Monthly Archives: August 2020

TVD Premiere: Melissa Bel, “Summer So Long”

Summer may be coming to an end but that doesn’t mean we can’t still pine for it, right? Melissa Bel does just that eloquently and poignantly on new single “Summer So Long” which we’re proudly premiering today ahead of its release tomorrow.

We first featured Melissa Bel way back in 2016 and she has been making some pretty definitive waves ever since. Her previous releases have always fallen comfortably within the commercial pop genre, but Melissa’s latest cut is taking her to expansive new territories and we’re all for it.

Combining elements of country, pop, and Americana, Melissa’s new single “Summer So Long” is the perfect summer sizzler that will make you want to get your picnic baskets out for one last hoorah before the impending cold and rain hit us, and you know it will. Fans of Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton will feel at home here.

Melissa grew up in Toronto but now resides in Sussex, UK, the perfect spot for watching those stunning seaside sunsets, apparently.

“Summer So Long” is in stores 28th August 2020.

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Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores for August 2020, Part Five

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

NEW RELEASE PICK: Fay Wildhagen, Leave Me to the Moon (Live in Oslo) (Warner Music Norway) While she’s tersely described as a Norwegian folk-pop singer-songwriter, that shortchanges the strength of Wildhagen’s vocalizing and doesn’t even touch upon her guitar skills, which are considerable. There is also a grand, dare I say Nordic, sweep to her work, that on this performance document spills forth with a flowing continuity eschewing the familiar trappings of a live recording (at least in the audio I was provided); there’s no explication or conversation, but also a lack of applause, which gets back to the flow, or as said, the sweep, of the music as it progresses. There are a few spots where this sweep borders on becoming too grand (and in a manner akin to other music from Wildhagen’s geographical region), but this impulse is ultimately kept in check, and overall, Leave Me to the Moon serves as a highly engaging introduction to the artist. B+

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: Galaxie 500, Copenhagen (20/20/20) Having been lucky enough to catch a show by this band at the old, dank 9:30 Club in Washington, DC (with Velocity Girl opening) on their tour for their final studio album This is Our Music, I was truly gassed when this live recording hit stores in 1997, particularly as offering selections from all three of their LPs on the last show of their final European tour, it was roughly of the same vintage as the show I witnessed. After spending time with Copenhagen back then, I was pleased but also struck by the air of a fantastic band nearing the end of their time together, something I hadn’t picked up on as they played in front of me, or after; I walked out onto 14th St. that night elated that they’d encored with “Ceremony.” Over time, the bittersweet feeling inspired by Copenhagen subsided and I was left with some fine music. It’s hard to pick a favorite from the set, but Wareham’s guitar in “Summertime” is massive. A-

Ned Lagin, Seastones: Set 4 and Set 5 (Important) Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, and Mickey Hart all contribute to this LP, with Round Records, the short-lived label founded by Garcia and Ron Rakow, having initially released it in 1975, so it’s kind of impossible to contemplate this serving of experimental electronics without also thinking about the Grateful Dead. But hey, David Crosby, Spencer Dryden, Grace Slick, and David Frieberg are here, too. I can recall hitting this record store in Northern VA a few times a year in the early 1990s, and on every visit, I’d see the same copy of this LP. Due to the title I assumed it was just ocean sounds and paid it no further mind. Well, I bring it up because that record is not this record. The covers are different, sure, but so is the music, as this edition assembles 18 tracks from the Seastones undertaking (which totals 83, the whole bunch self-released by Lagin on 2CD in 2018), some from the original LP, some not. Academics were in Lagin’s background, but his sounds encompass more than conservatory-spawned electronic abstraction. Much more, including proto-New Age and space drift. A-

V/A, The Land of Sensations & Delights: The Psych Pop Sounds of White Whale Records, 1965–1970 (Craft Recordings) My introduction to White Whale came by sponging up second-hand copies of The Turtles’ back catalog, and I suspect I’m not alone in this route of discovery. Well, The Turtles aren’t on this comp, as after a long stretch of bad litigiousness on the part of White Whale’s operators, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman own their catalog. Craft currently owns the rest of the discography, and they’ve put together a doozy of a 2LP here, with the contents really illuminating the label’s multipronged specialties of garage-rock, pop-psych, sunshine-pop, baroque-pop, and even borderline bubblegum. Not every non-Turtles killer the label put out is here, which bodes well for an additional installment or even two, but The Laughing Gravy’s cover of The Beach Boys’ “Vegetables” is, and so is The Clique’s “Superman.” But there are 24 more, and it suffices to say that anybody who’s ever gotten gooseflesh while listening to “Care of Cell 44” should be satisfied with this one. A-

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In rotation: 8/27/20

Glasgow, UK | Glasgow show explains how Record Store Day is being celebrated this year: Record stores worldwide are getting prepared for the new normal at this year’s Record Store Day and Glasgow’s shops are no different. After the initial date of April 18 was postponed twice, this year will see three different ‘drop’ dates with select vinyl releasing on Saturday August 29, September 26 and October 24. There’s no doubting the importance of the event to small, independent stores and stores across Glasgow are taking all the steps to ensure that, despite Covid-19 regulations, this year’s event is still a success. Love Music will celebrate their 25th anniversary next year and were involved in the first Record Store Day (RSD) back in 2008. Sandy Mclean, the store’s owner, is looking forward to another great event. “I’m very, very, very excited, very busy, nervous, anxious, optimistic,” Sandy said. “A big part of Record Store Day has been the first-come first-serve aspect of it, where people can’t just sit on their arse and have it delivered to their home.

Islington, UK | Find out where to celebrate Record Store Day 2020 in Hackney and Islington: Record shops around Hackney and Islington are gearing up for their annual celebration of vinyl despite the coronavirus pandemic. Since 2008, on a date in April, music-lovers have flocked to record shops on Record Store Day in order to come together, buy exclusive releases and attend special events. This year, amid the coronavirus pandemic, Record Store Day is being held across three months – August 29, September 26 and October 24. So which shops in Hackney and Islington are taking part? Check out the Gazette’s list below. Flashback Records, on Essex Road in Islington, is a long-time seller of vinyl and records – it has been “recycling music since 1997.” It has three stores across London, in Islington, Crouch End and Bethnal Green. The Essex Road branch spans two floors, with CDs, DVDs, and new vinyl as well as a large selection of second-hand products. Staff are knowledgeable about different types of music styles and are always on-hand to help. It will be open from 8am on Record Store Day, with social-distancing measures in place such as masks and sanitation.

DownBeat Dozen: A Shopper’s Guide To RSD 2020: This year, Record Store Day will be presented as three shopping events on Aug. 29, Sept. 26 and Oct. 24, which organizers have called “drops.” On each date, there will releases that fall into three categories; vinyl titles exclusive to RSD; ultra-rare pressings available in a limited geographic region; and RSD First titles, which initially are sold only at indie retailers and then widely available at a later date. Below is a guide to a dozen titles that will be available on the three dates. In addition to the artists cited below, shoppers will also be scooping up titles by the Allman Brothers Band, Booker T. & The M.G.’s, Canned Heat & John Lee Hooker, Suzanne Ciani, Brittany Howard, Gary Clark Jr., Dr. John, Bill Evans, Fleetwood Mac, Ellie Goulding, the Grateful Dead and the Tom Tom Club. Below are titles, sorted by release date.

Milwaukee, WI | A Record Store Day unlike any other is coming. Here’s what Milwaukee shops have planned. Every April for the past decade, Record Store Day has meant huge business for local shops, with vinyl lovers lining up outside the doors of the Exclusive Company in Milwaukee as early as 4 a.m. to get their hands on rare new releases. That didn’t happen this April, when the country was in the early stages of the coronavirus crisis. But Record Store Day is still a go. Or rather, days. With shops, including in Milwaukee, reducing capacity to mitigate the spread of the virus, organizers have split up the bounty of Record Store Day-exclusive releases into three separate dates: Aug. 29, Sept. 26 and Oct. 24. Combined with Black Friday — which will also feature exclusive releases — local shopkeepers are hoping to make up for months of slow sales. “It’s going to be a big help,” said Brian Kirk, manager of the Exclusive Company location in Milwaukee. “We were closed down for at least six weeks. … We did a lot of sales (online), but it was a fraction of our normal sales. … Like many stores, (revenue is) down considerably.”

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TVD Radar: John Lennon, Gimme Some Truth, The Ultimate Mixes 4LP box set in stores 10/9

VIA PRESS RELEASE | In everything he did, John Lennon spoke his truth and questioned the truth.

An incomparable and uncompromising artist who strove for honesty and directness in his music, he laid bare his heart, mind and soul in his songs, seeing them as snapshots of his current emotions, thoughts and world view. Believing the one quality demanded of himself as an artist was to be completely honest, he did not disguise what he had to say or conform his messages to be more in line with what he felt others thought they should be. Love, heartbreak, peace, politics, truth, lies, the media, racism, feminism, religion, mental well-being, marriage, fatherhood – he sang about it all, and one just needs to listen to the songs of John Lennon to know how he felt, what he cherished, what he believed in, and what he stood for.

On October 9th, 2020, Lennon’s 80th birthday, in celebration of his remarkable life, a collection of some of the most vital and best loved songs from his solo career will be released via Capitol/UMe as a suite of beautifully presented collections, titled GIMME SOME TRUTH. THE ULTIMATE MIXES. Executive Produced by Yoko Ono Lennon and Produced by Sean Ono Lennon, these thirty-six songs, handpicked by Yoko and Sean, have all been completely remixed from scratch, radically upgrading their sonic quality and presenting them as a never-before-heard Ultimate Listening Experience.

Mixed and engineered by multi GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer Paul Hicks, who also helmed the mixes for 2018’s universally acclaimed Imagine – The Ultimate Collection series, with assistance by engineer Sam Gannon who also worked on that release, the songs were completely remixed from scratch, using brand new transfers of the original multi-tracks, cleaned up to the highest possible sonic quality. After weeks of painstaking preparation, the final mixes and effects were completed using only vintage analog equipment and effects at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles, and then mastered in analog at Abbey Road Studios by Alex Wharton in order to ensure the most beautiful and authentic sound quality possible.

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TVD Radar: Between the Buried and Me, Alaska 20th anniversary reissue in stores 9/25

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Craft Recordings is set to reissue Between the Buried and Me’s acclaimed third album, Alaska on vinyl. Releasing September 25th and available for pre-order today, the 2005 record features newly remixed and remastered audio by the group’s longtime collaborator, Jamie King, at Basement Studio. The double album will be sold across all major retailers, while a limited edition, pressed on marbled-red vinyl, can be found exclusively on Between the Buried and Me’s website. This special reissue of Alaska comes as the GRAMMY®-nominated band celebrates 20 years together.

In the mid-2000s, the North Carolina five-piece had firmly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the hardcore scene. Their first two albums – 2002’s Between the Buried and Me and 2003’s The Silent Circus – had garnered the group an ardent fanbase, who appreciated their exceptional musicianship, sharp lyricism, and unique blend of progressive metal with cerebral math-rock. Following the release of their critically acclaimed sophomore effort – which marked their debut with Victory Records – the young band underwent several personnel changes. They cemented their line-up with guitarist Dustie Waring, bassist Dan Briggs, and drummer Blake Richardson, who joined founding members Tommy Rogers (vocals, keyboards) and Paul Waggoner (vocals, guitars). With their band in place, Between the Buried and Me went into the studio with Jamie King and Matthew Ellard to record their third album.

Released in the fall of 2005, Alaska found the group continuing to challenge themselves, creatively and sonically. While Alaska was certainly a hardcore record at its foundation, it also featured a wider spectrum of musical styles and experimentation. Synths, jazz-inspired percussion, and even acoustic guitar lines punctuated the songs – especially on softer interludes like “Medicine Wheel” and “Laser Speed,” which closes the album. Highlights also include the epic opening number, “All Bodies,” title track “Alaska,” and long-time fan favorite “Selkies: The Endless Obsession.”

The ambitious album received wide critical acclaim upon its release. AllMusic dubbed it “stunningly satisfying,” while Mind Equals Blown declared that “Alaska stands as one of the band’s strongest works…pulling us in with winding melodies and catchy grooves.” Sputnik Music praised, “brutal and beautiful, this is a strong contender for album of the year.”

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TVD Premiere: Lulu Lewis, “Hit Your Town”

Sizzles like New York City summer heat, this one does.

We delighted to premiere the new track from LuLu Lewis, the duo of Pablo Martin (Tom Tom Club, The Du-Rites) and Dylan Hundley (Metropolitan) who just happen to be husband and wife.

We’ve come to think of them as TVD’s extended family as well, our own Joseph Neff writing over a year ago in regard to their debut full-length Genuine Psychic, “it’s not far from the kinda thing the Too Pure label was releasing …a layered, groovy, post-rock sorta deal, and that’s cool… Think Siouxsie, but also Dinah Cancer, a distinction made to underscore an affinity with punk’s pre-hardcore days, when the form was far less rigidly defined.”

But that was last year, and in 2020—mid-pandemic—”Hit Your Town” strikes like a tense and nervy strut down Avenue A with a lightning bolt affixed to your dancing shoes. The accompanying PR cites both Georgio Moroder and Nina Hagan to conjure what the band refers to as Dyscopia or Dystopi-an Disco, but there’s more than the sum of influences at work here.

“This track was written during the riots in Chile and after the last earthquake in Japan, somewhere during November 2019 and January 2020,” Martin elaborates. “We really had no idea to what extent the disaster was in fact gonna ‘hit our town.'”

“Hit Your Town” is available this Friday from the LLL’s own Ilegalia Records—and courtesy of the band when you purchase the track via our special link above, the extended B-side disco mix is your free. How’s that hit ya?

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Steve Forbert, The Best of the TVD First Date

Quite a number of years back, the TVD First Date feature was inaugurated to introduce new talent to the site and to follow an artist’s development while getting to know their own music via their record collections. ’twas a nifty idea earlier on, however over the course of a decade some more than well-established artists have lent their time to the feature to shed a light on what brought them to their first stages and into our own consciousness—and we’re resharing a number of our favorites this week.Ed.

“Putting an LP on a turntable is, to me, a conscientious act of music appreciation—and a small, personal protest against the omnipresent, instantaneous, and disposable state of popular music around us.”

“And it’s typically a higher quality sonic experience than other mediums. I find that listening to a complete side of an album, maybe even both sides, or even playing a 45-rpm is best done alone. If I try to listen with a friend, we’ll likely start talking about the recording as it plays! This is fine and fun but, of course, not optimum listening.

I go way back with vinyl and have quite a collection (filed alphabetically by artist, side by side on several custom-made shelves). I’m now out of the habit of returning a record immediately to its proper place, so they tend to line up on the floor, back to front, staring at me, waiting to be filed again.

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Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores for August 2020, Part Four

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

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Daniel Blumberg, On&On (Mute) A record exceeding my expectations is always a wonderful thing. Not that my anticipation gauge was set low for this effort by Blumberg, it’s just that I missed his 2018 debut for Mute, Minus, and mainly knew him as the former guitarist for the band Yuck. Now, I thought Yuck was just fine, but in my experience, they were ultimately just one band amongst many, and the scoop with On&On is that in an even larger field of singer-songwriters, Blumberg stands apart. It’s worth noting that Blumberg left Yuck after their first album (before that, he was in Cajun Dance Party, whom I don’t think I’ve ever heard), and subsequent to his departure, he’s been up to some interesting things, though I learned of these activities only after being struck by the quality of his newest record. That On&On was released by Mute was enough for me to cue up the music without further PR browsing.

Had I read up first, and saw that the record comes with an essay from esteemed writer and musical-thinker David Toop, and learned that the song-cycle was inspired by Blumberg catching performances by Keiji Haino (the two have collaborated) at Café Oto in London, and noticed that the band for this record features Ute Kanngiesser (cello), Billy Steiger (violin), Tom Wheatley (double bass), and Jim White (drums), this lineup retained from Minus, but with Elvin Brandhi adding electronics, and discovered that On&On was recorded by Peter Walsh (who worked with the late Scott Walker); well, those expectations of mine would’ve been set considerably higher, and what’s more, would’ve been met. Blumberg’s foundation is folky, and one could even call it indie-folk, but it gets infused with avant-garde elements, often with a chamber string comportment (not baroque, however), though the emotionalism of “Silence Breaker” and “On&On&On&On” really validate the Haino connection. “Teethgritter” is a lyrically sharp strummer with nifty injections of string scrape. Superb all-around. A

V/A, Total 20 (Kompakt) This is indeed volume 20 in Kompakt’s annual series of techno compilations, and as electronic dance music is a genre where high quality and longevity aren’t commonly shared traits, that Total 20 maintains the standard established across the prior two decades is worthy of note alongside deserved anniversary commemoration. But here’s something else; the music that fortifies the Total series (and by extension, the Kompakt label overall) is club music at its impetus, which is kind of an obvious thing to say, but I had to be reminded of it, or more specifically, that 2020, while a horrendous year with a little over four months to go, has been especially hard on club culture. With this in mind, Total 20 flicks my switch with a little more gusto than usual, but I can also detach from the sentimentality of Kompakt’s persistence and say that the bangers in this nearly three-hour run-time are doing more than just banging, while the pop-angled numbers are inventive and inspired. Kudos! A-

Alan Braufman, The Fire Still Burns (Valley of Search) Alto saxophonist Braufman’s Valley of Search, which was released in 1975 by the India Navigation label and reissued to much acclaim (including my long review for TVD) in 2018, is a rediscovered gem of loft-era NYC free jazz gush, and this new set, with Braufman’s longtime friend and collaborator Cooper-Moore returning on piano from the earlier recording, is clearly intended as an extension of aesthetic principles, with the very title driving this home. However, Braufman has grown compositionally (all the pieces are his) in the decades since and embraced a few accessible melodic motifs, hitting an apex in this regard with “Alone Again,” and with finale “City Nights” even dishing a borderline groove cooker. These developments set this LP apart, but ultimately for the better, even as I’m likely to always prefer the wildness of ’75.

But it should be emphasized that there are passages of abstract scorch here that are quite thrilling, especially “No Floor No Ceiling” and “Creation.” Along with Cooper-Moore, the band consists of James Brandon Lewis on tenor, Ken Filiano on bass, Andrew Drury on drums, and on “Morning Bazaar” and “City Nights,” Michael Wimberly on percussion. Those familiar with Valley of Search will note the added saxophone, while Braufman plays a little flute on “Block Party,” a selection that reminds me of something Pharoah Sanders and Andrew Hill might’ve conjured up in the mid-’70s. As The Fire Still Burns plays, Jackie McLean’s slept-on Hipnosis album, specifically side two dating from ’67, came to mind, though it’s the openness of Don Cherry’s work, particularly his two ’60s discs for Blue Note, that get cited by Braufman and Cooper-Moore as influential, and I can hear that, too. A-

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In rotation: 8/26/20

MN | Record Store Day 2020: the first drop is Saturday, Aug. 29: This Saturday marks the first official Record Store Day drop of 2020 — a perfect time to add exclusive releases and reissues to your collection. In honor of Record Store Day, The Current will spend the day celebrating vinyl and the culture of record collecting! First, from 8 to 10 a.m. (CDT), Jim McGuinn hosts a very special Teenage Kicks, spinning nothing but vinyl from his own collection. Jim will dig out some of his 45s and albums from the Teenage Kicks era to share with you. “It’ll be the scratchiest, poppiest episode ever of Teeange Kicks,” Jim says. After Teenage Kicks, stick around from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central as Bill DeVille and Mac Wilson spin crate-digger classics and debut some Record Store Day exclusives. Bill and Mac will let you know what to keep an eye out for this Saturday as you look to expand your own collection.

Manningtree, UK | Record Store Day: Winyl, in Manningtree, prepares for annual record event: Vinyl enthusiasts will help fellow record fans celebrate an international event – all at a social distance. Record Store Day is one of the most important days in the calendar for independent music shop owners who sell vinyl records. The annual event is usually held in April, but the coronavirus crisis put this year’s event on pause. Instead, the celebrations will be spread out across three separate dates so record fans can enjoy the event, but keep at a social distance. Winyl, a vegan wine and record shop, in South Street, Manningtree, is holding its Record Store Day events on August 29, September 26, and October 24. Steve Tattam, who runs Winyl with his partner Whilmari Swift, said: “Previously the day was a music extravaganza with around 500 limited vinyl releases all coming out on one day, on a first come first served basis, with store events across the globe.”

Record Store Day to drop massive new releases from The Cure and David Bowie for first event of 2020. This year’s event will be staggered across three separate dates. Record Store Day is set to share a number of new releases from the likes of David Bowie, The Cure, Christine And The Queens and Manic Street Preachers at their first of three drop events this weekend. The event was initially due to take place on Saturday, April 18 and initially postponed to June 20 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but was then delayed once more and spread over three separate days to accommodate social distancing measures. It was then announced RSD will take place on August 29, September 26, and October 24, with a breakdown of which release will appear on which day. You can view the full list here and the full list of participating stores here. This weekend’s batch includes live David Bowie LP called ‘I’m Only Dancing’ recorded on ‘The Soul Tour’ in 1974, a picture disc vinyl copy of The Cure’s ‘Seventeen Seconds’, a coloured vinyl reissue of Robyn‘s self-titled 2005 debut, two Christine And The Queens 7″ singles, plus releases by Bastille, The Fall, Elton John, Jake Bugg, Morrissey, Manic Street Preachers, Mansun and Primal Scream.

London, UK | London record shop Cigarette Records is being evicted: “We’ve been given 10 days to move 12,000 records.” Cigarette Records is being evicted from its premises in Beckenham Place Mansion in south-east London. According to a statement posted on the the shop’s Instagram page, the owners were served an eviction notice by Beckenham Place Mansion Management, who also manage Peckham’s Bussey Building and Copeland Park. The notice gives Cigarette’s owners six weeks to leave the premises, with the final deadline set for 30th September. However, the shop has also been told to clear 12,000 records out of a shared attic storage space at the Mansion within just 10 days. In June, the government extended measures to prevent business evictions until the end of September. It also published a code of practice for the commercial property sector “to encourage commercial tenants and landlords to work together to protect viable businesses.” Cigarette Records’ owners have claimed that their pending eviction is a breach of the Quiet Enjoyment clause in their contract — which specifies a tenant has the right to use their property without unreasonable or unnecessary interference from their landlord.

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TVD Radar: Trees, 50th anniversary edition box set in stores 10/13

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “A beautiful hybrid, Trees found a unique space between intimate folk and freewheeling psychedelia. Musically ambitious yet brilliantly balanced, they have left an enduring legacy for those lucky enough to be in on the secret”Edd Gibson, Friendly Fires

It’s now over fifty years since Trees’ formation, a band who helped define ‘Acid Folk’, creating a sub-category in the lexicon of record dealers and music critics alike. Earth’s new Trees collection brings together both albums adding shiny alternate mixes of key tracks along with a selection of radio sessions and demos, all sounding brighter and cleaner than ever before.

Trees first album, The Garden of Jane Delawney (1970) snuggles nicely into contemporary nu-folkies’ idea of the genre, and shares some of the pastoral-whimsy that characterised The Incredible String Band or Donovan, offset by some stunning interpretations of traditional material and Bias’ own songs, which were somehow part of the tradition Trees had adopted. Readings of ‘Lady Margaret’, ‘Glasgerion’, the old standard ‘She Moved Thro’ The Fair’, and the extended fade of the group’s own ‘Road’, presage the explosive instrumental duelling that would come to characterise the follow up album, ‘On The Shore.’

There’s a definite shift between the records, the second being darker and more ambivalent. Here Trees don’t tell you what to think. You’re left to formulate your own response to this odd, opaque music. The ‘Streets of Derry’ session version leans into the brain vibrating drone-groove they somehow found at the traditional tune’s centre. ‘Polly On The Shore’, another traditional tune, is one of the definitive moments of English folk rock.

This special expansive collector’s edition celebrates the bands 50th anniversary.

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TVD Radar: ‘Follow the Light’ virtual festival experience celebrating Irish traditions, 8/29

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Virtual music festival Follow The Light will air online on Saturday, August 29, 2020 at 5PM EDT (10pm Irish Standard Time). Produced by We Banjo 3 as an ode to the band’s Irish heritage, the evening will feature musical performances by WB3, Gaelic Storm, Sharon Shannon, Nathan Carter and The East Pointers, with non-music festival features throughout the program. General Admission Tickets, Artist Meet & Greets Upgrades, and Festival Ticket/Exclusive Merch bundles are available now.

Harnessing the unique potential of the shared live music experience in a virtual setting, Follow The Light brings artists and fans together for an entertaining, engaging and authentic celebration of community. Hosted with We Banjo 3’s signature heart and humor, the immersive live event weaves in musical performances, set break game shows, green room artist interviews, coffee and booze drink specials at the bar, live fan voting, VIP meet & greets, and more.

About We Banjo 3 | Debuting in the U.S. in 2012, Billboard Bluegrass chart-toppers We Banjo 3 have since fine-tuned their knack for seamlessly converging the shared and varied traditions of Americana, Bluegrass, and Celtic music with pop-sensible songcraft to create a truly unique and gratifying signature sound. The Galway, Ireland, and Nashville-based quartet––comprised of two sets of brothers, Enda & Fergal Scahill and Martin & David Howley––continually push musical boundaries while maintaining an un-wavering devotion to the essential audience experience.

With regular touring currently on pause, WB3 has deep-dived into exploring alternatives to physically taking the stage. Connecting with fans through various online performances, fan Q&A’s, live interviews, poetry and book excerpt readings, general banter about topics of interest, and more, WB3 has taken a personalized approach to creating fan experiences. Now, with Follow The Light, the foursome will wield their infectious energy to present an even more immersive experience that sheds light to the rich Irish culture that WB3 was founded upon.

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Michelle Branch, The Best of TVD First Date

Quite a number of years back, the TVD First Date feature was inaugurated to introduce new talent to the site and to follow an artist’s development while getting to know their own music via their record collections. ’twas a nifty idea earlier on, however over the course of a decade some more than well-established artists have lent their time to the feature to shed a light on what brought them to their first stages and into our own consciousness—and we’re resharing a number of our favorites this week.Ed.

“My earliest memory with vinyl is somewhat foggy and not as ‘cool’ as stories others might have.”

“It was 1988. I was 5 years old. I don’t know why I had money to spend but I did. Maybe a distant relative sent me birthday money in a card or something? Anyway, I knew what I wanted, it was only one thing: “Mercedes Boy” by Pebbles on vinyl. I grew up in a small town in Arizona, but Flagstaff had a record store downtown called Bookmans that always smelled like a mix of fresh popcorn and the new and used books they sold.

There was also a chain record store, The Warehouse in the mall. At the ripe old age of 5, I preferred the mall because they also had a pet store where I could go look at the animals. Who knows why my mom thought it was appropriate for her young daughter to listen to a song with the lyrics:

“Do you want to ride in my Mercedes boy? / Tell me what you’re gonna do with me. / ‘Cause if you want to ride in my Mercedes boy. / There are so many things that I’m gonna do to you.”

What do girls do with boys in cars anyway mom? The only thing I did in cars was sit in the backseat and stare out the window while singing along to whatever my mom and dad had on the radio. I remember getting home and being so excited to put my very own record on the turntable.

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UK Artist of the Week: Jordana Lilly

We’re feeling funkalicious this week at TVD HQ and it’s all down to Jordana Lilly and her infectious new single “Locked Up,” out now.

The title may make you think this is going to be a Corona-related bop, but it was actually written way before all this madness began. “Locked Up” is a song about accepting yourself for who you are, even going so far as to celebrate it, and we’re so here for it.

The single is undeniably addictive from the offset as Jordana combines elements of funk, R&B and pop creating something that is full of fun and empowerment as a result. Turn this one up to full volume and have a boogie around your bedroom—we dare you.

“Locked Up” is in stores now via Beardfire Music.

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Graded on a Curve:
Six from Fire Records for Record Store Day 2020

The first drop of 2020’s Covid-19-impacted Record Store Day is nearly upon us, but before we get there, here’s one more spotlight on a label with multiple recordings on deck for August 29. More accurately, we’re talking six releases from Fire Records and its subsidiaries Earth Recordings and Call of the Void. Like the majority of RSD product, the half dozen below are all either reissues or archival material, but the studio albums from The Groundhogs, Throwing Muses, Josephine Foster, and Pigbag are all solid choices, as is the live recording of Bert Jansch, and the soundtrack to Dennis Hopper’s The Last Movie is downright inspired. There’s little time to waste, so let’s take a look…

Split, the fourth album from UK blues-rockers The Groundhogs, wasn’t quite as ambitious as their prior set, 1970’s Thank Christ for the Bomb, but the first side of this ’71 effort does consist of the title track in four (distinct) parts, so it’s not like they regressed into 12-bar hackery. Christ was reissued by Fire last year along with a second disc of material, and as the full title Split + Extras should make clear, the generosity is repeated here.

Due to their trio reality, with the considerable guitar prowess of Tony T.S. McPhee front and center (bassist Peter Cruickshank and drummer Ken Pustelnik complete the lineup), The Groundhogs often get likened to Cream (sometimes not favorably), an association deepened by McPhee’s mild vocal similarity to Jack Bruce. However, a better comparison is probably to Ten Years After.

What The Groundhogs share with Cream, Ten Years After, and with blues-rock outfits in general are accusations of running already worn out ideas into the ground. But as mentioned above, the ‘hogs were openly exploring possibilities bordering on progressive (if not capital p Prog) while maintaining an appealing heaviness. I happen to rate the Groundhogs higher than Alvin Lee and co., and while their best stuff doesn’t reach the same heights as Cream, I’d say they were more consistent (a contentious viewpoint, I’m sure). McPhee is a burner and not a showoff, so Endless Boogie fans should take note.

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In rotation: 8/25/20

Green Bay, WI | Taylor Swift fan mistakenly handed an entire box of signed ‘Folklore’ CDs: Here’s what she did: When Taylor Swift sent off surprise shipments of signed copies of her “Folklore” CD to select independent record stores across the country last week, Swifties were eager to get their hands on one. One of those fans ended up getting her hands on an entire box of them outside The Exclusive Co. – by accident – and then did something store manager Tom Smith says “makes you have faith in human beings again.” He learned on Friday the store in downtown Green Bay would be getting 30 of the coveted CDs on Saturday morning. What Smith didn’t know was that UPS would deliver them at 9:45 a.m., 15 minutes before the store was open and an employee was available to sign for the package. When he arrived at 9:59 a.m. to open the doors and turn on the lights, there were two Swift fans sitting on the ground out in front of the shop at 423 Dousman St. The delivery driver had asked one of them to sign for the unmarked box and drove off.

New Brighton, UK | New Brighton’s Victoria Quarter revival boosted as record store gets alcohol licence: The licence will support Rockpoint’s regeneration of Victoria Quarter. A major New Brighton regeneration plan has been bolstered by the granting of an alcohol licence for a multi-purpose record store. Rockpoint Records, one of a number of new outlets to have sprung up in New Brighton’s Victoria Quarter in the last couple of years, will be able to sell alcohol from 9am until 11pm every day of the week. The outlet contains a number of attractions within it, including a cafe, a tattoo parlour, a barbers and a retro vinyl store. The man behind the store, businessman Daniel Davies, has poured £4.5m into New Brighton over the last few years, setting up a number of venues in the seaside town’s Victoria Quarter including The James Atherton Pub, the restaurant Habibi and the clothing store Rockpoint Apparel. Mr Davies said the need for alcohol at the record store was to complement the existing offer of food with the sale of premium craft beers and ciders, as well as a selection of wines. He said he wanted to attract the right kind of footfall to the premises and was not hoping to operate a venue where cheap booze was sold and alcohol was the main attraction.

Oakland, CA | Vinyl sales rock on in spite of Covid-19: It’s not often that a 19th century old technology makes a comeback. But that’s exactly what has happened to the phonograph record. After more than a decade of increasing sales, and the boom continuing through a pandemic, it’s safe to say it: Vinyl is back, baby. At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, it wasn’t so clear the record industry would continue to thrive. As a physical good with a complicated manufacturing process, it seemed to be under more threat than streaming, the predominant way people now listen to music. “The biggest issue [in the vinyl industry] is the broken supply chain,” said the Vinyl Alliance, a trade industry group in April 2020. Increasing shipping costs, a lack of live concerts at which to sell merchandise, and a slow down in new vinyl requests from musicians had record production and sales declining. But the demand for vinyl records was too strong to keep the industry down. Manufacturing quickly got back to normal, and, in the US, 2020 unit sales are up over 17% from 2019. The appeal of the record, with its tangibility, beauty and history, just keeps on growing.

The Doors’ ‘Morrison Hotel’ to be reissued for 50th anniversary: The newly remastered record includes over 60 minutes of unreleased studio outtakes and a biographical comic book. Due to arrive on October 9, the double CD/LP deluxe edition of the acclaimed 1970 album will contain the original record newly remastered by the band’s longtime engineer and mixer Bruce Botnick. It will also include over 60 minutes of unreleased studio outtakes. “There are many takes, different arrangements, false starts, and insightful studio conversations between the band and producer Paul Rothchild who was in the control room. It’s like being a fly on the wall,” Botnick said of the reissue. Previewing the 2020 remastered album, previously unreleased takes of ‘Peace Frog’ and ‘Blue Sunday’ have been shared.

Leicester, UK | Record owner turns down £125K offer for world’s most expensive 7in single Do I Love You: ‘No way I am letting this baby out of my hands any time soon.’ The millionaire owner of the world’s most expensive seven-inch single has turned down an offer of £125,000 for the record. Music lover Lee Jeffries, who lives near Market Harborough, was offered the money just days after he recently bought the northern soul 45, Do I Love You, by Frank Wilson. The 38-year-old record label owner and drinks business entrepreneur said he instantly turned down the cash after he had paid £100,000 for the vinyl. “I have only just bought this amazing record after years of coveting it,” said Lee. “So there is no way I am letting this baby out of my hands any time soon, even if it means turning down good profit. “This record represents the Holy Grail of soul records so thanks but no thanks.” Lee took possession of the record after it was handed over in a 10-foot long fishing net. The sale, was brokered by Melton rare vinyl dealer and auctioneer John Manship, who passed over the vinyl in accordance with coronavirus social distancing rules.

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