Monthly Archives: October 2021

We’re closed.

We’ve closed TVD’s HQ for our annual Fall break. While we’re away, why not fire up our Record Store Locator app and visit one of your local indie record stores?

Perhaps there’s an interview, review, or feature you might have missed? Catch up and we’ll see you back here on November 8.

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Graded on a Curve:
King Champion Sounds, Between Two Worlds

On October 22, Hive Mind Records released Between Two Worlds, the 13-track double album from King Champion Sounds. The Dutch band’s latest augments their core lineup of seven, namely Ajay Saggar, Oli Heffernan, G W Sok, Mees Siderius, Holly Habstritt Gaal, Elsa van der Linden and Chris Moerland, with august guests including Mia Doi Todd, Gerry Love (formerly of Teenage Fanclub), Sally Timms and Jon Langford (of the Mekons), Janet Beveridge Bean (of Eleventh Dream Day and Freakwater), and Glasgow poet Marieke McKenna. The results spread out stylistically and durationally, cohering into a strong late-year entry on 2021’s list of new releases. It’s available on 2LP and digital.

The autumn arrival of Between Two Worlds bookends pretty nicely with Oh Temple!, the first record by the kosmische and expansionist rock-aligned University Challenged, also a double set and also released by Hive Mind back on January 29, 2021, this connection pertinent as Ajay Saggar and Oli Heffernan are two-thirds of that band.

King Champion Sounds have chalked up their fifth album with Between Two Worlds if you count the 2014 10-inch Songs for the Golden Hour, which I do because they do. This means they’ve been around a while longer than University Challenged. To nail it down, King Champion Sounds was formed by Saggar and G W Sok, a former member of The Ex, in 2013, with debut Different Drummer coming out that year. Song for the Golden Hour followed, then To Awake in That Heaven of Freedom in 2016 and For a Lark in 2018 (three 7-inch records have also been released, the latest in 2019, a split with Surplus 1980).

Through it all, the lineup has been surprisingly stable (alongside Saggar and Sok, Heffernan, Siderius and Moerland have contributed since Different Drummer), which is pretty crucial when inviting so many guests into the recording process. From To Awake in That Heaven of Freedom forward, they’ve welcomed the guitars of J Mascis, Tom Carter, Alasdair Roberts and Steve Gunn, the saxophone of Ab Baars, the electronics of BJ Nilssen, the violin of Saskia van der Giessen, and the vocals of Imaad Wasif and Mike Watt (and I note that this is an incomplete list).

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In rotation: 10/27/21

Norwich, CT | Why would a Norwich vape shop owner open a music store? Brenton Chambers explains. …Chambers, along with his other employees, will be opening up the B Sharp Music Store and Out of This World Records on the first floor and basement of the B2B Center at 65 Main St. Chambers said he wants it to be a distinct all-ages experience for Norwich. He expects the business to open in two weeks or so. “I’ve got a lot of great guys around me and (music) teachers that are really good at what they do,” Chambers said. The B Sharp Music Store and Out of This World Records plans to open on Main Street in downtown Norwich. In terms of a business model, Cameron Rossi, Chambers’ employee, said it’s an adjustment between selling vaping products and musical instruments. He said that a vaping business only needs two distributors to have a wide range of products, whereas a business needs to deal with more distributors for musical instruments. Chambers feels the social aspect of the two types of stores makes them similar.

The vinyl straw: Why the vinyl industry is at a breaking point: The industry is at its strongest since the advent of the CD disk, so why has it become near-impossible to get music pressed onto wax? It’s been difficult to avoid the colossal success of vinyl over the past two years. Sure, sales have been steadily rising since its initial resurgence in the early ‘10s, but after another record breaking year in 2020, our consumption of vinyl has more than doubled in the first half of 2021 alone. Despite this, reports of huge increases in wait times to get records pressed, errors in manufacturing and labels abandoning the format altogether are rife. So why is the vinyl industry in such a state of chaos? Overwhelming demand at pressing plants, rising shipping costs, a worrying lack of materials, and a renewed interest from major labels have pushed a manufacturing process that was already in decline to breaking point.

Los Angeles, CA | Largest West Coast Vinyl Distributor Hard-Pressed to Meet Demand: Once the relic of a bygone era, vinyl records have made a roaring comeback. U.S. revenues from physical records hit $620 million in 2020 and are on track to exceed that by 94% this year with $467 million in sales in the first half of 2021, according to data from the Recording Industry Association of America. Although paid streaming subscriptions still generate the industry’s biggest revenues with $7 billion in 2020 and another $4.6 billion so far this year, vinyl has rebounded to comprise 6.4% of all music sales in the United States. That is vinyl’s highest percentage since 1990 and a tremendous leap from the format’s lowest point of less than 0.01% between 2004 and 2006. Local music retailers and companies like Glendale-based Cobraside Distribution Inc. — the largest physical media distributor on the West Coast — are in a groove, so to speak.

Mount Mogan, CN | The vinyl record museum hidden in the hotel: Moganshan Orange Moon: In the bamboo forests of Mount Mogan, there are many villas of different styles hidden, there are about 200 villas, but these 200 villas have different styles, and none of them are the same! No wonder it is called the World Architecture Museum by the world. In addition to beautiful skins, these buildings also have interesting souls! For example, there is a vinyl record-themed homestay far away from the main road: Moganshan Orange Moon·Vinyl Record Homestay. And the son of tomorrow has also visited this homestay, this one can be regarded as a celebrity experience. The homestay is very quiet because it is far away from the main road. The window is the distant mountain, and the wide bamboo forest is on the side. A small stream flows slowly through the courtyard. The independent spacious courtyard and sunflower fields make it a paradise. exist. And this is not its most eye-catching feature. The owner of this warm homestay is a vinyl record enthusiast.

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TVD Live Shots: Twenty One Pilots at Agganis Arena, 10/20 and TD Garden Arena, 10/23

BOSTON, MA | Twenty One Pilots invaded the Boston Garden with an energetic and emotional performance as part of their international Takeover Tour that proudly proclaimed: “Live music is back!”

The arena was electric as Twenty One Pilots’ intensity was met—and at times exceeded—by a passionate fanbase who loudly sang their full setlist of songs spanning the band’s accomplished career. Engaging the audience, lead singer Tyler Joseph instructed each half of the arena to each sing a line from “Mulberry Street.” And in a fun feat of strength, fans from the pit supported a platform that held Josh Dun on the drums as the Twenty One Pilots’ performance reached its crescendo. It was fully evident that the band was grateful for the opportunity to perform again, and they did not miss any chance to show it. The crowd was left in a dream state as the thrill ride of a show ended with teal and pink confetti raining down.

Boston was the fourth stop on an unconventional tour that is hosted by a different city and includes four nights of concerts at venues of increasing size each night. This format simulates a mini rise to success in each city, replicating the band’s ascent to stardom and giving their dedicated fanbase this unique experience—from being feet away in a small club to filling the largest space of an arena.

The musical duo began their Boston residency at the Paradise Lounge with a capacity of 933, followed by a night at the House of Blues. Fans told The Vinyl District how they slept overnight in front of the ticket office for close to a week in advance in order to get a ticket to the Paradise Lounge show. The tour continued on at the Agganis Arena hosting 7,200 people and finished with a TD Garden crowd just shy of 20,000. The Vinyl District was fortunate to experience both the sold out show at Agganis Arena and at the legendary Boston Garden.

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TVD Live Shots: Phoebe Bridgers and Charlie Hickey at The Greek Theatre, 10/21

PHOTOS: JULIA LOFSTRAND | Since the release of Phoebe Bridgers’ first album, Stranger in the Alps (2017), she’s toured with The National, partnered with Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst, started a record label, caused an internet uproar after smashing her guitar in a gender power move on SNL, and more recently had a cameo in Jackson Browne’s new video, “My Cleveland Heart,” where she played a nurse who “ate” his heart.

It’s not these iconic moments she’s been collecting that got her four Grammy Nominations for Punisher (2020), the album this tour is supporting—it’s her own brand of the strange and fealty to self-deprecation that has set her place in indie rock history to motion.

Thursday’s show was night one in a string of three sold-out shows at California’s pine-laden outdoor venue The Greek Theatre. Arriving at the tail-end of the tour, this show was a homecoming for Bridgers and opener Charlie Hickey, both natives of LA suburb South Pasadena. Now signed to Bridgers’ Saddest Factory Records, Hickey met Bridgers back when he was just thirteen when he covered one of her songs.

The surrealness of the moment at this hometown show was not lost on him as he voiced to the crowd, “This is fucked up. Some of you need to leave. There’s too many people here.” After gaining his composure he continued with his pristine voice and acoustic guitar with Bridgers joining him on stage for a couple of songs.

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UK Artist of the Week: Dyan Valdés

The world can be an evil place sometimes, and in light of the recent attacks on Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa over here in the UK, it seems more important than ever to keep the conversation of women’s safety going and growing. Cuban-American artist Dyan Valdés released her powerful single “Fade Away” recently and its time to listen up and take note.

“Fade Away” is the first single to be released from Dyan’s compelling forthcoming album Stand. It’s a song dedicated to anyone who has ever felt trapped, marginalised, or silenced. The single is oozing with synth-infused soundscapes, channelling the likes of Bat For Lashes and PJ Harvey.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Dyan was attacked by a man on the streets of her home in the middle of the day in Berlin. Overwhelmed by the horrific experience and aware of increasing reports of domestic violence, Dyan felt the need to stand up and fight for women everywhere. “Fade Away” is about looking around and saying to yourself “this isn’t good enough.”

Dyan is no stranger to the music scene, having been founding member of indie-rock band The Blood Arm (2002-2017), synth-punk trio Mexican Radio (2017-), and plays keyboards in German Hamburger Schule legends Die Sterne (2012-). Stand is her debut solo album. All production, engineering, post-production, design, styling, film, photography, and promotion for the album has been done by women.

“Fade Away” is in stores now.

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Graded on a Curve:
Cuba: Music and Revolution Vol. 2

Compiled by Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker, Cuba: Music and Revolution Vol. 2 pulls off an exceedingly rare trick, following up their introductory volume with no lessening of quality, nary a smidgeon in fact, while documenting the same ten years of transition, specifically 1975-’85. The full title’s descriptor Clash in Havana: Experiments in Latin Music is borne out by the 22 selections, most of which, as with Vol. 1, have had limited exposure outside of Cuba. But as the distinctiveness of style unfurls, rhythms potent and pleasurable, expressed forcefully but with flair, unite the set’s contents. It’s scheduled to arrive October 29 on 3LP with a download code and on 2CD, through Soul Jazz Records.

Much of the music featured on this collection and its precursor gets spotlighted in the large format book Cuba: Original Album Cover Art of Cuban Music (a necessary truncation of a much longer, colon-loaded title) currently available through Soul Jazz Books, with its contents also compiled and edited by the noted French-born UK-based broadcaster Peterson and the owner-operator of the Soul Jazz empire Baker (for those on a budget, booklets do accompany both releases).

Rather than repeat Paterson and Baker’s background research on these musicians, a few of them heard on both volumes, we’ll leave that (other than some basic discographical info) for later discovery. Instead, this review will focus on the sheer range that’s in evidence across Vol. 2, with the understanding that the true yardstick of a compilation’s value is based upon the strength of its sounds.

Returning from Vol. 1, Juan Pablo Torres Y Algo Nuevo kick off the set with the opening track from their 1977 LP Super Son, “Y Que Bien” indeed a beefed-up variation on the bedrock Son Cubano sound, laden with synths, horns, guitar toughness and vocals (sans lyrics) that span from some almost proto-beatboxing at the start to a healthy dose of scatting in the back end.

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In rotation: 10/26/21

Glasgow, UK | The lost record shops that defined Glasgow’s famous music scene: From Tower Records to 23rd Precinct, Glasgow’s record shops gave a musical education to a pre-Spotify generation. It’s no surprise that a place officially designated by UNESCO as a ‘City of Music’ has had its fare share of iconic record shops over the years. After all, this is the city that saw Oasis get signed, that gave the world Primal Scream, Mogwai, Franz Ferdinand and Chvrches. Edinburgh may like to lay claim to cult tweepop band Camera Obscura, but while they might have taken their name from the so-called capital city, they’re Weegies through and through. A city rife with musicians, wannabe musicians, gig promoters, zinesters and music bloggers was always going to have a healthy – and off-beat – record store industry. Although the internet and music streaming has helped sound the death knell to many shops in what was always a slightly precarious business, they’re never closed in our hearts.

Washburn, WI | If You Love Records Shops—Washburn’s Vinyl Vault is the Perfect Musical Retreat: Throwback hits keep historic bank-turned-cultural center alive. Some people take great pride in their music—meticulously cataloging their collection, insisting only upon the highest quality listening experiences. But few go to the length of housing their beloved records inside a bank vault. Steve Cotherman, the extroverted manager of the Washburn Cultural Center, jams to his own rhythm. That asymmetric style may explain why he decided to open a record shop inside a room only big enough for two occupants at a time. A tall man with a graying beard, Cotherman keeps his shoulder-length hair pulled back in a ponytail under his baseball cap. He spent several boisterous minutes explaining with wild hand gestures that he is “a talker.” When asked why he moved from Wyoming to a small town on the shore of Lake Superior in Wisconsin’s Bayfield County, Cotherman launched into a 10-minute monologue that touched on topics as diverse as profane advice from his mother and a local celebrity famous for dancing.

Montreal, CA | A Montreal music institution celebrates a landmark milestone this month: Cheap Thrill’s location on Mansfield St. is an oddity in a downtown Montreal now dominated by modern chain stores. The rickety stairs to the shop, a flashback to a bygone architectural past. And inside the store, one could be forgiven for thinking they’ve boarded a time machine. “It’s amazing. I think it’s a lot of good luck on our part, we just stood the test of time and we’re the last one standing downtown,” says owner Gary Worsley, who bought the store from its original owner four years ago, after working there for two decades. There was a time, 30 years ago, when people couldn’t give away their record collection because CDs were all the rage. But Cheap Thrills weathered the storm and now celebrates its 50th anniversary. The original store, on Bishop St., closed its doors in the 90s. “We kept vinyl but it was hard to get new ones,” Morsley explains. “People weren’t coming in with them used, they were coming with tons of used CDs.”

Detroit, MI | Record Store Recs: DJ Carl Craig Selects Some Of His Detroit Faves & Talks Planet E’s 30 Years Of Independence: Detroit legend Carl Craig shares his gems from the Detroit section of Stellar Remnant’s vinyl pop-up at CRSSD Fest 2021, talks the Motor City’s resilience and celebrates 30 years of his label, Planet E. For the first IRL iteration of Record Store Recs since its launch in May 2020 to support record stores and artists during the pandemic, a few of the DJ/producers who played electronic music festival CRSSD Festival(opens in a new tab) 2021 joined us at the Stellar Remnant(opens in a new tab) popup. Detroit techno forefather Carl Craig stopped by to check out the Detroit section, sharing personal stories about the seven fellow Motor City dance greats whose records he chose. The “Forever Free” producer also discusses the DIY magic of his hometown, celebrating 30 years of dancefloor independence with his label, Planet E, and his hope to hear more dance records that cut through the divisiveness of society.

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TVD Live Shots: Rufus Wainwright at the London Palladium, 10/19

He’s one of the most celebrated singer-songwriters in the world, and although Covid wrecked his original tour plans two years ago, three rescheduled year later the stars aligned, and it was worth the wait. Rufus Wainwright continues to be a creative force, pushing boundaries while injecting his passion for the arts into everything he does. He’s got the charisma, the charm, and the songbook backed by rave reviews. He consistently walks the line between ego and confidence—yet this was going to be a different kind of show, one that separates the casual fans from the devoted.

If you were expecting a greatest hits tour, he’s not there yet. This show would be a celebration of his stunning 9th studio album Unfollow the Rules. The entire record was played, along with a few cherry-picked selections from his catalog which fit the mood.

What was that mood? Elegance, art, storytelling, and a stripped-down band that laid a foundation and propped up on a pedestal the very reason everyone was there—that voice. Rufus has one of the most unique voices in the world, and it continues to evolve as he reinvents himself again and again through his love of opera and the fantastic Judy Garland songbook. But he always comes back to where he began, and that’s what Unfollow the Rules is all about.

Conceived initially for a full band, Covid had other plans, so we were treated with an almost full band. All the essentials were there however; guitar, standup bass, keys, and of course Rufus on guitar and his grand piano. He opened the show with a string of his newest material, including my favorite song from the latest record, “Damsel in Distress” (which is the closest thing to classic Rufus we’ve heard in years, by the way). It was starting to look like the album would be played from start to finish, only to be interrupted by a few cover songs.

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TVD Live Shots:
St. Vincent at the
Agora, 10/18

“Thank you for not being at Harry Styles tonight,” St. Vincent joked shortly after taking the stage at The Agora. No offense to Mr. Styles, who on any other night I would’ve loved to see, but there was literally nowhere else I’d rather be. St. Vincent has proven herself to be one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest treasures and any chance I get to see her perform, I take it.

A couple friends less familiar with St. Vincent joined me at The Agora and their responses post-show didn’t surprise me in the least. One said it was easily one of the best concerts she’s ever been to, and the other referred to the experience as “pivotal.”

This particular tour installment—in support of her latest album, Daddy’s Home—is ’70s-inspired and features a cityscape backdrop, sexy, silky attire, groovy choreography, and a touring band tighter than a hipster’s skinny jeans. Each song felt special, as a clear amount of consideration and craft went into them. I especially enjoyed the modifications made on earlier songs to fit the vibe of the current tour. “Your Lips are Red” was particularly face-melting.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 51: Remembering Andrew Gold

Andrew Gold was a sort of Zelig figure in popular music during his career. If you fell in love with his music in any place, you’d probably be surprised to see him pop up somewhere else.

Gold was a talented singer-songwriter with his own string of excellent and underrated solo albums and a Top 10 hit “Lonely Boy,” but there was much more. He was also Linda Ronstadt’s arranger and a multi-instrumentalist on several of her albums and he toured with the Eagles and James Taylor. His song, “Thank You For Being a Friend” was re-recorded for use in the mega-hit TV series, The Golden Girls. He also performed the theme song to the 1990s TV hit, Mad About You.

In 1996, Gold saw what he felt was a deficit in the Halloween music world and released an album celebrating the spookiest of all holidays: Halloween Howls. At the time, the album didn’t take off just the way that Andrew had hoped, however the internet had other plans. Slowly, over time, a track from the album gained attention. A remix of the song “Spooky Scary Skeletons” became a bonafide, dance-hit smash and was impossible to miss on social media last year.

Sadly, Gold passed away in 2011. However, his widow, Leslie Kogan, continues to make sure his wide and varied catalog finds appreciative ears. She helped to unearth a strong live performance by Andrew from 1978 which was released in 2015 as The Late Show, and Kogan also delved through Gold’s archives to create last year’s compilation, Something New (both albums on Omnivore Recordings).

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Graded on a Curve: Neptunian Maximalism, Éons

What the hell is happening in Belgium? Have they gone stark raving mad? Did someone slip some kind of drug into the waffles? We should be demanding answers, because a cosmic caterwaul has been emanating from the good city of Brussels, and the people who know about such things are giving us two options. The first is to flee the planet. The second is to greet Neptunian Maximalism and give a listen to their 2020 LP Éons to determine if they come in peace.

Éons is a sprawling, two and a half hour exercise in genre-blending, and proof that free jazz saxophone, drone music, massive walls of percussive noise metal, psychedelic guitar jams, and Sun Ra space explorations can indeed co-exist on the same astral plane. Éons is what you might get if you shoved the Arkestra, Albert Ayler, Swans, Sunn O))), the electric guitar whiz kid of your choice, Laibach, and Rammstein into a recording studio and let them have at it. The results, you’d think, would be mayhem and chaos. But Éon is a monumental and coherent work of avant garde music, and essential listening for anyone interested in any of the above named genres.

You don’t build an Éons with a sledgehammer and railroad spike the way, say, Sunn O))) and Swans do. The complexities of Éons demanded that Neptunian Maximalism use a broader instrumental palette. These include saxophones, trumpet, flute, vocals, synthesizer, and bow harp. Even a sitar shows up, presumably having escaped an ashram somewhere. And Neptunian Maximalism do it with just four members.

Éons is a three-disc, three-part affair, which to people like me who can only count in chocolate is one less than a Kit Kat Bar. The three sections (“To the Ease,” “To the Moon,” and “To the Sun”) constitute generally discrete moods, but there’s plenty of seepage–while the songs on “To the Sun,” to cite just one example, lean towards the spacy and meditative, they get plenty loud in parts.

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In rotation: 10/25/21

Cork, UK | Mexican couple buy Cork record store on Facebook after thinking ad was a joke: Claudia didn’t know Cork existed when she grew up in Mexico City and now she’s joined the vibrant community on MacCurtain Street. A Mexican couple have bought a Cork record store after seeing an ad for the place on Facebook marketplace, and initially thinking that it was a joke. When Mexico city natives Claudia Hernandez and her husband Erwin came to Cork to work in tech, they never could have anticipated that they would be opening the Thirty-three Record Shop on MacCurtain Street seven years later, which they soon hope to turn into a gig space as well. “Erwin and I moved over here with our two dogs to work for Bord Gais and Apple, it was a big culture change but we grew to love our home in Blackrock, one of the things that helped us settle in was starting a record collection,” Claudia explained. The couple set up a happy life together in Cork city, and on weekends they would go out on the hunt for new records to play in the house.

Exeter, UK | Exeter hairdresser opens a brand-new record store: The COVID pandemic has seen an Exeter hairdresser branch out in a radical new direction. Hidden away on a cobbled road just off Gandy Street is a brand-new vinyl record shop opened by Exeter stylist James Maclean. When James couldn’t see his clients over lockdown, he bit the bullet and took his lifelong love for music to the next level, starting a small eBay record business. But when the unit next door to the salon made its way onto the market, he jumped at the chance to put his new-found experience to good use, opening JM records at the end of last month with the help of his own clients who put up all the fittings and fixtures. James said: “The lockdown happened, and hairdressers just weren’t able to work, so I wanted to get back into doing something I really enjoy. “And music is something that’s been throughout my life. Working as a hairdresser, we always have music.”

Felixstowe, UK | Well-known Felixstowe bookseller to retire and hand over to vinyl store: A much-loved Felixstowe book shop is closing after 25 years, with a vinyl shop taking on the building. Owner Richard Moffat, of Poor Richard’s Books, has decided to retire from running the second-hand bookshop in Orwell Road, while continuing online sales, as he approaches his 75th birthday. “I have just thoroughly enjoyed doing it,” he said. “The book-buying public are really nice people.” Garry O’Malley, who shares Richard’s passion for serving collectors, has bought the building. He has been running his second-hand business, Grooveyard Records, in the back of the shop for the past two years. He is now planning to move the used vinyl shop into the front of the building after Poor Richard’s closes, and open up in the new year. However, Richard will continue to run an internet bookselling business from the basement. “I’ve kept about 10,000 books to sell online,” he said, adding this would only take a few hours a week.

Kettering, UK | Love vinyl? Love coffee? Here’s the new Kettering shop that offers both: The shop opens fully on October 30. A former cabin crew manager will blend his love of music with a love of good coffee when he opens a new Kettering town centre shop. Located in Market Street, Jason Tagg’s cafe Vinyl Coffee will sell ‘pre-loved’ LP and singles as well as new releases on vinyl. Initially having a ‘soft opening’, Jason and his partner Juliet Raith are fitting out the shop ready for the official ribbon cutting to be performed by Kettering MP Philip Hollobone. Jason, who worked on aeroplanes for ten-and-a-half years, will use his skills to serve hot drinks and customers hungry for top quality music. He said: “Customers can expect great music and great coffee. I have been planning this for a long time. “We’re part record shop, part cafe. We have our own blend of own brand coffee too. Some places do records with beer or with pies, we’re doing it with coffee.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

She didn’t know how to live in a town that was rough / It didn’t take long before she knew she’d had enough / Walking home in her wrapped up world / She survived but she’s feeling old / And she found all things cold

Strange little girl / Where are you going? / Strange little girl / Where are you going? / Do you know where you could be going?

Walking home in her wrapped up world / She survived but she’s feeling old / ‘Cause she found all things cold

“Witches displeased by their own perfume?” “Butterfly laughter?” October is the season of the witch; some days of grey and cold, some of warm sun.

This week’s playlist is a nod to those strange “lil’ ones” that no man will truly understand, with a certain little girl who holds a special place in my heart.

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TVD Radar: The Band, Cahoots expanded 50th anniversary reissues in stores 12/10

VIA PRESS RELEASE | When The Band pulled into the unfinished Bearsville Sounds Studios in Bearsville, New York in early 1971 to record Cahoots, their fourth studio album in as many years, they were still basking in the success of and acclaim for their first three history-making records.

The Band’s landmark debut album, July 1968’s Music From Big Pink, drew inspiration from the American roots music melting pot of country, blues, R&B, gospel, soul, rockabilly, the honking tenor sax tradition, hymns, funeral dirges, brass band music, folk and good ol’ rock ’n’ roll to foment a timeless new style that forever changed the course of popular music. When they released their seminal eponymous second album, The Band, the following year in September 1969 – or “The Brown Album,” as it would lovingly be called – not much more was known about the reclusive group.

Even so, August 1970’s Stage Fright, recorded over 12 days on the stage of the Woodstock Playhouse in upstate New York, cemented the fulfilled promise of those initial back-to-back albums that solidified The Band as one of the most exciting and revolutionary groups of the late 1960s, who were able to carry their avowed excellence directly into the 1970s without interruption.

Indeed, The Band, made up of four Canadians and one American, was still purposefully shrouded in mystery at the turn of the decade, allowing for listeners and the music press to let their imaginations run afield about who these men were and what this music was that sounded unlike anything else happening as the psychedelic ‘60s officially wound down.

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