The TVD Storefront

A Hawk and A Hacksaw, The TVD First Date

“What happens to messages and acts of protest when they end up packaged and sold at grocery stores?”

“As a child I was more interested in the artwork and packaging on my parents’ records than the musical content. I wasn’t allowed to play records, but I could familiarize myself with various bands’ music through my Dad’s 8 track player in the car. In the early ’80s I would ride in the car between my parents up front and in the middle, sitting atop a storage case between their seats with no seat belt. We went everywhere this way until I grew too big and had to move to the backseat with my brother. My Dad had a few great 8 track tapes. The one that stood out and often led me back to the record collection to investigate further was a Creedence Clearwater Greatest Hits compilation.

C.C.R. may be the greatest Anglo-American band of the ’70s. Of course there is also ZZ Top, but in my perspective ZZ Top were an ’80s band, as I came to know them through their ridiculous ’80s videos, whereas C.C.R. just seemed to typify an era that I missed (and can therefore magically create in my own idealized way).

They were finished by the time I heard them. The band had no painful years in the ’80s. The Creedence compilation my Dad owned has a typically bad band photo on the cover. This is a budget collection that he most likely bought either after seeing a TV commercial or on a trip to the supermarket. He has never frequented record shops, but I remember clearly that records and CDs were often bought at the grocery store checkout line or later, Wal-Mart. Much of his collection then, are Greatest Hits compilations from different eras. I think he has about four copies of the Eagles’ Greatest Hits.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Point of Know Return

I saw Kansas once. What a waste of a state. And the band is even worse.

That said, the one time I saw Steve Walsh, Kerry Livgren & Company live I had a wonderful time, although that could be attributed to the fact that I smoked PCP by mistake. Brought a whole new meaning to “Dust in the Wind.”

And to be fair–I went to see them way back when because I liked them. “Carry on Wayward Son” was fine by me, and I was a total sucker for their sound, which basically involved Robbie Steinhardt’s violin chasing Steve Walsh’s organ around the stage while Kerry Livgren was doing whatever it was he did on synthesizers and Rich Williams was trying his hardest to be a complete nonentity on guitar. And those lyrics, man. Deep!

Kansas is a young person’s band in the same way that Thomas Wolff is a young person’s novelist; they sounded pretty great to this dumb teen, but if you’re still cranking them up at 40, well, I have to wonder about you.

For one there’s the question of the lyrics; Walsh and Livgren are collectively even more lunkheaded than Rush’s Neil Peart, although to be fair to the boys it must be said that at least they’re not trying to ram Ayn Rand down your throat. I direct your attention to “Portrait (He Knew)” off the band’s 1977 masterpiece Point of Know Return. The “He” in question is Albert Einstein, and Livgren does some very insightful thinking about the great man along the lines of, “Never said much to speak of/He was off on another plain/The words that he said were a mystery/Nobody’s sure he was sane.” It’s a PhD thesis in rhyme, it is.

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TVD Washington, DC

Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Gene Turonis aka
Gene D. Plumber,
All the Pretty Girls

To burnish the label of throwback when writing (or simply gabbing) about music is often, if not an act of derision, then quite likely a gesture of diminishment. But there are exceptions, and Gene Turonis aka Gene D. Plumber is one of them. However, his new CD All the Pretty Girls, while assuredly suggestive of earlier, less harried times, is ultimately just a warm, good-natured and timeless affair. It’s out now through his hometown label Bar/None Records.

Regarding Gene Turonis’ alternate handle, he is indeed a plumber, having worked at the trade since the ’70s. This may seem gimmicky, but just as the great Atlanta bluesman-songster Barbeque Bob dished no tunes about cooking meat or working at Tidwells’ Barbecue, there are no tracks on Turonis’ new disc relating to leaky faucets or burst pipes.

Not a gimmick, but rather a way to illuminate the simultaneous plying of craft and honing of musical skills, and it takes just one listen to absorb All the Pretty Girls as the byproduct of an experienced singer-guitarist. Had the choice been made to release this set solely as Gene Turonis, one might gaze at that cover photo and wonder where exactly the guy’s been over the years; the extra moniker simply clarifies that he’s spent a significant portion of time underneath sinks.

With his band D. Plumbers, he’s performed in Hoboken since the ’70s, navigating scene changes while raising a family, and it’s clear that he’s persisted at music out of love. And it’s just as apparent through Turonis’ deft handling of the guitar and the distinctive addition of Charlie Giordano’s accordion in All the Pretty Girls’ opening title track that this is no amateurish undertaking.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 5/23/18

West Chester, PA | The Mad Platter set to close: A borough staple since 1976, The Mad Platter will shutter its doors within the next couple of months. Owner John Harton, 65, said business has always been good, but he doesn’t want to sign a five-year lease and sell vinyl LPs into his 70s. “We’re not leaving because of business reasons,” Harton said. “We’ve had good business all along. “The comments posted online are overwhelming and let us feel appreciated. The town has been very supportive.” Harton enjoys the job. “Who wouldn’t want to work in a record store? You basically watch all kinds of life flow in and out of the door and get to interact with a variety of people. It makes you feel young, seeing all of the younger people.”

Edwardsville, IL | Elvis knows vinyl records: After years of touring as an Elvis Presley tribute artist, Collinsville native Bill Cherry has opened a store in his hometown that reflects his interests. Monster Vinyl, a record and collectible shop that combines music with horror, is located in downtown Collinsville at 107 East Main St. The store has been open since April 13. Cherry will have a grand opening and ribbon cutting during the Horseradish Festival, on June 2 at 1 in the afternoon. “I’m looking forward to having a few special guests and a few monsters walking around,” he said. The store sells used records and CDs. It also has and sells a large collection of horror movie memorabilia, including posters, masks, and books. “This store is my hobbies brought to the public,” Cherry said. “There’s a lot more to the story than Elvis Presley. I like music, monsters and horror movies.”

Warminster, UK | Shop is first to sell tokens to keep vinyl alive: A music shop in Warminster are the first shop in the country to sell one of the new Record Token gift cards which were launched earlier this week. Raves from the Graves in Weymouth Street are proud to be the first independent record shop to sell one of the tokens which can be used to purchase vinyl, CD or cassette music. Business owner, Richard Churchyard said: “We would like to thank our customers for their continued support and whilst we have definitely seen an increase in vinyl sales over the last five years, the people of Wiltshire have always demonstrated a true appreciation of music. “We are proud to have recently celebrated our 20th anniversary proving that in Wiltshire vinyl never died.”

The fastest-selling vinyl albums of the last 25 years: Dating back to when modern Official Chart records began, what other albums have seen strong opening vinyl sales? Last Friday, Arctic Monkeys claimed their sixth UK Number 1 album with Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino. TBH + C was the sixth AM album in a row to debut at the top spot of the Official Albums Chart, keeping their 100% record of Number 1 studio albums alive. Available on black, clear, silver and gold LP variants, the album was the fastest-selling vinyl of the last 25 years, shifting 24,500 copies in just seven days. According to Official Charts Company data, dating back to when modern Official Chart records began in 1994, what other albums have seen strong opening sales of their wax press alternatives? We rundown the Top 10 vinyl albums of modern times.

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TVD Live Shots: Foreigner at the Royal Albert Hall, 5/16

Foreigner’s Records was released on November 29, 1982, the compilation spanning the band’s first four albums through 1981. Along with their second album, Double Vision, the release is the group’s best-selling record. I must have played this one a thousand times when I was a kid. Mind you, I was ten at the time, yet every song on that record is a bona fide global smash hit, and the music still holds up today. It would go on to become certified seven times platinum, something most of us will never see again in our lifetime.

Fast forward almost four decades and a new Foreigner led by founding member Mick Jones (who let’s not forget joined the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013) is alive and well and arguably sounding better than ever before. Sure they’re missing their original vocalist, the almighty Lou Gramm, but holy shit does Kelly Hansen play the part well. He’s been part of the band for more than a decade now and not only is he a stellar vocalist, he adds a new dynamic to the group. Anyone who sees the band live can’t deny the unbridled talent and charisma Hansen brings to the band.

Add to that Dokken bass master Jeff Pilson, Big Country’s Bruce Watson, former Whitesnake drummer Chris Frazier, sax man Thom Gimbel, and keyboardist Michael Bluestein, and you have a group of musicians who not only recreate the legendary songs live, they add a welcome and slight modern twist. The show was a non-stop hits-a-palooza that featured all the classics. “Double Vision,” “Cold As Ice,” “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” “Dirty White Boy,”—I could go on for a while here, but the real highlight for me was how incredible “Urgent” and “Juke Box Hero” sounded live—two of my favorites.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Swans, Soundtracks For The Blind first vinyl release in stores 7/0

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Swans’ Soundtracks for the Blind, their last studio album released in 1996 prior to their 2010 reformation, will be released for the first time on vinyl by Young God Records on July 20th 2018.

Much requested by Swans fans, the vinyl package will consist of four LPs in jackets enclosed in a box with a poster, insert and download card. The box set will be a limited edition of 4,000 copies worldwide and once sold out will be followed later in 2018 by a gatefold LP version. The album will also be reissued on CD featuring a repackage of the original digipak for the 1996 Atavistic release plus a bonus disc of the contemporaneous “Die Tür Ist Zu” EP (a German language version of some of the material from Soundtracks that also includes unique material) recently released for the first time on vinyl in the USA for Record Store Day 2018.Outside of the USA “Die Tür Ist Zu” EP will be released as a limited edition companion piece double vinyl set, also on 20th July.

“This album has everything in there – all the ideas from Swans’ initial 15 years of work. There’s some contemporary recordings of the band as it existed in ’96/7, with Larry Mullins on drums/percussion, Jarboe singing and playing keyboards, Vudi playing electric guitar, and Joe Goldring playing bass and electric guitar, and me singing and playing electric and acoustic guitar, but there’s also a huge amount of sounds and recordings that Jarboe and I collected over the years.

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The TVD Storefront

Emilie Mover,
The TVD First Date
and Video Premiere,
“Walkin’ Through”

“I did not own a record player until I was about 25. I grew up listening to CDs, often one album (and sometimes one song) over and over and over and over again until I knew every little lilt.”

“When digital music became the thing, I started making playlists on my computer because it was easy to do. But, I’m grateful to have grown up back when one’s attention span was not turned off by the idea of listening to just one artist for 30-45 minutes. My attention span has probably diminished now that so much variety is available, it somehow seems like more of a challenge. And that to me is a big reason that vinyl is so important. Listening to records is for me to centre myself, stay still, play out a mood, and of course, have a little reverence for what an artist is trying to say or play as opposed to just listening to the hit(s) and never really digging into the catalogue.

I first got into records when I started hanging around a store called Flash and Crash in the annex in Toronto, which is gone now but was the beginning of my love for vinyl. I ended up living with one of the guys who worked there, and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of 20th century music. He’d been working in record stores all around Toronto for year. For Christmas one year I alphabetized his record collection and it took 5 whole days, just to give you an idea of the span and size of music.

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UK Artist of the Week and Video Premiere: Tuesday Syndicate

Following their last single “Hourglass,” Devon band Tuesday Syndicate have returned with a brand new video for latest offering, “173.”

An instantly infectious uptempo slice of vibrant indie-pop, “173” races with catchy hooks and impassioned, pop-inspired vocals. With a chorus that’ll stick in your ears on first listen, the track offers an immense outpouring of emotion alongside a hurtling upbeat energy; the perfect combination for that reviving summer anthem you’ve been waiting for.

Having formed five years ago, Tuesday Syndicate have wowed crowds at Isle Of Wight Festival and Shepherd’s Bush Empire, and are now set to continue charming fans with this rousing new single.

Watch the new video for “173” above.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Magnificent Tape Band, The Subtle Art of Distraction

Once populated by a few astute, diligent individuals, the territory of neo-classic soul has, in a pleasant turn, gradually increased in number, and one of the current strongholds in the field is ATA Records. Based in Leeds, UK, the label’s discography is still slim enough for folks just getting clued-in to catch up on, though waiting around is not advisable. On May 25, The Magnificent Tape Band, featuring ATA owner-operators Neil Innes and Pete Williams, unveils The Subtle Art of Distraction on LP, CD, and digital, this debut full-length benefiting from a deep, fruitful collaboration with crackerjack vocalist Rachel Modest and a desire to extend possibilities rather than merely replicate the glories of yore.

If you’re picking up a retro-futurist/ BBC Radiophonic workshop/ ’70s Penguin paperbacks cover design vibe from the sleeve art for The Subtle Art of Distraction, that’s right on the money, as a stated objective of Neil Innes and Pete Williams is for The Magnificent Tape Band to combine the richness of psychedelic soul with aspects of British library music, though the mingling of the two is much subtler than the LP’s jacket might suggest.

Those familiar with the self-titled 2015 album from The Sorcerers will be familiar with Innes and Williams’ adroitness of touch, as they not only wrote and produced the whole thing but played bass and guitar across the album. In the process, they successfully tapped into the spirit of Ethio-jazz, enough so that Mulatu Astatke is a fan.

Similar to the conception of this record, The Sorcerers additionally dug into ’60s-’70s Euro horror soundtracks for inspiration, and a general aesthetic (if not specific sound) carries over to the work of The Magnificent Tape Band. The biggest difference is vocal, for The Sorcerers, at least on their debut, exist as an instrumental affair. Throughout The Subtle Art of Distraction, Sheffield-born Leeds-based singer Rachel Modest is front and center.

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