Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Strange Freedom: Songs of Love and Protest in stores 7/14, proceeds to benefit Planned Parenthood

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Nashville-based Americana songwriter Matt Haeck was still in shock last year after Trump’s election when a new song from an artist whose album he was producing, Rayvon Pettis, shook him out of his stupor. “Lailly and Abdullah” is the heart-breaking story of two young Aghani lovers torn apart by war, and it came to Haeck just a few days post-election.

Unsure of how to respond and bombarded by fellow folk songwriters looking to fight back, the song unlocked a new perspective on resistance. “Love is protest,” Haeck says now over the phone, and “protest is love. That’s what I realized. I love people and I see vulnerable people getting trampled on. As someone who’s been privileged not to be affected by oppression, I feel responsible to do what I can to fight against it when I see it.”

That feeling of love that Haeck got from being exposed to a humanized Afghani story, as opposed to the daily barrage of virtual news, was something he wanted to pay forward, a new way to resist Trump’s regime. The next day he put out an ask on Facebook for friends to help him put together an album of love and protest and was bombarded by requests, many from Nashville friends and colleagues. Working together with Doug Williams of Wild Ponies, the two took the small bit of money sent them from a willing donor and booked two days at John Prine’s Butcher Shoppe recording studio in Nashville and brought in as many artists as they could for a whirlwind series of recordings. A key idea of the album was to keep the resistance local to Nashville artists.

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Kylie Odetta,
The TVD First Date

“I had always been fascinated with record players and how they seemed to capture a period in time and take you there.”

“I saw them in movies and music videos, I saw records in music stores, specifically a local store called Earshot that closed about a year ago, or in Urban Outfitters. But the first time I ever actually picked up a record and held it in my hand was when my family and I were cleaning out my grandpa’s trailer after he passed away when I was 13.

He had a massive box full of records in mostly perfect condition that we found. I asked to keep them even though I had no way of playing them because I didn’t own a record player at the time. My parents let me take them home and I hung a few on my walls but the rest went into a coat closet and over the years I almost forgot about them.

I saw that record players were making a comeback in the music scene as I got older but I still didn’t make that jump into buying one. I would sit in a hot bath, reading a book, listening to “In A Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington through my little bluetooth speaker and imagine I was back in the 1920s with a record spinning and crackling somewhere in the corner.

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Graded on a Curve:
Wanda Jackson,
There’s a Party Goin’ On

When it comes to vocalists—male, female, whale, Sasquatch, you name it—it’s hard to top Wanda “The Queen of Rockabilly” Jackson. For a couple of years at the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s Jackson recorded a bunch of truly hair-raising vocal performances that generated every bit as much feral excitement and raw sexual energy as the ones being recorded by Elvis Presley (whom she dated for a brief spell), Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, and Little Richard. The very much alive Jackson possesses vocal cords made of barbed wire, and has never met a tempo—most of them played back in the day with lethal intensity by a relatively unsung young guitar slinger named Roy Clark—so raucous she couldn’t rein it in. And she can yodel up a storm, too.

There were other women singing rockabilly during its golden age; Janis Martin, for example, who was unfortunate enough to have the moniker “the Female Elvis” hung around her neck like an albatross. But Martin had a more staid vocal style that came up short in the barbaric yawp department, and for the most part the same goes for Lorrie Collins of novelty act the Collins Kids, who had her moments of inspiration (check out her wonderfully frenzied take on “Mercy”) but who rarely roamed into the realm of the possessed. Jackson was a full-grown woman and her voice was a force of nature in 1961, and still is; just listen to the 73-year-old Jackson kick up a rockin’ ruckus out on such raunch’n’roll numbers as “Shakin’ All Over” and “Rip It Up” on 2011’s Jack White-produced The Party Ain’t Over if you have any doubts about the matter.

On 1961’s There’s a Party Goin’ On Jackson was at the peak of her rockabilly powers and poised to go country, which was the smart move for an Oklahoma City girl with country music in her veins after the rockabilly craze went belly up. With her band the Party Timers, Jackson—who declared herself the first woman to put “glamour into country music” with her fringe dresses, high heels, and long earrings—jumped, wailed, and growled, and the best tracks on There’s a Party Goin’ On are every bit as crazy, daddy-o as those produced by Elvis, Gene, Little Richard, etc.

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TVD Radar: Best of Big Star in stores 6/16

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Stax Records, an imprint of Concord Music Group and its Catalog Division, Craft Recordings, is excited to announce the release of a new compilation celebrating Big Star. The 16-track collection spans all three of the influential band’s LPs (1972’s #1 Record, 1974’s Radio City, and Third, released after the group disbanded, in the late ’70s), and features rare edits of some of their most popular songs. Liner notes from GRAMMY® Award-winning writer and director Robert Gordon, plus an introduction by the sole surviving Big Star member, drummer Jody Stephens, round out the package. In stores on June 16, 2017, Best of Big Star will be available as a 2-LP, 45 rpm album housed in a gatefold jacket, with lacquers cut at Ardent Studios and pressed on 180-gram vinyl at Memphis Record Pressing. The title will also be available digitally and on CD.

Much like Nick Drake, the Velvet Underground, and other critically esteemed artists whose work only gained commercial traction long after its initial release, Big Star let loose their trademark mix — shimmering jangle pop with a side of elliptical melancholia — into a world that just wasn’t ready for it. In his liner notes, Robert Gordon muses that the band “fizzled before most anyone heard them, then when they seemed totally forgotten they began to exert more musical influence than most bands ever dream of — an unusual story … Big Star reminds us that great art lives, that immediate audience appreciation can’t be counted on and that it’s not about the brightness of the light but its beauty.”

Formed in 1971 by singer/songwriters Alex Chilton (1950-2010) and Chris Bell (1951-1978), drummer Jody Stephens (b. 1952) and bassist Andy Hummel (1951-2010), the Memphis-based group is now considered to be one of the most influential bands in modern music, having inspired some of the biggest alt-rock artists of the ’80s, ’90s and beyond. An underground core of fanatical enthusiasts kept the fire burning. The Replacements famously released “Alex Chilton,” a song that paid tribute to Big Star’s songwriting genius. R.E.M.’s Peter Buck said, “Big Star served as a Rosetta Stone for a whole generation of musicians.”

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Graded on a Curve:
Big Star,
Nothing Can Hurt Me

The Memphis group Big Star has long been a favorite of folks who love smartly conceived guitar-based pop-rock, and while few bought their records when they were hot off the presses, their status as an enduring cult staple is undeniable. After a long relationship with discerning turntables everywhere, Big Star are getting the Big Screen treatment with a documentary titled Nothing Can Hurt Me, and the soundtrack collects unique mixes of material long-considered classic. That the songs included here could easily slay a busload of Big Star newbies is testament to not only the band’s everlasting importance but also to the admirable ambitions that made this 2LP set and its accompanying film possible.

Over the last few decades the music documentary has really become one of the steadiest (some might say unrelenting) currents in the whole vast field of non-fiction filmmaking. And this shouldn’t be any kind of surprise. For everybody loves music, or so it’s often been said. But this doesn’t change the fact that some musicians/bands are far more deserving of having their story represented on film than others.

Simply stating that a very few groups are more worthy than Big Star of having their existence outlined through the medium of the film doc can initially smack of extreme devotion and perhaps even flat-out hyperbole. For just like the old saw that everybody loves music, it’s just as often been said that everybody has a story, and even, nay especially, in the non-fiction field the plain facts of the narrative ultimately aren’t as important as the way the events get told.

But if we dig a little deeper, the documentary’s inherent connection with the “real world,” or specifically the manner in which things don’t always work out the way we’d like them to, is especially resonant to the tale of Andy Hummel, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens, and Alex Chilton. For unlike the life of Ray Charles or the early years of The Beatles, Big Star is far from a good fit for the Hollywood treatment, or at least for the situation as it currently stands in the movie-making industry.

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TVD Radar: Twin Peaks soundtracks available from Rhino, in stores 9/8

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The eagerly awaited revival of Mark Frost and David Lynch’s revolutionary television series Twin Peaks made its debut on Showtime. The music that appears in the new series will be part of two upcoming soundtracks to be released by Rhino Entertainment on September 8.

Twin Peaks (Music from the Limited Event Series) and Twin Peaks (Limited Event Series Original Soundtrack) will be issued on CDs ($18.98), as well as on double LPs ($31.98). Rhino also recently reissued the original soundtrack to both the original series (1990-91) and subsequent film, Fire Walk With Me (1992), as part of the buildup to the premiere of the new series.

Music has always played a central role in Lynch’s work and it helped establish the haunting, dreamlike nature of the original Twin Peaks. The same is true for the new series. Much like the plot of the show, the songs that appear on the new soundtracks will be revealed gradually over the course of the season’s 18 episodes.

The first track as heard on the debut episode is “Twin Peaks Main Theme” by Grammy-winning composer Angelo Badalamenti, whose music is inextricably linked to the original series and film. The second track is “Shadow” by Chromatics, an electronic band based in Los Angeles, and will be on their new album Dear Tommy. Chromatics will release the video for “Shadow” immediately after Twin Peaks airs.

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Talay,
The TVD First Date

“I was a child of the CD era so it wasn’t until college that I started appreciating vinyl records.”

“Growing up, I would walk around with a SONY DiscMan and an over-the-shoulder CD case full of late ’90s and early 2000s pop album—P!nk, Destiny’s Child, N’SYNC, Now That’s What I Call Music compilations. Aside from the occasional spooky night at my neighbor’s house, spinning her older sister’s Led Zeppelin albums backwards to listen for subliminal messages, records were not much a part of my childhood.

When I was in college though, I had a few friends who were into vinyl and one of my best friends had a record player at her apartment off-campus. I remember going over there and putting on some Dawes records—one of our mutual favorite bands—and just having a totally different listening experience than I’d ever had before. We weren’t checking our phones, weren’t checking Facebook.

We pretty much had a few hangs with the sole intention of tuning out from everything that was going on at school and in our lives, and the slowed-down pace of vinyl listening was really conducive to that. No track skipping, no fast-forwarding. It was the very opposite of another common college experience of the ‘pregame’ before going out to party—wherein a bunch of drunk kids would bounce back and forth to the laptop or iPhone switching to a different dance song every half a minute.

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Lindsey Luff,
The TVD First Date

“Music has and always will be an escape for me. Even when I’m singing or writing about the hard things, it still allows me to let go.”

“Growing up I would listen to whatever my mom had on the turntable. Music was the one ‘normal’ thing in our home and both she and I clung to the joy that listening brought us (even though I was too young to know it). Singing to each other Four Jacks and A Jill’s “I Looked Back,” dancing around the kitchen listening to Sgt. Pepper’s, or playing the most rad game of peek a boo to Tommy James and the Shondells “I Think We’re Alone Now.”

Those were the brief moments of escape from an otherwise chaotic life. I used to play, ad nauseam, my 45 of the Mickey Mouse Club theme song (with great pride I might add) on my vintage orange and white Fisher Price record player that my mom got me at a yard sale. Also in my collection, at the ripe ole age of 3 or 4, was a 45 of Peter Paul and Mary’s “Puff the Magic Dragon” and Burl Ives’ “Big Rock Candy Mountain.”

As I got older and the market moved away from vinyl, I followed suit (not that I had much of a choice) on to cassettes and CDs. The first CD I purchased was NSYNC’s “No Strings Attached.” Yes, I had a poster of the band on the ceiling above my bed because that was a thing, but also because I shared a room with my mom and my two brothers and that was my space. When I was younger I never really cared what medium I used to listen to music. As long as I could access it, all was right with the world.

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TVD Radar: Raiders Of The Lost Ark score to be reissued on 180-gram vinyl, in stores 6/2

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Concord Music Group is pleased to announce the vinyl release of John Williams’ classic Oscar-nominated score for the legendary Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Due out June 2nd, the two-LP album will be available on 180-gram vinyl pressed at RTI (Record Technology Incorporated), and housed in a two-pocket gatefold jacket featuring original stills and artwork from the film. The audio, which features a wealth of cues not previously available on the original soundtrack LP, was cut by renowned engineer Bernie Grundman, who mastered the score for its initial release in 1981.

Composed by John Williams, and nominated for both an Academy Award and GRAMMY Award, Raiders of the Lost Ark was the only score in Stephen Spielberg’s beloved series performed by the renowned London Symphony Orchestra — which also recorded the inimitable and now ubiquitous score for Star Wars. The soundtrack is most notable for its inclusion of the iconic and instantly recognizable “Raiders March,” which came to symbolize Indiana Jones, as played by Harrison Ford, and was later used in the scores for all subsequent films. This version of the album follows the track list of the 2008 expanded edition, previously only available on CD, and offers over 30-minutes of extended cues not on the original LP.

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Graded on a Curve: Blondie,
Parallel Lines

A bit of history: When Blondie signed on with Australian producer Mike Chapman (of Chapman and Nicky Chinn glam rock fame) to record their 1978 breakthrough LP Parallel Lines, little did they know what they were in for. Deborah Harry, Chris Stein, and the rest of the band had a rather punk attitude towards the studio, and everything else for that matter; as Chapman noted later, “They were really, really juvenile in their approach to life—a classic New York underground rock band—and they didn’t give a fuck about anything. They just wanted to have fun and they didn’t want to work too hard getting it.”

Chapman the perfectionist called Blondie “hopelessly horrible” and explained his attitude towards the sessions in frankly dictatorial terms: “I basically went in there like Adolf Hitler and said, ‘You are going to make a great record, and that means you are going to start playing better.’” And they did. The result was a landmark record that everybody should own but you know what? I really kind of miss the hopelessly horrible band that gave us Parallel Lines’ predecessor, Plastic Letters.

Sure, Plastic Letters lacks the gloss of Parallel Lines’ disco-inflected “Heart of Glass” and a song quite as catchy as “Hanging on the Telephone,” but it possesses the same gritty and off-kilter NYC charm as the first recordings by the Dictators and the Ramones. Spies, strange happenings in the Bermuda Triangle, and cheating at poker by means of telepathy—Plastic Letters may be an imperfect recording, but boring it ain’t.

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