UK Artist of the Week, The Retrospectives

Sheffield three-piece The Retrospectives draw upon influences from the ’60s and mid ’90s Britpop as they present their latest single “Insane.”

Although “Insane” is a departure from their usual high-octane indie rock, it shows a different side to the band—a more introspective side. Having gained fans up north playing shows with the likes of The Buzzcocks and featuring as one of BBC Introducing Sheffield’s top ten tracks of the year, it feels as though The Retrospectives momentum is really starting to pick up.

They’re one of many bands up north leading the way for the return of proper old-skool indie rock, and with “Insane” presenting a different side of the band, we can’t wait to hear more.

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TVD New Orleans

Wil Blades’ Field Notes out today, 8/19

New Orleans’ own drummer Simon Lott and guitarist Jeff Parker join the ace keyboardist on this grooving collection released today on Royal Potato Family Records.

This is Blades’ third recording as a leader and his first to feature Lott and Parker. His previous release on Royal Potato Family was the duo recording, Shimmy, with the drummer Billy Martin of Medeski, Martin and Wood. His first solo effort, Sketchy, featured the late, great Idris Muhammad.

“I always had the idea in my mind that doing a trio with Jeff Parker and Simon Lott would have a cool vibe and would be very open,” Blades said. “Both of those guys can play straight-ahead jazz, they can funk, they can take it out, they can go in so many different directions.” That is putting it mildly.

Blades is influenced by the old school organ trio concept epitomized by one of the legends, Dr. Lonnie Smith. Smith has also taken Blades under his wing as a mentor. “A lot of the older guys really want the music to be carried on, and the old school method was not jazz college, it was mentorship,” Blades said.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD US Video Premiere: Postcards from Jeff,
“A House”

“I first started buying 7 inch singles when I was just 6 years old. The first single I bought was ‘Uptown Girl’ by Billy Joel which was quickly followed by ‘Two Tribes’ by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. It was the mid 1980s so pop music was at its peak and I absorbed it all like a sponge! The first LP that made a big impression on me however would be Tango In the Night by Fleetwood Mac.”

“There’s just this dreamy haze that pervades the record. The voices of Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham interweave majestically to create these immaculate pop songs. I just connected with it instantly and still do to this day.

Most people’s favourite Pixies record would be Doolittle but mine would always be Bossanova. It was my first real introduction to the band and I remember being about 13 at the time and just being completely blown away by it. Black Francis’s voice on ‘Rock Music’ is just so brutal. I couldn’t imagine how it was physically possible to sing like that? Joey Santiago’s guitars frantically stabbing away in the background like the soundtrack to some slasher flick. I love the whole 50s sci fi, surf punk vibe of the whole record perfectly encapsulated on ‘Velouria.’

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The TVD Storefront

Kitten (with a whip): Chloe Chaidez and the ascent of Kitten

Chloe Chaidez is wise beyond her years.

For those new to Chaidez’s band Kitten however, it might be hard to break through what’s on the surface. The line of 18-year-old fangirls in midriff shirts and fanboys in neon tank tops lining up outside the venue hours before show time could easily be a sign that Kitten is just another passing fad. Chaidez’s relative youth, all of her 19 years, might certainly be mistaken for naiveté. It would also be easy to assume that her father’s background in the LA punk scene is the only reason she’s around. Or, the ogling 30- and 40-year-old men at her show could distract from the brilliant music she’s creating.

But more than anything, each of these pieces offers a glimpse into the music that Chaidez creates as the band Kitten. At age 19, Chaidez has years of experience under her belt but with energy and youth to spare. It is a powerful combination.

After five years opening for the likes of Paramore, the Neighborhood, and Charli XCX, Chaidez has finally stepped out on her own. She completed her first headlining tour as Kitten this summer in celebration of the June 26 release of Kitten, the band’s first full-length album. It is an energetic ode to rock and dance music of years past. But on the LP, as much as in her renowned live performance, Chaidez makes the sound her own—energetic, charismatic, and thoroughly modern.

Midway through her summer headlining tour, Chaidez lounged in her dressing room in Washington, DC’s Rock and Roll Hotel a few hours before her set, discussing her new album, her musical influences, and what fans can expect down the road. Her eyeliner was heavy and smudged and her hair piled up in a messy bun. She sat with her legs propped up on a coffee table or tucked beneath her, her massive black platform shoes discarded on the floor.

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TVD Nashville

TVD’s lunchtime vinyl sessions at Nashville’s Acme Feed & Seed

Beginning today, Tuesday, August 19th, The Vinyl District’s Tim Hibbs will begin hosting lunchtime vinyl sessions at the historic Acme Feed & Seed every Tuesday and Thursday from noon – 2:00 PM (CST). The 200-year old building is on the National Register of Historic Places and it has been recently converted into a first class restaurant and venue.

The first floor, where Tim will spin, houses the restaurant which offers gourmet, street-food style cuisine and two bars which feature 28 regional craft beers on tap. The hardwood floors and thick ceiling beams belie the building’s former life, but the new owners have spared no expense in making it a true oasis from the tourist trappings of Lower Broadway. Located at 101 Broadway at First Avenue, it overlooks the mighty Cumberland River.

What will Tim spin? The initial sets will focus on music of all genres made in Nashville: blues, soul, rock and, of course, country. Whatever the style, it will all be sourced from vinyl. Tim and Carl Gatti, Acme’s Program Director/Talent Buyer, are serious about keeping it analog, so expect the best in 7”, 10”, and 12” selections. Requests are welcome and questions about the records are encouraged. Tim will publish a detailed playlist after every session, listing the records played and post it to his and Acme’s Facebook pages.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Smoke Dawson,

Initially a 1971 private-press LP released in an edition of 750, Fiddle is the solitary record by Smoke Dawson, and its fresh reissue by the vital enterprise known as Tompkins Square illuminates how there is still plenty of unexplored nooks in the vastness of 20th Century Music. On 17 tracks steeped in tradition but infused with a restless, youthful, and sporadically unusual manner, Dawson wields his titular instrument with skill and panache.

Minus the legwork attached to Live at Caffè Lena: Music from America’s Legendary Coffeehouse, 1967-2013, a terrific 3CD set issued by Tompkins Square that documents the Saratoga Springs, NY folky hotspot run by its namesake Lena Spencer, George “Smoke” Dawson’s main artistic achievement would be little more than a footnote.

Specifically, he was the banjoist in MacGrundy’s Old-Timey Wool Thumpers with guitarist Rob Hunter (not the Grateful Dead lyricist) and fiddler-mandolinist Peter Stampfel, the soon to be Holy Modal Rounder and leader of the Bottlecaps proving such a fine picker of the banjo that Dawson felt encouraged to take up the bow. According to Stampfel, “George took a fuck-ton of speed and came back in a couple weeks playing fiddle better than I did.”

He also ran off with Stampfel’s wife. Dawson began performing at Caffè Lena in the autumn of 1960, the java hut as cultural hub additionally serving as his occasional digs for the ensuing eight years. “Devil’s Dream,” his crowd-rousing examination of a fiddle standard, is included on the opening discof Caffè Lena.

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TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots: Slash with Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators at the Fillmore, 8/13

Slash 2014 World on Fire (11 of 12)

San Francisco Slash fans got a special treat in the form of a last-minute surprise performance by the legendary top-hatted axe man. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators are currently on tour with Aerosmith, but due to an illness within the band, the Aerosmith camp was forced to cancel their show in Concord, California only 13 hours before the performance was scheduled to begin. Like any good seasoned road warrior would do, Slash decided to bring his show to the iconic Fillmore for an intimate evening of epic rock ‘n’ roll greatness.

The 20 song set was a perfect mix of Guns N’ Roses classics including “Night Train,” “You Could Be Mine,” and an epic, almost 20 minute version of “Rocket Queen,” as well as new songs from the forthcoming album World On Fire, including “Stone Blind,” “30 Years of Life,” and the title track.

Slash 2014 World on Fire (1 of 12)

Slash of course was in fine form as he flawlessly jammed on his familiar Les Paul while donning his signature top hat in front of a wall of custom Marshall amps. And frontman Myles Kennedy, where do I start? I have been a huge fan of this guy since he led the terribly underrated Mayfield Four back in the late ’90s. They released an album called Second Skin that very well may be my favorite rock album of all time—it’s a fucking masterpiece in every sense which got destroyed by a major record label.

I love the fact that Myles has found a home where he can truly shine, and that’s exactly what he did this night. This guy’s voice is flawless. He hit EVERY single note perfectly and made it look easy. I would guess there are maybe 5-10 singers on the planet that have the capacity or talent to sing like this.

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UK Vinyl Video: The/Das,
“Miami Waters”

Taken from their debut album Freezer, The/Das’ latest video for single “Miami Waters” is visually fun and sonically ferocious—they’re one of the most exciting electro bands to emerge from Berlin in the last few years and it’s not hard to hear why.

The video paints the band in a different light that we’ve been used seeing them in. Moving away from that dark electro image they’ve built around themselves, the video for “Miami Waters” is an ode to one of Anton Feist’s ancestors, the late Friedrich Feist.

Friedrich was a sailor and “wanderlust vagabond” as described by the band, and “Miami Waters” sees Anton dressed in a sailor outfit, clapping along to the track against a beautiful deserted shoreline.

“Miami Waters” is released on August 25th with the album, Freezer, out now on Berlin label Sinnbus.

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The TVD Storefront

The TVD First Date

“I remember I was at a girlfriend’s house back when I was 19. Her parents were cooking for us and, after her dad kindly taught me how to pour a beer the ‘right way,’ they played Abbey Road on their turntable.”

“Wow I still remember how taken aback I was with the beautiful warm sound, I just focussed everyone out for a little bit and concentrated on the music….I had heard The Beatles plenty of times before but not as they were originally intended, it suddenly made much more sense to me. Ever since then I like to get old albums on vinyl if I can, you have to invest more time into them but then you appreciate the result so much more.”

“My first memories of vinyl are in my parents lounge, being fascinated by the great pictures on big square bits of cardboard, then finding out that there were these round things inside which music came out!”

“I couldn’t understand how, but that made it more interesting. My parents collection was made up of The Beatles and loads of Motown. But I specifically remember my first vinyl LP being Adam and the Ants’ Prince Charming. I love that album but I think the cover is great too. So, I guess I must be influenced by this sound!”

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The TVD Storefront

John Garcia,
The TVD Interview

The genre of stoner rock has roots in bands like Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer, but few bands contributed more to the modern era of stoner rock than Kyuss. When John Garcia started the punk/metal influenced Katzenjammer with his buddies Josh Homme and Brandt Bjork back in 1987, they had no idea that they would turn a whole genre on its heels. Not only did Kyuss help define modern stoner rock, but they took the age-old heaviness of their predecessors, hauled it out into the arid heat of the Palm Desert, and baked it into a whole new genre. Desert rock was born and began what became known as the Palm Desert Scene. 

All good things must end and Kyuss split in 1995 and went their separate ways. Homme formed Queens of the Stone Age with Kyuss bassist Nick Oliveri, and singer Garcia forged his own path. Building a resume of strong bands and varied guest appearances, Garcia has maintained a steady journeyman status…until now.

In 2014, John finally releases his opus, the album he always wanted to record but didn’t. (Spoiler alert: the album kills.) I found John to be like a spotlight—bright and beaming for all to see when we talked about his new album and his family, but leaving the stage a bit dark when the subject of the past came up. This is a more mature, focused John Garcia than I’ve ever seen, one who is ready to rip the rear view mirror off of the windshield and haul ass into whatever the future holds.

Hi John! How are you doing?

I’m doing good, doing good! They’ve got me doing a little bit of press today, they didn’t slap it on me too heavy, so that’s good. Things have been alright here. Where are you calling from?

I’m right outside of DC.

Oh alright, cool.

Just got back from a wonderful weekend in LA, and I miss it already.

Yeah, I was at the beach yesterday with my kids and it was just beautiful. Today’s a little overcast, but you can’t beat California weather sometimes.

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