TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: Wolf Alice and Drenge at U Street Music Hall, 10/01

Last Thursday night, DC’s sold out U Street Music Hall played to host Wolf Alice and their supporting act, Drenge—both indie rockers from across the pond.

There seems to be something good, in fact something rather brilliant, coming out of the British music scene these days, and Wolf Alice is certainly a part of it. This occurrence could be described as a “scene,” but even more specifically, it could be described far better as a sound.

There’s something to be said about steady, concentrated guitar parts—fuzzy and thick as any guitar tone can get—mixed with intricacy and punctuated with leads to form a dense, wonderful, and yes, catchy sound that has heads bobbing. Notable mentions are some of my favorite new bands over the last few years—Blood Red Shoes and Royal Blood.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Jerry Jeff Walker,
¡Viva Terlingua!

When it comes to outlaw country, Jerry Jeff Walker is a proud representative who rarely tops anybody’s list. Chiefly noted for writing the ubiquitous “Mr. Bojangles” and for his cover of Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother,” Jerry generally gets short shrift in comparison to Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Townes Van Zandt. But a listen to his 1973 live LP, ¡Viva Terlingua!, demonstrates conclusively that Walker can hold his own with the best of them.

Recorded with his Lost Gonzo Band at the Luckenbach Dancehall in 1973, ¡Viva Terlingua! is a masterpiece, featuring a unique mix of “outlaw” rock, blues, and traditional Mexican music styles that makes him one of a kind amongst his outlaw compadres. The album’s wonderful mixture of covers and originals helps—there isn’t a weak cut on the damn thing, from the carefree opening track, “Getting’ By,” a rollicking country tune on which Walker sets down his easy-going philosophy of living. The solos are great, Walker is charmingly insouciant, and if this one doesn’t make you happy, I recommend you look into ECT.

His cover of Guy Clark’s “Desperados Waiting for a Train” is a slow and lovely country lament over an old man who took him under his wing when he was a kid. The desperados turn out to be drifters and domino players, and Walker hits just the right note, avoiding bathos and steering clear of the maudlin, while the band kicks out the jams on the choruses and then kicks into the overdrive at the end, taking the song out, on a rock note.

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TVD New Orleans

TVD Recommends:
John Ellis & Double-Wide album release party at Snug Harbor, 10/8

Thursday night, Snug Harbor will be pulsing with the inventive music of New York-based saxophonist John Ellis and his NYC-meets-NOLA band featuring drummer Jason Marsalis, sousaphonist Matt Perrine, keyboardist Gary Versace, and trombonist Alan Ferber. Shows are at 8 and 10 PM.

The album, Charm, has been charming critics and listeners alike with Ellis’ colorful expression of his split metropolitan musical personality. The saxophonist spent his formative musical years in New Orleans and now calls New York home.

Called a, “chainsaw-juggling balance of bayou brass, raucous gospel, and devil-may-care modern jazz,” the music of Double-Wide is as unique as the distinct resumes of the band members.

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Dead Boy Robotics,
The TVD First Date

“I still, to this day, remember my first physical meeting with vinyl.”

“I was probably around 6 or 7 years old and managed to find my dad’s coveted record collection. I would pick up each individual record and gaze at their incredible covers like I’d been starved of visual stimuli for a short lifetime. Going through them, I saw pictures, stories, moustaches that would blow my tiny mind.

Then there it was, an image so brutal and mesmerizing that it caused me nightmares for the next four years of my childhood. The vision of Angus Young being stabbed through the chest by his signature Gibson SG on the cover of ACDC’s If You Want Blood You Got It live record still gives me shivers.

Collectively, our record collection is pretty vast and varied and grows by the week. Mike has a weighty funk, soul, and jazz collection, whereas Gregor leans heavier into the ’70s prog and ’80s rock genres, eventually crossing over on both owning the entire back catalogue of The Police.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Funeral Horse,
Divinity for the Wicked

As the name suggests, Funeral Horse prefer it dark, pummeling and raw, though the Houston-based trio’s thrust is more inclined toward stoner-riff velocity than the oft-gradual density of experimental doom. Extant since 2013 and no strangers to a touring van, they’ve recently released a sophomore full-length, and it expands their sonic template in interesting ways. Divinity for the Wicked is out now on virgin black vinyl in an edition of 400 copies through hometown label Artificial Head Records, and with exclusive artwork by the notable Brit scribbler Savage Pencil.

Make no mistake, Funeral Horse specializes in the heavy; Jason Argonaut plays the bass, Paul Bearer wields the guitar and spouts the syllables, and Chris Bassett thumps the cans, but with a couple of obviously bogue monikers in place the band makes it clear they don’t regard their collective endeavor too seriously.

And as one might guess, the basis for their sound is the work of Black Sabbath, particularly the four groundbreaking and enduringly influential albums the quartet cut in the early ‘70s, but perhaps just as enlightening is the trio’s open appreciation of such bastions of the style as Kyuss, Sleep, High On Fire, Harvey Milk, and the Melvins.

Funeral Horse debuted in July of 2013 with the six-song “Savage Audio Demon” EP. Self-released on extremely limited cassette (sold out but available digitally via Bandcamp), its contents are revealed as muscular yet energetic with a caustic guitar tone and agitated, low-mixed vocals; along the way atmospheres of psychedelia are interspersed with tribal bombast.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 10/7/15

HMV revival continues with global plans: Music chain planning to expand its website into 10 countries and open a Dubai store next summer, “The UK music retailer has opened 14 new stores this year, with another three planned before Christmas. This is in stark contrast to early 2013 when the business collapsed under £176m of debt and 80 of its 223 shops were shut. It was rescued by the retail turnaround firm Hilco, which took on 141 high street stores and 2,600 employees.”

Mike Star was a godfather of Canada’s indie/punk scene: For 41 years, Mike Shulga, a.k.a. Mike Star, shared his taste in rock ’n’ roll with all who entered his Oshawa record store. “Shulga died suddenly on Sept. 11 while vacationing in Cuba. He was 64.”

Haçienda DJ and music writer Dave Haslam is selling his entire record collection: Manchester mainstay is looking to shift over 4,000 records, “It’s not often you get the opportunity to buy the complete record box from one of the most iconic clubs in UK music history. With close to 500 nights as resident DJ at Manchester’s Haçienda to his name, Haslam has amassed a collection that not only reflected but also defined the zeitgeist as the city’s love affair with post-punk and Factory Records rolled over into acid house and rave.”

The Rebirth of Vinyl Comes to New Jersey: “The “Garden State” might also be known today as the “Vinyl State.” Already home of many businesses that cater to the high end audio market, New Jersey now hosts a state of the art vinyl record pressing plant.”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, Pink Vinyl for National Breast Cancer Awareness

As TVD’s Jon Pacella noted well over a year ago, “There seems to be a bit of a musical civil war going on in America. The terms have been made clear, the battle lines have been drawn, and the armies have amassed.

The battle rages over country music, and the sides couldn’t be more different. On one side, you have the shallow, commercialized pop country, basically composed of love songs with an added occasional twang, or blathering about beer, trucks, or pretty girls in tight shorts. The opposing side is deep-rooted and a bit rougher around the edges. You won’t see them topping the country charts or appearing in beer commercials, and they are determined to “put the “o” back in country,” as Shooter Jennings so eloquently put it.

What you will get, in the case of someone like Sturgill Simpson, is truth. Truth about alcoholism, truth about the struggles of getting through hard times, and truth about drugs, for better or worse.”

And currently it doesn’t seem much of a leap at all given Simpson’s empathy for stories of struggle and survival for him to have lent his critically lauded 2014 release, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music to the pink vinyl treatment for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. He’s joined by a number of performers who “last year helped raise $30,000 for Gilda’s Club NYC, an organization that provides community support for both those diagnosed with cancer and their caretakers.”

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The TVD Storefront

Kat Quinn, The TVD
First Date and Premiere, “Rust to Gold” EP

“Frank Sinatra spinning on vinyl, the rotary-dial phone ringing on the end table, family scattered across the floor in front of the fire. That’s what I think of when I think of the holidays. (In the late 1990s, to be clear).”

“I lived in an old colonial house in Massachusetts where quality always out-valued the latest fashions. My parents have a special appreciation for things that endure, and it’s that appreciation that brought me to vinyl. And in turn, brought me to music.

I could have veered away from the phonograph (and rotary-dial phone) because it was out-dated, but the truth is, I loved the way it took me out of modern reality for a moment and brought me to wherever I needed to be. Music does that. It fills you up right where you’re empty. And over the years, lying on the floor listening to records turned this music-lover into a music-maker.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Premiere: Fred Locks Meets David O, “Live to Love” b/w “Misty Love”

It’s fitting that the premiere of the vinyl only single “Live to Love” b/w “Misty Love” comes on The Vinyl District. The roots reggae workout is the culmination of an eight year partnership between the legendary reggae artist Fred Locks and Brooklyn producer David Ondrick, better known as David O.

Locks’ legacy with reggae goes back nearly a half century in the rock steady group The Lyrics, which recorded in Sir Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s fabled Studio One in Kingston. Locks went on to solo success with 1976 cuts like “Black Star Liner” and “Time to Change” at the time Bob Marley was cutting tracks at Vincent “Randy” Chin’s studio.

Ondrick is known on the New York City Latin music scene, where he’s played with the fusion band Sonido Costeno. He’s had his hand in reggae scene, recording “Coxsone” Dodd and Skatalites saxophonist Rolando Alphonso. He was also worked on a popular reggae remix of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You.”

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UK Artist of the Week

ESTRONS have just exploded onto the indie music scene with their ferocious new single “Make a Man,” which is out on December 4th via Gofod Records Ltd.

“Make a Man” is everything you want from a punk-infused indie belter—anthemic guitar riffs, pounding drums and Taliesyn Källström’s incredibly powerful vocal delivery taking centre stage.

Speaking about the track, Taliesyn explains, “It’s the story of a heterosexual female’s battle between desiring a man, whilst simultaneously finding herself having little respect for his self-important ego and misogynistic attitude towards women. She retaliates by objectifying him herself.” ESTRONS want to break the boundaries of what popular music is about, dealing with issues of sexual dominance, belonging, and self-doubt in their songs.

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