A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/27/15

Virginia pressing plant to open after discovering vinyl press “motherload”: “Virginia-based Furnace Manufacturing have been packaging records for nearly 20 years, but now they are ready to expand to pressing vinyl after acquiring 10 pressing machines. It will surely be a great boost to the already stretched vinyl industry and the story of how the company tracked them down is surprising.”

New record store will always be a home to Teds, mods, punks, and rockers: “A record store, which will celebrate its grand opening this weekend, aims to create a fashion archive which will date back to the start of the Second World War. Modus, in Belper, stocks books, vinyl and posters specialising in soul, R’n’b, reggae and more.”

Vinyl Vortex! Record Swap At Volcom HQ Recap: “Sunday August 23rd Volcom Entertainment held the “Vinyl Vortex” in our very own Volcom HQ skatepark! Many vendors showed up with tons of vinyl to sell and trade.”

Record store increases security in wake of thefts: “A Providence record store is making some changes after thieves made off with more than $1,000 worth of merchandise. The owners of What Cheer? say their entire collections of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin vinyl albums were taken on two separate occasions.”

Classical Music: Princeton Record Exchange still thriving after 35 years, “For 35 years, Princeton Record Exchange has been a lodestone for music lovers. Its business model of buying lots and selling low has made for a rapid turnover of inventory and a pulse-quickening sense of adventure for treasure hunters of all stripes.”

Pittsburgh record store owner charged in running criminal enterprise that stole $2M from local retailers: “Investigators also executed a search warrant at Slipped Disc, the Pittsburgh used record store that Cicero owns. There they found approximately 1,500 suspected stolen items with a retail value of more than $44,000.”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Premiere: Oh, Be Clever, “River”

Oh, Be Clever’s latest electro epic is a majestic song about overcoming (sometimes potentially self-made) adversity—and we’re pleased to debut it today along with its free download.

“This song is about seeking validation in all the wrong places,” said Brittney Shields, the band’s singer and lyricist. She expounds on this theme over a booming production orchestrated in tandem with the duo’s other member, Cory Scott Layton. A long outspoken advocate for mental health awareness, Shields is refreshingly open and honest about feelings of depression and anxiety. “When we wrote this I was very insecure. I’d do almost anything to get someone to like me. It’s about the feeling you get when you come to terms your flaws and let go of the baggage holding you back.”

While it was from this place that Shields began composing the words of “River,” she did not want to limit its import with a narrative arc, or worse, with an explicit declaration of meaning. She noted that the song starts from a premise, “River is about accepting your flaws and living happily with them.” The band, however, invites the listener to exercise her own interpretive prerogative. “There are a million different ways a person could interpret this song, and that’s kind of the way we want to keep it. Leave it up to your own life experience and the way you relate to it.”

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
David Bowie,
Diamond Dogs

So I was walking down the street in London one time and who do I run into but David Bowie. Give the man his privacy, I think, but in the end I can’t resist saying, “Mr. Bowie, I just want to tell you I’m a huge fan.” To which he replies, “I am a God. You are a repugnant toad and smell funny.” Then waving his hands about in the air for me to disappear, he says, “Shoo, shoo.”

Okay, so that never happened. But if it had happened I’d still be one of the biggest Bowie fans in the world. I rate him the greatest artist of the seventies, during which he didn’t put out a single less-than-great LP except 1974’s David Live. Name me another great musician about whom that can be said. Dylan? Don’t make me laugh. Lou Reed? Hardy har-har. The only band that even comes close is Steely Dan, and they’re not really in the same league and besides, they blew it in my opinion with 1977’s Aja, which they produced to death. Sure, critics had their doubts about 1979’s Lodger, the last of Bowie’s Berlin trio with Brian Eno, but over the years the album has been given a second look and deemed underrated.

Another album that was seriously underrated upon its release was 1974’s Diamond Dogs. Conceived initially as a theatrical production about George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Bowie’s ambitions foundered when the author’s estate said no way, Jose. The concept album that evolved out of that idea is as sketchy as most concept albums, and you need know nothing about Bowie’s ideas about a future dystopia to enjoy the hell out of “Rebel Rebel” or “Rock ‘n’ Roll with Me.”

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TVD Chicago

Moon Taxi,
The TVD Interview

Progressive indie jam rockers Moon Taxi are picking up steam in a variety of scenes and their relentless touring and energetic live performances have made them a fan favorite. Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, the 5-piece creates a blended upbeat sound and wih a new album coming out in the fall, they are constantly pushing the envelope with their memorable vocal melodies and powerful instrumentation.

On their current summer tour which has stopped at most major music festivals, they swung through Chicago for Lollapalooza. We spent time with guitarist Spencer Thomson and keyboardist Wes Bailey to discuss life on the festival circuit, how the venue and vibe might change their set, and their methodical process to recording for a vinyl record.

Welcome, great to have you guys. How’s your Summer been going thus far?

Spencer Thomson: Wonderful. We’ve been playing a lot of festivals, getting around playing new songs off our upcoming album. Having a good time.

You guys have any favorite shows so far?

ST: We just played British Columbia for the first time for a festival called Pemberton.

Beautiful venue…

ST: Yeah wonderful. Our first time up there, that was a real standout for sure.

So, how would you say the space you’re playing might affect the way you perform? You guys play a lot of these huge, open festivals in front of enormous groups of people—how does that compare to playing a small, intimate indoor venue?

ST: Sheer volume. You know, we try to make things as loud as possible. The song selection might be a little different, you know? Especially whether it’s day or night, it might be a bit of a different set. It’s something that we like to do, consider all those things and be able to kinda modify ourselves and the set to fit the environment.

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Shell Zenner Presents

Greater Manchester’s most in the know radio host Shell Zenner broadcasts the best new music every week on the UK’s Amazing Radio. You can also catch Shell’s broadcast here Wednesdays at TVD.

“This week’s show kicks off with a veritable feast of fuzz and guitar mayhem—SO SO HYPED.

Gonna spin Rope Store, Venice Trip, Vendettas, Hidden Charms, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Heaters, Fidlar, Hinds, The Black Tambourines, JUNK, Wolf Alice, Hooton Tennis Club, AFFAIRS, Dave McCabe, Passport To Stockholm, Zibra, Oslo Parks, Kyko, Dios Mio, Avec Sans, Maribou State, Present Paradox, Deadbear, Night Games, Frett, Lost Dawn, and more!

Oh, and on this week’s show I’ll be catching up with Halifax youngsters The Orielles. Their new tracks are sounding mighty fine and they chat to me about how they got together, the first song they ever played as a band, working with Jez Kerr from A Certain Ratio, and about their Festival No 6 Plans

Total Babes are on the bandstand this week too and Elena Katrina from Popped Music tips for us too!” —SZ

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Sarah McQuaid,
Walking into White

Born in Madrid, the multifaceted folk musician Sarah McQuaid was brought up in Chicago, studied in France, and after a lengthy stay in Ireland currently lives in Cornwall, England. Early in 2014 she traveled to Cornwall, New York to record a follow-up to 2012’s The Plum Tree and the Rose; the result is the trimmest release of her career as McQuaid continues to push the boundaries of an engaging and increasingly personal sound. Issued in the UK/Europe this past February, Walking into White is out now on CD in North America through Waterbug Records to coincide with a September-October US tour.

Borrowing a term from the realm of organized sports, or for those who simply can’t abide the playing of games, the performing arts, Sarah McQuaid is what’s known as a triple-threat; that is, she does three things extremely well, specifically sing, play guitar, and write songs, though she initially excelled more at the interpretation of traditional and even centuries old material.

To elaborate, 1997’s debut When Two Lovers Meet examined trad Irish sources and offered a fine balance of focus between the strength of McQuaid’s playing and the power of her voice, hitting peaks in the unaccompanied six-minute “Táim Cortha Ó Bheith Im’ Aonar Im’ Luí” and “The Parting Glass,” a closing duet with the esteemed Irish vocalist Niamh Parsons.

Backed by additional guitar and ukulele, cello and fiddle, keyboard and double bass, and those Irish standbys whistle and pipes, the sound is far from monochromatic, a circumstance abetted by the sole original composition. “Charlie’s Gone Home” is a decidedly more contempo folk proposition reminiscent of a ditty heard on the countertop radio while visiting the apartment of one’s favorite fifty-something hippie librarian aunt for Sunday brunch.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/26/15

Sweet Melissa Records on the Square fueling the resurgence of vinyl records: “A fuller and warmer sound. Something to physically interact with. The ease of discovering something new. These are the reasons why the owners of Antiques on the Square say the resurgence of interest in vinyl records is more than just a passing fad.”

Your vinyl record collection deserves organization: “Have a burgeoning vinyl record collection? It’s time to get serious about organizing. Sure, you could go to Office Max and buy some cheap plastic bin. I think we both know if you’re spending the time to collect, you should make it presentable. Luckily, Jonathan Dorthe feels the same way. He has handcrafted record separators to give all that vinyl a stylish home.”

Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown Soundtrack Set for Vinyl Reissue: “Starring Pam Grier as Jackie Brown, who goes down in our book as one of the most engaging and compelling record collectors on film, the film’s iconic soundtrack will come back to vinyl this autumn courtesy of Rhino. Pressed to heavyweight 180gram vinyl, it’s packed with ’70s RnB, including cuts from Bobby Womack, Bill Withers, Pam Grier, The Delfonics, Minnie Riperton and more, interspersed with moments of dialogue from the film.”

The Godfather Part II score set for reissue on blood red vinyl: “The reissue has been pressed to heavyweight 180g vinyl and comes packaged in a gatefold sleeve. The first 1000 copies of the new run are available on suitably blood red wax. The Godfather Part II reissue will be available on September 21.”

Rare Muse Vinyl LPs now reissued for 2015: Back in stock are these reissued Muse Vinyl LPs. Original limited run copies are now selling for a premium but you can get your hands on these more sensibly or affordably priced reissues, still destined to become emminently collectable in future if retained in a mint condition.

WSIU Seeks Donations for Classic Vinyl & Media Sale: “Carbondale, Ill.: “Wanted! Your gently used stereo equipment, record albums, CDs, DVDs, cassettes, electronic games, and audio books for WSIU Public Radio’s 8th Annual SIRIS Classic Vinyl & Media Sale, coming to the University Mall in Carbondale, next to Kirlin’s Hallmark, on Saturday, September 12 from 10am-9pm and Sunday, September 13 from noon-5:30pm.”

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TVD New Orleans

The Batture Boys offer free download to commemorate Katrina

Tommy Malone of the subdudes and Ray Ganucheau of the Continental Drifters have a brand new musical collaboration called the Batture Boys. They have quietly been recording a new album produced by Grammy award winner Jim Scott and are offering a free download of the first single, “The Mighty Flood.”

The two musicians have been working together for over twenty years beginning with the subdudes’ 1996 release, Primitive Streak. Ganucheau also recorded and toured with Malone for his two solo releases, 2001’s Soul Heavy and last year’s critically acclaimed Poor Boy.

Over the past month, the two musicians have joined drummer Johnny Vidacovich for two of his trio nights at the Maple Leaf Bar. I was in attendance both nights and marveled at the near-telepathic ability of the three to musically communicate.

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The TVD First Date

“I don’t think I realised exactly what vinyl would mean to people when I was growing up.”

“My parents and older brother both had large collections and I would play about with them like they were toys. Inevitably at some point I would experience the wrath of my Dad or brother when they came home to find their vinyl collections scattered around. “Pfft, they’re only records,” would be my stock answer, which is a bit hypocritical considering I would now spill blood if anyone ruined my music collection.

I spent a lot of time raking through record drawers and cases picking out albums I hadn’t listened to, and I always remember the feeling of finding something new and wanting to repeat it over and over; a habit which I still have to this day. I can get quite obsessive when I hear an album I like for the first time and will play it to death for weeks without listening to anything else. Radiohead’s OK Computer, Jeff Buckley’s Grace, Takk by Sigur Ros and The National’s High Violet have all got this treatment over the years.

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TVD Nashville

Chris Stapleton:
The TVD Interview

East Kentucky native Chris Stapleton is an anomaly in today’s commercial country milieu. While his songs have been recorded by some of the genre’s biggest stars—Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Josh Turner, Darius Rucker—his own music is anything but mainstream. Absorbing the best of country’s past, his powerful voice reveals a prominent soul influence.

If Otis Redding had made a country album, it might have sounded a lot like Traveller, Stapleton’s solo debut. Garnering nearly universal acclaim, it is one of the best major label male country releases in recent memory.

He’s also becoming a regular on the talk show circuit, with appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, The View and Late Night With Seth Meyers. TVD sat down with Stapleton before his appearance at Louisville’s Forecastle Festival to talk about recording the album, vinyl, and Tennessee whiskey.

The sound and writing on your album really stands out against most of the current country field. Was this your intention?

I was just trying to make the best record I could make. I had a single that died in October 2013 and then my dad passed away the same month. It’s part of life but it’s a rough thing and it flipped a switch in me. It helped me focus on what I was doing and what kind of music I wanted to make. It also made me think of the music I grew up on.

Then I heard Sturgill (Simpson)’s last record and I really liked the sound of it. That made me seek out (producer) Dave Cobb. I thought, “Here’s a guy who makes records the way I like them to sound.” It sounds like things I grew up on and I didn’t know that (type of production) still existed. It’s something that, sonically, I chased down unsuccessfully for fourteen years. I met with Dave and we liked each other tremendously so we started to make the record.

Again, I am struck by how different the album sounds than what commercial country radio is playing, but yet you’re having success…

Actually, the single we had on the radio didn’t work but, yeah, people like the record. I don’t know how to quantify that into what’s making the album work.

You’ve had several songs covered by artists who do get a substantial amount of airplay on country radio. What do you think it is in your songwriting that appeals to them? Have you asked them?

No, I’ve never asked that question, “Why do you like this?” (laughs), but I’m thankful that they do. The vast majority of my income over the last fourteen, fifteen years has come from being a songwriter. That’s allowed me to do other things creatively, like being in bands and make records a little outside of what (the mainstream) is. I’ve always walked in doors that were open and if someone wants to record one of my songs, I’m certainly thankful for it.

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