Monthly Archives: March 2019

Graded on a Curve: Velvet Goldmine OST

Once upon a time, I owned the soundtrack to Velvet Goldmine on compact disc, but somebody stole it. Or maybe in an addled state, I let somebody borrow it, and they never gave it back. It’s possible I might’ve left it at a friend’s house or in their car. Somehow, I doubt it. Whatever the reason, it’s long gone, though this fact saddens me no more, because on April 5 MVD Audio is bringing out a fresh edition on double blue and orange vinyl. As it remains one of the few song-based (as opposed to score-driven) soundtracks that didn’t have me giving the CD player skip button a workout, I’m pretty stoked. A few fresh spins had that tone arm gliding steady.

Having enjoyed Todd Haynes’ first two features, I watched Velvet Goldmine, his third from 1998, and liked it, too. I considered digging into it again in service for this review, but ultimately didn’t, which is of no consequence, as the record stands on its own merits. Not only pleasing from start to finish, it’s also unusually multifaceted for a soundtrack, with its handful of genre-appropriate ’70s tracks cohering well with a larger helping of thematically-focused ’90s material.

First, the old stuff. The film Velvet Goldmine is tersely described as loosely based on the lives and artistic trajectories of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed, but especially Bowie. However, Haynes apparently wasn’t able to license any of Bowie’s stuff, a roadblock that became a benefit, as the soundtrack (and the film, as I remember) dually functions as a lengthy trip down one of the main highways of ’70s Glam.

That would be the glam rock-as-Art-as-lifestyle liberation-auteur route on the map, which means a decided deemphasis on bubblegum or hard rock (Gary Glitter and Slade are heard in the film, though). However, the selections grabbed from the era do an adequate job of portraying glam rock’s creative ambition even without access to Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie.

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In rotation: 3/27/19

San Antonio, TX | Beloved DIY Venue Imagine Books & Records Is Moving: “Bittersweet” is the word Ezra Hurd is using to describe the new journey on which he and his family are embarking. Since 2011, 8373 Culebra Rd #201B has been the home of the DIY bookshop, record store and venue Imagine Books & Records. Mid-April will mark its relocation to a new space. “Me and my dad have had so many [good] times at the store,” said Hurd who books shows at the shop. “We’ve had a lot of great friends we’ve met, and it’s really changed our lives, and changing the store is a little bit scary, but we’re pretty positive about the move. I’m just worried about is it gonna be how it looks like in my head? Is it gonna represent Imagine? Is it gonna have a different feel? And we can’t know until we do it. It’s a little scary, but mainly exciting…”

New York, NY | Mexican Summer Launches New NYC Storefront Brooklyn Record Exchange. The indie label is entering the retail business with a new shop housed in the same compound as the venue Elsewhere in Bushwick. While vinyl sales continue to rise, reaching their highest level since 1988 last year, recapturing the classic spirit of the record store has proved a more challenging task. But it’s one that Mexican Summer label founders Andrés Santo Domingo and Keith Abrahamsson and Co-Op 87’s Mike Hunchback and Ben Steidel are taking on with Brooklyn Record Exchange, a new venture they’re bringing to a sunny strip of industrial Bushwick. Their shop — soft launching Thursday before opening in full on Saturday — is housed in the same compound as the venue Elsewhere, which brings a diverse array of artists to the area through its two performance spaces.

Peterborough, CA | ‘He wanted people to live their best life’: Friend remembers Peterborough business owner Jonathan Hall: Peterborough’s music community is grieving this weekend after the sudden passing of Jonathan Hall, a local DJ and business owner. At the time, Koski didn’t know Hall would become his best friend, his confidant, his business partner and, as Koski calls him, his biggest supporter. It was a role Hall really took on, not only with his friends but throughout Peterborough. “Jonny was a pretty amazing guy. I think what endeared a lot of people to him was he gave so much to the community and to everyone, and he never really asked for anything back. He gave a lot of people their start. He believed in a lot of people, including myself,” said Koski. Hall founded the alternative bar Trasheteria in 1994. It had an 18-year run before Hall, together with Koski, opened Spanky’s in 2009. There, people would come from far and wide to watch Hall spin as a DJ. Then, in May 2018, Hall opened The Twisted Wheel with his friend Mike Judson, celebrating music and the vinyl craze.

Seattle, WA | Seattle: Experience the Seattle cool in Sub Pop city: Seattle is full of excellent record stores selling a selection of new and used vinyl. It was while chewing the fat about the local music scene with the owner of Singles Going Steady in Belltown (a great store renowned for punk and grime), that I picked up a print-out of a hand-drawn map of where to find the best vinyl. Easy Street Records & Cafe in West Seattle is a cool place to hang, sift through a selection of vinyl, CDs and memorabilia — I left with a beanie, T-shirt and fridge magnet, as well as some brilliant albums. Named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the US’s top record stores; apparently Eddie Vedder worked a shift in 1995 and played on repeat the store’s copy of Sonic Youth’s new record Washing Machine. Everyone’s got a story.

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TVD Live Shots: Dream Theater at the Wiltern Theatre, 3/21

If you’re a fan of Dream Theater, it should come as no surprise that the band is still at the top of their game. For others who may be just getting to know these prog legends, there is quite a bit to learn about a band who has touched so many and given so much over a near 35-year career in the music industry.

From their early days when they were known simply as Majesty to the present, Dream Theater has continued to create a distinctive brand of progressive rock that engages the mind and inspires the soul with followers all around the world. Consummate story tellers, Dream Theater has a unique way of enlightening their audience through their incredible passion for music—an art that is very rare (and truly under-appreciated) in music’s modern era.

On March 21st, Dream Theater brought the latest chapter in their evolution to the Wiltern Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. Prior to the show getting underway, the band always takes some time to meet their most loyal fans in a special VIP meet and greet session. What is different about these sessions from other commercial VIP events is that the band interacts with each of their fans personally. Some got autographs from their favorite band members, others had their unique Dream Theater memorabilia signed, and most took advantage of the cool photo-op with the band. Fans were never rushed, and the band seemed truly humbled by the outpouring of love and support received throughout the event.

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TVD Radar: Wendell Harrison, Dreams of A Love Supreme reissue in stores 5/31

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Wendell Harrison was born in Detroit in 1942 where he began formal jazz studies for piano, clarinet, and tenor saxophone. At 14, while still in high school, Harrison started performing and recording professionally with artists such as Marvin Gaye, Grant Green, Sun Ra, Hank Crawford and many others.

In 1971, Harrison began teaching music at Metro Arts (a multi-arts complex for youth) where he also connected with Marcus Belgrave, Harold McKinney, and Phil Ranelin. Soon after they formed the (now legendary) Afro-centric TRIBE record label and artist collective. TRIBE used the Metro Arts complex as a vehicle to convey a growing black political consciousness. Wendell Harrison also published the very popular TRIBE magazine, a publication dedicated to local and national social and political issues, as well as featuring artistic contributions such as poetry and visual pieces.

In 1978 Harrison and McKinney co-founded REBIRTH, a non-profit jazz performance and education organization, in which many notable jazz artists have participated. Around the same time Wendell Harrison also created the WENHA record label and publishing company, which released many of his (now classic) recordings as well as those of other artists, such as Phil Ranelin, Doug Hammond, and Reggie Fields (The Real ShooBeeDoo).

In the early 1990s, Wendell Harrison was awarded the title of “Jazz Master” by Arts Midwest. This distinction led Harrison to collaborate with fellow honorees and gave him the chance to tour throughout the United States, Middle East, and Africa. Even to this day Wendell Harrison’s recordings for the TRIBE, WENHA, and REBIRTH labels have a large worldwide fanbase. It is on WENHA that Harrison released the opus: DREAMS OF A LOVE SUPREME (1980).

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Graded on a Curve:
Scott Walker,
The Collection 1967-1970

Today we remember Scott Walker who passed away yesterday, March 25, with a look back from our archives.Ed.

The first five key albums by Scott Walker have just been compiled into a CD/LP box set, and in corralling this very important and vastly enjoyable work from a true existential dreamboat, the executives at Universal Music Group have done music lovers the world over a massive service. Scott Walker: The Collection 1967-1970 includes Scott, Scott 2, Scott 3, Scott 4, and maybe most enticingly ‘Til the Band Comes In, and if not flawless, the collection does paint a truly captivating portrait of this singular artist as a young, ambitious and enduringly relevant man.

Had Scott Walker’s recording career been somehow curtailed before the release of his 1967 solo-debut Scott, he’d still be remembered as one-third of the sneakily non-sibling trio The Walker Brothers, an American group that flipped the script to become a UK teen-pop sensation right in the midst of the British Invasion. They even scored a pair of US hits in the process.

The Walker Brothers’ enshrinement in the Pop Hall of Fame sorta rests upon the enduring pleasures of the Bacharach & David-penned “Make it Easy on Yourself” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore,” both songs climbing to the apex of the British singles charts. They also landed securely in the US Top Twenty to stand as their biggest homeland success, though the reaction of American girls to the trio’s suave image (and young Scott’s, in particular) fell quite a bit short of the mouth-agape and eyes-agog manner of those Swingin’ lasses across the pond.

During their fairly brief initial run (they did reunite in ’75 to produce three further LPs, essentially setting the stage for the second phase of Scott’s career) The Walker Brothers possessed a considerable diversity, with their discography holding a fair amount of uptempo material, including covers of Motown (“Dancing in the Street”), Chris Kenner’s R&B warhorse “Land of a Thousand Dances,” and even Dylan (“Love Minus Zero”). It’s this stuff that gets them mentioned as partial conspirators in the whole UK Beat scene, and while quite likeable in doses, it also lends an air of unevenness to their output.

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UK Artist of the Week: XY&O

This week’s artist of the week began their journey in an Exeter dorm room in early 2015. Fast-forward to 2019 and electro-pop trio XY&O have already racked up over 40 million Spotify streams, so you could say they’re not doing too badly…

The lads’ latest single, “Like A Promise” is an ethereal beauty from the offset, featuring wonderfully majestic vocals from Mr. Skip Curtis, reminding us of the likes of Years & Years instantly. Joining Skip are Nick Kelly (guitar, bass) and Tudor Davies (keyboards, percussion), who together create hauntingly good synth-pop bangers that will have you in a dreamy haze for days.

XY&O’s debut single “Low Tide” is equally mesmerizing and definitely worth a listen too, especially since it managed to reach number 6 on the Spotify Global Viral Chart—pretty impressive stuff if you ask us!

“Like A Promise” is in stores now via Electric MVM.

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Graded on a Curve: Federico Ughi, Transoceanico

Drummer Federico Ughi is no stranger to this column. A Rome-native who splits time between his home country and Brooklyn, he’s drummed on a few dozen records since emerging on disc in the late ’90s, many of them, like this one, on the label he founded, 577 Records. Included in that number are LPs reviewed here by multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter and the electronic-jazz collective New York United. With Transoceanico, Ughi celebrates the 20th anniversary of his first album with a striking free-jazz trio session featuring British tenor saxophonist Rachel Musson and bassist Adam Lane. It’s a searching, raw-toned delight for avant-jazz fans, out now on vinyl and digital.

The opening moments of Transoceanico’s opener “So Far So Good” sparked quick thoughts of ’60s ensembles like The New York Art Quartet and the New York Contemporary Five, outfits that were in the thick of the jazz New Thing (as it was then sometimes called) in the years prior to Fire Music really taking hold. This is a sometimes-underrated period in the history of avant-jazz, but it remains quite important in the documentation of how individuals and groups extended the innovations of Ornette Coleman shortly after his emergence on the scene

As Coleman is cited as a major influence on Ughi’s music as well as a mentor, the multifaceted connection here isn’t a surprise. Furthermore, as Transoceanico’s intense but digestible 43 minutes unwinds, a major point of comparison would be Coleman’s classic ’60s trio, the one that was the core of the pretty good Town Hall, 1962 for ESP-Disk and both volumes of the absolutely essential At the “Golden Circle” Stockholm.

And it’s not like there’s any anxiety on the part of Ughi over Coleman’s influence, as one of the tracks here is titled “Sky Ramblin’,” which I’m assuming is a nod to the opening cut from Ornette’s 1960 classic Change of the Century. Additionally, the reference to the sky wraps up nicely with the drummer’s choice of album title and cover art as the record explores the theme of home and how it has grown in his experience to encompass Rome, NYC, and London (where he lived in the late ’90s and where his first release was made), and by extension travel (between Italy and New York obviously, but also touring).

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In rotation: 3/26/19

AU | Australia has it’s own vinyl marketplace filled with electronic goodness: Nothing better than scrolling through Discogs checking out your fave platters within financial reach (and those that aren’t) before dropping them into your basket and dreaming of giving them their debut spin in your room… before you’re rudely shocked when you check those often eye-watering shipping costs. Well, the good news is Australia now has it’s own vinyl marketplace via a Sydney-startup and their Sound Shelter platform that boasts over 100,000+ listed bits of vinyl goodness and has already knocked over a couple wins in the form of chart collaborations with Levon Vincent, Insolate, Patrice Scott, Kai Alce, Norm Talley and more! The catalog of wares is constantly growing as it’s inbuilt AI tracks stock from a number of independent record stores locally and around the world meaning you’re often getting first dibs and at reasonable costs without the exxy mark ups – pretty much a computer doing the crate digging for ya. [Pass. —Ed.]

Stockton, CA | It’s ‘The End’ for Rasputin Music & Movies in Stockton: With very short notice, Rasputin Music & Movies closed its Stockton store at 6211 Pacific Ave. for the final time Sunday, much to the dismay of its loyal fans. It is believed by many to be the last retail store in Stockton selling vinyl records as well as used CDs and DVDs. “I’ve been coming here for years to get my movies. It’s very disappointing. Now I’m told they are moving all the way to Modesto,” said Cristina Cruz, 50, upset that a store she visits about every other week no longer will be in town. “This is the best place for movies — three for $10. You just can’t get that anywhere else — not on Netflix. Online, it’s $16 on up to purchase a single movie,” said the film collector with an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 titles in her library…“I just don’t know why so many businesses are leaving Stockton,” Cruz said. The staff at Rasputin couldn’t shed any light on the move, either.

Greenville, NC | Record show helps music fanatics discover unique finds: An Eastern North Carolina business brought together music fanatics this weekend hoping to help them uncover some unique finds. Boulevard Records hosted a Vinyl Record Show that included records of all genres. The owner of the store said the show is a great way to get rid of old merchandise and help people discover records they might not find anywhere else. Vendors from across the East attended the show to sell vinyl records, CDs and collectibles. “Some of these people actually have stores but some of these is just somebody cleaning out a collection like hey my aunt passed away recently so this is extra stuff from her collection. In situations like that you never know what you’re going to find,” Boulevard Records Owner David Brown said.

Charlottesville, VA | Spinning records: 82 DJs celebrate new WTJU studio: Matt Villiott has held a lot of roles at the radio station WTJU during his four years as a student at the University of Virginia: sound engineer, sound technician and late-night DJ. On Saturday, however, he and 81 other audiophiles added new titles to their radio resumes: Guinness World Record challengers. To celebrate the station’s move to a new, spacious studio at 2244 Ivy Road, general manager Nathan Moore gathered dozens of current and former volunteers and staffers to break the record for the highest number of DJs simultaneously presenting a radio show…At noon Saturday, dozens of people filled the first floor of the studio and began the broadcast, each person briefly introducing and then playing an excerpt from a wide variety of songs. Moore said he was worried the songs wouldn’t jive together — but then decided an eclectic range would be fitting representation of the station and its staff, which can be “a fraternity of misfits.”

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TVD Radar: Elton John autobiography, Me in stores October 2019

VIA PRESS RELEASE | In his first and only official autobiography, Elton reveals the truth about his extraordinary life. The result is Me – the joyously funny, honest and moving story of the most enduringly successful singer/songwriter of all time.

Christened ‘Reginald Dwight’, he was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed of becoming a pop star. By the age of twenty-three, he was on his first tour of America, facing an astonished audience in his tight silver hotpants, bare legs, and a T-shirt with ROCK AND ROLL emblazoned across it in sequins. Elton John had arrived and the music world would never be the same again.

His life has been full of drama, from the early rejection of his work with songwriting partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from half-heartedly trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool to disco-dancing with the Queen; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, and George Michael to setting up his AIDS Foundation. All the while, Elton was hiding a drug addiction that would grip him for over a decade.

In Me, Elton also writes powerfully about getting clean and changing his life, about finding love with David Furnish and becoming a father. In a voice that is warm, humble and open, this is Elton on his music and his relationships, his passions and his mistakes. This is a story that will stay with you, by a living legend.

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TVD Radar: Mort Garson, Plantasia vinyl reissue in stores 6/21

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Brooklyn label Sacred Bones today announced the first official Plantasia reissue in 40 years, partnering with Discogs to help drive awareness for this cult classic album featuring “warm earth music for plants and the people who love them.”

Released in 1976 by unsung electronic hero Mort Garson — whose work made Bob Moog cry — the story goes that you could only get a copy with the purchase of a Simmons mattress. It was the kind of album that few people knew about, even fewer people heard, and almost no one owned. Thanks in part to the record’s rarity, its subject matter, Garson’s cult status, and that downright bizarre sales strategy, Plantasia slowly developed an alluring aura.

The Discogs Database & Marketplace made it clear that this album was in high demand from the Discogs community. Discogs is confident based on the community intelligence that a much larger audience would love to add this record to their collection and will support Sacred Bones with a multitude of marketing elements to amplify the excitement around Plantasia within the massive Discogs user base.

In addition, Discogs is excited to offer the first-ever cassette version of Mort Garson’s ‘Mother Earth’s Plantasia,’ released by Sacred Bones Records and exclusively available via Discogs. Limited to 250 copies, cassettes will be delivered by release date, June 21.

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TVD Radar: Pearl Harbor & the Explosions’ debut LP reissue in stores 4/12

VIA PRESS RELEASE | On April 12, 2019, Blixa Sounds will release 1980’s eponymous debut by New Wave band Pearl Harbor & the Explosions, in an extended, remastered form for both new and seasoned fans to enjoy.

The record, long out of print, will be presented in its full nine-track entirety. Additionally, an overview of rare material — bonus songs from their original independent single, a non-LP B-side, a ’79 radio spot, and several live selections — is included to round out the musical story. The entire collection is accompanied by a booklet filled with comprehensive liner notes, archival photos and other memorabilia — all of which will be of interest to both fans of the group specifically as well as those exploring the early days of the New Wave movement.

The year was 1973, and a rebellious teenager growing up in Germany informed her parents she was going to move to San Francisco to be a rock star. That girl, 17-year-old Pearl Gates, set intrepidly off with not much more than a plane ticket and a little pocket money to make her mark in one of most exciting musical scenes of the decade.

Gates did not waste her chance. Despite her youth and inexperience with the city, she quickly established herself by becoming enmeshed in the city’s theatrical rock and performance art movements, most notably with the Tubes’ pioneering live show and with counterparts Leila & the Snakes.

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Charles Wesley Godwin,
The TVD First Date

“I wish I could say that I discovered great songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, or Kris Kristofferson at the age of four and from that day forth became a lifelong fan of the craft.”

“While growing up, I wish that I had frequented my local record store discovering new music on a weekly basis. I wish I could say that I begged my parents for a Sears and Roebuck catalog guitar before I could stand on my own two wee legs, but I can’t. In fact, I grew up not singing in church, assuming that I couldn’t sing at all, listening to Cher in the family van during road trips across the west, sitting in silence in my mother’s car on our way to school, and occasionally listening to the oldies station while riding along in my father’s old Ford Ranger. To defend my mom for a second, she spent her entire career teaching young children. I think she found those silent moments in the car incredibly peaceful. I get that now.

I had a tune stuck in my head many times in my early life. I specifically remember having songs like “Eleanor Rigby,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and “Fortunate Son” stuck in my head for weeks at a time. However, I actually had a hard time thinking of when exactly was the first time that I sought out a piece of music. I know that I never fell in love with music until I was nineteen or twenty. For days, I’ve been thinking about when was the first time I actually wanted to purchase music. I know that seems hard to believe considering what I do now for a living, but it’s the truth.

I ended up coming to the conclusion that Linkin Park’s Meteora was it. While growing up, the Godwin side of my family had a Christmas get together sometime in December every year. We had so many children in the family that it was impractical to get everyone a gift, so we did the secret Santa thing. All the aunts, uncles, older cousins, parents and grandparents would each have one kid to buy one present for. I remember asking for that Meteora CD for my secret Santa gift.

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Graded on a Curve:
Show No Mercy

“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.” Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Me, I listen to Slayer. And I don’t even much like Slayer. But they sure as hell beat pausing before coffin warehouses, not that I would know where to find a coffin warehouse even if I wanted to. And that goes double for knocking people’s hats off on the street–a bonehead move like that could get you murdered (or worse!) in this day and age, Besides, I wouldn’t like it if somebody knocked my hat off–I might even break down and cry. And as for going a’whaling you can forget about it–I flunked harpoon in high school and those sperm whales have been known to swallow people whole the way drunks swallow goldfish. I don’t know if that’s worse than being chewed up first, and guess what? I don’t want to find out!

So Slayer it is, and not because I’m into all the cartoon satanism either, although I do find it amusing–I’ll betcha the guys in Slayer wouldn’t know Old Scratch from a two-dollar scratch-off card. And is there really anybody out there who takes pentagrams seriously? They’re like peace symbols for knuckleheads with skateboards.

No, I simply like the way Slayer’s thrash metal dissipate the hypos but fast–if this music (sounds like they force feed their songs amphetamines) doesn’t blow all those damp and drizzly November clouds out of your soul I don’t know what will.

Boy, does Tom Araya sound evil! Like he made a pact with the devil, or worse, David Geffen! And Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King are a couple of real state-of-the-art shredding machines, faster even than the Formax FD 8906B Industrial Conveyor Shredder and Baler, which weighs in a 3,495 pounds, has a processing speed of up 35 fpm and will set you back exactly $53,995.50! Although you still might want to opt for the Formax, because unlike Slayer it won’t guzzle all your booze and fuck your sister!

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In rotation: 3/25/19

Tokyo, JP | Tower Records goes all in on the vinyl trend with its new store, Tower Vinyl: Last year proved to be a pivotal one for streaming music in Japan. According to a report by the Recording Industry Association of Japan, 2018 saw plays via platforms such as YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify overtake digital downloads. This would be a great piece of evidence for futurists trying to argue that the Japanese music market is actually catching up to where most other nations are today. But mucking that up is the total lack of info regarding physical sales, a still-major slice of the proverbial pie. And recent changes only underline how important they are, even as different developments point toward other directions. Tower Records opened Tower Vinyl on the 10th floor of its Shinjuku store on March 21. The space, once reserved for pop-up events, now houses 70,000 records, according to the company, with more than half being secondhand.

Orlando, FL | Vinyl Record Stores in Orlando: The evolution of music has spun around like a record now that listening to tracks on vinyl is back on trend. Buying your albums in record form is a hipster movement we can totally support. Everyone remembers their first album. Whether it was a record, eight-track, cassette tape, or CD, before iTunes and Google Play Music, purchasing your first album was a right of passage. Flip through some vinyl and get lost inside a few of these Vinyl Record Stores in Orlando. Foundation College Park: One of the newer stores on the Orlando record store scene, this little shop located in College Park is owned by two brothers who really love their music and love sharing it with their customers. They also have vintage clothing for sale. Park Ave CDs: We were founded on music and will forever be music lovers. We’re an independent record shop and we’re independent minded. We love our home in Orlando and we want to share it with everyone, especially you.

UK | A stark warning warning for record labels: UK industry revenues fell after inflation in 2018: Uh oh. After a run of positive news for the recorded music industry of late comes a reminder today (March 21) that this business can still deliver some troubling figures now and again. In this case, it’s the trade revenues (ie. wholesale cash going to labels and artists) of the UK recorded music industry for 2018, which have just been announced by local trade body the BPI. The headline stat: total revenues delivered to record labels and artists across all formats in the market grew by just 3.1% in the year, up from £839.5m to £865.5m. That represented a significant slowdown from the 10.6% rise seen in the prior 12 months. And to make matters worse: according to the Bank Of England, annual inflation stood at 3.3% in 2018. This means that, with inflation factored in, that £839.5m in 2017 trade revenue was actually worth the equivalent of £867.5m in 2018 – ie. more than the £865.5m generated by the business last year.

Rewind: audio cassette tapes launch a comeback tour: Music tapes unofficially ‘died’ in the 2000s, but fast forward nearly 20 years and sales are on the rise. The humble cassette – that tiny little plastic rectangle containing the home-made mixtapes of yesteryear – is back, joining vinyl as a darling of audiophiles who miss side A and side B. But as top musicians including Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber release their music on tape and demand continues to climb, the niche revival has faced a global shortage of music-quality magnetic tape needed for production. Now, two facilities – one in the American Midwest and the other in western France – have stepped in to meet the need. “It’s a good place to be – there’s plenty of business for both of us,” said Steve Stepp, who founded the National Audio Company in Springfield, Missouri with his father 50 years ago. He said that around 2000 the “imperial hegemony of the CD” cut his business, which stayed alive as a major manufacturer of books on tape that remained popular.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Wow, this week really flew by. Life and “stuff” are coming and going, seemingly at the speed of light. April showers and the taxman have replaced butterflies and sunshine.

Hopefully the sun will shine and butterflies will flutter back through the canyon. In the meantime, it’s madness. March Madness! To be honest, it’s hard enough to come up with time to dig into a couple of crates of records let alone predict who is gonna win in the first round of the NCAAs.

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