Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Joan Baez’s self-titled debut LP reissue in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | On October 12, Craft Recordings re-released iconic folk singer Joan Baez’s self-titled debut album both on vinyl and digitally. Recorded in the summer of 1960, Joan Baez’s first record introduced the world to the pure and soaring soprano of a then-19-year-old folk singer, who had recently come to prominence after the 1959 Newport Folk Festival.

Armed with just her voice, two guitars (the second guitar being played by Fred Hellerman of The Weavers) and two microphones, Baez injected new life into a series of traditional songs that she had chosen and arranged herself. In doing so, she placed herself at the forefront of the folk music revival that would take over America. The album landed at #15 on the Billboard 200 and spent 140 weeks on the chart. Arguably one of the most historically and culturally important American popular albums of the 20th century, Joan’s self-titled debut album was inducted into the Grammy® Hall of Fame in 2011 by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and selected to be preserved in the National Recording Registry in 2015 by the Library of Congress.

This all-analog vinyl reissue–cut from the original stereo tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and pressed and plated at RTI–will be housed in a Stoughton Old Style tip-on jacket. There will be a Barnes & Noble exclusive red vinyl (limited to 750 copies), and MFiT and hi-res digital releases available for the first time.

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TVD Vinyl Diveaway: Hamell on Trial,
The Night Guy at The Apocalypse Profiles of
a Rushing Midnight

Last week our own Michael H. Little hipped you to the new release from Hamell on Trial, The Night Guy at The Apocalypse Profiles of a Rushing Midnight, writing, “Forget about Charles Bukowski; Hamell’s darkly hilarious tall tales of brutal revenge, crimes both small-time and large, dysfunctional love, and drug- and alcohol-fueled mayhem are a million miles away from America’s original barfly’s quotidian tales of ordinary madness.”

“At the Apocalypse people get taken out in some not so very pretty ways, but don’t get too disturbed–they really, and I mean really, have it coming…If you’re smart, you’ll buy this LP and help Hamell the night guy turn out the lights…”

No faint praise, hm? But don’t take it just from us–how about from the Dean of Rock Critics himself, Robert Christgau who also opined via Noisey last week, “Recorded live on his phone in venues hither and yon, these 13 low-life tales are different from all the other low-life tales the barfly with his stage name on the cover has peddled over the years. That’s because they’re enraged rather than merely sardonic, and also because 14 of these low-lifes die, often hideously.

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Jessie Munro,
The TVD First Date

“I feel the same way about vinyl as I do classic movies. No matter what it is, it’s just better. Vinyl has a sound you can’t get anywhere else and that’s why I love it.”

“Growing up my dad always had a large vinyl collection but I got my first one in my late teens. Adele’s 19. I remember listening to it and already being a big fan of the album but hearing it on vinyl and thinking “what a treat.” It’s not always the most convenient or practical way of listening to music, but it’s one of the most special.

My favourite record of all time is Carole King’s Tapestry. I was lucky enough to get in on vinyl last year. I’ve listened to that album a thousand times but every time I listen on vinyl it’s a new experience. Almost life-like.

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Graded on a Curve: Badfinger, Timeless… The Musical Legacy

Talk about your bad mojo. It would be hard to find a band with as tragic a back-story as Badfinger, not one of whom, but two, of its original members hanged themselves. And this despite a string of at least five timeless tunes, and plenty of other good songs to boot. The problem is that corrupt management—in the form of the New York mob-connected Stan Polley—made off with the bulk of the band’s profits, leaving Badfinger’s members practically penniless. It proved to be too much for the band’s songwriting team, Pete Ham and Tom Evans, leaving Badfinger to be remembered as much for its morbid history as its status as a great power pop band, England’s answer to The Raspberries.

The quartet formed in Swansea, Wales in 1961 as The Iveys. After much struggling they found themselves part of Apple Records’ stable of artists and hit pay dirt with “Come and Get It,” a Paul McCartney written and produced record, at which juncture they changed their name to Badfinger, supposedly after an early iteration of “With a Little Help From My Friends” entitled “Bad Finger Boogie,” so named because an injured McCartney was reduced to using one finger. They then proceeded to produce a number of hits, but saw no money, and their subsequent career saw them become pop stars without a dime to call their own.

But what a legacy they left behind! It’s not all here on Timeless… The Musical Legacy (you owe it to yourself to also check out 1990’s The Best of Badfinger, Vol. 2, which includes such great tunes as “Just a Chance” and “Shine On”) but it’s a powerhouse record nonetheless, and convincing proof that Badfinger was more, and much more, than the band that brought us the delectable “Day After Day.”

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TVD Radar: Dennis
and Lois
to premiere
as an Official Selection
of DocNYC, 11/15

VIA PRESS RELEASE | There are bands, there are fans, and then there are Dennis and Lois. This is a story of a New York couple who have transcended beyond just being “music fans,” the legends behind the legends. Filmmaker Chris Cassidy has been following Dennis and Lois ever since meeting them at a show in 2010, and now with over 550 hours of footage, is ready to bring the documentary to life. The world premiere of Dennis and Lois has been announced for November 15 at 9:45pm at the SVA Theater as part of the Official Selection of DocNYC Film Festival.

Dennis And Lois is a love story about punk rock’s most dedicated couple and their 40-year devotion to the music and the musicians they love. These two road warriors live for the communal and unpredictable experience of a live concert, and the excitement it brings them in the good times and the bad. Their journey began in the mid-70’s at a gritty little club in New York City called CBGB’s where Dennis and Lois befriended an up-and-coming band, the Ramones. They quickly became part of the Ramones inner circle, selling merchandise and assisting the future punk legends on tours around the world.

This experience would change their lives forever. Through the years, Dennis and Lois continue to build friendships and sell merchandise for the bands they admire. Happy Mondays immortalized them in song and Spin magazine published a comic strip celebrating their “War Stories from the Road.” Dennis and Lois are considered by many to be rock-n-roll Icons, but as age and illness start to threaten their lifelong tour, they need to rely on the friends they’ve collected along the way and the music that energizes them to keep it going.

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TVD Video Premiere: Walter Salas-Humara, “She’s A Caveman”

PHOTO: JEAN FORDYCE | Longtime rocker Walter Salas-Humera strikes a prehistoric club for gender equality in his new video “She’s A Caveman.” The frontman of The Silos, who has also had a long solo career bridging rock and Americana, presents the tune on his latest solo album Walterio, out on the Hoboken-based Rhyme & Reason Records.

In the new video, which we’re happy to premiere today, he blends clips from old caveman movies like Eegah! with stop-motion clay animation and his own visage, playing and singing alongside the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, looking, at 59, like George Harrison’s dad.

Salas-Humara has written with people from Alejandro Escovedo to novelist Jonathan Lethem. But on “She’s a Caveman,” composed at the Steel Bridge Songfest hosted by Timbuk3’s Pat MacDonald in Wisconsin, he found a 15-year-old co-writer, Tari Knight. “He came with some fantastic lines,” Salas-Humara says. “My favorite is: She can hunt and gather me/ She can carry me across her land bridge.”

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Graded on a Curve: Ramones, Ramones

It’s easy to take this the Ramones’ landmark 1976 self-titled debut too seriously. Sure, it signaled a seismic shift in rock music, exploding like an M80 in the minds of every cretinous young thing who’d had it up to here with the pompous, bloated likes of ELP, Queen, and the Eagles. And sure, this baby is often celebrated as the first real punk rock LP.

But so far as declarations of war go, Ramones is a hilarious one. On it the most famous band to ever come out of Forest Hills, Queens state their demands (they wanna be your boyfriend and they wanna sniff some glue; they don’t wanna go down to the basement and they don’t wanna walk around with you), dabble with fascism (“I’m a Nazi schatze”), and beat on the brat with a baseball bat.

The Ramones weren’t the first NYC band to give voice to the inchoate yearnings of teengenerates everywhere; the Dictators got there first with 1975’s Go Girl Crazy!, and they deserve their due. But unlike Handsome Dick Manitoba and Company the Ramones got their yucks playing their songs at tempos that boggled the imagination; I saw the Ramones early on, without having ever heard a single note of their music, and the experience bordered on the traumatic.

The songs–which segued one into the other with nary a pause–went by at an insane, buzzsaw blur that night, obfuscating what is obvious to anyone who listens to the album now–that the Ramones mated their 160 beats per minute ferocity to an impeccable pop sense that gives many of these songs the loving feel of good bubblegum.

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TVD Radar: Joan Armatrading self-titled debut 180-gram reissue
in stores 2/15

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Intervention Records is absolutely thrilled to introduce another classic record in its (Re)Discover Series, Joan Armatrading. The 180-gram vinyl on-sale date is February 15, 2019. That will be followed by a hybrid CD/SACD on February 22.

Produced and recorded by legend Glyn Johns, Joan Armatrading is the breakout record that saw Joan assume full command of her extraordinary talents and leap to the forefront of rock’s great female stars. A soulful, soaring voice and a powerful and evocative songwriter. The smash hits include “Love and Affection,” “Down to Zero,” and “Somebody Who Loves You.” Joan Armatrading’s 180-gram LP is 100% Analog Mastered by Kevin Gray at CoHEARent Audio from the best source available—phenomenal-sounding 1/2″ safety copy of the original stereo master tape.

The remastering is amazing! Thanks to Glyn Johns’ recording and production work, Joan’s vocals and guitar playing have never sounded so rich, resonant, and dynamic. This is an audiophile demo disc all the way, with depth, realism, and a breathing dimensionality.

Gray mastered the hybrid CD/SACD Direct-to-DSD from analog tape, using the same mastering as the amazing-sounding LP. It will be housed in a super jewel box. The album art is beautifully restored by IR’s Tom Vadakan and housed in a film-laminated, Old Style “Tip-On” single-gatefold jacket printed by Stoughton.

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CLOVES,
The TVD First Date

“Where do I begin to talk about vinyl? It’s the most fulfilling way you can consume music. It sounds better, it looks great proudly displayed on your mantel, and unlike a streaming subscription or a download, you can keep it forever (if you’re responsible with your things).”

“Vinyl for me has always been a real ‘treat’ to myself or a gift from someone who knew me well. I remember when I was younger I would save all I earned from my shitty part-time jobs and buy my favourite records on vinyl. So now you know I hold vinyl to the highest regard. Here are some of my all times classics plus two songs I think people should hear—I’m not 100% sure if they’re on vinyl yet, but shh—don’t tell anyone…

Radiohead, OK Computer: I don’t care if this is the most obvious Radiohead album choice—it’s obvious because it’s fucking great. I look forward to debating with you on this topic. Plus they’ve done a repackaged anniversary edition with this lovely blue vinyl.

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Graded on a Curve:
Queen, “We Are the Champions” b/w
“We Will Rock You”

Greetings, fellow totalitarians! Have I got the single for you! I’m talking some real Triumph of the Will shit! The real Blitzkrieg Bop! You’ve heard of arena rock? Well I’m talking Nuremberg Rally rock! Seriously–if this baby had been around in Hitler’s day, he’d have played the living fuck out of it!

In 1977 Queen declared themselves the champions of the world, and they did so via this two-sided monolith that has everything in common with totalitarian architecture. “We Are the Champions” (the A-side) and “We Will Rock You” (just flip the damn thing over) crushed the competition by means of pure jackboot stomp, and like your best Nazi architecture were custom-designed (Albert Speer would be proud) to convey iron fist power, brute virility, and sheer truncheon force. This ain’t combat rock; it’s Mechanized Mood Music for the Fourth Reich. And what I want to know is, where is Winston Churchill when we need him?

“We Will Rock You” would make the perfect soundtrack for invading Poland, and “We Are the Champions” the perfect song to play while popping a champagne cork atop the still smoking rubble of Warsaw. Of course nobody invades Poland nowadays–damned political incorrectness has ruined everything–so “We Are the Champions” became the theme song of every high school football team in America (and sports teams everywhere else) instead.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Aren’t you making too much of a pair of big, dumb, rabble-rousing anthems you can’t help but sing along with? Whatcha gonna do next? Write off Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2” as Nazi agitprop?”

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Graded on a Curve:
The Other Years,
The Other Years

One can rest-assured that the reservoir of contemporary old-time artistry far exceeds the supply of new recordings, in part due to the participants valuing community, and live playing in particular, over establishing some sort of foothold on a pro career. Rather than watering things down or gussying them up for consumption, the best current wax in the old-time style manages to capture this emphasis on social music like a snapshot, and the self-titled debut from the Kentucky duo The Other Years is a fine example. Anna Krippenstapel and Heather Summers aren’t affectedly rustic, however. Theirs is a rich potency expressed largely through striking original songs, and it’s available now through No Quarter.

Some neo-old-timey stuff leans so heavily into authenticity that it begins to feel like theatrics; at the very least, an ear will find it extremely difficult if not impossible to misplace that it is young people playing music that’s significantly older than they are. Older than their grandparents, even. This quality isn’t absent on The Other Years, but by its end numerous moments have accumulated where the primacy of the old-time objective is augmented with creativity that’s considerably, and at a few points, arrestingly beautiful, and in a manner not at all discordant with the contemporary.

Along with guitar and vocals, Anna Krippenstapel bows the fiddle here, while Heather Summers plucks the banjo and adds guitar and vocals of her own. To hopefully offset the potential romanticizing of the “social music” idea (the term in this context spanning back to the middle of last century as a category of the Harry Smith-compiled Anthology of American Folk Music), Krippenstapel has prior recording experience, contributing to releases by fellow Louisville residents Joan Shelley (a labelmate and old friend of The Other Years) and Freakwater (she can be heard on their latest release Scheherazade).

Further breaking down the old-time mystique, Krippenstapel played violin in Vampire Squid, which by reports (there aren’t many) was an arty-metal band. What she and Summers achieve on this debut lands decidedly nearer to the moments in Freakwater that zero in on Janet Beveridge Bean and Catherine Irwin; there’s also the timeless duo of Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard to consider.

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Graded on a Curve: Charalambides,
Tom and Christina Carter

Houston’s Charalambides have amassed over thirty full-length releases since 1993, with their output (a large hunk on vinyl) navigating the realms of acid-folk, psych-rock, and improvisation. It’s a significant accumulation of sound, but newcomers shouldn’t be flummoxed over when and how to jump in, as there is no better time than now through their latest; it’s out October 12 via Drawing Room Records. Charalambides has trio incarnations in their history, but the title of the new one gets right at their enduring reality as a duo: Tom and Christina Carter. With six tracks spread across four sides of vinyl, the byproduct of their union is exploratory, at times gentle and distant but intense and never unfocused.

The genres of acid-folk and psych-rock cover a lot of territory, so it’s worth adding that the mention of improv in the paragraph above (all three terms borrowed from the autobiographical description on their Bandcamp page, where they’ve attached the phrase “outer limits”) establishes an undeniable rigor, even as the music on their latest (and as its title expresses, a good representation of their discography as a whole) isn’t antagonistic or abrasive in nature.

A good litmus test for receptiveness to Charalambides would be how a listener feels about Jandek (and with emphasis on the listening and not just an appreciation of the latter’s unusual backstory). Now, some will say that if a person doesn’t know Charalambides they are unlikely to know Jandek, but I disagree, as a documentary film has been made and book chapters have been written on the guy.

It’s not just the shared locale (Jandek hails from Houston). It’s not just that Heather Leigh, who is one of the two folks to have filled out the trio lineups of Charalambides (and also half of Scorces with Christina Carter) has played live and on record with Jandek. And it’s not just that on the 1995 compilation Drilling The Curve Charalambides covered Jandek’s “Variant.” But put all three instances together and you do have a worthwhile point of reference.

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TVD Radar: Creedence Clearwater Revival 7-LP deluxe box set in stores 11/30

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The arrival of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 50th anniversary brings an unprecedented celebration of everything the band contributed in their short but startlingly epochal time together (1968–1972). To commemorate this milestone, Craft Recordings is releasing a deluxe box set comprising the band’s complete seven-album studio output: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bayou Country, Green River, Willy and the Poor Boys, Cosmo’s Factory, Pendulum and Mardi Gras.

Each album in this collection has been mastered at half-speed at Abbey Road Studios, benefiting from an exacting process that allows for an exceptional level of sonic clarity and punch, bringing these classic recordings a new vibrancy. The 180-gram LPs come housed in handsome tip-on jackets replicating the packaging of the original pressings. Along with the complete studio album collection comes an 80-page book featuring new liner notes from music journalist Roy Trakin, archival photos, and reproductions of band ephemera—offering something for both new and the most diehard of Creedence fans.

Using high-res transfers from the original analog tapes, the half-speed mastering process involves playing back audio at half its recorded speed while the cutting lathe is turned at half the desired playback speed. The technique allows more time to cut a micro-precise groove, allowing more accuracy with frequency extremes and dynamic contrasts. Abbey Road Studios’ award-winning engineer Miles Showell explains, “I’ve tried to be as authentic as I could, and just make it sound like music. Not over-hyped, not over-processed. Up until now a lot of processing has been done on these recordings, so my approach was to strip them right back and just expose them for what they are—because what they are is great music.”

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TVD Video Premiere: Vive La Rose, “Schiehallion”

“Schiehallion is a mountain that overlooks a family home, and is Gaelic for “Fairy Mountain.” It was the site of an 18th-century experiment to determine the density of the Earth, using a pendulum to measure its gravitational pull. The song looks at the effects of being too close to or too far from family, the push and pull of that dynamic, and the wisdom of pulling on those threads.”David Luximon-Herbert

One of our favourite Edinburgh artists is back with a brand new video and it will give you all the feels. We are extremely pleased to premiere Vive La Rose’s wonderfully nostalgic video for “Schiehallion” right here at TVD. So sit back, relax and enjoy.

The video is delightfully simple, featuring old footage of Vive la Rose, aka David Luximon-Herbert, in which we are able to watch him grow from a wee Scottish lad into the man he is today. Apparently Schiehallion is one of Scotland’s best known mountains and if you give it a quick Google (as we just have), the views really do look exquisite and we can understand precisely why David has chosen to write a song about such beauty.

The song itself is equally stunning, filled with lush cinematic soundscapes and David’s signature rugged vocal style making it undeniably unique. This really is an absolutely delight to listen to—and watch.

“Schiehallion” is taken from Vive la Rose’s forthcoming album For She Who Hangs The Moon, out on 12th October 2018 via Gestation Records. Pre-order here.

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Graded on a Curve: Hamell on Trial,
The Night Guy at The Apocalypse Profiles of
a Rushing Midnight

Welcome to the Apocalypse. No, I’m not talking about the End of Days. I’m talking about that mythical taproom perched somewhere between heaven and hell (I would situate in somewhere in the environs of Detroit) where every day is Judgement Day and harsh punishment is meted out to the evilest motherfuckers amongst us.

The night guy at the Apocalypse is the proudly foul-mouthed anti-folk saboteur Edward Hamell aka Hamell on Trial, who has been proudly offering up his unique blend of acoustic punk, spoken word agitprop since 1989 or thereabouts.

And we’re lucky to have Ed there, because he just so happens to be the best American storyteller this side of John Darnielle. Ed hears all, sees all, and tells all in his brand spanking new Saustex Records release The Night Guy at the Apocalypse Profiles of a Rushing Midnight, and let me just state from the outset that he has some harrowing yarns to spin.

Forget about Charles Bukowski; Hamell’s darkly hilarious tall tales of brutal revenge, crimes both small-time and large, dysfunctional love, and drug- and alcohol-fueled mayhem are a million miles away from America’s original barfly’s quotidian tales of ordinary madness. At the Apocalypse people get taken out in some not so very pretty ways, but don’t get too disturbed–they really, and I mean really, have it coming.

Hamell has been down the road of addiction and he remembers everything; the junkies and hookers and petty criminals, the bar fights and the fucked-up heists, the way shit has of always going south. Hamell emerged from hell a man of conscience; I don’t know anyone who’s angrier about the injustice we see all around us, or who so despises the power mongers, hypocrites, and all-around assholes who wield the levers of power in Donald Trump’s America.

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