Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Buzzcocks, 1977–1980 7-inch singles box set in stores 1/15

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Following last year’s extensive re-release campaign, Domino are pleased to announce details of the release of a Buzzcocks’ 7” box set containing the 12 singles the band released for United Artists between 1977–1980. Remastered from the original tapes and in the original Malcolm Garrett designed sleeves, the box set, released on Friday, January 15, 2021, also contains a 36-page booklet written by acclaimed author and punk chronicler Clinton Heylin.

A thrilling run of singles, primarily written by Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle, which showcased their effortless ability to write three-minute-mini-masterpieces that would endure long after the initial spark of punk had faded, many of these tracks were compiled and released on the album Singles Going Steady, a record which came out in the US in September 1979 and quickly transcended its status as a mere compilation going on to become regarded as a seminal and era–defining release.

Famously taking their name from ‘It’s the buzz, cock’, a headline from a Time Out review of 1970s TV music drama Rock Follies, Buzzcocks formed in Manchester in 1976 by Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto, who have a strong claim to have kickstarted a musical revolution in Manchester having organized and played at the now famous Sex Pistols show at the city’s Lesser Free Trade Hall in 1976, a show which inspired and spawned the likes of Joy Division, The Fall, and The Smiths.

Having recorded and pressed their debut EP, “Spiral Scratch,” in December 1976 for a cost of £500 (the single would go on to sell 16,000 copies in the first six months of release on their own New Hormones label), the band soon underwent personnel changes with founder Howard Devoto leaving before they signed to United Artists and embarked on the recording of their debut album.

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TVD Radar: The Firesign Theatre, Dope Humor of the Seventies 2-LP in stores 11/27

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Legendary comedy group The Firesign Theatre and Stand Up! Records present a new double-LP compilation, Dope Humor of the Seventies: a two-record set including 83 minutes of previously uncollected funny bits from The Firesign Theatre’s notorious “Dear Friends” era of freeform Los Angeles radio broadcasting, 1970–1972.

Dope Humor of the Seventies which goes on sale Friday November 27th, is an extremely belated sequel to Firesign’s 1972 double-LP Dear Friends—a freewheeling demolition derby of old-time radio tropes seen through the subversive lens of Nixon-era Los Angeles freeform radio. The record will be Firesign’s first new vinyl release since Eat or Be Eaten in 1985.

Dope Humor of the Seventies contains 34 tracks spread over four record sides. Meanwhile the download version of the record is greatly expanded, and includes 46 tracks totaling over two hours. Customers who buy the download directly from Stand Up! Records will also get a 56-page PDF which includes scans of scripts used in the original radio broadcasts. The new release includes soon-to-be-classic chunks of surrealism like “Pluto Water,” “Shakespeare Sunday Sunday,” and “Bob Dog Dog & Dog Hot Dog Son & Foot Tires.”

The Firesign Theatre, whose founding members were Philip Austin, Peter Bergman, David Ossman, and Philip Proctor, came together on Los Angeles radio station KPFK in 1966 on Bergman’s program Radio Free Oz. During their time together they released over 35 albums, including Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers, called “the greatest comedy album ever made” by Rolling Stone, described by the New York Times as “A multifaceted work of almost Joycean complexity,” and now are part of the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry of Historic American sound. Dope Humor of the Seventies will be available for order directly from Stand Up! Records and all major music retail outlets.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Firesign Theatre, Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him

In 1968 The Firesign Theatre, a comedy troop consisting of Phil Austin, Peter Bergman, David Ossman, and Philip Proctor, began an excellent string of releases with Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him. While not their best work, it is the place any newbie should begin. The smart and surreal environments the disc offers remain unique in the comedy universe, and the rewards are sharply in tune with the long-playing vinyl format.

The comedy album’s rate of productivity remains strong enough in the present that one need not worry over the general health of the form. Yes, people still want to laugh, and to this day the desire of comedians to offer up their art through the medium of records remains, even as the status those performers acquire through the making of said documents has been lessened.

Indeed, the heart of audio-only comedy continues to beat rather strongly, but what was once something like a cultural institution is now closer to a niche genre, largely because the market has always been dominated by the style known as stand-up. Commencing approximately in the 1960s, the boom for stand-up LPs lasted for decades, mainly because it was the easiest way to hear these comedians at extended length, and just as importantly, in uncensored form.

But comedy as performed in night-clubs, halls or auditoriums is also Performance Art, and by far the most widely accepted example of this often derided mode of expression. Throughout its peak years, comedy fans had three main options; the attendance of a show, catching a dose via television, most commonly on late-night talk shows and later premium cable services like HBO, and the purchase of LPs for home enjoyment.

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Graded on a Curve:
Green Day,

Occasionally–and by that I mean maybe once or twice a year–I ask myself why I hate Green Day. They come up with nice melodies, I admire Billie Joe Armstrong’s public disdain for Donald Trump, and there are definitely worse bands I can spend my time despising. But despise them I do, and I’m not alone. I recently hosted a competition to see who could come up with the most entertaining reason for hating Green Day, and here are a few of the responses I received.

My friend Patrick stopped short of hate, but did say, “When I hear Green Day’s name my soul crumbles into a deflated heap on the floor and I stare pleadingly at the ceiling to not exist.” My friend Kathleen went on a rampage about how ”every single person who attended high school or college since 1997 has been subjected to “Good Riddance/Time of Your Life” and it’s a miracle we don’t all have PTSD” before adding, “Green Day and their shit-filled, faux-punk (ha!) songs need to get the hell off my lawn!”

But first place goes to my good pal Steve, who wrote, “They remind me of the snot-nosed Bratz that used to live on my street. One day I was changing the starter on my car. My feet were sticking out from under it and about five of them showed up. They started singing that Queen song “We Will Rock You” and before they got to the third “rock you” I felt a warm splashing on my legs. The snot-nosed kids were pissing on me. That’s what Green Day remind me of.”

But let’s get down to why I hate Green Day. In part it’s because they’re directly responsible for the likes of Blink 182, Sum 41, and No Doubt, which in and of itself means we’d all be better off had they never happened. More importantly, they were the sugar-coated spearhead of tweener rebellion, and as such responsible for spawning a a generation of kiddie punks playing dress up (“Look, I found dad’s purple Mohawk in the closet!”) in hopes of scaring both parents and teachers who’ve–ho hum–seen it all before. Their greatest fear isn’t punk–it’s that their kids will take to wearing pink Izod Lacoste polo shirts with baby blue sweaters tied around their shoulders. If you really want to scare the bejesus out of the ‘rents, kids, Izod is the way to go.

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TVD Radar: Spacehog, The Chinese Album vinyl debut in stores 12/4

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The second (1998) release from the British expat group Spacehog, The Chinese Album was originally conceived as the soundtrack for a movie called Mungo City; the movie never got made but thankfully the album retained the glam/power pop song by the same name (which, in a just universe, would have been a big hit)!

This record never really got its due, partly because the band took three years to follow up on the success of their debut album Resident Alien and its hit “In the Meantime.” But The Chinese Album, in many ways, is a much more fully-realized work than its predecessor; instead of merely playing at being a glam-rock band, Spacehog here crafts a fully-realized sound and aesthetic, with nods to such artists as Queen, Badfinger, The Kinks, and even R.E.M. (Michael Stipe makes an appearance on the mellow ‘Almond Kisses’).

And the songwriting (e.g. “Lucy’s Shoe”) is consistently strong, making The Chinese Album one of the late ’90s’ great lost records. For its vinyl debut, we’ve pressed 1,000 copies in limited-edition maroon vinyl, and created a 4-page full-sized, full-color insert to hold all the groovy graphics that accompanied the CD release!

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TVD Radar, The Coathangers, (s/t) vinyl reissue in stores 12/4

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Pre-order The Coathangers now on vinyl featuring expanded artwork with an initial pressing of 1000 copies (500 on Confetti Crush Splatter Vinyl, 500 on Neon Strawberry Banana Pinwheel Vinyl).

Fourteen years ago, four young Atlanta women picked up instruments without any prior musical experience or lofty aspirations and decided that they were going to start a band so that they could play a friend’s party. The house-show led to more shows around town, and the fiery live sets of this feisty new band known as The Coathangers begat a self-titled album. Recorded during a single graveyard shift at a local studio and mixed the following night, The Coathangers was a raw, rowdy, and revelrous affair. What it lacked in polish it made up for in its undeniable energy and charisma.

“We didn’t think anyone was going to listen to it,” says vocalist/guitarist Julia Kugel. “We knew our friends in Atlanta would get it, but we didn’t think it was going to go anywhere. We were just excited to make a record.” Little did Kugel or her bandmates—vocalist/drummer Stephanie Luke, bassist/vocalist Meredith Franco, and keyboardist Candice Jones—know that their scrappy house show-anthems would catch on, prompting years of international tours, a slew of excellent LPs and singles, and, eventually, a deluxe re-mastered version of their boisterous, long out-of-print debut, The Coathangers.

The first thing the listener hears when the needle drops on The Coathangers is a sample of a man’s voice asking “Why this record? Why should you listen to a full-scale discussion of the magic of thinking big?” Given the band’s modest initial aspirations, the soundbite was obviously tongue-in-cheek, and yet given the triumphs and accolades bestowed upon the band in the thirteen years since the album’s initial release, there is something a little prescient in that opening statement. Revisiting the album in hindsight, it’s surprising to hear both how little has changed and how much The Coathangers have grown.

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Demand it on Vinyl: Liberation Hall’s 415 Records Reissue Series
in stores this autumn

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The legendary label 415 Records was instrumental in forging San Francisco’s musical identity at the dawning of the new wave era. 415 started with releases by SVT, The Uptones, and Pop-O-Pies, and eventually broke through to the mainstream with latter-day signings like Romeo Void, Translator, and Red Rockers.

Liberation Hall will reissue 415’s indie (pre-Columbia Records distribution) titles beginning October 9, 2020 with the Disturbing the Peace compilation, followed by SVT’s Always Come Back and The Uptones’ Get Outta My Way on November 6, and finally The Readymades’ More Alive Than Not and Pop-O-Pies’ “The White EP” plus bonus tracks on December 11. Liberation Hall president/COO Arny Schorr says, “When the opportunity was presented to bring 415 Records back into the market, to generate new exposure for the artists and their music, we jumped at the opportunity. Label founders Howie Klein and Chris Knab had a great eye for talent and the music holds up incredibly well.”

Klein notes, “415 Records started as a labor of love (and fun) for both Chris and myself. We never thought of it as a way to make any money, just as a way to get the music in our town out to a wider audience. It was always so thrilling when a programmer in Boston or Michigan or Texas would tell us they were playing one of our songs or that the local indie record store had sold out of our singles and they needed more ASAP. I learned the music business putting records into envelopes and calling people at magazines and radio stations to ask them to listen to our bands. It served me well and I hope it served the musicians and the people who liked their music well too.”

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The TVD First Date

“When I moved to Boston as a Hip Hop obsessed 18 year old in order to attend Northeastern University, one of the first things I did was start looking for record stores.”

“I had had my turntables for years already, but the few thrift shops in my hometown were far from generous in what they provided a kid looking for breaks, vintage funk and soul, or classic hip hop. I wandered the city for hours whenever I could, between classes and football practice, checking out places I found on primitive websites (2002 style) or message boards, where music nerds gathered and shared tips.

On one such expedition, I came across what will now forever be for me the archetype of the perfect record store. In Your Ear records in Allston was down a flight of stairs into a decent sized underground shop. Stacks of repaired receivers and turntables greeted you to left, and a hardcore and metal section that I always breezed past on the right. Beyond that (where you almost always had to squeeze by someone immersed in their own search) it opened up into the most beautiful example of the balance between disorder and order.

Clearly defined sections guided your search but never so organized that you might not accidentally find something to expand your taste. The daily appearance of unmarked boxes in the process of being organized or priced meant there was almost always something no one else had looked through, and most importantly for a student with no money there was a gigantic stack of unsleeved 45s for 10 cents each.

I remember spending hours and hours in that stack, skipping the train in favor of walking there and back (probably an hour each way) because that 3 dollars in train fare was an extra 30 records! I’d get home and carefully wash each record to make it playable but half the time they still screamed with static regardless.

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TVD Radar: Paul McCartney, McCartney III in stores 12/11

VIA PRESS RELEASE | 2020 marks 50 years since Paul McCartney released his self-titled first solo album. Featuring Paul playing every instrument and writing and recording every song, McCartney’s effortless charms have only grown in stature and influence over time. The chart-topping album would signify not only a creative rebirth for Paul, but also as a template for generations of indie and lo-fi musicians seeking to emulate its warm homespun vibe and timeless tunes including Maybe I’m Amazed, Every Night and The Lovely Linda.

The 1970s saw Paul forming his second band Wings and dominating the charts, stages and airwaves of the world, with multiple #1 singles, sold-out world tours, multi-million-selling albums including Band on the Run, Venus and Mars, Wings at the Speed of Sound, London Town and more. In 1980,10 years from the release of McCartney, Paul wrapped up the decade of Wings with the surprise release of his second solo album, the electronic-tinged McCartney II. Once again featuring Paul entirely on his own, McCartney II would come to be regarded as a leftfield classic, with classic cuts such as Coming Up, Temporary Secretary and Waterfalls.

The 1980s saw Paul start again, this time kicking off an unprecedented solo run. The following four decades would see Paul’s iconic and legendary status grow exponentially, with solo masterpieces including Tug of War, Flowers in the Dirt, Pipes of Peace, Flaming Pie, Memory Almost Full and New, and massive live shows the world over — actually setting the World Record for the largest attendance at a concert. In 2018, 54 years since The Beatles first hit #1 on the Billboard Album Charts – Paul’s Egypt Station would be yet another historic #1 McCartney album.

Hard as it is to believe, it’s only been two years since Egypt Station went #1–and it was only last year that Paul’s Freshen Up tour played its last show before Covid hit pause on live music, a legendary blowout at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

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TVD Radar: Whole
Lotta Celebratin’ Goin On: 85 Years of The Killer
streaming 10/27

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Announced last week, a star-studded event will be held to celebrate Jerry Lee Lewis’ 85th Birthday featuring some of the biggest names in music, movies, sports, television and politics. The virtual livestream, hosted by actor John Stamos, has added Ringo Starr, Keith Richards, John Fogerty, Andy Grammer, Kris Kristofferson, Peyton Manning and more for performances and well wishes for the “Last Man Standing” and founding father of Rock n’ Roll. There will be special appearances from Jerry Lee Lewis himself and he will interact with fans via the live chat.

Whole Lotta Celebratin’ Goin’ On: 85 Years of The Killer will air on October 27 at 8pm ET/7pm CT via Jerry Lee Lewis’ official Facebook and YouTube channels and The event will benefit World Vision, a Christian organization working to help communities lift themselves out of poverty. For good.

The current list of celebrities lined up to celebrate “The Killer” include (new announcements in bold): Andy Grammer, President Bill Clinton, Billy F Gibbons, Bonnie Raitt, Brenda Lee, Chris Isaak, Chris Janson, Drew Carey, Elton John, Freda Payne, Gavin DeGraw, Jacob Tolliver, James Burton, Jerry Kennedy, Jerry Phillips, Jimmy Swaggart, Joe Walsh, John Fogerty, Keith Richards, Kris Kristofferson, Lee Ann Womack, Linda Gail Lewis, Lindsay Ell, Marty Stuart, Mickey Gilley, The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, Nancy Wilson, Peyton Manning, Priscilla Presley, Randy Houser, Ringo Starr, Tanya Tucker, Tom Jones, Willie Nelson and Wink Martindale along with appearances from Jerry Lee Lewis’ road band, Kenny Lovelace, Ray Gann and Kenny Aronoff.

About Jerry Lee Lewis | Jerry Lee Lewis is one of the all-time best singer-songwriters, musicians and pianists. He was born in 1935 to Mamie and Elmo Lewis of Ferriday, Louisiana. In November of ‘56 Jerry Lee made his way to Memphis, Tennessee where he would join Sun Records and launch hit records with “Crazy Arms,” “Whole Lotta Shakin,’”, and “Great Balls of Fire.”

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Graded on a Curve:
U.S. Maple,
Long Hair in Three Stages

Defunct noise-rock outfit U.S. Maple’s career was one long acknowledgement of failure, futility, and self-hatred. The Chicago quartet went on record stating Rock was dead, but instead of taking the coward’s way out by abandoning their guitars for grad school (the last refuge of a scoundrel), they set out on the perverse course of deconstructing their songs, and putting them back together helter-skelter. The results were songs that were like Frankenstein’s monster, only with the legs sewed on where the arms should be and a head for a foot.

With each new release, U.S. Maple made rock music that celebrated the utter folly of making rock music, struggling to create something new under the “been there, done that” sun only to stop, shuddering in horror, upon realizing that all it was doing was dreaming up new ways to flog a dead genre. It is only in hindsight that one can see that while U.S. Maple may have failed, just as all true artists fail (“Only one thing matters,” said E.M. Cioran of artists and life in general, “learning to be the loser”), they did succeed in creating a body of music that is as initially difficult and out-of-kilter as it is ultimately perversely lovable and even funny.

The twisted and prickly structures of their screwball anti-songs have a way of sneaking up on you, of growing you a new set of ears as it were. At which point they still won’t sound right—U.S. Maple never sounds quite right—but they will sound as exciting and as innovative as rock (with its two million identical bands recycling the sounds of maybe 20 better bands) gets.

U.S. Maple—they were Al Johnson on vocals, Mark Shippy on “high” guitar, Todd Rittman on “low” guitar, and Pat Samson on drums—formed in 1995 and disbanded in 2007 after releasing five very outré LPs, including 1995 debut Long Hair in Three Stages. Johnson, the band’s secret weapon and my favorite singer, once said he “wanted to go the other way, to develop my inadequacies,” and he succeeded—or should I say failed?—admirably. When it comes to playing the creepy loser, Johnson is without parallel. He is less a singer than an accretion of alarming vocal nervous tics. He whispers, whimpers, warbles like an unhinged Maria Maldaur, croons, sighs, and does just about everything but actually sing. And it’s virtually impossible to make out a single word he says.

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The Deathray Davies,
The TVD First Date

“My first records were metal: Judas Priest, AC/DC, Ozzy. It was the music that my friend’s big brothers listened to and therefore, so did we. It was the entire universe, as far as I was concerned. “

“I spent hours listening and wondering what it would be like to go to a concert. Ozzy and AC/DC frightened me at first.. but the more I listened the more I wanted get closer to all of it. I was obsessed.

The first time I heard the Ramones, I was all in. It was the coolest thing I could imagine. It sounded like the ’60s (another obsession that came later) but LOUD and FAST. It was catchy, weird, and simple enough for me to think I could try playing my own music someday.

I gave away all of my metal records the next day. It felt like a line in the sand. I started collecting Ramones records, then the Clash. That led to the Cure and the Smiths—it went on from there and branched out.

I love how vinyl creates its own time and space—it feels like an event. As a kid, I’d study the artwork while listening. It was all so other-worldly, so completely different from anything I knew about in my neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas.

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TVD Radar: Resist Phony Encores, a memoir from Gruff Rhys in stores 2/9

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Resist Phony Encores! is a selective memoir in the form of graphics, images, and mass communications by musician and songwriter Gruff Rhys. Rhys weaves anecdotes from his life in performance through designer and long-term collaborator Mark James’ xeroxed graphics and doctored photos, as well as cue cards, which—for the past 15 years—Rhys has used as a part of his live performances. The book—available for pre-order now via Hat & Beard Press—will be published on 2/21 and retails for $29.95. (Available for shipping from the UK on domestic postal rates.)

Rhys, whose projects over the last few years have included a Super Furry Animals reunion tour, a gallery exhibition of his collection of internationally pilfered hotel soaps titled Hotel Shampoo, a much lauded book—and accompanying documentary—tracing an 18th century relative’s journey across North America in American Interior, and a steady stream of captivating solo recordings, is one of the UK’s most inventive and brilliant artists. Resist Phony Encores! begins with photographs of his pre-Super Furries punk band, a Welsh language group whose name translates roughly to “Coffee Beans For Everyone.”

Popular on Europe’s minority language punk rock circuit, Gruff cut his teeth as an outsider artist intent on infusing his work with irreverent, often absurdist, humor. His live shows have long been renowned for his playful encouragement of audience participation and fans will be familiar with many of these images, some of which have been made into a companion set of cue cards.

Applause! Louder! Thank You! These cue cards have gradually become more ambitious and absurd: Wild Abandon! Burger Franchise Opportunity! Generic Festival Reaction! The crowd generally goes wild on cue, prompting Rhys to seek explanations for the unimaginable highs and weirdness of life in music through the lens of crowd psychology. The book will appeal to students of linguistics, propaganda, and graphic design, and anyone interested in music and live performance.

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TVD Radar: Fields of
the Nephilim, Elizium 30th anniversary vinyl reissue in stores 12/11

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Formed in 1984, Fields of the Nephilim is the creation of vocalist and front man Carl McCoy. Highly influential, especially in the world of goth, but also within the metal and electronic genres, their legacy endures to this day. You can hear their influence on bands like Swans, Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Explosions In The Sky, Wolves in The Throne Room, Behemoth and more. Carl McCoy has even been called the “Uncle” of black metal.

Beggars Arkive are happy to announce a 30th anniversary vinyl reissue, out December 11th, of their third highly acclaimed album Elizium, released by Beggars Banquet in 1990. Recorded and produced by Pink Floyd engineer Andy Jackson, the audio is via analogue transfer to 96khz/24 bit by John Dent at Loud, with vinyl mastering by Geoff Pesche at Abbey Road. It’s pressed on dark green 180g vinyl.

The band’s unique sound, an apocalyptic fusion of Victorian underworld meets Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western, had an appearance to match (wide-brimmed hats, long duster coats and cowboy boots, usually black and smothered in white flour as a substitute for dust), and set them apart from their contemporaries.

“When everything else failed me the Nephilim inspired me and gave me light in the darkness. As a musical vessel, we have never sold our soul or changed our tune to achieve major recognition. We always stood apart from everything else that was going on around us. The goth scene embraced us, but then so did many other scenes and subcultures. In the early days the audiences didn’t know how to take us but that is why we did what we wanted to do and certainly were not interested in doing what other bands were doing.” —Carl McCoy

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Graded on a Curve:
Joe “King” Carrasco
and the Crowns,
Mil Gracias a Todos Nuestros Amigos

Casual research into the name Joe “King” Carrasco reveals the synopsis of a manic Tex-Mex bandleader better suited for the club stage than to the purposes of recording LPs. Mention his name to someone who’s seen him in action and you’ll likely hear an enthused recollection of a wild and happy night. Listen to Mil Gracias a Todos Nuestros Amigos, the 1980 Stiff Records debut of Carrasco and the Crowns, and the ear will be greeted by 12 songs from a group that from under the wide umbrella of the New Wave was briefly able to transfer their wild performance-based abandon into the grooves of long-playing vinyl.

There’s been a lot of debate over the years regarding the value of the late-‘70s musical surge known as New Wave. Setting aside the zealous haters that simply could not abide the movement’s departures from the Zeppelin/Eagles Arena Rock model, many detractors continue to associate the term with a weakening of the punk aesthetic set in motion by acts looking for wider success as encouraged by the interests of parties that were largely if not completely mercantile in character.

Naturally, some kernels of truth reside in this assessment, as the linguistic sleight of hand of Seymour Stein’s “Don’t Call it Punk” campaign easily attests. But naturally, it’s a far more complex situation than that. For example, new wave’s proponents often describe it as music made in direct response to ‘70s arena rock having reached a juncture of stylistic exhaustion, and for emphasis they point directly to the recycling of the buzzword applied to the cinematic uprising known as the Nouvelle Vague, which in the US, Great Britain and elsewhere was translated under the heading of the French New Wave.

That much needed and still influential development in film was surely a break with its home country’s Tradition of Quality, but it was also delivered by a small handful of auteurs, the most famous being Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Éric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, and Claude Chabrol. Displeased with “a certain tendency in the French cinema” they surely all were, and they did certainly set themselves to the task of creating something fresh.

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