The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 19: Sam Phillips

Yes, Sam Phillips, right? The independent recording mogul responsible for Elvis Presley and the explosion of rock and roll? No, no, no this is the other Sam Phillips. The Sam Phillips who was once known as Christian Contemporary music star Leslie Phillips who turned her back on the Christian corporate music machine in favor of a new identity: that of a beautifully clever and eclectically creative singer-songwriter, Sam Phillips.

After a Grammy nom for 1994’s Martinis and Bikinis album—and a high-profile acting gig portraying the evil villainess Katya in Die Hard 3 (1995)—Phillips decided it was time to strip the production and arrangements down to basics and record Fan Dance in 2001. In doing so, she ended up creating an early 21st century pièce de résistance.

Phillips joins me this week to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Fan Dance and to discuss the album’s first vinyl release which came out last year on Run Out Groove Records. We talk about the genesis of the album’s reissue, her life during the fabled recording process, the top-notch musicians who worked on the project (T Bone Burnett, Marc Ribot, Jim Keltner, Van Dyke Parks, and Gillian Welch), and we get into the filmic quality of her lyrics and their creation.

I do a little gushing, of course, as she certainly is one of the most creative and unique songwriters of my generation. So, please join me in welcoming Ms. Phillips to Radar as she grants us the pleasure of discussing one of her many artistic highlights.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Focus,
Moving Waves

In a 2017 poll, Focus’ 1971 “Hocus Pocus” was voted the best song of all time. By exactly three people. Two are natives of Liechtenstein and probably fibbing, seeing as how they hail from a country whose very name begins with a lie. The third is an ardent alpine yodeler, who followed Focus everywhere until the Dutch progressive band filed a restraining order. This did not stop the ledenhoser from yodeling at them from a great distance.

But if “Hocus Pocus” isn’t the greatest song ever, I never hear it without an admixture of mirth, awe and admiration. Within the framework of a kick-ass rock song you’ll find a killer hook, a pair of whizz-bang guitars solos, “yodeling gnomes” (thanks for the phraseology go out to my Dutch pal, Martijn de Vries), non-lexicable vocals, whistling, tasty jazz flute, and to quote Martijn again, “a drummer who makes me want to head butt the Eiffel Tower.” No one in English and America, and I’m including Frank Zappa, could have created a song so utterly off the wall. From my description you may get the impression that the song is all over the place. In reality it’s as tightly wound as a Swiss clock, and far more cuckoo.

Unfortunately, the remaining four remaining songs on side one are letdowns. The too winsome by far instrumental “Le Clochard (Bread)” is moldy guitar strum; on follow-up instrumental “Janis” the flute does the heavy lifting. “Moving Waves” is a Keith Emerson doppelganger right down to its pseudo-classical piano and portentous vocals by resident genius Thijs van Leer. The side’s closing track is “Focus II,” an exact replica in miniature of “Hocus Pocus,” Focus’ theory being (I can only assume) that there’s no sin in flogging a dead horse so long as the horse in question won the Kentucky Derby while alive. That or “Focus II” is a radio edit and no one got around to telling me.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 1/15/21

Harry Styles’ ‘Fine Line’ Leads 2020’s Record-Breaking Year for Vinyl Album Sales in U.S. Harry Styles’ Fine Line helped U.S. vinyl album sales achieve yet another banner year — their highest total in 30 years of tracking — as the set closed 2020 as the top-selling vinyl album, according to MRC Data. The set sold 232,000 copies on vinyl during the tracking year (Jan. 3 through Dec. 31, 2020). …Vinyl album sales totaled 27.54 million in 2020, up 46.2% compared to 2019. 2020 marked the 15th consecutive year vinyl album sales grew, and the largest year for vinyl album sales since MRC Data began tracking sales in 1991. Vinyl LP sales also saw their best sales week ever in the MRC Data era, when 1.84 million vinyl albums were sold in the week ending Dec. 24, 2020. Vinyl LP sales were the third-biggest-selling album format in 2020, trailing two formats that both declined: CDs (40.12 million; down 26%) and digital albums (34.39 million; down 12.5%).

Rare David Bowie vinyl demo featuring the track Run Piper Run heads to auction: The previously unreleased demo which is backed by Ace Kefford’s Lay Your Head Upon My Shoulder will go under the hammer later this week. A rare slice of David Bowie memorabilia will go under the hammer later this week in the shape of a 7-inch vinyl demo of the previously unreleased track Run Piper Run. The song was recorded in 1967 and is backed by Lay Your Head Upon My Shoulder by The Move co-founder Ace Kefford – a track that would resurface on the 2003 album Ace (The Lost 1968 Tapes). The disc will head to auction on Friday (January 15) at the Wessex Auction Rooms in Chippenham, England, with the online bidding set to get under way at 10.30am BST. The disc is estimated to fetch between £6000 and £8000 and a snippet of Run Piper Run can be listened to below. In July 2020, an unreleased Bowie demo of I Do Believe I Love You sold at the Wessex Auction Rooms for £18,000. The Bowie/Kefford disc will be just one of the vinyl offerings on the day, with a focus particularly on punk rarities and demos.

Black Sabbath announce reissues of classic Dio-fronted albums: Black Sabbath have announced the reissue of their first two albums to feature Ronnie James Dio as frontman, 1980’s Heaven and Hell and 1981’s Mob Rules. Dio officially joined the group in 1979, replacing then-ousted singer Ozzy Osbourne. Teaming with guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward, Dio added a new dynamic layer to the band’s classic sound, resulting in some of the strongest material in the Sabbath catalog. Heaven and Hell marked his triumphant debut with the group, delivering such classic tunes as “Neon Knights,” “Die Young” and the title track. Positive reviews and strong sales welcomed the album, and Sabbath soon returned to the studio with Dio to record a follow-up, Mob Rules. The 1981 LP – which also featured the arrival of drummer Vinnie Appice – boasted further classics, including “The Sign of the Southern Cross” and “Turn Up the Night.” In addition to offering both original albums in remastered form, the new editions of Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules feature extensive bonus material.

Saana vinyl record cabinet by Tenho Design: Scandinavian brand Tenho Design has developed its Saana storage unit specifically to house vinyl collections, with doors that allow users to exhibit their favourite record sleeves. Clear displays are integrated into Saana’s wooden frame and can be regularly updated to allow users to showcase their best-loved records and personalise their space. In this way, the design hopes to celebrate the “mind-blowing cover art of vinyl records” that is normally hidden in storage. “Vinyl records have certainly made a comeback. But where to store these precious black things? That was the question that needed a reasonable answer,” explained Tenho Design. “We want to emphasize the often mind-blowing cover art of vinyl records. Having a look at the sleeves and covers is a big part of the vinyl hobby,” the brand continued. “By changing sleeves in our cabinet every now and then, you can put on a pop art exhibition of your own.”

Posted in A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: John Coltrane, Lush Life ‘Small Batch’ limited edition reissue in stores 2/19

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Craft Recordings is thrilled to announce their Small Batch series—a carefully curated audiophile collection devoted to creating the highest quality vinyl reissues of legendary recordings from their vast catalog.

Each album selected for the series will undergo all-analog mastering, and then be pressed on 180-gram vinyl in a one-step lacquer process—as opposed to the standard three-step process—allowing for the highest level of musical detail, clarity, and dynamics while reducing the amount of surface noise on the record. The limited nature of these pressings guarantees that each record is a true representation of the original lacquer and is as close as the listener can get to the original recording. Authentic sound, distilled to its purest form.

Each pressing, available exclusively on CraftRecordings.com, will be individually numbered and housed in a foil-stamped, linen-wrapped slipcase featuring an acrylic inset of the original artwork. The vinyl disc—extractable through a unique frictionless ribbon pull tab—will be housed in a reproduction of the original album jacket, complete with tip-on jacket, and protected by an archival-quality, anti-static, non-scratching inner sleeve. New liner notes from some of music’s best educators, historians, and journalists will accompany each title.

Launching the Small Batch series will be John Coltrane’s iconic 1961 album, Lush Life—celebrating its 60th anniversary this year—available on February 19th and limited to 1,000 copies worldwide. For this reissue, the original analog tapes—recorded at Rudy Van Gelder’s Hackensack, NJ studios—were sent to GRAMMY®-Award winning mastering engineer Bernie Grundman, who utilized a custom tube pre-amp and analog mixing console with discrete electronics—both made in-house—as well as a Scully solid-state lathe with custom electronics.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: 34th Annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert streaming 2/17

VIA PRESS RELEASE | One of the longest-running and most renowned live cultural events in New York City, The 34th Annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert will return this year for a special virtual edition combining live and pre-recorded segments streaming via Mandolin, the premiere concert livestream platform for artists, venues, and fans.

For the first time ever, this year’s concert offers viewers around the world the unique opportunity to experience the warmth, sense of community and amazing music the evening has provided for so many years at Carnegie Hall. Joining esteemed composer and artistic director Philip Glass, who once again curated this year’s line-up, will be Eddie Vedder, Phoebe Bridgers, Brittany Howard, Valerie June, Angélique Kidjo, Laurie Anderson, Tenzin Choegyal, Rubin Kodheli and many, many more to be announced soon. We are also deeply honored to announce that the concert will begin with a personal video message from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

There are few events that stand the test of time, and for more than three decades this annual event has been a standout. For over 33 years, this consistently sold-out concert has assembled some of the most legendary and exciting names in music and art, dazzling concertgoers with its unique mix of surprises and mesmerizing performances. Tickets for this year’s special virtual concert are on sale now ($25-$250). Also available now are unique sponsor level cyber-tables starting at $5,000. To purchase and for more information on packages, please PRESS HERE.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Vanilla Fudge,
Near the Beginning

Remembering Vanilla Fudge bassist Tim Bogert.Ed.

To soak up Vanilla Fudge’s talent as song-interpreters the best route is their eponymous ’67 debut. A further understanding of them as a singles act is most appropriately gleaned through the Rhino compilation Psychedelic Sundae. If an immersion into the multifaceted positives and negatives of these trailblazing late-‘60s hard rockers’ everyday reality is what one wants however, then one should look into the contents of Near the Beginning.

There’s no question Vanilla Fudge are an important band. “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” the group’s reading of a Holland-Dozier-Holland tune originally by The Supremes, is a vital evolutionary brick in the hard rock megastructure, and it stands as a one-song distillation of nearly everything that was good and potentially less than stellar about this hard-touring New York quartet. There are two versions of the Fudge’s recording, a just shy of three-minute single edit and the take found on their debut; that one’s over twice as long, and this duality is to an extent indicative of the group’s creative problems. It’s far from that simple though, and their somewhat brief and highly eventful initial existence provides a consistently interesting story, if one that’s only sporadically fruitful in musical terms.

Vanilla Fudge’s beginnings are in The Electric Pigeons, the soul cover unit featuring organist/lead vocalist Mark Stein and bassist Tim Bogert. They soon acquired guitarist Vince Martell and drummer Carmine Appice, and after hooking up with Shangri La’s producer Shadow Morton, they changed names and focused attentions on the studio.

The first effort turned out to be the best, but it was also a problematic record. Those soul roots were still showing; in fact, they never went away, flaring up rather flagrantly later in their tenure, but on Vanilla Fudge, it’s not a decisive detraction. It’s true that “People Get Ready” (and the first album is composed entirely of covers) is no great shakes, but “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” is one of the better R&B lifts in ‘60s rock precisely because it displays a disinterest in mimicry (a real issue with NYC bands of the era) to instead hone a variation on a then new sound.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | 1 Comment

The TVD Storefront

Glenn Morrow’s
Cry For Help,
The TVD First Date

“I’m thinking it was the fall of 1968 that the high school cafeteria in my hometown hosted a record sale. It was all new records that I now realize were some kind of remainders, albums by groups that hadn’t fired up the charts that had been pressed up with a little too much enthusiasm. I think they were selling for a dollar or two.”

“There were a lot of albums by groups I didn’t know. Ultimate Spinach and the Peanut Butter Conspiracy, the Beacon Street Union album The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens. The one group I knew was the Lovin’ Spoonful. But it was an album I hadn’t seen before.

Everything Playing had a crude cartoon drawing on the cover done by leader John Sebastian of the band playing instruments along with some cartoon monsters . It looked like it had been done with crayons like a naive DIY attempt at the Sgt. Pepper cover. The music feels like it was their attempt to create some serious pop art. I would play that album to death.

There were majestic pop songs like “She’s Still A Mystery” and the proto-hippie folk tune “Younger Generation” that I remember thinking “wow, what will those kids be like the when they grow up with parents like John Sebastian?” It all seemed like a long way off with the girl who “got her own videophone.” Everything Playing was released in December of 1967 and made it to #118 on Billboard despite having three charting singles.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve: New in Stores for January 2021, Part Two

Part two of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases presently in stores for January 2021. Part one is here.

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Matthew Sweet, Catspaw (Omnivore) Sweet’s big splash was the 1991 LP Girlfriend, though he’d been active for a good while prior, emerging from the Athens, GA scene with a sound that stood a bit apart from post-Byrdsian collegiate jangle. Instead, he’s generally categorized as a power-popper, but as the release of his 15th album Catspaw makes clear, with multidecade longevity that’s somewhat unusual for the genre, partly as he’s occasionally branched out a bit, but more because his range of influence is wide and therefore fertile. These dozen tunes are noted as the first time Sweet had played everything on a record except drums- that’d be guitar, bass and vocals, lead and background, plus recording and mixing the set. The drums ae handled by frequent collaborator Ric Menck, he an Alternative-era power pop coconspirator most notably from the band Velvet Crush, but this album is very much a showcase for Sweet as instrumentalist, particularly as lead guitarist, with his plying taking on Crazy Horse-like rough edges edge that contrast well with the vocal harmonies throughout. A-

Wolf Eyes / Blank Hellscape, “Winter Sunday” b/w “Concrete Walls” (12XU) Detroit’s Wolf Eyes are the underground noise vets as Austin’s Blank Hellscape occupy the young upstart position. I say u-ground, but it’s worth mentioning that in the mid ’00s Wolf Eyes released a few records on Sub Pop, a productive relationship placing them up there with Lightning Bolt amongst high-profile purveyors of sonic brutality and mayhem. A lot has transpired since. Fuck, a lot has went down in the last week, but something that hasn’t changed is the high quality of Wolf Eyes’ abstract ruckus. One change is that John Olson and Nate Young (Aaron Dilloway departed a while back) aren’t as aurally assaultive as they were circa Burned Mind, or on their 2,000 or so micro releases, for that matter. But their 18-plus minute side here (for this as a 12-inch single) will still give non-noiseniks the fidgets. Those looking for an ear canal scalding will be satisfied with the nearly 20 minutes of Death Industrial unleashed by Blank Hellscape (Andrew Nogay, Ethan Billips, and Max Deems). In summation, these pieces, recorded separately in (I assume) their home states, offer damaged vibes for damaged times. A-/ A-

Corey Ledet Zydeco, S/T (Nouveau Electric) If you’ve any doubts over the general health of zydeco in the 21st century, this CD, the 14th full-length release by singer, accordionist and bandleader Corey Ledet should dispel them. His band for this Mark Bingham-recorded ten-song set is Cecil Green on Hammond B3, Lee Allen Zeno on bass, Grant Dermody on harmonica, Julian Primeaux on guitar and backing vocals, and Gerard Delafose on drums and washboard, the band digging into the rich, tradition-rich soil of the style and, like the best zydeco bands, harnessing a sound that’s lively and fresh. As anybody who’s ever heard it likely knows, zydeco is a party music, with Ledet’s latest hitting the proper level of potency without a hitch, a far from easy task when it comes to recreating sounds best experienced live in the studio. Part of Ledet’s success might derive from the album’s intention as homage, both to his family (specifically his grandfather Buchanan, who is credited as zydeco’s first drummer) and to his musical heritage, though there are also sweet covers ranging from Big Joe Turner to Bob Marley. Fun, dig? A-

Dale Crover, Rat-A-Tat-Tat! (Joyful Noise) Crover remains best known, and appropriately so, for his role in the Melvins, playing drums and bass in that pioneering sludge-punk outfit for 36 years. But we’ll expand on those achievements further when Ipecac reissues two of their albums in March (alongside a new record). He’s also contributed to a slew of musical situations over the years, like drumming in pre-stardom Nirvana and more recently serving in the same capacity in Redd Kross, though as busy as he’s been, this set is only his second full-length solo effort, following The Fickle Finger of Fate from 2017, also on Joyful Noise. He also issued solo EPs in 1992 and ’96, plus “Piso Mojado,” a five-sided lathe-cut record with four spindle holes last May in an edition of 127 copies. It’s five solo drum tracks are reprised here, which is cool, as they deliver the beautifully fucked aura of a solo record by a heavy rock disruptor. And that’s exactly what this is. The twistedness also contrasts nicely with the more melodious, less mauling passages (e.g. “Shark Like Overbite”), moments which underscore that he’s been hanging around those McDonald brothers. Not as sharp as his best work, but still worthwhile. B+

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Record Store Club | Leave a comment

A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 1/14/21

Toronto, CA | Toronto’s Shortstack Records held a record sale in a Walmart parking lot: With most local businesses locked down, they pointedly went where the customers are: a big-box store. Shortstack Records can’t have people come to them, so it went to where there are customers: Walmart. This past Sunday morning (January 10), Toronto record store Shortstack set up outside of the Walmart at Dufferin Mall for a one-hour guerrilla pop-up record sale. They just parked a hatchback filled with record crates in the parking lot and opened it up for people to flip through. As Ontario’s lockdown has dragged on with COVID cases still rising, many local businesses have spoken up about who’s allowed to open and who’s not. While businesses that don’t sell “essential” items like groceries are relegated to curbside and delivery service, big box stores like Walmart have been allowed to stay open. Even with the new restrictions announced today (January 12), big-box stores are held to different rules (though they will apparently face stricter regulation enforcement). “Why Walmart?” Shortstack owner Cal MacLean wrote in the store’s newsletter announcing the pop-up the day before the event.

Vancouver, CA | Vancouver’s oldest independent record store marks 40 years of selling more than top 40: Neptoon Records opened on the city’s east side in 1981. Rob Frith had never before worked in retail when B.C.’s construction industry took a nosedive in the early ’80s and he decided to take a chance selling vinyl to Vancouverites — a bold move considering cassette tapes were all the rage and CDs were on the precipice of popularity. Fast-forward to 2021, and the founder of Neptoon Records is celebrating the 40th spin around the sun of what has become a beloved father-son business well-frequented by locals and tourists alike. The shop, located at 3561 Main St. on the city’s east side, is Vancouver’s oldest independent record store and is run now by Rob and his son Ben Frith. Turns out Rob Frith, who had only hawked albums at swap meets before opening Neptoon’s original location on Fraser Street in Jan. 1981, was pretty good at the retail thing. “I really needed a job,” he told CBC’s The Early Edition host Stephen Quinn with a chuckle.

Denver, CO | Color Red Goes Global and Opens a Vinyl Cafe in Denver: Although guitarist Eddie Roberts wasn’t able to tour last year with his group the New Mastersounds because of the pandemic, he’s been busy expanding Color Red, the Denver-based label he founded in 2018. Over the past year, Color Red has launched branches in Japan and France, released music from acts around the world, started the Roberts-curated vinyl club Rare Sounds, and also has a hand in the Larimer Records Cafe, set to open in Larimer Square on January 20. Since most members of Color Red’s team are musicians, who weren’t gigging because of COVID-19, they were able to ramp up things at the label. Over the first years of Color Red, part of the vision of the imprint was to release a digital single, Roberts says, but at times in 2020, Color Red released five singles a week. “Luckily, we recorded so much music before the lockdown for bands touring through that we still had plenty of content and plenty of stuff that needed mixing and getting out to the world,” he notes.

Hollywood, CA | Capitol Studios Shutters Its Mastering Division: The most visible face of Capitol Studios, 30-year veteran Paula Salvatore, a VP, is also described as taking on on a different, as-yet unrevealed role. The mastering department at the famed Capitol Studios in Hollywood has been shut down, with several employees laid off, Universal Music Group confirmed Tuesday night after word of the closure began to circulate on social media. The recording studios themselves, a tourist site as well as magnet for top recording artists since opening in 1956, will remain open. But Capitol Studios’ mastering rooms, which were nearly as venerated by engineers and producers, will not, as those spaces will be converted into recording studios — presumably much smaller ones than Studio A, where Frank Sinatra used to record with a full orchestra. Said a Universal Music Group spokesperson: “At Capitol Studios, while demand for recording studios remains high, there has been an overall decline in requests for mastering services — to the point where we have decided to close Capitol’s mastering facility and focus on other areas of the recording process that are in higher demand by artists, including using the space to build additional recording suites.”

Read More »

Posted in A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Bernard Purdie, Soul is … Pretty Purdie reissue in stores 4/16

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Bernard “Pretty” Purdie is an American drummer who needs little introduction. At an early age he began hitting cans with sticks and learned the elements of drumming techniques from overhearing lessons being given. Considered an influential and innovative soul-jazz-funk musician, he is known for his precise musical time keeping and his signature/unique drumming techniques—considered one of the greatest drummers of his generation, in 2013 he was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame.​

In 1961 he moved from his hometown to New York City where he was contracted to play session work for James Brown (Purdie can be heard on the albums ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World’, ‘Cold Sweat’, ‘Say It Loud-I’m Black and I’m Proud’ and ‘Get on the Good Foot’). These JB sessions display some of the most sophisticated and driving shuffles ever recorded for Brown’s catalogue. Purdie then started working with Aretha Franklin as her musical director in 1970 and held that position for five years as well as drumming for Franklin’s opening act, King Curtis.

Bernie Purdie was credited on countless albums (spanning several decades) by legendary artists like Nina Simone, Herbie Hancock, Isaac Hayes, Quincy Jones, Miles Davis, John Lee Hooker, Steely Dan, Cat Stevens, B.B. King, The Rolling Stones and Gil Scott-Heron.​

Purdie recorded his first solo album Soul Drums as early as 1968 and other milestone solo albums include Purdie Good (1971), Soul Is … Pretty Purdie (1972) and the soundtrack for the blaxploitation film Lialeh (1973). With such an extensive body of work (Purdie laid down the beat on over 3,000 recordings) it comes as no surprise that his rhythms have appeared as samples on groundbreaking tracks from high profile acts such as The Chemical Brothers, Massive Attack, Beck, DJ Shadow, The Prodigy and many others.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Rocket From The Tombs, The Day the Earth Met the Rocket From The Tombs

In sixth grade we were assigned to enact a scene from our favorite book. I decided, no kidding, to enact the leg amputation scene from 30 Seconds Over Tokyo. I sat in a chair at the front of the room, said grimly, “I’m ready,” then commenced to scream bloody murder. For like two minutes. Needless to say, I freaked out both teacher and fellow students, and flunked to boot. I still think it was a gross miscarriage of justice. It was, after all, my favorite scene. And I may well, at that moment, have invented performance art.

In hindsight, I wish I’d had Rocket From The Tombs’ musical psychodrama “30 Seconds Over Tokyo” to enact that day—that really would have messed with some heads. Or “Life Stinks,” “Sonic Reducer,” “Final Solution,” or any of the other great tunes the seminal punk band wrote and played live during its brief heyday (from mid-1974 to mid-1975) in Cleveland’s green and pleasant land.

Rocket From The Tombs—whose “classic” line-up included Peter Laughner on guitar and vocals, David Thomas aka Crocus Behemoth on vocals and alto sax, Craig Willis Bell on bass, Gene O’Connor aka Cheetah Chrome on guitar, and Johnny “Blitz” Madansky on drums—was originally a Thomas “joke” band until Laughner joined and talked Thomas into getting serious. RFFT played out rarely, and bequeathed us only demos, live recordings, and several radio broadcasts, being too shaky an edifice to ever record a real album.

The band was divided by factionalism (i.e., art punks vs. pure punkers), arguments over Thomas’ singing abilities, and drug problems, the common cold of rock bands. Chrome recalls a desperate attempt to mend fences at Thomas’ parents’ farm in Pennsylvania: “For one brief weekend the bucolic setting of Franklin, PA was disturbed by loud music, gunfire, a drunk pig, and drunker Rockets.” But RFFT’s problems proved insoluble, and the band finally packed it in following a gig at The Viking Saloon.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Sivuca, Sivuca first vinyl reissue in stores 2/26

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Two of our favorite records that we here at Real Gone Music have reissued in the last few years were the debut pair of records (both originally released in the early ‘70s) by legendary Brazilian percussionist Airto; each album serves up a savory, bubbling stew of Brazilian folk, fusion jazz and bossa nova spiced with a hint of tropicalia.

While Airto’s contributions on each record were, of course, front and center, there was another player on those records that almost stole the show: one Severino Dias de Oliveira a.k.a. Sivuca, a small, wizened man (often somewhat uncharitably described as “gnomish”) whose dazzling virtuosity on accordion, guitar, and keyboards—coupled with a powerful singing voice that belied his small stature—made one instantly sit up and take notice. Further investigation revealed that stealing the show was nothing new to Sivuca; championed by Oscar Brown, Jr., he was the instant star of tours by both Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba among others.

Sivuca started making records back in the mid ‘50s, and recorded for a number of labels in the States, including Reprise and RCA, but it is this record, made in 1973 for the Vanguard label, that is the one that collectors worldwide have zeroed in upon.

And with good reason; it offers the same beautiful blend of styles found on those Airto records, but with an emotional shading all its own, a joyfulness paradoxically infused with melancholy, best expressed on Sivuca’s mesmerizing take on Bill Withers’ oft-covered “Ain’t No Sunshine,” which is likely to become your favorite version. For its first-ever vinyl reissue, we’re pressing up 750 copies in purple vinyl.

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Chris Brokaw,
Puritan

Chris Brokaw is noted as guitarist, drummer, vocalist, and songwriter, but between his work as a solo artist, soundtrack specialist, collaborator in numerous bands and session player, he’s also been one of the busiest musicians on the global scene. This says a whole lot about the guy’s dedication, temperament and sound decision making. His latest solo album, Puritan, is equally loquacious on the subject of staying power through creative verve. Offering nine solid songs elevated by seamless execution, it’s out January 15 on 140 gram vinyl (black) and digital via 12XU.

Although he was active in the late 1980s, notably in the band 7 or 8 Worm Hearts (alongside guitarist Glenn Jones, tape manipulator Phil Milstein and others), Chris Brokaw’s made his proper splash into the indie milieu at the dawn of the following decade as the drummer in Codeine, and then followed that up a couple years later in Come, where he shared guitar and vocal duties with Thalia Zedek.

Brokaw’s talent has impacted dozens of scenarios since then, but that Zedek sings and plays guitar on two of Puritan’s tracks underscores cohesiveness amid the breadth. Along with Zedek, Tricia Anderson and Claudia Groom sing on a track apiece, but the album’s core trio is Brokaw on guitar and vocals with Dave Carlson on bass and Pete Koeplin on drums, their playing sharp throughout.

However, as a solo record, this set appropriately finds Brokaw consistently in the foreground, with his vocals immediately up front in the opening title track. But it’s his guitar that gets an extended instrumental spotlight in the cut’s back half, a stretch simultaneously establishing a trio dynamic that’s both heavy and lithe. For the very next selection, “Depending,” the gears shift into melodic-rock territory of a near singer-songwriter comportment.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 1/13/21

Dublin, IE | Boutique coffee and record store opening on the northside later this month: Wavetable is a new speciality coffee and record store opening in Drumcondra later this month. New coffee spots have been popping up all around Dublin in recent months and another one is about to add its name to the list, with Wavetable – Ireland’s first boutique specialty coffee and record store – due to open over on the northside later this month. A venture born out of a shared love for music and coffee, the new spot draws inspiration from minimalist, Nordic design and will offer customers a space where they can enjoy both at the same time. Serving up a range of specialty coffees, they’ll also have plenty of delicious vegan cakes and groovy records to help keep you on the straight and narrow. Oh, and they’re pet-friendly too. So, win-win-win. Starting out with takeaway service only, owners are hopeful they’ll be able to welcome customers inside as soon as restrictions allow.

London, UK | New book celebrates London’s best-loved record stores: London’s Record Shops is a new book celebrating physical music stores in the English capital. The 128 page book is a collaboration between writer Garth Cartwright and photographer Quintina Valero and is set to be published by The History Press Ltd on April 1. Although the specific record shops included has not yet revealed, the publisher’s synopsis notes: “From Brixton dub shacks to Hackney vinyl boutiques, Camden’s rockabilly ravers to Southall’s last Bollywood shop, underground Peckham outlets to Soho’s legendary dance music hub, these brilliantly eccentric and engaging emporiums are documented with striking photographs and incisive interviews.”

Barrie, ON | Entrepreneurs rewind the tape on music mediums: Barrie duo launches Tarantula Tapes as a way for bands to get their music out to the masses; ‘It’s almost like what happened with vinyl 10 or 15 years ago is now happening with cassettes’ They’re back! Or maybe they never even really left. For almost 60 years, cassette tapes have been one of the formats music fans — and musicians — have used to hear their favourite tunes. Now a Barrie company is helping punk bands — who may or may not have had their music previously released on CDs and/or vinyl — spread the word about their music in a format invented the same year Ringo Starr joined The Beatles. Tarantula Tapes, a cassette tape-only record label that started up near the end of summer 2020, is the brainchild of Casey Cuff and partner Core (pronounced Kor-Ree) Bee. While they both work full-time, they are also musicians and recent events over the last 10 months (Hmmm, what could that be?) and some extra spare time helped spawn the idea of creating cassettes for their fellow punk musicians.

50th anniversary of Janis Joplin’s ‘Pearl’ album to be celebrated with vinyl reissues, other special releases: Today marks the 50th anniversary of the release of Janis Joplin’s posthumous final studio album, Pearl. To commemorate the milestone, a series of special releases are planned for 2021, included a limited-edition colored-vinyl reissue that’s due out in April. The Pearl reissue, which will be pressed on pearl-white vinyl, can be pre-ordered now from the Vinyl Me, Please record club. In addition, a high-fidelity 180-gram two-LP box set reissue of Pearl, mastered from the original tapes and cut at 45 r.p.m., will be released in July as part of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab’s “UltraDisc One-Step” series. You can pre-order that now, too. Pearl was released about three months after Joplin’s October 1970 death from a heroin overdose and spent nine consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 in early ’71. The album features Janis’ chart-topping cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee,” as well as such other classic tunes as “Mercedes Benz,” “Move Over” and “Cry Baby.”

Read More »

Posted in A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: I’m Too
Old For This Sh*t: A Heavy Metal Fairy Tale
doc streaming now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “One of the best documentaries I’ve seen in a long time, period!”Eli Roth

Multi-hyphenate superstar Chris Jericho has added the title film producer to his extensive career list with the release of I’m Too Old For This Sh*t, a brand-new documentary film produced by Jericho, his debut in the role, and directed by Nathan Mowery.

I’m Too Old For This Sh*t, available now via Gravitas Ventures on iTunes, Amazon and various streaming platforms (run time: 89 minutes), captures the unpredictable highs and lows of ‘80s underground, fan-favorite heavy metal band Siren as they reunite more than 30 years after their breakup for a special performance in Germany at the Keep It True Festival. The heavy metal fairy tale is filled with hope, comedy, emotion, and more proving it’s never too late to fulfill lifelong dreams.

“I’ve been playing in bands for 35 years and I’ve NEVER heard a story like Siren’s,” shares Jericho. “We all had bands in high school that we felt would tour the world and sell a million records, but most of them break up by senior year and never do. However, Siren was different. In the early ‘80s, they had a ton of buzz and a shitload of talent, but typical inner band politics broke them up and most of the guys never played in another group again.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment
  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text