A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 3/25/19

Tokyo, JP | Tower Records goes all in on the vinyl trend with its new store, Tower Vinyl: Last year proved to be a pivotal one for streaming music in Japan. According to a report by the Recording Industry Association of Japan, 2018 saw plays via platforms such as YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify overtake digital downloads. This would be a great piece of evidence for futurists trying to argue that the Japanese music market is actually catching up to where most other nations are today. But mucking that up is the total lack of info regarding physical sales, a still-major slice of the proverbial pie. And recent changes only underline how important they are, even as different developments point toward other directions. Tower Records opened Tower Vinyl on the 10th floor of its Shinjuku store on March 21. The space, once reserved for pop-up events, now houses 70,000 records, according to the company, with more than half being secondhand.

Orlando, FL | Vinyl Record Stores in Orlando: The evolution of music has spun around like a record now that listening to tracks on vinyl is back on trend. Buying your albums in record form is a hipster movement we can totally support. Everyone remembers their first album. Whether it was a record, eight-track, cassette tape, or CD, before iTunes and Google Play Music, purchasing your first album was a right of passage. Flip through some vinyl and get lost inside a few of these Vinyl Record Stores in Orlando. Foundation College Park: One of the newer stores on the Orlando record store scene, this little shop located in College Park is owned by two brothers who really love their music and love sharing it with their customers. They also have vintage clothing for sale. Park Ave CDs: We were founded on music and will forever be music lovers. We’re an independent record shop and we’re independent minded. We love our home in Orlando and we want to share it with everyone, especially you.

UK | A stark warning warning for record labels: UK industry revenues fell after inflation in 2018: Uh oh. After a run of positive news for the recorded music industry of late comes a reminder today (March 21) that this business can still deliver some troubling figures now and again. In this case, it’s the trade revenues (ie. wholesale cash going to labels and artists) of the UK recorded music industry for 2018, which have just been announced by local trade body the BPI. The headline stat: total revenues delivered to record labels and artists across all formats in the market grew by just 3.1% in the year, up from £839.5m to £865.5m. That represented a significant slowdown from the 10.6% rise seen in the prior 12 months. And to make matters worse: according to the Bank Of England, annual inflation stood at 3.3% in 2018. This means that, with inflation factored in, that £839.5m in 2017 trade revenue was actually worth the equivalent of £867.5m in 2018 – ie. more than the £865.5m generated by the business last year.

Rewind: audio cassette tapes launch a comeback tour: Music tapes unofficially ‘died’ in the 2000s, but fast forward nearly 20 years and sales are on the rise. The humble cassette – that tiny little plastic rectangle containing the home-made mixtapes of yesteryear – is back, joining vinyl as a darling of audiophiles who miss side A and side B. But as top musicians including Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber release their music on tape and demand continues to climb, the niche revival has faced a global shortage of music-quality magnetic tape needed for production. Now, two facilities – one in the American Midwest and the other in western France – have stepped in to meet the need. “It’s a good place to be – there’s plenty of business for both of us,” said Steve Stepp, who founded the National Audio Company in Springfield, Missouri with his father 50 years ago. He said that around 2000 the “imperial hegemony of the CD” cut his business, which stayed alive as a major manufacturer of books on tape that remained popular.

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Wow, this week really flew by. Life and “stuff” are coming and going, seemingly at the speed of light. April showers and the taxman have replaced butterflies and sunshine.

Hopefully the sun will shine and butterflies will flutter back through the canyon. In the meantime, it’s madness. March Madness! To be honest, it’s hard enough to come up with time to dig into a couple of crates of records let alone predict who is gonna win in the first round of the NCAAs.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: Maggie Rose and Them Vibes at U Street Music Hall, 3/16

Last Saturday evening, singer/songwriter Maggie Rose brought her soulful brand of rock to the stage at U Street Music Hall, along with fellow Nashvillians Them Vibes.

This show marked a homecoming of sorts for Rose. The now Nashville based starlet is originally from Potomac, Maryland where she began performing on stage at the age of sixteen with the B Street Band, a prominent area Springsteen cover band. Since then she’s made her way to “Music City” under the advice of Sony Records executive and music producer, Tommy Motolla.

Rose has since gone on to share the stage with some pretty big names. She’s served as tour opener for country music legends Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, and has shared the stage with Sheryl Crow and Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead. Her current tour has her on the road with labelmate Kelly Clarkson, whom she opened for in Connecticut the night before her UHall show.

Just one song into her set I knew it was going to be a very good night. Her years of experience are certainly obvious on stage, but her talents as a songwriter couldn’t be more apparent. In fact, Rose has worked on several national ad campaigns that may have already seeped their way into your consciousness—the most notable being her version of “Old MacDonald,” juxtapposed as “a tribute to the women who are rewriting the rules of farming,” for Land O’ Lakes.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Yoko Ono celebrates 50th wedding anniversary with white vinyl reissue of Wedding Album, in stores today

VIA PRESS RELEASE | To celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary, Yoko Ono will release a special reissue of Wedding Album, out Friday 22nd March with Chimera Music and Secretly Canadian. Its release comes 50 years after Yoko and John were married – to mark the golden wedding anniversary of two of the 20th century’s most emblematic cultural figures.

Originally released in 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Wedding Album was the couple’s third experimental, album-length record, following Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins (1968) and Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions (1969). Wedding Album has been often cited as the most remarkable of the duo’s testaments to an intense romantic and artistic partnership that would last 14 years, until Lennon’s tragic passing in 1980.

As Lennon later recalled, the two artists first met in late 1966, when Ono was preparing an exhibition of her conceptual art in London. On 20th March 1969, John and Yoko were married in a civil service in Gibraltar. To celebrate the event, in lieu of a conventional honeymoon, the newlyweds spent a week in bed at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam, inviting members of the press into their room for interviews and photo sessions to call attention to their campaign for world peace.

With Wedding Album, Lennon and Ono created an enduring snapshot of a vibrant pop-cultural moment, with the hostilities of the Vietnam War as its backdrop. The album features “John & Yoko,” a call-and-response duet, which features John and Yoko calling out each other’s names seductively and playfully over the sound of their heartbeat as well as clips from interviews with reports and John’s acapella version of the Beatles’ song “Good Night.” Altogether, Wedding Album captures the humour, earnestness, and spontaneity that marked the early years of the “Ballad of John and Yoko” era.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Murder In The Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story doc premiering 4/20

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Murder In The Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story will premiere next month on Saturday, April 20 at AMC Kabuki 8 in San Francisco, CA at 1pm. Directed by Adam Dubin (Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right to Party” & “No Sleep ‘til Brooklyn”), the film contains over fifty interviews with various metal stalwarts, (including Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Exodus, Testament, and Death Angel), telling its tall tales through a mix of first-person interviews, animation, and narration by comedian Brian Posehn.

“These are just good stories, and they are very human stories,” says Dubin. Narratively, MITFR follows the story of a group of young kids in Northern California with a shared passion for heavy rock bands like UFO, Iron Maiden, and Motorhead. “All these bands were mainly from England, and they never really toured the West Coast,” says Dubin. “So these young people started creating their own music, starting their own fanzines, booking clubs, and trading tapes. These were people who were adamant about music and the bands, but also each other.”

The documentary is loosely based on a 2012 photojournal of the same name by Harald Oimoen and Brian Lew. “What I loved about the book is that it wasn’t just about Metallica,” says Dubin. “It was documenting a vibrant scene, where all the bands were equal and there was real camaraderie. The photos captured the sweat of the clubs, the ringing in your ears, and the power of young people. Harald and Brian captured the humanity of it, and they understood that I was somebody who could bring that out in a film.”

Another strength of the film is shedding light on bands who never hit the heights of Metallica but certainly cast a wide influence — thrash forefathers Exodus in particular. “There’s a big four of metal that should really be a big five and include Exodus,” says Dubin. “I particularly think the movie will inspire viewers to re-evaluate the contributions of Kirk Hammett, who founded Exodus in the Bay Area three years before Metallica came to town. Kirk was the central mover who put the band together, guided the music, and found frontman wild man Paul Baloff.”

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TVD New Orleans

Delish Da Goddess to play BUKU late night show at the Howlin’ Wolf Friday night, 3/22

Hip-hop stars occasionally come from the most unusual places. Case in point is the rising Louisiana rapper known as Delish Da Goddess. She hails from the tiny town of Violet—population 8,555—downstream from New Orleans in St. Bernard Parish. She is playing a 1 AM show tomorrow night (technically Saturday morning) at the Howlin’ Wolf.

As her star continues to rise, she recently won “Best Rap/Bounce Artist” at the 2018 Big Easy Awards, she is moving into bigger clubs. Her usual haunt is the smallish Poor Boys Bar where she performs frequently and appears as an emcee.

Delish has put out seven EPs and six singles in just four years and has developed compilations with other underground and independent artists. She can also be seen on Diplo’s mini web series “Blow Your Head.”

Delish Da Goddess has cultivated strong local relationships and was called, “the leader of New Orleans’ DIY hip-hop movement” by OffBeat magazine. The show is sure to attract plenty of fans interested in next big thing out of New Orleans. Head by after BUKU.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Lou Reed,
Rock n Roll Animal

On which Mr. Lou Reed, poète maudit of Long Island and member of the most influential avant-garde rock’n’roll band to ever sell about a thousand records, picks himself up a couple of guitar whiz Detroit boys best known for playing with Alice Cooper, pushes ‘em on stage at Howard Stein’s Academy of Music in New Yawk City, and proceeds to turn some of his most beloved Loutoons into heavy metal stompers.

1974’s Rock n Roll Animal Reed must have mortified the VU faithful, but it sure won him the big youth audience. When I fell in love with it I didn’t know the Velvet Underground from Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch, and I’ll never forget the day my older brother and I happened upon a copy of 1969: The Velvet Underground Live in the cheap-o bin at the Woolworth’s in Hanover and popped it into the 8-track on the way home. Did we like it? Hell no! We were so plumb disgusted with it we stopped the car, tossed it out the window, and BACKED THE CAR OVER IT!

In so far as populist moves go Rock n Roll Animal reminds me a lot of Dylan and the Band’s Before the Flood, released the same year. Both live LPs performed the same civic function–shot a buncha sacred songs full of steroids in blatant disregard of the tender feelings of the folks who adored the originals so as to bring ‘em to the hoi polloi (like me!). Fuck subtlety and crank up the volume was the recipe, and Robert Christgau’s words about Before the Flood (“I agree a few of [these songs] will never walk again, but I treasure the sacrilege”) apply as well to Rock n Roll Animal.

Me, I always appreciate a big hard rock move, and Lou pulls this one off without even showing any armpit sweat. The album’s built on the boffo twin guitar attack of Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner, who alternately play it pretty (the legendary “Intro” to “Sweet Jane”) or go the heavyweight route (“Sweet Jane” itself). For the most part the band keeps things hammer-to-thumb simple, the exception being the epic version of “Heroin,” on which they aim for majesty (albeit a very twisted sort of majesty) and hit the nail on the noggin.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 3/22/19

St. Petersburg, FL | St. Petersburg’s Daddy Kool Records says goodbye to the 600 Block with DieAlps! and final sidewalk sale. The shop re-opens in the Warehouse District on Record Store Day. The end really is near for Daddy Kool Records’ three-decade run on Central Avenue, and on Saturday the crew is having one last sidewalk sale to help make moving all of that inventory a little bit easier on their backs. Enjoy deep discounts on vinyl, CDs and other paraphernalia, and also make plans to come back on Sunday when Tampa-based indie-pop band DieAlps! plays a concert on Daddy Kool’s official final afternoon on The 600 Block (the store reopens in the Warehouse District on Record Store Day, April 13). Sat. March 23 (Sidewalk Sale) and Sun. March 24 (concert with DieAlps!). Daddy Kool Records, 666 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. daddykool.com.

Insider’s Guide To Jamaica From A Music Exec Who Carved Her Own Path To Success: …”When starting VP Records, I had to act as both an entrepreneur and a leader during a time when women were still trying to carve a place in the corporate world,” says Chin. Chin is a Jamaican entrepreneur who was raised in Kingston, the island’s cultural capital, by a Chinese mother and an Indian father. In 1958, she and her husband, Randy, opened a used record store called Randy’s that developed a cult following. Within a few years and with their fingers on the pulse of where reggae music was headed, the couple founded Studio 17, a production facility frequented by legendary artists such as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. In the mid-70s, they moved to the U.S. to chase the American dream, bringing their business along with them to service the growing Caribbean market.

Marquette, MI | Group celebrates five years of vinyl record shows: The NMU Vinyl Club is preparing for its 20th Semi-Annual Vinyl Show over the last five years. The Vinyl Show will be at the Ore Dock Brewing Company from Thursday, March 28 through Sunday, March 31. Thursday will be from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday will be from noon until 1 a.m. Sunday will be from noon until 11 p.m. Jon Teichman says there will be tens of thousands of record up for sale during the event as well as tapes, CDs, and plenty of swag like t-shirts and posters. Teichman also says there will be plenty of knowledgeable people around to help you find your favorite artist or band, learn more about your record players, or just to nerd out about music.

Would You Buy A Vinyl Record Of Silence? [No. —Ed.] A new Kickstarter campaign is selling vinyl records of 20-minutes of silence. A Kickstarter campaign for a vinyl record that contains only 20-minutes of silence is the latest to go bonkers. It’s now officially competing for strangest campaign since that man who wanted $10 to make a potato salad. The geniuses behind this simple idea are Eric Antonow and his 15-year-old son Ben. Eric started meditating in 2016, and has been meditating every day since. Eric and his son thought it would be a fun experiment to record and sell silent vinyls, and initially only hoped to raise $600 through a Kickstarter campaign. They’ve now raised over $8,000 AUD. In keeping with silent fashion, they were speechless!

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Todd Snider
at The Birchmere, 3/18

Todd Snider walks on stage in a goofy hat, trusty guitar, barefoot, but also with his equally raggedy dog, Cowboy Jim, who promptly lies down and listens to these songs and stories one more time.

“A dog! How folkie is that!” Snider exclaims to the appreciative audience at the Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria and starts in on one of his newest songs, a talking blues about television, reality, reality television, and our current situation (“Reality killed by a reality star”). It was so up to date it even had a commentary about Michael Jackson (“Reality killed that video star”).

Snider, 52, likes to take apart traditions even as he is extending them, so he took time to explain the rules of the talking blues format (“All you gotta rhyme is a line or two”) within the song. And the format seemed just right for him as his shows are a mix of songs with sometimes equally long stories. And if the songs are old favorites, some of the stories are too. They get their own titles on his live albums, and his audiences laugh anew at each one.

At least the audiences don’t (yet) yell requests for certain stories. But they’re full of song requests, and half the show Monday seemed full of songs that dated back a quarter century or so from “Alright Guy” and “Beer Run,” his most obvious and most popular, to “Play a Train Song” and “Statistician’s Blues.”

Snider first came to fame in 1994, with an offhand rock commentary, “Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues,” about a band too cool to play a note. But that song’s been left off his list and from the requests.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Sol Seppy, The Bells of 12 vinyl reissue in stores 4/13

VIA PRESS RELEASE | German label Groenland Records reissues The Bells of 12, the 2006 debut solo album from Sol Seppy, the project of British singer-songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, Sophie Michalitsianos. She was a member of the band Sparklehorse and toured with Radiohead. The Bells of 12 is out April 13 on vinyl for Record Store Day followed by a CD and digital release on April 19.

All of the songs on The Bells of 12 were written and arranged over two years by Michalitsianos, a classically trained pianist and cellist. Born in England, and growing up between there and Australia, she was raised with music in her blood, beginning to write songs as early as 5 years old.

At sixteen, Sophie wrote music for television documentaries and lent her vocal abilities for free studio time at the EMI studios in Australia. For the next few years, labels would approach her with offers, provided she shifted her image to fit their ideals and sing the pop songs their producers wrote. She politely declined and continued on her own path of exploration. Here Sophie reached a peculiar juncture and went to university with the intention of becoming a diplomat. She soon shifted courses and was accepted into the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where she studied contemporary composition and orchestration. In due course, she began making a name for herself as Australia’s improvising rock cellist, touring with numerous acts, though the position soon wore itself out and Sophie decided it was time to move on.

At twenty-three she moved to the US and not long after received word that Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse had heard her music and wanted her to join them for their tour with Radiohead. Sophie obliged and contributed on Sparklehorse’s albums, Good Morning Spider and It’s A Wonderful Life.

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TVD New Orleans

Etienne Charles’ Carnival: The Sound of
a People, Vol 1
in stores tomorrow, 3/22

Trinidad looms large on the latest album from trumpeter and composer Etienne Charles. It’s where he was born and when the Julliard-trained jazz musician went home for Carnival he ended up creating a wonderful homage to the musical history and Carnival traditions of the island.

Like other pre-Lenten festivals occurring throughout the African diaspora, the Carnival culture of Trinidad is much more than the steel drums, wild costumes, and frenetic dancing that characterizes the culture in the mainstream media. There are deep historical traditions and Charles mines the fertile terrain on an album that is falls clearly within the jazz genre, but is composed with many of the elements of this timeless culture in mind.

Primary among them are the songs created to invoke the archetypical figures that populate this unique celebration. There is Jab Molassie, the blue, fire-breathing carnival demon, as well as the voluptuous Dame Lorraine and the noble Moko Jumbie.

The tune “Moko Jumbie” sums up his efforts perfectly. Though I know little about the character he is summoning, the song has a sturdy melody and features great guitar work from Alex Wintz and keys from James Frances that expertly channel a truly noble spirit.

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The TVD Storefront

Needle Drop: Tom Wardle, “Jacqueline”

British singer-songwriter Tom Wardle creates plaintive and powerful country-rock, full of grit and golden-hued ’70s vibes.

The title-track from his gorgeous little 5 song EP, “Jacqueline,” is Wardle at his best, throwing his husky voice around like Rod Stewart in his heyday, milking his melodies over a jangly bed of drums and glowing organ. His soulful cry is suited for this kind of ballad, which reaches anthemic heights without losing the feeling of being grounded in reality. It’s no wonder that Tom has become fixture at high-end events around the globe with spins on the BBC and celebrity endorsements becoming a regular thing.

The “Jacqueline” EP arrived in stores this past February and features a set of impressive Americana-leaning gems and even a dip into reggae. All these tracks are worth a listen and provide a more upbeat approach than “Jacqueline,” and come across as raw, potent, and unprocessed. Wardle is one of the more promising crooners in recent years and it is clear that he knows how to play on his strengths, especially when given the space to serve the song in an intimate, slow burning way as he does on “Jacqueline.”

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The TVD Record Store Club

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

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

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves, S/T (Free Dirt) The debut of this duo, with de Groot playing clawhammer banjo and Hargreaves bowing the fiddle, coheres into a powerful instrumental statement with numerous vocals turns that dives deep into the old-time style and comes up with something wonderfully fresh. The combined acumen comes from experience, with de Groot a member of Molsky’s Mountain Drifters and her own groups The Goodbye Girls and Oh My Darling, and Hargreaves backing such august names as Gillian Welch and Laurie Lewis, playing on the latter’s Grammy-nominated The Hazel and Alice Sessions, and releasing her own debut Started Out to Ramble at age 14. The freshness of this LP comes in part through their inspired, unusual choice of material.

It’s not an attempt to one-up folks into old-time stuff. For one thing, they dig into “Willie Moore,” a song well-known from The Anthology of American Folk Music (through the version by Dick Burnett and Leonard Rutherford). No, the objective is to lessen the divide between the world that spawned the music we now refer to as old-time and the cultural climate of the present day. They do so by tackling the work of black guitar-fiddle duo Nathan Frazier and Frank Patterson, digging into “Farewell Whiskey” by John Hatcher, “the avant-garde fiddler of 1930s Mississippi,” dishing the trad tune “I Don’t Want to Get Married” (with lyrics by Edna Poplin), and shedding light on sexual assault of women in prison with a reading of Alice Gerrard’s “Beaufort County Jail” that reminds me of Dock Boggs. And more. Top-flight. A

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: June Chikuma, Les Archives (Freedom to Spend) This is a “reinvented” and retitled edition of composer Chikuma’s Divertimento LP, which was originally released in 1986 on Toru Hatano’s Picture Label. The transformation largely centers on a total sleeve redesign and an adjustment in first name; in ’86 she went by Atsushi Chikuma. The sequencing of Divertimento is essentially retained, though for the close of side one there is the previously unreleased “Mujo to Ifukoto” from the same sessions. Giving video game ambience a methodical cut-and-paste treatment, the effect is not so much disorienting but rather a precise scramble of psychedelia. Along with another unreleased cut offered on a bonus 45 with the record’s vinyl edition, “Mujo to Ifukoto” is a considerable boon.

Speaking of video games, Chikuma is maybe best-known for her soundtracks to Nintendo’s Bomberman franchise, though she’s also composed for film and TV. The first Bomberman game appeared in ’83, three years prior to what is now Les Archives, but while game sounds are tangible, this record is onto something more, stemming from a one-person show that utilized a KORG SDD-3000 digital delay, drum machines and samplers. This presents a sort of best-of-all-possible-outcomes scenario. While I’ve liked some of the vid game soundtracks I’ve heard, they’ve never really attained repeat listening potential. In branching out, with inspirations including Satie, Mozart, and Paul Hindemith and modes ranging from hurky-jerky dance action to a piece for string-quartet, the likelihood of return listens here is assured. A

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 3/21/19

York, UK | Shoppers could lose York HMV ‘by the end of the month’: Shoppers in York are set to lose another high street favourite, with the closure of HMV. The Coney Street store was at risk just weeks ago, after HMV went into administration, but 1,500 jobs around the country were saved when Canadian retailer Sunrise Records bought 100 stores around the UK. Although the York shop was thought to be safe, staff were told on Monday, March 18, that the store would be closing. Signs appeared on Tuesday which announced the store was to close, and ‘everything must go’, while The Press understands workers in York expect their final shifts to be the weekend of March 30/31. HMV Managing Director Neil Taylor would not confirm the closing date, but said it “will be closing, despite our best efforts to keep this store open,” and praised “superb staff.”

Pittsburgh, PA | Who moves across the country to open a record store in Pittsburgh? Most people popping up with new record stores in Pittsburgh will tell tales of shopping at Jim’s Records, Eide’s or The Attic as a kid. Josh Cozby doesn’t have those stories. The owner of the Government Center, a new shop on East Ohio Street in the North Side’s East Allegheny neighborhood, grew up buying records in Southern California and was living in Salem, Ore., when he decided to move his vast record collection 2,600 miles to make them the basis of his first retail venture. What makes one quit his job and switch coasts to open a record store? “First,” he says, “I owned a bunch of records and came to the conclusion that I have more records than I was ever gonna use. And second, I was burned out on being a public high school teacher. “I was realizing the only thing I was interested in talking to students about anymore was what kind of music they were into and how that interacted with them trying to navigate adolescence. It was a good set of clues that it was time to figure out something else to do.”

Toronto, CA | Tokyo Smoke cannabis dispensary set to open in former HMV flagship store: The latest application for cannabis retail shows that one dispensary is moving into the former location of HMV’s flagship record store. According to the ACGO’s website, an application has been submitted for a cannabis retail location at 333 Young Street by Tokyo Smoke. The owner is listed as one of the five retail license lottery winners in the city, Colin Campbell. Tokyo Smoke itself began as part of the city’s cannabis scene in 2015 as a coffee shop owned by Alan and Lorne Gertner. Since legalization, the store’s parent company HIKU Brands, has been purchased by Canopy Growth, the country’s largest cannabis producer by market cap, and runs four licensed dispensaries in Manitoba and two cafe locations in Toronto. According to the AGCO, public notice period runs until April 2, which means this location will not be ready to open by April 1, the earliest date for cannabis retail locations to open in Ontario.

Summerland, BC | ‘Our sales are hurting’ Kelowna music hub takes hit after big competition moves in: Milkcrate Records still taking a hit after Sunrise Records moved into town 2 years ago. At least four nights a week, Milkcrate Records provides space for local musicians and artists to perform at one of the only remaining early shows in Kelowna. Record sales have fallen by 40 per cent at the record store since Sunrise Records’ opening two years ago in Orchard Park Mall. “Our sales are hurting… even though vinyl is still on the increase. We are also being hurt by online shopping. It’s something that everyone needs to be aware of. Even though it may be more convenient we need to be aware of how we are putting these brick and mortar business out of business,” said owner Richard Rafton, with Milkcrate Records. Milkcrate Records is not just a store in downtown Kelowna, it has grown into a cultural epicentre for the music and arts scene.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: The Flesh Eaters at Union Stage, 3/16

The poet and writer Chris Desjardins created The Flesh Eaters in the heyday of the LA punk scene of the late 1970s, enlisting many of his friends to be among the revolving roster in the band over a handful of albums. The most potent lineup was the one in 1981 that produced the band’s strongest album A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die that featured Dave Alvin and Bill Bateman of the Blasters, John Doe and D.J. Bonebrake of X as well as Steve Berlin of the Plugz, Blasters, and Los Lobos.

So enduring was that match of music with the poetry of Chris D., as he is known, that they were enticed to reunite occasionally for special events this century. That led to recording once more last spring for the album I Used to Be Pretty, released on Yep Roc in January, and a tour that had its penultimate show Saturday at Union Stage in DC.

It was quite a sight, this superstar lineup in a modest-sized basement club, from Alvin in his cowboy duds and Doe, solid in his bass rocking, to the behatted Bonebrake, largely handling the mallets on marimba and leaving the drums to Bateman. That light, jazzy touch from Bonebrake’s playing mixed with Berlin’s improvisational sax gave this a very different sound than what one might think of LA Punk from the days of the Masque, where The Flesh Eaters played alongside the Misfits, Dickies, and Circle Jerks.

While they packed the beat and attitude of the era, they could also groove along to solos from Alvin or Berlin. But it was all in service to Chris D., who with his bushy black eyebrows, stern profile, and balding white pate, looked like Sam the Eagle from The Muppet Show. In his baritone and poetic point of view, he called to mind another LA rock poet from half a century back, Jim Morrison of the Doors, especially in longer songs that slowly built to explosive climaxes.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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