Author Archives: TVD HQ

In rotation: 12/1/20

Announcing the 2020 inductees into the Album Cover Hall of Fame: Chicago, IL-based organization announces its latest class of honorees in the 6 major categories – as voted on by a world-wide panel of music, art and marketing experts in the area of album cover art & packaging – which represents a “who’s who” of creative and production talent, including many recognized names of craftspeople working in the worlds of fine art, graphic design and photography. Since officially launching the site in 2012, we’ve previously enshrined eight classes of Inductees based on the results from the group’s yearly surveys, with the voting panel considering the creative output of all producers active any time since 1960. Dozens of additional biographies were added for consideration by the esteemed panel of writers, curators of galleries (retail and online) that focus on album cover imagery, art/design museum curators and music marketing experts.

New Orleans, LA | Tipitina’s Announces Exclusive Record Club Highlighting New Orleans, Gulf South Music: The iconic New Orleans venue Tipitina’s has announced Tipitina’s Record Club, its latest venture aimed at amplifying the music of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Beginning in February 2021, members of the club will receive exclusive releases on a bi-monthly basis. Owned and operated by the band Galactic, Tipitina’s has fallen on hard times as a result of the pandemic like virtually every other live music venue. The iconic location has since launched its own Tipitina’s TV streaming series and hosted the Save Tip’s virtual fundraiser earlier this month featuring Galactic, Willie Nelson, Widespread Panic, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and many more. Starting in February, Tipitina’s Record Club will deliver high-quality, 180-gram pressings of previously-unheard or long out-of-print vinyl six times a year to subscribers. First up is the first-ever release of Professor Longhair‘s Fess At Home ’73 which showcases the singer-pianist in a unique and intimate setting. Also set for release through the club is The Radiators’ Kung Pow!! Live At Tipitina’s – 05/01/97, James Booker’s Live At Tipitina’s, and the 25th-anniversary Deluxe Edition of Galactic’s landmark 1996 debut album, Coolin’ Off.

Meet the man with more than 2,600 copies of The Beatles’ White Album: The stark beauty found on the cover of the Beatles’ 1968 self-titled album has captivated many fans, but artist Rutherford Chang likes it when the LP’s famous all-white design takes on some wear and tear. Chang has been acquiring copies of the White Album from all over the world, in any condition, for years. He prefers first-edition copies – later pressings removed the serial number and the embossed “The Beatles” on the cover – and those that aren’t in mint condition. For Chang, the more owners have decorated the bare white cover with their own artwork, the better. Various stains are okay, too. “I was interested in the different ways that the covers aged,” he told The New York Times. “Being an all-white cover, the changes are apparent. The serial numbers made collecting them seem natural, and the more I got, the more interesting it became. As you see, many of them are written on, and each has a story. The accumulation of the stories is part of it. But it’s also about how the physical object — the record — just doesn’t exist anymore.”

Sir Elton John has huge record collection: Sir Elton John owns more than 120,000 CDs and 15,000 vinyl records, and they’re all accessible to him at all times. Sir Elton John owns more than 100,000 CDs. The 73-year-old singer is an avid record collector and though his collection is huge, none of it has been placed into storage so he can always access whatever it is he wants to listen to. He admitted: “I have over 120,000 CDs and 15,000 pieces of vinyl. They are stored in my home shelves so I can access whatever I want, whenever I want… I definitely prefer LPs.” While the ‘Candle in the Wind’ hitmaker feels “lucky” to have had such a long and glittering career, he’s the most content he’s ever been thanks to his husband David Furnish and their two sons, Zachary, nine, and seven-year-old Elijah.

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TVD Radar: RUN DMC limited edition vinyl comp in stores 12/8

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Following their acclaimed project with Travis Scott and fashion house Saint Laurent, 12on12 announce their latest collaboration with cultural icons and hip-hop legends RUN DMC. The pioneering New York group have curated an exclusive limited edition 12″ vinyl only compilation with bespoke artwork by rising LA artist Reena Tolentino, aka ‘RT’.

The 12on12 deluxe, double disc package is limited to 500 hand-numbered editions and embodies the story of RUN-DMC’s legacy within the handpicked iconic track-listing, featuring songs that inspired, affected and changed the ground-breaking group’s music. The first release in celebration of the 35th anniversary of seminal 1986 album Raising Hell, RUN DMC pay tribute to their late bandmate Jam Master Jay and dedicate this project in his honour.

The release offers a fascinating insight into RUN DMC, one of the most influential groups of all time. Alongside tracks by early rap trailblazers The Sugarhill Gang and Afrika Bambaataa, the group have also highlighted songs that helped form the sonic foundations of the nascent hip hop sound as it emerged and evolved in New York in the early 1980s, including the breaks-goldmine of MFSB’s Love Is The Message and Kraftwerk’s game-changing Trans-Europe Express, a song rarely licensed for any compilation.

The unique work of art for the record has been designed by one of the most exciting names on the LA art scene, Reena Tolentino. A visual artist and actor, RT’s work rose to prominence after her acclaimed mural of late basketball icon Kobe Bryant. In addition to providing artwork and portraits of RUN DMC for the project she has also reinterpreted one of the most iconic hip-hop logos of all time with a rework of the classic RUN DMC logo.

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TVD Radar: What
The Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears?
doc announced

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Jesse James Films in association with Crew Neck Productions are producing a fully authorized documentary blending music, politics, social commentary and a mystery involving one of the biggest rock bands of the late ’60s/early ’70s: Blood, Sweat & Tears. The film will be written, produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker John Scheinfeld (The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Who Is Harry Nilsson (and Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?, Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary and The Happy Days of Garry Marshall) who is diving deep into the mystery of what actually happened to the band that suddenly fell from grace at the peak of their fame.

In 1970, Blood, Sweat & Tears was one of the biggest bands in the world. They had exploded on the scene with both daring and promise, selling millions of records, winning multiple Grammy Awards including Album of the Year (beating out The Beatles’ Abbey Road) and one of the headliners at the legendary Woodstock festival. In demand for concert and TV appearances, BS&T was a darling of the mainstream and rock press, icon of the counterculture and inspiration for a generation of horn-based bands. Their future was limitless. And then it all went wrong.

Created with the full cooperation of Blood, Sweat & Tears, the film will overflow with great music, international political intrigue, compelling human moments, humor and fresh insight into this strange never-before-told story.

“John Scheinfeld is a unique combination of filmmaker, historian and detective,” says BS&T’s Bobby Colomby. “He asked me a simple question: ‘What the hell happened to Blood Sweat & Tears?’ My convoluted answer somehow ignited an engine inside of John that was the beginning of an unexpected adventure: creating a documentary film to reveal the answer to this decades old question. This won’t be your typical music doc, in any way, shape or form.”

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In rotation: 11/30/20

Vinyl set to hit three-decade high sales this year: Vinyl is on track to hit a three-decade high in sales in the UK this year. In September, it was announced that vinyl records had outsold CDs in the US for first time in over 30 years during the first half of 2020. In total, the Recording Industry Association of America reported $232million sales of vinyl music between January and June of this year, compared with just $144million CD sales. Now, it has been revealed that the UK is looking to follow suit with vinyl sales increasing almost 10% this year. It means the format is on track to rake in over £100 million by the end of this year, making 2020 the best year for record sales for thirty years. Drew Hill, managing director of Proper Music, told The Guardian: “We have seen 250% growth from the bottom of lockdown to where we are now. I thought it could be catastrophic for the industry but during lockdown the kind of people buying records also probably went to a lot of gigs. They can’t do that so it seems fans are spending the money they used to on going to gigs each month on records.”

UK | Love Record Stores campaign launches Independent Albums Of The Year initiative: The Love Record Stores campaign has announced the launch of the inaugural Independent Albums Of The Year list. The new #loverecordstores campaign, which was set up earlier this year to raise awareness of the challenges faced by record stores during the Covid-19 pandemic, is aimed primarily at the UK’s wider independent music sector. The list features releases from independent labels voted for by a cross section of notable independent record stores including Drift, Resident, Rough Trade, Normans, Piccadilly, Bear Tree, Assai, Banquet, Stranger Than Paradise, Bleep and Monorail, and will be unveiled on Thursday, December 3. Jason Rackham, UK MD of PIAS and co-founder of #loverecordstores said: “As we head into the winter months it is clear that record stores face a challenging end to the year. We hope and believe that this celebration of the year’s best independent music will help to support the record stores and remind people to continue to support this vital sector of our industry.”

Portland, ME | Bull Moose to close store in Portland: Bull Moose Music’s store in the Old Port will close at the end of November. “Our lease is up and there is very little foot traffic downtown,” a tweet from the company read Tuesday night. The retailer is a cultural institution in Maine and New Hampshire, selling records, CDs, books, movies, toys and games. Its 8 other Maine locations in Maine and 3 New Hampshire stores will remain open. Several Old Port retail stores and restaurants have been forced for reasons related to the coronavirus pandemic. Those in the city’s performing arts industry have been fundraising to support live music venues. Founded in Brunswick by Brett Wickard in 1989, Bull Moose’s Portland location at 151 Middle Street was considered to be its flagship location. The store, set below street level, was a hub for those in and surrounding the southern Maine music scene and typically stayed open until 11 p.m. and frequently hosted live performances from local and touring artists. The record store shared a lobby with Videoport, an independent video and DVD rental store, before it closed in 2015. “Downtown Portland will rebound and when it does we will look for a new location in Portland. Until then, the Mill Creek and Scarborough stores are only a few miles away…”

‘People in their 40s were crying’: the sad final days of New York’s coolest record store: Other Music fuelled New York’s 00s indie boom, boasting Vampire Weekend and Animal Collective among its fans. Then it closed. A new documentary tells the story of the store’s tragic demise – and its ‘terrifying’ staff. A lot of skulking went on at Other Music, the celebrated New York record store. It was an odd kind of dance: nervous customers, hiding behind CD racks or LP sleeves, trying to conjure up a question that wouldn’t result in utter humiliation. The staff there had quite a reputation, after all. The experience is relived in a surprisingly moving new documentary about the shop, also called Other Music. Notable fans Regina Spektor and Jason Schwartzman still sound daunted by Other’s intense atmosphere. “If I’m completely honest, I was never just ‘chill’ in there,” confides Spektor, to camera. “I always got that first-day-of-school feeling, like: OK, just don’t fuck up.” Several former staff admit to their serial moodiness, although the management seem slightly upset at the accusation. This is understandable, given the devoted community they built up over 21 years; the film goes on to capture the store’s final days, before it gets physically ripped apart.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

We’ve closed the office for the Thanksgiving holiday. While we’re away, why not fire up our free Record Store Locator app and visit one of your local indie record stores during Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, either online, curbside, or with some sound social distancing?

Perhaps there’s an interview, review, or feature you might have missed? Catch up and we’ll see you back here on Monday, 11/30.

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TVD Radar: Joe Bonamassa documentary Guitar Man streaming on-demand, 12/8

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Discover the extraordinary story of legendary bluesman Joe Bonamassa in the inspirational documentary Guitar Man, arriving on Video-On-Demand and for Digital purchase December 8, 2020 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

From average Joe by day to guitar hero at night, Guitar Man tells the incredible rise of blues-rocker Joe Bonamassa, whose hard work and determination have made him one of today’s top-selling blues artists. With more #1 Blues albums than anyone else in history, Bonamassa pulls back the curtain on his incredible career, allowing us to see his remarkable musical achievements and pioneering style. Featuring behind the scenes interviews and live concert footage showcasing some of the biggest names in music, kick back and enjoy the exhilarating soundtrack of his phenomenal life.

Guitar Man showcases Bonamassa’s astounding talent from his childhood as a “wunderkind” discovered and mentored by Blues legend B.B. King. At the age of only 43, Bonamassa has an illustrious career spanning over three decades. Through highs and lows, Joe persevered, taking his musical journey into his own hands to overcome challenges and reach his goals. In 2009, Bonamassa fulfilled a lifelong dream of playing at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall and was joined on stage by Eric Clapton, marking a pivotal moment that elevated his music to the next level.

Filled with an abundance of music, live concert footage, and interviews with music industry legends, Guitar Man chronicles a musician growing in his craft, traveling the globe, collaborating with top artists from across the world of music, and ascending to the heights of inevitable success.

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TVD Radar: Mary Timony, Mountains expanded 20th anniversary 2LP in stores 1/15

VIA PRESS RELEASE | To date Matador’s Revisionist History series has set its focus on the hallowed year of 1995 – surfacing critical releases by Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Guided by Voices, and Chavez. Today, however, we whirl the dial on the in-house wayback machine and travel toward the future: the year 2000 and Mary Timony’s debut solo album, Mountains, which will be reissued on January 15.

Remastered by Bob Weston, Mountains comes back to us as a gold foil-embossed gatefold 2xLP and will include the previously unreleased original takes of “Return to Pirates,” “Poison Moon,” and “Killed by the Telephone,” which were delivered along with the original master tapes 20 years ago, but were omitted from the final album. The record is completed by a newly recorded orchestral version of “Valley of One Thousand Perfumes” produced by composer Joe Wong (Russian Doll, Midnight Gospel) and mixed by Dave Fridmann.

At the turn of the century, Timony (Ex Hex, Wild Flag, Hammered Hulls) was already a celebrated presence in American underground music ­­– a fixture of D.C. and Boston rock ’n’ roll via her work in Autoclave and Helium respectively. By 1998, though, Helium was drawing to a close and Timony was feeling uncertain about the future. “I had never been good at the rock’ n’ roll business, and making a living from being in a band just didn’t seem like it was in the realm of possibility for me,” she writes. “I just knew I wanted to make another record because that was the part of being in a band that I liked the most.”

At the time of its original release, Timony called Mountains, “A Trip to the New Underworld.” “A bunch of hard stuff was happening in my life: family illnesses, people dying, people leaving, relationships ending. I fell into a deep depression,” she explains. “I tried new ways of making music: I tried writing songs without any filter at all, and I purposely didn’t think about what the music would sound like to anyone else. I was only interested in describing what was in my head.”

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In rotation: 11/20/20

Tower Records launches online store: The legendary Tower Records is back and better than ever! Founded back in 1960 in Sacramento, California, the record store had to unfortunately file for bankruptcy in 2006 and has been closed ever since then. It previously had 89 chain stores across America, and their store in Japan became iconic – but had become separate from the business back in 2002 – and still runs as popular as ever today. The original Tower Records, though, is now back in an online store form. Not going anywhere now, this is brilliant news for the independent record store market, and their online form means that it will never leave us again. It’s been 14 whole years, but now the revival of Tower Records is in full swing. Stating that they’re open 23/7, they boast over 500,000 titles on CD and vinyl including 468 pages in the electronic section filled with some of the greatest dance albums of all time. Also on their store is a merch section where you can purchase logo shirts, record slipmats, hats, sweaters and much more.

Louisville, KY | Would ear X-tacy Survive in Today’s Vinyl Revolution? For music lovers in Louisville, it’s almost a citywide shared memory: You carve out some time, head to ear X-tacy in The Highlands and get lost for the next two hours checking out new music on the many listening stations scattered around the store. The hope was you’d hear that next band or artist that you were about to fall in love with and listen to incessantly, as the thrill of “discovering” that new favorite band is something that cannot be explained, only experienced. The iconic store opened Aug. 1, 1985, at 4264 Poplar Level Road, moved to a space next door to Great Escape where it did business for three years, then to the 1534 Bardstown Road location that became its long-time home. It ultimately landed in a smaller spot down the street, at Douglass Loop, before closing for good in late 2011. The classic Bardstown Road space then became a Panera restaurant, adding insult to injury. Ear X-tacy’s legacy would spark the 2012 documentary “Brick and Mortar and Love,” and many remain wistful for those days of browsing through albums and CDs and soaking in the quirky atmosphere of the destination music shop.

Rehoboth, DE | Rehoboth’s Extended Play triples size with new location: Record store moves from Rehoboth Avenue to Village By The Sea complex. After more than two years in one of the smallest retail locations in Rehoboth Beach, record store Extended Play has tripled its size with a recent move to the Village By The Sea shopping center. Owner Steve Fallon opened Extended Play in July 2018 in the space next to Dos Locos Stonegrill. At the time he estimated it to be roughly 400 square feet. The new location, Suite 8B, across from Arena’s Deli, is about three times the size, he said. Fallon said the extra space was the reason for the move. In addition to more room for records, the space allows for the display of the business’ audio equipment, he said. “Too many tiny hands could touch things in the old place,” said Fallon. Estimating 2,000 vinyl records sitting on the floor now, Jackson Beckner, Extended Play store manager, said the new location will allow him to sort out and display the remaining 4,000 records the shop has in storage. “More space means more inventory,” said Beckner, happy to have the task in front of him.

San Diego, CA | Folk Arts and Jupiter join forces: “When you own your own store it’s the real education.” Brendan Boyle began his vinyl education while working at a record shop in Sacramento. Following that, he went solo and spent about ten years selling vinyl online. The combined experiences gave him a 20-year education when it came to buying and selling records, but he claims that it wasn’t until he purchased Lou Curtiss’s Folk Arts Rare Records that he entered the uppermost realms of vinyl expertise. “When you own your own store it’s the real education,” he explained. “What you’re learning is on a whole other level than anything else. So, the biggest education I’ve had is the last six years.” Boyle’s El Cajon Boulevard Folk Arts location had been chugging along fine since it opened in 2014, but about four years into that run he decided to open Jupiter, a second record shop. It wasn’t so much a stab at increased profits as his inner soothsayer predicting bad days on the horizon. “I built Jupiter in 2018 partially as a fallback plan,” he explained. “It was a fallback plan for a potential Great American Shitshow. I was worried about Donald Trump not being the greatest president and some kind of shitshow happening — and I ended up being right.”

Poppy reveals her favorite store is Newbury Comics, announces holiday EP: It’s uncertain to really know just how many things Bostonians have in common with Poppy. But as of today (November 18), we can add our favorite chain of record stores to the list. News dropped this morning that the increasingly enigmatic metal-pop-fusion star will release an album of Christmas tunes called A Very Poppy Christmas on December 1. New England-based pop culture and record shop Newbury Comics also shared via Twitter that they’ll have 1000 white vinyl copies of the album available to pre-order, exclusive to their shops. Then came the big reveal: Poppy responded to the tweet, writing “My favorite store since I was a bb.” The news, while glorious, isn’t altogether shocking; Poppy was born in Massachusetts and lived here until her early teens until she moved to Tennessee, and then later, to Los Angeles. Multiple articles, fan pages, and her Wikipedia page state that she was born near or in Boston, making her birthplace one of the few facts about her life that isn’t constantly disputed on online message boards.

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TVD Radar: Richard
Hell and the Voidoids, Destiny Street Remixed and Destiny Street Complete in stores 1/22

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Destiny Street was the follow-up album to one of the greatest punk albums of all time, 1977’s Blank Generation. The album was originally recorded in 1981 and released in 1982, but not to Richard Hell’s satisfaction. As he says in his new liner notes to Destiny Street Remixed, “The final mix was a morass of trebly multi-guitar blare.”

Now, for the 40th anniversary of its creation, the album is at last presented improved the way Richard Hell has long hoped and intended: “The sound of a little combo playing real gone rock and roll.” The resultant Destiny Street Complete, due out via 2-CD set and Digital, is set for January 22, 2021 release on Omnivore Recordings. Omnivore will also release a vinyl version of the new Destiny Street Remixed set for the same date.

Richard Hell co-founded his first band, the Neon Boys, with Tom Verlaine in 1973. That band became Television. When Hell left Television in 1975, he formed, with Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan, both formerly of the New York Dolls, the Heartbreakers. After another year, Richard departed the Heartbreakers and created Richard Hell & the Voidoids, which, along with other CBGB bands of the era, such as the Ramones and Patti Smith, formed the template for punk, the effects of which are still being felt.

Apart from Hell on vocals and bass, the original Voidoids comprised Robert Quine (guitar), Ivan Julian (guitar), and Marc Bell (drums). The Destiny Street-era band retained Quine, but otherwise the backing lineup became Naux (Juan Maciel) on guitar and Fred Maher on drums.

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In rotation: 11/19/20

Chicago, IL | ‘Dusty Groove’ film sifts through the emotions of giving up your vinyl: Chicago music store owners buy stranger’s collections and hear their stories in the engrossing documentary. Rick Wojcik and J.P. Schauer are the co-founders of the Dusty Groove record store in Wicker Park, and they’ve been at this a long time. If you caught up with John Cusack’s Rob Gordon and Jack Black’s Barry Judd from the fictional Championship Vinyl record store in Wicker Park from “High Fidelity” (2000) some 20 years down the road, well, that’s Wojcik and Schauer in a nutshell. …In Danielle Beverly’s engrossing and warmhearted documentary “Dusty Groove: The Sound of Transition,” the customers aren’t treated as human props for the proprietors, as is often the case on shows such as “Pawn Stars” and “American Pickers.” Beverly is clearly as interested in the record lovers as the record store owners, and the result is a verité slice of American life shining a light on a disparate group of individuals who have one thing in common: They love their vinyl.

Kansas City, MO | Best of KC 2020: Every single record store from Topeka to KC is doing amazing, sweetie: Starting out west, and heading east: Time Machine Music, Mother Earth Records & Tapes, the Vinyl Score, Love Garden Sounds, Orange Cat Records, FM Music, Josey Records, Revolution Records, Mills Record Company, Records with Merrit, Brothers Music, Vinyl Heaven the Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven, and Gotwhatulike Records. These stores have been at the forefront of making sure that customers are distanced, masked and, in many cases, gloved during their shopping experiences, thanks to the sheer amount of touchy-feely involved in flipping through the bins. Be it scheduled visits, where customers can browse the shops all by their lonesome like a high-rolling celebrity, curbside pickup, outdoor browsing experiences, or just a copious amount of available hand sanitizer, these record shops have allowed a certain amount of normalcy in our live, while not unnecessarily putting anyone at risk. Given that musical experiences these days are few and far between, it’s a rare opportunity to engage with like-minded music fans.

BBC: Asia’s forgotten musical gems rediscovered on vinyl: As the vinyl market experiences booming demand, crate diggers are spending time and money to re-release forgotten musical gems around Asia and beyond. Fariz Rustam Munaf, a prolific multi-instrumentalist better known as Fariz RM, was a household name in his native Indonesia during the 1980s. Back then, both teenagers and adults grooved to his signature brand of jazz fusion, which incorporates elements of spacey disco and Brazilian samba. Today, contemporary record labels are re-releasing his music for a new generation of listeners, with DJs routinely mixing his hit songs with electronic genres, such as Balearic house, at underground parties from Jakarta to Ibiza. “Being reissued is a great compliment,” says the 61 year-old. “It’s a new period of my career. I feel like I’ve been reborn.”

The 11 Best Vinyl & Record Player Accessories for Every Turntable Setup: From sound tweaks to a record club, gift ideas for every record nerd. Like any kind of collector, record enthusiasts tend to be obsessive about the object of their desire. That’s good news for gift-givers hunting for the best vinyl accessories for their friends and family. While buying records for anyone you don’t know intimately can be a dicey proposition—unless, of course, you have a link to their Discogs wantlist—the list of add-ons, novelties, and vinyl-adjacent doodads is long, with a bounty of possibilities at every price point, from humble anti-static brushes to absurdly pricey record-cleaning systems. So we’ve perused our own crowded shelves to come up with a selection of gifts guaranteed to delight any record aficionado. For still more ideas—or maybe just because you deserve a treat, too—check out our guide to buying the best record player and stereo system for any budget.

Tame Impala announce 10th anniversary InnerSpeaker box set: We kinda had a hunch this was coming… Earlier this year, Kevin Parker commemorated the 10th anniversary of Tame Impala’s debut album InnerSpeaker and hinted that “something very special coming v soon.” That special something is a new vinyl reissue of the album. The 4LP box set features “2020 mixes” of the tracks ‘Alter Ego’ and ‘Runway Houses City Clouds’, instrumentals for ‘Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind’ and ‘It Is Not Meant To Be’, a collection of demos, and a 40-page book. Diehards will get excited at the inclusion of a previously unreleased ‘Wave House Live Jam’ – as in the studio property in WA where InnerSpeaker was made, and that Parker purchased recently. InnerSpeaker won the 2010 J Award for Australian Album of the Year – we praised it as a “spiralling, trippy adventure” at the time. And just a few months back, the album came #3 in Double J’s list of the 50 Best Australian Debut Albums. hailed as a “timeless album that still hits like a mind-melting sonic adventure from another era.”

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TVD Radar: Doin’ My Drugs documentary to debut On-Demand 12/1

VIA PRESS RELEASE | In his directorial debut filmmaker Tyler Q Rosen offers a revealing and inspiring documentary about how a man and his guitar can be the beginning of change for an entire nation, one person at a time.

Doin’ My Drugs is a profound and personal look at the extraordinary life of musician Thomas Muchimba Buttenschøn as he uses music in an effort to wipe out AIDS in his native Zambia and beyond. Born in Zambia in 1985 to a Zambian mother and Danish father, Buttenschøn was diagnosed HIV positive as an infant. After emigrating to Denmark with his family for treatment, Thomas lost both of his parents to AIDs at the age of nine and became deathly ill himself at 13. Upon regaining his health after beginning antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, he threw himself into music, and at 20, became a Danish pop star.

After marrying and fathering two sons, Thomas reconnected with family in Zambia, and was shocked to discover that the country remains trapped in a senseless HIV/AIDS epidemic. While he is able to live a full and healthy life with the virus, a staggering 13% of Zambians who are infected with HIV remain untreated because of the social stigma attached to the virus, and the resulting reluctance to get tested, despite the availability of free treatment from their government. Determined to make a difference, Thomas has dedicated his life to using his music and his own story to raise awareness about HIV and treatment in Zambia. Teaming with an extraordinary group of Zambian musicians, Thomas embarks on a crusade to wipe HIV and AIDS in Zambia, and throughout Africa.

The film is executive produced by longtime HIV/AIDS activist Jake Glaser of The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. EGPAF seeks to end global pediatric HIV/AIDS through prevention and treatment programs, research, and advocacy. Released by Freestyle Digital Media, the film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios.

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TVD Radar: Mary J. Blige, My Life 2LP and 3LP sets in stores 11/20

VIA PRESS RELEASE | UMe’s Urban Legends, the label imprint and cross-platform initiative devoted to the curation and celebration of over three decades of urban catalog music and culture, and Soul In The Horn, an innovative digital movement that seeks to bridge cultural gaps by bringing together a diverse cross-section of creative talents, have teamed up to create an extraordinary one-of-a-kind 3-D experience for ardent Mary J. Blige fans that celebrates the November 29 anniversary of My Life, one of the most critically acclaimed and important R&B albums of all time.

Over the past few days, 500 randomly selected superfans from her newsletter and website, ages 21+, received an invitation to dive into a dynamic online environment full of rare content via mobile or desktop that mirrors virtual reality. Custom-built so fans can interact with one another as well as with digital concierges designed to guide them on-demand throughout the journey, UMe’s Urban Legends and Soul In The Horn provide VIP access to My Life music, performances, visuals and more.

Mary J. Blige, the legendary singer-songwriter, actress, philanthropist and honorary Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, will re-release her acclaimed 1994 sophomore album, My Life, on November 20 via Geffen/UMe. The album will be released in three physical forms: a 2CD, a standard weight black double vinyl, and a triple vinyl edition in translucent blue with a lenticular cover, including bonus tracks featuring LL Cool J, and Smif ‘N Wessun. The 3LP edition will also be available digitally which will also feature commentary by Mary J. Blige on the original album tracks. From her No. 57 hit “You Bring Me Joy” to her No. 22 version of Rose Royce’s 1976 soul classic “I’m Going Down,” My Life was one of Blige’s most creatively vital works to date.

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In rotation: 11/18/20

Portland, OR | Photo Essay: Music Millennium Survived the Advent of Streaming Services. Now It’s Surviving the Pandemic, Too. Each month since reopening, sales have roughly equaled figures from the previous year. Founded in 1969, Music Millennium has survived Napster, smartphones and streaming. When the COVID-19 pandemic came, the store switched to curbside- and online-only service for 10 weeks but returned to limited in-store shopping in June. Now admitting up to 10 customers at a time, there is frequently a line to enter the store. Each month since reopening, sales have roughly equaled figures from the previous year.

Madison, WI | Strictly Discs in Wisconsin, in a Pandemic: New COVID-19 Closures Are ‘Getting Closer.’ In an “eventful week,” store owner Angie Roloff deals with a family tragedy, exploding coronavirus cases and the threat of new closures. In October 1988, Angie Roloff and her husband Ron opened Strictly Discs in Madison, Wisconsin, after Ron left a career in the biomedical research field to pursue his love of music full time. Nearly 31 years later, the couple made the difficult decision to shutter in-store operations due to COVID-19, roughly a week before Gov. Tony Evers forced a mandatory shutdown of all non-essential businesses. Now that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has overturned Evers’ stay-at-home order — ruling it “unlawful” and “unenforceable” — the Roloffs and their employees have reopened the store. As part of Billboard’s efforts to best cover the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on the music industry, we will be speaking with Roloff regularly to chronicle her experience throughout the crisis.

Richmond, VA | Musical Healing: Record Store Day offers a special release of a legendary concert at Plan 9 Records from 14 years ago. In the summer of 2006, the Richmond music scene was still reeling from the tragic murders of the Harvey family. On July 13, Plan 9 Records in Carytown held a rock concert to raise money for the Harvey family memorial endowment – a show that would go down in the history books of that Richmond institution. The sold-out event for just over 200 people started at 10 p.m. and raged on for two and half hours, about an hour longer than the band originally planned. Now others get to hear all its sweaty glory when a four-record vinyl set of the Drive-By Truckers’ “Plan 9 Records July 13, 2006” is released on Record Store Day this Black Friday – an album one national music critic is calling the band’s best live recording. As for its pay that night, the group received a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon and two bottles of whiskey — all of which was consumed by the encore.

AU | Why are vinyl records making a huge comeback? Just when we roll our eyes at the fact that kids these days only listen to Spotify, we see news that the sales of vinyl records surpassed that of CD. Wait, what? Are we back in the 60s? Are vinyl records really back from the dead? Well first of all, vinyl never really died. It decreased in sales when CD became famous in the late 80s but there were still a bunch of people who are vinyl freaks. Vinyl sales dropped fast but it continually increased in sales years after, peaking in 2006 and it never stopped going up since then. Years later, here we are. The Recording Industry Association of America, LP vinyl records accounted for $232.1 million of music sales in the first six months of 2020, whereas CDs have only brought in $129.9 million. This is the first time since 1986 that vinyl has outsold CDs. Today, you don’t have to be a hotshot musician in order to release vinyl because one great benefit of the internet is that you can also find ways to lessen the risk of financial loss. Nowadays, you can make as few as 50 units and just sell it on your website or even do pre-order (they buy before you press vinyl) so you are sure every vinyl you press will get sold. Although vinyl is still relatively expensive to make, there are many tricks and tips for a cheap vinyl record pressing.

Norman Cook: ‘I would go out actively looking for strange old records I could take little tiny bits of.’ “…You know that that beautiful moment in DJing is when the whole room becomes as one like a collective euphoria and a collective abandon, which is a very powerful thing and if you can achieve that at arena level it really is quite an emotional thing to witness that kind of, the togetherness and the community within it… It started that I just had a big record collection so when I discovered a sampler and the fun you could have with it, I started trawling through my record collection. I was always a crate digger and I was always a vinyl junkie and that just kind of fed my habit that I could – when I was DJing abroad, I would always hit record shops in the afternoon and thrift stores and then yeah, so I would go out actively looking for strange old records that I could take little tiny bits of. So again it sort of fed my addiction of being a vinyl junkie but I was calling it my job because this was source material.

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TVD Radar: Newport Folk Festival releases
A Change Is Gonna Come, 2LP in stores early 2021

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Featuring Jon Batiste, Mavis Staples, Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr, Valerie June, Brandi Carlile, Maggie Rogers, Rachael Price, Chris Thile, Bermuda Triangle and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band backed up by The Dap-Kings.

Recorded during the finale of the 2018 Newport Folk Festival, A Change Is Gonna Come was a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between some of our very dear friends. Featuring Jon Batiste, Mavis Staples, Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr, Valerie June, Brandi Carlile, Maggie Rogers, Rachael Price, Chris Thile, Bermuda Triangle and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band backed up by the inimitable Dap-Kings.

A Change Is Gonna Come is being issued as a limited edition 2-record set pressed at RTI on premium 180-gram vinyl and housed in a genuine old style tip-on gatefold jacket. Limited to 1,000 hand-numbered copies, each pre-order comes with an immediate free digital download of the recording. Vinyl will ship in early 2021. Fans can pre-order the album here today. Proceeds will support Newport Festivals Foundation’s ongoing initiatives to support musicians in need and music programs across the country.

“In the Spring of 2018, I was in the famed Studio A of Electric Lady Studios watching Jon Batiste and The Dap-Kings blow the minds of those fortunate to attend one of our first live Newport Festivals Fundraisers. Immediately afterward, sitting with Jon in the control room digesting what we all had just experienced, we both knew this needed to be witnessed by more than just a handful of lucky souls,” says Newport Festivals Executive Producer Jay Sweet. “And so the idea was born to close the 2018 Newport Folk Festival with a set we called ‘A Change Is Going to Come,’ a celebration of the festival’s storied history with the civil rights movement.”

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TVD Radar: The Offspring, Conspiracy
of One
20th anniversary color vinyl reissue in stores 12/11

VIA PRESS RELEASE | To commemorate its 20th anniversary, Conspiracy of One, the sixth album by punk rock trailblazers the Offspring, will once again be available on vinyl—the first time since its release in 2000. On December 11, Round Hill Records/UMe will release a deluxe version of Conspiracy of One pressed to yellow and red splatter vinyl, which includes spot gloss on the cover and a custom turntable slipmat featuring the Offspring’s flaming skull silhouette logo. A non-deluxe, limited-edition canary yellow vinyl variant will be available on uDiscover & The Sound of Vinyl. A standard black vinyl version will be released in early 2021.

All editions will feature the bonus track “Huck It.” The anthemic, sub-three-minute blast was featured on their 2000 VHS/DVD Huck It and used to soundtrack various skateboard stunts, including longtime Offspring drummer Ron Welty doing a successful board-to-board leap over two of his bandmates. “Huck It” will be released as a stand-alone digital single on November 13. A lyric video featuring footage from the Huck It VHS/DVD will also be released on November 13. In addition, the official videos for Conspiracy’s first two singles—”Original Prankster” and “Want You Bad”—will be available on the Offspring’s Official YouTube channel in newly remastered HD.

Conspiracy of One, the first Offspring album of the 21st Century, was the fourth album from the game-changing punk group to be certified Platinum, a feat completed only a month after its release on November 14, 2000. The album is best known for its lead single, “Original Prankster,” a song that broke the Billboard Top 100 and hit Number 2 on the U.S. Alternative Airplay charts. The song and its mischievous video by director Dave Meyers included a funky sample from War’s “Low Rider” and a cameo from hip-hop legend Redman. The album’s follow-up single, “Want You Bad,” could be heard in the film American Pie 2 and the video game Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller.

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