TVD Cleveland

TVD Live Shots:
Lucius at Beachland Ballroom, 5/17

“Welcome home!” a lone voice screamed to native Clevelander Holly Laessig, one half of the vocal powerhouse that is Lucius, and the Beachland Ballroom crowd erupted.

There’s nothing Clevelanders love more than another Clevelander—especially a famous one. The other half, Jess Wolfe (who is equally awesome and from LA), addressed the crowd: “Of all the amazing experiences we’ve had, nothing feels as good as being here with you singing along to our music that we wrote from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you.” Then they dove into a gorgeous rendition of “Dusty Trails,” and made practically everyone weep.

It was nice to hear songs from their latest album Second Nature, live. Released last month, it’s Lucius’ first album since 2016. But don’t let that fool you—they’ve been very busy. Between touring the world with Roger Waters and lending their vocals to track after track for the likes of Harry Styles, Brandi Carlile, John Prine, Mavis Staples, and Jeff Tweedy to name a few, the women of Lucius have been busy as hell. Their new originals are as sparkly and vibrant as their outfits, and their disco vibe was perfectly capped off with a finale cover of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love.”

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD Live: Cruel World Festival 2022, 5/15

PHOTOS: JULIA LOFSTRAND | Cruel World Festival, which was initially set to make its debut in 2020, will go down in history in 2022 as a pivotal festival for some of the most era-defining bands in modern history who’ve retained their monolithic status.

Powerhouse, genre-originating bands—Devo, Blondie, Bauhaus, Public Image Ltd., and Morrissey—juxtaposed with the descendants of their music, was unlike anything I’ve experienced. Opting to cover Sunday and not Saturday’s show based on the 10 degree temperature difference somehow didn’t make the day any less hot. As we were all prepared to burn in black under the cloudless SoCal sky, this daylit underground party was filled with a joyous, chinoiserie parasol dotted, drama-free crowd. Music was everyone’s priority.

I made the long journey through the gates of the Pasadena Rose Bowl around 12:30 PM just in time catch Soft Kill’s deep bass and lofty lyrics. “We all got lost along the way,” lead singer Tobias Sinclair screamed into the mic during “Whirl.” “Yeah!” I thought, relishing the idea that all of us at this festival have at some point in our lives felt this way and that among this festival was our tribe.

Catching LA-based trio Automatic next, I thought their performance was more suited for this crowd than when I last saw them open for IDLES. I caught up for a brief interview with UK cold wave duo KVB to talk about their proper British castle wedding they recently had “to make the pandemic less shit” and their upcoming tour supporting their latest release, Unity, recorded with legendary My Bloody Valentine producer Andy Savours.

Heading over next to catch Sextile’s high-energy set, they played a brand new song that carried early The Crystal Method and Gang of Four vibes. As the early afternoon rolled on, I stopped at the “Sad Girls” stage to catch the English Beat and revelled in “Mirror in the Bathroom”—a perfect ‘80s ska-pop tune in the middle of the day.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Joe Cocker,
Live At Woodstock

Remembering Joe Cocker, born on this day in 1944.Ed.

Joe Cocker, he of the spastic stage gesticulations and mouthful of gravel, was one of rock’s greatest interpreters of other peoples’ material. He didn’t cover your song, he Cockerized it with that impossibly expressive rasp of his, and once he’d Cockerized your song you never heard it the same way again. He did it live, twitching like he’d just grabbed hold of a live wire, at Woodstock in 1969, and again on 1970’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour, and the amazing thing is not that he never inadvertently hurled himself off stage in mid-contortion, but that it took four decades (!) for his legendary Woodstock performance to finally be released as an LP.

How was such an oversight possible? Did the master recordings fall into the paws of a rapacious monkey who demanded an exorbitant number of bananas? I don’t know, but their availability, even if it took 40 years, has made the world a better place. 2009’s Live At Woodstock featured Joe Cocker with the Grease Band, who were backing him at the time, and together they create sparks.

Their arrangements are loose—too loose in some cases—but Cocker (who passed away in 2014) had one of the best blues and R&B voices of all time, and the Grease Band could cook, and the results are evident on such amazing tracks as the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends,” a masterpiece of shifting dynamics, call and response, superb musicianship, and pure ecstasy. And over it all Cocker, expostulating, roaring, screaming—he goes right over the top, Joe does, and it’s enough to leave you enervated when it’s all over.

With the exception of the overly long (as in 12 minutes) “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” which I’ve always disliked and which suffers from a slow as molasses midsection of the sort that rendered many live cuts of the era unlistenable, Live At Woodstock is a great if flawed (more on which later) LP. From Cocker’s very loose interpretation of Bob Dylan’s “Dear Landlord” (he speeds up the tempo and tramples all over Dylan’s lugubrious original) to the great “Hitchcock Railway,” which features organ, guitar, cowbell, and a rambunctious rhythm that runs right off the tracks, Cocker and the Grease Band play it loose and funky, while on slower tracks like the great Dylan tune “I Shall be Released” Cocker demonstrates his ability to convey pain and loneliness. He does the same on the slow and soulful “Do I Still Figure in Your Life,” an obscurity that he breathes pure soul into.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Faster Pussycat, Whipped! ‘whipped cream’
vinyl in stores 7/1

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Any band that names itself after a Russ Meyer film has a reputation to uphold.

And with tracks like “Big Dictionary,” the fourth track on their 1992 album Whipped!, Faster Pussycat did just that, along with other blasts of Sunset Strip braggadocio like “Out with a Bang” (not to mention the dominatrix on the front cover). But a closer listen reveals a band hitting its hard rock stride right at the wrong time, when grunge flannel was supplanting eyeliner and big hair in the hearts of American youth. The minor hit “Nonstop to Nowhere” had a classic, country-ish Stones vibe, and “Mr. Lovedog” was a heartfelt tribute to deceased Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood; those were just two highlights on an album that was funny, surprisingly varied, and tuneful.

In short, Whipped! got largely ignored in the wake of the early ‘90s Nirvana-inspired craze but it deserved a better fate. For its first- ever U.S. vinyl release (the European vinyl release is real rare and pricy), we’ve whipped up a milky clear “whipped cream” vinyl pressing limited to 2000 copies, nestled inside a jacket with inner sleeve sporting lyrics.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Robert Fripp,

What a great album! The songs are brilliant! The entire cast of musicians, which include Daryll Hall, Tony Levin, and Terri Roche defy the laws of talent! Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins also make guest appearances! And Mary Lou Green does hair! And does a bang-up job of it I’m sure!

On 1979’s Exposure—the first of his four solo albums—Robert Fripp condescends to the conventional, or as close as the dyed-in-the-wool avant gardist would get to making an album for progressive rock haters. Fripp has spent his long and illustrious career on the experimental end of the rock party; he co-founded and played guitar for King Crimson on all thirteen of the albums they released between 1969 and 2003.

He also kept himself busy during those years by recording two LPs with Giles, Giles & Fripp, two with the League of Gentleman, and collaborating with the likes of Brian Eno and David Sylvian. He also fell in with the crowd attracted to the work of Russian spiritualist George Gurdjieff and went off to a ten-month course at Gloucestershire, where he achieved so much deep spiritual wisdom he would later say, “I was pretty suicidal.” I’m thinking of signing up myself.

On Exposure Fripp enlisted the usual array of prog-rock musicians, including Brian Eno, Tony Levin, Peter Gabriel, and Peter Hammill of Van der Graaf Generator fame. But his real genius lay in enlisting Hall and Oates’ Daryl Hall in the project. Hall was not as surprising a choice as, say, John Denver, but many wondered why Fripp engaged a top notch pop songwriter and blue-eyed soul singer to participate in a project that—with the noticeable exception of “North Star”—made so little of Hall’s perceived musical strengths.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 5/20/22

Cleveland, OH | One Year Later: How This Cleveland Record Store Continues To Thrive: In 2021, GOBankingRates featured “Small Business Spotlight” nominee A Separate Reality Records, a record store in Cleveland started by music industry vet and cancer survivor Augustus Payne. At the time, Payne shared how he adapted his business during the pandemic to keep it going through difficult times. Now, one year later, we’re checking back in with Payne to talk about what he’s learned over the past two years and what his hopes are for the future of his business. “…It’s an amazing feeling when people love the records you’re selling. This is not only a business for me but a true labor of love.”

Mumbai, IN | For the record: vinyl is back: Analog music in India is growing steadily, with both Millennials and General Z collecting records, releasing albums with labels, and even a vinyl bar is now in the mix. Couldn’t be worse than this. Fifteen days after Record Store Day (April 23), Apple announced that it was discontinuing production of the iPod. The iconic gadget that changed the way we listen to, store and share our favorite songs has gone silent. If someone had a scorecard on May 10, it would have written Analog: 1, Digital: 0. While it is true that most of us stream songs on our phones and computers, the standard stream of music enthusiasts around the world converts music to algorithm-based music for the close and definite pleasure of vinyl. The form that rose in the 70s, declined in the 90s, almost disappeared with the arrival of the new millennium. It must have been ruined, à iPod, but it’s interesting

Washington, DC | From Pat Boone to the Sex Pistols: Inside the secret White House record collection: It all started on a Carter family vacation, around 2008-09. John Chuldenko’s uncle, Jeff Carter — the son of former President Jimmy Carter — was talking about a night at the White House during his dad’s administration in the late 1970s. Uncle Jeff wasn’t sure if it was a state dinner, but it “was something fancy,” Chuldenko remembers him saying. Later in the evening, presumably after the fancy dinner, Uncle Jeff snuck upstairs to the residence with a couple friends and they started playing records and “drinking wine and stuff.” They were playing The Rolling Stones, specifically the song “Star Star” off their 1973 album Goats Head Soup. The song is not rated PG, and it drew the attention of Uncle Jeff’s mom, Rosalynn Carter, and then-second lady Joan Mondale. They apparently did not stay long.

St. John’s, CA | Vinyl hunting: St. John’s woman trying to recover her father’s record collection stolen and sold while he was hospitalized. GoFundMe set up to help with potential recovery costs as the N.L. vinyl community rallies to support one of its own. Any serious collector, whether it be of books, records, sports cards or any of a thousand other things, will tell you their collection is priceless to them, no matter what the actual book value. That’s why April Miller was so upset when she discovered someone went into her father Gary’s home in St. John’s, stole his collection of thousands of vinyl records while he is hospitalized in the ICU with a severe lung condition and sold them. “Mine and my family’s hearts are so broken over this, as music is my dad’s whole entire life,” Miller wrote in a social media post. “And where I get my love for music as well. I’m gutted this person could do this to my dad.”

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TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots: Blondie and The Damned at the Masonic, 5/17

Benefiting from the previous weekend’s Cruel World festival in Pasadena, San Francisco got a special spillover visit from Blondie with support from The Damned where The Masonic Auditorium was packed to the rafters.

The Damned kicked things off with “Wait for the Blackout” which got their fans up front moving around before kicking into a mellower groove.  Greatly missed from the evening’s show was Captain Sensible who chose to sit out these handful of shows, but Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens Of The Stone Age) proved to be an excellent replacement minus the on-stage antics that fans of the Captain have come to expect.

The Damned is a rare case of a band that only seems to get better with age. With Paul Gray back on the bass and new drummer Will Taylor behind the drum kit, the bottom end is as tight and heavy as it’s ever been, giving Vanian plenty of space to wow, although he always seems to overdress for a performance, gradually removing layers throughout the set as the room (and the crowd) heated up, reaching a peak for “Love Song” and continuing through to the set closer, “New Rose.”

While The Damned clearly left a mark on The Masonic, it was pretty obvious that most of the fans were here to see Blondie and when the band finally strolled out on the stage people lost their minds. A quick glance at the Blondie lineup and you may have been surprised to see none other than Glen Matlock of Sex Pistols fame filling in on bass for Chris Stein.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: The Hu with The Haunt at the Warner Theatre, 5/16

Mongolian rock lords The Hu brought their Black Thunder Tour to a packed and rowdy Warner Theatre in Washington, DC on May 16th. Supporting the Black Thunder Tour is Florida rock quartet The Haunt.  

Fronted by siblings Anastasia Haunt (vocals) and her guitar-wielding older brother, Max, along with Nick Lewert (drummer and producer), and bassist Nat Smallish, The Haunt are a very young rock band, like Plush, embracing rock music. The crowd arriving early at the Warner Theatre got to witness their energetic set.  I was particularly impressed with the siblings’ charisma and mature stage presence; I suppose this should be unsurprising as vocalist Anastasia has been in front of an audience since age nine. The Haunt are a promising sign for rock music’s future.

Between sets, the venue—the elegant Warner Theatre, mere blocks from the White House in downtown DC—filled and buzzed with energy. At 9:15PM The Hu took the stage to the now familiar chants of “Hu! Hu! Hu!”

The last time I saw The Hu was on their first U.S tour in 2019 when they played at Baltimore Soundstage, and it was a crowd similar in makeup that gathered in DC Monday night. Seasoned metalheads, grandparents, younger people, even children had come to see this band whose sound mixes the modern and the traditional; that mashup what The Hu really excel at here. The band consists of four core members, standing at the front of the stage, and are backed by a touring band who play percussion, bass, and guitar.

Galbadrakh “Gala” Tsendbaatar and Enkhasaikhan “Enkush” Batjargal play the morin khurr (the horsehead fiddle), a two-string instrument played with a bow. Temuulen “Temka” Naranbaatar plays the tovshuur, a three-stringed lute. Finally, Nyamjantsan “Jaya” Galsanjamts takes on throat-singing, singing melodically, and playing the jaw harp and wood-carved flutes. This mixing of old and new extends even to appearances, as the men mix beads and flowing robes with boots, jeans, and their own band shirts.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Mixtape Trilogy: Stories of
the Power of Music
screening 6/12

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The official trailer for Mixtape Trilogy: Stories of the Power of Music is out now, featuring Talib Kweli, Indigo Girls and composer/pianist Vijay Iyer. The film has been selected as the closing night film at the Richmond International Film Festival June 12, with additional festivals to be announced.

Mixtape Trilogy: Stories of the Power of Music is an entertaining, impactful documentary that explores the unifying power of music and examines the relationship between musical artists and their fans. Featured artists include Indigo Girls, Vijay Iyer, and Talib Kweli. The film is written and directed by Kathleen Ermitage and is her directorial debut. Previously, she was an associate producer on Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary; Sergio Mendes: In the Key of Joy; Herb Alpert Is; and the forthcoming What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears?

Amy Ray of Indigo Girls said “It is an absolute honor to be part of this poignant film that truly shows the power of music through the eyes of the artist and the receiver of that art. It sheds light on the alchemy that happens when music enters the public space and is a catalyst for healing, spiritual connection, activism and creative growth.”

The Indigo Girls generously share details about their creative process and work which, in turn, sparks the imagination and changes the life of arguably their biggest fan. Jazz and classical musician Vijay Iyer expertly questions issues of immigration and race while inventing a life in music for himself; his work touches the heard of a “man of the streets” from Kingston, Jamaica.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Pete Townshend,
Who Came First

Celebrating Pete Townshend, born on this day in 1945.Ed.

When it comes to grandiosity, Pete Townshend takes the cake. He’s always had huge ambitions, as his numerous concept albums—both with The Who (Tommy, Quadrophenia, the abandoned Lifehouse, and The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether–wait, that one was by The Alan Parsons Project) and on his own—demonstrate. And I suppose I always took it he had an ego as big as his ambitions. But what is one to make of his 1972 debut solo album, Who Came First, on which he turns things over on two of the LPs nine tracks to other people? And performs a third song he didn’t even write? Certainly that’s an act of humility, if not abject self-abasement.

And Who Came First isn’t particularly ambitious, either: he throws on a song that would later appear on The Who’s Odds and Sods, along with a prayer set to music for his spiritual guru Meher Baba, and so on. But there’s something becoming about Pete’s laid-back approach on Who Came First—he’s not trying to conquer the world for once, just to be content in it. And the LP includes a cool bunch of tunes that you’re guaranteed to love, even if “Parvardigar” (his salute to Meher Baba) isn’t one of them.

Pete isn’t entirely without ego. While he admirably declined to fill the studio with a star-studded cast of ringers, he went too far in the other direction, recording almost the entire LP all by his lonesome. The great Small Faces/Faces bassist and singer Ronnie Lane makes a cameo, as do musical gadfly Billy Nicholls and percussionist Caleb Quaye, best known for his work with Elton John and Hall & Oates, and that’s it. Townshend even plays the drums, adequately if not inspired, and who knew? I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he also took charge of mopping the studio WC.

Opener “Pure and Easy” is real pretty, lovely actually, but it doesn’t measure up to The Who version on Odds and Sods, with its powerhouse closing and great drumming by Keith Moon. But Pete’s take is still quite nice, and well worth a listen, for his guitar solo, his equally cool keyboards, and the song’s takeout, which features some nice drumming and Townshend repeating, “There once was a note, listen,” which may be cooler on The Who version, but still packs a punch here.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Three Man Army, Two cobalt blue vinyl in stores 7/1

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Brothers Adrian and Paul Gurvitz were responsible for some of the most progressive hard rock sounds of the late ‘60s and ‘70s, first in The Gun, and later with Cream drummer Ginger Baker in The Baker Gurvitz Army.

In between those two bands, though, was the one that was perhaps the best of the bunch; Three Man Army put out three records from 1971 to 1974 that would nestle nicely in your heavy British rock collection next to, say, Cactus and Jeff Beck’s Truth and Beck-Ola records. 1974’s Two was, confusingly, their third album, and it’s safe to say they saved their best for last. “Polecat Woman” kicks off the record with a Led Zep-like boogie stomp, “Today” is very Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac, and “Flying” almost sounds like a harder version of Badfinger.

But the highlight might be “I Can’t Make the Blind See,” which, with its orchestration and soulful vocals, almost sounds like a power ballad done by Traffic. This overlooked ‘70s hard rock platter gets a long-overdue vinyl reissue with a cobalt blue pressing limited to 1500 copies.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Jeannie C. Riley,
Harper Valley P.T.A.

Those alive and listening to commercial radio in 1968 almost certainly heard Jeannie C. Riley’s crossover smash “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” the song’s lambasting of small town hypocrisy resonating far and wide and for long after. Unsurprisingly, the song provides her debut album with its title. Surprisingly, said LP, which has just been reissued by ORG Music for Record Store Day, is something of a concept album. To swing back to the unsurprising side of the spectrum, Harper Valley P.T.A. falls a little short of top tier, but it thrives on ambition and endures as a crucial artifact of its era.   

One could say (and indeed, people have) that Jeanne Carolyn Stephenson, better known as Jeannie C. Riley never repeated the success of her second single, but that’s frankly setting some unrealistic expectations, as only one other woman has managed to do what Riley did. Specifically, she (and Dolly Parton, after) placed the same song at number one at the same time on both the country and pop singles charts.

To understand how monstrously, lingeringly large this song was, please contemplate that they made a movie based on the song…ten years after it was released…and then a TV show in 1981. Barbara Eden played Stella Johnson in both the film and the show, which made it hard for young ears to shake the idea that it was Eden who actually sung the song as it continued to receive airplay on radio stations two decades later.

Recorded by noted producer Shelby Singleton and released on his Plantation label, “Harper Valley P.T.A.” was written by Tom T. Hall, with the single’s success surely playing a significant part in that laid back C&W raconteur’s career longevity. It’s a pretty terrific single, with Riley, whose singing is limber and just a notch or two short of husky, handling the narrative with uncommon assurance given her level of experience at the time.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 5/19/22

UK | Genesis, Rush, Wakeman, Oldfield white label discs up for charity auction: A host of prog goodies up for auction at this year’s White Label Auction in Aid of The BRIT Trust. Over 170 rare white label pressings from bands such as Genesis, Rush, Rick Wakeman, Hawkwind, 10cc, Mike Oldfield, Moody Blues, Brian Eno and more will be auctioned off for charity next month. The White Label Auction in Aid of The BRIT Trust returns on Tuesday June 7 offering fans the chance to grab a slice of prog rock history. The auction – first staged in October 2019 – will be hosted live onsite/online for UK and international collectors by the music memorabilia and vinyl records specialists Omega Auctions from their Greater Manchester base. Funds raised will go to support the work of recorded music industry charity The BRIT Trust, which since 1989 has donated around £28 million to charities and causes that promote education and wellbeing through the power of music and the creative arts, such as the BRIT School and Nordoff-Robbins music therapy.

UK | Rare LPs and memorabilia from John Peel’s private collection will be auctioned off next month: The records on offer were “carefully selected by [the legendary DJ’s] family.” A series of records owned by legendary DJ John Peel – once branded by NME as “the king of the live session” – will be sold at an auction in London next month. Before his death in 2004, Peel amassed a weighty collection spanning over 26,000 LPs, 40,000 seven-inch singles and countless CDs. A selection of those, as well as various items of memorabilia, will be auctioned off at Bonhams’ Knightsbridge location on Tuesday June 14. It takes place a week before the 50th anniversary of Glastonbury, which has long honoured Peel with a stage named in his honour. According to a press release, the records on offer were “carefully selected by the family, whist retaining the integrity of the John Peel Record Collection”. Key pieces in the lot include an annotated mono pressing of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s ‘Two Virgins’ LP (which holds an estimated value of £15,000-20,000), a promotional album signed by The Rolling Stones (£6,000-8,000), a copy of the rare Marc Bolan album ‘Hard On Love’ (£5,000-6,000) and a copy of ‘Queen II’ that comes with a letter handwritten to Peel by Freddie Mercury (£1,000-1,500).

The Offspring’s ‘Smash’ repressed on limited “lava” vinyl: The Offspring recently launched a 30th anniversary reissue of their 1992 Epitaph debut Ignition (available on limited marigold vinyl), and now we’re also partnering with them on an exclusive repress of their 1994 breakthrough album Smash. It’s pressed on “lava” covered vinyl, and limited to just 500 copies. Pre-order yours now while they last. Smash probably needs no introduction, but for the uninitiated, it — along with Green Day’s Dookie — helped bring punk into the mainstream, influenced countless bands in the process, and still holds up today. (It also remains the best-selling album ever released by an independent label.) It’s home to some of the band’s most recognizable songs (“Self Esteem,” “Come Out and Play,” “Bad Habit”), as well as several of their best deep cuts. It’s the band’s crowning achievement and a stone cold classic of ’90s punk, and it managed to take punk into the mainstream without forgetting where the band came from.

Adrian Sherwood releasing new compilation celebrating female dub artists: Featuring Yehaiyahan, Likkle Mai, Maria Wenda, Saba Tewelde and more. Adrian Sherwood is releasing a new compilation shining a light on female dub artists, called Adrian Sherwood Presents: Dub No Frontiers, via Real World Records. The album’s ten tracks were all produced by Sherwood, with a collection of female artists later adding their own vocals. “Many of the singers said they felt the dub/reggae arena was a male preserve and a little intimidating even,” shares Sherwood, “so we decided to invite artists to perform a song of their choice, all in non-English on our rhythm tracks.” Adrian Sherwood Presents: Dub No Frontiers follows Real World Records’ release of Hannah Peel and Paraorchestra’s The Unfolding album. Pre-order Adrian Sherwood Presents: Dub No Frontiers here in advance of its 22nd July release; check out the artwork and tracklist below.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Q: Are We Not Men?
A: We Are Devo!

Celebrating Mark Mothersbaugh, born on this day in 1950.Ed.

Thank God for the great state of Ohio. It produces rockers the way Utah creates cretinous little polygamist kids. Just look at Cleveland, where I once pissed into the front seat of a car that parked us in after a drunken night on The Flats. (And people ask me why I quit drinking.) Cleveland Rocks! has given us The Isley Brothers, The Raspberries, The Dead Boys, Pere Ubu, Rocket From the Tombs, and Nine Inch Nails. To say nothing of that great cowboy punk, Roy Rogers.

Then there’s Kent State—which I visited once, and after careful calculations concluded it wasn’t the Ohio National Guard that murdered those four students back in 1970 but Neil Young, desperate for the subject of a protest song—which has bequeathed us perhaps the weirdest Ohio band of them all.

I’m talking, of course, about Devo, which I was lucky enough to see on their first national tour: on Thorazine. It was in a seated auditorium, and during the show lead guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh stepped from chair arm to chair arm until he was straddled directly above me, playing a very berserk solo. I repaid him by drooling on his right foot. (And people ask me why I quit doing drugs.)

Call Devo Art-Punk, New Wave, or Synthpop, just don’t call them late for De-evolution, their joke philosophy which isn’t when one considers the likes of Dick Cheney and Rascal Flatts. Some people favor the “Whip It”-era Devo, but upon listening to their music again I’m forced to concede the only Devo LP I really love (or even much like) is their 1978 debut, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! Produced by Brian Eno (David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Robert Fripp also expressed interest), the LP featured their “classic” line-up of Mark Mothersbaugh on keyboards, guitar, and lead vocals; Bob Mothersbaugh on lead guitar and backing vocals; Alan Myers on drums; Bob Casale on rhythm guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals; and Gerald V. Casale on bass, keyboards, and lead vocals.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Frank Sinatra, Watertown reissue in stores 6/3

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The legacy of Frank Sinatra—one of the world’s most enduring singers—includes a studio album no one anticipated: Watertown. Recorded in 1969 and released in 1970, the concept of Watertown unfolds as a personal tragedy about a working man with children whose wife suddenly leaves him. Sinatra’s performance elicits sadness, defeat, and forlornness. Ultimately, as Sinatra so wonderfully expresses, it’s also a story about one man’s resilience.

On June 3, Frank Sinatra Enterprises and UMe present Watertown, newly mixed and remastered from the original Reprise session tapes resulting in superior sound quality. The original album sequence will be available on vinyl, while the CD and digital editions will feature eight bonus tracks, including alternate takes from the recording sessions, two radio ads, and “Lady Day,” which was not part of the Watertown concept. Charles Pignone produced the updated edition from the new mixes created by longtime Sinatra engineer Larry Walsh—the team behind recent FSE/UMe releases Sings for Only the Lonely and Nice ‘N’ Easy.

Now appreciated as a masterpiece of drama and heartbreak, Watertown will also feature, in addition to a recreation of the original packaging, new liner notes, a track-by-track breakdown from songwriter and album producer Bob Gaudio, quotes from Sinatra, plus essays by Frankie Valli, co-writer Jake Holmes, among others who were involved in the original project. All three formats—Watertown [LP] and Watertown: Deluxe Edition [CD + Digital]—are available for preorder here. Siriusly Sinatra (SiriusXM Ch. 71) will air an exclusive Watertown special in May.

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