The TVD Storefront

400 Tigers/400 Records: Find the song. Spread the message. Ignite the change.

The Vinyl District is honored to have been chosen by the The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and National Zoo to participate in the Endangered Song Project.

“The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and National Zoo announced today (4/22), Earth Day, the launch of the Endangered Song Project, an analog-meets-digital awareness campaign that calls upon 400 participants to use their social media strength to spread the message that there are only 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.

The National Zoo partnered with Atlantic Records’ indie rock band Portugal. The Man to distribute a previously unreleased song titled “Sumatran Tiger.” The song was lathe-cut onto 400 custom polycarbonate records designed to degrade after a certain amount of plays. With no other copies in existence, the 400 participants are tasked with digitizing and sharing the song through their social channels with the hashtag #EndangeredSong. “Breeding” the song socially will help save it from extinction, thus raising awareness about the critically endangered Sumatran tigers and need for conservation efforts.

Created in collaboration with pro-bono services from DDB New York, an Omnicom Group, the campaign will be supported through a dedicated website, The site also features a real-time update of all the social conversations surrounding the project, more about the initiative and how people can help perpetuate the song.

The list of the 400 participants involved in the Endangered Song Project includes a wide range of music artists, noted bloggers, wildlife conservationists and other social media influencers who were asked to share the song, spread the message and help ignite change.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Semi Precious Weapons, Aviation

Just when you thought another Record Store Day had come and gone and you’d need to wait another calendar year for a bunch of records high-flying into stores, along comes Semi Precious Weapons’ brand new LP, Aviation which is officially released today (4/22) but at a pressing of just 500 was offered as a 180gram, RSD2014 exclusive last weekend, bundled with a CD of the complete LP as well.

Well, actually…let us amend that a bit. 498 copies of Aviation made their way onto store shelves last weekend because our friends from LA in SPW set aside 2 copies for TVD to put in the hands of TWO of you. (And no line to wait in—imagine!)

“As a kid our entire basement was filled with nothing but a model train and probably 400 records. My dad had a jukebox upstairs that played nothing but 45s. When I was really young, I listened to a Tommy James and the Shondells record on repeat until I discovered my dad’s copy of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours—both albums still really inspire me.

We have a pretty awesome vinyl collection at our band house that includes everything from 60’s surf, noise records like Red Horse, Judy Garland Live From Carnegie Hall, and a ton of ’70s rock records that I stole from my dad.

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TVD Cleveland

TVD Recommends:
We Are Scientists at
the Grog Shop, 4/23

Remember We Are Scientists? I do.

They take me back to those simpler days in the mid aughts. Before I had a nine-to-five job. Before I owned a house or car that worked consistently. Before I kind of became an adult.

These were the times when I would spend every Sunday night hanging out at the bar under the Grog Shop, drinking beers and dancing to indie rock like We Are Scientists.

I never thought there would come a day I would be writing about the “sound” of the mid 2000s, but here we are. When you put on one of We Are Scientists’ records, it takes you back to those simpler pre-recession times when indie rock was danceable and vaguely poppy.

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TVD San Francisco

Five absolutely amazing female singers you need to hear right now

Nicole Atkins (1 of 1)

Every once in a while I take a break from my favorite genre—metal—and go on a singer-songwriter kick. This one came after witnessing a slew of incredibly talented female vocalists hit all at once and who filled up my playlist very quickly. These are five stand-out artists that I have high hopes for in 2014.

I think this is the best of the best in the current new crop of records delivered so far in 2014 and I encourage you to check out each one of the amazing songs below. I’m not sure it’s going to get much better than this, my fellow music lovers. So let’s get started.

Nicole Atkins | So yes, it really doesn’t get any better than this. Nicole Atkins is by far the best female singer of the past decade.

Her voice is simply stunning. A mix of Billie Holiday and Fiona Apple with the power of Janis Joplin, no one can touch her, period. Her new album Slow Phaser is her best work yet and a clear front-runner for album of the year, even this early in 2014.

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TVD New Orleans

TVD Recommends Threadhead Thursday

Jazz Fest doesn’t get started until Friday, but there still are ton of things to do in the days leading up to the fest. Consider heading out to City Park Thursday evening for this great event.

Threadhead Thursday has become an un-official Jazz Fest kick-off party. This is the fifth year the fine folks at the non-profit organization, which provides grant funds to musicians and writers (yours truly included), have thrown the party.

It takes place from 6 PM until 11 PM at the picturesque Botanical Gardens of City Park.

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TVD Dallas

Better Than Ezra,
The TVD Interview

When you’re as “Good” as Better Than Ezra, producing hits and selling out shows comes pretty naturally, really.

Shortly after 1988, the year BTE took root on Louisiana State University’s campus, the band went from college circuit stardom to national fame with their platinum-selling single “Good,” almost overnight. And with later smashing successes “Desperately Wanting” and “Juicy,” among other radio-ready anthems, the New Orleans-based outfit has since become a staple in the early millennium pop rock scene.

The band was among countless similarly styled acts to rise to popularity in the late ‘90s—Semisonic, Third Eye Blind, Matchbox Twenty, to name a few. But twenty-five years, seven albums, and several chart-toppers later, Better Than Ezra has continued to maintain a lively presence in the music community and a large base of loyal fans, outlasting many if not all of their contemporaries.

After recently debuting “Crazy Lucky,” their first single since 2009’s Paper Empire, the trio announced the impending release of a new album and tour. In this TVD Interview, founding member, lead vocalist, and guitarist Kevin Griffin tells us about the story behind BTE’s new single, the band’s decision to return to recording, and their commitment to evolving—to becoming a better than ever Better Than Ezra, and keeping fans smitten.

You released your new single, “Crazy Lucky,” last month. What’s the story behind the song?

I was writing it with [producer and composer] Nolan Sipe, and he came in with the idea of a song called “Crazy Lucky.” At first I was like, that sounds a little too kind of “generic pop” of a title to me. But I was like, it rolls off the tongue well, so what if we use the title to talk about this serendipitous nature of love and life. For this song it would be about love, about how random the things that bring you together are.

I went online and Googled how many people there are in the world; it’s 6.78 billion people. So suddenly we made our first line of the song: “There six and three-quarter billion people in this world.” Really we were just sort of Googling different questions and trying to illustrate how random life is, and how happenstance it is, the things that bring you together. Once you’re together it feels like you’re meant to be, but in reality it was just pure luck, or serendipity as they say. But yeah, I knew if I had a title like that, I wanted to have some clever lyric in the song, and I love the way it came out.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Medeski, Martin & Wood + Nels Cline, Woodstock Sessions, Vol. 2

It was through a two-night summer 2012 live stand at the NYC nightclub The Blue Note that Medeski, Martin & Wood inaugurated their performance association with the prolific guitarist Nels Cline. Those with only cursory knowledge of the participants’ musical productivity might view the match as an odd one, but their new live in the studio collaboration The Woodstock Sessions, Vol. 2 illuminates their ability to function as a cohesive unit and serves up a generous helping of forward thinking yet approachable 21st century jazz-rock.

Some surely consider keyboardist John Medeski, drummer Billy Martin, and bassist Chris Wood to be little more than purveyors of edgy groove-fusion for the jam-band scene while others will no doubt shortchange Nels Cline as basically just a member of Wilco. The reality is that both the guitarist and MMW have worked extensively in cahoots with a numerous and diverse roster of artists.

A look into their backgrounds will reveal Cline’s massive number of credits, a list that spans all the way back to Openhearted, the 1979 LP from Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia. But if less productive in terms of sheer volume, MMW’s ties to the concepts of jazz-informed collaboration are ultimately just as strong.

This is mainly because they persist as a band in the truest sense of the word. Shaping up as a trio lacking a clearly defined leader, or maybe better said with three crack musicians constantly alternating the leadership role, MMW’s 20-plus years of activity has effectively been a long and fertile expression of collaborative equality. It’s a circumstance that allows them to engage in dialogue with additional players with relative ease and comfort.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live: Juana Molina at Old Town School of Folk Music, 4/10

PHOTOS: BRIGID GALLAGHER Juana Molina is a former comedic television actress who made a foray into music in the late ’90s, leaving her acting career behind. Her humor and immense talent as a musical artist carries through in her live sets and the show at Old Town School of Folk Music Thursday, April 10 was no different.

Though she’s flown somewhat under the radar in the States, she definitely has quite the fan base in Chicago, as well as around the world. With this being her first US tour in 5 years and with the critical acclaim of her latest album, Wed 21, Molina has been missed. She is known for her unconventional approach to song creation and her lyrics are abstract rather than topical. For fans of Feist who seek a similar yet even more experimental sound, Molina needs to be added to your playlists. The two artists also toured together in 2008, so there you go.

Molina sings in her native Rioplatens Spanish which made me a little nervous to see the show because I don’t always understand her lyrics. But after getting a taste of Wed 21 in the days leading up to the show, I had to see what this talented lady was all about.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Jackie McLean,
Lights Out!

Since 1991, the Analogue Productions label has been doing a dandy job in reissuing music from a variety of genres in editions designed to surpass the quality of their often elusive originals. They are currently offering a superb slate of releases from the vaults of Prestige, the storied jazz imprint that captured so many of the form’s most important names. One such figure was the great alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, and if his reputation deservedly rests upon his copious recordings for Blue Note, by no means should the ins and outs of his early work be ignored. Lights Out!, available in a 180gm edition, would make a fine introduction to the rewarding apprenticeship of this true giant.

Spending time investigating the selections in a second hand record shop’s well stocked jazz stacks can result in a vinyl-loving aficionado of improvisation-based song-form commiserating, sometimes even cursing aloud (I’ve seen it) that they’ve been dealt a cruel hand by time’s tough circumstances. Oh, to be born too late. High-dollar values abound, and when combined with the deluge of choices, the tide can certainly prove more than a bit disconcerting. Yes, the digital age has made it so much easier to at least hear the music (indeed, the most important part) that resides in those very expensive grooves, but for those of us who value the full experience, great jazz and a well-made LP go together like rich, thick peanut butter and lovingly made homemade jam.

The music of Jackie McLean has landed on a formidable number of records over the years. He cut over twenty albums for Blue Note alone, most of them in the ‘60s, and if I had to own only one it would surely be from that period. But thankfully the prospect of only owning one is something I don’t have to consider. And if the ‘60s stuff brings McLean his biggest accolades, his youthful work both as a sideman and in the leadership role not only provides valuable insight into his later studies in advanced bop (which frequently sought a productive dialogue with free jazz), they also stand up as highly enjoyable sessions in their own right.

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UK Artist of the Week: FUCK ART, LET’S DANCE!

Hamburg’s FUCK ART, LET’S DANCE! have arrived just in time for the summer. Their upbeat electro infused indie should be played full volume, sun blazing, beer in hand.

“Home” was recently released as a free download followed by a video, with the video for single “We’re Manicals!” arriving shortly after.

“Home” is hopeful and optimistic whilst the latter revealed a slightly darker side to the band. Whatever they turn their hand to though, this German four-piece know how to make music that will get you dancing!

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