Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: The Chemical Brothers’ full catalog on vinyl in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Limited edition color vinyl of first seven studio albums available exclusively at U.S. independent record stores.

All eight of The Chemical Brothers’ studio albums are now available on vinyl. Today, (1/13) Astralwerks reissued the GRAMMY-winning U.K. band’s first seven studio albums on double LP vinyl. The reissues—plus 2015’s Born In The Echoes—can be found on black vinyl at retailers everywhere.

To celebrate the reissues, Astralwerks has also released the first seven albums on hand-numbered, limited edition colored double LP vinyl. These special pressings are limited to 1,000 copies of each title and are available exclusively from U.S. independent retailers. Fans can purchase them at Amoeba and at local independent record stores in the following colors:

Exit Planet Dust (1995) – Clear Vinyl
Dig Your Own Hole (1997) – Solid White Vinyl
Surrender (1999) – Solid Blue Vinyl
Come With Us (2002) – Solid Red Vinyl
Push The Button (2005) – Transparent Blue Vinyl
We Are The Night (2007) – Soda Bottle Clear Vinyl
Further (2010) – Transparent Green Vinyl

Each comes repackaged in the original sleeve artwork that the first pressings came in. Audio has been cut from the original lacquers directly from the studio of the original engineer, Mike Marsh, and fully approved by The Chemical Brothers’ Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands.

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Graded on a Curve:
Bic Runga,
Close Your Eyes

Singer-songwriter Bic Runga has been active since the mid-’90s. Huge in her native New Zealand, she’s amassed a solid discography including a live collaboration with fellow Kiwis Tim Finn and Dave Dobbyn while counting Sir Elton John as a fan. Her early records are noted for being composed entirely of self-penned material, but her latest is a broad landscape made up largely of smartly chosen covers; offering a handful of gems, Close Your Eyes has just received global release on vinyl and compact disc through the new international pop label Wild Combinations.

Having sprang from the ’90s adult alternative zone, Bic Runga’s records are amongst the better examples of the form. Nearer to pop traditionalism than any sort of iconoclastic mode, she’s still tangibly contemporary as her work reveals nothing secondhand, the songs imbued with emotion yet refreshingly direct. While Runga hasn’t equaled her chart accomplishments elsewhere (she does have a following in neighboring Australia and Ireland), listening to ’97’s Drive and ’02’s Beautiful Collision, it’s clear that under different circumstances she could’ve.

Between her initial pair of albums, she toured with Tim Finn (Split Enz/ Crowded House/ Finn Brothers/ solo) and Dave Dobbyn (Th’ Dudes/ DD Smash/ solo), a combo affair that resulted in the 2000 release Together in Concert: Live. Touching upon the work of three intelligent but accessible New Zealand songsmiths (spanning the ’70s to the new millennium), it was a stone cinch for commercial success in their home country (it climbed to #2 on the NZ Album Chart and chalked up 26 weeks on the survey).

Although 2005’s terrific Birds maintained Runga’s streak as the sole author and shaper of her records, after a long break in the schedule Belle appeared in ’11 with Kody Nielson (The Mint Chicks/ Opossum/ Silicon) as producer and sporting a bunch of songs cowritten with Nielson and others. Plus, in a tidbit foreshadowing Close Your Eyes, the set’s title track is a cover of the theme song to the French television series Belle et Sébastien.

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Graded on a Curve:
Paul and Linda McCartney, Ram

You can grouse all you want about how Paul McCartney graduated from the Beatles only to become one of the world’s biggest purveyors of pure treacle, but that’s being unfair. Sure, I would gladly dunk my head in a pail of skunk piss to avoid hearing “Let ‘Em In” and “Silly Love Songs,” and that goes double for “Ebony and Ivory” and “Listen to What the Man Said.” You’re free to disagree, but I am of the belief that all four of the aforementioned songs are enough to disprove widely held assumptions about the continuing progress of the human species.

But. But! During the course of his long post-Beatles career the most lachrymose member of the Fab Four has bequeathed us some of the catchiest songs—I’m talking about “Band on the Run,” “Jet,” “Smile Away,” “Rock Show,” “Live and Let Die,” “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” etc.—you’ll ever hear. All of them may be lightweights, but they can knock out just about anything in their class.

Bottom line? I am of the opinion that Sir Paul’ genius resides in his amazing ability to overcome his natural predilection towards producing pure pap for soft rock people. There’s no denying that the old boy has demonstrated an uncanny capacity for recording horseshit, but he’s simply too talented to let his worst instincts completely overwhelm his facility at turning out irresistible melodies. And it could be his love for pot, but he also has a strange but likeable tendency towards the downright surreal.

Take Ram, his 1971 collaboration with wife Linda. True, Ram may not be representative of McCartney’s overall output, as it doesn’t include a single insufferable song, although “Long Haired Lady” comes flirtatiously close. On the other hand, “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” is a brilliant pastiche and predecessor to the landmark “Band on the Run,” and while I laugh at it I also love it more than I did my dear old grandma, the insufferable prick. Just listen to it! The falling rain! The sound of thunder! That wonderful megaphone! That posh English accent! The inimitable Marvin Stamm’s magic flugelhorn! The talk of pies! And I could go on! But you get the idea.

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TVD’s Press Play

Press Play is our Monday recap of the new and FREE tracks received last week to inform the next trip to your local indie record store.

Anjou – Soucouyant
Boogarins – Olhos
Granfalloon – EFFY
Frances Luke Accord – Nowhere To Be Found
Rocky Wood – Bail Out
Olive & The Pitz – Landlocked
Antenna Man – Knockdown
The Jones Family Singers – All God’s Children Ain’t Free
Almond & Olive – Standing at the Precipice
Altar Eagles – Skeletal
The Gods Themselves – So Hot

TVD SINGLE OF THE WEEK:
Black Star Riders – Testify Or Say Goodbye

Toma – Going Nowhere
James Raftery – Everything
Daddy Lion – Maslow
The Nyx – Home
I Am The Polish Army – David Bowie
Matthew Squires – Debt Song
Thurst – Alienation
STRAIGHTLINE – Not Afraid
Impala – Pilot (Feat. Tima Dee)
Mess Kid – SWM
Mykki Blanco – Loner “Remix” feat. WIKI

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We’re closed.

We’ve closed up the shop for the Martin Luther King Day holiday. While we’re away, why not fire up our free Record Store Locator app and visit one of your local indie record stores?

Perhaps there’s an interview, review, or feature you might have missed? Catch up and we’ll see you back here tomorrow.

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TVD Radar: I Keep It
To Myself / The Best Of Wilko Johnson

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Continuing his association with the reactivated Chess imprint, the label that issued so many of the tunes that inspired him in his youth, I Keep It To Myself / The Best Of Wilko Johnson draws together 25 tracks recorded between 2008 and 2012 by the legendary guitarist and songwriter with backing largely provided by Blockheads Norman Watt-Roy (bass) and Dylan Howe (drums), the same rhythm section that performed on Wilko’s enormously successful Going Back Home album with Roger Daltrey.

Including re-workings of Wilko penned Dr Feelgood favourites ‘She Does It Right’, ‘Twenty Yards Behind,’ ‘Sneaking Suspicion,’ and ‘Roxette,’ alongside further dynamic numbers such as ‘Turned 21,’ ‘Some Kind Of Hero,’ ‘Out In The Traffic,’ Barbed Wire Blues,’ ‘Down By The Waterside,’ and ‘I Really Love Your Rock ‘n’ Roll’—I Keep It To Myself / The Best Of Wilko Johnson is a splendid collection of high-octane rhythm & blues with that unmistakable Wilko Johnson Fender greatness stamped all over it. Songs that are sung from the heart and played from the soul.

He’s unlike any other musician, Wilko. If you have the good fortune to see him in the flesh, watch his hands (not his plectrum) chopping out mean riffs, chopping out brutal guitar solos, as he moves constantly, towards the crowd and away from the crowd. Like his music—in motion, always. Songs rarely reach the three-minute mark. But by the time they’re finished you know you’ve been to a gig. The Stranglers Jean Jacques Burnel said of Wilko’s former outfit Dr Feelgood, “I often say to journalists there is a bridge between the old times and the punk times. That bridge is exclusively The Feelgoods, it allowed us to go from one thing to another. That’s the connection, the DNA.”

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Ty Richards,
The TVD First Date

“I’ve never been good at first dates or surface conversations so I’ll just awkwardly dive right into it and either scare you off or make you fall in love with me. I have one true musical idol and its Mr. Frank Zappa. Mostly out of pure envy though. His music is good, but really I love him because that son-of-a-bitch put out 60-something albums and I haven’t. And he only made it to age 52. If I could choose to be like anyone it would be him. RIP.”

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t love me some warm gooey vinyl. As a producer and gearhead, I really enjoy seeing the resurgence that is happening of all-things-analog. I cobbled together my first demo as a 13-year-old kid by recording on an old ’90s Sony 2-channel Karaoke machine straight to cassette tape with the stock microphone that came with it, an old Squier Stratocaster, and a fifty-dollar practice amp.

I even picked up my dad in the background of one of the songs yelling like he always did, “TURN THAT THING DOWN, GODDAMMIT!!!!!” As a third wave analog nerd, I’m proud to say I’ve finally kissed 15 years of digital recording goodbye and come full circle to invest in a mid-’80s Tascam 388 tape machine that I bought off my good friend McCullough Ferguson of Whit.

That said, I’ve learned to be good friends with the digital era too, living a life that embraces the good of both worlds while leaving out the bad. I think this cliché of living a “hipster” lifestyle, as a mere recreation of a Wes Anderson film is dumb. I don’t want to use a typewriter and I don’t need a messenger hawk. I like my Mac and I prefer texting, thank you.

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TVD Radar: Kris Kristofferson, The Austin Sessions: Expanded Edition in stores, 2/10

VIA PRESS RELEASE | In the summer of 1997, Kris Kristofferson spent a few days in Texas recording stripped-down versions of his best-known songs. Released by Atlantic Records in 1999, The Austin Sessions pairs the acclaimed outlaw country songwriter with a band of studio aces and guest harmony vocalists for intimate versions of classics like “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Why Me?,” and “Sunday Morning Coming Down.”

Rhino Records celebrates these powerful recordings with an expanded version of the album that features remastered sound and includes two unreleased session outtakes. Fred Mollin, who produced the original album, tells the story behind the sessions in the collection’s liner notes, which also feature several unpublished photos from the time. The Austin Sessions: Expanded Edition will be available February 10 on CD ($13.98) and digitally ($9.99). A remastered vinyl version of The Austin Sessions will also be available on the same day ($21.98).

Kristofferson recorded The Austin Sessions at Arlyn Studios in Texas with a group of session veterans from Los Angeles and Nashville who were hand-picked by Mollin, who also plays acoustic guitar on the album. Kristofferson’s longtime touring guitarist Stephen Bruton appears on several songs as well.

Mollin recalls: “I knew in my heart that I could pull off a great under-produced production and give Kris the album he always wanted to make: one that felt like it had the uniqueness and rootsy feeling that Dylan accomplished on his early electric albums.”

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Graded on a Curve:
Songs: Ohia,
Magnolia Electric Co.

“When you are up to your neck in shit,” wrote Samuel Beckett, “all you can do is sing.” This is as good a starting point as any to discuss the sad fate of Songs: Ohia’s Jason Molina, who sang and sang but ultimately drowned, not in shit but in alcohol, the complications of which took him away from us at the indecent age of 39. This is no easy feat for any drinker, no matter how hard he hits the sauce. Being a drunk myself, I know. And being a drunk, I feel for the guy. He had genius, but he also had a disease, and in the end the disease won.

That said, Molina left behind a rich legacy of wonderful songs, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude. I myself am partial to 2003’s The Magnolia Electric Co., Songs: Ohia’s seventh and final regular album. It’s a haunting and desolately lovely LP, and imbued with a lonely aura of fatality that the albums’ other voices (Scout Niblett, Lawrence Peters) fail to dissipate.

Molina’s work has been compared to that of Palace/Will Oldham, but I also hear distinctive echoes of Smog’s Bill Callahan and Neil Young. But his vocals and lyrics are darker, more beautifully poetic, more doom laden. Neil Young never came close, except on Tonight’s the Night. I can’t listen to Molina without thinking of Rick Danko of the Band singing, “I’ve got fire water right on my breath/And the doctor warned me I might catch a death/Said, “You can make it in your disguise/Just never show the fear that’s in your eyes.”

The Neil Young-esque opening track “Farewell Transmission” delivers on its title—Molina serves up haunting image on top of haunting image, sings, “The real truth about it is there ain’t no end to the desert I’ll cross/I’ve really known that all along.” Sings, “Mama here comes moonlight with the dead moon in its jaws/Must be the big star about to fall.” And then closes the song by repeating variations on, “Long dark blues/A farewell transmission/Listen!” And “Farewell Transmission” is followed by the equally dark “I’ve Been Riding With the Ghost,” which features some appropriately ghostly backing vocals and kicks into gear like that long black Cadillac bearing the ghost of Hank Williams to the gig he would never play in Canton, Ohio on New Year’s Day 1953.

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TVD Radar: Bad Brains’ HR’s Eccentric Life in Documentary, Finding Joseph I

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Paul “HR” Hudson is a misunderstood spiritual warrior. As the voice of Bad Brains, punk/hardcore pioneers, one of the most influential bands to rise out of the 1980s, and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees, HR has trail blazed a musical aesthetic and codified a way of living. Finding Joseph I, directed By James Lathos and produced by Small Axe Films with Executive Producer Jay Mohr, takes the viewer on a harrowing odyssey into the life and spiritual struggles of this iconic iconoclast.

Finding Joseph I has been praised by The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, OC Weekly, and The Washington Post. The documentary has been screened in New York, Maryland, Long Beach, California, England, and Finland, with upcoming screenings in Brooklyn on January 24th, in San Francisco on February 9th and 11th at SF’s Independent Film Festival, at the Long Beach, CA Art Theater on February 12th, and Missoula, Montana at the Big Sky Film Festival. Currently, Finding Joseph I is also being considered for other national and international film festivals.

From the start, HR oozed charisma and never-say-die swagger. His vocals were soulful and tribal, hitting us deep in our spiritual core. In performance, he gave it all, springing forth from stage monitors into swan-dive leaps into the audience, arguably, pioneering the stage dive. He frothed over with fiery enlightenment gleaned from his Rastafarian faith, Napoleon Hill’s seminal self-help treatise Think And Grow Rich, punk rock, and his inborn sage wisdom.

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