Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Harmonia, Musik von Harmonia 50th anniversary 2LP edition in stores 4/20

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Groenland Records is set to release the first Harmonia album entitled Musik von Harmonia available exclusively at participating record stores as part of Record Store Day. The release will be on double LP and contains versatile reworks and remixes by internationally renowned artists and Harmonia companions to mark the album’s 50th anniversary.

Harmonia consisted of German supergroup Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, and Michael Rother. Moebius and Roedelius were in the band Cluter while Rother had just left Kraftwerk to form the duo Neu! with legendary drummer Klaus Dinger. In the mid-1970s, Harmonia blew up everything that spanned the German sound corset and were so alone in the field that their innovative work received hardly any attention in Germany. Yet what emerged there in the mid-1970s represented a real momentum. Without Harmonia and groups like Kraftwerk, Can, and Tangerine Dream, entire genres would hardly be conceivable today.

Brian Eno who was already one of the most respected music artists (and biggest Harmonia fans) at the time prompted the trio to unite for the legendary recording session that became their debut LP. The trio’s sound became an inspiration for his work with David Bowie, Devo, and Ultravox in those years. Though the band was only together from ’73-’76, their work continues to have an impact to this day and is an integral part of the intricate chain that led to ambient and techno.

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Graded on a Curve: Johnny Winter,
Still Alive and Well

Remembering Johnny Winter in advance of his birthdate tomorrow.Ed.

Famed music critic Frank Sinatra once called rock ’n’ roll the “most brutal, ugly, desperate, vicious form of expression it has been my misfortune to hear.” The crooner who liked to eat scrambled eggs off the breasts of prostitutes added it’s the handiwork of “cretinous goons,” and called it a “rancid-smelling aphrodisiac… that fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people.” Wow! Sounds great! Where do I sign up?

Good thing The Chairman of the Board never (I’m assuming) got a gander at the Winter Brothers, Johnny and Edgar. One look at Edgar Winter on the cover of 1972’s They Only Come Out at Night would have confirmed his every prejudice, and struck him dead with a coronary thrombosis as well. That or he’d have amended his comments to say, “cretinous goons.”

But to hell, says I, with Frank Sinatra. And God bless dem low-down pink-eyed blues. The Winter Brothers have given us so much great music over the years you’d need a fleet of dump trucks to haul it all away. And it hasn’t been all blues by any means. Edgar, an inveterate dabbler, has recorded pop, blues, rock, boogie, jazz-fusion, and whatever the hell you call “Frankenstein,” while Johnny has played his fair share of straight-ahead hard rock.

In any case, I had a heckuva time deciding whether to review They Only Come Out at Night or Johnny’s 1973 classic Still Alive and Well. I finally opted for the latter because (1) Edgar’s a Scientologist, and I’m a bigot and (2) while Edgar boasts one fantastic set of mutton chops, Johnny has better hair. And a less flamboyant taste in neck bling. The choker Edgar sports on They Only Come Out at Night looks like a Versailles chandelier.

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TVD Radar: Flowered
Up, A Life With Brian
2LP color vinyl reissue
in stores 4/19

VIA PRESS RELEASE | London Records are to reissue Flowered Up’s debut album A Life With Brian for the first time since its original release in 1991, newly remastered and available on double LP and CD, extended digital, and limited coloured double LP on 19th April. Pre-order here.

Including new sleevenotes by Heavenly’s Robin Turner, the reissue adds their seminal 1992 single “Weekender” to the album package plus a host of previously unreleased tracks and remixes, including newly commissioned remixes by Everyone You Know and Beyond The Wizards Sleeve.

Upcoming duo Everyone We Know’s thrilling contemporary take on “Crackerjack” is available now. They comment: “Taking inspiration from some late ’90s Ibiza tunes and early rave stuff, this is our remix of “Crackerjack.” We were honoured when Flowered Up reached out to us for the remix. At first we weren’t sure what direction to take it in but the longer we sat with the stems it became obvious it needed something for the clubs and DJs.”

Beyond The Wizards Sleeve remix “Weekender,” the first remix in seven years from DJ/Producer duo of Erol Alkan and Richard Norris. They comment: “Flowered Up’s ‘Weekender’ is a work of a very special magic, of a particular time, place, feeling that you can hear busting out of the speakers. It was a challenge to take on such an iconic work, but we attacked it and pulled it into a few new shapes which nod to the original while taking it someplace else. Do you believe in magic?”

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Graded on a Curve:
Bardo Pond,
Volume 9

Formed in 1991 in Philadelphia, PA, the enduring heavy psych specialists Bardo Pond have amassed a substantial and consistently rewarding discography on a variety of physical formats in the years since. A significant portion of that output is a series documenting assorted jam sessions; Volume 9 is the latest entry, available on vinyl with accompanying download card February 23 through Fire Records. The sounds captured will appeal to lovers of drone-friendly psych at its most raw and fans of stoner-sludge-doom at its most expansive. Noise hounds and La Monte Young heads should find much to dig, as well.

For this record, recorded by Bard Pond in 2005–2006 in their compound-studio-warehouse space The Lemur House in Philly, the band consisted of Isobel Sollenberger on flute and viola, John Gibbons on guitars, his brother Michael Gibbons on guitars and synth, and Michael Zanghi on drums and percussion. Known for his work with Kurt Vile and The War on Drugs, Zanghi is something of a guest collaborator here, deepening an already rigorous sonic approach.

Bardo Pond began documenting their sound with the self-released cassette Shone Like a Ton in 1992. Although Fire is the band’s current and longtime label (others have included Drunken Fish, Siltbreeze, Three Lobed Recordings, ATP Recordings, and Matador), much of their output has been assembled by the band themselves, in large part because they excel at raw outward bound abstraction rather than trad song variations and innovations. Structure is part of the Pond’s equation, but it never dominates and often fades into the background.

The band’s growth coincided with a sort of renaissance in self-releasing. During this period the CDr joined the cassette and lathe-cut vinyl as options for underground bands grappling with inspiration that exceeded the norms of music distribution. The series that continues with Volume 9 began in 2000 with a CDr titled (what else?) Vol. I. The first installment to get the vinyl treatment upon release was Volume 8 in 2018 (Vol. I, Vol. II, and Vol. 3 have been reissued on wax, all by Fire).

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TVD Live: Matthew Sweet at the Madrid Theatre, 2/9

KANSAS CITY, MO | Kansas City is a weird place to be the weekend of the SuperBowl Whatever matchup between the internet and Taylor Swift. It’s the same weekend the Association of Writers & Writing Programs has taken over the Convention Center and much of downtown. A suppressed but manic energy vibrates under everything like a passing subway train. Five days from now two teenagers will, in what is fast becoming an American tradition as deeply ingrained as the SuperBowl itself, shoot up a parade. But on this breezy, freezy Friday night, Matthew Sweet is playing the Madrid Theatre and it promises to be a pretty good time.

Sweet’s Midwest tour is the first after a long hiatus, but when I spoke to him in January he already had a live gig with Tommy Stinson under his belt and was looking forward to an outing with his new lineup, which includes Debbi Peterson of The Bangles on drums (Susanna Hoffs is also a frequent collaborator of Sweet’s) and John Moreland on lead guitar. Releasing alongside the tour is Sweet’s first live album, WXRT Live in Grant Park, Chicago IL July 4 1993, which draws material mostly from the same year’s Altered Beast and Sweet’s 1991 breakout Girlfriend.

Kansas City’s Madrid Theatre is already crowded when I and a few other rogue writer friends arrive fresh from ten or twelve hours of publishing shop talk. There don’t seem to be many other AWP attendees, but there’s certainly some demographic overlap, with a particularly strong showing of well-behaved middle-aged eccentrics cutting loose for the weekend and a healthy minority of precocious hipster twenty-somethings. A kid to my left who can’t be more than eighteen is wearing a Paul Westerberg 1993 tour tee.

Sweet looks and acts his age and it feels oddly punk rock to do so while Aerosmith and Madonna are still touring like nothing’s changed since 1987. He’s seated for the entire show, sporting a tweedy driving cap over shoulder-length hair, a graying beard, and an impish, dimpling smile. His voice, however, hasn’t aged at all.

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Graded on a Curve:
VA, We Can Work It Out: Covers of The Beatles 1962–1966

When examining the enormous influence of The Beatles, one factor stands out and that’s the peerless songwriting team of Lennon and McCartney. The greatness of their partnership also extends to the covers of their music over the years. This three-CD, 75-track compilation offers an exhaustive, comprehensive, and fun collection of covers of the music of The Beatles, which also includes the songs of George Harrison.

The set is housed in a clam-shell box and spans covers of songs written between 1964 and 1966, suggesting that a second volume is a very real possibility. All the recordings here are from the 1960s, except for one from 1970 and one from 1974.

The set includes some covers we’ve heard before by the likes of Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas, Cilla Black, Peter & Gordon, Joe Cocker, and The Mamas & the Papas. The Billy J. Kramer track included here is “Do You Want to Know A Secret.” He also had a big hit with “Bad To Me,” but the cover of that song included here is by Mike Redway.

Cocker’s track, “I’ll Cry Instead,” is from 1964, long before he broke big and had hits with more well-known covers of songs from The Beatles, and features Jimmy Page on guitar. Along with Kramer, Black, and Peter & Gordon, others that were part of The Beatles’ inner circle, such as Alma Cogan and Glyn Johns, also contribute.

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James Mastro,
The TVD Interview

A familiar figure on the New York rock scene since he was a teenager on Television guitarist Richard Lloyd’s solo debut, James Mastro went on to help found The Bongos and later the alt-country Health and Happiness Show before becoming an in-demand guitarist for other artists, from John Cale and Garland Jeffries to Alejandro Escovedo and especially Ian Hunter, on the English rocker’s solo work since 2001 and in the reunions of his legendary band Mott the Hoople.

Only now is he releasing his first solo album, Dawn of a New Error, in stores now on MPress Records. We talked to Mastro, almost as familiar for his ever present Bolero hat as he is for his riffs, before he ventured out on an Alejandro Escovedo tour where he’ll both open solo and play in the headliner’s band.

It’s hard to believe this is your first solo album after all these years.

Yeah, in Health and Happiness Show, I was the main songwriter, but it was still a band. It was kind of a gentle dictatorship. But yeah, this is it. I have no one to blame but myself.

Are these all new songs, or the result of a long period of songwriting?

I’ve been writing all along. And the inspiration kind of came from COVID, because being inactive, Ian [Hunter] and everyone I was working with was pretty much stalled out. It forced me to finish this and realize, well, I have this record out and if no one else is going out to play, I guess I should.

So some of these songs are some you may have had but hadn’t finished?

The way this record was done was so leisurely and without any intention of making a record. My friend Tony Shanahan, who produced it, just got a studio up and running probably seven, ten years ago, he called me and said, “Hey, I just want to just test out the gear and see what the room sounds like. What do you have? Come in.”

So it was a very easy way to make a record. Whenever time opened up, he called me: “What do you got?” So it either forced me to finish a song or forced me to write one for a session the next day. And when COVID hit, I thought I got just enough songs here for an album. And they all seem to have some kind of cohesive thread. So we just kind of finished it up.

What would you say the cohesive thread is? A reaction to the modern world? General angst?

I guess everything is a reaction to something. If I say it’s a reaction to the modern world, I’ll sound like a crotchety old man.

But there is a case to be made for a terrible world.

It can be a terrible world. For the most part I think for me this is a hopeful record thematically. I’m forced to look at it more as I do interviews, and things I don’t think about and just do, now I have to justify it and think about. But I realize there is hope in all of it. So if it is a crappy world, I’m hoping it will get better. Or I’m trying to make it better for me and my friends.

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Graded on a Curve: Cannonball Adderley with Bill Evans,
Know What I Mean?

Julian “Cannonball Adderley” ranks amongst the finest alto saxophonists in the history of jazz. In pianistic terms the same is true for Bill Evans. Putting them in the studio together meant brilliance was bound to happen. And that’s exactly what’s heard on Know What I Mean?, an album first released in 1962 by the Riverside label that’s getting a fresh 180 gram pressing on March 1 by Craft Recordings as part of the label’s Original Jazz Classics reissue series. Add bassist Percy Heath and drummer Connie Key to the lineup and the result is an essential entry in the discographies of all the participants.

Those clued into the achievements that shaped jazz music’s boom years likely know the most celebrated album to feature both Adderley and Evans isn’t this one, but rather Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. Recorded in 1959 and released by Columbia later that year, Kind of Blue remains a highly lauded and well-liked album, a groundbreaking recording that has endured as a consumer favorite.

Know What I Mean? isn’t a milestone in jazz or in the careers of Adderley or Evans for that matter. There are in fact two prior Adderley releases that feature Evans, both recorded in 1958, a quintet session Portrait of Cannonball for Riverside and an orchestral date Jump for Joy for EmArcy, but this final collaboration is the best of the bunch, a thoroughly enjoyable set and furthermore distinct as it captures Adderley at his most expressive as the sole horn, while Evans’ creativity, integral to the record’s success, flows forth without being dominant point of focus.

The opening version of the cornerstone Evans composition “Waltz for Debby” is case in point, as Adderley’s entrance after the pianist’s stately opening gives the tune’s swing-shift an extra boost and without steamrolling the foundational beauty. By early 1961, the year Know What I Mean? was recorded in NYC, “Waltz for Debby,” now a standard and heard on numerous subsequent Evans releases, had been recorded only once before, on the pianist’s 1956 studio debut New Jazz Conceptions.

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TVD Live Shots: Colter Wall with Vincent Neil Emerson at the Arizona Financial Theatre, 2/14

PHOENIX, AZ | Colter Wall and the Little Songs Tour made its fifth stop at the Arizona Financial Theatre in downtown Phoenix. Playing alongside was special guest Vincent Neil Emerson; the night was a country fan’s dream.

Taking a break from his ranch duties in Canada, Wall carved some time out for his recent album Little Songs and the tour. The Saskatchewan native has already played eleven shows in 2024, and is scheduled to play five more on the current tour.

The show was opened by Texas native Vincent Neil Emerson. With support from the Red Horse Band, the group rocked out with a classic, southern rock sound that resonated with the southwest Phoenix crowd. Vincent has been releasing music since 2019, and his most recent album is The Golden Crystal Kingdom. Vincent considers himself a songwriter first, and he’s had a lot of success with his music in the few years he has released songs since the pandemic.

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TVD Radar: Pete Jolly, Seasons clear amber and clear light green reissues in stores 3/29

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Future Days Recordings, an imprint of acclaimed archival label Light in the Attic, proudly announces the long-awaited reissue of Pete Jolly’s 1970 masterpiece, Seasons, on vinyl for the first time in over 50 years.

Sought after by crate-diggers, DJs, and jazz aficionados alike, as well as sampled by everyone from Jay Dee and Cypress Hill to Busta Rhymes, the album was far ahead of its time and a stylistic departure for Jolly, full of atmospheric grooves and soulful vignettes like “Springs,” “Leaves,” “Sand Storm,” and “Plummer Park.” Produced by Herb Alpert (who originally released the album on his label A&M Records), Seasons also features a who’s who of session musicians, including the Wrecking Crew’s Chuck Berghofer and Milt Holland, plus Emil Richards, Paul Humphrey, and John Pisano.

Due out March 29th and available to pre-order, Seasons has been remastered from its original analog tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and pressed at RTI on two special color variants: clear amber and clear light green (both seen below and are available exclusively at LightintheAttic.net). Rounding out the album are insightful new liner notes by music journalist Dave Segal (The Stranger, Pitchfork, Aquarium Drunkard), who interviewed Alpert and Berghofer about their memories of Jolly.

Two-time GRAMMY®-nominee Pete Jolly (1932–2004) was a virtuosic multi-instrumentalist whose work on the piano, organ, and accordion, in particular, could be heard on classic West Coast jazz albums, as well as on countless TV and film scores–including M*A*S*H, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Clint Eastwood’s Charlie Parker biopic Bird, during which he faithfully recreated Bud Powell’s piano performances with the legendary horn player.

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Graded on a Curve:
Steely Dan,
Can’t Buy a Thrill

Remembering Walter Becker, born on this day in 1950.Ed.

The passing of Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker hit me hard; my fond memories of them go all the way back to their debut LP, 1972’s Can’t Buy a Thrill, which an unusually hip (for the tiny Nowhereville I grew up in, at least) high school music teacher used to make us listen to in class. She was doing her best, that intrepid educator, to help us turn on, tune in, and drop out. Or if not to drop out, at least to alert us to the fact that contemporary music didn’t begin and end with Carole King’s Tapestry.

Steely Dan has always had its detractors; I know because I’ve slagged them my own damn self. I love their early work, but rued their slow slide into the smooth jazz precincts of such LPs as 1977’s Aja and 1980’s Gaucho. Was I too hard on Becker and Donald Fagen? In hindsight, yes. “Deacon Blue” may be a bit too Vaseline-based for my tastes but it has its charms—indeed, when it comes to loser anthems, it’s one of the best.

As for those folks who hate Steely Dan altogether, well, I just don’t understand them. Nor do I understand the labels (soft rock? really?) some critics have slapped on the band over the years. (Why, Rob Sheffield went so far as to write off Can’t Buy a Thrill as—alas and alack—“mellow folk rock”!) Sure, Can’t Buy a Thrill makes for relatively mellow listening.

But it’s a smart person’s mellow listen and doesn’t include an ounce of folk. Its songs are complex and its cynical lyrics are the best a good cynicism-breeding Bard College education can buy. And unlike almost any “soft rock” band then in existence, Steely Dan could always be counted on to throw a fiery guitar-fueled spanner (“Reelin’ in the Years”) into the works. Elliott Randall, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, and Danny Dias all appear on Can’t Buy a Thrill, and all three are guitar slingers straight off the top shelf.

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Graded on a Curve:
Art Pepper Quintet,
Smack Up

On February 23 Craft Recordings and Acoustic Sounds kick off a year-long 180 gram vinyl reissue series sourced from the catalog of Contemporary Records with a welcome new edition of Smack Up by the Art Pepper Quintet. Cut in 1960, it captures alto saxophonist Pepper in superb form leading a top-flight band of West Coasters on six selections that mingle accessible swing with bluesy and occasionally progressive motifs. The cohesiveness of the whole is playful but sharp and will broaden perceptions of Pepper for listeners who mainly know him for a certain canonical quartet session.

Art Pepper’s undisputed entry into the jazz canon was also his debut for Lester Koenig’s Contemporary label; cut and released in 1957, Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section teamed the saxophonist with pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones, aka Miles Davis’ celebrated rhythm section of the time (hence the title).

The quality of the music this august group produced in a one-day session (January 19) has endured since and helped bolster the album’s legendary stature. It was a first time meeting, connecting the East Coast to a rising West Coast star who was to some extent unprepared for the date (sources vary), in part due to a drug problem. This is all long-established info, but it’s particularly worthy of mention in this review, as the title Smack Up has been perceived as either a direct or coincidental reference to Pepper’s heroin addiction.

It’s also this album’s opening cut. “Smack Up” was composed by Harold Land and appears on the tenor saxophonist’s 1958 album for Contemporary, Harold in the Land of Jazz. This adds a bit of ambiguity to the drug association (Land having stated the piece’s title was inspired purely by the music’s structure) as it clarifies Smack Up’s conceptual reality; all six tracks were composed by saxophonists.

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We’re closed.

We’ve closed TVD’s HQ for the Presidents’ Day holiday. 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 tomorrow, 2/20.

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TVD Radar: Talking Heads, Live At WCOZ 77 2LP in stores 4/20

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Talking Heads’ seminal live performance recorded for WCOZ-FM in 1977 will be released in full for the first time on Record Store Day 2024. While parts of the show appeared on the band’s 1983 live album, The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads and its subsequent 2004 reissue, this marks the first time the entire 14-song concert will be available.

Limited to 13,300 copies worldwide, Live at WCOZ 77 will be released as a double album exclusively at select independent music retailers on April 20 for $34.98. The LPs were cut at 45 RPM to optimize audio fidelity and sourced from the original two-track tapes, which were recorded and mixed by Ed Stasium.

Recorded on November 17, 1977, at Northern Studio near Boston and broadcast on WCOZ, this seminal performance took place just two months after the band released its debut, Talking Heads ’77. At the show, David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, and Tina Weymouth played more than half of the album’s tracks, including the previously unreleased version of “Uh-Oh, Love Comes To Town” featured on the upcoming collection.

In addition, the show’s setlist also boasts early renditions of five songs destined for the band’s next album, More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978). All of those recordings have, until now, remained in the vaults, including versions of “Take Me To The River,” “The Good Thing,” and “Thank You For Sending Me An Angel.”

This remarkable live recording captures a pivotal moment in Talking Head’s trajectory as the band embarked on a groundbreaking 11-year journey, one that would produce eight studio albums and two live albums, including the double-platinum masterpiece Stop Making Sense, which celebrated its 40th-anniversary last year. The legendary concert film returned to select theaters across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. earlier this year. Find a screening near you HERE.

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TVD Radar: Type O Negative, Bloody Kisses: Suspended in Dusk 2LP green vinyl in stores

VIA PRESS RELEASE | 1993 was a year of change for Type O Negative.

Not only was it the year that things started to connect as the world embraced their dark textures and dark humor (despite the band’s best efforts to upset people at every turn) but it was also the year of sonic and textural change for the band.

Peter had definite loves and roots in the metal/hardcore world as well as the goth world and you could hear them both on Bloody Kisses. Peter was evolving and even though Bloody Kisses was working he wanted to lean even more into his goth side and made the label re-issue the album with some changes. Gone were the more metal tracks (“Kill All the White People” and “We Hate Everyone”) and added was the track “Suspended in Dusk.”The packaging of this release was altered with a different cover from the same photo shoot as well as more gothic imagery being added, and the track listing was re-ordered as per Peter’s vision. In honor of the 30th anniversary—for the first time ever on vinyl is the Suspended In Dusk version of Bloody Kisses.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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