TVD Washington, DC

TODAY! The DC Record Fair, now in our 6th year, returns to Penn Social
on January 25!

Those of you following the DC Record Fair on Facebook might deem the forthcoming news a bit old, as we revved up the gears on the Winter 2015 edition of the record fair while we were on our holiday break, yet it bears an official announcement: the DC Record Fair returns to downtown DC’s Penn Social on January 25, 2015!

And six years in, some things are still a given—the 40+ vendors from up and down the East Coast, the curated DJ line up, the bar, the food, and the many other surprises that make the DC Record Fair a special community event for all ages.

Additionally, Zeke’s Coffee will once again be on hand with a special blend brewed just for the DC Record Fair, and our friends at Electric Cowbell Records will be on site passing out free records just for attending!

11:00 – 12:00: Crown Vic, Electric Cowbell Records
12:00 – 1:00: Brendan Canty, Fugazi, Deathfix
1:00 – 2:00: Daisy Lacy, Smash Records 
2:00 – 3:00: Brian Proust, Georgia Soul Recordings
3:00 – 4:00: DJ Singh Slim, DC Vinyl Headz
4:00 – 5:00: DJ Alizay

Mark your calendars! 
Sunday, January 25, 2015 at Penn Social, 801 E Street, NW
11:00–12:00, Early Bird Admission $5.00
12:00–5:00, Regular Admission $2.00
RSVP at the Facebook invite!

The DC Record Fair is brought you by Som Records, DC Soul Recordings, and us!

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Starting the year with a three-day holiday weekend was just what I needed—a tiny bit of space to get my head around 2015. Events did unfold however. Sadness spread up in the canyon with the news that former CSN&Y drummer Dallas Taylor had passed at 66.

Legendary canyon party boy turned rehab guru to the rock elite, everybody knew ol’ Dallas. I ran into him a couple of months ago and I told him that I had spun the live audio of “Long Time Gone” with Tom Jones on the Idelic Hour, and teased him about being a much more soulful player than he ever got credit for. He chuckled, saying he always wanted to see the footage of that performance. Dallas, your legend will live on.

To go along with the Dallas news, I also read somewhere online that in a matter of days a huge asteroid will zoom by, narrowly missing the Earth (and I dare say our canyon!) It didn’t seem like anyone else noticed that news, but it did get me thinking—what if I did know an asteroid was heading our way?

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The Single Girl: White Ape, “Kick It Down”

London is changing, and has been for a while now. For as long as people can remember, the city’s character has been siphoned off, bit by bit, in a strange tidal flow that sees areas attract creativity, gain popularity, and then implode under the weight of sanitised gentrification. The creativity moves on, the cycle repeats. It’s happened to Camden, which has been a glorified open air shopping mall for a while now. It’s happened to Shoreditch, where anyone with an unlimited budget and a recipe for cupcakes can get their big break. It’s happening East, West, North, and South. Soon, the city will be nothing but bankers, expensive boutiques and coffee shops, and pseudo artisans who own said boutiques and coffee shops.

What does this have to do with White Ape’s “Kick It Down”? Quite a lot. White Ape represent part of the city’s culture that is slowly getting phased out. Living in London is becoming increasingly expensive and before long, bands like White Ape will be confined to the provinces once again as pubs and venues, once champions of the local live scene, are shut down, redeveloped, and replaced with luxury accommodation.

In short, that’s what this EP is about, and it’s fitting that the band have tipped their hats to ’70s British punk, with surfy guitars, two-tone beats, and lyrics with an overt message. “Kick It Down” is a fist raised in the air and a shout of defiance from kids forced to pay the previous generation’s tab.

If you have a place in your heart for honest garage rock that rallies against the status quo, then you need this—White Ape’s “Kick It Down”—in your collection.

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TVD Asbury Park

Al Huckabee and
the Huckabee Family Band: Country Music as Country Music Was

It is not easy to be an urban cowboy—sort of stuck in the city, yet yearning for the open prairie, or, maybe at least a simple, uncomplicated life in the midwest. We all, however, know that life isn’t that simple, so country music in the 21st century should also be reflective of that. Enter Al Huckabee, long time New York City punk rock fixture in many ways. The first being through his tirelessly touring—but, for now, seemingly defunct—punk band, Crimson Sweet fronted by the inimitable, Polly Watson.

Secondly, he’s known for his critically lauded current rock and roll group, 1-800-Band, an exercise more in power-pop than punk. Both groups—even the restless and ragged, bare-knuckled punk scream of the Sweet—lean on melody and listenability. Pull up a chair and let’s explore how Al Huckabee and the Huckabee Family Band alters Al’s persona and explores the country side of life, even if it is by way of Brooklyn.

You’re known for your work with both Crimson Sweet and 1-800-BAND, why the current interest in country? Are you a musical chameleon? Should we expect a smooth jazz project soon?

Ha ha! I don’t know anything about jazz so no, let us all hold hands and pray that I do not ever make a smooth jazz record because, it would be so very, very bad.

​Before I was in the bands you mentioned when I was​ a kid in Ohio, I was in Ugly Stick which the critics called​ “​cow punk”—we made this twangy,​ scrappy,​ midwestern punk music​ and those were my formative years so that twangy ​stuff​ is really ingrained in me. I was never much of a fan of radio country music, as you can hear​. I come at it​​ from the classic country side. I’m inspired by George J​ones​, ​Johnny​ Paycheck, Johnny Cash, ​that​ kind of thing.​

​Also, in the small town where I grew up there was just one theater and my interest in electricity kept me hanging around backs​t​age​ trying to learn how to run the lights and the curtains and all that stuff. I learned how it all worked and then ​for​ a couple of summers—I was maybe 13 ​and​ 14—I was the only person in town who could run that antiquated system so when promoters would rent the theater they would​ call me​ to​ run the lights. It was so cool, all the​se ​country stars would​ come through town​​;​ Jim Ed Brown, Tom​ T. Hall, one of ​t​he ​Mandrel​l​ ​Sisters, ​these acts​ would always arrive in a beat up ​Silver Eagle tour bus​ and I​ loved being a very minor part of the show. It kind of hooked me on touring.

So I don’t think of myself as a musical chameleon at all but I can see how it would look like that.

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TVD Nashville

TVD Recommends: Bloodshot Records 20th Anniversary Blowout at City Winery Nashville

To consider that Chicago’s insurgent indie label Bloodshot Records is twenty years old is a bit off-putting, though in the nicest way. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was digging Neko Case & Her Boyfriends The Virginian? Or getting knocked to my knees by the absolute power of Robbie Fulks’ “The Buck Starts Here” from Country Love Songs? Don’t even get me started on Alejandro Escovedo’s mid-career peak Bourbonitis Blues.

Through two decades, label founders Nan Warshaw and Rob Miller have consistently delivered records of superior quality and made my wallet the weaker for it. Well played, Nan and Rob.

Like any red-blooded twenty-something, Bloodshot is ready to party and the shindig will commence Saturday, January 24th at City Winery Nashville. With a lineup of label stalwarts Robbie Fulks, Cory Branan, and Bobbie Bare, Jr.’s Young Criminal Starvation League, it is guaranteed to be a night of great music and memorable moments.

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The Single Girl: Siv Jakobsen, “How We
Used To Love”

There’s a delicate sadness to Siv Jakobsen’s latest single, “How We Used To Love” that will speak to anyone who’s gone through a break up.

From the haunting minimalist string, guitar, and piano combo that forms the introduction, the scene is set even before Siv’s voice makes its subdued entrance. And what a voice it is, blending elements of Joni Mitchell’s relaxed diction with Joan Baez’s intense range to create a brand new dynamic that defines Siv’s sound.

Even without the press release, which states pretty explicitly that the song is about one of Siv’s previous relationships, the themes behind the song couldn’t be any clearer. Some of the lyrics read like a transcript from a doomed couple’s conversation, stuck in a cycle of pain and remorse. It’s heavy going stuff, but far from being depressing, it’s like giving your soul a spring clean.

In just over three minutes, you get to feel the ache of extreme loss, remorse and then acceptance, and come out the other side refreshed and ready to take on anything.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Black Cab, Jesus East

I’ll never forget the first time I heard 2004’s Altamont Diary by Melbourne, Australia’s Black Cab. I was stunned, stunned to the point of total stupefaction. At long last, a concept album about one of my all-time favorite fiascos! And it was great, grand, a total triumph! My heart went pitter-patter. My brain throbbed, thrilled. And I developed a rare case of instantaneous tumescence, of the sort best described by the legendarily libidinous Henry Miller as “a piece of lead with wings on it.”

Okay, so I made up the part about the hard-on. But it really was a spectacular case of smitten upon first listen. And I’ve been smitten ever since. The band’s sound is a seemingly impossible fusion of electronica, Far Eastern instrumentation, and Krautrock, but Black Cab possesses the uncanny ability to strike precisely the right balance between those influences, producing electronica-flavored songs that evoke both midnight candles bobbing on little platforms in the river Ganges and the droning propulsion of those prophets of the Autobahn, Neu!

That’s the great news. The not-so-great news is that their latest release, 2014’s The Games of the XXI Olympiad, is largely a venture into pure electronica. Don’t get me wrong. The album is a pleasure to the ears and was good enough to garner them a gig as openers for Tangerine Dream. But I miss, oh how I miss, the Eastern influences and Krautrock trappings that made Altamont Diary so brilliant. Which is why I’m ignoring their latest to review 2006’s Jesus East. It’s Krautrock-heavy and has been shown scientifically to provoke dancing in laboratory mice, who are notoriously picky when it comes to their tastes in music.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 1/23/15

A note to vinyl subscription clubs who think competing paradigms can coexist: “After 35 years in business, [San Francisco’s] Streetlight Records on Castro will close this year due to declining sales, Hoodline reports. Streetlight Records manager Andrew Shadgett tells the site “The store was quite successful up into the end of the ’90s and early 2000s… We just can’t compete with places like Amazon and iTunes.”

However, a seriously welcome return. “Deal Real Record Shop Returns To Carnaby: Set to return on Record Store Day…a rejuvenated Deal Real is set to occupy 14 Newburgh Street…”

“Opening their doors this month, A Love Supreme Records is a natural progression of a number of ventures by brothers Ben and Nick Chiu, the team behind Ben’s Burgers and Brisbane clothing store Apartment. This time they’ve teamed up with Alex Intax and Paul Marinos to open A Love Supreme, a stylishly quaint record store specialising in quality vinyl..”

Lord of the Singles: “Digging through the comprehensive selection at New York City’s A1 Records, a treasure trove of vinyl excellence, Elijah Wood and Zach Cowie are enthusiastic to talk about their love of music. For nearly three years, the duo have been DJing various events under the name Wooden Wisdom and decided to kick off a tour this year, spanning nine dates throughout North America and Europe…”

“A dedicated analog guy, Tom Scholz should have been thrilled that Boston‘s most recent album – 2013′s ‘Life Love and Hope‘ — is arriving on vinyl. Instead, he’s infuriated. Seems Scholz actually rejected the mix for the vinyl reissue, only to see it sent out for pressing anyway.”

“The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) has released its wholesale figures for last year and, putting it simply, 2014 was a good year as far as vinyl album sales (up to $6.4 million) and subscription services income ($23 million) were concerned; both more than doubled last year’s figures.”

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TVD New York City

TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Invisible Familiars, Disturbing Wildlife

We’ve got a super-cool vinyl giveaway for you today from a fantastic new Brooklyn band called Invisible Familiars. The band may be new but the man behind the band is anything but new to the music world. Talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jared Samuel has made his living playing music and supporting a variety of NYC artists—from Sharon Jones to Martha Wainwright, and most recently, Cibo Matto, and The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger.

Samuel retreated to the seclusion of a houseboat docked in Jamaica Bay to write the music and words that would become Disturbing Wildlife. “It was the first time I’d ever spent more than one day completely by myself,” said Samuel, “wondering just exactly what is real and then, ultimately, feeling fine.”

Invisible Familiars premiered this debut album, Disturbing Wildlife, via BrookynVegan prior to its release on Tuesday, January 27 and you can stream it all here. And you can order a copy via Other Music Recording here.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Flipper, Album–Generic Flipper

Sometimes I like to imagine how concertgoers, newbies unfamiliar with San Francisco’s Flipper, responded to their first exposure to the band’s murky and monolithic songs. I mean, like, fast and hard like RULED, man, and how could you mosh to this shit? I can almost see the band’s throbbing toothache of a sound pressing all those poor punkers into a corner of the club, where they could whinge and boo hoo about the band’s failure to provide the soundtrack for them to kick somebody in the head, before finally collecting their Mohawks at the door and heading home. Meanwhile Flipper was having a grand old time, giving what in effect was a great big fuck you to the very people who had paid good money to see them.

It’s hardly possible to say too many good things about Flipper. Their grinding din grated on the ears of the hardcore crowd; their lyrics were an intelligent spew of black humor and utter nihilism; and their singing was deliberately abominable. They were the bleakest, funniest, and most annoying band out there, and hence the greatest band out there, because like their spiritual brethren in D.C.’s No Trend they spit in the faces of hardcore conformists: you know, the ones who thought slam dancing and wearing the same badges and patches made them unique, which it did if by unique you meant exactly the same as everybody else.

Most people remember the grimly hilarious distortion rockers (who included Will Shatter on bass and lead and backup vocals, Bruce Loose on bass and lead and backup vocals, Ted Falconi on guitar, and Steve DePace on drums and percussion) for “Sex Bomb,” perhaps the catchiest dance single to never be played on a dance floor. (Or may be it was. The thought of it makes me happy.) But “Sex Bomb” is just one of the wonderful songs on Generic Flipper, one of the best—and most out of step—LPs of the hardcore era. While everybody else was out to set land speed records, Flipper was slowing it down to a Thorazine shuffle; theirs was no rocket to Russia, it was music for mental patients looking for music slow, sludgy, and unrelenting enough to drown out those evil voices in their heads. Henry Rollins said of them: “They were just heavy. Heavier than you. Heavier than anything…” By definition, a monster is a singularity, something that is sui generis. Hence Flipper was monstrous, and happy to be so.

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