The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Little Feat, Little Feat

Little Feat’s eponymous 1971 debut may not have changed the world, but to those who were listening it must have come as a revelation–here were four guys, two of ‘em Mothers of Invention alums, boldly staking their claim (and a decent claim it was) as America’s very own Rolling Stones. Not bad for a first outing.

Fronted by guitarist/vocalist and native Angeleno Lowell George–who with his gutbucket growl was the youngest white old black bluesman ever to graduate from Hollywood High School–Little Feat laid it on the line on their first LP. You get lysergic blues, trucker toons, some Sticky Fingers-school country honk–these guys took Gram Parsons’ concept of Cosmic American Music and ran with it. This is edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold music, the sound of the Mississippi Delta on hallucinogens–a mythical collaboration between Don Van Vliet, Dave Dudley, Mick & Keith, ZZ Top, Slim Harpo, and Harpo Marx.

Robert Christgau opined that these guys could “pass for” the Band, but he’s fulla shit. The Band always held things in check; they were as tightly wound as a clock, and clocks aren’t in the business of howling. They never hit as berserk a note as the Feat do on “Hamburger Midnight,” and there’s simply no mistaking the very agitated freak looking for safe harbor in “Strawberry Flats” to Levon Helm’s resigned drifter looking for a place to lay his head in “The Weight.” And the Americana-loving Robbie Robertson never could have come up with as song as bizarrely lovely as “Brides of Jesus,” which is set where exactly? In Lowell George’s LSD-scrambled mind?

No, the early Little Feat was a freak’s dream’s come true. Just check out the sorta Captain Beefheart-esque “Hamburger Midnight,” on which George plays some truly frenzied slide guitar and delivers the most unhinged performance of his career. Or “Strawberry Flats,” wherein poor Lowell (who’s been “ripped off and run out of town”) knocks on a friend’s door in search of succor only to discover: “His hair was cut off and he was wearing a suit/And he said not in my house, not in my house/”You look like you’re part of a conspiracy.”

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 6/17/19

Cincinnati, OH | Old OTR record store gets new life … Oh, and hemp products: Another Part of the Forest, the record shop on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine, is re-opening with a new owner and new focus. Jerry Stepp is taking over the operation and renting the storefront from Julie Fay, who owns the adjacent Iris Book Café. Stepp ran Another Part of the Forest for Fay until a few months ago when it was closed and the business switched over to Stepp. Stepp’s changes include renovating the space and paring down the stock. What made the former incarnation of the store so interesting was also what made it so difficult: there was stuff everywhere. Nowhere did the vinyl-shopper’s phase “crate digging” more fittingly apply. Another Part of the Forest opened in 2010 with Mike Markiewicz running the operation. He gave it its name, taking the phrase from the Shakespeare play “As You Like It.” Merkiewicz died in 2014. Fay, the landlord, was left in charge and had help from Stepp and others.

Gastonia, NC | Record store opens in Gastonia: In a world of streaming music services, there’s still nothing quite like vinyl. Just ask Ron Davis. “It’s the ritual of it,” Davis said. “It’s just like for a cigarette smoker. It’s taking a cigarette out, tapping it, lighting it, that first inhale. It’s the same thing with sliding the record out of the jacket, spearing the hole with the spindle, and then dropping the needle down. It’s the ritual of it.” Davis is far from the only person who feels that way. And last month, he and business partner Speight Byrd opened Revolver Records on East Franklin Boulevard. It’s Gastonia’s first record store in decades, and it’s a dream come true for Davis. “I’ve always wanted to operate a record store,” Davis said. The shop, which opened in May, is full of vintage and new albums. Prices are varied, but Davis says his selection is cheaper than what folks might find in record booths or in sections of big-name stores. Vinyl in general has seen something of a revival in recent years.

Milwaukee, WI | Inglenook, a new store in Menomonee Falls, sells homemade products and plays vinyl records: Whether the record player is spinning Queen or Madonna, the unique physical vibrations from vinyl records will be the first impression of Inglenook, Menomonee Falls’ newest homemade items store. Inglenook, on the outskirts of downtown Menomonee Falls at N89 W16338 Main St., features homemade products such as self-care products, perfume, pottery and macrame. “Records have the perfect feel to the store,” business owner Tanya Kapp, who owns the business with her partner Angela Roberts, said. “It makes you feel as if you are at home.” They also stock the vinyl records played in the store, Kapp said. Requested records can be special ordered, she added. Inglenook, a Scottish word meaning a nook near a warm place, has a homemade faux-lighted fireplace where customers can chat or just listen to records. “Records are not a thing of the past,” Kapp said. “Vinyl records never went away.”

Chicago, IL | Tone Deaf Records Opens Saturday In Portage Park, With 12,000+ Punk, Metal, Indie, Jazz And Soul Albums To Choose From: Why don’t you do what you’ve always wanted and open a record store? his girlfriend said. So, owner Tony Assimos has been renovating the storefront at 4356 N. Milwaukee Ave. After months of preparation, Tone Deaf Records will open to the public Saturday (6/15). Tony Assimos, the store’s owner, decided to take the plunge and open a shop of his own at 4356 N. Milwaukee Ave. after he was priced out of Logan Square and the neighborhood’s other longtime record shop, Raffe’s, shuttered. “I’ve been busting my ass for the last two months to get everything up and running,” Assimos said. “I think it looks nice and the shelves are full of stuff. I think we’re presentable enough. “I’m going to open the doors at noon and have some cookies, coffee and other snacks,” he added. Assimos said his dad had a “killer record collection” and growing up, he’d sit with him and listen to albums from artists like Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Stones.

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Holiday / Oh what a lovely day today / I’m so glad they sent me away / To have a little / holiday today, holiday / Holiday / And I’m just standing on the end of a pier / Hoping and dreaming you were here / To share my little holiday

Dear dad…being a dad is a trip. I think about “it” and therefore you much of the time—how our lives and kids happen and unfold. God only knows, but there is magic to it for sure.

Yesterday a friend and I were chatting about this new Clarence Avant documentary, The Black Godfather, and how, as a kid, his dad used to take him to sit in Al Glaser’s box at Yankee Stadium. It took me back to one of my earliest childhood memories—my old man taking me to see Mickey Mantle at Yanks. Yeah man, only magic a dad can make.

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TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots:
The Cult and The Beta Machine at The Regency Ballroom, 6/12

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since The Cult released their iconic Sonic Temple album, but leave it to The Cult to remind us with a tour and a sold out show at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom. A two-hour power outage at the Regency delayed doors, and openers The Beta Machine were still sound checking as the lobby filled with the eager fans who rushed to the barricade the moment they had the chance, venue staff hollering, “walk please!”

Due to the crew’s herculean effort to get the show back on track after the outage, The Beta Machine was able to take the stage only 10 minutes late for their 30 minute set. You may not know The Beta Machine but you’ll likely recognize some familiar faces … Matt McJunkins (A Perfect Circle, Eagles of Death Metal and many more) and Jeff Friedl (A Perfect Circle, DEVO, Puscifer and many more) held down the rhythm section and joined by Nicholas Perez (guitar/keys) and Laura Vall (vocals) for what would only be her third show with the band. In spite of the mad scramble to get the show rolling, the band’s performance was flawless and the shared vocals between McJunkins and Vall sounded great.

By the time The Cult finally took the stage, the Regency Ballroom was packed to capacity. First Damon Fox (keys), then John Tempesta (drums), and Grant Fitzpatrick (bass) stepped out and launched into the groove of “Sun King” followed by original members Billy Duffy and finally Ian Astbury as the crowd went wild.

The notoriously-deficient Regency air conditioning was living up to its reputation, leading Astbury to comment, “this place seems to have its own weather,” as the temperature and humidity soared (maybe “Rain” would have been a better opener). A playful Astbury shrugged off the heat and strutted the stage while demonstrating his tambourine acrobatics skills which left the stage littered with its casualties.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: This Is
The Town: A Tribute to Nilsson (Volume 2)
in stores 7/21

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The forthcoming album release, This Is The Town: A Tribute to Nilsson (Volume 2), out June 21 on Royal Potato Family, celebrates the songs of the legendary Harry Nilsson with performances by Cheap Trick, Martha Wainwright, Lauren Ruth Ward and more. Throughout this captivating set, defying expectations is a continuous theme. The 14 kindred spirits of Nilsson assembled on the collection are as stellar as they are varied in their art, each underscoring different facets of his songwriting. A follow-up to the initial This Is The Town tribute released by Royal Potato Family in 2014, Volume 2 once again finds producer Kenny Siegal at the helm, capturing the album’s vibrant and diverse performances at Old Soul Studios in Catskill, NY.

Kicking things off in grand fashion is Mikaela Davis’s rendition of “Take 54,” the opening cut from Nilsson’s 1972 release, Son of Schmilsson. Davis—a classically trained harpist—injects her own brand of feminist swagger, turning the masculine bravado of the original inside out. Equally intriguing is Martha Wainwright’s take on “Daddy’s Song”—a standout that is particularly revealing in its approach. Here Wainwright opts to slow the tempo and strip away the ’60s psychedelia of the original to reveal the heartbreak of abandon ensconced within Nilsson’s lyrics. It serves as a reminder that even though Nilsson was a pop artist, he was always conscious of the depths of his emotions and surroundings; being one-part troubled troubadour, one-part song-and-dance-man never seemed in conflict.

Legendary rockers Cheap Trick get down and dirty with raucous guitars that emanate manic fuzz on their reading of “Ambush.” Vocalist Robin Zander’s sublime vocals are unparalleled in their expression of the anxieties of war. But the tension is far from bombast, as the performance does everything it can to convey Nilsson’s wry wit, something he was able to masterfully weave into even the most contentious of topics. Elsewhere, indie rockers Invisible Familiars add swirling synths and a percussive march to “Old Forgotten Soldier,” while Valley Queen uncovers a darker, more haunting depth in the Nilsson hit “I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City.”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: My Morning Jacket, The Tennessee Fire: 20th Anniversary Edition 3LP in stores 8/2

VIA PRESS RELEASE | My Morning Jacket is proud to announce the release of THE TENNESSEE FIRE: DELUXE EDITION, celebrating the 20th anniversary of their now-classic debut album. The newly expanded edition includes all 16 original tracks alongside 16 previously unreleased and unheard, lost songs, demo outtakes, alternate versions, and more. THE TENNESSEE FIRE: DELUXE EDITION arrives via Darla Records on August 2, 2019. You can pre-order the record here.

Furthermore, My Morning Jacket will commemorate the momentous occasion with “My Morning Jacket Presents: A Tennessee Fire 20th Anniversary Celebration,” a one-night-only live event set for Friday, August 9 at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY where the band will perform the album in its entirety, along with songs from that era. A special pre-sale for all ticket holders for the band’s performance at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens on August 10 will begin on Thursday, June 13 at 12pm local and ending Sunday, June 16 at 10pm local. Any remaining tickets will go on sale to the general public on Monday, June 17 at 12pm local. For complete details on tickets and VIP packages, please visit www.mymorningjacket.com/events.

“Wow. I cannot believe it has now been over 20 years since we recorded THE TENNESSEE FIRE on my cousin John’s grandparents farm out in Shelbyville, KY in a little studio called “Above the Cadillac,” says James. “What a life changing time that was for me — a cosmic door opening to a new universe, thanks to the generosity of family and the spirits of music and connection, I have been so lucky to encounter. We tried to do as many fucked up things as we could that we loved and hoped folks would enjoy. We laughed a lot and we cried some too, ha. We are so grateful and humble that people are still enjoying it so many years later, and we also really love playing these songs live still after all these years, ha ha ha.”

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The TVD Storefront

Holdan,
The TVD First Date

“My first experience with vinyl was when I was about 7 or 8 and I saw that my Mom had a turntable.”

“In movies and on TV I’d seen DJs using turntables to scratch the records, and I asked my Mom if she could pull her record player out, and the minute she put the first record on I started scratching and she completely lost it and was like, “that damages them!”

I was so confused and so she sat me down and taught me how turntables worked and showed me a different way to listen to music with vinyl. We spent the whole day going through so many old gospel records. Then when I was around 13 I bought my first records: Calvin Harris, 18 Months and Mumford and Sons, Babel were among the first few.

My relationship with vinyl has only grown. I’m regularly digging through the $1 bins at record stores and finding the most obscure record they have—it just blows my mind that a song can be lost, and then someone can rediscover it.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on the Curve:
The Doobie Brothers,
Takin’ It to the Streets

Talk about your unholy alliances. Michael McDonald and The Doobie Brothers? If you’re a fan of neither, it can only be compared to a disastrous corporate merger (remember AOL and Time Warner?) or, if you’re really a hater, the Hitler-Stalin Pact.

Ah, but if you’re a proud Yacht Rock captain, their coupling was a dream come true–the McDoobies’ first album, 1976’s Takin’ It to the Streets, produced not one but two smooth rock classics in the form of the title cut and “It Keeps You Runnin’.”

It was ace guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter who recommended fellow Steely Dan alum McDonald to the Doobs when Tom Johnston took sick with stomach ulcers (the result, no doubt, of massive guilt), so blame the stink on the Skunk if you want. But no matter where you stand on the band, there’s no denying that Mc’D’s addition gave the Doobie Brothers a new lease on life–their previous LP, 1975’s Stampede, included only one hit, and it was a cover. Despite continuing album sales, the Doobie Formula was growing stale, and the band’s quantum leap into easy listening kept them on FM radio.

Takin’ It to the Streets didn’t win the Brothers any critical love; The Village Voice’s Robert Christgau, for one, famously dismissed it with the words, “You can lead a Doobie to the studio but you can’t make him think.” Oddly, Christgau seems not to have noticed the addition of McDonald and the band’s radical turn towards blue-eyed soul. No fan of either artist, he might have noted that their union was a laudatory thing, insofar as having them in the same place made it easier to keep an eye on both of them.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 6/14/19

Tulsa, OK | New locally owned record store opens in east Tulsa: Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Nicks once again rock the record bins at an east Tulsa music store. Once a staple of the 1970’s and 1980’s, the vinyl records all but disappeared in the 1990’s and now Oil Capital Vinyl is bringing them back. The store is in its second week of operation at its new location near South Memorial Drive and East 27th Street South. The record store hopes to capitalize on a resurgence in records and record players. It’s also the longtime dream of its owner Daniel Vandurmen who said now just happened to be the perfect time. My previous job ended, they closed our plant recently and we saw it coming so I decided this was a good time, if I was ever going to do this to start a record store,” said Vandurmen. FOX23 did some checking and there is a spike in record sales. Last year Buzz Angle Music reported a nearly 12% increase in vinyl record sales but Vandurmen told us most of his sales right now are records that were printed decades ago.

New Bedford, MA | Hitting their groove: Local musicians going vinyl with help of Purchase Street Records: Another local musician has gone vinyl. With the release of J Kelley’s “Burning Season” the vinyl records renaissance is taking a greater hold in SouthCoast. The record is the second to be funded and released by Purchase Street Records, a downtown New Bedford business devoted primarily to the sale of vinyl albums. In September of 2017 the store supported a split EP with the local bands The Pourmen and Black Kennedys. It has sold more than 200 copies. The release of “Burning Season” will be celebrated on Friday, June 14 with a performance by Kelley and his band at the Pour Farm Tavern, conveniently across the street from Purchase Street Records. The Pour Farm gig will be the second event dedicated to this recording – in April the band launched the CD edition of the songs with a show at Paul’s Sports Corner in Fairhaven. “If you’re into Tom Petty, Goo Goo Dolls or 90′s Aerosmith you’ll like this record,” said Roger Chouinard, owner of Purchase Street Records.

Mount Kisco, NY | Record Store a Treasure Trove for Music Lovers: …Originally, Gibson, a collector who has been in the record business for most of the past 35 years, was going to use that space to run his mail order record business. But the retail side flourished forcing Gibson to find more room. “There hadn’t been a record store in the area for a long time,” he said. “I didn’t know how many people would be interested and there’s still a lot of people that are (interested) quite a lot, and it’s been a great time so far.” Between the two locations, Gibson estimates that he has about 40,000 records, with almost any genre of music represented at all price points, starting at under $5. However, his bread and butter are the rock albums from the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, mostly the 33 rpm records, although he does carry a small collection of 45s and CDs. His merchandise also includes concert posters and other memorabilia. Much of Gibson’s inventory of used records he’s collected over the years he bought from other collectors or the public.

Seattle, WA | Capitol Hill gets a new bar: Life On Mars: Looking for a new bar to check out? Look no further than this new arrival. Called Life On Mars, the fresh arrival is located at 722 E. Pike St. in Capitol Hill. Life On Mars provides drinks and music in a laid back, retro atmosphere. The bar has a food and drink menu with bar fare like burgers, fries and mac and cheese. Drinks range from creative cocktails to draft and canned beer and wine. You can also purchase vinyl from the wide selection of more than 5,800 vinyl records the bar has displayed like a library of books. From 4-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, you can peruse the vinyl collection, pick a record and ask the bartender to play it during Vinyl Happy Hour. The newcomer has already attracted fans thus far, with a 4.5-star rating out of seven reviews on Yelp. Interested? Stop by to welcome the new business to the neighborhood. Life On Mars is open from 4 p.m.–2 a.m. daily.

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TVD Washington, DC

Save the Date: The
DC Record Fair Summer 2019 Edition comes to
the Eaton DC, 6/30

Back in its 10th year is Washington, DC’s twice yearly record rummage, The DC Record Fair which comes to Washington’s vinyl and community centric Eaton Hotel on Sunday, June 30, 2019. 

As with each event, we’ll have 40+ vinyl vendors from up and down the East Coast, the special DJ line up, the bar, food—and hey, keep your wallet in your pocket for this one as the event is free of charge for the entire day.

Our friends at the Fillmore Silver Spring put together the above feature a little while back that provides a handy overview of the event for the uninitiated.

Mark your calendars! 
THE DC RECORD FAIR

Sunday, June 30, 2019 at the Eaton DC, 1201 K Street, NW DC
11:00AM–5:00PM—and free all day!

RSVP and follow via the Facebook invite!

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Dylan
& Me: 50 Years of Adventures
by Louis Kemp in stores 8/15

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “He was twelve years old and he had a guitar. He would go around telling everybody that he was going to be a rock-and-roll star. I was eleven and I believed him.”Louis Kemp

Once, he was just Bobby Zimmerman. It was a long time ago. 1953 to be exact, but that’s how long Louis Kemp’s memories of the man we all know as Bob Dylan reach back. Bobby and Louie, the “boys from the North Country,” were just kids when they met at summer camp in Northern Wisconsin, both from middle class Jewish families from Northern Minnesota. Kemp’s, Dylan And Me: 50 Years Of Adventures, starts there. Not in Greenwich Village, nor at Newport, but as kids, and there’s a trove of never-before-told stories that predate the success that both men went onto enjoy—Louie, having taken over his dad’s fish business, and well, Zimmerman, as the most influential music maker in history.

Kemp’s memoir gives with the goods, underscoring the funny and deeply affectionate history of a five decade-long friendship with wild adventures, soul searching conversation, musical milestones, and enduring comradery straight on up to the mid-seventies, when Dylan looked to Kemp to produce the now-legendary, Rolling Thunder Revue, (1975-76). Featuring the man himself, along with folks like Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, poet Allen Ginsberg, Ronee Blakley, as well as musician/ novelist/ humorist/ politician, Kinky Friedman, who also contributed to Dylan And Me, the tour has been immortalized in a documentary, Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese, which will coincide with the presale of Dylan And Me, and premiere on Netflix, as well as in select theatres.

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The TVD Storefront

Demand it on Vinyl: Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records: The Definitive Collection, 4CD set in stores 7/19

VIA PRESS RELEASE | When you think of historic Chicago blues and R&B labels, Chess, Vee-Jay, Brunswick, and Delmark probably first come to mind. However, the city’s famous Black music scene spawned many indie labels, and Bea & Baby Records ranks among the very best of them. Founded by the ever-colorful Chicago entrepreneur Narvel “Cadillac Baby” Eatmon, Bea & Baby Records — along with its subsidiaries and subsidiary labels Key, Keyhole, Miss and Ronald — put out an impressive selection of blues, gospel, doo-wop, soul, hip-hop, and comedy releases between 1959-1989.

Now, a comprehensive retrospective, Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records: The Definitive Collection, is set for release July 19, 2019 by Chicago-based blues label Earwig Music Company. The project has long been a labor of love for Earwig owner Michael Robert Frank. Frank first met Cadillac Baby in the early ’70s and when they met up again in the late ’80s, Cadillac Baby wanted to get back into music after being away from the business for over 15 years. Despite ailing health, he was still “feisty and cantankerous, and still hustling,” according to Frank. “He was buying and selling used hubcaps, a few used tires, candy and sundries, and an occasional 45 record.” The two decided to co-produce a rising 17-year-old hip-hop singer, Richard Davenport (who went by the name 3D). Sadly, both Cadillac Baby and Davenport died as the project was about to launch; however, 3D’s two tunes will now be released on this collection.

Earwig ended up purchasing Cadillac Baby’s labels from his widow because Frank was “concerned the Bea & Baby’s varied catalog and Cadillac Baby’s history might be lost or merely a footnote in music history.” On his journey to uncover and share Cadillac Baby’s captivating story and musical legacy, Frank says that he “started thinking about a box set of the entire label’s music catalog, not just the blues recordings” was the right way to go.

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The TVD Storefront

Needle Drop: Nightcars, “Disappear”

Hailing from Madrid, Spain, alternative trio Nightcars craft a nostalgic mix of ’80s Top 40 and modern electro rock. The band name is derived from the song “Running with the Night” by Lionel Richie, which is clearly a touchstone for their smooth, moody, and melodic sound.

Nightcars’ latest single “Disappear,” is one of more uplifting cuts from their forthcoming and yet to be titled EP due in stores this year. Regarding the thematic nature of the track, band spearhead Nick Marchena remarks, “I think that all of us have had that urge to disappear like a ghost, even if it is for a little while.”

“The idea itself is attractive and fun, if we ignore responsibilities and the impact it can have on your loved ones. We all had some days that we want to drop it all, and for some of us, that idea in our heads comes in the form of a cheerful soundtrack.”

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores for
June 2019, Part Two

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

NEW RELEASE PICK: Damon Locks Black Monument Ensemble, Where Future Unfolds (International Anthem) This live recording from Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory, undertaken last November 15, features a striking ensemble of six alumni from the Chicago Children’s Choir as one element in a cross-pollination of “gospel, jazz, activism & 808 breaks.” Last week’s new release pick, the Membranes’ What Nature Gives… Nature Takes Away, also featured a choir, though the effect here is markedly different, with Locks’ guiding his work into territory that can be succinctly described as extending the tradition of “Great Black Music Ancient To Future” (a Chicago thing), though the label mentions Phil Cohran (also Chicago), Eddie Gale, Shepp’s Attica Blues and even Public Enemy. An emphatic yes to all. A

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: Buzzcocks, Singles Going Steady & A Different Kind of Tension (Domino) It has occurred to me, and perhaps the notion has crossed your mind as well, that the pop-punk style has been long debased. This has to do with an ever-narrowing set of permissible but ill-advised choices made by pop-punkers producing results akin to what lands in the incubators when inbreeding is rampant. It’s an unpleasant thing to see and hear. But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, before hardcore, a sizable percentage of punk was catchy; it’s just that it was frequently played so fast that fogies couldn’t comprehend or handle it. This is one reason why the 45rpm single is the perfect vessel for punk action, as the 7-inch has also effectively served other forms of undiluted sonic genre gusto.

Buzzcocks are often considered the kings of merged pop melodicism and punk energy, partly because of a run of singles that stands as worthy as the output of any likeminded band of the era. Singles Going Steady corrals eight of them, the A-sides on side one and the flips on the other, and even if it lacks my favorite Buzzcocks 45 (that would be their self-released first one “Spiral Scratch,” with Howard Devoto still in the band) it stands as basically flawless and absolutely essential. I’d say that all the LPs from Buzzcocks 2.0, as Jon Savage calls them in his nifty liners for A Different Kind of Tension (Clinton Heylin handles Steady) are indispensable also, though that’s not to say they’re perfect; ’79’s Tension, their third album, certainly isn’t, but it still has the songs, and side two’s attempts to stretch out are a blast. A+/ A-

Hank Williams, The Complete Health & Happiness Recordings (BMG) This set, which marks the first time these eight transcriptions of Williams’ short-lived radio program of 1949 have been released on vinyl (it’s also on 2CD), is pretty clearly intended for heavy-duty aficionados of Hank, but I’m just gonna say that even with a lot of repetition (like the “Happy Rovin’ Cowboy” theme and fiddler Jerry Rivers’ “Sally Goodin” outro), when taken a side at a time this is still a good pickup for more casual fans, as it’s more than solid. This is to say, the man is in fine form, Miss Audrey’s contributions hinder matters not a bit, and the same goes for the gospel numbers. Plus, Rivers’ turns in the spotlight, if truncated to fit into a 12-minute program time, are terrific. Overall, it’s a fascinating immersion into an era long gone. A

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 6/13/19

UK | This new book takes you inside London’s independent record shops: A 60-stop vinyl tour. A new book called Vinyl London: A Guide to Independent Record Shops has been published by ACC Art Books. Written by Tom Greig with original photography by Sam Mellish, Vinyl London visits sixty independent record shops, stalls, cafés and fairs in the city. Organised by location – Soho, North, East, South, West, Suburbs, Markets, Vinyl Cafes – it includes maps, addresses, opening times and information about stock. Featured locales include Phonica Records, Alan’s, Crypt Of The Wizard, Spiritland, and the Independent Label Market. Vinyl London is part of a series by ACC Art Books exploring creative scenes in the capital.

Austin, TX | Astro Records takes ‘a leap of faith’ in downtown Bastrop: Kevin “Lippy” Mawby’s grand opening of Astro Records in downtown Bastrop recently was an auspicious beginning for his new business. More than 100 people turned out — musicians, vinyl collectors and curious passersby — and the excitement surrounding his new venture was palpable. Astro Records, which takes its name from Bastrop, minus the first and last letters, has become Bastrop County’s first record store, nestled in a 1,000-square foot storefront along Pine Street in downtown Bastrop. After nearly 15 years trying to find a home for his vinyl collection, which he’s towed from New Orleans to Austin to Bastrop, he’s finally taking a “leap of faith” on Bastrop’s downtown. “The great thing about Bastrop, it’s one of a few downtowns that remains vital in small town Texas,” Mawby said. “It’s a lovely place to live. It’s safe, comparatively affordable, and everybody seems happy to be here.”

Oak Park, IL | The evening John Prine stopped by Val’s: Legendary folk singer wanted to give old pal’s shop a boost. It’s no secret that Val’s halla Records, 239 Harrison St. in the Arts District, has been struggling. Val Camilletti (1939-2018), the long-time proprietor, was one of Oak Park’s most beloved figures for over four decades. For 46 years Val sold new and used records while sharing her warmth and wisdom about music ranging from ragtime to rock. She died of cancer while in hospice care nearly a year ago. Through the decades, while developing a large number of devoted customers, Val had also got to know many musicians, especially those with local roots. One who was especially significant was John Prine from Maywood. Val actually helped John choose his first pressings for his records. Shayne Blakely, who spent half of his 38 years working at Val’s halla, continues to manage the store. He pays the bills, builds relationships, and sells new and used vinyl, cassettes, and CD’s, ever hustling to keep the place afloat.

Savannah, GA | Mini Graveface fest brings together impressive, diverse lineup: Ryan Graveface talks ahead of special Jinx show: Graveface Records, owned by musician, label head, and entrepreneur Ryan Graveface, is a Savannah staple by this point. He’s been running his label for over 15 years, and his record store has been here in town since 2011. Since landing in Savannah, Graveface has staged some successful music festivals — but admits that attendance started lagging after the first few years. He shifted his focus towards horror film festivals, but he’s ready to test the waters again and see if there’s still a hunger for the incredible music he’s consistently brought to our city. With the lineup he has planned, it’s bound to be an unforgettable event. I’d been doing the Graveface Music Fest for 15 years, mostly in Chicago,” he tells Connect.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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