TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Music City, USA!

This, my rock ‘n’ roll journey, found me on the move and in front of many bands. Yeah man, “sky high” on bands! Last weekend’s FYF (Fuck Yeah) rolled into a short trip to Nashville and another great night of bands. Houndmouth, Cold War Kids, J Roddy Walston & The Business on a summer night in the south sounded like a cool idea for about 20,000 of us.

This will be my first of two trips to Nashville over the next month. With age I’ve learned to really appreciate “the south” and all that it brings to mind; hospitality, good food, and guitars. The emergence of a cool rock scene coming out of the south is imminent and Nashville will certainly be the hub. A few cats from LA and many former New Yorkers have relocated for a comfortable lifestyle and a town that is drenched in sound.

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TVD New Orleans

TVD Recommends: Ed Volker’s Jolly House at Chickie Wah Wah, 8/29

There’s a lot going on Saturday night including the Krewe of OAK’s Midsummer Mardi Gras parade, so the fine folks at Chickie Wah Wah have pushed back their usual schedule. Phil DeGruy and Emily Robinson open the show at 9 PM.

Dubbed “Where Were You When the Lights Went Out,” this incarnation of Jolly House will present “Deep Fishhead Blues” on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Keyboardist and singer/ songwriter Ed Volker, aka Zeke Fishhead, gathers two of his longtime musical partners, bassist Reggie Scanlan and percussionist Michael Skinkus, to perform with former James Brown bandleader and Scanlan’s partner in the New Orleans Suspects, saxophonist Jeff Watkins.

Guitarist Phil DeGruy and vocalist Emily Robertson will open the show with “Gone With the Wind Chimes, “ their Katrinaversary musical satire. Phil said expect to see his giant set of chimes, tuned to the key of G flat.

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TVD UK

Adam Cleaver,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl was always mythical for me. My parents were those types that allowed their vinyl to float up to the attic to make way for CDs. That’s not to say they didn’t appreciate the records anymore. Perhaps at a time they may have been purists but their records didn’t stand the test of time, tucked away in storage with a myriad of other memories.”

“My first experience of vinyl was when I was about 12 or 13. Some sort of spring clean granted me access to the loft storage and I found myself rummaging through two big leather cases full of 12” LPs. My parents mostly listened to pop music so there was plenty of Michael Jackson, Hall and Oates, and Elton John. I remember being drawn to a Blondie album. It was Parallel Lines. The monochrome stripes seemed to be grabbing my attention (to this day I’m still drawn to monochrome artwork).

I ran my fingers along the grooves of the record, trying to sense where the sound came from. It speaks volumes that my first contact with vinyl wasn’t aural but physical. A huge part of the appeal is how calming it can be to interact with it.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Pretenders,
Learning to Crawl

A couple of days ago, I found myself doing something I haven’t done (no exaggeration) in years: dancing. I dervished about the apartment all by myself, like a lunatic, with the cat looking on from the safety of the bed, wide-eyed with eminent peril. I could tell the poor puss was thinking, “What the devil is he doing?” So I cried, “Listening to The Pretenders, you hairy little fool! And dancing!”

I would not call The Pretenders a great band, per se. A very, very good band, sure. Chrissie Hynde is an excellent songwriter, and has one of the most distinctive voices in rock. Unfortunately, like Badfinger, The Pretenders are just as famous for their tragically high mortality rate as they are for their music. During the 2-year hiatus between 1981’s Pretenders II and 1983’s Learning to Crawl, Hynde saw two band mates, guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and bassist Pete Farndon, die drug-related deaths. Technically Farndon was no longer a Pretender—Hynde fired him shortly before he died—but still. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde on the subject of orphans, to lose one band member is bad luck—to lose two, sheer carelessness.

Hynde, an Akron, Ohio native, formed The Pretenders in 1978 in London, England, where she was working as a journo for NME and at SEX, the legendary fashion boutique of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. She received a record contract on the strength of a demo recorded with a three-piece band including Phil Taylor of Motörhead, then hired a permanent group including Honeyman-Scott, Farndon, and drummer Martin Chambers. The Pretenders’ first two albums included several hits; unfortunately, while the band was making its bones musically, it members were dropping like flies. By 1983’s Learning to Crawl 50 percent of the original group was dead, leaving just Hynde (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, and harmonica) and Chambers. But rather than throwing in the towel, Hynde hired Robbie McIntosh on lead guitar and backing vocals and Malcolm Foster on bass and backing vocals.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/28/15

New Record Store in Fairlawn Set to Open in September: “I’ve been bringing vinyl in since the first of July,” he says. “It’s been so much fun to order records. This is all about the vinyl culture. The CD market is done. Everything has gone digital. When you buy a record now, they throw the CD in it for free. With almost every Black Keys album that you get on vinyl, the CD just comes with it. There’s something about opening up the vinyl album and reading the lyrics and liner notes and seeing who played on the album. It provides an education about the music. Having an art background, I love the artwork.”

Vinyl lives: Scotti’s Record Shop, Summit, NJ: “Any business that stays open for over fifty years safely earns the status of being an institution. Any record store that stays in business for this long earns the status of hero. Nestled between Summit Ski & Sport and the Bow Tie Beacon Cinema along the store-lined Springfield Ave in Summit, New Jersey, Scotti’s Record Shop is exactly what comes to mind when you think about a neighborhood record shop.

Pink Floyd pig in Suffolk pop memorabilia auction: Iconic inflatable stage props – including Pink Floyd’s famous pig “Algie” – are to be sold at auction. Halesworth-based Air Artists is selling 30 years’ of its work, used by the likes of the Rolling Stones and ACDC. The star lot is Algie, which famously halted flights over Heathrow after breaking loose from its moorings over Battersea Power Station in 1976.

Kraftwerk set to release a “3D album” later this year: “Kraftwerk are to translate their visual shows into a “3D album”, set to be released in late autumn on Blu-ray. Speaking to Rolling Stone, sole original member Ralf Hütter said: “We translated our performances to 3D, and in surround sound, kind of like 3D sound.”

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The TVD Storefront

Passport To Stockholm,
The TVD First Date

“My first record shop experience was on my 8th birthday. My godmother used to give me double my age in cash each year—that year I was cash rich with £16 in my pocket and I knew exactly how I was going to spend it.”

“Earlier in the week I had heard an American band on Capital FM (then London’s biggest station)—that band was called the Goo Goo Dolls and the song in question was of course their seminal hit “Iris.” I remember being struck by the acoustic guitars and the vocal. I needed to have this song in my life.

So off I went with my mum to my local HMV (a chain of record shops here in the UK with an iconic logo of a dog sitting next to a gramophone—His Master’s Voice—sadly HMVs cease to exist now). Without really knowing what I was doing I just said to the nearest shop assistant that I was looking for the Goo Goo Dolls. “Singles or albums?” “I have £16?—albums.”

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TVD UK

UK Video: The Jaguar Club, “Hard Cider”

NYC has always been known for its cutting edge music scene with some of indie’s most daring and avant-garde hailing from the Big Apple. The Jaguar Club write understated, gloom-gaze indie that’s Future Islands meets The Cure.

The video for their latest release, “Hard Cider” is a track taken from their EP “Close” which was released earlier this year. The video features claymation and various other forms of animation, all in black and white, interspersed by beautiful imagery of a sunlit forest.

The EP is out now but we can’t wait to hear some new tracks soon. As the Autumn season eases in, The Jaguar Club are fast becoming our new autumnal favourites.

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TVD New Orleans

TVD Recommends: Cuban legends Los Van Van at the House of
Blues tonight, 8/27

This gig tonight at the House of Blues may be flying under the radar amid all the Katrina 10-year anniversary hype, but for fans of Cuban dance music or international music of any genre, I highly recommend checking out this legendary group. They are on their first U.S. tour since the two countries have begun normalizing relations.

Arguably one the most important bands to form in Cuba since the Castro revolution, Los Van Van was formed in 1969 by bassist Juan Formell. Formell passed away last year at 71, but the group, which has gone through many personnel changes over the years, forged on. Fans says, “the train keeps a rollin’” referring both to the continuation of the group and their highly syncopated dance music.

Like many international acts formed in the late 1960s including many members of Brazil’s Tropicália generation, Los Van Van sought to reach the youth movement by tapping into the burgeoning sounds of rock music. This hybrid style is called timba and has grown to include other elements as well including funk and R&B.

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TVD UK

A Badge of Friendship,
The Podcast

It’s a very special Thursday indeed this week as those three kooks at A Badge Of Friendship have hit their 20th episode! Pay no attention to the URL and its lies—there was a double bill a few weeks back.

To celebrate not getting kicked off the air, the gang racked their brains, and the brains of this week’s guests, to create a “How To – Music Industry” special. So, if you want to know how to take your first steps in the music biz, this is as good a place as any to start.

Imparting wisdom on the listeners this week are James Brown from Pulled Apart By Horses, Gigwise editor and full-time legend Andrew Trendell, and Olive Grove Records’ founder Lloyd Meredith. Idlewild’s Rod Jones also sends in some tips and tricks about making the most of life in a band, as well as Torche’s Andrew Elstner.

Music heard live on the show cannot be heard on this podcast but check out the tracks featured on this week’s show below:

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
4 x Liquid Liquid

In 1980s New York City Liquid Liquid hung at the crossroads of Downtown and No Wave but are more retrospectively notable for unwittingly laying the musical bedrock for an early rap hit and helping to pave the way for both the paradigm of post-rock and the new millennium’s indie-dance agenda. Superior Viaduct’s reissues of the group’s three EPs are hot off the griddle, as is an LP devoted to relevant prior acts Liquid Idiot and Idiot Orchestra. Folks needing all four can acquire them in a special-priced bundle exclusively from the label. Those looking to dabble can buy separately and in stores.

Featuring drummer Scott Hartley, bassist Richard McGuire, vocalist Salvatore Principato, and marimba specialist Dennis Young, Liquid Liquid announced their presence in 1981 with two EPs issued on 99 Records, a home to significant if initially neglected indigenous happenings of the period; Glenn Branca, Bush Tetras, Y Pants, and ESG were all documented on the influential venture of Ed Bahlman.

But not so fast; before Liquid Liquid’s formation the members were part of two related bands, the older of the two being Liquid Idiot. They formed circa the late ‘70s down New Jersey way at Rutgers University and migrated to Gotham to play gigs. The flyers for these events would encourage the audience to bring their own instruments and join right in, and at one of these hootenannies Dennis Young showed up, playing marimba from the floor.

Liquid Idiot recorded a 7-inch in McGuire’s living room while still in New Brunswick; offering loose, thoroughly non-pro art-inclined DIY totaling 15 minutes, its nine tracks spring from a framework of guitar and rhythm as clarinet, saxophone, and a cheap organ intermittently enter the fray. Favoring abstraction and repetition over melodious concerns, Liquid Idiot’s beginner’s stabs at free jazz/Trout Mask-era Magic Band/general avant-gardism are likeable if far from mind-blowing. Occasionally, the thrust’s comparable to the Los Angles Free Music Society.

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