Monthly Archives: January 2018

TVD’s Press Play

Press Play is our Monday recap of the new and FREE tracks received last week to inform the next trip to your local indie record store.

Jared Saltiel – Wayward Queen
Felsen – Vultures on Your Bones
The Incredible Vickers Brothers – In Memory
Blind The Thin King – Hail The Newborn Killer
Nathaniel Bellows – Keep in Mind
J Hacha de Zola – My Special Angel
Oberon Rose – Tell Me All About It

Field Music – Share A Pillow

Echo Bloom – The Duke
Le Rug – Gloss
Reigen – How to Make Love
The Fleeting Ends – 20 Something
Corina Corina – BAR$
BIJOU – Gotta Shine (ft. Germ)
Sonny Side Up – I DK U (ft Yung Skrrt)

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Graded on a Curve:
The Fall,
50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong–39 Golden Greats

The death of The Fall’s Mark E. Smith at age 60 has left me inconsolable; as a proud member of rock music’s most exclusive cult I find it hard to wrap my mind around the horrible fact that I have no more new Fall LPs to look forward to. Because the most telling thing I can say about rock’s most cantankerous, cranky, and iconoclastic artist is this: despite his age, Smith adamantly refused to rest on his laurels. He continued to produce difficult, angular, instantly recognizable, and ultimately brilliant music up until the very end.

By no means did the inimitable Mr. Smith end his days as a novelty act, reprising his greatest hits. Not that he had any greatest hits. Legendary DJ John Peel may have thought The Fall was the greatest thing since the watercress sandwich, but they never (in part because they remained a distinctly English phenomena) gained anything remotely resembling a mass following. Indeed, the title of 2004’s best-of compilation 50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong–borrowed, of course, from Elvis Presley’s LP 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong–is a self-mocking reference to this fact.

The first thing to be said about 50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong–which includes both album tracks and singles from 1978 to 2003–is that there’s no way it could do the work intended. Trying to sum up The Fall in 39 songs is like trying to sum up Winston Churchill by saying he enjoyed cigars. The Fall catalogue is a sprawling beast because Mark E. Smith was a prolix artist who wasn’t happy unless he was glutting the market with studio albums, singles, EPs, live LPs, and compilations of all sorts, some of highly uneven quality but many dead brilliant. By my admittedly sloppy count The Fall released 10 records in 2005 alone. I certainly haven’t listened to everything The Fall committed to record, and I almost certainly never will. I’ll leave that to the sorts of obsessives who would otherwise be dedicating themselves full-time to trainspotting.

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In rotation: 1/29/18

County Records: Local musical destination closes: One of Floyd’s musical landmarks ended last week. County Records closed on Wednesday, January 17. Long before the Friday Night Jamboree or FloydFest, County Records drew widespread interest to Floyd. The business was located down Talley Alley. For over half a century, Dave Freeman has collected, preserved and promoted old time and bluegrass music. His interest made Floyd a hub for musical enthusiasts. Freeman, who now lives in Durham, NC, will soon be 79 years old. “It’s time to retire,” he told the Press.

New music cafe on the cards for Dumbarton town centre: A Dumbarton music lover is seeking to transform the town centre with the launch of a new record store and coffee shop. Robert McKain has been running record stores for almost a decade and is now planning to bring his love for vinyl to his own home town with a new store on 137a Glasgow Road. The venue, named Big Sparra Music Cafe, is set to open its doors on February 1 and hopes to bring a new twist to the town. “If you do not drink alcohol in this town there is no where to go and just enjoy music,” Robert told the Lennox Herald. “We want to give specialist music knowledge combined with the best coffee in Dumbarton.

Crate Diggers: Stuart Leath: The hardest working man in music, Stuart Leath unpacks the 15,000-strong record collection behind the trailblazing Emotional Rescue, and his five (!) other labels. Stuart Leath – Chuggy to his friends – is rightly known as one of the most-prolific one-man operations in underground music. Celebrating just five years in the business in 2017, he’s on the verge of another bumper year, with twenty records already lined-up and ready to hit the shelves in 2018…With a beautiful room stacked floor to ceiling (and cupboards deep) dedicated to records, he invited us into his London home for an insight into one of the most eclectic collections in the capital.

‘Chess Northern Soul Vol III’ Offers More Floorfillers & Rarities: The next instalment in the highly-praised Chess Northern Soul 7” series will be released on 16 March. Chess Northern Soul Vol III is compiled, like its predecessors, by one of the great experts in the field, Ady Croasdell. It will feature seven more double-sided, seven-inch singles featuring great flooorfillers from the storied Chess, Checker, Cadet and Argo catalogue, in a deluxe presentation box. The singles will feature the authentic UK livery of the Chess label of the era, with black and silver and black and gold labels in a black and yellow label sleeve. The box includes an eight-page leaflet with detailed notes written by Croasdell…Chess Northern Soul Vol III continues to reflect the huge respect for the famous label, particularly in the UK, where the featured tracks had hallowed status in the clubs that created the Northern Soul genre.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

(I’ve got to say that these chilly California winter nights make for a quick and loose Idelic Hour session—and for shorter intros, ha!)

I’ve been fucking zooming into 2018 and this week I needed deep breaths and a prayer or two to keep one foot in front of another. All is good, but 2018 feels like some serious shit.

As we all know the Gov shut down this past week. Hold on—the fucking Government of the United States shut down? Sounds pretty punk rock to me? (Well, maybe not.) Hey let’s have inspiration, not negativity, own the day.

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TVD Radar: Johnny Mathis 1970s Columbia catalog reissue series
in stores 3/3

VIA PRESS RELEASE | In a career spanning over 60 years, Johnny Mathis has always had an unerring ear for a song…witness his new, 2017 album featuring his recordings of future standards by Adele, Bruno Mars, and Pharrell Williams.

At the dawn of the 1970s, Mathis was celebrating the great songwriters of that day, too, with a double album entitled Johnny Mathis Sings the Music of Bacharach and Kaempfert. Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records are proud to inaugurate a series of Johnny’s greatest albums of the 1970s and beyond with the first-ever CD reissue of Sings the Music of Bacharach and Kaempfert, expanded with five bonus tracks.

Bert Kaempfert may not have achieved the same name recognition in the U.S. as Burt Bacharach, but Kaempfert’s contributions to the standards songbook are indelible, thanks to such songs as “Danke Schoen,” “Spanish Eyes,” “Strangers in the Night,” and “L-O-V-E,” all of which are sung in Johnny’s inimitably intimate style on this collection. Johnny was joined by German arranger-conductor Herbert Rehbein, a close collaborator of Kaempfert’s, for these very special sessions.

Johnny’s relationship with Burt Bacharach dated to the late 1950s with classics including “Heavenly” and “Faithfully.” Soon, Bacharach’s style would define the sound of the 1960s, and Johnny was bringing his individual stamp to “This Guy’s in Love with You,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.” All of these songs and more are featured on Mathis’ Bacharach salute.

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TVD Premiere: Born Rivals, “Fading Stars”

The brothers Thornley—John and Paul—have been on our radar for quite some time now and we’ve endeavored over the years to place them squarely on yours. Together as half of U.S. Royalty, the four-piece had a solid run in our little hamlet of Washington, DC. From early warehouse shows to pressing their own records and later a slot at the inaugural Landmark Festival on DC’s Mall, they effectively cast quite the spell during their 45-minute set. 

The brothers are back via a new locale (Los Angeles), and under a new name. Born Rivals is the handle for their current musical project which finds the duo releasing one song a month which will ultimately culminate in a series of seasonal EPs. Today, we’re delighted to premiere the track for January, “Fading Stars.” And it’s a mighty one at that—with a driving bassline over which Siouxsie-esque atmospherics meet for a chorus Noel Gallagher might envy. Fair warning, it’s also a bit of an earworm.

“For this song we collaborated with writer/ producer/ engineer Justin Long before we had moved out to LA,” John tells us. “Paul had already demoed out a lot of the song’s music and was adamant about achieving this certain delayed drum sound. Using that as a foundation we just filled the spaces with ’90s guitars and called it a day. Lyrically the song speaks to the confidence that can grow through a close relationship and how the co-dependency can be thrilling, but at the same time scary when it’s coming to an end.”

Stream Born Rivals “Fading Stars” above via Soundcloud or on Spotify.

Born Rivals Official | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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The TVD First Date

“I’m not sure exactly where my attraction to vinyl came from. Growing up I had aunts and uncles living nearby and they would all have a small collection under a record player—so for my eldest uncle that would be ’50s rock ’n’ roll; my aunt would have a lot of Motown; the youngest had a massive Rolling Stones collection. And my granddad had the 1812 Overture, Edith Piaf, and Dean Martin! All on thick, inky black vinyl in heavy card sleeves.”

“Despite being a classic Scottish indie kid, I never really collected singles. It was always albums. I liked the journey they took you on. They seemed a better deal because you got more for your money. When I was very small I’d ask for stuff—Suzi Quatro, Adam and the Ants, Eurythmics, David Bowie—based on what I’d seen on Top of the Pops (for non-Brits, think MTV in tank tops).

I still have them all—and the beauty of vinyl is in them. For example, Kings of the Wild Frontier had a picture inner sleeve and a booklet which detailed the history of the band, their influences and discography. I’d pore over that for hours, while listening. It was a piece of art—with sounds and images that you could touch. And from that booklet I went off into the Velvet Underground, David Bowie, and the Stooges.

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Graded on a Curve:
Kick Out the Jams

Am I the only person in the world who finds the MC5’s seminal live debut, 1969’s Kick Out the Jams, terribly overrated? No I’m not. When it came out, the late, great Lester Bangs wrote it off in Rolling Stone magazine as “ridiculous, overbearing, and pretentious.” I’ll go Lester one further. I think it’s boring.

On what sophisticated scientific basis do I adjudge Kick Out the Jams dull? Simple. I’ve listened to it some 83 times, and every time I do so I find myself drifting off mid-listen. The only tracks that keep me interested are the title cut, “Ramblin’ Rose,” and “I Want You Right Now,” and the last named only holds my attention because it sounds exactly like the Troggs’ “I Want You.” I’ve spent my whole life hearing people laud the MC5 as the second greatest proto-punk band to ever crawl out of the rubble of Detroit city. I beg to differ. I don’t listen to the MC5 and hear Iggy and the Stooges; I listen to them and hear Grand Funk Railroad. Much hipper, and with more garage in their sound, for sure, but both bands are playing hard rock. Iggy sounded like no one ever had before; the MC5 sound like America’s answer to the aforementioned Troggs.

I would be the last to deny opening cut “Ramblin’ Rose” wins in the metallic K.O. department–although I’m not a huge fan of Wayne Kramer’s falsetto vocals–or that “Kick Out the Jams” is every bit as incendiary as reported. But while the latter song’s sonic propulsion reminds me of the Stooges, Rob Tyner’s vocals have Grand Funk written all over them. And while I generally like sloppy, I think “Kick Out the Jams” could be tighter.

As for “Come Together,” it doesn’t so much come together as fall apart. There’s a melody in there somewhere, but I’ll be damned if I can find it; no sooner am I done listening to it before I forget how it goes. It’s positively anti-memorable. And the same goes for “Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa),” which despite its memorable title is eminently forgettable–a puddle of guitar ooze into which the group vocals sink without a trace. “Borderline” is all bombast and no song; the guitar is gargantuan but it takes you nowhere, while the vocals are, to borrow a phrase, all sound and fury signifying nothing. I’ll take Madonna’s “Borderline” any day.

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In rotation: 1/26/18

Chico business owners talk about competing with major retailers: Toys”R”Us, the largest toy chain in the United States, is saying goodbye to 182 of its stores across the country. The store closures of the country’s largest toy chain now have small, local brick and mortar stores talking…”We’re a specialty record store, we have vintage rock and roll records so we have something that you can’t get at Target,” said Alex D’Angelo, the owner of Spin Again Records in Downtown Chico. D’Angelo set up his shop 2 years ago. “We sell a little bit of everything in the store as opposed to taking the best stuff, putting it on the internet and getting paid,” said D’Angelo. “Online there is no shopper experience, you just click a button and see what you get,” said D’Angelo.

Knoxville record stores play sounds of resurgence: Knoxville record stores have at least one more trick up their sleeves. It’s no secret that vinyl music is back on a large scale, and even though this seems to be common knowledge now, the idea was mostly dismissed for some time. In 2007, the vinyl revival started gaining traction with niche music communities, and when retro became a popular style, vinyl exponentially grew to the mainstream phenomenon it is now. Vinyl love is not only shown in media and fashion but also, and more noticeably, in monetary value. In 2017, 14 percent of physical album sales and 8.5 percent of all album sales were in vinyl format, according to Nielsen’s 2017 music report. This percentage capstoned a 12 year increase in vinyl sales. Although many thought it died decades ago, the fact is that vinyl is still spinning.

Record collectors show returns to the Packard Plaza on Sunday: PEORIA —The semi-annual local record collectors show is having a homecoming of sorts this weekend. The Central Illinois Record & Music Collector Weekend will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in Peoria, and the venue that will play host to the event is a familiar one. The Packard Plaza, 211 E. Adams St., spent several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s as the host site of the record showcase. Dealers from all over the Midwest will congregate in the building to sell their rarities and favorites. In recent years, the event was held in the Travelodge Hotel, which closed at the end of last year. Admission to the show is $3, free for children younger than 12 years old.

Trolley Stop Record Shop brings vinyl records and live music to the Classen Ten Penn neighborhood: Modern record collecting often involves flipping through racks in nook corner shops, searching for hidden gems. These stores range in age and size, but it can be rare to find a local shop as large and open as Trolley Stop Record Shop. The locally owned record store recently moved from its small former location near NW 16th Street and Classen Boulevard to the old Penn Theater in the burgeoning Classen Ten Penn neighborhood. Trolley Stop, 1212 N. Pennsylvania Ave., uses its spacious interior to host concerts and other events. But the space is otherwise completely dedicated to selling and housing owner John Dunning’s massive record inventory. “This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Dunning said…

The tale of the tape doesn’t appear to be over: Good news for music nerds and bad news for the people we trick into spending time with us: Vinyl sales saw a 10-percent increase last year, according to data released by Billboard. That’s the 11th consecutive year of growing sales, and the figure now sits at its highest point in nearly 30 years. For those of us who prize tactile media it’s a triumph. However, not all is well in the Kingdom of Antiquated Media. There’s a deeply disconcerting trend that goes hand-in-hand with the Vinyl Revival — The Cassette Comeback. Last year, cassette sales rose by 35 percent, according to Nielsen music…Buying brand-new cassettes is a waste of precious polymers when so many good ones can still be rescued. Cassettes are also empirically worse than other options.

Aston Manor’s Friels craft cider brand partners with Record Store Day: Aston Manor has secured ‘Official Cider Partner’ status for its Friels First Press Vintage Cider brand with the UK’s next annual Record Store Day. The privately-owned group said earlier this week that Friels will sponsor this year’s event, which takes place on 21 April. The move marks the first time Record Store Day has teamed up with a cider brand. Designed to promote independent record stores across the country, Record Store Day sees many artist release limited edition vinyl versions of some of their most well-known – and sometimes obscure – tracks. Friels will run competitions on social media on the day as well as on-pack promotions in the run-up. Financial details behind the tie-up were not disclosed.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Fall,
458489 A-Sides

We remember The Fall’s Mark E. Smith who passed away on Wednesday, January 24 with a look back from our archives. —Ed.

Rock crit Robert Christgau once went on record declaring The Fall’s 1990 best-of compilation 458489 A-Sides the “only Fall record any normal person need own.” And depending on one’s definition of normal, he may be right. Certainly this would be the one I’d recommend to shut-ins, ligyrophobics, and that massive proportion of the listening public who prefer their music to be soothing as opposed to sounding like a particularly excitable day at the laughing academy.

But if by definition of normal you mean a person who has a jaundiced view of life and prefers his or her music to be at least mildly challenging—if not downright annoying with its insistence upon being heard as foreground noise rather than background buzz and hum—there are plenty of Fall records that are must-owns. These include 1981’s incomparable “Slates” EP, 1982’s seminal Hex Enduction Hour, 1984’s The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall, and 2005’s Fall Heads Roll. And that’s barely scratching the surface of the Fall’s formidable discography.

The Fall recipe of songwriting is simple. First, hand village crank Mark E. Smith a microphone. The long-suffering curmudgeon is the band’s only permanent member, and his definition of said band is memorable. “If it’s me and your grandma on the bongos,” he has said, “it’s the Fall.” But where were we? Oh, yes. First, hand a microphone to the irritable Mr. Smith, who is both a true individualist and misanthropist. And second, let him spew great gouts of indecipherable poetry and hurl strange incantations over one form of droning caterwaul or another. This homemade recipe has been working since the late 1970s, and continues to work to this very day. Because Mark E. Smith is holding a grudge, and that grudge is against society. Or life. Or whatever. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that Smith is dedicated to rattling life’s cage in as irritable and noisy a manner as possible.

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Hugh Masekela,
An appreciation from
New Orleans

When South African superstar Hugh Masekela was forced to cancel his 2017 appearance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, few expected the ebullient, slyly subversive, anti-apartheid trumpeter, gravel-voiced singer, and international music icon would be dead less than a year later. He died in Johannesburg on Tuesday, January 23 at the age of 78.

The prostate cancer that silenced his buoyant horn and irrepressible voice ended a long career that included numerous performances in New Orleans. It also scuttled a highly anticipated reunion at Jazz Fest with pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (nee Dollar Brand) and their definitive South African jazz band, the Jazz Epistles. The group drew heavily on American bebop, a style simultaneously influencing New Orleanians such as Ellis Marsalis, James Black, and Harold Battiste in the 1950s and 1960s. Masekela was also scheduled to perform a “Salute to Louis Armstrong” with New Orleans trumpeter James Andrews and clarinetist Dr. Michael White.

Most Americans became familiar with Masekela when his hit “Grazing in the Grass” topped the charts in 1968. But for New Orleanians, it was the Rebirth Brass Band’s youthfully exuberant cover of the song, which appeared on their Rebirth Kickin’ It Live album in 1991 and was consistently in their live sets during the period.

While Masekela’s original version of the song is a classic, Rebirth’s take defines the tune for a generation of New Orleans music lovers with Kermit Ruffins hitting the high notes and the brass band’s furiously syncopated rhythm churning away.

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The Posies at 30: A Chat with Ken Stringfellow

The unlikely success story of The Posies is one of those rock and roll legends that bundles talent, luck, and timing into a rabid fanbase powerful enough to take a sunny power pop duo from the Pacific Northwest and lift them beyond the grunge. And nobody is more aware of just how unlikely it all was than co-founder Ken Stringfellow

“Naivety is an incredible motivator,” he tells TVD. “I’m so un-nostalgic, that going back and having a sense of accomplishment is rare for me.”

Thirty years in a successful band is a huge accomplishment by any measure. The Posies are celebrating the three decades from their rough-hewn inception by hitting the road—first as a two-man “acoustic” show (just Ken and co-founder Jon Auer), then gradually adding more band members as the worldwide tour progresses. 

They’re also celebrating by re-issuing their brilliant albums from their classic big-label era on vinyl via Omnivore Recordings: Dear 23, Frosting on the Beater, and Amazing Disgrace, which will be released as audiophile LPs and double CDs laden with unheard bonus tracks throughout the spring and summer. (You can pre-order them and check out loads of other memorabilia and more at their PledgeMusic Campaign page.) 

We’ve chatted with Ken before, and he’s a true-blue TVD pal, but this tour… this is something special. And it’s definitely not nostalgic. 

It’s rare that I get longer than 20 minutes to talk with anybody, so if something changes and you need to go, just know that my expectations are for a 20 minute conversation.

Okay, great, well we’ll take it as it comes. It’s funny because January generally is usually pretty quiet. It’s often when I’m working on new music because my studio is totally dead. In fact… the one paying customer I had this month canceled on me today. But, it’s cool. Yeah, January is just kind of expected to be quiet and so I have time to do stuff like this. This year it’s all about making sure this upcoming tour goes well. And the pledge campaign goes well. I’m at your service.

So, you’re starting your tour at the end of the month.


Obviously this tour is huge for you—it’s your 30th anniversary tour for The Posies.


Because you guys are such a great power-pop band…. Why an acoustic tour?

Well, this is how we began. Actually, what’s interesting, it kind of just worked out this way by chance. But this year’s activities really mirror, in many ways, the activities of 1988—the year that we’re celebrating the anniversary of.

We started that year as a duo. To back track all the way to 1988 and 1987, Jon [Auer] and I had been in bands together in high school. The I went up to go to the University of Washington in Seattle, which is an hour and a half away from Bellingham, the town we come from.

We had some songs written—some of the songs that would appear on Failure—and we were just trying to form a band and couldn’t find anybody who was actually interested in… they couldn’t quite get the concept. It wasn’t so clear as like, “Okay, we’re going to do this goth band.” If we said that, everybody would be in. Or if we said, “Hey, we’re a punk band,” or metal… Those are concepts that people can get.

But the concept that we were trying to present, which was really… I don’t know. We wanted to put the songwriting first and foremost—the craft [of songwriting]. It was a little hard to explain unless you heard the songs.

To that end, we recorded what was essentially a very long demo tape that turned out pretty good. And we thought, “Well, we should just release this anyway.” Just the two of us played on the album. There’s drums and bass on the record, but we played all the instruments. That’s what became our first album, Failure. We released that in March of 1988, or April, something like that. “Released” means that we just made some copies and we brought it to a local record store and put it on consignment as a cassette. Things kind of went from there.

But up to that point, we had no bass and drums because nobody wanted to… we just couldn’t convince anybody to be in a band with us. At that time, we did play a couple of shows in Seattle and in Bellingham as a duo. And, curiously enough, here in January, 30 years later… here we are playing as a duo.

Acoustic is kind of a misnomer, I have to say. We have electric guitars on stage, Jon plays his pedals. It’s not really like James Taylor when we play or anything like that.

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Fawns of Love,
The TVD First Date and Premiere, “Zine Days”

“2017 was an exciting year for vinyl. I had been eagerly anticipating Sparks’ Hippopotamus release. So much so I submitted a video for their “Hippopotamus Spoken Word Fan Video.” I got in (along with my pirate puppet), and it still tickles me that I (along with other die-hard fans) am on Sparks’ official YouTube channel. I have even made friends thanks to that video.”

“Sparks’ fans are so interconnected it’s literally like a cult, but in a fun way—I never want to be deprogrammed! I cherish my vinyl copy of Hippopotamus along with my signed lyric sheet. I also thought their Black Friday Record Store Day release “Check Out Time 11am” was fantastic.

My other favorite band, The Chills, also had a stellar Record Store Day Release in 2017, with “Rocket Science/Lost in Space.” The Chills are so eclectic and cool. They manage to maintain what you love about them and keep you guessing at the same time. In my opinion I think Martin Phillipps has taken up Pete Seeger’s torch, and is incredibly articulate about income inequality and environmental issues. I eagerly await The Chills new material.

Both artists have shaped me artistically. Sparks have instilled in me a sense of irony and fun, and while the rest of the world is sepia toned, the Mael brothers are in technicolor. The Chills consistently wow me with their ability to write songs that are both epic and intimate, hopeful yet realistic, and full of beautiful metaphors.
Jenny Andreotti

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Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores, January 2018, Part Four

Part four of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued wax presently in stores for January, 2018. Part one is here, part two is here, and part three is here.

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Jeff Snyder, Sunspots (Carrier) Composer, improviser, instrument-designer, holder of a Music Composition doctorate from Columbia, and Director of Electronic Music at Princeton, Snyder has worked in a variety of groups, and after numerous appearances on comps this is his debut album, offered on 2LP in a gatefold sleeve and as a digital DL in both stereo and quadrophonic versions. Using a 1970s Buchla synth controlled by his Snyderphonics JD-1 keyboard/sequencer, the four side-long 18-minute pieces recall the heyday of avant-garde electronic music, but without the bleep-and-bloop that sometimes dates those perfectly fine records. Instead, there’s a congruence to later experimental electronic stuff, so fans of Pan Sonic, Matmos, and Merzbow should investigate. A major work. A

Belle Adair, Tuscumbia (Single Lock) The second album from this Florence, AL four-piece was recorded at their hometown FAME studios, but don’t go jumping to any conclusions regarding their sound. Instead of working in a style that’s tangibly Southern, they dish out a strain of guitar pop that’s less geographically situated. Sure, Belle Adair’s influences include Big Star, who are assuredly in the Southern USA’s musical Hall of Greats, but the list also features Teenage Fanclub. Produced by Tom Schick, Tuscumbia fruitfully delves into a strum-glide zone instead of dishing riffy power-pop action, with the songs, singing (which occasionally brings The Clientele to mind), and playing strong throughout. A-

REISSUE PICKS: Bert Jansch, A Man I’d Rather Be (Part 1) (Earth) Recently, the work of this Brit-folk cornerstone has been relatively easy to obtain (it wasn’t always that way), but for interested parties who have yet to scoop up a few of his albums, this, Earth’s first installment in the corralling of his prime early discs (Part 2 arrives next month) is a gift destined to give decades of pleasure. Jansch has influenced hordes of aspiring fingerpickers, more than a handful of them notable, and his work has aged hardly a bit. This 4LP casebound box set (also available on CD) collects his self-titled debut and It Don’t Bother Me (both ’65) and Jack Orion and his collab with future Pentangle bandmate John Renbourn Bert and John (both ’66). Don’t think for a sec that you don’t need this stuff in your life. A+

Robbie Basho, Live in Forli, Italy 1982 (ESP-Disk/Obsolete Recordings) Along with John Fahey and Leo Kottke, Basho comprises the big three original American Primitive guitarists. Due in part to his death from a stroke in 1986 (he was just 45), his discography is smaller than his counterparts, but much of it is downright gorgeous, and this ’82 show adds to the luster. There is some overlap with the Bonn Ist Supreme CD, which captured a 1980 German performance, but that won’t stop heavy-duty fans (who were likely already familiar with this show as an incomplete download) from picking it up. The selections span from ’66’s The Grail and the Lotus to ’81’s Rainbow Thunder: Songs of the American West; yes, he does sing, but to these ears, that’s not a problem. CD available 1/26, vinyl 2/23. A-

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In rotation: 1/25/18

Vinyl Is Spinning Huge Sales For Sunrise Records: Sunrise Records’ president Doug Putman doesn’t buy the popular mantra that music sales are cooked. Proof of this is the fact that his chain of nationwide stores sold close to a half-million vinyl albums last year. That’s right. Sunrise sold just shy of 500,000 vinyl recordings and most with an average sticker price of $29.99. And that’s just the half of it. Last year, Putman expanded his Ontario-based 12-store chain by negotiating leases from mall owners left holding the bag when HMV declared bankruptcy, and in the space of a year grew to 82 stores nationwide. Today he employs about 800 staff working full or part-time in Sunrise locations, and he has plans for more expansion in 2018.

Going For A Song Chronicles The Tale Of Britain’s Record Shops: New book Going For A Song chronicles the history of Britain’s Record Shops. Round about 10 years ago or so only one type of article was commissioned about British record shops: obituaries. Vinyl, we were told, was a dead format, downloading was here to stay, and that record shops would move online, into the digital realm. Fast forward a decade or more and vinyl sales are at their highest level since 1991 and more shops seem to spring up on a weekly basis. New book Going For A Song details the history, the fall, and subsequent resurgence of Britain’s record shops, and the communities around them. Moving from early shellac outlets to dub shacks, Soho shebeens to Brian Epstein’s NEMS network in Liverpool, it looks fascinating, packed with detail and new interviews.

Recycled Records’ longtime owners considering selling: Changes could be in store for a one-of-a-kind downtown Springfield business that’s been a second home to generations of music lovers. Mark and Gary Kessler, co-owners of Springfield Furniture and Recycled Records, 625 E. Adams St., said they haven’t made any definitive plans, but they are considering selling the business. Mark, 70, and Gary, 64, have not set a date to close the store and stressed that there is no need for them to hurry and make a decision. They plan to continue buying and selling records as always, but they are open to reasonable offers. “It’s not a fire sale,” Mark said. “Neither Gary nor I need to sell this business. I’m 70 years old. I just want to do some other stuff.”

Why Vinyl Matters: Nick Hornby on Records, High Fidelity, and His Personal Top 5: “Well, of course it hasn’t really returned. Sales are still tiny. But it isn’t, as we thought, going to vanish completely, at least for a while. There’s snob appeal, for sure—vinyl looks great, the covers are cool, the format is fashionably retro, and so on. But I suspect that many young people are taking the position that old-school music nerds adopted: what you own says something about you. You can’t own the music on Spotify. Everyone has the same—namely, everything—despite attempts to personalise the new platforms. Vinyl offers a way of distinguishing yourself from those who care less than you do.”

Vinyl revival – What goes around comes around: When digital downloads became the dominant music delivery format in 2011, outstripping sales of all physical media for the first time, the music industry in general was in turmoil. The boom stemming from compact disc sales (a period stretching from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s) became a bust; industry revenue (sales of all recorded media) dropped from $14.6 billion in 1999 to about $9 billion in 2008. While those numbers continued to drop in subsequent years, the direction has now reversed course. During the first half of 2017, the RIAA reported a 17 percent increase in revenue over the same period the previous year. Vinyl sales are at their most vigorous in nearly three decades…

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