TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Said I know what it means to get left for dead, / when the saints rise up at the sound. / When the spirits don’t move in / their chains and the shoes / and the crack of the guns all around. / I know how it is to get all dressed up, / where nobody would know where to go. / With a fifth in your vest, / and some pills on your tongue / and a gun looking out across / the Valley of the Shadow below, oh…

“Another pleasant valley Sunday…” I guess so? Not every day in the San Fernando Valley is pleasant, but I like to think they are. After all, the climate is changing these days.

Back when I first moved to LA, no cool soul went to—let alone lived in— the Valley. Hey, no one cool from New York lived or went to Brooklyn either. Now I’m not the only one avoiding “going into town” for the convenience of those wide valley boulevards. When we recently had the option of enrolling Jonah into middle school in either the Valley or Silverlake we choose…

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: Aerosmith at MGM National Harbor, 8/10

TOP TWO IMAGES: ZACK WHITFORDAerosmith, the bad boys from Boston, brought their “Deuces are Wild” Las Vegas residency show to the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland for three dates which concluded this past Tuesday.

Named after the track originally recorded for their 1989 album Pump, and not released until 1994 for The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience, the “Deuces” run includes 35 shows spread out among the MGM National Harbor in Maryland, the Borgata in Atlantic City, the MGM Springfield in Massachusetts, and finally the Park Theater in Las Vegas beginning in late September.

It’s hard to pigeonhole a band like Aerosmith. Not only has the band been a major player in the rock music scene from their inception in 1970, they practically define the genre for those of us who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s. The band up and ran with the baton passed from mega-rock predecessors like Led Zeppelin, the New York Dolls, and the Rolling Stones, and they’ve done a hell of a job reaching new audiences and a new crop of fans. Their music has definitely inspired generations, and icon status fits the band quite well.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Jeff Beck, “Hi Ho
Silver Lining” b/w “Beck’s Bolero”

If ever they mold a Mt. Rushmore of Classic Rock guitar wizards, it will surely include the chiseled mug of Jeff Beck, his career so lengthy and varied that it’s basically a bottomless reservoir of inspiration for articles in Mojo magazine. Along with his work in The Yardbirds, rock listeners persist in celebrating him for the two distinct Jeff Beck Groups and for his many solo albums. Sometimes overlooked is the pair of singles Beck recorded in ‘67, and “Hi Ho Silver Lining” b/w “Beck’s Bolero” is the better of the two.

For a certain breed of rock fan, the various permutations of The Yardbirds are a gift that keeps on giving. Whether it’s the early blues purist period with Clapton and the smash “For Your Love” (which sent Eric reeling into the tastefully bluesy embrace of John Mayall), the copious top-notch material and numerous hits produced by the post-Beck rave-ups and experimentation, and the brief pleasures to be had from the short-lived Beck/Page lineup; really, it’s only the culminating quartet that’s patchy, though there’s more quality to be found there than many think.

Of course, scores of folks only recognize The Yardbirds as the group that begat Led Zeppelin, since it was the four-piece fronted by Page that was contractually bound to tour and slowly transmogrified into what we now know as Zep. Similarly, there’s a smaller but significant number of ears that neglect the 45s Beck cut directly after departing the ‘birds. This omission is either purposeful, due to the a sides’ unabashed pop ambition (i.e. the discrete odor of Mickie Most) or purely accidental; for decades, they were most easily discovered in Best of Beck packages. I don’t recall hearing them on the radio.

Those songs were available elsewhere, however. In fact, I first heard “Hi Ho Silver Lining” in the ‘80s on a 2LP import various artists compilation titled Formula 30, and I’ll acknowledge the initial taste proved a tad befuddling, mainly because Jeff Beck was considered, with Clapton, Page, and the departed Hendrix (the only one insured not to fuck up his own legacy), as a true deity of Rock Guitar. And of the three still living, Beck has displayed the greatest ambivalence over the commercial expectations of hard rocking power blues.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Premiere: R.W. Roldan, “Big Skies”

Singer-songwriter R.W. Roldan has lived in California most of his life, cultivating his own brand of West Coast Americana, and his sweeping lyrics paint an authentically haunting panorama of a Los Angeles that is all but gone.

There’s certainly a Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood vibe to his latest single “Big Skies,” which affectionately name checks LA institutions like the Ventura Freeway and the Wax Museum. But his holistic reverence for the West extends beyond the 21st century. It’s clear that he was feeling the nostalgic pangs of the wild cowboy days slipping away when he arrived in the city as a child, born to an outlaw biker father and 16-year-old mother. “There ain’t no prairies for me to roam upon,” he solemnly concludes as he chugs on his six string. “There ain’t no big skies to show us where God lives…”

In a clever twist, Roldan concedes that the closest he’ll get to the celestial stars is by looking down at the handprints on Hollywood Boulevard. These days he’s content to get a job at the Wax Museum so he can hang out with the soap impressions of his childhood heroes, Roy Rogers and Trigger.

“Big Skies” is a bittersweet, poignant ballad that reveals R.W.’s whimsical soul and is a perfect introduction to his LP, Can You Feel This, due in stores tomorrow August 17.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Bob Welch,
French Kiss

Climb aboard my pleasure craft, ye mateys, and I’ll tell you a tale of a true Yacht Rock captain. In 1977 former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Welch cast off on his debut LP French Kiss, and sailed bravely into the upper reaches of the American Top 40. It was a voyage worthy of Ferdinand Magellan, or that guy who discovered America.

You don’t hear much of Welch outside of SiriusXM’s Yacht Rock Radio these days, and I have a hard time imagining an actual human being walking into a record store with the express purpose of buying French Kiss. But he was a very big deal in the late seventies, when such songs as “Sentimental Lady” and “Ebony Eyes” (featuring the immortal Juice Newton!) won Welch his admiral stripes, alongside other Yacht Rock giants as Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, and Pablo Cruise, who are actually four guys but who’s counting?

Where to start with Welch? Well, he’s not as much of a Yacht rocker as you might think. “Sentimental Lady” certainly falls into the category, but on the rest of French Kiss he melds hard rock riffs to disco beats and drops a lot of strings on you, and the formula works better than you think it would.

For the most part these songs are good pop fun, and as catchy as they are utterly disposable; The Village Voice’s Robert Christgau dismissed them as “aural chic” as good a soundtrack for doing your ironing as the Doobie Brothers, but I think he’s just being a meanie. I’m sure you’d have to look hard to find a Brooklyn hipster who will give French Kiss his imprimatur, but that says more about Brooklyn hipsters than it does about the album.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/16/19

Barcelona, ES | 5 Barcelona Gems Music Lovers Need To Close Out Summer 2019: Hit up a record store. The innovative Sir Hotels recently opened their newest Barcelona addition and the chain has brought a special energy to the city. You’ll feel extra chic just walking into the trendy building. With the sleek Mr. Porter steakhouse coming all the way to the Catalonian region from Amsterdam located in the lobby and a dazzling rooftop restaurant, what’s not to love? However, the dining options aren’t even the best part. The hotel also gives guests the chance to visit Barcelona’s oldest and trendiest record stores with a local vinyl expert. Their carefully selected guide will help those on the three-hour tour hunt down vinyl at the popular WahWahRecords and Discos Paradiso. The tour will end with a drink at Curtis Audiophile Café, a cocktail bar with an unbeatable musical selection. It’s priced at 80 euros per person, but is capped at six people making the experience as engaging as possible.

Cardiff, GB | The Trip – Cardiff’s Best Record Shops: D’Vinyl Records. This is one of those shops that I wish I hadn’t come to first on my visit. I could spend a day here, especially as I have turned up during one of the veteran store’s regular sale periods, with everything half-price. This is certainly the Cardiff venue with the widest range of 7″ singles, and there are plenty of collectables up on the walls that catch my eye, including the five-disc 7″ picturedisc set of Spandau Ballet’s I’ll Fly For You. It’s interesting that their big rivals Duran Duran were employing the same chart-friendly tactic at the same time with a multi-member set for The Wild Boys, which I have already picked up over the years. This set had passed me by. There are also some really nice early Cliff Richard EPs in pristine sleeves that are a real bargain, and I spend some time wading through the crates of singles, picking up quite a selection.

Dublin, IE | Record lovers rejoice as Dun Laoghaire Vinyl Festival has returned! Dublin is set to transform into a record lover’s haven as the Dun Laoghaire Vinyl Festival is set to take place. Now back for its second spin, the festival will take place over three days from November 1 to November 3 in a selection of venues around Dun Laoghaire including the dlr LexIcon Library Studio, the National Maritime Museum, the Pavilion Theatre, and the Lighthouse. There will be two live gigs featuring Johnny, Barry, and Jim of Horslips on the 1st and 2nd in Pavilion Theatre and Line of Duty star Vicky McClure’s DJ set in the Lighthouse on the night of the 2nd. …The festival will also see a variety of talks and the line-up includes Leslie Dowdall, Damian O’Neill & Michael Bradley (The Undertones), The Cranberries’ Noel Hogan (discussing the band’s latest and final album, In the End), authors Stuart Cosgrove, Geraldine Quigley and Jennifer Otter Bickerdike, as well as directors Richie Smyth and Kevin Godley examining the relationship between video and vinyl sales.

Kutztown, PA | With Bring Your Own Bag campaign, Kutztown record shop helps teen athletes Niki Nolte and Anthony Myers battle cancer: Like a lot of retailers, Young Ones Record Store in Kutztown encourages customers to reuse bags or go without as a way to reduce their carbon footprints. But the record store, which set up in the borough 29 years ago, took the effort one step further recently by starting the BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) for Charity campaign. By declining a plastic bag, a customer can choose to donate the 6-cent cost to one of two selected charities. Porter Holt, son of owner Chris Holt and the store’s assistant manager, said many customers dig into their own pockets, giving $1, $10, even $20 to the causes. “Our customers are really good with donating very selflessly,” Holt said. The store changes the charities quarterly and this summer has been raising money for two teenagers close to the hearts of borough residents who are battling cancer. The BYOB campaign money is being distributed to the #NikiStrong Foundation and the Team 17 Strong Foundation.

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TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots: Bush, Live, Our Lady Peace at Concord Pavilion, 8/7

Rockers Bush and Live are out on their ALTimate tour to celebrate the 25th anniversaries of their respective breakout albums Sixteen Stone and Throwing Copper along with openers Our Lady Peace. The 33-date run hit Concord, California’s Concord Pavilion on a warm but breezy evening for what would prove to be an epic celebration of two of the biggest albums of the ’90s.

The evening kicked off about 30 minutes late as the venue and crew wrestled with some technical issues, but the silver lining was that it gave the fans some additional time to fight their way through the Thursday night rush hour traffic in time for Our Lady Peace’s opening set.

Live wasted no time pulling out material from Throwing Copper, launching right into “All Over You” which got the Concord crowd on their feet. In an unexpected twist, Live chose to use part of their 60+ minute set to plow through covers of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” and The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” to complement the band’s classic material.

Bush took a similar approach to Live, launching right into the one-two punch of “Machinehead” and “The Chemicals Between Us.” In spite of the co-headlining status, the tour seemed to have saved the electricity for Bush … the lighting over-the-top as frontman Gavin Rossdale bounded around the stage. In a bit of a bizarre move, Rossdale pulled out a pair of chefs knives before introducing “This is War,” but otherwise the set was flawless and those in the back greatly appreciated Gavin’s adventure into the crowd during “Little Things.”

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live: Lollapalooza at Grant Park, 8/4

4:00PM: I’ve been stuck in the north entrance Lollapalooza line with 4,000 new companions. We’re inching along so I’m guessing I won’t have the chance to photograph Francis and the Lights. Bummer.

4:28PM: A little excitement here in the security line. A girl next to me simply couldn’t wait any longer to use the restroom. Pleading cries didn’t help her, but the crowd did. Those close formed a human circle to protect her from cops seeing her while she natured it. Teamwork.

4:39PM: I’m inside the gates! Finally! It’s the busiest day of the weekend (and best daily lineup). I weave my way through the crowds to Perry’s Stage.

5:22PM: Why the hell am I at Perry’s Stage? Would you believe me if I said Shaq? The NBA Hall of Famer has taken up a DJ career and goes by the stage name of Diesel. His skills are…shall we say less developed than his basketball game, but no one seems to care. The crowd rages and the scorch of the pyrotechnics leaves me sweaty.

5:25PM: Just got word that 300 to 400 kids broke down the gates at Michigan Ave. and Harrison St. about 20 minutes ago. Oh boy.

5:26PM: The Revivalists played their entire set with an “End Gun Violence” backdrop. We fell asleep to the news from El Paso and woke up to the news from Dayton. It’s not far from anyone’s thoughts today.

5:55PM: A mysterious skywriter appears above Grant Park during Sharon Van Etten’s set. “Smile” it spells out.

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The TVD Storefront

Independent Minded: A podcast with Ron Scalzo: Torche

The Independent Minded podcast features conversations with indie artists in the music and entertainment business.

Pop culture legends “Weird Al” Yankovic and Henry Rollins, indie icons CAKE, Gogol Bordello and Mike Doughty, and up-and-coming indie artists The Districts and Vagabon talk about their experiences in the business, their inspirations and passions, and their recent projects.

The podcast is hosted by Ron Scalzo, an indie musician and radio producer with 9 self-released albums and an independent record label of his own, Bald Freak Music.

Torche, Episode 102 | Episode 102 features Jonathan Nunez, guitarist in Miami hard rock band Torche. Jon talks about producing Torche’s albums, moving air, making his own amps, chasing a feeling, the strum that ruined his life.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Premiere: Staples Jr. Singers, “We Got A Race To Run”

Record store crate diggers would have felt blessed if they ever chanced upon the old Brenda 45 “We Got A Race To Run” by the mysteriously named Staples Jr. Singers. The late ’60s swampy gospel could have been lost to time, but has been found by the LA collector and DJ Greg Belson and put on a new compilation The Time for Peace is Now, due in stores September 13 on Luaka Bop.

In advance of that, The Vinyl District is proud to present the track here, sharing in its snaky guitar, arresting voice, and uplifting and still-timely sentiment from a Southern gospel soul outfit that turned out to have no direct connection to The Staple Singers who had brought groove and gospel to the top of the charts in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

No, the Staples Junior Singers were just big fans—big enough fans to name themselves heirs of the sound on their too-rare recordings that call for justice more than Jesus. Today, the stirring voices of the Staples Jr. Singers can be found in the stylings of Annie Caldwell and the Caldwell Singers, still raising church rafters and saving souls in the most rural corners of Mississippi.

At the time of “We Got A Race To Run,” though, they were one of a number of groups who melded uplift and community in universal anthems that often left the doctrine behind. As author Jonathan Lethem puts it in the liner notes to The Time for Peace is Now, these were songs born of “individual inspiration fired and forged and upheld by community, tradition and context” that are “resplendent with love and yet are not love songs.”

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores for
August 2019, Part Three

Part three of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases—and more—presently in stores for August, 2019. Part one is here and part two is here.

NEW RELEASE PICKS: loscil, Equivalents (Kranky) For his latest, Canadian composer Scott Morgan takes inspiration from a series of photographs by Alfred Stieglitz. The objects in the photos were clouds, but the subject of the series was abstraction, or better said a freeing of the photographed from direct interpretation. Morgan borrows the title of Stieglitz’s series for his 12th LP and its eight tracks, though they are sequenced out of order. If you’re new to the work of loscil, don’t get stuck in the clouds and draw a connection between ambient music and drifting, vaporous insubstantiality, as what Morgan has achieved here is often quite intense and in fact eschews expectations (clichés and stereotypes) over what ambient music sounds like. One could simply call it experimentation, abstract yet focused. Do it. A

Oh Sees, Face Stabber (Castle Face) When I first glimpsed the cover of these San Franciscans’ umpteenth full-length (this one a double), I immediately thought of Frank Frazetta. And it’s indeed credited as being a ’70s van airbrush of Frazetta’s “Swamp Demon.” Recognizing the artist was no great accomplishment on my part; I don’t know Frazetta’s work well, but it is highly distinctive, as anyone who’s seen it is likely to concur. I’m considerably more familiar with the Oh Sees’ steadily growing body of work. Their blend of heavy psych, Krautrock, experimental punk, and in a recent twist, organ-driven prog, is nearly as recognizable as ol’ Frank. And the mention of prog might seem to fit with the cover artist, but it’s never a hackneyed trip. Things even get a little funky. How am I feeling? Pretty fucking fine, my friend. A

Blanck Mass, Animated Violence Mild (Sacred Bones) When an artist I primarily know through another outfit or endeavor has a “solo electronic project,” I can get a little fidgety, mainly because the results can sometimes be, to put it charitably, less than stellar. My knowledge of Benjamin John Power comes via Fuck Buttons, though I’ve known of the existence of Blanck Mass for a while now and have indeed heard them/ him while watching Ben Wheatley’s drug film freakout A Field in England. That didn’t really prepare me for these large-scaled and highly danceable electronic tracks which often stretch out into cinematic territory, and more appropriately hit the emo-rush/ high-five-isms suitable as a soundtrack for live sports/ group catharsis. Well, except for the post-industrial aggro. Which is plentiful. A-

Prana Crafter / Tarotplane, Symbiose (Beyond Beyond is Beyond) As this label is hitting an impressive qualitative stride, here’s a very cool split album with one long track per side featuring two one-man acts. Prana Crafter is William Sol from the woodlands of Washington State and Tarotplane is PJ Dorsey from Baltimore. The stated objective was to platter up some complementary kosmische, and they’ve achieved this goal rather nicely through appreciable levels of edge, intensity, and of course drift and glide. And there is distinctiveness, with Prana Crafter’s “Jagged Mountain Melts at Dawn” sliding in all sorts of directions; a little San Fran, a smidge of Can, some Eastern burn, while Tarotplane’s “We Move Slowly Through the Past” connects in a big long stretch like Popul Vuh crossed with Pompeii-era Floyd. A-

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/15/19

Chicago, IL | The Top 10 Vinyl Records of 2019 (so far): See how Billie Eilish stacks up against the classics: August 12th was National Vinyl Record Day, a holiday for music lovers who appreciate the well-worn groove of a good tune. For those that know that the real sound can only be captured once you drop the needle. For those that don’t mind getting up to flip the side. Happy National Vinyl Record Day to you, with your refined taste and extra income, we salute you. According to Neilsen, vinyl record sales are continuing their resurgence this year, already up nearly 10 percent from last year and selling over 7 million copies so far this year. As digital downloads and other physical music declines in sales, vinyl is one of the few areas seeing a rise. …Check out the top 10 vinyl albums of 2019 so far.

St. Louis, MO | New Punk-Focused Record Shop, Wax Rats, Opens on Cherokee Street: Standing out on a wall behind the counter of Cherokee Street’s newest record shop is a particularly eye-catching album. Its cover art features an anthropomorphic beast with the head of a cat and the body of a man, wearing a belt but no pants, and carrying a knife. The band’s name is spelled out in near bubble-letter font across the top: Pantera. “Oh yeah, that’s Metal Magic,” remarks the store’s owner, Gus Theodorow. “That’s before Phil Anselmo. We can listen to it if you want. It kinda sucks.” Theodorow tosses the slab of wax onto a record player. And it’s true: Pantera’s debut studio album does indeed kind of suck. Released in 1983, the record sees the band still in its hair-metal days, back when drummer Vinnie Paul and guitarist Dimebag Darrell were in their teens and plainly obsessed with the music of bands like Kiss and Ratt. Aside from its ridiculous cover art, Metal Magic is a wholly unremarkable affair.

Denver, CO | Twist & Shout Hosts a Free Mumford & Sons In-Store Concert: With three nights booked at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre starting Thursday, August 15, folk-rock giant Mumford & Sons could easily zip in and out of Denver without doing much for the local scene. Instead, the band’s management reached out to Twist & Shout, the famous Colfax Avenue record shop, back in May to set up an in-store concert, which will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, August 16. “We had to completely keep everything a secret until yesterday,” store owner Paul Epstein told Westword today, August 13. “That’s hard in a record store. We’re not promoters. We’re used to hyping things up.” Such intimate performances are a rarity for Mumford & Sons. The group played and recorded a show at Bull Moose Music in Portland, Maine, which made history for the business and the group, too. Epstein expects the Twist & Shout concert, which will take place in the vinyl room, to be similarly memorable. The set will be entirely acoustic, with nobody plugging in – a first for Twist & Shout. Instead of a record-signing, the band will offer photo opportunities for groups of fans.

Dundee, UK | PICTURES: Hundreds attend final farewell to Groucho’s owner Alastair ‘Breeks’ Brodie: Hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral of an iconic Dundee record store owner on Tuesday. Alastair “Breeks” Brodie, the owner of Groucho’s on the Nethergate, passed away in late July surrounded by his friends and family. The 65-year-old sold vinyl records in the city for 43 years. Mr Brodie had been suffering from various health issues for some time but took a turn for the worse in July. His funeral took place at Dundee Crematorium on Tuesday at noon. Mourners were instructed to wear “something colourful” instead of black clothing. Groucho’s has been closed as the funeral takes place. Posting to Facebook ahead of the funeral, staff wrote: “All of us here at Groucho’s would like to take a moment this morning to extend an enormous thank you for the overwhelming response to the sad news of the passing of our long time boss and friend Alastair “Breeks” Brodie.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: Reignwolf and
JJ Wilde at U Street Music Hall, 8/10

On Saturday, August 10, Reignwolf, with support from JJ Wilde, brought their headlining tour to an intimate crowd at Washington DC’s U Street Music Hall in support of the band’s new album Hear Me Out. Stirring up fans with their charisma and blistering fuzzy blues rock, they tore through the roughly hour-long set of new songs and old favorites, leaving fans and themselves worn out and sweaty.

Reignwolf (songwriter/singer/guitarist Jordan Cook, bassist S.J. Kardash, and drummer Joseph Braley) released Hear Me Out, the band’s first LP, in March. Prior to this, Reignwolf had only released a handful of singles over seven years, developing an enthusiastic following while maintaining an air of mystery among fans.

This mysterious air was underscored in the darkened, underground room at U Street Music Hall. The band played shrouded in smoke and back-lit by bright white lights, allowing those in attendance to see Cook and Karsdash in silhouette, and Braley not at all. No matter, as songs like the ferocious “Wanna Don’t Wanna” and Gary Clark Jr-ish “Black and Red” were loud and energetic as the blazing fires of Hell. During those moments when Cook emerged from the smoke and could be seen, he revealed a look that calls to mind 1970s Bruce Springsteen or even a black leather-clad Cat Stevens, while the band’s sound could be compared to Jack White, the aforementioned Gary Clark Jr, or the barely contained insanity of Black Pistol Fire.

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD Live Shots:
Young the Giant and
Fitz and the Tantrums
at the Forum, 8/10

PHOTOS: JULIA LOFSTRAND | Feel good pop music continues to appeal to the masses. The Forum, an imposing piece of architecture in the heart of Inglewood, is a legendary Los Angeles venue built in 1967 to resemble a Roman Coliseum by the same firm that built Madison Square Garden. The Forum is a prestigious venue to play. But last Saturday, at a venue that has seen everyone from The Eagles to Diana Ross, modern indie pop music prevailed.

Not entirely sold out but close to capacity, the crowd was a mixture of families, fashionistas, and low-key people sporting Vans and Hawaiian shirts; hints to a more laid back Southern California lifestyle. The young children in attendance signaled a night of youthful and joyous, spirited music that only concerned parents would permit their children listen to. I was singing “Shout at the Devil” by Mӧtley Crüe at 6-years-old but hey…we all have different experiences and tastes in life, and that’s just what this show represented.

The night seemed a little motley too. The Nashville trio COIN, who define their music as pop songs with rock instrumentation in an interview with Billboard magazine opened the show and played their most popular hit to date “Talk Too Much.”

Fitz and the Tantrums took the stage bringing the kids to their feet as they danced to the band they no doubt came to see. But it wasn’t just the children who loved this 18-song set, the entirety of the arena sang along as Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs, the vocal duo of the group, powered through the high-energy Motownesque dance songs they are known for.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Paul Kantner,
Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra

On which Paul Kantner takes off for outer space in a bong-shaped spaceship, only to crash back to earth because the sheer number of Jefferson Starship hangers-on he’s packed on board exceed the vessel’s weight capacity. This 1983 concept album–the sequel to his 1970 (Hugo Award-nominated!) LP Blows Against the Empire–is subtitled The Empire Blows Back. At least he got the blows part right.

The album–the purported soundtrack to a novel by Kantner that actually saw the light of day in 1991–tells the completely plausible story of a S.F. band that develops telepathic amplification technology, falls afoul of the U.S. government, seeks sanctuary in the Australian outback, and finally whisks off to the safety of outer space. For those of us who flee to higher ground whenever the mummified survivors of the Jefferson Airplane congregate in a recording studio, their permanent departure is what you might call a dream scenario.

But such is not the case with everyone. You probably don’t know about it because the U.S. government is afraid to start a panic, but almost 20 years ago NASA received a mysterious transmission from Voivod 4, the planet on which the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra finally touched down.

The transmission was in the form of complaint, and specifically blamed our planet for “recklessly hurling its refuse into space, the way a fat guy might toss a half-full Slurpee cup from the driver’s side window of a rusting 1974 Ford Pinto.” It closed by threatening the human race with extinction, via a weapon it described as “a really, really big bug zapper you don’t want to stand in front of.” Needless to say this interplanetary communique caused consternation amongst the leaders of the world, all of whom agreed to blame Moldova.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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