TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots: Slipknot, Lamb of God, and Bullet for My Valentine at Concord Pavilion, 8/26

I remember the day I first heard the name Slipknot. It was 1999 and I was working at a Sam Goody store while going to college in my hometown of St. Louis. A guy who worked part-time came in one day raving about this new band from Iowa that looked like a cross between the family from Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Rob Zombie’s worst nightmare. That week Slipknot’s eponymous debut record hit the store shelf and launched what would be a 16-year career redefining metal.

Roadrunner Records had one hell of a roster at the time including Type O Negative, Black Label Society, Spineshank, Machine Head, Nailbomb, Seputura, and even some newer unknown bands that were killer, such as Electric Eel Shock (I’ve caught them twice—two of the most insane shows I’ve ever seen), Dry Kill Logic, Faktion, and Amen. Slipknot though was their first act to ever reach platinum status and arguably the reason the label would be bought out by a major.

Fast forward to last week and the first time I have seen Slipknot in more than a decade. While the band’s image has grown considerably darker over the years, their live show was as epic as ever—if not even more grandiose. The “Summer’s Last Stand” tour lineup included metal heavyweights Lamb of God and Bullet for My Valentine, along with newcomers Motionless in White. It would quickly make up for a Summer full of lackluster metal festivals and end the season on a high note from hell.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Pink Floyd,
Wish You Were Here

I have a dream. It’s that someone will put out a LP of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here made out of sugar and heavily laced with LSD. That way you could lick it before turning it on, and hear the damn album the way it should be heard, while you’re peaking.

It would be appropriate; has any major band ever been as associated with acid as Pink Floyd? (Yeah. The Grateful Dead, dumbo.) But not even the Dead managed to put out LPs (like 1969’s Ummagumma) that I would ONLY listen to while I was on hallucinogens, because they were unlistenable to anyone on the uninitiated side of the doors of perception. That said, I’ve since put on Ummagumma and found its first side to be bearable and its second side to be complete and unadulterated bullshit (“Several Species of Small Furry Animals” or “The Grand Vizier’s Garden Party (Entertainment),” anyone?). And while my recollections are hazy, I have come to the conclusion that the guy in the dorm who owned it was so far out there he’d only play side two while tripping balls.

The Pink Floyd story is a familiar one. The band was formed in London in 1965 by Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright, with David Gilmour coming aboard in 1967, destined to be the substitute for Barrett, who despite the band’s success and his status as the band’s chief songwriter was coming unhinged. After numerous legendary on-stage fiascos involving increasingly odd behavior on the part of Barrett—he might stand in the hot stage lights, crushed ludes melting in his hair, looking off into the distance with his arms dangling down, declining to play his guitar for the entire set—the band more or less decided to not pick him up for a gig, and just like that he was gone, although his living specter (he showed up, bald and bloated, at the Wish You Were Here sessions, and his evident madness left several of his former band mates in tears) would haunt the band and indeed inspire some of their best work.

As time went on the band moved from challenging works such as Ummagumma towards more commercial LPs, such as 1973’s The Dark Side of the Moon, which contained none of their trademark acid jams (“long psychedelic noodling stuff,” as Gilmour dismissively described them) and made them superstars. But I’m partial to its successor, 1974’s Wish You Were Here, in part because I’ve heard “Time” and “Money” so many times I scream in agony when they come on the radio, and I don’t think I could give the landmark LP they’re on an even break.

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TVD New Orleans

Jon Cleary kicks off
2015 Jazz in the Park
fall series, 9/3

Hot on the heels of the release of his first album since 2004, the keyboardist/singer/songwriter will be appearing with his longtime band, the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Thursday evening. Charmaine Neville opens.

Jazz in the Park brings killer New Orleans talent to Armstrong Park free every Thursday afternoon through the week before Halloween. The full schedule is available here.

Acclaimed Grammy-award winner, John Porter, produced Go Go Juice. Porter has become a New Orleans cottage industry of sorts since relocating here. He has produced a wide variety of new projects including Rickie Lee Jones (another new New Orleans transplant), Stanton Moore and the Honey Island Swamp Band.

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TVD UK

The Best of 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 here at TVD every Thursday.

“My ROTW is from a Geordie band that I’ve been a fan of for years and years. I first chatted to them back in 2010 and this time they’ve released a record on their own label—it is the smallest label and it’s perfect in every way! Little Comets’ Hope is Just a State of Mind is this week’s record of the week and I’ll be spinning three tracks off it.

This weeks #Shellshock is from a band called W I N T E R, they’re two brothers releasing on Wild Sound Recordings out of Cambridge.” —SZ

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Static Daydream,
Static Daydream

Those nutty over shoegaze may know Paul Baker from Skywave and Ceremony. Since 2012 he’s been busy in Static Daydream, a project finding him in cahoots with girlfriend and musical collaborator Jamie Casey. Their 4-song cassette “The Only One” was issued last year and now here’s a self-titled LP; like Baker’s previous outfits Static Daydream is disinclined toward untapped aural horizons, instead striving to invigorate long-ensconced ideas. Limited edition vinyl in an edition of 150 in black and 100 in “Orange Crush with Black Haze” is out through Saint Marie and Moon Sounds Records.

Akin to Static Daydream, Skywave was based in Fredericksburg, VA. A trio composed of Baker on guitar, Oliver Ackerman on bass, and John Fedowitz on drums, their geographical circumstance has been suggested as a disadvantage, Skywave apparently plagued with audience neglect while extant. Beginning in 1998 they released four full-lengths and a few singles and EPs, the group going out on a qualitative high-note early in ’04 with Synthstatic.

Post-breakup Ackerman moved to Brooklyn and formed the considerably higher-profile A Place to Bury Strangers; he’s also notable for effects pedal company/defunct warehouse space Death By Audio. Baker and Fedowitz remained homebodies and worked together as Ceremony, the pair issuing three albums and a bunch of short-players prior to Baker’s exit and the subsequent formation of Static Daydream.

If Skywave’s existence was basically unimaginable without the precedent established by My Bloody Valentine and likeminded acts of their era, the same can be said for Ceremony, though the choice of moniker might tip-off the reader to Baker and Fedowitz’s interest in the adjustment period betwixt Joy Division and New Order. Utilizing programmed beats and a familiar vocal inflection infused with waves of distortion, Ceremony initially resonated like the Brothers Reid ambushing A Factory Record.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 9/2/15

Vinyl Records For Sale By The Pound For Pennies, Dusty Groove Offers Discount Bulk Vinyl Records For Set Designers, Decorators, Artists, And Other Creative Uses: “We opened a huge bargain basement a last year to help with overflow, but it’s still not enough to handle the surplus. So we decided to offer large random lots of vinyl at a very low price…”

5 tips for starting your very own vinyl record collection: “There’s nothing finer than putting a vinyl record on the turntable and hearing the crackling sound as the album starts to spin and make you dance like no one is watching. These days it seems everybody has a hobby and I decided that it’s time I find one, so I decided to start a vinyl collection.

Tesco to become the first UK supermarket to sell vinyl records, Would you pick up a vinyl record along with a loaf and a pint of semi-skimmed? “The supermarket giant will trial sales of vinyl this Friday (September 4), beginning with the release of Iron Maiden’s new album The Book Of Souls.”

(And…)

Tesco’s plan to stock vinyl could kill more independent record stores: “My concern is that the few remaining independent record shops will be hurt by the encroachment. Supermarkets have already driven down the living wages of food producers, and while vinyl won’t be a big proportion of Tesco’s sales, it’s a few less sales that those independent shops will get.”

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live Shots:
Billy Joel at Wrigley Field, 8/27

Billy Joel is a fan of Chicago. “We love playing here,” he said a couple of songs into his set at Wrigley Field last Thursday. And indeed he does, having played Wrigley three times in the last six years. And it’s no wonder: Chicago loves Billy. The feelings are mutual.

As a child of the ’80s, I grew up listening to a lot of Billy Joel. He is certainly a big part of the musical fabric of my youth. But it wasn’t until Thursday night that I remembered just how much. Nearly every song conjured up some sort of long-lost memory—not just for me, but seemingly for the thousands of audience members in Wrigley’s historic stands. The fact that Billy hasn’t released a new album in over 20 years almost reinforced the nostalgia of the evening.

The mood of the evening was jovial with Billy leading the way. He provided good stage banter, with jokes and stories in between a songs. More than once he gave the audience setlist choices, having them cheer for which of two songs they’d rather hear him play. But most impressive to me was his voice. He can really still sing his ass off.

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The TVD Storefront

Jain, The TVD First Date

“I grew up between the south of France, Dubai, Pointe Noire—a little town in Congo, and Abu Dhabi. 

“There were not many record shops around there, so the first time I went to buy vinyl was in Paris when I was 18. Today I’m 23 and I’ve got more than a hundred. I’m trying to make up for all the lost time, because I really fell in love with the warm and organic sound of the vinyl.

I often go to a record shop in Paris called Superfly Records specializing in R&B/Soul music. I really love to hang out there, searching for new sounds, new vibes, it’s so inspiring.

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TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: The Jaguar Club

This week, in another break with tradition, we’ve got another US band gracing the UK Artist Of The Week (because that’s where they’re making waves at the moment, and give us a break—you’re not our real dad).

The Jaguar Club are New York band who have headed across the atlantic to unveil two stunning videos. The first one they teased the UK with is the fast paced and euphoric “Stringer,” which is a love letter to ’80s new wave, complete with reverb soaked live instruments mixed with stabbing synths and New Order-esque vocals from founding member and frontman William Popadic.

Their next video for “Hard Cider” is a lot more laid back and captures a beautiful sadness in both the music and visuals. There are a number of animation styles used, including claymation and rotoscoping, and the tenderness of the track is really brought home as you witness a lovers’ first embrace in the midst of nature, or an elderly couple dealing with illness and loss followed by a viking funeral. Words don’t really do it justice—let’s just say we were left with a lump in our throat towards the end.

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TVD UK

Brendan Dalton,
The TVD First Date

“I’m at that age now where I don’t want to go out clubbing and have shout to friends over the top of whatever current top 20 the DJ is playing. I don’t want to listen to a playlist on the way to work or a mix CD whilst I catch up on my emails. Music has become a sacred ritual. I want to sit down, I want to relax, and I want to enjoy an album the way the artist intended; from start to finish with the focus solely on it. And it’s all because of vinyl.”

“More and more often I find myself getting home from work and settling down for the evening with a drink in hand and a shiny slab of wax on my turntable. I don’t even bother to turn the TV on. I just listen. And it’s such an amazing sensation.

You really do pay more attention to music when you’re listening on vinyl, there’s just something about it. I don’t know if it’s because I’m listening for the point where I have to flip the disc or subconsciously I feel obliged to because I spent that little bit extra on an album you could have easily spent less on for a download or CD, but I love it.

I love the precision and care I take when flipping that disc between “True Affection” and “The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apt.” I love putting down the needle and hearing that quiet hiss before the opening track of the score to Paranorman. I love the subtle cracks and pops on the emotional break on Ryan Adams’ “Come Pick Me Up.” Hell, I love the way the gloriously oversized artwork starts to look after that second rum and coke.

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