Monthly Archives: February 2018

TVD Radar: Gomez,
Bring It On 20th anniversary vinyl edition in stores 5/18

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “No other record captures that period so perfectly,” says Elbow’s Guy Garvey. “The concerns of the songs, the stories, the experimental sounds. It was so brave for a band to record themselves at that time: it allowed a direct and undiluted account of the band as aspirational, big-hearted friends in love with making music and each other. It dared us to record ourselves. But they did it first. It’s the most deserving recipient of the Mercury Prize in its history: a breathlessly ambitious and lovingly crafted masterpiece. It should be called Bring It ‘The Fuck’ On.”

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Gomez’s Mercury Music Prize winning debut album, Bring It On will be re-mastered and reissued on April 20, 2018 digitally, and May 18, 2018 as a super-deluxe 4CD set with an accompanying remastered double LP release. The 4CD 20th Anniversary edition of Bring It On contains the original, classic album remastered by Frank Arkwright at Abbey Road studios and 35 previously unreleased tracks including 25 demos (recorded between January 1996 and August 1997) – 13 of which are appearing on an official Gomez release for the first time. The band will be playing the album in its entirety on all of their upcoming tour dates in the U.K., Ireland, Australia, and North America.

Twenty years on, the debut album by Gomez sounds not of its time, but ahead of its time. You can hear its echoes in so much of the music that followed it: not just in Elbow, but in any artist who heard Bring it On and realized the possibilities of combining indie and roots music with lo-fidelity electronics: a modern experimental sensibility with a love of the past. Bring It On was an album that synthesized styles in a way that seemed remarkable then, and now sounds utterly unforced and contemporary. Where so many of its contemporaries sound completely of their time, Bring It On sounds as if it could have come out to equal acclaim at any point over the past 20 years. It’s a record that thoroughly merits its expanded 20th Anniversary Edition.

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TVD Radar: Girlschool, The Singles 1979-84 orange vinyl available for pre-order

VIA PRESS RELEASE | If your knowledge of hard-rockin’, all-female bands from the late ’70s is limited to The Runaways, friend, it is time to broaden your horizons and cast your eyes across the pond to the British rock institution that is Girlschool.

Closely associated with fellow New Wave of British Heavy Metal legends Motorhead (with whom they shared the hit single “Please Don’t Touch” found here), Girlschool is still kickin’ out the jams 40 years later with 3 (Kim McAuliffe, Enid Williams, and Denise Dufort) of the 4 original members.

And here, collected inside a gatefold package sporting original picture sleeves and great liner notes by compiler Mark “Captain Oi” Brennan, are all their classic early singles, including their first one, “Take It All Away,” for the City Records label, followed by all those fantastic Bronze-label sides featuring hits like “Race with the Devil,” “Hit and Run,” “C’Mon Let’s Go,” and “Wildlife.”

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Graded on a Curve,
The Peter Brötzmann Octet, Machine Gun

We didn’t mean to shoot the water heater.

That water heater was a casualty of war, and its shooting was just one of those things that happens when you’re abruptly levitated out of bed in shock and awe in the form of some ferocious Pharaoh Sanders free jazz skronk playing at maximum volume on your younger brother’s stereo at 10:00 on a hungover Sunday morning, and then proceed to get half drunk and decide it would be a real cool idea to go down to the basement of your parent’s house in Littlestown, Pennsylvania to play a lively game of “Dodge the Ricochet.”

“Dodge the Ricochet” is fun and easy to play and basically involves standing maybe six feet away from a brick wall and then taking potshots at said wall with your dad’s kid-sized .22 caliber “cat” rifle. The rules are simple. You shoot, then duck, because those .22 slugs are coming right back at you.

Not that it’s really possible to dodge a ricocheting bullet; they’re pretty darn fast. It’s more of a case of very quickly covering your balls and contorting yourself into as small a target as possible for that rebounding slug. It’s kinda like playing kamikaze frisbee, only instead of a frisbee you’re playing with live rounds.

Where, you may be wondering, does German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann’s seminal 1968 European free jazz recording Machine Gun come into this? Patience, friend, patience. Suffice it for now to say that Machine Gun is one of the most abrasive, anarchic, and hair-raising free jazz albums to ever set your synapses sizzling like overworked bug zappers. Think yer some kinda hot shit noise aficionado cuz you’ve managed to sit through John Coltrane’s Ascension or Albert Ayler’s Spiritual Unity? I dare you to check out Machine Gun. It makes those free jazz landmarks sound like Duke Ellington in comparison.

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Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

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Graded on a Curve: Typical Girls, Volume 3
and Volume 4

Back in 2016, the Emotional Response label released their first Typical Girls compilation, and it shed a fine spotlight upon female fronted punk, post-punk, and associated styles. Early last year, a second volume extended the momentum, and now comes the simultaneous release of the third and fourth installments, both issued on clear vinyl. Their contents bring back memories of sitting in a Hardee’s reading an issue of Maximum Rocknroll while listening to homemade punk tapes on a Walkman and sipping on a half-flat Coke, but even better is that the music spread across these four sides is a ripsnorting representation of right now.

Speaking of Maximum Rocknroll, there was a time when comps of an openly punk orientation cared little or not at all for diversity in annotation; it was part of the reason many became detached from the scene. Thankfully, Jen Turrell and Stewart Anderson, along with Camylle of the Midnite Snaxxx and Bad Daddies bands, who helped with the compiling of these two sets, share a broad definition of punk’s possibilities, so that even with a unifying theme, namely female and trans empowerment, these volumes not only avoid boredom but are loaded with surprises.

But hey, if it’s a beefy, fast-paced, full-throated gallop you want, Volume Three has it right off the bat with “Make Room Make Room” by the UK’s Natterers, and follows it with the anthemic and hooky “Por no estar sola” by Madrid’s Rata Negra; next comes the vaguely Bratmobile-ish (but with hardcore breakdowns) “Greedy Goblin” from Hattiesburg, MS’s Judy and the Jerks. Completing the set’s first fourth is Fresno’s Fatty Cakes and the Puff Pastries, whose “Girl Gang” combines a distinctly more pop sensibility with Riot Grrl righteousness.

From there, Portland’s Macho Boys serve up a sub-one-minute breakneck HC blitz in “Victim to Blame,” and Carrboro, NC’s Fitness Womxn dish garrulous and rhythmically driving post-punk in “Living Hell.” Although Crooked Bangs’ Leda Ginestra sing-shouts “Baudelaire” in French, the band is from Austin; their stated influences of ’80s Crass Records, UK82 HC, and ’90s noise-rock are palpable, but are aided by a solid melodic foundation, the better to fend off the genericism mentioned above.

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In rotation: 2/28/18

Zia Record Exchange prepares to move its west-side Vegas location: For the past decade, Las Vegas’ two Zia Record Exchange locations have been colloquially known as “Eastern” and “Sahara,” for the streets on which they are situated. By summer’s end, customers will need to get used to referring to them as “Eastern” and “Rainbow.” The Arizona-based chain’s west-side Vegas store, housed at 4503 W. Sahara Ave. since opening in June 2008, has secured a larger space at 1216 S. Rainbow Blvd., just south of Charleston Boulevard. The City of Las Vegas recently approved the move, along with a secondhand dealer permit for the new spot, and store manager Karl Hartwig expects the Rainbow Zia to be fully operational by the end of July.

Record store puts new spin on old sound: Traditional music format vinyl records are enjoying a resurgence in Albany at Paperbark Merchants. Since December the store has been selling the albums of more than 300 artists and a range of turntables as Woof Dog Records. Hamish Cameron from Paperbark Merchants said vinyl has no equal in terms of quality sound. “Woof Dog Records had been a thought bubble for quite a few years now, driven simply by the lack of a record store in Albany and my preference for purchasing music in the best format,” he said. “The Great Southern has a deep appreciation for music with many talented artists and I feel there was a void that needed to be filled.”

Lance’s Journal: Return to Records, Feb. 26, 2018: People first started listening to music on records way back in the 1890’s. The first flat, circular records were made of glass, then zinc, and then hard rubber. It was in the 1950’s, that manufactures started using polyvinyl chloride…otherwise known as vinyl to make records. And buying vinyl records was the thing to do throughout most of the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s…until tapes, CD’s & digital downloads replaced records. But don’t look now, but vintage vinyl is making a comeback. Doug Frank was in high school when he got his first taste of the music business while working at Budget Tapes and Records in Scottsbluff, “I’d go in there and hang out for hours and just talk to the owners who were nice people and very knowledgeable about music.”

Put the Needle on the Record: Where to shop for vinyl around Intown: If you thought vinyl records were musty and dusty old relics from your parents’ or grandparents’ generation, think again. Billboard magazine reports that nearly 15 million vinyl albums were sold in the U.S. alone during 2017. In the United Kingdom, vinyl is now outselling digital music downloads. Vinyl virtually disappeared in the 1990s as new albums were released on CD. In the last decade, vinyl has made a huge comeback as music fans discover the richer sound, the large sleeve artwork and the satisfying crackle and pop as a turntable needle drops on the record. Most new albums by major acts now get a vinyl release along with the CD and push to streaming services.

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TVD Live Shots: The Revolution at the Joy Theater, 2/22

PHOTOS: INGRID WILLIAMS | From the opening notes of “America” all doubts were dispelled. The Revolution was hitting on all cylinders like the same well-oiled machine that helped expose Prince’s music to anyone unfamiliar with the icon in the period before “Purple Rain” made him a superstar. The rest of the concert was a history lesson, homage to the legend, and a real good time.

With bassist Mark “Brownmark” Brown and guitarist Wendy Melvoin (pictured at top) handling most of the vocal duties and acting as co-bandleaders, they tore through a set list of both hits and deep cuts demonstrating the depth of Prince’s catalog. A more obscure song, “Computer Blue,” followed the opener which was the first single off Around the World in a Day, one of the albums that featured the definitive version of The Revolution.

After a high energy start filled with other funky tunes like “Take Me With You” and “D.M.S.R.” the audience was fully engaged with what the band was trying to do. They showed that they are not just a cover band reeling off hits by another artist, but the band, which had a hand in creating the songs.

Melvoin ably handled vocals on “Raspberry Beret” but cautioned the crowd that without Prince singing we would have to handle some of the vocals. Of course, the place went wild with a sing-a-long that was repeated three songs later on “1999.”

It was clear that the night was as emotional for the musicians as it was for the audience. This was never clearer than when drummer Bobby Z., keyboardist Dr. Fink, and Brown left the stage to allow Melvoin and keyboardist Lisa Coleman to duet on the bittersweet ballad, “Sometimes it Snows in April.” The feeling of loss was clear on their faces and throughout the audience as well.

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TVD Radar: Billy Edd Wheeler’s Hotter Than
a Pepper Sprout
stores 4/3

VIA PRESS RELEASE | BMG is proud to announce the release of Hotter Than a Pepper Sprout: A Hillbilly Poet’s Journey From Appalachia to Yale to Writing Hits for Elvis, Johnny Cash & More on April 3. The book is an intimate memoir by Billy Edd Wheeler, an award-winning songwriter, musician, author, playwright, poet, visual artist, folk singer, and Appalachian Renaissance man.

Wheeler is best known for penning “Jackson,” the Grammy-winning single popularized by Johnny Cash and June Carter in 1967. His songs have been recorded by Country Music Hall of Fame members such as Bill Anderson, Chet Atkins, Bobby Bare, Jim Ed Brown, Glen Campbell, Roy Clark, Tom T. Hall, Elvis Presley, Jerry Reed, Kenny Rogers, Hank Snow, Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn, and others. He notched his own Top 5 country hit with “Ode to the Little Brown Shack Out Back” in 1964. Folk artists covering his material include Judy Collins, The Country Gentlemen, John Denver, Hazel Dickens, Richie Havens, The Kingston Trio and Tim O’Brien. In addition, Wheeler has released 20 albums, 14 plays and musicals, nine books, and two collections of poetry.

Wheeler’s memoir is populated by a fascinating cast of characters he encountered on his journey from humble Appalachian beginnings to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. His lengthy career saw the birth of classic tunes such as “The Reverend Mr. Black,” “High Flyin’ Bird,” “The Coming of the Roads,” “It’s Midnight,” “Coal Tattoo,” “Coward of the County,” and others. Peppered with the folksy wisdom of his beloved region, Hotter Than a Pepper Sprout chronicles the following milestones: Billy Edd’s troubled relationship with his volatile stepdad; his time studying at Yale to become a playwright; his years working for legendary songwriter/publishers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller in New York’s famed Brill Building; his experiences with the Nashville music industry; and his friendship with Chet Atkins.

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Parthenon Huxley,
The TVD First Date

“My first record was “Oh, Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison. It came with a record player on Christmas, probably 1965. I played the crap out of that record and couldn’t wait to buy more. I recall furiously debating whether I should spend my hard-earned 79 cents on “Wild Thing” or “Hanky Panky.” I figured “Wild Thing” would have a longer radio life so I went with “Hanky Panky.” Decisions, decisions.”

“I lived overseas in the late ’60s and ’70s. I was civilian, but my military friends had PX privileges where albums cost $2.50. One day they took me on an album buying trip. I had to stay in the car while they hit the record rack. I only had enough money for one album and the choices were Stand Up by Jethro Tull or Spirit’s first album. I thought Spirit was slightly more obscure so I went with the underdog. Fresh Garbage never sounded so good.

I remember exactly when the vinyl era ended. My album Sunny Nights was released on vinyl in 1988 by Columbia Records. The second single “Double Our Numbers” was released on CD. I made it onto a major label 12” just in the nick of time. A CD release wouldn’t have been the same. I’m hugely proud to have my name on Columbia’s big red label surrounded by my songs etched in glorious black vinyl.

My relationship with vinyl atrophied for years after CDs became the norm. It was just the way things were. When I was dating my (soon to be) wife Helle in the late ’90s, it was her CD collection that I admired. LPs were gone.

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UK Artist of the Week: ARXX

Having supported the likes of PINS and Nova Twins on tour, Brighton duo ARXX are fast making a name for themselves as one of the most exciting live bands around. Now, having just released their debut EP, they’re blasting into our ears with their riotous new single.

Reflecting on the failed expectations of a relationship, “Tired Of You” races with gritty riffs and immense pounding beats as the seething power of Hannah Pidduck’s vocals soars with a raw passion. Combining catchy refrains with a fist-clenching force, it’s an instantly infectious slice of garage-rock with shades of The Coathangers or Deap Vally.

Influenced by the music that Pidduck was brought up with by her mother, “Daughters Of Daughters,” the new EP from ARXX, showcases an eclectic range of sounds with subject matter ranging from cats, misogyny, and addiction. From the intense, subversive power of “Intervention” to the country-pop romanticism of “Stuck On You,” it’s an impressive collection of tracks, making it impossible to pigeon-hole the duo by one single genre.

“Daughters Of Daughters,” the debut EP from ARXX, is in stores now.

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Graded on a Curve: Barrence Whitfield
& the Savages,
Soul Flowers of Titan

Boston’s garage soul kingpins Barrence Whitfield & the Savages have released four records since kicking it back into gear in 2010, and not one of them has been less than a keeper. As reflected in its title, their latest takes inspiration from multifaceted jazz genius Sun Ra, but don’t go thinking Barrence and company have radically altered matters; no, on Soul Flowers of Titan, the Savages’ howling, stomping, grooving essence is as recognizable as ever, as they deliver their signature sound with obvious relish. It’s out March 2 on compact disc and vinyl, with a limited deluxe clear wax option, from Bloodshot Records.

Barrence Whitfield & the Savages have accumulated a fair amount coverage in these digital pages, in part because they’ve accomplished an unlikely feat. Specifically, since the reunion of Whitfield with guitarist Peter Greenberg and bassist Phil Lenker, with drummer Andy Jody and sax blower Tom Quartulli filling out the band, their output has easily equaled, and to my ear slightly surpassed, the records that put them on the roots-party radar screen in the first place.

Indeed, coming back so strong after such a lengthy break in activity is impressive, but that they’ve successfully honed (and not overly finessed) an approach on record that is best-suited for small, tightly packed nightclubs only heightens the achievement. Large and bright but lacking in slickness, they’ve managed to retain a tight focus without falling victim to the samey.

Integrating Sun Ra-inspired space themes to Soul Flowers of Titan certainly helps to keep matters fresh, but a more um, down-to-earth maneuver comes through the lineup’s addition of B3 and Rheem organ courtesy of newest member Brian Olive. Perhaps the most successful ingredients in their recipe are enduring, namely Whitfield’s undiminished capacity as a raw shouter with beaucoup soul flair, and continued savviness in blending non-played out cover material with originals that hold right up.

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In rotation: 2/27/18

Record Store Day UK Launch Events taking place 6th March: The full RSD18 list will be available to the public on Tuesday 6th March at 6pm and there’s lots of events to get involved with. It’s finally here, and we’re just as excited as you are! We’re very pleased to announce that our full list of #RSD18 releases will be launched on the 6th March from 6pm. In order to celebrate the launch, some of our independent record shops are putting on events so all the record lovers out there can check out the list and discuss their favourites. You can expect live music, quizzes, free Friel’s cider and more. There’s a range of events to choose from so make sure you get involved. Whether you pop down to your local or venture somewhere you haven’t been, it’s one to not be missed.

Walnut Creek: Up the Creek Records brings hip vibe to city: Walnut Creek recently took another major step toward becoming more urban. But in a totally cool hipster way. The city now has its first vinyl record store. And as befitting a cool hipster vibe, Up the Creek Records is tucked upstairs in an obscure Tice Valley location. There’s not even a sign visible from the street. Not a problem, says owner Nic Taylor, who estimates that he carries more than 1,000 mostly new records. “Record collectors are a dedicated bunch. They’re finding their way here.” So are local teens and millennials for whom vinyl records are so far out that they’re very in again. They’re rifling through the alphabetized bins alongside nostalgic boomers and dedicated audiophiles for whom record albums never ceased to be the best way to enjoy music.

Flipping through records and filling the air with nostalgia: EUGENE, Ore. – Legions of Audiophiles maintain that music on vinyl is still the only way to go, and for that select group of niche listeners and record collectors, Sunday was a blast in downtown Eugene. The record show included all genres, eras and tastes of music, and Director Thomas Jones jokingly says the common love for records is that mp3’s don’t have a smell, among other things. “It sounds better, to me there’s something about flipping the record and dancing around the living room or doing dishes,” said Marie Rose. “I don’t plug my phone in to listen to songs, I don’t keep a lot of songs on my phone.” Record prices ranged from booth to booth, and the entrance fee was only $3.

‘It’s not going anywhere’: Vinyl record rediscovery happening in SWFL: J.W. Honeycutt, of Joe’s Record Exchange — which opened in September 2014 on First Street, in downtown Fort Myers — has been in the music industry since the mid-1980s, and he has been an avid consumer of vinyl. Honeycutt credits his love of music to his upbringing, listening to the likes of Elvis Presley and Little Richard on his mother’s record player. “I was just always a vinyl person,” Honeycutt said. Justin Giustizia, of North Naples, calls himself a “curated seller” and cultivates product to sell to online clients from a variety of Southwest Florida record stores. As such — he roots for the success of music on vinyl music. “I think we wanted the tangible again,” Giustizia said.

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TVD Live Shots: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the Fox Oakland, 2/22

Every February, San Francisco’s Popscene carpet-bombs the Bay Area’s favorite music venues, large and small, with dozens of indie acts spanning several days. Thursday night found Popscene hosting local favorites Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the historic Fox Theater in Oakland for a headlining set supported by Night Beats in what would amount to an evening of fuzz from a pair of power trios.

Out front, Telegraph Boulevard was calm as concert goers trickled into the Fox to be met by blasts of distortion-heavy psychedelic garage rock from Night Beats whose ample 40 minute set warmed up the room on this unseasonably cold night.

With little fanfare, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club took the stage to hoots and hollers from around the room as they tore into their set. Moody, and plodding yet musical, the dark set was punctuated by frequent blasts of light that revealed Peter and Robert, both sporting black leather, trading vocal duties while drummer Leah Shapiro kept things tight on drums.

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TVD Radar: Laura Davis-Chanin’s The Girl in the Back in stores 5/15

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Punk rock in downtown New York City seduced Laura and her friends. By day they attended school, and by night they snuck out to hear Patti Smith poetry readings, Jonathan Richman concerts, and early Ramones, Blondie, and Talking Heads gigs in the exploding clubs, CBGB, and Max’s Kansas City. These clubs also featured bands such as the Dead Boys, the Heartbreakers, Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Television, the Cramps, the Erasers, the Fast, the Mumps, and so many more.

Laura became the drummer of the Student Teachers, not because she had always wanted to be a drummer, or even a musician, but because it seemed like a great thing to do at that time. Female drummers were unusual in the late ’70s. Girls were usually in the front. Not in the back! When Jimmy Destri of Blondie discovered the Student Teachers, he was hooked and signed on as their producer. Even more provocatively, he became interested in Laura, which led her on a whirlwind experience with Blondie and, astonishingly, David Bowie.

It was Bowie who developed an interest in their band, led them into new territories, and shepherded them through complicated decisions, which, curiously and unfortunately, contributed to them not signing with RCA Records in 1979. Finally, it was Bowie’s intelligence and influence that pushed Laura to go where she really wanted to go—very far from rock ’n’ roll.

In this book, Davis-Chanin takes readers on a thrill ride though the late 1970s punk scene that ultimately crashed to a sudden halt. After playing a show at Town Hall in 1980, Laura was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. That was the end of her life as a teenage girl drummer.

Says Davis-Chanin, “we are all kicked in the gut by many things. And honestly, I was lucky. Lucky to have been stopped when I was, because rock ’n’ roll, despite the glamour, the fun, the money, was not an easy life. Many of us were really young at that time, and there were a lot of drugs. It felt like it was getting dangerous and, even scarier, possibly fatal.”

With a foreword by Yo La Tengo drummer Georgia Hubley and prose that flows like music, The Girl in the Back is a rich work of narrative nonfiction that is not only deeply personal but also revealing of the punk rock heyday in New York City.

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Holy Golden,
The TVD First Date

“The thumping sound when a record ends is like a heartbeat. A knock on the door of the moment that says, “turn me over and begin again.” I used to search through my basement as a kid, seeking some form of treasure. I would find piles of scratched vinyl, warped and dusty, and I would wonder—what strange world did my parents come from? I would envision previous eras as forgotten lands of faded color and emotion. When you hold a vinyl in your hand, you are forced to see the artist in front of you—the product of their hard work, creativity, style, and choices.”

“In the basement as a kid I was alone, but sorting through those records, I was surrounded by ghosts in glittering gowns and bellbottoms—smiling at me from the time machine abyss of their record cover, saying “I still have things to say to you.” The truth we find in music doesn’t just exist in the past or future, it is always true.

A strange and serendipitous moment involving a record store occurred on the island of Martha’s Vineyard on a cold December day. It involves two lonely artists—the artists are me, Leslie Schott, and Andrew Valenti. Together we are the band Holy Golden. We owe our meeting to a now extinct record shop called Aboveground Records. I was alone in Cape Cod caring for my elderly grandmother. Andrew was a farmer and tractor driver on the Vineyard and worked one day a week at Aboveground Records. I decided to take the ferry over to the Vineyard to wander around and film some material for a film I was working on.

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