The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Rush, Rush

Remembering John Rutsey, born on this day in 1952.Ed.

Sounding less like a bird of prey than a castrati with a gerbil up his ass, Geddy Lee is trying to tell us something. Xanadu, subdivisions, the spirit of radio, how we’re all trees in the forest and if you happen to be a stunted one you’re shit out of luck—your guess is as good as mine. The late Neil Peart, may he rest in peace, wrote ‘em, and your average 13-year-old with a unicorn glitter notebook would have rubbed his nose on the playground gravel.

Behind Geddy, prog-metal bric a brac: 2012’s ping-ponging title track (Rush isn’t a band, it’s a kid with attention deficit disorder) boasts seven parts including a grand finale, and is less a suite than a Frankenstein monster of ill-fitting parts. As for the band’s concept albums, Geddy himself has been quoted as saying, “Even I can’t make sense of them.”

Either you love Rush or you loathe ‘em, and I loathed ‘em up until the day I realized they were a comedy act. Now I love ‘em. Geddy cracks me up every time he opens his beak. “Closer to the Heart” is my all-time favorite song.

But there was an old Rush before the new Rush, and the old Rush can only be heard on the band’s 1974’s eponymous debut. With the soon-to-be-booted John Rutsey on skins, and nary a tedious 19-minute musico-philosophical discourse on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead in sight, everybody’s favorite Molson belchers made like Led Zeppelin on Beaver Tails, and while your critic types derided Rush as a turd hamburger, I like it cuz I’ll take good old-fashioned hard rock over mutant mullet metal any day.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 42: Rozzi

It’s unusual to discuss an album that doesn’t fully exist yet, but that’s what’s happening here with soul and R&B singer-songwriter, Rozzi who joins me this week to discuss her new song, “I Can’t Go to the Party” which encapsulates the age-old and awkward experience of navigating a social setting with an old paramour, and I won’t say more, just tune in to hear Rozzi explain how the scenario went down.

Discovered by Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, Rozzi’s voice is full of depth, yearning, and character. Of course, we talk about the song, but there’s an album brewing as well. So, consider the song an appetizer for the album that is still a work in progress.

You’ll hear Rozzi rattle off a list of some of her favorite musicians, and she’s got great taste! With heroes like that it would be hard to create a product that didn’t shoot for the stars. So, join me and meet Rozzi, and get ready to hear plenty more where this came from.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Dandy Warhols, Tafelmuzik Means More When You’re Alone

The opening track of The Dandy Warhols’ 2020 release Tafelmuzik Means More When You’re Alone is entitled “It’s the End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Bored.” Well so do I, and the reason is this album, which in case you haven’t heard is four hours long. I’ve loved the Dandys since I first heard “(Tony This Song Is Called) Lou Weed,” but the only way I’ll listen to this 240-minute trudge again is by getting too wasted to get up and turn it off.

The Dandy Warhols have been the personification of the cool groove since their 1995 debut Dandys Rule OK. Over the intervening years they’ve been producing infectious songs for discerning hipsters, many of which can be heard on the band’s 2010 compilation The Capitol Years 1995-2007. Feel free to stop by the house and I’ll treat you to my favorites. That or I can snatch you off the street and hold you hostage. It’s your choice.

But on Tafelmuzik (that’s table music to those of us who refuse to learn German because we’re still holding a grudge over WWII) The Dandy Warhols dispense with the infectious grooves, irresistible melodies, and irrepressible good humor that have given us such great indie anthems as “Boys Better” and “Every Day Should Be a Holiday.” Message to The Dandy Warhols—a Tafel isn’t good for much there’s nothing on it.

The longest of Tafelmuzik’s eleven tracks weighs in at approximately thirty-seven minutes; six of its cuts top the twenty-minute mark. Their length lends them a hypnotic power; give them a couple of hours and you may find yourself a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. But most listeners (yours truly included) will give each of Tafelmuzik’s songs a few minutes of their valuable time before moving on. That said, these same songs will delight sofa dwellers who don’t set too high a premium on trivial things like excitement and euphoria and who have nothing better to do with their ears.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 7/23/21

Pittsburgh, PA | The Government Center record store makes tracks to bigger location on the North Side: Apparently, one of the things that kept Pittsburghers going through the pandemic was record players (and records). “As people were staying at home, we sold a ton of record players. At one point, you couldn’t keep them in stock,” says Josh Cozby, owner of the North Side record shop The Government Center. “There was definitely more demand for things that could make home a little bit more cozy and comfortable.” The Government Center (named for a song by Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers) quickly became a fixture on Pittsburgh’s music scene when it opened in early 2019. Pittsburgh is blessed with a number of terrific record stores, but this one stood out as a place that sold both new and used records in a dizzying array of genres — and wasn’t afraid to stock things that were offbeat or obscure. Now, it’s expanding in a new space on East Street in Deutschtown, several blocks away from its original location on East Ohio Street. Cozby bought the building in 2019, which had been abandoned for a number of years. It was once a bar called Key West, and a flower shop…

NH | New Hampshire’s Record Stores Make A Comeback: Here’s where to find an old favorite or a new passion: Used record stores have a smell. It’s a musty but comforting bouquet with subtle notes of nostalgia and your parents’ basement. They also have a soundtrack — a background score that stays the same whether you’re in Skele-Tone Records in Rochester, Pitchfork Records in Concord or Music Connection in Manchester. It’s a consistent, unchanging refrain that goes like this: “I had that. I had that. I had that.” “I hear people say that all the time,” says Todd Radict, the owner of Skele-Tone in Rochester. “It’s because when CDs came in, it sort of forced people to get rid of their records. I never fell for it.” Al Barr, lead singer, Dropkick Murphys – “The first record I purchased was ‘Burning Love’ by Elvis Presley. I purchased it from Rock Bottom Records — shout out to Kevin Guyer! “One of my most treasured records is ‘Three Hits From Hell’ by the Misfits. I wish I had never given away my OG copy of Social Distortion’s ‘Another State of Mind’ single.” Nostalgia has certainly played a role in getting people back into the stacks, but make no mistake — they are back.

Leeds, UK | KSI visits Crash Records Leeds to sign new album All Over the Place set to reach Number 1 in charts: Youtube sensation KSI visited Crash Records Leeds today to sign copies of his album which is expected to reach Number 1 in the charts. Queues formed on the Headrow in Leeds as fans rushed to catch a glimpse of the star – who has more than 10 million followers across social media. Paul Young 37, was one of the lucky fans who got to meet KSI. He said: “It was brilliant. “He was very chatty and polite to everyone. “There was a big queue going down the Headrow.” All Over the Place is the second studio album from KSI. It was released on July 16 and has been tipped for the Number 1 spot this weekend.

Simpang Bedok, SG | Record store owner grateful to make a living out of his hobby: It had always been his dream to run a shop selling hi-fi systems since he was in school. But it took Mr Gabriel Tan several years before he finally left a teaching career to pursue his love for music. Mr Tan, 64, told The New Paper: “I have not worked a single day since, because it has never felt like work.” Zenn Audio Electronics, named after his eldest son who is now 31, is a record store in Simpang Bedok that carries an extensive selection of vinyl records. “I was confident enough to tender my resignation as I made enough money from my part-time job to support my family,” said Mr Tan. He had worked part-time repairing various kinds of audio equipment while teaching and finally set up Zenn Audio Electronics in 1990. The shop initially focused on repairing and modifying audio equipment. It was a struggle for the business to take flight at first, he said. “The business grew quite slowly when it was first established. It improved as my customer base expanded.”

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TVD Radar: Super Furry Animals, Rings Around The World expanded 20th Anniversary 2LP reissue in stores 9/3

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The isolated audio of Paul McCartney chewing carrots and celery has been released by Super Furry Animals to announce the 20-year anniversary reissue of their acclaimed “maximalist,” fifth studio album, Rings Around The World, newly presented on 180g gatefold, double vinyl, triple CD, and double digital album in September.

McCartney’s playful addition is released on its own for the very first time as one of 75 curiosities from the vaults—including unreleased outtakes, remixes, hidden sounds and demos appearing across the multi-format release. So vast is the BMG reissue of Rings Around The World that the digital version will be split over two separate release dates. All physical versions and the first digital instalment will be released on Fri 3 September 2021, with a second digital collection being made available three weeks later on Fri 24 September 2021.

A story that starts with a chance encounter at the NME Awards in 2000 and ends with McCartney’s enthusiastic chewing being delivered by mail and then woven into the production of the Furries’ single, “Receptacle For The Respectable,” the ex-Beatle’s contribution is just one of the wild bends in the road of the expansive, Millennium-era, classic alt-pop album’s remarkable story.

Approached by artificially emboldened Furries’ keys player, Cian Ciarán at the ceremony at the Mermaid Theatre, London, initially to convince McCartney to let the band loose to remix The Beatles’ songs (a successful pitch as the Furries later received boxes of Beatles master tapes to contribute heavily to the Liverpool Sound Collage), McCartney agreed to appear on the band’s upcoming album. Within weeks, McCartney had sent the band a tape of just what they had requested. Having previously “played” the celery on The Beach Boys’ 1967 track “Vegetables,” McCartney took the chance to revive his penchant for percussion with roots.

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TVD Radar: JARV IS…, “Swanky Modes” Dennis Bovell Remix 7″ in stores 8/20

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Rough Trade Records are extremely happy to announce the PHYSICAL release of reggae pioneer and innovator Dennis Bovell’s mixes of the JARV IS… track “Swanky Modes” on August 20th. These mixes were first made available digitally back in April (before Dennis was awarded MBE status in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list). Iggy Pop was so impressed he played BOTH of the mixes during the course of a single edition of his BBC 6Music radio show.

This limited-run 7” single features hand-drawn label art by Jarvis himself and is housed in a bespoke cardboard sleeve with reinforced edging. Tuff. It gets better: the song takes its name from a clothes shop Jarvis used to live near. The original song, taken from the band’s acclaimed album Beyond The Pale, found Jarvis Cocker confirming his position as one of the greatest lyrical auteurs of all time. The track weaved together a vivid series of snapshots of an unfurling affair with customary candid detail and electrifying erotic charge.

Bovell’s remix taps into that atmosphere, while forging his own, new take on Swanky Modes. Expansive, tender, yet laced with a thrilling edge, his musical reimagining of Swanky Modes nods both at the original track’s illicitness and Bovell’s own musical roots, as it takes the song into a new, truly original space with its haunting mix of darkness and light. Along with the remix of the original track, a dub cut of Swanky Modes is featured on the flip side of the 7”, which beautifully exposes the textures Bovell has interwoven into Jarvis Cocker and co’s original creation.

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Graded on a Curve: Funkadelic,
Maggot Brain

Celebrating George Clinton on his 80th birthday.Ed.

A decade or so ago my friend D., a borderline sociopath jailhouse-type individual, suggested we go rock climbing. Without ropes. Idiot that I am, I said sure. I was some 20 feet off the ground—a frightful distance when you looked down—when I found myself unable to go forward or retreat. Suddenly my left leg began to violently shudder. D. looked over (I think I was whimpering for help) and mirthfully cried, “You’ve got Disco Leg!” That’s when I fell, breaking my ankle and cracking my skull.

That “Disco Leg!” never fails to crack me up, and for some reason always brings to mind Funkadelic, the greatest funk-rock band of ‘em all. And of all their LPs, my all-time fav-o-reet has always been 1971’s Maggot Brain. (Yeah, I know, 1978’s One Nation Under a Groove is brilliant, fantastic, blah blah blah, but I’ve made up my mind, and I’m too dumb to change it.) I would say you can thank guitar svengali Eddie Hazel for making Maggot Brain my most treasured slice of P-Funk, but it would only be partly true—some of the tunes on Maggot Brain barely feature Hazel at all, and I still love them every bit as much as my Black Power Fist Afro pick.

Maggot Brain features one of the more unfortunate covers in music history, with its front cover depicting a black woman buried up to her neck screaming in agony and back cover showing the same woman’s head, now become a skull. Why, it’s almost as creepy as the cover of Herbie Mann’s Push Push, on which Herbie shows off his ghastly lubed-up chest pelt for reasons I don’t care to speculate about. And the same goes for Maggot Brain. Then again, what do you expect from a band that entitles an LP Maggot Brain in the first place? P-Funk was a crazy-eyed crew of acid-gobbling freaks, and on LSD everything seems like a grand idea.

Some brief history: George Clinton’s Parliament was founded in the late 1950s in Plainfield, New Jersey as a doo wop group called the Parliaments. But then psychedelics hit town and the Parliaments became Parliament, and morphed from played doo wop to do wot?, by which I mean they went funky berserk. Funkadelic began its career as the backing band for Parliament, but by the early seventies Parliament and Funkadelic were separate entities with different sounds but utilizing most of the same musicians. Funkadelic was the freakier of the two outfits, a funk-rock monolith that melded psychedelia, big honking guitar riffs, Bible-belt blues, James “Soul Brother No. 1” Brown’s flaming funk, Frank Zappa’s absurdist humor, and Sun Ra’s astral plane crash jazz, to cite just some of their influences.

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TVD Radar: Smokey and the Bandit OST reissue in stores 9/10

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Varèse Sarabande has announced the re-release of the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for Smokey and the Bandit.

Widely available on vinyl for the first time in 25 years, the soundtrack to the classic Burt Reynolds film features massive hits from Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Reed, including “East Bound and Down” and “The Bandit.” Jerry also provides much of the instrumental score alongside celebrated musician and composer Bill Justis. The album additionally includes many memorable dialogue tracks taken right from the movie and featuring Reynolds, Reed, and Jackie Gleason. The soundtrack will release on September 10, and is available for pre-order today, July 20.

The film follows Bo “Bandit” Darville (Reynolds) and Cledus “Snowman” Snow (Reed), two bootleggers attempting to illegally transport 400 cases of Coors beer from Texarkana to Atlanta. While the Snowman drives the truck carrying the beer, the Bandit drives a Pontiac Trans Am to distract law enforcement (called blocking) and keep the attention off the Snowman. During their run, they are pursued by Texas county sheriff Buford T. Justice (Gleason). Smokey and the Bandit was the second highest-grossing domestic film of 1977, with $126 million against a budget of $4.3 million.

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores for
July 2021, Part Four

Part four of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases presently in stores for July 2021. Part one is here, part two is here, and part three is here.

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Anika, Change (Sacred Bones) Anika is the recording and performance moniker of British-German musician Annika Henderson, who is probably best known for her self-titled full-length debut from 2010, a record that featured three members of Beak>, including Geoff Burrow (also of Portishead). Although recordings have been plentiful since (EPs, singles, guest spots, the band Exploded View, longer collabs including with techno producer Dave Clarke and more recently Shackleton), this is her proper follow-up to Anika, and its nine tracks are thoroughly inspired. As Change combines electronic textures (she is currently based in Berlin) with rock muscularity and edge (specifically post-punk and ’90s Alternative), that this record lacks any serious missteps is borderline extraordinary. Another big plus is how Anika’s socially conscious lyrics avoid the trite, which shouldn’t be surprising as prior to music she was a political journalist. Uninitiated listeners into PJ Harvey and Jehnny Beth should investigate, though Anika is firmly in command of her own musical voice. A-

Celia Hollander, Timekeeper (Leaving) Prior to putting out music under her full name (of which this is her second release, following last year’s “Recent Futures” EP, also on Leaving), Los Angeles-based electro-acoustic composer Hollander used the moniker $3.33 for a handful of releases, mostly on cassette and digital. But Timekeeper is on vinyl (as was “Recent Futures”), either on limited black (400) and even more limited temporal blue (100), and it’ll be of particular interest to listeners attuned to experimentation that’s methodically rendered. Each of the dozen tracks has a time of day for a title, as Hollander has set out to chart how energetic and emotional fluctuations form a sense of time that’s in constant flux. Utilizing acoustic recordings and digital synthesis, there are three compositional types here: temporal fields (which are expansive and unpredictable), waves (swelling momentums), or ropes (singular linearity). As the record plays, it is surely ascertainable which compositions are which, but the progress is never transitionally jarring. To the contrary, thematic cohesiveness is abundant. A-

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: Alice Coltrane, Kirtan: Turiya Sings (Impulse! /UMe) Aficionados of the late and very great keyboardist, composer, bandleader and teacher Alice Coltrane might know of Turiya Sings, the extremely rare collection of devotional music she recorded in 1982. It was released on cassette in a small number by the Avatar Book Institute after Coltrane fulfilled her Warners contract and essentially retired from the commercial music scene. But this is not that tape. Indeed, Turiya Sings has never been officially reissued (it has been bootlegged and unsurprisingly circulates online; originals are expensive). However, Kirtan: Turiya Sings does derive from the same period, and in fact offers the same songs in the same sequence, but with Coltrane singing and playing Wurlitzer organ only (the ’82 release version added synthesizer and strings). It’s been a long time since I listened to Turiya Sings, and while I considered seeking it out for a compare and contrast, the warmth and beauty of this set brought on a quick reevaluation of my priorities. Another layer of Alice Coltrane brilliance is revealed. A

The Gun Club, Fire of Love Deluxe Edition (Blixa Sounds) Originally released in 1981, Fire of Love stands as The Gun Club’s finest record. I’ve already opined enthusiastically on its contents for this website in a full review easily findable by searching the archives, but this set delivers an extremely worthwhile expansion, though the specifics differ a little by format. Blixa Sound’s 2LP pairs the original album with the never before released live set from Club 88 on March 6, 1981. The 2CD sequences five alternate versions and five four-track demos (all ten previously unreleased) after the album’s 11 selections on the first disc and drops the live show onto the second. But the vinyl includes a download with the CD’s extras, so fret not; you’ll get to hear it all. And it’s a cinch that any fan of this band will want to spend quality time with whole shebang, as those versions and demos are totally worthy and the live set, with good sound, truly rips. Featuring Jeffrey Lee Pierce in prime form and produced by Chris D., the core album is a potent batch of twisted roots magnificence, an essential part of any punk collection. A+

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 7/22/21

Roanoke, VA | Vinyl continues to set records: Assuming you were paying attention, Saturday was a banner day. For starters, it was World Emoji Day. The first of these emotive symbols was :-), introduced by computer scientist Scott Fahlman in 1982 on a school message board. When Apple added emojis to their iPhone keyboards, emojis blew up. On an average day, 5 billion emojis are used on Facebook Messenger each day. But alas, this post is not emojis. This past Saturday was also Record Store Day in the U.S., a day that had special significance this year. This special day was begun in 2007, highlighted by Metallica’s appearance at Rasputin Music in San Francisco. Since then, artists from around the country show up at their favorite record stores. If anyone values the allure of vinyl, it is musicians. In Detroit where I’m from, Jack White has built not just an homage to vinyl—his Third Man Records operates as a vinyl stamping plant. I made the trek to take in the sweet sounds and smells of his retail tribute to record albums, a trip well worth taking.

IE | Ireland’s Official Top 50 biggest vinyl albums of 2021 so far: New releases from Glen Hansard, For Those I Love and Taylor Swift have proven popular with record collectors. Sales of vinyl albums in Ireland have increased 81% year-on-year as the vinyl revival shows no-one signs of slowing down. A mixture of carefully crafted new releases celebrating the format and heritage classics are among the Top 50 best sellers of 2021 so far, with almost 150,000 vinyl records purchased so far this year. Leading the list is a staple among many record collections, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. Ireland’s most popular vinyl album of 2019 and 2020 remains in pole position with over 2,000 sales in the first half of the year. Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon lands in second, Fleetwood Mac are back in third with Greatest Hits, the same title album as the album in fourth from Queen. Rounding out the Top 5 in fifth is Legend from Bob Marley & The Wailers. The best-selling new release of 2021 is Glen Hansard’s Live at Sydney Opera House which comes in at Number 8. The self-titled debut album from Dublin singer and spoken word artist For Those I Love also bags a top flight placement at Number 10.

Extreme record collecting: Confessions of an analog vinyl snob: …I became pretty leery of these heavy vinyl reissues, but I did still buy a few more. One day I went to the record store and picked up new reissues of the Fall’s I Am Kurious Oranj, The Slider by T.Rex and A Kiss in a Dreamhouse by Siouxsie and the Banshees. All three of them, from different labels and each a 180 gram platter, sounded like shit. Lifeless. All of the energy had been drained out of them. They were so bad that I knew that I would probably never play any of them ever again—all of them sounded far better on CD or streaming—and I felt ripped off and disappointed. Why would anyone want products like this? Are they viewed merely as “collectibles”? Maybe they look nice sitting next to your Crosley, but to actually listen to them?

Centre, AL | Dolly Parton releasing limited edition of ‘Songteller’ that features two unreleased songs: When Dolly Parton drops the limited edition of Dolly Parton: Songteller in Octoberl, fans will have access to two songs that have never been shared before. Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, Limited Edition will come with a pink vinyl record featuring a pair of unreleased songs, “I Don’t Care” and “The Fall,” with the lyrics printed on the back. The special version of the book is also housed inside a denim-wrapped clamshell box and features a ribbon bookmark. Originally released in 2020, Songteller chronicles the stories behind the lyrics of more than 100 songs from Dolly’s catalogue, including “Jolene,” “9 to 5” and “I Will Always Love You,” alongside photos and other memorabilia gathered during her more than 60-year career. The limited edition is available for pre-order now.

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Clearing the Smoke
at Dylan’s Streaming ‘Kingdom’

Out of all the musicians knocked off the road by the pandemic, it must have been a real strain on Bob Dylan. A guy who has essentially played one tour after another since 1988, totaling more than 3,000 shows, pausing only a few months during a health scare in 1997, he had seen nothing like this eradication of his touring schedule. 

He filled it initially with his remarkable “Murder Most Foul,” an unexpected, 16-minute rumination about the assassination of JFK that was also his first No. 1 single, 57 years into his recording career. Released March 20, 2020, soon after lockdowns began, it was an anchor for his 39th studio album Rough and Rowdy Ways, released in June 2020.

It took a while, though, for Dylan to catch up to fellow artists using the internet to stream concerts as a way to connect with fans and maybe make up for all that lost touring revenue. Dylan had gotten used to traveling the world and reworking his tunes while dressed in cowboy garb and maintaining his career-long mystery before devoted fans.

His streaming event Shadow Kingdom on Sunday allowed him belatedly to continue that interest. On stages he surrounds himself with old Hollywood klieg lights and smoke to create a kind of atmosphere. In his streaming concert, smoke almost takes over.

The idea is that he’s in an imaginary ’30s cafe — the nonexistent Bon Bon Cafe in Marseilles, France (given “special thanks” in the credits). But with the cowboy hats of the denizens, surrounded by columns of long neck beers and overflowing ashtrays, it’s more like a period cafe in Hollywood, where it was almost certainly created. A slightly different setting for some songs has him on a checkerboard linoleum, adding to the dreamlike Twin Peaks nightclub vibe.

Not a live event, the 50-minute, 12-song presentation is more like an extended black and white video. There are no songs from Rough and Rowdy Ways (whose cover suggested a similar fantasy juke joint), and nothing in fact from the past 30 years of the Dylan songbook.

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TVD Radar: Marianne Faithfull: The Montreux Years and Muddy Waters: The Montreux Years 2LPs in stores 9/17

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG announce the next anticipated installment in The Montreux Years series with Marianne Faithfull: The Montreux Years and Muddy Waters: The Montreux Years, both to be released on Friday, September 17, 2021. Available on multi-format configurations including double LP as well as download and streaming services, the two new full-length albums feature captivating performances from Marianne Faithfull and Muddy Waters’ multiple appearances at the iconic Swiss festival for the very first time, recorded and remastered in breath-taking quality.

The Montreux Years embodies the spirit of the Montreux Jazz Festival and the legacy of its much-loved founder, Claude Nobs. Nobs refused to compromise on quality or settle for anything other than the best and this ethos lives on in the superb quality of the recordings compiled in this collection. Mastering has been performed by Tony Cousins at London’s iconic Metropolis Studios, incorporating MQA to capture the original sound of these special concerts. Similar to the first albums in the series, featuring Nina Simone and Etta James, the Marianne Faithfull and Muddy Waters releases will be accompanied by exclusive liner notes and previously unseen photography.

Instantly recognizable with her raw, varied vocal talents and tangible charisma, Marianne Faithfull has been a long-time friend of the Montreux Jazz Festival, appearing five times over a nearly 15-year period: 1995, 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2009. The first live album of Faithfull in over 10 years, Marianne Faithfull: The Montreux Years opens with an enchanting rendition of Van Morrison’s “Madame George,” recorded live at Auditorium Stravinski on July 10, 1995, where Faithfull’s powerful range and unfaltering dynamism was instantly apparent.

The singer’s fans can immerse themselves in these unique recordings, which include several songs from her celebrated album Broken English, such as an electrifying, guitar-heavy performance of the titular track “Broken English,” the soaring “Guilt,” and John Lennon’s rousing anthem “Working Class Hero.” Meanwhile, the haunting sensitivity of “Strange Weather,” recorded live at Casino Barrière on July 6, 2005, captures the bottomless depths of Faithfull’s brutal and ragged beauty.

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TVD Radar: Metallica: The $24.95 Book by Ben Apatoff in stores 8/15

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “The metal band everybody knows—but nobody has ever figured out. Ben Apatoff has taken the ultimate deep dive into the dark legend of Metallica, one of rock’s weirdest and most fascinating mysteries. In this brilliant book, he tells the definitive story of how a band of nobodies took on the world—and why the world will never be the same.”Rob Sheffield, author of Dreaming The Beatles

With more than 125 million records sold worldwide, Metallica is the biggest metal band of all time. Four decades into their unparalleled career, Metallica is a massive cultural force who drastically changed the sound of popular music by creating their own rules. Yet for all their popularity, Metallica can seem impenetrable, raising more questions and inspiring more discourse as their mythos grows. They’re rarely given the kind of literary appreciation and analysis usually saved for the biggest rock artists, until now.

Metallica: The $24.95 Book looks at Metallica’s cultural significance, with chapters devoted to each member, each album, touring, fashion, books, film, influences, fandom, history, and more, exploring the band’s ideologies along the way. “I wanted it to it to be more than a fact book, and not just something people could just look up on the internet.” Says author Ben Apatoff, a writing teacher and music journalist.

The result is the most complete Metallica book to date, covering their career through 2021 and the first Metallica book written with access to the band’s box set materials. Compiled from years of exhaustive research and decades of fandom, and including previously unpublished photos, a foreword by Laina Dawes, the author of acclaimed 2013 memoir What are You Doing Here?: A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal, new transcriptions of video interviews and magazine quotes previously unavailable on the internet, Metallica: The $24.95 Book finally gives Metallica the thorough biography and analysis the band deserves, providing an in-depth look at the band and their music that both die-hard fans and newcomers can enjoy.

Ben Apatoff is a New York writer and educator whose work has appeared in Metal Injection, MetalSucks, and the Morbid Anatomy Museum. He was born the summer Metallica released Kill ‘Em All.

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The TVD Storefront

Paul Robb of
Information Society,
The TVD Interview

The early 1980s was a magical time for electronic music. Artists like Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, and OMD were coming on strong and opened doors for other artists looking for the freedom to express themselves in new and untraditional ways.

Born in a dorm room in 1982 in St. Paul, Minnesota, three friends—Kurt Larson, James Cassidy, and Paul Robb—came together to form a band known simply as Information Society. Their 1985 classic “Running” became an instant classic in NYC and helped catapult the band from obscurity to stardom. Future singles such as “Walking Away” and “Peace and Love, Inc.,” cemented their place as one of the quintessential synth-pop bands of all time. 

We recently spoke with Information Society founding member Paul Robb to discuss all-things INSOC including their challenging start in the music industry, a storied 40-year career, as well as their upcoming release, ODDfellows.

Share with our readers how you got your start in the music industry?

Well, that’s a pretty long story. In the early days of the band, we really didn’t understand much about the music industry. As a matter of fact, for the first year or two, we kept having discussions about why we weren’t being discovered and were very frustrated. Finally, someone pulled us aside and said, “If you want to be discovered, you’ll need to make some recordings in order to put out records.”  Sounded fairly easy (laughs), so we eventually scraped up some money—I believe the whole recording budget was $600—went into a studio, and recorded our first self-released EP.

Funny thing about that EP, it just wouldn’t sell and most of the vinyl ended up being thrown away. About a year later, we regrouped and tried again with the support of a local DJ along with a small indie label in Minneapolis called Wide Angle Records. And like a lot of fledgling record labels, they started out by owning a record shop. Ultimately, they gave us some money and helped us distribute our next album. It was on that album that our song “Running” first appeared. Fast forward a year and a half later, and that single ended up causing a major stir in New York, ultimately inspiring Tommy Boy Records to license that song and eventually sign us to a first major record deal.

What artists inspired you along the way?

It is so hard to get across the idea to the younger generation how open it felt in the early ’80s. New wave was so important to us, yet we all came at it from different musical points of view. My focus at the time was jazz and funk. Kurt Larson was listening to Styx, The Beatles, and all things progressive. James Cassidy was in a band playing Black Sabbath covers. We were all influenced by what was around us, but when new wave music started to trickle into Minneapolis, which is where we grew up, it really opened our eyes to what was truly possible.

Bands like Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, and a German band called D.A.F., were incredibly influential on us in the early days even though we didn’t really end up sounding much like that kind of proto-industrial music.  And then the whole new romantic thing kicked in with a lot of British and German bands. After that, we started hearing “electro” bands in NYC and that really turned us on. Ultimately, we combined the song craft and the romantic overtones that we were picking up from the British bands along with the beats coming out of New York, and that was the two-cent formula that we ended up eventually co-opting as the Information Society sound.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Blue Glass,
Jardin des Étoiles

Seattle’s Blue Glass is headed by Michael Shunk, his outfit having debuting in 2019 with the album Pale Mirror. It was a set undeniably impacted by UK goings on between 30 to 40 years’ time ago (you know, the 1980s), and its contents remain solidly likeable. But with Jardin des Étoiles, Shunk’s approach has undertaken a considerable detour, specifically into ambient territory. This is by no means a complete break from his prior work however, as guitar remains part of the design. Available now digitally, the limited edition (500 copies on double orange wax) ships out August 6 through the Two Roads label.

In giving Pale Mirror a short review a little over two years ago in this very column, I was impressed, if not blown away, by Michael Shunk’s adeptness at conjuring the moodier side of the ’80s Brit post-punk experience while maintaining urgency and heft, and with better than average songs. Cited influences included The Smiths, New Order, and Durutti Column, though sticking out to my ear was The Cure and The Church (who I realize aren’t from the UK, but neither are The Chills, who also made that list of influences). Also, in the drowsy near-rasp of Shunk’s voice, Pale Mirror recalled the Psychedelic Furs.

But what a difference a pandemic can make. There will be no comparisons to Richard Butler this time out, as Jardin des Étoiles is a record without vocals. The scoop is that after Covid scuttled a West Coast tour, Shunk opted for a shift of gears into what’s described as a meditative, healing zone, as he took additional inspiration from the films of director Chris Marker (La Jetee, A.K., A Grin Without a Cat, Take Five, One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich) and Shunk’s son’s interest in the stars up above (the album’s title translates to Garden of the Stars).

The impact of Marker, who is frankly one of the greatest of all filmmakers, and in particular Shunk’s love of the masterful essay film Sans Soleil, is a promising sign that Jardin des Étoiles will unfold with positivity. And for that matter, so is taking inspiration from a childhood fascination with galaxies in the night sky (very relatable, as I shared this interest as a youth).

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