Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

Rich Layton
& Tough Town,
The TVD First Date

“File under ‘Everything Old is New Again.’”

“Fifty years ago, my parents’ generation had its own version of Spotify: the mail order record club. Once a month, five new LPs arrived in the mail and headed straight for the record player built into the top of the Zenith TV. That was the plus side. The minus side—none of them were rock and roll. Still, it warmed my heart to hear my dad singing along with all those albums by Sinatra, Nat “King” Cole, and Tony Bennett. Those were his happiest moments in a young life heavily weighted with family responsibilities and an ever-increasing tab at the neighborhood tavern.

The only way to change the music selection was to start making my own money, cobble together speakers, an amp and a turntable from a pile of gear in an uncle’s basement, and ride the bus to the record shop after school. My first single was The Beatles’ “Paperback Writer” (B-side, “Rain”), which may still be in a box around here somewhere. Ultimately, I bought only a handful of singles. In order to make those lawn-mowing dollars stretch, I opted for albums, and like my dad, was happiest when I was singing along with records in my room.

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Graded on a Curve:
Mike + The Mechanics, Living Years

I suppose you’re asking yourself why I’m wasting my valuable time writing about Mike + The Mechanics, and more importantly, why you should waste your valuable time reading about them. But before I get around to answering that question, I must ask another question: Would you really let this so-called supergroup of English wheelnut monkeys anywhere near your car?

Oh, and I can only answer the first question (this is getting confusing, I know) by asking yet another question. To wit, what exactly was it that made this vapid Genesis offshoot’s 1988 debut LP Living Years such a smashing commercial success? Did living breathing human beings really hanker for music that was even blander and more faceless than the bland and faceless “product” Phil Collins’ Genesis was supersaturating the airwaves with? Is it possible they found the likes of Duke and Abacab too musically challenging?

It’s a demoralizing thought. The generic pablum produced by Mike + The Mechanics–who were led by Genesis guitarist Mike Rutherford and included two vocalists named Paul (Carrack and Young, respectively)–is a lot of things, but idiosyncratic ain’t one of ‘em. These guys aren’t your colorful auto jockeys down the street, who crank Motörhead in the garage and drink beer during work hours. They’re a chain, like Midas, and their songs are antiseptic outlets that all look exactly the same. Just look for the big yellow sign!

The music on Living Years is (to switch metaphors on ya) white bread and margarine, flavorless fare incapable even of inducing heartburn. If music (here I go again!) is a drug, Living Years is a placebo–in single-blind clinical trials almost 70 percent of participants thought they were listening to real music!

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TVD Radar: 70 years
of Prestige Records celebrated by Craft Recordings

VIA PRESS RELEASE | 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of Prestige Records, one of the most revered jazz labels in the world. Throughout the ’50s and ’60s, Prestige was at the forefront of modern jazz, releasing sessions from some of the most influential names in music, including Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Stan Getz, and Sonny Rollins. To honor the history of this pioneering label and its exceptional output, Craft Recordings will release a variety of content throughout the year, including deluxe box sets and vinyl reissues, as well as video content and curated playlists.

Kicking off the campaign is a new box set, Coltrane ’58: The Prestige Recordings (5-CD & digital formats available now, and 8-LP out on April 26th), which chronicles the saxophonist’s breakout year. Featuring all 37 tracks Coltrane recorded as a leader or co-leader for Prestige in those twelve months, Coltrane ’58 captures the artist in creative high gear—developing the signature improvisational style that journalist Ira Gitler famously dubbed “sheets of sound.” The newly remastered release includes extensive liner notes from GRAMMY® Award-winning music historian Ashley Kahn, plus images of rare ephemera and historical photographs of the saxophonist and his collaborators. Special Coltrane ’58 bundle packages featuring a limited edition Prestige t-shirt are available exclusively via the Craft Recordings online store.

A newly curated playlist, Prestige 70: Jazz Classics, has also just launched. Currently streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and YouTube, the playlist features a handpicked selection of 70 classic tracks from the label. With titles from the likes of Kenny Burrell, Rusty Bryant, Red Garland, and Coleman Hawkins, as well as iconic takes from John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, and Thelonious Monk, the collection showcases not only the timeless appeal of Prestige’s music, but also the importance of its catalog to the development of modern music.

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Graded on a Curve:
Love and Rockets,

Bauhaus was so “Goth” even vampires wouldn’t listen to ‘em–they found ‘em “too depressing.” Take my vampy pal Vlrich. We were at this lame art school party in Philly one night when somebody put on “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” Vlrich just sighed, turned to me and said, “Jesus, what does an undead guy have to do around here to hear some Foghat? Seriously, this song makes me want to walk into direct sunlight.”

Love and Rockets, different story. Once they’d parted ways with Peter Murphy (Bauhaus’ resident Count Dracula and architect of their patented “more embalmed than thou” sound) Daniel Ash, David J, and Kevin Haskins decided to risk sudden death (or at the very least skin cancer) by venturing intrepidly into the sun, and its glorious rays so boosted their collective mood they settled upon a “revamped” (sorry) sound–one that was brighter and psychedelia-tinged and didn’t induce suicidal ideation in people who are already dead.

Indeed, the first time Vlrich, who spent a perfectly happy adolescence in the Hanseatic League port city of Rostock, heard “Yin and Yang (The Flowerpot Man)” he exclaimed, “This song makes me want to party like it’s 1549!”

Vlrich’s favorite Love and Rockets LP (and mine!) is 1986’s Express. The band’s sophomore long-player boasts a diverse set of songs not one of which sounds like it was recorded in a Transylvanian castle during a violent electrical storm. It’s got some creamy dream pop and a Temptations’ cover and one tune that’s all snaky Arabian and another tune that reminds me of Pink Floyd and is so good they do it twice and yet another tune about a train or maybe LSD–who can tell with these guys?

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TVD Radar: Anthology Recordings’ Sad About The Times in stores 5/17

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Anthology Recordings (Mexican Summer’s reissue arm home to releases and compilations from Pharoah Sanders, Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes, Paul Major’s Feel the Music and Unusual Sounds) announce a new compilation called Sad About The Times out May 17. The new release explores North American ’70s FM from folk, soft rock, West Coast jangle, power pop and more. Sad About The Times is a companion piece of sorts to Anthology’s V/A – Follow The Sun, which focuses on ’70s FM through a distinctly Australian lens.

Sad About The Times was compiled by Mikey Young (Total Control / Eddy Suppression Ring) and Keith Abrahamsson (Founder / Head of A&R at Anthology Recordings). Young explains the new compilation, “For nearly all my 41-year-old life, my most constant joy has been to find new music to love. My next move is usually to force the people around me to listen and hope they feel the same joy. Teenage friends and crushes didn’t care at all about the knowledge I was imparting or the mixtapes I was laboring over, I’m pretty damn sure. City life was a little more receptive, though dj’ing what I heard as totally life changing, life affirming jams at bars to dudes requesting GnR didn’t always make it feel so. The occasional radio show gives me an outlet to continue sharing tunes but sometimes that feels like firing noise into a blackhole filled with all the other bazillion archival radio streams.

Doing these comps with Keith seem like the logical progression of what I’ve always loved doing. They are the most tangible, most fulfilling experiences I’ve had discovering and sharing music. I’ve learnt a ton and heard songs that make me feel as ecstatic as I did when I first heard songs that made me feel ecstatic. That’s maybe the best thing about doing these, realizing that can still happen.”

You are alone in a hot tub on a warm summer night back in the ’70s. Scarcely a week earlier she was right there with you, laughing, gazing at the stars, the FM radio playing the top pop hits as you frolicked in the gurgling water. Now she’s gone. Really gone.

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TVD Radar: Link Wray lost tracks, 7-inch single in stores 4/13

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “He’s the king. If it hadn’t been for Link Wray and “Rumble,” I’d have never picked up a guitar.”Pete Townshend

Dan Auerbach’s label, Easy Eye Sound, will release two previously lost and unreleased tracks from the archives of the legendary Link Wray, “Vernon’s Diamond” which was recorded between 1958-59 at the Broadway Recording Studio in NYC and “My Brother, My Son” recorded in 1970 at Fred Foster Studios in Nashville, TN, as a 7-inch vinyl on Record Store Day 2019. All profits from sales of the 7-inch will benefit a planned Link Wray Statue in his home state of North Carolina. You can find more information about this release here.

Said Dan Auerbach of Wray’s importance, “I saw him play in Cleveland at the Grog Shop, and he blew my mind. To get the chance to put out unreleased songs on Easy Eye Sound is amazing and a dream I never thought was possible.”

The story of “Vernon’s Diamond” is as fascinating as the man himself. During the late months of 1958, Link was in New York for a gig and tracked the song at Broadway Recording Studio which was cut live to 45 acetate disc. The disc sat, unrecognized and gathering dust, on a shelf for 60 years before being recently rediscovered. Keeping with Link’s practice of re-naming versions of his music throughout the years, “A Cook for Mr. General” transformed into “Vernon’s Diamond.” Then, recorded again later, was renamed one more time and became Link’s “Ace of Spades.”

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TVD Radar: In The Garage: Live Music from WTF with Marc Maron – Vol. 1 in stores 4/13

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Boston’s legendary Newbury Comics and Record Store Day have teamed up with Tito’s Vodka to release In The Garage: Live Music from WTF with Marc Maron – Vol. 1, available at participating record stores this Record Store Day, Saturday, April 13th. The album marks the first title on the new Record Store Day label, and proceeds will benefit Musicians on Call.

Ahead of the release, Newbury Comics threw a party on April 6th in honor of its 41st birthday and the day having been recently proclaimed as “Newbury Comics Day” by Boston City Mayor Martin J. Walsh. Held at Newbury Comics’ newest location at 348 Newbury Street, the in-store event was a wicked good time featuring performances by Jeff Tweedy, Keytar Bear, and a DJ set from 7L & Esoteric (of Czarface). In addition, Newbury Comics and Record Store Day presented Musicians on Call with a check for $5000, the funds raised through the sold-out pressing of the inaugural RSD Records album.

Founded in 1999, Musicians on Call brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities in 17 locations across the United States, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, Nashville, and Boston, the latter of which is home to Newbury Comics and once home to Maron, who attended college at Boston University.

“Across the country, we’ve seen the incredible benefits of bringing live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients,” said Pete Griffin, Musicians On Call President & CEO. “We rely on the support of the music community to help us continue to make a difference in the lives of patients. That’s why are so grateful to Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Record Store Day, Newbury Comics, and Marc Maron for recruiting this incredible roster of musicians to help amplify our mission, allowing us to deliver the healing power of music to even more patients, families and caregivers.”

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Graded on a Curve: Manowar,
Sign of the Hammer

Sweet Odin’s armpit! What offense to the olfactory glands do we have here? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the worst heavy metal album in the universe!

I suppose I should hedge my bets, because I’ve never subjected myself to LPs by Yngwie Malmsteen or the Great Kat. But make no mistake–Manowar’s Sign of the Hammer (1984) is the real deal, an album so appalling in so many ways it transcends itself and becomes low comedy. Which actually makes it one of the best heavy metal albums in the universe!

“The Manowar Konzept” is as simple as it is dumb–four steroidal stand-ins for Conan the Barbarian play a testosterone-sodden species of operatic metal fitted out with fantasy lyrics extolling the Viking warrior code. The animal pelt loin cloths, leather and Thor hair are window dressing. Fleet-fingered bass player Joey DeMaio is a staunch proponent of the baroque overwrought. Singer Eric Adams shrieks like a Norseman with his balls in a forge. Backing Valkyries abound. Probably the best way to explain these nitwits from the land of ice and snow (i.e., Auburn, New York) is by noting they’re the only band in rock history to commit a solo bass rendition of “The Flight of the Bumblebees” to vinyl. If I were a bumblebee I’d commit suicide by bug zapper.

Indeed, the band’s ethos is so ludicrous it’s hard not to take it as an elaborate practical joke. And the fact that guitarist Ross “The Boss” Friedman was formerly a member of the Dictators, the funniest band to ever come out of New Yawk or anywhere for that manner, lends an element of plausibility to such suspicions. But no. The bombast is in earnest–chief songwriter and band genius DeMaio once complained to an MTV interviewer that “there’s a real lack of big, epic metal that is drenched with crashing guitars and choirs and orchestras.” But never you fear–Manowar to the rescue!

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Needle Drop: Dead Horse Beats, “Home Days”

Canadian multi-instrumentalist Patrick Wade aka Dead Horse Beats crafts lush, jazzy tracks that recall the early work of Jamiroquai.

Wade’s pristine production skills are in full effect on his newest single, “Home Days,” which glides along on a silky, synth laced beat that’s punctured by a variety of nuanced drum fills and delectable space funk flourishes.

“Home Days” is off his newest LP Inglaterra, which pushes further into the soulful sound he established on 2016’s “Bad Hopes” EP. Wade steps to mic more often on this outing, and has a lot more to say, which is great for us since his mellow vocals and vulnerable lyrics make his dope soundscapes all the more viable.

Inglaterra arrives in stores on May 24th.

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Graded on a Curve: New in Stores for April 2019, Part Three

Part three of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases—and more—in shops for Record Store Day this Saturday, April 13, 2019. Part one is here and part two is here.

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Tellavision, Add Land (Bureau B) There are lots of things to like about this release, the fourth full-length (and my intro to her work) from this one-woman Berlin-based artist. I like how I wasn’t able to easily discover her birth name. I like how the thrust of the work here, which is electronic and song-based, resists easily encapsulation as electronic-pop, while pop is an integral component (there’s also techno and Krautrock to consider). I like her voice, stated in the press release as foregrounded more here than on prior releases, and how it possesses a soulfulness that makes clear that she could really belt it out (and there are plenty of spots where she gets close). Lastly, I like that on an album concerned with positivity and love, Tellavision’s music is powerful and multifaceted. A-

Fox Millions Duo, Biting Through (Thrill Jockey) In terms of percussion worthiness, Greg Fox and Kid Millions (a.k.a. John Colpitts) are two of the most impressive figures on the contempo scene. They are, as Gorilla Monsoon used to say, forces to be reckoned with. Having attained this stature individually, one might worry that creating together might somehow neutralize or undermine each other’s strengths (in the manner of so many past supergroups), but their prior record Lost Time was a killer and so is this follow-up, which has a lot more going for it than just hi-energy drumming. Like synths for instance, these devices run through a modular setup with contact mics so they can be played live. Which brings us back to high-energy, as parts of this remind me of a four-armed Rashied Ali going full-tilt with Merzbow. A-

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: Dream Syndicate, Days of Wine and Roses (Fire) I consider this a perfect record. Furthermore, it’s pretty much the apex of the Paisley Underground and darker and heavier than their cohorts in that scene. It was also the end of what many consider to be the “classic” Dream Syndicate lineup of lead vocalist-guitarist Steve Wynn, lead guitarist Karl Precoda, bassist Kendra Smith, and drummer Dennis Duck. Steve Wynn soldiered on through the ’80s, but while all the subsequent records all have their moments (the band has also reunited, with a new LP out next month), this one remains the best. Fire’s edition of 500 includes their S/T four-song EP and a repress of the 45 by Wynn’s earlier band 15 Minutes featuring a significantly different version of “That’s What You Always Say.” A+

Alice Clark, S/T (Wewantsounds) Here’s an absolute must for soul fans, unless of course you already own a clean-playing copy of this ’72 release on Bob Shad’s Mainstream label. Originals now exchange hands for hundreds of dollars, and listening makes it easy to understand why, as Clark was an exceptional singer comparable in style to Aretha Franklin and notably confident on her only LP (there was a pair of prior singles, both also highly sought after). The band, which shares some members with Franklin’s backing bands of the time, was impeccably assembled by Shad as he and arranger Ernie Wilkins produced a knockout in just two days at the Record Plant in NYC. Steeped in that lush but robust early ‘70s soul feel, this should’ve been a major hit. Another fine reissue from this class label. A

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TVD Radar: D.O.A., 1978 2LP set in stores 5/3

VIA PRESS RELEASE | D.O.A. “1978” is a 21 track collection of unreleased demos, rare tracks, and early singles from Canada’s punk pioneers. Joey Shithead Keithley went deep into the Sudden Death vault and came up with some super exciting and raw punk rock.

The album title and art concept is spike haired nod of the head to that early, dynamic era of D.O.A. and to the seven great former members of D.O.A., who have passed on. Their spirit and talent played a huge role into launching the band into worldwide prominence. The two constants on the album are Joey Shithead and Chuck Biscuits who play on every track. From the start of “1978” the listener is drawn in by their wild, “I don’t give a shit” approach to punk rock. Now some 40 years later you can hear it all, starting with the never seen light of day demo version of The Enemy. This demo has a different set of lyrics that speaks to fighting Nazis, strange, what is old is new and vital again.

There’s a ton of exciting tracks that range from the never heard before: Bored and Suicidal, The Mutant, No God No War, Rip Dis Joint, No Way Out and Rent-A-Riot to classic early singles like Fucked Up Ronnie, Disco Sucks, World War 3, The Prisoner and Thirteen. You also get demo versions of America the Beautiful and Liar for Hire with Biscuits drumming, which are wildly different from the classic versions you hear on “War on 45.”

On “1978” you hear the origins of hardcore and you get a full blast of D.O.A’s politics and raucous humour. The album will be released as a double 12″ LP/CD on May 3rd, go to Sudden Death Records for more info.

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TVD Radar: Galaxy Quest OST glow in the dark vinyl in stores 5/3

VIA PRESS RELEASE | With famous screen composers for a father (Alfred Newman) and a brother (Thomas Newman)—not to mention his cousin Randy Newman—David Newman has had quite the family tradition to uphold.

But uphold it he has and in his own uproarious way. Name your favorite comedy of the last 2-3 decades and chances are David Newman’s name is unspooling in the credits. Throw Momma from the Train, The War of the Roses, Other People’s Money, The Mighty Ducks, The Nutty Professor, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Heathers, The Freshman, Honeymoon in Vegas, Ice Age, Girls Trip…all his. But perhaps his best-loved score of all is the one he composed for the 1999 sci-fi action/comedy Galaxy Quest starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, and Sam Rockwell. While the film was definitely a comedy, it also moments of genuine drama and action-filled suspense (which in part explains why Galaxy Quest is such a cult classic), and Newman deftly balances both sides with a score full of big choral passages and stirring themes.

For its maiden voyage on vinyl, we’ve taken the extended version of the Galaxy Quest score that first appeared on CD in 2012, housed it inside a gatefold jacket boasting copious production stills, and pressed it up in blue “galaxy” vinyl…limited to 1,400 copies. And just for our website customers, we have 100 copies pressed in glow in the dark vinyl.

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TVD Radar: The Vinyl Frontier, the story behind the mission of NASA’s Voyager Golden Record in stores 5/21

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “Delivered with effortless grace, this buoyant look at one of NASA’s most unusual but oft-overlooked efforts will appeal to music fans and astronomy buffs alike.”Publishers Weekly STARRED review

In 1977, NASA sent Voyager 1 and 2 on a grand tour of the outer planets, after which they would drift forever in the unimaginable void of interstellar space. With this morose outcome in mind, NASA decided to do something optimistic. They commissioned the great astronomer Carl Sagan to create a message to be fixed to the side of the Voyager spacecraft, thus becoming the most important compilation ever conceived. It wasn’t from one person to another, it was from Earth to the Cosmos.

The Vinyl Frontier: The Story of the Voyager Golden Record (Bloomsbury Sigma; ISBN 978-1-4729-5613-2; $28.00 US; May 21st, 2019), by Jonathan Scott, a writer, record collector and astronomy enthusiast, is the fascinating story behind the mission, music, and message of NASA’s Voyager Golden Record—humanity’s message to the stars. The 90-minute, multi-media record contains a variety of music from well-known artists such as Bach, Beethoven, Chuck Berry, and Blind Willie Johnson, along with more than 100 photographs and diagrams, greetings in multiple languages and music from remote cultures around the globe, and a message of peace from President Jimmy Carter.

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TVD Radar: American Beauty OST red and black ‘haze’ vinyl in stores 5/10

VIA PRESS RELEASE | With 14 Academy Award nominations, seven Grammy awards, and an Emmy to his credit, Thomas Newman has a track record second to none among modern screen composers (and even among his family, which is saying a lot considering he is son to Alfred, brother to David, and cousin to Randy Newman).

But among all his Academy Award-nominated scores—to classics like The Shawshank Redemption, Wall-E, Finding Nemo, Saving Mr. Banks, and The Road to Perdition—his score to the 1999 Academy Award-winning Best Picture American Beauty (the first of his many collaborations with director Sam Mendes) remains his most distinctive. That’s because Newman made the bold choice of composing a score almost entirely with percussion instruments, brilliantly intuiting that the lack of melodic resolution in the film’s themes would echo and amplify what he termed the “moral ambiguity” of the script.

The result was a haunting and wholly original film score that is instantly recognizable to anyone who has seen the picture. Real Gone Music is very proud to present this work of genius on vinyl for the very first time and for this momentous release, Real Gone has commissioned limited-edition, gatefold artwork by illustrator Matt Ryan Tobin that captures the creepy, voyeuristic element of the film (as expressed through the video camera lens of Wes Bentley’s character Ricky Fitts) while preserving the dark “beauty” of the drama.

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DJ DalePlay,
The TVD First Date

“My first encounter with vinyl was through my mother who showed me some vinyl of this artist Oscar De Leon’s “Lloraras” back in Venezuela. It had a funny shape like a pizza and it had to be handled with care like a jewel or like a woman. It completely grabbed my attention and I will never forget that moment. But when you’re poor as F, some more joyful things in life have to be experienced by bits, but that also makes it more exciting if I am honest.”

“The most annoying part was that I couldn’t really experience it fully because we didn’t have the most important part, the “gramophone” or as they call it, “record player” or “turntable” (I am a bit lost for names as it has evolved through the years) which died (it took a break) and then came back to life and so on and on.

But vinyl is still here quite strong and it fascinates me to watch its comeback to the world of streaming and fast “fingertip” choices. My encounters with vinyl happened casually and without pressure through the years. As a DJ in this new era it can be quite easy downloading the latest tracks available to keep the crowd dancing and happy. However, truth lies on those particular treasures, tracks that nobody has and that uniqueness you find only by going into a record store and by spending a few good hours in there digging it, literally like treasure hunting.

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