The TVD Storefront

Jean Miche, The TVD First Date and Premiere, “Sous La Neige”

Like most artists living in NYC, it can be hard to meet up sometimes, so Jean Miche met up via WhatsApp to record themselves interviewing each other.

AKA JK: Hey, wanna do a walky talky interview?

La Fleur: Alright!

AKA JK: I guess we’re supposed to talk about records?

La Fleur: We’re supposed to talk about records? What are we supposed to say about records?

AKA JK: I dunno. I guess Jean Miche isn’t quite two years old, Jean Miche doesn’t have a lot of experience with records, huh?

La Fleur: Noooo, we don’t have any records. Actually, I’ve never… I’ve never been arrested in my life I don’t think.

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve: New in Stores, September 2016

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

NEW RELEASE PICK: Shield Patterns, Mirror Breathing (Gizeh) As the latest by this Manchester duo (and the first to make this writer’s acquaintance) plays, vocalist Claire Brentnall definitely brings Kate Bush to mind. That’s cool; even cooler is how she and Richard Knox rewardingly alter a trip hop-ish foundation, adding ambient/ ethereal elements and experimentation. Along the way the thud-echo of many of the drum beats insinuate they’ve been listening to Coil or something similar, the post-industrial quality also infusing the avant-jazzy standout “Balance & Scatter.” Julia Kent guests on cello. A-

REISSUE PICKS: Normally it’s not at all difficult to choose a pick from releases of roughly equal quality, but these two are so complementary that selecting one over the other just seemed wrong.

The Quick, Untold Rock Stories (Burger) This legendary LA band’s stuff finally on 2LP. The contents range from early Who/ Move motion (opener “No No Girl”) to raw glam-tinged power pop action (“Teachers Pet”) to a sprinkling of killer covers (The Four Seasons’ “Rag Doll,” The Beatles’ “It Won’t Be Long,” and a deeper glammy dip via “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”). Split between demos for Mercury and Elektra and wrapping up with bonus tracks exclusive to the vinyl (alt versions of “Poison Polly” and “My Purgatory Years”), the quality never lessens. “Pretty Please” is a standout. Get it before it’s gone. A

Dow Jones and the Industrials, Can’t Stand the Midwest: 1979-1981 (Family Vineyard) Those seeking insight into the widespread nature of the whole punk impulse need only soak up this deserving and lovingly deluxe compilation. From West Lafayette, IN, the herky-jerky, technology-infused personality will surely remind some of early Devo, but Dow Jones frequently rocked up a storm (for evidence, please check the title track) and possessed strong songs amongst the rawness, ranting, and alienated tension. This 2LP holds 29 tracks and comes bundled with a 7-inch and DVD of a complete 1980 show. A

The Album Leaf, Between Waves (Relapse) Jimmy LaValle has amassed a large discography, but this is the first LP since 2010; in the interim he’s been busy with soundtracks. Migrating from Sub Pop to Relapse positions this album, which comes in standard and deluxe editions, as something of an outlier amongst metallic happenings; as The Album Leaf’s electronic post-rock has its own established base of support this shouldn’t be an issue, with fans not likely to be disappointed. Between Waves thrives on group interaction, and the handful of Pet Shop Boys-esque vocal pop moments are very welcome. B+

Alsarah and the Nubatones, Manara (Wonderwheel) Sophomore album of what Sudanese-American vocalist, lyricist, and bandleader Alsarah describes as East African Retropop; along with her assured and engaging voice, the main ingredients are the oud and ngoni of Brandon Terzic and the rhythmic foundation of percussionist Rami El Aasser and bassist Mawuena Kodjovi, a core nicely accented with accordion, violin, keyboard, and on the title track, Kodjovi’s trumpet. Winningly contempo in nature, this compares well to the recent output on the Glitterbeat label; “3roos Elneel” is a standout. A-

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 9/29/16

Amoeba Music Berkeley gets OK for in-store pot shop: The Telegraph Ave branch in hippie haven Berkeley was the first of Amoeba’s three California stores. Business has been slow as of late, and Amoeba’s weed-friendly ownership group has been trying to prop up profits with medical marijuana for some time now. The San Francisco location hosts a company called Green Evaluations on-site that goes as far as featuring a photo of Amoeba founder Marc Weinstein on its homepage, but the Berkeley decision, allowing Amoeba to operate in the medical marijuana and record businesses simultaneously, is unprecedented.

The world’s best record shops #038: Casarão do Vinil, São Paulo: Officially opened to the public in 2014, it’s a place where one can get lost in records for the entire day, even week, as each room in the house has a mix of Brazilian music and jazz/rock/soul from all over the world. Each section of the house is divided by price therefore you can sit in a room that only has records for $30BRL, $50BRL and so on. Downstairs, there is a batch of about 20 boxes of 7”s which often has great records below market value and they frequently run sales where if you buy a certain amount of records, you also get to take home another record for free.

Radiohead unveil ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ special edition as vinyl starts shipping: Radiohead have unveiled the special edition of ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ in an unboxing video, as the record has started shipping. The band released their Mercury-nominated ninth album back on 8 May 2016, but only now has the delivery of the deluxe, expanded edition begun. As well as the original album, ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ now comes on two heavyweight 12″ vinyl records, two CDs including two extra tracks, a length of master tape from the actual recording sessions 32 pages of Stanley Donwood artwork and much more.

Faith No More May Release Vinyl-Only Single “Cone of Shame” on Record Store Day 2016: There is some evidence that Faith No More will release “Cone of Shame” on November 25th, because according to this Amazon listing, the single is set for a Vinyl-Only release November 25th – which also happens to be Record Store Day. The record will be released through Ipecac Records. We are just going to have to keep our eyes open to see what other hints Faith No More will be dropping for the release.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Death at the Black Cat, 9/2

“Are y’all ready for Death?” Such went the call from the opening band, referring to the headliners. That it would come out as such a sobering question of mortality may have been one of the reasons the band named Death never became the stars they might have 40 years ago.

The sound of Death (not to be confused with the ‘80s Orlando metal band with the same uncommercial name) predated the Black Rock Coalition by a decade, but the trio of Detroit brothers conjured up a hard rock sound of bluntness and soul. From the town of MC5 and Iggy and the Stooges, here was a straight ahead band playing the kind of rock Hendrix was hinting at in the Band of Gypsies five years earlier—a Detroit sound quite different from that came from Motown which had only recently fled to Los Angeles. Still, the brothers Hackney—particularly its guitarist David—refused to compromise on the name. Record companies had contracts ready for them if only they’d change it. But they were adamant on keeping the name.

So aside from a couple of local singles that now fetch hundreds of dollars, the band went unknown until Drag City looked them up, acquired the master tapes, and issued an album in 2008 that held up quite well to a new generation. There followed one of those movies about another long-lost act making a comeback, in the tradition of Searching for Sugar Man (about another Detroit active about the same time, Sixto Rodriguez, who was unaware of his legions of fans in South Africa) or the one about the obscure metal band Anvil! The Story of Anvil.

A Band Called Death came out in 2013 and its director is still connected to the band; he introduced the show Saturday at the Black Cat in Washington, DC, an event significant enough to give the film a new, upbeat ending.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Rio Reiser, Rio I.

It is, upon occasion, the privilege of the humble music reviewer to introduce his or her audience to an artist they have almost certainly never heard of, because said artist hails from some god forsaken place like Germany, that dastardly nation responsible for spawning two world wars (and even worse!) my second ex-wife, who is a kind of one-person world war and against whom I hold a grudge because she won’t let me see our Chihuahua Rudi, who loathes everyone and everything and holds the world’s record for nonstop barking at 12 hours, 43 minutes, and 17 seconds.

Oh, I know that plenty of German bands have successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean to our shores. Can, Neu!, Kraftwerk, Trio, Scorpions, Rammstein, Tangerine Dream—the list goes on and on. (See Boney M., who many credit as one of Hitler’s much-vaunted vengeance weapons.) But singer/songwriter Rio Reiser is not amongst their ranks, and that’s too bad. Part of Reiser’s problem was that he was a pop rocker and sometimes folk musician, and such individuals have never broken through to an American audience. What’s more, he sang in German and his approach was frequently sentimental. Finally, his music varied widely in style from folk to pop to new wave to protopunk, making him a tough artist to put a label on.

This is exemplified on 1986’s Rio I., the first album Reiser recorded after leaving the similarly obscure but great Ton Steine Scherben, which aligned itself with West Germany’s squatter scene, as well as its student and labor movements. Ton Steine Scherben’s radical activities translated into mass popularity but no money, and dire financial straits were one of the reasons Reiser left the band, leading to accusations that he was a money-grubbing sellout. It’s true that Reiser’s highly successful debut album put him in the black, financially speaking, but it also happens to be, for many of the German youth who grew up listening to him, a sacred document. My ex- may have had a Kurt Cobain poster on her bedroom wall, but it was to Reiser she turned most often, for such songs as “Junimond” and the great “König Von Deutschland” (“King of Germany”).

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The TVD Storefront

The Vinyl District Premiere: Fascinations Grand Chorus, “When You Make Up Your Mind”

PHOTO: KELLI McGUIRE | It’s easy to dig the smart sound of Fascinations Grand Chorus, a Brooklyn duo led by Stephanie Cupo who previously led the band Souvenir Stand, a New York outfit that used to play Nirvana’s “About a Girl” in the style of the Zombies.

Here, she’s paired with Andrew Pierce who is often described as her rival, though that’s given no explanation or particular proof. Actually they are clearly of the same mind in creating the kind of irresistible ’60s era pop, once thought disposable but which actually turns out to be indispensable.

After an introductory four song, self-titled debut EP that came out this summer, the duo is back this fall with its second four-track EP, “Actor / Actress” on October 14—and we’re happy to be premiering its first track, the sprightly “When You Make Up Your Mind.”

FGC has certainly made up its mind on approach, using all analog equipment to record her vintage organ work and the rest of the instruments, with no digital alterations, and keeping classic pop creators like Joe Meek in mind. It succeeds in creating a song that echoes the classics while sounding entirely brand new. Put on your go-go boots and dance.

Fascinations Grand Chorus’ new 4-track EP, “Actor / Actress” arrives in stores in November. Preorder it here.

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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: Itasca,
Open to Chance

Currently residing in Los Angeles, Kayla Cohen records and performs under the moniker Itasca. Known for acid-folk of an uncommonly rich variety, her success derives from high-quality songs, beautiful vocals, and most strikingly, considerable acumen on guitar. Far from a typical strummer, she’s also no showboat; folks equally into Judee Sill and Bert Jansch should find Open to Chance to be a treat as she’s joined by a full band for the first time. It’s out September 30 on vinyl, compact disc, and digital through Paradise of Bachelors.

Although Kayla Cohen is far from the standard underground folkie, Itasca’s discography does begin in a manner that sorta harkens back to the genre’s boom years. Specifically, her self-released 2012 debut Grace Riders on the Road was offered on cassette in a miniscule run of 50 alongside a more substantial CDR edition of 300. Next came her 6-song “Proto” cassette from 2013, its number bumped up to 80 as circulated by the Belgian label Sloow Tapes. Naturally, it’s physical manifestation is scarce today and sadly, it doesn’t seem to be available digitally at the moment.

That’s not the case with Grace Riders on the Road, which is found on Itasca’s Bandcamp page. It captures the sound of one woman in a room with six strings as a touch of tape hiss emphasizes the modest but competent nature of the recording. Cohen’s playing is already very impressive here, the fingerpicking just weighty enough to keep her gently and occasionally airy songs from dissipating like plumes of incense smoke.

Her follow-up full length and vinyl debut arrived in ’14 on Ducktails dude Matthew Mondanile’s New Images label, and it documents a major step forward. Where her previous effort basically connected as an exponent of the 21st century u-ground folk impulse, Unmoored by the Wind deepened the scenario considerably; instead of simply being informed by the long solo folk chanteuse tradition, Cohen’s personality and ability shined so brightly that the disc could easy be passed-off as a reissue of a rare and high dollar artifact from the late ’60s-early ’70s.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 9/28/16

Amoeba Music granted license to sell marijuana: Iconic Californian music chain Amoeba has won a license to dispense medical cannabis from its 25 year-old location in Berkeley. Amoeba’s flagship store has been competing for a coveted permit since last October. After its initial application failed, Berkeley City Council has now approved the store’s plans for an in-house dispensary. “We are planning the most epic dispensary ever at the Amoeba location on Telegraph,” wrote the store’s Debby Goldsberry after sharing the news on Facebook.

Independent Leeds music store celebrates 45 years with its own vinyl single: Over the past four and a half decades, Jumbo Records has been a flag bearer for Leeds’s independent music scene. Now the independent record store, in the city’s St Johns Centre, is to celebrate its 45th anniversary on October 1 with the release of its own special 45rpm vinyl single. The split seven-inch release, produced in conjunction with the record label Too Pure, features songs by Menace Beach and Post War Glamour Girls, two bands that Jumbo says “typify the vibrancy of Leeds’ current musical underground”.

Bob Dylan Announces 36-Disc Set of 1966 Live Albums, Shares “Tell Me, Momma”: On November 11, 36 Bob Dylan concerts recorded throughout 1966 will be compiled in a massive, 36-disc set called The 1966 Live Recordings, Rolling Stone reports. To mark the announcement, Dylan has shared a version of “Tell Me, Momma” recorded at London’s Royal Albert Hall on May 26, 1966, which you can hear below. (The song never appeared on a studio album.) The mostly unreleased recordings were taken from soundboards, CBS Records mobile recordings, and audience tapes. There will also be a standalone release for the Albert Hall concert, The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert, out November 25.

Annual record sale in aid of Farleigh Hospice to return next month: A record and vinyl sale in aid of a hospice will return to Maldon next month. Every year the Farleigh Hospice Shop in High Street holds the event which sees more than a thousand records, LPs and Eps go on sale. The offer includes music from a range of genres such as folk, jazz, rock and country. It will be the second record sale held at the store this year. Hospice Shop Manager, Sara Fisher said, “Our record sales have been growing in popularity over recent years but this year we have something special.

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TVD Washington, DC

The Fall 2016 DC Record Fair in Photos

“When the nation was deeply divided by segregation, The Howard Theatre provided a place where color barriers blurred and music unified. Dubbed the “Theatre for The People” by The Washington Bee, it was the place where dignitaries like President Franklin D. Roosevelt gathered with everyday folks to see both superstars and rising stars – many of whom debuted at The Howard Theatre.

Along with Duke Ellington, greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday, Cab Calloway and Nat King Cole graced the Howard stage and made way for talents like Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gilespie, The Supremes, Otis Redding, Lena Horne and James Brown.”

Hundreds of you filled the Howard Theatre on Sunday for the Fall edition of the DC Record Fair, and it was quite the honor indeed to be on stage (literally) at the historic venue. TVD’s Richie Downs was on hand to capture the day for us in photos.

And while we’re at it—mark your calendars! The DC Record Fair returns on January 29, 2017 to Penn Social.  —Ed.

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