The TVD Storefront

Grace Gillespie,
The TVD First Date

“A collection of vinyl is particularly interesting because as much as you will have supplied the bulk of the records, there are always additions that have been left behind by a sibling, an old boyfriend, a friend who came round to listen to the new Hendrix and then got so high he forgot to take it home.”

“I grew up with my Dad’s collection. But, in that collection there were records belonging to his sister, old friends, and of course my mum… and her friend or ex or even her dad. A digital library is so personal, perhaps too personal, it has lost the social aspect that vinyl demands. You don’t accidentally leave an album in someone’s Spotify library. You only add exactly what you want to hear. And if, by some horrible twist of fate you find your boyfriend has managed to save a load of music onto your downloads and then leaves you for your colleague—you can just quickly un-save it and never have to think about them or their questionable taste every again.

But, you wouldn’t chuck out someone’s vinyl. You might listen to it with your new boyfriend and laugh at it (and them) but you wouldn’t bin it—unless it’s the Surfing Bird record and then you must smash it with a sledgehammer in the garden and hide the evidence from Peter. Generally an album you hate or mildly dislike or just simply don’t remember buying just goes to the back of the pile. As time passes you collect more and you keep the past. In my digital library I delete the past with disgust quite regularly. And it’s a shame.

Back to my dad’s collection. I grew up in the middle of nowhere and thankfully managed to not get too affected by some of my primary school friends listening to The Spice Girls or Britney, genius as they arguably are. I listened to what my parents listened to for a really long time, and to be honest I listen to those same artists still. I remember the covers of the records that I really liked as a child: Hot Rats by Zappa is particularly vivid I think because the cover is somewhat scary. The Sgt. Pepper’s cover is of course iconic but I liked it because I saw it as a kind of Where’s Wally?. Dylan’s Desire is also very clear still—it’s a beautiful image and a magical album and I liked it as a child because it had lots of references to children and family and also had a song on it that was (nearly) my mum’s name.

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores for
April 2020, Part One

Part one of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases presently in stores for April, 2020.

NEW RELEASE PICK: Trees Speak, Ohms (Soul Jazz) I was turned onto this Tucson, AZ outfit via their self-titled 2017 debut on the Italian Cinedelic imprint. The label change for LP two should increase the profile of the group, especially since Soul Jazz hardly ever deviates from reissues and anthologies. Led by Daniel Martin Diaz, rather than jazzy grooving or post-punk, Trees Speak specialize in the psychedelically Krautrocking, but with an unharried approach that could appeal to folks into King Gizzard or maybe even early Tame Impala. I happen to dig what Trees Speak are up to a lot more than those two however, partly because they do it sans vocals (likely why they were on Cinedelic), and additionally due to the heavier (and sax skronkier) passages. The decidedly Germanic keyboard-synth motions are also welcome, as are the spots that again suggest Meddle-era Floyd. Comes with bonus 45. Holding tight! A-

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: Robbie Basho, Songs of the Great Mystery–The Lost Vanguard Sessions (Real Gone) The scoop here is that in 2009 Vanguard contacted American Primitive guitar expert and fingerpicker extraordinaire Glenn Jones regarding a discovered tape of the very great and highly underrated guitarist Basho, who cut records for John Fahey’s Takoma label, Vanguard, and later Windham Hill prior to his premature passing in 1986 at age 45. Turns out the tape was from the same long session that produced his two Vanguard LPs rather than a batch of second-rate stuff for Guitar Soli maniacs, so this is four sides of exquisite playing on guitar and piano (opening and closing the set) plus an abundance of singing (and whistling), so if you can’t abide his voice, then please move along. There are only 1,000 copies in this pressing (on clear wax), and they belong in upstanding homes. A

V/A, Stone Crush: Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987 (Light in the Attic) Complete with typically excellent liner observations by Memphis expert Robert Gordon, this is an enlightening dive into a run of singles, and everything here was originally issued on 45, that will almost certainly be new discoveries to all but the most soul diligent. I’ll confess that the period covered coincides with a declining personal interest in soul/ funk/ R&B, in large part due to the prevailing commercial sound of the times, but even as a fair portion of the sounds anthologized here bounce around like a dingleberry in Rick James’ jockstrap, the generally modest production values impact the whole in a manner that’s enjoyable, with unavoidable fluctuations, across the set’s four sides. However, things never dip too low as the highlights can get up there pretty high.

Amongst my favorite moments are the linguistic love-tango in “Under Cover Lover” by the wonderfully named Captain Fantastic and Starr Fleet, the swirling DIY of “What Does it Take to Know (A Woman Like You),” by Greg Mason (with crucial input from producer Bernard Haynes), my pick for standout of the bunch, and the sneakily old-school “You Mean Everything to Me” by Sweet Pearl. The intermingled bluesy and fuzzy guitar in Frankie Alexander’s “Take Time Out for Love” and the horn-laden groove-glide of Cato’s “Slice of Heaven” are also dips into earlier sounds. And as Memphis was a music industry town, there are ties to the city’s well-documented past, directly to Willie Mitchell and Ardent Studios, indirectly to B.B. King. Now, you could procure original copies of these 45s, which would be cool but will set you back stupid money, or you can get this, which would be even cooler. You could also do both. A-

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 4/2/20

Record Companies Aren’t Safe From the Coronavirus Economic Fallout: If early data from Italy’s music market is anything to go by, music companies won’t be as insulated from coronavirus’ effect on the markets as they may hope. Earlier this month, I wrote that music-rights companies — not least Warner Music Group — could end up as attractive prospects for stock-market investors, as they would be largely insulated from the economic effects of coronavirus. (Warner announced its intention to IPO in February, but is now postponing that event.) Last week, the U.K.’s Hipgnosis Songs Fund — whose business model is to acquire and manage the copyrights behind hit songs — saw its stock price rebound on the London Stock Exchange to a level actually higher than that seen before COVID-19. In the same period, the average share price of the U.S.’s largest companies, bundled into the S&P 500, fell by more than 25 percent. Yet the performance of companies on public markets isn’t always tied to their underlying strengths and frailties — and the COVID outbreak has caused even further economic chaos in the past few weeks. So for music companies that aren’t purely catalog-focused like Hipgnosis, there may be more pain on the horizon

Nashville, TN | How Taylor Swift Is Helping a Small Nashville Record Store Survive: “This assistance from Ms. Swift helps give us a real shot at coming back on the other side of this,” Grimey’s co-owner Doyle Davis says. Like most small businesses that have had to shut down or alter their operations during the coronavirus pandemic, record stores have been forced to completely change the way they operate. Over the past two weeks, Nashville retailer Grimey’s New & Preloved Music, for example, has had to send its employees home after the city’s mayor issued a stay-at-home order. This week, though, they got a life preserver from Taylor Swift, who is supplying the store with money for each employee and three months’ worth of health care. A source close to the situation confirmed the news to Rolling Stone. “We were very surprised, and I would have to say amazed, that Taylor Swift reached out to us through her publicist to offer some relief during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Grimey’s co-owner Doyle Davis tells Rolling Stone. “I didn’t even know we were on her radar, but she really stepped up to help after the recent tornadoes that struck Nashville and middle Tennessee, and now she’s trying to help a beloved small business in her city.

UK | Record Store of the Day Campaign: In light of the unprecedented challenge currently faced by independent retailers, the UK record business has launched the #recordstoreoftheday campaign to help connect fans with their favourite local stores online. Little compares to the joys of crate digging, swapping music recommendations and catching live shows inside local record stores. Now they have closed their doors to in-person visitors, the music industry is asking you to support these stores online and over the phone. The #recordstoreoftheday campaign will spotlight a different independent record store across the country every single day of the week via the social media accounts @recordstoreotd on Twitter, @recordstoreoftheday on Instagram and through a Record Store of the Day Facebook page. Representing all corners of the music scene — from rock to reggae, indie to electronic — som thirty stores are already lined up to take part. These include Edinburgh’s Underground Solu’shn, Brighton’s Resident Records, Newcastle’s Reflex and London’s Sister Ray.

This new turntable can cut vinyl records: “I hope people will use this machine to create records with their own music or voices.” A new turntable called the Easy Record Maker cuts vinyl records, which can then be played on it. Designed by Yuri Suzuki in collaboration with Japanese company Gakken, the Easy Record Maker comes with 10 5″ inch discs. An audio source can be connected via its aux cable, from which you can “engrave sound directly from the recording stylus,” Suzuki shared. Once cut, you can instantly play the recording the device’s tonearm and built-in speaker, as well as design your own labels and sleeves. “I wanted to create a machine that makes it easy and cheap to create your own bespoke record without pressing a whole batch,” explains Suzuki. “Recording your voice message or your music onto vinyl and sending it to someone feels very special and is more valuable (and long-lasting) than just sending a voice message on WhatsApp.” Suzuki will be presenting a demo of the Easy Record Maker on his Instagram account, Friday 3rd April.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Bob Marley: Legacy documentary series continues: Women Rising streaming now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | In honor of Women’s History Month, the Bob Marley: Legacy mini-documentary series continues with episode two: Women Rising.

The moving and empowering short premiered today on Bob Marley’s official YouTube channel and features interviews with Rita Marley, also known as Bob Marley’s wife and the matriarch of the Marley Family, whose strength and character is an inspiration for people around the world. Rita was an integral part of the Wailers musical development, as well as a constant presence and influence in Bob Marley’s life, guardian of his legacy, and a member of the Iconic Reggae Group I-Threes. Mrs. Marley is also the founder of the Rita Marley Foundation, which works to eradicate poverty and hunger while empowering communities in Ghana and Jamaica. Her life’s work epitomizes integrity and grace.

Bob Marley: Legacy Episode 2 – Women Rising also features Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt of the I-Threes, Mystic Marley, Donisha Prendergast, academic and writer Isis Semaj-Hall, former activist, campaigner and former councilor Seyi Akiwowo and Stella Dadzie, writer & historian, Kim Walker, photographer, and more championing women and the messages in Bob Marley’s music.

Last month’s episode, Bob Marley: Legacy Episode 1 – 75 Years A Legend, a refreshing and cinematic journey through the life, legacy and relevance that Bob Marley still holds in this present day is also available now on Bob Marley’s official YouTube channel. The documentary follows the EP release of “Keep On Moving,” which features an extended and radio mix and an exclusive mix from Sly & Robbie.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: 13th Floor Elevators: A Visual History, in stores 4/21
via Anthology Editions

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “Their journey still occasions wonder and awe. For so many years, it was hardly told. Here it is, in pictures and words. This is the way, step inside.”Jon Savage

13th Floor Elevators: A Visual History, written and curated by Paul Drummond and published by Anthology Editions, will be released April 21st, and is available for preorder now. Direct orders of the book through the Anthology website will be shipped immediately. 13th Floor Elevators: A Visual History tells the complete and unvarnished story of a band, which, until now, has been thought of as tragically underdocumented. Drummond has spent years amassing an unprecedented archive of primary materials, including scores of previously-unseen band photographs, rare and iconic psychedelic artworks, and more.

Born out of a union of club bands on the burgeoning Austin bohemian scene and a pronounced taste for hallucinogens, the 13th Floor Elevators formed in late 1965 when lyricist Tommy Hall asked a local singer named Roky Erickson to join up with his new rock outfit. Four years, three official albums, and countless acid trips later, it was over: the Elevators’ pioneering first run ended in a dizzying jumble of professional mismanagement, internal arguments, drug busts, and forced psychiatric imprisonments.

In their short existence, however, the group succeeded in blowing the lid off the budding musical underground, logging early salvos in the countercultural struggle against state authorities, and turning their deeply hallucinatory take on jug-band garage rock into a new American institution called psychedelic music. Before the hippies, before the punks, there were the 13th Floor Elevators: an unlikely crew of outcast weirdo geniuses who changed culture. 13th Floor Elevators: A Visual History places the band finally and undeniably in the pantheon of innovators of American rock music to which they have always belonged.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
John Prine, John Prine

True story: I recently made a date with a woman, and on the day of the date she casually informed me we’d be going to an S&M party, then also casually let drop she’d be bringing a fellow named Lunchbox who just happened to be her boyfriend, and at the S&M party there were naked fat guys walking around in Viking helmets eating blue frosted cupcakes like at an elementary school affair, who watched while I watched Lunchbox whip my date and his girlfriend, after which she produced a trio of very lethal-looking stainless steel knives and proceeded to carve interesting patterns on my torso.

It was easily the weirdest date I’ve ever gone on, and quite possibly the weirdest date anyone’s ever gone on, and I can hear you asking: What in God’s name does any of this have to do with country-folk songwriting genius John Prine? Well I’ll tell you. I’ve given it some thought, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Prine, who has a voice like a stoned rodeo and a big old homely heart that pumps pure compassion, is the only person in the whole wide world who could somehow manage to capture both the absurdity and yes, the humanity and even the dignity of those naked guys in Viking helmets as they stood around eating blue frosted cupcakes watching other naked people get whipped.

The late Lou Reed, whom you’d think would be the man for the job, would have only made the whole scene seem decadent, which it most certainly wasn’t. Whereas someone with an eye for the absurd, say the late Vivian Stanshall of the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band, would have turned the whole thing into a Monty Python skit, which it most certainly wasn’t either. No, Prine is the only songwriter I can think of who could write a song poking fun at those naked Vikings while empathizing with them as well.

Over the course of his 42-year recording career—during which he’s released 22 albums, including “best of” and live LPs—Prine has written some of the saddest, funniest, and most empathetic songs you’ll ever hear, including such timeless standards as “Angel From Montgomery,” “In Spite of Ourselves,” “Paradise,” “Far From Me,” and “Hello in There.” All of ‘em great, so great in fact that Kris Kristofferson, who “discovered” Prine in the country capitol of the world, Chicago, Illinois, said in jest, “We’ll have to break his thumbs.” Or at least I think Kris was speaking in jest. Prine’s songwriting was certainly brilliant enough to cause a lesser songwriter to take desperate measures.

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Needle Drop: oh?no!ok., “Wheel of Fortune”

PHOTO: MEIRA BASHIR | Salt Lake City buzz band oh!no?ok. are not trying to reinvent the wheel, but certainly know how to spin it with joyful abandon.

Their latest single, “Wheel of Fortune,” is one part ’80s pop rock, one part ’90s alternative slacker psychedelia, 100% riff-roaring good time. The band’s freewheeling vibe embodies punk rock’s counter-impulse toward joy, color, and self-deprecation, and certainly gets one excited for their debut record, randy warhole (or something), which is set to arrive in stores later this year.

With songs that probe entitlement, video game addiction and idolization, it’s clear we are dealing with a wildly fresh take on slacker rock.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
African Head Charge,
Drumming is a Language 1990–2011

In 2016, On-U Sound delivered vinyl reissues of the 1980s work by African Head Charge, the collaboration of percussionist Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah and producer Adrian Sherwood, and compiled the material in the 5CD box Environmental Holes & Drastic Tracks 1981 – 1986. Now, the label has followed up that activity with five more vinyl sets and a second CD box, Drumming is a Language 1990 – 2011. The blend of Jamaican roots, African-derived rhythms, and the expected studio enhancements, including healthy servings of dubby weirdness, establish a high standard of quality; as the discs unfurl, the consistency can be rather startling. In whichever manner one chooses to partake, the music is out now.

For the details regarding African Head Charge’s formation and a deep word dive into the unit’s ’80s stuff, one should consult the earlier review in this column of their first four LPs. For this piece on the latest set, it suffices to say that Bonjo and Sherwood’s union was set into motion by the former’s membership at the start of the ’80s in the group Creation Rebel, an outfit associated with the latter’s extensive post-punk studio productivity during the same period.

What began as a studio project gradually morphed into a band scenario, though one with considerable fluidity of personnel, and Songs of Praise, the first release chronologically in this spate of reissues (hence disc one in the box set) reflects this shift exceptionally well, while keeping a solid grip on Bonjo’s percussive objectives (as highlighted by the new box set’s title) and Sherwood’s production savvy.

Released in 1990, Songs of Praise is considered by some to be African Head Charge’s creative high-water mark. Now, this might be in part because of its ample running time, with 14 tracks on the original CD (truncated to eight on the first vinyl press) totaling just over an hour. For this edition, the number is expanded by three (and the LP edition is now a double, holding everything). And so, the release offers an abundance, and in any version, it doesn’t run out of gas. Another factor is the record’s concept, as it gathers religious chants from across the globe and infuses them with Jamaican-African-UK vigor.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 4/1/20

UK | Global Music Business Rallies to Support Indie Record Stores Amid Shutdowns: UK artists Elton John, Paul Weller and Keane are backing social media campaigns to lift the troubled music retail sector. With independent record stores around the world facing the prospect of weeks and possibly months of shutdown, a growing number of artists and labels are getting behind social media campaigns to help protect the sector’s survival. The most high-profile campaign so far is #loverecordstores — a global, social media-led initiative that’s asking musicians, actors and celebrity music fans around the world to post short video messages about their favorite record shops and encourage their followers to buy vinyl and CDs from shuttered shops’ online stores. Elton John, Paul Weller, Keane, Rick Astley, Peter Gabriel, Franz Ferdinand, Kurt Vile and Brittany Howard are among the artists that have already backed the campaign. Indie labels Matador, Heavenly Recordings, Acid Jazz, Domino, 4AD and Mute have also posted messages of support on Instagram and Twitter, as have all three majors.

UK | Coronavirus: Paul Weller encourages music lovers to help local record stores get out of The Jam of lockdown: Record store owners in Tayside have welcomed a campaign by Paul Weller calling on music lovers to support their local shops while the country is on lockdown. The former frontman of The Jam has launched the Love Record Stores initiative, which encourages people to use their local shops’ online shopping services to keep them afloat. It comes as Record Store Day, the busiest single day in the independent music retail calendar, has been postponed from April until June. Keith Ingram — owner of Assai, on Union Street — closed on March 21 but the business is still operating through its website and online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon until the outbreak is over. Mr Ingram said: “Record Store Day would typically give us something to work towards at a time when there isn’t usually as many big releases, although this year there are new albums from Pearl Jam and Dua Lipa. “It’s great what Paul Weller is doing. He’s always been a big supporter of record stores and spoken about how important they are to him personally.

Birmingham, AL | Alabama vinyl record shops try to keep spinning in the face of COVID-19 slowdown: …There are about 1,400 independent record stores nationally, with some 15 spread across Alabama. Several long-time stores, like Charlemagne in Birmingham and Pegasus Records in Florence, have shut their doors. Others, like 10,000 Hz in Opelika, have joined the pursuit of a highly niche market, hoping to attract old hippies and young Hangout Festival fans to the fold. More than a quarter of all “physical” albums sold in 2019 were vinyl, led by the Beatles’ “Abby Road” at 471,000 copies and Billie Eilish’s “When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” with 176,000. That’s a far cry from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which sold 32 million copies in 1983 on the way to becoming the biggest-selling record in history. The Beatles are recognized as the best-sellers ever overall, Billboard said. Birmingham’s Seasick Records, which is heading toward its seventh year in business, was set to celebrate its new headquarters’ grand opening March 28. Last year was the most successful ever for Seasick, whose owner and five employees might by now have been miserable in their recently closed building had they not been prepared.

Sacramento, CA | 15 Minutes: Augie Maravilla, owner of Rocket Records: It’s safe to say nearly every music lover has dreamed of owning a record store. Rocket Records opened three years ago in a low-visibility storefront in West Sacramento, but owner Augie Maravilla’s recent move to Midtown has led to increased foot traffic, growing his base of already-loyal customers. SN&R talked to Maravilla about movie scores, Mexican music and record labels. “I think every store has its own flavor, and every store will cater to their clientele in some way. In some stores it’s metal and punk … there are some that are more into jazz. I’m kind of all over the place because that’s the record stores that I grew up with and because I like everything… I like a lot of pop. I like pop. I don’t mind pop. I like soul music. Rock, soul. I tend to really favor soundtracks… I really like music scores. I’ve always liked movie music.”

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TVD Radar: The Hotrats, Turn Ons hot pink 10th anniversary double 10” vinyl in stores 6/20

VIA PRESS RELEASE | In 2010, one half of Britain’s much loved pop rock combo Supergrass, Gaz Coombes and Danny Goffey teamed with world-renowned producer Nigel Godrich to bring you The Hotrats.

With the original intention of diving into the studio for some light relief, the spontaneous sessions soon became Turn Ons—Gaz & Danny’s own Pin Ups style covers record of classic songs, born out of a true love and respect for their rock heroes. Released as a highly limited run, Turn Ons was a 12-track doff of the cap to musical forefathers including Syd Barrett, Lou Reed, Roxy Music, David Bowie, and The Sex Pistols and has remained an out of print record shop rarity for a decade.

Gaz Coombes explains: “The Hotrats was all about freedom to experiment, about exploring our own surreal psychedelic tendencies in a studio while celebrating the music that shaped our worlds growing up. And just to have some fun with great music in the mould of classics like Bowie’s Pin Ups or Lennon & Nilsson’s Pussy Cats. They felt like proper records to me, and that’s what we wanted to feel with Turn Ons, something super creative and exciting.

The songs are already cemented in the history books, but for us it was about injecting our own energy into something, not replicating the original. More a case of re-shaping the chemistry. Re-doing the original experiment (hopefully) without destroying it in the process!” Fast forward ten years to 2020 and Coombes, Goffey and Godrich reconvene to celebrate the tenth anniversary of this forgotten classic with a new offering; a psychedelic twist on the Kelis classic “Milkshake.”

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TVD Radar: The National, High Violet 10th anniversary 3LP
in stores 6/19

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The National have announced they will be releasing a 10-year anniversary expanded edition of their 2010 album High Violet, on June 19th, 2020.

Originally released May 11, 2010, the critically acclaimed fifth studio album features the now-classics “Terrible Love,””Bloodbuzz Ohio,”“England,” and perennial show closer, “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks.” In addition to the 10 original tracks, the triple LP package includes a third LP which includes tracks never before available on vinyl, including “Wake Up Your Saints,” an alternate version of “Terrible Love,” ”Walk Off” and more. The vinyl comes in three different versions, Standard (white & purple marbled vinyl), Cherry Tree (white & purple split color vinyl), and Vinyl Me Please (white & purple splatter vinyl).

To celebrate the announcement, The National will share their D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus-directed film, The National – High Violet Live From Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), shot May 10th, 2010, the night before the release of the album. Fans can watch the performance below.

The band also announced this week that all profits from their webstore and fan club enrollment will be directed to subsidizing the lost wages for their twelve crew members until the end of this crisis. “Our crew are the lifeblood of our touring operation and have become family through the many years we’ve worked together. As uncertainty looms over the state of the live concert industry, we will direct all profits from merch sales through our webstore, new Cherry Tree fan club enrollments, and sales from the Cherry Tree members-only store to support our crew members throughout this crisis to the best of our ability. Visit Shop.americanmary.com, americanmary.com/cherry-tree, and cherrytreeshop.americanmary.com.

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Ellen Starski,
The TVD First Date

I was a little girl sitting on the yellowish shag carpet that decorated floors across America in the ’80s. Too young to read I picked my albums via cover designs and knew which album was the Eurythmics because of the RCA label with the little white dog, head cocked to the side staring into the Victrola.”

“This is where my love of vinyl began, and man did I wear that record out. Thinking back on it, I must have been 3 or 4 years old pulling out vinyl and placing it carefully on the player. That’s wild. You know how we are so careful placing the needle down to vinyl… Well, I guess I had that technique down pretty early.

I love the memories that come along with buying vinyl. I vividly remember scouring antique stores in Pennsylvania with my parents and finding Neil Young’s first album, and Bitches Brew by Miles Davis. These albums in particular helped shape me during a transitional part of my life when I was trying to understand who I was, and how I would become the artist I am today.

Now here I am getting ready to release my first vinyl record with the test press arriving any day! Back in those earlier years, I never would have imagined this moment could actually happen. The resurgence of vinyl is a beautiful thing. The entire process has been enlightening from the music creation to the album artwork which was painted and designed by Patrick Dennis.

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TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: Kev Sherry

We’re back in Scotland for this week’s Artist of the Week in the hope we’ll put a bit of a smile on your face amongst all this madness. Kev Sherry’s “Wasted Days” is an indie-pop delight from start to finish, with poignant lyricism included to make you think, just a little bit.

“Wasted Days” is instantly infectious from the offset. Reminiscent of fellow uplifting indie-pop artists such as Alvvays, gentle guitar twangs and pulsating drum beats soar on the single like a warm, Spring breeze. Kev’s authentic Scottish accent is clear throughout reminding us slightly of Paolo Nutini—and is it just us, or do they kind of look alike as well?

Talking about “Wasted Days,” Kev elaborates, “The song deals with ideas of regret, reflection, and personal forgiveness. After the death of a parent you come to question if you really knew them as a person, as a friend, or merely as a parent. Did they know you loved them? Did they understand you far more than you realised at the time?” Deep stuff.

Kev Sherry is no stranger to the music making world, having previously released music as one quarter of critically acclaimed group Attic Lights and also having collaborated with international artist such as Bjorn Yttling, Cerys Matthews, and La Casa Azul. His songs have also been remixed by Mogwai, Camera Obscura, The Fratellis, Jim Noir and The Vaselines. Phew!

“Wasted Days” is in stores now.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Windy and Carl,
Allegiance and Conviction

While this column focuses on new releases, current events are mentioned only intermittently. As we (meaning, the human race) are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is one of those times. During a sustained crisis, art and its makers often get undervalued or pushed aside, but the nature of this emergency has illuminated the necessity of creativity in our world. Whatcha gonna do when you gotta stay home? Listen to records, maybe. Dearborn, MI’s Windy and Carl have a new one out, and while the terse and humorous motto of their label is “going nowhere slow,” rest assured that dropping needle on Allegiance and Conviction will take you places. It’s available now on LP, CD, and digital via Kranky.

Bassist-vocalist Windy Weber and guitarist Carl Hultgren commenced their musical partnership (they are also married) in the early ’90s as part of that decade’s thriving drone-ambient-experimental-psychedelic-shoegaze underground. At the time, if you were into Roy Montgomery, The Azusa Plane, Jessamine and even the slightly higher-profile outfits Flying Saucer Attack, Bardo Pond, Damon and Naomi, and Low, the odds are good that you’d picked up on at least a percentage of what Windy & Carl had laid down.

That is to say, the pair were fairly prolific across a string of releases, output that unsurprisingly included a long stretch of various artists compilation appearances, with these contributions corralled on one of the three compact discs in the self-released (on the Blue Flea label) Introspection: Singles and Rarities 1993-2000; disc one is devoted to 7-inches and EPs, while disc three holds live and unreleased material.

For those unfamiliar with Windy & Carl’s work, Introspection would deliver a solid, if extensive, introduction to their stuff, though you could begin just as satisfactorily with Portal, their debut full-length from 1994, initially a cassette (on Blue Flea) and shortly thereafter pressed onto CD (via Ba Da Bing!). From there, moving forward chronologically is a safe bet.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 3/31/20

UK | Record Store Of The Day campaign launched to shine spotlight on indie stores: A daily campaign to highlight the UK’s independent record shops during the Covid-19 outbreak has been launched. The social media driven #recordstoreoftheday initiative, created by music distributors, will shine the spotlight on a different outlet each day, beginning with Kingston’s Banquet Records (pictured) today (March 30). The shop of the day will appear on @recordstoreotd on Twitter, @recordstoreoftheday on Instagram and the Record Store Of The Day Facebook page… “Indie record shops are part of the DNA of the local communities they serve and now more than ever we should be finding ways to support them,” said ERA’s Record Store Day organiser Megan Page. “That’s why we are urging music fans to continue buying from their local shops online where possible, asking about gift vouchers and following their local record shop’s social media channels…”

Minneapolis, MN | Fifth Element, record store owned by Rhymesayers, to close down: Fans of the label will still be able to shop online, though. The official record store of independent hip hop label Rhymesayers will soon close its doors for good. Fifth Element, located on Hennepin Avenue in Uptown Minneapolis, announced that it will shut down operations on April 1. Noting in a Friday Facebook post that it’s been a fixture of the neighborhood and a worldwide destination for hip hop fans since 1999, the business expressed thanks to customers and artists for their support over the years. This follows the decision to temporarily close the store due to the coronavirus, a situation that also weighed on the move to shut down permanently, the post indicates. The company also says the store’s online presence will transition to shop.rhymesayers.com, “which will continue to be the official source for all things Rhymesayers Entertainment.” The change takes effect April 1, with all remaining stock at fifthelementonline.com discounted until then.

Brighton & Hove, UK | The History of Brighton & Hove Record Shops – The Directory: We need your help! Are you able to add any information to our directory of 100 years of record shops in Brighton & Hove? Please read on and place any relevant details at the end. Thank you. Some of the very best moments in my life have been whilst record shopping! The thrill of the hunt in the second-hand music shops for that mega-obscure vinyl album that was only released in Germany for one week, or the buzz of whizzing down to the ‘chart returns’ record shop when it opens to purchase the brand new release from your favourite artist. The smell of the new cover and the vinyl inside. The little electrostatic crackles as you pull the record out from the inner sleeve for the very first time. The joy of putting the needle down onto the disc and sitting down and listening to it whilst reading every single word of the enclosed booklet and cover. Ahhhhhhhhh!

Norfolk, NE | The beat goes on at Lefty’s Records: It is business as usual at Lefty’s Records, at least for now. Les Greer, who has sold new and used albums at his South Street store since 2011, is still coming in at noon and staying until 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. “I’m going to be here until they tell me I shouldn’t,” Greer said. Customers are still showing up, just not as many as before the coronavirus pandemic. “Two weeks ago, business was probably half of what I normally do,” Greer said. “But, last week, it rebounded to about normal. “This week is starting out slow, so we’ll see. I do think some people are coming in just to buy something to help me out.” There’s no concern about keeping those who come in to flip through the bins 6 feet apart. “I rarely have 10 at any time,” Greer said, “except during the busiest time of the year, around Christmas and Record Store Day.”

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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