Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth,
Episode 2: Nicole Atkins

Nicole Atkins’ new album, Italian Ice is assured—it’s a portrait of an artist who is becoming an expert at finding her vision and rallying the troops around her to help bring it to fruition. But there is also a tenderness, a vulnerability, a maternal instinct to care for those around her and keep the keel even. This isn’t Nicole’s first visit to The Vinyl District, she has appeared on—not one—but two episodes of TVD’s In-Store with… record shopping segments.

Italian Ice was recorded at the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and comes on with the thickest pop grooves you’d ever want to experience. On side two the signal fades and the dial mysteriously drifts into distant stations you may not normally tune in: oldies, retro radio, swing, seasick ballads, and psychedelic torch songs. Stop controlling everything, let Nicole be the captain on this voyage.

Nicole isn’t wasting her time during pandemic days, she’s gathered much of her band in her parent’s NJ home so they can quarantine together and produce a weekly program for Amazon Music called Live From the Steel Porch. It’s a musical variety show with special guests that’s just right for these times.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Stone Roses,
The Stone Roses

As a famous man (I think it was Geoffrey Chaucer) once said, time waits for no man. And in the case of Manchester’s The Stone Roses, the five long years that passed between this, their massively popular 1989 debut, and 1994’s Second Coming were fatal. Come Second Coming baggy pants and bucket hats were passe, and Britpop ruled England’s green and pleasant land.

Those five years may have been piddling compared to the 14 years that elapsed between Guns N’ Roses’ The Spaghetti Incident and Chinese Democracy, but those five years they were an eternity–during the same time span The Beatles went from Meet the Beatles to Abbey Road.

The Stone Roses’ half-decade of silence stemmed form a variety of issues, the most important of which was a protracted effort to sever ties with their record label, but it doesn’t much matter. In his poem “The Second Coming” (sound familiar?) William Butler Yeats foresaw a rough beast slouching towards Bethlehem, waiting to be born. The Stone Roses’ follow-up didn’t so much slouch towards the record stores as crawl, and by the time it arrived Engand’s notoriously fickle trend watchers had long since written them off.

None of which detracts from the fact that The Stone Roses is one killer LP. The album’s rave-friendly dance rhythms and hypnotic grooves would seem to put The Stone Roses in the same category as fellow Mancunians the Happy Mondays, but they took it the extra yard by fusing said dance rhythms with the Happy Daze psychedelic guitar sounds of the mid to late ‘60s. Like the Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses produced dance music, but they could rock the arenas as well.

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TVD Radar: The
Center of Nowhere
(The Spirit & Sounds of Springfield, Missouri)
streaming now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The Center of Nowhere (The Spirit and Sounds of Springfield, Missouri), featuring musical legends Merle Haggard, Dan Penn, Brenda Lee and others, is a history and celebration of “America’s most overlooked music scene.”

Weaving the tale of how the rogue city on Route 66 shaped a compelling sound, influencing country, folk, gospel, rock, and roots music globally, the film has had its digital release on Tuesday August 4th, presented by KDMG and Social Construct. The Center of Nowhere premiered at the County Music Hall of Fame and was nominated for the Maverick Award for Best Documentary, Best Director and Special Achievement for animation sequences. The film was also an official selection at AmericanaFest and The St. Louis International Film Festival. Viewers can purchase or rent the film from various digital platforms including Amazon, Vimeo, and nationwide OnDemand on cable networks Comcast, Charter/Spectrum, and Cox.

The film explores how the culture of Springfield created a fiercely independent sound that has influenced artists all over the world, and includes additional interviews with Billboard chart-topping and Grammy-winning musicians such as Dave Alvin, punk rockers The Del Lords, members of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, the pop rock band Somebody Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Jonathan Richman, Robbie Fulks, Syd Straw, and the final on camera interviews with Merle Haggard and Springfield music avatars Bobby “Lloyd” Hicks and Lou Whitney.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth,
Episode 1: Val Emmich

Welcome to the first episode of TVD Radar!

If you haven’t already, meet Val Emmich, he’s a New Jersey renaissance man: author, actor, and musician. He’s a real Jersey boy and a fellow alum of Rutgers University. You’ve probably seen him and not realized it. He’s been on 30 Rock—as Liz Lemon’s younger love interest—and had a major role in HBO’s Vinyl.

If you’re into curling up with a good book, you’ll want to check out his delightful novel, The Reminders which was published by Little, Brown and Company in 2017. In fact, his writing abilities are so admired that when the creators of the Broadway smash Dear Evan Hansen were looking for an author to write the young-adult version of their show, they chose Val. Of course, it debuted at #2 on the New York Times Bestseller List.

But, wait. What we’re here to discuss is Val’s excellent musical career. After building a loyal fanbase in the early 2000s, Emmich was signed to Epic Records’ Red Ink imprint who released his Slow Down Kid album. Val hasn’t slowed down and has independently released an impressive catalog of music during the last two decades. His latest release, Acting the Optimist is a tightly knit, efficient 10 track album; it’s loud, clever, focused, and continues to unfurl itself after several spins.

Originally recorded as a Zoom chat, join Evan and Val as they discuss the album’s emotional creation, life during pandemic times, songwriting, and more. You’ll hear that discussion and the entire record in this episode.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: Other Music doc announces wide digital release for 8/25

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Factory 25 is pleased to announce the wide digital release on Aug. 25 of Other Music, a documentary about the legendary NYC record store that closed in 2016. The store helped launch the careers of countless indie stars. The film will be available on Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play, etc.

The film was slated to have a theatrical run in April which was cancelled just as Covid hit. The filmmakers made lemonade out of lemons by partnering with over 200 temporarily-shuttered record stores and theaters on a Virtual Cinema release, which raised over 25k dollars for those places in a time when it was desperately needed. Tickets to stream the film were sold via the partners with 50% of the proceeds going to the store or theater in need. The cancelled April theatrical release was planned for the week of Record Store Day, and this wide digital release will coincide with the week of Record Store Day’s rescheduled ‘RSD Drops’ event.

The film delves into the iconic New York City record store’s influence with appearances by Tunde Adebimpe (TV On the Radio), Jason Schwartzman, Martin Gore (Depeche Mode), Matt Berninger (The National), Janeane Garofalo, Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) and more.

“It’s a story about record stores, sure, but moreover it’s about the power of community, and the changing face of our cities and towns and culture. The film is a joyous celebration of creativity and the people and places that matter in this life. And it feels all the more relevant today.”
Josh Madell, Former Owner of Other Music

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Chuck Eddy,
The TVD Interview

Chuck Eddy is America’s foremost music critic. Hell, he’s probably the world’s foremost music critic, unless you count the woman in North Korea who’s said to write one hell of a Laibach review. Over the past several decades Eddy’s smart-ass wit, super-charged prose, lightning flash (and often controversial) pronouncements) and mind-boggling knowledge of musical esoterica have made him a must read for anyone who gives a hoot about popular music.

Eddy’s abiding interest in (and love for) what he calls “inessential music,” championing of genre-blending (think country disco), and defense of such derided-by-the critics genres as New Country offer readers an ear-opening new perspective on popular music—read Chuck Eddy, and I guarantee you’ll never listen to music the same way again.

Eddy’s resume is too extensive to go into here. Suffice it to say he’s written thousands of articles for The Village Voice—where he served as musical editor for seven years–Creem, Rolling Stone, Spin, Entertainment Weekly and other forums.

Eddy’s books include Stairway to Hell: The 500 Best Heavy Metal Albums in the Universe (Harmony Books, 1991); The Accidental Evolution of Rock ‘N Roll: A Misguided Tour Through Popular Music (De Capo Press, 1997); Rock and Roll Always Forgets: A Quarter Century of Music Criticism (Duke University Press, 2011).and Terminated for Reasons of Taste (Duke University Press, 2016). Eddy currently dedicates his energies to programing music for Napster.

In the following interview Eddy talks about Stairway to Hell, which has been enraging metalheads for decades, declares his love for B-sides and dollar bins, says he doesn’t think of musicians as people and doesn’t give a flying fuck about their personal lives, and makes the astonishing admission that given the choice between having Guns ‘n’’ Roses or Suzanne Vega over for dinner, he’d go with Vega because “she eats less.”

And finally, he talks candidly about the “Infamous Beastie Boys Incident.”

Without further ado, a conversation with Chuck Eddy.

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Graded on a Curve:
John Cale,
Paris 1919

I like to play hard to get. You know, listen to an album for a while before I ask it out on a date. Sure, there are exceedingly rare exceptions—thunderbolts of instantaneous amour that make me lose my composure and babble on about how wonderful an album is, and how I want to take it home to meet my family, and go out and surreptitiously shop around for a ring. This was what happened the first time I heard John Cale’s 1973 LP Paris 1919.

The Welsh Cale will forever be chiefly remembered for his work with The Velvet Underground, but he was playing experimental music—you know, the usual, like an 18-hour piano marathon of a piece by Erik Satie—with the likes of John Cage and La Monte Young before he joined the Velvets, and has recorded in a mad variety of styles since then. I’m loath to call any one a genius, because I prefer to reserve the title for myself, but for John Cale I’ll make an exception. He’s put out many an amazing and influential record—and produced just as many for other artists—and you never know what he’ll do next.

Take Paris 1919. The LPs that bookend it—namely 1974’s harder rocking Fear and 1971’s more experimental and classically-oriented The Academy in Peril—don’t bear the slightest resemblance to Paris 1919, or to one another for that matter. I love both albums for their unpredictability, but most people, myself included, consider Paris 1919 Cale’s masterpiece. The reason why is simple—it’s chockablock with sublime and lovely songs that you’re guaranteed to fall in love with, just as I did.

Cale may have quit The Velvet Underground because he didn’t share Lou Reed’s ambition to become a pop star at any price, but that doesn’t mean Cale was uninterested in exploring pop’s outer suburbs. Paris 1919 is proof positive that Cale had a pop side as well—he simply dressed it up and presto, instant baroque pop. Or art rock, although I’m hesitant to describe Paris 1919 as such because the LP includes only one tune that even vaguely resembles rock, namely “Macbeth.”

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TVD Radar: Mort
Garson reissue series
via Sacred Bones
Records in stores 11/6

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Sacred Bones Records announce a new series of reissues from electronic music pioneer, Mort Garson featuring albums Didn’t You Hear OST (1970), Lucifer’s Black Mass (1971), Ataraxia’s The Unexplained (1975) and Music From Patch Cord Productions, a collection of rare and unreleased recordings from Garson’s archives. In addition to the four records, Sacred Bones is releasing a 2LP 45rpm audiophile edition of Garson’s legendary 1976 album Mother Earth’s Plantasia, which was re-released last year to much acclaim. All albums are out November 6.

Morton S. “Mort” Garson was a Canadian-born composer, arranger, songwriter, and pioneer of electronic music, known for his albums in the 1960s and 1970s that were among the first to feature Moog synthesizers. His best-known album is Mother Earth’s Plantasia, a 1976 Moog album designed to be played “for plants and the people who love them.” Sacred Bones has undertaken the project of giving official, licensed reissues to key releases from Mort Garson’s catalog, with the intention of bringing these bold masterpieces to a 21st century audience.

Music From Patch Cord Productions | A collection of rare and unreleased recordings from the archives of electronic music pioneer Mort Garson. The compilation plays like an ultimate Mort Garson playlist, and includes alternate takes of Plantasia tracks, music for never-aired radio advertisements, themes for science fiction films, erotic oddities, and much more from the prolific composer’s ’60s and ’70s synthesizer oeuvre. This deluxe edition includes new liner notes by Andy Beta (Pitchfork).

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TVD Radar: L7, Smell the Magic: 30th Anniversary Edition in stores 9/18

VIA PRESS RELEASE | On Friday, September 18th, 2020, Sub Pop will release L7’s Smell the Magic: 30th Anniversary Edition, the fiery, American grunge pioneers second album.

This 30th-anniversary edition of the ‘90s underground rock classic includes all 9 songs from the album, remastered and available together on vinyl for the first time ever! A multitude of rock music scenes populated the expanse of Los Angeles in 1989: hardcore punk, industrial goth, roots rock, and Sunset Strip hair metal, to name a few. L7 fit into none of them, creating their own unique blend of punk and hard, hooky rock loaded with humor and cultural commentary. Originally released in 1990, Smell the Magic is a landmark of ’90s feminist rock.

Smell the Magic: 30th Anniversary Edition is now available for preorder from Sub Pop. LP preorders through and select retailers in North America will receive the limited Loser edition on clear with high melt orange, blue, and gray vinyl. Meanwhile preorders through select retailers in the UK and Europe will receive the Loser edition on neon orange vinyl.

A multitude of rock music scenes populated the expanse of Los Angeles in 1989: hardcore punk, industrial goth, roots rock, and Sunset Strip hair metal to name a few. L7 fit into none of them. Guitarist-vocalists Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner, bassist-vocalist Jennifer Finch, and newly added drummer Dee Plakas were creating their own unique blend of punk and hard hooky rock, with humor and cultural commentary along for the ride.

But making a mark on the LA underground rock scene was more challenging than it seemed. Originating out of art punk circles in 1985, L7 played countless poetry readings, drag shows, art happenings and punk rock dive bars. They were nothing short of perseverant.

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Madison Olds,
The TVD First Date

“Music was so much more fragile and coveted when it was just in a tangible form. There was fear of scratching a CD you worked hard to pay for, or unraveling a cassette, or even breaking a vinyl. You would display your rack of CDs or frame your vinyl, like there was a certain pride in the music you listened to. I think that’s why to this day there is so much support of tangible records and why it will never fully die. There is a certain nostalgia to holding a record somebody worked so hard for, not just a link. It’s where music and sound meet body and soul.”

“Growing up, my Aunt had this beautiful farm about 45 minutes out of my hometown, and in one of her rooms, she had this red record player and stacks of records she had collected over the years. I used to love to just pick a random one, put it on, and dance until it stopped, beg my mom to flip it for me, and then dance again. It was great, and at that age I didn’t really realise how special records and vinyl were and still are, obviously.

As I grew up, I listened to lots of cassettes and CDs as my dad had this incredible collection of them in our basement. Great bands like Deee-Lite, Pat Metheny, Salt-N-Pepa, Enya, and Art of Noise. I got cultured by lots of bangin’ ’90s records and artists. By the time I became a young adult around 15, my dad opened the door into the ’80s for me and that was a game changer. I was the only kid requesting Tears for Fears and Bowie at parties. When Spotify kind of started to take over, I got into a lot of ’80s groups as Spotify basically did all of the work for me. I’d listen to Howard Jones, and there it was “Fans also like… Thompson Twins, Wang Chung, Berlin, and Flock of Seagulls.”

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Dryden Mitchell of
Alien Ant Farm,
The TVD Interview

You may not know it, but you’re probably already an Alien Ant Farm fan. Their 2001 cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” was a runaway success and catapulted the little-known band from Riverside, CA to stardom in the blink of an eye.

Dryden Mitchell, AAF’s original vocalist, recently sat down with The Vinyl District to discuss a range of topics including his start in music, the band’s recent cover of Wham’s “Everything She Wants,” and his newfound passion for koi fish. 

How did you get started in music?

Probably just watching my dad. He was my first influence, kind of a one-man band—a piano bar style musician. I’d watch him and was always intrigued by the way he could immediately change the vibe of a room. Whether it be a family gathering or a party, he could easily break the monotony and get things moving, changing the overall mood of the group through his music. I thought it was powerful how he could take control of any situation in a positive way and just thought that was really cool.

What was it like performing on stage for the very first time?

While my dad seemed comfortable in his own skin, I think I was extremely neurotic, self-conscious, and a bit terrified the first time I performed on stage. In hindsight, it was kind of fun to be terrified. I don’t know what I was so scared of, but a few times early on I just felt like maybe I didn’t want to do this. I loved playing music, but I didn’t know if I wanted to play in front of strangers. It was kind of weird, but obviously through experience, I got over those hurdles and really began enjoying being in front of others performing music that I loved.

Thinking back to your high school days, who were your favorite bands at that time?

I remember really loving semi-eclectic music. You know, anyone from Joni Mitchell to Sade to Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, even Björk. And then came along a band called Primus and I was like, “Whoa, what is this?” Their music was way interesting and something I never experienced before. Then I heard Nirvana for the very first time. They just had an urgency to their music. I can’t even explain hearing Gish by The Smashing Pumpkins. It was so regal, so important, so silky.

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TVD Radar: HeadCount and Evanescence launch campaign to promote voter registration, easy access to voting

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Evanescence and HeadCount, the non-partisan, non-profit voter registration organization, unveiled a public service announcement today entitled USE MY VOICE along with a campaign to encourage Americans to check or update their voter registration status.

The USE MY VOICE initiative places special emphasis on empowering Americans to use their voice as safely and easily as possible in the upcoming election. It points voters to, where they can get accurate, clear information on voting by mail. It also offers location-based instructions on where to vote, what’s on an individual voter’s ballot, and provides easy access to voter registration, where permitted by states. As an additional incentive to encourage people to use the free service, everyone who registers or checks the status of their existing registration will receive an electronic ticket to attend a free, private online performance by Evanescence in the Fall.

Evanescence joined together with HeadCount after witnessing the COVID crisis’ dire impact on primary voting in many states, including long lines in places like Georgia and elsewhere, as well as the forced rescheduling of other primary elections. With the recent spike in Coronavirus infections throughout the nation, the band wanted to do something to address the concern. Sharing HeadCount’s belief that our democracy functions best when as many people as possible – regardless of their political preference – participate by using their voices, the band is dedicating itself to this cause by leveraging its reach to help in achieving HeadCount’s goal of registering 200,000 voters, and directly engaging with one million voters this election year.

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TVD Radar: Third
Man Records’ How The River Ganges Flows in stores 9/18

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Third Man Records is excited to announce How The River Ganges Flows, a compilation of rare and unheard Indian violin music from 1933–1952.

The collection, which was compiled by record collector and archivist Christopher King (Why The Mountains Are Black, Alexis Zoumbas) and features artwork by R. Crumb, will be released on September 18, 2020 on LP (with a bonus 7″), CD and digital. How The River Ganges Flows is a transcendent collection of Carnatic violin performances captured on 78 rpm disc between 1933 and 1952. Most of these sublime recordings have not been heard since they were first etched in shellac decades ago.

These melodies are ethereal and transporting: meditative. The rhythms undulate from despair to ecstasy, often within the same phrase. Remastered from the collection of Christopher King along with a set of deep notes, this music is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.

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Graded on a Curve: Bessie Jones with the Georgia Sea Island Singers, Get in Union

Anybody familiar with Moby’s “Honey” knows the sampled voice of Bessie Jones. Primarily celebrated for her leadership of the Georgia Sea Island Singers, she played a considerable role in the ‘60s folk revival and remains an exemplar of cultural diversity in 20th century USA. With Get in Union’s two CDs and splendidly informative package, the Tompkins Square label and producer Nathan Salsburg turned a brilliant spotlight upon a trove of her work from numerous sessions recorded by the great Alan Lomax.

To begin to absorb the significance of Bessie Jones one needs at least a little bit of insight into the unusual history of the Georgia Sea Islands. Situated near the coast of Georgia and taken early in the Civil War by the Union Army, the islands were a part of what’s known as the Port Royal Experiment, more specifically an opportunity for approximately 10,000 freed slaves to practice self-sustainment (i.e. what Reconstruction could’ve been).

The Port Royal Experiment lasted until 1865 when President Andrew Johnson returned the land to its former white owners. And yet from the end of the Civil War to the mid 1930s the Georgia Sea Islands sustained a separation from mainland life as two different sets of ex slaves intermingled, those from the USA and a large influx of Bahamians freed after the British Empire put the kibosh on their ownership of humans.

In 1935 Alan Lomax made his first trip to the Georgia Sea Island of St. Simons in the company of folklorists Mary Elizabeth Barnicle and Zora Neale Hurston (most famous as the author of Their Eyes Were Watching God, amongst other novels and writings). On that visit they recorded for the Library of Congress the Spiritual Singers Society of Coastal Georgia, a group organized by Lydia Parrish, the wife of painter Maxfield Parrish.

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Imogen Clark,
The TVD First Date

“Growing up, my parents’ old record player was dusty, beige and weathered by constant use, a beautiful artefact of the ’70s. It sat downstairs on top of a shelf which was studded with the best of ’70s and early ’80s rock and pop—Joe Jackson, Led Zeppelin, John Farnham, Elton John, U2, Talking Heads—alongside a smattering of operetta and musical theatre cast albums.”

“The first record I remember spinning on repeat was Led Zeppelin IV. The packaging was falling apart and it skipped in places. I remember staring at the cover image of the man bending under the weight of all the sticks on his back and thinking it was incredible that they’d put out a record with neither band name or album title on the cover. My Dad owned every Led Zep album and t-shirt you could buy. He raised me to appreciate their mind-bending playing, and to understand there had never been a band quite like them before, and probably never would be again.

Listening to a record like that, and then spending Saturday nights watching the live DVDs, all I could think about was how much I wanted it to be me making music like that. The euphoria on the faces of the crowd, watching in awe as Zeppelin powered through a relentless three-hour show, perfect strangers connected to each other through this music. I wished it was me up there, fusing with my best friends into one four-headed monster and touching touching people’s souls all over the world in a way they’d never be able to forget.

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