Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: The Munsters, gray vinyl reissue in stores, 10/11

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Did you know Herman, Grandpa, Lily, Marilyn and Eddie Munster doubled as a rock and roll band?!

Well, despite the subhead on the album proclaiming them as ‘The Newest Teen-Age Singing Group,’ they didn’t but that didn’t stop the label execs at Decca Records from trying to cash in on the new CBS hit TV show! Veteran producers Joe Hooven and Hal Winn had the good sense to hire the Wrecking Crew (most notably Glen Campbell and Leon Russell) to play this surf-tinged set of songs, and brought in The Go-Go’s (nope, not those Go-Go’s, they were just out of diapers’this was a male vocal trio that cut one LP for RCA back in 1964, the same year this record came out) to sing the lyrics to such gems as ‘You Created a Monster’ and ‘Make It Go Away.’

The whole thing is a hoot, and a highly collectible hoot at that—original copies of this album command ‘monstrous’ sums! Aaron Kannowski remastered our reissue, and for this vinyl reissue, we’ve pressed up a limited edition of 1000 copies in ghoulish gray vinyl. Get ready to do the Munster creep this Halloween and beyond!

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Graded on a Curve: Ecstatic Vison,
Raw Rock Fury

Ecstatic Vision’s 2017’s Raw Rock Fury is a double-headed beast. On one hand it includes a couple of the most devastating blasts of sonic power to come down the pike since the Stooges’ Fun House. On the other, it contains some of the best Krautrock autobahn boogie this side of Hawkwind and Neu!.

Those are some bold claims, I know. But them’s what my ears tell me, and my ears haven’t lied since they proclaimed Black Oak Arkansas the next Beatles (and they weren’t really lying, cuz they shoulda been!). But they’re right on this one; on Raw Rock Fury–which more than lives up to its title–Ecstatic Vision prove they’re the City of Brotherly Love’s best exploding act since Phil “Chicken Man” Testa.

My pal and world-renowned musical expert Bill Barnett recently saw Ecstatic Vision play live, and he reported their set included covers of both “TV Eye” and Hawkwind’s “Master of the Universe,” so the band is hardly attempting to deny its influences. But they’re anything but a tribute act.

Both “You Got It or You Don’t” and “Keep It Loose” take the anarchic energy of 1970’s Fun House to whole new levels. Which is something the Stooges themselves couldn’t do; in comparison 1971’s Raw Power–and it would be wrong to place all of the blame on producer David Bowie–sounds positively emaciated. And they infuse their takes on Krautrock/psych-rock with some good old Stooges punch.

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Independent Minded: A podcast with Ron Scalzo: Baroness

The Independent Minded podcast features conversations with indie artists in the music and entertainment business.

Pop culture legends “Weird Al” Yankovic and Henry Rollins, indie icons CAKE, Gogol Bordello and Mike Doughty, and up-and-coming indie artists The Districts and Vagabon talk about their experiences in the business, their inspirations and passions, and their recent projects.

The podcast is hosted by Ron Scalzo, an indie musician and radio producer with 9 self-released albums and an independent record label of his own, Bald Freak Music.

Baroness, Episode 104 | Episode 104 features John Baizley of Savannah, Georgia heavy metal band Baroness. John talks about cut-off t-shirts, critical acclaim, giving the fans their money’s worth, and why he’s not comfortable with having his signature on your arm. Songs from Baroness featured on the podcast include “Throw Me An Anchor” and “I’d Do Anything.” Find out more about Baroness at

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Graded on a Curve:
Solid Bronze,
The Fruit Basket

The core of Solid Bronze is Ian Everett and George Miller, both New Jersey residents with a loud-and-clear love of the soulful and funky. This fact is evidenced on The Fruit Basket, their full-length debut, a deliciously off-kilter ’70s-styled groove-fest spiced with strains of jazziness, touches of reggae, and excursions into psychedelia. Recorded and co-produced by Dean Ween with notable guests including Atlanta-based hip-hop artist CLEW, Morphine saxophonist Dana Colley, Ween/ Blood, Sweat & Tears keyboardist Glenn McClelland, and Parliament-Funkadelic guitarist Michael Hampton, this last name is quite appropriate as the influence of P-Funk is strongly felt. It’s out now on LP via Schnitzel Records.

Earlier this year, Solid Bronze released a 45 featuring The Fruit Basket album track “The Invisible Man.” It was and remains an enjoyable little number, but it was backed with a dub mix of the track by Lee “Scratch” Perry, not in itself a bad thing (to the contrary, the version added to the general positive vibrations of Perry’s most recent comeback), it just didn’t necessarily provide further insight into Everett and Miller’s overall thing.

That Michael Hampton contributed guitar to “The Invisible Man” did present a clue into one possible avenue in Solid Bronze’s roadmap, though just as prominent in the track is the Auto-Tuned crooning of Atlanta rapper CLEW, along with a contrasting deep voice offering spoken smoothness of a decidedly ’70s comportment.

But The Fruit Basket’s opener “Papa’s Bug” jumps right into buoyant Clinton-esque funkiness with wiggly tech flourishes and unperturbed vocalizing that also nods back a bit to Sly Stone. It’s an appetizing start that’s followed by the slower groove of “The Invisible Man” as Hampton’s soloing accents the psychedelia in Solid Bronze’s equation. From there, “Hard to Keep the Faith” introduces a danceable mid-tempo spiked with saxophones and capped with sharp jazzy jaunts and an instrumental passage putting keyboards and additional rock guitar action squarely in the foreground.

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TVD Live Shots: The Flaming Lips at the O2 Brixton Academy, 9/7

2019 marks the 20th anniversary of The Flaming Lips’ masterpiece The Soft Bulletin. Hailed by critics and fans alike, it was a landmark record that saw the band transforming from the weirdest band on the planet to the most respected one. In 2009 during its 10th anniversary, the critics were at it again calling it an “undeniably essential listen that belongs in every record collection.” 20 years on, it still holds up incredibly well as a record, but when performed live it’s on another level—it’s nothing short of magical.

This is the fourth or fifth time I’ve seen The Flaming Lips, but the first time seeing them in London. The legendary Brixton Academy brought the fans out in droves to see the spectacle that creative genius Wayne Coyne would deliver. I’m not really sure how to describe the crowd that included someone wearing a giant crying baby head and numerous rainbow and glitter-infused outfits. I even ran into The Clash’s Mick Jones at the show as it was rumored that he would be guesting that evening in one form or another (unfortunately, it was just that, a rumor). Earlier this year The Flaming Lips tapped Jones to serve as narrator on their surreal new song, “Giant Baby,” from their latest album King’s Mouth.

The Flaming Lips took to the stage, and an incredibly humble and personable Wayne Coyne chatted the crowd up and welcomed them to the show an detailing the night’s setup. Gazing into a mystical disco ball center stage, Coyne began to orchestrate the opening number with his back to the audience as a perfect build-up to what’s to follow. The show instantly transformed into an insanely colourful explosion of smoke, confetti, giant balloons, with a crowd that is losing their minds. But it’s not like one of those shows where the giant balloons bounce around the audience for one song, this went on for the ENTIRE show.

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TVD Radar: The Damned, Black Is The Night (The Definitive Anthology)
4-LP gold vinyl set in stores 11/1

VIA PRESS RELEASE | They were the first, and they may just well be the last. As any good punk fan knows, The Damned released the first UK punk single with “New Rose,” the first UK punk album with Damned Damned Damned and toured America when the Sex Pistols were still thinking about being pretty vacant.

And so things came full circle with the release of 2018’s Evil Spirits, giving The Damned their first ever Top 10 UK album, and legendary bassist Paul Gray re-joining Captain Sensible and Dave Vanian after nearly two decades away. The Damned entered 2019 on a high. Smash It Up? More like on smashing form. There couldn’t be a better time to finally compile the ultimate Damned compendium as they finish the year playing New York’s hallowed Madison Square Garden and the London Palladium for their “Night of a Thousand Vampires.”

Gathering The Damned’s original four protagonists together to share their thoughts on this very unique compilation was never going to be easy. Guitarist Brian James, songer and gravedigger Dave Vanian, the inimitable Captain Sensible, and drum demolition king Rat Scabies were plied with the promise of a few ales, and tales were told, blood was spilled, and here we have it—Black Is The Night—the first truly comprehensive Damned anthology, spanning their entire career. These tracks have been specifically chosen by the band themselves and every track and every Damned album tells a different story. They are a band that never repeats themselves, with every record charting new territory and breaking new ground.

PUNK | Original Damned guitarist and Mr. “New Rose” himself, Brian James had the idea for a hard and fast-hitting rock ‘n’ roll band after his group Bastard split in 1975. “Basically, I had ideas for a bunch of songs and when I met Rat, him being the right drummer, it just brought out the rest of the songs in me really. Once we met Captain he joined in. I knew what I wanted Captain to do because he just had to follow the chords and keep it very basic. I didn’t want any jazz runs or anything stupid, just tough and to the point. Then when we found Dave, it was roughly the same kind of thing. I wrote the lyrics and sang in his ear how I heard it—a kind of second-rate Iggy imitation. It was a gradual process.”

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Graded on a Curve:
Patty Waters,

No discussion of the 1960s avant-garde is complete without touching upon the work of singer Patty Waters, as she predated such vocal iconoclasts as Yoko Ono and Linda Sharrock. Additionally, she was a prime influence on Patti Smith and perhaps most pertinently, Diamanda Galas. Live, her latest and first new release on vinyl since 1966, was captured in performance at the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn on April 5, 2018 with the pianist from her debut Burton Greene, bassist Mario Pavone, and percussionist Barry Altschul. Dedicated to the great pianist Cecil Taylor on the day of his passing, its run of 1,000 LPs and 750 CDs is out September 20 via Blank Forms.

“People ask me (about) my influences, I would have to say Patty Waters. They say other people and I say, nahh, Patty Waters, listen to Patty Waters. I listened to her twice. That’s all it took for some grain of inextricable influence” —Diamanda Galas

Patty Waters’ two greatest albums, Sings from 1965 and College Tour from the following year, combine to secure her reputation as an avant vocal priestess of the first order. They were cut for the storied label ESP Disk, an enterprise known for its stable of fringe ’60s artifacts ranging from the proto out-rock of The Godz and Cromagnon, assorted strains of folk including The Fugs, Pearls Before Swine, The Holy Modal Rounders, Erica Pomerance, and Ed Askew, and most prominently, a ton of the era’s avant jazz; in fact, it was saxophonist Albert Ayler who introduced Waters to ESP’s owner-operator Bernard Stollman.

Instead of its deceptively plain title, her debut for the label could’ve been called The Vocal Extremities of Patty Waters, for its first side offered seven short tracks of hushed and isolated intensity, with Waters’ accompanying herself on piano, while the second held one side-long dive into the emotional abyss, with Waters working herself into a wailing screaming frenzy as Burton Greene plays piano and piano harp, Steve Tintweiss works the bass, and Tom Price delivers percussion.

Like many ESP Disk titles, the back cover stated, “You never heard such sounds in your life.” This was no exaggeration. Her detonation of “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” still has the power to unnerve a room. While Sings has much in common with the ’60s free jazz movement, to simply label it as an out-jazz record does it and Waters a disservice. It’s undeniably an avant-garde experience, and I rate it as one of the decade’s very best.

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Graded on a Curve:
Jack Kerouac,
Poetry for the Beat Generation

Jack Kerouac changed my life. I read On the Road and just like that I went from being this adolescent CYO nerd with no goals or dreams to a cut-rate beatnik wannabe who drank Tokay wine and sought out angel-headed hipsters and gone beat characters in the pool halls and greasy diners of nearby Gettysburg and Taneytown, drove like I had a death wish in imitation of Dean Moriarty, and hopped a moving 2 a.m. freight train and rode in an open coal car the whole way to Harrisburg.

It was all a ridiculous fantasy, I know; there were no angel-headed hipsters or beat characters to be found in the pool halls and diners of Gettysburg and Taneytown, and one late night train ride hardly made me the second coming of Sal Paradise. But Kerouac did more for me than just turn me into a poseur; he fired my imagination and turned me on to literature, and fueled my desire to escape my one-horse town and have big wild adventures in the American night. He even made me think that, who knew, one day maybe I’d even write a meaningful sentence or two.

Kerouac has similarly inspired innumerable other kids, which is why all of those detractors who mocked him when On the Road came out in 1957 were 100 percent wrong. It’s hard to fathom, today, the savaging he received from a clueless press. If Time was content to ridicule him as “a latrine laureate of Hobohemia,” other, more hysterical voices, sniffing the downfall of Western civilization in his descriptions of junkies, small time criminals, and (gak!) “negroes,” proclaimed him the spearhead of a nihilistic and violent death cult.

Why, you’d have thought he was the Sex Pistols. Norman Podhertz seemed to think murder was the theme of Kerouac’s writing. And an obviously deranged writer for The San Francisco Examiner went so far as to submit that Kerouac’s “degenerate” followers were prone to feeding strangers hamburgers laced with ground glass. And, with a few notable exceptions, the literary establishment was no more charitable; Truman Capote, for one, famously dismissed Kerouac’s work with the words, “That’s not writing, that’s typing.”

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Graded on a Curve: Daniel Johnston,

Today we remember Daniel Johnston who passed away on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 with this look back from our archives.Ed.

Of all the fine stuff scheduled to hit the racks last week for Black Friday, one item particularly stood out in large part due to its belated appearance on vinyl. In all the excitement and hubbub of the holiday festivities, it was easy to miss the last minute cancellation of this record, shifting the focus below from an appreciation of a long-delayed vinyl slight to a consideration of a release whose LP coronation continues to be denied. The subject is Fun, the sole major-label entry in the discography of Daniel Johnston, originally issued by Atlantic Records in 1994. Hopefully its eventual emergence on vinyl comes sooner rather than later.

While I won’t be so bold as to say there was no middle ground, the reaction to Daniel Johnston’s original home recordings did largely run to extremes. On one hand, there were those who championed a new and startlingly unique pop singer-songwriter. On the other were the strident doubters and the often exasperated reactions of folks who considered it all a big put on.

Johnston’s advocates largely felt that his crudely recorded homemade cassettes were just as legitimate and deserving of attention as anything being produced for mass consumption in the spacious multi-track studios of the big label machine. Many listeners not smitten with his considerable output identified it as another example of underground tastemakers locating a marginal artist and then lording it over those with enough sense to not buy into the hype.

As more people became acclimated to the uniqueness of Johnston’s work, either through the stumping of music journalists and critics, the name dropping of assorted clued-in musicians, and via his now legendary appearance on MTV’s The Cutting Edge Happy Hour, where he performed during his lunch break at McDonalds, it started to become clear to some of the previously doubtful that the passionate reaction of so many was indeed sincere, the music having struck a deep chord. A fair number of these agnostics listened again, and what had initially sounded strange shifted into something special.

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Needle Drop: Sirenety,
“Watch It Burn”

London-based singer-songwriter Sirenety backs her serene vocals with eerie ambience, imbuing her angelic electro pop with a slightly aggressive edge.

“Watch It Burn” is her fourth stand-alone single, each subsequent release revealing a more impassioned artist. This track picks up the mantle from Portishead and Mandalay, taking their deep sonic exploration even further into the darkness.

Sirenity is clearly a fan of Gothic themes and low slung production, but does a fantastic job pairing those elements with the candid and direct lyricism typical of British pop. “It wasn’t that long ago, you promised me the world,” she sings in a hauntingly empowered timber. “You don’t get to just walk away.”

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Graded on a Curve: England Dan and
John Ford Coley,
Nights Are Forever

It speaks volumes about my horrible and tortured existence that England Dan and John Ford Coley was the first musical act I ever saw live. Is that sad or what? I mean, let’s ignore for a moment the well-marinaded urinal cake that is their music–just take a glance at that cover! What with their sex predator lady ticklers and nausea-colored leisure suits, soft pop’s saddest-looking Mutt and Jeff act look like convicted pedophiles at a junior high prom, lurking in the shadow of the punch bowl for the chance to hand out free mustache rides.

That said, I actually liked their big hit single “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight” when it came out in 1976, and I still brighten up when I hear it in my local supermarket. The album it’s attached to, not so much–if nights are forever, so is this baby–listening to it, I fell prey to the awful conviction that dawn would never come.

Nights Are Forever is a little bit country, and a little bit something else, and suffice it to say the something else is something you don’t want in your ears. If I had to use a color to describe the music on Nights Are Forever, I’d direct you to England Dan’s leisure suit, which any clothier worth a toss would adjudge an off-shade of shit.

Perhaps I’m being too harsh. One might more charitably describe Nights Are Forever as bottom-shelf Yacht Rock, and blandly inoffensive enough if you’re only listening to it with that part of your mind usually reserved for listening to someone describe, in excruciating detail, their latest master cleanse. As one would expect, most of these songs are as sensitive as chafed balls, and, should you be dumb enough to pay close attention, almost as painful.

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TVD Radar: Gene Clark, No Other vinyl boxset reissue in stores 11/8

VIA PRESS RELEASE | On the eve of what would have been American singer-songwriter and Byrds founding member Gene Clark’s 75th birthday comes the reissue of one of his finest works, No Other.

Released in 1974 on Asylum Records, a year after the Byrds short-lived reunion, Gene reached for the stars with No Other; a psychedelic rock, folk, country and soul record that famously cost a small fortune to make. Although received warmly by critics, it flopped and was soon deleted, a failure Gene never came to terms with. However, as The New York Times wrote around the record’s 40th anniversary in 2014, “hindsight has burnished No Other, as it has redeemed other albums that went on to be reconstructed as rock repertory, like Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers and Lou Reed’s Berlin,” with the album now being increasingly recognized as one of the greatest of its time, if not all time.

45 years on and recently remastered at Abbey Road, 4AD are giving No Other the reappraisal it deserves. The original eight track album is being released on both CD and LP, while a limited run double CD edition in a hardbound book cover is also coming which includes a bonus disc of alternate studio versions of each track plus a recording of “Train Leaves Here This Morning” (an Eagles hit in 1972, written by Gene and Eagles founding member Bernie Leadon).

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Graded on a Curve: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Green River

1969–here in America, it was the best of years, it was the worst of years. On one hand, Woodstock marked the high-water mark of hippie utopianism. On the other hand, the Vietnam War, Altamont, and the dark specter of the Manson Family made clear that far from harkening the beginning of the Age of Aquarius, Woodstock was but an idealistic hiccup–three days of peace and music were nice, but they didn’t change the ugly and immutable basics of bestial human nature.

The soul of America was at stake in 1969, and musicians reacted to this struggle in different ways. Some sang topical protest songs. Others–Bob Dylan being the most notable example–simply exempted themselves from struggle altogether.

Two bands exemplify yet another approach. Both the Band and Creedence Clearwater Revival mythologized America, creating timeless songs filled with archetypes and imagery. The bands had much in common; they weren’t hippies, they didn’t perform free-form jams or go in for the dayglo trappings of psychedelia–for both groups, LSD, Sgt. Pepper, and the Summer of Love might as well have never happened.

But the two bands approached America in very different ways. On their eponymous 1969 release, the Band looked fondly backwards towards an idealized past–with the exception of the dire “Look Out Cleveland,” they eschewed the dark currents of 1969 altogether. As for Creedence, they occasionally addressed the issues of the day; “Fortunate Son” addressed the Vietnam war, and “Run Through the Jungle” gun proliferation in the U.S.A. But for the most part they dealt with the dark undercurrents of American history more obliquely. John Fogerty’s is an apocalyptic vision of America; if there’s one word that sums up the mood of his archetypal songs, it’s dread.

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Needle Drop: Just
Like Honey, “How
Does It Feel?”

NYC-based Just Like Honey are known for their iridescent shoegaze vibes, which we were turned onto last year via the release of their full length LP The Weight of the Stars.

In an interesting turn of events, the band is back with an understated acoustic album called The Woodroom Sessions which emphasizes the gorgeous female vocal stylings of Darlene Jonasson and Bianca Yan.

Standout single “How Does It Feel” is a poignant, delicately delivered cut that begs to be added to a rainy day playlist. It’s quite impressive to see the band transfer it’s dialed-in dream pop aesthetic over to a more rustic, Americana template, allowing their ace songwriting and heavenly production value to speak for itself. The resulting recordings conjure up the soulful early ballads by The Cranberries, pushing the interplay of intimate, emotive vocals over hook-driven acoustic nuance.

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Graded on a Curve:
Art Pepper,
Promise Kept: The Complete Artist House Recordings

In 1979, while in the midst of a career-capping comeback, Art Pepper entered the studio to cut a record for Artists House, the label of producer John Snyder. Indicative of how things sometimes work, one album became four, released across the 1980s, with numerous takes left in the can…until now. As part of Omnivore Recordings’ unflagging dedication to returning Pepper’s late work to easy accessibility, Promise Kept: The Complete Artist House Recordings hits stores on September 13, holding five CDs featuring across-the-board exceptional players in tandem with one of Modern Jazz’s finest saxophonists.

Promise Kept might seem like an unwieldy hunk of music to contend with, but if lengthy, it’s easily parsed as the work of two top-flight bands comprising two sessions on opposing coasts (with distinct temperaments to match) as Pepper made good on a commitment to record an LP for Snyder’s small but consistently rewarding label (a handful of classics reside in its discography).

As said, four albums resulted, though only So in Love, the first, was actually issued by Artists House. The subsequent three, Artworks, New York Album, and Stardust came out after Pepper’s death via Galaxy and Victor in 1984-’85. With the exception of take two of “But Beautiful,” the entirely of disc five (titled simply Sessions) is previously unreleased.

Snyder, a jazz aficionado who circa the 1970s was also Creative Director for Horizon, the jazz label of A&M Records, had booked a tour for Pepper in ’77 that included gigs at the Village Vanguard. The success of those gigs instilled a desire in Snyder to record Pepper live at the storied New York club with an all-star group.

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