Monthly Archives: December 2022

Graded on a Curve:
The Best of 2022’s New Releases, Part One

It seems like it’s never been more difficult to be a working musician than right now, and it also seems like there’s never been as much quality new music. Here’s part one of the best new releases of 2022.

20. Tyshawn Sorey Trio, Mesmerism (self-release) Tyshawn Sorey is a fantastic drummer, with his ability shining on this set featuring pianist Aaron Diehl and bassist Matt Brewer. Yes, a piano trio, but organized by the drummer (giving it a tangible stylistic twist) as the group tackles a few jazz standards and works from the Great American Songbook (“Detour Ahead,” a tune associated with Bill Evans, “Autumn Leaves,” Duke’s “REM Blues”) plus a few less celebrated gems (Horace Silver’s “Enchantment,” Paul Motian’s “From Time to Time,” Muhal Richard Abrams’ “Two Over One”). Boppish, but very fresh.

19. Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves, Hurricane Clarice (Free Dirt) The eponymous 2019 album from banjoist de Groot and fiddler Hargreaves is a terrific debut, and this environmentally themed follow-up, which references both a noted storm from the 2018 hurricane season and the great Brazilian novelist Clarice Lispector, is even better. Combining vocal numbers with often torrid instrumentals (“Nancy Blevins” is a smoker) and original material with inspired trad choices, Hurricane Clarice is as smartly assembled as it is instrumentally sharp.

18. The Reds, Pinks & Purples, Summer at Land’s End & They Only Wanted Your Soul (Slumberland) Based in San Francisco, the Reds, Pinks & Purples, an act propelled by the songwriting prowess of one Glenn Donaldson, have had a prolific year; in addition to this pair of LPs, the first one issued in early February and the second in mid-October, there’s been four digital only EPs and a full-length digital only instrumental album that was originally a companion to the Summer at Land’s End vinyl. Amongst all this activity, the consistency shines. Diggers of Felt, The Clientele, and Creation Records, step right up.

17. Tomas Fujiwara’s Triple Double, March (Firehouse 12) Triple Double features Fujiwara on drums and vibraphone, Gerald Cleaver on drums, Thumbscrew bandmate Mary Halvorson on guitar, Brandon Seabrook on guitar, Ralph Alessi on trumpet, and Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet. The instrumental configuration brings the name of the band into focus as the sound is appealingly distinctive, the double brass in particular. There are plenty of harried moments across this set, and a whole lot of guitar scorch and wiggle. Indeed, March could easily serve as the doorway into the avant-garde for curious rock fans.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Best of 2022’s New Releases, Part Two

To borrow a directive for Robert Fripp and Brian Eno: no more pussyfooting. Here’s part two of TVD’s Best New Releases of 2022, with thoughts to consider and sounds to savor. Everybody have a safe and pleasant holiday and a great 2023.

10. Tyler Mitchell featuring Marshall Allen, Dancing Shadows (Mahakala Music) Craft Recordings’ fresh edition of The Futuristic Worlds of Sun Ra came out in 2022, a fine reissue (if not strong enough to land on our Best Reissues of 2022 list). Marshall Allen played on Futuristic Worlds, and he’s in exemplary form on Dancing Shadows by Tyler Mitchell, a Sun Ra alum from the ‘80s and again later post-Sun Ra’s passing when the Arkestra was under the direction of Allen. The connection to Futuristic Worlds is notable as many of the pieces here are Sun Ra compositions from the same era. Raucous and rhythmic.

9. Joy Guidry, Radical Acceptance (Whited Sepulchre) Bassoonist-composer Guidry self-describes as “Black, Fat, Queer and Non binary.” Radical Acceptance is their debut album, its title taken from a therapeutic practice of honoring the whole person and in turn reducing self-harm and promoting positive mental health. Guidry’s music is appropriately wide ranging, Opening with a spoken artist’s statement railing against toxic judgements, the selections alternate ambient pieces with robust free jazz but with a clear compositional component from Guidry. Fully realized, yet promising.

8. The Whitmore Sisters, Ghost Stories (Red House Records / Compass Record Group) Siblings Eleanor and Bonnie Whitmore are experienced musicians (Eleanor has made four records with husband Chris Masterson as The Mastersons and Bonnie has released four solo albums), but this is their first as a duo, and it’s an utter delight, packing a rootsy yet pop savvy wallop upon introduction and refusing to lessen in its appeal after repeated listens. Ghost Stories is a direct byproduct of the Covid pandemic, cut during a sisterly visit but avoiding the scaled-down aura of so many pandemic era recordings.

7. Éliane Radigue & Frédéric Blondy, Occam XXV (Organ Reframed) Organ Reframed is an experimental music festival focused on the organ and only the organ, curated by composer/performer and London’s Union Chapel music director Claire M Singer, with their first release a commissioned work from the renowned electronic composer Éliane Radigue, her first piece for organ and an extension of her Occam Ocean series, with the commission performed by multihyphenate Frédéric Blondy. It is a gradually building and fascinatingly subtle work nearer to experimental drone than to the cathedral.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Best of 2022’s Reissues and Archival Releases, Part One

To expand upon the intro to yesterday’s kick-off, these lists aren’t about one-upmanship. If the majority of the entries below are from lesser-known artists, they made the list legitimately, by bringing joy to the ears, which is fitting for the season. Scaling down to single disc and double disc sets, here’s part one of the Best Reissues and Archival Releases of 2022.

20. Sonic Youth, In/Out/In (Three Lobed Recordings) Sonic Youth’s disillusion in 2011 was a tough one for fans for a variety of reasons; that they were still functioning musically at a very high level (I have a particular fondness for Rather Ripped, which rates up there with the band’s finest albums) certainly contributed to the bummer deal. And so, getting this LP of mostly instrumental material recorded between 2000–2010 was a surprise and a total treat. Five tracks, two of them hovering in the ballpark of 12 minutes, underscore that the Sonic Youth stands amongst the best rock bands to ever do it.

19. Cheri Knight, American Rituals (Freedom to Spend) Later known for work in an alt-country mode solo and in Blood Oranges, Cheri Knight’s early 1980s output while based in Washington State (moving there to attend Evergreen State College) is art-pop with Minimalist tendencies that’s aligned with the fertile post-punk underground of the time. The DIY spirit is strong as the similarities to the concurrent NYC downtown thing are palpable, but the arts college ambiance lends distinctiveness to the collection. Everything here is sourced from compilations, most highly scarce, making this a real public service.

18. David Blue, Stories (eremite) The best album by Blue, released in 1971 by Asylum to no fanfare. An accomplished singer-songwriter and colorful fringe character (and sometime actor) on the scene, Blue started out in the mid-’60s as a replicator of Dylan-isms (his self-titled debut released by Elektra), but by the point of Stories was nearer to Leonard Cohen augmented with non-twang country-ish currents a la Neil Young. Maybe not the most earthshattering reissue of 2022, but it’s always nice when an early ’70s singer-songwriter album hits closer to Townes Van Zandt than to James Taylor.

17. William S. Fischer, Circles (Real Gone) Released in 1970 on Embryo, Herbie Mann’s Atlantic Records subsidiary (but with nary a heavy flute in earshot), Circles is a fascinating record from composer-arranger-multi-instrumentalist Fischer. Blending symphonic soul-funky rock with then nascent electronic composition (the serious stuff, as Fischer studied electronic composition in Vienna in the mid-’60s), Circles is a bit like Sly Stone or Shuggie Otis with a side order of Subotnick and a touches of Hot Buttered Soul. There is also a non-Mann-ish jazz connection, as Ron Carter and Billy Cobham are on board.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Best of 2022’s Reissues and Archival Releases, Part Two

This list could’ve been a helluva lot longer. Like, easily three times as long, which excludes the unheard releases. So if you’re favorites aren’t here, please assume they are hovering just outside the top 20, or just didn’t get a listen, because time is finite. And as Booker T. told us, time is tight, so here’s part two of the Best Reissues and Archival Releases of 2022. Part one is here.

10. Savage Republic, Tragic Figures Expanded 40th Anniversary Edition (Real Gone) & Africa Corps Live at the Whisky A Go Go 30th December 1981 (Independent Project Records) Tragic Figures remains one of the more underrated records to have emerged from the US underground of the 1980s, expanded here to 2LP by Real Gone with an extra album of rehearsal recordings. Afrika Corps’ live set is from the same period, with nearly all the cuts from Tragic Figures represented during the set. It’s a sweet complement to the studio work, as the Flipper meets Einstürzende Neubauten feel burns bright during “Real Men.”

9. Pepper Adams with the Tommy Banks Trio, Live at Room at the Top (Reel to Real) Pepper Adams (who passed in 1986) might not be the highest-profile baritone saxophonist (that honor likely still belongs to either Gerry Mulligan or Harry Carney), but he’s far from obscure, having worked consistently for decades as a leader and a key sideman on records and on the bandstand. In September of ’72 he lit out for Alberta, Canada between stints in the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Big Band and hooked up with a local trio led by pianist Tommy Banks. This 2LP documents the performance, imperfect and lowkey, yet sublime.

8. The Flamingos, Flamingo Serenade (Real Gone) Most great doo-wop LPs weren’t recorded as such, instead being compilations of singles with a few unreleased cuts possibly added in to pad out the runtime. Flamingo Serenade is an exception, and indeed a thematically constructed LP full of The Flamingos’ vocal group interpretations of pop standards cut at the behest of End Records producer George Goldner. What could’ve been a snooze fest is transformed by inspired harmonies and in-the-pocket instrumental backing. And you’re not going to find an original that’s not marred with crackle.

7. Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru, Spielt Eigen Kompositionen (Mississippi) This is a fresh edition of Mississippi’s earlier reissue of Ethiopian Nun Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru’s privately pressed debut album from 1967, originally a 10-inch that now sells for hundreds of dollars. The set’s five tracks were also included on Éthiopiques 21: Piano Solo, a set devoted entirely to the works of Gebru, who was born in 1922 and is still with us today. A documentary on Gebru is titled Honky-Tonk Nun, but her vibrant piano compositions are in the classical tradition with distinctive Ethiopian flavor.

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Graded on a Curve: The Best of 2022’s Box Sets & Expanded Releases

Every year it’s worth repeating that these lists are in no way striving to be authoritative and are by no means definitive, as the recordings of 2022 remaining unheard dwarf this list, even when this one combines with the lists to come later this week. A preponderance of old stuff with newer material in the top spot: here’s our picks for 2022’s Best Box Sets and Expanded Editions (that is, releases offering three LPs or more).

10. V/A, Life Between Islands, Soundsystem Culture: Black Musical Expression in the UK 1973–2006 (Soul Jazz) There’s no shortage of compilations devoted to Jamaican music currently in the store racks, which makes it difficult to stand out amongst the sheer volume. Soul Jazz’s thematic releases are consistently near the top of the heap through ambitiousness and sheer listenability, and this 3LP is no exception. The Jamaica-UK connection is long-established, but Life Between Islands goes deep, spanning five decades and never running out of gas as the 20 selections cover a wide range of reggae sub-genres.

9. Elvin Jones, Revival: Live at Pookie’s Pub (Blue Note) Recorded in late July of 1967, just three nights after John Coltrane’s death, this 3LP set is a wonderful discovery, with drummer Jones up front in the mix and in often spectacular form. Joe Farrell, who made his biggest mark in the fusion scene, dishes some potent Trane-esque tenor sax, the mysterious Billy Greene is sharp on piano (organist Larry Young sits in on piano for “Gingerbread Boy”), and Wilber Little holds it down on bass. Had Farrell concentrated on tenor and left his flute at home, this would’ve climbed a little higher on the list.

8. The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, Grounation (Soul Jazz) When roots are mentioned in relation to Jamaican music, it’s generally referring to the roots reggae style as personified by Horace Andy, Toots & the Maytals, The Congos, and of course, Peter Tosh and Bob Marley. But Grounation is an altogether deeper and stylistically broad plunge into Jamaican roots, and with an intense historical focus. Reggae is part of the equation, but The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, led by drummer Count Ossie, can swing into horn-laden grooves that at times radiate a similar intensity to Dustin Laurenzi’s Snaketime. Wow.

7. Frank Kimbrough, 2003–2006 – Volume One: Lullabluebye / Volume Two: Play (Palmetto) This set, available as a 2CD and 4LP, combines two CDs released consecutively by Palmetto but by different trios (Kimbrough obviously the shared link), Lullabluebye with bassist Ben Allison and drummer Matt Wilson and Play with bassist Masa Kamaguchi and drummer Paul Motion. It serves as an excellent tribute to the departed pianist. 2003–2006 expands the possibilities of the piano trio configuration rather than just luxuriating in them, focusing almost exclusively on original material, mostly Kimbrough’s.

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Happy Holidays!

We’ve closed TVD’s HQ for the holidays. 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 January 3, 2023.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Continuing my month long “Best of 2022 Idelic Hits,” episode three is ordered differently than our top two episodes. For one thing, I spaced and only spun 19 instead of 20 songs (ha!), the top of which have a an extremely mellow vibe. Some of the songs from the top of 22 feel like oldies and some feel unfamiliar.

Whatever you make of it, I’m pretty sure the gods of rock ‘n’ roll are smiling upon this stack of records

Here’s the third installment of The Idelic Hour’s golden shower of Idelic Hits for 2022.

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TVD Live Shots: Social Distortion with Greg Antista & The Lonely Streets at the House of Blues, 12/12

On a chilly evening in Anaheim, Social Distortion turned up the heat in front of thousands of rabid fans at the world-famous House of Blues. Mike Ness and company blew the doors off the joint with a 17-song set that had the capacity crowd singing, dancing, and moshing all-night long. It’s what one would expect at a Social D show, and highlighted why this band is so beloved and appreciated here in the OC.

For many, Social D is the epitome of the local punk rock scene in OC. Most shows are sold out immediately and fans wait for hours to grab rail positions in order to be up close and personal with Mike Ness and the boys. Well, that script got flipped on Monday night—for the very first time, I was front and center for my first Social Distortion show. Let’s dig in.

Opening the night was a killer band from So Cal called Greg Antista & The Lonely Streets. From the jump, their set was raucous and upbeat, priming the pump for the headliners which were about an hour and a half from liftoff. As Greg Antista took the stage with a huge grin, I knew the set would be special—and it ended up being that and a whole lot more. The band as a whole killed their set with a reckless abandon, rarely seen from openers. Closing my eyes, the band had a Ramones type of sound that l really loved. I’ll definitely be digging into this band more in the not-so-distant future and recommend you do the same.

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TVD Live Shots:
The Cure at Wembley Arena, 12/12

It’s my final show of the year, and it was an incredible one. Night two of three sold-out shows from post punk legends The Cure at the equally impressive Wembly Arena; it was epic. What was initially supposed to be a tour supporting the much anticipated new album became a celebration of the band’s entire catalogue. 

Songs Of a Lost World will be the band’s first batch of new songs since 2008’s 4:13 Dream, and from the three songs played live, it’s not only going to live up to the hype, but far surpass it. While I don’t think anyone expects the album to be released within the remainder of the year, who knows, maybe we’ll get an unexpected Christmas gift. I imagine is Robert ready to push the button at any given moment.

Until then, we’ll just have to replay the bootleg videos from YouTube and dive into the anticipation of the show coming back around next year. Long-serving members Simon Gallup, Roger O’Donnell, and Perry Bamonte, were joined by former Bowie guitarist extraordinaire Reeves Gabrels, and drummer Jason Cooper brought the wall of sound that is The Cure to life with exquisite attention to detail.

Robert Smith slowly walked the entire length of the stage, taking a moment to pause and gaze into the crowd of twelve thousand plus. He was certainly grateful, and it was a bit ceremonial before he got behind the mic and unleashed that signature voice. Opening with a new song is certainly bold, but Jesus, “Alone” was drenched in that brilliant, lush slow burn of a rhythm that reminds us all that these guys invented the genre.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Hollies,
The Hollies’ Greatest Hits

Celebrating Tony Hicks on his 77th birthday.Ed.

When it comes to scrumptious English pop confections, it’s hard to top the fluff produced by The Hollies on the Epic and Imperial labels during the mid-sixties. While their contemporaries were producing big psychedelic statements, these Mancunian lads were whipping up irresistible little ditties that were pure froth. “Carrie Anne” is one of the most innocent and loving slices of pure popcraft ever recorded.

And 1973’s The Hollies’ Greatest Hits offers a wonderful–if inherently limited–overview of the Hollies’ not-so-grand ambitions. These proud lightweights adhered like superglue to the format of the 3-minute pop song–“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” is a serious outlier at 4 minutes, 19 seconds–but they knew how to make those 3 minutes count. A whole hell of lot happens in “Dear Eloise,” and the deliriously dizzy-making “On a Carousel” contains gorgeous multitudes. When it comes to great songwriting teams, the names of Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks, and Graham Nash should never be forgotten.

It goes without saying that this compilation will not appeal to existentialists, hard rockers, or people who recoil at the word “cute.” That said, the LP doesn’t play up the cute as much as it might have. I can certainly understand why such post-Nash compositions as 1969’s heavy-on-the-soul “He Ain’t Heavy,” 1972’s lovely but lugubrious “Long Dark Road,” and that same year’s surprisingly hard rocking “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” are included herein, but they don’t feel much at home; a comp that focused solely on the Nash-era Hollies would sound more of a piece, and would provide more pure pop pleasure to people looking for frothy pop thrills.

I also wish this greatest hits didn’t jump back and forth in time in a craven effort to put the more recognizable hits up front; side two starts with a song from 1969 followed by three songs from 1967, then fast forwards to two songs from 1972. But hey, that’s show business, and I can only presume that the folks who put the comp together–and omitted some great U.K.-only hits in the process–knew best.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 93: Tiffany

In the 1980s, the mall was the place to be and there is a reason why modern society is nostalgic for that insulated wonderland of days gone by. Before the internet and our endless stream of information, there was less to process, and fewer things to worry about. Blissfully ignorant innocence was on full display amid indoor atriums, food courts, and all the shopping one could hope for. Most significantly, the mall gave American youth their first taste of adult-level freedom.

When the Muzak wasn’t playing, one might have heard a cavernous echo of sound floating down the corridors and followed the noise to discover its origin. If you were lucky enough, you’d find teen-icon, pop princess, Tiffany performing her inescapable hits in front of adolescent multitudes. These performances were innovative in that they were engineered to bring the music to where the fans already were, rather than the other way around.

A lot has happened since those days: America is different, the malls aren’t the same, and neither is Tiffany. Like the rest of us, she has grown and matured and recently released a brand-new album titled Shadows, which is a hard-hitting rock record looking toward the future with one or two winks at those past golden days. Sure, the mall still exists now, and as you’ll learn, Tiffany might even be found walking the halls, but—for those of us who remember the old days—it’s different, the world isn’t the same. But, Tiffany’s optimism and dedication to her craft invites us to inject a little of that much-needed ’80s buoyancy into our modern world.

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:
Celebrity Skin

Lots of people despised Courtney Love back in the day. They viewed her as the talentless and vulgar villain in the lurid, drugged-out soap opera that was her marriage with Kurt Cobain, and if you listened to some of them, she was actually responsible for murdering the poor guy. Bullshit. To all of it. And to prove them all wrong, Love’s band Hole produced one of the very best albums of 1998, Celebrity Skin.

Celebrity Skin was Hole’s third LP, and there are those who prefer its predecessors (1991’s Pretty on the Inside and 1994’s Live Through This) because Celebrity Skin constituted a turn away from post-grunge punk towards a more pop sound. In addition, unlike most of the songs on Hole’s previous efforts, the bulk of the songs on Celebrity Skin were team efforts, with another two being written by guitarist/collaborator Eric Erlandson without Love’s assistance. Finally, Love saw fit to enlist the help of Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy “Ol’ Cueball” Corgan, who gets partial songwriting credits on five of the LP’s twelve tracks.

The songs on Celebrity Skin aren’t merely pretty on the inside; they’re pretty on the outside as well. The LP’s title is its theme—Love abandons overcast Seattle for sunny California, and the LP’s pop leanings reflect that fact. Which isn’t to say it’s themes are sunny as well—far from it. It’s the contrast between sun-drenched melody and dark message that makes Celebrity Skin so potent a work.

Both of the LP’s two opening tracks make this clear. The title track has a guitar riff as sharp as a razor, and opens with the great lines “Oh, make me over/I’m all I wanna be/A walking study/In demonology,” after which Love runs down the cost of Hollywood celebrity (“No second billing ’cause you’re a star now/Oh, Cinderella, they aren’t sluts like you/Beautiful garbage, beautiful dresses”) and failure (“When I wake up in my makeup/Have you ever felt so used up as this?/It’s all so sugarless/Hooker, waitress, model, actress/Oh, just go nameless”). But Love ends it all on a defiant note, “You want a part of me/Well, I’m not selling cheap/No, I’m not selling cheap.”

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In rotation: 12/16/22

‘The vinyl business is only going to grow. At the moment it’s where Mp3 players were in the ’90s.’ Vinyl records are one of the music industry’s biggest comeback stories. Once on the verge of being relegated to history’s list of obsolete technology, sales of the format are now thriving in the streaming age and growing in major markets. In the US, for example, according to the RIAA, mid-year revenues (on a retail basis) from vinyl albums grew 22% to $570 million, while vinyl’s share of the physical market increased from 68% to 73%. In the UK, as of September 2022, year-to-date, vinyl albums generated retail revenues of £80.9 million, up 12.2% YoY, according to stats published by the Entertainment Retailers Association. Indeed, vinyl has become so popular with music consumers that manufacturers are coming under increased pressure to keep up with growing demand. One company that believes it has the solution to long lead times in the vinyl manufacturing space is UK-based elasticStage.

Lincoln, RI | In an age of streaming, Kangaroo CDs & Tapes still giving customers something to hold onto: It’s a June night in 1997 and the Wu-Tang Clan just released their new album, “Wu-Tang Forever.” Two-hundred eager customers line up at Kangaroo CDs & Tapes on Mineral Spring Avenue for the store’s midnight release of the album. There’s just one problem – the town of North Providence does not allow midnight sales. Store owner Linda Bowen recalls the police arriving on the scene that night to shut it down. As she remembers it, she didn’t realize the late-night release would be an issue, but the police “were nice enough to let all the kids in line pick up their CDs and tapes.” In today’s world of Spotify and various other music streaming services, Bowen doesn’t encounter situations quite like that one anymore. But she’s still making sales and serving customers at the storefront that’s been a well-known part of the local community since it opened in 1989.

Phnom Penh, KH | Musician archives classic vinyl records: Keo Sinan, a former musician, has kept 401 vinyl records which date from the 1940’s to 1975 safe for more than 50 years. Recently, the 78-year-old told The Post about his last wish. For more than 20 years, he has dreamt of opening a small museum in his hometown in Baray district in Kampong Thom province, to display the music of the Kingdom’s “Golden era” for the next generation. Sinan was born in 1944 in Svay village of Baray commune and district, Kampong Thom province. He currently lives in Boeung Samreth village of the same commune. In his long life, he has been blessed with six children and 20 grandchildren. He spoke to The Post at a November 30 launch party for Khmer edition of the graphic novel The Golden Voice Queen, which tells the tale of famed singer Ros Serey Sothea. “Today I have 401 records of songs from the 60s and 70s, with about 900 songs. Most of the songs are by Sin Sisamuth, Ros Serey Sothea, Pen Ron, Keo Sokha (Keo Montha’s young sister), Nov Narin and a few other singers,” he said.

Duluth, MN | Globe News, landmark store in Superior, changing ownership: A landmark Superior collectible store—along with its iconic sign—has been sold to new owners who plan to maintain all its nostalgic charm. Globe News owner Tom Unterberger announced last week that he has sold the historic building at Tower Avenue and Belknap Street along with all its contents to a partnership group headed by a longtime customer. Unterberger and his wife, Jill, purchased the building with the help of his parents in 1982 and slowly converted its corner newsstand into a retail store filled with books, music, trading cards and a wide variety of vintage gifts. The store will officially change hands Jan. 1. …Globe News includes a used record store called the Vinyl Cave and a backroom filled with comic books, sports memorabilia, compact discs and trading cards. A front section features new and used magazines, DVDS, books, greeting cards and gifts among other things.

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TVD Live Shots: W.A.S.P. and Armored Saint at the Wiltern, 12/11

It was the final stop on W.A.S.P.’s 40 Years Live World Tour 2022, and it lived up to all the hype and then some in front of a sold out crowd in Los Angeles on Sunday night. Joined by hometown heroes Armored Saint, both bands crushed their respective sets and highlighted why each are still at the pinnacle of their game some four decades later. This was metal at its finest in the City of Angels, and a perfect performance to wrap up an insane year of concerts here in Southern California.

I’ve been following W.A.S.P. and Armored Saint since I was a teenager, and they are still just as relevant today as they were back then in the heyday of metal here in Los Angeles. On a chilly Sunday evening, both bands left it all on the table as they wrapped up their 40 Years Live World Tour in front of a capacity crowd at The Wiltern Theater. Each set was sonically amazing and transported me back to a time when all that mattered was the music.

Opening Sunday’s show was none other than the mighty Armored Saint. I’ve seen this band many times over the years, but this particular show was by far the best I have ever seen them live. They took the stage with a reckless abandon and had the pedal to the metal throughout their 11-song set. John Bush’s vocals were spot on, and his typical high intensity performances paled in comparison to the supercharged version we saw on Sunday night.

The Sandoval Brothers (Phil, lead guitar and Gonzo, drums) were simply incredible and were nicely complemented by vicious rhythms of guitarist Jeff Duncan. And I’d be remiss not to mention the bad ass mother fucker on bass, Joey Vera. His energy was pegging at 11 all night long and such a joy to watch.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Dave Clark Five, “Try Too Hard” b/w
“All Night Long”

Celebrating Dave Clark on his 83rd birthday.Ed.

Of all the marquee British Invasion acts, nobody typified the concept of “singles group” more than The Dave Clark Five. Of albums they had many, but the qualities that made them a special and enduring outfit are best served by the two brief sides of a 45. During the mid-‘60s their short-players stormed both the US and UK charts with a frequency that remains impressive, and “Try Too Hard” b/w “All Night Long” from 1966 is one of their finest efforts.

While they are well-remembered today, I also suspect that few people these days would rank the Dave Clark Five as one the tiptop exemplars of the Brit Invasion, and that’s an interesting scenario because during the phenomenon’s initial wave, only The Beatles achieved a higher level of popularity. Contemplating the subject for a bit leads me to a handful of reasons for the lessening of the DC5’s status over time.

Perhaps the biggest factor is that none of the Five’s non-compilations have landed in the rock ‘n’ roll canon. I tend to think that any well-rounded, historically focused record collection is incomplete without the inclusion of Clark and company, and no doubt many others feel the same way. But I also agree with those asserting that in the run of albums they made while extant, nothing represents them better than UK Columbia’s ’66 release of the 14-track The Dave Clark Five’s Greatest Hits.

This is not to infer that the original long-players are negligible. To the contrary, ‘64’s Glad All Over and the following year’s Coast to Coast, both issued in the US by Epic, are quite good. But starting in the mid-‘70s and continuing until 1993, none of the Dave Clark Five’s music was commercially available in any format, leaving the used bins and the radio dial as the only ways one could access their discography.

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