TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I came back from a rainy week in Austin to a full house. My mom is in town and staying with us this week. Nice to see ma with my son. I’m sure she has been decompressing from another harsh winter back east.

“I told ya ma, come in February, but you’re always welcome.”

I should have said, always welcome—except when you ask one too many questions. (Ha!) Jewish mothers always ask way too many questions—thousands of questions! It takes patience to understand this family fact. “Blabbing” and asking dumb questions just comes naturally to us Sidels.

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The TVD Storefront

Tom Williams,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl stands out like a sore thumb in today’s culture of music consumption which is what makes it so intriguing that new vinyl sales continue to increase world-wide. You can’t listen to vinyl in your car or on the train, or as you bustle and shove your way through the underground on the way to work. You can’t get vinyl for free if you know the right websites and it doesn’t all fit compactly into your pocket. It’s heavy, it’s cumbersome, it warps, skips, and scratches, and it’s expensive. But yet still more and more people each year fall back in love, or even in love for the first time, with vinyl.”

“What music formats that plead convenience do is undermine what music means to billions of music fans world-wide. Music becomes something that needs to be squeezed in while you do something else. It ceases to become a ritual, a sacred thing that one might make time for. Music is something to be multi tasked to, something enjoyed on low quality headphones or on the speakers of your phone, laptop, or iPad. Something to be listened once to and then thrown away.

What vinyl does is create space and time for the music that lies within its grooves. As soon you bring a record into your house, it demands attention. It’s heavy, so you need special shelves for it, especially if you’ve got thousands. You need a turntable, good cartridge and stylus, an amp, and speakers that will all do the record justice, and you need to set up your room for maximum listening pleasure. You need a great chair to collapse into, low lighting and posters of your favourite records. If you’re so inclined you need a bottle of good whiskey and an ashtray too.

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TVD Nashville

TVD Recommends: Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats Trivia Night 3/29

Please join City Winery and TVD’s Tim Hibbs in welcoming Nashville’s newest exhibit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum with our themed trivia night, this Sunday, March 29th, in the upstairs lounge. We’ll dig into the story of Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City, which opens March 27th.

Test your music history knowledge with questions developed by museum staff and groove to music of the 1960s and ’70s provided by Tim. An all-vinyl playlist featuring the music of the exhibit will include Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, the Byrds, Leonard Cohen, Tracy Nelson, and dozens more hit folk, rock, and country records featuring the session musicians known as the Nashville Cats.

Doors open at 6:00 PM and the competition begins at 7:00 PM. Teams will compete for prizes provided by City Winery and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, including museum admission and City Winery concert tickets.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Recommends: Mucca Pazza residency at Revolution Brewing, 3/30

Chicago hometown heroes, Mucca Pazza, will continue their residency at Revolution Brewing in Chicago’s Logan Square and you can bet that these shows will be anything but boring. With a sound that’s a wonderfully absurd medley of gypsy punk, big band brass, and New Orleans funk (among other genres), the 30+ member group emits a totally unique energy and is simply impossible to categorize.

To celebrate the vinyl release of their 4th album, L.Y.A., the band will play the album in its entirety on March 30th as they perform as “Sitting In Chairs,” an alter ego of the festival band which instead plays small, intimate spaces.

After their humble beginnings in the Chicago underground punk scene, Mucca Pazza have grown into a nationally recognized act, performing with the likes of Primus and The Flaming Lips and at festivals such as Lollapalooza and Rothbury. By utilizing a marching band rhythm section, an extensive horn and woodwind section, assorted string instruments, and an accordion, they create an adventurous and vivacious musical experience for their listeners.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Blank Generation

Of New York punk’s first wave, only Richard Hell and the Voidoids truly embraced the nihilism that punk has come to represent in the popular imagination. The Ramones, great as they were, were one step away from being a joke band; Television was far too ascetic and monk-like; and the Talking Heads were too intellectually frigid. As for Patti Smith, she flirted with the idea of anarchy, but was far too positive a soul to be a nihilist. It’s not her fault; nihilists never hail from New Jersey.

I could go on but I won’t, because the only point I want to make is that Hell was the only musician at that time and place asking the only question the existentialists found pertinent, to wit, “Why should I bother living?” And his grappling with this question—along with the excellence of his band, which included the late, great guitarist Robert Quine—are what makes 1977’s Blank Generation such a seminal punk recording.

Hell, aka Richard Mayers, was born in Kentucky and took the scenic route to the Voidoids. Having moved to New York City, he commenced his rock career as a member of the Neon Boys, which became Television. Friction with Television’s Tom Verlaine led Hell to leave and co-found the Heartbreakers with Johnny Thunders, but Hell found it no easier to work with Thunders than he did with Verlaine, so he finally set about establishing a band in which he was boss. The Voidoids—they got their name from a novel Hell was writing—included Hell on vocals and bass, Quine and Ivan Julian on guitars, and Marc Bell on drums.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 3/27/15

WESU spring record fair to draw collectors to Middletown: “Every year we’ve added to the number of vendors and patrons,” said Benjamin Michael, general manager of the Wesleyan radio station.

Ignition Music Garage in Goshen working to create new music consumer: Store owner and founder Steve Martin opened Ignition Music Garage in 2012 to fill a need for people who want to find a more authentic music-buying and listening experience.

Brimful of Vinyl: Cornershop’s Tjinder Singh and Ben Ayres to open world’s smallest record shop

Walkley’s independent record shop Tonearm Vinyl is teaming up with its neighbour Walkley Beer Co. to host an afternoon of free live music for this year’s Record Store Day on Saturday 18 April.

The Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market “is the biggest and baddest tri-yearly event on the entire eastern seaboard with more vinyl than you can shake a stick at.”

10 Of The Best Vinyl-Friendly DJ Mixers: We are often asked the question, “I’m looking for a good vinyl-friendly DJ mixer, which one should I get?” so below are 10 vinyl-friendly DJ mixers that we recommend.

Now That’s What I Call Music 1 to be released on vinyl for Record Store Day: It features music from the likes of Phil Collins, UB40, Bonnie Tyler, The Human League, Madness and Culture Club.

Music-lovers in Boston will be able to get their hands on special releases when Record Store Day returns next month. Nevermind the Music Store, in Church Street, is once again taking part in the annual celebration of independent record shops, which this year falls on Saturday, April 18.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live Shots:
TV On The Radio at
the Metro, 3/23

While waiting for TV On The Radio to hit the stage at the Metro on Monday night, I struck up a conversation with a few fans hugging the rail.

They’d been waiting for hours, inching their way closer to the stage, but all for good reason: “TVOTR is the only relevant modern rock band,” one said. He continued, “I listen to classic rock, punk, and TV On The Radio. That’s it.” This is a small example of the cult following that TVOTR has acquired over their 14-year career. And, yeah, they totally deserve the love.

Following the sudden and tragic loss of bassist and keyboardist Gerard Smith in 2011 to lung cancer, the future of TV On The Radio was uncertain. The remaining members of the band took a hiatus to grieve and do individual projects, so when they announced the release of a new album, Seeds, in 2014, fans exhaled one, big sigh of relief. Their subsequent tour announcement was icing on the cake.

I’ve never seen the Metro more crowded and the fans more enchanted than on Monday night. On stage and in the studio, TVOTR has proven themselves to be so many things all at once—punk, pop, soul, rock, funk, and more. They are innovators, true artists, and must-see performers. So do so.

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TVD New Orleans

TVD Recommends: Mad Dogs & Englishmen, A New Orleans Tribute to Joe Cocker at One Eyed Jacks, 3/27

We’ve been losing the greats from the 1960s in droves lately. Joe Cocker left an indelible mark on the world of music due to his effervescent stage persona, gravelly vocals, and passionate performances. Amazingly, this legendary performer is not in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, yet his parody on Saturday Night Live—by none other than John Belushi—is one of the most famous sketches from the early years of the groundbreaking show .

This Friday night at One Eyed Jacks, an all-star group of New Orleans musicians will honor the man and celebrate his life and music by performing his epic 1970 live album, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, in its entirety. This tribute is taking place on the 45th anniversary of the Fillmore East concert.

Speculation abounds about why he has been snubbed by the secretive organization since first becoming eligible in 1994. Though he didn’t write his own material, his interpretations of classics from the era, now so in vogue on shows like American Idol, literally define the word. Don’t even get me started on his performance energy.

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TVD Cleveland

From the banks of Lake Erie with Beach Slang

PHOTOS: ORIANA BELAVIC | The crowd is gathered close to the band, singing every word to every song and casually chatting up singer/guitarist James Alex Snyder between breaks in the music. The band brings friends and other artists from the show on stage to take over bass duties or sing a song. Their set, crafted with old stuff, new stuff, and a few covers, is a tight 45 minutes.

Based on just the facts as written—and honestly the feel during the show—it could easily be mistaken for a local “scene” show in someone’s living room. Except it wasn’t. It was Beach Slang’s last night on tour with indie rock luminaries Cursive, playing to a room full of kids who desperately looked forward to seeing both bands.

There’s a certain amount of casualness around how Beach Slang goes about their business and Snyder is the center of it. He’s incredibly charming and polite, both one-and-one and on-stage. He’s so likeable, it builds a connection with anyone he interacts with. Success has been building fast, but the band is grounded. All of the members of the band have previously been involved in other projects (Snyder in Weston, bassist Ed McNulty in NONA and Crybaby, and drummer JP Flexner in Ex-Friends), so the band seems relaxed to the ebb and flow.

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UK Artist of the Week, Benjamin Yellowitz

With an ear for dark, mysterious pop, we couldn’t NOT feature Benjamin Yellowitz as our UK Artist of the Week. His single “Ash Wednesday” took us completely by surprise, and listening to it for the first time we couldn’t tell whether we were about to get a face full of metal, religious folk, or a full-blown R&B choral breakdown.

To put it bluntly, the man has found his sound and it is impressive. Not content to sit back once the writing and singing is done, Benjamin also has quite the flare as a producer with some sneaky little clicks and chirrups hidden throughout the track that, if it were possible, make your ears do a double take.

You can look forward to an EP and if you’re in Europe, a host of live shows when he heads out on tour. Remember the name, because you’ll be seeing it everywhere soon.

“Ash Wednesday” is out now via BYz Records.

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