TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I never felt magic crazy as this / I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea / I never held emotion in the palm of my hand / Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree / But now you’re here / Brighten my northern sky. / I’ve been a long time that I’m waiting / Been a long that I’m blown / I’ve been a long time that I’ve wandered / Through the people I have known / Oh, if you would and you could / Straighten my new mind’s eye.

I saw an article on my Flipboard that some are predicting tomorrow (Saturday) will be the end of the world. (If it’s true, there really won’t be anyone reading my Idelic Hour column!)

Hey man, I’m gonna side with the Jews and say it’s time to ring in a new year. I’m not really sure where we’re all heading, but I for one am going to continue putting out positive vibes. Yep, and the Idelic Hour is where I’m starting my day!

This week I found myself digging through crates for old soul records—some cuts more obscure than others. The goal, to lift hearts in solidarity with folks suffering harsh conditions in Mexico City, down south, and around the world.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Randy Newman at the Birchmere, 9/18

At 73, Randy Newman is still writing sharp and funny political songs, elaborate and cynical set pieces about the state of the world and, in between them, the kind of stark songs that unexpectedly rip your heart out. At a wide-ranging, 2-set, 33 song panorama of his work of the past half century, fans responded to his oldest, most enduring numbers but were just as knocked out by the newest things, as collected on his new Nonesuch collection Dark Matter.

The new collection kicks off with a kind of mini-opera about science vs. religion, but he skipped it altogether on the first of a two night stint at The Birchmere in Alexandria, in place of several songs of particular interest to the politically-minded crowd.

Not only was there “Putin,” his opus to the preening Soviet leader, there was a new one imagining John and Bobby Kennedy in the White House talking about the Cuban Missile Crisis, Celia Cruz, and the head of the Washington NFL team, “Mr. George Preston Marshall” who “runs them like a plantation,” “for never has a black man worn the burgundy and gold.”

He almost forlornly sang “Political Science,” his famously sardonic call to “drop the big one now” because “no one likes us.” “It’s harder to sing this now,” he said, the day before the U.S. president would call for “the total destruction” of North Korea.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live Shots: Riot Fest Chicago, 9/17

3:18 PM | The last day of Riot Fest ’17 is underway and the crowd is very happy to see local fellas, The Orwells, take the stage. Frontman Mario Cuomo shimmies and screams, occasionally flashing a mischievous grin at the crowd.

4:00 PM | The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Let’s Face It by playing it in full. It’s a scene of pure jubilation. Everyone is smiling—the crowd, the band, security, my fellow photographers. I even take a moment to see if I can figure out how to ska after all these years. (Verdict: rusty for sure but just like riding a bike.)

4:22 PM | We’re standing in the photo pit waiting for Cap’n Jazz (another Chicago band—yay!) to begin and the head of security is telling his guys that one of them needs to take a break. “Already did, boss,” one responds, holding up a half-eaten monster of a ham sandwich. “No, I want you to sit. I want one of you to take a break,” bossman reiterates. “We’ll be dead tomorrow it doesn’t matter,” another jokes. “No seriously I wanna work this one,” Mr. Ham Sandwich says mid-bite. “This guy is crazy. He goes nuts.”

4:38 PM | Mr. Ham Sandwich is 100% correct. “We’re Queens of the Stone Age thanks for coming!” lead singer Tim Kinsella jokes, minutes before leaping into the crowd to get tussled around while still singing. Their set is one of the most memorable—and best—of the weekend.

5:09 PM | Gwar just entered the press area and I’ve never seen so many industry professionals lose their composure all at once and to this extent. I mean, reporters are begging them for selfies. BEGGING. Literally everyone is ignoring their assignments to get photos with these sci-fi, man/beast, heavy metal warriors.

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TVD New Orleans

Basin Street Records celebrates 20 years
with Kermit Ruffins, Irvin Mayfield and
more tonight, 9/22

It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the local label released their first album, Kermit Ruffins’ The BBQ Swingers—Live. They are pulling out all the stops to celebrate with a first-time-on-vinyl re-release of that initial album as well as new releases, a new book, and a very special evening tonight.

The party begins with a celebration of the release of A Beautiful World, a new album featuring Ruffins, fellow trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, and a cast of dozens of musicians. It starts at the Louisiana Music Factory at 6 PM and extends into the wee, wee hours down the street at the Blue Nile.

A Beautiful World is a thrilling collection of new tunes and classics from across the New Orleans musical spectrum. Cyril Neville guests on the Meters’ ballad, “Be My Lady” and sings a new one he wrote along with Ruffins and Mayfield called “Allen Toussaint.”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Making Vinyl: Celebrating the Vinyl Record Industry’s Rebirth and the return
of the Alex Awards,
11/6–11/7

Making Vinyl, the first B2B conference dedicated to the rebirth of the global vinyl manufacturing business is coming to Detroit November 6–7, 2017 at the Cadillac Book Westin.

The entire vinyl production chain—including representatives of the world’s leading pressing manufacturers, equipment suppliers, record labels, packagers, and stereo makers—will compare notes on this astounding industry comeback. Presented by Colonial Purchasing Co-op LLC, Record Store Day, and hometown sponsor Third Man Pressing. The Vinyl District is the official Media Partner for Making Vinyl.

You have less than one month to enter the Alex Awards, a vinyl packaging competition named in honor of Alex Steinweiss, the creator of the first album cover for Columbia Records in 1939.

The art adorning the 12” x 12” canvas of an LP symbolizes everything of value in the format’s stature as an art form in its own right which has often been lost in the digital age. It is now cherished with the record industry’s rebirth.

In 1939, 23-year-old Alex Steinweiss convinced his bosses at Columbia Records to ditch the burlap-covered “tombstone” portfolios that contained the fragile shellac 78s and replace them with an original design. Sales jumped a whopping 892%. Mr. Steinweiss designed more than 1,000 covers. As Columbia’s first art director, he also invented for the label in 1947 a paperboard jacket that is still in use today.

In 2003, the “Alex Awards” was launched to pay tribute to his accomplishments and the best of contemporary entertainment packaging. Then 86, Mr. Steinweiss accepted a lifetime achievement award at the inaugural gala in Los Angeles; he died in 2011. The awards, on hiatus since 2006, return at the Making Vinyl conference in Detroit on November 6, 2017.

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The TVD Storefront

Slum Sociable,
The TVD First Date

“I first got into vinyl at the age of 14.”

“Melbourne’s largest vinyl store Vinyl Solution lay just around the corner from my family home, so every weekend I’d take my bike and purchase a second-hand vinyl or two. I had a really lovely next door neighbor who introduced me to bands like Mahavishnu Orchestra, Can, and David Axlerod around that time, so I’d always be crate digging with them in mind.

Around the age of 19 I got heavily in to sampling old records because of my obsession with artists like Madlib, J Dilla, and The Avalanches. I always enjoyed asking Glen at Vinyl Solution about these old records that I’d never heard of and testing them out to see if there was anything I could sample. Artists like The Mamas & the Papas, Dave Brubek, and Joe Pass.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Helen Reddy,
Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits (And More)

Friends, Romans, Vinyl District readers; I come to praise Helen Reddy, not to bury her in the insulting verbiage many use to unfairly deride her formidable talents. Many have nothing but snide things to say about her, but I do not count myself amongst them; her multitude of AM radio hits—they didn’t call Reddy the “Queen of ‘70s Pop” for nothing—brought me too much happiness in my youth, from the altogether uncanny “Angie Baby” to her landmark feminist anthem “I Am Woman.”

Australia’s Helen Maxine Lamond Reddy has been unfairly consigned to the easy-listening dustbin of history. There’s no denying Reddy generally stuck to the middle of the road. But to steal a phrase from Dylan Thomas, she sang in her chains like the sea. And a careful look at her discography reveals she brought a host of weirdly subversive bunch of songs to the party while she was at it. Lucky for us, they’re all to be found on 1990’s Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits (And More).

Why buy this comp and not another? I’m glad you asked. First, it includes the funky electric piano-dominated version of “Angie Baby” I grew up listening to on the radio, and not the alternative version to be found on her other best of packages. Second, it includes the dance-floor friendly “I Can’t Hear You No More,” which you won’t find on most of her greatest hits albums. And the same goes for “Happy Girls,” her moving lament to “the lonely girls of the world.”

“Happy Girls” joins a triumvirate of empathetic portraits of woman who are, depending on your point of view, either mad or society’s outcasts. The countrified and gospel-inflected “Delta Dawn” tells the story of a Brownsville woman who wanders the streets wearing “a faded rose from days gone by” looking for a “mysterious brown-haired man” who is going to take her to his “mansion in the sky.” The touched protagonist of the funky and horn-fueled “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)” also wanders the town, talking to herself and telling everybody who approaches her to, well, leave her alone.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 9/22/17

Barcelona record store Discos Paradiso to launch new label, Urpa I Musell: Urpa I Musell, a new label run by the team behind Barcelona record store Discos Paradiso, will reissue El Sueño De Hyparco’s Ambientes Hormonales LP in October. According to the label, the 1990 ambient album was originally conceived as a multimedia performance rather than a recorded release and “represents the mysterious missing link between the ’80s new music movement in Madrid and the beginnings in the ’90s of contemporary electronic music in Spain,” taking particular influence from Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. 500 copies of the LP will be pressed up by the people behind Discos Paradiso, the well-loved vinyl outlet that has been operating for the past eight years in central Barcelona.

Pure Vinyl Records moves to new premises in Brixton with more space for reggae, soul, jazz and world music vinyl: Pure Vinyl Records – formerly of Reliance Arcade – is moving into new premises in Brixton, with the official opening taking place this Friday, 22nd September 2017. The new store is in The Department Store on Ferndale Road, part of Squire & Partners shiny showcase headquarters. Pure Vinyl is the brainchild of Claudia Wilson who has a history in music in the local community. She opened the original Pure Vinyl Record Shop in 2015, where hundreds of soul and reggae records were packed into a tiny space…Offered a very attractive deal to move into The Department Store, the new space will offer far more shelf and display space, with more Jazz and World Music, as well as New Releases in Soul and Reggae.

On the Hunt for Records—and Some Magic—in New Brunswick: NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — The interior of Spina Records looks like it could pass for a very over-the-top friend’s basement music collection. Boxes of records fill the room, and more recognizable album covers—from acts like Metallica, The Smiths and Prince—line the walls. Antiques and novelty items, like a ceramic dog and a pair of antlers, fill whatever space is left. And the music doesn’t stop playing. But this subterranean storefront, 25 Easton Ave., is no mere hangout. It represents years of dedicated work by owner Andrew Spina, who opened his namesake shop about three years ago. At Spina Records, he sells the fruits of his ongoing treasure-hunting—but instead of gold, it’s all about gold records.

The Best Record and Vinyl Stores in Cologne: In defiance of the digital age, music lovers still retain their love for vinyl records. Cologne is no exception and long-established record stores in the city stock the must-haves of all genres alongside some rarities. Here are five of Cologne’s best record stores…Frank Schneider has made quite a name on Cologne’s hip-hop scene as DJ Schneider. His store, Early Bird Records is the place to go for hip hop and old school fans. Loyal customers come here looking to expand their second-hand record collection and chat over coffee. Chances are you’ll find some jazz and rock rarities as well.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Concert for Yoko Ono, Washington, DC and the World at the Hirshhorn, 9/17

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Aside from her considerable career as a conceptual artist, Yoko Ono may also be the most polarizing figure in rock. She still carries a lot of unfair blame for being a convenient target as The Beatles were breaking up, and may have showed up on too many Lennon solo albums for purists. At the same time, she inspired a generation of edgy rockers who picked up on her extreme modes of expressions—the shrieks, the trills, and moans—that accompanied some pretty far out records. Artists from the B-52s to Mariam Makeba took up the inspiration and noise bands made her a totem.

Sonic Youth was so enamored with the sound, their Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore cut an album with her called Kimyokothurston. So it seemed right that Gordon headline “A Concert for Yoko Ono, Washington and the World” to wrap up the so-called Summer of Yoko at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The event, created around the 10-year anniversary of her Wish Tree for Washington, DC in the sculpture garden, included a couple of other conceptual works, new and old at the museum, and was concluding with a big concert outdoors in the museum’s plaza.

And while there may have been a number of more conventional approaches the invited acts could have taken—covering more straight ahead songs like “Walking on Thin Ice,” “Kiss, Kiss, Kiss” or any number of her dance remix hits of the past couple of decades, they all mostly decided to take passages from her 1964 volume of poetry and performance suggestions, Grapefruit, and run with it.

Ono herself, now 84, was not there, but her voice echoed in the plaza chanting “Imagine Peace” to begin the event Sunday. Then followed a film Arising from 2013 depicting some sort of mannequin dump while we heard a nice combination of droning guitar and her guttural wails.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live Shots: Riot Fest Chicago, 9/16

1:57 PM | The lines to get into Riot Fest are huge today. Well, one line, I should say: the women’s line. Security has divided us by gender despite the fact that male security guards are patting down both lines. I’m obviously not the only one trying to figure out why this makes any logistical sense. Behind me a woman jokes to her friends, “The patriarchy ruins it again!”

2:18 PM | I’m drawn to the sound at the Roots Stage. Turns out it’s Black Pistol Fire. I like their sound—it’s solid, bluesy hard rock. And I like their stage presence—high energy.

2:48 PM | Well Peaches has arrived…in a vagina hat and shaggy pink body suit. Provocative as ever, she’s taken over the festival. She’s all anyone can talk about.

3:15 PM | WTF is up with this small ass crowd for Shabazz Palaces? I blame Peaches, whose crowd continues to grow as she dances and leaps into the audience singing lyrics such as “Whose jizz is this?”

3:21 PM | Ok, here comes the crowd for Shabazz. They’re filling in and grooving now.

4:00 PM | Supergroup alert! Dead Cross has taken the stage. Mike Patton is wailing into the mic and the crowd is losing their shit.

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