TVD Chicago

TVD Live Shots:
TV On The Radio at
the Metro, 3/23

While waiting for TV On The Radio to hit the stage at the Metro on Monday night, I struck up a conversation with a few fans hugging the rail.

They’d been waiting for hours, inching their way closer to the stage, but all for good reason: “TVOTR is the only relevant modern rock band,” one said. He continued, “I listen to classic rock, punk, and TV On The Radio. That’s it.” This is a small example of the cult following that TVOTR has acquired over their 14-year career. And, yeah, they totally deserve the love.

Following the sudden and tragic loss of bassist and keyboardist Gerard Smith in 2011 to lung cancer, the future of TV On The Radio was uncertain. The remaining members of the band took a hiatus to grieve and do individual projects, so when they announced the release of a new album, Seeds, in 2014, fans exhaled one, big sigh of relief. Their subsequent tour announcement was icing on the cake.

I’ve never seen the Metro more crowded and the fans more enchanted than on Monday night. On stage and in the studio, TVOTR has proven themselves to be so many things all at once—punk, pop, soul, rock, funk, and more. They are innovators, true artists, and must-see performers. So do so.

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TVD New Orleans

TVD Recommends: Mad Dogs & Englishmen, A New Orleans Tribute to Joe Cocker at One Eyed Jacks, 3/27

We’ve been losing the greats from the 1960s in droves lately. Joe Cocker left an indelible mark on the world of music due to his effervescent stage persona, gravelly vocals, and passionate performances. Amazingly, this legendary performer is not in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, yet his parody on Saturday Night Live—by none other than John Belushi—is one of the most famous sketches from the early years of the groundbreaking show .

This Friday night at One Eyed Jacks, an all-star group of New Orleans musicians will honor the man and celebrate his life and music by performing his epic 1970 live album, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, in its entirety. This tribute is taking place on the 45th anniversary of the Fillmore East concert.

Speculation abounds about why he has been snubbed by the secretive organization since first becoming eligible in 1994. Though he didn’t write his own material, his interpretations of classics from the era, now so in vogue on shows like American Idol, literally define the word. Don’t even get me started on his performance energy.

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TVD Cleveland

From the banks of Lake Erie with Beach Slang

PHOTOS: ORIANA BELAVIC | The crowd is gathered close to the band, singing every word to every song and casually chatting up singer/guitarist James Alex Snyder between breaks in the music. The band brings friends and other artists from the show on stage to take over bass duties or sing a song. Their set, crafted with old stuff, new stuff, and a few covers, is a tight 45 minutes.

Based on just the facts as written—and honestly the feel during the show—it could easily be mistaken for a local “scene” show in someone’s living room. Except it wasn’t. It was Beach Slang’s last night on tour with indie rock luminaries Cursive, playing to a room full of kids who desperately looked forward to seeing both bands.

There’s a certain amount of casualness around how Beach Slang goes about their business and Snyder is the center of it. He’s incredibly charming and polite, both one-and-one and on-stage. He’s so likeable, it builds a connection with anyone he interacts with. Success has been building fast, but the band is grounded. All of the members of the band have previously been involved in other projects (Snyder in Weston, bassist Ed McNulty in NONA and Crybaby, and drummer JP Flexner in Ex-Friends), so the band seems relaxed to the ebb and flow.

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UK Artist of the Week, Benjamin Yellowitz

With an ear for dark, mysterious pop, we couldn’t NOT feature Benjamin Yellowitz as our UK Artist of the Week. His single “Ash Wednesday” took us completely by surprise, and listening to it for the first time we couldn’t tell whether we were about to get a face full of metal, religious folk, or a full-blown R&B choral breakdown.

To put it bluntly, the man has found his sound and it is impressive. Not content to sit back once the writing and singing is done, Benjamin also has quite the flare as a producer with some sneaky little clicks and chirrups hidden throughout the track that, if it were possible, make your ears do a double take.

You can look forward to an EP and if you’re in Europe, a host of live shows when he heads out on tour. Remember the name, because you’ll be seeing it everywhere soon.

“Ash Wednesday” is out now via BYz Records.

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Shell Zenner Presents

Greater Manchester’s most in the know radio host Shell Zenner broadcasts the best new music every week on the UK’s Amazing Radio and Bolton FM. You can also catch Shell’s broadcast here at TVD every Thursday.

“My ROTW was released at the back end of 2014 and just sneaked into my fave records of the year, but did you miss it? It’s called Ganglion Reef and it’s a total garage psych stomper from WAND. I’m grooving just thinking about it!

This weeks #Shellshock is from that mystical Yorkshire electro wizard Brolin who has just landed Stateside to play his first shows over there.” —SZ

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Sly & The Family Stone,
Original Album Classics

The late-1960s was loaded with musical groundbreakers, and one of the most enduring is Sly & the Family Stone. Formed by brothers Sly and Freddie Stone, the group grew by leaps and bounds through the combination of rock, R&B/soul, psychedelia, and pop, and by ’69 they had effectively conquered the scene. Theirs is a reign dotted with masterworks, and Sony has collected the bulk of the discography into the vinyl box set Original Album Classics. It includes five 180gm LPs remastered from the source tapes by Vic Anesini and pressed at URP; for a limited time it’s available exclusively at Popmarket.

He was born Sylvester Stewart in Denton, TX in 1943. Two decades later the man was wielding the handle Sly Stone, and when his Sly & the Stoners joined forces with his brother’s Freddie & the Stone Souls in ’67 San Francisco, he was already well-ensconced in the music biz both as a performer and producer at Autumn Records. In due time Sly excelled at his leadership role, though the Family Stone, credited as the first major American rock act to incorporate integrated multi-gender personnel, was always something more.

They initially consisted of Sly (vocals, organ, and assorted other instruments), Freddie (guitar, vocals), Larry Graham (bass, vocals), Cynthia Robinson (trumpet, vocal interjections), Jerry Martini (saxophone), and Greg Errico (drums), with assistance from Vet Stone, Mary McCreary, and Elva Mouton, collectively known as Little Sister (backing vocals). Signed to CBS Records’ subsidiary Epic, they worked fast, maybe too fast; the first long-player was in the can before June was done.

Indeed, if they’d broken up after A Whole New Thing’s cashbox failure, Sly & the Family Stone would likely be forgotten. Over the years the debut has taken its share of heat, some of it undeserved. Things begin fairly well; “Underdog” is bookended by horns riffing on the melody to “Frère Jacques,” but the meat of the matter is upbeat soul. The opener establishes one of the album’s distinctive attributes, specifically a heavier drum sound than was then the norm for the R&B genre.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 3/26/15

Cavetone Records to celebrate 7 years: Cavetone Records is a vinyl-only record label and an all-analog recording studio. Scott Walus, founder of Cavetone Records, said the anniversary is celebrating the date of its first successful release, not when Cavetone Records was founded.

Goldmine Magazine Unveils Record Store Day Value Pack: With Record Store Day rapidly approaching, Goldmine Magazine and Krause Publications have teamed up to offer a top-notch selection of record collecting references.

Best turntables 2015 – Looking to get yourself a new turntable? We’ve rounded up some of the best record players on the market right now – from budget options right up to high-end products, there’s a turntable to suit all tastes, needs and wallets.

Vinyl record fair to be held at FarGo Village: With vinyl record buying back in fashion and enjoying a renaissance, Coventry will be the host of an upcoming record fair event this May.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Premiere:
The Young Romans,
“Five Exit Town”

LA rockers The Young Romans find future-pop niche on new album.

We have the pleasure of premiering “Five Exit Town” off the duo’s newest EP offering, “Bells and Sirens Part 1″. The Young Romans sleek blend of high-end Coldplay piano pop and Springsteen-esque heartland rock find a touching balance on the evocative single. There is a nice flow and powerful stride to the track which climaxes in a high arching chorus. It is equal parts indie and top 40—and will probably appeal to fans on both sides of the charts.

The band’s press materials cite Brad Hooks as the pop constructer while Sari Mellafe is presumed to be responsible for the ethereal ambience—their songwriting styles meet in the middle to create a unique and beautiful balance. They have seen some well-deserved success with recent song placements in both film and major network TV, and with this recent release in hand, The Young Romans are likely to see similar results in the press and on radio.

“Bells and Sirens Part 1″ arrives in stores on April 14 via Red Parade Music.

The Young Romans Official | Facebook | Twitter

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TVD New Orleans

TVD Recommends: Kodak to Graph at the
Hi Ho Lounge, 3/26

Michael Maleki, a young Iranian-American producer also known as Kodak to Graph, is one of the most interesting new artists on the electronic music scene. Discovered by fellow Gainesville natives Hundred Waters, his soundscape is influenced heavily by the locales of his present and future.

Maleki grew up in the swamps of northern Florida, and the found nature sounds of birds and running water inform his work as much as the edgy scene he has become a part of in his adopted Los Angeles home.

The juxtaposition of these wildly different vibes in Maleki’s tracks create a listening experience that is somehow both relaxing and intoxicatingly fun.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Wedding Present,

The Wedding Present is a simple enough proposition—if amphetamines could make a noise, they’re making it. If you could snort a sound, it would be theirs. Their songs mark the triumph of the rhythm guitar played fast, very fast indeed. Musical crank cranked up, super propulsive and less jangly than jaunty, their songs are all sound and fury, and the proof that the siren call of the Velvet Underground’s “What Goes On” did not go unheard. It just got faster.

The Wedding Present was founded in Leeds, England in 1985 by guitarist and vocalist David Gedge, following the dissolution of his former band, The Lost Pandas. Gedge, the Wedding Present’s only permanent member, has operated in adherence to a credo that involves three-chord structures and rhythmic grooves played as fast and as loud as possible. The band’s name is an homage to The Birthday Party, and its influences have been cited as The Buzzcocks, the Velvet Underground, and The Fall (although I’ll be damned if I hear The Fall in their music). Lumped in (although Gedge wasn’t happy about it) with the shambolic C86 subgenre—which joined jangling guitars to power pop—The Wedding Present’s first LP (1987’s George Best) won critical acclaim.

In February 1989 The Wedding Present came upon an ingenious way of ruining their own career. Українські Виступи в Івана Піла is one of the most offbeat compilation LPs ever released by a major band. Composed of two John Peel sessions, and sung in Ukrainian, it failed miserably, which is to say that instead of sidetracking the band forever it inexplicably rose to #22 on the UK album charts. Fortunately, unless you’re a Ukrainian folk song fanatic, The Wedding Present returned to form with their sophomore LP, October 1989’s Bizarro. Featuring Gedge, Peter Solowka on guitar, Keith Gregory on bass, and Simon Smith on drums, the original LP featured 10 songs, all but 3 or so of them hard-edged rhythm guitar workouts. (The subsequent US CD release included 4 additional tracks, including a not-so-different version of “Brassneck” produced by Steve Albini and a cover of Pavement’s “Box Elder.”)

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