The collection grew huge so we thought maybe we’d turn around do it our own,” Sorensen – Kindt said. That collection has turned into Put the Needle on the Record, a new record store on Main Street in Duncan.

Fresno, CA | Fresno Rasputin record store owner buys nearby property: …the building was purchased by entrepreneur Ken Sarachan, owner of Rasputin’s Music & Movies, the largest independent chain of record stores in the Bay Area. The Berkeley-based business, which specializes in selling CDs, vinyl records and DVDs, also has stores in Stockton, Modesto and Fresno, the latter a stone’s throw away from Appliance Depot. No record of the sale has yet been processed by Fresno County, but property sales in the county are backed up and can take weeks to process. It’s not clear if Sarachan plans to move the existing Fresno Rasputin’s store to the larger building or if the newly-purchased building will have anything to do with the record and movie store chain. Repeated calls to Sarachan to inquire about his plans for the newly-purchased site — which before becoming an appliance store was a Copeland’s Sports store — weren’t returned, and a broker involved in the sale declined to discuss plans.

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TVD Washington, DC

Independent Minded: A podcast with Ron Scalzo: Eric Astor from Furnace Record Pressing

The Independent Minded podcast features conversations with indie artists in the music and entertainment business.

Pop culture legends “Weird Al” Yankovic and Henry Rollins, indie icons CAKE, Gogol Bordello and Mike Doughty, and up-and-coming indie artists The Districts and Vagabon talk about their experiences in the business, their inspirations and passions, and their recent projects.

The podcast is hosted by Ron Scalzo, an indie musician and radio producer with 9 self-released albums and an independent record label of his own, Bald Freak Music.

Furnace Record Pressing’s Eric Astor | Episode 106 features Eric Astor, founder and CEO of Furnace Record Pressing in Arlington, VA. Eric talks about pressing vinyl, connecting with people, making sense of all the record pressing madness. Find out more about Eric and Furnace Record Pressing at furnacemfg.com

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Jewel, Joy: A Holiday Collection vinyl debut in stores 10/18

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Craft Recordings is pleased to announce a vinyl reissue of Joy: A Holiday Collection from award-winning singer-songwriter Jewel. In stores October 18th, the best-selling title features beloved holiday classics as well as festive, original compositions. The album has been remastered by George Horn and Anne-Marie Suenram at Fantasy Studios and manufactured at Memphis Record Pressing. This reissue marks the very first vinyl availability of the title, which was originally released in 1999.

Joy: A Holiday Collection marked the first outing of yuletide music from Jewel, who had skyrocketed to fame following the release of her first two albums (1995’s Pieces of You and 1998’s Spirit). Jewel worked with producers Arif Mardin (Carly Simon, David Bowie, Diana Ross) and Joe Mardin (Queen Latifah, Bette Midler) to record 13 lushly arranged songs. Backed by a choir (which includes such esteemed singers as Vaneese Thomas, James “D-Train” Williams, and Janice Pendarvis), the singer’s distinctive vocals and versatile range shine as she performs holiday favorites like “Winter Wonderland,” “Joy to the World,” “Ave Maria,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Holy Night.” She also sings several original tracks, including “Face of Love,” “Gloria,” and a Christmas version of her 1998 hit single, “Hands.” Impressively, just one month after its November 1999 release date, the album was certified platinum, peaking at Number Two on the Billboard Holiday Albums chart and Number 32 on the Billboard Top 200.

Having sold over 30 million albums worldwide, Jewel has captivated a generation’s worth of audiences with her unique vocals, folk-pop melodies and introspective lyrics. The Homer, Alaska, native (born Jewel Kilcher) began performing at an early age and, by her late teenage years, was pursuing a career as a musician in San Diego. Despite a rough start, living out of her van as she struggled to make ends meet, Jewel built a loyal local following in coffee shops and clubs, and soon attracted the attention of several record labels. Her debut album, Pieces of You, was released in 1995 when the artist was just 21 and, thanks to hit singles “Who Will Save Your Soul,” “Foolish Games,” and “You Were Meant For Me,” went on to sell over 12 million copies—becoming one of the highest-selling debuts of all time.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Pretty Things,
Greatest Hits

Mention England’s The Pretty Things, and most people will immediately direct your attention to 1968’s S.F. Sorrow, one of Western Civilization’s first rock operas (it preceded The Who’s Tommy by six months). Me, I prefer the band’s earlier, hard-driving R&B songs like “Rosalyn,” “Midnight to Six Man,” and “L.S.D.”

The pre-S.F. Sorrow Pretty Things specialized in a frenetic raunch-n-roll that split the difference between the Rolling Stones and Them. Powered by Phil May’s feral vocals and May’s stab to the heart guitar, the band’s sound was gritty as a mouthful of gravel, and you can hear them (as well as the band’s later psychedelic material) on 2017’s double LP Greatest Hits. Its 25 songs track the band from its R&B and blues-based early years through 1970’s Parachute, and make clear that Pretty Things were key players in the history of English rock ’n’ roll.

The 1964-66 Pretty Things were every bit the bad boys the Stones and The Who were, and quickly won a reputation for sowing chaos wherever they went. May claimed to have the longest hair in the UK; drummer Viv Prince’s mad behavior anticipated those of Keith Moon (and finally got hims sacked from the band). The band’s penchant for mayhem culminated in a 1965 stint in New Zealand, where they provoked as much outrage (and bad publicity) as The Who would later.

The early Pretty Things are best remembered for the 1964 song “Rosalyn,” which David Bowie covered on his 1973 LP Pinups. Bowie’s version reproduces the song’s primitive Bo Diddley beat, but Bowie’s vocals are positively enervated next to May’s Dionysian alley cat yowl. Ditto Pretty Thing’s 1964 hit “Don’t Bring Me Down.” Their version is furious, harmonica-fueled thing, and May goes at it in a full-throttle snarl. Bowie reproduces the song’s anarchic energy, but his singing’s prim, thin, mannered. It’s a case of savage vs. fop, and the savage wins hands down.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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