TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

It’s mid January and I’m buzzing—so much to jump-start in the new year. Sidel is on the hustle for sure.

Also my mother is visiting. Seems crazy to have mom out at the top of the year, but why not? After all, it’s frigid back east, so what better time to visit our beautiful canyon. The soundtrack of all that is going on is a continued, steady flow of new releases.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Announces “Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Willie Nelson. Waylon Jennings. Kris Kristofferson. Jessi Colter. Bobby Bare. Jerry Jeff Walker. David Allan Coe. Cowboy Jack Clement. Tom T. Hall. Billy Joe Shaver. Guy Clark. Townes Van Zandt. Tompall Glaser. Today, all names synonymous with the word “outlaw,” but 40 years ago they started a musical revolution by creating music and a culture that shook the status quo on Music Row and cemented their place in country music history and beyond.

The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s upcoming major exhibition, “Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s” will explore this era of cultural and artistic exchange between Nashville, Tenn., and Austin, Texas, revealing untold stories and never-seen artifacts. The exhibition, which opens May 25 for a nearly three-year run, will explore the complicated, surprising relationship between the two cities.

While the smooth Nashville Sound of the late 1950s and ’60s was commercially successful, some artists, such as Nelson and Jennings, found the Music Row recording model creatively stifling. By the early 1970s, those artists could envision a music industry in which they would write, sing, and produce their own music. At the same time, Austin was gaining national attention as a thriving music center with a countercultural outlook. Musicians of varying stripes migrated to Austin, where the disparate strains of country, bluegrass, folk, blues, rock, and conjunto blended to create a unique environment hosted by music–friendly venues such as the Armadillo World Headquarters, Broken Spoke, Soap Creek Saloon, and Antone’s.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Vinyl Giveaway: The Soft White Sixties, “Brick By Brick” 7″ Bilingual Single

“The physical nature of vinyl has always had a transportive effect on me. Maybe it’s the extra steps in the listening process—flipping a few switches, unsheathing the record, lifting the needle—that seem to always place vinyl records in a specific time and place in my mind, but the effect is unmatched by any other listening format.”

That’s the The Soft White Sixties’ Aaron Eisenberg from the band’s First Date with us last Fall. And true to the stated inclinations, the band’s current single “Brick By Brick” boasts a sharp looking 7″ vinyl pressing with an English version on the A-side and a Spanish version on its flip. And we have 2 copies to flip to 2 of you.

Says the band of the track, “The very topic of the song is Trump’s proposed wall between the two countries.” Not wanting to be overtly political, but demanding of themselves a certain amount of honesty and transparency, frontman Octavio Genera, a first generation Mexican-American, wrote what was on his mind: “If you build a wall / we’re going to tear it down / brick by brick.”

“We were making this record at the time that Trump had won the election and was going to be sworn into office, so naturally that environment crept onto this record,” Genera reflects. “It was hard not to take some offense to someone claiming that a wall and the people on the other side of that wall were the cause of so many problems. The song is my version of my grandparents coming here to better themselves and their children, and I’m thankful they did. I am here, and I am who I am because of it.”

Enter to win a copy of The Soft White Sixties’ “Brick By Brick” 7″ by citing in the comments below your favorite protest song—and feel free to be overtly political. We’ll choose 2 upstanding citizens with a North American mailing address for a copy of the 7″ each a week from today, Friday, January 26, 2018. Winners will be notified directly via email.

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The TVD Storefront

Dana Buoy,
The TVD First Date

“I remember sitting beside my mom’s console record player as a kid, ear on a speaker, while flipping through her vinyl collection.”

“These records had such awesome art and they were just standing in line with each other. They all should’ve been framed and hung on the wall to replace the flower printed wallpaper. Ooph. I was already into music at this point (thank you “Disco Duck”) so I understood the awesomeness that could be found in these records. I loved holding these square foot pictures in my hands and combing over every detail on the cover. I loved to put on Diamond Dogs. This cover blew my mind. But I think it made sense to me as I listened to “Future Legend.” Maybe?

Mom loved The Rolling Stones so these records were in frequent rotation. I got to hear her gush about how beautiful Mick Jagger was close to every day. Myself, I always liked the Talking Heads records she had. True Stories was my jam. And this was the record that was playing when I learned about revolutions per minute. That really spun me around. What’s wrong with the record player?! Did I break mom’s stereo furniture thing?! Ack!

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Donovan,
Sunshine Superman

Scottish born Donovan Leitch went from folkie fop to Flower Power avatar as fast as you can say Mickie Most, and by so doing became “the voice” of “Swinging London” in our Year of the Lord 1966. He brought America’s West Coast psychedelic sound to England’s green and pleasant land, one-upping his pals in the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in the process. A pretty cheeky move, one has to admit, for the feckless lad Bob Dylan more or less savaged in Don’t Look Back.

Donovan’s first stab at freaking out was 1966’s Sunshine Superman, and it would be nice to report that it’s a stone-cold psychedelic classic from beginning to end. Alas, the same man who was pioneering the sitar sound and dayglo imagery was still nurturing Medieval fantasies, and the latter constitute jarring interruptions in what is otherwise one groovy slab of vinyl. But not even “Guinevere” and “Legend of a Girl Child Linda” (written for Brian Jones’ girlfriend Linda Lawrence) can spoil the lysergic fun, and on “Season of the Witch” Donovan might as well be a soothsayer; its ominous vibe literally catapults us three long years into the future, when Altamont and Charles Manson would forever harsh the universal peace and love buzz. “It’s strange,” sings our Donovan looking over his shoulder, before going on to say cryptic things about how you have to pick up every stitch. Very spooky number what with that eerie organ and portentous bass line, and just what are those rabbits in the ditch running from any way? That great chicken-scratch guitar, maybe?

The title track is a slinky homage to getting really, really bent, and its sinuous contours, funky percussion, and rubber band bass are the perfect complements to Donovan’s cock-sure vocals. Studio ace Jimmy Page nails down a near-perfect guitar solo, Donovan brags that “Superman and Green Lantern/Ain’t got nothin’ on me,” and there’s a reason this baby soared, cape and all, to the top of the U.S. pop charts. It’s a perfect piece of sunny psychedelia and it’s brimming over with the kind of self-assurance that can only come out of a capsule. “The Trip” is every bit as LSD inspired, and succeeds despite the lack of guitar pyrotechnics being engaged in by Donovan’s American compadres. “What goes on, I really wanna know,” sings Donovan, more or less channeling (talk about your time travel!) the future Lou Reed. The lyrics are Dylan gone Merlin mythical, which for some reason I don’t find irksome, perhaps because Donovan also tosses in LA, a white straw chair, methedrine, the devil, and a talking seagull. And one Bobby Dylan, coincidentally enough. As for the instrumental breakdown, it’s to die for.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 1/19/18

Discogs reveals the most collected techno releases of 2017: Discogs have released a comprehensive list showcasing the most collected records of 2017 by genre…Quite naturally, some of the most exciting and unique electronic LPs of the year made it close to the top spot on the most collected Techno list with Actress’ AZD, Blanck Mass’ World Eater, Four Tet’s ‘New Energy’ (a track from which was DJ Mag’s 15th top track of the year), Kraftwerk’s ‘3-D: The Catalogue’ and Depeche Mode’s ‘Going Backwards [Remixes]’ all ranking high. It was also great to see records like Tzusing’s incredible ‘東方不敗’ and PLO Man’s ‘Powerline’ do so well along with Dopplereffekt’s ‘Cellular Automata’, the title track from which featured in Sophia Saze’s Fresh Kicks mix which we ran in December 2017.

Vinyl record-minded bars, cafes in NYC: BierWax owner Chris Maestro, 41, vividly remembers purchasing his first vinyl record from a Binghamton, New York, radio station in the mid-1990s — before he even owned a turntable. He’ll be the first to admit he had no idea what journey that purchase would set him on. “It began there,” Maestro, 41, said. “I’ve been a DJ and vinyl collector for over two decades, but then 12 or 13 years ago I became very interested in craft beer. So BierWax really was a way of marrying my passions.” That marriage has resulted in a groovy, sudsy spot in Prospect Heights where patrons can kick back and tip back a glass of locally brewed beer to the rich, analog sounds of vinyl records. But Bierwax isn’t the only one.

My visit to the record store: Over the weekend, an old friend and I got together for lunch and a fun afternoon exploring our local record store. I’ll admit, it’s been several years, but it sure felt like home. Perusing through the bins, picking up the record sleeves, looking over the album art…pure heaven. It was also fun to see the old concert posters on the wall along with the turntables for sale. There’s definitely a resurgence in the sale of vinyl. According a recent Nielsen music report, sales reached nearly 10 million units sold by the end of 2017. The vinyl bug has caught on with younger listeners as well, with turntable sales on the uptick. If you haven’t been into a record store lately, there are a few still remaining in the bay area. We went to Amoeba Records in Berkeley, but Rasputin’s, Streetlight Records, On the Corner Music, and The Analogue Room are still alive and kickin’.

Vinyl Buffs, Smorgasburg LA Is Your Next Jam: The once-a-month event will offer “over 10,000 highly curated vintage vinyl” selections, in addition to other music-related goodies. Before you pull the record out of its sleeve, and before you pull the sleeve off the shelve, and before you make sure your player’s needle is in working order, and the speaker is on, and you’re wearing your dance socks, do you decide what you’re making for dinner? Or does it go in the other direction? Do you place all of the supper ingredients on the kitchen counter, and then line up the bowls, and then decide what you’ll listen to, as you cook, on the ol’ hi-fi? Whatever direction you head in, the fact that making a meal, and/or eating a meal, while music plays, is a treasured tradition observed in many homes. So when a music-related happening, one that involves the chance to buy records, pops up at an outdoor food market, you immediately understand how much sense the perfect pair-up makes.

Two Cocteau Twins Albums Set For Vinyl Reissue: Two of the Cocteau Twins’ albums are to be reissued on vinyl in March via 4AD. As part of the label’s ongoing series of reissues, which has already seen the group’s albums Blue Bell Knoll, Heaven or Las Vegas, Tiny Dynamine, Echoes In A Shallow Bay and The Pink Opaque given a re-release, next up is Treasure and Head Over Heels. The original release of Head Over Heels in 1983 came shortly after original bassist Will Heggie left the band, leaving behind remaining members Elizabeth Fraser and Robin Guthrie who would go on to forge the band’s characteristic sound of textured guitars alongside Fraser’s vocals. Treasure, from 1984, was the point at which the band once again became a trio with guitarist Simon Raymonde entering into the fold. The record is widely considered as one of the group’s best.

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TVD UK

TVD Live Shots:
Geoff Tate’s Operation: Mindcrime at the
Garage, 1/16

I’ve seen Queensryche about a dozen times over the years. They’re a band I grew up with and continue to celebrate. When they were fractured in two, I was devastated and confused. Always leaning toward wherever Geoff Tate took them, I followed him out of respect for his incredible work and his brilliant solo releases. But whatever happened, I still loved the band and wanted as much music from any incarnation moving forward.

The results were two very different things. Queensryche with a new singer went back to their roots and delivered a brilliant, crushing couple of records. Geoff Tate’s Queensryche focused more on pushing into new territories. The results were two releases that polarized the fan base and to be honest, probably cast a shadow of doubt on the future of both versions of Queensryche.

All that drama and bullshit was cast aside in London at The Garage on Monday night as Geoff Tate brought his band Operation: Mindcrime to perform the remarkable album with the same name in its entirety. Operation: Mindcrime (the album) isn’t just one of the best concept records of all time, it sets the bar for all others to be measured by—and continues to do so. I was a bit skeptical about seeing Geoff perform one of my all-time favorite records without the backing of his original bandmates, but holy shit was I happy that I went to this show. It was flawless, brilliant, sonically stunning—I can’t say enough good things about this show.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: George Harrison tribute Concert for George deluxe and 4-LP box set in stores 2/23

VIA PRESS RELEASEIn honor of George Harrison’s 75th birthday (February 25), the Grammy®-winning, 8-times platinum release Concert for George, will be available for the first time on vinyl, released as a 4-LP Box Set, as well as a Limited Edition Deluxe 10-disc Box Set via Concord Music. Says Olivia Harrison, “We will always celebrate George’s birthday and this year we are releasing Concert for George in a very special package in memory of a special man.”

The Deluxe Box Set (limited to 1,000 pieces worldwide) features the complete sound and film recordings from the concert (on 4 180-gram audiophile LPs, 2 CDs, 2 DVDs and 2 Blu-rays), a 12″x12″ hard-bound 60-page book, plus an opportunity to own a piece of the historic event, by way of a cutting from the original hand-painted on-stage tapestry used as the backdrop at the Royal Albert Hall on November 29, 2002.

The package is housed in a gold-colored, fabric-wrapped box with a die-cut mandala window to display the unique stage fabric (which is mounted on an individually numbered card, suitable for framing). Includes a note from Olivia Harrison, explaining the story behind the tapestry. The 1,000 Limited Edition Deluxe Box Sets are only available on ConcertForGeorge.com.

The 4-LP Box Set includes the complete sound recordings from Concert for George on 180-gram audiophile vinyl, featuring a special, mandala-design etched on side-8. This is the first time that all songs from the performance have been available on an audio configuration. The album will also be made newly available via streaming platforms, track listing mirroring that of the vinyl.

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The TVD Storefront

VanWyck,
The TVD First Date

“My parents were never really into recorded music. I think they had two records. There was Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, which my mother used to put on twice a year and cry to, and my dad had this Best of The Ink Spots album—I think I can still sing every line on those two albums.”

“The one thing we did have on vinyl were fairy tales. Like Grimm’s stories, those are some of the deepest memories of my childhood. Lying on a sheepskin rug listening to my favourite one about Vrouw Holle—I think that translates as “Mother Hulda”—where a girl jumps into a well and ends up in this magical land where eventually she is showered with pure gold. I remember trying to imagine how that would feel, all this gold over your body.

The first album I bought for myself was Prince’s Purple Rain. I still have it—I loved having that album, for me it opened up another world. Just knowing that it was there, that there were people who made stuff like this, with songs that were riddles to me, lyrics that I didn’t really get, but felt some way. On the back was this weird story that didn’t make a lot of sense but I memorised it anyway and later wrote it down on the gym floor of our school with a permanent marker. The only act of vandalising I committed in my teens.

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The TVD Storefront

John Oates,
The TVD Interview

John Oates didn’t think his new album, Arkansas, was going to turn out the way it did. What began as a tribute to legendary bluesman Mississippi John Hurt transformed into a raw and heartfelt reinterpretation of the folk and blues music that inspired Oates to pick up a guitar in the first place.

The Natural State has a rich musical history to be sure, but it’s landlocked by legend. Arkansas is surrounded by Mississippi, Memphis, and St. Louis blues, Texas honky-tonk, Oklahoma outlaw country, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, and damn near every seminal American musical genre that grew up from Louisiana. So why not any number of locales with a more notorious musical history?

To hear John tell it, as he was recording the songs for what became his latest album (due out February 2), he gradually realized Arkansas’ unique significance in American music’s history: it was the last rural stop before Southern folk, country, and blues moved up the Mississippi and got grittier in big cities like Chicago, New York, and his hometown of Philadelphia.

Arkansas is an obvious departure from the rock-and-soul sound that brought him so much success with Daryl Hall. “It’s like Dixieland, dipped in bluegrass, and salted with Delta blues,” he says. But it also might be the most inevitable album he’s created to date (more about that in our interview). It’s a natural companion to the musical history lessons found in the plaintive country sound of his 2014 solo album, Good Road to Follow, and the bluesy rock and shuffle of 2011’s Mississippi Mile. And it’s just a damn good record.

We caught up with John just before his tour with The Good Road Band and chatted about everything from American popular music before rock and roll, to the Philadelphia Eagles’ chances in the postseason, to why Arkansas was always going to be released on vinyl.

As I was thinking about your new album, Arkansas, I couldn’t help think about how Arkansas always gets short shrift when it comes to tributes, because it’s physically surrounded by all these states with undeniable musical legendary talent, too.

Yeah. Interestingly enough, and not only because I wrote the song and called the album Arkansas, but I began to realize that there was an interesting significance to Arkansas’s role in American roots music. And it never occurred to me before, until I spent time there.

I realized that, as you said, so many places—like obviously Mississippi and New Orleans and the Delta—are so known as the birthplaces of American roots music… but I think that what people tend to forget is that Arkansas is probably the last of the rural stops on that music moving up to the north, because once you pass Arkansas now you’re in St. Louis and then finally Chicago, where the music became more urbanized and more sophisticated in a way.

So really it feels like Arkansas was the last rural stop for this roots music before it hit the northern cities. And I think that’s kind of important. It never even occurred to me before, really, but I began to think about it much more since I’ve been doing this project.

That’s so interesting. This project started out a lot smaller; it was going to be a tribute to Mississippi John Hurt, right? And then it just kind of grew.

Right.

When did you realize this was going to be bigger?

Well, just to backtrack a bit. I cut a few tracks, just me and a guitar in the traditional way, basically playing Mississippi John Hurt songs that I have known and played for years and years. And then I realized it was kind of a futile effort because I wasn’t gonna play them any better than him, certainly, and a lot of other people probably have played these songs… but I loved the music.

One night I came up with this idea: I said, “You know what, I don’t want to abandon this project, but what if I played it with a band?” I’ve never heard these songs that are so associated with just being performed on a guitar with a voice… I’ve never heard them played with a band, really. So I said, “Let me assemble a band.” I wanted to assemble a unique group of musicians who really are sensitive to the music and see what happens. So I did that; I called in a bunch of my friends, people I’ve played with for years—great players like Sam Bush, Russ Pahl, and Guthrie Trapp—all these incredible musicians.

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