The TVD Storefront

The TVD First Date

“Where do I begin to talk about vinyl? It’s the most fulfilling way you can consume music. It sounds better, it looks great proudly displayed on your mantel, and unlike a streaming subscription or a download, you can keep it forever (if you’re responsible with your things).”

“Vinyl for me has always been a real ‘treat’ to myself or a gift from someone who knew me well. I remember when I was younger I would save all I earned from my shitty part-time jobs and buy my favourite records on vinyl. So now you know I hold vinyl to the highest regard. Here are some of my all times classics plus two songs I think people should hear—I’m not 100% sure if they’re on vinyl yet, but shh—don’t tell anyone…

Radiohead, OK Computer: I don’t care if this is the most obvious Radiohead album choice—it’s obvious because it’s fucking great. I look forward to debating with you on this topic. Plus they’ve done a repackaged anniversary edition with this lovely blue vinyl.

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Needle Drop: Megan Airlie, “Mother Whale”

Having received acclaim from the likes of The Line Of Best Fit and BBC Radio Scotland for previous singles “After River” and “Honey,” Scottish artist Megan Airlie is back with another heartfelt creation.

With inflections of jazz-inspired syncopated rhythms, “Mother Whale” percolates with a sunny, uptempo energy and soulful spirit as Airlie’s deep swooning vocals soar. A step away from the delicate emotion of previous tracks, it’s a perfect fusion of sounds new and old, creating something truly spellbinding.

As Airlie’s rich voice glides alongside the nostalgic musical soundscape, her vast impressive range is evident, as is the versatility of this multi-talented songwriter. “Mother Whale” marks Airlie as a unique and innovative artist—a mystical, musical force who deserves your attention immediately.

“Mother Whale” is in stores now via Bloc Music Records.

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The TVD Record Store Club

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

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

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Alec K. Redfearn and The Eyesores, The Opposite (Cuneiform) After a short hiatus, Silver Spring’s venerable avant-prog-experimental-jazz label is back at it, and along with digitally reissuing prior material by this always interesting Providence, RI-based band, they offer the outfit’s latest on LP and CD. It’s a treat. Over their 20-year existence, Redfearn and cohorts have stood out a bit in Cuneiform’s general scheme (this is their fourth for the label), but upon listening here, they and Steve Feigenbaum’s enduring love of art-rock remain a perfect fit. Redfearn plays accordion, and his knack for keeping it in the forefront of his music while eradicating even a hint of novelty remains impressive. Those keen on ambitiousness in the rock sphere should definitely lend this one some time. A-

Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles, Love’s Middle Name (Blue Corn) Borges has been on the scene for a while, with prior efforts with the Broken Singles and solo in her discography. The sound? It’s been called Americana (she’s won an Americana Music Award, in fact), but it’s important to qualify that hers is an approach well-suited for humid, boozy weekend bars. That means it rocks, and the thrust here is maybe better tagged as country-punk. What distinguishes Borges from some with a similar inclination is the quality of her songs and the strength of her pipes, and on this new one, the smart choice of hooking up with producer Eric Ambel, who also plays lead guitar on the record (as he did in Joan Jett’s Blackhearts). The outcome is that all the elements are in fine balance, with nary a misstep. A-

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: The Fall, I Am Kurious Orang (Beggars Arkive) If memory serves, anti-Brix-era sentiment reached something like its apex post-The Franz Experiment in early ’88; certainly, there were some who’d suggested Mark E. Smith was “over with” or had “sold out.” Emerging in the autumn of the same year, this set, created to accompany a ballet by the Michael Clark Company loosely based on the life and “psyche” of William of Orange, made it plain those negative assessments were balderdash. Having listened to this record a ridiculous number of times in the year or so after its release (returning to it intermittently ever since), I know it well, and it hasn’t lost a thing. To my ears, at least half of this is as good as post-Rough Trade Fall gets, and the rest isn’t far behind. That makes it utterly essential. A

The Groundhogs, Blues Obituary (Fire) When it comes to the ’60s wave of Brit blues-rock, I rate The Groundhogs higher than Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack, and even Ten Years After (I’m guessing those nutzo for Alvin Lee will consider this heresy). In fact, I’d rank the ‘hogs as roughly equal to Fleetwood Mac (and another group of readers has just thrown up their hands in disgust). Like the Mac, guitarist Tony TS McPhee, bassist Pete Cruikshank, and drummer Ken Pustelnik moved beyond the blues, and after doing so entered their classic period. But this, the band’s second LP (and trio debut) directly led to that phase. The no-frills punch of the recording, McPhee’s smoking guitar, the air non-reverence combined with good taste, and the sharp trio interaction is a major achievement in itself. A-

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 10/11/18

Atlanta, GA | Vinyl fuels indie record store resurgence: Over four decades, Decatur’s Wuxtry Records, a crowded repository of all things auditory a mile east of Emory University, has ridden the peak years of vinyl, the rise and fall of cassettes and CDs and the surprising comeback of vinyl this past decade. Owner Mark Methe points to a 2015 New Yorker cartoon he taped to the entrance and chuckles like a man who has seen it all. The cartoon figure tells another dude: “The two things that really drew me to vinyl were the expense and the inconvenience.” …But thanks to vinyl’s zombie-like revival, metro Atlanta has seen a resurgence in mom-and-pop record stores in recent years, mostly in the northern suburbs. In the meantime, in-town staples, such as Wuxtry and Criminal Records, have found new life.

Brighton, UK | Cult Hero re-opens in new location after it was forced to close. One of the longest-established “new vinyl” shops is back in action after being forced to move due to building redevelopment. Cult Hero has reopened in Brighton Place after moving from North Street, Brighton. Owner Frank Taylor, 35, moved out of his old shop at the end of April after the landlord sold the premises for the Hanningtons Lane redevelopment. Frank said he loves his new home. He said: “It’s a much nicer shop. It’s quieter and customers can listen to the music. “I was in North Street for ten years or so. There was a lot of hustle and bustle and I enjoyed that but customers also want to enjoy music while looking at vinyl, they like to take their time.

Warner Music Exec: ‘The Business of Physical Music Is Quite Strong. We Have No Intention of Walking Away from This Business.’ The resurgence of vinyl records is obviously causing labels to reconsider the format. But for at least one major label, CDs aren’t being abandoned quite yet, with physical formats overall getting a second look. At the Making Vinyl conference in Detroit last week, Warner Music Group executive Billy Fields reaffirmed his company’s commitment to physical discs, both of the vinyl and CD variety. Fields is Vice President of Sales and Account Management for WEA, which was once the physical distribution bulwark for the major label. These days, WEA is described as an ‘artist and label services’ group for WMG. But that still includes physical distribution, with Fields routinely fielding customer issues on precious WMG vinyl releases.

Indulge in spooky ‘Stranger Things’ sounds at Halloween with this new pumpkin vinyl: Creepy sounds from Stranger Things are being released on special pumpkin-coloured vinyl this Halloween…While the third instalment of the hit Netflix series has been delayed until 2019, fans will be able to bring the Upside Down to their own homes this spooky season. ‘Halloween Sounds from the Upside Down’ features 14 ominous, synthy tracks on pumpkin-themed wax. ”Hide some speakers in your bushes, play this record, and scare those trick or treaters,” advise S U R V I V E, who are behind the show’s atmospheric score. Track titles include ‘Turn On The Lights’, ‘Shadow In The Tunnel’, ‘Tree Slime’ and ‘Turn Right & Run’. The pieces are taken from Season 2’s “brooding, darker atmospheric score.”

CLASSIC VINYL: Superb glam band that influenced a generation: Roxy Music by Roxy Music. Roxy Music was one of the most highly regarded and influential UK rock bands of the seventies, formed by former art student and short lived teacher Bryan Ferry, who wrote all the songs, writes Michael Brooks. This was Roxy Music’s self titled 1972 debut album for Island records, acclaimed as one of the finest debut albums of the decade. What makes this unique is that it was recorded and produced in a single week. The band at that time, did not have a record deal, but after offering it to Island Records, a contract was offered; it was released on June 16, 1972.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Gaz Coombes, Caleb Elliott, Kiki Wilder at City Winery, 10/4

When Supergrass called it quits in 2010, frontman Gaz Coombes kept going with a series of solo albums that showed how strong he was at songcraft and increasingly, how talented he is at producing it.

In his solo show at City Winery in Washington, DC on Thursday, he showed how he can do many things well at once, infusing his songs not just with guitar, but with effects laden loops, tapes, backing tracks, and percussion.

It added a depth (if a bit of robotic certainty) to his solid Britpop songs, which might have come across just fine with only his guitars and distinctive vocals, a yowl that sometimes brings to mind Thom Yorke of Radiohead depending on the song. That happened when he stuck to acoustic guitar to sing his salute to his autistic daughter, now 15, in “The Girl Who Fell from Earth.”

With a sprinkling from his three solo albums, the 42-year-old Coombes, still rocking the fuzzy sideburns, didn’t bother to dip into the Supergrass song pool until the last song in the encore, a version of “Moving” that had fans standing and singing along.

Truth to tell, Coombes had asked the crowd to stand for the stirring final song in his set, “Detroit”—it’s weird for a rock ’n’ roller to be playing essentially a seated supper club. But they were glad to do it.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots:
The National and
Pheobe Bridgers at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 9/28

Continuing to tour on the strength of their latest studio effort, 2017’s Sleep Well Beast, Cincinnati based rockers The National gave a passionate performance to their DC area fans in the Woodlands at Merriweather Post Pavilion among what turned out to be a monstrous two hour-plus set. 

Sleep Well Beast marks the seventh studio album for The National and along with critical acclaim from just about every major music publication, the release took home a Grammy Award for “Best Alternative Music Album” in 2017.

Their performance drew heavily from the latest record including “Nobody Else Will Be There,” “Day I Die,” “Guilty Party,” and “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness.” The National touched upon earlier records with material from 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me LP including “Don’t Swallow the Cap,” “Sea of Love,” “Graceless,” and “Slow Show” off 2007’s LP Boxer.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Queen, “We Are the Champions” b/w
“We Will Rock You”

Greetings, fellow totalitarians! Have I got the single for you! I’m talking some real Triumph of the Will shit! The real Blitzkrieg Bop! You’ve heard of arena rock? Well I’m talking Nuremberg Rally rock! Seriously–if this baby had been around in Hitler’s day, he’d have played the living fuck out of it!

In 1977 Queen declared themselves the champions of the world, and they did so via this two-sided monolith that has everything in common with totalitarian architecture. “We Are the Champions” (the A-side) and “We Will Rock You” (just flip the damn thing over) crushed the competition by means of pure jackboot stomp, and like your best Nazi architecture were custom-designed (Albert Speer would be proud) to convey iron fist power, brute virility, and sheer truncheon force. This ain’t combat rock; it’s Mechanized Mood Music for the Fourth Reich. And what I want to know is, where is Winston Churchill when we need him?

“We Will Rock You” would make the perfect soundtrack for invading Poland, and “We Are the Champions” the perfect song to play while popping a champagne cork atop the still smoking rubble of Warsaw. Of course nobody invades Poland nowadays–damned political incorrectness has ruined everything–so “We Are the Champions” became the theme song of every high school football team in America (and sports teams everywhere else) instead.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Aren’t you making too much of a pair of big, dumb, rabble-rousing anthems you can’t help but sing along with? Whatcha gonna do next? Write off Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2” as Nazi agitprop?”

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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:
The Other Years,
The Other Years

One can rest-assured that the reservoir of contemporary old-time artistry far exceeds the supply of new recordings, in part due to the participants valuing community, and live playing in particular, over establishing some sort of foothold on a pro career. Rather than watering things down or gussying them up for consumption, the best current wax in the old-time style manages to capture this emphasis on social music like a snapshot, and the self-titled debut from the Kentucky duo The Other Years is a fine example. Anna Krippenstapel and Heather Summers aren’t affectedly rustic, however. Theirs is a rich potency expressed largely through striking original songs, and it’s available now through No Quarter.

Some neo-old-timey stuff leans so heavily into authenticity that it begins to feel like theatrics; at the very least, an ear will find it extremely difficult if not impossible to misplace that it is young people playing music that’s significantly older than they are. Older than their grandparents, even. This quality isn’t absent on The Other Years, but by its end numerous moments have accumulated where the primacy of the old-time objective is augmented with creativity that’s considerably, and at a few points, arrestingly beautiful, and in a manner not at all discordant with the contemporary.

Along with guitar and vocals, Anna Krippenstapel bows the fiddle here, while Heather Summers plucks the banjo and adds guitar and vocals of her own. To hopefully offset the potential romanticizing of the “social music” idea (the term in this context spanning back to the middle of last century as a category of the Harry Smith-compiled Anthology of American Folk Music), Krippenstapel has prior recording experience, contributing to releases by fellow Louisville residents Joan Shelley (a labelmate and old friend of The Other Years) and Freakwater (she can be heard on their latest release Scheherazade).

Further breaking down the old-time mystique, Krippenstapel played violin in Vampire Squid, which by reports (there aren’t many) was an arty-metal band. What she and Summers achieve on this debut lands decidedly nearer to the moments in Freakwater that zero in on Janet Beveridge Bean and Catherine Irwin; there’s also the timeless duo of Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard to consider.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 10/10/18

Record Store Day announces first slate of Black Friday 2018 releases: “There’s something for everyone on our list this year, which means there’s something for everyone on YOUR list! We want to help you make holiday shopping fun, by encouraging you to do it in a record store. Even if it’s not one of the limited edition titles on this list, we’re pretty sure you’ll find something great to wrap up, and great to unwrap if you’re on the receiving end! Download a PDF version of the RSD Black Friday list you can use as a shopping list or a wishlist, and get more information on each title using the website version of the list. Thank you for supporting indie record stores!”

Milwaukee, WI | Riverwest’s We Buy Records is new to the block, but owner Andy Noble isn’t: There’s a new record shop in Riverwest. With a red neon sign in the window announcing the store’s name—simply “We Buy Records”—owner Andy Noble opened its doors to Milwaukee in August as a continuation of years of vinyl-related business endeavors. He is the longtime traveling record collector/trader behind the vinyl-spinning vegan restaurant Strange Town and the all-vinyl DJ event The Get Down, which is celebrating its 15th year in 2018. We had a chat with Noble on opening a brick and mortar record shop for the second time and about his adventures in record buying road trips that took him into stranger’s homes around the country. Andy Noble says, “Jumping into a store, again… It’s like a second marriage; why would you do it?” It’s because We Buy Records is different, he says.

Dublin, IE | The Vinyl Festival comes to Dun Laoghaire: It was annouced today that the Vinyl Festival will be coming to Dún Laoghaire this November. The festival will take place in a selection of venues around Dún Laoghaire including The Lexicon Library Studio, The National Maritime Museum and Eblana Senior College. The line-up of talented artists and special guests participating over the three-day extravaganza includes Joe Jackson, Horslips, Lenny Abrahamson, Don Letts, Gavin Friday, Bronagh Gallagher, Kevin Godley, Julie Feeney, Steve Averill and Adrian Dunbar along with many more. Established radio DJ’s Dave Fanning and Tom Dunne will act as moderators and interviewers for several of the discussions. The festival will bring together a wide selection of talent including International Musicians, Writers and Filmmakers, all of whom will take part in a broad series of discussions and play a selection of their own favourite vinyl records.

Lennon, Dylan, Hendrix Box Sets Revealed As 2018 Reissues Set Record: The multi-million-dollar musical reissue bandwagon is having its third straight record year in 2018. This year’s total of box set titles is boosted by artists such as the Beatles; John Lennon solo; Led Zeppelin; Kate Bush; Bob Dylan; Guns N’ Roses; The Rolling Stones; Jimi Hendrix; David Bowie; and Soft Cell. This week, the number of reissues by mainstream artists so far in 2018 will surpass 640 titles, already matching 2017’s final total. The number may rise again with more late arrivals for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday period. Apart from classic albums reappearing, archive music is also coming to the fore, such as the first recordings from Prince’s massive private vault, Piano and a Microphone 1983, and David Bowie’s live release, Glastonbury 2000.

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD Live Shots: Sammy Hagar’s High Tide Beach Party & Car Show, 10/6

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA | Reading some of the reviews of Sammy Hagar’s High Tide Beach Party & Car Show, one might get the impression that Saturday’s all-day festival might have fallen a bit short of expectations. Well, we were on site wire to wire and can unequivocally say that aside from a few “opening day” challenges that any new event might encounter, this beach bash kicked some major ass. Food was solid, drinks were plentiful, and this year’s musical lineup was simply out of this world.

As you might expect, anything that Sammy Hagar touches turns to gold—and this event was no exception. Opening acts such as Sir Please, Drew Hagar, the Dead Mermaids Feat. Green Day’s Tre Cool, and Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers helped elevate a growing crowd that admittedly had some challenges getting into the seaside venue. Each of their sets were solid and all played with a reckless abandon that resonated with fans attending from all around the world. Add some of Hagar and partner Adam Levine’s Santo Mezquila, and party-goers took it to a whole level on sundrenched Huntington State Beach.

Next up was Orange County’s favorite Ska-Punk band, Reel Big Fish. This six-piece band from Los Alamitos, CA immediately got the crowd off their feet and dancing to the beat to hits like “Everyone Else is an Asshole,” “She Has a Girlfriend Now,” and “Sell Out.” Unfortunately for those in attendance, their typical 18+ songs was trimmed down significantly due to time constraints. However, Aaron Barrett and company smashed their 11-song set in fine fashion and left little doubt as to why this band was chosen by Sammy Hagar to represent Orange County at this year’s inaugural festival.

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TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots: MC50, Starcrawler, and Locus Pocus at the Regency Ballroom, 10/4

The legendary Wayne Kramer is on the road celebrating the 50th anniversary of the MC5 classic, Kick Out The Jams including a stop at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom. The evening kicked off with Locus Pocus … think Cage the Elephant meets the Doors … an odd combo that for some reason works. Well.

Next up, Starcrawler from Los Angeles. For those that have never seen Starcrawler, they were no doubt in awe. Much like watching a music horror movie unfurl before your eyes, waif-thin front woman Arrow de Wilde wailed through their short but powerful set during which she spat on the crowd and accosted the front row while the band blasted through the tunes. Raw, powerful, and downright good but also sometimes painful to watch. Go see them.


MC5 hit the stage a smidge before 10 pm following an intro in the form of political rant by local punk rock luminary Jello Biafra. Kramer kicked off the set on vocals for “Ramblin’ Rose” and the crowd (still a bit shell-shocked by Starcrawler) came out of its daze. Backed by Billy Gould (Faith No More) on bass, Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) on guitar, Brendan Canty (Fugazi) on drums, along with vocalist Marcus Durant (Zen Guerrilla), this show could not be anything but memorable.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Liz Phair and Speedy Ortiz at the 9:30 Club, 10/3

PHOTO: ELIZABETH WEINBERG | Liz Phair looked happy and perky as she took the stage at a sold-out 9:30 Club last week to reignite memories for the audience—and of her own past memories at the storied DC club.

After this year’s quarter-century salute to her big splash, Exit in Guyville, Phair at 51 seems resigned to becoming the nostalgia act her audiences demand of her, playing seven of the 18 tracks famously purporting to be answers to the songs on Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street. They were well sprinkled through the set, sparking the crowd when their familiar guitar riffs began.

But there was just one new song—an acoustic-backed ballad about “what else? heartbreak,” she said, nothing from her last album, 2010’s Funstyle, and just one from the one before it, 2005’s Somebody’s Miracle.

Fun as it was to hear the jolt of things like “Supernova” and “Extraordinary,” there was something reserved about her oldies performance. Prim in leather pants and accent jacket, she played the cool aunt, but not so much that she ever broke a sweat. In front of a largely generic four piece band that received only cursory intros, she not only had her guitar tech adorn her with each song’s instrument, he had to plug her in as well.

The set decor was top to bottom fake topiary, presumably owing to the “Amps on the Lawn Tour” theme. But plastic nature only helped underscore the lack of real grit in the performance.

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UK Artist of the Week: Humble Braggers

Get ready to get ethereal with Humble Braggers. Our latest Artist of the Week’s new EP “Cycles” is all sorts of majestic and undeniably addictive, so prepare yourselves.

If you’re a fan of ’80s inspired synths, celestial vocals, and pulsating drum beats, then look no further, because Humble Braggers are the band for you. Their latest EP “Cycles” is absolutely oozing with addictive soundscapes from the offset.

Previously released single “Reckless” and “Am I Okay” are obviously stand out tracks, but this really is an EP you can enjoy from start to finish. Frontman Tom Burtless’ glistening vocals remind us instantly of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker but with a poppier edge, making the sound completely his own. Fans of Empire of The Sun and Passion Pit will also feel at home here.

This Buffalo-based quartet are certainly making waves for all the right reasons and we can’t wait to see where they go from here.

“Cycle” is in stores now via Admirable Traits.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Charalambides,
Tom and Christina Carter

Houston’s Charalambides have amassed over thirty full-length releases since 1993, with their output (a large hunk on vinyl) navigating the realms of acid-folk, psych-rock, and improvisation. It’s a significant accumulation of sound, but newcomers shouldn’t be flummoxed over when and how to jump in, as there is no better time than now through their latest; it’s out October 12 via Drawing Room Records. Charalambides has trio incarnations in their history, but the title of the new one gets right at their enduring reality as a duo: Tom and Christina Carter. With six tracks spread across four sides of vinyl, the byproduct of their union is exploratory, at times gentle and distant but intense and never unfocused.

The genres of acid-folk and psych-rock cover a lot of territory, so it’s worth adding that the mention of improv in the paragraph above (all three terms borrowed from the autobiographical description on their Bandcamp page, where they’ve attached the phrase “outer limits”) establishes an undeniable rigor, even as the music on their latest (and as its title expresses, a good representation of their discography as a whole) isn’t antagonistic or abrasive in nature.

A good litmus test for receptiveness to Charalambides would be how a listener feels about Jandek (and with emphasis on the listening and not just an appreciation of the latter’s unusual backstory). Now, some will say that if a person doesn’t know Charalambides they are unlikely to know Jandek, but I disagree, as a documentary film has been made and book chapters have been written on the guy.

It’s not just the shared locale (Jandek hails from Houston). It’s not just that Heather Leigh, who is one of the two folks to have filled out the trio lineups of Charalambides (and also half of Scorces with Christina Carter) has played live and on record with Jandek. And it’s not just that on the 1995 compilation Drilling The Curve Charalambides covered Jandek’s “Variant.” But put all three instances together and you do have a worthwhile point of reference.

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