The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores for
August 2020, Part One

Part one of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases presently in stores for August, 2020.

NEW RELEASE PICK: V/A, Cover Charge: NC Artists Go Under Cover to Benefit Cat’s Cradle (coverchargemusic.com / Bandcamp) Living as I do near the tiptop of North Carolina’s neighbor to the north, I’ve only been to Cat’s Cradle once…well, actually it was four consecutive nights while attending Merge Records’ 15th anniversary festivities back in 2004, an experience that persists as a wonderful memory. That’s one thing: live music, especially the kind that’s played in the close quarters of clubs, is about potential great times in the moment, but it’s also about remembrance, which is part of the reason people keep returning for more. But another thing: live music is impossible without musicians of course, but it also doesn’t happen without the investment of time and money into places to play, so in times like these, both artists and show venues are struggling. The straight scoop from the folks responsible for this digital-only benefit: the Cat’s Cradle is in trouble.

Featuring a slew of NC-based or aligned acts and bands, this batch of cover material rolls along with a few peaks and valleys but no outright stumbles or even hiccups, starting out with a version of The Go-Go’s’ “Can’t Stop the World” by Superchunk that fits into their energetic power-popping late period quite well, and concluding with a reading of Madonna’s “Dress You Up” by The Veldt that dishes an appealing groove landing smackdab between neo-psych and the dancefloor. Hot cha! The predictable (but still nicely done) covers of Neil Young (represented twice, thrice with Buffalo Springfield) are fine, but my faves are the unexpected or leftfield sources, like the roots double whammy of Southern Culture on the Skids’ “Let’s Work Together” from Wilbert Harrison and Dex Romweber’s “A Face in the Crowd” from Andy Griffith as sung in Elia Kazan’s film of the same name (very timely, as it’s about a populist fraud). At 25 tracks, this is a long one, but it rewards the time spent. And as said, the cause is worthy. A-

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: James Booker, Classified (Craft) The legendary New Orleans pianist and singer James Booker doesn’t have an extensive studio discography. I rate this as his best in studio and maybe period, reissued by Craft in part to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Rounder Records, who originally issued it in 1982; it’s a jewel in the label’s extensive discographical crown. Booker’s addictions shortened his life and career (he died shortly after making this album), surely damaging his opportunities to get on wax in a non-live context. Fittingly, this set’s contents reportedly came forth in a four-hour spurt after days of unproductive recording, but boy howdy, did a gem arise from that late gush of inspiration. Fleet of finger and smooth of voice, Booker’s playing style has similarities to Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, and Allen Toussaint just for starters, and his singing is approachably bluesy, reminiscent of Jimmy Reed blended with prime ’50s Atlantic R&B. Which brings us back to Fess. Not sure why Craft didn’t reissue the 2LP expanded edition from 2013. It would’ve received the +. A

Airto, Seeds on the Ground—The Natural Sounds of Airto (Real Gone) Last year, Real Gone reissued Natural Feelings, Brazilian drummer-percussionist Airto Moreira’s debut from 1970, his first of two for the Buddha label, and now here’s its follow-up in a pressing of 1,000 reproducing the original gatefold sleeve and on ocean blue vinyl. I remain impressed by Natural Feelings, and this set largely extends the blend of Música popular brasileira, bossa nova, folk, proto-world music and jazz elements, including fusion (as Airto was a member of Weather Report, Miles Davis’ electric band, and Return to Forever). The whole of this one is as pleasing as his first, bringing back the same players (including his vocalist wife Flora Purim and bassist Ron Carter). Reviewing Natural Feelings last year, I speculated that it was a distinct item in Airto’s discography; Seeds on the Ground clarifies that the two Buddha LPs are of a piece, though this one’s a bit more psychedelic and takes a definite turn toward fusion on side two. ‘tis OK. A-

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/6/20

Melbourne, AU | Melbourne businesses say online sales and government help is key to surviving stage-four lockdown: …Over at Vinyl Space, a record store on Johnston Street, Collingwood, owner Mick Smajdor said business would also take a dive. “We basically have to close the shop, which probably represents about 40 to 50 per cent of my turnover, so basically it’s a massive part of the business,” Mr Smajdor said. The shop had remained open during most of the first lockdown, but has now closed in line with government advice. “We’re lucky though that we do have a fairly strong online presence through eBay and Discogs,” he said. But the downside was they hadn’t been able to qualify for JobKeeper, owing to an increase in revenue immediately leading up to COVID-19. “Unfortunately, because of the way the business grew quite a lot in the last 12-month period specifically, because of the online growth we’ve had, we’re not able to get the government support [like JobKeeper],” Mr Smajdor said.

Milwaukee, WI | Two friends just opened a vintage clothing and mid-century decor shop in South Milwaukee with an in-house record store: …One room of the shop, with a listening station, is dedicated to Swing Boogie Stomp, Natalie Gajewski’s husband Joe Gajewski’s vinyl and DJ business. “It’s always been kind of a pipe dream to open a record store,” said Joe, AKA DJ Nailhead. One room of Dupree’s in South Milwaukee is dedicated to Swing Boogie Stomp, Joe Gajewski’s vinyl and DJ business. Joe has about 6,000 records, both vintage and new releases, including ones from Hi-Tide Recordings, Swelltune Records, Wild Records, and Bloodshot Records. “A lot of it is vintage-inspired,” he said. In addition to DJing at car shows and vintage fashion shows, and having a podcast, Joe is a personal banking representative and in the Marines. “He’s the only client I ever went on a date with,” Natalie Gajewski laughed

Shanghai, CN | Old technology? Yes, but vinyl phonograph records still attract music purists: To music purists, the next best thing to attending a live concert is to hear music on vinyl records. It may be outdated to most people, but vinyl possesses a more “real” sound than CDs or digital downloads. The recent announcement by Chinese pop singer Jay Chou that he will release vinyl versions of all his 14 albums has put a renewed spotlight on the old format of music recording. Rather coincidentally, Shanghai Vinyl Records Association also announced its formation last month, dedicated to promoting vinyl recordings and looking for new innovations in the development of the format. Are we witnessing a revival of vinyl in China? According to Xu Bing, president and founder of the new Shanghai Vinyl Records Association, listening to vinyl records is a retro trend, especially for the younger generation. Vinyl is carving out a niche market.

Shelbyville, TN | Most Expensive Motown Vinyl Record Ever Sold Comes To American Airwaves For First Time, Courtesy Of Uncle Nearest: …Only 250 demo copies of the 7″ vinyl record were ever pressed. As few as two are reported to have survived with the rest being intentionally destroyed when Wilson made the decision to be a Motown producer rather than a singer. It is believed that one of those two vinyls are in the private collection of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, while the other landed at a famous English Northern soul nightclub in Wigan, England, where the song became a cult classic in the ’60s and ’70s. Due to its enormous popularity, the album was officially released in the UK in 1979. It is arguably the most popular Northern Soul record of all time and remained No. 1 on the Northern Soul charts as late as 2015.

Glasgow, UK | Divine! Inspiration: We speak to the man behind Glasgow’s longest running club night as it turns 30. Divine! was established in July 1990 by DJ Andrew Divine ‘as an excuse to play my favourite records up loud’, and it’s been anything but a heartache ever since… Glasgow’s longest running club night, Divine!, is hosting a special live stream DJ set to celebrate it’s 30th birthday this weekend – and everyone is invited to roll up the rug and join the party. Divine! was established in July 1990 by DJ Andrew Divine “as an excuse to play my favourite records up loud” in the Victoria Café at Glasgow School of Art while he was studying there. Since then it has established a solid-gold reputation via its unique 60s & 70s vinyl soundtrack, featuring a mix of northern soul, deep funk, dynamite ska, garage punk, psychedelia, latin beats, funky soundtracks – with the nights akin to ten retro club nights rolled into one. The night has since shifted online to keep the tunes sounding and the party going amid the coronavirus pandemic, with ‘Divine!-at-a-Distance’ being broadcasting live from Andrew’s attic in Glasgow’s southside twice a month to new fans and old regulars all over the globe.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: HeadCount and Evanescence launch campaign to promote voter registration, easy access to voting

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Evanescence and HeadCount, the non-partisan, non-profit voter registration organization, unveiled a public service announcement today entitled USE MY VOICE along with a campaign to encourage Americans to check or update their voter registration status.

The USE MY VOICE initiative places special emphasis on empowering Americans to use their voice as safely and easily as possible in the upcoming election. It points voters to www.UseMyVoice.org, where they can get accurate, clear information on voting by mail. It also offers location-based instructions on where to vote, what’s on an individual voter’s ballot, and provides easy access to voter registration, where permitted by states. As an additional incentive to encourage people to use the free service, everyone who registers or checks the status of their existing registration will receive an electronic ticket to attend a free, private online performance by Evanescence in the Fall.

Evanescence joined together with HeadCount after witnessing the COVID crisis’ dire impact on primary voting in many states, including long lines in places like Georgia and elsewhere, as well as the forced rescheduling of other primary elections. With the recent spike in Coronavirus infections throughout the nation, the band wanted to do something to address the concern. Sharing HeadCount’s belief that our democracy functions best when as many people as possible – regardless of their political preference – participate by using their voices, the band is dedicating itself to this cause by leveraging its reach to help in achieving HeadCount’s goal of registering 200,000 voters, and directly engaging with one million voters this election year.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Third
Man Records’ How The River Ganges Flows in stores 9/18

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Third Man Records is excited to announce How The River Ganges Flows, a compilation of rare and unheard Indian violin music from 1933–1952.

The collection, which was compiled by record collector and archivist Christopher King (Why The Mountains Are Black, Alexis Zoumbas) and features artwork by R. Crumb, will be released on September 18, 2020 on LP (with a bonus 7″), CD and digital. How The River Ganges Flows is a transcendent collection of Carnatic violin performances captured on 78 rpm disc between 1933 and 1952. Most of these sublime recordings have not been heard since they were first etched in shellac decades ago.

These melodies are ethereal and transporting: meditative. The rhythms undulate from despair to ecstasy, often within the same phrase. Remastered from the collection of Christopher King along with a set of deep notes, this music is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Bessie Jones with the Georgia Sea Island Singers, Get in Union

Anybody familiar with Moby’s “Honey” knows the sampled voice of Bessie Jones. Primarily celebrated for her leadership of the Georgia Sea Island Singers, she played a considerable role in the ‘60s folk revival and remains an exemplar of cultural diversity in 20th century USA. With Get in Union’s two CDs and splendidly informative package, the Tompkins Square label and producer Nathan Salsburg turned a brilliant spotlight upon a trove of her work from numerous sessions recorded by the great Alan Lomax.

To begin to absorb the significance of Bessie Jones one needs at least a little bit of insight into the unusual history of the Georgia Sea Islands. Situated near the coast of Georgia and taken early in the Civil War by the Union Army, the islands were a part of what’s known as the Port Royal Experiment, more specifically an opportunity for approximately 10,000 freed slaves to practice self-sustainment (i.e. what Reconstruction could’ve been).

The Port Royal Experiment lasted until 1865 when President Andrew Johnson returned the land to its former white owners. And yet from the end of the Civil War to the mid 1930s the Georgia Sea Islands sustained a separation from mainland life as two different sets of ex slaves intermingled, those from the USA and a large influx of Bahamians freed after the British Empire put the kibosh on their ownership of humans.

In 1935 Alan Lomax made his first trip to the Georgia Sea Island of St. Simons in the company of folklorists Mary Elizabeth Barnicle and Zora Neale Hurston (most famous as the author of Their Eyes Were Watching God, amongst other novels and writings). On that visit they recorded for the Library of Congress the Spiritual Singers Society of Coastal Georgia, a group organized by Lydia Parrish, the wife of painter Maxfield Parrish.

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The TVD Storefront

Imogen Clark,
The TVD First Date

“Growing up, my parents’ old record player was dusty, beige and weathered by constant use, a beautiful artefact of the ’70s. It sat downstairs on top of a shelf which was studded with the best of ’70s and early ’80s rock and pop—Joe Jackson, Led Zeppelin, John Farnham, Elton John, U2, Talking Heads—alongside a smattering of operetta and musical theatre cast albums.”

“The first record I remember spinning on repeat was Led Zeppelin IV. The packaging was falling apart and it skipped in places. I remember staring at the cover image of the man bending under the weight of all the sticks on his back and thinking it was incredible that they’d put out a record with neither band name or album title on the cover. My Dad owned every Led Zep album and t-shirt you could buy. He raised me to appreciate their mind-bending playing, and to understand there had never been a band quite like them before, and probably never would be again.

Listening to a record like that, and then spending Saturday nights watching the live DVDs, all I could think about was how much I wanted it to be me making music like that. The euphoria on the faces of the crowd, watching in awe as Zeppelin powered through a relentless three-hour show, perfect strangers connected to each other through this music. I wished it was me up there, fusing with my best friends into one four-headed monster and touching touching people’s souls all over the world in a way they’d never be able to forget.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Art Blakey &
The Jazz Messengers,
Just Coolin

On March 8, 1959, Art Blakey and his then current lineup of the Jazz Messengers traveled to Hackensack, NJ for a session in Rudy Van Gelder’s storied living room. The results are found on Just Coolin’, the latest newly uncovered archival jazz gem, this one coming out courtesy of the label responsible for its very existence, Blue Note Records. Featuring Blakey on drums, with trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, pianist Bobby Timmons, and bassist Jymie Merritt, the short-lived lineup exemplifies an erudite but potent strain of hard bop that few have equaled since. It’s out now on vinyl, compact disc, and digital as part of Blue Note’s Blakey centennial celebration.

Prior to this record, Art Blakey cut what is probably his most famous studio album, originally titled Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, but soon to be known as Moanin’. The lineup for that record, the same as this one except for Benny Golson on tenor sax, was also short-lived, although two live albums, both captured in Paris, 1958 – Paris Olympia (Fontana, 1958) and Art Blakey et les Jazz-Messengers au club St. Germain (French RCA, 1959), historically magnify the brevity of that particular group’s existence.

Until now, documentation of Mobley’s ’59 entrance was limited to the two live volumes of At the Jazz Corner of the World, which were recorded at Birdland in NYC in April of that year, though it’s important to not get them confused with the two subsequent volumes titled Meet You at the Jazz Corner of the World, also recorded at Birdland in 1960, with Wayne Shorter as Mobley’s replacement.

If all the above leads one to suppose that Just Coolin’ is an inessential item, well whoa there, partner. Not only does this LP bring long belated studio documentation to a killer quintet, making it a must for serious jazz fans, but the execution is at such a high level across the six selections that the record will serve wonderfully for anybody looking for an introduction to the Messengers’ substantial thing.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/5/20

Phoenix, AZ | Six Phoenix Record Shops Talk Business Amid COVID: As a rule, the music industry is subject to regular upheaval. But after threats like streaming music and economic downturn, the one posed by COVID-19 has proven especially challenging. So, how have record stores weathered the storm and found ways to keep music essential as consumers weight every single purchase? Well, we asked around, and what follows is some essential insight into what stores are selling, how they’re doing financially, and what lessons COVID has taught retailers. …Our sales remained pretty consistent. They went down a little during the week, but we’re in the summertime now and that’s expected. But then they more than make up for it during the weekend. Once we opened back up, it was like, okay, we went right back to normal. Yeah, you’ve got to wear a mask, but it was still the same old stuff. We saw a lot of cheap, mostly $1 to $3 records being sold. Again, mostly cheap classics.”

Sarnia, CA | Record Store Day adjusting to pandemic: The owners of Sarnia’s Cheeky Monkey record shop hope the third time is the charm for this year’s Record Store Day. The annual day celebrating independent record stories has already been postponed twice this year because of COVID-19 restrictions, so the current plan calls for the event to be held on three Saturdays spread over three months. Normally, the event’s release of hundreds of special-edition – and mostly vinyl – music releases happens on a single day but, this year, will be spread over Aug. 29, Sept. 26 and Oct. 24 to reduce crowds and lineups that make physical distancing a challenge. Roland Peloza, who owns the downtown Sarnia record store with his wife, Mary Anne Peloza, said Cheeky Monkey has been part of Record Store Day since it began in 2008. “This is the first one that is in pandemic mode,” he said. Most of the hundreds of releases had already been manufactured by the record companies by the time the pandemic and its restrictions arrived in North America, Peloza said.

Melbourne, AU | A comprehensive list of Melbourne record stores you can support this lockdown: From head to toe, here are all the local record stores you can support during lockdown. It’s been a thrill checking in with Melbourne’s record stores as they navigate these peculiar times. Many of these businesses flaunt age-old, tried and tested business techniques that capitalise on relationships and loyalty. Greville Records owner Warwick Brown has enjoyed delivering vinyl door-to-door as a way of evading the postal gridlock while also catching up with his customers, many of whom he regards as friends rather than shoppers. Suzanne Bennett from CBD record store, The Basement Discs, has been similarly creative during the crisis, gazing laterally to online sales, social media and email newsletters as ways of communicating with their record-lovers. While for Dutch Vinyl’s Mark Reuten, online sales have taken a jump as the Dutch expat made a swift transition once the regular stream of punters were cut off from his store.

Nashville, TN | Egon Alapatt, BA’00, offers tips on how to collect vinyl records: Eothen “Egon” Alapatt, BA’00, discovered his career path when studying at Vanderbilt, working as a DJ at the WRVU radio station, and promoting local hip-hop shows. “When I realized that reissuing and licensing of music, and procuring music for samples for hip-hop producers, could be a profession, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.” The term “vinyl enthusiast” doesn’t do justice to Alapatt’s work. He has released dozens of new and almost-lost-to-history singles and albums through Now Again Records, launched in 2002 while he was general manager for the influential independent hip-hop label Stones Throw Records. More releases come through the Madlib Invazion label, a partnership with rapper Madlib and the vaults of the late J. Dilla, a wildly influential hip-hop producer. Rappcats is the online and brick-and-mortar hub for Alapatt’s output. But the Now Again releases, ranging from the 1970 Dallas Pop Festival to Vietnam-era funk music from Florida, most closely resemble Alapatt’s passion for unearthing gems.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: elbow vinyl reissues of first three albums in stores 9/25

VIA PRESS RELEASE | elbow fans will be able to own the band’s first three studio albums on vinyl when they are reissued on September 25, 2020. The heavyweight vinyl pressings cover debut, ‘Asleep in the Back,’ follow up ‘Cast of Thousands’ and third album, ‘Leaders of the Free World.’ In addition, the band’s B sides collection ‘Dead in the Boot’ and 2014’s ‘The Take Off and Landing of Everything’ will be repressed and restocked to stores, meaning that the entire elbow album catalog will now be available on vinyl.

‘Asleep in the Back’ was the album that introduced elbow to the world. Produced by Ben Hillier (Blur, Doves, Depeche Mode) and containing the singles; ‘Newborn,’ ‘Any Day Now,’ ‘Red’ and ‘Powder Blue,’ it established the band with the UK public and led to Mercury Award and Brit Award nominations. The album closes with perennial fan favorite ‘Scattered Black and Whites,’ recently revisited by the band in lockdown for their elbowrooms sessions.

‘Cast of Thousands,’ recorded at legendary Liverpool’s legendary Parr Street Studios, with Ben Hiller again at the helm, introduced cover stars Elle and Bo to the world, their life size statues causing traffic jams when sited next to the motorway during festival dates to promote the album. Taking its title from the vocal contributions of the Glastonbury crowd to ‘Grace Under Pressure,’ recorded in a landmark performance on The Other Stage in 2002, the album artwork features the names of all those who contacted the band to say, ‘yes, I was there and singing.’ An early indicator of elbow’s power to produce inclusive, uplifting moments, ‘Cast of Thousands’ also features ‘Fugitive Motel’ – another track featured during the recent elbowrooms recordings.

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Demand it on Vinyl:
Roy Clark, Greatest Hits in stores 9/18

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Craft Recordings is pleased to announce Roy Clark’s Greatest Hits—the defining and only collection of original hit recordings currently in print from one of country music’s most beloved personalities—is making its first appearance on CD and streaming services featuring 18 tracks. Set for release on September 18th and available to pre-order beginning today (8/3), the compilation showcases the Grand Ole Opry member’s ability to break new ground in country music and beyond.

Roy Clark (1933–2018) was not only a beloved personality on film and TV but also an influential figure in country music—helping to bring his genre to the masses. Born in Meherrin, Virginia, Clark first picked up a guitar at age 13, by age 14 had won two national banjo championships, and by 17 had made a guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. His prolific playing and ability to put a smile on everyone’s faces coalesced when he made his television debut as lead guitarist in the house band for Country Style, which would go on to become The Jimmy Dean Show, before finding success as a solo performer when he recorded a cover of Bill Anderson’s “The Tips of My Fingers,” which became his first Top Ten Hot Country single.

Over his 6-decade spanning career, the award-winning guitarist and banjoist scored multiple Top Ten Hot Country singles, such as the pop crossover smash hit “Yesterday, When I Was Young,” which charted for 25 weeks and peaked at number 8 on Billboard, “Thank God and Greyhound,” and the number 1 hit “Come Live With Me”—all of which are included on Greatest Hits.

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Graded on a Curve:
Molly Hatchet,
Flirtin’ with Disaster

Remembering guitarist Dave Hlubek of Molly Hatchet.Ed.

I consider myself a southern rock fan of sorts—Lynyrd Skynyrd is one of my favorite bands, and I still plan to get that tattoo of their plane going down, Ronnie Van Zant looking out a window and saying, “Turn it up!”—but I always drew the line at Molly Hatchet. I think it had to do with those fantasy covers—you know, the ones with steroidal Huns in Viking helmets like the sopranos in operas wear wielding wicked-looking double axes. I’ve never liked fantasy art, or people who like fantasy art, and while I’m ashamed to admit I refused to listen to a band because of its album covers, it’s the god’s honest truth.

Anyway, I finally took the plunge, and I was shocked—Molly Hatchet wasn’t half bad. A kind of poor man’s Lynyrd Skynyrd—both bands hailed from swampy Jacksonville, Florida—Molly Hatchet boasted a singer who sounded a lot like Ronnie Van Zant and three guitarists just like Skynyrd, which gave them the ability to “Free Bird” out to their heart’s content. True, their songwriting skills were never up to Skynyrd standards—all meat and potatoes, only without the meat—but they were good enough, good enough. And when I call Molly Hatchet a poor man’s Lynyrd Skynyrd it’s not a total diss, because I still—having finally heard them—rate them above the Outlaws, the Charlie Daniels Band, .38 Special, The Marhall Tucker Band, Wet Willie, and all the rest of their Southern Rock brethren, with the exception of Black Oak Arkansas, because BOA is just so fucking weird.

Molly Hatchet mixed in enough hard rock to differentiate themselves from the more countrified Southern Rock pack, but were also capable of pure South of Dixie goodness—just check out their loving cover of Gregg Allman’s “Dreams I’ll Never See” if you don’t believe me. Or “Gator Country,” an excellent tune in which they name-check their competition and their home states and conclude they’d just as soon be back in the gator country of Jacksonville. True, they lost the thread later on—as is demonstrated by songs that sound like bad hair metal and an album called Southern Rock Masters that included songs by Thin Lizzy, the Eagles, and Mountain—proof either that they had a very flexible concept of Southern Rock, or should really have paid more attention to their geography teacher in high school.

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TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: Fox Stevenson

We’re going back to our pop-punk roots for today’s AOTW and we will not apologise. Fox Stevenson has been on the music scene for a while now and is usually known for his roles as DJ and producer in the drum and bass world. His latest cut “Lava’ is a little different however, and we think the change of pace may have done him the world of good.

Fox Stevenson—aka Stanley Stevenson-Byrne—is a Leeds-based multi-instrumentalist who is making his own rules and we’re so here for it. “Lava” is an infectious slice of alt-pop goodness that you are bound to have playing on repeat for the rest of the day.

Stevenson combines elements of pop, punk, and electronica creating a sound that is full to the brim with colour and oozing with tenacity. So, what are you waiting for? Crank this one up loud and shake those weekend hangovers away.

“Lava” is out now via AntiFragile Music.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Psychedelic Furs,
Made of Rain

Post-punk, new wave, college rock, modern rock, alt-rock: The Psychedelic Furs have been associated with all of these styles, and the band’s first full-length studio effort since 1991 offers a sharp extension of their ’80s developments with the added kick of solid songs and a general sense of collective commitment. That the Furs avoid attempting to regurgitate bygone commercial peaks is admirable; additionally, all the members have been with the band for over a decade in a live context, which is reflected in cohesiveness and heft. While not a document of perfection, Made of Rain is still a worthy affair. It’s out now on LP, CD, and digital through Cooking Vinyl.

If all the songs on Made of Rain were up to the standard of its first cut, the set would teeter on the precipice of a knockout. Regardless, this is still one of the positive shockers of 2020. Said opener, “The Boy That Invented Rock & Roll,” is driving and layered, with Rich Good’s guitar resonating up a storm as bassist Tim Butler and keyboardist Amanda Kramer thicken the post-punky atmosphere. And courtesy of saxophonist Mars Williams, there’s a touch of skronk that helps to establish the seriousness of the whole endeavor.

More importantly, Richard Butler’s singing, while immediately recognizable, doesn’t overplay the raspy distinctiveness of his voice. But maybe most interesting, the track avoids revving up to a predictable finale, instead winding down and dissipating ahead of the spirited “Don’t Believe,” which is more anthemic and with a chorus that’s pretty clearly designed for live audience rousing, all while underscoring the role of the brothers Butler in shaping the Alternative Rock sound of yore.

It’s a gesture that works because it’s fairly subtle. “You’ll Be Mine” slows the pace a bit but is no less intense, blending strum, tendrils of saxophone and drummer Paul Garisto’s churning thud, with the song emphasizing Made of Rain as no nostalgia trip. This isn’t to imply that the record is devoid of pop gestures, as the next cut makes clear. It just that the soaring passages of “Wrong Train” aren’t attempting, at least overtly, to stir memories of “Heartbreak Beat” or “Pretty In Pink.”

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/4/20

Madison, WI | Local Music Shop Hits a High Note with Madison Music Lovers: At a time when Wisconsinites are looking for an escape, Strictly Discs in Madison is hitting a high note. “Music has never been more popular than it is right now and it’s very accessible,” says Angie Roloff, owner of Strictly Discs. Music is especially popular during the pandemic as people are longing for connection. Music holds a different weigh for everyone. For some, it’s all in the family. “(Music is) everything. When I got out of the army, I became a mason just to support my music habit,” says customer Mike Winget. Winglet loves music so much, he named his 11-year-old son, “Lyric.” “I’m here for my son today, trying to find some stuff to give him some culture instead of him listening to the stuff on the radio,” says Winget. “Music is a whole world of rhythm,” says Lyric Winget.

New York, NY | These Businesses Lasted Decades. The Virus Closed Them for Good. The pandemic has wiped out the longstanding anchors of New York neighborhoods. Before the pandemic, Record Mart was a fixture of the Times Square subway station for more than 60 years, known for carrying vinyl recordings of Latin and jazz music. Lou Moskowitz left his job in real estate in 2006 to work full-time at the shop, which was owned by his father. Sales at independent record stores were on the decline nationwide, and many were shutting down throughout New York. Mr. Moskowitz’s friends had questioned why he had chosen to move into the industry. “I know it doesn’t make any sense,” Mr. Moskowitz said, “but I did it anyway because I wanted to work with my dad.” After his father died in 2012, Mr. Moskowitz took over the business. For years, Record Mart survived by selling electronics and headphones and drawing in passers-by to explore its extensive vinyl collection. The shop was not thriving, but revenue trickled in.

Dublin, IE | Barry joins band giving Dublin Vinyl a spin: Isee that new New Ireland Assurance chairman and former Canada Life boss Tom Barry is getting into the music business. Barry is one of the backers of Hugh Scully and Donagh Molloy’s rapidly expanding record music conglomerate Dublin Vinyl. Scully set up a vinyl-pressing plant in Glasnevin to meet demand from music purists. LP sales rose last year for the 14th consecutive year, with 18.8 million records sold in America alone. Scully’s Dublin Vinyl has pressed everything from Joy Division to Robbie Williams to Amy Winehouse. As the music industry changes dramatically, Dublin Vinyl has moved into the direct-to-consumer space, helping artists and labels to manage e-commerce and fulfilment. It also has its own Love Vinyl club.

Toledo, OH | Culture Clash leaving west Toledo to take its tunes downtown: The longtime west Toledo staple for music fans is now set to bring the hits to historic location at former spot of The Paula Brown Shop. Boogie Records shut its doors just before, in 2004, before rising from the ashes as Culture Clash at Secor and Sylvania. Culture Clash was hard to miss on Secor. O’Connor lined the roof with vinyl records, creating a visual icon that matched the quirky, fun atmosphere of the record shop that was uniquely “Toledo”. It caused a stir at one point, but remained long enough for the lasting impression… O’Connor continued on the spirit of spinning vinyl in an era when mediums changed from records to digital and he and his store were deeply woven into the community. After his death in 2016, Tim Friedman took over. Even more live music resonated throughout the shop on Secor, with over 100 artists from locally and well beyond holding shows over the past three years. But now, the future is bright, bold and downtown, according to today’s announcement.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: ‘Vote Ready,’ A free concert for voter registration, 8/14

VIA PRESS RELEASE | HeadCount, Fort William, and Live From Out There Present: Vote Ready, A Free Concert for Voter Registration on August 14th.

HeadCount and Fort William Artist Management have announced Vote Ready, A Concert for Voter Registration, happening Friday, August 14th at 7pm Eastern, to motivate fans to verify and update their voter registration. The concert, part of the “Live From Out There” livestream series, will feature original self-recorded performances by The War On Drugs, Robin Pecknold, Daniel Rossen (of Grizzly Bear), Christopher Bear (of Grizzly Bear/Fools), Kyp Malone (of TV On The Radio), Jaleel Bunton (of TV On The Radio), Kevin Morby, Waxahatchee, Tarriona Tank Ball, Hand Habits, Ciggy, Kam Franklin (of The Suffers), The Building and Allison Russell & Leyla McCalla (of Our Native Daughters).

Leading up to the event, fans who check their voter registration status via HeadCount.org/VoteReady will receive a free eTicket to the stream. Anyone not currently registered will then easily be able to register to vote through an online form. International and underage viewers will be able to receive the same access by pledging to vote in the next election in which they are eligible.

“Voter registration could not be more critical at this time. With deadlines coming up, we wanted to get the word out to everyone we can reach through music and HeadCount to check your status and make sure you are ready for the next election,” says Ami Spishock, owner Fort William Artist Management. “This is a first of its kind event,” says Andy Bernstein, executive director of HeadCount. “We love the idea of serving up original performances to anyone who checks their voter registration status. We applaud the artists and Fort William Management for their leadership, and we hope it inspires many more similar events in the future.”

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