Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Pete Townshend, Who Came First deluxe edition in stores 4/20

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Who Came First is the debut solo record by Pete Townshend, first released in 1972. The album collected together tracks from Townshend’s private pressings of his tributes to Meher Baba, Happy Birthday and I Am, as well as demos from the unrealized concept album Lifehouse, part of which became The Who’s classic Who’s Next album.

To celebrate the 45th Anniversary, the album will be released as a 2CD-expanded version, featuring eight previously unreleased tracks, new edits, alternative versions, and live performances. Also included in the eight panel digipak are new sleeve notes provided by Townshend himself, the original poster from the 1972 release and a 24-page booklet which contains rare images of Meher Baba and Townshend in his recording studio. The cover photo of Townshend, taken by Graham Hughes (who also shot the cover of The Who’s Quadrophenia), has been updated for this release.

Who Came First has been remastered by long-term Pete Townshend and The Who collaborator Jon Astley using the original master tapes. CD1 consists of a remastered version of the original album and CD2 includes unreleased tracks, alternative versions, and live performances.

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Shana Halligan,
The TVD First Date

“My first vinyl purchase. Well… I should really talk about my second. If I dare mention my first it could possibly strip me away of all street cred I thought I once had. It may be so embarrassing that you could possibly have deep regret asking me to do this interview. It may be so bad, that you may think, how could this girl really have come from Rock and Roll royalty?”

“It’s that embarrassing. Oh god, I’m doing it… Wait, ok, in my defense I was late into my 6th year of life on this planet. I was in total and complete awe over what I had just witnessed. The greatest movie of my life to date! Eyes wide, completely mesmerized. I must have watched this movie over 100 times. I learned every dance move. Every song. I want to be her! I need to be her! I need leg warmers, I need a bandana around my forehead, wait, I need a flowing chiffon Ice Castles dress, I need rollers skates!! I NEED to be her!! But wait, there’s more! She could be a throw back jazz singer in the perfect cigarette girl outfit, a cowgirl, and ’80s electric goddess, a work out queen…she was everything. A muse. My muse. Here it goes…

Xanadu. Yes. That Xanadu. The ridiculous movie soundtrack featuring Olivia Newton John on the cover looking as glorious as ever. I will never forget this experience. It was quite emotional and traumatic.

I had saved up months of allowance to get this album. It was all I could think about. If only I could get the album, then I could read the lyrics in the liner notes, I could learn who she really was, and then I could figure out how to get to Xanadu. I could get the address to that art deco building in the photo and be free from the shackles of my crazy hippy life as I knew it. Xanadu. That’s where I needed to be. And I could only get there through the pertinent information located in the secrets of this particular vinyl.

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TVD Radar: Classic American early 70’s Heavy Psych rock band BANG, The Best of BANG vinyl in stores 4/20

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “One of the first American rock bands to openly worship and emulate Black Sabbath, Bang are, in fact, American doom pioneers, and their first album is a stone-cold classic of ugly distortion and steely-eyed downer rock.”Classic Rock Magazine / Team Rock “10 Essential Proto-Metal Albums”

Often called America’s answer to Black Sabbath, BANG is one of the most unsung bands in the history of US hard rock. With the heaviness of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, coupled with the groove of Grand Funk Railroad, BANG released three critically acclaimed albums on Capital Records in the early 70s, establishing the heavy genre that is now revered as proto-metal.

Busting out of the turmoil of the post-psychedelic ’60’s, BANG’s 1971 self-titled debut is considered an important forerunner of the early Doom Metal genre. Decibel magazine has hailed it as a “landmark album in the badass pantheon of metal” and inducted the album into the Decibel Metal Hall of Fame. As richly deserved as this honor is, BANG were no one-trick pony. Undoubtedly one of America’s heaviest proto-metal bands, BANG also had a strong sense of melodic power, versatility and their songwriting skills were second to none.

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Graded on a Curve:
Rivers of Nihil,
Where Owls Know
My Name

I don’t talk much about my Death Metal Years because they were very dark and I was frequently horny. What I will say about my tenures in such renowned Black Metal bands as Cannibal Infant and Skewer Christ is that they marked a time of deep spiritual seeking, most of it done the traditional way–by drawing pentagrams on the floor of the Walmart warehouse where my buddy and bandmate Doug worked.

You may remember Cannibal Infant for the immortal “Satanicon,” the satanic “Immorticon,” and the randy “We’re Horny (Touch Our Horns).” Hell, we might have actually gone places had Doug not renounced Satan (and the bass guitar) to pursue a career in floral arrangements. I’ve never been able to figure out why you can’t make floral arrangements AND worship Satan, but Doug sees things differently.

I don’t listen to as much Death Metal as I used to, but I like to keep abreast of the trends, and the up-and-coming band that most makes me want to go on a church-burning tour of Norway hails from, you’ll never guess, Reading, Pennsylvania. Yes, Reading, Pennsylvania, non-Satanic hotbed of your plain Amish Volk, who continue to speak in their amusing Pennsylvania Dutch dialect until this very day. I wonder how they’d say, “Bang your head!”? Wait, I know! “Je hoofd stoten!”

Just goes to show you never know where Satan is going to establish his dominion over Earth. Or more likely the lads in Rivers of Nihil are no more sons of Satan than I am. I’ll betcha they’re as decent and upstanding as everybody else from Reading, Pennsylvania, and don’t dabble in pot much less pentagrams. Hell, they probably don’t even drink their coffee black.

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Graded on a Curve:
Pere Ubu,
Les Haricots Sont Pas Salés 1987-1991

Historical shorthand locates 1991 as the year rock normalcy exploded, but naturally the story isn’t so tidy. Pockets of unusualness were already afoot, and the recordings by Pere Ubu corralled in Les Haricots Sont Pas Salés 1987-1991 detail the post-punk/ art-rock cornerstone’s graceful and cogent horizontal move into the proximity of plain sight. The chronological third of four career-spanning box sets and the last of the bunch to see release, it houses ’88’s The Tenement Year, ’89’s Cloudland, ’91’s Worlds in Collision, and an LP of additional relevant material, The Lost Album. Another chapter in what’s significantly more than a standard retrospective, it’s out now on vinyl though Fire Records.

If the roots of the ’90’s upside-down musical narrative are firmly planted in events that transpired in the decade prior, then it’s fitting that the prime example presented by Les Haricots Sont Pas Salés 1987-1991 is the direct byproduct not of the Pere Ubu documented by The Architecture of Language 1979-1982, but of the gap between, and specifically ’87’s Blame the Messenger, the second LP from David Thomas & the Wooden Birds (the second of his solo outfits after David Thomas & the Pedestrians).

Along with the sui generis shaping presence of Thomas, The Tenement Year featured all the participants from Blame the Messenger, namely guitarist Jim Jones, bassist Tony Maimone, drummer-percussionist Chris Cutler, and crucially, the synthesizer of Allen Ravenstine. The story goes that after integrating older Ubu material into the Wooden Birds’ live set, the decision was made to contact drummer Scott Krauss, revive the Pere Ubu moniker, and record new material.

These efforts were not designed to reap the rewards of any reunion gravy-train (which in those days didn’t exist for bands residing on the cult fringe) but were sensibly intended to place fresh musical developments in their proper context. Bluntly, the Wooden Birds were sounding a lot like Ubu. Adding Krauss sweetened this circumstance.

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TVD Radar: Chris Stamey’s music memoir, A Spy In The House of Loud in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “A model of excellence for both music writing and memoir . . . I simultaneously learned so much and was deeply moved.”Anthony DeCurtis, author of Lou Reed: A Life

Popular music was in a creative upheaval in the late 1970s. As the singer-songwriter and producer Chris Stamey remembers, “the old guard had become bloated, cartoonish, and widely co-opted by a search for maximum corporate profits, and we wanted none of it.” In A Spy in the House of Loud, he takes us back to the auteur explosion happening in New York clubs such as the Bowery’s CBGB, as Television, Talking Heads, R.E.M., and other innovative bands were rewriting the rules.

Just 22 years old and newly arrived from North Carolina, Stamey immersed himself in the action, playing a year with Alex Chilton before forming the dB’s and recording the albums Stands for deciBels and Repercussion, which still have an enthusiastic following.

A Spy in the House of Loud vividly captures the energy that drove the music scene as arena rock gave way to punk and other new streams of electric music. There are engrossing backstories about creating in the recording studio, as well as insights into other people’s music and the process of songwriting. Photos, mixer-channel, and track assignment notes, and other inside-the-studio materials illustrate the stories.

A Spy in the House of Loud reads like a Mozart in the Jungle for indie rock, depicting a Southern artist’s coming-of-age in a New York scene that has been stereotyped as all punk rock, safety pins, and provocation. Stamey’s book shows another side of the CBGB era, as he searches for new ways to break the rules and make some noise.

A Spy in the House of Loud is available for sale from your favorite bookseller.
PHOTO: DANIEL COSTON

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Graded on a Curve:
His Name Is Alive,
Black Wings

His Name Is Alive is the long-running genre-shifting project/ band of Michigander Warren Defever. Of his recent recordings, none are more interesting than Patterns of Light, a release that stemmed from an invite to record at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. His latest is Black Wings, which first emerged as a CDR included in the 2016 Patterns of Light Super Set, and then as a standalone CDR last year. Both of those editions are sold out, so Black Wings’ return to print on 2LP by Happy Happy Birthday to Me is welcome. Representing in miniature Defever’s steadfast eschewal of stylistic predictability across 29 tracks while existing as its own intriguing thing, it’s available now.

Initially coming to prominence on 4AD circa 1990 with debut Livonia, His Name Is Alive surely benefited from the association with the tastemaker label, but it’s also true that as Defever and his collaborators progressed, and especially as the 4AD run neared its culmination, they left some fans befuddled and a few even betrayed by a refusal to maintain an immediately identifiable sound.

Others welcomed the range, and that’s the camp to which I belong, though not so passionately that I snatched up his simultaneous outpouring of non-4AD material (what I have heard was cool). This divide perhaps reached an apex with 2001’s Someday My Blues Will Cover the Earth, a ’90s-style slow-jam Soul/ R&B outing (featuring the spiff vocals of Lovetta Pippen) that’s roughly a thousand miles away from not just the arty ethereality of Livonia but also the indie-psych-pop of ’96’s excellent (Saturday Looks Good to Me-foreshadowing) Stars on E.S.P.

Instead of those who guardedly investigate to see if Defever’s back in their ballpark, it’s the folks eagerly anticipating what Defever will do next (while obviously having their personal favorites, one of mine being ’07’s Sweet Earth Flower, his tribute to the jazz saxophone great Marion Brown) that will be the most receptive audience for Black Wings, though listeners introduced to Patterns of Light due to their love of particle colliders and/ or musical heaviness may want to check it out, as well.

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TVD Radar: The Godfathers of Hardcore announced as official film for Record Store
Day 2018

VIA PRESS RELEASE | It’s been 35 plus years since their Lower East Side NYC inception, but astoundingly Agnostic Front are still just as vital as the thriving punk movement they helped create. It’s befitting that another worldwide movement, Record Store Day, now in its 11th year, has chosen The Godfathers Of Hardcore, filmmaker Ian McFarland’s powerful documentary about AF, as its Official Film for 2018.

For those of you unfamiliar with NYC Hardcore, Agnostic Front were a viper’s tongue of resonant energy. Crested by the distinctive voice of Roger Miret and revved on by guitarist, Vinnie Stigma, the band can be seen/heard as a defining timbre of angst, disillusionment, and existential struggle. From CBGB hardcore matinees to stages around the globe, AF were the educators for young fans of the genre. And possibly more than any other subset of punk rock, those kids would stick around.

Now, as illustrated in McFarland’s already celebrated film, one can identify a whole new generation of hardcore fans, all of whom recognize Agnostic Front as one of its most seminal trailblazers, however, the film also portrays the profound and nuanced friendship of its 2 most enduring members…

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The 286,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl. If I’m honest, I’m not entirely sure what I’d be doing now if I hadn’t had the fortune of experiencing music on it. Would I ever have been drawn into music like I have been without vinyl? Would I even be in a band?”

“It’s hard to judge how much of an impact those early vinyl days had on me, particularly as they largely coincided with when I started becoming obsessed with music. But I’ve no doubt that those early vinyl experiences completely drove that obsession.

I grew up listening to my mum and dad’s singles and LPs. Their collection was wide-ranging, from early Beatles singles through to late ’70s albums by Bowie, Roxy Music, and ELO. Their collection would trip my senses. It seemed that vinyl had a particular smell like no other. The artwork or photo, blown up to the size of the sleeve, announced the record’s contents, inviting you on a musical journey.

I would scan the front and back of the sleeve whilst the disc played, discovering a new detail each time. Some of the sleeves would be pristine, like the amazing coloured records in their collection; others would be more worn, like the late ’60s sleeves that I later found out my dad would use as cigarette ashtrays when hanging out with his band! Each record seemed to tell its own story which was something which make these memories so vivid to this day.

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TVD’s Press Play

Press Play is our Monday recap of the new and FREE tracks received last week to inform the next trip to your local indie record store.

Belle of the Fall – Rise Up
Jon Patrick Walker – Your Open Hand (Featuring Hope Davis)
The Afghan Whigs – Toy Automatic (Demo)
Jodee Lewis – Buzzard’s Bluff
Porlolo – Wasting Time (I was a fool)
Brandon Grafius – Cardinal in Winter
Pale Green Things – The Islands

TVD SINGLE OF THE WEEK:
Jesse Jo Stark – Fire Of Love

Feverbones – Sleepwalking
Sleepy Zuhoski – Daydream
JOYNER – Welcome to Your Life You’re a Star
Scratch – Newer Things
HI Lo Ha – Thinkin’ ‘Bout A Friend
Indonesian Junk – Tonight
Rush Week – Feelings
Gerald Le Funk & Subshock & Evangelos – 2BAE

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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