TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I ought to get going, I shouldn’t stay here / And love you more than I do / ‘Cause you’re so much younger than I am / Come up the years, come up the years / And love me, love me, love me…

This week was Paul Kanter’s turn to “buy the farm.” Not too many people I know are fans of the Jefferson Airplane, but there is no doubt Paul and his band mates were at the heart of the psychedelic revolution.

In truth, at his moment in history when being young was “IT,” this guy was a fucking rock star. The Airplane had everything—talent, style, sex-appeal, and the one of the biggest hits of 1967 as millions of teenagers turned on to the sounds of San Fransisco psyche. It truly was a moment in time when music lead to a revolution. So for 2016, let’s pay tribute to yet another.

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The TVD Storefront

Needle Drop: Cayman Kings, “Memory Lane”

Cayman Kings, a French-born rock band, have just released their first LP, Suffering Chelsea Boots, and they didn’t hold back—it’s an energy filled debut. The group takes the traditional garage rock sound and ups the tempo with howling vocals and quick chord progressions.

The band flirts with different tones—from mesmerizing pop riffs to grittier blues fills—forging something new from these staple sounds. Almost every song on the LP ends right under the three-minute mark, but still manages to pack a strong bite. A marked momentum trails through the album, making the whole thing a lively listen from start to finish.

Each track pays its rent, contributing its own finely-nuanced sound to the LP. For example, “Memory Lane” starts with a with a low-octave riff accompanied by a deep drum bellow. The lead vocals enter in a raspy falsetto, providing the perfect contrast to the song’s heavy start. The group effortlessly reaches the chorus, which is a cheeky reminder of how the past is permanent and there’s no way to change it. It’s a quick tune that illustrates garage-rock’s power when properly executed.

Suffering Chelsea Boots is available now on vinyl via Bandcamp.

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TVD Asbury Park

Hunter Valentine:
So Long For Now

The eve of a new release and tour is usually an exciting time for any band no matter how much success they’ve achieved in their career. Hunter Valentine is no different in that respect, however this time—after a decade of recording, tours, TV appearances, and anything else a band could hope for—it’s a little bittersweet.

The “So Long For Now” tour is just as advrtised: a sort of goodbye. But don’t read too much into it. While many bands with half the list of accomplishments might sooner or later self-destruct, this is certainly not a funeral procession—it’s a victory lap for the group to celebrate with their fans before they move on to the next phase of their lives.

Listening to their new EP “The Pledge” wouldn’t give you any indication of a band on the outs, instead founding members Kiyomi McCloskey and Laura Petracca knew going in that this could be its epitaph and wanted to give its fans a parting gift of loud, sneering, catchy rock ‘n’ roll.

The “So Long For Now” tour, featuring touring members Lisa Bianco and Leanne Bowes, makes 31 stops in just under two months arriving at the Saint in Asbury Park on February 12th. I spoke with Kiyomi about “The Pledge,” the tour, and ending the band.

Hunter Valentine has been on such a roll the last few years I guess the obvious question is why go on hiatus now?

It’s funny, because most bands go on hiatus when they are fighting or the music starts sucking. In our case, we are laughing more than ever together and made one of our best records yet! I’ll be starting new projects and I’ve been playing solo acoustic shows already. Laura is going back to the kitchen grind as a chef and is really looking forward to putting her creativity into food.

Was it known during the writing and recording of “The Pledge” that this might be the last Hunter Valentine release?

Yes, we wanted to leave this band on a high note and we wanted to put in our best effort in doing so. It was also really important to us to leave our fans with one last recording and tour. This is going to be a celebratory tour for us. We are very proud of what we’ve achieved over the years.

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The TVD Storefront

Laura Jean Anderson,
The TVD First Date

“I am amazed at the heaviness I still feel about vinyl and the difference it has on my entire listening experience for either hearing a new record for the first time or hearing a classic record for the thousandth time. Vinyl brings along a hands-on experience, commitment, work, a ritual—things I truly value in life and in making music. That same feeling I felt as a kid, I do today, and I know I will for the rest of my life. There’s a timelessness to vinyl.”

“When I was young, my family would play classic records and I remember how special it felt when they let me be the one to put the needle on the record. It amazed me how it all worked! How the needle made the music play! I would stare at it for hours.

Vinyl was starting to phase out when I was about 7 years old. My father was a huge record collector—he had crates of old classic Beatles records, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, etc. At a garage sale, he sold all of his vinyl for 25 cents a piece thinking that there was going to be no use for it anymore. I remember it so vividly in my mind yet I was too young to appreciate vinyl at that time. That day goes down in history with my family. We always talk about what it would be like if that didn’t happen and wish we could take it back. I can only hope that the tradition of listening to vinyl got passed on to another family.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Kinks,
Muswell Hillbillies

Ah, the Kinks. Of all the great bands to come out of England in the 1960s, they were by far the most English. Their music hall inclinations and deadpan irony simply didn’t translate, and until they reconstituted themselves as a hard-rocking touring band in the 1970s their only claims to fame here in the U.S.A. were “You Really Got Me” and “Lola.” Ray Davies was simply too smart, and had his tongue too far in his cheek, to win over U.S. fans, although I do remember—because it was, I think, the first 45 rpm record I ever heard—my older brother’s copy of “Apeman.” Nor did it help that the band was refused permits by the American Federation of Musicians to tour the U.S. for 4 years, ostensibly due to over-the-top on-stage band mate on band mate violence.

Of course, the Kinks always had their Kultists, people who lovingly cuddled their copies of 1968’s The Village Green Preservation Society the way you might your dog Blighter. As for the rest of us, we listened to our Beatles and our Stones and The Who, and the rest of England be damned. This was especially true if you were raised, the way I was, in a rural outpost of provincialism, where the Klan once marched through town and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” was considered the pinnacle of pop sophistication.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I was a real latecomer to Ray Davies and Company, but have come to love their music, including Muswell Hillbillies. It’s one of the bleakest and funniest albums I know, and it deals with a subject that I hold near and dear to my heart—namely, the failure of everything. Tormented character follows tormented character on this LP, and I can’t get enough of it. Davies sings about paranoia, rampant alcoholism, and the myriad other complications of life, all from a working class perspective. Only Randy Newman could compete with Davies in the hilarious downer department, and while I prefer Newman, Davies more than holds his own.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 2/5/16

Pegasus record store to close soon? One of Alabama’s oldest record stores may be closing this spring. Eli Flippen, owner of Pegasus Records, Tapes and CDs, said he plans to close the doors March 31, unless a new owner steps in. The store remains profitable, he said, but with young children at home, the business demands too much of his time.

Halcyon opens permanent vinyl shop and cafe at Brooklyn’s Output: Halcyon has been a pivotal mainstay in New York’s underground music scene for over a decade. The new location’s hours will coincide with Output’s regular programming and special events. With its own private entrance and connections to the Main and Panther Room, the record store’s presence is a symbol of the both brands’ industry progression, fusion and affinity for vinyl culture.

Ryerson loses its neighbouring vinyl store, Play De Record: It’s a sad day for vinyl enthusiasts on Yonge Street as the renowned record store Play De Record announced its departure from their current location on Monday. After more than 20 years in the business, Play De Record will relocate from Yonge Street to the eclectic neighbourhood of Kensington Market. Although the move is an exciting venture for the business, it is a loss for the Ryerson community. Play De Record is the last original vinyl store on Yonge Street.

Record Store Day 2016: How to build the ultimate hi-fi for listening to vinyl: The queues will be long and the music loud as vinyl lovers celebrate the rebirth of a format which was once thought dead. But you shouldn’t just play those lovely records on a rubbish iPod dock. The analogue sound of records is regarded as massively superior to the digital sound of MP3s, so you’ll need to make sure your hi-fi is up to the job.

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The TVD Storefront

Needle Drop: Thirsty, “God Bless America”

Jonesing for some Rolling Stones? Perhaps a pinch of Lou Reed? A little three minute, three chord rock ‘n’ roll with no fancy additives? Well, look no further than London’s newest export, Thirsty.

A collaboration between The Quireboys spearhead Guy Bailey, Russian poet Irina D, and an assortment of venerated English rockers, Thirsty came to life early last year after the aforementioned players began an impromptu jam session and bonded over their punk/arthouse sensibilities.

Aping old school rhythm and blues may be all the rage for young indie rockers but this kind of appropriation often ends up as little more than a homage and rarely expands on the tried-and-true format. Gritty, off-the-cuff and beautifully authentic; Thirsty captures the imagery of their native London while throwing a rose towards the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, coloring outside the lines all the while.

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The TVD Record Store Club

TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Vanessa Carlton, Liberman

There was a moment during our Som Records in-store shoot with Vanessa Carlton—you can check it out here—when we collectively realized we didn’t have a copy of Liberman, her new and warmly received LP, on premises! A plan was immediately afoot to not only remedy this post haste, but to put the LP in the hands of a few of you. And we’ve got 3 copies of the record to do just that.

We should add that “warmly received” might be an understatement, Popmatters noting last October, “…the record itself is one of the strongest and most consistent of Carlton’s career. Liberman continues further into the reverb laden, dream-pop direction of Rabbits on the Run. At times, Liberman reminds the listener slightly of Nordic dream-pop enthusiasts like the Radio Dept. or Delay Trees, although Carlton never approaches the more noisy excursions of the former.

Liberman’s ten tracks whip by, each track filled with sweet, well-timed melodies and haunting atmosphere. It is over before you know it, compelling the listener to repeated, often back-to-back listens. Opener “Take It Easy” begins with a throbbing, almost danceable rhythmic pulse that would not sound out of place on one of the ‘Italians Do It Better’ records.

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The TVD Storefront

Vanessa Carlton:
In-store with TVD at DC’s Som Records

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNSBetween two live dates in Washington, DC in support of her very well received and highly regarded new LP, Liberman on Dine Alone Records, we had the pleasure of Vanessa Carlton’s company for a bit of a rummage through the stacks at the District’s Som Records.

If there’s a characteristic trait that runs among those who’ve joined us at Som Records for our filmed feature, Vanessa exemplifies the enthusiasm, genuineness, and appreciation for the flat, black shiny medium that saw over 2,ooo of you queueing in line last weekend at the DC Record Fair. 

She’s warm, funny, ready with the anecdotes, and is most importantly a music fan. So, onward—we’re record shopping with Vanessa Carlton at Washington, DC’s Som Records.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: African Head Charge, The On-U Sound
Records Collection

Co-founded at the start of the ‘80s by percussionist Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah and UK producer Adrian Sherwood, African Head Charge constitutes a particularly successful chapter in the story of On-U Sound. The project’s early work, four albums combining post-punk-derived experimentation with dub and African ingredients, shapes up the latest installment in On-U Sound’s deserved retail retelling. They’re available now on vinyl and digital separately and as a bundle directly from the label.

Gradually returning a vital hunk of ’80s musical history to print, the ongoing string of On-U Sound reissues and compilations provides lovers of way-out dub, edgy post-punk, and specifically recent converts to the achievements of Adrian Sherwood with numerous reasons for celebration. Revealing striking consistency amongst steady growth, the emergence of African Head Charge’s ’81-’85 output deepens the scenario considerably as it illuminates an especially fertile collaboration.

Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah, or Bonjo for short, had studied in the Rasta drumming camp of Jamaican bandleader Count Ossie. After time spent on the UK scene he joined the Sherwood-produced group Creation Rebel and like many of his bandmates ended up in the credits of numerous On-U Sound releases including those by New Age Steppers, Dub Syndicate, Singers and Players, and Mark Stewart. However, African Head Charge stands as Bonjo’s deepest contribution to the label.

Indeed, what essentially started as a joint Sherwood-Bonjo effort (with assistance from Style Scott, Crocodile, Deadly Headley, Crucial Tony, Bruce Smith, Steve Beresford, Mus’come a.k.a. Charlie “Eskimo” Fox, Doctor Pablo, Public Image Limited’s Jah Wobble, Sugarhill Gang/Tackhead member Skip McDonald and others) slowly became an actual band led by the percussionist; the four records reviewed here represent African Head Charge’s collaborative, studio-based period.

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