Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

TVD Video Premiere:
Lady Low, “Rainy Day”

L.A.-based romance rockers Lady Low shower us with literate pop.

We have the pleasure of premiering the quintet’s steamy video for the punchy single “Rainy Day” which finds them basking in a whirlwind of sparkling confetti, praising the rain’s ability to wash their blues away. Perhaps it’s the authenticity of the performances or the glamorous string section, but I am convinced every member of this band delights in an evocative mood.

Described as “where strings and heartstrings collide,” “Rainy Day” is the A-side to a cover of the Buzzcocks’ “You Say You Don’t Love Me.” Both singles were released this past March and although the 7” is Lady Low’s sophomore release, the individual members are seasoned industry pros who know exactly what they are looking to deliver to audiences.

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Graded on a Curve: Lonnie Donegan,
Puttin’ on the Style

Lonnie Donegan may still be far from a household name in the United States, but he’s a legend in the United Kingdom for inventing a whole new genre—skiffle—before rock’n’roll was born. Like punk, skiffle—which incorporated jazz, blues, and folk, and was usually played using homemade or improvised instruments—made playing it a viable proposition for even the poorest of the poor, and it’s cool rhythms galvanized an entire generation of U.K. youth. The Beatles, the Stones, Van Morrison, Elton John—all were skiffle fanatics before rock’n’roll hit England, and all incorporated elements of its sound into their early music.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, the guitarist and vocalist got his start playing trad jazz in the mid-1940s, but a military stint in Vienna turned him onto the new sounds being played by the American Forces radio station—sounds he would later incorporate into so-called “skiffle breaks” while he was with Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen. With a washboard, a tea-chest bass, and a cheap Spanish guitar, Donegan and two other musicians would play American blues and folk tunes. In July 1954 he recorded a skiffle version of Leadbelly’s “Rock Island Line,” and presto—a star was born. Before he knew it he was playing on the Perry Como show, and young adherents—including those proto-Beatles, the Quarrymen, got off on this new style of music. Which was ironic seeing as how down the road it was those very same Beatles, with their newfangled beat music, who muscled Donegan off the pop charts for good.

Over the ensuing decades he would have his moments—recordings in Nashville, reunion shows, a long stint as a record producer, and most importantly, an album with Van Morrison (The Skiffle Sessions—Live in Belfast 1998) which won him much overdue acclaim. But just as important—but less appreciated than his collaboration with Morrison—was the 1978 LP Puttin’ on the Style, on which the King of Skiffle played an iconoclastic handful of songs accompanied by many of the musicians he’d influenced and inspired over the years including Albert Lee, Rory Gallagher, Brian May, Ron Wood, Elton John, Nicky Hopkins, Ringo Starr, Mick Ralphs, Jim Keltner, Leo Sayer, Ray Cooper, Peter Banks, Michele Phillips, and numerous other lesser known musicians. Produced by Adam Faith, the LP wasn’t a hit, but it provides a unique look at a musician who generally kept it simple taking advantage of a full deck of musical aces—which had both its advantages and disadvantages.

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TVD’s Press Play

Press Play is our Monday recap of the new tracks received last week—provided here to inform your next trip to your local indie record store. Click, preview, download, purchase.

Dustin Lovelis – Idiot
Birds of Night – Asleep in the Pine
Carly Rae Jepsen – All That (The Knocks Bootleg)
Fetty Wap – Trap Queen (Slaptop Remix)
Overjoy – Like A Wave ft. Lex Famous
BLITZ – Gyal Go Mal
Fauna Shade – Marzipan
DJ Earworm vs. Katy Tiz – Whistle (While You Mash It)
Benjamin Yellowitz – Ash Wednesday
Mune – Khazé

TVD SINGLE OF THE WEEK:
SPC ECO – Feel Me

Goldroom – Mykonos (Fleet Foxes Cover)
Graham Czach – Out of the Dark
Wise Blood – Cretin’s Club ft. Priscilla Sharp
Lykke Li – Never Gonna Love Again (Jeff Bhasker / Lollipop Remix)
Muzzy Bearr – Suede (Feat. Denmark Vessey)
Emerald Park – LiberTeens
The Danes – The Ultimate Tool
Ioan Delice – We Up (Remix)
Zedd ft. Selena Gomez – I Want You To Know (Justin Caruso Remix)
The North Country – The Cross We Bear

12 more FREE TRACKS on side B!

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Ex Hex: In-store with TVD at DC’s Som Records

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Unlike say with St. Patrick’s Day, the well-worn adage “Every day should be Record Store Day” is a concept we can truly get behind. And while we’re thrilled many of you will be hitting up your local indie record stores for Record Store Day, your local mom and pops deserve a warm hug throughout the rest of the year as well.

And it’s with this in mind that the lovely ladies of Ex Hex—Mary Timony, Laura Harris, and Betsy Wright—joined us recently on a random Tuesday, during a random week, of a random month, for an entirely unrandom record rummage at Washington, DC’s Som Records to drive the point home that you needn’t set aside just one day a year for a trip to your local vinyl vendors.

Ex Hex themselves held down the #2 spot on our Best of 2014 list last year with Rips, their debut release on Merge Records. Our own Joseph Neff wrote in December, “a dozen songs, all highlights; Ex Hex has produced an outstanding debut that sounds like an instant classic.”

The band takes these 12 classics and more to Chaz’s Bull City Records this Saturday for a Record Store Day in-store, but for now we’re in Washington, DC—and we’re record shopping with Ex Hex.

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TVD’s 9 weeks of vinyl giveaways, Week 9: The Rhino Fireworks Finale

As we noted throughout our 9 weeks of vinyl giveaways, it’s easy to forget that going on 8 years now when TVD was in its year one (as was Record Store Day) the vinyl medium wasn’t “back,” sales weren’t stellar, and indeed record stores were a fading lot. No, worse actually. Shops we’re closing at such a clip, their disappearance literally informed the launch of the site you’re reading at present.

And as we’ve repeated for 9 weeks now—vinyl and record stores go hand in hand. Their shared intrinsic value is the cultural commodity and the bedrock of any local music scene. Don’t believe us though…hit up your locals and the marriage becomes crystal clear. 

But we too have been overwhelmed with the resounding popular and prevalent headlines as to vinyl’s big resurgence, yet they also arrive in tandem with far less rosy headlines such as “Starbucks to Open in Former Bleecker Street Records Space”—and worse, some very bad ideas when one advocates for record shops have, of late, become internet fodder. (Seriously, vinyl subscription clubs are the Carson Daly of record collecting.)

As such, picking up with an old TVD favorite, we lined up 9 weeks of vinyl giveaways to count down to Record Store Day 2015 this weekend to redouble our efforts and to underscore the viability and the inherent need for your local brick and mortar record shops to remain the vibrant community touchstone that they intrinsically are. And while we kinda hate hanging out by the mailbox waiting for a record to show up (unless you’ve ordered it from a mom and pop or directly from a label!) we’ve shipped out records for 8 weeks straight as sweet reminders that record stores are literally where it’s at.

We’re closing out our 9 weeks of vinyl giveaways today with the LPs contained within these gorgeous Rhino Records sets—all of which we’ll award to one individual:

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TVD Live Shots: All Time Low in-store at Gallery of Sound, 4/4

All Time Low released their sixth full-length album, Future Hearts on April 7th, debuting at number two in the USA and number one in the UK.

This is the first time the pop-punk band have achieved this kind of chart success. “This is a huge surprise! We didn’t expect this kind of reaction to the album and we couldn’t be happier. After so many years together, we never want to let our fans down, and this feels like a massive achievement on their part as much as ours.”

In preparation for the upcoming release, the band embarked on a mini record store tour, performing new songs and autographing items for fans. This six-city stop at local indie records stores was sold out, giving true hardcore fans an intimate experience with the band.

On April 4th, the band made a stop at record store Gallery of Sound in Wilkes Barre, PA, performing a short, sold out set in front of 300 lucky fans. Photographer Doug Seymour was there to capture moments both on and off stage.

All Time Low will embark on their Future Hearts Tour starting April 15th in Lowell, MA.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Who,
Live at Leeds

Many have called the Who’s 1970 Live at Leeds the best live album of all time. Me, I’ve always scoffed. It made no difference that I’d never actually sat down and listened to it. A good rock critic doesn’t have to actually listen to an LP before passing judgment on it. He simply knows, based on gut instinct and certain arcane and occult clues, whether an album is a dud or not. In the case of Live at Leeds, there are three clues to the album being rated far greater than deserved.

The first is the LP’s inclusion of “Summertime Blues,” a song that has always given me hives and put me off my dinner of Hormel’s Chili on hot dogs, which is the impoverished rock critic’s version of pan-fried foie gras with spiced citrus purée. The second is that Live at Leeds suffers—if only in one notable case—from that early seventies affliction, song bloat. You know what I’m talking about: live albums where the bands stretch their songs to extraordinary lengths, in some cases obscene two-sided lengths, forcing the stoned listener to stand up, stagger to the stereo in a Tuinal haze, and turn the damned record over to hear the second side. Finally, there was the issue of song selection: six tunes, three of them covers, with none of the covers being particular favorites of mine. And I’ve never been a big fan of one of the originals, “Magic Bus,” either.

Which has always left me to wonder, “What’s in it for me?” And I’m not alone; in particular, Live at Leeds failed to impress those twin pillars of rock criticism, the generally unintelligible Greil Marcus, who called the music dated and uneventful and the ever-crotchety Robert Christgau, who singled out “Magic Bus” for special abuse, calling it “uncool-at-any-length.”

Besides, I’ve always been more than satisfied with the three Who LPs I consider indispensible, namely Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy, Who’s Next, and Quadrophenia. As for the rest of the Who’s catalogue—including Tommy—I had no use for it. But having finally listened to the Live at Leeds, I’m flabbergasted; it may not be, as critic Nik Cohn called it, “the definitive hard-rock holocaust,” but it does rock balls, probably because the Who was the best live band in the world at the time.

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Johanna Samuels,
The TVD First Date

“To me the sound of vinyl has an imperfect warmth. You can hear intention and delicacy. It’s how an album is best heard. You can grip the cover but you can’t get your hands around the intricacy of its sound. You ​lay the needle down and hear the arc. The whole story.”

“I was raised in Los Angeles by two music lovers. They named me after a Dylan song and I thought I was going to marry Paul McCartney when I was seven. For some reason we had no vinyl lying around. My mother always talked about her records and she’d say that they must “be somewhere.” Somewhere was the garage and the garage was completely haunted (no joke).

By the time I ventured in, I was fifteen. The box was big. The records were damp but they played. She had what seemed like everything. All of the original English Apple pressings of the Beatles albums that I had previously bought in shrink-wrapped jewel cases at Tower Records (RIP). I finally understood the way Abbey Road was meant to be flipped over to side 2. I could really look at the album art. They kind of felt like long lost friends. She let me keep the ones I went crazy for.

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Graded on a Curve: Shirley Collins,
Shirley Inspired

Great artists assert their influence in numerous ways. In the example of Shirley Collins, the recipe for lasting relevance derives from prodigious if astutely unembellished vocal talent and a keen insight into folk tradition. In terms of wedding the past to the future in the eternal present, Collins is extremely valuable, and for evidence one need look no further than Shirley Inspired, a whopping and wide-ranging tribute compilation assembled by Earth Recordings on three vinyl discs just in time for Record Store Day. Any heavy-duty folk nut should be pining to pony up, and as the proceeds go directly to the production of a film on Collins’ life, the collection’s benefits are especially worthwhile.

Born in 1935, Shirley Elizabeth Collins stands amongst the giants of 20th century folk, though listeners unversed in the British streams of the style may know of her only implicitly; in 1959, prior to commencing her recording career, she accompanied Alan Lomax on a particularly productive song-collecting tour of the US south, the indispensable folklorist back in the States after the quashing of the Red Scare Witch Hunts.

But Collins’ primary importance stems from her own music, and those having stiff-armed Brit-folk aside thinking it the milieu of pennywhistles, jig marathons, and gallivanting around maypoles should pay her stuff some mind; Sweet England, her ’59 debut for British Argo is cool, but things really take off with Folk Roots, New Routes, a ’64 collaboration with Brit guitarist Davey Graham for Decca, and continue through her next two solo efforts, ‘67’s The Sweet Primroses for Topic and ‘68’s masterful The Power of the True Love Knot for Polydor, both albums cut beside her older sister Dolly on pipe organ.

Even better were ‘69’s Anthems of Eden and ‘70’s Love, Death and the Lady, the siblings receiving equal billing as a part of EMI Harvest’s still astounding roundup of late-‘60’s/early-‘70s British sounds. Naturally there are more nuggets to be found in Collins’ body of work, but the material outlined above sets a solid course for the curious novice.

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Graded on a Curve: Colleen, Captain of None

Colleen is the nom de scène of Cécile Schott, a French multi-instrumentalist who’s been performing for over a decade. Her main axe is the treble viola da gamba; similar to a cello and mainly used for baroque purposes, it figures in a decidedly avant-garde context across her substantial discography. If experimental in nature, Colleen’s artistry avoids the inhospitable, and with her sixth album and first for Thrill Jockey, the music takes an accessible twist sacrificing none of its brilliance. Captain of None is out now on LP/CD/digital.

Like many of the essentially underground entities to rise up in the inaugural decade of the 20th century, I initially stumbled upon Colleen in the seemingly endless info stream fostered by weblogs. Dabbling in her material, I found it interesting, but it hasn’t been until very recently that I’ve paid Cécile Schott the attention she deserves.

The treble viola da gamba, or viol for short, is mostly heard today at recitals and on recordings of early music; Schott’s employment of the instrument for undeniably contemporary ends places her in league with such modern wielders of unusual sonic equipment as harpist Joanna Newsom and lute-man Jozef van Wissem.

Colleen’s debut Everyone Alive Wants Answers arrived in 2003 via Tony Morley’s Leaf, the label also issuing its follow-up The Golden Morning Breaks in ’05, the “Colleen et les Boîtes à Musique” EP in ’06 and Les Ondes Silencieuses in ’07. Early in ’06 a limited edition live CD Mort Aux Vaches was released on Staalplaat. After a considerable break, The Weighing of the Heart appeared in ‘13 on new label Second Language.

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