Monthly Archives: April 2019

TVD Live Shots: A Special Evening with
The National at the Orpheum, 4/26

REVIEW: CRYSTAL ECKSTADT | This was a night to remember, a more unassuming affair than one might suppose. But this is The National after all, and everything they do is unassuming—yet it’s not. To channel rock music into the gamut of existence and its myriad of emotions is what they do. As such, it’s not surprising then that they teamed up with Academy Award-nominated director, screenwriter, and graphic artist Mike Mills to create a short film starring Oscar winner Alicia Vikander.

I Am Easy to Find is a superb emotive piece tracing the fragments of a life. The score created by The National is the foundation for their new album, also entitled I Am Easy To Find. A five-city tour, “A Special Evening with The National,” that is drawing near its conclusion, gives the audience a chance to screen the film and hear the much-anticipated new music.

After the screening, a Q&A is hosted by Carrie Brownstein with Matt Berninger, Bryce Dessner, Alicia Vikander, and Mike Mills on the panel. Regarding the making of the film, Vikander said that it was one of the best artistic experiences she’s ever had. Following the Q&A, The National then took the stage joined by both Feist and Phoebe Bridgers.

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TVD Live Shots:
Alabama at Dunkin’ Donuts Center, 4/26

PROVIDENCE, RI | In the midst of a milestone tour celebrating 50 iconic years, country supergroup Alabama brought their “50th Anniversary Tour” to Providence, Rhode Island treating generations of fans to a night of pure Mountain Music.

Over the past 50 years, the band has fostered a long line of accomplishments. They have amassed a staggering 43 #1 hits at country radio and have sold over 73 million albums, earning 21 gold, platinum and multi-platinum certifications. They have released 50 albums and won 178 awards including three Grammy Awards and numerous CMA Awards. The band was also named ACM Entertainer of The Year an unprecedented 5 times in a row. They have sold over 28 million concert tickets and are proud members of The Country Music Hall of Fame.

Winning more than 200 industry awards, Alabama is the most celebrated group in country music history. In addition, they are world-class philanthropists who have raised millions of dollars for various charities.

That Alabama is the best-selling country band of all time means they may have some of the most dedicated fans of all time. Kevin Gilliam traveled from Lancaster, Mass., with his wife and friends to see the once in a lifetime show. Gilliam beamed, holding a bow given to him moments earlier by show opener Charlie Daniels, who he has seen five times, but the wait to see Alabama has been long.

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TVD Radar: R.E.M., In Time: The Best Of R.E.M. 1988–2003 vinyl reissue in stores 6/14

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Craft Recordings is pleased to announce the vinyl reissue of R.E.M.’s platinum-selling collection, In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003. Available for the first time on vinyl in over 15 years, the album includes 18 songs from the Athens, GA alt-rockers, spanning 1988’s Green to 2001’s Reveal, plus two previously unreleased tracks. The double-LP set—which makes its debut on audiophile-quality, 180-gram vinyl on June 14th—is housed in a deluxe gatefold jacket. In addition to the wide reissue of In Time, a special version—pressed on translucent blue vinyl—will be available exclusively at Barnes & Noble.

Originally released in late 2003, In Time serves as an opportunity to reflect on the astonishing creative and cultural influence that R.E.M. offered during the height of their 30-year run together. One of the most revered groups to emerge from the American underground, singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry—who amicably retired from the band in 1997—helped originate college rock during the post-punk scene of the ’80s, and went on to become one of most popular and critically acclaimed bands in the world; their idiosyncratic blend of brash tunefulness, poetic lyrics, chiming guitars, and evocative vocals served as a soundtrack to the cultural tide of the late ’80s and ’90s.

The songs included on In Time offer more than just a collection of charting hits. Rather, listeners will hear the evolution of a band on the rise, reaching and surfing the peak of its fame. In his original song-by-song liner notes, Peter Buck writes, “If you think about it, our career can be divided into…two parts: pre-‘Losing My Religion’ and post-‘Losing My Religion’.” Buck explains that before the band’s breakthrough, chart-topping 1991 hit, “R.E.M. was a large cult band touring ten months a year. Respected and successful, we were still considered kind of minor league. Afterward, we had hit singles, platinum albums, we were on the covers of all kinds of unlikely magazines, and, at least for a couple of years, were one of the biggest bands in the world. All of which is irrelevant.”

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Cave Clove,
The TVD First Date

“There is something deliciously ceremonial and ritualistic about listening to music on vinyl.”

“The process of picking a record, looking at the album art, maybe displaying it somewhere as you listen, the flip to side B. No matter how big or small a collection is, it feels like a fun creative restriction to pick a record from the collection at hand, since these days with streaming services we can put on a digital version of pretty much anything in the world we want to hear.

I was fortunate to grow up in a home with a pretty sweet vinyl collection. My parents had lots of rock, soul, jazz, and folk records from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Some classics that I’ve had on heavy rotation for as long as I can remember that have greatly influenced my taste and the music I make include George Harrison, All Things Must Pass, Joni Mitchell, Blue, Prince, Prince, Steely Dan Aja, and Kate Bush The Kick Inside.

Below is a little more info about why I chose each of these albums. I would say overall, that the biggest aspect of all of these albums that influenced my own music is melody. All 5 of these artists write really beautiful, unique, and emotionally rich melodies in my opinion. A lot of really great music does not have strong melody lines, nor does it intend to.

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UK Artist of the Week: Michael Timmons

Glasgow once again proves it’s the home to some incredible talents as we discover Michael Timmons and his beautiful sonic soundscapes.

Timmons’ latest single “The Games Room” is a delicately weaved slice of alt-folk that will have you mesmerised in moments. Intricate guitar plucks twinkle over ethereal vibrations and Timmons’ soft, emotive vocal fits perfectly in between.

The track tackles the difficult subject matter of grief and Timmons’ own personal experience of dealing with the death of his father. The musicality is fittingly sombre, allowing your mind to float effortlessly within the celestial soundscapes, reminding us of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Powerful stuff.

The Glaswegian songwriter is no stranger to the music industry having already released a debut album to critical acclaim and supporting The Twilight Sad at their sold out show at Glasgow’s Barrowlands—he’s not doing too badly. With a sophomore album in the works, we’re excited to see what the future holds for this talented Scot.

“The Games Room” is in stores now via Gargleblast Records.

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

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

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

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

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

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In rotation: 4/30/19

London, UK | Vinyl factories struggling to keep up with rising demand from music fans: With records enjoying a major revival there simply are not enough pressing plants to keep up with orders. Music fans are in a spin as pressing plants struggle to meet surging demand for vinyl records. Vinyl sales are the highest they have been since the early 1990s, but the small number of surviving vinyl factories are failing to cope with orders. Nearly 4.2million vinyl records were sold in the UK last year, generating £90million in sales…But their output is not enough to satisfy a suddenly expanding global market, say industry experts. Record distributor and music author Graham Jones says it’s a “huge” problem. “There are not enough pressing plants in the world to cope with the demand for vinyl,” he said. “We have to be careful that the vinyl revival doesn’t clatter out and that is a slight danger at the moment.”

New Ulm, MN | Go Johnny Go open under Marketplaz Mall: If you like music and have no particular place to go, visit downtown New Ulm’s latest music shop, Go Johnny Go. Go Johnny Go is located at 415 1/2 1st N. St. under the Marktplatz Mall. The store was formally a salon, but has now been retro-fitted into a retro-music shop. Manager Orlando Manoz said the store opened in March and he is excited to get the word out about shop. Go Johnny Go sells and buys second hand records, tapes, CDs and even 8-tracks. The shop will even sell the equipment necessary to play these old fashion recordings including stereos and speakers. The store is primarily a music store, but Manoz said they also sell nostalgia items and music memorablia. A customer could pick up a Dark Side of the Moon album and purchase a lava lamp at the same time. Customers will able to test the merchandise. Manoz is in the process of setting up a listening lounge for customers.

Cleveland, OH | A Cleveland company is part of the big return of vinyl records to the music industry. Vinyl prompts a seasoned Rock-N-Roller to reflect on the soundtrack of his life — especially those vinyl 45s. When I walked into the plant where vinyl records were being pressed, I had a flashback to the days when I hurried to a record store to buy a song which the radio disc jockey said was “climbing quickly up the charts.” The smell of vinyl reached my nostrils as I walked through the doors of Gotta Groove Records in Cleveland, and I was immediately placed in a mental time machine whisking me back to my earliest days as a rock and roller. I am still a rock and roll lover, even though my hair is grey and I am not as fast afoot as I was in the 1950s and 1960s when I was buying music at a much quicker rate. Gotta Groove Records is turning a million copies of records per year. It has been in business for 10 years. “We caught a wave with vinyl,” said owner Vincent Slusarz. “We thought it would continue and that’s exactly what happened.”

UK | Forget vinyl – it’s time for the 8-track revival: There has been the vinyl revival and the resurgence of the cassette. Now the 8-track cartridge is the latest music format to be rescued from obsolescence by pop hipsters. A fixture in Ford Mustangs cruising down American freeways, the 8-track player reached a popularity peak in the mid-1970s. The 8-track magnetic tapes, housed in lightweight plastic casings, gave listeners 45 minutes of music, spread over four “programmes” instead of two sides. Ideal for travel, the 8-track cartridge threatened to replace the vinyl LP until the compact cassette stole its thunder. Vintage players change hands for up to £100 on eBay. However, Mark Ronson, the chart-topping musician and DJ, believes the 8-track is ripe for a reassessment. His new album Late Night Feelings will be the first major release on 8-track tape since Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits in 1988.

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TVD Live Shots: Local Natives at Zebulon, 4/22

REVIEW: CRYSTAL ECKSTADT | After almost a decade-long run, Zebulon, the former Willamsburg, NY venue, closed its doors in 2012 and relocated to Frogtown, one of LA’s up-and-coming areas that’s creating its own music scene. Local Natives are in all senses of the word…locals here. They got their start in Silverlake and have stayed true to their local roots.

The band invited their fans on Instagram to an unusual listening party for their latest album, Violet Street, released on April 26th. Just for a few hours, The Los Feliz Car Wash was renamed the Megaton Car Wash (“Megaton Mile” being the 5th song from Violet Street). At the heart of the city of Los Angeles are a few mainstays from the past: obscure burger joints, doughnut shops, and throwback car washes that seem to line most streets. For a local band tapping into what signifies their city, a car wash was a novel choice.

Those lucky enough to get word of the event were treated with headphones to listen to Violet Street as they entered into a virtual car wash experience, followed by free tickets to the performance at Zebulon later that night.

Fans had the opportunity to get excited for what was to come and hear many favorites. Opening with “Sun Hands” from their 2010 debut album Gorilla Manor, the vibe of the crowd was already one of welcome arms.

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TVD Live Shots: Tom Chaplin Sings Queen at the Palladium, 4/22

Reason number 437 on why I love living in London: the number of unique UK only tours. Last year Keane frontman Tom Chaplin joined the acclaimed BBC Radio 2 Friday Night Is Music Night show for an extraordinary evening to perform songs from Queen. Blending orchestral music with a mixture of contemporary music, songs from musicals and films, opera and more, Radio 2 each week delivers on a set theme. Friday Night Is Music Night dates all the way back to 1953, but was only televised for the very first time on BBC Four in 2005. Fast forward to 2019, and the series is alive and well bringing together masterful singers to celebrate iconic songbooks.

I was gutted to miss the first gig where Tom Chaplin performed a night of Queen songs back in November of last year. That show was so incredibly well received that it would become a six-city UK tour in 2019, and I was not going to miss it this time. While I was incredibly excited to see this show, I had a few looming questions. Is the beloved frontman biting off more than he can chew attempting to perform some of the most ambitious and celebrated songs of our time? Can anyone on this earth match the dynamic range and charisma of one of the greatest singers of all time?

I should note that I’m a HUGE Keane fan. I think Strangeland is one of the most stunning albums I’ve ever heard in my life and Chaplin’s solo record that followed was equally as brilliant. So I’m going in with a bit of bias, but still, this is going to be a huge challenge to pull this off. The reviews of the original show were over the top, however I find it incredibly difficult to trust reviews that are so consistently and overwhelmingly positive.

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TVD Radar: ABBA, Voulez-Vous 40th Anniversary vinyl reissues in stores 6/14

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, ABBA’s Voulez-Vous will receive a multi-format reissue on June 14, 2019.

The album that saw the band say goodbye to the decade they dominated with style, Voulez-Vous was their fifth consecutive No.1 in Sweden, a chart-topper around Europe and a U.S. Top 20 album. Powered by classic singles, including the title track, and “Chiquitita,” Voulez-Vous was at the heart of one of the group’s most successful years to date. Marking one of the longest gaps between new albums, Voulez-Vous was recorded across an entire year, with Benny and Björn refining their precision song writing, and Agnetha and Anni-Frid providing some of their finest vocals across a diverse set of songs that ranged from contemporary disco classics to ballads that explored Sweden’s rich musical past.

To celebrate the album’s original April 23, 1979 release, Polar Music (via UMe) will be releasing a number of anniversary reissues: A 2LP half-speed master on 180g vinyl, mastered at Abbey Road and cut at 45rpm, a colored-vinyl 7” singles box set collecting the singles “Voulez-Vous,” “Summer Night City,” “I Have A Dream,” “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight),” “Does Your Mother Know,” “Chiquitita” and the extended dance mix of “Voulez-Vous.” Each single is released as a limited-edition standalone picture disc. All products will be released June 14, 2019.

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TVD Video Premiere: Paul Doffing,
“In Your Eyes”

American singer-songwriter and environmental advocate Paul Doffing deals in the kind of hushed, purposeful folk songs that made Iron and Wine a household name. His aching acoustic ballads often pose large, cosmic questions which he endeavors to resolve unpretentiously, creating compelling prose which reveals the inner working of his heart.

TVD is pleased to bring you the lead-off single and video from Doffing’s forthcoming LP, Running in the Dark, which is possibly the most introspective of his now 4-album-strong catalog. Paul’s touring schedule, consisting of epic bicycle expeditions, his guitar in tow, has taken him across 22 U.S. states and 7 countries.

But instead of creating a flashy, cosmopolitan collection of songs, Paul has used his outward experiences to sink deeper into his dharma, using his broad wold perspective to paint intimate pictures with sincerity and substance.

Running in the Dark arrives in stores on May 14th.

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Close Talker,
The TVD First Date

“Both as a band and as individuals, we have come to appreciate vinyl and albums as a whole and we all have a pretty substantial vinyl collection. Perhaps in part because we want to push back against the 3 minute, single orientated, soundbite, immediate culture we find ourselves in.”

“I think most of all, because listening to vinyl and settling into an album is more intentional and an investment of both time and effort. We feel that the artist deserves that. If they put in 1,000 hours into it, the least we can do is take 44 minutes and hear them out. We’ve found that this investment of time and effort pays off and allows you to get into the headspace of the artist in a more meaningful way. The themes, the song sequence, the production, it all plays off of one another and great records, front to back, really stand out these days.

Singles are fine, but it is like reading the headline of an article, thinking you understand, and scrolling on by. Vinyl is like reading the article and actually learning something. It is an attractive medium for these reasons alone. Not to mention it is nice to physically own your music and have a tangible keepsake with artwork and liner notes.

It is oddly refreshing to truly take time with anything these days. We always try to be efficient with our time, even with leisure and pleasure. For us, music deserves time, and vinyl offers this and encourages us to just stop, and take it in.

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Graded on a Curve:
Swans, Filth

Swans’ 1983 debut LP Filth reminds me of the summers I spent working at an iron foundry. That foundry was a prodigy of chaos, noise and filth. This baby has it beat.

Me, I kinda dig Filth’s no-wave, proto-industrial clamor, and I’m not alone. After noting that “Not only isn’t it for everybody, it isn’t for hardly nobody,” Village Voice rock crit Robert Christgau wrote, “I think it’s a hoot.” And then there’s my pal Rick Piel, who said, “I love Swans. They’re like Pere Ubu without a good singer. Or good musicians. Or harmonies, rhythm and melody.”

Filth remains one of the most vicious assaults on human ears ever released, and producing such a preternatural din wasn’t easy–it took two bassists, two drummers (who occasionally abandoned their kits to strike tables with metal straps) and a guitarist who approached his instrument like a man applying a steel file to a cheese grater to do it.

And over it all Michael Gira, whose muscular vocals make him sound like a man who’s singing while bench-pressing heavy weights, invokes scenes of submission, humiliation, and depravity. He keeps things monotonously simple, repeating the same ugly phrases over and over; on “Blackout” he bellows, “Get drunk! Get drunk!” and “Don’t breath in! Don’t Breath in!” And that’s pretty much the formula throughout. Gira the minimalist makes man-of-few-words Iggy Pop sound downright verbose.

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In rotation: 4/29/19

Weekly Vinyl Record Sales Surge to 827,000 Following Record Store Day — a Brand-New ‘Record’: A Nielsen Music report says Record Store Day drove record-breaking vinyl sales, with more than 827,000 sold that week. Nielsen Music says this year’s Record Store Day — held on April 13th — was the third-largest sales week for vinyl albums since 1991 (the first year the company started publishing stats). More than 827,000 vinyl records were sold during the past week, with 673,000 coming from independent record stores. The sales total beats the previous high set by 2018’s Record Store Day week at 533,000. Seeing the trend here? Nielsen Music estimates that it was the biggest week ever for vinyl at independent stores.

Isle of Wight, UK | New record shop opens its doors in Newport: A new record shop on the Isle of Wight will aim to get local bands back into the groove when it opens its doors for the first time today (Saturday April 27). AAA Records will sell new and secondhand vinyl, CDs, t-shirts and vintage memorabilia from its racks in Scarrots Lane, Newport. Owners Alex Lee and Andy Barding said a top priority for the shop will be showcasing island talent. Andy, from Cowes, said: “We will be stocking the debut Plastic Mermaids album and releases by other Isle of Wight artists. “There is so much great music just under the radar on the island, and we want to make all that available to our customers. AAA Records is the first full-time new-and-used music shop to trade on the Island for some years. Another, unconnected, Scarrots Lane shop, which sold new releases only, has recently ceased trading.

Bayville, NJ | New record store opening in Bayville this weekend: Dust off your record player because Vinyl Records are alive and well. A brand new record store called “The Vinyl Dinosaur” opens in Bayville at 521 Atlantic City Boulevard on Saturday (4/27) at 11a. The store will feature records, cd’s, 8-tracks, cassettes, VHS tapes and more. According to The Patch: The Vinyl Dinosaur includes plenty of variety: from the easy listening of Abba and Barbra Streisand to the jagged riffs of Alice Cooper and Aerosmith to the zany Frank Zappa to jazz, soul, R&B, country and big band. Baeli says one day he might be able to fit his classical collection too. Customers can also bring their collections for potential trade-ins. But currently, the unopened store is full, and Baeli’s mostly looking for rarities and it depends on their condition.

Dundee, SCT | Goodbye Assai? Broughty Ferry record store announces relocation to new Dundee venue: A popular record shop in Broughty Ferry has revealed plans to close and relocate elsewhere in the city. Assai Records announced the move on Facebook with a picture of a “To let” sign on the premises and said: “After four amazing years in King Street, Broughty Ferry – it’s time to move. “We will be moving to new larger premises in the summer with more details coming soon.” It has not yet been confirmed where the business plans to relocate. Shop manager Matthew Marra said: “I can confirm we are moving premises. But it is very much up in the air where we are moving to as we are still figuring out logistics.” Since moving to the Ferry, the store – which also has a branch in Edinburgh – has become a popular haunt for vinyl lovers as well as regularly hosting live events.

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We’re closed.

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

Perhaps there’s an interview, review, or feature you might have missed? Catch up and we’ll see you back here on Monday, 4/29.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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