A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 1/12/18

Vinyl in Augusta, Independently owned record stores in Augusta offer everything from vintage vinyl to newly released albums featuring all genres of music: Music lovers don’t have to buy vinyl records anymore. Ever since iPods and MP3 players first came onto the scene almost 20 years ago, music has become easily accessible, portable and seemingly endless. But there is something sacred about scouring through bins of vintage vinyl and fondly remembering when listening to music was a social experience. Sitting down and sharing an album with your friends that actually needed to be flipped over and appreciating the occasional crackle sound of a record being played gently by a needle is something that many people still cherish. Vinyl isn’t dead. In fact, it’s back with vengeance.

The World Famous VIP Sign That Anchored the Birthplace of G-Funk, Snoop Dogg, Warren G & Nate Dogg Becomes the First Hip Hop Landmark of its Kind! Long Beach, CA — At the corner of PCH and Martin L. King Ave., in one of Long Beach’s most culturally rich black neighborhoods, sits the icon: and now historic VIP Records sign, that once anchored the former VIP Records Store. VIP Records opened its doors in 1978 breaking R&B, gospel, jazz, reggae and blues acts. By the early 90’s, VIP became the World Famous VIP Records and the birthplace of G-Funk by providing the launching pad for Warren G, Nate Dogg and Snoop Dogg, who later recorded his first video “What’s my name?” on the roof of VIP Records, with the now historic sign. “The VIP was the place to go if you were a rapper to showcase your skills. VIP is special to me and I take the VIP with me everywhere I go,” comments Snoop Dogg in an upcoming documentary titled The VIP Legacy.

Sam the Record Man sign shines over Yonge-Dundas for 1st time in over a decade, Landmark sign showcases ‘magic’ of Toronto’s music history, Mayor John Tory says: Toronto’s landmark Sam the Record Man sign is shining again in the Yonge and Dundas area more than a decade after the iconic music store shut its doors. The enormous sign, featuring red neon writing on two spinning vinyl discs, was re-lit Wednesday evening atop 277 Victoria St. overlooking Yonge-Dundas Square — just steps from its former location…Sam the Record Man opened in 1959 and it quickly became a hangout for music lovers in Toronto, becoming a mecca for millions of Toronto music aficionados that lasted almost half a century. The flashing sign that towered over it was regarded as a symbol of Yonge Street and a cultural touchstone of the city’s music history.

Music To Your Ears: BJ’s Records and Nostalgia is tucked away near the Five Points at 13 Clapperton Street and is a throwback to the days of heading to your local record shop and browsing at the massive selection they had on hand. Owner Bill Loiselle says that he is constantly amazed at the youth that are coming in despite living in the age of online music. “I do hear all the downside from people assuming that the music industry and particularly the record shop industry is dying because of the surge of downloading music and the popularity of music sites,” said Loiselle. “But we have a steady stream of people in here all the time and what amazes me the most is to see kids and teens, even the twenty-something crowd, come in and buy a classic rock album or something else that generations gone by have listened to. Owning a record store allows me to see first-hand that good music never goes out of style.”

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: The Wombats, Courtship,
and Nation of Language at the 9:30 Club, 1/8

UK Indie-pop artists, The Wombats made a stop at DC’s 9:30 Club earlier this week on an icy-cold Monday night. In spite of the bad weather, fans managed to pack the venue for a cozy night of solid performances.

In anticipation of their upcoming release, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, The Wombats have embarked on a promotional tour through the US that will last until the latter part of January. The tour will pick back up in March with European dates deep into the summer. The album itself will be available in signed vinyl editions and arrives in stores on February 9.

The record’s lead single, “Lemon To A Knife Fight” has been featured on the band’s website since November and is said to have been written by singer Matthew Murphy after a David Lynch binge then subsequently having an argument in the car with his wife while motoring on Mulholland Drive, of all places.

The Wombats performance on Monday was solid and Murphy seemed to be a good form vocally, right in line with energetic bass player Tord Overland Knudsen and speedy drummer Dan Haggis.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Harold Alexander’s Sunshine Man vinyl reissue in stores 2/23

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Harold Alexander was a competent saxophonist and dynamic flutist whose early and mid-’70s albums for Flying Dutchman and Atlantic blended originals, soul/jazz and R&B effectively. Alexander recorded three albums (including a live Montreux Jazz Festival record in 1972) and contributed to various other recordings during his career.

​After a very brief period of recording music, from about 1967 to 1974, Alexander disappeared from the music scene. He is alleged to have commented on the music industry by saying: Most people don’t know what happened to me…I guess they think I’m gone. They didn’t kill my spirit, but they killed my desire to share.” Before his removal from the scene of recorded music, Harold Alexander provided the world with some incredibly funky jazz fusion tracks with a distinct otherworldly craziness.

​His most recognized LP is 1971’s Sunshine Man on Flying Dutchman Records. On that album, the most sought after groove is the straight up banger “Mama Soul,” which features insane scatting over a delicious funky flute and organ driven beat. An immaculate six minutes of mental vocals and Alexander’s flute doing exactly what the vocals are doing. It comes as no surprise that “Mama Soul” was sampled multiple times by artists from Blackalicious to DJ Shadow.

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TVD New Orleans

Khris Royal to join BrasilNola at D.B.A. tonight, 1/11

Saxophonist and multi-talented musician and bandleader Khris Royal will be joining BrasilNola, one of the city’s hottest new acts, on Thursday night at D.B.A. Expect a blend of the lush rhythms and harmonies of Brazil with the booty shaking funk and brass of New Orleans. It’s a New Orleans samba dance party!

BrasiNola evolved out of the varied musical interests of Danny Abel, the guitarist in Khris Royal and Dark Matter, bassist Ron Johnson (Warren Haynes, Karl Denson), and Brazilian keyboardist and vocalist Eduardo Tozzatto.

While there have been plenty of purely Brazilian acts on the scene in New Orleans, BrasilNola is a new concept that brings the dance rhythms of Brazilian music from the 1970s (a heyday if you ask this Brazilian music fan) into the mix with the funky sounds of the same period in New Orleans (the heyday of the Meters, Allen Toussaint, Lee Dorsey, and so many of the greats).

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The TVD Storefront

Noiseheads,
The TVD First Date and Video Premiere, “Wait”

“We love making music videos. Doesn’t matter if it’s a big production or small budget, high-level concept, or run-and-gun—making videos is the one aspect of being in a band that we enjoy most and we’ve been fortunate enough to make all kinds.”

“The video for “Wait.” was shot over 24 hours and pays homage to every music video we’ve created thus far. The tone of it matches much of the imagery surrounding the album artwork and photographs taken for it… retro and alien.

The original cut of the video is in 4:3, the standard format in the pre-HDTV world, intentionally calling to the Sitcoms part of the album title. We shot in 30fps, high-speed, and time-lapse. The 360° version features a wall of TVs programmed to the music in Matrix-like fashion, composed of raw footage from the shoot as well as actual images from previous music videos hidden throughout.

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The TVD Record Store Club

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

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

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Leah Calvert, Satellite (Vera Hellcat) Amongst other bands and activities, Atlanta-based fiddler, vocalist, and songwriter Calvert is a member of the Dappled Grays, but this, her debut solo effort, is my first exposure to her work, and it’s quite the pleasant introduction. The initial selections establish a mainstream pop singer-songwriter foundation with some rock inflection, though in part through sturdiness of vocals the atmosphere is far from insubstantial. By the title cut (the fourth of ten tracks) it’s clear that the tunes are deeper than the norm for this style, and the playing, which includes not enough bowing from Calvert, elevates matters even higher. Additionally, “Sleep” is a flat-out rocker, and her version of Tom Waits’ “Day After Tomorrow” is a late album gem. A-

Unlikely Friends, Crooked Numbers (Swoon) Like other regions, the Pacific Northwest is known for genres, but it’s guitar pop productivity has been often undervalued. I’m talking Stag. I’m talking Posies. I’m talking Young Fresh Fellows. I’m talking Dharma Bums. I’m talking Fastbacks, people. And right now, I’m talking Unlikely Friends, who feature members of BOAT and Math and Physics Club. Repping a Seattle Tacoma Olympia melodic rock triangle, they’ve got songs, some anthemic others jangly, while oozing plentiful amp edge and clear knowledge of tradition. They also integrate elements, like the drumbox in “39 Steps” for instance, that eschew a throwback feel. There’s humor, too. If ya’ dig any of the above names (and Doug Martsch and/or Weezer, for that matter), don’t sleep on this one. A-

REISSUE PICKS: Big Star, Live at Lafayette’s Music Room (Omnivore) Some casual observers might be wondering if the stream of Big Star (and related) reissues has reached a point of diminishing returns, but this first-time on vinyl edition of a January 1973 show is anything but the overmilking of a cash cow. Captured just after #1 Record was released to a cricket-like response and the resulting departure of Chris Bell, we find Alex Chilton, Jody Stephens, and Andy Hummel adapting to their subsequent trio reality while opening for Archie Bell & the Drells in front of a largely indifferent crowd. First heard as part of the Keep an Eye on the Sky box set, this stand-alone 2LP delivers more than historical import. If the set is imperfect, there are plenty of highs, and they navigate a tough period with class and verve. A-

Rising Storm, Calm Before (Sundazed) I’m far from the first to say it, but ’60s garage LPs tend to be spotty affairs. Not this one. Cut by a bunch of teens during their senior year at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, this is one of the rare long-players in the style that doesn’t wither when the needle hits the originals, which are folk-rocky and gently psych-tinged here. As the covers, which include the Remains, Love, Wilson Pickett, and Jimmy Reed, are well-executed, this is doubly impressive. Those who want their garage infused with a modicum of sneer and snot might find this album wanting, but there’s an equally strong chance the sound of six guys on the brink of adulthood doing it for the sheer love of it will bowl them right the fuck over. Original copies go for stupid money, so garage lovers WILL want. A-

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 1/11/18

The Record Parlour’s Free Vinyl Record Days—35,000 LPs FREE, January 13-14, 2018: 200,000+ Records purchased in the last several months have created a massive mountain of #Vinyl Records to accumulate since our last #FREE DAY in Sept. Over 35,000 records across all genres are out for FREE Jan 13-14, 2018. Arrive EARLY for the best selection and shorter wait time. Spend $20 and take up to 100 RECORDS FOR FREE. Please bring your own box or bag. We only do this 2-3x a year – don’t miss the 1st one for 2018 – January is our biggest. (Next date is June 2018) In addition to LPs, we will have about 3,000 45s, 78s, #Cassettes, Music Magazines and #Posters.

Beyond The Bay: Brandon’s guide to European record collecting: For some, a vacation may mean snapping famous sights, sampling local foods, or simply taking things slow. As a vinyl junkie, anytime I go somewhere new, my focus is on unearthing stacks of a town’s local record shop. The premise of record shops is largely the same everywhere you go, but the personality and selection can vary dramatically. My European getaway revealed shoebox shops with loads of personality, near-obsessive organization, and kind shopkeepers willing to accommodate tardy shoppers. During my two-week stint overseas, I visited Amsterdam, Munich, and Berlin, and was lucky enough to stop by at least one shop in each city. Here’s an overview of what I saw, and what I picked up.

The Glasgow charity shop where browsing for records lives on: In this world of music downloads and streaming, it seems the allure of the hard copy still endures. And one charity shop in the west end of Glasgow has proved there is life yet in the charitable giving of vinyl and CDs. Oxfam’s music store on Byres Road last year raked in a cool £100,000 net profit from the sale of records, CDs, cassettes and instruments. That was more than any other shop in the charity’s chain of 550-plus outlets across the UK. For Andrew McWhinnie, the shop manager at Byres Road, successful trading is all down to a sense of community.

Technics unveils new “premium” SP-10R and SL-1000R turntables: Technics is continuing its drive to bring back its most important turntables, with the classic SP-10 and SL-1000 decks set to be given a high-end reboot. Previewed in August 2017, the Technics SP-10R turntable was described as Technics’ “most premium turntable ever”, and with further details emerging at Panasonic’s CES 2018 press conference, we now know why. Living up to the reputation of the original SP-10 – the world’s first direct drive turntable – this new model is powered by a coreless direct drive motor, with the rubber-dampened aluminium platter stabilised by a 10mmm brass weight, giving it a mass of 7.9kg. Reducing wow and flutter rate to 0.015 percent, it promises to limit background noise while increasing and clarifying the audio signal in the process.

Sound System Outernational Vinyl Weekender: Strictly Vinyl conference: A free conference for reggae sound system scene and vinyl culture supporters, professionals & researchers: panel discussions, demonstrations, films, workshops etc. Strictly Vinyl is a one day and night meeting of minds and bodies, practitioners and researchers, learning and dancing from reggae sound system scene. Come to enjoy, learn and share your knowledge and experience, research, techniques and appreciation of vinyl culture. The Strictly Vinyl conference is part of the SSO Sound System Outernational #4 Vinyl Weekender from Thurs 11th to Sun 14th Jan, including Let’s Play Vinyl exhibition opening, Stuart Hall book launch, Legacy In The Dust: The Four Aces Story film showing and hands-on workshops (see Events Calendar for these days).

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The TVD Storefront

Company of Thieves,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl has connected me to my father all my life.”

“As a young girl, I used to spin around the hardwood floors of our listening room at home in Chicago while my dad played Beatles’ records out of a big old Victrola speaker, the kind that bell out like soft open flowers and fill the whole space with warmth.

He grew up a true fan through Beatlemania and loved music so much that he ran his high school radio station and worked out a deal with a record shop across the street from his school that would let him play Top 40 records on the air if he promoted their store…amazingly, he had collected all of the originals by the time he was a teenager.

Rubber Soul was my favorite and I distinctly remember that when I first heard the harmonies come in on the chorus of “Girl,” I really woke up to the idea of being one, what that meant, and how singing that word in that way could sound so important and special and provoking.

Something that has always stuck with me was when my parents got divorced, my dad decided to sell all of his Beatles’ vinyl to make rent in the transition. Oh, it breaks my heart.

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TVD New Orleans

Kathryn Rose Wood
and Mikayla Braun join forces for one night only at Gasa Gasa, 1/11

The first ever performance of two of the leading singer/songwriters on the new New Orleans scene will be a bittersweet night for the two musicians, Kathryn Rose Wood and Mikayla Braun. Steve Panacek, the guitarist who plays in both of the women’s bands is leaving town to test the waters in New York. The night at Gasa Gasa will be celebration of their long association with the axe-slinger and sound engineer.

Dubbed, the Braun-Wood Band, this one-time-only effort will exponentially raise the quotient as they unite their considerable musical powers. Though the two have performed on the same bill and collaborated in the past, this special show will showcase their original music in duet form with a full backing band.

Braun and Wood began occasionally performing alongside one another in the spring of 2016. Soulful song selections, sublime harmonies, and natural camaraderie resonated with audience members. It made sense to continue their musical alliance on a larger scale.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Uriah Heep,
Demons and Wizards

Who was it who said, “He came to mock, but remained to pray?” It doesn’t matter. But such was the case–to a degree any way–when I decided to “relisten” to Uriah Heep. I’ve always loved “Easy Livin’,” but when I was but a teenage droogie I plunked down some hard-earned money for a Uriah Heep 8-track that quickly made its way to the bottom of my 8-track pile. And I haven’t thought of them, except to chuckle at their risible swords and sorcery pretensions, since.

So imagine my surprise when I turned on 1972’s Demons and Wizards–chortle, chortle–only to discover I rather liked the thing. Sure, the lyrics are the work of somebody who has spent far too much time amongst hobbits. And David Byron’s histrionic tonsils–his voice has more octaves than there are steps on the stairway to heaven–occasionally make Geddy Lee sound like Paul Rodgers. But I’ll be damned if Demon and Wizards doesn’t have something up its sleeve–namely some good songs featuring some dandy playing. It’s not some progressive rock nightmare, it’s a rock ’n’ roll album, at least in its better moments, and Demons and Wizards has plenty of very good moments.

Demons and Wizards is fantasy-drenched right down to its head shop cover art by the infamous Roger Dean, and I expected to hate it for that reason alone. There’s nothing I despise more than your standard dungeons and dragons imagery, and Demons and Wizards has all the makings of a dungeon torture device. Things start inauspiciously enough; LP opener “The Wizard” boasts some awful lyrics featuring “a magic man” who wears “a cape of gold,” and I wanted to call it a day right then and there. Then I realized “The Wizard” might as well be a Styx song, and I have a perverse liking for Styx. There was, absurdly, hope in the air.

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