Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

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.

Jared Saltiel – The Fountain
Youth in a Roman Field – Town Hall
James McMurtry – State of the Union
ash.ØK – The Unraveled
Matt Hectorne – Only Way Into Your Heart
Jeff Rosenstock – All This Useless Energy
Kainalu – Finding Peace Of Mind
Jeff Tweedy – Laminated Cat

Jade Bird – Something American

Treehouse Sanctum – O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Fovea – Don’t Play
Eagle Johnson & Clean Machine – My Best Girl
The Dirty Truckers – Like Him
Cameron Blake – After Sally
Felsen – Vultures on Your Bones
Stephen Doster – Shooting For The Stars
King Fantastic – End of the Beginning
Throttle x Niko The Kid – Signs

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Graded on a Curve:
Greta Van Fleet,
“From the Fires” EP

What’s up with “special new band” Greta Van Fleet? How does shamelessly aping Led Zeppelin’s every last riff and twitch make you the next big thing? They’re a goddamn cover band that can’t quite remember how Zep’s songs actually go, and for this both the music press and the public go batshit? The singer thinks he’s you know who, the guitar thinks he’s you know who, the drummer thinks he’s Bam Bam and is about the same age, and what you’re left with is a band that is filling a generation gap I really can’t believe needs filling.

I mean, is there really anybody out there who hasn’t heard Led Zeppelin? And is there anybody out there who wouldn’t prefer to hear Zep first hand? Apparently there are such people, because Greta Van Fleet are making quite the stir. I just heard them on WXPN, for Christ’s sake. If you really want to make music that sounds exactly like somebody else’s music, at least pick an obscure band. Like the Beatles or somebody.

Formed by a trio of Kiszka brothers and one Danny Wagner in wonderful Frankenmuth, Michigan in 2012, Greta Van Fleet (not to be confused with Greta Van Susteren, who is both smarter and sexier) were catapulted to instant fame with their 2017 EP “Black Smoke Rising.” A double EP (“From the Fires”) followed very shortly thereafter the same year, and the rest is history replayed as teenage minstrel show. To quote my friend Bill Barnett, “Just listened to a couple of their songs–sounds like an Adam Sandler prank.” My pal Kiki Solis was a bit more brutal: “Jesus. I just listened to 30 seconds of it and now I need to snort a valium.”

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TVD Radar: The Stacks: Songs From The Oasis
to benefit Kids In A New Groove, in stores 2/2

VIA PRESS RELEASE | 18 classic ’80s songs covered by 16 Austin-based artists to help foster kids get free music lessons and mentorship.

That’s the simple of it. The whole story is more complex. During the spring of 2017 I read the novel Ready Player One by Austin author Ernest Cline. The book rang true to me – it was a sci-fi novel about the future but with a foot firmly in the ’80s. Shortly after reading the book I decided to recruit a number of Austin bands to record versions of songs mentioned in the book. Songs like “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol, “The Wild Boys” by Duran Duran, and “Dirty Deeds” by AC/DC.

With the help of some friends in Austin including scene maestro Robyn Foxworth and Kids In A New Groove executive director Laura Wood, I was able to get 16 amazing Austin musicians on-board and they began to record their own unique versions of the songs. We’re talking artists like Mobley, The Midnight Stroll (Aaron from Ghostland Observatory), BOOHER (Mike from Zykos), Go Fever, Obscured By Echoes, and so many more. Local artist Ben Lance created beautiful album art inspired by The Stacks housing project from the book.

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William Reed,
The TVD First Date

“My first introduction to records happened when I was around 13.”

“My family had just moved to Germany for the second time. My father worked during the week, but on the weekends he would open up the windows and crank his analog hi-fi, playing records by The Stones, Zeppelin, and Bowie. I didn’t realize it at the time but that had such a profound impact and would forever shape my musical development.

From there the next biggest influence would occur when I was in middle school. It was the middle of eighth grade and my best friend had an older sister who was just the coolest. She was my first exposure to alternative culture. Through her, she would expose us to The Pixies, R.E.M., Ramones, NIN, B-52’s, The Cure, The Smiths, Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Dead Milkmen, The Chili Peppers etc. Basically anything that was indie, punk, goth, or alternative at the time.

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Wire: In-store with TVD at DC’s Som Records

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | “They’re here already,” Bart our videographer laughed, motioning to Som Records’ entryway under the large, wrought iron stairs. “Yea, Neal says they’ve been here for almost an hour…”

“Wait—what?!” was the collective first thought. Better to keep it fresh for the cameras is our general thinking, despite the band’s obvious enthusiasm. But hell, the Pixies’ Joey Santiago popped by Som the day before shooting to get the lay of the land in advance of last summer’s record rummage—so, what’s an hour in advance then?

Turns out, not that much at all. After some warm hellos to the gentlemen of Wire, front man Colin Newman, bassist Graham Lewis, and guitarist Matthew Simms (where was Robert?), the band shrugged off their early arrival. “We’d be doing this anyway,” Simms confessed.

So why wait any longer? We’re record shopping with post punk Legends (cap L!) Wire at Washington, DC’s Som Records.

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Graded on a Curve:
Rick Wakeman,
The Six Wives of
Henry VIII

In the summer of my 13th year I spent two months listening to virtually nothing but Rick Wakeman’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII. It was hardly what I’d call voluntary. This is what happens when your older sister runs away from home with a hood named Don and leaves nothing behind, musically speaking, but a Rick Wakeman LP and a couple of ELP and Yes albums she only bought because prog rock was the kind of music Don’s predecessor, Rick, who was so acne-riddled he even had zits on his teeth, preferred. Hers was a musical scorched earth policy, and I was the survivor left behind to fashion a new world from the bombastic rubble.

I made the best of things. I grew wan and ethereal, lying day after day on the ratty carpet in the living room beneath a pair of big foam earphones, grimly irradiating myself with the ghastly sounds of what might well be the worst album released in 1973, my face suffused with eager suffering, like that of a medieval ascetic undergoing martyrdom. Afterwards, and for a long time, I bore an uncanny resemblance to Rick Wakeman. I wore my pastiness like a cape. You cannot listen to nothing but Rick Wakeman, and a smattering of other elite English prog hogs, and remain healthy in mind and body.

And I didn’t. I slowly went mad, listening day in and day out to the rococo ruminations of preening English synthwankers fixated upon the chimerical alchemical ideal of fusing rock and classical into one. Their ethos was simple: if your solo didn’t have 1,000,000 notes, it was dross. If a song had less than 47 chord changes, it was punk rock. The singers flitted about in the thin air of the falsetto realms, like fairies in a high-brow nightmare. Armies of pompous arpeggios snobbed their way across my ears, scouring my poor brainpan with pretentious visions of Henry VIII’s marital problems. I should have contracted rickets, for there is no vitamin D in prog.

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TVD Radar: Frank Zappa, The Roxy Performances 7 CD box set in stores 2/2

VIA PRESS RELEASE | 43 years ago in December 1973, Frank Zappa played a series of legendary concerts at the famed Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Considered a high-water mark of his career, owing to the incredible, virtuosic performances of himself and his stellar band The Mothers, the five shows – across three nights – included a private invite-only performance/ soundcheck/ film shoot followed by back-to-back doubleheaders. A few days later, continuing this incredibly prolific week, Zappa brought his band and camera crew to Ike Turner’s Bolic Sound in Inglewood for a filmed recording session. In typical Zappa fashion, he recorded it all.

On February 2, 2018, Zappa Records/UMe will release The Roxy Performances, a definitive seven-CD box set that collects all four public shows from December 9-10, 1973, and the December 8th film shoot/ soundcheck, each presented in their entirety for the first time, along with bonus content featuring rarities from a rehearsal, unreleased tracks and highlights from the Bolic Studios recording session. This complete collection, totaling nearly eight hours, documents the Roxy shows as they happened and presents brand new 2016 mixes by Craig Parker Adams from new 96K 24 Bit transfers of the multi-track masters.

The set is rounded out with a 48-page booklet that includes photos from the performances, extensive liner notes by Vaultmeister Joe Travers, essays from Zappa family friend, Australian writer Jen Jewel Brown, and American singer/ songwriter Dave Alvin who give their firsthand recollections about the shows, and a selection of archival press reviews. Those who digitally pre-order the box set will receive an instant grat download of “RDNZL.” Culled from the very first show on December 9, the track is a live version of the classic song featuring the never-before-heard 2016 mix that exemplifies the sonics of the new box set. Pre-order The Roxy Performances now:

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The TVD First Date

“Some of my happiest memories growing up were hanging out with my dad in his car listening to music. Smooth soul from the ’60s and ’70s along with jazz from the ’50s and ’60s got played on the regular.”

“One of the artists my Dad would play was Thelonious Monk, the jazz piano genius. It always resonated with me because his style of playing wasn’t like anything I had ever heard before. It was unique and almost abstract sounding to me how he played, and he looked really cool. The first vinyl I bought on my own was Thelonious Monk’s Work! featuring Sonny Rollins on tenor sax. I managed to find it in a thrift store for only 2 dollars and the bright green cover was eye-catching and boy did he look cool.

I immediately flashed back to being a kid riding shotgun in the car with my Dad while he played Monk, whose piano runs blew my mind and still do to this day. There’s nothing like picking up a record and immediately jumping back in time and rediscovering awesome memories. It has always been a goal of mine to create music that someone can listen to as kid, and then hear it in their later years and be brought right back to when they first heard it.”
Tommy White, guitar

“I don’t really remember the first vinyl I got, I just remember as a kid there was a heavy rotation of Bob Marley and Tina Turner in the house.”

“Dad would come into the living room, turn on our record player, and it would be a night of dancing and sing-alongs. The first vinyl that caught my ear was the Bob Marley Legends album which had all the good songs on it. I always knew it was time to get busy soon as that first riff for “Is This Love” came on followed by his vocals “I wanna love ya, and treat you right.” Man, that was it. Legend was my first and favorite record. I didn’t realize at the time the message in his songs—I was just singing these beautiful words not understanding the meaning behind them.”
Alysia Quinones, vocals

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TVD Radar: Sonny Rollins’ iconic album, Way Out West 180-gram reissue in stores 2/16

VIA PRESS RELEASE | On February 16, Craft Recordings will release a deluxe edition of one of the most iconic and enduring records in jazz. Celebrating its 60th Anniversary in 2017, Way Out West, alongside Saxophone Colossus, cemented Sonny Rollins’ place as one of the top tenor saxophonists of all-time.

This meticulously compiled package pays appropriate tribute to the importance of the landmark recording with an audiophile-quality pressing of the original album and a second LP of bonus material featuring rare and previously unreleased tracks from the legendary session. Both records are pressed at Quality Record Pressings (QRP) on 180-gram vinyl.

Grammy® Award-winning writer Neil Tesser contributes liner notes, which include excerpts from a recent interview he conducted with Rollins especially for this release. Rare photos by famed jazz photographer William Claxton round out the collection, which comes housed in a handsome hinged box. Way Out West (Deluxe Edition) will also be available at streaming outlets, mastered for iTunes, and in Hi-Res digital (96/24 and 192/24) on street date.

More about Way Out West | Over his long and distinguished career, Sonny Rollins has made many dozens of albums. Among those recorded during the ’50s — Prestige’s Saxophone Colossus, Blue Note’s A Night at the Village Vanguard, Riverside’s The Sound of Sonny, and especially Way Out West, originally recorded for the Contemporary label — qualify as all-time Rollins classics.

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Graded on a Curve:
Sex Pistols,
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols

Well here it is–the first and best punk album ever vomited upon an unsuspecting public. And I don’t want to hear any naysaying or quibbling. With 1977’s Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols Johnny Rotten and Company fired a shot heard round the world, and the aftershocks of this LP will be felt as long as kids continue to form punk bands, which is forever.

Never Mind the Bollocks sounds every bit as snotty and uncompromising as the day it was released, but hindsight affords us the opportunity to look at where it fits into the history of rock ’n’ roll. The first thing I would note is how much it has in common with smart English hard rock. Given a large quantity of speed and set loose in the studio, Mott the Hoople might have sounded like this. Which brings us to another point. Like Mott’s Ian Hunter, Johnny Rotten is one smart bloke. He may not have attended Oxford, but our lad Johnny had a knack for saying what was on his mind. And he summed up what was on his mind when he said, “Sometimes the most positive thing you can be in a boring society is absolutely negative.”

The songs on Never Mind the Bollocks are slower than I remember, and their sound is fuller; they don’t have that razor-thin edge one associates with, say, the Ramones or the Clash. And they don’t have the pop overtones of those bands either. Listen to the Ramones now and they sound like a bubblegum band; the Sex Pistols don’t blow bubbles and their songs might as well be Brighton rock. The Sex Pistols roar thank to Steve Jones’ blunderbuss guitar, and Johnny Rotten is purest ferocity. The Sex Pistols produce a ferocious din, and I can’t think of a punk band that has ever come close to equaling them in sheer savagery.

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