The TVD Storefront

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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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 2/21/24

NY | 18 top vinyl record store destinations in Upstate New York: As the Baby Boomers will rightly recall, our lives changed when we bought our first record player and spent our chore money on records, both 45s and albums. Music freedom at last!! Vinyl records are huge right now. New ones are out there in big numbers, and at big prices. In fact, too big in my opinion. So, we settle for the used vinyl that we had, loved, through away, and now yearn for back. They are much cheaper than new vinyl re-issues, and are far more enjoyable to listen to, even with the errant pop, hiss, and dust moozy clogging things up a bit. Where just a few years ago a vinyl record store was a rare and much appreciated thing, today they are in almost every town, village, and shopping mall. In this gallery we find 18 great places to get your vinyl groove on. Sure most of these places sell the new vinyl releases, but they also have plenty of nostalgic gems to discover (or re-discover).

Murfreesboro, TN | LRB Skate and Record Shop’s grand opening in conjunction with celebration: …Gage Doran, 16, has been skateboarding for Volatile skateboards for nearly a year and they recently released his first-ever signature skate deck. The deck was designed by an illustrious artist who has done work for Powell Peralta, Bones Brigade Skateboards and for Jeese James from West Coast Choppers. Gage also has another smaller sponsor, JaxWax. Gage Doran began skating in Charleston, South Carolina. He said he really found his passion for it when he stated skating at Fred Deadman Skate Park in Manchester, Tennessee. Phil Doran has been encouraging of his son’s passion for skateboarding and has been a collaborator in his son’s achievements. “I would post a lot of videos, we’d go all day at different places: Nashville, Florida, South Carolina. Where ever we were I was shooting videos really to see how he was moving along in skating. A proud dad kind of thing.”

Manchester, UK | Rae Donaldson: Tributes paid to popular Manchester music shop boss: Tributes have been paid to a popular Manchester record shop owner whose store was frequented by stars of the city’s music scene. Rae Donaldson worked at Vinyl Exchange in the city’s Northern Quarter for almost 30 years. The store said he died while on his way to work on Friday, his 64th birthday. Among the tributes, former Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam said: “Music fans get attached to their favourite record shop staff. I loved him.” He described Mr Donaldson as “so interested, so sussed” and “a beautiful soul”. The store said his death had “knocked us sideways” and Mr Donaldson would be “a hard act to follow.” “We hope to mirror his passion, enthusiasm, musical knowledge and recommendations,” it added.

Ringo Starr “Really Excited” to Be Releasing New EP ‘Crooked Boy’ as a Record Store Day Vinyl Exclusive: Ringo Starr recently revealed details about a new EP titled Crooked Boy on which he collaborated with songwriter/producer Linda Perry. Now the former Beatles drummer has announced that the four-song collection will be released as a limited-edition colored-vinyl disc as part of the 2024 Record Store Day event on April 20. The EP will be available on black-and-white marble vinyl exclusively at independent record stores. Only 2000 copies of the vinyl disc will be sold. “I’m really excited to be releasing an exclusive edition of my EP Crooked Boy for Record Store Day this year,” Starr wrote in a message on his social media sites. “I’ve always loved record stores from 81 Renshaw or Brian’s North End Music Store in Liverpool to Tower Records and Amoeba Records in [Los Angeles] and I support them with Peace and Love.”

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots:
Big Head Todd and the Monsters at the Fillmore Silver Spring, 2/16

Colorado jam band Big Head Todd and the Monsters stopped at the Fillmore Silver Spring for a relaxed and fun night of blues rock tinged with a bit of 1990s nostalgia. Without any support act, the band (vocalist Todd Mohr, keyboard/pedal steel guitarist Jeremy Lawton, drummer Brian Nevin, and bassist Rob Squires) was free to take the stage promptly at 8PM and lept into its set, which reached into the band’s early 1990s work.

The Washington, DC area is known for being a region crawling with transplants, so it was no surprise that the crowd responded with a supportive roar when Mohr introduced the band as being from Colorado. Big Head Todd and the Monsters is known for its sizable live following out in the western part of the United States where they spent the late 1980s and ’90s touring extensively. The band still fills venues like Red Rocks near Denver, where they are scheduled to appear again in June. Big Head Todd and the Monsters’ first album, Another Mayberry, was released in 1989. In 1993, Sister Sweetly was released and went platinum in the US. The band’s 12th full-length album, Thunderbird, is scheduled to be released in late spring.

Friday night at the Fillmore Silver Spring, Mohr and the rest of the band, by the looks of it, gave the crowd what it wanted—a well-rounded setlist featuring old favorites (such as “Bittersweet”), new material (“Her Way Out”), and a few carefully selected cover tunes (some John Lee Hooker, anyone?). It was a crowd that skewed in the direction of being old enough to have seen the band in the 1990s; it was also one that was enthusiastic and became more well-lubricated as the show progressed.

Favorites like “Please Don’t Tell Her” got the crowd singing along. “It’s Alright” was delivered with a dash of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On,” which promptly got the unselfconscious in the audience slowly dancing with each other. There were many! The show wrapped up with a cover of Tom Petty’s “You Wreck Me,” which brought the house down.

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The TVD Storefront

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 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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UK Artist of the Week: Cherym

Derry-based pop-punksters Cherym continue to prove they mean serious business with the release of their new single “Alpha Beta Sigma,” out now. This is the opening track from their highly anticipated debut album Take It Or Leave It, also out now via Alcopop! Records.

The single is oozing with sass and swag from the offset, channelling the likes of Bikini Kill and Charly Bliss. Talking about the single, drummer Alannagh Doherty says, “ ‘Alpha Beta Sigma’ is about how gender inequality permeates every single aspect of our society. It is about the threat that men and patriarchy pose to women in this country. It is about the reclamation of our autonomy and our rights. It’s about freedom from fear and freedom to physical integrity, and overall it’s about having the freedom to just BE a woman.”

Alongside the new single, the band are also delighted to announce that they have been hand-picked by bassist Mickey Bradley to support “Teenage Kicks” legends The Undertones on their autumn 2024 German tour dates later this year.

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The TVD Storefront

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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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 2/20/24

Berlin, MD | Berlin Record Store Day set April 20: Town council votes 3-1 to approve new event. Berlin town officials have added Record Store Day to the 2024 events calendar. On Monday, town councilmembers voted 3-1 to approve the event, a collaborative effort between the town and several downtown businesses, for April 20. “Sound Storm Records celebrates this every year, they just wanted to do something a little more this year,” said Ivy Wells, the town’s economic and community development director. Wells told the council that during the last merchant meeting, the connections of Sound Storm Records suggested the idea of celebrating Record Store Day in Berlin. Wells said the concept has grown in recent years and the day is marked by record stores around the country. “We really liked the idea,” she said. Wells said the event, which will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and would include closures on Pitts and Gay streets.

Vancouver, CA | Record Store Day Canada 2024 unveils its picks and participating stores: Music buffs and record bin hunters—it’s the day you’ve been waiting for. Record Store Day Canada has unveiled its list for 2024, promising limited-edition releases, B-sides, and special albums that you can’t get anywhere else. Take that, Amazon. The annual celebration is marking its 17th year, bringing attention to independent record stores globally by stocking the limited-release vinyls and other goodies. In Canada this year, Record Store Day takes place on April 20 with a bevy of releases from homegrown and international musical outfits. Arrive early, as there are usually lineups! Among this year’s releases is a live album from iconic Canadian alt-rockers The Tragically Hip (who are the Canadian ambassadors for this year’s event) from their 1993 performance at CBGB’s—the famed NYC venue and record shop that kickstarted the careers of bands like The Ramones and Blondie.

Dubai, UAE | Crate Digging in UAE: Dubai’s Best Vinyl Stores. With a universe of digital streaming platforms at our fingerprints, accessibility to music has never been easier. Despite this overwhelming supply of algorithmically-curated content however, our desire for analog hardware remains fixed in our DNA. The crate digging expeditions, the pop and crackle of the needle, and even the spine-curling sound of a scratched LP contribute to the overall tactility of the vinyl experience; the nostalgia emanating from a record is deeply ingrained in the interaction between the listener and equipment. With a growing demand for retro sound systems, the crisp and warm imperfections of spinning discs have become a physical manifestation of history in its sonic form. Hopping on this trend, vinyl advocates across Dubai strive to recreate this authentic experience with various spaces catering to this growing demand.

Stroud, UK | Stroud’s oldest record store to close: Popular record shop owner Simon Vincent has announced the closure of a record shop that has been part of the Stroud music scene for four decades. Trading Post on Kendrick Street is to close next month after 47 years of trading, but will operate online through its eBay Shop, Facebook page and Simon also plans to have a presence at The Subscription Rooms. Popular record shop owner Simon Vincent has announced the closure of a record shop that has been part of the Stroud music scene for four decades. Trading Post on Kendrick Street is to close next month after 47 years of trading, but will operate online through its eBay Shop, Facebook page and Simon also plans to have a presence at The Subscription Rooms. “The Trading Post has been part of Stroud for 47 years and I know that so many of us have grown up with it and, like me, have many fond memories of it.”

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The TVD Storefront

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 Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Does it hurt to fall in love so easy / Does it hurt to fall in love so fast / Does it hurt you to find out / Thirty-second hand

Is it such a big task / Such a big task / Are you too proud to ask / Remember last one was your last

It’s too early to run to momma / It’s too late to run like hell / I guess I would tell ya / ‘Cause I don’t want to ask / That this one be your last

And this one child is killing you / This one’s your last chance / To make this last one really the last / Oh are you too proud to ask / Is it such a big task / Remember last one was your last

Hope you all had a nice Valentine’s. Mine is always about love songs of all types.

When I owned restaurants in the ’90s I would create a mixtape with the goal that Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” would play shortly after a romantic dinner. After decades of Valentine’s listening, I still believe that Green’s magic is the greatest love song of all time. 

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The TVD Storefront

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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The TVD Storefront

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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