Monthly Archives: February 2022

TVD Live Shots: Tommy Cash at Lincoln Hall, 2/23

Multifaceted Estonian artist Tommy Cash brought his world tour to a sold out crowd at Lincoln Hall in Chicago, IL on Wednesday, February 23rd. Even though it was a work night, the crazy amount of energy emanating from the hundreds of people in the crowd made it feel like a Saturday night.

In lieu of an opening act, they played Eurobeat music to warm up the crowd. Once the house was packed, Tommy Cash brought over an hour of non stop dancing, even getting the entire crowd to fully squat down and jump back up on beat. Spitting through classic hits, like “Winaloto” and “Little Molly,” and hit collaborations, like Quebonafide’s “Benz-Dealer” and Salvatore Ganacci’s “Heartbass,” Tommy Cash didn’t skip a beat once, captivating the crowds energy and attention his entire time on stage.

A heartwarming moment happened when Tommy Cash spotted a fan holding a Ukrainian flag, which he got ahold of while smiling and proudly waving it around on stage.

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TVD Radar: The Hollywood Stars, Sound City first time on vinyl, in stores 5/20

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The Hollywood Stars, a group originally assembled in 1973 by rock impresario Kim Fowley, will have their long-lost Sound City album issued on vinyl for the first time May 20. Recorded in 1976, the album was shelved for 43 years, finally reappearing for its CD debut in 2019. The LP will be released by Liberation Hall.

Fowley secured a deal for the Stars with Columbia Records at the height of the glam rock era, but due to A&R shuffles their debut album went unreleased. It wasn’t until 2013 that it resurfaced as Shine Like a Radio: The Great Lost 1974 Album. Upon its arrival, Record Collector magazine bestowed the LP five stars and called it “one of the most vital reissues of the year.”

Shine Like a Radio remains an evocative encapsulation of the glitter rock scene, crackling with the power pop drive of the Sweet and the Move, and the glam swagger of Cockney Rebel and Hunky Dory-era David Bowie. After the band’s first lineup split in 1974, two of the Stars’ compositions found major success with other artists of the era: “Escape” surfaced on Alice Cooper’s platinum-selling Welcome to My Nightmare (1975) while “King of the Night Time World” appeared on a pair of multiplatinum-selling albums by Kiss, Destroyer (1976) and Kiss Alive II (1977).

After a year-long hiatus, the Stars returned in their second version in 1976. Mark Anthony—the songwriter alongside Fowley of “Escape” and “King of the Night Time World”—rose in the ranks to become the group’s lead vocalist, as well as continue in his prior roles of rhythm guitarist and primary songwriter.

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The Best of Radar:
The Podcast with
Evan Toth, Episode 48:
Van Dyke Parks

It’s not hyperbole to say that musician, songwriter, arranger and record producer Van Dyke Parks is a legendary or mythical creature in pop music folklore. Sure, you know how Brian Wilson recruited him to join his creative process on what was to be The Beach Boys’ penultimate masterpiece, Smile. But there’s so much more to his career: aside from his critically acclaimed solo albums, Parks has historically been involved in a number of notable musical projects, always searching to shed light on music and stories that are astutely sui generis.

During quarantine, Parks orchestrated four songs for Verónica Valerio, a singer, songwriter and harpist born in Veracruz, Mexico. The EP is titled, “Only in America, Solo En America.” While the lyrics are in Spanish, the mood and emotion of the project is evident no matter what language one speaks. Don’t forget to take a moment to study the album’s cover art: it was created by Klaus Voorman, The Beatles’ chum who created the ever-enduring album art for Revolver.

So, let VDP and me keep you company as we engage in a conversation that goes wherever it pleases. We discuss his connection with Valerio’s music and subject matter, calling Klaus Voorman on his cell phone, how this project compares to his work with Brian Wilson and so much more. You’ll find Van Dyke Parks affable, nimble-witted, and urbane; join me as I try to keep up!

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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Graded on a Curve: Mudhoney,
Superfuzz Bigmuff

Mudhoney’s “Touch Me I’m Sick” is the only grunge song I’ve ever truly loved. Who could compete? Pearl Jam’s songs were far too polite. Nirvana produced brilliant pop tunes. “Hands All Over” was a great tune, but Soundgarden may as well have been Led Zeppelin Jr. Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, and Screaming Trees were wastes of vinyl better used to reissue R. Dean Taylor albums. But Mudhoney? They were the real, filthy, article. “Touch Me I’m Sick” reeked of spilt beer, bong smoke, sweaty flannel shirts, and some unspecified contagious disease.

Mudhoney were grunge in the truest sense of the word. They were so filthy even the vinyl they pressed their music on smelled wrong. And Mark Arm was the anti-Vedder; he didn’t emo(te) empathy or compassion and he didn’t have a good voice—what he had was same “fuck it” attitude as the wild-eyed crazy kid down the street who would gargle nuclear waste on a dare. Mudhoney gave off the same anarchic stench as The Stooges. You didn’t want them in your house; you didn’t even want them in your zip code.

It’s all there 1988 debut Superfuzz Bigmuff, with songs like “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More” and “In ‘n’ Out of Grace.” Filth! Sexual perversion! Ignominy! Send your daughters to the nearest nunnery!! While the Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots of the scene were playing nice in their quest for the major label score, Mudhoney were sending the state of Washington’s perversion level higher than the Seattle Space Needle. There were scuzzier and more demented bands out there, but the others hailed from Chicago, Texas, New York City, Madison, Wisconsin—Australia even. Mudhoney were as close as grunge got to noise rock, and they did it in what was basically a backwards looking genre.

Arm doesn’t have the big voice of an Eddie Vedder or Chris Cornell—he gets by on sheer dementia power. And the band’s sound is anything but polished—you’d need a fire hose to blast the muck off it. It’s raw power, with the emphasis on raw. Superfuzz Bigmuff might sounds like it was recorded in the basement of a condemned house cluttered with crushed Olympia beer cans and curious rats.

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In rotation: 2/28/22

London, UK | Londoners fuming as HMV on Oxford Street becomes another American candy store: Londoners are reliving fond memories of the old HMV and are not particularly pleased with the presence of the new store. Oxford Street’s iconic HMV store has been replaced with an American Candy outlet, and Londoners are not happy about it. The new storefront bears the remnants of the original, with the words “His Masters” still clearly visible above the new store’s slogan. Sad Londoners took to social media to share fond memories of working or browsing in the iconic music shop, and many lamented the choice of American Candy as a replacement. One user said the change was “an embarrassment” to the high street. Writing on Facebook Daniele D’Amato said: “This is so sad. I used to be a Press photographer and shot so many gigs and signings at this store. We’d have beers in the pub down the side alley before (and after) shows, whilst chatting to all the security fellas who worked here about their day… It was a community. Being part of HMV, looking back, was quite special.

Camberwell, UK | Rat Records in Camberwell to permanently close in June 2022: Rat Records, the brilliant second hand vinyl record shop in Camberwell, South London, has announced that it will be closing for good in mid-June this year. Founded by ‘expert vinyl dealer, collector and music nutcase’ Tom Fisher in an Oxford street market 33 years ago, Rat Records has evolved into a hugely popular record shop in South London. Offering affordable prices, they’ve sold over 1,000,000 second hand records since 1988, adding that they’ve “stuck on 1.3 million plus price stickers, driven 860,000 miles, worn out 17 vehicles (and counting) and found the only known copy of a collaboration between Mick Jagger and John Lennon.” In a Facebook post, the owner said: It is with regret that we need to tell you that the Rat Records shop will close in mid-June. The current lease is expiring and Tom has decided to retire. We will be trading as normal until June, and will keep you updated with more details soon, here and on the Rat Records site. We would like the shop to continue, so if you are interested in purchasing the business name, assets etc, please contact Tom:

Berlin, MD | Sound Storm Records embraced by Berlin: Vinyl enthusiasts have been flocking in droves to Sound Storm Records in Berlin since its opening earlier this month on the corner of Broad and Gay streets. The new business is the brainchild of Brandon Zlatniski and his girlfriend, Lauren Carlson. “We need something like this in Berlin,” Zlatniski said. The couple was caught off guard by the onslaught of music consumers who surfaced during the shop’s grand opening over Valentine’s Day weekend. “We were kind of blown away,” he said. “We weren’t expecting this overwhelming of a response.” Carlson said a steady stream of customers perused the selections of new and used vinyl on opening weekend. “It feels as if the town has welcomed us with open arms,” she said. Now entering his 30s, Zlatniski became entranced by the music scene during his teen years. “I followed all the bands on Fuse and the Warped Tour, [plus] bought all the music I could find,” he said. In addition to learning to play guitar at a young age, Zlatniski also dreamt of starting a retail record business.

Oslo, NO | Neseblod Records: This record shop and unofficial black metal museum is an ode to Oslo’s heaviest musical export. This unassuming storefront should be a top priority for any metal fan visiting Oslo. A record shop and unofficial metal museum in Norway’s capitol city, Neseblod Records (“nosebleed”) is also central in many regards to the early history of black metal. The record shop, originally named Helvete, was first opened in June 1991 by the late and now-infamous guitarist Euronymous. The term helvete is Norwegian for “hell,” and comes from the Norse hels víti, translating to “hell’s punishment.” As co-founder and guitarist for the early Norwegian black metal band Mayhem, Euronymous was a central figure in the nascent music scene. He was the only constant member from the band’s formation in 1984 until his death in 1993. The basement of this early record store was a gathering spot for many of Euronymous’ friends and bandmates, making the space something of a mecca for black metal enthusiasts.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Life is a wheel that drives me mad / Trying to find my way / Life is a wheel don’t know where I’m bound / Sometimes I’ve had to say

Where can I hide / Where can I hide / Where can I hide / When so many times I’ve failed

Growing up Jewish, an offspring of the “old country,” and a touch privileged in New York City, I have eaten at the The Russian Tea Room many times. It was often said often said that the Tea Room’s Chicken Kiev was better than the best in Kiev. The Tea Room was simply one my favorite fancy restaurants growing up. After my high school graduation, the Sidels dined there for lunch. I have never been to Russia or Kiev. From the look of things, I likely never will?

On occasion I do pop by Grandma’s Russian Deli in Studio City for the most authentic and excellent borscht and chicken. Borscht is a winter routine I developed at Teresa’s in New York’s lower east side. The day I stumbled into Grandma’s, the woman who runs the spot was very flirty and intrigued. She took no time in talking to me in her tongue, curious about my heritage and delighted by my request for black bread and a greasy patio pastry to go with my soup.

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TVD Live Shots:
The Kooks with The Snuts at the O2 Brixton Academy, 2/19

The mid-2000s was easily the best and most exciting time to be a fan of Britpop. You had veterans like Oasis and Starsailor delivering their best work (just before self-destructing) and new artists like Kasabian, Franz Ferdinand, and The Editors being passed the torch to push the genre forward.

The Kooks found themselves smack dab in the middle of a movement while progressing toward a more hard-edged approach with much slicker production values. They flipped the formula on its head, going against the grain and bringing back the ’60s vibe, and it worked brilliantly.

The Kooks were the new kids on the block, but that ’60s influence brought with it an element of old school troubadour coolness that the new crop was missing. A throwback to The Kinks’ finest moments combined with the hipster factor of The Libertines and a focus on songwriting and storytelling would be the differentiator.

The band was apparently signed to a record deal by Virgin after only three months of being formed. Inside In/ Inside Out would become their awe-inspiring debut album in 2005 and would go on to sell over two million copies. It just goes to show that sometimes the major label engine works flawlessly, but it’s also a testament to the talent and attitude that define The Kooks. They’re interesting, relatable, and really fun to watch live.

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TVD Radar: Van Halen’s 1978–1984 catalog for Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab reissues, pre-ordering now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Van Halen’s first six multi-platinum selling albums will be released by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (MoFi), a company delivering the foremost audio technology and specializing in high-quality reissues of key albums, on its revered UltraDisc One-Step 180g 45RPM 2LP (UD1S) and hybrid SACD formats.

Exclusively limited to 10,000 numbered copies, each UD1S box set will be mastered from the original analog master tapes, pressed at RTI on MoFi SuperVinyl. In addition to the limited edition UltraDisc One-Step 45rpm vinyl, the numbered-edition Super Audio CDs (SACD) will come packaged in a mini-gatefold sleeve and be mastered from the original tapes. The first of the six studio albums, Van Halen (1978), is set to be released in the fourth quarter of 2022, and will be followed by Van Halen II (1979), Women and Children First (1980), Fair Warning (1981), Diver Down (1982), and 1984 (1984).

Mobile Fidelity’s ultra-hi-fi UltraDisc One-Step 180g 45RPM 2LP Box Set vinyl editions of the band’s first six albums can be pre-ordered now at, the world’s largest online retailer of high-end home audio and audiophile music, equipment, and accessories, including vinyl records and turntables. Pre-orders for a standard three-step process 180g 45RPM 2LP will be announced at a future date.

“Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab is excited to release Van Halen’s first six iconic albums in the UD1S and SACD formats for the first time,” said Jim Davis, president of Music Direct and Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab. “Fans will experience Van Halen’s original blend of raw power and Hollywood flair like never before through these limited-edition, audiophile-grade One-Step vinyl box sets.”

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 64: Scott Shannon

The top of the Empire State Building is an impressive place to say that you’re doing any activity, and it’s even more exciting to say it’s where you’re hosting a radio program. That’s what listeners in the New York City area imagined when they tuned to Z100 on their radio dial. Okay, so maybe in actuality they weren’t broadcasting exactly from that lofty location, but the theatrical panache solidified Z100 into what is now considered perhaps the most influential radio station in the world.

However, there was a time when that claim was not true. In the early ’80s, a successful host from Florida was sent to the swampy Meadowlands of NJ to create a radio station that would rival all others in the New York City metro area. That man was Scott Shannon and he is my guest this week to discuss a new film that has been released which explores those primal days at Z100 and how they climbed from the bottom of the ratings to the top. It’s called From Worst to First and also features memories and interviews from Jon Bon Jovi, Joan Jett, Nile Rodgers, Debbie Gibson, and—of course—Scott Shannon.

Shannon joins me to discuss the path that led him to Z100, how playing it safe is a fool’s game, and what was so special about the musical mix cooked up by Shannon and his compatriots.

So, while we’re not joining you from the top of the Empire State Building, it doesn’t matter, Shannon long ago reminded us all that radio is, indeed, a theater of the mind. No one says that you can’t close your eyes and imagine Scott Shannon and I conversing on the 102nd floor of the most iconic, Art Deco skyscraper in New York City. Man, would you just look at that view?

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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Graded on a Curve:
Shane MacGowan
and the Popes,
The Snake

I once saw Shane MacGowan and the Popes live. I suspect he may have been a mite inebriated. Actually he was clinging to the mic stand like a sailor in a strong gale, and the safe bet was he’d fall flat on his face. He didn’t. He saw it through. And he continues to see it through, but as anyone who’s seen the 2020 documentary Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan will tell you, he’s a in a terminal state of decline, his days as one of rock’s premier singers and songwriters almost certainly over.

Many wrote him off after The Pogues, tired of his erratic behavior and habitual alcohol and drug abuse, gave him the boot in 1992. He was in terrible shape, a shambles of a man, killing himself on the installment plan with strong spirits and every other illegal substance he could lay hands on.

But lo and behold he resurrected himself as the leader or the Popes, who released their debut LP The Snake in 1994. The smart money had it that the LP would be a sad and second-rate finale to MacGowan’s brilliant career. But The Snake proved them wrong. Human shipwreck or not, and try as he might, MacGowan had yet to booze his way to his own wake. The Snake is proof that while methodical self-destruction is in no way romantic, it needn’t stand in the way of making great art.

The Snake is a schizophrenic album, combining as it does hard rock and the Celtic folk punk favored by The Pogues. The LP also includes a pair of romantic duets that pair MacGowan with Sinead O’Connor (“Haunted”) and Máire Brennan (“You’re the One”). My initial reaction was that the parts didn’t fit. But as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” No one has ever accused me of having a big mind. But after a few listens even my small mind came to the conclusion that the Popes’ scattershot approach works well with MacGowan—who loves both the Sex Pistols and the Dubliners—at the helm.

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In rotation: 2/25/22

Hagerstown, MD | Hub City Vinyl puts Hagerstown on the map for music lovers: What started out as boxes of 45 rpm records culled from years of working on old jukeboxes—and a building in Hagerstown left to urban decay—has blossomed into Maryland’s largest record store and is bringing a positive change to Hagerstown’s downtown. Hub City Vinyl, located at 28 E. Baltimore St. in Hagerstown, is housed in a massive 20,000-square-foot historic Art Deco-style building that was saved from decades of neglect by its current owners, Sheree and Lloyd Thoburn. With over 20,000 records in their hoard, plus cassettes, CDs and music books, open seven days a week and with no online sales, Hub City Vinyl has become a must-visit for both locals and record lovers from as far away as Pittsburgh and Delaware. Customers are seeking everything from new hits out on vinyl to completely obscure, used records in nearly every genre imaginable.

Flamenco music enjoys the revival of vinyl records: Flamenco en vinilo (Flamenco on vinyl) was born with the purpose of recovering flamenco treasures that have never released on vinyl. When a song comes to mind, usually we go to YouTube or Spotify to listen. Streaming platforms have revolutionized the way we consume music, and have made it a very difficult for traditional record companies to turn a profit, especially those dedicated to underground genres and artists. Beyond the success of the digital market, vinyls reminiscent of old times are on the rise again. After the collapse of the market due to the closure of shops during the pandemic, there was a growth in sales of 39.6% in physical records, according to the organization Producers of Music of Spain (Promusicae). Forty-three percent of those sales were vinyl records, with around 10.7 million euros ($12.1 million) in revenue. In an effort to rescue the great myths of flamenco, the record label Flamenco en vinilo (Flamenco on vinyl) was born in Spain.

Queen artwork to be auctioned alone after second thrown away: Plans to sell artwork created for a pair of classic Queen albums were thwarted when one was thrown away. Art director David Costa wanted to sell the original artworks he created for the 1975 vinyl album A Night At The Opera and A Day At The Races from 1976. However, only A Day At The Races can be sold because Mr Costa believes he threw away the cover for the earlier record while clearing his studio. The artwork had been valued at between £5,000 and £10,000. “An unwitting triumph of tidiness over posterity, I’ve now come to the inevitable conclusion that A Night At The Opera became a casualty of my over-enthusiastic effort to begin clearing through 50 years of personal ephemera,” said Mr Costa. “A shame, but in the grand scheme of things, not a global catastrophe.”

Memphis, TN | Redemption in Vinyl: An under-recognized aspect of the punk and garage scene in Memphis is the musicians’ love of strange, old records. After all, one of the best models for kicking back against corporate rock hegemony is hearing how artists made music when rock and other genres were considered the radical fringe. Such was the context back in the ’90s, when the heathen underground played venues like the Antenna and Barristers. By day, many of those club denizens were fanning out to the city’s thrift stores, combing through vinyl. The Royal Pendletons were mainstays of the local scene then, often making the trip north from their home base in New Orleans to play with such local pioneers as Impala or the Oblivians. It’s no accident that all of the players in those bands — notably Michael Hurtt and Matt Uhlman of the Royal Pendletons, Scott Bomar of Impala, and Greg Cartwright and Eric Friedl of the Oblivians — are respected DJs and curators of rare vinyl to this day.

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TVD Live Shots: Turnstile, Citizen, and Coco & Clair Clair at Regency Ballroom, 2/22

There’s a bit of a hubbub over Turnstile’s latest LP Glow On. Released in August of 2021, the album quickly hit the radar of music fans old and new, making many “best of” lists and charting all over the place. With their North American “The Turnstile Love Connection Tour” kicking off in San Francisco with a pair of shows at the Regency Ballroom, it was the perfect time to catch the band live and see if all the hype is warranted.

Having somehow failed to have ever given Glow On a spin amidst the incessant brouhaha, the drive over the bridged served as the perfect opportunity to pull it up and see what was afoot for the upcoming evening. Let’s just say that there’s a lot to unpack in Glow On. Melodic with chorus-laden guitars, overdriven hardcore breakdowns, synths and some percussive creativity … one drive over the Bay Bridge was certainly not enough time.

The Regency filled up quickly and despite tickets still for sale at the door, the place was absolutely packed for openers Coco and Clair Clair who received an overly polite response from the crowd but fell in the category of “I don’t get it” for this dude. Next up was Citizen, with a fiery but brief 35-minute set that got the pit churning and had those that arrived early to grab a spot on the rail for Turnstile holding on for dear life in order to keep their spot.

A little Whitney Houston blasting over the PA got the crowd warmed up for Turnstile’s 9:45 entrance at which point all hell broke loose. Vocalist Brendan Yates literally attacked the stage—spinning, jumping and lunging as the band tore into “Holiday” in front of blinding strobes. The energy on the stage matched by the mob that packed the general admission floor, singing and dancing along, the hullabaloo punctuated by the occasional overly priced beers sailing overhead.

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New Release Section: Chris Robinson & Howlin Rain, “Sucker” & “Death May Be Your Santa Claus”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Ethan Miller’s Silver Current Records releases Chris Robinson and Howlin Rain’s studio-recorded debut together in the form of a special limited edition 7-inch of two Mott the Hoople covers: “Sucker” and “Death May Be Your Santa Claus.”

“In 2019, Chris Robinson came and sat in with Howlin Rain in San Francisco during our performance at The Chapel. We played Mott The Hoople’s ‘Sucker’ and it was a blast,” remembers Ethan Miller. “As the pandemic came in the following year, sit-ins and live gigs were a thing of the past for awhile and we turned our heads toward the studio for these kinds of endeavours of kinship and collaboration. CR chose one more of his favorite Mott songs and we were off to the races.”

Editions include a special black light screen-printed version, a small handful of signed test pressings and a retail version that will be released in shops for Record Store Day on April 23, as well as, digital formats. The tracks were recorded at Palomino Sound by Jason Soda, The Mansion SF by Eric Bauer, Studio In The Clouds by Brett Neuman and mixed and mastered at Louder Studios by Tim Green. Cover art was designed by Nik Gernert.

In 2021, Howlin Rain released its latest album, The Dharma Wheel. The critically-acclaimed collection was the sixth studio effort to date by rock and roll iconoclast Ethan Miller’s long-standing project. Howlin Rain recently opened two shows for Chris Robinson’s band The Black Crowes in Las Vegas.

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TVD Radar: Brian May, Another World reissues in stores 4/22

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “This, dear Listener, is the second release in my “Brian May Gold Series” reissues. To this album, historically my second solo record, we’ve applied the same loving care that we lavished on Back to the Light—repolishing and remastering but using the exact original mixes. Originally delivered 24 years ago, Another World is now reborn just as it was originally created.”
Brian May, 2022

When Brian May finished touring his debut solo album, Back to the Light, he began to throw open his doors to fresh possibilities. “I got all these little kinds of commissions and triggers and inspirations from outside,” said Brian, who took ownership of these “triggers” and moulded them into a second solo album in his own image. Now released as the second strike in Brian’s Gold Series reissues campaign, Another World pays rich, raucous and fully felt testimony to the legendary Queen guitarist and songwriter’s roots and reach: between its expansive energies and immersive craft, the album’s world-class quality rings out. The album receives a multi-format release April 22 along with the album’s original single release ‘On My Way Up.’

Driven by the potent drumming of the much-missed Cozy Powell, who tragically passed away prior to the album’s release, Another World is a superlative successor to Back to the Light. Drawn from many sources of inspiration, the record emerged in June 1998 as an album of roof-raising rock’n’roll and scorching guitar and indelible melodies, plus a couple of impassioned covers. The album is full of dangerous unguarded feelings and uplift, with guests including Jeff Beck and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins helping to stoke its fires.

Warmly received by the press on its original release in 1998, the album birthed four electric singles in ‘The Business (Rock on Cozy Mix)’, ‘On My Way Up’, ‘Another World’ and ‘Why Don’t We Try Again’. It also ushered Brian and his band out on a hugely successful 42-date tour covering a large swathe of the world and packing out prestigious venues including London’s Royal Albert Hall.

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Graded on a Curve: New in Stores for February 2022, Part Four

Part four of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases presently in stores for February 2022. Part one is here, part two is here, and part three is here.

NEW RELEASE PICK: Kendra Morris, Nine Lives (Karma Chief) Although based in New York, vocalist Morris is from Florida, having moved to NYC with a band that’s fortunes didn’t pan out, Instead, she recorded her debut album Banshee for the Wax Poetics label a decade ago and then self-released a follow-up EP “Babble” in 2016. Nine Lives reinforces the artist as a specialist in neo-soul, an increasingly crowded field that Morris navigates pretty well for a couple reasons. The first is that she uses her obvious vocal prowess to productive ends. Put another way, she doesn’t oversing (the stumbling block or outright downfall of so many vocalists), which would be easy to do in an attempt to stand out in a crowded field. Instead, Morris flows rather than strains with numerous flashes of sweetness that combine well with the instrumental scheme, the thrust of which is tangibly neo-soul in nature but without being rigidly throwback. Instead, there are recurring psychedelic soul gestures and production values that strike my ears as post-hip-hop. The key is restraint, even when the strings come in. B+

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: Keith Tippett, Julie Tippetts, Philip Gibbs, Paul Dunmall, Mahogany Rain (577) Like Onosante, a recording from 2000 featuring pianist Keith Tippett, guitarist Philip Gibbs, drummer Peter Fairclough and multi-horn man Paul Dunmall that 577 reissued last year, Mahogany Rain was initially released by Duns Limited Editions, with its original date of issue 2005. As the name of the label should make obvious, the number of available copies for both sets was finite; 100 copies for each, in fact. Some of the discs issued by Dunmall’s enterprise had numbers as low as 50, in a catalog totaling 67 CDrs and a DVDr, all issued between 1999-2009. That means Duns releases, at least in physical form, are pretty scarce, if not commanding ridiculously high prices on the collector market, in part due to the format and also the type of music offered (mostly avant jazz and free improvisation). But if the dollar amounts for Duns stuff aren’t (with a few exceptions) overinflated, that shouldn’t infer a lack of listener interest, as Onosante’s reissue was well received (and included on TVD’s Best Reissues of 2021 list).

Three of Onosante’s participants also contribute to Mahogany Rain, though there is really no mistaking the two CDs, foremost due to the input of Tippetts, wife of Keith Tippett (taking the original spelling of his surname). As Julie Driscoll, she sang pop-rock with Brian Auger and the Trinity, but in the 1970s, she began focusing on experimental vocals and became quite prolific as such. Her voice is in excellent form here, moving from quiver-scat to sustained meditative passages to hints of the operatic to some almost poppish motion near the end of this always interesting and often exquisite 63-minute improv (the length necessitating the CD format for reissue). Tippetts also plays wooden xylophone, guiro seedpod, Tibetan singing bowls, Balinese xylophone, thumb piano, bells, gopichand, and bamboo kahn, an array that helps to navigate these interactions away from Western improv norms (husband Tippett also plays woodblock, smile drum, maracas, and pebbles). Dunmall concentrates on saxophones and Gibbs the guitar to superb results. If abstract, the music is inclined toward spaciousness and even calm. Terrific. A

Sussan Deyhim & Richard Horowitz, Desert Equations: Azax Attra (Crammed Discs) From 1984-1995, Crammed Discs amassed, by the label’s count, 35 releases in their Made to Measure undertaking, an endeavor once and occasionally still considered a sublabel, but described by Crammed Discs instead as a recently reactivated series, and more specifically a series with a loose focus on composers creating for other artforms, particularly film, dance, and theater. Released in 1986, Desert Equations: Azax Attra was the eighth Made to Measure entry, one that differs a bit from the tendency outlined above, offering a collaboration between Iranian vocalist Deyhim and US-based electronic composer Horowitz, who’s noted as an expert on Middle Eastern music (he also lived in Paris and Morocco for a long stretch prior to the ’80s). If aspects of this recording tie it to its era, and mostly from Horowitz’s side of the equation, that’s largely through a bold embrace of the possibilities of the time, an attitude that combines well with Deyhim’s groundbreaking presence. The record’s wildest moments belong to her. A-

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