A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 2/11/19

Glasgow, SCT | Glasgow Fopp saved from closure after customer outcry: Fopp on Byres Road will stay open after being marked for closure in a deal to save HMV. A Glasgow branch of the Fopp record stores on has been saved from closure after an outcry from customers and musicians. Fopp on Byres road was to be one of 27 stores closed as part of a deal which saved the collapsed HMV business. Customers and musicians alike hit out at the decision to close the store. However, after negotiations an agreement has been reached to save the popular record store. A spokesman for HMV said: “This is the best outcome for everyone and we are delighted to share the good news with all those who have been so supportive over the past weeks. “There has been a huge amount of goodwill and a tremendous groundswell of support…”

Glasgow, SCT | A double album of memories: looking back at our love affair with record shops: The anguish that greeted the news that the Fopp record store in Glasgow’s Byres Road has been closed was a reminder of the emotional attachment that many of us have to such places. The shop was one of those earmarked for closure after its owner, HMV, was itself rescued from collapse this week by Canadian music entrepreneur Doug Putman. Of the chain’s 127 stores, 100 will continue to operate, safeguarding nearly 1,500 jobs. The shuttering of the other 27, including Fopp Byres Road, and HMVs in Ayr and at Braehead, means the loss of 455 jobs, to be followed by 122 warehouse jobs in the weeks ahead. The hashtag SaveFoppByresRoad quickly flourished on Twitter. “An absolute institution and an cultural and musical oasis in the west end of the city, enriching, edifying and bringing sheer joy to sooooo many people’s lives at affordable prices,” wrote actor Gavin Mitchell.

UK | HMV’s new voice is relishing the fight to save all the stores. ‘Vinyl nut’ Doug Putman takes on the landlords and says he’s hopeful for the Oxford Street flagship. The new owner of HMV is hoping to reopen the chain’s flagship store on Oxford Street, and is in talks with landlords on the rest of the 27 outlets which closed down earlier this week. Doug Putman, the 34-year-old boss of Canada’s Sunrise Records, rescued 100 HMV stores from administration, beating off a bid from Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley. But branches such as Oxford Street, with higher rents, were not included in the deal. Speaking to the Guardian, Putman said he was optimistic that these outlets could be reopened: “Where certain stores have closed, our public have really rallied around and I credit that with some of the landlords coming back to us,” he said. “They can see how much support we are getting.” …“Our goal is to keep all 127,” he said. “I think there’s hope [for Oxford Street]. We would love to keep it open, it is such an iconic store. We would even be willing to keep it open and lose money. Customers love it.”

Cardiff, Wales | The story of the UK’s oldest record shop Spillers and the woman who saved it from extinction. Spillers is thriving and it’s thanks to Ashli Todd. It may have only taken a little over 35 years, but I’m finally about to experience something which was once a source of endless fascination. Then, as an eager young music fan experiencing my own musical rites of passage, I regularly visited Spillers Records to buy the latest eagerly-awaited seven-inch single or album. On every visit, the back room of the shop – famed for being the world’s oldest record store – provided endless fascination. It was where the staff would disappear before re-emerging with your chosen prized item. It was a place that held mystical qualities for this young record purchaser. Although I never saw it, I figured it was some sort of Aladdin’s cave, a glittering treasure trove of vinyl.

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Turn me on to phantoms / I follow to the edge of the earth / And fall off / Everybody leaves / If they get the chance / And this is my chance / I get eaten by the worms / Weird fishes

Last week I was talking about the weather, and this week?

Not much has really changed. Well some shit has happened. Our LA Rams lost in a boring Super Bowl, and LA music fans took it out on poor Maroon 5. Fuck, the Maroon boys do their best to be an LA band, make loot, and slay chicks.

This has pretty much nothing to do with the songs I play on the Idelic Hour. In my mind we are at the dawn of a second “medieval time.” The Idelic Hour is meant to share music that lifts the spirit and the soul. It’s my small way of helping—and this week’s playlist is filled with meat, onions, chicken, and fish. I got turned on to this new Sleaford Mods record and loved the idea of making a playlist of songs about food that make up a “kebab.”

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TVD UK

TVD Live Shots:
The Dandy Warhols
and Swervedriver at
the O2 Brixton, 2/1

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a quarter of a century since the debut record from The Dandy Warhols. I missed this record the first time around and instead discovered them on their masterful major label debut The Dandy Warhols Come Down. This is one of my favorite records of all time and one that easily stands the test of time. Often referred to as “the best Brit rock band from the States,” on tour the Dandys are not jumping on the current bandwagon and playing their classic album in its entirety along with a greatest hits encore. Instead, they do a proper celebration by dropping their 10th studio album, appropriately titled Why You So Crazy.

“The weirdest thing about it being ‎our 25th anniversary is it doesn’t feel like 25 years. Feels like about six. Or five,” muses frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor. I couldn’t agree more—how in the fuck did this happen? Am I really that old? Now that I think about it, I’ve seen the Dandys eight or nine times over the years, and I do celebrate their entire catalog.

While the Dandys have certainly done things on their terms after leaving the world of major labels, they’ve gone in some bizarre directions and never really went back to capture their roots on any later material. Well, that all changes with Why You So Crazy. Yeah, of course, it’s a fucking weird record, but they’ve managed to take a bit of influence from the other nine records and sprinkled that magic across the 12 songs on this gem—songs like “Forever,” “Terraform,” and “Motor City Steel” pulling a bit more from the trio of greatness that is Dandy’s Come Down, 13 Tales, and Welcome to the Monkey House.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Beechwood’s Trash Glamour, debut LP reissue in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Beechwood’s very first full-length, Trash Glamour, was originally recorded in 2013 when Gordon Lawrence and Isa Tineo were still in their teens. The album was originally a cassette-only release and has been remastered and released on CD and vinyl for the first time via Alive Naturalsound Records. Features photo by legendary rock photographer Brad Elterman.

Gordon shares the origins of this early effort, “Trash Glamour was recorded with a single microphone in my parents’ basement when we were 17 and 18 years old. At the time we were obsessed with two albums in particular, Raw Power and Exile on Main St. I had this documentary on the making of Exile that we all sat down and watched together before starting the record. We were mesmerized. That was what a band making a record was supposed to be like.That, to our teenage minds, was rock & roll.”

“And so, we turned the basement into our version of Nellcôte. We surrounded ourselves with friends, girls, drugs, alcohol, and the ideas flowed. I hardly ever remember leaving the basement, though I assume we must have eaten and slept at some point that summer. Things were still fresh at the time, grudges didn’t exist, and things (and substances) that eventually became problems were just being discovered.

We had the sense that no one else was doing what we were doing at the time, that rock & roll had become soft with bands with names like “The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.” (Gimme a break.) And so, we made a loud, raw rock & roll record with little regard for “production quality.” We pushed our music and our minds into the red, and though it took ourselves almost three years to come down from what began with this record to eventually make Songs From The Land of Nod, none of us regret a thing”.

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TVD New Orleans

Toubab Krewe recording live album at the Maple Leaf Bar, 2/8–2/9

PHOTO: CHRIS TAYLOR | Anyone who has spent any time listening to live music at the Maple Leaf Bar knows that it is one of the premier spots to hear musicians giving their all with the audience right in their faces. So a month after Frogs Gone Fishing came into town to record at the Leaf, another band based elsewhere but with a serious affinity for New Orleans will record in the uptown club. Toubab Krewe returns for two shows on Friday and Saturday night.

Based out of Asheville, North Carolina, but with their feet firmly planted across the African diaspora, the band and its members are no strangers to the Crescent City. Since forming in 2005, they have played numerous times in New Orleans and various members have called the city home over the years.

Their sound is rooted in the West African music of Mali, complete with traditional instruments like the kora, a 21-string harp, and hand drums like the djembe. But they mix up the ancient African instruments with electric guitars in the style of some of the greats from West Africa like Thomas Mapfumo and the recently deceased Oliver Mtukudzi.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Melville A.D.,
11 Electric Poems
for E.M. Cioran

When it comes down to my philosophy of life, everything I believe I stole directly from the Romanian philosopher E.M. Cioran. A master of detachment and nattering nabob of negativity who wrote in a pithy and crystalline French, you can distil his entire work to one of his marvelous aphorisms, to wit: “No one has been so convinced as I of the futility of everything; and no one has taken so tragically so many things.” Just how much did he hate life and his fellow man? Let’s see: “Sometimes I wish I were a cannibal—less for the pleasure of eating someone than for the pleasure of vomiting him.”

I’ve long wanted to write a concept album to him, but it seems Melville A.D, who entitled a 2015 LP 11 Electric Poems for E.M. Cioran, has beaten me to the punch. I’m not typically much of a fan of abstract electronic music, but Melville A.D—one of the musical projects of Frenchman and long-time New Yorker Didier Cremieux—strikes exactly the right bleak but still funky note on his songs, which are entitled “Emc 01,” “Emc 02,” etc. Like Cioran’s dark aphorisms the songs on the LP strike an unflinching and elegiac note, one appropriate to the man who once wrote, “To live is to lose ground.”

Cremieux’s other musical projects include Mr. Untel, collaboration with fellow Frenchman Gerard Iangelia. Cremieux described Mr. Untel’s electronic music it to me as “cosmic music for cocktails in the bayou.” According to Cremieux, another project, Firefly Choir, is “a pure electronic project characterized by longer, slower pieces,” featuring “processed organic sounds and as little structure as possible.” Cremieux told me he is inspired by the written word: “I often find myself with many sound ideas after reading words and always try to create a soundscape or a sound illustration to such works.”

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 2/8/19

Washington, DC | Red Onion Records Moving from U Street to Hyattsville in March, Reopening in the Fall! Let’s get serious folks – 13 years ago I moved to DC with no job, a cat, a gal, and lots and lots of records. I found a little basement space on 18th St and opened Red Onion Records & Books. The ceiling was low, so was the rent, and we really loved our time there. We had parties, book readings, so many great in-store performances, it was truly a magical place. Nine years later we packed everything up and moved out of the basement and a few blocks over to a bright and sunny space on U St. I’ve loved our time there and all the new faces we’ve met, but it’s time to say goodbye to DC. We’ll be closing up the shop in March, taking a little break, and opening the Hyattsville location in the fall. This wasn’t an easy decision, but we’re looking forward to what the future will bring. I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you to everybody who has ever been a part of this crazy adventure, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Auburn, AL | From professor to DJ: The heart of Doctor Punk resides in 12,000 albums: …For Stanwick, no matter how many times a song is streamed, without a little backstory to the lyrics, the song remains only a collection of sounds — a few notes and keys that can be disposed if not careful. “[Today’s music] is just part of the background,” Stanwick said. “It’s just there. There’s not the emotional attachment to songs I think that there used to be.” It’s one of the reasons Stanwick holds onto each of the hundreds of ticket stubs from all of the concerts he’s attended, why he continues to add to his immense vinyl and CD collection and why he records every show on cassette. “I embrace this idea that the physical copy of the music is so important — to look at the lyrics, look at who wrote the songs, who produced the songs,” Stanwick said. “All those things I think are extremely valuable to help you understand the core parts of the music.”

Hamilton, CA | Hamilton man behind Sunrise Records just saved HMV — betting his money on vinyl. In a digital age, Doug Putman has a steadfast belief people like to have and collect things. Hamilton’s Doug Putman might be the king of vinyl right now. His Ancaster-based company — Sunrise Records — just struck a deal to buy British retailer HMV out of bankruptcy in purchase that will keep most of the locations in Britain open. In a world where media from music to movies is increasingly streamed and not sold physically, Putman remains steadfast that there will always be room for tangible mediums — from resurgent vinyl, even to decidedly less popular options like DVDs and CDs. “I think people are always going to buy physical. They want something to collect and have,” Putman said. “I just think it’s not going away.”

New Vinyl Edition Of The Slits’ Landmark Debut ‘Cut’ Set For Release. Produced by Dennis Bovell, ‘Cut’ was originally released in September 1979 and it remains a post-punk touchstone. In celebration of its 40th anniversary, The Slits’ landmark debut album, Cut, is to be reissued on 180-g black vinyl through UMC/ Island Records on 5 April. Overseen by reggae producer Dennis Bovell, Cut was originally released in September 1979 and remains one of the post-punk era’s most seminal releases. The record gained instant notoriety due to its controversial cover image depicting the three Slits – Ari Up, Viv Albertine and Tessa Pollitt – clad in mud and loincloths. However, the music contained within was every bit as striking. Enhanced by future Siouxsie & The Banshees star Budgie’s crisp, inventive drumming, the girls’ natural quirkiness came careening to the fore on scratchy but exuberant pop-punk tracks including ‘So Tough’, ‘Typical Girls’ and the irreverent, anti-consumerist ‘Shoplifting’, but the album’s spacy sensurround also owed a debt of gratitude to Bovell’s deft studio techniques, which graced highlights such as ‘Adventures Close To Home’ and the football- and TV-dissing ‘Newtown’.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: KT Tunstall, Eye to the Telescope red vinyl reissue in stores 3/1

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Brit and Ivor Novello Award-winning artist KT Tunstall is reissuing her debut album Eye To The Telescope for the first time since its original release in 2004 to coincide with her 2019 UK March tour via UMC. The album, pressed on striking transparent red vinyl, features hit singles “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” “Other Side Of The World,” and “Suddenly I See.”

Following the immense success of her debut, KT outsold every other female artist in the UK in 2005, won the 2006 Brit Award for Best British Female Solo Artist, won the Ivor Novello Best Song award for her huge, self-penned hit “Suddenly I See,” and a Q award for Track of the Year. She also landed a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and lent her tunes to a host of movies (The Devil Wears Prada), TV shows and Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign theme song.

Over the next decade, three further critically acclaimed albums followed; Drastic Fantastic, Tiger Suit and Invisible Empire//Crescent Moon in 2007, 2010 and 2013 respectively, keeping the platinum sales rolling and cementing the Scottish singer-songwriter’s reputation as a major recording talent, as well as a mesmerizing live artist.

This past year, KT released her 6th studio album WAX, out now via Rostrum Records. WAX, landed at #30 on Billboard’s Independent Albums Chart and the single “The River” sits at #21 on Billboard’s AAA Songs Chart.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Bureaucrats,
“Feel the Pain” b/w “Grown up Age”

Amongst other things, Canada is renowned for producing comedians and playing a whole lot of hockey, but they also have a worthwhile punk rock lineage. One of the lesser-known twigs on that leafy tree was Ottawa’s The Bureaucrats, a band that knocked-out a spectacular 7-inch in 1980 with “Feel the Pain” b/w “Grown up Age.” That record was once the domain of big-dollar spenders, but the Ugly Pop label has given it a much deserved repressing, and anybody with a deeply personal relationship with The Jam’s All Mod Cons or The Buzzcocks’ Another Music in a Different Kitchen should investigate its contents with due haste.

In the annals of punk rock, the coverage of the movement’s Canadian division frequently devotes prominent placement to Vancouver’s D.O.A. And that’s not without good reason, since that group stampeded forth as one of the earliest and finest in Hardcore’s first wave of pissed-off tumult. Indeed, their second album Hardcore ’81 is the meat in a highly tasty and unusually nutritious three album sandwich, with the bread being the 1980 LP Something Better Change and ‘82’s 12-inch EP (later expanded to album length) “War on 45.”

It was D.O.A., and to a lesser extent their hometown cohorts The Subhumans (responsible for the killer ’83 album No Wishes, No Prayers amongst other worthy material, and not to be confused with the Brit anarcho-punks of the same name) that really put Canada on the map for a generation of younger punk fans. And through relentless touring and unflagging political commitment, D.O.A.’s rep really persevered. In fact, it’s continued to linger even as their most productive musical period grows ever more distant in the rear-view mirror of history.

But the truth of the matter is that D.O.A. and The Subhumans were kicking up dust in a country with considerable punk rock achievements already under its belt. Three of the earliest and most notable bands in the land were Teenage Head, The Diodes, and The Viletones, all formed in Toronto during the formative and formidable ’75-’77 period. And part of the reason for this trio’s enduring profile relates to a four-night stand the three bands undertook at New York’s CBGB in July of 1977, with the late Lester Bangs giving them a write-up in The Village Voice.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Ben Folds, Live at Myspace 2LP reissue in stores 3/29

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Remember Myspace? By August 2006, Myspace had over a hundred million member accounts, and, in October of that year, it decided to launch its first-ever webcast. The artist chosen for this epochal event? Ben Folds. The hour-long program featured Folds in front of a small audience housed in a custom set built right in Folds’ home studio in Tennessee, performing songs from his third and latest solo album, Supersunnyspeedgraphic, as well as a couple of tunes from his previous group, Ben Folds Five.

As the first concert offered in real-time by the social networking site, Folds and his band (bassist Jared Reynolds and drummer Lindsay Jamieson) were arguably positioning themselves on the leading edge of entertainment-meets-technology. “Well, it felt like someone was,” Folds says today with a chuckle, “But I didn’t think it was me. My fans and people around me were always really computer savvy, and there was a lot of hyping of [the event].”

Now—just like it did with its release of Ben Folds Five: The Complete Sessions at West 54th—Real Gone Music is bringing this superlative show to CD and LP for the first time with its release of Ben Folds: Live at Myspace, a single CD/double vinyl package featuring all 12 songs from Folds’ Myspace performance along with five bonus tracks from the digital-only iTunes Originals series.

Featuring pictures from the Myspace gig and liner notes by Bill Kopp offering Ben Folds’ reminiscences about the concert, this is as close as you can get to being there, and the studio-quality sound may just convince you that you are there if you just shut your eyes. We’ve also created custom gatefold jacket art for the vinyl release, which is being pressed in white vinyl limited to 1,000 copies.

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TVD New Orleans

The Dip, The Dip Delivers in stores tomorrow, 2/8

Horn-drenched soul music has been having something of a major league revival over the past few years. One of the most exciting bands on the national scene today is The Dip. Their latest recording, The Dip Delivers, is in stores tomorrow.

The Seattle-based septet is known throughout the Pacific Northwest for their high-energy shows and compelling song writing. Tom Eddy is the frontman, guitarist, and vocalist. His emotive voice brings out the at-times subtle nuance of the band’s lyrics.

With a driving rhythm section featuring Mark Hunter on bass and Jarred Katz on drums, plus the impeccably crisp lines of the Evan Smith (baritone saxophone), Levi Gillis (tenor sax), and Brennan Carter (trumpet)—dubbed the “Honeynut Horns,”—the new album’s production has that classic soul, stop-on-a-dime spirit. The stellar guitar work of Jacob Lundgren adds ear-candy curlicues around the rest of the instruments.

The songs on The Dip Delivers walk the line between vintage R&B and classic pop delivered in style by Eddy, who possesses the voice of a true soul singer. The lyrics jump out as clearly as the flickering guitar lines and the popping horn parts.

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve: New in Stores for February 2019, Part One

Part one of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases—and more—presently in stores for February, 2019. 

NEW RELEASE PICK: Xiu Xiu, Girl With a Basket of Fruit (Polyvinyl) It’s been 17 years of existence for Xiu Xiu with no lengthy gaps in activity, as this is the 11th album from the group formed by sole constant member Jamie Stewart, and what’s immediately impressive upon listening is the lack of creative fatigue. More to the point, Girl With a Basket of Fruit is an intense, at times in-your-face record, but unlike a lot of music of this temperament that ends up ringing hallow, Xiu Xiu’s latest (co-produced by member Angela Seo and Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier) is distinguished by its depth. Like a lot of experimental music, the LP’s contents can initially feel messy, but that’s just it; the record just feels messy. Art-rock with an abundance of emotion, of humanity, and maybe the best description that it’s just wonderfully poetic. A

REISSUE/ ARCHIVAL PICKS: Sun Ra, Monorails & Satellites: Works for Solo Piano Vols. 1, 2, 3 (Cosmic Myth) Like Duke Ellington, Sun Ra has often been underrated as a pianist, with the largeness and vividness of the Arkestra’s endurance somewhat obscuring his brilliance as a player, though excursions into smaller groups, duos and solo settings did offer up evidence; it’s just that they could be obscured by the vastness of the overall discography. This 2CD/ 3LP set, fully authorized by the Sun Ra estate, collects two LPs of the man alone at the keyboard, originally issued on Saturn, Vol. 1 from ’68 and the follow-up from the next year, and adds a third album of previously unreleased material. The playing is consistently intense but also compositionally rich, blending beauty moves and thunder throughout. A

Alex Chilton, From Memphis to New Orleans & Songs from Robin Hood Lane (Bar/None) If you’ve already burrowed deep into Chilton’s solo career, From Memphis to New Orleans offers no surprises, corralling material from the man’s ’80s comeback releases Feudalist Tarts, High Priest, the “No Sex” 12-inch, and Black Rain, but it is a solid overview of what the guy sounded like once he reemerged after his surly, boozy, wilderness period. Back in the day this era was regularly bagged on due to its relative togetherness, but I’ve always kinda dug it (as some of it was amongst the first solo Chilton I heard), and for casual fans who don’t need to own every album he ever did, this is a solid single LP overview this portion of Alex’s trajectory. I do miss “Tee Ni Nee Ni Noo/Tip on In,” though. A-

In the early ’90s, Chilton took an unexpected turn toward the interpretation of pop standards with the album Clichés. I was underwhelmed at the time, even as the spare setting, just the man and his guitar, kinda safeguarded against schmaltz. I’ve enjoyed it more with subsequent listens, though never totally fell in love with it, so I consider it a plus that Songs from Robin Hood Lane cherry-picks five tunes from the set and combines them with three Alex-sung cuts from Rough Trade’s ’91 Chet Baker tribute Imagination, credited to Medium Cool, which also featured No Wavers Adele Bertei and James White, but in total inside jazz mode, like they were recording for late ’80s Verve or something. Four unreleased tracks seem to derive from the same session. Something of a curio, but the chutzpah levels are high. B+

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 2/7/19

UK | HMV closure is a ‘body blow’ for Exeter and Plymouth: …HMV administrators, KPMG, have confirmed that the Exeter branch, which occupies one of the largest stores in Princesshay and the store at Drake Circus in Plymouth, are among 27 that will close in a buyout by Canadian retailer Sunrise Records. Staff at the stores, who were informed first thing on Tuesday, will be among the 455 made redundant as a result of the closures. Remaining open will be 100 stores, securing the future of 1,487 store staff. Tim Jones, chairman of the South West Business Council said: “You can’t disguise it, this is a body blow for Exeter and Plymouth. “It is extremely worrying seeing flagship stores that bring people in to the city centres and are mainstays of retailing go one after the other.” The Torquay branch shut in 2003 and the Exeter and Plymouth stores were the last remaining in Devon. It follows a long list of record store closures in Exeter. At one time, the city had an HMV, Virgin Records, Our Price, Solo Music and Martian Records, which have all since closed.

Liverpool, UK | Dig Vinyl – look inside the Bold Street record shop’s new Liverpool home: …Since opening it’s doors in March 2014 Dig Vinyl has quickly become one of Liverpool’s leading lights for record collectors, with many spending hours trawling their stock for the rarities, contemporaries, and collectable records on offer. Formerly housed in the characteristic basement of vintage clothing boutique Soho’s, and having already expanded a few times within there, the time had now come for the guys at Dig Vinyl to make a big jump into a new premises. And on the looks of things that jump was definitely the right one. Now situated on the first floor of Bold Street’s clothing shop Resurrection, the place was a hive of activity when we dropped in on Saturday for our first nosey around the new venue. The brightly lit open space automatically gives a more welcoming feel, this adding the the friendly and very knowledge staff, and vastly expanded collection of records from every age and genre conceivable resulted in us overstaying our visit a bit longer than envisaged.

UK | Sunrise gets ‘physical’ with HMV purchase: Ancaster’s Doug Putnam has become a leading figure in “physical media business” with his company’s purchase of HMV in Britain. You’ve heard about the British invasion — all those rock bands from the United Kingdom that stormed North America in the 1960s? Well, this week there’s a new musical offensive, only this one is going in the opposite direction. Doug Putman — the 34-year-old Hamilton-born owner of Ancaster-based Sunrise Records — has struck a deal to buy 100 bankrupt HMV stores in Britain, pushing aside sporting goods billionaire Mike Ashley, among others, to do it. It makes Putman the head of the only major record-store chain in the U.K. — one that has $400 million in annual sales — and it turns him into one of the world’s leading proponents of “physical media.” “We know the physical media business is here to stay and we greatly appreciate all the support from the suppliers, landlords, employees and, most importantly, our customers,” he said.

UK | Fopp: The rise and fall of a music store empire: It was the mothership of an independent record shop empire that grew from a one-man Glasgow market stall to 100 stores across the UK. Fopp on Byres Road helped shape the musical tastes of thousands of Scots and influenced some of the country’s most popular musicians. But its doors have been closed for good after the chain’s owner, HMV, was bought by Canadian firm Sunrise Records. The deal has also led to the closure of HMV branches in Ayr and Braehead – but it is the loss of the Byres Road branch which has been most keenly felt. Members of bands like Mogwai, Belle and Sebastian and Arab Strap have all described how the Byres Road shop – situated in the heart of Glasgow’s student area – was a key part of their musical education in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Mogwai guitarist Stuart Braithwaite was one of the first to pay tribute to the store’s importance after the news emerged, describing it as “a great place to buy music for as long as I remember.”

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TVD New Orleans

Tipitina’s and Mikayla Braun present the ‘Best Wishes Benefit’ for the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, 2/7

PHOTO: RICK MOORE | Mikayla Braun is best known for her work fronting the rootsy rock band, Crooked Vines. But she has also been a positive force in the New Orleans community working for various causes. The latest is the Best Wishes Benefit, which will raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA) as well to assist her mother in her battle with stage 3 ovarian cancer. It takes place Thursday night at Tipitina’s.

An ace organizer, Braun as recruited five bands from across the musical spectrum in New Orleans to provide the entertainment. Expect to hear Sam Price and the True Believers, Miss Mojo, J & The Causeways, Roadside Glorious, and the debut of Micah McKee’s new band, Baby Grand. Four of the five bands represent the latest era in New Orleans music, with Sam Price, the bassist for Honey Island Swamp Band, as the veteran with his side project, the True Believers.

Besides the great music, Reginelli’s will provide free food. There will be door prizes, a silent auction with donations provided by local businesses including WWOZ (90.7 FM), NOLA Brewery, artist Isabelle Jacopin, Your CBD Store, the St. James Cheese Company and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Sensational
Alex Harvey Band,
Next

What the fuck is this? Glam hangers-on The Sensational Alex Harvey Band were a uniquely Scottish phenomenon, trainspotting and pronouncing the word “garage” the way Elton John does in his song “Levon.” Which is just another way of saying that hardly anybody in the U.S. of A. outside of Cleveland ever laid ears on ‘em, much less considered ‘em sensational.

And small wonder, because the Sensational Alex Harvey Band were simply too esoteric gonzo in the grand tradition of unapologetic English eccentrics for mass consumption. Pub rock heroes with progressive rock tendencies who weren’t afraid to shamelessly camp it up for the Glitter kids, SAHB liked to keep the punters guessing, as 1973’s Next aptly demonstrates.

On the band’s sophomore LP you get some Mott rock, a faux-snakeskin swamp blues, an esoteric hoodoo jive number called “Vambo Marble Eye,” some straight-up Glam Rock, and a couple of numbers so completely over the top flamboyant they make David Bowie and Gary Glitter look like wallflowers. Fact is I’ve never heard anything like ‘em outside the canons of Jobriath, Meatloaf, and Morrissey.

All of which to say is that Alex Harvey and Company were some twisted people, as their madcap live shows proved. Superhero costumes, props, you name it–these anything goes eclectitions (a word I just made up!) put every bit as much outré energy into their stage act as Alice Cooper or Jethro Tull, and their fanatical UK cult following adored them for it.

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