The TVD Storefront

The TVD First Date

“When I think back to my childhood, in fact my earliest memories of existing on this planet, it was filled with music. It’s not a surprise, it’s nothing new, and I’m sure you’ve heard this story a thousand times before, but it’s a love story that started from an early age that has continued into the present. My love affair with vinyl.”

“Just like distant memories of it always being sunny in the summer holidays (when in fact it probably rained for the most part—it was the UK after all), vinyl reminds me of the nostalgic days of childhood.

Saturday afternoons and evenings always stand out. My dad, taking advantage of my mum’s afternoon shop, would often drag out his record collection and create the most wonderful sound track, shouting out across the roof tops of East London. It was the sound of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s expertly blended by my own personal DJ, my dad.

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve: New in Stores, July 2016

Part two of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new or reissued wax presently in stores for July, 2016. Part one can be found here.

NEW RELEASE PICK: Inter Arma, Paradise Gallows (Relapse) This Richmond, VA five-piece breaks the 70-minute barrier without losing points at the finish line; along the way the sound is about as heavy as metal gets, combining doom, crunch, growl, and pummel with surprising attention to songwriting. They also resist clichés, impressively so given the duration, and consistently broach the unexpected; there are soaring guitar motifs, stately piano, and in the midst of “Primordial Wound” agitated, higher pitched vocals, delivering a highlight to this remarkable whole. A

REISSUE PICK: V/A, Tanbou Toujou Lou: Meringue, Kompa Kreyol, Vodou Jazz, & Electric Folklore from Haiti 1960 – 1981 (Ostinato) Producer-researcher Vik Sohonie adopts the generosity of a DJ alongside his scholarly approach (he also penned the liner notes) and like a record spinner he favors the impulse to dance, but his finds are so instrumentally rich and varied, spanning from small groups to big bands and urban sophistication to rural gusto, that the program should easily please those afflicted with two left flippers. Available on CD and gatefold 2LP with a 20-page booklet, this is a stone winner all around. A    

Glenn Branca, Symphony No. 13 (Hallucination City) for 100 Guitars (Atavistic) Plus one drummer (Virgil Moorefield). Documenting a Feb 28, 2008 performance from the Auditorium Parco Della Musica in Rome, in terms of massive scale the sounds on this CD really deliver, but even more impressive is the litheness and the complete non-gimmickry on display throughout the piece’s four sections; that is, the heaviness, which again is substantial, never falls victim to grandiosity and just as often exudes subtlety backing up the claims (for any doubters lingering out there) of Branca as a major composer. A

William Burroughs, Let Me Hang You (Khannibalism/Ernest Jenning Record Co.) This finds Hal Wilner pulling 20-year-old tapes of Burroughs reading from Naked Lunch off the shelf and having King Khan finish them; mingling the original backing of Bill Frisell, Wayne Horvitz, Eyvind Kang, and other NYC-based musicians with Khan’s rougher rock-based input, the results are surprisingly cohesive, but the real treat is how Burroughs’ glorious croak reintroduces him as one of the 20th’s great smut peddlers; if you didn’t know Steely Dan was named after a Burroughsian dildo, well, you certainly will after hearing this. B+

John Cage with David Tudor, Variations IV (Modern Harmonic) From a 1965 performance at the Feigen/Palmer Gallery in LA, this captures Cage’s chance compositional period; originally on budget label Everest, this was one of the few Cage LPs intermittently turning up used (at least in my neighborhood) and was also high-test fuel for those rating the man as a provocateur-charlatan rather than a “serious” composer. Briefly, the randomness of this sonic collage brings real uh, variations in quality, but this is a historically important recording and it remains an involving listen over a half century later. A-

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 7/28/16

Nevermind the bollocks, here’s the vinyl record industry: The Michael Nelson-penned Stereogum report referenced above may be viewed by some as “just another person belly-aching about the record industry and its mistakes.” However, from my perspective as a record store owner—I operate three Schoolkids Records businesses, in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill—it is all 100% accurate and an honest take on where things stand. (The comments that Stereogum readers posted following the piece are honest, too; they are all spot on.) Regular customers who shop at stores know. This is fluid and serious. Now, more than ever, support your local stores—they need you.

One of the world’s largest boombox collections goes on sale: New Zealander Craig Kenton has put his massive collection of over 400 boomboxes up for auction. Spanning all sizes and brands, bidding for the collection starts at a rather modest $20,000, although Kenton believes it is worth a lot more. “If I just sold the top 20 they would reach $20,000, and I’ve already had interest in some of those,” he said to “But I would prefer to sell them as a collection.” Collecting for fifteen years, Kenton remembers how he fell in love with the portable stereos when he was a child in the ’80s. “I used to stare goggle-eyed into shop windows wanting them, they were a real statement of ’80s culture.”

The X-ray audio project on communism’s blackmarket bootlegs: In the Soviet Union people used to hide their music in a number of creative ways. One popular way was to cut records on old X-rays sourced from hospital garbage. These rare pressings are commonly referred to as Bones or Ribs. This year’s Krake Festival features a special presentation by Stephen Coates and Aleks Kolkowski who have unearthed a number of these unusual recordings. They will present their findings and even create their own from a performance by Alexander Hacke. We asked Stephen Coates a few questions before the Festival.

Why VHS and Five Other Formats May Live Forever, The final VCRs will ship later this month, but if recent history is any indicator, it doesn’t mean the VHS format will vanish for good: According to Hugh McIntyre at Forbes, vinyl records have been a lone bright spot in the record industry over the last decade. As CD sales have tanked and digital downloads have stagnated, vinyl sales keep going up, increasing by 30 percent in 2015, to about 12 million albums. And its not just a nostalgia trip—while Pink Floyd and The Beatles do appear on the top 10, Adele, Hozier, Taylor Swift and Alabama Shakes also made their mark on vinyl.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live Shots: Alabama Shakes at the Aragon Ballroom, 7/20

Alabama Shakes closed out their sold-out, two-night stint in Chicago at the Aragon Ballroom. After the elegant setting of the Civic Opera House the evening before, the band and its fans were ready to let loose in a less formal setting.

The beers were flowing and the sweat was pouring as the band took the stage to play a solid mix of songs off their two excellent and critically acclaimed albums, Boys and Girls and Sound and Color. As usual the star of the night was lead singer and guitarist Brittany Howard because, well, THAT. VOICE.

Fans strained to find a window to watch her as she wailed into the mic and shredded on her guitar. Alabama Shakes continue to prove themselves to be one of the best live acts on the road today. This was my fourth time seeing them and they continue to captivate. I’m already looking forward to the next show.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Recommends: The DC Record Store Crawl After Party with Good Old War at POV Live, 8/6

“Honestly my whole record collection is borrowed from my Dad. When I got a turntable I raided his records for any album he had on vinyl that I liked. He let me take them under the condition that I return them at some point…”Keith Goodwin, Good Old War

So, the Record Store Crawl that we put on your radar hitting 7 cities across that nation this summer? Well, the DC Crawl on August 6th—sold out. (Quickly.) But, there’s a silver lining friends. The Official After Crawl Party with a performance by Good Old War (who are riding shotgun on the DC Crawl itself) still has plenty of room for you and your vinyl cohorts to attend—and it’s FREE.

Paste magazine premiered Good Old War’s new video for “Never Gonna See Me Cry” back in June which “depicts a dapper dude having increasingly bad luck during an otherwise pleasant stroll while the band looks on” as they noted. (We promise you a far better time on 8/6, however.)

RSVP for the Official DC Record Store Crawl After Party with a performance by Good Old War right here. It’s free—but you do need to register to attend!

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Yachts, (s/t)

I’ve never attempted to disguise my adamantine disgust with most new wave music or any of its horrifying offshoots. I think the Cars suck and Squeeze blow, and I could go on naming new wave bands I despise until the cows wearing skinny keyboard neckties come home. So imagine my surprise when I heard Liverpool’s Yachts’ 1979 eponymous debut (it was called S.O.S. in England) and actually found I liked it. Caused me to hate myself, it did. And made me wonder whether I was mutating, yes mutating, and would continue to do so until I found myself a bona fide new waver, which was a frightening and disheartening thought indeed.

I like Yachts for two reasons—first, they were funny and clever lads who liked a cynical larf above all, and second, they preferred a big guitar and Farfisa organ approach to the synthesizers that rendered much new wave anathema to me. As they sing in the great “Love You, Love You,” which comes at you like a great early Elvis Costello number, “I wouldn’t climb any mountain for you/Ford any stream that’s a daft thing to do/’Cos I’m cynical, cynical, cynical through and through” and you get the point. Then there’s the wonderful bash and romp that is “Box 202,” in which the singer loses his girlfriend in a plane crash and seeks to find a suitable replacement by placing a classified ad in the trade papers. To these lads, callousness comes naturally, and I like it. I also like the way “Box 202”comes with a powerful guitar riff, which is not something I associate with the kind of new wave I find so horrifying.

The band on the debut LP (Bob Bellis, drums and vocals; John Campbell, vocals; Martin Dempsey, bass and vocals; Henry Christian Priestman, keyboards and vocals; and Martin Watson, guitar and vocals) played their first gig opening for Elvis Costello, and stuck around the offices of Stiff Records long enough to record the irrepressibly clever and Farfisa-fueled “Suffice to Say,” which when it isn’t spelling out its own shortcomings (“I never wrote a middle eight/So we’ll have to do without/But there is an instrumental break/Right after this”) as a song gets to the point: “Suffice to say you love me/Can’t say that I blame you.” Talk about your chutzpah.

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TVD New Orleans

Bassonic’s “dance music for your head” plays Chickie Wah Wah, 7/28

Bassist Albey Balgochian describes his new project, Bassonic, as a “thrilling mix of funk, spoken word, and improvised music.” The world-renowned bassist recently relocated to New Orleans after years in New York City where he worked with legendary pianist and avant-garde master Cecil Taylor among numerous others.

The concept of the new band is a perfect fit for the fine listening environment of Chickie Wah Wah. Spoken word artist Jane Grenier recites her work over percolating improvised funk rhythms courtesy of bassist Reggie Scanlan (the New Orleans Suspects, the Radiators) and drummer Raymond Weber (Dumpstaphunk, Charmaine Neville). Balgochian improvises bass lines, lead parts, and bowed sections in counterpoint to Grenier’s words on both electric and acoustic basses.

Balgochian elaborated on the concept, “I love to play blues and funk on the electric (bass), I also love playing improvised music. (But), I want to do it in way that keeps it grounded, ultimately I want to put it in a context that people dig.” In other words, this is dance music for your head, or head music for your feet.

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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: Mendrugo, More Amor

Earlier this year Fire Records released Josephine Foster’s No More Lamps in the Morning, a fine LP further detailing her prowess of song and voice in fruitful collaboration with the band led by her guitarist husband Victor Herrero. Choosing not to dally in following it up, More Amor hits the racks on July 29; credited not to Foster but to Mendrugo, the 11 tracks present a richly casual Spanish folk-imbued collective framework that’s simultaneously deep in roots and deliciously non-trad in constitution. It’s available on vinyl, compact disc, and digital.

One of the immediate qualities arising from More Amor is a ’60s feel, though that shouldn’t be construed as a deliberate attempt to tap into the essence of the decade. No, the similarity basically comes down to a sustained pursuit of expanded possibilities stemming from a folk milieu, a type of non-labored ambience that extends to Foster’s solo work.

To be fair, the same could be said for many in the New Weird America/ freak-folk realm. That’s the scene from whence Foster established her name; first surfacing in 2000, she rose to higher prominence mid-decade through a handful of discs on Locust Music and Bo’Weavil before hooking up with Fire in ’09 with Graphic as a Star.

Through a combination of tastefulness and verve Foster’s work is a cut above the Weird/ freaky norm, and in turn she’s thrived where numerous ’00s cohorts have fallen by the wayside. And if pegging her as channeling the ’60s rubs one the wrong way, she can alternately be described as a bohemian soul more interested in the work of great poets from prior centuries than what’s currently trending on social media.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 7/27/16

Vinyl revival sees new Carlisle shop: A new music shop is hoping to run listening evenings, to introduce people to different music. James Brown has opened the Vinyl Cafe, on Abbey Street, in Carlisle city centre, where he sells vinyl records as well as coffees, teas and baked food. Mr Brown, 44, who lives in Dacre, near Penrith, said: “I am a customer myself, I wanted a record shop that was comfortable to browse in. “This is an environment where you can come in, relax and listen to music. You can play the records first before you buy them.”

New record shop Rocksteady Records opens in Melbourne: Rocksteady Records is the latest addition to Melbourne’s thriving vinyl scene. The new store is located in the beautiful art deco Mitchell House building in the central business district. Rocksteady will stock “lots of groove-based things”, spanning hip-hop, reggae and funk to indie and new wave. The store also promises to support local talent with a big collection of Australian releases. Owner Pat Monaghan, who has worked in record stores for the past 25 years, decided it was time to open his own place.

See photos of the vinyl turntable that Jack White is sending into space, Ex-White Stripes frontman is set to become the first person to play a vinyl record in space: It has been confirmed that Jack White is set to become the first person to play a vinyl record in space after the musician’s Third Man Records confirmed an upcoming historic event. The label had previously claimed that they would “make vinyl history again” on July 30, now confirming an event to mark their seven year anniversary and three millionth record pressed. A statement posted to the Third Man Records website reveals that the label has custom-built a “space-proof turntable attached to a high-altitude balloon”, named the Icarus Craft, with help from designer Kevin Carrico.

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