TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I’m a teenage Jesus superstar without a mighty cross to bear / And when mom complains about my hair / I say hey mom I just don’t care

I’m in hell and the angels cry cause I’m trying to sell my soul / And when mom complains about my clothes / I say hey mom leave me alone

Come on little girl, it’s gonna be alright / Come on little girl, it’s gonna be alright / I got one thing on my mind girl / I got one thing on my mind and I don’t care

I’m a teenage Jesus superstar

Summer’s official end came this week. Yesterday a daunting red sunset filled a smoky sky. For those who follow the stars, Mercury went into retrograde. I guess keeping my stars in line has been on my mind. I always loved the idea of “a star”—movie star, rock star, film star.

East River Pipe sang, “You’re a superstar in France.” The Vaselines’ line, “I’m a teenage Jesus superstar”—a pretty bold statement from the Scottish teenagers. Many decades of rock ‘n’ rollers crying out with the same claim.

“You just don’t understand.”

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live: Riot Fest, 9/18

I’ve been excited about today at Riot Fest for weeks. Big Freedia is playing an early set and I know it’s going to set the bar high for the day. I thought correctly! Bringing that sweet New Orleans bounce to Chicago, Big Freedia has the crowd twerking for the entire set, even bringing a handful of fans from the crowd on stage so they could show off their moves.

I spend my afternoon catching several sets, including indie rockers Best Coast, eclectic rockers Gogol Bordello, and punk rockers Bayside.

I’m waiting to listen to prominent Chicago rapper Vic Mensa play his earlier mixtape “Innanetape” while I overhear a fan in the front row apologizing to everyone in advance because they are going to be screaming very loudly since he’s their favorite artist.

Another local Chicago act and recent lineup addition Rise Against run on stage and the crowd immediately lights up. These guys really know how to put on a show. They took a moment in the middle of their set to acknowledge the band they replaced, Faith No More, and how important mental health is. Faith No More had to cancel their appearance due to singer Mike Patton needing to take a break for his mental health.

The night is almost over, but not before Run The Jewels make their return to the headlining spot. El-P mentions thinking that their set might have been a little rusty because they haven’t performed in over a year, but as the set progresses he remarks that the set feels like winning a gold medal. This is easily one of the top performances of the fest so far.

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TVD Washington, DC

SUNDAY! The DC Record Fair returns to Eaton DC, Sunday, 9/26!

Like a phoenix emerging from the ashes… No, wait—like a tonearm lifting from a record, the DC Record Fair rises once more! We’re back at Eaton DC on Sunday, September 26—and you best be wearing a mask.

Just like every event we’ll have 30+ vinyl vendors from up and down the east coast—and it’s free all day. Anticipate DJs, drinks, food, and loads of records designed to put a welcome hurt on your wallet or pocketbook. You’ve been warned.

Our friends at the Fillmore Silver Spring put together the above feature a while back that outshines any descriptive copy of the event we could conjure—hit play.

Mark your calendars!
Sunday, September 26, 2021 at Eaton DC, 1201 K Street, NW DC
11:00AM–5:00PM—and free all day!

RSVP and follow via the Facebook invite!

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 47: Real Gone Music’s Gordon Anderson

Much of the music we listen to today comes from different generations. It may be an old favorite like Led Zeppelin, or it might be a group that was under the radar for many years before finally having their hey day long after they’d ceased to exist as a group, like Big Star. Behind the contemporary music scenes, there is a full-blown industry involved in keeping popular records in print and releasing albums that deserve a second chance.

Meet Gordon Anderson who has spent much of his life doing both things. He was the founder of the ubiquitous Collector’s Choice label in the 1990s which—long before streaming—was the easiest and most sonically pleasing way to track down classics from the ’50s and ’60s. After leaving Collector’s Choice, Anderson and his business partner Gabby Castellana have created Real Gone Music, which is, as they describe it, “a reissue label dedicated to serving both the collector community and the casual music fan with a robust release schedule combining big-name artists with esoteric cult favorites.”

With nearly ten releases per month, Real Gone Music probably has something in their catalog that will appeal to everyone, in fact, it’s this populist, all-encompassing acceptance that gives the label its unique spin: if enough people want it, Real Gone Music will try to find a way to serve it up.

Anderson and I take a deep dive into the world of running a record label, the business of music reissues, and the vinyl comeback. We also question what’s going on with our old buddy the CD, and learn about the origins of Real Gone’s celebrated Black Jazz label reissues. It seems difficult to comprehend, but if it weren’t for guys like Gordon Anderson keeping vintage music catalogs alive, you might not even know that some of your favorite music ever existed.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Felice Brothers,
From Dreams to Dust

On their recent release From Dreams to Dust, The Felice Brothers commit apostasy by setting themselves apart from the Americana pack (a term I heartily loathe) and bravely join the modern age. Gone are washboard and fiddle; James Felice’s accordion stays mostly in the background. The band no longer records in a converted chicken coop in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, and singer/songwriter/frontman Felice is no longer looking over his shoulder at fellow Catskill legends The Band.

On Dreams to Dust he commits that greatest of Americana sins–he says to hell with the Dust Bowl and sings about Marcel Proust, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Friedrich Hegel instead. Why, he even tosses in Jean-Claude Van Damme and AC/DC baseball caps.

The increasing sophistication of Felice’s subject matter corresponds to the band’s more contemporary sound, and will no doubt alienate purists who love the band for old-timey tunes like “Run Chicken Run” and “Frankie’s Gun.” Some of their new songs are streamlined and bottom heavy, and you won’t hear then being played on a honky tonk jukebox or your local folk festival. I can practically hear the same people who booed Bob Dylan at Newport screaming “Sell outs!”

LP opener “Jazz on the Autobahn” is the most blatant offender. A tale of the Apocalypse framed in a story about a sheriff on the run with a woman named Helen, the music owes no debt to Pete Seeger and his mighty axe. And Felice (the best poet working in music today) paints a vivid picture. “This is what the apocalypse will look like,” sings Helen, “a tornado with human eyes” marked by “a sundown of the human heart.” She tells the sheriff it:

“Won’t look like those old frescoes, man, I don’t think so
There will be no angels with swords, man, I don’t think so
No jubilant beings in the sky above, man, I don’t think so
And it won’t look like those old movies neither
There will be no drag racing through the bombed-out streets neither.”

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 9/24/21

Stroudsburg, PA | Vinyl records turning profits in 2021: What’s old is new again and vinyl record stores are seeing customers coming in for all kinds of music. Some of the greatest musical hits were first heard on vinyl. Oldies but goodies and today’s hits, you’ll find something to get your toes tapping inside Main Street Jukebox in Stroudsburg. “I saw he had Ike and Tina Turner online. I messaged him to come and pick it up,” said Scholl Hammer, Mount Bethel. This vinyl record store has been around for some time in the Poconos. Owner Tom LeFevre has experienced the ups and downs of the vinyl record industry. More recently, sales have been on the up and up. “Just over the last couple of years, vinyl has really started to take off more. Sales have just been getting better and better, which is a great thing,” said LeFevre.

Los Angeles, CA | Some of the Best Places to Pick Up Used Records in L.A.: Need to scratch that itch for old-fashioned vinyl? Here’s where the needle hits the groove. You Don’t Have to be a Nick Hornby-style audiophile to collect vinyl—these days a lot of folks are rediscovering the joys of record albums (mostly as wall decoration, but still). The Record Parlour (6408 Selma Ave.) looks a bit like the store in Hornby’s High Fidelity, complete with racks of old wood packing crates stuffed with albums (punk, jazz, and folk are big sellers) as well as historic concert posters lining the walls. All it’s missing is Jack Black crooning Marvin Gaye. Another store with classic record shop ambiance is Freakbeat in Sherman Oaks (13616 Ventura Blvd.), which prides itself on an “old-fashioned” approach to reselling albums, keeping the prices “fair and cheap,” according to owner Bob Say. (Translation: most are $15 or less, and there’s always a rack of 99-cent specials.) But Freakbeat also offers expensive rarities like the 1994 promo copy of Prince’s The Black Album that recently sold for $499.

Isle of Man | New shop for Island record store: Sound Records relocates to Wellington Street. An island record store is opening its new shop today. Sound Records, which had been located in the basement of the former Peter Luis building, has moved to Wellington Street. The new shop beside M&S will be open Tuesday to Saturday, 10-4. In a social media post, the team behind the shop has thanked its customers for the part they’ve played in building a community.

Stirling, UK | TOP OF THE PAWPS: Squirrel invades Scots record shop store leaving staff in a spin: Record shop staff were left in a spin for nearly three hours after a squirrel invaded their store. The rodent gave shoppers at Europa Music, in Stirling, the runaround after sneaking into the store on Monday morning. Staff, customers and even dogs were roped in to wrangle the rampant rodent, who shop owner Ewen Duncan dubbed ‘Simon’, with Holly the Tibetan terrier eventually helping to spot the pest. The critter was eventually cornered by a customer using a box and an LP shortly before 12pm on Monday bringing the shop’s walk on the wild side to a close. Europa worker Paul Steadman said: “One of the customers threw a box over it and blocked it in with a 12-inch album. “I’d love to say it was an Alvin and the Chipmunks LP but I’d be lying. “We took it outside and released it into the street at which point Holly chased it off.” [Big news day. —Ed.]

Celt Iwan’s fresh identity for Sain, the iconic record label for Welsh language music: London-based designer Celt Iwan is behind the brand refresh for Sain, an iconic record label for Welsh language music, founded in 1969. The brief was to “celebrate its illustrious heritage while looking forward to a new age of music.” Just like many other small record labels in recent years, Sain has suffered from the streaming-boom and fierce competition from tech giants such as Spotify and Apple. But it luckily has a niche, finding success in Welsh language music. On much stabler ground than others in the industry, Sain wanted to strengthen its brand moving forward. It appointed Celt who crafted a new logo that reimagines the iteration from its 1975 branding, which evokes a vinyl record, split up to suggest the letter ‘S’. Celt added ‘sound-wave’ patterns to reinforce the musical core of the brand and applied colours inspired by classic albums from the company.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts 2LP in stores 11/19, screening 11/23

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Sony Music Entertainment’s Premium Content Division, in partnership with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, has announced The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts, a Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band film featuring ten never-before-released performances from the Madison Square Garden MUSE benefit concerts and full footage of the band’s entire setlist for the first time.

Edited by longtime Springsteen collaborator Thom Zimny from the original 16mm film alongside remixed audio from Bob Clearmountain, The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts represent the highest quality and best recorded Bruce Springsteen performances from an explosive, ascendant and rarely-filmed era of the E Street Band. The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts film will be released in HD on physical formats on 19th November, including on two CD with DVD, two CD with Blu-Ray, and two LP formats. The film will be available globally in HD for digital download on 16th November and digital rental on 23rd November.

“A few years ago, I started re-examining the filmed archives for Bruce and the Band’s appearances at the No Nukes concerts of 1979,” said Thom Zimny. “I quickly realised that these were the best performances and best filming from the Band’s legendary Seventies, and dedicated myself to bringing out the full potential of the footage. Having worked as Bruce’s principal director and editor for the last 20 years, I can say without reservation that this newly re-edited, re-mixed and restored ninety minute film is the gold standard for Bruce and the Band live during one of their greatest creative periods.”

“The Seventies were a golden period in the history of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and the Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts is the greatest document of that era we will ever have,” said Jon Landau. “It’s a pure rock show from beginning to end, the energy level is transcendent, and the mastery of the art and the craft of rock music is awe-inspiring.”

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
John Coltrane,
Coltrane ’58: The
Prestige Recordings

Celebrating John Coltrane, born on this day in 1926.Ed.

When diving into the work of John Coltrane, many begin with a canonical record, likely from his tenure with the Atlantic or Impulse labels. There’s certainly no mistake in that, but anybody building a shelf of the saxophonist’s vital stuff will end up procuring a significant percentage of the material he cut for Bob Weinstock’s New Jersey-based Prestige company. Craft Recordings’ attractively designed and thoughtfully assembled 5CD or 8LP Coltrane ’58: The Prestige Recordings, a substantial hunk of it is easy to obtain. Chronologically sequencing the man’s leader or co-leader sessions from January to December of the titular year, it coheres into a powerful statement of budding greatness.

Make no mistake; nothing about Coltrane ’58: The Prestige Recordings suggests that it is a purchase one would make on a whim. A hefty clothbound release with an ample LP-sized booklet of photos, production notes, and excellent words from Ashley Khan, plus the meat of the matter, eight LPs tucked into manila sleeves (the 5CD set is the same with scaled-down dimensions), it’s a package clearly made for both longtime lovers of John Coltrane and Modern Jazz in general and for folks whose recently developed interest in these subjects is unquestionably keen.

As its full title makes plain, Coltrane ’58 documents the saxophonist’s time with the Prestige label, though only partially so; none of the extensive sideman work is here, and neither are his earlier leader sessions (his first album under his own name, Coltrane, was released through Prestige late in ’57). And so, not a completist thing, which would be unwieldly, as the man’s complete recordings for Prestige required 16 CDs, but instead, something better; a digestible and enlightening portrait of a year’s work in the driver’s seat under the supervision of Weinstock and recorded by Rudy Van Gelder.

Prestige didn’t keep alternate takes, so there’s nothing unreleased here. That means those longtime fans who already own all of the original LPs (or picked up either the complete Prestige 16CD box from ’91 or the leader-date truncation Fearless Leader from ’06) will need to calculate whether dropping cash for Coltrane ’58 is in their interest.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Nirvana, Nevermind 8LP 30th Anniversary Edition in stores 11/12

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The September 24, 1991 release of Nirvana’s Nevermind touched off a seismic shift in global youth culture. Rising to #1 worldwide over the next few months, its impact would elevate Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl from a promising Pacific Northwest cult band to one of the most successful and influential artists of all time. Nevermind returned rock ’n’ roll integrity and passion to the top of the charts, and continues to be a singular inspiration to fans and musicians alike over the last three decades–as it no doubt will for generations to come.

Beginning November 12, 2021, Geffen/UMe commemorates the 30th anniversary of Nevermind with several multi-format reissues. A total of 94 audio and video tracks–70 previously unreleased–will be made available across configurations ranging from Super Deluxe Editions to standard digital/CD and single disc vinyl with bonus 7-inch. In all formats, Nevermind is newly remastered from the original half-inch stereo analog tapes to high-resolution 192kHz 24-bit.

Among the previously unreleased material exclusive to various versions of the Nevermind 30th Anniversary Editions are four complete live shows that document Nirvana’s historic ascension on the concert stage – Live in Amsterdam, Netherlands (recorded and filmed on November 25, 1991 at the famed club Paradiso); Live in Del Mar, California (recorded on December 28, 1991 at the Pat O’Brien Pavilion at the Del Mar Fairgrounds); Live in Melbourne, Australia for triple j (recorded February 1, 1992 at The Palace in St. Kilda); and Live in Tokyo, Japan (recorded at the Nakano Sunplaza on February 19, 1992).

All four newly remastered live shows are included in the Nevermind Super Deluxe Editions, which will be available in both vinyl (8LPs – 180-gram black vinyl – all in premium tip-on jackets — plus the new 7-inch – A-side: “Endless, Nameless” / B-side: “Even In His Youth” and “Aneurysm”) and CD+Blu-ray (5 CDs plus Blu-ray – Live in Amsterdam, Netherlands complete concert video newly remastered audio & video in HD).

For pre-orders, full track listings and release dates for all configurations go HERE.

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve: New in Stores for September 2021, Part Four

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

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Elder Jack Ward, Already Made (Bible & Tire Recording Co.) Fat Possum label exec and indefatigable mensch Bruce Watson, who also runs the Big Legal Mess imprint, has also been doing wonderful things recently with Bible & Tire, his Southern gospel-themed endeavor, issuing two superb volumes spotlighting the output of JCR Records for starters, but even better, organizing sessions with currently active exemplars of Sacred Soul like Dedicated Men of Zion, Elizabeth King, and Elder Jack Ward, who is recording for the first time in over 50 years with Already Made. In addition to briefly filling O.V. Wright’s spot in the Sunset Travelers, Ward sang on “Don’t Need No Doctor,” the 1964 gospel hit by the Christian Harmonizers (recorded for the Chalice label, a subsidiary of Stax). Further solo singles followed on Peacock’s Song Bird label and then with his group the Gospel Four on D-Vine Spirituals (a retrospective of this imprint’s catalog is coming in 2022 from Bible & Tire), though Ward eventually set recording aside to become a mechanic.

But if not making records, Ward’s been busy singing on Sundays along with his family band as the founder and pastor of Earth Temple Holiness Church in North Memphis, so that Already Made lacks even a speck of rust. Instead, he exudes both confidence and conviction as he’s backed by the Elder Ward Company Singers (the harmonies are rich throughout) and a top-notch band featuring both Will Sexton and Matt Ross-Spang on guitars, with the organ of Rick Steff and Alex Greene enhancing that churchy feeling. Now, those who know of Watson’s background mainly through the raw blues of R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough might be expecting Ward to be operating in the same neighborhood, but just on the sacred side of the fence. That’s not the case however, as the singing, playing and production are crisp and clean. And yet, in pure feeling terms, Already Made is comparable to the wildest blues or R&R mania that’s out there. And there are a few bluesy undercurrents along the way. Soul? Oh, there’s an abundance of that. Ward’s singing is a delight throughout an album that’s essentially faultless. A

The Shivas, Feels So Good // Feels So Bad (Tender Loving Empire) This Portland, OR-based four-piece’s latest, a 13-song platter, is also their seventh album. As it’s a consistent treat for the ears, the tenacity and longevity are impressive. A big hunk of their prior stuff came out on Calvin Johnson’s K label, which, if you don’t know The Shivas, might give you a false first impression, as the thrust of the band’s sound is decidedly pop-rocking in a ’60s classique manner (with drummer-singer Kristin Leonard the ace in the hole in this regard) and with varying levels of neo-psych. There are a couple of doo-wopping, post-Spector moments that got me to thinking of Norton Records, but the majority of this is loud and distorted enough to saunter into an Anton Newcombe-like zone. And while the riff in opener “Feels so Bad” is huge, there’s a melodic sensibility that occasionally reminds me just a tad of Robert Schneider. But the toughness of the band’s thrust eradicates any traces of psych-pop bubblegum. There are a few pretty moments, such as the surplus jangling in “A Gift.” A-

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICK: Maximum Joy, “Stretch” b/w “Silent Street – Silent Dub” (1972) Formed in Bristol in 1981 by horn man Tony Wrafter, fresh from the breakup of the Glaxo Babies, and vocalist-clarinetist-violinist Janine Rainforth, they snagged two former Glaxo Babies in drummer Charlie Llewellin and bassist Dan Catsis, and rounded out the band with guitarist John Waddington, formerly of the Pop Group. Anyone with moderate knowledge of UK post-punk might suspect what’s the score, if they don’t know already. It’s funky, it’s punky, it’s dubby, it’s skronky, and it has the vocal presence of the 18-year-old Rainworth (that’s her on the cover), extending from Poly Styrene (those wonderful screams) on the wickedly grooving A-side, and Ari Up on the dub deepness of the flip. Just a few months over 40 years ago, this was their debut single, a stone post-punk classic, absolutely essential, originally issued on Y Records in the UK and 99 Records in the USA and given a well-deserved anniversary pressing by 1972. Listening to these two long tracks, it’s clear this band still doesn’t get enough retrospective love. A

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 9/23/21

Berwick, PA | New record store coming to Berwick this weekend: The unique shop will have something for everyone, with an emphasis on vintage horror. A new record store is coming to Berwick this weekend. It’s called WaxPax Records, and it opens this Saturday at 10 a.m. “This is something that I have been planning my whole life, and I didn’t even really know it, I guess,” said Mark Collier, Berwick. Collier spent Tuesday afternoon adding some finishing touches to his new shop, including last-minute alphabetizing and organizing. He says he cannot help but be proud of what he created. He got the idea after hosting a successful pop-up vinyl record sale over the summer; he decided then that this is what he wanted to do forever. “It got the wheels turning, and I talked to my wife. And I said, ‘let’s just do it, let’s open.’ Really quickly, it came together. If you have a dream and you push hard enough, it can happen,” Collier said.

Los Angeles, LA | L.A.’s The Comedy Store Launching New Record Label: The venture will issue hourlong albums, EPs and specialty projects to be distributed via physical and digital media. The Comedy Store is looking to tap into its past and future with the launch of Comedy Store Records. The new venture, which kicks off Oct. 13 with Launch Label Night at the iconic Los Angeles club, will be a full-service record label that will mine the Comedy Store’s rich vault to issue hourlong albums, EPs and specialty projects to be distributed via physical and digital media. Alternative Distribution Alliance will distribute content from the label, which will also be a home for original video content, a podcast network and a merchandising. The label will be headed by former Warner Music Group exec Jon Sosis, who serves as president of Comedy Store Records. Comedy Store CEO Peter Shore will also co-run the label alongside Sosis, who also hopes to publish material from new comics who come in through the club. “We’re envisioning this a step toward honoring the rich tradition of comedy albums from back in the Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce era — when listening to a vinyl was a time of wonderment and joy,” said Shore.

Sega and iam8bit team up for Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania vinyl: Super Monkey Ball has an undeniably catchy and mood-lifting soundtrack, and it seems like the upcoming Banana Mania isn’t moving away from those vibes. If you’re a fan of physical releases and those tunes then you’ll want to keep an eye on iam8bit’s latest collab… That’s right, Sega is teaming with iam8bit for a vinyl record release of the new game’s soundtrack. Two variants will be released – the first will make the two records look like the Monkey Balls themselves, while the more common variant will be banana yellow (with some being painted to resemble a bruised banana at random.) The gatefold on every edition also features a peelable static cling sticker of a banana, hiding a hidden AiAi beneath.

UK | Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus launches campaign to fix £500m music royalty problem: Abba star Bjorn Ulvaeus has launched a campaign to ensure musicians don’t miss out on millions of pounds in royalties. Called Credits Due, the scheme aims to ensure all songwriters and musicians are correctly identified when a song is recorded. At present, missing and incomplete data means that about £500m is unallocated or misallocated globally every year. “It happens frequently,” Ulvaeus told the BBC. “Which means that streaming services don’t know who to pay.” The scheme will also ensure fans see the correct credits for songs – from the writers and producers to the session musicians and engineers. “We want to get back to that experience we had when we opened a double-sleeved LP and listened to the songs while reading the liner notes,” Ulvaeus explained. “I think that’s a very valuable experience that young listeners today are missing.”

Split Enz To Release Forenzics Project In 2022: Tim Finn has confirmed a new Split Enz project Forenzics is being worked on for 2022. Forenzics will feature Finn, Noel Crombie, Eddie Rayner with Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera playing guitar on 10 tracks. Phil produced Split Enz second album ‘Second Thoughts’ in 1976. …Forenzics was planned for 2021 but will now be released in 2022. “It is an album that Warners will release next year now,” Tim says. “It was going to be this year but because of Covid there is a huge worldwide queue on vinyl and we want to put it out on vinyl as well as digital so we are waiting. There will be CD version with 16 tracks and a vinyl version with 11 songs”.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live: Pitchfork Music Festival, 9/12

4:55 PM: Another perfect Pitchfork sunset. “I feel so held by you guys. Thank you so much,” Caroline Polachek says in between songs, her big smile radiating.

5:33 PM: Thundercat is so damn avant garde he just burped into the mic. His fingers move so rapidly and precisely across his bass, it’s as if they’re computerized.

5:49 PM: My surprise of the festival? Yves Tumor. Backed by a full-piece band, they are genre-less in that so many genres are applicable to their music that it’s impossible to pick just one. I’m intrigued—and digging the Slipknot shirt and knee-high boots.

6:56 PM: The largest rat I’ve ever seen—literally a footlong—just scurried across the lawn while several of us stared, paralyzed in horror.

7:23 PM: Compared to other festivals, Pitchforkers are a kind, fashionable and—because of the high hipster population—fairly boring crowd. That’s not a diss. I appreciate the lack of litter and medic calls.

7:40 PM: Flying Lotus’ set is a visual and euphonic journey. He head-bangs and spins behind a large screen that transforms from one image to the next. His buddy, Thundercat, fist-pumps side stage.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: She & Him,
A Very She & Him Christmas 10th anniversary tinsel silver vinyl in stores 11/12

VIA PRESS RELEASE | This holiday season, Merge Records will release a special 10th anniversary edition of A Very She & Him Christmas, the now classic-status collection of holiday tunes from Zooey Deschanel (She) & M. Ward (Him).

Originally released in October 2011, A Very She & Him Christmas was the beloved duo’s third album and marked their first adventure into the wonderful world of holiday music. The new, limited-edition deluxe reissue sees Zooey and Matt look to the 1980s for inspiration. A Very She & Him Christmas deluxe is pressed on tinsel silver vinyl and includes a brand-new 7-inch, also on silver vinyl, that features a dazzling version of Madonna’s “Holiday” and a cover of Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” as well as a bonus download of their beautiful take on “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” the Meredith Wilson classic popularized by Perry Como and Bing Crosby in 1951. The 7-inch can also be purchased separately on evergreen vinyl.

Renowned for their joyous holiday shows, today’s album news comes with a string of tour dates for December, including two hometown shows at Los Angeles’ Theater At The Ace Hotel. (All dates below). Tickets go on sale Friday (9/24), sign up for presale tickets starting Wednesday (9/22) at One dollar from each presale ticket will be donated to Baby 2 Baby.

A Very She & Him Christmas has grown in popularity every Christmastime since its release, finding itself in high rotation alongside kindred spirits like A Christmas Gift for You, A Charlie Brown Christmas and classic holiday albums by The Beach Boys, The Carpenters, and Elvis Presley. Ever since the album was first released in 2011, She & Him have donated a portion of sales from the album to 826 National, a non-profit for young people to ignite and channel their creativity, explore identity, advocate for themselves and their community, and achieve academic and professional success. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been donated to date, and She & Him are proud to continue that initiative with this reissue.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on the Curve: Joan Jett,
Bad Reputation

Celebrating Joan Jett, born on this day in 1958.Ed.

Joan Jett’s 1979 debut LP is one of rock music’s most joyful readymades–an utterly endearing romp through rock history from hoary old standards (“Wooly Bully”) to bubblegum pop to Gary Glitter to the buzzsaw sound of the Ramones, Bad Reputation is a veritable vinyl jukebox you’ll never get tired of tossing dimes into.

On Bad Reputation–original title Joan Jett--the runaway Runaway dares to wear her heart on her sleeve by pledging allegiance to the songs that made her who she is; this is Joan Jett’s Self Portrait, and with the exception of her too-stiff-by-half take on the Isley Brothers’ “Shout,” she does her personal canon proud. Not only does she prove she’s the true successor to Gary Glitter (and by association her glam role model Suzi Quatro), she demonstrates conclusively that she’s her own gurl by contributing a couple of songs that (with the exception of the punk-tinged title track) blend seamlessly in with their esteemed company.

Jett (the Blackhearts were still in the future) chose her producers wisely. Top guys Kenny Laguna and Ritchie Cordell (Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook also lent a hand) were both proud Super K Productions alumni working under immortal bubblegum producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffrey Katz, and they brought their many years of throwaway pop songcraft to the table. Remember that version of Led Zep’s “Stairway to Heaven” set to the lyrics of the theme song from Gilligan’s Island? You can thank Laguna for it. And Cordell is the guy who bequeathed us both “I Think We’re Alone Now” and “Mony Mony.”

I could go into all kinds of philosophical digressions about Jett’s reactionary backwards-looking worldview but I’m too busy bashing my head to her positively infectious takes on Glitter classics “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)” and “Doing Alright with the Boys.” Jett hangs on to that big, bad Glitter sound (dig that tribal thump thump thump!) but takes both songs to Glamtastic new heights by making Glitter (no wallflower for sure) sound positively enervated; she doesn’t sing ‘em, she shouts ‘em, bringing an unprecedented amount of bad attitude to the table. Message to Glam Rock: You’re not dead until Joan Jett says you are!

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Holy Hive,
Holy Hive

The New York-based Holy Hive consists of Homer Steinweiss on drums, Joe Harrison on bass, and Paul Spring on vocals and guitar. Their second album is a self-titled affair coming out on Big Crown Records, as did their debut from last year. The label connection might inspire thoughts of neo-soulfulness, but while that’s not an inaccurate assumption, particularly as Steinweiss has backed up Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Adele and others, it’s only part of an equation that has been impressively honed on this ample 15-track set. It’s available digitally, on compact disc and on either standard black or translucent pink with blue spatter vinyl on September 24.

Holy Hive stands out in the Big Crown catalog through a sound that’s been dubbed Folk Soul. As I mentioned in an assessment of their debut in these web pages from June of 2020, this style hybrid might conjure positive visions of Bill Withers and perhaps Terry Callier, or maybe even Curtis Mayfield (and late period Tim Buckley as a significant negative), and then not much else.

Folk Soul is certainly an applicable tag for Holy Hive’s sound, indeed as the band’s bio details the meeting up Minnesota way of neo-soul session ace Steinweiss and Spring, a traveling folk singer. But after completing the band with Harrison and then enlisting a bevy of guest contributors including, either on this album or the last, harpist Mary Lattimore, trumpeter Dave Guy (of The Roots), singer-bassist Shannon Wise (of The Shacks), and guitarist Robin Pecknold (of Fleet Foxes), Holy Hive have fomented a well-controlled atmosphere that’s frequently reminiscent of gentle psych and even mellow pop.

Key to Holy Hive’s success is how they never misplace the backbeat nor the range of emotion at the microphone (a soul necessity), as Spring has a superb falsetto. Both elements are foregrounded in Holy Hive’s crisp opener “Color It Easy,” which sounds like it could’ve been a hit single anywhere from 1968 to ’72, except that the drums wouldn’t have hit quite this hard back then (and yet with consummate restraint), and some producer would’ve no doubt marred the situation by slathering on canned strings or something similar.

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