The third Thursday of every month The Vinyl District curates DJs for all-vinyl sets at Den of Thieves. This Thursday we’re excited to present the Washington, DC collective known as Analog Soul Club with founding members Mettabbana and Sir Ramases on the decks. Chances are you won’t hear anything you’ve ever heard before and that’s not a bad thing. These guys aren’t in the game to be esoteric. They’re eager to share their booty so you can shake yours.
Sir Ramases, aka Ramases Harnett, is the founder of a research collective called Afro Ritmo Records which focuses on what he calls “the music of the original African man’s vintage past.” His keen focus on vintage global sounds embedded to vinyl have him very busy in 2014 with DJ gigs stretching from Venezuela, Surinam, the Dominican Republic, Panama City, as well as select dates in the US and Canada.
Besnik Hyseni’s (Mettabbana) musical journey began with collecting international music, 8-tracks, cassettes and vinyl as a teenager in his native Kosovo. Today his sets include melding vintage and raw analog and urban electronic music from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and his native Balkan homeland.
KIM CLASSEN FOR TVD | On April 19, 2013 Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club paid an unforgettable tribute to his late father Michael Been’s legendary band, The Call.
Recorded at The Troubadour in downtown Los Angeles, The Call Live Tribute with Robert Levon Been features original bandmates Tom Ferrier (guitar, vocals), Jim Goodwin (keyboards, vocals), and Scott Musick (drums, vocals) and includes iconic tracks like “I Still Believe,” “Let The Day Begin,” and “The Walls Came Down.”
Formed in 1979, The Call released seven critically acclaimed albums within an eight year period and opened for acts such as Peter Gabriel and Simple Minds. In 1997, The Call returned to the studio after a seven-year break to record Heaven & Back, but disbanded shortly after its release. Michael Been began working as a sound engineer for his son Robert Levon Been’s band, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, but sadly passed away from a heart attack while on tour in Belgium.
You can call me Mike, or you can call me Michael, or hell you can even call me Tex if you want—just don’t call me late for Helter Skelter. Because my favorite hypnotic cult leader Charles “No Sense Makes Sense” Manson is back—along with the infamous Jim Jones, lots of naked and semi-naked go-go dancers, a slew of badass biker chix astride chopped hogs, and even a little in-the-grave fornication, to say nothing of drugs and more drugs even more drugs—thanks to the brand new video of “Runaway Girls” by my favorite English psychedelic doom rockers and yours, Uncle Acid & the deadbeats.
Can you dig it? Is that some witchy shit or what?
I know, I know. You’re not supposed to like the Manson Family, or to glorify or gloss over the monstrous crimes they committed over a two-day period during 1969’s Summer of Hate. And I try my level best not to, I really do. But as I wrote in a March 2014 TVD review of Uncle Acid’s latest LP, Mind Control, both they and I are hopelessly obsessed by the second, benighted half of 1969, when the dark stars of the Tate/LaBianca killings and the mud and murder fiasco that was Altamont converged to send all those hopelessly naïve “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s Your Brother” hippie bromides into permanent paranoid retrograde.
“I had access to a limited number of vinyl records as a kid. My parents had (as so many did) purged the vast majority of their extensive collection in favour of the new audio super-format—CDs. The rogues that remained included a copy of the White Album that my mom bought for me, a bunch of soca music (maybe that’s why I still love Trinidadian everything?!) Rubber Soul, Graceland, and enough Woody Guthrie to fill a museum. There were more too—some Dylan and Stones and a bunch of great jazz records.”
“My father brought the psychedelic stuff, he was right into the Stones, the Dead, and Little Feat. Those bands really started the obsession for me. My mom loves to dance, she grew up on 7 mile road in Detroit and had spent a lot of time moving to that Motown sound.
My first experience of actually seeking out music was with vinyl. I would go to the shelf where my parents kept it, find a record, and listen the whole way through. THAT was important—that I would go from one side to the other, experiencing hours of music that grew and changed, expanded and contracted, and then…finished.
I bought my vinyl (and CDs) at a place called the Record Archive in Rochester, NY. They had these bizarre commercials where a giant record guy danced around and told you the specials that week. It was the record store ad analog of Gene Wilder’s trip down the chocolate-psilocybin river in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Chromatone is back with a fresh new look and a fresh new sound with his latest single “Play For Me.” The single is a real change of direction for the young singer, it’s sharper and edgier with that signature Chromatone flair.
The breakdowns and melodies hark back to a soulful pop sound with Chromatone’s silky vocals floating over each layer of instrumentation. There’s a bit of a “jam” like feel to this, which replaces much of the digitised, clinical vibe that most pop songs have these days.
Despite this new sound for Chromatone, he’s competing in a fast paced, razor-sharp pop market. He’s clearly a talented artist older beyond his years, but with big players like Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake constantly pushing the boundaries of pop, similarly hand picking elements of the old-skool, Chromatone may have to fine tune a little harder to keep up with the rest.
However, “Play For Me” is still a catchy pop tune that showcases this young artist’s talents. He has an exciting road ahead and it still feels as though his sound is ever-changing with each step Chromatone takes.
The 11 songs found on Up at Lagrange, the full-length debut from the Bradford England based trio The Hobbes Fanclub, explore a decidedly ‘80s-into-’90s indie pop scenario with energetic precision. While they won’t win any ribbons for broken ground, the group could easily be awarded shelf-space in the collections of listeners predisposed to their twist on a well-defined style.
The scoop is that The Hobbes Fanclub began in 2008 as a project of a single man, specifically guitarist-songwriter Leon Carroll. Before morphing into a triangular orientation with bassist Louise Phelan and drummer Adam Theakston, the Fanclub underwent a long-distance duo collab phase with Sao Paulo Brazil native Fabiana Karpinski.
Surprisingly successful (Carroll and Karpinski reportedly never met in person), the pair managed to produce two split CDRs, the first in July ’10 for Cloudberry Records with outfit Young Michelin and the second the following February, this time as the inaugural entry on the Dufflecoat label with counterparts Leach Me Lemonade.
That partnership ended shortly thereafter, Carroll drafting his current bandmates and wasting no time getting down to work, the three playing their first gig in Bradford in November of ’11 and performing at the Glasgow Popfest a few weeks later. Amongst further live action the studio was not neglected, and by August of the next year a 7-inch was issued by the Portland, OR/San Francisco imprint Shelflife.
Sheffield three-piece The Retrospectives draw upon influences from the ’60s and mid ’90s Britpop as they present their latest single “Insane.”
Although “Insane” is a departure from their usual high-octane indie rock, it shows a different side to the band—a more introspective side. Having gained fans up north playing shows with the likes of The Buzzcocks and featuring as one of BBC Introducing Sheffield’s top ten tracks of the year, it feels as though The Retrospectives momentum is really starting to pick up.
They’re one of many bands up north leading the way for the return of proper old-skool indie rock, and with “Insane” presenting a different side of the band, we can’t wait to hear more.
New Orleans’ own drummer Simon Lott and guitarist Jeff Parker join the ace keyboardist on this grooving collection released today on Royal Potato Family Records.
This is Blades’ third recording as a leader and his first to feature Lott and Parker. His previous release on Royal Potato Family was the duo recording, Shimmy, with the drummer Billy Martin of Medeski, Martin and Wood. His first solo effort, Sketchy, featured the late, great Idris Muhammad.
“I always had the idea in my mind that doing a trio with Jeff Parker and Simon Lott would have a cool vibe and would be very open,” Blades said. “Both of those guys can play straight-ahead jazz, they can funk, they can take it out, they can go in so many different directions.” That is putting it mildly.
Blades is influenced by the old school organ trio concept epitomized by one of the legends, Dr. Lonnie Smith. Smith has also taken Blades under his wing as a mentor. “A lot of the older guys really want the music to be carried on, and the old school method was not jazz college, it was mentorship,” Blades said.
“I first started buying 7 inch singles when I was just 6 years old. The first single I bought was ‘Uptown Girl’ by Billy Joel which was quickly followed by ‘Two Tribes’ by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. It was the mid 1980s so pop music was at its peak and I absorbed it all like a sponge! The first LP that made a big impression on me however would be Tango In the Night by Fleetwood Mac.”
“There’s just this dreamy haze that pervades the record. The voices of Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham interweave majestically to create these immaculate pop songs. I just connected with it instantly and still do to this day.
Most people’s favourite Pixies record would be Doolittle but mine would always be Bossanova. It was my first real introduction to the band and I remember being about 13 at the time and just being completely blown away by it. Black Francis’s voice on ‘Rock Music’ is just so brutal. I couldn’t imagine how it was physically possible to sing like that? Joey Santiago’s guitars frantically stabbing away in the background like the soundtrack to some slasher flick. I love the whole 50s sci fi, surf punk vibe of the whole record perfectly encapsulated on ‘Velouria.’
Chloe Chaidez is wise beyond her years.
For those new to Chaidez’s band Kitten however, it might be hard to break through what’s on the surface. The line of 18-year-old fangirls in midriff shirts and fanboys in neon tank tops lining up outside the venue hours before show time could easily be a sign that Kitten is just another passing fad. Chaidez’s relative youth, all of her 19 years, might certainly be mistaken for naiveté. It would also be easy to assume that her father’s background in the LA punk scene is the only reason she’s around. Or, the ogling 30- and 40-year-old men at her show could distract from the brilliant music she’s creating.
But more than anything, each of these pieces offers a glimpse into the music that Chaidez creates as the band Kitten. At age 19, Chaidez has years of experience under her belt but with energy and youth to spare. It is a powerful combination.
After five years opening for the likes of Paramore, the Neighborhood, and Charli XCX, Chaidez has finally stepped out on her own. She completed her first headlining tour as Kitten this summer in celebration of the June 26 release of Kitten, the band’s first full-length album. It is an energetic ode to rock and dance music of years past. But on the LP, as much as in her renowned live performance, Chaidez makes the sound her own—energetic, charismatic, and thoroughly modern.
Midway through her summer headlining tour, Chaidez lounged in her dressing room in Washington, DC’s Rock and Roll Hotel a few hours before her set, discussing her new album, her musical influences, and what fans can expect down the road. Her eyeliner was heavy and smudged and her hair piled up in a messy bun. She sat with her legs propped up on a coffee table or tucked beneath her, her massive black platform shoes discarded on the floor.