Monthly Archives: February 2023

New Release Section: Fishbone, “All We Have
Is Now”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Fishbone is a band. Fishbone is a Familyhood. Fishbone is Red Hot. Today Fishbone share their new single “All We Have Is Now” and its accompanying video. The song is taken from the Bottle Music for Broken People compilation, also released today via Bottles to the Ground, Fat Mike’s new label started by Mike and NOFX.

“All We Have Is Now” was recorded and produced by Fat Mike and Fishbone’s Norwood Fisher notes: “Fishbone and NOFX go waaaay back. We’re in the mutual admiration club, great appreciation for our individual approaches to the music that we’re known for. I don’t remember exactly when Fatty 1st expressed interest in producing Fishbone but it seems like it was a long time ago. A random encounter in a parking lot in more recent history, led to the current song. Mike’s batshit crazy but highly functional, with incredible integrity and follow through. Just right for Fishbone’s batshit crazy, dysfunctional world. Yet we are functional enough to make it this far, asses! It was a long time coming and we hope you love it like we do. Enjoy if you will.”

He continues, “Sometimes a note to self finds its way to the song form. ‘All We Have Is Now’ is a prime example. Philosophically, it’s far from a new concept. Eckard Tolle, Allan Watts, Joseph Campbell and many others have contemplated and pontificated on this topic. The pursuit of self inquest, in the hopes of experiencing an extended, extraordinary sense of Being, the song, wrapped in a fully blown Fishbone party, reminds me to take advantage of the gift of the ever present now. Feel free to interpret it however it speaks to you. Ain’t nuttin’ buttah potty…”

After years of touring and rotating members, 2023 finds Fishbone back to their most solid line up which includes four of its six original members. “All We Have Is Now” marks the first release with Chris Dowd back in the band since 1994 and it’s the first song recorded with these members in 29 years.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Velvet Underground, Loaded

Celebrating Doug Yule in advance of his 76th birthday tomorrow.Ed.

Choosing your favorite Velvet Underground studio LP (and I’m talking here about the famous four released between 1967 and 1970) is a helluva lot tougher than choosing your favorite Beatle. I mean, everybody KNOWS who their favorite Beatle is, but if you’re like me, your fave VU album varies in response to a whole lot of variables including mood (Angry? Gimme White Light/White Heat! Euphoric? Make mine The Velvet Underground!), romantic status, drug intake (Bad trip? Gimme White Light/White Heat again!) and for all I know barometric pressure.

At this moment in time 1970’s Loaded, the Velvet Underground’s final studio album (if you don’t count 1973’s Squeeze, that Doug Yule solo LP featuring none of the Velvets we all know and love) is at the top of my list, and this despite the fact that in many ways it’s the least “Velvet Underground” of the VU’s quartet of great studio albums.

Why? Because for a multitude of reasons that have yet to be explained–although I’m certain poor mental health, burnout, business worries, and galloping drug abuse had a lot to do with it–on Loaded Lou Reed saw fit to offload a lot of the heavy lifting on to Doug Yule, the rather faceless fellow who stepped into John Cale’s shoes at Lou Reed’s behest in 1968. Yule may be an outlier in your standard Velvet Underground hagiography, but he sings lead on four of Loaded’s ten songs, plays lead guitar on some more, and plays some of the LP’s most fiery solos–and all of this in addition to playing bass, piano, and organ. Oh, and he also plays drums on half of the album’s songs, as Maureen Tucker was on maternity leave and didn’t play on the album, although she’s credited on the LP for doing so.

It can be argued, of course, that the only real “listenable” difference lies in Yule’s newfound prominence as a singer, and that even this is no big deal seeing as how he and Lou sound so much alike that even The Village Voice’s Robert Christgau saw fit to praise Lou’s vocals on “Lonesome Cowboy Bill” when it was actually Yule singing. Hell, for a long time I thought that was Lou singing on “Who Loves the Sun”–he didn’t quite sound himself, it’s true, but I wrote it off to an oddly adulterated batch of methamphetamine.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 99: Vanessa Downing of Samuel S.C.

Think about the “what if” scenarios in your life. Not really regrets. Not things you wished had gone differently, but situations in which—because of circumstances beyond your control—you’ll never truly know what could have been or where the road might have led. However, every so often, we get lucky. We get the opportunity to remove the detour from the pathway and we are offered a second chance at taking the road that we didn’t take.

Nearly 30 years ago, way back in the mid-90s, Vanessa Downing was in a Pennsylvania based rock and roll band called Samuel. They were good, they played a lot of gigs, and then things started to get serious. The band was courted by A&R reps and were slated to record their debut with indie/punk engineer and musician Bob Weston (Mission of Burma, Volcano Suns, Shellac). However, as you’ll learn in this interview, decisions were made and the band’s momentum was halted.

While they released a few 7-inches and a EP during their day, recently, the thought was floated among the band members who had continued to keep in touch. What if we revisited some of those old songs? What if we added a few new ones? What if we engaged the flux capacitor and recorded the album that we would have recorded back then?

So, here they are—slightly rebranded as Samuel S.C. with a new album called, High Places (ORG/Art Monk Construction). Vanessa joins me on this episode to explain the rise—and fall—and rise again—of the band and point out some of the sights along the road not taken.

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: Cornershop,
England Is a Garden

You love a band, you lose touch with said band or they get lost in the never-ending parade of new bands, and then you happen upon them again and they remind you why you loved them in the first place. Such is the case, for me, with Britpop’s Cornershop, who once upon a time stood high atop the pops thanks to the 1997 smash hit “Brimful of Asha” and the albums Woman’s Gotta Have It (1995) and When I Was Born for the 7th Time (1997).

But they reinserted themselves back into my consciousness with 2020’s England Is a Dream, which comes very close to matching anything they’ve ever done. Cornershop has always stood apart due to British Asian band co-founder/singer-songwriter Tjinder Singh, who takes defiant pride in his Indian heritage in the face of being called a wog on public streets. Indeed, he’s flipped the script by using that “wog” in more than one song title (e.g., “First Wog on the Moon”). And Indian music has informed his work; one of the finest cuts from Woman’s Gotta Have It is “6am Jullandar Shere,” which he sings in Punjabi. He also sang in Punjabi on Cornershop’s cover of “Norwegian Wood.”

Cornershop’s LPs have always been shambolic affairs—not lo-fi exactly, but hardly slick studio affairs. This has lent the band’s albums an immediacy you won’t find otherwise amongst the bands on the late nineties’ Britpop scene, and such is the case with England Is a Dream. Unlike the band’s old Britpop contemporaries Cornershop would sound as home playing in your living room as they would at Glastonbury. Cornershop’s shoes may not shine, but they make for very pleasant walking.

England Is a Dream opens with the infectious pop garage rocker “St. Marie Under Canon,” a Hammond organ-drenched drum stomper that recalls both The Monkees and Bob Dylan’s “The Mighty Quinn”—which Cornershop has covered. If this one doesn’t make you giddy you’re a real git, and it’s followed by “Slingshot,” a lazy and altogether pleasant number that fronts the flute and Singh’s distorted vocals, with the organ and electric guitar wandering in later to add additional color.

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In rotation: 2/24/23

UK | Record Store Day 2023: Here are 13 key releases available exclusively at this year’s Record Store Day – including Taylor Swift and The 1975: The list of exclusive releases to be launched at vinyl’s biggest day of the year has been released. Record Store Day has become a major event for vinyl lovers since the inaugural event in the US in 2007 sold barely more than 10 different limited edition pressings by artists including Death Cab for Cutie, R.E.M. and Stephen Malkmus. Now over 200 independent record stores across the UK take part each year, selling thousands of copies of exclusive vinyl, from new releases to old classics. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, April 22, with queues expected to start outside Scotland’s music stores the evening before. With hundreds of limited edition records available to buy, we’re taking a look at some of the releases likely to be sought after – and how much you can expect to pay for them (using the Rough Trade store as a reference – prices may vary slightly between stores).

CA | When everything is digital, why we long for media we can hold in our hands: People are rediscovering the value of DVDs, records after years of digitizing everything: Struan Sutherland is a self-described “movie guy.” He started collecting movies on VHS as a teenager. Now, as an adult, he collects DVDs — and estimates that he owns about 500 of them. He’d own quite a few more, he says, except that he sells or gives away some movies he no longer likes. “I’ve always liked the idea of owning the movies I like; the ones that I want to watch over and over again,” said Sutherland, 40, from his home in Halifax. “Things come and go from streaming, so it’s nicer to just own the movies that you sort of identify most with.” It’s a feeling increasingly shared by consumers and collectors across Canada. After years of digitizing everything, people are rediscovering the value of physical assets. DVDs, vinyl records and film cameras are all experiencing a renaissance. Even cassette tapes are making a comeback.

Bloomington, IN | Growing pains—buried treasure: …I’ve observed that my generation hovers between comfortably situated nostalgia and the hustle toward the next great thing. We can either take our time, or we need it now, and we need it from Amazon. We hover between Goodwill and Shein. Between Spotify and Apple Music. Between quality and quantity. We teeter back and forth on a seesaw, contemplating worldly issues of great magnitude with poise, and those of small importance with aspirating anxiety. But almost everyone I know my age owns a vinyl record. This format of listening hasn’t gone away, and that’s for a reason. The record store is special, for one. The owners who you know and keep up with on social media. The rare, buried treasures that you find when you close your eyes and flip to an LP in the $5 crate. It’s more than music — it’s an immersive experience. It’s human connection through the higher entity that is music.

Mold, UK | Mold independent record shop going strong after 14 years: They say ‘if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life’, and for one Flintshire businessman, it couldn’t be more true. Earlier this month, Colin Trueman celebrated the 14th anniversary of his Mold record shop, VOD Music, and he has no plans for the music to stop any time soon. The blink-and-miss-it shop on New Street is the smallest of its kind in the UK at 67sq ft but every inch is filled with vinyl, CDs, cassettes, books, merchandise and accessories. And of course you get the incredible knowledge of owner Colin. In his time with VOD Music, the 67-year-old has seen plenty of ups and downs in the industry but says the demand for vinyl is still there, and growing. This is no more evident than on the annual celebration of independent record shops, Record Store Day (April 22), when Colin will see a queue of customers lined down the street, all waiting patiently. And those customers cover a broad spectrum of ages and music tastes.

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New Release Section: Frankie Rose,
“Come Back”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Frankie Rose shares “Come Back,” the third single from her new LP, Love As Projection, and the most synthpop leaning track on the record.

After spending nearly two decades establishing herself across New York and Los Angeles independent music circles, Frankie Rose returns after six years with a fresh form, aesthetic, and ethos embodied in her new full-length album Love As Projection, out March 10 on Slumberland. Celebrated by countless critical and cultural outlets over the years for her expansive approach to songwriting, lush atmospherics, and transcendent vocal melodies and harmonies, Love As Projection is a reintroduction of her established style through the new lens of contemporary electronic pop.

Painstakingly written, recorded, and engineered through some of the most tumultuous times in history, this new collection of songs harnesses the power and propulsion of Frankie’s early DIY-centric punk days without losing sight of the immersive, dreamlike world-building she’s been known for in recent years. Her love of new wave hooks and post-punk drive remain omnipresent, elevated by her utilization of modern production and an improved, polished palate of state-of-the-art instrumentation.

It’s more than a rebirth, a refinement, a resurgence—it’s a culmination of influence, a newly-defined scope using the tools at her disposal, a long-form project that was heavily considered for half of a decade—resulting in the most personal and accessible collection of art-pop that Frankie has delivered yet, propelling her signature melodies and dense, ethereal harmonies into the future.

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TVD Radar: Ben Webster, In Hot House first vinyl reissue in stores 4/22

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Tenor saxophonist Ben Webster (born Kansas City, 1909) needs little introduction, Webster is regarded as one of the three foremost swing era tenor saxophonists—the two others being Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young. His ballad playing and sound inspired such later fellow saxophonists as Archie Shepp, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane. Webster became famous for his unique sound, quick tempos, his solos that contained great virile rhythmic momentum, a rasping timbre and an almost brutal aggressiveness filled with growl, while his ballad playing was breathy, tender and sensual.

The list of his collaborations is long, Ben Webster worked, recorded and played with legends from the likes of Art Tatum, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Roy Eldridge and Dexter Gordon—but a dream came true when he was offered a permanent job in Duke Ellington’s orchestra where his personal style matured. Webster stayed with Ellington until 1943, after which he formed his own groups and played with other small ensembles. From 1952 on he spent his time between Los Angeles and New York playing, freelancing and recording with a variety of soloists, among them high-profile singers like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, and Frank Sinatra.

Despite excellent reviews of his albums, it was difficult for Webster to find steady work in the US during the early 1960’s, and when in 1964 he got offered to play for a month in London he accepted and sailed to England. Webster never returned to the United States. In Europe he found plenty of work, playing residences in Scandinavia, settled in Amsterdam (1966-69) and then in Copenhagen (where he even has a street named after him). He toured frequently, playing in clubs and at big festivals with local bands or with visiting American musicians.

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Graded on a Curve: Five from Penrose Records

Founded by Gabriel Roth a.k.a. Bosco Mann, Penrose Records is a subsidiary of the Daptone label that digs into the fertile Southern California souldies scene and with a focus on 45s. On February 24 Penrose is adding five more to their discography, one each by Jonny Benavidez, Los Yesterdays, The Altons, Vicky Tafoya, and Thee Sacred Souls, all covered below.

The SoCal souldies experience is a Chicano scene based in a deep love of pre-Beatles soul, R&B, R&R, and doo wop, styles that sound positively exquisite blasting from the speakers of a souped-up low rider sedan. Souldies is an unabashedly throwback and utterly analogue undertaking that’s a perfect fit for a Gabriel Roth-funded label, and one distinctive from Daptone proper.

Proudly throwback but with subtleties and urgency that elevates the music far beyond the limitations of a mere time capsule, these Penrose 45s broadens an already bountiful cotemporary classic soul scene as documented not just on Daptone but on such labels as Big Crown of Brooklyn, Colemine of Loveland, OH, and Timmion of Helsinki, Finland.

It’s Timmion in fact that co-releases the Jonny Benavidez 45 under consideration here, where the San Diego native and NYC-based singer is paired with Cold Diamond & Mink, the Timmion house band. A-side “Someday” sets the vocal group template, Benavidez smooth but sturdy in the lead as the backing hits all the right spots. Additionally, the guitar is clean and sharp, the drumming crisp, and the bass large but limber. But it’s the trumpet that puts it over the top, with the horns crucial to flipside “Slow Down Girl,” where the tempo picks up and the thrust exudes an early ’70s feel, with a hint of Philly in the mix.

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In rotation: 2/23/23

UK | Record Store Day 2023 in Scotland: When is it, what exclusive records are available and how can I buy them? Last year vinyl outsold CDs for the first time in 35 years – meaning that this year’s event celebrating the reinvigorated music medium is likely to be more popular than ever. Record Store Day has become a major event for vinyl lovers since the inaugural event in the US in 2007 sold barely more than 10 different limited edition pressings by artists including Death Cab for Cutie, R.E.M. and Stephen Malkmus. Now over 200 independent record stores across the UK take part each year, selling thousands of copies of exclusive vinyl, from new releases to old classics. Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s event.

Lisbon, PT | A guide to Lisbon’s record stores: Russ Ryan takes us on a journey through the best record stores that Lisbon has to offer. Lisbon is a musical hotbed like no other, steeped in sonic history yet bold and progressive in its own dance floor-centric sound, with a broad range of record pushers championing its many layers. Since the 1970s, records have migrated back from Lusofonia–from Afrobeat to Bossa Nova, all laced with a tribal rhythm–founding Lisbon’s soundscape. Recent popularity in these genres has breathed new life into these records, with a plethora of represses, cross-genre remixes and, of course, sample culture reinforcing its surge. Today, Lisbon’s creative nature acts as a perfect platform for its sound to flourish, with one foot in the past and the other firmly in the future. Record shops in this beautiful city truly complement one another and enrich the scene, each holding individual specialisms, stocking and championing local releases whilst drilling down into what makes Lisbon musically so special.

Amarillo, TX | As half of all vinyl albums are sold through indie stores; how are local shops filling the impact: When it comes to consuming music, we all have preferences. It could be streaming or physical media that you listen to. But according to U.S. 2022 Luminate Year-End Music Report, vinyl sales grew for the 17th consecutive year in the U.S. Vinyl is that sleek black circle of music, and according to Luminate, which has been tracking music sales since 1991, vinyl sales comprised nearly 45% of all album purchases in the U.S. In 2022. And 48% of those were sold at independent stores, like Bitter Buffalo Records located inside Caliche. “I want people in Amarillo to have access to cool things. I want them to have access to music that they like, and they don’t have to go onto the internet and just buy everything, they can just come in here and get that personal touch,” said Lance Garza, Bitter Buffalo Records owner.

Tower Records returns to the UK and Europe: The legendary and once troubled music outlet Tower Records was reborn as a fully online retailer in 2020 and since then has operated from within the US, meaning international customers had to contend with shipping fees and lengthy delivery times as is common with any stateside service, but that’s not the case anymore for the UK and the rest of Europe as Tower has expanded its operations to the UK. In an email update this week Tower wrote “We are thrilled to announce that we have expanded our operations to the UK. We now have a new website and a whole new inventory for our UK customers. Products from our UK store will be shipping from our UK warehouse.” It’s a welcome return for Tower Records to the UK as European music fans and vinyl collectors from an entirely new generation get to experience a slice of the Tower Shopping experience, albeit from the comfort of their homes.

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TVD Radar: Hanoi Rocks, Oriental Beat (The 40th Anniversary Re(al)mix) red vinyl in stores, 3/17

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Oriental Beat by Hanoi Rocks gets the redux treatment, officially mixed and revived from the original sessions, and released on March 17th on deluxe vinyl, CD, and digital formats. Dubbed the “re(al)mix,” this 40th anniversary edition was mixed by Petri Majuri at E-Studios in Finland in collaboration with the band. Vocalist Michael Monroe calls this release “the longest and slowest album recording project ever,” stating that “40 years in the making, it’s not just a remix, but the REAL MIX supervised and approved by Hanoi Rocks.”

Recorded in London, UK in 1981, for 200 pounds a day, Oriental Beat was made during the height of the British punk and New Wave movement, when the band was hanging out with everyone from Phil Lynott to the Damned. Hanoi Rocks drummer Gyp Casino says of Oriental Beat, “Back in the days we gave heart, soul and a bit of pain to make this record something else” but the sound of the album, originally released in 1982, did not match their efforts at the time. Bassist Sami Yaffa called it “the worst sounding album of our career” and Michael Monroe said that “the producer of the album didn’t have a clue what the band was about, and his mix of the album was horribly wrong.”

Oriental Beat’s original engineer Peter Wooliscroft was not a rock producer, and according to Hanoi Rocks’ manager Richard Bishop he “tried to mix the album to sound like Spandau Ballet.” Released before the band could remix or rerecord it as the label had run out of money and the master tapes had gone missing, the band has always considered the original mix of Oriental Beat to be a “disaster.” With the tapes mysteriously showing up in the Universal vault recently, the band was finally able to mix and resequence the album the way they wanted it to sound.

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TVD Radar: Chet Baker, Blue Room: The 1979 VARA Studio Sessions in Holland in stores 4/22

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Jazz Detective, the label founded in 2022 by GRAMMY-nominated archival producer Zev Feldman, will release Blue Room: The 1979 VARA Studio Sessions in Holland, a superlative, previously unreleased set of studio performances recorded in Holland by legendary trumpeter Chet Baker, as a limited two-LP set on Record Store Day April 22. The package will be issued as a two-CD set and digital download on April 28.

The collection—co-produced by Feldman and Frank Jochemsen and released in partnership with Elemental Music—comprises a pair of brilliantly played dates cut for Dutch radio KRO-NCRV in Hilversum, the Netherlands, by producers Edwin Rutten and the late Lex Lammen in 1979: an April 10 session with pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Jean-Louis Rassinfosse, and drummer Charles Rice, and a November 9 session with pianist Frans Elsen, bassist Victor Kaihatu, and drummer Eric Ineke. Both occasions found Baker playing (and, on three tracks, singing) in exceptional form.

Blue Room’s extensive booklet includes an overview by Dutch journalist Jeroen de Valk; essays by Feldman, Jochemsen and Rutten; interviews with sidemen Markowitz, Rassinfosse, and Ineke; and tributes from trumpeters Randy Brecker and Enrico Rava and pianist Enrico Pieranunzi. The collection is illustrated with photos by Veryl Oakland, Jean-Pierre Leloir, Christian Rose and others. The package was mastered for vinyl by the great engineer Bernie Grundman and Dutch engineer Marc Broer.

The album succeeds Jazz Detective’s inaugural offerings, two volumes of widely-praised live performances by pianist Ahmad Jamal, issued as Emerald City Nights on Record Store Day’s Black Friday last year. Feldman—who produced the Chet Baker Trio’s Live in Paris for Elemental Music last year for label partners/executive producers Jordi Soley and Carlos Agustin Calembert—previously joined with Jochemsen to explore the Dutch archives for Bill Evans’ Behind the Dikes (Elemental Music, 2021) and Another Time: The Hilversum Concert (Resonance Records, 2017) and Sonny Rollins’ Rollins in Holland (Resonance Records, 2020).

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Graded on a Curve:
Ten Years After,
A Space in Time (50th Anniversary Edition)

This is a most welcome reissue of an album that may not rank as one of the biggest or most important albums of the 1970s, but one worthy of some serious re-evaluation.

Ten Years After (brothers Alvin Lee and Ric Lee, Leo Lyons, and Chick Churchill) was one of the many groups or artists to first emerge out of the 1960s British blues and R&B boom, to become part of the fabric of British rock that dominated in the mid-to-late 1960s and most of the 1970s. Hailing from Nottingham, the group’s heavy blues music quickly morphed into a more psychedelic sound on its self-titled debut album in 1967 and on its next two albums, Stonedhenge and Ssssh, both released in 1969.

1969 was a key year for Ten Years After, as the group’s incendiary performance at Woodstock, highlighted by “I’m Going Home” featured in the Woodstock film, put it on the musical map. Through 1970s Cricklewood Green and Watt, the band didn’t completely shake off its heavy blues rock and psychedelic sound, but the former in particular showed the group to be capable of making a great album.

With A Space in Time, released in 1971, the group went beyond the promise of Cricklewood Green and made what is perhaps its best album. The album included the track “I’d Love to Change the World” that perfectly captured the times, lyrically and musically. The album was one of the group’s most diverse and showed lead guitarist Alvin Lee just as adept at acoustic guitar work as he was as a blazing hot electric player. There are even a few prog and orchestral touches giving the album a little more of the feel that the title suggests.

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TVD Radar: Paul McCartney and Wings, Red Rose Speedway 50th Anniversary Limited Edition in stores 4/22

VIA PRESS RELEASE | UMe proudly announces the release of Paul McCartney and Wings’ Red Rose Speedway as a limited edition half-speed mastered vinyl LP. The 50th Anniversary pressing will be available from April 22 for Record Store Day 2023, days before the actual anniversary of the album’s original April 30, 1973 release date.

The first Paul McCartney and Wings album to top the US album chart, Red Rose Speedway kicked off a run of #1 albums that included Band On The Run, Venus And Mars, At The Speed Of Sound, and Wings Over America. The album’s sole single, “My Love,” was received with similar warmth, becoming Wings’ first #1 single in the US, as well as a staple of Wings and Paul shows.

Red Rose Speedway has steadily grown in stature amongst fans, critics, and fellow musicians since its April 1973 release. Album opener “Big Barn Bed” has been cited as one of Paul’s greatest underrated tracks by the likes of Guitar World and Ultimate Classic Rock, while “My Love” has spawned a staggering array of cover versions by artists including Tony Bennett, Brenda Lee, Nancy Wilson, Cass Elliot, Johnny Gill, Cher and many more.

More recently, “Little Lamb Dragonfly” was singled out in 2022 by USA Today as “enchanting,” and by Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott in Stereogum’s 80 Artists Pick Their Favorite Paul McCartney Song… roundup: “You know a song has made an impression if you can rewind to a place and a smell and the weather and you get these phantom images of where you think he played the song. For an acoustic type of song, it has everything.“

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Graded on a Curve:
Faten Kanaan,
Afterpoem

Born in Walsrode, Germany and currently based in Brooklyn, New York, the composer-musician-producer-analog synthesizer specialist Faten Kanaan is releasing her fifth album Afterpoem on February 24. It’s her second for Fire Records, and it extends the broad and artfully unpredictable nature of her work to highly satisfying ends.

Lots of folks who utilize analog synthesizers as their instrumental foundation flourish in one or two stylistic modes, and sometimes that’s exactly what makes their music worthwhile. However, Faten Kanaan’s output is harder to pin down as her influences span from early music and baroque forms to modern minimalism to the drifting textures associated with ambient.

A lack of vocals solidifies Kanaan as a classically minded composer rather than a pop songwriter practicing her craft in the sphere of electronics, and her general avoidance of samplers and embracing of cyclical motifs increases the difficulty of placing her work in the contemporary landscape, although she’s clearly unwilling to indulge in a throwback sensibility.

Kanaan’s work can also be appealingly fragmentary, as is the case with Afterpoem’s two-minute opener “Fin août, début septembre,” which conjures a swirling atmosphere that’s a bit like wandering around a deserted carnival while in the grips of a hallucinogenic drug. Cool. Then “Trenchcoat,” nearly as succinct, takes a sweet left turn down an alley betwixt a cathedral (organs) and a chamber (some harpsichord-like sounds), and that’s even cooler.

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In rotation: 2/22/23

Grinnell, IA | The Vinyl Stop revival rolls into Grinnell: A renewed interest in vinyl records by music lovers all across this nation has led to a Grinnell man opening The Vinyl Stop. Located at 831 Broad St. in the former Music Shop location, the business opened Feb. three and owner Steve Fenske said the vinyl revival, as he calls it, has come to Grinnell. The business is stocked with hundreds of used and new vinyl records from rock to country and about every music style in between. There are CDs, cassettes, 45 records, used audio equipment, speakers and even 8-track tapes. There are also music books and vinyl cleaning and storage supplies such as record sleeves and crates. “I think people like something they can hold on to, read and look at,” said Fenske, who has been involved in the music scene most of his life. Fenske had been tossing around the idea of opening a vinyl record business for some time and last summer he stopped at the Music Shop and was talking with then owner Dave Elliott. “I was explaining to Dave about what I wanted to do and he suggested I buy the Music Shop from him,” recalled Fenske.

South Canterbury, NZ | Vinyl revival: Music’s new spin as two record shops open in South Canterbury: Records across the country are being pulled out of boxes and off shelves where they’ve been gathering dust to be played once again. And the revival has not been lost on South Cantabrians, with two new businesses dedicated to all things vinyl opening in the past few months, and one aficionado is welcoming the comeback. Senior reporter Rachael Comer reports. It was a VIP ticket to a Def Leppard concert that started it all for Rebecca Emmerson. While she would listen to her parents’ vinyl collection when she was younger, Emmerson did not own a record until she attended the English rock band’s Hysteria concert in Auckland in 2018. “Part of the [VIP] package was a blue limited edition LP of Hysteria which I just had to listen to,’’ Emmerson said. But this meant she needed to buy something to play it on and after spending $3000 on a sound system, the rest is history, she said. “Instant love. I then went and purchased my first record, Pink Floyd Pulse.’’

Manchester, UK | Loved and lost Manchester shops we’d love to browse one more time: Many will have fond memories of these much-missed stores. Manchester is famous for being a shopping city but our high streets once looked very different with many much-loved shops now lost forever. The MEN has looked back at some of the stores which once proudly stood in our city, with many Manchester shoppers missing them dearly. If only we could step through their iconic doors one more time and browse the shelves and aisles piled high with their offerings. From iconic department stores that were around for decades, to smaller stores that offered specific items, this list includes six of the shops that people miss the most. Some sold one type of product, such as clothing or records but others were treasure troves where shoppers could lose hours perusing what was on offer. We asked MEN readers in our Greater Manchester history, memories and people Facebook page to let us know which shops they would love to browse one more time, with some sharing their memories of the store they miss the most. Be sure to let us know in the comments section below which Manchester shop you miss the most.

Boss of iconic music store tells how record revival has put it back into the groove: I took on streaming giants and saved HMV – with old style vinyl: When Doug Putman rescued the iconic HMV chain in 2019, the odds were stacked against him. The chain was bankrupt and sales of its mainstays, DVDs and CDs, were in freefall. Thousands of films were available at the press of a button on Amazon and Netflix, and music streaming was king. Many thought the self-proclaimed music lover with the dream of a revival of vinyl had lost the plot. Four years later, Putman could not seem more relaxed about battling some of the biggest companies in the world. ‘Life is good. Everything is good,’ he says. ‘HMV is something I always thought was just a great brand. I felt like, if it had an owner who loved it and was about the future, it would be successful.’ Since he took control, HMV has shrugged off its seemingly terminal decline. The chain is profitable again and sales are growing. Anyone who has entered an HMV recently could be forgiven for thinking they’d taken a step back in time. The shops are like a flashback to the 1970s when music was all about racks of wax.

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