The TVD Storefront

TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Jillette Johnson, “Cameron” 7″

“…Electric Fetus in Minneapolis swiftly and sweetly took my vinyl v card. I got so many records, I needed help carrying them out of the store. I got everything from Bowie to Elton John, Emmylou Harris to Radiohead, Sinatra to Al Green.

It didn’t take long before I’d sneak away from venus before each show to pour through used vinyl stacks for any trace of Billie Holiday, which I’ve come to find is no easy feat.

What I love about vinyl and the culture that surrounds it is, beyond the fact that music just sounds better under a needle, real records help give an album the respect it deserves. You listen from start to finish. You take care of the physical product because it’s fragile and valuable, and it’s worth being kind to.

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The TVD Storefront

Needle Drop: Cool Ghouls, “What a Dream
I Had”

Cool Ghouls’ “What a Dream I Had” sounds like The Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride”—a bit drugged and dragged through a mosh pit.

The San Francisco based psych rockers new album, A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rhye, attempts to revitalize the city’s once prolific Haight-Ashbury sound with a little garage grit thrown in to contemporize things. Their sweet harmonies and luxurious grooves make for a pretty stimulating record and a fine follow-up to 2012’s limited cassette release, Allright.

If “What A Dream” wets your appetite for the Ghouls’ brand of amped up nostalgic rock, head over to their Bandcamp page and pre-order the full album.

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The TVD Storefront

Bad Cop,
The TVD First Date

“For most of my life, vinyl records seemed as old and foreign as typewriters and telegrams.”

“The mere term “vinyl record” conjured up the dank mustiness of my grandparents’ basement, where they stored a few records and eight tracks amongst a hoard of 1900s furniture and knick knacks. When I got my first jobs in high school, vinyl didn’t even cross my mind. I bought CDs like they were going out of style. Thank God that they eventually did…

The first vinyl record I ever bought was a seven-inch record by Navies–a DC post punk band that blew my mind for a crowd of about a dozen people in Ventura, CA. I was in 9th grade, I bought the vinyl because they were out of CDs, and a couple of years went by before I even played the record for the first time at a friend’s house. He showed me why the 45 rpm seven-inch sounded like dinosaurs when I played it at the wrong speed.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: The Velvet Underground,
White Light/White Heat

Have you ever driven over what you thought was a speed bump, only to discover later it was your grandmother? I know, I know, so have I. Well, don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s partly her fault for falling face down in the street like that, and then failing (those old hips shatter like china!) to get back up. And the rest of the blame lies with the fact that you weren’t paying attention, but instead singing “too busy sucking on a ding dong” along with Loud Reed on “Sister Ray,” the centerpiece of the Velvet Underground’s magnum dopus, 1968’s White Light/White Heat.

Like many people I know and despise, I’ve gone through phases with the Velvet Underground. Their 1967 debut will be my favorite for a while, then I’ll switch allegiance to White Light/White Heat, and then I’ll go turncoat and spend a year or so listening only to Loaded. But I have given the matter a lot of thought, and have decided that White Light/White Heat is VU’s best LP, because it alone gets to the point, the point being that life is an absurd and awful place, and the only real and valid goal of art is to communicate said absurdity and awfulness in as absurd and awful a manner as possible.

Lou Reed was a Janus-faced fellow, an Apollonian and a Dionysian by turns, and as capable of producing songs of formalist beauty (“Pale Blue Eyes”) as he was of creating songs of seemingly chaotic ugliness (“I Heard Her Call My Name”). Me, I’ve decided (having spent the past year in an anteroom of Hell) I prefer the ugliness and chaos, and all of the nihilistic accoutrements that come with them. And on White Light/White Heat Reed was definitely in chaos mode.

As for vocalist/multi-instrumentalist John Cale, who would leave the Velvets after White Light/White Heat, he preferred the chaos to the beauty for aesthetic reasons having to do with his avant-garde predilections. Meanwhile, guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen Tucker were simply along for the ride. That said, they weren’t unwilling participants in the creation of the masterpiece of malignity and malice that is White Light/White Heat. Morrison summed up the band’s collective gestalt at the time by saying, “We may have been dragging each other off a cliff, but we were all definitely going in the same direction. In the White Light/White Heat era, our lives were chaos. That’s what’s reflected in the record.”

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: Bombay Bicycle Club at the 9:30 Club, 10/19

London’s Bombay Bicycle Club played an electrifying set to a sold-out crowd at the 9:30 Club last Sunday night. Touring in support of 2014’s So Long, See you Tomorrow, the set was a solid mix of older and new material that easily had the Club kids enraptured, including “How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep,” “Eyes Off You,” a fervent “Home By Now,” and a cover of Robyn’s “With Every Heartbeat.”

We sent ace photographer Richie Downs to the 9:30 to catch the first 3 songs in the set. (No flash, please.) —Ed.

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TVD New Orleans

Combat vet William A. Thompson, IV’s sound composition debuts as part of Prospect 3+

Followers of local media are beginning to see coverage about the various art projects which are part of Prospect 3+—New Orleans’ international art biennial. However, most of it has focused on visual art and experimental installations. Music fans need to check out DD214—the latest effort from the musician known around town as WATIV.

DD214 is a sound composition that makes use of audio samples recorded by William A Thompson, IV while on a one-year military tour of duty in Baghdad during 2004. These audio samples range from various field, or “found sound,” to interviews with other combat veterans after deployment. The chief goal of this project is the creation of a body of musical works that express the thoughts, conditions, and inner lives of combat veterans from all wars.

In the composition, WATIV makes use of audio speech samples he collected and recorded. These speech samples are analyzed according to inherent pitch, rhythm, and implied harmony. The composition’s results vary accordingly. This “found sound” process of composition was first employed by WATIV in his 2005 release, Baghdad Music Journal. To read an NPR “All Things Considered” piece about Baghdad Music Journal, click here.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Recommends:
The Goddamn Gallows
at Revolution, 10/27

There are moments in the life of a concertgoer when you go to a show and the band has gotten prettied up in their rock clothes, strut and strike poses on the stage, and maybe even sing a love song or two. The Goddamn Gallows are not that band.

On Monday, October 27th at Revolution in Centreville, VA, the Gallows are kicking off the Halloween week by bringing their bizarrely unique strain of music to the DC area. Call them gutterbilly, call them gypsy punk, call them what you will, the fact remains that there is absolutely no one out there like them.

Their live shows are raucous, at times feeling more like you are watching a musical episode of Looney Tunes rather than a live performance. Singer/guitarist Mikey Classic is the eye of the hurricane, sometimes leading the charge, other times, practically being swept up in the chaos surrounding him.

The primary purveyor of that chaos would be accordion player and percussionist TV’s Avery. His comical interactions with bassist Fishgutzzz bring to mind Bugs Bunny taunting Yosemite Sam, and you never know what will happen between Avery and banjoist Joe Perrezze. Rounded out by drummer Baby Genius, the band is a cast of unique characters but ones that mesh well together, and always put on a fierce, unpredictable show.

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The TVD Storefront

High Highs,
The TVD First Date

“My flatmate Tim bought a Technics 1200 just before they were discontinued. When we first moved in together we used to just hang around and listen to records every night for like six months. I think my first purchase was a Steely Dan record, possibly Aja.

“I really got into record shopping on tour. It’s a great way to see a snapshot of a new city. I like to keep my ears open everywhere I go, and in a good record store there’s usually something interesting playing. I found Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians in Cleveland I think, and gave it to my bandmate Oli. It’s a recording of when the piece was debuted in Berlin and it sounds truly amazing.

I was at Som Records in DC recently (great record store), and the soundtrack to The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh was playing. Apparently the film isn’t great, but the soundtrack is all great soul/disco tunes written for the film. The guy wasn’t selling it though!

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TVD UK

Shell Zenner Presents

Greater Manchester’s most in the know radio host Shell Zenner broadcasts the best new music every week on the UK’s Amazing Radio and Bolton FM. You can also catch Shell’s broadcast right here at TVD, each and every Thursday.

“You know when you hear a band that aren’t in your face, they’re not at all demanding your attention, but they creep into your subconscious until you’re closing your eyes, swaying rhythmically and feeling dreamy? Well, that’s the effect Bear In Heaven have on me! I’m so happy they’re back with new album, Time Is Over One Day Old, so that I can share three of the fabulous tracks with you as my ROTW this week!

I’ve a groovy new tune from The Primitives as this weeks #shellshock—prime your ear for the vibe of the day!

Packed with new musical treats, the newest award winner is going to get fresh in the studio with the new jammmmmmms. It’s going to be all kinds of amazing.” —SZ

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Lothar and the Hand People,
Presenting…

Even as far back as 1968, there were more bands on the scene than a person could effectively shake a wet noodle at. Naturally, many of them are best left unexamined in history’s voluminous dustbin, but there remains more than a few worthies that endure in flying under the radar. One such example is New York City’s curiously tweaked psychedelic-pop act Lothar and the Hand People. They hung around the fringes of the whole hippie thing and produced a pair of LPs that over the years have managed to acquire a small cult following, and the better of the two is their first one, Presenting…Lothar and the Hand People.

The story goes that Lothar and the Hand People formed in Denver in 1965. That city hasn’t exactly been portrayed as a rock Mecca of the period, and it apparently took all of a year for them to hightail it to the greener musical pastures of NYC. They consisted of Rusty Ford on bass, Kim King on guitar, Moog and Ampex tape decks, Paul Conley on keyboards, liner controller and Moog, Tom Flye on drums and percussion, and John Emelin on lead vocals.

Oh, and there was Lothar, their trusty Theremin, the responsibilities of which fell mainly onto Emelin’s shoulders, or more appropriately, the motions of his two hands. For those unfamiliar, the Theremin was an early electronic instrument patented in 1928 and named after its inventor. For decades the most celebrated use of Léon Theremin’s creation came through the very enjoyable recordings of Clara Rockmore, noted as an early virtuoso on the device. Additionally, it’s a musical instrument that’s distinguished for how it never gets touched by the player’s fingers as it emits its sonic atmospheres.

The Theremin soon became a touchstone in the scores of numerous films, the bulk of them sci-fi flicks from the mid-section of last century including the classics The Day the Earth Stood Still and The Thing (From Another World). Contrary to popular lore however, it’s not a part of Louis and Bebe Barron’s soundtrack to Forbidden Planet (they used oscillator circuits and a ring modulator for that one.)

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