Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Butthole Surfers: What Does Regret Mean? book signing at Waterloo Records 3/22

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “We’re all history buffs. We drink coffee. We like tables. Personally, I’m a big fan of the Cherner oval dining table. And the book wasn’t our idea.” Gibby Haynes

Paul Leary, King Coffey, Jeff Pinkus and Aaron Tanner, author and designer of the 304 page visual history Butthole Surfers: What Does Regret Mean?, will be on hand to sign the book at Waterloo Records in Austin, TX on March 22nd! More info here.

The fully authorized visual history book, Butthole Surfers: What Does Regret Mean? by author Aaron Tanner and published by Melodic Virtue, follows the Butthole Surfers from their early days in San Antonio to their reunion. This limited-run coffee table book tells the story of the Butthole Surfers through never-before-seen photos, artwork, and other memorabilia and from the viewpoint of their contemporaries. Pre-order the book here.

One of the most depraved acts from the American underground, the Butthole Surfers were formed by Gibby Haynes and Paul Leary in San Antonio, TX in 1981. Along with King Coffey, Teresa Nervosa, and Jeff Pinkus, their disturbing albums and chaotic live shows have featured everything from psychedelia and noise rock to country and electronica.

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TVD Radar: Refresh Records to let fans curate next Young Mister LP

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The debut self-titled album from Young Mister (aka songwriter Steven Fiore) stands as the first record released by North Carolina based Refresh Records and three years later, Fiore is ready for his follow-up. Perhaps even too ready, as the concept for the Young Mister Record Club came about partially when Fiore was unable to narrow down the wealth of material to be recorded for his sophomore release. Along with other familiar perks from a record club membership, folks who hop on board for the Young Mister Record Club will play a role in curating material for the new album!

After racking up millions of downloads and streams, traveling the world to play on stages and at house shows and garnering thousands of new fans over the past three years, Young Mister and Refresh Records are excited to announce that 2019 will bring the release of a new Young Mister album. Fiore will be heading into the studio this spring, but needs help from super fans in deciding what songs will make the final cut! As a Young Mister Record Club member, folks will have exclusive access to stream and vote on their favorite demos of new songs. Check out a preview with two demos here.

Record Club members will also receive early access to a download of the album before its release, a download of a special b-sides LP and many other benefits (even some surprises!). For the vinyl lovers, subscribers will receive the new album on a limited edition color and an exclusive one-time pressing of the b-sides LP on vinyl, limited to 100. See below for full list of tiered perks.

Membership is open now through February 28. Refresh Records is also offering 30% off all Young Mister merch during the sign up period.

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Ric Ocasek,
The TVD Interview

Lanky rocker Ric Ocasek, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, is lately spending time in some other artistic halls—art galleries to be exact, where he is showing his bright paintings and drawings.

The attraction of “Ric Ocasek: Abstract Reality” on display this weekend at the Wentworth Galleries in the greater DC area, is not just the chance to discover the works (and maybe purchase them), but also to meet the man behind such late ’70s and early ’80s hits such as “Just What I Needed,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Let’s Go,” “Shake It Up,” “You Might Think,” and “Drive.”

Anyone surprised at the artistic turn of Ocasek, 69, must have missed his cameo in John Waters’ original 1988 Hairspray in which he popped up as an erratic, black-clad beatnik abstract painter.

Before the Baltimore native was to venture to Wentworth galleries at the Westfield Mall and Tysons Galleria Friday and Saturday respectively, he spoke to The Vinyl District from New York about his approach.

How would you characterize these paintings?

They’re like songs that don’t have any words. I like to draw a lot when I’m thinking. I’ve been doing it for a long time, maybe as far back as when I was 18 and a draftsman.

What kind of draftsman were you?

I was a draftsman at AT&T drawing switching systems.

Do you think that may have led to your more jagged abstract works?

I don’t know if it’s related but it could be. It is a bit geometrical. I guess the detail stuff is a little bit like drafting, but I don’t know. I think it’s more abstract than that. It’s really just having the pens and tools and stuff and kind of always doing it as a way to think. It’s a good way to be thinking. I don’t know, you seem to wander off, and wherever your mind wanders off ends up coming out of the pen.

What kind of media do you use?

I use a lot of Japanese paint pens. I go to the art store and I go to the pen stores to get those. I also use acrylics when I paint. I paint on top of what I draw or part of it to embellish it. A lot of times I’ll do drawings, then blow them up and paint them.

So what are the range of sizes?

I’m drawing on paper that’s anywhere from 12″ x 18″ or 24″. The biggest thing I would draw on would be 24″ high or 18″ wide. If I do it on canvas, it’s the size of whatever canvas I buy. And a lot of time I manipulate it with mixed media.

Looks like you have a mix of abstract with representational art in the show.

The representational ones tend to be accidental. They start out abstract, however when they start looking like a person or a face or an object, it will become a graveyard or a city street or whatever. I also do a lot of photography. I started dong that when I was 14 and living in Baltimore. Sometimes I’ll mess them up and blow them up until you can’t tell what it is.

I used to do collages a lot, but I don’t any more. I stopped pasting a lot of things together. But I used to do a lot of it in the late ’60s and ’70s, and then I started drawing more. I would draw in hotel rooms when I was touring with the band as a way to relax.

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Graded on a Curve:
UFO, Lights Out

How deep an impression did the British hard rock band UFO make on my teenage years? Well, I got this baby on 8-track for Christmas one year and I can’t remember a damn thing about it. I suspect I listened to it once, went “Bleh,” and tossed into the discard pile.

Hell, I have no idea what possessed me to ask for it in the first place. Probably a review in Creem magazine. Those fuckers were always leading me down the primrose path.

UFO’s 1977 Lights Out was certainly an odd choice for something to ask for, seeing as how I never much dug hard rock or metal and didn’t even like Led Zeppelin. The snooty teenage me looked down on metal, thought it was dumb, but my good taste has gone to shit over the years and good thing, seeing as how good taste (and this has been scientifically proven!) takes all the fun out of life. Shit, I didn’t even like Foghat, and what kinda way is that for a person to live?

So a coupla days back I decided to give Lights Out another listen and guess what? I love it! It’s the greatest heavy metal album ever! Okay, so it’s not as good as Kix’s debut LP, or Van Halen’s 1984 for that matter, but it packs a big dumb sonic punch that lights up my pleasure receptors every time I put it on.

At times Lights Out rocks harder than those bozos in Foreigner ever would (compare “Too Hot to Handle” to “Hot-Blooded,” I dare ya!), at others it anticipates Def Leppard’s glossy pop-metal sheen. Like Bad Company but with a soggy soft side (see the great “Love to Love” and their cover of Love’s “Alone Again Or”!), or AC/DC only quicker on the trigger, Phil Mogg (vocals), Michael “Displaced German” Schenker (lead guitar) and Company produced some of the most shamefully likable hard rock this side of Elton John, who I could swear plays piano (it’s credited to Mogg) on the very Captain Fantastic “Just Another Suicide.”

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TVD Radar: Paul McCartney Limited Edition Egypt Station Traveller’s Box Set to
be released 5/10

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Paul McCartney has confirmed the release of the Egypt Station Traveller’s Edition, out May 10 via Capitol Records.

This strictly limited deluxe edition of the #1 album Egypt Station will be a one-time-only pressing limited to 3000 numbered cases. The Traveller’s Edition arrives in a vintage style suitcase and contains exclusive previously unreleased tracks, hidden rarities, and all the essentials needed on your journey to Egypt Station and beyond.

Egypt Station was released September 7, 2018. The album entered the Billboard 200 at #1, making it the third Non-Beatles/Wings McCartney effort to top the U.S. chart and Paul’s first Stateside #1 since 1982’s Tug Of War—and Paul’s first solo album to enter the chart at #1. Egypt Station won unanimous praise from critics the world over: In a four-star lead review, Rolling Stone said, “Macca keeps adding new gems to his songbook, with nothing to prove except he’s the only genius who can do this… (And, oh yeah — in his spare time, he happens to still be the greatest live performer on Earth.)”

London’s Sunday Times, Q magazine and MOJO also awarded the album four stars, while The New York Times’ Jon Pareles observed, “McCartney contemplates mortality and pain while still trying to offer love and strength.” TIME declared Egypt Station “Essential… a document of McCartney’s spirit, which is still irrepressible more than five decades after the Beatles made their debut.” NPR said, “This is his best album in maybe 20 years.” People noted, “Egypt Station is a tour through the imagination of one of our greatest artists — what’s not to love? It’s a celebration of all the things that make McCartney great: hope, exuberance, open-mindedness and sweet melody. These days, we need all of these more than ever.”

All those who sign up HERE by 9 PM ET FEB 14 will be emailed a unique link which allows a first chance at purchasing the strictly limited Traveller’s Edition. Emails with links for first access to pre-order will be sent out at 9AM ET FRIDAY FEBRUARY 15.

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Demand it on Vinyl: Robin Lane & the Chartbusters, Many Years Ago 3-CD set in stores 3/1

VIA PRESS RELEASE | On March 1, 2019, Blixa Sounds will release a career-spanning retrospective of legendary Boston band Robin Lane & the Chartbusters, aptly titled Many Years Ago. The set includes the band’s complete recorded early ’80s output for Warner Bros. Records: Robin Lane & the Chartbusters (1980), which features Robin’s MTV hit “When Things Go Wrong,” Imitation Life (1981), and the live EP “5 Live” (1980).

Robin Lane has a musical resume that spans coast-to-coast, as well as carries the unique distinction of leaping over the bridge of one decade-defining genre directly into another. Establishing herself in the late ’60s as part of her native Los Angeles’s legendary Laurel Canyon scene, Lane launched her career as a folk-rock artist, notably collaborating with Neil Young on the song “Round and Round” from his second album, 1969’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. However, Lane’s direction changed with a cross-country move to the East Coast. She landed in Cambridge, Mass. and into a growing fascination with the burgeoning harder-sounding scenes such as punk and new wave.

By 1978, Lane had formed her group the Chartbusters with Asa Brebner, Leroy Radcliffe, Scott Baerenwald and Tim Jackson; in 1980 the band — already making waves on the Boston circuit —released their self-titled debut for Warner Bros., which featured the wistful, husky single “When Things Go Wrong.” The song became hit, as did its video, which was a fixture during the early days of landmark network MTV.

Two more albums followed with the Chartbusters before Lane made the decision to pursue solo work as well as start a family. Her independent catalog following the disbandment spanned through the mid-’90s, capped by a reunion with the Chartbusters in 2001 that resulted in 2003’s release Piece of Mind. A surge of re-interest in group’s earlier work was ignited with Chartbuster drummer Tim Jackson’s 2014 documentary When Things Go Wrong: Robin Lane’s Story, focusing on Lane’s life and career, a project that won best documentary at the 2015 New Jersey International Film Festival.

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Kelly Finnigan,
The TVD First Date
and Video Premiere, “Catch Me I’m Falling”

“Happy Vinyltine’s Day!”

“It’s safe to say my journey into music started with vinyl. It’s definitely one of the main reasons I fell in love with music and why listening to records is an important part of who I am as a creator. By the time I was 15, I was happy to spend hours in a record shop looking through bins, stacks and crates. Maybe that’s why I’ve never stopped listening to vinyl all these years? Of course I was into tapes and loved making mix tapes. Yes, I bought CDs… lots of them… of course I listen to music on streaming services… but I’ve never stopped listening to vinyl. I never will.

I grew up in a house with a father who had a great vinyl collection: jazz, blues, soul, gospel, R&B, rock & roll and country. It was a very eclectic mix with the backbone being jazz and R&B. I definitely remember being young and looking through them all and being attracted to certain covers and artwork as a child.

Like Marvin Gaye’s Super Hits on Tamla Records from 1970. It’s Marvin flying through the sky in a Superman costume but he has an M on his chest and is rescuing an attractive woman from danger. It makes me smile when I see it in a store to this day, and I still have the copy that was my dad’s. The first record I became obsessed with on my own and played everyday non-stop was Michael Jackson’s classic Thriller. I wore that record out and must have played it a few 1000 times. From there like most kids I got hip to cassette tapes and loved making mixtapes for friends and female friends…but never strayed from vinyl.

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TVD Radar: Good Records announces
first theatrical film
Live from the Astroturf, Alice Cooper

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Good Records, the Dallas-based indie record label that is home to recording artists such as The Polyphonic Spree, is announcing their first foray into theatrical film with a companion movie to their wildly successful LP Record Store Day release, Live from the Astroturf, Alice Cooper. The documentary will hold its world premiere at the Phoenix Film Festival which runs from April 4-14, 2019. Phoenix is home to the original incarnation of the band Alice Cooper.

The movie is part concert film, part documentary highlighting the near incredulous story of how an Alice Cooper fan who runs a record store was able to coax the original lineup into reuniting at his store forty-one years after they had disbanded. Alice Cooper, the singer, went on as a solo artist in 1974, continuing to use the same name. The reunion marks the longest set the original members had played since that time, and their first appearance together since being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The incredible performance was captured with eight cameras, originally intended to be a personal video for the record store owner, Chris Penn. Luckily, he knew professional camera operators, and at the end of the evening, the film’s director, Steven Gaddis, informed Penn that they had enough material to make a movie. Gaddis and Penn immediately went to work to make that happen.

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Demand it on Vinyl:
Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Live In Paris 1985 in stores 3/1

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Renowned dance/funk/Latin/pop/disco group Kid Creole & The Coconuts, fronted by the multi-talented August Darnell, will release their first-ever official live album Live In Paris 1985 March 1 via Los Angeles-based Rainman Records. Captured at the peak of their music prowess, the album celebrates the genre-defying group’s raucous best. Live In Paris 1985’s 14 tracks (recorded 9/15/85 at Le Zenith) covers the gamut of their first five studio albums and features the high-octane performance the band is famous for.

Kid Creole & The Coconuts formed in New York City and made their national television debut on Saturday Night Live in November 1980, just as their first album was getting noticed by critics. Three early ’80s top 10 singles in Europe helped expose them to a world-wide audience. His breakthrough album Tropical Gangsters (issued as Wise Guy in North America) had big hits including “Stool Pigeon,” “I’m A Wonderful Thing, Baby,” and “Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy.” The band developed a devoted live following and released a long string of acclaimed, eclectic music incorporating Latin, funk, disco, pop and more. The Los Angeles Times’ Richard Cromelin noted the band’s eclectic nature: “There’s Cab Calloway, for the overall image. Frank Sinatra for vocal phrasing and romantic attitude. Elvis Presley for dance moves and hero-worship. James Brown for live performance. Calypso singer the Mighty Sparrow for witty lyrics.”

Of Live In Paris, Darnell says he’s really excited about how it turned out. “I am astonished by how CONFIDENT we all were. The musicians were all at the top of their game. I was fortunate to have gathered such an ensemble. When I listen to this concert, I am reminded of how much time we spent rehearsing in Manhattan before each tour. Time well spent. And the humor in the show—that is what really stands out for me. We did not take ourselves seriously, but at the same time we’re laying down some serious grooves and serious lyrics and very serious musical arrangements.”

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Graded on a Curve:

“We’re a Zambian Band!”

Tired of motoriking around the living room to your Krautrock records? Just plain done with dancing your legs down to your knees to your Northern Soul, Batucada, and Space Disco LPs? Sick unto death of the records in your Eastern Bloc Jazz-Fusion, Dungeon Synth, Nederpop, Nangma, Pirate Metal, Pornogrind, and Spouge collections?

Well, my depraved vinyl junkie friend, why not give Zamrock a shot?

The 1970s Zambian rock scene produced some really great Afro-psychedelic bands, the most famous of which was Witch (stands for We Intend to Cause Havoc!). Fronted by the charismatic Emanuel “Jagari” Chanda (that “Jagari is an Africanization of “Jagger”!), Witch sang in English and were famed for their frenetic live shows, which could last more than six hours and frequently included some really dope covers, including a retooled version of Grand Funk’s “We’re an American Band” the band proudly retitled “We’re a Zambian Band.”

Seriously, all you crate diggers: how fucking Sub-Saharan cool is that?

I’m not going to go into any great detail about the socio-economic conditions that made Zamrock such a potent force in the seventies; suffice it to say the movement arose and thrived in the sunny wake of Zambian national liberation and economic boom times only to slowly founder amidst a host of vexing geopolitical problems (wars on the nation’s borders, an uprising in country) and the near collapse of the country’s copper-based economy.

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Needle Drop: Jared Dymbort, “Rearrange”

NYC-based alt-rocker and film composer Jared Dymbort releases a rather convincing blend of retro indie pop rock.

His latest single, “Rearrange,” is executed with a lovely, well-paced arrangement that feels akin the wonderful out-of-the-box pop of Young Americans-era Bowie.

“Rearrange” is off the equally as good EP, “My Old Victories” which is composed of four seriously retro art pop gems that elicit the Talking Heads, The Cure, and the Thin White Duke himself with Jared’s low octave croon and obtuse lyrics taking center stage across the angular, pendulum swinging rhythm section.

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Graded on a Curve: Kankyo Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990

Once a largely dismissed and often derided genre, New Age music’s critical reevaluation has been a welcome development, in part because it expanded the style’s history while deviating from expectations and in turn enlarging the potential for pure enjoyment. Light in the Attic has been crucial to this shift in perception, and with new release Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990 they remain at the forefront of this continuing reappraisal. Offered in a package of exquisite design, either as a 3LP with Stoughton “tip on” jackets, slipcase and poster, or as a 2CD with a hardbound book, and both with enlightening notes by Spencer Doran, it’s in stores February 15.

As the title to this set makes plain, part of the reason for Light in the Attic’s success in rehabilitating New Age music is directly related to an inclusive approach that branches into the more reputable associated styles of Ambient and Environmental. However, I Am the Center: Private Issue New Age Music in America 1950-1990, the box set that kicked off the label’s dig into the vaults back in the autumn of 2013, was a pretty specific undertaking. It boldly proclaimed its New Age orientation and said enter if you dare.

What initially sparked my interest was the term private press, which suggested that the contents might deliver something better than expected. Bluntly, it was unlikely to be worse. The second intriguing thing was the timeframe, which largely predated the ’80s popularity of New Age and by extension my lived experience with the form. Well, that collection not only exceeded my hopes, but in deflating stereotypes and uncovering a wealth of unheard artists (G. I. Gurdjieff, Wilburn Burchette, and Laraaji being the main exceptions), it delivered one of the sweetest multi-disc releases of its year.

In late 2016, (The Microcosm): Visionary Music of Continental Europe, 1970-1986 saw Light in the Attic dropping the New Age tag entirely, though it was clearly a sequel (indeed promoted as such), and it did a fine job of linking the New Age goings-on documented throughout I Am the Center to Kosmische, a style many mosey sorta sideways into appreciating due to its link to Krautrock.

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TVD Live Shots: Behemoth at the
O2 Forum Kentish
Town, 2/8

Behemoth is a fascinating band on so many levels. For one, they’ve transcended labels. They started off embracing the qualities of Polish black metal more than a decade ago, to pushing the boundaries of what the genre can become with their latest critically acclaimed masterpiece. Secondly, you have one of the most identifiable, relatable, and inspirational frontmen in the business in Nergal.

He doesn’t pretend to be something he’s not. Maybe that’s because he’s living life on his terms and has no time for the bullshit opinions of others. This guy stared death the face, then took it out back and beat the shit out of it.

To those who only look at Behemoth’s dark and disturbing imagery, it would be easy to pass them off as caricatures. But if you dig in, it’s remarkable to see a band take both their visuals and themes to the heights that they achieve. They expertly weave dark religious themes with the heaviest of heavy metal. Throw in a bit of middle eastern flair and experimental noise, and you have the makings for one of the most unique bands over the past several years.

The show at the sold-out O2 Forum in north London was like the live unpacking of a nightmare. The crowd was going bonkers from beginning to end. There are no “hits” to be found, but the band rightfully pulled heavily from last year’s I Loved You at Your Darkest. It was as if hell had been recreated on stage and I sat patiently waiting for the oversized arm of Satan himself to burst through the smoke at any given moment and condemn us all. In other words, it was my favorite show of the year so far.

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Needle Drop: Mark Vickness, “Prince William Sound”

Today, The Vinyl District places the needle on the masterful new single from Bay Area-based, modern acoustic guitar maestro Mark Vickness. The track may not feature any vocals, but it definitely speaks of the expansive Alaskan wilderness, which is its namesake.

Mark’s 2018 release, Places, was lauded as one of the best contemporary guitar records in recent history by outlets such as Acoustic Guitar magazine. That is quite a bite to chew, but as indicated in this performance video, Vickness displays utter confidence over his instrument.

His precision is masterful, and the arrangements create an atmosphere beyond the constructs of his acoustic guitar.

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Graded on a Curve:
bill bissett &
Th Mandan Massacre,
Awake In Th Red Desert

Although it fits with the terminology, to consider the underground as an expansive basement only works so well. It’s perhaps more beneficial to describe the u-ground as a hulking, organically cultivated and mysteriously regenerative onion of uncommon deliciousness and diversity of flavors. As the layers get peeled away, the tastes frequently become more intense, initially intriguing and especially when historically situated, revelatory. Such is the case with Awake In Th Red Desert by Canadian poet bill bissett & the gang of Vancouver outsiders named Th Mandan Massacre. Not a lost record but surely too-little known, Feeding Tube’s first-time vinyl reissue in an edition of 500 should help change that.

If you think music holds vast stores of subterranean obscurity (hey, it does!), you should try literature on for size. Naturally, a high percentage of u-ground writing is located in the poetry section of the used bookstore, in part because the form frustrates the nagging belief that the essence of literature resides somewhere in the neighborhood of “a great story artfully told.” Additionally, poetry largely isn’t writing meant to be quickly grasped by the reader. Instead, it stymies the attempts to conquer its totality, or to employ a contemporary phrase, the need to “get it.”

And thus, bill bissett (deliberately lowercase, and we’ll get to that) remains largely unknown outside of hardcore poetry circles, even after being rated as a “great poet” by Jack Kerouac, a figure who still stands as one the kingpins of the whole grand countercultural experience, even if he’s currently somewhat out of vogue.

Part of the reason Kerouac’s praise hasn’t carried more weight might be due to its coming from deep in the man’s grumpy, boozy Florida-based late period as part of an interview conducted for The Paris Review by New York School poet Ted Berrigan. I do believe the occasion of this chat brought Kerouac exposure (courtesy of Berrigan) to the work of a young Jim Carroll, writing that Jack also praised, but I digress. Poetry’s good for sideroads of thought, y’know?

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