TVD Chicago

TVD Live: Lollapalooza, Day 4 at Grant Park, 8/5

2:14 PM | I arrive in time to catch the end of Durand Jones and the Indications’ set. It’s so lovely and soulful I’m sad I missed the beginning of it.

2:17 PM | Overheard as I’m passing two friends conversing under a tree, “I mean, last year I thought some girl was dead. Turns out she was just passed out.”

3:50 PM | Kali Uchis is dancing her way across the Lake Shore Stage as her fans are squealing with delight. This pop sensation is on the rise.

4:08 PM | Turns out Rainbow Kitten Surprise is a lot more politically charged than their name. “We’re from Boone, North Carolina,” said frontman Samuel Melo. “In case you don’t know, there’s a war going on down there. At least it feels like it if you’re queer.”

4:26 PM | Local Knox Fortune has a few other local cameos his set—his buddy Joey Purp as well as members of Twin Peaks. His cover of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is a good one, as it perfectly suits his vocal strength.

5:32 PM | Well the Gucci Mane crowd is massive and rowdy, but that’s no surprise. Two teenagers standing next to me take 20 minutes to light their joint. Amateurs.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live: Lollapalooza, Day 3 at Grant Park, 8/4

1:23 PM | So pumped. It’s St. Vincent Day at Lollapalooza.

2:26 PM | Still laughing about a moment I had with my wife as she was ever-so-kindly driving me down (in our f**king gold minivan) to Grant Park. Me: “Taylor,” my college sophomore niece, “knows who Brockhampton is—I feel cool now!” Susan: “Yeah he’s, like, totally cool with the kids.” Me: “Susan, they’re a group.”

3:28 PM | Of the many fashion themes I’ve gathered from the weekend, a few are really standing out: 1. Bulls jerseys. I mean, Lolla is always heavy on the NBA jerseys but it’s all about the Bulls this year. And it’s not just the crowd—several artists have donned the red and black for their sets. 2. Mullets. Yeah…they’re back, I guess. 3. Glitter-slathered chests. 4. That tiny rip of fabric that claims to be a “jean short” but is really an “ass-cheek-hanging-out” short. 5. Various “Coca Cola” and “Sprite” apparel. (Level with me, millennials, what does it mean?! Are you asking for a specific type of drug? Please, tell this nana.)

4:17 PM | I’ve really enjoyed wandering past the Toyota Music Den this weekend. It’s been a nice opportunity to catch some acts who I missed on the main stages. Yungblud is currently stoked that a few members of their hefty crowd already know the lyrics to songs off their month-old debut album.

5:00 PM | Weekend/life highlight: LL Cool J is doin’ it an doin’ it an doin’ it so well right now at the Bud Light Stage.

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TVD New Orleans

Debut from Noisewater in stores today, Tipitina’s release party Saturday night, 8/11

They play instrumental music that is all over the map genre-wise, but one thing you can certainly be sure of with Noisewater—they rock out live. The band’s eponymous debut album arrives today on Louisiana Red Hot Records. They celebrate the release with a show tomorrow night at Tipitina’s.

Since writers always want to pigeonhole bands into a specific genre, Noisewater has opted to call their music funk rock. But to my ears, both on the album and in the live setting, the band inspires comparisons to Galactic for three reasons. They have a distinctly jazzy approach to their sound with a saxophonist, Ole Anders Oddlokkken, out front on many of the tunes.

The second reason is their instrumental sound. Though it’s true they have elements of other genres including metal, reggae, and prog rock, they come across as jazzy funk to the casual listener. Thirdly, this band flat-out jams.

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The TVD Storefront

Taylor Janzen,
The TVD First Date

“The first record I ever bought was Paramore’s self titled record when it first came out.”

“I was obviously way late to the vinyl game, having grown up half in the CD age and half in the streaming age. But something about owning a huge, physical copy of an album I love, and also the way it sounds in vinyl format has always been something that I’m fascinated by.

I think the record I play the most these days is Andy Shauf’s The Party. It’s already such an incredible album, but being played on vinyl really adds a new level. There’s so many beautiful layers and textures to it.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Genesis,
Trick of the Tail

Sound reads from the archives, all summer long.Ed.

Well, there goes another theory shot to shit. I always thought Genesis hit the aesthetic skids the moment Peter Gabriel split and drummer Phil “The Anti-Christ” Collins took over on lead vocals, but I’ve been listening to 1976’s Trick of the Tail, the first post-Gabriel LP, and I’m afraid I was sadly mistaken. Trick of the Tail is not a great album but it’s a very good one, packed with well-constructed tunes with lovely melodies that occasionally, but not too often, stray into the prog trap of technical virtuosity purely for virtuosity’s sake.

Peter Gabriel’s departure threw Genesis’ future into question. A Melody Maker writer went so far as to declare Genesis officially dead. But the band committed itself to proving it could make good music without Gabriel, and after a fruitless search for a new lead vocalist Collins, who wanted to turn Genesis into an instrumental act, reluctantly agreed to take on the vocal duties himself. Which in hindsight seems like a no-brainer, as Collins is a virtual vocal doppelganger for Gabriel and the obvious candidate as a replacement.

Album opener “Dance on a Volcano” has muscle and a fetching melody, to say nothing of some powerhouse drumming by Collins, whose exhortations (“Better start doing it right!”) sound convincing. There is some technical showing off for its own sake, especially at the end, but this one is more hard rock than prog, thanks to Steve Hackett’s guitar work and Tony Banks’ synthesizer. “Entangled” is a bit fey for my tastes, a quiet little pretty ditty, but it wins me over with its melody, which is simply lovely. There’s a beautiful synthesizer solo, which doesn’t attempt to mime classical tropes the way your more virulent and dangerous progmeisters would, and I like it for that.

“Squonk” is tres cool, a lumbering but still lovely number about a mystical beast that dissolves into tears when captured. Collins’ vocals are excellent, and the band pounds out the beat, and I love it as much as I do any song by Genesis, including the great “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe).” The title of “Mad Man Moon” leads you to expect a raver, but it’s no such thing. It opens with some too-pretty keyboards, and is too saccharine for words until it climbs and climbs to a climax that is very, very nice. Then there’s a piano-dominated mid-section that sounds like pseudo-classical hokey-pokey to me, and I suffer. Then the song takes off, and it’s all copacetic, at least for a short while. Unfortunately the song soon returns to its beginning, before finally wilting under Banks’ sugary piano.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/10/18

Chicago, IL | Rogers Park gets a new record store: You could be forgiven for mistaking Electric Jungle for a gardening shop at first glance. Potted plants fill the windows of the new Rogers Park record store at 1768 W. Greenleaf, which opened without fanfare during the last weekend of July. The storefront is largely unadorned, though there’s a small green sign on the front door with the shop’s name and business hours. It’s open just a fraction of the week: 2-7 PM on Tuesday and Thursday, and noon-7 PM on Friday and Saturday. Owner John Ciba, who ran Logan Square record store Logan Hardware till it closed in May, says he started working toward opening Electric Jungle this past winter. He stayed mum about the shop’s existence till this summer, when he changed the handle on Logan Hardware’s Instagram account to “electricjunglechicago.”

Louisville, KY | Louisville’s Funhouse Records might be the biggest little record store in America: Five years ago, Bill Barriger had little interest in used vinyl records and couldn’t tell the difference between an LP worth $1 and one worth $100. Now he owns one of the most well-stocked record stores in the United States. Barriger, who opened Funhouse Records & Audio in the Highlands earlier this year, traveled to Texas two weeks ago to buy a collection of approximately 280,000 LPs and 45s. That’s a lot of records. Check that: It’s a crazy amount and the final count may be higher. Even more remarkable, a number of them are new old stock dating back to the 1980s, including unopened shipping boxes from distributors. In the world of record collectors — and retailers — this is the stuff of dreams, the kind of grail-rich score that could make Barriger’s reputation soar among collectors internationally.

SugarCube SC-1 vinyl noise remover hits the UK: For some vinyl enthusiasts, the surface noise of vinyl records is as endearing as the actions of pulling a disc from its sleeve or lowering a turntable’s tonearm lever. But of course one can have too much of a good thing, and the sound of a worn record can fall into that category. And if a good ol’ clean can’t help, maybe the SugarCube SC-1 can. Designed for people with older or second-hand record collections, the all-in-one noise removal device uses proprietary ‘click & pop’ removal technology by Silicon Valley-based start-up SweetVinyl to eliminate vinyl noise in real-time. The technology supposedly uses an algorithm to detect, isolate and remove unwanted noise while keeping the music signal unharmed. All owners have to do is hook the SC-1 up to a phono stage, press a button to initiate the clean-up process, and turn a dial to adjust the strength of the process.

UAE | Vinyl memories: Of cricket, mutton curry and a gruffy Dylan: …Growing up in Dum Dum, in the northern fringes of the eastern Indian metropolis of Kolkata, in the early 1970s, the sheer proximity to the His Master’s Voice (HMV) factory was something to brag about. HMV, then the largest music company in India, was quite a household name and very much a brand to reckon with in an age and time when brand-loyalties were more esoteric in terms of their association with life as it was and not quite dictated by a gadget freak’s now-or-never push for a ‘been-there-done-that’ proclamation. The day father brought home the HMV radiogram, it marked my initiation into the world of music — the sheer joy of being able to be in command of what one loved to listen to and not necessarily dependent on what the All India Radio programme presenter thought music ought to be.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live: Lollapalooza, Day 2 at Grant Park, 8/3

12:52 PM | Heavy traffic. Yesterday the commute was considerably faster. It makes sensethe first day of a festival usually draws the smallest crowd. Or, at the very least, a late crowd. Today? Not so much. The crowds are flooding into Grant Park for the Pitchfork Music Festival.

1:32 PM | Security is heavy this year, mostly thanks to that piece of s**t who massacred 58 innocent humans and injured hundreds of others on October 1st last year in Las Vegas. Huge thanks to all of the officers and agents (yes, the FBI was present on the grounds all weekend), EMTs, and grounds crew who did their very best to keep downtown Chicago safe all weekend long.

2:37 PM | Taylor Bennett has gathered a huge crowd at Perry’s Stage. The young Chicagoan is making waves and not just because he’s Chance the Rapper’s baby bro. Taylor just released his latest EP, “Be Yourself”—his best venture to date. The crowd loves his positive spirit. He came out as bisexual before his 21st birthday and reminds the crowd of it. “Be Yourself” is more than just his EP name—it’s his anthem. Special guests Supa Bwe, Bianca Shaw, and Twista helped spread the word.

3:12 PM | Walking past the Toyota Music Den I pause to watch LA’s Buddy perform. The crowd is there to dance, and dance they do.

3:19 PM | “I’ve longed for that day when I’d be playing for confused, slightly disgruntled Post Malone fans, and that day has finally come.” said Parquet Court’s A. Savage. It’s a belly laugh moment. I get it, dudes. But there’s still a decent-sized crowd here for you and we’re loving every second.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: The Death
of Rock: Peter Holsapple vs. Alex Chilton
lost recordings in stores 10/12

VIA PRESS RELEASE | It was 1978 at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis. North Carolinian Peter Holsapple had rolled into town chasing the essence of Big Star. He hooked up with musician/ engineer/ friend-of-Big-Star, Richard Rosebrough after approaching, and being turned down by, Chris Bell, who Holsapple had hoped might be interested in producing him. Together Richard and Peter started laying down tracks during the off hours at the studio.

Chilton, meanwhile, was knee-deep in the making of Like Flies on Sherbert, also being tracked at Phillips. He told Peter, “I heard some of that stuff you’re working on with Richard … and it really sucks.” Alex promised to come by and show Peter “how it’s done.” According to Holsapple, “I caught Alex exiting a world of sweet pop that I was only just trying to enter, and the door hit me on the way in, I guess.” The results? Alex’s tracks definitely line up with the chaos found on Flies, while several of Peter’s songs found homes on The dB’s’ albums (“Bad Reputation” and “We Were Happy There”) and on an album by the Troggs (“The Death of Rock” retooled as “I’m in Control”), so not a loss at all.

What we have in these newly discovered tapes is a fascinating pivot point, with the artists moving past each other, heading in distinctly different directions. Chilton leaned toward punk/ psychobilly as he began playing with Tav Falco’s Panther Burns and produced the Cramps’ debut, Songs the Lord Taught Us, within a few months of these recordings. Holsapple was off to New York to audition for The dB’s and enter the world of “sweet pop.”

The Death of Rock: Peter Holsapple vs. Alex Chilton will be released—40 years after the lost sessions—by Omnivore Recordings, on October 12, 2018.

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TVD UK

TVD Premiere: Jack Ellis, “The Barrel of Your Gun”

Cardiff’s Jack Ellis has returned to our ear drums with an even fuller sound than before, and this time he means business. Here at The Vinyl District, we’re extremely proud to be premiering the latest single, “The Barrel of Your Gun,” taken from his forthcoming EP “Out Of Luck” in stores on the 7th of September 2018 via District South Records.

Ellis’ latest cut is a powerful slice of grit-fuelled blues-rock from the offset. As the chorus comes into full force, you can’t help but stomp to the beat and hum along with the free-flowing, choral backing vocals. At the centre of all this, of course, is Ellis’ rough and ready emotional lead vocal that compliment his impressive blues-infused guitar. And that guitar solo at the end, wow.

Of the song Ellis explains, “It’s a track that was loosely inspired by the David Lynch movie Wild at Heart. Crazy lovers on the run from an angry mother, a private detective, and a hit man tracking them down. What more do you want? So yeah, a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde where everything is risked in the name of love.”

“Barrel of Your Gun” is in stores on 10th August 2018 via District South Records.

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The TVD Storefront

Steven Page,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up with parents who loved music, so there were always records playing on our stereo at home.”

“My folks had a record collection that, to a seven-year-old, seemed slightly impenetrable: jazz artists like Joe Williams and Oscar Peterson, folkies like Ian and Sylvia or Buffy Sainte-Marie, or stuff I thought was just plain mushy like Charles Aznavour. Of course, years later I realized the awesomeness of all of these artists and am grateful for being exposed to them at such a young age.

However, looking back, it strikes me that my Dad must have bought in the neighborhood of one rock album per year: Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road, Hey Jude (aka “The Beatles Again”), Blood, Sweat and Tears, Joni Mitchell’s Clouds, CSNY’s Deja Vu, the Chicago album with the chocolate bar on the cover, Bee Gees’ Main Course, Clapton’s Slowhand, Hotel California, and then the descent into Dad buying only singles, ones like Kansas’ “Dust In the Wind,” because he didn’t much care about getting to know the rest of the album. For which I say thank you, Dad.

Dad loved to sing along to songs on the radio in his clear, high tenor, especially ones that had intricate beats to which he could drum his rings on the steering wheel and dashboard. He’s a great drummer and this rare display of abandon was both thrilling and embarrassingly intimate to my little brother and me in the back seat of our AMC Matador. The most exciting would be when Dad enjoyed a song so much that he’d buy the 45 of it. Like, for example, the double A-side of Queen’s “We Are The Champions” / “We Will Rock You.” That was exciting to have in the house. I liked “We Will Rock You,” Dad liked “We Are The Champions” because of the high anthemic singing. I was seven. He later bought “Another One Bites The Dust” and I played it over and over and over until he told me to stop. I said, “But I thought you liked that song?” to which he replied, “I did.”

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores, August 2018, Part Two

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

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Tomberlin, At Weddings (Saddle Creek) An earlier edition of Sarah-Beth Tomberlin’s debut, which held seven tracks, emerged last autumn in a hand-numbered edition of 500 through Joyful Noise’s White Label series, an artist-picked affair with At Weddings selected by Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn. As the music resides in an introspective indie folk zone, the stylistic connections between chooser and chosen are minor, and within the parameters of the style, Tomberlin has her own thing happening; assured of voice and warm instrumentally, the whole goes down really well. Saddle Creek’s release isn’t limited, and adds three tracks, smartly not tacked onto the end, as the final three songs, “Self-Help” into “Untitled 2” into “February,” offer a striking culminating progression. A-

Walter Salas-Humara, Walterio (Rhyme and Reason) Salas-Humara co-founded The Silos in mid-’80s NYC, the still extant band sometimes classified as a progenitor of alt-country, though they always struck me (especially on their first couple records) as rock with a classic sensibility and an edgy spark. He was also in The Setters with Alejandro Escovedo and Wild Seed Michael Hall, and has dished a few solo records, of which Walterio is the latest. Unsurprisingly, the ten tracks here are fairly rootsy, but this attribute is nicely counterbalanced with songwriting smarts reflecting his diverse background; born in Florida to Cuban parents, Salas-Humara studied visual art in NYC before choosing music (that’s one of his popular dog paintings on the cover). What is surprising is the enduring high quality of his stuff. A-

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: The Vulgar Boatmen, You and Your Sister, Please Panic & Opposite Sex (Play Loud!) Before he was in The Silos, Walter Salas-Humara was part of the Gainesville, FL outfit The Vulgar Boatmen. While he contributes a bit instrumentally to 1989’s You and Your Sister, his main role is sharing the co-producer chair with member Robert Ray. Alongside ex-Gizmo Dale Lawrence (based in Indiana), Ray (who continued to live in Florida) served as the band’s songwriting core, with each fronting a distinct lineup 800 miles apart. An unusual mode of operation in the pre-internet days, but fruitful, as all three of the group’s releases are stellar; much of the contents extend from a VU/ Feelies place, but with an utter lack of big city attitude. This is the sound of College Rock’s promise fulfilled. / / A-

The Fall, 458489 A-Sides (Beggars Arkive) There are numerous collections in The Fall’s myriad discography, and this one covering what’s known as the ’80s “Brix Smith” era, is essential, even if you already own all the albums and/ or the singles from which this 17-track LP derives. As I was getting acquainted with the output of Mark E. Smith’s lineup-shifting band of soon to be logic-defying endurance, this music was still fresh in the bins, and while some older heads were inclined to rake The Fall of this vintage over the critical coals, as the days of “Live At the Witch Trials” or “Grotesque” were over (though really, a lot of folks just didn’t like Brix), this summary sounds even better on the occasion of its white wax reissue by Beggars Arkive as it ever has to me before. First time on vinyl in the USA. A

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/9/18

Leamington, UK | Musicians celebrate reopening of Head with intimate gig: Musicians ditched the stage and took to a slightly different venue to celebrate the reopening of a Leamington record store. Customers of independent music store Head, which is based in the Royal Priors, were left devastated when the shop closed last year. But it recently reopened its doors under new management and to celebrate the owners held an acoustic gig with performances by local bands Luna Kiss, The Ellipsis and Freezacrowd. Luna Kiss frontman Wil Russell said: “We have a record store that is supporting local artists and an opportunity for local artists to get involved with their local record store, which is something not a lot of places are doing. “This is a sense of community which has been lost in the industry for quite a while.”

Racine, WA | Harbor PC Music record shop plays to the tune of variety: Kevin Conrad smiles as he looks at the makeup-covered face of KISS front man Gene Simmons, printed on the jacket for his 1978 self-titled album. At age 9, “Gene Simmons” became the first album Conrad ever owned. Thirty-nine years later, Conrad has more than 20,000. About 4,000 of Conrad’s albums are on display in his record store, Harbor PC Music, 3208 Washington Ave., with another 16,000 stacked floor to ceiling in the basement. Conrad opened the record store in West Racine in 2016. He already owned the storefront; it had been a photo studio, but that had stopped being profitable. Half the building’s floor space is still dedicated to his PC repair business, which has been going strong for more than a decade.

Ontario, CA | Flooding forces beloved Kingston record store to hit pause: Future of Brian’s Record Option unclear after rushing water soaks stock. A beloved Kingston, Ont., record store is hitting pause after flooding damaged much of its inventory on Saturday. Brian’s Record Option on Princess Street has been a treasure trove of dusty vinyl stacked from floor to ceiling since the early 1980s. The 1,200-square-foot store holds 80,000 albums, 20,000 CDs and thousands of cassettes, posters and books. Brian Lipson, the store’s owner, told CBC Radio’s All In A Day he was downstairs in the basement when he heard water gurgling. It began to flow pretty fast. The water filled the basement and rose to the main floor, flooding through the store and out the front door, taking CDs and records with it.

Grandview Heights, OH | Pub, studio put new spin on record store: The combination record store, pub and recording suite will open Wednesday, Aug. 15, at 1806 W. Fifth Ave. in Columbus, just outside Grandview Heights. Stacy has spent the past year renovating the former thrift shop into an open and airy storefront. “It’s not your grandfather’s record store,” he said. Craft & Vinyl offers a small bar that serves craft beer, two floor displays of used vinyl records and new albums displayed on the wall. Two couches with music magazines arrayed on a coffee table are placed near a wall with concert posters designed by Mike Martin of the Columbus-based Engine House 13. Visitors also can play pinball on their choice of Rolling Stones or Kiss machines.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live: Lollapalooza, Day 1 at Grant Park and The National aftershow at the Metro, 8/2

Since 2005, downtown Chicago—more specifically 115 acres in smack dab downtown Chicago (a.k.a. Grant Park)—has been home to the city’s largest music festival, Lollapalooza. It is a festival locals love to hate and hate to love. It doesn’t matter. People travel from far and wide to this Midwest mecca every year without question. Tickets typically sell out within hours. And don’t let the locals’ eye-roll attitude about Lolla fool you, we all go as well. And when we don’t, we’re sad about it. There’s a power that Lolla week in Chicago has over all of us. It’s in many ways our summer climax.

So here I am on the backside of the festival weekend comparing my peak to last years’, and I’m happy to report that this was one of the best Lollas to date. The crowds were (for the most part) manageable; the bands were on time; all went as scheduled; crime went down; hospitalizations went down; it didn’t rain; I repeat—it didn’t rain!—and somehow I managed to leave each day still walking without a limp and looking forward to the next day. So, yeah, the world is probably ending soon.

Now a four-day festival, Lollapalooza ’18 kicked off on Thursday, August 2nd. Highlights from day one included Slaves, who managed to resurrect the spirit of Lollapalooza ‘91 with their black-leather wearing, microphone-eating, head-banging, guitar shredding set. And of course Scotland’s Franz Ferdinand didn’t disappoint, and whose leader, Alex Kapranos, also got my vote for the weekend’s best high kicks.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Elvis Presley: The Searcher DVD and Ltd. Collector’s Edition in stores 10/16

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the best-selling solo music artist of all time with more than one billion records sold worldwide, Elvis Aaron Presley created a revolutionary new sound that defined a generation and ignited throngs of fans with such hits as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Love Me Tender.” He is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century and now fans can get an inside look at a rarely seen side of Elvis—that of a music artist on a life-long search for self-expression when Elvis Presley: The Searcher debuts on DVD and Limited Collector’s Edition October 16 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

From the archives of Graceland and Executive Producer Priscilla Presley, Elvis Presley: The Searcher is a three-hour documentary film presentation that focuses on Elvis Presley, the artist and musician, taking the audience on a comprehensive creative journey from his childhood through the final 1976 Jungle Room recording sessions. Containing never-before-seen footage and music recordings, the film features commentary and interviews from some of the biggest names in music including Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, music producer Jon Landau, and Elvis’ guitarist, Scotty Moore, among others.

Also included is the “In Conversation” featurette, a Q&A discussion with Director Thom Zimny, executive producers Priscilla Presley and Jerry Schilling, and Grammy Museum executive director Scott Goldman recorded at the Los Angeles Grammy Museum. And the Limited Collector’s Edition will also feature commemorative packaging and a 20-page digibook featuring rare photos from the Graceland archives.

Directed and produced by Thom Zimny, Elvis Presley: The Searcher is executive produced by Glen Zipper, Priscilla Presley, Jerry Schilling, Andrew Solt, Alan Gasmer and Jamie Salter (chairman and CEO, Authentic Brands Group) with Jon Landau and Kary Antholis serving as producers.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Mötley Crüe,
Shout at the Devil

Sound reads from the archives, all summer long.Ed.

Look, I’m gonna be straight with you; no way would I have reviewed this LP by hair metal legends Mötley Crüe if it weren’t for a snippet from a review from musico Robert Christgau in which he gleefully states, “It’s hardly news that this platinum product is utter dogshit even by heavy metal standards.” And who then goes on to mock the song “Ten Seconds to Love,” in which according to Christgau, “Vince Neil actually seems to boast about how fast he can ejaculate.

Vince Neil might have made a decent song about how FAR he can ejaculate—I once read, for instance, about how the late Beat poet Allen Ginsberg once left a friend’s bedroom with cum dripping from the ceiling—but instead he wrote an ode designed to console all of the world’s other premature ejaculators. I suppose we males should all say thanks to itchy-trigger-finger Vince for speaking out on such a taboo issue.

I have never been and will never be a hair metal aficionado—I’m too much of a pointy-headed, anti-populist intellectual—but what really struck me about 1983’s Shout at the Devil is just how far from utter dogshit it is. Sure, there’s some utter dogshit on it, but it also includes some hard rockers that (almost) allow me to ignore the ridiculous outfits, hair spray, and general low IQ of the band’s presentation. But who says a song has to have a high IQ? Sometimes a high IQ is a bad thing. Take Rush. And sometimes a low IQ can be a good thing; case in point Slade, whose utter inability to spell constituted half their charm.

Everybody—even geeks like me—knows the band. Vince Neil handled lead vocals, Mick Mars played lead guitar, Nikki SIxx manned the bass guitar, and the one and only Tommy Lee kept things interesting on drums. And the drama! Neil killed Hanoi Rocks drummer “Razzle” Dingley in a drunk driving accident. Sixx overdosed on heroin several years later and was temporarily declared dead. And his band mates’ behavior was hardly more sober-minded. Drugs, alcohol, women, and fast cars abounded. Why, I’m surprised they weren’t responsible for chopping the drummer for Def Leppard’ arm off with a battle axe. In short, amongst the lethally unruly hair band contingent, they were the worst offenders, which is really saying something.

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