Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Perhaps there’s an interview, review, or feature you might have missed? Catch up and we’ll see you back here on Monday, 11/27.

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TVD Radar: Peter Frampton, Fingerprints on vinyl for the first time, in stores 1/26

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Legendary guitarist Peter Frampton will reissue his critically lauded album Fingerprints on January 26 via his own imprint Phenix Phonograph. Originally released in 2006, Fingerprints won the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album and Frampton’s cover of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” off the album was also nominated for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. The album will be available on vinyl for the first time.

Frampton navigates a diverse range of material on Fingerprints, from American soul to Latin balladry and timeless rock. Guest artists include The Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman on “Cornerstones”; original Shadows members Hank Marvin and Brian Bennett on “My Cup of Tea”; and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and Matt Cameron joining Frampton for the “Black Hole Sun” cover and the original “Blowin’ Smoke.” Frampton’s core band on Fingerprints features longtime collaborator John Regan (bass), co-producer Gordon Kennedy (guitar and backing vocals), Arthur Stead (keyboards), and Shawn Fichter (drums).

Furthermore, Frampton recently performed his latest single “I Saved A Bird Today” on Tavis Smiley. Frampton explains, “‘I Saved A Bird Today’ is a true story about me saving a large bird, an American Coot, who flew into my window and knocked herself out. Then how, with expert advice, I brought her back to life. After learning that Coots only take off from water, I had to ‘Take Her To The River.’ She jumped into the river as I watched her walk, then run atop the water until she finally took off into the city lit night sky. ‘To care for one another is the reason we are here’ is the lyric that sums it up for me. The world has gone mad and the simple things like love, compassion, and caring have been overshadowed by hate and greed.”

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Queen, “We Are The Champions,” / “We Will Rock You” 12″ Single

To herald the arrival of the 40th Anniversary of News of the World, Queen’s monumental ’77 release and its accompanying special box set—in stores now!—a special Record Store Day Black Friday edition of the iconic double A-side single “We Are The Champions” / “We Will Rock You” arrives in shops this coming Friday. But heck, why wait and fight the lines—we’ve got 5 copies of the 12″ single to ship out to 5 of you.

First however, some interesting factoids in regard to the seminal tracks on both sides of this special 12″ single:

1. Brian May wrote “We Will Rock You” and claimed the idea for the song came in a dream. He told Mojo magazine in October 2008 that he wanted to “create a song that the audience could participate in.”

2. “We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You” are Brian May’s favourite Queen songs to perform live.

3. “We Will Rock You” doesn’t contain any actual drums. The famous rhythm came about from the band, engineers, roadies, and even their tea lady, Betty—stamping their feet in London’s Wessex Studios.

4. “We Will Rock You” has been covered 45 times by many artists, as varied as Snoop Dogg, Warrant, Linda Ronstadt, the cast of Glee and Macy Gray. It has also been sampled by several artists, including Eminem.

5. Robbie Williams also provided vocals to “We Are The Champions” for the soundtrack of A Knight’s Tale.

6. The music video for “We Will Rock You” was filmed in Roger Taylor’s back garden after filming “Spread Your Wings.”

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TVD Radar: Billy Squier, Don’t Say No 180-gram vinyl in stores 2/2018

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Intervention Records is thrilled to announce the next LP in its (Re)Discover Series, Billy Squier’s 1981 rock anthem, Don’t Say No. The classic rock staple will be released on 180-gram vinyl (Cat# IR-020 / UPC 707129301444) and hybrid CD/SACD (Cat# IR-SCD7 / UPC 707129301499). Vinyl on-sale is expected in February 2018 and the CD/SACD in April of 2018.

Don’t Say No catapulted Squier’s career to new heights. His live shows became arena rock sensations and four tracks from this album are classic rock radio staples in heavy rotation today: “In the Dark,” “The Stroke,” “My Kind of Lover,” and “Lonely is the Night.” Don’t Say No is 100% Analog Mastered by Kevin Gray at CoHEARent Audio from the original master tapes! Gray’s remastering is revelatory in opening the soundstage up to massive proportions while providing superior 3D imaging and musical microdetail. The hybrid SACD is mastered Direct-to-DSD from the original analog master tapes.

The LP art is restored by IR’s Tom Vadakan to a beautiful single-pocket gatefold and the old-style, “tip-on” LP jacket is printed by Stoughton. The Hybrid CD/SACD will be housed in a super jewel box.

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Needle Drop: Common Jack, “Restless”

PHOTO: NICOLE MANGO | Brooklyn-based folk rocker Common Jack is a straight shooter, and like his name indicates, a man of the people. But when you dig deeper into his music, it becomes apparent that he is using everyday language to reach a deeper meaning, endowing his music with the unique ability to paint personal stories with broad strokes.

The songwriter, who played a primary role in the Broadway show Once, worked directly with Glen Hansard and the rest of the Oscar, Grammy, and Tony winning creative team behind the motion picture before setting off on his solo career. His streamlined approach to his solo work reflects this schooling, blending rough-hewed folk with unabashedly utilitarian acoustic pop.

His newest single, “Restless,” makes no excuses for its anthemic take on Americana, already drawing comparisons to the Lumineers, Neil Young, and The Avett Brothers. It’s a joyous romp that lets its tight dynamics loose in all the right places.

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Graded on a Curve: MERCH,
Amour Bohemian

MERCH is headed up by San Franciscan Joe Medina, and Amour Bohemian is the project’s latest album. Best described as ambitious symphonic pop-rock, roughly 65 musicians had their hands in its creation, yet it’s unequivocally an auteur-driven work, and one that thrives on discipline. Even more so, it benefits from concision; a whole lot of new music is getting pressed onto vinyl these days, but little of it radiates like a nugget from the heyday of the long-playing record quite like this specimen, while still connecting as contemporary. Buyers will surely load these nine songs onto their devices, and they work well in that context. However, this one sounds best in the listening room. It’s out now through Sassafras Records.

When I first glimpsed the sleeve of MERCH’s 2012 LP This Betrayal Will Be Our End, I did a double take, for that album’s cover photo and the snapshot adorning the jacket for Undercurrent, the classic 1962 duo set from pianist Bill Evans and guitarist Jim Hall, are one and the same. The gesture immediately registered as homage, but even as jazz fits into Joe Medina’s teeming bag of influences, soaking up the record drove home my assumption as off-target.

Before its usage by United Artists for the Evans/ Hall disc, Toni Frissell’s photograph, Weeki Wachee Spring, Florida was well-known, appearing in Harper’s Bazaar in ’47 and Sports Illustrated in ’55. For Undercurrent, the image is eerie but tranquil; when the sharp black & white is combined with Medina’s album title and songs, the mood becomes considerably more noir, adding a distinctively dark spin to what’s been categorized as a breakup record.

This Betrayal Will Be Our End isn’t MERCH’s debut, but even as nothing the outfit released prior appears to be easily obtainable, the album still strikes the ear as a major artistic stride, and as such, presented a difficult act to follow. But through the participation of the Prague FILMharmonic Orchestra, a Latin jazz band, opera singers, and a rack of psych, garage, and jazz players out of San Fran and L.A., Medina has pulled it off.

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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.

VanWyck – An Average Woman
Anastasia Minster – When I Die
Threefifty – Allegiance
Caroline Reese – Nicotine
ATTEMPT – Against The Light
Essie Holt – Underwater
The Morning Yells – She Knows Exactly What She’s Doing
Cotton Mather – The Cotton Mather Pledge
Broke Royals – As Long As I Can See

The Clientele – The Neighbour

Renraku – Gravity Well
Cross Culture – Faded Away
The Able Bodies – Flicker
JM Vercetti – House Of Gold
Whispers – Whizard Throne
Lunettes Noires x Dev – In The Dark
Jahn Rome – Superhero
Jinco – Scherzo In E Minor
Bitta Blood – I Know (Dirty)

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Graded on a Curve:
Jackson Browne,
For Everyman

I’ve come up with a great contest idea. If you win second place Jackson Browne plays an intimate show in your living room. If you win first place Jackson Browne doesn’t play an intimate concert in your living room. Just kidding. Jackson Browne has never been my sensitive El Lay singer-songwriter of choice, but then again I can’t be said to have a sensitive El Lay singer-songwriter of choice. All I know for sure is he beats hell out of Andrew Gold.

That said, let me start all over again with two quick observations on Browne’s 1973 sophomore album, For Everyman. One: You would think a legendary singer-songwriter of Jackson’s fastidious ilk would have put more time into writing compelling songs. Two: The songs that are compelling are the ones he seems to have spent the least time writing. Does it make sense that we should applaud such a deep soul as Browne for what appear to be his toss-offs?

Why not? The serious Jackson Browne has problems. For starters, he’s not a very good poet, at least on For Everyman. It’s impossible to know what the hell he’s trying to say when he says things like, “Hanging at my door/Many shiny surfaces/clinging in the breeze” (from “Colors of the Sun”) or “I Thought I was a child/Until you turned and smiled” (from “I Thought I Was a Child”). Browne has a gift for the portentous that borders on the pretentious, but too many of his songs hinge upon lyrical vagaries that drift away like smoke when you try to parse their meanings.

More problematic by far is the fact that too many of the songs on For Everyman appear to have failed out of charm school. It’s hard to imagine a song more colorless than “Colors of the Sun”; the melody plods along like a workhorse, the lyrics are so much mush signifying not so much. And “Sing My Songs for Me” ain’t much better. Browne has a template for dirges like this one, and on For Everyman he repeats the formula too often. “The Times You’ve Come” has a more delicate feel but the result is the same; I don’t know what you call what Jackson does but I call it droning. The slow tempos drag you into a pit of ennui that only a quick listen to Elton John’s “The Bitch Is Back” will alleviate.

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TVD Radar: Morrissey biopic England Is Mine Blu-ray and DVD editions in stores 12/12

VIA PRESS RELEASE | England Is Mine is a new drama about the early days of Morrissey, the iconic pop star and original front man for the seminal band, The Smiths. Directed by Academy Award® and BAFTA-nominee Mark Gill, the film stars Jack Lowden as the artist formerly known as Steven Patrick Morrissey and Jessica Brown Findlay of Downton Abbey fame as his soul mate and muse.

Set in Thatcher’s Britain of the ’70s and ’80s, a time when working class Manchester was beset by unemployment and riots, the film tells the story of 17 year-old Steven (Lowden), a painfully shy, intellectually precocious loner who lives for, and writes about, the burgeoning local music scene—a surprisingly vibrant subculture in an otherwise drab industrial city. Too intimidated to join that scene, he writes reviews from the sidelines, imagining what he would do if he were on stage.

When one of his write-ups is noticed by kindred spirit Linder Sterling (Brown Findlay), an aspiring painter, the two become fast friends, and she pushes him to form a band and take to the stage. Steven finally works up the courage to book a club date, and performs a dazzling cover of an old girl-group standard. This is the first time the world gets to hear the distinctive, emotion-filled voice that would eventually propel him to stardom.

That very night, a manager reaches out with an offer. Unfortunately, it’s only for guitarist Billy, not the lead singer, meaning Steven will be left behind. His dreams of a musical career vanish and he’s left with nothing but wasted days at a soul-crushing civil servant job, and lonely nights holed up in the same bedroom he’s slept in his whole life. Only his mother’s unwavering belief in his talent, and Linder’s constant reminder—”be yourself, everyone else is taken”—give him the strength to keep trying to become the artist he was always meant to be.

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The Vaughns, The TVD First Date and Premiere, “Bby Save Me”

“When I was about three years old, I remember scrounging around my basement through my dad’s massive vinyl collection.”

“I remember seeing Bowie’s infamous cover of Diamond Dogs and was so fascinated by its creature-like appeal. Every day for about a month, my parents told me I would walk around the house just saying, “BOWIE, BOWIE, BOWIE” over and over and over. I probably made them crazy. Personally, I still make a habit of waking up every Saturday morning and throwing on one of these classic records to my turntable.

Anyway, to this day The Vaughns still practice in this old basement and we have taken these old duplicate records and lined them around our practice walls. Old records including Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Zeppelin, and The Pretenders surround us every time we practice and write. I feel like these tiny vintage subtleties have bled into our songwriting over the last year and a half. I think all four of us agree that vinyl provides an artistic listening experience like none other and I’m just elated that our new singles are now available in this format for all our continued followers.
Tom Losito

“Thinking they were a product of the past—I used to have records hanging up on my bedroom walls for decoration. One of my favorites was the Doors’ LA Woman because of the butterfly on the label.”

“Some years later I was at a friend’s house when I heard TV on the Radio blasting through a pretty legit record player. It blew my mind that modern-day bands were still releasing vinyl records, and even more so that kids my age were collecting them. It also sounded incredible. The next day I rummaged through my parents’ garage to dust off their record player and devour their collection.

These days Tom is always showing us some random ’80s record like Phil Collins’ “I Cannot Believe it’s True,” Ryan is letting me borrow his Sylvan Esso album for the weekend, and I’m still wondering how anyone will top David’s Secret Santa gift to me last year, The Lemon Twigs’ Do Hollywood vinyl. There’s something special about sharing the music you love with your friends. I think adding a tangible aspect offers an intimacy to the exchange that mp3 files and sending links can’t compete with. Let’s hope that never goes out of style.”
Anna Lies

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