Monthly Archives: February 2020

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

So future boy where are you from my time machine crashed over yonder / Syphillis is a bitch but contracting HIV is much worse. / Why are you pushing info into me, / I have no need for it, I’m from the stars. / I thought you’d like to know the scoop / I’m taking babies back with me, yeah. / I’m taking them back home / so they can see there’s a much better place.

I’ve got a sister with an open mind and my friends are all junkies / But there still my friends, as long as they don’t use monkeys, / We enjoy the heat of stolen days in the summer of ’93. / Well the future boy said I’ve got friends but you know sometimes / it all depends on how tall they are against yourself. / I am the future boy / My friends have all gone…

Okay, this week I needed to calm my soul. I mean this Coronavirus news is unbuttoning nerves.

Meanwhile, warmer winds swirled in the canyon blowing up tons of pollen. The results are dry throats and itchy eyes. Ugh! God get us through this one! In the meantime I stacked a few classic sides to calm the nerves.

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TVD Live Shots:
Beach Bunny at the Metro, 2/22

Local pop punk quartet Beach Bunny dropped their first full-length album, Honeymoon, on Valentine’s Day. A week later, they played an album release show at the Metro, a solid kickoff for their North American tour (which is completely sold out, I might add). They’ve been quite the sensation around these parts for some time now, so the national recognition is no surprise.

Beach Bunny is about to blow up, folks. Give them a listen and about 30 seconds in you’ll see why: the sound is catchy but with edge; it’s pop with depth. And it’s speaking directly to a budding new generation of music fans—as well as old farts like myself. I was witness to it on Saturday night and watching the crowd took me back to my Jagged Little Pill days.

Catch them on the road in the U.S. through May before they hop the pond to Europe in June.

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TVD Radar: Goldfrapp, Supernature vinyl reissue in stores 5/15

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Mute / BMG have announced the long-awaited vinyl reissue of Goldfrapp’s third album, Supernature—out on May 15. The new edition of the album will be available on transparent green vinyl, packaged in a gatefold sleeve with an exclusive art print of the original artwork.

Originally released in August 2005, Supernature marks the point when Goldfrapp brought their sound to an even wider global audience. The GRAMMY-nominated album debuted at #2 in the UK Albums Chart and the album’s lead single, the pulsing, sophisticated, glam-pop dynamo “Ooh La La,” went straight to #4 in the UK Singles Chart. The album generated further hits in the form of “Number 1,” “Ride a White Horse,” and “Fly Me Away.” Described by The Guardian as “a brash, beautiful celebration of love and dancing,” the album is a colossal, multi-layered, sonic-pop thriller, a radical, confident, bold record that took a joyous step forward from 2003’s Black Cherry.

Goldfrapp are on tour in 2020 celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut album release. Felt Mountain: The 20th Year Tour will see Alison Goldfrapp perform tracks from the album for the first time since its original release in a brand new show featuring lush and intimate takes on classics from across the band’s 20 year career. A remastered deluxe edition of Felt Mountain will follow in autumn 2020 on Mute / BMG.

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TVD Radar: Bluegrass Now! to premiere on PBS through March 2020

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Bluegrass Now! to premiere nationally on PBS through March 2020. Debuts on February 29, check local listings for air date specific to each market.

Ever since Bill Monroe stormed out of Kentucky 75 years ago with a hot new take on traditional tunes, bluegrass music’s metric drive and high lonesome sound has thrilled and inspired audiences around the world. That bluegrass high energy and soulfulness was captured live in December of 2019 at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky for Bluegrass Now!, a nationally televised PBS special premiering Saturday, February 29. Featuring hosts Rhonda Vincent and Jim Lauderdale and an all-star cast, Bluegrass Now! is a masterful homage to bluegrass across genre, gender, and generations.

Bluegrass Now! features performances reflecting the many facets of bluegrass music as performed by an array of today’s leading artists. Hosts Rhonda Vincent and Jim Lauderdale welcome Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Dan Tyminski, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Missy Raines, Molly Tuttle, and Bluegrass Hall-of-Famer Larry Sparks into the theater at the beautiful Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum.

Featuring full band performances, Bluegrass Now! presents rare and dynamic vocal pairings coupled with instrumental duets showcasing masters of art and instrument. “This feels like a homecoming as many of today’s most prominent bluegrass artists make a pilgrimage back to the source of the music to document their own musical journeys,” remarked Chris Joslin, Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum Executive Director. “If bluegrass music is Kentucky’s gift to the world, Bluegrass Now! feels like Christmas morning.” From stunning up and comers to beloved Hall of Famers, Bluegrass Now! celebrates musical milestones and the breadth of the genre.

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Sorry You’re Here: Beauty Pill’s Lost Record Sees the Light At Last

PHOTO: STEPHAN GIOVANNINI | “I didn’t want to put this record out,” Chad Clark tells me at the beginning of our conversation about Sorry You’re Here, the most recent release by DC-based band Beauty Pill. “It’s a pretty interesting journey.”

You’ll find the album filed under new releases in your record store or on your preferred streaming platform, but Sorry You’re Here was first conceived in 2010 as the soundtrack to a devised dance play by the Taffety Punk theatre company. The premise of tends to give listeners pause, because the text is taken entirely from real chatrooms of the late 1990s and early 2000s devoted to the subject of suicide—not how to prevent or avoid it, but how to actually do it, and why so many people felt the urge to take their own lives in the first place.

“I love the play,” Clark says. “I stand by it as a work of art.” It’s certainly not for everyone; because the text of the piece is gathered from real life—and death—online, it can be a disconcerting experience for audience members. “It’s sensitive, but it’s not a timid work,” Clark explains. “It doesn’t surprise me that it’s disturbing for some people. But artistically, at that level, I support it.” Given the difficulty of the material, his initial hesitation to release the music to a wider audience might seem obvious. “It’s not an area that I take lightly,” he says. “[But] my unease about releasing the music had a lot more to do with the fact that the style of the music deviated very strongly from what people expected from me or wanted from me at that time.”

Eventually, he decided to part ways with Dischord, not because the label imposed what he refers to as a “kind of an aesthetic straitjacket,” but because fans of other Dischord artists expected something different from what Beauty Pill had to offer. “This music is far out and away from what people thought I should be doing,” he explains. “I was nervous, I was insecure, that’s just the reality. And now I hear it, and what’s happened in the time since is people have really come around.”

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Graded on a Curve:
Pearl Jam, “Dance of
the Clairvoyants”

Now that Eddie Vedder has decided he wants to be David Byrne and Pearl Jam the Talking Heads, the only question remaining is: When are they gonna break out the big white suit?

Literally every human being I’ve spoken with likes Pearl Jam’s new (wave) single “Dance of the Clairvoyants,” and not a single one of them gives a good once in a lifetime that if you sent a sample of its DNA to it would come back 100 percent Talking Heads and 0 percent flannel shirt.

It’s not as if people are denying the Head’s influence; a Rolling Stone magazine scribe recently conceded the song’s “obvious debt to the Talking Heads,” but only after calling it Pearl Jam’s “funkiest song in forever.” To which I can only respond there’s a considerable difference between an obvious debt to and wholesale appropriation of, just as there’s a considerable difference between admiring a man’s hat and stealing it.

The analogy that comes to mind is Greta Van Fleet. Fans point to them as the saviors of Classic Rock, when all they’re really doing is cannibalizing your Led Zeppelin favorites and reassembling them, Frankenstein style, into what we’re asked to believe are original songs. They’re a very good Led Zeppelin tribute band hiding behind a woman–or to put it more accurately, a woman’s name.

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In rotation: 2/28/20

Paris, FR | Vinyl digs its new groove: …”The enthusiasm of the French for vinyl is undeniable, they are always more likely to buy”, said Tuesday Alexandre Lasch, director general of Snep during the presentation of the results of the French music market for 2019. Either 4.1 million groove cakes sold in 2019 compared to 3.9 million in 2018. In 2015, only 900,000 vinyl records had sold. Alban Lecourt, manager of the specialized store Ground Zero, in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, does not hide however that it is a “niche market, with few practitioners”. What Snep does not hide either: vinyl represents 20% of physical sales, still dominated by the CD. But the independent record store stresses that “almost all of the music offer is released on vinyl” now, which was no longer the case. “We did rock, indie rock, but there are also artists of variety who had abandoned this medium and are coming back to it.” Large brands also take care of the format. “The space dedicated to vinyl has also greatly expanded over time that the product has taken off year after year, “comments a spokesperson for Fnac interviewed by AFP.

Petaluma, CA | Vital Vinyl: Where to get your groove back. It’s early afternoon on a Tuesday and Kirk Heydt, proprietor of 2-year-old, Petaluma-based Spin Records (1020 Petaluma Blvd. N.), is gently placing a record needle to vinyl while he explains to a customer that, “in the beginning of this ballad by the Ohio Players, the drummer just breaks into a drum solo. In a ballad! You never hear that and it actually got airplay!” It’s the kind of infectious, in-person enthusiasm that all but disappeared with the advent of illegal music downloading, which rebranded to corporate “streaming services” which, for the most part, killed record (and video) stores while also managing to devalue the very thing corporations were trying to exploit for money: music. Yet record stores aren’t down for the count quite yet. “I make enough to stay here and where I am; there’s no foot traffic, so it’s a destination,” Heydt says. “I have really loyal customers who are into all the way-obscure stuff—some very ‘not cheap’ records—and they really keep me going. It seems like a lot of people are getting more into records, too, which is cool.”

The Rega System One is an easy all-in-one vinyl solution: The Rega System One will cost £999 for a turntable, amplifier, speakers and even cables. Rega quietly announced a smattering of interesting new products at the Bristol Hi-Fi Show over the weekend. Front and centre is a brand new record player system, comprising a turntable, amplifier and speakers: the Rega System One, yours for £999, and due “late spring”. The System One uses one product with which we’re very familiar, the Planar One turntable, and two new products, the io amplifier and a pair of Kyte speakers. The Rega io (£379, when bought separately, due March/April) is a new integrated amplifier complete with an MM phono stage, 30 watts per channel, two line inputs and a high-quality headphone socket. This is a new line for the company, though we do remember a high-end Rega io DAC. The Rega Kyte speakers (£429, when bought separately) are an update, in name at least, on a classic pair of Rega speakers, which date back longer than we care to remember. They’ve clearly had a thorough design overhaul and look very smart…

UK | The Big Moon announced as Record Store Day UK ambassadors for 2020: “Support your local record store!” The Big Moon have been announced as the UK’s Record Store Day ambassadors for 2020. The ‘Walking Like We Do’ band follow in the esteemed steps of Sir Elton John, Kate Tempest, Rag n Bone Man and The Mighty Boosh – who have all been ambassadors in the past. To celebrate their new role, the London group will record their own Record Store Day release live in front of an audience at London’s Metropolis Studios on March 5. It’s thought to be the first time that an artist will have recorded three tracks in one take with a live audience in the studio with them. Discussing the honour, The Big Moon’s Celia Archer said: “We’re so excited to be ambassadors for Record Store Day! “When I was a kid music was still a really tribal thing and if you were into alternative music the record store was a really important space to hang out and spend weekends browsing through things with mates, discovering whole new sounds and genres just because you liked the art work, picking up music magazines and finding out about gigs.

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TVD Live Shots: HMLTD at the Garage, 2/20

When I first moved to the UK several years ago, I had a friend visiting from the States, and we wanted to see some live music. He was staying in SoHo, so the first thing that popped into my head was the legendary 100 Club. Let’s just show up, buy a ticket, and see what happens. After all, this place is always known to have a good lineup. The band that was playing that night was HMLTD (aka Happy Meal Limited). Neither one of us had ever heard of them before, but the room was packed, and I never pass up a chance to go to this place. What happened next changed my entire perception of the London music scene.

It was one of the coolest shows that I’ve ever seen before. It was as if Adam Ant, The Clash, and Bowie had a number of glam, punk, rock ‘n’ roll bastard children who decided to form a band. They had it all—the theatrics, the elaborate stage wear, and the attitude, but most importantly, the songs. The songs were there, and they were over the fucking top, full of glammed up piss and adrenaline, and they were remarkably catchy. As it would turn out, they were far more creative than anyone on the scene, had a massive buzz about them, and could do no wrong at the time. Then they made a deal with the devil, and all hell broke loose.

Having worked in the music industry for more than a decade myself, I’ve seen it a million times. Sign hot new band, promise them the world, tell them that they have full creative direction, then beat them down by trying to fit them into a money-making machine while sacrificing the band’s true potential and magic, if you will. Then finally, when the band is reaching its breaking point fighting for what’s right, the label leaves them high and dry. This type of situation happens more than anyone would like to admit, and it’s the curse of the gamble of signing to a major label. Sometimes it works, but the majority of the time it ends careers.

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Demand it on Vinyl:
Andy Williams, Emperor of Easy—Lost Columbia Masters 1962–1972

VIA PRESS RELEASE | During his two-decade association with Columbia Records, Andy Williams chalked up more hit singles and sold more albums than any other pop crooner of the period.

Boosted by the popularity of his Emmy-winning television series The Andy Williams Show, the personable singer bridged the classic American Songbook of standards and showtunes with the modern pop-rock songs of the 1960s and 1970s. His widespread popularity saw Williams become the host of the Golden Globe Awards in the 1960s followed by annual duties fronting the Grammy Awards in the 1970s. All of which begs the question: why haven’t we seen (and heard) a rarities collection from this iconic vocalist?

Now, for the first time ever, Andy’s immense archive of Columbia recordings has been combed through to dig up a bounty of previously unreleased tracks from his peak 1962-1972 era, including covers of familiar tunes such as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “This Guy’s in Love with You,” “Homeward Bound,” “Too Young,” and “I Don’t Know How to Love Her.”

Andy also offers his warm and romantic renditions of Henry Mancini’s “Two for the Road,” the summer of love anthem “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair),” and a rare, never-before-heard Burt Bacharach-Hal David composition, “A Question of Love.” And, as a bonus, rare, rare Spanish versions of Andy’s smashes “Love Story (Where Do I Begin)” and “Love Theme from The Godfather” lend the collection some hit power.

With notes by Joe Marchese, rare photos, and mastering right from the tapes by Mike Piacentini at Sony’s Battery Studios, this 20-track Real Gone Music release offers a long-overdue coronation of one of the most successful and beloved balladeers of the late 20th century, the “Emperor of Easy”—Andy Williams.

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TVD Radar: While You Live, Shine, documentary DVD in stores 3/17

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Award-winning filmmaker Paul Duane (Best Before Death) sought to answer the question “Why do we make music?” with this sonic and visual feast, an official selection at Rotterdam International Film Festival. Aside from DVD/Digital, While You Live, Shine will also be available via streaming platform IndiePix Unlimited on Amazon channels.

Grammy Award®-winning producer and musicologist Chris King is a legend, the most obsessive collector of old 78 records living today. He’s also the only one adept at using modern technology to unlock their secrets and remaster them for a 21st century audience. For years, King has lived in a world of nostalgia, listening to music from a distant past. However, while in Istanbul in 2009, he picked up a few old LPs and heard music unlike any he’d heard before—what he could only describe as a “dissonant instrumental played with an uncontrolled abandon,” which hailed from Epirus, a remote region straddling northwestern Greece and southern Albania. And it was this stunning discovery of the raw folk music he believes connects us with our ancient ancestors that would transform his life.

A voyage of deep discovery into the oldest music in the Western world, Paul Duane’s sonic and visual feast, While You Live, Shine, takes its title from the Song of Seikilos, the world’s oldest recorded piece of music. The transcendental tune, carved into a stone pillar discovered in Turkey, remains alive in Epirus, where Greeks gather every summer to play, dance and sing. And King traveled there to immerse himself in its ancient culture, attending festivals and dances and speaking with musicians and shepherds. Gradually, he uncovered the roots of this musical tradition, and answered his own most urgent question: why do we make music?

While You Live, Shine is both an introduction to some of the most hypnotic and beautiful music you’ve never heard, an immersive trip into an isolated and half-forgotten land, and a portrait of a man who has belatedly found his spiritual home on the other side of the world. The winner of the 2018 Spirit of Indie Cork Award at IndieCork, While You Live, Shine has also been featured as Official Selections for such festivals as Rotterdam International Film Festival, The Audi Dublin International Film Festival, Belfast Film Festival, The Greek Film Festival and more.

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Taylor Young Band,
The TVD First Date

“My journey into vinyl started in the early 2000s. I was living in Dallas off of Lower Greenville. My friends were living on one side of a duplex, and I was on the other side. There are a lot of old homes in that neighborhood, most with old wooden floors. My neighbor Alicia was holding onto her grandad’s record player (she said it was strictly Johnny Cash when it was in her grandparents’ hands), and I’d hear it from next door or when I was over hanging out.”

“It was a ’60s Sears Silvertone Solid State Console, and man did it sound good on those old wooden floors. We moved on to different streets in different houses in that same neighborhood, and I ended up with the record player. It sits in my current place about 12 blocks south in Lakewood; the needle had been funky, and the arm a little wrecked, but with the help of my friend Jason, we got it back to good.

I go through the older side of my collection with a little bit of a laugh. I didn’t know what I was shopping for back then. I was excited to grow a collection, but pretty dang broke, in and out of town on tour as the drummer for Young Heart Attack, Polyphonic Spree, PW Long. That led me mostly to Half Price Books and to The Kinks, XTC, the Stones, Dylan, and a lot of soul records.

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In rotation: 2/27/20

Streaming and vinyl bring color back to the record market: The upturn in the sector is confirmed with a 5.4% increase in the recorded music market in 2019. More and more French people are subscribing to on-demand listening offers. It’s probably a first. During the presentation on Tuesday morning of the music market results for the past year, not once was the word piracy spoken! Growing for the fourth consecutive year, the sector which has regained color has visibly moved on to something else. With progression “Sustained” of the recorded music turnover to 5.4% and 772 million of receipts, this long moribund market was again pulled by the streaming (59% of the sales), while the physical supports fall again by 10% . And if the CD remains the second most profitable format after streaming, thanks to a network which still has 4,000 points of sale, vinyl confirms as everywhere its good health. Sales are up 12% and now represent 20% of the physical market, with 42% of buyers under the age of 30.

Ottawa, CA | Downtown music store to close, make way for pot shop: Compact Music is the city’s longest-running independent music retailer, with a primary location in the Glebe that’s been a fixture since the mid-1990s. Compact Music co-owner Ian Boyd quips that one of his stores is going to pot after 17 years. His downtown Bank Street location is set to close in May to make way for a Hobo cannabis store where you can now buy cbd oil, and Boyd has mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, he and his brother James, who’s also a partner in the business, are in their 60s and were already starting to make plans to downsize the two-store business to one location. In December, they gave six months’ notice to their landlord that they would not be renewing the lease at 206 Bank St. That would have given them until the end of June to clear out the bins of vinyl records, CDs, DVDs and everything else… “We would have much preferred to stay to June to have a longer window to sell all our inventory,” Ian Boyd said. “We were even thinking that we might want to renew. Business is up at both stores, and it’s all because of vinyl.”

London, UK | A new record shop has opened in London: Selling Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis’ record collection as well as secondhand offerings. A new record shop – called Atlantis Records – has opened in Hackney, London. Located in the former premise of Pacific Social Club cafe, Atlantis Records will sell Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis’ record collection, which spans from early jungle and UK indie records. In addition to vinyl, it also includes acetates and cassettes. Atlantis Records will also stock secondhand records spanning a range of genres – with everything from from ’50s Yemeni Yiddish dance music, classical and reggae, to free jazz, soul and spoken word represented in the shop. Atlantis also plans to sell beer on tap, as well as hosting DJ sets and small gigs in the space. Visit Atlantis Records in person at 8 Clarence Rd, London, E5 8HB, open daily 10am – 7pm

Santa Fe, NM | The Guy in the Groove record shop moves to Constellation Home Electronics: Dick Rosemont is continuing his 43-year run as a vinyl record shop owner in a new location. His The Guy in the Groove store earlier this month moved to Constellation Home Electronics, 215 N. Guadalupe St. Since 2012, The Guy in the Groove had been inside A Sound Look, 502 Cerrillos Road. Rosemont became a record store co-owner in East Lansing, Mich., where he had Flag, Black & Circular from 1977 to 2011. He followed his wife, photographer and filmmaker Jane Rosemont, to New Mexico after she got an offer from a Santa Fe gallery. These days, he has more of a vinyl record nook, with about 1,500 to 2,000 discs on hand at any time. He is the only person on staff. Rosemont has stuck with vinyl since the Carter administration. “They didn’t go away,” he said of record outlets. “They just went to smaller stores. The end of the ’90s and early 2000s were the low point in vinyl sales. Last year albums surpassed CDs for the first time since the 1980s. It’s a hip alternative.”

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TVD Radar: Spice Girls, Spiceworld and Greatest Hits vinyl reissues in stores 3/13

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The era defining, history making, best-selling female group of all time today announce the re-release of Spiceworld and The Greatest Hits on vinyl—the ultimate Mother’s Day gifts. The vinyl will be available from Friday, March 13, 2020 via UMe/Virgin EMI.

Re-issued on 180g black vinyl, this release of Spiceworld retains all original artwork from 1997. Peaking at #3 on Billboard’s album chart, it contains the U.S. Top 20 hits “Spice Up Your Life” (#4 in U.S. Dance Chart) and “Stop” (#3 in Hot Dance Chart). Spiceworld amassed more than 13 million sales worldwide cementing the Spice Girls as a cultural phenomenon. And if one wasn’t enough… released earlier this year as a picture disc to commemorate their unforgettable sold-out UK tour last summer, Spice Girls – Greatest Hits is back again! This time on 180g black vinyl with their U.S. Top 20 smash hit singles, including “2 Become 1,” “Spice Up Your Life,” “Goodbye,” and their breakthrough debut #1 single “Wannabe.” It also includes the original artwork, this time as a single sleeve LP, with a printed inner sleeve to house the 180g vinyl LP.

In 1996, the iconic debut single “Wannabe” was born, only to go on to reach the top of the charts in 37 countries. Their debut album Spice sold more than 31 million copies across the globe, earning its place as the best-selling album of all time by a female group. Throughout history, they’ve sold 85 million records worldwide, had 9 UK number 1 singles, and released 3 studio albums and 13 singles. Not to mention the host of awards won, including a BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.

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Graded on a Curve: Mazzy Star,
Seasons Of Your Day

Today we remember Mazzy Star’s David Roback who passed away yesterday, February 25 with a look back from our archives. —Ed.

If it seems like the nonce is very ripe for ‘90s-era comebacks, Mazzy Star’s Seasons Of Your Day easily transcends the predictability of this phenomenon. Rather than shaping up like a quickly conceived money-grab or a time-filler for middle-aged bored dudes, its ten tracks are sourced from across the group’s long sojourn from the public eye, and it’s a very strong inclusion into their already significant body of work.

She Hangs Brightly, Mazzy Star’s debut album from way in back in 1990, has stood the test of time exceptionally well, but as a very good disc it also didn’t register as the inaugural offering from an act that was going to be sticking around for a while. This was partially due to vocalist Hope Sandoval having replaced Kendra Smith in Opal, the locale from whence Mazzy Star had sprung. While the resemblance between She Hangs Brightly and Opal was surely distinct, the record’s pleasures also gave no indication that it would differ from guitarist David Roback’s prior background.

To elaborate, Roback’s tenure in his previous outfits, specifically Paisley Underground cornerstone Rain Parade and the all-star cover-song project Rainy Day, wasn’t exactly noted for longevity. His involvement with the former ended after one LP, ‘83’s terrific Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, and the latter’s sole self-titled ’84 effort was by design a very sweet one-off. Likewise Opal, while having subsequently amassed a fairly hefty posthumous discography, only released one full-length, ‘87’s excellent Happy Nightmare Baby, before Smith up and quit the band.

While it may seem odd from this distance, when Mazzy Star first announced their presence, they were widely considered as simply being the latest incarnation of Roback’s estimable thing. This is not to belittle Sandoval’s contribution, which on She Hangs Brightly is of course immediately striking, but only to underline that Roback had acquired a substantial rep as a major participant in the whole Paisley Underground scenario. And by 1990, this movement seemed to be winding down.

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TVD Radar: Blue Cheer guitarist Randy Holden, Population II vinyl reissue in stores 2/28

VIA PRESS RELEASE | RidingEasy Records officially reissues on physical and digital formats the extremely rare 1970 proto-metal album from Randy Holden, Population II this Friday.

Considered one of the first doom metal albums ever, the ex-Blue Cheer guitarist’s solo debut has long been sought out by collectors. The remastered full length will be available on all streaming platforms for the first time, with a master more true to the original mix on LP, CD, and streaming. “Godzilla just walked into the room. People just stood there with their eyes and mouths wide open.” To hear Randy Holden describe the audience’s reaction in 1969 to his solo debut performing with a teeth-rattling phalanx of 16 (sixteen!) 200 watt Sunn amps is about as close as many of us will get to truly experience the moment heavy metal music morphed into existence. However, at last we have unearthed the proper fossil record.

Population II, the now legendary, extremely rare album by guitarist/vocalist Holden and drummer/keyboardist Chris Lockheed is considered to be one of the earliest examples of doom metal. Though its original release was a very limited in number and distribution, like all great records, its impact over time has continued to grow.

In 1969, Holden, fresh off his tenure with proto-metal pioneers Blue Cheer (appearing on one side of the New! Improved! Blue Cheer album and touring for the better part of a year in the group), aimed for more control over his band. Thus, Randy Holden – Population II was born, the duo naming itself after the astronomical term for a particular star cluster with heavy metals present.

“I wanted to do something that hadn’t been done before,” Holden explains. “I was interested in discordant sounds that could be melodic but gigantically huge. I rented an Opera house for rehearsal, set up with 16 Sunn amps. That’s what I was going for, way over the top.” And over the top it is. The 6-song album delves into leaden sludge, lumbering doom and epic soaring riffs that sound free from all constraints of the era. It’s incredibly heavy, but infused with a melodic, albeit mechanistic, sensibility.

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