TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

They’ll stone you when you’re at the breakfast table / They’ll stone you when you are young and able / They’ll stone you when you’re tryin’ to make a buck / Then they’ll stone you and then they’ll say “good luck” / Tell ya what, I would not feel so all alone / Everybody must get stoned

I was up most of night with springtime allergies and woke up late this morning. I’m not sure if my scratchy eyes are from our beloved kitty Nori or from the massive amount of green pollen covering most of the canyon.

Even though we’ve been digging the warm early spring weather, a part of me is wishing for one of those April showers to wash away… well, to wash away everything. Can we simply restart everything?

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 31: Tracy Bonham

Tracy Bonham can do it all. You might remember her from the late ’90s when she released The Burdens of Being Upright abum and screamed right into the faces of the alternative rock world. Or, maybe you learned about her through her terrific albums and career that followed over the course of the last twenty years, but now, she’s back and she wants to teach you a lesson!

No, like a real lesson. Tracy takes a studious approach to music and wants to share her musical training with kids who have an interest in learning about it. Her newest project, Young Maestros, Vol. 1 has the goal of instilling into students some solid musical theory without pandering to them or talking down to them (kids hate when you do that!).

Join Tracy and me as we talk about her career and Young Maestros; you might even walk away learning some music theory; maybe even a little math. Did I just use math in an attempt to hook someone into listening to a show? Don’t worry, you’ll love it! Don’t forget to take notes, there might be a quiz at the end.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: Steve Miller Band, Steve Miller Band Live! Breaking Ground: August 3, 1977 2LP set in stores 5/14

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Guitarist, multi-platinum-selling singer-songwriter, bandleader, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and Songwriters Hall of Fame electee Steve Miller shares the second song from his historic soon-to-be-released album of an epic live show from 1977.

“Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma” is streaming now at all DSPs. The new full-length concert recording, Steve Miller Band Live! Breaking Ground: August 3, 1977, arrives via Sailor/Capitol/UMe on Friday, May 14. A variety of formats will be available, including digital, CD, and 2xLP black vinyl. Pre-orders are available now. The accompanying live concert video featuring the full performance will be available to stream on The Coda Collection on Amazon Prime Video. The album was heralded last month with the release of a fantastic version of the classic “Jet Airliner (Live).”

Says Miller: “This show from August of 1977 at the Cap Center in Landover, Maryland, captures the band right at the peak after The Joker, and in the middle of Fly Like an Eagle and Book of Dreams, a stream of hits…We decided to call it Breaking Ground because that’s exactly what we were doing.”

Steve Miller Band Live! Breaking Ground: August 3, 1977 includes original liner notes by music journalist David Fricke who says, “Breaking Ground captures the Steve Miller Band on stage in one of their biggest years, 1977. They were at a perfect crossroads of psychedelic zeal and progressive, popcraft while staying true to Miller’s first love, the blues.”

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Graded on a Curve:
Poco,
Pickin’ Up the Pieces

Remembering Rusty Young, Poco co-founder, with a look back via our archives from just last month.Ed.

Can I be honest? I chose to review Poco’s 1969 debut Pickin’ Up the Pieces based solely on its cover. Sure it’s an excellent LP and pioneering work of country rock, but it’s the cover that truly matters to me because there’s a great story behind it. So here goes.

Seems bassist Randy Meisner–who would shortly thereafter become a founding member of the Eagles–quit the band in a royal snit after Richie Furay and Jim Messina (both formerly of Buffalo Springfield) excluded him from participating in the album’s final mix. This left Poco in a rather awkward position when it came to the painting of the band’s members meant to grace the album cover. Poco might have done any number of things to remedy this situation, the most obvious and simple one being to scrap the cover and come up with a new one. Instead they opted to air brush poor Randy from the cover Josef Stalin style–and replace him with a dog.

I’ve done a bit of research on said pooch, and he’s rather a mystery. I’ve had no luck contacting him through my many musician and record company connections, and I could find no evidence that he was paid for his role as stand-in. Nor was I able to determine if he actually played on the album. I hear no barking, which isn’t to say they buried him way back in the vocal mix. He may also have played bass. Should you happen to run into him tell him to give me a ring. I’d love to know how he’s doing.

Pickin’ Up the Pieces is often placed alongside The Byrds 1968 LP Sweetheart of the Rodeo as a seminal work of what would soon become known as country rock, but there are critical differences between the two. Sweetheart of the Rodeo included only two Byrds’ originals; Pickin’ Up the Pieces is composed solely of Poco originals. The Byrds sought inspiration from the past, paying homage to their country forebears, and it lends their music an old-timely hillbilly sound. Poco, on the other hand, were looking forward to a future that would include such studio slicks as the Eagles and Pure Prairie League.

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Demand it on Vinyl: Grateful Dead, Road Trips Vol. 2 No. 3–Wall
of Sound
2-CD set in stores 5/15

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Road Trips was the successor to the Grateful Dead’s Dick’s Picks series, offering previously unreleased live shows for sale only to the Dead’s online audience. Now, Real Gone Music is bringing the Road Trips series to music retail for the first time. Road Trips Vol. 2 No. 3—Wall of Sound shines a light on the Grateful Dead’s infamous sound system.

Dead chronicler Dennis McNally’s liner notes to this Road Trip are a must-read, succinctly expounding upon how Bear’s vision of creating a sound system free of distortion morphed into a 641-speaker monster (there’s a great picture of it inside the booklet) that required three trucks to transport and five hours to set up, almost bankrupting the band and causing them to retire from the road for almost two years.

But it was truly a singular sonic achievement, one that, as McNally puts it, “allowed the band to go places they’d only dreamed of.” The two shows excerpted on this 2-CD set, 6/16/74 at the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines and 6/18/74 at Freedom Hall in Louisville, beautifully illustrate the point: with a PA this loud, the band could play softer, freeing them to mesh ever more subtly and intricately.

The Des Moines “Eyes of the World” is simply definitive, and the Louisville medley of “Weather Report Suite”/”Jam”/”The Other One”/”It’s a Sin Jam”/”Stella Blue” is one-of-a-kind. This Trip’s a treasure…first time ever available at regular music retail.

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Graded on a Curve: Gordon Lightfoot,
An Introduction to Gordon Lightfoot

Robbie Robertson has called Canadian folk rock singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot “a national treasure,” and so he is. Canadians don’t just love their Orillia, Ontario native son, they worship him in temples that can only be entered by pilgrims clad in the holy sandals Gord wore on the cover of his 1974 LP Sundown.

And their devotion is understandable–Lightfoot has contributed many a timeless song to the world, and none other than Bob Dylan has gone on record saying that when he hears a Lightfoot song he wishes “it would last forever.”

Lightfoot wrote many a great song from 1965 to 1970 with United Artists, including “Early Morning Rain,” “Ribbon of Darkness,” and “Canadian Railroad Trilogy,” to name just a few. But he recorded his best known work for Warner/Reprise Records, with whom he signed in 1970. And it’s this work you’ll hear on 2018’s aptly titled compilation An Introduction to Gordon Lightfoot.

There are other Lightfoot compilations out there, but they either include music only your hardcore fans will want to own (see 1999’s Songbook or 2019’s The Complete Singles 1970–1980). 1975’s Gord’s Gold is arguably the best comp out there, including as it does material from both his United Artists and Warner Brothers years, but it omits “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” (inexcusable!) and (even more inexcusable!) includes re-recordings of the songs from Lightfoot’s years with United Artists.

All ten of the tracks on An Introduction to Gordon Lightfoot provide indisputable proof that Lightfoot is the best singer-songwriter to stand his ground in Canada (Neil and Joni and Robbie defected and never looked back), and if you’re inclined to argue this fact with the peace-loving Canucks of the Great White North they might just crown you with a hockey stick and toss you into Lake Ontario.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 4/16/21

Denton, TX | Denton businesses find new life after pandemic closures: Mad World Records. …Mad World Records, which operated a storefront on the Denton Square for nine years, closed its doors in June and moved its inventory to an online store that has been operating since, owner Mark Burke said. One factor in Burke’s decision to close the store was that his family was impacted personally by the pandemic early on. Burke’s brother — a former employee at the record store who now lives in New York City — contracted a particularly bad case of COVID-19 through his work with people who have special needs. Now, about a year after getting sick, he still suffers from complications, including fevers and lung trouble, though Mark Burke said his brother was healthy and athletic before contracting the virus. “We had no desire to be any kind of source where people are going to go in and touch everything and breathe on everything and be in this enclosed space,” Burke said. “We were always so busy with so many people, even if they weren’t buying stuff. There are so many people on the Square all the time that it was just a germ trap, and my wife and I both decided there’s no way we’re going to put money over lives.”

New York, NY | New record store brings hard wax to Industry City: A new record store in Industry City promises to be a haven for crate-digging Brooklynites. HiFi Provisions, a passion project from collector Matthew Coluccio, opens its doors in Industry City to wax-spinners this week — making the owner’s hobby official, after ten years of obsessive collecting. “It was kind of a hobby gone awry,” said Coluccio. “Records are kind of like cockroaches, more and more of them just keep showing up.” Throughout his years of collecting, Coluccio often sold records and stereo equipment at the yearly Carroll Park flea market in Carroll Gardens, but never had plans to open up a brick-and-mortar store. Yet, after a conversation at a birthday party with an Industry City executive, he decided to turn his side project into a full-blown business. Now, he’s set up a space in the sprawling waterfront complex and filled with records and other collectibles, including objects like a vintage fly-fishing rod and piles of old stereo equipment. The collector says he envisions the shop filling to the brim with records and other items, creating a space where collectors can dig for hours in hopes of finding a hidden gem.

San Diego, CA | San Diego’s vinyl records surge, but why? A talk with owners of Re-animated, Folk Arts, Lou’s, Beat Box. Nicholas Friesen is a 38-year-old native San Diegan – he grew up in Southeast – who has been working in used record stores all his life. “I’ve got this 10,000-hour thing going for me,” he says. “I started working at Music Trader in downtown when I was a senior in high school, and I’ve been loving it ever since. It’s about the only thing I’m good at.” For years, the CD was the lifeblood of San Diego’s independent record stores, but as digital downloading and then streaming caught on, CD sales shrank, as did the number of local record stores. But then, about a decade ago, a funny thing happened. The 12-inch vinyl LP, snuffed out by the CD back in the middle 1980s, began a dramatic comeback. It was spurred by nostalgic Boomers who started collecting the albums they had discarded decades earlier, and by a new generation of music lovers who saw the vinyl LP as something cool. “The first time I heard a record on a turntable, at a friend’s house, I was hooked,” says Jacob Lange, a 19-year-old Carlsbad local who received his first record player this past Christmas as a gift.

Los Angeles, CA | There’s a new ‘rare vinyl” record shop opening in Los Angeles: The shop in downtown LA is run by the promoters behind the city’s Dialogue and Midnight Lovers events. A new record shop is opening in downtown Los Angeles, run by Rolando Alvarez and Eddie Vela, the duo behind the city’s Dialogue and Midnight Lovers parties. The pair launch Chapter One Records — a store they say specialises in “rare vinyl” — alongside their new vinyl-only record label, Dialogue Records. Artists connected to Dialogue and Midnight Lovers will play a part in curating the wax on sale at Chapter One Records, with SONN’s of Making Shapes, the west coast’s TK Disco, Dublab’s esteemed vinyl purist Daddy Differently, and Club Tularosa all involved. Resident labels include Stones Throw, Visionquest, and Let’s Play House. According to the press release announcing the news, “Chapter One aims to fuel what its founders see as a cultural renaissance aimed to revitalize Los Angeles’ nightlife in the wake of shutdowns. “This new creative hub will also offer their community a range of in-store gatherings and services including release listening parties, live stream production, and media creation.”

Sioux City, IA | Morningside College’s student-run radio station hosting all-day vinylthon: On a Friday afternoon, station manager Matthew O’Connell thumbed his way through a batch of vinyl records that may soon find their way onto the playlist of KMSC 92.9 F.M., Morningside College’s campus radio station. So, what will Mustang music aficionados be listening to? Perhaps, the soundtrack from “The Sound of Music,” a Christmas album courtesy of Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass and, even, the mellow melodies of Mr. Perry Como. Wait, what!?! That doesn’t sound like very college-radio-y. According to O’Connell, this is a misconception many people have about radio stations run by students. “As KMSC’s station manager, it is my job to play a wide variety of music,” the Morningside mass communications senior explained, while pulling albums featuring Aretha Franklin, John Denver and Chet Atkins. And for a large portion of the day on Saturday, all of KMSC’s music won’t be alternative fare coming from CDs or off MP3s. Instead, they’ll be quirkier stuff, all on vinyl.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Vintage vinyl from the vaults of Buck Owens Enterprises to be offered by Omnivore Recordings

VIA PRESS RELEASE | In a special arrangement with Buck Owens Enterprises, Omnivore Recordings is proud to present original, vintage Buck Owens- and Bakersfield-related LPs and 45s direct from Buck’s very own vaults.

Over the years, the country music great collected a sizable number of his albums and singles for his own use. Besides copies of his own albums, he also kept quantities of releases by other artists in his stable. All these unplayed records have been sitting untouched in Bakersfield since they were originally issued. Omnivore has offered vintage Buck LPs before, but is now adding 45s and original, vintage records by Don Rich, Susan Raye, Buddy Alan, The Buckaroos, Bakersfield Brass and more! And, some of the albums that sold out in the last offering will be replenished (for the last time).

These are never-before-played long players and singles, most dating back to Nashville West’s most successful era and the height of the Bakersfield sound in the ’60s and ’70s.

From Limited-Edition bundles to single 45s, Omnivore will carry them only while supplies last. Every bundle or single record release (LP or 45) will include a certificate of authenticity. All records will go on sale April 15, 2021, at 9 a.m. PT and they will only be available from www.omnivorerecordings.com/bakersfield-vintage-vinyl

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TVD Radar: Travis,
The Boy With No Name first ever vinyl reissue
in stores 5/28

VIA PRESS RELEASE | On May 28th, the Top Five album from Scottish rock band Travis, The Boy With No Name, returns to vinyl for the first time. Cut at London’s Metropolis Studios, Craft Recordings’ new reissue of the band’s fifth studio album comes housed in a gatefold sleeve and features a bonus 7” single. As well as the standard black vinyl (available to pre-order beginning today), a limited gold vinyl edition will be available exclusively at Travis’ official store. Meanwhile, Newbury Comics will offer an exclusive brown pressing coming later on September 17th.

In 2007, ten years after the release of their debut album Good Feeling, much had changed for Travis’ Fran Healy (vocals, guitar), Andy Dunlop (guitar), Dougie Payne (bass), and Neil Primrose (drums) – and yet, much remained the same. With Healy now a father (The Boy With No Name takes its title from a nickname briefly given to his son),his songwriting on The Boy With No Name turned to the world of relationships, with singles “Closer” (which marked the band’s return to the Top 10 on the UK singles chart) and “My Eyes” focusing on his newborn son.

Featuring production work from Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck, Paul McCartney) and pioneering artist Brian Eno, the album was praised by the BBC as the band’s “most eclectic album to date,” and the work of a band who “can afford to take risks,” while receiving four stars from Q magazine. Click here to watch the official music video (remastered in high definition) for “Closer,” featuring an appearance from actor, comedian, and director Ben Stiller.

The Boy With No Name is a dense album,” Fran reflected. “Andy MacDonald, our A&R man fracked me hard, possibly a little too hard, for songs. As a result, there were many strong contenders for singles. ‘Battleships,’ ‘Sailing Away,’ and ‘Big Chair’ are among some of which should have been released but never made it. As a result, it’s possibly our most eclectic album, packed with some of our most memorable songs.”

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Graded on a Curve: Radiohead,
Kid A

Celebrating Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien on his 53rd birthday.Ed.

Not long after Radiohead released 2000’s Kid A, my friend Patrick and I gave it a scathing review without having actually listened to it, on the basis that its only appeal was to depressives better served by listening to the Archies. We also surmised that if Thom Yorke was such a creep why bother, because who wants to hang out with a creep? And seems we weren’t alone. Author Nick Hornby lambasted Kid A, and a critic for England’s Melody Maker dismissed it as “tubby, ostentatious, self-congratulatory, look-ma-I-can-suck-my-own-cock whiny old rubbish.” You won’t hear that sort of language on The Crown.

It was the Melody Maker review that finally convinced me to give Kid A a listen–if the the damn thing was really that bad, I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity to pile on. But Kid A isn’t the space age fiasco I’d hoped for; its Pink Floyd/Brian Eno vibe make it the perfect accompaniment to a hard day over a hot bong. Your more active types, on the other hand, risk drowning in its ambient ooze. That sound you hear off in the distance is a non-fan, crying out hopelessly for a lifeguard.

The band itself was split over Kid A’s new direction; vocalist/songwriter Thom Yorke went into the studio convinced rock music had “run its course,” while guitarist/keyboardist Jonny Greenwood and bass player Colin Greenwood worried that they risked producing “awful art-rock nonsense just for its own sake.” Yorke was full of it–folks have been writing rock’s obituary since the early 1960s. The Greenwoods were wrong as well–Kid A may not be my cup of studio overkill, but it’s a noble foray into the realms of electronica that works, at least in parts, very well indeed.

Dreamy atmospherics abound, and on occasion Radiohead take things too far. The soundscape that is “Treefingers” is a limpid pool of nothing special, and if Yorke thinks he’s breaking new sonic ground he’s dead wrong; David Bowie was doing this sort of thing in the late seventies. The title track is a trifle livelier thanks to its snazzy drum beat and electronic squiggles, but Yorke’s distorted vocals serve only to annoy, and the big bass thump at the end of the song is too little too late.

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White Hills,
The TVD First Date

“My obsession with records dates back to when I was 5. Living in San Carlos, a suburb of San Francisco, which at that time had not left the Leave It To Beaver-era of 1950s Americana. With an older brother already in school and a younger brother still in diapers, much of my day was spent with my mother. I have vivid memories of her doing chores while listening to records, singing along to them and occasionally taking a moment to dance with me.”

“I became enthralled with these round discs that spewed out sound. I would spend hours on end flipping through my parents collection, which was mainly filled with singer-songwriters like Neil Diamond, Carole King and the like alongside Broadway soundtracks, big band and bebop jazz. There were a few anomalies, the soundtrack to Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix and The Band Of Gypsies and Jefferson Airplane’s Bark. The later was the one my pea brain was most enthralled with.

Bark was housed in a mysterious brown paper bag. Upon pulling the cover out I found myself staring at a fish with human teeth. It was so strange and foreign to me. Listening to the album only made things more confusing. From the obtuse acapella song “Thunk” to the nightmarish waltz “Never Argue With A German If You’re Tired Or European Song” to the overly stoned “Pretty As You Feel,” I was completely taken by these unfamiliar sounds and couldn’t get enough.

Flash forward some 5 years, relocated to a different suburb of SF, I would save up my allowance for the sole purpose of purchasing records. My parents had a friend who owned a local record store called Town & Country. Around this time I befriended a kid who had two much older brothers—one a senior in high school, the other a freshman at the University of Berkeley. It was through my friend’s older brothers that I was exposed to punk and new wave- artists like Patti Smith, Motorhead, Television, Sex Pistols and so much more.

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores for
April 2021, Part Two

Part two of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases presently in stores for April 2021. Part one is here.

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Natural Information Society with Evan Parker, descension (Out of Our Constrictions) (eremite) Formed in Chicago by multi-instrumentalist Joshua Abrams in 2010, the Natural Information Society on this 2LP features Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Mikel Patrick Avery on drums, and Lisa Alvarado on harmonium and effects, with Abrams on guembri and British saxophone titan Evan Parker completing the lineup of 7/9/2019, captured live in London at Cafe OTO as they explore the possibilities of one piece for 75 minutes. Naturally, it’s divided across four sides of vinyl, but in an interesting twist, also into four mp3s, which formulates a digital experience that’s a little like listening to the first CD edition of Coltrane’s Om (where the vinyl fadeout-rise up was retained). This might seem like an odd digression, but not so much when Coltrane’s impact on Parker is considered. His breath tangles with Stein are simply magnificent (indeed, evoking Trane and Dolphy), but it’s the incessant groove (with ties the Chicago House) and Alvarado’s wonderful contribution that enhances the unique flavor. A

Christine Ott, Time to Die (Gizeh) Ott’s skills as a multi-instrumentalist and composer are well-established, both through her solo albums (this is her fourth overall) and more recently in the side-project duo Snowdrops with Mathieu Gabry; earlier in her career, Ott contributed extensively to Yann Tiersen’s band. For Time to Die, she sings and plays piano, harp, and the Ondes Martenot (something of a signature instrument for her), along with adding percussion, Jupiter8, timpani, tubular bells, monotron and vibraphone. Gabry also contributes on a variety of instruments, and it’s the spoken voice of Casey Brown that’s heard in the opening title-track (reading a “beloved cinematic text” I shan’t spoil). Offered as a sequel to Ott’s 2016 LP Only Silence Remains, this record’s stylistic range is appealingly wide, beginning in a dark ambient-electronic zone and gradually drifting into assorted modes of modern classical, and with particular emphasis on her skills as a pianist. Although this isn’t a soundtrack (Gizeh calls it a “musical fresco in eight chapters”), Ott’s strengths as a film composer do shine through. A-

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: V/A, Sound Storing Machines: The First 78rpm Records from Japan, 1903-1912 (Sublime Frequencies) The output of Sublime Frequencies is reliably captivating, and this set is no exception, the third in a series devoted to early recordings from Asia, all compiled by Robert Millis of the Climax Golden Twins. The prior volumes are The Crying Princess: 78rpm Records from Burma and Scattered Melodies: Korean Kayagum Sanjo, both released in 2013, and of the three, this set reaches back the farthest. Flat disc recording (as opposed to Edison-style cylinders) had only been in existence for a few years prior to the timeframe of this LP/ CD, so the audio quality isn’t optimal as surface noise is abundant. But I somehow doubt that anybody excited to hear these offerings will be too bothered by the rough ambience. No doubt many will welcome it. As Millis observes in his notes, the haze of surface noise intensifies the aura of strangeness. Amongst the most unusual are two by Suenaga Togi with the Imperial Household Orchestra, but the overall value easily eclipses the weird. A

V/A, MIEN (YAO) – Cannon Singing in China, Vietnam, Laos (Sublime Frequencies) Recorded and produced by Laurent Jeanneau aka Kink Gong, this LP offers three vocal duos, Keo and Na (from Laos), Deng Fu Mei and Zhang Wu Mei (from China) and Yang Chun Jin and Yang Bao Cheng (also from China), plus one track by Gap Choun (from Vietnam) that combines singing with considerable percussive clatter and bash. Succinctly, the Yao are hill tribes residing in the countries of the title, and the Mien are the largest branch of the Yao. While the vocal style doesn’t vary all that much across these pieces, the nearly 20 minutes of Keo and Na (sequenced first) becomes quite hypnotic as it progresses and is further enhanced by its nature as a field recording. There is birdsong (very welcome), but also at a few points a low hum that injects a mysterious tension into the scheme of things, at least until it becomes apparent that it might just be a distant motorbike. Due to its prominent rhythmic component, I kinda dig the Gap Choun piece the best, but nothing captured here is the slightest bit disappointing. A-

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 4/15/21

UK | The Official Top 40 best-selling vinyl releases of 2021 so far: Records from Lana Del Rey, Bicep and Arlo Parks are among the most popular on vinyl so far in 2021. The UK’s biggest vinyl album of 2021 so far is Lana Del Rey’s Chemtrails Over The Country Club, OfficialCharts.com can reveal. Released last month, the record has sold over 17,300 copies on wax to top the UK’s Official year-to-date vinyl albums chart. 16,700 of those were bought in its first week, earning Lana the title of having the fastest-selling vinyl album of the century for a female act. Sales of vinyl records continue to climb in the UK, with nearly 5 million vinyl albums purchased last year, up 11.5% on the previous 12 months. The upward trend looks set to continue this year, with many fans supporting their favourite acts by purchasing vinyl in the absence of gigs and touring as the UK slowly eases out of lockdown. The second best-seller on vinyl is Foo Fighters’ chart-topping Medicine At Midnight, the UK’s overall biggest album of 2021 released this year, while Isles by electronic duo Bicep rounds out the Top 3. British singer-songwriter Celeste lands at Number 4 with her debut album Not Your Muse, which recently had an expanded edition on vinyl, while another debut album, Collapsed In Sunbeams by Arlo Parks, completes the Top 5.

London, UK | Gothport shop reopening “feels like Christmas” for vinyl record shop owners: It seems that optimism has arrived on Gosport High Street following the reopening of non-essential retail stores. Shoppers were seen perusing High Street all day long, and entrepreneurs wanted small businesses to spend the day in the sun without so many large retailers. One of those business owners is Keelon Howes, who runs the Slice of Vinyl Record Shop on South Street. Angela Albray, 59, from Blockhurst, made her first haircut since the launch of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. “I wouldn’t mind if no one appeared, but fortunately there are really loyal customers who are very supportive of our work.” Kieron wants the people of Gosport to shop locally and help independent retailers during these times of distress. “Currently, especially in Gosport, there seems to be a lot of love for independent shops,” he said. “This year, we have a lot of space for major brands to jump in, so I think we can often see the revival of independents here.

John Prine is gone but the music is still going strong at his record label: It took a decade – the entirety of the 1970s, to be exact – for John Prine to discover he wasn’t cut out for the majors. After releasing eight albums that showcased his plain-speaking and often wryly human brand of songcraft for two major record labels (Atlantic and Asylum), Prine set out to be his own boss. Along with manager Al Bunetta, he formed a label. It wasn’t a subsidiary venture of a major or a home industry that catered exclusively to his own work, but a company that viewed music-making as more than a hit driven, commercially motivated enterprise. It was a mission only an artist who had been around the block with the major labels could implement. Prine was the artist and, with the 1981 release of a red vinyl holiday single that had him singing “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” on one side and “Silver Bells” on the other, Oh Boy Records became the label. This year, Oh Boy and Prine’s lasting vision of what a record company should be, turn 40 years old.

A Pressing Issue: How ‘the vinyl revival’ has caught out the music industry during the pandemic: Release dates going back and back. Box sets getting postponed by a year. Physical albums arriving months after their digital release. Rumours of pressing plant meltdowns… COVID-19 was bound to have an effect on the release of albums. But the pandemic has brought home a crisis in the music industry, and that is, quite simply, the fact that there aren’t enough pressing plants to cope with the demand for vinyl. On the surface, the figures for the so-called vinyl revival are healthy: even with the high street shut for most of the year, vinyl sales in the UK rose by nearly 10 percent to 4.8 million in 2020. It’s the 13th consecutive year that vinyl sales have risen. Sales of turntables grew too, as music fans who had previously resisted the headlines about ‘The Vinyl Revival’ finally succumbed and began rediscovering love for the black stuff. Despite the rise in popularity, there has been no serious initiative, since vinyl sales picked up, to increase vinyl production. No new pressing plants of any significant size built in the past decade, coupled with an ever-increasing rise in sales, means a crisis point has been reached.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Cream, Goodbye Tour–Live at the Forum 1968 2LP blue vinyl in stores 4/23

VIA PRESS RELEASE | UMe/Polydor is delighted to announce the limited edition, blue, 2LP release of Cream’s show Live at the Forum, recorded at the Los Angeles Forum during their 1968 Goodbye Tour.

Taken from the 2020 full version of the 4-CD set of the Goodbye Tour 1968 and produced by Bill Levenson, this sumptuous 2LP set is the first authorized release of the full concert on vinyl. It captures Cream at their virtuosic best, at the end but also at the height of their career. With Cream, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton, set the template for not only the “supergroup” but also the “power trio,” with their innate musical talent and brilliance. Only coming together as Cream in July 1966, they shone briefly but blindingly bright throughout two trailblazing years.

“Cream was a shambling circus of diverse personalities who happened to find that catalyst together… any one of us could have played unaccompanied for a good length of time. So you put the three of us together in front of an audience willing to dig it limitlessly, we could have gone on forever… And we did… just going for the moon every time we played.” —Eric Clapton

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Nina
Simone, The Montreux Years and Etta James, The Montreux Years 2LP editions in stores 5/28

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG launch “The Montreux Years,” featuring brand-new CD and vinyl collections of legendary performances from festival’s 55-year history and rare recordings of the world’s most esteemed artists from “Montreux Sounds,” the extensive collection of audio-visual material festival co-founder Claude Nobs.

Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG today announce the forthcoming releases of Nina Simone: The Montreux Years and Etta James: The Montreux Years on Friday, May 28, 2021. The live albums, which will be available in multiple-format configurations, including double LP and two-disc CD editions, feature sublime collections of the iconic musicians’ finest Montreux Jazz Festival performances, including previously unreleased material, all restored to their full glory and more. The audio will also be available on digital download and streaming services.

Simone and James’ albums are the first releases of Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG’s brand-new collection series “The Montreux Years.” The collections will uncover legendary performances by the world’s greatest artists alongside rare and never-before-released recordings from the festival’s rich 55-year history, with mastering performed by Tony Cousins at London’s iconic Metropolis Studios, incorporating MQA to capture the original sound of these special live performances. Each collection will be accompanied by exclusive liner notes and previously unseen photography.

Nina Simone’s story from the late ’60s to the ’90s can be told through her celebrated appearances at the famed festival. Taking to the Montreux stage for the first time on June 16, 1968 for the festival’s second edition, Simone built a lasting relationship with the event and its co-creator and director Claude Nobs. This unique trust and electricity can be clearly felt on the recordings.

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