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Graded on a Curve:
The Felice Brothers,
From Dreams to Dust

On their recent release From Dreams to Dust, The Felice Brothers commit apostasy by setting themselves apart from the Americana pack (a term I heartily loathe) and bravely join the modern age. Gone are washboard and fiddle; James Felice’s accordion stays mostly in the background. The band no longer records in a converted chicken coop […]

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Graded on a Curve:
John Coltrane,
Coltrane ’58: The
Prestige Recordings

Celebrating John Coltrane, born on this day in 1926. —Ed. When diving into the work of John Coltrane, many begin with a canonical record, likely from his tenure with the Atlantic or Impulse labels. There’s certainly no mistake in that, but anybody building a shelf of the saxophonist’s vital stuff will end up procuring a […]

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

Part four of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases presently in stores for September 2021. Part one is here, part two is here, and part three is here. NEW RELEASE PICKS: Elder Jack Ward, Already Made (Bible & Tire Recording Co.) Fat Possum label exec and indefatigable mensch Bruce […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Holy Hive,
Holy Hive

The New York-based Holy Hive consists of Homer Steinweiss on drums, Joe Harrison on bass, and Paul Spring on vocals and guitar. Their second album is a self-titled affair coming out on Big Crown Records, as did their debut from last year. The label connection might inspire thoughts of neo-soulfulness, but while that’s not an […]

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Graded on a Curve: Motörhead, No sleep ‘til Hammersmith

Remembering Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, born on this day in 1954. —Ed. On which the late metal minimalist/ genius/ proud-to-be-a-lummox Lemmy Kilmister delivers the hard rock goods live in a couple of halls not including London’s Hammersmith Odeon. No sleep ‘til Hammersmith features Motörhead at their ferocious and pummeling best, and is the perfect corrective […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Back Up: Mexican Tecno Pop 1980–1989

Readers with an insatiable appetite for synth-pop and new wave should prepare themselves for a treat. On September 24, the Dark Entries label is releasing Back Up: Mexican Tecno Pop 1980-1989, its ten tracks enlighteningly enjoyable and with a prevailing DIY sensibility that lends appealing cohesiveness to the whole. Just as important is range in […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Pulp,
This Is Hardcore

Celebrating Jarvis Cocker’s 58th birthday yesterday. —Ed. Some albums give off light; others suck it up like a black hole. They’re so dark you’d need Diogenes’ lantern to negotiate their lightless depths. Such an album is Pulp’s 1998 release This Is Hardcore, one of the most unremittingly bleak LPs this side of Lou Reed’s Überbummer […]

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Graded on a Curve: Jim Morrison and The Doors, An American Prayer

There’s a game I like to play. It’s called “Who’s the worse poet, Jim Morrison or Patti Smith?” Morrison generally wins by a nose. Like Patti Smith, the late Mr. Morrison viewed himself as a visionary in the grand tradition of 19th Century French poète maudit Arthur Rimbaud, but the duo’s sum contribution to poetry […]

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Graded on a Curve:
The Rolling Stones,
Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out:
The Rolling Stones in Concert

1970’s live Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out is the first Rolling Stones album I ever heard. It was 1974, I was just an impressionable kid, but even so I remember thinking Get Yer Yawn-Yawn’s Out would make a better title. Afterwards I asked my older brother what all the hoopla was about, and he replied that […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Wire,
Chairs Missing

Celebrating Colin Newman, born on this day in 1954. —Ed. While the punk genre has its share of great albums, and the same can surely be said for the refinements, expansions, and disruptions in post-punk’s playground, the list of those having excelled at both is short indeed. If any outfit makes the cut, it’s Wire. […]

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

Part three of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases presently in stores for September 2021. Part one is here and part two is here. NEW RELEASE PICS: Satoko Fujii, Piano Music (Libra) This CD is a life-affirming gift from one of modern music’s greatest pianists. It offers two long tracks, […]

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Graded on a Curve:
The Small Faces,
From the Beginning

Celebrating Kenney Jones in advance of his 72nd birthday tomorrow. —Ed. The Small Faces stand as one of the very finest groups of the 1960s, though many know them mainly for Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake, their most ambitious and final album before Steve Marriott’s departure effectively ended their diminutive phase. The scoop is that all […]

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Graded on a Curve: Buffalo Daughter,
We Are the Times

Formed in Japan in 1993, Buffalo Daughter made a modest splash in that decade’s sizable pond, releasing a pair of albums on the Beastie Boys’ Grand Royal label. Unlike many of their indie scene contemporaries, the group persevered well into the 21st century, though We Are the Times is their first album in seven years. […]

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Graded on a Curve,
Drive-By Truckers,
American Band

Celebrating Mike Cooley, born on this day in 1966. —Ed. Hot damn, I loves me some Drive-By Truckers. Anybody who’s ever seen ‘em knows they put on a kick-ass live show, and anybody who’s ever heard 2001’s Southern Rock Opera knows that it’s one of the most ambitious and brilliant concept albums ever recorded, period. […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Ohr,
Walk in the Light

Ohr (that’s pronounced or) is the new project of Craig Klein, formerly of Chicago’s The Race, though he’s long since relocated to Seattle. Ohr’s sound is unabashedly psychedelic, and with particular attentiveness to the 1990s, but, as the choice of moniker helpfully underscores, there are deeper levels of inspiration. Walk in the Light is Ohr’s […]

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