Monthly Archives: September 2019

Graded on a Curve: New in Stores for September 2019, Part Four

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

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: The Roots, Things Fall Apart (Geffen / UMe / Urban Legends) One of the best records of 1999 and a hip-hop cornerstone gets a deserving deluxe reissue here, spread across six sides of vinyl with sides five and six holding Questlove-curated bonus tracks. There’s also a 24-page booklet with essays from Black Thought and Questlove (who also delivers track-by-track liner notes) and photos. And that’s just the standard version. The collector’s edition offers the three LPs on clear vinyl with a die-cut slipcase with all five covers as interchangeable lithos, plus a bonus sixth cover and foil stamp numbering. And the music hasn’t gotten subsumed in the trappings, as this isn’t an attempt to gussy up a pretty good record but is rather a wholly fitting presentation for a masterpiece.

The Roots’ fourth full-length really drove home their organic reality as not just a crew or collective but as a band. That is, they were and remain an outfit utilizing live instrumentation. On their Wikipedia page, there is a quote crediting them as “hip-hop’s first legitimate band,” which strikes me as wrong. I mean, I don’t think Smokin’ Suckaz wit Logic was very good, but I wouldn’t call them illegit. I completely agree that The Roots are hip-hop’s first great, or maybe better said, the style’s first non-gimmicky band (I’ll add that Guru’s Jazzmatazz is accurately described as a project and a collab). But the thing (well, one thing) that makes Things Fall Apart outstanding is that it never loses its handle on hip-hop’s core essence. It simply deepens the genre’s possibilities rather than trying to be something else. A+

Bro David, Modern Music from Belize (Cultures of Soul) Even if I didn’t care for this record, which is the latest in this label’s reissues of global groove music, I’d probably hold onto a copy due to the sleeve, as it offers an illustration of a lion with a rather confused look on its face. Confused why, exactly? Because there is a person standing on its back with a globe in each hand. Bluntly, that’s the kind of thing I like to have around the house. But what’s nice is that I need not worry about keeping an LP that’s main interest is visual, as Modern Music from Belize is both an enjoyable listen and an insightful (and succinct) dip into the work of Bredda David Obi, who is a new global music discovery to me and I’m guessing to most folks reading this. It’s the dedication of this label that has brought this music into a brighter light.

This is not just a taste of Bro David, whose recording career began with No Fear in ’84, followed by Cungo Musik in ’87 and We No Wa No Kimba Ya in 1990, it’s an intro to the danceable pop of Belize, a Caribbean country often overlooked when focusing on the region’s music during this era. With this said, the seven tracks included here, which are taken from the three LPs above (all pricey in original form, so obviously folks beyond Culture of Soul’s operator Deano Sounds are hip to this stuff) isn’t a radical departure from the more well-known strains of the Caribbean; there’s a whole lot of reggae, in fact, plus a general vibe of positivity that never gets overbearing, in part because the record’s low-budget reality insures against slickness. Bro David called his synthesis kungo (or cungo) and it’s a treat. A-

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In rotation: 9/26/19

Vinyl records aren’t threatening the planet: Do not let anyone convince you that your vinyl record collection will kill the planet. Although recent headlines suggest vinyl production could threaten the environment, natural buying habits and new developments in manufacturing make this issue irrelevant. It makes sense some would be concerned about the amount of new LPs, given the medium’s meteoric rise in popularity over the last decade… Especially as vinyl grows more and more profitable, the young adults that are discovering records will most likely want to hang on to them for years and could eventually hand them down to future generations. And for those who do not have relatives or friends to pass their collections onto, the local record shop or online marketplace is a lot more appealing than the dump.

Kingston, ON | 15,000 CDs available at special symphony sale: In the Kingston Symphony’s warehouse off Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard, volunteers are busy sorting through several thousand compact discs from two donors, musical works that will be available to the public starting next week. The warehouse is usually jam-packed with vinyl records, but next Wednesday volunteers are throwing open the warehouse doors to CD enthusiasts for a special, first-time CD sale, with proceeds — as usual — supporting the Kingston Symphony. The sale offers up to as many as 15,000 titles, available to the public from Oct. 2 to 5. “Some people have mistaken this for the vinyl sale, and it’s not that at all,” Brian Weir, with the volunteer committee of the Kingston Symphony Association, said. “This is a special collection.” It all started with the donation of 8,000 CDs from a Toronto lawyer, musician and lifelong music appreciator.

Chattanooga, TN | City Beat: Is the record-shop culture coming back? Every so often, if you live long enough I suppose, you’ll have deja vu moments where what was old is new again. Kind of like when millennials invented fresh-grown fruits and vegetables all over again. Who knew a tomato picked right off the vine could taste good, and be kinda good for you? Anyway, I had coffee with Ben VanderHart last week. He told me his idea for a record store he is opening called Yellow Racket Records. One of my first jobs was working at the Record Bar in Eastgate. Some years later, my older brother, Bob, opened Courter Brothers Records, and later sold it to Chad Bledsoe, who changed it to Chad’s Records. I’ve always been a vinyl guy for all the same nerdy reasons that audiophile types have been espousing for decades. Talking to VanderHart reminded me just how cool it was to be able to spend hours in a record shop browsing through the bins.

Mark Hollis’ Lone, Self-Titled Solo Album Set For Vinyl Reissue: The record will be available with original artwork – a printed inner sleeve with lyrics and credits – and it has been remastered at Abbey Road. Mark Hollis’ lone, self-titled solo album, is set for reissue on heavyweight vinyl through UMC/Polydor, on 18 October. The record will be available with original artwork – a printed inner sleeve with lyrics and credits – and it has been remastered at Abbey Road. The only solo album by the late Talk Talk frontman, Mark Hollis was first released by Polydor Records in January 1998. Despite being released as a solo album by Hollis, it was originally intended to be credited to Talk Talk, under the name ‘Mountains of the Moon’. A beautiful and haunting work, Mark Hollis picks up where he left off with Talk Talk’s’ Laughing Stock seven years before, re-emerging with a suite of music that encompassed jazz, ambient, and folk.

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TVD Live: The B-52’s, OMD, and Berlin at The Anthem, 9/17

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | The B-52’s are marking their 40th anniversary the same way they might have celebrated their 20th, their first, or a random Tuesday—with a party.

True to their skull ’n’ beehive colors that declare “Born to Party” they got a big crowd at DC’s Anthem riled up with a freewheeling set of their catchy, deeply fun songs, heavy on the perfect first two albums but culminating in the one that gave them their biggest hit, “Love Shack.” On a packed night with properly received sets from Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark and Berlin, they still ruled the barbecue once they got on.

The band is just 60 percent of what it was—but because the remaining members are the most colorful in singers Cindy Wilson, Fred Schneider, and Kate Pierson it might not be as noticeable that they’ve got a wholly different back line doing most the instruments (save for the occasional bongo, cowbell, handheld synth device, and slide whistle).

And just as they did when they started this party in Athens, GA, they dressed as flamboyantly as they sang, with Wilson the costume winner in the highest beehive and flashiest jumpsuit, adorned with bat wings. Pierson may have had the same shimmery multihued dress she wore on the Whammy! cover—or one very like it—she may have shimmied the original out of existence years ago. Schneider still holds down the smarmy ringleader role, half talking his funny lines, and ad libbing a few new ones too.

They began with the urgent call of “Private Idaho” and moved into the still topical historical footing of “Mesopotamia” that might make one forget about the saber-rattling going on in the region now. “Give Me Back My Man” still had the yearning that put a cry in Wilson’s yelp, as authentic and pleading as a country song. They had a kind of swirling backing video meant to accommodate their nightly changes in their setlist, but they put up a garish picture of a retro dial phone during “6060-842.”

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TVD Live Shots: Riot Fest Chicago, 9/15

2:55PM: Where are The Village People? They’re running late so I rush over to the Rise Stage to catch Less Than Jake. The ladies of The Beaches are sounding great at the Riot Stage.

3:09PM: Less Than Jake are as charismatic in between songs as they are during them. They’re jokesters, too: “I didn’t get to see any of Slayer last night and I heard that there was a circle pit, so fuck you guys.”

3:15PM: Speaking of circle pits, apparently the largest one of the weekend has formed at the Radicals Stage for—of all acts—The Village People!

3:27PM: Shoegaze rockers Ride are lulling me into a dreamscape. I’d like to lay in the shade and daydream through their whole set—but there’s no way in hell I’m missing Dayton’s finest (Guided By Voices).

4:10PM: Robert Pollard is such a legend. In between high kicks and karate moves, he slams shots from the bottle like the old school rocker that he is. Guided By Voices continues to be such a killer band live—keep touring!

4:22PM: Local favorites Against Me! have drawn a huge crowd and for good reason—they’re playing Reinventing Axl Rose and Transgender Dysphoria Blues in full and back-to-back!

5:25PM: I wasn’t sure what to expect from The B-52’s but wow are they great. Rumored to be their last Chicago show, they’ve busted out all of the hits from their 40+ year career.

6:04PM: It’s raining a little bit but no one’s complaining. We’ve escaped the rain all weekend and for the second year in a row the weather gods have granted us three beautiful days at Douglas Park. Bob Mould isn’t phased by the rain and wails through his set.

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Bonerama teams with Michael McDonald for Allen Toussaint tribute, “Empty World”

The legendary singer Michael McDonald will be featured on a new song from the horn-driven rock band, Bonerama. The song, “Empty World,” is a tribute to the late great New Orleans icon Allen Toussaint and will be released on October 4 on Basin Street Records.

The lyrics reference a few of Toussaint’s songs, while painting a picture of the kind of person he was and expressing the sadness so many people feel, including the huge numbers of musicians that were influenced by his genius. The song also has an alternate meaning as a dedication to all of lost legends of New Orleans. Check out the promo video for a taste of the new song and pre-order now here.

Bonerama co-founder and songwriter Mark Mullins explains, “I was pretty much devastated when I heard the news of Allen’s passing. His influence on me as a musical hero, arranger, composer, producer is immeasurable.” Mullins penned “Empty World” on the very same day he learned of Toussaint’s passing.

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TVD Premiere:
Aaron David Gleason, “Rock ‘n Roll With Me”
ft. Mike Garson

NYC-based singer songwriter Aaron David Gleason has had a storied career in the music industry, resulting in the kind of self-assured output that one would expect after 17 years of solid gigging and recording. Clearly, he has solidified his artistic aesthetic, falling somewhere between Josh Groban and Randy Newman.

Being comfy in his own skin has also afforded him the confidence to take risks, and he is one of the few artists brave enough to tackle an idiosyncratic track such as “Rock N Roll With Me,” which originally appeared on David Bowie’s 1974 album, Diamond Dogs. Working alongside original David Bowie band member Mike Garson, Gleason helmed an impromptu jam of the song which was captured by director/editor Paul Chart and director Paul Boyd.

TVD is pleased to present the premiere of the live video in tandem with a Q&A about how Gleason’s intense connection with Garson led to the one-off collaboration.

How did the connection with Mike Garson come about?

I met Mike 13 years ago when my professional name was still Gilly Leads. He was an awesome mentor from day one and what a champ—he played bowling alleys with me at 12 am in Highland Park. Also, Mike and I performed once for my grandparents and their friends—they loved it! Mike was always and is always up for doing something with heart and eccentricity. I think that is our formula, and I think that’s why we are musically attracted to each other. Also, we’re just… intense, but really admire each other’s intensity.

I wouldn’t say we drifted apart, but years went by and we were just doing our own thing. I took a break from music to find myself again. Mike and I would periodically check in with each other.

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Graded on a Curve:
John Coltrane,
Blue World

If it seems like it was just last year that some unheard material by John Coltrane was unveiled to the listening public, that’s because it was. On September 27, the Impulse! label releases Blue World, its contents accurately described as underheard and until very recently essentially unspoken of in terms of Coltrane’s discography. Offering songs recorded for Canadian filmmaker Gilles Groulx’s 1964 fiction feature Le Chat dans le sac (The Cat in the Bag), it is Coltrane’s only soundtrack and also presents him revisiting previously recorded works in the studio, which is something he almost never did. Featuring the Classic Quartet in their accessibly robust mode, it’s a consistent pleasure and a must for fans.

First, some further clarification into Blue World’s reality; if a new Coltrane LP for 2019, it wasn’t recorded with an album concept, not even a soundtrack album concept, in mind. The first fictional movie by a filmmaker who’d worked extensively in documentaries, Le Chat dans le sac was an independent work from the days long before (roughly a quarter century before) Indie cinema’s blossoming as a brand.

The film, which was influenced by Direct Cinema documentary tactics and utilized numerous techniques associated with the French Nouvelle Vague (Godard, Truffaut, Chabrol, Rohmer, etc.), wasn’t any kind of big deal at the time. In his typically strong notes for this reissue, Ashley Khan calls Le Chat dans le sac an “underground hit,” which is another way of saying that only hepcats knew of the film’s existence.

Although Coltrane and Groulx did become friendly later, the saxophonist’s agreement to record songs for the film’s soundtrack was basically a favor, one initiated through Groulx’s relationship with the quartet’s bassist Jimmy Garrison; he’d met the filmmaker through a mutual acquaintance who’d appeared in one of Groulx’s prior documentaries.

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In rotation: 9/25/19

Kent, UK | Music venue Elsewhere in Margate to celebrate year anniversary: In harsh times for independent music venues, one such place has found cause to celebrate. Elsewhere in Margate was co-founded in 2018 by Sammy Clarke, who wanted to provide a place to nurture local artists and a space for cutting edge music events. “It’s a fully dedicated music venue, which is something that Margate hasn’t really had before,” he said. “Especially a venue that supports and champions emerging talent from the area and also brings in touring artists that are getting national plaudits.” In just a year the venue has been able to snag bookings from buzz-bands like Squid and Black Country, New Road. This Friday and Saturday, Sammy and co are celebrating the first birthday of the business with 2 nights of live music.

Staunton, VA | New record store opens in Staunton; Owners wish to share their love of vinyl: Ken Bahrs Jr. remembers listening to the vinyl records of Charley Pride and the Moody Blues with his mother growing up. He loves the scratching sound it makes right when you put the needle on the record and it spins for just a bit with a crackle as the song starts up. Vinyl evokes a certain memory for him, and many others. “I think when you play a record, it takes you back,” he said. “When you play an old record on an old player, you can hear the difference.” He and his wife, Tanya, have been collecting and selling records for years in various booths like the Factory Antique Mall in Verona or similar businesses across the state. Now, they are bringing their collection to the people of Staunton with their new store The Vinyl Asylum. The two have thousands of records in the store, which opened up at the beginning of September.

Chicopee, MA | Music lovers crowd Union Station Banquet Hall for Northampton Record Fair: Old school music lovers who prefer the sound of vinyl records packed Northampton’s Union Station Banquet Hall Sunday for the Northampton Record Fair. An estimated 60 to 70 thousand vinyl records featuring all types of music were up for sale. Many collectors are of a certain age dating back to when Vinyl was in its prime, but you might be surprised at how many young people prefer vinyl. 13-year-old Mason Gunther of Ludlow said he loves vinyl over the more contemporary music delivery systems. Gunther told 22News, “Because, with vinyl music and everything, new music doesn’t have as much emotion as the old music. And the record you really get the feeling, the nostalgia.” Vinyl record dealers from throughout the northeast had no trouble finding a market for their albums featuring music that ranged from hits of the 1950s to the soundtrack of the movie “Jaws.”

Ashby, UK | Owner of record store explains decision to auction off more than 40,000 records and CDs: There will be between 350 and 500 lots up for sale. The owner of a record store of which most of the contents are going up for auction says the decision to move on from the shop has not been an easy one. Ben Duncombe first opened The Attic music shop in Ashby Town Hall four and half years ago. In that time he has collected an impressive stock of more than 40,000 records and CDs, as well as various memorabilia and music equipment. Now most of the stock, including the shops fixtures and fittings, is going up for auction. The 36-year old from Ashby said: “One of the main reasons I have decided to move on is because I want to spend more time with my wife and daughter. “When you are self-employed, you don’t get an awful lot of holiday time because you are constantly working.” Ben says that the decision to sell the stock was not taken lightly, but he will not be leaving everything behind.

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TVD Live: Billy Bragg at The Birchmere, 9/19

“Welcome to the 7:30 Club!” Billy Bragg said, at the outset of his three-night residency at The Birchmere. He was both poking fun of the Alexandria club’s famously early nights, while name checking the DC area’s other famous club, the 9:30.

It was the first of several residencies he’ll also do in New York and Cambridge, MA before doing the same in various cities in the UK. Titled “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” he’s playing exclusively from his first three albums on one night, from his next three albums a second night, and doing kind of a career overview the third.

He began with the latter Thursday and seem freed to put in a set similar to those he had been doing in recent months, with a little bit of everything thrown in for his one-man, one-guitar format. The idea behind the residencies, he said, was to find a different way of touring that involved staying in one place longer than usual, an experiment that would mean a “low impact on the environment—and the artist.”

As such, he had been in the Nation’s Capital days before his run started, in part to do promotion of his new book, his sixth, The Three Dimensions of Freedom. Which he didn’t exactly read, but explained its point of view in such detail he might as well have.

The truth is, half a Billy Bragg concert is his speaking, and while he is charming, funny and sharp political commentator most of the time, there comes a point where fans would rather hear him singing choice selections from his songbook.

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TVD Live Shots: The Pixies at the O2 Academy Leeds, 9/17

They’ve influenced an entire generation, created an iconic signature sound, and nearly forty years later they still have plenty to say. The Pixies are seemingly more popular today than they were at their peak in the late ’80s early ’90s, especially here in the UK as it’s near impossible to land a ticket to one of their gigs across the country. I found myself on assignment for my day gig with an evening free in the Northern UK. The O2 Academy Leeds is one of the highest-rated venues in all of the UK so what better chance to check it out than to see the Pixies. 

 Touring in support of their seventh studio record, Beneath the Eyrie was recorded in an abandoned church near Woodstock, NY with producer Tom Dalgety. What in the hell is an eyrie? Yeah, I had to look that one up as well. According to, it’s “a high or inaccessible place from which someone can observe what is below them.”

There’s no doubt that the atmosphere contributed to the darkness of this record. Some say it’s a return to form and that Black Frances finally caught lightning in a bottle once more after mediocre reviews for the past two records. I think the band is just pissed off and made a record fuelled with the current bad dream we all hope to wake up from. Either way, Eyrie is undoubtedly worthy of taking its place alongside the greatness and mystique of the first two albums.  

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TVD Radar: Steve Forbert, Jackrabbit Slim 40th anniversary reissue in stores 11/8

VIA PRESS RELEASE | A little over 43 years ago, Meridian, MS, native Steve Forbert boarded a train bound for New York City. Twenty-one years old at the time, Forbert, with his guitar and harmonica, spent two years working his way up from street performer living at the YMCA to filling historic Greenwich Village clubs and signing a major label contract.

By 1979, Forbert had really hit his stride, releasing Jackrabbit Slim, which produced his first top 40 hit, “Romeo’s Tune,” and afforded Forbert the opportunity to share his music with the world. On November 8th, 2019, Blue Rose Music will be releasing an extremely limited edition vinyl reissue of Jackrabbit Slim, remastered by the legendary Ted Jensen of Sterling Sound (The Eagles, The B-52s, Dave Matthews, Norah Jones). 500 copies will be pressed on red-colored wax, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. Fans can pre-order the vinyl here.

In addition to “Romeo’s Tune,” Jackrabbit Slim introduced the world to Forbert’s Mississippi instincts and catchy-but-deep rock and roll tunes. From the rollicking “Say Goodbye To Little Jo” to the almost-reggae-tinged “Complications” to the straight-ahead folk of “January 23-30, 1978,” Jackrabbit Slim spans Forbert’s early creative potential, all while entertaining different types of listeners. “Jackrabbit Slim was the release that put me on the map and gave me the audience that’s still with me today,” says Forbert. “Every singer/songwriter needs one of these!”

Artists like Keith Urban, Rosanne Cash, and Marty Stuart have covered songs from Jackrabbit Slim and Forbert’s extensive 20 album catalog. And in 2017, twenty-one artists paid tribute to Steve by recording An American Troubadour: The Songs of Steve Forbert, further validating the quality of Forbert’s musicianship, writing, and profound contributions to Americana and Folk music.

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UK Artist of the Week: Mipso

PHOTO: KENDALL BAILEY | Hailing from Chapel Hill, NC, Mipso are about to take the plunge and hop across the pond as they embark on a UK/EU tour in October. In the run up to the tour, Mipso have shared with the world their stunning animated video for single “People Change,” in stores now.

The single, taken from Mipso’s album Edges Run is a gorgeously rich and emotive ballad that tackles the difficult subject of loss and the impact of an absence in someone’s life. Its delicately weaved musicality is undeniably ethereal from the offset, reminiscent of the likes of Fleet Foxes or Bon Iver.

Frontman Jacop Sharp’s soft yet gritty Americana-esque vocals are just glorious, fitting the song perfectly. We could listen to it for days. The single’s video is equally mesmerising, with art and animation created by Jake McBride. Simple yet effective, the images reflect the song’s meaning perfectly and incredibly powerfully throughout.

We’ve not had the pleasure of catching these guys live yet, but if Edges Run is anything to go by, we’re in for a treat.

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Graded on a Curve: Magnapop,
The Circle Is Round

Atlanta, GA’s Magnapop emerged as part of the 1990s scene, but unlike many of their contemporaries their sound isn’t boxed in by the decade. It’s probably a stretch to describe them as timeless, but the band’s blend of catchiness and raw guitar lands between the poles of power-pop and pop-punk, which is to say that theirs is a classic sorta thing. On new album The Circle Is Round, vocalist Linda Hopper, guitarist-vocalist Ruthie Morris, bassist Shannon Mulvaney, and drummer David McNair have made no radical adjustments to their approach while avoiding the formulaic. For anyone who dug ‘em before, the smart money says they’ll dig ‘em now. It’s out September 27 through Happy Happy Birthday To Me.

This is Magnapop’s sixth album and first since Chase Park came out ten years back. The band’s first three, which commenced with a self-titled debut for Caroline in 1992 followed by Hot Boxing and Rubbing Doesn’t Help, both for Priority in the US (Play It Again Sam in Europe) in ’94 and ’96 respectively, were easy to take for granted in an era flush with bands. Well, that was the case with me, at least.

While the four-piece (the “classic” lineup is back together for this latest effort) can reliably pull off sturdy, non-hackneyed power pop moves, the forcefulness of their attack ultimately lands them in the ballpark of pop-punk, and bluntly, that zone has been absolutely polluted with riff-debasing dullards and overly anthemic buffoons for a few decades.

But Magnapop easily avoid pop-punk’s general dearth of quality, partly because their simplicity is counterbalanced with songwriting acumen. That is to say, they actually write tunes rather than just cop and reassemble moves. Not that grabbing from precedent is a faux pas, it’s just that when Hopper and Morris do it, as in the mid-tempo Ramonesian chug of The Circle Is Round’s opener “Dog on the Door,” it’s done with good taste, with the revved up choruses insuring it’s far from a carbon copy.

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In rotation: 9/24/19

Brooklyn, NY | How Your Favorite Vinyl Record Is Pressed: For this New York-based printer, fixing car engines led to a passion for vinyl. Thomas Bernich is admittedly not a musician, but his contributions to the music industry are just as important as any chord combination. “I can play the stereo, but I can’t play the guitar,” he tells Popular Mechanics. Growing up, Bernich would rush home from school to listen to his records. “Then my father would get home, so I’d have to turn the music off and I’d help him bore out an engine.” After visiting a vinyl pressing plant in Queens in 2001, Bernich decided to combine his childhood passions and purchase two machines of his own. Though the vinyl presses were in constant need of repair, Bernich felt a sense of accomplishment with each pressing. “You want to become the vessel for the artist to generate their idea and then materialize it,” Bernich says. “There’s enough crap in the world, so you want to make something positive and constructive and beautiful.”

Coachella Valley, CA | From Vinyl to Venue: Record Alley Hosts Local Bands Every Sunday: While the Coachella Valley has birthed some of rock’s greatest musicians and has been overflowing with intense musicality for decades, record stores here are few and far between. In fact, there’s really only one provider of CDs, vinyl and all other things that music fans need—and that store has been doing so since 1978. “Record Alley is the hub of music,” said Scott McLaughlin, a Record Alley employee and local musician. “Back in the day, everybody used to come in here—celebrities and even local stars like Joshua Homme or Jesse Hughes. It was a cool hangout spot, even back when it was just CDs.” Turns out Record Alley is still a cool hangout spot: The store has started hosting performances by two music acts each Sunday afternoon. These shows are planned by McLaughlin; I sat down with him recently to discuss his musical journey and the future of Record Alley.

Paris, FR | Listening bar Jean-Louis La Nuit opens in Paris: Gabriel from D.KO has curated a series of listening sessions hosted with the likes of Zaltan, Leo Pol, Favorite Recordings and more. Jean-Louis La Nuit, which resides in the first arrondissement, boasts the “futurist-retro” Harmony 5001 analogue soundsystem, which was originally designed in the 1980s by French sound designers AESD and has now been relaunched and developed for the present day with the venue’s support. It will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 6 PM to 4 AM, and will also act as a fashion showroom and exhibition space. “The music that has accompanied you over the last 40 years is transformed,” Damien, the director of Jean-Louis La Nuit, says. “What you thought was your music becomes a new story—we are bringing a culture of high-fidelity to Parisians.”

ARChive strives to keep vinyl musical heritage alive in digital age: The turntable needle drops and the sounds of an obscure band The Motifs ring out, bouncing off mountains of records lining the musty warehouse housing America’s largest pop music collection. The cavernous independent private music library, known as the ARChive of Contemporary Music, on a non-descript street in lower Manhattan’s Tribeca neighbourhood claims more than three million recordings — mostly vinyl and some CDS and cassettes, not to mention a vast collection of memorabilia. “You’re just constantly discovering things that you wouldn’t know,” its co-founder B George told AFP from his desk tucked behind the stacks. In an age dominated by streaming and the ephemerality of digital media, places like the ARChive can prove vital to preserving physical copies of music that can be key to future listening. News over the summer that some 500,000 recordings from legends like Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Joni Mitchell and Eric Clapton were destroyed in a 2008 blaze at Universal Studios threw the importance of safeguarding physical copies into stark relief.

The ‘world’s smallest, portable record player’ takes off after ‘Shark Tank’ airing: Even at the peak of digital music streaming, vintage record players have stood the test of time amongst true music enthusiasts. Logan Riley, former creative education lead at Apple, liked to spend his Saturdays going to the record store, which ultimately sparked a product idea that would land him a spot on “Shark Tank” Season 9. Riley set out to invent the RokBlok – the “world’s smallest, portable record player.” The product eliminates the inconveniences that come with record players – large size, hefty price tag, and immobility to name a few. RokBlok is essentially a portable record player with built-in speakers that plays music as it rides along the top of vinyl. With no prior electrical engineering experience, Riley turned to YouTube tutorials for help.

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TVD Live Shots: Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, Dorothy and Diamante at Concord Pavilion, 9/18

Breaking Benjamin brought their ambitious five band tour to Concord, California’s Concord Pavilion for a Wednesday evening of rock and roll. Those lucky enough to brave the evening’s particularly horrendous traffic to the burbs to catch the 5:20 start, were rewarded with two fantastic sets by openers Diamante and Dorothy before the sun started to set.

Three Days Grace kicked up the energy with a 50 minute set that got the crowd, which had finally reached critical mass, singing and moshing along before Chevelle balanced things out with a little groove.

Breaking Benjamin finally took the stage at 9:20 in front of a packed house as they continue to tour in support of 2018’s “Ember.” With enough air conditioning to cool the general admission floor, frontman Benjamin Burnley proceeded to belt it out much to Concord’s delight. And when “Breath” came up early in the set, the entire amphitheater was more than happy to help out on vocals.

The ninety minute set flew by way too fast as the band covered highlights from their entire catalog while still saving time for the most unlikely cover song mashups of Pantera, Nirvana, Queen, Metallica, and Rage Against The Machine … which all culminated in a drum solo by their resident master of the skins, Shaun Foist.

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