The TVD Storefront

Demand it on Vinyl: Matthew Sweet, Blue Sky on Mars / In Reverse in stores 1/18

VIA PRESS RELEASEThe remarkable Matthew Sweet, one of the great protagonists of Power Pop of the last quarter of a century, is celebrated by the release of a double CD set featuring two of his finest albums Blue Sky on Mars (1997) and In Reverse (1999).

Produced by Brendan O’Brien and Matthew Sweet, Blue Sky on Mars is a more synthesizer-dominated record than Sweet had cut in a while, but still scores highly on the tune-o-meter, with the likes of the Surf-flavoured “Come To California,” the melodic ballad “Until You Break,” and the chunky “Where Do You Get Love.” By contrast, In Reverse sees Sweet turn his focus on the kind of symphonic pop of Phil Spector, Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys, and The Beatles of Magical Mystery Tour. It was the recipient of much critical acclaim at the time of its release (May 2000), and is acknowledged as one of Sweet’s crowning achievements.

Since the release of In Reverse, Sweet has made three very successful collaborative albums with Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles, Under The Covers Vols 1—3, as well as releasing several well-received solo albums, including a new album for 2018, Tomorrow’s Daughter. Blue Sky on Mars / In Reverse by Matthew Sweet is a mid-price double CD set released on the Retro World reissue division of North London indie label, Floating World, on Friday, January 18th 2018.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Police,
Ghost in the Machine

Well, it’s National Just Say Fuck It Day (check your calendar!) and what better time to cobble together a few slapdash comments (you know, in lieu of a real review) about a band I’ve hated since the first time I heard “Roxanne”? So without further ado, here goes!

1. The Irish writer Brendan Behan once quipped, “I have never seen a situation so dismal that a policeman couldn’t make it worse.” Which basically sums up my feelings about this band.

2. The Police’s bread and butter was cultural appropriation. Nothing wrong with that–they were never punks and they had to steal from somebody. I’m listening to 1981’s Ghost in the Machine, and what a sleek machine of cultural appropriation it is! We’re talking an overproduced saloon car with faux reggae seats. And a horn that, instead of honking, plays snazzy jazz horn arrangements.

3. Like most deep spiritual seekers who discover Eastern religion with their penis, the tantric-sex loving Sting has a lot to say about living in the material world. And like most celebrity spiritual types who seek to spread the message of spiritual detachment from the material world, Sting makes me want to seek Vairagya in a cheeseburger.

4. On the very, very reggae (and very, very boring) “One World (Not Three)” Sting sings, “One world is enough for all of us.” I approve the sentiment, I really do, but I would ask that my small parcel of it be sound-proofed.

5. Whenever The Police show up, whether it be at a party or on my car radio, they immediately arrest my fun. And then fail to read it its Miranda rights.

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The TVD Storefront

Needle Drop: Harms,
“Car Outside”

Harms is the brainchild of Jake Harms who took a hiatus from his other band, What Moon Things, to create the highly personal debut album Aquarium. His emotionally loaded, forlorn musings evoke late ’80s gothic rock, particularly the work of The Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen.

“Car Outside” is the kind of unrequited love song that feels so unbearably lonely, it becomes comforting. Jake’s dire indie pop yarns are spun out over a hypnotic, tape saturated back beat, couched in a bed of jangling, angular acoustic guitars. The sound is pressurized yet languid, making me feel the album’s title, Aquarium, is more of an overall mood than a physical reference to a particular location.

“In the end, as an artist, I’m always hoping that people accept my broken shit and that it resonates and makes people feel closer to the vulnerable parts of themselves,” Harms reflects. Indeed, the vulnerability of his tunes makes for a perfect self-reflective soundtrack and offers an incredibly insightful glimpse into a much less-guarded artistic vision then we are used to hearing from the indie rock world.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Daniel Carter,
Telepatia Liquida

As the second decade of the 21st century inches toward its close, jazz has proven extremely durable as a multifaceted genre. It’s safe to say there’s too much sweet action for one set of ears to absorb, but don’t let Telepatia Liquida get sidelined amongst the riches. It’s the second record by multi-horn man Daniel Carter, clarinetist Patrick Holmes, pianist Matthew Putman, bassist Hilliard Greene, and drummer Federico Ughi, and it offers an avant-free stew with considerable bite that’s deepened with threads of lyricism and moments of substantial beauty. Recorded live a year ago at the Forward Festival in Brooklyn, NY, it’s out December 7 on vinyl, compact disc, and digital through 577 Records.

As is normal in jazz, Daniel Carter has recorded a ton, though it took a while for the tape spools to really get spinning. On the NYC scene since the ’70s, his work on bassist William Parker’s 1980 LP Through Acceptance of the Mystery Peace seems pivotal, as both Carter and Parker, along with trumpeter Roy Campbell and drummer Rashid Bakr, later formed the free improv-based Other Dimensions in Music. Reportedly coming together in the early ‘80s, they didn’t get a record out until 1990 via Silkheart.

It was deeper into the ’90s that things really started to break open for Carter. A big part of the equation was Test, a unit conceived to play outdoors (as in the NYC subway system) that could spray the free scorch like a flamethrower. Along with contributing to records by Matthew Shipp, Zusaan Kali Fasteau, Saturnalia String Trio, DJ Logic, and more with William Parker (including Other Dimensions in Music’s collab with Yo La Tengo), he was also part of Tenor Rising Drums Expanding and the One World Ensemble.

Shortly after the Italian-born drummer Federico Ughi arrived in NYC from London, he and Carter established a sturdy relationship. Having formed 577 Records in 2001, Ughi has released roughly three dozen records since, with over a third featuring the drummer in some union with Carter. That includes The Gowanus Recordings, a quartet session from ’09 (recently reissued on vinyl) where Ughi and Carter are joined by trumpeter Demian Richardson, bassist Dave Moss, and pianist Matthew Putman.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 12/5/18

New York, NY | RIP Bleecker Bob Plotnick, the Man Who Gave America New Wave, Punk, Power Pop in the 1970s: It’s a couple of days late, but I’m reporting to you that Bleecker Bob Plotnick died November 29th at age 75. If you lived in Greenwich Village in the late 1970s or cared about music at all from that era, you will know Bob’s name or the name of his record store. He — and it– were seminal in bringing New Wave, punk, power pop, whatever you want to call it to America. Without him it’s unlikely there would be the Ramones, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, New York Dolls, so many acts now so well established in the music firmament but 40 years ago just whispers from Melody Maker the NME.

New York, NY | Robert Plotnik, ‘Bleecker Bob’ of Record-Store Fame, Dies at 75: Robert Plotnik, a lapsed lawyer better known as the namesake of Bleecker Bob’s Records, a Greenwich Village vinyl mecca that survived the dawning of cassettes, CDs and downloading and the death of CBGB, the nearby club where punk rock was cradled, died on Thursday in Manhattan. He was 75. The cause was kidney failure, his partner, Jennifer Kitzer, said. He had been incapacitated since having a stroke in 2001. Bleecker Bob’s was immortalized in a 1993 episode of “Seinfeld” (when Kramer and Newman fail to make a windfall selling used records there), in the opening credits of “Saturday Night Live,” and in Colson Whitehead’s 2009 novel, “Sag Harbor.” It was also where a customer named Patti Smith met a record salesman named Lenny Kaye more than 40 years ago and invited him to accompany her on guitar at a poetry reading. He’s been accompanying her ever since.

Kidderminster, UK | Kidderminster man jailed for ‘fake’ vinyl records scam: Stephen Russell, 65, of Puxton Drive, Kidderminster, was part of a group which distributed unlicensed recordings of 1960s northern soul artists. On Friday (November 30), a court heard how 55,000 unlicensed records were seized by police following an investigation by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which represents record companies in the UK like Warner Music, Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group. Unofficial copies of original recordings included Marvin Gaye’s This Love Starved Heart Of Mine, Bettye Swann’s Kiss My Love Goodbye, Major Lance’s Investigate and Art Freeman’s Slippin Around With You. The BPI stumbled upon the operation after test-purchasing vinyl records sold online, which were found to have defects like misspellings, blurred typefaces, and a large quantity with the words ‘not for sale’, ‘promotional copy’, and ‘DJ copy’ written on them.

Syracuse, NY | Record collector opens shop in East Syracuse: Tom Little has been collecting vintage vinyl records for the past 10 years, and has already accumulated more than 40,000 records to date ­— a kaleidoscope of classic rock, blues, psychedelic and doo-wop records from the 50s through the 90s, now being sold at his new record shop in the village of East Syracuse on W Manlius Street. Little, 53, is a record collector and owner of Syracuse Vintage Vinyl, a used record store that opened in the village on Thursday, Nov. 15. Located on 205 W. Manlius Street along a strip also inhabited by two tattoo shops and Serres Donut Shop, this is the business’ first storefront. “I buy all the time, and I love to buy the stuff that sells quick,” said Little, citing records like Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” as best-sellers. “It’s just something fun to do,” he said. “I mean, how cool is it to own a record store? Pretty freaking cool.”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: 7-Inches
For Planned Parenthood Announces Vol. 2 – Pt. 1

VIA PRESS RELEASE | In 2017, members of the creative community announced 7-inches for Planned Parenthood, a curated series of 7-inch vinyl records released as a box set and digital downloads to benefit Planned Parenthood. Musicians, artists, poets, and others took time to contribute to the project, raising awareness of the essential health care Planned Parenthood provides to patients every day, all across the country.

Today, the collective kicks off Vol. 2 – Pt. 1 with a new split single, the A-Side being the previously unreleased song “All I Want” by The National’s Matt Berninger and Stephan Altman featuring Julien Baker. The song made its live premiere this past Friday when Berninger and Altman joined Baker at her sold out boy genius show at LA’s The Wiltern. The release also features Hanif Abdurraqib performing his poem “Defiance, Ohio is the Name Of A Band” as a B-Side. The single’s artwork, titled “Crimson sun, blue heart” is provided by Emma Kohlmann, and created in watercolor and sumi ink. The single will be available for purchase and streaming on December 14th. Stay tuned for more announcements on both the digital and physical version of Volume 2. Visit 7inchesforplannedparenthood.com for more information and to pick up a copy of Volume 1.

On the next phase of the project, Matt Berninger said, “7-inches for Planned Parenthood is essentially an independently run record label devoted entirely to protecting sexual and reproductive rights. Thanks to the huge community of people who helped launch Volume 1, we are very excited to launch Volume 2.”

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TVD Radar: John Coltrane, 1963: New Directions 5-LP vinyl
box set in stores 12/7

VIA PRESS RELEASEA selection of Coltrane’s 1963 Impulse! recordings, derived from the original albums Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, Dear Old Stockholm, Newport ’63 and Live at Birdland.

In the brief, bright arc that is the career of John Coltrane, 1963 marks a point of transition between past jazz masterpieces and future work, which would transcend the boundaries of the music itself. That year’s recorded output shows movement in many directions: a look back at the past, continued examination of a familiar repertoire, exploration of more traditional formats and a look forward at compositions and approaches that would further extend the reach of jazz.

This set includes Impulse! recordings from 1963 including the recently released Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album, which was recorded by Coltrane’s Classic Quartet on March 6, 1963. The following day, they recorded standards with singer Johnny Hartmann, which was released that year and was a great commercial success for Coltrane. Other recordings come from Live at Newport ’63 and works from Dear Old Stockholm that were recorded in 1963. Also included are recordings from Live at Birdland.

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The TVD Storefront

Daniel Steinbock,
The TVD First Date

“When I was 7 years-old, I was the only one in my family who listened to vinyl. My mom had held onto about 50 of her favorite records from the ’60s and ’70s and they’d sat on a bookshelf, unplayed, for the duration of my short life thus far. I didn’t even know what the things were, mentally lumping them in with my parents’ outsized collection of cookbooks and Time Life volumes on arcane subjects outside of my childhood universe.”

“That is, until the day my Mom brought home a second-hand record player. She’d bought it on a whim, thinking it’d be fun to give her old records a spin. I watched in rapt attention as she taught me how to pull the vinyl out of its sleeve without scratching it and how to place the needle gently at the edge of the spinning black disc. A scratchy silence burst from her old Pioneer speakers and a new world opened up to me.

Over the following days and weeks, I worked my way through my Mom’s collection, one record at a time: J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Guantanamera by The Sandpipers, albums by The Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, the Limeliters, Glenn Yarbrough, (so much Glenn Yarbrough…). My Mom’s tastes leaned heavily toward the early ’60s folk ensembles. I’d put each record on and then explore the album jacket inside and out, reading every word of the liner notes, transported by the beat poet language and tales from recording studios decades earlier. Sitting cross-legged on the living room carpet, eyes lost in the cover art on my lap, voices from other times sang from the Pioneer speakers and pulled me into imaginary realms of my own making.

After dipping into all of the albums in my Mom’s collection, I found a handful of favorites that I would return to in the months and years to come. Among these, one record stood above all others in my esteem; one record I played over and over with loving obsession: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles.

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TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: The Hope State

This week we’re getting emotional with The Hope State’s Taylor Johnson, aka our latest Artist of The Week. He’s just released his wonderfully reflective new album Skeletons, a collection of truly heartfelt songs that deserve your undivided attention.

Canadian artist Taylor Johnson developed the moniker The Hope State originally in Saskatoon. He later moved to Los Angeles before deciding to reside back in Canada, but changing up the pace a bit in Toronto. All the while Taylor has been honing his skills, preparing to release his poignant debut album which he can now share with the world. The latest single to be taken from the album is the incredibly powerful “Butterflies.”

The track combines earthy elements of folk-rock with impressively honest lyricism to create something incredibly immersive and compelling. “Butterflies,” along with the rest of the album, deals with an array of intensely honest subject matters including depression, addiction, and hope. Taylor deals with each of these subjects with dignity and grace, all the while wearing his heart on his sleeve to create something beautifully introspective. Fans of Death Cab For Cutie and Iron & Wine will feel at home here.

Skeletons is in stores now.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Doug Paisley,
Starter Home

It’s been four years since Toronto-based singer-songwriter Doug Paisley last released a record. In terms of quality, Starter Home, which is out now through Paisley’s longtime label No Quarter, picks up without a hitch where the man left off, courtesy of a sound that’s substantially country in nature, although sharpness of playing and depth of lyrical content place it head-and-shoulders above the vast majority of the form’s contemporary practitioners. While assuredly part of a long tradition, the familiarity of Paisley’s approach reliably sidesteps worn-out tropes, and if concise, his latest delivers a powerful statement (and please note a purchasing option that offers a bonus 45). It’s great to have him back.

With Starter Home’s opening title track, Doug Paisley wastes no time navigating through a narrative peppered with tough emotional truths. The song concerns home-buying and family life, and more specifically, the hopes and satisfaction, followed by the disappointments and disillusionments, that can occur with the passage of time.

Instrumentally and vocally, it’s pretty much dead solid perfect in how it captures a strain of country music primed at the very least for sturdy popularity if not widespread appeal. Enhancing Paisley’s fluid guitar and vocal warmth, there’s Michael Eckart’s pedal steel and later in the tune, John Sheard’s piano. However, it’s the content of the words that makes it clear how this new batch of tunes is destined to delight a smaller audience.

It’s not just in how the he describes a noisy motorcyclist as an asshole, therefore firmly nixing the radio play he wouldn’t have received anyway. No, it relates directly to how “Starter Home” is the exact opposite of “go down to the honky-tonk” escapism, dealing instead with the cold hard facts of existence and in a manner that steadfastly avoids the clichés that can hinder realism as a musical tactic.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 12/4/18

New Orleans, LA | One Stop Record Shop: Legendary guitarist Earl King (“Lonely, Lonely Nights” and “Let the Good Times Roll”) claimed that he walked into the One Stop Record Shop one day in late 1963 and was told “All your gang is in the back.” Sure enough, behind the stacks of 45s and LPs he found Professor Longhair, Tommy Ridgley, Eddie Bo, and others huddled around the store’s piano. This was the same room where in early 1960 a teenaged Irma Thomas auditioned for Ron and Ric Records’ Joe Ruffino, which led to her cutting the hit “Don’t Mess With My Man” (the preceding lyric is “You can have my husband, but please…”). The record jumpstarted the career of the future Soul Queen of New Orleans.

The 50 Best Rock Albums Ever: The 50 greatest rock albums of all time, as chosen by you. When we asked people to vote for their favourite ever rock album, we didn’t restrict the options to a pre-defined list of titles we’d come up with over pints in the pub. You could add any album you liked. What happened? Well, a slew of old favourites popped up when we compiled the results, but there were a few surprises too, albums we probably wouldn’t have assumed would make to Top 50. And it’s made the results a lot more interesting. So if you voted, thank you, Otherwise, just enjoy a selection of 50 albums that genuinely broke the mould.

Help MOJO Find The World’s Best Record Shops! Nominate the music emporia that have made your lives better, and we’ll feature the most amazing in MOJO. …Wherever in the world it is, your dream shop will be a fantastic place to spend time. Maybe it looks great, has a cool specialism or super-friendly and knowledgeable staff. Maybe it’s on a boat or in someone’s front room. Perhaps it’s patronised by the local music-making community and/or the guy from Endless Boogie. Maybe it’s all black metal, in Bali. Or just more conventionally, you know, great. Possibly this retail wonder is in your own back yard – a regular haunt/life-support system – or a vision you’ve stumbled on during your travels.

Vinyl revival boosts Crosley Brands revenue: Crosley Brands, a venerable Louisville electronics company that has its origins in the heyday of radio, has been capitalizing on a surprising trend: a resurgence of vinyl. The analog technology, which requires a physical medium (the phonograph record) and a mechanical device that spins the record and decodes it with a needle, is finding ever more fans in an era dominated by streaming music and handheld devices that hold tens of thousands of songs. And if it weren’t for a gutsy decision and impromptu trip to China by a young CEO in the early 1990s — when vinyl, thanks to the dominance of CDs, seemed to go the way of 8-track — Crosley might have folded long before the vinyl renaissance.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live Shots: Phosphorescent and
Liz Cooper and The Stampede at The Vic Theatre, 11/30

It’s been five years since Matthew Houck—better known as Phosphorescent—released his critically acclaimed Muchacho, but we were finally blessed with a new (and excellent) album, C’est La Vie, this year.

The time in between albums has served him well—he’s a family man now and an east coaster, having moved from Nashville to Brooklyn. And through all the life events, I can name at least one thing that hasn’t changed, and that’s his ability to write gorgeous music. It was a thrill to have him and his incredible band back in Chicago last Friday to kick off the weekend with a fantastic show at The Vic.

Phosphorescent’s tour continues through select U.S. cities until the end of the year and shouldn’t be missed. Nashville’s Liz Cooper and The Stampede opened the show, and quickly won over the crowd with their psychedelic rock and passionate set.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Soundgarden,
Louder Than Love

Sure, the best and most badass song on Soundgarden’s 1989 LP Louder Than Love (“Hands All Over”) sounds like it was borrowed from The Cult who in turn borrowed it from Led Zeppelin, but who hasn’t fallen in love with a copy of a copy at least once in their life? When these Seattle longhairs appeared on the scene I was convinced they had to signify SOMETHING besides what goes around comes around again, and they do—none of their grunge compatriots did half as good a job at melding Led Zep with pure battering ram noise to create a din that sacrifices such niceties as melody and catchy riffs in favor of sheer sonic bluster.

When push comes to shove Louder Than Love is more than happy to push and shove your ears around, and if it’s a good old-fashioned eardrum pummeling you’re looking for you could certainly do worse. Q magazine named it one of the 50 Heaviest Albums of All Time for good reason. Barbaric riffs of the Jimmy Page variety abound, which is great, but Jimmy Page hooks don’t, which isn’t a good thing at all. Most of these songs just don’t stick with you the way Led Zeppelin songs do, with the remarkable “Hands All Over”—which is perhaps the best Zeppelin rip ever—being the exception. Okay, so the riff that propels “Uncovered” is sticking with me, but that’s because it might as well be a Led Zeppelin riff—put it under the microscope and you’re bound to discover Jimmy Page’s DNA.

Soundgarden’s classic rock influences extend beyond Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and Company. “Gun” is Black Sabbath heavy, while “Power Trip” reminds me—if nobody else—of the molten psychedelic sludge that Robin Trower was dishing out in the mid-seventies. As for “Loud Love” it sounds like a band whose name is on the tip of my tongue—Mississippi? Lesbian Boy? The Bee Gees? What is obvious from listening to Louder Than Love is that Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, and Hiro Yamamoto spent their formative years sitting around smoking pot and listening to songs that should have been on the Dazed and Confused soundtrack.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Love Actually OST 2-LP white vinyl in stores 1/25

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Ten interlocking love stories, one big (mostly) happy ending…

Love Actually is one of the best romantic comedies of the last two decades, capturing, in poignant, bittersweet fashion, all of the complexity of modern love. One reason why Richard Curtis’ 2003 film succeeded with critics and audiences alike (and still plays on cable and even in theaters all the time) was its incredible cast: Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Billy Bob Thornton, Andrew Lincoln, Rowan Atkinson…the list goes on.

But another very important reason was its score; as Curtis writes in the personal note we’ve included in the package, “Without its music, Love Actually wouldn’t work at all. I know—because I saw the film without the music, and it’s a shocker.” Indeed, the high wattage star power of the actors in Love Actually is matched by its musical artists: The Beach Boys, Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, Norah Jones, Dido, Eva Cassidy, Joni Mitchell, The Pointer Sisters, and more (plus a bonus Christmas-themed track from Otis Redding)!

For its maiden release on vinyl, we’ve created a new, gatefold jacket and pressed up 1,000 copies in white vinyl.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Avengers, (s/t)

The state of California produced a compelling batch of ‘70s punk treasures, and high in their number is the work of the Avengers. A key component in San Francisco’s initial wave, by 1979 they were done, with the majority of the band’s releases surfacing post-breakup. Avengers first appeared in ’83, subsequently drifting in and out of availability while undergoing assorted CD expansions; the core LP is the group’s essential document and by extension is a mandatory acquisition for punk collectors.

The definitive lineup of the Avengers, specifically Jimmy Wilsey on bass (replacing Jonathan Postal), Danny Furious on drums, Greg Ingraham on guitar, and Penelope Houston on vocals, only issued one EP while extant, though they were still quite busy during their relatively brief reign and impressively so given the lack of hospitable venues for the new music. The payoff for the Avengers’ tenacity was a warm-up slot at The Sex Pistols’ last show, sandwiched between the Nuns and the headlining spectacle, the event taking place at San Fran’s Winterland Ballroom in January of ’78. Reportedly besting the Pistols (the recorded evidence bears this out), the opportunity seemed to cultivate disillusionment in the band, especially in Furious, though it was Ingraham who quit a year later, his spot filled by Brad Kent (of D.O.A., Pointed Sticks, Subhumans etc). The Avengers dissolved in June of ’79, a few months prior to the arrival of their sophomore 12-inch.

Avengers, or The Pink Album as it’s sometimes referred, corrals both EPs with added material of the same vintage to succinctly detail their enduring worthiness. Opening with the debut for Dangerhouse, the LP immediately makes the strongest possible case for the four-piece as one of the finest US punk acts of the pre-HC era. For many the mantra of punk perseveres as “young loud and snotty,” but it’s those delivering the ingredients with a heaviness spawned from relentless determination (a.k.a. practice) that sit at the head of the class; beginning with exquisite guitar clamor, “We Are the One” brings heft, velocity, and an uncompromising vocal presence to the convulsions of ‘77’s rock revolution.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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