Monthly Archives: August 2019

Independent Minded: A podcast with Ron Scalzo: JJ Wilde

PHOTOS: RACHEL LANGE | The Independent Minded podcast features conversations with indie artists in the music and entertainment business.

Pop culture legends “Weird Al” Yankovic and Henry Rollins, indie icons CAKE, Gogol Bordello and Mike Doughty, and up-and-coming indie artists The Districts and Vagabon talk about their experiences in the business, their inspirations and passions, and their recent projects.

The podcast is hosted by Ron Scalzo, an indie musician and radio producer with 9 self-released albums and an independent record label of his own, Bald Freak Music.

JJ Wilde, Episode 103 | Episode 103 features Canadian indie rocker JJ Wilde. JJ talks about why rock isn’t dead, tour lessons, leaving the working world behind, and the best burger she ever ate. Songs from JJ Wilde featured on the podcast include “State of Mind” and “Gave It All.” Find out more about JJ at

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Graded on a Curve: George Harrison,
Dark Horse

“A hoarse dork” was Village Voice scribe’s description of George Harrison upon the release of 1974’s Dark Horse, but I disagree–guitarist/vocalist Harrison may be my least favorite Beatle, but his voice isn’t hoarse–it’s a 98-pound weakling. What else do I have against poor George? Well, his songs are limpid pools of jello, his soggy spiritualism gives Eastern religion a bad name, and he’s been known to play the gubgubbi. Oh, and have I mentioned he’s more than a tad… boring?

On his star-studded third solo LP, Harrison wimps his way through 10 flaccid songs, declines to show off the formidable guitar chops he brought to the Fab Four, and fails to show even the slightest flashes of the songwriting genius responsible for such delicate and lovely gems as “Something” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” When the best a former Beatle can come up with is a dopey (and only mildly enthusing) New Year’s Eve singalong called “Ding Dong, Ding Dong,” that former Beatle is in definite need of a shot of steroids.

Yes, steroids. George is like that concave-chested high school nebbish who still manages to get the girls; he has his charms, but they’re ineffable, apparently. Whatever do his fans hear in his thin-as-the-veil-of Maya voice? And his limpid and wispy songs, which so obviously need to hit the gym and develop some muscle? It’s a mystery is what it is, like Stonehenge or the final resting place of Jimmy Hoffa.

Dark Horse is a bloodless affair and as light as a balloon; as for its maker, his chief desire appears to remain as unnoticed as possible. And the same goes for his cast of superstar tag-alongs; with the exception of the ubiquitous Billy Preston on keyboards and Tom Scott on sax, they too seem to be doing their best to disappear into the wallpaper. “Ding Dong, Ding Dong,” for example, features the impressive guitar talents of Ron Wood, Alvin Lee, and Mick Jones, but you’d never know it by listening to it. All you can hear are those damned bells.

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In rotation: 8/30/19

Leicester, UK | 13 quirky places to shop in Leicester: Rockaboom, Malcolm Arcade. Every great city has a great independent record shop. Ours is called Rockaboom. If you have a passion for music, or more specifically playing music on vinyl, then you have to visit. It’s a Leicester institution. So if you’re into rock, reggae, jazz, soul, metal, house, electronica, funk, disco, pop, African, Latin or blues, this is the place to go for new or bargain second-hand stock. Owner Carl’s knowledge and service is second-to-none. Classic CDs are also a bargain. Look out for queues around the block for the annual Record Store Day.

Birmingham, AL | How a small record store made an outsider feel at home in Birmingham: Everything old is new again! Vinyl records are popular once more. Here’s the story of how one small record store made an outsider (me!) feel at home in Birmingham. As a young high school graduate moving to a new city for the first time, I was lost. I had no idea where to branch out, meet people, or explore Birmingham. So I turned to something that had always been a comfort for me – music. Since I was a child, I spent every minute I could listening to music. In the car, doing schoolwork, relaxing in my room, you name it. So as a young newcomer to Birmingham, I found a home at my favorite place to discover music – Renaissance Records. If I wasn’t on the lookout for a record shop, I probably would have missed Renaissance Records. The shop is nestled behind Highlands Methodist Church in Five Points South. Renaissance Records is one of three independently-owned record stores in Birmingham and a host for the annual Record Store Day. Forget the music – what really makes Renaissance Records special are the people. Renaissance Records is home to Gary Bourgeois, owner, and Jimmy Griffin. Both are lifelong, passionate lovers of music.

Joplin, MO | Repurposed Route 66 barn reveals collection of vintage treasures: It’s a unique sound in a unique setting. “It’s the sound, it’s the authenticity of a little bit of pop and crackle–it’s just a more lively experience,” explained Vintage Vinyl Purveyor owner Lynn Brennfoerder. You never know what you’ll hear when you visit a repurposed barn in Jasper County. “This is all new vinyl on this side, I’m buying a lot more new than I ever thought I would,” Brennfoerder added. It’s called “Vintage Vinyl Purveyor” and it’s located inside an old barn that Brennfoerder started rehabbing a few years ago. “This is Muddy Waters,” said Brennfoerder. While most of the recordings inside the business go back years, he’s continually surprised at who does most of the buying, and what they’re after. “The majority of my customers are thirty and under,” Brennfoerder continued. “I’ve had nine and ten-year-old kids come in here and ask me for Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra and it just blows my mind that those are the artists they want to follow and put in their collection.”

Reno, NV | Recycled Records’ owner to sell 3,500 albums before retirement, store to remain open: Paul Doege sifts through boxes of albums that he’s stacked in the back of his office. There’s Elton John’s “Yellow Brick Road” with a yellow vinyl inside. An original Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers” album with a real zipper on the front. He then pulls out an album by The Who that comes with copies of old contracts, letters and “My Generation” lyrics with handwritten notes by the band. “It comes with a bitchin’ poster, too,” said Doege, owner of Recycled Records for the past 39 years. Doege, soon to be 62, is selling more than 3,500 albums from his private collection on Saturday at Recycled Records, 822 S. Virginia St. in Midtown. With mimosas in the morning, beer in the afternoon and live music, Doege said this is a golden opportunity to get some of the most sought-after records among collectors. “If you’re looking for something, this is your chance to get it,” he said. He’s got Queen, Stevie Nicks, David Bowie, Devo — the list of new wave, progressive rock, glam rock and classic rock pieces goes on and on.

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TVD Live Shots:
KoRn, Alice In Chains, Underoath at Tinley Park, 8/21

KoRn continues to be a strong metal staple and if this night in Tinley Park was any indication, opening with “Here To Stay” with a fantastic performance, made this known. With all but one member from the original lineup (drummer Ray Luzier taking over for David Silveria in 2007), it is super special seeing these pioneers of nu-metal still killing it to this day. Guitarist Brian “Head” Welch rejoined the band in 2013 and they have since released two records upon his return with a third on the way. The Nothing is set for release on September 13, 2019.

The well-rounded bill began with fairly newcomers to the scene, Fever 333, known for their energetic and stimulating live performances. They have recently gained recognition having been nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Performance for their song “Made In America” and winning a Kerrang! Award for Best Song for “Burn It,” both within the last year.

Next on the bill was a band that is not new to the scene but instead has evolved through the metalcore, emo, screamo, and post-hardcore scenes since the late ’90s. Underoath, since disbanding have reunited in 2015 after a two-year hiatus. The album cover of their latest release last year, Erase Me, adorned the backdrop of their set. A looming statue of a broken down, crumbling angel with giant, beautiful wings set the tone for the band’s performance.

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TVD Radar: Booker T & the MG’s, The Complete Stax Singles Vol. 1 (1962-1967) 2LP in stores 10/11

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The Stax Label & Studio House Band that defined the sound of Southern Soul—a collection of 29 singles recorded for Stax includes hits “Green Onions,” “Boot-Leg,” “Hip Hug-Her,” and “My Sweet Potato.”

With apologies to groups like The Meters, Bar-Kays, and Average White Band, when it comes to all-time great instrumental R&B bands, for most folks Booker T. & the MG’s represent the gold standard. And with good reason…or, actually reasons! First of all, as the house band of the hallowed Stax label and studio, The MG’s pretty much invented the sound of Southern soul, playing on records by everybody from Otis Redding to Wilson Pickett to Carla Thomas. Second, on their own as Booker T & the MG’s, they came up with some of the most indelible instrumental jams of all time, including—but by no means limited to!—“Green Onions.” And, third, each member of the band was an absolute monster on their instrument, to this day revered and copied by untold numbers of musicians.

Indeed, by the time the mid ‘60s rolled around, bands on both sides of the Atlantic wanted to sound like Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Al Jackson, Jr, and Lewie Steinberg (replaced about halfway through this collection by the great Donald “Duck” Dunn). And what was that sound? Well, a typical MG’s tune started from the bottom-up, resting on the rock-solid drumbeat of Jackson and the in-the- pocket bass work of Steinberg and, later, Dunn, over which keyboardist Jones and guitarist Cropper traded slinky and/or stinging licks. But these cats weren’t just riff- happy groove masters; Jones basically codified the classic Hammond organ sound and Cropper’s guitar tone remains the Holy Grail of anyone who’s ever picked up a Fender Telecaster.

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Needle Drop: Spritzer, “Get Me Out”

Spritzer is the recording moniker of Matt Meade, who rose to prominence as one of the principal songwriters of NYC-based Friend Roulette. Feeling the pull to expand his repertoire, Meade began huddling with a broader circle of musicians, refining his bedroom pop productions.

“Get Me Out” is a lush, dreamy number, and certainly touches upon a deep dissatisfaction with surface level relationships that often occupy our lives. According to Meade, “‘Get Me Out’ is a song about the heat in August making everyone a little Hellish. I was thinking a lot about this Sartre idea that ‘Hell is other people.'”

Of late, Meade has been focusing on Spritzer more as a recording project, working from his ever-evolving home studio and recording most of the instruments himself. The live band consists of James Preston, Kyle Olson, and most recently Matt’s brother Bob Meade on congas and pandeiro. “The addition of brother Bob is steering the band in a more tropical direction taking influences from samba, bossa nova, and cumbia,” Matt attests. “We’re finally leaving behind the insipid indie rock that was starting to bore me to tears.”

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Michaela Anne,
The TVD First Date

“I didn’t grow up listening to vinyl. I was a child of the ’90s and CDs. My Discman and my big notebook of CDs was how I consumed my music collection. But after college, living in New York City, I moved in with my boyfriend and he had a turntable. At the same time, I started a job at Nonesuch Records, who were quick to jump into the vinyl revival, and I was lucky enough to get to take home some copies of the latest releases.”

“It was a brand new world of listening for me. I was nervous at first of how to place the needle, how not to scratch the vinyl, how to carefully return it to its sleeve, and how to keep our growing collection organized alphabetically. The effort required gave the act of listening a sense of attention and additional care that seemed to be missing from my Discman, iTunes library, computer or phone.

My new favorite pastime was bringing home a cheap bottle of Campo Viejo Rioja from the corner liquor store, picking out a record, placing that needle down, cozying up on the couch with the sleeve and taking in the artwork, musician and songwriting credits. Connecting names to instruments, seeing who played on multiple records, who wrote songs for various people…it only deepened my tangible connection to the album itself.

It’s how I discovered Rodney Crowell wrote, yet again, one of my favorite songs from an Emmylou Harris record, “You’re Supposed to be Feeling Good” (from Luxury Liner). It’s how I learned about Jerry Jeff Walker’s record Ridin’ High where he covers many of his friends songs from Chuck Pyle’s “Jaded Lover” to Guy Clark’s “Like a Coat From the Cold.”

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Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores for
August 2019, Part Five

Part five of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases—and more—presently in stores for August, 2019. Part one is here, part two is here, part three is here, and part four is here.

NEW RELEASE PICK: Andrew Munsey, High Tide (Birdwatcher) Munsey is a drummer, composer, producer, and with the release of this often-superb quintet debut, solidly established as a jazz bandleader. His counterparts for the record are Steph Richards on trumpet and flugelhorn, Ochion Jewell on tenor saxophone and kalimba, Amino Belyamani on piano and Fender Rhodes, and Sam Minaie on double bass, and they cover broad territory across 11 compositions, all Munsey originals save for Stravinsky’s “Les Cinq Doigts: Lento,” while settling into a hearty zone that’s thoroughly “advanced” without tipping over into the avant-garde. However, assorted nudges; a blown line here, an abstract passage there, and numerous crescendos of intensity, do acknowledge jazz’s outside, and that’s cool.

There are more than a couple of spots where Richards reminds me of ’60s Don Cherry, which deepens the coolness considerably. But Munsey the composer clearly expands upon the structural jazz richness of the ’60s-’70s. I threw the quotes around advanced above in part because I was reminded of the “advanced bop” that Blue Note specialized in during the ’60s (this was also when Cherry recorded for the label). Belyamani on Rhodes brought forth thoughts of Corea, but on the straight keys my attention turned to Andrew Hill, though this is reinforced by the strength of Munsey’s composing. To his and the band’s credit, they aren’t shy over straight beauty moves, and we can all use some beauty in 2019. It’s out tomorrow digitally and on CD but also on double vinyl, so wax-loving fans of new jazz take note. A-

REISSUE PICKS: Arlo Guthrie, Alice’s Restaurant: OST (50th Anniversary Edition) (Omnivore) Every season has its appropriate sounds, and as fall nears that’s mainly Halloween stuff, but due to its association with Thanksgiving, Alice’s Restaurant has become an autumnal standard. I’m talking about the original song/ album, but folks craving a fresh spin on Guthrie’s mammoth story-tune should look into this set on CD or 2LP. In my memory, Arthur Penn’s film of the tale, which starred Guthrie, wasn’t very good. This expanded byproduct of the movie is much better. The song is done numerous times, intermingled with bluegrass-tinged instrumental bits, a group-sung “Amazing Grace,” Pete Seeger, and Tigger Outlaw’s version of Joni’s “Song to Aging Children.” Not a mindblower, but very likeable. B+

Vince Guaraldi, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Craft) This wasn’t necessarily what I was referencing with the above mention of Halloween stuff, but you really can’t get more seasonal than this set, which is making its vinyl debut. That factoid might seem crazy, but please understand that the music totals all of 20 minutes; it’s all on side one, with an etching of Linus’ obsession on the flip. Also of note: it glows in the dark. While the iconic “Linus and Lucy” and “The Great Pumpkin Waltz” are here, most of the rest is quite short and even fragmentary. But hey, what these collected pieces might lack in fully developed flow they make up for in sheer joyous-jazzy ambiance. The aura is amiable, maybe too much so for some serious jazzbos, and includes fluting, which is no surprise as he was a West Coast guy. A-

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In rotation: 8/29/19

AU | Cassettes and CDs selling for eye-watering amounts: They’re something a millennial probably wouldn’t even now how to use, but cassettes are still highly sought after. Remember the last time you picked up a cassette? Neither do we. But there are still folks out there who are after the now vintage pieces — and they’re willing to pay a hefty price. Discogs, the biggest music database website in the world, has revealed its 100 most expensive cassettes, and none fall below the $500 mark. Coming in at number one was The Artist (Formerly Known As Prince) – The Versace Experience – Prelude 2 Gold, which sold for an eye-watering $6116. It was handed out to attendees of a Paris Fashion Week show in 1995 and was recently re-released for the first time on Record Store Day 2019. Discogs actually says cassettes are the fastest-growing format of the big three sold on its website — the others being CDs and vinyl.

Seattle, WA | Mexico City’s Georgetown Records keeps Seattle’s indie spirit alive: Six days a week from noon to 8 p.m., Alex Bautista can be found sitting behind the counter at Georgetown Records in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City (CDMX). Spinning his favorite jams on a desktop turntable, he often hands an old-fashioned address book to the latest Amoeba employee to stop in, or talks business with a friend on a well-worn couch against the back wall. During a recent Friday art show, the sound of live music often drowned out chatter in the store. Located next to a store that sells musical instruments and other gear, visitors at CDMX’s Georgetown Records can often hear a rogue guitar or the squeak of a speaker. Posters, album covers and stickers adorn almost every available surface of the store, which opened in 2016 as an informal partnership with Martin Imbach, who owns the original Georgetown Records located in Seattle. “The original idea was to make a bridge, a Seattle connection,” Bautista said.

Williamsburg, NY | Former manager of Record Theatre opens new record store in Williamsville: It’s been exactly two years since Record Theatre shut its doors, but the former manager of the store isn’t done selling music. Joe Igielinski opened a new record store in Williamsville, and he’s even got a couple of former Record Theatre employees working there too. Hi-Fi Hits opened on Tuesday. The new store is located at 5221 Main St.- a location which was home to a Record Theatre store that closed in the mid 1990s. Igielinski, who worked at Record Theatre for 26 years, says he has always wanted to own his own record store. “I felt if I was ever going to do it, now would be the time,” Igielinski said.

Reading, UK | Meet the Reading DJ who has been spinning vinyl for nearly 60 years: Jim B. Donovan – who runs Just Imagine Memorabilia in the Harris Arcade – has been nominated for two Pride of Reading Awards. A DJ who has been carrying hundreds of records to sets across Reading for nearly six decades has been nominated for two Pride of Reading Awards. Jim B. Donovan, who also established the record and vintage toy shop Just Imagine Memorabilia back in the 1980s, has been nominated in both the Cultural Contribution and The Chris Tarrant Award categories. He received the nomination from Rachael Chrisp, Tim Hooper and Pete Wheeler, who jointly recognised Jim for his work in the town. In their nomination, they said: “Jim is an inspiration to many in Reading. “Hundreds of us regularly visit his shop to listen to music, and hear stories, soaking up as much knowledge of Reading’s musical history as one can from his encyclopaedic brain. “He has incredible attention to detail, acknowledging individual players on records, and a relentless appetite to collect and share music with anyone that wants to listen.

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TVD Live Shots: WHY? and Barrie at U Street Music Hall, 8/25

On Sunday, August 25, WHY?, with support from Barrie, brought their headlining tour to Washington, DC’s U Street Music Hall, playing for the crowd gathered in the underground club’s intimate venue in support of the band’s new visual album AOKOHIO. The youthful audience was subdued but engaged and enthusiastic during the set, which was delivered with a dose of good humor.

WHY? is led by Yoni Wolf and was founded in 2004 by the Cincinnati, Ohio- based rapper and singer, who had been using WHY? as his stage name since 1997. AOKHIO is the band’s sixth album, presented as six movements constructed of two to four songs each. Struggling with the notion of releasing an album in the usual sense, one made up of a dozen songs and released at once, Wolf approached AOKOHIO with a different mindset. He completed one movement before moving on to the next, releasing the individual movements digitally for his fans. Wolf has described the whole process as taking five years. The concept is underscored with the release of an accompanying visual album, which features, in part, home movies from Wolf’s Ohio childhood.

At U Hall, the set list featured some of these new songs, but also some that were clearly old favorites, with fans rapping along right with Wolf. WHY? appeared to transfer the movement approach to their performance, playing three or so songs, some very short, before breaking to chat and joke with the audience, even answering questions from the crowd. With this unique approach and songs that examine one’s sense of self and place, WHY? gave an interesting and introspective performance.

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TVD Radar: Bert Jansch, Avocet 40th anniversary edition in stores 11/15

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Expanded 40th anniversary edition, featuring newly discovered live tracks and notes from Pentangle bandmate (and Avocet collaborator) Danny Thompson.

Bert Jansch was often quoted as saying “I’m not playing for anyone, just myself” and this feels no more apparent than on 1979’s Avocet, his beautifully meditative paean to British birds. This isn’t to say that Jansch was throwing commercial success to the wind, or was unaware of his audience, more that this album feels like a uniquely personal reflection of him. (The subject of British birds is one that Jansch held close to his heart. Indeed, just preceding this album was his 1978 split 7” single with Shirley Collins – with proceeds in aid of the RSPB).

For fans of Jansch this is often the album that is singled out as his best work. The freedoms of a post-Pentangle career are much in evidence; folk rock and even trad folk give way to an album that is not only without lyrical accompaniment but really quite orchestral, classical even, in its composition. There are surprises in particular in ‘Lapwing’ (a dirge-like waltz that wouldn’t be out of place on a Nils Frahm album) and ‘Bittern’ (which speaks of Arthur Russell’s more experimental pieces).

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Graded on a Curve: Nickelback,
The Long Road

Well here we have it–a band that makes me want to build a wall on our northern border. Nickelback is the foulest Canadian export this side of bovine semen, and I’m calling for an immediate embargo.

Before we begin, let me just state for the record that I’m no moral crusader. I’ve been known to disparage bands that espouse moral causes (e.g., Fugazi), and to applaud bands that advocate drug and alcohol abuse, sexual perversion, and setting forest fires.

But I’m making a special exception for Chad Kroeger and Company. Mind you, it’s not primarily their music that offends me. It’s vapid stuff, and no better or worse than the shite produced by Maroon 5, 3 Doors Down, Papa Roach, Creed or any number of other bands. I hear it and I turn it off and half the time I don’t even know it’s them. I just feel nauseous.

No, Nickelback beats the competition hands down on the sexism of their lead singer. Kroeger’s misogyny is so nakedly repellent it makes AC/DC look like Andrea Dworkin. I listen to him and think, “Where’s Valerie Solanas when we need her?”

It’s important to distinguish between Kroeger and someone like, say, the late Anal Cunt frontman Seth Putnam. Putnam’s work was repugnant at many levels, but he thought of himself as a comedian working a vein of very black humor, even if most people (and rightfully so) didn’t get the joke. Kroeger isn’t joking, and would no doubt be offended if you were to call him a woman-hating putz.

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Needle Drop: EVER, “Close”

Alt-pop songstress Louise Smith, aka EVER, follows up her debut single “Bloom” with another gorgeous track to close out the summer.

Instantly relatable and sonically enchanting, “Close” finds EVER venturing further into alterna-pop territory in an organic and effortless way. Even in the relative infancy of her career, the young songwriters displays an innate sense of melodic individuality that sets her apart from her contemporaries, crafting a distinct sound that’s both warmly comforting and refreshingly innovative. It’s also perfect road trip music, relentlessly pulsing forward while conjuring up a unique atmosphere of expansiveness.

According to Smith, “Close’ is a playful story about being in a relationship bubble when you’re far from home. “I wanted to capture that sense of losing time when you’re wrapped up in the intensity of a trip, whether it’s sorting out your problems and differences, or enjoying every second of each other’s company. I spent a lot of time getting this track correct with the right energy to match the lyrics, but I feel we’ve struck the perfect balance.”

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Graded on a Curve:
Kid Millions &
Sarah Bernstein,
Broken Fall

Broken Fall is the latest release from the improvising duo of Kid Millions, aka John Colpitts, and Sarah Bernstein. Across its seven tracks, she saws the violin and vocalizes while he batters the drums but good; together they heave forth a sound of wild abstraction drawing upon the traditions of experimental noise, free rock and avant-garde jazz. Heavy, lithe, raw and spirited, it’s out August 30 on vinyl and digital through 577 Records.

Kid Millions has drummed in a whole lot of contexts and has amassed an ample discography. In addition to handling the rhythms for experimental rock vets Oneida, he operates the bountiful solo project Man Forever, is half of the Oneida splinter duo People of the North with Bobby Matador, and has collaborated on record numerous times with Borbetomagus saxophonist Jim Sauter and as Fox Millions Duo with Guardian Alien drummer Greg Fox.

And of course, he’s half of Broken Fall’s powerhouse gush alongside violinist-composer-improviser-poet Sarah Bernstein. Originally from San Francisco, the NYC-based multitasker Bernstein has considerable varied credits solo (Exolinger), duo (Unearthish), trio (Day So Far, Iron Dog, Sarah Bernstein Trio), and quartet (Veer Quartet, Sarah Bernstein Quartet), plus a wide range of chamber works (from violin solo to large ensemble to orchestra) and film scores.

Amongst the descriptors Bernstein employs to communicate her thing: avant-jazz, experimental pop, and noise. And so, a seeming natural fit with Colpitts, with the fruits of their pairing abundant of Broken Fall. Actually, those hip to Tense Life, Millions and Bernstein’s prior collab for 577, which came out in 2017 on cassette in an edition of 50 (still available digitally on Bandcamp), were cognizant of their creative harmoniousness already.

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In rotation: 8/28/19

Beijing, CN | Across China: Lonely record store plays solo: Vinyl records, CDs, tapes… In this digital era, these words are seldom heard, but not for An Peng, who has lived his dream of running a record store in Beijing for the past 20 years. In An’s store, some customers are occupied browsing shelves full of CDs and records while some are sitting on a sofa, playing their disk with the phonograph in the store, enjoying the music with their eyes closed. With the needle of the phonograph slightly slipping on the vinyl record, a melodious classic lingers in the 20-square-meter store, immersing the customers in its notes. In recent years, streaming music online has exploded in popularity, and it has become rather difficult to find a record store like An’s. An’s store, called Cool Music, is located in Dongsi Street, an old street in Beijing’s downtown area. “People seldom come to buy CDs now. They prefer to open music apps on their phones and listen to music that way,” An said.

Muskegon, MI | Entrepreneur opens 4th ‘geek’ store in Muskegon-area mall: At least one local entrepreneur thinks The Lakes Mall is “the place to be.” Todd Lange owns four “geek”-focused shops in the mall: Lange’s Comics and Collectibles, Lange’s Comic Warehouse, Forbidden Planet Toys and, most recently, Spin City Records and DVDs. “We’re happy to be in The Lakes Mall,” he said. “We think that that is the place to be.” Spin City features all types of discounted, second-hand media that can be seen and heard, including vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, Blu Ray discs and VHS tapes. It also sells movie memorabilia. Lange acquired used vinyl record and movie collections this summer and thought they would make a good store in the mall, he said. If it goes well, the store might also sell new vinyl records and movies, he added. Like others around the country, The Lakes Mall is a victim of a changing retail environment that has seen companies close stores due to bankruptcy after struggling to compete with online giants like Amazon.

Warwick, NY | 55 Plus: Love to rock? Listen to these tunes: …t’s time for the 55 Plus Guide to New Music for Older People – according to six folks in the musical know about everything from rock, folk and jazz to country, Latin music and hip hop. Our experts include Greg Gattine, 57, program director of one of the hippest, boundary-breaking commercial radio stations around, WDST-FM in Woodstock; Jason Tougaw, 50, host of Jeffersonville public radio station WJFF-FM’s genre-bending Friday night Mix Tape show; Bobby Olivier, 29, a contributing writer for Billboard magazine; Don Lefsky, 59, the owner of one of the region’s pioneering independent record stores, Jack’s Rhythms in New Paltz; Rene Campos, 62, owner of the hip hop/Latin music record store/electronics shop in Newburgh, DMU; and Jim Eigo, 72, a record business veteran and owner of Original Vinyl Records in Warwick and the jazz promotion company, Jazz Promo Services. They’ve listed some of their favorite new music, with musical reference points

Brighton, UK | From pioneering pop star to friendly vinyl shop owner: …Now living in Saltdean with partner Abbey, Simon is the owner of record label Bella Union, set up month before the Cocteau Twins’ demise. Now the company’s line-up boasts stars such as Beach House and Father John Misty, as well as a tiny record shop in Ship Street Gardens. And Simon’s transition from pop star to friendly vinyl shop owner has been smooth. “It’s so small, you walk in there and you’re literally faced with the counter, you’re right in the middle of it,” he said. “Usually customers are a bit shy and they try and go downstairs, not realising it’s the stockroom. “I just say ‘there’s nothing down there’ and try and make conversation, give them a coffee and stuff like that.” The city’s vinyl revival has also boosted business, though Simon has differing opinions. He said: “It’s nice to see so many younger people getting into vinyls, but I don’t think the numbers are going up. “It’s nice to see the gender balance too, you see so many young women in record shops now. “When shops like Sainsbury’s start stacking vinyls, it’s always going to exaggerate the figures.” [Hey Simon, it’s “VINYL.” —Ed.]

The Official Top 100 Motown songs of the Millennium: As Motown celebrates its 60th anniversary, we reveal the labels biggest songs, including Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & The Supremes and Marvin Gaye. Founded 60 years ago in Detroit, Michigan, Motown was the label that launched a musical revolution. Its impact still reverberates across music today: songs like Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, My Girl and Stop! In The Name of Love are timeless classics that remain as popular today as when they were first released. Motown was founded in 1959 by Berry Gordy, an unknown record producer who borrowed $800 from his family to start up the label. It went on to revolutionise pop with its distinctive brand of R&B-soul with a pop influence – and helped pushed black artists into the mainstream.

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