A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 9/28/23

Mystic, CT | A CT record store is marking 40 years as a mecca for collectors with an anniversary party and special guests: The fact that Danny Curland has been buying, selling, listening to and talking about records for 40 years as the owner of Mystic Disc is a cause for celebration. Curland’s employees, customers and friends have planned an anniversary party on Saturday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Mystic River Park near the store in downtown Mystic. Among the special guests at the Mystic Disc 40th Anniversary Gig are Baltimore-based musician Wall Matthews (who co-founded the store with Curland in 1983), the owners of other record shops (including Rich Martin of The Telegraph in New London and Mark Henderson of the Boston-based In Your Ear Records), musician/shop owner James Maple of Mystic’s Lamplighter Trading Post Company, New London journalists Stephen Chupaska and Steven Slosberg, the experimental folk group Xenos, DJ Brian Carter and others whom Curland has inspired or befriended over the years.

Norman, OK | Guestroom Records celebrates 20 years of business, good music: Independent record store Guestroom Records celebrated 20 years of business in September, bringing the Norman music community together. Justin Sowers and Travis Searle started selling records door to door and at garage sales in 2002. After the pair’s success, the first Guestroom Records store was opened in Norman the following year. Guestroom sells a wide range of genres, curated based on customers’ interests. The store has a large selection of classic rock and indie alternative albums. Featured artists include Radiohead, Dolly Parton and Taylor Swift. Guestroom sells new and used records, and there is a section for CDs and cassettes. Visitors can also sell their own records to the store or search through its online inventory. When Guestroom first opened, most of the inventory consisted of CDs. Now, due to their increased popularity, the store primarily sells records.

Brighton, UK | Top music awards go to Bjork, Wet Leg and…a Brighton record shop: Resident recognised for supporting independent artists: One name stood out for Brighton music fans at the Association of Independent Music (AIM) Awards 2023 – Resident record shop, in Kensington Gardens. The independent music shop joined a roster of winners that included Bjork, Wet Leg and Raye. The shop won the Independent Champions Award—a category that rewards those helping to support independent musicians. The Icelandic singer Bjork, 57, who performed at Coachella Festival in California this year in a set that included hundreds of drones, attended to collect the publicly voted award for best live performer. Raye, 25, who released her debut studio album My 21st Century Blues earlier in the year, took home best independent track with American rapper and singer 070 Shake. Their single Escapism was among the year’s chart-toppers.

Shanghai, CN | AMIRI Unveils Limited-Time Vinyl Space Station in Shanghai Flagship Store: In an exciting collaboration between fashion and music, AMIRI has unveiled a limited-time vinyl space station outside its flagship store in Shanghai. The design elements are inspired by AMIRI’s 2023 autumn and winter show, with a fresh mint green and transparent glass exterior facade. The standout feature is a giant black sheet with the MA Logo printed in the middle, giving the impression of a vinyl record being slowly pulled out of its cover. Inside the space station, AMIRI showcases its latest 2023 autumn and winter items. The brand has also created a vinyl interactive area where customers can purchase and make exclusive records with their own signatures. To celebrate the launch event, there will be a DJ playing vinyl records, creating a sophisticated recording studio atmosphere. The combination of fashion and music in this urban oasis provides a unique and relaxing experience for visitors.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Live Shots: Avatar with Orbit Culture and The Native Howl at Brooklyn Bowl, 9/24

NASHVILLE, TN | This was one for the history books. Avatar blew the roof off Nashville’s Brooklyn Bowl Sunday night, a stop on September’s “Chimp Mosh Pit” tour. It was exhilarating—top to bottom, not just one of the best shows I’ve been to in recent times, it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m still wiped out.

Leading off on this tour is The Native Howl (Alex Holycross, Zach Bolling, Mark Chandler, and Jacob Sawicki), from Detroit, Michigan. They specialize in “thrash grass,” a newly coined term describing a sound that combines the melodicism and precision of bluegrass with the aggression of thrash metal. To illustrate, a hallmark of their sets is “Harvester of Constant Sorrow,” which mashes up The Soggy Bottom Boys and Metallica—imagine metal with a banjo solo. Live, it’s a sound that is clever and creative—it works extremely well.

In Nashville, The Native Howl were poorly lit to the point of performing in the dark; this was unfortunate as it undermined the crowd’s ability to really see the charisma of singer Holycross. The previous weekend I traveled to Bloomington, IL to catch this tour in advance of covering it in Nashville. The Native Howl had been on my radar for a while, and I was curious about how they would be live.

It was fun to see all three bands on the bill in what felt like a sardine can of a club. When I caught the show in Bloomington, Holycross struck me as a bit of a Joe Cocker type—imagine if Cocker had a Michigan grandson. His expressive eyes and signature bare feet aren’t a gimmick of any kind—this is who this dude is.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Grant Lee Buffalo, Copperopolis & Jubilee 2LP clear vinyl reissues in stores 11/23

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Chrysalis Catalogue presents Copperopolis on vinyl for the first time, accompanied by a selection of bonus tracks.

First released in June 1996, Copperopolis would be the final Grant Lee Buffalo studio album to feature the original line-up of Grant-Lee Phillips, Paul Kimble, and Joey Peters. For Copperopolis, the band expanded on the stripped-down sonics from their first two albums, using the studio to create a layered, more powerful sound, as heard on standout tracks “Arousing Thunder,” “Bethlehem Steel,” and the single “Homespun.” Side four features a trio of bonus tracks, the B-sides “Crashing at Corona” and “Mr. Know It All,” plus the original four-track demo for “Hyperion & Sunset.”

Newly remastered by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios from the original production masters, pressed on two 180g clear vinyl LPs, and housed in a gatefold sleeve with poly-lined inner bags.

Originally released in June 1998 following the departure of long-time bassist Paul Kimble, Jubilee was Grant Lee Buffalo’s fourth and final studio album. For the album’s 25th anniversary, Chrysalis Catalogue presents Jubilee on vinyl for the first time.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Van Morrison,
His Band and the Street Choir & Moving On Skiffle

After leaving the group Them and recording one album for the Bert Burns label Bang (Blowin’ Your Mind), Van Morrison recorded two albums (for Warner Bros. Records) that solidified his place in music at that time and forever.

Astral Weeks (1968) is considered Morrison’s most critically acclaimed album and his next one, Moondance (1970), is his most popular and well-known album. While these two recordings often receive the most attention in an evaluation of the immense legend of Morrison, his next three LPs further enhanced and reinforced the enormity of the man’s vast talents. Those albums are His Band and Street Choir (1970), Tupelo Honey (1971), and Saint Dominic’s Preview (1972). His Band and the Street Choir has just been reissued as one of the first four releases from the Rhino High Fidelity Series. This is a great album and the approach taken by Rhino on this reissue is like a master class on how to reissue a classic album.

His Band and the Street Choir was a dramatic change from his previous two albums. On those two records, Morrison was an artist who drew from a range of sometimes tortured emotions to create music of impressionistic, sublime beauty that mixed folk, jazz, r&b, rock, and soul in a sound that was unmatched. On His Band and the Street Choir, Morrison continued to mix those styles, but sounds more relaxed, like he’s truly having fun, and is surrounded by musicians he clearly loves and is inspired by. The songs are shorter and punchier and were clearly recorded mostly live with minimal rehearsal or takes.

It’s a joyous celebration and while it didn’t quite reach the heights of the previous two albums, was an instant classic. The most well-known song from the album is “Domino.” “Blue Money” is another enduring classic from the album and “I’ve Been Working” was a highlight of his live shows at the time. This music very much reflects Morrison’s Woodstock period and the rural, pastoral beauty of that place was certainly a key ingredient in the writing and recording of the album.

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The TVD Storefront

Josie Cotton:
The TVD Interview

PHOTO: RIO WARNER | In the vibrant and ever-evolving music scene of the 1980s, one name shone brightly amidst a sea of artists, Josie Cotton. With her audacious new wave sound and captivating stage presence, Cotton quickly became an icon of the era. From her popular hits like “Johnny Are You Queer?” and “He Could Be the One,” to her thoughtfully crafted albums that spanned genres, Josie Cotton left an indelible mark on the music industry.

But her influence extends far beyond her catchy tunes; it’s in her trademark style, her public persona, and the significant life events that have shaped her remarkable career. As we dive into the world of Josie Cotton, we uncover a musician who defies categorization, evokes nostalgia, and continues to captivate audiences with her timeless sound.

How did your journey in music begin, and what inspired you to become a singer?

When I was still living in Texas, I was just exploring different bands and writing songs. But I came to California to be in the music business, and once I finally arrived that happened fairly quickly. Even while moving from record label to record label, I ended up, ironically, getting signed because of a song I didn’t write—it was a demo that got me signed. So, that was just an odd way to begin a career.

When did you determine that you wanted to do this as a career?

Well, I really wasn’t planning on being a singer, per se. I was planning on being a songwriter, and so singing was something I did to let people hear the songs I wrote. That was when people seemed to notice my voice. The Paine brothers were one of the first to take notice shortly after I met them. They directed me away from the different styles of music I was experimenting with and asked me to focus on something which was familiar to me, girl groups. And coincidentally, they were working with the Go-Go’s at the time that I met them.

What are your earliest memories of performing on stage?

My stepfather was a ballet teacher, and he was grooming me to be a prima ballerina from the time I was three years old. He had been a famous dancer in Europe—dancing with Maria Tallchief and had run the Harkness Ballet in New York years later. So, my first memory on stage was when I was four years old. I was with a boy, and it was just us on stage with an orchestra. My stepfather would do these major productions with famous ballet dancers coming in from Europe, and so I ended up alone on the stage with a boy with this orchestra, and I just loved it. And the stage ended up being the only place I felt truly comfortable.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Feelies,
Some Kinda Love

On October 13, 2018 in Jersey City, NJ’s White Eagle Hall, guitarists Glenn Mercer and Bill Million, bassist Brenda Sauter, drummer Stanley Demeski and percussionist/ keyboardist Dave Weckerman, a gang collectively known as The Feelies, played a long set of songs by request in connection with the opening of The Velvet Underground Experience exhibition in NYC. Some Kinda Love: Performing the Music of The Velvet Underground documents that show, and on October 13, five years to the day later, it’s released for home consumption on 2LP and CD through Bar/None Records.

Cover songs are an integral part of the whole rock ‘n’ roll shebang, but when it comes to versions of material by The Velvet Underground, I’ll confess to being something a stickler. This is partly because The Velvets are my pick as the greatest (non-jazz) band of all time, and additionally, my favorite band ever (jazz included).

But personal protectiveness is not really the issue with my persnickety nature toward VU covers. It’s just that their stuff is so hard to get right, as far too many attempts get too hung up on replicating the source’s cool factor, while others are just far too reverent in approach, and still more diminish the essence of the originals by structurally altering them too severely or transmogrifying them into an artist or band’s personal style.

Great VU covers are certainly possible (see Big Star’s “Femme Fatale,” Thurston Moore’s “European Son,” and Luna’s “Ride Into the Sun”) and aren’t even necessarily rare, but middling versions are far more common and I’ll make the case that egregious missteps outnumber the gems. To my ear, it took Imaginary Records three tries to put out a various artists tribute compilation (in the label’s Heaven & Hell series) where the good to great outnumbered the duds. It would be even more difficult for a single performer or band to cut an entire album of VU covers that didn’t fumble the task.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 9/27/23

Glasgow, UK | Glasgow’s best vintage stores for retro clothes and vinyl: If you’re looking to shop second-hand and want to snag yourself some retro items, then Glasgow is the place to be. Like most cities, Glasgow is experiencing a boom in all things vintage with people of all ages seeking out ‘blast from the past’ clothing and even vinyl records. Whether you are looking for a pair of bellbottom jeans from the 1970s or want to channel your inner-1990s, we have you covered.

Miami, FL | Miami’s Lucky Records Shows Passion For All Things Hip-Hop, Funk, Soul & Reggae: Miami is known for its warm weather and colorful culture. A city drenched with the rich history of so many people from different walks of life calling it home, Finding a hub for a city with such a dense art scene is always exciting. Welcome Lucky Records, one of Miami’s most dedicated record shops. With a constantly rotating selection, the small shop has slowly become a museum for the rich history of music from Miami along with a passionate focus on all things hip-hop, funk, soul, and reggae. Along with a plethora of bins filled with genre-spanning selections, Lucky Records stands out as a testament to the diversity of Miami and the beauty that can be made when different cultures clash in harmony.

Poughkeepsie, NY | Poughkeepsie, NY record store finally participating in the Taylor Swift craze: Shake off the old version! Taylor Swift’s album 1989 (Taylor’s Version) re-release is about to hit shelves in October. Fans have been going nuts since 1989 (Taylor’s Version) was announced back in August, rushing to Taylor Swift’s website to pre-order every and all editions of 1989 she’s releasing. That might seem like a silly statement, but Swift has released 8 limited edition versions of her album 1989. Now, 42 days after the original announcement, a local Hudson Valley record story is able to get in on the Swiftie fun. With that being said, local independent record store Darkside Records in Poughkeepsie, NY has finally been given the ‘OK’ to participate in the sale of Taylor Swift 1989 (Taylor’s Version) On Instagram, they wrote: “F-I-N-A-L-L-Y! Taylor’s version of 1989 will be released on 10/27, exactly 9 years to the day since the original was released. We’ll have it on Crystal Skies Blue vinyl, CD, and cassette…”

Wokingham, UK | Uncertain future for town centre shop: Mystery surrounds the future of another independent retailed in Wokingham town centre, Beyond the Download, a retailer of vinyl records and associated music memorabilia in Rose Street, appears to have ceased trading. The business began in 2012 as an online retailer. It operated from Holme Grange Craft Village before moving to the town centre location in 2019. The business also assisted with stage and sound facilities for events in the nearby Peach Place. Wokingham Today has approached the business for comment.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: Boris and Melvins at the Howard Theatre, 9/22

Legendary trio Melvins stopped at Washington, DC’s Howard Theatre last Friday night, a date on their massive 40th anniversary “Twins of Evil” tour, a coheadlining tour with Boris.

Formed in Washington State in 1983, Melvins (currently Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover, and Stephen McDonald) are credited with merging the worlds of punk and heavy music, influencing the development of sludge metal and grunge. The “Twins of Evil” tour is not just a 40th anniversary tour for Melvins, but a showcase for their 1991 album Bullhead. This album is what is cited as a turning point for the band, the point at which Melvins became a true metal outfit with a more chugging sound and longer songs.

Melvins kicked off the coheadlining set Friday night to a packed and steamy house—one unfortunate fan succumbed to heat before the show even got started. The legends played all of Bullhead with a few additional tracks thrown in for good measure to the delight of the crowd. They were impressive over the course of their hour-long set.

Singer/guitarist Osborne’s voice and playing have stood the test of time and bassist McDonald hammed it up for the crowd. Coady Willis, filling in for Crover on tour, pounded away tirelessly on drums. Melvins played on stage with a backdrop of actress Agnes Moorehead in full Endora makeup (from the old TV show Betwitched) and vibrant, almost psychedelic, lighting—all pink and orange. It was a heady experience coupled with the sludgy metal. They ended with, of course, “Boris.”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Brian Eno, The Ship coke bottle green vinyl edition in stores 12/8

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Astralwerks and UMe proudly announce the remastered re-issue of Eno’s seminal 2016 album The Ship, available on color vinyl (coke bottle green) on December 8.

The release coincides with a series of live performances, Ships, which features Brian Eno with Baltic Sea Philharmonic and its conductor Kristjan Järvi and is a newly commissioned work from La Biennale di Venezia. The first performance will premiere on October 21 in Teatro la Fenice as the centerpiece of the 2023 Venice Biennale Musica. Ships features an orchestral adaptation of The Ship as well as new and classic Eno compositions. Preorder Brian Eno’s The Ship HERE.

The Ship was the first Eno record to feature vocals since 2005’s Another Day On Earth and was inspired in part by the sinking of the Titanic and the First World War. “Humankind seems to teeter between hubris and paranoia,” Brian said at the time, “the hubris of our ever-growing power contrasts with the paranoia that we’re increasingly under threat.”

The opening track, “The Ship,” and the second, “Fickle Sun (i),” unfold over the majority of the album. They then give way to “Fickle Sun (ii): The Hour Is Thin,” with narration from actor Peter Serafinowicz, and “Fickle Sun (iii),” a celebrated interpretation of The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Set Free.”

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Germs, (GI)

Remembering Darby Crash, born on this day in 1958.Ed.

Poor Darby Crash. First the Germs charismatic and drug-abusing lead singer returned from England a converted Adam Ant fan (very bad form, very bad form indeed), then he had the amazingly bad luck to die in a suicide pact the day before the murder of John Lennon, thus ensuring his death would receive virtually no recognition in the press.

Fortunately neither his Antdom nor his ill-timed deliberate death by heroin overdose have sullied his posterity, and his pre-planned live-fast-die-young career continues to contribute to what practically amounts to a cult. And I get it. The guy was loony tunes, but he also had charisma. Germs drummer Don Bolles recalls, “With a little more luck and concentrated effort, Darby could have fulfilled his plan to be the new Jesus/Bowie/Manson/Hitler/L Ron Hubbard… he was a natural messiah type, whose heroic consumption of LSD helped make him the most psychedelic prankster I have ever known.”

Fortunately he started a punk band instead, and not just any punk band. As Germs guitarist Pat Smear recollects, “Whatever we were going to be, we were going to be the most. If we’re gonna be punk, then we are gonna out-punk the Sex Pistols! If we are gonna be the worst band ever, then we are gonna be the fucking worst band ever!” As the lead singer for what I like to think was one of the worst bands in history, those are inspiring words indeed.

But my favorite Darby Crash story has nothing to do with the Germs, but rather Pop Rocks. Remember the candy that detonated like little hand grenades in your mouth? Well, in We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk, Gerber (aka Michelle Bell) recalls the time she and Crash were walking through a parking garage towards two Persian gentlemen who, faced with a couple of deranged looking punkers, assumed they were being mugged. So they threw themselves to the ground and offered up their wallets.

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TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: Sleep Walking Animals

Get ready to immerse yourselves in the dreaminess that is Sleep Walking Animals and their stunning new single “Rossignol (සිප ගන්නා විට),” out now via Black Sea Music.

Inspired by the answer to a question on University Challenge, Rossignol is an unmeditated confession of idealistic love. Electronic textures are paired with their trademark folk sensibilities, English lyrics are interwoven with Sri Lankan Sinhala, and song form is challenged with a gratuitous rock finale. Fans of the likes of Bon Iver and Radiohead will feel at home here.

Talking about the single, keys player Nuwan Hugh Perera says, “We had collectively spoken about including Sinhala lyrics in one of the songs. I initially translated the whole song into Sinhala. Then I worked on just the chorus and broke it down to two lines to represent what it meant to me. You can hear that the melody too came from the lyric itself. This song was so beautiful and bare in its original conception. It’s come such a long way and has ended up somewhere we never thought it would.”

“Rossignol (සිප ගන්නා විට)” once again showcases Sleep Walking Animals’ unique ability to combine poetic lyricism with wistful, dream-folk sensibilities that are undeniably immersive.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Bark, Loud

Based in Water Valley, Mississippi, Bark is the married duo of Tim Lee on Bass VI and vocals and Susan Bauer Lee on drums and vocals. LPs? They’ve released a few, with their latest getting some instrumental and production assistance from, amongst others, a couple Drive-By Truckers. Tough but tuneful and roots-raw but non-retrograde, the 10-song effort has been given an appropriate title. Loud is out now on blue vinyl and compact disc through Dial Back Sound and Cool Dog Sound.

Tim Lee’s musical activity is considerable, as he came to ’80s underground notoriety in The Windbreakers, Beat Temptation and solo, along with a few other projects. More recently, he was the anchoring force in Tim Lee 3; for a deeper dive into Lee’s discography, check out the review of Tim Lee 3’s Devil’s Rope via this very website.

Susan Bauer Lee was Tim Lee 3’s bassist, but for Bark, she’s commandeering the drum kit, a switch that’s been working out just marvy. She also adds vocals to the scheme, strengthening the roots-punk (think X) and Paisley Underground (see early Dream Syndicate) foundations of Bark’s sound, though it’s not like the duo is retracing any particular band’s stylistic footsteps.

In addition to Bass VI (a six-string bass guitar designed for bottom-end melodic versatility), Tim plays baritone guitar on Loud, choices ensuring the songs are as hefty as they are catchy, but his tone is also appealingly ragged throughout the set. This solidifies (but doesn’t strain for) a punk connection, while jibing nicely with Susan’s drumming, as she’s hitting and kicking hard and generally eschewing the caveperson thump that’s often associated with guitar-bass duos.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 9/26/23

Waupaca, WI | New Grooves In Waupaca: Music shop sells vinyl. One of Marty Milner’s favorite movies while growing up was “Back to the Future.” His high school friends called him McFly. His dream was to someday own a DeLorean. He never got one but he did follow through on another dream: to own a record shop. He named it Back to the Vinyl. He and his wife Jennifer run the shop on 102 Water St., across from Danes Hall. They opened two weeks ago. “Owning a music store was one of those dreams I thought I’d never actually get. We would walk our dog around downtown and look at spaces for rent. It was always a running joke: that would be a cool place for a record store,” he said. When the Water Street location came up, Jennifer asked, “If not now, when?” Milner’s inventory of vinyl records covers all musical genres. He sells both used and new records. He purchases records and is happy to look at collections and make an offer

Chicago, IL | In Chicago’s ‘top five,’ High Fidelity is a chart-topper: John Cusack will host an intimate screening of one of Chicago’s most impactful films at the Auditorium Theatre in early 2024. Some records never get old. Often on repeat, we grow fonder, more in love with our favorite tracks. Of course, there’s always the fear of getting sick of the songs we love the most, but let’s be fair: nostalgia isn’t easily muted. Like these sorts of records, High Fidelity, no matter how many rewatches, remains a classic hit in Chicago’s cinematic playlist. The movie is whimsical and undeniably fun, packed with a love for music, but not unaware of the troubling side of romance. It’s a film that reimagined the rom-com, inviting emotional complexity and cynicism into the love story, and its influence is still sampled today. And in January 2024, barring any further delays due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, John Cusack will host an intimate screening of the long-admired film at the Auditorium Theatre. The Evanston native will follow the screening with a conversation about his career and the making of the film, plus an audience Q&A.

Seattle, WA | Capitol Hill Rewind – Rubato Records: breaking the lease on Broadway. Exploring the neighborhood’s record-shop history. Rubato Records & Espresso’s brief existence at the Broadway Alley began in 1982. Capitol Hill was one of a few locations—Wallingford and West Seattle stores opened later—for a record shop opened in downtown Bellevue in 1976 by John and Helena Rogers. The pair—who later married and separated but remain friends—also co-founded the New Wave/progressive rock/avant-garde band Student Nurse. Helena remembers selling records to Bob Blackburn, the voice of the Seattle SuperSonics, and former Seattle Mariners ace Randy Johnson at the Bellevue shop. “[Randy] would come in and lowball us trying to sell crappy heavy metal records,” Helena told me during an interview this summer at Georgetown’s Equinox Studios, where she is also an artist who paints. “He would say, ‘That’s all you’re giving me?!’ It was, like, ‘Dude, you have millions of dollars, and we barely have enough money to buy a hamburger after work!’”

Tulsa, OK | Hot sellers: Studio Records keeping Swifties and 90s fans happy: While recently perusing the vinyl at Josey Records, I continued my search for a Jesse Ed Davis record. Never having found one there, I asked an employee how often they hit the shelves. “Rarely,” he said. “You should go check out Studio Records over by the Church. They usually have it.” He was correct. I had two choices, the reissued debut “Jesse Davis” or a used (and more expensive) copy of “Ululu” – Davis’ second album. I went with the debut. Studio Records, 409 S. Trenton Ave., has been in business for five years helping fuel the sustained resurgence of interest in vinyl. On this day, owner Mike Nobels is manning the register when he’s not restocking the shelves. He has fun buying, selling and trading records of all genres. “The kids are really into the ‘80s and ‘90s music because that’s what their parents listened to,” Nobles says. Cue a record needle scratching to a stop.

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TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots: 
Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Ministry, and Filter at the Concord Pavilion, 9/22

The San Francisco Bay Area let their freaks flag fly this past Friday night when co-headliners Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper brought their “Freaks on Parade 2023 Tour” to the Toyota Pavilion at Concord for a sold out (or close to sold out) show that clogged the streets of Concord as the fans clearly bailed on work early to catch Filter’s opening set.

Ministry absolutely crushed it, running through a set of classics including “Stigmata” from The Land of Rape and Honey as Jello Biafra sang along in the wings. While his appearance was surprisingly toned down without the face piercings, Al Jourgensen remained a commanding presence on stage as the band absolutely dominated the set, spinning up what was probably the only band of the night to muster a circle pit. Ironically, with Monte Pittman crushing it on guitar, the fans were probably much closer to seeing Madonna than anyone probably realized.

Alice Cooper and his band took the stage a few minutes early with Alice slashing through a curtain with a sword … “Trial Set: For Deeds Against Humanity” as the band tore into “Lock Me Up.” From there, “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “I’m Eighteen” whipped the Concord crowd onto their feet. As expected, Alice was in fine form as, not missing a beat through the numerous costume changes and on stage antics which featured a giant-sized Alice Cooper Frankenstein during “Feed My Frankenstein” and a giant boa constrictor for “Snakebite.”

Cooper always does a great job of featuring the stellar musicianship in his band and this night was no exception, letting them shine on several instrumentals as his wife Sheryl eventually dispatched him with a guillotine. Throw in sword play, giant balloons, and a confetti cannon and you’ve got yourself a tough act to follow.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live Shots:
Riot Fest, 9/16

2:03PM: Punk Rock and Paintbrushes has a pretty sweet little gallery tent to the left of Riot Fest’s Roots Stage. It’s filled with musician originals, including work from Dave Navarro, Chad Smith, Matt Skiba and more.

2:34PM: Jehnny Beth is a force. Her solo work is less punk rock and more industrial than her work with Savages. No one seems to care about the rain; all eyes are on her as she caps off her set with an excellent cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer.”

3:19PM: At least 30 couples are getting married at Riot Fest this weekend and I just got to witness one of them. Congrats to the happy newlyweds, who if I’m not mistaken, were both named Brynn!

3:36PM: You can always expect to see the following at Riot Fest: mohawks, witty t-shirts, black on black on black, Doc Martens, kilts, tattoos for days, lots of eyeliner. And today: juggalos and juggalettes.

4:02PM: “We’re Sweden’s third worst band,” lead singer of the Viagra Boys, Sebastian Murphy, jokes. Their dance punk set is a party and the crowd surfers are out.

5:00PM: With Head Automatica, Daryl Palumbo explores his indie rock side. It’s a different vibe than the hardcore style of Glassjaw, but compelling nonetheless.

5:16PM: Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls have attracted a massive crowd over at the Rise Stage. With confessional lyrics and an energetic stage presence, I can see why.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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