TVD Los Angeles

The Best of The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

ORIGINALLY BROADCAST ON APRIL 24, 2015 | Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Today it finally feels like winter here in the Canyon. Cold and grey, yet it’s so fucking dry up here. From such a warm winter, it’s gonna be “brown” spring.

The big news today is that the Armenians are on the march. Their protest to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the genocide Armenians suffered at the hands of the Turks in 1915 will likely shut the city down today. I can dig it and will gladly work from my garage office in the Canyon.

As it is, I’ve been super tired because this week it was my turn to volunteer to help direct traffic at Jonah’s school. They call it a “Kiss & Ride.” It’s cool, but we need to get up at 5:45pm to make it to school early.

Genocide vs. Kiss & Ride?

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: FFS at the Lincoln Theatre, 10/5

FFS, the collaboration of Franz Ferdinand and Sparks, really does work. Led by singers Alex Kapranos and Russell Mael, the band of six clearly has tremendous fun playing together.

Russell was in fine form, his falsetto gloriously intact and his energy as bright and hoppy as ever. Alex, when not on guitar, seemed to relish the opportunity to move freely about the stage. He jumped, kneeled, posed, and danced. Their performance was effervescent and seamless.

The band performed their wonderful eponymous debut album in its entirety, along with a few Franz Ferdinand and Sparks hits. This was a real treat, to hear Sparks songs live with the sound of a full band. When Alex paused the show to wish Russell a happy birthday, there were hugs. You could feel the admiration and respect between these musicians.

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The TVD Storefront

Needle Drop: Vandaveer, “Spite”

Since 2006, Mark Charles Heidinger has fashioned a noteworthy form of folk with his DC based project, Vandaveer.

Vandaveer’s mesmerizing melodies cut down to the bone—speaking on an almost subliminal level. The group circles around playing venues of all sizes, from living room shows to festivals. Their song “Spite” weaves a pulsing rhythm with tense, striking lyrics.

The track begins with a haunting drum knock, growing more mysterious when singer/guitarist Heidinger comes in with his raspy vocals. Rose Guerin enters with her softer tone—providing the perfect cadence to balance out the harmonious duet. The lyrics adhere to a strict structure, creating a powerful aural pattern within the song.

Heidinger sings, “I’m gonna hold my breath to spite the air,” a quick-witted lyric repeated in both verses, serving as a lead for the rest of the lines to follow.

Although filmed in France, the video brims with Americana—dark storytelling with gothic influences. Two stories are twisted together, a baleful vignette of an unnamed man and a traditional video of Heidinger and Guerin, both clad in vintage style, performing the song. Both stories reach their respective peaks around the two-minute mark. The short video is certain to add some depth to your day—you can’t ask for much more.

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TVD New Orleans

TVD Recommends: An evening with the Chris Robinson Brotherhood
at Tipitina’s, 10/10

This Saturday night, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, one of the most incandescent acts in rock music makes an appearance at Tipitina’s. The performance is part of a 44-show run that crisscrosses the United States this fall.

Chris Robinson first burst into the national spotlight as the singer for the award-winning, critically acclaimed rock band, the Black Crowes. He formed the Brotherhood in 2011 as an “experiment” while the Black Crowes were on hiatus. Now that the break has become more or less permanent, the Brotherhood has evolved as his primary musical vehicle.

A whirling dervish on stage, Robinson fronts an agile ensemble that features psychedelic guitar explorations and a powerful rhythm section. The band has a devoted following equally enamored with their original songs as with the wide range of cover songs in their repertoire.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Deep Purple,
Long Beach 1971

Some bands take things too far; other bands take things to the very limits of human endurance. Such was the case with Deep Purple live. They felt they were doing their audiences a disservice if they played a song shorter than 11 minutes, and they preferred to go 20. And the English heavy metal legends weren’t just long-winded; they were loud as well. None other than the Guinness Book of World Records declared the Purple “the globe’s loudest band” following a 1972 concert at London’s Rainbow Theatre.

I have no problem with loud, but the band’s longevity is another matter. A 20-minute song inevitably turns into a horrendous jam, with lots of stoppages for the singer to utter fatuous comments and for the drummer to demonstrate his chops. Which is why Deep Purple hasn’t aged nearly as well as its contemporaries Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. They didn’t have that guy at the side of the stage drawing a finger across his neck as a sign for them to shut up and move onto the next tune.

Take Long Beach 1971. It consists of four songs and goes on for almost 70 minutes, and in short is an abomination. No one not blotto on heavy downers could have survived such a show. On the band’s best albums—1971’s Fireball, 1972’s Machine Head, and 1974’s Burn—they kept things short, which is why human beings can still listen to these records with a modicum of enjoyment, if Deep Purple’s amalgam of Jon Lord’s ham-fisted organ playing, Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar pyrotechnics, and the otherworldly vocals of first Ian Gillian and then David Coverdale are their thing.

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The TVD Storefront

AFFAIRS: The TVD First Date and Video Premiere, “Brothers”

“To me, listening to a vinyl record is the audible equivalent of putting my feet up in front a coal fire. It’s the hiss, crackle, and general analogue warmth that soon gets me nostalgic for Christmases at home. This may not sound like your average record lover’s interpretation, but for me vinyl is very much something I associate with home and family.”

“This might not sound so strange given how I first got into records. I was roughly 12 or 13 and my Dad had offered me his study/studio as my own bedroom on the condition that it continued to store some of his music equipment. To most this might have been irritating, for me it was probably a touch inspiring. Amongst the goodies I had acquired was a 16 track recorder and computer with music recording software. It is probably not too unrealistic to say that this started me on my music production path.

But anyway back to vinyl, as you probably guessed I was left his record player. It wasn’t actually a few years after I got my own room that I took proper notice of this gem. However, I remember the first time I lifted the needle and placed it on one of my Dad’s Hendrix records. From that moment on I was hooked. I continued to go through all of his music collection, some was good and some was bad. My personal favourites had to be Radiohead’s The Bends and The Jam’s Setting Sons. Without sounding all mushy it gave me an insight to what it must have been like to be my dad when he was young listening to those records.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 10/9/15

Mindbomb Records: one of the downtown community’s newest additions, “One of the downtown business community’s newest additions, Mindbomb Records, opened their doors this April on Record Store Day, and they seek to fill a gap in the Niagara business scene by specialising in new vinyl records.”

22 of the UK’s best record stores: “The vinyl revival shows no signs of slowing, as music lovers are held in the grip of the romance of owning your favourite records in their ultimate form – on a beautiful vinyl record. But there’s more to it than just the sound of vinyl, the beautiful artwork and the physical act of dropping the needle – we’re also blessed with so many amazing record stores.”

RIAA: Vinyl Sales Leap Again, “Meanwhile, every couple of blog posts, industry pundit Bob Lefsetz, in his “Lefsetz Letter,” decides that it’s all a bunch of hipster hype and that vinyl ain’t never coming back, baby, because all those urban and pop music fans are gone, gone, way gone on streaming, baby. Whatever, Bob…”

The vinyl industry is still booming, relatively speaking: “In news that should surprise neither record store clerks nor anyone who’s actually been in a record store lately, vinyl sales are still on the rise. The RIAA just released its mid-year stats for 2015, which found that vinyl sales are up 52.1 percent compared to this time last year, accounting for about $226 million in total sales.”

Hitting the Rewind Button and Back in the Groove: Baylor expert muses on quasi-comeback of cassettes, vinyl: “Baylor University’s Robert Darden, professor of journalism, public relations and new media and a longtime champion of vinyl, has helped rescue countless warped and scratched records from “the golden age of black gospel music” to digitize them through Baylor’s Black Gospel Music Restoration Project (BGMRP). He talks about the vintage-goes-modern music scene.”

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: WPOC Weekend in the Country at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10/3 & 10/4

Not even the threat of a hurricane could hold back the country faithful from this year’s WPOC Weekend in the Country. The annual event, held at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, has been a mainstay for country fans for decades.

This year’s lineup featured a new school of country heavyweights like Brantley Gilbert (below) and Sam Hunt, as well as family favorites like Thompson Square and Parmlee. Newcomers like Maren Morris (above), Kelsea Ballerini, Cam, and Chris Jansen, as well as local favorites LoCash, rounded out this year’s line-up.

The event was a virtual hodge podge of music from the classic country style of Mo Pitney to borderline pop music with a country twist from Kelsea Ballerini. The young pop country sweetheart turned heads with a medley of over the top, pop tunes from artists like ‘N Sync, Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears. This was sandwiched between her chart topping singles which hooked the country radio crowd instantly. This was also rounded out by some straight forward rock and roll.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Premiere: Auna Sims, “Right Place”

“Go tell you own story/ Go chase you own dreams,” sings Auna Sims on her debut single, “Right Place,” an exploration of identity reminiscent of ’90s singer/songwriters. “I wrote this song when I was struggling with the ‘Why try again’ questions,” said Sims. Right before she was to audition for the head of the Symphony in her native city of Atlanta, she was suddenly struck by an idiopathic injury to her hand and arm–meaning it was from an unexplained source.

She was prodigiously gifted piano player who grew up the oldest of ten musically gifted children in a house where music infused everything, and had studied classical performance all throughout her childhood and adolescence. Auna was prepared to embark on a post-secondary education centered around the study of the piano. She was devastated.

Music consumed Auna though, and she persevered. Always a fan of classical music, her tastes broadened to include indie music and pop music–insofar as The Beatles and the like mean pop music. Because she had to create, because there was no version of herself that does not make songs come into being, she began to play the piano one-handed. Within these limitations, she developed her performance and her voice. She kept the music to herself and she wrote song after song.

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TVD New Orleans

Carly Meyers and Adam Gertner of Yojimbo launch ROAR!

A new pop-punk band was recently born in the city of New Orleans. ROAR! blends electronics with live instruments and vocals to create infectious songs that get stuck in your brain.

Carly Meyers is known for her energetic stage presence. She first came to many music lovers’ attention as a member of percussionist Mike Dillon’s band. But she was also playing in New Orleans and touring the country with Adam Gertner in Yojimbo. They are currently on the road for their last tour as Yojimbo supporting Animal Liberation Orchestra.

She is a trombonist from the get-go but has added electronic marimba, you have to hear it to get it, and punk-edged vocals to her considerable arsenal.

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