TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Jason
Isbell, Amanda Shires, and Jerry Douglas at
the NCTA Benefit at
The Hamilton, 3/14

As the prevailing king and queen of Americana, it’s more likely you’ll see Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires at amphitheaters or headlining big summer festivals. It’s rare to see them together in clubs these days, especially one as intimate as The Hamilton in DC. But there they were last Wednesday night, special guests on a night of music organized by dobro player extraordinaire Jerry Douglas that was a fundraiser for the National Council for the Traditional Arts.

NCTA in turn helps organize ongoing free festivals of indigenous music in far-flung American outposts that play for three years at a time at a site (and by then are expected to be a traditional offering). This year, the three-year stint will begin on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in Salisbury September 7-9 and on Wednesday, its mayor, folk fans who paid $100 for a seat, and even a US Senator, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) was there to bask in the music.

It was worth it, too, if only to hear Isbell and Shires look into each other’s eyes as they sang about their love and mortality on his “If We Were Vampires,” a recent classic (chosen last Sunday as one of the “25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music is Going” in The New York Times Magazine).

It was great, too, to have Douglas join them on Isbell’s “Traveling Alone,” and having his “Something to Love” close out the night as a rousing all-star finale, with solos from Douglas, Shires on fiddle, and a brother-sister act that had previously brought down the house for faithfully bringing old string band sounds, Giri and Uma Peters.

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TVD Live Shots: At The Drive-In and Death From Above at the Brixton Academy, 3/9

At The Drive-In and Death From Above sharing the same stage? Is this reality?

That’s the first question that popped into my mind when I saw the show announcement for the legendary Brixton Academy in London. Two bands that paved their way through a crowded clusterfuck of terrible early to mid-2000s alt-rock radio staples—one of them redefined the post-punk genre, and the other stripping rock ‘n’ roll down to its absolute core. Both have influenced many over the years—one could argue that their legacy is locked in place with neither have anything left to prove—yet none of that mattered this particular evening.

First up was Death From Above. Having dropped the unnecessary 1979 identifier from their name, the duo of Jesse F. Keeler and Sebastian Granger are currently touring in support of their first new record in three years Outrage! Is Now. It’s a bit of a different sound for the band as this time they’ve enlisted hitmaker Eric Valentine (Queens of the Stone Age, Good Charlotte, Ride) to produce the record. The result is exactly what you would expect—slick production, big hooks, tight grooves, a bit of funk, and several options for keeping the band relevant for their core audience while introducing them to an entirely new one.

When most bands go this route, their live show tends to mimic their polished sound on record. I’m happy to report that this is not the case with Death From Above. In fact, they might have gone the opposite direction just to point out that they are a fucking heavy, heavy band live.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Baby Driver Volume 2: The Score For A Score vinyl in stores 4/13

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Featuring even more gems from almost every musical genre and spanning across multiple decades, Baby Driver Volume 2: The Score For A Score will be released on April 13, 2018 via 30th Century Records / Columbia Records.

The album features more memorable songs from the movie, exclusive tracks, and special remixes that mirror the unique experience of the movie as well as dialogue excerpts from the film, and the unreleased score by Oscar-winning composer Steven Price. Available today for the first time is TaKillYa (Baby Driver Mix) – an original track exclusive to the soundtrack release.

This special album follows Music from the Motion Picture Baby Driver, the 30-song soundtrack from Edgar Wright’s critically acclaimed, music laden blockbuster film Baby Driver. The fast-paced soundtrack garnered two Grammy Nominations – including for Best Soundtrack – and sat atop the #1 chart position on iTunes. The soundtrack can be purchased both physically as a two LP and two CD set, as well as digitally across all retailers.

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The TVD Storefront

Pale Houses,
The TVD First Date

“From the moment I was first exposed to music, I was into it. My dad used to talk about how when I was two years old, I could do a spot-on vocal impersonation of Ronnie Millsap. And while that may have been a bit of a stretch (like many of his tales), it does sound like something I would have at least attempted to do.”

“But my first real memories of music were quite literally given to me by my mom, Judy Crawley (Robinson). In the late ’60s and early ’70s, my mom was a bit of a rising star in the unassuming, church-packed town of Cleveland, Tennessee. She was a fantastic singer, somewhere between a southern Karen Carpenter and Anne Murray, but more dynamic, more piercing in the upper register. She and my sax-virtuoso uncle Tommy had both signed with a small Nashville-area label called Chart Records. Seemingly unbeknownst to most everyone involved, for that brief moment, some really magical stuff was happening in that little speck of the deep south.

My mom would track songs written by would-be heroes of the great Muscle Shoals Sound not long before they fled to south Alabama to take over the music industry. A couple of my mom’s singles were picked up by radio stations scattered around the country. She briefly moved to Nashville and, before long, found herself hanging out in historic studios with the likes of Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed.

But nearly as quickly as it began, life’s priorities changed and it all just sort of stopped on a dime. She married young, divorced, re-married, had me, and her brief affair with the industry remained captured only on those circular, black time capsules that eventually wound up buried in my grandmother’s basement.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD’s Press Play

Press Play is our Monday recap of the new and FREE tracks received last week to inform the next trip to your local indie record store.

Oberon Rose – A Place In The Sun
The March Divide – Get In Line
Fawns of Love – Something Stupid
Peelander-Z – Yeah Yeah Yeah
Words In Flight – The Ravenous Affair
Youth in a Roman Field – I Saw You
No Name Hotel – Blood on Sky

LEEDS – Someone

Noble Son – Aces
HI Lo Ha – Cold Weather Clothes
Red Wanting Blue – Ulysses
MADAM WEST – Warm Bodies
Joel Levi – Will We Ever Change?
Parker Longbough – RNC 2000
The Incredible Vickers Brothers – Mirrors
GNUCCI – Fuck What They Want Fuck What They Need (ZEAN remix)

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Velvet Underground,

Choosing your favorite Velvet Underground studio LP (and I’m talking here about the famous four released between 1967 and 1970) is a helluva lot tougher than choosing your favorite Beatle. I mean, everybody KNOWS who their favorite Beatle is, but if you’re like me, your fave VU album varies in response to a whole lot of variables including mood (Angry? Gimme White Light/White Heat! Euphoric? Make mine The Velvet Underground!), romantic status, drug intake (Bad trip? Gimme White Light/White Heat again!) and for all I know barometric pressure.

At this moment in time 1970’s Loaded, the Velvet Underground’s final studio album (if you don’t count 1973’s Squeeze, that Doug Yule solo LP featuring none of the Velvets we all know and love) is at the top of my list, and this despite the fact that in many ways it’s the least “Velvet Underground” of the VU’s quartet of great studio albums.

Why? Because for a multitude of reasons that have yet to be explained–although I’m certain poor mental health, burnout, business worries, and galloping drug abuse had a lot to do with it–on Loaded Lou Reed saw fit to offload a lot of the heavy lifting on to Doug Yule, the rather faceless fellow who stepped into John Cale’s shoes at Lou Reed’s behest in 1968. Yule may be an outlier in your standard Velvet Underground hagiography, but he sings lead on four of Loaded’s ten songs, plays lead guitar on some more, and plays some of the LP’s most fiery solos–and all of this in addition to playing bass, piano, and organ. Oh, and he also plays drums on half of the album’s songs, as Maureen Tucker was on maternity leave and didn’t play on the album, although she’s credited on the LP for doing so.

It can be argued, of course, that the only real “listenable” difference lies in Yule’s newfound prominence as a singer, and that even this is no big deal seeing as how he and Lou sound so much alike that even The Village Voice’s Robert Christgau saw fit to praise Lou’s vocals on “Lonesome Cowboy Bill” when it was actually Yule singing. Hell, for a long time I thought that was Lou singing on “Who Loves the Sun”–he didn’t quite sound himself, it’s true, but I wrote it off to an oddly adulterated batch of methamphetamine.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 3/19/18

RPM Pizza and Records Returns for an Encore Under New Ownership, The Pioneer Square restaurant and vinyl shop has a new recipe for pizza dough and plans for live acoustic shows thanks to new owner Richard Cano: Like vinyl, RPM Pizza and Records is back and better than ever. Also known as Revolution Pizza Music (240 2nd Ave. S #120), the Pioneer Square pizzeria and record store closed December 2017 with no hint of a revival, but thanks to a tipster who spotted a sandwich board, Eater confirmed that Richard Cano purchased the company from previous owner Harvey Ward Van Allen (Casco Antiguo) and reopened the business this month with plenty of similarities and also some fresh ideas…Van Allen turned the former home of Pizzeria Gabbiano into a pizza place again last summer, with RPM pairing local vinyl and hot pies, mostly straightforward combinations like margherita, Hawaiian, and sausage and pepper complemented by a couple salads, beers, and wines.

Go on a trip through the NYC’s best vinyl shops for Record Store Day: Take a trip through all the city’s best havens for vinyl on April 21, as Warner Music Group hosts its third annual record store crawl for Record Store Day. For the past three years, this international celebration of independent brick-and-mortars has escorted lovers through the city’s best record stores accompanied by special performances at some of the stops. Similar crawls will take place in other cities around the world from May through October. While last year’s NYC trip featured the Heliotropes, this year’s dates include pop-up shows from artists including Lionize, Eddie Berman, SISTERS and Walker County among many others. You can find tickets at the official website here, which will provide you with a seat on the Record Store Crawl bus.

No music, no life. And now, no Russ Solomon. “No Music, no life.” That was his motto. Sadly, after 92 years of lots of music and lots of life, we no longer have Russ. Tower Records founder, the visionary Russ Solomon, died last Sunday at his Sacramento home of an apparent heart attack while drinking whiskey and watching the Oscars. The man who showed so many of us how to live life well has now set the standard for dying well also. And he did live an incredible life. From selling used records at age 16 out of his father’s pharmacy on the corner of Broadway and Land Park Drive in 1941, this high-school dropout eventually owned 200 stores in 15 countries with over a billion dollars in annual sales.

Third Man Records lays off 7 Nashville staffers to ‘streamline’ operations: Third Man Records laid off seven employees at its Nashville office in a move to cut costs at the high-profile music business. Third Man, founded by rock star Jack White, is a multi-faceted business including a retail record shop, mail-order vinyl operation, live music venue, event space, small recording studio and record label. Margo Price and Joshua Hedley are among the artists signed to the label and a litany of superstar artists have recorded at the Third Man complex in Nashville’s SoBro neighborhood. A Third Man executive said through a publicist this week that the layoffs were done to “streamline” operations…Laid-off employees were asked to sign separation agreements that would pay them cash in exchange for not divulging information about the company.

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face / And stars fill my dream / I’m a traveler of both time and space / To be where I have been / To sit with elders of the gentle race / This world has seldom seen / They talk of days for which they sit and wait / All will be revealed / Talk in song from tongues of lilting grace / Sounds caress my ear / And not a word I heard could I relate / The story was quite clear

MATT DIKE | 1962–2018

It’s difficult to sum up the life of a human with just a few words, yet the tale of Matt Dike is a rock ‘n’ roll tale, and this Idelic Hour of songs is my best pitch.

In the ’80s, Dike was LA’s coolest—the kid from the New York suburbs who turned DJing a dorm room into rock legend. The guy had it all. Taste, looks, charm, charisma, and a fun sense of humor. For the two to three years we ran underground nightclubs together, Dike was my best friend and constant companion.

It came as no surprise that Dike named his label Delicious Vinyl. Dike was a vinyl collector of epic proportions. Records literally meant the world to Matt, for it was his DJ sets and a collector’s nature that were at his core, his soul, his god. As Dike’s business partner, it was part of my job to protect “the records” over all else. Money, the sound system, the staff, as he bluntly explained, “can be easily replaced, but my records would take years.”

In the heat of running a sometimes illegal party, the stacks of heavy milk crates could really weigh a dude down, but fuck man…so many great times. And all of them revolving around songs and record collecting. We used to sit and eat the $2.99 breakfast special at the greasy spoon joint on Santa Monica Boulevard and discuss his DJ sets, freaking about that magical, unpredictable record that would seem to drop out of left field and rock an unsuspecting dance floor into both sweat and ecstasy. “How about ‘Atomic Dog’ into ‘How Soon Is Now?'”  a then new single from The Smiths.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: I’m With Her at the 9:30 Club, 3/13

They blushed and smiled as if they couldn’t believe it. Their debut had come out less than a month before, yet here they were playing all these new songs before a sold out crowd that was as loud in their cheers as they had been hushed in hearing their fine harmonies. “Who are you people?” Sara Watkins asked at one point.

It’s not that the group, I’m With Her, is full of newcomers, or that each of its members hadn’t faced acclaim as part of their previous endeavors—Watkins with Nickel Creek, the trio with her brother and Chris Thile; Aoife O’Donovan with Crooked Still and her own albums, and Sarah Jarosz, at 26 the youngest of the three but who already has two Grammys, rising from mandolin prodigy to folk star.

The three were surprised to find how well they harmonized together on a one-off collaboration at the Telluride bluegrass festival four years ago, kept performing together, playing covers or arrangements of their own established songs at first before putting their songwriting skills together as well for the recent full album.

They’d named themselves I’m With Her a year before Hillary Clinton used the same phrase for her presidential campaign, but the same kind of self-reliant, woman-powered confidence shone through their approach.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Dream Syndicate’s Steve Wynn solo release reissues in stores 4/27

VIA PRESS RELEASEThe Dream Syndicate brought strains of psychedelia to the early ’80s American indie-rock movement with their influential Slash Records album The Days of Wine and Roses. And they made a critically hailed comeback with 2017’s How Did I Find Myself Here on Anti- Records. But when the band took a hiatus around 1990, frontman Steve Wynn recorded two solo albums that both preserved the Dream Syndicate’s intensity while enabling him to spread his musical wings and work with some friends from other groups. Omnivore Recordings will release the albums — Kerosene Man and Dazzling Display — in expanded editions on April 27, 2018.

In 1990, Wynn struck out on his own to record his solo debut, the acclaimed Kerosene Man. With 11 new Wynn originals and help from friends including Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde), D.J. Bonebrake (X), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), and even Mark Walton from the Dream Syndicate and the Continental Drifters, Kerosene Man showed a new side to Steve, while retaining everything that attracted music lovers to him in the first place. “Tears Won’t Help” became a radio staple, and “Carolyn” found its way to MTV.

As Wynn writes in the new liner notes: “Sure, I was nervous. I had spent most of my adult life making music with the Dream Syndicate — a very good, successful band, with musicians I still considered very good friends. Bands break up because the members hate each other, or because nobody cares, or because someone in the band joins the Rolling Stones, or something. That wasn’t the case with us. I just wanted to try something different. I wanted to play different kinds of music, make new sounds, play with new people. I wasn’t running away from anything. I was just running towards something new.”

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