Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Grateful Dead Origins, graphic novel deluxe edition
and LP in stores 4/20

VIA PRESS RELEASE | As Z2 Comics continues to revolutionize the comics industry with their music collaborations, the track list for the audio from the upcoming 2020 Grateful Dead graphic novel is now available.

Grateful Dead Origins tells the story of the band’s transformation from a bar band performing as the Warlocks to becoming the creators of their own sound and cultural movement through their music and community. Artist Noah Van Sciver illustrates an original history created by writer Chris Miskiewicz. The graphic novel will be available in 2 editions: a standard edition and a limited run collectors deluxe edition. The standard edition available here will feature an exclusive download of 13 tracks curated by famed Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux. Lemieux, the keeper of the vault of Grateful Dead music, personally selected the tracklist composed of:

The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion) – from Grateful Dead
Cream Puff War – from Rare Cuts
Walking The Dog – from Rare Cuts
Viola Lee Blues – from Road Trips 2/2/68
Hey Little One – from Rare Cuts
That’s It For The Other One – from Anthem Of The Sun
Midnight Hour – from 1966 30 Trips
Standing On The Corner – from Rare Cuts
China Cat Sunflower – from Aoxomoxoa
Big Railroad Blues – from Rare Cuts
Morning Dew – from Grateful Dead
Keep Rolling By – from 1966 30 Trips
Cosmic Charlie – from Aoxomoxoa

The limited run collector’s deluxe edition will have the same download as the standard edition but will also be bundled with a vinyl LP containing a previously unreleased live performance from the Grateful Dead. The performance was recorded at the Fillmore West in San Francisco on August 21, 1968. The track list for the vinyl is:

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Graded on a Curve: Ryuichi Sakamoto,
Thousand Knives of Ryuichi Sakamoto

As a composer, vocalist, songwriter, producer, keyboardist, and electronic music pioneer, Ryuichi Sakamoto has accumulated a substantial list of achievements since emerging as part of the 1970s Japanese scene. A member of the Yellow Magic Orchestra, all of his solo recordings postdate the release of that outfit’s debut except one, which came out in 1978 a month prior to YMO’s eponymous first LP. It delivers an occasionally fascinating look at the artist before his ’80s rise in profile, but Thousand Knives of Ryuichi Sakamoto has never been an easy find in stores; in a sweet turn, Wewantsounds has reissued it on LP and CD, the first time in decades that it’s been available physically outside Japan.

In the promotional text for Becoming Peter Ivers, the RVNG Intl. label’s fresh archival release of demos from the late singer-songwriter, the subject gets quoted: “Demos are often better than records,” with Ivers adding, “More energy, more soul, more guts.” It’s a sentiment in which I am in accord, and I mention it as this idea can easily be adjusted and applied to an artist or band’s debut recording, in part due to a lack of streamlining that can result from the desire to expand upon early success.

Conversely, first albums (or EPs, or 45s even) can sometimes be formative, modest, and even generic affairs that do little or nothing to portend what is on a musician’s discographical horizon. Occasionally, the opportunity to record comes too early, but artists are unlikely to turn down the chance, either because they think the time is ripe, or they realize that the option may not arise again.

Thousand Knives of Ryuichi Sakamoto follows a more productive path, as its motions of creative growth, while surely not eclipsing Sakamoto’s later recordings in worth, are quite pleasurable in how they help inject color into a portrait of the young artist. Additionally, the LP directly connects to Haruomi Hosono’s Paraiso, which was issued in April of ’78.

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TVD Radar: Dio, The Studio Album Collection in stores 2/21

VIA PRESS RELEASE | BMG and Niji Entertainment Group Inc. have partnered to reissue DIO’s 1996 – 2004 studio albums: Angry Machines (1996), Magica (2000), Killing The Dragon (2002), and Master Of The Moon (2004).

These newly remastered versions feature rare and never before released live and studio bonus tracks, and were remastered by longtime DIO collaborator Wyn Davis with updated artwork from frequent DIO designer Marc Sasso. Long out of print on vinyl, the 180gram black vinyl includes the original tracklistings and is available as a Limited Edition first run with and LP-sized Lenticular album art print. As a special bonus, the Magica 2LP also contains a 7” single featuring ‘Electra’, the only known completed track from the planned Magica 2 album.

The CD versions of each album have also been long out of print globally. These newly remastered deluxe versions are showcased in mediabook packaging along with a second disc featuring rare and unreleased bonus material. In addition to rare studio tracks ‘Electra’ (included on Magica), and ‘Prisoner Of Paradise’ (included on Master Of The Moon), each bonus disc includes a selection of both rare or never before released live tracks from the accompanying tour for each studio release.

All bonus tracks are also available on the streaming/digital versions. Check the links below to hear rare live tracks from across DIO’s legendary career: “Man On The Silver Mountain” – Recorded Live on the Angry Machines Tour, “Lord Of the Last Day” – Recorded Live on The Magica Tour, “Holy Diver” – Recorded Live on the Killing The Dragon Tour, “Heaven and Hell” – Recorded Live on the Master Of The Moon Tour

Wendy Dio says, “I am very excited to be working with BMG, a label that still has a passion for rock music. They will be making the complete DIO catalogue available again with some interesting surprises.”

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TVD Radar: No Other Love : Midwest Gospel (1965-1978) in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | This collection of rare black gospel from the Midwest—featuring church congregations, basement recordings sessions, family bands and children’s choirs—is drawn together by two threads.

The first—hope—which holds fast and unchanging, even in the most trying of circumstances. The second—circumstance—the way these recordings fell into the hands of producer, Ramona Stout, in Chicago at the dawn of the Obama era, when she had just about lost hope in her American Dream. Over the course of five years (2006-2011) of vinyl hustling in Chicago’s South and West Sides, these 45s came into Ramona’s hands, mixed up in milk-crates stacked with Northern Soul, water-damaged jazz and Hall & Oates LPs. After much travel and time, Ramona has articulated the spirit that drove this music forward. In this collection, she writes of this music and its relationship to the struggling communities where the records were found.

Sourced from exceedingly rare 45s—many of which were vanity pressings of less than 100 copies—all but one of the tracks found on this collection appear for the first time since their original release. Remastered by Grammy-winning producer Christopher King, these recordings have been resurrected for a new generation of listeners. With art direction by Grammy-winning graphic designer Susan Archie, this collection is a tangible, immersive experience in the struggles—the victories, the failures and the lingering hope—that defined Chicago in the post-Civil Rights era.

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Tall Heights,
The TVD First Date

“To me, a vinyl record spinning on the turntable is like a bonfire glowing in your backyard. Once you spark it up, you have to tend to its beginning, middle, and end.”

“It creates a buzz and warmth that draws you and your friends closer, and even as it stays in that one place, it never stops moving, it never stops moving you. In this day and age, I love vinyl for slowing us down a little, for sucking us in, for giving us something that’s real to engage with and to hold onto.

My record collection tells a story of who I am as well. It’s a culmination of an inherited American tradition of music, family, friends, and touring/travel. I have my dad’s old records: Gordon Lightfoot, THE Moody Blues, Dan Fogelberg, Fleetwood Mac. I have albums inherited from friends: Stevie Wonder, Art Garfunkel, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Dire Straits.

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Graded on a Curve:
David Bowie,
Never Let Me Down

Never let you down? How about never letting us down? On this 1987 dry well of an LP David Bowie–who thanks to 1983’s Let’s Dance and 1984’s Tonight had finally achieved the vast popular success that had eluded him throughout the years–stooped yet again to conquer, and put paid to his reputation as a genius/ trendsetter in the process. Never Let Me Down wasn’t just a stumble, or even the worst LP of Bowie’s career–it was a harbinger of the lost years to come.

One hardly knows where to start. With the second-rate dance rhythms? The forgettable melodies? The overweening (let’s go big big big!) but ultimately counter-productive production? The ubiquitous (and headache-provoking) ’80s drum drum drum? The horrifying harmonica Bowie seems to have borrowed from Boy George? His lackluster vocals and lack of commitment to the material? The inexplicable presence of Mickey Rourke? Did I just say Mickey Rourke?

On Never Let Me Down Bowie shamelessly panders to his newfound audience. Pandering is but a form of condescension, and on Never Let Me Down he doesn’t just make a whore of himself; he makes whores of us all. I’m one of those people (Velvet Goldmine director Todd Haynes being another) who thinks Bowie sold his soul for fame with Let’s Dance. But the devil always exacts his due. He spared Bowie eternal damnation; guess he figured Never Let Me Down was punishment enough.

Inexplicably many critics–blinded perhaps their fond memories of past glories and unwilling to face up to his precipitous fall from grace–had nothing but good things to say about the album. Bowie himself was far less deluded, telling a 1995 interviewer, “My nadir was Never Let Me Down. It was such an awful album…I really shouldn’t have even bothered going into the studio to record it.”

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TVD Radar: Third Man Records announces
new Shinola turntable in stores 11/29

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Third Man Records is excited to announce the Third Man Turntable, created in partnership with Shinola.

The two revered Detroit institutions have combined their efforts and the superior craftsmanship both brands are known for to create a very limited-edition Third Man-centric run of Shinola’s already-beloved turntables. The Third Man Turntable is available for pre-order online now and will be available in Third Man Records stores on Black Friday. The limited edition Third Man Turntable is a joint effort between the Shinola Audio team and Third Man Records.

In their ongoing mission to empower new generations of music lovers and vinyl enthusiasts, it felt right for Third Man to strike up a partnership with Shinola, because a collaboration like this needs to be fueled by a mutual passion for well designed objects and appreciation for the power of music.

Every element, including the craftsmanship of the plinth, precision-machined aluminum platter, and powerful, ultra-quiet motor, is hand-assembled piece by piece. The turntable features a built-in, switchable phono preamplifier and a belt driven pulley with speeds of 33 1/3 rpm and 45rpm. It is equipped with an Ortofon 2M blue phono cartridge with many components made by VPI Industries, an American veteran of turntable manufacturing.

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Steve Forbert,
The TVD First Date

“Putting an LP on a turntable is, to me, a conscientious act of music appreciation—and a small, personal protest against the omnipresent, instantaneous, and disposable state of popular music around us.”

“And it’s typically a higher quality sonic experience than other mediums. I find that listening to a complete side of an album, maybe even both sides, or even playing a 45-rpm is best done alone. If I try to listen with a friend, we’ll likely start talking about the recording as it plays! This is fine and fun but, of course, not optimum listening.

I go way back with vinyl and have quite a collection (filed alphabetically by artist, side by side on several custom-made shelves). I’m now out of the habit of returning a record immediately to its proper place, so they tend to line up on the floor, back to front, staring at me, waiting to be filed again.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Rolling Stones,
Goat’s Head Soup

By anybody else’s standards a very good LP; coming as it did on the heels of Exile on Main Street, a colossal disappointment. And this despite a few top-notch songs. For The Rolling Stones 1973’s Goat Head Soup was the beginning of the end; the title of It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll about says it all, and Some Girls was less a last gasp than a death rattle. After that, the abyss.

All great bands have their golden age, and with the Stones that golden age lasted from 1968’s Beggar’s Banquet to 1972’s Exile on Main Street. Inside those bookends were 1969’s Let It Bleed and 1971’s Sticky Figures–masterpieces all. This four album run–five if you consider Get Yer Ya-Yas Out!, which I don’t–beats The Beatles and put them in a dead heat with Bob Dylan. But as with the Beatles and Dylan, all good things come to an end.

How do I adjudge Exile on Main Street to be a great album, and Goats Head Soup but a good one? Simple. While every single song on Exile is engraved upon my memory, for the life of me I can never remember what such songs as “100 Years Ago,” “Coming Down Again, “Hide Your Love,” and “Can’t You Hear the Music” even sound like. It would be unfair to call them forgettable, but I’ll be damned if I can remember them.

On Exile the Stones ripped that joint, let it loose, then scraped the shit right off their shoes. On Goats Heads Soup they sound, well, enervated. Weary, or even worse, complacent. Like a band resting on its laurels. The LP has a couple of excellent slow ones on it, but ballads were never the Stones’ forte; they made their bones playing a raunched-up variant on American rhythm and blues, and on Goats Head Soup the raunch is missing in action.

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Needle Drop: The Soft Underground, Anemoia

NYC-based duo The Soft Underground have a knack for undeniably groovy alt jams that color outside the traditional rock song structures.

Anemoia is the band’s third full length album, and is a clear indication that their unconventional format is working. The two band spearheads, Andrew McCarty and Charlie Hickey, are primarily a studio duo who build their instrumentals first and then cast individual vocalists to embody each track.

This results in a surprisingly cohesive aesthetic, with an overall vibe that conjures up Seattle’s ’90s scene with a dash of deep cut ’70s psych rock. It’s a trippy, modern take on the sounds of yesteryear, falling somewhere between My Bloody Valentine and The Velvet Underground.

“Thematically, it’s a happy album,” McCarty reflects, knowing that their material often boasts an impenetrably moody veneer. “We tried to capture that state of euphoria where you can appreciate all facets of life, including the lows.”

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Brother Hawk,
The TVD First Date
and Video Premiere,
“The Black Dog”

“I’ve made no secret of the fact that Neil Young is my all time favorite artist.”

“I’m an especially big fan of the Ditch Trilogy. Tonight’s The Night and On The Beach are two favorites in my family. My Dad turned us on to those records really early and we’ve always loved listening to them and playing those songs together. “Albuquerque,” “On The Beach,” and “Motion Pictures” were some of my favorites to play and sing with my Dad while he played harmonica. Those records played a huge part in my musical development and still influence the music we make now.

Some years later my brother JoJo bought me Time Fades Away on vinyl for Xmas and it was an instant favorite right up there with the others—I wore it the fuck out! It’s so genuine and raw, and that really comes through even more when you listen on vinyl. HAIL NEIL!”
J.B. Brisendine, guitar,vocals

“My brother and I had been following Radiohead since they came out with their first album Pablo Honey, and we loved The Bends as well. But, once OK Computer came out I was completely obsessed with them.”

“I couldn’t get over the harmonic language and sounds they came up with on that album. We would scrounge around to find any videos of them playing live that we could. I quickly became a huge fan of Jonny Greenwood in particular, his background as a classical musician, and how he fit his unusual solos, synths, and piano playing into their sound.

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TVD Radar: Modern English, Mesh & Lace and After the Snow vinyl reissues in stores 12/6

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Both albums have been remastered and feature brand new, re-imagined artwork by original album artist Vaughan Oliver and will be available on LP and CD formats, with non-LP bonus tracks on the CD edition.

Simply put, “I Melt With You” by Modern English is one of the most iconic songs of the New Wave-era. It garnered heavy rotation on the then-thriving Modern Rock radio format, MTV and dance clubs across the globe, and was featured prominently in the classic 1983 film Valley Girl, starring a young Nicholas Cage. Yet Modern English was no mere one-hit wonder. Mesh & Lace, the band’s 1981 full-length debut, reveals that long before the band conquered the airwaves, it was churning out dark, moody and challenging post-punk that rivaled such peers as The Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen, and their then-4AD labelmates Bauhaus. On 1982’s After the Snow, the band’s sound evolved into a more commercial and radio friendly mix of synthesizers, guitars, catchy drumbeats and singer Robby Grey’s unmistakable vocals. That album spawned “I Melt With You” and brought Modern English up from the underground to the mainstream.

On December 6, Los Angeles-based Blixa Sounds will release these two classic albums, remastered on vinyl LP and CD formats, with a collection of non-LP bonus tracks exclusively on the CD edition. Both albums will feature new re-imagined artwork by Vaughan Oliver, the noted artist /designer responsible for the original Modern English album art.

The huge success of “I Melt With You” often over shadows that fact the Modern English were pioneers of the British post-punk scene. Formed in 1979 in Colchester, England, the band self-released its first single on its own Limp Records label, prior to signing to the legendary 4AD label, home to such like-minded acts as Bauhaus, Cocteau Twins, and Dead Can Dance. The band also gained the attention of renowned BBC DJ John Peel, who featured the band twice on his program.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Byrds,
Mr. Tambourine Man

So I was hanging out with the Weavers at the Troubadour’s Monday Hoot Night when Chris Hillman walked through the door and said, “Hey Mike, Jim McGuinn and I just invented folk rock. And it’s gonna be huge!”

“Yeah, right,” I said as I tuned my Alpine zither. “And within 10 years we’re going to put a man on the moon. What are you, eight miles high?”

“Hmm,” said Chris thoughtfully, adding “Wanna join our band?”

“And give up playing my zither-based adaptations of Woody Guthrie songs in front of 7 people? Give me 8 years and I’ll be opening for Tiny Tim. I’m gonna be bigger than Dave Van Ronk!”

“Get real, man… “

“I am real, whatever that means. This whole “just add electricity thing” is a passing thing, like The Beatles. What do you plan to call yourselves, anyway?”

“The Birds.”

“Pretty lame,” said I. “I suppose you’ll spell it with a ‘y.’”

“Hmm,” said Chris.

“Who’s in your so-called group?”

“Well, in addition to McGuinn we got Gene Clark, and Michael Clarke. Oh, and David Crosby.”

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Needle Drop: Jarod Lawley, “Everything That I Need You To Be”

London-based Jarod Lawley has been described as the lovechild of Lana Del Rey and Alex Turner and that comparison certainly holds up on his latest offering, “Everything That I Need You To Be.”

It’s only his third official single, but the moody, introspective and vigorous track feels like the kind of assured work we might expect from a seasoned artist. The neo noir visuals help drive home the nostalgic yearning that emanates from Lawley’s brooding, surf rock-soaked songwriting. The hard lighting and projected images melt into the song’s twangy ambiance as Jarod layers his baritone vocal over the trap-inspired drums.

“Everything That I Need You To Be’ represents my longing for a time that I didn’t even live through,” Lawley asserts. “An anthem for people who feel they have old souls and wish things could be how they used to be. An homage to the dark side of the vintage era.”

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Graded on a Curve:
Albert Collins,
Truckin’ with Albert Collins

Albert Collins hailed from Texas, and he had the blues. His biggest fame as a guitarist came during the 1980s but his tenure as a performer and recording artist spanned all the way back to the late-‘50s. Truckin’ with Albert Collins serves up a very nice collection of his mid-‘60s work, and its chapter one in the story of a major electric blues figure.

It was a long run of albums for Alligator that finally brought Albert Collins sustained and much deserved recognition, but prior to his association with that long-serving Chicago-based indie he’d already achieved the status of a Texas master. Along with T-Bone Walker, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Freddie King, and Lightnin’ Hopkins, Collins is an essential component in the Lone Star State’s post-World War II blues progression, and his pre-Alligator material reveals an artistry that thrived on versatility and yet was also quite focused.

However, noting the man’s rise in stature via Bruce Iglauer’s label shouldn’t suggest that Collins was doing his thing under a shroud of total obscurity during the ‘60s, or conversely that the ascension via Alligator was instantaneous (far from it; it was only in the late-‘80s that he was able to pay someone else to drive his tour bus.) The guitarist certainly had his moments during the ‘60s blues boom, and the record that established him as a force was his single for the TCF/Hall label “Frosty.”

It’s been awarded with the distinction of selling a million copies, though it apparently never landed on any national chart, so it’s not easy to check that claim’s veracity. And rather than tally-up a quick surge of retail momentum, the lithe instrumental instead found a steady audience by exploring terrain similar to the Kings Freddie and B.B., with Collins tapping into a blues sensibility completely lacking in anachronistic qualities.

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