TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

We are not like all the rest / You can see us any day of the week. / Come around, sit down, take a sniff, fall asleep / Baby you don’t have to speak. / I’d like to show you where it is / But then it wouldn’t even mean a thing. / Nothing is easy, baby just please me / Who knows what tomorrow may bring. / Well if for just one moment / You could step outside your mind. / And float across the ceiling / I don’t think the folks would mind…

Let’s face it, this week was pretty shitty. Watching the hatred unfold and yesterday’s terror in Spain, I don’t feel like writing.

The good news is the world’s not all bad. There are summer BBQs, backwards three pointers, and even ol’ Randy Newman can still sing his ass off.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Carol Burnett Sings reissue
in stores 10/6

VIA PRESS RELEASE | It’s no wonder folks tend to forget that Carol Burnett was and is a heckuva singer; that’s what happens when you’re arguably the most talented and accomplished comedienne of your generation. Indeed, although Carol’s pose as her iconic maid character on the cover of this 1967 RCA LP was a tie-in with the launch of Carol’s legendary, long-running, Emmy-winning CBS-TV series, one could also view it as a commentary on her recording career—always the (brides)maid, never the bride.

But make no mistake about this record—after starring on Broadway in the acclaimed musical Once Upon a Mattress and working her way up the ranks of TV’s top variety programs—Carol simply sings rings around this engaging collection of show and pop tunes, with arranging and conducting duties shared between the estimable Mort Garson and Ernie Freeman. Now reissued for the first time anywhere, we’ve added two bonus tracks for our Expanded Edition: “Make Me Rainbows,” an unreleased Alan & Marilyn Bergman/John Williams composed outtake from the album sessions, and “The Bullfrog Patrol” from the obscure 1958 NBC-TV soundtrack album The General Motors 50th Anniversary Show.

With liner notes by Joe Marchese augmenting Carol’s pal Julie Andrews’ original sleeve notes, and digital remastering by Maria Triana at Battery Studios in New York, Carol Burnett: Sings provides yet more evidence that Carol Burnett is a national treasure.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: We Were Going to Change the World: Interviews with Women from the 1970s and 1980s Southern California Punk Rock Scene in stores 8/21

“We thought we were going to change the world. I thought we were going to revolutionize the way men and women reacted with each other in politics, art, culture, and music.”
Exene Cervenka

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The punk rock scene of the 1970s and ’80s in Southern California is widely acknowledged as one of the most vibrant and creative periods in rock and roll. Over the years, many books have come out exploring this explosive time in music and culture, but none have exclusively focused on the vitality and influence of the women who played such a crucial role in this incredibly dynamic movement.

Stacy Russo has created a unique book about the punk rock era, focusing on the women who were such a huge part of it. We Were Going to Change the World: Interviews with Women From the 1970s & 1980s Southern California Punk Rock Scene (Santa Monica Press/August 21, 2017) captures the stories of women who were active in the punk rock scene in Southern California during this historic time, adding an important voice to the cultural and musical record.

Through exclusive interviews with musicians, journalists, photographers, and fans, Russo captures the essence of why these women were drawn to punk rock, what they witnessed, and how their involvement in this empowering scene ended up influencing the rest of their lives.

“As a librarian and college professor, I have always been interested in research projects I could do with my students,” Russo explains. “I came up with the idea of interviewing women like me, now in our middle or later years, who grew up in the punk rock scene in Southern California. How did punk rock influence the rest of their lives? What attracted them to punk rock, and how did they get involved? And, most importantly, what was it like being a woman in this music scene?”

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The TVD Storefront

Gary Lucas,
The TVD First Date

“I never fetishized vinyl. I mean I liked it fine, okay, when first introduced to those flat pancake discs—because, until the advent of the cassette and later its big brother the CD, what were the options? There weren’t none—so I just took it in stride as something utilitarian that just was, uh, there.”

“The first vinyl I can recall were 78s in my parents collection bound together in folio books with brown paper sleeves housing the black shellacked discs—sometimes audio documentaries like Show-Biz, narrated by Georgie Jessel and containing snippets of “great moments of “SB” like Sir Harry Lauder serenading a NYC theater at 2AM after his ship sailed in late from Glasgow, the Duke of Windsor’s abdicating his throne for the clutches of Walllis Simpson Warfield (a rather broad definition of show-biz, wouldn’t you say?)—or purported audio documentaries like Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater broadcast of The War of the Worlds—or actual spoken word drama with sound effects.

One good ‘un we had in our house in Syracuse growing up was Basil Rathbone essaying the role of Robin Hood (a reversal from his portrayal of the villainous Sir Guy of Gisbourne in the Michael Curtiz/Errol Flynn-filmed swash-buckler), a whole movie for your ears spread over six 78 rpm discs, acted out and replete with grisly torture sound effects in the dungeon. At one point when the Sheriff of Nottingham was extracting information out of one of Robin’s band of merry men by stretching him on the rack, ugh…but I digress.

On a lighter note, I especially remember those flimsy little yellow and red plastic see-through vinyl Golden Records for children (mostly without covers—my dog ate them or something) which were thrown around my Auburn, NY-based cousins’ rumpus room like so many frisbees when they weren’t playing them back for me and my siblings on weekend trips to their house. Stuff like “Mr. Bumbles” (“the funny Mr. Bumbles!”—sung in a minor key funereal dirge tempo by some guy with a mournful, lugubrious voice, melody and tempo reminiscent of the verse section of Henry Hill’s “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic”).

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Van Morrison,
Blowin’ Your Mind!

Poor Van Morrison. Releasing your debut solo album is supposed to be a celebrity event, right? With all those months of needles and pins anticipation culminating in the birth of your first ever baby—your love child! Well, that’s not the way it went for Van the Man, who not only didn’t know he had an album coming out, but had no input whatsoever on what was going to be on it or what the cover was going to look like.

No, Morrison didn’t know diddly, and when he got his first look at the cover he said, and these are his very words, “I almost threw up, you know.” I like to think this happened in a record store, which it didn’t. I like to imagine the whole event from the point of view of the clerk working in the record store, who would have said something like, “So Van came in like usual, and I told him we’d just received a shipment of his debut album. And he said, a slight twitch in his left cheek, ‘What debut album?’ And I told him, ‘Blowin’ Your Mind!’ And he said, ‘Never heard of it.’ So I got up and took him over to the new display featuring the album, like, three times its normal size. And he proceeded to blanch. Have you ever actually seen a man blanch? He doesn’t turn white immediately. Oh no. He goes through about 40 very subtle gradations of gray on his way to white.”

“’It’s… it’s hideous,’ he said finally. Then he said, ‘I think I’m going to spew.’ ‘Spew?’ said I. ‘Certainly it’s not that bad. It looks like they’ve got your sweaty head in Roman profile surrounded by a bunch of shit brown vines and your name in some very tacky psychedelic yellow balloon lettering and… come to think about it, I suppose it is that bad.’ By this time he wasn’t talking, exactly, but delivering what I can only describe as an inarticulate speech of the heart. ‘Look on the bright side,’ I told him. ‘Compared to this, the cheesy photographic trickery that constitutes the cover of your 1970 LP His Band and the Street Choir is going to look good.’”

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/18/17

Korean music fans turn to vinyl for vintage listening experience: Although Korea still lags behind in vinyl record sales compared to other countries, with no official figures tracking the sales yet, the people behind Machang Music & Pictures thought it was important for Korea to have its own pressing plant. “Many asked me that question,” said Park Jong-myung, marketing director of the company. “We are living in such a digital world where almost everyone consumes music through streaming on their mobile phones. But we started it because we wanted to emphasize the value of listening to music, whereas these days, many people are simply consuming music.”

Record Lounge in REO Town is vinyl lover’s dream: “I think this was what I was supposed to do in life,” Frarey said. “Every other week my mom would go grocery shopping at Meijer, and I’d come home from school and there would be five or six 45’s lying on my bed.” The Record Lounge, an all-vinyl spot owned by Frarey, moved into REO Town about four months ago, after relocating from East Lansing. She started her brick and mortar business in 2008 in East Lansing, where she remained until April of this year. Record Lounge gets in new vinyl every day from its distributors. They buy, sell and trade. “It’s pretty wild how much vinyl they’re putting out,” Frarey said. “They’re doing all these reissues of things that you never would have thought were going to be on vinyl.”

Why Vinyl Records and Vintage Gaming Consoles Are Popular Again: Sales of vinyl are contributing to a resurgence of interest in turntables. Several new models were unveiled at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas. Clearaudio, Crosley, Harman, Technics, and VPI were among the companies that showed off their products…“For older collectors, there’s a serious nostalgia factor” when it comes to vinyl and other physical formats, Stephen Young, owner of Record Wonderland, outside Chicago, told the Tribune. “But we have people who are 16, 17, and 18 years old coming in, fascinated by the idea of tangible music, because they’ve all grown up with only digital files.”

Merle’s Record Rack hits 55: Michael J. Papa, owner of Merle’s Record Rack, is known to record-collectors as the “King of Vinyl.” But as Papa is getting ready to celebrate Merle’s 55th anniversary on Aug. 26, he said the business is as much about customers sharing and experiencing memories as about the extensive vinyl and collectible inventory. “These things have a million memories,” Papa said, extending his arm to the store filled with LPs, 45s, CDs and vintage stereo equipment. Music is “like a smell — it triggers something. … It brings them happiness. It helps them feel young again.” The celebration will be 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in the store at 307 Racebrook Road, with a disc jockey, sales and “good vibes,” as he put on postcards publicizing the event.

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The TVD Storefront

RVD Radar: L7: Pretend We’re Dead in theaters 9/1, Blu-ray/DVD 10/13

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The L7: Pretend We’re Dead documentary, produced by Blue Hats Creative will be released worldwide October 13 on VOD and Blu-ray / DVD. A multi-city theatrical screening tour of the film will kick off on September 1, with over a dozen dates and more to be announced in select markets this Fall.

Excitement around L7: Pretend We’re Dead has catalyzed a widely anticipated reunion which unleashed their high-octane energy and anthemic chops upon stages worldwide. The band will play a stint of West Coast dates next month with more chances to experience the electrifying onslaught coming soon.

L7: Pretend We’re Dead assembles a powerful combination of never-before-seen home video footage, raucous performances,and relevant interviews. It’s a real time journey witnessing the rise, fall, and ultimate redemption of the fierce feminist pioneers of American grunge punk, L7.

The film offers engrossing insight into the band’s 20 year plus her-story and features exclusive interviews with Exene Cervenka (X), Shirley Manson (Garbage), Joan Jett, Brody Dalle (The Distillers), Lydia Lunch, Allison Robertson (The Donnas), Louise Post (Veruca Salt), CSS and more.

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The TVD Storefront

Donald Fagen and The Nightflyers, The TVD Interview

“I wish I had a heart like ice,” Donald Fagen—or rather his character, uber-hip yet lovelorn jazz DJ Lester—yearns in “The Nightfly.” The track is a high point on an autobiography-infused nostalgiAlbum of high points. The Nightfly, Fagen’s debut solo recording—which also featured classics “I.G.Y.” and “New Frontier”—was nominated for seven Grammy awards and released in 1982.

Fagen’s latest solo venture comes in the form of a touring band appropriately dubbed The Nightflyers. From July through September, the bunch will play in a myriad of venues across the US, as well as the Yokohama Blue Note Jazz Fest for a tour closer. The Nightflyers are new for Donald, more or less; he first ran into the twenty-somethings bunch—Connor Kennedy (guitar, vocals), Lee Falco (drums, vocals), Brandon Morrison (bass, vocals), and Will Bryant (keyboards, vocals)—on the Woodstock-area music circuit. Stepdaughter and musician Amy Helm, also based in the Woodstock area, had worked with them in the past. Donald Fagen and the Nightflyers’ current setlist mainly borrows from Donald’s four stellar solo albums—The Nightfly (1982), Kamakiriad (1993), Morph the Cat (2006), and Sunken Condos (2012)—with some innovative covers and Steely Dan classics, too.

Fagen first formed a reputation as vocalist-pianist and songwriter, along with his musical partner Walter Becker, creating the Steely Dan nucleus. Influenced by literature and jazz, science fiction and noir, and all things Beatnik, Fagen and Becker created one of the most cerebrally complex yet often-mass-marketable song catalogues in the American popular music of the 1970s. Consider for a moment the miraculous and sometimes twisted perfection of the band’s lyrics—no topic seemed off-limits for songs, and many dealt in the murky nether regions of human relationships—which can sometimes get creepy. Steely Dan’s characters, however dastardly or morally questionable their intentions were, always possessed a layer of relatable loneliness.

As a solo artist, Donald Fagen is perhaps under-recognized for the romantic view of life expressed in his music. Frequently and rightfully lauded for his impressive cerebral prowess, he is sometimes snubbed for the more emotional side of his unique aural persona—one that is ridden, however coolly, with noble feeling, steadfast mensch-ness, and a lushly detectable yet fittingly understated sex appeal. A persona that’s the sonic equivalent of Bogart’s Rick in Casablanca, decked out in a white dinner jacket—solitary, strong, sarcastic, and unavoidably ardent when it came to the gal he loved. Like Lester the Nightfly, Rick insisted he’d “stick his neck out for nobody.” He yearned for “a heart like ice”—but couldn’t swing it.

In conversation with Donald Fagen, and Connor Kennedy of the Nightflyers, we learn more about the current Nightflyers tour, their musical and lifestyle influences and inspirations, and Connor’s recently released solo album, Somewhere.

Donald, a great deal of your solo material features seemingly cynical characters who also possess an undertone of a romantic worldview, a worldview that I’ve found to be pretty popular in the great noir protagonists of literature and cinema—like Philip Marlowe.

That’s fair, that’s fair.

Do you envision yourself in this way too, as the protagonist of your own life experience, having a soft spot for what you love, despite your intellect’s best intentions?

I think that’s a very fair way to describe the music. It’s hard to say. I think it’s sort of egotistical to put myself in a position of having the same kind of bigger-than-life personality as, you know, some of the people in noir literature, like say, Philip Marlowe, something like that. But I am attracted to that sort of thing, and I always think that the best of noir literature—you know, “noir” is actually a word that is fairly recent. They didn’t call it that when it was written. But there’s something about that vision of life to me that seems true to real life, I think. I think you’re right—there’s a romance to it. There’s a cynicism to it, skepticism, and humor, also. So I think that’s become part of my style.

Yes. I was watching the film version of Chandler’s The Big Sleep again recently and Philip Marlowe seems like this knight in shining armor that’s trying to work his way through this muck of all these crazy and corrupt characters, even though he seems that he’s a bit cynical.


He does stand out as being the one guy who’s doing the right thing.

Yeah, it’s like Al Franken, you know.

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The TVD Storefront

Richard X Heyman,
The TVD First Date

“There was always a lot of vinyl lying around the Heyman household. My father was into big band jazz as well as some classic comedy albums; my mother liked Broadway soundtracks and classical. My three older sisters were into this new fad called ‘rock’n’roll.'”

“There were stacks of 45s by many of the burgeoning artists of the day. We even had some old 78s. I remember a few times where for some reason I couldn’t find the little plastic center piece (what the hell are those things called?) you’d put in the big hole on a 45. I’d try to eyeball it as centrally as possible, but I could never get it just right. The music would sound slightly wobbly and I’d get a little seasick. Like the time I listened to “Uptown” by The Crystals over and over again because I just wanted to keep experiencing it. And all the while, I had to put a nickel on top of the tone arm to keep it from skipping. This of course was on one of those tiny box record players.

I’d have to say I cut my teeth on Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Harry James, Count Basie, My Fair Lady, West Side Story, The King and I, Camelot, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Elvis Presley, Del Shannon, Ricky Nelson, Fats Domino, Dion & The Belmonts, James Brown, The Drifters, a ton of doo-wop and soul, etc. I spent a good portion of my youth deep inside the grooves of those vinyl albums.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Saccades, (S/T)

Saccades is the new side project of Nicholas Wood, a Berlin-based musician some will recognize as one half of The KVB, an outfit who’ve been pegged as a synth-pop post-punk merger, more tersely as darkwave, and on their own website as blending “reverb-soaked shoegaze with minimalist electronic production.” Saccades is none of those things, instead offering an appealing slice of psychedelic indie guitar pop, but aspects of his main gig do shine through. It’s out now on vinyl and compact disc via Fuzz Club Records.

The above descriptors of The KVB, which finds Wood in partnership with Kat Day, are all fair, though breezing through portions of their discography revealed less overt synth-pop than expected. What arose in its place was a combo of darkwave, with an emphasis on moves familiar from late Joy Division, and a more electro-friendly Jesus & Mary Chain/ shoegaze approach, which reinforces The KVB as being as focused on guitars as synths.

Ultimately, this solo turn is distinct but not entirely surprising. Recorded and produced by Wood last summer during a break in The KVB’s touring schedule, Saccades was captured using an old Tascam tape machine, the device delivering a stripped-down “classic” feel that nicely complements these motions beyond the garage.

Fuzz Club’s promo text describes Saccades as lo-fi, but opener “Distant Sea” is quite vivid as it leisurely unwinds, though it does benefit from a lack of sheen. Much of the song’s appeal derives from its guitars, mingling structural strum with clean, bright guitar leads, but the breathy vocals and interjections of hovering keyboard add value, and the bass and drums are effectively unfussy.

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