The TVD Storefront

Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures–An Enduring Legacy

Remembering Ian Curtis, born on this day in 1956.Ed.

As the gritty 1970s turned into the gaudy 1980s, three friends on the brink of their twenties in Ruislip, a London suburb, Dave, Ken, and Mark, were consumed by music. Home to ancient parishes, Ruislip’s steel-laden sky dims the life beneath it. Dulling the atmosphere even further was Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, otherwise known as the “Iron Lady.” Clamping down upon workers’ unions, civil unrest, and racial tensions, the class divide soared and not much since has changed. Existence is an intermix of negative and positive tensions and the most compelling music is a mirror of these forces. Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures is its ultimate reflection.

Unknown Pleasures was released on June 15, 1979. Shoulder-to-shoulder with Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division are considered to be pioneers of post-punk and their music was unlike anything heard at that time. The album is a marriage of two genius individuals—lead singer Ian Curtis, author of inwardly perceptive and melancholy lyrics, and studio maven Martin Hannett behind the production console.

As drummer Stephen Morris said in a recent livestream, “Headstock Festival Presents: Moving Through Silence,” a tribute at the 40th anniversary of Ian Curtis’ death, “He’d have notebooks full of words. We’d just start playing the riff and he’d go into his MacFisheries bag and pull out a piece of paper and just start singing. At the time, everyone was starting a band, but he loved writing and poetry. He was into T.S. Eliot, and Burroughs, he was very very literate, and very creative. I met his English teacher, he’d sent me a nice email saying how much he thought Ian was very talented, even at school as a writer. If he hadn’t done music, he would have written fiction.”

With a background in chemistry, Hannett understood science but was fascinated by sound. Unknown Pleasures was his great experiment with the latest technology—the first AMS Digital Delay Machine. His control was legendary, drummer Stephen Morris made to play every drum separately on some tracks—an insane process that created the atmospheric space the album is known for. By isolating each member in the studio and also mixing the album himself, Hannett was able to craft Joy Division’s sound and style—the subsequent output a masterpiece that is just as avant-garde now as it was then.

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The TVD Record Store Club

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

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

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Sarah Wilson, Kaleidoscope (Brass Tonic) The music of composer, trumpeter, and singer Sarah Wilson is new to me, as I was drawn to check out this CD, her third, due to the participation of pianist Myra Melford. I’m thankful that Wilson keeps good company, for Kaleidoscope is a total gem that resists tidy encapsulation. First off, there’s the distinctive instrumental makeup of Wilson’s horn, Charles Burnham’s violin, John Schott’s guitar, Melford’s piano, Jerome Harris’ bass, and Matt Wilson’s drums, and ensemble play that’s highly skilled yet warm and playful. Second, is the record’s reality as a tribute to numerous mentors, including Melford. This doesn’t portend a relaxed atmosphere, but that’s just what unwinds across 11 Wilson compositions and a cover of M. Ward’s “Lullaby + Exile.” Third, is that Wilson fortifies a jazz foundation with pastoral elements, a calypso twist, and graceful pop turns, with the piano-based vocal beauty “Young Woman” a standout. That Wilson’s musical journey eludes norms echoes the music’s transcendence of boundaries and strengthens its unforced positivity. A

A Place To Bury Strangers, “Hologram” EP (Dedstrange) Formed in 2002 and based in Brooklyn, A Place to Bury Strangers has been shaped by numerous hands, but with vocalist and guitarist Oliver Ackermann a constant since 2003. With this 5-song EP, he inaugurates a fresh lineup with John Fedowitz on bass and Sandra Fedowitz on drums, and their handiwork is raucous and shoegazey, as befits the band’s reputation. To expand a bit, APTBS (as is the common abbreviation) have been described as “the loudest band in New York,” and listening to their stuff, it’s never been difficult to comprehend this claim. The records jut sound loud as fuck, even when played at reasonable volume. The distortion is also thicker than what’s heard on many other shoegaze affiliated albums (Ackermann is noted for designing guitar pedals through his company Death by Audio), which is a big point in their favor, as is songwriting that continues to remind me of The Jesus and Mary Chain. But what’s maybe most impressive is how inspired this new lineup sounds so deep into the band’s existence. A total keeper. A-

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: Roy Hargrove and Mulgrew Miller, In Harmony (Resonance) Trumpeter-flugelhornist Hargrove and pianist Miller are primarily associated with post-bop, and particularly with the style’s reemergence in the 1980s, this return growing into a movement that was soon tagged as neo-traditionalist jazz. And I’ll confess that the neo-trad scene has never really been my forte, partly due to my love of free jazz and associated subgenres. Post-bop has additionally been a major part of my jazz diet, but I’ve tended to gravitate toward the originators and the vastness of their output, of which dozens of albums remain that I’ve yet to hear. But there’s really no denying the richness of these live recordings from 2006-’07, as they feature just Hargrove and Miller, the duo configuration magnifying their interactive skills and also their taste, as they deliver a dozen interpretations (there is only one original, Hargrove’s “Blues for Mr. Hill,” a highlight) on 2LP for RSD and on 2CD, with the whole documenting a shared passion for their chosen artform. Up to Resonance’s usual standard? You bet. A

Joseph Spence, Encore: Unheard Recordings of Bahamian Guitar and Singing (Smithsonian Folkways) The music of the great Bahamian guitarist and vocalist Joseph Spence is brilliant, but not exactly plentiful; beginning in 1958, his sessions and live performances were issued by Folkways, Elektra, Arhoolie, and Rounder, totaling six LPs (excluding compilations). Highly influential yet impossible to duplicate, any new recordings by Spence are cause for celebration, so get ready to whoop and holler as this set (CD out July 16 with the vinyl scheduled for October) offers material captured impeccably in New York and Nassau in the Bahamas by engineer and producer Peter Siegel (who is also responsible for the contents of Smithsonian Folkways’ recent release Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton). While the songs aren’t as flowing and infectious as the stuff he cut in ’58 for Folkways, this is still prime Spence, offering distinct versions of well-known tunes (notably “Bimini Gal”), two new songs and vocals from the Pindar Family (including Spence’s sister Edith). Altogether, one of 2021’s sweetest surprises. A

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 7/15/21

Music fans pushed sales of vinyl albums higher, outpacing CDs, even as pandemic sidelined stadium tours: …Music consumption in the first half of the year has remained robust even without the sold-out stadium tours, according to a new report. While on-demand audio streaming is up 15%, consumers are also looking to own more tangible collectibles like vinyl albums, which continue to surpass CD sales. In the first six months of 2021, 19.2 million vinyl albums were sold, outpacing CD volume of 18.9 million, according to MRC Data, an analytics firm that specializes in collecting data from the entertainment and music industries. Vinyl has slowly been making a comeback in recent years. In 2020, vinyl trumped annual revenue of CDs in the U.S. for the first time in 34 years, the Recording Industry Association of America reported. That trend is continuing in 2021. The number of vinyl LPs sold rose 108% in the first six months of the year, up from 9.2 million during the same period in 2020.

Yarra, AU | Exploring the Record Store Day Vinyl Party going down as part of Leaps and Bounds Music Festival: Here’s your guide to what’s happening in City of Yarra this Record Store Day. Record Store Day Australia has teamed up with Leaps and Bounds Music Festival and City of Yarra for the second installment of Record Store Day 2021 to bring you a sprawling vinyl party happening at record stores throughout the inner north. Featuring a massive spread of in-store performances, album and single launches, and sales, you won’t want to miss out on all the fun going down for RSD on Saturday July 17. To help you put together a game plan, we’ve rounded up what’s going on where as part of the Leaps and Bounds Record Store Day Vinyl Party. Plug Seven Records: Prepare to do some serious crate-digging at Plug Seven Records this Saturday. As well as slinging a slate of RSD special releases, there’ll be discount crates, pick packs and loads more goodies to get your hands on.

AZ | Record Store Day is coming! Here’s where to celebrate in Arizona: The celebration was created in 2007 after independent record store owners and employees gathered together and formed a way to celebrate the unique culture. …ll record stores listed, except for Studio G Vinyl Records, have signed the Record Store Day pledge, according to the celebration’s main website. The pledge signifies that a store will sell Record Store Day releases only to its physical customers, rather than gouging them or holding back products to sell online. The first 2021 Record Store Day was held on June 12, but the organization decided to hold another on July 17 to support stores during the COVID-19 pandemic. The celebration was created in 2007 after independent record store owners and employees gathered together and formed a way to celebrate the unique culture, the website said. Special vinyl and CD releases and other promotional products are made exclusively for the celebration.

Kansas City, MO | Record Store Day is back again: It’s that time again, folks. The second installment of Record Store Day is here and we know all the places to hit up while you search for that perfect record to get your summer going. Stop by record stores July 17 to try your hand at getting a new addition to your collection. The Kansas City stores participating are: Records with Merritt (1614 Westport Rd.), The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven (7621 Troost Ave.), Josey Records (1814 Oak St.), Mills Record Company (4045 Broadway Blvd.), and Revolution Records (1830 Locust St.). All stores open at 7 a.m. except Revolution Records, which opens at noon. If you’re really up for it check out our suburban record store buddies like Brothers Music KC (5812 Johnson Drive Mission, KS) and Vinyl Renaissance & Audio (7932 Santa Fe Dr, Overland Park, KS) who are also participating.

Chicago, IL | Businesses in tune for Record Store Day: Nicky’s of Beverly is the Simon to Beverly Records’ Garfunkel as the two business establishments embark on another celebration of vinyl records on July 17—the industry’s unprecedented second drop for Record Store Day 2021. “I love vinyl, and that’s why we started playing it for our customers,” said Nicky’s of Beverly owner Paul Kostopanagiotou. “Customers dig hearing records, whether it’s in their own collection or something they’ve never heard before.” On Thursday, July 15, Nicky’s of Beverly, 10500 S. Western Ave., will team up with Beverly Records for a “Roots of Rock” party, an eclectic presentation of songs from all genres and eras that thread together today’s hit sounds with “those of yesteryear.” “We’ll have something for all music lovers, and it’s selected to entertain and enlighten,” said Beverly Records DJ John Dreznes. “We appreciate that Nicky’s of Beverly is building momentum for the second record drop two days later.”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Oasis Knebworth 1996 in cinemas 9/23

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Oasis have today unveiled the title, release date and ticketing details for their eagerly anticipated Knebworth cinematic documentary, Oasis Knebworth 1996. After almost two years without significant live events anywhere in the world, the cinematic release of Oasis Knebworth 1996 on 23rd September will serve as a timely reminder to fans new and old of the euphoria and togetherness that only a great concert can bring.

Oasis Knebworth 1996 is the story of the special relationship between Oasis and their fans that made the largest concert of the ‘90s possible. It is told entirely in the moment through the eyes of the fans who were there, built around extensive, and never before seen archive concert and backstage footage from the event, with additional interviews with the band and concert organisers. Directed by Grammy Award-winner Jake Scott, this is a joyful and at times poignant cinematic celebration of one of the most iconic live concert events of the last 25 years, driven entirely by the music, and the fans’ own experiences of that monumental weekend. Tickets for Oasis Knebworth 1996 will go on sale on Tuesday 10th August, marking the 25 years to the day since the first night of the concerts.

Oasis’ two record breaking nights at Knebworth took place on 10th and 11th August 1996, with over a quarter of a million young music fans from all over the world converging on Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire to see the legendary sets. Tickets went on sale on 11th May 1996. Queues formed outside local record shops and ticket offices overnight, and fans around the world spent the day on their landline phones trying to get through to constantly engaged booking lines. All tickets sold out in less than 24 hours, breaking every UK box office record in the process. Organisers estimated the band could have sold two or three times as many tickets. Over 2% of the population of the UK had attempted to buy tickets.

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TVD Radar: Love, “Everybody’s Gotta Live” EP in stores 7/17

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Love, led by the brilliant and complicated Arthur Lee, is one of the most influential American rock bands of all time, whose legend continues to grow. The 2014 reissue of their 1974 RSO album Reel to Real on High Moon Records showed the band at the height of their rock/soul/funk powers, and included twelve previously-unreleased outtakes from the master tapes of the original sessions.

This special release features five of those tracks appearing on vinyl for the first time, including three original Arthur Lee compositions unearthed from the multitrack tapes and never heard before the 2014 reissue: the sweet and soulful “You Gotta Feel It,” a catchy rock-pop tune called “I Gotta Remember,” and “Do It Yourself,” a blast of high-energy, horn-infused funk driven by Lee’s strutting vocals. The EP includes the original version of “Everybody’s Gotta Live” (recently featured in the acclaimed film Jojo Rabbit, and covered by Mac Miller on his posthumous album Circles) as well as a full-band electric performance of “Everybody’s Gotta Live” and an explosive alternate take of “Singing Cowboy.”

Remastered for vinyl by Dan Hersch and cut at 45 RPM, this 12 inch EP is graced by original artwork from iconic artist Jess Rotter.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Devo,
Q: Are We Not Men?
A: We Are Devo!

Remembering Bob Casale, born on this day in 1952.Ed.

Thank God for the great state of Ohio. It produces rockers the way Utah creates cretinous little polygamist kids. Just look at Cleveland, where I once pissed into the front seat of a car that parked us in after a drunken night on The Flats. (And people ask me why I quit drinking.) Cleveland Rocks! has given us The Isley Brothers, The Raspberries, The Dead Boys, Pere Ubu, Rocket From the Tombs, and Nine Inch Nails. To say nothing of that great cowboy punk, Roy Rogers.

Then there’s Kent State—which I visited once, and after careful calculations concluded it wasn’t the Ohio National Guard that murdered those four students back in 1970 but Neil Young, desperate for the subject of a protest song—which has bequeathed us perhaps the weirdest Ohio band of them all.

I’m talking, of course, about Devo, which I was lucky enough to see on their first national tour: on Thorazine. It was in a seated auditorium, and during the show lead guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh stepped from chair arm to chair arm until he was straddled directly above me, playing a very berserk solo. I repaid him by drooling on his right foot. (And people ask me why I quit doing drugs.)

Call Devo Art-Punk, New Wave, or Synthpop, just don’t call them late for De-evolution, their joke philosophy which isn’t when one considers the likes of Dick Cheney and Rascal Flatts. Some people favor the “Whip It”-era Devo, but upon listening to their music again I’m forced to concede the only Devo LP I really love (or even much like) is their 1978 debut, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! Produced by Brian Eno (David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Robert Fripp also expressed interest), the LP featured their “classic” line-up of Mark Mothersbaugh on keyboards, guitar, and lead vocals; Bob Mothersbaugh on lead guitar and backing vocals; Alan Myers on drums; Bob Casale on rhythm guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals; and Gerald V. Casale on bass, keyboards, and lead vocals.

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The TVD Storefront

Grace Pettis,
The TVD First Date

“I just recently (as in a few weeks ago) purchased my own big girl record player. Not one in a little hipster suitcase that sounds like garbage but a decent starter Audio-Technica turntable. The next thing I need to do is upgrade my speakers because I’m just listening through slightly better than average desktop computer speakers.”

“A few years ago, I inherited my grandmother Bobby’s soundsystem—a tower of tape decks, 5-disc CD player, radio, and turntable on top. It came with a good quality record player, but it broke during the move from Florida to Texas. I kept meaning to get it fixed and just never did. It would have been too expensive; it wouldn’t have been worth it. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to throw that soundsystem away for a long time because it had been hers. She loved records, especially opera singers. She was legally blind the last time she upgraded her own soundsystem so the buttons had fuzzy stickers on them so she could feel her way to “play,” “pause,” “skip,” and “select input.”

Now that I have my own turntable, I’ve slowly started purchasing albums. I’ve got the new Indigo Girls record, Look Long, and I’ve preordered Amythyst Kiah’s and Allison Russell’s forthcoming LPs. I got a “best of” collection of Townes Van Zandt, a Rosanne Cash record, and a few local Austin albums made in the eighties and nineties by bands I’ve never heard of. I haven’t listened to the Austin bands yet but I’m excited to. I love the idea of getting to discover music made on that kind of a small scale, in my own backyard, not reissued or available anywhere else but in the bargain bin at the local record store. It’s kind of like having a time machine to the Austin of yesteryear.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Charles Mingus,
Mingus At Carnegie Hall Deluxe Edition

Bassist, composer and bandleader Charles Mingus is an eternal jazz heavyweight, but with the release of Mingus At Carnegie Hall Deluxe Edition, his stature, and more specifically his late-career potency, has been given a boost, as the set expands the severely truncated initial single LP drawn from the January 19, 1974 concert, now offering the complete performance on two compact discs via Rhino Records, released on June 11 to coincide with Black Music Month, and on triple vinyl through Run Out Groove, available July 16. Soaking up the entirety of the evening is to luxuriate in the footprint of this giant of 20th century music as realized by his stellar sextet and guests, including Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

Although on the original album cover as replicated by this edition, Mingus’ group is listed as pianist Don Pullen, tenor saxophonist George Adams, baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett, and drummer Dannie Richmond, this seems to repeat an error of omission in concert promoter Art Weiner’s opening remarks, as he momentarily forgets to mention trumpeter Jon Faddis and begins his introduction by describing the evening as divided into two parts, the first featuring Mingus’ quintet and the second expanding the quintet with guests for a jam session (Faddis is part of the band for the whole performance, however).

Atlantic extends Weiner’s error on the cover by crediting Faddis as a guest alongside saxophonists John Handy, Charles McPherson, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, who also plays the stritch. While opening this review by emphasizing Weiner’s mistake might not be a particularly auspicious beginning, rest assured that Mingus At Carnegie Hall Deluxe Edition is an utter gem, with the exquisite mayhem of the original LP sweetly intensified by the context of the evening’s progressions.

It’s also worthwhile to highlight Faddis as part of the sextet, as this particular Mingus group is a vibrant representation of jazz music’s stylistic breadth. Bluiett, Adams, and Pullen are all affiliated with the avant-garde, but to varying degrees, with Pullen having recorded in duo with Milford Graves and on Giuseppi Logan’s two ESP-Disk albums in the ’60s, and Bluiett co-founding the Black Artists Group in St. Louis (roughly comparable to Chicago’s AACM) in the late ’60s, and later in the ’70s, the World Saxophone Quartet.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 7/14/21

UK | Sainsbury’s supermarket will stop selling CDs, sale of vinyl records to continue: UK supermarket Sainsbury’s has announced it will no longer sell CDs and DVDs, although it will continue to stock vinyl records. The company says that “customers increasingly go online for entertainment”, which may come as no surprise given the rise of streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Netflix. “Earlier this year we took the decision to gradually phase out the sale of DVDs and CDs, so that we can dedicate extra space to food and popular products like clothing and homewares,” Sainsbury’s added (via BBC News). The CD market was worth £115 million in 2020, but it’s still shrinking. Vinyl record sales, meanwhile, are at their highest since the 90s, but the format was worth less than the CD market last year at £86 million. Sainsbury’s has been stocking vinyl records since 2016 and will continue to sell them in 171 stores.

Sicamous, BC | Vinyl back in rotation with opening of new Salmon Arm record shop: Music enthusiast Morgan Labrecque unlocks The Vinyl Vault at Westgate Public Market. For Morgan Labrecque, listening to electronic music on vinyl is comparable to enjoying a slice of chocolate cake. “It’s rich, delicious, it’s enjoyable – it’s the best,” said Labrecque, whose passion for music extends into a variety of genres, preferably pressed into a platter and placed inside a cardboard jacket. “…Listening to music on the radio or your phone, it’s OK, but listening to it on vinyl, you get to experience your favourite songs through a whole different realm,” said Labrecque, extolling the virtues of vinyl. By comparison, MP3 files, she explained, are lossy (compressed), meaning the quality of the music is sacrificed for a smaller file size. “With vinyl, it’s literally physical grooves that are making the music and there’s nothing more pure than that.”

Liverpool, UK | Liverpool’s lost record shops that may be gone but won’t be forgotten: Take a look back at Liverpool’s most iconic record shops. Liverpool’s shopping scene is known for being dynamic and eclectic, offering everything from high street retailers and designer boutiques to bargain stores and market stalls. There’s no doubt it has changed over the years, with businesses closing up shop and new, state-of-the-art shopping centres taking over the city centre. These days the likes of Primark and River Island rule the streets, but years ago, before the heyday of online shopping and music streaming, it was record shops that dominated Liverpool’s shopping scene. Often a rite of passage among Liverpool’s teenagers, vinyl records were coveted – and so the retailers gave them just what they wanted; a haven where they could delve into their favourite albums. These stores were everywhere, on high streets and tucked down side alleys, emitting that distinct love-it-or-hate-it smell and offering everything from obscure independent releases to Top of the Pops hits.

Honolulu, HI | Aloha Got Soul has opened a record store in Honolulu: “Celebrating homegrown local music.” Aloha Got Soul has opened a record store in Honolulu’s Mōʻiliʻili neighbourhood, called AGS. Described as a celebration of “sound and vision”, AGS will stock new releases from independent labels and artists across the world, alongside Aloha Got Soul’s own releases. The shop will also offer a curated selection of secondhand vinyl — traversing an eclectic range of genres and eras. “Thanks to everyone who’s supported us throughout the years … without your support and presence, we wouldn’t feel as confident and comfortable in taking this next step.” AGS is open Thursday to Sunday 12pm — 7pm, at 2017 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96826.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Bert Jansch, The Ornament Tree reissue in stores 10/8

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The Ornament Tree, Bert Jansch’s 1990 album for small British label Run River, was a revelation: a fully-rounded, beautifully and powerfully realised concept. As had been the case with the all-instrumental project Avocet (1979) over a decade before, Bert had set out with a very clear idea and had delivered consummately.

For The Ornament Tree Bert was joined on any given track by up to four musicians from a pool of eight, including current Pentangle colleagues Peter Kirtley and Nigel Portman Smith, and not least Steve Tilston and Maggie Boyle. Kirtley, a soulful, spiky player from the North East, had been a Jansch fan for years, following Bert’s career from afar and recently socialising with him through a mutual friend:

“Working with Bert never crossed my mind,” says Kirtley. “We used to play darts, have a few pints and talk, basically. But I was thrown into it pretty quick. He just said one day, ‘I’m going to Ireland next week, do you fancy coming?’” An accomplished, dynamic player capable of great sensitivity and wild bursts of energy, often in the same song, Kirtley had long realised that the key to enhancing Bert’s music was first understanding fully how it was constructed and performed: bass lines, melody lines, ornamentation, rhythm and whatever else was happening on that one guitar.

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TVD Radar: Drowning Pool, Sinner 20th anniversary first ever vinyl release in stores 9/17

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Craft Recordings celebrates the 20th anniversary of Drowning Pool’s best-selling debut, Sinner, with the album’s first-ever vinyl release. Set for release on September 17, 2021, and available for pre-order today, the nu-metal classic features such favorites as “Tear Away,” “Sinner,” and the band’s platinum-selling signature hit “Bodies.” In addition to the standard release, two special editions of the vinyl are available: a Revolver exclusive turquoise vinyl limited to 1,000 units and a band exclusive red vinyl limited to 666 units and only available through the band on tour.

Sinner is literally perfect. I remember hearing and seeing it all come together,” says Drowning Pool frontman Jasen Moreno. “We shared the local Dallas scene back then—Drowning Pool and an old band I used to be in—and I’d like to say we kept each other honest and made each other better through competition… but it was never even close. Dave and the guys were the dudes shaping the scene. I shared many stages with Drowning Pool before I was ever their lead singer, and I remember feeling hyped after each performance.

I remember believing we’d finally upstaged them. I would have that hope right up until they took the stage and began to play, and then the truth was evident—Dave, Stevie, C.J., and Mike were always multiple steps ahead of any other band on the scene. The Sinner album was magic, and the guys were on fire. I believe that the record is perfect as a whole, full of catchy hooks both vocally and musically. I heard and saw those songs before a million other people around the world did, and I knew back then that Drowning Pool was destined to win. It feels crazy to go from a hater to their frontman, but let that be my testimony to the undeniable force that remains Sinner.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Byrds,
Greatest Hits

Celebrating Roger McGuinn, born on this day in 1942.Ed.

So I died and went to Heaven (naturally) and who should I see as I step off that divine airline but The Byrds’ Roger McGuinn. Which took me back a bit, as McGuinn is still very much alive. So I said, “Roger, sir, what are you doing here?” and he replied, “God likes my music so much he’s given me a hall pass to come and go as I please.” So I asked him what the Lord’s favorite Byrds songs are and he said, “Well, you’d think it would be ‘The Christian Life’ but he actually doesn’t like that one very much. Says it’s a straightedge bummer. No, the song that always gets him is ‘Wasn’t Born to Follow’ or, if he’s been partaking of the magic mushrooms that are everywhere up here, ‘Eight Miles High.’ Says it can turn the most twisted trip into a Holiday Inn of the Mind.”

So here I am, typing this in between playing chess with Sam Cooke and drinking brandy with Richard Manuel, and basically all I want to say is that The Byrds were a great band, a very great band. Stylistically they traveled a weird but not unique road from their early days as the Jet Set, from folk rock to psychedelia to pure country to a combination of all of the above, while establishing themselves as the world’s best Dylan interpreters—so that with every new album you didn’t know what you were going to get, but you knew it would be interesting. Between the band’s extraordinary harmonies to McGuinn’s guitar tuned to the key of LSD it was hard to go wrong. And the talent! Between McGuinn (who was calling himself Jim then) and David Crosby and Gram Parsons and Gene Clark and Chris Hillman and Clarence White—all of whom passed through The Byrds at one point of another—they had enough great musicians to fill a whole wall in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

And the problem with The Byrds is figuring out which album to review, because between the innovative folk rock of their first LPs, the psychedelia of their later LPs, the cosmic country of Sweetheart of the Radio, and the powerful but not so easy to categorize later albums such as The Notorious Byrd Brothers (which inexplicably features three of The Byrds and Mr. Ed on its cover) I’ll be damned if I can choose a favorite, which is why I’m reviewing The Byrds’ Greatest Hits, which is great but limited because it came out in 1967—after only four albums—and hence before they recorded some of their best songs, such as “Wasn’t Born to Follow,” “Hickory Wind,” “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” “Bad Night at the Whiskey,” and “Chestnut Mare.” It’s also too heavy on the Dylan—four songs out of ten? Come on!—but it remains the best alternative to anyone looking for a single LP overview of the band’s many transmutations.

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TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: Stereo Club

Cardiff-based newcomers Stereo Club bring the sound of the summer with their shimmering debut single “Parma Violet Gin,” out now.

It may be wet and rainy in the UK but Stereo Club aren’t gonna let it bring them down. Their infectious debut single is a dazzling ray of sunshine that effortlessly channels the likes of The Cardigans and Best Coast. “Parma Violet Gin” is about a group of kids achieving their dreams and we certainly hope this vivacious trio will get to achieve theirs.

Stereo Club are Ines Duarte, Dan Waggon, and Ben Morris. They may have only just formed and they may have only one song under their belts so far, but we’re sure we’ll be hearing plenty more from them in the coming months.

“Parma Violet Gin” is in stores now.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: William Tyler
and Luke Schneider, “Understand”

Based in Los Angeles by way of Nashville, guitarist and songwriter William Tyler is well-known for his contributions to Lambchop and Silver Jews, and more recently for a string of ambitious instrumental solo albums. On the 4-song EP “Understand,” he collaborates with pedal steel ace Luke Schneider, who currently hangs his hat in Nashville with credits including Margo Price, Caitlin Rose, and Orville Peck, and with a budding solo career of his own. A tidy and fresh mingling of ambient and Krautrock influences, “Understand” is available on limited edition cassette (250 copies) and digital July 12 through Leaving Records.

Although “Understand” was recorded in one day in a Nashville studio during the pandemic 2020, the collaborative fruits of William Tyler and Luke Schneider run deep, as the latter lends his skills to the former’s second and third full-length solo records, specifically 2013’s Impossible Truth and ’16’s Modern Country, both terrific, and additionally, the no less nifty EP “Lost Colony,” which dates from 2014, all three released by Merge.

There are a few moments across Tyler’s discography that forecast the direction the duo has taken on “Understand,” but the primary artifact of precedent is Schneider’s solo debut, Alter of Harmony, released by Third Man a year ago last May, with all of its sounds made by Schneider on a 1967 Emmons Push/Pull pedal steel guitar.

That Schneider goes it alone rather than basking in the spotlight accompanied by a band might read as an unusual choice for a pedal steel guitarist, but then again, after learning that Alter of Harmony is a New Age album, perhaps not. The best part of the whole scenario is that Schneider, as stated in an article published by Bandcamp last year, was shooting to make a private-press-style New Age record, which means its contents are as edgy and weird as they are meditative and expansive.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 7/13/21

Kitchener, CA | A forty year encore: local record store continues to thrive during pandemic: The pandemic has seen Encore Records embrace e-commerce, establishing regulars across Canada for the first time. Around since 1981, Encore Records has been through it all, from the downloading frenzy of the 2000s to a ruthless pandemic that has forced thousands of businesses to close their doors for good. But despite being repeatedly closed throughout the year and having an extremely limited capacity due to lockdowns and restrictions, owner Mark Logan is pretty confident they will make it to their 41st year. “Business has been great. It’s been busy the last six or seven years for vinyl, but the pandemic really opened our website up to people who live across the country,” Logan said. When everything initially shut down at the start of the pandemic, he figured they could be shut down from March to July 2020 and still be able to pay the bills. Beyond that, he wasn’t sure what they would do.

London, UK | Independent Label Market hosting new record fair in London: With 4AD, Mute, Rhythm Section, Touching Bass, Soul Jazz, and more. Independent Label Market has unveiled a new one-day fair, held in London’s famed Carnaby Street this July. The fair will feature labels including 4AD, Bella Union, Domino, Mute, Rhythm Section, Soul Jazz, Touching Bass, Woman in CTRL, and Circadian Rhythms selling a curated array of limited edition records. As part of the event, Soho Radio will be broadcasting live, with a lineup including Simone Marie and DJ Kobayashi. It follows the release of The Vinyl Factory and Soho Radio’s new compilation of live performances cut direct-to-lathe, titled Together: Heart n Soul. The Independent Label Market will be take over Carnaby Street on Saturday 18th July from 12pm — 6pm.

Andover, UK | A record shop that kept Andover on the ‘Threshold’ of music: This striking colour photograph shows a celebration window for the Andover Carnival’s 50th anniversary and is a real explosion of musical tastes and artefacts from that 50-year period. Threshold’s first shop was in Cobham in Surrey and was connected to The Moody Blues, whose 1969 album ‘On the Threshold of a Dream’ gave the shop its name. Andover’s was the second branch of the company and Phil tells me that he was ‘poached’ from K L W (Ken) Cook whose shop was in The Broadway by a representative from Phonogram who put him in touch with the Threshold company. The opening day in 1972 saw a large crowd outside waiting to be let in, possibly helped by some members of The Moody Blues, including Justin Hayward, being on hand to sign autographs. That said, the evidently young audience were able to access the largest stock of all music genres then available in Andover.

UK | Aldi’s £49.99 record player is putting vinyl fans in a spin: The Maginon is a vinyl turntable with a difference: actually, several differences. Currently an online exclusive Special Buy from Aldi priced at £49.99, this deck could have you rekindling your love affair with vinyl records. Even in these days of streaming music services, vinyl still holds a special place in our heart. Pundits tried to write it off in the eighties, when CDs made their debut, but it’s still exciting buyers today. According to the BPI, the industry body that compiles sales charts, the appropriately named Disco by Kylie Minogue, was the most purchased 2020 release on vinyl. Sales are booming. But then so are smart speakers. The fact is we like convenience, which is where this Maginon Turntable comes in. Not only is this a fully functional record deck, able to play albums, singles and 78s, it also has stereo speakers and amplification built-in, making it a retro-style all-in-one.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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