TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots: The Kills and Dream Wife at the Fox Theatre, 3/22

The Kills are on the road supporting their 15th anniversary with a handful of West Coast dates that wrapped up at Oakland’s Fox Theater.

Those who arrived early were treated to an amazing set by Dream Wife. Based in London with an Icelandic vocalist (who spent the first 10 years of her life in the Bay Area and was clearly stoked be back), the band tore through a generous 40 minute set that showed why The Kills have tapped them for this tour. Crunchy, searing guitars juxtaposed with dreamy, charged vocals made for a set that few will forget.

Sufficiently primed for the headliners, the anticipation for The Kills 9:30 set was palpable as the crew transformed the stage, finally revealing a giant Ash & Ice backdrop. Strolling out onto the stage and blasting into “Heart of a Dog,” The Kills quickly demonstrated that they meant business.

Jamie Hince played muse on guitar to Alison Mosshart’s vocals … the stone-faced yin to her wild, hair-flinging yang. Near-perfect opposites that together were a combined force on stage that had the crowd ecstatic and rapt with attention.

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TVD New Orleans

Jazz Fest reveals 2017 “cubes” and posters

With one month before the annual celebration of New Orleans music and culture, the stage lineups for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival were revealed this morning at a spirited press party at the New Orleans Fairgrounds.

This year’s festival, the 48th in a row, celebrates the music of Cuba and fittingly the musical entertainment was New Orleans’ own Cuban band, AsheSon. The group, which now features the wonderful Cuban native Alexey Marti on congas, played a couple of tunes as a very excited man waved a Cuban flag, hooted and hollered.

Quint Davis, the producer/director of the fest, explained the detailed process in dealing with the communist government of Cuba. Former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu got involved and set up a meeting with diplomats over two years ago.

Though former President Obama gradually began the process of restoring relations between the two countries, some of what the festival’s planners had in mind might not necessarily have been legal at the time.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Video Premiere: Tree Machines,
“Waiting On the Sun”

The brainchild of two Kansans now out and about in LA, Tree Machines are on the verge of a follow-up album to their inaugural 2015 EP, a collection of songs highlighting the ennui of small-town Midwest living, something that Lawrence natives Douglas Wooldridge and Patrick Aubry, the duo in question, may have grown accustomed to over the years, but have since hitched a ride to the City of Angels, trading in Mass Street for a Canoga Park garage.

Their upcoming debut album Up for Air arrives this year, and if the first single off the LP is any indication, Wooldridge and Aubry are seeking to cast a wide net. Driven by visions of Los Angeles, which is made even more apparent in the accompanying lyric video dominated by drone-captured, colorless images of the cityscape and shoreline, “Waiting On the Sun” amounts to an extended vocal-synth crescendo of hope and illumination at the prospects of a new day.

Though the lyrics are quick to remind that darkness looms here just as in any other place, the song retains a musical brightness which never forsakes the inevitability of that titular light rising again.

Wooldridge and Aubry certainly bring a bit of Kansas to LA, and they possess a keen understanding of their new whereabouts, but it’s never in question that the two are aiming for a clarion call of universal intent, one to curb the loneliness that hangs over most every soul in high and low places

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UK Artist of the Week: Pip Blom

Having received airplay from Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1, as well as plenty of acclaim from both Steve Lamacq and Marc Riley at BBC 6 Music, Amsterdam-based artist Pip Blom first caught our attention last year with her EP “Are We There Yet?” Now, along with her band—Tender Blom (guitar and backing vocals), Berend Kok (bass), and Bowie Thörig (drums)—she is busy touring the UK with Surfer Blood, off the back of releasing her latest single.

“I Think I’m In Love” is filled with infectious, racing hooks and Blom’s distinctive youthful vocals reflecting on the complications of love and relationships. An uplifting, energy-fuelled offering reminiscent of Aussie rocker Courtney Barnett, “I Think I’m In Love” has all the twinkling melodies and rich harmonies you could ever dream of, complete with an addictive, sing-along chorus.

With her quirky charisma, raw vocal power, and ability to create such incredibly catchy offerings, it seems a sure thing that Pip Blom will be winning over the ears of many this year with her own distinct brand of charming, fuzzy indie-rock.

“I Think I’m In Love” is in stores now via Toaster Records.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
David Chesworth,
50 Synthesizer Greats

Here’s something you hopefully already know: Australia is a country and a continent. But hey, think about that for a sec; Down Under’s double-duty means a whole lot of un(der)heard music. Like David Chesworth’s 50 Synthesizer Greats, for example. Unusual, innovative, and accessible, its original self-released edition is also rare and expensive, making it the sort of album post-punk archeologists salivate over. On March 31, it gets a deserved vinyl and digital reissue by Chapter Music.

Well, first off, not 50 but 37, though this reissue’s digital-only bonus tracks spread the total to 39. Furthermore, the initial title 50 Synthisizer Greats has been corrected. If all this resonates a little like undisciplined goofing around, as explained in the label’s background text, 50 cuts were recorded but wouldn’t all fit on a single slab of vinyl. Of the 13 extra tracks, only one survives, presented here in tandem with a subsequent long piece from ’79 using a Serge Modular Synthesizer. Overall, the results connect as serious but not stern as the LP + extras sit at the beginning of a long and varied career.

Chesworth might be better known to Aussie underground mavens as a member of Essendon Airport. Formed in ’78 with guitarist Robert Goodge, they later grew to a five piece; an expanded reissue of their 1981 LP Palimpsest and the retrospective collection Sonic Investigations of the Trivial are both still available through Chapter Music. Alongside Philip Brophy, with whom he co-founded Innocent Records in 1979, Chesworth also took part in Chocolate Grinders, the Dave & Phil Duo, and → ↑ → (aka Tsk Tsk Tsk or Tch Tch Tch).

Some of → ↑ → and Essendon Airport’s activity has squeaked out on compilations over the years, e.g. Chapter Music’s Can’t Stop It! Australian Post-Punk 1978-82 and its follow-up volume, Laughing Outlaw Records’ Inner City Sound, Shame File Music’s Artefacts of Australian Experimental Music Volume II 1974–1983, and most recently the Efficient Space label’s Midnite Spares, a set that also includes a track by Chesworth’s project Whadya Want? It appears that Chocolate Grinders and the Dave & Phil Duo have yet to be anthologized.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 3/28/17

The world’s best record shops #062: Northside Records, Melbourne: Northside has been burning the flame for the inner city suburb of Fitzroy for over 10 years since it opened doors back in 2002. Owned by DJ CHRIS GIL, an encyclopaedia of the local and international soul scene, the store is often referred to as Melbourne’s home of new soul music. Chris also runs a weekly radio show on 3RRR pushing sounds stocked and supported via the store. Hosting an expansive selection of second hand records, the store is well-stocked in funk, soul, library music, beats, disco, jazz, afrobeat, hip hop and the funkier side of electronica.

Party to mark David’s Music product list launch ahead of Record Store Day is a huge hit! The free party at the much-loved store on Eastcheap saw indie-folk duo the Worry Dolls wow the audience – as a good number of music lovers gathered to help mark David’s official product list of limited vinyl to be released on this year’s RSD, which takes place on Saturday, April 22…Record Store Day is when more than 200 independent record stores across the UK come together to celebrate their unique culture.

Total Drag record store expanding: Total Drag Records is officially expanding. The shop’s long-anticipated growth into the neighboring space formerly occupied by Common Sense began in earnest Sunday night, when owners Dan Nissen and Liz McGreevy-Nissen began clearing out the shop and preparing to paint. Common Sense officially opened into a new space of its own, offering a wider range of blown glass products and vape supplies just around the corner at 400 S. Second Ave. Total Drag has been a prime spot for all-ages concerts since 2014 in the small space at 307. E. 12th St. Packed houses and sellouts are common as nationally-touring bands stop through between gigs in larger cities.

Vinyl records business finds permanent home at Scunthorpe Market: A vinyl record seller believes he has found a gap in the market in Scunthorpe. Paul Bird, 55, has been selling records for five years at various events across the region with his pop-up business Birds Nest Records, but now has a permanent home at Scunthorpe Market. The Hull record seller has taken a stall for two days a week at the market. “It is a really funny market – in Hull I can’t sell Elvis, here I can sell Elvis. “So in Hull I can pick up Elvis for a pound and sell it over here for £3.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live: Sleigh Bells and Tunde Olaniran at the Metro, 3/21

PHOTOS: BRIGID GALLAGHER | Climbing the stairs to Chicago’s Metro last Tuesday, you could feel the party had already started. Tunde Olaniran brought the perfect energy to kick off a Sleigh Bells’ show. He owned the room as he made it impossible for anyone to sit still during his high energy set.

All were made to feel welcome with signs on the stage promoting a safe space, “No Ableism. No Shaming. No Fatphobia. No Femmephobia. No Transphobia. No Racism. No Sexism.” Olaniran taught the audience new moves with two unstoppable dancers supporting him on either side. The dancers mashed ballerina techniques with hip hop and assisted Olaniran with clapping hands, becoming a vital part of the performance. Hear Tunde Olaniran’s beautiful voice and positive message on his most recent album, Transgressor, currently available on vinyl.

The audience eagerly awaited Sleigh Bells to take the stage and let them know, with great affection, when they finally arrived. The set started with strobe lights and bass that shook the venue like a storm was on the way. Vocalist Alexis Krauss and guitarist Derek Edward Miller were in constant motion once they took the stage; hands up, spinning, jumping, thrashing, hair blowing from a fan. The audience kept the pace as the bass filled every inch of the venue, the vibration forcing everyone to dance and keep their arms extended towards the stage. Krauss couldn’t keep herself away from the crowd either as she leaned over the front of the stage to hold hands, encourage singalongs, and occasionally crowd surfed her way back to the spotlight.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Of Potato Heads and Polaroids:
My Life Inside and Out
of Pearl Jam
by Mike McCready

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Pearl Jam. Not many bands have achieved a status needing no adjective or description. Pearl Jam has. And fewer still have had an insider, much less a member, obsessively capture onstage and offhand pics of the experience—the friends, family, and fans… and one very famous plastic toy. Luckily for us lead guitarist Mike McCready did—trusty Polaroid camera in hand.

Documenting years of touring and travels, McCready snaps meetings with heroes and inspirations from all walks of life; time spent with crazy friends and family; and moments featuring wildly artistic takes on art, nature, and architecture. Also: he once rocked a fab grey shift. And true to form for one not taking things too seriously, Mike sometimes had his pal, Mr. Potato Head, pop in and share in the fun.

As wonderfully intimate as group “selfies” with the likes of Neil Young, Questlove, Jimmy Page, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Joey Ramone, Johnny Ramone, The Edge, Ben Harper, Peter Buck, Paul McCartney, Mike Mills, Sting, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Carrie Brownstein, Robert Plant, Peter Frampton, Dave Grohl, Gene Simmons, Bono, Jack White, Danny Clinch, Lady Gaga, Laura Dern, Dustin Hoffman, Judd Apatow, Will Ferrell, Leslie Mann, Jimmy Fallon, Mira Sorvino, Tim Robbins, Hugh Jackman, Venus Williams, and Kate Hudson are, it’s the massive homage to the band’s fans taken from stage view, in places from the Pacific Northwest to Peru, from Brussels to Bolivia, that brings McCready’s manic intimacy come roaring to life.

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The TVD Storefront

Paulo Franco,
The TVD First Date

“The best part of the vinyl revival is that revealing you have an affinity for vinyl doesn’t mean you have to share your age. My musical journey begins with vinyl and a particular record I purchased back in 1971 as a 7 year old boy. Let It Be, The Beatles.”

“My father was headed to purchase new speakers for the small and humble stereo system in our apartment. At the time, my father was a surgical resident at Georgetown University and didn’t make much money. But he loved music, and I suppose that’s where my love comes from. He took my sister and I along with him.

When we arrived at the store, he told my sister and me to go the record bins and pick out one record each. There was one record that caught my eye, and it was Let It Be. I knew absolutely NOTHING about the Beatles, only that they looked cool and I wanted to be like them. So I picked the album and went to meet my father who was now standing in line to pay for his purchase. Right about that time my sister came with her pick. A Partridge Family record.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Ed Sheeran,

As a music critic, I occasionally feel compelled to turn a jaundiced ear to one of today’s happening artists. It doesn’t come naturally. Like most old people, I find the tastes of the younger generation both inexplicable and appalling. Take Ed Sheeran. You could say I was prejudiced against him from the start, because I nearly inhaled an entire cigarette upon first hearing his big hit single, “The Shape of You.” But you cannot judge an artist based on one song unless that artist happens to be Norman Greenbaum, and after taking a few muscle relaxants to numb my gag reflex gave Sheeran’s latest release, 2017’s Divide, a listen.

And all I can say is the horror, the horror. Humorless, infinitely cloying, and crammed full of unpleasant surprises, Divide is not quite as edgy as your average LP by Train, whose vapid taste for the pop inconsequential he has clearly inherited. Sheeran’s eclectic bland (no, that’s not a typo) of pop, folk, and hip-hop gives new meaning to the word generic. I’m not some hopeless rock bigot either. I love Coldplay. I love Robbie Williams, for Christ’s sake. But this… this thing is heinous. Unspeakable. One of the worst albums I’ve ever had to suffer through.

Remember when Paul McCartney said the world needs silly love songs? Tragically, the carrot-topped Sheeran took Sir Paul at his word. I find it hard to believe that even McCartney thinks the world needs Ed Sheeran’s heartfelt love songs, which are less silly than cloyingly saccharine. Paul McCartney, to his credit, can occasionally make saccharine work. Sheeran is no Paul McCartney.

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