Monthly Archives: April 2022

Graded on a Curve: Videodrones,
After the Fall

After the Fall is the fourth album from Videodrones, the Danish duo of Jakob Skøtt and Kristoffer Ovesen, and the first to feature the live drumming of Skøtt; he’s noted for handling the sticks in Causa Sui, the flagship band on El Paraiso Records, which releases Videodrones’ latest on LP (limited to 500 on black vinyl with an obi strip) and digital April 29. Live drums and guitars in tandem with the ever-present analogue synths helmed by Ovesen do facilitate a shift in the duo’s sound, but the new record registers as a satisfying progression rather than a disruptive break with the past.

It should be mentioned straightaway that rhythms of the programmed (or at least synthetic) variety are a component in Videodrones’ pre-After the Fall discography, though they aren’t the main focus. And the presence of rhythms is worth mentioning, the better to stress that the duo’s work wasn’t an ambient undertaking, but instead was initially focused upon cinematic atmospheres, and as the title of their 2016 debut Mondo Ferox emphasizes, sounds extending from the realms of Euro-exploitation.

Said approach continued in second album Nattens Hævn (2017) and Atavistic Future (’19), but was smartly tempered a bit, and then diversified with stylistic elements ranging from the electronic wing of the mid-20th century avant-garde to early electronic pop to even flashes of ambient. This is especially true of Atavistic Future, with the breadth highlighting Videodrones’ consistent forward development.

After the Fall manages to extend this trajectory even as expanding the instrumentation risks backsliding into relative normalcy. Right away in opener “Void Facer,” a prog undertone is established but with an equal emphasis on melody as the album’s selections generally favor brevity. As one of the longer cuts on the record (breaking six minutes), the second track “Scorpio” is structurally multifaceted as kosmische elements get integrated into the scheme.

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In rotation: 4/27/22

Austin, TX | Record Store Day sales spike amid soaring U.S. vinyl sales: Waterloo Records sales rebounded to pre-pandemic levels for Saturday’s “Record Store Day,” a global event filled with vinyl and CD releases. Why it matters: Record Store Day usually marks the biggest sales day of the year for Waterloo and other stores, and after a two-year decline, owner John Kunz said 2022 Waterloo sales topped pre-pandemic 2019 figures. The big picture: Kunz estimated 200 music fans were in line by the time the store opened at 7am, hoping to get their hands on exclusive releases from their favorite artists. Some of that interest was driven by Taylor Swift’s exclusive—and very limited—7″ release of “the lakes,” which led Waterloo and other Austin record stores to create a drawing for customers to meet the surge in demand.

Los Angeles, CA | The Vinyl Frontier: Record Shopping in Los Angeles: Record store owners across the city weigh in on the changing landscape of brick-and-mortar locations in the online era. The target audience for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza probably never shopped in the record store chain that lends the movie its title, which populated Southern California from 1969 until the mid-1980s. With a flagship kitty-corner from the Whisky a Go Go, Licorice Pizza stood out for its name—coined by the comedy music duo Bud & Travis as slang for an LP—against the competition of Tower Records, The Wherehouse, and the mall chains. Each location carved out a niche, Licorice Pizza founder James Greenwood told Gary Calamar and me a decade ago, when we were writing Record Store Days: From Vinyl to Digital and Back Again. “We went for service and convenience,” he recalled. “In some instances, price, too—we were truly thinking about satisfying the senses.” That meant providing couches and hangout areas in the store along with free licorice and, at times, pizza as well.

Brussels, BE | Belgian music sales skyrocket to highest level in years: After a tumultuous period due to the pandemic, music sales in Belgium reached the highest level in years in 2021, mostly driven by streaming, but also as a result of the revival of vinyl and record shops. In 2021, the Belgian music industry’s turnover was almost €91 million – up by 16% from 2020 while also beating the figures for 2019, according to figures from the Belgian Recorded Music Association (BRMA), the federation that represents music distributors and producers. Since 2017, the number of digital music sales has increased from under 50% to as high as 78% in 2021. “More and more music lovers and fans are finding their way to their favourite artists and the immense offer of music because the music industry succeeded years ago in bringing together its entire all music offerings into one streaming service,” Patrick Guns, Chair of BRMA, said.

Nashville, TN | Historical Commissioner Talks Ernest Tubb Record Shop Preservation: …Ever since the announcement, concerned individuals have been trying to figure out how both the building and the business could be preserved in its current state. Though preserving the business is considerably more difficult since it deals with a private enterprise, according to the Executive Director of Nashville’s Metro Historical Commission, W. Tim Walker, music fans and preservationists need not worry about the building itself. Due to local designations, the historic structure at 417 Broadway cannot be demolished to make way for a new development. “It is in a local historical overlay district. It’s in the historic Broadway Preservation District, which runs from 1st to 5th Avenue, and picks up all the properties on both sides of the street,” W. Tim Walker tells Saving Country Music. “The building cannot be demolished. It’s a contributing, or historic building to that district.”

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TVD Live Shots: Tech N9ne with X-Raided, ¡Mayday!, and Joey Cool at Soma, 4/15

Rap shows are always a great time. You have the music, the energy, and the excitement all in one place. But when you add Tech N9ne to the mix, it takes it to a whole new level and then multiplies that by 10. His recent performance at Soma in San Diego was outstanding and one of the best complete shows (regardless of genres) I have seen in years. If you get a chance to see Tech N9ne on his 2022 ASIN9NE Tour, don’t miss it—it’s guaranteed to be a show that you won’t forget for a very long time.

I don’t know about you, but I love live music. Whether it be a huge arena show or an intimate warehouse one-off, there is something about raw musical performances that fire me up. Friday’s show at Soma was no different for me, aside from the fact that one of my favorite artists of all time was taking the stage. I’ve had the privilege of covering Tech N9ne many times over the years, and the one thing I can say about his performances are they are consistently solid on all levels. This includes sound quality, show production, and the best-in-class support acts he brings out on tour.

Opening up for Tech N9ne at Soma were three outstanding acts: X-Raided, ¡Mayday!, and Joey Cool. While each set was only 30 minutes in length, fans were not shortchanged by any means as each artist brought their own swagger to the stage in their own special way. Joey Cool’s rhymes were smooth and electrifying, ¡Mayday! (including Bernz, Wrekonize, and NonMS) brought the Miami heat, and X-Raided added a healthy dose of reality to the Strange Music bill. While many opening acts fall flat in anticipation of the main attraction, these cats were collectively on a higher level. I could see each headlining their own shows based on the sheer talent they exhibited on Friday night.

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TVD Radar: Chicago/
The Blues/Today! Vol. 1
reissue in stores 6/17

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Craft Recordings proudly announces an audiophile-quality 180-gram vinyl reissue of Chicago/The Blues/Today! Vol. 1, the first installment of the seminal 1966 blues trilogy.

Featuring recordings by some of the era’s most exciting artists—including Junior Wells, J. B. Hutto, and Otis Spann, this disc (and the following two volumes) would have a far-reaching influence on modern music. Set for release on June 17 and available for pre-order today, this special reissue leaves no detail untouched. Pressed at France’s MPO, the LP features all-analog mastering from the original stereo tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and is presented in a tip-on jacket, showcasing the album’s iconic, original artwork. An exclusive Mid-Century Olive color pressing is also available via (limited to 300 worldwide), alongside official Vanguard Records merchandise.

This breakout pressing follows Craft’s 2021 Record Store Day-exclusive box set release of the complete trilogy, which debuted the freshly remastered audio and was described by Classic Rock magazine as an “exquisite vinyl upgrade for a crucial collection.” Meanwhile, Part-Time Audiophile proclaimed, “A day spent enjoying Chicago/The Blues/Today! will re-alter your DNA, recharge your heart and soul, keep your butt dancing and your senses filled, swinging to its electric, bluesy brew.” And The Vinyl District noted “…this set exemplifies the sound of the Chicago blues in the 1960s. It still delivers an astonishing kick.”

While the style of Chicago blues—distinguished by the use of electrified guitars, amplified harmonicas, a high-energy rhythm section, and the occasional dose of distortion—emerged in the years following WWII, its origins began decades earlier, when Delta blues musicians left the segregated South for cities across the Midwest. In Chicago’s South Side, legendary bluesmen like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Big Bill Broonzy, and Willie Dixon pioneered the thrilling new sound. By the early ’60s, a new generation of artists, including Junior Wells, Otis Rush, and Buddy Guy, were at the forefront of its evolution.

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UK Artist of the Week: Bay Bryan

This week’s Artist of the Week is Bay Bryan, an emerging singer-songwriter who is equally comfortable as their drag persona, Queen Bayard. They recently released their enchanting new single “Sweet Joan” and it’s a rather delightful listen if you ask us.

Combining alt-folk with baroque-pop sensibilities,”Sweet Joan” is a charming little ditty that instantly soothes the soul. Bay’s soft, emotive vocal is at the forefront, accented beautifully by undulating viola and clarinet. The song follows the story of a sorceress who risks her own life to save her mortal lover Joan from a mysterious and magical illness.

The track is taken from Bay’s upcoming debut concept album, The Meadow, due for release in 2023.

“Sweet Joan” is in stores now.

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Graded on a Curve:
Naja Naja, “Naja Naja” EP

On April 29 the Beijing-based duo Naja Naja release their debut, a self-titled 6-song EP, on vinyl and digital through Wharf Cat Records and Beijing’s bié Records. It’s the handiwork of bassist Gou Gou and guitarist Yuhao, the twosome splitting vocal duties as they hone a decidedly Euro-centric early 1980s sound complete with programmed drums and electronics. Launching from a post-punk foundation, the moodiness of darkwave figures prominently, as do a futuristic aura, rhythmic bedrock, and often disaffected voices that reveal a Germanic influence, specifically Motorik and the Neue Deutsche Welle. Altogether, it’s a cut above the norm for contemporary acts operating within this stylistic spectrum.

Gou Gou and Yuhao of Naja Naja have made it plain that their forthright intention in collaborating musically was to “have fun.” As these half-dozen tunes unwind, it’s unmistakably clear they’ve succeeded, even as the record’s general thrust is somewhat removed from boisterous grooving. However, for the black turtleneck sweater and battered Burroughs paperback crowd, if such an amalgamation still exists (and one can only hope), Naja Naja’s debut essentially qualifies as a party record.

Opener “New Toy” is even aptly described as danceable, though Gou Gou’s speak-singing, halfway between alienation (template: Fad Gadget) and breathily seductive (template: post-punkers going pop), provides appropriate counterpoint, calming any urgencies over getting too exuberant, at least until the guitar bursts forth in the track’s back end and the rhythm kicks into high gear.

It’s Yuhao who sings in “Dong Dong,” sounding a bit like a young Moe Tucker transplanted to late ’70s Manchester or Berlin. This is a unmitigated positive. And the potential to gyrate is not lost here; indeed, Yuhao gets a little breathy herself as she repeatedly intones the phrase “dance with the drag queen” (talk about having fun) but the song’s motions are slow and robotic, with the electronic elements and the nicely gnawing guitar progressions deftly interwoven.

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In rotation: 4/26/22

UK | Canals, charcuterie and beer: the weird ways record shops are staying afloat: …necessity was the mother of invention. “The vinyl revival was tentative when we opened,” says Johnson. “So we needed other sales avenues to support it.” In his case, that meant a licensed bar and wheeled record shelves that could be pushed aside to make an events space – then later, pushed by local DJs Alex Paterson of the Orb and Kev “DJ Food” Foakes, creating an online radio station,, streaming live from the shop. This kind of enterprise keeps shops in the public eye, but also connects musicians and local communities. Antony Daly says having in-store sets brings younger DJs into a shop for the first time and “watching a vinyl DJ has then opened them up to the idea of buying records and learning to play from turntables”.

Madison, WI | Former Sugar Shack Records employee to open Boneset Records: Musician and artist Maggie Denman is taking over Sugar Shack’s inventory and plans to launch a new store on East Johnson Street. Maggie Denman says that when she worked at Sugar Shack Records for owner Gary John Feest, he was “the best boss I ever had.” Feest is pretty high on his former employee, too. So high that this coming Monday, Sugar Shack Records inventory will become the property of Denman. Upon learning earlier this year that his 41-year-old store’s lease was ending on Atwood Avenue, Feest tried to sell his stock of vinyl, tapes, and CDs, with no luck. Rather than selling it in parcels or donating it to St. Vinny’s, he’s giving it to someone who is eager and ready to run her own shop.

Dublin, IE | Golden Discs to open ‘concept store’ at flagship Dundrum location: Shop will stock wide range of clothing and merchandise from popular films and shows. Golden Discs is to open a new “concept store” at its flagship Dundrum Town Centre location in Dublin on Saturday. The company said the new store format will be dedicated to “super fans and lovers of popular culture.” It will stock a range of products including posters, books, bags, stationary and merchandise from Marvel, DC, Lucas film, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter among others. There will also be a range of licensed clothing, including t-shirts, hoodies and baseball caps from films and television shows. The store will also carry pop culture products and specialist collectibles and figurines from the world of film and entertainment, as well as gaming and growing subgenres like Manga and Pokemon. “We’ve seen huge increase in demand for merchandise over past few years and the time has come for a dedicated store to serve this growing market,” said Golden Discs chief executive Stephen Fitzgerald.

Fort Worth, TX | New Record Shop Puts Its Spin on Sundance Square: Need to get in tune with music? The new record shop, Union Station will set you on track. Even if someone were to miss the pink doors that stand to introduce Union Station, the music that can be heard on the street definitely would. Buried in the heart of downtown Fort Worth, awaits the new record shop. Its owner Patrick McGrew’s ambition is to bring people together from different generations and bond over something everyone can enjoy-music. “People will be walking down the street and will be like ‘what is that,’ and then come in. Music is what catches their attention first and something I want to highlight it more,” McGrew says. “Music is something that can always bring people together. No matter what your background is, I feel like everyone can relate to some kind of music.” A Jackson Five vinyl was the first vinyl before his collection grew and what it took for McGrew to find his groove with the art of vinyl. Members of his family would gift him a vinyl around holidays, encouraging his fascination.

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TVD Live Shots: Boy Harsher with Troller at The Belasco, 4/19

PHOTOS: MATTHEW BELTER | Jae Matthews and August Muller, the darkwave EBM outfit known as Boy Harsher have amassed a veritable cult following. In 2018 they reissued their early catalogue on their own label, Nude Club, while steadily generating new releases, ensuring their already immortal legacy is kept within their purview. With a sold-out tour stretching until August, Boy Harsher is one of the biggest acts to come out of the electronic underground.

The Belasco’s historic, cavernous ballroom radiated with the best dressed goth and fetish attire in LA as Austin-based opener Troller played for the quickly swelling venue. The crowd was receptive to their shoegaze/dark wave fusion; their share of converts imminent. It was all in anticipation of Boy Harsher taking the stage, and their performance was nothing short of seductive.

Sifting between their 6-year catalogue of music, Matthew’s voice, a crescendo of breathy lulls and high pitch screams, alternated between two microphones cutting through Muller’s synth and drum machines. Their simple algorithm—which could easily come off as basic live—is instead a provocative and sanctifying experience, including one bad ass dance party.

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TVD Radar: Licorice Pizza is back—with L7’s Bricks Are Heavy 30th anniversary reissue in stores 9/30

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Licorice Pizza is back. The renowned SoCal independent record chain is now not only a record store, but also a record label and lifestyle brand. Late last year, Licorice Pizza opened its first new physical location in Studio City, CA. New owner, Kerry Brown states, “We’re living that old-school Licorice Pizza vibe every day! Former employees and customers from those early decades stop into the store all the time and retell their stories.”

Licorice Pizza is proud to announce as its first vinyl release a special reissue marking the 30th anniversary of L7’s seminal third album, Bricks Are Heavy. Originally debuting at #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, the album’s 11 tracks are digitally remastered by Howie Weinberg (Ramones, Pixies, Metallica). Produced by Butch Vig (Nirvana, Garbage, Smashing Pumpkins), this limited edition release will be available with luxurious packaging on both gold and black vinyl with rare artifacts from the archive.

More information and preorders are available here for the September 30, 2022 release date. In addition to the label paying homage with anniversary reissues, music and additional content from sister company Rolling Live Studios will be released as specialty records.

The Studio City store has local events, artist signings and performances, and is an official Record Store Day location. “Our goal is to bring back community,” says Brown. “We encourage all creatives—from music, comedy, TV, movies, and all entertainment—to join us as we support those independent artists who need it the most. Having a record store is a childhood dream come true!”

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The Best of Radar:
The Podcast with
Evan Toth, Episode 53: Colin Blunstone

It’s hard to look back at the British Invasion and not be amazed at the level of skill and talent that came across the pond to impact and influence the revolutionary pop music that was being made worldwide at the time.

One of the major bands to break out of the UK was The Zombies who hit it big in 1964 with, “She’s Not There” and continued to have hits throughout the 1960s. The wonderfully romantic and singular voice of the band was that of Colin Blunstone who is my guest this week.

The career of the Zombies took a curious turn at the end of the decade, the band broke up soon after releasing their final album, Odessey and Oracle, but fate had other plans for the group. Their song, “Time of the Season” became a hit of epic proportions and Odessey and Oracle slowly grew into what is now seen as one of the cornerstone achievements in rock and roll history.

Following the break-up of the group, Blunstone set out to discover what the next move for his career was and began to release solo albums beginning with 1971’s, One Year which celebrates its 50th anniversary and is being re-released this year featuring 14 previously unreleased recordings and nine unrecorded compositions with never-before-seen photos and new liner notes penned by Blunstone. Of course, the project will include a new vinyl pressing mastered by Joe Lizzi and cut by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio.

Blunstone continues to record and tour with the Zombies, but this anniversary is an important opportunity to take a peek into his solo career and pay special attention to his luxuriously exquisite vocals and unique artistic directions. Keep an eye out for Blunstone to visit the states soon and perform his inaugural solo album. During this interview, Colin’s computer—and my own—were both running low on battery power. Do we make it through the whole chat? You’ll have to listen to find out, but just remember, even rock stars need to charge their devices.

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: Sweet,
New York Connection

What with the Sweet being one of the greatest rock bands in history and all, it was demoralizing to find myself sitting amongst Andy’s Scott’s Sweet (more on that soon) on an economy flight over Germany. They’d fallen far in the world since the golden years of “Ballroom Blitz,” “Fox on the Run,” and “Love is Like Oxygen.” They looked fat, hung over–defeated. And they’d been reduced to—or so said the bleary-eyed drummer (I think it was the drummer) sitting next to me—playing the European oldies glam rock festival circuit. They were on their way to sunny Finland as we spoke. They hadn’t released an original album in years.

Lo and behold, after a 10-year silence Andy Scott’s Sweet self-released 2012’s New York Connection, an album of mostly NYC-themed covers (Sweet includes one original). Why the Andy Scott? Following the departures of band cofounders Brian Connolly (lead vocals) and Steve Priest (bass and lead vocals), Scott formed his own Sweet, only to be followed in turn (although not at the same time) by Connolly and Priest, each of whom formed their own Sweets. Confused? I am. In fact the only people who could keep up, or cared, were their small cadre of aging fans. But while the Priest and Connolly Sweets left no recorded legacy, Andy Scott’s Sweet released three LPs between 1992 and 2002, none of which appeared on anyone’s radar.

New York Connection isn’t a product of the Sweet of yore. Gone are the goofy touches (the great introduction to “Ballroom Blitz” and that immortal “‘Cause she thinks she’s the passionate one!”) that made their music so much fun. Gone as well are the lavish production and intricate arrangements of legendary glam rock producers Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn, who led them to fame and made 1974’s Desolation Boulevard a glam-bam-thank you-ma’am touchstone of the Glitter Rock era.

What you get instead are head-banging heavy metal interpretations of some hardly daring song choices along the lines of the Velvet Underground’s ”Sweet Jane” and Ace Frehley’s “New York Groove.” But they throw in some real odd numbers; you hardly expect to run into Electric Frankenstein’s “All Moving Faster” or Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” in such classic rock company.

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In rotation: 4/25/22

UK | Vinyl fans flock to UK record shops for Record Store Day 2022: Some customers queued from the early hours to get their hands on their desired RSD release. Vinyl lovers have been flocking to independent record shops across the UK today (April 23) for Record Store Day 2022. As part of RSD’s 15th anniversary, hundreds of exclusive physical releases – including vinyl, CD and cassette – were made available at over 260 participating indie retailers nationwide. Fans can get their hands on special records from the likes of Blur, Taylor Swift, Elvis, U2, Bring Me The Horizon, Sam Fender and Blondie. Many celebrated managing to bag ‘The Lakes’ 7″ by Swift, who is the global ambassador of Record Store Day 2022. “Still can’t believe this happened but I’m so glad to have another addition to my Taylor Swift collection, especially one of my favourite tracks for my first RSD!” one customer wrote on Twitter. Another Swift fan shared a picture of their clear vinyl of ‘The Lakes’, captioning it: “Three hours later and she’s finally mine.”

Indio, CA | Coachella 2022: Record store day draws new and veteran collectors: As Saturday, April 23 marked record store day nationally, both new and experienced vinyl collectors took the opportunity to expand their collections at Coachella. Crate diggers descended upon the centrally located Record Safari! on the festival fairgrounds to indulge in the 15th annual record store day, in which record store staff, customers and the artists collaborate. Through sales, exclusive promotions and vinyl re-releases, the goal is to keep the tradition of record collecting alive. Some customers had to wait outside in a line at Record Safari! on Saturday as there was a special section of records set aside for the holiday, said Ivan Castaneda, spokesman for the record store. While there were no exclusive releases at the store this year, Castaneda said they had a special selection of releases, featuring some artists performing at this year’s festival. “I was not expecting a line like this,” Castaneda said.

Hazard, KY | Eastern Kentucky record store sees great turnout for Record Store Day: Queen City Records in Hazard experienced Record Store Day for the first time. Store leaders said they saw great success and plan on participating in future Record Store Days moving forward. The shop was scheduled to be open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. but stayed open for as many customers as possible. Co-owner Mary Jo Everidge said it was busy all day. “We’ve had people camping out this morning,” she said. “We’ve had a couple customers here since six o’ clock this morning. We didn’t open until 11, so, we’ve had a very, very good turnout.” Everidge said, when the store opened, they immediately had 15 to 20 people come in and shop.

Fresno, CA | Vinyl records making a comeback in Fresno for one-day, here’s why it’s booming again: The annual national “Record Store Day” brought collectors out by the hundreds Saturday in Fresno. According to Recording Industry Association data, Vinyl records are making a comeback. Vinyl records outsold CD sales in 2020 and 2021 and that hasn’t happened in decades. Although it’s great for record shop owners, they say, it’s seeing another bigger issue come from it. Paul Cruikshank, owner of Ragin’ Records, had over 500 people waiting in two lines when he open the doors at 7:30 A.M. The lines went for blocks around the Tower District. “Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees as a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1400 independently owned record stores in the US and thousands of similar stores internationally.”

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

All of my dreams, they fall and form a bridge / Of memories where I can’t get back / All of my dreams, they fall and form a bridge / Of memories where I can’t get back / To you, you

What if our hard work ends in despair? / What if the road won’t take me there? / Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold / What if to love and be loved is not enough? / What if I fall and can’t bear to get up? / Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold / We could stay gold

Could stay gold / Stay gold

Post Easter egg hunting found my son Jonah and I watching Francis Ford Coppola’s flick The Outsiders. In truth, young dude was too lazy to read the novel cover to cover during spring break. All said, both father and son were moved by S.E. Hinton’s tale of Greasers vs. Socs and the dreamy trio of Ponyboy, Dallas, and Johnny Cade.

Digging through my record collection, it was no surprise that Robert Frost’s poem and this tale of two sides of the railroad tracks that “stay gold” could seep into the subconscious of many of my favorite songwriters.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 70: Craft Recordings’ Mark Piro

It’s a crazy world out there, so why shouldn’t we take some time to stand on line, converse with fellow music lovers, and purchase some beautifully recorded and manufactured vinyl records? Record Store Day is just the opportunity to do such a thing and while many record labels have something interesting to offer, Craft Recordings continues to make an enduring name for themselves when it comes to catalog choices and excellent vinyl manufacturing quality.

To tell us all about it, Craft head of A&R, Mark Piro, joins me this week to explore Craft’s RSD releases and explain their backstories and the sonic chain of custody for each one. Craft’s offerings this year are certainly an eclectic bunch, we’ll discuss the following: A compilation from Craft’s Jazz Dispensary sublabel; the Go Ahead Punk…Make My Day West Coast punk compilation making its first appearance on vinyl; the 30th anniversary reissue of The Brand New Heavies’ Heavy Rhyme Experience: Vol. 1; the 25th anniversary of Conor Oberst’s early project, Commander Venus, The Uneventful Vacation; Vince Guaraldi’s Trio’s “Baseball Theme” which is available as a 7-inch single for the first time, Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section is here but this pressing is in all analog and in mono; Collective Soul’s 25th anniversary of their Disciplined Breakdown album, Esther Marrow’s 1972 under the radar gem, Sister Woman; and an all-analog 35th anniversary reissue of Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers’ final album, Modern Lovers 88.

You’ll hear us discuss all of these albums, and more: including some of the records found behind us on our competing record shelves. So, join Mark and I as we sort through Craft’s offerings for Record Store Day 2022 and enjoy the luxury of discussing the art of collecting and listening to great records.

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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Record Store Day is Now a Book as Well

Marking just its 15th anniversary, Record Store Day is now an established enough cultural event to warrant its own book. Record Store Day: The Most Improbable Comeback of the 21st Century (Rare Bird, $20) by Larry Jaffee tells the tale of the triumph of vinyl as music’s hard copy of choice in part because of the annual day that calls attention to the mom and pop stores that have been the mainstays of the record business, and to celebrate the format that has not only just survived but is recently thriving.

In it, Jaffee recounts the rise of vinyl sales in recent years, concurrent with the increasing embrace of Record Store Day, including testimonials from a number of artists to the vinyl format and their formative years hanging out in such cherished places. “The timing was good,” Jaffe says in an interview. “I think it was better they waited until 15 years as opposed to ten, because the story is so much better at this point and had this really unusual arc to it in the sense that the pandemic changed the game for a lot of stores especially, and labels.”

“Nobody knew how much effect being closed for four months, for example, would have,” Jaffe says. “What it did was to force certain stores who wouldn’t have done e-commerce to get up to speed on doing online sales. One of the great things also was how the industry shared information on best practices to keep everyone safe.”

It was also in recent years that vinyl re-emerged as music’s top physical object after years of being dominated by the compact disc. Jaffee had been commissioned to write the book by Record Store Day co-founder Michael Kurtz after covering the vinyl resurgence for a number of publications. He traces its beginnings to a 2007 conference of three major independent record store coalitions that had been “friendly rivals” before.

“It was at that conference, the record day concept was green-lit,” Jaffee says. “The funny thing is they waited until the morning of last day to try to get support for this concept and there were only 10 people around, so I did my best to track down each of those people.” Of them, some were still hung over or otherwise recovering from the partying that had gone on the night before. “A few of the principals couldn’t even give exact details of what happened.” he says. “But enough did.”

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