TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Pere Ubu
at the Rock and Roll
Hotel, 6/24

Since reactivating Pere Ubu in 1987 David Thomas and his cohorts have kept the focus consistently forward and in the process have accumulated one of rock’s more impressive discographies. In 2015 Fire Records began to collect Ubu’s early material into vinyl box sets, a smart maneuver helping to introduce those canonical works to a younger audience. The Coed Jail! tour finds Ubu’s current lineup tackling selections from 1975-1982, and on June 24 they brought the avant-garage to Washington, DC’s Rock and Roll Hotel with inspired precision.

As one of the busier active veteran units there was really little worry Pere Ubu’s live excursion into the back catalogue would be tentative or out-of-sync. Furthermore, as their generous yet efficient set unfurled from inside the intimate environs of the Rock and Roll Hotel, the assurances that Coed Jail! was something other than a mere greatest hits tour proved right on the money. Instead, the tour sheds contemporary light upon an era of enduring relevance, with Ubu conjuring a wild, utterly human sound.

The evening began with a short and loose appearance by Cleveland’s Obnox. Featuring ex-Bassholes and This Moment in Black History drummer Lamont “Bim” Thomas, for this current endeavor he plays guitar, sings, and in a maneuver sure to catch a few newcomers off guard, raps over a foundation of looped amp noise and live drums.

The majority of Obnox’s set, which found the duo joined on a pair of occasions by Ubu drummer Steve Mehlman, was raw, bluesy garage punk likely to please fans of assorted acts on the In the Red label. Plus, the non-gimmicky dives into hip hop actually brought to mind the merger of white hickdom and urban blackness found in Thomas’ Bassholes associate Don Howland’s work in The Gibson Bros. However, the execution was quite different as Thomas evinced a real talent for rapping.

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The TVD Storefront

Spinning: Finn Brothers, “Last Day of June”

Look, it’s hard to tell people how you feel, what’s going on, the tides pushing and pulling.

Time was when a mixtape was that bridge, or the spin of a well-intentioned record eliciting its own waltz about a candlelit room with the object of one’s adoration.

It’s an emotional world, it is. Thus, TVD HQ’s recurring fuel for your fires and mixtapes. Reading between the lines—encouraged.

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The TVD Record Store Club

The Official Record
Store Crawl announces Summer Series, expands to 7 US Cities

It’s no secret that while we’re all about vinyl here at TVD, the physical mom and pop record shops are at the core of our endeavor. As such, we’re delighted to put on your radar the Official Record Store Crawl Summer Series, borne from Record Store Day crawls, which will arrive in 7 US cities throughout the summer of 2016. And we’re happy to be official “enablers” in support of this fine idea.

The Official Record Store Crawl also hits Washington, DC where our office happens to be, so watch this space for DC-centric crawl info as it comes in and we’ll see you on the bus on August 6. First however, here are all the official details to date:

OFFICIAL RECORD STORE CRAWL ANNOUNCES “SUMMER SERIES,” EXPANDS TO CITIES ACROSS THE US

Participants to be Escorted by Bus to Top Record Stores In LA, Austin, Nashville, NYC, Chicago, Washington DC, and Portland Nico Yaryan, Big Jesus, Sammy Brue, Charlie Worsham, Heliotropes, Sleep On It, Good Old War and More to Perform

Audiophiles, record enthusiasts, and music lovers are invited to join the official Record Store Crawl “Summer Series,” taking place in various US cities throughout July and August. Participants will be escorted by bus to some of each city’s best record stores with performances from various artists along the way. Tickets range from $29.95 to $59.95, and can be purchased at recordstorecrawl.com.

Receive 20% off tickets with code CRAWL20 at checkout!

The event follows on the success of the recently held Record Store Day Crawl, which took place in New York in April, with performances from indie rockers, Bear Hands. The event was originally conceived in 2007 by John Kunz of Austin institution, Waterloo Records, as a local promotion with participating stores to celebrate Record Store Day.

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TVD New Orleans

See Ya Later, Alligator: A Celebration of the Bobby Charles Songbook at Chickie Wah Wah, 7/2

Saturday night at 9 PM Chickie Wah Wah is the place to be when an all-star group of New Orleans musicians will gather to celebrate the tunes one of the greatest American songwriters, Louisiana’s own Bobby Charles.

Guitarists Dave Malone (The Radiators, Raw Oyster Cult) and Jake Eckert (The New Orleans Suspects, Dirty Dozen Brass Band) will lead the band. The rhythm section will feature keyboardist John Gros (Papa Grows Funk), bassist Reggie Scanlan (The Radiators, New Orleans Suspects), and ace session drummer Doug Belote. Special guests are expected to appear.

Born Robert Charles Guidry in southwest Louisiana’s Cajun Country, Bobby Charles was an early purveyor of a hybrid musical style known as “swamp pop.” His first songs to hit the charts were “See Ya Later, Alligator,” which was immortalized by Bill Haley and Comets, and “Walkin’ To New Orleans,” which became one of Fats Domino’s signature songs and has since been recorded by hundreds of artists.

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TVD UK

Needle Drop: POLSKY, My Own Company

“Pop-rock” is a much maligned genre. Personally, I think it’s due to the common tendency to use the term as a label for bands who we’re uncertain about. Something catchy played with distortion—pop-rock. Shiny harmonies and they dress like rockstars—pop-rock. A rock band with a keyboard player—pop-rock. Well, POLSKY are all of those things and this is exactly the space they own.

Drawing from bands like Maximo Park, The Cure, Duran Duran, and Orange Juice, POLSKY has carved out a space where they marry some skronking guitar riffs and witty lyrics to some beautifully delicate moments and soaring pop choruses. Their new album My Own Company, which seems to have had its release delayed more times than Chinese Democracy, ranges from the barnstorming indie-single “Switchboard Operator,” to borderline disco track “Halcyon Daze,” to the unashamed ballad “Song for The Silver Surfer,” and all the way back again.

Chris Warren, Ben Warn, Alex Robertson, and Chris Norman display a certain musical maturity on the album. While perhaps not as edgy as Maximo Park’s A Certain Trigger or early material from The Cure, there is a great deal of confidence displayed from POLSKY as the climax of the Pink Floyd influenced “Nimbus Cumulus” builds to a euphoric release, the music rising to a tipping point before washing over the listener with its warm harmonies and reverb guitar.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Sly & The Family Stone,
Original Album Classics

The late-1960s was loaded with musical groundbreakers, and one of the most enduring is Sly & the Family Stone. Formed by brothers Sly and Freddie Stone, the group grew by leaps and bounds through the combination of rock, R&B/soul, psychedelia, and pop, and by ’69 they had effectively conquered the scene. Theirs is a reign dotted with masterworks, and Sony has collected the bulk of the discography into the vinyl box set Original Album Classics. It includes five 180gm LPs remastered from the source tapes by Vic Anesini and pressed at URP; for a limited time it’s available exclusively at Popmarket.

He was born Sylvester Stewart in Denton, TX in 1943. Two decades later the man was wielding the handle Sly Stone, and when his Sly & the Stoners joined forces with his brother’s Freddie & the Stone Souls in ’67 San Francisco, he was already well-ensconced in the music biz both as a performer and producer at Autumn Records. In due time Sly excelled at his leadership role, though the Family Stone, credited as the first major American rock act to incorporate integrated multi-gender personnel, was always something more.

They initially consisted of Sly (vocals, organ, and assorted other instruments), Freddie (guitar, vocals), Larry Graham (bass, vocals), Cynthia Robinson (trumpet, vocal interjections), Jerry Martini (saxophone), and Greg Errico (drums), with assistance from Vet Stone, Mary McCreary, and Elva Mouton, collectively known as Little Sister (backing vocals). Signed to CBS Records’ subsidiary Epic, they worked fast, maybe too fast; the first long-player was in the can before June was done.

Indeed, if they’d broken up after A Whole New Thing’s cashbox failure, Sly & the Family Stone would likely be forgotten. Over the years the debut has taken its share of heat, some of it undeserved. Things begin fairly well; “Underdog” is bookended by horns riffing on the melody to “Frère Jacques,” but the meat of the matter is upbeat soul. The opener establishes one of the album’s distinctive attributes, specifically a heavier drum sound than was then the norm for the R&B genre.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 6/30/16

Dyno Records in Newburyport celebrates 40th anniversary: Dyno Records, which sells records (both new and vintage vinyl albums and singles), CDs, musical accessories, turntables and other musical items, saw a bump in business with the comeback of vinyl. Osborne has a theory about the new popularity of albums. “The sound is richer and fuller. There’s beautiful artwork and you can read the liner notes without putting on reading glasses,” he said.

Getting Down to Business with Heads Up Music: Mark Brumbelow and Stephanie Lynn opened the doors of Heads Up Music in March. They don’t just have the hardware — stuff like turntables, vinyl, CDs, cassette tapes, DVDs, guitar strings and drumsticks — they’ve also got the ethos of a classic record shop, one that seeks to serve as the community’s hub for all things music.The co-owners sat down with The Taos News to talk about the economics of Taos’ music scene and getting young people hooked on analog sounds.

Rear View Mirror: The World’s Rarest Vinyl: The rumour goes that in 1966, the Darrell Banks song in question was licensed to London Records. Eager to start selling the popular soul song, the label sent it off to be pressed at their vinyl plant. However, that night there was a disagreement between the artist and the label, and now they had major problem on their hands… they’d already pressed thousands of copies of the song. Not wanting a lawsuit, they stopped the presses, pulled all the copies of the song from the factory floor and melted them down, every record destroyed by fire… except one. One copy escaped.

Old Street Records launches with pizza, cocktails and vinyl on the menu: Old Street Records, which officially opens on June 30, is collaborating with two record labels, Fiction Records and Caroline International, to sell their releases. This will mean vinyls (“Vinyls” in not a word. —Ed.) from artists including Iggy Pop, Tame Impala, Nick Mulvey, The Maccabees, Ian Brown, Mystery Jets and Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes will be able to be bought from the bar. The Shoreditch site will also serve pizzas along with cocktails and craft beers, and it’s not all about vinyl — the bar will also have live music six nights a week, with an eclectic programme of soul, funk, jazz, rock and pop.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Grace Potter
at the 9:30 Club, 6/23

REVIEW: NATHAN PAYNE | Six months after her stellar performance prior to the massive snow storm of 2016, Grace Potter touched down at the 9:30 Club once again to deliver another galactic jam session. For two nights in a row, she blasted crowds with her undeniable energy and mind-bending riffs before returning to the road.

The night kicked off with Con Brio, a badass, funk factory bursting with rhythm and soul. Brass stacked on bass laid the framework for Grace Potter to melt the stage. A flash of lights and intercom static shot the crowd around the sun with “Hot to the Touch.” From that point on, Grace fueled the audience with a blend of solo and Nocturnals tunes, each more dynamic than the last.

As the night moved on, the depth of the music expanded providing more than the anticipated sounds from previous and recent albums. What had the potential to be standard live renditions morphed into extended mishmashes of unexpected delight. “Loneliest Soul” turned into “Walking On Sunshine” which led into “Maneater,” then “Somebody To Love,” and ultimately returning back to “Loneliest Soul” after a gauntlet of chords and sequins.

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The TVD Storefront

Spinning:
Todd Rundgren,
“Be Nice To Me”

Look, it’s hard to tell people how you feel, what’s going on, the tides pushing and pulling.

Time was when a mixtape was that bridge, or the spin of a well-intentioned record eliciting its own waltz about a candlelit room with the object of one’s adoration.

It’s an emotional world, it is. Thus TVD HQ’s recurring fuel for your fires and mixtapes. Reading between the lines—encouraged.

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Smog, Supper

I admit it: I haven’t listened to much Bill Callahan, who has spent the bulk of his career recording under the Smog moniker. But I’ve listened to 2003’s Supper about a quarter of a million times, and why, given how much I enjoy it, I haven’t listened to any of his other albums is an imponderable mystery, like what happened to D.B. Cooper, why the dinosaurs and the 8-track went extinct, and what exactly it is about the Police that other people hear but I don’t.

Callahan followed the patented path from lo-fi to high, although in his case the increasing sophistication was due less to shifting aesthetic preference to sheer lack of access to more expensive recording technology in his early years. He has however, stayed faithful to his relativity primitive songwriting approach, which emphasizes simple and repetitive song structures, and often eschews choruses. That, compared with his deadpan vocal delivery, gives his LPs a unique feel, one that is often simultaneously down in the mouth and exhilarating. Or, depending on your tastes, it makes them exercises in monotony, which are likely to send you running to something with more variety, say Prince or just about everybody, really.

“Feather by Feather” is a lovely and haunting slow burner of a country rock tune on which Callahan is joined by Sarabeth Tucek. The organ is pretty, as is the pedal steel guitar, and while I can’t say I know what the song is about, I sure do like it when Callahan sings, “When they make the movie of your life/They’re going to have to ask you to do your own stunts/Cuz nobody nobody nobody nobody/Can pull off the same shit as you/And still come out alright.” I also like the ending, when Callahan and Tucek sing, “And you are a fighter/You are a fighter/You are a fighter” and so on until a synth comes in and they repeat, “The kids got heart.” I’m not enthralled by “Butterflies Drowned in Wine,” which opens with some stop and start until it breaks into an enthused passage, which in its turn is followed by some slow country music. And so it goes, the tune twisting and turning about on itself and going every which way—there’s even a section where Callahan and Tucek sing, “Temporary sister and brotherhood” over and over again—and it’s just too busy for my tastes.

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