The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores, January 2018, Part Three

Part three of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued wax presently in stores for January, 2018. Part one is here and part two is here.

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Phew, Voice Hardcore (Mesh-Key) Phew (real name Hiromi Moritani) is an integral part of the Japanese underground; she fronted the Osaka punk band Aunt Sally, her debut 7-inch was produced by Ryuichi Sakamoto, her first LP featured guests Conny Plank and members of Can, and she’s remained quite active since. Voice Hardcore emerged as a tour CD last year, but this is the vinyl edition, and as an excursion into the possibilities of Phew’s voice and Phew’s voice alone, it’s a captivating and unpredictable listen. The title might suggest unrestrained throat aggression, but the results are less throttling and more enveloping. Indeed, opener “Cloudy Day” is reminiscent of Ligeti in its textured drift, and “In the Doghouse” is a marvel of sonic breadth and repetition. A

Wooing, “Daydream Time Machine” (Ba Da Bing!) Here’s the debut 3-song EP from the new band of Rachel Trachtenburg, who as a youngster was part of the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, and later was in Supercute! and the Prettiots. Although she’s a multi-instrumentalist (she drummed in TFSP), Trachtenburg handles vocals here, with JR Thomason on guitar and Rosie Slater behind the kit. Their sound is an unambiguous extension of ’90s indie; of the comparisons that others have floated, I’m most in agreement with Helium, and to a lesser extent The Breeders. They do combine Mary Timony’s mastery of mood with the Deals’ knack with a song, and the results are raw, occasionally dark, and best of all, amenable to volume. “In Colour” inches toward psych. “Tear World” is the pick by a nose. A-

REISSUE PICKS: Dinosaur L, (Get on Down) “Go Bang” and “In the Corn Belt” (Get on Down) Dinosaur L is often simply lumped into the magnetic eclecticism of the late and great Arthur Russell, but it’s worth noting upfront that these two tracks, split into parts with the original versions found on the 24->24 Music LP (released in ’82 via Russell and William Socolov’s Sleeping Bag Records), is the byproduct of a band. A studio band, sure, and one directed by Russell, but a band nonetheless, featuring the input of the Ingram brothers, Julius Eastman and others. They played disco, a prototype for art-disco to be specific, with Francois Kevorkian remixing “Go Bang” and Larry Levan handling “In the Corn Belt,” and these 45s will hopefully enliven many a DJ night across 2018 and beyond. A-/ A-

Indian Ocean, (Get on Down) “School Bell / Treehouse” 12-inch (Get on Down) As the PR for this reissue notes, Arthur Russell suffered from an inability to finish projects, leaving him with only one completed full-length solo effort prior to his untimely death from HIV in 1992. Russell’s working method also caused him to part ways with his Sleeping Bag partner William Socolov, but as his health began to deteriorate, he approached his friend to cut this 12-inch, his last for the label, which was also his final collab with friend Walter Gibbons. By this point, Sleeping Bag was focusing on early hip-hop, so this disc probably got lost in the shuffle, but it shouldn’t’ve, as it’s a treat of avant-groove. Sure, I’d welcome a higher ratio of distorted cello lines, but what’s here is still a lovely (and bittersweet) sound. A-

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 1/18/18

How Adele Opened Way For A $32 Million Business – And Why Vinyl Is Surging: “Physical media absolutely isn’t dead. It always amazes me that we start off with quite an apologetic standpoint. Physical album sales are only down by small amount, which is a fairly shallow decrease to what people thought the album business would drop by. If anything, it is some downloads that have seen sharp declines. Figures suggest physical has 54% of all sales but this includes streaming. If someone streams 100 tracks or downloads 10 tracks, this counts as an album sale, but of course you might just have listened to the same Ed Sheeran track, which is misleading. Take these out of the data then physical is closer to two thirds of album sales.”

Darien bookstore owners seek to create a hub for book and music lovers: Paul and Robyn Garrison hope the Frugal Muse, a Darien store where gently used books, music recordings, movies and games are resold, can also be a gathering place for avid readers and new performers. The couple, who bought the business in June 2014, plan to host trivia games, movie nights and open mic performances. The store already attracts people who like a bargain and those who would rather recycle books and compacts discs than throw them away. The Frugal Muse, which has been in the shopping center on the corner of 75th and Lemont Road since 2000, carries more than 200,000 movies on DVD and VHS, music on compact discs and cassettes, audiobooks, music memorabilia, greeting cards and collectibles, Paul Garrison said…”I’m a big fan (of vinyl),” Mazur said. “It has a better atmosphere.”

New record pressing plants opened on five continents last year: It’s no secret that the vinyl resurgence has been under way for some time now. Although much of this is attributable to classic album re-issues, vinyl as a medium is as popular within the electronic music sphere as it has been since the turn of the millennium. Needless to say, the results of the major records labels cashing in on the public’s rediscovered penchant for all things vinyl has often had an adverse effect on pressing times where smaller, independent labels are concerned (we’re looking at you, MPO). However, with more plants opening up we’re hoping that such delays will now be a thing of the past.

A soundless ‘Art and Vinyl’ at Fraenkel Gallery: Art exhibitions about non-art subjects tend to fall flat. Knowing that, I approached “Art and Vinyl,” an exhibition at Fraenkel Gallery through March 3, with some skepticism…Which brings me to “Art and Vinyl.” On the one hand, there are few galleries as dependably smart about the art they present as Fraenkel, which signaled its commitment to the subject by investing in a lavish, 464-page book to go along with the show. On the other, music album covers — which make up most of the exhibition — are basically packaging. Google images of “package design” and you’ll see hundreds of examples, each more colorful and innovative than the next, of everything from acne medicine to truffle oil. Great graphic design serves a function different from art. It intrigues. Explains. Motivates. But its value is synergistic rather than intrinsic.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Hans Zimmer scored True Romance OST vinyl
in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Enjoy The Ride Records is proud to announce the release of the True Romance Original Motion Picture Score, available digitally for the first time. Celebrating the 25th anniversary, the score features the music of renowned composer and record producer Hans Zimmer.

Recorded on a budget of nine musicians (after being told the plans for a full orchestra had to be scrapped due to director Tony Scott going over budget), Hans Zimmer’s True Romance score features percussion instruments xylophones and marimbas to create innocent noise, a reflection of the lead characters – Alabama + Clarence Worley – in the violently dark comedy written by Quentin Tarantino. Featuring original art by Steven Wild, the art captures the spirit of the iconic characters the cult classic film.

German film score composer and record producer Hans Zimmer has composed over 150 film scores in his vast career, some of which include Crimson Tide, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Gladiator, The Lion King, The Pirates of the Caribbean series, and True Romance. This carefully mastered score will bring you back to the innocence and the intensity of the film, which fans had only been able to experience by watching the film in the theater or in their homes.

The score is available digitally now via all major digital platforms worldwide. Gunmetal Grey 12″ vinyl variant available in the Enjoy The Ride web store and select independent retailers.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Jackie DeShannon, Stone Cold Soul—The Complete Capitol Recordings in stores 3/2

VIA PRESS RELEASE | After spending the first full decade of her recording career at Liberty/ Imperial Records, where she immortalized such iconic anthems as “What the World Needs Now Is Love” and “Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jackie DeShannon was wooed away to Capitol Records in 1971.

Upon landing at her new label, the Kentucky-born DeShannon was dispatched to Memphis’ American Recording Studios, where, with producer Chips Moman and a crack band consisting of Bobby Emmons and Bobby Woods on keyboards, Reggie Young on electric guitar, Mike Leach on Bass, Johnny Christopher on acoustic guitar, and Gene Crisman on drums, she recorded a flavorful mix that embraced her Southern soul roots blended with country, gospel, and pop.

The wide-ranging repertoire included the DeShannon originals “West Virginia Mine” and “Now That the Desert Is Blooming” along with songs by George Harrison (“Isn’t It a Pity”), Van Morrison (“And It Stoned Me”), Carole King & Gerry Goffin (“Child of Mine”), Emitt Rhodes (“Live till You Die”), Arlo Guthrie (“Gabriel’s Mother’s Highway”), Spooner Oldham & Dan Penn (“Sweet Inspiration”), and others. But those tracks inexplicably remained in the vaults, leapfrogged by the tracks DeShannon cut at Capitol Studios upon returning to California that turned into her Songs album.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Professor Longhair,
Rock ‘n’ Roll Gumbo

Where to start when talking about the music of Professor Longhair, given name Henry Roeland Byrd? His piano makes you want to do a crazy 3 a.m. strut down Bourbon Street. And his vocals–which quaver and wander willy-nilly off pitch–make you want to smile. A voice like his is one in a million; not so hot you think, until you find yourself knee-deep in glad.

Professor Longhair created the distinctive “New Orleans sound,” which Allen Toussaint called “that mambo-rhumba boogie thing.” Dr. John, who has made hay from the good Professor’s musical innovations, said Longhair “put funk into music… Longhair’s thing had a direct bearing on a large portion of the funk music that evolved in New Orleans.” But enough with the ethnomusicology; suffice it to say that Longhair was one of America’s great originals, with a distinctive style of playing piano developed, it’s worth noting, out of necessity–he learned how to play on a piano with missing keys.

But Professor Longhair is isn’t just a piano original. His vocals–sly, insinuating, and delivered with a wink–are ingratiating, that is when he doesn’t sound flat-out demented, as he does on the great “Tipitina.” Whether meandering off pitch like a drunk staggering down Bourbon Street at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday night or coming off like a deranged Elvis Presley, Professor Longhair’s singing will keep you on the edge of your seat–he’s the most unpredictable singer this side of Black Oak Arkansas’ wild pitch throwing Jim “Dandy” Mangrum.

Everything about Professor Longhair is improbable–he got his start with a band called the Shuffling Hungarians, for Christ’s sake. The toughest part of my job was choosing which album to review: 1972’s New Orleans Piano, which compiles music recorded by Atlantic Records between 1949 and 1953, and includes the original (and definitive) “Tipitina?” 1980’s Crawfish Fiesta, which is nothing less than the good Professor’s final LP and as great a Longhair album as any? Both are indispensable, but I went with 1972’s Rock ’n’ Roll Gumbo, because it includes a whole parcel of great songs including “Tipitina,” “Junco Partner,” “Mardi Gras in New Orleans,” and “Mean Ol’ World.” To say nothing of a tasty version of “Jambalaya.” The damn LP does nothing less than swagger, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown is sitting in on guitar.

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TVD Washington, DC

Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Gladiators, Full Time and Ethiopian & His All Stars, The Return Of Jack Sparrow

The sun is shining, it’s hot enough to induce sweat just by standing up, and there’s a substance (or two) tickling the brain: this is maybe the best framework for soaking up deep reggae grooves, but it’s also true that any time can be a good time to engage with the style. Omnivore Recordings knows this, as they’ve recently reissued The Gladiators’ Full Time compilation and rescued Ethiopian & His All-Stars’ The Return of Jack Sparrow from the realms of the unreleased. Both compact discs commence a reissue program focused on the catalog of the St. Louis label Nighthawk Records, and as the goodness on display here indicates, it’s going to be quite the enjoyable ride.

I’d say The Gladiators need no introduction, but reggae is such a cavernously deep genre that even a multidecade discography including a series of LPs for a major label can manage to go unnoticed by folks receptive to Jamaican sounds. Formed in the mid-’60s by singer-songwriter-rhythm guitarist Albert Griffiths, the group cut their first single for the Wirl label in ’67 and then hooked up with producers Duke Reid, Lloyd Daley, Lee Perry, and Clement “Coxsone” Dodd for a series of hits. In the second half of the ’70s they landed on Virgin Records, as Dodd’s Studio One milked the vaults for comps.

Roots reggae entered a period of commercial decline in the early ’80s, and the Gladiators’ final record for Virgin, an eponymous Eddy Grant-produced misfire, only worsened their personal circumstances. And yet by adjusting to the smaller Nighthawk label they bounced back artistically with ’82’s Symbol of Reality, ’84’s Serious Thing, and ’86’s collaboration with the Ethiopian (real name Leonard Dillon) Dread Prophecy.

In ’92 Nighthawk issued Full Time, which gathered up two cuts from the ’82 various artists comp Calling Rastafari and the entirety of the group’s ’83 US Tour EP (enticingly pictured on clear vinyl in the CD booklet) in combination with then unreleased selections from the ’82-’86 sessions. It’s all engineered by Sylvan Morris, who’d worked with The Gladiators at Studio One starting in the early ’70s, so the quality is high throughout. This is anything but a plate of leftovers.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 1/17/18

Popular city record store Rise closes: A record shop closed for the final time yesterday after six years in Worcester city centre. The groove ended for the much-loved Rise store in the Crowngate Shopping Centre as loyal customers and vinyl addicts snapped up the remaining records. Manager Tom George was sad to be closing but was happy the store had met a natural end rather than shutting immediately overnight. “A lot of customers were sad but understanding,” he said. “It’s been a lot more positive than we thought it would be.” He singled out a Frank Turner launch party, which was attended by more than 200 people in 2015, as a memorable highlight during the life of the music store. The recent vinyl comeback mirrored a rise in sales for the store – but not enough to keep the business open, sadly.

Gallery of Sound in Hazle Twp. closes: The Gallery of Sound in Hazle Twp. closed its doors at the end of the business day Friday. Signs taped to the doors of the darkened store thanked customers for their 28 years of patronage and asked them to visit the Gallery of Sound location in Wilkes-Barre Twp. The store was part of the strip shopping center on Laurel Mall property. It sold compact discs, vinyl records, DVDs and other music-related merchandise. The departure leaves the greater Hazleton area without access to brick and mortar retailers dedicated solely to music. Gallery of Sound officials were mum on the closing late last week. “We’re not in a position to comment on that right now,” a person who answered the telephone at the Wilkes-Barre Twp. said.

Ames Man Keeps Record Players Running, Vinyl Spinning: Back before Pandora, Spotify, or YouTube Red, many people used record players to listen to music. The device was originally a phonograph and was first invented by Thomas Edison back in 1877. Later, it evolved during the 60s, 70s, and 80s before bowing out with the incoming digital CD players. For one Ames man, the record players never really went away. George Noble opened a record shop called Vintage Vinyl in the town of Jewell for about eight years to sell off remaining LPs as everyone was getting CDs. “I had a company come to me and rented a 2 x 2 space in my store to sell off records,” said Noble. “We were selling a lot of records for a while.” George moved on from records and record players for a few years while working for the post office full time. After retirement, though, his passion returned.

Trip down Musical Lane: Records store open in Hervey Bay: FTER collecting vinyl records and music memorabilia for decades, musician Ken Jarratt has moved his collection from his home to a shop. Cool Rock’n Records is now open at Queens Rd, Scarness, where feeling a sense of nostalgia is almost guaranteed when you walk in. Lining the walls are titles from the likes of ACDC, Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath, next to Disney classics on VHS and Elvis figurines on the shelves. “I used to work in a second-hand shop in the 1980s which is where a lot of the items come from,” Mr Jarratt said. “When CDs came out, vinyl records became really cheap and I bought a lot.” The majority of sale items are from last century but Mr Jarratt said kids have been browsing the store too.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: John
Hiatt’s Bring The Family and Slow Turning 30th anniversary reissues in stores 1/26

VIA PRESS RELEASEIn a stellar career that spans half a century, John Hiatt has built a massive collection of recordings that’s been an ongoing source of inspiration for fans, critics, and other artists. Hiatt’s catalog encompasses more than 22 studio albums, including several acknowledged classics. But the veteran singer-songwriter’s 1987 album Bring the Family and its 1988 follow-up Slow Turning have earned special status, and remain beloved cornerstones of the veteran artist’s prestigious body of work.

On January 26, A&M Records/UMe will celebrate these high-water marks of Hiatt’s and their 30th anniversaries with newly remastered vinyl editions, making them available on vinyl for the first time since their original release. The long out-of-print records will be pressed on high-quality 180-gram black vinyl, along with a special limited-edition colored vinyl variant of each. Bring the Family will be released on clear with grey smoke 180-gram vinyl, while Slow Turning will be on translucent red 180-gram vinyl. The colored vinyl editions, limited to 500 each, will be available exclusively at Sound of Vinyl and on Hiatt’s upcoming tour.

Bring the Family, Hiatt’s eighth album of original songs, marked a mainstream breakthrough for the artist after years as a critical and cult favorite, becoming his first release to appear on the Billboard album chart. Recorded on a shoestring budget at a time when Hiatt didn’t have a record deal, in a hastily-arranged four-day session with the all-star studio combo of Ry Cooder on guitar, Nick Lowe on bass, and session veteran Jim Keltner on drums, the album quickly won attention for its rootsy, melodically infectious songcraft and its resonant lyrical insights on love, parenthood, and family life.

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UK Artist of the Week: Bad Mannequins

Channelling the late ‘70s CBGB’s era of New York City’s punk rock scene, Glaswegian duo Bad Mannequins continue to win the hearts (and ears) of a new generation through the release of their single “Double Denim,” and we are delighted to name them this week’s UK Artist of The Week.

Having released their debut EP, and first of a three-part trilogy “Deny ’Til U Die Part 1” in the summer of 2017, Bad Mannequins have continued to impress listeners with their high-octane brand of garage rock. Despite the simplicity and raw energy of the drum/guitar set-up, Bad Mannequins have managed to create a sound that packs a punch for just over three blistering minutes.

With tongue in cheek, lyrics such as “You wouldn’t even be here if your momma didn’t rock that double denim!” combined with hook-laden, fuzz-filled riffs, Bad Mannequins’ sound is uniquely infectious. Garnering support from the likes of BBC Radio, as well as being featured on hit US TV show Limitless, Bad Mannequins appear to be gearing up for huge year.

“Double Denim” is in stores now via Triple Denim.

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