TVD Washington, DC

Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Pere Ubu,
Les Haricots Sont Pas Salés 1987-1991

Historical shorthand locates 1991 as the year rock normalcy exploded, but naturally the story isn’t so tidy. Pockets of unusualness were already afoot, and the recordings by Pere Ubu corralled in Les Haricots Sont Pas Salés 1987-1991 detail the post-punk/ art-rock cornerstone’s graceful and cogent horizontal move into the proximity of plain sight. The chronological third of four career-spanning box sets and the last of the bunch to see release, it houses ’88’s The Tenement Year, ’89’s Cloudland, ’91’s Worlds in Collision, and an LP of additional relevant material, The Lost Album. Another chapter in what’s significantly more than a standard retrospective, it’s out now on vinyl though Fire Records.

If the roots of the ’90’s upside-down musical narrative are firmly planted in events that transpired in the decade prior, then it’s fitting that the prime example presented by Les Haricots Sont Pas Salés 1987-1991 is the direct byproduct not of the Pere Ubu documented by The Architecture of Language 1979-1982, but of the gap between, and specifically ’87’s Blame the Messenger, the second LP from David Thomas & the Wooden Birds (the second of his solo outfits after David Thomas & the Pedestrians).

Along with the sui generis shaping presence of Thomas, The Tenement Year featured all the participants from Blame the Messenger, namely guitarist Jim Jones, bassist Tony Maimone, drummer-percussionist Chris Cutler, and crucially, the synthesizer of Allen Ravenstine. The story goes that after integrating older Ubu material into the Wooden Birds’ live set, the decision was made to contact drummer Scott Krauss, revive the Pere Ubu moniker, and record new material.

These efforts were not designed to reap the rewards of any reunion gravy-train (which in those days didn’t exist for bands residing on the cult fringe) but were sensibly intended to place fresh musical developments in their proper context. Bluntly, the Wooden Birds were sounding a lot like Ubu. Adding Krauss sweetened this circumstance.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 4/11/18

Record Store Day will celebrate record stores and the vinyl revival: For generations, music lovers have cherished the experience of sifting through vinyls [“Vinyls” is not a word. The plural of vinyl is in fact “vinyl.” —Ed.] in record bins. It is a ceremonial experience worth celebrating and it’s making a comeback, according to Boo Boo Records Manager Mike White. This unique way of discovering music inspired Record Store Day, an annual international celebration of independent record stores and small labels. San Luis Obispo record stores Boo Boo Records and Cheap Thrills Records will host Record Store Day celebrations at their stores April 21 with live music, sales and limited edition LPs. “We think it’s essential to be able to shine a light back on retail brick-and-mortar record stores,” White said.

Everything you need to know about biggest Record Store Day ever in Gloucestershire: Forget Christmas, Valentine’s and Easter – if you’re a vinyl fan, there is only one day on the calendar that matters – Saturday, April 21, Record Store Day 2018. That’s because Record Store Day 2018 is set to be the biggest and loudest celebration of vinyl yet, with over 450 exclusive records set for release and a host of live events lined up across the county. More than 200 independent record shops across the UK will come together to celebrate their love of vinyl, making the 11th annual Record Store Day the biggest and best yet. And vinyl fans in Gloucestershire will be spoilt for choice, with five record stores in the county taking part, stocking hundreds of rare releases. There will be DJs spinning the black circle at record shops throughout the day, as well as live acts, food stalls and even talk of a secret street partty.

Furnace Record Pressing Plant Is Ready To Roll: “…Since we are a contract manufacturer, it’ll be whatever projects our customers entrust us to press for them. We do plan on reserving a big chunk of our capacity to press for small bands and indie labels. They are always being relegated to end of the line so I hope we can help the folks out there who are struggling to get good lead times for their projects. That said, we press for all of the majors and hope to continue to earn their business. For as much slack as the majors get, they really helped fuel the vinyl resurgence and they pay their bills on time so their support has been vital to us and many other plants in the industry.”

John Cusack On ‘High Fidelity’ TV Reboot: ‘They’ll Fuck It Up’: News that 2000 rom-com High Fidelity is to get a TV reboot was met with excitement by fans, but film star John Cusack looks to have some serious concerns. The series is believed to deviate slightly from the Stephen Frears-directed film and the 1995 Nick Hornby novel and will centre on a female record store owner, presumably in the Rob Gordon role. However in series of tweets, Cusack believes if Hornby is not involved in the reboot, “they’ll fuck it up”. “The woman part seems good / the rest not so much,” the 51-year-old actor tweeted. “But it’s Nick’s book hope at least he’s involved- if he’s not – it’ll suck.”

‘Empire Records’ Star Ethan Embry Reacts to the Film Being Adapted for Broadway: Is Rexy still sexy? It would appear so since a Broadway musical adaptation of Empire Records is in the works, Rolling Stone reports. The 1995 film focused on a group of young employees at Empire Records who made it their mission to save the independent record store from being bought out by a large chain. Starring Renée Zellweger, Liv Tyler, Ethan Embry, Robin Tunney, Rory Cochrane and Johnny Whitworth, the movie became a cult classic. Embry reacted to news of the Broadway production on Twitter. “A musical huh? The original was borderline a musical with all that damn dancing in it,” the 39-year-old actor tweeted. “The only question should be, how much weight will [GWAR] be pulling?” Embry’s character, Mark, had a hallucination that he played with the heavy metal band GWAR after eating a pot brownie.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Chris Stamey’s music memoir, A Spy In The House of Loud in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “A model of excellence for both music writing and memoir . . . I simultaneously learned so much and was deeply moved.”Anthony DeCurtis, author of Lou Reed: A Life

Popular music was in a creative upheaval in the late 1970s. As the singer-songwriter and producer Chris Stamey remembers, “the old guard had become bloated, cartoonish, and widely co-opted by a search for maximum corporate profits, and we wanted none of it.” In A Spy in the House of Loud, he takes us back to the auteur explosion happening in New York clubs such as the Bowery’s CBGB, as Television, Talking Heads, R.E.M., and other innovative bands were rewriting the rules.

Just 22 years old and newly arrived from North Carolina, Stamey immersed himself in the action, playing a year with Alex Chilton before forming the dB’s and recording the albums Stands for deciBels and Repercussion, which still have an enthusiastic following.

A Spy in the House of Loud vividly captures the energy that drove the music scene as arena rock gave way to punk and other new streams of electric music. There are engrossing backstories about creating in the recording studio, as well as insights into other people’s music and the process of songwriting. Photos, mixer-channel, and track assignment notes, and other inside-the-studio materials illustrate the stories.

A Spy in the House of Loud reads like a Mozart in the Jungle for indie rock, depicting a Southern artist’s coming-of-age in a New York scene that has been stereotyped as all punk rock, safety pins, and provocation. Stamey’s book shows another side of the CBGB era, as he searches for new ways to break the rules and make some noise.

A Spy in the House of Loud is available for sale from your favorite bookseller.

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TVD New Orleans

Funk Monkey’s Rollin—Live at the Leaf in stores 4/13, Maple Leaf release party 4/14

This weekend will be a hectic one for music lovers in New Orleans as the French Quarter Festival kicks off on Thursday and continues through Sunday. Our daily picks will be coming later in the week. For one band in particular, the weekend will be especially busy.

Funk Monkey releases their first full-length album, Rollin—Live at the Leaf on Friday and celebrates the release on Saturday night at the Maple Leaf Bar. They are also set to play FQF on Saturday on the Jack Daniels stage at 5:30 PM.

Funk Monkey’s first commercially available product, an EP, appeared in 2014 and set the stage for this latest recording by showcasing the soulful playing of the band’s front men—trombonist Greg Hicks and guitarist Bert Cotton. If those names sound familiar it’s because the two musicians play together in Bonerama. The band also features four other well-known local musicians. Dave Pomerleau is on bass and vocals, Eddie Christmas is on drums, Rik Fletcher is on organ and keys, and Brad Walker plays saxophone.

I was at the show back in July 2017 when the album was recorded and I can tell you the band was on fire. The recording, which was produced by Hicks, Cotton, and storied local producer Tracey Freeman and mixed by Freeman as well, is a pristine document of a great night of music.

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UK Artist of the Week: BARQ

Following 2016’s “Gentle Kind Of Lies” and last year’s “Optimus Prime,” Dublin band BARQ, who have previously received acclaim from The Irish Times and Hot Press, and are continuing to build a name for themselves with the release of attention-grabbing double A-side “Sassy Mouth” / “Earthquakes.”

Whilst each track is distinctive in its sound and subject matter, what remains consistent is the immense, overwhelming power of front woman Jess Kav’s vocals. Whereas “Earthquakes” is a thoughtful reflection on an explosive breakdown of a friendship and the sense of acceptance and renewal that follows, “Sassy Mouth” is a politically-influenced anthem, inspired by the courage and resilience of Ireland’s “Repeal The 8th” movement.

Flowing with funk-fused beats and booming bass lines, “Earthquakes” showcases BARQ’s self proclaimed “Agrosoul.” Oozing the soulful allure of Kav’s vocals alongside an infectious groove akin to Hiatus Kiayote or Erykah Badu, it’s a silky-smooth treat for the ears.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
His Name Is Alive,
Black Wings

His Name Is Alive is the long-running genre-shifting project/ band of Michigander Warren Defever. Of his recent recordings, none are more interesting than Patterns of Light, a release that stemmed from an invite to record at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. His latest is Black Wings, which first emerged as a CDR included in the 2016 Patterns of Light Super Set, and then as a standalone CDR last year. Both of those editions are sold out, so Black Wings’ return to print on 2LP by Happy Happy Birthday to Me is welcome. Representing in miniature Defever’s steadfast eschewal of stylistic predictability across 29 tracks while existing as its own intriguing thing, it’s available now.

Initially coming to prominence on 4AD circa 1990 with debut Livonia, His Name Is Alive surely benefited from the association with the tastemaker label, but it’s also true that as Defever and his collaborators progressed, and especially as the 4AD run neared its culmination, they left some fans befuddled and a few even betrayed by a refusal to maintain an immediately identifiable sound.

Others welcomed the range, and that’s the camp to which I belong, though not so passionately that I snatched up his simultaneous outpouring of non-4AD material (what I have heard was cool). This divide perhaps reached an apex with 2001’s Someday My Blues Will Cover the Earth, a ’90s-style slow-jam Soul/ R&B outing (featuring the spiff vocals of Lovetta Pippen) that’s roughly a thousand miles away from not just the arty ethereality of Livonia but also the indie-psych-pop of ’96’s excellent (Saturday Looks Good to Me-foreshadowing) Stars on E.S.P.

Instead of those who guardedly investigate to see if Defever’s back in their ballpark, it’s the folks eagerly anticipating what Defever will do next (while obviously having their personal favorites, one of mine being ’07’s Sweet Earth Flower, his tribute to the jazz saxophone great Marion Brown) that will be the most receptive audience for Black Wings, though listeners introduced to Patterns of Light due to their love of particle colliders and/ or musical heaviness may want to check it out, as well.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 4/10/18

The day the music died: CD sales fade out; music stores adapt: …Small local CD and record stores have been struggling for a while with the rise of digital music, Duckworth said. She said she would like to believe there has been some stability recently because vinyl record sales increased about 10 percent from 2016 to 2017. Stability can also come from diversifying by selling other merchandise besides CDs and records, she said. There is still a market for CDs and records, Duckworth said. In 2017, physical copies made $1.5 billion, which was more than digital downloads at $1.3 billion. Digital downloads declined about 25 percent from 2016 to 2017, while paid subscriptions continue to grow…“Nothing can replace a physical copy of music,” he said.

New owners plan to restart Ignition Music Garage concert series: GOSHEN — The Ignition Music Garage in downtown has been purchased by two locals who intend to enhance the record store as a venue for live music. Tim Hochstetler, owner of T.G. Music, and Julie Hershberger, front-of-the-house manager at A Constant Spring, pooled their resources and their passions for music on vinyl and purchased the store Thursday from founder Steve Martin. “I have always loved music. I grew up playing clarinet,” Hershberger said of her reason for wanting to jump into the record store business. “I begged my parents for a guitar and they refused until I was 18. So I played guitar for a couple of years.”

Musical Adaptation of EMPIRE RECORDS Is In the Works! “The movie was really about a family that formed among these minimum-wage record clerks,” said Carol Heikkinen. “There’s a lot of nostalgia now for those old record stores where you could go and talk to people who loved the same music you loved, and discover new bands. We hope the musical will capture the memory of what it was like to be young in a time before iTunes and Spotify – music is such an important part of the youth experience, and it’s what brings these characters together. Zoe’s the perfect partner for this; the movie was part of her adolescence and she not only gets the music, but the themes of friendship and family. ”

Celebrate dance music and vinyl records at this pop-up experience: Back2Mono wants to get you out of your circles and onto the dance floor. You can expect the authentic analog experience though, at Back2Mono, a vinyl pop-up experience created by Japanese DJ Shigeki Fukuda, who has been living in the country for a bit over a year. Fukuda, who was surprised by the observation that people in the Philippines “just stay in their own circles,” founded the event in the interest of bringing people together through a shared love of music. The first Back2Mono event celebrated the beauty of Japan-pressed records. This second instalment of Back2Mono, though, taking place at The Alley at Karrivin on April 14-15, will be kicking out the jams with a fascinating theme: the history of dance music.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: The Godfathers of Hardcore announced as official film for Record Store
Day 2018

VIA PRESS RELEASE | It’s been 35 plus years since their Lower East Side NYC inception, but astoundingly Agnostic Front are still just as vital as the thriving punk movement they helped create. It’s befitting that another worldwide movement, Record Store Day, now in its 11th year, has chosen The Godfathers Of Hardcore, filmmaker Ian McFarland’s powerful documentary about AF, as its Official Film for 2018.

For those of you unfamiliar with NYC Hardcore, Agnostic Front were a viper’s tongue of resonant energy. Crested by the distinctive voice of Roger Miret and revved on by guitarist, Vinnie Stigma, the band can be seen/heard as a defining timbre of angst, disillusionment, and existential struggle. From CBGB hardcore matinees to stages around the globe, AF were the educators for young fans of the genre. And possibly more than any other subset of punk rock, those kids would stick around.

Now, as illustrated in McFarland’s already celebrated film, one can identify a whole new generation of hardcore fans, all of whom recognize Agnostic Front as one of its most seminal trailblazers, however, the film also portrays the profound and nuanced friendship of its 2 most enduring members…

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The TVD Storefront

The 286,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl. If I’m honest, I’m not entirely sure what I’d be doing now if I hadn’t had the fortune of experiencing music on it. Would I ever have been drawn into music like I have been without vinyl? Would I even be in a band?”

“It’s hard to judge how much of an impact those early vinyl days had on me, particularly as they largely coincided with when I started becoming obsessed with music. But I’ve no doubt that those early vinyl experiences completely drove that obsession.

I grew up listening to my mum and dad’s singles and LPs. Their collection was wide-ranging, from early Beatles singles through to late ’70s albums by Bowie, Roxy Music, and ELO. Their collection would trip my senses. It seemed that vinyl had a particular smell like no other. The artwork or photo, blown up to the size of the sleeve, announced the record’s contents, inviting you on a musical journey.

I would scan the front and back of the sleeve whilst the disc played, discovering a new detail each time. Some of the sleeves would be pristine, like the amazing coloured records in their collection; others would be more worn, like the late ’60s sleeves that I later found out my dad would use as cigarette ashtrays when hanging out with his band! Each record seemed to tell its own story which was something which make these memories so vivid to this day.

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