TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Sturgill Simpson at the Birchmere, 8/19

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | There seems to be a bit of a musical civil war going on in America. The terms have been made clear, the battle lines have been drawn, and the armies have amassed.

The battle rages over country music, and the sides couldn’t be more different. On one side, you have the shallow, commercialized pop country, basically composed of love songs with an added occasional twang, or blathering about beer, trucks, or pretty girls in tight shorts. The opposing side is deep-rooted and a bit rougher around the edges. You won’t see them topping the country charts or appearing in beer commercials, and they are determined to “put the “o” back in country,” as Shooter Jennings so eloquently put it.

What you will get, in the case of someone like Sturgill Simpson, is truth. Truth about alcoholism, truth about the struggles of getting through hard times, and truth about drugs, for better or worse. Tuesday, at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA, Sturgill shared that truth with a sold-out crowd.

I arrived just before 7 and made my way inside to the outer bar area. There were a few people milling around, but it seemed fairly quiet for a sold-out show. I realized my mistake as I entered the main hall. I was apparently late to the party as the majority of seats at the tables had been taken already. The hall was a dull roar of people talking, laughing, eating, and drinking before the show began. I’m pretty used to most venues—clubs big and small, amphitheaters, arenas, and theaters—but the dinner theater setup of the Birchmere is one that I just can’t quite get used to. Don’t get me wrong, it is a beautiful venue, steeped with history and blessed with great acoustics, but…well, more on this later.

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TVD New Orleans

TVD Recommends:
Luke Allen Trio and Kalu James at Chickie Wah Wah tonight, 8/22

This evening’s musical bill at the Canal Street club has something for everyone. Allen, best known for his Happy Talk Band, will be playing with some different, inspiring musicians and the Austin- based musician will be making his second appearance at the club. Read to the end for info on how to catch James for free this afternoon.

Since readers may be not be familiar with Kalu James, here’s some tidbits of info to get you psyched. The singer/songwriter was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States as a teenager. His sound mixes blues, folk, and rock with decidedly African influences. He will be appearing acoustically with a lone accompanist.

Luke Allen is known for his wry songs and the Happy Talk Band is stocked with musicians who are mainstays in the downtown scene. But, his regular band plays infrequently around town.

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The TVD Storefront

We’re seeking interns for a record semester.

They come, they go—every 6 months or so it seems, leaving an indelible mark at TVD and on their own careers. Some depart to labels. Some are drafted by PR firms. Hell, some even stay on as TVD editors from their own home city—they’re just that good.

Fall 2014 looms and we still have a handful of internship openings for Autumn and even into Spring 2015. We’re seeking bright, self motivated, articulate future music industry professionals to join our team on the content side and the marketing and social media outreach that informs the day to day at TVD. Also, candidates need not be in Washington, DC where we’re based to be considered—just be awake when we are.

Interested? Drop Jon and Olivia an email introducing yourself.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Vinyl Giveaway:
The Black Angels,
“Clear Lake Forest” EP (Autographed)

ROXANNE GALLO FOR TVD | “After roaming through the Indigo Meadow, the time has come to journey to the “Clear Lake Forest,” where 7 tales of diamonds, executioners, and other strange occurrences await underneath the crystal waves lapping in the lake,” says Black Angels guitarist Christian Bland of their Record Store Day release, “Clear Lake Forest”, a limited edition, clear vinyl 10” companion EP to 2013’s full length, Indigo Meadow.

With a description like that, I can’t help but feel this music is created with the purpose of taking you out of your reality and experience something you can’t otherwise in the monotony of daily life, much like the drugs psychedelic rock is named for.

Hailing from the musical melting pot of Austin, TX with a decade on the scene under their belt, the Black Angels have established themselves as psych-rock heavy hitters. They have proven successful at melding genre-past with genre-present by recently touring with the legendary Roky Ericson, as well as helping to develop Austin’s Psych Fest, now in its 7th year. Named for the Velvet Underground’s ‘The Black Angels Death Song,” the band consists of Christian Bland (guitar, organ, drone machine), Alex Maas (vocals, bass, organ, drone machine), Stephanie Bailey (drums, percussion), and Kyle Hunt (keyboards, percussion, bass, guitar).

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Rod Stewart,
Gasoline Alley

I didn’t want to do it, because I knew it was going to hurt. I knew it was going to hurt something awful. But I’m just a soldier in the war of rock & roll, with a keyboard for a hand grenade who took a bullet at Live Aid, and my marching orders were to attend the Washington, DC leg of the Santana and Rod Stewart “Electric Geriatrics” Tour at the Verizon Center on the benighted evening of Tuesday, August 19.

The something I knew was going to happen was my old hero Rod “The Old Sod” Stewart was going to sing “Hot Legs” and “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” Both tunes are (although Stewart either doesn’t know it or is too cynical and money-grubbing to care) legacy-sullying disgraces of such embarrassing proportions even his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame rolls up into a cringing ball every time it hears them. But the review tix never came through, and I didn’t get to cover the show, and oddly enough I found myself disappointed. I’ve never seen Stewart, and I suppose I was hoping to hear some flickering glimmers of the genius who gave us “Every Picture Tells a Story,” “Handbags and Gladrags,” and “You Wear It Well.”

I’ve said it before, but Stewart’s fall from grace remains one of the saddest and most precipitous in rock history. In the early seventies the rooster-cropped, sandpaper-voiced party animal who took nothing seriously was fronting one of the greatest live acts of all time, the Faces, while simultaneously putting out solo albums that were heart-breakingly brilliant. And then? I wish I could say nada, but his post-1974 (hell, make it post-1972) output was far worse than nothing—it was flat-out debasing, both to Stewart and his fans.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots:
The Silopanna Festival
at the Anne Arundel Fairgrounds, 8/16

Last Saturday gave way to a solid festival of music and fun at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds.

Nestled in a cozy little patch of woods in the Annapolis countryside which is also known for hosting the Maryland Renaissance Festival every October, the Silopanna Music Festival took shape and filled the wooded fairgrounds, bringing local and national artists together and serving up a mix of genres on its stages—with a little something for everybody.

The festival featured three stages with no down time between sets, games, plenty of good food, and enough beer and mixed drinks to go around. The festival also delivered something more than just a schedule of outdoor musical performances, from apparel to custom craft brews, there was something to suit any fancy at Silopanna.

Hosted by the good folks at Rams Head Live, the scheduling went smoothly the way any well-managed festival should. Headlining act, The Flaming Lips were preceded on the main stage by popular acts Matt and Kim, Dashboard Confessional, Sleeper Agent, and Hellogoodbye.

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TVD Dallas

TVD Recommends: Clearfork Festival
at Panther Island
Pavilion, 8/30

You’ve heard the saying, “Everything’s bigger in Texas.” It’s true. The boots. The hair. The belt buckles. The conservative population. The beer bellies. And, no exception, the music festivals.

Rising to the Texas occasion is yet another new music fest in the Lone Star State, Fort Worth’s Clearfork Music Festival, which is set to make a dynamic second run next Saturday, August 30. After last year’s successful, albeit more quaint debut, the event is back and resoundingly bigger in 2014 with appearances from popular Austin-based acts like Bright Light Social Hour, The Black Angels, and Wild Child, as well as local favorites and up-and-comers Burning Hotels and Larry G(ee), all taking place alongside the Trinity River in the heart of downtown Fort Worth. A new location and a larger, not to mention pretty impressive lineup—that’s what you call beating the sophomore slump, folks.

While last year’s festival hosted acts almost entirely from the 817, highlights of this year’s lineup include headliners Bright Light Social Hour and The Black Angels, two Austin-bred psychedelic rock bands recently making waves with their quirky, innovative takes on rock n’ roll. Both have spent recent years touring nationally, on stages as large as Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, promising a fine-tuned set and a super-charged show.

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TVD New Orleans

The Prime Example inaugurates Latin jazz night, 8/21

The club on the corner of N. Broad Street and St. Bernard Avenue is expanding the scope of their Swingin’ at the Prime jazz series, in partnership with the CubaNOLA Arts Collective, to include Latin jazz on the third Thursday of every month.

Tonight is the first installment and it’s going to be a Cuban dance party with Los Caballeros del Son, one of the premiere Latin music groups currently performing in South Louisiana. They play traditional son music, the foundation of all Cuban dance music.

Los Caballeros del Son feature bandleader Guillermo “El Mono” (the Monkey) Guzmán on piano, percussion and bass and Alexis Guevara Muñoz on lead vocals and guitar. Guzmán and Guevara are both from Ciego de Ávila, Cuba. Read More »

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TVD UK

UK Vinyl Video: Blair Jollands, “Carve It Up”

After the release of free track “My Way Home,” Blair Jollands’ single “Carve It Up” evokes an old-skool rock melody with a modern twist.

In this video, the London dwelling New Zealander is seen wandering through many different landscapes with his guitar. It’s apt considering Blair’s melodies and lyrics conjure the essence of an ever wandering soul. Blair creates warm soundscapes reflecting his own life and travels.

Blair is also an accomplished composer for film and has worked on several soundtracks including Pride and Bleak House. His love of sound is ever-present throughout his tracks as each whistle, strum, and beat resonate with precision.

Having played this year’s Great Escape and the Camden Crawl, Mr. Jollands’ forthcoming album, set for release this October, is much-anticipated. Blair is a welcomed breath of fresh air to the modern folk rock scene.

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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 right here at TVD, each and every Thursday.

“On this week’s show my ROTW is Monomania by Deerhunter after I purchased it at Frankie & The Heartstrings Pop Records shop in Sunderland recently. I’ll be playing three lovely numbers from the album on the show and going a bit ‘far out!’

I’ll also have my #shellshock to share with you! If you haven’t heard Shopping yet, then you need this band in your life!

There will be the usual accompaniment of new and emerging music as I spin some of the best new Alt releases. Love music? Don’t miss it.” —SZ

ORIGINALLY BROADCAST ON JUNE 12, 2014

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