TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots:
Charli XCX, BØRNS,
and Bleachers at the
Fox Theater, 7/23

Charli XCX Shot by Jason Miller-10

I am going to get a tremendous amount of shit from my heavy metal friends for this one, but who really cares. I have a thing for Charli XCX. Not only because she’s incredibly attractive (I think it’s ok to say that because my wife has a crush on Mason Jennings), but more importantly because she’s got attitude and substance. Out of all the generic pop stars out there Charli has a sort of punk rock I don’t give a f**k mindset that I think is missing from much of the crap cluttering up the last of the available airwaves.

She reminds me of a very polished Joan Jett. On top of that she has a full band behind her that really kicks ass. When I heard that she was coming to the Fox Theater in Oakland I had to be there to photograph what was sure to be an epic pop show. I didn’t really care who was opening the show that night as I just really wanted to see Charli, but then BØRNS hit the stage and completely blew me away.

Charli XCX Shot by Jason Miller-21

After a bit of research, I discovered that these guys are on Interscope and have a pretty good buzz behind them based on one of their songs being featured in a car commercial. The song is called “Electric Love” and the only bad thing about it is that apparently Taylor Swift tweeted about it (by the way that’s not a selling point to your target audience).

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Bonzo Dog Band, Tadpoles

I am tempted to call The Bonzo Dog Band (or the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, take your pick) the greatest group in the history of rock. And this despite the fact that they only occasionally got around to playing what could be called a rock song. They were too far too busy cracking themselves up with their hilarious, brilliantly surreal, and utterly deranged wit. If Monty Python had turned to music full-time, they might—although I honestly doubt it—have been as funny as The Bonzo Dog Band.

The genre-hopping mobile insane asylum that was The Bonzo Dog Band might throw anything at you: trad jazz, oldies covers, bizarre street interviews with perplexed normals, and parodies, heaps of parodies—of thirties songs, music hall songs, fifties songs, blues songs, hard-rock songs, psychedelic songs—you name it. And they were excellent musicians—when they wanted to be—with a genius for arranging songs. Your average Bonzo tune may sound anarchic, but you can be certain it was put together with an exacting eye for detail, and every detail is in its right place.

There’s really no one to compare The Bonzo Dog Band with except Frank Zappa, and the comparison is a poor one. Zappa’s humor was sneering and juvenile; his Brit counterparts favored an intelligent and good-natured Dadaism. Just check out “The Intro and the Outro,” a parody of a band introduction that grows stranger and stranger as it goes on, with the announcer snazzily saying, “And looking very relaxed on vibes, Adolf Hitler… niiiice” and “Representing the flower people, Quasimodo, on bells.” No yellow snow here.

Formed in London in 1962 as a trad jazz band, The Bonzo Dog Band’s core line-up included the mad and brilliant Vivian “Ginger Geezer” Stanshall on trumpet and lead vocals; the equally demented Neil Innes on piano, guitar, and lead vocals; Rodney “Rhino” Desborough Slater on saxophone; Roger Ruskin Spear on tenor saxophone and assorted mad sound-producing contraptions, including the trouser press and “Theremin leg”; Dennis Cowan on drums and vocals; and the legendary “Legs” Larry Smith—the tap dancer extraordinaire who played one of rock’s few tap solos on Elton John’s “I Think I’m Going to Kill Myself”—on drums.

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The TVD Storefront

The Reasn,
The TVD First Date

“I remember buying the What’s Going On vinyl by Marvin Gaye at a yard sale when I was young. I listened to it over and over again in my basement. It really opened my eyes early on to how music can change the world and not just talk about the same shit. The music can go as far as you want to take it.”

“Growing from that experience I really started to appreciate reselling, trading, and collecting vinyl. Digging through the crates is like the ultimate nostalgic feeling for me, especially since I don’t really follow any of the new artists. Most of my inspiration as an artist comes from older acts like The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, Donnie Hathaway, etc. I feel the best way to listen to those artists are in the original format that it was created, vinyl.

It’s a really cool experience, especially when you think about how music was recorded back then. Everything you hear is a real person or a real instrument. You have all these super talented musicians in the studio at the same time having a jam session and in the end you get a masterpiece.

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UK Artist of the Week: Kapil Seshasayee

For a one man outfit, Kapil Seshasayee sure is making a lot of noise. Straddling the line between prog, alternative, and avant-garde rock, this Glaswegian multi-instrumentalist popped up on our radar when he heard his free single “Host” a few weeks back.

Creating a wonderful juxtaposition between his strong clear voice and the thrashing guitars and percussion that often feature in his songs, Kapil is a fascinating and, at times, intense listen, and he doesn’t shy away from exploring issues like religion and human nature in his lyrics.

You should download the aforementioned “Host” along with “Whatever Was Arranged” (a track inspired by Coppola’s The Conversation) to tide you over until the release of his EP “Crimes” on August 7th.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Eleventh Dream Day, Works for Tomorrow

Chicago scene veterans Eleventh Dream Day are back and in typically inspired form. One of the finer exponents from the US rock underground of the 1980s, they’ve undergone numerous changes over the decades while remaining focused on delivering fiery Neil Young-descended rock. Works for Tomorrow adds a second guitarist to the equation as the group chalks up another terrific effort. It’s out now on Thrill Jockey.

Eleventh Dream Day’s existence has roots in early-‘80s Kentucky, though they fully came together after Rick Rizzo and Janet Beveridge Bean moved to the Windy City; their debut ’87 EP was conceived by Rizzo on guitar and vocals, Bean on drums and vocals, Baird Figi on guitar, and Douglas McCombs on bass. Subsequently, they decamped to Louisville and in six hours produced a cornerstone in the band’s discography.

‘88’s Prairie School Freakout endures as an absolute killer in the chronicles of post-Crazy Horse/Dream Syndicate melodic burn, and for those interested in a full picture of the independent scene of the ‘80s it remains an essential disc. Critically praised and not easy to find (alongside “Eleventh Dream Day” and ‘89’s “Wayne” EPs it was released on the small Amoeba imprint), it served as their gateway to a contract with a major label.

Beet arrived via Atlantic Records in ’89, frankly an odd time for a band of Eleventh Dream Day’s ilk to be found on the roster of such an enterprise. If a byproduct of a retrospectively sexy musical movement, EDD’s true contemporaries were Rizzo and Bean’s Kentucky cohorts Antietam, Seattle’s The Walkabouts, Boston’s Big Dipper, and Jersey’s Yo La Tengo, all groups that came out the other side of the punk uprising with a heightened understanding of what was valuable in “Classic” rock forms.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 7/28/15

Goodbye MP3s …we’re falling back in love with old-style vinyl: “Some in the business say the resurgence in records – and in some cases even cassette tapes – is a direct response to the boom in MP3 downloads and streaming services as music lovers want to build a physical collection, rather than an online database.”

Acorn Records launch at Waterloo Music hopes to create a ‘musical hub’ for Yeovil: “Chris Lowe, proprietor of Acorn Records on Glovers Walk for more than 41 years, has taken up residency in new music store Waterloo Music on Hendford. Acorn Records opened its doors at its new premises on Thursday but it treated music lovers to a variety of live music for its grand opening which took place on Saturday from 10am until 4pm.”

New ‘Music Fridays’ expected to further boost vinyl’s revival: “Dubbed “New Music Friday,” the move by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, with 1,300 members, streamlines release dates for music around the world by moving them to Friday.”

WPKN: A half-century in the groove: “I think we’re in a better place than we’ve been in a long time,” said General Manager Steven J. di Costanzo. “We have a lot of young people coming in doing their own shows, like Michelle Spinei, who hosts an all-vinyl show she calls “Surf Party Apocalypse.”

Why selling my record collection left me in a spin: Former DJ Al Dunne regrets his decision to sell his record collection for the price of a night out

For the record: Kosovo Sufi rituals surface on UNESCO vinyl: “The rich musical traditions of Kosovo Sufi Tarikats have been preserved on the UNESCO musical sources collection since 1974. This record is part of a long tradition that the Tarikats themselves have undertaken, by their own means.”

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TVD New York City

TVD Live Shots: The Detroit Cobras at the Brooklyn Bowl, 7/18

TVD photographer Doug Seymour traveled to the Brooklyn Bowl on July 18th to chronicle an evening with The Detroit Cobras. The Cobras blend obscure rock and soul classics with a gritty charm that make the songs all their own.

Lead singer Rachel Nagy owned the stage with a rock and roll swagger that was electric. Check out the balance of Seymour’s photos below—and the Cobras live.

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TVD Asbury Park

Garden State Sound
with Evan Toth

All jokes aside, New Jersey is a pretty great place. While it has a lot to offer as a state, it also has a rich musical history of which many people remain unaware. Everyone knows Sinatra and The Boss, but there’s much more.

Tune in to Garden State Sound with Evan Toth to explore the diverse music with connections to New Jersey. You’ll hear in-depth interviews with some of Jersey’s best music makers and have the opportunity win tickets to some of the best concerts in the state.

“Newark, NJ native Whitney Houston famously sang the line, ‘I believe the children are our future’ and her belief remains a fundamental one. Enter Professor David Philp who—along with the William Paterson University Music Department—offer a college curriculum for students who not only hope for a career in music, but are interested in supporting themselves via their own compositions, performances, and business acumen.

Join Prof. Philp and myself in a discussion about teaching music in the 21st century and—most importantly—to hear samples of some of the up-and-coming talent that has passed through the doors of his program. You’ll meet Big Beat, Jeanette Elizabeth, Lauren Marsh, You and I, Tim Gysin, Bobby Mahoney and the Seventh Son, and Ally Mac. It’s Jersey fresh music right here on Garden State Sound.” —EZT

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Flower Fellow,
The TVD First Date

“I should probably start with my first LP which was Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. Man that is such a good album!”

“From then on I cited Stevie Nicks as my idol. If anyone asks why I just tell them to listen to ‘Gold Dust Woman,’ that’s enough justification for anyone.

I have a lot of my Dad’s old records like his Stones, Cream, and George Harrison collections. There’s a really great shop in Camden (I can’t remember its name) but that’s where I bought my copy of LA Woman, Live In The West by Hendrix and a super cool compilation that has Lou Reed, Ian Dury, The Moody Blues, and Deep Purple on it. Pretty weird mix but still awesome!

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Air, The Virgin Suicides 15th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set Edition

In 2000, Sofia Coppola made her directorial feature-film debut with The Virgin Suicides. The movie, based closely on a novel of the same name, received critical acclaim and garnered a cult fan base.

It was also French duo Air’s first foray into film scoring, but the majority of the music that they had recorded was left on the editing room floor, and the official soundtrack for the film only features two songs by the band. Now, 15 years later, Air is releasing a deluxe edition of their original score to the film, including previously unreleased tracks and live performances.

The Virgin Suicides was the electronica duo’s first score for a film, but they went on to work with Coppola again in 2003 for Lost in Translation and three years later for Marie Antoinette, both of which were well-received soundtracks. In each of these films, Air managed to strengthen and reinforce the scenes they scored, while preserving their original tone and texture.

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