The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Karen Haglof,
Western Holiday

Those nutty over ‘80s NYC noise-rock and its attendant loose categorization New Music have likely heard Karen Haglof, for she was a player in the guitar ensemble of Rhys Chatham and a member of the undersung Band of Susans. Haglof eventually redirected her energies into the medical profession as a hematologist/oncologist in affiliation with New York University Hospital, but of late she’s scratched a reignited creative itch and produced her debut solo effort, the very appealing blend of bluesy Americana and big city guitar pop Western Holiday.

Prior to moving to New York City Karen Haglof was a resident of Minneapolis and in fact that’s where she began playing music. Subsequent to a trip east she strapped on the six-string under the name Karen Indiana in the trio the Crackers with fellow Minneapolitans Jay Peck, later of the Figures and Let’s Active, and Steve Almaas, previously of the terrific Suicide Commandos (‘78’s Make a Record is a punk classic) and thereafter of Beat Rodeo.

By ’83 Haglof was in cahoots with Rhys Chatham, appearing on the composer’s Factor X, a now scarce LP issued by the German Moers Music label. Roughly three years later she was part of the side-long title composition on Chatham’s brilliant Die Donnergötter. Amongst her cohorts on the track was Robert Poss; together with future Helmet honcho Page Hamilton and drummer Ron Spitzer, Haglof comprised the second lineup of Poss and Susan Stenger’s Band of Susans, her axe a component on their strongest release, 89’s Love Agenda.

She then followed an admirable detour into a medical career. Losing tabs on the scene is not unusual in this circumstance (she’s described her occupational focus as workaholic), but along with conversations with her old (and recently departed) Minneapolis friend and guitar teacher Jeff Hill, catching a screening of the documentary It Might Get Loud helped to reignite Haglof’s creativity.

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TVD Cleveland

TVD Live: Honeyblood and Jenna Fournier at the Grog Shop, 7/25

PHOTOS: ORIANA BELAVIC | Potential can be a real bitch sometimes. When you have potential, you have the tools to succeed and have a level of talent that is far above your peers. You’re right there and you can see success over the horizon. However, on the flip side, that horizon is so far away. Forget the hard work and all the bullshit to get to the place you want to be, sometime there’s just dumb luck and breaks that need to happen to get there.

Last Friday night at the Grog Shop, I saw two acts that I would bet on making it on the music scene—Honeyblood and Jenna Fournier.

I swear this Honeyblood thing is going to happen. However, you’d never know from their show at the Grog Shop that this is a band I’d be ready to bet on. The club wasn’t packed or raucous by any means; sparsely attended with a good number of those people being friends/family of the two local openers.

But while watching Honeyblood play, it all makes sense why you could see them reach an impressive level of success and is a band worthy of your attention.

First of all, sonically they are completely infectious and their sound takes you back to the distorted oasis that was the ’90s. It’s a fuzzy and crunchy mix of alt rock with hooks that are catchy as hell. Singer/guitarist Stina Tweeddale (bonus point for an awesome name) has a bubblegum sweetness to her voice that makes every song approachable, but there’s a smirk or darkness that lays just around the corner of every word. Drummer Shona McVicar provides a simple backbone and adds layers of harmonies that bring the songs to life.

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TVD Philadelphia

TVD Recommends:
The Baseball Project at World Cafe Live, 7/28

The rock supergroup featuring members of Dream Syndicate and R.E.M. come to steal home in Philadelphia tonight! 

While the Phillies might not be the most exciting team to watch right now, another team is coming to town tonight for what’s sure to be an instant classic. Their lineup is full of all-stars and hall of famers who have come together to form one mighty new team, The Baseball Project. Earlier this year they released their third album, aptly named 3rd, on Yep Roc Records and this evening The Baseball Project make their way to World Cafe Live in Philadelphia as they travel around the East coast.

Joining forces in 2007, The Baseball Project began as a way for Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, The Minus 5, R.E.M.) and Steve Wynn (The Dream Syndicate, Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3) to show their love for their favorite sport. It has since evolved to now include three more members: Zuzu’s Petals/Steve Wynn drummer Linda Pitmon and R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Mike Mills. As a bit of a pre-game preview, we caught up with cofounder McCaughey. We chatted about the beginnings of The Baseball Project, McCaughey’s favorite ball players and just exactly how he thinks the Phillies can turn things around. Ruban Amarro, Jr. you might want to take notes!

What was it about baseball that first attracted you to the sport?

That’s a good question. I don’t know if I can really remember, I was such a little kid when I started getting into baseball. I was probably 7 or 8 years old, ya know? I just started throwing a ball around with my friends, playing catch with my dad, and all that stuff you do.

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The TVD Storefront

Coves, The TVD First Date & Vinyl Giveaway

“I pretty much listen to music almost constantly. Like most people in the city I walk the streets with my headphones in streaming music, I sit at work making playlists on Spotify, and listening to albums people have uploaded to Youtube.”

“The way I look at music formats is similar to how I look at red wine. Often I’ll just want to get drunk, convenience is the key, a box of wine can be drunk anywhere, a bag can be smuggled into events/bars and has more filthy booze than a bottle. If I am at home though, and I have the money, I’ll want to enjoy the wine, enjoy the flavours, and eventually get drunk.

Luckily I was a child when it was fashionable to chuck out your high quality analogue hi-fi separates system and vinyl and buy some tacky Aiwa Hifi and a bunch of CDs. At the age of six I inherited a Technics record player, Technics amplifier, some big old wooden speakers, and a super fine collection of sixties rock ‘n’ roll, soul, prog, psychedelic rock, and was instantly hooked.

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The TVD Storefront

Zepparella,
The TVD Interview

When I first listened to Zepparella, I wasn’t sure what to think at. I hadn’t previously given a lot of thought to tribute bands, but I hearing these ladies just crush some Led Zeppelin, I was blown away. I always dug the fact that they weren’t a carbon copy of Zep. They played it close enough to pay tribute, yet put enough of their own flair into it to really stand out.

Currently on a tour of the US, Zepparella had a show coming up at Jammin’ Java, and I was asked if I would interview guitarist Gretchen Menn, and drummer Clementine, the founding member of Zepparella. Their love of Zeppelin’s music goes deeper than your typical horn-throwing rock fanatic, and they are each outstanding musicians in their own right. I jumped at the opportunity, and after sound check was over, I was privileged to sit with Gretchen and Clementine, and among other things, ponder the possibility of a Loverboy tribute band.

What’s the latest with Zepparella?

Gretchen Menn: Well, we are a little more than halfway into this first kind of big, nationwide tour. Busy, playing a lot, driving a lot. Meeting new people. A lot of people have been supporting us for a long time.

Take us back to the beginning. Did it all start as a jam that grew into something bigger, or was the intent to pay homage all along?

Clementine: Gretchen and I were in a band that wasn’t playing as much as we wanted to play. I told her that I had always wanted to learn the catalog of Zeppelin, and she said she had wanted to do that too. We decided that we were going to get together and learn Bonham and Page stuff, and then pretty quickly we said “If we’re gonna do this, we should do it on stage.”

It’s not an easy feat, learning Bonham and Page. You say it very casually, “Oh, we’re just gonna learn some Bonham and Page.”

[Laughs all around] GM: Well, part of it is that we knew if we did it on stage, we’d be a lot more accountable. It’s one thing to get together and jam on stuff, but if you really want to go the distance and really make a study of something, it’s really helpful actually, to have the response of other people and the accountability of other people to make sure you’re really taking it seriously.

C: Plus, to be able to play with not just Page, but to play with John Paul Jones’ parts, and Plant parts too, I understand more fully why Bonham played what he did. What he was supporting, what he was hearing at that moment. It becomes really, kind of a deep musical experience.

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TVD Washington, DC

Graded on a Curve: Cactus,
Rhino HiFive

A while back, I decided to take a drive through the desert. There were birds and plants and rocks and things—Maria Muldaur putting her camel to bed; a hostelry called the Hotel California, where I almost spent the night until I espied the repulsive Don Henley in the lobby; and one delirious-from-the-heat member of the band America, whom I picked up on the verge of the highway and who kept mumbling about a horse with no name, and how Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man he didn’t already have, and how if he hadn’t been so hungry he would never have killed and eaten his band mates, to say nothing of the nameless horse.

Later I took a long hike in the killing heat and suppose I grew a bit delirious myself, because as I was passing a quartet of cacti one of them spoke. It said, “Do you know who we are? We could have been the biggest band ever! The superest of the supergroups! Forget CSN&Y! Forget Blind Faith! Forget Asia and ELP! Forget The Firm even!” And that cactus was still ranting (about Steampacket, I think) when I awoke on my bathroom floor, and realized the whole thing had been a very weird but realistic dream.

Or had it? If so, how to explain the cactus spines sticking out of my back? Or the painful case of sunburn? Or the sole surviving member of America crouched defensively in a corner of my living room, mumbling about how the horse with no name might well have had a name but simply didn’t care to divulge it, it was a horse thing, they could be very close-mouthed that way. What’s more, a quick Google search revealed there REALLY was a band called Cactus, formed way back in 1969 by bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice, both formerly of Vanilla Fudge.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD’s Press Play

Press Play is our Monday morning recap of the new tracks received last week—provided here to inform your vinyl purchasing power. Click, preview, download, purchase.

Turning Plates – Falling Lives
The Casket Girls – Secular Love (Strange Majik Remix)
Breach – Jack (Johanssen Remix)
Teddy Geiger – Walking In The Sun (Go Periscope Remix)
The Pharmacy – Strange
Daddy Lion – Perpetual Flower
A Shoreline Dream – The Heart Never Recovered
Lowell – The Bells (dd elle Remix)
VINNIE – We Run Deep Ft. Selina Albright
MOORMONEY – Rareform (Prod. Taz Taylor, Dez Wright)

TVD SINGLE OF THE WEEK:
Emily & The Complexes – You Won’t

Helado Negro – I Krill You
Bad Suns – We Move Like The Ocean (Sebastian Carter Remix)
One Finger Riot – The Sea
Black Lady Soul – The Fall
Split Screens – Stand Alone
TeamMate – Goldmine
The Belle Sounds – The Siren
The Verve Pipe – Overboard
Populous – Brasilia (feat. Giorgio Tuma)
Dive Index – Rewind Your Patience

6 more FREE TRACKS on side B!

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The TVD Storefront

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

It’s a warm summer night in the Canyon. It’s late and I’m slightly out of my head. To be honest, I am not really sure what is going on in Malaysia, Gaza, and the Ukraine. All I know is that today I’m very happy to be in the hills of Southern California.

There are no summers like California summers. I seriously hope, indeed pray, we can enjoy this Summer of 2014. Myself, I need the warmth.

This week I continue my trip of putting together “random music” for my playlist. Maybe it’s the “fad” for my summer of 2014. The process of creating a random playlist of songs it subtle—and can even be more time-consuming than many of the themed playlists I often run with.

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The TVD Storefront

Needle Drop: Jay Brown, “Get Your Fill of Feelin’ Hungry”

There is something lovely and unique about writing a song that expresses gratitude for being young, hungry, and at the mercy of the elements. Singer-songwriter Jay Brown feels no shame in looking back at his early years in the great wilderness of Boone, NC where once he survived on little more than black coffee and folk songs.

As he recollects this chapter in his life, Brown seems more wistful than apathetic, providing an authentically nuanced performance for us to listen to comfortably in our air-conditioned cubicles. Backed by his deft finger picking and lilting melodies, Brown needs little more than to romanticize a few of his past experiences under the moon with the wind at his back to make us feel like we’re there with him… and it feels pretty damn good.

Brown’s eleven song LP is a honey-dipped stroll through folk, country, gospel, and other intimate forms of acoustic music. Jay’s voice may conjure up the presence of Willie Nelson, while his subject matter tends to focus on the domestic bliss he has found with his lady and child. It is an overall impressive outing for Brown who seems to be enjoying a solo departure from mainstay group, The Lazybirds.

“Get Your Fill of Feelin’ Hungry” is off Jay’s new album, Beginner Mind which is released October 14th.

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The TVD Storefront

Needle Droppings: Mick Jagger and David Bowie, “Dancing in the Street”

What shouldn’t aging rock stars do when they feel themselves fast approaching the tipping point of total irrelevancy? Simple: make a video of themselves fopping about in an overly fey manner to that hoary old Martha and the Vandellas chestnut, “Dancing in the Street.”

Just about everybody, with the possible exception of G.G. Allin, has taken a stab at it, leading to such a glut of cover takes that a hidden codicil of the 1938 Munich Pact banned future versions of the song. Unfortunately no one thought to inform Mick Jagger or David Bowie of this fact, and the result is one of the most unintentionally hilarious videos in rock history.

It opens with a shot of Mick Jagger’s hideous yellow sneakers bopping up and down, and it’s all downhill from there. The boys are attired awfully—Bowie is wearing, for reasons known only to Bowie, a white lab coat over a camo jumper—and spend the entire video camping it up like two aging queens on methamphetamines, leaping up and down, swapping lines, standing back to back while making “dance like an Egyptian” arm gestures, and singing with their respective rock star lips about an inch apart.

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