Monthly Archives: December 2017

Happy Holidays!

We’ve closed up the shop for the holidays. While we’re away, why not fire up our free Record Store Locator app and visit one of your local indie record stores?

Perhaps there’s an interview, review, or feature you might have missed? Catch up and we’ll see you back here on Tuesday, 1/2.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Don’t call me home, little sister / Before the night is done / My love and I are fleeing / Running into the sun. / Turn to fly, go away / Little bird, please don’t stay / Fare thee well. / Take up all your jewels and gold, / Bury them away in the earth. / Let your memory reduce them to dust / But don’t forget the knife that was thrust. / Turn to fly, go away / Little bird, please don’t stay / Fare thee well.

Today is my sister Evan’s birthday. We are two days less than a year apart, and for the last 48 hours I’ve been teasing her. It’s a tradition that has lasted a half century, and who knows beyond.

This week our little “now not so private” brother and sister joke, combined with events in Alabama, has made me feel upbeat this morning. In the light of 2017 I’ll take anything I can get. So happy birthday sis, and thanks for always leading the way, except for B Days that is.

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TVD Live Shots:
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes at O2 Brixton Academy, 12/9

My final, final show of 2017 is one that I’ve been waiting all year for. Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes at the legendary O2 Brixton Academy in London.

Frank made a record called Blossom a couple of years ago that is a post-hardcore top ten for me. Falling somewhere between Quicksand, Fugazi, and Refused, this record is solid from start to finish. It’s the kind of album that defines an artist’s career and one that we will all look back on twenty years later as not only a game changer, but as an iconic source of inspiration for those who chose to follow.

I had never heard of Frank Carter until I moved to the UK. The song “Juggernaut” popped up on a Spotify playlist (the predictive algorithms are getting very good) and I was hooked. This track is one of the heaviest things I’ve ever heard, and combined with its message, it makes you feel like you can take on the world and kick its ass twice over. It’s the song you put on at the gym and listen to ten times in a row. Then I heard it live and it was even better.

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TVD Live Shots:
Liam Gallagher at the Alexandra Palace, 12/7

What a way to end the year, Liam Fucking Gallagher at the legendary Alexandra Palace in London. I’ve seen Oasis twice, Noel’s High Flying Birds, and even Beady Eye, but holy hell has Liam found his post-Oasis sweet spot.

Touring in support of his brilliant new record, the critically acclaimed As You Were, Liam came out of the gates swinging with two Oasis classics in a row. I don’t think anyone saw it coming, but “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” and “Morning Glory” were delivered via a wall of sound that would have even Phil Spector contemplating retirement. It was loud, it was brash, it was bloody brilliant—and set the stage for the absolute best show I’ve seen in 2017.

If you’re like me, the first time you heard Oasis you got a chill down your spine. It was a sign of something special. The second Liam started singing the verse of the third song in the set “Greedy Soul,” that long-lost feeling had returned in full force. The big question is why the hell did it take so long for a Liam solo record? We all knew he had it in him, but we also know he’s a “band” guy. Whatever the hell you want to call it now, he’s certainly firing on all cylinders and has a record to back up his ego and the tagline for the release “As Good As He Said it Would Be” which has been plastered across train and tube stations in the UK.

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TVD Radar: Gary Numan’s 1981 LP Dance purple double vinyl reissue in stores 1/19

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Gary Numan is a pioneer, and his influence on so many artists is unmistakable and grand. Gary’s style connects him with fans of multiple genres… electronic, industrial, indie-rock, metal, etc. He remains an innovator, and his fan base continues to grow.

He’s been name-checked as an influence by everyone from Kanye West to Foo Fighters and Queens Of The Stone Age, and an ever-growing list of artists have covered and sampled his music. These range from Basement Jaxx to Damon Albarn; Afrika Bambaataa to RZA and GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan. Dance was Gary Numan’s fifth studio album and was released in 1981. Beggars Arkive are excited to reissue this album on purple vinyl, double LP. The original 50 minute album was cut onto a single LP with a resulting compression and compromise to the sound. For this new double vinyl edition, the tracks have been mastered over three sides for improved fidelity and the fourth side contains relevant singles, B-sides and an out-take.

Additionally the previously unreleased, full length version of “Moral” has been used to close out the original album. The double LP will be released as a limited edition on purple vinyl in an adapted, color-corrected gatefold jacket with two printed inner sleeves. Transferred from the analogue tapes at Loud Mastering, the original album is also available in 96khz/24 bit high-resolution digital. Pre-order here.

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Graded on a Curve:
Murder by Guitar

Crime’s 1976 double A-side “Hot Wire My Heart/”Baby You’re So Repulsive” wasn’t just the first single released by a U.S. punk band from the Left Coast; it’s one of the most badass singles ever released period. “Hot Wire My Heart” is a murky rave-up and the perfect amalgam of the Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray” and the Stooges, and I consider it one of the most incendiary performances ever committed to vinyl.

San Francisco’s Crime only released three 7-inches over the course of their sadly abbreviated career, so it’s hardly remarkable that they’re not a household name. But the 15 cuts on the 2014 compilation Murder by Guitar make a strong case for Crime’s claim to greatness. Guitarists-vocalists Johnny Strike and Frankie Fix and Company produced at least eight or nine songs that should be heard by anyone who loves punk, and I’ll pit at least three or four of them against anything recorded by any punk band anywhere.

Crime made a virtue of sheer volume; in 1978 a critic for The New York Rocker wrote, “Loudness may be Crime’s only musical raison d’etre.” I would beg to differ; I’m of the opinion that Crime were the true carriers of the proto-punk, stripped to the brutal basics banner raised by Iggy and the Stooges. It’s all there on their first single, from the rumbling and slashing guitars to the sheer propulsive thrust to the general spirit of “let’s make some noise” that presides over both sides.

“Hot Wire My Heart” is pure proto-punk barbarism; “Baby You’re So Repulsive” lays a sneering and howling guitar over a slashing guitar and then throws some disgusted vocals on top. Both are enthralling. And speaking of vocals, these guys are changelings; on different songs they sound like everybody from Lou Reed to Joey Ramone to Handsome Dick Manitoba to Andy Shernoff, and I could go on.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Best of 2017’s New Releases, Part Two

As we continue, there’s guitar abstraction, jazz, and rock of various stripes, with inspirational history and hope sharing the top spot.

Find them all for purchase from our friends at Discogs at the links below, or at your local mom and pop, indie record shops via The Vinyl District Record Store Locator app—free for your iPhone here, free for your Android here.

5. Chain & the Gang, Experimental Music (Radical Elite), Escape-Ism, Introduction to Escape-Ism (Merge) + Juana Molina, Halo (Crammed Discs) Sporting a new project and a major spurt in activity from his current combo, Ian Svenonius has had quite a year. It’s a burst of goodness that extends an already impressive list of achievements including, but not limited to, Nation of Ulysses, Cupid Car Club, The Make-Up, Weird War, David Candy, and XYZ, as well a book writing, talk show hosting, filmmaking, and general thinking.

All this from a guy whose explosion onto the early ’90s scene, while certainly welcome, didn’t exactly seem poised for longevity. That’s okay, as much fine rock ‘n’ roll isn’t, but regardless, he’s just knocked out three killers in 2017 with Chain & the Gang; Best of Crime Rock (instead of a straight comp, the cuts are rerecorded, and it works), Live at Third Man (self-explanatory), and Experimental Music, which is the strongest (by a nose). Introduction to Escape-ism is truly solo, conjuring thoughts of Suicide and early electro, and it reinforces Svenonius as nowhere close to running out of creative gas.

Juana Molina only released one new record in 2017 (I just consulted Discogs to check), but it’s a doozy. She’s been musically active since the mid-’90s, which is when she decided to end her career as an actress (she was a star in her native Argentina) to concentrate on the recording studio and live stage. Initially poorly received at home, the critical tide has turned in her favor, but she’s still been naggingly underrated. In fact, the only thing more reliable than not enough people digging her stuff is the increasingly high quality of her work, with Halo shaping up as her best album so far.

As she emerged as part of the folktronica field, that’s doubly impressive. Not to knock on the style, but those practicing it haven’t exactly be noted for longevity; Molina’s exception derives from a non-clichéd blend of elements and strength of construction; at this point, her stuff should likely interest fans of Os Mutantes and Animal Collective, and hey, if one album isn’t enough, her swell 2008 set Un dia has recently been reissued on wax by her new label Crammed Discs.

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In rotation: 12/15/17

From Beatles to Mohammad Rafi, you get the best vinyl records at this shop in Kolkata: There is a 7 decade old shop right here in Kolkata for those of us who are a bit old fashion. Vibrations(the shop) is situated at Mirza Ghalib Street, New Market Area. This shop was founded by the grandfather of the present owner named Mohammed Shah Nawaz in 1940s. They have been here from the start, selling gramophones and 78 RPM records. From 1960, they decided to go with the trend and started selling Vinyl which attracted a wide customer base, also foreigners. In 1980, the era of cassettes and audios had taken over, and they included this as well.

Rough Trade opens in Bristol: Record store group Rough Trade has opened in Bristol following a deal arranged by commercial property consultancy Hartnell Taylor Cook. The company opened its doors earlier this week (11 December 2017) after agreeing terms on the 4,465 sq ft Unit 3 at New Bridewell on Rupert Street. Rough Trade’s arrival in Bristol has come about after it bought out independent record store Rise. The existing staff have been retained by the business. Developer Watkin Jones is behind the New Bridwell project, located on the site of the city’s former central police station, bringing accommodation for 500 students to the building along with retail and leisure at ground floor…”Rough Trade will be looking to build on this foundation, being such a valued hub is precisely what they want to do, and if anything, their stronger brand should make it even more of a draw. This should be great news for music fans.”

Paul McCartney made an experimental Christmas mixtape for the Beatles in 1965: The original tape mix that Paul McCartney cut as a record for his fellow Beatles in 1965 has surfaced online, reports Dangerous Minds. Only four copies existed of the Unforgettable vinyl, given by McCartney to George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr for Christmas in 1965. All were believed to be lost. “I had two Brenell tape recorders set up at home, on which I made experimental recordings and tape loops, like the ones in ‘Tomorrow Never Knows.’ And once I put together something crazy, something left field, just for the other Beatles, a fun thing which they could play late in the evening. It was just something for the mates, basically,” shared McCartney in an interview with Mark Lewisohn taken from The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film.

Eyeconik Records heats up local music scene: Eyeconik Records & Apparel, which opened at it’s current downtown location, 224 N. Campo St., in September, is not only bringing music to Las Cruces in the form of vinyl, CDs and cassettes, but also in the form of free intimate live performances. According to Gerard Hinderlich, live music and events coordinator for Eyeconik, touring bands scheduled to travel through Las Cruces have called the store asking about performing at their location, and that is a big part of why the store has made live performances a regular feature. The record store hosts free live music performances, featuring both local and touring bands, the first Friday and the third weekend of each month. “We’re looking for anyone who wants to play in a 125-year-old historic building,” Hinderlich said. “We’ve had everything from mariachi to rock ‘n’ roll bands.”

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TVD Live Shots: Angel Olsen at the Riviera Theatre, 12/9

Angel Olsen and her excellent band cruised through Chicago last Saturday to play to a sold-out Riviera Theatre.

Her performances, which have always been wonderful, continue to beautiful, fun, and memorable. It was a nice little holiday homecoming for the former Chicagoan, who’s released one solid album after another since her 2012 debut. Her tour continues to DC and her current home of Asheville before heading to Australia and Europe for several dates.

She’s more than worth the price of admission, so grab a ticket!

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TVD Radar: The Babadook OST deluxe vinyl reissue in stores now from Waxwork

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Waxwork Records is thrilled to present the soundtrack to the 2014 Australian psychological horror film, The Babadook.

Directed by Jennifer Kent, The Babadook focuses on a troubled widow, Amelia, who is is raising her six year old son, Samuel, after the death of her husband from an automobile accident. After a series of strange events, Amelia and Samuel unexpectedly receive a mysterious pop-up-storybook: Mister Babadook. The book describes a hideous, tall, pale faced monster in a top hat and coat that tortures his victims after they become aware of his existence. The narrative and film engulf the viewer in themes of personal loss, grief, despair, and ultimately, recovery.

The soundtrack by Jed Kurzel (Alien: Covenant) is whimsically dark, brooding, and at times, a terrifying listening experience. Kurzel blends electronic instruments and synthesizers with unorthodox instruments and pulsating, drowning vocal soundscapes.

The film received worldwide critical acclaim. The Exorcist director, William Friedkin, publicly announced, “I’ve never seen a more terrifying film than The Babadook. It will scare the hell out of you as it did me.” Waxwork Records worked extensively with composer Jed Kurzel and the creators of The Babadook to present an incredible physical soundtrack release on deluxe vinyl.

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TVD Radar: Stax Singles Vol. 4: Rarities & The Best of the Rest 6-CD box set in stores 2/9

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Craft Recordings, the Catalog Division of Concord Music, is pleased to announce the release of Stax Singles, Vol. 4: Rarities & The Best Of The Rest, a 6-CD box set that delves deep into the Stax Records archives, and explores the label’s efforts to diversify their output.

This new addition to the critically acclaimed series of Stax singles boxes offers a more profound study of the Memphis label’s catalog, including long-forgotten B-sides and rarities, and focusing not just on soul tunes – for which the label was most famous – but also offering a cross-section of rock, pop, blues, gospel, and country recordings from 1960-1975. Available February 9th, the collection will also include an 80-page booklet, offering four new in-depth essays by music journalist Lee Hildebrand, writer and producer Alec Palao, box set co-producer Bill Belmont and Rob Bowman, author of Soulsville U.S.A.: The Story Of Stax Records, and producer of Vol. 4’s discs 1-3.

Featuring recordings from the catalogs of both Craft and Rhino Entertainment – the Catalog Division of Warner Music – who jointly control Stax’s iconic masters, this comprehensive box set is the perfect companion piece to Vols. 1-3; the first of which, The Complete Stax/Volt Singles 1959-1968, was released by Atlantic Records in 1991 and reissued by Rhino in 2016. Volumes 2 and 3, originally released by Stax in 1993 and 1994 respectively, and reissued by Concord in 2015, offered soul singles spanning 1968-1975, collectively.

In his introduction, co-producer Bill Belmont discusses the concept behind Vol. 4: “Over the years, within the collector-fan circuit, and in reissues and collections of vintage Stax material worldwide, some ‘B’ sides have attained a status comparable to the promoted work.” Adds Rob Bowman, in his essay regarding the soul portion of the box, “[Stax’s B-sides] are, by and large, better than most companies’ A-sides.” Continues Belmont, “Stax’s ‘other side’…has never been presented on its own – thus here, the ‘other’ [imprints] are all gathered under the Stax umbrella; part of the all-encompassing rubric ‘where everything is everything.'”

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Trombone Shorty’s  “Tunes for Toys,” a toy drive and concert, is scheduled for the George and Joyce Wein Jazz and Heritage Center, 12/21

Though TVD may be on holiday break for the next two weeks, the music keeps on coming. Next Thursday, the Trombone Shorty Foundation, the Gia Maione Prima Foundation, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation present the annual “Tunes for Toys.” This free concert begins at 7 PM at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz and Heritage Center. Everyone is encouraged to bring a new toy in exchange for admission.

“Tunes for Toys” will feature music from New Breed Brass Band with special guest Trombone Shorty and students from the Trombone Shorty Academy. “This toy drive is very special to my heart,” says Foundation founder Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. “We love being able to showcase our Academy students’ hard work, and also give back to children in the Tremé community where I was born and raised.”

The New Breed Brass Band includes members of the latest generation of musicians to emerge from the Tremé neighborhood. Snare drummer Jenard Andrews leads the band. Andrews is the son of Tremé legend James “Satchmo of the Ghetto” Andrews. Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews is his uncle.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Best of 2017’s New Releases, Part One

Diversity of tradition, experimentation, instrumental vigor, and protest help shape our best new releases of 2017. Here’s the first half.

Find them all for purchase from our friends at Discogs at the links below, or at your local mom and pop, indie record shops via The Vinyl District Record Store Locator app—free for your iPhone here, free for your Android here.

10. Saz’sio, At Least Wave Your Handkerchief at Me (The Joys and Sorrows of Southern Albanian Song) (Glitterbeat) + Shilpa Ray, Door Girl (Northern Spy) One of the sweet byproducts of music fandom is getting introduced to various new styles, often from far-reaching regions of the globe. Such is the case with the debut album from Saz’sio. While the group’s sounds are new to my ears, for the residents of their home country, the recording’s vitality is part of a long, rich tradition.

At Least Wave Your Handkerchief at Me is a doorway into the Albanian musical form Saze, which the notes for the album describe as one of the world’s least recorded folk styles. Dynamically executed both vocally and instrumentally, the emotional range is as wide as the title’s parenthetical suggests. Produced by Joe Boyd and recorded by Jerry Boys, folks attuned to Balkan and Turkish folk and even klezmer should waste no time getting to know this one.

Even without knowledge of her previous work, making Shilpa Ray’s acquaintance brings an immediate sense of the familiar, as she oozes a distinct swagger that’s simultaneously old-school and up to date. Indeed, her fourth full-length (there have been two fronting Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers, and now two under her own name), Door Girl is a record chronicling life in NYC, and as the selections unwind Ray’s confidence is palpable.

Throughout, she makes good choices, particularly the doo-wopish elements established right off the bat in “New York Minute Prayer” and later the assured pop-rock of “Rockaway Blues,” but she also takes chances; attempts at rap-rock usually stink up the joint, but she pulls it off with “Revelations of a Stamp Monkey” (the song and album title reference her time working the door at Lower East Side bar Pianos). Ray occasionally recalls Debbie Harry and Patti Smith, but on “EMT Police and the Fire Department” she belts out a wall-pinning punk rager and references Allen Ginsburg to boot. Brilliant.

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In rotation: 12/14/17

Treehouse Records enters final weeks: Treehouse Records still has plenty of albums to sell ahead of the Dec. 31 closing. Staff members continue to clear out the basement where the owner stashed new vinyl and used records he didn’t have time to price. “People assume that everything has been picked through. It hasn’t,” said owner Mark Trehus. Trehus said his decision to retire is due to many factors, and the biggest is that he sees better things on the other side. Business has been fine, but it’s time to move on, he said. “This has been an absolute dream job, but it allowed me to continue kind of being an adolescent most of my life,” said Trehus, who recently married. “Now I’m facing adulthood at 60 and loving it.”

The Visual Side of the Vinyl Shop, “Queen City Records: Record Stores of Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky” captures the essence of local indie record stores via photography and interviews: Growing up on Grand Vista Avenue in Pleasant Ridge, Mike Spitz would often visit Everybody’s Records, a neighborhood and city institution for lovers of recorded music since 1978…Spitz, age 50, has been living in Los Angeles since 2000, so remembering the favorite record stores of his Cincinnati youth — he also has kind words for ones that have not survived, such as Norwood’s Record Theater and the Wizard and Ozarka outposts near University of Cincinnati — may seem purely an exercise in nostalgia. But it isn’t. He’s turned it into a new book, Queen City Records: Record Stores of Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky.

Discogs Surpasses 37 Million Record Releases Available Internationally Through Marketplace, 27.5 Million Vinyl Records Account For Nearly 75% Of Listings: Discogs, the World’s most extensive user-built database of music, announces a monumental landmark today as it exceeds 27.5M vinyl recordings and over 37M physical music items in total listed for sale in the Global online Marketplace. In retrospect, Discogs celebrated its 15th Anniversary in November 2015 with nearly 10M releases. Over the following 24-months, the Discogs Marketplace has grown more than 370% culminating in a record-setting 130,000 orders over the first week of December 2017, another landmark cementing the Discogs Marketplace as the essential music marketplace of the World.

Pro-Ject Essential III Review: Solid Performance From A Value Turntable: It’s time for an upgrade, but maybe not the stage where a $2,000 audiophile turntable is in the cards. Some vinyl junkies hit up garage sales and vintage stereo equipment dealers in search of a used turntable. Even if you luck out and find something affordable, it’s likely to need service, including a replacement belt and cartridge. Why bother, when the Pro-Ject Essential III is there as a $299 value option? This is an award-winning turntable from an Austrian company that’s developed a rabid following among audiophiles. Pro-Ject sent me one to try out and it quickly proved why it’s such a popular choice.

Recalling a misguided youth spinning vinyl: With the revival of vinyl records in the market place, plus having been a radio announcer during my somewhat misguided youth, let’s harken back for a moment to the early 1960s and the control room of KCLA-AM — 1400 on your radio dial — 1000 watts strong broadcasting from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and spin a few memories. While disc jockeys were the trendsetters of early radio, working in a more tranquil atmosphere we preferred to call ourselves announcers. Either way, it didn’t matter. We were all spinning vinyl.

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TVD Live: David Rawlings at the Lincoln Theatre, 12/6

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | David Rawlings and his band takes to the empty stage as they would if they were around during the end of the Industrial Revolution 150 years ago or more. At the Lincoln Theatre in Washington last Wednesday, with two guys in big hats and two women in long cotton dresses, they rather resembled a rural string band that could have assembled on anybody’s porch a century ago or more, picking out music, interlocking rhythms, and singing harmonies about many of the same kinds of concerns. Americana indeed.

Rawlings may first have come to notice as the backing guitarist for his partner Gillian Welch, who, happily, is also part of the his band. But here, the smiling, good-natured Rawlings is front and center. His voice is OK at best; his songs often simple constructions. What jumps out, and what brings the audience, are his guitar solos.

He had a few guitars on hand, but mostly used one mighty mahogany 1935 Epiphone Olympic, with a sprucewood arched top. It seemed a tiny instrument – less than 14 inches wide — for all he brought out of it. With a tone midway between the high, bright sound of a mandolin and the deeper tones of a more conventional guitar, he flatpicks his way into a superhighway of inventive melody with one turn inspiring the next, faster and faster, but never losing its soul or appeal.

Applause greeted nearly every solo and the rest of the band rose to join his musicality. Guitarist Willie Watson, formerly of the Old Crow Medicine Show actually has a better voice (but is self-effacingly ineffective on bongos the one time he tried). Fiddler Brittany Haas of Boston bluegrass band Crooked Still who is often heard on Prairie Home Companion, often sounds, like Rawlings, as if she’s playing more than one instrument, the approach is so full and musical. Welch, of course, keeps the rhythm locked down on acoustic guitar and bolsters the harmonies throughout. And a couple of times, thankfully, was featured on some of her own songs, from “Wayside/Back in Time” to “Look at Miss Ohio.”

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