Monthly Archives: March 2020

In rotation: 3/25/20

A NOTE TO OUR READERS: We’ve suspended our regular content this week to afford our team time to readjust to a new normal. We’ll continue to publish regular morning news updates this week as to be a resource for the vinyl and record store community during the Coronavirus pandemic.

As we wrote last week, continue to share the status of your record shops’ mode of operating at this time and we’ll share from our platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—and you can also share within our Record Store Locator app under the “social” tab. We’ll return to our regular content on Monday, March 30, 2020.

NJ | Record Store Day in NJ moves to June: It’s springtime in New Jersey. For me, National Record Store Day, in New Jersey, is a rite of spring. And, while the novel coronavirus has caused numerous cancellations (to put it mildly), it is merely postponing this day that means so much to those of us who love vinyl. The new date to keep in mind is Saturday June 20th. 36 independent New Jersey record stores are expected to participate…including stores in Trenton, Princeton, Marlton, Red Bank, Jersey City, Belmar, Bayville, Summit, and Asbury Park. I’ll be writing more about National Record Store Day in New Jersey, in the coming weeks, as details become available. Stay tuned.

Austin, TX | Vinyl Saved My Life Tonight: Record Stores Deliver in a Crisis: Local media emporiums maintain online shipping during C-19 lockdown. When local schools shut down suddenly on Friday, March 13, my wife swiftly descended on H.E.B. – along with half of Austin. Personally, I’d already begun hoarding earlier in the week: Waterloo Records, Antone’s Records, Half Price Books. When I walked into Breakaway Records around 4pm that day, not a soul stood in the front room. Cascading forth as unto Howard Carter in Tutankhamun’s tomb, treasures long sought materialized as if sent by the gods: a near mint Powerslave – one never, ever, ever finds vintage Iron Maiden, let alone for $19.99 – not one but two near mint LPs of Pink Floyd’s Meddle, and the haul’s dark horse, a $1 near mint-vinyl (but slightly beat cover) copy of Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years. Its Simon & Garfunkel reunion, “My Little Town,” is a freakin’ chip off “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” “…We’ve been adding things to Discogs and our site as fast as we can. We’re shipping everything now, except for gear which we are arranging a drop off locally.”

Victoria, BC | Retired Victoria record store owner pens a poem for these ‘strange times’: Joey Scarfone offers his creative commentary on the scenario wrought by a pandemic. Joey Scarfone is a Victoria resident, retired goldsmith and author of Vintage Cars of Victoria – a beautifully illustrated book on just that. For a while he also owned his own record and music store, Lazy Joe’s Vinyl Emporium in Fernwood Square. Scarfone is also an amateur musician and photographer/ videographer who has a way with words and he’s sent Monday a heartfelt poem based on the “strange times” we’re in right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “These times are unprecedented,” he says of his motivation for writing the verses. “It’s how I deal with my anxiety, to be honest. As a human race we’re pretty helpless right now, we’re on the ropes.” A regular jammer at The Loft Pub on Gorge Road, he also worries about working musicians who are out of work. He notes that even busking on the street is not very effective given the lack of passersby – let alone those willing to use cash. Despite his misgivings about what the future holds, his poem does have an optimistic ending.

Fort Dodge, IA | Sweet Sound: At Greg’s Custom Shop, Hammen creates environment made for music. There’s a blue canvas chair that’s carefully situated in front of a turntable and in between two speakers at Greg’s Custom Shop, 2372 170th St. That blue chair is what owner Greg Hammen calls the sweet spot. That’s where the sound equilibrium exists. When the needle catches the groove of the black vinyl record, the music by “Heart” amplifies and fills the space. The guitar thumps, the drums kick. And Nancy Wilson’s voice carries. Cold late night so long ago. When I was not so strong you know — A pretty man came to me — never seen eyes so blue… It’s the closest thing Hammen can get to without actually being at a live concert. Move the chair a little bit to the left or to the right and you’ve lost the sweet spot. “I am introducing those frequencies into my real-time environment,” Hammen said. “If I’m listening to an album and I want to be totally taken in by it, the only way that can truly happen is if the sound engulfs you and takes you into that false environment and makes it real.”

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In rotation: 3/24/20

A NOTE TO OUR READERS: We’ve suspended our regular content this week to afford our team time to readjust to a new normal. We’ll continue to publish regular morning news updates this week as to be a resource for the vinyl and record store community during the Coronavirus pandemic.

As we wrote last week, continue to share the status of your record shops’ mode of operating at this time and we’ll share from our platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—and you can also share within our Record Store Locator app under the “social” tab. We’ll return to our regular content on Monday, March 30, 2020.

St. Louis, MO | Vintage Vinyl closed until further notice for coronavirus: The coronavirus is causing more St. Louis businesses to close. Vintage Vinyl, the iconic record store on the Delmar Loop is closed until further notice due to the outbreak. The store’s owner, Tom “Papa” Ray, posting online that the best way to avoid the coronavirus is to stay home and listen to records. “Hey Now, It’s Tom ‘Papa’ Ray. After 40 years of being in business, I know that no one has ever seen or experienced anything like this. So, I wanted to let you all know that safety for our customers and our staff is our number one concern at Vintage Vinyl. At first, we thought a 7,000 square foot store would allow people to be safe, but we don’t want to take any chances. Because of this, as of 6pm tonight, Vintage Vinyl will be closed until further notice. In the meantime, stay home and listen to LP’s, and as always, remember that Music is the Healing Force. Stay Safe, be nice to one another

New York, NY | Rough Trade NYC temporarily shutting down online sales due to COVID-19: All branches of independent record store chain Rough Trade — UK and NYC — have been closed for over a week due to COVID-19 but all have still been doing online orders. The NYC store, however, is temporarily shutting down its online store too: “In response to Coronavirus, we have temporarily shut down all our operations in North America, including orders on our website. We will update again on or before April 6, 2020. Many thanks for your loyalty and patience. Although our NYC store is closed, please follow us @RoughTradeNYC on Instagram and Twitter, as will be sharing content from our artist community friends, and keeping you all informed of releases that are being postponed due to the virus. Stay safe. Be well.

Rockford, IL | Local shops going online to increase sales amid COVID-19 shutdowns: It’s not only bars and restaurants that are feeling the impact of the stay-in order. Smaller stores in the Stateline that didn’t have an online presence in the past are now dipping their toes into the digital world. Culture Shock has no online website to sell their items. But after shutting its doors to the public that might change. “I mean this is a completely new challenge I mean even outside of flooding and other near-disasters we’ve had this is totally new,” explained Skyler Davis, the owner of Culture Shock record store located at 2239 Charles Street. Stores like Culture Shock and Rockford Art Deli are using the tools at their disposal. For most, that means getting active on social media…Overall, owners say it’s important for the community to stick together and continue to shop local. “Now it’s really good for small businesses to step up and kind of join together and figure out how we can help each other out so that you know once we get back to our normal pace everyone is still strong and open and available to operate…”

UK, AU | “I don’t know what will survive”: Australian record stores grapple with coronavirus: Business is bad for record stores around the country, and expected to get worse. All corners of the Australian music industry are suffering during the coronavirus crisis. On their part, record stores around the country tell NME Australia their sales are dropping, with business looking set to spiral down over the next few months. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Australia’s live industry is by this point well-documented; government bans on public gatherings have led to scores of concerts and festivals being cancelled or postponed, with millions of dollars of income and thousands of jobs affected. Record stores have also been hit, but by the more widespread pressure on the public to stay indoors and avoid crowds so as to cut the risk of coronavirus transmission. That has led to reduced foot traffic and sales for record stores. Nic Warnock and Damien Arkins, owners of Repressed Records in Sydney, closed their store indefinitely on March 17. They estimated takings were down 20 per cent in the days preceding closure.

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In rotation: 3/23/20

A NOTE TO OUR READERS: We’ve suspended our regular content this week to afford our team time to readjust to a new normal. We’ll continue to publish regular morning news updates this week as to be a resource for the vinyl and record store community during the Coronavirus pandemic.

As we wrote last week, continue to share the status of your record shops’ mode of operating at this time and we’ll share from our platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—and you can also share within our Record Store Locator app under the “social” tab. We’ll return to our regular content on Monday, March 30, 2020.

New York, NY | Record Stores Offering Curbside Pickup, Delivery, Shipping Amid Coronavirus Pandemic: The ongoing novel coronavirus has caused a global economic downturn, leaving many businesses with no other option but to close their doors and wait for the pandemic to die down. Like many other subsections of the music industry, local, state, and national shutdowns have decimated record sales. Record stores around the country recently began taking matters into their own hands, offering pickup and delivery options amid these trying times. “The weekend prior was by far our biggest of the year,” Strictly Discs store owner Angie Roloff told Billboard. “But this last weekend was where we felt things start to change.” …“We’re trying to goose it however we can and just let people know we’re there,” said Waterloo Records owner John Kunz. ” Waterloo has not yet offered delivery services, due to more pressing needs, but Kunz is hopeful that the company will do so soon.

UK | ‘I’m trying to keep the panic down’ – the coronavirus impact on music: From singers to a record shop owner and a festival organiser: people in the music business on their struggles in a time of crisis. …We’ve been here 17 years. CDs have died, so it’s mostly vinyl. The cafe and records feed off each other. It’s such a small town that I need both for it to make enough money. Record Store Day being postponed until June was a massive relief. There was a suggestion that it could have gone partially online, which would have been a disaster: competing with Rough Trade, Resident, record shops with really good online facilities. RSD is basically a month’s worth of sales in one day, so if you’re doing it it has to work. We could probably last a month without me having to put some money in, and I don’t want to put money into a failing business. The shop can only survive with big financial help from the government. The difference between Boris and Macron’s responses was worlds apart. In France, they said no business will go under and we’ll put €45bn into supporting them. That’s the scale of what has to happen. And it can’t be loans

AU | Record Store Day announces replacement event, The Great Australian Warehouse Sale: “We went to the record companies and asked them to venture into the dim and dusty corners of the warehouse and then get sharp and hot with the prices. They came to the party.” The team behind Record Store Day have announced a new event to tide vinyl lovers over, after the original was postponed. The Great Australian Warehouse Sale is a two-day event happening in April, which sees Independent record stores receive stock marked at the lowest price possible. It aims to give indie stores a financial boost and make music more accessible for fans. Record Store Day Australia took to Facebook, saying “we went to the record companies and asked them to venture into the dim and dusty corners of the warehouse and then get sharp and hot with the prices. They came to the party.” Participating record labels include Sony, Universal, Warner and Inertia, along with companies Rocket Distribution and MGM Distribution. Lists of exclusive marked down items – vinyls, cassettes and CDs – will start appearing on Record Store Day’s official website as of March 23.

New Orleans, LA | Louisiana Music Factory Closes Its Doors: The Louisiana Music Factory, after 28 years in business, is closing its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of the increasing cases of the coronavirus in Louisiana, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell today called for non-essential businesses to close by Monday. Consequently, Barry Smith, the owner of the Louisiana Music Factory, announced that the bricks-and-mortar store, which has been a fixture at 421 Frenchmen Street since 2014, will shut down immediately. Smith said that he had laid off employees to comply with the city’s requirement and for his staff’s and customer’s safety. Smith noted that he only had two customers all day Friday and that Frenchmen Street was empty…The store will continue to service mail order sales, for the time being. “And we will re-open in the future,” said Smith.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to / In my room, in my room / In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears / In my room, in my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming / Lie awake and pray / Do my crying and my sighing / Laugh at yesterday

Now it’s dark and I’m alone / But I won’t be afraid / In my room, in my room / In my room, in my room / In my room, in my room

God knows we’re all learning real fast not to take the little things for granted. Hopefully you are reading this safe, healthy, and not too bored in a pad you can dig into. May the groovy spirits of music calm your soul and let your spirits soar.

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TVD Live Shots: Morrissey at
Wembley Arena, 3/14

“Hello London, thank you for coming… cough, cough,Morrissey joked as he played what is the last show for a while at the legendary Wembley Arena and likely one of the final live music performances in all of London for the time being.

The Coronavirus has quickly stomped out every major tour, and now it’s shut down virtually every single venue across the UK. But what better way to go out on an extended break than to see the master post-modern crooner, Morrissey. While the crowd was a bit lighter than expected as many choose to stay home due to the warnings, Morrissey was stellar—majestic even—and a show for the ages, if you will.

With no opening act, there was time for Morrissey to show videos from artists who have inspired him over the years. There’s a YouTube video that pulls all of these together if you are interested. Apparently, the fans don’t mind as he has a history of unusual opening acts that don’t always go over as well as they should. Either way, Morrissey took to the stage and set off on a journey through his impressive catalog along with a few gems from The Smiths.

Opening the set with the classic Smiths song “London,” played for the first time in over a decade, the crowd immediately started to swoon. Then we got a taste of the new record with the equally impressive “Jim Jim Falls,” which opens up his new album. Hearing Morrissey sing, “If you’re gonna kill yourself. Then to save face. Get on with it. If you’re gonna sing then sing. Don’t think about it. If you’re gonna live then live. Don’t go on about it,” is a return to form for Morrissey. The critics are in agreement as I am Not a Dog on a Chain continues to get solid reviews across the media. 

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Demand it on Vinyl: John Stewart, Old Forgotten Altars: The 1960s Demos in stores 5/8

VIA PRESS RELEASE | In a career spanning more than four decades, John Stewart swiftly progressed, from his beginnings in a Southern California garage band, through folk groups the Cumberland Three and the Kingston Trio, to a successful solo career. He contributed well over 40 albums and more than 600 songs to our musical universe. His song catalog is not only staggering in volume, but it’s also loaded with classic compositions.

Most will know Stewart’s songwriting from “Daydream Believer” by the Monkees (and Anne Murray) or his own Lindsey Buckingham-produced “Gold,” a #5 hit in 1979. But just as impressive are “Runaway Train” from Rosanne Cash’s 1987 King’s Record Shop album, “Sweet Dreams Will Come” on Nanci Griffith’s Little Love Affairs, or “Mother Country” from Stewart’s own 1969 California Bloodlines album, which was used to usher the Apollo 11 spacecraft safely back to Earth after its historic journey. Omnivore Recordings will release Old Forgotten Altars: The 1960s Demos on May 8, 2020. The collection was produced and compiled by Grammy-nominated producer Ron Furmanek and overseen by Buffy Ford Stewart.

Four tunes found on the collection wound up on the Kingston Trio’s 1966 release Children of the Morning, with one of them, “The Spinnin’ of the World,” getting a second airing on 1979’s hit album Bombs Away Dream Babies. That LP also yielded the aforementioned charting single “Gold,” with two other songs, “Midnight Wind” and “Lost Her in the Sun,” also making the Top 40.

Three duets with Buffy Ford Stewart foreshadow the Signals Through the Glass album, which the singing partners, and later husband-and-wife team, would release on Capitol Records in 1968. Old Forgotten Altars also features five tracks that would form nearly half of Stewart’s classic California Bloodlines album, released in 1969. Of particular note, “July, You’re a Woman” makes its first recorded appearance here alongside demos for “Mother Country” and “The Pirates of Stone County Road.”

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Graded on a Curve:
The Dandy Warhols,
Odditorium or Warlords of Mars

The Dandy Warhols play stadiums in my head. In the real world they’ve been relegated to playing clubs, which is a gross injustice seeing as how they’re the greatest American band this side of Grand Funk Railroad. The unfairness of it all just reaffirms my belief that life ain’t fair and most people are complete morons.

Plenty of folks know the Dandy Warhols only through 2004’s Dandys vs. Brian Jonestown Massacre documentary Dig!, or a small handful of songs including “Bohemian Like You,” “Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth” (with its catch phrase “Heroin is so passe”), and “Boys Better.” But they’ve released scads of other fantastic songs, as you know if you’ve been attending the biweekly Dandy Warhols’s concerts at the stadium in my head.

At the stadium shows in my head, opening acts have included the Rolling Stones (who’ve been met with catcalls along the lines of “Where’s Mick’s wheelchair?”), Aerosmith (who’ve been run off stage by some epic booing), the Red Hot Chili Peppers (who on one memorable occasion were pelted with objects both large and small and were seen backstage whimpering), Radiohead (whose performance was best summed up by a collective “Wake me up when it’s over”), and the Foo Fighters (about whom the general consensus was something along the lines of “Think I’ll hit the john”). Only the dead but alive, alive but dead Jerry Lee Lewis escaped abuse, most likely because the audience was terrified into silence by the prospect of getting collective ass kicked.

Each and every one of these bands humiliated itself like a ninth grader pissing himself after being hit in the nuts playing dodgeball, but nobody in the SRO audience really cared; they were cheering like Nazis at a Nuremberg Rally as the Dandys took the stage.

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In rotation: 3/20/20

UK | Amazon ‘still very much business as usual’ for record labels in the UK, says distributor Proper Music: …Things, aren’t working out quite as bleakly for the record business as first feared. At least not in the UK, where we’re told that “Amazon are still ordering from music suppliers” – and not just honouring previously agreed orders, but also replenishing stock for new orders. That’s according to Drew Hill, Managing Director of Proper Music Group, which distributes for nearly 1,000 independent labels, represents around 10% of the UK physical recorded music market and handles over 1 million titles at any time. Proper handles logistics in the UK for companies such as Epitaph, Ingrooves, Redeye, Concord, The Orchard, Believe, Absolute and AWAL. As such, the firm has recently managed the physical releases for artists including BTS, Lauv and Nick Cave. “Amazon UK is still very much business as usual,” Hill told MBW today…

Wilmington, NC | As ’Rona rages, Gravity Records plays on: The revered Wilmington record shop has added delivery and pick-up options to help maintain business during the coronavirus crisis. Owning a record store in 2020 was already a challenge. Then, the coronavirus hit. But if Matt Keen, who founded the Wilmington shop Gravity Records 16 years ago, wasn’t a survivor, he would’ve been gone long ago. He’s already lived through the death of CDs and the rise of digital. So, with the COVID-19 crisis threatening to wreck the entire economy and make things that much tougher for independent record stores, an idea “just popped into my head,” Keen said. “Whatever I can do to make a sale.” Gravity is now offering “porch drop offs” of the vinyl records that are its bread and butter, as well as curbside pick-up at its 612 Castle Street location and, of course, mail-order. (To place an order, call 910-343-1000.) “I’m trying not to allow people in the store,” he said. “But if someone wants to come in and look at the jazz records? We’re a pretty big space.”

Bangor, ME | Bull Moose continues to pay employees despite closures: Bull Moose Music has closed all its physical locations until at least March 28th. The annually celebrated “Record Store Day” has also been rescheduled until June 20th. A representative from the store said both dates are subject to change, depending on future developments with the coronavirus pandemic. Despite sending most of its employees home during the closure, Bull Moose has opted to pay its employees for the shifts they’d normally be scheduled. “They’ve always treated their employees right,” said Bangor assistant store manager Jesse Giroux. “I know the decision came kind of late on Sunday. None of us were really expecting this- to be closed or that we would be get paid for the closure too. But it’s nice having them look out for us like that.” Bull Moose says while the physical stores may be closed, their online store is still very much open for business.

Los Angeles, CA | Curbside Pickup at Amoeba Hollywood Available Through March 22: In response to the ongoing COVID-19 concerns, Amoeba Hollywood is now offering curbside pickup! Call the store and ask to do a phone order for curbside pickup. Our staff will pull your order for you and bring it out to your car! Curbside pickup will be available 11am – 6pm through Sunday, March 22. 1. Call us at 323-245-6400 and ask to do a curbside pickup. 2. Pay over the phone by credit card. We accept Visa, Mastercard & Discover. Store credit, gift certificates, and coupons may not be applied to curbside pickup purchases. 3. When you arrive, park on the Ivar side of the store at a meter. If none available, park in front of the Ivar loading dock entrance. Call the store and let us know you are ready for pickup. 4. Items must be picked up by 6pm each day.

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TVD Radar: On Record–Vol. 1: 1978 from G. Brown in stores 3/24

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The On Record book series looks at the evolution of popular music from 1978 to 1998 through images, interviews, and insights.

Respected veteran music journalist, broadcaster and historian G. Brown has authored the first in an encyclopedic series of books celebrating popular music, to be released March 24. On Record—Vol. 1: 1978 features Classic Rockers from Journey to Bruce Springsteen to the Cars; nascent new wavers such as the Police, Talking Heads, and the Clash; as well as the year’s greatest releases from Pop, R&B, Country and Jazz. Celebrating his 50th year as one of America’s foremost popular music writers, G. Brown has interviewed more than 2,500 musicians, including Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, and Kurt Cobain, all of whom recounted their escapades and reminisced about what their time on the charts meant to them personally and musically.

“In addition, my curated archive of more than 15,000 rare promotional photos tells a remarkable visual history of seminal periods of music history,” G. Brown said. “A lot of time, creativity and capital was invested by the artists in the creation of these images. I did not want them lost to time. It’s a privilege and even a responsibility to share them and the artists’ stories via the On Record book series.”

Each volume of the On Record series highlights nearly 200 limited and extraordinary images and 100 profiles with an array of musical artists from the late Jerry Garcia and Dave Matthews to Bono and Santana. Every edition is beautifully crafted and geared to every music fan’s library and institution.

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TVD Radar: Rory Gallagher, Check Shirt Wizard Live in ’77 3LP
in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Following on from 2019’s highly successful Blues album, Chess/UMe proudly released Check Shirt Wizard Live in ’77, in multiple formats, including 3LP 180g black vinyl, 2CD and digital, earlier this month.

Now, this 20-song, previously unreleased set—culled from four Rory Gallagher shows (London, Brighton, Sheffield, and Newcastle) during an early 1977 tour across the UK in support of his then-latest album Calling Card—is No. 1 on the Billboard Blues Album Chart. Featuring explosive live versions of tracks from that album as well as songs from the 1975 Against The Grain album and other live favorites, Check Shirt Wizard has been mixed from the original multitrack tapes from the Rory Gallagher archive, which were recorded by the Rolling Stones and Jethro Tull’s mobile studios and mastered at Abbey Road.

The set was produced by Gallagher’s nephew, Daniel, whose father, Donal (Rory’s brother and manager), took him to his first Rory concert. Check Shirt Wizard’s cover painting is by a young Irish graffiti artist Vincent Zara who has stenciled Gallagher’s image across his home country.

“The first time I ever saw my uncle Rory playing live was at the Hammersmith Odeon, London in 1987,” Gallagher recalls. “My father woke my older brother and me up and said we were going on an adventure. Parked outside our house was a large tour bus, we got in and were whisked away to the famous theatre a few miles north. At the time, being five years old, I had little awareness of what my uncle and father did for a living. I used to think Rory meant magician when he said he was a musician.

We got to the side of the stage, my Dad put ‘Rory Gallagher’ t-shirts on us and pulled back the curtain, and there was uncle Rory playing his battered Fender Stratocaster to thousands of rockin’ fans. Rory looked over and saw my brother and I air-guitaring away and with a huge smile on his face Chuck Berry style ‘duck walked’ over to rock out with us. I finally realized what my Dad and Rory did and why they were always going on trips abroad!

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TVD Radar: Mick Rock’s ‘Behind the Lens’ live stream Thursday, 3/19 at 5PM EST

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Thursday night—March 19th—at 5 PM EST, legendary photographer Mick Rock will be live streaming from his home, on Morrison Hotel Gallery’s Instagram account, giving everyone who tunes in, a look Behind The Lens.

The live stream will feature Rock discussing the stories behind some of the most iconic still and moving images he’s captured throughout his distinguished career—during which he witnessed and documented some of the most monumental moments in music history. His recollection of these moments promise to give everyone watching an entirely new perspective on images that have grown to be part of rock music history.

Tune in at 5 PM Eastern Time and join us for the first ever Behind The Lens Live Stream.

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Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores for
March 2020, Part Three

Part three of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases presently in stores for March, 2020. Part one is here and part two is here.

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: Jon Hassell, Vernal Equinox (Ndeya) & Jon Hassell/Farafina, Flash of the Spirit (Tak:Til/Glitterbeat) First issued by Lovely Music, Ltd. in 1977, Vernal Equinox is the debut album from Hassell, the master of smeared trumpet and a true groundbreaker in ambient music; additionally, it carries the distinction of laying the foundation for what’s now long-established as Fourth World Music. Subsequent examples include Hassell’s follow-up Earthquake Island and a handful of records by Brian Eno, with Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics a collab featuring Eno and Hassell; it’s a record the trumpeter hasn’t always been particularly fond of. I’m guessing he feels differently about Vernal Equinox, and well he should, as it remains a healthy dose of calmly unfurling oddness and beauty.

He didn’t do it alone, as the contributors to the album (which is available on vinyl for the first time in 42 years) include Naná Vasconcelos on percussion, David Rosenbloom on synth, and William Winant on kanjira. Jumping forward a little over a decade leads us to Flash of the Spirit, a co-billed collab with the Burkina Faso group Farafina, originally on the Intuition label (and Capitol in the US). The album is less gentle than Vernal Equinox, at times far less so, and the overall thrust isn’t as strange. Therefore, I don’t rate it as highly, though I am impressed by how well its intersection with the then burgeoning World Music genre holds up (particularly as it was produced by Eno and Daniel Lanois fresh off The Joshua Tree). But expanded to 2LP (no extra stuff, though), it still offers its share of worthy moments. A/ A-

Game Theory, Across The Barrier Of Sound: PostScript (Omnivore) My enthusiasm for the work of the late Scott Miller is well documented. Game Theory was Miller’s band, one of them anyway, and arguably the outfit for which he’s most remembered (might depend on whether you’re an ’80s or ’90s child; Miller went on to form The Loud Family). Omnivore has done a bang-up job in reissuing Game Theory’s stuff, and now here are the band’s final sessions, cut with the last lineup, which toured but never released a proper album. The personnel here includes Michael Quercio from the then recently broken up Three O’Clock and Jozef Becker, formerly of True West, Thin White Rope, and Miller’s prior band Alternate Learning, so it was far from a case of Miller scrounging up a bunch of scrubs for a tour.

And Across the Barrier of Sound bears out that everybody was fully engaged, whether it was for home recordings, in the studio, or live. Miller’s songwriting is consistently sharp, which is no surprise, as a fair amount of the contents here turned up on the first LP by The Loud Family, Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things. He’s also in fine voice (I’m just going to say that Ted Leo fans who don’t know Miller should do themselves a solid and check him out), which feeds right into one of this set’s strong points, a mess of covers, including The Beatles (“All My Loving”), The Nazz (“Forget All About It”), Eno (“Needle in the Camel’s Eye”), The Monkees (“The Door into Summer”), and on the CD, Big Star (“Back of a Car”), and Three O’Clock (“A Day in erotica”). Altogether, it’s so much more than a batch of leftovers. A-

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In rotation: 3/19/20

Record Labels Take Another Hit as Amazon Stops Accepting Vinyl and CD Shipments: Although probably no one will begrudge Amazon prioritizing essential goods and services during a pandemic, the company’s decision to put a temporary halt to incoming shipments of physical media is subjecting record labels — particularly independent imprints that do a good deal of business in vinyl and CDs — to yet another blow. Amazon has announced that its warehouses has “temporarily disabled shipment creation” for discretionary items through at least April 5. That doesn’t have to do with the outflow of product from Amazon, but inflow. Amazon is declaring an immediate emphasis on the kind of household and medical supplies that have been quick to sell out, and which customers are having a hard time finding in person. Their message to record labels and distributors: Please stop sending us anything, until further notice.

Bandcamp Will Forfeit Its Share Of Sales Friday, Urges Direct Support Of Musicians: Bandcamp, the digital storefront and streaming music platform used by hundreds of thousands of artists and thousands of record labels, will forgo collecting its share of revenue from sales on the site made this Friday, March 20, the company announced on Tuesday. The initiative will be active from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m Pacific time. The global coronavirus outbreak has put many musicians in a state of extreme financial precarity as their main source of income, live performance, has been suspended while the world struggles to contain the pandemic. “For many artists, a single day of boosted sales can mean the difference between being able to pay rent or not,” Ethan Diamond, the CEO and co-founder of Bandcamp, writes. “Still, we consider this just a starting point. Musicians will continue to feel the effects of lost touring income for many months to come, so we’re also sharing some ideas below on how fans can support the artists they love and how artists can give fans new, creative ways to provide support.”

Covid-19 Music Industry Update: Proper Music Distribution. MD Drew Hill has given an update on how the company is responding to Covid-19. You can read it here: “I would like to update you on the steps Proper Music Group are taking in response to the latest advice on COVID-19. Our Dartford warehouse remains open for business as usual, with all precautions being taken over the health of our staff. While at present stock is moving smoothly, some disruption may be inevitable down the line as the situation continues to develop. From today, the team at our Surrey Quays office (sales, marketing, label management and international business) will work as normal from home, for an initial two week period. Meetings planned with our team in person can proceed by video conferencing – we will be in touch on how to connect in such instances. As a reminder Record Store Day has been postponed until Saturday June 20, a sensible move in view of the safety of the music buying community. That aside, it’s very much business as usual, and while events are upon us that we could never have predicted, the Proper can-do spirit will continue to prevail!”

The lost art of deep listening: Choose an album. Lose the phone. Close your eyes. What’s your favorite album? When was the last time you listened — actually listened — to it from start to finish? With intention, like you were watching a movie or reading a novel. Clear your schedule for the next three hours. Choose three full albums, whether from your collection or your streaming service of choice. Put them in an ordered queue as though you were programming a triple feature. Because, listen: Musicians spend years making their albums. They struggle over syllables, melodies, bridges and rhythms with the same intensity with which you compare notes on the “Forensic Files” reboot, loot corpses in “Fortnite” or pound Cabernet during pandemics. But most of us are half-assed when it comes to listening to albums. We put on artists’ work while we’re scrolling through Twitter, disinfecting doorknobs, obsessively washing our hands or romancing lovers permitted within our COVID-free zones. We rip our favorite tracks from their natural long-player habitat, drop them into playlists and forget the other songs, despite their being sequenced to be heard in order.

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TVD Radar: Grammy Museum® to debut digital programs from their archive during closure

VIA PRESS RELEASE | For the first time, The GRAMMY Museum® will debut never-before-released digital Public Programs from their archive while the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles is closed until further notice in light of COVID-19.

Billie Eilish and FINNEAS, Bob Newhart, Brandi Carlile, Greta Van Fleet, Kool & The Gang, Larkin Poe, Scarypoolparty, X Ambassadors, and Yola are the first round of artists to be featured in the digital Public Programs series. The Museum’s Public Programs digital series features intimate sit-down interviews with artists and musicians in its 200-seat Clive Davis Theater from past programs. Since the Museum opened 12-years-ago, it has offered more than 900 Public Programs. The Museum will release a new program on every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, beginning today with Scarypoolparty. The upcoming schedule is below.

The Museum will also be releasing exhibit slideshows that will feature past exhibitions every Friday, beginning this Friday, March 20 with X: 40 Years Of Punk in Los Angeles followed by next Friday, March 27 with Take Me Out To The Ball Game: Popular Music And The National Pastime. Gallery includes images of installation and artifacts, select media content featured in the exhibition, exhibit text, playlists, and captions.

Additionally, the Museum will release educational content and lesson plans via its website and digital platforms during the closure, continuing its mission of paying tribute to our musical heritage and bringing our community together through music. The Museum will be sharing daily playlists and thoughts curated by its staff, including the guest services and security team members in an effort to continue keeping all employees engaged during this closure. More educational and digital programming to be announced soon.

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Belle and the Dragon,
The TVD First Date

“Hearing a vinyl album, even just holding one in my hands, instantly evokes the deep nostalgia of an Indian kid who, always feeling like an outsider, finally had someone (or something) to hang out with.”

“In the small living room of my childhood home in Holland, Texas, my parents kept a record player tucked in the corner where I would hear Elvis Presley covering Christmas songs or Dolly Parton confess that she (with her dirty feet) may not be worthy to walk on the Golden Streets Of Glory.

At 5 or 6 years old, I would sit and watch albums spin on the turntable, and if no one else was around I would change the speed and run the records backwards, fascinated by the whole thing. I felt like we only had a few albums growing up, but I remember that turntable always spinning, even if it was Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, and Kenny Rogers on repeat. We had a few records that told bedtime stories, too, but thanks to my mom, Dolly Parton’s Golden Streets Of Glory is imprinted onto my heart.

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