TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Indio, California!

Driving through the desert, blasting rock ‘n’ roll is righteous. Kem Nunn’s novel, Tapping The Source comes to mind:

“…As he listened the train sounds grew faint and disappeared and someone shut off the music so there was just the silence, that special kind of silence that comes to the desert, and he knew that if he waited there would come a time, stars fading, slim band of light creeping on the horizon, when the silence would grow until it was unbearable, until it was as if the land itself were about to break it, to give up some secret of its own…”

Day dreaming of bad dudes with surfboards strapped to the roof of a dusty car pulling into desert gas station… I know I’m trippin’, or should I say California dreaming—and why not?

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TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots:
The Replacements at
the Masonic, 4/13

Somehow I totally missed The Replacements when they were in their prime. Maybe it’s because I was just a bit too young or maybe it was because Motley Crue’s Too Fast For Love came out the same year. Regardless, I discovered the genius of this band late and I was absolutely thrilled that I would be able to witness their legendary live show first hand earlier this week in San Francisco. Paul Westerberg and company came out all guns a-blazing. It was like a cross between The Rolling Stones and The Sex Pistols and I loved every minute of it.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the strange antics at the band’s shows including Paul pouring salt and pepper on his guitar, but this time it was beyond strange. There was a tent on stage in the back corner—a camping tent nonetheless—that would play a pivotal role in the show. It served not only as an interesting stage prop, but also doubled as a poetry reading space and a backstage pre-encore gathering area. Whatever the hell it was, it just added to the fun.

The setlist that night was a cornucopia of classic songs that spawned the band’s brilliant catalog. Opening up the night with “Taking a Ride” the first song on their 1981 debut, these guys were flying around the stage like they were trashing a hotel room. Then they tore right into “Favorite Thing” from their third album Let it Be and they were off to the races.

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The TVD Storefront

Ex Hex: In-store with TVD at DC’s Som Records

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Unlike say with St. Patrick’s Day, the well-worn adage “Every day should be Record Store Day” is a concept we can truly get behind. And while we’re thrilled many of you will be hitting up your local indie record stores tomorrow for Record Store Day, your local mom and pops deserve a warm hug throughout the rest of the year as well.

And it’s with this in mind that the lovely ladies of Ex Hex—Mary Timony, Laura Harris, and Betsy Wright—joined us recently on a random Tuesday, during a random week, of a random month, for an entirely unrandom record rummage at Washington, DC’s Som Records to drive the point home that you needn’t set aside just one day a year for a trip to your local vinyl vendors.

Ex Hex themselves held down the #2 spot on our Best of 2014 list last year with Rips, their debut release on Merge Records. Our own Joseph Neff wrote in December, “a dozen songs, all highlights; Ex Hex has produced an outstanding debut that sounds like an instant classic.”

The band takes these 12 classics and more to Chaz’s Bull City Records this Saturday for a Record Store Day in-store, but for now we’re in Washington, DC—and we’re record shopping with Ex Hex.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD’s 9 weeks of vinyl giveaways, Week 9: The Rhino Fireworks Finale

As we noted throughout our 9 weeks of vinyl giveaways, it’s easy to forget that going on 8 years now when TVD was in its year one (as was Record Store Day) the vinyl medium wasn’t “back,” sales weren’t stellar, and indeed record stores were a fading lot. No, worse actually. Shops we’re closing at such a clip, their disappearance literally informed the launch of the site you’re reading at present.

And as we’ve repeated for 9 weeks now—vinyl and record stores go hand in hand. Their shared intrinsic value is the cultural commodity and the bedrock of any local music scene. Don’t believe us though…hit up your locals and the marriage becomes crystal clear. 

But we too have been overwhelmed with the resounding popular and prevalent headlines as to vinyl’s big resurgence, yet they also arrive in tandem with far less rosy headlines such as “Starbucks to Open in Former Bleecker Street Records Space”—and worse, some very bad ideas when one advocates for record shops have, of late, become internet fodder. (Seriously, vinyl subscription clubs are the Carson Daly of record collecting.)

As such, picking up with an old TVD favorite, we lined up 9 weeks of vinyl giveaways to count down to Record Store Day 2015 this weekend to redouble our efforts and to underscore the viability and the inherent need for your local brick and mortar record shops to remain the vibrant community touchstone that they intrinsically are. And while we kinda hate hanging out by the mailbox waiting for a record to show up (unless you’ve ordered it from a mom and pop or directly from a label!) we’ve shipped out records for 8 weeks straight as sweet reminders that record stores are literally where it’s at.

We’re closing out our 9 weeks of vinyl giveaways today with the LPs contained within these gorgeous Rhino Records sets—all of which we’ll award to one individual:

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Live Shots: All Time Low in-store at Gallery of Sound, 4/4

All Time Low released their sixth full-length album, Future Hearts on April 7th, debuting at number two in the USA and number one in the UK.

This is the first time the pop-punk band have achieved this kind of chart success. “This is a huge surprise! We didn’t expect this kind of reaction to the album and we couldn’t be happier. After so many years together, we never want to let our fans down, and this feels like a massive achievement on their part as much as ours.”

In preparation for the upcoming release, the band embarked on a mini record store tour, performing new songs and autographing items for fans. This six-city stop at local indie records stores was sold out, giving true hardcore fans an intimate experience with the band.

On April 4th, the band made a stop at record store Gallery of Sound in Wilkes Barre, PA, performing a short, sold out set in front of 300 lucky fans. Photographer Doug Seymour was there to capture moments both on and off stage.

All Time Low will embark on their Future Hearts Tour starting April 15th in Lowell, MA.

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For the indie love:
Piney Gir

“I’m an American living in London and I moved to the UK over 10 years ago. I had just earned my music degree and didn’t know what to do with it.”

“I knew I didn’t want to stay in Kansas and I didn’t want to go to New York, Chicago, or LA because that seemed to be where everyone went after uni. I had spent a semester in the UK on a foreign exchange programme and I loved it, so I came back, took some evening courses at St. Martin’s and worked in a cocktail bar to meet people and just figure things out. I ended up in a synth-pop duo called Vic Twenty, which was my first band. It was then I realised indie-pop music is something I wanted to do for real. I had carved a niche for myself in the indie music scene here and it felt natural to stay and see what would happen.

It took me about 2 years to really find my feet here. When you first move somewhere (especially somewhere as huge and diverse at London) you meet all types of people and you sometimes end up hanging out with people you have nothing in common with, simply to have a person to hang out with. Especially when you’re super-young, it feels more important to hang out in packs… I’m more comfortable with my own company now, but in the early days I was out all the time with random friends I had little in common with.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Who,
Live at Leeds

Many have called the Who’s 1970 Live at Leeds the best live album of all time. Me, I’ve always scoffed. It made no difference that I’d never actually sat down and listened to it. A good rock critic doesn’t have to actually listen to an LP before passing judgment on it. He simply knows, based on gut instinct and certain arcane and occult clues, whether an album is a dud or not. In the case of Live at Leeds, there are three clues to the album being rated far greater than deserved.

The first is the LP’s inclusion of “Summertime Blues,” a song that has always given me hives and put me off my dinner of Hormel’s Chili on hot dogs, which is the impoverished rock critic’s version of pan-fried foie gras with spiced citrus purée. The second is that Live at Leeds suffers—if only in one notable case—from that early seventies affliction, song bloat. You know what I’m talking about: live albums where the bands stretch their songs to extraordinary lengths, in some cases obscene two-sided lengths, forcing the stoned listener to stand up, stagger to the stereo in a Tuinal haze, and turn the damned record over to hear the second side. Finally, there was the issue of song selection: six tunes, three of them covers, with none of the covers being particular favorites of mine. And I’ve never been a big fan of one of the originals, “Magic Bus,” either.

Which has always left me to wonder, “What’s in it for me?” And I’m not alone; in particular, Live at Leeds failed to impress those twin pillars of rock criticism, the generally unintelligible Greil Marcus, who called the music dated and uneventful and the ever-crotchety Robert Christgau, who singled out “Magic Bus” for special abuse, calling it “uncool-at-any-length.”

Besides, I’ve always been more than satisfied with the three Who LPs I consider indispensible, namely Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy, Who’s Next, and Quadrophenia. As for the rest of the Who’s catalogue—including Tommy—I had no use for it. But having finally listened to the Live at Leeds, I’m flabbergasted; it may not be, as critic Nik Cohn called it, “the definitive hard-rock holocaust,” but it does rock balls, probably because the Who was the best live band in the world at the time.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 4/17/15

Record Store Day 2015: what will you be buying? “It’s that time of year again. On Saturday 18 April, independent music shops around the UK (and the world) will open their doors early for another hectic Record Store Day – that annual tribute to the independent record shop that sees eager fans snapping up limited-edition singles, albums and box sets…”

Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love. For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job—until the bean counters ruined it.

Dave Grohl on vinyl, Record Store Day: Working with Grohl has “been a pleasure, because the guy gets it, he understands where we’re coming from,” event co-founder Michael Kurtz says. “Every period in time has a musician that is able to express where we are in music, and Dave Grohl and Jack White are the two musicians who do that now, more than anybody else.”

Record Store Day 2015: the 10 must-buy collector’s items: With 592 exclusive releases out on Record Store Day 2015, we guide you through 10 records worth queuing for

“Figures from ICM Unlimited indicate the number of vinyl purchases continues to grow across the UK – and show that rock remains one of the most popular genres. The research found that 41% of those questioned were buying rock albums, while the biggest increase was in the 18-24 year old range, which showed a 14% jump since 2013…”

Newcastle’s independent record stores come together to celebrate Record Store Day: RPM Music, Reflex, Beatdown Records, JG Windows and Vinyl Guru are holding special events on Saturday April 18

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TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots: Stone Temple Pilots, Dreamers, and Spiral Arms at the Fillmore, 4/10

Stone Temple Pilots—just saying the name out lout reminds me of the glorious times of the early nineties. Nirvana single-handedly killed hair metal, flannel was the new black, and Seattle was ground zero for a new movement that would change rock ‘n’ roll forever.

At the very forefront of this new era was an album named Core that would begin the journey of one of the most commercially successful bands of the coming decade. Stone Temple Pilots were bridging the gap between grunge, hard rock, and psychedelic, and they did it all with their own unique style.

40 million records later, the band would continue to dazzle fans up to the point where original frontman Scott Weiland would be fired and later replaced by Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington. While this may seem like an odd combination and strange selection for a frontman, you really have to see and hear it to believe how good of a decision that would actually turn out to be. Now, I’ve never really been the biggest fan of Linkin Park, but after seeing Bennington fronting Stone Temple Pilots last weekend at the legendary Fillmore, it begs the question—why didn’t they do this sooner?

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TVD New Orleans

TVD Recommends: The Suffers at the Maison, 4/17

The Maison on Frenchmen Street usually hosts local bands spanning the spectrum of musical stylings in New Orleans. But occasionally they book a touring band, and when they do, the band is generally worth checking out. This Friday night, Houston’s own The Suffers make a stop at the club performing at 10 PM.

The band, which formed in 2011, will remind listeners of some of the acts appearing on the Daptone label, particularly soul shouter Sharon Jones. Fronted by the dynamic singer Kam Franklin, The Suffers also includes a full horn section and a super tight rhythm section.

While Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings come across as pure retro soul, The Suffers add a bit of Latin spice courtesy of percussionist Jose “Chapy” Luna. While the two guitarists also provide a rock ‘n’ roll punch to the 10-piece ensemble’s sound.

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