Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Wes Montgomery, Back
on Indiana Avenue
in stores 4/13

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Resonance Records, the leading outlet for high-quality, previously unissued archival jazz releases, delves deeper into the early, unheard work of the innovative and influential guitarist Wes Montgomery with its April 13 (LP) and April 19 (CD) release, Back on Indiana Avenue: The Carroll DeCamp Recordings.

Maintaining its tradition of support for independent retailers, the label will initially issue the set—its sixth devoted to unreleased official Montgomery performances—as an exclusive limited edition 180-gram two-LP set on Record Store Day, the annual independent record store event. The vinyl edition is mastered by Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood and pressed at Record Technology, Inc. (RTI). Deluxe two-CD and digital configurations will be available April 19, 2019.

All iterations of the collection will include essays by jazz scholar Lewis Porter and Resonance co-president and producer Zev Feldman; plus interviews with master jazz guitarists George Benson and John Scofield; saxophonist, educator, and publisher Jamey Aebersold; and guitarist Royce Campbell, nephew of Carroll DeCamp, the late Indiana musician and arranger who captured the revelatory music heard on the new album.

Resonance’s most recent releases devoted to Montgomery have garnered widespread acclaim. Both 2018’s Wes Montgomery in Paris, a set of 1965 concert recordings from France’s Office of French Radio and Television archives, and 2017’s Smokin’ in Seattle, drawn from 1966 radio dates by the guitarist with pianist Wynton Kelly’s combo, were named among the top archival releases of the year by DownBeat, JazzTimes, and NPR Music’s Jazz Critics Poll.

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TVD Radar: Cheap Trick, The Epic Archive Vol. 3 (1984–1992) 2-LP flame red vinyl in stores 4/13

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Real Gone’s third and final package of Cheap Trick Epic rarities just might be the best yet.

At least their legendary drummer Bun E. Carlos thinks so. “It really is a nice package!” he exclaims in the liner notes. Indeed, The Epic Archive Vol. 3 pulls off the unlikely feat of being simultaneously something of a greatest hits collection and also sonic catnip for deep Cheap Trick collectors. On the hits side, you get the single version of the band’s lone #1 hit, “The Flame,” plus rare single versions of “It’s Only Love,” “Tonight It’s You,” and “Don’t Be Cruel” (labeled as the “Big New Mix”).

Then come the soundtrack-only songs, which have never appeared on a Cheap Trick studio album before and come from some big-time films: “Mighty Wings” from Top Gun, “Money (That’s What I Want)” from Caddyshack II, “You Want It” from Say Anything, and “I Will Survive” from Gladiator. Alternate mixes of “Little Sister,” “She’s Got Motion,” and “Can’t Stop Fallin’ into Love” and alternate versions of “How About You” and “All We Need Is a Dream” will quicken the pulse of collectors, as will “Big Bang” from the Japanese version of the Busted album.

The whole thing starts with an a cappella intro to the theme song from the 1984 movie Up the Creek, and we also found room for one of the great lost Beatles covers of all time, the band’s version of “Magical Mystery Tour” that only appeared on their Greatest Hits release. The liner notes feature track-by-track commentary from Bun E. Carlos, Rick Nielsen, and Robin Zander via interviews with longtime band biographer Ken Sharp and Timothy J. Smith, the Epic Archive series compilation producer; once again, band lensman Robert Alford has contributed photos to our beautiful gatefold package.

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Riley Smith,
The TVD First Date

“My love for Vinyl started in my grandparents basement before I could walk.”

“They had this amazing old record player that was built into a wood TV stand. It had built-in speakers on each side and the top opened up to store records. I would sit and listen to my grandparents big band, classical, jazz and Christian records all day and night. I told my mom that I wanted the player someday, but when the time came and my grandparents passed away, the record player was given away in the shuffle of clearing the house out. ‘

That was truly the one that got away. But I did manage to get some of the vinyl and I’ll cherish that forever.

Later in life, my girlfriend bought me my own record player and I’ve been collecting vinyl ever since. Everywhere I travel, the first place I Google is record shops. I usually try to find records that reflect that city.

While I was in Nashville, I would hit up the Sunday flea markets and find some classic country—Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings. In Chicago I found a great store in Wicker Park where I found blues and jazz—Coltrane, Miles Davis, Chet Baker. In LA I’m always on the lookout for classic rock—bands that remind me of what driving through Laurel Canyon in the ’70s would have been like… Zeppelin, the Stones, Fleetwood Mac, and of course the Eagles.

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Graded on a Curve:
Sweet, Hits

I have had the dubious good fortune of finding myself on board an airplane with the Sweet–twice. And in coach class no less!

On both occasions I was red-eyeing it to Berlin while they were on their way–or so the gone-to-seed rocker shoehorned uncomfortably into the narrow seat next to mine informed me–to play some god-forsaken Glam Festival in the hinterlands of Scandinavia. And he wasn’t an outlier; the whole lot of them were fat, bleary-eyed and looked seriously hungover, and carried with them a demoralizing air of utter defeat. Flying the red-eye econo class to play a nostalgia fest with a bunch of other ready-for-the-knackers-yard has beens (The Glitter Band anybody?) will do that to a person.

‘Tis better to burn out, indeed; these guys struck me as mushrooms sprouting in the fetid soil atop the corpse of the rock’n’roll dream. I found myself wondering if it wouldn’t be better for them if the plane went down, then realized it was too late; their sell-by date had come and gone years before, and even the posthumous glory that accrues to the victims of tragedy would be denied them. Honestly? I wanted to hug them the way you would a kicked dog.

I had to remind myself–and I’m sure it hurt them to remember–that once upon a time the Sweet was a very big deal indeed. The toppermost of the bands on the bubblegum end of the English Glam spectrum during the seventies, Sweet (thanks in very large part to the outrageously fecund songwriting combine that was Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman) first gained prominence with a small handful of chewy chewy pre-teen crowd pleasers along the lines of “Little Willy,” “Wig-Wam Bam,” and “Co-Co,” before aiming for pop immortality with such zany (and very hard rocking) crowd pleasers as “Blockbuster,” “Ballroom Blitz,” and “Fox on the Run.”

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TVD Radar: Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1976-1986 in stores 5/3

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Light In The Attic opens a new door to Japan’s vast musical legacy with an expertly compiled overview of Japan’s City Pop genre, Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1976-1986.

The latest installment in their Japan Archival Series collects tracks ranging from silky smooth grooves to innovative techno pop bangers and everything in between. Long-revered by crate diggers and adventurous music heads, these tracks have never been officially released outside of Japan until now. Including key artists like Taeko Ohnuki, Haruomi Hosono, and Minako Yoshida, as well as cult favorites Hitomi Tohyama and Hiroshi Sato, the long-awaited release also features newly commissioned cover painting by Tokyo-based artist Hiroshi Nagai, whose iconic images of resort living have graced the covers of many classic City Pop albums of the 1980s.

Featuring extensive liner notes and artist biographies, the thoughtfully-composed project was compiled by Andy Cabic (Vetiver), Zach Cowie (DJ & music supervisor), and Mark “Frosty” McNeill (dublab) and will be available both on CD and vinyl on May 3, 2019. Exclusive bundles are now available for preorder in the Light In The Attic online store and include a 24”x 24” art print of Hiroshi Nagai’s cover art and a deluxe full-color 30” x 60” beach towel featuring the same.

The CD comes housed in a UV coated Digipak with over sized fold-out booklet and custom die-cut obi card, while the LP is offered on both black vinyl and “Beach Ball” tricolor wax. Both vinyl editions are presented in a deluxe wide spine jacket with oversized fold-out booklet, full color printed inner sleeves, and custom die-cut obi card. All formats boast newly remastered audio.

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TVD Radar: Bill Evans, Evans in England 2LP
set in stores 4/13

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Resonance Records, the leading outlet for high-quality, unheard archival jazz releases, proudly announces that it will issue Evans in England, a vibrant, previously unreleased set of recordings featuring music by lyrical piano master Bill Evans with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell captured during an engagement at Ronnie Scott’s celebrated jazz club in December ’69.

The Evans album continues Resonance’s tradition of unveiling a special release on Record Store Day, the annual event promoting independent record retailers. As Variety noted in a 2018 profile of the label, “If Record Store Day had a mascot label, it would be Resonance Records, a small, L.A.-based jazz independent that’s become known even outside the genre for producing high-end archival releases tailored especially with the RSD market in mind.”

Evans in England, which features 18 electrifying performances by Evans’ brilliant trio of 1968-74, will initially be issued on April 13 — Record Store Day 2019 — as a limited edition 180-gram two-LP set, mastered by Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood and pressed at Record Technology, Inc. (RTI); the package will be available only at participating independent record outlets. Two-CD and digital configurations of the set will be available April 19.

The album will include extensive liner notes including essays by producer and Resonance co-president Zev Feldman and jazz writer Marc Myers; interviews with Gomez, Morell, and filmmaker Leon Terjanian; and rare photos by Chuck Stewart, Jean-Pierre Leloir, and Jan Persson.

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Graded on a Curve:
Sir Lord Baltimore,
Kingdom Come

Recorded in beautiful West Orange and featuring what looks to me like a ghostly Arctic death ship on the cover, Sir Lord Baltimore’s debut LP (1970’s Kingdom Come) is without a doubt the best thing to ever come out of New Jersey. It’s better than the Boss, Bon Jovi, and my ex-wife put together! And it won’t fight you for custody of the dog!

Boasting lots of seriously fucked-up guitar noise and the gold-plated tonsils of lead singer/ drummer/Freak of Nature John Garner, this 1970 monolith deserves its status as one of the pioneering slabs of what would become known as stoner rock.

Imagine an improved (as in freakier, more in-your-face in a Stooges kinda way) Deep Purple. Now imagine a guy whose larynx is capable of incredible feats of strength yet nimble enough to tap dance across the Sahara in its bare feet, which is difficult to visualize I know because your average larynx doesn’t have feet. But that’s the amazing thing about Garner–his larynx does! Two of ‘em in fact! And they wear size 12 shoes!

Why, it’s hard to believe the guy is a Homo sapien in good standing. If a giant bird of prey could sing it would sound either like Geddy Lee or Garner, but I wouldn’t take pot shots with my bb gun at Garner the way I would with Lee (and this despite the fact Geddy’s protected from hunting by law!).

And to make things even better, Garner seems to be channeling the voice of Sir Lancelot or somebody, which definitely ups the LP’s amusement quotient–I’m no scientist, but I posit here for your consideration the theory that Garner is the long-sought missing link between Rick Wakeman’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Iggy and the Stooges’ Raw Power.

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Demand it on Vinyl: Jazz Fest: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in stores 5/10

VIA PRESS RELEASE | For 50 years, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, known to Fest-goers as simply Jazz Fest, has brought the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Big Easy to millions of festival goers. In celebration of Jazz Fest’s golden anniversary, venerable record label Smithsonian Folkways is proud to present a comprehensive box set of live recordings from the festival’s past. The five discs in Jazz Fest: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival present the sounds of the festival as you’d hear them while wandering across the 145 acres of the New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Track in the Gentilly neighborhood.

Though the festival attracts some of the biggest rock stars on the planet, the focus of this ambitious new box set is on the roots of Louisiana music, which comprise the vast majority of the festival’s bookings, from Jazz to Bounce, Zydeco to Gospel, Brass Bands to R&B. Carefully selected from countless hours of live recordings, the box set includes unreleased material spanning the years 1974 to 2016 and features key moments with celebrated artists like Trombone Shorty, Irma Thomas, Big Freedia, Professor Longhair, The Neville Brothers, Allen Toussaint (solo and in a duet with Bonnie Raitt), Dr. John, Kermit Ruffins, Terence Blanchard, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Champion Jack Dupree, and Buckwheat Zydeco, among many others.

The music is accompanied by a 135-page book, filled with exclusive photographs drawn from the archives of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, The Historic New Orleans Collection and independent photographers, as well as historical essays by journalist Keith Spera and author Karen Celestan, a retrospective of the music heard at Jazz Fest by Robert H. Cataliotti, and in-depth notes by Jeff Place and Huib Schippers of Smithsonian Folkways, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation archivist Rachel Lyons, WWOZ’s Dave Ankers, and Jon Pareles of the New York Times.

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Needle Drop: Norine Braun, “Sleeping Buffalo”

Vancouver-based, singer-songwriter Norine Braun is a festival veteran whose evocative material has been lauded by her home country, receiving awards from the Canada Council For the Arts, Banff Centre Musician in Residence, and Artists For Literacy.

Today, TVD is pleased to Needle Drop “Sleeping Buffalo,” the lead-off cut from Braun’s superb 2018 release Through Train Windows. It’s an earthy, blues-tinged folk number that paints a striking portrait of the Canadian wilderness through dark, low-pitched hues that dance under a haunting harmonica refrain.

The song swells with the kind resplendent and expansive, ’60s-esque songwriting that made Joni Mitchel a household name. Yet Norine firmly plants her sound in the present, winking at the past while staying in tune with today’s sensibilities.

“Sleeping Buffalo” certainly taps a deeply insular, Northern territory vein, but Through Train Windows takes us from the wild back into civilization, documenting Braun’s recent cross-country tour from Vancouver to Toronto, Ottawa to Quebec City, Montreal to Halifax, basking in the vast panoramas from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic ocean.

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Hawksley Workman,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up in the deep sticks in rural Canada, and our closest record shop was also a Radio Shack electronics store.”

“My dad was a big record buyer and would get paid on Fridays and come home with a load of records under his arm. What he couldn’t find in stock at our small-town shop, he’d order, often coming from the UK, R&B rarities and such. His arrival home from on Fridays became quite anticipated. I had started to dig into his collection at a young age and started to sniff around the new offerings when I was 9 or 10. He liked pop music and disco, so there were offerings from the Bee Gees and early Elton John.

I remember a red vinyl dance compilation with a tri-fold album cover that I’d prop up like a voting booth and stick my face in to pretend I was in the studio or at the concert. I learned of the deeper satanic elements while listening to The Beatles 45s that I’d play on 33 and lay out album covers on the carpet in the living room in mathematical orders of favourites.

One Friday in particular my dad arrived home late with only one album, John Lennon’s Double Fantasy. My brother and I were already having dinner, frozen fish sticks and peas. Without words my parents embraced and wept in the doorway my dad still holding the plastic wrapped vinyl. It would be years later that I’d put together that it must have only been a short time after Lennon’s murder and the feelings were still raw.

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TVD Live: The Jacksons and the Commodores at Treasure Island Casino and Resort, 3/1

WELCH, MN | It was an auspicious moment in Jacksons history Friday, happening in a snowy and frozen remote corner—a rural Minnesota casino, in one of just a couple of scheduled US dates this year.

Only two days later, a world of Michael Jackson fans would be confronted with some ugly accusations in a long, thoughtful, and still shocking documentary on HBO, Leaving Neverland. More than one critic has said you would never respond to his music the same again.

And certainly, scenes like those that popped up before the show in the carpeted ballroom, of stage mothers proudly shooting a portrait of a son dolled up in Jackson leathers and fedora, would soon be as unseemly and distasteful as a Bill Cosby concert.

The Jacksons, who still tour here and there, had done their rounds of interviews denying the content of Dan Reed’s four hour opus, repeating their denials after the show at the Treasure Island Casino and Resort in southern Minnesota. “Just check the facts,” said Tito Jackson. “They’re only in it for the money,” he says of the two men who claim Michael used them for sex for decades.

He didn’t think the video, true or not, would affect the livelihood of the brothers Michael left behind long ago. True, they had strained relations with the most famous member of the family since the disastrous Victory tour 34 years ago—which Michael said he did only to help prop up his brothers’ struggling career. But they stood behind him during the trial of 2005 in which he was found not guilty (in part by testimony by the documentary subjects who now say they were lying under oath).

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Graded on a Curve:
Alice Cooper,
Billion Dollar Babies

Alice Cooper had the music world’s head in a guillotine in the year of our dark lord 1973; his cartoonishly ghoulish song matter and macabre on-stage shock rock shtick were thrilling to outrage-hungry teengenerates like my older brother, who went to a show on Alice’s Billion Dollar Babies tour in a suit covered with a billion dollars’ worth of stapled-on Monopoly money.

While your more sophisticated tastemakers were deriding poor Alice as so much P.T. Barnum hokum–a low-brow sensationalist who lacked the talent, subtlety and immediacy of such glam era creatures as David and Lou and Iggy–Alice was winning the big American youth vote (“Elected” indeed!) and laughing all the way to the bank.

Who cares if his oh so chic contemporaries dismissed him with a smug wave of the hand? Sneered an offended David Bowie: “I think he’s trying to be outrageous. You can see him, poor dear, with his red eyes sticking out and his temples straining… I find him very demeaning.” Which didn’t stop Lou Reed, for one, from stooping to his own brand of low-rent on-stage theatrics; if shaving Iron Crosses onto your skull and mimicking shooting up on stage isn’t “straining” to be outrageous, what is?

Fact is Billion Dollar Babies isn’t really that different from Diamond Dogs or Berlin (whose producer, Bob Ezrin, also produced this baby). It’s not a concept album, per se, but it has the feel of one–on it Alice grapples with having money tossed at him, threatens to parlay the success of “School’s Out” into an apocalyptic run for higher office which he’s sure to win in a “generation landslide” cuz he’s got the toxic kiddie vote wrapped up, and in general flexes his skinny biceps while singing “God, I feel so strong, I am so strong.”

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TVD Premiere: Jordan Indiana Gonzalez, “Memory”

Nashville transplant, Jordan Indiana Gonzalez crafts refined, crystalline folk pop that transcends Top 40 platitudes.

Judging by the publicity photo, which features the young songwriter in Dr. Pepper pajama pants, sporting a self-promotional T-Shirt, this is not someone attempting to claw his way to the front of the hit parade. Yet his music could certainly reach those dizzying heights, if he entertained the idea of grooming himself into the mold of a pop star. Sure, some obvious parallels can be drawn to the work of Ed Sheeran, but Gonzalez’s effortless tenor is more suitable to the jazz-tinged balladry that makes his single “Memory” a distinctly original piece of music.

Today, TVD has the pleasure of premiering “Memory” and its stone-chiseled melody, which is just as memorable as Gonzalez’s press pic. That is to say, it’s authentic and resonates as a true to life, “straight up” expression from an artist who is more concerned with gist than he is with gloss. It’s an inspiring thing to behold when a young artist has the chops to meet the standards of today’s current musical marketplace, yet chooses to focus his attention solely on honing his craft.

Jordan’s self-titled album, Jordan Indiana Gonzalez arrives in stores April 5th.

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Graded on a Curve: Wadada Leo Smith,
Rosa Parks: Pure Love

As we exit Black History Month and enter Women’s History Month, how about a new release that’s in direct dialogue with both sides of the transition? That recording would be trumpeter-composer-multitasking bandleader Wadada Leo Smith’s Rosa Parks: Pure Love. An Oratorio of Seven Songs, out now on CD through TUM Records. It offers Smith with vocalists Min Xiao-Fen, Carmina Escobar, and Karen Parks (distinguished here as the Diamond Voices), the RedKoral Quartet (contributing strings), the BlueTrumpet Quartet (featuring trumpets, natch) and the Janus Duo (consisting of drums and electronics), creating a work that’s approach to history is imbued with contemporary relevance.

Rosa Parks: Pure Love. An Oratorio of Seven Songs is an achievement of considerable ambition. Unsurprisingly so, as Wadada Leo Smith has become well-known for grandly-scaled works on topics of equal size. 2012’s 4CD Ten Freedom Summers, 2014’s 2CD The Great Lakes Suites, and 2016’s 2CD America’s National Parks are amongst his best-known recent thematic releases in a voluminous discography.

Grand of scale but eschewing sprawl and steeped in disciplined, focused intent; upon learning of this set’s imminent release, I had no doubts that Smith would engage in a suitably robust manner with the lasting significance of Rosa Parks, who he describes in his liner dedication as “a person of exceptional courage and wisdom, who made the right move of resistance at the right time.” Frankly, Smith consistently brings the goods, meaning his latest work would be something far greater than a tepid appreciation of “Rosa the tired.”

In his booklet essay, Franz A. Matzner usefully clarifies that Parks’ civil protest differed from how it is often remembered and sometimes still taught to children, specifically that it was just a spontaneous act by an exhausted and frustrated woman after a hard day’s work. Instead, Matzner makes clear that Parks was the secretary of the Montgomery, Alabama NAACP.

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TVD Live Shots:
James Taylor & His
All-Star Band with Bonnie Raitt at Dunkin’ Donuts Center, 3/2

PROVIDENCE, RI | The last date of their winter tour came to a close Saturday night for James Taylor and his All Star Band, along with very special guest Bonnie Raitt, not far from that well-known turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston—in Providence, Rhode Island.

James Taylor walked onto the stage, waving his skully cap to a full house of fans, to introduce his dear friend Bonnie Raitt. He expressed his joy and gratitude for time spent on such a special tour.

“Although this day was a possibility somewhere beyond the horizon, the fact that it has arrived and we are playing our last gig together has really made me verklempt,” he said.

Taylor told fans that he and Raitt both emerged from Boston around the same time in the early 1970s and had very similar, parallel paths throughout the music business and popular culture.

“To me Bonnie has always been the real thing,” he said. “I look to her as an inspiration—always. She’s my very favorite musician on the stage today, on this planet. She is as soulful as she is talented.”

Raitt’s set included many hits including, “Something to Talk About;” a funky INXS cover “Need You Tonight,” and a special delivery of “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” which made a 30 year-old song of heartbreak feel as compelling as ever.

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