A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 11/17/17

Fives record shop celebrates 40 Years: IT was all the way back in 1977, in the heady days of glam rock and punk, that Fives Record Store first opened. Owner Peter Drisoll had just closed his heating business, and was wondering what to do next: it was a choice between a bike shop and a record shop, and to all local music lovers’ relief, he chose the latter. The first incarnation of the store was next to the Sarah Moore pub on Elm Road.“Two recent customers actually remembered the Elm Road shop!” Peter laughed…“It was very bad about six year’s ago, but the vinyl comeback saved us. Young people are really into it now,” he explains.

Godfathers of vinyl: “I thought I was out, but they pulled me back in.” After a five-year break, former M-Theory owner Eric Howarth is getting back into the brick-and-mortar record-store business. His new shop will be a mere stone’s throw away from the old M-Theory location on the corner of 30th and Juniper in North Park. “I appreciate having the flexibility to do things when I need to versus having to open at a certain time and close at a certain time. I enjoyed having M-Theory and everything else, but you’re locking into a certain thing if you’re going to be behind the counter at a retail store. That’s just the way it goes,” Howarth said. Howarth was actually looking to sell off his Vinyl Junkies business, which he refers to as his “mobile record store.” He mentioned it to Tim Mays since Mays’s bar, the Casbah, hosts the Vinyl Junkies Record Swap. To Howarth’s surprise, Mays expressed interest in buying Vinyl Junkies and took up his offer to stay on as a partner.

Learning about vinyl records in a digital age: The convenience of Googling a song and being able to listen to it in a matter of minutes was not always possible. Before radio, Pandora, or Apple Music, there were vinyl records. Junior Journalist Raines Murphy took a trip to Falling Star Records and he says he learned a lot from music guru Tony Doolin. “Elvis, you need some Elvis. How about this one,” says Doolin. Raines asked, “How do records work?” Doolin explained, “You see these tiny little grooves on the record? When you put that on the turntable and you bring the needle over, there is a diamond tip and it runs through the grooves and the vibrations translate into an electronic signal and is reproduced as music.”

Kiki & Henry’s vintage record fair returns to Stourbridge: Vintage vinyl is up for grabs to Black Country music fans this weekend as Kiki and Henry return to Stourbridge with their popular record fair. From 11am until 4pm on Saturday (November 18), the organisers and their fellow traders will be taking over their regular spot at the historic Talbot Hotel in High Street for the last time in 2017 – so customers are urged to bring their Christmas lists along. Traders will be offering a vast array of vinyl records and collectables to suit all tastes and budgets. Music books, CDs and memorabilia will also be for sale and the Talbot’s bar and restaurant will also be open for hungry shoppers.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Bob Dylan
and Mavis Staples at
The Anthem, 11/14

“Forever Young” is not a song Bob Dylan played in his first show at the big new rock club The Anthem in DC Tuesday, but it is something he embodied. Who else has so dominated American music for half a century, requiring one to venture out to see his shows with his band year after year not necessarily to hear new music, but to see how the old ones have evolved even more, even since the last time around.

Dylan at 76 does seem younger—his hair no longer hidden beneath a hat but grown out to a brown ‘fro again; his voice as clear as he wants to make it (its cragginess here and there, we see, is a choice). Behind a baby grand piano rather than an electric keyboard—and never coming close to touching a guitar, something I’m still not quite adjusting to—he dominated early solos in a setlist that has been substantially the same for much of the last year. Charlie Sexton didn’t seem to weigh in with short, stinging guitar solos until later in the show. That made the sound of the songs different, which will happen when your lead instruments are piano, pedal steel, and tom tom.

Entering the vast Anthem stage to the sounds of guitarist Stu Kimball, improvising “O Shenandoah,” the band kicked in with “Things Have Changed,” the 2000 song that earned him the Oscar he appears to have on display on an amp. The song seemed propelled on kind of a cowboy beat that seemed to fit with the matching Western suits the band wore (black hats on the left, hatless on the right).

It’s an occupational hazard to pluck out lyrics of a Dylan song to clarify what’s happening. In this case it’s “I used to care, but things have changed.” And in the second song, a further kiss-off to those who would be too fervent a fan: “I’m not the one you want babe, I’m not the one you need.” Add this to the fact that he never speaks to the audience or acknowledges them in any way and you might think he doesn’t like what he’s doing.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: D.O.A.:
A Right Of Passage
screenings and Blu-ray/ DVD in stores 12/8

VIA PRESS RELEASE | D.O.A.: A Right Of Passage is the ground-breaking classic rockumentary about the origin of punk rock. The film will be coming to select theaters in mid-November, and will also be available in a collector’s edition Blu-ray and DVD package.

High Times is pleased to finally uncover and restore this extraordinary, vintage film – D.O.A.,” said High Times owner and CEO Adam Levin. The vision for the film can be attributed to two people: Tom Forcade (the founder of High Times magazine) and filmmaker Lech Kowalski (East of Paradise). The production centered around the Sex Pistols 1978 tour of the US, which ended with the group breaking up. Forcade and Kowalski followed the band with handheld cameras through the clubs and bars during their seven-city U.S. tour.

Mixing this with footage of other contemporary bands, trends in the fashion capitals, and punks of all shapes and colors, the film makers captured a grainy, stained snapshot of the punk movement at its peak (which includes the now famous footage of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen in bed) along with rare interview and concert footage of the late seventies punk rock music scene.

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TVD UK

Needle Drop: Emily Magpie, “The Witching Hour” EP

Drawing inspiration from a trip to South America last year, Bristol-based artist Emily Magpie’s latest collection of tracks is filled with all the ethereal majesty one could ever desire. Building a reputation across Bristol and with live crowds across the country, having played Green Man Festival and a number of Sofar Sounds sessions, Emily is now ready to unleash “The Witching Hour.”

Opening the EP, the title track does just what it says on the tin; as hauntingly magical as you’d expect, “The Witching Hour” oozes a whirring, glitchy wonder as Magpie’s rich vocals soar alongside interwoven electronic soundscapes and gentle folk-inspired melodies. Inspired by a book about the witch trials, it’s a captivating reflection on the magic of simply being alive.

More traditional in sound, “Leave It To Fate” is filled with the delicate beauty of finger-picked ukulele melodies as Emily’s sweeping, impassioned vocals create a twinkling splendour. Continuing in the same vein, “Angel Face” exudes sparkling ethereal vibes as deep beats resonate, creating a celestial grandeur that’s truly enchanting. Closing the EP is the honey-sweet, fragile allure of “When We Find It.” As sunny melodies float atop driving electronics and pounding beats, it’s a haunting fusion of sounds almost reminiscent of the eerie majesty of Bjork.

Having already received support from the likes of The Line Of Best Fit, DIY, and Clash, Emily Magpie looks set to continue charming listeners with the spellbinding power of this latest offering.

Co-produced by Anuj Robin, “The Witching Hour” is in stores on 24th November.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Premiere: Kate Tucker, “In Your Arms” Single and its Virtual Reality Experience

PHOTO: JESSIE ENGLISH | For the first single from her upcoming album, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Kate Tucker goes both back in time and forward.

In the unexpectedly upbeat “In Your Arms,” which we’re proud to debut today at The Vinyl District with its free download below, Tucker and her co-writer Kenny Childers take inspiration from one of the deadliest and suppressed chapters in American history, the 1921 Tulsa Race Riots. What ended with the death of 300 people, the burning destruction of more than 35 blocks of the wealthiest black community in the nation, and more than 6,000 African-Americans jailed for more than eight days, was left out of history books and not discussed by survivors.

It was only at the 75th anniversary of the event that a state commission was formed to study it; its report didn’t come out until 2001, concluding that the city had conspired with a white mob against the black community, and that reparations for the survivors and their descendants were recommended.

As huge as the event became, it all began with a Memorial Day elevator ride that involved a 19-year-old shoeshine and a 17-year-old female elevator operator. The interaction between them was never determined. “We were in this phase where we were mining stories from 20th century American history that had been for various reasons, obscured,” Tucker says. “We tried to write within the narrative of what we were discovering. What would it have been like to have been the girl or the guy in the elevator in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 31, 1921?”

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Dub Syndicate,
Ambience in Dub
1982–1985

The early work by African Head Charge was reissued by On-U Sound last year, and now the first four albums from Dub Syndicate are getting the vinyl treatment. That means debut The Pounding System, the full-band dub of One Way System, the team-up with melodica player Doctor Pablo on North of the River Thames, and the assured advancements of Tunes from the Missing Channel. Additionally, there’s the compilation of unreleased versions Displaced Masters, and for those still luxuriating in compact discs, everything’s included in the 5CD + 24-page book Ambience in Dub 1982-1985; it and the LPs are out now.

Dub Syndicate is often simply credited as the joint endeavor of Adrian Sherwood, justly celebrated as a dub-obsessed studio wizard and the chief operator of On-U Sound, and Style Scott, previously noted as a drummer for Roots Radics and Creation Rebel, but alas, it’s far from that simple. 1982’s The Pounding System was completed prior to Scott’s involvement with Sherwood assisted by members of Creation Rebel, African Head Charge and Jamaican saxophonist “Deadly” Headley Bennett.

In the liner notes to that set’s 1998 CD reissue, Steve Barker quotes Sherwood’s assessment of The Pounding System as “one of those quick ones.” The album emerged early in the label’s existence, cataloged as On-U LP 18, and as such, was shaped by non-musical factors, prominent amongst them a lack of money; rhythm tracks were laid down at The Manor (owned by Richard Branson), where the time was either cheap or free, and the mixing was done in a single day at the Berry Street studio run by Dennis Bovell.

However, The Pounding System doesn’t sound rushed or scattershot, instead just connecting like a solid slab of dub reggae, and from the opening title track forward, there are flashes of weirdness that assist the LP in standing out. Dub and weirdness are no strangers of course, but the blending here is noticeably distinct from the Jamaican template that served as Sherwood’s inspiration, even as Headley adds beneficial flavor to what’s essentially a bass and drum foundation.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 11/16/17

Dolby Atmos for the People: R.E.M. on the lost art of listening: When was the last time you listened to an album? Or even a song? You may say last night, this morning, five minutes ago. But I mean really listened – free from other distractions, letting the sounds envelope you, phone switched off, Twitter thumbs disengaged, no YouTube comments to rail against, the stream of endless notifications turned off. Putting on an album used to be something of a ritual, a meditative, reflective act, at its zenith with the lush cover folds of a vinyl record, but still a precise act with any other physical media, be that the cassette or the CD. From scanning the shelves at the record store to filing your purchase on your shelves at home, to picking out the record best suited to the feeling of the moment, popping it into your stereo and letting the next hour or so carry you away on a sonic cruise, it was a journey of sorts.

VIP Records Sign Closer to Becoming Historic Landmark Following Heritage Commission Vote: A unanimous vote by the Cultural Heritage Commission Monday night passed an agenda item to designate the World Famous VIP Records sign as a historic landmark. The iconic sign will be stored in a temporary location before being restored and relocated to a new permanent location, pending a vote from the Long Beach City Council in December. “I’m very happy, this is a great night that I’ve been looking forward to,” Kelvin Anderson, founder of VIP Records, told the Post. “According to the mayor, designation of the sign would open up bigger opportunities for funding and programs. Hopefully we can push it to the city council vote and get to start working to build new VIP experiences in music, business and education.”

This Metal Record Store/Pinball Machine Paradise Is Completely Insane: If you’re ever in Middletown, NY, be sure to check out Stephen Keeler at his Rock Fantasy Record Store. Elliott Fullam of Little Punk People visits Keeler to explore his incredible collection of pinball machines and amazing collection of metal records. Rock Fantasy opened up in 1985 and has since hosted in-store performances by Alice In Chains, Death, Nuclear Assault, Exodus, Overkill, and Skid Row. Of course as usual, Fullam does a great job getting his interviewee to open up about the subject at hand. In this case, it’s all about Keeler’s insane collection!

A $10,000 Record Player for Vinyl-Obsessed Audiophiles, The first turntable from hi-fi audio maker Mark Levinson is an investment-worthy deck. Founded in 1972 and acquired in 1990 by Harman International Industries Inc., Mark Levinson is synonymous with high-end sound. Its eponymous founder, an aspiring musician said to have built a stage mixer at Woodstock, jump-started the craze for premium home audio equipment. To commemorate its 45th anniversary this year, the brand teamed up with another top-rated manufacturer, turntable maker VPI Industries Inc., to create its first record player, the No. 515. A 20-pound platter rotates on an inverted bearing to make it the most precise deck on the market. The reinforced base tamps down resonance to create a warm, clear, analog sound.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Mute:
A Visual Document
in stores 11/28, Rough
Trade event 11/21

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Daniel Miller and Anton Corbjin will be at Rough Trade East on Tuesday, November 21 to launch Thames & Hudson’s Mute: A Visual Document, a 320 page hardback book, available November 28. They will be joined by friends of Mute for a panel and Q&A, to discuss Mute’s celebrated visual history. Further details and tickets here.

Mute: A Visual Document is packed with artwork and photography, conceptual artwork, rare ephemera and equipment—much of it previously unseen—from the Mute Archives and from Daniel Miller’s own collection. The book features comprehensive discographies, a family tree of Mute artists, an extensive introduction and commentary by Daniel Miller as well as anecdotal and photographic contributions from key figures in the label’s story. A selection of contributors includes Moby, Alison Goldfrapp, Anton Corbijn, Bleddyn Butcher, Brian Griffin, Jon Spencer, Barry Adamson, Ivan Novak (Laibach), Angus Andrew (Liars), Adrian Shaughnessy, and Tom Hingston.

Mute was created by Daniel Miller, the son of refugee actors from Vienna, who grew up in North West London and went on to release his debut single as The Normal, “Warm Leatherette” / “T.V.O.D”, in 1978. The label quickly grew and established its reputation. Through the music of its community of artists—ranging from Fad Gadget, Goldfrapp, Moby, Can, Diamanda Galás, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds to Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Erasure, Laibach, Liars, and Ben Frost—it has had an incalculable impact on popular music for four decades.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Unreleased Ella Fitzgerald Live Album, Ella At Zardi’s,
in stores 12/1

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Verve Records and UMe will close out their year-long celebration of jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald’s centennial with the ultimate present for her 100th birthday—a completely unreleased live album. More than 60 years after it was recorded, Ella At Zardi’s will finally be released on CD and digital on December 1. WBGO, the global leader in jazz radio, premiered the album’s opening track, “It All Depends on You,” both on the air and at WBGO.org, with an accompanying article. The song, popularized by Doris Day, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, was never released on any of Fitzgerald’s albums, making this a truly rare performance.

Recorded on February 2, 1956 at Zardi’s Jazzland in Hollywood, Ella At Zardi’s features the entirety of the evening’s two-set, 21-song performance, which captures an inspired Fitzgerald, backed by a stellar trio composed of pianist Don Abney, bassist Vernon Alley, and drummer Frank Capp, singing and swinging in front of an animated, adoring crowd, just days before she’d go on to record the album that would catapult her to stardom. The concert was originally recorded by Norman Granz to celebrate the creation of, and Fitzgerald’s signing to, Verve Records, which Granz founded largely to give Fitzgerald the attention that he felt she wasn’t receiving at her then-current label, Decca. Ella At Zardi’s was planned as the label’s inaugural release but shelved in favor of the now-classic studio album Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Song Book, which kicked off a best-selling, signature series of Song Book releases. The Zardi’s tapes languished in Verve’s vaults for six decades.

Ella At Zardi’s captures the brilliance and inspiration Fitzgerald’s performances embodied at the time. As veteran jazz journalist Kirk Silsbee observes in the album’s liner notes, “We can hear a fluid and joyous singer who operates with almost giddy authority. Ella manages to find a way of swinging almost every number, no matter the tempo. She anticipates her studio songbook albums with Duke Ellington’s ‘In A Mellow Tone,’ Cole Porter’s ‘My Heart Belongs To Daddy,’ the Gershwins’ ‘S Wonderful’ and ‘I’ve Got a Crush On You,’ and Jerome Kern’s ‘A Fine Romance’… Ella uses her intelligent phrasing and rhythmic sense in inventive and exhilarating ways. Her repertoire was vast and she didn’t always remember the correct lyrics of a song. But the way she spontaneously redesigns the text in the most musical of ways is Fitzgerald’s signature.”

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Replacements,
Let It Be

Minneapolis indie rock heroes The Replacements went from snot-nosed “let’s get drunk and puke on the ceiling then fall down on stage” punks to power pop legends on the strength of the deceptively effortless songcraft of Paul Westerberg, and Westerberg reached his peak on 1984’s audaciously titled Let It Be. Taking on the Beatles takes cojones, especially from a guy who once sang, “I hate music/It’s got too many notes.”

Let It Be hardly marked the end of their “too shitfaced to play” ethos, but it was, as Westerberg would note, “the first time I had songs that we arranged, rather than just banging out riffs and giving them titles.” “I Will Dare” is a bona fide slice of pop genius; “Unsatisfied” is “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” with more heart and more soul than the jaded Mick Jagger could summon up if you tossed him into a pile of cocaine and supermodels and let him stew until unhappy. But Westerberg hadn’t lost touch with his inner punk; songs like “Gary’s Got a Boner” and “We’re Comin’ Out” would have been right at home on 1982’s puke punk classic Stink.

Let It Be is the sound of a punk growing up just to learn that growing up isn’t all that much fun. But grow up you must, as John Mellencamp could have told Paul Westerberg if he’d been willing to listen. “Everything drags and drags,” sings Westerberg on the doleful coming of age tune “Sixteen Blue”; “It’s a boring state/A boring wait, I know.” You try to call your girl and all you get is her answering machine and what does that mean? It can’t be good. And what can you really expect from the future? “Everything you dream of/Is right in front of you,” sings Westerberg, “And everything is a lie.”

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